Scott, Walter, Sir, Baronet (1771 -1832)
Walter Scott, was the son and fourth surviving child of Walter Scott, Writer to the Signet, and Anne, eldest daughter of John Rutherford, Professor of Medicine in the University of Edinburgh. He was educated at Edinburgh High School, for a half year at Kelso High School, where he was a fellow pupil of James Ballantyne, and at Edinburgh University, where he did not take his degree. In 1786 he was apprenticed to his father, as a Writer to the Signet. In 1788, he began to study civil law, and in 1792 became a member of the Faculty of Advocates. Lame in one foot, he nevertheless rambled all over Scotland following his antiquarian pursuits and collecting ballads. In 1797 he joined a volunteer regiment of horse as quartermaster. On 24 December 1797, he married, in Carlisle, Charlotte Mary Carpenter, the daughter of a French refugee Jean Charpentier. On 16 December 1799 Scott was appointed Sheriff depute for Selkirkshire. In 1802 he published his Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border which was printed by his schoolboy friend James Ballantyne, in Kelso, and published by Cadell. In 1804, The lay of the last minstrel appeared, the first of Scott's poems to bring him fame. In 1805 he became a partner in Ballantyne's Border Press which had moved to Edinburgh. Marmion appeared in 1808, The Lady of the Lake in 1810 and The vision of Don Roderick in 1811. Meanwhile he had been working on Waverley off and on for a number of years, and it appeared anonymously in 1814. It was a startling success, and for the next ten years he poured out novels. The money was very welcome as the printing firm of Ballantyne & Co was losing money very badly, and Scott had been having difficulty finding money for his own domestic needs which were very considerable, including as they did his country house at Abbotsford, and his town house in Castle Street in Edinburgh. On 30 March 1820 he was created a baronet by the Prince Regent. In January 1826, the London firm of Hurst, Robinson, which had been speculating in commodities, folded, bringing with them the publishers Constable, who had been acting for some years as Scott's publisher, and the firm of Ballantyne which had been in serious trouble for some time. Scott's partnership in the latter now became public, and instead of accepting bankruptcy, he set himself to work off the debts. Abbotsford had been settled on his son Walter on his marriage at the beginning of the previous year, but the house in Edinburgh and his personal effects were all sold. Scott spent the remainder of his life writing novels for his creditors and when he died his debts had been virtually cleared. His creditors bought his library at his sale and presented it to him as a gift. Most of it remains at Abbotsford, but there is a small collection of books from it in the National Library of Scotland. A catalogue of the library was printed by the Maitland Club in 1838.