LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life and Letters of John Gibson Lockhart
Vol. I. Preface

‣ 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
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Her Illustrious Great-grandfather’s
Son-in-law, Biographer,
and Friend,
Are Dedicated

This Life of Mr. Lockhart has been compiled under many difficulties, some of which I foresaw, while others I did not anticipate. The book grew out of the publisher’s wish that I should prepare for him an edition of Mr. Lockhart’s “Life of Sir Walter Scott.” An introductory chapter on the author of that great work seemed desirable, and the chapter swelled into a biography of Mr. Lockhart.

The book had not been in hand for more than two or three months, when I found that there were impediments which a fuller knowledge of Mr. Lockhart’s professional career would have taught me to anticipate. As regards his relations with Mr. John Wilson Croker, and with the Quarterly Review, documents exist which, perhaps, may some day be given to the world. Their absence from this work is touched on later, in the appropriate place. I am inclined to think that my information, derived from Mr. Lockhart’s familiar letters, is adequate for the purpose of his biography, though
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there ought to be much interesting matter in his letters to Mr. Croker, of which but a very small part, apparently, has been given in Mr. Croker’s published correspondence.

Indeed, my own regrets in this matter are concerned with my apparent, though perfectly unintentional, slight to the successors of Mr. Lockhart’s old allies and associates, rather than with the loss of biographical materials.

Other difficulties have occurred; Mr. Blackwood, I doubt not, would have given me every reasonable access to the archives of his house, but these were already in the hands of Mrs. Oliphant for editorial purposes. Mrs. Oliphant has most kindly allowed me to consult her for the avoidance of errors in matters of fact, and Mr. Blackwood gave me a list of many of Mr. Lockhart’s later articles.

Mr. Lockhart’s letters to Mr. Southey I have been unable to trace. Mr. Southey’s side of the correspondence, preserved at Abbotsford, is of very little interest or literary importance; it deals with business between editor and contributor.

A large collection of private letters from Mr. Lockhart to a lifelong friend was destroyed many years ago by its actual possessor. To a portfolio of caricatures, of which a few were published more than thirty years ago in Mrs. Gordon’sChristopher North,” access has been denied me, but Mr.
Brewster Macpherson has kindly lent me his collection of Lockhart’s sketches.

I have to thank, first of all, Mrs. Maxwell Scott of Abbotsford, without whose aid this biography of her grandfather could never have been attempted.

All the manuscripts at Abbotsford and Milton Lockhart have passed through my hands, and Mrs. Maxwell Scott has assisted me in every possible way, by revision of the book before and after it was in type. The chief documents are eleven volumes of letters to Mr. Lockhart, including two volumes of letters from Mr. Croker, of which, for obvious reasons, I have made no use, beyond a remark on Mr. Croker’s character as revealed in these papers. The volumes of letters to Sir Walter Scott include a few (in addition to those from Mr. Lockhart) which have been of service. From Sir Walter’s two volumes of letters to Mr. Lockhart I have made selections of such as are not anticipated in Scott’s Letters or Journal. Mr. Lockhart’s letters to his own family, to his wife, his children, and his son-in-law, Mr. James Hope Scott, have supplied much material. Much more might have been extracted had it seemed desirable celebrare domestica facta. Mrs. Lockhart’s letters have also been sparingly used.

For the important though incomplete series of
letters to
Mr. Jonathan Christie, Mr. Lockhart’s lifelong friend, I have to thank the kindness of Mr. Christie’s daughter, Mrs. Herrick.

For permission to quote the Quarterly article on Mr. Lockhart, by his old friend, the Rev. Mr. Gleig, and for the sight of a complete list of Mr. Lockhart’s articles in the Quarterly Review, I am indebted to the kindness of Mr. John Murray of Albemarle Street. Mr. Gleig’s article is the only authority on the boyhood of Lockhart.

To Mr. J. H. Stevenson and the Dowager Lady Foulis, the representatives of Mr. Cadell, the publisher of the “Life of Scott,” I owe many valuable documents. Colonel Gleig has also provided such materials of his father’s, the Chaplain-General of the Forces, and author of “The Subaltern,” as he possessed.

My friend, Mr. Ernest Hartley Coleridge, has allowed me to see and extract from a MS. diary of a Scottish Tour in his possession, containing a description of Mrs. Lockhart before her marriage.

Miss Bessie Wilson has gratified me with a view of some letters by Mr. Lockhart to her grandfather, Professor Wilson, for the most part already published.

Mr. and Miss Carruthers of Inverness have kindly lent me letters to their grandfather, Sir Walter’s friend, Mr. William Laidlaw.


My friend, Mr. Falconer of Dundee, has lent me, and even more kindly copied out for me, an important letter of Sir Walter Scott’s, and a few letters from Mr. Lockhart, in the collection of his brother, to whom my thanks are no less due.

Mr. S. L. Davey, of Great Russell Street, has aided me with all his wonted generosity to authors, in the attempt to collect scattered documents.

Mr. David Douglas, the publisher of Scott’s Journal, has helped me in the most generous manner, by his great knowledge of Scottish literary history, and by the loan of rare books and pamphlets.

To Mr. Archibald Milman, whose generosity has been of the highest service, I owe the use of Mr. Lockhart’s important series of letters to Dean Milman, without which one aspect of Mr. Lockhart’s industry and character would have been most incomplete.

To my dear kinswoman, Mrs. William Sellar, I am indebted in this, as in all things, for much aid and encouragement. Mr. Alexander Carlyle not only lent me Mr. Lockhart’s letters to his celebrated uncle, but permitted the publication of Mr. Carlyle’s letters, and gave information as to the high regard and affection in which Mr. Lockhart was held by him. General Lockhart and other members of the family have ungrudgingly lent all
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the aid in their power. Mr. James Traill, son of Mr. Lockhart’s lifelong
friend, obliged me with some interesting notes: the Dean of Salisbury, also, was kind enough to add to what he had said in his charming volume of Reminiscences.

I must not omit to acknowledge my debt to the anonymous writer who, in Temple Bar for June 1895, suggested the compilation of this work, and indicated many useful references. His name is still unknown to me, but he is “the onlie begetter” of this work.

Without the generous labours of Father Forbes Leith, S.J., in the Abbotsford MSS., nothing could have been done to any purpose.

I have to thank Miss Violet Simpson for examining the unpublished correspondence of Mr. Macvey Napier in the British Museum, and for discovering, not without labour, the account of the Scott-Christie duel, published by Mr. Horace Smith.

My friend, Mr. Edmund Gosse, has greatly obliged me by reading the proof-sheets, and by discovering “Mr. Flatters” (vol. ii. p. 195), though I would not try to shelter any oversights due to myself under his authority.

To Mr. Maitland Anderson, and Mr. Smith, of the University Library, St. Andrews, I owe more than I can easily say.

It is not easy to write the Life of a man whom
few living people remember, and whom none remembers in his prime. On the other hand, the lapse of years makes it possible to say much that a contemporary biographer might feel obliged to keep in reserve.
Mr. Lockhart’s character—too complex to be easily construed—was also so strong as to leave its leading traits deeply and permanently marked. His letters best reveal him, and though much has perished, much is left. Through the letters we can see Mr. Lockhart as he really was, not as he exists in hostile report and erroneous legend. The compiler will be more than satisfied if a portrait, however slight, takes, in the gallery of great Englishmen (including Scots) of letters, the place of a shadowy set of caricatures.

I am aware that, in several passages, this biography may seem to resemble a speech for the defence. But Mr. Lockhart has been so vehemently attacked, and often so unjustly misrepresented, that a defensive attitude was sometimes unavoidable.

July 1896.

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
OXFORD, 1808-1813
The journey to Oxford described in “Reginald Dalton.”—Prince Charles at Derby.—Companions on the way.—Letter to Dr. Lockhart.—Mr. Jenkyns.—The Oxford of 1809.—Lockhart’s College friends.—Sir William Hamilton.—Constancy of Lockhart’s friendships.—Mr. Jonathan Christie.—His description of Lockhart as an undergraduate.—Letters to Mrs. Lockhart.—Balliol sermons.—No Fellowships for Scots.—Hamilton’s kindness.—A wine party.—St. Andrew’s Day.—The Prince’s memory.—Lockhart “crossed.”—His
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wish to join the Spaniards against Napoleon.—His linguistic studies.—Letters to Mr. Christie.—Hamilton’s studies in magic.—Lockhart in The Schools.—Dinners at Godstowe.—“No Scotch Need Apply.”—Gets a First-Class.—Leaves Oxford.—His acquirements
GLASGOW, 1813-1815
Early disadvantages of Lockhart.—His loneliness Reflections.—Letters to Mr. Christie.—The Theatre in London.—Miss Duncan.—The Schools.—Anecdotes of Scotch clergymen.—The stool of repentance.—Dulness of Glasgow.—Admiration of Wordsworth and Byron.—Mr. Christie’s projected novel.—Lockhart’s novel.—Scotch manners.—Mediaeval studies.—Double authorship of “Waverley.”—“Wattie a fecund fellow.”—Lockhart’s own novel postponed.—“Lockhart will blaze!”—His neglect of his own poetical powers. —Sordid ignorance of Glasgow.—Hamilton and the Humanity Chair in Glasgow.—Lockhart’s novel.—“The Odontist.”—Solitude.—Glasgow society.—A commercial ball—Count Pulltuski.—“Gaggery.”—Dinner with a dentist. —Caricature of Pulltuski.—Tour after trout.—Scheme of an “Oxford Olio.”—A pun.—Anecdotes of the clergy.—A Holy Fair.—Lockhart goes to Edinburgh to study law
EDINBURGH, 1815-1817
Edinburgh described in “Peter’s Letters.”—Letters to Christie.—Description of Wilson.—His inconsistency.—His charm.—Edinburgh populated by authors.—Sir William Hamilton writing on Waterloo.—A dinner with Hamilton.—Description of De Quincey.—Lockhart’s Essay on Heraldry.—An Edict of Glasgow University.—Study of Wordsworth.—Parodies of Wordsworth by Lockhart.—Sir William Hamilton an elder of the Kirk.—Death of Mrs. Nicoll.—Death of
a friend.—Hamilton’s baronetcy.—His disadvantages.—Kean acting in Edinburgh.—Literary projects.—Lockhart called to the Bar.—His first fee spent on punch.—Criticism of “Old Mortality.”—Needless severity.—“Blacky.”—Lockhart’s train of negro servants.—Description by the Ettrick Shepherd.—German tour.—Early transaction with Mr. Blackwood.—Problem of Lockhart’s attachment to Blackwood’s Magazine.—Lockhart on Mr. Blackwood’s character.—Intellectual defects of Edinburgh society.—Whig arrogance and ignorance.—Lockhart’s mission.—Scotland in a state of “facetious and rejoicing ignorance.”—Lockhart’s ideas resemble those of Carlyle.—His want of earnestness.—His opportunity.—“Prophesying not to be done on these terms”
EDINBURGH, 1817-1818
Blackwood’s Magazine.—Account of it in letter to Haydon (1838).—Lockhart “helps Blackwood out of a scrape.”—“Row in Edinburgh.”—Lockhart made the scapegoat.—His regrets.—His prospects ruined.—“Intolerably grievous fate.”—Parallel of Theodore Hook.—Responsibility for Blackwood’s.—Wilson and Lockhart not paid Editors.— Lockhart not the assailant of the Lake Poets.—Errors in “Life of Christopher North.”—The early numbers of the Magazine.—Lockhart’s articles on Greek Tragedy.—Blackwood quarrels with his original Editors.—They take service with Constable.—Their new Opposition Magazine.—Scott and Pringle.—Attack on Coleridge.—Wilson, Jeffrey, and Coleridge.—Lockhart on literary Whigs of Edinburgh.—Attack on the “Cockney School.”—Keats and Lockhart agree in their views of Leigh Hunt.—“Vain, egotistical, and disgusting.”—His “Tale of Rimini.”—His enmity to Sir Walter Scott.—He and Keats fancy that Scott is their assailant.—Persistence of this absurdity.—“The Chaldee Manuscript.”—Hogg claims the authorship.—Burlesque reply.—Lockhart’s own statement.—Analysis of “The Chaldee.”—“No end of public emotion”

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EDINBURGH, 1817-1819
Blackwood’s next scrape.—Its origin.—Cavalier and Covenanter.—Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe.—His edition of Kirkton.—Dr. M’Crie assailed for contributing to Blackwood.—Lockhart carries the war into Africa.—Attacks clerical contributors to the Edinburgh Review.—Writes as Baron von Lauerwinkel.—Criticises critics.—Shakespeare.—The real Lockhart.—On Napoleon.—On Jeffrey.—Jeffrey’s real insignificance.—His ignorance.—His treatment of Goethe.—Lockhart’s defence of Christianity against the Edinburgh Review.—How far justified.—Examples of religious criticism from the Edinburgh.—The sceptical priest.—Sydney Smith’s flippancies in the Edinburgh.—“Merriment of Parsons.”—Evangelicals “nasty vermin.”—Lockhart on Scottish religion.—His reprisals.—Personal attack on Playfair.—Scott’s disapproval.—Wilson and Lockhart are attacked anonymously.—“Hypocrisy Unveiled.”—They challenge their opponent.—Jeffrey’s reply.—Mr. Macvey Napier suspected.—Denies the charge.—Extracts from his unpublished Correspondence.—Sir John Barrow’s letter.—Playfair and the Quarterly Review

EDINBURGH, 1818-1820
Lockhart meets Scott.—“The Shirra.”—Invitation to Abbotsford.—Lord Melville.—Scott discourages the iniquities of Blackwood’s.—His chuckle.—The attack on Keats.—Mr. Colvin’s theory.—Bailey’s story.—The story criticised.—Common friends of Keats and Lockhart.—Christie on Keats.—Kindly remark of Lockhart on Keats.—Lockhart and the scrape of a friend.—Action of Lockhart.—His relations with his father.—Letter to Christie.—His view of Leigh Hunt and Hazlitt.—Quarrel with Hamilton

EDINBURGH, 1819-1820
“Peter’s Letters.”—Scott’s bequest of his baton.—Scott’s politics.—His comments on “Peter’s Letters” in Blackwood.—On Allan, the painter.—Lockhart revisits Abbotsford.—Rides with Scott—Scott’s illness.—Praises “Peter’s Letters.”—Analysis of “Peter’s Letters.”—Mr. Wastle of Wastle.—Jeffrey.—Goethe.—A Burns Dinner.—Wilson—The Shepherd.—Neglect of Greek.—Lockhart’s supposed irony.—The Edinburgh Review.—Jeffrey as a critic.—Lockhart compared with Carlyle.—Defence of Coleridge.—The booksellers.—Mr. Blackwood.—Story of Gabriel’s Road.—John Hamilton Reynolds.—Description of Scott at Abbotsford.—His woods.—The Kirk.—Letters to Coleridge.—Reynolds suggested as editor of a Tory paper.—Popular commotions.—Lockhart as a yeoman.—Ballads attributed to him.—His betrothal to Miss Sophia Scott.—Her letters.—Prince Gustavus.—Descriptions of Miss Scott.—Scott asleep
EDINBURGH, 1820-1821
“The mother of mischief.”—Election to Chair of Moral Philosophy.—Hamilton and Wilson.—Calumnies against Wilson.—Scott’s defence.—Lockhart’s “Testimonium.”—Scott’s letter of remonstrance.—Promises of good behaviour.—Attacks on Lockhart in Baldwin’s Magazine.—Mr. John Scott, Editor of Baldwin’s.—Tims.—Christie writes to Lockhart.—Lockhart’s reply.—Demand for an apology.—Mr. John Scott’s answer.—Lockhart in London.—A challenge.—Curious evidence of Horatio Smith.—A pacific second.—No fight.—An oversight.—Christie’s statement.—John Scott challenges Christie.—A moonlight duel.—Christie’s letter to Lockhart.—Flight of Christie and Traill.—Distress of Lockhart.—Imputations on his courage.—Gallant behaviour of Christie.—The trial.—Acquittal.—Reflections

Life at Chiefswood.—Border Scenes.—“Valerius.”—Criticism of the book.—Its failure.—Letter to Christie.—Hogg, Rose, and wild-ducks.—Lockhart’s love of children.—Hugh Littlejohn.—Boswell slain by Dunearn.—“Adam Blair.”—Origin of the tale.—Criticism.—“Adam Blair” and “Faublas!”—George IV. in Edinburgh.—Scott’s energy.—Crabbe.—Crabbe on Lockhart.—Lockhart on Crabbe.—Abbotsford. —Lockhart edits “Don Quixote.”—Begins an edition of Shakespeare.—Melrose in July 1823.—“Leal Tories.”—“Reginald Dalton.”—Letters from Christie.—Christie on Hunt and Byron.—Report of Williams’s death.—“Quentin Durward” unpopular
EDINBURGH, 1817-24
Lockhart’s Poems.—Spanish Ballads.—Sources.—Weak lines.—Song of the Galley.—The Wandering Knight.—Serenade.—“The Mad Banker.”—Verses on Jeffrey.—On Holyrood.— On the Stuarts.—Queen Mary.—Scott’s reference to these verses.—“Take thou the Vanguard of the Three.”—Criticism of Lockhart’s verse.—His reserve.—Reasons why he wrote little.—His comic verse.—“Captain Patten.”—The Odontist.—Trooper lyrics.—His skill in caricature.—Examples.—Fenella.—A wet day.—Charles Scott.—Miss Violet Lockhart.—A Presbytery.—A cock-fighter.—Analogy with Thackeray in verse and caricature.—Lockhart almost abandons the Art

Life on the Border.—Birth and death of a daughter.—Hugh Littlejohn.—Letter to Dr. Lockhart.—“Matthew Wald.”—Lockhart in London.—Coleridge.—Canning.—Brontesque
novel.—A false quantity.—Lockhart at a fire.—Yule at Abbotsford.—The muffled drum.—Scott to Marchioness of Stafford.—Sutherland Sheriffship.—Constable’s scheme.—Cheap literature.—Lockhart’s suggestions.—Irish tour with Scott.—Meeting with Wilson, Canning, and Wordsworth.—Tired of Blackwood.—Work at Shakespeare.—Asked to edit Murray’s paper.—Young Mr. Disraeli.—Proposals as to the Quarterly Review.—Mr. Wright’s suggestion.—Scott not author of the plot.—Lockhart in town.—Mr. John T. Coleridge, Southey, and the Quarterly.—Later difficulties.—Lockhart becomes Editor.—Southey’s chagrin.—Lockhart’s “bonspiel.”—He leaves Chiefswood for London.—Reflections
Sorrows of 1826.—Failure of Murray’s newspaper.—Scott’s ruin. —Illness of Hugh Littlejohn.—Illness of Mrs. Lockhart.—Illness of Lady Scott.—Constable in London.—“Dear me, Archy!”—“A mad proposal.”—Cadell preferred to Constable.—Constable abandons hope. —Mr. Thomas Constable’s criticism.—Its futility.—Lockhart on Scott’s trading enterprises.—Sir Walter on James Ballantyne.—Defence of Lockhart against Constable’s biographer.—Ruin always inevitable.—Scott’s resolve.—“Firm as Eildon Hill.”—Letters to Lockhart.—Malagrowther.—Political predictions. —Illness and death of Lady Scott.—Letters from Sir Walter.—Reviews for the Quarterly.—Disappointments.—Scott in London.—A year of misery.—Lockhart on novels
John Gibson Lockhart
Painted by Sir Francis Grant, F.R.A., Engraved by F. Huth.

An Old Hand At The Cockpit, Oxford
Facsimile of a Water-Colour Drawing by J. G. Lockhart, in the possession of Mr. Brewster Macpherson
Page 48

Sir William Hamilton Buying Books
Facsimile of a Pen-and-ink Drawing by J. G. Lockhart, in the possession of Mr. Brewster Macpherson

Professor Wilson
Drawn by Daniel Maclise, R.A.

Leigh Hunt
From the Picture by Benjamin Haydon, in the National Portrait Gallery. Photo-Etched Plate

Lockhart and Sir Walter Scott (?) riding
Facsimile (reduced) of a Water-Colour Drawing by J. G. Lockhart, in the Abbotsford Collection
xxiv PREFACE.  

Miss Scott, afterwards Mrs. Lockhart
Facsimile of a Drawing by J. G. Lockhart, in the Abbotsford Collection

Page 288

Fenella dancing before Charles II.
Facsimile (slightly reduced) of a Caricature by J. G. Lockhart, of the well-known Scene in “Peveril of the Peak” From the Abbotsford Collection. Double-page Plate