Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

a different meaning. Thus too I have followed Hooker, Sander. son, Milton, and others, in designating the immediateness of any act or object of knowledge by the word intuition, used sometimes subjectively, sometimes objectively, even as we use the word thought; now as the thought, or act of thinking, and now as a thought, or the object of our reflection; and we do this without confusion or obscurity. The very words, objective and subjective, of such constant recurrence in the schools of yore, I have ven. tured to re-introduce, because I could not so briefly or conveniently by any more familiar terms distinguish the percipere from the percipi. Lastly, I have cautiously discriminated the terms, the reason, and the understanding, encouraged and confirmed by the authority of our genuine divines and philosophers, before the Revolution.

both life, and sense,
Fancy and understanding; whence the soul
Reason receives, and reason is her being,
*Discursive or intuitive: discourse 3
Is oftest yours, the latter most is ours,
Differing but in degree, in kind the same.*

I say, that I was confirmed by authority so venerable: for I had previous and higher motives in my own conviction of the importance, nay, of the necessity of the distinction, as both an indispensable condition and a vital part of all sound speculation in metaphysics, ethical or theological. To establish this distinction was one main object of The Friend ;' if even in a biography of my own literary life I can with propriety refer to a work, which was printed rather than published, or so published that it had

3 But for sundry notes on Shakspeare, and other pieces which have fallen in my way, I should have deemed it unnecessary to observe, that discourse here, or elsewhere, does not mean what we now call discoursing; but the discursion of the mind, the processes of generalization and subsumption, of deduction and conclusion. Thus, Philosophy has hitherto been discursive; while Geometry is always and essentially intuitive.

* (Paradise Lost. Book v., 1. 485. S. C.]

5 [Mr. Coleridge here refers to The Friend as it first came out in the North of England, in 1809-10. See the Biog. Supplement, at the end of yol. ii S. C.)

been well for the unfortunate author, if it had remained in manu. script. I have even at this time bitter cause for remembering that, which a number of my subscribers have but a trifling motive for forgetting. This effusion might have been spared ; but I would feign flatter myself, that the reader will be less austere than an oriental professor of the bastinado, who during an i ttempt to extort per argumentum baculinum a full confession from a culprit, interrupted his outcry of pain by reminding him, that

a mere digression !" " All this noise, Sir! is nothing to the point, and no sort of answer to my questions !" “ Ah! but” (replied the sufferer), “it is the most pertinent reply in nature to

it was

your blows."

An imprudent man of common goodness of heart cannot but wish to turn even his imprudences to the benefit of others, as far as this is possible. If therefore any one of the readers of this semi-narrative should be preparing or intending a periodical work, I warn him, in the first place, against trusting in the number of names on his subscription list. For he cannot be certain that the names were put down by sufficient authority ; or, should that be ascertained, it still remains to be known, whether they were not extorted by some over zealous friend's importunity ; whether the subscriber had not yielded his name, merely from want of courage to answer, no; and with the intention of dropping the work as soon as possible. One gentleman procured me nearly a hundred names for THE FRIEND, and not only took frequent opportunity to remind me of his success in his canvass, but labored to impress my mind with the sense of the obligation I was under to the subscribers; for (as he very pertinently admonished me), “ fifty-two shillings a year was a large sum to be bestowed on one individual, where there were so many objects of charity with strong claims to the assistance of the benevolent.” Of these hundred patrons ninety threw up the publication before the fourth number, with. out any notice ; though it was well known to them, that in consequence of the distance, and the slowness and irregularity of the conveyance, I was compelled to lay in a stock of stamped paper for at least eight weeks beforehand; each sheet of which stood me in five pence previously to its arrival at my printer's; though the subscription money was not to be received till the twentv-first week after the commencement of the work; and lastly, though it was in nine cases out of ten impracticable for me to receive the money for two or three numbers without paying an equal sum for the postere.

In confirmation of my first caveat, I will select one fact among many.

On

my list of subscribers, among a considerable number of names equally flattering, was that of an Earl of Cork, with his address. He might as well have been an Earl of Bottle, for aught I knew of him, who had been content to reverence the peerage in abstracto, rather than in concretis. Of course The FRIEND was regularly sent as far, if I remember right, as the eighteenth number; that is, till a fortnight before the subscription was to be paid. And lo! just at this time I received a letter from his Lordship, reproving me in language far more lordly than courteous for my impudence in directing my pamphlets to him, who knew nothing of me or my work! Seventeen or eighteen numbers of which, however, his Lordship was pleased to retain, probably for the culinary or post-culinary conveniences of his servants.

Secondly, I warn all others from the attempt to deviate from the ordinary mode of publishing a work by the trade. I thought indeed, that to the purchaser it was indifferent, whether thirty per cent. of the purchase-money went to the booksellers or to the government; and that the convenience of receiving the work by the post at his own door would give the preference to the latter. It is hard, I own, to have been laboring for years, in collecting and arranging the materials ; to have spent every shilling that could be spared after the necessaries of life had been furnished, in buying books, or in journeys for the purpose of consulting them, or of acquiring facts at the fountain head; then to buy the paper, pay for the printing, and the like, all at least fifteen per cent. be. yond what the trade would have paid ; and then after all to give thirty per cent. not of the net profits, but of the gross results of the sale, to a man who has merely to give the books shelf or warehouse room, and permit his apprentice to hand them over the counter to those who may ask for them; and this too copy by copy, although, if the work be on any philosophical or scientific subject, it may be years before the edition is sold off. All this, I confess, must seem a hardship, and one to which the products of industry in no other mode of exertion are subject. Yet even this is better, far better, than to attempt in any way to unite the functions of author and publisher. But the most prudent mode is to sell the copy-right, at least of one or more editions, for the most that the trade will offer. By few only can a large remuneration be expected; but fifty pounds and ease of mind are of more real advantage to a literary man, than the chance of five hundred with the certainty of insult and degrading anxieties. I shall have been grievously misunderstood, if this statement should be interpreted as written with the desire of detracting from the character of booksellers or publishers. The individuals did not make the laws and customs of their trade, but, as in every other trade, take them as they find them. Till the evil can be proved to be removable, and without the substitution of an equal or greater inconvenience, it were neither wise nor manly even to complain of it. But to use it as a pretext for speaking, or even for thinking, or feeling, unkindly or opprobriously of the tradesmen, as individuals, would be something worse than unwise or even than unmanly; it would be immoral and calumnious. My motives point in a far different direction and to far other objects, as will be seen in the conclusion of the chapter.

A learned and exemplary old clergyman, who many years ago went to his reward followed by the regrets and blessings of his flock, published at his own expense two volumes octavo, entitled, A New THEORY OF Redemption. The work was most severely handled in The Monthly or Critical Review, I forget which; and this unprovoked hostility became the good old man's favorite topic of conversation among his friends. Well! (he used to exclaim) in the second edition, I shall have an opportunity of exposing both the ignorance and the malignity of the anonymous critic. Two or three years however passed by without any tidings from the bookseller, who had undertaken the printing and publication of the work, and who was perfectly at his ease, as the author was known to be a man of large property. At length the accounts were written for; and in the course of a few weeks they were presented by the rider for the house, in person. My old friend put on his spectacles, and holding the scroll with no very firm hand, hegan—"Paper, so much : O moderate enough

[ocr errors]

not at all beyond my expectation! Printing, so much : well! molerate enough! Stitching, covers, advertisements, carriage, and so forth, so much."-Still nothing amiss. Selleridge (for orthography is no necessary part of a bookseller's literary acquirements) £3. 38. “ Bless me! only three guineas for the what d’ye call it—the selleridge ?": “No more, Sir!" replied the rider. “Nay, but that is too moderate !" rejoined my old friend. Only three guineas for selling a thousand copies of a work in two volumes ?“O Sir!" (cries the young traveller) “ you have mistaken the word. There have been none of them sold ; they have been sent back from London long ago; and this £3. 3s. is for the cellaridge, or warehouse-room in our book cellar.” The work was in consequence preferred from the ominous cellar of the publisher to the author's garret; and, on presenting a copy to an acquaintance, the old gentleman used to tell the anecdote with great humor and still greater good nature.

With equal lack of worldly knowledge, I was a far more than equal sufferer for it, at the very outset of my authorship.6 Towards the close of the first year from the time, that in an inauspicious hour I left the friendly cloisters, and the happy grove of quiet, ever honored Jesus College, Cambridge, I was persuaded by sundry philanthropists and Anti-polemists to set on foot a periodical work, entitled THE WATCHMAN, that, according to the general motto of the work, all might know the truth, and that the truth might make us free" In order to exempt it from the stamp-lax, and likewise to contribute as little as possible to the supposed guilt of a war against freedom, it was to be published on every eighth day, thirty-two pages, large octavo, closely printed, and price only four-pence. Accordingly with a flaming prospectus,—" Knowledge is Power," “ To cry the state of the political atmosphere,"—and so forth, I set off on a tour to ihe North, from Bristol to Sheffield, for the purpose of procuring customers, preaching by the way in most of the great towns, as

[ocr errors]

(See the last chapter but one of the Biographical Supplement, at the end of the work S. C

? (Michaelmas Term, 1794, was the last he kept at Cambridge. The first number of the Watchman appeared March 1, 1796. See Biog. Sur S. C.]

7

« AnteriorContinuar »