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The Scottish Chiefs
Recollective Preface 1840


THIRTY years have passed away since the first edition of this work was published. And now that its probable last edition is called for, to be given to the public in an embellished form with views of its principal scenes, the author is requested by her new publisher, and several of the still surviving honoured critics of her youth, to add an account a little more circumstantial than her preceding prefaces set forth, of the "where and when" she first imbibed the impulse which ultimately impelled her to choose a theme so unusual to a female pen—a theme of war and bloodshed!

What can she say now in fairer excuse for such a choice, than the explanation her former editions contained? It was a war of defence. It is a tale of facts, not of invention; of men true to themselves, to the laws and rightful independence of their country. Such subjects are consecrated to a purpose beyond the time of their action; they are so commissioned, to every faithful bosom born in the land in which they took their rise; and if its present race of men and women (in subjection to the modern taste for casting oblivion on all recollections of ancestry,) were to cease to speak or to write of them, there are memorials, thanks to former honest pens, which could not be silenced.

Records of justly respected ancestors, exist in many old libraries, and must be found by the exploring eyes of intelligent youth; who smitten by those worthy exemplars, whether of Falkirk, Runnimede, or hereafter of our own glorious field of Waterloo, would emulously seeking further information regarding such honourable progenitors, literally fulfil the sacred promise to true virtue, "Out of the mouths of the tender of age shall be perfected praise." And again, were such registers expunged, we have only to look to our cathedral shrines, or into our humble churchyards, where the monumental stones which the grateful hands of preceding generations reared over the great departed, - still remain, to hear them cry aloud, "Forget us not!" For let us remember, that when a nation ceases to recollect the great and the good amongst their own forefathers, they soon cease to be a people of much account at home; and in proportion to that internal decline, they sink in the estimation of the nations abroad.

This is my apology for having made a tale of long-inherited patriotism and loyalty, my theme. "Fear God, and honour the king!" was the inspiring principle

"Of the Scots wha oft wi’ Wallace bled!
Of the Scots wha’ Bruce had often led,
To freedom! death, or victory!"

and being invited to the task of making such an explanation, I trust I may now proceed, without any charge of "offensive egotism," to tell my inquirers where and how these warlike memories were first unfolded to me; and afterwards wrought into that enthusiasm, which longed to wrap all others in the same mantle of delightful truths, which had been the gathered jewelry of my youth.

Born on the border-land of Scotland, my revered mother, then in her early widowhood, took her three youngest children to Edinburgh, to bring us up in a strengthening air; and for the benefit of a good education at a moderate expense, which suited the circumstances of a young and lovely widow of retired habits; whose husband had been in the army, and moreover a younger brother, both cases seldom being amply endowed with riches. But he had set her a pattern of noble independence from their luxuries; and to the bosom of her family she confined all her wishes. Her elder son she left at school in England, under charge of our grandfather, who had placed him there.

We were almost infants when we arrived in Scotland, and commenced our regular little studies; but in those times of simplicity, it was not the pastors and masters only who sowed seeds of information in the young mind.

I was hardly six years old when I first heard the names of William Wallace and Robert Bruce, and not from teachers of history, but from the maids in the nursery, and the serving-man in the hail. The one party had the songs of "Wallace Wight!" to lull my baby-sister to sleep; the other his tales of Bannockburn and Cambuskenneth, to entertain my young brother; keeping his eager attention awake evening after evening, often beyond his usual hour of rest; and then while asking gude Jock for "Mair, mair !" sending him to bed to see those heroes in his childhood’s dreams, which in after years his youth’s pencil depicted on canvas fields, in all the reflected glory of their heroic deeds.

But my chief instructress in these legends was an old woman, who lived in a humble but comfortable little abode near some beautiful green banks which rose in natural terraces behind my mother’s house, and where a cow and a few sheep occasionally fed. [it stood alone, at the head of a little square, near the High School. The distinguished Lord Elchies formerly lived in that house, which was very ancient; and from those green banks it commanded a fine view of the Frith of Forth.] There I often met this venerable dame, and while I pursued the usual errand that brought me—gathering gowans, or other grass-flowers for my infant sister, my aged companion, with her knitting in her hand, would remark on the blessed quiet of the land where we saw cattle browsing, without fear of an enemy; and then would talk to me of the "awful times of the brave Sir William Wallace," when he fought for Scotland, "against a cruel tyrant, like unto them Abraham overcame, when he recovered Lot with all his herds and flocks, from the proud foray of the five robber-kings of the south; who (she added,) were all rightly punished, for oppressing the stranger in a foreign land! The Lord careth for the stranger !"

She never omitted mingling a pious allusion with her narratives, whether of facts or fictions, of human varieties or fairy fables; and from this custom I always listened to her with reverence as well as delight;—yet she was a person of low degree, dressed in a coarse woollen gown and a plain linen cap, without frill or ribbon, called a mutch, clasped under the chin with a silver brooch, worn by her father at the battle of Culloden.

So powerful is the effect of a superior spirit, even within the humblest exterior, making her withered form transparent of its inward excellence. Such was Luckie Forbes! and I must avow that while learning my school-lessons of general history from higher hands, to this respected old woman’s endearing and often eloquent manner of relating the adventures of the Scottish chief, I owe my early admiration for his character. Her representation of his heart-rending sacrifices for the good of his country, called forth my tears and sobs, and when she told of his brave companions’ sufferings, and of his own eventual barbarous execution by the tyrant he had opposed, my grief was raised to its climax; and bewailing him, as I had but too recently done my own gallant father, I ceased not, during my whole future life, to remember, with something like a kindred sympathy, himself, and the dauntless friends who had followed him to honour or the grave.

From this little reminiscence, it might have been expected, that should I ever in maturer years have felt inclined to note such impressions, the story of Sir William Wallace would have been my first selection. But for long, long after I heard these things, I never thought of becoming a writer at all. To learn, was my sole ambition; and during the knowledge-seeking season usual with youth, my time, in conjunction with that of my dear brother and sister, was almost wholly spent in reading; the works of ancient and modern authors burying us, as it were, often from sunrise to sunset, in a total abstraction from everything else. History and biography, from the Sacred Scriptures to Plutarch’s Lives; from the black-letter Chronicles of England to Rapin and David Hume; and all poetry connected with the events they told of, from Greece’s Homer to our British Shakspeare, from the ballad of Chevy Chase to that of our soul-stirring Rule Britannia; this was the food with which we loved to nourish the favourite meditations of our minds; bringing to our hearts the characters which our mother, our earliest instructress, had taught us to consider "the Excellent of the earth ;" and with whom we ever afterwards aspired "to dwell !"

To such objects alone, and to their corresponding emulations, did she direct our admirations and affections. She could not bequeath to her children "gold nor silver," but what she had richly in herself, she strove to bestow on us—independence from what are called the usual ambitions or pleasures of life. And when circumstances caused her to fix her abode in London, we continued the same absorbing and sequestering, pursuits, but with some other studies united with them, awakened by our near approximation to the arts of painting and sculpture. The names of Benjamin West, Flaxman, Northcote, and Martin Archer Shee were alike honoured, and dear to our evening hearth; for such persons (and others, veterans in fame, naval and military, whose esteem she had shared during my father’s lifetime, and preserved since his death,) made no inroad on the simplicity of her little homestead; and with this chosen few, we young people welcomed "living models" of the "excellency in talents and in virtues," which our books had daily drawn pictures of in our closets.

But these visitors, in their turn, brought new informations to our notice; the existing momentous events of the world then passing around us. The horrible insurrectionary revolution of France had hardly subsided: its dethroned sovereign and nobles, overwhelmed by infuriated mobs calling themselves the people, had bled on the scaffold, or become fugitives on the face of the earth; while the chivalric kingdom of Poland on the other hand, was "swept from the map of nations," by a conspiracy of foreign princes, and her brave sons also made wanderers into many Iands. England was one of these places of general refuge forboth orders of these exiles.

It was at that time we came first to London. Our animated sympathies were soon aroused by narratives so similar to those which had excited the pitying tears of our childhood; and it was then I first felt the impulse to preserve some of the affecting accounts I had listened to, by writing them down in the form of a regular story. In short, I yearned to pour out my veneration and my compassion for the virtues and the sufferings of the people whose ancestors had followed John Sobieski, scarcely more than a century before, to the rescue of Christendom. from the pending Mahometan yoke. My brother too had seen and become acquainted with Kosciusko, in his way to the United States, after his honourable liberation from prison by the Emperor of Russia—successor to her who had cast him there. It was then that the little tale of "Thaddeus of Warsaw" became the first-fruits of my pen.

It was composed in a society congenial to its spirit, for the fields of Alexandria and of Acre had just sent home their heroes; and the "chiefs" of them, with their happy wives, sisters, or daughters, were often at the unpretending tea-table of my mother. [In this bright little circle were also the revered female names of Mrs. Hannah More, Mrs. Barbauld, the late Lady de Crespigny, (of literary and beneficent memory,) Mrs. Hamilton, authoress of Modern Philosophers, (the fine principle and wit of which work, so put those vain and mischievous workers to the rout in England, that our then venerable sovereign George III. distinguished her with a particular mark of the royal favour). We had likewise her nobly talented friend Miss Benger, the charming historian of Anne Bullen and Mary Queen of Scots; and Miss Knight, preceptress to the Princess Charlotte. All these have long been removed to a better Elysium than "Poets’ dreams have told!"]    I did not, however, write my little legend with a thought beyond our home circle; but an old acquaintance, Mr. Owen Rees (a partner with Messrs. Longman of Paternoster Row), to whom my mother showed the manuscript, earnestly recommended its publication, and proposed his friendly house as the medium. She and my sister had been much pleased with the story. To no other eyes, save one, had I ever shown it, and that eye had pronounced it "beneath my powers !" But being thus doubly authorized, by the judgments I most loved, and that of an experienced critic, "to think no shame of it," I assented to their united wish, and my first step of authorship was made into the world.

I inscribed it to one of our frequent guests; the Caeur de Lion of our land and times in those days, and whose name, I thought, would be a parole to my tale of war. [Alas! while these pages were yet in the press, this hero of British hearts, Sir Sidney Smith, died in France. He lies, unmonumented but by the halo of "his glory," in the cemetery of Pare la Chaise. And there three French officers of rank pronounced eulogiums over his grave. England! is France to continue to hold the precious remains of such a son of thine? But if it be, that the gallant tree is to lie where it fell, is no cenotaph to be raised in Westminster Abbey or St. Paul’s, to the memory of him who first showed to the world that the conquering sword of Napoleon was not invincible ?—to a memory, which united the mildest virtues with the warrior’s enterprise, and made all men his friends who were not his country’s enemies; and even some of those enemies when war had ceased, won by his generous social graces, loved him in life, and as is now seen, have in death given him an honoured grave. Shall his own countrymen do less than they? No; let us trust in the gratitude and noble pride of England, that a commemorative stone to Sir Sidney Smith will ere long be found by the side of Nelson’s tomb in St. Paul’s; and not far, perhaps, from the sacred dust of his gallant progenitor in blood and name, Sir Philip Sidney, whose venerated corpse was brought from a foreign land "to sleep with his people;" for whose rest and safety, like our now lamented Sidney, he had so often fought and bled.] Within a year or two after its publication, my brother went to the north of Europe; and our occupation in the great capital "being gone," when he had left it, our careful parent took the opportunity to remove from our enlarging acquaintance; which, in spite of all her restraining efforts, might have increased to a dangerously brilliant circle, too dazzling to the young and ardent minds she had ever prayed to preserve from the world’s influence. In the quiet country residence she had selected, we found at first but few acquaintances; and recollections of the recent, and long-gone past, were by turns our most pleasant amusement. Those .f dear Scotland often presented themselves. We talked of our walks on the t3alton-hiIl; then a vast green slope, with no other buildings breaking the line of its smooth and magnificent brow, but Hume’s monument on one part, and the astronomical observatory on another. Then of our climbing the steeps and heights of Arthur’s-seat, and our awed visits to Saint Antony’s Well! all haunted by the shadowy forms of William Wallace and his brother heroes.

But where we were now sited was also food for pleasant thoughts. We had changed our abode from London, to a part of Surrey fraught with historical memories and classic associations ;—the southern banks of the Thames, amidst a beautifully wooded country, in which we could command the most retired solitudes; or, on crossing the river to Hampton Court, (to which a little boat might convey us in ten minutes,) under the cloistered colonnades, and on the parterre terraces of that ever-cheerful old palace, we could mix in pensive recollections with the illustrious dead its former inhabitants; or in gay converse with the smiling living who then sojourned within or nigh its royal walls; for our little band of friends of Thames Ditton, had introduced some of these our amiable opposite neighbours to us; and they oftener walked to our hedge-row cottage, than we to their palace lawns. Indeed, it is observable, that persons most used to splendour and pomp, enjoy with the greatest zest scenes of simplicity and quiet; and such were some of our visitors.

Thus time went on. And in that now fondly regretted little abode we had resided two or three years, realizing Shenstone’s sweet picture of "the lone cottage in the vale:"

"Lowly, in deepest glen, and woodland shade,
Some rustic hand, the humble portal made!
The woodbine gaily crept our casements round;
Within, Contentment was the hostess found,
Who spread with rushes the neat sylvan floor,
And decked with garlands fair the jasmined arching door !"

When thus surrounded by peace at home, and pleasantness in all our daily outward paths, certain circumstances occurred all at once, which, by recalling many over-shadowed, but still cherished memories, moved me to take up my recollective pen again, and to write "The Scottish Chiefs." Sir John Moore, my dear absent brother’s "master in arms," had just closed his career of devotedness to "England’s glory" on the heights of Corunna; and many of the gallant leaders, (also our friends,) who had followed his brave footsteps thither, had likewise found their "gory bed" on the same weeping field of victory. It might then have been truly said, "Alas for Caledonia! the flowers of her forest are again and some of them being of the race of the chiefs of my early admiration, I felt as if sweetly though sadly mingling a silent lament for the sons, in the Coronach my pen then meditated to raise to the memories of their forefathers. There were many warm hearts both in Scotland and in England which then responded to the strain, but most of them are now cold; for, as I have already mentioned, thirty years have elapsed since that work was published.

The writer was then in the bloom of her days; in the freshness of her most inspiring impressions; and, what was more, and dearer, she then lived in the bosom of a beloved family, from which her heart had never wandered—her mother and her sister.

The society around them too, in that attractive part of Surrey, was, as has been said, everything she could desire, to replace to her the bright little constellation of friendship—bland as " the sweet influences of the Pleiades"—she had quitted, with no small reluctance, when she bade farewell to London. Names which will ever shine in the historical annals of that period, were owned by those she regretted to part from. But there is no spot under heaven’s canopy that has not its "gems of purest ray serene ;" and here, in the comparative retirement of a village and its environs, she had met accomplished minds, of elegant habits, and social, without dissipation, affording her leisure and seclusion for all her studious occupations.

My sister Anna Maria, more brilliantly endowed, and with a judgment far beyond her years, never found it needful for her acquirements, to sacrifice the genial companionship. of friendship to close study of any kind; the quickness of her perceptions giving her almost an intuitive knowledge of everything she wished to learn: while I, from childhood upwards, "toiled up the hill" of knowledge half my days.

I write this with a picture of the contrast between us in this particular, vividly before me. We had different ways of attaining the same objects. She, with the wings of her soul fledged for the highest point; I ever saw her rapidly gain, while I was still labouring to follow her. But both, I trust, ultimately reached the same end. For our principles, our tastes, and our views in life were exactly the same; and when we began to write for publication, we regarded our works not as a pastime for ourselves, or a mere amusement for others, but as the use to be made of an entrusted talent, "given to us for a purpose ;" and for every word we set down in our pages, we believed we must hereafter be accountable to Heaven and our country. This sense of responsibility certainly deepened the constitutional concentration of my thoughts, gravitatinq them perhaps a little too heavily when employed with my pen; and when, somewhat wearied, I emerged from my bird-nest chamber under the thatched eaves of our rustic dwelling, it was "nothing loath" I sought the cheerful group I heard talking in the parlour below; where, usually seated between my mother and sister, I always met some of our pleasant visitors, ready to draw me out from my absorbing pursuits, by a general conversation full of intelligence and grace. These amiable persons, gifted in heart as well as head, never had recourse to animadversions on their acquaintance, nor to the repetition of any current tale of "evil report," (however wit might season the scandal,) for subjects of their discourse. Having pleasure in thinking the best of everybody, prejudice or surmise never had weight with them; and looking to proofs alone, when they must believe ill of a fellow-creature, they always spoke with tenderness, truth, and candour; in short, in that spirit of conscientiousness, with which every honest man or woman would desire their own character to be discussed and judged. Many of those "excellent of the earth" are gone to the "better world" their benignant dispositions were so well prepared to enjoy; but this balm in the atmosphere their kindly breaths influenced, is still felt and inhaled, to a corresponding action, in that favoured neighbourhood. There were the Fitzgeralds of Boyle Farm, a noble and a lovely race; who counted the Strongbows of Ireland on one side of their family tree; and the Boyle Walsinghams, noted in "arts and arms," on the other. The SuIlivans of "green Erin’s" royal stems, inhabited a fair mansion on our Thames’s fairest bank; themselves brave and beauteous as their ancient line, and in munificence, generous as the rich soil on which their English mansion stood. [The then head of the house, Sir Henry Sullivan, (a colonel in the Guards,) gallantly fell at the fatal sortie of Bayonne. Admiral Sir Charles Sullivan (his brother and successor in the Baroncy,) now maintains the family honours at his own favourite residence of Ember Court, (but still in his old neighbourhood,) built by the well known speaker].  Also the Raikes, of ever memorable name, as being the first creators of Sunday schools in Great Britain and Ireland; which indeed were the fountains whence all our succeeding various establishments of every description for the education of the poor have sprung. They too dwelt for a time in Thames Ditton, and the footsteps of their wide benevolence are yet traceable under many a lowly roof. Cambria, likewise, sent of her interesting people, to live amongst us,—a family of the race of Morgan of Tredegar, who for some years shed their liberal encouragement to industry along the rural precincts of our river. Up the Long-Ditton hill were abundantly sown the seats of a British gentry, worthy their rare order in the people of a nation; an order which, like that of our yeomen, is honourably peculiar to the constitution of our land. The Streatfields, the Langleys, the Cochranes, the Barclays, the Urquharts, and others (all justly revered,) inhabited that high track, overlooking the Thames. But how have these passed away! for when I revisited the neighbourhood a few years ago, I found their places indeed, but most of themselves no more! In like manner, when I sought the remains of my once gladdening little home, scarcely a remnant of what it was, could be traced. Its rose-wreathed walls were gone; its garden laid into a nobleman’s adjacent grounds; and "the venerable Mrs. Porter’s pastoral cottage," (which the classic Sir Frederick Eden of Hampton Palace, her kinsman and frequent guest, had gaily supernamed Little Arcadia,) was almost gone,—a spot which had brightened the eyes of many a tourist when loitering by 1its trellis porch, and looking in, admired its bowery hangings studded with singing birds; its small green stands, covered with fragrant beau-pots of every flower in the season; gathered from our own garden, or sent In greater quantities to my dear sister, from the more costly parterres of our friends; she being particularly fond of nature’s garlands, whether in their native wildness, or cultured to the perfection of the rarest exotics transplanted to our soil. But what was yet sweeter to her eye and ear, were the prayer and the blessing of the "hungry and the wayworn," whom we often saw and heard pouring their modest gratitude over the wicket-gate before the porch of our door. For no weary traveller or real object of charity, ever stopped to lean for a moment’s rest on that humble paling, without attracting our mother’s notice, and meeting a bounteous refreshment from her hand. But the place of all these sacred remembrances has disappeared; and the foundations on which our particular residence stood, have been adapted to new erections, subsequently built by the present noble proprietor. He however magnificently fills the pilgrim’s gap, our venerated parent’s departure had made void, though not directly in her position. She lived within a small distance of the wayside; and quickly descrying the "needy and the desolate" from her parlour-window, or when walking in her garden, discerning them over the low fence between it and the public road, she never failed calling them in, to administer to their wants; and while standing by her, we often saw them pass on rejoicing, as if they had met "an angel in their extremity." It is curious and admirable to observe how every degree of society, from the prince to the peasant, has its appropriate commission in the universal duty of charity, their different stations commanding different views, and different classes of human beings, for the exercise of that indispensable virtue; and the benevolent Christian nobleman who now owns that little garden-plot (then adjoining his own fine domain,) dispenses his heaven-entrusted stewardship on a large and almost unlimited scale. My mother’s was the widow’s mite.

After I had looked around me, and saw that most of the honoured names these pages have just mentioned, were only to be found on their churchyard monuments, and after I had mingled regretful tears with my few remaining friends who yet survive of those long illustrious races, I hastened to return to, or rather to see again, my other home of a more subsequent date at Esher.

My mother had removed thither, not from any desire of change merely as change, nor to quit old acquaintances, for the sometimes exhilarating novelty of new; but because the air of the humid valley of the Thames had become injurious to her own and my sister’s healths, and the transfer to this higher and drier soil was not far from the time-endeared friends we had left below. To this new residence, the "fair lot" we had drawn when fixing at Thames Ditton, followed us; and for ten successive years we lived at Esher, happy in the accession of kind neighbours, and happy in the still preserved friendship and frequent society of those who had made the valley a "place of pleasantness" to us.

But a change was at length to come to myself which I had never anticipated; the revered parent, who had ever been the crown of our dwelling, was taken from us; and within a twelve-month after that stroke, my beloved sister was called to rejoin her in their "heavenly homer". The dying lips of our mother, while blessing her children, had given it that sacred name—her "wished-for home."

The brother who had been my youth’s companion, and the ever cheerer of our earthly home, was in South America when both these events befell me; and it was while on a transitory visit to our elder brother (who had long been married and settled at Bristol as a physician) that I was deprived of her whose existence had been as part of my soul. She gone, the bond to our late dear home was taken away; it was "left unto me desolate," and I remained with him for an indefinite time. Next to the Almighty’s consolations, there is no comfort to sorrow like the sheltered quiet of a kindred mourner’s roof.

But circumstances at length summoned me back for awhile to our Esher cottage, the last abode I had inhabited with the beings dearest to me. During all the intervening time between my departure thence with my sister, and my return thither alone, my health was becoming gradually impaired. I had been medically advised to try various changes of air for its recovery; but small success attended the experiment. I was also counselled by my friends to resume some interesting composition; but I felt neither the power nor the desire to touch a literary pen again. They were gone, whose words had kindled my emulations, whose approving smiles had been the most prized reward of my labours.

But having come to the point of this my sad revisit to my Esher home, (which indeed was to part from it finally,) I cannot allow it to pass quite away from me without some little record of "its local habitation," and of those around it who had made it, like dear Thames Ditton, a home of delight.

Our abode at Esher was in the village, and a cottage still; but its situation was airy and cheerful; on the summit of a hill, (for my mother loved an open view,) commanding all those various points which had rendered that perfectly rural spot, an object of interest to all respecters of historical and poetical recollections; besides a more recent claim to reverential regard, it having been the bridal residence of one Princess of England—cut off and mourned in the bloom of her youth ;—of another, whose promising childhood, comprised for some years there, the hopes of the empire over which she now providentially reigns.

The paling of my mother’s garden, divided her little domain from the superb lawns and woods of Claremont Park; from whence, during its habitation by his Royal Highness Prince Leopold, she ever received the most gratifying attentions to venerable age, and presents of fruit, rare vegetables, and game in their due season. But courtesies and condescensions were not the only characteristics of that true prince and his then royal bride. Many are the interesting facts the present narrator of these things might tell, of the wide benevolence which emanated from that palace of our village, but this is not a place for them; and she believes that already such trustworthy memorials, are registered by hands that will not suffer them to be lost to posterity. [While these pages are in the press, Miss Strickland has published the interesting work alluded to,—" The Annals of Queen Victoria from her Birth to her Bridal."]

On a less elevated, but not less revered subject, a daughter’s pen delights to dwell—on the immediate objects surrounding her own little home; objects which most especially recall the never-faded memories of all it once possessed for her; and which, whether from the traditions connected with them, or from. the imaginations alone, excited by the romance of certain associations they conjured up, became the successive moving principles of most of the tales herself and sister wrote, while under that village roof.

In front of our cottage we had a full view of the gates and high trees of Esher-place, opening from the village on that side of the brow of the hill. In olden times this was an ecclesiastical demesne of Cardinal Wolsey, which he frequently inhabited in the days of his towering favour with Henry VIII., and in their cloudy evening, when that capricious monarch’s aspect changed. The episcopal palace stood on low ground, at the foot of a noble swell or mound-like eminence, on the apex of which appeared a venerable summer-house, the erection of former incumbents; from whence the Cardinal could feast his high-reaching eyes, by beholding, though from afar, Windsor Castle, the occasional "banquet-hall" of his luxurious sovereign; but in more ancient times, the accustomed stately residence of most of our English kings, from the first Norman William, to the founders of the royal race of Tudor. Nearer home, while standing on the same spot, he must have observed with even an intenser interest, (for worldly as his proud mind was, he yet respected the religion he professed,) Saint George’s Hill; and seen in its dyked remains of Julius Cesar’s camp helming its summit, the prelude of that very religion’s marvellous establishment in this then barbarously heathen country. There the Roman conqueror planted the idol-standards of then civilized but darkly pagan Rome, the eagles of Jupiter Capitolinus, and the deification-emblem of the great city itself; S. P. Q. R. "The Lady of kingdoms," who said, "I shall be for ever!" But the "better bred" eye, which then contemplated them in its mental vision, must have seen them as only the forerunners of "the ensigns" of the only true God! The "Cross of Christ !" the Divine messenger from on high, who "brought truth," and "man’s salvation," and "immortality to light!"

Within a century after that commanding height was thus embattled by the Roman chief; and resounding with the clangor of his eager legions, descending its sloping sides with fire and sword to devastate the plain below—the religion of Peace was brought to this land; and the hermit-cells of the first messengers to us, of "God’s reconciliation with rebellious man," are still to be traced in Glastonbury, Canterbury, and York. The "good seed" was then sown, which hereafter was to spread its sacred branches universally over shore and sea. [While on an occasional visit to the neighbourhood of Esher, Mr. Westcar of Burwood (on the vale which stretches before St. George’s Hill,) drove me in his phaeton to the top of the hill, and pointed out to me, through all its encumbering thickets which have nearly quite overgrown the site of the Roman camp, the lines of its vast entrenchments, still admirable in their remains. He told me that Mr. Jesse, the celebrated antiquary, and who resides near the spot, had made many interesting discoveries there, relative to the Roman invasion.]

In the opposite direction, (beyond the plain below,) lay the Ditton valley of the Mole and Thames, in smiling regions of this fulfilled peace; where "swords are beaten into plough-shares, and spears into pruning-hooks," and pastures and dewy meadows were spread around; where sheep fed, and kine lowed; and dairy damsels were seen tripping along with their teeming milk—pails, towards the different granges; many of which, on that rich grazing-ground, owned the Cardinal himself for their master.

But there was something beyond this lovely simplicity of nature, which might attract his almost princely Eminence’s more complacent gaze. The advance of the majestic residence he was building on the further banks of the river, since called Hampton Court; and which he meant should speedily supersede the cornparative narrowness of the old Eslier episcopal abode, too narrow to comport with the greatness of his station, the multitude of his retainers, and the retinue of his frequent numerous guests. Yet of this future palace for himself; it is well known how an observation of surprise from his Sovereign, who happened to remark its rising walls from the very summer-house described, compelled the ambitious architect to couch his premeditated presumption, under the finesse that it was intended to be "a humble offering from a poor but grateful servant, to his most august liege lord the King." The offering was accepted; but how little of the intention was believed, his "liege Lord’s" subsequent conduct soon proved.

It is impossible to think on these things, while standing where the monarch and his minister then stood, and not find the "visions of other days" passing before us. A peculiar hue of the grass on the mound, different from all the rest, marks the spot which the antique little building occupied; and where, in our vision’s glass," we must still behold this gay and gracefully minded, as well as haughty-hearted Anglo-Roman Bishop, enjoying some of his most blameless pleasures—the charms of creation around him, sunlit on hill and valley, in flood and field, and by the side of some familiar friend, "taking sweet counsel,"— Thomas Cromwell perhaps, or the ever-faithful William Cavendish,—adapting to these pleasing contemplations of present rural life, his illustrative recollections of classic poesy. This spot, for such a view, and such associations, continued for many succeeding generations to retain that old gothic summerhouse, until it was displaced, about a century ago, for a novel erection, one in time then reigning Italian taste for colonnades and statued architraves. The change was made by the celebrated Pelhams, when they came into possession of the place; the theme of Pope, of Addison, of Thomson, and of other of our island bards, who blithely sung of

"——— Esher’s green retreats,
Where art and nature vied for Pelham’s lore."

Nature, lovely and disinterested nature, being in aIl ages still time gentle soother of every time-worn breast, from him who escapes from the constant homage of a pomp-wearying throne, to the care turmoiled statesman, courted and persecuted, and the lauded hero of a hundred victories, one day worshipped as a God, time next thrust aside as a useless staff no longer needed! Such are time world’s ambitions, the world’s rewards ;—such nature - calm delights, a perpetual haven to the soul of him who has wrought well in his vocation. For indolence or luxury hath no part nor portion in this sabbath to mind and body. Labour is man’s duty, whatever his rank in life may be; amid to really enjoy its progress to its close, he must fulfil its law; and then the business of his occupation in the world’s "great waters" being done, he may be allowed " to seek the harbour where he would be,—and be at rest."

From certain heiresses of the house of Pelham, John Spicer, Esq., (one of our long-honoured old English Gentlemen,) purchased this noble estate, and became their successor. The ancient mansion having become much dilapidated, and its situation being considered rather too close to the dank windings of the Mole during parts of the year, he was recommended to pull it down, and re-erect a new one, out of its venerable materials, on a more salubrious spot. He adopted the advice; levelling the whole, excepting the square tower that had been the especial residence of Wolsey.

From its centre apartment, (still reverentially preserved,) the disfavoured Cardinal dictated that pathetic appeal to his capricious lord, which pleaded for release from an abode that had been intended to be merely a summer appendage to the episcopal palace of Winchester. For when autumn advanced, and found him yet on that vapoury shore, to which he had been confined by a mandate from the sovereign he had only too devotedly served, his feeble age sunk under the infliction, and rheumatism and ague began to menace his few dregs of life.

His secretary Cavendish has written an affecting narrative of this hard durance, and as harsh removal to a still more fatal ex-change; but Shakspeare has perpetuated both circumstances to the eyes and hearts of all posterity. We see the condemned prisoner tottering forth from his tower-chamber of Esher, and we have not left him at the gate of Leicester Abbey. We bow down our own heads in each place; for the bard of nature and of truth has hallowed the memory of that once proud but then stricken old man with reverence and pity; and showing the injuries heaped on that defenceless denuded brow by his tyrannous master, has deservedly stamped the royal name of Harry Tudor with scorn and detestation.

The old tower, the only remaining remnant of the scene of so many interesting events, still presents a magnificent specimen of what the whole structure must have been in the "palmy days" of the Cardinal’s all-dominant favouritism, when lackeyed by the livened sons of the loftiest peers in the realm, courted by those peers themselves, and pressed around by diplomatic and ecclesiastical dignitaries from almost every foreign country, it seemed as if a representative from all the world had assembled in that stately chamber, to do him homage in his double capacity of highest churchman and greatest statesman of the most powerful empire in the world. But the curtain of that great act has dropped. Now cloud-like hovering rooks, wending their heavy course from the neighbouring wooded heights, are the only guests descried approaching those unwardered walls; and the twitter of lesser birds, building their nests in the green branches crowding in through the broken framework of the windows, or nursing their callow young amongst the thick-woven rustling leaves, are the only sounds heard within that once gorgeous apartment, in which the worshipping conclave met—and flattered—.and betrayed!

The superb arras which in those days decorated its panelled sides, portraying his rank in splendid blazonry of needlework, has now given place to the tapestry of nature—ivy, with the wild clernatis and other clinging plants—too like his own circumvented fortunes, weed-choked by the parasites his sunny smiles had reared.

When this often pilgrim-sought "palace of ages" was at last resigned to the doom of becoming a picturesque ruin only, its new possessor (as has been told,) erected the present modem mansion on a part of the very knoll on which the Bishop Cardinal’s summer-house had stood. That "place of pleasaunce" was then totally erased, to leave a more spacious area for the formation of the extensive lawn that now expands on every side to the verge of the hill, showing from it, as in days of yore, the most beautiful as well as the most commanding view in all Surrey.

Within the hall of the new residence, part of the trophied arras of the ancient mansion has been hung, and is considered its most valued furniture by the present owner; the larger portion having been presented by his father, the late Mr. Spicer, to Christchurch College, the boast of Oxford, and which was founded by the Cardinal when in the plenitude of his power, with all the munificence of a prince.

Both the antique tower and the modem place of Esher were frequent objects in our evening rambles. My mother and sister loved the serene sunset hour, and better loved to seek the kindly dwelling, to enjoy the converse of its dear domestic tea-table. It was but a short distance from our cell; and often before I joined them in their walk, my eyes have pursued the picturesque little group from our rose-mantled window,—(a floral adornment peculiar to cottages of every degree in happy England,)—I have watched them moving along over the pretty village-green, here and there studded with broken lines of old gnarled trees, under which the boys play, whose grandfathers had done the same. The dear objects of my gaze, avoiding the merry gambolers and their football paths, happened to wind their way more in my sight. My sister, with her light and graceful figure, (a very Hebe supporting age,) lending her arm to our mother, who took it rather from loving the prop than requiring it, for her age was still as elastic in body as in mind; yet she seemed to sustain her steps by a slender pastoral-like staff she held in her opposite hand—its stem of hickory-wood, its crook a black chamois horn. But it also was leaned on by her, rather from remembrance than weakness. It had been brought to her in her early days of marriage, by my father, from the Pyrenees, it being the fashion in those times for ladies of every age to walk with such novel appendages, and habited in dresses corresponding.

Free from affectation of any sort, she had retained nothing of that fondly recollected mode, excepting this staff of pleasing conjurations, her dress being quite in keeping with the reverential years which might have made its sustaining help necessary. By her side or before her, usually ran a favourite white little dog, and our neighbours who met her in her walks, used to smilingly accost her as "the venerable shepherdess of Esher, with her pet lamb." He always accompanied us to Esher Place, or in our strolls towards the interesting ruin, bounding through the long grass on the once gravelled avenue, and chasing birds where aforetime the mitred equipages were wont to drive. Turning from the little animal’s playful career, our thoughts centred on the object before us, the bard of Avon being in our memories, if not by our sides; and stopping at intervals under the bowery limes that fringe the declivities of the knoll, or beneath the more stately elms, which in scattered groves canopy the glades below, contemplated with a meditative repose of spirit that region of stffly peace, where the departing train of the princely owner of three centuries ago, had last passed along. His burdened soul was then bowed, with sorrow and sickness, over the head of the favourite mule, whose hitherto proudly arching neck, the historian tells us, was also bent down, as if in unison with its master’s altered fate.

He was indeed yet preceded and followed by several hundred gaily-caparisoned steeds; but their clamouring riders were separating on all quarters, from him who had just bidden "farewell to all his greatness." It was then the affecting exclamation broke from his heart-wrung lips: "Had I but served my God as I have served my king, he would not have left me in mine age to this extremity."

At the foot of the knoll, and nearly opposite the scene of this sadly eloquent procession, my mother (herself then at the period of eighty-four,) planted, as a kind of landmark to the actual spot on which it had passed away, the scion of a much-revered tree; one that had flourished from age to age on the banks of the Ohio, and been dedicated by the neighbouring North Âmerican chiefs "to councils of peace, and the Great Spirit." Its seed, the gift to my mother from a travelled friend, (Mr. Rankin, the learned author. of the "Mongol Settlements" on that continent while it was yet unknown to Europe;) was reared by her in a common garden-pot; and when grown to the size of a healthy sucker, she presented it for the above purpose to the elder Mr. and Mrs. Spicer, then residents in Esher Place.

While they and the younger branches of their name stood around the selected site, the ground was duly prepared, and my venerable parent going down into the aperture, with the tender plant in her hand, fixed its station for future maturity. My youngest brother (who happened to be in England, on a short leave from his diplomatic duties in South America,) and the elder Mr. Spicer assisted her to step from the opening, which had been dug rather deep, for the better security of the plant. She was silent, but I saw that her revered eyes were full of tears, when she looked up to her son and took his proffered hand. I did not speak, for I felt the ideas which had raised them; and her presage was not wrong,—for though she, as well as the elder Mrs. Spicer, was then in perfect health, and possessed of every other cheering promise of lengthened life,—within little more than one year afterwards, both were taken from this world; and by a strange coincidence, the infant tree, which had continued to flourish until that period, withered and died. It had been a black walnut, and when the perished root was unearthed by the succeeding master and mistress of the place, they commemorated that scene of so many recollections, by planting a cypress in its stead.

The churchyard of the village church holds the vaulted graves, side by side, where the mortal remains of our venerated parents " rest in hope ;" and in the church itself, over the holy communion-table before which they had often knelt, my brother has placed an altar-piece, painted by himself, of Christ consecrating the last supper with his disciples the night before his crucifixion ;—the sacred cup is in his hand, the pledge of an eternal union with Him, in the "heavenly mansion" prepared for them; and "not only for them, but for all who believe in him through them ;" where all these happy "spirits of the just made perfect" shall exist for ever; where they do now exist; for the soul of a true Christian, though his body be laid in the grave, never tastes of death."

On one side of the altar, high up and let into the surface of the wall, is an ancient tablet, pointing to the place of interment beneath, of the respected father of the renowned Sir Francis Drake ; [Soon after the death of Wolsey, Henry VIII. took the estate of Esher into his own hands, and passed it by royal favour into the possession of the Drake family. Sir Eliot Drake of Devonshire, the present lineal representative of this gallant name on the lands there, (which a subsequent grateful sovereign bestowed on him,) is in possession also of some splendid insignia of his ancestor’s prowess, the gifts of the Royal Elizabeth. Lady Drake gave the writer of this note great pleasure in showing them to her.] and not far from it is one of a similar shape, but of white marble, a cenotaph to the memory of a young and distinguished son of the sea, who sleeps where "the treasures of the deep" are stored, till it be called upon to "give up its precious dead." There are other monuments also, ancient and modern; and under the pavement, the revered remains of many of the brave and virtuous and pious forefathers of the present generation, who congregate around that sacred table, also "sleep in Jesus ;" while in the simple churchyard beyond those scutcheoned walls, beneath its greensward, repose the meek and the lowly; in the same" faith," that a resurrection unto life and bliss eternal, awaits their rising from their humble graves,—for " of a truth" we are assured, that every degree in the world’s ordination, is alike to him who regards not names but deeds.

[Not long before the decease of our revered friend the elder Mr. Spicer, (whose monument is also, with that of his brave grandson, in the church,) my sister’s beautiful little poem of "The Old Tulip Tree at Esher Place," was written by her while sitting under its shade. One of its noblest branches wa~ soon after riven from its stem by a violent storm; but the wood being found in ~od condition in spite of its extreme age, Mr. Spicer caused several finely-wrought writing-boxes to be made from it, one of which he presented to the poetess of his tree; and it is now preserved as a thing hallowed, by the sister who thea stood by her side.]

These are recollections that make Esher village to me a place of memories, like the songs of Ossian, "pleasing and melancholy to the soul." Such are the recollections which aforetime instilled into, and in aftertimes nourished, in both my sister and myself, those strains of thought regarding human character, and their high intended purpose, (whatever be the social rank of the actors,) ,~that successively shaped themselves into her romances of "The Hungarian Brothers," "The Knight of St. John," "The Recluse of Norway," &c. &c., and into my biographic tales of "Thaddeus of Warsaw," "The Scottish Chiefs," &c., most of which were written either within the walls of "Fair Augusta," or on her "storied plains," all on the banks of the Thames or of the Mole.

The originals whence we drew our portraits, had mostly been living men and women, either of past times, or happily visible in our own; persons inspired by those virtues which prepare mankind for their immortal destination, as well as accomplish them for every amiable and worthy object in this world’s welfare. With such studies for our graphic art, we could hardly miss presenting images less than exemplary. "He that shoots at the sun, (observed the hero of Zutphen,) must strike higher than he who aims at a bush." That such was the effect of the principles which actuated our earliest and latest aims, when stringing our literary bow, I have grateful satisfaction in recording here, when one hallowed hand that held it is gone where the use of th3 "bestowed talent" can alone be fully estimated, and while the hand of the other is still summoned to the responsible task.

The evidence I am about to quote was from the Rev. Mortimer O’Sullivan, whom I chanced to meet at Shirley Park, the house of Mr. and Mrs. Skinner, with whom I was then a guest. They were present, as was likewise Miss Agnes Strickland, (the since distinguished biographer of the Queens of England.) It was my first interview with that celebrated preacher: he had been known to my host and hostess some time, and he considered them as they deserved.

[Even in so short a time as since these pages were written so far, Miss Agnes Strickland has brought out a second volume of her "Queens of England ;" and Lady Morgan has published her long-expected work of "Woman and her Master." It is a work that will carry her name to posterity with respect and honour. I felicitate her on the imperishable wreath she has now attained; and while thus noting on the theme of her choice, I cannot but add another proof of female capacity to observe well and judge rightly, by mentioning the recent works of Miss Haisted, (dauggter of the late gallant Admiral of that name,) her "Life of Margaret Beaufort," now just followed by a volume entitled "The Obligations of Literature to the Mothers of England," for which historical essay she has been adjudged the Gresham prize-medal. I could linger here, to dwell on the glory of a land which has such merchant-princes to be the patrons of its genius and its virtues.]

The conversation turned on imaginative literature, and its influence on society even to the deepest interests of man. After some observations had passed on the novels and romances of the century, Mr. O’Sullivan looked towards me, and with impressive earnestness said, " You and your sister were very young when you began to be authors; but you made a field of your own. You and she came forward the first to teach, in such works, to inculcate Christianity, in stories of romance. You came forth with the doctrines that there was, and is the same moral law for man as for woman; that no other is sanctioned by Heaven: you declared it boldly, and have maintained it steadily.

"Works of imagination so principled, came almost as a new doctrine, though it is, and always was the Divine law. It struck with its deserved force, and caused a new era amongst us. They were greedily read at that critical juncture of life, when youth look for pictures of that world in which they are panting to become actors. With hearts open to every impression, and eager to embrace them, they are as ready to take an impulse for their bursting energies, to good as to evil; and if they do not meet the noble and the true to give the bias, the false and the selfish are ever on tiptoe to turn the awakening passions into their own career. I speak by experience—I read your early works in my own youth. Thousands felt the same that I did, and everywhere acknowledged their effect—infusing the great doctrine of universal purity, without the formality of preaching it; teaching in fact by examples. Our Divine Instructor himself set the model—he breathed the breath of life into precept, by parable:.

"So dedicating female talents," added he, turning to Miss Agnes Strickland, "is fulfilling the end for which they were bestowed; a peculiar Christian duty, lady, in your sex, when so endowed: a grateful debt to that religion, which alone has elevated woman again to that station in creation which she lost at the fall." It was at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Skinner, this conversation took place.

[We are taught that "to be the friend of strangers, the benefactors of the poor, the promoters of domestic happiness in our own house, and amongst our kindred people," are chief in the catalogue of Christian social duties; and in so doing this inestimable pair, accomplished and kind, strictly obey the Divine law of universal benevolence. Shirley Park, their present residence, is one of the "goodliest spots" in fair Surrey; and when far away I cannot but often remember with a grateful delight the collected honey of its flowers, and the charming circles often assembled there to share the mingled sweets. Schlegel, the light of taste in Germany; Neimsevitz, the venerable bard of Poland; Campbell and Scott, Harness and the Ettrick Shepherd, high poets of our own land; and Willis and Fay, sweet minstrels of the transatlantic world; while Miss Edgeworth, Mrs. Somerville, Miss Pardoe, Miss Landon, and Madanie Calmache, and other "fair lady" names which adorn our British literature; both in London and the country, at successive periods, drew around the hospitable board.]

Before such a testimony from such a man, a minister of the church of God, my heart paused to answer; but it bowed itself down to him who had given to my sister and myself such a task. In fact I was quite overpowered, and tears of awed yet happy emotion speaking what I could not say, my confused attention for a moment or two ceased to apprehend what he further said; but the next succeeding sentences I distinctly noticed were: "The immortality of a work, like the happy immortality of the soul, does not lie in its superior faculties, but in the use to which they are applied—in its virtue—its power to move men’s minds to good thoughts and great actions; and such is the character of yours and your sister’s works."

The suffrage to her memory was more welcome than to myself. He discoursed much more on particulars, which I wish I could recite in their eloquent details; but I never can forget their import and impressiveness. For such opinions, from one whose own life is consecrated to the apostolic service of his fellow-creatures, contain a value far beyond the warmest eulogy from a merely literary taste, however accomplished; or from the most responsive enthusiasm in the interest of the tale alone, however ardent. They seemed to have "set a sacred seal" upon "the gracious acceptance" of our humble efforts.

But while I hung on the words of this minister of "good will to mankind," I could not but recollect, and with an also grateful feeling, that full twenty-five years ago my sister and myself had been cheered on in our course by a similar encouragement, though from the lips of a layman, and not quite in such emphatic lauguage. But that layman was all that good men ought to revere, the late Warren Hastings; the persecuted victim of envy; of slander, that envy’s base instrument; and of the first eloquence in the land, misled by "deceitful tongues," which dared to accuse one of the most upright men that ever swayed the sceptre of "England’s Eastern world." But that agitating and fearful political drama, has now all passed away; he has long been happily removed from its strife of "evil speaking," to where the "wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest."

During our mother’s residence in London, some years after that horrid arena was closed, we had the delight of becoming acquainted with Mr. Hastings, and of often contemplating the graces of his mind, bright as the benevolence which still shone out in the never-dimmed brilliancy of his eyes. He had read the few works we had then published, and one day he asked me how it was possible that persons so young, could have known so much of the human heart; and of the proper purposes of life, in men and women, as those books manifested.

I need not repeat my answer, but proceed to his reply on hearing it.

"Well, these pretty tales have already done much good amongst young folk like yourselves, and the old will not be the worse for such pastime; they are like a good drama, and will live when the author and the present audience are no more. To inculcate worthy things, is the principle that moves the loudest applauses when Shakspeare’s plays are acted. It is not the transcendent poetry of his language, but the rousing virtue that language conveys, which draws down those bursts of acclamation to a word of patriotism, or of generous feeling between man and man. Let men be what they may in their common conduct, there is always something in even the worst, that affords a better hope, giving an echo, whenever distinctly heard, to the voice of truth. See then, my young friends, the importance of bringing so excellent a voice frequently to their ears, and of accustoming men’s hearts to hear and to own her laws."

I trust that as the republication of "The Scottish Chiefs," one of those works, is the requested subject of this preface, a few more respected names whose acquaintance or friendship was either made or augmented by the favourable opinions formed on that work, by the eminent owners of those names,— I trust that I shall not be accused of vanity in thus acknowledging the "high impresse ;" to which my grateful feelings only seek to pour out their, perhaps, last oblation.

Mrs. Joanna Baillie, in a note to her noble poem of "William Wallace," gave her cordial suffrage to my previous management of the same heroic subject, and what was still a sweeter boon, added to it her personal esteem of the author. Sir Walter Scott (her stalworth brother bard) did not less approve my attempt at, "drawing the sword" of the Scottish "Gideon", And it was as "a voice of other days" to me; for the days of his student youth and of my childhood had mingled together in Edinburgh, where our mothers had been intimate friends. We had never met since that period, until after the publication of this, one of my earliest works, had made me, in spirit at least, revisit Scotland in the portrait of its favourite hero; and which affectionate tribute of mine, had received a kind welcome from the judgments I most honoured. Need I say how valued was that of the poet of "The Lay of the Last Minstrel"? Some time after this, our true bard of Caledonia’s fields and fame, published his transcendent novel of "Waverley ;" and he came up to London to reap the laurels of its far renown. We happened to be there at the time; and then we had the pleasure of renewing our auld lang syne remembrances with him, of his boyish freaks in "the dairy meadows" near George’s Square, where his mother lived; and of the pleasant tale-telling evenings we passed under her kind roof, my sister being "a wee bit bairnie sitting on a craky" (a small stool) by his side. How the heart loves to dwell on such memories! They are indeed the soft, refreshing "green of the soul."

Our visits to London, after our first leaving it for Ditton, (the intermediate distance being short,) were frequent, but usually brief. So we continued to see many of our old acquaintances there; and amongst them Dr. Clarke, the learned brother of the traveller of that name. He was librarian to our then Sovereign George the Fourth; and during one of these our short residences in town, he told me that his Majesty having had the works of the sister of Sir Robert Ker Porter recalled to his recollection by the then recent publication of her brother’s "Travels in Persia," &c., (which were dedicated to the King,) he took my early published volumes from the royal shelf, and was so satisfied with the historical fidelity of the heroes they portrayed that Dr. Clarke was commanded to communicate to me his Majesty’s gracious request that my next subject should be "The Life of his great and virtuous progenitor, Duke Christian of Luneburg."

I could but obey so distinguishing a command, and the royal goodness soon furnished me with many original documents for the building up of my story. It was completed near the venerable palace where most of its English scenes occurred; and when it was published, I was honoured by an assurance from my gracious Sovereign that "it had been completed to his fullest wishes." "The Scottish Chiefs," Wallace and Bruce, were therefore the authors or spring-tide of the Brunswick work; and they had also "won me favour" with our "some time royal neighbour," (his late Majesty, our ever-revered, ever-beloved monarch William the Fourth,) who was then Duke of Clarence; and living at Bushy, not far from our little abode on the opposite bank of the Thames, he most condescendingly took a very encouraging interest in the progress of my task.

"Duke Christian" was the last work I wrote at Thames Ditton. But it had been preceded a few years before, by my "Pastor’s Fireside," which, notwithstanding its pacific title, was a tale of chivalry, and also founded on facts in the lives of two most extraordinary men—Ripperda of Holland and Spain, and Duke Wharton of our own country. Once when visiting Eton College, the students showed me the chamber there, where Ripperda had lodged during his refuge in England from the persecutions of ungrateful Spain.

My sister about the same time composed her romance of "Don Sebastian King of Portugal;" also historically true in its chief parts, and sympathising in its tone with my occupation; the scenes of that prince’s almost incredible adventures having taken place in the border kingdom to Spain, and likewise on the same line of the opposite African coast which had finally closed the career of my Duke de Ripperda. She wrought up into the splendid fabric of her tale a chivalric expedition of the errant King of Portugal into Persia, into which she has woven much that relates to the interesting brothers Sir Anthony and Robert Shirley, two Englishmen who were then dominant in the court and camp of the accomplished and valiant Shah Abbas.

[While writing this Preface, I have seen a very admirable sketch of the biography of these distinguished brothers, written by Major-Gen. Briggs from documents furnished to him by Lord Western, a nobleman of the Shirley family. It is published in "The Royal Asiatic Journal for May 1840," Number x. p. 77. (Published by Parker, West Strand.)]

Our friend Sir Frederick Eden of Hampton Court, lent her an old and rare book concerning them, which, with other carefully sought information, furnished the grounds on which her story was built; though it may justly be inferred, that where these narratives lacked of union, her fully imbued imagination made up the deficiency; as indeed it did in working out the completeness of the whole wondrous tale respecting King Sebastian himself. Our excellently moral poet Mr. Southey, in his long-subsequent poem of "Don Roderick," has walked nearly in her steps over the almost similar fate of that also peninsular monarch.

Soon after our removal to Esher, we again recommenced our "troubadour" employment. It was amusing to our mother to hear read by us at our evening tea-table, the produce of our morning hours; and we often benefited by her clear sighted but gentle criticisms. She was the only person whose attention we ever invaded with a single word of our unpublished works. We there wrote two volumes, which were printed together under the united title of "Tales round a winter hearth." My share was "The Old House of Hontercombe, or Berenice’s Pilgrimage;" in the geography of which I followed my brother’s track in his Eastern travels, borrowing from his pilgrimage to ancient Babylon, the local scenery I introduced in hers. I own it is the story most interesting to me that I ever wrote, for it took me to Mount Olivet and to Jerusalem, along with my young heroine. My sister’s moiety in these volumes, were two tales; one, her simply-told sweet "Jeannie Haliday," has often been set in parallel with our long-lamented friend Lady Ann Barnard’s touching ballad of "Auld Robin Gray." Then succeeded her "Honor O’Hara," an Irish story; and my "Field of the Forty Footsteps," a tale of Cromwell’s time, from a tradition connected with the ground near the London University. In 1831, my sister (then in delicate health, but never in brighter looks,) published her novel of "The Barony," full of her own heart’s pure and high-toned character; and it has been called by those who knew her best "the last notes of the dying and spotless swan ;" for she never wrote another. Soon after its coming out, our sorrows began: we lost our mother, and within the year after that bereavement, I lost herself. Then I became a wanderer. I could not return to abide in the home where I should no longer find her; I could not recover any degree of health while remaining on the spot where she was taken from me; and my pilgrimage, the point to which my life was thenceforth to travel, lay far beyond the veil of my own imagining. I had already derived, oh how much of, continued earthly happiness, and I now committed all to Him "who giveth, and who taketh away" for the wisest purposes, however shrouded they may be. I did revisit Esher for a brief while; but I soon proceeded thence, not into a wilderness, "where to seek a shelter and repose," but to the congregating invitations of Mends, meeting me like gentle spirits from above, pressing me to their homes. One of these was not far from my Esher cottage, beautiful Ruxley, which looks down from a wooded line of country still higher than our own village hill. Its kind inhabitants had been amongst our most delighting neighbours; and I found a balmy solace in dwelling on the sweet countenance of her, my sister’s admiring affection had often described "as formed to shine in courts, or walk the shade with innocence and contemplation joined." A little further away, was the retired abode of another of my sister’s most esteemed friends, a female descendant of the first and great Lord Somers, of perpetually increasing revered memory. This lady is like unto her noble ancestor in every great and good quality, and I sought her society as I would have done that of the daughter of a prophet, who had inherited his mantle with his name.

Time and space now press on me to close this perhaps already too long preface, else I could yet linger in the recollected vicinities of a place, which recall to my mind the beloved companions of my life, whose presence had given that place its dearest charm to me.

But a few more kindly opening gates "by my wayside," I cannot but stop at, to set my grateful mark on,—that of the once happiest days—friend indeed, such as the Bible writes of, "more but now widowed Lady of Clovelly, the friend and sharer of my precious than rubies,—a treasure that is "as one’s own soul." Her heart was with me in all my sorrows, her soothings in all my afflictions of mind or body, up from the day of my first great grief, even to this very hour.

With her I had enjoyed the most halcyon period of our sojourning in London, when a highly intellectual little band of associated friends often assembled together, something in the style of the meetings in former days in the "bright saloons" of Mrs. Montague and Mrs. ‘Vesey. The first in the favourite list was the late Sir William Pepys, the amiable Lelius of Mrs. Hannah More, and the beloved disciple in all that is excellent in man, of the "good Lord Lyttelton." He often charmed our circle with interesting anecdotes of that true nobleman, the patron of genius, the champion of faith in Christ; and, as we listened, we felt it was well said, "With the pure thou shalt be pure ;" for the disciple had so learnt of his noble master, that from youth to age he never passed a day without registering, by applications from the Psalms, the blessings he enjoyed in life; and when I by chance saw the little diary, when he was past seventy years of age, I could not forbear writing on its cover with a pencil, "The harp of David is a grateful heart." He also told us many pleasing anecdotes of the distinguished ladies above mentioned, for he had been a member of both their chosen coteries; and he called Lady Hamlyn Williams "a third sister of those two graces."

The late William Sotheby, the poet of Oberon, and the last translator of the Iliad, was likewise a brother of our little social band, as were many other justly celebrated past, as well as yet honoured living names. At his house in Grosvenor street I first saw Lord Byron, whose appearance in the splendid drawing-room of his brother poet, was what might have been that poet’s dream of Petrarch in his prime of manhood, musing his "high thoughts" by moonlight; his clear and polished marble-like brow having that effect under the subdued lustre of the new kind of bland lights which illumined the room. The expression of his countenance too was mild and attaching, for he was talking to a friend: there was no scorn on his brow, and the tones of his voice were peculiarly melodious. This was my first and last sight of Childe Harold. With his sister Mrs. Leigh, I afterwards formed a very prized acquaintance.

About the same time Madame de Staël visited England; and with her sweet daughter Albertine, fair as one of Raphael’s Madonnas, often brought a new and home delight to our simple fireside. Full of excitable enthusiasm herself, for all the world can give or greatly show, she frequently praised my revered mother for the retired manner in which she maintained her little domestic establishment, yielding her daughters to society but not to the world.

"I was set on a stage," she said, "at a child’s age, to be listened to as a wit, and worshipped for my premature judgment. I drank adulation as my soul’s nourishment, and I cannot now live without its poison. It has been my bane, never an aliment. My heart ever sighed for happiness, and I ever lost it when I thought it approaching my grasp. I was admired, made an idol, but never beloved. I do not accuse my parents for having made this mistake, but I have not repeated it on my Albertine. She shall not

‘Seek for love and fill her arms with bays.’

I bring her up in the best society, yet in the shade."

Her esteem for my brother, whom she had met in Sweden, brought this distinguished woman to the acquaintance of his family in England; and we all regarded that acquisition as one of the most delightful in our lives. Some while afterwards I met her celebrated rival, Madame de Genus, in Paris.. But enough here of these stars of the earth. Were it a book of reminiscence, instead of a mere introduction to a tale of centuries gone by, of how many could I write, who were as full of public renown, as of dear familiar associations! Some have set in the heavens, some yet remain to shine serenely on my evening path. Of these last, when the colour of my life changed, and I went about alone, they appeared in the cloud, and I felt their beams. After quitting Bristol, the first shrine I sought was a sacred one, Saint John’s, on the Deeside at Chester; the dwelling of the Rev. Henry Raikes, chancellor of the diocese, and his sister, (my early friend of Thames Ditton,) now the head of his family, which consisted of a daughter and niece; and there, with the placid cheerfulness of genuine piety, adorned with every graceful accomplishment of the female sex, I passed many a day of soothing peace. Its kind roof was also fraught with a stirring interest of another sort, the reputed anchorite-cells of two sovereigns—one of Germany, the other of England—yet remaining, built into the rock on which the old mansion stands. From thence I journeyed into Warwickshire, to a still more ancient place, Coughton-Court, the abode of a friendship which dates from my infancy. The time-honoured name of Throckmorton is its venerable owner. No Englishman can read that name, and not remember that the three last Baronets who bore it were devotedly attached to the genius and virtues of the poet Cowper. He lived to nearly his death in their long herceitary village of Weston; at the head of which stood the old manorial house, the almost constant residence of the family, who had shed their cherishing influence over its vicinage for upwards of four centuries. Sir John - and Sir George Throckmorton (the husbands of the fair Catherine and Anna, whose benevolence and "sweet songs" the Weston bard celebrates,) were the elder brothers of the present baronet, Sir Charles, and both dying childless he succeeded them. The. old mansion in Buckinghamshire, having fallen into a state of. decay not to be remedied, its inheritor reluctantly relinquished it as a residence, and removed to Coughton-Court, a still more ancient dwelling-place of the family; but having been built of stronger materials, it required comparatively little repair, and he soon restored it to its pristine baronial appearance; such as it was when the royal Henries IV., V., VI, and VIII. were successively its guests.

His forefather Sir George, of famous memory, erected the present great gate-tower of his castellated mansion, under the especial auspices of the latter monarch, whose last queen, Katherine Parr, was a niece of the brave old knight. But such are not the recollections the present baronet most desires to cherish;—. it is when the owners of these gates, from age to age upheld tile never-dimmed lustre of their station as faithful subjects, kind friends, just landlords, and generous benefactors to all the country round. Such he is, venerable in years, but still more venerable by his virtues; and annual visits there, during successive summers, have written all these beneficial consequences of an English country gentleman living almost constantly on his patrimonial lands, deep in my conviction, that it is his duty, and would prove his best happiness.

[During these visits, we generally made a tour through some of the most interesting counties of England; our little party’s taste perfectly agreeing that it should always be one of historical guidance: and generally noting down at night the observations of the day, for subsequent letters to my far-absent brother, I was afterwards invited to publish them by my "first friend in the Press," but I never found my then debilitated health sufficiently strengthened to undertake their necessary preparation. I regret it on account of the mental delights, our track presented.]

From the ever-revered Throckrnorton gates, my next halting-place was sometimes at the English residence (near Reading in Berkshire) of the Dowager Lady Macdonald Lockhart, of Lee in Lanarkshire, the mother of a race worthy of their double ancestry. Walter Scott, in his "Tales of the Crusades," has additionally commemorated the legend of "The Lee-penny," a famous amulet, which since a hero of the name brought it from the Holy Land, has been preserved in the family as "a thing enshrined and sainted," it being (they say,) endowed with the power of healing the diseases of every species of cattle, and in olden times also the plague in man! But even in our own days, its sanative miracles are recorded, over the disorders of the poor children and the aged people in the neighbourhood. But herein, from my knowledge of its owners, I would say the belief might better rest on the Christian fount of charity into which the amulet is really dipped; when the supposed "water of health," imagined to be imbued from the silver-set stone of the gifted virtue, is bestowed upon the confiding applicant. Ah, how sweet are the tendril bands between the benevolent and the grateful! How blessed are they which hold the cup of refreshment to their lowly brethren, in "their Lord’s vineyard"! And besides the above before—time endeared friends, with whom my tranquil pilgrimage has chiefly glided on for nearly ten years, of how many more might I draw a similar picture! But in a truly Christian country such characters must be numerous, and their names are registered in a better roll than any human pen can scribe. Yet it cannot but be a delight to her to dwell upon the record, who has felt that throughout the page of her mortal existence, she has nothing else to recount of her fellow-creatures (at least of them with whom she has been concerned,) but kindness with regard to herself, and extended benevolace to others. And this sincere witness in their favour, occurs must forcibly as I approach an eminent proof of its verity,—the remembranccs I have brought from the sea-coast, where I recently endured a long and dangerous illness, and a great part of it under the roof of another cherishing friend, also of the name of Macdonald; a gentle partner, well worthy of the name and heart of the brave and honoured veteran now sharing the high trust of the British army.

When I alighted at her door at Brighton, it was from having bidden a final adieu to my old abode at Esher, where, after closing its little gate for ever on myself, I proceeded to look my temporary farewell on the adjacent familiar places, endeared to me by time and circumstances. One, perhaps the humblest, though not the least estimated, was the sod in Esher Place which covers the remains of my mother’s little dog. The attached animal had literally "never held up its head" from the moment we lost her, but drooped and died; and was buried (by Mr. Spicer’s kind permission) near the tree she had planted at the foot of the knoll. The present cyprus, as it grows, will shadow the well-remembered spot, and point to other eyes, who respect the fidelity of the brute creation, where lies our pretty Bijou’s "grassy tomb."

I do not apologise for this tribute to a faithful animal, and particularly of the class which has ever been considered the most attached to man. It reminds me too of a letter from my sweet sister, written in bygone years, containing a remark very apposite to the subject. She was making a journey into a distant county, and observing that she never looked from the window of the carriage without seeing all the walkers on the road followed by a dog of some kind or other: "Surely," added she, "when Mr. Pitt laid a tax upon dogs, it was like taxing every man’s friend."

From the humble sward of earth that shrouds our canine friend, I could not but lingeringly turn away;—and from other more sacred spots also; though to them I trust to return again, and in one of them to make my own last abode.

The fatigue, &c. incident to this Esher visit, which necessity had prolonged to two or three months, had done an already weakened frame so much harm, that instead of the benefit I expected from the bracing air of Brighton, I was overtaken within a fortnight after my arrival by an almost fatal illness; and during the remainder of last autumn, and through the whole of the succeeding winter, I was held between life and death. Then was indeed the time for the trial of friendship and of human sympathy; and they came, out like gold from the fire. Friendship administered to me under her own roof, until it became necessary I should be nearer to my physician. Hence I removed into lodgings, and there old friend's who chanced to be in Brighton, and new acquaintances, and strangers who had never seen me before, all crowded to the door of my little dwelling, seeking who could serve me most. For a long while, however, I was not allowed to hear of, much less to admit, any of these kind visitors; excepting indeed two or three, whose devoted goodness took it in turns to superintend my usual attendants, and hover over me themselves like silent ministers from heaven. With these, most eminently, was still my dear Lady Macdonald. I may not perhaps name all individually who came thus around me in the spirit and power of the good Samaritan, yet I cannot refrain from "emprinting" to myself, though as in shadow only, a few of these sweet visions of ever-waking gratitude. Several were of the lineage of my youth’s early work, The Scottish Chiefs: the Gordon, the Murray, the Ker, had their representatives in all that was cherishing and kind. Also another friend of sweetly remembered years, the Dowager Countess of Charleville, who spared to me, during my hours of suffering and convalescence, her "Daughter of Goodness," to be to me a daily consolation. I was visited too, at that season of "healing seclusion," by the clerical benevolence of the Rev. Mr. Cook, Rector of St. Peter’s in Brighton; and the Rev. Mr. Elliott also came to my door with the same hallowed purpose.

But where would my list end of those who did and who sought to do me service? Amongst the first who hastened to smooth my pillow of sickness, and to hail its no longer use, was my ever kind and cheering friend Lady Stepney. Also the sweet and talented family of Horace Smith, who, with his late lamented brother James, were the long-esteemed intimates of my own family’s former days. Other respected and admired names of similar goodness I would fain gratefully mention; but I may not. And what can I say to all this, but to confirm my impression of the general principle of benevolence which is implanted from above in the human breast, and not to arrogate any extraordinary portion of this kindliness to my own personal deserts?

But there is no one on that friendly shore to whom I owe so infinite an obligation as to Dr. Jefferson, who attended me with devoted care every day for five months; and to Mr. Lawrence also, who in his profession as a surgeon, for the same wearying tithe, gave me his indefatigable attention. My disorder early declared itself to be dangerous (though not infectious); but it was of a nature that could not quickly be decided; and a long-enfeebled constitution had to contend against a malady which had sometimes speedily brought even the strongest man to the grave. My two medical friends however, "against hope," continued to fight the battle; and, with heavenly mercy, they prevailed. On the 26th of February in this year (1840), they dismissed me from their professional care; but never from my clinging sense of gratitude; and I would here have them accept, but as poor thanks for all I owe to them, this little tribute to their skill and to their ever patient watchfulness.

And may I also in this place, beseech that none of the dear and revered names I have mentioned in these pages will be offended by the notice. Why should it be that "virtue will put a strange face on its own perfection,"—that beneficent persons should resist the precept of God? "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, to glorify your Father which is in Heaven." How are good examples to be preserved on earth, if the names of "the excellent of the earth," the true disciples of the Divine teacher, are to be hidden from knowledge? Misconstruction and misrepresentation, (in short,) envy, slander, and evil speaking, are rife everywhere, and will not be gainsayed, And why then should the voice of commendation be put to silence? But if it be an offence, still in your own kind spirit, my good Samaritan friends, "Forgive me this wrong."

And there is yet an illustrious name, the most illustrious in the country, to which I must add an honoured subject’s grateful sense of its goodness,—the Queen of England, who hearing of the dangerous illness of one whom her gracious youth remembered as the authoress of The Scottish Chiefs, &c.,—one who had dwelt in the bosom of her family, near to the gates where her Majesty had passed her own interesting childhood,—to this now solitary, and lately deeply-suffering invalid at Brighton, did her young and pitying Queen no sooner hear of these circumstances, than with one of those spontaneous feelings which, like a natural fountain, spring to action in her royal heart, her command was given—that the authoress of works so read and approved should, in that her perhaps dying hour, receive proofs of the value her gracious Sovereign set upon such talents so applied. This ‘was a testimony to a female writer of England, which could not but be of as distinguishing an estimation in her breast, as the cross or the star to the bosoms of the brave defenders of that country, whose weal at home and abroad her maiden pen has ever inculcated, must rest for ever in its people’s firm support of the Laws, the Liberties, and the Throne of England.

POSTSCRIPT

I have now to explain in few words how this new edition of my early work, after thirty years from its first publication, (when it passed entirely from my own possession,) comes again before the British public, with my name as its renewed introducer. Simply, the right of so doing having, by the law of copyright, reverted to me two or three years ago, and the present respected publisher having applied to me through the medium of a literary friend, (the brilliant and graphic author of Pencilling by the Way, and of other works alike honourable to genius and to probity of heart,) to sanction the bringing it out, in an illustrated form, with my name in its title page, and an additional preface with some new notes, and a general revision of the original text,—though I had long grounded my arms with regard to any new work, I readily assented to the proposal respecting an old one; and as soon as my recovering health, this spring would permit, I hastened to thus fulfil my engagement. And in having so done, I would subscribe myself to those who are yet alive amongst the indulgent readers of my early youth, and to their children who have read, and to their grandchildren who may be induced to con hereafter, my true tale of former times—that I am, with a tender and grateful remembrance of the past, and an affectionate zeal for the present rising generation,

Their ever faithfully devoted

JANE PORTER

Shirley Park, May 1840.

[Soon after the first publication of this work, and its translation into German, the author was honoured with the Cross of Lady of the Teutonic Order of Saint Joachim. And its impresse I trust may be considered as reflected in the book—Deo, Principi, Legi.


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