Scott, Sarah (DNB00)

SCOTT, SARAH (d. 1795), historian and novelist, was the younger daughter of Matthew Robinson (d. 1778) of West Layton in the parish of Hutton Magna, Yorkshire, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Drake, recorder of Cambridge. She was the younger sister of Matthew Robinson, second lord Rokeby, and of Mrs. Elizabeth Montagu [q. v.], and as the two sisters were said to be ‘as like as two peas,’ she was nicknamed ‘The Pea.’ About 1751 she married George Lewis Scott [q. v.], and on 30 April 1752 Mrs. Delany writes on the ‘foolish choice’ which Mrs. Scott has made for herself, adding that her husband was ‘a very bad man’ (Life and Correspondence, iii. 115). There were no doubt faults on both sides; for they parted ‘through disagreement of tempers.’

After the separation Mrs. Scott went to live with Lady Barbara (or Bab) Montagu, sister of George Montagu Dunk, second earl of Halifax [q. v.], and the two ladies united their income. They dwelt together until the death of Lady Bab in 1765, when Mrs. Scott, whose ‘restlessness was one of her foibles,’ continually changed her place of abode. She died in obscurity at Catton, near Norwich, on 30 Nov. 1795. By her last injunctions, all her letters and papers were burnt. Mrs. Scott was an industrious if dull writer. In her own day she was described as an ‘excellent historian, of great acquirements, extraordinary memory and strong sense.’

All of her works were published without her name. They comprised:

  1. ‘History of Cornelia,’ a novel (anon.), 1750.
  2. ‘Journey through Every Stage of Life’ (anon.), 1754, 2 vols., a history of several fictitious characters, mostly lovers.
  3. ‘Agreeable Ugliness, or the Trial of the Graces’ (anon.), 1754.
  4. ‘History of Gustavus Ericson, King of Sweden, by Henry Augustus Raymond,’ 1761, a scarce volume.
  5. ‘History of Mecklenburgh’ (anon.), 1762; 2nd edit. 1762. It was suggested by the marriage of George III.
  6. ‘Description of Millennium Hall, by a Gentleman on his Travels,’ 1762; 2nd edit. 1764; 4th edit. 1778. An account of a country house and of the several ladies inhabiting it. A note by Horace Walpole on a copy of the second edition at the British Museum states that it was written by Lady Barbara Montagu and Mrs. Scott.
  7. ‘Man of Real Sensibility, or the History of Sir George Ellison’ (anon.), 1765 (?), forty pages. This was afterwards expanded into ‘The History of Sir George Ellison,’ 1766, 2 vols.
  8. ‘Test of Filial Duty, in a series of Letters between Emilia Leonard and Charlotte Arlington,’ 1772, 2 vols.: excellent morality, but dull reading.
  9. ‘Life of Theodore Agrippa d'Aubigné’ (anon.), 1772, an account of the most ‘remarkable occurrences during the civil wars of France.’ This work acquired much reputation.

[Gent. Mag. 1795 ii. 1056, 1798 ii. 826; Brydges's Censura Literaria, i. 293–5; Notes and Queries, 7th ser. viii. 116; Gent. Mag. 1805, i. 218–21, ii. 811–12; Doran's A Lady of the Last Century: Mrs. Montagu, 1873, and Letters of Mrs. Elizabeth Montagu.]

W. P. C.