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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 3

[miscellaneous paragraphs]

The Court of Queen's Bench has rejected Mr Parnell's appeal against postponing his libel action against The Times till November. This is the barest justice to the defendants. Mr Parnell's unseemly haste to push the libel action while the inquiry is still pending is an indication of conscious weakness.

Writing of a the administration of an English bankrupt estate, a South Island contemporary says: « The property realized amounted to something over £4000; but the trustees' expenses alone were upwards of £2000. One hundred per cent is not so bad for expenses. » There is something very curious in the arithmetic here.

The hon. T. Fergus, addressing his constituents at Queenstown on the 2nd June, said: « If there is one fault more than another to which New Zealand is prone, it is that of over-legislation. Since the creation of responsible government in 1853 to the present day, we have passed something like 2028 statutes, and repealed 1466 of them. We legislate for something to-day, and next session we repeal it. »

The protectionists are veritable daughters of the horseleech. Having succeeded in carrying their proposals last session they have discovered—and the Christchurch league have passed a resolution to the effect—that the tariff « abounds with the most absurd anomalies. » Their remedy is still heavier duties. Inter alia, they direct the attention of Parliament to « the sweating system » —their own handiwork,—the protectionist masterpiece!

The smartness of American business houses is such as to compel admiration. Photographers have for some time been advertising that on receipt of photograph and a surprisingly small sum of money they will return fifty or a hundred copies, and the contract is duly carried out. But it seems that where they are suitable, the portraits are put to base uses. According to the American Stationer, « the likenesses of pretty young women thus obtained have been attached to the bodies of burlesque actresses in very scanty attire, and then circulated as the advertisement of a certain brand of cigarettes » !

We are glad to see that the Wellington Watchman has a word in season on Baxter and his « caricatures of prophecy. » We wonder that the religious press generally is so silent on the subject of the trading prophets. A gipsy woman convicted of telling fortunes is imprisoned; the soothsayer who predicts « the translation of 144,000 watchful Christians at 39 minutes past 12 o'clock noonday on the 5th of March 1896, Greenwich time, » and holds anniversary gatherings in advance, and who placards the walls of a public hall with horrible and disgusting cartoons, is allowed unlimited licence, though he is doing infinitely greater harm.

According to the Greymouth Star, an American expert in paper manufacture is about to visit this colony to ascertain the suitability of white pine as a raw material for this purpose. If found suitable it might pay to locally manufacture paper for the New Zealand market. As, however, competition among the English mills has reduced the price of news printing paper to actual cost of production, whereby one of the oldest and largest houses has had to go into liquidation, the present does not appear to be the most favorable time for such an experiment. And how would the New Zealand papers (even the out-and-out protectionists) welcome a stiff import duty on printing paper?

Mr R. J. Loughnan died in Christchurch on the 21st inst., at the age of 81. He had lived with his family in the colony from the year 1868. One of his sons is Mr R. A. Loughnan, for the past eleven years editor of the Christchurch Times, who has the sympathy of his brother press-men in his bereavement.

According to the Auckland Herald, the Auckland copies of Sir W. Buller's Birds of New Zealand, one hundred in all, were on board the ill-fated steamer Maitai, and now lie at the bottom of the sea near Mercury Island. The price of the books (to the subscribers) was ten guineas each, and they cannot be replaced, the plates having been obliterated after the impressions were taken.

Sir G. Grey states that in 1868 he issued a pamphlet on the Irish question which « produced a very great effect indeed, » and to which he attributes the home rule movement. When an author is his own critic, the criticism is generally of a friendly kind. Do any copies of this effective pamphlet remain to the present day? Does any man living remember having ever read it?

There must be a great number of educated men in Wellington in search of a « steady billet. » For the librarianship of the Athenæum at a salary of £150, fifty-five applications were received. For the assistant-librarianship of the Assembly library, vacant a few weeks ago, and for which about the same salary was offered, over seventy applications were received, some of the applicants producing very high testimonials.

From the St Louis Stationer we learn that the dotless i (referred to in our April issue, p. 41,) is « the latest Boston notion. » According to our contemporary, the experiment « has been in successful operation upon a prominent Boston daily for some five years in its local head-letter, » and « has so pleased the publisher that a fount of 6000lb nonpareil is being cast by the Dickinson Foundry in which not a single dotted i will appear. »

Our fines each month, for deficient postage, are considerable. For the enclosure of a small printed slip (scarcely turning the scale) with a letter, we have at times to pay dearly. Will our foreign correspondents be more careful? We paid a shilling last mail for what was apparently a business letter, but was only a type specimen that would have come by book post for a penny. Sixpence was paid on it in America, and Typo had to pay sixpence deficiency and another sixpence fine.

There is one of the land league delegates to the colonies—Mr Deasy—whose name always brings up the rear. He has not, like Dillon, been imprisoned for « the cause, » nor can he like Esmonde, claim an orator for his uncle. But he has at last gained distinction by accusing the New South Wales Government of intercepting and opening his correspondence. Of course they had done nothing of the kind; but it is due to Mr D. to explain that there was « half-a-truth » in his story—his « important letters » had been mysteriously opened. Close investigation by the department revealed the facts. He had been writing tender epistles to a young lady. Whether she would « choose to be a Deasy » has not transpired; but her mamma, who did not possess unbounded confidence in the league delegates, or possibly « acting under orders from Downing-street, » took the liberty of opening the letters. This explanation has made Mr Deasy extremely uneasy; and he has now very imprudently repeated his accusation. The postal department will not put up with nonsense of this kind, and a commission has been appointed to make a public inquiry.

Lord Chief Justice Coleridge, in charging the Grand Jury at the Berks Assizes, made some important remarks on the subject of indictments for libel. He said he was strongly of opinion—and he did not believe there was a judge on the bench who was not—that the practice of indicting for libel had grown to a very mischievous extent. All the great authorities laid it down strongly, and with sound reason, that while every one might bring an action for libel, there ought to be something of a public nature about it to justify the interfering by the Crown as representing the public by proceeding by indictment. The Crown was the prosecutor in a case of indictment, and therefore an indictment for libel ought to be something which interested the Crown, something which concerned the general interests of the public, and likely to create a breach of the peace…. When it was clearly an individual squabble between two persons, it was well settled law that it ought not to be, and was not, in point of law, a proper subject of indictment. The person libelled had his remedy by bringing an action. Blackstone had said that a jury ought not to find a bill, nor ought one to be presented where there was no matter of a public nature involved.

page 64

A number of interesting items have to stand over to next issue.

In the present number, Mr C. Morton, of the City Typefoundry, shows specimens of « Dado, » an eccentric style, originated by the Johnson Foundry. It is rather a favorite with English printers.—We direct attention also to the half-page advertisement of Messrs N. J. Hill & Co., dealers in printing machinery, and to several new announcements on our wrapper by English houses.

The Manhattan Typefoundry, New York, has purchased the Heinrich Foundry, established in 1855. The Heinrich Foundry is specially rich in German faces, having been started strictly as a German foundry; but has of late years added some beautiful faces of roman. Mr Philip Heinrich will continue the superintendence of the establishment. The Manhattan Foundry itself changed hands about a year ago, and is now owned by the enterprising proprietors of the Liberty Machine Works. In such hands the combined business should take a leading place among American foundries.

The Wellington Post mourns over the effects of the Gaming and Lotteries Act. This measure has completely crushed the « Consultation » swindles in New Zealand: but they still abound in Melbourne and Sydney, and our contemporary estimates that last year fully £30,000 was sent out of the colony to the lottery harpies. Some people will think we are cheaply quit of gentlemen of the George North stamp even at that price. If the totalizator were suppressed, we might also be happily rid of the idle gang of « spielers » who infest the country. As for the money sent away, and lost for ever, if we adopted the system in vogue in the United States, this could be almost entirely saved. The American Government hold that the public mails are not intended to be used either for the circulation of obscene literature or for purposes of fraud. Swindlers through the mails are reported by the police to the postal department, and their names are placed on a black-list, after which all correspondence addressed to them is stamped « fraudulent, » and returned to the writers. If our Government adopted this plan, and deducted ten per cent, of the enclosed cash for their trouble, they would spoil the little game of the Australian rascals, and add £2000 or £3000 a year to the revenue—all contributed by foolish people who apparently have more money than they know what to do with.

Nothing, says the Philadelphia News, takes the conceit out of the average man so as to order his paper discontinued, and then see the editor go right along and getting rich without him.

The article on the Southern Cross, by Mr Mills, in our April issue, was revised by two of the old staff before it appeared in print, and has been generally acknowledged to be as correct as can be expected of any record dealing with events of a quarter of a century old. However, the editor of the Hauraki Tribune, who has a considerable acquaintance with early journalism here and in Australia, finds fault with some of the details. The Cross, he says, was started in 1843, not in 1845. He adds that the statement that the paper was officially suppressed « is a piece of very neat embroidery; and moreover, land purchases at 1½d an acre, near Auckland, too, are slightly incongruous with vigorous exposure of Government abuses. The Cross was stopped because the plant and buildings were destroyed by fire, and two years afterwards was resuscitated. » —On this we may remark that we have repeatedly heard it stated that the Cross was suppressed by the Government, and the singular motto chosen on its reappearance is consistent with the statement. Before publishing the article, we endeavored to obtain explicit facts and dates regarding the « extinguishment, » butwithout success, the personal knowledge of our contributor and the friends who revised his notes not extending to such a distant date. However, we shall be glad of such precise particulars still, if any readers can supply them, as we have already received nearly enough memoranda and reminiscences regarding the old Cross to make another short article. The first article has been read with so much interest that we intend to continue the series. We invite our friend of the Tribune and any other gentlemen who have interesting memoirs or records of the early press, to send us brief articles or memoranda. In a few years, the anecdotes now current regarding the pioneer newspapers—their struggles and vicissitudes, and showing what manner of men owned and conducted them—will have been forgotten. No matter how scattered and fragmentary these reminiscences may be, they will be welcome, and will be turned to account. After completing the notes on the Southern Cross, our contributor will probably take up the Canterbury Standard. Notes regarding this paper, the Wellington Spectator, the Nelson Examiner, the Otago Witness, Otago Colonist, and the first establishment of the Otago Daily Times, will be welcome.