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Selected Editorial Comments from the Critical Review

Proposals for Publishing Monthly, the Progress or Annals of


Literature and Liberal Arts, Public Advertiser, December 17551
In a succinct and faithful detail of the performances on the subjects of theology,
Metaphysics, Physics, Medicine, Mathematics, History, and the Belles Lettres; which
shall occasionally appear at home or abroad; together with an accurate description
of every remarkable essay in the practical part of painting, sculpture, and architecture, that may do honour to modern artists of this or any other kingdom.
This work will not be patched up by obscure hackney writers, accidentally
enlisted in the service of an undistinguishing bookseller, but executed by a set of
gentlemen whose characters and capacities have been universally approved and
acknowledged by the public: Gentlemen, who have long observed with indignation the productions of genius and dullness; wit and impertinence; learning
and ignorance, confounded in the chaos of publication; applauded without
taste, and condemned without distinction; and who have seen the noble art of
criticism reduced to a contemptible manufacture subservient to the most sordid
views of avarice and interest, and carried on by wretched hirelings, without talent, candour, spirit, or circumspection.
Urged by these considerations, they have resolved to task their abilities, in
reviving the true spirit of criticism, and exert their utmost care in vindicating the
cause of literature from such a venal and corrupted jurisdiction.
They have no connexions to warp their integrity; they have no prejudices to
influence their judgment; they will not presume to decide upon the merits of a
work in an arbitrary sentence unsupported by evidence; they will not condemn
or extol, without having first carefully perused the performance; they will not
affect to draw odious comparisons, where there is no resemblance or relation;
they will not invidiously seek to wrest the sense, misinterpret the meaning, or
misquote the words of any author, who may fall under their inspection; they will
not exhibit a partial and unfair assemblage of the beauties or blemishes of any
production; they will not venture to criticize a translation, without understand-

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ing the original, or fill up the page with long insipid transcripts: In a word, they
will not commend with reluctance, or censure with hesitation; they scorn to act
as ministers of interest, faction, envy, or malevolence; they profess themselves
indeed the enemies of dullness; but their favourite aim is to befriend merit,
dignify the liberal arts, and contribute towards the formation of a public taste,
which is the best patron of genius and science.
They pretend to delineate the plan of every work with accuracy and candour;
to point out the excellencies; hint at the defects; and whenever they signify their
disapprobation; [sic] they promise to illustrate their censure with proper quotations, from which the reader may appeal to his own understanding.
In these sentiments they have established a correspondence with France,
Holland, Germany, Italy and Spain; which will enable them to entertain their
readers with the literary news of those different countries, and to translate such
productions, as shall seem to bid fairest for succeeding in an English dress.
The work will be comprehended in a pamphlet of six sheets, to be published
on the first day of every month, and the first number make its appearance on the
first day of February 1756.

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Preface, Critical Review, 1 (1756)

THE CRITICAL REVIEW having passed through a series of numbers with


uninterrupted success, the authors beg leave to present it in the form of a volume, together with their warmest acknowledgments to the public, for the
candour and indulgence with which it has been received: An indulgence the
more remarkable, as they have been in a peculiar manner, exposed to virulent
invective, slanderous insinuation, and other low arts of malice practised by
authors who have smarted from their animadversions, and persons who had an
interest in depreciating their labours.
Persecution is the fate of all reformers; and from this, the authors of the
CRITICAL REVIEW would have been sorry to find themselves altogether
exempted. They rejoice in it, as the testimony of their enemies in their favour; as
the effect of that resentment which their spirit and candour have kindled; of that
envy which hath been excited by their success: and even though their endeavours
had miscarried, they would have found consolation in considering themselves as
confessors and martyrs to true taste and ingenuity.
Not that they pretend to infallibility in criticism, or presume to decide with
dogmatical authority: They have delivered their sentiments as opinions only,
and these they have supported with reasons on which every reader may exercise
his own understanding.
Howsoever they may have erred in judgment, they have declared their
thoughts without prejudice, fear, or affection; and strove to forget the authors
person, while his works fell under their consideration. They have treated sim-

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ple dulness as the object of mirth or compassion, according to the nature of its
appearance: Petulance and self-conceit they have corrected with more severe
strictures; and though they have given no quarter to insolence, scurrility, and
sedition, they will venture to affirm, that no production of merit has been
defrauded of its due share of applause. On the contrary, they have cherished
with commendation, the very faintest bloom of genius, even when vapid and
unformed, in hopes of its being warmed into flavour, and afterwards producing
agreeable fruit by dint of proper care and culture; and never, without reluctance,
disapproved, even of a bad writer, who had the least title to indulgence.
The judicious reader will perceive that their aim has been to exhibit a succinct
plan of every performance; to point out the most striking beauties and glaring
defects; to illustrate their remarks with proper quotations; and to convey these
remarks in such a manner, as might best conduce to the entertainment of the public.
As variety is the soul of such entertainment, and the confined nature of the plan
would not admit of minute investigation; they have endeavoured to discover and
disclose that criterion by which the character of a work may at once be distinguished,
without dragging the reader through a tedious, cold, inanimated disquisition, which
may be termed a languid paraphrase rather than a spirited criticism.
They value themselves upon having reviewed every material performance,
immediately after its first appearance, without reserving productions for a
dearth of articles, and then raising them, like stale carcases from oblivion, after
they have been blown upon by every minor critic, and the curiosity of the public
is gorged even to satiety.
They likewise claim some merit from having presented the essence of near
120 British performances in the small compass of six numbers, of about 30
foreign articles, besides those upon painting and statuary, in which they stand
unrivalled by any periodical writer of this kingdom.
Hitherto, the public has seen but the infancy of their correspondence, which
they found great difficulty in establishing; and this hath lately suffered some
interruption from our hostilities with France, in consequence of which, they have
been obliged to alter one canal of communication: but now a certain intercourse
is settled with Paris, Rome, Lucca, Florence, Berlin, and the Hague, which they
flatter themselves will produce an ample fund of amusement, the more acceptable as Europe is likely to become the scene of events uncommonly interesting,
and the war will stop many other usual sources of literary intelligence.
Animated by the public favour, the Critical Reviewers will double their
endeavours to fulfil effectually the purposes for which they engaged in this
undertaking: they promise that neither prayers nor threats shall induce them to
part with their integrity and independence; that they shall thankfully receive all
kinds of assistance or correction; and that their view shall be solely directed to
the entertainment and information of mankind.

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To the Public, Critical Review (February 1756)


The candor and indulgence of the public, will, we hope, excuse any little defects
that may appear in the disposition of the articles that compose the first essay; as
we do not pretend to be altogether perfect as yet, in the mechanical part of our
undertaking; and have been more studious to cater variety for our guests, than
to arrange the dishes for the entertainment.
If we have in this specimen commended too lavishly, or condemned too
severely; if we have omitted beauties, and exaggerated blemishes; if we have
afforded any reason to doubt our taste or integrity; we profess ourselves open to
conviction and reproof; and should any person take the trouble to demonstrate
our errors and misconduct, we will endeavor to improve by his censure, and kiss
the rod of correction with great humility.
Far from thinking ourselves infallible in the art of criticism, we shall thankfully acknowledge any hints or assistance we may receive from the learned and
ingenious of every denomination. We request the favour of their remarks; and,
in a particular manner address ourselves to the GENTLEMEN OF THE TWO
UNIVERSITIES, for whom we profess the most profound veneration, and with
whom we shall be proud to cultivate an occasional correspondence.

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To the Public, Critical Review (April 1756)

The task of professed critics, who undertake to reform the taste of mankind,
is like that of cleaning the Augaean stable;2 they must not only wade through
dunghills of dullness, but also be exposed to the stench and stings of all the vermin hatched amidst such heaps of noisome pollution.
The authors of the CRITICAL REVIEW, laid their account with this nuisance, when they first engaged in their undertaking; and therefore they are not
alarmed to find the whole republic of literary grubs in uproar and commotion.
No wonder they raise their voices when the pillars of their community begin
to shake: if that can be called a community, every individual of which, is at war
with his neighbor; even their common danger cannot persuade them to unite.
Every author finding himself smitten by an unseen hand, suspects his brother
of the quill, and attacks him accordingly; while the spirit of criticism sits in the
clouds, and like Ariel, in the Tempest, enjoys the contention she has raised among
the children of dullness and impertinence. She sees them at loggerheads, like
blind beggars for an alms. They revile, bespatter, and fasten upon each other,
and dunce meets dunce, and jostles in the dark. One inveighs against a vain, meager, exhausted hireling, as the invidious inspector of his fame.3 Another accuses
a crazy sculler in divinity, as the Zoilus4 who makes free with his writings.5 A
third declares war against a Scotch adventurer in wit and physic,6 who hacks at
random the reputation of his better; While others denounce vengeance upon a

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little, lank Hibernian Poet,7 who beats the bush for this ferocious North-Britain.
These worthies too, far from resenting the charge, seem proud of the suspicion
they have incurred; for while their tongues disclaim the work, their significant
nods, shrugs, and smiles, confess the imputation.
The CRITICAL REVIEWERS, secure from personal abuse, will persevere
in the execution of their plan, without paying the least regard to the undistinguishing clamour and impotent threats of bad writers, or their employers. Nor
can they be fairly taxed with injustice, or inhumanity. Every author who writes
without talents, is a grievance, if not an imposter, who defrauds the public; and
every critic has a right to detect the imposition; if the charge is just, it will have a
proper effect; if it be found false or frivolous, by the jury to whom it is appealed,
they will retort it with disgrace upon the accuser.
The Undertakers of this Work, have much more pleasure in commending a
good, than in condemning a wretched performance. In all their decisions they
have leaned towards the side of mercy, and dealt gently with some authors, who
had little reason to expect such indulgence. Yet they have no spleen against
those whom their animadversions have provoked to rail and bluster at their
criticism. They make proper allowances for the parental pangs of an author, and
will be glad of an opportunity to heal the wounds they have made, should his
improvement entitle him to their favour. They wish they may have it in their
power to applaud even My the player,8 either as an actor or an author; and,
in the mean time, recommend him to the public, as a proper object of compassion. They have nothing to say to the Visiter,9 but that they wage no war with
Bedlam and the Mint. But, they cannot help taking more particular notice of
a letter inserted in the Gentlemans Magazine10 for last month, on purpose to
depreciate their performance; because there is something very extraordianary in
the remarks of that learned Hypercritic.After some general assertions couched in
a kind of allegory, to which people of an uncharitable disposition might give a
harsher name, we find a long perplexed, painful paragraph, squeezed out by dint
of hard straining, to fix the mark of reprobation on the CRITICAL REVIEW,
because in the remarks upon Mr. Sheridans book on education, he met with
the contraction, tis for it is; the phrase bespeak a patronage, a scheme called a
design, likewise as a connecting adverb, and the words usage, incorrectness, and
prophanity. This is a criticism worthy of Aristarchus11 himself; and it were to be
wished the accurate author had pointed out the impropriety of calling a scheme
a design, and shewn the difference of meaning between usage and custom, incorrectness and inaccuracy, prophanity and prophaneness. Might not a man with as
much or more reason find fault with another, for calling a blockhead an ass, a
school-master a pedant, a baboon a monkey, an hack a horse, or a venal scribler
an hackney writer? The delicacy of this critic is likewise shocked at the phrase
of bespeaking a patronage; because forsooth, a man bespeaks a pair of breeches.

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He might have added, a member bespeaks a place, a pander bespeaks a whore,


and a bookseller bespeaks an author. By the same way of reasoning, a man of
decency should not beg a favour, because a bunter begs a farthing. This formidable animadverter would have done well, in bespeaking a pair of breeches before
he had exposed his posteriors, in such an ungraceful attitude.The last part of
his censure is leveled against the remarks on the description of the Scilly isles. He
plumes himself on having discovered an oversight in the compositor, who, in
making a quotation from the book, retained some marginal letters that referred
to the print of a light-house. If that mistake, which does not at all concern the
criticism, can afford him any pleasure, he is welcome to enjoy it to the full. But,
while he made this sagacious remark, he ought to have remembered the proverb,
which saith, a man should never throw stones, who has got a glass-window in his
head. The reader will furnish him with an epithet, when he is informed that this
egregious censor has ventured to make remarks on the book, tho he was even
ignorant of the title-page; and ascribed to Lyttleton, a performance written by
Borlace. This is the very cream and scum of modern criticism.
Tho the authors of the CRITICAL REVIEW, have thus designed for once, to
expose the nakedness and futility of their antagonists, they will not for the future
take up the cudgels against every desperate witling, or furious lunatic, who can afford
to pay two shillings for an advertisement fraught with nonsense and scurrility; nor
will they stoop so far beneath themselves, as to maintain dispute or altercation with
any low-bred, pedantic Syntax-monger, retained as servant or associate by any bookseller or booksellers wife, who may have an interest in decrying their performance.

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Preface, Critical Review, 2 (1756)

The authors of the Critical Review with pleasure take this opportunity of repeating their acknowledgements to the public. They have now finished their second
volume; and the friends of the work will not be sorry to hear, that the success
of it has been such as must inspirit their endeavours, and have a favorable effect
upon their future essays.
In spite of open assault and private assassination; in spite of published reproach
and printed letters of abuse, distributed like poisoned errors in the dark; the Critical Review has not only maintained its footing, but considerably extended its
progress. The breath of secret calumny excites a spirit of inquiry and comparison,
from which the work hath derived singular advantage; and the loud blast of obloquy, instead of tearing it up, serve only to prove its strength and fix its roots deeper.
The proprietors think it needless to make an apology for concluding this second volume in five numbers; as every person will at once perceive the propriety
of beginning the third with the new year. The difference of five or six sheets will
hardly appear in the binding; a great book (according to the greek proverb) may be
a great evil, an adage, which some brother critics would do well to consider; and

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the proprietors are resolved to avoid supplements, as unnecessary incumbrance


on their readers. They will take care to leave no matter for such a clumsy appendage, which the work drags heavily along, like a huge mortified excrescence.
Encouraged by the favour of the public, which is the only patron they will ever
solicit, their chief attention shall be devoted to the execution of their original plan:
they will continue to exert that spirit and impartiality by which they flatter themselves the Critical Review has hitherto been distinguished; and though they have
conscientiously forbore to condemn any performance that seemed to have the smallest title to approbation; yet, as some raw authors have complained of their severity,
they will for the future endeavour to distinguish between the imperfect rudiments
of still-born genius, and the full-formed productions of hardened dullness.
Modesty, even though void of literary merit, may always claim their favour
and assistance; but they desire to be at perpetual war with pride, insolence and
presumption.
N.B. The third volume will be printed on an elegant new type, which will comprehend a greater quantity of matter within the same compass, and still be as legible
and pleasant to the reader.

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To the Old Gentlewoman Who Directs the Monthly Review,12


Critical Review (November 1757)

MADAM,
When the Critical Review was first published, we little dreamed that ever we
should have occasion to address you in public. We respected your sex and age too
much, and paid too great a regard to our own characters, to entertain the least
desire of exposing your infirmities to a censorious world. We were willing that
you should doze on, without interruption, in your old lethargy of sense, in your
habitual privation of taste and intellect; that under the shadow of your original
dulness, you should continue to expectorate with phlegm, and utter your reveries
for the entertainment of deistical barbers and crazy anabaptists. We had no intention to disturb you in your last moment; but desired you should have the privilege
of dying in peace, and being decently buried in oblivion. We never doubted, but
that conscious of your own circumstances, you would have thought yourself
happy in our forebearance, and avoided all occasions of incurring our resentment:
but, so it is, Goody, you have abused our good nature and humanity: you have
misconstrued our compassion, and grown insolent under the writings of toleration. In your animadversions on that curious production, intituled, the Occasional
Critic, you have wantonly, and without the least provocation squirted some of
your malevolence at the authors of the Critical Review. Whether this attack was
the effect of solicitius cordial, too plentifully administered to an enfeebled constitution, or to an instinctive effort of nature, longing to be roused by stimulating
corrosives, or to a delirium before death, we shall not pretend to determine; but,

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we will calmly expostulate with you, upon the supposition that you are now sober
and composed and have recovered that small share of rationality which you formerly enjoyed by the grace and mercy of heaven. You say, the Occasional Critic
has in many instances stumbled upon truth, and proved the authors of the Critical Review to have been erroneous in their judgment, incorrect in their language,
and indecent in their animadversions. Pray, good madam, why did not you point
out some of those instances, that we might have had an opportunity of standing
up in our own justification: or that the reader might have had something more
than the ipse dixit of an old woman, not very sound of understanding, to inform
the judgment. Had we been inclined to descend to particulars, we might have
demonstrated, that errors of the press, and one or two slips of the pen, excepted,
every particular remark and assertion of the Occasional Critic, was either false,
frivolous, or absurd. Now, let me ask you, my good mother, what sort of figure you
would make, should any competent critic take the trouble to turn over your sheets,
and exposed the nakedness of your lucubrations? Would not he say, lack-a-day!
poor woman, how much better her time have been employed in darning her husbands stockings, and airing clouts for her grand-children? Or if she was infected
with the rage of writing, had not she contented herself with illustrating the Pilgrims Progress, or composing explanatory and critical notes for Gammer Gurtons
Needle: rather than venture so far out of her depth, and flounder thus in seas of
ignorance and obscurity? We cannot help but be surprised, Goody, that weak of
intellect, as you are, you should fall into such ridiculous inconsistencies, as we find
in this article on the Occasional Critic: after having made a strange pother about
decency and decorum, you descend into the very jakes of criticism, and oblige the
reader with the following flower of composition. Here we will only observe, that
if the Buckhorse was to answer this elegant question, he would only reply with
the same true spirit of St. Giless, ask mine ae; and, perhaps, such an answer
might not be altogether unsuitable to such a question. You insinuate, that the
Occasional Critic has some reason to charge us with being well versed in the blackguard stile: pray, good madam, what sort of stile is this? and how came you so well
acquainted with Buckhorse and the spirit of St. Giless? sure you never visited nor
lodged in that part of town. It is pleasant enough to hear you preach up decorum
so feelingly, to tax indirectly the authors of the Critical Review with indecency,
and the very next minute to commit such a shameful breach of both: to break out
into such impurity of expression as would disgrace a drayman. How then must it
become a professed pattern of good breeding, an advocate for delicacy, a person
of your sex and pretensions! If you can point out such a vulgar expression in any
part of the Critical Review, we shall certainly be ashamed of our production; nay,
if you or any other author can proved that we ever used indecent language to any
gentleman, or any author of reputation, we will stand corrected; we will even own
that you have reason on your side; and, which is more, that you have learning,

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spirit and candour. We do not deny that we have exposed dull writers, though
generally with a gentle hand; and you yourself, Goody, are a monument of our
lenity: we have likewise chastised impudence and scurrility, with that severity of
stricture which the degree of their arrogance and delinquency required! You that
set up for a standard of propriety, ought to know that a miscreant should not be
treated as a man of honour; and that nothing would be more absurd, unjust, and
inexcusable, than to use the same terms indiscriminately, in a difference with a
gentleman and in a dispute with a shoe-black. Should you, madam, be insulted by
an oister woman in the street, and this may probably have been the case; for those
creatures pay very little regard to an ancient gentlewoman: you would hardly, (we
presume) return her salute from the academy of compliments; or, if you should,
every body would laugh at the ridiculous impropriety.
Speaking of the Occasional Critic, you say, If we believe what his antagonists
say of him, and what he retorts upon them, they are alike, in many other circumstances: for, by their reciprocal defamation, they appear to be physicians without
practice; authors without learning; men without decency, and (notwithstanding
he has made some lucky discoveries of their mistakes, yet, if their critical merit is
no greater than his, the public will, probably be ready to add) Critics without
judgment. There is to be sure great elegance in this long, drawling, disjointed,
paralytic sentence, that, propped upon the crutch of parenthesis, drags its slow
length along. But, good, now, Gammer, will you tell us how you discovered that
what we said of the Occasional Critic, was defamation? have we said anything of
him, but what you yourself have expressly confirmed? as this sentence is not a little
obscure, we should be glad to know your meaning. Have you found out by his defamation, that we are physicians without practice; authors without meaning; men
without decency; gentlemen without manners; and critics without judgment?
Defamation implies slander, Goody, and slander is founded upon falsehood:
now, as you allow that the Occasional Critics account of us defamation, that
account cannot be true? Indeed, madam, we begin to pity your infirmitie. What
your real sentiments of the Critical Review may be, we shall not take the trouble
to inquire; but we think, for your own sake, you ought to have preserved some
appearance of modesty on such an occasion or if you was resolved to hazard an
attack of this kind, you ought to have employed some person who could have
conducted it according to the dictates of common sense. It is diverting enough to
hear the directress of the Monthly Review, accuse any society, as physicians without practice, authors without learning, and critics without judgment. Did not your
conscience rise up in judgment against you when you wrote this paragraph? or,
did you in your dotage, mistake the application, by throwing those epithets at us,
which so properly belong to your understrappers. Though we never visited your
garrets, we know what sort of doctors and authors you employ as journeymen in
your manufacture. You cannot in all your obscenity, so effectually wrap your sons

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in clouds, but that they will sometimes expose their features to the public, which
will always recognize the productions of your academy, even without the help of
those significant emblems, the owl and the long-eared animal, which you have so
sagely displayed for the mirth and the information of mankind.
Your concluding paragraph, Goody, in which you talk of invective altercators
and rag-fair, and propose that certain persons should be driven among the herd
whose manners they assimilate; is in the stile and matter, perfectly suitable to the
rest of the article. Altercator, as we conceive, signifies a disputant, or wrangler;
but an invective disputant, or an invective wrangler, signifies nothing: nor can we
compliment you upon the phrase, whose manners they assimilate: if these words
mean anything, it must be this: that they produce a resemblance or sameness in the
manners of the herd. But, this meaning as it stands, cannot be assimilated with
common sense, unless you can prove that those persons whom you sentence to
be whipped through the republic of letters, had employed in their time in forming the minds of swine or oxen. Indeed, madam, you was to blame in bringing
this expostulation upon yourself, but, as you have sustained our reproof, we will
now pronounce your apology, in the word of honest Dogberry She will be
talking as they say; when the age is in, the wit is out; God help us, it is a world
to see as two old women ride an horse, one must ride behind god is to be
worshipped; all old women are not alike, alas, good Gammer? We pity your
condition, and so far you are obliged to the authors of the Critical Review.
The writers of the Critical Review were mistaken with regard to the author of the
conjectures on the course of thunder, mentioned in their last number, as having been
written in Paris: that performance was written by a young gentleman in England.
The reviewers are much obliged to their old friend A.M. for his late letter
of advice, which they will follow to the best of their power. At the same time
they are ashamed to see such a catalogue of typographical errors, which have
been owing to different causes not easily obviated. The gentlemen chiefly concerned in the Critical Review, live at a considerable distance from the press; and
sometimes the printer has been so hurried towards the latter end of the month
by their sending the copy so late, that he could not possibly furnish them with
proof sheets for their correction. The authors have likewise been retarded by
other unforeseen, though necessary avocations: but they flatter themselves they
have now made such regulations as will prevent such obstructions for the future.

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Preface, Critical Review, 11 (1761)

Five annual revolutions of the sun are now performed since the Critical Review
made its first appearance, under such peculiar auspices, that for the greater part
of that time it has been exposed to the incessant hostilities of a combination of
foes that can hardly be paralleled in any other period of the annals of literature.

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It hath sustained all the complicated assaults of dulness, whose name is


legion; whose progeny spring up like the dragons teeth which Cadmus sowed;
whose heads, like those of the Hydra, are no sooner mowed down, than they
regerminate as it were under the scythe, with the most astonishing increase.
Yet dulness, tho formidable in her own strength, is not the only adversary
which hath taken the field against the Critical Review. It hath been obliged to
encounter the rage of jealousy, the fury of disappointment, the malevolence of
envy, the heat of misapprehension, and the resentment of overweening merit.
Its supposed authors have been vilified in person, and assassinated in reputation. One gentleman in particular, whose character stands in some degree of favour
with the public, has been singled out as a victim, and galled by all the shafts of
malignity. He has not only felt the rod of persecution and prosecution for public
abuse, and traduced in private calumny, by obscure authors whom he did not know,
for criticism he had not written on performances which he never saw. Peace to all
such; they are now at rest, and we have no intention to disturb their ashes. Like the
insects of a summers day they have buzzed and stung, and stunk, and expired; but
like the other vermin, the eggs they have deposited, may, by some revolving sun
of success, be hatched for the propagation of the species. Be that as it will, such
puny stings can have no longer any effect upon the Critical Review, improved and
strengthened as it is, in age and constitution, schooled by its suffering, as well as
hardened by the opposition which it has undergone, and now fairly surmounted.
The proprietors gladly seize this opportunity of thanking the public, by
whose favour they were animated to a perseverance which hath triumphed over
all their adversaries: they have distributed the subjects in such a manner among
the different writers concerned in the execution of the work, and made such
alterations in its economy, as they flatter themselves will be found satisfactory
and agreeable to the reader of ingenuity and candour. They are determined to
support the same spirit of partiality and freedom, by which it has been hitherto
so eminently distinguished, and continue to exert their best endeavours for the
regulation of taste and the honour of criticism.

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Notes to pages 158203

60. The Almagest: The Almagest of Ptolemy, The only surviving comprehensive ancient treatise on astronomy, believed to have been completed by Ptolemy in ad 147 or 148. Almagest is the Latinized version of its Arabic title.
61. Minoratives: a mildly laxative medicine.
62. crying haro: the hallo or huzzah made by hunting parties after sighting game.
63. decretals: decrees; pertaining here to papal decrees.

Smollett as Editor and Literary Reviewer: Selected Editorial


Comments from the Critical Review; Selected Editorial Comments
from the British Magazine; Selected Reviews from the Monthly
Review; Selected Reviews from the Critical Review
1.

Publishing Monthly, the Progress or Annals of Literature and Liberal Arts: The advertisement was widely published. The present text was taken from the Public Advertiser,
where it appeared on 19, 24 and 30 December 1755. The Gentlemans Magazine notes
The public has been prepared to receive (The Critical Review) with proper respect, by
a long ostentatious advertisement, that, like another Goliath, has come forth morning
and evening, and presented itself more than forty days with insult and defiance (Gentlemans Magazine, March 1756, p. 140).
cleaning the Augaean stable: the fifth labour of Hercules was to clean the Augean Stables. Over 1,000 cattle lived in the stables, which had not been cleaned for thirty years.
Hercules cleansed the stables by rerouting the waters of the Alpheus and Peneus rivers
to remove the waste.
inspector of his fame: a reference to John Hill, author of The Inspector, featured in the
London Daily Advertiser and Gazette. Hills affiliation with Critical is unknown.
Zoilus: Ancient Greek critic credited for the origin of Homeric scholarship. By the
eighteenth century, his name came to be associated with scourging or narrow-minded
criticism.
crazy sculler in divinity makes free with his writings: Lewis Knapp notes this description as a reference to the Rev. Thomas Francklin. Francklin, Professor of Greek at Cambridge University, contributed his first review to Critical in March 1756. See L. Knapp,
Tobias Smollett: Doctor of Men and Manners (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press,
1949), p. 177, n. 30.
Scotch adventurer in wit and physic: A reference to Smollett.
Hibernian Poet: Knapp identifies this description as a reference to Samuel Derrick
(Knapp, Tobia Smollett: Doctor of Men and Manners, p. 178, n. 32). Derrick was one of
the original reviewers employed by Smollett for Critical. James Basker notes the Derrick
was Smolletts amanuensis on several earlier projects, and was likely living at Smolletts
house when Critical was first published. For a discussion of Derricks relationship with
Smollett, see J. Basker, Tobias Smollett: Critic and Journalist (Newark, NJ: University of
Delaware Press, 1988), pp. 435.
My the player: a reference to Arthur Murphy, playwright, actor, and writer for the
Monthly Review. Smollett had recently criticized Murphys play The Apprentice: A Farce
in the February 1756 edition of Critical. Murphy, in turn, publicly replied by calling
Smollett a Monthly Scribbler in An Occasional Prologue, Written and Spoken by Mr.
Murphy, at His Benefit at the Theater Royal in Drury Lane, on Saturday the 3d of April,
1756 before the Englishman from Paris.

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8.

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Visiter: a reference to the Universal Visiter and Monthly Memorialist. The journal published From Edmund Curl, to the Principal Author of a Thing Called the Critical Review, Universal Visiter and Monthly Memorialist, March 1756, pp. 13940, which was,
itself, a response to a negative review published in Critical. For a discussion of From
Edmund Curl, see Basker, Tobias Smollett: Critic and Journalist, p. 23.
letter inserted in the Gentlemans Magazine : a reference to a review of Crtitical appearing
in the Gentlemans Magazine critiquing Sheridans book on education. The review comments, The manner in which their work is executed shews that they either did not know
what should be done, or were not able to do it (Gentlemans Magazine, March 1756, p.
142). After critiquing the Criticals method of extensive quotation, the reviewer then
breaks into the technical commentary Smollett refers to.
Aristarchus: Aristarchus of Samothrace (c. 180145 bc); Greek grammarian, and influential
Homeric scholar referenced in Humphry Clinker. See T. Smollett, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker, ed. T. R. Preston (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1990), p. 103.
To the Old Gentlewoman Who Directs the Monthly Review: originally published November 1757. Old Gentlewoman is a reference to Isabella Griffiths, wife of Ralph
Griffiths, whom Oliver Goldsmith claimed was a frequent contributor to Monthly, a
claim that Ralph Griffiths denied. Smollett, however, liked to pretend that Monthly was
written by an old woman. In To the Old Gentlewoman Smollett reacts to Monthlys
review of J. Shebbeares The Occasional Critic; or, the Decrees of the Scotch Tribunal in the
Critical Review Rejudged, In which the Learning, Philosophy, Science, Taste, Knowledge of
Mankind, History, Physic, Belles Lettres, and Polite Arts, the Candour, Integrity, Impartiality, Abilities, Pretensions. Performances, Designs, &c. &c. &c. &c. &c. &c. &c. &c. &c.
of the Gentlemen Authors of this Work, are placed in a true Light published in October
1757, pp. 36774. Monthlys negative review was in accord with Smolletts own review
of Occasional, published in Critical, Volume 4. Monthlys review, however, did not focus
exclusively on Shebbeare, but seized upon his quarrel with Smollett as a means to insult
the Critical. Most of Smolletts direct references in To the Old Gentlewoman are taken
directly from Monthlys review, though, notably, it is not the source of one of Smolletts
most damning accusation, that the Occasional Critic has in many instances stumbled
upon truth, and proved the authors of the Critical Review to have been erroneous in
their judgment, incorrect in their language, and indecent in their animadversions.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE WILLIAM PITT His Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State: William Pitt, First Earl of Chatham (170878) was virtual Prime Minister during the Seven Years War, and was responsible for a series of strategic moves that
turned the war in Englands favour. Though not formally concluded until 1763, the war
was largely decided by the time that Smollett wrote his dedication. Pitt was forced out of
office in 1761, after the death of George II.
intituled: the titles subsequently listed by Smollett were published in serial form in British.
MEZERAY: F. Eudes Mezeray, A General Chronological History of France (London:
Printed by Thomas Newcomb for Thomas Basset, Samuel Lowndes, Christopher
Wilkinson, William Cademan and Jacob Tonson, 1683).
Father DANIEL: G. Daniel, The History of France from the Time that the French Monarchy was Established in Gaul to the Death of Louis XIV. Written Originally in French, 5
vols (London: Printed for G. Strahan, W. Mears, D. Browne and J. Woodman, 1726).
The great events who think themselves interested in the conduct of their superiors: On
February 10, 1763, the Treaty of Paris formally ended the Seven Years War. In May 1763,
The Earl of Bute resigned as Prime Minister, and was succeeded by George Grenville.

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