Anti-Jacobin Review

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James Gillray, "A Peep Into the Cave of Jacobinism" (1798). Published in the Anti-Jacobin Review. Gillray-Cave.jpg
James Gillray, "A Peep Into the Cave of Jacobinism" (1798). Published in the Anti-Jacobin Review.

The Anti-Jacobin Review and Magazine, or, Monthly Political and Literary Censor (1798 to 1821), a conservative British political periodical, was founded by John Gifford [pseud. of John Richards Green] (1758–1818) after the demise of William Gifford's The Anti-Jacobin, or, Weekly Examiner (1797–1798). Gifford and Robert Bisset were the chief writers, and the political philosopher James Mill wrote reviews. Described as "often scurrilous" and "ultra-Tory," [1] the journal contained essays, reviews, and satirical engravings, notably by James Gillray. It grew out of the political ferment of the period and was a vocal element of the British Anti-Jacobin backlash against the ideals of the French Revolution.


The first edition was published on 1 August 1798 and was advertised in The Times as "containing Original Criticism; a Review of the Reviewers; Miscellaneous Matter in Prose and Verse, Lists of Marriages, Births, Deaths and Promotions; and a Summary of Foreign and Domestic Politics." [2]

Contributors included Robert Bisset (1758/9–1805), John Bowles (1751–1819), Arthur Cayley (1776–1848), George Gleig, Samuel Henshall (1764/5–1807), James Hurdis, John Oxlee (1779–1854), Richard Penn (1733/4–1811), Richard Polwhele, John Skinner (1744–1816), William Stevens (1732–1807), and John Whitaker (1735–1808), though as items were frequently published anonymously attributions are often unclear.

It denounced reformers, especially the Evangelicals, and greatly angered them, as William Wilberforce, a leader of the anti-slavery movement, made clear in 1800:

It is a most mischievous publication, which, by dint of assuming a tone of the highest loyalty and attachment to our establishment in church and state, secures a prejudice in its favour, and has declared war against what I think the most respectable and most useful of all orders of men--the serious clergy of the Church of England. . . . Its opposition to the evangelical clergy is carried on in so venomous a way, and with so much impudence, and so little regard to truth, that the mischief it does is very great indeed. It accuses them in the plainest terms, and sometimes by name, as being disaffected both to church and state. [3]

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The Anti-Jacobin, or, Weekly Examiner was an English newspaper founded by George Canning in 1797 and devoted to opposing the radicalism of the French Revolution. It lasted only a year, but was considered highly influential, and is not to be confused with the Anti-Jacobin Review, a publication which sprang up on its demise. The Revolution polarized British political opinion in the 1790s, with conservatives outraged at the killing of the king Louis XVI of France, the expulsion of the nobles, and the Reign of Terror. Great Britain went to war against Revolutionary France. Conservatives castigated every radical opinion in Great Britain as "Jacobin", warning that radicalism threatened an upheaval of British society. The Anti-Jacobin sentiment was expressed in print. William Gifford was its editor. Its first issue was published on 20 November 1797 and during the parliamentary session of 1797–98 it was issued every Monday.

John Gifford was an English political writer. He was born John Richards Green until changing his name at the age of 23.

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  1. John Strachan, “Gifford, William (1756–1826),” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison (Oxford: OUP, 2004. Online ed. Ed. Lawrence Goldman. May 2006. 7 May 2007).
  2. "New Review and Magazine". Classified Advertising. The Times (4235). London. 20 July 1798. p. 2.
  3. Quoted in Ford K. Brown, Fathers of the Victorians: The Age of Wilberforce (1961) p 187.


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