Attributions of Authorship in the Gentleman's Magazine

Edited by Emily Lorraine de Montluzin

To E. de M.
Alius amicus Urbani


I wish to thank first of all James M. Kuist, without whose tremendous work to produce the original Nichols File this electronic version would not exist. I would also like to express my appreciation to the University of Wisconsin Press for kindl y granting permission to make use of The Nichols File text. I owe a debt of gratitude to David M. Seaman, Director of the Electronic Text Center of the University of Virginia, for suggesting this project in the first place and, together with his staff at the Center, providing the technical expertise necessary to launch the database as an online publication. I am also grateful to Dean Robert N. Sawyer and to the Faculty Enrichment Committee of Francis Marion University for supporting my request f or a reduction in course load at a crucial point in my preparation of the text; to the reference staff of Rogers Library for their ready assistance; to my colleague Richard N. Chapman for his longstanding interest in my Gentleman's Magazine researc h and his vast fund of computer knowledge; to Andrew G. Kampiziones for his kind assistance with the Greek pseudonyms that appear in the text; and to Julian Pooley, Archivist, Surrey Record Office, Kingston upon Thames, and a fellow Nichols researcher, fo r his valuable suggestion concerning ways to enhance the usefulness of the Synopsis-by-Contributor portion of the database. Finally, I would like to thank John Nichols, John Bowyer Nichols, John Gough Nichols, Isabella Nichols, and Richard Gough, who ass embled the attributions of authorship in the original Gentleman's Magazine file laboriously, over many years, with pen and ink, and who, if they were alive today, would deeply appreciate the amazing possibilities of electronic databases.

-E. L. de M.

I. Kuist's Nichols File and Its Conversion into an Electronic Database

In 1982 the publication of 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) was welcomed as a sig nal achievement in English press history. From the moment of its appearance Kuist's Nichols File became an indispensable starting point for Gentleman's Magazine research, providing as it did a one-volume printed list of a then-estimated tot al of nearly 13,000 previously anonymous articles, reviews, poems, and other items appearing in the GM from its founding by Edward Cave in 1731 until 1856, when the descendants of John Nichols, the GM's longtime and perhaps most brilliant ed itor, gave up all financial and editorial control of the Magazine.

As anyone who has used Kuist's publication is aware, The Nichols File, though a massive fund of information, was never designed to be a complete listing of all known attributions of authorship in the Gentleman's Magazine. Instead, it is strictly limited to those attributions of authorship specifically recorded in marginal annotations in the staff copy of the GM (now housed in the Folger Library) by various members of the Nichols family in their determined efforts to reconstruct th eir files of the Magazine following a disastrous fire in John Nichols's printing office in 1808. Unfortunately the annotators, understandably daunted by their immense task, were inconsistent in their efforts, erroneously listing some identificatio ns of authorship and failing to record many others either because they defied deciphering or conversely because they seemed too obvious at the time to trouble with writing down. Since Kuist deliberately sought to reproduce the marginal annotations in the staff copy exactly as written, The Nichols File inevitably contains many gaps in the record, gaps which a large number of scholars have sought to fill. My first Gentleman's Magazine electronic database, Attributions of Authorship in the Gentleman's Magazine, 1731-1868: A Supplement to Kuist (Charlottesville: Bibliographic al Society of the University of Virginia, 1996), was designed to integrate and in several instances correct the identifications of authorship earlier published in my six-part "Attributions of Authorship in the Gentleman's Magazine . . . : A Supplem ent to Kuist," Studies in Bibliography 44 (1991): 271-302, 45 (1992): 158-187, 46 (1993): 320-349, 47 (1994): 164-195, 49 (1996): 176-207, and 50 (1997): 322-358. My first GM database thus added approximately 4,000 new or corrected attribut ions of authorship in the Gentleman's Magazine to the items catalogued by Kuist in The Nichols File. My second GM electronic database, Attributions of Authorship in the Gentleman's Magazine, 1731-1868: A Synthesis of Finds Appearing Neither in Kuist's Nichols File nor in de Montluzin's Supplement to Kuist, was released in 1997 by the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia and, like my e arlier database, is searchable at the Society's Internet site. The second database contains over 1,850 attributions of authorship of items in the Gentleman's Magazine that are synthesized in one comprehensive supplementary list from approximately sixty books, articles, and unpublished writings by other scholars who, over many decades, have sought to make their own contributions to the identification of anonymous pieces in the GM. The publication of my first two Gentleman's Magazine databases thus dramatically simplified the efforts of GM researchers to track down attributions of authorship that do not appear in Kuist's Nichols File, consolidating information hitherto scattered throughout numerous and often obscure refe rences, adding forty percent to the total number of items available in Kuist, and presenting the finds in a way that permits researchers to conduct an electronic search of the two GM databases simultaneously. The purpose of the present electronic text, Attributions of Authorship in the Gentleman's Magazine: An Electronic Version of James M. Kuist's The Nichols File of the Gentleman's Magazine, is to recast Kuist's Nichols File, with its 13,950 attributions of authorship, as an online database in a format identical to that used in my first two GM electronic publications. Arranged in a way that is fully browsable, provided with corrected and expanded entries designed to facili tate key-word searches by proper name and subject (as well as by volume, page, date, and pseudonymous signature), presented in a logical and clear sequence, and constructed to be searchable simultaneously with my two earlier GM databases, An Ele ctronic Version of Kuist's Nichols File of the Gentleman's Magazine at last makes it possible to bring together in one electronically accessible and user-friendly format the nearly 20,000 known attributions of authorship in Georgian England's g reatest magazine.

II. Methodology

The rearrangement of the material in Kuist's Nichols File

Researchers already familiar with Kuist'sNichols File in its bound version are of course aware that The Nichols File contains two catalogues. The first (and by far the more valuable for most users) consists of the aforementioned list of nearly 14,000 attributions of authorship of items printed in the Gentleman's Magazine, attributions transcribed by Professor Kuist and his research associates directly from the marginal annotations in the Folger copy of the GM. Catalogue II , Documents in the Gentleman's Magazine, contains lists of drawings, printed materials in the Folger Nichols File, and a variety of manuscripts, associated documents, and other papers pertaining to the GM, either tipped into the pages of the Magazine or maintained separately by John Nichols and his descendants. Though Catalogue II provides valuable information for students of the Nichols family publishing business (and though it furnished me with many useful clues in my own efforts t o identify contributors to the Magazine in the mid nineteenth century), it is not germane to the scope of the present database. Accordingly An Electronic Version of Kuist's Nichols File of the Gentleman's Magazine makes use only of K uist's Catalogue I.

The greatest challenge in converting the printed version of Kuist into an electronic format compatible with my earlier GM databases was one of rearrangement of the material. Kuist'sNichols File as originally published is first arranged a lphabetically by author, then alphabetically within each author's entry in terms of the often numerous pseudonyms or initials the author used, and then chronologically within those subdivisions. Despite the best efforts of Kuist's team of researchers, th ere are unfortunately frequent errors in the above sequence, not only in alphabetizing but in the listing of volume numbers, page numbers, dates, and signatures as well. Since each of my GM databases begins with a complete chronological listing o f the attributions contained therein (followed by an alphabetical synopsis by contributor as a cross reference), the first task confronting me was to devise a way to convert an alphabetical arrangement of all of the attributions in Kuist's volume into a s trictly chronological listing.

I found that the most efficient method of recasting the sequence of items in Kuist was to make my way repeatedly through Catalogue I, searching for items from one bloc of years at a time (for example, 1790-99), isolating the thousands of scattered entr ies within that time frame, and typing them, one by one, into the new database in chronological order. It was necessary to do this for each successive bloc of years until all of the 13,950 entries (not the "nearly 13,000" Kuist thought he had) were rearr anged chronologically and Kuist's alphabetical-cum-chronological sequence was transformed into a strictly chronological ordering.

It was then essential to compare each typed entry with the corresponding item in the microfilm version of the GM itself, making sure that errors in volume numbers, page numbers, dates, and signatures were corrected and that the sequence of multi ple short items on any given page was strictly maintained. I used the opportunity to substitute exact titles for Kuist's shortened ones wherever possible, and I made sure to cite book titles in the review sections in their entirety unless doing so was im practical. I made every reasonable effort to list all proper names in full, tracking down the individuals in question in the Dictionary of National Biography, the Oxford and Cambridge alumni lists, the British Library's General Catalogue of Pri nted Books, and other references. In addition, I added explanatory phrases in brackets to indicate subject matter (Catholic Emancipation, slave trade, Test Act, Regency Bill, etc.) in instances of titles that were nondescriptive of the contents of th e items in question. In the case of certain contributors (notably James Roche and James Temple Mansel) who wrote unusually discursive essays, I took care to include in the titles all of the various subjects that appeared as page headings in the articles. My aim throughout has been to make the database not just a listing of who wrote what in the Gentleman's Magazine but also a user-friendly resource for researchers interested in English literature, history, economics, medicine, science, theologica l controversies, topography, and antiquarian matters, presenting the text in a way that would not only be fully browsable but would readily permit key-word searches by name or topic.

Instances of overlap among the three Gentleman's Magazine databases

Users of An Electronic Version of Kuist's Nichols File of the Gentleman's Magazine will note that approximately 250 items listed therein also appear in one or the other of my preceding GM electronic databases. Though a few of thos e entries constitute revisions of my own erstwhile attributions, in most instances the items in question are corrections of errors that I or other researchers had earlier found in Kuist and that I had already included either in my 1996 Supplement to Ku ist or in my 1997 Synthesis of Finds. Since the present database is designed to be a complete electronic version of Kuist's Catalogue I, it was imperative to include all entries, even though that would result in a slight overlap among the data bases. Users of the present database should note that in any case in which there are variations or discrepancies between an entry as listed in my 1996 Supplement to Kuist or my 1997 Synthesis of Finds and the entry as listed in the present Electronic Version of Kuist's Nichols File of the Gentleman's Magazine, the listing in the present database supersedes that in my earlier databases.

Conventions adopted for bloc attributions to Richard Gough

In the case of a number of items by Richard Gough, the leading reviewer for the Gentleman's Magazine during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, there are disconcerting ambiguities with regard to attribution of authorship. Becaus e their ultimate authority is Gough himself, those attributions ironically should be among the most certain in the GM. Knowing that his old friend John Nichols was struggling to reassemble his papers and literary collections after the 1808 fire at his printing office, Gough kindly bequeathed to Nichols his personal set of volumes of the GM with Gough's own contributions marked therein. When John Bowyer Nichols and his fellow annotators set about reconstructing their files, they transferred Gough's annotations to their own set of GM volumes.1 However, in many cases Gough's book reviews were not marked individually. Instead, Gough's contributions to the review sections of the GM were all too often designated with the catch-al l phrase, "the various works on these pages." It should be noted that Kuist in the printed version of The Nichols File has repeated those words exactly, bloc-listing entire review sections instead of listing the reviews individually. (Incidentall y, Kuist's decision to preserve the designation en masse of Richard Gough's reviews accounts for nearly 800 items in the thousand-odd discrepancy between the nearly 13,000 attributions Kuist thought he had in The Nichols File and the 13,950 attributions that he actually had.) Sometimes the designation "the various works on these pages" is clear enough, but in other cases the placement of articles on a page in the GM makes attribution of authorship very difficult indeed. I have adopted certain conventions to assure consistency in the listing of Richard Gough's attributions of authorship. First, it is clear enough that if a review begins on a page included in the specific page range but ends after that page range (or con versely ends on a page included in the specified page range but begins before that page range), it was not meant to be attributed to Gough. I have not included any such items in Gough's list. However, the main problem lies in numerous instances in which a piece definitely attributed to Gough ends on the last page of a page range but is followed by one or more works that fall entirely on that same page. Are they also to be attributed to Gough, since they are certainly among "the various works on these p ages"? The same difficulty arises at the beginning of a specified range of pages, when several reviews fall totally on the first page of the page range, followed by a review that spills over from the first to the second page in the range. Are the preced ing reviews on the first page likewise to be attributed to Gough? Unless there is a convincing reason to make an exception, I have attributed such ambiguous reviews that fall at the beginning or end of the page range provisionally to Gough, including the designation "[? (attribution unclear in Kuist)]" in the text of the entry. Though the attribution of certain items to Gough remains perforce an imprecise business, the application of the above conventions at least insures consistency.2

Erring on the side of caution in providing full names for contributors who are listed in Kuist by surname only

Kuist'sNichols Filein its printed form frequently lists contributors by surname only. Obviously in some cases the members of the Nichols family who produced the marginal annotations did not know a given contributor's full name, whereas in other cases the annotators probably considered a contributor so well known that they did not bother to write his full name into their copy of the GM. Since Kuist made a conscious effort to print the attributions of authorship exactly as they are writte n in the staff copy, he did not seek to provide full names of contributors where they are lacking. By contrast, I have chosen to do so, making use of such standard references as the Dictionary of National Biography, the Oxford and Cambridge alumni lists, 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), the British Library's General Catalogue of Prin ted Books, and (when feasible) obituaries in the GM. In addition, because of Kuist's decision to reproduce the annotations from the Folger GM verbatim, in some cases items by a single contributor appear in Kuist under multiple authorial entries, a fact that can lead users of the printed version of Kuist'sNichols Fileto the erroneous conclusion that the items in question were written by more than one person. For example, contributions by Rev. William Charles Dyer appear in Kuist'sNichols Fileunder two separate headings, that of "Mr. Dyer" and that of "Rev. Mr. Dyer" (Kuist, pp. 57-58). In cases in which I have been able to determine that such items are in fact by the same contributor, I have merged the lists. In cases in which there is insufficient proof to be sure of that assumpti on, I have continued to list the items under separate headings, believing that erring on the side of caution is essential. Separate listing of contributors should not, however, preclude the possibility that the contributions in question are by one and th e same person.

III. Incidence of Attributions

A careful count of all of the attributions of authorship in An Electronic Version of Kuist's Nichols File of the Gentleman's Magazine reveals the following incidence of attributions:

1810-19: 1,364
1820-29: 1,446
1830-39: 3,236
1840-56: 2,073
Total: 13,950

The greatest incidence of identification of authors comes during the 1830's and early 1840's, when John Bowyer Nichols and John Gough Nichols were working assiduously to maintain careful records and when John Mitford, one of the GM's most prolif ic contributors, was serving as editor and writing the majority of the reviews for the Magazine. Conversely the attributions from the eighteenth century are relatively few in number and are clustered in the closing decades of the century. Of the 3,251 i tems from the years 1738-99, all but 26 date from 1777 or later. In fact, there would be far fewer identifications of contributors in Kuist's list dating from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were it not for the fact that Richard Gough, an e ven more prolific contributor than John Mitford, bequeathed his marked copies of the Gentleman's Magazine to John Nichols after the fire in 1808, with the result that his own multitudinous reviews, articles, and letters found their way into The Nichols File, though sometimes in a maddeningly ambiguous way.

It is noteworthy that the paucity of eighteenth-century attributions is partly the result of the fact that Kuist's list includes a relatively small number of the contributions of Samuel Pegge the Elder, whose letters on etymologies, idioms, antiquities, a nd divinity crowd the pages of the GM under the signatures "L.E." (the terminal letters of Pegge's name) and "T. Row" ("the Rector of Whittington," a small village high on a hill overlooking the Derbyshire dales). Perhaps the Nichols family annota tors, preoccupied with the mammoth task of recreating their authorial files, postponed the task of writing Pegge's name into the office copy several hundred times, especially since the GM had already published a complete list of Pegge's contributio ns to the GM after his death in 1796.3 Similarly Kuist's list inexplicably includes not one single attribution to John Hawkesworth, the GM's most important reviewer of books and plays in the 1760's and early 1770's.

Given such evidence, as well as the fact that my first two GM databases contain nearly 3,800 attributions from the 1731-99 period as opposed to the 3,251 eighteenth-century attributions in Kuist, it is important for users of the online Kuist list t o keep constantly in mind the necessity of searching all three GM databases, especially when looking for the identity of eighteenth-century contributors.

IV. How to Use the Database

Because An Electronic Version of Kuist's Nichols File of the Gentleman's Magazine is an Internet database, it is of course fully searchable electronically by volume number, page number, date, title, author, pseudonym, and key word. Since the format mirrors that used in my two preceding GM databases, all three may be searched simultaneously. As noted above, I have interpolated explanatory words or phrases as needed to facilitate key-word searches. However, readers conducting key- word searches should be aware that I have strictly preserved quirks of original spelling, punctuation, and capitalization in listing titles of articles and of books reviewed in the Gentleman's Magazine.

The present database, like its two predecessors, is also designed to be fully and easily browsable. Users who choose simply to read the text will find that it is divided into four sections, the Introduction, a Chronological Listing, a Synopsis by Contrib utor, and an Index of Pseudonyms and Initials.

The Chronological Listing is exactly what the name implies, a chronological sequence of all of the 13,950 attributions of authorship in Kuist's Catalogue I, beginning with the annotators' earliest attribution (a William Guthrie letter in 1738) and ending with their last (a review by Mary Anne Iliffe Nichols, John Nichols's granddaughter, in 1856). Each item in the Chronological Listing contains the volume number, year, and page number followed by the item in question, the author's name (listed in bold ty pe for ease of viewing), the relevant page reference in Kuist, and the original signature appended to the item (if there is one). Each item in the Chronological Listing bears one of the following designations:

L: letter to Sylvanus Urban (the GM's fictitious editor)

A: article

R: review

V: poetry

O: obituary

S: staff item of editorial content

In cases in which the attribution listed in the print version of Kuist'sNichols Filehas been significantly corrected in the present database, the entry notes the correction and includes the justification for making the change.

The Synopsis by Contributor consists of a listing of all of the 967 contributors who wrote items contained in Kuist, arranged alphabetically by author and providing in each entry the fullest possible version of the author's name, the author's birth and de ath dates (when available), and a succinct description of the author's occupation ("antiquary and topographer," "schoolmaster," "divine and historian," etc.) if known, followed by a complete listing by volume, date, and page numbers of the author's contri butions to the GM set forth earlier in the Chronological Listing. Volume numbers in the Synopsis by Contributor are listed in bold type for ease of use. The Synopsis by Contributor is thus designed to be an alphabetical cross reference to the ent ries that appear in the Chronological Listing.

The Index of Pseudonyms and Initials has no counterpart in my two preceding GM databases, and I have added it to the current database as a needed and useful improvement. Though in many cases attributable items in the Gentleman's Magazine bear no signatures at all, tremendous numbers of others are signed in ways designed to conceal the identity of the contributor. An Electronic Version of Kuist's Nichols File of the Gentleman's Magazine contains over a thousand different si gnatures in the form of pseudonyms, sets of initials, or symbols. Scholars familiar with eighteenth- and nineteenth-century periodicals know that in some cases contributors wrote simultaneously for several magazines or reviews and that occasionally they signed their work in various publications with the same pseudonyms. In order to assist researchers investigating other facets of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British periodical press, I have provided for easy reference a revised and corrected v ersion of the index of pseudonyms and initials in the print version of Kuist's Nichols File, dividing it for convenience into four parts. Part I, pseudonyms exclusive of symbols and Greek characters, I have arranged alphabetically by the first letter of the word or phrase (other than articles) used in the signature. Part II, signatures in the form of initials (exclusive of Greek characters), requires a different system of determining sequence, since in many cases the letters used as signatures are simpl y the initials of the authors' own names. Therefore I have followed Kuist's method of alphabetizing sets of initials first according to the terminal letter in each signature and then in sequence according to the letters that precede it. Thus the entries for the letter A begin as follows: "A.," "A.A.," "E.A.," "F.B.A.," "F.S.A.," G.A.," "J.A.," "J.P.A.," "J.Y.A.," etc. Part III (pseudonyms and initials using Greek characters) begins with a list in alphabetical order of the signatures using Greek words o r phrases followed by the handful of signatures consisting of Greek initials, the latter (like the entries in Part II) listed sequentially according to terminal letters. Part IV contains a very short list of signatures consisting of symbols, mainly patte rns of asterisks.

Most of the pseudonyms or sets of initials in Kuist's list were used only once or twice by any one particular contributor, while some of them (especially generic terms such as "An Old Correspondent," "An Observer," or "Clericus") were used by more than on e author. To distinguish between signatures used rarely and those used frequently by any given contributor, I have arbitrarily designated as "recurrent" any signature in Kuist'sNichols Filethat was used five or more times by the same person.


1 James M. Kuist, 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) 9-10, 11-12 (n. 42).

2 Certain exceptions are instructive. Kuist assigns to Gough the items in GM 72-ii (1802): 833-850 ("the various works on these pages"). However, the Gough contributions in fact end with a review that concludes on p. 850, the other items t hat follow on p. 850 having been written by John Nichols, to whom Kuist correctly attributes them. Conversely, in the case of the bloc-attribution of items in GM 59-i (1789): 141-144 to Gough, I have made the decision to include in Gough's list a plethora of very short reviews on p. 144, since they all concern the Regency Question, as do the reviews on p. 143. I am not, however, attributing to Gough the review of Gilbert White's Selborne, which spills over onto the next page.

3 GM 66-ii (1796): 891-895, 979-982, 1081-1085.

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