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and the univerfal law of nature; and, confequently, to leave a difcretionary power in the breaft of the judge to determine what is law, by appealing to his own ideas of natural right and moral fitnefs: a confequence which fo judicious and zealous an advocate for liberty as Mrs. Macaulay would be loth to admit. But notwithstanding thefe defects, we find the fubject treated with so much good fenfe and rectitude of fentiment, that it is a question with us, whether our heroine has not discomfited the enemy as much by this flight skirmish, as the veteran forces by their regular attack; and whether it has not happened in this conteft, as it fometimes happens in military encounters, that the light and flying troops do as much execution as the reft.
Mrs. Macaulay endeavours to convince the world that it is not beneath the dignity of an author to liften to the folicitations of Nature; and that he is not the less likely either to covet fame, or to deserve it, because he at the fame time wishes to eat his daily bread.
Authors it feems are beings of a very high order, and infinitely above the low confiderations of the ufeful, the convenient, and the neceffary!
Inceffantly they toil, to inftruct and please mankind,
Thefe are undoubtedly fine fentiments; but, alas! the love of filthy lucre, or the cravings of Nature, will fometimes prevail, even' over the refinements of genius and fcience! There are fome lowminded geniufes, who will be apt to think they may, with as little degradation to character, traffic with a bookseller for the purchase of their mental harvest, as opulent landholders may traffic with monopolizers in grain and cattle, for the fale of the more fubftantial product of their lands. They will be apt to confider that literary merit will not purchase a shoulder of mutton, or prevail with fordid butchers and bakers to abate one farthing in the pound of the exor. bitant price which meat and bread at this time bear; the brewer, the linen-draper, the hofier, &c. &c. will all think their ignorance in letters an excufe for extorting, for the mere neceffaries of life, fums which the wretched author has not wherewithal to pay; and it is to be doubted, if a sheriff's officer, when a caft of his office is neceffary to conduct the felf-denying philofopher to the last scene of his glory, it is to be doubted, 1 fay, whether he will abate one tittle of his accuftomary extortions.
Three members of the Upper Houfe, the Bishops of Gloucester and Bristol, and Lord Lyttelton, have not thought it beneath their ftation as authors and nobles, to take large fums of booksellers for their literary publications.' • Thefe
These are evils which the fublime flights of poetic fancy do not always foar above.'
To prove that the most celebrated geniufes have not been wholly indifferent to thofe motives which have the chief fway over the generality of mankind, our Author remarks, that Shakespeare wrote plays upon the fingle motive of filling the houfe; that Bacon gained his fortune and title by proftituting his glorious talents to the interefts of an arbitrary court; that Locke, living at a time, when the rights of Nature and the interefts of the Sovereign were supposed to be infeparable, did not, go without his reward; and that Newton was gratified with a place and penfion,
Mrs. Macaulay then proceeds to answer several objections, which had been urged against fecuring literary property in the House of Lords, particularly by Lord Camden. To the objection, that if perpetual property in copy was granted, bookfellers, would fet their own price upon their publications, and print them in what manner they pleafe; the replies:
It is the true intereft of the proprietor of every copy, to fell off at the most moderate price, as many editions as with all his art and industry he can difpofe of. Is the edition near fold? is the eager queftion of every author to his bookfeller. And fuppofe the proprietor of a valuable copy fhould, on mistaken grounds of intereft, be led to keep up the price of his work, by giving none but expenfive editions to the Public: that Public, according to what the noble Lord obferved on another occafion, may have recourfe to the unlimited power of printing editions of English authors, claimed by the Irish and the Americans.
But bookfellers in thefe times understand their intereft better than to give very bad editions of authors. We have in general better paper, better print, and more elegant editions of English authors, than I believe were ever known fince literature flourished in England; and in regard to moderateness of price, books in thefe times, when every commodity, every material in the way of trade, pay fuch a high tax to the government; books, I fay, are the cheapest articles fold. This is fo notorious a truth to thofe enlightened, generous individuals, who understand the ufe of literature, and respect learned and ingenious perfons, that they lament that frivolous tafte, which is fo generally prevailing, as to occafion both fexes to give with pleasure, to fee a farcical reprefentation on the ftage, or to revel at a masquerade, double, treble, and in the laft indance, often above ten times the fum, which they grudge to beflow on an inftructive book.'
On the question whether laying open literary property would be advantageous or disadvantageous to the ftate of literature in this country, our Author fays:
This question, I think, is easily anfwered, that it will not only be difadvantageous, but ruinous to the fate of literature. If lite rary property becomes common, we can have but two kind of authors, men in opulence, and men in dependence.
The Romans, even in their degenerate days, had that high fenfe of merit in general, and of fervices rendered the Public, that, ac cording to Pliny, and other writers, in proportion to a man's character for literary abilities and virtues, in proportion to his power of rendering himself useful to his country and fellow-citizens, and in proportion to his exertion of this power, he was fure of meeting from the generous hands of individuals an equal reward.
Pliny, if I remember right, in 'fpeaking of his own fuccefs in life, and that of one of his cotemporaries, mentions the leaying legacies to learned and good men, as a practice common and familiar. We were of the fame age, faid he, we entered into life together, and we had the fame number of legacies bequeathed us. This being the custom among the Romans, with what ardour must it inspire every youthful breaft, to deferve fuch grateful, fuch useful returns of bounty But, alas! there never was any thing Roman in the characters and conduct of the English people! When did ever an Eng lifhman grow rich from the real fervices he had rendered his country? No! Gothic inftitutions have, from the firft establishment of our anceftors in these parts, tainted the minds of their pofterity with fuch a leaven of the corrupteft kind of felfifhnefs, that an Englishman perfuades himself he is acting with propriety, when he bequeaths the whole of his eftate to a blockhead he defpifes in the fiftieth degree of relationship, though he leaves behind him many worthy ingenious friends, whom a fmall legacy would help out of very intri cate circumstances.
If there ever is any money left in this country, out of the channel of relationship, the inftances are rare: they are commonly returns for fervile compliances with the will of the benefactor; or elfe the œconomical bequefter once for all pays for a feat among the manfions of the bleffed, thofe fums to hofpitals and public charities, which he denied to the ftarving poor, whilst he preferved any power of felf-gratification.
That watchful guard, felfishness, is a never failing check to any generous fally of the mind, or to any benevolent inclination in the human breaft; and the means of obtaining wealth from the good opinion of his country or his friends being thus barred from a man, whom fortune has denied to favour, yet of merit, of genius, and of virtue, fufficient to inftruct and to enlighten mankind. If fuch a man is deprived of the neceffary lucrative advantage by the right of property in his own writings, is he to ftarve, or live in penury, whilft he is exerting, perhaps vain endeavours to ferve a people who do not defire his fervices? Suppofing this man has a wife and chil dren, ought he, for the meer whittling of a name, to exert thofe talents in literary compofitions, which were much better employed in fome mechanical business, or fome trade, that would fupport his family? Will not fuch a man, if he has the tender feelings of a huf band and a father, if indeed he has the confcience of a religious or a moral man; will he not check every incentive arifing from vanity, which would tempt him, for the purchase of an ill bought fame, to expose to poverty and contempt those who, by the law of religion and nature he is bound to cherish and protect?
Every independent man, not born to an estate, being thus, by a hard conjuncture of circumstances, prevented from exerting his talents for the delight and inftruction of mankind, this important task can only be the lot of the opulent and the dependent; but, alas! genius and learning are, in our days, too humble and too modest to frequent the palaces of the great; therefore, I am afraid, it is from dependent writers alone that we must expect all our future inftruction ;-but can that inftruction be edifying which falls from a veñal pen, exerted merely to earn the favour of a patron, by making that which is the worfe appear the better reafon, and by fetting forth, in falfe colours, all the prejudices and corrupt views of the man from whofe hard earned bounty the author expects bread?
Thus much for the matter of those publications, which will fucceed this great revolution in literary property. In regard to elegant editions, no proprietors of copy right, who hold fuch property on the life of an author, or for a fmall term of years, will find it worth their while to give very good editions of works, left the Public, who are fond of pennyworths in the article of books, should withhold their purchase till the property became common; and in this cafe, the flyle, if not the fentiments of the author, will be miferably mangled, and the fhops full of thofe wretched editions of works, which would difgrace even an Irish prefs.'
Mrs. Macaulay concludes with expreffing her perfuafion, that when that learned and excellent nobleman Lord Camden [the great and leading oppofer of the Bookfellers' Bill] confiders this important fubject in all its extenfive view, he will be the firft to move for a bill to relieve the holders of copy-right from their prefent diftrefs; to fettle the lucrative advantage of authors for their writings on a permanent footing, and thus to encourage ufeful literature, by rendering it convenient to the circumftances of men of independent tempers, to employ their literary abilities in the fervice of their country.
ART. V. An Addrefs to the Artifts and Manufacturers of Great Britain, refpecting an Application to Parliament for the farther Encouragement of new Difcoveries and Inventions in the ufeful Arts; to the facili tating future Improvements in the Produce, Manufactures, and Commerce of thefe Kingdoms: To which is added, an Appendix, containing Strictures on Jome fingular Confequences attending the late Decifion on Literary Property. By W. Kenrick, LL.D. 4to. 2 S. Domville, &c. 1774.
T is no eafy thing to determine the comparative merit of the feveral claffes into which mankind are diftributed, and to fix the order of precedence among them. For, befide that almost every one is partial to the walk of life which he has chofen, and forms too high an idea of the importance of his own pursuits; we are by no means agreed concerning the common ftandard by which merit is to be tried, and the general
rules by which the several ranks in fociety are to be difpofed, Those who carry with them the infignia of nobility, and are raised above the multitude by titles of honour, give themselves, without hesitation, the firft place in fociety, and are too apt to look down upon the ignobile vulgus of all claffes with contempt. While the fuccessful citizen, valuing him chiefly on his induftry and good fortune, measures merit by the acre or the pound, and proportions every man's confequence to the wealth he poffeffes. Writers who are endued with fuperior powers of genius-whom Nature hath wrought within a finer mould, and tempered with a purer flame'-fuppofing that the order of precedence ought to be adjusted by mental capacity; and confidering poetical invention, and creative fancy, as the highest effort of human ability, imagine that the firft honours and rewards are due to literary merit. Whereas the Artist, who contributes to the ease, convenience, or ornament of life, by his discoveries and inventions, thinks that the power and exertion. of genius are no lefs fhown in these productions than in works of fancy; and apprehends, that in point of real utility he hath greatly the advantage of the Author: and from hence he concludes that he ought to ftand higher in the estimation of the Public, and to meet with greater encouragement and reward.
In this publication, Dr. Kenrick has attempted to support this latter opinion, and feems much difpleafed with Mrs. Macaulay for fpeaking of Artifts, in comparison with Authors, as inventors of a very inferior order. To wipe off this reproach he fays:
It is not in the capacity of writers that either Bacon or Newton, particularly the latter, lays claim to public veneration. The genius of Newton was not of a literary caft, nor does he raise our admiration, or command our respect, fo much as an author, as he does in the capacity of an inventor or artift. The fuperiority of his character is not derived from his fuperior talents in turning periods and making books, but in folving geometrical problems, making phyfi, cal experiments, and manufacturing prifms and optic glaffes. It is Sir Ifaac Newton the mathematician, the experimentalift, the mechanic, and not the writer, whose name is fo highly honoured, and tranf mitted with fo much renown to pofterity.'
From the importance of the improvement of the arts, to fociety, Dr. Kenrick infers that Artifts deferve a higher rank in the order of merit than is usually allowed them, and that they are entitled to greater encouragement and a more certain reward, than they at prefent enjoy: and, in this publication he addresses the artifts and manufacturers of Great Britain to engage them to apply to Parliament on this bufinefs.
He firft briefly establishes the natural right of artists to live by the fruits of their ingenuity and labour; and attempts to prove that the Author and Artift ftand exactly in the fame pre