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the one wrote, and the other purchased, under the hazard of such treatment from the buyer and reader, and without any security from the bad consequences of that treatment, except the excellence of the book.
7. Reputation and property are of different kinds; one kind of each is more necessary to be secured by the law than another, and the law has provided more effectually for its defence. My character as a man, a subject, or a trader, is under the protection of the law; but my reputa. tion, as an author, is at the mercy of the reader, who lies under no other obligations to do me justice than those of religion and morality. If a man calls me rebel or bankrupt, I may prosecute and punish him; but, if a man calls me ideot or plagiary, I have no remedy; since, by selling him the book, I admit his privilege of judging, and declaring his judgment, and can appeal only to other readers, if I think myself injured.
8. In different characters we are more or less protected; to hiss a pleader at the bar would, perhaps, be deemed illegal and punishable, but to hiss a dramatick writer is justifiable by custom.
9. What is here said of the writer, extends itself naturally to the purchaser of a copy, since the one seldom suffers without the other.
10. By these liberties it is obvious, that authors and proprietors may often suffer, and sometimes unjustly: but as these liberties are encouraged and allowed for the same reason with writing itself, for the discovery and propagation of truth, though, like other human goods, they have their alloys and ill consequences; yet, as their advantages abundantly preponderate, they have never yet been abolished or restrained.
11. Thus every book, when it falls into the hands of the reader, is liable to be examined, confuted, censured, translated, and abridged; any of which may destroy the credit of the author, or hinder the sale of the book.
12. That all these liberties are allowed, and cannot be prohibited without manifest disadvantage to the publick,
may be easily proved; but we shall confine ourselves to the liberty of making epitomes, which gives occasion to our present inquiry.
13. That an uninterrupted prescription confers a right, will be easily granted, especially if it appears that the prescription, pleaded in defence of that right, might at any time have been interrupted, had it not been always thought agreeable to reason and to justice.
14. The numberless abridgments that are to be found of all kinds of writings, afford sufficient evidence that they were always thought legal, for they are printed with the names of the abbreviators and publishers, and without the least appearance of a clandestine transaction. Many of the
ks, so abridged, were the properties of men who wanted neither wealth, nor interest, nor spirit, to sue for justice, if they had thought themselves injured. Many of these abridgments must have been made by men whom we can least suspect of illegal practices, for there are few books of late that are not abridged.
15. When bishop Burnet heard that his History of the Reformation was about to be abridged, he did not think of appealing to the court of chancery; but, to avoid any misrepresentation of his history, epitomised it himself, as he tells us in his preface.
16. But, lest it should be imagined that an author might do this rather by choice than necessity, we shall produce two more instances of the like practice, where it would certainly not have been borne, if it had been suspected of illegality. The one, in Clarendon's History, which was abridged, in 2 vols. 8vo.; and the other in bishop Burnet's History of his Own Time, abridged in the same manner. The first of these books was the property of the university of Oxford, a body tenacious enough of their rights; the other, of bishop Burnet's heirs, whose circumstances were such as made them very sensible of any diminution of their inheritance.
17. It is observable, that both these abridgments last mentioned, with many others that might be produced, were
made when the act of parliament for securing the property of copies was in force, and which, if that property was injured, afforded an easy redress: what then can be inferred from the silence and forbearance of the proprietors, but that they thought an epitome of a book no violation of the right of the proprietor?
18. That their opinion, so contrary to their own interest, was founded in reason, will appear from the nature and end of an abridgment.
19. The design of an abridgment is, to benefit mankind by facilitating the attainment of knowledge; and by contracting arguments, relations, or descriptions, into a narrow compass, to convey instruction in the easiest method, without fatiguing the attention, burdening the memory, or impairing the health of the student.
20. By this method the original author becomes, perhaps, of less value, and the proprietor's profits are diminished; but these inconveniencies give way to the advantage received by mankind, from the easier propagation of knowledge; for as an incorrect book is lawfully criticised, and false assertions justly confuted, because it is more the interest of mankind, that errour should be detected, and truth discovered, than that the proprietors of a particular book should enjoy their profits undiminished; so a tedious volume may, no less lawfully, be abridged, because it is better that the proprietors should suffer some damage, than that the acquisition of knowledge should be obstructed with unnecessary difficulties, and the valuable hours of thousands thrown away.
21. Therefore, as he that buys the copy of a book, buys it under this condition, that it is liable to be confuted, if it is false, however his property may be affected by such a confutation; so he buys it, likewise, liable to be abridged, if it be tedious, however his property may suffer by the abridgment.
22. To abridge a book, therefore, is no violation of the right of the proprietor, because to be subject to the hazard of an abridgment was an original condition of the property.
23. Thus we see the right of abridging authors established both by reason and the customs of trade. But, perhaps, the necessity of this practice may appear more evident, from a consideration of the consequences that must probably follow from the prohibition of it.
24. If abridgments be condemned, as injurious to the proprietor of the copy, where will this argument end? Must not confutations be, likewise, prohibited for the same reason? Or, in writings of entertainment, will not criticisms, at least, be entirely suppressed, as equally hurtful to the proprietor, and certainly not more necessary to the publick?
25. Will not authors, who write for pay, and who are rewarded, commonly, according to the bulk of their work, be tempted to fill their works with superfluities and digressions, when the dread of an abridgment is taken away, as doubtless more negligences would be committed, and more falsehoods published, if men were not restrained by the fear of censure and confutation?
26. How many useful works will the busy, the indolent, and the less wealthy part of mankind be deprived of! How few will read or purchase forty-four large volumes of the transactions of the royal society, which, in abridgment, are generally read, to the great improvement of philosophy!
27. How must general systems of sciences be written, which are nothing more than epitomes of those authors who have written on particular branches, and those works are made less necessary by such collections! Can he that destroys the profit of many copies be less criminal than he that lessens the sale of one?
28. Even to confute an erroneous book will become more difficult, since it has always been a custom to abridge the author whose assertions are examined, and, sometimes, to transcribe all the essential parts of his book. Must an inquirer after truth be debarred from the benefit of such confutations, unless he purchases the book, however useless, that gave occasion to the answer?
29. Having thus endeavoured to prove the legality of abridgments from custom, and the necessity of continuing
that custom from reason, it remains only that we show, that we have not printed the complainant's copy, but abridged itp.
30. This will need no proof, since it will appear, upon comparing the two books, that we have reduced thirtyseven pages to thirteen of the same print.
31. Our design is, to give our readers a short view of the present controversy; and we require, that one of these two positions be proved, either that we have no right to exhibit such a view, or that we can exhibit it, without epitomising the writers of each party.
ON SCHOOL CHASTISEMENT.
[The following argument, on school chastisement, was dictated to Mr. Boswell, who was counsel in the case. It originated in 1772, when a schoolmaster at Campbelltown was deprived, by a court of inferior jurisdiction, of his office, for alleged cruelty to his scholars. The court of session restored him. The parents or friends, whose weak indulgence had listened to their children's complaints in the first stage, now appealed to the house of lords, who reversed the decree of the court of session, and the schoolmaster was, accordingly, deprived of his situation, April 14, 1772.-Boswell, ii.]
THE charge is, that this schoolmaster has used immoderate and cruel correction. Correction, in itself, is not cruel; children, being not reasonable, can be governed only by fear. To impress this fear is, therefore, one of the first duties of those who have the care of children. It is the duty of a parent; and has never been thought inconsistent with parental tenderness. It is the duty of a master, who is in his highest exaltation, when he is" loco parentis 9." Yet, as good things become evil by excess, correction, by being immoderate, may become cruel. But, when is correction immoderate? When it is more frequent
A fair and bona fide abridgment of any book is considered a new work; and however it may injure the sale of the original, yet it is not deemed, in law, to be a piracy, or violation of the author's copyright. 1 Bro. 451. 2. Atk. 141. and Mr. Christian's note on the Commentaries, ii. 407.—Ed.
See Blackstone's Comment. i. 453.