Posts Tagged ‘John Keats’

Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

John Scott (Editor)
24 October 1784 – 27 February 1821

John Scott edited several liberal newspapers: The Statesman, which Leigh Hunt founded; the Stamford News, published by John Drakard; Drakard’s Paper (a London edition of this), which he renamed The Champion; and the most notable, the London Magazine, which he revived, as a monthly, in January 1820.

Under his direction, the magazine included works by such luminaries as Wordsworth, Charles Lamb, de Quincey, John Clare, Thomas Hood, Carlyle, Keats, Leigh Hunt, and Hazlitt. He also agreed to write a third of the magazine himself, which he did mostly under pseudonyms.

He attended Aberdeen Grammar School, as did Lord Byron, who was some years younger; he spent 1795-8 at Marischal College, but left without graduating. When Byron published an account of his marriage in 1816, Scott called this publication indelicacy; Leigh Hunt quarreled with him over this.

He died as the result of a duel, one of the side effects of the Cockney School controversy. John Gibson Lockhart had been abusing many of Scott’s contributors in Blackwood’s Magazine (under a pseudonym (Z), as was then common). In May 1820, Scott began a series of counter-articles, which provoked Lockhart into calling him “a liar and a scoundrel”. In February 1820, Lockhart’s London agent, Jonathan Henry Christie, made a provocative statement, and Scott challenged him.

They met on 16 February 1821, at a farm between Camden Town and Hampstead. Christie did not fire in the first round, but there was a misunderstanding between the seconds, resulting in a second round. Scott was hit in the abdomen, and died 11 days later. Christie and his second were tried for wilful murder and acquitted; the collection for Scott’s family was a notable radical cause.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

John Gibson Lockhart
12 June 1794 – 25 November 1854


John Gibson Lockhart

John Gibson Lockhart was born in the manse of Cambusnethan House in Lanarkshire. His father, Dr John Lockhart, transferred in 1796 to Glasgow, and was appointed minister. His mother, who was the daughter of the Rev. John Gibson, of Edinburgh, was a woman of considerable intellectual gifts.

Lockhart was sent to the Glasgow High School, where he showed himself clever rather than industrious. He fell into ill-health, and had to be removed from school before he was twelve; but on his recovery he was sent at this early age to Glasgow University, and displayed so much precocious learning, especially in Greek, that he was offered a Snell exhibition at Oxford. He was not fourteen when he entered Balliol College, Oxford, where he acquired a great store of knowledge outside the regular curriculum. He read French, Italian, German and Spanish, was interested in antiquities, and became versed in heraldic and genealogical lore.

In 1813 he took a first class in classics in the final schools. For two years after leaving Oxford he lived chiefly in Glasgow before settling to the study of Scots law in Edinburgh, where he was elected to the Faculty of Advocates in 1816. A tour on the continent in 1817, when he visited Goethe at Weimar, was made possible by the publisher William Blackwood, who advanced money for a translation of Friedrich Schlegel’s Lectures on the History of Literature, which was not published until 1838. Edinburgh was then the stronghold of the Whig party, whose organ was the Edinburgh Review, and it was not till 1817 that the Scottish Tories found a means of expression in Blackwood’s Magazine. After a somewhat hum-drum opening, Blackwood suddenly electrified the Edinburgh world by an outburst of brilliant criticism. John Wilson (Christopher North) and Lockhart had joined its staff in 1817. Lockhart shared in the caustic and aggressive articles that marked the early years of Blackwood; but his biographer Andrew Lang denied he was responsible for the virulent articles on Coleridge and on “The Cockney School of Poetry”: Leigh Hunt, Keats and their friends. He has been accused of the later Blackwood article (August 1818) on Keats, but he did show appreciation of Coleridge and Wordsworth.

He contributed to Blackwood translations of Spanish ballads, which in 1823 were published separately. In 1818 the young man attracted the notice of Sir Walter Scott, and he married Scott’s eldest daughter Sophia in April 1820. Five years of domesticity followed, with winters spent in Edinburgh and summers at a cottage at Chiefswood, near Abbotsford, where Lockhart’s child John Hugh was born; the second son Walter and daughter Charlotte were born later in London and Brighton.

In 1820 John Scott, the editor of the London Magazine, wrote a series of articles attacking the conduct of Blackwood’s Magazine, and making Lockhart chiefly responsible for its extravagances. A correspondence followed, in which a meeting between Lockhart and John Scott was proposed, with Jonathan Henry Christie and Horace Smith as seconds. A series of delays and complicated negotiations resulted early in 1821 in a duel between Christie and John Scott, in which Scott was killed.

Between 1818 and 1825 Lockhart worked indefatigably. In 1819 Peter’s Letters to his Kinsfolk appeared, and in 1822 he edited Peter Motteux’s edition of Don Quixote, to which he prefixed a life of Cervantes. Four novels followed: Valerius in 1821, Some Passages in the Life of Mr. Adam Blair, Minister of Gospel at Cross Meikle in 1822, Reginald Dalton in 1823 and Matthew Wald in 1824. But his strength did not lie in novel writing. In 1825 Lockhart accepted the editorship of the Quarterly Review, which had been in the hands of Sir John Taylor Coleridge since William Gifford’s resignation in 1824.

At this time he was living at 25 Northumberland Street in Edinburgh’s fashionable Second New Town. In 1825 he sold the house to Andrew and George Combe.

By this point in time, as the next heir to the Scotland property belonging to his unmarried half-brother, Milton Lockhart, he was sufficiently independent. In London he had social success, and was recognized as an editor. He contributed largely to the Quarterly Review himself, particularly biographical articles. He showed the old, railing spirit in an article in the Quarterly against Tennyson’s Poems of 1833. He continued to write for Blackwood; he produced for Constable’s Miscellany Vol. XXIII in 1828 a controversial Life of Robert Burns. Snyder wrote of it, “The best that one can say of it today… is that it occasioned Carlyle’s review. It is inexcusably inaccurate from beginning to end, at times demonstrably mendacious, and should never be trusted in any respect or detail.”

Lockhart undertook the editorial supervision of Murray’s Family Library, which he opened in 1829 with a History of Napoleon.

His major work was the Life of Sir Walter Scott (7 vols, 1837—1838; 2nd ed., 10 vols., 1839). This biography published a great number of Scott’s letters. Thomas Carlyle assessed it in a criticism contributed to the London and Westminster Review (1837). Lockhart’s account of the business transactions between Scott and the Ballantynes and Constable caused an outcry; and in the discussion that followed he showed bitterness in his pamphlet The Ballantyne Humbug handled. The Life of Scott has been called, after Boswell’s Johnson, the most admirable biography in the English language. The proceeds, which were considerable, Lockhart resigned for the benefit of Scott’s creditors.

Lockhart’s life was saddened by family bereavement, resulting in his own breakdown in health and spirits. His eldest boy (the suffering “Hugh Littlejohn” of Scott’s Tales of a Grandfather) died in 1831; Scott himself in 1832; Anne Scott in 1833; Mrs Lockhart in 1837; and the surviving son, Walter Scott Lockhart, in 1853. Resigning the editorship of the Quarterly Review in 1853, he spent the next winter in Rome, but returned to England without recovering his health; and being taken to Abbotsford by his daughter Charlotte, who had become Mrs James Robert Hope-Scott, he died there on 25 November 1854. He was buried in Dryburgh Abbey near the grave of Sir Walter Scott.

Robert Scott Lauder painted two portraits of Lockhart, one of him alone, and the other with Charlotte Scott.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

John Keats
October 31 1795 to February 23 1821

Just a few days ago was the anniversary of the birth of John Keats. The third of our great Regency Era Poets (And all dying at a young age, within a few years of each other.)


Not as well received when he lived, like his contemporaries, Shelley and Byron, by the end of the 19th century he was very popular. Born the eldest son of a hostler, Keats thus came from much more modest means than the other poets that have survived from the period. He was educated at John Clarke’s school in Enfield, his father now the manager of the Swan and Hoop inn. When Keats was eight, his father died.

His mother remarried quickly, but left the man and the family was living with Keat’s grandparents, when at fourteen his mother also died. Keats now apprenticed with a surgeon and apothecary. (Money had been left him from the estates of his parents, but the trustees seemed to not have told him about it.)

In 1815 Keats became a medical student at Guy’s Hospital. He was licensed to practice in 1816 but that year he decided he would rather be a poet. His sonnet, “O Solitude” was published. In 1817 his first book, Poems was published. A failure. He prepared to go back to medicine.

The lawyer of his publishers, Richard Woodhouse though thought Keats to be a genius and encouraged the writer. Woodhouse and others championed Keats and even though he was not making much money, he was being validated by literary peers.

Keats also began to gain patrons though still making debt rather than savings through his literary ambitions. One such was the Charles Armitage Brown who let Keats live at Wentworth Place. Some of the work he did while at Wentworth Place was damned by the critics, and for some it was because Keats was not from the classical training grounds of Eton and Harrow. Class warfare strikes its head in the poetical circle.

While at Wentworth he also broadened his attachment to Fanny Brawne, and an understanding came between the two. Keats mother had died of Tuberculosis. His brother also had succumbed, though Keats had been one to tend him, using his medical training. In 1820, Keats too had contracted the disease and left for Rome, and warmer climes. He knew he would never see Fanny again.

Keats died over the course of many months, in anguish and misery. If we encounter him in the Ton, it would be seldom since his work was not much purported about. And then it is only in later times that he is given great credit for his achievements. Any heroine proclaiming his works over that of Byron would be one who would be swimming against the stream. His champions were not the first families. It is not till Victorian times that his poetry is truly upheld.

Previous Notables (Click to see the Blog):
George III
George IV
William IV
Lady Hester Stanhope
Princess Charlotte
Queen Charlotte
Princess Caroline
Queen Adelaide
Dorothea Jordan
Maria Fitzherbert
Lord Byron
Percy Bysshe Shelley

There will be many other notables coming, a full and changing list can be found here on the blog as I keep adding to it. The list so far is:

Jane Austen
Lady Caroline Lamb
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire
Charles James Fox
William Wilberforce
Thomas Clarkson
Hannah More
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Edmund Kean
John Phillip Kemble
John Burgoyne
Harriet Mellon
Mary Robinson
Wellington (the Military man)
St. Vincent
General Banastre Tarleton
Henry Paget
Stapleton Cotton
Thomas Picton
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Sir Marc Brunel
Marquis of Stafford George Leveson-Gower
George Stephenson
William Huskisson
Robert Stephenson
Fanny Kemble
Mary Shelley
Paul III Anton, Prince Esterházy
Charles Arbuthnot
Thomas Egerton, 2nd Earl of Wilton
Henry Herbert Southey
John Nash
Thomas Hope
William Beechey
Beau Brummell
William Arden, 2nd Baron Alvanley
Henry Mildmay
Henry Pierrepoint
Scrope Davies
Henry Holland
Sir Walter Scott
Lord Elgin
Jeffery Wyatville
Duke of Argyll, George William Campbell (1766-1839)
Lord Barrymore, Richard Barry (1769-1794)
Lord Bedford, Francis Russell (1765-1802)
Mr. G. Dawson Damer (1788-1856)
Duke of Devonshire, William Cavendish (1748-1811)
Lord Foley, Thomas Foley (1780-1833)
Colonel George Hanger (c.1751-1824)
Lord Hertford, Francis Seymour-Ingram (1743-1822)
Lord Yarmouth, Francis Charles Seymour-Ingram (1777-1842)
Edward “Golden Ball” Hughes (1798-1863)
Earl of Jersey, George Bussey Villiers (1735-1805)
Sir John , John Lade (1759-1838)
Duke of Norfolk, Charles Howard (1746-1815)
Duke of York , Frederick Augustus Hanover (1763-1827)
Louis Philippe Joseph, Duc de Chartres, acceded 1785 as Duc d’ Orleans (1747-1793)
Louis Philippe, Duc de Chartres, acceded 1793 as Duc d’ Orleans (1773-1850)
Captain John (Jack) Willett Payne (1752-1803)
Viscount Petersham, Charles Stanhope(1780-1851)
Duke of Queensberry, William Douglas (1724-1810)
Duke of Rutland, John Henry Manners(1778-1857)
Lord Sefton, William Philip Molyneux (1772-1838)
Admiral Lord Hugh Seymour (1759-1801)
Sir Lumley St. George Skeffington Baronet (1771 – 1850)
Lord Worcester, Henry Somerset (1766-1835)
Lord Worcester, Henry Somerset (1792-1853)
Hon. Frederick Gerald aka “Poodle” Byng
Edward Pellew
Thomas Cochrane
Warren Hastings

Patronesses of Almacks
Emily Lamb, Lady Cowper
Amelia Stewart, Viscountess Castlereagh
Sarah Villiers, Countess of Jersey
Maria Molyneux, Countess of Sefton
Mrs. Drummond Burrell
Dorothea Lieven, Countess de Lieven, wife of the Russian Ambassador
Countess Esterhazy, wife of the Austrian Ambassador

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