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dicament in regard to a right of property in their respective inventions: after which he proceeds to fhew the political expediency of giving public encouragement to inventions and difcoveries in the arts and fciences. He then takes a view of the feveral methods in which they have hitherto been rewarded. Parliamentary premiums he thinks liable to confiderable obę jections, both as it is fometimes difficult to ascertain the degree of merit in a difcovery or invention when it is firft made public, and as it is often neceffary to have parliamentary intereft, as well as perfonal merit, in order to obtain the reward. Pri vate focieties for the encouragement of arts, manufactures, &c. and particularly that established in London, he cenfures with a degree of acrimony which they certainly do not deferve, and which we cannot account for, without fuppofing that he has met with fome perfonal difappointment or mortification from This quarter.
Having thus cenfured the prefent mode of encouraging the arts, our Author compares the actual state of the useful arts, in respect of encouragement, with that of literature and the fine arts. Authors and their affigns, he fays, have been vested with an exclufive right of property in their works, and alfo practitioners in the arts of defign, engravers, etchers, and mezzotinto fcrapers; but the authors of chemical difcoveries, the inventors of mathematical inftruments, the contrivers of effential improvements in manufactures, and fome of thofe artists, whofe labours are fimilar to thofe at prefent under the protection of the law, fuch as modellers, engravers on plate and gems, &c. have no exclufive privilege of fabricating any manufacture, whofe novelty of form, or ufe and defign, are peculiar to themfelves.
After complaining of the unreafonableness of this unequal diftribution of legal encouragement to the arts, and particularly of the hardship of being obliged to pay 80 or 100l. for a patent, while authors, and fome artifts, enjoy a temporary fe'curity by ftatute-law; he proposes that application should be made to Parliament, to obtain for all artifts an exclufive right of property in their inventions.
The objections made to this propofal are, that fuch a grant is eftablishing a monopoly; that it would enrich a few to the injury of others; that it would keep up the price of newinvented manufactures, and that it would occafion endlefs litigations. To the firft Dr. Kenrick replies, that a monopoly is only a licence for the fole vending of any article, the fale of which was before common; and therefore cannot properly be applied to new inventions: to the fecond; that the emolument of inventors, and inconvenience to those who have followed old methods, are neceflary confequences of giving encourage
ment to improvements, but no reasonable objection against it: to the third; that the Public will not purchase new machines at the price fixed by the proprietors, unless they find the fuperior merit adequate to the advanced price, and then the purchafer fuffers no hardfhip: to the laft; that it would not be difficult to fettle the point of right, in really new and useful inventions.
In conclufion the Author proposes, that provided a parliamentary fecurity of this kind of property cannot be obtained, the prerogative of the crown for granting patents should be made unlimited with respect to time.
Without attempting to fettle the difpute between Authors and Artifts concerning the order of precedence; and without recurring to the question concerning the refemblance between the cafe of authors and that of the inventors of machines; we agree with Dr. Kenrick, in thinking that there is by no means an equal and fufficient encouragement given to mechanical inventions and improvements; and that it is very defirable that fome measures should be taken to fecure to inventors the reward due to their ingenuity. But the manner in which this should be done is a queftion attended with confiderable difficulty. Many inventions are of fuch a nature that if the profit of them was confined to the first inventor, their utility would be exceedingly circumfcribed, and almost destroyed. This would be the cafe particularly with refpect to the two late inventions which Dr. Kenrick mentions, that of bending timber for carriage wheels; and that of preventing houfes from taking fire, by lining the cieling with thin plates of iron. And many machines, or manufactures, are fo eafily imitated and diverfified, that with all the fecurity of a patent, or act of parliament, the inventor may have the profits of his invention stolen from him without any poffibility of redrefs. No method of indemnifying and rewarding inventors will then be expedient, but fuch as at once fecures an adequate compenfation to the inventor, and gives the Public full poffeffion of the benefit of his invention. Exclufive grants of property, either by ftatute or patent, would, in our opinion, completely anfwer neither of these purpofes. And notwithstanding the objections which Dr. Kenrick raifes against focieties eftablished for the encouragement of arts, we cannot but think it would be found by experience, that if a proper portion of the public money were allotted to the purpose of giving premiums for ufeful inventions or difcoveries, (and how could it be more ufefully employed?) and if the diftribution of it were put into the hands of a fociety formed under the patronage of the crown, and confifting of the most eminent philofophers and artifts, ingenuity would meet with more encouragement,
couragement, and be rendered more useful to the Public than by any other method.
In the Appendix to this Addrefs, Dr. Kenrick obferves concerning literary property, that on the prefent footing, abstracts, abridgments, and compilations are no invafion of original copyright; and that there is no copy-right by the statute in works not entered in the hall-book of the Stationers company, and of confequence in unpublished manuscripts.
It is certainly not favourable to the intereft of literature that all abftracts, compilations, &c. fhould be prohibited and we apprehend fuch a prohibition would feldom be of advantage to an author: for extracts make the original work better known, and generally promotes its fale. And if, in any instance, the whole of an original work fhould be publifhed under the pretence of compilation, or fo much of it as to prevent the fale, this abufe might eafily be marked, and punifhed as an invasion of copy-right.-The other objection which Dr. Kenrick makes to the prefent ftate of copy-right, is, we apprehend, illgrounded: for it is adjudged and admitted in commen law, that an author is intitled to the copy of his own work, before it has been printed and publifhed by his authority *.
In fhewing the futility of thefe objections, we do not, however, mean to imply our approbation of the footing upon which literary property at prefent refts. We think it evident, on the refult of the debate, that authors have a natural right to a perpetual exclufive property in their works; and that the public convenience or intereft doth not render it neceffary that this right fhould be invaded, but on the contrary requires that it should be fecured; fince without it, literature could receive no certain encouragement.
We are indeed aware, that the execution of this defign would be attended with fome difficulties. But we apprehend the most material may be obviated, by confidering literary property in two diftin&t lights; first, as refpecting the right to multiply copies of an identical compofition: fecondly, as refpecting an author's right to any original thought or invention, which he communicates by printing to the Public. This latter, we apprehend, cannot, from the nature of the thing, be any other way fecured, than by granting a premium to the author, in the fame manner as hath been propofed with refpect to the inventors of machines, or improvements in the arts. For the invention, which is properly the author's own, may be conveyed to the Public in a variety of forms which cannot with any propriety be styled invafions of copy-right: and indeed it is necef
* See Sir J. Burrows's Question, &c. page 113.
fary to the improvement of science and arts, that new discoveries in philofophy, mathematics, medicine, &c. fhould freely be admitted into fubfequent compilations on new works. Excluding, then, this part of an author's right from the question concerning literary property, and transferring it to that concerning ufeful inventions; it only remains to confider in what manner the right of multiplying copies may be fecured.
Now, we are of opinion that this might be effectually done by an Act, to fecure to Authors perpetual Copy-right, which should prohibit the reprinting of any original work, without the permiffion of the author or his affigns; leaving it in the breaft of a jury to determine whether any publication is identically, or to all the purposes of fale, the fame work with that from which it is fuppofed to be copied.
Such a bill as this, drawn up with accuracy, brought in by fome able defender of the caufe of literary property, and placed in its proper light, not as the Bookfellers', but THE AUTHORS' BILL, would, we flatter ourselves, receive the fanction of a legiflature, which is diftinguished by feveral authors of eminent merit, and by many judicious and zealous friends to science and literature.
ART. VI. Curfory Remarks on Tragedy, on Shakespeare, and on certain French and Italian Poets, principally Tragedians. 8vo. 3 s. fewed. Owen. 1774.
T is the obvious intention of this Writer rather to controvert received opinions, than to advance new observations; and, as a polemical critic, he has taken the field against two redoubted adverfaries (Dr. Johnfon and Mrs. Montague) in their respective ftrictures on Shakespeare. The Doctor has, in his preface, certainly laid himself extremely open to criticifm and here the Author of the Remarks has evidently, in many inftances, the advantage; but against the literary Amazon he gains no ground: And the affectation of fingularity alone could have induced him to place Corneile before Shakespeare, in the lift of dramatic poets.
In other inftances he is more juft. In general, he expreffes himself in a genteel ftyle of language, and he evinces his talle for claffical learning, and the fine arts.
The following obfervations, annexed to fome account of the Rofmunda of Ruccellai, will be no unentertaining proof of
⚫ I am well aware that the English critic will be apt to pronounce the tragedy before us, as well as the theatrical compofitions in general of all fouthern nations, infipid, uninterefting, and unaffecting: but he would do well to confider the different characters of nations, various as the climates they inhabit, warm and genial as the fun that makes all nature smile around them, or cold and barren, like the REV. Oct. 1774. U
fnow-capt mountains that environ them. What at Naples or at Rome would appal the heart with terror and difmay, or convulse it with all the agonizing throbs of pity and compaffiop, would, in the more impenetrable northern bofom, fcarce excite the tranfitory fhudder, or the feeble half-formed figh.
It may perhaps be afked, how it happens that the modern Italians differ fo widely from their anceflors the Romans, who took fuch delight in the barbarous fhews of gladiators, and the expofing their fellow-creatures to the fury of wild beats. To this it may be anfwered, that if they were cruel, it was owing originally to neccffity rather than to their natural difpofitions; for being in their beginning but an inconfiderable number, they were conflrained to live by violence and plunder. When they became more numerous, they likewife grew more formidable, and with their numbers their enemies increafed. As they began by rapine, they continued by warfare; and whilft the fword remained unfheathed, the blood on it was regarded as a fign of honour, and beholden with a degree of fatisfaction and applaufe. As for the cruel combats of gladiators, they owed their rife to a fuperftitious notion that prevailed among the Pagans, namely, that the manes of the dead were rendered propitious with human blood. To policy they owed their continuance; and in after-ages thefe inhuman fports were frequently exhibited to the Romans, to cherish in their bofoms a ferocity, that feemed effential to their aggrandizement, and to make them bravely act as well as boldly think. But when once the Chriftian religion prevailed, as it preached meekness and humility, fo it checked and abated the impetuous fpirit of military ardour; and the reformation of manners then became the attention of the fovereigns, whofe whole thoughts had been before engroffed in adding new conquefts to their domains by ravage and deftruction. Their fubjects too then applied themfelves to the cultivation of the duties of fociety and domeftic economy; and if they funk as heroes, they rofe as men. From hence then may be dated the era of humanity amongst the Romans: peace and tranquillity infpired and promoted the tender affections amongst them, as a flate of warfare and a defire of conqueft had hardened and brutalized their difpofitions. Politeness, according to the learned Montefquicu, is found to prevail moft in defpotic governments; for there the inhabitants are not immerfed in politics, and have idle hours enough to dedicate to the leis effential duties of urbanity and a deference to one another. In like manner we may venture to affert, that the focial virtues will be mofl cultivated by thofe, to whom the lafting and uninterrupted enjoyment of peace gives opportunity and inclination to improve the mind and humanize the foul. But whilft danger hovers over us, the defire of felf-prefervation engroffes our whole thoughts, commands and fixes our whole attention, and whilst we are continually bufied in the defence of our household gods, we have no leifure to facrifice to the graces.
The Goths, by their irruptions, had indeed given a temporary change to the manners of the inhabitants of Italy, by the introduction of their own; but when once the tumults they had occafioned fubfided, and peace was again restored, literature was then revived; arts and feiences, for the comfort and embellishment of life, were