Scottish Journal Of Political Econmy

DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9485.1960.tb00119.x
AuthorFrank Whitson Fetter
Publication Date01 Feb 1960
SCOTTISH
JOURNAL
OF
POLITICAL
ECONOMY
JUNE
2960
THE ECONOMIC ARTICLES
IN
BLACK WOOD'S EDZNBURGH
MAGAZINE,
AND THEIR AUTHORS,
1817-1853l
Bluckwood's Edinburgh Magazine
was started in
1817
by William
Blackwood. Like the
Quarterly Review,
eight years older,
Blackwood's
was
a
Tory answer to the
Edinburgh Review,
which had been founded
in
1802
by a group
of
young men
of
Whig sympathies and was the first
British journal to give extended discussion
of
economic problems.'
The
Quarterly,
like the
Edinburgh,
up to mid-century discussed the
leading economic issues of the time. The
Quarterly,
however, gave
much less attention to economic analysis than did the
Edinburgh,
but
was greatly concerned as to how the political and social balance of
Britain would be affected by economic ~hange.~
Bdackwood's
was in some ways a different type
of
journal from the
two great reviews that preceded it. It included more fiction, poetry,
and humour, with the result that a smaller proportion of its articles
dealt with public affairs and economics. Even less than the
Quarterly
did
Blackwood's
attempt to meet the economists on their own grounds
-namely, analysis of what happened in the market-but it laid great
stress
on
the political and social consequences
of
economic change.
Though its editors and contributors might care little for the niceties
of
'The material for this article was collected in connection with a study
of
the British monetary and banking controversy in the
first
part of the nine-
teenth century, for which
I
received aid from the Committee on Research
Funds
of
the Graduate School of Northwestern University and from the
Ford
Foundation.
*The
role
of
the
Edinburgh
in the econoTic controversy
of
the
first
half
of
the nineteenth century
I
have treated in The Authorship of Economic
Articles in the
Edinburgh Review,
1802-1847,'
The Journal
of
Political
Economy,
LXI,
June
1953,
pp.
232-259.
This
I
have discussed in 'The Economic Articles in the
Quarterly Re-
view
and Their Authors,
1809-1852,'
The Journal
of
Political Economy,
LXVI,
February and April
1958,
pp.
47-64, 154-170.
1
85
86
FRANK
WHITSON
FETTER
economic analysis, they were men of ability and imagination, who
without benefit of economic theory nevertheless recognised that econo-
mic issues were part of the living fabric of the social, political, and
even sometimes of the religious controversy of the times. Hence it
followed that, much as
Blackwood’s
might berate or ridicule econo-
mists, it could not ignore them. Over a period of thirty-five years it
produced
a
formidable output of articles important
for
those who wish
to get
a
view in depth of British economic controversy from the
post-
Napoleonic years to the early
1850’s.
Occasional articles carried the
author’s name, and a few others pseudonyms or initials, but the great
majority of the articles, like those in the
Edinburgh
and the
Quarterly,
were anonymous.
Although much of what
Blackwood‘s
said
was similar to what the
Quarterly
was saying, there was a distinction, often subtle and hard
to pinpoint in an individual article, but impressive in the aggregate
of
scores of articles, between the voice
of
Toryism in the pages of the
two journals. On matters affecting Scotland, such as banking legisla-
tion or the trade of Glasgow,
Blackwood’s
was
a
vigorous defender
of Scottish interests, no matter what the official Tory position might
be. Closely allied to its defence of Scotland was its defence of the
country against the cities, and of the cities of the North, no matter on
which side of the Tweed, against the rising power of London. Aside
from its defence of the rights and privileges of Scots,
Blackwood‘s
as
a spokesman for agriculture seemed to have more concern for the
rugged yeomen, whereas the
Quarterly,
without saying
it
in
so
many
words, seemed to have more concern for the owners of great estates.
Both journals defended a privileged class that had a responsibility to
the lower orders of society, but the
Quarterly
laid more stress on the
privileges,
Blackwood’s
more stress on the responsibilities,
of
an aris-
tocracy.
Blackwood’s
often showed
a
primitive type of patriotism and
jingoism, unsullied by the ideas of political economists or the City of
London about Britain’s prosperity being dependent upon the pros-
perity
of
the rest of the world. Whereas the
Edinburgh,
and even
occasionally the
QuurterZy,
could see in foreign countries markets,
sources of raw materials, or even allies in maintaining the balance
of
power,
Blackwoods
was quick to sense the dangers of involvement,
either economic of political, with lands over which the British flag did
not fly.
The first issue of
Blackwood’s
in April
1817,
under the editor-
ship
of
James Cleghorn and Thomas Pringle, carried the title
Edin-
burgh Monthly Magazine.
The early numbers gave no indication of
the importance that
Blackwood’s
would soon have in the literary

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