LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Life and Letters of John Gibson Lockhart
Chapter 1: 1794-1808

Vol. I. Preface
Vol. I Contents.
‣ Chapter 1: 1794-1808
Chapter 2: 1808-13
Chapter 3: 1813-15
Chapter 4: 1815-17
Chapter 5: 1817-18
Chapter 6: 1817-19
Chapter 7: 1818-20
Chapter 8: 1819-20
Chapter 9: 1820-21
Chapter 10: 1821-24
Chapter 11: 1817-24
Chapter 12: 1821-25
Chapter 13: 1826
Vol. II Contents
Chapter 14: 1826-32
Chapter 15: 1828-32
Chapter 16: 1832-36
Chapter 17: 1837-39
Chapter 18: 1837-43
Chapter 19: 1828-48
Chapter 20: 1826-52
Chapter 21: 1842-50
Chapter 22: 1850-53
Chapter 23: 1853-54
Chapter 24: Conclusion
Vol. II Index
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH


GLASGOW, 1794—1808
“An Ell of Genealogy.”—Origin and History of the Lockharts.—Symon’s town.—The House of Saint Lys.—Lockharts of Symington, of the Lee.—The Heart of Bruce.—Cognisance of the Lockharts.—Sir Stephen and Sir Allan.—Homicidal Lockharts.—Lockharts of Cleghom, Birkhill, Wicketshaw.—Milton Lockhart.—Lockharts of the Covenant.—A “Flyting.”—After Bothwell Brig.—Somervilles, Nimmos, Pringles.—Lockhart’s parents.—His birth.—His shyness.—“Twa Puddens.”—His early stoicism.—School days.—Habit of caricature.—Glasgow University.—His prizes.—The Blackstone.—The Snell Exhibition.—Goes to Oxford in a round jacket.

Every Scotsman has his pedigree,” says Sir Walter, in the Autobiographical fragment where he traces his own. The interest in our ancestors, “without whose life we had not been,” may be regarded as a foible, and was made matter of reproach, both to Scott and his biographer, the story of whose own life is here to be narrated. Scott “was anxious to realise his own ancestry to his imagination; . . . whatever he had in himself he would fain have made out a hereditary claim for.”
In this taste there is not wanting a domestic piety; and science, since Sir Walter’s day, has approved of his theory, that the past of our race revives in each of us.

For these reasons Scottish readers, at least, may pardon a genealogical sketch in this place. Or, if they be unkind, we may say of Lockhart, as he says in the case of Thomas Campbell, “He was a Scotsman, and of course his biographer begins with an ell of genealogy.”

The pedigree of Scott’s biographer and son-in-law, John Gibson Lockhart, was hardly inferior in historical interest to Sir Walter’s own. Both Sir Walter and his son-in-law were descended from cadet branches of noble houses. If Harden was the “fountain of the gentry” of Scott, Lockhart of Lee was, as we shall see, in all probability, the source of the “gentry” of Scott’s biographer.

In the Upper Ward of Lanarkshire is the parish of Symington, bounded on the east by the stripling Clyde, and rising in the south to the crest of Tinto. The whole district lies high, but, save for Tinto, is not hilly. The waters of the land, except Clyde, are but burns, which, in later life, Lockhart remembered with all a Scot’s personal affection for his native streams. There is a warm wooded look, considering the height of the general elevation, and the parish is best known, perhaps, for Symington Railway Station, on the Caledonian Railway. The old official name of Symington is Villa Symonis
, Symon’s town, whence Symington. This name is understood to be derived from Symon Loccard, who, in the reign of Malcolm the Maiden, was lord of the parish, and founded the village and the church. The name Loccard also occurs, it is believed, in Lockerby, in Dumfriesshire (Locardebi), and certainly in Craig Lockhart, and Milton Lockhart, which is still in the possession of the family.1 A man of Symon Loccard’s importance must necessarily have had forefathers of no mean estate. I have not had the opportunity to trace, through documents, this Loccard (probably derived from “de Loch Ard” a territorial designation) to the house of Saint Lys, and the companions of the Conqueror, but it is a mistaken etymology which accepts Lockhart of Lee as a corruption of Loccard de Saint Lys.

Whatever the truth of the Saint Lys theory may be, the eponymous hero, so to speak, of the Lockharts, Symon of Symington, founded his parish church about 1153. He also held lands in Ayrshire, and gave his name to Symontown in Kyle. He appears as a witness to charters and other deeds as late as 1190, and was succeeded by his son Malcolm.

The Lockharts of Lee, now the chief house of the family, soon eclipsed the parent branch of Symontown, which disappears in stormy times. In 1300 (circa) we find Richard Hastang, an Englishman,

1 “Lockhart” was only added to “Milton” some seventy years ago.

writing to
Edward I., “praying for the lands of Simon Locard,” in Ayr, “and in the Leye, in the county of Lanark.” This Simon Locard of the Lee was knighted by Robert Bruce, and took his side in the resistance to England. After Bruce’s death, he sailed with the good Lord James Douglas, to carry the king’s heart to the Holy Land. Douglas fell, fighting the Saracens in Spain; all the world knows how he threw the royal heart into the mellay, crying, “Lead on, as thou were wont to do!” Sir Simon then took the command, rescued the heart of Bruce and the body of Douglas, and returned to Scotland. His acquisition, in Spain, of the famous “Lee penny” (“The Talisman”), part of the ransom of a Moor, is well known. The Locards now added to their bearings a heart within a fetterlock, and took the name of Lockhart. “Did you ever hear of such a name, Master Hugh?” asks Scott, in his “Tales of a Grandfather,” written for “Hugh Littlejohn,” the son of John Gibson Lockhart.

While the Lockharts of Lee, themselves originally of the Symonton or Symington family, thus came to honour, the Symonton branch dwindled and vanished. Probably they took the English side, for Bruce, soon after his accession, conveyed the barony of Symonton, as crown property, to “Thomas fil Dick” (Thomæ filio Ricardi), probably Thomas Dickson of Hesilside, who helped the Black Douglas to surprise the English garrison
Castle Dangerous, on a famous Palm Sunday.1 Thus the headship of the Lockharts was now settled in the patriotic and illustrious house of Lee.

From 1339 to 1440, the history of the Lockharts of Lee (as far as printed documents go), is somewhat obscure. In the latter year (1440) we find them settled in their lands by a charter to Alexander Lockhart, who was followed by his son Sir Allan, knighted by James III., and succeeded, in turn, by his son, Sir Mungo, who died before 1489.

Now in the days of this Sir Allan Lockhart of Lee comes on the stage a Sir Stephen Lockhart, who owned the lands of Cleghorn in Lanarkshire. About the parentage of this Sir Stephen Lockhart of Cleghorn, who was the direct male ancestor of John Gibson Lockhart, uncertainty prevails. A scholar who has aided me by his researches2 says, “He may have been a cadet of the Lockharts of Lee, whose history at that period is not well known, and family tradition takes this view, though it has not found support from public documents.” On the other hand, the authors of “The Upper Ward of Lanarkshire”s (to which most of the information given here is due) find a Sir Allan Lockhart in possession of Cleghorn in 1441. “He,” they say, “was undoubtedly a cadet of the Lockharts of Lee,

1 See Scott’s novel, “Castle Dangerous.”

2 The Rev. John Anderson.

3The Upper Ward of Lanarkshire.” By G. V. Irving and A. Murray. Glasgow, 1864.

but the pedigree of that family is involved in considerable obscurity in the latter part of the fourteenth and the early portion of the fifteenth centuries.” And they represent our Sir Stephen as the son of this Sir Allan Lockhart of Cleghorn. His own son was named Allan. The account already given, however, is, I believe, correct.

The connection of Sir Stephen with the main stem of the house, the Lockharts of Lee, would not satisfy a strict genealogist, but no Lockharts of any other stem are likely to have flourished in Lanarkshire, so near the centre of the race. Sir Stephen frequently appears in charters and other documents; he was armour-bearer to James III., he went on an embassy to the King of the Romans, he adhered to his king in the rebellion which ended in that monarch’s death near Bannockburn, he was member for Lanarkshire in 1491, and was altogether a stirring and notable man. He died about 1518.

Sir Stephen’s son, Allan Lockhart of Cleghorn, married twice. His second wife was Marion, daughter of John, third Lord Somerville, by whom he had a son Stephen, who acquired Waygateshaw, or Wicketshaw, in Lanarkshire. The Wicketshaw Lockharts were addicted to manslaughter, having a feud with the Hamiltons. In 1539, Alexander Lockhart of Wicketshaw was pardoned for the slaying of James Hamilton. The laird of Lee, in 1572, as head of the house, was security for the appearance, to stand his trial, of Stevin Lockhart of
Wicketshaw. In 1605 the Hamiltons, pursuing a feud of at least seventy years’ standing, had their turn, and the Rev. John Hamilton of Crawfordjohn was indicted “for a savage assault on Alexander Lockhart, tutor” (uncle and guardian of the heir) “of Wicketshaw.” Probably these Lockharts of 1572 were king’s men, as the Hamiltons were of course for
Queen Mary, in the Douglas wars.

In 1606, we find Stephen Lockhart of Wicketshaw, “Goodman thereof,”2 marrying Grizel Carmichael, a sister of the first Lord Carmichael, by whom he had three sons—(1) William Lockhart of Wicketshaw, whose line failed in 1776; (2) Robert, who, about 1665, purchased the lands of Birkhill in the parish of Lesmahagow; (3) and Walter, laird of Kirkton.

Two of these three brothers were urged, by such dragoonings as Scott describes in “Old Mortality,” to fight for the Covenant, under the Banner of Blue. From the second, Robert Lockhart of Birkhill, the subject of this biography was directly descended.

Of Robert Lockhart of Birkhill, Colonel Wallace writes thus, in his contemporary “Narrative of the Pentland Rising:”—“We marched close by Robert Lockhart’s house, where Mr. Robertson was with Mr. Robert Lockhart. None of them came out

1 I have observed “Goodman” used of Grahame of Netherby: the phrase need not indicate a mere “bonnet-laird.” See also “Memorie of the Somervilles,” i. 496.

(though it was but three or four paces from the house), to countenance us so much; yet some of our company, in the by-coming, spoke with them, such as Mr. Brysson, Sundaywell, and old worthy Robert Bruce of Skellietoun, who most freely and faithfully acquitted themselves to them.”

However, on this occasion the descendant of the guardian of the heart of Bruce declined to follow a Robert Bruce, on the weary tramp through the wet moors to the places of testifying at Rullion Green and the Grassmarket.

What a picture of the scene might Scott have drawn: the straggling “drookit” company of small lairds, farmers, farm-servants, “Knockbreck’s two sons, with a few others; these were the hundred men we had heard were coming from Galloway, for we saw no other,”—the disorderly array of muskets, swords, and scythes, the closed windows and doors of Robert Lockhart’s little château, the faithful contendings and flytings of Mr. Brysson, and white-haired Robert Bruce of Skellietoun, and looking on with his arms pinioned, and the smile of the scorner on his lips, the Royalist captive, Sir James Turner,—“the motion of pistolling him was slighted, alas, it is to be feared too much.”

It is not, perhaps, the most glorious page in the history of the Lockharts, for the watchword of the godly was, “Though we should all die at the end of it, we think the giving of a testimony enough for all.” However, even Mr. Alexander Peden, the
prophet, kept out of this rising, as foreseeing the end of it.

Lockhart of Wicketshaw, on the other hand, is said to have joined his little troop to that of the wild Galloway Whigs, among whom the rising began, at St. John’s Town of Dalry in the Glen Kens. As to Lockhart of Birkhill, if he once let the Banner of the Covenant pass his door unaided, it is fair to say that he had already tried to prevent its followers from coming so far, and had “earnestly dealt with Mr. Brysone to follow the business no further, . . . . but to dismiss the people, the fairest way and the handsomest we could, and let every one see to himself, until the Lord gave some better opportunity.”1

In 1679, after the murder of Archbishop Sharp, Lockhart of Birkhill seems to have thought that the Lord had “given them some better opportunity.” He turned out for the Covenant, and led the Lanarkshire Whigs, at the battle of Bothwell Brig, his brother Walter fighting under Claverhouse for the king. Tradition relates that Birkhill fled from the field with Dalyell’s men after him, and accompanied by some friends of his own side. Thinking that they had escaped pursuit, the rest of the party deemed it convenient to sing a psalm. Lockhart remonstrated, but they would sing, so he privily withdrew himself and climbed up a tree.

1 Wallace’s narrative of the Pentland Rising, in Dr. M’Crie’sMemoirs of Veitch and Brysson,” pp. 399-404.

His tuneful friends below were arrested, and he escaped, but only to die of privation and fatigue.1

In later days (1825), the Rev. Dr. M’Crie edited a work containing references to these forebears of Lockhart’s, who, in the too renowned “Chaldee Manuscript,” had named Dr. M’Crie “The Griffin,” he himself being “The Scorpion.” By a curious coincidence the most offensive verses of “The Chaldee” (iii. 36-39), are an attack on Graham Dalyell, a lineal descendant of the persecutor, old Tom Dalyell of Binns. But now, conversis rebus, Lockhart was the Tory, and Dalyell was the Whig.2

The grandson of the Covenanter of Birkhill was William Lockhart, who married Violet Inglis, heiress of Corehouse, the lady introducing the Christian name of Violet into the family. Miss Inglis’s mother was a sister of Somerville of Corehouse, to which she herself succeeded. The lands of Eastshiel, Corehouse, and Birkhill were thus united. Hers was a runaway match. The pair had two

1New Statistical Account of Scotland,” VI. 579.

2 What Lockhart seriously thought of the long struggle in which some of his fathers fell, and others were forfeited, may be gathered from an article in the Quarterly Review (December 1848), published under his Editorship. Reviewing the Duke of Argyll’sPresbytery Examined,” the critic says, that not in the Established Kirk, but in the Free Kirk and among other Seceders, “we must seek the descendants of Knox and Melville, of Henderson and Rutherford, to say nothing of Cameron or Cargill. Let us frankly accept all men and all systems when we travel back into the past, in their own sense and in their own spirit.” The whole passage (Quarterly, lxxxiv. pp. 92-93), is a remarkable instance of a truly liberal dealing with the facts of Scottish Dissent, in a Tory Orthodox Anglican Review.

sons—the line of the eldest failed; the second son was the
Rev. John Lockhart, D.D., minister of Cambusnethan, and, later, of the College Kirk in Glasgow. This Dr. Lockhart married twice; in his family by his second wife the estate of Milton Lockhart still remains. His second wife was a daughter of the Rev. John Gibson, minister of St. Cuthbert’s in Edinburgh, and the eldest son of this second marriage was John Gibson Lockhart.

The patient reader now sees that from the days of Malcolm the Maiden, and through the houses of Lockhart of Symonton, of Lee, of Cleghorn, of Birkhill, and of Wicketshaw, the future biographer of Scott derived a pedigree for which published documents fail, in the darkness of 1339-1440, but which, none the less, is such as Sir Walter liked to trace. The War of Independence, the chivalrous pilgrimage of the Royal Heart, the feudal anarchy, the Douglas wars, the struggle for religious domination by the Covenanters, are all among the ancestral memories of the Lockharts. Not alien, probably, are the loyal Jacobite honours of the Lockharts of Carnwath, a branch of the Lockharts of Lee, the two houses being now united. What part the Wicketshaw and Birkhill Lockharts took in Prince Charles’s campaign of 1745, perhaps “’tis better only guessing.” One Lockhart certainly made himself hated for his cruelties after Culloden, and a Jacobite song on the battle of Val (1747) a defeat of the butcher Cumberland,
has this odd association of two names now happily united—
“Baith Scott and Lockhart’s sent to hell,
For to acquaint mama, Willie,
That shortly you’ll be there yoursel’
To roast ayont them a’, Willie!”

The houses of Somerville and Carmichael are far off “forebears,” and the Puritan strain (not very conspicuous in the son-in-law of Scott) should have been strengthened by descent from Mr. James Nimmo1 (1654-1709), who fought and ran away at Bothwell Brig (1679), and, after 1688, getting into the Customs, smuggled in a godly fashion,—“the Lord wonderfully and mercifully guided me . . . praise, praise to Him!” Mr. Nimmo left a curious memoir, mainly of his religious experiences, pub-

1 Here is the descent from godly Mr. Nimmo

James Nimmo = Elizabeth Brodie
James Nimmo = Hon. Mary Erskine (Cardross)
Elizabeth Erskine = Pringle of Bowland (grandson of Torwoodlee of the Rye House Conspiracy, 1685.)
A son, laird of Torwoodlie
Margaret Mary = Rev. John Gibson
Elizabeth = Rev. John Lockhart
John Gibson Lockhart, born 1794.

Tabulated from Mr. W. G. Scott-Moncrieff’s account, in the Introduction to “Narrative of Mr. James Nimmo,” Edinburgh, 1889.

lished by the Scottish History Society, and naturally never guessed that a descendant of Lockhart of Birkhill, who fought by his side at Bothwell Brig, would marry a great-great-grand-daughter of his own,
Elizabeth Gibson, and so connect the subject of this biography, her son, with her paternal house, the ancient one of Pringle of Torwoodlie, Scott’s neighbours and friends at Abbotsford.

Concerning the characters and attainments of Lockhart’s parents, nothing of much interest has reached us. At that time it was still not unusual for the younger sons of landed and ancient families to “enter the ministry.” Several examples are found among the fathers of young men, Lockhart’s college companions and lifelong friends. To Sir Walter Scott, in his early years, offers of patronage in the Kirk were made. Dr. Lockhart was a scholar, and his distinguished son may have inherited from him a turn for scholarship, but it is clear that Dr. Lockhart was not a purchaser of modern books, nor a patron of the rising literature, of Coleridge, Southey, Wordsworth, and Scott.

About 1824 Lockhart’s wife quotes a saying of her husband’s, “Your father” (Sir Walter) “may be a greater poet, but mine is a greater proser.” The old gentleman’s letters reveal him as a serious, grave, rather narrow divine of the old Presbyterian school. He could tell a story well, and on a story of a real set of incidents, told by him, Lockhart founded his best novel, “Adam Blair.” He had no
liking for Episcopal religion, and would grumble a little at Lockhart’s indifference as to the rival claims of Kirk and Church. In brief, to the ordinary observer,
Dr. Lockhart seemed a good specimen of a large class of Scottish ministers.

About Lockhart’s mother even less is to be gleaned. Her letters are plain, pious, and affectionate. Probably the peculiar “Spanish” type of Lockhart’s face, which is noted by Southey, Haydon, and Scott, was derived from her, for, when Lockhart lay on his death-bed, his younger brother, Robert, remarked the strong resemblance to their mother. To both of his parents Lockhart was warmly and devotedly attached, but his letters to them will seldom be quoted, as they do not often range above the everyday affairs of the family and its friends. It does not seem that either his father or his mother was keenly interested in his literary work. Nothing in his perplexing character can, with our present knowledge, be explained by inheritance from his father and mother.

John Gibson Lockhart was born in the manse of Cambusnethan, on the 14th of July 1794. In his second year his father obtained the College Kirk of Glasgow, and migrated thither. The child was delicate, and Mr. Gleig, who wrote the article on “The Life of Lockhart” in the Quarterly Review (October 1864), thinks that the bracing moorland air might have been better for his health than the smoke and fog of Glasgow.


As the result of an early malady, Lockhart was partially deaf for the whole of his life. Like shortness of sight, deafness, even in a slight degree, is apt to be the cause of shyness. A man whose hearing is not good, like one whose sight is imperfect, dares not act on his first perceptions, whether of eye or ear. He soon learns that he is very likely to make errors, as of recognising the wrong person, or not recognising the right one; of replying to what has not been said, or of becoming tedious by requesting that a remark may be repeated. Lockhart’s partial deafness may thus have contributed to cause his shyness. In a letter written at the close of his life, Lockhart speaks of himself as, with perhaps one exception, “the shyest man alive.” Now shyness “is not one mental disorder, but many, and varies in degree and kind with the characters of individuals. It is afraid where no fear is; it is humble, and appears proud; it is sensitive, and takes the form of coldness and reserve; it is dying to speak, and can only think of something inappropriate to say. . . . It is, in most respects, the opposite of what it appears to be; all sorts of false imputations are apt to be cast upon him who is the victim of it, and the acute sense of the undeservedness of these imputations in a sensitive mind greatly aggravates the evil”—often by confirming a man consciously in the attitude which his shyness simulates.1

1College Sermons.” By Benjamin Jowett, Master of Balliol, p. 219.


These words, this protest, as we may call it, of one who knew well what shyness is, might have been written about Lockhart. Difficult beyond common experience as his character was, his shyness yet more perplexes it. The malady, above all when the result of a physical defect, is never allowed for, never understood by the world. Scott speaks of Lockhart’s modesty as amounting to diffidence, yet he often seemed arrogant. He himself has described shyness as “arrogance not screwed up.” His sensitiveness was taken for coldness, his “almost fierce reserve” (as Mr. Hope Scott calls it) was identified with want of heart, for the public prefers a callous heart worn on the sleeve, to a tender heart which hides its emotions. Thus “all sorts of false imputations” were cast on Lockhart, and it is more than probable that, as Tertullian became a Montanist because he was called a Montanist, so Lockhart did assume some of the failings with which he was constantly charged. In society Scott speaks of his tendency to be silent, or to converse with one person in a corner, where, in fact, he could hear and be heard. This taciturnity, and his aspect, “his melancholy Spanish head,” as Haydon the painter describes it, produced “the Hidalgo airs” laughingly alluded to by Scott. Cyrus Redding in his Memoirs says, “He was of a retiring, reserved habit, and by many not understood; called ill-natured, sarcastic, and I know not what beside. I can only speak of men as I have found
them, and with me he was always pleasant. . . . . An habitual cast, as of pensiveness, appeared continually over him.”1 Let it be added that, as
La Rochefoucauld writes, “a wit is often more at a loss in ordinary society than an ordinary man among wits,” and we have the secret of Lockhart’s failure to be genial and generally popular. In him existed, in a much lower degree, certain of the qualities which made Hazlitt really unfit to succeed in human intercourse; nor is it to be denied that Lockhart seldom suffered fools gladly. Yet this manner was blended, or crossed, by a conviviality of disposition which, being rarely found in company with a shy and sensitive reserve, increases the complexity of his character.

As an undergraduate he took his part in college revels, and probably held his own with Wilson and Hogg in the suppers at Ambrose’s. It is remembered that he once came unexpectedly to Milton Lockhart, when a great dinner of farmers was going on, that at first he shrank into his shell with Hidalgo airs, or, to speak Scotticé, “with the black dowg on his back.”

“Suddenly, when the sweets appeared, one of the yeomen pinched him violently on the leg, and in a voice hoarse with emotion, murmured, ‘Gosh, man! Twa puddens! Yon’ll be a kick abune the common.’

“This unexpected assault and enthusiasm sent

1Fifty Years’ Recollections,” iii. 52, 53.

John off into a hearty fit of laughter. He shook off the black dog, and, for the rest of the evening, was the life and soul of the party.”1

Fitful appearances of “the black dog” occur in the course of his story, and it is not to be denied that the animal was a familiar of Lockhart; yet he lived much with gleeful folk, such as the famous Lord Robertson, the “peerless paper Lord” of his rhyme, and his after-supper lyrics retain their gaiety. Thus even his shyness was original, and unlike that of other people.

The early origin, in a physical accident, of a predominant trait has led us far from the infancy of Lockhart. We learn from Mr. Gleig, the only authority on the subject, that from four to six years of age, Lockhart “toddled to the English school, as it was called, and to the writing school, where he acquired elementary education.” Of his school days, from six to twelve, at Glasgow High School, few anecdotes survive, or few have reached us. He is said to have been rather clever than industrious, often absent by reason of sickness, “but he always kept his place as dux,” or head of his class, as forms are called in Scotland. Full of fun, overflowing with humour, he was yet averse to rough sports, to “stane-bickers,” battles with the town boys, such as Scott’s youth delighted in, and he hated quarrelling. He was a caricaturist, and if his humour hurt any one, he “sometimes could not even see the wound

1 From H. F. M. Lockhart, Esq.

which it inflicted.” This incapacity seems to have remained, more or less, through his career.

“At the same time the humorous, gleeful, merry boy was proud and reserved. A natural disposition more than commonly affectionate he kept under perpetual restraint, considering it unmanly to make any violent display either of joy or sorrow. The effort necessary to accomplish this often cost him dear, and on one occasion had well-nigh proved fatal to him. He was very much attached to a younger brother and sister, particularly to the latter, both of whom died within a few days of each other. John would not weep, as the rest of the family did, nor in any other way make a display of his feelings, and the consequence was, that he became so ill as seriously to alarm, not his parents only, but his medical attendant.” The boy was indeed father of the man, and his family crest, the Heart within the Fetterlock, was the badge of his nature. The illness alluded to caused Lockhart’s removal from school to the seaside. His education was now conducted by his father, a good classical scholar. Perhaps Dr. Lockhart, like the father of Reginald Dalton in his son’s novel, “did not wish to have any better companion than his child.” “Robinson Crusoe,” the “Pilgrim’s Progress,” “The Seven Wise Masters,” “the old genuine banquets of strong imagery and picturesque incident,” were probably among Lockhart’s as among his hero’s early studies, and later, as editor of the
Quarterly Review, he asked Miss Rigby to write an article against “the tame milk-and-water diet,” which modern dulness tried to substitute for the old immortal favourites.

In 1805 Lockhart matriculated at the University of Glasgow. He was in his twelfth year, and, though very young boys composed the junior classes in Scotch colleges, he must have been among the youngest.1

At that time, Lockhart says, the students of Glasgow University still wore the red gowns, which,

1 Lockhart matriculated in 1805, presumably in November.

I append the official information about Lockhart at Glasgow University, which I owe to the kindness of Mr. W. Innes Addison, of the Matriculation Office, and of my friend Mr. A. C. Bradley, Professor of English Literature:—

Joannes Gibson Lockhart, filius natu secundus Reverendi Viri Joannis Lockhart, SS. T. D. & Pastoris Parochiæ de Black Friars in urbe Glasguensi, in Com. de Lanark natus.’

“The name is written by himself (the rest not) in a boyish but rather good hand—clear, firm, and rather large.

“In 1805—6 he attended the Humanity Class (Prof. Wm. Richardson), but took no prize.

“In 1806—7 he got the fifth prize in the Humanity Class ‘for exemplary diligence and regularity,’ and also a prize (second) ‘for excelling at the examinations on Roman Antiquities.’

“In this session he attended the Greek Class. His name is not on the roll of the Latin Class, but of course he must have attended it.

“In 1807—8 he got a prize in the Greek Class ‘for propriety of conduct, diligence, and eminent ability displayed during the whole of the session.’

“The prize-men are divided into classes or divisions (not so named). L. comes third in the second division, seventh in the whole list of prize-men.

“In 1808—9 he got one of the prizes in the Logic Class ‘for the best specimens of analysis and composition on subjects of Reasoning and

during a session spent by his present biographer, about 1864, in that seat of learning, were only donned at the Blackstone examination. The Glasgow gowns appear very scrimped, in contrast with the flowing academic dress of St. Andrews. The College, in Lockhart’s time, as in my own, was the black old quadrangle, guarded by an effigy of some heraldic animal, probably the Scottish lion, in whose open mouth it was thought unbecoming to insert a bun. Blackness, dirt, smoke, a selection of the countless smells of Glasgow, small, airless, crowded rooms, thronged by youths at whom Lockhart could not have scoffed for exaggerated elegance in dress, these things make up a picture of the Old College of Glasgow. Now there is a new and magnificent building in a part of the town which enjoys, for Glasgow, a respectable atmosphere. In a volume called “
Janus,” written by Wilson and Lockhart in 1826, some one, Lockhart probably, describes the changes in the Old College since 1814. “The inner court, where I have so

Taste . . . . and for distinguished eminence and proficiency in the whole business of the class.’

“The prize-men are divided into Seniores and Juniores. L. was seventh among the Seniores.

“In the same session (1808—9) he got two prizes in Latin: one ‘for the best translation of the seventh book of Lucan into verse’ (his is the only prize given): the other ‘for the best Latin verses’ (he is the first of two prize-men).

“I have searched the record of the Blackstone prize-men from 1805—6 to 1811—13, but his name certainly does not appear. But Mr. Addison tells me that the prize-lists generally have been found not free from mistakes and omissions.”

often paced, has lost its primitive Gothic air altogether,” by reason of a new building. “The severi religio loci hardly lingers where it reigned.” In the so-called gardens (where Frank fought a duel with Rashleigh Osbaldistone in “
Rob Roy”) there were no flowers, but flowers of soot. “The queer old lofty tenements, with small garden courts, and occasionally a few fine stately trees in front of them,” have long ceased to be. Doubtless the whole quarter was much less smoky, dingy, greasy, and squalid in Lockhart’s days.

Mr. Gleig quotes from Professor Rainy early reminiscences of Lockhart at Glasgow College. Dr. Rainy made his acquaintance in 1805. He had just recovered from the illness caused by suppressed grief, was thin and pale, with feminine features, untidy, a mocker of dandyism in others, fond of poetry, averse from games, addicted to satire, and to caricaturing his professors. These were Richardson, the Latin Professor, and Young of the Greek Chair. Richardson was a contributor to the Mirror, edited by Henry Mackenzie, “The Man of Feeling.” Young, according to Lockhart himself, was “a classical scholar unrivalled in Scotland, a master of Italian literature and of music, an enthusiast in poetry.” This scholar was not wholly wasted on boys of twelve, he had “the art to inspire juvenile auditors with his own delight in the visions of genius, as well as in the anatomy of their
records, to the minutest tint and refinement of word and syntax.”1

Young had “an extraordinary physiognomy, . . . . a picturesque profusion of grey hairs, a brisk-looking little pigtail, an enormous striped waistcoat, and never-failing Hessian boots,” all of which, and “the sharp, shrewd, knowing, inquisitive, hair-splitting look,” a contrast to the high, melancholy, earnest enthusiasm of the face in other moods, Lockhart’s pencil must have found attractive and baffling.

Richardson “wore grand black satin breeches and buckles, and sea-green or snuff-coloured silk stockings with gorgeously-wrought clocks. He had a delicate rosy complexion, a beautifully curled white wig with a noble toupee in front, and a ponderous queue behind.” He was delightfully courtierlike in manner, could “make young people and small people happy,” and he and Young were called Billy and Cocky by their affectionate pupils. It was the day of periwigs, cocked hats, pointed canes, ruffled wrist-bands, prodigious Provosts, and rum punch; an age of Glasgow convivialities, on which Lockhart, as a young man, made some cheerful observations.

More reminiscences of Lockhart at Glasgow were supplied to Mr. Gleig by the Rev. Dr. Smith, an Edinburgh clergyman. Dr. Smith, as a boy, a bejant, or freshman, made Lockhart’s acquaintance

1 Quarterly Review, lxxxv. p. 37.

in his father’s house, in Charlotte Street, at the north-west corner of Glasgow Green. On October 10, 1806, the bejants went trembling to College. Seeing Lockhart, whom he knew, Master Smith wished to seat himself on the same form, but was forcibly ejected by
Master Harry Rainy, already quoted. The truth was that Lockhart, Rainy, and Cooper had determined to keep their bench sacred to the sons of the ministry. On finding that Master Smith’s father was a minister, Master Rainy received him with open arms, and the bench retained its unbroken character. Lockhart’s pencil was not idle, and he sketched Professor Young on Master Smith’s Livy. He was not fond of fights with the town boys, miniature town and gown rows: his amusement was to collect and recite street ballads. As for his studies, in the Logic lecture (a logician of thirteen) he “suddenly outstripped his competitors.” According to Dr. Rainy, he obtained the second prize in the Junior Latin Class. The prizes then, as I believe now, were awarded by the votes of the students. They decided according to the performances of each man, when put on to construe, and by his success in answering questions addressed to the class in general. It used to be curious to observe the eagerness of the ambitious on these occasions. Nothing could possibly be fairer and more impartial than the voting, and the system, though odd, certainly kept up the attention of the pupils. According to Dr.
Rainy, Lockhart was disappointed by his second place, and his backers bought for him a well-bound copy of “
The Lay of the Last Minstrel,” one of his special favourites. This was presented to him publicly, on the closing day of the session, by Professor Richardson. Lockhart, who knew nothing of the matter beforehand, “was deeply moved. This little incident shows that, among his fellow-students, Lockhart was not only respected but loved.”

There are two prizes, medals, at Glasgow, called The Greek and Latin Blackstones. A student “professes,” or takes up, so many Greek or Latin authors, and is closely examined in them viva voce. The professor is examiner, and decides the prize. The competitors take their seats in turn, in a curious antique chair, with an hour-glass in the back, and with a seat of stone. This stone was probably, Mr. Gleig thinks, originally a “symbol of infeftment,” accompanying an old charter conveying lands to the College.1

Lockhart’s list of books was unusually long. His brother, the Rev. Lawrence Lockhart (later

1 The author may be excused for mentioning two incidents of this examination in his own day. In the Latin Blackstone, a student, (not the winner) translated a phrase in Juvenal, “the screaming fathers.” “What is the Latin for screaming, Mr. ——?” asked Professor Ramsay. “Squalentes, sir, squalentes patres, the squalling fathers.” In the Greek Blackstone Professor Lushington handed his own Æschylus to a spectator, and examined without book, calling the competitors’ attention to such grammatical expressions and turns of phrase as he thought desirable, a singular proof of his great memory.

of Milton Lockhart), says that, on arriving at College after the vacation, he heard how a senior student, a third year’s man in Greek, proposed making “a stunning profession.” Lockhart, therefore, mastered the same books, and was successful. He afterwards looked on this as “a shabby trick,” for his opponent, had he known what Lockhart was about, might have made a larger “profession.” But a brother of the vanquished said, “It was quite fair, we never blamed him for it.” “John, on my telling him this, was much delighted,” says Mr. Lawrence Lockhart. Probably the examining professor was guided rather by the quality of the work done, than by the quantity of the work “taken up.”1

Lockhart’s success in the Blackstone settled his career. He was offered, “quite unexpectedly,” one of the Snell Exhibitions, founded long before by John Snell, Esq., for Glasgow students going to Balliol. In the author’s time, and now, the Snell Exhibitions are the rewards of an examination in written work, like scholarships at Oxford. The income used to be about £105 per annum, a great assistance to the purse of a Scottish parent, and doubtless was more, when only one exhibition was given, not two, as in later times. The exhibition has been held by many distinguished men, as Sir William

1 It is not in the author’s recollection that the winners in his own day (Thomas Shute Robertson, Esq., and Henry Craik, Esq., C.B., both later of Balliol,) made a single slip in their Blackstones.

Hamilton, Adam Smith, and Professor Sellar. It does not carry the privilege or burden of a scholar’s or open exhibitioner’s gown. Lockhart’s parents hesitated to accept the prize on account of his youth, (he was not yet fifteen!). However they decided to accept, and, like Mr. Jowett, the future Master, Lockhart went up in a round schoolboy’s jacket. He came to a Balliol then small, almost obscure, by no means noted for excellence in the schools, but retaining its old buildings, its chapel with the beautiful glass and Jacobean panelling, and fortunate in reckoning among its tutors, Mr. Jenkyns, “the Old Master,” who really made the Balliol of to-day. We know not where Lockhart’s rooms were, but Southey’s, he says, were in Rat’s Castle, a dilapidated old pile in the inner quadrangle.

Such are the brief records of Lockhart’s childhood and boyish days. We see him with a character already formed, shy, affectionate, stoical as a Red Indian, proud, quick, industrious when he chooses to work, humorous, melancholy, mischievous, a lover of poetry, an admirer of that great man with whom his fortunes were to be linked, and whose life he was to chronicle.