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fligacy, he had deserted. It was in these words-Doll, I charge thee by the love of our youth and by my soul's rest, that thou wilt see this man paid; for if he and his wife had not succoured me, I had died in the streets. Robert Greene. The authenticity of this letter, says Mr. D’Israeli, has been idly disputed; but I have seen in the archives of the Literary Fund for Distressed Authors, too many of such letters to suspect it. It never could be forged by Harvey, for it excites' commiseration for one whom he seems heartily to have hated and feared.

The next article contains some curious and original anecdotes. It relates to Gilbert Stuart, whose correspondence with his London publisher furnishes the materials. In 1773 this notorious writer projected and started 'the Edinburgh Magazine and Review,' in which full scope was given to party violence and private malice. Stuart was not wanting in talent for such an undertaking, but he wanted prudence; his personalities were directed against his own countrymen, and his undisguised irreligion brought him within reach of the law. Since his days the plan has been improved upon: it failed with him, and he left Scotland, breathing 'a curse on the country and all the inen, women and children of it,' because, as Mr. D’Israeli observes, he could not succeed in making blasphemy, calumny, and every species of literary criminality fashionable among them. His opinion of Edinburgh is worthy of transcription. "I mortally detest and abhor this place, and every body in it. Never was there a city where there was so much pretension to knowledge, and that had so little of it. The solemn foppery, and the gross stupidity of the Scottish literati are perfectly insupportable. Nothing will do in this country that has common sense in it: only cant, hypocrisy and superstition will flourish here. In this humour Stuart removed to London, and then set up the English Review,' as he thought proper to denominate it, --in hatred probably of his own country, but in disgrace of ours.

* I am now,' says Mr. D’Israeli, to exhibit the singular spectacle of a Literary Conspiracy. It was conducted by Stuart, with a pertinacity of invention, perhaps not to be paralleled in literary history. That he succeeded for a considerable time in destroying the peace of mind of such an industrious author as Dr. Henry; that Stuart stopped the sale of a work on which Henry had expended much of his fortune and his life; that when the Historian, covered with obloquy and ridicule, in despair left Edinburgh for London, still encountering the same hostility -perhaps was never even known to its victim. The multiplied forms of this Proteus of the Malevoli, were still but one Devil; fire or water, or a bull or a lion; still it was the same Proteus, the same Stuart.' Vol. II. pp. 63, 64. The hatred to Henry began in the way in which literary hatred


usually begins; he first insulted and injured him, and ever after regarded him as a mortal enemy. The first attack was made upon one of his sermons. Henry's history soon afterwards appeared, and Hume wished to review it for Stuart's journal; and liad Stuart been actuated by any principle of common honesty, he would not have rejected his offer, as of all men he must necessarily have been the most competent to the undertaking. No,' said Stuart, that task is so precious, that I will undertake it myself-Moses, were he to ask it as a favour, should not have it; yea, not even the man after God's own heart, Presently this wretch tells us, “this month Henry is utterly demolished his sale is stopt-many of his copies are returned, and his old friends have forsaken himn. You cannot conceive how exceedingly is he humbled. I wish I could transport myself to London, to review him for the Monthly; a fire there and in the Critical would perfectly annihilate him.' Soon afterwards he informs his correspondent that to-morrow morning Henry sets off for London, with immense hopes of selling his history. I wish he had delayed till our last review of him had reached your city. I wish sincerely that I could enter Holborn the same hour with him. He should have a repeated fire to combat with. I entreat that you may be so kind as to let him feel some of your thunder. I shall never forget the favour. If Whitaker is in London, he could give a blow. Paterson will give him a knock. Strike by all means. The wretch will tremble, grow pale, and return with a consciousness of his debility. The newspapers, as well as the reviews, are to be employed against Henry; and Stuart is particularly anxious that these things should appear just as he arrives in London, to give full effect to the intended injury. I could wish, ' he says, “ that you knew for certain, bis being in London before you strike the first blow. An inquiry at Cadell's will give this.' And he promises his correspondent to return the favour in kind. " When

you have an enemy to attack, I shall, in return, give my best assistance, and aim at him a mortal blow, and rush forward to his overthrow, though the flames of hell should start up to oppose me.' Such was the spirit in which the original Edinburgh Review was conceived and conducted by its projector. Twelve months afterwards he rejoices in the injury which he had inflicted. Poor Henry,' he says, is on the point of death, and his friends declare that I have killed him. I received the information as a compliment, and begged they would not do me so much honour. But Henry and his history, says Mr. D’Israeli, long survived Stuart and his critiques. One generation only has past, and the different estiination in which the authors and the reviewers are now held, may serve as matter of profitable reflection for critics of Gilbert Stuart's spawn.

Every essay in this book is full of interesting anecdotes; but it often happens that the essay fails to exemplify what it is intended to prove. Thus we have a chapter entitled Genius and Erudition the victims of immoderate Vanity,' and Toland is the example: surely the failure of Toland's fortune is owing to his opinions, and not to his vanity. Steele is adduced as an instance of genius the dupe of its passions: the vice of Steele was carelessness, and the same disposition would have produced the same effect upon his worldly circumstances, if he had been utterly devoid of talent. The insanity of Leland and Collins is attributed to literary disappointments. A morbid temperament accounts for it more easily. Vanity will sometimes produce a sort of drunken madness, whether infiated with success or provoked by failure ; but this effect is incident only to weak minds, and it is not peculiar to men of letters, or to men who affect to be such. Fops and gentlemen-actors exemplify it quite as strongly as the most conceited witling that ever exposed himself to the public. Mr. Coates, for instance, made as extraordinary an exhibition of himself at Covent-garden, as the Doctor of Music at Drury-lane.

This general error pervades the book. In endeavouring to enforce a truth which may save many a one from a life of dependence, disappointment, and wretchedness, namely, that literature is the worst trade to which a young man can possibly betake himself, Mr. D'lsraeli has heaped up, among many pertinent examples, many which are completely irrelevant; for the evils which he exhibits are imputable not to the profession of the sufferers, but to their individual characters, their vices, or their follies, or their bodily constitutions. But he has, in one part of his book, fairly stated the wrongs of literature, and we thank him for it. Let us, as a last extract, the most important if not the most amusing which can be made from the work, transcribe what he says concerning the laws of literary property.

*The verbal and tasteless lawyers, not many years past, with legal metaphysics, wrangled like the schoolmen, inquiring of each other, “ whether the style and ide an author were tangible things; or if these were a property, how is possession to be taken, or any act of occupancy made on mere intellectual ideas ?" Nothing, said they, can be an object of property, but what has a corporeal substance; the air and the light, to which they compared an author's ideas, are common to all; ideas in the MS. state were compared to birds in a cage : while the author confines them in his own dominions, none but he has a right to let them fly; but the moment he allows the bird to escape from his hand, it is no violation of property in any one to make it his own. And to prove that there existed no property after publication, they found an analogy in the gathering of acorns, or in seizing on a vacant piece of ground; and thus degrading that most renned piece of art formed in the


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highest state of society, a literary production, they brought us back to a state of nature; and seem to have concluded that literary property was purely ideal ; phantoms which as their author could neither grasp nor contine to himself, he must entirely depend on the public benerolence for his reward.

• There were indeed some more generous spirits and better philosophers fortunately found on the same bench ; and the identity of a literary composition was resolved into its sentiments and language, besides what was more obviously valuable to some persons, the print and paper. On this slight principle was issued the profound award which accorded a certain term of years to any work, however immortal. They could not diminish the immortality of a book, but only its reward. In all the litigations respecting literary property, authors were little considered except some honourable testimonies due to genius, from the sense of Willes, and the eloquence of Mansfield. Literary property was still disputed like the rights of a parish common. An honest printer, who could not always write grammar, had the shrewdness to make a bold effort in this scramble, and perceiving that even by this last favourable award all literary property would necessarily centre with the booksellers, now stood forward for his own body, the printers. This rough advocate observed that 16

a few persons who call themselves booksellers, about the number of twenty-five, have kept the monopoly of books and copics in their hands, to the entire exclusion of all others; but more especially the printers, whom they have always held it a rule never to let become purchasers in copy.” Not a word for the authors! As for them, they were doomed by both parties as the fat oblation: they indeed sent forth some meek bleatings; but what were authors, between judges, booksellers, and printers ? the sacrificed among the sacrificers ! pp. 30 -34.

* Authors may exclaim, “ we ask for justice, not charity.” They would not need to require any favour, nor claim any other than that protection which an enlightened government, in its wisdom and its justice, must bestow. They would leave to the public disposition the sole appreciation of their works; their book must make its own fortune ; a bad work may be cried up, and a good work may be cried down; but faction will soon lose its voice, and truth acquire one. The cause we are pleading is not the calamities of indifferent writers; but of those whose utility, or whose genius, long survives that limited term which has been so hardly wrenched from the penurious hand of verbal lawyers. Every lover of literature, and every votary of humanity, has long felt indignant at that sordid state and all those secret sorrows to which men of the finest genius, or of sublime industry, are reduced and degraded in society. Johnson himself, who rejected that perpetuity of literary property, which some enthusiasts seemed to claim at the time the subject was undergoing the discussion of the judges, is however for extending the copy-right to a century. Could authors secure this their natural right, literature would acquire a permanent and a nobler reward'; for great authors would then be distinguished by the very profits they would receive, from that obscure multitude, whose common


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disgraces they frequently participate, notwithstanding the superiority of their own genius. Johnson himself will serve as a proof of the incompetent remuneration of literary property. He undertook and he performed an Herculean labour, which employed him so many years that the price he obtained was exhausted before the work was concludedthe wages did not even last as long as the labour! Where then is the author to look forward, when such works are undertaken, for a provision for his family, or for his future existence? It would naturally arise from the work itself, were authors not the most ill-treated and oppressed class of the community. The daughter of Milton need not have excited the alms of the admirers of her father, if the right of authors had been better protected; his own Paradise Lost had then been her better portion, and her most honourable inheritance. The children of Burns woald have required no subscriptions ; that annual tribute which the public pay to the genius of their parent, was their due, and would have been their fortune. pp. 40–43.

As the law at present stands, an author may retain or dispose of the property of his works for a term of eight and twenty years, after which it becomes common property. Upon what principle of common equity or common sense has such a law been founded ? And why is it that those persons who, of all others, confer upon their country the most lasting honour and the most permanent benefit, should be the only ones to whom the state denies a fee simple in the produce of their own industry? It has been argued, that literary works, being for the benefit of all, ought to become common, because, otherwise, it is possible that the individual in whom the exclusive property of an important work should be vested, might, from folly or caprice, think proper to withhold it, and thus deprive the public of it during his life. But what could be easier


* The argument is not altogether so groundless as it may appear. In the Eclectic Review for January, 1807, is the following passage :- We are not insensible of the inimitable excellencies of the production of Shakespere's genins. He has been called, and justly two, the poet of nature. A slight acquaintance with the religion of the Bible will shew, however, that it is of human nature in its worst shape, deformed by the basest passions, and agitated by the most vicious propensities that the poet became the priest; and the incense offered at the altar of his goddess will continue to spread its poisonous fumes over the hearts of his countrymen till the memory of his works is extinct. Thousands of unhappy spirits, and thousands yet to increase their number, will everlastingly look back with unutterable anguish on the nights and days in which the plays of Shakespere ministered to their guilty delight. And yet these are the writings' wirich men, consecrated to the service of him who styles himself the Holy One, have prostituted their pens 10 ülustrate! Such the writer, to immortalize whose name the resources of the most precious arts bave been profusely lavished ! Epithets amounting to blasphemy, and honours approaching to idolatry, have been, and are, shamelessly heaped upon his memory in a country professing itself Christian, and for which it would bave been happy, on moral considerations, if he had never been born. And, strange to say, even our religious edi. fices are not free from the pollution of his praise. What Christian can pass through the must venerable pile of sacred architecture wbich our metropolis can boast, without havisis his best feelings insulted by observing, within a few yards of the spot from which


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