Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Stuart, Daniel

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STUART, DANIEL (1766–1846), journalist, was born in Edinburgh on 16 Nov. 1766. He was descended from the Stuarts of Loch Rannoch, Perthshire, who claimed kinship with the Scottish royal family. His grandfather was out in the '15 and his father in the '45. In 1778 Daniel was sent to London to join his elder brothers, Charles and Peter, who were in the printing business. The eldest, Charles, soon left it for play-writing, and became the intimate friend of George Colman; but Daniel and Peter lived together with their sister Catherine, who in February 1789 secretly married James (afterwards Sir James) Mackintosh [q. v.] She died in April 1796. Daniel Stuart assisted Mackintosh as secretary to the Society of the Friends of the People, whose object was the promotion of parliamentary reform. In 1794 he published a pamphlet, ‘Peace and Reform, against War and Corruption,’ in answer to Arthur Young's ‘The Example of France a Warning to Great Britain.’

Meanwhile, in 1788, Peter and Daniel Stuart undertook the printing of the ‘Morning Post,’ a moderate whig newspaper, which was then owned by Richard Tattersall [q. v.], and was at a low ebb. In 1795 Tattersall disposed of it to the Stuarts for 600l., which included plant and copyright. Within two years Stuart raised the circulation of the paper from 350 a day to a thousand, and gradually converted it into an organ of the moderate tories. He had the entire management almost from the first. By buying in the ‘Gazetteer’ and the ‘Telegraph,’ by skilful editing and judicious management of the advertisements, and by the engagement of talented writers, he soon made the ‘Morning Post’ the equal of the ‘Morning Chronicle,’ then the best daily paper. Mackintosh, who wrote regularly for it in its earlier days, introduced Coleridge to Stuart in 1797. Coleridge became a frequent contributor, and when, in the autumn of 1798, he went to Germany, Southey supplied contributions in his place. On Coleridge's return it was arranged that he should give up his whole time and services to the ‘Morning Post’ and receive Stuart's largest salary. Stuart took rooms for him in King Street, Covent Garden, and Coleridge told Wordsworth that he dedicated his nights and days to Stuart (Wordsworth, Life of Wordsworth, i. 160). Coleridge introduced Lamb to Stuart; but Stuart, though he tried him repeatedly, declared that he ‘never could make anything of his writings.’ Lamb, however, writes of himself as having been closely connected with the ‘Post’ from 1800 to 1803 (‘Newspapers thirty-five years ago’). Wordsworth contributed some political sonnets gratuitously to the ‘Morning Post,’ while under Stuart's management. In August 1803 Stuart disposed of the ‘Morning Post’ for 25,000l., when the circulation was at the then unprecedented rate of four thousand five hundred a day.

Stuart had meanwhile superintended the foreign intelligence in the ‘Oracle,’ a tory paper owned by his brother Peter, and in 1796 he had purchased an evening paper, the ‘Courier.’ To this, after his sale of the ‘Morning Post,’ he gave his whole attention. He carried it on with great success and increased the sale from fifteen hundred to seven thousand a day. The price was sevenpence, and second and third editions were published daily for the first time. It circulated largely among the clergy. From 1809 to 1811 Coleridge was an intermittent contributor. An article which Stuart wrote, with Coleridge's assistance, in 1811 on the conduct of the princes in the regency question provoked an angry speech from the Duke of Sussex in the House of Lords. Mackintosh contributed to the ‘Courier’ from 1808 to 1814, and Wordsworth wrote articles on the Spanish and Portuguese navies. Southey also sent extracts from his pamphlet on the ‘Convention of Cintra’ before its publication. For his support of Addington's government Stuart declined a reward, desiring to remain independent. From 1811 he left the management almost entirely in the hands of his partner, Peter Street, under whom it became a ministerial organ. In 1817 Stuart obtained a verdict against Lovell, editor of the ‘Statesman,’ who had accused him of pocketing six or seven thousand pounds belonging to the ‘Society of the Friends of the People.’ In 1822 he sold his interest in the ‘Courier.’ Stuart, in a correspondence with Henry Coleridge, contested the statements in Gilman's ‘Life’ and in Coleridge's ‘Table Talk’ that Coleridge and his friends had made the fortune of his papers and were inadequately rewarded. Coleridge had no ground for dissatisfaction while he was actively associated with Stuart, and Stuart gave Coleridge money at later periods.

Jerdan contrasts Stuart's decorous and simple life with the profuse expenditure of his partner Street. Stuart, however, was fond of pictures. In 1806 he acquired Wilkie's ‘Blind Fiddler’ for five guineas. After withdrawing from the ‘Courier,’ Stuart purchased Wykeham Park, Oxfordshire. He died on 25 Aug. 1846 at his house in Upper Harley Street. He married in 1813.

Daniel's brother, Peter Stuart (fl. 1788–1805), started the tory paper called ‘The Oracle’ before 1788, and in 1788 set on foot the ‘Star,’ which was the first London evening paper to appear regularly. Until 1790 the ‘Star’ was edited by Andrew Macdonald [q. v.], and was carried on till 1831. Burns is said to have contemptuously refused a weekly engagement in connection with it. In the ‘Oracle,’ in 1805, Peter published a strong article in defence of Lord Melville [see Dundas, Henry, first Viscount Melville], who had recently been impeached. In consequence of the insinuations which it made against the opposition, Grey carried a motion on 25 April that Peter Stuart be ordered to attend at the bar of the House of Commons. Next day Stuart apologised, but was ordered into the custody of the sergeant-at-arms. He was discharged a few days later with a reprimand.

[Gent. Mag. 1838 i. 485–92, 577–90, ii. 22–7, 274–6, 1847 i. 90–1; Nichols's Lit. Illustr. viii. 518–19; Lit. Mem. of Living Authors, 1798; Dict. of Living Authors, 1816; Grant's Newspaper Press, vol. i. ch. xiv.; Hunt's Fourth Estate, ii. 18–32; Andrews's Brit. Journalism, ii. 25–6; Fox-Bourne's Engl. Newspapers, ch. ix–x.; Dykes Campbell's Life of Coleridge; Biogr. Dramatica, i. 690, ii. 111, 151, 166, 208, 266, 302, 333; Genest's Account of the Stage, vi. 205, 286, 481.]

G. Le G. N.