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EDITOR, 1829-1847.

From a pen drawing of the bust in the Library of the Edinburgh University be y. Sclalcr, the sculptor, in the Scottislt Xalionai Portrait Gallery.

The connexion of the Review with the Whig leaders in Parliament was now very close. In December, 1830, Jeffrey became Lord Advocate, and Brougham Lord Chancellor; and it was thought probable that the latter would soon become the most powerful statesman in the kingdom. Why in 1835, when Lord Melbourne returned to power, Brougham did not re-enter the Cabinet has been much discussed. Brougham himself declared it was because Lord Melbourne knew that in such a case he (the Prime Minister) would be reduced to insignificance. Brougham never forgot or forgave an injury, and deep was the contumely which, in letter after letter to the long-suffering Editor, he poured upon the Whig Premier, and on his 'underlings,' who cared not a farthing for reform of any kind so long as they could keep their places. He was furious because the Review would not denounce the more moderate men of the party ' for trimming 'and waiting to see how the cat jumped.' He (Brougham) was the only true Reformer, almost the only honest man, and he had no patience 'with the vermin who were basely 'and meanly looking to some junction with the Stanleys 'and Grahams, and want to throw the honest and single'hearted Reformers overboard the moment they have helped 'us to turn the Government out.' He complains (April 4, 1835) that his articles had not been printed, and declares that they must have been intercepted. Yet surely he had little cause of complaint, for the April number of the Review contains no fewer than six articles from his pen, on the following subjects: 'The British Constitution—Recent Political 'Occurrences,'' Thoughts upon the Aristocracy,'' Newspaper 'Tax,'' Memoirs of Mirabeau,'' French Parties and Politics,' 'State of Parties.' Nevertheless, in June Brougham actually has the face to write to Napier that ever since his Editorship had begun, 'I have found that my assistance was 'reckoned, justly God knows, a very secondary object, and 'that one of the earliest friends of the Journal, and who 'had (Jeffrey will tell you) enabled it to struggle through 'its first difficulties as much as any one or two of the 'contributors, was now next thing to laid upon the 'shelf!

Nothing is more exasperating to a statesman who has been left out in the cold, than the faithful party loyalty with which a chief so deficient in the discrimination of personal merit is still regarded by others. The Whiggism of the 'Edinburgh Review' was never more rigidly orthodox in the party sense than during the period of Macvey Napier's Editorship. The days were long past since a few briefless advocates and a young clergyman in want of a living had set the world on fire by sheer ability and dash, and by their evident determination to maintain their critical independence against every external influence. The Review was now in the closest relations with the Whig leaders. When, for instance, Nassau Senior wrote on the Irish poor laws, his articles were revised and modified by Lord Lansdowne and Lord John Russell. In the middle of the century, says Bagehot with dry humour, it was difficult to imagine that there had ever been anything incendiary about the 'Edinburgh Review.' Its appearance quarter by quarter had now, he says, become a great event, and it was believed that its contributors were confined to the Privy Council! In sober truth it was supported and largely written by men of the greatest position in the world of politics and letters. Their names would have made the fortune of a modern * monthly.' But the 'Edinburgh' was always anonymous, and both Jeffrey and Napier were aware that it was possible for men of great distinction to be dull. The former pronounced (1829) that Sir William Hamilton's article on Cousin's Cours de Philosophic was 'the most unreadable thing that ever appeared in 'the Review.' And Sir James Mackintosh, the philosopher of ' Whiggism,' agreed with Napier's predecessor, that though the writer might be a very clever man, he was quite unfit to write on topics such as these for English readers. In politics, however, the dangers of a too rigidly official orthodoxy were on the whole avoided. The circulation of the Review, it is true, never again rose to the height it had attained in 1817-20, yet it easily held the first place in periodical literature, and was indispensable reading for all who wished to share in the intellectual life of the day. Here is the list of subjects and writers in the April number, 1846, published just before Lord John Russell formed his first administration:—

1. 'Parliament and the Courts,' by Lord Denman.

2. 'Shakespeare in Paris,' by Mrs. Austin.

3. 'Legislation for the Working Class,' by Sir George C. Lewis.

4. 'Religious Movement in Germany,' by Henry Rogers.

5. 'LyalFs Travels in North America,' by Herman Merivale.

6. 'European and American State Confederacies,' by Nassau Senior.

7. 'Scottish Criminal Jurisprudence,' by Lord Cockburn.

8. 'Political State of Prussia,' by R. M. Milnes (afterwards Lord

Houghton).

9. 'Earls Grey and Spencer,' by Lord John Russell.

Napier had aimed at nine or ten articles per number when he first undertook the Review, and by his agreement with Longmans each number was to contain sixteen sheets— i.e., 256 pages. The number of pages has varied at different periods from about 260 in early days to 300 or so in the middle of the century. The ordinary length was from 200 to 280 pages. The public, Napier held, did not like long articles. But Editors' rules and wishes must bend like other people's to circumstances. Macaulay's article on Lord Bacon, when sent to the Editor, ran to 120 pages, and the latter naturally consulted Jeffrey as to the course he should adopt.

'What mortal,' writes Jeffrey in reply,' could ever dream of cutting out the least particle of this precious work to make it fit better with your Review? It would be worse than paring down the Pitt diamond to fit the old setting of a dowager's ring. It is altogether magnificent —et prope divinum. Since Bacon himself, I do not know that there has been anything so fine. I have read it not only with delight, but with emotion—with throbbings of the heart and tears in the eye.'

Macaulay, when despatching his MS. from Calcutta, had described it as' of interminable length'; and it was ultimately found possible to reduce it without material injury till it absorbed no more than 104 pages out of the 282 which made up the July number of 1837. Even so it was thought right to add an Editorial note to the first page of the article, asking the indulgence of intelligent readers ' for so wide a 'departure from our general practice.' In 1840 the * Clive' article, which drew down Brougham's wrath on Macaulay for praising so ' bloodthirsty and cruel a man,' consumed sixtysix pages in a number which contained eight articles. In October, 1840, the essay on Warren Hastings ran to ninetysix pages, and left space for only five other articles!

Macaulay's essays on the foremost statesmen, warriors, poets, and thinkers of an earlier day hold an absolutely unique place in English literature. Not only do they constitute standard works, of which men speak with respect, they are the favourite reading of multitudes wherever the English language is known. 'Every school boy,' as the author would have said, has rejoiced in the glowing pages in which Macaulay has brought home to his countrymen the history of great deeds and the characters of great men.

After Macvey Napier had taken over the Editorship from Jeffrey, though the latter retired completely from the direct management of the Review, it was only natural that his successor should constantly recur to him for advice. By

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