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it was not forgotten that it might become much greater if it were left with proper freedom and scope for action. In the course of the last year, the editor of the Scotsman addressed two long and very able Letters to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pointing out to him the hardships under which newspaper proprietors are suffering, and showing the extent of intellectual and commercial benefit which would result from a more liberal mode of proceeding on the part of the government and the legislature. The editor of the Scotsman, after making a calculation, by which he supposes, that if all the duties on newspapers were repealed, the paper which now costs sevenpence could be sold for three halfpence, and assuming that, if government were to reduce the stamp-duty to two-pence, and the advertisement-duty to one shilling, the two taxes would yield as much to the Treasury as they do now, proceeds to. consider how these taxes immediately affect the circulation
newspapers. We cannot render a more effectual service to the proprietors of newspapers generally, or indeed confer a greater benefit upon those who take a strong interest in the subject, than by copying the remarks made by this gentleman. He says,
Colquhoun computes, that, in 1812, there were in Britain one hundred and twenty-three thousand heads of families, with incomes exceeding £800 per annum. Their number may probably be now one hundred and forty thousand ; and, in the United States, almost every person with such a revenue would have a daily paper. Now, from a parliamentary document, printed in 1821, we find, that the average circulation of the London daily journals was about two thousand two hundred ; and assuming that it is the same still, it follows, that the impressions of all these papers put together amount to only thirty-five thousand. Hence we have reason to conclude, that, were papers untaxed, the wealthiest class alone would take three or four times as many copies of the daily papers as now serve the whole population of the country! a reduction of the duties would have a proportional effect on the circulation.
• The population of the British isles, at present, is very nearly double the population of the United States; the one being above twenty-three millions, and the other about twelve millions ; deducting the blacks, the American population will be about ten millions.
* In the British isles there are at present, according to M. Moreau, three hundred and thirty-four newspapers ; of which nineteen or twenty are daily ; viz. sixteen in London, and three or four in Ireland.
In the United States, in 1810, there were three hundred and sixtyfour newspapers : in 1823, according to a table in my possession, there were five hundred and ninety-eight; and in last Spring Mr. Cooper estimated the number at eight hundred [“ Notions of the Americans," vol. ii. p. 133] of these, according to the statement
of an American editor to me personally, and according to a paragraph which appeared some months ago in several American journals, there are fifty published daily. New York, in the month of March last, had twelve daily papers ; Philadelphia, eight or nine ; Baltimore, five; Boston, three or four, &c.
. The whole number of papers printed annually in Britain and Ireland, on an average of the last seven years, as I find from the amount of stamp-duty, was twenty-seven millions, eight hundred and twenty-seven thousand. This gives an average circulation of about eleven hundred for each.
• I might, perhaps, state the average circulation of the American journals fairly enough at the same amount; because the daily papers there, which print a greater number than the others, compose a much greater proportion of the entire mass. But, taking them at one thousand copies each, and classing them as I find done in an American paragraph, the result is as follows :
Copies Printed Annually. 550 Weekly Papers
28,000,000 200 Semi-Weekly, or Tri-Weekly**
20,800,000 50 Daily
64,400,000 If this Estimate is fairly made, it shows that there are nearly two. and a half times as many papers printed in the United States as in Britain, for less than half the population (excluding the blacks). Combining the two ratios, it results, that a million of persons in the United States purchase five tiines as many newspapers as a million of persons in the British isles !
* But to draw the parallel justly we must recollect the peculiar circumstances of the Americans. They live so widely scattered that one thousand persons are spread over as large a surface as ten thousand in Britain : hence vast numbers are far from any post-office, and must find it difficult to procure a paper, though ever so able to pay for it. Again, the class of persons who possess entire leisure and accumulated wealth, and to whom a newspaper is a moral necessary of life, is comparatively small in America. To balance this, indeed, the labouring classes have better wages there than here : but the truth is, that if a paper could be had for two-pence a week, the worst paid labourer could afford to get it: we shall, therefore, have a juster idea of the state of the press in each country if we compare the towns of the one with those of the other.
• There is not a town in Great Britain but London that does or can support a daily paper !- In the United States every considerable town has one or more : Rochester, a town with six thousand inhabitants, Troy, with nearly the same number (both in the State of New York), have each their daily paper, while neither Manchester nor Glasgow has one! Think of the capital of Scotland wanting a paper of this description, while an American town, of the size of Dalkeith, has one ! Think, too, of Leith, with a population of more than twenty thousand persons, trying, in vain, some years ago, to establish a weekly paper !
• Philadelphia and Liverpool have nearly the same amount of population, but the English town has probably six times as much trade as the American. Now Liverpool has eight weekly papers, which put forth eight publications in all per week. Philadelphia has eight daily papers, and eight or ten others, which prut forth about seventy publications per week!
Scotland, with two million one hundred thousand inhabitants, has thirty-eight papers, not one of which is published more than thrice a week.
Pennsylvania, with one million two hundred thousand inhabitants, had one hundred and ten papers in 1823, of which fourteen or fifteen were published daily!
• These facts speak for themselves : I think they fully warrant the conclusion, that in the most thickly-settled parts of the United States, which alone afford proper materials for comparison, the number of newspapers.in circulation amongst any given number of inhabitants is eight or teu times as great as in Britain.'
There is much good sense in the arguments here used, and the fact that no town in England, except London, can support a daily paper, can we think be owing to nothing but the enormous price at which a newspaper is sold in this country.
Next to the stamp-duty on the paper itself, the most oppressive thing under which the newspaper press suffers, is the duty on advertisements. Every advertisement, however short, pays to the government a duty of 3s. 6d. and the accumulation of advertisements, even at the enormous price charged for them in well-established papers, is so great as to prevent all possibility of displaying them properly so as to catch the eye of the public. In the American papers scarcely an advertisement appears without some engraving of a character adapted to the nature of the announcement, and the practice, although not very chaste to us, who are accustomed to see advertisements set in the smallest type, and crowded together so as to be almost lost, is found to be very useful to the advertiser. We are not, however, advocates for the engraving plan, but should like to see the advertisements so displayed in type, that in this commercial country, where public advertisement is the only channel of sale and purchase, the advertiser and the reader may be well aca commodated. A change is desirable, indeed, if it were only to do away with the illiberal, we had almost said dishonest double-sheet system, by which advertisements instead of apa. pearing in the regular course, are thrown into a supplementary sheet which is not read by one person in fifty. The editor of the Scotsman very justly observes, that newspapers are in the most strict and proper sense instruments of trade, and being so, it may fairly be asked, whether so enormous a tax ought to be imposed upon them. As a proof of the extent to which this
duty operates, it is mentioned that whilst the number of advértisements which appeared in the newspapers of the United States of America in one year was ten million one hundred and five thousand, the number in the same period in Great Britain and Ireland and the British Isles, was only nine hundred and sixty-three thousand nine hundred and twenty-three, although the population is double in amount, so that in fact the advertising in America is tó that in the British Isles as twenty to
The charge per line in the two countries for the shortest class of advertisements, viz. those of eight or ten lines, is as follows:
In London. In New York
3d, For the second, do. ...
1fd. For each subsequent insertion at the rate of thrice a week ...
1ld. For each subsequent insertion daily after the second
d. For advertisements of twenty lines :First insertion
2d. Second, do.
9d. For each subsequent insertion at the rate of thrice a week
d. For each subsequent insertion daily after the second
d. And yet it is supposed that in America, the proprietors of newspapers having no tax to pay, derive a greater average profit than the same class of persons in this country. In Great Britain, where the charges for advertising are so high, few persons advertise in more than two or three newspapers--those of course which are supposed to have the greatest circulation, and thus it is only by a few that considerable profit can be derived. To reduce the duty would, therefore, be to equalize the profit, and to offer a boon to commercial enterprise of every description. But the newspapers alone do not suffer from this tax. We are much mistaken if the government, which now derives only between 160,0001. and 170,0001. per annum from the advertisement duty, would not gain much more by reducing it twothirds. The high-duty system has never succeeded in any branch of industry—it has been abandoned with benefit to all parties in many instances, and we cannot conceive any fitter occasion for repeating the experiment than in the instance of newspapers.
We cannot close our review of the newspaper press in the
United Kingdom without remarking upon the silly affectation of indifference to newspaper opposition or advocacy, which is displayed by some of the leading persons in and out of parliament ; nothing is more common than to hear this or that great man, with a sneer exclaim, "oh, the newspapers say so," or“who pays attention to the newspapers ?" and on the bench or at the bar, persons who, but for the newspapers would never have risen to eminence, appear to aspire to a notoriety founded upon contempt for the opinions expressed in the public journals. "If the indifference pretended to be entertained by these persons were real, we should shudder to see it tolerated as it lately has been, for if once the newspaper press could be brought into general contempt, there would be an end of liberty and of the constitutional right of discussing the merits of persons in authority. But it is a mere affectation-an affectation of the most childish and silly doscription-an assumption of independence over that power, the well-directed influence of which a truly great and good man must acknowledge and respect. Nothing denotes weakness of mind more than this pretended indifference to praise or censure --nothing betrays a desire of emancipation from the salutary control of the newspaper press more than the silly and contemptuous defiance thrown out by those who profess to be above newspaper criticism. It is some satisfaction to know, that all this vapouring has its origin in weakness; that whilst in public speeches and writings the press is defied, private sacrifices are offered, and propitiatory mediations are made, to secure its support or neutrality. It is in our power to shew this in the case of several of the little great men now in office or in the legislature, but we shall reserve our exposure for a more fitting opportunity. We have noticed the subject because it was due to the numerous body who have been insulted by sneers of the kind alluded to, to do so, but at present we shall go no further.
The subject will be pursued in future articles on the newspaper press of continental Europe and America.
Art. V.- Forest Scenes and Incidents in the Wilds of North America ;
being a Diary of a Winter's Route from Halifax to the Canadas, and during four months residence in the Woods on the Borders of Lakes Huron and Simcoc. By George Head, Esq. London.
Murray. 1829. WHY is the Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, the Mariner of
York, the most delightful and interesting of books? In what does the pleasure of the reader consist : whence is it