London, Volume 3

Knight, Charles


LXXI.--Scotsmen in London: By James M'Turk, Esq.

LXXI.--Scotsmen in London: By James M'Turk, Esq.




Mr. Croker has, in more than of his notes to Boswell's

Life of Johnson,

expressed a conviction that at some period of the Doctor's life, of which no record has been preserved, he must have experienced some unutterable affront or injury from Scotsmen. This seems an uncalled--for conjecture, for although the prejudice against them was real, the expression of it was exaggerated--in moments of controversy by the heat of debate-at other times by that half-sense of shame which prompts us all at times to caricature and burlesque the expression of feelings which we can neither defend nor get rid of. Dr. Johnson's dislike of Scotsmen was rather loud than intense: it was a dislike of his abstract idea of Scotsmen, prompting him to bristle up whenever approached him for the time, confirmed or dispelled afterwards by the real qualities of the individual. The impossibility of parting with a playful crotchety grudge was once happily expressed by Charles Lamb to a young Scotch admirer who had introduced himself to


Are you a Jew?

asked Charles, when his new acquaintance declined a luncheon of pork-chops, which he hospitably pressed upon him.

No. I am, however,


of your

imperfect sympathies

-a Scotsman.


cried Charles, colouring and stammering most desperately,

that's all nonsense, you know. I have a great respect for Scotsmen, if-if--if they did not think such a d--d deal of themselves.

If were to attempt an analysis of the feelings which keep the Scotch, almost


as much as the Jews, a distinct and peculiar people in London, this notion that they

think such a d--d deal of themselves

will be found at the bottom of the English side of the shyness. A distinct people they undeniably remain: their waters no more mingle and are lost in the great tide of cockneyism than the black waters of the Nahe at Bingen are lost in the strong current of the Rhine. may be thought an extreme case-but it will serve to illustrate our position. is chiefly tenanted by a colony from Paisley, and the denizens of Paisley are proverbial for their local peculiarities even in Scotland. A sturdy ingenious tribe of small capitalists they are, in whose eyes Paisley is all the world. No more perfect picture of independence can be imagined-not even a chimney-sweep with his hands in his pockets whistling along the pavement of Bond Street-than a Paisley


--that is, of those whose industry or good fortune has brought him to float as it were on the surface of their society standing within his shop-door, or

where Corks most do congregate,

Side ( of the principal streets in Paisley) on the look-out for a mouthful of gossip. In he is the same unsophisticated Cork-loitering about his door in a way unknown to other London tradesmen, his hands cased in his Paisley-gloves ( thrust to the bottom of his breeches-pockets), gabbling at the highest pitch of his voice his own ineffable patois.

It is scarcely a paradox to say that you meet with more intense Scotch nationality in London than in Scotland. Every valley or strath of Scotland has a character of its own; and in Edinburgh, the capital where representatives of all these districts are brought into contact, the clannish spirit of the people prevents their mixing. This is the most disagreeable feature of Edinburgh society, or rather this is what prevents it having any society properly so called. Circles there are, or have been, as pleasant as heart can wish--that of which Lord Jeffrey used to be the centre of attraction, the re-unions of Professor Jameson, and some others, live pleasantly in the memory, but they were rather Edinburgh than it. Apart from them the population of Edinburgh consisted of Dumfriesshire people, Fife people, Aberdeenshire people, and so forth. A man must keep company with his own countrymen, or live alone; for access there was none to the intimacy of the different except by right of birth. In London, on the contrary, Scotsmen recognise a common nationality, as they do in any other foreign country, and herd lovingly together. The English part of the community know them as merchants, or lawyers, and, above all, as bakers (for, strange though it may appear to those who have tasted bread in Scotland, almost every baker's shop you enter in London is a Scotsman's); but they know little of them as persons to live with: they are public mysteries, mid-day spectres, things to be seen, not touched, except by each other.

They herd together:

they have their Caledonian balls once a-year, at which some of the most imaginative appear in the Highland costume; they have their Presbyterian clergymen and places of worship-Scotch Presbyterianism is quite a different thing from English; and they have an annual dinner of the Caledonian Asylum, after which Highland chiefs win all their hearts by dancing the Highland fling.

This holds true of those who are transplanted to London full-grown and trained, for even Dr. Johnson admitted that a good deal may be made of a Scotsman--if he is caught young. Scotsmen educated at or Eton-and even some


who have only commenced their English education at Oxford and Cambridgeare scarcely to be known from Englishmen, except the latter, who are apt to be found out in the same manner as the Ionian who was detected at Athens by the extreme purity of his Attic dialect. Scotsmen are so early drilled by their Kirk Sessions into punctilious carefulness in word and deed, that they are always on their guard themselves, and always expecting that others should be so too, and this renders them uncomfortable companions. They can relish the greater freedom of England, but rarely emancipate themselves from their fetters: like Gray's Eton truants, they taste a fearful joy. We remember a characteristic conversation between Scotsmen--a retired Indian employee, and an eminent political writer, of whom Bentham used to say, with more candour than politeness,

That his leading articles were excellent, but that his conversation reminded him of a magpie chattering from the back of a jackass.

They had-.

more suo

been for half an hour trying to trump each other's panegyrics of their dear native land, when a sudden fit of candour seizing of them, he exclaimed,

After all, do you think that any


who has been accustomed to London life could exist: comfortably in Scotland

No, by--,

was the reply.

It is thinking so much of themselves,

in this more extended sense of the word--understanding thereby not merely a high estimate of their own merits and importance, but a pedantic, sleepless anxiety as to what people may say or think of them--that keeps Scotsmen in London from mingling kindly with others than themselves.

It is not, however, with the numerous Scotsmen who are in London, without any person being aware of their presence, that we have to do, but with those who have by any means emerged into such notoriety as to become for a time features in the public life of London.- These introductory remarks are merely thrown out as tending to explain the dubious feeling with which this class of metropolitan lions have generally been viewed. The writer of these pages ought to know something of the matter, for, as his name indicates, he is descended by the father's side from a clan still tolerably numerous in the South of Scotland,[n.323.1]  while by the mother's side: he traces his lineage to the eminent scholar mentioned by Smollett, who came all the way from Scotland to teach Londoners the true niceties of English pronunciation. He is thus, to say the least, as well qualified to write about Scotch character as Mr. Logan is to write about Highland costume and antiquities-regarding both of which he has told the Gael a great deal of which they had previously not the slightest suspicion.

The sub-repulsion which undeniably exists between the Scotch and English temperament is more owing to difference of character than to what are properly called faults on either side. The Englishman is more a natural character--is more open to be swayed by impulse; the Scotsman has always before his eyes the ideal held up by the

Shorter Catechism,

through which he was drilled in youth,--is continually asking himself whether and how far he (and still more others) falls


short of its requirements, and is more stern and impertinent with this unceasing inquisition the more he feels conscious of not being up to the mark. At the period when English intellect asserted its right to be the normal form of English thoughts, feelings, and actions, and stamped upon the people their national, or, as some call it, Protestant character, the English were already a highly-civilised people--wealthy, animated by the humanized and refined tastes and emotions of a wealthy people, who have by their own energies conquered their wealth-influenced by the teaching and example of learned universities and a brilliant court. The Scotch at the same period of their history were still, in the mass, a barbarous people. Now, it is much more easy for moral and religious reformers to impress belief in a creed, and compliance with a formal external morality, upon a rude than upon a civilized people: individual character is developed in a less marked manner among the former, and their intellects are less inquiring, less difficult to satisfy--there are fewer obstacles in the way of their spiritual teachers acquiring a complete ascendency over them. Though true Protestantism--the exercise as well as the avowal of the right of private judgment-strikes deepest root among a civilised people, formal Protestantism, like formal Romanism, is most easily stamped upon an uncivilized people. And it is your narrow-minded formalist who is ever most apt to lay down the law. Hence, since the time that Scotsmen began to repair in considerable numbers to our capital, they have come lecturing and to lecture, and that John Bull cannot abide.

: the thing is proved by their own best writers; Smollett's Strap and Scott's Ritchie Monyplies are the true exemplars of all their tribe. King James I. of England and VI. of Scotland came not only to reign over but to play the schoolmaster over us, and the latter tyranny was the more insufferable of the . Then came the Scotch delegates to the Assembly of divines, resolutely bent upon establishing the reign of terror of Kirk Session and

cutty stool

as rigidly here as in the north, and converting frank jolly Englishmen into the same solemn

prim, pert praters

they had made of great part of the northern race. The

Edinburgh Review,

when it started, was little more than an incarnation of the same spirit in a new form. Some young men, on the strength of having read the great English authors, or heard of them through the medium of Dr. Blair, and or of them having moreover spent a few months at Oxford, took upon them to lay down the law to the literary world of England. It was as if Strap, Lismahago, Ritchie Monyplies, and Andrew Fairservice had clubbed their forces to-teach their grandmother how to suck eggs.

Intimately and necessarily combined with this lecturing propensity is another Scotch characteristic, even more apt to make their neighbours regard them with a jealous eye, especially their London neighbours; for the genuine Cockney is weak precisely where the Scotsman is strong, and . The same process of drilling in his tender years which makes the latter a: walking sack of sententious maxims qualifies him at the same time for success in business. Narrow-mindedness, and even a spice of pedantry, are no obstacles there. Some foolish people are indignant that the Duke of Wellington, who is neither poet nor philosopher, should have been so uniformly successful, and in such colossal struggles, both as a warrior and a statesman. Why, if the Duke had been either, he might have been a Coleridge, thinking fine and high thoughts, inspiring with the contagious


power of thinking men who never could have accomplished it of their own accord, but he never could have anything. To , a man must concentrate his thoughts within the narrow range within which human power can make itself felt; that very discursiveness which charms in the thinker and the poet unfits' them for action. And to descend from these altitudes, the very which makes the Londoner a pleasing companion unfits him to rival the grim, self-concentrated Scotsman in the earnest business of life. All Englishmen have something more instinctive in their actions than is the case with their northern neighbours; but the high perfection to which the social mechanism has been brought in London renders those who have had in this city their

place of kindly engendure

the moral antipodes of Scotsmen. London habits of business no more cultivate the mind than the monotonous operations of factory spinners and weavers: the difference is that they allow (except in the cases of milliners and a few others) more time for eating, drinking, and sleeping, and that pleasing state of reverie which some men think is thinking, But even in the most perfect machinery cranks and wheels will at times be getting out of order, and the aid of persons is requisite who are shifty and can devise substitutes when routine is at a standstill. Here it is that the Scotsman comes into play; and hence Scotsmen are in demand not merely when accidents happen, but at all times, in order that they may be ready against emergencies. We are referring, it will at once be seen, to the commonplace of life: but it is especially in mediocrity that the Scotch are great. Scott was led by his national partiality into an uncharacteristic mistake when he made quoteuentin Durward aim so high and so successfully: he was nearer the mark when he set his Nigel to pluck small gamesters with uniform success, and return in triumph to his paternal


with a rich city bride, for whom a kind of genealogy had been patched up. The Scotch are -rate -rate men; as in their own bagpipes the is more pleasing than the higher and more varied notes to which it is the monotonous accompaniment. They swarm in counting-houses and engineer-shops--in the subordinate departments of government-offices---in the India-house, and so forth: their triumphs are over the commonplace and narrow-minded of society--the class most alive to the dislike of successful rivals.

To these permanent sources of repulsion which keep the Scots a peculiar people in the great motley mass of London society, accidental circumstances, as above hinted, have from time to time contributed. They were regarded as a set of hungry adventurers, when all the beggarliness of their land flocked southward in the train of King Jamie, to pick up the crumbs that fell from the royal table. The Presbyterians--the of their age--contrived under the Commonwealth, like all pragmatical holders of the extreme middle, to make themselves universally disliked or despised, and Scotsman and Presbyterian came to be regarded as synonymous terms. The Highlanders in the ' and ' frightened the Whigs and angered the English Tories, who had come to regard their political principles as sacred, but too good for common use, as Mrs. Slipslop thought it Atheism to mention the Bible out of church. And by bringing their parish politics into the great concerns of the empire about the beginning of the reign of George III., the Scots contrived to make themselves for a time the popular bugbear. Nor were minor offences wanting; as witness-



Henry, Earl of Clarendon, writing to Mr. Pepys, in , says-

The story I told you the other day relating to what they call in Scotland the


Sight is of so old a date, and so many of the circumstances out of my memory, that I must begin, as old women do their tales to children,

Once upon a time.

The matter. was thus:--


day, I know by some remarkable circumstances it was towards the middle of

February 1661



, the old Earl of Newborough came to dine with my father at Worcester House, and another Scotch gentleman with him, whose name I cannot call to mind. After dinner, as we were standing and talking together in the room, says my Lord Newborough to the other Scotch gentleman (who was looking very steadfastly upon my wife), .

What is the matter that thou hast had thine eyes fixed upon my Lady Cornbury ever since she came into the room? Is she not a fine woman? Why dost thou not speak?

She is a handsome lady indeed

(said the gentleman)

but I see her in blood.

Whereupon my Lord Newborough laughed at him; and all the company going out of the room we parted: and I believe none of us thought more of the matter; I am sure I did not. My wife was at that time perfectly well in health, and looked as well as ever she did in her life. In the beginning of the next month she fell ill--of the small-pox: she was always very apprehensive of that disease, and used to say, if ever she had it she should die of it. Upon the


day after the small-pox appeared, in the morning, she bled at the nose, which quickly stopped; but in the afternoon the blood burst out again with great violence at her nose and mouth, and about


of the clock that night she died, almost weltering in her blood.

Really if Scotland insisted upon sending us long-legged, grim-visaged


to stare ladies out of countenance, and then tell raw-head-and-bloody-bones stories by way of apology--even though they only fell true once in a times--no wonder that the English became somewhat shy of their company.

During the time which elapsed from the accession of James I. till the beginnineg of the civil war, the Scots seem to have carried it in London with a high hand. This is scarcely in accordance with the caution which we have attributed to them as a national characteristic; but allowance must be made for their elation at that time: they seem to have been possessed with the idea that it was not so much the King as the whole nation that had come to the crown of England, and they were puffed--up accordingly. The freaks even of the higher classes among them in the neighbourhood of the Court at that time read marvellously like those of the Irish hodmen of our day in the courts and alleys where they most resort. Take for example of their capers in .


Carr, a servant of Marquis Hamilton's, was arrested before Wallingford House, which bred a mighty tumult. The serjeant carried him into a house near

Charing Cross

, whither flocked many of the Marquis's servants and others, broke open the house, setting ladders to it to unglaze and untile it, got in, beat the sergeants, so that


of them died since; threatened to blow the house up with gunpowder, took the prisoner, brought him forth, and with swords drawn conducted him to


, and there put him in. The King resented this very ill, and hath caused proclamation since to be published for apprehending the principals who were the murderers and chief causers and fomenters of this unlawful assembly, who in their madness neither regarded the justices' constables, nor any other whatsoever.?


This anecdote is told by the Rev. Mr. Garrard, caterer-in-ordinary of town gossip for Lord Strafford, when Lord-Deputy in Ireland. In--the same letter Mr. Garrard had sent his Lordship an account of a duel between Lord Elgin and Sir William Crofts; and not long before he informed him--

There fell out a quarrel betwixt my Lord Philip Herbert, son to the Chamberlain, and the Lord Carr, son to the Earl of Roxborough (who lately is made a councillor here), at Pall Mall-young youths both: upon some words my Lord Philip struck him, so they fell to cuffs. It passed no further; my Lord had notice of it, who made them friends.

Sometimes the Scots came into collision with the natives on tenderer ground: women are fanciful; variety can lend a charm even to freckles and high cheek-bones; at least such seems to be the moral of the following story --also recorded by that right indefatigable tattle, Mr. Garrard:--

A grandchild of Vanlove's, rich Peter Vanlove, was to be married to a son of Sir Thomas Read's, he who lay


years in the Fleet, and spent but


a-week. He now lives at Brockett Hall, near Hatfield. Read hath stated upon this


son of his


a-year, and a match was intended with Mrs. Vanlove, who had a portion of


, and


a-year after the death of her father; young Peter. Monday the


of this month they were to be married. The day before, in the afternoon, she sends to speak with Mr. Alexander, a


son of the Earl of Stirling, Secretary of Scotland here. He comes, finds her at cards, Mr. Read sitting by her. She whispered him in the ear, asking him if he had a coach--he was of her acquaintance before. He said yes; she desired Mr. Read to play her game, and went to her chamber, Mr. Alexander going along with her. Being there, she told him that to satisfy her friends she had given way to marry the gentleman he saw, but her affection was more to him; if his were so to her, she would instantly go away with him in his coach and be married. So he carried her to Greenwich, where they were married by


that evening.

It is not to be wondered at that under such circumstances the Scotch should be anything but popular in and around London. A letter from Garrard to Lord Strafford, in , shows symptoms of this:



elected Knights of the Garter, the Earls Darnley and Morton, rode in great state through London to Windsor. There was a secret vie who should go best attended; but my Lord Darnley carried it sheer, for he clothed


men in tissue doublets and scarlet hose, thick laced,




coaches set out bravely, and all the ancient nobility of England that were not of the Garter rode with him, and many other Earls and Barons. With my Lord Morton rode the Earls of Warwick and Devonshire, the Earls Denbigh, Grandison, and Craven, Sir William Howard, Sir William Bruncher, young William Crofts, some of the equerries, all the rest Scottish lords and gentlemen. That which added much to his show, all the Scottish Colonels that came with Oxenstiern rode along too, and most of his company were furnished with the King's horses.

The loan of the King's horses and the clannish friendship of the Colonels accidentally in London, both together, were unable to bear up against the good--will with which the

ancient nobility

turned out, to enable the English Lord to outshine the Scotch . At an earlier period the feeling seems to have been still more deep and bitter. Mr. Garrard writes to the Lord-Deputy in , that at the New Spring Garden behind

there was an order yielded to be consent that every man of what quality soever

should sit down or stand by the banks; and the best obeyed, only old Pinchbeck was refractory. The Lord Chamberlain came civilly enough to him; he mumbled and did not obey, which made the Chamberlain gently with his hand move him toward the bank, and there he sat down.


days after he wrote him a strange letter, beginning it,

Sir, you may remember what counsel I gave you at Croydon, for which I have suffered ever since; King James could never abide me, and I lost my fortune with Prince Henry to do you service.

His counsel was to strike Ramsay, and then they would break their fast on the Scotch there and sup upon them in London.

After the Restoration the Scotch colony in London was considerably less cock-a-hoop: Cromwell had cudgelled the conceit out of them to some tune; and neither royalists nor commonwealth-men were so satisfied with the part that nation had taken in the civil war as to feel inclined to patronise them. Charles II. had enough of Scotch society, during the short time he kinged it in Scotland before the battle of Worcester, to satisfy him for life. Besides, the whole people had enough of employment at home; Episcopalians and Presbyterians had gone together by the ears, and were less frequently to be met with abroad. The partisans of the dominant faction only came to London to procure appointments, and returned home again, where their harvest lay, as soon as they could; the Presbyterians came in search of concealment, and kept quiet. Nor did the Scotch emerge into notoriety for some time after the Revolution; for it was well on in the eighteenth century when Steele began to say sometimes a word or in their favour, and Swift; to compare their conversation to the drone of their own bagpipes. The Scotch were still foreigners in London down to the period of the Union, and as such could not aspire to the great prizes of public life. Bishop Burnett was the Scotsman of most note about London at the Revolution era, and he was decidedly a favourable specimen. The Bishop of Sarum has scarcely had justice done him. He writes a bad style, it must be confessed, but not so bad as Locke did: he is a good deal of a , but his gullibility was sincere and good-natured, and that palliation can scarcely be urged in favour of the inaccuracies of Swift's

Last Years of the Reign of quoteueen Anne.

But the poltering, blundering good-nature and earnestness of the Bishop render him a delight of a man, whatever he may have been as a writer. He loved praise, and he was too sincere himself, and sympathized too much with the enjoyments of others, to be able to conceive there could be any reason for concealing or disavowing the pleasure it gave him.--He repeats all the flatteries said of or to him, and clearly believed that they were all said in good faith. Never meaning to hurt any person, he seems to have been incapable of understanding how words of his could offend. When presented to King Charles, he, then a young man, lost no time in delivering the merry monarch a lecture on his misbehaviour. This propensity was unconsciously heightened by the Bishop's absence of mind: he was constantly saying what he ought not from sheer forgetfulness of whom he was speaking to. day, in conversation with the old Duchess of Marlborough, he was extolling the merits of her deceased lord, and running at affecting parallel between him and Belisarius. This was the way to ingratiate himself with the old lady, but he soon spoiled all.


exclaimed she,

how could men ever abandon him?

Oh, Madam,

rejoined the Bishop, only think what

a brimstone of a wife he had!

The Bishop of Sarum was a sort of moral antipodes to Talleyrand: the said sharp things unintentionally,the French with what Scotch lawyers call

malice prepense ;

the Englishman never could conceal anything he knew or felt,--the Frenchman was a sealed book to the last. can easily conceive how such an involuntary and incessant treader upon sore toes may have been avoided by his cotemporaries; but our toes are safe from him; disembodied spirits tread lightly, and we can afford to be just.

The union of the kingdoms, by transferring the seat of executive government for Scotland and of its legislature from Edinburgh to London, brought about a state of affairs not much dissimilar in kind from that which had been produced by the elevation of James E to the English throne. That monarch's bold figure of speech about

the kings in the

House of Commons

had become in the eighteenth century almost a literal truth. Members of Parliament were courted by ministers and would-be ministers with as much supple flattery as ever kings had been, and to them was transferred much of that servile homage which had in earlier times found a market only at court. members in the , and in the House of Peers-and these, as feeling themselves alone in assemblies whose prejudices and objects of pursuit had little in common with their own, predisposed to act as organized whole--were a phalanx worthy the courting of any minister or leader of opposition. The Scots found themselves persons of great importance in London. And the power had fallen into the hands, not of the gay and roystering braggadocios who had constituted the ruffling followers of a lawless court, but into the hands of the sedate and cautious burgessry of Scotland. The expenses of civil war, or their own extravagance, had clipped the wings of the old Scotch nobility, and raised to power the younger branches of old families who had betaken themselves to lucrative pursuits, and the of the burghs in which industry and commercial enterprise were beginning to strike root. The class to which habits of reflecting industry had communicated a cautious disposition and habit of obeying the law, at the same time that its growing wealth had awakened in it aspirings of bolder ambition--the class fitted above all others to produce and be influenced by the earnest, narrow-minded, sturdy clergy of the kirk--was in the ascendant in Scotland; and at their head were or of the oldest families of the kingdom, who had been enabled to maintain their position by what their enemies insinuated was a timid, self-seeking character, duly transmitted from father to son. The decorum and caution of Scotland had the reins in their hands; the romantic, the imaginative dare-devils were thrown into the arms of the faction of the exiled family. Scotsmen became naturalized in England, London became their metropolitan city, at a period when those who flocked to the seat of government to make their fortunes were almost to a man stamped more or less with the characteristics of the tamed puritan, and were followed by a hard-featured, fantastic race-half French courtiers, half Highland clansmen--who alternately skulked in the lanes and blind alleys, or emerged for a moment into broad day, as the tortuous windings of Jacobite plots and intrigues required. It is difficult to say which portion of the nation gave most umbrage to John Bull,--the orderly, place-hunting gentlemen, who followed office with the stealthy, noiseless footfall


of the cat, the pertinacity of a blood-hound, and the tenacious snap of a bulldog; or the particoloured gentry from the Highlands, who were implicated in every attempt at insurrectionary movements that disturbed his peace.

The position of the Scotch members of the legislature at this period, though capable of being rendered a lucrative, was necessarily a subordinate . The secret of their strength was their own union and the equality of the great English parties. When the indigenous factions were nearly balanced, the adhesion or secession of the Scots could at any time turn the scale, but of themselves they could do nothing. This was a situation admirably suited to that mediocrity of genius which has already been noticed as of the peculiarities of the Scotch character--a spirit of which the Earl of Islay, the great subordinate of Sir Robert Walpole, may be considered the incarnation. But their ambition for -rate distinction was perhaps still more marked in domestic life; their very gallantry was tinged by it. There are examples of female adventurers, by fair faces, or the whimsical tide of fashion, attaining to an English coronet, but there is no case on record of such a being deemed a worthy prize by the principal noblemen of the country in succession, as of the Miss Gunnings was, by the premier Duke of Scotland (Hamilton), and afterwards by the almost feudal prince of the Highlands (Argyle). Let it be remembered, too, that at the time the former married her the bloom of her beauty had been rubbed off by the wear and tear of fashionable life--that the hardness of the was distinctly visible Richardson's correspondence) in her whole appearance and deportment. Scotch pride could, in the wane of her beauty, put up with of whom they could brag that she had once been the toast in England. The Chudleigh was a fresher and more attractive flower, and equally willing to be gathered by a duke; but neither Hamilton nor Campbell had the courage to try, nor would they have attempted the Gunning or years earlier.

The London jeers and taunts--the caricatures written and engraved of Scotsmen in London at this period-are, in consequence, more of a domestic, or at least of a personal, than of a public nature. The gentleman, beneath whose coat a tartan waistcoat peeps out, in earnest conversation with the Frenchman, in Hogarth's

March to Finchley,

shows the prevalent London notion of the Scotch Jacobite. Sir Pertinax MacSycophant, in Macklin's

Man of the World,

is a highly-exaggerated picture of the Scotch supporter of, or conformist to, the Hanoverian government. Politics-meaning thereby the gabbling, and ranging under different banners, and spitting of spite, which pass muster for politics in general society--have at least this advantage, that, by directing malice against a body, they in some measure draw it off from individuals. Squire Western and his sister contrived to drag on a cat-and-dog life together, because the former could expectorate his spleen, not against the lady, but the

Hanoverian rats

in general, and because she could vent her venom, to which she in vain attempted to communicate the milder flavour of dignified contempt, against the whole body of booby Jacobite squires. The real feeling of rancour was much bitterer between the Scottish and English denizens of London at the time now under consideration than when the reckless invectives of Wilkes, Churchill, and Co., were at the loudest.

It is a relief to turn from these harsh topics, which have forced themselves on


our notice, to loiter before plunging into the bitternesses of the ensuing period, and dwell for a moment upon the character of Thomson. There was nothing of the harsh angularity about him which is found in so many of his countrymen that it has come to be regarded as a national characteristic. He was not, like the most of them, harsh and hard as the wooden Highlander, the prescriptive Lar, or domestic genius, of the tobacconist's shop. He was too. easy and goodnatured for the land of thistles, and slipped southwards by a natural instinct teaching him his appropriate place. His friends in early life sought to make a minister of him: he might (had fortune seen fit to allow him to be born south of the Tweed) have made a good rector, with a comfortable benefice and a couple of curates under him, but for the hard and stern work of the ultra-presbyterian Scotland of his time he was utterly unfit. He almost frightened the Divinity Professor into fits, by sending him poetry instead of verses which he had been ordered to compose as a college exercise. In London, quite as much by the guardian care of friends as by his own skill in advancing his fortune, he contrived, after a probationary period of starvation, to pick up a competency, and then set himself down to enjoy a true Castle of Indolence, sleeping till noon, because, as he said, he

had no motive to rise,

and biting peaches off the trees to save himself the trouble of pulling them. His poems--that is, his only readable poem, his


--are the express image of his own character. The language is, as Johnson observed, extremely diffuse, because it would have given him trouble to condense it; the imagery is a simple outpouring of impressions which had lodged in his mind unawares, and been moulded by his imagination without any trouble --save effort of the will. There is nothing about the of the conventional forms and cant words which now exclusively pass muster for Scotch. Thomson's shepherds and shepherdesses--sweet, insipid dears!--are the usual abstractions of Arcadia; he ascends

some eminence, Augusta, in thy plains;

and though the Obi rolls its tide in his lines, we cannot remember that even the half-Scotch Tweed is once mentioned. Yet the colouring of his landscape is essentially Scotch: the fishing scene in spring, the snow-storm in winter, all have that local colouring which a Scotchman recognises at once, and is aware of a home-feeling stealing over him. Of his sentiment,

least said is soonest mended

--he seems scarcely to have felt the more delicate beauty of the human figure. His Amanda-and (

partly because they count her .in my line

) I may be supposed to speak with partiality, not prejudice-must have been, if family tradition

may be in aught believed,

as regular a red-haired,

rump-fed ronyon

as ever startled the passing traveller into wondering whether she were man or woman. But, whether refined or not, his attachments were sincere, and by their quiet fervour thawed even the hard soul of quoteuin.

The Marquis of Bute, to whom belongs the honour of raising for a time the Scotch name into an object of popular hatred, is as striking a specimen of the power of English imagination to dress up a bugbear to frighten itself as can well be conceived. Horace Walpole describes him as a gentleman, who, having spent his time studying mathematics in the seclusion of his own little island till his year, and simples in the hedges about Twickenham, discovered about that sedate time of life that, like Sir Andrew Ague-cheek, he had a leg for a galliard, and took good care to show it in private theatricals and fancy balls. Nor does


he appear ever to have been anything more. But discomfited political leaders wished for some to point out to the populace as giving the young King bad advice; and as the Marquis of Bute stood, or seemed to stand, near the throne, they denounced him as the terrible intriguer. To heighten the joke, Scots nationality fired in behalf of a Scots nobleman, and imagined him the of statesmen. And while the clamour of controversy raged around him, the poor object of it, conscious that he was an object of dislike to, and kept at distance by, the King, must have felt, while reading the descriptions of himself by either party, much like the heroine of an old Scotch song-

Hech! quo' the wee wifikie, this is no'me.

Among those who mingled in the wordy war of politics at that time was as arrant a Scotchman as ever crossed the Tweed-Tobias Smollett. You rarely

hear mention made either of Fielding or Smollett apart. They are the Castor and Pollux of British literature; and it would be difficult to decide whether the justice of this classification be more strikingly illustrated by the excellence of their novels or the execrable trashiness of their plays. They are so closely associated, that their very differences are brought out more strikingly by the conjunction. Both were writers for bread, and not very scrupulous, at least on the score of dignity, as to the literary tasks they undertook. Fielding, however, had higher notions of novel-writing than Smollett. The former regarded it as an art, and sought to give unity and finish to his performances; the latter was satisfied if he could fill up the number of volumes bargained for with matter that would

go off,

and thus satisfy the bookseller. He eked out

Humphrey Clinker

by incorporating a tour in Scotland with it; and he eked out

Peregrine Pickle

by a still more questionable admixture. He had more of the


in his composition than Fielding, as the

History of England

is alive at this day to testify. Between the minds of these writers there was this essential difference--that Fielding took pleasure in delineating character, while Smollett rioted in caricature. Fielding with patient elaboration produces what, if not a transcript of nature, is so natural we could conceive it existing:


Smollett, taking the hint from something he sees in nature,. overlays it by a combination of all the grotesque images it suggests to his fancy. Fielding's writings are expressive, Smollett's suggestive. There is a more quiet intense feeling of the ludicrous in the former, a more Bacchanalian revelling in it in the latter. When Fielding attempts the burlesque it is with an effort, but it is the natural language of Smollett. Smollett's Strap, Lismahago, the old Scotch schoolmaster in London, &c., are among the best delineated Scotch characters our literature can supply. They (and still more his ostensible heroes, Pickle and Random) have all a dash of their author in them--of his disregard of money, and his almost morbid pleasure in probing the eccentricities of human nature. Nor was he without that self-complacency which is the badge of all his race: Fielding had a good-natured friend to tell what company he sometimes kept, but Smollett has given a full-length picture of of his ragged levees at .

Next in the order of our Scotch worthies (how unlike the grim heroes of the, peasant's manual so designated!) is an equally but more unconsciously eccentric personage-Jamie Boswell. Smollett and Boswellwere perhaps equally

remarkable in their day for doing what no other person would have done, but the former played his pranks knowingly and wilfully, while the latter made an ass of himself in perfect innocence of heart. Boswell might have said of Smollett, had any praised his

admirable fooling


Ay, he does well enough if he be disposed, and so do I too: he does it with a better grace, but I do it more natural.

Boswell wore a head-gear

pricked with the humour of



He wooed and tended gruff Sam, as the Humorous Lieutenant, after quaffing the philtre, sighed for the sweet old King; he ran about seeking the acquaintance of every notoriety--from Paoli to the Keeper of Newgate; he was everybody's shadow, and yet when wine warmed him he sometimes tried to expand into an absolute substantial personality of his own--sneaking back like a rated hound into his echoship as soon as he sobered. Poor Goldie! when Bozzie joined in the laugh against him, his feelings must have been those which could fancy laying hold of Malvolio, if he had overheard

the foolish knight

tittering in


triumph over his soliloquy. Yet was not Boswell an absolute fool, though he looks very like -especially in his more grave and sententious moods, when he is consulting with Johnson about the best way of turning sentences in his law-papers, and receiving as a sincere compliment the sly hit of the old Scotch Judge, who, alluding to the magniloquent diction of his argument in some paltry case, advised him

not to cast his pearls before swine.


Life of Johnson

is not merely unique--it is full of characteristic portraiture and shrewd remark. It was almost worth while leading such a lacquey's life to be able to make such a book.

We have come as near to modern times and modern associations as can well be ventured, unless we would draw a storm of Highland indignation into the shop of our publisher. The poets, politicians, painters, and political economists whom Scotland has sent us in this our own day and generation are themes that crave wary handling, and had better be passed over, at least for the present. Trying back, many shadowy figures rise upon our recollection, who seem almost as worthy of being recorded as those who have rather forced themselves upon us than been selected. There is Hunter (the elder--the accoucheur), whose private memoirs would be a strange chapter in the history of British nobility, and whose own personality would almost require a Le Sage to do him justice. There is Macpherson, a penny-a-liner, and not only a liar himself, but the cause of lying in others. There is Dundas, afterwards Lord Melville, for whom a tall showy figure, invincible good-nature, and a serviceable disposition, did more than genius or even dexterity in political intrigue could have done. And if we are to add to the list the mere birds of passage, what crowds rush upon our view, from old Balmerino stopping the coach to buy


as he returned from receiving sentence of death, and Lovat sitting to Hogarth for his portrait, down to James Hogg, the last genuine Scotch lion sent to London, and, of all lions upon record, the which played its part most con , roaring after a fashion unparalleled since the days of the immortal Bottom. Adam Smith, however, though only a casual visitor, must not be passed over in silence, were it only for the sake of mentioning how Dundas sent the Wealth of Nations' reeling in his saddle home to his lodgings from the Bacchanalian revels of Wimbledon.



We have touched upon the overflowing of Scottish spirit in London-the occasional flashes and sparkles which show that there is life and high spirit in that hidden stream of Scotch domestic life which meanders through metropolitan society-flying the light almost as much as the over-arched

River of Wells

which once flashed and sparkled in the sun like other brooks. There is not, after all, such perfect uniformity in Scotch character as those who formed their notions of it from the caricatures of Macklin and Churchill used to believe. How different are the Scotsmen of Walter Scott from those of Smollett, though with enough of general resemblance to mark their relationship. Smollett's are like himself, more intent upon fun than gain; but the fun that can penetrate their rhinoceros hides and reach the seat of sense would be harsh and repulsive to more susceptible natures. Their jokes are like the sailors' shaving with tar and a rusty barrel-hoop on crossing the line. Andrew Fairservice has the same skinny withered hardness, and honest Cuddy Headrig compensates for superior plumpness by stolidity; but, unlike Smollett's, all Scott's heroes have an eye to the main chance. They are what their author would have been and could not be; for he was of those who possessed the taste without the talent for accumulating and retaining a fortune.

Whoever would seek to penetrate into the

tiled lodge

of Scotch metropolitan society must take a roundabout road, and set out in the place for Scotland. There in every town-hall and burgh church he will find portraits, statues, or mural inscriptions to eminent civic dignitaries of London, of whom the metropolis knows comparatively little, perhaps nothing. There matter may be collected for the history of obscure mayoralties and shrievalties--of merchants possessing great influence at the India House-things, the memory of which has utterly perished in the City. There will be found an explanation of the process by which our colonies and Indian dependencies have become so redundantly stocked with Scotsmen. The astonished Londoner will there discover what a busy world he has been living beside, unaware of its existence--an affiliated society of Scotch settlers in the metropolis forming a connecting link between the populations of North Britain and British India. If he play his cards right he may obtain the certainty, through the voluminous correspondence of parents and grandsires carefully treasured in family archives, that the same interchange of good offices between the London colony and the mother country which is now in active progress has been carrying on for upwards of a century. He may read in them how the prosperous London merchant received annual tribute of kebbocks, kipper, and whiskey, as punctually as ever the feudal laird received his kains and rents; and how he repaid these acts of vassalage by procuring appointments for younger sons as cadets in the Company's service, or pursers in the Company's navy, or book-keepers on West Indian estates, or as clerks in the Commissariat or other Government offices. The same authentic annals will explain by what means the Duchess of York's spring-garters penetrated into Scotland; and many a stirring tale of flirtation is mingled with the grave business-like thread of the narrative. The young Scotch beauty on a visit to her London relations felt a strange charm in the mixture of something outlandish with the home tones of her native land in the young soldier or sailor whom chance brought from the far East during her stay, and the place of their meeting


heightended the charm. She again was to him like the glens he had roamed through in boyhood, and dreams of her fair face mingled with and interrupted his earnest resolves to make a fortune. And if any young Englishman seemed inclined to admire her, the business was done at once. Many are the homely but stirring recollections which cement the union between the Scotchman in London, to the and generation, and his relatives in the far North. They have a common fund of family traditions; and a visit to London or a visit to Scotland is the day-dream of childhood in all their families. How the males do chirrup it over their tumblers of toddy within sound of Bow Bells or on the borders of the Moor of Rannoch! But such eternal blazon must not be for the present, though, gentle reader,

There is matter for a second rhyme,

And I to this would add another tale.


[n.323.1] Nor is it by any means the only heathenish name to be met with there. At the time of the Reformation the new clergy, in their zeal to put down superstitious customs issued an edict prohibiting the practice of baptizing bells. It so happened that in the district of Middlebie the Bells were the preponderating clan, and the worthy minister of the parish, misapprehending the edict, refused to administer the sacred rite to any of the name. There are people still alive who remember a respectable family talked of in the country-side as the unbaptized Bells of Middlebie.