The Autobiography of Leigh Hunt: With Reminiscences of Friends and Contemporaries - Vol. 1

By Leigh Hunt | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER IX.
THE EXAMINER.

Establishment of the Examiner.-- Albany Fonblanque.--Author's mistakes in setting out in his editorial career.--Objects of the Examiner, and misrepresentations of them by the Tories.--Jeu d'esprit of "Napoleon in his Cabinet."--"Breakfast Sympathies with the Miseries of War."--War dispassionately considered.--Anti-republicanism of the Examiner, and its views in theology.--The Author for some time a clerk in the War Office.--His patron, Mr. Addington, afterward Lord Sidmouth.--Poetry and accounts.

AT the beginning of the year 1808, my brother John and myself set up the weekly paper of the Examiner in joint partnership. It was named after the Examiner of Swift and his brother Tories. I did not think of their politics. I thought only of their wit and fine writing, which, in my youthful confidence, I proposed to myself to emulate; and I could find no previous political journal equally qualified to be its godfather. Even Addison had called his opposition paper the Whig Examiner.

Some dozen years afterward I had an editorial successor, Mr. Fonblanque, who had all the wit for which I toiled, without making any pretensions to it. He was, indeed, the genuine successor, not of me, but of the Swifts and Addisons themselves; profuse of wit even beyond them, and superior in political knowledge. Yet, if I labored hard for what was so easy to Mr. Fonblanque, I will not pretend to think that I did not sometimes find it; and the study of Addison and Steele, of Goldsmith and Voltaire, enabled me, when I was pleased with my subject, to give it the appearance of ease. At other times, especially on serious occasions, I too often got into a declamatory vein, full of what I thought fine turns and Johnsonian antithesis. The new office of editor conspired with my success as a critic to turn my head. I wrote, though anonymously, in the first person, as if, in addition to my theatrical pretensions, I had suddenly become an oracle

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