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few cases is he known, unless pelted on some accidental occasion by public abuse into notoriety. As for newspaper writers, they are generally held below surmise. We do not think it worth while even to guess who they are.
There seems on all sides the most ignorant willingness to submit to newspaper despotism, coupled with an equally ignorant contempt for those who direct it.
When M. Thiers paid a visit to London a year ago, the English papers and the writers in these papers, strange to say, affected to sneer at M. Thiers, because, forsooth, he had been a writer in a newspaper. I need hardly remark that they shewed, by such conduct, a very mean opinion of themselves, and a very gross ignorance of that country in the affairs of which M. Thiers takes so conspicuous a part. It is difficult to point out a public man of any eminence in France, who has not written in a newspaper.
M. Benjamin Constant, M. de Châteaubriand, M. de Lalot, M. de Villèle, M. Salvandy, M. Villemain, M. B. de Vaux, l'Abbé de Pradt, M. Arago, M. Odillon Barrot, have all written in newspapers; and the only man worthy of being put into competition with M. Thiers, at the present moment-the only man whom at the time I am writing, the dynasty has seriously
to dread, is that gentleman who lately sought a refuge on our shores,* and whose talents and integrity have been made visible through the channel of a daily journal.
These are facts: into the causes of these facts-the advantages and the disadvantages attendant upon these facts, let us inquire!
It has been said that the different rank which the French and English journalists hold, in their respective countries, is chiefly attributable to the English newspaper-writer being anonymous and the French not.
There is an error here; and the effect is mistaken for the cause. The different degree of respect which the writers in French newspapers enjoy cannot proceed from the signature of their names, because the political writers in the French newspapers (the class most considered,) do not sign their names. They make no mystery of their names, certainly; they usually acknowledge and even boast of their productions—but they do not sign their names, and might be anonymous if they pleased it. It is not because they publish their names that they are respected-it is because they are respected that they make no secret of their names.
* M. A. Carrel of whom I have been speaking,
To ascertain the cause of this, we must ascertain the causes which constitute the success of a paper in France and the success of a paper in England.
What makes an English journal so powerful? a foreigner arrives in England-he goes to the Traveller's—he hears his neighbours say: do not think the ministry can stand, see how the attacks it." "Is the a very formidable paper then?" he says. "Oh! yes, a very formidable paper indeed." The foreigner takes up the paper, reads it thrice through-and unless it happen to be one of those field days, on which I admit a remarkable article may appear falsely attributes to his want of a perfect knowledge of English, his inability to see the peculiar merits of a composition which has in reality no such merits at all.
Convinced, however, that the merits are there, he enquires: "Pray, who is the great writer in this journal?" "Writer-writer !" repeats his informant, "upon my word I do not know they say a Mr. um writes in it."
"Is Mr. —um such a very great writer then?" adds my curious stranger, "it is very odd that I never heard of his name before. Is Mr. -um then one of your first writers?" "I rather think not—I believe not-I do not know that he is," says the Englishman, and
the foreigner remains not much the wiser for the questions I have taken the liberty to put into his mouth; for it never for one moment occurred to him that the writing of a paper has very little to do with its success;—if it had, Mr. Fonblanque would monopolise public attention.
Why is this in England? On account of the fourpenny tax? not on account of this tax alone perhaps ; but on account of this tax and the system of government, and the state of property which is connected with this tax. A paper has got a great capital-it has been established a long while. It would require a fortune to start a competitor against it. These are the circumstances which make a paper powerful, and as a paper can be powerful in spite of its writers, so the paper is respected when the writers are not.
In France, on the contrary, where the stamp duty is low and fortunes small, a paper depends wholly upon its writers. Good writers are absolutely necessary for good newspapers -the power of the newspaper then, is the power of the writer; and therefore the writers for newspapers take the rank of the newspapers in which they write.
Besides, as newspapers must profess their opinions with ability or those opinions lose ground, all persons interested in particular
opinions are interested in supporting particular newspapers. From this double action, as it were-from the rank and power which writing with ability in a paper gives, and the interest which all persons, whatever their political rank, have in supporting with their pen the journals which profess their political sentiments, journalism in France is perfectly different from journalism in England.
The effect of a high tax in a country where there are great fortunes, is to encourage rich men and to exclude poor men from entering upon newspaper speculation. Rich men once so occupied, they erect expensive machinery, and collect expensive information. The effect of a low tax in a country, where there are not great fortunes, is to engage men of talent and not to engage men of wealth in such undertakings-poor men of talent must rely upon talent. So that in one country success depends chiefly upon capital: in the other, success depends altogether upon ability-here consequently the paper is esteemed,* there the writer.
* Let us remark this: capital is more necessary than talent for newspapers in England, here the tax operates —and French newspapers are written better than English ones-talent is more necessary than capital for reviews in England-here no tax does operate-and the English eviews are far superior to the French ones.