Page:Studies of a Biographer 1.djvu/57

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43
THE EVOLUTION OF EDITORS

the booksellers, printers, binders, engravers, and hackney authors of the time, and gives us tantalising glimpses of some familiar names. He has short descriptions of considerably over a hundred booksellers, and from his account we are glad to observe that they already showed their main characteristic—the possession, namely, of all the cardinal virtues. He enumerates and compliments all the writers of weekly sheets. Among them is Boyer, whom he praises for the 'matchless beauties of his style'; Defoe, with whom he had unluckily a running quarrel, and who is therefore mentioned with less warmth than inferior rivals; and Tutchin, whose Observator is 'noways inferior' to Defoe's Review. Tutchin was the famous person who was sentenced by Jeffreys, for his share in Monmouth's revolt, to a punishment of such severity that he petitioned the king to be hanged instead. His petition is supposed to be unique, and his prayer was not granted. Tutchin escaped to see Jeffreys in the Tower, and was reported to have sent him a halter concealed in a barrel of oysters. Tutchin was tried in 1704 for some of his Observators, in which he seems to have obscurely hinted that there might be some corruption in the navy. He escaped in consequence of