Tuesday, June 13, 2017

TOP STORY >> Not all news is new news

Editors Note: This is part one of a series.

The president made a speech in which he deplored the political condition of the country and declared that it was trending to a military dictatorship or a monarchy.

Trump at it again?

Oh, no! Bad mouthing the political condition of our country is nothing new. This speech was by President Andrew Johnson. He gave it in early July 1869.

It’s just one of many gems culled from a collection of London Times newspapers dated from July to September 1869 that The Leader staff has had a chance to skim through.

By the way, Johnson made that demeaning speech even though he was serenaded the night before, according to the newspaper report. Must not have been his favorite kind of music.

Then there was the July 10 police-beat article of a stabbing, which stated, “Yesterday two men and a woman were apprehended at Shrewsbury on a charge of stabbing a man named Thomas Evans in a most awful manner. There is not the least chance of his living” … as he was “cut round almost from belly to back so his entrails protruded.” He was also stabbed in the ribs and the wounds are “about certain to prove fatal.”

First question – since this was a stabbing “in a most awful manner,” is there a way to stab that would be considered good manners? Secondly, if poor Thomas was still alive and read this he definitely would not have cared for the prognosis as he’s told twice in a paragraph that he is among the walking dead.

And crime and the cost of having enough police to control it was also a topic in the July 1 edition where an article stated “in Great Britain the public purse contributes more than a half-million sterling a year towards police expenses.” The good news from the Brits’ side of things was that the cost in Ireland was “fast approaching a million sterling.” Must have something to do with the green beer.

Under the category of articles we probably won’t see anywhere today is this one from July 3: “By Atlantic Telegraph gold closed at 136 7/8.” The millennials are trying to figure out what is a telegraph and the rest of us want to know why we are paying 1,294 1/8 per ounce of gold today.

And then there’s the July 6, 1869, police article. It states there were 447 convictions in the second quarter within the metropolitan police district for False Weights and Measures.

Do you know there’s not been a single conviction for this nefarious crime in Pulaski or Lonoke counties this year? What are the police doing?

In the July 10 edition, there was an article about the deadliest place to live. Quoting the monthly Sanitary Statistics: Paris has 23 deaths per 1,000 annually; London is at 20 per 1,000; Berlin deaths were as high as 34 per 1,000. Today, in the United States, it’s almost 9 per 1,000.

The London Times had a classified-ad section and again three jumped out.

In the July 11 edition in bold letters it stated “Groom wanted.” Not the kind connected to a bride, but one who works with horses. The ad said the gentleman needed to “be punctual and willing to make self useful.” Maybe brides to be should put out similar ads.

A day later this ad was spotted:

“Apartment to be Let (lady and gentleman or two friends or otherwise).” Or otherwise? Let’s just leave that to your imagination.

Then finally, on July 16, this ad ran “Junior Clerk Wanted, no less than 17 years of age and who has held no previous situations.” Wow, a job with no experience needed, that fits many, many young people, so what’s the catch? It’s the rest of the ad, “No salary for the first year.”

And who needs social media when you have rumours? (British spelling, of course.)

From the July 6, 1869, newspaper: “Various rumours have of late been in circulation to the effect that the case had been abandoned or, at all events, would not be carried into court. We are in a position to contradict these reports, and to state that the petitioner’s case is proceeding and that there is at present no probability of its being withdrawn. “

Don’t know who the “We” are, but glad they quashed the rumours. So did you hear about Mrs. Johnson and the Harper Valley PTA …