« AnteriorContinuar »
riors, though by mischance he has busied himself in which we have read with pain, because we fear they picking up only the soiled and rejected feathers; and afford but too true an exposition of the state of mind o when the eagles and peacocks of science come to see this many in the present day. Of this nature is the followridiculous figure strutting before them, their wrath and ing,-p. 182.
** Existing philosophy, halting between the notions of ridicule are raised, and they rush with one accord upon
the enlightened and the unenlightened man, leaves us only the poor creature, and nibble and scratch at him till they puzzled. We know not how to regard the phenomena of leave not a feather in his skin. We will calmly and the world, and our own relation to them. Many sink into
a kind of fatalism which paralyzes the faculties; others considerately put it to those philosophic critics, whether
ascend into fantastic dreams which exercise a not less some or all of them have not entertained as truths, one baleful influence. Some of the disastrous consequences or more of all the now repudiated opinions, to be found
are sufficiently conspicuous; but many more blaze and
expend themselves in privacy, known only in the circles in the Vestiges. Was not the nebular theory received where they have been so fatally felt. The entire conduct and currently believed for the last dozen of years ? Was
of a large portion of society, and more or less that of
nearly all the rest, is regulated, or rather cast loose from not the theory of the progressive development of the regulation, by the want of definite ideas regarding that embryo at first misunderstood in a somewhat similar fixed plan of the divine working, on the study and obway as has been taken up by the author before us? Was
servance of which it is evident that our secular happiness
nearly altogether depends. Even acute men of the world not spontaneous, or at all events, equivocal generation, a are daily seen acting to their own manifest injury, in concommon belief, till within these few years ? Did not geo- pressing around them. With the great bulk of society;
sequence of their utter ignorance of any system of law logists maintain and set forth in their books, till within
sife is merely a following of a few inferior instincts, with the last two or three years, that there were almost cer- a perfect blindness to consequences. By individuals and tain data to show that a progressive and ascending series by communities alike, physical and moral evils are pa
tiently endured, which a true knowledge of the system of of vegetable and animal organisms, were indicated Providence would cause to be instantly redressed Daily in fossiliferous strata? Is not this opinion in fact
health and comfort, life itself, are sacrificed through the
want of this knowledge. It is not in the heyday of still very prevalent, however erroneous it may be cheerful, active, and prosperous existence, or when we in reality? The author asks very pertinently, whe- look only to the things which constitute the greatness ther his development theory does not as simply, and
of nations, that we become sensible of this truth. . We
must seek for convictions on the subject, beside the as consistently with apparent facts and received tra- death-beds of amiable children, destroyed through ignoditions, account for the successions of peculiar or
rance of the rules of health, and hung over by parents who ganisms in the successive strata of the past eras, as
feel that life is nothing to them when these dear beings
are no more; in the despairing comfortlessness of the selfthe theory which his opponents still cling to of succes- ish, who have acted through long years on the supposisive direct acts of creative power. In short, we think
tion that the social affections could be starved hurtlessly;
in the pestilences ravaging the haunts of poverty, and rethe author is quite entitled to stand up and say “ Let venging, in a spreading contagion, the neglect by the rich him who has been guilty of no delusive false scientific of the haplessness of their penury and disease-stricken
neighbours; in the canker of discontent and crime, which opinions, throw the first stone.” Not that we are for a
eats into the vitals of a nation in consequence of an unli. moment to dream that any human being can pursue mited indulgence of acquisitiveness by those possessing the science of any kind without repeatedly changing his opi- most ready natural resources, and standing in the most
fortunate positions; in the national degradation and minions, or falling into error ; but we do think that this
sery which follow wars entered upon in the wantonness of Vestige affair ought to prove a salutary lesson to our pride, greed, and vanity. Doubtless, were the idea vitally philosophers not to be so confident in dogmatising, or so
present in the minds of all men, that from laws of un
swerving regularity every act, thought, aud emotion of ready to assume as a portion of general truth, the suc- theirs helps to determine their own future, both by its dicessive vagaries of the hour. How little did the pro.
rect effects on their fate, and its reflection from the future found and far-sweeping-minded Newton require to blot
of their fellow-creatures, and this without any possibility
of reprieve or extenuation, we should see society presenting out of his theories, and how pregnant of instruction to a different aspect from what it does, the sum of human mi. posterity are even his fewerrors-s-- just because he was wary
sery vastly diminished, and that of the general happiness
as much increased." and cautious, and morally prudent in proportion to the mighty and sacred nature of the truths which he had to
The italics are ours, but we have our doubts whether investigate.
a true knowledge of the system of Providence is to be foun There are one or two passages in this “ Explanation” | either in the pages of the Vestiges, or in its Explanation.
MIND AND MATTER.
A TRACT FOR THE TIMES.
It was a still autumn evening. The full moon had B. What! at your old oecupation again. I thought risen majestically in the east, and a soft soothing wind that the splendid lunar eclipse of last evening had carplayed among the quivering leaves of the poplars. Re- ried your speculations from the minutiæ of earth to the clining beside the open casement, the solemn beauty of vast orbs of the universe. the scene carried the mind into the airy regions of A. I have not, nor shall I ever, forget the interesting speculation, till the entrance of a well-known friend spectacle of last evening,-such a perfectly cloudless and roused us from a long reverie. He glanced at the mis- transparent sky,—a full-orbed moon suddenly overtaken cellaneous contents of the table before us,-fragments in her lonely course,-the gradual progress of the dark of plants, vases of water, with minute animals,-silvery round shadow, until her disc was completely enveloped fishes, with their glittering scales shining in the moon- in a circle of a sombre coppery hue, and then, again, beams, as they sported in their element, all indicated the as gradual retreat of the penumbra-were such he materials of thought which had occupied the even. wonderful scenes, moved and shifted by an invisible ing hours.
hand, as could not fail to leave deep impressions. She seems, however, to-night, as if she had altogether for- A. The cause of life. gotten her " disastrous eclipse," and shines out fair and B. I thought your aspirations would have assumed a cheerful as heretofore,
higher or more general shape,—the essence of Deity,B. Nay, nay, you are proceeding too fast with me the ultimate object of all creation,—tho comprehension now,-not content with spiritualizing animals and plants, of eternity and infinitude,-the origin of evil,—the cause you animate the moon also,
of gravity, and planetary rotations? A. And why not let her partake of the Anima Mundi. A. No; I should postpone all these to a knowledge of I do not wonder that eclipses should impress savage and that “ pleasing anxious being," of which we are all conignorant beings with awe, for often as I have looked scious that connection between matter and that active with admiration on the starry heavens, I never was so Power--so hidden and mysterious, yet whose manifestmuch struck with the power, and I might say, presence
ations are so evident. of their mighty Artificer, as during the progress of last B. Then you would be satisfied with the cause of the evening's phenomenon.
vitality of the little weed floating in the water, or of B. Yet, after all, the phenomenon was nothing, - that polype attached to its stem, and which I see stretchthat is nothing more than what we know must now and iug out its little arms in all directions, groping for its then occur with bodies revolving round the sun, as the sustenance? earth and moon do.
A. I would, as being the key to the higher manifestA. True, but is this revolution round the sun, of two ations of life in myself and others. such huge masses, with such regularity and precision, B. Could I unsphere the spirit of Plato, or Pythanothing? We call it gravity, and law of attraction, and goras, or Aristotle, or Haller, or Hunter, they might be so forth, yet these are but mere words, to clothe our able to solve your difficulties. Had I a Mephistopheignorance of the true cause.
lesB. Now, you are becoming something of a doubter, A. No, no; did any spirit of evil pledge himself to be such as you say I am.
my instructor, I would not bend to invoke him. BeA. Had you come to me an hour ago, I should have sides, we have had enough of such philosophy, and such been inclined to palliate your doubts.
I laid down my modes of philosophizing already. lens with the sinking consciousness that nothing was to B. Some, however, will maintain that your easy faith be known. We open our eyes, and look upon a world does not leave you that free and determined doubter of mysteries. I longed for the golden key to unlock the which a thorough investigator of a knotty point ought to precious door, and then see all plain. Yet how foolish
be. was this longing. Our blindness is the very stimulus to A. I might reply in the words of Boerhaave,"men our labours and exertions. We grope on, from one are not capable of understanding beings and their nathing to another, guess one day and feel our way a little tures like their Creator, nor were they present at the the next. Having stumbled on some opening, we run first formation of things, and yet are they proud enough up the narrow vista for miles, but finding that it has no to judge, censure, and determine in these matters.” right outlet, we painfully and reluctantly retrace our My mind is no farther preoccupied than it should be by steps again,
valid evidence, and an unbiassed consideration of facts, B. And thus foiled, we sullenly jog on the monoton- B. You will pardon me, but I think you and Boorous highway of doubt.
haave, and all such, are too fond of running away from A. No; there is a delight almost surpassing all others what is clearly and palpably before our eyes : you take in the unravelling of Truth,-an excitement in passing shelter under some great hidden causes, and will not from one stage of investigation to another,-a solitary condescend to look into matter or its properties, which exultation and complacency in at last arriving at some appear to me the only legitimate sources of our knowconclusion, however small or unimportant it may seem. ledge. You seem in fact to become more and more a How the mind glows in tracing the final cause of some Manichean, and join the feeble cry in vilifying matter, beautiful design,-pausing amidst the solitary investiga- Yet the whole aspect of nature disclaims this. For tions, to ponder on the admirable arrangements of crea- what affords us our purest pleasures but the beauty of ting Omnipotence! And this too quite independent of external nature--the shapes and tints of crystals, gems, the silly vanity of being able to communicate sạch dis- and metals; the picturesque arrangements of scenery; coveries for the sake of a name,-but charmed and in the exquisite forms of flowers, their soft textures, lovely love with Truth for its own sake. I do maintain, that shapes and hues, and the aromatic odours which they there is even a pleasure in groping and guessing in the exhale, dark. No doubt, the causes of all things might have A. I by no means thus pretend to vilify matter; I been made plain to us at once, and the great field of only hold it subordinate to mind; there is nothing vile knowledge opened at a single view. Perhaps, even to and gross in it, unless we morally make it so. But then know one of the great mysteries of hidden causes would we only see matter as anifesting mind. All the ob be to know all. But would not this have destroyed jects of nature are beautiful and harmonious to us, just the very purpose of science, which evidently seems to because they are the result of contrivance, and design, be, to lead us on by excitement and exertion to the dis- and admirable adaptation. In this way they embody to cipline of pure and sober thought.
our senses the attributes of a Deity. Indeed we have B. Suppose you had the option of having made known never seen or known matter but under such circumto you a single cause, what would your choice be! stances, Could we see it in its simple condition, unim
pelled by power, and without form and void, perhaps it pulse was exercised to start them at first and so conwould really be the gross and uninteresting substance tinue to keep them in perpetual motion. which it is frequently called.
B. I grant you all this. B. On looking at this little delicate rose spreading A. Then what part does the matter play in all this, out its soft petals so beautifully, and diffusing such an either as single atoms or as millions of atoms congreexquisite odour, I really cannot but be impressed with gated together. Is it not still the same passive and the most favourable views of the purity of the materials inert mass, and does it not clearly show active and inof which it is composed. What a splendid property of telligent power superadded to matter. matter is that of colour; what a refined, ethereal, and B. Well, but what has this to do with chemical action? if you will, spiritual property is that of odour in bo- A. We shall come to that now. You gave me a very dies?
accurate description of the various solid, fluid, and aeri. A. But take this rose which you so justly admire, re
form conditions of matter. These I agree with you duce it to its elements, and it is nothing more than oxy- are truly wonderful, but I cannot agree with your lame gen, hydrogen, and carbon---three substances which in- conclusion, that you think matter capable of doing every dividually have no smell, or by themselves have no thing, for I maintain that in all these cases matter does power of producing such, and colour is no more inher- nothing. ent in matter than the pain of a blow is inherent in the B. What! do you not believe in expansion, attraction, stick which comes across your back. Or take the same repulsion, and all the wonderful chemical affinities. elements of your rose in a somewhat different arrange- A. I do, but you must be perfectly aware that the ment, and you have the nauseous and poisonous hem- power or property of expansion is not inherent in matlock. You are a chemist, and you ought to be well ac- ter, but in caloric or heat, a power altogether extranequainted with these varied conditions of matter.
It is undoubtedly the same with regard to attracB. I have, in the course of my experiments, often tion and repulsion, and indeed all the movements of been astonished at the Proteus forms of matter. When matter, for you have already allowed that atoms per se I take a mass of any solid opaque substance, and find are inert in the most complete sense of the term. You that, by the application of heat, it in a few minutes be- have this matter evidently controlled by the extraneous comes a fluid like water, and with still more intense powers of electricity, magnetism, &c. In short, as you heat, is rarefied into a vast extension of vapour as invi- have allowed that masses of matter are moved on a sible and light as the common air, I almost think matter large scale by powers instigated by designing will, so are . capable of doing every thing which we see in nature. I the minute portions of matter or atoms impelled and dirsee it become wood in tree, flesh and blood in animals, ected by similar powers. The two great active and antaand a thinking being in man.
gonizing powers in nature appear to be expansion, with A. Come, come, Master Chemist, you are running away which we associate the terms heat, elasticity, &c. and conwith your facts and your matter too. I suppose you traction, with which we associate gravity, attraction, believe in the atomic theory for want of a better-that &c. all bodies are resolvable into extremely minute consti- B. I own you begin to stagger my opinions somewhat tuent elements, called atoms.
of the omnipotency of matter. But I should like to B. I do.
bring you to organic action, where I think I am more at A. And you also believe that one or more of those home. I have been lately amusing myself with a comatoms are fit representations of all matter, that they parison between combustion and life. For both two have figure, extension, &c., but that they are of them. kinds of matter, in opposite states of electricity, are reselves perfectly inert, that they move not but when im- quisite,—the carbonaceous juices of the animal and pelled, and that they stop and remain at rest when any plant,--and the carbonaceous matter of the fuel,—the opposing power keeps them so.
oxygen of the atmosphere being requisite and common B. All this I allow-what we call the vis inertia of to both. The existence of both depends upon an incesmatter.
sant and continuous interchange of these two substances, A. Then when you see this ivory ball rolling past For both, is a constant supply of fresh material neces you, and slowly but surely and accurately taking its sary,-in both, these materials undergo a reciprocal way along the table till it meets with that other ball at chemical change. In both, this action is commenced rest, and jostling it a little comes to rest itself also—do under the exciting circumstances of heat, and it is conyou think that it is any power in the ball or its conge
tinued in both, till an equilibrium of electric states is ries of atoms that has made it do all this, or do you not finally accomplished. In both, the action is kept up as allow that I willed that it should thus roll, and that the long as the pabulum of vitality is supplied, and when muscular power of my arm gave it the impulse, and this is exhausted, all action coasos. An atmosphere that my design was that it should meet the other ball without oxygen, or an electro-positivo air, extinguishes and then be stopped in its progress.
life and a candle equally soon. Then Aame, the proB. I see all this plainly.
duct of combustion, is a phenomenon totally different A. Then if we turn to the moon or one of those plan- from either, or any of the constituents of combustion, ets shining so brilliantly, and mark those larger balls and so the manifestations of life, especially thought, moving through space in circles accurately designed bear no resemblance to the organic structure or the and with forces commensurate with their masses, do we elements by which it is stimulated. I see you smile and not in the same way conclude that some mind willed look upon all these as something like the conceits of tho and designed those courses, and that some suitable im- older philosophers.
A. Truly, according to your ingenious illustrations, is not the water of the boiler, or the steam, but the fire, life seems little or nothing more than the blaze of whose expansive power sets the whole in motion. It is a farthing candle. We are mere register stoves, with just as erroneous then for you to suppose that the musthis addition only, that we have self-acting tongs and cles, or the nerves, or the brain of the animal machine, shovels, by which we can supply ourselves with your so produce, of themselves, any force, or power, or thought, called pabulum of life. I can make one use of your or ideas.
ory, however, and that is to extract out of it, an B. What, then, is your prime mover in animals,—do illustration which I can turn against your own train of you call in your great general powers of nature,—your argument. You say that flame is something totally two grand balances of expansion and contraction, of heat different from any thing which we can conceive of oxy- and gravity ? gen or carbon taken by themselves and separately, a A. These, in so far as they seem common to all mapeculiar phenomenon elicited in consequence of the com- terial things, that is, chemical and mechanical forces, bination of both. Now apply this analogy to life. It bears play their part in the animal machine,—but over and no resemblance to the organised tissues, nor to any of above this, there is indicated a Power which presides the external stimuli which act on this organism, but it over and controls the whole. is something arising out of the combined action of both B. Then you return to the old dogma of vital prin-a power now become manifest, which was before invi- ciple. sible, and to our senses unappreciable. But before I A. You may call it any thing you please-mind, spi. go farther, let me hear what are really your opinions re- rit, vital power, or principle-a name is of no great congarding organic life.
sequence, so as one understands what is meant under B. I am very much inclined to think, viewing life as that name. we find it exhibited continually before our eyes--seeing B. But is this spirit or principle general or special ? living beings taking their origin from a small point- A. We have every ground to conclude its specialty. growing and expanding by the aggregation of matter, Will, design, action, control, all emanate from the indiand then, having arrived at maturity, again as gradually vidual, and all these are exercised by the individual decaying and wasting away from the loss of this matter, within a circle having certain limits. In this respect, that the whole is a process of atomic action, guided the individual man bears a certain resemblance to his partly by the inherent chemical action of matter, and great Creator_“ we are made in the image of God.” partly by other laws called vital. I still must return to As the will, and design, and power of the Deity extends my former assertion, that if the fibres, and nerves, and throughout the universe, so these attributes in man flesh of animals, be entirely composed of matter, why form a little circle within their appointed sphere. Inmay we not suppose that matter feels, and thinks, and deed the great characteristic of organic being, taken in
its wide range, is individuality of action—the great chaA. I thought you fairly acknowledged, a little ago, racteristic of inorganic nature again being generality of that matter was inert, and totally incapable, by itself, action. But I tire you with my opinions. of even the simplest motions, or actions of any kind, B. No-you puzzle mema thought has just come that it stood still or rolled onwards just as it was im- across my mind, according to your views, what is the use pelled or hindered by an active and willing power, - of maller at all? that even all chemical actions were the result of powers A. Now I have some hopes of you. It was an obnot inherent in or possessed by matter, but extrinsic of servation of the acute D'Alembert, that the philosopher and accidental to matter.
who did not at times feel a doubt of the existence of B. I did, as regards atoms abstractedly, or as regards matter come across his mind, might be assured that he the general actions of inorganic bodies. But I still had not any talent for metaphysical inquiries. think that matter peculiarly arranged, as we find it in Notions of this kind are by no means new to philosoorganized structures, may and does produce all the phy--nay they are not even uncongenial to the studies phenomena of life.
of the profound chemist, who, one would think, was the A. What sort of logic is this? If an atom, by itself, keenest of searchers into the mysteries of matter. I can neither move nor act in any way whatever, unless think I perceive Faraday giving the slip to atoms, and impelled by some other power, how shall two atoms so forth, and carrying on a flirtation with the forces of inove each other; or how shall two thousand, however Boscovitch, Berkley, and Hutton. But I have no incuriously arranged in a mass of muscle or brain, move tention of discarding matter, although I confess I have or perform any action, without a power to impel them; just as little real conception of what matter is as I have and if they cannot so much as move, far less could you of mind or spirit. But I will tell you what I suppose is expect them to feel and think.
But I shall draw your
the use of matter. The material world appears to be attention to an illustration in a well-known machine-a the mode which it has pleased the Deity to adopt, in orsteam-engine, for instance. Here is really a machine der to make himself manifest to man in this his first formed of various tubes, and pistons, and wheels, all so stage of being. In the glorious universe, in the beauticontrived as to concentrate a steady and systematic ful earth and air, are displayed some portion of the mind force upon some particular point, as the driving of a of God, and the manifestations of his attributes. The spinning-Inill, or the pumping of a mine. Now, an en- material structure, the organs of sense, and the whole tirely uninformed person, looking at this machine, might frame of man, are so projected as to meet all those high very readily suppose, that the beautiful array of me- manifestations of his Maker, and form the medium by chanism which he sees in action before him actually which all impressions are received and imprinted on the generated the prodigious force which he witnesses its mind. The world, so to speak, is the great model school ascending and descending beam exert; and thus he would for the infant man-the preparatory gymnasium of give credit to every wheel and pinion he saw for the training and probation for his knowing and moral fashare of the general labour which they contributed. culties, where the intellect, the imagination, and the will Now, you know very well, that no part of this engine have their definite spheres of action, generates power, but that, on the contrary, all its parts, B. There are many other questions and objections by friction, tend to weaken and retard the impetus,- connected with these views, which crowd upon my mind; you know very well that the whole contrivance of the but 'tis almost midnight, and that silvery moon has machine is just to concentrate and convey the expansive described a considerable are in the blue sky during our force of the steam from the boiler, where it is produced, prolonged talk. On another occasion I may be better to the crank the point where all the force is required to able to meet views which, I confess, have greatly weakbear upon,--and that, moreover, the prime mover here ened my confidence in mere matter.
CASE OF COPYRIGHT D'AUBIGNE'S HISTORY OF THE REFORMATION.
An interesting question connected with literary copy- brief priority secures copyright in Britain to the former. right has been raised, by the manner in which it is pro- But if D’Aubigne’s French edition be delayed long, as it posed to publish the fourth volume of D’Aubigne's History has been hinted will be the case, then the Paris, or if not of the Reformation. This popular work was first pube they, assuredly the Brussels booksellers will not brook lished in Paris by the author, who is a native of Geneva; postponement, and they will at once re-translate from the and on the appearance of the second volume, an English English edition,-a catastrophe whic cannot fail to be translation was produced and published by Mr Walther of fatal to the integrity of the continental edition. D'AuLondon, to whom the honour of first bringing it before bigne's magic pages have suffered enough by translation the British reader is meritoriously due. Afterwards Mr already; and if twice subjected to that process, sad havoc Kelly produced a second translation, which appeared in will follow. This, however, is a point solely for D'Au. Whittaker's Popular Library; Mr Dundas Scott followed bigne to consider, and we leave it, to take up what is more with a third, published by Biackie and Co., Glasgow ; Mr within our province. Beveridge, with a fourth, published by Mr Collins; and Three legal questions are involved in the claim for copyMr M-Phun brought up the rear with a fifth, the transla- right in the fourth volume, and the stand that has been tor of which has not been announced. All these copies made against it. have commanded more or less extensive sales; and the First, Can an English bookseller publish an English competition amongst them has been so great, that Messrs edition of a foreign author's work, that foreign author Blackie have put forth two editions of their version, and having previously sold an English translation of it to anoMr Collins no less than three of his.
ther English bookseller. In the midst of the rivalry, Dr D’Aubigne came to this Second, If that cannot be done, can an English bookcountry with the view, it was understood, of collecting seller re-translate from a foreign translation-the latter materials for subsequent volumes of his history; and his not having been issued by the original author? friends availed themselves of the opportunity to suggest Third, Can a foreign author be protected in any copyto him that the copyright of his forthcoming volume should right which he may sell to an English bookseller? be sold to a British bookseller, in order that a larger sum D'Aubigne's delay will probably prevent the first point might be realized for it than had been obtained for its from being discussed; and the second refers to an expedi. predecessors. A committee was accordingly formed, to ent so clumsy, that we trust it will not need to be inquired whom the necessary negotiations were entrusted. Various into. The third is one which can be treated on general parties in the trade were invited to make offers, but by grounds, and on it we shall take the liberty of saying a few some unaccountable mismanagement, the four co-publish- words. British law says distinctly and unequivocally, that ers we have named, were not afforded, as we have been in. if any foreign country will sanction British copyrights, formed, a proper opportunity of competing, and conse- Britain will protect its copyrights; but the law does not quently no offer was received from them. The fifth had say that we will legalize the literary property of an indi. announced his intention of completing his edition with. vidual belonging to a country which has not adopted the out incurring the ceremony of waiting on D’Aubigne, reciprocity system; and the inference, we should think, and was not, we presume, asked or expected to take part in would be, that if tried, it would not confer such a right of the contest. But the mischance of not including his four legality. Nations can deal with nations only; and, howbrethren in the scheme was unfortunate. They had an ever hard it may be for foreigners in individual cases, no existing, tangible, interest in the work, before entering country can suspend its laws to give the immunity, the arena, and from their respectability and enterprise, Scott, Byron, Dickens, &c. have had their works sold all were not likely to be behind on the score of liberality; orer Europe and America without receiving any remunewhereas, any new speculator had merely a reversion of ration, and their case, in common with all our eminent li. profits to look to. Then, as they were the parties who terati, is not one whit less oppressive than that of D’Auhad made the work popular amongst their countrymen, bigne. Let the republic of Geneva only enact that they they had a prior claim to favour; as all the prestige of will stop the importations of Brussels pirates, and protect continental reputation would have been insufficient to ex- British literature, and then, in terms of the copyright cite bibliopolic rivalry apart from the glare of four transla- act, the Queen in council may issue an order for making tions. And, lastly, as three are said to be unable to keep D'Aubigne's History of the Reformation as effectual copya secret, so four cannot keep a book high in price; and right as Tytler's History of Scotland those four parties having honourably agreed to make a
mise would be honourable to both countries, and might' collective, and not an individual bargain with D'Aubigne, prove the harbinger of a general system of literary ample security was afforded, that if any of them got the protection over the whole republic of letters, irrespeccopyright, there would have been no monopoly of the tive of the arbitrary distinctions which now dissociate fourth volume; whereas, if a fifth party got it, there was intellectual brotherhood. And with all deference for Dr a presumption, which has since turned out true, that the D'Aubigne and his friends, we submit this course as the hands of that fifth would be against the four, and those of most dignified, as well as safest method of saving his Histhe four against the fifth, thus causing confusion and mis- tory: chief to arise.
We do not throw out the suggestion merely from our Messrs Oliver and Boyd appear to have made the high. own impressions of the law. We have in view a case est offer; and they speedily notified that “they alone pos- which has actually been tried under the new act, and sessed the right of publishing the fourth volume.” Messrs which, if fairly considered, should at least have the effect Whittaker, Collins, and Blackie denied this, except in so of inducing caution before any claim to copyright be serifar as priority of time was concerned, and asserted that ously advanced. We refer to the case.of Chappell v. Purthey would all pnblish immediately on the appearance of
day, where the question was raised, whether the pursuer the French edition. Mr Walther, “biding his time," has could have copyright in the overture to “Fra Diavolo," as yet given no sign.
composed by Auber, and first published in Paris. The Supposing Oliver and Boyd right, it follows:
judges in the Court of Exchequer held, that no foreigner 1. That D’Aubigne gets a large sum.
or his assignee could possess such a right either at com. 2. That the public get one edition of the fourth volume mon law, or by virtue of the English statutes. Regarding of the History of the Reformation.
the question of a foreign work first published in this coun3. That Walther, Whittaker, Collins, and Blackie, have try, the decision states in one place, that "it may have the unsaleable stock thrown on their hands.
benefit of the statutes;”. but afterwards, this is qualified 4. That the purchasers of three of the editions do not by the following suspicious sentence, founded upon the get their sets completed in a uniform style.
supposed spirit in which the legislature framed the act : Supposing Oliver and Boyd wrong, it follows:
Upon the whole, then, we think it doubtful whether a 1. That D’Aubigne gets nothing.
foreigner, not resident here, can have an English copy2. That the public get eight editions of the fourth right at all.” volume.
This case is certainly not analogous to D'Aubigne's, 3. That the stock of the four co-publishers possesses the but, the doubts incidentally referring to it are so counsame value that it did before.
terbalanced, as to make his claim perhaps more than du. 4. That the public can complete their sets without in. bious. Still, in the absence of an express decision, it convenience.
would be hazardous to pronounce any decided opinion, and, These alternative results are based on the assumption, therefore, the precise legal bearings must remain in their that Oliver and Boyd's edition appears shortly before the present equivo al position until the appearance of the publication of D'Aubigne’s French edition, and that that fourth volume in this country.
Such a compro.