Archive for 'Scotland'

Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Fifteen: Stowe and the Duchess of Sutherland

But most of all, what could induce the black man’s advocate, the tender abolitionist pen, the Yankee lover of freedom at other people’s cost, the fair authoress of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the lioness of a season, Mrs Harriet Beecher Stowe, for a little ducal bread and butter and politeness, to select as one of her “Sunny Memories” the removal,—shall we say the destruction?—of 15,000 souls from the soil and the sod of their fathers?
–Feltham Burghley, “Mrs Beecher Stowe’s Notion of Landed Property and the Clearances” (MacPhail’s Edinburgh Ecclesiastical Journal, Vol. 20, No. 176, September, 1860).

Having departed Scotland, Harriet Beecher Stowe found herself in London by early May of 1853. Here she was entertained by the Duke of Duchess of Sutherland, commencing a long friendship with the Duchess, who shared Stowe’s abolitionist views. Many of those familiar with the history of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s most famous and influential work, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, also know that there was an intense reaction to her book. Many anti-Uncle Tom novels, also called “Plantation Literature,” were published in the 1850s, such as the best-selling Aunt Phillis’s Cabin; or, Southern Life As It Is, by Mary Henderson Eastman. Interestingly, Stowe’s European travel narrative, Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands, also produced an anti-Sunny Memories book. › Continue reading…


Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Fourteen: Adieu to Scotland


Before Harriet Beecher Stowe left Scotland she had the opportunity to visit the studio of the painter Sir George Harvey (1806-1876) and saw two of his works there: “The Covenanters’ Communion” and “Quitting the Manse.” › Continue reading…


Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Thirteen: Hawthornden Castle

HawthorndenHawthornden Castle (Source)

Hawthornden Castle is situated on the north bank of the River North Esk in Midlothian. It consists of a ruined 15th-century castle with an attached house built in 1638 by the poet Sir William Drummond of Hawthornden. Part of the castle is now made available by its current owners as a private retreat for writers. Harriet Beecher Stowe visited Hawthornden on April 27, 1853. › Continue reading…


Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Twelve: Making Calls


On the evening of the 26th of April, 1853, the day that Harriet Beecher Stowe visited Abbotsford, Dryburgh and Melrose, she attended a meeting of the Scottish Temperance League. She describes her itinerary for the following day in Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands, Volume I:

The day after we returned from Melrose we spent in resting and riding about, as we had two engagements in the evening—one at a party at the house of Mr. Douglas, of Cavers, and the other at a public temperance soirée. Mr. Douglas is the author of several works which have excited attention; but perhaps you will remember him best by his treatise on the Advancement of Society in Religion and Knowledge. He is what is called here a “laird,” a man of good family, a large landed proprietor, a zealous reformer, and a very devout man.

› Continue reading…


Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Eleven: Melrose Abbey

Melrose_AbbeyMelrose Abbey Wikimedia: Globaltraveller / Creative Commons

If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright,
Go visit it by the pale moon-light;
For the gay beams of lightsome day
Gild, but to flout, the ruins gray.
When the broken arches are black in night,
And each shafted oriel glimmers white;
When the cold light’s uncertain shower
Streams on the ruined central tower;

When buttress and buttress, alternately,
Seem framed of ebon and ivory;
When silver edges the imagery,
And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die;
When distant Tweed is heard to rave,
And the owlet to hoot o’er the dead man’s grave,
Then go—but go alone the while—
Then view St David’s ruined pile;
And, home returning, soothly swear,
Was never scene so sad and fair!

–Sir Walter Scott, “The Lay of the Last Minstrel,” Canto II

On the same day (April 26, 1853) that Harriet Beecher Stowe visited Abbotsford and Dryburgh Abbey, she visited the ruins of Melrose Abbey. › Continue reading…


Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Ten: Dryburgh Abbey

Dryburgh AbbeyDryburgh Abbey. flickr: Bert Kaufmann / Creative Commons

After visiting Abbotford, Harriet Beecher Stowe was next taken to see two ruined abbeys, Dryburgh Abbey and Melrose Abbey. She was reminded of Scott’s poem, “The Eve of St. John,” which mentiones both places. › Continue reading…

Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Nine: Abbotsford

AbbotsfordAbbotsford as depicted in Morris’s County Seats (A Series of Picturesque Views of Seats of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. V, 1880)

On April 26, 1853, Harriet Beecher Stowe visited Melrose in the Scottish Borders. Her husband, Calvin Stowe, and her brother, Charles Beecher, did not accompany her as they were not yet back from a trip to Glasgow, where the previous day they had spoken at a temperance meeting. Melrose is famous for Melrose Abbey, considered to be one of the most beautiful monastic ruins in Great Britain. Near Melrose is Abbotsford, the home of poet and novelist Sir Walter Scott. Harriet describes her arrival at Melrose in Letter VIII of Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands: › Continue reading…

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