LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
Chapter IV 1821

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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On the 4th of June, Scott being then on one of his short Sessional visits to Abbotsford, received the painful intelligence that his friend John Ballantyne’s maladies had begun to assume an aspect of serious and even immediate danger. The elder brother made the communication in these terms:

To Sir Walter Scott, Bart, of Abbotsford, Melrose.
“Edinburgh, Sunday, 3d June, 1821.
“Dear Sir,

“I have this morning had a most heart-breaking letter from poor John, from which the following is an extract. You will judge how it has affected me, who, with all his peculiarities of temper, love him very much. He says—

‘A spitting of blood has commenced, and you may guess the situation into which I am plunged. We are all accustomed to consider death as certainly inevitable; but his obvious approach is assuredly the most detestable
and abhorrent feeling to which human nature can be subject.’

“This is truly doleful. There is something in it more absolutely bitter to my heart than what I have otherwise suffered. I look back to my mother’s peaceful rest, and to my infant’s blessedness—if life be not the extinguishable worthless spark which I cannot think it—but here, cut off in the very middle of life, with good means and strong powers of enjoying it, and nothing but reluctance and repining at the close—I say the truth when I say that I would joyfully part with my right arm, to avert the approaching result. Pardon this, dear sir; my heart and soul are heavy within me.

With the deepest respect and gratitude,
J. B.

At the date of this letter, the invalid was in Roxburghshire; but he came to Edinburgh a day or two afterwards, and died there on the 16th of the same month. I accompanied Sir Walter when one of their last interviews took place, and John’s death-bed was a thing not to be forgotten. We sat by him for perhaps an hour, and I think half that space was occupied with his predictions of a speedy end, and details of his last will, which he had just been executing, and which lay on his coverlid; the other half being given, five minutes or so at a time, to questions and remarks, which intimated that the hope of life was still flickering before him—nay, that his interest in all its concerns remained eager. The proof-sheets of a volume of his Novelist’s Library lay also by his pillow; and he passed from them to his will, and then back to them, as by jerks and starts the unwonted veil of gloom closed upon his imagination, or was withdrawn again. He had, as he said, left his great friend and patron L.2000 towards the completion of the
new Library at Abbotsford—and the spirit of the auctioneer virtuoso flashed up as he began to describe what would, he thought, be the best style and arrangement of the book-shelves. He was interrupted by an agony of asthma, which left him with hardly any signs of life; and ultimately he did expire in a fit of the same kind. Scott was visibly and profoundly shaken by this scene and its sequel. As we stood together a few days afterwards, while they were smoothing the turf over John’s remains in the Canongate Churchyard, the heavens, which had been dark and slaty, cleared up suddenly, and the midsummer sun shone forth in his strength. Scott, ever awake to the “skiey influences,” cast his eye along the overhanging line of the Calton Hill, with its gleaming walls and towers, and then turning to the grave again, “I feel,” he whispered in my ear, “I feel as if there would be less sunshine for me from this day forth.”

As we walked homewards, Scott told me, among other favourable traits of his friend, one little story which I must not omit. He remarked one day to a poor student of divinity attending his auction, that he looked as if he were in bad health. The young man assented with a sigh. “Come,” said Ballantyne, “I think I ken the secret of a sort of draft that would relieve you particularly,” he added, handing him a cheque for L.5 or L.10—“particularly, my dear, if taken upon an empty stomach.”

John died in his elder brother’s house in St John Street; a circumstance which it gives me pleasure to record, as it confirms the impression of their affectionate feelings towards each other at this time, which the reader must have derived from James’s letter to Scott last quoted. Their confidence and cordiality had undergone considerable interruption in the latter part of John’s life; but the close was in all respects fraternal.

A year and half before John’s exit, namely, on the
last day of 1819, he happened to lay his hand on an old pocketbook, which roused his reflections, and he filled two or three of its pages with a brief summary of the most active part of his life, which I think it due to his character, as well as
Sir Walter Scott’s, to transcribe in this place.

“31st Dec. 1819. In moving a bed from the fire-place to-day up stairs, I found an old memorandum-book, which enables me to trace the following recollections of this day, the last of the year.

“1801. A shopkeeper in Kelso; at this period my difficulties had not begun in business; was well, happy, and 27 years old; new then in a connexion which afterwards gave me great pain, but can never be forgotten.

“1802. 28 old: In Kelso as before—could scarcely be happier—hunted, shot, kept ********’s company, and neglected business, the fruits whereof I soon found.

“1803. 29: Still fortunate, and happy from same cause. James in Edinburgh thriving as a printer. When I was ennuied at home, visited him. Business neglected every way.

“1804. 30: Material change; getting into difficulties; all wrong, and changes in every way approaching.

“1805. 31: All consummated; health miserable all summer, and * * * designated in an erased mem., the scoundrel. I yet recollect the cause—can I ever forget it? My furniture, goods, &c. sold at Kelso, previous to my going to Edinburgh to become my brother’s clerk; whither I did go, for which God be praised eternally, on Friday, 3d January, 1806, on L.200 a-year. My effects at Kelso, with labour, paid my debts, and left me pennyless.

“From this period till 1808. 34: I continued in this situation—then the scheme of a bookselling concern in Hanover Street was adopted, which I was to manage; it was L.300 a-year, and one-fourth of the profits besides.

“1809. 35: Already the business in Hanover Street getting into difficulty, from our ignorance of its nature, and most extravagant and foolish advances from its funds to the printing concern. I ought to have resisted this, but I was thoughtless, although not young, or rather reckless, and lived on as long as I could make ends meet.

“1810. 36: Bills increasing—the destructive system of accommodations adopted.


“1811. 37: Bills increased to a most fearful degree. Sir Wm. Forbes and Co. shut their account. No bank would discount with us, and every thing leading to irretrievable failure.

“1812. 38: The first partner stepped in, at a crisis so tremendous, that it yet shakes my soul to think of it. By the most consummate wisdom, and resolution, and unheard-of exertions, he put things in a train that finally (so early as 1817) paid even himself (who ultimately became the sole creditor of the house) in full, with a balance of a thousand pounds.

“1813. 39: In business as a literary auctioneer in Prince’s Street; from which period to the present I have got gradually forward, both in that line and as third of a partner of the works of the Author of Waverley, so that I am now, at 45, worth about (I owe L.2000) L.5000, with, however, alas! many changes—my strong constitution much broken; my father and mother dead, and James estranged—the chief enjoyment and glory of my life being the possession of the friendship and confidence of the greatest of men.”

In communicating John’s death to the Cornet, Sir Walter says, “I have had a very great loss in poor John Ballantyne, who is gone, after a long illness. He persisted to the very last in endeavouring to take exercise, in which he was often imprudent, and was up and dressed the very morning before his death. In his will the grateful creature has left me a legacy of L.2000, life-rented, however, by his wife; and the rest of his little fortune goes betwixt his two brothers. I shall miss him very much, both in business, and as an easy and lively companion, who was eternally active and obliging in whatever I had to do.”

I am sorry to take leave of John Ballantyne with the remark, that his last will was a document of the same class with too many of his states and calendars. So far from having L.2000 to bequeath to Sir Walter, he died as he had lived, ignorant of the situation of his affairs, and deep in debt.


The two following letters, written at Blair-Adam, where the Club were, as usual, assembled for the dog-days, have been selected from among several which Scott at this time addressed to his friends in the South, with the view of promoting Mr Mackay’s success in his debut on the London boards as Bailie Jarvie.

“To Miss Joanna Baillie, Hampstead.

“The immediate motive of my writing to you, my dearest friend, is to make Mrs Agnes and you aware that a Scots performer, called Mackay, is going up to London to play Bailie Nicol Jarvie for a single night at Covent Garden, and to beg you of all dear loves to go and see him; for, taking him in that single character, I am not sure I ever saw any thing in my life possessing so much truth and comic effect at the same time: he is completely the personage of the drama, the purse-proud consequential magistrate, humane and irritable in the same moment, and the true Scotsman in every turn of thought and action: his variety of feelings towards Rob Roy, whom he likes, and fears, and despises, and admires, and pities all at once, is exceedingly well expressed. In short, I never saw a part better sustained, certainly; I pray you to collect a party of Scotch friends to see it. I have written to Sotheby to the same purpose, but I doubt whether the exhibition will prove as satisfactory to those who do not know the original from which the resemblance is taken. I observe the English demand (as is natural), broad caricature in the depicting of national peculiarities: they did so as to the Irish till Jack Johnstone taught them better, and at first I should fear Mackay’s reality will seem less ludicrous than Liston’s humorous extravagances. So let it not be said that a dramatic genius of Scotland wanted the countenance and protection of Joanna Baillie: the Doctor
Mrs Baillie will be much diverted if they go also, but somebody said to me that they were out of town. The man, I am told, is perfectly respectable in his life and habits, and consequently deserves encouragement every way. There is a great difference betwixt his bailie and all his other performances: one would think the part made for him, and him for the part—and yet I may do the poor fellow injustice, and what we here consider as a falling off may arise from our identifying Mackay so completely with the worthy Glasgow magistrate, that recollections of Nicol Jarvie intrude upon us at every corner, and mar the personification of any other part which he may represent for the time.

“I am here for a couple of days with our Chief Commissioner, late Willie Adam, and we had yesterday a delightful stroll to Castle Campbell, the Rumbling Brig, Cauldron Linns, &c: the scenes are most romantic, and I know not by what fatality it has been, that living within a step of them, I never visited any of them before. We had Sir Samuel Shepherd with us, a most delightful person, but with too much English fidgetiness about him for crags and precipices,—perpetually afraid that rocks would give way under his weight which had over-brow’d the torrent for ages, and that good well-rooted trees, moored so as to resist ten thousand tempests, would fall because he grasped one of their branches: he must certainly be a firm believer in the simile of the lover of your native land, who complains—
‘I leant my back unto an aik,
I thought it was a trusty tree,
But first it bow’d and then it brake,’ &c. &c. &c.
Certes these Southrons lack much the habits of the wood and wilderness, for here is a man of taste and genius, a fine scholar and a most interesting companion, haunted with fears that would be entertained by no shop-
keeper from the Luckenbooths or the Saut Market. A sort of Cockneyism of one kind or another pervades their men of professional habits, whereas every Scotchman, with very few exceptions, holds country exercises of all kinds to be part of his nature, and is ready to become a traveller or even a soldier on the slightest possible notice. The habits of the moorfowl shooting, salmon-fishing, and so forth, may keep this much up among the gentry, a name which our pride and pedigree extend so much wider than in England; and it is worth notice that these amusements being cheap and tolerably easy come at by all the petty dunnywassels, have a more general influence on the national character than fox-hunting, which is confined to those who can mount and keep a horse worth at least 100 guineas. But still this hardly explains the general and wide difference betwixt the countries in this particular. Happen how it will, the advantage is much in favour of Scotland: it is true that it contributes to prevent our producing such very accomplished lawyers, divines, or artisans* as when the whole mind is bent with undivided attention upon attaining one branch of knowledge,—but it gives a strong and muscular character to the people in general, and saves men from all sorts of causeless fears and flutterings of the heart, which give quite as much misery as if there were real cause for en-

* The great engineer, James Watt of Birmingham in whose talk Scott took much delight—told him, that though hundreds probably of his northern countrymen had sought employment at his establishment, he never could get one of them to become a first rate artisan. “Many of them,” said he, “were too good for that, and rose to be valuable clerks and book-keepers; but those incapable of this sort of advancement had always the same insuperable aversion to toiling so long at any one point of mechanism as to gain the highest wages among the workmen.” I have no doubt Sir Walter was thinking of Mr Watt’s remark when he wrote the sentence in the text.

tertaining apprehension. This is not furiously to the purpose of my letter, which, after recommending
Monsieur Mackay, was to tell you that we are all well and happy. Sophia is getting stout and pretty, and is one of the wisest and most important little mammas that can be seen any where. Her bower is bigged in gude green wood, and we went last Saturday in a body to enjoy it, and to consult about furniture, and we have got the road stopt which led up the hill, so it is now quite solitary, and approached through a grove of trees, actual well grown trees, not Lilliputian forests like those of Abbotsford. The season is dreadfully backward. Our ashes and oaks are not yet in leaf, and will not be, I think, in any thing like full foliage this year, such is the rigour of the east winds. Always, my dear and much respected friend, most affectionately yours,

W. Scott.
Blair-Adam, 11 June, 1821,
In full sight of Lochleven.

“P. S.—Pray read, or have read to you by Mrs Agnes, the Annals of the Parish. Mr Galt wrote the worst tragedies ever seen, and has now written a most excellent novel, if it can be called so.”

To the Lord Montagu, &c. &c. London.
“Blair-Adam, June 11, 1821.
“My dear Lord,

“There is a man going up from Edinburgh to play one night at Covent Garden, whom, as having the very unusual power of presenting on the stage a complete Scotsman, I am very desirous you should see. He plays Bailie Nicol Jarvie in Rob Roy, but with a degree of national truth and understanding, which makes the part equal to any thing I have ever seen on the stage, and I have seen all the best come-
dians for these forty years. I wish much, if you continue in town till he comes up, that you would get into some private box and take a look of him. Sincerely, it is a real treat—the English will not enjoy it, for it is not broad enough, or sufficiently caricatured for their apprehensions, but to a Scotsman it is inimitable, and you have the Glasgow Bailie before you, with all his bustling conceit and importance, his real benevolence, and his irritable habits. He will want in London a fellow who, in the character of the Highland turnkey, held the back-hand to him admirably well. I know how difficult it is for folks of condition to get to the theatre, but this is worth an exertion, and, besides, the poor man (who I understand is very respectable in private life) will be, to use an admirable simile (by which one of your father’s farmers persuaded the Duke to go to hear his son, a probationer in divinity, preach his first sermon in the town of Ayr), like a cow in a fremd loaning, and glad of Scots countenance.

“I am glad the Duke’s cold is better—his stomach will not be put to those trials which ours underwent in our youth, when deep drinking was the fashion. I hope he will always be aware, however, that his is not a strong one.

Campbell’s Lives of the Admirals is an admirable book, and I would advise your Lordship e’en to redeem your pledge to the Duke on some rainy day. You do not run the risk from the perusal which my poor mother apprehended. She always alleged it sent her eldest son to the navy, and did not see with indifference any of her younger olive branches engaged with Campbell except myself, who stood in no danger of the cockpit or quarterdeck. I would not swear for Lord John though. Your Lordship’s tutor was just such a well-meaning person as mine, who used to take from me old Lindsay of Pits-
cottie, and set me down to get by heart
Rollin’s infernal list of the Shepherd Kings, whose hard names could have done no good to any one on earth, unless he had wished to raise the devil, and lacked language to conjure with.—Always, my dear Lord, most truly yours,

Walter Scott.”

The coronation of George IV., preparations for which were (as has been seen) in active progress by March, 1820, had been deferred, in consequence of the unhappy affair of the Queen’s Trial. The 19th of July, 1821, was now announced for this solemnity, and Sir Walter resolved to be among the spectators. It occurred to him that if the Ettrick Shepherd were to accompany him, and produce some memorial of the scene likely to catch the popular ear in Scotland, good service might thus be done to the cause of loyalty; but this was not his only consideration. Hogg had married a handsome and most estimable young woman, a good deal above his own original rank in life, the year before; and expecting with her a dowry of L.1000, he had forthwith revived the grand ambition of an earlier day, and become a candidate for an extensive farm on the Buccleuch estate, at a short distance from Altrive Lake. Various friends, supposing his worldly circumstances to be much improved, had supported his application, and Lord Montagu had received it in a manner for which the Shepherd’s letters to Scott express much gratitude. Misfortune pursued the Shepherd—the unforeseen bankruptcy of his wife’s father interrupted the stocking of the sheep walk; and the arable part of the new possession was sadly mismanaged by himself. Scott hoped that a visit to London, and a coronation poem, or pamphlet, might end in some pension or post that would relieve these difficulties, and he wrote to Hogg, urging him to come to Edinburgh, and
embark with him for the great city. Not doubting that this proposal would be eagerly accepted, he, when writing to
Lord Sidmouth, to ask a place for himself in the Hall and Abbey of Westminster, mentioned that Hogg was to be his companion, and begged suitable accommodation for him also. Lord Sidmouth, being overwhelmed with business connected with the approaching pageant, answered by the pen of the Under-Secretary of State, Mr Hobhouse, that Sir Walter’s wishes, both as to himself and the Shepherd, should be gratified, provided they would both dine with him the day after the coronation, in Richmond park, “where,” says the letter before me, “his Lordship will invite the Duke of York and a few other Jacobites to meet you.” All this being made known to the tenant of Mount-Benger, he wrote to Scott, as he says, ‘with the tear in his eye,’ to signify, that if he went to London, he must miss attending the great annual Border fair, held on St Boswell’s Green, in Roxburghshire, on the 18th of every July; and that his absence from that meeting so soon after entering upon business as a store-farmer, would be considered by his new compeers as highly imprudent and discreditable. “In short,” James concludes, “the thing is impossible. But as there is no man in his Majesty’s dominions admires his great talents for government, and the energy and dignity of his administration so much as I do, I will write something at home, and endeavour to give it you before you start.” The Shepherd probably expected that these pretty compliments would reach the royal ear; but however that may have been, his own Muse turned a deaf ear to him—at least I never heard of any thing that he wrote on this occasion.

Scott embarked without him, on board a new steamship called the City of Edinburgh, which, as he suggested to the master, ought rather to have been christened
the New Reekie. This vessel was that described and lauded in the following letter:—

To the Lord Montagu, &c. &c.
“Edinburgh, July 1, 1821.
“My dear Lord,

“I write just now to thank you for your letter. I have been on board the steam-ship, and am so delighted with it, that I think I shall put myself aboard for the coronation. It runs at nine knots an hour (me ipso teste), against wind and tide, with a deck as long as a frigate’s to walk upon, and to sleep on also, if you like, as I have always preferred a cloak and a mattrass to these crowded cabins. This reconciles the speed and certainty of the mail-coach with the ease and convenience of being on ship-board. So I really think I will run up to see the grandee show and run down again. I scorn to mention economy, though the expense is not one-fifth, and that is something in hard times, especially to me, who to choose, would always rather travel in a public conveyance, than with my domestic’s good company in a po-chay.

“But now comes the news of news. I have been instigating the great Caledonian Boar, James Hogg, to undertake a similar trip—with the view of turning an honest penny, to help out his stocking, by writing some sort of Shepherd’s Letters, or the like, to put the honest Scots bodies up to this whole affair. I am trying with Lord Sidmouth to get him a place among the newspaper gentry to see the ceremony. It is seriously worth while to get such a popular view of the whole, as he will probably hit off.

“I have another view for this poor fellow. You have heard of the Royal Literary Society, and how they propose to distribute solid pudding, alias pensions,
JULY, 1821.87
to men of genius. It is, I think, a very problematical matter, whether it will do the good which is intended; but if they do mean to select worthy objects of encouragement, I really know nobody that has a better or an equal claim to poor
Hogg. Our friend Villiers takes a great charge of this matter, and good-naturedly forgave my stating to him a number of objections to the first concoction, which was to have been something resembling the French Academy. It has now been much modified. Perhaps there may be some means fallen upon, with your Lordship’s assistance, of placing Hogg under Mr Villiers’ view. I would have done so myself, but only, I have battled the point against the whole establishment so keenly, that it would be too bad to bring forward a protegé of my own to take the advantage of it. They intended at one time to give pensions of about L.100 a-year to thirty persons. I know not where they could find half-a-dozen with such pretensions as the Shepherd’s.

“There will be risk of his being lost in London, or kidnapped by some of those ladies who open literary menageries for the reception of lions. I should like to see him at a rout of blue-stockings. I intend to recommend him to the protection of John Murray the bookseller; and I hope he will come equipped with plaid, kent, and colley.*

“I wish to heaven Lord Melville would either keep the Admiralty, or in Hogg’s phrase—
——‘O I would eagerly press him
The keys of the east to require,’—

* Kent is the shepherd’s staff—Colley his dog. Scott alludes to the old song of the Lea Rig

“Nae herds wi’ kent and colley there,” &c.
for truly the Board of Control is the Corn Chest for Scotland, where we poor gentry must send our younger sons, as we send our black cattle to the south.

Ever most truly yours,
Walter Scott.”

From London, on the day after the coronation, Sir Walter addressed a letter, descriptive of the ceremonial, to his friend James Ballantyne, who published it in his newspaper. It has been since reprinted but not in any collection of Scott’s own writings; and I therefore insert it here. It will probably possess considerable interest for the student of English history and manners in future times; for the coronation of George the Fourth’s successor was conducted on a vastly inferior scale of splendour and expense and the precedent of curtailment in any such matters is now seldom neglected.

To the Editor of the Edinburgh Weekly Journal.
“London, July 20th, 1821.

“I refer you to the daily papers for the details of the great National Solemnity which we witnessed yesterday, and will hold my promise absolved by sending a few general remarks upon what I saw, with surprise amounting to astonishment, and which I shall never forget. It is, indeed, impossible to conceive a ceremony more august and imposing in all its parts, and more calculated to make the deepest impression both on the eye and on the feelings. The most minute attention must have been bestowed to arrange all the subordinate parts in harmony with the rest; so that, amongst so much antiquated ceremonial, imposing singular dresses, duties, and characters
upon persons accustomed to move in the ordinary routine of society, nothing occurred either awkward or ludicrous which could mar the general effect of the solemnity. Considering that it is but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous, I own I consider it as surprising that the whole ceremonial of the day should have passed away without the slightest circumstance which could derange the general tone of solemn feeling which was suited to the occasion.

“You must have heard a full account of the only disagreeable event of the day. I mean the attempt of the misguided lady, who has lately furnished so many topics of discussion, to intrude herself upon a ceremonial, where, not being in her proper place, to be present in any other must have been voluntary degradation. That matter is a fire of straw which has now burnt to the very embers, and those who try to blow it into life again, will only blacken their hands and noses, like mischievous children dabbling among the ashes of a bonfire. It seems singular, that being determined to be present at all hazards, this unfortunate personage should not have procured a Peer’s ticket, which, I presume, would have insured her admittance. I willingly pass to pleasanter matters.

“The effect of the scene in the Abbey was beyond measure magnificent. Imagine long galleries stretched among the aisles of that venerable and august pile—those which rise above the altar pealing back their echoes to a full and magnificent choir of music—those which occupied the sides filled even to crowding with all that Britain has of beautiful and distinguished, and the cross-gallery most appropriately occupied by the Westminster schoolboys, in their white surplices, many of whom might on that day receive impressions never to be lost
during the rest of their lives. Imagine this, I say, and then add the spectacle upon the floor—the altar surrounded by the Fathers of the Church—the King encircled by the Nobility of the land and the Counsellors of his throne, and by warriors, wearing the honoured marks of distinction bought by many a glorious danger—add to this the rich spectacle of the aisles crowded with waving plumage, and coronets, and caps of honour, and the sun, which brightened and saddened as if on purpose, now beaming in full lustre on the rich and varied assemblage, and now darting a solitary ray, which catched, as it passed, the glittering folds of a banner, or the edge of a group of battle-axes or partizans, and then rested full on some fair form, ‘the Cynosure of neighbouring eyes,’ whose circlet of diamonds glistened under its influence. Imagine all this, and then tell me if I have made my journey of four hundred miles to little purpose. I do not love your cui bono men, and therefore I will not be pleased if you ask me in the damping tone of sullen philosophy, what good all this has done the spectators? If we restrict life to its real animal wants and necessities, we shall indeed be satisfied with ‘food, clothes, and fire;’ but Divine Providence, who widened our sources of enjoyment beyond those of the animal creation, never meant that we should bound our wishes within such narrow limits; and I shrewdly suspect that those non est tanti gentlefolks only depreciate the natural and unaffected pleasure which men like me receive from sights of splendour and sounds of harmony, either because they would seem wiser than their simple neighbours at the expense of being less happy, or because the mere pleasure of the sight and sound is connected with associations of a deeper kind, to which they are unwilling to yield themselves.

“Leaving these gentlemen to enjoy their own wisdom,
I still more pity those, if there be any, who (being unable to detect a peg on which to hang a laugh) sneer coldly at this solemn festival, and are rather disposed to dwell on the expense which attends it, than on the generous feelings which it ought to awaken. The expense, so far as it is national, has gone directly and instantly to the encouragement of the British manufacturer and mechanic; and so far as it is personal to the persons of rank attendant upon the Coronation, it operates as a tax upon wealth and consideration for the benefit of poverty and industry; a tax willingly paid by the one class, and not the less acceptable to the other, because it adds a happy holiday to the monotony of a life of labour.

“But there were better things to reward my pilgrimage than the mere pleasures of the eye and ear; for it was impossible, without the deepest veneration, to behold the voluntary and solemn interchange of vows betwixt the King and his assembled People, whilst he, on the one hand, called God Almighty to witness his resolution to maintain their laws and privileges, whilst they called, at the same moment, on the Divine Being, to bear witness that they accepted him for their liege Sovereign, and pledged to him their love and their duty. I cannot describe to you the effect produced by the solemn, yet strange mixture of the words of Scripture, with the shouts and acclamations of the assembled multitude, as they answered to the voice of the Prelate who demanded of them whether they acknowledged as their Monarch the Prince who claimed the sovereignty in their presence. It was peculiarly delightful to see the King receive from the royal brethren, but in particular from the Duke of York, the fraternal kiss in which they acknowledged their sovereign. There was an honest tenderness, an affectionate and sincere reverence in the
embrace interchanged betwixt the Duke of York and his Majesty that approached almost to a caress, and impressed all present with the electrical conviction, that the nearest to the throne in blood was the nearest also in affection. I never heard plaudits given more from the heart than those that were thundered upon the royal brethren when they were thus pressed to each other’s bosoms,—it was an emotion of natural kindness, which, bursting out amidst ceremonial grandeur, found an answer in every British bosom. The King seemed much affected at this and one or two other parts of the ceremonial, even so much so, as to excite some alarm among those who saw him as nearly as I did. He completely recovered himself, however, and bore (generally speaking) the fatigue of the day very well. I learn from one near his person, that he roused himself with great energy, even when most oppressed with heat and fatigue, when any of the more interesting parts of the ceremony were to be performed, or when any thing- occurred which excited his personal and immediate attention. When presiding at the banquet amid the long line of his Nobles, he looked ‘every inch a King;’ and nothing could exceed the grace with which he accepted and returned the various acts of homage rendered to him in the course of that long day.

“It was also a very gratifying spectacle to those who think like me, to behold the Duke of Devonshire and most of the distinguished Whig nobility assembled round the throne on this occasion; giving an open testimony that the differences of political opinions are only skin-deep wounds, which assume at times an angry appearance, but have no real effect on the wholesome constitution of the country.

“If you ask me to distinguish who bore him best, and appeared most to sustain the character we annex to the
assistants in such a solemnity, I have no hesitation to name
Lord Londonderry, who, in the magnificent robes of the Garter, with the cap and high plume of the order, walked alone, and by his fine face, and majestic person, formed an adequate representative of the order of Edward III., the costume of which was worn by his Lordship only. The Duke of Wellington, with all his laurels, moved and looked deserving the baton, which was never grasped by so worthy a hand. The Marquis of Anglesea showed the most exquisite grace in managing his horse, notwithstanding the want of his limb, which he left at Waterloo. I never saw so fine a bridle-hand in my life, and I am rather a judge of ‘noble horsemanship.’ Lord Howard’s horse was worse bitted than those of the two former noblemen, but not so much so as to derange the ceremony of retiring back out of the Hall.

“The Champion was performed (as of right) by young Dymocke, a fine-looking youth, but bearing, perhaps, a little too much the appearance of a maiden-knight to be the challenger of the world in a King’s behalf. He threw down his gauntlet, however, with becoming manhood, and showed as much horsemanship as the crowd of knights and squires around him would permit to be exhibited. His armour was in good taste, but his shield was out of all propriety, being a round rondache, or Highland target, a defensive weapon, which it would have been impossible to use on horseback, instead of being a three-corner’d, or heater-shield, which in time of the tilt was suspended round the neck. Pardon this antiquarian scruple, which, you may believe, occurred to few but myself. On the whole, this striking part of the exhibition somewhat disappointed me, for I would have had the Champion less embarrassed by his assistants, and at liberty to put his horse on the grand
pas. And yet the young Lord of Scrivelsbaye looked and behaved extremely well.

“Returning to the subject of costume, I could not but admire what I had previously been disposed much to criticise,—I mean the fancy dress of the Privy-Councillors, which was of white and blue satin, with trunk-hose and mantles, after the fashion of Queen Elizabeth’s time. Separately, so gay a garb had an odd effect on the persons of elderly or ill-made men; but when the whole was thrown into one general body, all these discrepancies disappeared, and you no more observed the particular manner or appearance of an individual than you do that of a soldier in the battalion which marches past you. The whole was so completely harmonized in actual colouring, as well as in association with the general mass of gay and gorgeous and antique dress which floated before the eye, that it was next to impossible to attend to the effect of individual figures. Yet a Scotsman will detect a Scotsman amongst the most crowded assemblage, and I must say that the Lord Justice-Clerk of Scotland showed to as great advantage in his robes of Privy-Councillor as any by whom that splendid dress was worn on this great occasion. The common Court-dress, used by the Privy-Councillors at the last coronation, must have had a poor effect in comparison of the present, which formed a gradation in the scale of gorgeous ornament, from the unwieldy splendour of the heralds, who glowed like huge masses of cloth of gold and silver, to the more chastened robes and ermine of the Peers. I must not forget the effect produced by the Peers placing their coronets on their heads, which was really august.

“The box assigned to the foreign Ambassadors presented a most brilliant effect, and was perfectly in a
blaze with diamonds. When the sunshine lighted on
Prince Esterhazy, in particular, he glimmered like a galaxy. I cannot learn positively if he had on that renowned coat which has visited all the courts of Europe save ours, and is said to be worth L.100,000, or some such trifle, and which costs the Prince L.100 or two every time he puts it on, as he is sure to lose pearls to that amount. This was a hussar dress, but splendid in the last degree, perhaps too fine for good taste, at least it would have appeared so any where else. Beside the Prince sat a good-humoured lass, who seemed all eyes and ears (his daughter-in-law I believe), who wore as many diamonds as if they had been Bristol stones. An honest Persian was also a remarkable figure, from the dogged and imperturbable gravity with which he looked on the whole scene, without ever moving a limb or a muscle during the space of four hours. Like Sir Wilful Witwoud, I cannot find that your Persian is orthodox; for if he scorned every thing else, there was a Mahometan paradise extended on his right hand along the seats which were occupied by the Peeresses and their daughters, which the Prophet himself might have looked on with emotion. I have seldom seen so many elegant and beautiful girls as sat mingled among the noble matronage of the land; and the waving plumage of feathers, which made the universal head-dress, had the most appropriate effect in setting off their charms.

“I must not omit that the foreigners, who are apt to consider us as a nation en frac, and without the usual ceremonials of dress and distinction, were utterly astonished and delighted to see the revival of feudal dresses and feudal grandeur when the occasion demanded it, and that in a degree of splendour which they averred they had never seen paralleled in Europe.

“The duties of service at the Banquet, and of attend-
ance in general, was performed by pages drest very elegantly in Henri Quatre coats of scarlet, with gold lace, blue sashes, white silk hose, and white rosettes. There were also marshal’s-men for keeping order, who wore a similar dress, but of blue, and having white sashes. Both departments were filled up almost entirely by young gentlemen, many of them of the very first condition, who took these menial characters to gain admission to the show. When I saw many of my young acquaintance thus attending upon their fathers and kinsmen, the Peers, Knights, and so forth, I could not help thinking of
Crabbe’s lines, with a little alteration:—
’Twas schooling pride to see the menial wait,
Smile on his father and receive his plate.
It must be owned, however, that they proved but indifferent valets, and were very apt, like the clown in the pantomime, to eat the cheer they should have handed to their masters, and to play other tours de page, which reminded me of the caution of our proverb ‘not to man yourself with your kin.’ The Peers, for example, had only a cold collation, while the Aldermen of London feasted on venison and turtle; and similar errors necessarily befell others in the confusion of the evening. But these slight mistakes, which indeed were not known till afterwards, had not the slightest effect on the general grandeur of the scene.

“I did not see the procession between the Abbey and Hall. In the morning a few voices called, Queen, Queen, as Lord Londonderry passed, and even when the Sovereign appeared. But these were only signals for the loud and reiterated acclamations in which these tones of discontent were completely drowned. In the return, no one dissonant voice intimated the least dissent from the shouts of gratulation which poured from every quarter;
and certainly never Monarch received a more general welcome from his assembled subjects.

“You will have from others full accounts of the variety of entertainments provided for John Bull in the Parks, the River, in the Theatres, and elsewhere. Nothing was to be seen or heard but sounds of pleasure and festivity; and whoever saw the scene at any one spot, was convinced that the whole population was assembled there, while others found a similar concourse of revellers in every different point. It is computed that about five hundred thousand people shared in the Festival in one way or another; and you may imagine the excellent disposition by which the people were animated, when I tell you, that, excepting a few windows broken by a small body-guard of ragamuffins, who were in immediate attendance on the Great Lady in the morning, not the slightest political violence occurred to disturb the general harmony—and that the assembled populace seemed to be universally actuated by the spirit of the day, loyalty, namely, and good humour. Nothing occurred to damp those happy dispositions; the weather was most propitious, and the arrangements so perfect, that no accident of any kind is reported as having taken place.—And so concluded the coronation of George IV., whom God long preserve. Those who witnessed it have seen a scene calculated to raise the country in their opinion, and to throw into the shade all scenes of similar magnificence, from the Field of the Cloth of Gold down to the present day.

I remain, your obedient servant,
An Eyewitness.”

At the close of this brilliant scene, Scott received a mark of homage to his genius which delighted him not less than Laird Nippy’s reverence for the Sheriff’s Knoll,
and the Birmingham cutler’s dear acquisition of his signature on a visiting ticket. Missing his carriage, he had to return home on foot from Westminster, after the banquet—that is to say, between two and three o’clock in the morning;—when he and a young gentleman his companion found themselves locked in the crowd, somewhere near Whitehall, and the bustle and tumult were such that his friend was afraid some accident might happen to the lame limb. A space for the dignitaries was kept clear at that point by the Scots Greys. Sir Walter addressed a Serjeant of this celebrated regiment, begging to be allowed to pass by him into the open ground in the middle of the street. The man answered shortly that his orders were strict that the thing was impossible. While he was endeavouring to persuade the Serjeant to relent, some new wave of turbulence approached from behind, and his young companion exclaimed in a loud voice, “take care, Sir Walter Scott, take care!” The stalwart dragoon, on hearing the name, said, “What! Sir Walter Scott? He shall get through anyhow!” He then addressed the soldiers near him “make room, men, for Sir Walter Scott, our illustrious countryman!” The men answered, “Sir Walter Scott!—God bless him!”—and he was in a moment within the guarded line of safety.

I shall now take another extract from the memoranda, with which I have been favoured by my friend Allan Cunningham. After the particulars formerly quoted about Scott’s sitting to Chantrey in the spring of 1820, he proceeds as follows:—

“I saw Sir Walter again, when he attended the coronation, in 1821. In the meantime his bust had been wrought in marble, and the sculptor desired to take the
advantage of his visit to communicate such touches of expression or lineament as the new material rendered necessary. This was done with a happiness of eye and hand almost magical: for five hours did the poet sit, or stand, or walk, while
Chantrey’s chisel was passed again and again over the marble, adding something at every touch.

“‘Well, Allan,’ he said, when he saw me at this last sitting, ‘were you at the coronation? it was a splendid sight.’ ‘No, Sir Walter,’ I answered,—‘places were dear and ill to get: I am told it was a magnificent scene: but having seen the procession of King Crispin at Dumfries, I was satisfied.’ I said this with a smile; Scott took it as I meant it, and laughed heartily. ‘That’s not a bit better than Hogg,’ he said. ‘He stood balancing the matter whether to go to the coronation or the fair of Saint Boswell—and the fair carried it.’

“During this conversation, Mr Bolton the engineer came in. Something like a cold acknowledgment passed between the poet and him. On his passing into an inner room, Scott said, ‘I am afraid Mr Bolton has not forgot a little passage that once took place between us. We met in a public company, and in reply to the remark of some one, he said, “that’s like the old saying,—in every corner of the world you will find a Scot, a rat, and a Newcastle grindstone.” This touched my Scotch spirit, and I said, “Mr Bolton, you ought to have added, and a Birmingham button.” There was a laugh at this, and Mr Bolton replied, “we make something better in Birmingham than buttons—we make steam-engines, sir.”’

“‘I like Bolton,’ thus continued Sir Walter, ‘he is a brave man, and who can dislike the brave?—He showed this on a remarkable occasion. He had engaged to coin for some foreign prince a large quantity of gold. This was found out by some desperadoes, who resolved to
rob the premises, and as a preliminary step tried to bribe the porter. The porter was an honest fellow, he told Bolton that he was offered a hundred pounds to be blind and deaf next night. Take the money, was the answer, and I shall protect the place. Midnight came—the gates opened as if by magic, the interior doors, secured with patent locks, opened as of their own accord, and three men with dark lanterns entered and went straight to the gold. Bolton had prepared some flax steeped in turpentine—he dropt fire upon it, a sudden light filled all the place, and with his assistants he rushed forward on the robbers,—the leader saw in a moment he was betrayed, turned on the porter, and shooting him dead, burst through all obstruction, and with an ingot of gold in his hand, scaled the wall and escaped.’

“‘That is quite a romance in robbing,’ I said, and I had nearly said more, for the cavern scene and death of Meg Merrilees rose in my mind,—perhaps the mind of Sir Walter was taking the direction of the Solway too, for he said, ‘How long have you been from Nithsdale?’ ‘A dozen years.’ ‘Then you will remember it well. I was a visiter there in my youth; my brother was at Closeburn school, and there I found Creehope Linn, a scene ever present to my fancy. It is at once fearful and beautiful. The stream jumps down from the moorlands, saws its way into the free-stone rock of a hundred feet deep, and, in escaping to the plain, performs a thousand vagaries. In one part it has actually shaped out a little chapel, the peasants call it the Sutors’ Chair. There are sculptures on the sides of the linn too, not such as Mr Chantrey casts, but etchings scraped in with a knife perhaps, or a harrow-tooth.—Did you ever hear,’ said Sir Walter, ‘of Patrick Maxwell, who, taken prisoner by the king’s troops, escaped from them on his way to Edinburgh, by flinging himself into that dreadful
linn on Moffat water, called the Douglasses Beef-tub?’ ‘Frequently,’ I answered; ‘the country abounds with anecdotes of those days; the popular feeling sympathizes with the poor Jacobites, and has recorded its sentiments in many a tale and many a verse.’ ‘The
Ettrick Shepherd has collected not a few of those things,’ said Scott, ‘and I suppose many snatches of song may yet be found.’ C. ‘I have gathered many such things myself, Sir Walter, and as I still propose to make a collection of all Scottish songs of poetic merit, I shall work up many of my stray verses and curious anecdotes in the notes.’ S. ‘I am glad that you are about such a thing; any help which I can give you, you may command; ask me any questions, no matter how many, I shall answer them if I can. Don’t be timid in your selection; our ancestors fought boldly, spoke boldly, and sang boldly too. I can help you to an old characteristic ditty not yet in print:

‘There dwalt a man into the wast,
And O gin he was cruel,
For on his bridal night at e’en
He gat up and grat for gruel.
They brought to him a gude sheep’s head,
A bason, and a towel,
Gar take thae whim-whams far frae me,
I winna want my gruel.’

“C. I never heard that verse before; the hero seems related to the bridegroom of Nithsdale—
‘The bridegroom grat as the sun gade down,
The bridegroom grat as the sun gade down,
To ony man I’ll gie a hunder marks sae free,
This night that will bed wi’ a bride for me.’

“S. ‘A cowardly loon enough. I know of many crumbs and fragments of verse which will be useful to your work; the Border was once peopled with poets, for
every one that could fight could make ballads, some of them of great power and pathos. Some such people as the minstrels were living less than a century ago.’ C. ‘I knew a man, the last of a race of district tale-tellers, who used to boast of the golden days of his youth, and say, that the world, with all its knowledge, was grown sixpence a day worse for him.’ S. ‘How was that? how did he make his living? by telling tales, or singing ballads?’ C. ‘By both: he had a devout tale for the old, and a merry song for the young; he was a sort of beggar.’ S. ‘Out upon thee,
Allan, dost thou call that begging? Why, man, we make our bread by story-telling, and honest bread it is.’”

I ought not to close this extract, without observing that Sir F. Chantrey presented the original bust, of which Mr Cunningham speaks, to Sir Walter himself; by whose remotest descendants it will undoubtedly be held in additional honour on that account. The poet had the further gratification of learning that three copies were executed in marble before the original quitted the studio: One for Windsor Castle—a second for Apsley House—and a third for the friendly sculptor’s own private collection. The legitimate casts of this bust have since been multiplied beyond perhaps any example what ever. Mr Cunningham remembers not fewer than fifteen hundred of them (price four guineas each) being ordered for exportation—chiefly to the United States of America—within one year. Of the myriads, or rather millions, of inferior copies manufactured and distributed by unauthorized persons, it would be in vain to attempt any calculation.