The Examiner was a weekly paper founded by John and Leigh Hunt in 1808. For the first fifty years it was a leading intellectual journal expounding radical principles, but from 1865 it repeatedly changed hands and political allegiance, resulting in a rapid decline in readership and loss of purpose.
Albany Fonblanque, the journal’s political commentator since 1826, took over The Examiner in 1830, serving as editor until 1847. He brought in such contributors as John Stuart Mill, John Forster, William Makepeace Thackeray, and most notably Charles Dickens.
Fonblanque also wrote the first notice of Sketches by Boz (28 February 1836) and of The Pickwick Papers (4 September 1836). John Forster became the magazine’s literary editor in 1835, and would later succeed Fonblanque as editor from 1847 to 1855.
Tooting Baby-Farm Scandal.
In the beginning of 1849 there was an outbreak of cholera at a baby-farm in Tooting run by Peter Drouet, which killed up to 200 children. Amid a growing national public outrage about the scandal Dickens wrote four articles for the The Examiner, even whilst Drouet was on trial.
The four articles Charles Dickens wrote for The Examiner in 1849, about Drouet’s pauper-farm at Tooting were:
- The Paradise at Tooting (20 January).
- The Tooting Farm (27 January).
- A Recorder’s Charge (3 March).
- The Verdict for Drouet (23 April).