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MR. FARRER ON COPYRIGHT.

TirE December Fortnightly contains a paper on "The Principle of Copyright," by Mr. Farrer, which is thus summarized by the Academy:

"Mr. Farrer is an opponent of copyright in most ot its forms. This, however, does not prevent his giving with admirable fairness a parallel statement of the extreme arguments on either side, with his own comments and attempt at hitting a via media afterwards. All rational people must admit that to talk of an author's "natural right " over what he publishes is to use unmeaning language, since all rights of property derive their sanction from public expediency; but all must equally admit that if the abolition of copyright is to prevent authors from writing, public expediency will not be furthered. On the whole, he adopts Macaulay's view that ' it is good that authors should be remunerated, and the least exceptionable way of remunerating them is by monopoly. Yet monopoly is an evil. For the sake of the good we must submit to the evil, but no longer and no further than is necessary for securing the good.' Of practical suggestions Mr. Farrer has two that are valuable: (1) that, leaving out of sight author's copyright, it is desirable to secure the greatest possible freedom in that part of the business which is purely commercial, and that therefore an author should be able to secure English copyright for his books wherever printed and published; (2) that it remains a question for our own legislature whether they will continue to make laws the effect of which is to reserve the English market exclusively for English publishers, and, while giving to readers in other countries cheap editions of English books, to deprive the English public of the use of those editions. Mr. Farrer concludes by quoting with approval the new suggestion of Sir J. Stephen; viz., that "where a work—e.g. a picture, a statue, or a building—has a sensible market-value in itself, it shall have no copyright ; but that where the original work has no value—e.g., a book—it shall have copyright. In other words, he would make copyright depend on the easiness and cheapness with which the work can be reproduced.' The difficulty of adjusting this 'easiness and cheapness' would, of course, be very great, sometimes insuperable; but the suggestion might 'prove to be of great practical value—e.g., in determining what should be the several lengths of copyright given to works of different kinds.'"

THE LAST ATTEMPT AT INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT.

(A letter to Mr. G. H. Putnam.')

Worcester, Mass., Jan. 18, 1879. The international copyright bill, which 1 introduced in the House of Representatives, was referred to the House Committee on the Library, of which I was chairman. The other members of this committee were Mr. Pruyn, of New York, and Judge Spalding, of Ohjo. Thev were both opposed to enacting an international copyright law; but they allowed me to write a report in favor of the bill, and to have both report and bill printed The whole matter was then referred to the Joint Committee on the Library, the Senate members being Senators Morgan (chairman), of New York, Fessenden, of Maine, and Howe, of Wisconsin. All these

Senators were opposed to passing the bill. Finally, I induced the House Committee to allow me to report the bill in the House, for discussion and action. This could be done at the next call of our Committee, which was near at hand. I made diligent preparation to have it strongly supported on the floor of the House. Among the Democrats who were pledged to deliver speeches in favor of it was the late Michael C. Kerr, of Indiana. But just before our Committee would have been called, the House voted to impeach President Johnson; and for weeks the whole business of Congress was interrupted by the impeachment trial. After this, only matters absolute!)' essential could get attention; and there was too little time for these.

At the close of the session, Senator Morgan had his Committee discharged from further consideration of the international copyright matter; and, in the next session, the House Committee would not take up the matter again and allow me to report the bill for action. I did not expect to pass the bill, for the opposition to it was general ; but I did intend to get a vote on the bill, and should have done so if that unsuccessful and useless impeachment trial had not interfered.

I think we ought to have an international copyright law. Previous to my experience with the bill I introduced, it seemed to me easy to get one. It now seems 10 me extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get such a bill through our Congress. In the first place, only a small proportion of the members feel much interest in such a law, or care anything about it; in the second place, many of them are influenced by those whose self interest moves them to oppose it; in the third place, ignorant talk about "cheap literature" is an obstruction; in the fourth place, an international copyright bill is a terrible bugbear to the party politicians. Leading Republican politicians said to me, "If we pass your bill, we shall injure the party; for the Democrats will be sure to make political capital out of it."

I learned something by that effort. If I could do anything to secure the enactment of an international copyright law, I would do it most cordially. John D. Baldwin.

COMMUNICATIONS.

MR. PRIME ON DOMESTIC COPYRIGHT*

New York, Jan. 20, 1879.

Dear Sir: I will do my best to find time for the article, but my present engagements crowd me so that I am pushing off day by day my time of starting southward.

The difficulties with the existing copyright law are fundamental. The)' involve the whole principle. That is what makes a discussion of them so serious. For example, the word "proprietor," which was inserted to help purchasers from authors or employers of literary men, recognizes (for the first time) a property in brain-work before copyright. There was always a common-law property, but that was of a limited nature. Here is where the difficulty lies: Suppose an author sells a story or article to Harper s and is paid $100 for it, and before they print and copyright it he sells the same

* In answer to a request for an article on the defects of the American copyright law.

story to the Atlantic and they pa}- him $1,00 for it. Which purchaser is "proprietor," and which can take out copyright? This is not an imaginary case. It has happened more times than, for the credit of authorship, I would care to state! After copyright, unless the assignment of a copyright be recorded, it is void as against subsequent purchasers without notice. In that case the last purchaser owns the copyright. But there are no principles of law applicable to the first case. Personal property passes by deliver}', but the very fact that an author retains in his brain or in a manuscript the identical subject of his sale shows that he has not delivered it. He cannot deliver and yet have it so that he can deliver it to another. Here I am writing an article! You see the defect is the fundamental defect, a want of determination of or definition of authors' property in brain-work. It is easy to show this defect; but to suggest a remedy, that is another affair.

I am yours truly, W. I. Prime.

THE PROTECT/ON OF AMERICAN PUBLISHERS ON FOREIGN BOOKS.

Boston, Jan. 1, 1879.

To the Editor 0/ the Publishers' Weekly:

I was ver}' glad to see your lucid exposition of the "Scope of First Announcements," a matter which puzzles the brains of English publishers and authors, who heap all manner of obloquy upon pirates on this side for thus stealing property which, by means of " In Press" paragraphs, we simply intimate a suspicion of an intention to want. And by the way, referring to " A Case in Point," in the same number of the Weekly, Brother Holt is not so badly off as many of us often are who pay anywhere from j£ioo to ^500 for advance sheets, covering a so-called " right to publish" perpetually, from or out of which we are defrauded on the instant by some disreputable publisher.

I am in favor of a " publishers' compact," by which we shall bind ourselves to pay only a merely nominal sum for the right to publish any book, such payment to be a sort of douceur, to be followed by a percentage or royalty, which shall be a matter of bargain depending on future profits or what not circumstances. I have been so impressed with the justice of such a course that I recently drew up a form of compact, of which I inclose a copy:

A COMPACT BETWEEN PUBLISHERS.

We, the undersigned book-publishers, do hereby agree: That we will not pay for the advance sheets and the so-called "right to publish" of any book by a foreign author more than the nominal sum of (say 20) pounds sterling or . . . dollars, but this agreement shall not prevent an arrangement with authors, or such authors' representatives, to pay a fair share of profits resulting from the sale of any book, precisely the same as we would in the case of an author entitled to a legal copyright.

This contract to remain binding till mutually dissolved, or until annulled by the adoption of an international copyright law.

Let us see how it would be likely to operate, supposing the "compact" to be signed by all. A London publisher sends " early sheets" to a publisher in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia respectively at the same time, and writes

to each, "The price is one hundred pounds." Of course we should all decline the offer and say, "We shall be glad to publish this book, paying you a percentage on the retail prices of all copies sold, provided we are not interfered with, in which case we will pay you a share of the actual profits resulting from the sale."

Under the existing state, if the book happened to be one which all three wanted, there would be the expense of three cablegrams, costing from $5 to $25, a total loss to two of us, of course, and the chance of a total loss of the one hundred pounds to the third, to say nothing of the probable loss by the additional investment of stereo plates, etc., in consequence of competing editions, launched on the market within a few days of the author's edition, which is secured (?) by purchase.

But at all events, if we should settle upon some compact, and publishers and authors on the other side understood that they could receive from honorable publishers here only a percentage on sales or a fair share of actual resulting profits, an international copyright would be in force without the form of law.'

Publisher.

WOODCUTS: CONCERNING THE TAKING OF PROOFS AND PRINTS.—I.

BY THEO. L. DE VINNE.

(Reprinted, with the author's permission, from the London Printing Times.)

Why do you not give me a print that is like my proof, or something like it, at least? Whydo you make the blacks so dull, the middle tints so muddy, and the grays so harsh? Why do you spoil my work? What is the use of cutting finely when the printing will almost certainly be done so rudely?

These are samples of the testy questions of Engiavers to Printers. There is no printingoffice in which they are not heard. But they are not new; they are not provoked by any marked decline in the skill ofmodern pressmen ; the graybeards of our craft heard them forty years ago, in London as well as in New York. Printers who have read memoirs concerning Bewick must have been impressed with the remarks about the bad woodcut presswork, as well asihe bad woodcut engraving, of his time. Papillon, one of the early writers about Engraving on Wood, has his say about the injuries inflicted on engravers by unskilful printing. An old grievance, without doubt. It is even possible that the refusal of the engravers of Augsburg in 1471 to make woodcuts for the typographers was provoked by their dissatisfaction with the quality of early typographic presswork. Ever since the inveqtion of printing, engravers have been complaining of the unfair treatment their cuts have received in practical presswork.

Before this complaint is examined, it may be well to extend the line of inquiry; for it must be remembered that engravers and printers are not the only craftsmen who contribute to the making of prints. The printer does no more than print what is cut; the engraver, as a rule, does little more than cut what is drawn; the real creator of the woodcut and the print is the original designer, and he, very often, has his work copied on the block by a draughtsman before it is given to the engraver. It is worth while to inquire whether the men who use these bruising words so hastily are without fault,—whether the engravers do all they can or should do, and whether they fairly reproduce the work of the designer.

This inquiry will not detain us. No one would venture to say that the designer is always satisfied with the engraver's rendering of his drawing. On the contrary, artists frequently complain that even the best engravers do not fairly translate the most meritorious features of their designs; that their imitations are too often servile, mechanical copies, with very little of the grace and ideality of the original drawing. Against the ordinary engravers the charges are more severe: distortion of drawing, confusion of tints, metallic lines, meddlesome interference, incapacity to see or copy intended effects—these are some of the many counts in a formidable indictment.

Nor does the draughtsman who draws on wood from the sketch or painting of an artist always escape whipping. The artist is sure that he could have drawn the work on the wood much more artistically. He thinks, and sometimes says, that the drawing on the block is but a travesty of his work; that the dash and swing of his freehand pencilling in the sketch have been curbed and broken; that the subtler graces of his coloring in the picture have been destroyed.

Worst of all, the artist himself is sometimes arraigned by an indignant critic. "Sometimes," we said; would not "often" be the proper word? Stand in a public picture-gallery and you may hear criticisms of "Horrid daub!" and "Beastly stuff!" on pictures that have passed the ordeal of competent judges. Listen in a reading-room to the comments of the ordinary reader on the etchings of the great journals of design, and you will be told that they are "coarse"—"shockingly drawn and vilely engraved." "I don't care if he is a member of the National Academy," said a disgusted stove-dealer of New York, as he looked sourly on an "artistic" drawing on the block; "it's very clear to me that he doesn't know how to draw a stove!"

This peep into quarrels among co-workers in the arts of design is not pleasant, but it will serve a good purpose if it brings to mind the proverb about the throwing of stones by those who live in glasshouses.

We may now take up the question—Why the impressions of the printer are not as good as the proofs of the engraver. The reasons for this inferiority will be most fairly presented by putling the materials and methods of the two processes in contrast.

Engraver's Proof. Pressman's Print.

From the original wood; From the imperfect dupliof faultlessly smooth surface, cate of an electrotype, always of wavy and uneven surface, often marred by raised or cupped edges, and sometimes bruised by hammering on the back of the plate. White lines as engraver White lines more or less made them, of full depth. shallow, and dogged through

wax, black-lead, dust, and the uncleansed ink of the proof adhering to the block before the block was moulded. Black lines clean, sharp, Black lines often grimy, and usually ungapped, with rounded edges, bent, even when they are under- thickened, or gapped from cut or without a supporting too hard or too soft wax, or base. from undue [pressure in

moulding.

The wood is porous, im- The electrotype is solid'

bibing, storing, and shedding impervious, and takes a thin

ink readily. film of ink on the surface only.

The wood is measurably ^ The electrotype is inelas

elastic and compressible, and tic, and always spreads or

does not spread or splurge splurges ink when it is in any

ink when slightly overloaded way overcolored. with color.

Paper for proofs is always selected by the engraver, without regard to cost; india paper, if proved with burnisher, or the finest and thickest plate, if taken on plate.

The average cost of proof paper is about ts. per pound.

Paper is usually selected by the publisher, with careful attention to cost, the cheapest fabric usually having preference.

The average cost of the paper used by the printer is certainly not understated at 6d. per pound. The engraver's proof is The paper used by the always taken dry, and on one printer is usually rough and side only. damp, and is printed on both

sides. The ink for proofs is al- The ink for machines deways the best, regardless of pends upon the price paid price ; very stiff, distributed per ream, which rarely allows properly by hand-rolling or the use of an ink costing beating slowly, and with even one half that of the ink much labor. for proofs. To be used on

machine the ink must be softer, oilier, and cannot be as thoroughly distributed as by hand. The engraver's proof The pressman's print is (when not taken by a bur- taken on a large machine, nisher) is printed en a small used for all kinds of work, hand-press, specially fitted from a form containing elecfor this work and no other, tros of other cuts and other with satin tympan and paper pages of type, each cut and blankets. One cut only is page of which may require proved at a time. Lines of different degrees of pressure, type are not allowed to mar as well as different inking the impression. and rolling.

The block of the engraver The electrotyped cut given is inked by hand, with small to the pressman has to be roller or inking balls, by re- inked with one sweep, to and peatedly beating or rolling fro, of a gang of rollers workover the solids until they are ing mechanically, in a way loaded with ink, by lightlv which does not allow of any touching the pale grays, and inequality in the deposit oi by wiping off the ink on the ink. A wiping out or dullfainter lines at edges. ing of the ink after it has been applied is impracticable. The time usually given to The time given to the the taking of the artist's making-ready of a form of proof of a small block, on a electrotyped woodcuts is too sheet 8 by 12 inches, is about variable to be specified ; but thirty minutes. the performance at work of a press printing woodcuts on a sheet 26 by 40 inches is rarely ever more than 000 an hour, or about one impression (of, perhaps, a dozen cuts on the sheet) in four seconds.

The offsetting advantages of the printer are but two. and it must be admitted that they are I great. The electrotype, defective as it is in other features, is harder than the wood, and will yield hundreds of thousands of fair impressions; it is tough, and will not crack nor warp from changes in the weather.

Some of the inequalities of the two processes deserve special consideration. That of time is one. Four seconds for the print; thirty minutes for the proof. Note also the inequality in size of forms: the engraved block rarely exceeds 50 square inches; the printer's lorm of mixed plates and type is usually 500, and often 1000, square inches.

PERSONAL MENTION. Mr. J. E. Stevens succeeds to the important position of general superintendent, made vacant by the resignation of Mr. J. C. Middleton, for the Methodist Book Concern. Mr. Stevens has long been known to all frequenters of the store, whether the trade or individual bookbuyers, as the courteous head-centTe of information, and the appointment will be teceived with much pleasure.

ENGLISH PUBLISHERS.

(Richard Grant White, in the Atlantic.)

There is a remarkable absence of show and pretension in the shops of London. Even in Regent Street and New Bond Street and St. James' Street there is little display, and almost nothing is done merely to catch the eye. And even in these quarters the shops are comparatively small. You may find the most splendid jewels, the richest fabrics, and treasures of art and of literature in little places that would provoke the scorn of the smallest dealer in Broadway. The publishers make no show at all. The greatest of them are to be found in unpretending quarters, with little display of their literary goods, which are stored elsewhere. The principals are in their counting-rooms or their parlors upstairs, and quite inaccessible, except when they choose to see those who send up their names. The booksellers are hardly more expansive. I found that, with one or two exceptions, the men from whom I had received, when I was a book-buyer, catalogues of books of great rarity and price were in small, unpretending shops which in New York would attract no attention. But a glance at their shelves was provocative of a woful sense of impecuniosity; and I found them intelligent, and with a notable knowledge of their business and of the literary world, and also of the why and the wherefore of the value of their books. They were not all William Pickerings; still they were generally men of whom Pickering was in some degree the type and the model.

OBITUARY.
HAMLET FEEKS.

Mr. Hamlet Feeks, for manv years the travelling salesman for Messrs. McLoughlin Bros., died in this city on Tuesday morning, after four weeks of painful sickness. His funeral took place Thursday afternoon in Brooklyn.

Mr. Feeks was well and favorably known to most of the booksellers, stationers, and toydealers of the country, and from his happy and generous disposition made many friends who will be pained to learn of his death.

BUSINESS NOTES.

Cleveland, O.—Brooks, Schinkel & Co. are closing out their entire stock of books and stationery. They wish it to be understood that they are perfectly solvent, and sell out only because they think there is more money in other lines of business. Mr. A. S. Brooks contemplates forming a copartnership with Mr. S. E. Brooks, stationer, under the firm-name of Brooks & Co., to carry on the stationery business, together with the printing and manufacturing of blank-books.

New York City.—The Willmer & Rogers News Company will be known as the International News Company after February 1st.

Philadelphia.—W. H. Grevemeyer has retired from the firm of Sower, Potts & Co., publishers, and has gone into partnership with David D. Elder & Co., booksellers, the latter firm-name being changed to Elder, Grevemeyer & Co.

LITERARY AND TRADE NOTES.

G. W. Baldwin, bookseller and stationer, Houston, Texas, has leased the news and book business on the G., H. and S. A. R. R. between Houston and San Antonio, distance 212 miles.

On the 7th inst. the stock of M. Safford & Co., Norwich, Ct., consisting of books, stationer and newspapers, was damaged by fire to the extent of $3000. Mr. Safford is fully insured.

The first meeting of the United States Trademark Association was held in the office of the Stationers' Board of Trade on the 22d inst. Its objects are to promote the rights of owners of trade marks.

The American Tract Society's new wallroll, "Thoughts for the Day, with Bible Readfor a Year," will be issued in early spring. It was promised last fall, but on account of their presses being so full it was delayed.

The publication of "The Englishman's Critical and Expository Bible Cyclopaedia," by Rev. A. R. Fausset, A M., has just been commenced by J. B Lippincott & Co. The work is profusely illustrated with wood-cut engravings inserted in the text. It is sold by subscription, in parts.

G. I. Jones & Co. have just published a "Short History of German Literature." by Jas. K. Hosmer. The design of the work is to give in compendious form a sketch of the literature of Germany from the earliest period to the present time. The author has endeavored, and with no little success, to make the subject instructive and readable.

Nelson & Phillips have just published the first volume of the Libiary of Theological and Biblical Literature, edited by Drs. G. R. Crooks and J. F. Hurst. The initial volume is by H. M Harman, and is an "Introduction to to the Study of the Holy Scripture." The next volume will be "Theological Encyclopxdia and Methodology," by Drs. Crooks and Hurst.

Eugene L. Didier, 185 Madison Avenue, Baltimore, announces "American Publishers and English Authors," an 8vo pamphlet of 24 pages for publication on the first of February. The writer, "Stylus," presents the case of publisher and author in the shape of "an appeal for the intellectual freedom of the United States from the domination of England and the world."

Houghton, Osgood & Co. have just issued Lippitt on " Criminal Law as administered in Massachusetts," a work of great value to all lawyers, judges, justices, and trial justices in the Bay Siate, and not without interest and use for the profession in other States. Next week this house will publish the 124th volume of Massachusetts Reports, prepared by John Lath rop, Esq., who has already shown his excellent aptitude for this work.

Mr. Frank Foxcroft, literary editor of the Boston Journal, has prepared for Lee & Shepard a volume of hymns and songs relating to the resurrection. It will be entitled "Resurgit," will contain much more than has ever before been collected in any similar Easter volume, will be equipped with helpful historical and biographical notes, will contain an introduction by Rev. Dr. A. P. Peabody, and will be published probably in March.

J. B. LippiNCOTT & Co., Philadelphia, have in press, not hitherto announced, " SirGebbie," a new novel by George MacDonald; "All Things pertaining to Life," a brochure by the Rev. C. T. Anderson; "Lord Strahan," a novel," by Mrs.Wildrick ; " High-Water Mark," a novel, by Alice Ilgenfritz; "The Second Coming of Christ," by Rev. Chauncey Giles; and " Adrift on the Black Wild Tide," an experience, by Jas. J. Kane, Chaplain U.S.N.

D. Van Nostrand has nearly ready a valuable work by Mr. Wm. F. Shunk, chief engineer in the construction of the Metropolitan Elevated Railroad, entitled "The Field Engineer," a andy book of practice in the survey, location.h and trackwork of railroads, containing a large collection of rules and tables, original and selected, applicable to both the standard and the narrow gauge, and prepared with special reference to the wants of the young engineer. It will be put up in pocket-book form, similar to Trautwine's and Haswell's work. Mr. Van Nostrand begs leave to assure the public that Mr. Julius W. Adam's work on "Sewers and Drains for Populous Districts," long announced, is now in a fair way towards completion.

D. Lothrop & Co. have in preparation a series of ten volumes of sermons by the late Dr. Nehemiah Adams, of Boston. This series will include some discourses already published, and the first volume is expected the middle of February. Another series of six volumes will be begun the first of March with a book entitled "The Walk to Emmaus." Each of these six volumes will have sermons enough for Sunday reading two months, allowing two for each Sunday, and sermons for special occasions, thus giving a whole year's reading for a nominal sum, and—for orthodox readers— preaching that will be highly acceptable. Prof. Phelps, of Andover, once said: "It is the charm of Dr. Adams' style and method in preaching, that truth fitted by its profoundness to the most thoughtful hearers is made clear to the most illiterate." Another book promised by Lothrop this spring is for children's entertainment, elastic enough to suit the home and Sunday-school. It will have stories and other engaging pieces by Mrs. A. M. Diaz, Miss Susan Hale (who tells in a new form the story of Beauty and the Beast), Mrs. Fanny M. Steele, and Kate Cameron; a dramatization of "Pilgrim's Progress," by George Macdonald; two chapters of Mr. Warner's "Being a Boy," and some three-minute sermons for children by J. G. Morrill. Mrs. Lizzie W. Champney edits the book, and contributes largely to it.

The edition of Dr. Schliemann's "Troy and its Remains" is exhausted in England, and the author is about to set to work upon a new edition, which will have a scientific form and be very different from the first.

We have received from Thomas G. Thrum, Honolulu, Hawaii, an annual handbook of most interesting and valuable statistical information relating to the Hawaiian Islands. The title of the pamphlet is " Hawaiian Almanac and Annual for 1879."

Mr. J. R. Bi.akiston, one of H.M. Inspectors of Schools, will presently publish through Messrs. Macmillan & Co. a little volume of practical suggestions for the improvement of primary instruction, which, under the title of "The Teacher," will appear in the course of January.

Ward & Lock, London, announce a promising book in "Facts about Champagne and other Sparkling Wines," very fully illustrated, and comprising historical, topographical, anecdotal, and technical notes upon all the known sparkling wines of Europe and America, by Mr. Henry Vizetelly, British wine juror at the recent Paris Exhibition.

Of the making of birthday books, says the Academy, there is no end. Messrs. Blackwood have prepared a volume containing select passages from George Eliot; Messrs. Routlcdge publish a "Longfellow Birthday Book," and Messrs. Samuel Tinsley.& Co. a " Byron Birthday Book ;" while Mr. Laurie has gone farther afield, and sends out a '' Birthday Book of German Literature," by J. W. L. All these seem about equally suitable for their purpose.

STATIONERY NOTES.

Wemple & Kronheim have under way a handsome line of bookmarks in various styles and sizes.

W. Waters & Son, bookbinders of this city, have devised a means for cutting an index to a book without leaving a jagged corner, which obviates the necessity of staying the sheet with muslin to prevent its tearing.

J. H. Bufford's Sons are making calendars with handsomely illuminated backs suitable for advertising purposes. They are also manufacturing a good, strong playing-card, illustrated with humorous designs which appear when held up to the light. The cards are giltedged, and each pack is put up in a strong box.

AUTHORS AT WORK.

Victor Hugo intends to publish presently a poem with the title "La Pitie Supreme," and near the end of February two volumes with the title "Toute la Lyre."

Mr. Walter B. Vassar, of Poughkeepsie, N. Y., who is preparing a biography of "Uncle John Vassar," will be pleased to receive such incidents of interest in the life of the latter which his many friends have doubtless treasured up.

HUMORS OF THE TRADE.

A Pennsylvania bookseller sends us the following, with the query, " How will this do for the nineteenth century?"

"January the 5th A D 1879 mr J C blair sir 1 want to no wether yew have the blackart book in your book store or not if yew have I want to no what it can be bought for and if yew have not the book wether yew can git it for me as thare has bin places found in our neighbourhood whare thare is money hid in the earth and I wood like to git that book so that I can keep it from mooving when I dig for it if yew can furnish me with the book yew shall have a hansom sum of money if it answers my ends yours truly . . . ."

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