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Mr. Grant, before known quite generally and favourably by his "Random Recollections of the Lords and Commons," is, or was, a reporter for one of the London newspapers. Of course, he has been conversant with many of the scenes and subjects of which he writes. The parliamentary reporting corps of the daily press have been jocularly called "The Fourth Estate;" certainly they are much superior, both as regards their organization and the character of the persons employed, to any kindred establishment in the world. Many of the most eminent literary men of "the Great Metropolis" have commenced their career as reporters, and some of them have long laboured in that avocation. We will quote a few paragraphs on this subject from the work in hand.

"Some of the reporters at present in the gallery are well known in the literary world. Mr. O'Dwyer, of The Morning Herald,' has written several works which have been well received by the public. Mr. Charles Dickens, the author of 'Sketches by Boz' and the Pickwick Club,' is a reporter on the establishment of The Morning Chronicle.' Mr. Hazlitt, son of the late celebrated William Hazlitt, who has just published the 'Life and Correspondence of his Father,' is also a reporter on 'The Morning Chronicle.

"Among the reporters of a previous period are to be numbered some of the most distinguished men which the country has produced. Dr.. Johnson was among the earliest reporters of the debates in parliament; he was any thing, according to his own admission, but a fair reporter. He says that, in reporting the debates in parliament, he always 'took care that the whig rascals should not have the best of the argument.' This is tantamount to saying that he purposely weakened the arguments of the whigs, and improved those of the tories-which argued a great want of principle. It is fortunate the doctor did not attempt to write the history of his country: a pretty concealment, and colouring, and mutilation, we should, in that case, have had of it. The lexicographer's reports appear to have been very laboured; there is about them all the pomposity which we see in all the works which have emanated from his pen. He preserves none of the peculiarities in the style of the different speakers he reported, but makes them all speak alike: in other words, the doctor makes them all speak as he himself was accustomed to write. He reports the speeches of Lord Lyttleton, Mr. Pulteney, Lord Chatham, Horace Walpole, and other eminent men, in such a way as if all their speeches had proceeded from the mouth of one person-though every body knows that they thought and expressed themselves as differently from each other as it was possible for men to do.

"Many of the best known authors in cotemporary literature have also been parliamentary reporters. Among the number may be mentioned the late Sir James Macintosh, Allan Cunningham, Mr. S. C. Hall, editor of 'The New Monthly,' and Mr. Jerdan, the editor of The Literary Gazette. Of persons holding important offices, or who are distinguished at the English bar, that have been in the gallery, I may name Mr. Justice Dowling, of New South Wales; Sir John Campbell, the attorney-general; Mr. Stevens, one of the masters in chancery; Mr. Serjeant Spankie, and Mr. Sidney Taylor. Almost all the editors of the daily papers have been reporters: Mr. Barnes, of 'The Times;' Mr. Black, of The Morning Chronicle;' Mr. Biddleston, of 'The Morning Post; Mr. Anderson,

of The Morning Advertiser;' and Mr. Stevens, of 'The Public Ledger;" have been in the gallery. Mr. Sidney Taylor, of 'The Morning Herald,' I have already mentioned as having been a reporter. Almost all the sub-editors of the daily papers have also been reporters. Mr. Bacon, of 'The Times;' Mr. Haines, of 'The Herald;' Mr. Fraser, of 'The Chronicle;' Mr. Francis, of 'The Post;' and Mr. Harwood, of The Ledger,' are among the number. Of the gentlemen connected with the evening papers, who have been reporters, it is unnecessary to speak." Vol. II. pp. 226-229.

Certain it is, that the literary habits of newspaper editors and reporters are not favourable to the formation of a correct and polished style. At the same time we agree, entirely, with the author in admiring the wonderful excellence of English newspaper articles-wonderful, because of the circumstances of hurry and interruption under which they are produced. Dr. Johnson's reports were laboured, and the characteristics of a style already formed were infused into them; but we venture to say, that if the doctor had acquired his style from the habit of reporting-at least, under the reporting system of the present day he never would have been distinguished as a correct writer. It is true that he composed very rapidly, and knew little of the lima labor; but, in earlier life, he had always been careful to speak and write with extreme correctness, even at the expense of being slow. We should suppose that Mr. Grant had formed his style in "the gallery," and, from the hurry and bustle of his avocation, had never been accustomed to that careful revision of his labour, which Dr. Johnson's early habits of correctness had rendered unnecessary in his case. Almost any part of the work before us would appear polished and handsomely written in the ephemeral pages of a newspaper, where they would not undergo much scrutiny-the reader's object being rather to know what was said of passing events, than how it was said; but it is very evident, even from the short extract which we have already copied, that there is a great deficiency of neatness and elegance in Mr. Grant's style. Even grammatical errors are not infrequent, and every page is crowded with offences against good taste. This has been the character of all his writings, and there can be little wonder that, such is the case, when we consider the rapidity with which one volume has followed another from under his prolific pen.

In his first work, "Random Recollections of the House of Commons," Mr. Grant subscribes himself "one of no party," but in no instance has he been able to preserve the incognito. His whig principles peep out from a thousand rents in their covering in fact, we begin to doubt whether he really wishes to appear neutral. Yet, notwithstanding these frequent and unguarded expressions of opinion, he speaks of party men and measures with more impartiality than might be expected from

one whose habits of thought and feeling must have been formed in the very arena of political strife.

Our author is accused, and with justice, of making many inaccurate statements. We, of course, are not able to judge, in regard to this point, so well as his own countrymen; but, nevertheless, even we could point out unfounded assertions, not a few, and may have occasion, further on, to advert to some of them. The author tells us in his preface, that, "in his anxiety to procure correct information on the various subjects he has treated, he has, in several instances, visited places, and mixed with classes of men, before unknown to him." According to his own showing, then, his opinions and statements must sometimes be advanced on the strength of a very limited personal experience; and it would be well if he had not made assertions resting on still slighter foundations.

In many of his "Scenes," Mr. Grant is particularly happy. Some of the best are contained in the chapter headed "Parliamentary Reporting." There is a life and force in these delineations, which every reader must admire.

"Random Recollections of the House of Commons" was, as we have said, the first work in which this author appeared before the public. He was well received. There was a vivid freshness in many of his sketches which gave interest to the whole volume, though some parts of his subject (such, for example, as the formal rules and regulations of the house) were rather unmanageable in a book intended for general readers. The flattering reception which thus met his first attempt, gave a new impulse to his pen, and in a very short time appeared his "Random Recollections of the House of Lords." This volume was less successful than its predecessor. It was, probably, written in a hurry, under the excitement produced by popular favour. Besides, the subject was less interesting. It was impossible to impart that life and expression to details of the formal and dignified deliberations of the peers, which seemed natural to a description of scenes in the hall of the representative "mob." The character, too, of the grave and haughty lord, is not so interesting as that of the boisterous and factious popular leader. In short, Mr. Grant's second attempt, though not an utter failure, did not materially increase his credit with the public.

"The Great Metropolis," take it as a whole, we like better than either of his former works. But, as yet, he has written nothing which can yield him a lasting fame. The composition of these books has, apparently, cost him little labour, and their existence must be ephemeral.

Mr. Grant avoids both the minute details of the guide-book, and the superficial sentimentality of the traveller, or foreign

correspondent. He does not pretend to give a complete description of the metropolis, and the manners of its inhabitants, but only to delineate a few features of general interest, in the vast picture spread before him. His selection has been very happy, embracing many subjects which a stranger to London frequently hears alluded to, but about which he is at a loss to find information. He introduces us at once into the theatres, the club-rooms, and the hells-places which we had often heard of, but could never before picture to ourselves with any distinctness. Above all, have we been interested in the volume describing the present state of periodical literature in the metropolis. The wonder-working power of the London press, exerted through the medium of newspapers and magazines, we had long known in its effects; but here we enjoy a peep behind the scenes we examine the vast machinery, with all its intricacies, viewing it in, detail, from the application of the motive force, to the grand result. Unlike the spectator, who raises the curtain of the puppet show, and traces the secret wires and strings, we have risen from the perusal of these pages with increased wonder and admiration.

The first chapter, headed "General Characteristics," though short, is the most tedious in the book. The author seems principally intent on impressing his readers with the "enormous extent" of London; the dense crowds of human beings which it contains; and the everlasting din of its great thoroughfares. The laboured" commonplaces" by which he strives to accomplish his object, are sometimes truly ridiculous. The amount of information which we derive from the first page and a half, is, that if a person walk from one end of London to the othera distance of eight miles-he will be "quite wearied with the journey performed." Then we are told that in consequence of the rapid increase of population, "a great number of new houses are being constantly built;" and, again, that although the thoroughfares are so crowded, there are some streets, in the more retired parts of the town, in which there is little bustle, or appearance of business.

The present population of London, and its suburbs, is here estimated at about two millions; but supposing the author's data to be correct-that, according to the census of 1831, the population was 1,646,288, and that in five years it has increased ten per cent.-a very simple calculation will show that at present the city must contain about 1,810,916 inhabitants, and not "as near as can be no less than 2,000,000." Such a palpable

We can account for these sapient remarks, only by the supposition that the author's lower extremities were, at the time he penned it, stiff and sore from his first serious experiment at walking, since he left the leading strings.

VOL. XXI.-NO. 41.


blunder evinces great negligence, to use a very mild term; nor is our respect for the author's arithmetical skill increased by his assumption, that an increase of twenty per cent. every ten years, is the same thing as one of ten per cent. every five: there is, in our humble opinion, a material difference between these two rates. Some of the other calculations which he makes, with a I view to excite the reader's wonder at the size of the city, and the constant change in its inhabitants, should, we suspect, be admitted with some grains of allowance, though we have not the means of determining the exact degree of credit which they deserve.

The following paragraph strikes us as evincing that the author was little observant of what passes every day under his eyes in "the Great Metropolis."

"There is no place in which the injunction, 'Mind your own business,' is so scrupulously attended to as in London. There is none of that prying into a neighbour's affairs, which is one of the great evils of all small towns. In fact, there is no such thing as neighbours in London—in the usual meaning of the word. You may live for half a century in one house, without knowing the name of the person who lives next door; it is quite possible, indeed, you may not even know him by sight. So intent is every one on his own business, and so little interested in that of others, that you may, if you please, walk on all fours in the public streets, without any one staying to bestow a look on you. The Irishman in America, who stood in an inverted position in order that he might be able to read a sign-board, turned upside down, would not, in all probability, had the circumstance occurred in London, have attracted the attention of a single passer-by." p. 10.

It was Garrick, we think, who, having made a bet upon cockney curiosity, collected a crowd around him in one of the principal thoroughfares of London, simply by walking into the middle of the street, and, with his eyes raised and fixed intently upon some pretended object, making exclamations of surprise or admiration. We ourselves remember seeing both sides of Fleet street lined with such a dense mass of wayfarers, who had stopped merely to look at the operation of paving the carriage way, that it was almost impossible to pass; and this during every hour of the day for at least a week. We ourselves have seen crowds of Londoners borne along by the stir of some trifling occurrence, when scarcely one in ten could tell, if asked, the object of his curiosity. In fact, the inhabitants of great cities are notoriously of gregarious propensities-the most trivial cause is often sufficient to collect a mob.

We cannot help noticing the encomiums which the author bestows upon the London police. They are certainly well deserved. Never was there a more efficient body organised. You meet a police-man at almost every corner, and a crowd cannot any where collect, which is not kept in awe by the

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