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the ground of opinion; it asserts the supremacy of intellect : the pre-eminence it claims is from an acknowledged superiority of talent and information and literary attainment, and it does not build one tittle of its influence on ignorance, or prejudice, or authority, or personal malevolence. It takes up a question, and argues it pro and con with great knowledge and boldness and skill; it points out an absurdity, and runs it down, fairly, and according to the evidence adduced. In the former case, its conclusions may be wrong, there may be a bias in the mind of the writer, but he states the arguments and circumstances on both sides, from which a judgment is to be formed it is not his cue, he has neither the effrontery nor the meanness to falsify facts or to suppress objections. In the latter case, or where a vein of sarcasm or irony is resorted to, the ridicule is not barbed by some allusion (false or true) to private history; the object of it has brought the infliction on himself by some literary folly or political delinquency which is referred to as the understood and justifiable provocation, instead of being held up to scorn as a knave for not being a tool, or as a blockhead for thinking for himself. In the Edinburgh Review the talents of those on the opposite side are always extolled pleno ore—in the Quarterly Review they are denied altogether, and the justice that is in this way withheld from them is compensated by a proportionable

supply of personal abuse. A man of genius who is a lord, and who publishes with Mr. Murray, may now and then stand as good a chance as a lord who is not a man of genius and who publishes with Messrs. Longman: but that is the utmost extent of the impartiality of the Quarterly. From its account you would take Lord Byron and Mr. Stuart Rose for two very pretty poets ; but Mr. Moore's Magdalen Muse is sent to Bridewell without mercy, to beat hemp in silk-stockings. In the Quarterly nothing is regarded but the political creed or external circumstances of a writer; in the Edinburgh nothing is ever adverted to but his literary merits. Or if there is a bias of any kind, it arises from an affectation of magnanimity and candour in giving heaped measure to those on the aristocratic side in politics, and in being critically severe on others. Thus Sir Walter Scott is lauded to the skies for his romantic powers, without any allusion to his political demerits (as if this would be compromising the dignity of genius and of criticism by the introduction of partyspirit)—while Lord Byron is called to a grave moral reckoning. There is, however, little of the cant of morality in the Edinburgh Review-and it is quite free from that of religion. It keeps to its province, which is that of criticism or to the discussion of debateable topics, and acquits itself in both with force and spirit. This is the natural consequence of

the composition of the two Reviews. The one appeals with confidence to its own intellectual resources, to the variety of its topics, to its very character and existence as a literary journal, which depend on its setting up no pretensions but those which it can make good by the talent and ingenuity it can bring to bear


them it therefore meets every question, whether of a lighter or a graver cast, on its own grounds; the other blinks every question, for it has no confidence but in the powers that be

shuts itself up in the impregnable fastnesses of authority, or makes some paltry cowardly attack (under cover of anonymous criticism) on individuals, or dispenses its award of merit entirely according to the rank or party of the writer. The faults of the Edinburgh Review arise out of the very consciousness of critical and logical power. In political questions it relies too little on the broad basis of liberty and humanity, enters too much into mere dry formalities, deals too often in moot-points, and descends too readily to a sort of special-pleading in defence of home truths and natural feelings : in matters of taste and criticism, its tone is sometimes apt to be supercilious and cavalier from its habitual faculty of analysing defects and beauties according to given principles, from its quickness in deciding, from its facility in illustrating its views. In this latter department it has been guilty of some capital over

sights. The chief was in its treatment of the Lyrical Ballads at their first appearance not in its ridicule of their puerilities, but in its denial of their beauties, because they were included in no school, because they were reducible to no previous standard or theory of poetical excellence. For this, however, considerable reparation has been made by the prompt and liberal spirit that has been shown in bringing forward other examples of poetical genius. Its capital sin, in a doctrinal point of view, has been (we shrewdly suspect) in the uniform and unqualified encouragement it has bestowed on Mr. Malthus's system. We do not mean that the Edinburgh Review was to join in the general hue and cry that was raised against this writer ; but while it asserted the soundness of many of his arguments, and yielded its assent to the truths he has divulged, it need not have screened his errors. On this subject alone we think the Quarterly has the advantage of it. But as the Quarterly Review is a mere mass and tissue of prejudices on all subjects, it is the foible of the Edinburgh Review to affect a somewhat fastidious air of superiority over prejudices of all kinds, and a determination not to indulge in any of the amiable weaknesses of our nature, except as it can give a reason for the faith that is in it. Luckily, it is seldom reduced to this alternative : “ reasons” are with it “as plenty as blackberries!"

Mr. Jeffrey is the Editor of the Edinburgh Review, and is understood to have contributed nearly a fourth

part of the articles from its commencement. No man is better qualified for this situation; nor indeed so much so. He is certainly a person in advance of the age, and yet perfectly fitted both from knowledge and habits of mind to put a curb upon its rash and head. long spirit. He is thoroughly acquainted with the progress and pretensions of modern literature and philosophy; and to this he adds the natural acuteness and discrimination of the logician with the habitual caution and coolness of his profession. If the Edin. burgh Review may be considered as the organ of or at all pledged to a party, that party is at least a respectable one, and is placed in the middle between two extremes. The Editor is bound to lend a patient hearing to the most paradoxical opinions and extravagant theories which have resulted in our times from the “ infinite agitation of wit,” but he is disposed to qualify them by a number of practical objections, of speculative doubts, of checks and drawbacks, arising out of actual circumstances and prevailing opinions, or the frailties of human nature. He has a great range of knowledge, an incessant activity of mind ; but the suspension of his judgment, the well-balanced moderation of his sentiments, is the consequence of the very discursiveness of his reason. What may be consi. dered as a common-place conclusion is often the result of a comprehensive view of all the circumstances of a case. Paradox, violence, nay even originality of conception

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