19 OCTOBER 1929, Page 3

The outlook of the Edinburgh was, of course, Whiggish. Sydney

Smith was its first Editor, and Jeffrey, a hardly less famous man, its second Editor. Homer, Brougham, Hazlitt, Carlyle, Mill, Hallam, Thackeray, Macaulay, were among the contributors. Its motto, Judex damnatur cum nocens absolvitur, set the penal manner, and must indeed have been a consoling thought to a tender-hearted reviewer inclined to repent of the severities which the Edinburgh required of him. " This will never do " were the opening words, which have never been forgotten and have been used rather too often since, of the review of Wordsworth's Excursion. Although the Edinburgh , slaughtered many innocents, its general method taught many writers, who perhaps did not even know the source of their inspiration, the possibility of writing about serious subjects with light- ness and animation. Sir Walter Scott was not pleased with the Edinburgh, doubtless because he was too little of a Whig—certainly not because that generous soul could have unduly resented criticism of his own work--and he persuaded the John Murray of the day to start the rival Quarterly Review.