« PreviousContinue »
also for concealing the same. No sooner was Anne cleared from this imputation than a great effort was made by her brother and the protestant party to effect a re-union between her and the king. The Duke of Cleves evidently imagined the disgrace of the new queen was neither more nor less than the first move of the king and his ministers towards a reconciliation with Anne. The duke's ambassadors opened the business to the Earl of Southampton, to whom Osliger also wrote a pressing letter, urging the expediency of such a measure. Southampton communicated the particulars to the king of his interview with the ambassadors on the subject, and enclosed Osliger's letter ; but was certainly too well aware of Henry's opinion of the lady to venture to second the representations of the court of Cleves. The next attempt was made by the ambassadors on Cranmer, which is thus related by him in the following curious letter to the king :
“ It may please your majesty to be advertised, that yesterday the ambassador of Cleve came to my house at Lambeth, and delivered to me letters from Osliger, vice-chancellor to the Duke of Cleve, the purport whereof is nothing else, but to commend to me the cause of the Lady Anne of Cleve, which, though he trusted I should do of myself, yet he saith the occasion is such that he will not put spurs to a horse which runneth of his own courage. When I had read the letter, and considered that no cause was expressed specially, but only in general, that I should have commended the cause of the Lady Anne of Cleve,-after some demur the ambassador came to the point, and plainly asked me to effect the reconciliation. Whereunto I answered, that I thought it not a little strange that Osliger should think it meet for me to move a reconciliation of that matrimony of the which I, as much as any other person, knew most just causes of divorce. (Cranmer then declared he could take no steps in the matter, unless the king should command him. “ But," continued he, “I shall signify the same to his highness, and thereupon you shall have an answer.") Now what shall be your majesty's pleasure that I shall do, whether to make a general answer to Osliger by writing, or that I shall make a certain answer in this point to the ambassador by mouth? I most humbly beseech your majesty that I may be advertised, and according thereto I shall order myself, by the grace of God, whom I beseech daily to have your majesty evermore in his protection and governance. From my manor of Lambeth, this Tuesday, the 13th of January.—Your grace's most bounden chaplain and bedesman, T. CANTUARIEN."
Cranmer, warned by the fate of Cromwell, ventured not to urge the king to put his head a second time into the yoke with his discarded consort, and the negotiation came to nothing. Perhaps Anne was herself unwilling to risk her life, by entering again into the perilous thraldom from which she had been once released. The tragic fate of her fair young rival must have taught her to rejoice that she had saved her own head by resigning a crown without a struggle.
“ The Chrovicles of England,” by George Raymond, is a history in a guise which has not been common in modern times, the author having adopted the metrical form, because it is “the first beloved of meinory in its dawn, and the latest which attends it in its journey
to decline.” The work is short, being intended to be a chronicle in miniature, presenting an index of the leading events touched upon, and laying little or no claim to poetic excellence. “ An attempt," says the author, “has been made, whenever fit occasions have offered, to raise the language somewhat above the common-place of laboured verse, ever keeping in mind fidelity in narrative. No incident which might well have been omitted has been retained merely for the opportunity it afforded to build the lofty rhyme;' nor, on the other hand, have events been slighted owing to the difficulty which may have arisen of throwing them into metre. As to poetic imagery, the writer is quite aware that any effort of that nature would not only be foreign to his purpose, but prejudicial to it; and, as this is at least a vice into which he feels there is little danger of his falling, any vindication on that head would be altogether unnecessary. It must likewise be noticed that many historic facts will occur of such peculiar kind, as not only to exclude any attempt at poetical indulgence, but which, in their prosaic nature, almost demand certain words, and these only, for their faithful expression.” Now, after admitting all this, it seems to us that Mr. Raymond would have been fully as profitably employed had he compiled a chronicle in plain and sensible prose; and our readers will feel the more convinced that he has mistaken his powers and the occasion for metrical display the moment they run over the few doggrel lines for which we find room. They have neither the quaintness, nor the pith of the “Song of the Lady Bessy," quoted by Miss Strickland, although there is something so like in the metrical fancy, that we have noticed the “Chronicle" as a sort of supplement to the " Lives.” This is Mr. Raymond's fashion :
Born of Matilda and Plantagenet,
By him the people wider rights acquired,
To shame the traitor, he incens'd the pope ;
Coerced herein t endure the prelate's yoke,
Now more inflated, by his power regain'd,
Art. IX.-The New Copyright Bill. The New Copyright Bill, with which progress has been made a few days prior to the date at which we now notice its promised provisions, is likely to become law; seeing that Viscount Mahon, who brought it into the House of Commons, has amongst his supporters, the Premier, Sir Robert Inglis, and Mr. Macaulay. Lord Mahon's proposition was for a copyright of twenty-eight years, to be continued for the life of a surviving author, and for twenty-five years after his death. But this proposition was soon abandoned, Mr. Macaulay having fixed upon a term of copyright for forty-two years, or for the life of a surviving author; and, at the suggestion of Sir Robert Peel, Lord Mahon added to that a provision that the copyright should continue for not less than seven years after the author's death. With regard to a variety of minor points which will connect themselves with the measure, it is unnecessary at present to enter into discussion ; because these may
considerably modified by the time that the law is passed. In the meanwhile, however, we may recur to some of those incontrovertible views that have been urged in behalf of authors having the right to demand of society the protection of the fruits of their labours, seeing that if labour, in producing what was not before known, will give title to property, then literary men have title, perfect and absolute.
It is universally admitted that nothing is more manifestly one's own than the products of his intellectual activity: and there is no species of the fruits of industry of which the producer has a better title to the benefits ;--and never, in the annals not only of legislation and jurisprudence, but also of robbery by sea or land, was a more dishonest and insolent sentence uttered, than that of Lord Camden in the House of Lords, in Great Britain, in the case of
Donaldson versus Becket and Others, (4 Burr. 2408—1774) that “ glory is the reward of science, and those who deserve it scorn all meaner praise.” For it was a reply to the author who was asking for legal protection of his right to what was, by the universal law of nature, his, being the fruit
of his labour; and to whom his Lordship, wielding his fraction of parliamentary omnipotence, says, “I take it away from you, and confiscate it to the public use, because you have received an adequate consideration for its value in the reputation of having produced it.” It is as if a martyr, appealing to the justice of a tyrant, should be told that the crown of martyrdom was an adequate compensation for his life. It is a sheer and flagrant wrong, accompanied by deliberate mockery, that would be disgraceful even to the red flag.
Among the objects for establishing social institutions, one is, the guaranty to each member of the community of his private individual rights. If any one by his industry fabricates a utensil, or produces corn, the law protects him in the use and disposition of the product of his labour. But not so of the author. He, it seems, is an exception to the rule; and joins society, not as a party to the general bond, but as an outlaw, who is among us, but not of us; an infidel, to whom we good Christians, according to the old Roman Catholic doctrine, are not bound by any oath or compact,-or a Jew, to raise contributions upon, and be despoiled. He is a man of too much glory to mind hunger; and so we take away his bread, he himself protesting all the while, that, maugre the glory, he, and his children too, must needs eat.
From the time when literary property became a subject of juridical cognizance in England, down to the statute of 8 Anne, 1710, securing limited copyright, and, indeed, seventy years after the passing of that act, until the decision of the case of Donaldson versus Becket and Others, in the House of Lords, the perpetual copyright of the author, or his assignees, was familiarly recognised at Stationers' Hall by the booksellers, and sanctioned by the courts of justice, both in equity and at law. This is called the Right at Common Law; by which is meant that, merely by the construction of an author's rights and his acts according to the legal principles upon which every man's rights and property are recognised and protected, independently of any express legislation, and then again (at the epoch of that case) by the custom and precedents distinctly traceable through a period of more than two centuries, and, therefore, by the essential and transcendent principle of the unwritten law, an author and his assigns had the exclusive right in perpetuity of multiplying copies of his works, as long as he chose to avail himself of such privilege. This did not amount to a universal prohibition of all publications, except by authors and their assigns; for, as the absolute proprietor of land may dedicate it to the use of the
public as a highway, by his acts merely, and without any written declaration, so an author might dedicate his published book to the public use, not only for reading, quotation, and abridgment, and as materials for making other books, which is always implied by the act of publication, but also for the purpose of making and selling copies. And the public were not to be left in doubt, whether the author did thus dedicate the fruit of his labours to public use, since he was presumed so to do, unless he entered the copyright at Stationers' Hall, and gave notice of this fact. This was a notice to the public, that, though he published his work, and sold copies of it, he did this with the reservation to himself, and his assigns, of the right of multiplying copies.
This seems to be very intelligible and very just ; since, undoubtedly, the author has the absolute control of his manuscript. The community never pretended to the right of compelling any one either to write a poem for the general benefit, or to publish one he had already written; and, as the author has the control of the publication of his manuscripts, it seems to be a natural inference, that he has a right to prescribe the conditions upon which he publishes and sells it; so that these conditions are a part of the contract upon which the purchaser of a copy accepts it. And these conditions, in the above case, are, that he may make use of the copy he has bought for any other purpose, excepting that of multiplying copies. What would be the effect of such a notice, in terms printed in every copy of a work published by the author, has not been the subject of judicial decision ; nor do we recollect, that the right of the author has been put upon this precise ground in any of the cases in which the question of perpetual copyright has been contested. The proper subject of legislation seems to be, in this case, not whether the author shall be entitled to what is his own by the plain application of all the principles by which the great mass of individual rights are regulated, but what notice he shall be required to give, that, by publishing his work, he does not abandon the exclusive privilege of multiplying copies.
But so deeply has the notion taken root, that an author has only a temporary right to an exclusive property in what is more emphatically his own creation than any material product of labour can be, that the framers of the American constitution do not seem to have dreamed of his having anything more than such temporary exclusive right; since they provided, for the encouragement of learning, only that Congress might grant the exclusive privilege of publication for a "limited time." Singular encouragement this! It is as if Congress had, for example, been empowered to encourage the fisheries by allowing the fisherman some part, not exceeding nine-tenths, of all the fish he should take; or agriculture, by allowing the farmer some portion, not exceeding nine-tenths, of the wheat that might