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introductory address was from the pen of Dr. Johnson, and contained a perspicuous statement of the objects of the work. Its design was to combine with the variety of a Magazine the advantages of a Review. In reference. the critical department of the work, the writer of the preface remarks, The literary history necessarily contains an account of the labours of the learned, in which whether we shall show much judgment or sagacity, must be left to our readers to determine; we can promise only justness and candour. It is not to be expected that we can insert extensive extracts, or critical examinations of all the writings which this age of authors may offer to our notice. A few only will deserve the distinction of criticism, and a few only will obtain it. We shall try to select the best and most important pieces; and are not without hope, that we may sometimes influence the public voice, and hasten the popularity of a valuable work."

Dr. Johnson contributed twenty-five reviews to this miscellany. Many of his critical notices are meagre and uninteresting; but others are written with great care and elaboration, possessing his dignity of style, with his accustomed reach of thinking, sagacity of observation, and solid instruction. Amongst the best of his critiques in the "Literary Magazine" may be enumerated the following:- on "Warton's Essays on the Genius and Writings of Pope;"-" Blackwell's Memoirs of the Court of Augustus ;"-" Four Letters from Sir Isaac Newton to Dr. Bentley, containing some arguments in proof of a Deity;"-" The General History of Polybius, translated from the Greek;"-" Brown's Christian Morals ;" and "Jenyns's Free Enquiry into the Nature and Origin of Evil." Dr. Drake, in his Life of Dr. Johnson, characterizes the review of Jenyns's book as a "masterly disquisition, on a subject of great metaphysical obscurity, and a complete refutation and exposure of the weak and arrogant parts of that singular production.'

In addition to these contributions, Johnson wrote, for the same journal, several biographical, moral, historical, and political essays. The other writers seem to have been tolerably well qualified for the parts allotted to them; and they succeeded in supplying the public with a pleasing miscellany, in which the lively and the grave were judiciously blended; and elegant literature gracefully interwoven with dissertations on morals, politics, and metaphysics.

In 1773, another attempt was made in Edinburgh to improve the character of Scotch periodical literature, by establishing a work that should perform the double office of a Magazine and a Critical Journal. This publication appeared under the title of the "Edinburgh Magazine and Review." The celebrated Gilbert Stuart, LL.D., and Mr. William Smellie, author of the "Philosophy of Natural History," had the merit of originating, and conducting it for three years with a large share of talent and popularity. Reviews of books did not form the most important part of the editors' labours. Their object was to attract the public by the variety and novelty of their matter. They observe in their preface, that, "to be generally useful and entertaining, they mean to suit themselves to readers of every denomination. It is not solely their intention to paint the manners and the fashions of the times; to interest the passions, and wander in the regions of fancy: they propose to blend instruction with amusement; to pass from light and gay effusions to severe disquisition; to mingle erudition with wit, and to contrast the wisdom with the folly of men. They wish equally to allure and to please the studious and the grave, the dissipated and the idle. To the former they may suggest matter for reflection and remark; into the latter

they may infuse the love of knowledge; and to both they may afford a not inelegant relaxation and amusement.

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The contents of the work furnish abundant proofs that these promises were fully performed. The execution of every department is superior to that of the general run of previous periodical publications. Many of the articles comprise much useful information, and are not deficient in the graces of composition. The conductors were men of ability and learning; attached to liberal principles and free institutions. The critical department was under the special management of Dr. Stuart and Mr. Smellie. Unfortunately, however, many of Dr. Stuart's articles are chargeable with unjust severity, and are not unfrequently disfigured by gross prejudices and personalities. The dissatisfaction that was thus occasioned, contributed to the failure of the undertaking.

There can be no doubt, however, that in this case, as in that of the "Edinburgh Review," acerbity of feeling, produced by religious animosities, had a powerful influence in diminishing the popularity of the work and bringing it to a sudden close. During the period of its existence, from 1773 till 1776, there was an unusual degree of excitement in Edinburgh arising out of theological controversy; and some essays that appeared in the Magazine were regarded as unfavourable to Orthodox belief, and subversive of Evangelical religion. Such an imputation, whether well founded or not, formed an impassable barrier to the further progress of the journal. Whatever grounds there may have been for the charge, it is certain that the conductors, in their endeavours to cherish a spirit of toleration, and to steer a middle course in the prevalent polemical disputations, raised a suspicion in the public mind that they were either indifferent to the advancement of religion, or sceptical as to its truths. There is a paragraph, in the preface to their fourth volume, that may be quoted in support of this opinion. In allusion to a report industriously circulated of their leaning to infidelity, they state, "they have been attacked by bigots for their moderation and charity, and have been fancied to be sceptical, because they have not favoured absurd prejudices, and defended opinions, wild and fantastic, disgraceful to Christianity, and unworthy of men.' The Review did not, as may be readily supposed, long survive these attacks; and the injudicious manner in which Dr. Stuart reviewed Monboddo's work, on the "Origin and Progress of Language," hastened its extinction. After the publication of five volumes, the proprietors, in August, 1776, announced its discontinuance, without any explanation of the cause; but promised that it should be resumed in an improved form.*

In the Memoirs of Wm. Smellie, of Edinburgh, there is a minute account of the origin, progress, and extinction of this Journal.

It would exceed the limits of this Essay, and be irrelevant to its purpose, to enter ino a lengthened history of those periodical journals published in Edinburgh, previously to 1802, which do not come under the denomination of Reviews. The subjoined enumeration of the most popular, will show the general estimation in which periodical literature has always been held by the inhabitants of Scotland. The "Old Scots Magazine" occupies the first place in the list, as the venerable parent from which all the rest sprang, and claims our respect for the attainments of the persons who, at different intervals, were concerned in its management. No similar Scotch work contains so great a variety of miscellaneous, statistical, and local information. It began in January, 1739, and was the first Magazine in Scotland of the slightest pretensions to talent and importance. For a few years it was occasionally supplied with contributions by several eminent individuals. Dr. Murray, Professor of Oriental Languages in the University, and Dr. Leyden were latterly connected with the editorial department. The circulation was then extensive ;

introductory address was from the pen of Dr. Johnson, and contained a perspicuous statement of the objects of the work. Its design was to combine with the variety of a Magazine the advantages of a Review. In reference to the critical department of the work, the writer of the preface remarks, The literary history necessarily contains an account of the labours of the learned, in which whether we shall show much judgment or sagacity, must be left to our readers to determine; we can promise only justness and candour. It is not to be expected that we can insert extensive extracts, or critical examinations of all the writings which this age of authors may offer to our notice. A few only will deserve the distinction of criticism, and a few only will obtain it. We shall try to select the best and most important pieces; and are not without hope, that we may sometimes influence the public voice, and hasten the popularity of a valuable work."

Dr. Johnson contributed twenty-five reviews to this miscellany. Many of his critical notices are meagre and uninteresting; but others are written with great care and elaboration, possessing his dignity of style, with his accustomed reach of thinking, sagacity of observation, and solid instruction. Amongst the best of his critiques in the "Literary Magazine" may be enumerated the following:- on "Warton's Essays on the Genius and Writings of Pope;"-" Blackwell's Memoirs of the Court of Augustus;"—" Four Letters from Sir Isaac Newton to Dr. Bentley, containing some arguments in proof of a Deity;"—" The General History of Polybius, translated from the Greek;"—" Brown's Christian Morals;" and "Jenyns's Free Enquiry into the Nature and Origin of Evil." Dr. Drake, in his Life of Dr. Johnson, characterizes the review of Jenyns's book as a "masterly disquisition, on a subject of great metaphysical obscurity, and a complete refutation and exposure of the weak and arrogant parts of that singular production.'

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In addition to these contributions, Johnson wrote, for the same journal, several biographical, moral, historical, and political essays. The other writers seem to have been tolerably well qualified for the parts allotted to them; and they succeeded in supplying the public with a pleasing miscellany, in which the lively and the grave were judiciously blended; and elegant literature gracefully interwoven with dissertations on morals, politics, and metaphysics.

In 1773, another attempt was made in Edinburgh to improve the character of Scotch periodical literature, by establishing a work that should perform the double office of a Magazine and a Critical Journal. This publication appeared under the title of the "Edinburgh Magazine and Review." The celebrated Gilbert Stuart, LL.D., and Mr. William Smellie, author of the "Philosophy of Natural History," had the merit of originating, and conducting it for three years with a large share of talent and popularity. Reviews of books did not form the most important part of the editors' labours. Their object was to attract the public by the variety and novelty of their matter. They observe in their preface, that, "to be generally useful and entertaining, they mean to suit themselves to readers of every denomination. It is not solely their intention to paint the manners and the fashions of the times; to interest the passions, and wander in the regions of fancy: they propose to blend instruction with amusement; to pass from light and gay effusions to severe disquisition; to mingle erudition with wit, and to contrast the wisdom with the folly of men. They wish equally to allure and to please the studious and the grave, the dissipated and the idle. To the former they may suggest matter for reflection and remark; into the latter

reputation of the Review. There was nothing, however, in its plan or arrangement, differing, in any essential points, from other journals. It contains various specimens of sound and impartial criticism; but its contributions are not generally of a superior order. It was relinquished in 1798, after thirty volumes had been published.

Mr. Thomas Christie, the author of several works on a diversity of topics, established the "Analytical Review," in 1788. It was conducted for some years with a good deal of spirit and ability. A few articles in this journal might be referred to for the information, talent, and acumen which they display; but the great mass of its contributions are not distinguished by any thing attractive or profound. It amounts to twenty-two volumes.

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The British Critic, or Theological Review," commenced in 1793. The editorship was entrusted to Archdeacon Nares. His criticisms have been warmly commended for their erudition, judgment, and sagacity. Some of the brightest ornaments of the Established Church were associated with him in his labours; but his most efficient and popular coadjutor was Mr. Beloe, translator of Herodotus. The primary object of this journal is to uphold the doctrines and discipline of the Church of England. Its circulation, therefore, is principally confined to the divines and members of that party. Many of its articles are of a controversial character, and exhibit the peculiar spirit which religious controversy invariably generates. Notwithstanding this defect, it has been ably and skilfully conducted. Its best articles testify the research and zeal of their writers. If their efforts have not been always distinguished by enlarged views on disputed and mysterious points of faith, concerning which it is absurd to suppose that mankind will ever agree in opinion, they deserve praise for their exertions in the Cause of Christianity against the insidious designs of false friends, and the open, though impotent, assaults of its adversaries.

It was no part of the object of this discourse, to include in it all the Reviews which appeared previously to 1802. Of those most esteemed for their ability, and the literary fame of their conductors, notices have been given that may enable the reader to judge of the state of periodical criticism before the appearance of the Edinburgh Review. The works which have been mentioned may be considered as the most favourable specimens. That they were occasionally enriched by the contributions of men who occupied an elevated rank in the world of letters, has been proved by a reference to many well-known names. But, if their value be estimated by that of the general mass of their contents, it would be untrue to affirm that they possess much merit. To be convinced of their inferiority as critical journals, it is only necessary to glance at the meagre and superficial notices with which they are filled. Their pretensions, in this respect, are frequently below mediocrity. A critique of moderate length, written with ability, and in a pleasing style, sometimes enlivens the mass of dulness by which it is surrounded; but, in general, the articles are little more than advertisements of new works, from which a few extracts are taken, and put together without a single remark illustrative of the manner in which the author has acquitted himself of his task. To the reader, therefore, this species of criticism imparted no other benefit than that which was derived from a dry catalogue of books, and an insipid abstract of their The reviewers for the most part applauded and contemned without condescending to assign a reason for their decisions. They did not profess to be guided by general principles. The excellencies or defects of an

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author were despatched in a sentence, or left to be ascertained by a series of quotations selected from his works without skill or discrimination. A phisophical exposition of the topics treated of was seldom attempted. What the writers omitted the reviewers did not supply. There was nothing in their vague observations which evinced originality or vigour; and they were equally destitute of the attractions of taste and eloquence.

The following remark was made by Gibbon, after reading the ninth chapter of Longinus on the Sublime:-"I was acquainted only with two ways of criticising a beautiful passage: the one to show, by an exact anatomy of it, its distinct beauties, and whence they spring; the other an idle exclamation, a general panegyric, which leaves nothing behind. Longinus has shown me a third. He tells me his own feelings upon reading it; and tells them with such energy that he communicates them." That this is a delightful and beneficial employment of the critical art, every one must have felt who is familiar (and who is not?) with the masterly disquisitions in our modern reviews. But the English journals of the last century were deficient in this fertile source of intellectual gratification and improvement. They did not aspire to enlighten the understanding, or to guide the public taste. If they recommended any literary performance, it was seldom for any other purpose than to promote its sale. Its importance or tendency was a matter of subordinate consideration. The critic would have deemed it a violation of the dignity of his office to compose a dissertation on the subject to which it referred, and to instruct his readers in the principles and reasonings upon which the enquiry should have been conducted. In consequence of this mechanical method of reviewing, critical journals were of use only to book-collectors.

In their political department there was also a grievous lack of depth and information. Furious philippics against Tories or Whigs, or lampoons designed to ridicule some conspicuous public character, were not uncommon. But no luminous views were given of any great political question. The science of Government was not expounded in an enlarged and philosophical spirit. The principles which should regulate the people and their rulers in their respective situations were not developed; and many problems of vital import to the liberties and happiness of mankind were passed over without the slightest notice. It was not to be expected that national sentiment should take its tone from such works, or that they should exercise any considerable influence over the conduct of statesmen, and the opinions of the community.

The inefficiency of the old English Reviews, considered in their critical capacity, resulted principally from their connection with the publishing booksellers. Though the majority were established with upright intentions, by writers who professed to value intellectual freedom, yet, from causes too obvious to require explanation, they gradually yielded to the dominion of the trade, and became mere puffing-machines for the books brought forth under the auspices of the reading publishers. Periodical criticism, thus fettered and degraded, had no salutary action on the popular mind. It wanted the energy and spirit inseparable from integrity of purpose. Its characteristics were tameness, coldness, and servility; though many exceptions may be found in particular articles.

The effects of trammelling criticism, by reducing it to the level of a mercantile system, are forcibly described in the following extract from an essay, in the "Edinburgh Annual Register for 1809," attributed to Sir

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