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Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
Sir Walter Scott to Lord Montagu of Boughton, 27 March 1822

Vol I Preface
Vol. I Contents.
Chapter I
Chapter II 1771-78
Chapter III 1778-83
Chapter IV 1783-86
Chapter V 1786-90
Chapter VI 1790-92
Chapter VII 1792-96
Chapter VIII 1796-97
Chapter IX 1798-99
Chapter X 1800-02
Chapter XI 1802-03
Chapter XII 1803-04
Vol. II Contents.
Chapter I 1804-05
Chapter II 1805
Chapter III 1806
Chapter IV 1806-08
Chapter V 1808
Chapter VI 1808-09
Chapter VII 1809-10
Chapter VIII 1810
Chapter IX 1810
Chapter X 1810-11
Chapter XI 1811
Chapter XII 1811-12
Vol. III Contents.
Chapter I 1812-13
Chapter II 1813
Chapter III 1814
Chapter IV 1814
Chapter V 1814
Chapter VI 1814
Chapter VII 1814
Chapter VIII 1814
Chapter IX 1814
Chapter X 1814-15
Chapter XI 1815
Chapter XII 1815
Vol III Appendix
Vol. IV Contents.
Chapter I 1816
Chapter II 1817
Chapter III 1817
Chapter IV 1818
Chapter V 1818
Chapter VI 1818
Chapter VII 1818-19
Chapter VIII 1819
Chapter IX 1819
Chapter X 1819
Chapter XI 1820
Chapter XII 1820
Vol. V Contents.
Chapter I 1820
Chapter II 1820-21
Chapter III 1821
Chapter IV 1821
Chapter V 1821
Chapter VI 1821
Chapter VII 1822
Chapter VIII 1822
Chapter IX 1822-23
Chapter X 1823
Chapter XI 1823
Chapter XII 1824
Chapter XIII 1824-25
Vol. VI Contents.
Chapter I 1825
Chapter II 1825
Chapter III 1825
Chapter IV 1825
Chapter V 1826
Chapter VI 1826
Chapter VII 1826
Chapter VIII 1826
Chapter IX 1826
Chapter X 1826
Chapter XI 1826
Vol. VII Contents.
Vol VII Preface
Chapter I 1826-27
Chapter II 1827
Chapter III 1828
Chapter IV 1828
Chapter V 1829
Chapter VI 1830
Chapter VII 1830-31
Chapter VIII 1831
Chapter IX 1831
Chapter X 1831-32
Chapter XI 1832
Chapter XII
Vol VII Appendix
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“Abbotsford, 27th March, 1822.
“My dear Lord,

“I should be very unworthy of so great a proof of your regard, did I not immediately assure you of the pleasure with which I will contribute the head you wish to the halls of Ditton. I know no place where the substance has been so happy, and, therefore, the shadow may be so far well placed. I will not suffer this important affair to languish so far as I am concerned, but will arrange with Raeburn when I return to Edinburgh in May. Allan is not in the ordinary habit of doing portraits, and as he is really a rising historical painter, I should be sorry to see him seduced into the lucrative branch which carries off most artists of that description. If he goes on as he has begun, the young Duke may one day patronise the Scottish Arts, so far as to order a picture of the “Releasing” of Kinmont Willie* from him. I agree entirely with your Lordship’s idea of leaving the young chief to have the grace of forming his own ideas on many points, contenting yourself with giving him such principles as may enable him to judge rightly. I believe more youths of high expectation have bolted from the course, merely because well-meaning friends had taken too much care to rope it in, than from any other reason whatever. There is in youth a feeling of independence, a desire, in short, of being their own master, and enjoying their own free agency, which is

* See, in the Border Minstrelsy (vol. ii. p. 32), the capital old ballad on this dashing exploit of “the Bold Buccleuch” of Queen Elizabeth’s time.

not always attended to by guardians and parents, and hence the best laid schemes fail in execution from being a little too prominently brought forward. I trust that Walter, with the good sense which he seems to possess, will never lose that most amiable characteristic of his father’s family, the love and affection which all the members of it have, for two generations, borne to each other, and which has made them patterns as well as blessings to the country they lived in. I have few happier days to look forward to, and yet, like all happiness which comes to grey-headed men, it will have a touch of sorrow in it, than that in which he shall assume his high situation with the resolution which I am sure he will have to be a good friend to the country in which he has so large a stake, and to the multitudes which must depend upon him for protection, countenance, and bread. Selfish feelings are so much the fashion among fashionable men—it is accounted so completely absurd to do any thing which is not to contribute more or less directly to the immediate personal eclat or personal enjoyment of the party—that young men lose sight of real power and real importance, the foundation of which must be laid, even selfishly considered, in contributing to the general welfare,—like those who have thrown their bread on the waters, expecting, and surely receiving, after many days, its return in gratitude, attachment, and support of every kind. The memory of the most splendid entertainment passes away with the season, but the money and pains bestowed upon a large estate not only contribute to its improvement, but root the bestower in the hearts of hundreds over hundreds; should these become needful he is sure to exercise a correspondent influence. I cannot look forward to these as settled times. In the retrenchments proposed, Government agree to diminish
MARCH, 1822.167
their own influence, and while they contribute a comparative trifle to the relief of the public burdens, are making new discontents among those who, for interest’s sake at least, were their natural adherents. In this they are acting weakly, and trying to soothe the insatiate appetite of innovation, by throwing down their outworks, as if that which renders attack more secure and easy would diminish the courage of the assailants. Last year the manufacturing classes were rising—this year the agricultural interest is discontented, and whatever temporary relief either class receives will indeed render them quiet for the moment, but not erase from their minds the rooted belief that the government and constitution of this country are in fault for their embarrassments. Well, I cannot help it, and therefore will not think about it, for that at least I can help.
‘Time and the hour run through the roughest day.’

“We have had dreadful tempests here of wind and rain, and for a variety a little snow. I assure you it is as uncommon to see a hill with snow on its top these two last seasons as to see a beau on the better side of thirty with powder in his hair. I built an ice-house last year and could get no ice to fill it—this year I took the opportunity of even poor twenty-four hours and packed it full of hard-rammed snow but lo, ye the snow is now in meditatione fugæ, and I wish I may have enough to cool a decanter when you come to Abbotsford, as I trust your Lordship will be likely to be here next autumn. It is worth while to come, were it but to see what a romance of a house I am making, which is neither to be castle nor abbey (God forbid!) but an old Scottish manor-house. I believe Atkinson is in despair with my whims, for he cries out yes—yes—yes—in a
tone which exactly signifies no—no—no—by no manner of means. Believe me always, my dear Lord, most gratefully yours,

Walter Scott.”