17 AUGUST 1833, Page 14


THE unjust operation of the laws in regard to unstamped pub- lications, brings, daily, more and more discredit and popular odium upon Earl GREY'S Ministry. It is notorious that one of the most flourishing newspaper speculations of the day is that which sprung up under the patronage of Lords BROUGHAM, ALTHORP, and Chief Justice DENMAN, called the Penny Magazine. This paper, because so patronized, is issued weekly without molesta- tion; but upwards of four hundred prosecutions againsf the pub- lishers of similar works, many of them quite as harmless, have been instituted during the last three years, under the sanction of these Penny Magazine men. It is pretended, indeed, that Ministers are not to blame, because the law under which these prosecutions are carried on was not of their framing, being as old as the reign of GEORGE the Second. But why, then, have they not set about the repeal of this law ? "He who permits oppression shares the crime ;" and Lord BROUGHAM and his colleagues are therefore the great criminals in this matter. Again, it will be said that those papers only are prosecuted which contain news. But the distinction between news and no- news, which forms the boundary between the protected and the pro- scribed papers, is too narrow to be recognized by the eye of com- mon sense. It is quite disregarded in practice. And why should " news" pay a tax, more than history, antiquities, travels, poetry, anecdotes? Is it because those who desire the former species of information are more affluent, than those whose tastes lead them to prefer the latter? The reverse is the fact.

Many of these prosecutions are carried on under the remains of the notorious Six Acts, which these very Ministers denounced in their days of patriotism, as the most disgraceful and oppressive of all possible enactments : yet they still, after nearly three years possession of the seats of power, suffer them not only to re- main on the Statute-book, but to be enforced with extraordinary zeal and in the most partial manner. It is only a few days since

a poor fellow, named Josaue HcessoN, was sentenced at Hudders- field to six months' imprisonment for publishing a weekly paper called the Voice of the West Riding, in which it was not pre- tended that any thing seditious'or immoral was to be found. But he was incarcerated because his paper was unstamped. His case has been brought before Parliament ; and we trust that means will be taken to shame these apostate Ministers into procuring a repeal of the atrocious acts under which he was convicted.