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If any member, therefore, would like to try this totally unacquainted with this Society, or wholly method, he should send, first of all, his name, his ignorant of the subject, or maliciously inspired list of previous work, and a complete scenario of
by our enemies. For instance, it has been the
constant habit of these gentlemen to represent the the work, showing its length, number of chapters, Society as inspired by a blind hatred of all pubthe story, the place and time, and anything that may lishers, thus attempting to identify themselves and recommend it. This scenario should be type-written their own frauds with the honourable houses. Or which would not cost more than two or three
they find occasion to gird at the Society as talking shillings. He can then learn whether he may
against "the wicked publisher," implying that we
are not defending ourselves against dishonest hope for any success in this way. But, again, let people, but attacking the whole trade. him not blame the Editor should failure follow. It has, however, been reserved for the ConHe would like to oblige all the members of the temporary Review, of all magazines in the world, to Society if he could.
produce an article on the Society, and its work
which is indeed amazing. This syndicating is intended, of course, as a first
One would not take notice of this production but step in the action of authors for themselves and by for the fact that it suggests certain questions which themselves. When we consider all the difficulties should not only be administered to the author, but in the way: first, the profound distrust of anything to all those persons who are contemplating such to do with publishing that is spread over a des
articles on this subject. If before sitting down to
write, they will kindly read and consider these pondent world; next, the suspicion and jealousy questions, they may possibly save themselves the with which authors too often regard each other; subsequent affliction of discovering that they have thirdly, their colossal ignorance of all matters con- been writing on a subject of which they know nected with their own business; and, fourthly, the nothing. danger of awakening extravagant hopes of a millen
It is not necessary that we should reply in detail
to the article ; and, indeed, very much of it is nium to come the day after to-morrow—we might be exactly what we have always ourselves advocated. excused if we desisted from the attempt. But when As for the rest—but the questions will themselves we consider how much the Society has done already, indicate the nature of the reply which might be and is now doing, when we remember that we made. are the pioneers, and when we remember that
They are these :
“Have you ever studied the different methods in such a cause progress must be slow, we are of publishing? If so, when and where? Under resolved to persevere. All the steps that we have whose guidance, and with what advantages ? taken, all that we are going to take, are based upon “What steps have you taken to ascertain the one proposition: that literature belongs to the
cost of producing books, the money spent on
advertising, the trade price of selling, the demand Poet—the Maker-not to the Trader-not to him
for different kinds of books, the risk in producing who only sells.
books, what and of what kind ? In fact, what EDITOR.
special knowledge do you possess of the publishing trade ?
“What have you learned, before writing this precious article, concerning the various kinds of agreement presented to authors by publishers ?
“Do you know, by personal examination and exTHE PRESS AND THE SOCIETY. perience, what these agreements represent, namely,
can you tell, by reading an agreement, what the NE reason, and that not the least, for the publisher offers to the author, and what he reserves
existence of such a journal as this is the for himself ?
necessity for keeping the Society and its “Do you know, by experience of your own, the objects from misrepresentation-wilful or through treatment of authors by their publishers? In the ignorance—in the newspaper press and in the case you quote, where you received twelve guineas, magazines. We have read from time to time articles, have you ascertained what amount was made by both generous and appreciative, presenting our the publisher ? aims truthfully. We have also been misrepresented “Are you aware that the body of men, whom by numerous paragraphs, written either by persons you take upon yourself to assail, have been engaged
for five years in a most careful and painstaking Again, the author of this paper says, “The examination of the whole of the publishing business royalty system is so obviously fair that there is no in every branch?
need to say much about it.” “Are you aware that this body of men, the Quite so. Then we will put to him the followCommittee of the Society of Authors, in all their ing questions. “Will you kindly explain what publications have made, and are making, but one you mean by the royalty system? What, if you demand, namely, for just and honourable deal- please, is the royalty system? What percentage ing?
should be given on an equitable royalty? And "Are you also aware that they have demanded, why? What does that leave the publisher ? and are still demanding, not only equitable agree- You had, probably, something in your mind when ments, but the keeping of those agreements to the you wrote the passage. What, we repeat, is the letter ?
royalty system? Is it ten, twenty, thirty, forty "Have you read their reports and their circu- per cent.? And, in any case, why do you fix upon lars?”
that proportion, and what does it leave for the If you cannot answer these questions, we would publisher ?" submit another. “What right have you to be heard on the questions at all ?” We would also ask Again, seeing that if our Society is strong on any you to select those adjectives in the English lan- point at all, it is upon the point of equitable agreeguage which apply to one who ventures to talk in ments, seeing that from the outset it has never public on a subject concerning which he is pro- ceased to argue in favour of such agreements, and foundly ignorant.
seeing that it has always insisted on such agreeIf you can answer these questions; if you
have ments being carried out honestly and to the letter, really made a study of a very difficult and obscure what does the writer of the paper mean by the subject, kept purposely in obscurity by interested following solemn peroration ? persons; if you have really read the reports and “ Are our contracts to be binding upon us only papers of the Society, and have duly considered so long as we find it profitable to ourselves to keep and meditated on them, you have, perhaps, a right them ? to speak.
“Are our moral instincts getting feebler ? Are Supposing this to be the case, let us ask the we losing our sense of honour? writer what he means by the following :
“Is our respect for the sacredness of plighted “ The bargain between author and publisher is troth on the wane ? one perfectly well understood.”
“If they who ought to be the trainers of the Is it? Then, we will ask him another question. national constitution are helping to improve it, and It is this.
helping others to believe that literary workers are “Will you, who so perfectly well understand the only workers for hire and determined on getting it, bargain between author and publisher, kindly ex- even at the price of broken faith and broken pledges, plain the following agreement ?” A. B. publishes then there can be but a gloomy outlook for us allcovenants with C. D. the author, as follows :- the days of shame are at hand!” He is to have the sole copyright of a MS. on the following conditions. He is to publish it at his Really! This is indeed terrible. But this critic sole risk and expense: he is to sell it at 6s. now has our questions before him and will perhaps each copy : after 500 copies are sold he is to give answer them. the author a royalty of 15 per cent on the trade Let us remind him, lastly, of certain lines, written price, not the published price. He is to decide a hundred and fifty years ago, and still, unhappily, if any cheaper editions are to be issued : he is to applicable. have the power of selling off remainder of stock : he is, in fact, to have the complete control of the Look thro' the world, in every other trade, book.
The same employment's cause of kindness made; The book is printed in small pica, crown 8vo, At least, appearance of goodwill creates, and contains 21} sheets. The question for you And every fool puffs off the fool he hates. who understand so clearly the bargain between Cobblers with cobblers smoke away the night, author and publisher is this. When 3,000 copies And in the common cause ev'n players unite. of the book have been sold, allowing £30 for Authors alone, with more than savage rage, advertising, what profit the author has made and Unnatural war with brother authors wage. what the publisher? We will answer this question for you in our next number.
THE HELPABLE AUTHOR. when he had gone through every possible phase of FROM AN ADDRESS BY EDMUND Gosse.*
beggary and misery, he died.
Do you suppose that there are no Samuel RUB STREET is with us to-day. It is
Boyses nowadays ? Pardon me for insisting that mitigated to some degree, no doubt
there are. I will mention one instance which it is greatly mitigated--by the blessed institu
impossible can wound anyone now, an instance of tion of journalism, which has opened the sluice
a man who has been for some years past dead' and, to a great extent, let out the waters. With
and who I believe was known, or known of, by journalism in particular we have nothing to do
some of my friends on this platform. He was a here. But when we put aside the relief now
man who came up from one of the Universities afforded by journalism we find things much in the
with some amount of knowledge, for he said he had same condition as they were in the last century, or
taken a First, although it must be confessed that even in many cases worse, since, if journalism now
his name never could be found in the lists. This exists, the patron does not exist. You have
man had the highest ambition to excel in literature, perhaps some idea, but I think it very possible
yet all that he managed to make was 355. a week that you have but little idea, of how much suffer
from the editor of a weekly paper, to keep himself ing and misery is going on among what are called
in board and lodging. Well, if this man had had “people of letters” in the present day; how many
the slightest power of helping himself, there is no men there are that are struggling, loafing about
doubt that he might have risen to better things ; the British Museum, and walking idly up and
but he was in a much worse position than Boyse, down Fleet Street-men who might perhaps be
for there was no interest taken in him by the the Otways and Chattertons of the age if they had
aristocracy, and no curiosity felt about his poems. a little more encouragement given to them. But
He was left to his unaided efforts. His unaided these people--for again we must face the matter
efforts plunged him lower and lower in the not with sentimentality but with common-sense
tide of things, till at last, at the office where he got these men are divided into two great classes, the
his only salary, a meerschaum pipe was missed helpable and the unhelpable. Permit me for a
by the editor. There was some mystery about it moment to deal with the unhelpable.
for a little while, when there came a letter from the In the last century the unhelpable was typically contributor, saying that the Rubicon was now exemplified by a certain Samuel Boyse, the author
crossed, and that he wished to resign his position of a poem on the Deity. Samuel Boyse seems to
on the paper; he enclosed a ticket from a pawnhave started in life with as many advantages as
broker. After this unfortunate incident, he sank ever befel a man of letters. The number of Earls
lower and lower, till he hung all day about the and Countesses that filed through his career is
British Musuem. At last he became a super at a enough to make the modern unpatroned author
theatre, and then he faded out altogether. Now, envious; but it was impossible for them to help
those two persons, whom I take as types, belong to Boyse. His whole life was a long continuation of
the unhelpable class, with which we can do nothing. his being picked up out of the gutter by some
What, then, of the helpable author ? The noble patron, put on his legs, and seen to fall
helpable author is not the fashionable novelist, again the moment he was left. He is the person who spent six weeks in his bed with his arm thrust
the fashionable essayist, the successful man who
has many other strings to his bow, who has a through a blanket, because he had pawned every
salary here, who has private means there. No! thing which he possessed in the world, and who,
The person whom we wish, if possible, to do somewhen a subscription was made for him, spent the
thing to help is the half-successful writer, the first money that came in, still in bed, with his
person who has a right to exist, and who yet hand still through the blanket, in a feast of truffles.
cannot force himself, or herself, strongly upon the The same Samuel Boyse opened a subscription for
public. And there are two classes of the helpable his poems, and, marvellous as it may seem, that
to whom I would specially draw attention. One was responded to. As the contributions came in of those consists of women. they were, with slow regularity, expended upon a
Here again I speak of the smaller, yet legitimately delightful potation called "Twopenny" — hot “ Twopenny.” Samuel Boyse had a commission
successful, lady.writers. My own impression is
that most ladies of this class claim rather less than given to him by a publisher, to translate Fénélon
more of what they have a right to; they have their “On the Existence of the Deity,” and he celebrated
small circle of readers, a circle for whom they that event by immediately marrying. There was
prepare innocent and delightful recreation. They no help whatever for Samuel Boyse, and at last,
have a right to be protected for the sake of these * “Grievances of Authors." Field and Tuer.
readers, as well as for their own sake. They have
a right to demand that there should be some body, another edition, after correcting a few errors of no some society, ready to see that they do not fall into great importance, will be issued as soon as it can traps, that they do not become the prey of sharpers, be got ready. and, in short, to protect their legitimate interests. The Committee have carefully considered the ques.
And there is, again, another class of the helpable; tion of the proposed “leaflets,” the result of these that is the beginner, the new man of genius. I deliberations being the appearance of "The Author." know rothing that strikes one more in observing The Chairman was fortunate enough to secure at literary life than the fact that the new man, the a second-hand book shop, Wilkie Collins's large man who comes forward with a book for the first collection of tracts and papers connected with time, unless he is exceedingly lucky, makes a International Copyright. He has presented them mistake. He forms a disadvantageous bargain, he to the Society. does something or other which cripples him at the A memorial has been drawn up addressed to the outset, and this he has to wipe out and forget First Lord of the Treasury on the subject of the before he can make a proper start. The beginner, Civil Pensions List. Next month, perhaps, we therefore, forms another class whom we desire, by may have more to say on the subject. this Society, to have the privilege of protecting and At the beginning of last year the Chairman helping
addressed to the Guardian a series of letters on the
management of the Literary Department of the
Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, ON COMMITTEE.
with no other apparent effect than to call forth a
good deal of private correspondence from authors URING the present year, up to May the first, who have been in the hands of this Department. forty-eight new members have joined the
Early this year he again addressed the Publication Society. This is a very gratifying increase. Committee on a special case, with the expected At the same time it cannot be denied that there are result. He has now written a pamphlet on the a large number of persons engaged in the profession whole question, which, together with the previous of literature who look coldly on without joining the correspondence, will be published immediately. Society, while we are working in their interests. The points at issue are confidently left to the That our efforts have not been fruitless is shown by decision of the public. many facts. For instance, before we began, every A case of extensive fraud-so extensive that the publisher would have felt himself insulted at the man chiefly concerned is found to have a hundred mere proposal to audit his accounts. No publisher unpublished MSS. in his possession-was taken up would now refuse. Again, while four or five years by the Committee, but broke down owing to the ago authors were meekly accepting a ten per cent. refusal of the victims to give evidence ! This is royalty, they are getting almost everywhere two- an interesting illustration of the black ignorance pence in the shilling, which is a sixteen per cent. which prevails as to literary property. Not one of royalty, and in some cases twenty and twenty-five these men or women, had he or she been robbed of per cent. royalty. The influence of the Society is a watch, a purse, a mantle, or an umbrella, but also shown by the eagerness of certain houses to offer would have gone straight to the nearest magistrate guarantees of good faith. The policy of the and gave evidence fearlessly. But it was only a Committee has always been the same: to ascertain manuscript--only a thing which might have been carefully and to set forth the truth as to cost of pro- worth many thousand pounds! In such a case as duction, trade returns and profits, methods of pub this, we can only hope to instruct the world and lication and what they mean-agreements and what gradually to create as great a jealousy over literary they mean-in short, to supply their members with property as prevails for every other kind. the means of ascertaining what it is that a prof- In another case, however, when the victim was fered agreement gives the author and what it willing and ready to come forward, we recovered reserves to the publisher. To learn these things for him the money of which he had been plundered has taken the Committee five years of unremitting and the unsold copies of his work. labour. Nor are they quite certain, yet, that they A case was recently brought before us in which have learned the whole truth. Those who looked a country newspaper had republished, without for a sudden revolution in the business relations of permission, a paper from a magazine. We obtained literature, as well as those who looked for no prac- compensation for the author. tical results at all, are equally disappointed. The Mr. Sprigge's book on the “Methods of PublicaSociety, however, has pursued and is pursuing the tion,” with the frauds, tricks, and dangers to which even tenor of its way.
the author is exposed in every one, is very nearly The “Cost of Production” is out of print, ready. It will be issued as soon as possible.
A circular letter has been issued by the Copyright Committee addressed to colonial libraries and booksellers asking for information on the sale of pirated editions in the various colonies, and how far such editions damage the sale of the authorised English editions.
The draft of the Copyright Bill has been placed in the hands of Mr. James Rolt, New Square, Lincoln's Inn, for revision up to the date of the latest legislation.
The question of copyright in pieces for recitation has been brought before the Committee. It was suggested that perhaps authors might not feel themselves injured by a recitation which could not fail to increase their popularity. It was decided to ask the opinion of two gentlemen, well known pro- • ducers of such pieces.
It was recently stated in a morning paper tha any person, author or not, may become a member of this Society. The statement was publicly denied by the Chairman. As, however, there existed no bye-law on the subject, but only the practice of the Committee, and the implied understanding that members should be authors, three have been passed, viz. :
1. No one shall be eligible for membership or fellowship of the Society who is not actually an author of some published literary or artistic work.
2. Should anyone desire to consult the Society as to literary work, without having as yet qualified for membership, the Secretary may then and there--. reporting the case at the next Committee Meeting – admit him as an Associate only, on payment of one guinea, his privileges to consist only of the right 10 ask advice from the office, this right to terminate at the end of the current year. Such an Associate can have no part in the administration.
3. Any donor of ten guineas shall be admitted by the Secretary then and there, reporting the case at the next Committee, to be an Honorary Associate of the Society. Such Associate can take no part in the administration.
Galloping to the carriage door,
He thrust his face within,
With sauce of leaden bullet :
And fired it down his gullet.
When Turpin bade him stand :
And six bright rings from his hand.
The Bishop's wig from his head,
As he sat in the corner dead.
With the reins behind his back,
And set off the horses smack !
Who luckily wasn't fagg'd,
Or I shall be surely scragg'd."
Nor walked up hill or down,
Which is the Assizes town.
He made his black mare fly,
To swear an alibi.
And so did Sheriff Forster,
By nine o'clock at Gloucester.
Neither by hook nor crook :
AT WORK. This column is reserved entirely for Members of the
Society, who are invited to keep the Editor acquainted with their work and engagements. ROFESSOR MAX MÜLLER is engaged in
preparing for the press his second volume
of Gifford Lectures, delivered last year at Glasgow. The title will be Physical Religion. The next courses, which will be delivered at Glasgow in 1891 and 1892, will treat of Anthropological and Psychological Religion.
Professor Max Müller's new edition of the “RigVeda," with Sâyana's Commentary, is progressing.