LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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John Scott
Mr. Scott’s Second Statement.
 ([London]:  [Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy],  [1821])
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH


Feb. 2d, 1821.

Since writing what follows, a most extraordinary circumstance has come to my knowledge—a circumstance which really appeared at first incredible to myself,—sinking my adversary to a depth of baseness far beyond even my own previous appreciation of his character. A printed copy of Mr. Lockhart’s Statement was forwarded to me at a late hour on Saturday evening. I received it when my friend Mr. Patmore was with me; and this gentleman perused it. On Sunday I put the same paper into the hands of Mr. Horatio Smith, who also read it; it now remains for inspection with my Publishers.—It was accompanied with an intimation where Mr. Lockhart was to be heard of till twelve o’clock that night. The first sentence of this document is as follows:—

If there be a case in which one may he forgiven far laying before the public the statement of a private difference, it is surely one like the present, wherein the original subject of discussion was an injury committed by means of a publication. Mr. Lockhart hopes, therefore, that the origin of the transaction now about to be disclosed, and the subsequent attempt which has been made to give it a false colouring, may be accepted as a sufficient apology for the appearance of the following statement.

In no part of this paper is there to be found the disavowal I had demanded from Mr. Lockhart, and which I had pledged myself I would regard as entitling him to receive from me the satisfaction of a gentleman. It did not therefore appear, either to my friends or myself, that this paper at all altered the position of things,—and I took no notice of it.

What was my surprise to find, on my coming to town on Wednesday afternoon, that the printed statement, circulated by Mr. Lockhart, after the time fixed for his departure from London, commences with the following paragraph, which has no place whatever in the printed paper sent to me, with an intimation where Mr. Lockhart might be heard of!

Mr. Lockhart thinks proper to introduce the following narrative with a distinct statement (which he would never have hesitated about granting to any one who had the smallest right to demand it) concerning the nature of his connection with Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine. Mr. Lockhart has occasionally contributed articles to that publication, but he is in no sense of the word Editor or Conductor of it, and neither derives, nor ever did derive, any emolument whatever from any management of it.

No one can fail to be struck by this most extraordinary difference between the two printed papers. The one carefully prepared and printed to be transmitted to me, contains no such disavowal as I had required; while that which was afterwards sent out to the public, as having been first sent to me, contains the precise disavowal I did require! That very disavowal which would, as a matter of course, have taken me instantly into the field with him!

The conclusions are self-evident:

In the first place, Mr. Lockhart’s Nota Bene, declaring that he had seat me “a copy” of the statement he has since circulated, is
a deliberate, palpable, printed lie. The paper he sent to me differs from that which he has published, in the most important of all points—namely, the very point which stood in the way of my giving 
Mr. Lockhart the privilege of a meeting.*

In the second place, Mr. Lockhart having now made the disavowal I required him to make (coupling my demand, be it observed, with an engagement to give him the satisfaction of a gentleman should he accede to it)—the slightest consideration of the circumstances will show, that Mr. Lockhart stood out on a false point of punctilio, in order to avoid arriving at the very result which he assumed the appearance of being anxious to reach. He was informed, that one word of disavowal would gain him the satisfaction he claimed; yet he stubbornly refused to utter that word,—though, even as a concession to my mistake (had I been mistaken) he would have been, not only exonerated, but commended as a man of honour for yielding. Was it a matter of ceremony worth contending for, when the immediate consequence of acceding was so plainly stated?—To me, as avowed Editor of the London Magazine, it was a point of the highest moment, with reference to the future, to have the disavowal I asked for; but to him it could he a matter of no moment whatever, to withhold a disavowal which he now has the face to publish.—If he had overstepped the strict bounds of etiquette, in giving this declaration, in order to avail himself of my engagement to meet him the moment it was given,—he would, I repeat, have been complimented for the sacrifice.

I therefore regard him as having acted as an impostor all the way through the business. I believe that he had no conception that the person he addressed would have any scruple in evading an Editorship, when called upon;—and that, finding his mistake in this respect, he instantly retreated into false punctilio to ensure his safety. His last atrocious deception, practised by means of the two printed statements, one differing from the other, must sink him in nameless and incontested infamy. It fully authorizes me to declare, that I totally disbelieve his word,—and, in spite of his tardy declaration, trust to the information in my possession, that he has been actively and lucratively concerned in the management of Blackwood’s Magazine. This imputation I gave him an opportunity of freeing himself from as a man of honour and courage,—but he would not embrace the opportunity; I therefore now consider it as finally attached to him, as a cowardly falsifier of facts, documents, and reputation.

* Nothing but the rankest shrinking can account for this juggle. He knew that if he sent to me his disavowal, I was pledged to call upon him: he therefore dispatched to my house a paper with the first paragraph drawn up as a formal apology to the public,—from the tenour of which I could not suppose that any alteration was in his contemplation. Had that paragraph been omitted altogether, Mr. Lockhart might have said he did so on the point of punctilio—but in that case his concluding declaration, that he had sent me copy of his Statement, would have noticed this omission, and its motive! As it is, his declaration is, I repeat, a direct lie.

Jan. 31st.

I venture to expect that such persons as may think it worth their while to express any opinion at all on the dispute between Mr. Lockhart and myself, will, should this paper fall in their way, take the trouble to read it through. This, I think, I may in fairness claim; other favour I do not wish.

I must take it for granted, that the reader of these observations has seen my First Statement, and also Mr. Lockhart’s printed Address;—for references to both, or either, sufficient for the information of those who have not, would insufferably swell what I wish to keep within the closest possible bounds.*

Mr. Lockhart’s Address, though composed after he was in possession of my Statement, contradicts me on no one point of fact; he asserts, however, that I was actuated by certain motives, and feelings of an unmanly and discreditable kind. The existence of these, in my mind, is, indeed, disproved by the very documents which he gives; but these require to be regarded with some attention, in order that their evidence may be plainly seen; and I dare not flatter myself that the majority of persons, occupied with matters of more interest to themselves, have bestowed on them that serious notice which would be sufficient for my vindication, without further comment. The very looseness and falsehood of Mr. Lockhart’s paper, might therefore give him an advantage over me, if I did not here demonstrate what I had previously only left open to deduction.

Mr. Lockhart asserts that his “sudden” appearance in London induced me to evade an honourable engagement, which I had readily entered into when I knew he was four hundred miles off.

The documents speak on this point for themselves. In my second note to Mr. Christie, (printed with the others) I absolutely invite, or rather goad, Mr. Lockhart to London; I render it impossible that he should avoid coming instantly from Scotland: I tell him that I must have him on the spot before I can pay any attention to his demand. I express wonder at his absence. So far from not expecting his arrival, I had gone to town, from my house in the country, the very day he sent me his letter, expecting to hear of him at my rooms in York-street; and, owing to this circumstance, his friend did not find me at home when he first called,—but had to repeat his visit at five o’clock, when my servant told him he might depend on seeing me.

Mr. Lockhart’s presence in London being one of the conditions I stipulated for, his appearance could not be regarded by me as “sudden,”—nor could it, nor did it, take me by surprise.

But it was only one of my conditions: the other was, that he should makesuch open reference to the ground of his complaint, as would prove the justice of his pretensions to having been injured,”—that is to say, that he should declare, at the outset, whether he complained as one of the beaten writers in Blackwood’s Magazine, or as a gentleman unfairly accused of a connection with an infamous publication.

* Copies of my First Statement may be had on asking for them, of Messrs. Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, Paternoster Row; and may be seen at the shops of the principal booksellers in town.


My second note to his friend, which be prints, proves that these two conditions entered into my original engagement and my third note proves, that what he calls his sudden appearance, instead of driving me back from my pledge, led me instantly to go beyond it, and to make an avowal perfectly gratuitous on my part,—which I was under no sort of obligation to make,—and which I could easily have avoided making. But I wished to show him a contrast to his own conduct as a public writer—and therefore, though not pledged to do so, without a preliminary explanation from him, no sooner was I assured of his being in London, than I declared to his friend that I deemed it due to myself to state frankly, that I was Editor of the London Magazine, and held myself responsible for its contents.

This distinct, plain, and voluntary avowal,—which I might have shunned with ease, and which the conductors of Blackwood’s Magazine always have shunned,—I repeated in writing, on the same evening that I had stated it in conversation to Mr. Lockhart’s friend; and Mr. Lockhart himself publishes the note so dated, and setting out with this avowal.

Yet in the teeth of this document, referring to the conversation that had just passed between his friend and myself;—in the teeth of my former note, inviting him to London, and expressing astonishment at his absence, since he had thought proper to stir at all in such an affair;—in the teeth of a frank, and voluntary declaration, which his experience of the tactics of Blackwood’s Magazine ought to have led him to consider as more than necessarily chivalrous,—Mr. Lockhart dares to impute to me surprise and disquiet at his appearance! He has the impudence to term my conversation a shuffling one, and my note an evasion of an engagement! The mere terms of abuse are very insignificant in themselves:—l shall not therefore employ them here, but leave the reader to pronounce those, which, in his opinion, may be applicable to the man who is thus convicted of mean-spirited misrepresentation, and total disregard of truth and consistency.

The fact was, I knew the individual I had to deal with from the first, and therefore I expressly objected to his absence from London, when he took the liberty of questioning me, in my private capacity, relative to anonymous papers in a periodical work. My information left me in no doubt that he was the chief writer and conductor of Blackwood’s Magazine; and I knew that fraudulent concealment formed as essential a part of the system of that Magazine, as scandalous aggression. I knew that frauds of every kind had been practised, to interpose a decent veil before the miscreants, whose outrages in print have, for the last four years, desolated private society in Edinburgh,—interrupted the course of friendships, and ruined the harmony of social intercourse. I knew that this very man, Lockhart, taking advantage of the vagueness of the word Editor, had not scrupled in a case of danger to disclaim a connection from which he had been long deriving pecuniary profit—the wages of the most abject hypocrisy in religion and politics, and the foulest scandals in regard to private character. Being determined that nothing should drive me to disclaim what I had done or countenanced, as the conductor of a periodical work,—I was naturally desirous to have a questioner of the stamp I have just been describing, on the spot, to answer for himself promptly, as I was called upon to do. At Edin-
burgh he had opportunities for arrangement and preparation with his colleagues in conspiracy:—I knew I could trust nothing to a sense of honour in their bosoms; there was no trick which I might not expect to be practised upon me, that could safely be practised. I wished, therefore, to have little or nothing to say to Mr. Lockhart till he was in London. He had indeed, given me, and even pressed upon me, every opportunity to disclaim the responsibility about which he directed questions to be put: I might have disclaimed it upon a feeling in my own mind that I was not responsible under the circumstances of the case; perhaps such a feeling nine persons out of ten in my situation would have entertained. From the publishers of the
London Magazine, he could have got no information,—nor had they any thing to fear from him. Even in his letter to me, delivered by his friend on his arrival, he states that he is ready to receive my disavowal—but he found I was not ready to make it! He invited this to the last. There was an easy way for me to avoid all personal consequences, if I had chosen to take it when it was so plainly indicated: but I had felt too much honest indignation at the assassin-system of Blackwood’s Magazine to think of imitating it.—I had made up my mind to maintain stoutly the principle, which I conceive to be the fair and honourable one, in regard to the responsibility of persons concerned in conducting the public Journals, and other periodical works. My first note to Mr. Lockhart’s friend shows that I took my ground at once on this principle, and my last proves that I kept it: that neither disavowal nor concession ever entered into my head: that the engagement which I at first made, I fully kept.—My original resolution was to give Mr. Lockhart the privilege of disclaiming, on his simple word, a connection with the management of Blackwood’s Magazine—because in cases where positive proof is almost impossible, it is necessary to allow a man’s word to pass for proof. In the present instance, so strong had been the public report against Mr. Lockhart, that, had I received from him the disavowal I required, I could not have made him any apology in the first instance;—the satisfaction given him must have been of another description, and of my determination to that effect, both my friends, Mr. Smith and Mr. Patmore, were made aware.—Without this disavowal, however, I never, contemplated recognizing Mr. Lockhart’s claim to be treated as a gentleman. The laws of honour, as they are called, were not made for anonymous writers in Magazines, who fill their purses by wounding personal feelings from a secret hiding-place, and only, offer to draw their swords when they have been worsted in a pen-conflict, and rendered infamous by exposure. I have heard something said of Mr. Lockhart’s situation and connections in society:—his situation, so far as the public have any thing to do with it, may be a public injury. In the new novel of Kenilworth he may see explained the causes of Sir Richard Varney’s rise in life; and Sir Richard, in the present times, would stand a fair chance of being toasted as a pattern to young men, by the Lord Advocate! As for Mr. Lockhart’s connections, they may possibly feel themselves more disgraced by his conduct, than he can be supposed honoured by their fame. I have reason to believe, that his attempt with me was part of a measure of concession to better feelings than his own: that it was intended to enable him to retire altogether from Blackwood’s Magazine with something like the appearance of
a gentleman; but it was not my business to admit his claim to this title by anticipation. I had had to do with him in his past capacity: I have proved what that was:—if I have made it intolerable to him, I rejoice at it for his own sake, and the sake of his friends—but I cannot consent to add to my favours at the expence of my own consistency and character. If I have broken up the Scandal-establishment (as report says I have,) it is too much to ask of me to supply the bankrupt partners with the means of setting up in the new capacity of gentlemen! Mr. Lockhart’s personal denial of the truth of the charges brought against him in the London Magazine, was absolutely necessary to enable me to recognize his claim, without sinking myself below his own position as one of the managers of
Blackwood’s notorious publication.

Mr. Lockhart, in his printed Address, states, that his friend had a conversation with Mr. Smith, in which the latter gentleman declared, that he had no authority to act for me, but on Mr. Lockhart’s complying with certain conditions:—he states this—but he does not state, what Mr. Smith’s Letter to me proves, viz. that he (Mr. Smith) repeatedly declared himself ready to arrange for my giving Mr. Lockhart satisfaction, on terms which, as my friend, he considered fair and applicable to the case. The preliminary conditions I certainty took upon myself; because I thought it an undue concession to Mr. Lockhart, to refer his claim to a friend of mine, until he had put himself in a position entitling him to attention. After this it would have been time enough for Mr. Smith to act for me. Mr. Lockhart’s account, therefore, of what took place between his friend and Mr. Smith, is meanly garbled for the purpose of giving a false impression of facts.

Mr. Lockhart has the effrontery to represent my last note, as impeding, by “certain new conditions,” the adjustment of the affair. This is a falsehood. If, in my notes, I change my ground at all, it is always a change of advance towards Mr. Lockhart. In the course of the discussion, I certainly did relax several of my conditions to facilitate the adjustment of the affair. My last note widened the opening for Mr. Lockhart’s entry to my terms: it reduced my demand to that of a simple disavowal of his having been concerned in the editorial or commercial management of Blackwood’s Magazine; and if he could not make this disavowal, it was sheer insolence in him to pretend to a right of questioning me as an aggrieved gentleman. If he was conscious of belonging to that Magazine, he ought to have regarded it as his proper and only field of attack and defence. When the mask has been torn from the visage of an assassin, is it customary to allow him the privileges of a man of honour?

Mr. Lockhart asserts, that I refused to listen to his explanation, ultimately offered. It is virtually false that I did so. His friend had first declared that he could not accede to my demand:—my reply was, that from this demand I would not swerve,—and, therefore, I begged to hear more of Mr. Lockhart’s communications. The correspondence printed in my First Statement, proves, that, at this juncture, I was prepared with a friend, whose duty it would have been, on receiving Mr. Lockhart’s disavowal of having conducted Blackwood’s Magazine, for money, to have made the usual arrangements for his promptly receiving the satisfaction which I, in that case, repeatedly offered him. Mr. Lockhart’s statement, that he offered to disavow the smallest know-
ledge of any article in any publication whatsoever, by which I could have imagined myself injured or insulted, has nothing to do with the question: I never complained of such personal injury or insult.

Standing, as I did during the whole of my discussion with Mr. Lockhart, under the observation of two individuals of the highest and finest feelings, by whose esteem I set the store it is worth, I will venture here to declare, what my own consciousness and their opinion fully guarantee, viz. that I should have materially diminished my anxiety relative to this business, by at once conceding to Mr. Lockhart the satisfaction he required. In the present state of the usages of society, and with the habits of a man who has seen something of the world, abroad and at home, it requires no very high degree of constitutional courage to take the chance of the usual method of settling a dispute on a point of honour. Out of five hundred persons, four hundred and ninety-nine would, as a matter of course, incur this hazard, on a mere point of irritation of temper, much more on one affecting character. My general manner and behaviour, will, I am confident, ensure me the benefit of the belief, in the minds of all who know any thing of me, that I am not likely to be the one exception in this respect in five hundred cases.

I felt it however, due to myself, and to society, pertinaciously to adhere to a principle of distinction between the discovered, exposed, and silenced anonymous writer, and the gentleman who habitually holds himself ready to avow his actions, and to answer for them in his person. As the acknowledged Editor of a periodical work, devoted chiefly to comments on the events of the day, what would be my situation, unless I adhered to this principle? So long as the criticism in the London Magazine could be advantageously repelled by its concealed antagonists, their pens would be their weapons:—but when beaten in argument, covered with scorn, confronted with their infamy, and annoyed in society, it would naturally be their wish to be permitted, on a brief summons, and in high disdain of previous explanation, to claim the privileges of immaculate honour! Am I, however,—or is any man in my situation,—called upon to submit to such a claim? The consequence of such submission would be, that the conviction of a criminal by a troublesome process of collected proof, would cause one to incur the necessity of affording him the easiest of all possible methods of proving himself to be a man of honour! In private life, the responsibility of one man to another for reflections on character or conduct, must be most strictly observed: society would become a disgusting scene of outrage and indecency without this observance;—but it is more than ridiculous to see the regular trader in anonymous lampoons and scandals, when worsted in print, affecting to put himself on the footing of a private gentleman. The attempt, I repeat, is an impudent one; and I felt called upon to repel it. Lockhart has, well profited by his scandals in a pecuniary point of view, and they may have opened to him the road to preferment;—if he now find their disgrace counterbalance their gain, or think they have done enough to enable him for the future to “live cleanly,”—let him withdraw from his Magazine, as he says it is his intention to do—but he has no right to call on me to whitewash him from his stains at the moment of separation.

His simple word, that he had not been interestedly concerned in the management of the publication in question, would have been sufficient for me: he was told this over and over again, and he might clearly
have understood that no apology to him was in contemplation. I did, I must confess, fully expect, that, as the least evil to which he was exposed, he would have made this disavowal: it would have cost him but a word;—but he chose to withhold it on a point of mere punctilio! Has he been always equally scrupulous? Does he appear so when be affirms that he saw the
London Magazine only by accident: that he is not in the habit of seeing it; and that he remained ignorant of the severest article on his conduct for three weeks after it reached Edinburgh! The people of Edinburgh will know what value to attach to these assertions.

The responsibility I have acknowledged leaves me open to the claim of any person who may be really aggrieved by the publication I conduct. I have voluntarily exposed myself to such claims, because I thought it honest to do so; and towards Mr. Lockhart personally, I have acted in a way of invitation, rather than of evasion. All I could do, without ceding an important principle, I did, to afford him access to the position in which he expressed himself so anxious to stand. I asked no assurance from him derogatory to his honour; and even supposing me wrong in the point of etiquette (which I am far from admitting) his concession to my mistake in such a case would have done him credit in public opinion. By his conduct, therefore, I consider that he has disgraced himself in every respect;—and I must regard him for the future, as only a fit subject for that public castigation, by means of the instrument he has venally abused, which I have already effectually applied, and shall be ready to apply again, should I see occasion for it.

As to his scandalous epithets, had I permitted them to have altered my determination, as expressed by myself, and through my friend, I should have allowed Mr. Lockhart to be master over my principles and conduct, and have acknowledged myself dishonoured by my previous stipulation. I knew from the first that he had the power of using such epithets; and I also knew, that the merest vagabond in the streets possesses the same privilege.

Every circumstance of the case proves that I should have committed an irreparable error, had I considered Mr. Lockhart in any other light than as one, “who, by a series of pitiful evasions and artifices, has skulked from the consequences of his own actions, until he was dragged forth to infamy by a powerful hand.”* In this light, I must now finally, and for ever, regard him; and I do expect that the approbation of the thinking and the honourable will be given to me on the issue of this business;—the principle I have contended for, being, as it strikes me, of infinite importance to be established, at a moment when private scandal has been more unblushingly enlisted than at any former period of our history, as the auxiliary of the party in the possession of political authority, and of its consequent means of holding out temptation to venal and malignant dispositions.

John Scott.

* This expression has been thought to imply that I did not myself write the articles on Blackwood’s Magazine. It is necessary therefore, that I should claim them: I certainly do consider my hand as powerful with reference to the infamy of that publication. A sufficient proof of its power has been given in the breaking-up of the scandal-establishment.

C. Baldwin, Printer,
New Bridge-Street, London.