Philobiblon: The journalist's excuse

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The journalist's excuse

In the British Library, a chance discovery, on the back of An Account of the Proceedings at the Guild-hall of the City of London on Saturday, September 12 1678 with the substance of Sir Thomas Plater's Speech and the Lord Mayor's Answer Thereunto.

At the centre of the large format pamphet is the claim of "the Duke of York being a PAPIST" - so we are of course in the "exclusion crisis".

But what I liked was that the entire back page of the four-page pamphlet is taken up by:

It cannot reasonably be expected the the Speech of this Worthy and Deserving Knight, nor the Lord Mayor's generous Reply thereunto, should be published exactly, since in so great a Concourse it was hardly possible to be taken; however least so considerable Transaction should be altogether buried in silence, we have endeavoured to give as full an Account thereof, as could be done by strength of memory, which we hope will therefore be kindly accepted instead of a more Correct Copy.

You might call it an early "collections and clairifications column", or rather a pre-emptive one. Some newspapers might want to try it today.


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