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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 4

[miscellaneous paragraphs]

There was a sermon apropos the labor question (says the Paper World) in the recent casual statement of President Rogers of the Massasoit Paper Company, regarding the price of paper. « Prices have been steadily falling, » said he, « till they have reached the lowest figures ever known; yet for years we have met this situation without reducing the pay of our help. Improvements in machinery, economy in methods, and a stronger pressure to turn off the work, have enabled us to maintain the wages of our hands. » Such a spirit and such a purpose are mighty factors in the labor question.

There have been a good many court cases in the South Island during the month in connexion with the Picturesque Atlas, and judgment has generally gone for plaintiffs. One of the agents had to answer a charge of perjury, but was acquitted. In Invercargill, Judge Rawson, in one of the cases—a claim for £7—nonsuited the plaintiff on the ground that there had been no acceptance of delivery, and that the time had not elapsed when the payments were due for more than fourteen parts, for which the defendant had already paid. His Worship held that under the agreement payment could not be exacted in a lump sum, but only at the rate of five shillings a month.

In referring to the severance of Mr David Bruce from the historic foundry that bears his name, the Chicago Specimen says that « it marks the retirement from active business life of one of the most remarkable men that have been connected with typefounding in America. He never did anything in a small way. His business transactions, his acts of charity, and his rewards were always accomplished on a broad plan. » It adds that the transfer of the concern, worth over half-a-million dollars, to three of the employés, was virtually a gift—the nominal consideration, it is said, being one cent each.

Those who are loyal to the Queen's English must have deplored the common misuse of the word « stultify. » For once that it is correctly used by platform speakers or newspaper contributors, it is ten times misapplied in the sense of « neutralize, » « circumvent, » « undo, » or « reverse »: all ideas utterly foreign to its meaning. Says a contemporary: « The heroic determination of the people to abandon the policy of waste and extravagance and insist on economy and retrenchment, will become stultified by the line of action the labor question will force upon us. » Now a man cannot possibly stultify a determination, though he may with the greatest ease stultify himself. The word has but one meaning—it is a convenient equivalent to the four Saxon words « make a fool of. »

A very important judgment is reported from the Dublin Exchequer Court. A verdict, carrying damages for £250, was recently obtained by Lord Annaly against Stubbs's Weekly Gazette, for publishing an incorrect statement as to a judgment registered against his lordship, as if it had been obtained against him personally instead of in his capacity as executor. The newspaper appealed, asking to have the verdict set aside on the ground that the error occurred in the official register from which the particulars had been extracted. The Court upheld the appeal, on the ground that no negligence or malice had been proved, and that the publication was simply the publication of a public document, which any of the public could inspect on payment of one shilling. This second point is not without interest in connexion with a late New Zealand case.

Mr John Southward lately delivered a lecture before the British Typographia, on « Type-Setting by Machinery. » He said that the invention had got beyond the experimental stage. There were several factories in the country devoted to the manufacture of such machines, and of one make alone 2,700 machines had been ordered. Most of The Times was set up by machinery, and among the provincial journals using machines were the Manchester Guardian, the Bradford Observer, the Freeman's Journal, the Liverpool Courier, and the Liverpool Daily Post. He would not say that there was any great saving to the newspapers employing these machines. In some cases the cost was greater. It might be thought that this was a fatal objection; but the object of keeping the machines was to save time late at night when important news came in at the last moment. Men working on these machines at the rate of 2½d to 3d a thousand, could earn more than the compositor paid at the rate of 8d and 8½d.

An American paper, the Somerville Journal, thus discourses on « word fads »: « The remarkable vogue of certain words is one of the mysteries of current conversation and writing. There was, for instance, the word 'environment,' which had a great run a few years ago. Then 'distinctly' had an inning, [sic] being affected by artistic people, to whom art was 'distinctly precious.' Then lovers of good English were made unhappy by the public speaker, who, on every possible occasion, told the world that he 'voiced the sentiments' of somebody or other. The same man generally used that monstrosity, 'brainy.' Most people remember how popular 'unique' and 'bizarre' were a short time ago, and how the word 'sporadic' broke loose in almost every page of certain writers. Then the word 'anent' had a brief reign, being especially loved by the gossiper in the society weeklies. More recently that fine adverb 'absolutely' carried everything before it, in an absolutely absurd way. » —The list might easily be extended. « Newsy » is as ugly as « brainy, » and should be sent to the same limbo. « Phenomenal » is a silly and meaningless expletive, and one of the current absurdities is the misuse of the verb « accentuate, » which is found in nearly every newspaper. Writers who have never formed a style of their own are always on the watch for the newest slang wherewith to adorn their paragraphs. Some months ago an eccentric colonial politician used the word « nathless » in a published address, and for months afterwards the archaism was continually appearing in the most ungrammatical and incongruous associations. Some writers think that it is useless to draw attention to such debasement of current language; but we differ from them. The objectionable form « desirability, » for instance, once very common, has now been driven almost out of use by the attacks of critics.