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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


140 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Geage Street. ?( Chaldee Manuscript,? the effect of which upon the then circle of Edinburgh society can hardly be realised now ; but this pungent jeu d?esprit, of which it is scarcely necessary to give any account here, is still preserved in Volume IV. of the works of Professor Wilson. The sensation excited by the new magazine was kept up by all the successive numbers, though for some months no one was attacked; but the subjects discussed were handled in a masterly manner, and exhibited a variety of talent that could not fail to influence and command the respect of all ; and it has been said that the early defects of the magazine are nowhere better analysed than by the hands 1 of those who did the work-the authors of ? Peter?s In October, 1817, he brought out the first number of that celebrated magazine which has enrolled among its contributors the names of Wilson, Scott, Henry Mackenzie, J. McCrie, Brewster, De Quincey, Hamilton (the author of ? Cyril Thornton ?), Aytoun, Alison, Lockhart, Bulwer, Warren, James Hogg, Dr. Moir, and a host of others. This periodical had a predecessor, l l e Edinburgir Monthly Magazine, projected in April, 18~7, and edited by Thomas Pringle, a able and interesting papers, contained three calculated to create curiosity, offence, and excitement. The first was a fierce assault on Coleridge?s Biog7aphia Literaria, which was stigmatised as a ? most execrable ? performance, and its author ? a miserable compound of egotism and nialignity.? The second was a still more bitter attack on high Hunt, who was denounced as a ?profligate creature,? one ?( without reverence for either God or man.? The third was the famous highly-esteemed poet and miscellaneous writer, the son of a farmet in Teviotdale, and this falling into the hands of new proprietors, became the famous Blackzeoo&s Magazine. This was consequently No. VII. of the series, though the first of Blackamd. (?In the previous six numbers there had been nothing allowed to creep in that could possibly offend the most zealous partisan of the blue and yellow,? says airs. Gordon, in her ?Life of Professor Wilson.? In the first Number the Edinburgh Review had been praised for its moderation, ability, and delicate taste, and politics were rather eschewed ; but Number seven ?spoke a different language, and proclaimed a new and sterner creed,? and among
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Gewge Stmt.1 WILLTAM BLACKWOOD. 141 Letters,?? &c. At what precise period Professor Wilson came into personal communication with old William Blackwood is not quite known, but he had been for some time an anonymous contributor, under the initial N. His last papers, Nos. g and 10 of ? Dies Boreales,? were written, we believe, in the autumn of 1852. William Blackwood himself never wrote more thah two or three articles for the earlier numbers, but the whole management and arrangement devolved upon him at No. 17 - First there is, as usual, a spacious place set apzrt for retail business, and a numerous detachment of young clerks and apprentices, to whose management that important department of the concern is entrusted. Then you have an elegant oval saloon, lighted from the roof, where various groups of loungers and literary diktfanti are engaged at, or criticising amongst themselves, the publications just amved by that day?s coach from London. In such critical colloquies the voice of the bookseller THE SALOON IN MESSRS. BLACKWOODS? ESTABLISHMENT. Princes Street, and he executed the editorial duties with unusual skill, tact, and vigour. He was still there in 1823, when Leigh Hunt threatened legal proceedings against the magazine-? a cockney crow,? as Lockhart called it in one of his letters to Wilson; adding, ?Who the devil czres for all cockneydom 7 ? His establishment in 45 Georg: Street is very like what we find it described as having been in ? Peter?s Letters ? (Vol. 11.) :-? The length of vista presented to one on entering the shop has a very imposing effect, for it is carried back, room after room, through various gradations of light and shadow, till the eye cannot distinctly trace the outline of any object in the farthest distance. himself may ever and anon be heard mingling the broad and unadulterated notes of its -4uld Reekie music ; for, unless occupied in the recesses of the premises with some other business, it is here he has his usual station. He is a nimble, active-looking man, of middle age, and moves about from one corfier to another with great alacrity, and apparently under the influence of high animal spirits. His complexion is very sanguineous, but nothing can be more intelligent, keen, and sagacious than the expression of the whole physiognomy; above all, the grey eyes and eyebrows, as full of locomotion as those of Catalani. The remarks he makes are, in general, extremely acute-much more so, indeed, than those of any other member of the trade I
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