Francis Lieber.

Library of universal knowledge. A reprint of the last (1880) Edinburgh and London edition of Chambers' encyclopaedia, with copious additions by American editors (Volume 13) online

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" Maiden of Norway," and his death is fixed in the following year But sir Robert
Sibbald, in his Ilittvry of Fife and Kinroas (published in the reign of Charles II.), speaks


of a certain indenture, dated 1294, to which Scott's name was affixed, and in another
part of the same book states that lie went on a second embassy to Norway in 1810, to
demand the cession of the Orkneys. If we may rely on sir Robert's statement, it is
hardly possible that the Scotch " wizard " of European renown could have been the same
person as Michael Scott of Balweary, because (as the story goes) alter studying at
Oxford or Paris, he went to the court of Frederic II., and wrote there some books at the
request of that monarch. Now Frederic died in 1250, and supposing " the wizard "
not more than i]0 years old at that time, this would make him 70 when he went to Nor-
way the first time to. bring home the " Maiden," and 90 on his second visit to demand
the cession of the Orkneys, neither of which tilings is likely. Hector Boece, it should
be observed, is our sole authority for the identification of Michael Scott of Balweary with
the wizard, while, on the other hand, Dempster, in his Historia Ecckxittstica Genii* Sco-
t'T'ini (Bologna, 1027), distinctly avers that the name Scotus, borne by the latter, was
tuat of his nation and not of his family Michael, "the Scot." It has been suggested
that the ambassador may have been the son of the wizard, and that Boece may have
confounded the two a supposition probable enough in itself, but for which, in the
absence of evidence, nothing can be said. The legend is further complicated by the
fact that it appeal's to be English as well as Scottish. Cumberland claims the magic
hero for herself. Camdeu, in his Hritannw (1586), asserts that he was a monk of Ulme
or Holme Cullram in that country, about 1290, "who applied himself so closely to the
mathematics, and other abstract parts of learning, that he was generally looked 'on as a
conjurer; and a vain credulous humor has handed down I know not what miracles done
by him." lie likewise states that Scott's " magic books" were preserved there, but adds
that they were then molderiug into dust; and Satchells (see his rhyming History of the
Itight IIonoroMe ACIIIIC of Scott] declares that he examined a huge tome which was held
to be the wizard's, at Burgh-under-Bowness in 1629. According to the Scottish legend,
lie was buried in the abbey of Melrose, and 1he bonier was the scene of many of his
most wonderful exploits, such as the cleaving of the Eildon hills into three separate
cones, and his bridling of the river Tweed! Dante mentions him in his Inferno (some
years before 1821), in a way that shows that already his fame as a magician had spread
over the continent, and suggests the suspicion that he must have died sooner than is
commonly believed. All, however, that any one who rationally looks at the legend can
believe is that a certain Michael Scott, or Michael the Scot, nourished in the ISih c.,
and was mistaken by the common people of his country fo.r a wizard or magician,
probubly on account of his skill as an experimentalist in natural philosophy. The writ-
ings attributed to him indicate that his studies lay in this direction.

SCOTT. KOI-EET, D.D., b. England, 1811; graduated at Christ Church college,
Oxford, in 1881; became a fellow and tutor; ordained and became rector of several
parishes; was master of Ball ipl in 1854; professor of exegesis in 1861; dean of Roches-
ter in 1870. He prepared with dean Liddell a Gruk Lexicon, and translated several
works of the fathers.

SCOTT, THOMAS, D.D., 1747-1821; b. England; ordained in 1772; became curate in
Buckinghamshire; succeeded" John Newton, curate of Olney, in 1780; was chaplain to
the Lock hospital in 1785; rector of Aston Sandford in 1803. He published Commen-
tary on tJte BMe, 6 vols. ; Defense of Culi-iiiiyin, against bishop Tomline; Foice of Truth,
which has been often reprinted; Scriptural Doctrine of Ctcil Government and the Duties
of Siitr'tcis; The, Rights of God; Vindication of tJ,e. Holy Scriptures; Sign* of the Times;
Tin' Articles of the Synod of Jjort; TJte Jew*. His commentary on the Bible, now little
read, had immense circulation and influence in its day. Devoid of critical learning, it
was strong in practical moral observations drawn from the text.

SCOTT, THOMAS A., 1825-81; b. Penn. ; received a common school education, and
in 1844 became a clerk in the office of the collector at Columbia. Penn.. where he
remained until 1847. being then transferred to the collector's office in Philadelphia. He
left this office in 1850 to take a position in the Pennsylvania railroad service, and in two
years was appointed superintendent of the western division, and in 1858 made general
superintendent of the road. This rapid advancement was concluded by his appoint-
ment in I860 to the vice-presidency, and shortly afterward to the position of president,
which he continued to hold until 18K), when ill- health forced his retirement. In 1861
president Lincoln appointed Mr. Scott assistant secretary of war, in which position it
fell to his duty to supervise and organize the system of transportation for the northern
armies, a m* st arduous and complicated task, which he accomplished with remarkable
accuracy and completeness. Mr. Scott traveled for his health in 1878-79, visiting the
prinr-ipil countries of Europe, Egypt, etc.

SCOTT, Sir WAJ/TKR, the fourth child of Walter Scott, writer to the signet in Edin-
burgh, was born in that city on Aug. 15. 1771. He came of the old border family, the
Scotts of Harden, an offshoot from the house of Buccleuch. Though he matured into
a man of robust health, and of strength nearly herculean, as a child he was feeble and
sickly, and very early he was smitten with a lameness which remained with him through
life. His childhood was passed for the most part at Sandyknowe, the farm of his grand-
father, in Roxburghshire. Here the foundations of his mind were laid; and his early and
delighted familiarity with the ballads and legends then floating over all that part of the

Scott. " ' W

country probably did more than any other influence lo determine the sphere and modes

of his "-future liteniry activity. Between the years 1779 and 17b3 be attended the high




versity, and for tliree years .

Afterward, in the lieight of his *'ame, he was wont to speak with tteej) regret of his neg-
lect of his carlv oppoYitmities. But though leaving college but scantily furnished witii
the knowledge formally taught there, in a desultory way of his own he had been hiving
up stores of valuable" though unassorted information. From his earliest childhood
onward he was a ravenous and insatiable reader; his memory was of extraordinary
ran^e and tenacity, and of what he either read or observed he seems to have forgotten
almost nothing. Of Latin he knew little, of Greek, less; but a serviceable, if somewhat
inexact knowledge of French, Italian, Spanish, and German he had acquired, and he
continued to retain. On the whole, for his special purposes, his education was perhaps
as available as if he had been the pride of all his preceptors. In 11x6 he was articled
apprentice to his father, in whose office he worked as a clerk till 1793, in which year he
was called to the bar. In his profession he had fair success, and in 1797 he was married
to Charlotte Margaret Carpenter, a lady of French birth and parentage. Toward the
end of 1799. through the interest of his friends lord Melville and the duKC of Bucclench,
he was made sheriff-depute of Selkirkshire, an appointment which brought him ii]UO a
year, with not very much to do for it. Meantime, in a tentative and intermiuent way,

translation of Goethe's drama of Goetz von BerlicJtingen; and in the year following
wrote the fine Iwllads. Glenjinlas, the Eve of &t. John, and the Grey Brother. The year
1802 gave to the world the first two volumes of his Border Minstrelsy, which were fol-
lowe 1 in 1803 by a third and final one. This work, the fruit of those " raids" as ha
called them over the border counties, in which he had been wont to spend his vaca-
tions, was most favorably received by the public, and at once won for hi:u a prominent
place among the literary men of the time. In 1804 he issued an editio.i of the oil
poem Sir Tristram, admirably edited and elucidated by valuable dissertations. Mean-
time The Lay of the La*t Minstrel bud been in progress, and by its public. ition in 1803
Scott became at a bound the most popular author of his day. During tho next ten years,
besides a mass of miscellaneous work, the most important items of which wore elabor-
ate editions of Dryden (1808) and of Swift (1814), including in either ca=e a Life, he gave
to the world the poems Mann&n (1808); Tlie Lady of the Lake (1810); Tite Vision of Don
Rtderick (\%\\)\ R-keby (1813); The Bridal <>f Trier main, anonymously pub!ished( 1813);
The Ijordofthe Ixks; and Tlie Field of Waterloo. The enthusiasm with which the earlier
of these works were received somewhat began to abate as the series proceeded. The
charm of novelty was no longer felt; moreover, a distinct deterioration in quality is not
in the later poems to be denied; and in the bold outburst of Byron, with his deeper vein
of sentiment and concentrated energy of passion, a formidable rival had appeared. All
this Scott distinctly noted, and after what he felt as the comparative failure of The Lord
of tlie Ixles in 1815, with the trivial exception of the anonymous piece Haro'd tlie Daunt-
less (1817), he published no more poetry. But already in Wuverlr.y, which appeared
without his name in 1814, he had achieved the first of a new and more splendid series
of triumphs. Guy Munnenng; The Antiquary; T/ie Black D.'firf; Old ^f''t/lh'l^,; Hob
Hoy; and The Heart of Midlothian rapidly followed, and the "Great Unknown," as he
was called (whom yet every one could very well guess to be no other than Walter Scott),
became the idol of the hour. The rest of the famous series, known as the "Waverley
novels, it would be idle to mention in detail. From this time onward, for some years,
Scott stood on such a pinnacle of fame and brilliant social prosperity as no other British
man of letters has ever gone near to reach. He resided chiefly at Abbotsford, the
"romance in stone'' he had built himself in the bonier country which he loved, and
thither, as " pilgrims of his genius," summer after summer repaired crowds of the noble
and the distinguished, to partake the princely hospitalities of a man whom they found
as delightful in the easy intercourse of his home, as before they had found him in his
writings. In 1820, lo set a seal upon all this distinction, a baronetcy was bestowed upon
him as a special mark of the royal favor. But the stately fabric of his fortunes, secure as
it seemed, was in secret built upVm the shifting sands of commercial speculation, and in the
disastrous crisis of the year 1826 a huge ruin smote it. In 1805 Scott's income, as calcu-
lated by his biographer, was something nigh 1000 a year, irrespective of what literature
might bring him; a handsome competency, shortly by his appointment to a clerkship
of the court of session, to have an increment at first of 800, subsequently of 1300.
But what was ample for all prosaic needs, seemed poor to his imagination with its fond
and glittering dreams. Already some such vision, as at Abbotsford was afterward real-
ized, flitted before his mind's eye. and il was the darling ambition of his heart to re-create
and leave tehind him. in the founding of a family, some image of the olden glories
which were the life of his literary inspirations. In the year above mentioned, lured by
tho prospect, of profit, and without the knowledge of his friends, he joined James Bal-
lantyne, an old schoolfellow, in the establishment of a large printing business in



Edinburgh. To this, fi few years afterward, a publishing business was added, under
the nominal conduct of John Ballantyne, a brother of James; Scott, in the new
adventure, becoming as before a partner; Gradually the affairs of the two firms became
Complicated with those of the great house of Constable & Co., in the sudden eollap.-e
af which Scott found hi,i>.- :!!' one forenoon a bankrupt, with personal liabilities to the
extent of something like 150,000.

" In the reproof of chance
Lies the true proof of men"

And now, in this challenge of adverse fate, Scott's manhood and proud integrity \v< 3
Tnost nobly approved. With his creditors, composition would have been easy; but t, j*
usual course lie disdained. ' God granting him time and health," he said, he would
owe no man a penny. And somewhat declined as he now was from the first vigor and
elasticity of his strength, he set himself by the labor of his peu to liquidate this enor-
mous debt.

dying, he i

formerly; a lliat^rif "f Napoleon,, in eight volumes, was undertaken and completed, with
much other miscellaneous work; and within the space of two years, Scott had realized for
his creditors the ama/ii,g sum of nearly 40,000. A new and annotated edition of the
novels was issued with immense success, and there seemed every prospect that, within
a reasonable period, Seou might again front the world, as he had' pledged himself to do,
not owing to any man a penny. In this hope he toiled on; but the limits of endurance
had been reached, and the springs of the outworn brain broke in that stress of cruel and
long-continued effort. In 1830 he was smitten down with paralysis, from which he
never thoroughly rallied. It was hoped that the climate of Italy miglit benefit him; and
by the government of the day a frigate was placed at his disposal in which to proceed
tfiither. But in Italy he pined for the home to which he returned only to die. At
Abbotsford, on Sept. 21, 1832, he died, with his children round him, and the murmur
of the Tweed in his ears. On the 28th he was buried beside his wife in the old abbey
of Dryburgh.

In estimate of Scott as an author, a few words must suffice. As regards his poetry,
thcve is now little difference of opinion. Its merits, if somewhet superficial, are very
genuine, and continue to secure for it some portion of the popular favor with which it
was at riist received. Deficient in certain of the higher and deeper qualities, and in
those refinements of finish which we are of late accustomed to exact, it 5s admirable in
its frank (ttxcidon, in its boldness and breadth of effect, its succession of clcnr pictures,
its careless, rapid, easy narrative, unfailing life, spirit, vigorous and fiery movement.
A.S a lyrist, Scott specially excelled; and scattered hither and thither in his works are to
be found little snatches of ballad and song scarcely surpassed in the language. The
rank of Scott as a writer of prose fiction it is not so easy to fix with anything like pre-
cision. So imposing to the mind is his immense prestige as a novelist, that even at this
date it is difficult to critic.i$e\\\n\ coolly; but it is not without risk of awakening some
undennurmur of dissent, that the absolute supremacy can now be assigned him which at
one time, almost without question, used to be conceded as his due. Nor is the dissent
without some just ground of reason. Scott, with the artistic instinct granted him in
largest measure, had little of the artistic conscience. Writing with the haste of the
hnprfivisalorc, he could exercise over his work, as it proceeded, no jealous rigor of
supervision; and on its appearance he was amply plea/ed with it if the public paid him
handsomely. Hence he is an exceedingly irregular writer; many of his works are in
structure most lax and careless, and some of the very greatest of them are disgraced by
occasional infusions of obviously inferior matter. Yet, all reasonable deductions made,
it may be doubted whether in mass and stature he is quite reached by any other novel-
ist who could be mentioned. To class him or even speak of him along with Shake-
.ipeare, is absurd; but it is scarcely absurd perhaps to say that, since Shakespeare, to no
British man has such wealth in this kind been intrusted. If. as we believe, the final test
nf greatness in this field be the power to vitalize character, to enrich our experience
Vy imaginative contact with beings ever after more intimately distinct and real for
us than the men we daily shake hands with, very few writers can be held to surplus
Scott. Further, he invented the historical novel, and in doing so, created a distinct
literature, brought life into our conceptions of the past, and revolutionised our methods
of writing history itself by a vivid infusion into them of picturesque and imaginative
elements. On his Scotch novels his fame most securely re;:ts; the others, for the most
part, being obviously inferior. Scott's was essentially a great, sagacious, prarf 'ml ir.iei-
lisrcnce; on the speculative side he was entirely defective. See Lockhart's Life f Sir
Walter Scott (1837); and the Life by Hutton (1878).

SCOTT, WIXKIELD, American general, was b. at Petersburg, Ya., r.f Scottish ances-
try, Jan. 13, 1786. was educated at William and Mary college, and studied the pro-
fession of law; but in 1808, having a genius for military pursuits, he was appointed
capt. of light artillery in gen. Wilkinson's division, stationed at Baton Rouge, Louisiana,
but was suspended for having -accused his general of complicity with the conspiracy of
Aaron Burr. At the commencement of the war of 1812 he was appointed lieut.col., and




sent to the Canadian frontier. He crossed with his regiment at Queenston heights,
where the American troops were at first successful ; but on the British receiving re-enforce-
ments, they were repulsed with heavy loss, and Scott was taken prisoner. The follow-
ing year, having been exchanged, he was appointed adj. gen., and was wounded by the
explosion which followed the assault on fort George. In 1814 as brig.gen. he established
a camp of instruction, and from April to Jxily drilled his raw levies in the French tactics
with such effect, that on July 3 he took fort Erie, opposite Buffalo, by assault; and on
the 5th fought a sharp drawn battle at Chippewa, and twenty days after the famous
frontier battle of Lundy's Lane, in which he had two horses killed under him and was
twice wounded, the last time severely. He was raised to the rank of maj.gen., and com-
piled the general regulations of the army, and translated and adapted from the French
the system of infantry tactics, which has since been the text-book of the American army.
In the Indian hostilities of the American frontier, in the excitement attending the threat
of nullification in South Carolina, and in the Seminole w T ar, gen. Scott manifested those
qualities of wisdom and moderation which made him rather a pacificator than a warrior.
During the Canadian revolt of 1887-38 he displayed great tact in allaying the excited
passions of the frontier. In 1841 he was appointed commander-in-chief of the U. S.
army, and in 1846 directed the military operations in the war against Mexico. Taking
the iield in person, he, Mar. 9, 1847, landed 12,000 men at Vera Cruz, and invested and
bombarded the city, which capitulated on the 26th. April 18 he carried the heights of
' Cerro Gordo, on the 19th he took Jalapa, on the 22d Perote, and on May 15 Puebla.
where, owing to his heavy losses, chiefly by diseases incident to the climate, he was
obliged to wait for re-enforcements. On Aug. 10 he advanced, with 10.780 men, to
encounter the larger forces and strong positions of gen. Santa Anna. He turned El
Penon, and won the brilliant victories of Contreras and Churubusco. Santa Anna
entered upon negotiations only to gain time and strengthen his defenses. These were
followed by the sharp and sanguinary battles of Molino El Key and Churubusco, Sept.
8, strong positions skillfully and bravely defended by superior numbers; and on the 14th
Scott entered the citj- of Mexico at the head of less than 8,000 soldiers. Peace was
negotiated with the cession of New Mexico and California to the United States, and the
victorious gen. was welcomed home with the liveliest demonstrations. In 1852 gen.
Scott was the candidate of the whig party for the presidency, but was defeated by one
of his subordinate officers, gen. Franklin Pierce. In 1855 was created for him the office
of lieut.gen. At the beginning of the war of secession in 1861 he foresaw more than
many others its extent and serious character, and advised the calling out a much larger
force than was first brought into the field. He had even suggested the advisability of
allowing the "wayward sisters to part in peace." Age and growing infirmities com-
pelled him in Nov., 1861, to retire from active command. He subsequently visited Europe
and published his Memoirs (8vo, 2 vols., New York, 1864). Scott died May 29. 1866.

SCOTTISH LANGUAGE AND LITEBATURE. As the Scots were originally Irish Celts
who settled in the western highlands of Alban, the phrase " Scottish language" ought to
denote, and did originally denote, Ersch, or Gaelic; but the gradual extension of the
authority of the Scottish kings, first over their Celtic neighbors the Picts, then over the
Kymry or Cymry (q.v.) of Strathclyde, and the Angles of Lothian and the Merse, led to
the name " Scottish" being given to the language of the last of these; though, in reality,
the true old " Scottish" i.e., the Gaelic, the speech of Kenneth MacAlpin and Malcolm
Canmore, is further removed from the " Scottish" of Ramsay and Burns (which is simply
a dialect of northern English) than the latter is from Russian or Sanskrit. On this point
Mr. Murray remarks in a scholarly paper, or rather treatise, in the Transactions of the
Philolof/ical Society for 1873, which bids fair to become a standard authority on the i?ub-
iect: " Ethnologically speaking, the Lowland Scotch dialects are forms of the Angle, or
English, as spoken by those northern members of the Angle or English race who became
subjects of the king of the Scots. . . . More particularly "they are forms of the Northum-
brian or northern English 'the langage of the Northin lede' which up to the war
of independence was spoken as one language, from the Humber to the Forth, the Gram-
pians, and the Moray firth; but which, since the final renunciation of attempts upon
the independence of the kingdom, has had a history and culture of its own, has been
influenced by legal institutions, an ecclesiastical system, a foreign connection, and a
national life, altogether distinct from those which have operated upon the same language
on the southern side of the border."

Using, then, the term "Scottish" to denote the dialect of English used n. of the
Tweed, nd omitting all consideration of anything written in Celtic, we may divide the
kistpry of Scottish literature into two periods; the first extending from the" date of the
earliest composition to the union of England and Scotland under one king, the second
from that time to the present day.

A well-known brief lament for the death of Alexander III. preserved by Wyntoun,
and marked by considerable beauty nnd pathos, is generally supposed to be one of the
earliest specimens of Scottish poetry which has come down to us. The first Scottish
jwet\n the proper sense of the word was John Barbour (q.v.), archdeacon of Aber
deen, who was born in the first half of the 14th c., and died in 1395. His great work
is the poem of The Bw, in which he celebrates the struggles and final victory of the
Scottish king, Robert I. It is superior to any composition by English writers of the
same century, with the exception of Chaucer and Piers the Plowman. The language of



Barbour is even purer English thnn that used by the great author of the Canterbury
Talcs. There are editions of The Brus by Pinkerton and Jamieson, but the latest and
best is tliut by Mr. Cosmo Innes, published in 1856.

The 15th c., during which England produced no poetictil writer of eminence, was
fertile in Scottish poets. First in rank, and hardly inferior to any in genius, was James
I., king of Scotland, the author of The Kingis Qithair i.e., The King's Quire or Book.
Before him, in point of time, was Andrew Wyntoun, prior of Lochleven, who wrote a
metrical chronicle, the Orygynetle Cronykil, which was edited so far as it treated of
Scottish history by David Macpherson in 1795. Another Scottish poet of this century
was Henry the Minstrel, commonly called Blind Harry (q.v.), the author of a poem on
the life of sir William Wallace, which in a modernized text was long a favorite in

Online LibraryFrancis LieberLibrary of universal knowledge. A reprint of the last (1880) Edinburgh and London edition of Chambers' encyclopaedia, with copious additions by American editors (Volume 13) → online text (page 63 of 203)