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their extreme youthfulness has been exaggerated by those who sought to find in it a heavy reproach which would tend to diminish the weight of their criticism. In 1802 Sydney Smith was just over and Francis Jeffrey just under thirty, whilst Horner was twenty-four and Brougham twenty-three. The first editor has told how he proposed as the motto of the new journal
"Tenui musam meditamur avena,'
"We cultivate literature upon a little oatmeal,' but this was too near the truth to be admitted, and so we • took our present grave motto from Publius Syrus, of whom 'none of us, I am sure, ever read a single line.'*
How these men struck a very competent and disinterested observer before their fame was established may be read in a letter from Mr.T.N.Longman written from Edinburgh, where he had been a good deal impressed by the advantages that would accrue to his publishing business from co-operation with Constable. Mr. Longman had seen an early copy of the first number of the “Edinburgh Review.'
It is written (without pay) by some young men (whose names I have down, tho they are pretended to be secret) of very great abilities. I have not read much, but they seem to be more fond of displaying their critical acumen than the contents of the book, or of maintaining the grave dignity of their office. There is some excellent writing. ... I have secured the second edition of the “ Border Minstrelsy” for us. Walter Scott is a very first-rate man.'
As a result of this visit of Mr. Longman to the northern capital, his firm became joint publishers of the 'Edinburgh - Review' with Constable, sole publishers of the second edition of the ‘Minstrelsy,' and of the first edition of the • Lay of the Last Minstrel,' which appeared in January, 1805.
Longmanum est errare,' wrote Walter Scott to George Ellis in humorous deprecation of the alleged non-delivery to the latter of a presentation copy of The Lay. Certainly there was little error on the part of that enterprising publisher in his shrewd comment upon the Edinburgh reviewers, or in his power of gauging men and books when the tale came to be told to his partner of how he had 'fared within the • North. It is an interesting and probably unique fact in the history of publishing, that the lapse of a century should find a periodical extant in the same hands as had published the first number. The Review appeared on October 10, 1802, with the same
* Preface to the Works of the Rev. Sydney Smith. 3 vols.
find a period of publishing, thats and probablymes
title page and in the same guise, as it does to-day. Sometimes it has happened in the history of the publication of a long series, that under the old name a practically new work has been started and continued. But there has been no change of that kind here. In October, 1802, appeared the 1st number and in October, 1902, appears the 402nd number of the “Edinburgh Review,' the Oritical Journal," published quarterly by Longmans.
Buff and blue, it is needless to say, had long been the colours of the Whig party, supposed to have been adopted by them out of sympathetic admiration for Washington and his army who wore buff and blue uniforms during the War of Independence. As a matter of fact Washington's uniform was that worn by Virginian officers in the King's service before the Rebellion.
We suppose that no modern reader surfeited with the mass of periodical literature, of political and literary criticism that is poured every month and week and day upon his table, is quite able to understand why it was that the contents of the earlier numbers of the 'Edinburgh Review' should have set the world on fire. Certainly a mere perusal of the principal articles in the earlier two or three years of its career will not enlighten him, unless he takes into account the wide difference between the conditions in those days and in these. In the first number, containing 252 pages, there are no fewer than twenty-nine articles, some of them running to only one, two, or three pages, and forming therefore rather notices of books than what are now considered formal reviews. Of these articles nine were written by Sydney Smith, six by Jeffrey, five by Francis Horner, three by Brougham, and two by Dr. John Thomson. Brougham, though he contributed to the first two numbers, hardly came within the inner circle of the management of the Review till after the third number. Amongst the most important papers in the first were those by Horner on the ‘Paper Credit of Great Britain,' and by Brougham on the Crisis in the Sugar Colonies. The number opened with an article by Jeffrey upon a book just published" by Mounier, late President of the first National Assembly, on the causes of the French Revolution, in which paper the Review at once entered upon the discussion of events which had done more than anything else in the preceding ten years to decide the political bias of Englishmen. The views expressed were moderate as well as liberal at a time when men found it almost impossible to be either moderate or liberal in treating of the French Revolution. Jeffrey's