According to John Buchan, Scott "had a regular gift of eliciting what was worthiest in a man...". In addition to the many real life characters Scott appreciated, he read other writer's works voaciously. In 1828, we find him engaged in James Fenimore Cooper's "The Red Rover" (from Scott's Journal).
January 14.—I read Cooper's new novel, The Red Rover; the current of it rolls entirely upon the ocean. Something there is too much of nautical language; in fact, it overpowers everything else. But, so people once take an interest in a description, they will swallow a great deal which they do not understand. The sweet word "Mesopotamia" has its charm in other compositions as well as in sermons. He has much genius, a powerful conception of character, and force of execution. The same ideas, I see, recur upon him that haunt other folks. The graceful form of the spars, and the tracery of the ropes and cordage against the sky, is too often dwelt upon.