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[William Jerdan]
Mr. Hogg and the Edinburgh Review.
Literary Gazette  No. 200  (18 November 1820)  746.
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Journal of Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences &c.

No. 200. SATURDAY,  NOVEMBER  18,  1820. PRICE 8d.



An Edinburgh friend informs us, and indeed we observe it stated in a public newspaper, The Scotsman, that the letter purporting to be from Mr. Hogg to the Edinburgh Reviewer of his Jacobite Relics, inserted in Blackwood’s Magazine, is what in England is denominated a hoax, the production of the editor of the Magazine. Our friend adds, “the good folks in the North will have a hearty laugh at your simplicity in so gravely quoting the letter as Hogg’s,” &c. To this we an only say, that we are not ashamed of our simplicity, if it be simplicity to be imposed on by a paper of this construction, which our happy ignorance of the parties and squabbles which disgrace the press of the northern Athens prevented us from understanding in its true light. The wit and waggery of the article was quite lost upon us, and we dare say upon the great majority of its readers; which, we beg to suggest to the writer, is proof that this species of drolling may be carried too far. It is neither consistent with good sense, good taste, nor humour to be unintelligibly smart. But censurable as such misleading representations are, and injurious to any publication prone to them, as tending to cast a doubt on all its contents, and destroy its character for authenticity where it really means to obtain credit; we are infinitely more disgusted with the Billingsgate which has been introduced into the pages of disputing periodicals. If we do not greatly mistake the public feeling, their conductors had better leave their mutual quarrels alone, and stick to matters more useful and agreeable. It is very indifferent to the reading and respectable classes of society, what John O’ Nokes thinks of Tom o’ Stiles, or what grounds of rivalry exist between Blackwood and Baldwin, or their editors. One paragraph of information or light pleasantry is worth a hundred sheets of their silly disputes: and neither their own interests nor the interests of literature can be promoted by their indulging in invective and vituperation against each other. On the contrary, and amicable intercourse would be advantageous to the cause of letters, in which they are, or ought to be, engaged. It is always suspicious when publications in the same walk try to persuade the world that the most important service they can render to literature is to write down a competitor. They had better leave their respective merits to be appreciated by public discernment.—Verbum sat.