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Attributions of Authorship in the European Magazine, 1782-1826


Emily Lorraine de Montluzin

To E. de M.
quae hoc opus hortata est


I owe a debt of gratitude to David L. Vander Meulen, Editor, Studies in Bibliography, for suggesting the creation of an online database of attributions of authorship in the European Magazine and for helping secure acceptance of the project by the Council of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia. I especially wish to thank David M. Seaman, Director of the Electronic Text Center of the University of Virginia, and his staff at the Center for providing the technical expertise necessary to launch the database as an online publication. I am also grateful to Francis Marion University, in particular Provost Joseph E. Heyward and the members of the Faculty Enrichment Committee, for granting my request for sabbatical leave during the fall of 1999 in order to complete my research on the European Magazine. I would especially like to thank Arthur Sherbo, Emeritus Professor of English at Michigan State University, for graciously allowing me to make use of his own European Magazine finds for inclusion in this database; Julian Pooley, The Nichols Archive Project, Surrey History Centre, for his valuable help in verifying potential John Nichols attributions; and John M. Summer, Assistant Reference Librarian, Rogers Library, Francis Marion University, for his enormous assistance in securing timely access to the materials I needed for the completion of this project. Finally, I am deeply grateful to Dean Robert N. Sawyer for his enthusiastic and effective support of this and all of my other scholarly work over the past four years.

E. L. de M.


The purpose of this database is to make available in one comprehensive, electronically searchable, and fully browsable list all known attributions of authorship of anonymous, pseudonymous, or incompletely attributed articles, letters, reviews, and poems appearing in the monthly numbers of the European Magazine from its beginnings in 1782 until its cessation in 1826 with the publication of its eighty-ninth volume. Although the bulk of the 2,074 entries in the database consists of attributions of authorship never before published, the list also contains every authorial identification of material appearing in the European Magazine that I have been able to locate in the printed work of other scholars. I have taken care to include other researchers' finds because, as they are often cursorily mentioned, occur in unlikely contexts, or appear in books or articles whose titles betray no connection with the European, they would generally go unnoticed by scholars interested in the authorship of submissions to the EM.

I. The European Magazine and the Problems of Attribution

The European Magazine, and London Review was launched in January 1782, dedicated (according to its subtitle) to the mission of bringing to its readers "the Literature, History, Politics, Arts, Manners, and Amusements of the Age." Established by the journalist James Perry as the mouthpiece of the Philological Society of London, the European quickly passed under the proprietorship of the Shakespearean scholar Isaac Reed and his co-partners John Sewell and Daniel Braithwaite, who would preside over the magazine's fortunes during its first two decades. A contemporary of the Gentleman's Magazine, the EM in many ways was similar to its more famous and more successful counterpart. Like the GM, the European consisted primarily of articles and letters concerning literature, antiquarian matters, theology, science, biography, and current news, backed up by sections set aside in each monthly issue for book reviews, poetry, parliamentary reporting, theatre, and (generally) lists of births, deaths, marriages, promotions, and bankruptcies, the whole embellished with superb engravings. Like the Gentleman's Magazine, the European was nonpartisan though unswervingly loyal to Church, King, and Constitution, its editor specifically noting in 1790 that "there is not one Dissenter from the Church of England among either the Proprietors or Conductors of this Publication." 1 Again like the GM, the European appealed primarily to a readership of clergymen, landed gentry, magistrates, physicians, antiquaries, and lovers of literature, though comparative sales figures in the late eighteenth century indicate that the EM was less successful than the GM in reaching that market, the EM's average sales totaling 3,250 to the GM's 4,550. 2 Unlike the GM, unfortunately, the European offers limited opportunities for identifying the authors of the letters, articles, poems, and reviews that fill its volumes, as no staff copy of the EM, annotated with the names of contributors and comparable to the Nichols File of the GM, has survived. 3 Though the authorship of a large proportion of the EM's nearly 50,000 pages 4 remains unknown, a substantial number of attributions can be made based on the evidence of contemporary letters, obituaries, and literary histories; the pseudonyms and initials signed to contributions; the places whence they were sent; internal evidence contained in the items themselves; and publication data for works from which the EM reprinted excerpts.

With the exception of Helene E. Roberts's short overview of the European Magazine appearing in Alvin Sullivan's British Literary Magazines: The Augustan Age and the Age of Johnson, 1698-1788 (Westport, CN: Greenwood P, 1983), pp. 106-112, the best account of the EM previously published is Arthur Sherbo's "Isaac Reed and the European Magazine," Studies in Bibliography 37 (1984): 210-227, which concentrates on the years 1782-1807, the period in which Reed was extensively involved with the magazine. Sherbo's article amasses some 75 contributions to the EM by Reed, 18 by William Julius Mickle, and stray items by George Steevens, Charles Burney, Henry Headley, John Hoole, Eyles Irwin, and James Bindley, besides noting in passing William Seward's authorship of the 118 installments of the series "Drossiana" that ran in the EM from October 1789 until Seward's death in 1799.

Edward William Pitcher, because of his unmatched knowledge of eighteenth-century serialized novels and tales as well as his expertise in many other aspects of the English and American periodical press, has been able to provide attributions of authorship of over 200 additional items in the European Magazine, including contributions by Daniel Turner, Eliza Gilding Turner, George Brewer, William Holloway, G. Bedingfield, and Henry Headley, as well as possible contributions by Thomas Smith, James Hurdis, Thomas Noble, Thomas Potter, Thomas Tomkins, and Joseph Moser. However, Pitcher's identifications lie scattered throughout scores of publications, 5 many of which duplicate each other in terms of information concerning the European's authors. Moreover, since the titles of most of Pitcher's articles focus by name upon individual authors or upon other contemporary periodicals and contain no specific references to the European Magazine, scholars interested in tracking down the authorship of items in the EM all too often stumble only by chance upon the valuable information concerning the European that may be mined from Pitcher's work. One would have to know in advance, for example, that Eliza Gilding Turner published poems in the EM in order to realize the relevance for European Magazine research of Pitcher's "Eliza Gilding (Mrs. Daniel Turner): Some Facts and Inferences," ANQ 12 (Winter 1999): 6-22. Only upon reading the article would one find that Pitcher in that publication identifies not only six Eliza Gilding Turner items in the European but also eleven EM contributions by her husband, Daniel Turner, who is not mentioned in the title at all. In addition, in the case of a number of William Holloway's submissions to the EM and over 60 tentative Thomas Smith attributions, Pitcher, though revealing the signatures the authors used, has not identified the particular contributions submitted by the two men, leaving to others the task of tracking down all of the relevant entries scattered over many volumes. I have made every effort to remedy that omission in the present database.

In compiling my own authorial identifications listed in this electronic text, I have profited in several ways from my previous work in amassing attributions of authorship in the Gentleman's Magazine, attributions that first appeared in Studies in Bibliography, vols. 44-47 (1991-94) and 49-50 (1996-97), and then in my online database, Attributions of Authorship in the Gentleman's Magazine, 1731-1868: A Supplement to Kuist (Charlottesville, Virginia: Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, 1996; accessible electronically at As with the contributors to the GM, John Nichols's Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century (9 vols.; London, 1812-15) and Illustrations of the Literary History of the Eighteenth Century (8 vols.; London, 1817-58), as well as the obituary columns in the Gentleman's Magazine, have proved to be invaluable sources of information concerning the authors of items in the European Magazine. In addition, I have found that the same writers on occasion contributed to both periodicals, sometimes using the same pseudonyms or initials, dating from the same addresses, and submitting materials to the GM and the EM during roughly the same time spans. That cross-pollination has enabled me to make various identifications of authorship that might not have been possible otherwise.

II. The Contributors

The present database contains as complete a listing as I have been able to make of the anonymous, pseudonymous, or incompletely attributed contributions of 160 men and women to the European Magazine, including a handful of writers who were contributors to the EM only in the sense that the EM reprinted excerpts from their work. The largest groups among the 160 contributors contained in this list were comprised of poets, clergymen (mainly Church-of-England clergy, though some Dissenters were included), physicians or surgeons, novelists, and dramatists. Smaller groups were made up of antiquaries, politicians and statesmen, civil servants and magistrates, and literary critics (notably George Steevens and Isaac Reed, both Shakespearean scholars). In addition, the contributors cited in this database included classicists, barristers, attorneys, professors, book collectors, musicians (including Charles Burney), printers and booksellers, schoolmasters, and travelers, plus the occasional botanist (Dr. Richard Pulteney), astronomer (Giuseppe Piazzi), Orientalist (Sir William Jones), and index-maker (Rev. Samuel Ayscough). The list contains eleven women, including the Della-Cruscan poet Hannah Cowley, Eliza Gilding Turner, Mary ("Perdita") Robinson, and the prolific writer of verse and tales, Anna Jane Vardill. There were several American contributors: Washington Irving; the physician Joseph Brown Ladd; Rev. Timothy Dwight, Congregationalist divine and president of Yale College; Rev. John Vardill, titular professor of natural law at King's College (the future Columbia University) and Loyalist spy; and William Franklin, natural son of Benjamin Franklin and last royal governor of New Jersey. A small handful among the 160 contributors herein listed were men whose literary reputations would survive far beyond their own day, most notably Thomas Campbell, Thomas Percy, Isaac D'Israeli, Sir Walter Scott, Washington Irving, and William Hazlitt.

III. Leading Reviewers

William Julius Mickle, John Watkins, Joseph Moser, and Stephen Jones

One of the intriguing questions concerning the European Magazine is the identity of the persons who supplied material for its review section. As noted, Sherbo ( Studies 37 [1984]: 224, n. 12) has identified 18 reviews by the poet and translator William Julius Mickle during the period from 1783 through 1787 and has concluded that Isaac Reed wrote a large part of the "great body of theatrical material" in the EM, though not all of its dramatic criticism (ibid., p. 221). As I shall demonstrate, it is possible to identify three contributors who successively dominated the review section of the European Magazine following Mickle's death in 1788: John Watkins, Joseph Moser, and Stephen Jones.

John Watkins, LL.D., a former Dissenter who, after conforming to the Church of England in the mid-1780's, opened an academy in Devon and published the popular Universal Biographical and Historical Dictionary, contributed well over a hundred pieces (chiefly reviews) to the European during its early years. Of those items, the 27 installments of the series entitled "The Peeper" were republished separately in 1796 under Watkins's name. As for the other contributions, conclusive proof of Watkins's authorship lies in his own letter to the GM (66-ii [Dec. 1796]: 1017) "acknowledging myself the author of . . . every article that has appeared in the European Magazine under the signature of 'W.'" 6 The "W." contributions--letters, articles, verses, and especially reviews--span the 1787-96 period.

Starting in 1790 Watkins's "W." reviews begin to share space with hundreds of items signed "M." or "J.M." It is my contention that both of those signatures were those of Joseph Moser (1748-1819), whose signed series of stories (particularly oriental tales) and excerpts from melodramas alone make him one of the EM's most frequent contributors. Moser, the London-born son of a Swiss artist and nephew of the Keeper of the Royal Academy, had reluctantly pursued a career in enamel painting until his marriage in 1780 brought him financial independence. After an unsatisfactory three-year retirement to the country, Moser reestablished himself in London, indulged his longstanding interest in letters by embarking upon a prolific literary career, and (after 1794) devoted himself as well to public duties, serving as a deputy-lieutenant for Middlesex and as a Westminster magistrate, first in Queen Square and later in Worship Street. 7 An 1803 memoir of Moser in the European Magazine states that "after his Muse had lain dormant for a long series of years, he again commenced a literary career, about the year 1793, by a correspondence with this Magazine, in which, May 1st, he published his 'Reflections upon Cash Credit and Country Banks' . . ." (EM 44 [1803]: 84). However, there is every reason to believe that Moser's anonymous contributions to the EM in fact began long before that signed item, starting at least as early as 1790.

My conclusion that Moser was the author of the EM's myriad "M." and "J.M." contributions rests on several categories of evidence. First, there is proof positive that Moser was the author of at least one of the "M." contributions, a verse excerpt from the as-yet-unpublished play, Orbis; or, The World in the Moon, which the EM eventually printed under Moser's name (EM 58 [1810]: 262-273, 333-346, 414-423). Strong circumstantial evidence points as well to joint authorship of Moser's signed "Brief Notice of Christ Church, Surrey" (EM 59 [Apr. 1811]: 273-277) and "M." 's review of The Ninth Number of the Antiquities of the Metropolis and its vicinity (59 [1811]: 443), in which "M.," referring to the aforementioned Moser article, remarks that "[o]ur readers will probably recollect, that in our Magazine for April last . . . we mentioned this work . . . with the commendation which it merited" (p. 443). A similar piece of evidence connects Moser to another "M." contribution, a letter in which "M." thanks the editor of the EM for forwarding to him a reader's correction concerning the unsigned "Brief Notices of the late Dr. Percy, Bishop of Dromore" (EM 60 [1811]: 340-342). Those "Brief Notices" were preceded by a verse head note signed "Moser" and may tentatively be attributed to him.

Second, the subject matter of numerous "M." and "J.M." contributions reflects Moser's interests, attitudes, and experience. Edward Pitcher has noted that Moser's frequent "signed articles on the impoverished, neglected children of the parishes, on the police force, on cruelty to African slaves, on 'Faith and Obedience', show a strong humanitarianism and sense of social responsibility" consonant with a supporter of moral duty and of Edmund Burke's brand of conservatism. 8 The contents of various "M." and "J.M." items suggest Moser's experience and humanitarian sympathies as a magistrate, notably a review (EM 30 [1796]: 261-264, 341-344, signed "M.") of A Treatise on the Police of the Metropolis (with its consideration of a proposed asylum for "indigent . . . outcasts" [p. 262]); a letter entitled "Of Crimes and Punishments" (EM 58 [1810]: 192-193, signed "M."); a discussion (EM 61 [1812]: 442-445, signed "M.") of the duties of magistrates in applying the laws concerning prostitution; and a review (EM 51 [1807]: 129-131, 208-211) of Patrick Colquhoun's A Treatise on Indigence , . . . with propositions for ameliorating the Condition of the Poor, in which "J.M." roundly condemns parish workhouses and embraces Colquhoun's call for a police gazette, averring (p. 131) that "there is no acting Magistrate but must know the advantages of instant publicity" in detecting and preventing crime. Perhaps most striking in that body of material is "J.M." 's "Proposal for a Depository for Infants" (EM 55 [1809]: 449-450), which urges the establishment of a day-care center for the use of London's working parents, a proposition nearly two centuries ahead of its time. The last-named item, incidentally, refers to a recent fatal street accident in Spital Fields, the district of London in which Moser served as a magistrate. Several "J.M." contributions, moreover, are dated from Spital Square. Other "M." reviews display a considerable depth of knowledge concerning banking, one two-part article in particular (a critique of Henry Thornton's An Enquiry into the Nature and Effects of the Paper Credit of Great Britain [EM 41 (1802): 277-282, 371-375]) taking special notice of the advantages and disadvantages of country banks (pp. 374-375), a subject upon which Moser had written in his own signed "Reflections upon Cash Credit and Country Banks" in the European Magazine in 1793. Even more convincing evidence of Moser's identity is a long footnote (EM 56 [1809]: 293) in a "J.M." review of an antiquarian pamphlet, a footnote setting forth a detailed history of painting in enamel, which was Moser's first occupation. 9

There is in addition the significance of the placement of many of the "M." and "J.M." contributions within the magazine. "M" items in various instances are the lead articles in the monthly numbers, accorded a prominence befitting contributions by Moser, whose enormous body of signed work alone made him one of the EM's most important writers. Within the review sections "M." critiques often directly follow "J.M." ones and vice versa, suggesting that the same person wrote under both names on a regular basis. Finally, there is the persuasive evidence of the abrupt disappearance of contributions signed "M." at the end of 1813, 10 a date coinciding with Moser's falling so desperately ill that he had to discontinue his signed articles in the EM, a fact reported to readers in repeated monthly bulletins by the magazine's management (EM 65 [1814]: 2, 90, 186). In every way--the linkage of Moser by name with three "M." articles, the marked and frequent congruence of Moser's interests and experience with the subject matter of the articles signed "M." or "J.M.," the prominent placement of those articles, and the timing of their disappearance from the scene--the evidence is compelling that the author of the "M." and "J.M." contributions was in fact Moser. 11

There are in addition a few items dating from 1807 through 1811 signed "H.R." which can safely be attributed to Moser, not only because of the signature (the terminal letters of the name Joseph Moser) but because several of the contributions are dated from Spital Fields and most of them reflect Moser's experience as a London magistrate and his interest in the Spital Fields silk industry, an interest demonstrated in several signed items (notably EM 40 [1801]: 268-275 and 466-473). (One stray "H.R." letter sixteen years earlier [EM 20 (1791): 247] contains nothing that conclusively proves or disproves Moser's authorship and thus is too problematical to be attributed to him, even provisionally.)

Finally there are 17 items in the European Magazine signed "I.M." that must be considered as possible Moser contributions. Seven poems signed "I.M." appeared from October 1798 through March 1799: "The African" (EM 34 [1798]: 259), "A View of the Alps" (34 [1798]: 260), "Sonnet to Health" (35 [1799]: 120), "Morning" (35 [1799]: 187), "Noon" (ibid.), "Evening" (ibid.), and "Night" (ibid.). One of those seven pieces might be Moser's work: "The African" (EM 34 [1798]: 259), a poem whose anti-slavery message mirrors Moser's outspoken opposition to slavery and the slave trade. The other six poems contain nothing that points to Moser's authorship or militates against it. Such slim evidence does not justify attributing any of the group of seven poems to Moser.

After a seven-year interlude another cluster of works signed "I.M." appeared in the second half of 1806: a four-part review of Memoirs of Richard Cumberland (EM 50 [1806]: 36-42, 119-128, 204-209, 306-309), four reviews of additional publications (EM 50 [1806]: 199-202, 202-204, 298-302, 303-304), and two letters: "Sunday School" (EM 50 [1806]: 168), which makes reference to Spital Fields, whence Moser had dated an item in 1805, and "Bills of Mortality and Private Burial Grounds" (EM 50 [1806]: 254-255), which suggests Moser's experience and interests as a London magistrate. Since the reviews appear in the thick of Moser's numerous contributions to the review section of the EM and since the content of the two letters is reflective of Moser's background and interests, it seems reasonable to assign all ten of the "I.M." works clustered in the second half of 1806 provisionally to Moser. It is noteworthy that no additional "I.M." items turn up throughout the rest of the European Magazine's run.

It is likewise my contention that the items signed "J." that begin to appear in the European Magazine in the late 1790's, especially in the review columns, are the work of Stephen Jones (1763-1827), who would assume the editorial duties of the EM in 1807. After a number of years in the printing business, Jones upon the death of his employer in March 1797 embarked upon a new career in journalism, becoming editor or part-proprietor successively of the Whitehall Evening Post, the General Evening Post, the European Magazine, and the Freemasons' Magazine. The appearance in the EM of large numbers of reviews signed "J." begins in July 1797, a date consistent with the fact that Jones, just liberated from his duties as a printer, was now establishing a career for himself in journalism. Thereafter critiques signed "J." routinely precede or follow those signed "M.," crowding the review section of the EM for a number of years to come. John Nichols specifically attributes to Jones one article signed "J.," a memoir (in EM 59 [1811]: 323-327) of William Preston, a leading Freemason. 12

IV. The Contributions of Anna Jane Vardill

One of the European Magazine's most prolific contributors during its later years was the writer of numerous poems and multi-part tales printed under the signature "V." Alfred Beauchamp, editor of the European Magazine in 1821, provides essential information concerning the identity of "V." in his own poem, "The Editor's Compliments of the Season; to his well-beloved public, readers, contributors, and correspondents" (EM 80 [1821]: 533-534). "Away with all initials!--we shall give / Full names and titles in our verse to live!" Beauchamp exclaims. Turning to the contributor hitherto known only as "V.," he writes:

What, Variella, can we wish to thee?
      For thou possessest all that's dear unto man;
Wit, Talents, Erudition, though they be
      Not always so delightful in a woman;
Yet those who read thy Tales and Poems, see
      A soaring mind, and genius most uncommon.
Still, still soar on!--In prose and verse still charm us,
For while thou lead'st the van, there's nought can harm us.

Beauchamp's lines supply four crucial clues to the identity of "V.": first, that the contributor was a woman; second, that she was the author not only of the poems but also of the tales bearing the signature "V."; third, that she was a person of "erudition" with "a soaring mind, and genius most uncommon"; fourth, that her name was very likely akin to the variant "Variella"--the stem "Var" plus a feminine ending. The information Beauchamp provides strongly suggests that "V." was Anna Jane Vardill (1781-1852).

Anna Jane Vardill was the daughter of Rev. John Vardill, rector of Skirbeck and Fishtoft, Lincs. (ca. 1751-1811). Both the European Magazine and the Gentleman's Magazine record his death (EM 59 [1811]: 156; GM 81-i [1811]: 92) and the GM supplies further details:

The late Rev. Dr. Vardill was educated in King's College [now Columbia University], New York, of which he was elected principal, and appointed Regius Professor of Divinity. When America claimed independence, he resigned his bright prospect there, and embraced the cause of the mother country; where he distinguished himself by many publications worthy an acute and liberal politician. He was a rare example of splendid talents, devoted to the purest philanthropy; and of profound scholastic knowledge, blended with the most endearing social virtues. During the last ten years, severe sickness withdrew him from those public circles, of which his wit, eloquence, and urbanity, had rendered him the ornament; but his memory will be treasured while those who knew him exist. [GM 81-i (1811): 672]

The Alumni Oxonienses records no doctorate, noting instead that he was "created M.A. 28 June, 1774," several months after being ordained by the Bishop of London. 13 What the EM, GM, and Alumni Oxonienses fail to mention is the fact that, though named professor of natural law at King's College and assistant minister of New York's Trinity Church, Vardill chose to remain in England as a Loyalist spy, ingratiating himself into the confidence of supporters of the Colonies, surreptitiously reading their letters, and suborning the theft of correspondence between the French government and American agents negotiating the Franco-American alliance of 1778. 14

Vardill's only child, Anna Jane Vardill, was the author of two separately published works: Poems and Translations, from the minor Greek poets and others; written chiefly between the ages of ten & sixteen, by a Lady (London, 1809) and The Pleasures of Human Life, a Poem, by Anna Jane Vardill (London, 1812). The European Magazine's review of the former work (55 [1809]: 140-142) quotes Anna Jane Vardill's autobiographical account with its evidence of her extraordinary erudition:

'The translations, or imitations of the minor Greek poets [she writes] were the productions of a still earlier age' (than betwixt eleven and sixteen). 'A most indulgent father, in the retirement permitted to his station in the church, found amusement in familiarising his only child with the poets of antiquity'. . . . We also learn that she passed the early part of her life at the village of Gatehouse, of Fleet Galloway, Scotland, noted for the extensive cotton works of a near relation, and commanding a view of the beautiful and extensive pleasure grounds, elegant mansion, and gardens of Broughton Murray, Esq.

It was in this enchanting retreat that she composed most of her poems. Here she pursued her studies under the guidance of [her father] the rector of Shirbeck [a misprint for Skirbeck], of her uncle, and of her French tutor, Mr. Cramozin, of Rouen [p. 141].

The European Magazine likewise notices the second edition of Poems and Translations (EM 56 [1809]: 126-127) and The Pleasures of Human Life (61 [1812]: 275-280), again warmly praising Anna Jane Vardill's precocity, her astonishing intellectual gifts, and the breadth of her knowledge. Those qualities are evidenced in the intellectual diversity displayed in the poems and popular tales signed "V." that appear in the European Magazine from 1811 to 1822, contributions that frequently make use of Scottish settings and occasionally display flashes of erudition. ("V." 's "An Arctic Islander in London" [EM 74 (1818): 289-294], for example, incorporates Greek verse into the text [p. 291]; "V." 's carefully annotated "La Morte d'Arthur" [EM 79 (1821): 553-555] is taken from a manuscript in the Harleian Library; "V." 's "The Eldest King of Britain" [EM 77 (1820): 166-167] was based on a passage in William Gunn's 1819 edition of Nennius's Historia Britonum; "V." 's poem, "Another Edition of Edwin and Angelina" [EM 76 (1819): 66-67] contains notes addressing "the Lombard-system of squaring a circle" [p. 66n] as described by Jacob Bryant and Jeremiah Milles and directs readers to citations from Edmond Malone, William Warburton, Richard Gough, Thomas Pennant, Thomas Warton, and Johnson.) If further evidence were needed to conclude that Anna Jane Vardill was "V.," it is instructive to note that in the European Magazine for December 1817 (72: 550-551) a poem attributed by the EM to "the late Dr. Vardill" is followed immediately by a poem signed "V.," the proximity of the two reinforcing the identification of Anna Jane Vardill with the "V." contributions.

V. The European Magazine's Final Years

The declining fortunes of the European Magazine in its later years represent an all too typical pattern among periodicals. The European, which had prospered during its first two decades under the leadership of the proprietary triumvirate of Isaac Reed, John Sewell, and Daniel Braithwaite, passed in the early nineteenth century into the hands of James Asperne, an ambitious bookseller and ardent Freemason. Asperne quickly emerged as the magazine's driving force, succeeding to Sewell's bookselling business upon the latter's death in 1802 and becoming sole proprietor of the EM in 1806, when Braithwaite retired and Reed's health failed. Upon assuming control, Asperne hastened to assure the European's readership that he would institute no "sudden or serious innovation" (EM 50 [1806]: 3), promised to introduce more variety into the enterprise by way of improvement, and issued a gracious invitation to old and new contributors alike:

The Editors of the European Magazine have, on a former occasion, pointed out the contributions which they would prefer, and think it not improper to repeat them. They are Essays, Moral and Literary, and such as illustrate dark Passages of History; Biographical Anecdotes of Men of Eminence, either living or dead; Letters on Erudition and Criticism; original Letters of celebrated Persons; and Accounts of new Inventions, or remarkable Characters. They therefore flatter themselves, that such as have any useful knowledge to communicate, or any hint that may improve the Mind, polish the Manners, refine the Taste, or amend the Heart, will be glad of such an opportunity of communicating, as the Editors of the European Magazine will be always ready to convey it to the Public. [Ibid.]

Asperne conducted the magazine until his death in 1820; and thereafter the European, which had preserved much of its original character under his careful and astute leadership, fell upon difficult and uncertain times. The contents of the magazine immediately reflected the change, with "The Editor's Conversazioné," a pretentious journalistic affectation, now heading each monthly number and with fewer short pieces, particularly short pieces signed with initials, appearing in the EM's pages. In 1822 the European acquired a new publisher, Lupton Relfe, the passage marking the first of four changes in publishing house over the course of the EM's final four years of existence. "The Editor's Conversazioné" came to a merciful end after April 1822, the editor, Alfred Beauchamp, admitting that it had "entailed considerable ridicule on the European Magazine" (EM 81 [1822]: [290]). Short contributions all but disappeared, giving way to long articles bearing few signatures (pseudonymous or otherwise) and a greatly expanded section devoted to anonymous reviews, a format discouraging to the identification of attributions of authorship. When John Miller, the fourth new publisher in four years, assumed control in September 1825 (after no monthly numbers had appeared for July or August), the conductors commenced a new series, unceremoniously returned the previous publisher's accumulated manuscripts, and greeted the EM's readers and former contributors with a blunt "Avis": "If what we have seen be a fair sample, we decline drawing from the old cask--we must have liquor more sparkling, and with more flavour . . . ," ran the management's trenchant remarks. "How it may be in other quarters we know not, but in our circle we perceive that men have ceased to live on acorns since the invention of bread." (EM n.s. 1 [1825]: 2) The European Magazine had, it is true, "been established nearly half a century, but the national taste has, within the last few years of that period, elevated itself in a most surprising manner. . . . A school-boy of the present day would laugh at the poetry which made his father weep; . . . and the good sense of our young women rejects as mawkish, or enjoys only as ridiculous, the die-away trash of the Arthurs and Dorindas, over which their antiquated aunts shed floods of youthful tears." ("Prologue," EM n.s. 1 [1825]: 3-4) That being the case, the new management was determined upon root-and-branch change:

[W]e have considered it essential . . . to abandon the periodical biography of unknown persons, illustrated by bad likenesses of faces which nobody had ever seen before, or ever wished to see, and to discard in the poetical department such things as sonnets to rose leaves, or lines to 'Moles on Mary's cheek!' We also consider as superfluous, communications descriptive of illegible inscriptions upon undiscovered tomb-stones, or details of storms which never happened, meteorites which never fell, of trees that never grew, and fish which never swam. We propose to cull materials from men and manners, from the world in which we live, . . . which by care in the selection, we hope to render acceptable to all classes of our readers. [Ibid., p. 4]

The new regime did not succeed in enticing the reading public. The European Magazine ceased publication in June 1826 with the conclusion of volume 2 of the new series, the eighty-ninth volume since the magazine's inception forty-five years before. The conductors gave their readers no intimation of the European's imminent demise. The magazine simply sank, "like a drop of rain, / . . . with bubbling groan-- / . . . unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown." 15

VI. How to Use the Database

Attributions of Authorship in the European Magazine, 1782-1826, is designed to be searchable electronically by volume number, page number, date, title, author, pseudonym, and key word. To facilitate key-word searches I have furnished complete names of persons whenever possible, full titles of books being reviewed, and interpolated names or phrases when needed for clarity or to reveal the contents of omnibus articles with non-descriptive titles. Users conducting key-word searches should take into account the fact that I have preserved the original spelling of words that appear in the titles of articles and books being reviewed. All of the 2,074 attributions of authorship are cross-listed, appearing first in the Chronological Listing in the European Magazine and then in the Synopsis by Contributor. The items in the Chronological Listing make use of the following abbreviations in the designation of contributions to the European Magazine:

A: Article or tale
L: Letter
R: Review
V: Poetry
N: Note

In the Chronological Listing the justification for each attribution is provided in brackets, the abbreviation "Sig." indicating attributions assigned on the authority of frequently used pseudonyms or initials. The Synopsis by Contributor consists of an alphabetical listing of all of the 160 contributors whose work is identified in the database, providing birth and death dates as well as occupations of the contributors (when that information is available) and listing by volume, date, and page numbers each author's contributions to the European as set forth in the Chronological Listing. Both the Chronological Listing and the Synopsis by Contributor are designed to be fully browsable, so that readers may see each citation within its proper context.

The short titles used in the entries in the Chronological Listing are as follows:

Alumni Oxon.
Alumni Oxonienses: The Members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886, ed. Joseph Foster. 4 vols. London, 1887-88.

Biblio. Brit.

Watt, Robert. Bibliotheca Britannica; or A General Index to British and Foreign Literature. 4 vols. Edinburgh, 1824.


British Museum. General Catalogue of Printed Books. 263 vols. Photolithographic ed. to 1955. London, 1959-66.


Dictionary of American Biography. 1929 ed.


Davis, Bertram H. A Proof of Eminence: The Life of Sir John Hawkins. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana UP, 1973.


Dictionary of National Biography. 1908-1909 ed.


European Magazine.


Gentleman's Magazine.


Greene, D. J. "Some Notes on Johnson and the Gentleman's Magazine." PMLA 74 (March 1959): 76.

Halkett and Laing

Halkett, Samuel, and John Laing. Dictionary of Anonymous and Pseudonymous English Literature. Rev. ed. Edited by James Kennedy, et al. 9 vols. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1926-62.


Nichols, John. Illustrations of the Literary History of the Eighteenth Century. 8 vols. London, 1817-58.

Lincs. Inn Adm.

Records of the Honorable Society of Lincoln's Inn. Part A. Admissions. Edited by W. P. Baildon. 2 vols. London, 1896.

Lit. Anec.

Nichols, John. Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century. 9 vols. London, 1812-15.


Mayo, Robert D. The English Novel in the Magazines 1740-1815 with a Catalogue of 1375 Magazine Novels and Novelettes. Evanston: Northwestern UP, 1962.

Pitcher 93

Pitcher, Edward W. R. Fiction in American Magazines before 1800: An Annotated Catalogue. Schenectady, NY: Union College P, 1993.

Pitcher AEB

-------. "The Fiction in The American Museum (1787-1792): A Checklist, with Notes on Sources." Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography 5, no. 2 (1981): 100-106.

Pitcher AN&Q 79

-------. "Nathaniel Cotton, the Elder: An Anonymous Contributor to Dodsley's Museum (1746-7) and Wm. Dodd's Visitor." American Notes and Queries 17 (Mar. 1979): 124-125.

Pitcher AN&Q 82

-------. "Henry Headley's Contributions to The European Magazine." American Notes & Queries 21 (Sept.-Oct. 1982): 10-11.

Pitcher ANQ 99-a

-------. "Eliza Gilding (Mrs. Daniel Turner): Some Facts and Inferences." ANQ 12 (Winter 1999): 6-22.

Pitcher ANQ 99-b

-------. "Fiction in American Magazines Before 1800: Addenda and Corrigenda." ANQ 12 (Winter 1999): 52-61.

Pitcher L 76

-------. "Robert Mayo's The English Novel in the Magazines 1740-1815: New Facts." The Library: Transactions of the Bibliographical Society 5th ser. 31 (Mar. 1976): 20-30.

Pitcher L 79

-------. "Some Periodical Essays by the Prolific Richard Johnson (1733?-93)." The Library: Transactions of the Bibliographical Society 6th ser. 1 (Dec. 1979): 372-374.

Pitcher L 80

-------. "Robert Mayo's The English Novel in the Magazines 1740-1815: More Emendations and New Facts." The Library: Transactions of the Bibliographical Society 6th ser. 2 (Sept. 1980): 326-332.

Pitcher L 82

-------. "The Miscellaneous Publications of George Brewer (1766-1816?)." The Library: Transactions of the Bibliographical Society 6th ser. 4 (Sept. 1982): 320-323.

Pitcher LRN 80

-------. "Thomas Potter: A Minor Author and Compiler of Short Fiction in 18th Century Britain." Literary Research Newsletter 5 (Summer 1980): 129-132.

Pitcher NQ 76

-------. "Some Emendations to Melvin R. Watson's Checklist of Eighteenth-Century Magazine Serials." Notes and Queries n.s. 23 (Nov. 1976): 506-509.

Pitcher NQ 80

-------. "Further Emendations to Melvin R. Watson's Checklist of Eighteenth-Century Magazine Serials." Notes and Queries n.s. 27 (Feb. 1980): 63.

Pitcher NQ 81

-------. "Leonard McNally: A Few Facts on a Minor Irish Author of the Eighteenth Century." Notes and Queries n.s. 28, no. 4 (Aug. 1981): 306-308.

Pitcher NQ 97

-------. "On Authorship of Essay Serials in the European Magazine and The Lady's Monthly Museum: George Brewer and G. Bedingfield." Notes and Queries n.s. 44 (June 1997): 238-239.

Pitcher NQ 98

-------. "John Moir's Gleanings (1785?): Sources for the Stories, Essays, and Poems." Notes and Queries n.s. 45, no. 4 (Dec. 1998): 473-474.

Pitcher PBS 80

-------. "Some Emendations for Lyle B. Wright's American Fiction 1774-1850." Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 74, no. 2 (1980): 143-145.


Reiman, Donald H., ed. The Romantics Reviewed: Contemporary Reviewers of British Romantic Writers. 7 vols. New York: Garland, 1972.


Rollins, Hyder Edward, ed. The Keats Circle. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1965.

Sherbo 82

Sherbo, Arthur. "A Neglected Critic of Shakespeare's Poetry." Shakespeare Quarterly 33 (Spring 1982): 102-105.

Sherbo 84

-------. "Isaac Reed and the European Magazine." Studies in Bibliography 37 (1984): 210-227.

Sherbo 88

-------. "'Hesiod' Cooke and the Subscription Game." Studies in Bibliography 41 (1988): 267-270.

Sherbo 97

-------. Letters to Mr. Urban of the Gentleman's Magazine, 1751-1811. Studies in British History, vol. 44. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen P, 1997.


Sullivan, Alvin, ed. British Literary Magazines: The Augustan Age and the Age of Johnson, 1698-1788. Westport, CN: Greenwood P, 1983.


Taylor, M. Eustace. William Julius Mickle (1734-1788): A Critical Study. Washington, D.C.: Catholic U of America, 1937.

Trad. and Recoll.

Polwhele, R[ichard]. Traditions and Recollections; Domestic, Clerical, and Literary. 2 vols. London, 1826.


Watson, Melvin R. Magazine Serials and the Essay Tradition 1746-1820. Louisiana State University Studies. Edited by Richard J. Russell. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1956.


1: EM 17 (1790): ii.

2: C. M. Timperley, Encyclopaedia of Literary and Typographical Anecdote (2nd ed.; London, 1842), p. 795, gives the following average sales figures for five late-eighteenth-century English periodicals:

Gentleman's Magazine: 4,550

British Critic: 3,500

European Magazine: 3,250

Universal Magazine: 1,750

Analytical Review: 1,500

3: See James M. Kuist's The Nichols File of The Gentleman's Magazine: Attributions of Authorship and Other Documentation in Editorial Papers at the Folger Library (Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1982), available online as Attributions of Authorship in the Gentleman's Magazine: An Electronic Version of James M. Kuist's The Nichols File of the Gentleman's Magazine, ed. Emily Lorraine de Montluzin (Charlottesville, Virginia: Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, 1999; accessible electronically at <>).

4: Helene E. Roberts, "The European Magazine," in Alvin Sullivan, British Literary Magazines: The Augustan Age and the Age of Johnson, 1698-1788 (Westport, CN: Greenwood P, 1983), p. 106.

5: Arthur Sherbo notes in "E. W. Pitcher on Periodicals" (ANQ 12 [Winter 1999]: 3, 5) Pitcher's "Thomas Harwood (1767-1842): The Young 'Clio' of The Westminster Magazine and European Magazine" as being under consideration for publication and Pitcher's "Samuel Badcock (1750-88) in The Sentimental Magazine and The European Magazine" as having been accepted for publication in ANQ. Neither article was published in time to be considered in the compilation of this electronic text.

6: Arthur Sherbo in "A Neglected Critic Of Shakespeare's Poetry" (Shakespeare Quarterly 33 [Spring 1982]: 102) takes note of the first "W." item to appear in the EM, a letter (11 [1787]: 414-416) enclosing remarks on Malone's Venus and Adonis, and "hazard[s] the guess, admittedly a wild one, that [George] Steevens was W." Watkins's statement in the GM noted above effectively disproves that possibility.

7: GM 89-i (1819): 653; DNB 13: 1075.

8: "Some Emendations to Melvin R. Watson's Checklist of Eighteenth-Century Magazine Serials," Notes and Queries n.s. 23 (Nov. 1976): 508.

9: A contribution of 1801 at first glance seems to cast a doubt upon Moser's authorship of the "M." items, as it seems to militate against a specialized knowledge of painting on the part of the reviewer. In his critique of James Malton's The Young Painter's Maulstick, being a practical Treatise on Perspective; containing Rules and Principles for Delineation on Planes, "M." is quick to minimize his own knowledge of the subject: "[D]iffident of our own judgment respecting so important a branch of the polite arts as delineation, and aware likewise that too many young pupils at the Royal Academy revolt at the idea of the close application which the study of perspective requires, we thought it our duty to consult two very eminent artists, holding the first degree of reputation in the estimation of the public as historical and landscape painters. . . . Respecting a work of this nature," he adds, "little can be said by a general reviewer of literature," and it is incumbent upon him in such a case "to rely on the authorities of professional men . . ." (EM 40 [1801]: 41). However, it is important to remember that Moser, though trained in the Royal Academy, was (as his memoir in the European Magazine states) an indifferent artist at best, who took up his profession "with reluctance, . . . made no great progress . . . , [and] took every opportunity to fly from the study of the objects around" to the more congenial pursuit of literature (EM 44 [1803]: 84). Moreover, his specialty was enamel painting, not landscapes requiring knowledge of perspective, and in any event he had abandoned the profession some twenty years before the 1801 review of Malton's treatise appeared. Far from disproving Moser's authorship, the review may merely reflect an unwillingness on Moser's part to claim an expertise he felt he did not have; and the reference to "many young pupils at the Royal Academy revolt[ing] at the idea of the close application which the study of perspective requires" may be read as a rueful commentary on his own lackluster artistic efforts.

10: Moser may have contributed a poem and a short note, both signed "M.," to the EM the following year (66 [1814]: 146 and 202, respectively), but those attributions are tentative at best. Thereafter the signature "M." does not recur until 1818, by which time there is no evidence to tie Moser to the affected items, which are few in number. The signature "J.M.," for its part, vanished from the EM for several years after 1811, reappearing in 1815-16, probably as the signature of a person other than Moser.

11: Edward Pitcher ("Further Emendations to Melvin R. Watson's Checklist of Eighteenth-Century Magazine Serials," Notes and Queries n.s. 27 [Feb. 1980]: 63) notes in passing that the "J.M." who contributed some of the numbers of "Essays, Historical, Literary, and Moral," to the EM from December 1805 through October 1810 possibly was Joseph Moser, but he does not pursue the matter further.

12: John Nichols, Illustrations of the Literary History of the Eighteenth Century (8 vols.; London, 1817-58) 8: 490.

13: Ser. 2, 2: 1464.

14: Dictionary of American Biography (1929 ed.) 10: 222-223.

15: Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto IV: 1609-11.