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CHARLES SMALL PYBUS.
country squire, was probably no very lofty object in the consideration of a family alliance. Mr. Pybus did not see the potentialities of the future Edinburgh Reviewer, popular London preacher, caustic political essayist, brilliant wit of Holland House, canon of St. Paul's, who might have had a bishopric, but who could not fail, as an author, of being read and admired wherever the English literature of the nineteenth century was known. It is not to the credit of Mr. Pybus, once Lord of the Admiralty, that he failed to set greater store by what was more immediately within his view, the generous, warm-hearted soul of his brotherin-law.
His wife brought Sydney a small property, which he honourably can we say more on this delicate subject?" The "Sovereign" was squibbed in a travesty, "The Mince Pye, an Heroic Epistle," in 4to. (Monthly Review xxxiv., 421). Porson reviewed "The Sovereign" in a pungent critique in the Monthly Review (xxxiii., 378, December, 1800): "The happy alliteration resulting from the title, 'A Poem to Paul by the Poet Pybus,' reminds us of a Latin work, entitled, 'Pugna porcorum per Publium Porcium, poetam.' Though this work is addressed to the Emperor Paul, it is, with inimitable dexterity, dedicated to our own king." On first looking into this magnificent production, Porson (Kidd's Tracts and Miscellaneous Criticisms, quoted in Barker's Lit. Anecdotes) is said to have sung:
And when the pie was opened,
The birds began to sing,
And is not this a dainty dish
To set before the KING?"
Pybus has also a share in an epigram by Porson, of which three more or less correct versions are given, in Notes and Queries (xi., 263, xii., 53). The best is that in Dyce's Porsoniana :—
Poetis nos lætamur tribus,
Pye, Petro Pindar, parvo Pybus:
Si ulterius ire pergis,
Adde his Sir James Bland Burges.
Pye was the well-known laureate before Southey. His Alfred; an Epic Poem, in six books, is now almost forgotten. Burges wrote The Birth and Triumph of Love, and Richard the First, an Epic, the tenth book of which, Byron asserted he had read at Malta, in the lining of a trunk. "If any one doubts it," he added, “I shall buy a portmanteau to quote from." Burges had a share in another Epic, The Exodiad, written in association with the dramatist Cumberland.
Pybus died unmarried, in 1810, at the age of forty-four.
PROJECTS THE EDINBURGH REVIEW.
secured to her and his children; his own contribution to the family settlement being six small, well-worn silver teaspoons. Throwing these into his wife's lap, he exclaimed, in his riotous fun, "There, Kate, you lucky girl, I give you all my fortune!" He had, however, his profession to look to; while his friend, Mr. Beach, of whose second son he had now charge, made him a liberal payment of seven hundred and fifty pounds.* That his talents in the pulpit at this period gave him strong claims to attention is witnessed by a passage in the journal of Francis Horner, who tells us, that after passing the forenoon of April 26, 1801, with Lord Webb, in a five-hours' study of Bacon's De Augmentis Scientiarum, the two friends "went afterward to hear Sydney Smith preach, who delivered a most admirable sermon on the true religion of practical justice and benevolence, as distinguished from ceremonial devotion, from fanaticism, and from theology. It was forcibly distinguished by that liberality of sentiment, and that boldness of eloquence, which do so much credit to Smith's talents. I may add, that the popularity of his style does equal honour to the audience to whom it is addressed, or, at least, to that diffusion of liberal opinions and knowledge, to which the members of so mixed an audience are indebted for the fashion and temper of their sentiments."†
The great event of Sydney Smith's northern residence was the commencement of the Edinburgh Review. He has given so graphic an account of this, in his peculiar manner, in the Preface to his collected writings, that his biographers will generally be compelled to repeat the passage:—
"The principles of the French Revolution were then fully afloat, and it is impossible to conceive a more violent and agitated state of society. Among the first persons with whom I became acquainted were, Lord Jeffrey, Lord Murray (late Lord-Advocate for Scotland), and Lord Brougham; all of them ma ntaining
Lady Holland's Memoir, fourth Eng. ed. i., 52.
† Memoir and Correspondence of Francis Horner i., 157.
ASSOCIATES IN THE REVIEW.
opinions upon political subjects a little too liberal for the dynasty of Dundas, then exercising supreme power over the northern division of the island.
"One day we happened to meet in the eighth or ninth story or flat in Buccleugh-place, the elevated residence of the then Mr. Jeffrey. I proposed that we should set up a Review; this was acceded to with acclamation. I was appointed editor, and remained long enough in Edinburgh to edit the first number of the Edinburgh Review. The motto I proposed for the review was,
"Tenui musam meditamur avena.'
"We cultivate literature upon a little oatmeal.'
But this was too near the truth to be admitted, and so we took our present grave motto from Publius Syrus, of whom none of us had, I am sure, ever read a single line; and so began what has since turned out to be a very important and able journal.”*
Jeffrey wrote a more circumstantial account of the origin of the Review, in a letter to Mr. Robert Chambers, which corroborates this statement. It was not, however, quite the extempore undertaking which might be inferred from the language in which Sydney Smith lightly speaks of his apparently off-hand proposition. There were "serious consultations" about it, we are told by Jeffrey, which were attended by Sydney Smith, Horner, Dr. Thomas Brown, Lord Murray, and some of them, also by Lord Webb Seymour, Dr. John Thomson and Thomas Thomson." Smith and Jeffrey were the leaders of the set; they had the best capacity for, and took the largest share in, the enterprise, and it was probably due to the superior hopefulness of the former, united with his constitutional energy, that the work was undertaken at all. Jeffrey, whose habit of mind was to be, as his biographer, Lord Cockburn, has given the description, "generally in a state of lively, argumentative despair," croaked dismally over the affair, before the
*Preface to Works of the Rev. Sydney Smith. Longmans, 1839.
first number was out of the press-room.*
When Jeffrey collected his Contributions to the Review for publication in 1844, he dedicated them to Sydney Smith, as "the original projector of the Edinburgh Review." To Jeffrey who brought considerable experience as a trained reviewer to the work, belongs a discussion of the honour of having written the first article. the share borne by the French philosophers in producing their great national Revolution-thus striking at once into the main question of the troubled times. For thirty-eight years he continued to contribute to it compositions, distinguished at once by subtlety and enthusiasm; opening to the public stores of acute, philosophical thinking; and widening this influence by disclosing novel methods of criticism and historical description, for a new school of writers. He was the prince of modern reviewers; full, ready, ingenious, expert, rational and eloquent. Readers of the present day owe him a monument for originating and developing
So has Hamil
* There is a letter from Jeffrey to Horner, giving a lively account of the various dispositions of the parties to the undertaking, dated April, 1802; the Review appearing the following November: "We are in a miserable state of backwardness, you must know, and have been giving some symptoms of despondency. . . . . Something is done, however, and a good deal, is doing. Smith has gone through more than half his task. ton (Alexander, afterward Professor of Sanscrit at Hayleybury). Allen has made some progress: and Murray (John A., afterward Lord Murray) and myself, I believe, have studied our parts, and tuned our instruments; and are almost ready to begin. On the other hand Thomson (Dr. John) is sick. Brown (Dr. Thomas, the metaphysician) has engaged for nothing but Miss Baillie's Plays; and Timothy (Thomas Thomson, the lawyer) has engaged for nothing, but professed it to be his opinion, the other day, that he would never put pen to paper in our cause. Brougham must have a sentence to himself; and I am afraid you will not think it a pleasant one. remember how cheerfully he approved of our plan at first, and agreed to give us an article or two without hesitation. Three or four days ago I proposed two or three books that I thought would suit him; he answered, with perfect good humour, that he had changed his view of our plan a little, and rather thought, now, that he should decline to have any connection with it."-Hor ner's Correspondence, i. 186.
FIRST NUMBER OF THE REVIEW.
that intellectual luxury, the speculative, appreciative, picturesque Article-a profound and entertaining compound of metaphysics, biography, history and criticism of the highest gusto.
The momentum of Jeffrey increased as he proceeded, his treatment growing more easy, varied and commanding; Smith struck his peculiar vein at the outset. The latter wrote seven articles for the
first number of the Edinburgh. His first paragraph was a famous description of Dr. Parr's wig, humourously turned into a quiz on the arrangement of his text and notes. A few pages further on he despatched, in two or three sentences of witty drollery, an Anniversary Sermon before the Humane Society, by a Doctor in Divinity. There are also some grave words of counsel administered to Dr. Rennell, Master of the Temple, for his aptness "to put on the appearance of a holy bully, an evangelical swaggerer, as if he could carry his point against infidelity by big words and strong abuse, and kick and cuff men into Christians." A Mr. John Bowles is also pungently rebuked for his vulgar style of writing on the affairs of France. In fine, there is proof in this very first number, of that moral courage, and of most of those brilliant powers of thought and expression which, for nearly half a century after, were the delight of Smith's intimates among the brightest and most cultivated men of England. His style appears to have been fully formed: nor is it any marvel, as, with the favourable natural disposition which he inherited, he had been a precocious youth in his studies; had been well disciplined at Oxford; since sluggish fortune had afforded him opportunity for meditation on the silent desert of Salisbury Plain, and the habit of teaching had brought all his faculties promptly to the surface; and he had, moreover, enjoyed, for several years, the sharp contests of the Edinburgh wits, to give the keenest edge to his understanding. In October, 1802, the date of the first publication of the Edinburgh Review, he was in his thirty-second year, a mature age for his work. His contributions to the first three volumes were numerous; they were then intermitted, for a time, till they were