success to revive the old fashion of Edinburgh suppers by opening his house on two evenings a week. A vivid picture of his social charm and curious power of mimicry is given in Carlyle's ‘Reminiscences’ (ii. 37). At Craigcrook Jeffrey amused himself in his garden and by miscellaneous reading. He was a sloven in regard to books, and had a ‘wretched collection,’ though in a ‘moment of infirmity’ he joined the Bannatyne Club in 1826. Craigcrook received a final addition in 1835.
On 5 June 1841 he had a bad fainting-fit in court, followed by a long illness, which permanently weakened him. On 22 Nov. 1842 he was moved to the first division of the court of session. His judgments in the lower court were given in writing. He now sat with three colleagues, and cases were argued and judgments given in open court. According to Cockburn, he was singularly patient, painstaking, and candid. His fault was over-volubility and mutability, which led him to interpose a ‘running margin of questions, suppositions, and comments’ throughout the argument. But his urbanity and openness of mind made him exceedingly popular, especially with the bar. On the disruption of the church, Jeffrey sympathised with the claims of those who formed the free church, and gave an opinion from the bench in their favour, which was overruled by the majority, and ultimately by the House of Lords.
His health weakened, but his character only mellowed, and he continued to rejoice in books, natural beauty, and, above all, in the society of his grandchildren. He frequently gave advice to young authors, and formed a special friendship with Dickens, the old ‘Edinburgh’ reviewer melting into tears over the most sentimental passages of his friend's novels. He revised the proof-sheets of the first two volumes of Macaulay's history, boasting of his skill as a corrector of the press. He was especially proud of his accuracy in punctuation. He sank slowly, though retaining his faculties, and died on 26 Jan. 1850. On 31 Jan. he was buried very quietly in the Dean cemetery, near Edinburgh, at a spot which he had himself pointed out. A statue by Steel, bought by subscription among his friends, was erected to his memory in the outer house.
A portrait by Colvin Smith of Edinburgh, an engraving from which is prefixed to Cockburn's ‘Life,’ is said to be the best likeness. There is a portrait in Kay's ‘Edinburgh Portraits’ (ii. 388), and a marble bust in the National Portrait Gallery, by Patrick Park. Carlyle (Reminiscences, ii. 14) describes his ‘delicate, attractive, dainty little figure … uncommonly bright black eyes, instinct with honesty, intelligence, and kindly fire, rounded brow, delicate oval face full of rapid expression, figure light, nimble, pretty though small, perhaps hardly five feet in height.’ A description of Jeffrey in court is in Lockhart's ‘Peter's Letters to his Kinsfolk’ (1819). Mrs. Jeffrey never recovered the shock of her husband's death, and died, 18 May 1850, at the house of her son-in-law, William Empson [q. v.], married on 27 June 1838 to her only child, Charlotte.
Jeffrey was a man of singular tenderness, exceedingly sensitive, and so nervous as always to anticipate evil. He never lost a friend, and was most affectionate in his family, a lover of children, and chivalrous to women, with whom he liked to cultivate little flirtations. Mrs. Carlyle was one of his special friends. He was known for liberality to poor men of letters. He offered to settle an annuity of 100l. upon Carlyle, though he thought little of Carlyle's writings, and lent him 100l. at a critical moment [see other details under Carlyle, Thomas]. When Moore was in difficulties, Jeffrey made him an offer of 500l. (Moore, Memoirs, ii. 138, iii. 350); and when Hazlitt was dying, Jeffrey answered to a request for help by an immediate present of 50l. The sufferers under his critical lash naturally saw little of his finer qualities. Jeffrey had seated himself upon the critical bench with the audacity of a youthful judge, and, like other critics, discovered that fault-finding was easier than praise. The want of enthusiasm, which made him a despondent politician, prevented any real sympathy with the great literary movement of the time. He cared little for the romanticism or mysticism of Scott, Coleridge, Wordsworth, or Shelley. The code of laws which he administered was substantially the orthodox code of the previous generation, and his fear of the ridiculous kept his real warmth of feeling in the background. At the end of his career he stated his conviction that Rogers and Campbell were the only two poets of his day who would win enduring fame. Such praises as he bestowed upon Scott, Byron, and Moore were carefully balanced by blame, and followed, instead of anticipating, the popular verdict. The more chilling and negative character of his critical judgments has lowered his fame till it is difficult to understand how not only Cockburn, but Carlyle, pronounced him to be the first of all English critics. Carlyle compares him to Voltaire, whom he resembles in the brightness, vivacity, and versatility of his intellect. The essays, though little read, and marked by the defects of