Scott, John (1730-1783) (DNB00)

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SCOTT, JOHN (1730–1783), quaker poet, youngest son of Samuel Scott, a quaker linendraper, by his wife, Martha Wilkins, was born in the Grange Walk, Bermondsey, on 9 Jan. 1730. At seven he commenced Latin under John Clarke, a Scottish schoolmaster of Bermondsey; but his father's removal to Amwell, Hertfordshire, in 1740 interrupted his education. He developed a taste for poetry, and wrote verses in the ‘Gentleman's Magazine’ between 1753 and 1758. After 1760 he paid occasional visits to London, and made the acquaintance of John Hoole [q. v.], who introduced him to Dr. Johnson. In November 1770 he took a house at Amwell, frequented Mrs. Montagu's parties, and made many literary friends. Among them was Dr. Beattie, in whose defence Scott afterwards wrote letters to the ‘Gentleman's Magazine’ (March 1778). Dr. Johnson, who visited Scott at Amwell, wrote that he ‘loved’ Scott. Scott published in 1776 his descriptive poem, ‘Amwell’ (2nd edit. 1776, 4to; reprinted Dublin, 1776). His ‘Poetical Works’ (London, 1782, 8vo; reprinted 1786 and 1795) were attacked by the ‘Critical Review’ (July 1782, p. 47), and Scott ill-advisedly defended himself in ‘A Letter to the Critical Reviewers,’ London, 1782, 8vo. He next collected his ‘Critical Essays;’ but before they were published he died at his house at Ratcliff, 12 Dec. 1783, and was buried at the Friends' burial-ground there. In 1767 he married Sarah Frogley, the daughter of a self-educated bricklayer, to whom he owed his first introduction to the poets. She died a year later with her infant, and Scott wrote an ‘Elegie’ (London, 1769, 4to; 2nd edit. 1769). By his second wife, Mary, daughter of Abraham de Horne, Scott left one daughter, Maria de Horne Scott, aged six at his death.

Johnson consented to write a sketch of Scott's life to accompany the ‘Essays;’ but, his death intervening, it was undertaken by Hoole, and published in 1785. A portrait by Townsend, engraved by J. Hall, which is prefixed, is said to be inexact.

Scott's verses were appreciated by his contemporaries. Besides the works mentioned he wrote: 1. ‘Four Elegies, descriptive and moral,’ 4to, 1760. 2. ‘Observations on the State of the Parochial and Vagrant Poor,’ 1773, 8vo. 3. ‘Remarks on the Patriot’ [by Dr. Johnson], 1775, 8vo. 4. ‘Digests of the General Highway and Turnpike Laws,’ &c., London, 1778, 8vo. 5. ‘Four Moral Eclogues,’ London, 1778, 4to; reprinted in the ‘Cabinet of Poetry,’ 1808. His collected poetical works and life, the latter based upon Hoole's, are included in the series of ‘British Poets’ by Anderson, Chalmers, Campbell, Davenport Park, and Sanford.

Samuel Scott (1719–1788), elder brother of the above, born in Gracechurch Street, London, on 21 May 1719, settled at Hertford and became a quaker minister. Of sober temperament, inclined to melancholy, he was deeply read in the writings of William Law [q. v.], Francis Okely [q. v.], and other mystics. He published a ‘Memoir of the Last Illness’ of his brother (n.d.), and died on 20 Nov. 1788. His ‘Diary,’ edited by Richard Phillips, was published, London, 1809, 12mo (2nd edit. 1811; reprinted in Philadelphia, and in vol. ix. of Evans's ‘Friends' Library,’ Philadelphia, 1845). One of his sermons is in ‘Sermons or Declarations,’ York, 1824.

[Memoir by Hoole in Critical Essays, 1785; Mem. of the last illness, &c., by his brother, Samuel Scott; European Mag. September 1782, pp. 193–7; Gent. Mag. December 1783, p. 1066; Boswell's Johnson, ed. Hill, ii. 338, 351; Monthly Review, July 1787, p. 25; Chalmers's Biogr. Dict.; Cussans's Hist. of Hertfordshire, vol. ii. ‘Hundred of Hertford,’ p. 119; Clutterbuck's Hist. of Hertfordshire, ii. 20, 76; Nichols's Lit. Illustr. vol. v., ‘Letters of Joseph Cockfield,’ passim; Pratt's Cabinet of Poetry, vol. vi. pp. 11–100; Forbes's Life of Beattie, ii. 107–12, 122–6; Friends' Biogr. Cat. pp. 587–96.]

C. F. S.