1865 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Leitch Ritchie

Anonymous, Obituary in Gentleman's Magazine NS 18 (March 1865) 390.



Mr. Leitch Ritchie, a well-known writer, and formerly for several years the editor of Chambers' Edinburgh Journal. He was a native of Greenock, and commenced his literary career in early days, whilst clerk in a mercantile firm, by starting a small periodical, called The Wanderer. He afterwards removed to London, where he edited in succession The Englishman's Magazine, The Era, and The Indian News; he also produced the letterpress for such illustrated works as Turner's Annual Tour, and Heath's Picturesque Annual, beside superintending the issue of The Library of Romance, to which he contributed the story of Schinderhannes, the Robber of the Rhine. But his tale of Wearyfoot Common, originally published in Chambers' Journal, is that by which readers of the later generation will best remember him. The Scotsman says of him: — "In Edinburgh, where Mr. Ritchie resided for several years while acting as literary conductor of Chambers' Journal, the announcement of his death will cause sympathy and regret to every one who knew him. Of quiet, retiring disposition, and occupied entirely in literary pursuits, Mr. Ritchie had no large circle of friends; but by that select, if small number, he was respected and loved as a genial and cheerful companion, accomplished and well read, of kindliest and most gentlemanly manners and feelings. As an author Leitch enjoyed an extensive reputation, originally acquired by some fortunate hits early in life, and which his industry and perseverance, combined with his true natural talent and excellent taste, enabled him steadily to maintain throughout some forty years of hard literary labour. In The Men of the Time it is stated that he was born in Greenock 'about the beginning of the century,' but if this be correct he looked a much older man than he was — an effect, probably, so far produced by the wear and tear of his constant application to letters, and heightened by the infirmity of deafness, by which he was for many years afflicted."