LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life and Letters of John Gibson Lockhart
Chapter 12: 1821-25

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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CHIEFSWOOD, 1821-1825
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.

We have broken the continuous record of a time still uneventful, to speak of Lockhart’s prowess with the pencil, and of his qualities as a writer of verse. There is, indeed, nothing of note to be said about the movements “from the blue bed to the brown,” from Edinburgh to Chiefswood, where the nature of the pleasant life, with its guests, its rides, its visits to local shrines and friendly country houses, has been sufficiently described. Lockhart thought nothing, he says, in a letter, of riding after
dinner from Chiefswood to Edinburgh, if business or pleasure called him.

In that always dear and then still unspoiled land of many streams, where the day’s ride led up stately Tweed, or Ettrick, or Yarrow, or to the lochs whence Yarrow flows, or by brown Ail water, or broadening Teviot, life indeed “for ever flowed like a river.” But already there were sounds ominous of the coming straits and falls, and of the parting of the waters and the ways. In the course of the following chapter, we shall find Scott and Lockhart sundered, and the old happy time for ever ended.

In January 1824, a daughter was born to the Lockharts, and it seemed that their affections would no longer be settled on a single hope. On February 9, as Lockhart was obliged to go to Edinburgh, Scott talks of taking Mrs. Lockhart to Abbotsford. “Betwixt indolence of her own and Lockhart’s extreme anxiety and indulgence, she has foregone the custom of her exercise, to which, please God, we will bring her back by degrees.”1 On March 4, writing to Lady Abercorn, Scott mentions his uneasiness about Hugh Littlejohn, who “came to this world rather too early, and, though a pretty, clever, and very engaging infant, alarms me a little from the slenderness of his frame, and a sort of delicacy of health sometimes connected with premature development of intellect. Sophia was again

1Life,” vii. 232.

confined about two months ago, but lost her infant, and has had but a slow and precarious recovery, which, indeed, is yet far from complete. Her face,” Sir Walter says, “will soon attain its natural and most extensive circumference of half-a-crown.”1 He also attributes little Johnnie’s precocity to “being much with grown-up people; . . . yet an only child is like a blot at backgammon, and fate is apt to hit it.”

Lockhart himself writes, about the loss of the little girl—

My dearest Father,—It has pleased God to take our infant from us. The doctors despaired yesterday, but were not so kind as to say so. She died, without apparently any pain, at six this morning.

Sophia bears this affliction with her usual firmness and gentleness,—sensible that, had it been deferred, every hour would have made it greater,—and thankful for what is left. Her calmness is such that we do not fear any ill effect upon her own state.

“Some of us will write to-morrow again. My dear mother, Violet, and Johnny are all well.—Yours most affectionately,

“J. G. L.
Northumberland Street.”2

1 To Miss Baillie, “Life,” vii. 234.

2 No date.


At this time Lockhart must have been seeing his fourth novel, “Matthew Wald,” through the press, for Sir Walter writes to Lady Abercorn—“I cannot say I like it, it is full of power, but disagreeable, and ends vilely ill. . . . Lockhart is just now in London,” whence we find him writing to Wilson at Elleray, and settling the question (about which Scott professes ignorance), as to whether he is contributing to Blackwood, or not. He “spent three very pleasant days with Christie,” and met, among other lions, Hook, Canning, Rogers, Maginn, Gifford, Irving (the popular preacher), Wilkie, and Coleridge. “The last is worth all the rest, and five hundred more such into the bargain.” Irving he calls “a pure humbug,” and Sir Walter himself was not favourably impressed by that famous friend of Carlyle’s. Lockhart criticises Maga as if he had little part in it, and he threatens to “puff” “Matthew Wald” himself, if no one else will.1 He also promises a “Noctes,” for they never spoke of a “Nox Ambrosiana.”2 The original ends “burn or forget,” but the recipient of such a monition usually forgets to burn. The letter contains political surmises to be “forgotten” now much out of date, and by none remembered.

1 I know not if this threat was serious. Southey, writing to Messrs. Longmans, proposes to edit a reprint of an old book, “accompanying it with preface and notes, and I would take care of it afterwards in the Quarterly Review?—(“Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey,” iii. 441. London, 1856.)

2Christopher North,” ii. 71, 74.


It seems possible that this expedition to London was important in a manner not expected by Lockhart. He met Canning, as we saw; he met him again in the Lake country, in August 1825, and the old writer in the Antijacobin may have been attracted to the young man of letters. Hence, Scott thought, might have come the suggestion of appointing Lockhart to the Quarterly Review. But Lockhart for the moment was concerned with his legal prospects and his novel. A novel like “Matthew Wald,” as described by Scott, “full of power, but disagreeable, and ending vilely,” was an obvious foreshadowing of the kind of romance which has pleased the last freak of fashion, or the last but one.1 The hero, who tells his own tale, is a violent, and, so to say, Brontesque person. His passionate behaviour ends in a madness, from which he recovers, nor is anything of his secret suspected, it seems, till his Memoir is found, after his death. Quotations from Wordsworth on the title-page, and elsewhere, suggest that, to Lockhart’s mind, he had found a Wordsworthian situation, the black tempestuous day of Matthew Wald closing in to a quiet and cheerful evening. The idea may be poetical, the execution, however, is inadequate. There are some good pictures of Scottish characters, especially the sketch of an old Lord of Session at his country house. But the construction is defective and straggling, there are far too many side issues

1 1896.

and digressions for so short a story. Perhaps no novel of that date is so modern in its disagreeableness, and the unpleasant quality which was already called “power.” If Lockhart ever again wrote an anonymous work of fiction (Scott suspected him of
Galt’sThe Omen”), the secret has never been discovered. Scott, writing to Lady Abercorn (June 4, 1824), says that “Reginald Dalton” “had great success,” and that “Matthew Wald” “is misery from the title-page to the finis.”

For the rest, in the absence of letters, the other events of Lockhart’s traceable history, in 1824, are but two. He was guilty of the false quantity, ad januam domini, in the inscription for Maida’s effigy: and, in a three days’ fire, which devastated the Old Town of Edinburgh, he was “on duty, wet to the skin and elegant, with a naked sword in his hand, the very picture of a distressed hero in a strolling party’s tragedy.” The Yeomanry had been called out, “by torch and trumpet fast arrayed.”1

Thus a vivid light falls for a moment on Lockhart in the aspect of a hero of Gautier or of Scarron, in “Le Capitaine Fracasse,” or “Le Roman Comique.”

The Yule of 1824 had been peculiarly brilliant at Abbotsford. Captain Basil Hall’s Journal, kept there during the festivals before the marriage of Scott’s eldest son, was published by Lockhart in

1Life,” vii. 275-281, with Sir Walter’s poem on the false quantity. “Letters,” ii. 226.

the “
Life”: of course he cut out all references to himself, and we know, by a letter of Basil Hall’s, that such references existed. The original manuscript cannot now be recovered, but, after Captain Hall’s “flourish of trumpets,” and “scene of unclouded prosperity and splendour, the muffled drum is in prospect.”1

At this time, in the spring of 1825, Scott was trying to procure for Lockhart the not very remunerative post of Sheriff of Sutherland. His letters to the Marchioness of Stafford (from Sir William Frazer’sBook of Sutherland”) are very characteristic, and explain the situation:—

Abbotsford,2 April 11, 1825.

My dear Lady Stafford,—Allow me to express my sincere and most grateful thanks for the kind manner in which your ladyship has condescended to Lockhart’s concern. I have heard nothing of the matter myself for several weeks and months. My friend, the advocate, was so intolerably wise and mysterious on the subject, the last time it was mentioned, that I vow that to be made Sheriff of all Scotland, either in a friend’s person or my own, I could not have attempted again to penetrate the deep and awful gloom. The game to be played is a sort of gambit at chess. First, old Mr. Ferriar is

1Life,” vii. 343.

2 From the “Sutherland Book,” by Sir William Frazer, K.C.B., vol. ii. pp. 325, 326.

to be permitted to resign his office of Clerk of Session on some superannuation, the poor gentleman being upwards of eighty years old, and having wasted eyes, years, and understanding to the last dregs in writing the judgments of the Court of Session for thirty or forty (years). This old horse released from the carriage,
James Fergusson, who vacates a place called a commissaryship, where he judges of all the iniquities of marrying and not marrying, and marrying once too often, and getting unmarried again altogether, is to be conferred on your present Sheriff, Charles Ross. Et puis Charles Ross having succeeded to all these functions of marrying and putting asunder, I have been led to entertain hopes that Lockhart may succeed in his place. I should be delighted in it, for it is always getting pignon sur la vie, and I think Lord Stafford and your ladyship would be gratified with his acquaintance, as he is perfectly a gentleman, and with a very uncommon share of talent and information. When this happy consummation will take place, or whether it is likely to take place at all, I really do not know. Like the old beggar with the blue cloak and the pikestaff, I can submit to make one bow, and hold my hat out once, for what is not worth asking is not worth having. But I am too old and stiff to gird up my loins and run after folks’ chariot wheels till they give to importunity. But after all, this is only a petted way of taking the little diplomatic secrecy which great folks observe
on great occasions, such as bestowing Sheriffdoms; and I dare say I am complaining without reason. Only I cannot forget that I went expressly on purpose to Dalkeith when the
Lord Advocate wished to be Sheriff of Edinburgh, which he got entirely by my interest with the late Duke of Buccleuch, and I never kept him a moment in suspense about the matter.”

. . . . . .
Edinburgh, 23rd June 1825.1

My dear Lady Marchioness,—If you give a dog a bone, he will follow you through half-a-dozen streets; and so it is with obligations bestowed on the human race, they are no sooner conferred than they are made the pretence of further teasing. But your ladyship’s great kindness encourages this species of persecution, and your flattering inquiries about Lockhart’s probable success as to Sutherland makes it incumbent on me to mention any little progress that has been made with respect to that Sheriffdom. . . . I own I should be much better pleased with his having Sutherland rather than Caithness for his own sake, and being of a good presence, and certainly clever enough, he would become the halls of Dunrobin better than a thing disagreeable to the eye and very tiresome to the ear. But the whole arrange-

1 From the “Sutherland Book,” by Sir William Frazer, K.C.B., vol. ii. pp. 327, 328.

ment about Sutherland must lie over until
James Ferriar retires from the clerk’s table, to make way for James Fergusson, who vacates a commissariat to make way for Charles Ross, who leaves Sutherland to give place, I would fain hope, to Lockhart—upon the old principle of the cat to the rat, the rat to the halter, the halter to the butcher, the butcher to the ox, and so forth. . . . My informer seems to have a superstitious fear of all this valuable information transpiring, so it is only designed for your ladyship’s private ear. . . .”

. . . . . .

In May 1825, Lockhart, as he says in the “Life,” was present at a consultation, in Abbotsford, over Mr. Constable’s great scheme, “the cleverest thing that ever came into that cleverest of bibliopolic heads,” as Scott remarked, “that magnificent conception,”—to quote Lockhart,—of cheap literature. The manner of Constable seems to have been more excited than was in harmony with his skill in making a curious accumulation of pregnant facts. The description of the scene in the “Life” is undeniably vivid, though Mr. Thomas Constable, in his Memoir of his father, not unnaturally finds it “distasteful to his filial reverence,” and believes, (as did his father) that the publisher, not the author, suggested the “Life of Napoleon.” Lockhart’s memory was good, but Constable spoke nearer the time of the events. Possibly both views may be
correct, and Scott may have anticipated a part of the scheme already present to the mind of Constable. Lockhart was to write, as he did later, a “
Life of Burns,” and he suggested “a readable abridgment of M’Crie’sLife of Knox,’ leaving out all the controversial stuff, and much of the angry feeling,” and giving “the mere personal history of a good and great man, whose name can never cease to be interesting in Scotland.”1 Lockhart also suggested a “Poor Man’s Law Book.” “You will agree with me that they are at present curious in regard to such subjects, that they ought to be so, and that it is a shame they have not the means of reading what concerns them all in an intelligible form.”

There is a tradition that when some one once spoke of “educating the people,” Lockhart said, “Educate the devil!” His suggestions do not read as if that was his mature opinion. Neither Constable, nor any one else, seems to have reflected that, if the rich did not spend ten pounds a year on books (which was admitted), the poor were not likely to spend ten shillings.2

Meanwhile “Taffey,” that is, the Rev. Mr. Williams, had been appointed the first Head Master of the new Edinburgh Academy, and had

1 Mr. Robert Louis Stevenson has written very freely on the readableness of M’Crie’sKnox.”

2Life,” vii. 382. “Archibald Constable,” iii. 309. Southey, as early as 1820, was proposing this idea of good books (his own) at a cheap rate.

suggested, “by his lively and instructive conversation on Welsh history and antiquities,” the idea of “
The Betrothed.” In the introduction, Scott made merry over “a Joint Stock Company for writing and publishing the Class of Works called the Waverley Novels.” In the same spirit he had, in an unpublished note, recommended Lockhart to make a company for the repair of the dam and dyke of the little burn at Chiefswood. The sorrows of Joint Stock Companies were gathering, but were not yet foreseen.

On July 8, Scott, Miss Anne Scott, and Lockhart sailed for Ireland, and the narrative of the tour exists in his published letters to his wife.1 To have been anticipated with these bright and humorous epistles is a sorrow to a biographer. On the return of the party they visited Wilson at Elleray,2 whence Lockhart wrote a description of the ladies of Llangollen, and “their great romance, alias absurd innocence.” “I shall never see the spirit of blue-stockingism again in such perfect incarnation.”3

1Letters of Scott,” ii. 296-343.

2 Wilson was an extraordinary being! Immediately after the meeting with Scott and Wordsworth in the Lake country, he viciously attacked Wordsworth’s Poems, and personal manner, in the “Noctes Ambrosianæ” for September 1825. The “Nox” is in the collected edition of these papers. At this time, too (autumn of 1825), he used the most awful and unprofessorial language, in a letter to Lockhart, about Mr. Blackwood. The “Nox” may have been written before the meeting with Wordsworth, and I understand that Wilson regretted it. But, for some reason, he disliked “the Stamp-Master,” as we shall see.

3Life,” viii. 48-50.

When the “
Life” was published, some “tabbies” objected to this sketch. “Was I not,” wrote Lockhart to Mrs. Hughes, “to give one sketch of blue-stockingism in the life of a man who suffered so much under it?”1 Canning was at Storrs, near Elleray, and Wordsworth “evidently thinks Canning and Scott together not worth his thumb,” which does not exaggerate the poet’s self-estimate! “Wordsworth told Wilson yesterday he thought Canning seemed to have no mind at all,” for the statesman evinced little interest “in these humbugs, the principles of poetry,” nor had Wordsworth any other topic. They met Quillinan, Wordsworth’s son-in-law, who had once contemplated challenging Lockhart for a review of his Poems, which Lockhart had not written. “Wordsworth knew all about his history in Scotland, and spoke gaily thereof.” Wordsworth and Scott quoted Wordsworth’s Poems all day, but the great Laker never by one syllable implied that Scott had written a line either of verse or prose. Whether these foibles amused Scott or Lockhart most, in the secret of their hearts, it would not be easy to guess. Southey “was very civil.” (August 25, 1829.)

Lockhart was wearying for Chiefswood, and the privilege of “kissing Johnny red and blue” personally, not by deputy. This he enjoyed on September 1.

On arriving at Chiefswood, Lockhart returned

1 Letter quoted in Quarterly Review, vol. cxvi. p. 472.

to literary work with even unusual industry. He was weary of
Blackwood. Maginn was imploring him to write songs in John Bull. “I shall take care to keep you out of scrapes.” Lockhart can hardly have cared for “Bardolph’s security.” “You will have perceived that I have done very little this summer,” he writes to Wilson. “How could I? I am totally sick of all that sort of concern. . . .”

He was occupied with worthier things, a proposed edition of Shakespeare by Scott and himself. “I have spent five or six hours on Shakespeare regularly.” He had also conceived a scheme of much less promise than his ideas for literary enterprises usually were. This was the composition, by himself and Wilson, with a little aid from Miss Edgeworth, of “Janus.” Now “Janus,” to be frank, might be described as a volume of magazine padding. The tome was intended to be the first of a series of Books of Sense, as it were, in opposition to “Books of Beauty.” Having no seductive embellishments, it was a failure, as far as the publishers (Messrs. Oliver & Boyd) were concerned.1 Lockhart’s industry, at least, is attested by the large amount of his contributions, which have now no particular interest. A curious essay on the Ordeal

1Mrs. Gordon (“Christopher North,” ii. 88) attributes the original idea of “Janus,” and its publication by Oliver & Boyd, to Lockhart’s impatience with Mr. Blackwood. Probably Mrs. Gordon had not read her father’s letters to Lockhart. Christopher North’s remarks on Mr. Blackwood in 1825 are of the most florid eloquence.

by Fire has most merit, unless we prefer an article on Universities. Though neither in good health nor in good spirits, Lockhart “found repose in being busy,” as was ever his way, and amusement in the society of Abbotsford.

There, alas! things were altering. Still the flag flew that called the countryside to “the burning of the water,”—the salmon leistering,—still the guests came and went “admiring, and sometimes admired.” But, in the study at Abbotsford, the “white head erect, with the smile of inspiration on the lips,” was no more to be seen, and Lockhart beheld, with regret, Sir Walter “stooping and poring with his spectacles, amidst piles of authorities, a little note-book ready in the left hand that had always been used to be at liberty for patting Maida.” Maida was dead, and dead was old Hins of Hinsfeldt. Meanwhile Lockhart, as he says, had to consult Sir Walter on literary projects, involving the abandonment of Chiefswood and Edinburgh. “There were then about me, indeed, cares and anxieties of various sorts, that might have thrown a shade even over a brighter vision of his interior. For the circumstance that finally determined me, and reconciled him as to the proposed alteration in my views of life, was the failing health of an infant equally dear to us both. It was, in a word, the opinion of our medical friends, that the short-lived child of many and high hopes, whose name will go down to posterity with one of Sir Walter’s
most precious
works, could hardly survive another northern winter; and we all flattered ourselves with the anticipation that my removal to London, at the close of 1825, might pave the way for a happy resumption of the cottage at Chiefswood in the ensuing summer. Dis aliter visum.”1

Another domestic sorrow, of the kind which cannot but be anticipated, but may, none the less, be bitter, was approaching. His grandmother, to whom his earliest extant letter was written, lay at the point of death. Not to interrupt the story of his appointment to the Quarterly Review, his letter on the news of her decease may be given here:—

My dear Father,—Being called up to town on some business, about which I cannot, just at present, write (but which has nothing disagreeable in it), I have received here to-day” (in London), “by a letter from Sophia, my first accounts of my dear grandmother’s death. Before my letter reaches you the grave has closed over her remains, and I have been deprived even of the painful pleasure of partaking in the last service. I know all reason and sense are against it, but I can’t tell you, nevertheless, how much I feel saddened. You, no doubt, have still more deeply the same natural impression to struggle against. Whatever consolation the memory of kindness, excellence, and piety can give us, we surely have. I shall not write any more at present.

1Life,” viii. 64.

I hope to be in Scotland again in the course of a week, and shall certainly come to Germistoun immediately unless there should be a prospect of your coming to us. I beg my warmest love to my dear mother and the family.—Your affectionate and dutiful son,

J. G. Lockhart.
“6 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn,
Friday, October 14, 1825.”

Lockhart’s business in town was to see Mr. Murray, the publisher, who, at first, wished him to be, not the Editor, but the general adviser as to a newspaper, and who also offered him the Editorship of the Quarterly Review. The Quarterly was, and had for two or three years, been in an unsettled condition. Gifford’s health had been very bad, and he now spoke of retiring, now struggled on, “and oft said farewell, yet seemed loth to depart.” He was so reduced that he had actually printed an article of Southey’s “without mutilation,”a melancholy and menacing symptom of decay. As early as October 18, 1822, Southey revealed a scheme to Grosvenor Bedford. If Gifford died, or resigned, it was intended (unless the malcontents approved of his successor) to start a rival Quarterly. Terms were offered to Southey, if he would desert Murray, and act as Editor of the new periodical. “This has been communicated to me by John Coleridge. My wish is that he should be Gifford’s successor. . . . Should that arrangement take place, this scheme
falls to the ground at once, otherwise . . . it is very probable that it will be tried,” though Southey does not think it likely that he himself will go to town as Editor. “Murray’s conduct has not been such as to make me feel bound to him in the slightest degree; and no future Editor shall ever treat my papers as Gifford has done.”1

The essence of the scheme then was, Mr. John Taylor Coleridge for Editor of the Quarterly Review, or a rival Review—“an excellent plot, good friends.” Mr. Murray was, perhaps, not aware of this result of the ingenuity of Mr. Coleridge. Had he known about it, he might not have wished Mr. Coleridge to assist Gifford in his editorial duties during 1822. In May 1823, Mr. Murray, to prevent any disappointment, informed Mr. Coleridge that Gifford was very well. “During his life no change is likely to be made, and when any change is necessary it will not, as I always stated, depend on me. The subject should not, therefore, be allowed to influence in the slightest degree your other views and arrangements.” On December 9, 1824, Mr. Murray offered Mr. Coleridge the appointment which, since the inception of his plan of 1822, he seems to have desired.2 “Murray may thank me,” wrote Southey to Rickman, “for having provided him with an Editor, for he knew not where to find one.” In accepting the offer Mr. Coleridge made some allusions to the recent increase

1Selected Letters of Southey,” iii. 337.

2Memoir of John Murray,” ii. 164.

in his practice at the Bar, which was becoming considerable.

Behold, then, Mr. Coleridge in the editorial chair of the Quarterly, in December 1824, to the joy of Southey. Yet, on October 20, 1825, the sceptre had passed from Southey’s friend, and Lockhart had been appointed in his place. How did this sudden change come about? On this point it is necessary to quote a letter of Southey to Rickman, of December 4, 1825. “I do not know for what reason Murray has thought proper to change his Editor. His own story to John Coleridge has been plumply contradicted to me by the only person who can contradict it (Sir W. Scott), and he is so well aware that I shall not like the change, that he has not yet written to me on the subject.”1

Now, what was “Murray’s story to John Coleridge”? That Southey does not tell us, but we do know what Sir Walter “contradicted.” He contradicted the idea (which he thought might arise in Southey’s mind) that he had taken any part in suggesting Lockhart as a supplanter of Mr. Coleridge. “A letter from Lockhart from London” (about October 12-15) “was the first intimation that I had of the subject. . . .2 And in the end of October” (in fact on October 20) “the transaction was regularly concluded. I mention these par-

1Selected Letters of Southey,” iii. 514.

2Journal, i. 27. “First a hint from Wright,” says Scott. The hint was of October 3.

ticulars, because you might think it odd that when we spoke together at Keswick on the subject of the
Quarterly, I never hinted at this transaction, in which I was so nearly connected; still less would I like you to entertain an idea that either Lockhart or I had thought of soliciting or manoeuvring for such a situation while it was in the hands of another and most respectable gentleman.”

It may be said that this letter of Scott’s should have been written earlier. But it was written partly because a month after the conclusion of the formal treaty of October 20, 1825, Mr. Murray was perturbed by the objections, based on the old Blackwood brawls, of many friends of the Quarterly. Scott, therefore, wrote to Southey on that topic (without producing much effect on the Laureate’s mind), and at the same time he protested against the notion that he had suggested Lockhart’s appointment. As Scott writes in his Journal (November 27, 1825), “I never was more surprised than when this proposal came upon us.” Again (November 29), “It was no plot of my making, I am sure; yet men will say and believe that it was, though I never heard a word of the matter, till first a hint from Wright, and then the formal proposal of Murray to Lockhart announced (sic). I believe Canning and Charles Ellis were the prime movers. I’ll puzzle my brains no more about it.”

If any one is so unhappily constituted as to suppose that Sir Walter equivocated on this point
Southey, in a letter, and to posterity, in his Journal, the critic may be referred to a letter of Scott to Murray (November 17, 1825)—“The plan (I need not remind you) of calling Lockhart to this distinguished position, far from being favoured by me, or in any respect advanced or furthered by such interest as I might have urged, was not communicated to me until it was formed. . . .”

Now it is absolutely impossible that if the scheme had originally come from Sir Walter, he should have “reminded” Murray that he had nothing to do with the matter.1 If these facts leave any one in the opinion which Scott himself expected men to entertain, we reserve for him something more.

The appointment of Lockhart, though obviously not solicited by Scott, is still, in some respects, as great a puzzle as Sir Walter found it. Mr. Coleridge was, it seems, advancing rapidly in his profession, and no wise barrister would prefer an editorship to such prospects of success as now lay before him. Whatever the exact facts about his demission of the Quarterly may have been, both Scott and Lockhart, in published and unpublished letters, agree in praising the magnanimity of Mr. Coleridge’s behaviour.

As far as can be guessed, the choice of Lockhart for Mr. Coleridge’s successor found occasion in a scheme of Mr. Benjamin Disraeli’s, at that time a

1Memoir of John Murray,” ii. 184.

handsome, imaginative, and persuasive lad of twenty. There was then a fever of commercial speculation preluding to the “crash” of 1826. Young Disraeli had connected himself with, and had written pamphlets for, “at least one financing firm in the City, that of Messrs.
Powles.”1 Next, he, by his magical tongue, actually induced Mr. Murray to join these eminent capitalists, Mr. Powles and Mr. Benjamin Disraeli, in starting a magnificent new daily paper (Aug. 3, 1825).2 An editor, or at least an adviser, being wanted, Mr. Disraeli was sent to Scotland to consult Sir Walter, and to secure Lockhart if possible.3 Mr. Disraeli’s advent, and descent on Chiefswood, were heralded or accompanied by a letter from Mr. Wright. In this letter of September 12, Wright, by Murray’s wish, suggests the place of superintendent of the new paper. He believes that Canning wishes Lockhart to accept. He thanks Lockhart and Scott for kindness to himself in Edinburgh. He introduces “Mr. Disraeli,” not Mr. Benjamin Disraeli.

Mr. Disraeli went to Scotland, and arranged with Murray a code of counterfeit names, and so forth, as if a Jameson conspiracy was toward! Of course, in his letters all these veils are neglected or withdrawn. Lockhart, so far, was, as he himself says in a note to Disraeli, “perfectly in the dark”

1Memoir of John Murray,” ii. 185. 2 Ibid, ii. 186.

3 William Wright to J. G. Lockhart, Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn; September 12, 1825.

as to the purpose of his visit;1 indeed he supposed that
Isaac D’Israeli, the well-known author, the father of Benjamin, was to be his guest. His natural reserve, as D’Israeli tells Murray, was not diminished by his surprise at beholding a fair young Hebrew boy. However, they soon “understood each other” (which perhaps they did not); Lockhart objecting, none the less, first, to leave Edinburgh without “ostensible purpose”; next, “to the loss of caste in society by so doing”—that is, I presume, by editing a newspaper. Scott took the same view, and Dizzy talked about Lockhart’s not being a newspaper editor, but “Director General of an immense organ.”2 “With regard to other plans of ours we should find him invaluable. I have a most singular and secret history on this subject when we meet.” Mystery!

If any one hazards the conjecture (which I have heard whispered), that by this reference to “other plans,” and “secret history,” Mr. Disraeli meant a suggestion by Scott that Lockhart should supplant Mr. Coleridge in the Quarterly, it may be answered that neither Lockhart nor Sir Walter, in their letters to Mr. Murray of October 7 and October 12, mention the Quarterly scheme at all. Both merely protest against what Lockhart calls “the impossibility of my ever entering into the career of London in the capacity of a newspaper editor. . . . If such a game ought to be played,

1Memoir of John Murray,” ii. 190. 2 Ibid, ii. 192.

I am neither young enough nor poor enough to be the man that takes the hazard.” On October 12, Sir Walter wrote to Mr. Murray about “the plan which you have had the kindness to submit to Lockhart. . . . I cannot conceive it advisable that he should leave Scotland on the speculation of becoming editor of a newspaper.” He then speaks of Lockhart’s “views” in Scotland as “moderate but certain,” and adds that Lockhart “meets your wishes by going up to town.”

Not a word about the Quarterly. The Quarterly is first heard of, and then only by way of the past history of a project of Mr. Wright’s, in a letter from that gentleman:1

“I saw Murray soon after my return from Edinburgh. We conversed on the subject of the Quarterly Review. He disapproved of his Editor, and I recommended, and he approved of you, and I was desired to write on the subject; but afterwards I was desired to suspend for a while my communication. For the newspaper business I did not recommend you as fit; but on being asked as to your fitness and inclinations, I stated my belief in your fitness, accompanied with strong observations as to its unsuitableness to your rank and feelings, and I believe Mr. Canning, on being spoken to by Mr. Ellice, said

1 William Wright to J. G. Lockhart, 6 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn; October 3, 1825.

you could come as Editor of the Quarterly, but not as editor of a newspaper, or at least as known and reputed editor. I told
Disraeli before he left he had a very delicate mission, and that though my rank in life was different to your own, having no relations whose feelings could be wounded by my accepting any honest employment, I should not receive an offer of the editorship of a newspaper as a compliment to my feelings as a barrister and a gentleman, however complimentary it might be as to my talents. In short, I enter entirely into your feelings on this head, and we think alike, for, whatever our friend Disraeli may say or flourish on this subject, your accepting of the editorship of a newspaper would be infra dig., and a losing of caste; but not so, as I think, the accepting of the editorship of the Quarterly Review. . . . Murray will in his letter, I presume, offer you the Quarterly, but as to bargaining, and making your contract certain and available, when you have agreed on general principles, you may, I think, trust that to me; and though I should like you for a neighbour, weigh all things well, and let not haste cause you to overrun your discretion and so bar judgment. An editor of a Review like the Quarterly is the office of a scholar and a gentleman; but that of a newspaper is not, for a newspaper is merely stock-in-trade, to be used as it can be turned to most profit. And there is something in it (when
Disraeli has gilded and adorned it with his new notions as much as he can) that is repugnant to the feelings of a gentleman. . . . If you think of accepting Murray’s proposals in any shape, leave all particulars to discussion and arrangement after you come to London, and let us talk the matter over first for a few hours ourselves.1

Disraeli, who is with you, I have not seen much of, but I believe he is a sensible, clever young fellow. His judgment, however, wants settling down. He has never had to struggle with a single difficulty, nor been called on to act in any affairs in which his mind has been necessarily forced to decide and choose in difficult situations. At present his chief exertions as to matters of decision have been with regard to the selection of his food, his enjoyment, and his clothing, and though he is honest, and, I take it, wiser than his father, he is inexperienced and untried in the world, and of course though you may, I believe, safely trust to his integrity, you cannot prudently trust much to his judgment.

Sir Walter was so good as to promise me a little dog. Has he such a thing for me? If so, our friend Constable promised to take care of it for me. I believe you were thought of for the newspaper from what had passed as to the Review, and the conversations about you were between Ellice

1 The lines omitted contain a criticism of Mr. Murray, conjectural, and probably baseless.

Canning, and, I think, not between Murray and Canning directly.—I am, dear Lockhart, yours most truly,

William Wright.”

Here then, in the letter from Mr. Wright, which first hinted (as Scott says in his Journal) at the possibility of Lockhart’s appointment to the Quarterly, we have all that is known to the compiler as to the origin of that appointment. Mr. Murray “disapproved” of his Editor, Mr. Coleridge, which probably means that he did not regard so successful a barrister as likely to be permanent successor to Gifford. Mr. Wright suggested Lockhart’s name, and Murray liked the idea. For reasons which will become apparent later, it is improbable that Canning had any concern in the matter. Lockhart went up to town, and on October 13 Mr. Murray wrote to Scott, that, “to obviate any difficulties which have been urged, I have proposed to Mr. Lockhart to come to London as the Editor of the Quarterly, also as adviser about the newspaper, and about literary undertakings in general.”1

The deeds between Mr. Murray and Lockhart as to the Quarterly and the newspaper, were signed and sealed on October 20, 1825.

All now seemed to be settled; but apparently about November 15-17, young Disraeli was sent down again to tell Sir Walter that objections to Lockhart were raised, by some of the Quarterly

1Memoir of John Murray,” ii. 199.

writers, on the old
Blackwood score. Scott replied to Murray at length, on November 17, 1825; and on November 21, Mr. Disraeli, who had returned to town, wrote to Lockhart. Murray “has spoken to Coleridge” (that is, John Taylor Coleridge, Editor of the Quarterly), “and nothing could go off better. It is perfectly settled.” But poor Mr. Disraeli himself is in great disgrace. He ought, it seems, to have mentioned the matter of the objections, not to Lockhart, but only to Sir Walter. However, in a couple of days Mr. Disraeli congratulates himself and Lockhart that all is well, and that “while Mr. Murray has cash in his pockets and blood in his veins, he stands by John Gibson Lockhart even unto the death.”1 Nothing can be more eloquent! Mr. Murray, writing on November 23, was equally explicit, but less ornate; or not so much less ornate after all. “Heaven and earth may pass away, but it (sic) cannot shake my opinion.”2 By December 2, Mr. Murray wrote about Lockhart’s arrangements as to coming permanently to London. Lockhart had written to him, on November 19, as to the objections urged against him.3 Thus, after being firmly fixed by the deed of October 20, 1825, the appointment had been, as far as such a covenant could be, imperilled by the opposition of several old Quarterly

1Scott’sLetters,” ii. 414. 2 Ibid, ii. 415.

3 The letters are in “Memoir of John Murray,” ii. 219, 230, and in the Appendix to Scott’sLetters.”

Reviewers, such as
Rose, Barrow, apparently Croker, and the junta in the Admiralty, whom Murray does not seem to have consulted. Few things could be more unsatisfactory. At length, in December, everything was settled.

The circumstances of Lockhart’s accession to the Quarterly chair were, according to Scott, unembarrassed by any doubt as to Mr. Coleridge’s position. “He put the question as to whether Mr. Coleridge’s retiring was a thing determined on, and he received a positive answer in the affirmative. . . . I have only to add that Mr. Coleridge has most handsomely offered to continue his support to the Review, by the contribution of articles, a circumstance which is valuable of itself, and will be most grateful to Lockhart’s feelings.”1 Sir Walter also thanks Southey for his own promise, in spite of his dissatisfaction, to continue his support by way of articles. He was a contributor till 1839.

Of Mr. Coleridge, so suddenly superseded in his editorial position, it must be repeated that he displayed the perfection of conduct in a very trying situation.

How, or why, or by whom Lockhart was selected as Editor of the Quarterly, unless it was by Mr. Murray’s mere motion on Wright’s suggestion, I am unable to say. The Blackwood stories were against him; he had done nothing serious in political writing; he was known, in letters, merely

1 To Southey, November 28. “Letters,” ii. 377.

as a scholar, a translator, an editor of “
Don Quixote,” and as a novelist. Moreover, the original idea was to make him a kind of general adviser, and occasional writer of political essays, in the magnificent organ projected by that young capitalist Mr. Benjamin Disraeli. Being at once eager about his newspaper, and uneasy about his Editor’s (Mr. Coleridge’s) professional work at the Bar, Mr. Murray was probably taken by what he saw of Lockhart, and it is obvious enough that he did not consult Southey, or Barrow, or Rose, or others of his usual associates, till he had signed and sealed the deed appointing Lockhart to the Review.

The nature of Lockhart’s new duties is set forth in two legal documents of October 20. He is to edit the Quarterly, “and otherwise assist in the publishing business.” For this he was to receive (for three years) £250 a quarter, or, if five numbers of the Review were published, £1250 per annum. William Wright and B. Disraeli witnessed the deed.

The second deed stipulated that for “hints and advice,” and occasional articles in the contemplated newspaper, Mr. Murray should pay Lockhart £1500 a year. In case Lockhart prefers to exchange this salary for a share in the paper, that transaction is regulated by certain stipulations. Mr. Murray seals with a griffin, rampant; Lockhart’s seal is not his crest or coat armour, but a profile of Byron, probably a seal lent by Mr. Murray. Byron, in his letters, says that this work of art makes him look
like a negro. Lockhart’s functions were obviously vague; a newspaper editor he was not, nor was he qualified for that truly arduous and thankless life of laborious days and sleepless nights.

When all was finally settled, or even before, Sir Walter advised Lockhart to “take devilish good care of your start in society in London.” Especially he was counselled not “to haunt Theodore Hook much. . . . He is raffish, entre nous.” Again, “You will have great temptation to drop into the gown and slipper garb of life,” which Sir Walter hated with a righteous hatred, “and live with funny, easy companions,” such as Theodore Hook and Maginn. It is one of the contradictions in Lockhart’s character that, with a great deal of apparent “Hidalgo airs,” he did take pleasure in “funny, easy companions.” But society in general went far beyond him in a passion for the company of Theodore Hook—by all reports, a fellow of infinite fancy, whereof the sparkle is dead long ago.

Commercial affairs now looked ominous in London. Lockhart heard, in mid November, disquieting rumours, which he communicated to Scott, who replied in a long letter, setting forth his grounds of confidence in Constable’s house.1

On Lockhart’s return to Chiefswood, Mr. Wright (who witnessed the deeds of October 20) informed him, by letter, of a report (unfounded in fact) that “Constable’s banker had thrown up his book.”

1 Lockhart refers to this in the “Life,” viii. 83.

Lockhart rode over to Abbotsford with the news.
Scott made light of it, but next morning Lockhart found Scott’s carriage at his door, and Sir Walter feeding the ducklings, with little Johnnie. He had driven to Polton, seen Constable, been reassured, and had driven back again. Then for the first time Lockhart suspected that Scott was deeply concerned in the fortunes of Constable. “The night journey suggested serious alarm,” the more as the rumour sent previously by Lockhart from London had been of a very grave nature. Yet both reports were “such refraction of events as often rises ere they rise,” and, in actual fact, baseless.

It is at this time that Scott (Nov. 23) “bespeaks” Mrs. Hughes’ “affection for Lockhart,” an affection which never failed him. “I know you will love and understand him, but he is not easy to be known or to be appreciated as he so well deserves, at first; he shrinks at a first touch; but take a good hard hammer (it need not be a sledge one), break the shell, and the kernel will repay you. Under a cold exterior Lockhart conceals the warmest affections, and where he once professes regard he never changes. . . .” He never did change—loyal himself where he loved, and a centre of loyalty in others.

So Scott wrote November 23, but apparently did not post his letter at once. On December 5 he told his son Walter about the Bonspiel, or farewell dinner to Lockhart. “About fifty people were present
Solicitor-General, preses; Dundas of Arniston, croupier; and much wine shed. Many songs and speeches to the honour and glory of the said Don Giovanni, who fell asleep in his chair, about one in the morning, to the sound of his own praises. . . .”

Scott, on the same 5th of December, finished his letter of November 23 to Mrs. Hughes, expressing his fear of spine-complaint in little Johnnie, a forecast verified too soon. On December 5 the Lockharts left Abbotsford for London, “without any formal adieus, for which I thank them. They were off before daybreak.” Scott then recommends Mrs. Lockhart to the maternal kindness of Mrs. Hughes, who gave all her affection, as Sir Walter had hoped. The family occupied a house in Pall Mall, though Mr. Murray had offered his hospitality. Probably they did not care to bring an ailing child under Mr. Murray’s roof.

A little needful cheer is given to the exiles by a letter from Scott on Hogg, in which I make a few omissions. The story has been told before, but here is the original version.

Hogg of the mountains made a descent this morning, perhaps in order to make a Bardic convention ‘of huz Tividale poets,’ and brought with him Thompson the song-making, not ‘psalm-singing, weaver’ of Galashiels. This was rather cool on the said Hogg’s part, but Thompson is a good enough fellow, so it all went off well. Talking of Moore, or according to his mode of accentuation Muir, Hogg
said his songs were ‘written wi’ ower muckle melody—they gied him,’ he said, ‘a staw1 of sweetness.’ ‘Aye,’ said Thompson, ‘his notes are ower sweetly strung.’ ‘Na, na,’ said the partner, ‘ma ain notes are just right strung, and it’s his that are clean ower artificial.’ Don’t you think you hear this? I thought
Lady Anne would have spoken, but, thank God, she gave a gulp and was silent. After all, Hogg is kindly, very grateful to you.”

By a rather high-handed act of editorial authority, though under strong temptation, Lockhart had engaged Sir Walter to write on Mr. Pepys’ Journals, then newly published. Mr. Hughes, by Mr. Coleridge’s desire, had already begun a review.2 Sir Walter’s, however, occupies the first place in Lockhart’s first number. The last article in the number was on Moore’s and other books about Sheridan. Sir Walter writes:—

Edinburgh, 20th December 1825.

My dear Lockhart,—I had your letter this morning, and observe with great pleasure that you are settled, or in the act of being so. It is better you have got a good house, for there is scarce anything in London so necessary to comfort and credit. . . .

1 Satiety.

2 Mr. Murray, however, writes, “Mr. Croker has given up the ‘Pepys’ Papers,’ and Mr. Bankes, the Member for Cambridge, wrote to undertake them a few days ago. Of course you will induce Sir Walter to persist in his kind intentions.”—November 23, “Scott’s Letters,” ii. 415.


“I observe, with very great interest, what you say concerning Tom Moore and Sheridan. It will be one of the most noble opportunities for an opening and leading article which you could have had. You will, I know, give Tom his full merits, and treat him with that sort of liberality which may show that the censure which you bestow comes out of no narrow party feeling, but is called forth by the occasion. I would have you take an opportunity to consider briefly his poetical rank. He may be considered as reformed in the point of his Erotiques, and I would not rake up old sins. There is one especial reason for candour in respect to his merits, because in order to blame him (which there is every reason for doing) for lending himself to circulate calumnies respecting the King, you must show that you are neither an enemy of genius, nor the tool of a party. I am aware that high-flying Tories will not be pleased with this. Nevertheless, fair pleading is the real way to serve a good cause. If a critic were to begin by treating Moore as a passing singing poet of the boudoir, whose works were to be considered as trifles or worse, and then to bring a charge of calumny against him, it would be blending falsehood with truth in such a manner that your argument would lose the benefit of the one, without gaining any credit from the other. Everybody will be sensible that the frivolity is not proved because the critic cries trifler, and will therefore argue that the calumny is as little proved when he cries slander.

‘A critic was of old a glorious name,
Whose sanction handed merit up to fame;
Beauties as well as faults he brought to view;
His judgment great, and great his candour too.’

Constable goes up to town in next week to launch his ‘Miscellany,’ by which I have no doubt he will make a great deal of money. . . .

“When I read your letter, I missed an important fact, videlicet, that the article on Tom Moore is not to be yours. I am very, very sorry for it. I do not like Croker’s style in such things in the least; he is a smart skirmisher, but wants altogether the depth of thought and nobleness of mind where the character of a sovereign is to be treated. If you can get it into your own hands, or can modify this article your own way, I shall be much better pleased. He blunders about his facts too, and indeed will never be more than a very clever confused sort of genius.—Yours always,

Walter Scott.

“The more I think of Moore’s article the more I wish you would do it yourself. At any rate, let no condescension to Croker or any one else prevent you from shaping it your own way. I foresee from your natural modesty of nature you will have difficulty in ruling your contributors, but you must in some cases be absolute.”

About Lockhart’s management of the Quarterly Review as a political organ, I have little to say.
I do not enjoy access to the archives of Albemarle Street, and any occasional information about the political conduct of the Quarterly which may be found in private letters, belongs rather to the history of
Mr. Murray’s house than to that of Lockhart. It is, therefore, a subject on which I do not intend to trespass. As to Lockhart’s relations with Mr. Murray during nearly thirty years, it must be said, once, for all, that they were not invariably smooth, as it was hardly probable that they could be. Mr. Murray himself, of course, took a very lively interest in his own periodical, so did Mr. Croker, and many other old contributors, and official persons. Hence it came that Lockhart, on occasion, expressed dissatisfaction with “interferences.” I offer an example, as it is already published, and violates no confidences. One or two other cases occur later. Southey reviewed what he calls “Hallam’s essence of Whig vinegar,” his “Constitutional History,” published by Mr. Murray. On reading the critique, Mr. Hallam wrote to Mr. Murray (June 27, 1828), “protesting against the pique of Southey and the hostility of the Editor”—Lockhart. Murray answered, with spirit, that books published by himself should be reviewed with fairness. “I do not mean to offer the slightest apology for the appearance of the article, because I am conscious that I have nothing personally to do with it. . . .”1

1Memoir of John Murray,” ii. 264.


Turn we to Southey’s correspondences (February 23, 1828): “There is a large interpolation in my reviewal of Hallam’s book,—all that relates to Cromwell, the Whigs of Charles II.’s reign, and William III. Some friend of Murray’s (Edwards, I believe, is the name) is the author, and some tender consideration of Murray for Hallam, extraordinary as it may seem, gave rise to the insertion. It was sent to me in slips . . . for my sanction, with a letter from Murray, and another from Lockhart, who, I believe, was a good deal annoyed by Murray’s qualms on the occasion. . . .”

This is a very fair example of an editor’s tracasseries. His publisher puts out a book; Southey reviews it, more suo; Lockhart (according to Southey), approves; Murray has a huge essential interpolation made in Hallam’s interest, and, after all, the author of the book, Mr. Hallam, complains!

Thus it may be guessed that many circumstances, many interests, trammelled and troubled Lockhart in his new office. On the whole, it seems very desirable that the proprietor of a serial should either be his own editor, as Mr. Blackwood was, with irresponsible assistants; or that he and his friends should leave a responsible editor entirely alone. The former set of conditions is the more readily secured. In neither set did Lockhart find himself. He was not, as Editor, entirely his own master.

Though it is not easy to say what precise situa-
tion in life would have been best fitted for
Lockhart, and would have most potently disengaged the full force of his faculties, I cannot think that the Editorship of the Quarterly was that situation. It bound him to a task, and to a task much thwarted by many influences from without. To edit a Review now, may be, for all that one can guess, a light occupation of elegant leisure. In Lockhart’s days it demanded incessant intercourse with people in power, and perhaps a good deal of what is called “lobbying.” Croker would bring “the whisper from the throne,” and be tedious about “his Royal friend.” Enormous importance was attached to the affairs of the Edinburgh and the Quarterly, when newspapers were small, not numerous, and not “respectable.” The deed of appointment speaks of Lockhart’s “labours,” and the word was then appropriate. There were endless consultations, correspondence, suggestions, people to be satisfied or conciliated. Lockhart also acted, occasionally, as a literary adviser to Mr. Murray.

To a very proud man I do not think that the whole position could be agreeable. Personally he and Mr. Murray, and Mr. Murray’s son and successor, remained, throughout life, on the best of terms. I find, in his correspondence, none of Southey’s incessant mutineering and dénigrement of Murray; and financially, I understand that Lockhart was treated with perhaps unexampled liberality. Still,
as people talked of “Bacon’s man” and “Bungay’s man” (in “
Pendennis”), I doubt not that they spoke of Lockhart as “Murray’s man,” and the situation could never have been wholly congenial. It had great advantages; society, literary or political—or “society” simply—was open to Lockhart. His occupation was with letters, which he loved. Power he had, if not absolute power. Leisure enough he possessed for the writing of his great biography, his own monument as well as Sir Walter’s. In all this there was much to envy, and much that was envied by many. But in London Lockhart was transplanted from the scenes and the friends most dear to him, though he now had the company of Christie. For social intercourse on a great scale he never, perhaps, cared much, though he played his part in it, and, finally, he ceased to concern himself with crowds. My impression, derived from his letter to Haydon, is that he did not always feel sufficiently independent, enough “his own man.” But this sentiment may have come upon him in his later years of bereavement and regret. He soon gave up his hopes of political patronage, as we shall see; he soon resigned himself to the neglect of his party, and devoted himself to editing, reading proofs, reading manuscripts, steering the Quarterly among the passions of contributors, a fierce generation. Lockhart’s one great work, his biography of Scott, was dictated (like his toilsome editorship of Scott’s works) by a sense of duty; the
profits went towards the extinction of Sir Walter’s debts.1 Other ambitions he ceased to cherish. I would not represent him as dissatisfied and discontented: rather he was resigned. In the interests of his family and its fortunes he had obtained probably the most desirable of literary positions. He was not a recluse, like Southey or
Wordsworth. But there was more in him, more of genius and power, than ever found full and free expression; he never realised all his energies, and not to do so is not to be happy, even as far as happiness is meant for mortals. Yet I know not with what occupation he could have been better fitted. It was not Lockhart who lamented his destiny; but a student of his life feels that, in his case, there was “something in the world amiss.” For Lockhart leaves, on a mind long and closely occupied with him, an impression as of thwarted force, of a genius that never completely found its proper path. In life, and in literary history, such foiled energies are not uncommon. That Lockhart was expected by Scott to do very great things is certain; on him the living personality made that impression to which, here and there, a reader may still be sensitive. But his greatest work by far Lockhart was to lay, where all of him that was mortal, by his own desire, was laid, “at the feet of Sir Walter Scott.”

1 I gather, from a letter of Mr. Cadell’s, that Lockhart received a considerable fee from the trustees.