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in showing us everything of interest, and cordially invited us to renew our visit.
St. Peter's Abbey is rich, but only contains about fifty monks when all are at home. Not many are required for external work, as not more than half a dozen parishes belong to the abbey. With St. Peter's terminated our long-desired visit to these curious instances of ecclesiastical survival, the still established and endowed monasteries of Austria, which we found to be just what we had anticipated to find them. That these were no abodes of stern austerity we knew, but we hardly expected to find such diminished observance as regards public worship. The men with whom we conversed had much book learning, and some were devoted to one or other of the natural sciences. We found also that they were well up in the politics of the day. Nevertheless we were surprised to find that none of the five abbots we visited were any more able to converse in either French or English than were those visited by Dibdin sixty-seven years before. It should be recollected, however, that the principals are selected largely with a view to wise administration of the abbey lands, and not for learning. All the five, in spite of the more or less sumptuousness of their lodgings, partook of the plain monastic fare, and we remarked the earnest gravity with which each superior took his part in whatever of devotion we witnessed. The existing communities are not responsible for relaxations of monastic discipline which already existed before the present monks joined them. Nor would it be fair to expect that men who had attached themselves to a body, enjoying a certain degree of comfort and freedom, should readily acquiesce in the institution or reintroduction of severities for which they never bargained. Though we met with a certain breadth of view and tolerant spirit in those we ventured to converse with on subjects affording opportunity for the display of such qualities, yet it would not be just to conceal that we met with no tendency to what would be called unorthodoxy by the strictest theologians. At Kremsmünster, at Mölk, and at St. Peter's we took occasion to turn the conversation upon Dr. Döllinger, and in each case we found that with expression of the warmest personal esteem there was manifested the most unqualified condemnation of the line he had taken. Whatever
Whatever may be thought, however, of these institutions, whether they may be admired or their continuance in their present state deprecated, they are full of interest for us in England, as it is more than probable that such as they are our own abbeys would have become, had events in the sixteenth and succeeding centuries turned out otherwise in England than they did turn out, so that abbots of St. Albans and St. Edmunds might still be sitting in our House of Lords beside our Archbishops of Canterbury and York.
ST. GEORGE MIVART.
HOW A PROVINCIAL PAPER IS
The very great merits of the London daily press, and the advantages derived from publication in a city which is the seat of Government and the largest aggregation of people in the world, have combined in the past to invest it with an overshadowing importance as compared with the provincial press.
That exaggerated relative importance has in some sense ceased, and many persons and most statesmen have come to recognise that the provincial press has a power and an influence of the greatest moment in shaping the destinies of this country. The belief is frequently entertained that the provincial morning newspapers of England, Scotland, and Ireland have, as a whole, a greater weight in the conduct of the affairs of the Empire than the morning papers of London. The opinion is still more pronounced in reference to the comparative influence of the provincial evening press and that of the eagerly competing evening journals of London. For this there are two prominent reasons. In the first place, the provincial press has a far more numerous clientèle. It
be assumed that the district served by the London press, to the practical exclusion of local dailies, does not contain more than six or seven million persons, and to the remaining thirty millions the London press, with the exception of a few of the more widely circulating dailies, is little more than a name. There is one modifying circumstance which will shortly be considered, but, however ungrateful it may be to London editors, the fact remains that, wherever a local daily paper can be remuneratively maintained, the London press ceases to circulate. It does not purvey local news, and without attributing to local readers any narrow preference of the rustic murmur of their bourg to the great wave that echoes round the world, they have a natural desire to know what is going on in their own neighbourhood, parish, town, or county. In its character of purveyor of news of this kind, the local newspaper wins that support which ultimately invests it with an appreciable influence in moulding opinion upon imperial concerns. The attractions of the scenes in the local vestry, the letters on the disgraceful condition of the parish pump-in a word, the gossip of the village-primarily surpass in that kind of interest which gains public patronage the most brilliant writing of the most brilliant journalist or the most profound thinking of the soundest political economist. The squires and rectors, the banker and the doctor, and many others of the better class, will, of course, order both the London and the local paper; but when we go further from the seat of Government, where the delivery of the London mail is after breakfast, and where the local paper grows larger and better in the ratio of distance, then the sale of London papers becomes quite exceptional. So much for the numerical argument.
But there are other reasons which contribute to the influence of the provincial press. The London daily press scarcely touches the genuine London workpeople, who wait for their weekly paper at the week end, whereas the provincial daily press does reach the wageearners; and this is more especially the case with the evening papers, which are always sold at one halfpenny, and are in many cases large, well-appointed, and well-printed sheets, with a considerable advertisement revenue and a great circulation. Let us take the case of Glasgow. There are in that city three morning and three evening papers, with a probable combined circulation of 200,000 copies daily, of which the evening papers have very much the larger share; and as the subscribing population both in the city and in the counties is almost entirely commercial and industrial, the only conclusion to be arrived at is that artizans in the West of Scotland are evening paper buyers. The most superficial inquiry, or even a casual look at the streets of an evening, goes far to bear out that fact, and much the same condition of matters prevails elsewhere in the provinces.
The artisan, for obvious reasons, is more influenced by the views of his paper
than is a richer man. He has, on the whole, less opportunity of reading contradictory papers, less means of hearing opinion otherwise than in his paper, and a much profounder admiration and respect for the editorial judgment. A judge or a bishop, a lawyer or a banker, probably considers himself quite as competent to form a political opinion as the editors or writers of the press, and he must sometimes see in his paper statements and opinions which from his own professional skill in law, or commerce, or theology, he knows to be rank nonsense. The workman, on the other hand, sees a knowledge which must seem very profound, and is certainly uttered with most dogmatic and convincing authority, and insensibly he is moved as the journalist wills. The argument then amounts to this: that for each copy sold, the provincial press exercises a higher average of political power than the London press, and that the number of copies sold is incomparably greater.
There remains one qualifying fact which is the salvation of the wider influence of the London press. It is quoted freely in the provincial papers. The country morning newspapers of the best
standing make arrangements which enable them to print short and pithy extracts from the leaders of one or two of the London papers of the same morning. Thus, of three morning newspapers in any provincial city, one will quote the Times and Standard and Post, another the Standard and Telegraph, a third the Daily News and the Telegraph. An evening local contemporary will probably, after an important political debate or other event, follow the custom of extracting the London press opinions from each of the three local morning papers, and of thus presenting in one column the opinions of perhaps five of the London morning dailies. It will probably further cause its London office to procure the first copies of the chief London evening papers and to telegraph extracts from their leaders. By this means it can present in the afternoon a series of opinions on one subject from nine or ten London papers of that day, and may supplement these by the opinions of half a dozen provincial morning dailies. Such a practice may be only occasionally observed to the extent here indicated, but it remains that the London papers are freely quoted. That their influence may not be overrated it must, however, be remembered that they are usually quoted in such a way that each paper contradicts the other, and the reader is apt to look upon the collection of opinions as a curious and strange puzzle rather than a serious contribution to his political enlightenment. There can be no doubt, however, of the value to the London papers of this system of quotation, which keeps them before the great bulk of the people who have no other means of knowing anything about them; and London managers and editors should encourage the practice. So far as managers are concerned, they can do much to advertise their papers by giving facilities to the Fleet Street provincial offices to obtain the earliest printed copies of their issue, and editors can also do much by seeing that a political leader contains somewhere in one or two sentences a pithy opinion of the whole matter under discussion. Such a sentence will almost certainly be quoted.
It nevertheless remains that the average reader will be influenced by the fully argued leader of his own paper, rather than by the fragmentary extracts from London; and it still further remains that for the advertisement which keeps them before the people in mass the London papers are indebted to the costly arrangements of the pro
The difficulties and expenses of the provincial press have never yet been fully stated to the public, and are but little comprehended even by London managers and editors. First, then, as to cost. A first-class provincial paper always rents from the Post Office two telegraph wires, which are its exclusive property from six o'clock evening till six o'clock morning, and which are switched off the Post Office connection and switched on to instruments in the London and provincial offices of the paper. Four telegraph clerks are at work on
these wires all night taking news from London. They are paid by the Post Office, which supplies them and the wires at a charge of a thousand a year; and as newspaper managers have found means to induce these clerks to work much harder than when on Post Office service, the number of columns of matter which can be taken over these wires at a push is surprising. But, great as that quantity may be, all liberally conducted offices prefer to take the chief part of their Parliamentary reports, as well as much other London matter, by ordinary Postal Telegraph service, and the charge for telegraphing Parliament alone may be taken at another thousand a year. Further, provincial papers, which have to give all the imperial news given by the London papers, have also to give local news, a thing of whose expense and worry London managers have no conception ; for London is so big that London papers make no attempt to give local news, but leave it to the Clapham Sentinel and others. The cost of a good local reporting corps, its travelling expenses, the staff employed to sub-edit and cut down its reports, and the cost it incurs in telegraphing, varies of course with the district over which the journal circulates. But if the journal has a desire to be more than local to a great town it need not expect to spend in this manner less than four thousand a year.
It will also incur a cost of about a thousand a year in obtaining nightly a smartly written London letter, and a light and humorous account of Parliamentary proceedings, commonly spoken of as 'the sketch. We have here in a very few items an expenditure of seven thousand a year, entailed by the fact that the paper is provincial and has special calls to meet other than those imposed on a London paper of the same standing. But this expenditure immediately entails more. If Parliament is to be reported as fully, or more fully, than in any penny paper published in London, and if London theatres, pictures, and operas are to be dealt with at as great length as in a London paper, and if London banquets, speeches, celebrations, and all events of interest to the nation are to be given as fully as in the London press, and if the same rule applies to sporting, and to commercial and shipping news, it follows that the only way to find room for local news and reports is to increase the size of the paper; and in Scotland, where the papers are probably more ambitious than elsewhere, this has been done to a remarkable extent.
For the purpose of showing more clearly how great is the task thrown upon the provincial press, the following table has been prepared, which shows all the matter, inclusive of advertisements, printed in three London and two provincial newspapers in one week. The table is divided into eleven heads, and a supplementary calculation shows the space allotted to news and comment exclusive of advertisements. During the week selected there were extra supplements to the Times and Scotsman, but as that is often the case it only makes the figures the more representative. The Scottish News,