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frey was a more gentlemanly Whip than Mr Brougham that Sydney Smith grinned more good-humouredly than Sir James Mackintosh, and so forth ;--but all these were satirists, and, strange to say, they ÁLL then rejoiced in the name. Indeed, take away the merit of clever satire from most of them, and they shrink to pretty moderate dimensions. Is Mr Jeffrey a Samuel Johnson ? Is Mr Brougham an Edmund Burke? Is Mr Smith a South ? Is Sir James Mackintosh a Gibbon? These men were all satirists, it is true; but their fame does not rest altogether on 'satire. · Q. E. D. . .. .
Let anybody read our work over, and survey the general complexion of all we have written. Jokes and satire he will find; but will he find anything of that unfairness towards real genius, of which our enemies so bitterly accuse us ? Shew us the one truly great man, mentioned by us, of whom we have not spoken reverently, and our mouth is closed for ever. Shew us the one unaffected generous aspitant, whose youthful hopes our satire has blasted, and we are dumb. Shew us the one man, great or small, good or bad, whose works we have abused, not because we the works, but because we had a grudge against the individual, and this Number is our last. The fact is, that no such charges can in fairness be brought against us,--and our enemies well know, that no such charges can be substantiated against us, else had they not confined themselves to the loose and vulgar tirades and jeremiades with which alone we have as yet been, so far as we are aware, assailed. On the contrary, we have, we speak it boldly, been as critics chiefly to blame for our excess of gentleness. Our praise has flowed not only more liberally than that of any other critics of the day, but more liberally, in many instances, than it ought to have done. And, accordingly, there is no question, that, laying Scotland for a moment out of view, our general critical character is one of extreme benignity, candour, and generosity. Poll the authors whose works we have criticized, and if we do not carry this point hollow, we never stand again. There is no Wordsworth to com
plain of us for wilful scoffing against power, which, scoff ing, we in our secret souls revered. There is no Byron to reproach us with trampling into the mud the first budding blossoms of a noble genius. There is no Dermody to rise, and say, “ You called me DRUNKARD.”—.. i ;
Nay, never shake thy gory locks at me!
Thou can'st not say I did it. — · What is our offence? It can be told in three words, WE ARE TORIES. “ Ubi lapsus, quid feci ?"--Ask the Whigs! We have attacked them, there lies our fault. We have beat them, there lies our glory. They abuse us; that we despise. The Tories, at least the good, the wise, the generous, and the just among them, approve us. In that we triumph. · We have, however, let it be observed, been using both the word Whig, and the word Tory, just now in a limited sense and acceptation. We should indeed be very much ashamed of ourselves, if we believed ourselves to have merited or moved the spleen of the true old English Whigs. Not at all. We have among them many fast friends, nay, many admirable and valuable contributors; and these are every day increasing. Does any body suppose, that because we advocate, in general, the cause of the present administration, we are their paid, servile, slavish tools ? Or that we doubt, or that we do not honour, the uprightness of many who regard them with eyes different from ours? This is nonsense; our contempt is for a small, and, thank God, now an inconsiderable faction, of speakicg and writing, haranguing and libelling, base, hypocritical, unchristian, unpatriotic creatures, who bear, and who disgrace, the name of Whig. But we are in no more danger of confounding the great party that passes under the same name with THESE, than we are of wishing ourselves to be looked upon as partakers in the same cleaving sins of dulness, ignorance, cowardice, utter prostration of sense and intellect, and manhood, whieh we, (at least as well as any Whig among them all,) can detect and despise in too many who share with us,
and disgrace, as far as in them lies, the name of Tory. We stand by ourselves, and for ourselves. We are conscious of integrity and of candour. Who is he who can say less without a blush? Who is he that can say more without a lie?
Really all this humbug has gone on too long. This Journal is acknowledged by every body to be one of the fairest that ever the world saw; and we are sick of hearing ourselves abused in one little contemptible corner, while all Europe rings with our praise. What is an Edinburgh Whig? The word nothing affords an easy and complete answer; and we shall limit ourselves to that.
Swift complained, that of 2000 pamphlets written against him, not one was worth a farthing, and that he had been attacked all his life by fresh supplies of inveterate idiots. We are sorry to think that this has been very much our own case. Our wit is like Swift's, we think, in most essentials_clean, clear, bright, sharp, shrewd, biting, bitter, penetrating, sarcastic, and unanswerable. Every idiot who has run tilt at us, has been received, like a flea or a louse, on the point of our pen, and, wriggling, expired. Mr Colburn goes about paying for puffs of his “ Mohawks,” in newspapers and other periodicals; but if a satirist is good for any thing, just put a whip into his hand, and tell the honest man to lay about him, and he will make himself felt at no expence to his publisher. If he be a paralytic, it will be seen by the first flourish of his thong, which will fall short, and coil like a worm round his own feeble spindles. Some one, it is said, gave money to needy or greedy persons, to advertise hints that Mr Thomas Moore was the author of the “ Mohawks,” a compliment of which the “ Irish Melodist” (so he was signified) cannot but be proud. The author, it was then darkly intimated, was “ a character well known in the political circles ;” and from this we were led to suspect Joseph Hume. We leave these gentlemen to settle the matter between them with Mr Colburn, who, being the very soul of ingenuousness, and candour, and
simplicity, will perhaps be able to explain to them who and what were meant by these oracular advertisements.
Mr Thomas Moore, we happen to know, has written a Satirical Poem upon us and our Magazine, but it is not yet published; and both for his sake and our own, we hope it never will be; but that he will commit it to the flames, and forget it altogether. We are great admirers of Mr Moore's genius_his wit-his sensibility_his fancy-and his imagination. We have said so in a thousand pleasant and delightful ways, and will often say so again. We did not at all like the gross and brutal personalities of many of his political verses, and thought badly of the licentiousness of many of his amatory effusions. This, too, we have said in a thousand pleasant and delightful ways, and will often say so again. These opinions of ours are certainly more distinguished for truth than originality. We have no wish to be singular; and if all the world but ourselves thinks that the “ Two-Penny Post-bag” is a gentlemanly, honourable, and amiable jeu d'esprit, and that “ Little's Poems" ought to lie below the pillows of all our virgins, why, we must just then eat our words, and entreat Mr Thomas Moore's pardon. Till we have ascertained that the world is on one side, and we on another, we must beg leave to retain our present opinions. Now, Mr Moore being a satyrist himself, should not fly into a fury with us for being now and then of the same kidney,—if indeed it be true, as many worthy people seem to hint, that we are a severe set of people. He really ought not to have written a sharp poem upon us; and we think, that, upon reflection, he must be sorry for it. Should he really publish his attack, what we intend to do is simply this :- We intend to give copious extracts, so as to fill the right-hand columns of about a dozen pages of the Magazine, and to fill the left-hand columns with verses of our own, (in the same measure, whatever that may be—is it heroic?) upon Mr Moore. It will amuse-probably instruct, the public -to see two such great wits as Tom Moore and Kit North fairly set-to. A clear stage, and fair play, is all that either
desire; and umpires may be appointed from the friends of the distinguished combatants. We appoint for ourselves Neat and the Rev. William Lisle Bowles-and we suggest to Mr Moore, in the true spirit of British courage, Gas and Mr Montgomery, the “ Author of the World before the Flood.”
Lord Byron, too, has written something about us—but whether a satire or an eulogy seems doubtful. The Noble Lord-great wits having short memories, and sometimes not very long judgments—bas told the public and Mr Murray that he has forgotten whether his letter is on or to the Editor of Blackwood's Magazine. From this we fear his Lordship was in a state of civilation when he penned, it; and if ever be publishes it, as we scorn to take advantage of any man, we now give his Lordship and the public a solemn pledge, to drink one glass of Sherry, three of Champagne, two of Hock, ditto of Madeira, six of Old Port, and four-and-twenty of Claret, before we put pen to paper in reply. At the same time, Lord Byron should recollect that we are now an old man just as Jeremy Bentham is now an old woman; and that he, who has youth on his side, ought not to throw up his hat in the ring, and challenge us for a bellyful. We think we can fit him with the gloves, and that is pretty light play for one at our time of life. But we have still a blow or two left in us; and if a turn-up with the naked mauleys there must be, a hit on the jugular may peradventure do his Lordship’s business. Should his Lordship be dished in the ring like Curtis or O'Leary-let the Reviewer who tries us remem, ber that we wished to decline the contest.
Some people will say, “ here is a pretty Preface.” “ Oh! what for a Preface?” quoth Feldborg the Dane, No matter, worthy Readers. If we should prose for a twelvemonth, we could not put you more completely in possés, sion of the facts of the case just at present. When Mr Francis Jeffrey, editor of the Edinburgh Review, has given you his opinion of us, as he will do one of these days, we promise you one thing, in which you run no risk of disa appointment-Our opinion of HIM.
June 20th, 1822.