A History of Nova Scotia Page

Footnotes To
Book #3, The Road To Being Canada" (1815-1867)
Chapter 30, The English Press And Public Opinion

FN1 Ch30 History of the English People (1877-80) (Funk and Wagnalls, nd), vol. X, p. 77.

FN2 Ch30 N. McL. Rogers, "The Great Reform Act," Dalhousie Review, Vol. 12 (1933), No. 4., p. 465.

FN3 Ch30 It is in the Edinburgh Review, in 1808, that we find the words of Francis Jeffrey (1773-1850), later Lord Jeffrey, that no one should "presume to tell us that the people have nothing to do with the laws but to obey them, with the taxes but to pay them and with the blunders of the rulers but to suffer from them." Cobbitt, who we have seen hobnobbed with the Halifax gentry in 1800, responded to the Edinburgh Review when it hit out against him in 1807; and he conducted a "campaign of vituperation" against this paper for many years. [Paul Johnson, The Birth of the Modern (New York: HarperCollins, 1991), p. 422.] Its editors and contributors were "Northern leeches"; "hunters after the public money"; cowards; selfish, with "profligate principles"; "parasites and place-hunter"; "arrogant and stupid" "shameless Scotch hirelings"; "toad-eaters"; and Scotch bloodhounds who "fatten on the cowardice and credulity of the nation," exhibiting "the most profound ignorance that ever disgraced the human mind". Jeffrey was "Old Mother Mange" or "Old Shufflebeeches," his colleagues "hireling hacks"; "prime pieces of Scotch humbug"; "conceited, pert, arrogant, impudent and insolent coxcombs"; and a good deal else. (Johnson, pp. 422-3.) To the Romantic writers of the time -- Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey -- those who ran and wrote for the Edinburgh Review were just as terrifying as the mobs in the street, they were an "intellectual mob." The theme in Wordsworth's poem of 1814, "Excursion," is that a country's "salvation comes through individual moral virtue ... the strength of England lies in its simple, innocent villages, clustered round their churches. Shelly responds with Alastor, Bryon with Don Juan, and Mary Shelly with Frankenstein. This poetry was "literary shadow-boxing," romantic poetry that came from the hearts of people with firmly held political convictions. (Johnson, p. 430.)

FN4 Ch30 Johnson, p. 367.

FN5 Ch30 G. M. Trevelyan, British History in the Nineteenth Century (London: Longmans, Green; 1924), p. 187. In quoting Samuel Bamford (1788-1872), Trevelyan sets forth at a footnote: "'He [Cobbett] directed his readers to the true cause of their sufferings, misgovernment, and to its proper corrective, Parliamentary Reform.'"

FN6 Ch30 In 1823 a public subscription library was established at Halifax -- shares £5 each -- annual subscription 30 shillings. In 1831 the Halifax Mechanics' Library was established.

FN7 Ch30 Benet's, Reader's Encyclopedia (1817); 3rd Ed.; (Harper & Row, 1987).


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