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Origin Of The Edinburgh Review

The Edinburgh Review was first published in 1802. The plan was

suggested by Sydney Smith, at a meeting of literati, in the fourth or

fifth flat or story, in Buccleugh-place, Edinburgh, then the elevated

lodging of Jeffrey. The motto humorously proposed for the new review

by its projector was, "Tenui musam meditamur avena,"--i.e., "We

cultivate literature upon a little oatmeal;" but this being too nearly

the truth to be publicly acknowledged, the more grave dictum of "Judex

damnatur cum nocens absolvitur" was adopted from Publius Syrus, of

whom, Sydney Smith affirms, "None of us, I am sure, ever read a single

line!" Lord Byron, in his fifth edition of English Bards and Scotch

Reviewers, refers to the reviewers as an "oat-fed phalanx."

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