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THE LATE JOHN BLACKWOOD.

Born at Edinburgh, 7th December, 1818; died at Strathtyrum, St. Andrews, 29th October, 1879.

LARGE, indeed, is the circle which the death of John Blackwood has touched with a sense of personal loss and regret ; and fully and gracefully has the press already given expression to this widespread feeling. There is, however, an inner circle of friends and collaborators who were bound to him by a tie of peculiar significance; for in it what may be termed the "business element" derived at once strength and dignity from the personal regard and the intellectual sympathy with which it was interwoven. And to this small society his death means a real calamity; for while it bereaves them of a beloved friend, it takes from them a literary companion and counsellor whose value was truly inestimable. In this Magazine, then, over which he so long presided, and for which they have worked-feeling, indeed, that under such presidency their labours were labours of love-it seems fitting that some memorial of him should appear, at their instance.

The present writer holds it a high privilege to be permitted to act, in this matter, as their representative, though he is not so presumptuous as to suppose that he has any claim to do so other than that which rests upon the very affectionate intimacy which subsisted between their departed friend and himself.

The life of John Blackwood, outside the sphere of that literary work which filled it, and in so far as it was unconnected with the lives of eminent men of letters, was not an eventful one, and its simple annals can be recorded in a very brief space. One of the younger children of William Blackwood, the eminent publisher and founder of this Magazine, he was born in Edinburgh on the 7th December, 1818. The earlier part of his education he received in the High School of Edinburgh, and it was completed, as far as the ordinary routine of instruction was concerned, at the University of his native city. And here we must not omit to remark, what may have had a considerable influence in shaping the bent of his young intelligence, that the home of his childhood and early youth was & place of daily and familiar resort to such men as Sir Walter Scott and Christopher North, not to mention a dozen other names all associated with the best of our literature; and it is difficult to think that such an atmosphere-so surcharged with wit and wisdomcould be habitually breathed by a bright youth without yielding him some intellectual nutriment and inspiration. Be that as it may, his education was not to be confined to the training and influence of home, with the tuition of school and college. His eldest brother, who, from his father's death, acted as the lad's guardian and second parent, had very early detected that he was possessed of no ordinary gifts, and even of a special aptitude for the career

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which he was destined eventually to adopt. He resolved, therefore, that "the little editor," as John was playfully nicknamed, should have every benefit which a liberal education,' " in the largest sense, could afford; and, as a consequence, the young student, at the close of his college career, was sent abroad to travel and reside on the Continent for a period which, in the event, extended to three years. During that time he enjoyed all the advantages which the wisdom of our ancestors attributed to what was called "the grand tour," and which were then looked upon as the monopoly of youths of aristocratic condition. He enjoyed them, indeed, in an exceptional degree; for while, like the rest, he saw men and cities, with much of the profit implied in the phrase, he was not permitted to drift from place to place, at the dictates of youthful caprice. On the contrary, he was accompanied by a tutor of much erudition, who had already acquired a public reputation for refined scholarship and literary taste; and he also enjoyed, during a portion at least of his travels, the companionship of his brother Alexander, by this time the editor, but obliged temporarily to abandon his post in search of health. Under the guidance of these two admirable mentors, Blackwood studied much of the history of the past in the scenes of its most stirring events. His taste was cultivated by the study of Art's finest triumphs, ancient and modern; while his mental stores were enriched by the acquisition of new languages, by an introduction to new fields of literary excursion, and by association with a great variety of clever men, who looked upon life from points of view hitherto unfamiliar to him. We doubt not that his shrewd faculty for discerning character owed much to this early and well-directed acquaintance with the literary, political, and diplomatic society of the Continent. Black wood himself ever and most gratefully recognised the obligation which his brother had conferred upon him in thus directing his youth; and he always looked back with fondness to that period, and especially to the months then spent at Rome, which he regarded as the spring and budding-time of his intellectual life.

But a double career lay before him; he was to be a publisher as well as an editor, and hitherto his training had been conducted with exclusive reference to the editorial function. It was now necessary that he should leave the pleasant fields in which he had been expatiating, and acquire in a London office the knowledge and habits of a man of business. We can well imagine that to pass from the Pincian to Paternoster Row involved somewhat of a wrench; but the movement was effected, and, in 1839, he entered the well-known house of Whittaker & Co. "to learn business." It would appear that he devoted himself to the work set before him with characteristic thoroughness, for his term of probation was short; and in the following year he was placed in charge of a branch of the Edinburgh house which was at that time opened in Pall

Mall. His management was very successful, and secured the cordial recognition of his elder brothers-Alexander, Robert, in later years, of Major William Blackwood-for whom we can well believe that he worked con amore, remembering, as we do, that he always spoke with enthusiastic gratitude of their solicitude for his welfare, and of their thoughtfulness in relieving him, as much as possible, of mere business drudgery, in favour of more congenial duties. During the six years of his superintendence of the London business it was considerably developed; and while the books which he obtained for publication were neither few nor insignificant, as a recruiter for the staff of the Magazine he achieved several marked successes. As one of the first magnitude may be instanced the case of Lord Lytton, whose first connection with the Blackwoods was due to their young London representative; and beginning, in 1842, with the publication of the translation of the "Poems and Ballads of Schiller," ended, at the very close of the noble author's life, with the appearance in the Magazine of that remarkable aftermath of his genius-" The Parisians."

Though Blackwood's life in London was at this time mainly occupied by business pursuits, the years spent there had an important influence on his future career as an editor. By inheritance, through professional connections and from personal bias, the young man's friends and associates were almost exclusively individuals of intellectual mark. Of these, some of the seniors had achieved their fame in the earliest days of " Maga's" glory; others were destined to assist their young contemporary in maintaining her matured reputation; while others, and these, it must be admitted, not the least eminent, had reached, or were reaching, positions of distinction and authority through other channels. Foremost among the latter may be mentioned Thackeray, whose literary productions were now beginning to place him in the foremost rank of novelists; and Mr. Delane, who already, though a mere youth, was editing the "Times" with the success which attended the whole of his connection with that great journal. Between these three there were few apparent points of similarity, while many grounds of controversy were to be found in their several literary and political convictions; but, as iron sharpens iron, this circumstance was an obvious advantage to young men, all destined to occupy editorial chairs; and, as a matter of fact, it only served to tighten the bond of fraternity which connected them till death severed it. We may here mention that Thackeray, though so close a friend of Blackwood's, and sometimes for weeks an inmate of his house in Scotland, was never a contributor to the Magazine.

In the year 1845 Blackwood returned to Edinburgh, on the death of his eldest brother Alexander, and in the following spring he succeeded to the editorship. Six years later, the death of his brother Robert placed him--along with Major Blackwood, who joined him

in Edinburgh in 1850-at the head of the publishing business also; and in this position of double responsibility he continued for the rest of his life, with a resulting influence on the national literature, which will undoubtedly prove neither ephemeral nor insignificant. His marriage followed two years later; but of it we shall only venture to say that it was the crowning happiness of a singularly happy life. Henceforth he settled down in the pleasant lines of a routine, which, though a routine, was full of freshness and variety. Winter and the early spring were spent in Edinburgh; then followed a sojourn of some weeks in London, occasionally varied by a Continental trip; and the remainder of the year was given to Strathtyrum-a country residence in Fife, of which he was the tenant for the last twenty years of his life. This was the part of the year which he most enjoyed; here he was seen to the best advantage; and those who were in the habit of visiting him at Strathtyrum will not cease to cherish their recollections of that delightful place. It is situated within a mile of St. Andrews, which, in addition to its academic and historic associations, enjoys the distinction of being the metropolis of the national game of golf, to which Blackwood was devoted. From the grounds around his house glimpses of the far-famed Links could be obtained; and when the sunshine of a summer morning lighted them up, revealing here and there a group of red-coated players, the editor used to utter seriocomic lamentations over the hard fate which drove him to study, and kept him from "the only occupation worthy of a reasonable being.' For, although he played the game almost daily, it was only on occasion that he allowed it to seduce him in the forenoons, when two or three hours were almost invariably given to work. That such a moderate portion of his time sufficed to overtake the vast amount of reading and correspondence exacted by his editorial position, was often a marvel to his friends; but the true marvel was his singular power of concentration; and another solution of the mystery lay in the fact that his work-in which he took the greatest delight-was never entirely relinquished for a formal holiday. Those who chanced to associate with him when he was away from home-in London or on country visits-will remember that his table was always covered with manuscripts and proofs of articles. For he carried his work with him wherever he went, and always found a spare hour or so to devote to what was not more a duty than a relaxation. When the elements of labour and recreation are thus happily blended, it can scarcely be doubted that the results, as to the success and happiness of the worker, will be infinitely superior to those extracted from a life divided between feverish spasms of high-pressure application, and almost equally feverish spasms of laborious holiday-making. Blackwood's case is a strong one to the point. When his business was over for the day he sallied forth to the links, and brought to bear on the game as much

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concentration and energy as he had devoted to the forenoon's work. Most golfers who have graduated on the Links of St. Andrews will remember the skill and ardour with which he played the game, in some divisions of which he had few superiors; nor will they forget his humorous perception of the exaggerated earnestness and solmenity with which he himself and his confrères discussed the incidents of a match when it was over. His pleasant face and unfailing geniality and humour will long be held in affectionate remembrance at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club-of which he was a captain a few years before his death—by all connected with it, from the gallant aud venerable gentleman who is its chairman to the whole clan of "professionals," with honest Tom Morris at their head.

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The evenings of these happy summer days were given to the society with which he loved to fill the walls of Strathtyrum in an unbroken stream. Many celebrities, both English and foreign, were often to be met in the circle of which he was the centre; but on looking back, we are inclined to say that to the host himself, though ever the least pretentious of all, was due in a very large degree the charm which is associated in our memory with these often remarkable gatherings. For, though an unaggressive talker, and sometimes even too silent, his fund of anecdote, grave and gay, was inexhaustible, while his quaint humour and taste enabled him to employ it to the best advantage; and added to this was his peculiar faculty of extracting from the genius of others its best contribution to the requirements of the hour. Thus, when he was in the vein and his company was congenial, we have been present at symposia which were worthy of the best traditions of the " Noctes," and might have made the immortal revellers of the 'Blue Parlour" look to their laurels. On the other hand, we have also been present when graver converse occupied the night, and when the first conceptions of literary schemes and achievements, destined one day to be famous, sprang from the friction of genius with his suggestive and often inspiring mind. On other evenings, when the claims of society permitted, almost no amount of bad weather would keep him from his favourite stroll on a charming walk within the grounds of Strathtyrum, which, leading through the shelter of a high plan tation, commanded, from one of its extremities, a view over the seaTo catch a glimpse, from this point, of the revolving light on the Bell Rock, was the ostensible object of the promenade; and the 'viewing" of the light, if the state of the atmosphere permitted. was a duty never overlooked. But it served more important ends, for on the journey to and fro, in moonlight, by starlight, or in the dark, Blackwood always found the influence of this place and this quiet hour very quickening to thought; and when any knotty point had to be solved, or if any momentous decision were in suspense, it was here that he very often found the happy inspiration which re lieved his mind. Such was the quiet tenor of his life, the great

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