Page:Studies of a Biographer 1.djvu/55

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

any newspaper whatsoever was illegal, and showed a manifest intent to the breach of the peace.' Although this doctrine and the practice which it sanctioned are startling enough to us, they suggest one significant remark. The accounts of Twyn's and other trials at the time prove the infamy of Scroggs and his like, but they indirectly prove also the advent of a change. The reporter had come into existence, and was doing his work admirably. The proceedings are taken down word for word, and the scenes are often so vividly described that they are more amusing, because less long-winded, than accounts of modern trials. Macaulay remarks that Jeffreys was awed at the trial of the seven bishops by the 'thick rows of earls and barons.' The reporter contributed equally to the remarkable change in fairness of trials which took place at the Revolution. It was to be a long time before he could force his way into the gallery of the House of Commons; but his influence in the law-courts was perceptible.[1] The Grub Street of Boyer's time contained many of the waifs and strays from this period of persecution. In wandering through that dismal

  1. In 1764 the reporters were liable to be turned out of court. See xiv. State Trials, p. 35.