LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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John Gibson Lockhart
 ([Edinburgh]:  [s.n.],  [1821])
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Mr Lockhart very unwillingly feels himself again under the necessity of obtruding himself upon the public notice, in consequence of a new artifice, under which Mr John Scott has endeavoured to escape from some of the consequences of his conduct on a recent occasion. Mr John Scott has printed what he calls a second statement concerning the discussion between Mr Lockhart and himself; but which is, in fact, nothing more than a repetition of the original lies told by him in his London Magazine. A very trivial mistake, however—a mistake totally immaterial to the question between Mr Lockhart and Mr Scott—and a mistake originating in nothing more than a typographical oversight—has been seized upon by Mr Scott, as furnishing a last resource, and some faint hope of appearing to have come, not totally blasted, out of this affair. This mistake was pointed out, at Mr Lockhart’s own desire, in the following paragraph of the Edinburgh Weekly Journal, before Mr John Scott’s statement had been seen, or heard of, by him:—


We are desired, by a friend of Mr Lockhart, to correct a mistake concerning his account of the affair recently subjected to public notice—which mistake originated in a typographical oversight. The first of the paragraphs printed in the newspapers did not form a part of the paper sent to Mr John Scott; but consists, as itself expresses, of an Introduction to the Narrative contained in that paper.

This mistake, however, is of no sort of importance, and the case stands precisely thus:—Mr Lockhart being unable to obtain from Mr John Scott any explanation of an injury inflicted by Mr Scott, but being put off from day to day by evasive and unintelligible essays, totally irrelevant, cut the matter short by sending to Mr Scott a letter, affixing to him the worst epithets of insult which the English vocabulary can furnish. Mr Scott, on this, printed a statement, setting forth, that he considered these epithets as “coming from the Editor of Blackwood’s Magazine,”—insinuating, of course, that he should have noticed them in a very different manner had he considered them as “coming not from the Editor of Blackwood’s Magazine.” Mr Lockhart, in return, sends to Mr Scott a paper, in which these words are thus commented on. “This last new miserable subterfuge is as false in assertion (Mr Lockhart not being the Editor of Blackwood’s Magazine) as its motive is despicable.” Two copies of the paper, containing this sentence, were sent to Mr Scott, twenty-four hours before Mr Lockhart left London. It will be for him to explain why, after reading that sentence, he allowed Mr Lockhart to leave town, without putting any question to him concerning the insulting letter we have alluded to—in which it is sufficient to mention, that the three epithets of liar, scoundrel, and poltroon, are applied to Mr John Scott.

The paper formerly circulated by Mr Lockhart, is now subjoined, and a line is drawn, (as it ought to have been at first,) between Mr Lockhart’s Introduction to the public and the statement of facts which he thought fit to subject in the first instance, to the notice of Mr John Scott. That Introduction contains certain information which Mr John Scott had no right or title to demand; but which Mr Lockhart voluntarily, and for the satisfaction of his
own feelings, gave to the public. The statement of facts following it, was sent to Mr John Scott before it was published. It contains more than Mr Scott had any right to ask; but what Mr Lockhart had a particular reason for granting to him; viz. Mr Lockhart’s express disavowal of being the Editor of
Blackwood’s Magazine.

Mr Scott is pleased to say, in his second Statement, that the disavowal demanded by him, “is nowhere to be found“ in the statement thus sent to Mr Scott. Those who look at the concluding paragraph of that very communication, (now annexed) will be enabled to judge with what truth this assertion has been hazarded. Mr Scott had given, as his reason for not noticing certain epithets applied to him by Mr Lockhart, that he considered these epithets as “coming from the Editor of Blackwood’s Magazine.” The paragraph now referred to, characterizes this as a subterfuge equally “false in assertion,” as “despicable in motive;” and expressly asserts that Mr Lockhart is “not the Editor of Blackwood’s Magazine.”

Mr Lockhart does not, indeed cannot, regard the abuse contained in Mr Scott’s new statement as of the smallest importance, proceeding, as it does, from one who has now for eighteen days lain under the stigma conveyed by the epithets of liar, scoundrel, and poltroon, applied to him by Mr Lockhart’s private letter of the evening of Saturday the 20th of January. He leaves the affair, finally, in the hands of the public, with this short precis of the whole.

Mr Lockhart conceiving himself to be injured by certain statements in the London Magazine, applied in vain for satisfaction, to the Editor of that publication.

Now, when any difficulty occurs to prevent one person received in the society of gentlemen from giving an explicit answer to the Question of another, there is nothing better understood than the practice of Posting, by means of which, the person whose wishes are opposed at once cuts the knot, and lays the other party under the necessity, not of receiving, but of putting a question.

Mr Lockhart, on the 20th of January, placed Mr John Scott in this situation, and it is his own fault that he remained, and does still remain in it.

In short, Mr Scott seems quite unaware of the three following very simple facts.

1. That from the moment Mr Lockhart posted Mr Scott, Mr Lockhart ceased to have any quarrel with Mr Scott.

2. That from that moment it became impossible for Mr Scott to insult Mr Lockhart.

3. That the distance from London to Edinburgh is not greater than that from Edinburgh to London.

Edinburgh, February 8, 1821.

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 does, nor ever did derive, any emolument whatever from any management of it.

Mr Lockhart having been grossly insulted by name, in various articles of a publication called the London Magazine, and not knowing the kind of person who, it seems, is the editor of it, about three weeks ago, authorized his friend, Mr Christie, to call on this person, by name Mr John Scott, and to ask of him on the part of Mr Lockhart, whether he really had any concern in these offensive articles, or was inclined to hold himself responsible for them. Mr Scott answered, that he must have two hours for consideration before he could give his reply to such a question, and after the expiration of that time Mr Christie received the following note from Mr Scott, dated Wednesday.

Mr Scott has the honour to acquaint Mr Christie, in reply to his application of this morning, that, should the motives of the inquiry, put to Mr Scott, be of a nature such as gentlemen usually respect, he will feel no difficulty in returning a direct answer to Mr Christie’s question made in Mr Lockhart’s name.

Mr Scott only happened accidentally to be in York-street this morning, his house being at some distance from town; but he will remain there from three to six this afternoon, in case Mr Christie should think it necessary again to see him in consequence of the present note.

Mr Christie, in consequence of this, called on Mr Scott and assured him, that Mr Lockhart’s only object was to obtain, by apology or otherwise, such reparation as gentlemen are accustomed to demand in similar circumstances;—on which Mr Scott said, he must now consult with a friend. In the course of the conversation which passed on this occasion, Mr Christie distinctly placed the affair on this footing, so far as concerned Mr Lockhart. He told Mr Scott, that the author of the offensive articles in the London Magazine had made a great number of false assertions, injurious to Mr Lockhart;—that he (the author) must, therefore, be conscious, of having trusted either to invention, or to worthless information;—and that, to a person who had acted so, Mr Lockhart would not condescend to offer any preliminary explanation whatever.


The same evening Mr Christie received the note, No. 2.

Mr. Scott clearly expected that, in the explanation of Mr Lockhart’s motives for calling upon him (Mr S.), to avow or disavow any particular articles in the London Magazine, Mr Christie would have been prepared to include:—First, a statement that Mr Lockhart was on the spot.

And secondly, such open reference to the ground of complaint, as by rendering Mr Lockhart responsible in honour for the justice of his pretensions to having been injured, could alone entitle him to expect an irregular concession of information tending to his advantage.

Mr Christie not having felt himself competent to establish such a claim to the voluntary communication he required; Mr Scott must altogether decline making any further allusion to the London Magazine on Mr Lockhart’s call.

Mr Scott cannot but feel astonishment at Mr Lockhart’s having founded an application of the nature of that made through Mr Christie, with express reference to three articles, two of which have been more than a month before the public;* and it is calculated to increase his surprise, that Mr Lockhart should have authorised so direct a demand to be made on Mr Scott—Mr Lockhart himself remaining at a distance, which would render further and considerable delay inevitable.

Mr Lockhart being informed of this reply, and anticipating from its tenor that Mr. Scott meant to conduct himself according to the rules usually observed amongst gentlemen, immediately left Edinburgh, and travelled day and night to London. On his arrival there, Mr Christie became the bearer of the following letter from Mr Lockhart to Mr Scott:

Sir,—A few days ago I authorised my friend Mr Christie to wait upon you, and ask, in my name, whether there be or be not any truth in a report which is universally current, viz. that you, either as author or editor, or in some way or other, have some concern in certain articles in the London Magazine, published by Baldwin and Co.; in which articles, and more particularly and expressly in the last of them, my name has been introduced, and my character assaulted in a style which demands from me the most strict scrutiny.

In the demand, thus communicated, there was nothing of a very uncommon nature, or to which, as it seems to me, you could have felt any difficulty in making an immediate and satisfactory reply. I am, therefore, constrained to think that your refusal to give your answer till you should be assured of my being in London, admits of one explanation only, and no more.

It is possible, however, that the case may be otherwise, and if so, I am there to receive your disavowal, though not to apologize for my question; which I should certainly have done, had I received from you the same open and speedy answer which I myself should never have refused to any similar interrogation.

* Mr Scott attributes rather more celerity and celebrity to his works than they possess. In point of fact, Mr Lockhart is not in the habit of seeing Mr Scott’s publication, and it fell under his notice by more accident.


If the more obvious explanation of your conduct should in the end prove to be the true one, I have only to say, that my friend, who does me the honour to be the bearer of this, is prepared to receive from you such an apology as may appear to him proper and fitting; the same to be made as public as the insult which calls for it was, or indeed as I shall please to make it; or, in case of such an apology being withheld, to arrange with you the particulars of the only alternative which it is in my power to offer, or in yours to accept.

After reading this, Mr Scott began, in a shuffling conversation, to endeavour to evade the honourable engagement which he had been so ready to give while he knew Mr Lockhart was four hundred miles off, but which Mr Lockhart’s sudden appearance seems to have rendered very unpalatable to Mr Scott.

This conversation Mr Lockhart is content to take on the explanation which Mr Scott himself has been pleased to give of it in the following letter, though his verbal subterfuges must, no doubt, have been still more gross and ridiculous than his written evasions, dated Thursday evening, January 18.

Mr Scott, to prevent the possibility of misconception in regard to what took place in conversation between himself and Mr Christie, this afternoon, deems it due to himself to state in writing, and convey to Mr Christie, the grounds of the conduct he considers it becoming to pursue.

In the first place, Mr Scott explicitly declares, that, as he readily avows himself to be the Editor of the London Magazine, he would not have hesitated one moment to meet any demand Mr Lockhart might feel inclined to make on the person filling that situation, for reparation to his feelings, provided he (Mr Lockhart) would have placed the editor in a condition to do so without self-degradation, and setting a mischievous and criminal precedent.

To have allowed Mr Scott to feel himself so placed, it was only necessary for Mr Lockhart to disavow his having been concerned, under fabricated names, or anonymously, with that very infamous publication, Blackwood’s Magazine; whose scandals, calumnies, and falsehoods, have placed it without the pale of honourable literature, and are clearly sufficient to deprive of the privileges of a gentleman any individual who may have long permitted the public report, representing him as one of its principal supporters, to pass without public contradiction.

Such disavowal Mr Scott conceived himself entitled to expect from Mr Lockhart, before it could be conceded that Mr Lockhart’s motives in applying to Mr Scott were “of a nature such as gentlemen usually respect.”*

Had Mr Scott received this disavowal, as a proper and natural preliminary to any discussion of the injuries pretended to have been done to Mr Lockhart in the London Magazine, he might probably have felt himself authorised to omit calling for explanation of a very suspicious circumstance, namely, that Mr Lockhart had remained silent for

* Mark the shuffle as to this phrase! Compare its meaning, as used here, with its plain and obvious sense, when used in Mr John Scott’s first note.

more than a month after his name had been brought forward in the London Magazine, in a way which, it is to be presumed, a person free from imputation, would not have brooked for a single day.

Mr Scott, however, found that Mr Lockhart deemed it prudent to commence by a general refusal to say a word in the way of acknowledgment or denial of any charges brought against him in regard to Blackwood’s Magazine:—a refusal which could not be attributed to a peculiarly refined delicacy in his case, seeing he had long sustained the branding imputations of public report, and for some considerable time the free and severe handling of his name in the London Magazine. Mr Scott, therefore, could only regard such refusal as a desperate attempt in a desperate cause, to yield to which would argue the very extreme of weakness.

When Mr Christie stated to Mr Scott this refusal on Mr Lockhart’s part, and farther, that Mr Lockhart was not in London, but had chosen to add to the long delay he had already permitted to take place, by remaining in Edinburgh, and corresponding on a matter affecting, as he represents it, his feelings as a gentleman; Mr Scott instantly saw the unworthy nature of the whole proceeding on Mr Lockhart’s part, and on this conviction rested his determination, expressed in his second note to Mr Christie, “to decline making any further allusion to the London Magazine on Mr Lockhart’s call.”

Consistently with this determination, and the reasons expressed in this memorandum, Mr Scott deemed himself bound, this afternoon, to refuse allowing to Mr Lockhart the privilege he claimed; and therefore Mr Scott declined to name a friend, to be referred to on his part, for the adjustment of an affair which Mr Lockhart has failed to place within the rules of honour.

Mr Scott, however, is prompted, by his own feelings, to concede what the other party at present has no right to claim. If Mr Lockhart will even now make a disavowal of having ever been in any way concerned in the system of imposition and scandal, adopted in Blackwood’s Magazine, Mr Scott, as editor of the London Magazine, consents to recognise his demand made through Mr Christie; and, in that case, and that only, Mr Christie is referred to Mr Horatio Smith, No. 29, Throgmorton street, as Mr Scott’s friend,—empowered by him (Mr Scott) to arrange what may be proper under such circumstances.

Mr Christie, on this, waited upon Mr Smith, who said that he had been, for the first time, informed of the affair on the preceding evening; and that he had no authority from Mr Scott to enter into any communication with Mr Christie, unless in the case of Mr Lockhart’s having complied with the conditions already proposed on the part of Mr Scott, by Mr Scott himself; that is, Mr Scott puts himself into the hands of what is technically called, a second, but he forbids the second to accept a message unless a certain condition shall be performed, of the non-performance of which, Mr Scott had taken especial care to be previously assured. He might as well have referred a man to the pump at Aldgate.

Here, perhaps, most gentlemen will think that Mr Lockhart might, or, considering the person he had to deal with
ought to have rested; but he was resolved not to leave
Mr Scott even the paltry excuse under which he was endeavouring to shelter himself, and he, therefore, did him the honour of writing him the following note:

London, January 19.

Mr Lockhart, without admitting that Mr Scott has, according to the usual practice of gentlemen in similar situations, any right to a preliminary explanation; does nevertheless not hesitate to offer Mr Scott any explanation upon any subject in which Mr Scott’s personal feelings and honour can be concerned; in the hopes, and on the understanding, that Mr Scott will then no longer delay giving Mr Lockhart the explanation and satisfaction alluded to in Mr Scott’s communications.

Note.—So anxious was Mr Lockhart to bring this discussion to a conclusion, that his friend went on this occasion, charged by him with authority to deny on the part of Mr L. (in case Mr Scott should offer any opportunity for doing so,) “the smallest knowledge of, or concern in, any article in any publication whatever, by which Mr Scott could possibly have imagined himself to be injured or insulted.“ It will be seen, that Mr Christie had no opportunity of acting upon these instructions.

If Mr Scott’s previous shuffling had not prepared Mr Lockhart to expect any degree of meanness and inconsistency, he would have been surprised at receiving in answer to so plain, so distinct, and so decisive a proposition, the following letter, in which it will be seen Mr Scott maintains all the spirit of his former communications, but variegates the discussion with certain new conditions, which nothing but the ingenuity of personal apprehension could have brought into this stage of the business.

January 20th.

Mr Scott does not think it necessary to discuss Mr Lockhart’s denial of his right to a preliminary explanation: it is sufficient for Mr Scott to have made up his mind on that point; to have his opinion supported by that of his friend—a man of unblemished honour; and to be prepared to stand the test of the feelings of society upon it.

It is, however, his wish to limit the explanation he demands within the narrowest bounds the case will possibly admit of. He will not, therefore, require from Mr Lockhart any avowal or disavowal, directed towards particular articles that may have appeared in Blackwood’s Magazine: All he requires is, that Mr Lockhart should declare upon his honour, in explicit terms, that he has never derived money from any connection, direct, or indirect, with the management of that work; and that he has never stood in a situation giving him directly, or indirectly, a pecuniary interest in its sale.

Mr Lockhart will see that the terms of this disavowal have no reference whatever to occasional, or even frequent contributions, which Mr Scott waives his right to inquire into. They are simply intended to draw the line of distinction between time dealer in scandal and the man of honour.

The system of concealment and evasion adopted in regard to the editorship of Blackwood’s Magazine, and obstinately maintained under calls as direct as that which Mr Lockhart has now made on Mr Scott; but which Mr Scott could not bring himself to imitate; also Mr
Lockhart’s silence under the general public report attributing to him the principal share in the getting-up of the work in question, are sufficient to justify Mr Scott in demanding this preliminary explanation. The disavowal required by Mr Scott being made, he holds himself prepared to give Mr Lockhart satisfaction without delay.

Contemptible as Mr Scott’s assertions had now become to Mr Lockhart, he nevertheless condescended to make one effort more to remove his tremulous delicacy and ever-springing difficulties, by authorizing Mr Christie to read to Mr Scott a formal denial of the barefaced falsehoods, that Mr Lockhart had ever, on any pretence whatever, declined giving an immediate and open answer to any application connected with any point of honour, in which he (Mr L.) could conceive himself to be in any sort concerned. But Mr Scott now found it convenient not even to listen to the answer to his own despicable insinuation, and he, therefore, would not permit Mr Christie to read this paper; and for that reason Mr Lockhart does not think it necessary to insert it here.

Mr Lockhart had now been engaged in this very disagreeable correspondence for the greater part of a week.—Seeing no likelihood of bringing the affair to a termination by such means as he had hitherto resorted to, he now found himself compelled to address the following final note to Mr John Scott:—

Mr Lockhart, in consequence of Mr Scott’s having refused to act towards him according to the rules by which gentlemen are accustomed to regulate their conduct, thinks it necessary to inform Mr Scott, that he, Mr Lockhart, considers him as a liar and a scoundrel.

Mr Lockhart also thinks proper to inform Mr Scott that it is his intention to set off for Scotland on Tuesday morning, bearing with him no other feeling in regard to Mr Scott, except that supreme contempt with which every gentleman must contemplate the utmost united baseness of falsehood and poltroonery.

In about two hours Mr S. replied in these terms:—

Mr Scott has just received, and opened (not knowing the seal) the last note addressed to him by Mr Lockhart; and thinks it only necessary to say, that he considers it as coming from the editor of Blackwood’s Magazine.

This last new miserable subterfuge is as false in assertion, (Mr Lockhart not being the Editor of Blackwood’s Magazine,) as its motive is despicable; and Mr Lockhart has now only to regret, that his ignorance of the manners and character of Mr John Scott, should have involved him in any discussion with a person alike incapable of giving, or of receiving, the explanation of a gentleman.

N. B.—The first copy of this Statement was sent to Mr Scott, with a notification, that Mr Lockhart intended leaving London within twenty-four hours after the time of his receiving it.