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SEVERAL circumstances concur in impressing us with the belief that our miscellany will form the subject of general discussion during the ensuing month, and this, perhaps, even to a greater extent than it has ever yet done.
In the mean time, let us be excused for saying a very few words about ourselves. That we have committed vari. ous acts of imprudence, we do not deny--we freely admit that we have done so : and we wish to know, if all the Conductors of Periodical Works now extant were assembled in one room, which of them it is that durst hesitate to make a similar confession ? Haste, and vivacity of spirits, and the enjoyment of a joke, are things the effect of which every candid person pay in some measure appreciate,--and if there be people so very wise as to make no allowance for such matters, we are at least sure of this, that these sages were never, themselves, capable of doing anything quickly, nor visited by one impetus of social glee, nor guilty of one witticism since they first shook their heads in their nurse's arms. For us, we are certainly of a very different temperament; and such is universally felt to be the case. Indeed, one of the best jokes, one of the greatest jokers of the age has to answer for, sets this matter in a very striking point of view. “ I wish,” said a learned Whig M. P. one day in a certain shop in Albemarle Street, “ I wish to God this fellow North were dead."-" That,” replied another of the same class, “ would do us little good; he has bred such a race of tormentors, that we shall never have peace while we live-Depend on it, Sir Jhis ghost will walk.”_“Walk” quoth R," by Jupiter, if it does anything, it will trot.”
The simple truth of the affair lies in a nut-shell. For a series of years, the Whigs in Scotland had all the jokes to themselves. They laughed and lashed as they liked ;and, while this was the case, did anybody ever hear them say that either laughing or lashing were among the seven deadly sins ? People said at times, no doubt, that Mr Jeffrey was a more gentlemanly Whip than Mr Broughamthat 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 int 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 as, 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 despised 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 comand say,
plain of us for wilful scoffing against power, which, scoffing, 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,
“ You called me DRUNKARD."
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
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 speaking 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, which 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