Wednesday, June 23, 2010

John Galt

June 23 (1826).—The heat tremendous, and the drought threatening the hay and barley crop. Got from the Court at half-twelve, and walked to the extremity of Heriot Row to see poor Lady Don; left my card as she does not receive any one. I am glad this painful meeting is adjourned. I received to-day £10 from Blackwood for the article on The Omen. Time was I would not have taken these small tithes of mint and cummin, but scornful dogs will eat dirty puddings, and I, with many depending on me, must do the best I can with my time—God help me!

The entry above from Scott's Journal was logged after the Panic of 1825/26, which bankrupted Scott.  Scott critiqued John Galt's "The Omen" for Blackwood's Magazine.

Galt was a fellow Scottish novelist, who was born about 8 years after Scott (on May 2, 1779).  His early working years as a businessman were frustrating, but chance favored his meeting Lord Byron on a business trip to Gibraltar.  He had by this point published one poem, the 'Battle of Largs", and so had a common interest with Byron.  After Gibraltar, Galt and Byron traveled together to Malta, and later met in Athens. 

A subsequent business trip for Glasgow merchant Kirkman Finlay also took Galt to Gibraltar.  By this point he was writing and publishing more works.  He is best known for "The Annals of the Parish" and "The Ayrshire Legatees".  His travels did not end with Gibraltar.  Ultimately, he crossed the Atlantic as Secretary for the Canada Land Company, founding the city of Guelph.  Another town on the Grand River is named Galt in his honor.


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