« 上一頁繼續 »
thousands of pounds for the first run; fairly rewarded, and declines when it is and this just distribution of profits is robbed of its just compensation. Mr. infinitely the best, in the long run, for Reade has admirably demonstrated actors.
.this in his “Eighth Commandment,” There is still an impression preva
a little book as full of wit, fact, argulent in the world, that there is no ment, eloquence, and delicious audacity connection between good work and as any that bas lately appeared. good wages in this kind of industry. There has been but one country in There was never a greater mistake. which literature has ever succeeded in A few great men, exceptional in char- raising itself to the power and dignity of acter as in circumstances, blind like a profession, and it is the only country Milton, exiled like Dante, prisoners which has ever enjoyed a considerable like Bunyan and Cervantes, may have part of the market of the world for its litwritten for solace, or for fame, or from erary wares. This is France, which has benevolence; but, as a rule, nothing a kind of International Copyright in its gets the immortal work from first-rate language. Educated Russia reads few men but money. We need only men- books that are not French, and in every tion Shakespeare, for every one knows country of Christendom it is taken for that he wrote plays simply and solely granted that an educated person reads as a matter of business, to draw money this language. Wherever in Europe into the treasury of his theatre. He or America or India or Australia many was author and publisher, actor as books are sold, some French books well, and thus derived a threefold are sold. Here in New York, for exbenefit from his labors. Molière, too, ample, we have had for many years the greatest name in the literature of an elegant and well-appointed French France, and the second in the dramat- bookstore, in which the standard works ic literature of the world, was author of French literature are temptingly disactor, and manager. Play-writing was played, and the new works are for sale the career of these great men. It was within three weeks after their publicatheir business and vocation ; and it is tion in Paris. Many of our readers, only in the way of his business and too, must have noticed the huge masses vocation that we can, as a rule, get of French books exhibited in some of from an artist the best and the utmost the second-hand bookstores of Nassau there is in him. Common honesty de- Street. French books, in fact, form a mands that a man shall do his best very considerable part of the daily busiwhen he works for his own price. His ness of the bookstores in every capihonor and his safety are alike involved. tal of the world. Nearly one hundred All our courage and all our coward- subscribers were obtained in the United ice, all our pride and all our humility, States for the Nouvelle Biographie, in all our generosity and all our selfish- forty-six volumes, the total cost of ness, all that can incite and all that which, bound, was more than two huncan scare us to exertion, may enter dred of our preposterous dollars. Beinto the complex motive that is urging sides this large and steady sale of their us on when we are doing the work by works in every city on earth, French which we earn our right to exist. Noth- authors enjoy a protection to their rights ing is of great and lasting account, at home which is most complete, and not religion, nor benevolence, nor law, they address a public accustomed to nor science, - until it is so organized pay for new books a price, in determinthat honest and able men can live by ing which the author was considered. it. Then it lures talent, character, am- Mr. Reade informs us that a first-rate bition, wealth, and force to its support dramatic success in Paris is worth to and illustration. The whole history of the author six thousand pounds sterliterature, so far as it is known, shows ling, and that this six thousand pounds that literature flourishes when it is is very frequently drawn from the theVOL. XX. - NO. 120.
atre after a larger sum has been ob- are fast educating that interesting and tained for the same work in the form of virtuous people to the point when they a novel.
will be able to regain their freedom What is the effect ? Literature in and keep it safe from nocturnal conFrance, as we have said, is one of the spirators. They would have done it liberal professions. Literary men are ere now, but for the woful fact that only an important and honorable order in half of their countrymen can read, and the state. The press teems with works are thus the helpless victims of a perof real value and great cost. The three jured Dutchman and his priests. hundred French dramatists supply the What the general knowledge of the theatres of Christendom with plays so French language has done for French excellent, that not even the cheat of literature, all of that, and more than “ adaptation" can wholly conceal their that, an International Copyright law
? merit. Great novels, great histories, would do for the literature of Great great essays and treatises, important Britain and the United States. Here contributions to science, illustrated are four great and growing empires, works of the highest excellence, com- Great Britain, the United States, the pilations of the first utility, marvellous Dominion of Canada, and the states of dictionaries and statistical works, ap- Australia, in which the same language pear with a frequency which nothing is spoken and similar tastes prevail
. but a universal market could sustain. In all these nations there is a spirit In whatever direction public curiosity abroad which will never rest content is aroused, prompt and intelligent efforts until the whole population are readers, are made to gratify it. Nothing more and those readers will be counted by surprises an American inquirer than hundreds of millions. Already they the excellent manner in which this mere are so numerous, that one first-rate task-work, these “booksellers' jobs," as literary success, one book excellent we term them, are executed in Paris. enough to be of universal interest, That Nouvelle Biographie of which we would give the author leisure for life, have spoken is so faithfully done, and if his rights were completely protected is so free from any perverseness or by international law. What a field for narrowness of nationality, that it would honorable exertion is this! And how be a good enterprise in any of the read- can these empires fail to grow into uniing countries to publish a translation of ty when the cultivated intelligence of it just as it stands. French literature them all shall be nourished from the follows the general law, that, as the vol- same sources, and bow in homage to ume of business increases, the quality the same commanding minds ? Wantof the work done improves. The lasting this protection, the literature of French work which the pursuit of our both countries languishes. The blight vocation led us to read was one upon of over-production falls upon immature the Mistresses of Louis XV., by Ed- genius, masterpieces are followed by mond and Jules de Goncourt. We labored and spiritless repetitions, and need not say how such a subject as men that have it in them to inform and this would be treated by the cheated move mankind grind out task-work for hirelings of the Yellow Cover. This daily bread. One man, one masterwork, on the contrary, is an intelli- piece, that is the general law. Not one gent historical study of a period when eminent literary artist of either counmistresses governed France; and the try can be named who has not injured passages in the work which touch his powers and jeoparded his fame by upon the adulterous tie which gave over-production. We do not address fair France over to these vampires are a polite note to Elias Howe, and ask managed with a delicacy the most per- him how much he would charge for a fect. The present hope of France is “series” of inventions equal in imin her literature. Her literary men portance to the sewing machine. We
merely enable him to demand a dollar a marvel that two millions of them every time that one conception is used. bought the most popular book ever Imagine Job applied to for a “series” published,
published, - one purchaser to every of Books of Job. Not less absurd is it five hundred inhabitants. to compel an author to try and write We say, then, to those members of two Sketch-Books, two David Cop- Congress who go to Washington to perfields, two Uncle Toms, two Jane do something besides make PresiEyres, or two books like “The New- dents, that time has developed a new comes.” When once a great writer necessity, not indeed contemplated by has given such complete expression of the framers of the Constitution, yet his experience as was given in each of covered by the Constitution ; and it those works, a long time must elapse now devolves upon them to carry out before his mind fills again to a natural the evident intention of their just and overflow. But, alas ! only a very short wise predecessors, which was, to setime elapses before his purse empties. cure to genius, learning, and talent the
It was the intention of the founders certain ownership of their producof this Republic to give complete pro- tions. We want an international systection to intellectual property, and tem which shall protect a kind of propthis intention is clearly expressed in erty which cannot be brought to marthe Constitution. Justified by the au- ket without exposing it to plunder, thority given in that instrument, Con- property in a book being simply the gress has passed patent laws which right to multiply copies of it. We want have called into exercise an amount of this property secured, for a sufficient triumphant ingenuity that is one of the period, to the creator of the value, so great wonders of the modern world ; that no property in a book can be acbut under the copyright laws, enacted quired anywhere on earth unless by the with the same good intentions, our gift or consent of the author thereof. infant literature pines and dwindles. There are men in Congress who feel The reason is plain. For a labor-sav- all the magnitude and sacredness of ing invention, the United States, which the debt which they owe, and which abounds in everything but labor, is their country owes, to the authors and field enough, and the inventor is re- artists of the time. We believe such warded ; while a great book cannot members are more numerous now than be remunerative unless it enjoys the they ever were before, — much more market of the whole civilized world. numerous. It is they who must take The readers of excellent books are few the leading part in bringing about this in every country on earth. The read- great measure of justice and good ers of any one excellent book are usu- policy; and, as usual in such cases, ally very few indeed; and the pur- some one man must adopt it as his chasers are still fewer. In a world special vocation, and never rest till that is supposed to contain a thousand he has conferred on mankind this immillions of people, it is spoken of as measurable boon.
I call, but she does not stoop to my cry;
I wait, – but she lingers, and ah! so long!
When she touched my lips with chrism of song.
I swear I will get me a garret again,
And let the wee wife see the sunset's fires,
Up with the sparrows among the spires !
For a man should live in a garret aloof,
And have few friends, and be poorly clad,
To keep the Goddess constant and glad !
THE THRONE OF THE GOLDEN FOOT.
13th of September, 1855, a most Golden Foot, there to have audience fantastic and picturesque procession of that great, glorious, and most ex- in which the formal and arro- cellent Majesty, whose dominions are gant simplicities of a nice Western bounded only by the imagination civilization, and the grotesque and and here and there a British custominsolent ostentations of a crude Ori- house; and whose excursions of dreadental barbarism, with all the splendid ful power are stayed only by the forriddles of its far-fetched type-and-sym- bearing fiat of Boodh — and now and bolry, were blended in a rich bizarre- then some British bayonets. ness — formed in the main street of The escort was illustrious: there the western suburb of “the Immortal were the old Nan-ma-dau-Phra Woon, City" of Amarapoora, and moved to- or Lord-Governor of the Queen's Palward the palace of “him who reigns ace; the Woondouk Mhoung Mhon, over the kingdoms of Thunaparanta, a minister of the second order in the Tampadépa, and all the great um- High Court and Council ; and the brella-bearing chiefs of the Eastern Tara-Thoogyi, or Chief Judge of Amacountries,” – the Lord of Earth and rapoora ; besides other magnificos of Water, King of the Rising Sun, Lord less note, but all very fine in their of the Sacred White Elephant and of heavy, wide-sleeved court robes of all white elephants, Master of the crimson velvet, laced with a broad Celestial Weapon, and Great Chief of edging of Benares brocade. On their Life and Righteousness, — called, " for heads they wore high mitres, also of short,” Mendoon-men, King of Ava. crimson velvet, curving backward in a An imposing deputation of Woons volute, and encircled at the base with and other grandees, with their respec- a coronet of tinsel spear-heads. It is tive “tails," were escorting the newly the ton at court to wear these mitres arrived Envoy of the Governor-Gen- excessively tight, and to carry a little eral of India, and his suite, from their ivory blade, modelled like a shoe-horn, Residency on the south shore of the with which the cap of honor is drawn on, lake Toung-ah-mah-Eing below the and all " vagrom” locks of hair "com