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Memoir of John Murray
Robert William Hay to John Murray III, 7 July 1856

Vol. 1 Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
Chapter X.
Chapter XI.
Chapter XII.
Chapter XIII.
Chapter XIV.
Chapter XV.
Chapter XVI.
Chapter XVII.
Chapter XVIII.
Chapter XIX.
Vol. 2 Contents
Chap. XX.
Chap. XXI.
Chap. XXII.
Chap. XXIII.
Chap. XXIV.
Chap. XXV.
Chap. XXVI.
Chap. XXVII.
Chap. XXIX.
Chap. XXX.
Chap. XXXI.
Chap. XXXII.
Chap. XXXIV.
Chap. XXXV.
Chap. XXXVI.
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
July 7th, 1856.

It is wholly worthless, excepting as it contains strictures of Sir W. Scott, Southey, and John Wilson on the critical character of the late Wm. Gifford. I by no means subscribe to all that is said by these distinguished individuals on the subject, and I cannot help suspecting that the high station in literature which they occupied rendered them more than commonly sensitive to the corrections and erasures which were proposed by the editor. Sir Walter (great man as he was) was perfectly capable of writing so carelessly as to require correction, and both Southey and
John Wilson might occasionally have brought forth opinions, on political and other matters, which were not in keeping with the general tone of the
Quarterly Review. That poor Gifford was deformed in figure, feeble in health, unhappily for him there can be no denying, but that he had any pleasure in tormenting, as asserted by some, that he indulged in needless criticism without any regard to the feelings of those who were under his lash, I am quite satisfied cannot justly be maintained. In my small dealings with the Review, I only found the editor most kind and considerate. His amendments and alterations I generally at once concurred in, and I especially remember in one of the early articles, that he diminished the number of Latin quotations very much to its advantage; that his heart was quite in the right place I have had perfect means of knowing from more than one circumstance, e.g., his anxiety for the welfare of his friend Hoppner the painter’s children was displayed in the variety of modes which he adopted to assist them, and when John Galt was sorely maltreated in the Review in consequence of his having attributed to me, incorrectly, an article which occasioned his wrath and indignation, and afterwards was exposed to many embarrassments in life, Gifford most kindly took up his cause, and did all he could to further the promotion of his family. That our poor friend should have been exposed throughout the most part of his life to the strong dislike of the greatest part of the community is not unnatural. As the redacteur of the Anti-Jacobin, &c., he, in the latter part of the last century, drew upon himself the hostile attacks of all the modern philosophers of the age, and of all those who hailed with applause the dawn of liberty in the French Revolution; as editor of the Quarterly Review, he acquired, in addition to the former host of enemies, the undisguised hatred of all the Whigs and Liberals, who were for making peace with Bonaparte, and for destroying the settled order of things in this country. In the present generation, when the feeling of national hatred against France has entirely subsided, and party feelings have so much gone by that no man can say to which party any public man belongs, it is impossible for anyone to comprehend the state of public feeling which prevailed during the great war of the Revolution, and for some years after its termination. Gifford was deeply imbued with all the sentiments on
public matters which prevailed in his time, and, as some people have a hatred of a cat, and others of a toad, so our friend felt uneasy when a Frenchman was named; and buckled on his armour of criticism whenever a Liberal or even a Whig was brought under his notice; and although in the present day there appears to be a greater indulgence to crime amongst judges and juries, and perhaps a more lenient system of criticism is adopted by reviewers, I am not sure that any public advantage is gained by having Ticket of Leave men, who ought to be in New South Wales, let loose upon the English world by the unchecked appearance of a vast deal of spurious literature, which ought to have withered under the severe blasts of Criticism.

Believe yours very truly,
R. W. Hay.