Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Garnett, Jeremiah

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GARNETT, JEREMIAH (1793–1870), journalist, younger brother of Richard Garnett [q. v.], was born at Otley in Yorkshire, 2 Oct. 1793. After being apprenticed to a printer at Barnsley, he entered the office of 'Wheeler's Manchester Chronicle' about 1814, and with a brief interruption continued there until 1821, when he joined John Edward Taylor [q. v.] in establishing the 'Manchester Guardian.' The first days of this now potent journal were days of struggle. Garnett was printer, business manager, and sole reporter. He took his notes in a rough shorthand extemporised by himself, and frequently composed them without the intervention of any written copy. As the paper gained ground his share in the literary management increased, and in January 1844 he became sole editor upon the death of his partner, a position which he held until his retirement in 1861. During these forty years he exerted very great influence on the public opinion of Manchester and Lancashire generally, the admirable management of the 'Guardian' causing it to be largely read, both by tories and leaguers, who had little sympathy with its moderate liberal politics. He was active as a police commissioner, and in obtaining a charter of incorporation for the city. His pen and his advice were highly influential behind the scenes; but his public appearances were infrequent. The most important was on the occasion of the expulsion of Thomas Milner Gibson and John Bright from the representation of Manchester in 1857, which was almost entirely due to his initiative. As a man he was upright and benevolent, but singularly averse to display; as a writer for the press his principal characteristics were strong common-sense and extreme clearness of style. After his retirement he lived in Scotland and at Sale in Cheshire, where he died on 27 Sept. 1870.

[Manchester Guardian, 28 Sept. 1870; Manchester Free Lance, 1 Oct. 1870; Prentice's Historical Sketches and Personal Recollections of Manchester; personal knowledge.]

R. G.