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Report shows, the prosperity of this Society has that this Society has no quarrel whatsoever with not only been fully maintained, but has been any honourable publishing firm. (Hear, hear.) On increased in a marked degree. There has been a the contrary, the work which this Society is attemptvery large accession to the number of members; ing must be not less welcome to such firms than in every sphere of work which the Society has it is to the authors themselves, for that work tends entered, it has received fresh encouragement to to eliminate from the publishing vocation any persevere; and amongst the new forms of activity persons
may be likely to discredit it. It also, which it has developed, there is one which is by securing the fruits of his labour to the labourer, especially deserving of mention. The Society now encourages the deserving, and so seeks to elevate possesses a monthly periodical of its own in a the standard of literary produce. journal entitled The Author, which was published It is fully and cordially recognised by the memfor the first time in the month of May, and the bers of this Society-recognised with a pride natural second number of which we have had in June. to Englishmen—that the general history of publishing It is an organ for the record and discussion of in this country has been marked by integrity, in everything that concerns the profession of letters; many cases by enterprise, and in very many cases it is also designed to be the medium by which by generosity. (Hear, hear.) On the other hand the Committee of the Society of Authors may keep it is undeniable that many authors are incapable the other members informed of their proceedings of appreciating the merits of a bargain proposed to The inception and editing of this Journal is a new them by a trained man of business who regards the benefit which the Society owes to a member of its matter from a commercial point of view; and it is Council, to whom it has been indebted for so also undeniable that the details of the publishing much else--Mr. Walter Besant. (Cheers.) I trade have too often been surrounded with a think one may say that the establishment of this needless amount of technical obscurity. (Hear, Journal is a formal expression of the fact that this hear, and laughter.) We fully recognize that Society is now the recognised guardian of great publishing is a useful, it may be a fine art, but we and constantly growing interests. (Hear, hear.) deny that it ought to be a mystery. (Hear, hear.) It is well known to all of you that on the list of Now what have been the principal causes of such this Society's members are found some of the mystery as has existed ? The first cause concerns foremost names in every branch of literature, what is termed the cost of production, that is to say, science, and art; and therefore in its corporate of printing a book and introducing it to the public. capacity the Society may claim that representative The Society has contributed to the elucidation character which the appearance of this Journal of this subject, which is well within the range of the indicates. (Hear, hear.)
capacity conventionally described as “mean," by Literary property is no inconsiderable element in publishing a little work for the use of its members, the wealth of the nation; and yet hitherto the called “The Cost of Production.” producers of this wealth have, for various reasons, The other great cause of the haziness to which been too often careless of their rights, and some- I have alluded is of a subtler character : it is in times unable to defend them. This Society was fact the time-honoured doctrine of "risk,” which formed for the purpose of diffusing clearer know might be described as the fundamental dogma of ledge regarding the nature and the value of literary bibliopolic orthodoxy. The classical adage that property, and also for the purpose of adopting all “books have their fates" has been extended into possible means which may render such property
the doctrine that the fate of most books is very more secure.
nearly a toss up, and that, if a publisher has the In pursuing these aims there are, broadly intrepidity to take his chance of heads or tails, such speaking, two principal provinces of endeavour heroism deserves a golden reward. (Laughter.) which such a Society as this is called upon to Well, we are very far from denying that, down at enter:-One is that of the relations which exist least to the early part of the eighteenth century, between authors and publishers; the other is the the business of the publisher was in fact very often Law of Copyright. As regards the relations which an extremely hazardous one. But why was it so? exist between authors and publishers, the desire of Because the reading public for most books was this Society is simply to see those relations placed then comparatively small; because circulation was on a thoroughly intelligible and equitable footing not assisted by such agencies as Book Clubs or (hear, hear), a footing equitable for both the Literary Institutes; and because, for both those partners in the joint enterprise. The Society reasons, the publisher found it difficult to feel the wi-' :s to see literary business conducted on prin- pulse of the book-market. But before the end of
similar to those which regulate business in the eighteenth century a considerable change had L-ther form. Simply to state this is to say already occurred in that respect; and at the present
day it is affirmed by competent persons, who have to know that everything that is soundest in American investigated the subject, that à publisher very opinion deplores that result (hear, hear), and
a seldom indeed brings out a book with the danger of anxiously desires a correction of a state of things losing much by it. A certain margin of uncertainty which is felt to be unworthy of a great country. must of course always exist; but the authors of these (Hear, hear.) The present situation has been original researches say that the amount of speculative clearly described in the current number of the element in the publishing trade has been greatly Fortnightly Review, by Mr. Edmund Gosse. (Apexaggerated. And yet how strange, how almost plause.) pathetic it is to reflect on the large part which this Among our guests this evening, the educated dreaded monster "risk” has played in literary opinion of the United States on this subject is destinies! There was a time when the average represented by some gentlemen who have been author, after receiving from the publisher that strenuous supporters of that much-needed measure modest recompense which was appropriate to those of justice. One among them I may be permitted who ventured nothing, beheld almost with awe the to mention-one who for a long series of years has publisher pass within the veil, bound for those been an indefatigable worker in that just causemysterious regions, "far in the unapparent," where, Mr. George Haven Putnam. (Applause.) We like Hercules or Sir Calidore, he was to meet single- greet him and them, not as the champions of a handed that appalling bogey “risk,” and to conquer defeated cause, but as the champions of a cause or to fall. It must be our best comfort to reflect which in our hope and belief is destined to no that by far the larger proportion of these daring uncertain and no distant victory. (Cheers.) The publishers have survived the ordeal. And surely in true interests of literature in the largest sense their turn they will permit us to say that writers are always international; and it is a source of desire a revelation of this monster "risk” which peculiar gratification to us that our meeting this shall be less in the manner of Milton and more in evening should be graced by the presence of a the manner of Dante. It it not enough for us to representative of the German Society of Letters, to know that he floats many a rood. We should like to whom we offer a respectful and cordial welcome. have some more exact measure of his dimensions. (Cheers.) (Laughter.) Before leaving this topic of the relations And now, ladies and gentlemen, before I sit between author and publisher, I would only add thatdown, it is my privilege to give you a message, when an author submits to the Committee of this which I know you will receive with deep interest Society a proposed but still unsigned agreement with and gratification. It is from the venerable and a publisher, the Committee does him a service if it illustrious President of this Society (general cheerpoints out a flaw, but it does him a service also if ing), whose recent restoration to health has caused it tells him that there is no flaw—that he has no rejoicing, not only throughout the British Empire, just grievance, and that he is getting as much as he but wherever the English language is spoken. can fairly expect. (Hear, hear.)
Lord Tennyson desires to assure you with what Now I will touch very briefly on the question of sincere pleasure he learns of the continued and copyright. As you are aware, the International increasing prosperity of this Society, and how glad Copyright Act of June, 1886, enables this country he is to know of the excellent work which it is to enter any International Copyright Union which doing, in trying to make literary property more may be established.
But before this country can secure. (Hear, hear.) do so on equal terms it is desirable—it is even Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the toast of necessary—that the various existing Acts affecting “The Incorporated Society of Authors.” (Loud Domestic Copyright should be amended and con- and prolonged cheering.) solidated. (Hear, hear.) The draft of a Bill for Sir Frederick Pollock, in acknowledging the that purpose has been prepared by a Committee of toast, called attention to the practical work of the this Society, of which the chairman is Sir Frederick Society in matters of foreign and colonial copyright, Pollock. (Applause.) As regards International and pointed out th the and most certain way Copyright, the case of course in which it most to make the Society still more useful to its members directly affects British authors is that of protection and to the world of letters, was for the members to for their works in the United States. (Hear, hear.) exert themselves to procure recruits and diffuse It was naturally with a certain feeling of dis- knowledge of the Society and its operations. appointment that we lately learned that the House Mr. Alfred Austin (in proposing the toast of of Representatives in Congress had thrown out, by “Literature, Science, and Art”) said : Professor a majority of 28—by 126 votes against 98--the Bill Jebb, ladies and gentlemen, when soinewhat to my which would have afforded such protection. But surprise, and certainly very much above my deserts, under our disappointment it is no small alleviation I was invited by the brilliant and vigorous man of
letters, who is the Chairman of this Society, to of letters. Of course, by “aristocracy,” I mean propose this evening the toast of “Literature, the influence and recognition of what is best, and Science, and Art,” my first impression was that it I think that in this age an aristocracy of letters would be difficult for any man, and for me well might well be maintained. But, sir, if it is to be nigh impossible, to rise to the height of so great a maintained, is it not the fact that it must be imbued task; but on further reflection it occurred to me with a deep reverence for tradition. Whatever that perhaps I was taking the toast, and myself as position we men of letters may occupy in the well, a little too seriously, and I remembered present age, we at least have had great ancestors, that in days less decorous, but perhaps more and the greatness of those ancestors, it seems to convivial than these, there invariably appeared in me, compels us in our turn, whether we succeed or the programme of a festive evening the toast whether we fail, at any rate to try to be great, or “Our noble selves.” Well, sir, in an assembly they will reproach us if we fail to do so. But what consisting for the most part of men of letters, of was it that made the distinction of those ancestors ? men of science, and of artists, what after all is the Surely it was the manner in which they presented toast of “ Literature, Science, and Art,” but the their thoughts, the methods by which those great ancient toast “Our noble selves”? So far as writers contrived to insinuate their thoughts at science and art are concerned, I almiost think that once, and to make them abide for ever in the minds toast is superfluous. Science certainly has received
In a word it was the style, style, which is abundant homage in this way: it has been hailed, the most aristocratic of all things, because it implies justly no doubt as the master of the modern world, absolute self-respect on the part of the writer, and a and art too it seems to me, still enjoys the favour most perfect consideration and deference for those of princes, and the deference and adulation of critics. whom he addresses; surely without style, before But I feel sure that literature stands in poorer these days, no one would have supposed that there case. Whatever we men of letters may think of could have been such a thing as literature at all. ourselves, I fancy the present age thinks very little Nevertheless, I suppose we shall all be of opinion of us, most people in the present generation it that even the claims of style may be pressed too seems to me, being of opinion that the writing of far. Everything in this world most readily and great works is a thing no longer worth doing, or most rapidly tend to degeneration and to decay, that writing is a thing that anybody can do. In and it is conceivable that a select class of writers, the face of such an attitude towards letters, is it animated by a passionate attachment to style, may nöt natural, nay indeed, is it not necessary to ask end by caring for nothing else. ourselves the question-What is literature ? But Now, substance without form is better than form the moment we propound that question we find without substance; and is it not possible that in ourselves confronted by two principles, two opinions, our search for that harmony, that common ground, that are a little hard to reconcile. Is literature of which I spoke, between the champions of easy whatever people may choose to write and publish, going comprehensiveness on the one side, and or is it that finer breadth of knowledge, that finer fastidious exclusiveness on the other side, with spirit of thought, that finer form of expression, regard to literature, is it not possible that we may which, as we all know, is the secret of only a now have come upon that very thing of which we minority of those who write? In a word, is are in search ? The barbarians destroyed the literature something refined, elevated, fastidious— Roman Empire, but in that very act they renovated allow me the word exclusive-or is it on the other the world and sowed the seeds even on the fields hand something broad, comprehensive, familiar, they devastated, of the love of literature in the and in which anyone, if so he chooses, may share ? future. And may we not be seeing at this moment The man who in these days seeks to be the something akin-something analogous? I think champion of exclusiveness, or indeed of superiority the masters of style whom I see around me to-night in any form, sets himself a difficult, an invidious, will concur in the observation that in this age there and certainly a most unpopular task. Yet in an has been a tremendous irruption of barbarians into assembly like this-an assembly consisting of men the domain of literature; but instead of reviling who are proud of literature, proud of being men of them should you not receive them with open arms ? letters, and to whom the only patent of nobility They bring with them I suppose the modern spirit. that they would think of for a moment, is literary Their baggage maybe sometimes rude and distinction-perhaps I may be allowed to add, in occasionally perhaps a trifle scanty ; but at any rate which, so far as I can observe, any belief in any it is new and it is their own. Nor do I think there other form of aristocracy, is well nigh dead-it may is any fear of their overwhelming you, the masters still be desirable to maintain an aristocracy; it may of style. At any rate they will not overwhelm you be a natural, but withal a recognisable aristocracy permanently nor for ever keep back from mankind
that in you which deserves to be perpetuated and Professor Hales: Professor Jebb, ladies and when the fear of their onset, the onset of these gentlemen, at this late hour of the night I will barbarians, has passed away, style, like Shelley's not waste your time. Though I am sorry that no cloud, will“ silently laugh at its own cenotaph," and more worthy name than my own could be selected changing, but never dying, will arise after a time to respond to this toast, I thank you sincerely for and re-assert its perpetual fascination.
the honour you have done me. One thing strikes Therefore I am sure I shall most faithfully carry me forcibly, however. I can imagine the amazeout your behests if in proposing the toast of ment with which the authors of the last century “ Literature, Science, and Art,” I regard literature would have contemplated such a sight as we are in no narrow spirit, but in the broadest possible witnessing here to-night, duwnright regular authors signification, heartily sympathising with all those, dining in state as we are dining this evening. whether they may be masters or apprentices, whether (Laughter.) poets or novelists, historians or artists, dramatists Professor John Eric Erichsen : Mr. Chairman, or journalists, who aspire to be regarded as men ladies and gentlemen, when the history of the of letters.
nineteenth century comes to be written, the future Many of us are of opinion that the state of Lecky of another generation will have the task English Society with its infinite variety and easy, before him of endeavouring to show the great and endless gradations, is the most satisfactory, as deep influence that science has exercised during assuredly it is the most natural that the world has the Victorian age, and not in its academic, or so ever seen. And is not this infinite variety-are not to speak, its scientific relations alone, but in all these easy, endless, elastic gradations represented that concerns the improvement of the social conin literature? It is no question of high and low; ditions and the well-being of man, and in much it is no question of superior and inferior ; it is only that concerns the political and international relations a heterogeneous but harmonious company, ani- of the civilized communities of the world. Every mated by a common animation, and marching on century is an epoch or presents an epoch peculiarly to a common end under the banner of a generous characteristic of itself in which some dominant brotherhood.
method of thought has found expression and has And here, sir, I think I might cease to occupy influenced the feelings and the work of mankind; your attention, were it not that I find that in this and one may truly say that science in the nineteenth toast science and art are coupled with literature, century governs that expression. If we compare the and I should gladly testify, however inadequately, position of science as it was in the first decade of this to the close kinship which subsists between litera- century with that which it now occupies in the last ture and science, and between science and art. decade, we cannot but be struck with the enormous
Many persons in these days have expressed grave progress that it has made and the enormous anxiety lest science, with its hard-headed temper influence that it is exercising upon all classes and and practical spirit, should prove to be the enemy all conditions of the community. If we look back of literature. Surely, sir, there never was a more to what natural and applied science was in the idle or more unfounded fear. Astronomy, I sup- earliest period of this century-in the first decade pose, is the oldest of the sciences; but surely the of this century-and compare it with what it is definite and helpful discoveries of Kepler and now, we shall be struck with this enormous Copernicus, or of Newton and Galileo, have in no difference-we shall see that in the early period degree diminished the magic and mystery of the of this century what is called Natural History or stars. But there is a still more helpful relation Zoology was really nothing but a description of between science and literature. It is more than animals, the collection of stuffed beasts, the 250 years since Harvey published his celebrated classification of plants, and the giving, as it was treatise on the circulation of the blood, but I somewhat cynically termed, of “barbaric names to suppose that neither lovers nor men of letters worthless weeds," we shall find that more than half discourse less effectively or less fervently about a century had to elapse before that great doctrine of the heart than they did in days of old when Helen evolution which has exercised so deep an impreswas killed, or Dido was abandoned.
sion, not only upon the scientific, but on the With regard to the connection between literature philosophic and religious thought of this generation and art, I prefer that Professor Conway should had been put forward by Darwin. If we look discourse upon that subject. Therefore, ladies and at the other natural sciences, and I shall not gentlemen, I propose to you the toast of " Litera- attempt to lead you through them----we shall ture, Science, and Art,” coupled with the names of find the same remarkable fact—that chemistry, Professor Hales, Professor Erichsen, and Professor which was only getting into the position of a Conway. (Cheers.)
science under the guidance of Davy and Wollaston,
has now become not the handmaiden but the master of every technical art, of every manufacture, and has contributed largely to the comfort and happiness of mankind. We shall find if we look back to physical science, greatly advanced as it was, that the professors of it had not the remotest conception of the enormous strides it was destined to take in days antecedent to railways and loconiotives—still more was it impossible, in the wildest dreams of science, to think of locomotives not only running along a level plane but ascending mountain sides, tunnelling through Alpine chains for many miles, carried aloft on gigantic structures many hundred feet high above arms of the sea, and founded upon bases that were buried a hundred feet below the surface of the tide. If we look to the other sciences, to electricity, for instance, which at that period was simply a toy to amuse schoolboys, or to instruct the audiences of mechanics' institutes, we find now, beating gas as an illuminant, that other great power which has been created almost within our own time, that it has in the electric telegraph connection in every part of the world, that by telephone it conveys, not only the voice, but the very tones of that voice, to a distance of hundreds of miles, that by the phonograph it records on almost indelible tablets the accents in which those words were spoken. And if we go to other departments of Science-to that with which I am the most conversant-we shall find that by those inestimable chemical agencies pain has been rendered a thing of the past, that surgery has been deprived of its terrors, that procedures which appalled the stoutest, the most heroic breast, are now submitted to by the most timid person with complacency and without a murmur.
These great triumphs of science are enduring; they are permanent, and can never be lost to mankind. There is no such thing as retrogression in science ; science never moves in circles, but ever in advance; year after year some fresh position is conquered, often it is true, after a hot conflict, though happily not a sanguinary one; and once having been obtained, it is never lost. There is no finality in science. Art may be final-it may be' final, if not in its conception, at all events in its perfection ; but science is illimitable alike in its conception and in its execution. What our ancestors knew we well know, and we know much more than they did. What they could do we can accomplish, and more —more than they ever dreamed of accomplishing. The same will be the case with our successors undoubtedly. They will stand in the same relation to us that we now stand in in regard to our predecessors.
Great as the triumphs of science have been, there are yet, in all probability, greater triumphs still in
store for science. Any day may bring forth a discovery that may revolutionize the world. We are ever on the threshold, as it were, looking over boundless plains of research, great fields of knowledge which may yield most fruitful results. Whatever may happen in the future, if we may judge from the past, we may be sure that nothing but benefit from science will accrue to mankindthat his social condition will be improved, that his intellectual status will be raised, and that he will have a wider horizon of knowledge constantly spreading before him in the field of science. (Cheers.)
Professor Conway: Ladies and gentlemen, I will only detain you for one moment, and during that moment I will express my astonishment at “Art” having been included in this toast. I have been debating in my own mind during the course of dinner for what reason it has been done, and it was not until I heard the words of the Chairman with reference to the art of publishing that I understood why art should be included in our toast list. Unfortunately, I am no representative of that art. The only art I know is the art of listening, and I hoped that I should not have been called upon for an after-dinner speech.
Professor Michael Foster (in the absence of Mr. George Augustus Sala) then proposed the toast of “ The Guests." He said : Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, I am very sorry—it is not necessary for me to say—that I am not George Augustus Sala. Why George Augustus Sala is not here and where he may be at the present moment I do not know; but I am very sorry that he is not heresorry for those whose health he was about to propose, sorry for those who were about to listen to him, and sorrowing still more for myself who have to put my diminutive feet into his somewhat roomy shoes. (Laughter.) Who I am does not, I think, concern you to know; it is sufficient to say that I belong to a large class, to those who cannot say “no” when Walter Besant asks you to do a thing, and I do it under circumstances of great difficulty. Just before dinner in the room down below, when we were expecting the time when the clock would strike half-past seven precisely, I was talking to one of our distinguished members, and he drew the conversation towards speeches after dinner, and I thought then that I had no speech before me. I do not like to quote his exact words—in my scientific memoirs I always quote the exact words of authors—in this assembly I feel a diffidence in doing so, but I will give you the effect, and it was that instructive speeches after dinner are detestable. Now I must unfortunately, be instructive, because I have to propose to you “The Guests,” and although they are known to all the world they are