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ought to be corrected by reason, at every point at which it makes an assertion within the range of reason, they may say, as well as others Why may not we write our novel as we like? Is it not, after all, a matter of taste?

One reply only can be made to this, and that is, that every sort of conscious and voluntary romance is out of place in such a matter If the romance is unconscious, the case is the common one of belie upon insufficient grounds; but romance or poetry, understood to be such, ought to be a servant and not a master. The greatest admire of Milton or Dante would not set up their writings as an authoritative standard of faith or morals, though he might value them to any extent as a persuasive way of advocating views which he admired but his admiration of the views of Dante or Milton on independen grounds would be the reason why he admired those poets. He would be wrong if he admired their views because he admired the mer themselves or their literary style.

In precisely the same way it appears to me that the truth of the great doctrines of Christianity, assuming them to be true, is the only reasonable ground for wishing to propagate them by any means what ever whether mythical or not. If it is not wise to love or try to lov your neighbour as yourself, why favour a parable or myth which teache that it is? If it is not true that either here and now or at some othe time and in another sphere, might and right are or will ultimatel be found to be identical, why favour a fable which teaches tha they are?

Doctrines ought to stand or fall according to their own intrinsi powers of persuasion and command; poetry and romance can at bes only cheat. If they cheat in favour of the truth, they distort and s injure it. If they cheat in favour of what is not true, they d unqualified mischief.



The Editor of THE NINETEENTH CENTURY cannot undertake

to return unaccepted MSS.






[THE Editor has submitted the subjoined article to the gentlemen whose names here follow, hoping to obtain thus some indication of the way in which the proposed scheme is likely to be regarded by English authors.














The opinions expressed are, as will be seen, for the most part very favourable to the project of an open literary royalty,' and probably forecast the view which the great majority of our authors would take. Politics, Poetry, Science, Theology, History, Fiction, and Criticism are all represented by the writers of the letters of approval appended to the article.

VOL. XXII.-No. 129.


The minority of objectors would include the few strong men who have already been fortunate enough to arrange terms with the 'strong barons' of the American publishing trade referred to by Professor Huxley.

Most English publishers would be likely to share the indifference on the subject declared by Messrs. Kegan Paul, Trench, & Co.; but it is of authors and not publishers that the great American Public will be mainly thinking, when it really thinks at all about the question and resolves to begin doing what is fair and right in this matter.-ED. Nineteenth Century.]

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THE strongest organised effort which has ever been made to secure from the United States Congress the passage of an International Copyright Law, was that of a combination of authors and publishers in the Session of 1886-7. It was hoped, even after a series of failures extending through two generations, that the strong pressure of the influential and well-organised American Copyright League would at length gain this point. The Committee of the Senate on Patents gave a patient hearing to the authors and experts selected for examination, and, under strong personal influence, one of the two Bills presented was reported to the Senate. The Hawley Bill, urged by the League, but rejected in Committee, offered very nearly the same terms as those sketched by the Conférence Internationale pour la protection des Euvres Littéraires et Artistiques, réunie à Berne, du 7 au 14 Septembre, 1885,' and adopted by most European countries. The Chase Bill, which was reported to the Senate, was similar in terms, but added provisions making compulsory the manufacture within the United States of all foreign copyrighted works.

Early in the Session it was stated to the present writer, both by the Chairman of the Committee on Patents, and by the Senator to whom the care of the Bill in the Senate had been committed, that neither Bill would be likely to pass during the current Session, and in fact they were not even brought up before the Senate for consideration. A well-known Senator recently in London, who favours the adoption of some modified form of international copyright, expresses the opinion that both these Bills, unless essentially altered, will meet a strong opposition especially in the popular House, while a plan but slightly increasing prices may probably be favourably acted on.

It may be well therefore to state some of the reasons why

American readers object to give to British publishers and authors a monopoly or exclusive copyright of their books. Rejecting the arguments used by but a few, that, as copyright is limited by time and not absolute property, it should be limited by area also; and that Governments are not competent to legislate for the special benefit of foreigners, the chief lines of objection may be thus briefly stated.

I. The English system of high-priced books, with their acres of blank margin and superfluously expensive bindings, was designed for wealthy readers and for circulating libraries, and is not adapted to the United States. As a result of a system of general education extending through several generations, there is a great body of American readers of narrow means. The mass of population which in Great Britain is contained in an area not larger than that of some single States, is in America distributed through 4,000 miles east and west by 1,500 miles north and south, an area equal in extent to all Europe. It follows that, save in large cities, circulating libraries are rarely available, and cheap books have become a necessity.

Were a monopoly control gained by the English publishers for the printing of their works in America, they would, as they frankly assured the Royal Commission on Copyright in 1876, increase the present prices of the cheapest reprints about tenfold, by an approximation to English rates. They could not face the British public if they systematically sold the same books in America at the prices now asked for reprints there, and in England at the current standard of prices; and this they themselves acknowledge.

The works which are now purchased in the United States at ten or twenty cents would cost one or two dollars, at least during the first year of their issue, and in some cases even thirty-one shillings and sixpence, or seven and a half dollars. American readers could no longer buy them almost as they buy newspapers. The Chicago man would take arms before he would pay ten prices for his newspaper, and his feelings would partake of the same character under a similar advance in the price of his books. The vested interests in reprints formerly limited to the sea-board cities have now extended to the Pacific, and even if a law involving such results could by any pressure be passed, it could never be kept on the Statute Book.

American statesmen may very reasonably object to a monopoly system, which, if it had been enacted, would have reduced the 100,000,000 copies of cheap reprints of British copyright works which have been sold within the last few years to 10,000,000 or less. In 1886 Henry C. Carey, the political economist, once a successful book publisher, estimated that if there had been a monopoly copyright in America worked on the usual English system, the issue of a certain novel of Dickens there would have been 50,000 instead of 1,000,000 copies.

As Mr. Trollope once remarked, sermons and moral treatises are not so much read as formerly, and a large proportion of our instruction in religion, social ethics, and the conduct of life is now derived from the pens of our ablest writers of fiction. Who can estimate what would have been the loss to the American people from the suppression by monopoly prices of these 90,000,000 books, which have certainly for the most part conveyed the teaching of the AngloSaxon high standard of social life? And it is equally clear that the world would have had much reason to regret the loss of a means of uniting the two great branches of our race so potent as the interlacing of their sympathies by a common literature perused at the same time. We purposely avoid the discussion of the abstract rights of the question, on which much might be said in favour of monopoly copyright, and confine these remarks to what is practicable. A privilege that is obtainable is better than one which may by some be considered better, but which cannot be gained.

II. American readers further object to monopoly international copyright because, were it granted, and were they to cut themselves off from cheap competing reprints of British books, the bulk of the advance in price would not go to the authors but to the book trade. The style of the manufacture would be advanced, it is true, but it would be above the needs of the market; and of the enhanced price, after deducting cost of manufacture, about one-eighth only would go to the author. By easily tested calculations it will be found that in popular copyright books, the outlay for type-setting and stereotyping forms a scarcely appreciable factor in large editions, and that when all the cost of paper, printing, and binding has been paid, seveneighths of the difference between this cost price and the price paid by the buyer goes into the pockets of the publishers and bookseller, and one-eighth only to the author. Thus in the case of a book selling in large editions at one dollar, the cost of manufacture would be about fifteen cents, the author's copyright ten cents, and the balance coming to those who produce and sell the book seventy-five cents. By this it will be understood how several series of standard works, not under copyright, can be issued in London with good type, paper, and cloth binding, at a retail price of one shilling a volume (about sevenpence to the trade), and an excellent series in paper covers at threepence (wholesale about fifteen farthings), for each book.' It must be

It is enough to instance the following incomplete list of issues, composed partly of English works nearly all out of copyright, and partly of American reprinted books; all published at one shilling, and retailed by some London booksellers at ninepence. Morley's Universal Library (Routledge), cloth; Routledge's Pocket Library, cloth backs; Routledge's Railway Library, paper covers; Routledge's Demy Octavo novels, paper covers; Routledge's American Library, fancy covers; Cassell's Red Library, stiff covers; Cassell's Miniature Library of the Poets, cloth backs; Routledge's Emerald Series of the Poets, cloth gilt; Scott's Camelot Monthly Series (Prose), cloth; Scott's Canterbury Poets (monthly), cloth; Scott's Great Writers (monthly), cloth. Ward, Lock, & Co.'s complete Shakespeare, 833 pages, retails at

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