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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 3

[trade dispatches]

A number of interesting trade items, and notices of books and specimens of fine printing received, are held over till next issue.

A Victorian firm, the name of which has not transpired (and we would not give it a free advertisement if it had!) has offered the New Zealand and other colonial governments the sum of £4000, £5000, and £6000 respectively for the right of advertising on the backs of postage stamps for three successive years. Five thousand pounds a year may seem a nice little sum, and worth the sacrifice of a little dignity. We venture to say the advertisers would have a good deal the best of it. The extra cost of producing the stamps would leave a very small margin. Postage stamps are not machined like advertising « dodgers. » They are printed on old-fashioned hand-presses, on special paper, in a government office, in a locked room, and by the best skilled labor. They pass through several operations, and every time the sheets have to be counted, re-counted, and registered. The process is slow and costly, and to print the stamps on both sides would nearly double the cost of production.

We have received from Mr E. T. Wheeler of Dunedin, a copy of the thirteenth annual issue of the Digest, an index to bills of sale, stock mortgages, bankruptcies, &c, in New Zealand for the year 1888. The book contains over 150 quarto pages, and as it was not placed in the printers' hands until some days after the new year, and was published in the month of February, the printer is entitled to credit not only for expeditious work, but for the neat appearance of the book. We have no means of checking the accuracy of the thousands of entries; but as regards arrangement of matter for purposes of reference, it would not be easy to suggest an improvement. The long list of chattel mortgages is followed by one of affidavits of satisfaction. The table of bankruptcies is very complete, showing dates of tiling and discharge, and amount of dividends. The particulars in these tables show 1888 to have been an exceptionally « bad year. » There is also a long alphabetical list of patents applied for during the year. A number of articles on mercantile law from a weekly periodical issued by the publisher, completes the volume, which is evidently compiled with great care and at no little cost, and must be exceedingly valuable to business men.

The death of the veteran author, Mr S. C. Hall, is an item of some interest, but it would be a matter of form to speak of it as a subject for regret. When a man has entered his ninetieth year, and has long outlived his friends and contemporaries,—when like that of Mr Hall, his life has been one of activity and usefulness—he has well earned the rest into which he enters. For more than half-a-century, Mr Hall has been a prominent figure in literary and artistic London. His fame as a writer was not equal to that of his accomplished wife (born in 1805) who was one of the early contributors to Chambers's Journal, and whose charming tales of Irish life are still popular. The literary collaboration of Mr and Mrs Hall resembles that of another aged couple who have lately passed away—William and Mary Howitt. In 1838 Mr Hall started the Art Union—afterwards known as the Art Journal—which he continued to edit almost down to the present time. By means of this ably-conducted periodical he and his wife rendered valuable service in bringing art into the houses of the people, in which line they may be said to have been the pioneers; and the valuable and popular magazine brought Mr and Mrs Hall into close association with all the leading artists and writers of the day. Mr Hall and his wife were earnest workers in the field of social reform. In 1872 The Times published a stirring article on the national vice, in which it asked: « Amongst all the writers, all the talkers, all the preachers, all the workers, all the names we see blazoned in the roll of English fame, are there none that will set about to abate this nuisance and scandal—our national drunkenness? » Mr Hall, on behalf of the art world, took up the challenge. He wrote a poem, The Trial of Sir Jasper, to which twenty-three leading artists contributed original illustrations. This was followed by An Old Story, also in verse, illustrated by twenty-five artists, who, as in the former case, contributed their designs free. The poems contained powerful passages, but were not on the whole of a very high order, and the books are chiefly in demand on account of their fine engravings—an admirable gallery of contemporary art. About thirteen years ago Mr and Mrs Hall published A Book of Memories, containing reminiscences of some two hundred leading literary and artistic celebrities of the early part of the century. Of late years Mr Hall dabbled in spiritism, and became « mixed up » with Home, Slade, and similar practitioners, in whom he seemed to have implicit faith. Mrs Hall died in January 1881, and we can well believe that the old man's life has since been a lonely one. He recently resigned the editorship of the Art Journal, and has now, at a good old age, gone to join the partner of his life and labors.

page 28

A contemporary tells a yarn of a parson who quarrelled with a parishioner named Hardy, and next Sunday preached from the text: « There is no fool like the fool-Hardy. » —The question arises: Where did the reverend gentleman find his text?

Governments need careful watching. It has transpired that a certain article, indispensable to country settlers, on which Parliament has steadily refused to impose a duty, has been « protected » by the railway department. If locally manufactured, it is classed « D » —if imported, it is loaded with a heavier rate of freight as class « C. » This unwarrantable practice must be checked at once, or country settlers will soon be saddled with a double « protective » duty—twenty-five per cent, customs and fifteen per cent, railway tariff!

« Small Fry » sends us (Effective Advertiser) a conundrum, which we cannot answer satisfactorily. Here is the riddle. The printers in Blanktown were asked to tender for the following:—

  • 100 3-sheet double-demy bills in red ink.
  • 500 ½-sheet double-crown long folio in red ink.
  • 600 programmes of events, demy 8vo., 8pp., with cover.
  • 500 entry forms, large-post 4to. 4 pages.
  • 20 fancy bordered 4to. boards.

—The lowest tender was accepted, the sum being £4 7s 6d for the lot. How could this be done?

An English telegram this week contains the tidings—not altogether unexpected—of the death, in his 78th year, of the Right Hon. John Bright. He has lived long enough for his integrity and absolute unselfishness to be recognized by all parties; but years must pass and the dust of present strife be cleared away before his wisdom and prescience will be fully appreciated. Conscientiousness was his ruling characteristic, and he never yielded a hair's-breadth to the clamour of the vox populi, which, notwithstanding an old proverb, is as often as not the vox diaboli. In conjunction with Cobden he secured in 1846 the repeal of the Corn Laws—the greatest reform of the age. A generation has since arisen that has no personal knowledge of what that achievement did for the country—but no living man who remembers England under corn-law tyranny ever listens to the foolish and ignorant talk of modern protectionists. When the war-fever swept over England in 1853, Mr Bright, by denouncing the war-party, became the most unpopular man in England. His support of the North in the American civil strife made him nearly as unpopular; but time has fully justified his action. Of late years, he has labored successfully for the extension of the franchise and reform in representation. In 1882 he retired from Mr Gladstone's cabinet on account of his inflexible opposition to the disgraceful Egyptian policy which culminated in the bombardment of Alexandria. A Liberal of the Liberals, he has kept far aloof from the anarchist party which masquerades under the flag of Home Rule, and with which his old associate, Gladstone, has identified himself. Mr Bright's death at this juncture is a heavy loss to the nation; but under the free institutions of England, there will be found no less noble and gifted men to fill the vacant place.

The Wanganui Chronicle is again issued from its own premises. Referring to the destruction of its premises and plant by fire, it says: « In the hour of our need, our brethren of the press—at once and without solicitation—proffered ready and ample assistance. Mr J. L. Kirkbride, proprietor of the Rangitikei Advocate, to whom we are indebted for much generous and timely aid, wired us immediately the telegraph-office opened on the morning after the fire, offering to send in by rail sufficient type, already distributed in cases, to enable us to re-commence publishing without another day's delay. An hour or so later, we received an offer by telegraph from Mr Henry Brett, of the Auckland Star, to send down enough material to carry us over our difficulty until we could supply ourselves with a new plant. It is, however, to Mr John Ballance and the Wanganui Herald Company that we are indebted for a kindness beyond that usually accorded, or looked for, even in generous-hearted press circles. At the earliest possible moment on the morning of the fire Mr Ballance telephoned us, placing the whole resources of the Herald office at our disposal. The offer was gratefully accepted, and from that day up to Saturday morning last, the Chronicle was printed by the use of Herald type and machinery, generously and freely provided, even though at no little inconvenience to our contemporary's staff. We never for a moment had any misgivings about receiving generous assistance from our brother journalists—because we know that in any emergency press-men always rally round each other—but it is one thing to help a journalist for a few days, or even weeks, and quite another thing to voluntarily supply all needful material to carry his paper over a continuous period of four months. »

The new parcel post has led to a good deal of amateur importing, and is rapidly educating the public as to the way in which they are plundered by « our enlightened tariff. » They are finding that importers are not the extortioners they took them to be, after all. The Napier Herald tells how a lady sent home for £3 worth of dress materials, telling her friends that she would save at least £1. The goods did not turn out as she anticipated, and after paying postage 7s, and duty and « primage » 9s, she found the difference below Napier prices was about three shillings!

Richard Pigott, who has come to a miserable and violent end, was a man whose career is not without interest. Betrayed by his compatriots, he did not scruple to betray them in turn. He was the son of the late John Pigott, an associate of the founders of the Nation, and thus connected with the journalistic section of the national party, the junior Pigott naturally took to the same field himself, and with considerable success. He started the Irishman, the recognized organ of the extremists. When the four Manchester « martyrs » paid the just penalty of their dastardly crime, a great mock-funeral in their honor was held in Dublin, and fiery speeches were delivered to the assembled multitude. These speeches were printed in the Nation and the Irishman, and the proprietors of both papers were prosecuted for sedition, and were heavily fined and imprisoned. Mr A. M. Sullivan, of the Nation, escaped with three months, and Mr Pigott received double. A grateful public paid the fines, and Mr Pigott on his release was the hero of the day, and was honored with a banquet. The Irishman thenceforward throve apace, publishing a weekly edition, entitled the Flag of Ireland, and a story paper called the Shamrock. A natural desire soon possessed the proprietor—now one of the most popular men in Ireland—to enter Parliament; and the Limerick seat becoming vacant he announced himself as a candidate, and his return appeared certain. But his increasing popularity had rendered him an object of jealousy to the other leaders of the party, and an edict went forth from Mr Parnell that he was not to be supported. No appeal nor redress was open; the support hitherto so freely accorded to his papers began rapidly to decline, and he was fain to dispose of them to « The Irish National Publishing Company » (Parnell & Egan.) The Flag of Ireland became United Ireland, and still maintains the character it acquired in the hands of Mr Richard Pigott. Discarded and impoverished by the other leaders of his party, Mr Pigott bethought him of the commercial value of the private information and compromising letters in his possession, and entered into negociation with The Times. So well was the secret kept, that Pigott, shabbily as he had been treated, was never suspected as the informant until he entered the witness-box. Beginning with genuine and authentic information and documents, he secured the confidence of The Times; but his avarice led him to the crime and blunder of supplementing the genuine papers with forgeries of his own. So skilfully was this accomplished as to baffle for a time the ablest expert and legal talent in England. Under cross-examination—the examiner being fortified with secret information of a very special kind—the witness at last broke down, and confessed his guilt. As he took the precaution to have his private papers burnt before he fled, it can never be known how much of his evidence was true. One of his most incredible statements—that journalistic rivals of the Times had been secretly trying to influence his testimony—has been confirmed; and the fact reflects lasting discredit on a section of the London press. Mr Pigott seems to have been a fair type of the leading members of his party—vain, clever, self-seeking, unscrupulous, and without a spark of patriotism or regard for his associates in « the cause! » From the tender mercies of such men may Ireland ever be delivered!