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Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
Sir Walter Scott, Journal, 8 April-25 May 1828

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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April 8.—Learning from Washington Irving’s description of Stratford, that the hall of Sir Thomas Lucy, the justice who rendered Warwickshire too hot for Shakspeare, was still extant, we went in quest of it.

“Charlecote is in high preservation, and inhabited by Mr Lucy, descendant of the worshipful Sir Thomas. The Hall is about three hundred years old, a brick mansion with a gate-house in advance. It is surrounded by venerable oaks, realizing the imagery which Shakspeare loved to dwell upon; rich verdant pastures extend on every side, and numerous herds of deer were reposing in the shade. All showed that the Lucy family had retained their ‘land and beeves.’ While we were surveying the antlered old hall, with its painted glass and family pictures, Mr Lucy came to welcome us in person, and to show the house, with the collection of paintings, which seems valuable.

“He told me the park from which Shakspeare stole the buck was not that which surrounds Charlecote, but belonged to a mansion at some distance, where Sir Thomas Lucy resided at the time of the trespass. The tradition went that they hid the buck in a barn, part of which was standing a few years ago, but now totally decayed. This park no longer belongs to the Lucys. The house bears no marks of decay, but seems the abode of ease and opulence. There were some fine old books, and I was told of many more which were not in order. How odd if a folio Shakspeare should be found amongst them. Our early breakfast did not permit taking advantage of an excellent repast offered by the kindness of Mr and Mrs Lucy, the last a lively Welshwoman. This visit gave me great pleasure; it really brought Justice Shallow freshly before my eyes;—the luces ‘which do become an old coat well,’* were

* Henry IV., Act III., Scene 2.

not more plainly portrayed in his own armorials in the hall window, than was his person in my mind’s eye. There is a picture shown as that of the old Sir Thomas, but
Mr Lucy conjectures it represents his son. There were three descents of the same name of Thomas. The portrait hath ‘the eye severe, and beard of formal cut,’ which fill up with judicial austerity the otherwise social physiognomy of the worshipful presence, with his ‘fair round belly, with good capon lined.’*

Regent’s Park, April 17.—Made up my journal, which had fallen something behind. In this phantasmagorial place the objects of the day come and depart like shadows. Went to Murray’s, where I met Mr Jacob, the great economist. He is proposing a mode of supporting the poor, by compelling them to labour under a species of military discipline. I see no objection to it, only it will make a rebellion to a certainty; and the tribes of Jacob will cut Jacob’s throat.†

Canning’s conversion from popular opinions was strangely brought round. While he was studying in the Temple, and rather entertaining revolutionary opinions, Godwin sent to say that he was coming to breakfast with him, to speak on a subject of the highest importance. Canning knew little of him, but received his visit, and learned to his astonishment, that in expectation of a new order of things, the English Jacobins designed to place him, Canning, at the head of their revolution. He was much struck, and asked time to think what course he should take—and having thought the matter over, he went to Mr Pitt, and made the Anti-Jacobin confession of faith, in which he persevered

* As You Like It, Act I., Scene 7.

† I believe Mr Jacob published at this time some tracts concerning the Poor Colonies instituted by the King of the Netherlands.

APRIL, 1828.125
until ——. Canning himself mentioned this to
Sir W. Knighton upon occasion of giving a place in the Charter-house of some ten pounds a-year to Godwin’s brother. He could scarce do less for one who had offered him the dictator’s curule chair.

“Dined with Rogers with all my own family, and met Sharp, Lord John Russell, Jekyll, and others. The conversation flagged as usual, and jokes were fired like minute-guns, producing an effect not much less melancholy. A wit should always have an atmosphere congenial to him, otherwise he will not shine.

April 18.—Breakfasted at Hampstead with Joanna Baillie, and found that gifted person extremely well, and in the display of all her native knowledge of character and benevolence. I would give as much to have a capital picture of her as for any portrait in the world. Dined with the Dean of Chester, Dr Philpotts
‘Where all above us was a solemn row
Of priests and deacons—so were all below.’*
There were the amiable Bishop of London (
Howley), Copplestone, whom I remember the first man at Oxford, now Bishop of Llandaff, and Dean of St Paul’s (strongly intelligent), and other dignitaries, of whom I knew less. It was a very pleasant day—the wigs against the wits for a guinea, in point of conversation. Anne looked queer, and much disposed to laugh, at finding herself placed betwixt two prelates in black petticoats.

April 19.—Breakfasted with Sir George Phillips. Had his receipt against the blossoms being injured by frost. It consists in watering them plentifully before sunrise. This is like the mode of thawing beef. We

* Crabbe’s Tale of ‘the Dumb Orators.’

had a pleasant morning, much the better that
Morritt was with us. Dined with Sir Robert Inglis, and met Sir Thomas Acland, my old and kind friend. I was happy to see him. He may be considered now as the head of the religious party in the House of Commons, a powerful body which Wilberforce long commanded. It is a difficult situation; for the adaptation of religious motives to earthly policy is apt among the infinite delusions of the human heart to be a snare. But I could confide much in Sir T. Acland’s honour and integrity. Bishop Bloomfield of Chester, one of the most learned prelates of the church, also dined.

April 22.—Sophia left this to take down poor Johnnie to Brighton. I fear—I fear—but we must hope the best. Anne went with her sister.

Lockhart and I dined with Sotheby, where we met a large party, the orator of which was that extraordinary man Coleridge. After eating a hearty dinner, during which he spoke not a word, he began a most learned harangue on the Samothracian Mysteries, which he regards as affording the germ of all tales about fairies past, present, and to come. He then diverged to Homer, whose Iliad he considered as a collection of poems by different authors, at different times, during a century. Morritt, a zealous worshipper of the old bard, was incensed at a system which would turn him into a polytheist, gave battle with keenness, and was joined by Sotheby. Mr Coleridge behaved with the utmost complaisance and temper, but relaxed not from his exertions. ‘Zounds, I was never so bethumped with words.’ Morritt’s impatience must have cost him an extra sixpence worth of snuff.

April 23.—Dined at Lady Davy’s with Lord
LONDON, APRIL, 1828.127
Lady Lansdowne and several other fine folks—my keys were sent to Bramah’s with my desk, so I have not had the means of putting down matters regularly for several days. But who cares for the whipp’d cream of London society?

April 24.—Spent the day in rectifying a road bill which drew a turnpike road through all the Darnickers’ cottages, and a good field of my own. I got it put to rights. I was in some apprehension of being obliged to address the Committee. I did not fear them, for I suppose they are no wiser or better in their capacity of legislators than I find them every day at dinner. But I feared for my reputation. They would have expected something better than the occasion demanded, or the individual could produce, and there would have been a failure. We had one or two persons at home in great wretchedness to dinner. I was not able to make any fight, and the evening went off as heavily as any I ever spent in the course of my life.

April 26.—We dined at Richardson’s with the two Chief Barons of England* and Scotland,† odd enough, the one being a Scotsman and the other an Englishman—far the pleasantest day we have had. I suppose I am partial, but I think the lawyers beat the bishops, and the bishops beat the wits.

April 26.—This morning I went to meet a remarkable man, Mr Boyd of the house of Boyd, Benfield, & Co., which broke for a very large sum at the beginning of the war. Benfield went to the devil I believe. Boyd, a man of very different stamp, went over to Paris to look after some large claims which his house had

* Sir William Alexander. Sir Samuel Shepherd.

on the French Government. They were such as, it seems, they could not disavow, however they might be disposed to do so. But they used every effort, by foul means and fair, to induce Mr Boyd to depart. He was reduced to poverty; he was thrown into prison: and the most flattering prospects were, on the other hand, held out to him if he would compromise his claims. His answer was uniform. It was the property, he said, of his creditors, and he would die ere he resigned it. His distresses were so great, that a subscription was made amongst his Scottish friends, to which I was a contributor, through the request of poor
Will Erskine. After the peace of Paris the money was restored, and, faithful to the last, Boyd laid the whole at his creditors’ disposal; stating, at the same time, that he was penniless unless they consented to allow him a moderate sum in name of per centage, in consideration of twenty years of exile, poverty, and danger, all of which evils he might have escaped by surrendering their rights. Will it be believed, that a muck-worm was base enough to refuse his consent to this deduction, alleging he had promised to his father, on his death-bed, never to compromise this debt? The wretch, however, was overpowered by the execrations of all around him, and concurred, with others, in setting apart for Mr Boyd a sum of L.40,000 or L.50,000 out of half a million. This is a man to whom statues should be erected, and pilgrims should go to see him. He is good looking, but old and infirm. Bright dark eyes and eyebrows contrast with his snowy hair, and all his features mark vigour of principle and resolution.

April 30.—We have Mr Adolphus, and his father, the celebrated lawyer, to breakfast, and I was greatly delighted with the information of the latter. A barrister
LONDON, MAY, 1828.129
of extended practice, if he has any talents at all, is the best companion in the world. Dined with
Lord Alvanley and met Lord Fitzroy Somerset, Marquis and Marchioness of Worcester, &c. Lord Alvanley’s wit made this party very pleasant, as well as the kind reception of my friends the Misses Arden.

May 1.—Breakfasted with Lord and Lady Francis Gower, and enjoyed the splendid treat of hearing Mrs Arkwright sing her own music, which is of the highest order—no forced vagaries of the voice, no caprices of tone, but all telling upon and increasing the feeling the words require. This is ‘marrying music to immortal verse.’ Most people place them on separate maintenance.*

May 2.—I breakfasted with a Mr ——, and narrowly escaped Mr Irving the celebrated preacher. The two ladies of his house seemed devoted to his opinions, and quoted him at every word. Mr —— himself made some apologies for the Millenium. He is a neat antiquary, who thinks he ought to have been a man of letters, and that his genius has been misdirected in

* Among other songs Mrs Arkwright (see ante, p. 77), delighted Sir Walter with her own set of—
“Farewell! Farewell!—the voice you hear
Has left its last soft tone with you,
Its next must join the seaward cheer,
And shout among the shouting crew,” &c.
He was sitting by me, at some distance from the lady, and whispered as she closed, “capital words whose are they?
Byron’s I suppose, but I don’t remember them.” He was astonished when I told him that they were his own in the Pirate—he seemed pleased at the moment—but said next minute—“You have distressed me—if memory goes, all is up with me, for that was always my strong point.”

turning towards the law. I endeavoured to combat this idea, which his handsome house and fine family should have checked. Compare his dwelling, his comforts, with poor
Tom Campbell’s.

May 5.—Breakfasted with Haydon, and sat for my head. I hope this artist is on his legs again. The King has given him a lift, by buying his clever picture of the Mock Election in the King’s Bench prison, to which he is adding a second part, representing the chairing of the member at the moment it was interrupted by the entry of the guards. Haydon was once a great admirer and companion of the champions of the Cockney school, and is now disposed to renounce them and their opinions. To this kind of conversation I did not give much way. A painter should have nothing to do with politics. He is certainly a clever fellow, but too enthusiastic, which, however, distress seems to have cured in some degree. His wife, a pretty woman, looked happy to see me, and that is something. Yet it was very little I could do to help them.*

May 8.—Dined with Mrs Alexander of Ballochmyle: Lord and Lady Meath, who were kind to us in Ireland, and a Scottish party, pleasant from having the broad accents and honest thoughts of my native land. A large circle in the evening. A gentleman came up to me and asked ‘If I had seen the Casket, a curious work, the most beautiful, the most highly ornamented,—and then the editor or editress—a female so interesting,—might he ask a very great favour?’ and

* Sir Walter had shortly before been one of the contributors to a subscription for Mr Haydon. The imprisonment from which this subscription relieved the artist produced, I need scarcely say, the picture mentioned in the Diary.

LONDON, MAY, 1828.131
out he pulled a piece of this pic-nic. I was really angry, and said for a subscription he might command me—for a contributor—No. This may be misrepresented, but I care not. Suppose this patron of the Muses gives five guineas to his distressed lady, he will think he does a great deal, yet he takes fifty from me with the calmest air in the world; for the communication is worth that if it be worth any thing. There is no equalizing in the proposal.

May 9.—Grounds of Foote’s farce of the Cozeners. Lady —— A certain Mrs Phipps audaciously set up in a fashionable quarter of the town as a person through whose influence, properly propitiated, favours and situations of importance might certainly be obtained always for a consideration. She cheated many people, and maintained the trick for months. One trick was to get the equipages of Lord North, and other persons of importance, to halt before her door, as if their owners were within. With respect to most of them, this was effected by bribing the drivers. But a gentleman who watched her closely, observed that Charles J. Fox actually left his carriage and went into the house, and this more than once. He was then, it must be noticed, in the Ministry. When Mrs Phipps was blown up, this circumstance was recollected as deserving explanation, which Fox readily gave at Brookes’ and elsewhere. It seems Mrs Phipps had the art to persuade him that she had the disposal of what was then called a hyæna, that is, an heiress—an immense Jamaica heiress, in whom she was willing to give or sell her interest to Charles Fox. Without having perfect confidence in the obliging proposal, the great statesman thought the thing worth looking after, and became so earnest in it, that Mrs Phipps was desirous to back out for fear of discovery.
With this view she made confession one fine morning, with many professions of the deepest feelings, that the hyæna had proved a frail monster, and given birth to a girl or boy—no matter which. Even this did not make Charles quit chase of the hyæna. He intimated that if the cash was plenty and certain, the circumstance might be overlooked. Mrs Phipps had nothing for it but to double the disgusting dose. ‘The poor child,’ she said, ‘was unfortunately of a mixed colour, somewhat tinged with the blood of Africa; no doubt Mr Fox was himself very dark, and the circumstance might not draw attention,’ &c. &c. This singular anecdote was touched upon by Foote, and is the cause of introducing the negress into the Cozeners, though no express allusion to Charles Fox was admitted. Lady —— tells me that, in her youth, the laugh was universal so soon as the black woman appeared. It is one of the numerous hits that will be lost to posterity.

“This day, at the request of Sir William Knighton, I sat to Northcote, who is to introduce himself in the same piece in the act of painting me, like some pictures of the Venetian school. The artist is an old man, low in stature, and bent with years—fourscore at least. But the eye is quick and the countenance noble. A pleasant companion, familiar with recollections of Sir Joshua, Samuel Johnson, Burke, Goldsmith, &c. His account of the last confirms all that we have heard of his oddities.

May 11.—Another long sitting to the old Wizard Northcote. He really resembles an animated mummy. Dined with his Majesty in a very private party, five or six only being present. I was received most kindly, as usual. It is impossible to conceive a more friendly manner than that his Majesty used towards me. I spoke to Sir William Knighton about the dedication of the
LONDON, MAY, 1828.133
collected novels, and he says it will be highly well taken.*

May 17.—A day of busy idleness. Richardson came and breakfasted with me, like a good fellow. Then I went to Mr Chantrey. Thereafter, about 12 o’clock, I went to breakfast the second at Lady Shelley’s, where there was a great morning party. A young lady begged a lock of my hair, which was not worth refusing. I stipulated for a kiss, which I was permitted to take. From this I went to the Duke of Wellington, who gave me some hints or rather details. Afterwards I drove out to Chiswick, where I had never been before. A numerous and gay party were assembled to walk and enjoy the beauties of that Palladian dome. The place and highly ornamented gardens belonging to it resemble a picture of Watteau. There is some affectation in the picture, but in the ensemble the original looked very well. The Duke of Devonshire received every one with the best possible manners. The scene was dignified by the presence of an immense elephant, who, under charge of a groom, wandered up and down, giving an air of Asiatic pageantry to the entertainment. I was never before sensible of the dignity which largeness of size and freedom of movement give to this otherwise very ugly animal. As I was to dine at Holland House, I did not partake in the magnificent repast which was offered to us, and took myself off about five o’clock. I contrived to make a demi-toilette at Holland House, rather than drive all the way to London. Rogers came to the dinner, which was very entertaining. Lady Holland pressed us to stay all night, which we did accordingly.

May 18.—The freshness of the air, the singing of

* The Magnum Opus was dedicated to King George IV.

the birds, the beautiful aspect of nature, the size of the venerable trees, gave me altogether a delightful feeling this morning. It seemed there was pleasure even in living and breathing without any thing else. We (i. e.
Rogers and I) wandered into a green lane, bordered with fine trees, which might have been twenty miles from a town. It will be a great pity when this ancient house must come down and give way to rows and crescents. It is not that Holland House is fine as a building,—on the contrary it has a tumble-down look; and although decorated with the bastard Gothic of James I.’s time, the front is heavy. But it resembles many respectable matrons, who having been absolutely ugly during youth, acquire by age an air of dignity. But one is chiefly affected by the air of deep seclusion which is spread around the domain.

May 19.—Dined by command with the Duchess of Kent. I was very kindly recognised by Prince Leopold—and presented to the little Princess Victoria—I hope they will change her name—the heir-apparent to the crown as things now stand. How strange that so large and fine a family as that of his late Majesty should have died off, or decayed into old age, with so few descendants. Prince George of Cumberland is, they say, a fine boy about nine years old—a bit of a Pickle. This little lady is educating with much care, and watched so closely that no busy maid has a moment to whisper, ‘You are heir of England.’ I suspect if we could dissect the little heart, we should find that some pigeon or other bird of the air had carried the matter. She is fair, like the Royal family—the Duchess herself very pleasing and affable in her manners. I sat by Mr Spring Rice, a very agreeable man. There were also Charles Wynn and his lady—and the evening, for a court evening, went agreeably
off. I am commanded for two days by Prince Leopold, but will send excuses.

May 24.—This day dined at Richmond Park with Lord Sidmouth. Before dinner his Lordship showed me letters which passed between his father, Dr. Addington, and the great Lord Chatham. There was much of that familiar friendship which arises, and must arise, between an invalid, the head of an invalid family, and their medical adviser, supposing the last to be a wise and wellbred man. The character of Lord Chatham’s handwriting is strong and bold, and his expressions short and manly. There are intimations of his partiality for William, whose health seems to have been precarious during boyhood. He talks of William imitating him in all he did, and calling for ale because his father was recommended to drink it. ‘If I should smoke,’ he said, ‘William would instantly call for a pipe;’ and, he wisely infers, ‘I must take care what I do.’ The letters of the late William Pitt are of great curiosity; but as, like all real letters of business, they only allude to matters with which his correspondent is well acquainted, and do not enter into details, they would require an ample commentary. I hope Lord Sidmouth will supply this, and have urged it as much as I can. I think, though I hate letters, and abominate interference, I will write to him on this subject. Here I met my old and much esteemed friend, Lord Stowell, looking very frail and even comatose. Quantum mutatus. He was one of the pleasantest men I ever knew.

“Respecting the letters, I picked up from those of Pitt that he was always extremely desirous of peace with France, and even reckoned upon it at a moment when he ought to have despaired. I suspect this false view of the state of France (for such it was) which in-
duced the British Minister to look for peace when there was no chance of it, damped his ardour in maintaining the war. He wanted the lofty ideas of his father—you read it in his handwriting, great statesman as he was. I saw a letter or two of
Burke’s, in which there is an epanchement de cœur not visible in those of Pitt, who writes like a Premier to his colleague. Burke was under the strange hallucination that his son, who predeceased him, was a man of greater talents than himself. On the contrary, he had little talent, and no nerve. On moving some resolutions in favour of the Catholics, which were ill-received by the House of Commons, young Burke actually ran away, which an Orangeman compared to a cross-reading in the newspapers. ‘Yesterday the Catholic resolutions were moved, &c. but the pistol missing fire, the villains ran off!!’”

May 25.—After a morning of letter-writing, leave-taking, papers destroying, and God knows what trumpery, Sophia and I set out for Hampton Court, carrying with us the following lions and lionesses—Samuel Rogers, Tom Moore, Wordsworth, with wife and daughter. “We were very kindly and properly received by Walter and his wife, and had a very pleasant day. At parting Rogers gave me a gold-mounted pair of glasses, which I will not part with in a hurry. I really like S. R., and have always found him most friendly.”