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prefent fubject neither requires that we fhould juftify, ridicule, or condemn them: and the difficulties which arife concerning abridgments, extracts, tranflations, compilations, &c. ought not to be brought in to embarrals the queition, till it be determined whether an author ought to have the perpetual copyright of his own identical literary compofition. How far this right fhall extend, and how it fhall be guarded against fraudu lent invafions, fhould be confidered afterwards.
Against the expediency of allowing perpetual literary property Lord KAMES fays:
This perpetual monopoly will unavoidably raise the price of good books beyond the reach of ordinary readers: they will be fold like so many valuable pictures. The fale will be confined to a few learned men who have money to spare, and to a few rich men, who buy out of vanity, as they buy a diamond or a fine ccat. The commerce of books will be in a worfe flate than before printing was invented; for even manufcript copies would be unlawful. Fafrions at the fame time are variable; and books, even the most fplendid, would wear out of fashion with men of opulence, and be defpifed as antiquated furniture. The commerce of books would, of course, be at an end; for even with refpect to men of tafte, their number is fo fmall as of themselves not to afford encouragement for the most frugal edition. Thus bookfellers, by gratping at too much, would lose their trade altogether; and men of genius would be quite difcouraged from writing, as no price can be afforded for an unfashionable commodity. In a word, I have no difficulty to maintain, that a perpetual monopoly of books would prove more destructive to learning, and even to authors, than a fecond irruption of Goths and Vandals.'
The picture is bold; the colouring is lively; but it is obvious to remark that it is a fancy-piece. And, if we allow of fuppofitions, we may fuppofe, on the other hand, that bookfellers will always have fenfe enough to perceive the truth of the homely proverb, Many littles make a mickle, and will not neglect to provide cheap editions for their numerous cuftomers, who cannot afford to purchafe dear ones: and that authors would be at least as much difcouraged by lofing their property in their works, as by feeing the copies of them felling at an advanced price.
Lord COALSTON pleads that perpetuity in copy-right would eftablish a perpetual monopoly in the hands of the London bookfellers. But it is to be confidered that bookfellers are not principals in the prefent queftion: they are only the agents or af figns of authors. If authors have a right to perpetuity in their copy, the use of this right is no monopoly, whether it be exercifed by themfelves or their reprefentatives. And if the Lon
don bookfellers, from their fituation and connections, are able to tranfact the bufinefs of authors more advantageously than those in the country, they have a right to employ them; and no inconvenience which may arife from hence to individuals, in a trade which owes its exiftence to authors, ought to be conftrued into a reason for depriving them of this right.
Laftly, the LORD PRESIDENT fuggefts (and it has of late often been infinuated) that the prefent queftion is of no importance to authors:
• I am no author, fays he, and hope in God never fhall be. I fay this not out of any disrespect to any of thofe gentlemen: but I think authors are not much concerned in this question. I could fet a jury of authors, with the greatest hiftorian of this place, at their head, and call for their verdict, whether this perpetual right of literary property would be to their advantage or not; and I could venture to say, they would agree in thinking it of no mement.'
In what light fome authors may view their own interest we cannot tell; but to us it appears exceedingly plain that works which bear the ftamp of immortality on their front, must be worth more to a bookfeller, if he can have a perpetual property in them, than if his property is to expire at the end of fourteen or even twenty-eight years. And we cannot account for the prevalence of the contrary opinion, but upon the fuppofition that our authors (and among the reft our great hiftorians) are become fuch zealous republicans, that they wish to abolish all honorary and lucrative distinctions in the republic of letters, and to bring the most gigantic fons of genius to the fame ftandard with the pigmy race of fcribblers,
who peep about
To find themselves difhonourable graves.
ART. III. Poems, chiefly rural. 8vo. 2 s. 6 d. Boards. Glasgow printed, and fold in London by Murray. (774.
E are very forry that it is not in our power to continue the ftrain of commendation with which we have lately fpoken of the very ingenious Author of thefe Poems *. As a critic, and as a man of tafte, we think he has few rivals; and we fincerely wish that his claims were equally good as a poet, and a man of genius. His poems are replete with knowledge, and useful obfervations; but they have almoft all of them the fault which, in his analyfis, he maintains it is the character of genius to avoid, viz. defcribing a paffion which the poet does not feel.
Vid. Analyfis of Shakespeare's principal Characters, Review for
Thefe poems confift,
I. Of Odes, Idyllions, and Anacreontics.
II. Rural Tales.
V. Elegy on the Death of a Lady.
VII. The Progrefs of Melancholy.
What we should not have expected is however the fact, that the Idyllions and Anacreontics of this critical philofopher are by far the best of his poems:
To a LAD Y. An ANACREONTIC.
"In Delia's praise: and may the lay,
"Flow copious, elegant, and gay.
"The power of her subduing smile."
At length fhe came: but vanish'd fast,
She faid, ""Twere better had you chose
To a LADY. An IDYLLION.
So, were thy mild affections prov'd,
In troublous times would folace grief.
This Idyllion is one of the prettieft, if not the prettieft poem in the collection. The whole, however, may be read with pleasure and advantage, though they contain nothing equal to what we expected from Mr. Richardfon: whofe genius will entitle him to rank with Parnel and Goldsmith, in the middle region of Parnaffus; without ever qualifying him to fit down on the fummit, with Dryden and Pope.
ART. IV. Virtue in humble Life: Containing Reflections on the reciprocal Duties of the Wealthy and Indigent, the Mafter and the Servant: Thoughts on the various Situations, Paflions, Prejudices, and Virtues of Mankind: Fables applicable to the Subjects: Anecdotes of the Living and the Dead: The Refult of long Experience and Obfervation. In a Dialogue between a Father and his Daughter, &c. By Jonas Hanway, Efq. 8vo. 2 Vols. 12 S. Boards. Dodley, &c. 1774.
R. Hanway is entitled to the acknowledgments of the public for the uncommon application with which he has endeavoured to render them fervice in a variety of refpects. The pamphlets, and larger works, which he has published, amount to a confiderable number; and it must afford him great fatisfaction to be able to fay, as he does in the introduction to the prefent performance, All the tracts which I have introduced into the world, my travels not excepted, have been defigned for purposes which I apprehended might be for the public welfare, or for the benefit of public charities, or to be given to the individual. Thefe offerings were made with a view to promote a sense of religion and morality, in which many of our fellow-fubjects feemed very deficient.'
This work is founded on another, published by Mr. H. in 1770, in three pocket volumes, viz. Advice from a Farmer to his Daughter: that performance is here very confiderably enlarged, and the whole caft into the form of a dialogue on the probable fuppofition that in this form it might be more useful than in most others.
* For our account of this work, fee Review, vol, xliii, p. 463.
Mr. Hanway appears to be aware, that his writings may, by fome readers, be deemed " too diffuse and prolix;" and thus he answers the objection:
It is the property of fancy, fays he, to enlarge, and the office of judgment to contract: but amidst fuch a diverfity of fubjects calculated to entertain and inftruct, I found it difficult to fay lefs, and at the fame time familiarize my thoughts to my unlettered readers. As this book is branched out luxuriantly, and will probably be the clofe of my labours of this kind, I hope it will be generally useful, and ferve as a library to fuch, whofe reading is within a fmall compafs.-In every view, this book is the best legacy which I fhall be in a capacity of leaving, either to those who want, or to them that abound; and if they think it good they will feek it.'
The following paragraph is intended as an answer to a farther objection to this publication; I am fenfible, observes our Author, how fubject a work of this kind is to be treated as an ebullition of pious zea!; nor fhould I be furprized to hear it faid by a female acquaintance, perhaps in moft refpects highly valuable, "Lord! what good will you do, by taking fo much. pains to build this monftrous pile of piety?" My answer is, "Your ladyfhip will be beft able to determine this question, if you should condefcend to read what I have written; otherwise I can poffibly do you no good: your women fervants may perhaps become the better for it, and you may reap fome benefit from their virtues. If any one proves an example of piety, you will fecretly blush and amend your ways.-You will not be furprized that I should preach: I am defcending into the vale of » years; you are going up the hill, to take a view of what I have often feen. Many a long day have I beheld the vanities of the world! Many of the faults of others are obvious to me;-and fo are fome of my own. Things wear a different afpect in your eyes:-If I now officiously intrude on your gayer hours, I remind you that it is not always fpring nor fummer. You wish in due time to reach the winter of your days; and what do you imagine will then contribute most to your comfort, and brighten your profpect beyond the grave?-You have my fincerest wishes that your hopes may always bloffom in the fulleft charms of vernal beauty, till in the great progrefs of human wisdom, your paffions being lulled to reft, your enjoyments may become pure. as the limpid ftream, bright as the meridian fun, and calm as a fummer fea. Some degree of forrow is the lot of every mortal; but I trust that your profperity will never be impaired by the want of virtue, nor your adverfity be devoid of confolation. Ere long you must deliver up your material part to be the sport of elements; but as Nature, in her yearly courfe, reftores the REV. Aug. 1774.