A Chronology for 1808

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Quarterly Review Archive

Founding of the Quarterly Review

A Chronology for 1808

The first issue of the Quarterly Review appeared in March 1809.

The previous year, a number of developments, most related to the building conservative opposition to the liberal Edinburgh Review, precipitated the founding of the journal.

4 January Robert Southey to James Grahame states, "It will be well for Jeffrey if his abuse of Wordsworth does not draw down vengeance upon his head." (Curry, New Letters of Robert Southey, 469)

16 January R. Wharton, Remarks on the Jacobinical Tendency of the "Edinburgh Review" published

Note, also published in this year:
Edinburgh Reviewers.—some important and interesting Remarks, occasioned by the censure cast by these Reviewers upon the Methodists in their last publication will be found in No. 18 of the New Weekly Family Paper; called THE GUIDE. [notice in the Courier 27 May 1808].

[Anon.] A Reply to the Strictures of the Edinburgh Review on the Foreign Policy of Marquis Wellesley's Administration in India; comprising an examination of the late transactions in the Carnatic. Third edition. London: T. Cadell & W. Davies, 1808.

[Anon.] A Short Methodical Abstract, calm consideration, and consequent appreciation, of the Edinburgh Review, on the Exposition of P. de Cevallos. Edinburgh: William Blackwood; London: Longman [1808?].

[Anon.] A Letter addressed to the Editor of the Edinburgh Weekly Chronicle, relative to certain articles in the Edinburgh Review. [Signed, "A British Protestant."]. London, [1808?].

[Mentor] The dangers of the Edinburgh Review; or a brief exposure of its principles in religion, morals and politics. London, 1808.

John Styles, Strictures on two critiques in the Edinburgh Review on the subject of Methodism and missions: with remarks on the influence of reviews in general on morals and happiness, in three letters to a friend. London: Williams and Smith, 1808.

And cf. John Ring. The beauties of the Edinburgh Review, alias the stinkpot of literature. London, 1807.

12 February Robert Southey to John Taylor Coleridge, "I am strongly moved by the spirit to make an attack upon Jeffrey along his whole line, beginning with his politics." (Southey, Life, 135)

4 March George Canning writes to Walter Scott thanking him for a copy of Marmion.

13 March Walter Scott to Lady Abercorn, "All the Whigs here are in arms against Marmion...."

23 April Walter Scott to Anna Seward, says he admires Southey and Wordsworth for their "upright undeviating morality ... with all they think and say and write."

23 April same to same, "Nothing new of the literary kind ... except that Jeffrey has written a very sharp review of Marmion ...." Scott claims not to be distressed and states that he and Jeffrey went over the review with mutual good humour. Same information is repeated in Scott to Surtees, n.d. (But see June 20 below.)

ca. 28 May Edinburgh Review January number appears, contains negative review of Walter Scott's Marmion. Sydney Smith writes against missions to India, thus contributes to ongoing East India House debate and rankles Robert Southey and key supporters of the journal, the Saints.

12 May Octavius Gilchrist (a friend of William Gifford's and later a reviewer in the Quarterly) writes to Walter Scott; he mentions his friend William Gifford a number of times.

5 June Octavius Gilchrist writes to Walter Scott that John Murray would like to contact Scott, to ask if he would edit the plays of Beaumont and Fletcher.

20 June Robert Southey to Neville White, "I have not seen the Scotch review of Marmion, but I have heard that on its appearance, Walter Scott showed Jeffrey the letter in which I had refused to bear a part in his review." (Southey, Life, 153).

ca. 10 September "Don Cevallos," a radical article by Francis Jeffrey and Henry Brougham appears in Edinburgh Review [advertised for 10 September in Monthly Literary Advertiser; however, it had been advertised in the Courier from 26 August.]

20 September John Murray arrives at Edinburgh, dines with Archibald Constable and James Ballantyne. He and Ballantyne walk together, discover basis of agreement for partnership, and similar views on the weakness of Scott's relationship with Constable.

21 September Ballantyne takes their conversation to Walter Scott, who is sympathetic.

26 September Ballantyne writes to John Murray that Scott will meet with them on Saturday or Sunday.

2 October John Murray arrives for two-day visit to Walter Scott at his Ashestiel residence. Scott presses him to extend his stay. Richard Heber, a mutual friend of George Canning and Walter Scott, is also there; he and John Murray meet for the first time. Over the next three days, Scott and the others develop the idea of a journal to rival Constable's Edinburgh Review.

3 October Scott takes John Murray and Heber sightseeing.

4 October Now joined by James Ballantyne, the party go on another sightseeing tour.

5 October John Murray and Ballantyne set out early for Edinburgh. John Murray writes to his wife that his plans of the past twelve months concerning a new conservative review and establishing a business arrangement with Ballantyne and Scott have been realized beyond his expectations.

12 October William Gifford writes to George Canning.

16 October John Murray arrives back in London.

16 October "Review of the Exposition of Don Pedro Cevallos" Examiner Number 42 (October 16, 1808) 657-59.

23 October William Erskine to his brother-in-law Archibald Campbell-Colquhoun, Lord Advocate of Scotland, answers the Lord Advocate's letter and returns Canning's, says "plan alluded to is already in some measure begun. Murray ... went to Ashestiel" to suggest a Review to oppose the Edinburgh, and to ask Scott to be editor. Scott declined. Thinks if government is to give support, editor should be in London. William Gifford has been offered editorship. Thinks Canning has his eye on Gifford. Malthus has agreed to assist. Scott will assist; has been hurt by Jeffrey's Marmion.

25 October Walter Scott to William Gifford, says he has received letter from Lord Advocate who has been in correspondence with Canning, who informs him that Gifford is to be editor. Recounts Murray's visit to Ashestiel. States that Murray had had some earlier communication with Canning on the subject of a Review, "although indirectly" (through Stratford Canning?). Edinburgh Review on Spain "have done the work great injury with the public"

26 October John Murray writes to Walter Scott, has reason to believe government will be supportive as he has seen William Gifford who spoke circumspectly about having spoken with high politicos about the need for a review; William Gifford has employed John Murray as publisher for Dr. John Ireland, William Gifford's best friend

27 October Scott, in letter to Archibald Campbell-Colquhoun, says he has read Canning's letter and has replied; asks Campbell-Colquhoun to forward that letter and a long letter to William Gifford (copy to Canning); thinks William Gifford will eventually agree to provide articles for the review; he does not know William Gifford's address; the letter was approved by William Erskine.

31 October Scott to Joanna Baillie, denies harboring hard feelings toward Jeffrey, but wishes the Marmion review had been couched in more civil language.

6 November Robert Southey writes to Walter Scott, is glad Scott has broken his association with the Edinburgh Review.

9 November William Gifford replies to Walter Scott's letter; says he has spoken with Canning and Lord Hawkesbury about the review; Canning has promised to speak with George Ellis, William Gifford with Rose; thinks Jackson of Christ Church and other good men from Oxford and Cambridge might be solicited; William Gifford warns Scott about his poor health.

9 November Southey to Herbert Hill, says he has communicated with Scott who has broken with the Edinburgh for political reasons. Southey thinks his refusal to write for the Edinburgh first pricked Scott's conscience, and perhaps Scott also stung by Marmion review. Gifford has asked Southey to write for the new journal. Wants to write on the missionaries, to answer Sydney Smith's anti-missionary articles in the Edinburgh. In a letter to Grosvenor Bedford dated 11 November, Southey repeats his belief that he had pricked Scott's conscience.

11 November George Ellis writes to Walter Scott a detailed prospectus of what the review should and should not be, that it should use popularity to become a vehicle of instruction.

15 November John Murray writes long letter to Walter Scott outlining his plan for the review; reminds Scott that for almost two years he had had the idea of a review opposing the principles of the Edinburgh Review, and that he had written Canning about it one year since. Tries to clarify who will author the lead article of the first number; Gifford has asked Southey, against John Murray's objections. Insists the journal must be independent of government. Asks Scott's approval of a title for the journal, London Quarterly Review. Declares the editor's salary to be 200 pounds per annum and sets total payments to contributors per number at 60 guineas.

17 November John Murray writes a second long letter to Scott; says he has met William Gifford again; William Gifford has communicated with Canning, Lord Hawksebury, Mr. Long, and Huskisson; Southey has declined writing the lead article on the war in Spain; John Murray will write to Ballantyne.

19 November John Murray to Walter Scott, has learned through William Gifford that the Saints (parliamentary evangelicals under William Wilberforce), who had been contemplating a review to counter the Edinburgh, will now support their project. 19 November Scott to Thomas Scott, says "a plot has been hatching by the gentlemen who were active in the Anti-Jacobin paper..."

22 November George Ellis's second letter to Walter Scott on the review in receipt of Scott's reply to his first; with Scott fears that Gifford's health will lead to problems; does not know Southey, doubts his political opinions are sound.

24 to 27 November William Gifford and Canning in conference with George Ellis at Claremont, Ellis's residence; for four days they discuss the review.

29 November William Gifford meets with George Canning; arranges an interview for John Murray with Canning. George Ellis will write for the new journal. George Ellis writes a third letter to Walter Scott; discusses November 24-27 Claremont conference; appears Canning is too busy to write for the review; Ellis agrees to undertake the lead article on the war in Spain; calls for the politics of the review to be temperate and independent of government.

1 December John Murray writes to Walter Scott about the November 24-27 Claremont conference; Samuel Rogers, Edward Copleston, and Reginald Heber (Richard's brother) might be recruited; he and William Gifford agree with Scott the review should avoid offending the Saints.

2 December "Apostasy of the Edinburgh Review," letter to editor of Courier newspaper, by x.y.: "Thomas Paine never published any thing more seditious than the last number of the Edinburgh Review."

6 December John Murray writes to Walter Scott that Thomas Moore and Sotheby have agreed to contribute reviews.

18 December George Ellis writes to Walter Scott; everything is coming together; three scientific men have been recruited.

ca. 29 December James Pillans will write for the new journal. James Mill offers a review (by another writer) on the West Indies. Mrs. Inchbald is asked to contribute, but she is very diffident. William Gifford meets with Canning and Ellis at Claremont.

Published @ RC

February 2005

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