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mons any participation either in the tain document, which, though published motives or the critical opinions of these anonymously in a provincial newspaper, pamphleteers. We give them credit for at once affiliated itself on a most illustriloving and honouring literature---one at ous pen, and was of course a subject of least of their number is himself among conversation in most literary circles the most distinguished men of letters throughout the country. In this dignified now living among us. But none of them and modest paper Mr. Macaulay, had he are so situated as to have been naturally condescended to have read it, would have led, of late years at least, to bestow much found every argument of his speech anticonsideration on the weight of the claims cipated---we think conclusively answer. which they have enabled grovelling spirits ed.* But it was not answered by anticito baffle for a season. Mr. Macaulay's pation only. In the Examiner, shortly speech on the 5th of February last was, after it was delivered, a writer---of course like all his speeches and writings, brilliant. of his own political party---but remote He can never disguise his splendid gifts, from the ignorant and interested clique by to however unworthy offices he may oc- which the opposition to the bill was casionally lead them. But we have never throughout stimulated and kept alive... read a declamation that left the questions a writer, whoever he be, of singular acutereally at issue more utterly untouched. ness and dexterity, published a critique
It is sufficiently clear that this elo from wbich we must indulge ourselves in quent member, when he delivered his some quotations :--speech, had never read Mr. Talfourd's bill; for one of his chief topics is the “It is impossible not to entertain a high repossible danger that, were copyrights spect for dir. Macaulay's talents, but their disprotected beyond the author's lifetime, evidences of a want of what we will venture to
play has, on many occasions, been attended with a valuable work might be arrested in what call logical honesty. A certain trickiness perMilton calls its “ life beyond life,' through vades his reasonings. His favourite mode of arsome aversion towards the doctrine or sub- gument is to lay down some acknowledged truject matter of the work entertained by the ism–surrounding it with a profusion of illustrafamily or other holders of the literary pro. tions, and a copious variety of research, under perty in question: the fact being that in which he insinuates fallacies unworthy of a the Sergeant's bill there was included a
schoolboy. He takes commonplace for his preclausedistinctly providing for such a case, richness of a fertile memory conceals the mea
mises and paradox for his conclusions; and the however unlikely to occur, and rendering greness of a most defective logic. it lawful for any man to reprint any work • Mr. Macaulay began by certain propositions which should have been what is techni- on the subject of property, which, taken in one cally called out of print for a certain sense, mean everything most dangerous, and brief period... namely, five years.
taken in the other mean everything most comMacaulay ought surely to have understood Paley, all property is created, not by an inherent
monplace. He contended that, according to the bill before he attacked it---but the right in itself
, but by the common consent, for omission was especially remarkable, in the public expediency: If we grant this as a asmuch as the bill had been before the dogma applicable to the origin of all property, House during several years, and frequent- it is a tyro's commonplace. If we accept it as ly discussed in Mr. Macaulay's hearing, applicable to the protection of property, and hold though he never thought fit to take
that, because expediency has been the origin of
any part in the discussion, or signify his opi. think it expedient, they may protect one kind of
property, therefore, whenever the legislature nion one way or another, until on that
property and make the public a present of anothfinal Friday night. This particular clause er, no Jacobin ever uttered a sentiment more was not, we think, a sufficiently stringent monstrous. The law has already declared that one ; Mr. Macaulay, with a very slender all literary works are, bonâ fide, property for exertion of his ingenuity, might have twenty-eight years; the question, therefore, pointed out how it could be rendered ef- never was whether they are property or not, but
whether the protection should be extended for fective---but he had no right to treat the
a longer period. clause as a nonentity---as if Mr. Talfourd relating to property, that the term of protection
To argue, by the general laws had never seen that some such provision should not be so extended, any man who preought to be included in any bill on this tended to the character of a reasoner should have subject. Had he made the fit preparation shownwhat distinctions existed between this for entering on such a debate, in the dou. class of property and the various other classes biy authoritative character of a cabinet minister and a distinguished literator, he + We shall append the important paper in queswould have given attention also to a cer- tion tv this article.
which the law does protect. Mr. Macaulay But we must resume the Examiner :never attempted to do this. He was contented to reduce literary works to the origin of all "The Sergeant had talked, two or three years property, and, having stated the origin, to get ago, too sentimentally perhaps, of Milton's rid of the protection!
granddaughter in poverty and destitution, while * Mr. Macaulay then proceeded to place his the Paradise Lost' was in every library. “See argument upon iwo propositions-1st, that the the refutation,” cries Mr. Macaulay, '“ of your proposed boon of extending copyright for sixty own argument! Copyright was then perpetual. years* after the author's death would be no The bookseller was prosecuting the pirate, and boon to the author; 2dly, that it would entail a Milton's granddaughter was starving. Your most onerous tax upon the public. Now, to sup- pardon, Mr. Macaulay. You correct the illusport the first, Mr. Macaulay had recourse, as is tration, but you do not touch the argument. usual with him and with all rhetoricians, to an Supposing Milton had not sold the copyright, illustration instead of an argument. And to the granddaughter would have been affluent; what an illustration ! Why," said he, "would and Sergeant Talfourd might well have repliednot Dr. Johnson have thanked the man who “ Had Milton been living now, under the operagave him two-pence to buy a plate of beef much tion of the existing law, my boon, carrying his more than the man who told him, that after he property beyond the term for which he had sold was dead, some bookseller would be enjoying the glory of ages, would have placed his childhis copyrights for sixty years?" Again we re- ren out of want.” We think it right here to peat, what an illustration! In the first place, point out one part of the question, in which Mr. Dr. Johnson had no children—not one for whose Macaulay and the other opponents of the measworldly interests he cared a rush-to better by ure have laboured under the grossest ignorance. the fruits of his labour; and, in the second place, Milton and Johnson sold their copyrights, and Dr. Johnson had sold all his copyrights. As therefore it is argued that booksellers, not auwell might we argue against giving a man the thors, would be enriched, if protection to copypower to bequeath his property in house and right were extended. We venture to say that land, by instancing some bachelor spendthrift at this time there are very few authors of emiwho has no children to care for, and who has nence who do sell their copyrights, and whenevsold both house and land twenty years ago! The er they have done so, ere reputation had given question is, whether the extension will benefit permanent value to their works, their first obthe author who has children or relations to whom ject is to re-purchase them. To say, then, that he can leave nothing else but the costly crea- the power of leaving to those in whose strug. tions of his genius, and who, in that hope, has gles with fortune they feel anxious, some inrefrained from selling the heritage he can be come more or less derived from their own toils, queath.'
would not be a boon to men of that genius whose
works survive their dust; to say that it would We think Mr. Macaulay's reference to not inspire many an effort in laborious life, and Dr. Johnson was unjust as well as un. whisper comfort to many a great soul in the graceful. He had no right to take him as agony of the lasi farewell, is an assumption which he was in the early period which he so amidst the flowers and weeds of his rhetorical
Mr. Macaulay may well endeavour to conceal sadly mentions as my distress;' at which
exuberance." period, be it observed, Johnson had produced no works of lasting value except It was unworthy of Mr. Macaulay to his “Imitations of Juvenal,' and the 'Life dwell on the case of Milton as the holder of Savage,' to the well-known history of or seller of literary copyrights. Milton, which last piece Mr. Macaulay's unfeeling indeed, at the close of his Areopagitica, allusion obviously belongs. But if we expresses in a strong parenthesis his sense were to cite Dr. Johnson at all as to this of the flagrant injustice of not respecting subject, surely he ought not to have sup- a man's right in his 'copy ;' but we all pressed what was Dr. Johnson's own re- know that in his day the readers of high corded opinion about it when it was the poetry in the English tongue were so few, great topic of thought and discussion that no copyright in such poetry could be among all literary men as well as all law- considered by any author a matter of diyers and all statesmen-in 1773. •Dr. rect pecuniary consequence. The proJohnson,' says Boswell, was zealous duction of such poetry might lead to against a perpetuity ; but he thought the worldly advancement in many ways. Mil. term of the exclusive right of authors ton's literary reputation obtained for him should be considerably enlarged. He was the notice of the Egertons and others in for granting a hundred years †
early life, and in middle life a high post under Cromwell. The idea of deriving
any considerable emolument directly from The ultimate proposition of Mr. Talfourd was for a period of fifty years. See his Speech of Feb. the sale of his writings never entered his 5, 1811—the one to which Mr. Macaulay was re- mind, any more than Virgil's, or Chauplying.
cer's, or Spenser's, or his immediate pre+ Boswell, vol. ii., p. 233 (Edit. 1835.]
decessor, Shakspeare's. He was not in
his old days, when · Paradise Lost' was under nine or ten guineas, and we may buy an completed, so rich as to be above taking excellent edition of Byron for 17.' whatever a bookseller would give him for authority to publish it; but neither was The Examiner proceeds to the member he so abjectly poor that Simmons' (his pub- for Edinburgh's third argument--that lisher's)157. in hand could have offered any about the danger of a man's heirs dislikinducement whatever for him to deprive ing his book, and endeavouring to suphis children of an ultimately profitable pos- press it. Mr. Macaulay alleged that Richsession, could he have foreseen the ex. ardson's son would have deprived us of tension of literary taste and curiosity de-Clarissa Harlowe,' and that Boswell's veloped within 1674, when he died, and heir would have suppressed the “Life of (to waive once more a perpetuity of inter. Johnson. The Examiner replies :est)-- 1734 (fifteen years after the death of Addison), when, under Sergeant Talfourd's • An author is sufficiently sensitive on the subbill, the copyright of the English epic ject of his works, and sufficiently keen in his dewould have expired.
sire for fame, to take very good care to whom he
bequeaths the property of his reputation. The Bu'—the Eraminer proceeds—this addi- vain, prim, penetrating Richardson would very tional term of copyright will be a prodigious easily have seen whether or not his son valued tax upon the public! "To doubt this to doubt or disapproved his novels, and would have bethat monopoly increases the price of the article, queathed them accordingly. James Boswell is to doubt that arsenic poisons! Sofily, Mr. was far too alive to his own consequence to have Macaulay. There is a law in political econo- heritor of his delightful book, as to its future
permitted a single doubt on the mind of the inmy that precedes the one that you advanceviž.: There is no enterprise in competition where publication. Where the son, therefore, wounds
the author in his most sensitive point (and in there is no protection to property. At this mo- the intimacy of near relationship the disposition ment the works of many of the greatest writers in the language are both scarce and dear, nay, practical result would be, not that the world
could scarcely be concealed), we think that the even uncollected, because, without the protec- would lose the book, but that the son would tion of a copyright, no bookseller will venture lose the legacy. On the other hand, it must be to print them. If, without copyright, works became cheap and plentiful, it would be easy, Mr. observed, that where one man would be indif
ferent to his father's fame, a thousand would be Macaulay, to prove your case. Have the good- zealous for it. If the law imposed on the deness to name the great masters of our language scendant the moral obligation of attending to whose works find good and cheap editions because there is no copyright. There are no cheap lis natural and chief anxiety would be to give to
the memory of the progenitor we believe that editions of Bacon, Locke, Cudworth, and Hobbes, our greatest philosophers ; none of Raleigh and the public a much better, and certainly a much Browne; none of Swift , Steele, and Bolingbroke; clined to do in the mere avarice of speculation,
cheaper edition, than a bookseller would be innone of Dryden; only very recently a cheap and with the uncertainty of adequate protection edition of Spenser. For centuries the works of the great Elizabethan dramatists (Shakspeare for the capital he is toʻrisk.'—Examiner, Feb. alone excepted) found no cheap editions. Talk 28, 1841. of the want of copyright making books cheap!
If it were worth while to dwell further Why the first thing a bookseller does when he reprints a standard author is to create a copy- upon the particular cases adduced by Mr. right, which did not exist before.*
Macaulay, we could easily show that he Works are cheap or dear, not in proportion spoke on gross misinformation concerning as there is a copyright or not, but in proportion them. as they are more or less popular in their nature. ardson to whom he alludes, was the Rev.
The grandson (not son) of RichNewton's Principia is published, we believe, at Samuel Crowther, vicar of Christ Church, a shilling. Why? because the sale of the in London, a most worthy man, and of Principia depends on a few, and the sale of a some note as what is called 'an evangelfew copies must therefore suffice to remunerate; ical preacher. In a note to his funeral but Goldsmith is read by the many, and to the sermon, his friend Daniel Wilson (now many therefore the bookseller adapts the price. the exemplary Bishop of Calcutta) made So little has copyright to do with the question of the statement on which alone Mr. Macauhigh or low price, that if we take two writers equally voluminous and of the same class in lay had to rely-it is in these words :literature, viz., Dryden and Byron--we find that
Mr. C. once said, in a humorous way, I we cannot buy the only good edition of Dryden am an unworthy grandson never to have
read those celebrated works. Does it
follow that Mr. Crowther would have supThat is to say, by employing some skilful and pressed them without first reading them, learned editor, whose preface and annotations shall, or that, if he had read them, he would in fact, give the new edition the character and value of a new book.
have been willing to suppress them at all?
But he was only one of several sons of Garland' had not one jot of the old fashone of Richardson's daughters; other ioned hidalgo prejudices of his granddaughters also lest sons; and even Mr. father ; but he was an eminently decorous Crowther's own brother, the surgeon of gentleman in his own domestic habits and Bethlehem Hospital, was a man of habits relations—besides being very clever, a and tastes totally different from his. In very accomplished man, a man whose own no case, therefore, could the Rev. Vicar personal ambition was literary. His fahave had the power to keep back a new ther's faults and their issues were known edition of the Clarissa even for a single to him, and he could not but lament them ;-year.
but what reason is there to suppose that The orator was equally in the dark about he would, if he could, have suppressed the Boswell's family. He depends, we pre- most delightful book in the world, which sume, on a very striking and beautiful had given his father a high place in the passage in Mr. Croker's Preface to the roll of English authors, merely because Life of Johnson,' viz. :
that work contained plentiful illustrations "Mr. Boswell's father was, we are told, by no
of what he might consider as a foible, means satisfied with the life he led, nor his eld- when he could never have had the slightest son with the kind of reputation he attained: est power to suppress the collateral reneither liked to hear of his connection even with cords of Johnson's life by Hawkins and Paoli or Johnson; and both would have been Piozzi, in which that weakness, if such it better pleased if he had contented himself with were, is blazoned abroad, without any coma domestic life of sober respectability.
"The public, however, the dispenser of fame, pensating proof or acknowledgment of
and the book had been reprinted over and
must tempt on a vast extension of piracy. cer's only son died childless. ShaksWell--in what cases would the tempta- peare's line expired in his only daughter's tion to piracy be the strongest ? Piracy only daughter. None of the other draof books is checked by nothing but the matists of that age left any progeny-nor consent of honourable traders not to sell Raleigh nor Bacon-nor Cowley nor Butpiratical copies. But for this, every au- ler. The granddaughter of Milton, so often thor or other proprietor of a book must alluded to in this controversy, was the last keep a regiment of spies--an indefatigable of his blood. Dryden's three sons all died ambulating army of policemen in his own childless. Newton--Locke---Popepay. But who dreams that the body of Swist-Arbuthnot--Hume---Gibbon-Cow. retail booksellers would act in combina. per--Gray-Walpole--Cavendish-and tion all over the country to protect a right we might greatly extend the list-never which they all knew to be kept wilfully in married. Neither Boling broke, nor Ad. waste ? The old firm of Curl and Co. dison, nor Warburton, nor Johnson, nor would have been very alert in baffling the Burke, transmitted their blood. Monsieur suppression of Bozzy, and Our Fathers Renouard's last argument against a perpe. of the Row' would have cast a broad shield (uity in literary property is (vol. i., p.449,) over the for once well-employed outlyers that it would be founding another noblesse. of the Trade.
Neither jealous Aristocracy nor envious When Sir Edward Sugden alarmed tke Jacobinism need be under much alarm. house by his predictions of the numberless When a human race has produced its intricate lawsuits that must needs follow," bright consummate flower' in this kind, it were the protection of property in a book seems commonly to be near its end. extended to the author's family--it appears But to return to Mr. Macaulay. A man to us, with profound submission, that he may declaim about the evils and dangers was arguing against perpetuity of copy. of monopoly, until, as the Rev. Sidney right. We do not believe that the argu. Smith expressed it, he stands plashing ment ought to have had much weight even in the slop of his own rhetoric. There with reference to that imaginary proposiwas no justice in branding the author's orition; but we are at a loss to understand ginal claim as a claim of monopoly ; but how Sir Edward could suppose it to be at that claim has been set aside, and the au. all applicable to a proposal for protection thor acquiesces. He says :--you have during such a period of years as is sanc. settled that I shall not have a perpetual tioned by the French or by the Prussian interest in the fruit of my labour, but that statute, or even as had been recommended I shall have as much profit from it as will by Mr. Talfourd and M. Guizot.
not interfere with the interest of the pubWe are not going to speculate about the lic. Now the interest of the public is to causes of the fact---but a fact it is.--that have good books first, and then to have the men distinguished for extraordinary intel good books cheap. And it is for you to lectual power of any sort very rarely leave show, not that by restricting authors' rights more than a very brief line of progeny be- to the narrowest possible limit the public hind them. Men of genius have scarcely will have cheap books, but that they will get ever done so.
Men of imaginative genius books that shall be both good and cheap. we might almost say never.
Now we must beg leave to observe, that exception of the noble Surrey, we cannot our supply of good and cheap books has at this moment point out a representative hitherto, down to a very recent day inin the male line, even so far down as in deed, been mainly the result of a real mothe third generation, of any English poet; nopoly-or something in practice very like and we believe the case is the same in one ; though a monopoly which did not in France. The blood of beings of that or- any case exist for the direct benefit of any der can seldom be traced far down, even individual author or author's descendants in the female line. With the exceptions of whatsoever. We have had good and Surrey and SPENSER, we are not aware of cheap Bibles—that was a complete mo any great English author of at all remote nopoly. We have had good and cheap edi. date from whose body any living person tions of the ancient classics, chiefly beclaims to be descended. There is no other cause the universities have supplied them, real English poet prior to the middle of the and they enjoy by law a perpetual monoeighteenth century, and, we believe, no poly in editions prepared and printed un; great author of any sort-except Claren- der their auspices, and, indeed, in all don and Shaftesbury--of whose blood we have any inheritance among us.
• We do not wish to enlarge upon a fact wbich, if Chau. the decision of 1774 was just, must be pronounce
With the one