Rev. James Scott

Joseph Cradock, in Literary and Miscellaneous Memoirs (1828) 1:200-01; 4:274-76.

On the night of the first appearance of the Comedy [Clandestine Marriage], an unexpected opposition arose in the house, when in the second act, Canton, the Swiss servant, informed Lord Ogleby, that there was nothing in the papers but Anti-Sejanus and Advertisements; and immediately several jumped up in the pit, and pointing to a side-box, violently exclaimed, "There he is, turn him out, turn him out, I say." The Rev. Mr. Scott directly arose, and being upwards of six feet high, attracted no small attention; he remained, however, perfectly undaunted, as I have more than once seen him, in the University Church at Cambridge, when violently assailed by the Under Graduates, and having descended from the pulpit, has openly declared, that "he doubted whether the Scrapers, or the Scrapee, had been best entertained." To those, however, who are acquainted with theatres, it is well known on what slight hinges the success or destruction of a Piece often turns; and Mr. Garrick was much displeased with Scott, for greatly contributing to increase the irritation; but the passage itself should have been omitted. The politics of the day are not properly adapted either to the Pulpit or the Stage. Party then ran high; and Mr. Scott was publicly known to be the author of those violent invectives which daily appeared under the signature of Anti-Sejanus....

Amidst other excursions in the summer, I once went for six weeks to Harrogate, where, at the Green Dragon, I became acquainted with Mr. Scott, afterwards well known for "Anti-Sejanus," and other publications. From his arrogance the University, although they allotted to him the Seatonian Prizes till he called the estate "his freehold," did not always allow him his just merits as a poet. However, the following lines, "On the Art of Rising in the Church," will best speak for themselves:

Thus straws and feathers easily will fly,
And the light scale is sure to mount on high,
Thin air-blown bubbles by each breath are borne,
And wind will take the chaff that leaves the corn.

As I have mentioned the Rev. Dr. Scott, I wish to speak more decisively. I knew him intimately in Yorkshire, at Cambridge, and afterwards in London. He was a very clever man; but there is a little misrepresentation as to his friendship with Lord Sandwich. I never saw him at Hinchinbroke or at the Admiralty in my life; but he has been at both, and Mr. Bates and other friends have spoken as to particulars. When party raged in Lord Bute's time, he was made serviceable to Government, and wrote well, under the different signatures of Anti-Sejanus, and Old Sly-boots; but he gave particular offence to Lord Sandwich, by a discourse, preached at Huntingdon, on the character of Mary Magdalen. Dr. Green, Bishop of Lincoln, was at my house in Leicestershire, when an appeal was made against it. The Rev. Mr. Jenner and Mr. Bates were present. The Bishop said, he once saw the sermon, but only thought it was light and foolish. The reply was, "Perhaps your Lordship is not aware of Mr. Scott's peculiar manner of delivering some of the passages;" and I referred to that where he applies a Greek passage, as quoted in a note, "where my Lord and my love are laid." The Bishop said, "I see it, and am beyond measure shocked." When the great living of Simonburn became vacant, which was in the gift of the governors of Greenwich Hospital, Mr. Scott instantly bestirred himself, but in the most artful manner possible. He first besieged the inferiors, who never doubted under what patronage he applied, and reserved the two principals till the last, who did not like to make an open disavowal, and so he succeeded. I do not recollect ever to have heard Lord Sandwich directly mention his name, but I knew, from various discordances, what were his real sentiments. Scott always boasted that he dedicated to Dr. Robert Smith a well-timed Poem on the statue of Sir Isaac Newton, in Trinity Chapel, and principally by it obtained a fellowship, as no small prejudice at that time certainly prevailed against Scott in his own College, though his poetical talents were admired.