Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 4
An up-country newspaper property in the North Island is offered for sale or lease. The terms are « £150 down; the balance to remain. » As a further inducement, the advertisement adds: « Proprietorship is supposed to carry with it certainty of election to the House. » Could impudence be carried farther than this?
Until some kind of national spirit is developed—and it seems as if nothing less than a grave common danger can bring about such a result—all talk of colonial federation is idle. As local displays the « jubilee » celebrations of Auckland and Wellington were great successes—as national demonstrations they were not. The actual day to be observed was in dispute, and the official notification of the holiday, held back to the last moment, was simply ignored. As the Press well put it, the 22nd was the anniversary of colonization—the 29th of officialism. The loyalty of the colonists is strong, bnt it is voluntary, and the Governor's snub to the old colonists of Wellington was a grave blunder. The banks observed both days. Auckland most religiously ignored the 22nd, and Wellington the 29th, and the other towns, regarding the affair as merely local, made no public demonstration whatever. No Gazette notice can alter the fact that but for Colonel Wakefield and his pioneers, New Zealand would have been to-day a French convict depôt instead of a British colony. Yet the wretched spirit of localism—a hindrance to colonial progress which no statesman has yet been able to overcome or successfully resist—has intervened, and the colony has lost a golden opportunity of asserting its unity and marking its half-centennial.
« The late Samuel Bowles, » says the Louisville Publisher and Printer, « one of the ablest newspaper men our country ever produced, who successfully published a metropolitan journal in a country town, made it a part of the 'style' of his paper to eschew the use of titles before people's names as much as possible. For instance, if the name of Charles Sumner was given, the prefix 'Mr' was religiously omitted, though it might be appended in case only the surname or initial and surname were given, as 'Mr Sumner' or 'Mr C. Sumner.' This rule was inflexibly enforced in all cases. The title 'Esq.' was sedulously avoided, and 'Hon.' was seldom or never given as a handle to one's name. Mr Bowles's example is commended to every newspaper conductor. Of all the much-abused terms, 'Esq.' stands foremost. Originally, a title of respect and distinction, it has so long been prostituted to unworthy purposes as to have become meaningless. » Colonial papers would do well to follow this example. In the advertising columns and in job-work, however, the printer can do no more than make an occasional suggestion, We remember printing a book of club rules for a number of young fellows belonging to an athletic society, and in the list of officers the secretary had « esquired » the lot, committee and all. The effect was so ludicrous, that we took the liberty of dropping the affixes—but they were all carefully marked in the proof. The P. and P. quotes from Eugene H. Munday's « Cabinet Poems » a little piece entitled « E. S. Q., » which we reprint in the present issue. It ought to be prominently stuck up in every composing-room in the land.
Both the Pall Mall Gazette and the Daily Telegraph have published « forecasts » of the report of the Parnell Commission. They are both purely imaginary, and differ in all essential particulars. What is the press agency about to send such rubbish by cable?
One of the most terrible fires on record in a printing office occurred on the 30th November, in the Tribune building, Minneapolis, Minn. Fifty editors, printers, and others, employed on the top floor, were apparently shut off from all means of escape, and wildest excitement prevailed. The fire started about 10.30 in a pile of paper on the third floor, and the flames immediately enveloped the shaft, and closed all mode of egress for sixty or more men employed on the seventh floor. The building was eight stories high. It had but one stairway, a winding affair, and one elevator, which proved the means of its speedy destruction. The St. Paul Pioneer Press had a branch office, employing five men, in the sixth story. There were about a hundred men in all employed in the top floors, and of these eight are known to be killed. Several tried to cross to another building hand over hand on telegraph wires, but their strength failed; they managed to get a distance of some twenty feet, and then dropped to the ground to meet instant death. Others jumped or fell from the window ledges. One man shot himself when he found there was no chance to escape. Before a stream from the engines reached the upper floors the windows were full of men shrieking for help in a way that was heartrending. When the ladders were brought, the work of rescue began quickly. Some got away, with severe burning, by the fire escapes and stairway; many more by the ladders. Half-a-dozen jumped, several were crushed. Seven bodies at the morgue have been respectively identified as Milton Pickett, assistant city editor Pioneer Press; James F. Igoe, telegraph operator; Walter E. Miles, assistant press agent; W. H. Millman, commercial editor Tribune; Jerry Jenkinson, compositor; Robert McCutcheon, compositor; and Professor Edward Oleson, of Vermillion, Dakota, who happened to be making a business call on the editor of the Tribune. The entire plant of the Tribune, valued at $100,000, is gone, and other losses swell the total to $150,000. A shocking sequel to the story is that Charles S. Ostrorn, cashier of the Minneapolis department of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, located in the Tribune building, has been arrested for arson. He had, according to his own confession, embezzled $2,200 of the Pioneer Press money, which he had lost in gambling. His books were left out of the safe on the night of the fire, as if he intended by the desperate act to prevent his shortage being detected. Ostrom, however, only confesses to the money deficit; he denies the arson.
On the 16th inst., in Christchurch, five persons—James Anderson, second-hand dealer, S. Stephens Powell, bookseller, Charles Christian Somers, bookseller, William Henry Hoskins, second-hand dealer, and Charles Henry Rhodes, bookseller and newsvendor—were charged with having indecent literature for sale. The information, which originally was for an indictable offence, was withdrawn in order that the accused might be summarily dealt with under the city bye-laws. The books in question were chiefly Zola's works. Defendants pleaded guilty, and were fined £2 each, with costs and fees bringing the total up to £4 9s. « Served them right, » will be the general verdict; but in one case the police, in their anxiety to get up a case, appear to have inflcted a grievous wrong. Mr Stephens Powell writes thus to the Lyttelton Times:— « Having been arraigned before the Courts on a criminal charge of disseminating obscene literature, to which on the advice of my counsel I pleaded guilty in order to avoid the enormous cost of defending myself in the Supreme Court, which I should have had to pay, no matter how the case went, it is only fair that an explanation should be circulated. From the very nature of my calling as a bookseller such a charge might, if not controverted, do serious damage to my business. I have no obnoxious literature in my establishment whatsoever, and have always tried to hold aloof from anything of the kind. A tenant of a property I have, when going away home some years ago, left behind him some little odds and ends, amongst which was a book in the French language, which he said he would give me. The book lay then unexposed at the back of my shop till a fortnight ago, when a man came in and enquired had I any good novels, I replied, Certainly. He then said Had I any of Zola's? I replied: Zola's novels! I would not sell one of them if you gave me £50 for it; do you not know that they are not allowed to be sold now, and that I should be no party to any breach of the law; but I had an old book in the French language, a collection of essays, which I did not suppose there would be any harm in selling him, and that he could have it at a reduction to get it out of my way. The man agreed to buy, and paid 3s 6d for it, a shilling under the proper price. That man was a detective, and in a few days I received a summons to answer a charge of circulating indecent literature. The book was in a language of which beyond the mere rudiments I am ignorant. »