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Jacobin, a weekly political paper, founded for the purpose of ridiculing some of the political agitators of the day. Now it is memorable chiefly for the very amusing skit called The Friend of Humanity and the Knife-Grinder-a really brilliant tour de force by Canning, which laughs at the pretentious "Humanity" and "Philanthropy" of the day. Gifford also did good service by his satiric poems-the Baviad and the Maeviad. These utterly crushed the mawkishly sentimental writers-called "Della Cruscans" from the pen name of their leader, Robert Merry-who flourished about 1790. Yet he will be remembered chiefly as an unfair critic. His early struggles had soured a temperament never very sweet, so he came eventually to regard the subject of his criticism as "a being partly idiotic and partly villainous, who must be soundly scolded, first for having done what he did, and secondly to prevent him from doing it again."
Lockhart was called to the editorship of the Quarterly in 1825. Prior to this he had contributed a great deal to the famous Blackwood's Magazine, of which more anon. He was a far more capable man than Gifford, broader and more genial in his views, but limited in the direction of romanticism. In fact, only in one instance did he attain a sympathetic knowledge of romantic work. This was in the case of Scott, his father-in-law and warm friend. Lockhart wrote a Life of Scott (1836-8), which is one of the best of its kind. Care
fully compiled and finely written, it avoids the pitfalls of excessive blame or excessive praise, and gives a very just idea of the great man's life and work. The Life is its author's best production, and will be his most enduring monument. Other contributions Lockhart made to literature, principal being his excellent Life of Burns (1828) and his spirited Ancient Spanish Ballads, translations published in Blackwood's during 1822. They are valuable as translations, and, at the same time, good poetry. Lockhart, like Jeffrey and Gifford, wrote much, and almost invariably severe, criticism. Like them, also, he would have none of the romantic movement. He was concerned (with Gifford) in the savage onslaught upon Keats's Endymion, and he ran amuck, with more justice, though no less ferocity, through Tennyson's early poems. He directed the Quarterly
until his death in 1843.
The third of the great periodicals was Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. And in some respects it was the most notable of all. Certainly it began with a blaze of notoriety, while the boldness. of attempting a periodical of monthly instead of quarterly appearance added not a little to its fame. Blackwood's, by the way, was the first real Magazine "—the first periodical to publish a miscellaneous programme of fiction and criticism. It gave vent, also, to fun and humor, which was denied in the graver pages of its predecessors. The origin came in 1817. William Blackwood, an Edinburgh
publisher, and founder of a famous House, started a magazine, which dragged along in the hands of two mild and harmless editors for some six months—“a sort of antiquarian repertory, with notices of periodical publications, and a register of foreign and domestic affairs." But then the strong and impatient intellect of William Blackwood shook itself free from the conventional trammels of the publisher. He dismissed the decorous and commonplace editors, took the management into his own hands, and called to his assistance some of the most brilliant and daring young men of the day. Number 7 (Oct. 1, 1817) was the first of the new régime, and it made an unprecedented sensation. The sales ran up to 10,000 copies, and then the number was suppressed. The cause for this demand lay in an extraordinary article headed Translation from an Ancient Chaldee Manuscript, which, purporting to be a newly-discovered historical document, was written in biblical style, and contained in every paragraph a hit at some personage celebrated in Edinburgh life. Some of the more kindly references may be cited.
Scott was "the great magician who dwelleth in the old fastness, hard by the river Jordan, which is by the Border." Blackwood himself was referred to, his name was as it had been the color of ebony." Nor were the writers themselves omitted. Lockhart became "the scorpion from a far country, which delighteth to sting the faces of men."
Another, who with Lockhart played the most prominent part in the new magazine, was termed "the beautiful leopard . . . whose going forth was comely as the greyhound, and his eye like lightning of fiery flame."
The "leopard" was JOHN WILSON (1785-1854), who had most of the good gifts, physical and mental, that fortune could bestow. Born in Scotland, for a time he was identified with the "Lake" school. Arriving in Edinburgh, "young, handsome, wealthy, witty," he naturally became popular. He threw himself with enthusiasm into the ranks of the young fighting journalists, despite the calming influence of a Professorship of Moral Philosophy in Edinburgh University. He was connected with Blackwood's from the first, and wrote for it during nearly the whole of his life; indeed, after Lockhart left in 1825, it bore, more and more plainly, the stamp of his personality. Wilson published two volumes of mediocre poetry, but his best work appeared in "Maga." His intellectual scope and vitality led him to write on all manner of subjects, chiefly under the name of Christopher North. Best are the Noctes Ambrosianæ, a series of conversations on convivial matters and things in general The central figure is the "Ettrick Shepherd," from whose lips the wisest sentiments and most beautiful descriptions are made to flow. The shepherd was an idealized portrait of James Hogg, a real shepherd and a poet of unequal merit. The whole influ
ence of Wilson was healthful. His mental personality, like his physical, was breezy and wholesome. If he fell into the fault of exaggeration, he at any rate produced much that had a most stimulating effect. Blackwood's is very interesting, both in its origin and its after influence. It is alive to the present time and during its long career has exercised a very important influence. To Edinburgh must be traced the origin of modern periodical literature; to Blackwood's Magazine all the hundreds of its successors.
Imitation is the sincerest flattery and the direct application of the saying was not long lacking to Maga." The London Magazine was founded shortly afterward and for a while rivalled its northern contemporary. It commanded some great contributors -notably Lamb and De Quincey. It did not survive the withdrawal of Elia. But in 1830 appeared a more robust rival in Fraser's Magazine, founded by a Blackwood's man and introducing to London and the world a group of young journalists more brilliant than those of the Edinburgh, the London, the Quarterly, or even Blackwood's. The originators of the Magazine were William Maginn and Hugh Fraser. Maginn had been connected for a time with Blackwood's. Both men lived more well than wisely, but they succeeded in launching a periodical that had great success and all the elements of a long life. Among the "Fraserians" who took London by storm may be mentioned