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Walter Scott, 1st Baronet Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Walter Scott, 1st Baronet passes away in 1832.

Walter Scott, 1st Baronet was a Scottish poet and novelist.

Scott was born in Old Town Edinburgh, Scotland on August 15th, 1771. In 1773, he suffered from polio and was left lame for the rest of his life. To try to cure his lameness, his family sent him to live with his paternal grandparents and aunt Jenny in the Scottish Borders. There he was taught to read by his aunt. He also learned of the rich Scottish history and legends of the area. He returned to Edinburgh in 1775. Over the next two summers he would travel with his aunt as they attempted water therapy to help him to walk.

In 1778, Scott enrolled in the Royal High School of Edinburgh. After graduating he was sent again to live with his aunt for 6 months in Kelso. While there he attended the local grammar school and met the two brothers that he would later work with as the printers of novels and would become their business partner.

In 1783, Scott began attending the University of Edinburgh. At the age of 12 he was almost a year younger than his contemporaries. While at the University he became friends with the son of one of the professors. The professor held literary salons in his home and invited notable individuals of the literary scene. It was in 1786 at one of the salons that Scott would meet Robert Burns. It was their only meeting.

It was decided that Scott would become an attorney. In 1792, after studying law, he was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates, similar to the bar in the United States.

By 1796, Scott was beginning to start his literary career. He had all of his life been collecting the stories from the Scottish Borders. He even went so far as to carve information into sticks so that those who felt the oral traditions should never be written down, would not become upset with him. Scott compiled stories and poems and published them into books. Also in 1796, he would meet up with his school friends and work with them to print his books.

Scott would gain initial fame with his poetry. Later he would begin publishing novels. They all had a similar theme in that they were political in nature. He would often veil current events with past events in his stories. Most notably Ivanhoe, a romantic novel set in the 12th century had sub-test about the repressive measures being passed in 1817 and 1818 by the British Parliament who were fearful of a French style revolution in England.

Scott would put his knowledge of Scottish history to a practical test. The Prince Regent, the future George IV, gave Scott permission to search for the lost Crown Jewels (Honours of Scotland). In 1818, Scott and a small group of military men discovered them in Edinburgh Castle. For his efforts the Prince Regent granted him the title of baronet.

In 1825, during the banking crisis in the United Kingdom, put Scott in ruin. At the time he was the only partner in the printing company he owned and the debt caused him to go into a very public ruin. Despite his situation he refused to accept help from any of his supports, including the now King George IV. Instead he insisted that he would write his way out of the problem.

On September 21st, 1832, Scott passed away after returning from a book tour in Europe. The cause of his passing is listed as unexplained circumstances.

Scott was a member of Lodge St David, No.36 in Edinburgh. Scott's father was also a mason. Unfortunately Scott did not join his father's lodge until two years after his father had passed in 1801.