Give my love to Jim, and to your sister too. I see her boy goes to Madras. I had hoped to see him here, if only for a week.
In three weeks I am deposed. I have no wish to see England; but nevertheless I am, dear George,
Yours most sincerely,
The winter which followed Mr. Lockhart's death at Abbotsford was a mournful one. Mrs. Hope-Scott had been deeply attached to her father. She had shared his griefs, as we have seen. Her earlier years had been somewhat lonely; her disposition, with all its reserve, was excessively sensitive and excitable, and a change of scene had doubtless begun to be felt necessary, when Mr. Hope-Scott bought a Highland estate, situated at Lochshiel, on the west coast of Inverness-shire, north of Loch Sunart, and nearly opposite Skye. The history of the purchase of this property, and of all that Mr. Hope-Scott did for it as a Catholic proprietor, is very interesting and curious, but involves so much detail, that I reserve most of it for a future chapter. He built a residence there, Dorlin House, a massive, comfortable mansion, practically of his own designing, abounding in long corridors, to enable the ladies and children to have exercise under shelter in the rainy Highland climate, and various little contrivances showing that few things were too minute for his attention. Here, as everywhere, he used a kindly and noble hospitality. Much of the charm of the place consisted in its remoteness and solitude, which caused just sufficient difficulty in obtaining supplies to afford matter of amusement. The post also came in and out only three times a week, and the nearest doctor was twelve miles off. All this, however, is now considerably changed by the greater vicinity of railways. A few lines from a letter of Mr. Hope-Scott's to Dr. Newman, dated 'Lochshiel, Strontian, N.B., September 25, 1856,' will give a better notion of its surroundings than I can offer:—
We are here on the sea-shore, with wild rocks, lakes, and rivers near us, an aboriginal Catholic population, a priest in the house, and a chapel within 100 yards. We hope Badeley may turn up to-day, but are in doubt whether he will be as happy here as in Paper Buildings. The first necessaries of life sometimes threaten to fail us, and we have to lay in stores as if we were going on a sea voyage. At this moment we are in doubt about a cargo of flour from Glasgow, and our coal-ship has been long due. What Badeley will say to oat-cakes and turf fires remains to be seen.
On Christmas Eve of the following year (1857) Dr. Newman writes to Mr. Hope-Scott, in a letter I have already quoted from (p. 143):—
I was rejoiced to hear so good an account of your health, and of all your party. I suppose you are full of plans about your new property and your old. Your sister tells me you have got into your new wing at Abbotsford. As for the faraway region of which I have not yet learned the name, I suppose you are building there either a fortress against evil times, or a new town and port for happy times. Have you yet found gold on your estate? for that seems the fashion.
Mr. Hope-Scott did not indeed find gold at Dorlin, but he spent a great deal over it, which he was sometimes tempted to regret; but, on the whole, thought that the outlay had been devoted to legitimate objects, and that, as an experiment, it had succeeded. He built two chapels on this property, at Mingarry (Our Lady of the Angels) and at Glenuig (St. Agnes); and his letters are full of unconscious proof how the interests of Catholicity were always in his mind. A long wished-for event had lately thrown a bright gleam of sunshine over the house. On June 2, 1857, Mrs. Hope-Scott gave birth to a son and heir, Walter Michael, which was cause of rejoicing, not only to the whole Scottish nation, but wherever the English language is spoken, as promise of the continuance of the name and the line of Scotland's greatest literary glory. And, to complete the circle of happiness, on September 17 of the following year, 1858, was born also a daughter, Margaret Anne. Three months after this had scarcely passed, when the mother and both her infants were no more.
Mrs. Hope-Scott had never really recovered from her first confinement. In the spring of 1858 she had had a severe attack of influenza, and consumptive symptoms, though not called by that name, came on. Towards the end of October arrangements had been made to take her to the Isle of Wight for the winter, but she never got further on her journey than Edinburgh. When she called, a day or two after her arrival there, on the Bishop, Dr. Gillis, he said to himself, 'Ah! you have been travelling by express train!' Very soon after this, bronchitis set in, and rapidly became acute, and the case was pronounced hopeless. To herself, indeed, it was perhaps more or less sudden, though she had virtually made a retreat of preparation during the preceding six months, and left everything in the most perfect order at Abbotsford. She had said to 'Cousin Kate' (Miss Lockhart) that God had been very merciful to her in sending her a lingering illness; yet, on the last night, was heard to say,' Hard to part—Jim—Mamo [Footnote: Mamo: an affectionate abbreviation for Mary Monica.]—God's will be done.' She accepted her death as God's will. On being told of its approach, and after receiving the last sacraments, she said, 'I have no fear now.' Bishop Gillis gave her the last absolution, Fr. Noble, one of the Oblate Fathers from Galashiels, assisting. Her husband's disposition never allowed him to believe in misfortune till it had really come, and, almost up to the last hour, he had failed to see what was plain to all other eyes; the parting, therefore, with him and with her little daughter Mamo (who could scarcely be torn from her) was sad beyond expression. The end came rapidly. She died on Tuesday, October 26, and on December 3 her baby daughter, Margaret Anne; and on December 11 the little boy, whose birth had caused such gladness. All three were buried in the vault of St. Margaret's Convent, Edinburgh; the mother on November 2 (All Souls' Day), her two children on December 10 and 17, 1858. Bishop Gillis spoke on November 2 and December 10, but his addresses were unwritten; Dr. Grant, Bishop of Southwark, on December 17. His address, and a beautiful one indeed it is, has fortunately been preserved.
Of three short letters, in which Mr. Hope-Scott had told Dr. Newman of each sorrow as it came, I transcribe the last:—
J. R. Hope-Scott, Esq., Q.G. to the Very Rev. Dr. Newman.
14 Curzon St, London, W.:
Dec. 11, 1858.
Dear Father Newman,—My intention, for which you so kindly said mass, has been fulfilled, for it was, as well as I could form it, that God should deal with my child as would be most for His honour and its happiness, and this afternoon He has answered my prayer by calling little Walter to Himself.
I rely upon you to pray much for me. It may yet be that other sacrifices will be required, and I may need more strength; but what I chiefly fear is that I may not profit as I ought by that wonderful union of trial and consolation which God has of late vouchsafed me.
Yours very affectionately,
JAMES R. HOPE-SCOTT.
The Very Rev. Dr. Newman.
On his wife's death Mr. Hope-Scott had written the following letter to Mr. Gladstone:—
J. R. Hope-Scott, Esq., Q.G. to the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, M.P.
Abbotsford: Nov. 3, 1858.
My dear Gladstone,—I was uneasy at not having written to you, and hoped you would write—which you have done, and I thank you much for it. An occasion like this passed by is a loss to friendship, but it was not, nor is, easy for me to write to you. You will remember that the root of our friendship, which I trust [was] the deepest, was fed by a common interest in religion, and I cannot write to you of her whom it has pleased God to take from me without reference to that Church whose doctrines and promises she had embraced with a faith which made them the objects of sense to her; whose teaching now moulded her mind and heart; whose spiritual blessings surrounded and still surround her, and which has shed upon her death a sweetness which makes me linger upon it more dearly than upon any part of our united and happy life.
These things I could not pass over without ignoring the foundation of our friendship; but still I feel that to mention them has something intrusive, something which it may be painful for you to read, as though it required an answer which you had rather not give. So I will say only one thing more, and it is this: If ever, in the strife of politics and religious controversy, you are tempted to think or speak hardly of that Church—if she should appear to you arrogant, or exclusive, or formal, for my dear Charlotte's sake and mine check that thought, if only for an instant, and remember with what exceeding care and love she tends her children....
And now good-bye, my dear Gladstone. Forgive me every word which you had rather I had not said. May God long preserve to you and your wife that happiness which you now have in each other! and when it pleases Him that either of you should have to mourn the other, may He be as merciful to you as He has been to me!
JAMES E. HOPE-SCOTT.
And now Mr. Hope-Scott was left alone in Abbotsford, with his only surviving child, a very fragile and delicate flower too, such as to make a father tremble while he kissed it. We have already seen [Footnote: See pp. 44-46, and 55, 56, ch. ii, in vol. i.] that he could resort sometimes to poetry as that comfort for the over-burdened mind, in which Keble's theory would place even the principal source of the poetical spirit. [Footnote: Keble, Praelectiones Academicae, Oxon. 1844. Prael. i. t. i. p. 10. ] As every reader will sympathise with such expressions of feeling, I do not hesitate to transcribe some touching verses which he wrote at this season of sorrow, and which, with a few others, he had privately printed, and given in his lifetime to two or three of his very closest friends. These others will be found in the appendix. [Footnote: Appendix IV.]
Sancta Mater, istud agas, Crucifixi fige plagas, Cordi meo valide.
My babes, why were you born, Since in life's early morn Death overtook you, and, before I could half love you, you were mine no more?
Walter, my own bright boy, Hailed as the hope and joy Of those who told thy grandsire's fame, And looking, loved thee, even for thy name;
And thou, my Margaret dear, Come as if sent to cheer A widowed heart, ye both have fled, And, life scarce tasted, lie among the dead!
Then, oh! why were you born? Was it to make forlorn A father who had happier been If your sweet infant smiles he ne'er had seen?
Was it for this you came? Dare I for you to blame The God who gave and took again, As though my joy was sent but to increase my pain?
Oh no! of Christmas bells The cheerful music tells Why you were born, and why you died, And for my doubting doth me gently chide.
The infant Christ, who lay On Mary's breast to-day, Was He not born for you to die, And you to bear your Saviour company?
Then stay not by the grave, My heart, but up, and crave Leave to rejoice, and hear the song Of infant Jesus and His happy throng.
That wondrous throng, on earth So feeble from its birth, Which little thought, and little knew, Now hath both God and man within its view!
Yes, you were born to die; Then shall I grudging sigh Because to you are sooner given The crown, the palm, the angel joy of heaven?
Rather, O Lord, bestow On me the grace to bow, Childlike, to Thee, and since above Thou keep'st my treasures, there to keep my love.
It is scarcely necessary to say that one of the friends to whom Mr. Hope- Scott sent these verses on his family losses of 1858 was Dr. Newman. The note in which his friend acknowledged the precious gift witnesses to the intimacy of their friendship in as striking a manner as any I have been enabled to make use of:—
The Very Rev. Dr. Newman to J. R. Hope-Scott, Esq., Q.G.
The Oratory, Birmingham: October 1, 1860.
My dear Hope-Scott,—I value extremely the present you have made me; first of all for its own sake, as deepening, by the view which it gives me of yourself, the affection and the reverence which I feel towards you.
And next I feel your kindness in thus letting me see your intimate thoughts; and I rejoice to know that, in spite of our being so divided one from another, as I certainly do not forget you, so you are not unmindful of me.
The march of time is very solemn now—the year seems strewn with losses; and to hear from you is like hearing the voice of a friend on a field of battle.
I am surprised to find you in London now. For myself, I have not quitted this place, or seen London, since last May year, when I was there for a few hours, and called on Badeley.
If he is in town, say to him everything kind from me when you see him.
Ever yours affectionately,
JOHN H. NEWMAN,
Of the Oratory.
James B. Hope-Scott, Esq.
Mr. Hope-Scott's Return to his Profession—Second Marriage—Lady Victoria Howard—Mr. Hope-Scott at Hyeres—Portraits of Mr. Hope-Scott— Miscellaneous Recollections—Mr. Hope-Scott in the Highlands—Ways of Building—Story of Second-sight at Lochshiel.
The last of the poems in the little collection which is elsewhere given, evidently belongs to a time when Mr. Hope-Scott had regained his tranquillity, and was about to resume, like a wise and brave man, the ordinary duties of his profession. After his great affliction he had interrupted them for a whole year, first staying for some time at Arundel Castle, and then residing at Tours with his brother-in-law and sister, Lord and Lady Henry Kerr. To those readers who expect that every life which approaches in any way an exalted and ideal type must necessarily conform to the rules of romance, it may appear strange that Mr. Hope-Scott did not remain a widower for any great length of time. But in truth the same motives which led him to return to the Bar, notwithstanding the overwhelming calamity he had sustained, might also have led him again to enter the married state; or rather, if under other circumstances he would have thought it right to do so, would not have interposed any insuperable obstacle against it now.
Mr. Hope-Scott, soon after his conversion, had become acquainted with Henry Granville, Earl of Arundel and Surrey, afterwards Duke of Norfolk. They had first met, I believe, at Tunbridge Wells, where, on October 2, 1852, was born Mr. Hope-Scott's daughter Mary Monica (now the Hon. Mrs. Maxwell- Scott), at whose baptism Lady Arundel and Surrey acted as proxy for the Dowager Lady Lothian. The acquaintance had very soon developed into an intimate and confidential friendship, which by this time had become still closer, from the fear which was beginning to be felt that the Duke's life, so precious to his family and to the Catholic world in general, was fast drawing to its early termination. To the Duke, therefore, and to his family, it was but natural for Mr. Hope-Scott to turn for comfort in his extreme need. In such times sympathy soon deepens into affection, and thus it was that an attachment sprang up between Mr. Hope-Scott and the Duke's eldest daughter, Lady Victoria Fitzalan Howard. This was towards the end of 1860. The Duke was then in his last illness, and on November 12 in that year the betrothed pair knelt at his bedside to receive his blessing. He died on November 25.
Although a notice of great interest might be drawn up from materials before me of Lady Victoria herself, and of the sweetness of character and holiness of life which so much endeared her to all with whom she was connected; yet the time of her departure is still so recent, that I shall better consult the feelings and the wishes of surviving friends by merely placing before my readers one passage from a letter relating to her. The writer was a nun intimately acquainted with her, and describes with great truth and simplicity the graces which especially adorned her: 'She was a person to be observed and studied; and I do not think... I ever saw her without studying her, and consequently without my admiration for her increasing. She was so unworldly, so forgetful of self, and, what always struck me most, so humble, and striving to screen herself from praise; and humility and self- forgetfulness like what she practised, these are the virtues of saints, and not of ordinary people.'
The marriage of Mr. Hope-Scott and Lady Victoria Howard was solemnised at Arundel on January 7, 1861, and this too, it is needless to add, proved a very happy union, though on the side of affliction, in the loss of two infants, and in Lady Victoria's early death, it strangely resembled the first marriage. Of twin daughters born June 6, 1862, Catherine and Minna- Margaret, the first lived for but a few hours. [Footnote: Two more daughters, Josephine Mary (born May 1864) and Theresa Anne (born September 14, 1865), were born before (again, as it were, but for an instant) a son was granted; this was Philip James (born April 8, 1868), but who lived only till the next day. He was placed beside his sister Catherine in the castle vault at Arundel. Mr. Hope-Scott's last and only surviving son is James Fitzalan Hope, born December 18, 1870.] There are, however, many days of sunshine still to record. Abbotsford and Dorlin, as before, were the chief retreats in which Mr. Hope-Scott found repose from the toil and harass of his professional life. At Arundel Castle and Norfolk House he and his family were, of course, frequent guests. From 1859 it was thought necessary that the surviving child of his first marriage should spend every winter in a warm climate. Hyeres, in the south of France, was selected for this purpose, which led to Mr. Hope-Scott's purchasing a property there, the Villa Madona, on a beautiful spot near the Boulevard d'Orient. Here he spent several winters with his family, in the years 1863-70. He added to the property very gradually, bit by bit; first a vineyard, and then an oliveyard, as opportunities offered, and indulged over it the same passion for improvement which he had displayed at Abbotsford and Dorlin. He took the most practical interest in all the culture that makes up a Provencal farm, the wine, the oil, the almonds, the figs, not forgetting the fowls and the rabbits. He laid out the ground and made a road, set a plantation of pines, and adorned the bank of his boulevard with aloes and yuccas and eucalyptus—in short, astonished his French neighbours by his perfection of taste and regardlessness of expense. He did not, however, build more than a bailiff's cottage in the first instance, but rented the Villa Favart in the neighbourhood, and amused himself with his estate, intending it for his daughter's residence in future years. At his death, however, the French law requiring the estate to be shared, it was found necessary to sell it. He greatly enjoyed the repose of Hyeres, the strolls on the boulevard, and the occasional excursions that charming watering-place affords—Pierrefeu, for example, and all the beautiful belt of coast region extending between Hyeres and the Presqu'ile. He was also able to enter more into society at Hyeres than latterly his health and business had permitted in London. One of his oldest and most valued friends, the late Serjeant Bellasis, had taken the Villa Sainte Cecile in his neighbourhood, and there was a circle of the best French families in and around Hyeres, whose names must not be omitted when we speak of Mr. Hope-Scott's and Lady Victoria's annual sojourn in the little capital of the Hesperides. Among these was the late Due de Luynes, so well known for his researches into the hydrography of the Dead Sea, Count Poniatowski, Madame Duquesne, M. de Butiny, Maire of Hyeres, M. and Madame de Walmer, and others. Cardinal Newman has noticed, what appears also in the correspondence, to how surprising a degree Mr. Hope-Scott was consulted by his French neighbours, even in affairs belonging to their own law. Whenever there was a difficulty, a sort of instinct led people to turn to him for counsel.
As it was at Hyeres that I first became acquainted with Mr. Hope-Scott, I may introduce into this chapter, perhaps as conveniently as anywhere, such personal recollections of him as I can call to mind. They are much more scanty than I could wish; still, where the memorials to be collected from any sources are but few, and rapidly passing away, surviving friends may be glad of the preservation of even these slight notices.
In 1864-5 I had the honour of being entrusted with the tuition of Henry, Duke of Norfolk, and, as the Duke spent that winter with his relatives at Hyeres, I had several opportunities of conversing with Mr. Hope-Scott in his domestic circle, as on other occasions afterwards.
Mr. Hope-Scott was then in his fifty-third year. He was tall, largely built, with massive head, dark hair beginning to turn grey, sanguine, embrowned complexion, very dark eyes, fine, soft, yet penetrating. 'Quel bel homme! quel homme magnifique!' the French would exclaim in talking of him. In his features might be remarked that indefinable expression which belongs to the practised advocate. He had an exceedingly winning smile, an harmonious voice, and deliberate utterance. His manners, I need hardly say, showed all that simplicity and perfection of good breeding which art may simulate, but can never completely attain to.
I am not aware that there is any likeness of Mr. Hope-Scott in his later years. There is an excellent one of him about the age of thirty-two, painted by Richmond for Lady Davy, and now at Abbotsford, of which an engraving was published by Colnaghi. Mr. Lockhart, writing to Mrs. Hope- Scott on August 29, 1850, says: 'I called, yesterday at Mr. Richmond's to inspect his picture of J. R. H., and was extremely pleased—a capital likeness, and a most graceful one.... I am at a loss to say whether I think Grant or he has been most lucky—and they are very different too.' I have heard that the portrait by Richmond is supposed to represent his expression when pleading. Mr. Richmond also drew (in crayon, previously to 1847) two others, one for Lady Frances Hope, subsequently given to the Hon. Mrs. G. W. Hope, and another for Mr. Badeley, after whose decease it was given by Mr. Hope to the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk. There was also a small life- portrait, done after his marriage by Mr. Frank Grant, but not thought so pleasing a likeness as Richmond's. There is a good bust by Noble at Abbotsford, but this was made after his death, by study of casts, &c. It might express the age of about thirty-five or forty.
In his hospitality Mr. Hope-Scott showed great kindness and thoughtfulness. One day, for example, he would invite to dinner the cure of Hyeres and his clergy; on another occasion, a young lady having become engaged, a party must be given in her honour; or an English prelate passes Hyeres on his way home, and must be entertained. He was very attentive to guests, took pains to make people feel at their ease, and dispensed with unnecessary formality, but not with such usages as have their motive in a courteous consideration for others. Thus, when there were French guests, he was particular in exacting the observance of the rule that the English present should talk to each other, as well as to the strangers, in French. He had a thorough colloquial knowledge of the French language, marked not so much by any French mannerism, of which there was little, as by a ready command of the vocabulary of special subjects—for instance, agriculture.
In society Mr. Hope-Scott's table-talk was highly agreeable. There was, however, a certain air of languor about him, caused partly by failing health, but far more, no doubt, by that 'softened remembrance of sorrow and pain' which my readers can by this time understand better than any of those who then surrounded him. His conversation, therefore, when the duty of entertaining his guests did not require him to exert himself, was liable to lapse into silence. Some people seem to think it a duty to break a dead silence at any price; but this, in Mr. Hope-Scott's opinion, was not always to be followed as a rule of etiquette; so, at least, I have heard.
I cannot remember that he showed any great interest in politics. He told me that he seldom read the leading articles of the 'Times,' which he thought had little influence on public events. I can, however, recall an interesting conversation on the social state of France, of which he took a very melancholy view; and again, in 1870, when he pronounced decisively against the chances of the permanent establishment of the Commune, on the ground of the total change in the condition of Europe since the Middle Ages—the old Italian republics having been alleged in favour of the former.
His conversation seldom turned upon general literature, and at the time I knew him he had given up the 'bibliomania.' His favourite line of reading, for his own amusement, seemed to be glossaries, such as those of the Provencal dialect, and the archaeology of Hyeres, on which a friend of his, the late M. Denis, had written an interesting volume. Le Play's elaborate treatise, 'La Reforme Sociale,' strongly attracted his attention. He was fond of statistical works, such as the 'Annuaire du Bureau des Longitudes,' a little compilation bristling with facts. He greatly cherished, as might be expected, the memory of Sir Walter Scott; and, had his life been prolonged, would probably have done more for it than the republication of the abridgment of Lockhart's Life. I recollect his mentioning that there were in his hands unpublished MSS. of Sir Walter's which would furnish materials for a volume. [Footnote: In a letter to Lord Henry Kerr, dated 'Norfolk House, London, S.W., July 6, 1867,' Mr. Hope-Scott says:—
'I have, because everybody seemed to think I must, become a purchaser to- day of some of Sir Walter's MSS., viz. Rokeby, Lord of the Isles, Anne of Geierstein, and a volume of fragments of Waverley, Ivanhoe, &c. I am ashamed to say what they cost, but the Lady of the Lake alone cost another purchaser more than half what I paid for the four, and I can hardly say that it was to please myself that I bought at all.'] 'What he chiefly valued in the character of Sir Walter Scott (remarks a correspondent) was his manliness. I noticed that when Sir Walter was praised, Mr. Hope-Scott always spoke of his manliness.' These observations may somewhat qualify the impression of an intimate friend of his later years, by whom I have been told that Mr. Hope-Scott 'hardly opened a book, read scarcely at all, though he seemed to know about books.' He certainly could not, in the ordinary sense of the word, be called a literary man; but the active part of his life was far too busy for study, unless study had been a passion with him; and towards its close the state of his health made reading impossible.
Mr. Hope-Scott very rarely made mention of himself, and his conversation accordingly supplied little or no biographical incident. Yet I have heard him allude, more than once, to his intimacy with Mr. Gladstone. 'They had been,' he said, 'like brothers;' and he spoke also with pleasure of visits to the house of Sir John Gladstone, from whom he thought the Premier had derived much of his back.
Everything that I saw or heard of Mr. Hope-Scott conveyed the impression that he always acted on a plan and an idea; but this is so evident from what I have already related of him, that I am unwilling to add trivial anecdotes in its illustration. That tenderness of heart of which such ample proof has also been given, I recollect once coming curiously out in a chance expression. 'If a man wants to cry,' said Mr. Hope-Scott, 'let him read the Police Reports, or (checking himself with that humour by which deep feeling is often veiled) take a cup of coffee!'
He was a thoroughly kind friend in this way, that, unasked, he thought of openings which might be available, and, without offering direct advice, threw out, as if incidentally, useful hints. In giving advice, he applied his mind to the subject; and a small matter, such as the interpretation of a route in Bradshaw, received as complete consideration, as far as was needed, as he could have given to the most difficult case submitted by a client.
As to his religious habits, I only had the opportunity of remarking his regularity in attending mass. I recollect, too, that he was anxious that one in whom he took an interest should not leave Hyeres without visiting a favourite place of pilgrimage in the vicinity called L'Ermitage, and heard with pleasure that St. Paul's, in the upper town, had not been forgotten—a church where St. Louis heard mass before setting out on his crusade, and which rivals the Hermitage as a resort of popular devotion.
I now throw together a few scattered recollections communicated to me by friends, for which I have not been able to find a place elsewhere.
Mr. Hope-Scott often talked of Merton College; he used to compare his affection for it to that felt for a wife.
In his professional habits of mind he was a contrast in one respect to his friend Mr. John Talbot. The latter (as he himself once remarked) was always anxious about a case, and a failure was a great blow to him; but Mr. Hope- Scott, on the other hand, did the best he could, and if he failed, he failed; but he did not allow that to wear him out. He always met the thing in the face, never mourned over it.
He never gave way to small troubles; yet he was not a calm person by nature, but by self-command.
The only occasion on which I ever knew Mr. Hope put out (said a friend who knew him well) was when one of his fellow-counsel, whom he had endeavoured to supply with a complete answer to the whole difficulty in an important case, made a mess of it. 'How hard it is,' said Mr. Hope, 'to sit by and listen to a man speaking on one's side, and always missing the point!'
Mr. Hope-Scott was a man run away with by good sense. He had great playfulness of character (by no means inconsistent with the last trait), and was especially addicted to punning. A constant fire of puns was kept up when he, Bishop Grant, and Mr. Badeley were together, though the Bishop always sought a moral purpose in his jesting.
After having heard Mr. Hope-Scott's and Mr. Serjeant Wrangham's arguments on the Thames Watermen and Lightermen's Bill (1859), the chairman of the committee said: 'Mr. Hope-Scott, the committee have three courses—either to throw the bill out, to pass it in its entirety, or to pass it with alterations. Therefore we shall be glad if counsel will retire.' After waiting for half an hour, the door opened. Mr. Hope-Scott said to Serjeant Wrangham: 'Come along, Serjeant; now that they have disposed of their three courses, we shall have our dessert.'
A speech of his at the Galashiels Mechanics' Institute gave great amusement at the time: 'I am a worker like you,' he said; 'my head is the mill, my tongue is the clapper, and I spin long yarns.'
Once, after signing a good many cheques in charity matters, he said, 'They talk of hewers of wood and drawers of water; but I think I must be called a drawer of cheques.'
He was highly genial with everybody, and even in reproving his servants would mingle it with humour.
The last of Sir Walter Scott's old servants, John Swanston the forester (often mentioned in Lockhart), seemed rather shocked when Mr. Hope- Scott's son and heir was named Michael; upon which Mr. Hope-Scott said to him playfully: 'Ye mauna forget, John, that there was an Archangel before there was a Wizard; and besides, the Michael called the Wizard was, in truth, a very good and holy Divine.'
With servants Mr. Hope-Scott was very popular. He took great interest in people, taking them up, forwarding their views, advising, protecting, even interfering.
He was very fond of children, and they of him. The presence of 'Uncle Jim' was the signal for fun with his little nephews and nieces: but the case was different with young people; they rather stood in awe of him (but another informant thinks these were the exceptions).
He abhorred gossip and spreading of tittle-tattle; avoided speaking before servants, or any one who would retail what was said. When there was any danger of this, he relapsed into total silence; and was, indeed, on some occasions over-cautious. He especially avoided talking of his good deeds, or of himself generally. He was singularly reserved; not by nature, but from his long habituation to be the depositary of important secrets. Sir Thomas Acland worked a good deal with him in Puseyite days. 'Tell me what my brother is about,' asked Lady H. K. 'I cannot tell,' was the reply; 'he is a well too deep to get at.'
He had a determined will, though affectionate and kind-hearted. When entertaining guests, he made all the plans day by day; used to lay out the day for them, seeing what could be done, though he might not himself be well enough to join the party.
He was extremely systematic in his habits, paid for everything by cheques; and used to preserve even notes of invitation, cards of visitors, and the envelopes of letters. [Footnote: I recollect the great importance he attached to them as dates, and his regret at the change from the old method of folded sheets.—W. E. G.]
Yet he had not punctuality naturally; he drilled himself to it. Nor was he naturally particular, but, when married, became over-particular.
He had great kindness and tact, and was always kind in the right way. He was once seen, as a lad, flying to open a gate for perhaps the most disgusting person in the parish.
It was a feature in his life's history to keep up intimacies for a certain number of years; the intercourse ceased, but not friendliness.
'In giving me an explanation of the mass before I was received into the Church, I remember' (said a near relative of his) 'his saying that he delighted especially in the Domine, non sum dignus. "It is to me [he remarked] the most beautiful adaptation of Scripture."'
In discussing religion with Presbyterians, he was fond of asserting the truth, 'I, too, am a Bible Christian.'
In conversation once chancing to turn on the subject of one's being able to judge of character and conduct by looking at people in the street, Mr. Hope-Scott remarked: 'Yes, if you saw a novice of the Jesuits taking a walk, you would see what that means.'
The following more detailed recollections appear to deserve a place by themselves:—
When residing on his Highland property at Lochshiel, Mr. Hope-Scott personally acquainted himself with his smaller tenantry, and entered into all their history, going about with a keeper known by the name of 'Black John,' who acted as his Gaelic interpreter. His frank and kindly manners quite won their hearts. Sometimes he would ask his guests to accompany him on such visits, and make them observe the peculiarities of the Celtic character. On one of these occasions he and the late Duke of Norfolk went to visit an old peasant who was blind and bedridden. After the usual greetings, they were both considerably astonished to hear the old man exclaim, in great excitement: 'But tell me, how is Schamyl getting on?' It was long after the Circassian chief had been captured; but his exploits were still clinging to the old Highlander's imagination, full of sympathy for warfare and politics. The natural ease and politeness of the Highland manners in this class, as contrasted with the rougher type of the Lowlands, used always to delight Mr. Hope-Scott. Over and over again, after the ladies had withdrawn from the dinner-table, he would send for a keeper, or a gillie, or a boatman, and ply them with plausible questions, that his guests might have the opportunity of witnessing the good breeding of the Highlands. John, or Ronald, or Duncan, or whoever it might be, would stand a few yards away from the table, and, bonnet in hand, reply with perfect deference and self-possession, his whole behaviour free, on the one hand, from servility, and on the other, from the slightest forwardness. As will readily be supposed, the interview commonly ended with a dram from the laird's own hand.
In one respect he was very strict with his people. He never would tolerate the slightest interference on their part with the rights of property. Some of them were in the habit of presuming on the laird's permission, and helping themselves—no leave asked—to an oar, or a rope, or any implement which they chanced to stand in need of, belonging to the home farm. They indeed brought back these articles when done with; but Mr. Hope-Scott ever insisted they should be asked for, and would not accept the excuse that the things were taken without leave in order to save him the trouble of being asked. He was very severe in repressing drunkenness and dissipation, though no one was readier to make allowance for a little extra merriment on market days and festive gatherings.
Mr. Hope-Scott's chief source of relaxation and pleasure, when he could escape from his professional duties, was building. In this amusement he followed his own ideas, sifting the plans of architects with the most rigid scrutiny, and never hesitating to alter, and sometimes to pull to pieces, what it had cost hours of hard brain-work to devise. No amount of entreaty could extort his consent to what did not commend itself as clear and faultless to his understanding. It might not be a very agreeable process to some of those concerned, but the result was generally satisfactory to the one who had a right to be the most interested. As for contractors, he latterly abjured them altogether; and Dorlin House was commenced and brought to completion under the management of a clerk of the works in whom he had great confidence. In the kindred pursuit of planting (as has already been noticed) Mr. Hope-Scott also took great interest, and the young plantations which now adorn the neighbourhood of Dorlin are the result of his care.
Strong-minded lawyer as he was, he had a firm belief in second-sight. One case in particular, which occurred in his immediate vicinity, is remembered to have made a deep impression on his mind. The facts were these: One Sunday, shortly before Mr. Hope-Scott came to Lochshiel, it happened, during service in a small country chapel close to the present site of Dorlin House, that one of the congregation fainted, and had to be carried out. After the service was over, the late Mr. Stewart, proprietor of Glenuig, asked this man what was the cause of his illness. For a long time he refused to tell, but at length, being pressed more urgently, declared that, of the four men who were sitting on the bench before him, three suddenly appeared to alter in every feature, and to be transported to other places. One seemed to float, face upwards, on the surface of the sea; another lay entangled among the long loose seaweed of the shore; and the third lay stretched on the beach, completely covered with a white sheet. This sight brought on the fainting fit. Somehow the story got abroad, and the consequence was, that the fourth individual, who did not enter into the vision at all, passed, in the course of the next four months, into a state verging on helpless idiocy, from the fear that he was among the doomed. But, strange to tell, the three men who were the subjects of the warning were drowned together, a few months later on, when crossing an arm of the sea not far from the hamlet in which they dwelt. One of the bodies was found floating, as described above. Another was washed ashore on a sandy part of the coast, and, on being found, was covered with a sheet supplied by a farmer's family living close to the spot. The third was discovered at low water, half buried under a mass of seaweed and shingle. The fourth, who had survived to lose his senses, as we have said, died only two years ago.
Visit of Queen Victoria to Abbotsford in 1867—Mr. Hope-Scott's Improvements at Abbotsford—Mr. Hope-Scott's Politics—Toryism in Early Life—Constitutional Conservatism—Mr. Hope-Scott as an Irish and a Highland Proprietor—Correspondence on Politics with Mr. Gladstone, and with Lord Henry Kerr in 1868—Speech at Arundel in 1869.
Towards the end of August 1867, her Majesty Queen Victoria, visiting the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe, at Floors Castle, was received with great rejoicings at the various Scottish border towns on the Waverley route from Carlisle to Kelso. On this occasion her Majesty honoured Mr. and Lady Victoria Hope-Scott by calling at Abbotsford. The newspapers of the day contain copious narratives of the tour, otherwise unimportant for our present purpose. The following account is taken from the 'Daily Telegraph' of August 24, with a few additional particulars introduced from the 'Border Advertiser' of August 23, 1867, the former journal supplying details of much interest relating to Mr. Hope-Scott's improvements at Abbotsford. I have shortened the original, and made some slight alterations in it:—
Her Majesty visited Melrose and Abbotsford on Thursday, August 22, with Princess Louise, Prince and Princess Christian, the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe, and the Duke of Buccleuch. The Queen having viewed Melrose Abbey, Mr. Hope-Scott and his family were honoured, later in the day, by her Majesty's presence at Abbotsford, which was reached shortly after six o'clock. In the fields in front of the lodge, and for a great distance along the road, was a great concourse of people, many of whom had waited for hours, and vehement cheering rang through the Abbotsford woods.
Many alterations and additions had been made to the Abbotsford of Sir Walter during Mr. Hope-Scott's nineteen years' possession of the place. In the lifetime of the Great Magician, the ground on which he fixed his abode was nearly on a level with the highway running along the south front; and wayfarers could survey the whole domain by looking over the hedge. Mr. Hope-Scott, twelve years ago or more (1855), threw up a high embankment on the road front of Abbotsford, and it is from this steep grassy mound that one of the best views may be had. The long, regular slope, steep near the level top where laurels are planted, is a beautiful bank from end to end, being well timbered with a rich variety of trees, among others the silver birch, the oak, the elm, the beech, the plane, and the good old Scotch fir; and being, moreover, naturally favourable to the wild flora of the district, especially to the bluebell and forget-me-not. The wild strawberry also is in great abundance, with its sweet, round little beads of fruit dotting the green. The square courtyard of the house is planned as a garden, with clipped yews at the corners of the ornamental plots of grass, and with beds all ablaze with summer flowers, a brilliant pink annual making a peculiarly fine appearance by well-arranged contrast with the sober greys of an edging of foliage plants. On one side of the courtyard is a postern, which was thrown open when the royal cavalcade had entered the grounds by the lodge gate. The opposite flank of the quadrangle is a kind of ornamental palisade, or open screen of Gothic stonework, the spaces of which are filled up by iron railings. This palisade divides the courtyard from the pleasure-gardens, which are well laid out, and bordered with greenhouses. The porch was beautifully decorated with rows of ferns along the margin of the passage, and behind the ferns were magnificent fuchsias rising to the roof, and mingled with other choice and rare flowers. The floors of the porch and other rooms were covered with crimson cloth, but beyond that, and the addition of vases of flowers, 'Sir Walter's Rooms' were in the same condition in which they have been witnessed by the many thousands drawn thither from every civilised country in the world.
Her Majesty was received by Mr. Hope-Scott, Lady Victoria Hope-Scott, and Miss Hope-Scott, Lord and Lady Henry Kerr, Miss Kerr, and Miss Mackenzie. Mr. Hope-Scott bowed to the Queen, and led the way to the drawing-room, where a few minutes were passed. Her Majesty then in succession passed through Sir Walter's library, study, hall, and armoury, and viewed with great interest all these memorials. The royal party then proceeded to the dining-room, where fruits, ices, and other refreshments had been prepared, but her Majesty partook only of a cup of tea and 'Selkirk bannock.' When the Queen was passing through 'Sir Walter's library,' some photographic views of Abbotsford, which had been taken recently by Mr. Horsburgh of Edinburgh, attracted her attention, and she graciously acceded to the request of Mr. Hope-Scott that her Majesty might be pleased to accept of a set of the photographs. Her Majesty expressed to Mr. Hope-Scott the great pleasure she had experienced in visiting what had been the residence of Sir Walter Scott. The Queen and suite then entered their carriages, and left Abbotsford about seven o'clock. The day was not so bright as the preceding one; but the little rain which fell, just as her Majesty had got under the shelter of the historical roof, did not spoil the holiday which some thousands of people from Galashiels, Hawick, Kelso, Berwick, and Edinburgh had been bent on making.
Mr. Hope-Scott, in a letter to Mr. Badeley of August 23, 1867, gives a brief description of the Queen's visit, concluding as follows:—
'Throughout her visit, her Majesty was most gracious and kind, and her conduct to Mamo was quite touching.
She showed a great deal of interest in the place and the principal curiosities, looked remarkably well and active, and, I am told, is much pleased with the reception she has met with on the Border.'
The political aspects of Mr. Hope-Scott's character, on which it is now time that we should enter, do not require any very extended discussion. His opinions and feelings were Conservative in the constitutional sense, and in his early years seem to have gone a good deal further. It is perhaps scarcely fair to bring evidence from the correspondence of youths of nineteen, but Mr. Leader tells him (November 3, 1831): 'The latter part of your letter is an admirable specimen of Tory liberality and Tory argument.... What! are all Radicals fools or knaves, and all Conservatives honest or intelligent?... Absint hae ineptiae paene aniles.' A few years later the Thun correspondence, though only affording incidental references to Mr. Hope's own letters, shows clearly that, like 'young Oxford' of that date and long afterwards, he adopted Tory views as deductions from Scripture, and as the political side of religion. Thus Count Leo Thun writing to Mr. Hope on December 14, 1834, says: 'We both agree in the first principles; I copy your own words: "Everything we do is to be done in the name of the Lord: admitting this, it is evident that the principle on which we are to act with regard to politics is to be derived from the Scriptures."' The future Austrian statesman, however, declares that he cannot find in the Scriptures 'that blind and passive obedience' which his friend requires, and enters at considerable length into the question, controverting the application which the latter had made of certain passages. Again pass on a few years, and we find Mr. Hope writing to Mr. Badeley (it is the first letter in that collection), January 12, 1838: 'I have managed to read Pusey's sermon, in which there is nothing that I am disposed to quarrel with. The origin of civil government used long ago to be a favourite subject of inquiry with me; and I had long been convinced of the absurdity of any but the patriarchal scheme. Aristotle, the most sensible man, perhaps, who ever lived, came to the same conclusion without the aid of revelation.'
These views sustained practically some modification as time went on. Toryism, in its historical sense, could never be the political creed of a mind on which the Church of England had lost its hold. This begins to appear in a speech made by him at an early date, without preparation indeed, but not carelessly spoken. On the occasion of the ceremony for turning the first sod for the Sheffield and Huddersfield Railway (August 29, 1845), Mr. Hope said:—
If you lived under a despotic government, you would have lines made without reference to your local wants, and perhaps from visionary views of public advantage, but without reference to your private interests. It would be the same if a democratic body were to govern. In the one case you would be subject to the dictates of the imperial office; in the other, to the votes of a turbulent assemblage; but in neither case would there be that mixed regard to public justice and private interests which are combined in an efficient system. I dare say we [railway lawyers] are troublesome, but we belong to a system which has in it great elements of constitutional principle, which combines a regard for the public interest, and for private rights, with that free spirit which enterprises of this nature require in a great commercial country. [Footnote: Sheffield and Rotherham Independent, August 30, 1845.]
In the letter to Mr. Gladstone, of December 9, 1847 (quoted p. 78), we perceive an uncertain, sea-sick tone, the sadness natural to a mind not yet sure of its course. Very different is the buoyancy that breathes in Mr. Hope-Scott's remarks, ten years later, on the rivalry between Manchester and Liverpool, in his speech on the Mersey Conservancy and Docks Bill (quoted p. 115), though that, perhaps, is too rhetorical for us to found an argument upon. It will be more to the purpose here if I give an extract from a letter which he had written that same year, as an Irish proprietor, on the eve of a contested election, to the agent for his estates in co. Mayo, Joseph J. Blake, Esq., at Castlebar. It will show the wise and kindly spirit in which he dealt with his people, as well as the reference to the interests of Catholicity which now governed his politics:—
As to the election for the county of Mayo, I am in considerable ignorance about the state of parties in that particular part of Ireland. I may state, however, that I should myself prefer the candidate who is the most sincere friend of the Catholic Church, and most disposed to take a calm and careful view of the questions which most affect the interests of the Irish people— say Tenant Right, for instance, in which I think something should be done, but perhaps not so much as the more noisy promoters of it insist on. I do not, however, wish to influence my tenants more decidedly than by letting them know my general feelings on these subjects. (March 25, 1857.)
The question here involved, which has very recently ripened into difficulties so formidable as far as regards Ireland, also affected at the time, as it still affects, the state of property in the Western Highlands, where it seems to have interfered a good deal with Mr. Hope-Scott's efforts to raise the condition of his tenantry. He urged on them the necessity of cultivating more of the waste land which stretched for miles before their doors, but they never took kindly to this task. No rent was to be demanded for the reclaimed lands, and they were promised compensation if called upon to give them up at any future year. They were perfectly convinced of Mr. Hope-Scott's sincerity, but were unwilling to enter into these schemes of amelioration without the security of possession guaranteed by leases. [Footnote: Further details of Mr. Hope-Scott's relations with his Highland tenants will he found in chap. xxvi. See also chap. xxiv. pp. 171, 172 in this vol. as affording some indirect illustration.] My office not being that of the political economist, it is unnecessary to enlarge on the subject, especially as the following important letter of Mr. Hope-Scott himself will enable the reader to judge of the reasons upon which he acted:—
J. R. Hope-Scott, Esq., Q.C. to the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, M.P.
(Private.) Abbotsford: Oct. 28, 1868.
Dear Gladstone,—As you are kind enough to care for my political ideas, I will try to describe them.
Born and bred a Tory and a Protestant, I have discarded both the creeds of my youth. But with this difference in the result: in religion I have found sure anchorage; in politics I am still adrift.
Had the followers of Sir Robert Peel been able to found a permanent party, my case would probably have been different. But death took many of them, and the rest are scattered.
Of the two great parties now forming on the ruins of the old ones, that which you lead has a claim upon me for the work of justice [disestablishment of the Irish Church] which it has undertaken, and which the other seeks to frustrate. But, nevertheless, this work is to me no test of the abiding principles of the party. In you I acknowledge the promotion of it to be a sign of honesty and courage which few can better appreciate than myself; and I know that you mean it as a pledge of steady advancement in the same path. But amongst those who act with you there are many minds of a very different stamp.
A few words will bring out my views.
Speaking logically, justice to the Catholic people of Ireland means, if it means anything, the undoing of the Reformation, the replacing of the Church of the great majority in the position from which it has been unjustly removed.
But had you proposed this, or anything savouring of this, you know that your followers would have been few indeed; and that you have been able wholly to avoid such a danger for yourself, and even to turn it against your political opponents, has arisen chiefly from the moderation and wisdom of the Catholic clergy.
By their acquiescence in a mere disestablishment you got so far rid of the fear of Popery as to give scope to the voluntary principles of ultra- Protestantism, and, as a consequence, many now support you upon grounds so wholly different from your own, that, when the assault is over, and the stronghold taken, half your forces may disappear from the field, or remain only to rebel against your next movement.
This, then, is the reason why, seeking for a party, I cannot accept the present action against the Irish establishment as materially affecting my choice; but I must add that the Church question does not, in point of statesmanship, appear to me to be either the most important or the most difficult of the Irish questions.
That of Land Tenure exercises a wider influence among the people, and calls for a higher science of government.
Now, upon this most difficult and most delicate subject, there are prominent men among your supporters who have put forth views which I am forced to call in the highest degree crude, if not extravagant.
The law of demand and supply renders one class dependent upon another to an extent little short of slavery, not only in contracts for land in Ireland, but in all questions which, in free countries, turn upon the possession by one man of what another cannot or will not do without. The scale of wages of the agricultural labourers in some counties in England, and the rates paid for the worst lodgings by the poorest classes in our large towns, are full of the same meaning as the difficulties of the Irish tenant farmer.
But, more than this, the Irish land question itself is not exclusively Irish. It is to be found also, smaller of course in extent, but identical in its main features and in some of its worst consequences, in the West Highlands of Scotland; and I, who am a proprietor in both countries, can hardly be expected to put much trust in the political physicians who, to cure a disease in Mayo or Galway, propound remedies the first principles of which they would deem inapplicable to the same disorder in Argyle or Inverness.
That I am hopeless of any reasonable mode of relief being found, I will not say; but, if it is to be safe, it certainly cannot be speedy; and if it is to be permanent, it must depend upon a change in the habits of a race rather than upon a new distribution of landed property by Parliament.
And now, turning from Irish to general policy, I profess that I accept your principles of finance and commerce with entire satisfaction, and with a confidence in your power of applying them which I give to no other man.
I enter heartily also into your schemes for the material improvement of the labouring classes, and admire the wisdom as well as the kindness of what you have done.
With regard to the Franchise, I have no fear of Household Suffrage, and I prefer it to the more limited measure which you formerly advocated, because it brings into play a greater variety of interests; and, if it is liable to the objection that it gives votes to the ignorant and the profligate, I answer that your bill would have bestowed still greater, because more exclusive and more concentrated power, upon a class which comprises not only the Lancashire operative, but the Sheffield rattener.
Moreover, I believe that all which is worth defending in our social and political state in England and Scotland, has better guarantees in the spirit of the people than in any provision of the law. When Talleyrand said that England was the most aristocratic country in the world, because there was scarcely any one in it who did not look down on somebody else, he touched the keystone of our society. I have already met with amusing instances of the effect on Scotch middle-class Liberals of the recent enfranchisement of those below them; and my conviction is, that the more you widen the base, the more closely will you bind the superstructure together.
What I fear more than democracy is the strife between capital and skilled labour. This appears to me to be among the most pressing questions of the day, and I shall think well of the statesman, whoever he may be, who, with a just but firm hand, shall regulate the relations of these forces.
On Education I hope we are agreed; at any rate, I feel sure that you will not intentionally divorce it from religion; but I have yet to learn what measure your party would support.
There remains one subject of home policy which with me is paramount. At the time when I became a Catholic the so-called Papal Aggression was the great topic of the day; and while the ignorance and violence of the majority, both in and out of Parliament, greatly assisted my conversion, the steady reason and justice of Lord Aberdeen, and of those who, like yourself, acted with him, drew from me a greater feeling of respect than I have ever been sensible of on any other political occasion, or towards any other political men. I felt that they were determined honestly to carry out the principles of Catholic emancipation, amidst great popular excitement, and without reference even to their personal prejudices, far less to their political interests, and I honoured them with no stinted honour.
In the same direction much still remains to be done, and I wonder to myself whether you will ever head a party which will venture its political power in a contest with county magistrates and parish vestries on behalf of the Catholic poor.
I wonder too sometimes, but with less of hope, whether yours will be a party which will be content to forego that political propagandism which seems chiefly favoured in England when applied to the weaker countries which profess the Catholic faith, and which, in those countries, seems to impair religion much more than it increases temporal prosperity; and, lastly, whether it will have enough moderation to admit that the protection of the public law of Europe ought not to be denied to the States of the Church, merely because a neighbouring power demands them in the name of Italian unity.
Such, my dear Gladstone, are the thoughts of a somewhat indolent, but not indifferent observer of what is going on around him. They are put before you neither to elicit opinions nor to provoke controversy, but to explain how it is that an old friend, who loves and admires you, should withhold his support, insignificant as it is, at the very moment when, as the leader of a party, you might be thought to have justly earned it.
JAMES R. HOPE-SCOTT.
The Right Hon'ble W. E. Gladstone, &c. &c. &c.
The Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, M.P. to J. R. Hope-Scott, Esq., Q.C.
Hawarden, N.W.: Nov. 1, '68
My dear Hope-Scott,—Everything in your handwriting is pleasant to read, and I thank you sincerely for your letter.
* * * * *
When I come to the gros of your letter touching politics, I own it appears to me that we have a moral title to your serious and even strenuous aid.
I hope you will not think my writing to say so a bad compliment, for, as far as the value of the aid is concerned, even such as yours, I assure you I cannot afford to buy it at the present moment by personal appeals in writing.
But you praise justly the 'moderation and wisdom' of the R. C. clergy on the question of the hour—why do you not imitate them?
Simply because you cannot trust those who are acting with me in the paulo post futurum. Is that a sound rule of political action? You think much, as I do, of the importance of the Land Question. You see a great evil—you do not see any other man with a remedy—you hold off from us who made a very moderate proposal in 1866, because eminent men among our supporters have made proposals which you think extravagant or crude, and to which we have never given any countenance.
Now I will not indulge myself here by going over the many and weighty matters in which we are wholly at one; all that you say on them gives me lively satisfaction.
I will only, therefore, touch the one subject on which you anticipate difficulty as possible—that of political propagandism, meaning the temporal power of the Pope: for I do not suppose you mean to censure English pleas for civil rights of the United Greeks in Poland against the Emperor of Russia, though touching their religion.
I have at all times contended that the Pope as prince ought to have the full benefit of the public law of Europe, and have often denied the right of the Italian Government to absorb him. But you must know that extraordinary doctrines, wholly unknown to public law, have been held and acted on for the purpose of maintaining the temporal power. If you keep to public law, we can have no differences. If you do not, we may: with Abp. Manning I have little doubt we should. But that question is and has been for years out of view, and is very unlikely to come into it within any short period. Rational cooperation in politics would be at an end if no two men might act together until they had satisfied themselves that in no possible circumstances could they be divided. Q.E.D.
There in brief is my case, based on yours, and I would submit it to any committee you ever spoke before, provided you were not there to bewilder them with music of the Sirens.
Now pray think about it. I shall bother you no more. I wish I had time to write about the Life of Scott. I may be wrong, but I am vaguely under the impression that it has never had a really wide circulation. If so, it is the saddest pity; and I should greatly like (without any censure on its present length) to see published an abbreviation of it.
With my wife's kindest regards,
Always aff'tely yours,
W. E. GLADSTONE.
J. R. Hope-Scott, Esq., Q.C.
Mr. Hope-Scott, in replying to the above letter of Mr. Gladstone's (under date 'Abbotsford, November 4, 1868'), says:—
I fully acknowledge the compliment which you have paid me in writing at such length at such a time, and there are some things in your letter which I am glad to have had from yourself. But your main argument for action fails to convince me. I cannot put 'paulo post futurum' into my pocket, and march to the poll. For the present, then, I cannot enlist with you in politics, but I can do so heartily in any attempt to extend a knowledge of Walter Scott.
The following letters, of the same year, will further illustrate Mr. Hope- Scott's view of the Irish disestablishment question, and the independent line of politics which he adopted in his closing years:—
J. R. Hope-Scott, Esq., Q.C. to the Lord Henry Kerr.
Norfolk House, St. James's Square:
March 22, '68.
Dear Henry,—[The Archbishop] thinks that if Gladstone is serious (which he and I both believe him to be) about the Irish establishment, he will carry his motion, although it seems probable that Disraeli will make it a rallying-point, and may even dissolve Parliament if beat. How he is to manage the latter operation in the present condition of the Reform Question I hardly see....
It is astonishing to find on all sides such proof of the progress of opinion in Irish, and I think generally, in Catholic matters. The Fenian blister has certainly worked well; but besides that, Ireland and the Catholic religion offer the best field for the Liberals, as a party, to recover the ground which Disraeli last year ousted them from. Hence it is that my two months' absence from England seems to count as years on this point. Indeed, Gladstone's great declaration on Monday last is supposed to be due to the rapid progress of a few weeks, or even days....
JAMES E. HOPE-SCOTT.
The Same to the Same.
Dorlin, Strontian: Sept. 16, '68.
Dear Henry,—... In politics I have taken my line, and have told Curie and Erskine that, as at present advised, I do not intend to meddle with either Roxburgh or any other election. I trust neither party enough to identify myself with either; and while I do not think that the demolition of the Irish establishment is enough of a religious question to make me support the Liberals, I think it sufficiently so to prevent me siding with the Conservatives. On the other matters which you mention, members of both political parties seem to be at present free to follow their own consciences or interests, but their leaders may at any moment require obedience, and in that case I would rather trust the necessary tendency of the Liberals than that of the Conservatives on all home questions; and foreign policy seems, by accord of all parties, to have now settled into non-interference....
James R. Hope-Scott.
The Lord Henry Kerr.
In a speech at Arundel, January 5, 1869, perhaps the last Mr. Hope-Scott made on a public occasion, he remarked that he did not think the wisest thing had been done in remodelling the constituency by simply numbering heads. By depriving Arundel of its member, a large interest had been left unrepresented—that is, the Catholic interest. An intimate friend of his, possessing excellent means of information and judgment, said to me: 'Hope- Scott, in his latter years, was not political—not a party man in any sense. Indeed, he got into a scrape with the Whigs when the Duke of Norfolk voted with the Tories. This much mortified the Whigs, and they complained to Hope-Scott of the Duke's line: he said he wished him to be of no party. This was his line as a Catholic. Every lawyer, in fact, is Conservative. Revolution is against all their theories of government.' This, however, so far as it relates to the personal influence exercised by Mr. Hope-Scott, must be balanced by the evidence of another friend, also very intimate with him, to whom the late Duke of Norfolk, while still traditionally a Liberal, had remarked that he thought Conservatives would do more for Catholics, and that nothing was to be expected from the Liberals.
Religious Life of Mr. Hope-Scott—Motives of Conversion—Acceptance of the Dogma of Infallibility—The 'Angelus' on the Committee-room Stairs—Faith in the Real Presence—Books of Devotion—The Society of Jesus—Letter of Mr. Bellasis—Mr. Hope-Scott's Manners—His Generosity—Courage in admonishing—Habits of Prayer—Services to Catholicity—Remark of Lord Blachford—The Catholic University of Ireland—Cardinal Newman's Dedication of his 'University Sketches' to Mr. Hope-Scott—Aid in the Achilli Trial— Mr. Badeley's Speech—Charitable Bequests—Westminster Missions—Repeal of Titles Act—Statement of Mr. Hope-Scott—Letter to Right Hon. S. Walpole— Correspondence with the Duke of Norfolk—Scottish Education Bill, 1869— Parliamentary Committee on Convents—Services of Mr. Hope-Scott to Catholicity in Legal Advice to Priests and Convents—Other Charities in Advice, &c.—Private Charities, their General Character—Probable Amount of them—Missions on the Border—Galashiels—Abbotsford—Letter of Pere de Ravignan, S.J.—Kelso—Letter of Father Taggart—Burning of the Church at Kelso—Charge of the Lord Justice-Clerk—Article from the 'Scotsman'— Missions in the Western Highlands—Moidart—Mr. Hope-Scott's Purchase of Lochshiel—'Road-making'—Dr. Newman's 'Grammar of Assent'—Mr. Hope- Scott's Kindness to his Highland Tenants—Builds School and Church at Mingarry—Church at Glenuig—Sells Dorlin to Lord Howard of Glossop—Other Scottish Missions aided by Mr. Hope-Scott—His Irish Tenantry—His Charities at Hyeres.
The reader has now been enabled to form an opinion of Mr. Hope-Scott's character and actions in various aspects. The most important of all—his religious life, his services to the Church, and his charities during his Catholic period—remain to be reviewed; and that interval appears the most natural for making such a survey, which comes just before the time when he was visibly approaching the end of his career.
The path by which Mr. Hope-Scott was led to Catholicity has been made sufficiently apparent. We have seen that he was principally influenced by two reasons, affecting, on the one hand, Church order, and on the other, dogma: the Jerusalem Bishopric, which was set up by Anglicans and Lutherans together; and the Gorham judgment, which rejected an article of the Creed. These reasons were, as he acknowledged, clenched by his disgust at the outcry raised against the exercise of Papal authority in the institution of the Catholic hierarchy in England; and perhaps the greater stress ought to be laid upon this last, as it might have been the less expected, because his early ecclesiastical studies, and early contact with Catholic society, were certainly not such as could have led him to views usually classed as 'ultramontane.' On this head it may be sufficient simply to state that, when the time of its promulgation arrived, he rendered, without reservation, the homage of his intellect to the exalted dogma of Infallibility, which in our days has been welcomed by the whole Catholic world from the voice of its Chief Pastor. It is, further, only necessary to refer to his political letter to Mr. Gladstone to see that he endeavoured to make his influence (often so much more effective than any outward agitation) available towards the recovery of the temporal power and the rights of the Holy See.
As to his religious habits as a Catholic, every page of this memoir shows, or might show, that he was a man of great faith, great earnestness, and the most sincere intention to obey the will of God. Yet it must be remembered that his duty called him into the very thick of the battle of life from morning—till night: whilst so engaged (and it was the case during half the year) it was by no means in his power either to attend daily mass or to be a frequent communicant, though, at Abbotsford, he would communicate two or three times a week. But a little anecdote will serve to prove that he took care to place himself in the presence of God in the midst of the busy world in which he moved. He told his friend Serjeant Bellasis that he found he was just able to say the Angelus in the time he took to mount the stairs of the committee-rooms at Westminster. At home he regularly said the Angelus; as was noticed by persons who accidentally entered his room at the hours assigned to it, and used to find him standing to say it.
The one absorbing devotion of his Catholic life was undoubtedly the adoration of our blessed Lord in the Sacrament of the altar. Few who have seen him in prayer before the Tabernacle could forget his look of intense reverence and recollection, the consequence of his strong faith in the Real Presence. After the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, St. Michael was his favourite saint; his favourite books of devotion the Missal and the New Testament; and, among religious orders, he was personally most attracted by the Society of Jesus, with members of which order we have already seen that he was on terms of friendship, even before his reception into the Church.
His admiration for the society lasted throughout his life; and for more than twenty years together, until the end, I believe that for the direction of his conscience it was to the Jesuit Fathers that he always had recourse. In private conversations, when expressing the great satisfaction he felt at seeing the Society established in Roxburghshire and the Highlands, he often said that the Jesuits seemed to him 'like the backbone of religion.' Yet this love for the Society never led to any want of hearty appreciation of the merits of other Orders, or of the Seculars. Thus he hoped, at one time, to see the Dominicans at Galashiels, and showed the greatest regard for the Oblate Fathers of Mary Immaculate, who were for nine years in charge of the mission there, while, both in London, and at Abbotsford and Dorlin, the Fathers of the Oratory and the Secular clergy were welcome and honoured guests. The high value he set upon the Rev. P. Taggart (whom he used to call 'the Patriarch of the Border'), and on the hard-worked Highland priests, is well remembered. I am here, however, partly anticipating another branch of the subject, and shall conclude what I have to say about the personally religious aspect of his character by the following letter, from a friend who knew him well, and which contains one or two fine illustrations of it, and some very interesting general recollections also:—
Mrs. Bellasis to the Hon. Mrs. Maxwell-Scott.
Villa Ste Cecile: Dec. 31, 1880.
My dear Friend,—You ask me [for] some of those impressions which memory gives me of the kindest friend we ever possessed—your excellent father.
Years have rolled on, and yet the intercourse with so striking a person has left a remembrance not to be deadened by lapse of time. The noble form— that beautiful, intellectual countenance—the kindly tone of voice, so encouraging in difficulty, so sympathetic in sorrow, so persuasive in advice—who that knew James Hope-Scott could ever forget?
He had a peculiar way of listening, with the head a little bent on one side, to the most trivial subject broached by a friend in conversation, as if it was of the deepest importance, which pleased you with its unintentional flattery. With true Christian politeness he never interrupted you, but, if the subject was an important one, he would come down with some unanswerable view which at once approved itself to the listener as the course to be followed: 'Hope thinks so-and-so'—and it always proved the right thing.
With regard to his generosity, it was his nature to be generous—he had learned the pleasure of giving; and, when any principle was involved in a gift, there was no stint. As an illustration of this, I remember on one occasion a friend—not rich—known to us both, had given me a picture to dispose of, as she did not care for it: it was small, and out of condition, and of an objectionable subject, though we had not perceived its closely veiled viciousness. I failed in persuading a picture dealer to purchase it, and, having to return home by my husband's chambers, I there found Mr. Hope-Scott. I mentioned my want of success, and your father at once said, 'Let us see it.' It was fetched up from the carriage, and after looking at it attentively—'Well,' he said, 'Mrs. Bellasis, I think you must leave this with me.' I did so, and learnt afterwards that on my leaving the room he crushed the painting with his heel, put it on the fire, and sent me a cheque for my friend for 30l.
His faculty for languages was very great, and when in the south of France, rambling daily over the pretty property he possessed at Hyeres, I used to be amazed at the fluent way in which he talked with the workmen; whether it was the carpenter, the plasterer, mason, or gardener, he talked with each in the terms of their respective occupations and trades, quite unhesitatingly. Provencal talk is certainly puzzling, but he seemed as if born to it; and the French gentlemen told me he spoke exactly all the niceties of their language, whether in repartee or in illustration.
How profoundly Catholic he was those near and dear to him must know far better than outsiders. No consideration ever closed the purse or the lips where the interests or the honour of Holy Church were concerned. There was no parade of piety in him; and yet, if he thought he could say the word in season, he spoke unreservedly. I recollect on one occasion a very distinguished member of the Parliamentary bar, who was, in common parlance, a man of the world—long gone to his rest—met my husband and your father walking together in Piccadilly. Mr. X. stopped them, exclaiming, 'Well, you two black Papists, how are you?' 'Come, come,' replied Mr. Hope-Scott, 'don't you think it is time you should be looking into your accounts?' 'Oh, I'm all right now,' was the reply, half jocularly. 'Well,' said Mr. Hope-Scott, 'but how about those past pages—eh?' Mr. X., taking no offence, drew himself up and said, with great gravity, 'I tell you what it is, Hope: I am thoroughly, intellectually convinced; but' (he added, striking his breast) 'my heart is not touched!' and thereupon the three parted. Had he been a Catholic, he would have used, I suppose, the term 'will' for 'heart.' [Footnote: This courage in giving religious admonition where he saw it was needed, is a trait which I have occasionally observed appearing in his correspondence, and quite in keeping with his favourite expression, 'Liberavi animam meam.'—R. O.]
All that Mr. Hope-Scott did in religious observances was done so naturally, so simply—whether it was in going down to the committees with my husband, he would pull out his rosary in the cab, and so occupy his thoughts through the busy streets; or when, in mounting the stairs at Westminster to reach the committee-rooms, he would repeat, sotto voce, with my husband, some slight invocatory prayers, or verse of a Psalm—such things were only known to the extreme intimacy of long friendship. Such was the hidden, deeply pious life of one who, for many years at least, though certainly in the world, was yet not of it. I might say he was above it; for who, more than our dear friend, saw through, and so thoroughly despised its shams, its allurements, its ambition, and modes of thought? There is one other remembrance which is a very bright one: I allude to his ever-ready wit. When he was in good health, and well, before he was threatened with the coming malady, how amusing he was—such a cheery companion! I have often thought, when we left his company, that I would put down his clever, witty rejoinders—they were legion! and never a spark of ill-nature. I never remember his saying an unkind word of any one.
E. J. B.
The services rendered by Mr. Hope-Scott to the cause of Catholicity may be grouped in three great divisions:—1. The giving advice, at no small cost of time and trouble, either on great questions affecting the interests of the Church, or on those of a more local and personal description. 2. Pecuniary charities. 3. The foundation of churches and missions. I will endeavour to give some idea of each of these, though of course the very nature of charity, but still more that of counsel, involves so much of secrecy, that particulars which remain on record, and can be given to the world, we may safely assume to be only specimens of many more which must remain untold.
1. The first division includes, as we shall see, many of the great questions affecting the Catholic Church in these countries during his active career as a Catholic. But his services were chiefly those of a wise and trusted adviser behind the scenes, for he never entered Parliament, and rarely took part in public meetings. That he thus kept at a distance from a sphere of action for which his powers so eminently fitted him, was a subject of regret even outside of Catholic society, as will appear from a letter of Lord Blachford's to Mr. E. S. Hope, already cited, in which his lordship remarks:—
I have sometimes been disappointed that in joining the Church of Rome [Mr. Hope-Scott] was not led by circumstances to adopt in England the task so brilliantly, but so differently performed in France by M. de Montalembert— that of asserting for English R. Catholics that political and Parliamentary status to which their education and importance entitle them. It would have been an advantage for all parties.
And, earlier in the same letter:—
Given a constituency, he united almost every qualification for public life. He seized instantly the point of a matter in hand, and was equally capable of giving it words at a moment's notice, or of working it out thoroughly and at leisure, and that either by himself or, what is as important, through others. He would have made no enemies, and multitudes of friends; and his quiet tact and flexible persuasiveness, grafted on a clear grasp of leading principles, would have made him invaluable in council.
It would be useless to speculate on the motives of this abstinence, or on the part which he might have played in Parliamentary life in the years when the too brief career of Mr. Lucas was drawing to its close, and a great opportunity seemed to offer itself for a leader to step forward who should unite, in a degree equal to his, faith and devotedness with eloquence, and a rare talent for the conduct and marshalling of affairs. However, among the transactions affecting Catholic interests in which Mr. Hope-Scott's knowledge and experience were turned to account, may be named the following:—
(1) The Catholic University of Ireland, which has since shown such struggling yet persistent vitality, had been in contemplation as far back as 1847. Serious steps were being taken towards its foundation in 1851, when Mr. Hope's advice was immediately sought by Archbishop (afterwards Cardinal) Cullen: he said, 'Get Newman for your Rector;' and from him the Archbishop came straight to Birmingham. There is a letter of Archbishop Cullen's to Mr. Hope (dated Drogheda, October 28, 1851), in which, after thanking him for valuable advice regarding the University, his Grace says: 'I think we shall be guided by what you have suggested. For my part, I adopt your views altogether.... If we once had Dr. Newman engaged as President, I would fear for nothing; and I trust that this point will soon be gained. After that, every thing else will be easy.' From a letter of Mr. Allies to Mr. Hope (August 19, 1851) it appears that Dr. Newman regarded it as of the highest importance for those charged with the construction of the new University to obtain information from Mr. Hope as to the course of studies pursued in the Catholic universities abroad; and in another letter (August 30) Mr. Allies proposes to Mr. Hope a long string of questions as to university legislation. What Mr. Hope looked upon as of the most consequence may be gathered from a postscript to that letter, marked 'private:' 'J. H. N. showed me your letter, with which he entirely agrees; and I need not say that I feel myself all the force of what you say. All paper rules and constitutions are nothing in comparison to there being a good selection of men, and a perfect unity and subordination in the governing and teaching body. If this is to succeed, my belief is that the only way is to appoint J. H. N. head, with the fullest powers, both for the selection of coadjutors and the working into shape.' Mr. Allies (with the Very Rev. Dr. Leahy, afterwards Archbishop of Cashel, and Mr. Myles O'Reilly) was, at the time, engaged with Dr. Newman in drawing up a report on the organisation of the University, after consulting a certain number of persons, among whom was Mr. Hope.
In 1855 Mr. Hope-Scott presented to the new institution one of his splendid gifts—a library of books on civil and canon law. 'Your books' (writes Dr. Newman to him, August 1) 'will be the cream of our library.' In the difficulties of later years, when Dr. Newman felt his duty as Rector of the University and that as Father-Superior of the Oratory pulling him in different directions, the congregation, not from any one's fault, but from the nature of the case, being unable to get on without him, it was to the same faithful counsellor he turned. I may here mention that Mr. Hope-Scott warmly took up the idea of founding an oratory at Oxford (January 1867), and gave 1,000l. towards this object, which he refused to take back when the design was laid aside. In a conversation on the subject of this memoir, which Cardinal Newman condescended to hold with me, his Eminence said, 'Hope-Scott was a truly good friend—no more effectual friend—from his character and power of advice.' He had stood by him all through as a good friend and adviser in the difficulties of the Oratory connected with his rectorship, and so in another critical moment relating to other affairs. I venture to transcribe the eloquent words in which the Cardinal has placed on record the value he had for his friendship, in the dedication to his 'University Sketches:'—