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Recently published, in cr-own 8vo, price 6s.,

THOMAS CHALMERS:

A BIOGRAPHICAL STUDY.
By JAMES DODDS, Esq.,

AUTHOR OF 'the FIFTY YEARS' STRUGGLE OF THE SCOTTISH COVENANTERS.'



'A useful and well-timed book.' — Athenasum.

' The writer has seized with remarkable ability the salient points in
his hero's character; and although the portrait is in miniature, it is
thoroughly effective.' — Pall Mall Gazette.

' A well- written and affectionate biography. Mr. Dodds has shown
commendable industry, loving his hero without making an idol of him.'
— Publishers^ Circular.

' It contains a graphic account of a very remarkable man, written in a
manly style, and none the worse for being enthusiastic' — The Daily News.

' He presents a vivid sketch of Chalmers in the principal events and
actions of his life, and accompanies this with graphic, often eloquent,
estimates of his character and wonderful powers.' — Daily Review.

' It is a very readable and informing book.' — The Literary World.

' The book presents us with a most lovable picture of Chalmers
throughout almost every page. It is a book that will please all who
knew Chalmers — and all who knew him love him — by its keen apprecia-
tion and exhibition of his works and virtues ; it will inspire all who are
here introduced to him with earnest admiration, and a desire to know
more of a character so amiable and remarkable.' — The Scotsman.

'We should think that young readers will be grateful to Mr. Dodds;
he has certainly provided them with a very charming book. Older
readers, too, who may not have access to Dr. Hanna's work, will do well
to avail themselves of this convenient volume.' — The Watchman and
Wesley an Advertiser.

'We have read this book through and through with unflagging inter-
est and high delight. . . . Mr. Dodds has executed his task in a most
masterly way. He writes with a living sympathy for his hero, yet with
a discriminating judgment.' — Homilist.

'Mr, Dodds's volume is full of interest, and will be read with delight
even by those who have read and re-read Dr. Hanna.' — Reformed Pres-
byterian 3Iagazine.

'Mr. Dodds's book is interesting, enthusiastic, and well written.' —
Nonconformist.

'The aims and labours of his life are well brought out; and light
especially is thrown upon his two favourite purposes, — that of bringing
the gospel preached in a free church to bear upon the whole population
of a country, and that of dealing in a true Christian spirit with pauper-
ism.' — Presbyterian.

Edinburgh: \V. OLIPHANT & CO.




Dai WiLifElS §£©TT






^ ^iHalM ^




EDINBURGH, WILLIAM OLIPHANT«:C!



LIFE



OF



SIR WALTER SCOTT,



BARONET.



BY THE

REV. GEORGE GILFILLAN,

DUNDEE.



EDINBURGH:

WILLIAM OLIPHANT & CO.

1870.



a^^^

&&



MURRAY AND GIBB, EDINBURGH,
PRINTERS TO HER MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICi




PREFACE.




HE purpose of the following work re-
quires very little explanation. It was
thought by its publishers — a view in
Vv'hich the author thoroughly coincided — that a
popular life of Sir Walter Scott was a desidera-
tum. There are indeed various lives of Sir Walter
already. Lockhart's has long been the standard
one, and continues to be justly regarded as a very
able work, and as a mine of information on the
subject. But it is too large, and, besides the per-
sonalities which abound in it and rather lessen its
value, it contains a mass of correspondence and
minute details which seem somewhat irrelevant
and uninteresting now, — Scott's letters being the
dullest of all his productions. There are many
smaller lives ; but they are in general meagre
outlines.



iv.2278






vi PREFACE.



The author has sought to produce something
between the large work of Lockhart and the
slighter biographies. He has not catered for
gossip, and his book will be found to contain little,
although there are not a few new facts sprinkled
throughout. It aims rather at being an accurate
summary of the leading events in Scott's life, and
a candid, full, and genial criticism on his principal
works. How far its aim has been successfully
gained, the public must decide.

The book, whatever be its defects, may be
thought a * word in season,' as connected in time
with that centenary celebration which is at hand,
and which may be regarded not merely as a
tribute to Scott's memory, but as at once an
acknowledgment and outcome of that large and
loving spirit which is abroad in the age, and which
has been partly the result of the extensive diffu-
sion of Sir Walter's writings.

Shakspeare says :

' The evil that men do lives after them ; the good
Is oft interred with their bones.'

It has been otherwise with Scott. Whatever
was small and narrow in his history and opinions
is forgotten. His real nature, which was as broad
and catholic as the sun, remains with us, and is
still powerfully affecting the world. Sitting the



PREFACE.



other day under the shadow of his Edinburgh
monument, with the glory of a rich September
afternoon bathing the city which Scott loved so
well, we thought that we had too long regarded
him as a mirror of national manners and pecu-
liarities, and that his true mission had been
misunderstood. That was of a cosmopolitan and
Christian character. And even as that splendid
monument is now pointing to the most magnificent
of landscapes, overhung by the most golden and
benignant of skies, united together into one grand
whole, his genius seemed to predict in its all-sided
character a nobler harmony, a more thorough re-
conciliation of the jarring elements in society and
human nature, than we can at present conceive of,
and leads us — undisturbed by the sad events of
the time — to anticipate, though faintly and far off,
that of which this beautiful day seems a prophecy
and a pledge :

' The bridal of the earth and sky.'
Dundee, September 1870.



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER L



SCOTT IN BOYHOOD,



PACK

I



CHAPTER II.

AT COLLEGE, AND MAKING HIMSELF,



19



CHAPTER TIL

EARLY LOVE, LITERATURE, MARRIAGE, AND POETRY,



34



CHAPTER IV.

THE BORDER MINSTRELSY, AND THE LAY OF THE LAST
MINSTREL, .........



55



CHAPTER V.

MINOR EVENTS AND EFFORTS, .



66



CHAPTER VI.

A RUN OF PERSONAL AND LITERARY SUCCESS,



79



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER VI I.

PAGE

ASHESTIEL TO ABBOTSFORD — GLIMPSE OF FAMILY, DOMESTIC

CIRCUMSTANCES, AND HOME LIFE, .... 94



CHAPTER VIII.

VICISSITUDES IN LIFE, LITERATURE, AND BUSINESS —

'WAVERLEY' LAUNCHED, I07



CHAPTER IX.

AT SEA, . , . ^ . ^ . . . .117

CHAPTER X.

THE FIRST THREE WAVERLEY NOVELS, . . . . I28

CHAPTER XL

SCOTT AND THE COVENANTERS, ....... I4I

CHAPTER XII.

CONTINUED SUCCESS, WITH PRELIMINARY SHADOWS, . 151

CHAPTER XIIL

CULMINATION OF FAME AND FORTUNE — 'IVANHOE' AND

BARONETCY, 1 63

CHAPTER XIV.

SCOTT AT HOME, AND AGAIN IN LONDON, . . . .174



CONTENTS. xi



CHAPTER XV.

PAGE
SCOTT'S RELATION TO HIS CONTEMPORARIES, GOETHE,

BYRON, WORDSWORTH, SOUTHEY, AND THE REST, . 1 86



CHAPTER XVI.

* CARLE, NOW THE king's COME,' I97

CHAPTER XVII.

SCOTT IN IRELAND, 2o8

CHAPTER XVIIL

«

DECAY AND DECADENCE BEGUN, 224

CHAPTER XIX.

UNIVERSAL SMASH, 237

CHAPTER XX.

* THE UNVEILED PROPHET,' . .. . , . . 248

CHAPTER XXI.

'napoleon TO THE RESCUE,' . ^ . . . . 260

CHAPTER XXII.

STRUGGLES OF THE PROSTRATE, 272

CHAPTER XXIIL

THE STRONG MAN BOWED DOWN, 284



xii CONTENTS.



CHAPTER XXIV.

PAGE

VISIT TO THE CONTINENT, . . . , , , 297



CHAPTER XXV.

RETURN HOME AND DEATH 3II

CHAPTER XXVI.

SCOTT, THE MAN AND POET, 333



CHAPTER XXVI I.



THE MASTER OF THE NOVEL,



^ CONCLUSION.



348



THE COMING CENTENARY, 377






CHAPTER I.



SCOTT IN BOYHOOD.




;HE child is father of the man ;' and this
is true of none more, or so much, as of
Sir Walter Scott. Nay, in him, as in
many great men, the man and the child refuse to
be separated : they are always one. In his boy-
hood we find clear and full exemplification of all
his noble qualities, his enthusiasm, warm-hearted
affection, bold manly feelings, sense, honesty, and
invincible perseverance. Afterwards these charac-
teristics ripened and expanded, but they never
changed ; and hence a unity, amidst great breadth,
in Scott as a man and as a writer, which has been
rarely equalled, and perhaps never surpassed.

Walter Scott — the possessor of a name and
fame only inferior in extent, and probably equal
in duration, to those of Homer and Shakspeare —
was born in Edinburgh on the 15th of August



■■^i*^'



WALTER SCOTT.



1771, the same day of the month as had been sig-
nalized two years before by the birth of Napoleon
Bonaparte. He was the son of Walter Scott,
W.S., and Anne Rutherford, daughter of Dr. John
Rutherford, Professor of Medicine in the Univer-
sity of Edinburgh. Sir Walter, by his father, was
descended from a family on the Border, of old
extraction, which had branched off from the main
stem of the house of Buccleugh, and produced
some remarkable characters : such as Auld Wat
of Harden, famous in Border story and in the song
of his great descendant ; and Beardie (so called
from an enormous beard, which — as was also said
of Thomas Dalziel the Cavalier general — he never
cut, in token of his regret for the banished house
of Stuart), who was the great-grandfather of the
poet. Through his mother he was connected with
two other ancient families : the Bauld Rutherfords,
mentioned in the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Bor-
der ; and the Swintons, one of whom (Sir John)
is extolled by Froissart as having unhorsed, at the
battle of Beauge in France, the Duke of Clarence,
brother to Henry, and is the hero of Scott's own
poetic sketch, Halidon Hill. Through the Swin-
tons Scott could also trace a connection between
himself and William Alexander Earl of Stirling,
the well-known poet and dramatist. Sir Walter



BOYHOOD.



was proud of his lineage, proud of his connection
with the Border, and almost looked on Harden as
his birthplace. He for many years made regularly
an autumnal excursion to the tower, picturesquely
situated in a deep, dark, and narrow glen, through
which a mountain brook discharges its waters into
the Borthwick, a tributary of the Teviot. To this
tower Auld Wat had brought home his beautiful
bride Mary Scott, the * Flower of Yarrow,' — the
subject of many a Border ditty, and whose gentle
disposition contrasted piquantly with the rough
valour and masculine virtues of her lord. It was
she who, when the last bullock stolen (^ conveyed,'
we will it call) from the English pastures was con-
sumed, set before the assembled guests a pair of
clean spurs, as a broad hint that they must work
if they expected any more to eat. Beardie, too,
he delights to commemorate for his devoted Jaco-
bitism, his learning, and his intimacy with Dr. Pit-
cairn ; although he admits that his political zeal,
and the intrigues and scrapes it led him into withal,
were the ruin of his fortunes, and nearly cost him
his head. From his ancestors Scott derived some
of his principal peculiarities — his ardent attachment
to Scotland, his lingering love for the Pretender,
his sympathy with martial enterprise and spirit,
and a certain * hairbrained sentimental trace *



WALTER SCOTT.



which took eccentric shapes in his predecessors,
but in him became the fire of the great lyrical
bard.

Beardie left three sons, and the second — Robert
Scott — was the grandfather of the poet. He
leased from Mr. Scott of Harden, his relative and
chief, the farm of Sandyknowe. This is situated
about a bowshot from the remarkable tower of
Smailholm — a tower which figures in the poet's
Mari72io7i and Eve of St. John. It stands, a ruin,
on the top of a rock of considerable height, sur-
rounded by an amphitheatre of rugged hills, and
commanding a most varied and magnificent pro-
spect, including Dryburgh, where Scott himself
now lies, * not dead, but sleeping ;' Melrose, on
which his genius shed a light more magical than
even the pale moonshine in which it shows so
sweetly ; Mertoun, with its deep groves — the seat
of the Harden family ; the Broom of the Cowden-
knowes ;

* Bonny Teviotdale, and Cheviot mountains blue ;'

the Eildon Hills ('Yielding Hills' som^ call them,
since at every step almost of view they change
their aspect, like shifting clouds ; * Elden Hills '
others, because there of old time blazed beacon-
fires), with their three wizard peaks, belted by



BOYHOOD. 5



Bowden (Thomas Aird's birthplace), Newtown,
Melrose, and other haunted spots ; the Merse,
with the Lammermoors rising like an island in
the midst, where the great novelist was to fix the
scene of one of the grandest tragedies in any lan-
guage ; and relieved against the distant horizon,
that storm of mountains which gathers around the
wanderings of the Ettrick, Gala, and Yarrow. Over
this landscape — where it has been said every field
had its battle and every rivulet its song, we add
every peak its watch-fire and every hillside its peel
— Scott in boyhood often * gazed himself away,*
and would realize both the spectacle and the mood
of the heroine whom he was afterwards to portray
in the beautiful words :

* The lady looked in mournful mood,
Looked over hill and vale,
O'er Mertoun's wood and Tweed's fair flood,
And all down Teviotdale.'

Robert Chambers, in his interesting Illustrations
of the Waver ley Novels, will have it that S mail-
holm agrees in the leading features with Avenel
Castle ; and there are certainly some points of
resemblance, especially in the circumstance that
the tower has once been surrounded by a lake,
and that there are certain remains which still point
to the existence of a drawbridge and a causeway



WALTER SCOTT.



crossing a moat. The view, however, as described
by Scott in The Abbot, is not the same with that
we have sought to portray above ; and besides, in
a note to The Monastery, Scott says : * It were
vain to search near Melrose for any such castle as
is here described. But in Yetholm Loch there are
the remains of a fortress called Lochside Tower,
which, like the supposed Castle of Avenel, is built
upon an island, and connected with the land by a
causeway. It is much smaller than the Castle of
Avenel is described.'

Robert Scott married a Miss Halyburton, a lady
sprung from an ancient family in Berwickshire, — a
family which enjoyed as portion of its patrimonial
possessions a part of Dryburgh, including the ruins
of the Abbey. This estate would have descended
to Scott through his father, but was lost by the
foolish speculations of a granduncle ; and ' thus,'
he says in his autobiography, ' we have nothing left
of Dryburgh, although my father's maternal in-
heritance, but the right of stretching our bones,
where mine may perhaps be laid ere any eye but
my own glances over these pages,' — words written
with a mixture of sadness, pride, and dignity very
characteristic of the author. Robert Scott's eldest
son was Walter, the poet's father. He was the
first of the Scott family who ever adopted a town



BOYHOOD,



life. He was born in 1729, educated as a W.S.,
and although not much fitted naturally, either by
astuteness or by temper, for the profession, yet
rose to eminence in it by dint of probity and
diligence. There is an epitaph in the HowfF
(burying-place) of Dundee :

* Here lies a writer and an honest man :
Providence works wonders nows and thanJ

Scott's father was one of these rare marvels of
Divine Providence, being thoroughly honest. He
was a man of somewhat distant and formal man-
ners, but of singular kindness of heart, of sterling
worth, and of deep-toned piety after the Calvinistic
mode. He had a noble presence, handsome fea-
tures, a sweet expression of countenance ; and, as
Sir Walter says, ' he looked the mourner so well,'
that he was often invited to funerals, and seems
to have positively enjoyed those monotonous and
melancholy formalities connected with Scottish
interments, for which his son has expressed in his
journal such disgust, and which he has limned in
his Gtiy Mannering with such ludicrous fidelity.
Old Fairford in Redgauntlet is unquestionably a
graphic though slightly coloured sketch of the
elder Scott by his son. His mother was well
educated, as the times then went, not at all comely



WALTER SCOTT.



in aspect, short in stature, and somewhat stiff in
manners. She lived to a great age. Their first
six children (including a Walter) died in infancy.
The first who survived was Robert. He became
an officer in the East India Company's service,
and fell a victim to the cHmate. The second,
John, was a major in the army, and lived long on
his half-pay in Edinburgh. The third was the
poet. The fourth was a daughter, of a somewhat
flighty temperament, Anne by name, who was
cut off in 1 80 1. The fifth was Thomas, a man of
much humour and excellent parts, who went to
Canada as paymaster to the 70th Regiment, and
died there. He was at one time suspected of
being author, in whole or part, of the Waverley
Novels. The sixth was Daniel, the scapegrace of
the family, whose conduct was in the last degree
imprudent, and whose fate was disastrous : he had
in the West Indies disgraced himself by coward-
ice, and died on his return in 1806. Sir Walter
disowned him, and put on no mourning at the
news of his death, — conduct which he thought
afterwards harsh and unfeeling, and bitterly re-
gretted. Conachar, in the Fair Maid of Perth,
has, Lockhart thinks, some traits of this poor
unfortunate.

Walter Scott was born in a house belonging to



BOYHOOD.



his father at the head of College Wynd, which was
afterwards pulled down to make room for a part of
the new College. He was an uncommonly healthy
child till eighteen months old, when he was affected
with a teething fever, at the close of which he was
found to have lost the use of his right leg. Blisters
and other topical remedies were applied to no pur-
pose. He was at last, by the advice of his grand-
father Dr. Rutherford, sent out to Sandyknowe,
in the hope that air and exercise might remove his
lameness. There he had the first consciousness of
existence, and remembered himself, in conformity
with some quack nostrum, wrapped up repeatedly
in the skin of a sheep while still warm from the
carcase of the animal, to encourage him to crawl,
— a position in which he bears a certain ludicrous
resemblance to his own hermit Brian, in the Lady
of the Lake, enclosed in the skin of a white bull,
and let down to the brink of a cataract to see
visions and dream dreams of dreadful augury: it
is the one step from the sublime to the ridiculous
inverted. This strange expedient failed. Scott
owed much, however, to his residence at Sandy-
knowe. He enjoyed the care of his venerable
grandfather, now somewhat stricken in years. His
grandmother, and his aunt Janet Scott, told him
tales and sung him songs about the old Border



lo WALTER SCOTT.



thieves, Wat of Harden, Wight Willie of Aik-
wood, Jamie Telfor of the fair Dodhead, the Deil
of Littledean, and their merry exploits ; and thus
sowed in his mind the seeds of future Deloraines,
Clinthill Christies, and Robin Hoods. A neigh-
bouring farmer had witnessed the execution of the
Jacobite rebels at Carlisle : he recounted it to Scott ;
and to this tale of horror, poured into the ear of the
boy poet, we are indebted for the trial and death
scenes at the close of Waverley, — perhaps the most
thrilling and powerful tragic matter, out of Shak-
speare, in the language. The American war was
then raging ; and to the weekly bulletins about its
fluctuating progress, brought to Sandyknowe by his
uncle Thomas Scott, factor at Danesford, the little
lame child did seriously incline his ear, and his
cheek glowed and his eye kindled when he heard
of any success on the part of the British arms ;
so early did the Tory throb begin to beat within
him. Some old books, too, lay on the window seat
—Antomathes (a forgotten but ingenious fiction),
Ramsay's Tea Table Miscellany, and JosepJms —
and were read to him during the dim days and the
long nights of winter. He learned, from hearing
the ballad of Hardyknute read, to recite it from
memory, and used to spout it aloud, to the annoy-
ance of the worthy parish minister, Dr. Duncan,



BOYHOOD. II



when he called. * One may as well speak in the
mouth of a cannon as where that child is/ ex-
claimed the testy divine. To this we probably owe
Scott's life-long admiration and amiable overesti-
mate of this ballad, which he recited to Byron with
such effect, that the poet looked as if he had just
received a challenge. With all deference to Scott,
we have never been able to perceive any transcen-
dent merit in' Hardyhmte : we think it wordy and
diffuse, and infinitely prefer The Flowers of the
Forest y The Dowie Dens of Yarrow ^ and the ancient
ballad of Roftcesvalles. His Aunt Janet stood much
in relation to Scott as Betty Davidson did to Burns
— was his chief instructress, and the true nurse
within him of the poet. He began, in spite of his
lame limb, to stand, walk, and run, and his general
health was confirmed by the pure mountain air.
Previous to this, an old shepherd, Sandy Ormis-
toun, was accustomed to carry him to the hills,
where he contracted a strong attachment to the
woolly people, — an attachment which never for-
sook him. One Tibby Hunter described him as a
sweet-tempered bairn, a darling with all about the
house, and said that the young ewe-milkers de-
lighted to carry him about on their backs among
the crags. He had no greater pleasure than in
rolling about all day long in the midst of the



12 WALTER SCOTT.



flocks, and he knew every sheep and lamb by head-
mark. On one occasion, it is said, he was forgotten
am.ong the knolls. A thunder-storm came on. In
alarm, they sought for the boy, and found him,
not weeping or crying out, like the Goblin Page,
*Lost! lost! lost!' but lying on his back looking
at the lightning, clapping his hands at each suc-
cessive flash, and exclaiming, * Bonnie ! bonnie!'
It were a fine subject for a painter, * The Minstrel
Child lost in a Border thunder-storm ;' and his
attitude in the story reminds us of Gray's noble
lines about Shakspeare in his Progress of Poesy :

* Far from the sun and summer gale,
In thy green lap was nature's darling laid.
What time where lucid Avon strayed,
To him the mighty mother did unveil
Her awful face ; the dauntless child
Stretched forth his little arms, and smiled.'

When in his fourth year, Scott accompanied his
Aunt Janet to Bath, where it was hoped the waters
would benefit his lameness. He journeyed from
Leith to London in a smack called the Duchess
oj Buccleiigh, Captain Beatson. (A lady named
Wright boasted long after waggishly to Joanna
Baillie, that she had been once Walter Scott's bed-
fellow ; the irregularity, however, having taken
place in the Leith smack, and the Eneas being



BOYHOOD. 13



only four 5^ears of age !) In London he saw the
usual sights, which stamped themselves with un-
common vividness on his memory, so that when he
visited the metropolis again he had hardly any-
thing new to see. At Bath he lived a year, but
derived little benefit from the waters. He attended,
however, while there, a dame's school, and never,
he says, had a 'more regular teacher of reading,'
although he got a few lessons in Edinburgh
afterwards. He met John Home, the author of
Douglas^ who, along with his lady, was residing
there. His Uncle Robert, who joined the party
afterwards, took his little nephew to most of the
amusements in the city, including the theatre,
where, at the sight of Orlando and Oliver, in As
Yotc Like it, quarrelling, he screamed out, 'Ar'n't
they brothers t ' — a story reminding us of young
Byron in the Aberdeen theatre, when Petruchio
was trying to force down on Kate the paradox of
the moon being the sun, roaring out, ' But I say it
is the meen, sir ! ' Bath, too, which in all but the
neighbourhood of the Grampians may be called
the Perth, or Fair City, of England, he seems to
have admired exceedingly.

From it he came back to Edinburgh, went thence
to his beloved early haunt of Sandyknowe ; and we
find him in his eighth year spending a few weeks



14 WALTER SCOTT.



at Prestonpans, enjoying sea-bathing, and encoun-
tering an old military veteran named Dalgetty (a
significant name, as the readers of the Legend of


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