WILLIAM SYME MACKIE Autograph Letter Signed.
British (Scottish) journalist and newspaper editor.
ALS. 2pp. New Park Villa. October 5th, no year. To [William] Woodall. Together with press cutting from the 'Journalist and Newspaper Proprietor'.
"I am leaving here today to take up new duties at Leeds on Monday. When I came to Hanley 8 years ago I never dreamt it possible that I should leave it with such a keen regret as I feel today. The appointment conferred upon me at the Leeds Mercury is from my point of view an ideal one and the principle offices in it are filled by warm personal friends of old standing. In that, except for my own deficiencies I have no [lessening?] of the sense of pleasure in my work. But it's hard to part with friends, who have shown me invariable kindness, foremost among whom I must reckon yourself. Not the least of the pleasures you have conferred on me is the great happiness of a close intimacy with our mutual friend, Mr Solon who, in the spirit of a brother, has brought me much help (unconsciously on his part & out of sheer good nature) on some very lonesome Saturday evenings of late when I have been weary and depressed. I am sorry to go without having a moment to run over to Bleak House to see you. I am uneasy about the future of the Liberal Party (or as far as journalism is concerned) in North Staffordshire and I could have wished not only for my own sake that something could have been done to maintain the Herald as a watchdog on our neighbours. I am trying all I can to sell and hope it may fall into good hands. With kind regards and good wishes, particularly under the affliction you suffer, I am my dear friend, yours" etc.
8vo. Approx 7 x 4.5 inches. Written on the recto of alternate leaves with the versos blank, so ideal for displaying without loss to any of the text. Small edge chip and short tear along fold line and with mounting residue and damage to the verso of first leaf. All else VG. The cutting from the Journalist and Newspaper Proprietor is two columns (back and front) and contains an account of the journalistic career of William Syme Mackie leading up to his appointment as editor of the Leeds Mercury.
William Syme Mackie began his career at the Scotsman under Alexander Russell before spending time as a reporter on the Manchester Examiner. He was a keen reporter on parliamentary affairs but an accident suffered at a cricket match (when a ball hit him in the eye) led him to give up the reporter's gallery of the House of Commons for what was, by comparison, a quite backwater on the Staffordshire Sentinel and the North Staffordshire Herald (which he founded). His deft reporting style, however, continued to be in evidence and he was rewarded by appointment to the editorship of the powerful and influential Leeds Mercury, one of the foremost newspapers of the day. His reference to Mr Solon in his letter to Woodall refers to Marc-Louis Solon, the French artist and porcelain designer, who had worked for Sevres before coming to England in 1870, where he worked for Mintons in Stoke-on-Trent.
From a 19th century collection made by William Woodall, the radical Liberal M.P. for Stoke-on-Trent and Hanley and a trustee of the Wedgewood Institute.