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no evil, but a great good, that newspapers should be independent of, no, that is not what I think of but the general indignation of all honest men of all parties, the wide, the deep, the universal scorn with which the whole virtue and sense of the British people regard the unblushing, open, avowed, acknowledged, even boasted profligacy, of some of those establishments.

ODOHERTY. They are so to a certain extent, I admit; but, surely, the little book exaggerates their triumphs.

NORTH. I don't know that, nor do I care for a few hundreds or thousands, more or less. But this I am certain of, that if the duty on the advertisements were considerably lowered, and also the duty on the newspapers themselves, two consequences would infallibly be the result. People would advertise in more papers than they do at present, and people would take in more papers. These are clear and obvious consequences, and from them I hold it scarcely less certain, that two others would ensue. I mean, that an honest new paper would contend on more equal terms with a dishonest old one, and that the far greater number of advertisements published, and the far greater number of newspapers circulated in the country, would more than atone to the Exchequer for the loss Mr Robinson might at first sight apprehend, from a measure so bold and decided as that of striking off one-half of the newspaper tax, and of the tax on advertisements.

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Threepence-halfpenny on each copy of each newspaper-and three and sixpence on everything, however trifling, that assumes the character of an advertisement.


I confess it appears a little hard to tax journals of one sort, so heavily, and journals of another sort not at all. Why not tax a Magazine or a Review, as well?


Certainly. The excuse is, that newspapers are carried postage-free ; but this is, of course, quite inapplicable to the enormous proportion of all papers circulated exclusively in London and its suburbs—and it is far too much to make a man living in Bond-Street pay threepence-halfpenny, in order that a man living in the Orkney Islands may get his newspaper so much the cheaper.

ODOHERTY. Viewed in one light it may seem so ; but do you not see the policy in those days of trying to make the provinces balance the capital, by equalizing their condition as to all such things, in so far as it is by any means possible to do so?

NORTH. Very true too, sir. But I can tell you this, ODoherty, that I see very great danger in this same balancing and equalizing you talk of, and nothing so likely to meet the danger as the adoption of the plan I am lauding. It is obvious, that the speedy conveyance of the papers published in the capital into every part of the empire, is gradually enabling those who influence the political feelings of the capital to influence also, and this almost in the same moment of time, the feelings of the remotest provincialists. Thus, in another way to be sure, London bids fair to become to Britain, what Paris has so long been to France ;-and that London never can become, sir, without the whole character, not only of the Constitution, but of the nation, suffering an essential and a most perilous change. To check the danger of this, I again tell you, I see nothing half so likely, as the adoption of a scheme which will at once deprive old hard determined villainy of its exclusive means of lucre, and soon reduce all papers whatever under a decent measure of subjection to the general opinion of decent society. Sir, had there been no three-and-sixpence duty on advertisements, the thirty or forty traders who own the Times, would not


have dared to meet together in a tavern, and decide by a vote, whether that already infamous journal should, or should not, double its load of infamy, by fighting the battle of the late miserable Queen. This maximum opprobrium had been spared.

ODOHERTY. I don't follow you, exactly-why?

I can't help it, if you can't see what is to me as plain as any pike-staff. A groom out of place advertises in only one paper, because he can't afford to pay two three-and-sixpences to the King-make the duty only one shilling and ninepence, and he will give himself the benefit of two advertisements, and a clever lad is he if he finds means to patronize another paper as blackguard as the Times. But I take much wider ground than all this, sir. If the newspaper press, particularly the Sunday one, were as free and unshackled, (I mean as to taxes,) as every other press is, we could not see it so infinitely above any other press that exists on the score of profligacy. We could not see it the daily, the hourly practice of a newspaper to take BRIBES, if the bribers were, in consequence of a greater competition, compelled to bribe many more than they at present have to do with. Thus, for example, we should see no more of the scandalous subjection to the interests of particular Stock-jobbers and brokers—we should have no more of these egregious lies which every day shews and detects--we should have no more of those attacks on men who pay ten guineas next day, or next week, to have their characters vindicated. This most crying evil of open venality would at least be greatly, very greatly diminished.

Well, I had rather see than hear tell of it, as Hogg's phrase is.

NORTH. You remember what Clement of the Observer did about the trial of Thistlewood. The Court prohibited in the most solemn manner the publication of any part of the evidence, in any one of that batch of trials, until the whole had been terminated. Mr Clement was the only one who disobeyed this. Well, he was ordered into the Court, and fined 5001, for the contempt and what followed?




I can't charge my memory, i'faith, with such doings.

Why, he paid the money, and after he had done so, very coolly informed the public, that he had not only paid the fine out of the extra profits of the paper containing the offensive matter, but put, over and above, a very handsome sum into his own pocket. This was as it should be !

ODOHERTY. Quite so. The second part of my plan would, however, tell quite as severely on many other quacks, as on the quacks of the Daily and Weekly Papers. If it cost less to advertise, more would advertise-Your King Solomon would have brothers nearer the throne-In short, the thing by being egregiously overdone at the first, would soon and effectually correct itself. This is very well argued in the little book you have tabled.

Be it so. But things will go on in the old way, notwithstanding. To tell you the truth, I skipped all that affair at once, as unquestionable balaam.What I looked to was the individual history of the different Journals—Their comparative sales, &c. &c. &c. All which, much distrusting, I scarcely gave one glance to.

ODOHERTY. Distrusting? Why?

Why? for this simple reason, sir, that there is no means of ascertaining the actual sale of any one newspaper in existence. They themselves, to be sure, VOL. XVI.

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pretend, that, when they refer you to the Stamp-office, which will prove incontestably the issuing of so many thousand stamps, for such and such a paper, it is impossible for any man in his senses to doubt that that number of the Times, the Chronicle, or whatever it be, was actually distributed among the British public on the day alleged. But this is all the merest bam. The fact, sir, is—and I know it—that it is the daily custom of the London papers to send and pay for a vast number of stamped sheets more than they want. Some provincial paper or other is happy to make use of their surplus paper, provided the London office will only save them the trouble of having a separate agent of their own in town, to get their stamps for them. One paper, one of the principal proprietors of which confessed the fact to me t'other day, supplies regularly no less than fifteen different provincial prints with their stamped paper in this way: but, although I did not exactly put that question, it cannot be doubted the whole aggregated sale of the said fifteen is made to figure as part and parcel of the circulation of my friend's own concern, in the yearly or half-yearly statements thereof, which you are in the habit of staring over.

All this is, I confess, news to me.-So you believe nothing, then, of the statements they all do put forth?

NORTH. Nothing; unless I happen to know of my own knowledge, that the property and management of the paper, (for I don't speak at present of either of these taken separately,) are united in the hands of a man above having any connection with the promulgation of any falsehood on any subject whatever. Such a man as Stoddart or Mudford, for example-nobody believes they would lie for anything, far less for this sort of filth.

ODOHERTY. Certainly not.-By the by, now you mention it, I was thunderstruck to find it laid down distinctly, that the total number of political journals circulated in the British islands has trebled-yes, trebled, within the last forty years.

No wonder. The American Revolution-the French Revolution-Buonaparte-Wellington-the stream of events, and the immense increase of readers of everything else—when you take this into view, no wonder at the increase about the newspapers.

I suppose nobody ever heard of such editions of even the best books a hun. dred years ago, as we now daily hear of.

NORTH. No; not at all. In Pope's time, sir, 500 copies was a great edition-you will find this taken for granted in all the books of the time. Even in Dr Johnson's time, 750 was reckoned a very large edition of the most popular book, by the most popular author of his day. Even twenty years back, things were in a totally different condition from what we are now accustomed to. What would anybody have said, to an edition of 10,000, or 12,000, of a new novel ?-What would anybody have said to a Review selling 12,000 or 14,000 regularly every number, as I believe the Quarterly has done, for several years back? Sir, this business has progressed in the most astonishing ratio.

Ay, i'faith, and nobody has more reason to rub his hands thereupon than yourself.

NORTH. So-Well, well, let that pass_now that your segar is out, pray have the kindness to unlock the balaam box here, and let's see what's to go on ; for the 12th draweth on, and my heart panteth for Bræ-Mar.

And that's what I will do, my hearty; and many's the time we have done more for each other before this night was born. Here, give me the key; you always keep it at your watch, I think.

NORTH. There it is ; take care of my grandmother's repeater ;-—'Tis the little queer-looking fellow, with the B. B. B. B. woven in cypher upon it.





What, four B’s?

Yes, Bailie-Blackwood's--Balaam-Box. 'Tis his box, you know,-
because, according to our friend's verses long ago, out of every one of these
bunches it is highly probable

“Our worthy Publisher purloins a few

About his roasting mutton-shanks to screwHere's something in old Tickler's fist-shall we begin with overhauling that lad?






Certainly-Does he mean to stay all the summer in Dublin, I wonder ? Read him, Morgan.

ODOHERTY, (reads.)
“ Letters of Timothy Tickler, Esq. to Eminent Literary Characters, Num-
ber -to Sir James Mackintosh, Knt. late Recorder of Bombay~"
What? what? what? Sir Jamie again?

Pooh! don't be alarmed-one would have thought you had seen Parr's
wig or Gerald's ghost, or the Bonassus rampant~'tis only a letter to Sir Jamie,
I perceive, about his articles on Brodie's History, and Croker's edition of the
Suffolk Papers, in the last Edinburgh Review.

Come, that's rather too much, Timotheus. I thought he had sufficiently squabashed those two concerns in one of his late effusions to Jeffrey. But read on.

Excuse me—'tis a cursed small hand—I see it begins as usual with a philippic anent things in general—" Burke"-" Pitt” “Gibbon”—“Hume”

Brodie" - Charles” “Colonel Harrison"-ay, ay, we may hop over a little of this ground. “Your last Number, sir,”—Here we are more likely to have something—“Flagrant"_" calumnious," -Pooh ! pooh! what a pother about nothing ! Come, here's something in double column, and one half in red ink, I swear. Listen to him here, North—(reads)" It may be thought that the trivial punishment I have already inflicted on your critique was as much as the affair merited. It may be so, very probably. But it so happens, sir, that you have to do with a queer old gentleman, three-fourths of whose library is made

up of old books, and one half of whose time is spent in hunting up and
down among them in quest of matters nearly as insignificant as the party spleen
of an Edinburgh Reviewer, or the historical accuracy of a Sir James Mackin-
tosh.” Come, Timothy gets prosy.
Let me hear the double column part of it.

Oh! it is infernally long-I hav’nt wind for it, really.

A specimen, then-corrections of Sir James' corrections as to matters of fact, I presume?

Exactly-ay, he puts the sentence of blue and yellow on the first column, and his own in red ink opposite to it. Ha ! I see where he had begun to write with a new pen. I can make him out here, I believe-here goes, then. Thus reciteth and correcteth Sir J. To which respondeth Timothy Tickler Mackintosh, Knt.

Esq. “ Henry Grey, only Duke of Kent, The Duke of Kent died the 5th died in 1740;" for which read 1741. June, 1740. See London Magazine

for 1740, p. 301, and Gent. Mag. for 1740, p. 314.

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Very well, Timothy I-Go on.

Sir Jambe again.

To which again Timotheus. “Hereldest son (George,) afterwards These four Lords Hervey did really second Lord Hervey.There was John, exist, and yet the editor of Lady SufFIRST Lord Hervey, afterwards crca- folk's Letters is right, and the critic ted Earl of Bristol. Carr, SECOND egregiously wrong. Lord Hervey, his eldest son. John, John, first Lord Hervey, so creaTHIRD Lord Hervey, his second son ; ted in 1703, was created Earl of Brisconsequently Lady Hervey's son, tol in 1714. His eldest son, Carr, was George, was the fourth Lord Here only a commoner, called Lord Hervey vey.

by courtesy. So was his second son: John for many years; but in 1733, the latter was created a peer, (see Coxe,) by the title of Lord Hervey, and on his death, (old Lord Bristol being still alive,) his son George became the second peer of the creation of 1733, and on Lord Bristol's death, he became also the second peer of the creation of 1703. So that the critic is doubly wrong; and without any excuse; for all these facts may be gathered from the editor's notes, as well as from the peerages.


Well hit again, Tim.


At it again, boys.
Sir James !

Southside !!! « Leonel, seventh Earl, and first The Duke of Dorset died 9th OctoDuke of Dorset, died in 1765."—For ber, 1765. See London Magazine, p. 1765, read 1763 !

598, and Gentleman's Magazine, p. 491.


Round fourth !
The Recorder !

Long shanks!!! “ Lord Scarborough put a period to This is not mere inaccuracy on the his existence in 1739.”For 1739, part of the critic; it is ignorance. He read 1740.

has forgotten that the style was not yet changed, and Lord Scarborough died

on the 4th February, 1739, old style.

A facer !Does he come to time?

Round the fifth. Here they go.

Tim !! “ The great Lord Mansfield died on I have already laughed at the value •the 20th March, 1793, in the eighty- and importance of this correction, if it eighth year of his age.”—Lord Mans even were one ; but unfortunately the field was born on the 2d March, 1705, erudite critic again forgets the change and was therefore in the EIGHTY-NINTH of the style. March 1705, old style, year of his age.

would be March 1706, new style ; so that Lord Mansfield seems to have wanted some few days of completing

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his 88th year.


Enough, enough, man; such errors and such corrections are in themselves wholly inconsiderable, and not worth the notice of a pipe-stapple. It was ridiculous enough to see a solemn jackass set about such amendments; but to find that his grave amendments are, in fact, flagrant blunders, is as comical as anything in Mathews's American judge. But we have other fish to try. Just put Timothy into my portfolio, and see what comes to hand next.

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