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Scott, Walter

Famous novelist and poet. Initiated at thirty years of age. Born at the College Wynd, Edinburgh, Scotland, August 15, 1771, and educated at the High School. Previous to entering the University in November, 1783 he spent some weeks at Kelso attending daily the Public Schools At fifteen he was indentured an apprentice to his father, an attorney. On December 16, 1799, he was appointed to the Sheriffdom of Selkirkshire. At an emergency meeting held on Monday, March 2, 1801, Walter Scott was Initiated, Passed and Raised in Lodge Saint David, No. 36, Edinburgh. The father and the son of Brother Scott were Freemasons, the former Initiated in Lodge Saint David, January, 1754, the latter in Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No. 2, November 29, 1826.

June 4, 1816, Scott, in the presence of the Provincial Grand Master of the district, the most Noble the Marquis of Lothian, laid the foundation of a new Lodge-room at Selkirk and was elected and Honorary Member of the Lodge there, Saint John, now No. 32, on the Grand Lodge roll. Scott was announced as a Baronet in the Gazette on April 1, 1820, the first Baronet made by King George IV. The reference to the Oblong Square of the tournament field in his romance Ivanhoe is familiar, and the Lay of the Last Minstrel by Scott is inscribed to the Earl of Dalkeith, a member of the same Lodge and then Grand Master. Scott was in 1823 offered the Grand Mastership of the Royal Grand Conclave of Knights Templar of Scotland.

He declined because of his "age and health not permitting me to undertake the duties which whether convivial or charitable, a person undertaking such an office ought to be in readiness to perform when called upon." His reasons are all she more impressive when referred to his noble diligence in satisfying a debt not wholly his own, a labor that surely shortened his life.

The failure of the printing house of Ballentyne & Company occurred in 1826. Scott's liabilities as a partner amounted to nearly 150,000 pounds. Determined that all his creditors should be paid, he refused to be a party to a compromise or to accept any discharge. He pledged himself to devote the whole labor of his subsequent life to the payment of his debts and he fulfilled this promise. In the course of four years his literary works yielded nearly 70,000 pounds and ultimately his creditors received every penny of their claims. He paid, indeed. In February, 1830, he had an apoplectic seizure and never thoroughly recovered. After another severe shock in April, 1831, he was persuaded to abandon literary work. He died at Abbotsford, on September 21, 1832, in his sixty-second year. Five days later the remains of Sir Walter Scott were laid in the sepulcher of his ancestors in the old Abbey of Dryburgh. (These details furnished by the late Brother A. M. Mackay, Past Master, Lodge Saint David. See also Treasury of Masonic Thought, George M. Martin-John W. Callaghan, 1924, page 93.)

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