Henry Reeve - Encyclopedia

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HENRY REEVE (1813-1895), English publicist, younger son of Henry Reeve, a well-known Whig physician and writer of Norwich, and nephew of Mrs. Sarah Austin, was born at Norwich on the 9th of September 1813. He was educated at the Norwich grammar school under Edward Valpy. During his holidays he saw a good deal of the young John Stuart Mill. In 1829 he studied at Geneva and mixed in Genevese society, then very brilliant, and including the Sismondis, Huber, Bonstetten, De Candolle, Rossil, Krasinski (his most intimate friend), and Mickiewicz, whose Faris he translated. During a visit to London in 1831 he was introduced to Thackeray and Carlyle, while through the Austins he made the acquaintance of other men of letters. Next year, in Paris, he met Victor Hugo, Cousin, and Scott. He travelled in Italy, sat under Schelling at Munich and under Tieck at Dresden, became in 1835-36 a frequenter of Madame de Circourt's salon, and numbered among his friends Lamartine, Lacordaire, De Vigny, Thiers, Guizot, Montalembert, and De Tocqueville, of whose books, Democratie en Amerique and the Ancien regime, he made standard translations into English. In 1837 he was made clerk of appeal and then registrar to the judicial committee of the Privy Council. From 1840 to 1855 he wrote for The Times, his close touch with men like Guizot, Bunsen, Lord Clarendon, and his own chief at the Privy Council Office, Charles Greville, enabling him to write with authority on foreign policy during the critical period from 1848 to the end of the Crimean War. Upon the promotion of Sir George Cornewall Lewis to the Cabinet early in 1855 Reeve was asked by Longman to edit the April number of the Edinburgh Review, to which his father had been one of the earliest contributors, and in the following July he became the editor. His friendship with the Orleanist leaders in France survived all vicissitudes, but he was appealed to for guidance by successive French ambassadors, and was more than once the medium of private negotiations between the English and French governments. In April 1863 he published what was perhaps the most important of his contributions to the Edinburgh - a searching review of Kinglake's Crimea; and in 1872 he brought out a selection of his Quarterly and Edinburgh articles on eminent Frenchmen, entitled Royal and Republican France. Three years later appeared the first of three instalments (1875, 1885 and 1887) of his edition of the famous Memoirs which Charles Greville had placed in his hands a few hours before his death in 1865. A purist in point of form and style, of the school of Macaulay and Milman, Reeve outlived his literary generation, and became eventually one of the most reactionary of old Whigs. Yet he continued to edit and upon the whole to maintain the reputation of the Edinburgh until his death at his seat of Foxholes, in Hants, on the 21st of October 1895. He had been elected a member of "The Club" in 1861, and was made a D.C.L. by Oxford University in 1869, a C.B. in 1871, and a corresponding member of the French Institute in 1865. A striking panegyric was pronounced upon him by his lifelong friend, the duc d'Aumale, before the Academic des Sciences in November 1895.

His Memoirs and Letters (2 vols., with portrait) were edited by Sir J. K. Laughton, in 1898. (T. SE.)

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