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OF THE LIFE
SIR WALTER SCOTT, BART.
VOLUME THE SEVENTH.
ROBERT CADELL, EDINBURGH.
JOHN MURRAY AND WHITTAKER AND CO., LONDON
London, February 10, 1838. IN dismissing the last volume of this Work I have to apologize for some mistakes, which shall be corrected in the text, should it reach a second edition. I notice such as have been pointed out to me, but I am afraid very many more might be detected on a careful revision, and I shall be thankful for any suggestions on this head.
I find, from the evidence of documents kindly forwarded to me by my friend, Dr Macfarlane, Principal of the University of Glasgow, that the cause of the minister, M‘Naught, in which Sir Walter Scott made his first appearance at the bar of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, was heard in May 1793, not 1795.
It appears, that another person alluded to in connexion with his early practice as a barrister, Mr Knox, killed accidentally in July, 1795, was not door-keeper to the Faculty of Advocates, but bar-keeper to the Court of Session. These situations are not, it seems, held by individuals of exactly the same rank in society; and a relation of the bar-keeper has favoured me with a conspectus of his pedigree; which, however, I do not think it necessary to insert here.
I have received a letter from Kelso, complaining sharply of an extract from Sir Walter's MSS., in which (vol. I. p. 119) a lady, known to him in his youth, is described as having been seen by him afterwards in the situation of governess to a manufacturer's children in Paisley. For this mistake, if it was one, I cannot account.
I have been informed of my error in stating (vol. II. p. 2) that Francis, the eighth Lord Napier, had been a lord of the bedchamber. I had.confounded him, it seems, with the late Earl of Morton, who succeeded him as Commissioner to the General Assembly. It also has been communicated to me, by more than one correspondent, that I must have relied too much on my own very early recollections, in mixing Lord Napier's name with a little story told in a note on the same page. It is said by an ancient gentlewoman, to whose accuracy I bow, that the real hero of that anecdote was another gentleman of the same name.
· I regret having introduced (vol. II. p. 11) Mr Archi
bald Park, brother of the African traveller, as being a Sheriff's Officer of Selkirkshire; whereas, at the time when he gave Scott assistance in seizing a criminal, he was the tenant of an extensive farm on the Buccleuch estate, and had accidentally been riding with the Sheriff. -I am also sorry to find that the Scotch Judge, who so unfeelingly condemned an old acquaintance to death (vol. III. p. 342), was not Lord Braxfield, as stated by me, but a still more distinguished, or at least, celebrated person, “ his yoke-fellow of the bench.” I can only say that, to the best of my recollection and belief, Sir Walter always told the story of his early friend, Braxfield.
Lastly, The Honourable Colonel Murray, who commanded the 18th hussars in 1821, assures me that the dissolution of that corps had no connexion whatever with certain trivial irregularities on which Sir Walter Scott gave advice and admonition to his son the Cornet (vol. V., ch. 3.) I thought I had sufficiently conveyed my belief that the rumours which reached Sir Walter, and called forth his paternal remarks, were grossly exaggerated; but I shall make my statement clearer, in case of the text being revised.
And now, as no other opportunity may be afforded me, I may as well say a few words on some of the general criticisms with which these volumes have been honoured while in the course of publication,