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wards explains thus: "We trust we shall not be disposed | abandonment of the professed method even while it is preto countenance the practice of making use of narrative as a tended to be preserved. With all her ingenuity, Miss Martrap to catch idle readers, and make them learn something tineau has not been able to make her tales tell by any means they are afraid of. We detest the practice, and feel our- the whole of what she wished to communicate to her readers. selves insulted whenever a book of the trap kind is put into Not to speak of the summaries which conclude the several our hands. It is many years since we grew sick of works volumes, and without the aid of which it would, we apprethat pretend to be stories, and turn out to be catechisms of hend, be frequently impossible for any reader previously some kind of knowledge which we had much rather become unacquainted with the subject to carry away anything acquainted with in its undisguised form. The reason why beyond the most confused and imperfect notion of the docwe choose the form of narrative is, that we really think it trines the tale was intended to teach,-the tale itself is frethe best in which political economy can be taught, as we quently made up in great part of disquisitions and didactic should say of nearly every kind of moral science. Once statements, cut down, indeed, into the shape of dialogue, but more we must apply the old proverb, example is better not on that account partaking the less of the character of than precept. We take this proverb as the motto of our mere reasonings or lectures. In these cases the science is design. We declare frankly that our object is to teach really not taught by means of the tale at all. We have here political economy, and that we have chosen this method not not the pictorial illustration, but the letter-press at its foot, only because it is new, but because we think it the most or on the opposite page. faithful and the most complete." We are far from objecting to the intermixture. On the contrary, we are quite sure that we get through the subject much faster, and also much more satisfactorily, for being thus released occasionally from the task of interpreting symbolical incident, and carried through prosaic way. Each method is good in its proper place; for some of the more impracticable demonstrations in the direct the accomplishment of the whole purpose the combination of both is best. We have no objection to be interrupted here and there in reading "Paradise Lost" by one of Martin's fine imaginative mezzotints frowning or gleaming over poem to be volatilized away into pictures even by his conagainst the poet's lines, but we should not like the whole genial pencil. but we like her "discourse of reason" too. We only fear So we like Miss Martineau's stories much; that a good many of her readers, hurried away by the seductions of the former, may be wicked enough sometimes to skip the latter altogether; and then we suspect their system of political economy would show a few rather awkward rents, or a somewhat preternatural scantiness in one or other of its dimensions.

If we rightly understand this passage, the writer would draw a distinction between some sciences and others, in regard to their fitness for being taught through the medium of fictitious narratives. She contends that nearly every kind of moral science may be best taught in this way, but speaks of other kinds of knowledge as most fitly introduced to the mind in their undisguised form. We gather, for instance, that although she would teach the principles of political economy by tales, she would not think of explaining the elements of geometry in a series of tragedies.

In the title which she has given to her work Miss Martineau has scarcely claimed the same office for the fictitious narratives it consists of which she here attributes to them. She calls them "Illustrations of Political Economy," that is, if we are to understand the words in their ordinary meaning, lights thrown upon the science, with the view of exhibiting certain parts of it in unusually full development and exemplification, or in a peculiarly vivid form. We think that this title gives a more accurate description of what the work really is than the passage we have extracted from the preface, and also expresses more truly what such a method of treating the science of political economy is essentially adapted to accomplish. The science is indeed a moral one in this sense, that many of its lessons have a direct bearing upon the conduct of life, and also in the more important respect for the purpose of such illustrations as we are at present considering, that the operation of its principles may, for the most part, be distinctly traced or forcibly displayed in the actual doings and fortunes of men in society. We shall not deny the possibility of even imagining a set of fables that should comprehend an ingenious reduction to the picture form of every one of its doctrines and demonstrations. But we should question the advantage of such a method of teaching the science. We look upon the employment of tales for the illustration of this or any other subject nearly as we do upon the employment of wood-cuts or other engravings for the same purpose. It would be practicable, we do not doubt, to contrive a series of such designs, dimly visioning forth the truths of any science whatever, or the facts of any history, or even the notions and deductions that make up any metaphysical speculation. If the Mexicans had any treatises upon political economy, they must have been composed upon this plan. By dint of great perspicuity and pains-taking, a reader might, perhaps, in most cases get at something like the meaning of such a mere picture-book; but we prefer having the aid of a little explanatory letter-press. In other words, although we allow that there are some parts of political economy, and of many other sciences, that admit very well of being elucidated in the mode Miss Martineau has adopted, and which such illustrations as she has given us are calculated to present in a very effective manner, we hold that there is much, too, which can be more shortly, more naturally, more distinctly, and in every way more conveniently and better taught, by plain and direct statement, or in what she has herself called the "undisguised form." We conceive it, therefore, to be a needless and pedantic adherence to the mere formalities of method, and the application of a good instrument beyond its proper service, to attempt to make tales do the whole work in the explanation of any department of knowledge whatever. Indeed the thing can only be done by every now and then resorting to the most forced and awkward processes, to the distortion both of the precept and of the example, or under cover of an evasion which amounts really to a surrender and

merely noticing another point.
We must acquit our conscience before we conclude, by
ciled to the mixture of fact and fiction which such a work as
We do not feel quite recon-
the present exhibits. The story, we think, is not improved
by the science-nor the science by the story. It may be
truth that is presented to us; but there is no getting over
the feeling that it is, after all, painted truth. We appre-
hend it will be found that we never read a fictitious narra-
tive, even when we are most deeply interested in it and
most completely carried away by it, with the trust and full
assent which we accord either to a true history or to a dry
piece of reasoning. We retain all the while a lurking con-
viction that the whole is nothing better than an imposition.
It would be unfortunate if the readers who derive their first
notions of political economy from Miss Martineau's tales
should in this way acquire at the same time a habit of re-
garding the science itself as nothing more than a plausible
fiction. Might not the science be still more successfully and
more safely taught by a series of illustrations consisting not
of fictions but of facts-of narratives gathered from history
and real life? The difficulty of the task would be great,
from the extent and variety of the ground to be gone over,
and we are not sure that Miss Martineau's brilliant talents
might not be more effectively employed in another way;
but if she would undertake such a work, many parts of her
present performance assure us that it could scarcely be in
better hands.



Issued monthly, crown 8vo. 4s. per volume. THERE are some, no doubt, who have seen the sun rise in London; and there are more who have ventured through her desolate streets when the sun is up, but man is not. At such an hour,-before

"The slip-shod prentice from his master's door

Has pared the dirt and sprinkled round the floor," the curious observer may descry one set of shops open and ready for the activity of commerce. These are the marts of the pastry-cooks. minces his vol-au-vent three hours after noon, the chimneyWhere the exquisite sips his ice or sweeper rejoices in his stale custard six hours after midnight. One by one a little knot of anxious customers, or would-be

customers, gather round the window. There lie the brown | we suspect, will in future buy, on the first opening of the and horny buns, not in goodly rows, but in chaotic disorder; market, even "the most sterling and admired works of there the tartlets, "sicklied o'er with the pale cast" of fiction that have emanated from the pen of living writers," age, carry their own chronology in their faces; there the or "the most celebrated works of modern times," or "the jelly, no longer quivering and transparent, shows damp choicest productions of modern times," as each of these liand dirty, having passed through the atmospheres of seven- braries is described by Mr. Colburn to be, when, with small teen" at homes,' and returned at last to perish in the patience, they may obtain the commodities "at a cost little place of its birth; and there the twelfth cake, whose "un-exceeding one-third of their original prices." Let us not be timely frost" now looks like the snow of a city kennel in a misunderstood. The wares which Mr. Colburn now offers tedious thaw, condescends to solicit the appetite of the at four shillings per volume are the identical wares which dustman, without any of the ceremonial of king and queen. a year ago he offered at half-a-guinea a volume. He does Slowly, but certainly, the cates that will no longer keep not, as his successor Mr. Bentley has wisely done, make a vanish down uncritical throats. As the hour of new pro- selection from those copyrights of which he has sold a dear duction draws on, the price of the old wares gradually falls; edition, and by reprinting them closely, yet legibly and the fourpenny pie descends to an inglorious penny, and the elegantly, render them generally accessible to a new set of penny tart to a still more inglorious farthing. At length readers, at one fifth of their original price. Mr. Colburn's when the sweeps, and the charity boys, and the imps that cheap libraries of fiction are not reprints at all; new titles know by instinct when a horse is to be held, are supplied, only are put to the old " island of text in a sea of margin;" the remnant of the buns and tartlets and plum-cakes are and to this extent only does Mr. Colburn adapt himself to gathered into one ignoble basket, and sold, hard fate, for the "principles of economy and general convenience." The what he will give, to the kennel-raker. public, if they are inclined to purchase these things at all, will now obtain them at the diminished prices that always result from a glut of the market. The cook has made too many sweet-cakes for the natural demand; an artificial demand must be created by offering the stale pastry at cost little exceeding one-third of their original prices."

A few years ago the stale pastry of literature was not eased in its descent to the uttermost destruction, by any such gradual process of trying a new set of customers, at the original manufactories. A few scraps were smuggled into by-places, and looked tempting on the stalls; but these did not constitute a market. Novels, indeed, were produced in profitless gluts; and they were called into being by the double folly of author and publisher,

"Soon to the mass of nonsense to return,

"In spite

Now this, as we shall endeavour to explain, is a mere equivocation with the principle of cheapness. The complete development of this principle rests, as we before have shown in another paper, upon the extent of the market. Some Where things destroyed are swept to things unborn." books, and those may be of the best under particular circumBut there was a great gulf between the half-a-guinea per be expensive; and it would be commercially unwise, and stances, are not addressed to the many such books must volume of the boudoir and the fourpence per lb. of the trunk- injurious therefore to the interests of the public, as well as maker. The gulf, however, was to be passed by too many, of men of letters, to publish them at a low price. Others and the stale pastry of letters in that case went at once to may not appear to the author or the publisher to be calcuthe scales. The condemned books were thrown, like Mil-lated for a large sale; but experiment may show that the ton's condemned angels, "Sheer o'er the crystal battle- author and publisher were mistaken: in that case, when ments." It is true that one immortal publisher of novels, a dear edition has been fairly sold, it is just and politic to who had not only the art of persuading a legion of cox- bring out a cheap edition. Lastly, there are at present a combs, class of books, and the class will shortly be much enlarged, which are calculated to be sold by thousands instead of by hundreds and tens; and in that case the truest wisdom is not to attempt to raise a tax upon the few by a high-priced first edition, but to go boldly for the widest market, and having fixed the lowest price that prudence will permit, adhere to that price without wavering. Each of these courses is to act upon a scientific understanding of the principle which especially determines price in the commerce of literature. The course which Mr. Colburn has followed in these "Libraries" is essentially different. It is upholding the principle of dearness by an equivocation with the principle of cheapness. If it were generally pursued it would destroy all faith in publishers on the part of the factors and consumers: it would convert the profession into a knot of mere hucksters and gamblers. Let us trace its operation through a single instance.

Of nature and their stars, to write,"

but the greater art of cajoling the circulating libraries to
buy-the sale-compelling Jove of New Burlington Street-
had a sort of mysterious process of shipping off the stale
pastry to the innocent feeders upon the Susquehana or the
Orinoco, who, dwelling far away from the fame's trumpet
of Literary Gazettes and Court Journals, might not hear of
what "the swans of Thames" had been singing, till the
swans and their songs had died together. It is said, too,
that the stale pastry now and then peeped up in small frag-
ments upon the shelves of some village library in Cornwall
or the Hebrides, looking as smirking with a new title-page
as if it had not gone through all the phases of puff and
oblivion in "the World before the Flood" of the previous
season. But still it is manifest that these contraband
operations could not have been carried on upon a large
scale. Mr. Colburn, however, knows well (to use his own
happy expression) how "to work a book." He has at
prepared the public mind" (to employ another of his
felicitous phrases) for a new æra of cheapness after his own
fashion. The Stale Pastry is now ADVERTISED at less
than half price.

We do not, in the slightest degree, object to these pro-
ceedings. We rejoice to behold the goodly phrases in which
Mr. Colburn " prepares the public mind" for his "Select
Library of Modern Fiction," his "Cheap Library of Irish
Romance," and his "Naval and Military Library of En-
tertainment." We delight to see him announce the first
series" at a cost little exceeding one-third of their original
prices; we applaud the liberality which proposes to do,
on behalf of Irish story, by the reproduction, on the much
approved plan of cheap monthly publications," that which
he says has been done by the uniform collection of Sir
Walter Scott's Novels; and we revere the munificence which
bestows " upon every mess and gun-room at home and
abroad" "The Naval and Military Library of Entertain-
ment," upon
"the principles of economy and general con-
venience which have already suggested, in several successful
instances, the cheap monthly publication of works per-
taining to the lighter and more amusing departments of
literature." We rejoice in these changes, because no one,

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A manuscript novel is purchased of a person of quality" for 2001. The number of volumes, of course, three-the price of the three a guinea and a half. This price, by various allowances, is reduced to a net guinea to the publisher. The expense of setting up the types, or composition, will be about 1007. for the three volumes. Here, then, is a cost of 300l. to be incurred, whether the work sell ten copies or ten thousand. If a thousand copies are estimated to be sold (an average edition) the cost of authorship and composition for each copy would be 68.; and 3s. per copy, or 1s. per volume, for paper and press-work will complete the cost of production. But there is the cost of publication to be added, and this, with a "fashionable novel," is no slight affair. The newspapers will not insert for nothing the "we are credibly assured that a certain duchess, not very far removed from the highest person in the land, is the authoress," &c.; or, "it is whispered at Almack's that various disagreements have taken place between a noble lord and his lady, in consequence of the free remarks of the latter in her forthcoming novel," &c.; or, "the circles are in breathless suspense for the appearance," &c. All this costs money, and the public must pay for their own gullibility in the price of the book. This process will certainly raise the cost of the goodly three volumes at least 3s. per copy. The account, therefore, will stand thus, of the cost of producing and publishing each of a thousand copies :—


remained for the encouragement of other literary enterprises, -amounts to the enormous sum of 281,7007.

Authorship, 4s.; composition, 2s.; paper and print, 38. ; advertising, 38.;-total, 12s. We do not say that the cost of production and the price at which the book is sold leave We do not, of course, mean to say that this sum has gone an extravagant profit. We think quite the reverse; for the into Mr. Colburn's pocket. But we do mean to say, that the whole affair of publishing luxurious books for the few is excessive price has been applied, in a great degree, to very much dependent upon chance, and it requires a genius worthless objects. The eaves-droppers of the aristocracy— like Mr. Colburn's for " preparing the public mind" to get "The constant critics at the great man's board, back the expenses that are permanent, whatever number To fetch and carry nonsense for my lord," are sold. We do not object that two-fifths of the wholesale have received a large portion of the price of the copyprice of a thousand copies are profit, any more than we object that the winner of the Derby clears 10,000l. The rights;-the charges of the printer and the paper-maker game is not a sure one. But we do object to the calcula- have not more than equalled the cost of "preparing the tion of price being made upon a thousand copies, while 1250 public mind." One fourth, at least, of the cost has not entered into the material or intellectual quality of the books. or 1500 are printed; and we still more object to the stale It has been spent in paragraphs. We do not think that 250 or 500 being, after a year or so, brought into the market Mr. Colburn, in receiving 281,7007. beyond what he himself "at a cost little exceeding one-third of their original prices," for the delusion of the many under the pretence of cheap duced all his stock at nearly two-thirds less than their original now estimates the market value of his novels, could have proness, after the few have been deluded under the pretence of fashion. The "remainder," as the trade calls the "stale pas- prices; the books, with very inconsiderable exceptions, could never hope to command a market beyond the few agape for try," having cost only the paper and press-work, or one shil- the novelty of the hour. Here is the real crime. The publing per volume, the "principles of economy and general con-lisher who produces a class of books at 10s. 6d., which he venience," advocated by Mr. Colburn, leave him a higher acknowledges can be sold at 48., has taken from the funds rate of profit upon his second prices than he had upon his first. We apprehend that if the system were general, of by which useful literary labour is supplied all that difference, if not the entire cost. The publisher of bad books, first stimulating an artificial demand for a dear book by a and of dear books, is the great enemy of men of letters, machinery of puffing whose cost enters largely into its price; properly so called, if by any machinery he can compel the and then, when the exclusives were satiated, of giving the public to buy. He is a plunderer of the intellectual labour very same article to the cheap markets, under the pretence fund, just as the idle pauper is a plunderer of the physical that the cheapness is produced by reprinting a large number labour fund. Out of these 497 works how many are for the many, as the Waverley Novels have so properly been printed, while the process is simply to print, in the first in- the mark-in the next generation? One-twentieth may even now recollected? How many will be read,-God save stance, a larger number than the exclusives can consumewe apprehend that if these practices were general, the the books of instruction-where are the authorities? The now and then be looked at for amusement; but where are dealers in cast-off clothes (our friends the pastry-cooks have not tact enough for the operation) might unite with the account, if it were analysed, would look much like Falstaff s trade" in the art of vamping up cast-off books, and, without any superfluous division of labour, erect a new and flourishing corporation in their common Rag-Fair ;-Paternoster-Row and Monmouth Street might shake hands.


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"Item; a capon, 2s. 2d.-(Modern Travels.)
Item; sauce, 4d.-(English Memoirs.)
Item; sack, two gallons, 5s. 8d.-(Novels.)
Item; anchovies and sack, after supper, 2s. 6d.-(French
memoirs and other translations.)

Item; bread, a halfpenny-(Evelyn's and Pepys'

One halfpenny worth of bread to this intolerable deal of sack."

The remaining nineteen twentieths of the whole are gone out of life, if their hot-bed existence could be called life. A premature decrepitude came over them almost at their birth: from the first they looked

"Like stunted hide-bound trees that just have got

Sufficient strength at once to bear and rot." Peace to their no-memories; may they never "revisit the glimpses of the moon," and be fished out of their tombs to walk the earth again in "Cheap Libraries of Modern Fiction," upon "principles of economy and general convenience."

The injury to the public by Mr. Colburn's operations of business, during some twenty years, may be estimated upon his own data. The three "Cheap Libraries" advertised by Mr. Colburn amount to seventy-two volumes. At their original price of 10s. 6d. per volume; the price which a large portion of the public has paid for a single set of each is 37%. 168. A set of the seventy-two volumes is now advertised for 147. 88. Let it be remembered, that the article at a low price is literally the same as the article at a high price. There is no compression of type, and no consequent saving of paper, as in the new editions of the Waverley Novels, of the Standard Novels, of Byron, of Scott, of Crabbe. Be it, therefore, profit to the publisher, or capital wasted in unnecessary expenses, each purchaser of these seventy-two volumes, at 10s. 6d., has paid 237. 8s. more than Mr. Colburn now asks him to pay for the same article. Upon 1,000 copies, therefore, the first purchasers have been seduced into an outlay of 23,400%. more than Mr. Colburn's Having, then, these high claims upon the public gratitude, estimate of the present value of the commodity. For what by a long course of successful endeavours to enact sumphave they paid this difference? For novelty; for fashion, tuary laws for literature; and having now, in deference to perhaps or is it for the happiness of being well deceived the prejudices of the age in favour of economy, slightly reby an ingenious puff? But let us carry the inquiry a little laxed those laws in the case of the "Select Library of further. We have endeavoured thoroughly to inform our- Fiction," &c. &c., Mr. Colburn is resolved to vindicate the selves of the statistics of Mr. Colburn's trade for twenty-two public from the injuries they are receiving, and are likely years. We have gained no secret information; but we have to receive, in a totally opposite direction. Mr. Colburn has made a list of all his publications as they appear in the Lon-mounted the heavy horse of his "New Monthly Magazine," don Catalogue of New Books, published from 1810 to 1832, and his squire has taken the field upon the ambling ass of a very authentic and complete work. Moreover, we have his "Court Journal ;"-the Quixote and the Sancho have analyzed this list, both as to the classes and the prices of sallied out together, and have, in their valorous rashness, his books; and we can tell him that, during all these years, undertaken to do vengeance on the rabble-rout of " Penny he has published 655 volumes of novels, and 597 volumes Magazines" and "Penny Cyclopædias." The lesson of the of works in every other class,-travels, memoirs, translations, windmills has no instruction for them: they charge boldly and French re-publications,—making a total of 497 separate upon the imaginary giants that are really doing the necessary works, with an aggregate of 1,252 volumes;-that the total work of preparing the people's plain and nutritious intellectual sum the public has paid for a single set of all the works food; they swear that the industrious sails are arms to rob and published by him is, 6417. 188. 6d.; and that the average murder the helpless public;-and even when they are down, price per volume is, 10s. 4d. As Mr. Colburn, therefore, after the first onslaught, they roar out at Paul's Cross, in now values a 108. 6d. volume at 4s.,—the average excess of the self-same words as the Vicar of Croydon used in the price upon all his publications beyond Mr. Colburn's estimate same place three centuries ago, " Root out (cheap) printing is, 68. 4d. per volume, say 6 s.; and multiplying the total or (cheap) printing will root out us." number of volumes published by 750, the number estimated to be printed of each (a low estimate), the capital that has been unnecessarily paid for Mr. Colburn's publications, which capital, if it had not been thus wasted, would have


The child and champion" of the half-guinea dignity and the four shilling cheapness of" the choicest productions of modern times" has issued a bulletin, pregnant with meaning

"13, Great Marlborough Street, January 1st, 1834. "Mr. Colburn_requests attention to the enclosed article, extracted from the New Monthly Magazine,' relative to the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, and begs leave to suggest the propriety and expediency of calling a Meeting of the Trade, for the purpose of considering of the best means of bringing the Charter and the Commercial Transactions of the Society under the consideration of a Committee of the House of Commons."

We desire to extend the circulation of this bulletin. Our publisher has already extended the knowledge of some portion of the dainty "criticism" which it recommends to the impartial consideration of Mr. Colburn's fancied allies. The champion prints his bulletin for some dozens of persons whom he believes, in many cases incorrectly, to be wedded to the opinion that the commerce of books must be maintained upon the same principle as the old commerce of nutmegs by the Dutch colonists, sell, but do not let others grow. We print it for the consideration of those who have learnt to rejoice that the demand for books and the supply of books have begun to be balanced. Mr. Colburn prints it for the "Perigord-pie" fraction of the trade, who believe, or affect to believe, that nothing in the world of letters is of any value, except what is artificial, and stimulating, and exclusive, and costly; and who, like Sylvester Daggerwood, still exhibit their wares "at the particular request of several ladies and gentlemen of distinction." We print it for the thousands who now constitute the trade throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland; and who, while the "stale pastry" still cumbereth the market, see hundreds of thousands crowding to purchase the cheap sheets and volumes which have now, for the first time in the history of letters, bestowed the wholesome bread and the pure waters of sound knowledge upon those who were hungering and thirsting for the supply. Mr. Colburn prints his bulletin for the few dealers in literary luxuries, we print it for the many dealers in literary necessaries.

Mr. Colburn and ourselves, then, being at issue as to the constitution of the trade, may naturally each request" attention" to the "article from the New Monthly Magazine relative to the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge," but with very different views. Mr. Colburn believes that cheap books are injurious to the trade, and he therefore calls a meeting to consider of the propriety and expediency of petitioning parliament to suppress the Society which has given the greatest impulse to the publication of cheap books. We, on the contrary, believe that cheap books are beneficial to the trade; and we therefore, gladly avail ourselves of this manifesto against cheap books, to moot the whole question, in this article and elsewhere, commercially and morally-not only as between the publishers and the booksellers, but as between the booksellers and the public. With regard to the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, we take our stand upon the only resting-place of argument that "the article in the New Monthly Magazine" supplies. The "criticism" we leave to float on the surface or sink into the mud, as fate may decree. To answer it would be "as easy as lying;" but "le jeu ne vaut pas

la chandelle."

"When an association of noblemen and gentlemen, who disclaim the acquisition of personal gain, comes forward for any desirable public object, and enters into a branch of general trade already carried on by private individuals, we apprehend that, in justice to those individuals, it must be shown that the particular department of a trade so taken up is attended with a degree of risk, which the merchant would not be willing to encounter." This is the hypothesis which the writer in the "New Monthly Magazine" assumes as the proper condition of the existence of such a society as that for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. It is a just hypothesis. The particular department of the trade of publishing taken up, encouraged, and brought to maturity by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, was attended with a degree of risk which the merchant in books was not willing to encounter-which he did not encounter-and which, without the impulse of the Society, he never would have encountered.

This risk, which the Society and its first publisher, Mr. Baldwin, encountered in 1827, by the issue of the "Library of Useful Knowledge," may be described in a few words. The Society resolved to employ men of adequate abilities to write a body of treatises on science, which treatises should be published at sixpence each. The So

ciety, as it has declared in its published Reports, arranged to purchase the copyright of the author, and to receive a certain sum upon the sale of each thousand copies from the publisher. The Society risked only the difference of price between what it might pay to the author and what it might obtain from the publisher;-the publisher risked his paper, his printing, his advertising, and his payment to the Society. This is the sort of risk which the Society has incurred from first to last in all its publications. It has risked the advance of money to its authors as the negotiator and perfecter of the transaction between the author and the publisher;-the publisher has risked all that any other bookseller risks when he purchases a manuscript, prints, and publishes. Mr. Baldwin risked in his transactions with the Society as much in degree as Mr. Colburn has risked in his transactions with the authors of the six hundred and fifty-five volumes of "the choicest productions of modern times." We beg pardon. He has not risked, as Mr. Colburn has done, the large expense of "preparing the public mind." The public mind was prepared, when a body of men distinguished in several ways, but especially for exact knowledge in many branches of learning, came forward with their names, as correctors before publication, of works in which accuracy was justly considered the most important quality. The "we are credibly informed that an eminent literary character" &c. &c., was, in this case, unnecessary; the costly machinery of puffing was not required:-the books, therefore, were produced at a cheaper rate than Mr. Colburn's "most sterling and admired works," because the cost of blowing up bubbles for the children to gaze at did not enter into the price. But still, there was a great risk. At the cheap rate at which the Society determined these works should be sold, a sale of seven or eight thousand was required for the remuneration of the publisher. There was no precedent existing in 1827 for such a sale of works devoted to useful information; the Society had to create the precedent. That "the trade so taken up was attended with a degree of risk which the merchant would not be willing to encounter," may be inferred from one circumstance of public notoriety :-the great publishing house that originally undertook the "Library of Useful Knowledge," declined to proceed with it before the appearance of the first number. The experiment, no doubt, appeared perilous; and was not reducible to the ordinary calculations of their commerce. Mr. Baldwin had therefore the honour of leading the way in that fearful inroad upon the dearness of the good old times of publishing, which first developed itself in the wicked birth of what the literary exclusives of that day called the "sixpenny sciences."


It is not our intention to trace the onward progress of the Society very minutely. What the Society has accomplished, and the principles upon which it has acted, are clearly and impartially detailed in the 9th number of its own Quarterly Journal of Education"- an article to which its detractors never condescend to refer. In that article it is shown that the Society has invariably held to its great principle of confining its risk, when it incurred any risk at all, to its dealings with authors;-or what is even a clearer course, of devolving all the risk, even the risk of the entire amount of authorship, upon its publisher, receiving a rent per thousand copies for its superintendence. This risk was successively enlarged by the diminution of the selling price of the Society's new works, as the public confidence in its. intentions was built upon the public gratitude for its exertions. The diminution was caused by the Society, and by all concerned with the Society, relying more implicitly upon the large numbers of the purchasers that had crowded into the new marts of literature. At last the boldest experiment was made, without any guarantee to the publisher but the credit of the Society-that of publishing a magazine which should only reimburse its expenses upon a sale of fifty thousand. Here was a risk to be run which no "merchant" of letters ever before grappled with. The wood-cuts alone of a single number of this little sheet, involve as great an outlay as would have bestowed immortality, as a patron_of art, upon many an old caterer of books for the few. But the risk was met, because there was confidence that the British people were prepared to receive something fresher, and broader, and more akin to the wants of a searching and intelligent curiosity, than the "hole-and-corner" literature, whose crumbs they had so long been obliged to pick up. The "Penny Magazine," in the preface to its first volume, has declared that it "stands upon the commercial principle



Royal 18mo. pp. 318. Cochrane.

THIS bids fair to be a very good edition of the collected "Of him who walked in glory and in joy,


Folloying his plough along the mountain side-"

of the brightest poetical geniuses of modern times. The publishers have sensibly adopted the now prevailing plan of a monthly issue-a plan which will never fail when properly applied to works of sterling merit, though it may certainly prove fruitless enough to those who attempt through such a medium to dispose of the residue and "remainder" of inferior literary wares. This edition is to be completed in six monthly volumes, costing 5s. each, with two engravings to each volume.

alone;" and so did all the other works of the Society. If the commerce of literature, forty-eight farthings are as good they were bolstered up by subscriptions and patronage, as a shilling. Let them turn the knowledge to account in which these drivellers call" vast resources," they would their own speculations, and they will have no temptation perish in a day. There are no vast resources for literature to make the desperate experiment of a reduction of their but in the exchange with the many. Those, therefore, wares "to one-third of their original prices." who talk about the Society being dealers and chapmen, protected by their corporate character from the ordinary risks of trade-those who prate about the Society's large funds raised by subscriptions-those who maintain that the Society by their vast resources may destroy every commercial house in the country with which they think fit to compete "-will do well to imitate the principles upon which the Society has built up its success, instead of deluding themselves and others. These principles are no mystery; they are, first to make a book as cheap as a pru-of the Ayrshire peasant Burns, who was indisputably one dent, but not timid, calculation of the probable number of purchasers will allow; secondly, to make it as exact and as attractive as a liberal outlay to authors and artists, and a careful division of labour in the responsible superintendence of the work before publication, will ensure. This is, in our judgment, the real mode of "working a book " this is the true way of "preparing the public mind," by leading the public to rely upon the quality itself, and not upon newspaper puffs of the quality. The " public mind" was prepared by the excellence alone of the Waverley novels to purchase the collected edition of them to an extent unparalleled in the history of letters. The "public mind was, in the same way, prepared to reimburse Mr. Murray more liberally for the large sums he had paid Lord Byron, by the purchase of his cheap edition of that great writer, than in the previous purchase of the dear editions. They will do the same with his Crabbe; they will do the same even with Wordsworth, when the proprietors of the works of that illustrious man shall give them to the people in a cheap and tasteful form. The sale of Wordsworth's poems within the last year has, we are informed, been double that of any previous year: how is this? the despised "Penny Magazine," the destroyer of literature, has made Wordsworth familiar to half a million of people: he is now beyond the sneers of the coteries. As the sale of large cheap editions of Scott and Byron has been built upon the public confidence in these immortal writers, so the sale of large cheap editions of the works of the Society has been built upon the public confidence in their quality, as well as their cheapness. Cheapness without excellence would be a perilous experiment for the Society and for its publishers. When it is attempted, the "stale pastry" will accumulate very rapidly. Mr. Colburn, instead of calling upon parliament to put down the Society in the fulness of its fame, ought to pray that it may become corrupt and careless through success; for then its "remainders" would naturally descend to his fostering charge; and he mightexercise his genius in producing a new birth of Useful Knowledge, and Entertaining Knowledge, and Maps, and Portraits, and even Penny Magazines and Cyclopædias, "at less than one-third of their original prices." The day has not yet arrived, nor do we think it will arrive, till Colburn and Curll have compared notes in the Elysian fields, and have transmitted us a new "Dialogue of the Dead," on the most improved mode of "working a book." Then may we hope that some greater than Curll or Colburn shall arise,

"Imbibe new strength, and scour, and stink along," instructed, by the misfortunes of the one, to beware of poets and the pillory, and not misled, by the success of the other, to expose the "stale pastry to the noon-day gaze of the idle and the luxurious. Why could not the maids of honour of the "Select Library of Modern Fiction," the jumbles of the "Cheap Library of Irish Romance,' and the crown cakes of the "Naval and Military Library of Entertainment" have been sold "in the top of the morning" before the general world was awake? Mr. Colburn has retired from the business of manufacturing new dainties, and does not now mind "spoiling the market." He leaves to his successor to earn the fame which Warton assigned to the mutton-pie maker of Oxford :

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Under a similar mode of publication the works of Walter Scott and Byron have sold to an infinitely greater extent and rendered much larger profits than when they were issued at high exclusive prices. This is easily explained. A great portion of the reading public had, no doubt, made themselves acquainted with the immortal tales and poems of these great writers through circulating libraries and other means within their compass; but it is a characteristic, which, if not peculiar to Englishmen, is at least more strongly marked in them than in other people, that they love to have a property in what amuses and instructs them-they like to be able to call a book "their own"-to have it, and at all times, at their own disposal, to ornament their own shelf with it, to take it up and lay it down as they list-to read it by their own fireside. And in truth such a possession and the faculty of reperusal and of recurring at will to a favourite or a half-forgotten passage, are essential to the obtainment of the full benefit of any good work.

Accordingly when the sterling productions we have mentioned were issued at a low price and at convenient intervals of time, a host of purchasers who had hitherto been precluded by high prices and their inability to buy a large work or a series of works at one time, and by one great outlay, rushed joyfully into the market, and showed, by what was collectively a shower of gold, how highly and justly the middling and poorer classes appreciated literature and genius. Was not this another proof that taste is not confined to the high places?—that the people of these countries did not merit to be (as they had so long been) considered without the pale of elegant letters-as a mass to be confined to horn-books, to the uncertain and sometimes dangerous miscellany of the street book-stall, or to the childish tract and dogmatical digest that insulted the taste and understanding of those they pretended to instruct? And what was this new mode of publishing on the part of the booksellers, but a measure of diffusion? It was nothing else! The Constables, the Cadells, the Murrays, thus became diffusionists, and we heartily congratulate them on their success in their new vocation.

The whole of the volume now before us, which contains a

striking likeness of Robert Burns, is occupied by a life of
the poet, which offers little that is new, though it may be
read with some advantage by those who are not acquainted
with the superior memoir written by Mr. Lockhart or the
Burns, the poet's amiable and virtuous brother.
more copious one published by Dr. Currie, and Gilbert


with all those who have preceded him in writing the diffiIt appears to us that Mr. Allan Cunningham, in common cult life of Burns, though he has stated some curious but strong light the course of education, and afterwards of selfnow generally known facts, has not placed in a sufficiently instruction, by which the Ayrshire peasant was enabled to take his place among the great masters of song. biographer has an evident leaning to a belief in the all-sufficing powers of original genius; and does not sufficiently bear in mind what Dugald Stewart has said of Burns's various attainments and of the fluency and precision of his language even in conversation, which could only have been acquired by long study.

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