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Memoir of John Murray
Chapter XIX.

Vol. 1 Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
Chapter X.
Chapter XI.
Chapter XII.
Chapter XIII.
Chapter XIV.
Chapter XV.
Chapter XVI.
Chapter XVII.
Chapter XVIII.
‣ Chapter XIX.
Vol. 2 Contents
Chap. XX.
Chap. XXI.
Chap. XXII.
Chap. XXIII.
Chap. XXIV.
Chap. XXV.
Chap. XXVI.
Chap. XXVII.
Chap. XXIX.
Chap. XXX.
Chap. XXXI.
Chap. XXXII.
Chap. XXXIV.
Chap. XXXV.
Chap. XXXVI.
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We have already seen that Mr. Murray had some correspondence with Thomas Campbell in 1806 respecting the establishment of a monthly magazine; such an undertaking had long been a favourite scheme of his, and he had mentioned the subject to many friends at home as well as abroad. He intended his monthly journal to be lighter and better adapted to the interests of the general reader than the elaborate essays in the Quarterly. He was, however, so much immersed in the publication of new and interesting works, which required his close and continuous attention, that the project was for a time postponed. But when Mr. Blackwood started his magazine, Murray informed his correspondents by printed circular that by obtaining an interest in that publication, and by throwing into it the materials which had been placed at his disposal, every purpose of his intended periodical might be advantageously accomplished. He concluded his circular by stating that he was “happy to say that he had succeeded in effecting what had been recommended to him, and that he was now joint proprietor and publisher of Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine.”

Mr. Murray, however, did not become identified with that journal at its commencement, but at a later period
he wrote to
Blackwood (10th January, 1817): “If you succeed with a magazine, which you ought not to be rash in attempting, you will effect what I have been trying to do for these five years past.” Blackwood duly thought over the matter, and eventually determined to proceed with his venture. The first number appeared in April 1817, under the name of the “Edinburgh Monthly Magazine, printed for William Blackwood, No. 17, Princes Street.” Party politics were not mentioned in the original prospectus, nor was any sign of them to be observed in the early numbers of the magazine, which was at first a sort of antiquarian repertory, with notices of periodical publications, and a register of foreign and domestic affairs.

Blackwood was himself a contributor to the first number. He wrote to Murray:

Mr. Blackwood to John Murray.
April 14th, 1817.

“It will amuse you when I tell you that I am a contributor myself; and for the first time in my life I appear in print. At the time I received the ‘Stories from the History of England’ [by Croker] I was so much struck with them that I wrote a sketch of the book for the Mercury, but never got it inserted. On showing it to Pringle, he insisted on putting it in the Magazine; so here you have it. You will not be likely to find me in such a scrape again.”

A fortnight later he again wrote:—

“I feel much more confidence in the magazine from your good opinion of it. I have staked myself upon it, and if it does fail it will not be from want of an anxious and ardent struggle in the cause. As far as consistent with your views, I am sure you will help me; and much you have in your power.”

There was nothing very striking in the early numbers of the Magazine, and it does not appear to have obtained a
considerable circulation. The first editors were
Thomas Pringle, who—in conjunction with a friend—was the author of a poem entitled ‘The Institute,’ and James Cleghorn, best known as a contributor to the Farmers’ Magazine. Constable, who was himself the proprietor of the Scots Magazine as well as of the Farmers’ Magazine, and desired to keep the monopoly of the Scottish monthly periodicals in his own hands, was greatly opposed to the new competitor. At all events, he contrived to draw away from Blackwood, Pringle and Cleghorn, and to start a new series of the Scots Magazine under the title of the Edinburgh Magazine. Blackwood thereupon changed the name of his periodical to that by which it has since been so well known. He undertook the editing himself, but soon obtained many able and indefatigable helpers.

There were then two young advocates walking the Parliament House in search of briefs; but the briefs never came. Yet they had plenty of “go” in them, though the public were late in finding it out. These were John Wilson (Christopher North) and John Gibson Lockhart (afterwards editor of the Quarterly). Both were West-countrymen—Wilson, the son of a wealthy Paisley manufacturer, and Lockhart, the son of the minister of Cambusnethan, in Lanarkshire—and both had received the best of educations, Wilson, the robust Christian, having carried off the Newdigate prize at Oxford, and Lockhart, having gained the Snell foundation at Glasgow, was sent to Balliol, and took a first class in classics in 1813. These, with Dr. Maginn—under the sobriquet of ‘Morgan O’Dogherty,’—Hogg—the Ettrick Shepherd,—De Quincey—the Opium-eater,—Thomas Mitchell, and others, were the principal writers in Blackwood.

No. 7, the first of the new series, created an unprece-
dented stir in Edinburgh. It came out on the 1st of October, 1817, and sold very rapidly, but after 10,000 had been struck off it was suppressed, and could be had neither for love nor money. The cause of this sudden attraction was an article headed ‘
Translation from an Ancient Chaldee Manuscript,’ purporting to be an extract from some newly discovered historical document, every paragraph of which contained a special hit at some particular person well known in Edinburgh society. There was very little ill-nature in it; at least, nothing like the amount which it excited in those who were, or imagined themselves to be, caricatured in it. Constable, the “Crafty,” and Pringle and Cleghorn, editors of the Edinburgh Magazine, as well as Jeffrey, editor of the Edinburgh Review, came in for their share of burlesque description.

Among the persons delineated in the article were the publisher of Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, whose name “was as it had been, the colour of Ebony:” indeed the name of Old Ebony long clung to the journal. The principal writers of the article were themselves included in the caricature. Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, was described as “the great wild boar from the forest of Lebanon, and he roused up his spirit, and I saw him whetting his dreadful tusks for the battle.” Wilson was “the beautiful leopard,” and Lockhart “the scorpion,”—names which were afterwards hurled back at them with interest. Walter Scott was described as “the great magician who dwelleth in the old fastness, hard by the river Jordan, which is by the Border.” Mackenzie, Jameson, Leslie, Brewster, Tytler, Alison, M’Crie, Playfair, Lord Murray, the Duncans—in fact, all the leading men of Edinburgh were hit off in the same fashion.

Mrs. Garden, in her ‘Memorials of James Hogg,’ says
that “there is no doubt that
Hogg wrote the first draft; indeed, part of the original is still in the possession of the family. . . . Some of the more irreverent passages were not his, or were at all events largely added to by others before publication.”* In a recent number of Blackwood it is said that—

Hogg’s name is nearly associated with the Chaldee Manuscript. Of course he claimed credit for having written the skit, and undoubtedly he originated the idea. The rough draft came from his pen, and we cannot speak with certainty as to how it was subsequently manipulated. But there is every reason to believe that Wilson and Lockhart, probably assisted by Sir William Hamilton, went to work upon it, and so altered it that Hogg’s original offspring was changed out of all knowledge.”†

The whole article was probably intended as a harmless joke; and the persons indicated, had they been wise, might have joined in the laugh or treated the matter with indifference. On the contrary, however, they felt profoundly indignant, and some of them commenced actions in the Court of Session for the injuries done to their reputation.

The same number of Blackwood which contained the ‘Translation from an Ancient Chaldee Manuscript,’ contained two articles, one probably by Wilson, on Coleridge’sBiographia Litteraria,’ the other, signed “Z,” by Lockhart, being the first of a series on ‘The Cockney School of Poetry.’ They were both clever, but abusive, and exceedingly personal in their allusions.

Murray expostulated with Blackwood on the personality of the articles. He feared lest they should be damaging to the permanent success of the journal. Blackwood replied

* Mrs. Garden’sMemorials of James Hogg,’ p. 107.

Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, Sept. 1882, pp. 368-9.

in a long letter, saying that the journal was prospering, and that it was only
Constable and his myrmidons who were opposed to it, chiefly because of its success.

Mr. Blackwood to John Murray.
April 28th, 1818.

“It is not my province to vindicate everything that has been published in the magazine; but this I will be bold to say, that there is nothing in it which is discreditable, while there may be things in it which I might have wished otherwise, but over which I had no control. The poetical notices in the twelfth number I know have been much blamed; but I think if any one will read them unprejudiced, he will say they are humorous, but not ill-natured, and that no man of sense, with the exception of Constable, had any reason to be offended with them. In the general impression with regard to the magazine, I refer you to Mr. Scott, who has been my steady friend and supporter in the whole conflict, or battle of the beasts. In a letter I had from him two days ago, he says, with regard to a person who is vastly angry, ‘this is just as it ought to be, for jades do not wince but when they are galled.’”

In August 1818, Murray paid £1000 for a half share in the magazine, and from this time he took a deep and active interest in its progress, advising Blackwood as to its management, and urging him to introduce more foreign literary news, as well as more scientific information. He did not like the idea of two editors, who seem to have taken the management into their own hands. In a letter to Blackwood he wrote:—

John Murray to Mr. Blackwood.
Sept. 1818.

Sir R. Phillips replied truly to D’Israeli, who boasted of the talent we could muster, ‘I don’t care a farthing for talent.’ Nothing is equal to the excellence of most of our
papers abstractedly. The prominent feature of the magazine should be literary and scientific news, and most of all the latter, for which your editors appear to have little estimation, and they seem not to be the least aware that this is ten times more interesting to the public than any other class of literature at present. I cannot sit down to write studied letters, and I only write in confidence to you, just as I should converse. I do not either want to dictate to your editors. . . . You have unfortunately too much of the Lake School, for which no interest is felt here. Your editors want tact as to the public interest; and by having two, in fact you have no editor: they are more intent on their own writings than in collecting materials from others, and in abridging, altering, adding to, and improving the contributions that are sent to them. . . . One great advantage of the editor of the
Q. R. (Gifford) is that he does not write; but what he does do is equal in value to writing half of each number. And never in any instance was an article copied before it was sent to the printer. We can confide in each other. Give us foreign literature, particularly German; and let them create news in all departments. . . . As I before said, you and I are not editors, but publishers. We know the first effect, though we may not be able so easily to gauge the cause of its not being proportionate to our expectations.”

Subsequent numbers of Blackwood contained other reviews of ‘The Cockney School of Poetry:’ Leigh Hunt, “the King of the Cockneys,” was attacked in May, and in August it was the poet Keats who came under the critic’s lash, four months after Croker’s famous review of ‘Endymion’ in the Quarterly.*

* It was said that Keats was killed by this brief notice, of four pages, in the Quarterly; and Byron, in his ‘Don Juan,’ gave credit to this statement:—
“Poor Keats, who was killed off by one critique,
Just as he really promised something great, . . .
’Tis strange, the mind, that very fiery particle,
Should let itself be snuffed out by an article.”
Leigh Hunt, one of Keats’ warmest friends, when in Italy, told Lord


The same number of Blackwood contained a short article about Hazlitt—elsewhere styled “pimpled Hazlitt.” It was very short, and entitled “Hazlitt cross-questioned.” Hazlitt considered the article full of abuse, and commenced an action for libel against the proprietors of the magazine. Upon this Blackwood sent Hazlitt’s threatening letter to Murray, with his remarks:—

Mr. Blackwood to John Murray.
Sept. 22nd, 1818.

“I suppose this fellow merely means to make a little bluster, and try if he can pick up a little money. There is nothing whatever actionable in the paper. . . . The article on Hazlitt, which will commence next number, will be a most powerful one, and this business will not deprive it of any of its edge.”

Sept. 25th, 1818.

“What are people saying about that fellow Hazlitt attempting to prosecute? There was a rascally paragraph in the Times of Friday last mentioning the prosecution, and saying the magazine was a work filled with private slander. My friends laugh at the idea of his prosecution.”

Mr. Murray, however, became increasingly dissatisfied with this state of things; he never sympathised with the slashing criticisms of Blackwood, and strongly disapproved of the personalities, an opinion which was shared by most of his literary friends. At the same time his name was on

Byron (as he relates in his Autobiography) the real state of the case, proving to him that the supposition of Keats’ death being the result of the review was a mistake, and therefore, if printed, would be a misrepresentation. But the stroke of wit was not to be given up. Either Mr. Gifford, or “the poet-priest Milman,” has generally, but erroneously, been blamed for being the author of the review in the Quarterly, which, as is now well known, was written by Mr Croker.

the title-page of the magazine, and he was jointly responsible with Blackwood for the articles which appeared there. On the 25th of September he wrote:—

John Murray to Mr. Blackwood.

“I have been employed in collecting generally and individually opinions respecting the magazine. At present I will just say that everyone agrees in the talent of the work, but they object to its personality; and what I must particularly recommend is, that our contributors should insert nothing that will in any way deprive us of the countenance of our best friends.”

Sept. 28th, 1818.

“I have delayed writing for no other reason than that I was desirous of gathering from all quarters the opinion respecting our magazine, and you will believe how great my own regret is at finding the clamour against its personality almost universal. . . . You must naturally be aware that all eyes are turned to me—who am so accessible from situation and the open house I keep, when compared to the Row, where no one goes except upon positive business. I feel seriously and sensibly the operation of opinions at which I only guessed before. I have undergone most severe remonstrance from my best and most important friends, who press upon me my character with the public, in which they are naturally interested, and in some degree implicated; that even if I were right, it is not what I think, but what the public will think of me for stepping out of a line of conduct which hitherto has gained respect from all parties. Now, what applies to me in this respect, from the accident of my being rather more in the public eye than either you or your friends have yet been, applies also, as I think you will admit, no less to yourselves; and you must be aware that what would depreciate opinion respecting me must naturally operate in a similar degree upon you. My hands are withered by it. I cannot offer the work without encountering the dread of reproachful refusal; and as to obtaining contributions from men of character, I might as soon ask them to let me stab them in their backs.”


The letter extends to eleven quarto pages in length, and is all to the same effect. Mr. Murray deprecates the personality of the articles in the magazine, and entreats that they be kept out. If not, he begs that Blackwood will omit his name from the title-page of the work. “A great friend of yours,” he says, “asks if you are mad. I do wonder, I assure you, how you could have borne reproaches for which no compensation could atone. I would not, I could not, endure it for another number if you would send me 5000 guineas.”

Mr. Blackwood to John Murray.
Sept. 29th, 1818.

“I perfectly agree with you in all you say about personality in expression. I have always been doing as much in this way as I can, and to-day I communicated to my friends what you say on the subject. They are to do what they can to obviate any objections on this score; but we may lay our account for the ‘hue and cry’ being always attempted to be raised by those who are attacked, however justly.”

And again:—

Oct. 2nd, 1818.
My Dear Murray,

What would I not have given to have been with you yesterday? One half-hour’s conversation would have been such a relief to us both, as I know I could at once have taken a load off your mind, by assuring you that everything will go on well, as in future there will be nothing in the magazine which will give any proper ground for outcry being raised against it. I can easily conceive the state of mind you must have been in, and I feel quite happy that you have written me so fully and freely. It is needless, however, for you to distress yourself about what is past, for really when you examine the matter again calmly and coolly, there is not such ground for alarm as you fear, and friends have conjured up; and as to the future, I now feel perfectly at ease. Your letter has
pleased and satisfied our friends.
Mr. W[ilson] has called just now, and I have the happiness of enclosing you a most admirable letter* which they have written this morning, and which, in fact, leaves me nothing almost to say. . . . For God’s sake, keep your mind easy; there is nothing to fear. My rule always was in all my difficulties for the last twelve months, to put the best face upon everything, and even with regard to articles which I have done my utmost to keep out or get modified, I never once admitted they were wrong. If any one perceives that we are uneasy or doubtful, then they pour in their shot like hail.

A long correspondence took place during the month of October between Murray and Blackwood: the former continuing to declaim against the personality of the articles; the latter averring that there was nothing of the sort in the magazine. If Blackwood would only keep out these personal attacks, Murray would take care to send him articles by Mr. Frere, Mr. Barrow, and others, which would enhance the popularity and respectability of the publication. It was not from persons who had been attacked, or their friends, that Murray had received expostulations; but “from our own friends and hearty well-wishers.” “I bargain only,” he said, “for NO personality.”

John Murray to Mr. Blackwood.

“I will do anything if you will only be good, and keep the peace. . . . . . . . . . . . I enclose six excellent letters upon Literature, by Horace Walpole. They have never been published. I have got D’Israeli to let me have them, in consequence of his impression respecting this number, and I have reason to believe that I can induce him to be a regular correspondent in a very useful way; . . . but even he contributes upon my pledge that personality is at an end. . . . Sir James Mackintosh has received many civilities from me, which he would willingly return, and it has always been my intention to ask him to contribute to the magazine; but I cannot do so at this time, in conse-

* A copy of this letter has not been retained.

quence of the attacks on the
Edinburgh Review; and if the proposed article on Brougham is inserted, my hopes are at an end. . . . I enclose a beautiful translation of a very celebrated Italian poem, by Mr. Milman; but look over it, and tell me if it is liked; also the enclosed by Southey, whom I will try also. . . . It is possible that I may induce Mr. Frere to continue ‘Whistlecraft’ in the magazine; and Lord Byron may send something, as well as many persons of the first rank. But this is utterly hopeless if either of the above causes (personality, &c) interferes; for I would not submit to the pain of a repulse. . . . Mr. B[arrow] has just been here again, and says that this is a redeeming number, and that they are very clever fellows who write in it. So that you see I can bring up your lee-way if you will let me. Best compliments to Mr. Wilson and Mr. Lockhart . . . Vale.—J. M.”

Troubles, however, were coming.

Mr. Blackwood to John Murray.
Oct. 6th, 1818.

“I have this instant received Hazlitt’s summons for his action in the Court of Session, in which he claims £2000 for damages! . . . The matter sits very lightly upon me and our friends. . . . Some time ago I retained Mr. Cranstoun.”

Oct. 10th, 1818.

“It will save a great deal of trouble and botheration if Hazlitt gives up his action, and I think there is every probability of his doing so. He never would have thought of it had he not been urged on by Constable, who must be at the whole expense if it proceeds. Our friends are to speak to Mr. Scott, to tell C—— strongly that he must give up this system of urging on actions, else it will be worse for him.”

The circulation of the magazine had now become very considerable: 1500 copies of the October number having been sent to London.

Another subject of annoyance was about to make its appearance.

Mr. Blackwood to John Murray.
Oct. 17th, 1818.

“That stupid fellow, Pillans’ brother, announces in today’s papers: ‘To be published on Monday, “Hypocrisy Unveiled and Calumny Detected,” in a review of Blackwood’s Magazine.’ I have not yet been able to hear a syllable about it. I wonder if it can be done by John Murray [afterwards Lord Murray]. We shall soon be able to ferret it out. I shall be very anxious till I see it.”

It turned out that the anonymous pamphlet, entitled ‘Hypocrisy Unveiled,’ raked up the whole of the joke contained in the ‘Translation from an Ancient Chaldee Manuscript,’ published a year before, which was supposed to be forgotten. The number containing it had, as we have already seen, been suppressed, because of the offence it had given to many persons of celebrity, while the general tone of bitterness and personality had been subsequently modified, if not abandoned. Murray assured Blackwood that his number for October 1818 was one of the best he had ever read, and he desired him to “offer to his friends his very best thanks and congratulations upon the production of so admirable a number.” “With this number,” he said, “you have given me a fulcrum upon which I will move heaven and earth to get subscribers and contributors.” Indeed, several of the contributions in this surpassingly excellent number had been sent to the Edinburgh publisher through the instrumentality of Murray himself.

Hypocrisy Unveiled’ was a lampoon of a scurrilous and commonplace character, in which the leading contributors to and the publishers of the magazine were violently attacked. Both Murray and Blackwood, who were abused openly, by name, resolved to take no notice of it; but Lockhart and Wilson, who were mentioned under the thin disguise of “the Scorpion” and “the Leopard,” were
so nettled by the remarks on themselves, that they, in October 1818, both sent
challenges to the anonymous author, through the publisher of the pamphlet. This most injudicious step only increased their discomfiture, as the unknown writer not only refused to proclaim his identity, but published and circulated the challenges, together with a further attack on Lockhart and Wilson.

This foolish disclosure caused bitter vexation to Murray, who wrote:—

John Murray to Mr. Blackwood.
Oct. 27th, 1818.
My Dear Blackwood,

I really can recollect no parallel to the palpable absurdity of your two friends. If they had planned the most complete triumph to their adversaries, nothing could have been so successfully effective. They have actually given up their names, as the authors of the offences charged upon them, by implication only, in the pamphlet. How they could possibly conceive that the writer of the pamphlet would be such an idiot as to quit his stronghold of concealment, and allow his head to be chopped off by exposure, I am at a loss to conceive. Their only course was to have affected, and indeed to have felt, the most perfect indifference, and to have laughed at the rage which dictated so much scurrility; slyly watching to discover the author, whom, without appearing to know as such, they should have annoyed in every possible way. Their exposure now is complete, and they must be prepared for attacks themselves in every shape. Their adversaries are acting with the most judicious effect in sending their letters to every person they know. I received one by post. The means thus put into the hands of Hunt, Hazlitt, &c., are enormous, and they will now turn the tables upon them.

I declare to God that had I known what I had so incautiously engaged in, I would not have undertaken what I have done, or have suffered what I have in my feelings and character—which no man had hitherto the slightest cause for assailing—I would not have done so for any sum. But, being in, I am determined to go through
with you, and if our friends will only act with redoubled discretion, we may get the better of this check, and yet gain a victory. They should by a masterly effort pluck the thing out of their minds: it is done; but how in the name of wonder they could act with such an utter disregard of all and almost daily experience, I am too much vexed and disappointed to conceive. The only course to be taken now is to redouble every effort for the improvement of the magazine. Let us take public estimation by assault; by the irresistible effect of talent employed on subjects that are interesting; and above all, I say, to collect information on passing events. Our editors are totally mistaken in thinking that this consists in laborious essays. These are very good as accessories, but the flesh and blood and bones is information. That will make the public eager to get us at the end of the month; and, by the way, the tone of every article should be gentlemanly; . . . and, I repeat, if you wish to be universally read, the magazine should be conciliatory, so as to make it open for all mankind to read and to contribute. For such a mammoth of a work every month you will find must consume all the means that you can collect from all quarters.

What you must suffer from this must be inconceivably annoying; but, seeing how they feel under the first touch of personality, you will be the better able to conceive the sensations of others, and resolve never to insert anything of the kind again. Even the article on Thomas Moore was unnecessary and unkind, and, as Mr. C[roker] told me, cannot fail of giving him pain and making yourselves more enemies. In the name of God, why do you seem to think it indispensable that each number must give pain to some one or other. Why not think of giving pleasure to all? This should be the real object of a magazine. Pray let me hear from you instantly as to the effect of this injudicious matter, and tell me if they propose to take any further step. The answer to W[ilson] and L[ockhart] is obviously written by talent much superior to that displayed in the pamphlet, and it is written with triumph, not with irritation. I am so vexed at this business that I cannot write about any other matters until to-morrow.

Yours ever,
J. M.

Many more letters passed between the proprietors of the magazine on the subject. Blackwood agreed with Murray as to his view of the question. “Wilson,” he said, “felt sore and enraged, for he could not endure the least breath of anything ungentlemanly.” Lockhart laughed at the whole business. Blackwood desired to dismiss it from his mind, to treat the matter with silence, and to do all that was possible to increase the popularity of the magazine. The next number, he said, would be excellent and unexceptionable; and it proved to be so. “Out of evil,” he wrote (30th Oct.), “cometh good; and I have no doubt but that this vile business will both animate their exertions and make them much more cautious for the future. . . Another number or two will put us in smooth water. Much as we have been vexed already, we will yet be amply repaid for all our troubles.”

The difficulty, however, was not yet over. While the principal editors of the Chaldee Manuscript had thus revealed themselves to the author of ‘Hypocrisy Unveiled,’ the London publisher of Blackwood was, in November 1818, assailed by a biting pamphlet, entitled ‘A Letter to Mr. John Murray, of Albemarle Street, occasioned by his having undertaken the publication, in London, of Blackwood’s Magazine .’ “The curse of his respectability,” he was told, had brought the letter upon him. “Your name stands among the very highest in the department of Literature which has fallen to your lot: the eminent persons who have confided in you, and the works you have given to the world, have conduced to your establishment in the public favour; while your liberality, your impartiality, and your private motives, bear testimony to the justice of your claims to that honourable distinction.” It was alleged that his elevation put him “above the reach of mere speculators
in literature,” and yet he was the avowed publisher of a magazine in which men of the highest character had been assailed and slandered. After some more similar remarks, in the course of which it was alleged that
Mr. Murray had revived the power of the magazine—although then sinking beneath contempt—by placing his name upon its cover, he was requested, “in the name of an insulted public, to renounce this infamous magazine.” “I conjure you,” said the author, “by your reputation, by your honour, by your sense of justice: I implore you by your regard for the good opinion of men, to renounce it: I appeal to your own bosom whether you are not ashamed of your connection with it. Renounce it, renounce it!”

Many more appeals of the same kind reached Mr. Murray’s ear. Moore, in his Diary (4th Nov., 1818), writes: “Received two most civil and anxious letters from the great ‘Bibliopola Tryphon’ Murray, expressing his regret at the article in Blackwood, and his resolution to give up all concern in it if it contained any more such personalities.”*

Hazlitt’s action against the proprietors of Blackwood’s Magazine was proceeded with, but Murray received a letter from Edinburgh in November 1818, saying that nothing had been done to defend the case. He was not unnaturally annoyed at this, and replied:—

John Murray to Mr. Blackwood.
November 27th, 1818.
My Dear Blackwood,

Your letter has occupied my whole morning. Nothing can be worse than your inattention to so important a matter. Even at this late period you omit to send me any

* ‘Memoirs, Journal, and Correspondence of Thomas Moore,’ ii., 210. By Lord John Russell.

one document on which counsel can form an opinion. What is the accusation? What can you prove? How you could let it fall in this manner at your door I cannot conceive; but I have done the best I can. . . I have had a long consultation with
Mr. Turner, and I have sent after, and searched myself after, the works which the fellow has written. Mr. Turner will write to-night. To neglect such a thing as this when three-fourths of the talent of the Bar are in hostility to you, and when any jury will be prejudiced against you, is very reprehensible. The magazine is very far superior to the former one, and is liked by everyone who has seen it; but at my leisure I shall write more particularly respecting it. In the meantime I am collecting some excellent articles, which shall be sent on Monday.

Most truly yours,
John Murray.

I hope they will arrive in time, or it is ruin to us as to effect.

Three days later Murray wrote to Blackwood that he was determined to stand by the magazine, notwithstanding the aspersions made against him; but solely on condition that the writers in the magazine would abstain from all personality. “You see,” he wrote (30th November), “that I am giving essential assistance to it, and that ought to be the best pledge of my intentions.” He still insisted that the magazine should give more information as to what was going on in the world.

John Murray to Mr. Wm. Blackwood.
December 7th, 1818.

“At any rate, I hope the next number will be free of politics and of personality. If, for instance, you are going to attack Mr. Brougham, you must strike out my name. Mackintosh is offended, and thus a very material source is closed to me—at least, until your literary character is established. Mr. Turner is, I presume, in regular negotiation with Mr. Patmore (Hazlitt’s friend), and in active
correspondence with you.
Southey, in a letter received this day, has the following passage: ‘It was said some time ago in the Times that Hazlitt had meditated an action against Blackwood’s Magazine. I do not believe it. He would not run the risk of having me subpoenaed upon the trial.’”

At last the Hazlitt action was settled. Blackwood, after acknowledging the receipt of a “glorious article” for the magazine on the North-West Expedition, from Murray, proceeds:—

Mr. Blackwood to John Murray.
Dec. 16th, 1818.

“I have had two letters from Mr. Patmore, informing me that Mr. Hazlitt was to drop the prosecution. His agent has since applied to mine offering to do this, if the expenses and a small sum for some charity were paid. My agent told him he would certainly advise any client of his to get out of court, but that he would never advise me to pay anything to be made a talk of, as a sum for a charity would be. He would advise me, he said, to pay the expenses, and a trifle to Hazlitt himself privately. Hazlitt’s agent agreed to this.”*

The correspondence between Murray and Blackwood continued, and the London sale of the magazine was augmented by Murray’s energy to 2000 copies early in 1819, but negotiations did not go on quite smoothly between the proprietors. Murray still complained of the personalities, and of the way in which the magazine was edited. “Indeed,” he wrote (9th January, 1819), “as editors, they are not worth sixpence.” He also objected to the “echo of the Edinburgh Review’s abuse of Sharon Turner. It was sufficient to give pain to me, and to my most valued friend. There was another ungentlemanly and

* I have not been able to discover what sum, if any, was paid to Hazlitt privately.

uncalled-for thrust at
Thomas Moore. That just makes so many more enemies, unnecessarily; and you not only deprive me of the communications of my friends, but you positively provoke them to go over to your adversary.”

Nevertheless, it appeared to be impossible to exercise any control over the editors, who inserted or rejected whatever they pleased. Murray objected to ‘Peter’s Letters to his Kinsfolk’ (by Lockhart), which was a renewal in a petty way of the personalities which had been so often reprobated.

John Murray to Mr. Blackwood.
Feb. 20th, 1819.

“I declare I cannot conceive how you can still suffer such articles to appear, knowing the ill-blood which they occasion. I assure you it is degrading, and I should certainly feel ashamed of publishing it. I fear you will think me very troublesome in my correspondence about the magazine, but as my character is at stake, you must not be surprised at my anxiety to lose no more of it on this account. I am very far from wishing to trouble you, and if you wish to be quit of me, you have only to pay me off, and I will retire; but such things I cannot publish.”

Murray had no alternative left but to expostulate, and if his expostulations were unheeded, to retire from the magazine. The last course was that which he eventually decided to adopt, and the end of the partnership in Blackwood’s Magazine, which had long been anticipated, at length arrived. Murray’s name appeared for the last time on No. 22, for January 1819; the following number bore no London publisher’s name; but on the number for March the names of T. Cadell and W. Davies were advertised as the London agents for the magazine. The editors, being now free from the expostulations of Mr. Murray, proceeded with their reviews on the ‘Cockney School of Poetry.’ Indeed, No. 22, the last
number published by Murray, contained a review of the ‘
Revolt of Islam,’ wherein Shelley was declared to be also one of the Cockney School, and “devoting his mind to the same pernicious purposes which have recoiled in vengeance upon so many of his contemporaries.” “Hunt and Keats,” it was said, “and some others of the school, are indeed men of considerable cleverness, but as poets they are worthy of sheer and instant contempt.” Shelley, on the other hand, was praised for his poem, which was “impressed everywhere with the more noble and majestic footsteps of his genius.”

On the 17th of December, 1819, £1000 were remitted to Mr. Murray in payment of the sum which he had originally advanced to purchase his share, and his connection with Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine finally ceased. He thereupon transferred his agency for Scotland to Messrs. Oliver and Boyd, with whose firm it has ever since remained. The friendly correspondence between Murray and Blackwood nevertheless continued, as they were jointly interested in several works of importance.

In the course of the following year, “Christopher North” made the following statement in Blackwood’s Magazine in “An Hour’s Tête-à-tête with the Public”—

“The Chaldee Manuscript, which appeared in our seventh number, gave us both a lift and a shove. Nothing else was talked of for a long while; and after 10,000 copies had been sold, it became a very great rarity, quite a desideratum. . . . The sale of the Quarterly is about 14,000, of the Edinburgh upwards of 7000. . . . It is not our intention, at present, to suffer our sale to go beyond 17,000. . . . Mr. Murray, under whose auspices our magnum opus issued for a few months from Albemarle Street, began to suspect that we might be eclipsing the Quarterly Review. No such eclipse had been foretold; and Mr. Murray, being no great astronomer, was at a loss to know whether, in the darkness that was but too visible, we were eclipsing the
Quarterly, or the Quarterly eclipsing us. We accordingly took our pen, and erased his name from our title-page, and he was once more happy. Under our present publishers we carry everything before us in London.”

Mr. Murray took no notice of this statement, preferring, without any more words, to be quit of his bargain.

It need scarcely be added, that when Mr. Blackwood had got his critics and contributors well in hand—when his journal had passed its frisky and juvenile life of fun and frolic—when the personalities had ceased to appear in its columns, and it had reached the years of judgment and discretion—and especially when its principal editor, Mr. John Wilson (Christopher North), had been appointed to the distinguished position of Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh—the journal took that high rank in periodical literature which it has ever since maintained.