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the seats of the playhouse, he is depriving many of bread. This, I need not say, is a truly serious consideration. The character of an assassin who stabs in the dark, cannot be a very desirable one. Yet in the awful name of the Maker of heaven and earth and of all things therein, what other term can be applied to the anonymous writer, who, goaded on by the blackest malignity, remorselessly pursues his unoffending, his defenceless, his prostrate victim, till he renders life an insupportable burden, and hurries him on to the awful precipice of selfmurder !
BY RICHARD RUSH
A COUNTRY is not to be understood by a few months' residence in it. So many component parts go to make up the grand total, where civilisation, and freedom, and power, are on a large scale, that the judgment gets perplexed. It pauses for re-examination. It must be slow in coming to conclusions, if it would be right. Often it must change them. A member of the diplomatic corps, an enlightened and shrewd observer, said to me a few days ago, that, at the end of his first year, he thought he knew England very well ; when the third year had gone by, he began to have doubts; and that now, after a still longer time, his opinions were more unsettled than ever. Some he had changed entirely ; others had undergone modification, and he knew not what fate was before the rest.
There was reason in his remark. If it be not contradictory, I would say, that he showed his good judgment in appearing to have at present no judgment at all. The stranger sees in England, prosperity the most amazing, with what seems to strike at the root of all prosperity. He sees the most profuse expenditure, not by the nobles alone, but large classes besides ; and throughout classes far larger, the most resolute industry supplying its demands and repairing its waste ; taxation strained to the utmost, with an ability unparalleled to meet it ; pauperism that is
startling, with public and private charity munificent and unfailing, to feed, clothe, and house it; the boldest freedom, with submission to law; ignorance and crime so widely diffused as to appal, with genius, and learning, and virtue to reassure ; intestine commotions perpetually predicted, and never happening; constant complaints of poverty and suffering, with constant increase in aggregate wealth and power. These are some of the anomalies which he sees. How is he then at once to pass upon them all ? he, a stranger, when the foremost of the natives in knowledge and intelligence, do nothing but differ after studying them a life-time ; when in every journal, every book, every pamphlet that comes out about England politically, he reads scarcely any thing but conflicting assertions, conflicting opinions, conflicting conclusions; when this is alike the case in their parliamentary speeches--even in the very statements and evidence contained in the elaborate reports emanating from the same body.
One of the things that strike me most, is their daily press. By nine in the morning, the newspapers are on my breakfast table, containing the debate of the preceding night. This is the case, though it may have lasted until one, two, or three in the morning. There is no disappointment; hardly a typographical error.
The speeches on both sides are given with like care and fulness ; a mere rule of justice to be sure, without which the paper would have no credit; but fit to be mentioned where party feeling always runs as high as in England.
This promptitude is the result of what alone could produce it; an unlimited command of subdivided labour of the hand and mind. The proprietors of the great newspapers, employ as many stenographers as they want.
One stays until his sheet is full ; he proceeds with it to the printing office, where he is soon followed by another with his ; and so on, until the last arrives. Thus the debate as it advances is in progress of printing, and when finished, is all in type but the last part. Sometimes it will occupy twelve and fourteen broad, closely-printed, columns. The proprietors enlist the most able pens for editorial articles; and as correspondents, from different parts of Europe. Their pecuniary ability to do so, may be judged of from the fact, that the leading papers pay to the government an annual tax in stamps, of from twenty to fifty thousand pounds sterling. I have been told that some of them yield a profit of fifteen thousand pounds sterling a year, after paying this tax, and all expenses. The profits of “ The Times," are said to have exceeded eighteen thousand a year. The cost of a daily paper to a regular subscriber, is about ten pounds sterling a year; but subdivision comes in to make them cheap. They are circulated by agents at a penny an hour in London. When a few days old, they are sent to the provincial towns, and through the country, at reduced prices. In this manner, the parliamentary debates and proceedings, impartially and fully reported, go through the nation. The newspaper sheet is suited to all this service, being large, the paper substantial, and type good. Nothing can exceed the despatch with which the numerous impressions are worked off, the mechanical operations having reached a perfection calculated to astonish those who would examine them.
What is done in the courts of law, is disseminated in the same way. Every argument, trial, and decision, of whatever nature, or before whatever court, goes immediately into the newspapers. There is no delay. The following morning ushers it forth. I took the liberty of
remarking to one of the judges, upon the smallness of the rooms in which the courts of King's Bench and Chancery sit, when the proceedings were so interesting that great numbers of the public would like to hear them. “We sit,” said he, every day in the newspapers.” How much did that answer comprehend ! what an increase of responsibility in the judge ! I understood, from a source not less high, that the newspapers are as much to be relied upon, as the books of law reports in which the cases are afterwards published ; that, in fact, the newspaper report is apt to be the best, being generally the most full, as well as quite accurate. If not the latter, the newspaper giving it would soon fall into disrepute, and give way to more accurate competitors. Hence, he who keeps his daily London paper, has, at the year's end, a volume of the annual law reports of the kingdom, besides all other matter; and what variety, what entertainment, what a fund of original discussion and anecdote, does every paper contain !
In the discussions, editorial as otherwise, there is a remarkable fearlessness. Things that in Junius' time would have put London in a flame, and things as well written, pass almost daily without notice. Neither the sovereign nor his family are spared. Parliament sets the example, and the newspapers follow. Of this, the debates on the royal marriages in the course of the present month, give illustrations. There are countries in which the
is more free, by law, than with the English ; for although they impose no previous restraints, their definition of libel is so loose, that a jury may make one out of almost any thing ; but perhaps no where has the press, in point of fact, so much latitude.
Every thing goes into the newspapers. In other coun