In speaking of eminent publishers, I must not forget to mention Mr. Catnach, to whom I owe a debt of gratitude for having been the first to introduce me to the literary career I have since so successfully followed. I believe I was the first who carried into effect Mr. Catnach’s admirable idea of having the last dying speeches all struck off on the night before an execution, so as to get them into the hands of the public as early as possible. It was, moreover, my own suggestion to stereotype one speech, to be used on all occasions; and I also must claim the merit of having recommended the fixing a man’s head at the top of the document as “a portrait of the murderer.” Catnach and I have always been on the best of terms, but he is naturally rather angry that I have not always published with him, which he thinks—and many others tell me the same thing—I always should have done. At all events, Catnach has not much right to complain, for he has on two occasions wholly repainted his shop-shutters from effusions of mine; and I know that he has greatly extended his toy and marble business through the profits of a poetical version of the fate of Fauntleroy, which was very popular in its day, and which I wrote for him.
I have never until lately had much to do with Pitts, of Seven Dials; but I have found him an intelligent tradesman, and a very spirited publisher. He undertook to get out in five days a new edition of the celebrated pennyworth of poetry, known some time back, and still occasionally met with, as the “Three Yards of Popular Songs,” which were all selected by me, and for which I chose every one of the vignettes that were prefixed to them. I have had extensive dealings both with Pitts and Catnach; and in comparing the two men, I should say one was the Napoleon of literature, the other the Mrs. Fry. Catnach is all for dying speeches and executions, while Pitts is peculiarly partial to poetry. Pitts, for instance, has printed thousands of “My Pretty Jane,” while Catnach had the execution of Frost all in type for many months before his trial. It is true that Frost never was hanged, but Blakesley was; and the public, to whom the document was issued when the latter event occurred, had nothing to do but to bear in mind the difference of the names, and the account would do as well for one as for the other. Catnach has been blamed for this; but it will not be expected that I shall censure any one for the grossest literary quackery.
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The success of the Polish Ball has induced some humane individuals to propose that a similar festival should take place for the relief of the distressed Spitalfields weavers. We like the notion of a charitable quadrille—or a benevolent waltz; and it delights us to see a philanthropic design set on foot, through the medium of a gallopade. A dance which has for its object the putting of bread in the mouths of our fellow-creatures, may be truly called