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conduct of public men is constantly open to anonymous censure in the newspapers, they have an opportunity, in parliamentary and other legally-constituted assemblies, of explaining and justifying their own acts and opinions; and as these statements are made by persons in a conspicuous and recognised station, and subject to the completest personal reponsibility, they outweigh, in authority, the remarks of antagonists who maintain their anonymous position, and do not come forward as accusers. When the accused appears in person, to defend himself against the charges of an unavowed accuser, he enjoys, at least, the advantage of a position of superior credibility and authority. Although he cannot retaliate upon unknown assailants, he has at least the command of the most effectual means of self-defence. Ultimately, therefore, the balance between an unacknowledged attack and an acknowledged defence may be fairly struck.

Another preventive of the ill effects resulting from the anonymous authorship of newspapers is to be derived from remembering, that they are merely the organs of the proprietors, and are written by persons whom the latter employ-and that they are not invested with a representative character. Without this caution, the abstract 'we' of a newspaper-in this context, an impersonal pronoun of unknown reference-is likely to impose upon an unreflecting reader; and, at all events, the concealment of the writer's name may, upon the principle of omne ignotum pro mirifico, create an impression of some mysterious agency-an effect of secrecy similar to that which induced Walter Scott to conceal the authorship of his novels. Above all, a newspaper ought never to be considered as the exponent of national opinion, nor, without decisive evidence, as the accredited organ of a government. Unless this caution be observed, the indiscretion of a single editor-writing without any due sense of personal responsibility-might, if his volunteer assumption of the representative character were recognised abroad, give deadly offence to foreign nations, and render his own government accountable for his opinions.

The general results of the above remarks on newspapers may be summed up thus:-1, That, in spite of their anonymous authorship, newspapers acquire an extensive influence over opinion, by the authority derived from their corporate character; 2, That the anonymous authorship places the public under the direction of guides who have no sense of personal responsibility;

but, 3, That this evil must be endured for the sake of insuring a free censure of passing events; and that our main efforts should be aimed at the establishment of the best practicable securities against the incidental abuses of the concealment of authorship.1

§ 27. With regard to Reviews and Magazines, the other important branch of the periodical press, the same observations as to their continuous character may be made as in the case of newspapers. They consist of a set of original critiques and essays, on literary, scientific, historical, political, and other subjects, which are written by contributors selected and employed by an editor, and are published at stated periods under his directions. The editor is in general unknown to the public; but the previous management of the Review, and the character which it has thus acquired, afford a reasonable ground for expecting, that the selection of the papers for future numbers will be made on similar principles, and with equal discrimination.

The early political journals, as we have already seen, contained mere announcements of news, without comment or discussion. The literary journals, on the other hand, from their first establishment, aimed at higher objects. Being less exposed to the jealousy and suspicion of the government, they were allowed to pursue a more unimpeded career. The literary reviews and miscellanies, which began to appear at the end of the seventeenth and commencement of the eighteenth century, gave not only accounts of books, but judgments upon them. They entered into free and intelligent criticism of the most important subjects of speculation, and they bound all the States of Europe into a republic of letters, by circulating through it a knowledge of all important works, wherever published. By these means--in which they were materially assisted by the recent institution of government posts—they helped to counteract the narrow repulsive spirit of political, sectarian, and national divisions.2

Periodical publications of this class are often devoted to a special department of literature or science, or to some professional subject, such as divinity, law, medicine, the military art,

1 The views of M. Comte, upon the influence of the newspaper press, may be seen in his Cours de Phil. Pos. tom. VI. p. 410.

2 The Journal des Savans was established in 1665; Bayle's Nouvelles de la République des Lettres, in 1684; Leclerc's Bibliothèque Universelle, in 1686; the Leipsic Acta Eruditorum, in 1682; the Gentleman's Magazine and the London Magazine were not established till 1731 and 1732; the Monthly Review, in 1749. Upon the early reviews, see Hallam, Lit. of Europe, vol. IV. c. 7, §§ 24-7; Disraeli, Curiosities of Lit. p. 4.

agriculture, mathematics, &c. In this case, the periodical work has an authority, derived not only from its previous management, but also from its limitation to a definite department, and its possession of a professional character. There are likewise newspapers devoted to a special subject (as medicine or horticulture), but they are less numerous.

Articles in Reviews generally appear with the names of the authors, in France, Germany, and the other continental countries. In England and the United States, reviews are almost always anonymous; but the secrecy of authorship is not so strictly maintained as in newspapers. In either case, an article appearing in a Review, possesses whatever authority it may derive from the previous character of the periodical work in which it is published.1

A similar remark applies to the Transactions of learned societies. Such societies confer an authority upon the paper of a member or contributor, by selecting it for the honours of publication, and giving it to the world under their auspices.

All publications which appear successively in a connected Series involve the same principle: they imply a systematic and uniform management, and the deliberate selection of an editor or manager, whose endorsement gives a currency to each number. The celebrated collections of essays, which once had so large a circulation in this country-from the Tatler and Spectator to the Rambler, Idler, and Connoisseur-were founded on this principle. There was unity of management, and the excellence of some numbers compensated for the inferiority of others, while the spirit of all was similar. The well-known series of theological tracts published by Mr. Newman and his friends, at Oxford, likewise derived a portion of their importance from the circumstance, that they were all the authentic exponents of the opinions of a certain school, vouched for by their admission into the collection.

1 Speaking of Young's optical discoveries, promulgated in the early part of this century, Dr. Whewell says-There was in England no visible body of men fitted by their knowledge and character to pronounce judgment on such a question, or to give the proper impulse and bias to public opinion. The Royal Society, for instance, had not for a long time, by custom or institution, possessed or aimed at such functions. The writers of "reviews" alone-self-constituted and secret tribunals-claimed this kind of authority.'-Hist. of Ind. Sci. vol. II. p. 431.

2 Upon the origin of the class of periodical publications, known by the name of the Essayists, see the remarks of Johnson, in his Life of Addison, and Chalmers' Preface to his collection. The Tatler combined the Essayist and the Neus-letter.

It is from this principle that the collections of works published by societies (such as the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, and other similar associations) derive their importance.1

Encyclopædias, arranged in an alphabetical order, are an important class of publications, which have sprung up since the beginning of the eighteenth century, and have been formed in general by the contributions of numerous writers, each writing upon the subject with which he is best acquainted. The authority of any such compilation is derived from a cause similar to that which gives authority to a periodical work-viz., the continuity of management, and the general discretion and consistency shown in the choice of writers and materials.

§ 28. It is scarcely needful to add, that those who assume to exercise the function of literary censors, through the periodical press, ought to exercise it with an honest and conscientious judgment, and that they ought not to abuse the privilege conferred by anonymous writing, for the purpose of unduly depressing or elevating a new work by unmerited praise or blame. Private friendship, private enmity, party feeling, literary jealousy, and the. partialities of booksellers, however, frequently bias the judgment of critics. Even the sense of personal responsibility is no safeguard against the operation of such disturbing motives; as we know from too many examples in literary history. The influence of such motives is more to be feared in anonymous writing, and ought to be carefully guarded against by a judicious and candid editor. Judges of literature and science, although they do not, like those who exercise a criminal and civil jurisdiction, decide on the lives and fortunes of men-nevertheless, by their arguments and authority, influence the reputation of authors, and the fate of books and opinions, and thus affect the serious interests of society. Their function ought, therefore, to be discharged with a due sense of its importance; their sentences ought to be given with independence, and without favour and affection, but, at the same time, in a spirit of fairness and candour, and without jealousy, malice, or love of detraction.

The abuses of the system of literary puffing-a mischievous perversion of this power-having survived the well-known ridicule

1 See Conversationslexikon, art. Vereine zur verbreitung guter bücher.

2 For the history of encyclopædias, see Macvey Napier's Introduction to the Encyclopædia Britannica, ed. 6.

of Sheridan, have been argumentatively exposed by Mr. Macaulay, from whose able essay I borrow the following remarks (vol. I. p. 277):

"The opinion of the great body of the reading public is very materially influenced, even by the unsupported assertions of those who assume a right to criticise. Nor is the public altogether to blame on this account. Most, even of those who have really a great enjoyment in reading, are in the same state with respect to a book, in which a man, who has never given particular attention to the art of painting, is with respect to a picture. Every man who has the least sensibility or imagination derives a certain pleasure from pictures. Yet a man of the highest and finest intellect might, unless he had formed his taste by contemplating the best pictures, be easily persuaded by a knot of connoisseurs that the worst daub in Somerset House was a miracle of art. If he deserves to be laughed at, it is not for his ignorance of pictures, but for his ignorance of men. He knows that there is a delicacy of taste in painting which he does not possess; that he cannot distinguish hands, as practised judges distinguish them; that he is not familiar with the finest models; that he has never looked at them with close attention; and that, when the general effect of a piece has pleased him or displeased him, he has never troubled himself to ascertain why: when, therefore, people whom he thinks more competent to judge than himself, and of whose sincerity he entertains no doubt, assure him that a particular work is exquisitely beautiful, he takes it for granted that they must be in the right, He returns to the examination, resolved to find or imagine beauties; and if he can work himself up into something like admiration, he exults in his own proficiency.

'Just such is the manner in which nine readers out of ten judge of a book. They are ashamed to dislike what men, who speak as having authority, declare to be good. At present, however contemptible a poem or a novel may be, there is not the least difficulty in procuring favourable notices of it from all sorts of publications, daily, weekly, and monthly. In the meantime, little or nothing is said on the other side. The author and the publisher are interested in crying up the book. Nobody has any very strong interest in crying it down. Those who are best fitted to guide the public opinion think it beneath them to expose mere nonsense,

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