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about the acquisition of wealth or titles, and is|pecting their governors of designs prejudicial to therefore not easily induced to act in a manner their interest; they have not the least notion of contrary to his real sentiments, or to vote at the the pleasing tranquillity of ignorance, nor can word of command; by contracting his desires, be brought to imagine that they are kept in the and regulating his appetites, he wants much less dark, lest too much light should hurt their eyes. than other men, and every one versed in the arta They have long claimed a right of directing their of government can tell, that men are more easily superiors, and are exasperated at the least meninfluenced in proportion as they are more necestion of secrets of state. sitous.
This is not the only reason why virtue should not receive too much countenance from a licensedstage; her admirers and followers are not only naturally independent, but learn such a uniform and consistent manner of speaking and acting, that they frequently by the mere force of artless honesty surmount all the obstacles which sub-his papers. tlety and politics can throw in their way, and obtain their ends in spite of the most profound and sagacious ministry.
Such then are the passages to be expunged by the licensers in many parts indeed the speeches will be imperfect, and the action appear not regularly conducted, but the Poet Laureat may easily supply these vacuities, by inserting some of his own verses in praise of wealth, luxury, and venality.
But, alas! all those pernicious sentiments which shall be banished from the stage, will be vented from the press, and more studiously read because they are prohibited.
I cannot but earnestly implore the friends of the government to leave no art untried by which we may hope to succeed in our design of extending the power of the licenser to the press, and of making it criminal to publish any thing without an imprimatur.
How much would this single law lighten the mighty burden of state affairs! with how much security might our ministers enjoy their honours, their places, their reputations, and their admirers, could they once suppress those malicious invectives which are at present so industriously propagated, and so eagerly read; could they hinder any arguments but their own from coming to the ears of the people, and stop effectually the voice of cavil and inquiry!
This temper makes them very readily encourage any writer or printer, who, at the hazard of his life or fortune, will give them any information: and while this humour prevails, there never will be wanting some daring adventurer who will write in defence of liberty, and some zealous or avaricious printer who will disperse
I cannot but indulge myself a little while by dwelling on this pleasing scene, and imagining those halcyon-days, in which no politics shall be read but those of the Gazetteer, nor any poetry but that of the Laureat; when we shall hear of nothing but the successful negotiations of our ministers, and the great actions of
How much happier would this state be than those perpetual jealousies and contentions which are inseparable from knowledge and liberty, and which have for many years kept this nation in perpetual commotions.
But these are times rather to be wished for than expected, for such is the nature of our unquiet countrymen, that if they are not admitted to the knowledge of affairs, they are always sus
It has never yet been found that any power, however vigilant or despotic, has been able to prevent the publication of seditious journals, ballads, essays, and dissertations; "Considerations on the present state of affairs," and "Enquiries into the conduct of the administration."
Yet I must confess, that considering the success with which the present ministry has hitherto proceeded in their attempts to drive out of the world the old prejudices of patriotism and public spirit, I cannot but entertain some hopes, that what has been so often attempted by their predecessors, is reserved to be accomplished by their superior abilities.
If I might presume to advise them upon this great affair, I should dissuade them from any direct attempt upon the liberty of the press, which is the darling of the common people, and therefore cannot be attacked without immediate danger. They may proceed by more sure and silent way, and attain the desired end without noise, detraction, or oppression.
There are scattered over this kingdom several little seminaries, in which the lower ranks of people, and the youngest sons of our nobility and gentry are taught, from their earliest infancy, the pernicious arts of spelling and reading, which they afterwards continue to practise, very much to the disturbance of their own quiet, and the interruption of ministerial measures.
These seminaries may, by an act of parliament, be at once suppressed, and that our posterity be deprived of all means of reviving this corrupt method of education, it may be made felony to teach to read without a license from the Lord Chamberlain.
This expedient, which I hope will be carefully concealed from the vulgar, must infallibly answer the great end proposed by it, and set the power of the court not only above the insults of the poets, but in a short time above the necessity of providing against them. The licenser having his authority thus extended, will in time enjoy the title and the salary without the trouble of exercising his power, and the nation will rest at length in ignoran and peace.
GENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE, 1738.
THE usual design of Addresses of this sort is to implore the candour of the public! we have always had the more pleasing province of returning thanks, and making acknowledgments for the kind acceptance which our Monthly Collections have met with.
This, it seems, did not sufficiently appear from the numerous sale and repeated impressions of our books, which have at once exceeded out merit and our expectation; but have been still more plainly attested by the clamours, rage, and calumnies of our competitors, of whom we have seldom taken any notice, not only because it is cruelty to insult the depressed, and folly to engage with desperation, but because we consider all their outcries, menaces, and boasts, as nothing more than advertisements in our favour, being evidently drawn up with the bitterness of baffled malice and disappointed hope; and almost discovering in plain terms, that the unhappy authors have seventy thousand London Magazines mouldering in their warehouses, returned from all parts of the kingdom, unsold, unread, and disregarded.
Our obligations for the encouragement we have so long continued to receive, are so much the greater, as no artifices have been omitted to supplant us. Our adversaries cannot be denied the praise of industry; how far they can be celebrated for an honest industry we leave to the decision of the public, and even of their brethren the booksellers, not including those whose advertisements they obliterated to paste their invectives in our book.
The success of the Gentleman's Magazine has given rise to almost twenty imitations of it, which are either all dead, or very little regarded by the world. Before we had published sixteen months, we met with such a general approbation, that a knot of enterprising geniuses, and sagacious inventors, assembled from all parts of the town, agreed with a unanimity natural to understandings of the same size to seize upon our whole plan, without changing even the title. Some weak objections were indeed made by one of them against the design, as having an air of servility, dishonesty, and piracy; but it was concluded that all these imputations might be avoid.
ed by giving the picture of St. Paul's instead of St. John's gate: it was however thought indispensably necessary to add, printed in St. John's Street, though there was then no printing-house in that place.
That these plagiaries should, after having thus stolen their whole design from us, charge us with robbery, on any occasion, is a degree of impudence scarcely to be matched, and certainly entitles them to the first rank among false heroes. We have therefore inserted their names at length in our February Magazine, p. 61; being desirous that every man should enjoy the reputation he deserves.
Another attack has been made upon us by the author of Common Sense, an adversary equally malicious as the former, and equally despicable. What were his views, or what his provocations, we know not, nor have thought him considerable enough to inquire. To make him any further answer would be to descend too low: but as he is one of those happy writers, who are best exposed by quoting their own words, we have given his elegant remarks in our Magazine for December, where the reader may entertain himself at his leisure with an agreeable mixture of scurrility and false grammar.
For the future we shall rarely offend him by adopting any of his performances, being unwilling to prolong the life of such pieces as deserve no other fate than to be hissed, torn, and forgotten. However, that the curiosity of our readers may not be disappointed, we shall, whenever we find him a little excelling himself, perhaps print his dissertations upon our blue covers, that they may be looked over, and stripped off, without disgracing our collection, or swelling our volumes.
We are sorry that by inserting some of his essays, we have filled the head of this petty writer
The gay and learned C. Ackers, of Swan Alley, Printer; the polite and generous T. Cox, under the
Royal Exchange; the cloquent and courtly J. Clark,
of Duck Lane; and the modest, civil, and judicious T. Astley, of St. Paul's Church Yard, booksellers.All these names appeared in the title of the London Magazine, begun in 1732.
with idle chimeras of applause, laurels, and immortality, nor suspected the bad effect of our regard for him, till we saw in the Postscript to one of his papers a wild prediction of the honours to be paid him by future ages. Should any mention of him be made, or his writings, by posterity, it will probably be in words like these: "In the Gentleman's Magazine are still preserved some essays under the specious and inviting title of Common Sense. How papers of so little value came to be rescued from the common lot of dulness, we are at this distance of time unable to conceive, but imagine that personal friendship prevailed with Urban to admit them in opposition to his judgment. If this was
AN APPEAL TO THE PUBLIC.
FROM THE GENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE, MARCH, 1739.
Men' moveat cimex Pantilius? aut crucier, quod
the reason, he met afterwards with the treatment which all deserve who patronize stupidity; for the writer, instead of acknowledging his favours, complains of injustice, robbery, and mutilation; but complains in a style so barbarous and indecent, as sufficiently confutes his own calumnies." In this manner must this author expect to be mentioned.-But of him, and our other adversaries, we beg the reader's pardon for having said so much. We hope it will be remembered in our favour, that it is sometimes necessary to chastise insolence, and that there is a sort of men who cannot distinguish between forbearance and cowardice.
Laudat, amat, cantat nostros mea Roma libellos,
Ir is plain, from the conduct of writers of the first class, that they have esteemed it no derogation from their characters to defend themselves against the censures of ignorance, or the calumnies of envy.
It is not reasonable to suppose that they always judged their adversaries worthy of a formal confutation, but they concluded it not prudent to neglect the feeblest attacks; they knew that such men have often done hurt who had not abilities to do good; that the weakest hand, if not timely disarmed, may stab a hero in his sleep; that a worm, however small, may destroy a fleet
• Common Sense Journal, printed by Purser of White-Friars, March 11, 1731.
"I make no doubt but after some grave historian,
three or four hundred years hence, has described the
corruption, the baseness, and the flattery, which men run into in these times, he will make the following observation :-In the year 1737, a certain unknown author published a writing under the title of Common Sense: this writing came out weekly in little detached essays, some of which are political, some moral, and others humourous. By the best judgment that can be formed of a work, the style and language of which is become so obsolete that it is scarcely intelligible, it answers the title well," &c.
in the acorn; and that citadels, which have de fied armies, have been blown up by rats.
In imitation of these great examples, we think it not absolutely needless to vindicate ourselves from the virulent aspersions of the Craftsman and Common Sense, because their accusations, though entirely groundless, and without the least proof, are urged with an air of confidence, which the unwary may mistake for consciousness of truth.
In order to set the proceedings of these calumniators in a proper light, it is necessary to inform such of our readers as are unacquainted with the artifices of trade, that we originally incurred the displeasure of the greatest part of the booksellers by keeping this Magazine wholly in our own hands, without admitting any of that fraternity into a share of the property. For nothing is more criminal in the opinion of many of them, than for an author to enjoy more advantage from his own works than they are disposed to allow him. This is a principle so well established among them, that we can produce displeasure for their having dared to print books some who threatened printers with their highest for those that wrote them.
Hinc iræ, hinc odia.
This was the first ground of their animosity
which for some time proceeded no farther than private murmurs and petty discouragements. At length determining to be no longer debarred from a share in so beneficial a project, a knot of them combined to seize our whole plan; and without the least attempt to vary or improve it, began with the utmost vigour to print and circulate the London Magazine, with such success, that in a few years, while we were printing the fifth edition of some of our earliest numbers, they had seventy thousand of their books returned unsold upon their hands.
It was then time to exert their utmost efforts to stop our progress, and nothing was to be left unattempted that interest could suggest. It will be easily imagined that their influence among those of their own trade was greater than ours, and that their Collections were therefore more industriously propagated by their brethren; but this being the natural consequence of such a relation, and therefore excusable, is only mentioned to show the disadvantages against which we are obliged to struggle, and to convince the reader, that we who depend so entirely upon his approbation, shall omit nothing to deserve it.
great writer, that I can remember but two instances of a genius able to use a few syllables to such great and so various purposes. One is, the old man in Shadwell, who seems, by long time and experience, to have attained to equal perfection with our author; for "when a young fellow began to prate and be pert," says he, "I silenced him with my old word, Tace is Latin for candle."
They then had recourse to advertisements, in which they sometimes made faint attempts to be witty, and sometimes were content with being merely scurrilous; but finding that their attacks, while we had an opportunity of returning hostilities, generally procured them such treatment as very little contributed to their reputation, they came at last to a resolution of excluding us from the Newspapers in which they have any influence; by this means they can at present insult us with impunity, and without the least danger of confutation.
The other, who seems yet more to resemble this writer, was one Goodman, a horse-stealer, who being asked, after having been found guilty by the jury, what he had to offer to prevent sentence of death from being passed upon him, did not attempt to extenuate his crime, but entreated the judge to beware of hanging a Good Man.
This writer we thought, however injudiciously, worthy, not indeed of a reply, but of some correction, and in our Magazine for December, 1738, and the preface to the Supplement, treated him in such a manner as he does not seem inclined to forget.
From that time, losing all patience, he has exhausted his stores of scurrility upon us; but our readers will find upon consulting the passages above mentioned, that he has received too much provocation to be admitted as an impartial critic.
In our Magazine of January, p. 24, we made a remark upon the Craftsman; and in p. 3, dropped some general observations upon the weekly writers, by which we did not expect to make them more our friends. Nor, indeed, did we imagine that this would have inflamed Caleb to so high a degree. His resentment has arisen so much above the provocation, that we cannot but impute it more to what he fears than what he has felt. He has seen the solecisms of his brother Common Sense exposed, and remembers that
Their last, and indeed their most artful expedient, has been to hire and incite the weekly journalists against us. The first weak attempt was made by the Universal Spectator, but this we took not the least notice of, as we did not imagine it would ever come to the knowledge of the public.
Whether there was then a confederacy between this journal and Common Sense, as at present between Common Sense and the Craftsman, or whether understandings of the same form receive at certain times the same impressions from the planets, I know not, but about that time war was likewise declared against us by the redoubted author of Common Sense: an adversary not so much to be dreaded for his abilities as for the title of his paper, behind which he has the art of sheltering himself in perfect security. He defeats all his enemies by calling them "enemies to Common Sense," and silences the strongest objections and the clearest reasonings by assuring his readers that "they are contrary to Common Sense."
But as we have a higher opinion of the candour of our readers, than to believe that they will condemn us without examination, or give up their right of judging for themselves, we are not unconcerned at this charge, though the
I must confess, to the immortal honour of this most atrocious and malignant that can be
-Tua res agitur, paries cum proximus ardet. He imagines that he shall soon fall under the same censure, and is willing that our criticisms shall appear rather the effects of our resentment than our judgment.
For this reason, I suppose, (for I can find no other,) he has joined with Common Sense to charge us with partiality, and to recommend the London Magazine as drawn up with less regard to interest or party. A favour which the authors of that collection have endeavoured to deserve from them by the most servile adulation.
* Dr. Trapp, it will be recollected, was a popular preacher; and about the year 1739, when Methodism might be said to be in its infancy, preached Four Sermons "On the Nature, Folly, Sin and Danger, of being righteous over much;" which were pub. lished by Austen and Gilliver, and had an extensive sale. Mr. Cave, ever ready to oblige his readers with temporary subjects, took an extract from them, and promised a continuation, which never appeared;
so that it was either stopped by a prosecution, or
made up by other means. On all difficult occasions Johnson was Cave's oracle. And the paper now before us was certainly written on that occasion. Gent. Mag. July, 1797.
many ways to the disadvantage both of the author and the proprietor, which yet they have not any right to complain of, because the author when he wrote, and the proprietor when he purchased, the copy, knew, or ought to have known, that 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.
2. That the complainants may be lawfully invested with the property of this copy, is likewise granted.
3. But the complainants have mistaken the nature of this property; and, in consequence of their mistake, have supposed it to be invaded by an act, in itself legal, and justifiable by an uninterrupted series of precedents, from the first establishment of printing among us, down to the present time.
4. He that purchases the copy of a book, purchases the sole right of printing it, and of vending the books printed according to it; but has no right to add to it, or take from it, without the author's consent, who still preserves such a right in it, as follows from the right every man has to preserve his own reputation.
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 reputation 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 idiot or plagiary, I have no remedy, since, by selling him the book, I admit his pri
5. Every single book, so sold by the proprietor, becomes the property of the buyer, who pur-vilege of judging, and declaring his judgment, chases with the book the right of making use of and can appeal only to other readers, if I think it as he shall think most convenient, either for myself injured. his own improvement or amusement, or the benefit or entertainment of mankind.
8. In different characters we are more or less protected; to hiss a pleader at the bar, would
6. This right the reader of a book may use perhaps be deemed illegal and punishable, but to hiss a dramatic 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.