Thursday, February 16, 2012

Misfortune's growling bark

‘February 16 [1826].—"Misfortune's gowling bark"comes louder and louder. By assigning my whole property to trustees for behoof of creditors, with two works in progress and nigh publication, and with all my future literary labours, I conceived I was bringing into the field a large fund of payment, which could not exist without my exertions, and that thus far I was entitled to a corresponding degree of indulgence. I therefore supposed, on selling this house, and various other property, and on receiving the price of Woodstock and Napoleon, that they would give me leisure to make other exertions, and be content with the rents of Abbotsford, without attempting a sale. This would have been the more reasonable, as the very printing of these works must amount to a large sum, of which they will reap the profits. In the course of this delay I supposed I was to have the chance of getting some insight both into Constable's affairs and those of Hurst and Robinson. Nay, employing these houses, under precautions, to sell the works, the publisher's profit would have come in to pay part of their debts. But Gibson last night came in after dinner, and gave me to understand that the Bank of Scotland see this in a different point of view, and consider my contribution of the produce of past, present, and future labours, as compensated in full by their accepting of the trust-deed, instead of pursuing the mode of sequestration, and placing me in the Gazette. They therefore expected the trustees instantly to commence a law-suit to reduce the marriage settlement, which settles the estate upon Walter, thus loading me with a most expensive suit, and, I suppose, selling library and whatever they can lay hold on…’

Scott logs a lengthy post on February 16, 1826, as his bankruptcy unfolded.  Scott begins with a quote from Robert Burns from the bard’s dedication to Gavin Hamilton, which at least shows that he was able to see past some of his current difficulties.  The Bank of Scotland is deeply involved in this process, and Scott was about to become immersed in efforts to save the existing Scottish banking system through his Malagrowther letters.

No comments:

Post a Comment