Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

An Account of, notable events, Persons and town history - online book

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Chap. XX.] " The Times" Newspaper.                   275
the profits. The Franco-German War caused a drop of nearly 5000 in the next year's dividends. The Russo-Turkish War of 1877 was still more disastrous : the drop was 18,000, but the next following years in each case showed a full recovery. The actual causa causans of these great fluctuations was the determination of the Management to get the best obtainable news with the greatest possible promptitude regardless of cost. A trifling French War in Madagascar some years ago cost the paper 1000.
In the light of the information just given, it will be easy for anyone to see that the well-known account of The Times proprietary given by Kinglake in his Invasion of the Crimea, is absolute romance, couched albeit in lovely English, worthy of the style of Eothen :
" Thfire were living in some of the English Counties, certain widows and gentlemen who were the depositories of a power destined to exercise a great sway over the conduct of the War. Their ways were peaceful, and they were not perhaps more turned towards politics than other widows and country gentlemen; hy force of deeds and testaments, by force of births, deaths, and marriages, they had become the members of an ancient firm or Company which made it its business to collect and disseminate news. They had so much good sense of the worldly sort, that instead of struggling with one another for the control of their powerful engine, they remained quietly at their homes and engaged some active and gifted man to manage the concern for them in London." (Invasion of the Crimea, vol. ii., p. 80.)
And so on for 5 octavo pages of print.
My visits to John Walter's houses often gave me opportunities for seeing interesting people and hearing interesting things. Amongst people not interesting but extraordinary, I may mention Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lowe, he an M.P., a Cabinet Minister, and finally Viscount Sherbrooke. He was an albino, which made him sufficiently remarkable. His wife was also a person to be looked at. He it was who rained himself and the Gladstone Cabinet of the day, by proposing a tax on lucifer matches. When asked if he would support Church Disestablishment he said, " Certainly not: we should have to double the Police Rate "a tribute from an unexpected quarter to the wholesome influence exercised by the Clergy of the Church of England.
Whilst at Bearwood in October 1889, John Walter
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