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usually was some-in either of the journals. Boundless indignation succeeded a recovery from the first stun of surprise caused by the articles. One and all exclaimed, “We are grossly betrayed.” “Villain,” “traitor," "apostate," &c., were among the epithets most liberally applied to Mr. Jenkins. “The Constitutionalist” was publicly burnt in all the agricultural districts; and the editor himself would have run a great risk of receiving a similar doom, could he have been as easily laid hold of as his paper. The working classes mobbed the office of “The Leveller” on Monday morning ; demolished the windows; and, but for the interposition of the police, would have shivered to pieces the unoffending printing-press, whence had emanated an article which had so flagrantly insulted and so grossly betrayed them. They uttered the most terrible imprecations on the editor, and were in excellent condition for tearing him to pieces, had he fallen into their hands. During every day of the week, the postman brought loads of letters to “the editor,” abusing him without measure and without mercy, and intimating that the writers had given up the paper. By the time Saturday had arrived, neither “The Constitutionalist" nor “ The Leveller" had a
score of subscribers left; and the few “ from
whom the editor had not heard," were those who had either been from home, or were in too remote a part of the country to be able to stop their paper that week. Next week witnessed the extinction of both journals. In life they were united (both belonging to the same proprietor, both issuing from the same press, both published at the same office), and in death they were not divided.
Joseph forms a new literary engagement-Corrupt state of
literary criticism in the metropolis–Sketches of the leading literary critics in London.
In about two years after his settlement in the metropolis, Joseph obtained an engagement, at three guineas per week, to conduct the literary and dramatic department of “ The Investigator," a weekly newspaper of considerable reputation. This brought him into still more frequent and intimate intercourse with authors and publishers, and gave him an insight into matters connected with the literature of the day, of which he had not previously formed the remotest idea.
The corrupt state of literary criticism, whether in newspapers or periodicals, particularly surprised him. Not, indeed, that his notions of morals were of that refined or rigid nature which made him regard with abhorrence the corruption he found pervading almost the whole of such criticism; but that, having suspected nothing of the kind before, the discovery possessed the interest and freshness which are usually associated with the knowledge of a novelty. He found that such a thing as honest criticism was very rarely to be met with. He knew the leading reviewers in the metropolitan newspapers and magazines, and heard—in confidence, of course—from their own lips the motives which dictated their notices of new publications. The reviewer in one journal denounced the author of a particular work, because he was a successful writer in a department of literature in which the reviewer himself had signally failed. Another author and his works were denounced, in unmeasured terms, by the literary critic of another journal, for no other reason than that the author, though entirely self-educated, had, by the force of his
genius, raised himself to distinction and importance in the literary world; while the reviewer, though he had received all the advantages which a classical education could confer, had never been able, notwithstanding his repeated efforts, to acquire literary renown, or even to extend the knowledge of his name beyond the walls of the establishment in which “The Weekly Luminary” was printed. Other authors and their works, Joseph found to be systematically proscribed by certain critics, because the former would not associate with the latter, when spending their evenings over their glass and cigar in the taverns which they nightly frequented. Many critics ran down particular authors without any better reason for doing so, than that other critics had set them the example. A great deal of the hostile criticism which pervades our modern literature, has its origin or motive—if motive it may be called-in this circumstance. The minor reviewers, in very many instances, follow in the wake of the critics in