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leisure to make himself master of its merits. seem to point to some practical concluBut though, under such circumstances, we do sion very different from that which the not venture to rely on the ministerial support consequent statute enacted, or even what of a bill for extending the protection of litera- the code of any country at this hour aury property, we rely implicitly on the cha- thorizes. We waive, however, once more racter of Sir Robert Peel for insuring fair treat- all reclamation touching that which we ment to any such bill as may be brought be- must consider as an universal and final fore the House of Commons, while it shall be decision. Be it fixed and accepted that his official duty to watch over the dignity of the author's interest shall not be perpe. that house's deliberations. He may or may not tual; but the language of the universal adopt the proposed measure; but he will ap- legislation seems to acknowledge that it preciate the importance of the public interests is made temporary, only because some involved, and take care that, whatever else overbalancing public benefit accrues from may happen, the discussion of such a propo- denying it perpetuity. As far as he can sition shall not be hampered at every stage be protected in the usufruct of his creaby a rude and brutal misapplication of forms, tion, without obvious and serious detracwhich never yet in fact served any good end, tion from the general advantage, it is and which have been tolerated only as possi- avowed that protection is his right. A ble safeguards, in the last resort, of free dis- compromise is struck between his admitcussion, if imperilled by some audacious trick. ted original claim, and the supposed or
Mr. Talfourd's bill, in the first draught, real interference of that paramount claim was open to several weighty objections, which every society has to profit of the from which he had freed it long before services of all its members. It is plain his final discomfiture; but we presume to that in every such compromise (and some say, that the next measure, whoever may compromise of the sort does in effect take have the framing of it, ought to be a new place in every imaginable case where man one, in its general arrangement as well labours and society exists) it is for the as very many of the details. The history true ultimate interest of the society, that of the Sergeant's bill would necessarily the utmost protection, not absolutely inpoint to some prudent deviations from compatible with the common good, shall that model, even in its ultimate shape; reward the individual, if it were only with but what we should more especially re- a view to the inspiration and sustainment commend to his successor is a careful of zeal hereafter in others. Now this study of the actual code of France, and, compromise has been struck very differabove all, of Prussia.
ently as to this particular conflict of inWe must be permitted to observe, that terests in different countries standing on the intrinsic weight of the author's claim the same or nearly the same level of civilto a property in his labour is not only ad- isation, in fact or intention equally regardmitted but distinctly set forth, in the pre- ful of equity in the regulation of men's amble of every European statute by which patrimonial concerns, and certainly gove the term of its legal enforcement has been erned by powers which are, or profess to limited and defined; and still more em- be, equally impressed with the prodigious, phatically in the official reports on which the immeasurable importance of science most of these statutes have been ground- and literature as departments of indivied. Thus, for example, even our own dual industry, and elements of national clumsy and contradictory act of the 9th strength as well as civility and refinement. of Queen Anne sets out with the assertion England, at all events, will not endure to that new legislation is called for in conse- í be told that she is inferior, in any of these quence of the 'liberty' which many per- respects, to France or to Prussia. The sons had taken’ to reprint copies with. question remains—where is the proof of out the consent of their proprietors;' necessity, or of expedience, in behalf of and the actual French law was introduced that English regulation which is prima by a government report, in which these facie so much less advantageous to the words are employed :
author than the corresponding rules of De toutes les propriétés, la moins susceptic the European family?
the other two most civilized branches of ble de contestation c'est, sans contredit, celle des
Why should the productions du génie; et si quelque chose doit Englishman's protection, in any case, terétonner, c'est qu'il a fallu reconnaitre cette pro- minate with his life ; while France, in priété, assurer son libre exercice par une loi po- every case, prolongs it to his widow and sitive.'-Renouard, vol. i., p. 326.
children for twenty, Prussin for thirty This is strong language, and might years after his death?
It is to be regretted that, throughout y artificial system of internal polity, this, or the debates on Mr. Talfourd's bill, none innumerable plain enough reasons, is out of the prominent speakers took up the of the question. In this country, we need subject absolutely. They treated it with not say, there is a more complicated arnearly exclusive reference to its bearings rangement of society than anywhere else ; on the interests of particular individuals, and there is as little need to say that here or at best of particular knots and classes there is less of patronage, in the just sense of individuals now living. This illogical of the word, for either scientific or liternarrowing of the matter took different ary eminence, than in any other country aspects according to the nature and ca- under the sun. No man of great faculties pacities of the different men, their habits of any sort, and possessing with them of thought and feeling, and the private common sense, selects the pursuit of such motives of instigators behind the scene. eminence as affording him a fair ulterior Much good and generous sentiment was chance for any of the great prizes in the displayed---some envy and some maligni- lottery of our eager and restless and jealty.---and a very great deal of ignorant or ous microcosm. fraudulent misrepresentation ; all of which We regret to see any of our contempomight have been avoided, had the House raries complaining of this result-for inof Commons followed the course taken deed we consider it to be an inevitable by both of the continental legislatures to one, of the general arrangement of things which we have been alluding when they in Great Britain. Our difficulty is to reset themselves to this grave question. concile with equity and reason the fact The great point to be settled was, what that this country—the only one perhaps ought to be the general and permanent in which eminence in science or in letters regulation of the law---not whether---sup- is so rarely rewarded by patronage that posing it to be found that something dif- the exceptive cases are not worth alluding ferent from the actual rule ought to be to-should be also the country in which adopted as to futurity, and this something the admitted original right of property more favourable than the existing rule to which men have in the books they write the interests of authors.--the new regula- receives the scantiest measure of legislation ought to receive a retrospective tive protection. The production of good power, so as to extend its benefit to men books, unless of direct bearing on some who composed their works under the ex- of the active professions, is not to be enisting law, or to the surviving families of couraged by even the hope of patronage. any such' men. It was impossible that The fragments of patronage, whether these latter questions should be thrust place, or pension, or whatever else, that forward before the first was determined, ever fall to the share of our best authors, without investing the discussion of the are in themselves nothing but a mockery preliminary principle with unnecessary when compared with what talents inferidifficulty, through the alarm, whether or to theirs might be pretty sure of attainwell or ill founded, of commercial inter- ing if devoted to any other arduous purests in esse, and the temptation held forth suit; and such as they are, these lean for the continual intrusion of individual scraps are scarcely ever given from the sympathies and antipathies.
unmixed motive of regard for literary or The Act of Anne is named or misnamed scientific merit. Such merit is, however, (no matter which at present) 'an Act for to be fostered—that too is agreed almost the Encouragement of Learning.' The upon all hands-though not, as we shall object of all authoritative intervention in show by-and-by, upon all.
But assume the business, whether legislative or admin- that it is to be fostered, and fostered alone istrative, is, or ought to be, to promote by protecting the meritorious author in the interests of society by making it felt the natural profits of the work that disto be the interest of literary and scientific plays his merit. It seems to follow that men to produce the best works within the since he is to be remunerated upon this reach of their faculties. In one state of plan alone-since no authoritative hand social arrangement this object may be is to interfere at all-since no recompense best promoted-perhaps could in no other is to be his except that which he may deway be effectually promoted---than by care. rive from individuals acting as individuals fulliberality on the part of the government, | --this individual patronage should at all or the aristocracy, in the exercise of pa. erents be free and unsettered. Upon what tronage. In another state of things, or principle do you decide that the reward say rather under any complex and highly is to depend entirely on the judgment and
free choice of individual men, and then I be given to the common cares of the whole decide also, to stimulate the production humanity that is in every man---we must, of good and great works being your avowif we would have such efforts repeated, ed motive, that individual men shall not reconcile it with the standing reason of be allowed to reward him the best who this favourite of Nature, that he shall so produces the best work?
order his existence as to keep that intelThe great antagonist of the very prin- lectual power which might have been prociple of literary property in the last age fitably diffused over a wide space, concen. was far too sagacious not to see the con- tred and compressed for the exhausting sequences that must in reason flow from energy of divine moments. It is the same it.--were it once admitted.* Not ventur- with the hero. He too puts forth one at ing to contradict the statement on the oth- least of the noblest attributes of man in er side, that even then the days of the pa- that splendid perfection which implies tronage plan were over, he denied boldly consummate felicity in the act, and which that any effective stimulus for minds ca- cannot be observed of other men without pable of worthy things inletters or science, drawing from them precious worship. ever had been or could be supplied by the hope of any worldly delight or advantage •Sound-sound the clarion ! fill the fise! whatsoever, except only the pure enjoy To all the sensual world proclaimment of intellectual exertion, and its con One crowded hour of glorious life sequence in honour, respect, fame. But Is worth an age without a name.' these motives, however powerful, can be of themselves sufficient only in the case
But what nation ever proclaimed to her of men fortunate enough to need nothing soldiers that this was to be their sole rebeyond what these motives point to. In compense? England expects every man the energetic exertion of every noble fac- to do his duty,' said Nelson before a bat. ulty there is a delight beside which no tle ; but, under the like circumstances, other earthly pleasure can be named. The had said also 'a Peerage or Westminster soldier knows it, and so does the poet. Abbey!' The aged bard was found with streaming
Honour, respect, fame, are not excluand flashing eyes, trembling all over, in sively, nor even in this country pre-emithe midst of his Alexander's Feast. After an nently, the reward of those who, accorinterval, the secrets of which we can nev- ding to Chief Justice Camden,' neither er penetrate, he exults over again in the merit nor require any other recompense applause of educated England. He has for their zeal. They are within the reach this joy and honour, because they cannot of all who exert great talents in any be denied to him---and he gets them at no- sphere of life, and in no other sphere are body's cost; the accordance of them is they found or expected to be sufficient. instinctive, and in itself a delight to the Few ever obtained more of them, or more yielders. But shall this be all? Grant deservedly, than this very man; but he that the creative glow, and this reflex gained, besides, a place in the peerage, confirmation of its high origin---attained and bequeathed lordly possessions to be or anticipated---may indeed be the suf- enjoyed, we hope, by many worthy inficient rewards of the illustrious effort heritors of the line that he ennobled. itself; such efforts occupy, after all, but a The long roll of the high dignities of this small space in the mind that is most capa- state bears witness to the similar success ble of them---they are severe though sweet of kindred merit in every age of our his---perilous as well as priceless : let them tory. But it is an eleemosynary pomp be frequent and continuous, as the lesser that attends the remains of Dryden to throes of ordinary toil may safely be -- the tomb of Chaucer;' his children die in and there ensues a madness or a torpor. misery or in exile ; his great and gentle And since a man is not the less a husband blood is forbidden to flow on ; and a coroand a father because he is also a Dryden, neted Pratt rolls from a Kentish palace and the broad course of time and life must to the prime seat of British justice, to
bid future genius devote itself freely to * Whoever desires to study the history of the Act the service of the Muse, for so may it of Queen Anne, and the discussions upon its inter- also leave a name that shall be our glory pretation down to 1774, will find the materials clera- as well as our disgrace. ly arranged in Mr. Lowndes volume; but they are given in more detail by Mr. Mungham, in his ex
Even in the injustice of Lord Camden's cellent. Treatise on the Liw of Literary Property: view, however, there was a recognition -London, 1828.
lof higher influences than scem to be
congenial to the legal understandings that would, under the law which it illustrated, hare in our time essayed to catch up his be secured in the possession of a perpetumantle.
Not a word about honour and al copyright ? glory from even the most accomplished The writer of a valuable paper on Copyof them-Sir Edward Sugden, for exam-right, in the new edition of the Encyclople, or Mr. Solicitor-General Rolfe. By pædia Britannica, says: all means,' says the latter, ‘let the man of genius be paid for his labour. But he al 'It is long since Johnson pronounced us ready is so. As things are, we are already nation of readers," but we are still very defige:ting out of him the best that he can give cient in standard works. Have we even a good us. It is mere sentia:ent to talk about we should be deprived of such works, since pub
general history of England ? No wonder that extending the benefit to his children. lic records have become so voluminous, and the What right have they to ask that the pub- transactions of nations so complicated, that wholic should be taxed for their benefit? ever undertakes to do justice to such topics will The only, principle I can approve is to find himself subjected to a variety of expenses. give the labourer such wages as we find He must set apart three years for what appaby experience will induce him to go dence in the vicinity of great libraries ; he must
rently requires but one; he inust have his resi. through his day's work in a manner sat- carry on an extensive correspondence; he must isfactory to us, the public.'
employ clerks in making copies of official docuWith great deference we suggest that ments and private papers. The same observathis usually acute reasoner begins here tions are applicable to scientific labours. At with a petitio principii. He assumes that present no bookseller can afford to indemnify a this country has been, and is, deriving bestow on a favourite but insulated branch-he from the literary and scientific intellect of
must have a work of general interest ; that is, her sons services as worthy as that intel. one which will take in a number of topics withlect could under any circumstances be out going to the bottom of any. Almost every made to yield. We venture to assure author has a favourite subject, which he wcu him that, notwithstanding the exuberance cultivate with great zeal, did not necessity oblige of English genius manifested in our time, bim to turn aside to popular topics for the sake it is a fact that it has added a scanty num
of a livelihood.' ber of first-rate works-works likely to Mr. Baron Rolfe may doubt all this. be counted among the xquata eş ari to We beg respectfully to whisper, as the either the literary or the scientific de- poor musician did to Philip of Macedonpartment of the English library ; and the Mη γενοιτο σοι ούτως, 'ω Βασιλευ, κακως, ένα higher he rates the faculties that have ημων ταυτα βελτιον ειδης. . been at command, the more difficult will But the Solicitor had sturdy allies; and it be for him to reconcile the aggregate by far the most strenuous of them seem issue with the opinion that the best possi- to have taken special pains to demolish ble system has been acted on as regards their learned leader's grand argument. the external encouragement and direc. When Sergeant Talfourd brought in his tion of the resources in question as a mag- first bill he was met by a harmonious choazine and arsenal of power. It would rus of Humes, Warburtons, and Wakleys, perhaps be considered as unfair to expect who started with the Crown-lawyer's pitchthat Sir R. Rolfe should have bestowed note—it works well;' but added this genany very serious measure of attention up- erous variation-authors themselves do on any literature but that immediately not complain—where are their petitions ?' connected with the profession which he Mr. Talfourd consulted well for the himself adorns. He knows that that par- dignity both of the legislature and of letticular branch of literature stands in less ters, when he resolved on introducing his need of direct pecuniary support than any measure without any adventitious supother, because distinction in it leads al- ports to what he regarded as the justice most inevitably to the richly-endowed hon- of its principle. This magnaninous obours of the gown. Yet can he inform us jection, however, was so popular among of any great work that has been given to the Humites that the Sergeant thought fit the library of English law since he first to provide it with an answer, and next began to thumb Blackstone? Will he session he did produce abundance of pename any such work that has been pub- titions. A very few of these stated that lished since that very Blacks'one wrote the signers considered their children, who wrote, as we need not remind this dearer than themselves, as likely to be venerable coif, in the full belief that the deprived of a rightful emolument by the long labour of his large and fine mind existing regulation: and we apprehend
there can be no doubt, except in the very than the actual one.' Then came a series darkest corner of ignorance or of preju- of such insults as Mr. Coroner Wakley dice, that one at least of them, in so has it in his power to inflict, with perfect thinking, by no means exaggerated the impunity, upon any gentleman anywhere. intrinsic worth of what he had done. But A few literary men, who happened to be these were rare exceptions; the great members of the House, were conciliated, majority of the petitioners offered no such or meant to be so, by coarse flatteries inallegations. They appeared simply as terspersed here and there amidst this tis. men whose lives had been conversant sue of insolence; and the majority with literature or science, and who, after chuckled. But the Solicitor-General ample observation and experience, had must have perceived that his recruits had arrived at the conclusion that a legal ex- thrown the position open. We are not tension of copyright would tend to pro- here,' cries the member for Finsbury, to mote the absolute interests of science and legislate for the benefit of a few individuletters, and, through them, of the nation als. Our business is to look at authors in every department of its being, by in- as a class of men, and their books as a ducing well-gifted students to elevate class of industrial produce. I find, after their ambition ; each saying to himself, diligent inquest on sundry defunct tomes, that henceforth the longest toil bestowed that if you pass the Sergeant's bill you on the most solid materials would not will add nothing to the profits of more necessarily at least bring only that rate of than one author, as authors go, out of five recompense which shorter toil on things hundred.' 'Indeed,' Mr. Solicitor must of flimsier fabric could equally command. have said to himself-though he did not The principle they asserted was this—that think fit to say so to the House-'if this if you say to the labourers in any depart- be so, there is an end of my argument. ment, 'we want your labour, your utmost If this be so, the system does not work labour,' you will probably, and as the gen- well. No, truly : Sergeant Talfourd has eral rule, speak in vain as respects the been well served by these your Finsbury best work of the best faculty, unless you auxiliaries. What he and his petitioners make it to be distinctly understood that alleged was exactly what the Coroner asthis shall be rewarded on a higher scale serts more broadly in his own ruder dia. than the best work of an inferior faculty, i lect. The preamble of the bill suggests, or the inferior work which it can itself as a lamentable probability, what Mr. produce, without being exerted to the Wakley proclaims as an auspicious fact; utmost. The burdens are very unequal and the sole purpose of the bill, is to renin pressure : you want to see the very der it unlikely that in fifty or a hundred heaviest listed. Can it be for the task- years any British subject should dare to master's advantage, to settle schedule assert and exult in a condition of things of payments which has no separate column so remote from what ought to be. for weights above a certain moderate The accuracy or inaccuracy of the preamount?
cise figures in this calculation signifies This was their plain argument; but no nothing. Some books, it seems, even reasoning, however plain and simple, can now have a vitality greatly-nay, vastly be supposed by persons of the Wakley -beyond that of the mass. No matter and Warburton calibre to be advanced for whether there be one such book among any purpose but that of serving, directly every hundred, or only one among every or indirectly, the tangible pecuniary in- five hundred, or, as one of the cipherers terests of the man that states it: and this says, every five thousand. The thing to was of course to be met, and if possible be desired is that such books should be overthrown, on that footing of their own produced in far greater proportion; and muddy level. Their answer to Mr. Tal- the likeliest means of serving this end fourd now was,— Yes, here are your seems to be nothing else but the providing petitions at last, and what do they prove? of stronger motives for the undergoing of Nothing but that you are the tool and that superior toil by which alone such mouth-piece of a parcel of conceited cox- can be produced at all. combs, who chatter about the narrowness Mr. Robert Chambers, of Edinburgh, of the term during which copyrights are who has, we hear, realized a very handprotected, while they themselves have some fortune as the publisher of the use. hardly produced a volume for the pro- ful weekly Journal which bears his name, perty in which any sane man would give comes forward as one of Mr. Wakley's a sixpence at the end of a shorter term Icoadjutors. Quite contented with having