Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 3
Wellington, 22nd April, 1889
It is a very pleasant item with which I commence my letter this month. Trade in our particular craft is more brisk than it has been for some time, with the promise of its continuance, as Parliament will soon be in session. Messrs Lyon & Blair's establishment has been rather slack for months past, but at the present time they have plenty of work in hand, and in consequence have taken on several extra hands. I understand they will shortly put the copy for a 400 pp. novel into the printers' hands, which novel will very likely see the light of the reading world about the time of next Christmas. Who is the novelist? and What is the subject? are questions which I will try to answer in the near future.
The report and balance-sheet of the N.Z.T.A. came out just too late for your last issue. The state of the finances is good, the credit balance of £100 16s at the beginning of last year having increased to £144 18s. The calls upon the unemployed allowance have been very few considering the depression: this is accounted for by so many craftsmen leaving the colony as they fell out of employment.—The N.Z.T.A. has during the year, by a unanimous vote, joined the Australasian Typographical Union. The Executive have appointed four representatives (who are required to be Melbourne residents), and it is intended that each Branch shall appoint a delegate. Certain reductions have been made in the number of office-bearers, with a view to economy in administration. It is also suggested that the executive be permanently located in Wellington; and that each branch nominate a Wellington resident as its representative. Mr Rigg, representative at the late Conference held in Melbourne, sent his report to the Council, accompanied by a fine photo of the delegates. The report appears in full in the Council's circular.
The Trade Protection Gazette, the weekly organ of the Mutual Creditors' Association, is now printed by Messrs Edwards & Co. It was previously turned out of Mr Manley's office, but I understand that cheaply as the latter was doing it, the former firm cut him out with a lower price. This is a fine example of the state of affairs at present existing in our trade. The Gazette is a 12 pp. demy quarto, two of the pages being heavy tables, and the last contract price is, I understand, £10 per week for 3000 copies!
There has been some trouble recently in the working of the Catholic Times. I fancy the management have found out that they made a mistake in taking away their printing from Messrs Lyon & Blair's establishment, where they were only charged with the cost of printing, and taking an office of their own, thus having to pay rent, wear and tear, risks, and all the odds and ends which count up in the running of an establishment. Mr Weale, who has been the editor from the first, was dismissed almost immediately on the arrival of Archbishop Redwood, a large shareholder (apparently following the example of Pope Leo—a great believer in the power of the Press, who devotes a fifth of his own income to the establishing and support of journals pledged to his policy). No reason was assigned for the discharge, and Mr Weale has laid an action for damages to the amount of £250 against the Archbishop, as representing the company. I have been unable to ascertain the date of hearing. The present editor of the paper is Mr Evison, formerly well known as « Ivo, » the freethought lecturer, and editor of the defunct Rationalist. Two noted freethought lecturers (Mr and Mrs Selby) have recently been converted to the « evangelical » faith, and now we have another who has gone into the fold of the Church of Rome.
Are things what they seem?
Or are delusions ahout?
Is Freethought a failure?
Or is lecturing played out?
Certain typographical changes have been made since the new editor took charge. The gigantic catch-line The, which Typo criticized on the first appearance of the paper, has vanished; the two wide columns have been altered to three narrow—a doubtful improvement; the unconscionably heavy brevier extended letter used fitfully as side-heads is now confined to cross-heads; the articles are broken up into small paragraphs separated by lines of asterisks; but the leader is still set in large pica. A week ago the mechanical staff received a week's notice, when they were informed that they would be kept on if they would accept lower wages. I hear, now, that the foreman has undertaken to farm the paper, and he has put the boys on piece-work. Why is it that religious papers are, in the majority of cases, among the most unfair offices from a wages point of view?
The Evening Press of this city is undergoing considerable change. It will shortly appear in a new suit of type. I hope that the proprietory will see its way to give a better quality of paper, and see that better skill is exercised in the machine department; for the Press has been hitherto almost a botch in the manner in which it is machined. One might class it as a religious paper, for it abounds with monks and friars. If the Press ever wishes to rival the Post, it will have to take a series of lessons in dressing. Its literary ability is unquestionable; but the old type and wretched priuting places the paper at a great disadvantage.
Mr Edward Wakefield has left Wellington, and has therefore temporarily given up his position as editor of the Press. It is reported that he is going home to look after the publication of a literary venture which he has been at work upon for some time. Some twelve months ago he was by the direction of the Government compiling a handbook of the colony, but the Cabinet cancelled his order, and he has used the information he had thus far gleaned, together with some valuable MSS. written by the early French missionaries, supplied by Count d'Abbans, France's representative in this city. Mr Wakefield has doubtless also some important records which have been kept by his own family, and thus by combining all these data, with his great literary and journalistic skill he will be able to give us a very valuable and interesting work on the History of New Zealand. It is said that the work will be published simultaneously in London and Paris (and perhaps New York) and that Count d'Abbans is taking charge of the Parisian edition.
Mr Fisher, ex-journalist, has had to leave the ministry. As a keen debater, he made his mark in opposition—as an administrator he has proved « tetchy, » self-willed, and altogether impracticable. In his passage-at-arms with the anonymous correspondent of the Australasian, he exhibited his sensitiveness to criticism, and came off second-best. The ostensible subject of his dispute with the ministry is the beer-duty prosecutions and the appointment of Shannon the « expert. » But he has since allowed himself to be interviewed, and has properly « given himself away. » According to his own account, he has disagreed with his colleagues on every point of policy since he has been in office. Likely enough—he is that kind of man. But why in conscience did he continue to hold office if such was the case?