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cast some might think nothing could be done; but to work them. If nought is made of them, the I think I see a way. Two rich uncles—the young cove will do for another purposc." nephew and tutor are green, and don't know how
(To be continued.)
BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION IN THE PRESS.
A LETTER TO LADY BULWER LYTTON.
MADAM,—In your preface to the “ Budget of the place, to be quite candid with you, it struck me Fudge Family" you say that, being divorced from disagrecably that you had dedicated the volume to your husband, and robbed by him, you have no Mr. Carlyle, whose enmity to the press to which resource but to “write for your bread." I was a yon belong is so violent and so obtrusive. That mere boy when I read that book, but having been GENTLEMAN (the word, I assure you, has no favourcast upon the world in early life, with nothing but able meaning with me) has frequently and of late a liberal education and a turn for letters, I had most unmistakeably manifested his contempt for some idea of what “writing for one's ad” really all men and women who labour in anything but a means. Need I say that you had my sincerest manual trade. Physicians, barristers, politicians sympathy, and that my thoughts of a dark, un- and anthors are alike odious to him, who holds certain and almost hopeless future, were for a that no man can embrace any one of the liberal time compelled to give way to a deep and choking professions without enlisting under the banner of sorrow for your blighted life and forlorn situation ? knavery. In his “Life of John Sterling," he proI pictured to myself a woman well born and bred, fesses to consider Coleridge as a hero, when the young, beautiful, of quick feelings and fiery pas- poet, oblivious of his most sacred duties, condesions, nurtured amidst all the comforts and luxuries scends to live upon the bounty of his friends ; but of life; and this woman, by her husband's folly or even that heroic Coleridge becomes the subject of wickedness, was driven out into a cold and friend- his animadversions, whenever (yielding, I presume, less world, there to find her bread as best she to what Mr. Carlyle would consider his natural might. And that woman was writing for her depravity) he tries to work for his bread. And bread! She fled from London, not because the another of this gentleman's heroes leaves an honest slightest stain of guilt spotted her character and though humble trade to become a vagabond in the reputation, but because she could not, in the misery woods. * Surely, madam, you cannot have read, of her position, bear the gaze of those who had and much less understood, any of Mr. Carlyle's proknown her in her bright and brilliant days. She ductions, or else you could not have committed fled to Paris, where no one knew her; and then what he must consider an inexcusable impertinence, this woman of high resolve, this heroine, dreaming by inscribing his name on the fly-leaf of 3 vols. and thinking all day, and toiling at her desk all post 8vo, of which you confess that you have written night, looking out from the window of her man- them for your bread. Startled as I was by the sarde upon the gay, the rich, the brilliant city at dedication, I was still more startled and indigher feet, stifled the violent beatings of a heart nantly astonished to find I had been tricked out of which at times would spurn resignation and rebel, my sympathy; that my pity, and perhaps the puband, returning again to her paper, sadder, stiller, lic's too, had been obtained under false pretences, paler of aspect, but with a prouder heart and a and that you do not earn your bread by writing. firmer resolve to defy the petty, the frivolous and For in the very next sentence you conciliate the the vain, who abandoned her in her misfortunes, to good opinion of Mr. Carlyle by stating that you struggle through her task, however laborious—to have an allowance of 4001. a-year, minus the inbend her rebellious hand, eyes, and nerves to the come-tax, and that this sum is not enough to supdominion of an iron will, to write, in the first in- port you. I believe that it is enough. Do not stance for bread for food, warmth, raiment and misunderstand me. I know nothing whatever of shelter—for the elegance and luxuries of life your marriage-settlement, or of the amount of proafterwards, and finally for influence, power and perty you brought to your late husband on your glory. These were my thoughts of you, madam. marriage. For all I know, you are entitled to I own they were very sentimental and very fool- double or treble the sum, and it may be that it is ish, but they were sincere. Through the changing mean and stingy to withhold it from you. These fortunes of half a score of years, in which there are things with which I have nothing whatever to was much to suffer, much to forego, and much to do. But I affirm that with a net income, say of lament, my thoughts would ever and anon turn 3881. 6s. 8d. a-year, you have not the shadow of a to that gloomy garret, to that table covered with pretence for saying that you write for your bread. books and papers, and bent over them, pale and With the average incomes of our physicians, barfrail, to Lady Bulwer, writing for her bread!
risters, clergymen, artists and authors, which they Judge, then, of my dismay, when I opened and obtain after a course of severe training, and, in read the preface to your last novel.* In the first many instances, by hard and useful labour ; or, if
The School for Husbands ; or Molière's Life and Times. Ry Lady Bulwer Lytton. In 3 vols. London: Ch. Skeet. 1852.
* Fox. See Sartor Resartus. VOL. XIX.-NO CCXIX.
this standard be too low for your aristocratic ideas, nance, if all your strength, all your love, all your with the average allowance of the majority of the hope had been centred in your career, you would officers of the army and navy, and of one-half of know your profession better, and respect it more, the younger sons in the peerage, it is mere and with it yourself. You would not then have mockery, if not worse, to say that
you write for reason to complain that your “lot has fallen among your bread. To inquire into your private accounts the most unscrupulous villains on the one hand, is an invidious task, but for curiosity's sake I should and the most heartless fools on the other.” You like to see your butchers' and bakers
' bills. What may be perfectly justified in making that commountain of poultry, game, fish, beef and bread plaint; but I would advise you not to raise your you must consume, if an income of 3881. 6s. 8d. voice too loud, lest, by attracting their attention, is as nothing to your wants in those respects, and you furnish your enemies with the inuendo of if, in possession of a sum which would suffice for a noscitur a sociis.” As for me, I do not accuse the maintenance and education of a large family, you in that way. I know that some of the best you are still compelled to labour “for your bread!" and most generous women take a morbid delight No! You may write for the luxuries and enjoy- in stateliness, elegance, plausibility, and easy and ments of life, for the means of eclipsing a Spanish gallant manners in men; that the cut of a coat, princess or an Italian duchess when abroad, or, the knot of a tie, the turn of a lock or a whisker, when in London, for the means of renting a house the manner of entering or leaving a room, good in May Fair and a box at the Opera, or of keeping horsemanship or cleverness at billiards, or, worse, a carriage and more than one male servant, but the tavern-waiter's criterion of “graceful" or you cannot pretend that, either in this country or clumsy carving, will influence and even determine abroad, you must write books to gain your liveli- their choice of acquaintance. All these qualities hood. But you say your income is not sufficient and trivial accomplishments are perfectly comto “support a person hampered with a beggarly patible with genius, learning and honesty, the bran-new title, which in this country only pro- worth of which they enhance. But too often and mises the one privilege of being cheated upon all too successfully they are made to screen ignorance, occasions, as if one had all the rank of all the vulgarity, seltishness, and all other vices which Howards.” Need I tell you, that the more beg- make a man loathsome and contemptible. The garly and bran-new your title is, the less necessity men of the turf and the gaming-house, the dandies is there for you to support it? I can understand of Newmarket, St. James's-street and the Haythe feeling, and make allowances for it, in the poor market, possess them in an eminent degree; and a descendants of a really ancient and noble family, woman is truly unfortunate if, in her choice of but I must confess it is utterly incomprehensible to friends, she is determined by such equivocal conme in the wife of a baronet of some twenty years' siderations. But she becomes culpable whenever standing. As to so insignificant a title exposing she attempts to charge the world with a fault which you to being cheated on all occasions, the pretence is all her own. is altogether ridiculous, especially since Punch Your fault, madam, is an unpardonable one in has exposed the character. I own I did not expect a novelist, for it is ignorance of life. I know how to meet with anything of the kind, after the papers angry this accusation will make you. What? on the "Unprotected Female."
Lady Bulwer ignorant of life!-Lady Bulwer, who No, Lady Bulwer! you do not write for your has moved in the best society, and watched and bread! In the interest of literature, I wish you criticised the ignorance, the incontinence, the hypodid. And it is my belief that you would be a crisy, the blackguardishness of dukes, marquises, happier, a better, and a wiser woman if, by your bishops and lords !—Lady Bulwer, who has come husband's injustice, you had been compelled to to be painfully alive to the fact that very ignorant lead the life which my boyish dreams pictured politicians can be very luminous speakers before for you—if you had really done battle with the the House (especially in all that relates to our world, not with self-created foes, real and imagi- foreign policy), that oily pretenders, without a nary, but with the harsh realities, the wants, the grain of talent, pass as men of transcendent genius disappointments, the obscurity and the isolation because theirs has been the good fortune to stumble which beset every poor man's career. In that case, over a heap of old German poems which nobody I doubt not you would have overcome the tempta- else knew !–Lady Bulwer, who knows to a grain tious to which every young and beautiful woman how very light the seeming aplomb of successful is exposed; for the society of rude and ignorant vice “would weigh in the true" scales of virtue, men would have been without charm for you, and and who was not even to be imposed upon by the your innate pride would have taught you to rebel Count d'Orsay's pretensions to virtú, because she against the pretensions of wealthy men. You knew who was his ami damnée, and what were would, no doubt, have found much wickedness and the terms of the bargain! But, granting all this, much deceit in the world in general ; perhaps and much more, I still affirm that wofully, you might have met with some "cant and lamentably ignorant of life. Knowingness in muds twaddle” in England; but I am certain you would is not enough to make a geologist. Because you have found friends to love and respect, and your are ignorant of life you have persuaded yourself talents would have enabled you to conquer that that you wrote for your bread, when in reality you public favour and admiration the want of which wrote for cake, or that your pen must earn for you you now so querulously lament. If your earnings your chemises, when, in fact, it earned their frills as an author had been your only source of suste- of Mechlin lace. If you did know life you would write with more success and satisfaction to your-| ler's Wells “classical drama ?" Really, Lady self and others. You would not then have en- Bulwer, I have a great mind to abuse you to an hanced the reputation of the man you hate by a extent that you were never abused before, not series of violent attacks upon his personal character, because you quarrel with Sir Edward B. Lytton, and these attacks, too, unsupported by evidence. but because you do it so foolishly. You are exYou would not then insult the court to which you actly like the Daily News, whose leaders always appeal, * or malign the profession of which you spoil its argument. Your novels and prefaces may pretend to be a member. If your fortunes had have been a source of annoyance to Sir Edward B. really lain in your career, and if you had known Lytton, but I am quite sure that he has amply and could bave known life, there was a certain been paid for it when settling his accounts with means of gratifying your animosity against a man his publisher. While he, poor man, has been of whom I fully believe that he wronged you. I writing himself down these many years, you have need not say, that if his personal character is all written him up to an almost incredible extent. that you state it to be, if proofs of vicious qualities, And even in these last years, when he did what to inclinations and actions are in your hands, you a man of his character is most painful, and indeed ought to have published them at once, instead of agonising ; when he made large pecuniary sacriindulging, as you did these many years, in vague fices to be allowed to hold on to the skirts of a inuendoes and mysterious threats. Believe me, large and powerful literary coterie, you, madame, Lady Bulwer, to divide the public on the question have rushed forward to crown his boldest wishes, of a writer's character is a sure means of increasing to identify him with the “Guild of Literature and his reputation. To spar at a man is a means of Art,” and raise the humble patron and hanger-on attracting public attention to his person and move to the eminence of Charles Dickens, and (to use ments; but if you knock him down, and show your own elegant phrase) " other authors of MARK." a good reason for it too, you raise a laugh I leave you to judge, madam, whether this is not against him. Or, if your delicacy prevented your very bad policy. striking a quick, terrible, and decisive blow, was Of course you will say that it was impossible there nothing in his literary productions to take for you to attack Sir Edward B. Lytton in the hold of? Is there no sham sentiment in “Eugene manner I have mentioned. How could you critiAramı ?" no "Götz von Berlichingen" moral in cise his works when the whole of the daily and “Paul Clifford ?" no ridiculous ravings in “Falk- periodical press was locked against you? I say, land ?" no vein of arch-snobbery in "Godolphin ?" with your talent and perseverance, you might have no fourth-hand, threadbare, ill-digested, 'ill-ex- opened it. If the door of our journals were open pressed philosophy in all these novels, but espe- to all the world, I wonder what kind of literature cially in Zanoni?" Is the “ Last of the Barons” they would contain. I believe ninety-nine out of anything but a pedantic ex post facto prophecy of a hundred men and women who write for the the steam-engine? Did you ever read all these press have, at one time, had to wait and try again works, and compare them with Burton's “Anatomy and again, before any journal of note had sufficient of Melancholy," with Novalis, and the most insane confidence in them to employ them. Real talent of the German Romanticians ? If you had taken and perseverance will break through these necesthat trouble, you would have felt (to use the expres- sary barriers, and assert its value. I know there sion of a highly-gifted friend) “ like a detective are many people, and those least qualified to write, in a pawnbroker's shop.” And was there no means who believe that the world is utterly lost in darkof exposing all this, not in three-volume novels, ness, and always will be, unless they can be but in reviews and magazines ? Was it beneath prevailed upon to stoop to its enlightenment. So the dignity of a woman who writes for her bread" ignorant are these people of the power of the to raise for the object of her hatred a lasting monu- press, that they please themselves by considering ment of shame in the literary annals of her coun- it a humble suppliant, standing with open hands try, to surround him with an omnipresence of to receive an alms of MS. from all charitable vengeance, to cling to his footsteps in literature, to souls that may happen to pass. Literary fame expose his fallacies, confute his arguments, show appears to such people to be a thing which they up his selfishness, ridicule his conceit, discover need but ask for to have; and when they do every shred, rag and tatter of his dishonest gains, condescend to ask for it, they are very angry and restore them to the rightful owner, no matter indeed if the press in the first instance, and the whether Burton or Novalis, Klinger or Heynse public afterwards, prove ungrateful for the inestiWas it so difficult, with the help of a good philo- mable benefit of their assistance. To console logist, to put his Greek and Latin to the rout, and themselves, they charge their want of success on a to make his shallow views on the manners and conspiracy; and many of them go even so far as customs of the ancients a laughing-stock even for to assert that some powerful enemy has overawed the drawing-rooms of Clapton or Deckham-Rye? or bribed the organs of public opinion to exclude What is “Rienzi” but the “Decameron" done up or malign them, with the tinsel and gold of a mock ultra-Radi- The latter is your case, Lady Bulwer. The calism? What are the “Last Days” but a Baker- great journals, as they are wont to be, have received street party strutting about in the dresses of Sad- your advances with much diffidence and some
coyness. The publishers—who, after all, are specu"That most docile of donkeys, the public.”—Lady Bul. lating capitalists who wish to lay out their money wer's Preface to the - School for Husbands."
to the best advantage—were not over eager to
embrace the offers you were kind enough to make | 0 then damn Mr. 0—!'" In other words, to them. Those who at length consented to sink the “gentleman" in question wished to thrash á sundry large sums in the printing and publishing merchant into a bargain. And_such a person, of your works, made, doubtlessly, conditions whose Lady Bulwer, is your model! For you say that hardness upon you was adequate to the risk they you had “ no other weapons but a casolette and an ran. Publishers, my dear Lady Bulwer, will do emerald pin, and that consequently you solaced" that kind of thing. They rarely pay a farthing yourself in recollecting the story of the “gentlemore than they can help; and so very gross and man" in question. If your inclination lean that matter-of-fact are they in their views, that they way, madam, nothing is more natural but that all never calculate upon the intrinsic merits of a work, your male friends should have been either simplebut merely on its chances of sale. If the “School tons or knaves as you describe them. for Husbands" should happen to have a bad sale What a luxury it must be to know French as (as I devoutly hope it will not), the whole trade well as you do! I am very ignorant of it; and as would conspire together to decline your next I am neither a lady’s-maid nor a "gentleman of novel, though they might admire it; while they fortune," I am equally ignorant of the details of a would pay very large sums to Miss Strickland, lady's toilette. Pray inform us in your next what Mrs. Green or Mrs. Howitt, no matter how shallow, “casolette” is ? Is it a fancy dagger, or a tedious or contemptible they might think the pro- bracelet, or a tooth-pick ? ductions of those ladies. To tell you the truth, it The same savage and tyrannical spirit in which is my opinion that you are very wrong in abusing you comment on your interviews with the pubthe publishers as you do. For, in the name of all lishers is shown in your remarks on the reviews that is rational, what have Mr. Bentley's white that were published on your literary performances. hands or his white pocket-handkerchief to do In the case of the publishers you quarrel with the with the question at issue between yourself and freedom of trade-in the case of reviewers with him? Or, since you could not expect him to the freedom of opinion. You believe that books publish your book, pray tell me, honestly and con- ought to be published and paid for because you scientiously, would you abuse him less if his hands happened to write them, and that the same cogent were dirty and his handkerchief too? Just fancy reason ought to insure them the notice and the what withering allusions to dirty tricks and low praise of men of all opinions, tempers, and shades and vulgar minds such a want of cleanliness of taste who write for the press. And being diswould suggest! The Germans say, If you want appointed in these expectations, being unable to to thrash a man, nothing is more easy than to find transfer into your style the symmetry—into your a stick. Really, Lady Bulwer, you ought to be periods the fulness of your form and the colourmore consistent; for, in the very paragraph on ing of your hair and complexion-unable to make Mr. Bentley's white hands, handkerchief and so elegant an appearance on paper as you do in a cravat, you say that you are not going “to wipe drawing-room or an opera-box, or to get through your eyes upon the public;" for that, notwith- the plot of a romance with as much ease and adstanding your poverty, you are still exceedingly dress as you do through your dinner—being, in a fastidious in lingerie. "By-the-bye, your contempt word, unsexed—the moment your appear in a of Lady Blessington is very creditable to you, but publisher's counting-house or on an editor's table why will you persist in bespattering our beautiful you lose your temper, rush into terrorism, and, language with stray odds and ends of French? Are were it not for the fear of the Marlborough-street you aware that this bastard style is truly Bles- Police-court, I doubt not but you would do some singtonian ?
execution with the “casolette," the emerald pin, or Your interview with Messrs. Saunders and Otley the horse whip. In justice to you, I ought to add that was unsatisfactory, for that firm refused to publish you are not singular in this respect. It is a comyour book. In return, you abuse the authors who mon failing of women to believe that their social have been more fortunate, and the length, make privileges ought to follow them into literature, and dress of one of the partners, whose disagree- and that the cotillon (for once, pardon the French able duty it was to decline your proposals. I word, though quaint) ought to insure victory wonder whether Mr. Skeet, who published your wherever it is displayed. The ancients knew last work, is of the right size and dress to suit better. A very beautiful though not a very reyour fastidious taste; and if he be, how long he spectable lady in Greece had to plead her cause will remain so ? At all events, I expect to see before the judges of the land. Her oration was him well abused in one of your future prefaces. less impressive than the speeches prepared by the But to return to Messrs. Saunders and Otley. regular advocates ; but she gained her cause by With respect to these gentlemen, you give us what appearing to lose the command of her feelings, and I consider a most striking proof of your ignorance the charms which her disordered dress revealed of life. You quote the story of a person, whom insured the victory of which her words fell short. you designate as a “gentleman," who," having It is fortunate for us that our literary tribunals are causes of complaint against these amiable pub- secret, and that the triumph of mind over matter lishers, entered their shop with a horsewhip, and is insured by the absence of the parties to the suit; accosting, I believe, my friend in the black wig, but because this is so, it would be well if writing while he simulated a sort of castanet accompani- women were to rely on their style rather than on ment with the whip, said: If a, you are, a Mr. their looks; and, since their bodily presence is S- damn Mr. S ! and a—if you are Mr. deprecated in court, it is too bad in them to enter
But you say
a plea ad misericordiam on account of their sex. scrupulous, have at least been induced to witnhold Both in court and with the public in general writing that tribute of public admiration which, you are women have by far more favour than their per convinced, they would otherwise have paid to formances generally deserve, or than is good for your genius. The public writers of England, them.
with a few bright exceptions, are “ hired tools," that
your case is altogether excep- and “every literary man has a spice of the scoundrel tional; that that “most docile of donkeys, the in him." public," shuns you for your husband's sake; that That such accusations should proceed from you, the fear of his wrath makes the publishers quake a literary woman of many years' standing, adds to in their shoes; and that the men whom you accuse their import. For your sake, I am sorry you have of writing you down do their “ dirty work" at his made them. You are indeed wrestling against instigation, All the reviews are “done to order." "powers and principalities," since you volunteer to Now, my good Lady Bulwer, if I knew less of the attack and malign a profession which, I speak literary affairs of this metropolis, do you know advisedly, is less open to undue influence from that this account you give of your husband's om- without, and which is less corruptible, than any nipresent influence would induce me to believe other profession or set of men, or of women either, him to be one of his own Zanonis—one of within these realms. You are attacking a power those “unaccountable gentlemen who know all whose influence is everywhere; a principality things" and are in all places, who bend the minds whose dominion extends over the civilised world; of men and the powers of nature to their will, and at this power, at this principality, you fling and who, by a strange inconsistency, use the powers the most odious and the most ruinous accusation : which might convulse a world simply for the pro- not as a passing ebullition of mere anger, but detection or ruin of some “unprotected female.” liberately, coolly, with right good will and aim, Alas, my dear lady, I fear the spirit of the Daily you charge the whole of the metropolitan press News is strong in you! What an argument you with bribery and corruption. You say you ought raise against yourself, protesting that Sir Edward to know, because you have long been “ behind the is 80 very clever, so very influential, and so gene- scenes." I do not know, Lady Bulwer, behind rally beloved and respected, that his will suffices what kind of scenes it has been your misfortune to condemn your productions in the Post and the to be; but one thing I know, that you
have Leader, the John Bull and the Critic, in the been behind the scenes of literary life. You have Literary Gazette and the Illustrated London News ; never been there, because there are no such scenes. and that, while the editors and writers of these Professional men know, perhaps, that such and such papers have in reality an exceeding admiration for a paper is edited by such and such men, and that the productions of your genius, they doubt their these people have such and such principles or own judgment and reverse their opinion the mo- crotchets, just as parliamentary men will tell you ment his fiat has gone forth! I, who know that that Mr. So-and-So is likely to vote for or against Sir Edward is very little considered and cared for such and such a question ; that the Hon. Member by the writers for the press within these realms, for Mudbury is in danger of a “count out;" or that was astonished and dismayed to see his character Mr. Heavyside's motion will certainly fall to the raised to such a dazzling height, and by your ground. All these things are a mystery to the hands too! With respect to the John Bull, "you general public, merely because it has no interest may be right, for all I know;" but of the other in knowing them. Those whose inclinations or papers I am certain that not one of their editors interests lean in that direction, find no difficulty would insert a line in praise or disparagement of in procuring information; and sometimes they anyone, however strongly Sir Edward might ex- know much more than those who are in and of the press his opinions as to the propriety of such a profession, or, as you term it, “ behind the scenes.” measure.
But how little you know of the mechanism of our But your accusations bear further and strike periodical literature is plainly shown by your comdeeper. The John Bull, "if I understand you plaint of an insult which you allege has been right," is least guilty, for your husband is con- offered to you by the editors of the Leader. The nected with that paper. He is its “genteel letter- office sent you an advertisement of your book, dewriter." Far be it from me to dispute a point on manding payment. Now, if you had really been which you must needs be much better informed behind the scenes," it would not be necessary than I am; for so insignificant are the letters in for me to tell you that the editors of a paper have question that I cannot even remember having read nothing whatever to do with the advertising-departthem. If, therefore, the John Bull has allowed ment, which is in the hands of the proprietor and your husband to write letters on your books, I am his staff of counting-house clerks, who, in their free to admit that the editors have been very wrong. turn, have as little to do with literature as the Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton cannot by any possi- shopmen in the Regent-street draper's shops. The bility be expected to be an impartial judge of any relations between your publisher and yourself of your productions.
apply strictly to the literary and commercial deThe other papers you mention, and the whole of partment of a journal or weekly paper; and neither the metropolitan press, are the subject of a sweep Mr. Thornton Hunt nor the other gentleman" ing and terrible accusation. You state plainly connected with the Leader had the power to insult that your husband has bribed them. Some have you in the manner you describe. Indeed, with been corrupted to malign you; others, more the aid of common-sense and a little reflection,