Sir Walter Scott as a freemason.|
An account of his connection with the fraternity.
by Bro. Adam Muir Mackay, PM., Lodge St. David No. 36, Edinburgh.
Erection of Lodge St. David.|
Initiation of Scotts Father.
Initiation of Robert Scott.
Elected an Office Bearer.
Death of Scotts Father.
THE Lodge in which Sir Walter Scott was initiated into Freemasonry was constituted on the 2nd of March, 1738, under a commission granted by the Rt. Hon. George, Earl of Cromarty, M.W. Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The original name of the lodge, "Canongate Kilwinning from Leith," was changed in 1756 to "St. David," at which it now remains, its present number on Grand Lodge Roll being 36.
The first meetings were held at the Laigh Coffee House, Canongate, Edinburgh. In 1745 the Lodge removed to the Convening House of the Corporation of Hammermen, also situated in the Canongate, and in 1753 to the Convening House of the Corporation of Cordiners, or Shoemakers, in the Potterrow Port. It was at this latter place that Walter Scott, W.S., the father of the novelist, was made a mason.
In 1757 the brethren purchased a hall in Hyndfords Close, Netherbow, High Street, where the meetings were held for over a century. Other masonic bodies, including the Royal Order of Scotland, and the Royal Arch Chapter, now "Edinburgh" No. 1, held their earliest meetings there, and it was there that Sir Walter Scott and many other eminent, Scotsmen were made freemasons.
The entry and stair leading to the lodge room was at the head of the Close, on the west side, and was then a favourite residence. Sir Walter Scotts mother, Anne Rutherford, daughter of Dr. John Rutherford, Professor of Medicine in the University of Edinburgh, passed her girlhood there, and Scott, when a lad, was often at his mothers old home, visiting his uncle, Dr. Daniel Rutherford. Forty years afterwards, Sir Walter, having occasion to correspond with Lady Anne Lindsay, authoress of the ballad of "Auld Robin Gray," whose mother, Anne, Countess of Balcarres, had been a neighbour of the Rutherfords, told her :
"I remember all the locale of Hyndfords Close perfectly, even to the Indian screen with Harlequin and Columbine, and the harpsichord, though I never had the pleasure of hearing Lady Anne play upon it. I suppose the close, once too clean to soil the hem of your ladyships garment, is now a resort for the lowest mechanics and so wears the world away. . . . It is, to be sure, more picturesque to lament the desolation of towers on hills and haughs, than the degradation of an Edinburgh close; but I cannot help thinking on the simple and cosy retreats where worth and talent, and elegance to boot, were often nestled, and which now are the resort of misery, poverty and vice." 1
Notwithstanding the "degradation" to which Sir Walter alludes, the lodge continued to meet at Hyndfords Close until the end of 1860. In 1838 the lodge room was re-painted and re-decorated by Bro. David Ramsay Hay, one of the members. Bro. Hay was distinguished for his efforts to raise the character of decorative painting and for his writings on form and colour, and it was to him that Scott intrusted all "limning and blazoning" of the interior of Abbotsford.
From the date of its institution, Lodge St. David was prosperous, and meetings were held regulary with the exception of the period dating from June, 1745 to December, 1746, when the R.W. Master considered it inadvisable to summon the members owing to the Jacobite Rebellion. The height of prosperity was reached in the session of 1754. In that year 107 names were added to the roll, and of that number 92 were initiated. Much of this prosperity was due to the influence of the R.W. Master Bro. Walter Ferguson, a writer in Edinburgh, initiated in 1752. Bro. Ferguson was owner of portions of the land on which the new town of Edinburgh was built, including the whole of St. James' Square. When the said Square was in process of building, the following incident is stated to have taken place between Sir Walter Scotts father and the R.W. Masters son, Captain James Ferguson of the Royal Navy, initiated in 1753 when a Midshipman on the "Success" Man-of-War. An attempt was being made to procure water by sinking wells for it, despite the elevation of the ground. Mr. Scott happened one day to pass when Captain Ferguson was sinking a well of vast depth. Upon Scott expressing doubt if water could be got there: "I will get it,' quoth the Captain, "though I sink to hell for it!" "A bad place for water," was the dry remark of the doubter.
The Fergusons and the Scotts were connected by marriage through the border family of Swinton of Swinton. "A family," writes Sir Walter," which produced many distinguished warriors during the middle ages, and which, for antiquity and honourable alliances, may rank with any in Britain."
Of those who were made masons in 1754, thirty are designated "Writers," the profession to which the R.W. Master belonged, and among them was Sir Walter Scotts father. He was initiated on the 4th of January, the first meeting held that session, and was recommended by the R.W. Master, Bro. Walter Ferguson. The following is an extract from the minute.
"The Lodge being convened on an Emergency.... there was presented to the Lodge a Petition for Anthony Fergson, mercht. in Edinburgh, Walter Scott & John Tait, Writers in Edinburgh, Craving to be made Masons & admitted Members of this Lodge, and being recommended by the Right Worshipfull Master, their Petition was unanimously granted and they were accordingly made Masons, and each paid his full Dues to the Treasurer...."
Bro. Scott was born on the 11th of May, 1729, and was the eldest son of Robert Scott, farmer at Sandy Knowe in the vicinity of Smailholm Tower, Roxburghshire, a descendant of Sir Walter Scott, of Harden. The Scotts of Harden, again, came, in the fourteenth century from the stock of the Buccleuchs. He was educated for the profession of Writer to the Signet, to which society he was admitted in 1755. "Through his family connection he obtained a good practice, which partly owing to his punctilious manner, subsequently decreased. Singularly conscientious, he would, according to Sir Walter, have sacrificed his own interest to that of his client, and though economical to the verge of penury, would, in carrying out any duties entrusted to him have been content to suffer loss."
His portrait is drawn for us by his son under the disguise of Saunders Fairford in "Redgauntlet."
Bro. Scott stepped quickly into prominence in the lodge, and before receiving the second degree acted as Junior Warden, in the absence of that official, on the 25th and 30th of January, and also on the 4th of February. On the 20th of March he was passed F.C., and two days later was raised to the Degree of M.M. He again acted as Junior Warden, pro tempore, on 29th March and 3rd April, and on 10th April as Depute Master. At the Festival of St. John the Evangelist, 27th December, 1754, within a year of his initiation he was elected and installed Senior Warden. The minutes of the meetings at this period were signed by the R.W. Master and Wardens, and Bro. Scotts signature, as Junior Warden, pro tem., 1754, and as Senior Warden in 1755, appears in the Minute Book nineteen times.
For many years after the institution of the lodge it was customary to select what was termed a "leet" of three brethren for the office of R.W. Master, their names being submitted and a vote taken, if necessary, at the Annual Festival on winter St. Johns day. Scott was nominated one of the leet for the Mastership, at a meeting held on 10th December, 1755. The minute states that:
"... The Rt. Worshipfull" (Bro. James Ewart, Accountant, Royal Bank) proposed the Worshipfull Br. James Walker Dt. Mr. for one" (of the leet) "which the Lodge unanimously agreed to. The Wardens" (Bros. Walter Scott and John Gray) "proposed the Rt. Worshipfull himself for another And the Bretheren of the Lodge named the Worshipfull Brother Walter Scott Senior Warden for the third. All the three being unanimously approved of by the Members...."
At the annual Festival on 27th December the brethren unanimously agreed to the election of the R.W. Masters nominee, and the Depute Master, Bro. James Walker, physician, was installed, in the chair.
The next record of interest in connection with Sir Walter Scotts father occurs fifty years afterwards, on 7th December, 1785, when, in the absence of the R.W. Master he occupied the chair.
The Brethren being conveened, Br. Walter Scott Esqr. took the Chair & the Lodge being regularly opened & constituted, a petition was presented for Messrs. Robert Scott, Chicherter Cheyne (both sailors) and John Johnston Craving to be made Masons & Members of this Lodge; and the two former, viz., Messrs. Scott & Cheyne being recommended by the R.W. Br. Scott & Mr. Johnston by Br. Wm. Allan the desire of the petition was unanimous1y granted, and by direction from the Chair the Ceremony was performed by Br. Paterson...."
This minute is signed " Walter Scott."
The two sailors recommended by Bro. Scott would, in all probability, be of some social standing and it is quite, possible that the Robert Scott referred to was Sir Walters elder brother. He retired from the naval service after the peace of Paris (Versailles, 1783) and would likely be staying at home at this period. It is quite possible this meeting was held specially at the request of Bro. Scott for the purpose of initiating his son and Mr. Cheyne.
Sir Walter Scott, in a memoir of his early life, written in 1808, gives an interesting sketch of his brother Robert:
My eldest brother (that is, the eldest whom, I remember to have seen) was Robert Scott, ... He was bred in the Kings service, under Admiral, then Captain William Dickson, and was in most of Rodneys battles. His temper was bold and haughty, and to me was often checkered with what I felt to be capricious tyranny. In other respects I loved him much, for he had a strong turn for literature, read poetry with taste and judgement, and composed verses himself which had gained him great applause among his messmates. Witness the following elegy upon the supposed loss of the vessel, composed the night before Rodneys celebrated battle of April the 12th, 1782. It alludes to the various amusements of his mess.
"No more the geese shall cackle on the poop,
No more the bagpipe through the orlop sound,
No more the midshipmen, a jovial group,
Shall toast the girls, and push the bottle round.
In deaths dark road at anchor fast they stay,
Till Heavens loud signal shall in thunder roar,
Then starting up, all hands shall quick obey,
Sheet home the topsail, and with speed unmoor."
Robert sang agreeably (a virtue which was never seen in me) understood the mechanical arts, and when in good humour could regale us with many a tale of bold adventure and narrow escapes, When in bad humour, however, he gave us a practical taste of what was then man-of-wars discipline, and kicked and cuffed without mercy. I have often thought how he might have distinguishd himself had he continued in the navy until the present times, so glorious for nautical exploit. But the peace of Paris cut off all hopes of promotion for those who had not great interest ; and some disgust, which his proud spirit had taken at harsh usage from a superior officer, combined to throw poor Robert into the East India Companys service, for which his habits were ill adapted. He made two voyages to the East, and died a victim to the climate...."
Subsequent to 7th December, 1785, there is no further reference in the lodge minutes to Sir Walter Scotts father.
"The death of this worthy man, in his 70th year, after a long series of feeble health and suffering, was an event which could could be regarded as a great deliverance to himself. He had had a succession of paralytic attacks, under which mind as well as body had by degrees been laid quite prostrate.3
He died on the 12th of April, 1799, and was buried in the Greyfriars Churchyard, Edinburgh. At the left hand entrance to the iron door immediately to the west of New Greyfriars Church there is a granite memorial, interesting from its unique brevity and national importance :
In front of this Tablet
Lie the Remains
WALTER, SCOTT, Esquire, W.S.
SIR WALTER SCOTT
with those of Several Members of the same Family.
Sir Walter Scott. Earl of Dalkeith, Grand Master.|
James and John Ballantyne. Joseph Gillon. Initiation of Sir Walter.
He recommends a candidate. His attendance at the meetings.
Sir Walter Scott when initiated into Freemasonry was thirty years of age. He was born in the College Wynd, Edinburgh, on the 15th of August, 1771, and was educated at the High School. Previous to entering the University, in November, 1783, he spent some weeks in Kelso, where he attended daily the public school. It was there that he became acquainted with the brothers James and John Ballantyne, with whom he subsequently entered into partnership in the printing and publishing business of Ballantyne and Co. In his fifteenth year he was indentured as an apprentice to his father. On the expiry of his apprenticeship, in 1790, he resolved to follow another branch of the legal profession; and having passed through the usual studies, was admitted, in 1792, a member of the Faculty of Advocates. On 16th December, 1799 he was appointed to the Sheriffdom of Selkirkshire, and in the same month married Charlotte Margaret Carpenter, daughter of John Carpenter of Lyons.
At an Emergency Meeting, held on Monday, the 2nd of March, 1801, Walter Scott was initiated, passed, and raised in Lodge St. David. The minute of this meeting does not give the name of his proposer, but doubtless the fact of his father having been long and intimately connected with the lodge was an inducement to him to join it. There were also other reasons which may have influenced him. The M.W. Grand Master in 1801, The Earl of Dalkeith, afterwards Duke Charles of Buccleuch, who claimed "St. Davids" as his mother lodge, "had been participating in the military patriotism of the period, and had been thrown into Scotts society under circumstances well qualified to ripen acquantance into confidence."4 The Bros. James and John Ballantyne also were frequent attenders at the lodge, and Scott had been brought much into contact with them in connection with the publishing of the "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border," the first two volumes of which were issued from the Kelso Press, in January, 1802. The following extract from a minute of meeting held on 18th March, is interesting.
"...It ought not to be passed over how much, was contributed to the entertainment of the Lodge by brethren Ballantyne of the Kelso Lodge to whose social dispositions, elegant manners and musical powers the Lodge of St. Davids are no strangers. The R.W. Master called on the brethren to drink to the health of these two respectable visitors, particularly to that of Brother James Ballantyne who had formerly been . . . of this Lodge and who now held the office of . . . in the Kelso Lodge. . . . The toast was drunk with the greatest possible applause and was returned in a handsome and appropriate address from Mr. James Ballentyne."
There is no reference in the records to the office held by Bro. James Ballantyne in the lodge. He was R.W. Master of Lodge "Kelso," Kelso, now No. 58, in 1802, and in August, 1814, was appointed representative of that lodge at the meetings of the Grand Lodge in Edinburgh. He has been described as a kind-hearted and talented man, a good critic, and a friend highly esteemed by Scott. His brother Johns aptitude for business has been seriously questioned, he was manager of the printing establishment. In the jovial, literary and artistic society which he frequented, his racy humour and endless stories never failed to be appreciated.
It was on Scotts suggestion that the Ballantynes settled in Edinburgh to engage in the printing business. A letter sent by Scott to James Ballantyne refers to that matter. It is also interesting from the fact that it makes reference to another acqaintance of Scotts, Bro. Joseph Gillon, a member of Lodge St. David, and R.W. Master in 1805-6 and 7.
To Mr. J. Ballantine. Kelso Mail Office, Kelso
The Joseph Gillon here named was a solicitor of some eminence, a man of strong abilities and genuine wit and humour, for whom Scott, as well as Ballantyne, had a warm regard. Calling on him one day at his office, Scott said, " Why, Joseph, this place is as hot as an oven." "Well," quoth Gillon, "and isn't it here that I make my bread?" He was initiated on 21st January, 1800, and was, the same evening, appointed Secretary of the lodge, was Junior Warden in 1801, and Depute Master in 1802 and 3. He became R.W. Master in 1805, from which position he retired on 24th June, 1808. The intemperate habits alluded to at the close of Scotts letter gradually undermined his business, his health and his character; and he was glad, on leaving Edinburgh some years afterwards, to obtain a humble situation about the House of Lords. Scott, casually meeting him on one of his visits to London, expressed his regret at having lost his society in Edinburgh ; Joseph responded by a quotation from the Scotch Metrical Version of the Psalms:
Castle Street. 22nd April, 1800.
.... I am still resolved to have recourse to your press for the Ballads of the Border, which are in some forwardness.
I have now to request your forgiveness for mentioning a plan which your friend Gillon and I have talked over with a view as well to the public advantage as to your individual interest. It is nothing short of a migration from Kelso to this place....
Three branches of printing are quite open in Edinburgh, all of which I am convinced you have both the ability and inclination to unite in your person...
It appears to me that such a plan, judicious1y adopted and diligently pursued, opens a fair road to an ample fortune. In the meanwhile, the 'Kelso Mail' might be so arranged as to be still a source of some advantage to you ; and I dare say, if wanted, pecuniary assistance might be procured to assist you at the onset, either upon terms of a share or otherwise; but I refer you for particulars to Joseph, in wbose room I am now assuming the pen, for reasons too distressing to be declared, but at which you will readily guess. I hope, at all events, you will impute my interference to anything rather than an impertinent intermeddling with your concerns on the part of, dear Sir,
Your obedient, servant,
Walter Scott. 5
The Lords House would I keep a door
Than dwell in the tents of sin."
The R.W. Master of Lodge St. David in the year of Sir Walter Scotts initiation was Bro. Houston Rigg Brown, of Messrs. Brown and Company, Coachmakers, Abbey Hill, Edinburgh. He was initiated in 1795, and held the office of R.W. Master from 1800 to 1804. On 24th June, 1808, he was re-elected to the Chair, on the resignation of Br. Joseph Gillon, and continued as R.W. Master until the end of 1819. He took great interest in the affairs of the lodge, and twenty years after leaving the chair, on 12th November, 1839, was entertained by the brethren at a masonic festival held in his honour.
The minute of the Emergency Meeting held on Monday, the 2nd of March, 1801, reads as follows:
There having been many applications for entries in the Lodge, the present evening was appointed for that purpose, when the following Gentlemen were admitted apprentices, Andrew Ross, George McKattie, Walter Scott, John Campbell. The Lodge was afterwards successively opened as a Fellow Crafts and Masters Lodge when the following Brethren were passed, and raised to the degrees of Master Masons, vizt., The said Andrew Ross, George McKattie, Walter Scott, as also John Tod, James Luke, George Morse, Hugh McLean, William Dunlop, Lieut. George Pott, Lieut. George Dunlop, Patrick Erkine, James Hope, Bruce Robt. Nairne, John Ramsay, Alexr. Kedie, David Anderson; James Dewar, Robert Walker. The ceremony was gone through on this occasion with very great accuracy and solemnity by the Right Worshipful Master, who afterwards took the chair. And the Lodge being joined by some of the other brethren, continued together for some time in the usual amusements of the Craft. It may be here added, that from the institution of the Lodge of St. Davids to this present time, there has not been an instance of so great a number being on one occasion entered masons.
J. Campbel Secy.
The last paragraph in the minute is misleading, and would have been more correct if it had stated that there had not been an instance of so great a number being on one occasion passed and raised. Sir Walter Scotts name is recorded in the books of the Grand Lodge of Scotland under date, 31st July, 1802. The recording of the names of entrants appears to have been very irregular at this period, the list previous to that containing Scotts name being sent in to Grand Lodge in 1799.
The next record of interest in connection with Sir Walter is a minute of meeting, held a year later, and summoned at his special request. It is dated 23rd March, 1802:
At the desire of Walter Scott, Esq., Advocate, a meeting of a few of the Brethren was called to be present at the entry of a Gentleman from England, Dewhurst Bilsborrow of Dalby house. He was in common form duly admitted apprentice, passed Fellow Craft and raised to the degree of Master Mason. At the entry of this Brother a good deal of new apparatus was procured, which added very much to the solemnity of the occasion.
No reference is made in the minutes during Scotts lifetime to his being again present at any of the meetings of the lodge. Unfortunately, the minute book following that in which his initiation is recorded, dating from 27th December, 1807, to 21st December, 1832, was very badly kept, there being many blanks in the volume, the most serious extending from December, 1814, to December, 1820. The unfortunate differences with the Grand Lodge of Scotland during the years 1807 to 1813, which resulted in the temporary secession from that body of several of the lodges in Edinburgh, including Lodge St. David, was partly the cause of this, a subsequent minute stating that "the book was so long in the hands of the Grand Lodge having the legal minutes "engrossed...."
An interesting reference to Scott having frequently attended the meetings was made in 1841, when a motion was submitted by the Secretary, Bro. John D. Douglas, to change the name "St. David" to "Sir Walter Scotts Lodge." Speaking in favour of the change, the Secretary said:
.... The circumstances of his father (Walter Scott W.S.) being a very zealous member, as well as Office Bearer would almost account for his choice of this particular Lodge, independent of the reputation which it at that time, and has ever since enjoyed. He seemed to have entered considerably into the spirit of the meetings, by attending them frequently and in bringing forward members to be
initiated. It is unfortunate, however, that the records were so slovenly compiled at that time and for many years after as to prevent us now from ascertaining the actual part he took in promoting the prosperity of the Lodge, but I am credibly informed that he was often called on to add his mite to the harmony of the evening, when he would electrify his audience by some quaint story illustrating the character and customs of his countrymen, or by the powers of his wit and humour shedding around him a halo of pleasure which there was no man of his day more capable of doing....
The motion to change the name of the lodge was defeated by a majority. Several of the older members were present and took part in the discussion, among others being Bro. Alexander Deuchar of Morningside, initiated in St. Davids in May, 1801, two months after Scott was made a mason. Bro. Deuchar was R.W. Master of the Lodge of Edinburgh, Marys Chapel, No. 1., during the years 1810 to 1814, 1824-25 and 1834. He published a work on heraldry which he dedicated to Sir Walter.
Sir Walter lays Foundation Stone at Selkirk.|
Elected Honorary Member of Lodge at Selkirk.
Sir Walter, the 2nd Baronet.
Walter Scott Lockhart Scott.
The Scott Monument, Edinburgh.
In 1805 Scotts first great work, the "Lay of the Last Minstrel," was published. The poem of "Marmion" appeared in 1808, and the "Lady of the Lake" in 1810. In 1805 also, about seven chapters of the story of "Waverley" had been written, but, discouraaged by one of his critical friends, to whom he had shown the manuscript, Scott threw the work aside. Accidently coming across the fragment, in 1814, he completed it in three weeks, and in July of the same year it was given anonymously to the public. In rapid succession the other novels were written, and no fewer than eighteen, comprising about sixty volumes, appeared in eleven years. The second, "Guy Mannering," appeared in 1815, and in 1816 followed "The Antiquary" and the first series of the "Tales of my Landlord."
On June 4th of this year, Scott, in the absence of the Provincial Grand Master of the district, the Most Noble the Marquis of Lothian, laid the foundation stone of a new lodge room at Selkirk, and was elected an honorary member of the lodge there, "St. John," now No. 32 on Grand Lodge roll. The following appears in the records of the lodge.
June 4. 1816. This being the day appointed for Laying the Foundation Stone of the Free Masons hall, a most numerous meeting of the Brethren along with a respectable deputation from Hawick and visiting Brethren from Peebles & Jedburgh went in procession according to the order of Procession inserted on the 143d & 144th page hereof, when the stone was laid by Walter Scott Esquire of Abbotsford Sheriff Depute of the County of Selkirk, who, after making a most eloquent, and appropriate Speech, Deposited in the Stone the different Coins of his Majestys Reign, with the Newspapers of the day, and the Inscription as inserted on the 145th page hereof. The Revd. Mr. James Nicol of Traquair, gave an excellent prayer well adopted for the occasion. After the ceremony of laying the Stone was over the Brethren returned to the Town hall, and on the motion of Brother Walter Hogg the unanimous thanks of the Brethren was voted to Mr. Scott for the honour he had conferred upon the Lodge by his presence and laying the Foundation Stone. On the motion of Brother Andrew Lang, the unanimous thanks of the Brethren was also voted to the Revd Mr. Nicol for the obliging manner he had consented to come to this place to act as Chaplain and for his conduct throughout. On the motion of Brother James Robertson Mr. Scott was admitted an Honorary Member with three Cheers.
The meeting then walked to Mr. Mintos Inn where they dined, and spent the evening with the utmost conviviality, Mr. Scott filling the Chair to the satisfaction of all present.
The Inscription deposited in the Stone was as follows:
Walter Scott Esquire of Abbotsford
Sheriff Depute of Selkirkshire
This foundation Stone
of the Free Masons Hall
Upon the 4th day of June
In the year of our Lord 1816
And the reign of G III. K of Great Britain
And of the Era of Masonry 5816
James Inglis & David Laidlaw
Contractors of the Work
Writing next day to the Duke of Buccleuch, the Grand Master of 1801-02, Scott made reference to the laying of the Foundation Stone in the following terms:
Abbotsford, June 5th, 1816.6
Subsequent to the laying of the foundation stone at Selkirk no records of importance have been brought to light in connection with Sir Walter and the Order, The Lodge of Melrose No. 12 possess two letters written by him conveying apologies for inability to attend certain meetings, one undated, and the other written in 1825, being his declinature to lay the foundatation stone of the Chain Bridge across the Tweed at Melrose.
The announcement of Scott having been made a Baronet appeared in the Gazette of lst April, 1820. Sir Walter was the first Baronet created by King George IV.
On 16th June, 1821, Lodge St. John, No. 111, Hawick, held a meeting to "consider the propriety of a public procession at laying the foundation stone of a sett of Subscription Rooms about to be built in Hawick." The minute book of that lodge contains the following entry:
My Dear Lord
... I was under the necessity of accepting the honour done me by the Souters, 7 who requested me to lay the foundation-stone of a sort of barn which is to be called a Free Masons Hall. There was a solemn procession on this occasion, which, that it might not want the decorum of costume, was attended by weavers from Hawick, shoemakers from Jedburgh, and pedlars from Peebles, all very fine in the scarfs and trinkums of their respective lodges. If our musical band was not complete, it was at least varied, for besides the town drum and fife, which thundered in the van, we had a pair of bagpipes and two fiddles, and we had a prayer from a parson whom they were obliged to initiate on the spur of the occasion, who was abominably frightened, although I assured him the sanctity of his cloth would preserve him from the fate of the youngest brother alluded to by Burns in his 'Address to the Deil.'...
Believe me, my dear Lord Duke, ever your truly honoured and obliged
A deputation was appointed to wait upon Sir Walter Scott of Abbotsford, at his country seat, to request the honour of his company at the approaching festival, and to preside upon the occasion."
Sir Walter does not appear to have accepted the invitation of the Hawick brethren.
The failure of the printing business of Ballantyne & Co. took place in 1826. Scotts liabilities as a partner amounted to nearly £150,000. Determined that his creditors should be paid to the last farthing he refused to be a party to a composition or to accept of any discharge. He pledged himself to devote the whole labour of his subsequent life to the payment of his debts, and he fulfilled the pledge. In the course of four years his works yielded nearly £70,000, and, ultimately, his creditors recelved every farthing of their claims. This arduous labour cost him much. In February, 1880, he had an attack of an apoplectic nature, from which he never thoroughly recovered. After another severe shock in April, 1831, he was at length persuaded to abandon literary work. At Abbotsford, on the 2Ist September, 1832, in the sixty-second year of his age, he died, surrounded by his family and with the murmur of the Tweed in his ears. Five days later the remains of Sir Walter Scott were laid in the sepulchre of his ancestors in the old Abbey of Dryburgh.
An invitation to attend the celebration of the First Centenary of Lodge St. David, held on 19th February, 1839, was sent to Sir Walters eldest son, the Second Baronet of Abbotsford, then Lieutenant-Colonel of the 15th Drag'ons. The minute book, states :
The following was directed by the Committee to be sent to Br. Sir Walter Scott, Bart., presently in town. At a meeting of the Committee of the Lodge Edinr Saint David held this day, (9th Febry) in consideration of our illustrious and lamented Brother the late Sir Walter Scott having been made a Mason in this Lodge and having a high respect for his Son Brother Sir Walter Scott presently residing in Edinr. it was unanimously resolved to intimate to that Brother that a Convivial Meeting of this Lodge would be held here on Tuesday the 19th instant at 8 o'clock evening, in Commemoration of the Centenary of the Lodge and respectfully to request the honor of his company on that occasion. The Committee accordingly appointed the R.W. Sub. Master Brother J. B. Douglas and the Secretary of the Lodge Bro. J. D. Douglas to wait on Brother Sir W. Scott to receive bis answer.
There is no record of his having been present at the Centenary Meeting, and it is to be regretted that the foregoing extract does not mention the lodge to which he belonged [see note 7]. This year, 1839, he proceeded to India with his regiment, which he subsequently commanded. At Bangalore, in August, 1846, he was smitten with fever, culminating in liver disease. Having sailed for home, he died on board the ship "Wellesley," near the Cape of Good Hope, on 8th February, 1847, aged forty-six.
Walter Scott Lockhart, younger son of John Gibson Lockhart and Sophia, elder daughter of the Novelist, succeeded to the estate of Abbotsford on the death of his uncle, and assumed the name and arms of Scott. He was a Lieutenant in the 16th Lancers and was a member of Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No. 2, Edinburgh. He died at Versailles on the 10th January, 1853.
Lodge St. David subscribed towards the erection of the Monument to Sir Walter Scott, in Princes Street, Edinburgh, and was present, on 15th August, 1840, at the laying of the foundation stone of that structure by the Grand Master, Sir James Forrest, of Comiston, Lord Provost of the City. A detailed account of the proceedings is engrossed in the lodge minute book, including the following paragraph:
By kind permission of the Right W. Master (Bro. John Donaldson Boswall of Wardie, Captain R..N.) as Deputy Governor of the Royal Order of Scotland, and the other Members present, the Brethren
belonging to St. Davids Lodge were allowed the use of the ancient and beautiful Jewels, as well as crimson Sash belonging to the Order. The Phoenix Society of Tailors also lent their Sashes in terms of their kind offer detailed in the Minute of the 28 July last, so that every member who joined the Lodge in Procession was clothed in a Green and Crimson Sash, the first over the right and the second over the left shoulder.
The Lodge was also present at the inauguration of the Monument on the 15th August, 1846. New clothing was obtained for the occasion and a new Banner unfurled for the first time, having on the one side the inscription
St. Davids Lodge
Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
2nd March, 1801.
and on the other
Inauguration of the Scott Monument
15th August, 1846.
1.Lord Lindsays "Lives of the Lindsays."^
2.Genealogical Memoirs of the Scott Family. Rogers.^
3.Life of Sir W. Scott. J. G. Lockhart.^
Life of Sir W. Scott. J.G. Lockhart.
Life of Sir W. Scott. J.G. Lockhart.
Familiar Letters of Sir Walter Scott. Edinburgh. D. Douglas.
Souters, of SelkirkFreemen or Burgesses.
Reprinted with permission of Ars Quatuor Coronatorum vol. xx (for 1907) of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, London, England, pp. 209-20. Footnotes renumbered as endnotes and capitalization amended to current AQC Style Guide. Also see: Walter 2nd Baronet initiated into Lodge Canongate Kilwinning on 30 November 1826, AQC vol xxi (1908) p. 70; Sir Walter Scott declined offer of Grand Mastership of the Order of the Temple in 1823, AQC vol xxvi (1913) p. 217; "I have always felt particularly uncomfortable when circumstances have forced me to anything resembling a public appearance...." Sir Walter Scott correspondence to Sir Alexander Deuchar, Grand Master, 26 October 1823, AQC vol xxi (1908) p. 28.