페이지 이미지

nations; so long as her insular situation only serves to extend and promote these commercial relations ; so long as other nations possess & large portion of sea-coast, engage in a wide commercial circle, and are acquiring a navy of formidable power; so long as Britain interferes with them in other quarters of the globe, where her dominions are the most valuable and extensive ;-it is an abuse of language to talk of her being separated from the continent of Europe by the Straits of Dover. The transport of an army by sea is often more easy than to march over a considerable tract of land. The fate of a naval engagement is often more quick, decisive, and dependent upon fortune than the siege of barrier towns or the forcing of mountain passes, ... To say that England may trust to her feets is to recommend a full reliance upon the chance of a single battle or the event of a sea-chase, to inculcate a silly confidence in good fortune, and to advise that the fate of Great Britain should be committed to the changes of the elements, the shifting of a wind, or the settling of a fog.' In short, to our armies, and to our international policy, hardly less than to our fleet, belongs, in Brougham's opinion, the real defence of the kingdom.

It is exceedingly interesting to compare these views with those expressed in an article in the · Edinburgh Review of October, 1870, by Mr. Gladstone, then Prime Minister-a paper full of noble thought and of the highest patriotism, though pervaded by the tendency, not uncommon with the greatest characters, to see and to believe that which his own high aspirations made him desire rather than what was. The month of July had opened with cloudless tranquillity

on the face of Europe,' but a few weeks had seen the overthrow of that Great Power which had held the military primacy in Europe for two hundred and fifty years. After dealing with the causes and probable consequences of these great events, he asks what is to be our share as a member of the European family of the political lessons of the war and its results :

It will be our own fault if they are anything but good and useful. Happy England! Happy, not because any Immaculate Conception exempted her from that original sin of nations, the desire to erect Will into Right, and the lust of territorial aggrandisement. Happy, not only because she is felix prole virûm, because their United Kingdom is peopled by a race unsurpassed, as a whole, in its energies and endowments. But happy, with a special reference to the present subject, in this, that the wise dispensation of Providence has cut her off by that streak of silver sea—which passengers so often and so justly execrate—though in no way from the duties and the honours, yet partly from the dangers, absolutely from the temptations, which attend upon the local neighbourhood of the continental nations.' That twenty miles of sea had proved, 'even against the great Napoleon, an impregnable fortification.' Modern changes, the introduction of steam, the increased importance belonging to the possession of coal and iron, had operated, on the whole, to our advantage, and maritime supremacy more than in the past bad become the proud• perhaps the indefectible—inheritance of England. As an aggressive military Power on the Continent, we should never be formidable we are an essentially, incurably, maritime • Power. We had outlived the craving for mere material extension, as well as those fits of feverish excitement which beset us ‘lest other nations should do for themselves a ' fiftieth part of what we had done for ourselves.' At home we were prosperous and contented. Ireland, our ancient

reproach, can no longer fling her grievances in the face of • Great Britain.' Thus the natural destiny of Great Britain was to become the appropriate object of the general con

fidence, as the sole, comparatively, unsuspected Power.' On all sides she would be courted as a disinterested friend and as a useful mediator to avert the quarrels of others. One thing only was needful to secure this great position :

"We should do as we would be done by. We should seek to found a moral empire upon the confidence of the nations, not upon their fears, their passions, or their antipathies. Certain it is that a new law of nations is gradually taking hold of the mind, and aiming to sway the practice of the world; a law which recognises independence, which frowns upon aggression, which favours the pacific rule, which aims at permanent not temporary adjustments ; above all, which recognises as a tribunal of paramount authority the general judgement of civilised mankind.'

Mr. Gladstone's forecast has, unfortunately, not been realised; and his language can be applied with as little accuracy to the actual state of things existing from 1870 to the present day as could the language of Brougham's retrospect to the golden age of the eighteenth century !

We must return, however, to the earlier days of the Review. Of the first number 750 copies were printed, and in half a dozen years the circulation had increased to many thousands, and it must be remembered that the number of copies originally printed by no means represents the number ultimately purchased by the public. Each number had in fact a book value' which remained for years. Thus we have before us vol. i. 'Edinburgh Review,' 10th edition, published in 1814, and a 7th edition of vol. ii. and of vol. iii., published in 1814 and 1815 respectively. The original idea was to run the Review without giving any remuneration to the writers. It was to be all gentlemen

and no pay. After the third number a change was made, for we find Jeffrey writing in May, 1803, to Horner that in consequence of a negotiation between Sydney Smith and the publishers the latter were willing for the future to pay 2001. a year to the Editor, and 101. a sheet to him and to other contributors, terms which, Mr. Longman said, 'were without precedent,' as, for the matter of that, was the success of the new journal. It is difficult in these days to realise the sort of coy feeling with which men regarded any direct pecuniary relations with the press. Jeffrey, however, found that all his men would consent to accept their ten pounds, and under the sanction of their

example' he thought he might accept the salary offered without being supposed to have suffered any degradation.' Lord Byron, it will be remembered, in English Bards and • Scotch Reviewers,' taunted Jeffrey on this point

"To Jeffrey go, be silent and discreet,

His pay is just ten sterling pounds a sheet'and in the notes to the same satire he made it a reproach to Walter Scott that “The Lay' and 'Marmion' were written

for hire. Before long the minimum remuneration in the Review was raised to sixteen guineas a sheet, at which figure it remained throughout Jeffrey's time, though very many of the articles were paid for at a higher rate. It was on this ordinary scale, it may be mentioned, that Mr. Gladstone was remunerated for the article of October, 1870, already referred to.

The undisputed authority over the whole field of literature which in half a dozen years the Review had won for itself could hardly be expected to last, and it was not desirable in the interest of the public that it should. The * Edinburgh' was started and had been mainly supported by strong Whigs. The Tories naturally wished to have an organ of their own. In February, 1809, the Quarterly' appeared, and Jeffrey, whose indolence, he says, would have been better pleased at the absence of all rivalry, did not altogether dislike the prospect of sharp antagonism now opening before him. He rejoiced, indeed, as he was well entitled to do, that this kind of literature, which seems to be more attended to than any other," was likely to be improved by competition, and he was proud of the example he had set. It has been said that a particular article * by

* 'Don Pedro Cevallos on The French Usurpation of Spain,' Jeffrey on the resistance offered by Spanish patriotism to Napoleonic aggression in the previous October number was so exasperating to Tory feelings that no further delay could be tolerated in bringing into the lists the new champion of their party. It is certain that the Cevallos article did rouse much hostile comment; and we are told how Lord Buchan (the clever though eccentric elder brother of Harry and Tom Erskine, respectively Lord Advocate and Lord Chancellor), solemnly placing the offending number of the Review on the floor of his hall in George Street, kicked it deliberately into the centre of the street, where it was left to be trampled in the mud. There is in this paper not the slightest trace of unpatriotic sentiment, and only the extreme sensitiveness of a generation which had seen the Reign of Terror, to the dangers which popular views might bring upon the British Constitution, can account for the exaggerated denunciation which it incurred.

The main contentions of this famous article were two. The Government was condemned for frittering away the martial strength of the nation in a multitude of minor expeditions, instead of imitating the strategical policy of Napoleon in striking with every effort and with overwhelming force at the very heart of the enemy. Secondly, it was made a subject for true rejoicing that at last Napoleon had found a foe, outside the circle of the jealous and self-seeking ambitions of European autocrats who had hitherto opposed him, in the patriotic and freedom-loving spirit of a people whose king and nobility had deserted them. A hearty alliance between the British nation and a people struggling for independence would do good to both, and would revive in the former the belief in popular principles held by most Englishmen before the great throw back of the French Revolution. The first of these positions is now the commonplace of history, and the last would not cause a twentieth-century Tory, if such a being survives, to wince.

rce at subject for the circle oitocrats whoving spirit.


Edinburgh Review, October, 1808. This article was formerly attributed to Brougham, by whom it was included in his 'Contributions to the “Edinburgh Review,"' published in 1856. Brougham's recol. lections cannot always be implicitly trusted, but there appears to be reason for thinking that Brougham had in fact some minor share in producing the article, which was certainly in the main Jeffrey's work. The paper was not included in Jeffrey's four volumes of Contributions to the “ Edinburgh Review," ' published in 1844; but the article perhaps hardly came within the principle of rigid selection laid down by Jeffrey himself in his preface.

We have seen that the projectors of the Edinburgh • Review' were strong Whigs, and so were, for the most part, the most eminent of its contributors during the first half-dozen years of its existence. A notable exception was Walter Scott. He was an intimate friend of Jeffrey, and he had contributed several articles of value to the Review on literary and antiquarian topics. In 1807 Scott vainly endeavoured to recruit Southey as an Edin• burgh' reviewer, but the vehement Toryism of the latter, and the severity with which he had been criticised by Jeffrey, rendered Scott's efforts useless. Scott had naturally from the beginning disliked the political partisan tone, as he thought it, which more and more was colouring the whole character of the Review. He had remonstrated more than once with Jeffrey on the excessive importance given to party politics, and had received his answer. The “ Review," said the latter, ‘has, in short, .but two legs to stand on. Literature is one of them, but 'its right leg is politics.' The April number of the Review of 1808, six months before the crowning offence of the Spanish article, had contained a review by Jeffrey of • Marmion, a paper generally referred to as bitterly depreciatory of the poem, and of the genius of its author. Already Scott had been consulting Canning, Ellis, John Murray, and others as to the possibility of founding a rival organ. The cup was at last full. Scott never again wrote for the Edinburgh, and, as we have seen, the Quarterly' was launched in February, 1809.

It is clear that the time had come, and the man, for resistance to the domination of the Whig Review. There were many, doubtless, who shared the fears of Walter Scott that by its means Whig politics were becoming disseminated in the most jealously guarded of Tory preserves. No • genteel family,' he writes, in November, 1808, to George Ellis, can pretend to be without the “Edinburgh Review,"

because, independent of its politics, it gives the only • valuable literary criticisms which can be met with. As with the Cevallos article, so again with regard to Jeffrey's review of Marmion,' far more importance in bringing to birth the great Tory organ was assigned than really belonged to it. Walter Scott was no thin-skinned member of an irritabile genus. The very evening after he had read the criticism, his critic came to dine with him; and with the exception of a natural little ebullition on the part of Mrs. Scott, there was nothing to diminish the social

« 이전계속 »