The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIV. The Victorian Age, Part Two.

IV. The Growth of Journalism

§ 16. The Penny evening papers

In the earlier part of the century, there were, in London, seven evening papers; at the end, only six, and the general development of evening journalism had not been commensurate with that of morning papers, having, for the most part, been limited to London and its suburbs, while morning journals were carried to all parts of the country. The change was owing chiefly to the growth of country evening papers, these being able by telegraph and organisation to print later information, notably concerning all forms of sport.

Before The Courier was purchased by Daniel Stuart, it was joined, in the last number of The Anti-Jacobin, with The Star as forming a “seditious evening post”; and, in 1792, at the instance of Pitt, The Sun was started to advocate the ministerial home and foreign policy. But it did not achieve a high position, and, in 1823, The Edinburgh Review said of it “The Sun appears daily but never shines.” The Globe, which, in the second half of the century, became tory, was, in its origin, radical, competing with The Star, the organ of the booksellers. Contemporary with The Globe was The Traveller, intended to support the interests of commercial travellers. A few years after its first publication, The Traveller became the property of Robert Torrens, an eager disciple of Jeremy Bentham, and a writer on political economy. Torrens and his friends purchased The Globe in 1823, and during many years the paper appeared with the double title. In all respects well conducted, it was recognised as one of the chief liberal organs, and the Melbourne administration of 1835 often used it for the first publication of ministerial news. It preserved its literary character, and, many years later, its sketchy serial and historical articles were widely known as “Globe turnovers,” their length always slightly exceeding a column. Francis Mahony, “Father Prout,” was one of its regular contributors. In 1869, with new proprietors, it became moderately conservative, and, with varying fortune, so continued until after the end of the century. The Pall Mall Gazette obtained larger renown for its philosophic statesmanship. It was founded in 1865 by Frederick Greenwood, its proprietor being the wellknown publisher George Smith. The name was taken from Thackeray’s sketch of captain Shandon in the Marshalsea, drawing up the prospectus of The Pall Mall Gazette—“written by gentlemen for gentlemen.” Greenwood turned the satire into reality. Under Thackeray, he had sub-edited The Cornhill Magazine, and his scheme contemplated the production of a paper which, with the publication of news, should combine some of the characteristics of the already flourishing Saturday Review and Spectator. Connected with the paper were men of mark in literature, such as (to mention men of very diverse qualifications) Anthony Trollope, Henry Maine, Fitzjames Stephen and E. C. Grenville Murray. On several occasions, Bismarck tried to form friendly relations with it. Greenwood, undoubtedly, was one of the great editors of the century, revising the work of his contributors, suggesting topics and their treatment and, with a masterly hand, adding finishing touches. His sources of information gave him early news of the intention of the French government, in 1875, to obtain control over the Suez Canal, by purchasing from the khedive of Egypt a large number of the shares held by him in that undertaking; and the fact was brought to the notice of Disraeli, the prime-minister, who forestalled the French. When, in 1881, the liberal party obtained a large majority in the house of commons, Henry Yates Thompson, a son-in-law of George Smith, had become proprietor of The Pall Mall Gazette, and, as he was a supporter of Gladstone, Frederick Greenwood and his colleagues were superseded by John (now viscount) Morley, who was installed as editor, with W. T. Stead, of The Northern Echo, as his chief of staff. Greenwood thereupon started the St. James’s Gazette, but could not acquire for it the vogue of his earlier paper. The career of W. T. Stead, who in 1883 followed Morley as editor, was remarkable. Brought up in a north country manse, and under the influence of fervent religious emotions, he believed that every step in his course was dictated directly from heaven. He assured the present writer that the Almighty set up finger-posts for him, whose intention was unmistakable, and that, on several occasions, when he had seen these directions, he had obeyed the command, apparently risking everything that most men hold precious. His efforts, startling in their form, for the more stringent protection of girls, and the pride with which he suffered the consequences of his action, illustrate this attitude. He was, however, possessed of much humour, and was a most graphic correspondent. At the end of five years, another change of editor took place; and, later still, in 1892, The Pall Mall Gazette passed into a new proprietorship. At the same time, The Westminster Gazette was launched, which was conducted on much the same lines as those of the liberal Pall Mall Gazette had been, and, during several years, was the only London penny paper supporting the liberal party. One especial feature of The Westminster Gazette has been its brilliant political caricatures. Stead was drowned in the disaster to the “Titanic.”

For many years, London had one halfpenny evening paper, The Echo (established 1868). Similar halfpenny papers were already in being at Manchester and Bolton in Lancashire. Later, The Evening News and The Star appeared.