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11. Thus every book, when it falls into the own interest, was founded in reason, will appear hands of tbe reader, is liable to be examined, from the nature and end of an abridgment. confuted, censured, translated, and abridged ; 19. The design of an abridgment is, to be any of which may destroy the credit of the au- nefit mankind by facilitating the attainmento. thor, or hinder the sale of the book.
knowledge, and by contracting arguments, rela12. That all these liberties are allowed, and tions, or descriptions, into a narrow compass; cannot be prohibited without manifest disadvan- to convey instruction in the easiest method, with tage to the public, may be easily proved; but out fatiguing the attention, burdening the mewe shall contine ourselves to the liberty of mory, or impairing the health of the student. making epitomes, which gives occasion to our 20. By this method the original author bepresent inquiry.
comes, perhaps, of less value, and the proprie13. That an uninterrupted prescription confers tor's profits are diminished; but these inconvea right, will be easily granted, especially if it ap niences give way to the advantage received by pears that the prescription, pleaded in defence of mankind from the easier propagation of knowthat right, might at any time bave been inter- ledge; for as an incorrect book is lawfully criti. rupted, had it not been always thought agreeable cised, and false assertions justly confuted, beto reason and to justice.
cause it is more the interest of mankind that 14. The numberless abridgments that are to error should be detected and truth discovered, be found of all kinds of writings, afford sufficient than that the proprietors of a particular book evidence that they were always thought legal, should enjoy their profits undiminished ; so a tefor they are printed with the names of the ab- dious volume may no less lawfully be abridged, breviators and publishers, and without the least because it is better that the proprietors should appearance of a clandestine transaction. Many suffer some damage, than that the acquisition of of the books so abridged were the properties of knowledge should be obstructed with unnecesmen who wanted neither wealth, nor interest, sary difficulties, and the valuable hours of thounor spirit, to sue for justice, if they bad sands thrown away. thought themselves injured. Many of these 21. Therefore, as he that buys the copy of a abridgments must have been made by men book, buys it under this condition, that it is liable whom we can least suspect of illegal practices, to be confuted if it is false, however his property for there are few books of late that are not may be affected by such a confutation ; so he abridged.
buys it likewise liable to be abridged if it be te15. When Bishop Burnet heard that his “ His- dious, however his property may suffer by the tory of the Reformation” was about to be abridgment. abridged, he did not think of appealing to the 22. To abridge a book, therefore, is no violaCourt of Chancery ; but, to avoid any misrepre- tion of the right of the proprietor, because to be sentation of his History, epitomised it himself, subject to the hazard of an abridgment was as he tells us in his preface.
an original condition of the property. 16. But, lest it should be imagined that an 23. Thus we see the right of abridging auauthor might do this rather by choice than ne- thors established both by reason and the customs cessity, we shall produce two more instances of of trade. But, perhaps, the necessity of this the like practice, where it would certainly not practice may appear more evident, from a conhave been borne if it had been suspected of ille sideration of the consequences that must probgality. The one, in Clarendon's History, which ably follow from the prohibition of it. was abridged in 2 vols. 8vo. ; and the other in 24. If abridgments be condemned as injuBishop Burnet's “ History of his own Time," rious to the proprietor of the copy, where will abridged in the same manner. The first of these this argument end ? Must not confutations be books was the property of the University of likewise prohibited for the same reason? or, in Oxford, a body tenacious enough of their rights; writings of entertainment, will not criticisms at the other, of Bishop Burnet's heirs, whose least be entirely suppressed, as equally hurtful circumstances were such as made them very to the proprietor, and certainly not more necessensible of any diminution of their inheri- sary to the public ? tance.
25. Will not authors who write for pay, and 17. It is observable, that both these abridg- who are rewarded commonly according to the ments last mentioned, with many others that bulk of their work, be tempted to fill their works might be produced, were made when the act of with superfluities and digressions, when the dread parliament for securing the property of copies of an abridgment is taken away, as doubtless was in force, and which, if that property was in more negligences would be committed, and more jured, afforded an easy redress : what then can falsehoods published, if men were not restrained be inferred from the silence and forbearance of by the fear of censure and confutation ? the proprietors, but that they thought an epitome 26. How many useful works will the busy, of a book no violation of the right of the pro- the indolent, and the less wealthy part of manprietor ?
kind be deprived of? How few will read or 18. That their opinion, so contrary to their purchase forty-four large volumes of the Transactions of the Royal Society, which, in abridg- | book, however useless, that gave occasion to the ment, are generally read, to the great improve- answer ? ment of philosophy ?
29. Having thus endeavoured to prove the 27. How must general systems of sciences be legality of abridgments from custom, and the written, which are nothing more than epitomes necessity of continuing that custom from reason, of those authors who have written on particular it remains only, that we show that we have not branches, and those works are made less neces- printed the complainant's copy, but abridged it. sary by such collections ? Can he that destroys 30. This will need no proof, since it will apthe profit of many copies, be less criminal than pear, upon comparing the two books, that we he that lessens the sale of one?
have reduced thirty-seven pages to thirteen of 28. Even to confute an erroneous book will the same print. become more difficult, since it has always been a 31. Our design is, to give our readers a short eustom to abridge the author whose assertions view of the present controversy; and we require are examined, and sometimes to transcribe all that one of these two positions be proved, either the essential parts of his book. Must an in- that we have no right to exhibit such a view, or quirer after truth be debarred from the benefit that we can exhibit it without epitomising the of such confutations, unless he purchases the writers of each party.
LETTER ON FIRE-WORKS,
FROM THE GENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE, JAN. 1749.
strange infatuation they had been drawn toAmong the principal topics of conversation gether. In this will consist the only propriety which now furnish the places of assembly with of this transient show, that it will resemble the amusement, may be justly numbered the Fire- war of which it celebrates the period. The works, which are advancing, by such slow de- powers of this part of the world, after long pregrees, and with such costly preparation. parations, deep intrigues, and subtile schemes,
The first reflection that naturally arises is upon have set Europe in a flame, and, after having the inequality of the effect to the cause. Here gazed a while at their fire-works, have laid are vast sums expended, many hands, and some themselves down where they rose, to inquire for heads employed, from day to day, and from what they had been contending. month to month, and the whole nation is filled It is remarked likewise, that this blaze, so with expectations, by delineations and narratives. transitory and so useless, will be to be paid for, And in what is all this to end? in a building when it shines no longer : and many cannot forthat is to attract the admiration of ages ? in a bear observing, how many lasting advantages bridge, which may facilitate the commerce of might be purchased, how many acres might be future generations? in a work of any kind which drained, how many ways repaired, how many may stand as the model of beauty, or the pattern debtors might be released, how many widows of virtue? To show the blessings of the late and orphans, whom the war has ruined, might change of our state* by any monument of these be relieved, by the expense which is about to kinds, were a project worthy not only of wealth, evaporate in smoke, and to be scattered in rockand power, and greatness, but of learning, wis- ets: and there are some who think not only dom, and virtue. But nothing of this kind is reason, but humanity, offended, by such a trifdesigned; nothing more is projected, than a ling profusion, when so many sailors are starycrowd, a shout, and a blaze: the mighty work ing, and so many churches sinking into ruins. of artifice and contrivance is to be set on fire for It is no improper inquiry by whom this exno other purpose that I can see, than to show pense is at last to be borne: for certainly nothing how idle pyrotechnical virtuosos have been busy. can be more unreasonable than to tax the nation Four hours the sun will shine, and then fall from for a blaze, which will be extinguished before his orb, and lose his memory and his lustre to many of them know it has been lighted ; por gether; the spectators will disperse as their in- will it be consistent with the common practice, clinations lead them, and wonder by what which directs that local advantages shall be pro
cured at the expense of the district that enjoys
them. I never found in any records, that any • The peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, 1748. town petitioned the parliament for a maypole, a
bull-ring, or a skittle-ground; and, therefore, I but I hope the generosity of the great is not so should think, fire-works, as they are less dura- far extinguished, as that they can for their dible, and less useful, have at least as little claim version drain a nation already exhausted, and to the public purse.
make us pay for pictures in the fire, which none The fire-works are, I suppose, prepared, and will have the poor pleasure of beholding bu therefore it is too late to obviate the project : | themselves.
FOR PRINTING BY SUBSCRIPTION,
ESSAYS IN VERSE AND PROSE.
BY ANNA WILLIAMS.
FROM THE GENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE, SEPT. 1750.
When a writer of my sex solicits the regard of more suited to my ability, from which being the public, some apology seems always to be now cut off by a total privation of sight, I have expected; and it is unhappily too much in my been persuaded to suffer such Essays as I had power to satisfy this demand; since, how little formerly written, to be collected, and fitted, if soever I may be qualified, either by nature or they can be fitted, by the kindness of my friends, study, for furnishing the world with literary for the press. The candour of those that have entertainments, I have such motives for ven- already encouraged me, will, I hope, pardon the turing my little performances into the light, as delays incident to a work which must be perare sufficient to counterbalance the censure of formed by other eyes and other hands : and cenarrogance, and to turn off my attention from sure may surely be content to spare the comthe threats of criticism. The world will perhaps positions of a woman, written for amusement, be something softened when it shall be known, and published for necessity that my intention was to have lived by means
EMPLOYMENT OF AUTHORS.
FROM THE UNIVERSAL VISITER, APRIL, 1756.
TO THE VISITER.
among those who are to be excepted from gen
eral censure. Sir,
I am, Sir, your humble servant. I know not what apology to make for the little dissertation which I have sent, and which I will
Scire relim quare toties mihi, Nævole, tristis
Occurris fronte obducta, ceu Marsya victus.-Juv. not deny that I have sent with design that you should print it. I know that admonition is very There is no gift of nature, or effect of art, seldom grateful, and that authors are eminently however beneficial to mankind, which either by choleric; yet, I hope, that you, and every im- casual deviations, or foolish perversions, is not partial reader, will be convinced, that I intend sometimes mischievous. Whatever may be the the benefit of the public, and the advancement cause of happiness, may be made likewise the of knowledge; and that every reader, into whose cause of misery. The medicine, which, rightly bande this shall happen to fall, will rank himself applied, has power to cure, has, when rashness or iguorance prescribes it, the same power to whose benevolence inclines them to a voluntary destroy.
care of public happiness. I have computed, at some hours of leisure, the It was long ago observed by Virgil, and I suploss and gain of literature, and set the pain pose by many before him, that “Bees do not which it produces against the pleasure. Such make honey for their own use;" the sweets calculations are indeed at a great distance from which they collect in their laborious excursions, mathematical exactness, as they arise from the and store up in their hives with so much skill, Induction of a few particulars, and from obser- are seized by those who have contributed neither vations made rather according to the temper of toil nor art to the collection; and the poor animal the computist, than the nature of things. But is either destroyed by the invader, or left to shift such a narrow survey as can be taken, will easily without a supply. The condition is nearly the show that letters cause many blessings, and inflict same of the gatherer of honey, and the gatherer many calamities; that there is scarcely an indi- of knowledge. The bee and the author work vidual who may not consider them as immediate alike for others, and often lose the profit of their ly or mediately influencing his lite, as they are labour. The case, therefore, of authors, how. chief instruments of conveying knowledge, and ever hitherto neglected, may claim regarl transmitting sentiments; and almost every man Every body of men is important according to learns, by their means, all that is right or wrong the joint proportion of their usefulness and their in his sentiments and conduct.
number. Individuals, however they may excel, If letters were considered only as means of cannot hope to be considered singly as of great pleasure, it might well be doubted in what de weight in the political balance ; and multitudes, gree of estimation they should be held ; but when though they may, merely by their bulk, demand they are referred to necessity, the controversy is some notice, are yet not of much value, unless at an end : it soon appears, that though they they contribute to ease the burden of society, may sometimes incommode us, yet human life by co-operating to its prosperity. would scarcely rise, without them, above the Of the men, whose condition we are now exacommon existence of animal nature: we might mining, the usefulness never was disputed; they indeed breathe and eat in universal ignorance, are known to be the great disseminators of know. but must want all that gives pleasure or security, ledge, and guardians of the commonwealth; all the embellishments and delights, and most of and of late their number has been so much inthe conveniences and comforts of our present creased, that they are become a very conspicuous condition.
part of the nation. It is not now, as in former Literature is a kind of intellectual light, which, times, when men studied long, and passed like the light of the sun, may sometimes enable through the severities of discipline, and the prous to see what we do not like; but who would bation of public trials, before they presumed to wish to escape unpleasing objects, by condemn think themselves qualified for instructors of their ing himself to perpetual darkness?
countrymen; there is found a nearer way to fame Since, therefore, letters are thus indispensably and erudition, and the inclosures of literature necessary, since we cannot persuade ourselves to are thrown open to every man whom idleness lose their benefits for the sake of escaping their disposes to loiter, or whom pride inclines to set mischiefs, it is worth our serious inquiry, how himself to view. The sailor publishes his jourtheir benefits may be increased and their mis-nal, the farmer writes the process of his annual chiefs lessened ; by what means the harvest of labour; he that succeeds in his trade, thinks his our studies may afford us more corn and less wealth a proof of his understanding, and boldly chaff; and how the roses of the gardens of tutors the public; he that fails, considers his science may gratify us more with their fragrance, miscarriage as the consequence of a capacity too and prick vs less with their thorns.
great for the business of a shop, and amuses I shall not at present mention the more for himself in the Fleet with writing or translating. midable evils which the misapplication of litera- The last century imagined, that a man, composture produces, nor speak of churches infected ing in his chariot, was a new object of curiosity; with heresy, states inflamed with sedition, or but how much would the wonder have been inschools infatuated with hypothetical fictions. creased by a footman studying behind it? There These are evils which mankind have always la- now no class of men without its authors, from mented, and which, till mankind grow wise and the peer to the thresber; nor can the sons of litermodest, they must, I am afraid, continue to lacature be confined any longer to Grub-street or ment, without hope of remedy. I shall now Moorfields; they are spread over all the town touch only on some lighter and less extensive and all the country, and fill every stage of habievils, yet such as are sufficiently heavy to those tation from the cellar to the garret. that feel them, and are of late so widely diffused, It is well known, that the price of commodities as to deserve, though perhaps not the notice of must always fall as the quantity is increased, and the legislature, yet the consideration of those that no trade can allow its professors to be mul. tiplied beyond a certain number. The great without copy; another perusing as he walks, misery of writers proceeds from their multitude. bis publisher's bill; another murmuring at an We easily perceive that in a nation of clothiers, unanswerable criticism; another determining to no man could have any cloth to make but for his write no more to a generation of barbarians ; own back; that in a community of bakers every and another resolving to try once again, whether mau must use his own bread; and what can be he cannot awaken the drowsy world to a sense the case of a nation of authors, but that every of his merit. man must be content to read his book to bimself? It sometimes happens, that there may be refor surely it is vain to hope, that of men labour marked among them a smile of complacence, or ing at the same occupation, any will prefer the a strut of elevation ; but if these favourites of work of his neighbour to his own; yet this ex- fortune are carefully watched for a few days, pectation, wild as it is, seems to be indulged by they seldom fail to show the transitoriness of humany of the writing race, and therefore it can be man felicity; the crest falls, the gayety is ended, no wonder, that like all other men who suffer and there appear evident tokens of a successful their minds to form inconsiderate hopes, they rival, or a fickle patron. are harassed and dejected with frequent disap- But of all authors, those are the most wretchpointments.
ed, who exhibit their productions on the theatre, If I were to form an adage of misery, or fix and who are to propitiate first the manager, and the lowest point to which humanity could fall, then the public. Many an humble visitant have I should be tempted to name the life of an author. I followed to the doors of these lords of the Many uviversal comparisons there are by which drama, seen him touch the knocker with a shakmisery is expressed. We talk of a man teased ing hand, and, after long deliberation, adventure like a bear at the stake, tormented like a toad to solicit entrance, by a single knock; but I neunder a barrow, or hunted like a dog with a stick ver staid to see them come out from their auat his tail; all these are indeed states of uneasi- dience, because my heart is tender, and being ness, but what are they to the life of an author! subject to frights iu bed, I would not willingly of an author worried by critics, tormented by his dream of an author. bookseller, and hunted by his creditors. Yet That the number of authors is disproportionsuch must be the case of many among the re- ate to the maintenance which the public seems tailers of knowledge, while they continue thus willing to assign them; that there is neither to swarm over the land; and whether it be by praise nor meat for all who write, is apparent propagation or contagion, produce new writers from this, that, like wolves in long winters, to heighten the general distress, to increase con- they are forced to prey on one another. The fusion, and hasten famine.
Reviewers and Critical Reviewers, the Remarkers Having long studied the varieties of life, I can and Eraminers can satisfy their hunger only by guess by every man's walk, or air, to what state devouring their brethren. I am far from imaof the community he belongs. Every man bas gining that they are naturally more ravenous noted the legs of a tailor, and the gait of a sea- or blood-thirsty than those on whom they fall man, and a little extension of his physiognomical with so much violence and fury; but they are acquisitions will teach him to distinguish the hungry, and hunger must be satisfied; and these countenance of an author. It is my practice, savages, when their bellies are full, will fawn when I am in want of amusement, to place my- on those whom they now bite. self for an hour at Temple Bar, or any other The result of all these considerations amounts narrow pass much frequented, and examine one only to this, that the number of writers must at hy one the looks of the passengers; and I have last be lessened, but by what method this great commonly found, that, between the hours of design can be accomplished, is not easily discoeleven and four, every sixth man is an author. vered. It was lately proposed, that every man They are seldom to be seen very early in the who kept a dog should pay a certain tax, which, morning, or late in the evening, but about din- as the contriver of ways and means very judiner time they are all in motion, and have one ciously observed, would either destroy the dogs, uniform eagerness in their faces, which gives or bring in money. Perhaps it might be prolittle opportunity of discerning their hopes or per to lay some such tax upon authors, only the fears, their pleasures or their pains.
payment must be lessened in proportion as the But in the afternoon, when they have all avimal, upon which it is raised, is less necessary; dined, or composed themselves to pass the day for many a man that would pay for his dog, without a dinner, their passions have full play, will dismiss his dedicator. Perhaps if every and I can perceive one man wondering at the one who employed or harboured an author, was stupidity of the public, by which his new book assessed a groat a-year, it would sufficiently leshas been totally neglected; another cursing the sen the nuisance without destroying the species. French, who fright away literary curiosity by
But no great alteration is to be attempted ineir threats of an invasion ; another swearing rashly. We must consider how the authore, at his bookseller, who will advance no money which this tax shall exclude from their trade,