LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism
[John Scott]
The Mohock Magazine.
London Magazine  Vol. 2  No. 12  (December 1820)  666-85.
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH



No XII. DECEMBER, 1820. Vol. II.


What starting hole can’st thou now find out, to hide thee from this open and apparent shame?—1st Part Henry IV.

We return quickly to this subject, because we wish to have soon done with it. Such discussions are not those we most like; but what we have taken in hand to do, we mean to perform effectually; after which, the public being completely in possession of the case, we shall hold ourselves discharged from the unpleasant task of watching, and exposing what may be termed the infamous Scotch Hoax.* The publication in question

I. The Reekie School—(as a companion to the “Cockney School”)—by Z., Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, &c. &c.

II. Sketches of Professor Wilson’s first course of Lectures, by Philo-Veritas. These papers will be excessively interesting, we are told, and we believe it.

III. Doctor Morris’s Vision of the Horns—with the Seer’s interpretation of the same—clearly foretelling his recent accident from the Black-bull—in the manner of the Chaldee M.S.

IV. Private Letters on the above subjects that have passed between the Black-bull and Mr. Blackwood—with a note of law expenses.

V. Conversations On. Art, held by the Amateurs in Prince’s-street, Edinburgh.

1. On “A Portrait of the Emperor of the Mohocks,” by that great master of design, John Gibson Lockart, Esq. The artist’s genius, as evinced in this piece, has been so admired in Edinburgh, that he has been actually confounded with its subject; and he is now generally, we understand, complimented with the royal title of Emperor of the Mohocks! The motto to this piece is taken from the Spectator, No. 324:—

“The Mohock-club, is a name borrowed, it seems, from a sort of cannibals in India, who subsist by plundering and devouring all the nations about them. The president is styled “Emperor of the Mohocks:”—his arms are a Turkish crescent”—(something like the horns of the Black Bull at the head of Leith Walk)—“Agreeably to their name, the avowed design of their intention is mischief, and upon this foundation all their rules and orders are framed.”

2. On “The Dilettanti Society in the Isle of Palms,”—a Landscape, with figures, by Wilson. The object of this piece is stated to be a moral one—Viz. to shew that much piety is not incompatible with a great deal of punch.

3. On “Deacon Drummond and the Four Evangelists,”—intended for the University of Edinburgh—also by Wilson. This Scriptural picture is described as irresistible;—the design is particularly admired,—also the air of simplicity in the Deacon’s head.

4. On “The Assassin,”—a sombre piece—by Doctor Morris—intended for Mr. Blackwood’s back parlour. The character of treacherous malignity was never better expressed than in the features of the Assassin.

5. On “The Shepherd’s Dog Ill Treated,” an affecting picture by that excellent Scotch artist, James Hogg. Wilkie might be proud of this piece. The valuable beast has here got into very bad hands. A parcel of mischievous heartless scoundrels have tied a cannister to his tail, with which the abused creature runs full speed, as if it naturally belonged to him, instead of turning upon his tormentors, and shewing his teeth, which would soon set all to rights. Some of the crowd pity the animal, but more ridicule him, in consequence of the clatter of the cannister; and the fellows who have been guilty of this act of cruelty, are plainly seen to be laughing and enjoying the joke to themselves, while they are professing to others to admire the dog whom they have thus disgraced. Every friend to humanity, and to the noble qualities of a truly noble creature, must feel the greatest interest in this picture; and we fervently hope that the meritorious artist may be roused by the praise he has received, to exemplify his talents in treating a more gratifying subject. Let him next repre-

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cannot be more aptly denominated; a Hoax (a word of late origin) being a laughing lie, in which the fraud is more apparent than the pleasantry, and the joke consists almost entirely of mischief. This species of wit is of recent invention: yet it is nothing but an extension of the class of what are called practical jests. The Mohocks, of whom we read in the
Spectator, shone amazingly in these: they ludicrously insulted the women in the streets, crippled children, and maimed the defenceless generally. They flourished for a time:—their “irregularities,” were as popular as those of Blackwood’s Magazine, and were excused in much the same way, till at length it was hinted to the public that these merry fellows were malignant scoundrels, without either honour or courage; that their jokes were the outrages of ruffians, and their attempt to laugh them off an insult to decency. The public quickly took the hint, and the Mohocks soon fell into disrepute and decline. Their successors were “a feeble folk” in comparison: they went about the streets knocking at doors, and running away when the servant came with the candle: sometimes they ventured to steal a blind man’s dog from him;—they have even dared to pull off an old gentleman’s wig, and have exquisitely withdrawn a lady’s chair from under her, as she was going to sit down. It is within our own day that the Hoaxer has taken the place of these wags, and introduced an improvement in their practice. He is more cunning, and more mischievous; his pleasantry, too, is as certain not to fail of its effect, and makes no greater demand on mental resources. Any one who can hide a pair of spectacles, or blacken a face when its owner is asleep, or make wry mouths behind a person who is speaking on a serious subject, need not be afraid to attempt hoaxing. It is a hoax, for instance, to tell a man that he has pimples on his face when it happens to be clear, as Blackwood’s men have done to Mr. Hazlitt: this is a hoax, and surely nothing can he more easy of execution. It is a hoax to astonish a gentleman of clean and rather careful habits, by exclaiming that his hair is greasy, though it bears the appearance of holding pomatum in horror: this Blackwood’s men have done to

sent The Shepherd’s Dog “himself again”—ranging his native hills proudly and freely, or attending his flocks sagaciously and kindly, or basking by the farmer’s ingle side, an image of fidelity and of pastoral beauty.
These Critical Conversations will be continued through a much longer series than the above; but it is unnecessary at present to anticipate more of the subjects.

VI. An Historical and Genealogical Paper on the ancient and respectable Family of the Blacks,—full of biographical anecdotes and sentimental reflections. The author is a profound man in such matters, and undertakes to shew the exact degrees of relationship which exist between the various branches of the Blacks—such as the Black-legs, the Black-guards, and the Black-woods. He clearly proves that Ebony and his Editors, though honourably come, have not any right to claim descent from the Black Prince,—that “young Mars of men,”—as some shallow persons have supposed from the shop being in Prince’s-street. He shews, incontestably as we think, that the dark blood in their veins flows from a very different source—
“Dark as Erebus—let no such man be trusted”—
is their family motto, he says,—and sufficiently distinguishes them from the ich dien branch. Referring to the name Ebony, as recently bestowed, and used by us a few lines back, he disputes its propriety with much show of learning,—and suggests that the Upas, or poison tree of Java, which is black-hearted, would supply the appropriate appellation. Perhaps, however, this may be thought a little pedantic. He avails himself of
Doctor Morris’s famous conversation with that brunette, the Hottentot-Venus, on their family affairs (an accurate account of which has never before been published) to give authority, or at least plausibility, to many of his statements,—and vindicates Mr. Warren, and Messrs. Day and Martin, Blacking-makers, from having any hand in the preparation of the articles for the Blackwood Magazine.

This is the whole list which has been sent to us; and we accordingly announce the above Papers, of which some idea may be formed from the accompanying explanations,—as intended for progressive publication.
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Mr. Haydon, and this is a genuine hoax—clever but not difficult. It is a better hoax still to swear that this is fair criticism on the artist and the author, and to protest solemnly that they have “no personal feelings in regard to these persons, good or bad,—and have never even seen one of their faces!” All this has been done by Blackwood’s men in their 42d No.—and this is carrying the hoax to its last and highest degree of impudent fraud. It is a hoax to write false letters with real signatures, for the purpose of throwing ridicule and dislike on the persons whose names are forged,—to injure them in their interests, and hurt them in their feelings: and this, too, Blackwood’s men have performed, to a pitch of outrage on individual claims, which goes nigh to pursuade us, that the press is, in its abuse, a nuisance too offensive to be compensated for by any benefit in its power to render society under respectable management. Further, and lastly, it is a hoax, almost as laughable as assassination itself, to tell falsehoods, and provoke honest indignation, under the assumed name of an excellent, meritorious, and inoffensive individual, totally unconcerned in the mischief,—which is solely intended to gratify the mercenary and malicious designs of the hoaxer, at the expence of the fame and the interests of one whom he appears to treat as his friend, and for whose welfare he professes to be anxious! This is taking the cruelest and most unmanly advantage of a defenceless situation that can be conceived: and this is a hoax which Blackwood’s men have practised on poor Hogg, the delightful Shepherd Poet—whose bonnie and delicate dedication to Lady Anne Scott of Buccleugh, have inspired feelings in his favour, that warm into angry scorn at this dastard ly attempt to degrade and injure a man whose poetical genius is a jewel of the first water in the national crown of honour. This is a matter, however, on which we shall afterwards remark at greater length.

Blackwood’s Magazine, therefore, may fairly be complimented with the title of The Infamous Scotch Hoax; and it will be admitted infinitely to outshine the Stock Exchange Hoax of pillory fame. These are assertions, however, that ought not to be made in language at all akin to that of levity; for they must heap indelible disgrace, either on the persons against whom they are directed, or on us by whom they are hazarded. We accept and acknowledge the responsibility thus conveyed; and challenge attention to the facts we are about to bring forward, as not only sufficient to prove the substantial truth of our allegations, but adequate to warrant the favourable presumption we claim for our motives in undertaking this task of exposure. We do most seriously and sincerely declare, that we have been induced to write these articles solely by the indignation rising and swelling in our minds at the still-renewed spectacle of outrage, hypocrisy, and fraud, which the succeeding Numbers of Mr. Blackwood’s Publication present. Long impunity, or, at least, insufficient exposure, from whatever cause proceeding, has at length converted what was at first but a system of provocation, into a downright system of terror. We know for a fact, and dare contradiction, that Blackwood has openly vaunted of holding to grateful behaviour an individual who had been first abused, and then defended by the same writer in his Magazine: “if he is not duly respectful, we have more for him from the same hand!” Such is the triumph of Scotch toryism over Scotch whiggism in Blackwood! A few more such victories will be sufficient to disgrace it for ever. It is impossible, almost, to conceive any one species of deceit, of unfair aggression, of the violation of all the rules of proper criticism, of individual persecution, of false pretension, and audacious boasting, falling within the range of literary profligacy, which the writers in this publication do not habitually practice. It has been their aim, from its very commencement,—as we observed in our last paper under this head,—to excite the public expectation and attention, by the perpetration of gross wrongs, affecting the honour of literature, and the peace of individuals. In their endeavours to do this, they have not restricted themselves to the malignancy of satire, and the bitterness of personal invective, but, with these, they have coupled a duplicity and treachery, as mean and grovelling as their scurrili-
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ty has been foul and venomous.—Three times within the space of very little more than two years, have they been compelled to pay, to injured individuals, heavy forfeitures, for calumnies uttered against private character, and to the detriment of private interests; and in no one of these three have they attempted defence or justification of any kind! No attempt has been made by them, in any of these cases, to show mistake or misconception; nor have they once dared to stand boldly on the honesty of their strictures, and vindicate manfully what they had uttered rancorously. No,—in each of these instances, the offence has been flagrant and scandalous—and the penalty has been paid, quietly and unresistingly. In two of them, wilful malice was apparent beyond contradiction, and the means taken to gratify it were still more disgraceful than the intention. In the first, bodily infirmity was alluded to, amidst a heap of slanders and indecencies, which were afterwards apologised for in the lump, and have been since repeated in detail. In the second, wilful falsehood, as well as wilful malice, stood barefacedly exposed:—the writer of the queries addressed to
Mr. Hazlitt, affirmed, under the guise of an interrogation, what he could not but know was untrue,—nay totally without foundation of any kind—and, when called to account for this, he acknowledged the lie by silently paying its forfeit! This writer, who assumed the mask of a correspondent, is now known to be Mr. Blackwood’s principal Editor—not the gentleman who has been recently withdrawn from the Magazine to Moral Philosophy—but Doctor Morris,*—the individual who has been obliged, the other day, to pay (being the third penalty) four hundred pounds to a wantonly injured tradesman,—and whose hand, it is now well understood, has thrown most of the envenomed darts, launched against character and feeling from the quarter in question. Nothing in the annals of disgraceful publication can be quoted to equal the course of conduct pursued by this man, in his capacity of Editor. While he has been uttering these calumnies, and paying these penalties, he has forged testimonials from living and celebrated men to the merits of his Magazine, which he has published with their names at full, trusting to the very audacity of the measure to escape detection, or, at least, exposure. We have lately seen him giving, as from a private letter from Goethe, a sentence of clumsy German! After writing, as the first fruits of his Editorship, a most virulent and offensive libel against Mr. Coleridge, in which the “grinning and idiot self-complacency”—of that gentleman is talked of; in which he is described as having exposed himself “dead drunk in the house of a Brummagem Patriot”—after all this, he has found means to draw, for once, a private and civil letter from the object of these indecent aspersions; and this letter, contrary to the usage of gentlemen, he has published in his Magazine, without the writer’s consent, and, as we have reason to know, very much to the writer’s displeasure. It appears, then, that either way is indifferent to this person: if the letters are written, confidence is violated in their publication; if they are not written, they are fabricated for that purpose. This is the man who wrote a book, under a feigned name and character, to praise and puff his Magazine, and its management. Writing usually in a convenient tone of burlesque, he balances his falsehoods between the few who will take them as jokes, and the thousands who are likely to believe them in credulity;—equally deceiving both, for the apparent joke is spite or sordidness in sober gravity. Every word of the affected extravaganza is deeply and seriously calculated, with reference to its object, which is either to plunder or to assassinate. He will drop from an evident exaggeration to what bears the semblance of a meek and drily stated fact,—and the lie will be lurking in the latter, with its poisonous sting, to which the former was merely intended as a treacherous decoy. The long article in his last Number, is altogether constructed on this principle.—Its only merit is effrontery: it is this which gives to it a certain effect of gaiety, and causes it to be read with some degree of interest.—We defy any one to extract from it a

* His alias is well known.
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single sentence that possesses any striking excellence, either in style or point independently of the quality we have just named. It is like the conversation of some Irishmen we have met with: take away the impudence of its manner, and all its zest is gone. The pleasantry consists, not in saying things that few could say, but things that few would say. It has a sort of spouting-club readiness about it; a brazen self-possession; a quickness which is the result of moral indifference; an overbearing bustle, which it attempts to make pass for natural strength. Its ease is insolence; and if it succeeds in shedding an air of ridicule over its subjects, it does this in the general abandonment it makes of respect and respectability. The writer shares the degradation he inflicts; and even the reader is made to feel, that he is lowering himself, for the moment, to the level of a disposition which he must despise. Such are its attractions:—its objects are to deceive and injure. There is not one rhodomontade throughout its twenty pages, that does not inflict an assassin’s stab from under the mask of a buffoon.—The statement of the comparative sales of the Reviews and Magazines is arranged and proportioned to aggravate private injuries, which the unprincipled writer has already inflicted. What he says of
Constable’s Magazine, and the Edinburgh Review, is maliciously false; what he says of Blackwood’s Magazine is palpably and impudently so. What he says of the conduct of that work is an attempt to play the fool with his own dishonour. What he says of Mr. Murray is in the teeth of the fact. Mr. Murray himself expunged his name from Blackwood’s title page, because he found that there is a degree of infamy which even tory politics cannot carry off—that is to say, not in London—in Edinburgh it may be otherwise. Mr. Murray had the reputation of a respectable man, and that of the most distinguished publisher of the day to sustain: his name is connected with the chief literary honours of the present time, and he could not, therefore, suffer it to be attached to the foulest literary nuisance. He heard disgust and abhorrence of the calumnies of Blackwood’s Magazine expressed by every honourable individual, without distinction of politics. He may be, and we believe he is, rather a warm party man himself—but he is not sordid, he is not false, he is not callous to shame. On the contrary, we believe him to be as sincere in his opinions as a man, as, by the general acknowledgment of all who have had any transactions with him, he is liberal, spirited, and upright in his conduct as a publisher. His first connection with Blackwood’s work may be traced to party-feeling: the Quarterly Review is a vehement tory publication; Blackwood took the same line, and this gained him a footing for a time in Albemarle-street: but it was not for long: Mr. Murray, it is understood, soon became disgusted with what he saw, and alarmed at what he heard,—and on the arrival of a bale of calumny from the North, weightier and darker even than ordinary, he proceeded, in a very summary way, to withdraw his name from the infamy, by tearing off the old title page, and printing a new one with the necessary alteration. Mr. Murray acted on this occasion with the promptitude of one who sets store by his character, and sees it endangered;—yet, while we cannot but congratulate him on his decision, we own we shall be mortified by it, if it turn out that Sir Walter Scott has no such sensibility on the subject! This eminent individual is known to have written some things for the Magazine in question; he is suspected to have written others: it is certain that several offensive articles have been composed under his roof; and the nuisance has now become too deadly to allow of any delicacy towards its aiders or abettors. Mr. Murray, as we have seen, thought it due to his character to extricate himself from all connection with Blackwood’s Magazine:—we shall be happy to have the Baronet’s disavowal of any such connection.

After having been thus literally and notoriously kicked out of the shop in Albemarle-street, Blackwood’s Editor has the effrontery, in his last Number, to declare that he dismissed Mr. Murray! This is a specimen of the impudence which he passes off for pleasantry. It is a hoax founded on his own disgrace. Most people would have felt the recollection of the circumstance too painful to
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permit them to allude to it: but
Doctor Morris has no such nicety of feeling. He may be compared to a fellow laughing, and thinking it excellent fun, to have been in the pillory:—swearing that he made a hearty breakfast on the rotten eggs with which he was pelted! What, then, is the upshot of his system? It may be thus stated in its separate parts:—

The lie is a joke, or hoax, to those who are competent to detect it:

It is a sober assertion to influence the opinion of the large majority of readers:

It is a hushed-up infamy, by means of a pecuniary compromise, when threats are used of dragging its author to the bar of a court of justice!

This is the literary system of Blackwood’s Magazine fairly described!—On the balance, the parties to this nefarious conspiracy are gainers.—It is true their stock-purse has had to furnish a thousand pounds,* at least, for forfeitures, within about two years: but scandal is a marketable commodity, and there are many individuals who shrink from a public contest with ruffians. They know this,—and on such they calculate to make their profits. Like smugglers, they can afford to pay when occasionally caught, for their nefarious traffic is a lucrative one. But, what are we to say of such an organization as this, connecting itself with the Public Press of the country, and thus, employing the most powerful mechanical engine of human invention to give effect to undisguised purposes of fraud and force on property and character! The simple fact of their having three times paid forfeit for private calumny, without once daring to defend, or justify, or even explain their assertions, is of itself a proof that they are acting systematically on the plan we describe;—and the reader will find in the detail that is to follow, corroborations in plenty. It is possible that men should write political libels, and yet be distinguished by the utmost integrity, generosity, and magnanimity of character: they, at least, who deny this, deny the applications of history, and would make of the existing authorities a miraculous exception to the universal rule. That men should write religious libels, and yet be honest men, is true, or else Cranmer was a villain, and Luther an incendiary. But who has ever heard of an innocent private calumniator, in any state of society?—Of an honourable person affirming absolute untruths against private character;—paying for them as untruths, apologizing for them as calumnies,—and then repeating them, protected by an insidiousness suggested by experience? Yet Blackwood’s men have expressed horror of individuals who have come under the stroke of the law for publishing political censure; and greater horror of sceptical writers on religious questions: they have held up the sentences of courts of justice in such cases, as palpable proofs of moral guilt,—and this they have had the audacity to do while they have been anticipating legal sentences against themselves,—acknowledging themselves to have broken the law in a way that necessarily infers infamy and attaches dishonour,—retreating even from an attempt to defend their conduct,—and thus altogether abandoning the pretence of having been actuated by motives that would bear statement.

Such is the conduct which has excited in our breasts the determination to expose it thoroughly, and we do not know that we can more usefully employ ourselves. “An outrageous ambition of doing hurt to their fellow creatures is the great cement of their assembly, and the only qualification required in the members:”—this, which was said by Steele of the Mohock-club, may be pronounced of the men of the Mohock Magazine,—only the latter carry on their outrages with a more dangerous instrument than the former. A printing-press is a more deadly weapon than a pistol or a small-sword; and to employ it destructively requires little more intellectual ability than is wanted to knock a man down with a bludgeon, or to splash him with the dirty water of a kennel. As he severity of criticism, justly and fairly applied, ought to be vindicated from the affected outcries of the weak or the interested, so ought the most un

* We include Peter’s Letters with the Magazine, throughout this article, as “another of the same.”
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qualified abhorrence to be expressed of those who would confound it with unprincipled and unmeaning personal abuse,—with trash, tormenting enough, perhaps, to the individual pitched upon, but utterly useless in as far as regards the public—or rather, we ought to say, still more noxious, as it relates to the public, than as it concerns the abused individual—inasmuch as it excites and feeds the bad passions and feelings, keeps them in a perpetual state of craving and activity, derives from them a foul and spurious taste in reading, corrupts altogether the popular judgment, disseminates bad faith, rancour, distrust, and alarm throughout private life, under the execrable pretence of promoting the interests of what is elegant and virtuous. We observe that, month after month, individuals of eminent attainments, and high reputation, in foreign countries as well as at home,—are dragged forth by
Blackwood’s Magazine not to have their productions, or scientific or literary opinions, criticized,—but to have their names repeated, burlesqued, inverted, parodied,—to be assailed solely in their personal feelings,—without the show of argument on any question of a public nature—to be treated, in short, after the Mohock-fashion, as described in No. 324 of the Spectator. What a simpleton must he be, who should say, that we have no business to take up the exposure of a nuisance of this description against the attack of which no man is safe, whose name can be forged, or whose character can be falsified! As periodical writers, commenting chiefly on the temporary features of the time, such infamy lies directly within our province; and nothing but cowardice, selfishness, or stupidity would lead any one to inculcate that the matter were better let alone.—There is, indeed, a certain cast of creature, blind to every thing but its own small interests, which it regards with an acuteness of vision intense in proportion as it is confined,—a timid creature in all that relates to general truth and universal justice, but with a sharp tooth to nibble at any point that incommodes itself,—a grovelling and obscure creature in its natural habits,—never seen or heard of in any stir of healthy and animated feeling, or opinion, yet sometimes startling people, who had not dreamt of its existence, by suddenly squatting up in an attitude of pigmy menace, and vermin wrath:—such a creature would he likely enough to lick, “with candied tongue,” the slimy coat of the snake, which we shall have “scotched,” at least, in these articles; and might even awaken into an inconsiderable ebullition of disapprobation,—doing rather more than “hesitate dislike” of our rough interference with a contemporary and similar Publication! Blackwood’s men have been accustomed to dole out pittances of praise to these “small deer:”—keeping a whole swarm of them feeding on their hands, as it were,—amongst whom that animalcule, “least of all God’s works,” the Editor of the Literary Gazette, might be seen, with the aid of a good microscope, extremely active with his minute antennæ. But our eyes must be directed to more palpable objects:—we ask of men,—sizeable human beings, walking about the earth,—not “mites in cheese,”—whether there is either intrusion or indelicacy in an attempt to rouse the better sense of mankind against a gang of desperado-trespassers, crape-faced poachers, who go about robbing, and maiming, and maltreating,—insolently laughing at their own atrocities, and jeering at complaint? If some one does not interfere to arrest the progress of this gang, who will be safe? Every created being cannot retreat into its own littleness, like the individuals of the animalcule tribe. Not the tradesman in his shop, quietly minding his business, can consider himself protected against indecent and painful exposure. It was but the other day that a letter was forged with the signature of Mr. Kirby, a London Bookseller, and published in this Magazine, to degrade that person in the eyes of his neighbours and customers, to wound his own feelings, and those of his family and his friends. The outrageous nature of such a proceeding as this, is beyond endurance: it makes one’s blood boil. A character for ignorance,—vulgar, selfish, brutal ignorance,—is here, in the face of the public, attached to an inoffensive and reputable, tradesman, in order. to render him a common butt of derision! Is not this a moral, if not a legal felony? But illegal it certainly is,
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and the law ought to be put in full force against the criminals. Again, we ask, whether we could be considered is fully discharging our duty to the public, if we were not to raise the hue-and-cry against such anti-social enormities? Are we to confine ourselves to the flagrancies of bad actors, and the blunders of dull authors, when these infesters of social life are in active and gainful occupation, and becoming each day more and more audacious, from the idea that every body shrinks from taking them in hand? Are they not as fairly before the public, and does not the management of their work present as fair a question for public discussion, as the stage, or a new poem? And what then should exempt them from this discussion? Nothing, surely,—unless it be a reason for treating them with forbearance, that they are not mischiefs of a speculative nature, but tangible and substantial plagues. If we have ever been able to assure ourselves that the general sympathy was with us on any matter we have handled, it has been in regard to our strictures, last month, on Blackwood’s Magazine. It would seem as if people in general had been all cherishing a bursting sense of the crying necessity of some such exposure,—yet doubting whether any one would be found to undertake the task. This Scotch work had grown to be regarded as a privileged terrae filius,—free to commit the rudest assaults and most savage insults without chastisement; —and when our exposition, of what every body knew before, came out, we were congratulated and applauded in a way that has excited our astonishment. We have seen or heard of but one exception to this general sentiment of satisfaction: and it would affect to think, that, as a rival magazine, we owe peculiar civility to Blackwood. We protest we do not see what the question of rivalry has to do with the matter; it does not turn at all upon a dispute between two magazines, nor do we either feel it, or treat it, in that light. It only requires a particle of honesty, small enough, we should think, to be continued even in an animalcule, to know that there is but one fair way of putting the case between us—and that it is this:—are the spirit and practice of the management of Blackwood’s Magazine such as we have described them? If they are, its conductors deserve to be exposed:—if they are not, this denunciation applies to ourselves. Having so far premised generally, we shall now proceed to state the facts more particularly than we have yet done, in order that the test, which we have just proposed, may be more easily applied; so that if we are calumniators, instead of others, the infamy that attaches to calumny may fall directly on our heads—and vice versa.

In our last, we affirmed that one of the principal writers in Blackwood had both libelled and eulogized Mr. Wordsworth—to which we now add, that this was done in articles planned coetaneouusly, and intended the one to be followed by the other! The attack on Mr. Wordsworth appeared in the third number of Blackwood, when that work was under the management of Mr. Pringle and another gentleman:—it was known by Mr. Pringle, at the time, whose composition it was,—though the real author suggested that it had come from Liverpool, and was probably the production of one of the Roscoe family! This person, under his offensive signature of “Observer,” remarks of Mr. Wordsworth, that he writes “miserable doggrel,”—that he has “made a fool of himself,” that he has “the voice and countenance of a maniac,” and drops “the drivelling slaver of his impotent rage on the cover of the Edinburgh Review.” Under his defensive signature of “N,” he accuses Observer (himself) of having “a heart full of spite and rancour towards Mr. Wordsworth,”—of having “committed gross violations of veracity,”—and being guilty of “every kind of misrepresentation, impertinence, and falsehood!” We regret to have observed, that an Edinburgh Newspaper has publicly and uncontradictedly, charged Mr. John Wilson, the new Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh, with having written both these Articles,—the one for, and the other against Mr. Wordsworth, which appeared in Blackwood’s Magazine,—and has added that he is strongly suspected of being the author of a third attack on Mr. Wordsworth, which appeared in Blackwood No. 8.—Is it possible that this can be true! Mr Wilson was Mr. Wordsworth’s
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intimate friend; he called him “My Wordsworth!”—He wrote to him, the other day, for “a character,”—which the author of the
Lyrical Ballads gave in Mr. Wilson’s favour, so far as talent goes—adding, that, as he did not know what peculiar qualities were thought necessary, in Scotland, to adorn the chair of moral philosophy, he could give no opinion on the fitness of the applicant for the situation which he was understood to covet. Mr. Wilson, certainly, from the commencement of Blackwood’s Magazine, has been one of its principal writers: but however that work is calculated to throw discredit on all belonging to it, it is universally admitted that Mr. W. is an amiable individual—that is to say, in comparison with his colleague, the Doctor. He once, in a wild whim, enlisted in a gang of gipsies; and we have heard of a journey from Oxford to Edinburgh,—part of which he performed as gipsey, part as strolling-player, part as common beggar. We are not stating this adventure as objectionable in itself, but merely as furnishing a grotesque contrast to his recent appointment to the chair of moral philosophy. It is true,—
One man, in his time, plays many parts,
but few, we believe, have been so successful as Mr. Wilson in making extremes well meet. He has played both Hamlet and the cock. He is now engaged in wrestling with the German philosophers in metaphysics; and it is not long ago since he was “shaking falls” with the highlanders, and exciting their astonishment by his aptitude to their nectar! He is the author of the “
Isle of Palms,” a poem overflowing with the phraseology of Methodism; and is, or was, the convivial president of the dilettanti club,—in which capacity he was justly admired for his ludicrous imitations of popular preachers, and his ready knack of parodying the psalms. Hearing that some of the freedoms of the president had got wind, and might impede the success of the professor, he waited upon a very worthy member of the town council of Edinburgh, and requested his permission to go over the four Evangelists with him—which he did, not only in an orthodox manner, but in a style of devout eloquence which persuaded the deacon he had partaken of the “gift of tongues.” This, to be sure, was long after his return from a tryst he had with Hogg, to meet on the side of a certain loch,—which he (Wilson) did not keep, by reason of his falling in with a set of jumping highlanders, whom he beat at every leap, and afterwards left unable even to stagger. He is no common man who can do all this;—but although we might be inclined to regard such a character with interest and indulgence, as the result of a wild temperament, combined with powerful faculties, surely society ought to have some security against such of its pranks as are more treacherous than pleasant.—Mr. Wilson was well known as a whig in politics: he urged Mr. Pringle, who preceded him in Blackwood’s Magazine, to attack and demolish the author of a particular pamphlet, because he was “a horrible tory;” yet Mr. Wilson is now the known writer of violent tory articles, and these have got him his place in the University! The abuse of the whigs, in Blackwood’s Magazine, like all the rest of its abuse, is violent and deadly: we do not charge it all against Mr. Wilson,—but we charge him with being accessary to it, and we affirm that there is every presumption against his sincerity in so acting. His having profited by this conduct renders it a matter of public concern; for of all the bad and mischievous examples that can be given to the world, we know of none so poisonous as that of success in life attained by such means. It is spectacles of this nature that beget misanthropy and vindictive feelings in noble breasts; which sometimes we see becoming unjust, in their very indignation against injustice. Take away the simple quality of hypocrisy from the person we have been describing, and Mr. Wilson would at once lose his moral professorship, and regain his moral character.

On the head of equal insincerity in praise and abuse, let us turn to the pseudo Doctor—the malignant Emperor of the Mohocks. Morris is understood to be the author of the extremely scurrilous article on Mr. Coleridge, which appeared in No. 7, of Blackwood. Of Mr. C. it is there said, “it seems impossible that he can be greatly respected,
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either by the public or himself:”—“he seems to consider the mighty universe itself as nothing better than a mirror, in which, with a grinning and idiot self-complacency he may contemplate the physiognomy of Samuel Taylor Coleridge:”—“so deplorable a delusion as his, has only been equalled by that of
Joanna Southcote, who mistook a complaint in the bowels for the divine afflatus:” the article proceeds to allude to “drunkenness,” and “desertion of wife and children,”—but we are by no means inclined to prolong unnecessarily our quotations; nor have we any thing further to say of them than that Mr. Coleridge has been since hoaxed into believing the author of the above well-inclined towards him! Under the influence of this idea, with all the simplicity of a metaphysical philosopher, he lately addressed a private letter to the present Editor of Blackwood’s Magazine, which private letter was no sooner received, than it was sent to Blackwood’s printing office; and in No. 42, there, sure enough, it appears, with the signature of S. T. Coleridge (not Samuel Taylor in full) and an accompanying note from Dr. Morris, calling attention to it as “a very characteristic letter of one, whom,” says the Doctor, “I well know that you,” Christopher North—alias Doctor Morris himself, “agree with me in honouring among the highest!”—It happens that we can put the infamous treachery of this treatment of Mr. Coleridge beyond all doubt. Christopher North is the nomme de guerre for the Editor of Blackwood; and Morris, the same individual, under another mask, adopted for the purpose of puffing the Magazine, says he is sure of the Editor’s sympathy with himself in honouring S. T. C. amongst the highest. So far so good:—this is in No. 42.—Turn we now then to No. 7, where we find S. T. C. described as “lying dead drunk in the house of a Brummagem patriot,”—” exposing himself to the insults of the vile and vulgar:”—who, may we venture to ask, wrote this piece of abuse? It stands the first article of the Number; and the number too is the first of the Mohock’s management; and the paper is not signed, with initials, or any assumed name, as from a Correspondent,—but is conveyed as from the Editor in the usual editorial style.—More than all this,—in a notice, given in the name of the Editor, which we find on the very page facing this piece of abuse, it is thus announced:—“Our own opinions, and those of our regular Correspondents will be found uniformly consistentbut we invite all intelligent persons who choose it, to lay their ideas before the world in our publication; and we only reserve to ourselves the right of commenting upon what we do not approve.”—What are the palpable deductions here? If the article accusing Mr. Coleridge of “dishonest quakery” be not written by the Editor himself, it must be written by one of his regular Correspondents,—for it is the first article of the new management, and is not signed, as it would have been if written by a casual Correspondent. “Our own opinions, and those of our regular Correspondents will be found uniformly consistent!” The Editor is thus incontestably bound to the numerous traducing assertions made in the article; among others, to this—“that all good men, of all parties, regard Mr. Coleridge with pity and contempt!”—We say, he is, in every way, and without the possibility of escape, bound to them,—or, supposing he were to affirm that the article in question was written neither by the Editor of the Magazine, nor by a regular Correspondent, we might ask, where then is the comment upon what he did not approve, which he expressly reserved to himself the right of making in such cases? He now declares himself to be one of those who honour Mr. Coleridge amongst the highest: could he, then, as an honest man have permitted a chance contributor to traduce the object of his veneration in the most insulting language, without a word of caution, without an expression of dissent—immediately too after telling the reader that with all the matter which should appear in the Magazine, running in the usual editorial style, the Editor was to be considered as agreeing in opinion? Careless oversight cannot be thought of with reference to the first Number of the new management: this was to afford a specimen of the spirit, and. execution of the work; and would the commencing article be
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slightly regarded under such circumstances? Would it be selected strongly hostile to the Editor’s own sentiments: calumnious in the last degree towards one whom the Editor honoured amongst the highest? It would be trifling with the understandings of our readers to endeavour to strengthen the argument. The present Editor of Blackwood’s Magazine,—whether challenged in his own name, or under his aliases of Doctor Morris and Christopher North, stands deprived of all benefit from his numerous disguisements, and counterfeited, and falsified titles,—and is clearly convicted of foul treachery towards “Samuel Taylor Coleridge,”—“the illustrious and excellent friend,” whom he, Peter Morris, declares to himself, Christopher North, he holds in honour amongst the highest!

We have gone into this examination of evidence tediously, perhaps,—and we believe unnecessarily: the present Editor of Blackwood’s Magazine stands on the face of the publication chargeable with the remarks on the “Biographia Literaria” of Mr. Coleridge: they bear their own evidence of being his,—and we might have spared ourselves the trouble of going through the process of proving what he will not, we should think, dare to deny. There is now a perfect understanding in Edinburgh, that the same man wrote the first article, at least, signed Z. in which Mr. Coleridge is styled “a still greater quack than Leigh Hunt.”—The most infamous part, however, of the treatment, which Mr. Coleridge has received at this person’s hands, clearly is the recent unauthorized publication of his private letter.—No man who reads that letter can avoid perceiving that it is as unfit to be given to the public eye as any letter can be;—and the dirty design of exposing the writer to the sneers and ridicule of the sarcastic; the insolent advantage taken of the injudicious confidence of a strangely constituted, though eminently gifted mind; the laughing in his face, and winking at the bye-standers, worthy of a Mohock,—plainly to be discerned in the insulting introduction,—couple infamously with the abusive article in No. 7 of this Magazine, and add consummate treachery as the last aggravation of an outrage, which is as unmanly as it is gross. Its perpetrator deprives himself of all pretension to the character of a gentleman,—or rather, we should say, shows himself to be “a fellow by the hand of nature marked, quoted, and signed, to do a deed of shame.” Personal communication with such a man is deadly: one would suspect his palm to he poisoned, if he extended his hand in apparent friendship. If there be one point of honour more settled and recognized than another in society, it is the sanctity of a private letter:—the individual who receives it has even a less right to make it public without the permission of its writer, than the individual who might happen to find it, were it accidentally lost. Innumerable are the dissensions, the disgusts, the irreparable mischiefs that would desolate private life if this rule were once questioned. In this very letter of Mr. Coleridge we can see a cause of alienation and pain, which ought, at least, to give great regret to its over-confiding writer, now it is in print, and which we have no doubt has done so. We can take upon ourselves to state that he disclaims having ever authorised or contemplated its publication; and that he considers such publication as a most unfair advantage taken of him. The forgery of a signature, as a hoax, even when malevolently and treacherously done, is not so absolutely irreconcileable with the existence of some degree of honour and honesty, as this infidelity in regard to private correspondence. We could be much more easily brought to overlook the former than the latter.

Not, however, that such forgeries are to be lightly regarded. As jokes they are miserably easy, and unmeaning; while they are. calculated to give the greatest pain to the abused individuals, and even to inflict serious injury on their interests. Blackwood’s Magazine stands alone in taking this unwarrantable liberty with private respectability. A cunning sordidness is the motive, when it is not black malignity. The appearance of a real name in print sets scandalous curiosity agog, and produces an interest of a coarse and vulgar, but very general nature; an interest altogether independent of literary ability, or any of those qualities of sentiment and style, that render a written composi-
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tion valuable, but which are not always within the reach of authors, or the comprehension of readers. Nothing can be more ruinous to the literary taste of a people than the feeding of this natural appetite for impertinent and indecent interference. The example being once set amongst the competitors for popular encouragement, the offenders are seen to profit by their crime, and thus they tempt the better disposed to follow their bad example. All seriousness of principle is out of the question when the flippancies of personal allusion become fashionable. Insensibility, insincerity, and spite, are necessarily engendered by them; and when the poisonous stimulus exercises its full strength, treachery and malignity darken the aspect, and corrupt the influence of what may be termed the literary pleasures of general society. The infamous distinction of industriously and selfishly pandering to these unlawful desires, and systematically contriving seductions addressed to them, belongs to Blackwood’s Magazine. Its present management set out with offering gross captivations to the coarsest appetites in this way;—and Iscariot treachery, and Iago malice, took for auxiliaries the levity and folly of a tea-table gossip, and the saucy freedoms of an intermeddling buffoon. England, Ireland, and Scotland, have been traversed to introduce the names of towns, and of individuals residing in them, in order to gratify the stupid or the ill-natured craving for localities and personalities. Directed by the vulgarity of their own minds, the principal writers in this infamous publication have calculated on names as the surest means of getting off their numbers. It is not necessary for this purpose to put any real meaning into the allusion: the relations, friends, and acquaintance of the party named, find interest enough in the simple notice. Mr. Peterkin hears that Mr. Crawfurd is in Blackwood, and he needs no other inducement to order the work.

The mere impertinence and frivolity of this system, are enough to render it odiously contemptible: but it also involves serious fraud and mortal malice, entitling it to hatred and indignation. Of the truth of this the treatment which James Hogg, the Ettrick shepherd, as he used to be called, has received from the Edinburgh Mohocks, is a flagrant proof. This person is a true national poet; and he is also a universal poet. His poetry is peculiarly distinguished by an elegance and delicacy of sentiment and language, which “glints forth,” above the disheartening and depressing circumstances of his original condition, as beautifully and gracefully as the “mountain daisy”, so exquisitely addressed by his great predecessor in Scotch song. His “Abbot M’Kinnon;” his “Bonnie Kilmeny;” his “Dedicatory Address to the Lady Anne Scott of Buccleugh,” we have already referred to,—more than once we believe,—and we can never tire of referring to them as delightful examples of the pearly lustre native to genius, independent altogether of the polishing effect of external circumstances—or, rather, existing, deeply and internally, in despight of the coarseness of that with which it most immediately comes in contact, and the obscurity of the situation where, by the will of Providence, it has been thrown.—But there is a curious peculiarity in the literary character of James Hogg, which, while it is very interesting in itself, and by no means of unpleasant effect, when philosophically regarded, will be considered as increasing his claim on gentle and judicious treatment, in the estimation of all generous minds, while it dictates what course of conduct should be pursued, towards him by those who profess admiration of his talents, and regard for his person. Mr. Hogg, when in attendance on his Muse, seems to catch nobility of soul from his communication with her: the brightness of her glance seems to carry the kindling, purifying, and illustrating influence of Apollo throughout his whole internal man;—he “walks in glory and in pride upon the mountain-side, and his demeanour then would not disgrace the Sidneys, the Raleighs, the Spensers,—the gentlemen and poets of a gentlemanly and poetical age, when “high thoughts were seated in hearts of courtesy.”—But, as a prose writer, Mr. Hogg falls, with rather a remarkable abruptness, into the traces of what may be supposed the neces-
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sary habits of his daily life. He writes amusingly, and eloquently; but seldom elegantly, and very often coarsely. We are not objecting this to him as a great fault;—and we should be very indifferent about it, were it not for the unworthy use to which those qualities of his disposition, which may be divined from this peculiarity in his literary character, have been lately turned in the brutal hands of Blackwood’s Mohocks. Of the easy disposition—and, it is said, of the dependent circumstances of this man of genius, possessing such peculiar claims to delicate treatment, they have availed themselves to render him the regular fool-capped, bell-coated Zany of their Magazine!—Be it remembered, that we only speak of their representation of him: Hogg himself remains the poetical shepherd, the pastoral enthusiast, a living link, such, as no country but Scotland possesses, between the present and the past:—while he lives, the great and final gulph of division is not yet interposed between the simplicity and elevated imagination of an innocent, religious, and patriarchal people, and the artifice and pretention of what is called refined civilization.* But in Blackwood’s Magazine, we repeat, he is made to figure as an absolute Zany: he is made the Fool of the Show-cart: that is to say, he is abused, belied, disfigured,—and all under the guise of friendship and affection! Burlesque sonnets, to puff the Magazine, are falsely fa-

* The statement that Mr. Hogg is himself the author of some of the songs given as Jacobite Relics, is, of course, not genuine as his own avowal, in Blackwood; but we have good reason to believe it is quite true in point of fact. It is curious that we should meet with truth in this quarter, but, finding it, let it be acknowledged.—This imposition on the public,—if that be not a term altogether inapplicable to so innocent a deception,—will readily be excused for the sake of the proof it affords of the genius of the writer. Such fabrications as this of Mr. Hogg’s, are of a very different nature from those we have the unpleasant task of commenting upon in this article; and the circumstance itself, just noticed, suggests a peculiarity in the poetry of Scotland, and an interesting feature in the literary character of her poets,—which we would fain comment upon here, lengthening out this note, in preference to going on with the disgusting matter to which our text must be devoted. But, after this Number, we hope to be able, as Mr. Drama says, in his motto,—Milton having said it before him,—to twitch our blue mantles (which are at present very fashionable, made of fine cloth, and which are certainly convenient in a tilbury) and seek fresh fields and new pastures:—What would we not give to have even now leave of absence from “Stern Duty,” to wander amongst the “green shaws” and “burnie banks,” with the two poets of Ettrick and of Nithsdale! We should much prefer this to returning to dirty Prince’s-street.—But as return to it, and directly, we must—an Editor, like a sentry being obliged to stand to his post—we shall content ourselves, for the present, with merely indicating what we mean in our foregoing remark on Scotch poetry.—It is strictly national, and strictly spontaneous,—which cannot be said of English poetry, whatever other merits it may have. The consequence is, that it connects itself with the history and habits of the people; and, occupying its own place amongst the national possessions, illustrates what is peculiar to the country, forming a recording document, as it were, full of meaning and information. It happens, too, that the nature of the local inspiration is such as to make the poetic power paramount in the mind above all the influence of learning, society, condition,—which have such potent effects elsewhere. Difference of rank in the world, even inequality of instruction, produce little or no sensible difference in the productions of the Scotch bards: the strain is as highly raised, as well as kept up, with equal melody, in the compositions of the ploughman, the shepherd, the stone-mason, as, in those of the clerk of sessions. A ballad by Cunningham is as glowing with chivalrous fire, is as distinguished by elegant fancy, shows as great a familiarity with lofty thoughts, as one by Sir Walter Scott; and Campbell, who has studied at a University, is not more polite in his verses than James Hogg, the mountain peasant. The reason of this is, that their imaginations are occupied with the past, and its images of grandeur: their attention is fixed on these from their youth,—when they form their ambition,—to their age, when they become their solace. Their feelings are of their native land,—of its wonders, of its sufferings of its victories, of its faith. These exalt wherever they enter, and annul the distinctions made under less powerful influences. This circumstance too accounts for the facility with which: they can imitate the older ballads of their country: their minds are full of the thoughts and imagery of these: their poetical character is made up of them: their love is in them. Some day we shall have more to say of this.
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thered upon Hogg: in short, on all occasions, when a grotesque effigy is wanted, to he stuck-up for the purposes of ridicule or intimidation, the name of James Hogg is given to the uncouth figure. In “
Peter’s Letters,” (Morris’s Production,) his face was engraved so as to raise a laugh at his expense—advantage was taken of an extravagant sketch, made at a moment of private hilarity, to exhibit this national bard, the author of the “Queen’s Wake,”—in a pot-house attitude, and with a pot-house expression—to the sneering laughter of all the scoffers of England and Wales,—who may have a keen relish for the personalities of the Doctor, but who can neither understand the language, nor sympathise with the feeling of Hogg’s beautiful poetry. We must confess that when we first observed this hideous insult, it turned our souls sick within us; we found it impossible to preserve the idea of the poet any longer surrounded in our minds with the associations worthy of his genius, and suggested by his works. He instantly sunk in our fancy, “ten thousand fathom deep!” and “to this hour down had been falling,” had we not recently learnt that poor Hogg is no party to his own dishonour—that his exposure in these indecent postures and capacities has not been with his own consent,—but is an act of deliberate cruelty and unmanly violence. A public Journal of Edinburgh, we observe, has stated, that Mr. Hogg considers himself to lie under great personal obligations to Sir Walter Scott, and that it is this idea which has alone hindered him from protesting against the liberties taken with him in Blackwood’s Magazine. We know nothing of the facts here: if the statement be incorrect, it much behoves one eminent individual to have it satisfactorily contradicted: but we warn beforehand, that it will not be an avowal extracted from the known good-nature, and, we may say, culpable simplicity of the Ettrick shepherd—who has submitted so easily to outrages that could not but have given him much pain, that it seems very possible he may be persuaded to disown his own best feelings;—it is not, we say, a mere indulgent declaration from this abused individual, that can obliterate the disgrace which attaches to those of his professed and powerful friends, who have seen him thus degraded,—could have rescued him, yet did not.

All, however, of unmanly injury that we have as yet stated to have been inflicted on James Hogg, by the Mohocks,—or rather, we should say, we believe, by the Emperor of the Mohocks,—is as nothing to what we have yet to state. The “Jacobite Relics,” is a collection of songs on exploded politics, highly interesting as national monuments, and worthy of preservation, which was lately published by the Author of the “Queen’s Wake.” The Edinburgh Review has criticised this collection in rather severe terms: not certainly in the Mohock style; and not in the style which Mr. Hogg would merit to have applied to his deficiencies, were he weak and malignant enough to write that to which his name has been attached in Blackwood’s Magazine:—but the review certainly was not so favourable as we could have wished it to have been; and while we acquit the reviewer of getting-up a criticism to gratify a feeling of personal dislike—yet, knowing how sharp-sighted people become to the literary offences of individuals whose conduct they have observed with resentment or disgust,—we think it very likely that the falsehoods of Blackwood’s men, representing Mr. Hogg as an active co-adjutor in their infamous publication, may have materially assisted to bring down upon him the asperity of a work, whose favourable opinion is generally equivalent to the sale of one edition, at least, of a book. Here, then, we find exemplified, some of the probable consequences to personal interests of these forgeries and fabrications. But what has since happened is, as Doctor Morris says, “very characteristic.”—So characteristic, in fact, as to strip off even the last wretched rag, the frailest and scantiest remnant of character, if any yet remains to Blackwood’s men, in the opinion of the reader of this article. “A letter from James Hogg to his Reviewer,” appears in the last Number of Blackwood; followed by whatis called a private letter to the Editor, enclosing the first: the signature, and abode of Mr. Hogg, are attached to both,—and both are forgeries: neither
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the one nor the other has been written by the person to whom they are attributed, though they have been coolly signed “James Hogg,” and dated from “Altrive Lake!

What is the principal and prominent object of these forgeries? To vindicate Hogg’s reputation as an Editor? To shake off the misrepresentations of his reviewer? No—far from it: a show of doing so is indeed made in the latter half of one of these papers,—but the first part of this, and the whole of the other, is zealously devoted to an insidious and cowardly endeavour, to inculpate the Poet in the guilt and filth of all the most odious articles that have appeared in Blackwood’s Magazine, since the commencement of its course of abomination! Now we ask, whether, with reference to the personal character and public situation of Mr. Hogg, it is possible to imagine any thing more truly base than this treatment of him? Can it enter into the heart of man to conceive all example of more sordid, cruel, unprincipled mischief than this? The object of the atrocious writer is to gratify his own spites, jealousies, and hatreds, and to create a defence against the obloquy he has incurred, at the expense of the reputation, and pocket, of a poor man of genius,—whose disposition and temper have no fault but that of being too easy and careless. The letter to the Reviewer goes studiously through almost the whole long range of private calumny which blackens the series of the Mohock Magazine; and wherever there is a darker and more offensive spot than ordinary, wherever public reproach has affixed a deep ineffaceable stain, there is the author of the Queen’s Wake made to stop and steep himself in the infamy of approbation; to wallow in the mire and stench with the appearance of delight! He is made to enlarge upon the sympathy he cherishes with the assassin’s blow, the mercenary outrage. And this is done, in his name, by the very assassin himself! Commentary here is out of the question:—let us break the paragraph, that the reader may draw his breath again.

None of the acts of indecent, and unfair violence committed by the Scotch Mohocks, has excited so general an expression and sentiment of disgust, as that perpetrated on the venerable old age of that first-rate man of science Professor Playfair. It was universally felt to be made as hypocritically as cruelly; it was savage, insidious, reptile-like. It assailed the feelings of the esteemed object of the attack, unnecessarily and unprovokedly;—it afforded to the world the disgusting spectacle of honesty beaten down by hypocrisy; of profligacy using the language of religion to turn popular clamour against respectability and integrity. About the time this vile paper appeared, Hogg was himself ridiculed without disguise by the writers in Blackwood; yet he is now represented, by his unfeeling persecutor, as not only strongly approving of the aggression on Playfair, but as actively belonging to the Mohock gang at this period—in close companionship with persons who were then, avowedly rendering him ridiculous! This is an endeavour then to expose him at once to our dislike and contempt; and common humanity is concerned in circumventing the base design.

The Editor of the Supplement to the Encyclopedia Britannica, a writer of very considerable reputation, is maltreated in Blackwood in the grossest manner of common street-blackguardism. Nothing like criticism is ever attempted to be brought against him: we never hear of argument against either his principles, his opinions, or his abilities;—but his name is tossed backwards and forwards in its pages in a disagreeable way,—and every means of annoyance is tried against him, which men, destitute both of character and a sense of shame, can bring to bear against one who is possessed of both. The name of Hogg is attached to this low species of abuse also: he is made to participate in it; to fling a vulgar insult in Mr. Napier’s face, in a way, which, were he really guilty of the outrage, would render him a proper object for chastisement wherever he appeared, and lead to a sentiment of hostility towards him, which it is abundantly his interest to avert, and which his disposition, as we have heard t described, is not at all of a nature to merit.

As to “Mr. Macculloch of the Scotsman,” newspaper,—he, like ourselves, is one of the Mohocks adver-
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saries; but why should
Hogg, the poet, be forced to fight unfairly, and with foul weapons, the battle of Blackwood’s Editor, with the Scotsman and The London Magazine? The cowardice of this is equal to its baseness. Both the publications just named have it in their power to help Mr. Hogg on, in his literary career; both have shown a disposition to do so; both have made it manifest that they regard him with friendly feelings. A forgerer comes, and attaches his name to a disgraceful ebullition of small lying calumny against both these publications;—stuff more contemptible than hurtful, to be sure,—but so false and mean in its spirit, that had it been uttered by the person to whom it attributed, he could only have been regarded by us, for the future, with disdain!

Of the Editor of the Edinburgh Review, the forgerer writes in a style of flippant vulgarity, which is evidently intended to strike people as Mr. Hogg’s natural manner. A stupid insolence, and ludicrous assumption of consequence are here introduced,—and the ridicule is made to fall on the abused individual, whose name has been thus cruelly stolen.
Who steals my purse steals trash—&c.
* * * * * *
But he who pilfers from me my good name
is a base fellow: in Hogg’s case the Mohocks have sought to rob him of both at once!

The more these forged papers are considered, the more clear will it appear, that the scandalous fabricator has not a grain of regard or of generous feeling towards Hogg,—but that his object is to drench him thoroughly in the slough of Blackwood, and then exhibit him in the dirtiest possible state to the public. A man who is a poet himself—who has felt the weight of a poet’s labours, a poet’s anxieties,—who knows how delicate are a poet’s hopes, kind how deeply the iron enters into his soul, when the coarseness of vulgar dispositions comes, with savage violence, to over-turn and lay waste his creations of “the element,”—to raise the cry of brutal scorn in ridicule of his raptures, his visions, his reveries:—such a man (and Hogg is such a man) full as he must be of poetical sympathies, is displayed, by the falsifier of his nature, as well as the forgerer of his name,—exulting in one of the worst pieces of unmeaning indecent abuse that callous profligacy ever uttered, directed against the most interesting, and extraordinary youthful spirit of the present day,—the spirit of a genuine poet, if ever there was one on the earth. “What a capital thing is that Horæ Scandicæ in your last Number!” Hogg must first share the Mephistophiles nature of the Mohock Emperor, before he could write this encomium. In the Number of Blackwood containing the Horæ Scandicæ, we find the following very candid and amiable declaration:

We have no personal acquaintance with an of these men (Hunt, Keats, and Hazlitt,) and no personal feelings in regard to any one of them, good or bad. We never even saw any one of their faces. As for Mr. Keats, we are informed that he is in a very bad state of health, and that his friends attribute a great deal of it to the pain he has suffered from the critical castigation his Endymion drew down on him in this magazine. If it be so, we are most heartily sorry for it, and have no hesitation in saying, that had we suspected that young author of being so delicately nerved, we should have administered our reproof in much more lenient shape and style. The truth is, we from the beginning saw marks of feeling and power in Mr. Keats’ verses, which made us think it very likely, he might become a real poet of England, provided he could be persuaded to give up all the tricks of Cockneyism, and forswear for ever the thin potations of Mr. Leigh Hunt. We, therefore, rated him as roundly as we decently could do, for the flagrant affectations of those early productions of his.

They have no “personal feelings,” then, it seems, in regard to Mr. Keats: they are sorry to have unnecessarily hurt his feelings: but they have only “rated him as roundly as they decently could do for his flagrant affectations:”—and they afterwards ask, very reasonably, no doubt, “what is there should prevent us from expressing a simple, undisguised, impartial opinion on the merits and demerits of men we never saw, or thought of for one moment, otherwise than as in their capacities of authors?”—What, indeed? Horæ Scandicæ is in the same Number with this moderate, fair, gentlemanly appeal;—let us turn to it, and observe how decently, as well as roundly, they rate Mr. Keats for his affectations; how carefully they avoid trespassing on
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any thing belonging to the man, but his capacity of author; how obvious they make it, that they are actuated by no personal feelings towards him: in short, how strictly legitimate is their criticism on his writings,—“how pure a thing,—how free from mortal taint,” as Mr. Keats says of his Beauty of
St. Agnes.

Here’s Corny Webb, and this other, an please ye,
Is Johnny Keats—how it smells of magnesia!

A fine specimen this of their round and decent manner! Magnesia has much to do with “Hyperion,” and the “Ode to the Nightingale!

We, from the hands of a Cockney Apothecary,
Brought off this pestle, with which he was capering,
Swearing and swaggering, rhyming and vapouring;
Seized with a fit of poetical fury,
(I thought he was drunk, my good Sir, I assure ye)
With this he was scattering, all through the whole house,
Gallipot, glisterbag, cataplasm, bolus;
While the poor ’prentices at him were staring,
Or perhaps in their minds a strait waistcoat preparing,
Loud he exclaimed, “Behold here’s my truncheon;
I’m the Marshal of poets—I’ll flatten your nuncheon.
Pitch physic to hell, you rascals, for damn ye, a—
I’ll physic you all with a clyster of Lamia!

This is their mode of expressing their “undisguised and impartial opinion,” &c. &c. of Mr. Keats in his capacity of author! This is to prove that “they are most heartily sorry for having hurt his feelings, and that they sympathise, as they conscientiously declare, with his friends who deplore his bad health!—Mr. Hazlitt, too, is treated just as fairly,—and with as close a reference to his literary character:

This, studded with pimples, is Lecturer Hazlitt!

Haydon, too, they “rate decently and roundly.”

The part of Great Bottom by greasy-pate Haydon.*

Are these foul-mouthed allusions at all short of absolute villanies? They are, at least, heartless, impudent, unfounded insults,—grossly and ridiculously inapplicable to the persons they pretend to describe; not even conveying a true description of their looks,—and, therefore, wilder scandals than those which appeared, in the, same “round and decent” Publication, levelled at the too real personal infirmities of an Edinburgh lawyer,—Mr. Dalyell,—the infamy of which the Mohocks thought fit to purchase for two hundred pounds, paid to the injured individual. To give Hazlitt “pimples” and Haydon “greasy hair,” is less graphically correct than if we were to compliment Doctor Morris with the horns of the Black Bull, or affirm that he concealed a long tail in his great coat pocket, and had more of the perfume of brimstone about him than of eau-de-rose.

The brutal blasphemy included in the above passage, be it particularly observed, has no application whatever to the private manners or published compositions of Mr. Keats: Lamia is a gentle and graceful tale of a classical metamorphosis:—the disposition of Mr. Keats’ mind, as evinced in his works, is susceptible and romantic: the prevailing strain of his poetry is characterised in the following exquisite verse of his “Isabella,”—which we would challenge attention to,—as one of the very finest passages that can be quoted from poetical literature.

Moan hither, all ye syllables of woe,
From the deep throat of sad ill Melpomene!
Through bronzed lyre in tragic order go,
And touch the strings into a mystery;
Sound mournfully upon the winds and low;
For simple Isabel is soon to be
Among the dead:—She withers like a palm
Cut by an Indian for its juicy balm.

Is the reader inclined, immediately after this, to go back to Horæ Scandicæ; (misprint for Horæ Scandalæ)? He will therefore find the following lines to match against the above.

The Mohock Magazine. 683
Pitch physic to hell, you rascals, for damn ye, a—
I’ll physic you all with a clyster of Lamia!

Of Mr. Keats, as a private character, the Mohocks themselves are obliged to say—“we have often heard him spoken of in terms of great kindness; and we have no doubt, his manners and feelings are calculated to make his friends love him.” This is a reputation which a man would rather have, than that of the Editor of the Mohock Magazine. Can any traveller from Edinburgh to London report of him, “we have often heard him spoken of in terms of great kindness?” But, setting that aside, where then is the apology for the boisterous blasphemy of the above? It conveys no satire, either against the man or his writings: it has no application whatever to him: it is therefore sheerly wicked and disgusting: a spontaneous emanation from a naturally coarse and profligate mind.—This leads us to notice the abominable hypocrisy coupled with the flagrant immorality of this worst of publications: the attack on Professor Playfair was justified by the warmth and sincerity of religious feeling,—and a series of long, laboured, jesuitical articles, grafting the language and manners of the lowest English fanatic on the sturdy stock of Scotch Presbyterianism, were inserted in Blackwood, before and about the time of the election to the Moral Professorship,—done on the hoaxing principle, in the same way as the forgeries on Hogg, the statement of a seventeen thousand sale, and what they call “the bam” on Coleridge! The “Elder’s Death-bed,” the ”Snow Storm,” the “Radicals Saturday-night,” &c. were just as respectably motived as the Horæ Scandicæ; and “pitch physic to Hell, you rascals, for damn ye,” &c.—is a more respectable and decorous phrase than many examples of luscious larded cant, which we can find in the above-mentioned devout compositions—for, at least, it is a turn of expression natural to the Mohocks, in harmony with the manners of blackguards, and, therefore suitable to those who employ it. The Magazine in question has certainly, in one, respect, evinced genuine character,—and here too it has shown its greatest ability. We refer to the articles, which appeal in almost every number, indicative of rough licentious habits; containing the jokes of Edinburgh taverns, the coarse allusions of dissolute life in Edinburgh, the vulgar, but hearty, fun, and the unprincipled relaxations of Scotch who are a century behind your English roués in good manners. The Mohock has been put down for more than a century past in London; he is now in the height of his reign, and even has his Magazine in Edinburgh! And this Magazine is cleverly and vivaciously got up, so far as it fairly represents the Mohock character: but it unluckily happens, that in Edinburgh there are presbyterians as well as blackguards, and venal politics as well as tavern-suppers. A Scotch Editor (we believe we have some right to describe his feelings) would not willingly let any fish escape the sweep of his net:—he is like the Rev. Rowland Hill, in this respect, who says “we have the Gospel for some and good singing for others!” So Blackwood has obscenity* and swearing for the company at Ambrose’s,—and the “Elder’s Death-bed” for the kirk-going,—and the “Warder” for the slavish,—and scandal and calumny probably with an eye to all three. Its best things, however, are to be found in the first class of composition;—here is displayed the real merit of the publication. Here it is genuine, original, strong, and often pointed, it is better reading, this line, than the diamond-scrawled window of a traveller’s inn. But its religious papers are worse even than its other serious Essays. Their style is overdone, cumbrous, and false; it is the most opposite that can be conceived to a Scotch style, and the worst that can be conceived of an English one. it is, in short, the style of a charlatan, and hypocrite,—in which the consciousness of insincerity produces the appearance of exaggerated endeavour, and sheds aim air of fustian over what is intended to pass for enthusiasm. Blackwood’s religion puts one in mind of the heroism of Bombastes; its politics suggest those of Counsellor Phillips,—who is quite as devout as either of the two Editors of Blackwood—vide, his

* We can give reference to the passages if they are demanded of us.
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speech to the Bible Society:—but Blackwood’s blackguardism is given in good earnest, and as this constitutes the chief claim it has on respect, it would be unfair in its to pass it by hi silence.

The only difficulty we feel in regard to this article is to know how to stop it. If we had had foresight enough to have commenced the Number with it, we might perhaps have done the thing pretty completely in seven sheets and a half, or eight sheets of Blackwood’s men, double—we might have had them as fast as a felon who is double-ironed in Newgate: but, as it is, our memorandum of items must lie by us, with more than three-fourths of its contents unnoticed. We owe an apology to the reader for the insufficiency of this slight sketch,—in which but little is said, though that little, we would fain hope, may be of some service.—Yet one of the tricks of these people, which stares at us from among a crowd of others, all petitioning to be heard, is too characteristic of their Mohock tendencies to be allowed to escape from this imperfect chronicle of their fame. In their No. 41, they notice a work, which they attribute to Mr. Luttrel, author of “Lines written at Ampthill-Park.” The first extract which they profess to give from it is a long one,—and commences as follows:

Perchance, a truant from his desk,
Some over of the picturesque,
Whose soul is far above his shop,
Hints to his charmer where to stop
And the proud landscape, from the hill, eye
Which crowns thy terrace—Piccadily
Perchance Leigh Hunt himself is near,
Just waking from a reverier
Whispering “My dear, while others hurry,
“Let us look over into Surry.”
There, as the summer-sun declines,
Vet still in full-orbed beauty shines,
As, all on fire beneath his beams, &c.

The line, in the foregoing, where Leigh Hunt’s name is introduced, and that which follows it,—are not in the original; they are fathered on Mr. Luttrel, without hint or apology, to gratify a feeling of ill-will, which it is most probable Mr. L. does not share; and which it is very possible he may detest. These are insults and dishonesties, which assimilate a printing-press to the knife or bludgeon of the street-robber. They are unfair in every way; to the author of the work; to the object of the attack; to the mass of readers. They banish good faith from literature, as Bonaparte excluded the rules of civilized war from his contests, and thus led to reprisals, abhorrent to humanity. Blackwood’s Magazine is said to have power; so it has; and so has the kick of a mischievous Scots bullock. We are not, however, afraid of encountering power of this description: the brutal instinct is not a match for manly indignation, aroused in favour of what is honourable in principle and decent in conduct. Whoever undertakes the task which we have undertaken, must be prepared for the return most natural to the dispositions he has been exposing. We have proved that these dispositions are callously regardless of truth, fairness, and decorum. We have proved that Blackwood’s writers are in the habit of issuing the most unfounded and monstrous falsehoods when their object is personally to annoy:—that they do not look to facts even for their lies,—but take them at once from the coinage of their own brain. We have shown that there is no unworthy artifice that they will not take advantage of against one whom they hate: that they forge letters—interpolate quotations,—quote opinions from others in their own favour, which opinions were never given,—attribute to innocent persons a participation in the infamy perpetrated entirely by themselves!—Is not this a sufficient reply, beforehand, to all they may think fit to say?—Not, however, that we strictly engage to be so compendious with them, in case we should think it due to ourselves to enlarge. It will not, however, be mere personal abuse that will tempt us to render their Magazine, in another Number of ours, so prominent a subject as it is in the present. We have reduced them to a desperate situation:—that we know:—this article is not likely to go over them as “a summer-cloud,” any more than the last. Something they must do:—and the betrayers of Hogg and Wordsworth, the treacherous friends of Coleridge, the fabricators of letters,—these self-confessed and self-mulcted calumniators will probably act by us as they have acted by others:—we neither have the power nor the desire to hinder them
The Mohock Magazine.685
from affording fresh proofs of the justice of our strictures.

We ought not to conclude without stating, that we understand Sir Walter Scott disavows being the author of that series of personal papers in Blackwood, the interest of which is derived from sketches of those families and persons, with whom he communicated as a visitor when in London. This disavowal will probably be publicly made,—and we shall he happy to pay it more attention than the public, in general and ourselves, in particular, have paid to his well-known disavowal of being the author of the Scotch Novels. What Sir Walter Scott writes is altogether a mystery; and it is not but in the course of his interesting conversation, that we can gain some clue to his literary productions. The truth is, however, that we only hinted a suspicion here, founded on certain circumstances,—and professed that we leaned on the whole to the side of disbelief. Communications with dangerous people, however, are dangerous things. A man should he careful of his conversation when he knows Doctor Morris is near him. Articles have lately issued from under the roof of Abbotsford that do no credit to the place; and the scraps that fall from the Baronet’s table, become sadly changed in odour, when they have passed, through “certain strainers,” into that common cloaca Blackwood’s Magazine.—Let us hope that we shall never again have occasion to introduce so respectable a name as Sir Walter Scott’s into the discussion of so offensive a subject.