David Steuart Erskine, 11th. Earl of Buchan : a study of his life and correspondence
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[From the Prefatory note]. All the biographical accounts of David Steuart Erskine, 11th Earl of Buchan, are slight, and often very unsympathetic. Most have relied for factual information on his obituary, published in volume 99 of The Gentleman’s Magazine. Malicious and distorted comments, particularly by Sir Walter Scott, have been responsible for the growth of a legend about Buchan’s eccentricity, although the charge of absurd conduct was lodged against him in his own lifetime. It is interesting to note that a tradesman in Galashiels, near Buchan’s former residence at Dryburgh Abbey, was found to talk about Buchan’s patriotism, but at much greater length about his oddities, as recently as 1962. Those who could have given posterity a fair assessment of Buchan did not do so, and the way was left open for those who saw him only as vain and self-seeking. He was unlucky in living in the neighbourhood of Scott’s house, Abbotsford, and because of this he has never had his due, even in the Border Country where he spent almost half his life. The cult of Scott flourishes there, but to Buchan there is no memorial. Whereas Abbotsford is much sought after, and is still in the possession of Scott’s descendants, Dryburgh Abbey passed from Buchan’s family and was given to the nation. Scott would probably have been amused had he known that the time would come when visitors to the Abbey would seek out his grave whilst that of Buchan goes unnoticed.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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