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drowsy dactyls or grow ventricous with their turgid heroes, all in defence of slavery,-priest, politician, novelist, bardling, severally ringing the changes upon "the Biblical institution," "the conservative institution," "the humanizing institution," "the patriarchal institution"-and then-have their books printed on Northern paper, with Northern types, by Northern artizans, stitched, bound and made ready for the market by Northern industry; and yet fail to see in all this, as a true philosophical mind must see, an overwhelming refutation of their miserable sophisms in behalf of a system against which humanity in all its impulses and aspirations, and civilization in all its activities and triumphs, utter their perpetual protest.
From a curious article in the "American Publishers' Circular" on "Book Making in America," we give the following extracts:
"It is somewhat alarming to know that the number of houses now actually engaged in the publishing of books, not including periodicals, amounts to more than three hundred. About threefourths of these are engaged in Boston, New-York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore-the balance being divided between Cincinnati, Buffalo, Auburn, Albany, Louisville, Chicago, St. Louis, and a few other places. There are more than three thousand booksellers who dispense the publications of these three hundred, besides six or seven thousand apothecaries, grocers, and hardware dealers, who connect literature with drugs, molasses, and nails.
"The best printing in America is probably now done in Cambridge; the best cloth binding in Boston, and the best calf and morocco in New-York and Philadelphia. In these two latter styles we are, as yet, a long distance from Heyday, the pride of London. His finish is supreme. There is nothing between it and perfection.
"Books have multiplied to such an extent in our country, that
it now takes 750 paper mills, with 2,000 engines in constant operation, to supply the printers, who work day and night, endeavoring to keep their engagements with publishers. These tireless mills produced 270,000,000 pounds of paper the past year, which immense supply has sold for about $27,000,000. A pound and a quarter of rags were required for a pound of paper, and 400,000,000 pounds were therefore consumed in this way last year. The cost of manufacturing a twelve months' supply of paper for the United States, aside from labor and rags, is computed at $4,000,000.
"The Harper establishment, the largest of our publishing houses, covers half an acre of ground. If old Mr. Caxton, who printed those stories of the Trojan war so long ago, could follow the Ex-Mayor of New-York in one of his morning rounds in Franklin Square, he would be, to say the least, a little surprised. He would see in one room the floor loaded with the weight of 150 tons of presses. The electrotyping process would puzzle him somewhat; the drying and pressing process would startle him; the bustle would make his head ache; and the stock-room would quite finish him. An edition of Harpers' Monthly Magazine alone consists of 175,000. Few persons have any idea how large a number this is as applied to the edition of a book. It is computed that if these magazines were to rain down, and one man should attempt to pick them up like chips, it would take him a fortnight to pick up the copies of one single number, supposing him to pick up one every second, and to work ten hours a day."
"The rapidity with which books are now manufactured is almost incredible. A complete copy of one of Bulwer's novels, published across the water in three volumes, and reproduced here in one, was swept through the press in New-York in fifty hours, and offered for sale smoking hot in the streets. The fabulous edifice proposed by a Yankee from Vermont, no longer seems an impossibility. 'Build the establishment according to my plan,' said he; drive a sheep in at one end, and he shall immediately come out at the other, four quarters of lamb, a felt hat, a leather apron, and a quarto Bible." "
The business of the Messrs. Harper, whose establishment is referred to in the foregoing extract, is probably more generally diffused over every section of this country than that of any other publishing house. From enquiries recently made of them we learn that they issue, on an average, 3,000 bound volumes per day, throughout the year, and that each volume will average 500 pages-making a total of about one million of volumes, and not less than five hundred millions of pages per annum. This does not include the Magazine and books in pamphlet form, each of which contains as much matter as a bound volume.Their bills for paper exceed $300,000 annually, and as the average cost is fifteen cents per pound, they consume more than two millions of pounds-say one thousand tons of white paper.
There are regularly employed in their own premises about 550 persons, including printers, binders, engravers, and clerks. These are all paid in full once a fortnight in bankable money. Besides these, there are numerous authors and artists in every section of the country, who furnish manuscripts and illustrations, on terms generally satisfactory to all the parties interested.
The Magazine has a monthly circulation of between 175,000 and 200,000, or about two millions of copies annually. Each number of the Magazine is closed up about the fifth of the month previous to its date. Three or four days thereafter the mailing begins, commencing with more distant subscribers, all of whom are supplied before any copies are sold for delivery in New-York. The intention of the publishers is, that it shall be delivered as nearly
as possible on the same day in St. Louis, New-Orleans, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Boston, and New-York. It takes from ten to twelve days to dispatch the whole edition, (which weighs between four and five tons,) by mail and
Their new periodical, "Harpers' Weekly," has, in a little more than four months, reached a sale of nearly 70,000 copies. The mailing of this commences on Tuesday night, and occupies about three days.
Ex-Mayor Harper, whom we have found to be one of the most affable and estimable gentlemen in the city of New-York, informed us, sometime ago, that, though he had no means of knowing positively, he was of the opinion that about eighty per cent. of all their publications find final purchasers in the free States-the remainder, about twenty per cent., in the slave States. Yet it is probable that, with one or two exceptions, no other publishing house in the country has so large a per centage of Southern trade.
Of the "more than three hundred houses engaged in the publication of books," to which the writer in the "American Publishers' Circular" refers, upwards of nine-tenths of the number are in the non-slaveholding States, and these represent not less than ninety-nine hundredths of the whole capital invested in the business. Baltimore has twice as many publishers as any other Southern city; and nearly as many as the whole South beside. The census returns of 1850 give but twenty-four publishers for the entire South, and ten of these were in Maryland. The relative disproportion which then existed in this branch of enterprise, between the North and the South, still
exists; or, if it has been changed at all, that change is in favor of the North. So of all the capital, enterprise and industry involved in the manufacture of the material that enters into the composition of books. All the paper manufactories of the South do not produce enough to supply a single publishing house in the city of New-YorkPerhaps "a Southern Literature" does not necessarily involve the enterprises requisite to the manufacture of books; but experience has shown that there is a somewhat intimate relation between the author, printer, paper-maker and publisher; in other words, that the intellectual activity which expresses itself in books, is measurable by the mechanical activities engaged in their manufacture.Thus a State that is fruitful in authors will almost necessarily be fruitful in publishers; and the number of both classes will be proportioned to the reading population. The pov erty of Southern literature is legitimately shown, therefore, in the paucity of Southern publishers. We do not deny a high degree of cultivated talent to the South; we are familiar with the names of her sons whose genius has made them eminent; all that we insist upon is, that the same accursed influence which has smitten her industrial enterprises with paralysis, and retarded indefinitely her material advancement, has exerted a corresponding influence upon her literature. How it has done this we shall more fully indicate before we close the chapter.
At the "Southern Convention" held some months since at Savannah, a good deal was said about "Southern literature," and many suggestions made in reference to the best means for its promotion. One speaker thought that