Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/345

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257
NEWSPAPER MONOPOLY.

as for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he could not believe for one moment that if left to his own unaided judgment he would hesitate to give his preference to the latter. The Chancellor nevertheless avowed in the plainest terms his preference for newspapers, and his conviction of the advisability of an immediate reduction in the stamp duty; the result, after the lapse of less than forty years, has conclusively proved the wisdom of the measure which he succeeded in carrying.

Curious arguments of the newspaper proprietors.Newspaper proprietorship was then a monopoly; and the argument by which the rich proprietor, the representative of the third class of opponents, sought to maintain his monopoly cannot fail to amuse the newspaper reader of to-day. The monopoliser who, to maintain the character of his paper and to supply the public with the best and earliest information, incurred the expense of procuring parliamentary reports, obtaining foreign intelligence, anticipating the arrival of the post by expresses, and by having correspondents in every quarter of the world where matters of interest were going forward, said, that should the measure pass, he must thenceforth either be content to lower the tone of the public press by not giving the same amount of accurate intelligence, or must carry on the contest with those who went to no expense at all. "The result would be not only the ruin of the property of the newspaper proprietors and the destruction of their property, but it would be something much more fatal to the general interests of the country, for the editors of the present respectable papers would not be able to compete with these predatory publications, and would be compelled to forego that extent of information which was then so accurately given. We should have the newspaper press"—mark this, ye omnivorous readers of to-day, who commence with The Times, adjourn to the Telegraph, peruse the pages of the Morning Post, wander through the columns of the Daily News, and finish off with the express edition of the Globe or Evening Standard, reserving your Saturday Review, your Truth, and your Vanity Fair for Sunday solatium—"we should have the newspaper press simply reduced to this state: that no longer would there be a regular and correct supply of information