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Thread: Newsletter for 22nd March 2019

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    Newsletter for 22nd March 2019

    For the latest news from Scotland see our ScotNews feed at:

    Electric Scotland News

    We're now coming very near to decision day on Brexit. I truly hope that we leave on 29th March with a no deal and thus trade on WTO terms while we seek a new Free Trade deal with the EU.

    May's negotiated withdrawal deal is terrible for the UK and would keep us in the Common Market, Single Market and still under the ECJ. We would be a rule taker and have no say on any rules the EU put in force. To my mind there are only two choices... either we remain in the EU or we leave with no deal. Accepting May's negotiated deal would make things far worse for the UK. May has consistently lied to us and frankly is damaged goods. The Conservative party also lied to us as did Labour when they ran on a manifesto that clearly stated we would lave the EU. In a future election we must do everything we can to remove those MP's that lied to us.

    Also I have to say on a personal basis I'd love us to just leave as that would mean we could then focus on measures that would improve things for the UK and stop all the useless discussions that are going on. While I have been documenting this for historical purposes I have to say I'm rather sick fed up with it all.

    I would finish by saying that all is not well with the EU either. Germany is seeing a decline in its exports and so is France and Italy which are the three largest economies in the rest of the EU. Macron is having major issues with its Yellow Vest protestors and Germany's major bank is on the verge of bankruptcy. Then we have the EU elections coming up which are forecasting big gains foe EU skeptics.

    I still say that Donald Trump has been holding off on imposing new tariffs on EU goods in the hope that the UK will leave the EU which means his new higher tariffs wouldn't impact the UK when he does. Remember I have been saying this for some time now and I still think I am right about this.

    May was on the TV last night speaking to the nation and continued to lie to us about what her deal would do for us. It's so obvious that she's stuck on her own vision that she simply has no credibility left. I believe she's mentally incompetent and should be removed.


    You can view a video introduction to this newsletter at:

    Scottish News from this weeks newspapers
    Note that this is a selection and more can be read in our ScotNews feed on our index page where we list news from the past 1-2 weeks. I am partly doing this to build an archive of modern news from and about Scotland as all the newsletters are archived and also indexed on Google and other search engines. I might also add that in newspapers such as the Guardian, Scotsman, Courier, etc. you will find many comments which can be just as interesting as the news story itself and of course you can also add your own comments if you wish.

    The Government risks making a big mistake on the minimum wage
    The evidence is overwhelming - minimum wages hurt businesses, jobs and poor people

    Read more at:

    What happened when Seattle raised its minimum wage to $15/hour?

    3% increase in average hourly wages
    9% fall in hours worked in low-paid jobs
    $125 fall in low-paid workers’ monthly salaries

    Source: Evans School of Public Policy and Governance

    Scottish politicians react to New Zealand attack
    Nicola Sturgeon has condemned the mass shootings at mosques in New Zealand and offered solidarity with the Muslim community.

    Read more at:

    Brexit lessons for #indyref2
    As the Brexit negotiations have shown, the idea of true political and economic independence in the modern age is largely an illusion.

    Read more at:

    Eurosceptic MPs should hold their nerve as anti-Brexit colleagues dig their own electoral graves
    Public polling released on the day of the vote showed a clear majority of the British public did not endorse an extension and the prospect of a no-deal Brexit has been becoming more popular.

    Read more at:

    Here’s why Scotland is in sights of Putin’s Russia
    As Vladimir Putin turns his eye on Scotland, the SNP has been visiting states in the Baltic and elsewhere to find out how they respond to the Kremlin’s meddling, write Andrew Foxall and James Rogers.

    Read more at:

    Ford to cut more than 5,000 jobs in Germany, others in UK
    U.S. automaker Ford plans to cut more than 5,000 jobs in Germany and will reduce its workforce in Britain as well as it seeks to return to profit in Europe, the company said on Friday.

    Read more at:

    Prime Minister, you will be held responsible if Brexit is not delivered as you pledged
    The following is an open letter to Theresa May from Cllr Bob Perry and a host of other Conservative Party activists (as listed at the bottom)

    Read more at:

    I see no reason for a delay in Brexit
    John Redwood MP

    Read more at:

    Legal Advice: no changes to the backstop lock-in
    After a last minute dash by the Prime Minister to Strasbourg, three complex new documents were released just before midnight on Monday 11 March, the day before the vote.

    Read more at:

    History will never understand Tory MPs if they kill off Brexit
    The third vote on Mrs May’s EU deal will be a truly agonising, painful dilemma for many Conservative MPs who have already voted twice against it.

    Read more at:

    The people should fire the MPs who won’t follow their instructions.
    The European Union is democratically flawed and vulnerable to corruption. Even some of the most passionate EU apologists would accept this.

    Read more at:

    Brexit: John Bercow rules out third vote on deal without changes
    Commons Speaker John Bercow has dealt a serious blow to the government by ruling out further votes on Theresa May’s Brexit unless it undergoes changes.

    Read more at:

    UK reaches post-Brexit trade agreement with Iceland and Norway
    The agreement has been initialled and, subject to final legal checks, will be formally signed next week, his department said.

    Read more at:

    Believe me, the Civil Service is trying to sink Brexit.
    I have seen it from the inside

    Read more at:

    Cyclone hit millions across Africa in record disaster
    Cyclone winds and floods that swept across southeastern Africa affected more than 2.6 million people and could rank as one of the worst weather-related disasters recorded in the southern hemisphere, U.N. officials said on Tuesday.

    Read more at:

    Deutsche-Commerzbank merger will be a disaster
    The Deutsche-Commerzbank tie-up makes no sense and may spark another financial crisis.

    Read more at:

    Scottish water the answer as England tipped to run dry in 25 years
    SCOTLAND could provide the answer to England’s H2O woes it has been suggested, with the southern half of the UK predicted to run out of fresh water in less than 30 years.

    Read more at:

    WATCH: Scotland’s first man in space reveals how it feels to gaze at Earth from 264,000 feet
    They were four words, Dave Mackay had waited a lifetime to say: Welcome to space, Scotland

    Watch this at:

    Crivvens, help ma Boab: It’s Oor Wullie, The Musical
    He’s been making us laugh for 80 years, and now fans can look forward to a whole new act from Oor Wullie.

    Read more at:

    UK's air-breathing rocket engine set for key tests
    The UK project to develop a hypersonic engine that could take a plane from London to Sydney in about four hours is set for a key demonstration.

    Read more at:

    Rory McIlroy in fine fettle for Masters after silencing nonsensical noise
    The win he recorded in the Players Championship at Sawgrass on Sunday was on the cards. Those critics have been back-tracking furiously. Not that McIlroy cares.

    Read more at:

    Where next on Brexit?
    There is no guarantee that the EU will accept the request. More generally, with just nine days to go until what was supposed to be Brexit day, what will happen next remains staggeringly unclear.

    Read more at:

    Electric Canadian

    Canadian Archive Reports
    Added the 1900 report.

    You can read this at:

    The Canadian Horticulturist
    Volume 18 (1895) can be read at:

    In Memoriam: Recollections of Father Dawson
    By Henry J. Morgan (1895) (pdf)

    Read about him at:

    Humour of the North
    Selected and Arranged by Lawrence J. Burpee (1910) (pdf) which you can read at:

    My Canadian Journal 1872-8
    Extracts from my Letters home written while Lord Dufferin was Governor-General by the Marchioness of Dufferin & Ava (1891) (pdf) which you can read at:

    Canadian Foundryman and Metal Industry News
    Added the 1917 edition at: and there is a link on our Magazines page to other copies on the Internet Archive.

    Canada's Unmade Roads
    By Dave McIntosh which you can read at:

    Conrad Black
    SNC-Lavalin is a sideshow to the real Wilson-Raybould issue

    Electric Scotland

    The Scottish Review
    Added Volume 29 -
    January April 1897 for you to read at:

    Buchanan Banner
    Here is the latest Buchanan Banner. This one was particularly fun to do as I got to "meet" (via email) Paula, The Lady Buchanan. What a delightful person she is! We hope you enjoy reading her columns in this publication. Thank you so much for taking the time to work with me!

    I do know for sure, we can all be proud of our Chief and his entire family! There's an article about their dogs, too. What fun - although this one is a bit sad at first...but, it gets happy before the end.

    There are lots of other things you will find interesting, maybe funny and always Buchanan - enclosed. Thank you to everyone who contributed photos and articles to The Buchanan Banner! YOU are the ones who make the publication good! June 15 is the next deadline for the July issue of the Banner. Deadlines are serious. If you have something that happens late, just let me know...and let me know when the information/photos will be forthcoming. I really appreciate your cooperation.

    Be sure and enjoy my Beth's Newfangled Family Tree publication. I like to think of it as the worldwide Scottish newspaper. You may access it at anytime at <>. There's never a charge, it's free, no strings. It's a 2-section, monthly publication of somewhere around 64 + pages. New sections are up about the 15th and the day before the 1st of each month. The archives are there as well - and there are more than eleven years worth of publications for you to play amongst. No charge for that, either.

    Hope everyone had a wonderful St. Patrick's Day...and that you and your families will have a blessed and happy Easter season!

    Aye, Beth

    Read the April 2019 issue at:

    Historical Tales and Legends of the Highlands
    Compiled by Alexander MacKenzie (1878) (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    William Winter
    American Poet, Writer and Critic. Also wrote about his travels in Scotland, You can read about him and read some of his book at:

    Memorials of the Families of Lumsdaine, Lumisden or Lumsden
    By Lieut-Col. H. W. Lumsden, Late of the Royal Artillery (1889) (pdf). Also added an account of Lumsden of the Guides, A Sketch of the Life of Lieut.-Gen. Sir Harry Burnett Lumsden, K.C.S.I., C.B., By General Sir Peter S. Lumsden, G.C.B., C.S.I. (1899) (pdf)

    You can read this book at:

    Our Viceregal Life in India
    Selections from my Journal 1884-1888 by the Marchioness of Dufferin & Ava in two volumes (1890)

    As you may have read he account of being in Canada this one will be of interest as well and can be read at:

    Facsimile of an Ancient Heraldic Manuscript
    Eblazoned by Sir David Lyndsay of the Mount, Lyon King of Arms (1542) (pdf) which can be read at:

    Field-Marshall Sir Donald Stewart, G.C.B., G.C.S.I, C.I.E.
    An Account of his Life, mainly in his own words edited by G.R. Elsmie, C.S.I. Joint author of "Lumsden of the Guides" (1903) (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts
    1st Earl Roberts, VC, KG, KP, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, KStJ, VD, PC, FRSGS.

    You can read about him at:

    The Dawsons of Glenara
    A Story of Scottish Life in three volumes. Added these volumes to the foot of our page Social Life in Scotland which you can get to at:

    New Light on Burns
    An article from the Scottish Review, Volume 29 January April 1897 issue (pdf) which you can read at:

    The Story


    THAT a fascination lurks around old faded notes and manuscripts and franked letters, with their wafers and sealing-wax! A subtle far-off delicacy clings to them. Visions of short-waisted, be-muslined girls, of scented rose leaves and harpsicords, rise before us as we turn over the pages. To us, in these days of Rontgen rays and phonographs, there is something soothing in the thought of that old-world life, when a tea-drinking and the weekly part of an anonymous novel were the excitements of one and all. The times and the manners are changed. Our grandparents—and particularly the fair sex—were satisfied with themselves and all their doings. Placidity and complacency were the order of the day. Now-a-days our faults may be legion, but at least we are endowed with ‘a large and liberal discontent,’ and have freed ourselves from the artificial formalities which smothered all spontaneous feeling. We jerk off illegible notes with stylographio pens, while the Belinda and Selina of a hundred years ago sat themselves down and composed ‘epistles’ studded with Johnsonian phrases and tedious circumlocutions. And if the ‘pen was wielded’ in the service of literature, it was as a religious duty, for, as the subject of this article says, ‘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.’ So writes Jane Porter, the authoress of The Scottish Chiefs, some of whose old diaries and papers have lately come into my possession, and are now taking me back to the end of last century.

    Few of us in the present remember the name of Jane Porter, and still fewer have ever read her works. The copies of Thaddeus of Warsaw and The Scottish Chiefs, over which our parents bestowed their tears and enthusiasms, are now relegated to shelves in the lumber-room. Still there is a certain interest in following the ‘vicissitudes’ (as she would call them) of a literary life of that period, even of such a minor light as Jane Porter herself, and I propose to piece the fragments together and let them tell their own story.

    The first glimpse we have of the Porter family is in 1777, when Jane’s father, who was a surgeon in the 6th Dragoons, writes thus to his wife from Bareges, in the north of France:

    "I approve of your changing the children’s school-mistress, for rudeness is horrid, the expense is but small. I am sorry Billy is no better improved in his Learning, pray pay great attention to him and make his school-mistress use double diligence in teaching him properly and tenderly. I must have him a good scholar. Tell him if he learns well I will bring him pretty things from France and shall love him. Jacky is a charming boy, and promises to be a lad of Genius. Billy must not be behind hand with him in learning. My Jenny is beautiful; it will be my pride to dress my little Queen handsomely and decently. The rest I leave to your good sense to make up the rest of her education fitting her for a good wife to an Honest Man, who will use her as I have used her good mother. I am still the plain Irishman, and never mix with french folks as I do not understand well nor have I french enough to converse with them. I severely regret the want of that part of my Education; my Children shall not labour under that defect. Please God I live to see their Education perfected."

    Poor Dr. Porter did not live to superintend the education of his beloved children. Two years after this letter was written, he died, before his youngest child, Anna Maria, was born. After his death, Mrs. Porter left Durham and settled in Edinburgh, where the children spent the first part of their lives. Jane and Anna Maria went to school there, and their romantic feelings were nourished by the historical charm of the town. Sir Walter Scott, when a boy, was a frequent visitor in their house, and an old woman called Lucky Forbes poured into their delighted ears tales ‘of the awful times of the brave Sir William Wallace.’ Of the family, ‘Billy' became a naval surgeon, and after travelling, and writing a history of his adventures in collaboration with Jane, he settled down as a physician at Bristol. ‘ Jacky’ was Colonel John Porter, and ‘ Bobby ’ the famous traveller, artist, and writer, Sir Robert Ker Porter.

    The two girls were dabbling in literature while in their teens, and Anna Maria, at the age of thirteen, began a series of ‘ Artless Tales,’ which appeared anonymously. At seventeen she had produced several three-volume novels, Octavia, and Walsh Colville, and others. Jane was four years older than Anna Maria, ‘ more serious and thoughtful,’ and having a warm admiration for her younger and charming sister. S. C. Hall described Anna as a ‘ blonde, handsome and gay,’ and dubbed her TAllegro’ in contrast to the ‘quieter brunette,’ Jane, who got the name of ‘Il Penseroso.’

    Let us look at the girls and their life as we can see it from Jane’s Memorandum Book of 1796, exactly one hundred years ago! At this time the family was settled in London. Jane was twenty years old; Anna Maria, sixteen; and Robert, nineteen. Their life seems to have been a very free and happy one. Admirers and love affairs filled the air. Their brother John’s friends from his regiment, Wade and Henry Caulfield, were constant visitors, and James and Horace Smith, Richard Davenport, and Stockdale, all young aspirants to literature, gathered round the eager, intelligent family. Stockdale and Davenport live—and die!—in the Dictionary of National Biography, but the Smiths are remembered by many for their witty joint production called Rejected Addresses, and Horace’s charming ‘ Lines addressed to a Mummy’ can never be overlooked. In those days everyone scribbled; would-be poets ‘ were as plentiful as blackberries.’ One and all burst into verse on the slightest provocation. There were ‘ lines ’ addressed to every conceivable person on every conceivable subject As Mrs. Thackeray Ritchie says: * One is struck by the keener literary zest of those days, and by the immense numbers of MSS. and tragedies in circulation, all of which their authors confidingly send from one to another. There are also whole flights of travelling poems flapping their wings and uttering cries as they go.’ It was an age, too, of mutual admiration and adulation, and only poems charged with ‘ throbbing hearts,’ and * agonized tears,’ and ‘ fond despairs,’ could relieve the over-burdened soul! Henry Caulfield, in a sonnet, calls Davenport

    ‘Sweet child of Fancy'

    and sighs for one

    ‘So young, so young and so unblest;’

    and Davenport replies thus to Henry—

    'Child of the Muse, thy soul-entrancing strains Might sure the soft, the blissful balm bestow ! Tho’ lost to joy—while thro’ each throbbing vein Urges the stream of life its course along, Still shall unfading Memory retain Thy peace-inspiring sympathetic song.’

    Jane addresses Stockdale as

    ‘Gentle Bard'

    and is enraptured with

    ‘The trilling sweetness of thy moral song'

    and admirers of Jane apostrophise her as

    ‘Jane, lovely, fair, divinely bright.’

    Jane perorates an extravagant poem about her brother Robert with these lines—

    ‘I cannot speak thy Inward Beauty’s glow (Tho’ thy form’s graces all mankind allow), But it is ever present to my soul And oft oppress’d with Love as now, I long for Life and Time to roll

    And bring the last Great Day, to make thee wholly known!’ and in a sonnet she declares that she will die happy if ‘Fame that Eagle, soar but to Jove to register his name.’

    But now let us look at a few extracts from the diary:—

    ‘Jan. 21. Bob and Halsted went to the Masquerade. H. as a French hairdresser; Bob went as a young Highlander, and looked beautiful. Bob met Wade dressed in a domino : he saluted a hundred times and promised to call soon.

    ‘Feb. 3. Sent Harrison my Classicus (Jane’s nom de plume at this time: Harrison edited a popular weekly magazine), called “The Errors of the Heart.” In the evening went to Barbar’s Ball: met disagreeable company—a fellow who called himself the Pink Domino.

    ‘Feb. 12. Wrote a paper called “Youthful Imprudence.” Maria finished her novel of “The Guards.” Stockdale drank tea.

    ‘March 6. Maria and Silena walked out: they met Wade with Horace (Smith). Wade looked delighted and bowed: Maria curtseyed and proceeded. Wade parted from Horace and stood opposite Maria: said to Silena something about his extreme happiness at the sight of Maria. Horace flew forward, begged her pardon for the intrusion, but the situation of his friend demanded it, as he loved her to madness. Maria burst into tears: Silena stormed: Horace apologized, but still swore the passion of his friend. How will this end?

    ‘June 6. Wrote to Davenport as from “Classicus.” Mrs. Siddons’ Benefit. Wrote a sketch for the “Mysteries of the Black Forest.”

    ‘June 10. Davenport called: shewed me the letter from “Classicus" said it should only be parted with him with his life. Went to the School of Eloquence.

    ‘July 12. Davenport and Stockdale drank tea. Poor Davenport’s situation nearly resembles Chatterton’s.’

    This remark of Jane’s is curiously prophetic. After struggling with literature and pouring out his melancholy and morbid feelings in sonnets, young Davenport was found one morning, like Chatterton, dead in an attic, and surrounded by books and pamphlets. It was said that he had taken an over-dose of laudanum. I wonder if an unreturned affection for ‘Classicus’ heightened his melancholy?

    Jane is constantly recording the arrival of letters from various beaux with locks of hair, etc. It is strange that none of the love affairs came to anything. That the girls were much admired is evident, and that they were beautiful and accomplished is none the less clear. Perhaps Jane’s feelings on the subject are expressed in these lines, written a few years later:

    *I tell you I won’t, so don’t tease me again, I wish you were charming or I were not so : Sure I’m not to blame, because silly-brained men With fondness will melt or with passion will glow!

    Nay, sigh not, and weep not, and kneel not to me, Your sighing and kneeling but injure your suit: To relinquish such triumphs what fools we should be, For of courtship’s sweet blossom, full bitter’s the fruit.

    In wedlock we women must kneel, sue and cry, Must beg for a look, must implore for a smile, Must shrink at a frown, at a glance quickly fly, And turn into pleasure each pain and each toil.

    Then why should we marry, and why should we leave The throne which your folly so easily gave? Ah, trust me, in vain you may flatter or grieve Who that once was a Tyrant, would e’er be a Slave?’

    And once on being offered a Rose d’Amour, Jane declares:

    ‘Oh, not the Rose d’Amour for me!
    Too many thorns that rose surround:
    These thorns will pierce, these thorns will wound
    How sweet soe’er the flower may be!’

    In 1707 Robert Porter and his sisters started an illustrated magazine called The Quiz. They were helped by Thomas F. Dibdin, the author of The Bibliomania, and the well-known librarian to Lord Spencer. It seems to have been a failure, and only a few copies were printed. A poem dated in 1801 is the next link in my papers, and gives us another glimpse into the Porter family circle. Here the friends include Horace Smith, Charles Kemble, the great actor, and the fair Teresa du Camp, who was married to Kemble in 1806. She was a charming actress, playing sometimes Portia and Desdemona and sometimes Lady Teazle, and is described as a « delightful dark-eyed, dark-haired girl, whose motion was itself music ere her voice was heard.’ It is called ‘A Home Scene.’

    ‘We to the parlour’s precincts hasten soon, Soft are the sofas, warm the velvet room, The closing curtains fold our mingling feet, Twelve faithful Friends, beneath this favoured Dome This evening woo fair Joy—in Gerrard Street.

    The candles bright, the Fire it blazes high, The fragrant Tea, my mother’s hand bestows: To take the cups the ready footsteps fly Of Beaux to serve the Belles and Belles the Beaux.

    First in the circle as the first in wit Teresa fair and wise as fair is seen, And near to her by Cupid’s arrow hit Sits Kemble sighing for his Captive Queen.

    Smiling Maria rolls her azure eyes And trills an Elegy to Ernest’s praise : The youth his silver lyre responsive tries And as the Nymph he sings, his tresses bloom with bays.

    Robert with sportive jest young Horace dares To wrestle with him in the field of wit, Leonard benign the halting Punster spares, Embodied virtues on his temples sit!

    Victoire demure, Sophia ever gay, Denham of Feeling warm and heart sincere Beneath the table on the carpet play The Joke, the Laugh, their jocund moments wear.

    Last in the train and seated on a stool, Joanna leans her elbows on her knees : Alas! she fears these Rhymes will dub her Fool, And yet she hopes they may her sister please!

    Jane and Maria’s reading can be followed from their Extract Books, which are monuments of patience and solidity. At twenty-two Jane has a huge volume of Extracts, 'particularly relating to education,’ and taken largely from Aristotle and Plato. A favourite author is Dr. Johnson, to whom she gives admiration enough to please even Miss Deborah Jenkins, and whose works she has laboriously transcribed. Then there are passages from Thomson’s Seasons, from The Rambler, from Mary Wollstonecraft’s novels, from Knox’s Essays, from Burke, and from Sir Philip Sidney. She had a great admiration for Mary Wollstonecraft, that pioneer of ‘Woman’s Rights,’ and writes these ‘Lines on her grave.’

    ‘Where art thou fled, great Soul? O where are gone The loves, griefs, joys which made thee all their own? Cold with thy broken heart, thy mouldering breast Dare man presume thou liest in dreamless Rest?

    Ah no! the immortal mind which round this tomb Shall call the tender thought in yean to come That mind immortal lives and feels, tho’ clouds From human eye its place and being shrouds.

    And in some 'Stanzas' on the same subject Jane talks of— ‘Sun-eyed Genius mourning his darling’s early tomb.'

    Sir Sidney Smith, the great Admiral, who at the time was achieving some of his world-renowned exploits, was also worshipped by our impressionable heroine, and in some lines Jane even goes the length of coupling his name with another of her heroes, Sir Philip Sidney.

    ‘O Sidney like that Sidney formed Who nobly fell on foreign land ; Like him, in war a vengeful Brand, In peace a summer’s moon, Beneath whose softened noon. The rapture-th rilling heart is elevate and warmed. Miss Porter retained her love and admiration for Sir Sidny Smith all her life. In 1803 the first edition of her Thaddn was dedicated to him, and after his death, in 1840, she wr^ to her man of business about the ‘sacred subject’ of rais money for a monument to him. She says: ‘In case £ted private friends wish to pay a subscription it might be F. such persons should see some name already placed in the^own Will you therefore prepare a little book with the label of ‘Sir S. S’s. monument’ upon it, and set down on the first page the name of Sir Robert Ker Porter, K.C.B., for ten pounds, and under it William Wallace, for one pound, the latter is a nom-de-guerre of myself, just to set the example that so minor a sum would be highly acceptable.’

    But this is indeed ‘forty years onward,’ and I must go back once more to the extract and note books of 1800. At this tirue the story of Thaddeus was much in her mind, and two years before the publication of her novel I find these lines—

    ‘Tho’ I have wept at Godlike Caesar’s fall, And sighed o’er Alexander’s early death; Yet never felt my young heart such a pang As that which rung it when brave Thaddeus fell, When from the lengthen’d line and phalanx deep One general shriek transpierced the startled ear.’ The book came out in 1803 and had a certain vogue, reaching a tenth edition in 1810. The characters were all drawn from life. It was translated into German and was read by Kosciusko, who wrote to Jane in very warm terms of approval. She dedicated the tenth edition to his memory.

    Her father’s wish that his children should be taught French had evidently not been overlooked. Two or three of Jane’s extract books are filled entirely from French authors, her favourites being Pascal, La Bruy ere, Madame de Stael (whose acquaintance Miss Porter made in later years), and Rochefoucauld. In a note book, dated 1812, she gives a ‘list of French books read this year,’ amongst them being Memoires de St. Simon, Memoires de Mme. de Maintenon and Memoires de Bussy Rabutin—over against which Jane has emphatically written ‘most vile’

    The Porter sisters are writing constantly in these years. Anna Maria’s chief work, The Hungarian Brothers, appeared in 1807, and was extremely popular; and the Scottish Chiefs, by Jane, followed in 1810. It had, at the time, an almost European reputation, and was translated into French, German and Russian. Jane tried her hand at a drama too, but it was a complete failure. The Blackwood critic of that day says scathingly, ‘ A tragedy was produced under the name of “ Swisserland,” written by Miss Jane Porter, and we are sorry to report that it received the most decided condemnation, and that it is generally considered as having deserved it. The public opinion of it was so strong and so unequivocally expressed that the manager was obliged to come forward, after much awkward delay, and announce that it should be withdrawn.’ Miss Mitford, talking of the failure of the play, says, ‘ Miss Porter is sick too—I have not much pity for her— her disease is wounded vanity.’

    Jane’s handwriting is very unlike the pointed precise style of that time, and it must have caused some talk among her friends, for I find a poem addressed to a lady ‘ who wished to see my hand-writing,’ in which Jane apologizes for her illegibility.

    ‘If with the wish to please, kind Heaven, The power to do so still had given; Then I, who scrawl to you this letter, Would sure have written vastly better: But since to will, and since to do, Are clearly things distinctly two; Since a whole world of sighs, could ne’er Make my unhappy writing fair, I e’er must wish you Joy and Health, Long life, well spent, and worldly wealth.’

    There is now a long break in my papers, and when we next hear directly from Miss Porter it is from her diary of 1835. What a gap! The beautiful girl is gone and we have before us a striking-looking woman of about fifty, with ‘the air of a Melpomene' and somewhat ‘lackadaisical? Campbell, the poet, meeting her at this time, describes her as ‘a pleasing woman,’ and N. P. Willis, the American poet and critic, talks of ‘her tall and striking figure and noble face, still possessing the remains of uncommon beauty.’ She goes much into society, and some spiteful person has it ‘that Miss Porter generally contrives to be seen patronizing some sucking lion or lioness.’ She has gained a certain amount of laurel from that ‘Eagle Fame.’ The Scottish Chiefs has been read enthusiastically, and its ‘brilliant colouring’ and ‘passages of terrific sublimity’ and its hero have been on every tongue. Miss Mitford, indeed, hardly knows ‘a heros de roman whom it is possible to admire except Wallace,’ and Joanna Baillie, in the preface to her poem on ‘William Wallace,’ acknowledges her indebtedness to the ‘gifted authoress.’ It is even hinted in some circles that Sir Walter Scott, etc., etc.'

    Anna Maria, the ‘beloved sister whose existence had been as part of my soul,’ has died, and the mother has died, and Bob is now Sir Robert Porter. His life has been a curious one. In 1804 he was appointed Historical Painter to the Czar of Russia. In St Petersburg he decorated the Admiralty Hall, and got engaged to a Russian princess. Her parents objected, and in consequence of this fearful breach of etiquette he had to leave the country. He travelled in Sweden, and met there Sir John Moore, whom he afterwards accompanied to Spain, and was present at his death at Corunna. He published several large books on his travels in Russia, Sweden, and Persia, and finally married his Russian princess, and became well-known in diplomatic circles. His beautiful young wife died soon after the marriage, leaving to him a little daughter, who afterwards married and settled in Russia. In 1835 Sir Robert was British Consul in Venezuela, and from there he writes constantly to Jane.

    Miss Porter is now living alone in London, but she has many friends, and meets all the celebrities of the day. Of Shirley Park, the home of her great friends, the Skinners, she writes:—

    ‘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 Ger* many ; 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 Madame Calmache, and other “fair lady” names which adorn our British literature, both in London and in the country at successive periods, drew around their hospitable board.’

    Among her frequent visitors are Lady Morgan (authoress of a work called Woman and her Master), Tom Moore, Joanna Baillie, Miss Pardoe, and Miss Agnes Strickland, the 'distinguished biographer’ of The Queens of England. She gets introduced to Mr. Willis, the American poet and critic, and he enrols himself in her list of admirers and pours out what Mrs. Thackeray Ritchie calls his ‘superlative admiration.’ 'What an intoxicating life it is,’ he cries; ‘I met Jane Porter and Miss Aiken and Tom Moore, and a troop more beaux esprits, at dinner yesterday. I shall never be content elsewhere.’

    And in her diary, on the 22nd December, Miss Porter reciprocates thus—

    'The first anniversary of the day in which the Almighty Goodness introduced to me my invaluable friend, N. P. Willis, by Sir John Franklin (the North American traveller) at his sister’s house in Gower Street. On this anniversary Mr. Willis and his sweet wife were at Shirley Park, with Mr. and Mrs. Skinner and myself, and we all hailed with delight Mr. Willis’ proposal that hereafter while we live we shall keep the day in memorial’ She sees a great deal of Mr. Willis, and writes, 'He finds great esteem here, and he grows in mine also;’ and, ‘Received a sweet letter from Mr. Willis;’ and, ‘Willis with us; be is an admirable and pious poet’ On July 1, Miss Porter writes—

    'Went to Harrow with Mr. Skinner and Mr. Willis. Chatham’s speech for “America” spoken by one of the boys. I could hear Willis’ heart beat as he sat close to me. We walked to Byron’s favourite tomb, and my young friend and I strewed it with the rose-leaves from our bosoms. We then visited the dog which swam by him on the Hellespont.’

    Miss Porter elsewhere describes her 'first and last sight of Childe Harold' She met him in the house of William Sotheby, the poet of ‘Oberon,’ and translator of ‘The Iliad,’ and says:

    'His 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 blond 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.’

    Later on, Miss Porter visits her friends, the Throckmortons of Coughton Court. Mr. Willis is there too, and the diary records that—

    'My dear friend Willis is much pleased. After dinner, Sir Charles Throckmorton for the first time filled Shakespeare’s Mulberry cup with wine to drink to the memory of the Bard, in presence of Mr. Willis. He gave it into my hands to drink first “To the immortal memory of Shakespeare, the Father Bard of both countries! !!” I handed it back to him, who drank the words of dedication, and then bowing to Willis, handed it to him, adding “Health and Fame to him also,” he drank it with the countenance of a poet. It was a moment of great delight. Next day Sir Charles took us—Mr. Willis and me—to Stratford, and went with us to Shakespeare’s tomb. He left us an hour afterwards. It was too rainy to walk out to the other memorial places, so Mr. Willis read to me some of his own essays ’(over Shakespeare’s Tomb, oh ye Shades !)' One on the Poetry of Religion is written with an Angel’s pen. He seems to me the most sainted creature in man’s form I ever met, and yet lively and all that in the world is called the Elegant Gentleman. We were at the 4"Red Horse” celebrated by Washington Irving, and the widow-landlady, as proud of having the poet Willis for her inmate, told us over the tea-table the history of his stay there, and showed us the poker with which, in his musing, he nearly raked out the fire. I have promised her a set of my friend’s Poems.'

    Washington Irving and Willis! How transitory has been the reputation of the latter!

    It was about this time that Mr. Willis tells Miss Porter that he is engaged to be married. I am wicked enough to think that this announcement was rather a shock to her, and that Miss Porter, even at this eleventh hour, would willingly have given up her early anti-matrimonial views. Every day in this old-faded diary on which Willis ‘drank tea’ is marked with a cross, and on the marriage day, she writes in a shaky hand, and with an extra quantity of exclamations and underlining.

    'My dear friend N. P. Willis married this morning !!! It was a happy marriage!!! The Almighty alone had introduced them to each other and blessed their mutual impression on each other to this fulfilment. I feel it will be a lasting happiness, because it was begun and continued under a deep sense of who it was that willed it! and brought it to this!!' And a week later she writes—

    ‘The Willis’ returned. He brings to me the days that are passed!!! Other entries for this year are—

    ‘Oct. 21. (Battle of Trafalgar). Dined at the Archbishop of Canterbury’s. Thirty years after this great battle.

    ‘Nov. 18. Heard of Lord Nelson’s death—a young man—nephew of the great Lord.

    ‘Nov. 18. Stayed with Lady Hamlyn. She read to me in the evening part of Bulwer’s Pompeii. I admire it very much.

    'Dec. 26. Went to the Assembly Rooms at Croydon to hear the Rev. Mortimer O’Sullivan plead for the Irish Protestant clergy. He spoke gloriously—the collection £300—I was introduced to him.’

    The next diary is dated 1840. Miss Porter has evidently been very ill. She begins the book with a little Thanksgiving for having been spared ‘when I was at the very Gates of Death—spared by God’s mercy to meet my beloved Brother again on Earth—Glory to the Merciful God.’

    When I glance over her chemist’s bill I really wonder that the good lady survived. In the month of November she consumes twenty-one bottles of quinine and a box of pills daily I Like Miss Mitford she is in great pecuniary straits and has to accept loans from her friends. In the preceding year £100 was procured for her from the Royal Bounty. A secretary begs to inform her that he ‘has received directions from Lord Melbourne that £100 be paid from the Royal Bounty to Miss Jane Porter' and in 1840 she writes—

    ‘Last October, entered into an agreement with Mr. Virtue (Please Heaven and as far as my recovered copyright allows) to furnish him a new ’Preface and additional notes to the Scottish Chiefs—at the end of 3 months or within 6 months—when he will give me a Bill for £200, payable at 3 months; God in his gracious mercy grant I may be able to do it within the 6—that will be the middle of April.’

    Poor Miss Porter keeps her accounts scrupulously, but they are a great burden to her and, as she writes, 'money matters make me so nervous.’ Some items in her expenditure are:— Poor man, Is.; 2 muslin handkerchiefs, 2s.; dyeing black satin, ; a month’s medicine, £14; my beverage, 4s.; etc.

    After one great settling up is scrawled—

    ‘Originally there, -Expended, Ought to remain,

    £55 15 0
    31 5 0
    24 10 0

    and so it is, this March 5, 1840, quite rightly balanced in my hand.*

    Other accounts have touching little additions, as, ‘Have still £5 in Blue Pocket Book;’ or, ‘£10 in pledge to Selina’s rent;’ or, ‘a little extra money left in my purse before I began the Morgan money;’ or, ‘find this account quite clear, thank God for his Bounties.’

    The year 1840 is chiefly spent in preparing new Preface for the latest edition of the Scottish Chiefs. In March she writes:— ‘Had a letter from Mr. Longman telling me I had recovered my S. C’s. Thanks to God. He had heard I had got a Pension.’ And in August, ‘Mr. Longman hopes to settle entirely to my satisfaction my business with Mr. Virtue on Monday, and then send me the legal paper to sign, also to send me Mr. Virtue’s bill for 200 guiueas payable in Dec. this year.’

    Miss Porter mentions a fire in Ivy Lane: ‘It has injured Mr. V.’s premises, but they send me word that all the MSS. are safe, and also no lives lost at his house, but four at his neighbours, where the fire broke out,’ and next day she has ‘A gratifying little note from Mr. Virtue pleased with my sympathy about the fire—my MSS. safe! But he is too much engaged for a month to come arranging his disordered papers to do business yet with mine.’

    There was an unpleasant episode connected with the new edition, but Mr. Longman seems to have put the matter— whatever it was—to rights for her. Miss Porter says :—

    'Had a painful letter from Mr. Bentley—sent it to Mr. Longman to reply to. This matter shakes my shattered frame and wrings my soul, for my Integrity is put to question. Heaven knows the money is needful, but it is my good name that is my great staff. May God preserve it.’

    But a few days later she adds, ‘Longman tells me to be easy— all was going well,’ and in November the edition came out triumphantly. For that time it was quite an ‘Edition de Luxe? It is printed in two large volumes, and is profusely illustrated with engravings by Cousen, after popular landscape painters. The frontispiece shows us Miss Porter, clad in voluminous velvet robes, and having the air of a Tragic Muse. She is seated on a grassy bank, under a spreading tree, and gazes heavenwards, while the setting sun illumines the lake at her feet! The books are dedicated in effusive terms to ‘ Thomas Longman, Esquire, as a token of the unchanging regard to Him and to his House, of his, and their ever truly attached Friend (from Youth to Age).’

    Miss Porter winds up the year 1840 with—

    ‘This is the last day of the year 1840, in which so many awful circumstances have occurred to the world! and to poor me a Single Individual! and signal mercies with them all Publick and Private! May God thro’ our Lord and Saviour sanctify them to us—Publickly and Privately!!! Amen! Amen! Amen!

    ‘Jane Porter.’

    And now there is another gap, and we take up a diary dated 1845. Poor Miss Porter! The entries are very few, and the once bold writing is feeble. The London whirl of society is given up, and we find her living with her brother William, the Doctor, at Bristol.

    Since 1840 her beloved brother, Robert, had come back from Venezuela, but only to set out on a still longer journey. While visiting his married daughter in Russia, he died shortly after Jane had joined him in St Petersburg. She returned to England, broken in health and heart, and spent many months in settling his affairs. Her own were in a still worse condition, and she was glad to retreat to Bristol, where she writes in her diary:—

    ‘Jan. 6. Received the Sacrament in St. Paul’s, the ehurch in whose churchyard my beloved sister, Anna Maria, lies buried. Our mother lies in a grave at Esher, and my beloved brother Robert in one in the Protestant cemetery of St. Petersburg. Wherever I may be laid, may the mercy of God through our Redeemer Christ raise us in joyful Resurrection.'

    The poets and writers of America presented Miss Porter at this time with an Arm-chair, and she mentions it thus:—

    ‘Jan. 10. Wrote to Churchill with a notice of “The Chair” for him to get into the 'Morning Herald.’ And again, ‘Heard the Chair is noticed in the “Times”!! ’

    Later on she writes :—

    ‘Revised Thaddeus most of the day. Heard of an attempt to kill the Duke of Normandy. Better in health. I thank God. Wrote to Colnaghi and to Drummond acknowledging the notice of the £50. Promised Colnaghi Setts of my new edition. N.B.—I have in my possession 2 Bills of Mr. Virtue’s for £100 each in my favour—one due in July, the other in October—in payment for the revising, etc., of my three works, Thaddeus, Scottish Chiefs, and The Pastor.’

    Miss Porter had great hopes of receiving a pension at this time, but she was disappointed. She says:—

    ‘During this month letters passed between me and Lord Aberdeen and others relative to my hopes of a Pension. The last from Lord Aberdeen closed these Hopes as far as Man could do! by Sir Robert Peel’s refusal to grant it, offering me a Donation of £150. I answered Lord A. Still respectfully maintaining my hopes for the Pension. Have heard no more up to April 3rd from either minister either of the Donation or my Hopes. But I retain them as God may will. Meanwhile Mrs.---wrote to me of some powerful friend of hers in England having zealously proposed his interest in the Peel quarter in my behalf if I would permit it, and give particulars through her. I did, but did not broadly proclaim the actual refusal. I have since learnt from her the kind friend is Mr. Packington, M.P. for Worcestershire ; so he is at work for my object. About the same time Mrs. Marchir wrote me a similar proposal from some unnamed but apparently more powerful Interest, and I wrote her a similar answer. That personage also is at work for me, and God alone can give the Blessing.’

    About this time she paid a visit to her London friends and met Mr. Packington and others interested in her case. Mr. Packington afterwards became First Lord of the Admiralty under Lord Derby’s administration in 1858.

    He seems to have failed in his efforts to procure the pension, and Miss Porter returned to Bristol. On December 3 she writes her last entry.

    ‘Anniversary of my birthday! God give me Grace! Made a copy of my last Will and Testament, to be prepared by my friend Mr. Shepherd for my proper signature to be ready in case of my death, being in an increasing weak state. Despatched the Packet to him to-day by Post.’

    And so the old Diary ceases to speak. Somewhat sadly we close its pages and take our leave of the frail and feeble authoress. In spite of the pedantry and artificial expressions of her time a warm heart beat in Jane Porter’s breast. And although her name is now almost forgotten, and she and her works are fast fading into the ‘Uncatalogued Library of Oblivion,’ we must remember that in her own day she kindled a certain flame of patriotic enthusiasm for which we still owe her a grateful tribute.

    Ina Mary White.

    The Scottish Chiefs can be read at: where a pdf copy of this diary is also available.

    And that's it for this week and hope you all have a great weekend.


  2. Thanks Rick, 1938 Observer, FriedaKateM thanked for this post.
  3. #2

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    Re: Newsletter for 22nd March 2019

    Al, while I agree that we should just leave the EU I do not think the Mrs Ma.y deserves to be called "mentally incompetent".
    And with the developments changing all the time I am pretty sure that the bunch of incompetents in Westminster will get their 'comeuppance' (never knew that was one word...) come the next general election.
    Totally frustrated by the whole thing and glad that I am leaving for 'civilisation' next week.

  4. Like 1938 Observer liked this post.
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    Re: Newsletter for 22nd March 2019

    Well I'm just going by her very clear comments when she first said we'd be out of the Common Market, the Single Market and out from under the ECJ. Then she tells us that the deal she negotiated that has been heavily defeated twice now is what we voted for and it does none of those things.

    To me that's mentally incompetent. But... I'm happy to withdraw the comment if it upsets anyone but how else does one describe her?


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    Re: Newsletter for 22nd March 2019

    How about vacillating and weak.

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    Re: Newsletter for 22nd March 2019

    Hi Alastair, regarding your email comment on Conrad Black's piece on SNC-Lavalin changing your mind, I do have to say that although I almost always agree with Black on most issues, I almost always disagree with him on Indigenous issues. He has no background in Indigenous affairs so his old world biases leave him quite out of step with Canadian history and politics on this unique subject. He makes a number of substantive mistakes in the column, for example regarding section 35 of the 1982 Constitution and his assessment of the book that Jody Wilson-Raybould and her husband wrote, which is nothing more than an explanation of three types of First Nation governance that already exist. He makes some fair comments on Aboriginal programs generally and the need to get things on a proper track, but he is quite wrong about Jody Wilson-Raybould. I can say from personal experience that she is the real deal and not playing an ulterior game.

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    Re: Newsletter for 22nd March 2019

    I took the comment about her lack of knowledge on legal matters to be the most significant issue.


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    Re: Newsletter for 22nd March 2019

    Theresa May has moved beyond dishonesty to despotism

    FAILING to get her own way by mendacity, Mrs May is now evading the law and the legislature.



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    Re: Newsletter for 22nd March 2019

    It's a it late to attempt to get a consensus. The while lot of them should be kicked out. Next General Election is going to be 'interesting' to say the least.


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    Re: Newsletter for 22nd March 2019

    There have been so many good/informative/links and opinions on Brexit on the forum to read and try to digest that I have decided to step back and have some well deserved rest................this is my solution

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