London, Volume 5
The Englishman cannot exist without his newspaper. Foreigners laugh sometimes at the Englishman and his tea-kettle.
The newspaper is, however, a still more indispensable necessary of life. Give the working-man his pint of beer, and he will not ask for tea, but he must have his newspaper. Every countytown has its newspaper; every distant colony, however remote, recent, or small. The regular settlers in New Zealand had the number of their colonial newspaper printed in London, and the a few days after they landed. Melbourne (Port Philip) and Adelaide (South Australia), the foundations of which were unlaid years ago, have each their or newspapers. Nay, the very military stations--the cantonments of our armies in the East-must have their newspapers; and the
is already more than a year old. In all the new settlements of Englishmen the order of proceedings appears to be :--, to run up sheds to cover themselves from the weather; next to kindle a fire and set the tea-kettle on to boil; and then to set about printing a newspaper, though it should be done, like the
by a mangle instead of an ordinary printing-press. These necessaries
|insured, John Bull is contented-breeches will come in time, when those he has brought with him are worn out.|
The newspaper is a European invention, and a necessary consequence of the invention of the printing-press. There were substitutes for newspapers even before Faust and Guttenberg, but poor shabby makeshifts they were. The Romans had their , a daily manuscript paper, both under the republic and the empire. It appears to have contained an abstract of the proceedings of public assemblies, of the law-courts, of the punishment of offenders, accounts of any public buildings or other works in progress, together with a list of births, deaths, marriages, and divorces. It is not only in the staple materials of the that we find a close parallel to our modern newspapers. The manner in which the former were
appears to have been not unlike what now prevails.
says a writer in the
The Senate of Rome appears to have been as jealous of the reporters' gallery as the British Parliament. It was a close court until the consulship of Julius Caesar, who no sooner entered upon his office than he made provision for giving the same publicity to all the proceedings of the Senate that already existed for the more popular assemblies. Under the despotism of Augustus and his successors, publicity was inconvenient, and prohibited; the subordinate assemblies had lost their political importance; and with the extinction of political news the lost their interest. At the best this state gazette can have been but a meagre document: the conversational wit of Horace, and the dainties of Apicius, may have equalled anything modern times have known; but Cicero himself never knew what it was to have on his table at breakfast. Perhaps in the police and crim. con. department the were equal to any modern newspaper. Not a gazette appears, says Seneca, without its divorce, so that our matrons, from constantly hearing of them, soon learn to follow the example.
In all civilised or semi-civilised countries the profession of news-writer (as it is to be found in the East at this day) was probably followed; but the services of the news-writer were hired out to private patrons. Before the introduction of printed newspapers it would appear that our great English families had private gazetteers in London, who transmitted the news of the day to them in written letters. This custom accounts for the following memorandum extracted from the archives of the Clifford family by Whitaker, in his
of any respectable provincial journal has in our days a guinea a letter.) As the people in any state rose into importance, their governors found it necessary to keep them in good humour by telling them, or pretending to tell them, what it was about. Thus the war which the republic of Venice waged against the Turks in Dalmatia in is said to have given rise to the custom of communicating
| military and commercial news by written sheets, which were read in a particular place to those desirous to hear them, who paid for this privilege in a small coin then current, called , a name which came in time to be transferred to the written sheets themselves. The Venetian government ultimately gave these announcements in a regular manner once a month; but they were too jealous ever to allow them to be printed. Only a few written copies were transmitted to various places, and read to those who paid to hear. A device of the same kind (but with the aid of the printing-press) is said to have been resorted to by the ministers of Queen Elizabeth. Copies of a printed paper, called |
are preserved in the Library of the (Dr. Birch's
No. ). They relate to the attempted descent of the Spanish Armada, and are numbered , , and , in the corner of their upper margins. No more recent numbers of this publication are known to exist. Strong doubts have been expressed of the authenticity of those now mentioned; we believe that they may most safely be set down as forgeries. But that other European governments, both at that time and earlier, had occasionally adopted the Venetian plan, appears to be beyond dispute.
has become the designation for the notifications of civil governments, just as
has for those of victorious generalsand the estimation of both on the score of veracity stands very nearly on a par. Gazettes of this kind are not exactly newspapers, nor can newspapers, with strict accuracy, be said to have originated with them, though they undoubtedly suggested hints as to topics and arrangement, and even their name has been borrowed by newspapers properly so called.
The newspaper proper is a pamphlet, published periodically. The invention of the printing-press, if it did not give birth to the pamphlet, certainly increased its frequency and power over public opinion. Pamphlets were of kinds: there were the letters, exhortations, discussions of isolated points of politics or theology of Luther, his associates, or adversaries; and there was the pamphlet of news. In this island John Knox's
was a specimen of the former; and the
published in , for N. Newberry, of the latter. The periodical appearance of the
--the continuing the same name to it, and distinguishing each successive publication by a number-followed as a matter of course. A news-collector, of established reputation, found this the best way of
upon his publications; a printer found it convenient to have such continuous employment for his press. The object of the private news-publisher was really and truly to communicate all he knew, and to learn as much as he could, for the reputation and consequent sale of his work would depend upon the quantity and quality of its contents. The Government Gazettes, on the other hand, were as often meant to conceal as to publish, and, at all events, sought to give a convenient colouring to what they did tell. The defect of the newspaper arose from the difficulty of getting at the real truth; it was necessarily made up in a great measure of -hand gossip. This long kept newspaper information at a low estimate, aided by the want of the official stamp of authenticity and the natural propensity of gossips to undervalue all information that is not exclusive: what was printed was common property, or, as Ben Jonson hath
| it in his |
had ceased to be by being printed. The of provincial towns, who go about swelling with importance because they have a scrap of intelligence in the hand-writing of their own especial M.P. (which, to , he picked out of the morning papers), are the concentrated essence of this feeling; but, more or less diluted, it pervades all minds.
The newspaper, we have said, is a European invention, and we may add, that it is of or other of types--the London or the Parisian. It is difficult to say with precision when periodical newspapers began to be published: they grew into form by degrees. They appear to have originated in London and Paris nearly about the same time. Newberry's
of , alluded to above, was followed in , , and by other papers of news from different countries. In the exploits of Gustavus Adolphus excited great curiosity, especially in so Protestant a country as England; and about that time these occasional pamphlets appear to have been converted into a series of periodical .
edited by Nathaniel Butter, seems to have been the weekly newspaper in England. The originator of newspapers at Paris is said to have been Renaudot, a physician, who had found that it was conducive to success in his profession to be able to tell his patients the news. Seasons were not always sickly, but his taste for collecting news was always the same, and he began to think there might be some advantage in printing his intelligence periodically. His scheme succeeded, and in he obtained a privilege for publishing news.
Various circumstances contributed to establish a permanent difference between the London or insular and the Parisian or continental type of newspapers. The of these is the broad and essential distinction between the social character of the cities, which has marked them from the beginning of their history. The wealth and power of Paris and London, rather than any recommendation of local fitness, has made them the capitals of their respective countries. The Governments of France and Great Britain did not choose Paris and London for their metropolitan seats, but were obliged to take their residence in these centres of civil activity and influence. But the wealth and influence of Paris and London sprung from very different sources--the former was made by its university, the latter by its commerce. Paris, the seat of what was once European University, became at an early period, what it has ever since remained, the focus of the intellectual activity of Europe. A Parisian diploma was from early times the passport to the highest employments in church and state; its literary circle was constantly recruited by the most ambitious and clever men of the age from all countries. Paris became the natural head of the constitutional opposition in the Romish church. The Kings of France were less the patrons than the allies of the University of Paris and its ecclesiastical party. The science and literature of Paris, its law, theology, and general learning out-grew the precincts of the university, but the organised phalanx of intellect maintained its unity, even when dispersed through a parliament, a Sorbonne, and academies and colleges innumerable. The intellect of Paris through centuries stood France in lieu of a constitution.
was in the ascendant as long as Paris supported it: the
triumphed as soon as Paris threw itself into the King's scale. Louis XIV. did not create French literature, art, and science: he put a court livery on them to
|conciliate their support. They served him better than armies. They upheld the French throne and its influence in Europe while they remained courtly, and they overthrew it when they became popular. Even in our day the literary spirit of Paris is in the ascendant while Thiers and Guizot contend for the mastery. London, on the other hand, has had many eminent scholars, and literary and scientific men; but London never has been itself literary or scientific: it never was the seat of a university (till recently, and the plant is still a hothouse ). But the relative position of London to the Continent made it, before the discoveries of the Portuguese, the seat of British commerce: all the ramifications of early British trade came to centre in London; and when new worlds were laid open to European enterprize, and England from its situation came to engross the lion's share of the trade, London continued the great broker or agent of all England. The Kings of England called London their treasury, and naturally chose to reside near or in it; and the merchants of London caught the spirit of statesmen, but without acquiring the refinement of scholars. The newspapers of capitals so very different received, camelion-like, their hue from the nearest objects : those of Paris have, from the , displayed more taste, more power of amusing, but also more of scholastic abstraction. Rougher and less highly finished, the journals of London have grappled with the practical questions of life in a more judicious and manly spirit.|
Another of the circumstances alluded to, and it is the only other that calls for particular notice, is the very different political character and relations of the capitals, and also of their countries. Wealth procured by individual enterprise begets that independent confident spirit which struggles against organization and controul; professional scholarship, whether of the church or the law, or any auxiliary sciences, begets a respect for established order--the ambitious wish to direct it, the less aspiring require its advantages and submit to it. The natural temper of the London public threw them into the popular scale in our national tumults; the natural temper of the Parisians threw them into many factions, but always among the supporters of power. The Paris of the League, or of Henri IV.-the Paris of the Fronde, or of Mazarin--was always the supporter of a government: it opposed the king to uphold the kingly power. London, on the other hand, struggled for individual self--will against all or any government. The newspaper press of either city caught in this respect also that city's character; and the difference was rendered wider and more marked by the different progress of the historical development of the frame of government in the countries. The great struggle between the popular and monarchical principle was fought out in France, and decided in favour of the monarchy before newspapers arose; it was fought out in England after their invention, in no slight degree by their means, and by their means, in great part, decided in favour of popular government with the greatest possible respect for individual rights. From the time of Renaudot the newspaper press in France was licensed: it was prepared by walking in a go-cart in infancy, to walk gracefully in chains in its maturer years. The newspaper press in London was a chartered libertine from the beginning, and no attempt to license it was long persisted in.
gave so little satisfaction, that in the course of little more than years it
| was superseded by the |
the mere vehicle of government advertisements, and the real newspaper trade again left free to private enterprise.
The manufacture of English newspapers was for a long time confined exclusively to London. It was not till that a provincial newspaper was known in England. The was the
published in that year at the charge of a penny, but
A newspaper was introduced in Scotland,but as an exotic or hot-house luxury, about half a century earlier. During the
a party of Cromwell's troops, sent to Leith in , for the purpose of garrisoning the citadel, took a printer with them, Christopher Higgins, to reprint a London diurnal, called
for their amusement and edification. Edinburgh being then a capital, continued from that time to have its newspaper (though with intervals); but the earliest permanent Scotch newspapers were the
(), and the
(). Ireland, like Scotland, had its exotic short-lived newspaper during the civil war; but the earliest Irish paper was Pue's
started in . The earliest Colonial newspapers (Boston and New York) were also commenced during the decennium of the eighteenth century. All new provincial newspapers--of the English school--were framed upon the model of the London Journals, and their successors have continued to follow close in the wake of the London newspaper press, copying from time to time its improvements, and always deriving the greater part of their news from it. Even the portentous activity of the New York Journals, with their agents boarding packet-ships and steamers out at sea in search of news, is merely a scramble to get hold of the earliest London newspapers, in order to
London newspapers have a local habitation as well as a name. The greater part of them are printed and published in and , and the immediately adjoining parts of the streets which cross them from a little way west of , and a very little way east of Blackfriars. This region is the great exchange or mart of intelligence in London--the
to borrow a phrase from rare Ben Jonson. This part of London is a very Temple of Fame. Here rumours and gossip from all regions of the world come pouring in, and from this echoing hall are reverberated back in strangely modified echoes to all parts of Europe. It is impossible to conceive the restless activity-the unintermitting fever and fret of intellect--the ceaseless clanking of steam-engines --the sleepless drudgery of human thinking and physical faculties--the money spent and earned in this region, except by going a little into the detail of the compiling, printing, and publishing of newspapers, and the statistics of the newspaper trade.
There are distinct classes whose business is about newspapers. There are the intellectual workers (by courtesy called so, for with some of them it is a sufficiently mechanical kind of work), or compilers and composers of newspapers; there are the mechanical workers, or printers of all grades and denominations; and there are the publishers, newsvenders, &c., whose business it is, by wholesale or retail, to aid in disseminating the completed work. The connexion between the composers and printers of newspapers is more or less intimate and permanent; the publishers and these classes are in general rather more independent of each other--their connexion is more precarious.
The London newspapers are generally spoken of as divided into classes: will serve our present purpose--the daily, and those which are published at longer intervals. The daily papers are, at least in a mercantile point of view, the more important. It was assumed, in , that the capital invested in the daily papers of London did not amount to less than Of this about -thirds was assumed to be represented by the morning papers. It is by these that the greatest expense is incurred in the collection of materials--the employment of parliamentary reporters, foreign correspondents, and other gleaners of information. The expenses of the evening newspapers are for these comparatively trifling; they are in the habit of taking great part of their news from the morning papers. The outlay of the less frequently published papers is still less. Of those which are published twice or thrice a-week, a good many are indeed mere of the dailies--a dishing--up of their news in another form for another class of readers. The weeklies have in general a separate and independent existence, but they too are generally beholden for their mere news in great part to the dailies.
The --the leading journal--may be taken as an example of the manner in which a daily paper is got up; the others are, making allowance for difference of scale and expenditure, conducted much in the same manner. In -(there have been changes since, but only in the and the inferior matters of detail; for our purpose, which is not to calculate the value of the property, but to give an idea of the system of management, the old story will do equally well; indeed, better, as it relieves us from all personal reflections). In , then, the had, or was understood to have, editors, or reporters, at a very liberal annual salary, with an uncertain number of foreign correspondents, news collectors, and occasional contributors. For the mere mechanical department of the business there were or clerks, or readers, attendants on the machinery, and about compositors. There was controlling editor, to whose inspection everything was subjected, and who had a voice omnipotent as to the insertion or rejection of all articles. Such a presiding genius is found indispensable, in the place, to insure unity of plan and purpose; and, in the place, to prevent mistakes in judgment, or oversights which might bring the journal under the tender mercies of the law. The other editors confine themselves to departments; was the foreign editor, and so on. The reporters were engaged to report the proceedings in Parliament, or in the Courts of Law while sitting, and the most stirring transactions of the provinces, at intervals when any important movement is going on--more especially during the parliamentary recess. The foreign correspondents are generally gentlemen, with professional pursuits, resident at the capital whence their letters are most frequently dated. The foreign intelligence is compiled from the foreign journals, from the communications of the regular correspondents, and sometimes from information volunteered from different sources. The Parliamentary debates are supplied by relays of reporters--a certain number to each House. When an important debate is expected in either House of Parliament, a detachment of reporters-say --are placed upon it. The reporter takes notes for an hour, before the end of which time the is by his side ready to relieve him. The then hurries to the office to write out his notes for the
| compositors. The remains for an hour, and then hurries away like the former; while the is taking notes for another hour; and he is followed in the same manner by the . The reporter is now ready to succeed the ; he takes notes for another hour, is relieved by the , and so on till the House breaks up. The time of taking notes is frequently limited to -quarters of an hour, or even less. By this process the whole of a series of debates, which began at or in the afternoon, and continued till or in the morning, is issued to the public within a few hours after the debate has terminated. Accidents and offences, provincial incidents, and the like, are supplied by a class of contributors who have no regular engagement, but are paid by the job. The |
when composed, is printed by a machine worked by steam-power, capable of printing copies in an hour, --that is, on both sides, The paper is generally put to press at in the morning, and at the whole impression is worked off. Mr. Babbage, after describing the manner in which -and- columns are formed into pages and placed on the platform of the printing-machine, says:
when printed, consists of pages of columns each. The printed area of the whole paper (both sides) is more than square feet, or a space of nearly feet by . On a rough estimate, it contains about words. Compared with an octavo volume, having a page of print measuring by inches, the area of the is equal to more than of the octavo pages; and allowing for difference in size of type, to perhaps . In addition, to this the has of late, in order to find room for its advertisements, been accompanied by a supplement of half the size of the paper, on an average times a-week. All this is sold to the public at the price of The enormous circulation and the charge for advertisements enables the proprietors to incur the expenditure above indicated, allow a fair profit to publishers and newsvenders, and grow rich themselves by their property. During the last quarter of , the took out stamps, and paid of advertisement duty. All the other morning papers have a similar establishment to the
though on a smaller scale: the establishments of the evening papers are of course rather less expensive. Some estimate of the comparative influence of the different daily journals upon public opinion, and of their comparative value as properties, may be formed by the aid of the following extract from the returns of the newspaper stamp and advertisement duty for the last quarter of :--
The weekly newspapers (for the papers published thrice a-week are in general mere of the dailies, and those published twice a-week do not differ in any material respects from their weekly brethren) take the staple of their news from the daily papers. Their outlay is chiefly incurred for literary or political communications, and for printing. Some weekly papers have their own establishments, while others employ a printer to do the work at his own establishment. When the proprietors print their own paper, they require to engage a printer or manager, whose duty it is to give out the copy to the compositors, to see that the proofs are ready by the time the editor requires them, to put the articles into columns, arrange paragraphs, &c. &c. A reader is also employed to read the proofs, after the compositor has put the types together. The number of compositors varies in such an establishment from to ; an extra number being generally required at the end of the week, when the late news has to be finished off, or when supplements are given. The majority of weekly papers are now, however, printed under contract by some established London printer with his own materials. The proprietors find this more economical than going to the expense of taking and paying rent for a printing-office, purchasing founts of type and all other materials, and, in short, incurring all the expenses which printing is heir to. This is not the only new subdivision of employments and combination of labour occasioned of late years by the increased capitals invested in the printing business, the general adoption of the steam-press, &c.: there are proprietors, who have their paper composed on their own premises by their own workmen, and have it printed off at the steam-press of some of the great printers. Such arrangements have a twofold effect,--they encourage the starting of new papers by diminishing the pecuniary risk; and they increase the number of short-lived newspapers; for when less capital is invested in dead stock, men let go a losing or not very profitable speculation more lightly. On the whole, however, they give greater vivacity to the newspaper business. If the weekly papers are shorter lived, there are always successors to those which drop off ready to rush into the field--there are more of them jostling and squabbling for a circulation at the same time. If the magnificent scale on which operations are conducted at the office in Printing House Square is striking from its magnitude, the getting up of the multitudinous weekly papers in some of the courts of is perhaps the more bustling and vivacious subject of contemplation. Several adjoining courts may have their half-dozen printing establishments each; and to each of these editors and sub-editors (great part of whose work is done elsewhere) repair for a few hours in each week to superintend the progress of printing. The houses which lay themselves out for this kind of business have rooms fitted up to accommodate the editors at their periodical visits. Sometimes, in addition to , , or different newspapers composed and printed at of those establishments, there may be the
of or more duly transmitted to be printed. The head-work which passes
|through those establishments in its way to the public is inconceivable, both in its quantity and varied quality. The fingers of the compositors cease not; the clash and clang of the steam-press knows no intermission. In the topics and manner of treating them the establishment takes no concern. Nonconformists, Railway Times, Illustrated News, Roman Catholic, Colonial, and all other kinds of organs or mouthpieces are set up and thrown off with the same conscientious accuracy, and the same utter indifference to their contents. These printing establishments are indeed machines which receive without feeling the tender thoughts of anxious and harassed editors and contributors, and tease and shake them into a shape fit to appear before the public, incapable of sympathising with the anxious anticipations of the brain-parents.|
And now having got our newspapers into shape, let us look to the mode of their publication. The business of the publisher is to deal out to the different newsmen the number of papers they require, and receive payment for them. It is a feature of the news-trade, as between publisher and newsvender, deserving of notice, that it is essentially a ready-money business. Except in some few cases, or under peculiar circumstances, no credit is given. The newsman knows that he must get his paper or lose his customer, and the publisher is thus enabled to dictate his own terms. The publisher, properly speaking, is a person appointed by proprietors, with more or less extensive powers of management, to dispose of their paper to the retail dealers, or news-agents. But there is a class of newsmen who, from the extent and nature of their dealings, come very near to the publishers, and are indeed generally called by that name. Their business consists in buying large quantities of newspapers of all sorts, and retailing them to the trade. Their profits are derived from an allowance of on every papers that sell at each, and on every papers that sell at each. Newsvenders, in a small way, who do not sell so many as of any paper, find it more convenient to send to a shop, where they get their papers as cheap as if they sent to each office, and get all they want at once. The profit of a penny or twopence on papers may appear trifling; but when it is taken into account that several of these publishers will take more than a quires of some papers, it will be apparent how a great many pennies must come to a considerable sum.
The small newsvenders, just mentioned, supply only private customers in country or town. They are thickly scattered, not only through the town and suburbs, but are to be found in the towns and villages round about for many miles. There are some who live as far as or miles from town, and yet send daily to their publisher for papers. It will be evident that this class cannot depend entirely upon their small trade in newspapers for a subsistence, but must take to it merely in order to eke out other ways and means. There is among them a considerable diversity of character and employment: most frequently they are, especially in the suburbs, stationers, booksellers, or circulating-library keepers in a small way, and with their occupation newsvending seems to connect itself most legitimately and naturally. But there are interlopers of all trades : greengrocers, who bring out a few papers in the same little spring-van that goes to Covent Garden for vegetables; barbers, who in the semi-rural environs of the metropolis are as great gossips as ever; and the whole tribe of small huxters. Sometimes your newsvender (in the suburbs and suburban villages) is a lady-like person,
| whom the clergyman and good ladies of the neighbourhood have set up and patronise in a small elegant stationer's shop. Sometimes the newsvender is a pompous gentleman in black, with an immense gold chain and seals-so grand, you can scarcely conceive how so great a man comes to be fiddling with an assortment of (or or ) hand books, most of them exposed in the open air, and a library (by courtesy so-called) consisting of some or of every soiled volume of the most common-place modern novels, evidently picked up as chance bargains. At last you find that he was regularly bred in some large bookselling shop, but either could never contrive to get into business for himself, or having got in could not contrive to manage it, and so subsided into his suburban from-hand-to-mouth trade. The lady's shop is generally the resort of the religious gossips of the neighbourhood-she is secretary to half-a-dozen small coal, soup, and clothing societies, and carries on a little manufacture in Berlin wools. The gentleman's shop is the resort of the more free-thinking, literary, and political characters of the vicinity, to whom he recounts his experiences of the - town life-affects to know all its ways-explains intricate political questions (he is generally a liberal with a strong dash of the aristocrat), and is particularly eloquent on the degeneracy of modern newspapers. |
As a counterpart to these gentilities we must not forget their neighbour the radical newsvender. He is generally a shrewd self-educated artisan, who, having been bitten by a mad politician, has got thrown out of employment, if, indeed, he have not fared worse. Being a high-spirited man, he will not live on agitation as a trade; his own is closed against him; so a number of friends agree to take their stationery and papers from him, in order to start him in a small shop. He looks pretty steadily to the general business, and his wife (a woman such as England alone can produce-whose love was at a sentiment of admiration for whom his class regarded as their champion), minds the details. He is not quite cured of his taste for public business; but he struggles earnestly to confine it to a safe channel. He is secretary to some anti-corn-law association; or an opposition member of the vestry; or, if no better employment in this way is to be had, he puts up with a mechanics' institution. His wife thinks in her secret soul that they might prosper better if he would keep himself entirely to their own business; but she never breathes a word about it, for it might make him give up what he takes so much pleasure in. He has himself misgivings of the same kind, and every time the twinge comes across him attends with double vigour to business for or days. On the whole they scramble on tolerably well-never out of difficulties, never sinking under them-respected by all who know them.
A much bigger person than the kind of newsvenders we have been describingthough by no means so topping a character as the publisher--is the London agent, who deals with and supplies country news-agents. Men of this class generally take large supplies of papers direct from their publishing-offices. we know whose papers cost him a a-week. or of this class send their papers by railway-trains. The morning papers sent by the Great Western Railway must be at Paddington by A.M.; they reach Bristol by A.M. Those for the north of England are sent by the Birmingham train, which leaves at A.M. The Southampton and Gosport train starts from
| Elms at A.M. By this route the papers reach Gosport about halfpast A.M. : a steamer is waiting for the arrival of the train, and with its assistance the London morning papers are delivered in the Isle of Wight by half-past A.M. The inhabitants of that island are reading their |
while the London publication of the paper has scarcely finished. An agent who supplies the early papers to Gosport and the Isle of Wight, informs us that his Gosport customers are often supplied before his town customers. The publisher of the gives off the papers that are to be sent by railway , and the agents who receive them are not allowed to supply their town customers with these oozings of the press.
Little did honest Nathaniel Butter, when in he began to publish
contemplate the extent to which the trade he was inventing was to grow. In the course of little more than centuries the small weekly newspaper has expanded into daily, weekly, &c. newspapers The activity set in motion to keep up these papers may be partly inferred from what has been stated above. So many news-collectors incessantly perambulating the streets; peeping into the senate and courts of justice; into the theatres and other places of public amusement; or posting night and day to and from public dinners, agricultural and political meetings in all the provinces of the empire. So many honest spies residing in the capitals both of Christendom and Islam, gathering and transmitting to the London newspapers every rumour of court intrigue-so many theatrical and artistical critics-so many writers of essays, political, moral, (and immoral,) humorous, and instructive-all for the edification of the patrons of the London newspaper press. So many editors devising means of rendering their paper more attractive, collecting matter from all ends of the earth-so many expresses to convey information to the newspapers, or the newspapers to their readers-so many reporters listening (what a penance!) to the lengthy speeches of modern orators, and translating them into grammar and English idiom, in order that they may not discredit the columns of the newspaper-so many newsvenders, with their bags, fetching, and folding, and despatching, by foot-messengers, by post, and by railway-trains. It is a brave bustling life, and in which there is no stint or stay. No sooner do the nightowls, whose business it is to
the morning papers, quit work, than their brother typos, who work by day, are setting to work upon the evening papers. The last copy of the Sunday paper is scarcely
when the compositors on the Monday morning journals are beginning to bestir themselves. Sunday and Saturday arealike days of sale with the newsvender. The half-opened shopwindow, the wall beplastered with placards announcing the contents of the Sunday newspapers, show that the newsman is at his receipt of customs: and at the omnibus-stands and the steam-boat piers the volunteer venders of the newspapers attend to supply the country-going parties with something to read should the time hang heavy on their hands. These last are the lingering remnants (sadly tamed down) of the vociferous itinerants whose adorns the tail of this sketch, as the title of of our earlier newspapers does its head.
The printers of newspapers are much like other printers, but both the authors of newspapers (editors, writers of
and reviews, reporters, penny-aliners, &c.), and the newsvenders are classes with marked distinctive characters.
|The latter have been described above, but their light-foot Mercuries (their errand-boys) must not be passed unnoticed. We have an affection for the little creature, who, be it storm or sunshine, rain or snow, duly brings our newspaper at breakfast-time. It would be a hard heart indeed that could grudge him his Christmas-box annually petitioned for in verse from the Catnach mint. Charles Lamb has celebrated an annual dinner given in days of old to the chimneysweeps. Had he lived till this time he might have recorded--as he only could the annual dinner of the newsvenders' boys. But as such blazon may not be, let us take the account of their last festival, evidently from the pen of some precocious imp of the tribe. We sorely suspect our own juvenile, whom we have more than once caught, on returning from an early walk through the green-lanes in our neighbourhood, taking a furtive glance at the columns of our newspaper totally regardless of the plight we should have been in had the tea and toast been ready before it arrived.|
It is a more delicate matter dealing with the character and position of the literary labourers in the newspaper vineyard. They wield goose-quills too, and are noways slow to betake themselves to their tools, either in attack or defence. A great deal of melancholy cant has of late been vented about the social estimation of journalists as below their deserts. The intellectual character of British journalists, too, it has been said by those who ought to know better, is
| inferior to the French. Neither assertion is true. The cry about the degraded
of journalists has been got up by a knot of kid-glove democrats, who wish to be pets of the saloons, as some French journalists are. The which attaches to the literary character in France, and to writers in journals along with the rest, cannot be expected here. In England a man takes his place in public esteem, not on the strength of his profession, but of his personal character-and may this long be the case. No need expect to find here a company awed into respect by the announcement that he is Mr.-- , editor of the ; but neither need he fear, if his conduct is what it ought to be, that the announcement will make him less regarded. Journalists may command, and do, and have commanded, as much respect in this country as members of any other profession. As to the alleged superiority of the French newspaper press, it is, in respect of news, both as concerns quantity and quality, decidedly inferior to the English; and, without any wish to undervalue the high talents dedicated to journalism in France, there have been, and are, talents quite as high embarked in the profession in London. That the character of mercantile speculation preponderates in our newspapers is, in so far as politics are concerned, rather an advantage than the contrary. The fears of proprietors put a check upon such crude and rash speculations as distinguished the French |
in the days of its St. Simonianism. There may be less of the parade of scientific inquiry in English journals, but there is more of practical statesmanship. The men who are trained to political controversy in association with the party-leaders of their day, and the most active members of the great mercantile interests, are trained in a better school than sentimental and imaginative belle-lettrists, like Lamartine and De Tocqueville.
Within our limits it would be impossible to sketch the characters of newspapers, and a bare list of their names would be tedious. All that can be done is to group them in classes, indicating the peculiarities of each class by a few of the more prominent individuals belonging to it. The daily papers are a class by themselves. They are in the news department less narrators of events than mirrors of the transactions themselves. The full, almost , reports of speechifying meetings, the long collections of protocols and other official documents, are given with a conscientious fidelity that renders these papers sometimes almost as tiresome as the facts they chronicle. There was a time when the newspapers were not allowed to report the proceedings of Parliament, and then they must have been deficient in a very interesting feature. But the fidelity with which the debates in Parliament are now reported has become wearisome. The public has been surfeited with Parliamentary eloquence. To wade through these interminable columns, a man would require to have no other avocation. So strongly is this felt, that all the daily papers are now in the habit of giving, along with their full Parliamentary report (which is intended probably as a matter of record or a ), an abstract of it in the editorial column and few readers, we suspect, venture upon any more. Each of the leading daily papers has a strongly-marked spirit of individuality, impressed upon it in some instances by the projector, and retained through many changes of proprietorship and editorship. is right John Bull; always vigorous and vehement, sometimes to a degree ludicrously disproportioned to the subject of
| discussion. Shrewd and energetic, it is in the last degree when any question comes to be discussed in which the insular prejudices of England come into play. The |
is marked by clear logic, strong prepossessions, and a high gentlemanly tone. It is the paper of a ripe scholar, and withal somewhat of a recluse. The
is characterized by a diplomatic and the natural easy tone of a man of the world. This it inherits from a former editor: the present writers have caught up his mantle, but a flippancy at times breaks out which contrasts disagreeably with the usual tone of the paper. The
is apt to be looked upon as a mere fashionable paper: this is a mistake--there is much vigorous writing and unconventional thought, both in the literary and political departments. The
are undergoing a transmutation, so that we rather conjecture what they are to be than know what they are: the latter is improving in vigour and variety.
The London weekly papers are literary, or political, or sporting, or fashionable, or agricultural, or commercial, or blackguard. To these may be added class papers.
There are only exclusively literary papers: the
The leading political weekly papers are the
The circulation of these papers, according to the latest stamp returns, is--of the
; of the
; of the
; of the
; and of the
represent the opinions of sections of the middle-class liberals; the
is affected by the hard-headed artisans; the
is still nominally the representative of the class which yet glories in the designation of Tory, though its real rank is rendered questionable by the rising conservative journal the
is the only exclusively sporting paper. It is a goodly mass of small type, recording all feats in racing, hunting, boating, coursing, cricketing, and, in short, every that flourishes in the fields of merry England. The
however, supplies its readers with a fair proportion of sporting intelligence. The
a paper of only a few years' standing, is looked up to by some sporting characters as a fair record of the events of the turf. The circulation of
is ; of the
; of the
. The so-called fashionable papers are the
(): they are patronised by the same class that patronised the fashionable novels in their day. Foremost among the agricultural papers stands of the oldest London papers, the
This journal has for ; years been considered, , the farmers' journal: copies circulate almost exclusively among the farmers. The is rather the journal of the corn-factors than of the agriculturists: are circulated weekly among the frequenters of corn-markets. The commercial journals are the
(both excellent papers in their way), with a whole host of
&c. &c. Almost every class and profession have now their special journals: soldiers and sailors have their
the gardeners have a
the lawyers have their
and the justices
| of the peace a paper which takes their name; speculators in steam and railways have the |
the colonial interest has its
and some colonies (as for example New Zealand) have journals of their own published in London. Every sect in religion almost has its newspaper:--the evangelical churchmen have their
the high-churchmen their
the ruling body of the Dissenters their
and their opposition the
section of the Wesleyans patronise the
and our Roman Catholic brethren have their
Perhaps the blackguard papers above alluded to may be named as class papers, and the best way to put a stop to them may be to mark down as blackguards all their supporters. The are a recent invention. The novelty of the speculation insured them a large circulation at , and they still in part retain it; though some old experienced traders shale their heads, and