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Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
Chapter II 1825

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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Before the Court of Session rose in July, Sir Walter had made considerable progress in his Sketch of the French Revolution; but it was agreed that he should make his promised excursion to Ireland before any MS. went to the printers. He had seen no more of the sister island than Dunluce and the Giant’s Causeway, of which we have his impressions in the Lighthouse Diary of 1814; his curiosity about the scenery and the people was lively; and besides the great object of seeing his son and daughter-in-law under their own roof, and the scarcely inferior pleasure of another meeting with Miss Edgeworth, he looked forward to renewing his acquaintance with several accomplished persons, who had been serviceable to him in his labours upon Swift. But, illustriously as Ireland has contributed to the English Library, he had always been accustomed to hear that almost no books were now published there, and fewer sold than in any other country calling itself civilized; and he had naturally concluded that apathy and indifference prevailed as to literature itself, and of course as to literary men. He had not, therefore, formed the remotest anticipation of the kind of reception which awaited him in
Dublin, and indeed throughout the island wherever he traversed it.

On the day after he despatched the following letter, he had the satisfaction of seeing his son gazetted as Captain.

To Walter Scott, Esq., 15th Hussars, 10, Stephen’s Green, Dublin.
“Edinburgh, 16th June, 1825.
“My dear Walter,

“I shall wait with some impatience for this night’s Gazette. I have written to Coutts to pay the money so soon as you are in possession.

“On Saturday 11th, I went to Blair-Adam, and had a delicious stroll among the woods. The roe-deer are lying as thick there as in the Highlands, and, I daresay, they must be equally so at Lochore: so you will have some of the high game. They are endeavouring to destroy them, which they find very difficult. It is a pity they do so much mischief to the woods, for otherwise they are the most beautiful objects in nature; and were they at Abbotsford, I could not I think have the heart to make war on them. Two little fawns came into the room at tea-time and drank cream. They had the most beautiful dark eyes and little dark muzzles, and were scarce so big as Miss Ferguson’s Italian greyhound. The Chief Commissioner offered them to me, but to keep them tame would have been impossible on account of the dogs, and to turn them loose would have been wilfully entailing risk on the plantations which have cost me so much money and trouble. There was then a talk of fattening them for the kitchen, a proposal which would have driven mamma distracted.

“We spent Monday on a visit to Lochore, and in planning the road which is so much wanted. The Chief Commissioner is an excellent manager, and has under-
JUNE, 1825.41
taken to treat with Mr Wemyss of East Blair, through a part of whose property the line lies, but just at a corner, and where it will be as convenient for his property as Lochore.

“I am glad Jane looks after her own affairs. It is very irksome to be sure; but then one must do it, or be eaten up by their servants, like Actæon by his hounds. Talking of hounds, I have got a second Maida, but he is not yet arrived. Nimrod is his name.

“I keep my purpose as expressed in my last. I might, perhaps, persuade mamma to come, but she is unhappy in steam-boats, bad beds, and all the other inconveniences of travelling. Sir Adam and Lady Ferguson, as I hear, are thinking of stirring towards you. I hope they will allow our visit to be over in the first instance, as it would overtax Jane and you—otherwise I should like to see the merry knight in Ireland, where I suppose he would prove Ipsis Hybernis Hybernior, more Irish than the natives.

“I have given Charles his choice between France and Ireland, and shall have his answer in two or three days. Will he be de trop if we can pack him up in the little barouche?

“Your commentary on Sir D. Dundas’s confused hash of regulations, which, for the matter of principle, might be shortened to a dozen, puts me in mind of old Sir William Erskine’s speech to him, when all was in utter confusion at the retreat from before Dunkirk, and Sir William came down to protect the rear. In passing Sir David, the tough old veteran exclaimed, ‘Davie, ye donnert idiot, where’s a’ your peevioys (pivots) the day?’

“As to your early hours, no man ought to be in bed at seven in summer time. I never am; your four o’clock is rather premature.—Yours, with kindest remembrances to Jane,

Walter Scott.

“P. S.—Yours just received, dateless as was your former. I suppose it is a family fault. What I have written will show that the cash, matters are bang-up. A comparison of the dates will show there has been no voluntary delay on my part; indeed, what motive could I have for leaving money without interest in the hands of a London banker? But we are corresponding at a triangle, when you write to me and I to London. I will write to Jane to scold her for her ladylike fears about our reception; to find you happy will be the principal part of my welcome; for the rest, a slice of plain meat of any kind—a cigar—and a little potheen, are worth turtle and burgundy to my taste. As for poor dear stupid ——, there is only one answer, which the clown in one of Shakspeare’s plays says will be a fitting reply to all questions—Oh Lord, sir!!!

It did not suit either Lady Scott or her eldest daughter to be of the Irish expedition; Anne Scott and myself accompanied Sir Walter. We left Edinburgh on the 8th of July in a light open carriage, and after spending a few days among our friends in Lanarkshire, we embarked at Glasgow in a steamer for Belfast. Sir Walter kept no diary during this excursion, and the bustle and tumult throughout were such that he found time to write but very few letters. From my own to the ladies left at home, I could easily draw up a pretty exact journal of our proceedings; but I shall content myself with noting a few particulars more immediately connected with the person of Scott—for I am very sensible, on looking over what I set down at the moment, that there was hardly opportunity even for him to draw any conclusions of serious value on the structure and ordinary habits of society in Ireland, to say nothing of the vexed questions of politics and administration; and such
features of natural beauty and historical interest as came under his view have been painted over and over again by native writers, with whom hasty observers should not be ambitious of competing.

The steam-boat, besides a crowd of passengers of all possible classes, was lumbered with a cargo offensive enough to the eye and the nostrils, but still more disagreeable from the anticipations and reflections it could not fail to suggest. Hardly had our carriage been lashed on the deck before it disappeared from our view amidst mountainous packages of old clothes; the cast-off raiment of the Scotch beggars was on its way to a land where beggary is the staple of life. The captain assured us that he had navigated nearly forty years between the West of Scotland and the sister island, and that his freights from the Clyde were very commonly of this description; pigs and potatoes being the usual return. Sir Walter rather irritated a military passenger (a stout old Highlander), by asking whether it had never occurred to him that the beautiful checkery of the clan tartans might have originated in a pious wish on the part of the Scottish Gael to imitate the tatters of the parent race. After soothing the veteran into good-humour, by some anecdotes of the Celtic splendours of August, 1822, he remarked that if the Scotch Highlanders were really descended in the main from the Irish blood, it seemed to him the most curious and difficult problem in the world to account for the startling contrasts in so many points of their character, temper, and demeanour; and entered into some disquisition on this subject, which I am sorry I cannot repeat in detail. The sum of his opinion was that, while courage and generous enthusiasm of spirit, kindness of heart, and great strength and purity of domestic affection, characterised them equally, the destruction, in the course of endless feuds, and wars, and rebellions, of the
native aristocracy of Ireland, had robbed that people of most of the elements of internal civilisation; and avowed his belief that had the Highlanders been deprived, under similar circumstances, of their own chiefs, they would have sunk, from the natural poverty of their regions, into depths of barbarity not exampled even in the history of Ireland. The old soldier (who had taken an early opportunity of intimating his own near relationship to the chief of his sept) nodded assent, and strutted from our part of the deck with the dignity of a MacTurk.—“But then,” Sir Walter continued (watching the Colonel’s retreat)—“but then comes the queerest point of all. How is it that our solemn, proud, dignified Celt, with a soul so alive to what is elevating and even elegant in poetry and feeling, is so supereminently dull as respects all the lighter play of fancy? The Highlander never understands wit or humour—Paddy, despite all his misery and privations, overflows with both. I suppose he is the gayest fellow in the world, except the only worse-used one still, the West India nigger. This is their make-up—but it is to me the saddest feature in the whole story.”

A voyage down the Firth of Clyde is enough to make any body happy: nowhere can the Home Tourist, at all events, behold, in the course of one day, such a succession and variety of beautiful, romantic, and majestic scenery: on one hand dark mountains and castellated shores—on the other, rich groves and pastures, interspersed with elegant villas and thriving towns, the bright estuary between alive with shipping, and diversified with islands.

It may be supposed how delightful such a voyage was in a fine day of July, with Scott, always as full of glee on any trip as a schoolboy; crammed with all the traditions and legends of every place we passed; and too happy
to pour them out for the entertainment of his companions on deck. After dinner, too, he was the charm of the table. A worthy old Bailie of Glasgow, Mr Robert Tennent, sat by him, and shared fully in the general pleasure; though his particular source of interest and satisfaction was, that he had got into such close quarters with a live Sheriff and Clerk of Session, and this gave him the opportunity of discussing sundry knotty points of police law, as to which our steerage passengers might perhaps have been more curious than most of those admitted to the symposium of the cabin. Sir Walter, however, was as ready for the rogueries of the Broomielaw, as for the misty antiquities of Balclutha, or the discomfiture of the Norsemen at Large, or
Bruce’s adventures in Arran. I remember how Mr Tennent chuckled when he, towards the conclusion of our first bowl of punch, said he was not surprised to find himself gathering much instruction from the Bailie’s conversation on his favourite topics, since the most eminent and useful of the police magistrates of London (Colquhoun) had served his apprenticeship in the Town Chamber of Glasgow. The Bailie insisted for a second bowl, and volunteered to be the manufacturer; “for,” quoth he (with a sly wink), “I am reckoned a fair hand, though not equal to my father, the deacon.” Scott smiled in acquiescence, and, the ladies having by this time withdrawn, said he was glad to find the celebrated beverage of the city of St Mungo had not fallen into desuetude. The Bailie extolled the liquor he was brewing, and quoted Sir John Sinclair’s Code of Health and Longevity for the case of a gentleman well known to himself, who lived till ninety, and had been drunk upon it every night for half-a-century. But Bailie Tennent was a devout elder of the kirk, and did not tell his story without one or two groans that his doctrine
should have such an example to plead. Sir Walter said he could only hope that manners were mended in other respects since the days when a popular minister of the last age (one Mr Thorn), renowned for satirical humour, as well as for highflying zeal, had demolished all his own chances of a Glasgow benefice by preaching before the Town-Council from this text in Hosea: “Ephraim’s drink is sour, and he hath committed whoredom continually.” The Bailie’s brow darkened (like Nicol Jarvie’s when they misca’d Rab); he groaned deeper than before, and said he feared “Tham o’ Govan was at heart a ne’erdoweel.” He, however, refilled our glasses as he spoke; and Scott, as he tasted his, said, “Weel, weel, Bailie, Ephraim was not so far wrong as to the matter of drink.” A gay little Irish Squireen (a keener Protestant even than our “merchant and magistrate”) did not seem to have discovered the Great Unknown until about this time, and now began to take a principal share in the conversation. To the bowl of Ephraim he had from the first done all justice. He broke at once into the heart of the debateable land; and after a few fierce tirades against Popery, asked the Highland Colonel, who had replaced the Master of the steamer at the head of the table, to give the glorious memory. The prudent Colonel affected not to hear until this hint had been thrice repeated, watching carefully meanwhile the demeanour of a sufficiently mixed company. The general pushing in of glasses, and perhaps some freemasonry symptoms besides—(for we understood that he had often served in Ireland)—had satisfied him that all was right, and he rose and announced the Protestant Shibboleth with a voice that made the lockers and rafters ring again. Bailie Tennent rose with grim alacrity to join in the cheers; and then our Squireen proposed, in his own person, what, he said, always ought to be
the second toast among good men and true. This was nothing else than the heroic memory, which, from our friend’s preliminary speech, we understood to be the memory of
Oliver Cromwell. Sir Walter winced more shrewdly than his Bailie had done about Ephraim’s transgressions, but swallowed his punch, and stood up, glass in hand, like the rest, though an unfortunate fit of coughing prevented his taking part in their huzzas. This feature of Irish loyalism was new to the untravelled Scotch of the party. On a little reflection, however, we thought it not so unnatural. Our little Squireen boasted of being himself descended from a sergeant in Cromwell’s army; and he added that “the best in Ireland” had similar pedigrees to be proud of. He took care, however, to inform us that his own great ancestor was a real jontleman all over, and behaved as such; “for,” said he, “when Oliver gave him his order for the lands, he went to the widow, and tould her he would neither turn out her nor the best-looking of her daughters; so get the best dinner you can, old lady,” quoth he, “and parade the whole lot of them, and I’ll pick.” Which was done, it seems, accordingly; and probably no conquest ever wanted plenty of such alleviations.

Something in this story suggested to Scott an incident, recorded in some old book of Memoirs, of a French envoy’s reception in the tower of some Irish chieftain, during one of the rebellions against Queen Elizabeth; and he narrated it, to the infinite delight of the Protestant Squireen. This comforter of the rebels was a bishop, and his union of civil and religious dignity secured for him all possible respect and attention. The chief (I think the name was O’Donoghue) welcomed him warmly: He was clad in a yellow mantle—(“to wit, a dirty blanket,” interposes the Squireen)—but this he dropt
in the interior, and sat upon it mother-naked in the midst of his family and guests by the fire. The potheen circulated, and was approved by the bishop. When the hour of retiring for the night approached, the hospitable Milesian desired him to look round and select any of his daughters he liked for a bedfellow. The bishop did as he was invited, and the young lady went up stairs, to be dealt with probably by Monseigneur’s valet as Peregrine Pickle’s beggar-girl was by Tom Pipes. By and by the bishop followed, and next minute his allotted partner tumbled into the partiarchal circle below in an agony of tears, while the great man was heard pesting vociferously in his chamber above. “It turned out,” said Sir Walter, “that the most prominent object on his reverence’s toilette had been a pot of singularly precious pomatum, recently presented to him by the Pope. This the poor girl was desired by the French attendant, as he withdrew, to make use of in completing the adornment of her person; but an interpreter had been wanting. She took it for butter, and the bannock which she had plastered, both sides over, with this precious unguent, was half-devoured before the ambassador honoured her bower with his presence. Dandyism had prevailed over gallantry, and Princess O’Donoghue was kicked down Stairs.”

When we got upon deck again after our carousal, we found it raining heavily, and the lady passengers in great misery; which state of things continued till we were within sight of Belfast. We got there about nine in the morning, and I find it set down that we paid four guineas for the conveyance of the carriage, and a guinea apiece for ourselves; in 1837 I understand the charge for passengers is not more than half-a-crown a-head in the cabin, and sixpence in the steerage—so rapidly has steam-navigation extended in the space of twelve years.
Sir Walter told us he well remembered being on board of the first steamer that ever was launched in Britain, in 1812. For some time, that one awkward machine went back and forward between Glasgow and Greenock, and it would have looked like a cock-boat beside any one of the hundreds of magnificent steamships that now cover the Firth of Clyde. It is also written in my pocket-book, that the little Orange Squireen was particularly kind and serviceable at our landing—knocking about the swarm of porters that invaded the vessel on anchoring, in a style quite new to us, with slang equally Irish—e.g. “Your fingers are all thumbs, I see—put that (portmanteau) in your teeth, you grampus,” &c. &c.

The following is part of the first letter I wrote to my wife from Dublin:—“Belfast is a thriving bustling place, surrounded with smart villas, and built much like a second-rate English town; yet there we saw the use of the imported rags forthwith. One man, apparently happy and gay returning to his work (a mason seemingly), from breakfast, with pipe in mouth, had a coat of which I don’t believe any three inches together were of the same colour or the same stuff—red, black, yellow, green—cloth, velveteen, corduroy, fustian—the complete image of a tattered coverlid originally made on purpose of particularly small patches—no shirt, and almost no breeches;—yet this is the best part of Ireland, and the best population. What shall we see in the South?

“Erin deserves undoubtedly the style of Green Erin. We passed through high and low country, rich and poor, but none that was not greener than Scotland ever saw. The husbandry to the north seemed rather careless than bad—I should say slovenly, for every thing is cultivated,
and the crops are fine, though the appearance is quite spoiled by the bad, or oftener the no fences; and, above all, to unaccustomed eyes, by the human wretchedness every where visible even there. Your papa says, however, that he sees all over the North marks of an improving country; that the new houses are all greatly better than the old, &c. He is no doubt right as to the towns, and even villages on the highway, but I can’t imagine the newest huts of the peasantry to have been preceded by worse even in the days of Malachi with the collar of gold. They are of clay without chimneys, and without any opening for light, except the door and the smoke-hole in the roof. When there is a window, it seldom has even one pane of glass, and I take it the aperture is only a summer luxury, to be closed up with the ready trowel whenever the winter comes. The filth, darkness, and squalor of these dens and their inhabitants, are beyond imagination, even to us who have traversed so often the wildest of our own Highland glens; yet your father swears he has not yet seen one face decidedly careworn and unhappy; on the contrary, an universal good-humour and merriment, and, to us, every sort of civility from the poor people; as yet few beggars. An old man at Dunleer having got some pence from
Anne while the carriage stopt, an older woman came forward to sell gooseberries, and we declining these, she added that we might as well give her an alms too then, for she was an old struggler. Anne thought she said smuggler, and dreamt of potheen, but she meant that she had done her best to resist the ‘sea of troubles;’ whereas her neighbour, the professed mendicant, had yielded to the stream too easily. The Unknown says he shall recollect the word, which deserves to be classical. We slept at Dundalk, a poor little town by the shore, but
with a magnificent Justice-hall and jail—a public building superior, I think, to any in Edinburgh, in the midst of a place despicably dirty and miserable.”

When we halted at Drogheda, a retired officer of dragoons, discovering that the party was Sir Walter’s, sent in his card, with a polite offer to attend him over the field of the battle of the Boyne, about two miles off, which of course was accepted;—Sir Walter rejoicing the veteran’s heart by his vigorous recitation of the famous ballad (The Crossing of the Water), as we proceeded to the ground, and the eager and intelligent curiosity with which he received his explanations of it.

On Thursday the 14th we reached Dublin in time for dinner, and found young Walter and his bride established in one of those large and noble houses in St Stephen’s Green (the most extensive square in Europe), the founders of which little dreamt that they should ever be let at an easy rate as garrison lodgings. Never can I forget the fond joy and pride with which Sir Walter looked round him, as he sat for the first time at his son’s table. I could not but recall Pindar’s lines, in which, wishing to paint the gentlest rapture of felicity, he describes an old man with a foaming wine-cup in his hand at his child’s wedding-feast.

That very evening arrived a deputation from the Royal Society of Dublin, inviting Sir Walter to a public dinner; and next morning he found on his breakfast-table a letter from the Provost of Trinity College (Dr Kyle, now Bishop of Cork), announcing that the University desired to pay him the very high compliment of a degree of Doctor of Laws by diploma. The Archbishop of Dublin (the celebrated Dr Magee), though surrounded with severe domestic afflictions at the time, was among the earliest of his visitors; another was the Attorney-General (now Lord Chancellor Plunkett); a
third was the Commander of the Forces,
Sir George Murray; and a fourth the Chief Remembrancer of Exchequer (the Right Honourable Anthony Blake), who was the bearer of a message from the Marquis Wellesley, then Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, offering all sorts of facilities, and inviting him to dine next day at his Excellency’s country residence, Malahide Castle. It would be endless to enumerate the distinguished persons who, morning after morning, crowded his levee in St Stephen’s Green. The courts of law were not then sitting, and most of the judges were out of town; but all the other great functionaries, and the leading noblemen and gentlemen of the city and its neighbourhood, of whatever sect or party, hastened to tender every conceivable homage and hospitality. But all this was less surprising to the companions of his journey (though, to say truth, we had, no more than himself, counted on such eager enthusiasm among any class of Irish society), than the demonstrations of respect which, after the first day or two, awaited him, wherever he moved, at the hands of the less elevated orders of the Dublin population. If his carriage was recognised at the door of any public establishment, the street was sure to be crowded before he came out again, so as to make his departure as slow as a procession. When he entered a street, the watchword was passed down both sides like lightning, and the shopkeepers and their wives stood bowing and curtseying all the way down; while the mob and boys huzza’d as at the chariot-wheels of a conqueror. I had certainly been most thoroughly unprepared for finding the common people of Dublin so alive to the claims of any non-military greatness. Sir Robert Peel says, that Sir Walter’s reception on the High Street of Edinburgh, in August, 1822, was the first thing that gave him a notion of “the electric shock of
a nation’s gratitude.” I doubt if even that scene surpassed what I myself witnessed when he returned down Dame Street, after inspecting the Castle of Dublin. Bailie Tennent, who had been in the crowd on that occasion, called afterwards in Stephen’s Green to show Sir Walter some promised Return about his Glasgow Police, and observed to me, as he withdrew, that “yon was owre like worshipping the creature.”

I may as well, perhaps, extract from a letter of the 16th, the contemporary note of one day’s operations. “Sir Humphry Davy is here on his way to fish in Connemara—he breakfasted at Walter’s this morning; also Hartstonge, who was to show us the lions of St Patrick’s. Peveril was surprised to find the exterior of the cathedral so rudely worked, coarse, and almost shapeless—but the interior is imposing, and even grand. There are some curious old monuments of the Cork family, &c., but one thinks of nothing but Swift there—the whole cathedral is merely his tomb. Your papa hung long over the famous inscription,* which is in gilt letters upon black marble; and seemed vexed there was not a ladder at hand that he might have got nearer the bust (apparently a very fine one), by Roubilliac, which is placed over it. This was given by the piety of his printer, Faulkener. According to this, Swift had a prodigious double chin; and Peveril remarked that the severity of the whole countenance is much increased by the absence of the wig, which, in the prints, conceals the height and gloom of the brow, the uncommon massiveness and breadth of the temple-bones, and the Herculean style in which the head fits in to the neck

* The terrible inscription is “Hic depositum est corpus Jonathan Swift, S.T.P. &c., ubi sæva indignatio ulterius cor lacerare nequit.”

Stella’s epitaph is on the adjoining pillar—close by. Sir Walter seemed not to have thought of it before (or to have forgotten, if he had), but to judge merely from the wording that Swift himself wrote it. She is described as ‘Mrs Hester Johnson, better known to the world by the name of Stella, under which she is celebrated in the writings of Dr Jonathan Swift, Dean of this cathedral.’ ‘This,’ said Sir Walter, ‘the Dean might say—any one else would have said more.’ She died in 1727, Swift in 1745. Just by the entrance to the transept, is his tablet in honour of the servant who behaved so well about the secret of the Drapier’s letters. We then saw St Sepulchre’s Library, a monastic looking place, very like one of the smaller college libraries in Oxford. Here they have the folio Clarendon, with Swift’s marginal remarks, mostly in pencil, but still quite legible. ‘Very savage as usual upon us poor Scots every where,’ quoth the Unknown. We then went into the Deanery (the one Swift inhabited has been pulled down), and had a most courteous and elegant reception from the Dean, the Honourable Dr Ponsonby. He gave us a capital luncheon—the original full-length picture of the Dean over the sideboard. The print in the Edinburgh edition is very good—but the complexion is in the picture—black, robust, sanguine—a heavy-lidded, stern blue eye. It was interesting to see how completely the genius loci has kept his ground. Various little relics reverently hoarded as they should be. They said his memory was as fresh as ever among the common people about—they still sing his ballads, and had heard with great delight that Sir Walter wrote a grand book all about the great Dane. The
‘Jolly lads of St Patrick’s, St Kevin’s, Donore,’
mustered strong and Stentorian at our exit. They
would, like their great-grandfathers and mothers, have torn the Unknown to pieces, had he taken the other tack, and
‘Insulted us all by insulting the Dean.’

“We next saw the Bank—late Parliament House—the Dublin Society’s Museum, where papa was enchanted with a perfect skeleton of the gigantic moose-deer, the horns fourteen feet from tip to tip, and high in proportion—and a long train of other fine places and queer things, all as per road-book. Every where throughout this busy day—fine folks within doors and rabble without—a terrible rushing and crushing to see the Baronet; Lord Wellington could not have excited a better rumpus. But the theatre in the evening completed the thing. I never heard such a row. The players might as well have had no tongues. Beatrice (Miss Foote) twice left the stage; and at last Benedick (Abbot, who is the manager) came forward, cunning dog, and asked what was the cause of the tempest. A thousand voices shouted, Sir Walter Scott; and the worthy lion being thus bearded and poked, rose, after an hour’s torture, and said, with such a kindness and grace of tone and manner, these words:—‘I am sure the Irish people—(a roar)—I am sure this respectable audience will not suppose that a stranger can be insensible to the kindness of their reception of him; and if I have been too long in saying this, I trust it will be attributed to the right cause—my unwillingness to take to myself honours so distinguished, and which I could not and cannot but feel to be unmerited.’ I think these are the very words. The noise continued a perfect cataract and thunder of roaring; but he would take no hints about going to the stage-box, and the evening closed decently enough. The

See Scott’s Swift (Edit. 1814), Vol. x. p. 537.

theatre is very handsome—the dresses and scenery capital —the actors and actresses seemed (but, to be sure, this was scarcely a fair specimen) about as bad as in the days of
Croker’s Familiar Epistles.”

On Monday the 18th, to give another extract: “Young Mr Maturin breakfasted, and Sir Walter asked a great deal about his late father and the present situation of the family, and promised to go and see the widow. When the young gentleman was gone, Hartstonge told us that Maturin used to compose with a wafer pasted on his forehead, which was the signal that if any of his family entered the sanctum they must not speak to him. ‘He was never bred in a writer’s chaumer,’ quoth Peveril. Sir Walter observed that it seemed to be a piece of Protestantism in Dublin to drop the saintly titles of the Catholic Church: they call St Patrick’s, Patrick’s; and St Stephen’s Green has been Orangeized into Stephen’s. He said you might trace the Puritans in the plain Powles (for St Paul’s) of the old English comedians. We then went to the Bank, where the Governor and Directors had begged him to let themselves show him every thing in proper style; and he was forced to say, as he came out, ‘These people treated me as if I was a Prince of the Blood.’ I do believe that, just at this time, the Duke of York might be treated as well—better he could not be. From this to the College hard by. The Provost received Sir W. in a splendid drawing-room, and then carried him through the libraries, halls, &c. amidst a crowd of eager students. He received his diploma in due form, and there followed a superb dejeuner in the Provostry. Neither Oxford nor Cambridge could have done the whole thing in better style. Made acquaintance with Dr Brinkley, Astronomer Royal, and Dr Macdonnell, Professor of Greek, and all the rest of the leading Professors, who vied with each other in respect
and devotion to the Unknown.—19th. I forgot to say that there is one true paragraph in the papers. One of the College librarians yesterday told Sir W., fishingly, ‘I have been so busy that I have not yet read your Redgauntlet.’ He answered, very meekly, ‘I have not happened to fall in with such a work, Doctor.’”

From Dublin we made an excursion of some days into the county Wicklow, halting for a night at the villa of the Surgeon-General, Mr Crampton, who struck Sir Walter as being more like Sir Humphry Davy than any man he had met, not in person only, but in the liveliness and range of his talk, and who kindly did the honours of Lough Breagh and the Dargle; and then for two or three at Old Connaught, Lord Plunkett’s seat near Bray. Here there was a large and brilliant party assembled; and from hence, under the guidance of the Attorney-General and his amiable family, we perambulated to all possible advantage the classical resorts of the Devil’s Glyn, Rosanna, Kilruddery, and Glendalough, with its seven churches, and St Kevin’s Bed—the scene of the fate of Cathleen, celebrated in Moore’s ballad—
“By that lake whose gloomy shore
Skylark never warbles o’er,” &c.
“It is,” says my letter, “a hole in the sheer surface of the rock, in which two or three people might sit. The difficulty of getting into this place has been exaggerated, as also the danger, for it would only be falling thirty or forty feet into very deep water. Yet I never was more pained than when your papa, in spite of all remonstrances, would make his way to it, crawling along the precipice. He succeeded and got in—the first lame man that ever tried it. After he was gone, Mr Plunkett told the female guide he was a poet. Cathleen treated this with
indignation, as a quiz of Mr Attorney’s. ‘Poet!’ said she, ‘the devil a bit of him but an honourable gentleman: he gave me half-a-crown.’”

On the 1st of August we proceeded from Dublin to Edgeworthstown, the party being now reinforced by Captain and Mrs Scott, and also by the delightful addition of the Surgeon-General, who had long been an intimate friend of the Edgeworth family, and equally gratified both the novelists by breaking the toils of his great practice to witness their meeting on his native soil. A happy meeting it was: we remained there for several days, making excursions to Loch Oel and other scenes of interest in Longford and the adjoining counties; the gentry every where exerting themselves with true Irish zeal to signalize their affectionate pride in their illustrious countrywoman, and their appreciation of her guest; while her brother, Mr Lovell Edgeworth, had his classical mansion filled every evening with a succession of distinguished friends, the elite of Ireland. Here, above all, we had the opportunity of seeing in what universal respect and comfort a gentleman’s family may live in that country, and in far from its most favoured district, provided only they live there habitually, and do their duty as the friends and guardians of those among whom Providence has appointed their proper place. Here we found neither mud hovels nor naked peasantry, but snug cottages and smiling faces all about. Here there was a very large school in the village, of which masters and pupils were in a nearly equal proportion Protestants and Roman Catholics, the Protestant squire himself making it a regular part of his daily business to visit the scene of their operations, and strengthen authority and enforce discipline by his personal superintendence. Here, too, we pleased ourselves
with recognising some of the sweetest features in
Goldsmith’s picture of
“Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain;”
and, in particular, we had “the playful children just let loose from school” in perfection. Mr Edgeworth’s paternal heart delighted in letting them make a playground of his lawn; and every evening after dinner we saw leap-frog going on with the highest spirit within fifty yards of the drawing-room windows, while fathers and mothers, and their aged parents also, were grouped about among the trees watching the sport. It is a curious enough coincidence that Oliver Goldsmith and
Maria Edgeworth should both have derived their early love and knowledge of Irish character and manners from the same identical district. He received part of his education at this very school of Edgeworthstown; and Pallasmore (the locus cui nomen est Pallas of Johnson’s epitaph), the little hamlet where the author of the Vicar of Wakefield first saw the light, is still, as it was in his time, the property of the Edgeworths.

It may well be imagined with what lively interest Sir Walter surveyed the scenery with which so many of the proudest recollections of Ireland must ever be associated, and how curiously he studied the rural manners it presented to him, in the hope (not disappointed) of being able to trace some of his friend’s bright creations to their first hints and germs. On the delight with which he contemplated her position in the midst of her own large and happy domestic circle I need say still less. The reader is aware by this time how deeply he condemned and pitied the conduct and fate of those who, gifted with pre-eminent talents for the instruction and entertainment of their species at large, fancy themselves entitled to neglect those every-day duties and charities of life, from
the mere shadowing of which in imaginary pictures the genius of poetry and romance has always reaped its highest and purest, perhaps its only true and immortal honours. In
Maria he hailed a sister spirit; one who, at the summit of literary fame, took the same modest, just, and, let me add, Christian view of the relative importance of the feelings, the obligations, and the hopes in which we are all equally partakers, and those talents and accomplishments which may seem, to vain and shortsighted eyes, sufficient to constitute their possessors into an order and species apart from the rest of their kind. Such fantastic conceits found no shelter with either of these powerful minds. I was then a young man, and I cannot forget how much I was struck at the time by some words that fell from one of them, when, in the course of a walk in the park at Edgeworthstown, I happened to use some phrase which conveyed (though not perhaps meant to do so) the impression that I suspected Poets and Novelists of being a good deal accustomed to look at life and the world only as materials for art. A soft and pensive shade came over Scott’s face as he said—“I fear you have some very young ideas in your head: are you not too apt to measure things by some reference to literature—to disbelieve that any body can be worth much care who has no knowledge of that sort of thing, or taste for it? God help us! what a poor world this would be if that were the true doctrine! I have read books enough, and observed and conversed with enough of eminent and splendidly cultivated minds, too, in my time; but, I assure you, I have heard higher sentiments from the lips of poor uneducated men and women, when exerting the spirit of severe yet gentle heroism under difficulties and afflictions, or speaking their simple thoughts as to circumstances in the lot of friends and neighbours, than I
ever yet met with out of the pages of the Bible. We shall never learn to feel and respect our real calling and destiny, unless we have taught ourselves to consider every thing as moonshine, compared with the education of the heart.” Maria did not listen to this without some water in her eyes—her tears are always ready when any generous string is touched (for, as
Pope says, “the finest minds, like the finest metals, dissolve the easiest”); but she brushed them gaily aside, and said, “You see how it is—Dean Swift said he had written his books, in order that people might learn to treat him like a great lord. Sir Walter writes his, in order that he may be able to treat his people as a great lord ought to do.”

Lest I should forget to mention it, I put down here a rebuke which, later in his life, Sir Walter once gave in my hearing to his daughter Anne. She happened to say of something, I forget what, that she could not abide it—it was vulgar. “My love,” said her father, “you speak like a very young lady; do you know, after all, the meaning of this word vulgar? ’Tis only common; nothing that is common, except wickedness, can deserve to be spoken of in a tone of contempt; and when you have lived to my years, you will be disposed to agree with me in thanking God that nothing really worth having or caring about in this world is uncommon.”

At Edgeworthstown he received the following letter from Mr Canning:—

To Sir Walter Scott, Bart. &c. &c.
“Combe Wood, July 24, 1825.
“My dear Sir,

“A pretty severe indisposition has prevented me from sooner acknowledging your kind letter; and now I fear that I shall not be able to accomplish my visit
to Scotland this year. Although I shall be, for the last fortnight of August, at no great distance from the Borders, my time is so limited that I cannot reckon upon getting farther.

“I rejoice to see that my countrymen (for, though I was accidentally born in London, I consider myself an Irishman) have so well known the value of the honour which you are paying to them.

“By the way, if you landed at Liverpool on your return, could you find a better road to the north than through the Lake country? You would find me (from about the 10th of August) and Charles Ellis* at my friend Mr Bolton’s, on the Banks of Windermere, where I can promise you as kind, though not so noisy a welcome, as that which you have just experienced; and where our friend the Professor (who is Admiral of the Lake) would fit out all his flotilla, and fire as many of his guns as are not painted ones, in honour of your arrival.—Yours, my dear sir, very sincerely,

Geo. Canning.”

This invitation was not to be resisted; and the following letter announced a change of the original route to Mr Morritt.

“To John B. S. Morritt, Esq., Rokeby Park, Greta Bridge.
“Edgeworthstown, Aug. 3, 1825.

“Your kind letter, my dear Morritt, finds me sweltering under the hottest weather I ever experienced, for the sake of seeing sights—of itself, you know, the most feverish occupation in the world. Luckily we are free of Dublin, and there is nothing around us but green fields and fine trees, ‘barring the high-roads,’ which

* Now Lord Seaford.

make those who tread on them the most complete pie-poudreux ever seen; that is, if the old definition of pie-poudres be authentic, and if not, you may seek another dusty simile for yourself it cannot exceed the reality. I have with me
Lockhart and Anne, Walter and his cara sposa, for all whom the hospitality of Edgeworthstown has found ample space and verge enough. Indeed it is impossible to conceive the extent of this virtue in all classes; I don’t think even our Scottish hospitality can match that of Ireland. Every thing seems to give way to the desire to accommodate a stranger; and I really believe the story of the Irish harper, who condemned his harp to the flames for want of fire-wood to cook a guest’s supper. Their personal kindness to me has been so great, that were it not from the chilling recollection that novelty is easily substituted for merit, I should think, like the booby in Steele’s play, that I had been kept back, and that there was something more about me than I had ever been led to suspect. As I am L.L.D. of Trinity College, and am qualified as a Catholic seer, by having mounted up into the bed of Saint Kevin, at the celebrated seven churches of Glendalough, I am entitled to prescribe, ex cathedrâ, for all the diseases of Ireland, as being free both of the Catholic and Protestant parties. But the truth is, that Pat, while the doctors were consulting, has been gradually and securely recovering of himself. He is very loath to admit this indeed; there being a strain of hypochondria in his complaints, which will not permit him to believe he’s getting better. Nay, he gets even angry when a physician, more blunt than polite, continues to assure him that he is better than he supposes himself, and that much of his present distress consists, partly of the recollection of former indisposition, partly of the severe practice of modern empirics.


“In sober sadness, to talk of the misery of Ireland at this time, is to speak of the illness of a malade imaginaire. Well she is not, but she is rapidly becoming so. There are all the outward and visible tokens of convalescence. Every thing is mending; the houses that arise are better a hundred-fold than the cabins which are falling; the peasants of the younger class are dressed a great deal better than with the rags which clothe the persons of the more ancient Teagues, which realize the wardrobe of Jenny Sutton, of whom Morris sweetly sings,
‘One single pin at night let loose.
The robes which veiled her beauty.’
I am sure I have seen with apprehension a single button perform the same feat, and when this mad scare-crow hath girded up his loins to run hastily by the side of the chaise, I have feared it would give way, and that there, as King Lear’s fool says, we should be all shamed. But this, which seems once to have generally been the attire of the fair of the Green Isle, probably since the time of King Malachi and the collar of gold, is now fast disappearing, and the habit of the more youthful Pats and Patesses is decent and comely. Here they all look well coloured, and well fed, and well contented. And as I see in most places great exertions making to reclaim bogs upon a large scale, and generally to improve ground, I must needs hold that they are in constant employment.

“With all this there is much that remains to be amended, and which time and increase of capital only can amend. The price of labour is far too low, and this naturally reduces the labouring poor beyond their just level in society. The behaviour of the gentry in general to the labourers is systematically harsh, and this arrogance is received with a servile deference which argues any thing
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excepting affection. This, however, is also in the course of amending. I have heard a great deal of the far-famed Catholic Question from both sides, and I think I see its bearings better than I did; but these are for your ear when we meet—as meet we shall—if no accident prevent it. I return via Holyhead, as I wish to show
Anne something of England, and you may believe that we shall take Rokeby in our way. To-morrow I go to Killarney, which will occupy most part of the week. About Saturday I shall be back at Dublin to take leave of friends; and then for England, ho! I will, avoiding London, seek a pleasant route to Rokeby. Fate will only allow us to rest there for a day or two, because I have some desire to see Canning, who is to be on the Lakes about that time. Et finis. My leave will be exhausted. Anne and Lockhart send kindest compliments to you and the ladies. I am truly rejoiced that Mrs John Morritt is better. Indeed, I had learned that agreeable intelligence from Lady Louisa Stuart. I found Walter and his wife living happily and rationally, affectionately and prudently. There is great good sense and quietness about all Jane’s domestic arrangements, and she plays the leaguer’s lady very prettily.—I will write again when I reach Britain, and remain ever yours,

Walter Scott.”

Miss Edgeworth, her sister Harriet, and her brother William, were easily persuaded to join our party for the rest of our Irish travels. We had lingered a week at Edgeworthstown, and were now anxious to make the best of our way towards the Lakes of Killarney; but posting was not to be very rapidly accomplished in those regions by so large a company as had now collected—and we were more agreeably delayed by the
hospitalities of Miss Edgeworth’s old friends, and several of
Sir Walter’s new ones, at various mansions on our line of route—of which I must note especially Judge Moore’s, at Lamberton, near Maryborough, because Sir Walter pronounced its beneficence to be even beyond the usual Irish scale; for, on reaching our next halting place, which was an indifferent country inn, we discovered that we need be in no alarm as to our dinner at all events, the judge’s people having privately packed up in one of the carriages, ere we started in the morning, a pickled salmon, a most lordly venison pasty, and half-a-dozen bottles of Champagne. But most of these houses seemed, like the judge’s, to have been constructed on the principle of the Peri Banou’s tent. They seemed all to have room not only for the lion and lionesses, and their respective tails, but for all in the neighbourhood who could be held worthy to inspect them at feeding-time.

It was a succession of festive gaiety wherever we halted; and in the course of our movements we saw many castles, churches, and ruins of all sorts—with more than enough of mountain, wood, lake, and river, to have made any similar progress in any other part of Europe, truly delightful in all respects. But those of the party to whom the South of Ireland was new, had almost continually before them spectacles of abject misery, which robbed these things of more than half their charm. Sir Walter, indeed, with the habitual hopefulness of his temper, persisted that what he saw even in Kerry was better than what books had taught him to expect; and insured, therefore, that improvement, however slow, was going on. But, ever and anon, as we moved deeper into the country, there was a melancholy in his countenance, and, despite himself, in the tone of his voice, which I for one could not mistake. The constant pass-
RELAND—AUG. 1825.67
ings and repassings of bands of mounted policemen, armed to the teeth, and having quite the air of highly disciplined soldiers on sharp service;—the rueful squalid poverty that crawled by every wayside, and blocked up every village where we had to change horses, with exhibitions of human suffering and degradation, such as it had never entered into our heads to conceive; and, above all, the contrast between these naked clamorous beggars, who seemed to spring out of the ground at every turn like swarms of vermin, and the boundless luxury and merriment surrounding the thinly scattered magnates who condescended to inhabit their ancestral seats, would have been sufficient to poison those landscapes, had Nature dressed them out in the verdure of Arcadia, and art embellished them with all the temples and palaces of Old Rome and Athens. It is painful enough even to remember such things; but twelve years can have had but a trifling change in the appearance of a country which, so richly endowed by Providence with every element of wealth and happiness, could, at so advanced a period of European civilisation, sicken the heart of the stranger by such wide-spread manifestations of the wanton and reckless profligacy of human mismanagement, the withering curse of feuds and factions, and the tyrannous selfishness of absenteeism; and I fear it is not likely that any contemporary critic will venture to call my melancholy picture overcharged. A few blessed exceptions—such an aspect of ease and decency for example, as we met every where on the vast domain of the
Duke of Devonshire—served only to make the sad reality of the rule more flagrant and appalling. Taking his bedroom candle, one night in a village on the Duke’s estate, Sir Walter summed up the strain of his discourse by a line of Shakspeare’s
“Sweet mercy is nobility’s true badge.”


There was, however, abundance of ludicrous incidents to break this gloom; and no traveller ever tasted either the humours or the blunders of Paddy more heartily than did Sir Walter. I find recorded in one letter a very merry morning at Limerick, where, amidst the ringing of all the bells, in honour of the advent, there was ushered in a brother-poet, who must needs pay his personal respects to the author of Marmion. He was a scarecrow figure attired much in the fashion of the strugglers—by name O’Kelly; and he had produced on the spur of the occasion this modest parody of Dryden’s famous epigram:
“Three poets, of three different nations born,
The United Kingdom in this age adorn;
Byron of England, Scott of Scotia’s blood,
And Erin’s pride O’Kelly, great and good.”
Sir Walter’s five shillings were at once forthcoming; and the bard, in order that
Miss Edgeworth might display equal generosity, pointed out, in a little volume of his works (for which, moreover, we had all to subscribe), this pregnant couplet:
Scott, Morgan, Edgeworth, Byron, prop of Greece,
Are characters whose fame not soon will cease.”

We were still more amused (though there was real misery in the case) with what befel on our approach to a certain pretty seat, in a different county, where there was a collection of pictures and curiosities, not usually shown to travellers. A gentleman, whom we had met in Dublin, had been accompanying us part of the day’s journey, and volunteered, being acquainted with the owner, to procure us easy admission. At the entrance of the domain, to which we proceeded under his wing, we were startled by the dolorous apparition of two undertaker’s men, in voluminous black scarfs, though
IRELAND—AUG. 1825.69
there was little or nothing of black about the rest of their habiliments, who sat upon the highway before the gate, with a whisky-bottle on a deal-table between them. They informed us that the master of the house had died the day before, and that they were to keep watch and ward in this style until the funeral, inviting all Christian passengers to drink a glass to his repose. Our Cicerone left his card for the widow having previously, no doubt, written on it the names of his two lions. Shortly after we regained our post-house, he received a polite answer from the lady. To the best of my memory, it was in these terms:—

“Mrs —— presents her kind compliments to Mr ——, and much regrets that she cannot show the pictures to-day, as Major —— died yesterday evening by apoplexy; which Mrs —— the more regrets, as it will prevent her having the honour to see Sir Walter Scott and Miss Edgeworth.”

Sir Walter said it reminded him of a woman in Fife, who, summing up the misfortunes of a black year in her history, said—“Let me see, sirs; first, we lost our wee callant—and then Jenny—and then the gudeman himsel died—and then the coo died too, poor hizzey; but, to be sure, her hide brought me fifteen shillings.”

At one county gentleman’s table where we dined, though two grand full-length daubs of William and Mary adorned the walls of the room, there was a mixed company—about as many Catholics as Protestants, all apparently on cordial terms, and pledging each other lustily in bumpers of capital claret. About an hour after dinner, however, punch was called for; tumblers and jugs of hot water appeared, and with them two magnums of whisky, the one bearing on its label King’s, the other Queen’s. We did not at first understand these inscriptions; but it was explained, sotto
voce, that the King’s had paid the duty, the Queen’s was of contraband origin; and, in the choice of the liquors, we detected a new shibboleth of party. The jolly Protestants to a man stuck to the King’s bottle—the equally radiant Papists paid their duty to the Queen’s.

Since I have alluded at all to the then grand dispute, I may mention, that, after our tour was concluded, we considered with some wonder that, having partaken liberally of Catholic hospitality, and encountered almost every other class of society, we had not sat at meat with one specimen of the Romish priesthood; whereas, even at Popish tables, we had met dignitaries of the Established Church. This circumstance we set down at the time as amounting pretty nearly to a proof that there were few gentlemen in that order; but we afterwards were willing to suspect that a prejudice of their own had been the source of it. The only incivility, which Sir Walter Scott ultimately discovered himself to have encountered—(for his friends did not allow him to hear of it at the time)—in the course of his Irish peregrination, was the refusal of a Roman Catholic gentleman, named O’Connell, who kept staghounds near Killarney, to allow of a hunt on the upper lake, the day he visited that beautiful scenery. This he did, as we were told, because he considered it as a notorious fact, that Sir Walter Scott was an enemy to the Roman Catholic claims for admission to seats in Parliament. He was entirely mistaken, however; for, though no man disapproved of Romanism as a system of faith and practice more sincerely than Sir Walter always did, he had long before this period formed the opinion, that no good could come of farther resistance to the claim in question. He on all occasions expressed manfully his belief, that the best thing for
IRELAND—AUG. 1825.71
Ireland would have been never to relax the strictly political enactments of the penal laws, however harsh these might appear. Had they been kept in vigour for another half century, it was his conviction that Popery would have been all but extinguished in Ireland. But he thought that, after admitting Romanists to the elective franchise, it was a vain notion that they could be permanently or advantageously debarred from using that franchise in favour of those of their own persuasion. The greater part of the charming society into which he fell while in Ireland, entertained views and sentiments very likely to confirm these impressions; and it struck me that considerable pains were taken to enforce them. It was felt, probably, that the crisis of decision drew near; and there might be a natural anxiety to secure the suffrage of the great writer of the time. The polished amenity of the
Lord-Lieutenant set off his commanding range of thought and dexterous exposition of facts to the most captivating advantage. “The Marquis’s talk,” says Scott, in a letter of the following year, “gave me the notion of the kind of statesmanship that one might have expected in a Roman emperor, accustomed to keep the whole world in his view, and to divide his hours between ministers like Mæsenas and wits like Horace.” The acute logic and brilliant eloquence of Lord Plunkett he ever afterwards talked of with high admiration; nor had he, he said, encountered in society any combination of qualities more remarkable than the deep sagacity and the broad rich humour of Mr Blake. In Plunkett, Blake, and Crampton, he considered himself as having gained three real friends by this expedition; and I think I may venture to say, that the feeling on their side was warmly reciprocal.

If he had been made aware at the time of the dis-
courtesy of the Romish staghunter at Killarney, he might have been consoled by a letter which reached him that same week from a less bigoted member of the same church—the great poet of Ireland—whom he had never chanced to meet in society but once, and that at an early period of life, shortly after the first publication of the
Lay of the Last Minstrel.

To Sir Walter Scott, Bart. &c. &c.
“Sloperton Cottage, Devizes, July 24, 1825.
“My dear Sir Walter,

“I wish most heartily that I had been in my own green land to welcome you. It delights me, however, to see (what I could not have doubted) that the warm hearts of my countrymen have shown that they know how to value you. How I envy those who will have the glory of showing you and Killarney to each other! No two of nature’s productions, I will say, were ever more worthy of meeting. If the Kenmares should be your Ciceroni, pray tell them what I say of their Paradise, with my best regards and greetings. I received your kind message, through Newton,* last year, that ‘if I did not come and see you, before you died, you would appear to me afterwards.’ Be assured that, as I am all for living apparitions, I shall take care and have the start of you, and would have done it this very year, I rather think, only for your Irish movements.

“Present my best regards to your son-in-law, and believe me, my dear Sir Walter (though we have met, I am sorry to say, but once in our lives),

“Yours, cordially and sincerely,
Thomas Moore.”

* The late amiable and elegant artist, Gilbert Stewart Newton, R. A., had spent part of the autumn of 1824 at Chiefswood.


Scott’s answer was—

To Thomas Moore, Esq.
“August 5, Somerton, near Templeton (I think).
“My dear Sir,

“If any thing could have added to the pleasure I must necessarily feel at the warm reception which the Irish nation have honoured me with, or if any thing could abate my own sense that I am no ways worth the coil that has been made about me, it must be the assurance that you partake and approve of the feelings of your kind-hearted country-folks.

“In Ireland I have met with every thing that was kind, and have seen much which is never to be forgotten. What I have seen has, in general, given me great pleasure; for it appears to me that the adverse circumstances which have so long withered the prosperity of this rich and powerful country are losing their force, and that a gradual but steady spirit of progressive improvement is effectually, though tacitly, counteracting their bad effects. The next twenty-five years will probably be the most important in their results that Ireland ever knew. So prophesies a sharp-sighted Sennachie from the land of mist and snow, aware that, though his opinion may be unfounded, he cannot please your ear better than by presaging the prosperity of Ireland.

“And so, to descend from such high matters, I hope you will consider me as having left my card for you by this visit, although I have not been happy enough to find you at home. You are bound by the ordinary forms of society to return the call, and come to see Scotland. Bring wife and bairns. We have plenty of room, and plenty of oatmeal, and, entre nous, a bottle or two of good claret, to which I think you have as
little objection as I have. We will talk of poor
Byron, who was dear to us both, and regret that such a rose should have fallen from the chaplet of his country so untimely. I very often think of him almost with tears. Surely you, who have the means, should do something for his literary life at least. You might easily avoid tearing open old wounds. Then, returning to our proposed meeting, you know folks call me a Jacobite, and you a Jacobin; so it is quite clear that we agree to a T. Having uttered this vile pun, which is only pardonable because the subject of politics deserves no better, it is high time to conclude.

“I return through England, yet, I am afraid, with little chance of seeing you, which I should wish to do were it but for half an hour. I have come thus far on my way to Killarney, where Hallam is lying with a broken leg. So much for middle-aged gentlemen climbing precipices. I, who have been regularly inducted into the bed of St Kevin at the Seven Churches, trust I shall bear charmed limbs upon this occasion.—I am very much, dear sir, your obliged and faithful

Walter Scott.”

Having crossed the hills from Killarney to Cork, where a repetition of the Dublin reception—corporation honours, deputations of the literary and scientific societies, and so forth—awaited him, he gave a couple of days to the hospitality of this flourishing town, and the beautiful scenery of the Shannon; not forgetting an excursion to the groves of Blarney, among whose shades we had a right mirthful pic-nic. Sir Walter scrambled up to the top of the castle, and kissed, with due faith and devotion, the famous Blarney stone, one salute of which is said to emancipate the pilgrim from all future visitations of mauvaise honte:
“The stone this is, whoever kisses,
He never misses to grow eloquent—
’Tis he may clamber to a lady’s chamber,
Or be a member of Parliament.”
But the shamefacedness of our young female friends was not exposed to an inspection of the works of art, celebrated by the poetical
Dean of Cork as the prime ornaments of the Lady Jefferies’s “station”—
“The statues growing that noble place in,
Of heathen goddesses most rare Homer,
Venus, and Nebuchadnezzar,
All standing naked in the open air.”
These had disappeared, and the castle and all its appurtenances were in a state of woful dilapidation and neglect.

From Cork we proceeded to Dublin by Fermoy, Lismore, Cashel, Kilkenny, and Holycross—at all of which places we were bountifully entertained, and assiduously ciceroned—to our old quarters in St Stephen’s green; and after a morning or two spent in taking leave of many kind faces that he was never to see again, Sir Walter and his original fellow-travellers started for Holyhead on the 18th of August. Our progress through North Wales produced nothing worth recording, except perhaps the feeling of delight which every thing in the aspect of the common people, their dress, their houses, their gardens, and their husbandry, could not fail to call up in persons who had just been seeing Ireland for the first time; and a short visit (which was, indeed, the only one he made) to the far-famed “ladies” of Llangollen. They had received some hint that Sir Walter meant to pass their way; and on stopping at the inn, he received an invitation so pressing to add one more to the long list of the illustrious visitors of their retreat,
that it was impossible for him not to comply. We had read histories and descriptions enough of these romantic spinsters, and were prepared to be well amused; but the reality surpassed all expectation.

An extract from a gossipping letter of the following week will perhaps be sufficient for Llangollen.

“Elleray, August 24.

* * * “We slept on Wednesday evening at Capel Carig, which Sir W. supposes to mean the Chapel of the Crags; a pretty little inn in a most picturesque situation certainly, and as to the matter of toasted cheese, quite exquisite. Next day we advanced through, I verily believe, the most perfect gem of a country eye ever saw, having almost all the wildness of Highland backgrounds, and all the loveliness of rich English landscape nearer us, and streams like the purest and most babbling of our own. At Llangollen your papa was waylaid by the celebrated ‘Ladies’—viz. Lady Eleanor Butler and the Honourable Miss Ponsonby, who having been one or both crossed in love, foreswore all dreams of matrimony in the heyday of youth, beauty, and fashion, and selected this charming spot for the repose of their now time-honoured virginity. It was many a day, however, before they could get implicit credit for being the innocent friends they really were, among the people of the neighbourhood; for their elopement from Ireland had been performed under suspicious circumstances; and as Lady Eleanor arrived here in her natural aspect of a pretty girl, while Miss Ponsonby had condescended to accompany her in the garb of a smart footman in buckskin breeches, years and years elapsed ere full justice was done to the character of their romance. We proceeded up the hill, and found every thing about them and their habitation odd and ex-
ELLERAY—AUG. 1825.77
travagant beyond report. Imagine two women, one apparently 70, the other 65, dressed in heavy blue riding habits, enormous shoes, and men’s hats, with their petticoats so tucked up, that at the first glance of them, fussing and tottering about their porch in the agony of expectation, we took them for a couple of hazy or crazy old sailors. On nearer inspection they both wear a world of brooches, rings, &c., and Lady Eleanor positively orders several stars and crosses, and a red ribbon, exactly like a K.C.B. To crown all, they have crop heads, shaggy, rough, bushy, and as white as snow, the one with age alone, the other assisted by a sprinkling of powder. The elder lady is almost blind, and every way much decayed; the other, the ci-devant groom, in good preservation. But who could paint the prints, the dogs, the cats, the miniatures, the cram of cabinets, clocks, glass-cases, books, bijouterie, dragon-china, nodding mandarins, and whirligigs of every shape and hue—the whole house outside and in (for we must see every thing to the dressing closets), covered with carved oak, very rich and fine some of it—and the illustrated copies of Sir W.’s poems, and the joking simpering compliments about Waverley, and the anxiety to know who MacIvor really was, and the absolute devouring of the poor Unknown, who had to carry off, besides all the rest, one small bit of literal butter dug up in a Milesian stone jar lately from the bottom of some Irish bog. Great romance, i. e. absurd innocence of character, one must have looked for; but it was confounding to find this mixed up with such eager curiosity, and enormous knowledge of the tattle and scandal of the world they had so long left. Their tables were piled with newspapers from every corner of the kingdom, and they seemed to have the deaths and marriages of the antipodes at their fingers’ ends. Their albums and autographs, from
Louis XVIII. and George IV., down to magazine poets and quack-doctors, are a museum. I shall never see the spirit of blue-stockingism again in such perfect incarnation. Peveril won’t get over their final kissing match for a week. Yet it is too bad to laugh at these good old girls; they have long been the guardian angels of the village, and are worshipped by man, woman, and child about them.”

This letter was written on the banks of Windermere, where we were received with the warmth of old friendship by Mr Wilson, and one whose grace and gentle goodness could have found no lovelier or fitter home than Elleray, except where she is now.

Mr Bolton’s seat, to which Canning had invited Scott, is situated a couple of miles lower down on the same Lake; and thither Mr Wilson conducted him next day. A large company had been assembled there in honour of the Minister—it included already Mr Wordsworth and Mr Southey. It has not, I suppose, often happened to a plain English merchant, wholly the architect of his own fortunes, to entertain at one time a party embracing so many illustrious names. He was proud of his guests; they respected him, and honoured and loved each other; and it would have been difficult to say which star in the constellation shone with the brightest or the softest light. There was “high discourse,” intermingled with as gay flashings of courtly wit as ever Canning displayed; and a plentiful allowance, on all sides, of those airy transient pleasantries, in which the fancy of poets, however wise and grave, delights to run riot when they are sure not to be misunderstood. There were beautiful and accomplished women to adorn and enjoy this circle. The weather was as Elysian as the scenery. There were brilliant cavalcades through the woods in the morn-
SEPTEMBER 1, 1825.79
ings, and delicious boatings on the Lake by moonlight; and the last day “the Admiral of the Lake” presided over one of the most splendid regattas that ever enlivened Windermere. Perhaps there were not fewer than fifty barges following in the Professor’s radiant procession, when it paused at the point of Storrs to admit into the place of honour the vessel that carried kind and happy Mr Bolton and his guests. The three bards of the Lakes led the cheers that hailed Scott and Canning; and music and sunshine, flags, streamers, and gay dresses, the merry hum of voices, and the rapid splashing of innumerable oars, made up a dazzling mixture of sensations as the flotilla wound its way among the richly-foliaged islands, and along bays and promontories peopled with enthusiastic spectators.

On at last quitting the festive circle of Storrs, we visited the family of the late Bishop Watson at Calgarth, and Mr Wordsworth at his charming retreat of Mount Rydal. He accompanied us to Keswick, where we saw Mr Southey re-established in his unrivalled library. Mr Wordsworth and his daughter then turned with us, and passing over Kirkstone to Ulswater, conducted us first to his friend Mr Marshall’s elegant villa, near Lyulph’s Tower, and on the next day to the noble castle of his lifelong friend and patron Lord Lonsdale. The Earl and Countess had their halls filled with another splendid circle of distinguished persons, who, like them, lavished all possible attentions and demonstrations of respect upon Sir Walter. He remained a couple of days, and perambulated, under Wordsworth’s guidance, the superb terraces and groves of the “fair domain,” which that poet has connected with the noblest monument of his genius. But the temptations of Storrs and Lowther had cost more time than had been calculated upon, and the promised visit to Rokeby
was unwillingly abandoned.
Sir Walter reached Abbotsford again on the first of September, and said truly that “his tour had been one ovation.”

I add two letters on the subject of this Irish expedition:

To J. B. S. Morritt, Esq., Rokeby Park, Greta Bridge.
“Abbotsford, Sept. 2, 1825.

“Your letter, my dear Morritt, gave me most sincere pleasure on your account, and also on my own, as it reconciled me to myself for my stupidity in misdirecting my letters to Charlotte and you from Wales. I was sincerely vexed when I found out my bevue, but am now well pleased that it happened, since we might otherwise have arrived at Rokeby at a time when we must necessarily have been a little in the way. I wish you joy most sincerely of your nephew’s settling in life, in a manner so agreeably to your wishes and views. Bella gerant alii—he will have seen enough of the world abroad to qualify him fully to estimate and discharge the duties of an English country-gentleman; and with your example before him, and your advice to resort to, he cannot, with the talents he possesses, fail to fill honourably that most honourable and important rank in society. You will, probably, in due time, think of Parliament for him, where there is a fine sphere for young men of talents at present, all the old political post-horses being, as Sir Pertinax says, dry-foundered.

“I was extremely sorry to find Canning at Windermere looking poorly; but, in a ride, the old man seemed to come alive again. I fear he works himself too hard, under the great error of trying to do too much with his own hand, and to see every thing with his own eyes, whereas the greatest general and the first statesman must, in many cases, be content to use the eyes and fingers of
others, and hold themselves contented with the exercise of the greatest care in the choice of implements. His is a valuable life to us just now. I passed a couple of days at Lowther, to make up in some degree to
Anne for her disappointment in not getting to Rokeby. I was seduced there by Lady Frederick Bentinck, whom I had long known as a very agreeable person, and who was very kind to Anne. This wore out my proposed leisure; and from Lowther we reached Abbotsford in one day, and now doth the old bore feed in the old frank.* I had the great pleasure of leaving Walter and his little wife well, happy, and, as they seem perfectly to understand each other, likely to continue so. His ardour for military affairs continues unabated, and his great scene of activity is the fifteen acres—so the Irish denominate the exercising ground, consisting of about fifty acres, in the Phœnix Park, which induced an attorney, writing a challenge to a brother of the trade, to name, as a place of meeting, the fifteen acres, adding, with professional accuracy, ‘be they more or less.’ Here, about 3000 men, the garrison of Dublin, are to be seen exercising, ever and anon, in order that Pat may be aware how some 2400 muskets, assisted by the discharge of twenty field-pieces, and the tramp of 500 or 600 horse, sound, in comparison to the thunder of Mr O’Connell.

“All this travelling and wooing is like to prevent our meeting this season. I hope to make up for it the next. Lady Scott, Anne, and Sophia join Lockhart and me in best wishes to the happy two who are to be soon one. My best respects attend the Miss Morritts, and I ever am, most truly yours,

Walter Scott.”

* 2nd King Henry IV., Act II. Sc. 3.

To Miss Joanna Baillie, Hampstead.
“Abbotsford, October 12, 1825.

“It did not require your kind letter of undeserved remembrance, my dear friend, to remind me that I had been guilty of very criminal negligence in our epistolary correspondence. How this has come to pass I really do not know; but it arises out of any source but that of ingratitude to my friends, or thoughtless forgetfulness of my duty to them. On the contrary, I think always most of them to whom I do owe letters, for when my conscience is satisfied on that subject, their perturbed spirits remain at rest, or at least do not haunt me as the injured spirits do the surviving murderers.

“I well intended to have written from Ireland, but, alas! Hell, as some stern old divine says, is paved with good intentions. There was such a whirl of visiting, and hiking, and boating, and wondering, and shouting, and laughing, and carousing; so much to be seen and so little time to see it; so much to be heard and only two ears to listen to twenty voices, that, upon the whole, I grew desperate, and gave up all thoughts of doing what was right and proper upon post-days—and so all my epistolary good intentions are gone to Macadamize, I suppose, ‘the burning marle’ of the infernal regions. I have not the pen of our friend, Maria Edgeworth, who writes all the while she laughs, talks, eats, and drinks, and I believe, though I do not pretend to be so far in the secret, all the time she sleeps too. She has good luck in having a pen which walks at once so unweariedly and so well. I do not, however, quite like her last book on Education, considered as a general work. She should have limited the title to Education in Natural Philosophy, or some such term, for there is no great use in teaching children in general to roof
houses or build bridges, which, after all, a carpenter or a mason does a great deal better at 2s. 6d. per day. In a waste country, like some parts of America, it may do very well, or perhaps for a sailor or a traveller, certainly for a civil engineer. But in the ordinary professions of the better-informed orders I have always observed, that a small taste for mechanics tends to encouraging a sort of trifling self-conceit, founded on knowing that which is not worth being known by one who has other matters to employ his mind on, and, in short, forms a trumpery gimcrack kind of a character who is a mechanic among gentlemen, and most probably a gentleman among mechanics. You must understand I mean only to challenge the system as making mechanics too much and too general a subject of education, and converting scholars into makers of toys. Men like
Watt, or whose genius tends strongly to invent and execute those wonderful combinations which extend in such an incalculable degree the human force and command over the physical world, do not come within ordinary rules; but your ordinary Harry should be kept to his grammar, and your Lucy of most common occurrence will be best employed on her sampler, instead of wasting wood, and cutting their fingers, which I am convinced they did, though their historian says nothing of it.

“Well, but I did not mean to say any thing about Harry and Lucy, whose dialogues are very interesting after all, but about Ireland, which I could prophesy for as well as if I were Thomas the Rhymer. Her natural gifts are so great, that, despite all the disadvantages which have hitherto retarded her progress, she will, I believe, be queen of the trefoil of kingdoms. I never saw a richer country, or, to speak my mind, a finer people; the worst of them is the bitter and envenomed dislike which they have to each other. Their factions
have been so long envenomed, and they have such narrow ground to do their battle in, that they are like people fighting with daggers in a hogshead. This, however, is getting better, for as the government temporizes between the parties, and does not throw, as formerly, its whole weight into the Protestant scale, there is more appearance of things settling into concord and good order. The Protestants of the old school, the determined Orangemen, are a very fine race, but dangerous for the quiet of a country; they reminded me of the Spaniard in Mexico, and seemed still to walk among the Catholics with all the pride of the conquerors of the Boyne and the captors of Limerick. Their own belief is completely fixed, that there are enough of men in Down and Antrim to conquer all Ireland again; and when one considers the habitual authority they have exercised, their energetic and military character, and the singular way in which they are banded and united together, they may be right enough for what I know, for they have all one mind and one way of pursuing it. But the Catholic is holding up his head now in a different way from what they did in former days, though still with a touch of the savage about them. It is, after all, a helpless sort of superstition, which with its saints’ days, and the influence of its ignorant bigoted priesthood, destroys ambition and industrious exertion. It is rare to see the Catholic rise above the line he is born in. The Protestant part of the country is as highly improved as many parts of England. Education is much more frequent in Ireland than in England. In Kerry, one of the wildest counties, you find peasants who speak Latin. It is not the art of reading, however, but the use which is made of it, that is to be considered. It is much to be wished that the priests themselves were better educated, but the College at Maynooth has been a failure.
The students, all men of the lower orders, are educated there in all the bigotry of the Catholic religion, unmitigated by any of the knowledge of the world which they used to acquire in France, Italy, or Spain, from which they returned very often highly accomplished and companionable men. I do not believe either party care a bit for what is called Emancipation, only that the Catholics desire it because the Protestants are not willing they should have it, and the Protestants desire to withhold it, because the want of it mortifies the Catholic. The best-informed Catholics said it had no interest for the common people, whose distresses had nothing to do with political Emancipation, but that they, the higher order, were interested in it as a point of honour, the withholding of which prevented their throwing their strength into the hands of Government. On the whole, I think Government have given the Catholics so much, that withholding this is just giving them something to grumble about, without its operating to diminish, in a single instance, the extent of Popery.—Then we had beautiful lakes, ‘those vast inland seas,’ as
Spenser terms them, and hills which they call mountains, and dargles and dingles, and most superb ruins of castles and abbeys, and live nuns in strict retreat, not permitted to speak, but who read their breviaries with one eye, and looked at their visiters with the other. Then we had Miss Edgeworth, and the kind-natured clever Harriet, who moved, and thought, and acted for every body’s comfort rather than her own; we had Lockhart to say clever things, and Walter, with his whiskers, to overawe obstinate postilions and impudent beggars—and Jane to bless herself that the folks had neither houses, clothes, nor furniture—and Anne to make fun from morning to night—
‘And merry folks were we.’


John Richardson has been looking at a wild domain within five miles of us, and left us in the earnest determination to buy it, having caught a basket of trouts in the space of two hours in the stream he is to call his own. It is a good purchase I think: he has promised to see me again and carry you up a bottle of whisky, which, if you will but take enough of, will operate as a peace-offering should, and make you forget all my epistolary failures. I beg kind respects to dear Mrs Agnes and to Mrs Baillie. Lady Scott and Anne send best respects.—I have but room to say that I am always yours,

Walter Scott.”