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conduct and destiny. In this new state of things, which changes so much the relative position and influence of all classes, the most important change is effected for the man of learning and of talent. But a year since, he was condemned, if he would toil to eminence, to be the client of the aristocracy. This year has given him another patron -the public; and every career and goal of ambition is at once opened to him.
Men in authority, nobles, statesmen, consider well, and ponder on this change. Recollect what mainly precipitated the first revolution of our neighbours the French, was, that men of letters found their interest, their sacred interest the freedom of thought-their own just feelings of respect and pride, at variance with the existing state of things; and that their breath was sufficient to shake its foundations. Certainly, in England, there is no such cause of complaint; but there may be equal temptations to destroy. Regard the present state of France. There, the extinction of the aristocracy, the weakness of the crown, has left to intellect the first place. Now, talent is no less selfish than its brethren-than any other principle of power. It seeks place, and ascendency, and profit, as blindly as ever did the high-born. And the ranks of the moderate party being soon filled by sufficient capacities, the remainder fling themselves into opposition, and appeal to the wildest and worst passions of the people. Yet the French Government hath a tie, a hold, a bribe to offer, without which, indeed, we believe, it could not exist. It has hundreds of places, not sinecures, but small and honourable functions. It has its hundred professorships, its hundred prefectives and sub-prefectives, to content, and win, and silence these men. No government, since July 1830, could have held but for this.
Now mark the different situation of England. Its Ministry has huge places of profit to give, retaining fees fit for peers; but for the humble many of talent, scarcely one. Local jurisdiction and patronage fill many of these -but the Church fills most. Now this last is a serious, and very serious point. The Church and letters were once synonymous, the term clerc bears witness; and immense revenues were bestowed on her, as much to protect learning as to pay and support orthodoxy. But litera
ture has long left her wing; and all those seats of comfort, where the veteran of letters might so justly hope and expect to repose-librarianships, professorships-such are shut for ever against the unmatriculated laic. Turned away from the Church-threshold, talent, during the last century, paid its court to the aristocracy, and sate down at lords' tables. Here, indeed, few were received, but they fared sumptuously. Burke's, and divers names, are there to quote. In this century, the Tory system of raising dulness to high places, and supporting it by impudence, has prevailed, and fortunately, since it finds not one master-mind nor voice in its behalf, now is the hour of its overthrow and final dissolution. As to talent, I fear, that it sharpens its pen against the Church, and begins to hold high, even in salutation, the head that once bowed to the knee before a noble aspect. Now much of this is wrong, much of it is selfish, and therefore mean; but it is human nature, a thing for which we should always be prepared. The conclusion we draw is thisthat it behoves, and seriously behoves, those in power to take every step to make it the interest of men of talent and letters, as it is already the interest of other classes, to be the friends of order, of our institutions, and our religion. If it be their interest to hate, and vilipend, and destroy these, they will do so. Through all the emptiness of honourable professions, men, whatever be their rank and title, do no more.
So much as a warning to power: and now a word of counsel to men of letters. They are in a false position, in a painful state of transition; they have ceased to be the servants of the aristocracy, whilst the great public, whom they are about to serve, seems as yet not aware that it owes a return, a certain degree of protection and respect. Whilst in France men step from the professor's chair to the Ministry, from the editor's desk to the legislaturein England, the word author draws after it a kind of lenient and good-natured obloquy, more detrimental than even hate to the respectability and interests of the tribe. This prejudice is no doubt traditional, but the habits of most men of letters sanction it. English writers of the day are generally mere caterers to amusement, light, superficial, men of current pens and fugacious thoughts
-novel-writers, in fact, and cultivators of imagination. Even in their handling of serious subjects, there is a want of depth, and maturity, and conscientiousness, not a little disgraceful to us. This, no doubt, is in part produced by a false system of education, which teaches us that trifles are the most important points of study, and leaves us ignorant of the knowledge of public life until long after chance feelings or connexions have enlisted us in party, and given us a creed without reason, and passions with little more than personal hate for their basis.
In this respect, the French are infinitely our superiors. Their education, suited to the wants and habits of the day-gives more knowledge of the world, and less of the cloister. But, above all, the union of literary and political studies and habits of writing has the happy effect of giving solidity and high aim to the lighter pursuits, and at the same time dignifying, and adorning, and elevating that part of the press devoted to politics. In England, unfortunately, there has been not only disunion, but war, betwixt the writers of the daily press and their brethren. The latter have been in some instances, and in some of their works, prodigal of contempt, meanly and narrowly founded. The feeling has been returned; and this absurd quarrel has been, we have no doubt, the chief cause why the late dispensionment of the Royal ten Associates met with rather exultation than sympathy on the part of some able provincial diurnals. This poor source of spite and disunion ought to be for ever forgotten and extinguished.
Union, as far as literary interests are concerned, should henceforth be the duty of every literary man, whilst it should be the task of every individual to join solid information and principles to powers of light and imaginative writing. Political acquirements and knowledge should in no case be neglected. If other classes have hitherto monopolized influence and patronage, let us recollect it has been principally because they also monopolized political knowledge. For such, knowledge, according to the maxim, is power. Those who possess it, can never as a body be slighted; for this other maxim is no less true, that, in order to be respected, one must be feared.
LAW OF COPYRIGHT.
WE entreat the fair and impartial attention of the public to the Bill introduced, with equal ability and generous feeling, by the President of the Board of Trade, for the protection of Literary Property. It seldom happens that that class of men to whom, more than to her Generals and her Statesmen, England is indebted for the vast influence she exercises over the general Mind of Europe, appeal to the gratitude or the justice of their countrymen for any share in the benefits and improvements of legislation. Year after year, session after session, we observe every other calling of men, every other tribe and division of intellectual or mechanical labourers, engrossing the attention of Parliament, exciting its debates, filling the journals with their complaints and claims:-If a grievance not so heavy as a straw be laid on the shoulders of the humblest trade, combinations are formed, petitions poured in, speeches made, and reparation extorted. Patiently and silently, the originators of thought-the propagators of opinion-the inventors of almost every practical blessing we enjoy, have long suffered the spoliation of their property-the fraud upon their very means of existence: they have at last brought their case before Parliament, and at last induced the Administration (to the honour of that Administration be it said!) to attempt redress. Far from asking to keep pace with the growing liberality and tenderness of modern Legislation towards all other arts and professions, they supplicate but admission to the first elementary principle of societysecurity to property! It might be imagined that a Bill so obviously just, and which yet the dispensers of instruction and delight to the world would hail as an ample VOL. 11.-13
reward for all their toils, would have been received by the public with enthusiasm, and passed through the Legislature without a whisper of opposition. But Authors are not men who fill public meetings, clamour at the hustings, and turn the scales at elections:—what are their claims, in the eyes of the Popular Representatives, to those of the Licensed Victuallers? Accordingly, objections the most frivolous have been urged by some, indifference the most supine manifested by others; one man has asserted that writers ought to be proud of being robbed,—another, that to plunder the resources of intellect is for the advantage of society. Against the unfortunate author has been this combination-ignorance the most egregious, and dishonesty the most flagrant. Such are the rewards offered by Englishmen to their benefactors! If this Bill be frustrated,—if it be even delayed by such arguments as have been urged against it, it will be a deep and indelible disgrace to the existing generation. Our petty party differences pass away; the small interests of knots and coteries perish, as rapidly as they rise, from the wide surface of human affairs. But each succeeding race looks back with jealousy upon the monuments with which Science and Letters have adorned the last, and resent the contempt and ingratitude manifested towards the promoters of civilization as an offence to civilization itself.
Let us look calmly and briefly at the nature of the grievance complained of.
As soon as an English author of eminence publishes a work, it is immediately reprinted in foreign countries— in France, in Germany, in America. As, in those countries, print, paper, and advertisements are infinitely cheaper than in England, the pirated edition is of course infinitely cheaper than the legitimate English one. The lawful trader is therefore greatly undersold by the foreign smuggler. If this operated only abroad-if it did not affect the home market, and to a great extent, the evil might be endurable, but still it would be an evil borne by authors alone. If, for instance, a mechanist invents an improvement in machinery-the commonest engine, the simplest tool, he can with ease secure to himself protection in foreign countries; and he will reap the