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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 4

An Old Landmark Gone

An Old Landmark Gone.

Under the heading of « Soon to Pass Away, » the Auckland Herald of the 10th inst. writes:—There still stands opposite Messrs Hellaby's premises, in Shortland-street, a dilapidated building, now stigmatized as a shanty, but which was quite creditable to the times when it was erected. However humble and out of joint it now appears to the passer-by, the time was, when Auckland's early citizens accepted it as worthy of those days. Decrepid old age has marked it as its own; twisted and contorted out of all proportion, there is not a straight line anywhere to be seen. Doors and windows vie with each other in looking as crooked as possible; weatherboards first run one way and then another, and the ridge-board is humped into curves. Marring its ancient character is the galvanized iron now covering what was a shingled roof. The building, however, is a historical one, and those who care to look upon it must do so quickly, for the fiat has gone forth to number it with the things of the past. In a few days it will disappear for ever. Forty-seven years ago, on the 21st of April, 1843, at miduight, the first proof-sheet of the Southern Cross newspaper, to appear once a week, was thrown off in this building, and on the morning of the 22nd the issue was published to expectant and awaiting citizens, who wondered after what manner the editor and proprietor, Dr. Samuel McDonald Martin, would make his second bow to the community as an editor. Heading his leader, the new luminary was ushered into the world with the motto, 'Luceo non uro,' and underneath two lines from Shelley:

If I have been extinguished, yet there rise
A thousand beacons from the spark I bore.

This, of course, carried with it a meaning, significant and understood by the readers of the day. Dr Martin had been engaged as editor for the first newspaper which was published in Auckland, the proprietors being mostly composed of Government officials of the time being, who had formed themselves into a small company, and who had procured the necessary plant from Sydney. Dr Martin, in his articles, began attacking the policy of the Government, which caused his being 'extinguished' from the editorial chair; hence the appearance of the Southern Cross on his own account. Bead by the light of the present day, when reviewing—apart from the small local prejudices of the time—the Southern Cross leaders, it may be pronounced that however appropriate the quotation from Shelley, the motto would have read more truly had 'Luceo non uro' been changed to 'Luceo et uro.' How true it is, the smaller the community the narrower and more prejudiced it is, and sound views can only be forthcoming when a community numbers the required population—how many thousands, who can say? » (Fifty years hence, the leading articles of to-day may provoke similar reflections.—Ed Typo.)