15 MAY 1830, Page 8


OUR contemporary, or rather our late contemporary, has finished its career. We hardly know whether we should congratulate or condole with its proprietors. It has, we believe, ever since it began to live, been in a galloping consumption ; and all the symptoms of incurable disease were painfully manifest for several months before the period of dissolution. The Journal was a bold experiment on the public taste ; and we cannot but think that the public derive credit from its failure. Had it prospered, we should have almost confessed that the views of the Attorney-General respecting the press were sound in the main. If he shall again have occasion to point to the principal writer in it as a specimen of a newspaper conductor, or to the paper as a specimen of a political journal, we hope he will add, that they were specimens which the people of England rejected. It has been said that Sir JAMES SCARLETT put down the Journal. This is not, true. The cost of the trials was not sufficient to put down any respectably supported paper; and the publicity it received from them was precisely the species of advertisement that a newspaper would most covet ; it was a puff of the most valuable kind—a puff that cost nothing, and that was universally read. The paper is fallen because John Bull has at last begun to perceive that scolding is not argu- ment, that bluster and honesty are not exactly the same, that as- sertion and proof are different, and that ten thousand falsehoods will not make one truth. The Journal never exhibited much talent, though now and then it said good things : but had it possessed more talent than the most gifted of its contemporaries, it must have all been neu- tralized by its perpetual violence. This was the true cause of its decay ; this it was that rendered its support much more dangerous than its opposition—that made men, even of the extremest party in politics, ashamed to own any connexion with it. A paper that could neither silence an enemy nor conciliate a friend, could not stand. There are, however, causes at work, which, though by much and long struggling, and by enormous expenditure, a well-conducted newspaper may surmount them, are gradually bearing to the ground, not such political abortions as the Morning Journal merely, but more or less the whole of the newspaper press of Great Britain. The press throughout the country labours, as every thing else does, under a weight of taxation which must sooner or later work its utter ruin. Already, within the short space of four years, three daily papers—two of very respectable standing, one most powerfully supported—have disappeared, and not one has taken their place. Every thing points to the approaching extinction of several others ; nor should we be surprised if in half a dozen of years there should not remain above three or four daily news- papers in England. We do not know to what to attribute the seem- ing apathy of our contemporaries under the burdens that Govern- ment continues to heap on them. They may take it as a sure word of prophecy, that if once their number be much reduced, their total destruction is not far off. They are strong only in companionship. As they diminish, the eyes of the public will be turned away from them, and their fall will be witnessed without opposition and without sympathy. If Rome had had but one neck, its tyrant would soon have mastered his enemies ; but its necks were many, and NERO perished in his attempt to subjugate them. Whatever men of power may say, they regard the press with a hatred as honest and as in- stinctive as that with which the thief regards the halter. Let them once get the press so reduced that it may be attacked with a certain prospect of success, and the attack will not be long delayed.