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Patrick Walker (1666-1745) - Biographer

He was a native of Lanarkshire, Scotland, who became an ardent supporter of the Covenanters at an early stage in his life. In 1684 he was arrested and taken to Edinburgh, where he was sentenced to deportation to North America but he effected an escape to the south-west, where he joined the cameronians. With the Revolution Settlement of 1689 and the accession to
the throne of William and Mary, Walker's extreme views seem to have moderated and he lived out the rest of his days in Edinburgh. There he became a well-known local figure, and he appears in Scott's novel The Heart Of Midlothian as a packman at the Bristo Port. For one who kept such a personal record of the events of the Covenanting opposition, very little of Walker's character creeps into his writings, and consequently the facts of his life are shadowy and obscure. His first work, a life of the Covenanter Alexander Peden, appeared in 1724 and he went on to write lives of the other leading Covenanters John Semple, John Welwood, Richard Cameron, Donald Cargill and Walter Smith. Although, as an apologist for his subjects, he paints a highly coloured and partisan view of their lives and acts, there is little doubt that Walker was a good witness of the main actions of the Covenanting opposition. His eye for detail and his ability to summon up whole episodes and conversations give his biographies a vigour and raciness unusual for his times.

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