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they are solicitous to make him a partaker of their follies. Failing of success, they employ every method to expose him to contempt. They impute all his actions to sinis ter motives. They are unwilling to allow, that he can be influenced by any nobler principle, than a selfish desire to please his instructers. '
Ever liable to such base imputations; many are insensibly allured to swim down the current of popular follies and vices. Invited by those, whose sentiments they disapprove, and whose-conduct they despise, to join in actions, at least of a doubtful character, they at first reluctantly consent. Rather than be charged with motives, which they are conscious of not entertaining, rather than forego the popularity, which they are desirous of acquiring, they are willing to suffer some reproaches of conscience ; till they at length commit with greediness what they once shunned with caution.,
By this process great numbers, who have entered the University with reputation, have left it with disgrace. Lest they should be charged with anxiety for College distinctions, they have at first neglected their regulár studies. They have chus contracted habits of idleness, that prolific source of every vice. To prove, that theỳ are not “ dupes to government," they have engaged in irregularities, for which they had no relish, and have joined in the execration of teachers, whom in their hearts they could not but approve.
To such unworthy compliances are they often led, who ire unreasonably desirous of popularity with fellow students. To acquire it, one must generally sacrifice every manly prină ciple. He must be the slave of popular caprice. He must absolutely renounce all independence of characters Like the political demagogue, he must stoop to those, he despises ; he must associate with those, he dislikes ; he must slandet those; he cannot rival'; he must maintain opinions, he disbe. lieves ; he must withhold sentiments, he embraces. To complete his humiliation, he is commonly obliged to pay the greatest courts to those, who are the most truly contemptible for want both of talents and virtues
Vol. II, No. In
Yet, after all his toils, he is ever liable to lose his dearly earned fame. The tide of opinion, which is, this hour, in his favor, may, the next, set against him ; and his greatest exertions can neither preserve, nor restore his falling reputation.
Build not then your hopes of enjoyment at College on a. foundation so unstable. Let your first object be the approbation of your own conscience ; your next, the esteem of the virtuous. Adopt, as your invariable wish, that sentiment of the poet, “ Grant me an honest fame, or grant me none."
Yours, &c. PHILOS.
HISTORY OF LITERARY PROPERTY.
THE following extract is curious in its kind, and, we trust, will be a novelty
to most of our readers. It is taken from a tract, which was probably occasioned by a letter of Bishop Warburton in defence of a literary proper" ty.” It is submitted without comment.
| HE first bards strolled from house to house. In those hospitable ages the doors of the great men were always open to them, at whose tables they came, as welcome guests. When they had partaken of the repast, and cherished their genius with free draughts of wine, they sang the warlike exploits of their host, or celebrated the valor of his ancestors ; little dreaming of property in those unpremeditaed strains, which flowed from the warmth of their fancy. In process of time, when arts were more cultivated, and men became civilized, poets demanded a price for their labors; for the trade of an author is very ancient. Pindar would not compose an ode in honor of a victor in the athletic games for a less sum, than the most eminent statuary would have demanded for a statue of exquisite workmanship. He would trust indeed to the generosity of a king, recome mending at the same time the princely virtue of munificence. Sometimes the lyric poets, the dramatic poets always contended with a view of gaining a prize, proposed by one or other of the Grecian states. The rhetoricians, as Lycias and Isocrates, subsisted partly by keeping an academy, partly by composing judiciary orations for either side, as they were retained. It has been known, that the same rhetorician has composed orations for plaintiff and defendant in the same cause. Some authors, particularly the historians, have been influenced by nobler motives, than a desire of gain. It was reward enough to Herodotus and Thucydides to recite their histories at the Olympic games, where they received the united applause of assembled Greece.
At Rome dramatic pieces were exhibited to the people at the private expenses of the officers of state, and they were composed at a fixed price for that purpose. After the introduction of the polite arts, there were few of the great men, who did not dedicate their leisure hours to philosophy or the muses. Hence authors were generally encouraged, and they frequently borrowed their patrons' houses to recite their compositions to numerous audiences, by which they acquired both money and reputation.
It is evident, that neither the authors, nor their assigns in the republics of Greece and Rome, ever claimed an exclu. sive right in their copies after their publication. I challenge the advocates of this species of property to cite a passage from the laws of those states, where it is directly or indirectly countenanced. In the institutes the contrary is expressed. “ If Titius composes a poem, a history, or oration “ on your paper, you are still the proprietor, and not Titius, " for the writing is but accessory.” An opinion truly absurd, but it is sufficient to prove the sentiments of the ancients with respect to literary property. I will admit, that an author, who composed a poem for a fixed price, might have instituted a suit for the performance of the contract. It may now be proper to enquire, whether this perpetual ex
clusive right tends to promote the cause of learning; or whether ancient or modern authors have the greater ine centives to excel. Authors are influenced either by a love of fame, or a desire of gain, and sometimes by both. As either of these passions predominate, the compos sition is more or less excellent. The ancients were smitten with a love of glory. If they had a desire of gain, it was a subordinate passion, not owing to a sordid disposition, but to the low estate, in which fortune had placed them. The prizes, proposed by the Grecian states, excited the noblest emulation. The poets exerted the power of their genius, either to preserve the reputation, which they had acquired, or to tear the laurel from the brows of their competitors. To this may be attributed the excellency of the Grecian poets.
Graiis ingenium, Graiis dedit ore rotundo
Musa loqui, præter laudem nullius avaris. The Romans took a different course. Their excellent writers, by the liberality of their patrons, were placed in a state of affluence; so that they had leisure to polish and refine their compositions. There was a mutual exchange of benefits between the author and his patron. The patron conferred riches on the author, which was requited with fame and immortality. Unhappily this project of encouragement succeeded not so well, . Gratitude and the ambition of transmitting our naine to posterity are feeble excitements to the exertion of our faculties, when compared with the noble rivalry, that subsisted between the Grecian bards. Poets are an idle race of men, They are no sooner at their ease, than they are fatigued with the labor of composing: Horace, who at first subsisted by writing, has the impudence frequently to complain of his laziness, when, by the munificence of Moecenas, he enjoyed an ample revenue. This is perhaps the reason why the Grecians excelled the Romans in compositions. In England the revival of letters was coeval with the introduction of printing. Our authors had but little encouragement either by public, or private liberalis ty. A custom then first arose, by which they claimed the sole right of multiplying impressions of their books. Authors, by their little attention to their affairs, were general, ly in distressed circumstances. They could not wait the slow returns of profit, arising from the sale of their works ; but were obliged to sell them to the booksellers for a gross sum, which might relieve their present necessity. From that instant the author became a slave to his bookseller, who, estimating wit and learning by the bulk, imposed the severest tasks. How could any thing great or noble be expected from writers, whose genius was depressed, and spirits broken by this oppression.
Notwithstanding this we may boast of Shakespeare, Oto way, and Dryden, who, though they subsisted by their pen, might vie in genius with the greatest poets of antiquity, Unhappy indeed, that they had not leisure to polish and refine their works, that their poverty obliged them to humor, instead of correcting the taste of the people. To this imaginary right we may attribute the want of elegance and correctness in our English authors, who have subsisted by writing ; to this may be attributed their servitude to booksellers, which of all others to a liberal mind is the most intole. rable,
This perpetual, exclusive right could never be executed, till the art of printing was introduced. The great labor of transcribing so much enhanced the price of each book, that the purchasers were few, and the gains of the author small. This I apprehend to be the foundation of the right. When printing was introduced into England, it became a part of the prerogative ; in virtue of which all books were licensed, and this license was construed to extend to the author alone and his assigns. When the prerogative was limited, and the liberty of the press established, this right must of necessity vanish. But the right of printing bibles, books of common prayer, and law books, is still vested in the king, and has been granted by him at different times. This right is purely founded on maxims of policy, because these books are of public importance, matters of public concern ; and things,