Public Meeting of the Printers' Readers' Association


Chairman's Speech at the Public Meeting of the Printers' Readers' Association (17 September 1867).


Dickens, Charles


Bibliographic Citation

Dickens, Charles. 'Chairman's Speech at the Public Meeting of the Printers' Readers' Association' (17 September 1867). Dickens Search. Eds. Emily Bell and Lydia Craig. Accessed [date].


Gentlemen, as this society is convened not to hear a speech from me, but to hear a statement of facts and figures very nearly affecting the personal interests of, at all events, the great majority of those who compose it, I feel that my preface need be but very brief. Of the details of the question at issue, I know, of myself, absolutely nothing. I have consented to occupy the chair at the request of the London Association of the Correctors of The Press for two reasons. Firstly, because I think that openness and publicity in such a case is a very wholesome example, very much needed at this time, and highly becoming a body of men associated with the great public safeguard, the Press. Secondly, because I know from some slight practical experience, what the duties of the correctors of the press are, and how those duties are usually performed; and I can testify, and do testify here, that they are not mechanical, that they are not mere matters of manipulation and routine, but they require from those who perform them much natural intelligence, much superadded cultivation, considerable readiness of reference, quickness of resource, an excellent memory, and a clear understanding. And I most gratefully acknowledged that I have never gone through the sheets of any book that I have written without having had presented to me by the corrector of the press, some slight misunderstanding into which I have fallen, some little lapse I have made; in short, without having sat down in black and white some unquestionable indication that I have been closely followed through my work by a patient and trained mind, and not merely by a skilful eye. In this declaration I have not the slightest doubt that the great body of my brother and sister writers, as a plain act of justice, heartily concur.

For these plain and short reasons, briefly stated, I am here; and being here I beg to assure you that if anyone is present who is in any way associated with the printing press, and should desire to address you, he shall receive from me, whatever his opinions, the readiest attention and the amplest opportunity.