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The Life and Letters of John Gibson Lockhart
Chapter 14: 1826-32
Sir Walter Scott to John Gibson Lockhart, 26 October 1828

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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Produced by CATH
Abbotsford, 26th October 1828.

My dear John,—I cannot repress the strong desire I have to express my regret at some parts of your kind letter, just received. I shall lament most truly a purple article at this moment, when a strong, plain, moderate statement, not railing at Catholics and their religion, but reprobating the conduct of the Irish Catholics, and pointing out the necessary effects which that conduct must have on the Catholic question, would have a powerful effect, and might really serve king and country. Nothing the agitators desire so much as to render the broil general, as a quarrel between Catholic and Protestant; nothing so essential to the Protestant cause as to confine it to its real issues. Southey, as much a fanatic as e’er a Catholic of them all, will, I fear, pass this most necessary landmark of debate. I like his person, admire his genius, and respect his immense erudition, but non omnia possumus: in point of reasoning and political judgment he is a perfect Harpade—nothing better than a wild bull. The circumstances require the interference of vir pietate gravis, and you bring in a Highland piper

1 Quarterly Review, October 1828, p. 598.

to blow a Highland charge, the more mischievous that it possesses much wild power of inflaming the passions.

“Your idea is, that you must give Southey his swing in this matter, or he will quit the Review. This is just a pilot saying, ‘If I do not give the helm to such a passenger he will quit the ship.’ Let him quit and be d——d. My own confidence is, you know, entirely in the Duke. As Bruce said to the Lord of the Isles at Bannockburn, ‘My faith is constant in thee.’ Now a hurly-burly charge may derange his line of battle, and therein be of the most fatal consequence. For God’s sake, avail yourself of the communication I opened while in town, and do not act without it.

“Send this letter to the Duke of Wellington if you will. He will appreciate the motives that dictate it. If he approves of a calm, moderate, but firm statement, showing the unreasonable course pursued by the Catholics as the great impediment to their own wishes, write such an article yourself—no one can make a more impressive appeal to common sense than you can. The circumstances of the times are—must be—an apology for disappointing Southey; but nothing can be an apology for indulging him at the expense of aggravating public disturbance, which, for one, I see with great apprehension. It has not yet come our length.

“If the Duke says nothing on the subject, you can slip your Derwentwater greyhound if you like it.
I write hastily but most anxiously. . . . —Always yours, my dear

Walter Scott.”