LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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[Macvey Napier]
Hypocrisy Unveiled.
 (Edinburgh:  Francis Pillans,  1818)
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“There is nothing so detestable in the eyes of all good men as defamation, or satire aimed at particular persons. It deserves the utmost detestation and discouragement of all who have either the love of their country or the honour of their religion at heart. I have not scrupled to rank those who deal in these pernicious arts of writing, with the murderer and assassin. Every honest man sets as high a value upon his good name as upon life itself; and I cannot but think that those who privily assault the one, could destroy the other, might they do it with the same security and impunity.”—Addison.






A set of mischievous boys, who station themselves in a gutter for the purpose of throwing dirt on all who pass them, are often tolerated much longer than is right or prudent. They are allowed to go on, annoying all, but more especially the well-dressed and respectable part of society, solely because no one can approach without being bespattered by them. Those who have had their dress soiled are not greatly dissatisfied to see others bedaubed in a similar manner, and the lookers-on are amused with the knavish dexterity of the dirt-throwers, and are for some time curious to see who
is to be attacked next; but forbearance, which breeds temerity on the one side, is sure to be worn out on the other, and a necessity arises at last for applying a corrective. The first resorted to in such cases is generally that of thrusting the noses of the urchins into the filth which they had been so liberal in distributing to others; and if that do not answer the purpose, recourse is had to a more effectual mode of chastisement.

The forbearance hitherto shown to the Veiled Editor of this Magazine,—a worthy descendant of the Veiled Prophet of Khorassan,*—and his associates, may be accounted for upon a similar principle. It is not that the public has been blind, or altogether unobservant. The aberrations of intellect, and perver-

* Our readers will all be aware that we allude here to the hero of one of the poems lately published by Mr Moore under the title of Lalla Rookh. They will also remember that the veiled Prophet was one of the most abominable impostors,—a villain who, under the cover of religion, sought only the punishment and destruction of his species, and whose features, when unveiled, were so foul, fierce, and demoniacal, as to be enough to blast all who looked upon them.

sity of heart, now so visible in the articles published in this Magazine, were seen from the beginning; but no one imagined that the writers would continue to court infamy from year to year, or remain reckless or blind to the consequences of persisting in their unseemly work of defamation and detraction. When a nest of hornets are expected to die within a short period, of their own venom, nobody thinks of smothering them at the risk of being stung by them; but when their lives are protracted beyond expectation, and when their molestations, instead of ceasing, become more troublesome and pestiferous, the unpleasant task of annihilation becomes a duty. In the same manner, as each succeeding number of this work distils a more deadly poison, and betrays a more demoniacal spirit than its precursor, it would manifestly disgrace the public, and amount to an acknowledgment that society is bereft of all right feeling, if it were suffered longer to escape with impunity. It has now earned to itself a character of sheer blackguardism, and is unquestionably the vilest production that ever disfigured and soiled the
annals of literature. In depicting its conductors, we may get some help from the following verses of
Stanhurst,—verses which they have themselves applied to one of their correspondents:—
——“Ricketty boys, whose green and tender age,
Would fain assume the priv’lege of the sage,
And cram into the ears o’ th’ unwilling town
The filth which folly trickles through their own;
True puny creatures, who mistake for wit
The ven’mous flow that’s most averse from it;
And think, because they wield a slipp’ry pen,
That God has meant them to be wond’rous men;
But though they strive to seize upon a niche,
Their works are pustules,—their disease an itch.”
But, to use the words of
“Of their own works let their own Journal tell,
None but themselves can be their parallel.”
The leading features of this Magazine, then, will be allowed by all to be matchless impudence, and a total want of principle,* In these

* The Editors seem to have listened to the voice which has spoken in the Dunciad:—
“Here strip, my children; here at once leap in;
“Here prove who best can dash through thick and thin;

respects it reminds us of the fable of the Cobler turned Mountebank; for “it concerns those persons chiefly from whose folly gain arises to impudent people.” For the same reason it reminds us still more forcibly of the various descriptions which
Theophrastus has given of impudence. One species of it, he tells us, consists “in the saying and doing of the basest things, without any sense of shame:” Another—“in placing one’s diversion in a public performance of shameful things:” And still another,—“in contemning reputation for the sake of some base gain;” every one of which varieties has been exemplified in Blackwood’s Magazine. Calumny is constantly in the mouths of its conductors: they have shewn an ostentatious pride in doing those things of which the most shameless had hitherto been ashamed. They have displayed the highest malevolence with an un-

“And who the most in love of dirt excel,
“Or dark dexterity of groping well;
“Who flings most filth, and wide pollutes around
“The stream, be his the Monthly Journals bound.

blushing front;—they have, in a word, been the first to exhibit in society an unmixed love of evil. Never before did any pretenders to learning or genius set up an open trade in vilification, or wantonly trample down all right, and sacrifice every principle of justice, for each and any paltry purpose of the hour. Nor is there any motive which can restrain the indignation which arises, when a set of such men will persist in thrusting the most impudent, inconsistent, and unprincipled of writings upon the public. For it is obvious from their conduct that no ties of friendship, honour, or humanity can bind them; friends and foes are alike objects of their attacks, which are conducted with the most unparalleled savageness and brutality. All the privacies of life are ransacked,—all the sanctuaries of our nature explored and violated, for the purpose of feeding an insatiate and depraved appetite for scandal and detraction. And had their powers been at all commensurate with their evil dispositions, we should have seen religion reduced, as it is in their mouths, to the vilest cant, virtue to a byeword, and honour to an old song. These,
however, are the despicable modes to which the editors of this Magazine have resorted, for the purpose of gaining a little ephemeral notoriety. But could any line of conduct evince more completely the total absence of all true genius? Or would any one, who has not utterly despaired of producing any thing useful or honourable, ever think of attracting notice solely by running down the weak, traducing the good, and vilifying all who have attained a name in politics, letters, or science? The only good thing we remember them to have said is, that “without moral there can be no intellectual grandeur;” but if this be their faith, as they profess it to be, they must be compelled, like the devils, “to believe and tremble.” The fame which consists only in wounding the feelings of a good man, or gilding the character of a bad one, is sure to be short-lived; and when the conduct of those who delight only in evil is once exposed, their power of doing mischief is almost extinguished. They may return, indeed, to their “dirty work again;” but however dexterous and successful they may have been, they are no longer of the same consequence, either in their
own eyes, or in the eyes of the public. They are known to have degraded and defiled themselves much more than it is in their power to vilify others; their malice is impotent when it is known to be exerted to purchase bread; it is despised, scorned, and latterly pitied, when it is found to be directed only against worth and genius.

It must be allowed, however, that besides the vulgar curiosity to see, monthly, who have been bedaubed, and how the dirty abuse has been laid on, there is something in the style and manner of the two principal writers that has contributed to give a temporary consequence to this Magazine. Nobody will say that this something is comprehension, or judgment, or sincerity, or any other of the virtues either of style or morals; but it is possible for men to be imposing for a time even by their vices: For as Dryden remarks,—
“A confidence in sin, when mixed with zeal,
Seems innocence, and looks to most as well.

With good memories, some fancy, and an overflowing bitterness of heart, these writers have hitherto contrived to please the
malicious,—to dazzle and astonish the less informed, or, in other words, the greater portion of their readers. They have employed by turns the florid, the prurient, and the obscure style, each of which is calculated to impose upon a pretty numerous class. The first, we are told, in
Martinus Scriblerus, is gaudy, like the lowest vegetables which abound at the bottom of ponds and ditches. The second is greatly honoured by persons of quality, (of which a good specimen is given in the article on the Madonna at Dresden;) and the third, obscurity, “bestows a cast of the wonderful, and throws an oracular dignity upon a piece which has no meaning.” But in this predicament will be found, by the aid of a slight analysis, the whole of the glary dashing articles of this publication. In these compositions the design seems to be, like that recommended in the art of sinking in poetry, to form a labyrinth out of which nobody can get clear but the authors themselves. Another great aim is, “to glare by strong opposition of colours, and surprize by contrariety of images.” “Choice and distinction are disregarded, not only because they curb
the spirit, and limit the descriptive faculty, but also because they lessen the book, which is often the worst consequence of all to writers for bread.

The whole of their compositions, indeed, have much the air of prose run mad—
“All noise and empty pomp, a storm of words,
Lab’ring with sound that little sense affords.”

And, but for one circumstance to be noticed hereafter, might at once be set down to any minor poet, whose intellects have become deranged in a wild attempt to seize upon one of the higher niches in the Temple of Fame. Something like this seems almost to be acknowleged by one of themselves: “Woe to him,” he exclaims, “in whom the love of fame precedes genius, or bears an undue proportion to its power. His Sun, Light, Guardian, Guide, is gone. He is a slave driven by blind and erring forces. The love of fame has become an anxious, uneasy, fearful, and painful passion;—and self-admiration, growing up a monster in the heart, oppresses, disturbs,
or overpowers genius.” This may have been stated from experience, or, though really operating in this manner in themselves, may only have been observed by them in others; for a true Poet has observed, that,—
“Where men of judgment creep and feel their way,
The positive pronounce without dismay;
Their want of light and intellect supplied,
By sparks absurdity strikes out of pride.
Without the means of knowing right from wrong,
They always are decisive, clear, and strong.
Where others toil with philosophic force,
Their nimble nonsense takes a shorter course;
Flings at your head conviction in the lump,
And gains remote conclusions at a jump.
Their own defects, invisible to them,
Seen in another, they at once condemn;
And tho’ self idoliz’d in every case,
Hate their own likeness in a brother’s face.”
We do not, therefore, pay our Editors any compliment, when, upon their own theory, we would ascribe their presumption, and their abuse of all men greater than themselves, to the disappointed and frenzied ambition of a mad poet. But, as we hinted before, this theory does not explain the whole. There is too
frequently exhibited in this Magazine a deep and settled malignity, which is hardly reconcileable with a poetical temperament. There is a method in this madness, that is quite inconsistent with the ravings of a poet. We must therefore hold, that the cool hostility so often evinced to the whole human race,—in attacks upon the lame, the diseased, and unfortunate, the innocuous and unoffending,—proceeds from a baser and more deeply rooted misanthropy than could arise from disappointed ambition.

The miserable author of the worst articles must have been pinched in his cradle until the milk of human kindness was turned into gall and wormwood; he must have been so maltreated in his youth, as to be unable afterwards to cherish any feeling but that of hatred to his species; and that hatred must have been nourished in manhood, until it acquired such a strength of passion, as to bestow upon his demoniacal compositions their present semblance of genius. We cannot, at least, account for the malevolent phenomena upon any other hypothesis.

“Even Satan’s self with him might dread to dwell,
And in his skull discern a deeper hell.”

We have said already, that these Editors have set up the most arrogant pretensions to learning, taste, and genius; but in what manner have these been supported by their conduct? Have they made any discoveries in science, or contributed any thing worthy of being named to the advancement of letters? Have they promulgated or illustrated any one truth useful to society? Have they either unfolded or strengthened any sound principles in politics,* in general morals, or even in taste? Have they done any thing,

* In their politics they seem to have followed the advice given by Martinus Scriblerus: “All great ministers, without either private or economical virtues, are virtuous by their posts, liberal and generous upon the public money; provident upon the public supplies,—just, by paying public interest; courageous and magnanimous by the fleets and armies; magnificent upon the public expense, and prudent by public success. The reverse of these precepts will serve for satire, wherein we are ever to remark, that whoso loses place, or cannot find it, or becomes out of favour with the government, hath forfeited his share in public praise and honour. Therefore, the truly public spirited writer ought in duty to strip him whom the government hath stripped.”

Those who desire a specimen of their general talents, may peruse an “Essay on Truth,” in their 14th Number.

in short, to benefit, instruct, or delight their species? Nay, have they done any thing to dis-

It seems to be one of their greatest efforts, and it unquestionably unites all the beauties of their style,—its glitter,—its pomp of words,—its characteristic want of precision,—its notable perplexity of expression, as well as of thought. The writer, we doubt not, was right in characterising his own life as “complicated, unordered, unintelligible;” and he who could generate so much flatulency must certainly
——have sate with all his books around,
Sinking from thought to thought—a vast profound;
Plung’d for his sense, but found no bottom there,
Then writ and floundered on in mere despair.”
—So much for metaphysics! The curious about their powers in criticism have an excellent specimen in the
article on Shakespeare’s Sonnets, No. 17. This last is a ripened effort of their judgment, the accuracy of which may easily be ascertained by glancing at the selection made, especially the 30th and 98th, to prove that these sonnets of Shakespeare “are admirable compositions—full of wisdom, a single line often expressing a volume of truth, and many single lines presenting us with what might afford theses for the illustration of the moralist or metaphysician.”

These are some of the choicest productions of men whom those most sapient critics, Tickler, Odoherty, and the Stork, run about extolling as vastly superior to Jeffrey!

tinguish themselves, unless it be in a desperate attempt to pull down, level, destroy, or vilify all that is good, liberal, or great? They wear a shewy and plausible drapery no doubt, but no art of which they are masters is capable of concealing the cloven foot, the tainted paw, which is visible in every one of their exhibitions. They ape the language of genius—the manner of talents, it is true; but when you strip their productions of their glare, their cant, their blusterings, their fudge about religion and purity, and, above all, of their gross and abusive personalities,—there remains nothing behind, not a grain of sound sense,—not a trace of right feeling.

But, instead of dwelling upon what these champions of wit and virtue have not done, let us look a little more minutely at what they have accomplished.* And in the outset it is not unworthy of remark, that their whole labours, gigantic as they would wish them to

* Out of the Magazine, the whole claims to distinction of that great writer, the Scorpion, are founded upon a truly miserable translation of Schlegel on German literature; and those of the Leopard, on a turgid review of Lord Byron’s Fourth Canto of Childe Harold.

appear, are bottomed on a petty quarrel, of their own making.
Mr Cleghorn, a gentleman long known to the public as editor of the Farmer’s Magazine, and Mr Pringle, a quondam friend and brother poet of one of the principal writers in this Magazine, were, for some time, editors of Mr Blackwood’s publication, an office, the duties of which they stated they could not continue to discharge on account of the vulgar and perverse interferences of their publisher. Their connection with Mr Blackwood, it is admitted on all sides, had entirely ceased, and, as he states, in consequence of a notice given by himself,* before

* See the Statement and Correspondence prefixed to No. 8. of Blackwood’s Magazine. Blackwood’s letter to Mr Pringle, as there given, is in these terms:—“Dear Sir,—I have already explained to you verbally the reasons which oblige me to put an end to our agreement with regard to the Edinburgh Monthly Magazine. I send you this written notice in order that you may communicate it to Mr Cleghorn. I am,” &c. The letter is dated 23d June 1817; and Messrs Pringle and Cleghorn do not offer their services to the publishers of the Scots Magazine until the 2d July, when they do so by a letter which will be found on page 7. of Blackwood’s Statement.

they offered their services to
Mr Constable. Mr Blackwood and his present editors have also asserted again and again, that Messrs Pringle and Cleghorn were altogether inefficient and useless either to him or any other publisher, as editors of a Magazine; and therefore it seems impossible, on his own showing, to figure any ground on which Mr Blackwood could take offence at their being employed in conducting a rival publication for any other booksellers; for if there was even the shadow of truth in Mr Blackwood’s assertions, a more desireable event could not in possibility have occurred. From that time forward, if his own professions are to be trusted, he might look for the speedy decline and fall of the Scots Magazine. And yet we find Mr Blackwood’s new editors, with all their pretensions to superior talents, and notwithstanding their affected regard for religion, virtue and honour, sitting coolly down to create a quarrel for their publisher out of the circumstances just mentioned; and having thus made a quarrel for their own elevated purposes, they commenced hostilities without delay, and have persevered in
them with a meanness and malignity altogether unexampled. Not only are Mr Constable’s new editors attacked with every sort of offensive weapons, including those prohibited as well as those sanctioned by the laws of war, but the vilest abuse is heaped upon the head of that gentleman himself, and all those who are known to conduct or contribute to any one of his publications. For this reason, all the venom which those malicious creatures could generate or collect has been spitefully thrown upon
Mr Jeffrey, Mr Playfair, Mr Brougham, Mr Hazlitt, Mr Napier, Mr Murray, and others who have been guilty of writing for the Edinburgh Review*, the Encyclopæ-

* We are greatly mistaken if envy of the great reputation of this Review, and of the distinguished talents which have so justly earned it, is not a leading passion in the hearts of these Magazine writers:
Invidus alterius macrescit rebus opimis
Invidia, siculi non invenere tyranni
Majus tormenium.
It bursts out in all their productions, and is strongly displayed in their articles on the periodical criticism of England, No. 12; on the present state of Germany, and the letter to Mr

dia Britannica, or the Edinburgh Magazine! And this is the dignified work which these Chaldee giants have voluntarily carved out for the purpose of employing their unrivalled talents!—for exercising their pure

Jeffrey, No. 13; the letter to Dr Chalmers. No. 14; Tickler’s letter to the Editor, No. 16; and, pre-eminently, in Lauerwinkel’s letter to Professer Laugner, No. 18. Infinitely below the Reviewers in comprehension, penetration, and delicacy of feeling, these Magazine scribblers scruple at nothing which promises to excite a suspicion against the Review. But their malice and rancour are so obvious, and pushed so undisguisedly beyond all that is plausible or rational, that the effect is totally lost on every mind possessed of the most moderate share of observation. Strange too as it may seem, it is yet true, that the individual who is continually declaiming against the Edinburgh Review, and representing it as a dying work, displayed the greatest anxiety to get an article of his own admitted into it. In this object of his ambition he was for once gratified; but as the Review would certainly die of plethora, if another of his turgid, perplexed, and laboured articles were to find its way into it, we are persuaded that he will never again be permitted to appear in that work, either as a critic of Lord Byron or in any other character. A friend of ours remarked, after perusing the recent article on Childe Harold, “that the writer’s mind seemed to him like a multitude of ideas floating in vacuo.”

morality!—and for displaying their truly catholic religious principles!—In this great and ennobling cause, and having in view an end which sanctified any means, however opprobrious or base in themselves, that could lead directly or remotely to its accomplishment,—we find them libelling age, and respectability, and genius;—exhibiting personal defects and innocent peculiarities to the broad gaze of the public;—ridiculing all that is useful or honourable;—and, when nothing else would do, betraying the confidences of friendship, or, which is the same thing, making use of facts and circumstances which friendship, honour, and humanity alike called on them to hold sacred, or bury in oblivion.

No one who has read the articles on Coleridge, Leigh Hunt, Hazlitt, and Hogg’s Life, or Horæ Scandicæ,—which is one of the lowest pieces of scurrility,—one of the worst specimens of bad wit and deep malice that ever insulted the public eye,—can be at a loss for instances;—nor can any one doubt, that the great aim of these despicable compositions is, if possible, to crush Hazlitt,
Hunt, and Coleridge, to lower Hogg, and to wound the feelings of
Mr Gray and Mr Constable.* There are,” says the moralist, “offences against individuals, which to some may appear trifling, that are capital offences against the human race.”

The libeller of Mr Hazlitt avows himself to be an old friend with a new face,—a face which certainly, whatever features it may have at ope time displayed, exhibits now only those of a dæmon. We pretend not to know what Mr Hazlitt is as a man, but we know that this vilifier of Mr Hazlitt cannot be a good one. The facts which he invidiously recals and publishes, whether true or not, are facts which he must have come to the knowledge of under circumstances that either imposed secrecy or implied trust and confidence,† The

* Our readers are all aware, that Mr Hunt has, in his Examiner, repeatedly called on his libeller in this Magazine to declare himself, and has again and again denominated him “a liar, a coward, and a scoundrel.” And they are also aware that the Scorpion, (otherwise Z.) has found it convenient to take no notice of these choice epithets.

† We allude here to the article, Hazlitt Cross-questioned, particularly to the stories of Mr H. having been saved by

office of cross-questioner was here entirely gratuitous and uncalled for; and it has been long known, that he “who lies in wait for errors, neither to mend them in persons, nor to justify his choice in things, is on a road where good hearts never meet.”—We add, from the same authority, that “he who, without call or office, industriously recals the remembrance of past errors, to confound him who has repented of them, is a villain.”

The laboured attack on Mr Coleridge, who is held up as a liar, an envious, jealous, diseased egotist, and one who exhibits a grinning and idiot self-complacency, must also be the work of a quondam friend; and we form a wrong estimate of the article* if it do not exhibit

Mr Wordsworth from the threatened vengeance of the peasantry, and of his having imposed on his task-masters. This attack on Mr Hazlitt comes with a worse grace from these persons, inasmuch as they praised him warmly in the outset, holding him up as the first poetical critic of the day, and afterwards devoting an article to a parallel between him and Mr Jeffrey; but the secret of all is, that Mr Hazlitt furnished several very able articles to the Scots or Edinburgh Magazine;—articles which display more original thinking than all that have yet appeared in Blackwood’s Work.

* See the Number for October 1817. Art. 1.

specimens of friendship betrayed—friendship now converted into the bitterest enmity. The same remark may, with little restriction, be applied to the
first and third articles on Mr Wordsworth. And, mirabile dictu, the same writer who there represents the father of the Lake poets as an “indelicate,” “vain,” presumptuous,” “officious,” “disgustingly egotistical,” “portentously ignorant,” “pompously inane,” “unaccountable,” “self-conceited,” “arrogant,” “mystifying,” “insolent,” “absurd,” “ludicrous,” “drivelling,” “slavering,” “impotent,” “restless,” “irritable,” “hypocritical person,” “a mere lyrical ballad-monger,” and “a dealer in low abuse,” also holds him up in a subsequent, but, compared with the attack, an impotent defence, as—“a truly great man—a noble, enthusiastic, disinterested character, and one no less amiable for the purity and sanctity of his life, than for the originality and splendour of his genius*.” What a notable instance

* The same writer also praises Mr Wordsworth beyond all measure, in two sonnets which he addresses to him in No. 11. p. 512. and 513. Comparing Mr W.—previously

have we here of the bathos in composition, and of moral responsibility and consistency of conduct! But what have the swellings and swaggerings of vanity, the ravings of intoxication, the rhodomontade of fools, or the malevolence of knaves, to do with either taste or morality? The business of such men is to vilify all that is noble, “to let slip the dogs of war on modest defenceless merit; to burst out into a loud laugh when pale timid innocence trembles.”

But we cannot leave this subject of abused friendship without asking one of the principal writers, whether Messrs M’Cormick, Napier, Pringle, Murray, and Cleghorn, and Messrs Hogg and Gray, were not his intimate friends? Whether he did not himself attack a publication of the first named gentleman, and when it was spoken of exclaim against his own attack as a most disgraceful pro-

exhibited as so very irritable,—to the moon for placidity. But their praise, whether meant for burlesque, or wished to be understood as sincere,—for as to the virtue of sincerity they obviously understand nothing about it,—is always as fulsomely extravagant as their censure is immeasurably bitter and unjust.

duction,* and deny all knowledge of it upon his honour? He dare not, we are persuaded,

* The gentleman alluded to here is Mr M’Cormick, advocate; his reviler, “the beautiful Leopard from the Valley of the Palm Trees, whose going forth, (it is said in the Chaldee MS.) is comely as the greyhound, and his eyes like the lightning of fiery flame.” But however beautiful a Leopard may be, he is by nature deceitful and cruel, whether he come from the Valley or the Isle of Palms. The Leopard was one of the yokefellows of the Lamb and the Bear, even while they were yet led by the Man of Ebony. He was then much caressed by the Lawyer aforesaid, and fawned upon him in his turn, for he was admitted to his table, and, although a spotted Leopard, shared the counsels of his heart. In an evil hour, however, the Lawyer published a comparison of the British and American constitutions, whereupon, and as soon as a strange country was mentioned, the Leopard fastened on the publication, endeavouring to tear it to pieces. Not satisfied with a brutal attack on the work, which was published anonymously, the Leopard dragged forth his patron,—his friend,—in person, and thus made him, against his inclination, and in breach of friendship, responsible, and, as far as the Leopard could, ridiculous to the world. Let this be a warning to others against taking any untameable or untamed creature to his bosom. But a propos of the “beautiful Leopard,” we should imagine from his attaching so much consequence to personal beauty, and comely going forth, that he is some way or other related to old Timothy Tickler, who is

answer in the negative. And the Magazine which he supports bears evidence of his libelling Cleghorn, Pringle, and Murray with the “malignant invention of an infant,” and “the cruelty of a savage.” If these men were, as he represents them, brainless fools, with whom it is a shame to be seen on the streets, what must we think of their late friend,—of their present malignant enemy,—of him who, to ridicule them effectually, is driven to the vile necessity of joking upon their personal defects! No better proof could be given of the real worth of their characters, or the worthlessness of his. Nor could a more favourable testimony be given for Mr Murray, (not
him of Albemarle Street,) than what appears in this malicious journal. His enemies could find no other way of injuring him but by exhibiting some peculiarities of his manner, and by an allusion which, without effecting its object, must for ever disgrace its author. As to Hogg and Gray, again, the sincere and bosom friends of the same writer, no one can read the letters of that old yet pert

said to have sworn “he would cut his throat if he was not the handsomest man in town!”—Poor Timothy!

Timothy Tickler, without being convinced that his object was to ridicule both, and if possible lower them in general estimation. This object, in so far as Mr Hogg is concerned, is still more palpable in the lines prefixed in his name, though not written by him, to No. 12. of their Magazine;—lines which are studiously framed to make both Hogg and Blackwood appear in the most absurd and ridiculous point of view; and something worse we should think was intended in sending them both, ‘with the hazel sappling, to cudgel Mr Douglas. It was besides exceedingly cruel to permit Mr Hogg to publish the mere ravings of passion in a letter to Mr Douglas. But the most wanton cruelty is undoubtedly exhibited in the attempt made to ridicule Mr Gray, a man whose friendly peculiarities are known to all the world to proceed entirely from the overflowings of a warm heart. The enemy who in such a case cannot forbear from insulting, is inhuman. What then shall we say of the pretended friend who labours to turn such a friend into ridicule?

But enough has been done to elucidate the high notions which these potentate journalists
have formed of friendship. Let us now see how they honour age, respectability, science, and genius. All these, with many other claims to regard and distinction are united in
Professor Playfair, who is besides one of the most innocuous and unobtrusive of men*. No individuals knew this better than the editors in question, and, with their pretensions to Grecian learning, they could not surely be ignorant of the public honours which the Greeks and Romans paid to their great men. The admiration so liberally bestowed upon their distinguished

* It surely cannot be true that Dr Brewster is a contributor to Blackwood’s Magazine, or, at all events, it is impossible that a man so respectable can continue to support a work in which his early and best friend and patron has been so foully traduced. An instance of the Doctor’s right feeling on this subject is to be found in the dedication of his own work on Philosophical Instruments to Professor Playfair, in which he pronounces the latter to be “the pattern of all moral as well as intellectual excellence.” Dr Brewster’s general character likewise satisfies us, that though Editor of the Edinburgh Encyclopædia, he can neither have had a concern, nor taken any pleasure in the wanton, scurrilous, and most unjustifiable attack made in the last number upon Mr Napier, the Editor of the Supplement to the Encyclopædia Britannica.

citizens was the most fruitful nursery of greatness among these ancient republicans.

“Every nation,” says a distinguished writer, “ought to respect and esteem those by whom it has been enlightened and improved: it ought to reverence their images, to celebrate their memories, and all hearts should glow with the desire of being equally great and illustrious.” “Those,” continues the same author, “who have enlightened their country by their talents, who have strengthened it by their philosophy, and adorned it by their genius, are, if I may be allowed the expression, Atlasses who support the name and dignity of their nation, and transmit them to future ages.” But what, in all well-ordered minds, commands respect, or appears worthy of consecration, is exactly that which excites the malice and envy of the Scorpion and his associates. This is the true source of their hatred to the Edinburgh Review. The science, genius, patriotism displayed in that work, are more than such malignant beings can bear. Taught by it, as nearly all the present generation have been, to see more clearly, and to think with
more independence, they now turn their hands upon their own parent, and were not their strength so infinitely below their inclination. to do mischief, we should see them openly commit the crime of parricide. All that they were able to do they have done; and there is something almost parricidal in the brutal outrage which they have committed on the venerable
Mr Playfair.* Nothing more wanton, more unfeeling, or more savage, was ever perpetrated; and from this last instance of their traduction it is, that we say that their malignity is becoming deeper, and their efforts more pestiferous. It is impossible, when we thus see the foulest insult offered to all that is worthy and respectable in our nature, to restrain indignation within just bounds; and therefore, rather than trust ourselves in our own language, we shall employ that of a Moralist, whose little book of wisdom is by no means inaccessible: “All moral dependence,” says our author, “on him who has been guilty

* See what purports to be a letter from the Baron Von Lawerwinkel to Professor Laugner, in the number of the Magazine for September 1818.

of one act of positive cool villany against an acknowledged virtuous and noble character, is credulity, imbecility, or insanity.”—“An insult offered to a respectable character is often less pardonable than a precipitate murder; he who can indulge himself in that, may bear assassination on his conscience.”

This ruffian attack on Mr Playfair finds a parallel only in the reptile production called a Letter to Dr Chalmers, than which nothing was ever conceived in a more villanous spirit. It evinces at once the most envenomed malignity, the vilest hypocrisy, and of reason the most wretched imbecility. It can impose on none but the weak and bigoted; yet the object of it is truly diabolical. The author himself never could believe that all or any of his calumnies or unfounded assertions could implant a feeling of distrust regarding each other in the bosoms of such men as Mr Jeffrey and Dr Chalmers; far less could he hope to effect a separation between them; but he labours hard to injure both in the public estimation, and he obviously hopes to succeed to a certain degree with
respect to the latter. There are prejudices which he strives to alarm; and there are men so vulgar and so weak as to believe one half at least of whatever is plausibly said to the disadvantage of others. But the poisoned arrows which treachery discharges are sure to be returned ultimately on the traitor. Every one sees that the Editor of the
Edinburgh Review could not give a more convincing proof of his being friendly to religion, than by employing Dr Chalmers, the champion of revelation, to write in it. The letter-writer allows, that in what the Doctor has written he has displayed a truly Christian spirit; and supposing for one moment that the Review has hitherto been, what is falsely asserted of it, Dr Chalmers could not have done more for the faith which he professes than by making that Review the instrument of correcting former errors and promoting future good. Knavery, however, can never reason logically, fairly, or honestly; and the disingenuousness practised here is exactly what might have been expected from the convicted libellers of Mr Dalyell,—the unconvicted libellers, of Mr Playfair, and of many
others who have done much to honour, and nothing to injure their species.

This Letter to the Reverend Thomas Chalmers, No. 14., like all the other productions of the same pen, contains the most extraordinary specimens of inconsistency. With the same breath almost, he is represented (p. 157) as “an orator, and nothing else,” and also (p. 148) as superior to Robertson, our great national historian.* In the article on the Pulpit Eloquence of Scotland, No. 8. Dr Chalmers is lauded, nay, bedaubed with praise. He is there “the symbol of directness and simplicity,—he unites his power of imagination, his profoundness of reason, his majesty of eloquence, with affec-

* They represent him, at one time, as preparing his sermons with the utmost labour,—as having “blotted pages, and consumed the midnight oil, in search of images which seem to be the easy suggestions of an overflowing fancy, or sentences which fall upon the ear like the first and natural language of a commanding soul.” At another, they talk of seeing in the pulpit the waves rising in his soul, and seem to hear afar off, “the voice of the coming tempest;”—“to see his heart bursting with a deluge of zeal, his countenance glaring with the feeling of unutterable things, his every feature indicating that he is in the agony of inspiration.”

tions as uncorrupted, and feelings as tender “as dwell within the pure and angelic bosom” of an infant. He has there surveyed mankind in all their conditions,—he has scrutinized all the mazes of their passions and of their guilt;—but he has done so from the holy pinnacle of the temple, and no spot of human vanity and presumption has mingled itself with his soul.” But the moment he is known to contribute an article to the
Edinburgh Review, though it contain a plan for meliorating the condition of the poor through the medium of the gospel, he becomes vain, presumptuous, and is in danger of becoming every thing that he ought not to be. The whole scope, indeed, of the letter in No. 14. is to lower Dr Chalmers in the public estimation. Mr Alison has been praised as fulsomely; and we have no doubt, that if he ever again show favour to any of Mr Constable’s publications, he will be brought down with the same sort of freedom, principle, and consistency. Even Mr Scott, whose name is industriously circulated as one of their own supporters—to whom they have without any hesitation, ascribed Waverley, the Tales of my Land-
, &c—who is represented in sonnets, and otherwise, as “the mighty minstrel,” of “more than moral strains;” and “the most original minded man of his time,”—has fallen under their displeasure, apparently because he sold his last novel to the publisher of the Edinburgh Magazine. They do not, it is true, quarrel with him openly. It is stated, as it were by the by, that his style of poetry has gradually been declining, and that the faults of his rhyme, and affectation of gothic terms, are innumerable; we are told, not as if directed against him, that “mankind have become weaned from their old predilections for outward atchievements;” and the New Tales of my Landlord, which, had they issued from Blackwood’s shop, would have been lauded beyond all measure, are spoken of with great coldness, and given as an instance that his prose compositions are running the same losing course with his poetry.

That the name of Walter Scott—a name of which every Scotsman who glories in the literary fame of his country has so much reason to be proud—should be polluted by being breathed upon as countenancing a publication
so discreditable to our national literature, and so destructive of all social and unsuspecting intercourse among literary men—that this should be permitted by one who does honour to his country by the splendour of his genius, and who gladdens society by the amenity of his manners, is one of those perplexing moral aberrations for which it would be impossible to account, were we not furnished with a humiliating explanation in those feelings which led the same eminent individual to omit the hallowed name of
General Moore in a poem devoted to the memory of those who had fought and bled in the battles of their country! “We have heard, with infinite regret, as well as surprise, that the article just alluded to upon the New Tales of my Landlord, is from the pen of an aged Litterateur, whose name also holds a high place in our literary annals; with regret, because we had understood that this aged gentlemen had publicly disavowed all connection with Blackwood’s crew; and with surprise, because we could not have conceived it possible that any Man of Feeling could either directly or indirectly lend his support to a
publication in which all just feeling is so outrageously trampled upon. If this be indeed true, we have here another mortifying instance, that the spirit of party is, in some natures, otherwise good and noble, so omnipotent in its influence, as not merely to deaden, but wholly to eradicate every trace of sound moral perception; and this, even where there is but a poor chance of forwarding, in any material degree, the dirty plans of party politics. Sincerely admiring the genius of both the distinguished individuals alluded to, and sincerely wishing to be also able to respect their characters, we trust that, for their own sakes, they will speedily disavow all farther countenance of a publication sufficiently infamous before, but which they must now think infamous beyond redemption, by its nefarious attempt to blacken with its deadliest poisons the name of one whose friendship is an honour even to them,—we mean
Professor Playfair.

If those friends of this gentleman who are said to have supported Blackwood’s Magazine,—if Mr Scott, Mr Mackenzie, and Dr Brewster, shall fail to take some public step to mark
their decided reprobation of the atrocious outrage that has been committed upon him,—it will be the more fitting for
Mr Playfair himself, to take some effectual step in his own vindication. If he shall have the misfortune to see some of his friends abiding quietly in the camp of the enemy, after such damning proofs of malignant hostility, it will unquestionably be the more incumbent upon him to guard against the unfavourable conclusions which might be drawn from this marked exhibition of their lukewarmness. He will ill discharge his duty, if he shall allow either ignorance or malignity to insinuate, that the indifference of those friends affords some presumption of the truth of the calumnies fabricated by his enemies. The libel against Mr Playfair is of no ordinary kind. Its powers of doing mischief are calculated to extend far beyond any personal consequences that it could produce to himself. He is confessedly the greatest living ornament of our university; and whatever affects his character, must, in no small degree, affect the character of an institution, in the well-being of which every member of the community has
a near concern. The public cannot look with indifference to such atrocious calumnies as those which have been uttered against him; and therefore he, however conscious of being revered and beloved by all who know him, ought not to treat them with indifference. It is his bounden duty to consign his flagitious libellers to the chastisement of the law, and not tamely to suffer his professional character, or the interests of his colleagues, to be injured by monthly libels, indited for the base purpose of filling the pockets of
Mr John Murray and Mr William Blackwood.

But to return. No one can suppose, that the quarrel with Messrs Cleghorn and Pringle is taken up seriously for the sake of Mr Blackwood. It was made, and is still kept up, as a cover for much deeper malignity. The veil, however, is so transparent, that the most obtuse intellect can see through it; and it is fortunate for mankind in general, that knavery and folly are seldom separated from each other. The true cause of all the abuse, and vilification, and malevolence, which we have seen exemplified, is a hatred of all
virtues, and of all talents and genius superior to the libellers’ own.
Mr Jeffrey and Mr Playfair are abhorred and detested, because each has earned a name in science and letters, and placed himself on an eminence to which these paltry vilifiers cannot look; Hazlitt is an abomination in their sight because he is rising into consequence; and Napier, Murray, and other respectable men, are disliked and abused merely because they have purchased estimation by their talents, and rendered themselves truly useful to their fellow men. And these calumniators of all the genius and worth of our times, despairing, it would seem, of earning their bread by honest labour, or any sort of reputable exertion, have resolved to live as assassins, by stabbing reputations in the dark, and wounding or destroying character, wherever circumstances put it in their power to excite a suspicion or plant a weapon.

Nothing perhaps could evince more strikingly the general contempt into which this publication has fallen than the language in which Mr John Murray of Albemarle street, bookseller, was
wont to speak of it to every person who conversed with him on the subject. We do not consider it decent to repeat all Mr Murray’s expressions, but he has stated again and again to gentlemen of the highest character, that he considered the “Magazine as a disgrace to the age,” and a common phrase was, that it was “fit only to be sent to the water-closet.” That Mr Murray was sincere in these opinions there can be no doubt, and it is equally true that he spoke in no very measured terms of its publisher; and when all this is matter of notoriety, it required more than an ordinary degree of shamelessness to boast,—as the
Scorpion and the Leopard have done,—of the novel patronage of Mr John Murray.

There is something curious, no doubt, in the metamorphosis of the London bookseller, but still we believe the cause of it is no secret. Mr John Murray’s connection with and obligations to the Quarterly Reviewers are known to the whole world. The influence of Mr Croker, the Admiralty Secretary, over that Review and the other publications in the in-
terest of Ministers, is equally notorious. The
Man Of Ebony was not ignorant of these things, nor of Mr Croker’s interest with the Cabinet, nor of his inordinate love of puffing. In this last particular, it was easy for any one, however incapable of writing, to gratify him; and therefore as soon as his petit volume on the history of England appeared, the Man of Plain Apparel, in propria persona, set himself to compose a eulogy! One eloge after another was heaped upon this ricketty bantling of the Admiralty. The style was exquisite; the writer evinced the sagacity of Hume; and his work was not only capable of instructing the young, but of encreasing the knowledge of the old, and of rendering them wiser and better. The bait took with the right honourable Secretary, and thenceforth he received the man “with the gem under his girdle” into favour. They became indissoluble friends,—“Nobile par fratrum, nequitia et nugis et amore pravorum.” A reconciliation with Mr John Murray was the immediate consequence, and the Magazine forthwith became a political engine, a defender of Toryism, and an enemy
to all Whigs and Whiggery! The
Scorpion, as notorious for Whiggery as for backbiting, and the Leopard, equally notorious for having a thousand times declared that he had no political principles whatsoever, have been transformed into champions for the poor desolate Tories! What a rare device to convert a work sinking under its own vices into a political weapon. A plaster has now been found for all its sores, or at any rate the diseased creature will be tolerated because it annoys its old friends the Whigs still more than its new friends the Tories. And yet we know that the respectable part of the latter are not only ashamed of such an ally, but that they openly express their abhorrence of its ugly features and contagious affections. Honourable men on all sides of politics are disgusted with such continued exhibitions of falsehood, malice, and hypocrisy. “Infamy,” as Mr Addison remarks, “is under the direction and distribution of the magistrates, and not of any private person. Accordingly, we learn from a fragment of Cicero, that though there were few capital punishments in the
Twelve Tables, a libel, or lampoon, which took away the good name of another, was punished with death.” But what is most nauseating of all, is their inveterate habit of professing a high veneration for religion, virtue, and purity, which are never out of their polluted lips;* yet everyone sees that they have made a stalking horse of each, as it seemed for the moment to answer their malevolent purposes. And without affectation on religious subjects, we shall have the assent of every well-regulated mind to the proposition, that a greater insult cannot be offered to religion than by employing, we should rather say perverting and prostituting, its exclusive forms and language, in libelling, ridiculing, and reviling eminent, useful, and harmless men, wantonly and without reasonable cause or rational object. But has not all this been done in the
Chaldee manuscript and the other choice specimens of sacrilegious scurrility which followed it? And

* The Scorpion (alias Z. alias Baron Von Lawerwinkel,) has often, in conversation, expressed his disbelief of the Christian religion; and the Leopard entertains the Dillettanti Society with imitations of preachers of the gospel, and obscene parodies on the Psalms.

have not the authors of the rancorous trash alluded to, added meanness and falsehood to their other crimes, by pretending that their wantonly cruel and venomous libel was meant only as a jeu d’ esprit, and that if it had been supposed that offence would have been taken in consequence, it never would have been published.* Arrogance, however, can descend to any baseness. These pretended disciples of a creed which inculcates justice and mercy, and meekness and charity, assume the manner and employ the language of Isaiah, the Psalms, and the Apocalypse, the holiest and most sanctified books of a holy religion, to traduce and vilify honourable men,—to hold

* The following “Note from the Editor” was published in the 2d edition of No. 7. p. 88. and in No. 8. fronting the title page, “The editor has learned with regret that an article in the first edition of this number, which was intended merely as a jeu d’esprit, has been construed so as to give offence to individuals justly entitled to respect and regard. He has on that account withdrawn it from this edition, and can only add, that if what has happened could have been anticipated, the article in question certainly never would have appeared.”

up personal defects, peculiarities, and misfortunes, to ridicule and scorn; and then they pretend that all this was intended as a classical and harmless amusement,—that its giving offence was never anticipated; and the lying declaration is no sooner made than they recommence the same course of detraction and defamation. The hypocrisy manifested here is infinitely more offensive than the undisguised malice and barbarity which led to it. If after all this, the sapient editors of
Blackwood’s Magazine can hope to impose upon, gull, and deceive the public any longer, they are certainly deceived in the highest degree themselves. They may then hope to make us believe, that by holding up the meek disciples of the gospel, and all those who enter into the kingdom of heaven, as a crew so mean, beggarly, and despicable, that rather than be in such company a man of spirit would voluntarily chuse proceeding to the infernal regions in the company of kings, popes, cardinals, and prime-ministers;—that by laughing at John Bunyan’s Christian sufferings and temptations, and through him at Christianity itself,—and,
above all, that by discoursing about the Mater Dei as fulsomely and lasciviously as if they were pourtraying a courtezan—they are truly, and in good faith, forwarding the cause of religion!* Such, however, if they could be thought serious, are the means which, in the obliquity of their judgment, they have resorted to. For such purposes, in the “Deathbed of Machiavel,” and the “Tift with Appollyon,” is the magic lantern of Time held up to us; and for no other purpose, that we can conceive, have we been favoured with a
description of the Madonna at Dresden; and to make this far-famed representation of virgin purity, of matronly and religious feeling, the more striking, they have taken care to inform us, in language too licentious to be repeated here, and fit only for some “melodious advocate of lust,” that Raphael was enabled to pourtray this object of worship to catholic Europe, by studying the figures of his mistresses: And notwithstanding

* It gives us great pleasure to hear, that those truly respectable characters, Drs M’Crie and Thomson, have broken off all connection with the Man of the Veil, and his sacrilegious Associates.

their pretended regard for the character of the dead, adding, at the same time, the vulgar and exploded calumny, that this great artist died in the embrace of illicit love! What renders this the more atrocious, is the well known fact, that this meretricious article on the Madonna, with the parodies on Scripture, are written by the same briefless lawyer, or Scorpion, who has inveighed with so much bitterness against the poem of
Rimini. We may also add, as a summing up of their wretched inconsistencies, that the same writer, or at least his sworn brother, the Leopard, has praised Byron’s Parisina, and Coleridge’s Christabel, poems which sin as heinously against purity and decency as it is well possible to imagine.

On this view of their conduct it is impossible to conceive any other reason why the veiled libeller and his associates have honour, religion, and morals continually in their mouths, but that they may shew, by way of contrast, how thoroughly they can trample on the first,—how invariably they can violate all the precepts of the second,—and outrage every principle of the
third. Religion and morals, however, will survive their prostitution of them.

Their greatest offence, because it is that which is most easily committed, and most difficult to remedy, is their habit of exhibiting the past life, the persons and manners of individuals, to the gaze and scorn of the public. A disfigured limb, a feeble body, a rotten tooth, a pimple on the face, a peculiar mode of speaking or laughing, or even a disease, is in this new school of morals an excellent subject for ridicule*. The foul injustice, the gross barbarity of resorting to such unlawful and prohibited modes of torturing their species, must be obvious to every one. Besides being a species of sacrilege, it is a practice altogether inconsistent with the peace of society. The ordinary

* See Chaldee Manuscript. Notice to Correspondents, No. 12. &c. And it may be remarked here, that unless they can get hold of a person to vilify, they uniformly fail in making any thing of a cause. The art of blackening, however, has been carried so far by the Veiled Beasts, and has been applied to so many distinguished characters, that any abuse proceeding from them must ever be considered as an honour, and as the badge of superior merit.

business of life could not proceed were it to become general. We should have nothing but a perpetual round of cudgelling, duelling, and stabbing, if every weak, odd, or even vicious private act of every individual were to be published, with all the circumstances of name, time, and place, for the general amusement. It is not in human nature to be entirely perfect. There is no human being who does not stand in need of the protecting mantle of charity. Who has ever attained to manhood without doing something equivocal, or absurd, or blameable? Who has ever been without his moments of inconsistency, inadvertency, weakness, folly, or vice? If allowance be not made for these “the foulest seeds of distrust and envy may be planted round the resting-place of a saint.” He blasphemes our nature who sees only the single failing of a man who has a hundred virtues. He is demoniacal in his nature and dispositions, who sinks all that is good, and exposes all that is bad in human character. No man would be safe, nor could any one promise himself a moment’s happiness, if all the errors of his life might be raked up at
every moment, and thrown in his teeth at the discretion of a scoundrel. And, least of all, would it be possible for those to find rest who have been most inquisitive and most slanderous with respect to their fellows. Neither the
Scorpion, nor his poetical coadjutor, nor any one of his assistants, have lived so purely or blamelessly as to be proof against those darts which they have so wantonly thrown at their literary brethren. What they have done themselves should teach them that they also may be made to suffer in their turn, and when that turn comes, they will be totally without that sympathy and regard which the public has bestowed on all who have been by them libelled, ridiculed, and traduced.

We had much more to say to these pests of society,—many more contradictions to point out, and a host of absurdities to expose; but the task, we confess, has become so disgusting that we must leave it for a time. At no distant period, however, if amendment do not render it unnecessary, we pledge ourselves to resume our examination, and we farther pledge ourselves it shall then be prosecuted with much
less reserve, and with more personal effect than it has been in the present instance. To use nearly their own words:—̶Let them be assured, that they have stirred up the indignation of one who will give stroke for stroke. Who will watch every sally from the rebellious gate, and compel the aggressor to retire howling to his den”*—We know them well,—all and each of them,—their names, characters, and schemes,—and we here give them warning, that if, in the drunkenness of their folly, they shall persist in their work of calumny and defamation, we shall in no respect spare them;—and if we fail to make our promise good, let the public at once pronounce us the most incompetent of castigators.

Until they hear from us again, we present them with a sentence or two for their consideration from the Economy of Human Life. They will there learn, that “he who feareth all, striketh at all,” and that “tyrants are cruel because they live in terror.” “Who,” it is there asked, “is he that affirms most boldly? Who is

* See Vol. III. p. 695.

it that holds his opinion most obstinately? Even he who is most ignorant.” “The heart of the hypocrite is hid in his breast; he masketh his words in the semblance of truth, while the business of his life is only to deceive.” “In the cunning, truth itself is a lie.” “The hypocrite worketh in the dark like a mole, and fancieth he is safe; but he blundereth into light and is betrayed, and exposed with his dirt on his own head.”

And Pope has already given something beyond a hint to certain infamous persons:

“To friends, to fortune, to mankind a shame,
Think how posterity will treat your name;
Then buy a rope, that future times may tell
You have at least bestowed one penny well.”


John Moir, Printer.