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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 39 1 tion of an impartial and unbiassed guardian of public opinion. ‘( He is a Scotsmn,” says a Cockney writer, “without one particle of hypocrisy, of cant, or servility, or selfishness in his composition [I I] He has not been spoiled by fortune-has not been tempted by power-is firm without violence, friendly without weakness-a critic and even-tempered-a casuist and an honest man ; and, amidst the toils of his profession, and the distractions of the world, retains the gaiety, the unpretending carelessness and simplicity of youth.” The strictures of the Review, however, were in many instances too severe, or too honest and candid, to be palatable. Moore was provoked to demand the (‘ satisfaction of a gentleman ;”l and Byron, smarting under the castigation inflicted on his (‘ Hours of Idleness,” produced the well-known tirade entitled “English Bards and Scots Reviewers ;” while, among the many pasquinade5 by offended authors of less degree, the following epigramic description of the Editor has no little merit :- “ Witty as Horatius Flaccus ; As great a democrat as Gracchus ; As short, but not so fat m Bwchus- Here rides Jeffrey on his Jack-nss/”’ Sir Walter Scott was at the outset a contributor to the Review, but he gradually became estranged on account of its politics. In 1809 he was among the first to lend his aid in establishing the London Quurterly, a journal of avowed Conservative principles ; and, though still continuing friendly with Jeftrey, their intimacy was on more than one occasion disturbed by the critical remarks of the latter. The bitterness of offended authorship however, in as far as regards Lord Jeffrey, became a thing of the past, Byron read his recantation-Moore became “On Monday morning, August 11 (1806) two gentlemen met at Chalk Farm, near London, with an intention to fight a duel, when they were immediately seized by three Bow Street officers, . disarmed, and carried before Justice Read, at the Police Office, who admitted them to bail to keep the peace, themselves in 2400 each, and two sureties in $200 each. The parties were, Francis Jeffrey, Esq., advocate, of Edinburgh, and Thomas Moore, Esq., known by the appellation of Anacreon Moore.” The cause of this meeting originated in a critique of the “Epistles, Odes, and other Poems,” by Thomas Moore ; in which the Reviewer commented with much severity on the corrupt tendency of the author’s writings. ’ “ There is nothing, it will be allowed, more indefensible,” says the article, “than a cold-blooded attempt to corrupt the purity of an innocent heart ; and we can scarcely conceive any being more truly despicable than he who, without the apology of unruly passion, or tumultuous deaires, sits down to ransack the impure place of his memory for inflammatory images and expressions, and commits them laboriously to writing, for the purpose of insinuating pollution into the minds of unknown and unsuspecting readers. It seems to be hi (Nr. Moore’s) aim, to impose corruption upon his readers, by conceding it under the mask of refinement. It is doubly necessary to put the law in force against this deZinquent, ainca he has not only indicated a disposition to do mischief, but seems unfortunately to have found an opportunity. * * Such are the demerits of ‘this work, that we wish to see it consigned to universal reprobation.” Mr. Moore, greatly offended, sought the author of the article, and Nr. Jeffrey, then in London, came forward boldly, and avowed himself the writer. The lines are attributed to the Rev. Sydney Smith ; and were suggested, it is said, from the circumstaucea of Mr. Jeffrey having been found on one occasion, greatly to the amusement of his friend’s children, actually mounted on the back of one of that much vilified race of animals-a donkey. . 3 By the jack-ess is meant the Edinburgh Review.
Volume 9 Page 522
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