John Gibson Lockhart
Went to the Glasgow High School. Ill-health meant he 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 money advanced by Blackwood for a translation of Friedrich Schlegel's Lectures on the History of Literature, which was not published until 1838. In 1818 he attracted the notice of Sir Walter Scott, and married Scott's eldest daughter Sophia in April 1820. Five years of domesticity followed, with winters spent in Edinburgh and summers at a cottage 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. Lockhart had called Keats a "vulgar cockney poetaster," due to what he considered to be Keats’ relative lack of literary education. 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. He showed the old, railing spirit in an article in the Quarterly against Tennyson's Poems of 1833. He continued to write for Blackwood but produced for Constable's Miscellany Vol. XXIII in 1828 a controversial Life of Robert Burns. A critic described it as "inexcusably inaccurate from beginning to end, at times demonstrably mendacious, and should never be trusted in any respect or detail." His major work was the Life of Sir Walter Scott (7 vols, 1837—1838; 2nd ed., 10 vols., 1839). He resigned the considerable proceeds 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 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, he died there on 25 November 1854. He was buried in Dryburgh Abbey near the grave of Sir Walter Scott.