A SLANDER WHICH NEEDS IMMEDIATE CONTRADICTION. -- If any species of theft can be considered more especially base than another, it is literary theft. The ordinary pick-pocket takes a purse, and here with him is an end of the matter. He does not claim honor for his crime, or, for that which his degradation has procured him. The plagiarist does, and in this is the essence of his meanness.
But for the very reason that plagiarism is a gross offence, we should be cautious in charging any one with its perpetration. We have seen a paragraph, in general circulation, to the effect that "George Moyner," a tale published in the last number of "Graham," is plagiarised from a French work. This charge originated altogether in the haste of the person who made it. Had he read the article in question with that attention its high merits deserved, he would have seen, in a foot-note, the fullest acknowledgment, on the author's part, of the amount of indebtedness to the foreign authority. The amount is merely this: -- Mrs. Ellet, the admired authoress who writes the tale, has based it upon an incident contained in the work alluded to. This she has done well; and, to do it, she had an undeniable right. It would be insulting the common sense of our readers to say more. We trust that those papers which have given circulation to so injurious a calumny, will be at the pains of contradicting it at once.
[This item was attributed to Poe by Killis Campbell and T. O. Mabbott. It is not mentioned by Heartman & Canny or Hull.]
~~~ End of Text ~~~
[S:0 - EM, 1845]