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tries, matter of a public nature may be seen in them; here, in addition, you see perpetually the concerns of mere individuals. Does a private gentleman come to town, or take his departure for Brighton? you hear it in the newspapers; does he build a house, or buy an estate? they give the information; does he entertain his friends; you have all their names next day in type, with sometimes also a list of the very dishes and courses; is the drapery of a lady's drawing room changed from red damask and gold to white satin and silver ? the fact is publicly announced. So of a thousand other things. The first burst of it all upon Madame de Stael, led her to remark, that the English seemed to have realized the fable of living with a window in their bosoms. It may be thought that this is confined to a class, who, surrounded by the allurements of wealth, seek this kind of publicity to their names and movements. If it were only so, the class is large, beyond all parallel, in England ; but its influence affects other classes, giving each in their way the habit of allowing their personal inclinations and objects to be dealt with in print ; so that, altogether, these are thrown upon the public to an extent without example in any other country, ancient or modern. When the drama at Athens took cognisance of private life, what was said became known first to a few listeners ; then to a small town ; but in three days, a London newspaper reaches every part of the kingdom, and in three months every part of the globe.
Some will suppose that the newspapers govern the country. Nothing would be more unfounded. There is a power not only in the government, but in the country itself above them, and this lies in the educated classes. True, the daily press is of the educated class ; for
its conductors hold the pens of scholars, often of statesmen. Hence, you see no editorial personalities; which, moreover, the public would not bear. But what goes into the columns of newspapers, no matter from what sources, comes into contact with equals at least in mind among readers, and a thousand to one in number. The bulk of these are unmoved by what newspapers say,
if opposite to their own opinions; which passing quickly from one to another in a society where population is dense, make head against the daily press, after its first efforts are spent upon classes less enlightened. Half the people of England live in towns, which augments moral as physical power ; the last, by strengthening rural parts through demand for their products—the first by sharpening intellect through opportunities of collision. The daily press could master opposing mental forces, if scattered ; but not when they can combine. The general literature of the country also reacts against newspapers. The permanent press, as distinct from the daily, teems with productions. There is a great and powerful class of authors always existent in England, whose sway exceeds that of the newspapers as the main body the pio
The periodical literature is also effective; a match at least for the newspapers, when its time arrives. It is more elementary ; less hasty. In a word, the daily press in England, with its floating capital in talents, zeal, and money, can do much at an onset.
It is an organised corps, full of spirit and always ready ; but there is a higher power of mind and influence behind, that can rally and defeat it.
From the latter source it may also be presumed, that a more deliberate judgment will in the end be formed on difficult questions, than from the first impulses and more premature discussions of the daily
journals. The latter move in their proper orbit by reflecting also, in the end, the higher judgment by which they have been controlled. Such are some of the considerations that strike the stranger who reads their daily newspapers. They make a wonderful part of the social system in England.
Our childhood's joys. How oft this tale is told!
O there's a joy in youth, ne'er felt again,
We never think, while yet but “ fools to fame,”