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THIRTY YEARS OF THE PERIODICAL PRESS.
A BOOK about himself by a lifetime, and the very remarkable journalist, giving as little promin- products and movements in the ence as possible to newspapers, is English periodical press since his much the same thing as a treatise return to his own country after on strategy avoiding the actual witnessing the struggle between topic of war. If Lord Wolseley North and South, have no place were to tell us the story of his life, in these pages. Before he has but studiously to refrain from all completed his autobiographical mention of such incidents as the task, Mr Sala will doubtless fill Ashantee campaign, the defeat of these voids. Meanwhile the presArabi Pasha, and the Nile expedi- ent contributor to ·Maga,' having tion, he would be performing a feat some professional knowledge of the analogous to that accomplished by periodical press during a section of the veteran publicist, Mr G. A. the period covered by Mr Sala's Sala, in the two volumes he has wider experience, may offer a few recently published through Messrs remarks on certain topics not as Cassell, under the title Things yet touched by this veritable UlysI have Seen, and People I have ses of London journalism. A fair Known.' If a regard for the eti- amount of industry, and, thanks quette of his calling had caused Mr to the public's kindness, of modest Sala to draw the veil of anonymity success, has been condensed into over his long connection with a the space of rather more than well - known London newspaper, a quarter of a century, through one might have understood this which it has been my lot to labour reserve, But seeing that these in certain departments of the litvolumes are dedicated to the pro- erary calling. This period has coprietor of the print in question, incided with a notable increase in this hypothesis is inadmissible. the activity and in the number Not even as it has affected the of those representing English jourappearance of the London streets nalism; with the disappearance of he knows so well, has Mr not a few old newspaper friends; Sala anything to tell us of the with the genesis of many crops of extraordinary and sustained de- fresh newspaper favourites. It has velopment of cheap newspapers also embraced a considerable and which has followed the repeal highly practical acquaintance, not of the paper duty. The last, exclusively with metropolitan, but and indeed the only, reference provincial journalism, and espeto his employment as an active cially the journalism of Scotland, "daily” journalist, is to be found
Some of the fruits thus towards the close of the second gathered I may perhaps, by the volume, in a chapter entitled editorial courtesy, be privileged to “ Under the Stars and Stripes,” place before the readers of the where he casually mentions that most historic of all our periodicals. he happened to be in the United I, at least, have reason to speak States about the period of the well of, and feel grateful to, that great Civil War; but the direct “land beyond the Tweed,” some influence of American upon Eng- slight connoction with which, by lish journalism during Mr Sala's family descent, the Christian name
of “Hay” suggests that I may when, with a trembling hand, I
I claim; for it was a present Scotch opened the next number of the professor, my respected and valued Saturday Review,' I found my friend, Professor John Nichol, of maiden production had its place Glasgow, who, then being in the among the social “middles” of the habit of passing a portion of the new number, as I think it was then
summer term”. for educational customary to designate these artipurposes at Oxford, by receiving cles. My personal introduction to
as his pupil, helped me to- this very remarkable man was due wards the “class” assigned to me less to the composition of my own in the “final” schools in 1865. which he had printed than to the He it was also who equipped me friendly services of the late Rev. with the single letter of literary W. Scott, of Hoxton, the someintroduction to Professor David time editor, I believe, of The Masson, then editor of "Mac- Christian Remembrancer,' himself millan's Magazine,' which was ab- permanently retained the solutely my sole “stock-in-trade” 'Saturday' staff, and, as I have when, after having taken my heard, a colleague of its chief, degree, I came to London fresh in its weekly production. This from Oxford, and began the career accomplished clergyman knew of that lasted uninterruptedly till a me, not directly, but through the failure of bodily health forced good oflices of his son, Mr Clement upon me a long season of inactiv- Scott, with whom I had, and have ity, and that now, on the gradual retained, a friendly acquaintance restoration of my energies, is, by that began under the roof of the the blessing of Providence, being late Tom Hood. Vividly distinct resumed. It would scarcely be an though my memory of Douglas exaggeration to say that, at the Cook is, he is really better known time now spoken of, outside the to me by reputation than by his • Times' office, with which I have own personality. I was received never had any professional rela- at the weekly levées of his writers, tions, the dominating spirits and held, I think, every Tuesday, and
I the chief powers of the London was occasionally directed to send press were importations from the him something about which, as other side of the Tweed.
often as not, he expressed himMy first editor, although at the self favourably. With a host of time he became such unknown to others, as nameless as I myself me even by name, was an ber- then
was, I was invited to the donian, Douglas Cook, who, living annual Saturday' dinner at Green
“ in the Albany, conducted the lit- wich; but I can only recall one of erary business of his journal, and these banquets, at which I chanced personally instructed his contrib- to occupy a seat between the late utors in his chambers near the end Mr T. Collett Sandars and Sir of the first corridor. The novels James Fitzjames Stephen, though of George Lawrence were at this of neither of these gentlemen had date in the height of a then not too I then, as I since have enjoyed, healthy popularity. The passion private social knowledge. Mr Cook of love, so-called, and its course, as himself was credited with a full presented in the fictions of the Guy share of the perfervid temperaLivingstone school, suggested to ment of the Scot: I saw but little me my first essayistic theme, under of him, and never became one of the title of “Broken Hearts"; and his important contributors, but
VOL. CLVI.-NO. DCCCCXLVIII.
found him uniformly considerate Trehawke Kekewich, at that time and kindly in his actions, if oc- member for South Devon, mencasionally ungracious in his man- tion to me as an instance of the
Mr Cook's special friend and downward tendency of latter-day confidant was the late rector of Conservatism, that side by side Tintagel in Cornwall, where he with
with the threepenny "Herald,' himself often stayed; and from one “could get the Standard,' that gentleman I have heard be- with rather more news in it, for fore now, more than I ever had a penny." Among the evening any opportunity of observing, press of London, in the pre-Pall about the editorial methods, and Mall Gazette' days, the prints the minute oversight, exercised which after sundown had the not merely from week to week, greatest vogue were “The Evenbut from hour to hour, by this ing Star,' the special expon
' memorable combination of
like its morning issue, of journalist and the Epicurean, who Mr Bright and the Manchester deserves a place in the history of School, The Evening Standard,' the press by the side of Barnes The Globe,' and 'The Sun’; while and Black, among the great editors the only post-meridian journal of the century.
taken in at dining-houses and resThe Daily Telegraph' was, I taurants, like Simpson's, was the think, in the year I made my “Express,' a réchauffé, as to actual début in London, the best known intelligence, of the matutinal ‘Daily and, with the exception of the News,' but furnished out with
Standard,' the only representative original leading articles. The of the penny press; for the days 'Daily Telegraph, originally of the reduction in price of the issued, some years earlier, on a paper
whose first editor very humble scale from a little Dickens, and still more of the great printing - oflice in the W.C. disorgan of Palmerston and fashion, trict, had but recently become were yet far distant. Even in the domiciled in Peterborough Court, case of the Standard, its exist- Fleet Street. Here again the pre
as a penny morning news- vailing influences that impressed paper was imperfectly realised by the aspirant, who, equipped with some of the stoutest adherents in
an introductory letter from the the provinces of the Tory cause. It aforementioned friend, Tom Hood, must have been many years later sought admission to the editorial than this that a Cornish country sanctum,
Scotch. Very gentleman, I think Mr Bulteel, Scotch indeed was the porter, asked me, as one who knew the who suspiciously eyed, and relucgossip of the town, whether Gif- tantly consented to announce, the fard's newspaper really published new - comer after the entrancea morning edition. The then wicket
wicket was passed. Not less editor of the Standard, Mr Scotch, again, was the represenThomas Hamber, attached at tative of the conductor-in-chief, least as much importance to the whom on most occasions I saw. 'Morning Herald, issued at the The principal vicegerent of Mr, price of threepence from Shoe not yet Sir Edward, Lawson, was Lane, as to the more low-priced a son of Leigh Hunt, Mr Thorn
a champion of the Conservative ton Hunt. A greater contrast cause; while I can well recollect a than this gentleman presented, kinsman of my own, the late Mr with his semi-military dress and
his indomitable will, it was to know him well. The prokeen insight, and astonishingly fessional connection of the present prompt judgment on the topics reviewer with Peterborough Court of the day, to the traditional pic- did not last long, though his friendly tures of his father, the “Harold relations with Mr Thornton Hunt's Skimpole” of “Bleak House,' it assistant, and even with the recipiis impossible to conceive. The ent of Mr G. A. Sala's dedication, Messrs Lawson had delegated to —who, together with the late W.H. this most highly qualified gentle- Pater, as also my revered and beman much of the editorial control loved friend A. W. Kinglake, was of their paper. With him, accord- one of the foremost to call upon ingly, as a leader-writer aspirant, me the first day after my illness, I had to deal when Tom Hood's some years ago, that I was able to introduction secured me the entrée leave my room, and to congratulate of Peterborough Court; but the me on the slow beginnings of refirst of the two or three articles covery,—survived the incident of ever written by me for that journal this relationship. The morning was after a consultation with Mr newspaper means all-night work Thornton Hunt's right-hand man, for those engaged on its produc
- like Douglas Cook, an Aberdon- tion. My domesticated existence ian,—the late James Macdonell, was just beginning, and I was, who of several topics submitted consequently, not prepared to by me chose that of the dangers accept a professional offer, which of the London streets, then ren- would not have left much of my dered appropriate by a newly pub- society for the young bride, as she lished report of the annual acci- then was, to whose combined good dents there. Starting with a para- sense and high courage the writer phrase of Juvenal's description of of these lines has since been so the Roman thoroughfares, I pro- deeply indebted. During several duced something which appeared parliamentary sessions the the next morning in the leading earlier seventies, especially while columns of the great Fleet Street the debates on the Public Wornewspaper.
ship Bill were going forward, it James Macdonell, whose know- was my lot, long of course after ledge of French politics, letters, this, to occupy a seat in that porand thought probably exceeded tion of the “press gallery that of any other man of his served for commentators on politistanding, had not at the date now cal events, close to the reserved spoken of been long in London; and thoughtful, yet ever bright Alexander Russel, of the Scots- and amiable, presence of James man,' when, some years later, Macdonell, who had not then on Macdonell's commendation, I joined, as later in his life he did, made his acquaintance, lamented the editorial staff of the Times,' to me that the proprietors of and by whose premature death the metropolitan print had got the English press sustained the hold of his most brilliant young greatest loss that has befallen it recruit, and caused him to leave within my recollection. the Edinburgh office, where, or In these days Mr Sala himself, possibly at Newcastle-on-Tyne, his though an assiduous contributor journalistic career began. James
James to the famous broadsheet, where Macdonell was not a man to be his genius has found such justly forgotten by those whose privilege appreciated exercise, was to me
only a name, though a very mighty these lines in a little collection one; but at the little house in of their author's literary remains, South Street, Brompton, where published some years ago. They the younger Hood, on leaving the attracted the attention of many War Office, and assuming the at the time; among others, of so editorship of 'Fun,' then lived, I skilled a critic and consummate met weekly, in addition to the late performer in that department of T. W. Robertson, and the vigor- belles lettres as Mr Arthur Locker, ously surviving Mr W. S. Gilbert as well as of Prowse's warm per—whose
presence and conversation sonal friend and professional colshowed in these days all that league, James Macdonell himself. possession of sheer" intellectual Another regular writer for the power of which since then the 'Daily Telegraph,' constantly vispublic has seen so many sustained ible at this time, was Godfrey illustrations-some of the most Turner, in every way a first-rate valued members of Mr Levy- specimen of that "good-all-round" Lawson's staff, especially the journalist, whom the minute subwriter of the burlesque sporting division of labour in newspaper sketches then appearing in ‘Fun' offices threatens to improve off the as from “Nicholas,” W.J. Prowse, face of Fleet Street. Indepenwho, in his vivid presentment of dently of the many excellent and that broken - down old Cockney amiable qualities of him who bore reprobate, created a character and it, the name of this departed friend a type of which Thackeray need is memorable to the present writer not have been ashamed, in addi- for reasons that may not be withtion to being a consummately ver- out a certain special interest to satile, varied, and ready leader- "Maga's' readers. ,
' writer. Prowse was also the author In 1866 there came the demand of many really exquisite occasional for an inquiry into the alleged verses in the manner of Praed. One conduct of Governor Eyre during of these compositions, appearing in the suppression of the Jamaica · Fun' not so very long before negro insurrection of the previous his premature death, contained a year. Godfrey Turner had been pathetic presentiment of the issue despatched by his newspaper to of the disease that secretly had watch the proceedings; while, by
, already laid its hand upon him. a coincidence that may be briefly The lines in question were those glanced at, his colleague from the beginning
Standard' was a gentleman with
whom, much subsequently to this “I am only nine-and-twenty yet, period, I was destined to have the Though young, experience makes me most intimate, the most friendly, sage;
and the most useful of journalistic So how on earth can I forget
relations—Mr W. H. Mudford, The memory of my lost old age ?
the present controller of the Shoe Of manhood's prime let others boast,
On his reIt comes too late, or goes too soon;
turn from the West Indies, GodAt times the fate I envy most
frey Turner, after the manner of Is that of slippered pantaloon.” the period and of the fraternity,
was entertained at a dinner of There are probably among the London littérateurs, given in an readers of Maga' some who will almost improvised structure under have read, and been struck by, the arches of Ludgate Hill Station,