[page 2, column 1, continued:]
PAY OF AMERICAN AUTHORS.
"We confess that we
have never been
able to see distinctly how the want of the International Law
against our own writers." — Ex. Paper.
How we rob foreign authors, and how
we argue in our
legislative halls that it is an economical thing for us to pick the
pocket, are points too well understood to need discussion — but there
are still found individuals who ask, innocently enough, in what manner
the want of the International Law affects the pecuniary interest of the
native American. The man who asks the question should first write a
or a magazine article, and then offer it to a publisher for sale.
The publisher's answer to the offer
will be at the
same time the practical reply to the general query.
He will say — "My dear sir, you are
a man of genius;
and I am willing to admit, even, if you think proper, that you are a
of higher genius than — than — any one you have fancy to name. But,
I pay one dollar for your book, I am impliedly acknowledging that you
not only a man of greater genius than — shall we say Dickens? —
but that you, who have never published a line, are more popular than
For, observe! I can get Dickens's works without the dollar. It
little better than piracy, I know; but custom sanctions it, and,
I do not feel called upon to blush very particularly when I
it. At all events, I prefer to blush a little, and save my dollar. I
therefore, decline having anything to do with your book, for the
but let me recommend you to Mr. A., or the house of H. — they may,
be able to serve you."
The most momentous evil, however —
an evil not the
less momentous, because hitherto inconsidered — arising from the want
of an International Copy-right Law, is the bitter sense of wrong
in the hearts of all literary men — is the keen contempt, and profound
disgust which the whole Moral Force — which the whole Active Mind of
world cannot help entertaining, even if it would, against the sole
which refuses to protect it, or respect it — against the sole form
of government, which not only robs it upon the highway, but justifies
robbery as a convenient and commendable thing, and glories in t [[it]]
when cleverly done.