Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/513

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9*8. IX. JUNE 28, 1902.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


505


NEWSPAPERS AT THE TIME OF THE CORONATION OF QUEEN VICTORIA.

ON the 6th of December, 1837, Dr. Arnold wrote to his friend Mr. Platt, " A newspaper requires a more condensed and practical style than I am equal to." This was written in the days of small papers and small sales, and the present penny daily of from twelve to sixteen large pages would have been regarded as little short of a miracle. The Sun gave a full account of the corona- tion of the Queen, printed in letters of gold. This was limited to rour pages; and the Weekly Chronicle of Julv 1st, 1838, an excellent facsimile of which was issued by the pro- prietors of the Evening News on Monday, the 16th, had a like limit. Its leader, written the day before the ceremony, states that London is teeming with life. The mass of human beings congregated within the limits of the metropolis defies calculation. The writer was evidently a veteran on the press, for he remembered the celebration of peace in 1814 and the last two coronations ; " but we can recall nothing in the least comparable to the present display." "We only pray that our fickle climate may not mar the effect of these vast preparations." In the same paper it is announced " that the hour is now at hand when the last remnant of slavery will expire throughout the dominions of Great Britain." "By the last packet the gratifying intel- ligence has been received that in Barbadoes, as well as most of the smaller islands, the colonial legislatures have resolved to meet the wishes of the people of England by the general emancipation on the first of August of the apprentices."

A very interesting account of the Press and the last Coronation, by Henry Charles Moore, is given in the * Newspaper Press Directory,' edited by my old friend Mr. Walter Wells- man. Mr. Moore has been at much pains in collecting extracts from the reports which appeared in the various papers. At the time the daily papers in the whole of the United Kingdom did not number twenty, the price being, for the most part, fivepence. There were no illustrated papers.

The Globe was the first of the important papers to publish an account of the Corona- tion, and, in mentioning the presence of the poet Campbell, stated that in his written appli- cation to the Earl Marshal he had remarked that there was a place in the Abbey called Poets' Corner, and suggested that room could, perhaps, be found there for a poor living poet. The Globe mentions that one noble lord had been detected in selling by public adver-


tisement the order for admission which had been presented to him. The ticket was stopped, and the twenty-five guineas obtained for it had to be refunded. The Times devoted thirty-three columns to the Coronation. Re- ferring to the conduct of the Westminster boys, who hailed the Queen with noisy shouts of " Regina Victoria ! " it said, " It might have been as well had they been banished entirely from the Abbey, for a more murderous scream of recognition than that which they gave Her Majesty Queen Victoria was never before heard by civilized ears."

The Morning Post described the scene in the Abbey as being quite theatrical, asserting " that it would be difficult to arrange, with the greatest resources of the finest theatre in the world, anything capable of the same result."

The Coronation was the first public cere- mony at which Press passes were issued by the police. Henry Vizetelly was provided with one in order that he might make sketches for the double number of the Observer. Mr. Vizetelly, in his 'Glances Back through Seventy Years,' mentions that special sketches had to be made of the State coach and the various uniforms of the Beef- eaters, Gentlemen-at-arms, &c. Near the Abbey he

" encountered many ladies and gentlemen in Court and full dress the ladies with nodding plumes on their heads and dainty white satin shoes on their feet, and with their embarrassing long trains gathered up in their arms who, foreseeing a pos- sible difficulty of reaching the Abbey in their carriages, were calmly proceeding there on foot, laughing among themselves at the curiosity they excited in the crowd."

Mr. Vincent Dowling, the editor of the Observer, wished to include a view of the pro- cession from the roof of Apsley House, and wrote to the Duke of Wellington to grant his permission. The Duke replied :

"F.M. the Duke of Wellington has received a letter signed Vincent Dowling. The Duke has no knowledge of the writer of the letter, neither is he interested in any way in the Observer newspaper. Apsley House is not a public building, but the Duke's private residence, and he declines to allow any stranger to go upon the roof.

"Apsley House, June 21, 1838."

Mr. Vizetelly had to throw many sketches aside, as they could not be used for the Observer. These he " utilized for a panoramic drawing in columns, a dozen or more feet in length, which was published by Tyas, who paid me for it, I remember, at the rate of so much per foot ! "

Before the starting of the Illustrated London News on the 14th of May, 1842, occasional illustrations would appear in some of the weekly papers. Among, the first and best