Clement, William Innell (DNB00)

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CLEMENT, WILLIAM INNELL (d. 1852), newspaper proprietor, was born, it is believed, in London of humble parentage, and received only a scanty education. Between 1810 and 1815 he started in business by the purchase of a share of the 'Observer,' at that time a comparatively obscure paper. Clement by his liberal management and faculty for organisation soon placed it at the head of the Sunday press. He aimed at making it what he called 'a seventh-day paper.' By not printing it till between four and five o'clock on the Sunday morning he was enabled to give the very latest intelligence. His energy in this department led him to publish a full report of Thistlewood's trial in April 1820. By doing so he incurred a penalty of 500l., which, however, was never enforced.

Elated with the success of the 'Observer,' Clement became ambitious of owning a morning paper. Accordingly, on the death of Mr. James Perry in 1821, he purchased the 'Morning Chronicle' for the extravagant sum of 42,000l. It proved an unlucky venture. His capital being unequal to such a demand, he was obliged to raise the greater portion of the purchase-money by bills. Through his bill transactions he became involved with Messrs. Hurst & Robinson, by whose bankruptcy in 1825 he was an extensive sufferer. After losing annually on the 'Morning Chronicle,' Clement was glad to part with it in 1834 to Mr. (afterwards Sir John) Easthope and two other speculators for 16,500l. In the meantime he had, in addition to the 'Morning Chronicle' and 'Observer,' bought 'Bell's Life in London,' which, under the editorship of Mr. Vincent Dowling, became a first-rate sporting paper. Clement died at Hackney on 24 Jan. 1852 at an advanced age. Part of his business was acquired by Mr. W. H. Smith.

Clement was at one time intimate with William Cobbett [q. v.], and stood his friend when the latter had to fly to the United States on the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act during the Liverpool and Castlereagh ministry. He afterwards had reason to complain of Cobbett's ingratitude.

[Gent. Mag. new ser. xxzvii. 306-7; Andrews's Hist, of British Journalism, ii.; Grant's Newspaper Press, i. 280, iii. 28, 128.]

G. G.