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that he may travel in the train of an Emperor and share meals with a Crown Prince, it is no pleasant or easy task to report a campaign; but in the Crimean days the jealousy entertained towards the representatives of the press by those in authority was intense, and if rumour is to be believed, at least one General of Division avowed his intention of hanging all the reporters the first time he could catch them. That was a friendly general, let it be borne in mind. Soldiers still threaten to hang the newspaper correspondents of the enemy if they can catch them, on the ground that they are spies. But, in 1854, this scant courtesy was about as much as was shown towards them by friends and foes alike.
Well, Mr. Russell and his companions came back from the Crimea in safety, with one sad exception, having told the story of the war in graphic letters to the 'Times' and the 'Morning Herald,' as well as to one or two other English newspapers. What good work they have done in addition hardly needs to be told. It was the letters of the Times' correspondent which let the English public know that its brave soldiers were being housed and fed like dogs while they were fighting their country's battles, and but for 'the pen of the war' there would have been a sadder end to that Crimean campaign than most men wot of. The 'pens' came back; and, of course,
they were allowed to return to the more commonplace duties of their profession unrewarded, almost unrecognised. The English nation has not yet sunk so low as to bestow a star or a title upon a mere newspaper writer! Things would be coming to a pretty pass if an English premier were to imitate the example of a mere Emperor of Germany, and decorate a reporter with a medal reserved alone for gentlemen in uniform! Well, there is, perhaps, a good deal to be said in favour of our English custom. At any rate, it cannot be pretended that Dr. Russell has suffered materially because he does not wear the Crimean medal.
The example once set in the Crimea, it became evident that every future war would need to be duly described in the columns of the leading newspapers. Accordingly, when the China war, following hard upon that of Russia, took place, the 'Times' was again represented, its reporter on this occasion being a barrister named Bowlby. Alas! it was his lot to prove that which has since only been too fully and completely demonstrated—that the 'Special Correspondent,' if he has no share in the glories of an army has at least his full share in its perils. Newspaper men, at any rate, have not forgotten the story of how Mr. Bowlby was one of the Englishmen treacherously captured and barba
rously murdered by the Chinese, in revenge for whose murder the famous loot of the Summer Palace was permitted by Lord Elgin. And let it be recorded here that if the writer who goes forth with his country's armies, to describe their deeds for the benefit of those who 'stay at home at ease,' has no claim upon the state in case of loss sustained in performing his task, he has at least a claim upon his special employers which is cheerfully recognised. The 'Times' made a handsome provision for Mr. Bowlby's widow after his untimely death.
The Indian Mutiny again saw Dr. Russell in the field as Special Correspondent. A sunstroke, a sabre cut across the thigh, more than one hairbreadth escape-these were his rewards for giving the world the exciting chapters in which he told us the story of Lord Clyde's re-conquest of Bengal. The French-Austrian war of 1859 attracted to the plains of Lombardy the representatives of French and German as well as of English newspapers. But it is the plain truth to say that they did not succeed as Dr. Russell and Mr. Nicholas Woods had succeeded. Whether they wanted the pluck, or the discretion, or the descriptive faculty of the English Special' need not be told. The fact is certain that the war correspondence of the foreign journals, though frequently very lively, amusing,
and graceful, did not possess anything like the value or the substantial interest of that which appeared in the English newspapers. It is, indeed, only in the American press that there has been an approach to the high degree of excellence which the very peculiar act of 'Special reporting' has attained in this country.
When the civil war began in the United States, the American press-which had for many years been distinguished by a headlong enterprise, the like of which is unknown in connection with any English newspaper-resolved to outstrip its European rivals in the extent to which it developed the warreporting department. The telegraph was brought into requisition. Numberless correspondents' were sent out to every point, and with every army, and the orders given to all were the same: 'Let us have the earliest news, whatever may be the cost.' If the reader turns to a file of American papers, he will accordingly see that during the war, whole pages were occupied by long telegrams from
This, be it re
the armies at different points. membered, was ten years ago, at which time English newspaper proprietors never dreamed of resorting to the telegraph for anything beyond the transmission of the briefest possible message.
But if the honourable distinction is justly due to the
American press of having been the first to use the telegraph 'regardless of expense' for the purpose of obtaining the very latest news, and if no one can deny the courage and enterprise shown by the American 'Specials' during the war, it is still certain that in literary excellence the American press lagged far behind the English. Dr. Russell went out to the United States as the correspondent of the 'Times' at the beginning of the war. He was received by everybody in the North with open arms. He had come to describe, with the pen of a master, the victories of the Federals. What nobler duty could have been assigned to Homer himself? But it happened that the very first great scene he had to describe was the disgraceful rout of Bull's Run. The New York press may perhaps be pardoned for having softened down the stories of that day of disaster in such a way as to blind its readers to the truth concerning it. Dr. Russell, in one of the most graphic narratives, he ever penned, told the whole truth. Up to that moment he had been one of the most popular men in America. But when the story came back to the United States as it was written in the 'Times,' the rage of the public in the North knew no bounds.
It is ludicrous now to look back and see how, in their sensitiveness, the American people