Jeffrey, Francis, Lord (1773–1850)

Scottish, Whig lawyer and critic, from 1803 editor of the Edinburgh Review and, as such, Southey’s bête noire for damning reviews of his, Wordsworth’s and Coleridge’s poetry (Jeffrey is credited with identifying them as a school or sect of poets; see Edinburgh Review, 1 (October 1802), 63–83). Southey affected indifference but was acutely sensitive to Jeffrey’s reviews. Jeffrey’s reluctance to support war with Napoleonic France also incurred Southey’s wrath, as appears in the notes to Carmen Triumphale (1814), in which Southey enjoys demonstrating how the Edinburgh’s predictions of defeat were erroneous as well as morale-sapping. The two men met in Edinburgh in October 1805, and Southey ever after consoled himself for the printed criticisms by remembering Jeffrey’s diminutive stature.

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