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my boat to earn as much ferry toll as they can. In the United States and in England any man may make an abridgment of the work of another, that is, any man has a right to cut the ears of my corn, provided he leaves the stalks untouched; to drink my wine, provided he leaves me the casks. Those nations who speak the same language, as the English and Americans, French and Belgians, and several of the German States, (with the exception of Prussia and probably some others,) have not yet international copyright, though they acknowledge other property of each other's citizens. It strikes every one, now-a-days, as very barbarous, that, in former times, commodities belonging to any foreign nation were considered as good prize, yet we allow robbing in the shape of reprint, to the manifest injury of the author. The flour raised in Pennsylvania has full value in Europe, and is acknowledged as private property, but the composition of a book, the production of which has cost far more pains, is not considered as private property. A regular piratical trade is carried on in Austria, and by Austria with other countries, in books, published in other parts of Germany. It was an ill-chosen expression in the British acts relating to copyright, that they were passed for the further encouragement of learning. The legislature had, in this case, nothing to do with that subject, and Sergeant Talbourd, in bringing his new bill into the house, justly said, that it was for the further justice to learning."" - pp. 132 134.
Dr. Lieber does not assert, however, that the allowance of perpetual copyright is the dictate of natural justice. But we believe, that this point may be fully supported. The opponents of the natural right rest their argument on the analogy between the making of a book and the invention of a machine. Yet the distinction between the two cases is perfectly obvious. The duration of a patent right is properly limited to a term of years, because it is very possible, that within this time another person may hit upon the same invention. No monopoly is justifiable, that deprives the community of an article, which they would otherwise have enjoyed. If Faust and his associates had never lived, the invention of the art of printing could not have been delayed for many years. If Watt had not effected his improvement of the steam-engine, our countryman Perkins, or some other ingenious mechanic, would doubtless have accomplished the same end. The latter cannot be barred of his right forever, because the former anticipated him by a short period; for, in civilized society, no rights can be enjoyed, that are not compatible with the equal rights of others. The natural duration of a patent is the time by which the first inventor bas anticipated the second. As this period cannot be accurately ascertained for each case, an arbitrary portion of time is selected, that may be considered as the average interval between the first and second invention. But this reasoning is wholly inapplicable in the case of authorship, for there is no possibility, humanly speaking, that two men, without concert or knowledge of each other's labors, should chance upon making the same book. If John Milton had not written Paradise Lost, it never would have been written. If Shakspeare had not lived, Lear, Hamlet, and Othello would never have been represented. The public lose nothing, therefore, by the perpetuity of the author's privilege, for they are wholly indebted to him for the work; as they never could have enjoyed it without his agency, he has a perfect right to dictate the terms on which it shall be received. If he chooses to keep the manuscript in his desk, instead of printing it, they cannot wrest it from him. If he prefers to publish it, the act is a benefaction to the community, of greater or less value, in proportion to the importance of the work. But they cannot make the partial gift a total one, and insist on receiving the book
upon their own terms ; any more than they can take by force from the mechanic an article, which he has completed with his own hands, assigning him whatever value they see fit in exchange. The right of an individual to the products of his manual labor, and that of an author to the fruits of his mental toil, rest upon precisely the same footing ; they do not abridge any previously existing rights of the public. By natural law, then, the exclusive and perpetual privilege of the writer is demonstrable.
Next to the question of copyright, in the order, or rather the disorder, of subjects in Dr. Lieber's work, are introduced remarks on civilization, the proper state of nature, the destiny of woman, monogamy, and patriotism. After many desultory observations on the topics thus strangely brought together, the author returns to his primary question, - What is the state ? He defines it to be a society founded on the relation of right, just as a family is a society kept together by mutual affection. To adopt his own language, “the state is a jural society, as a church is a religious society, or an insurance company a financial association." It would be difficult to frame a more vague and fruitless definition, when the object is to found a political theory, and not merely to remark on the obvious fact of the recognition of justice by societies as well as individuals. Church members and stockholders have rights peculiar to themselves, and perfectly distinct from those which they enjoy in their capacity as citizens; and one aim of the association in either case is to preserve these rights to its members. But this is not the only object of the union, nor is it the sole aim of the state to protect rights; its more general and leading purpose is, to promote the common well-being of its subjects. General expediency, not the mere enforcement of justice, is the grand motive for the institution of government. Even if we admit the correctness of Dr. Lieber's definition, so far as it
it leaves the real difficulty untouched. We seek to know the origin of that authority of the government, which extends over the individual from the cradle to the grave, - which follows him in his journeyings, controls his actions, regulates his property, commands his services, and, in certain cases, dooms him to imprisonment and death. We speak of its pursuing him in every change of place, for it is even disputed whether a man may quit his country, or the society of which he was originally a member; — Great Britain, at least, claiming the services of its subjects wherever it may find them, wholly denying their right to shake off the obligations imposed by their birth under its jurisdiction. But, if we allow this right, it amounts only to the privilege of changing one's allegiance, not of renouncing the duty altogether. The emigrant merely lays down one set of obligations to assume another; unless, indeed, he quits the society of men entirely, and accepts the inconveniences, in order to enjoy the freedom, of perfect solitude. But, if he prefers to live with others, the rights of the society take precedence of his rights as an individual. It is true, the authority of the state acknowledges certain limits; but the narrowest circle, within which its powers are ever confined, still embraces a wide tract, and the question respecting the origin and basis of these powers
remains for solution. We do not know, that the full extent and difficulty of this problem have been perceived by any writer on natural law. Certainly, it is not solved by the author before us, though some theory in relation to it must form the point of departure for every system of political ethics. To assert with him, that “the state exists of necessity, and is the natural state of man,” is to confound an organized community, which is a perfectly artificial thing, with a mere aggregation of individuals, formed by the social propensities of men,
but possessing no authority beyond that which is founded on universal consent.
We consider Dr. Lieber's work, therefore, as defective in a capital point, since it is idle to discuss the limitations of rights, before we have accounted for their formation. This defect is the true source of the vagueness and generality of the subsequent reasoning, and the general want of unity and system throughout the work. There is much loose speculation on the nature of different governments, and the distinction between primordial rights and those of inferior importance; but founded on no single principle, and leading to no definite results, the whole forms a heavy mass of undigested matter, the perusal of which nothing but the conscience of a reviewer could carry one through successfully.
The unseasonable display of learning, which is such an unpleasant trait in the first portion of the treatise, is continued throughout the volume. What is the use of framing such harsh and awkward compounds as autarchies and hamarchies, when the distinction they are intended to convey coincides entirely with the familiar classification into simple and mixed forms of government? The needless multiplication of such technicalities in a science necessarily limits the number of readers and students, and has a repulsive air even to the learned. In this case, moreover, the distinction is purely theoretical, since a perfectly simple democracy or monarchy — autarchy Dr. Lieber would call it never existed; all actual constitutions combining in a greater or less degree the elements of those primitive forms, which, for the sake of convenience, are usually described separately by political writers. Absurd as the coining of such a term is, it does not answer the purpose ; for even the etymological sense is not the meaning intended; the Greek word, which comes the nearest to it, signifying the very commencement of a thing.' Other instances of this pedantry, for it merits no better name, may be found in the long note appended to the thirtieth section, on the etymology of our English word right, and of the corresponding terms in other languages ; and in the equally irrelevant annotation to the seventy-sixth section, on the titles by which the present reigning monarchs of Europe hold their thrones.
But our readers are probably weary of this extended examition of a work, which offers so few points of novel interest and importance. We have commented on it with perfect freedom, , not from any unkindness towards the author, but with the view of bringing plainly before him those peculiarities, which ought to be avoided in the threatened continuation of the treatise. The subject is an important one ; and Dr. Lieber's various learning and great industry may enable him to illustrate it successfully, if not to strike out original speculations. But he must beware of putting forth to the public the immature fruits of his inquiries in such a shape as to weary out the patience of his readers in the beginning. His previous reputation will hardly induce them to make a second endeavor at the perusal. There may be really valuable matter in the book, but few will have the courage to seek for it under such a mass of desultory remark and cumbersome erudition.
Art. IV.- Thirteenth Annual Report of the Board of Man
agers of the Prison Discipline Society. 8vo. Boston. 1838.
PERHAPS there is no more remarkable feature of the
present time, than the increasing interest which is felt for the most degraded portions of humanity. The injunction of the Apostle, to “honor all men,” is beginning to be understood. A new faith is felt in the worth of the soul,- in the true relation that it bears to God and the spiritual world; and this faith is calculated to give a healthy and lasting vigor to the philanthropic movements of the age. It is this which is diffusing higher views of education, suppressing intemperance, establishing missions, pleading for the slave. It is this which is leading many to investigate the causes of crime, and which is transforming our prisons, from places of mere punishment, to schools of reform.
When we remember the immense number of males and females who are constantly in our prisons, it becomes a matter of vast interest to know how they are situated, what means are taken for their reform, and what is to be done to prevent others