The Spectator, a weekly periodical, was started by Robert Stephen Rintoul in 1828. Rintoul's objective was to produce a magazine of what he called "educated radicalism". The Spectator agreed with Lord John Russell and his Whig government's attempts to introduce parliamentary reform and supported the 1832 Reform Act.
In 1861 Richard Holt Hutton became joint editor and part owner of the journal. The journal gradually became more conservative and in the 1880s was a strong opponent of William Gladstone and his proposals for Irish Home Rule.
With the appointment of Herbert Asquith as editor, The Spectator became more liberal in its views. In the 1950s and 1960s the journal opposed capital punishment and advocated homosexual law reform.
Contributors to the magazine have included Ernst Toller, Graham Greene, Lytton Strachey, Evelyn Waugh, John Arlott and Peter Quennell. The Spectator is now the oldest continuously published magazine in the English language.