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Echoes of the Week

The Illustrated London News, vol. 45, no. 1270, p. 91.

July 23, 1864


...A trial between two publishers reveals an unwholesome feeling amongst the gentlemen engaged in that trade. Burly Sam Johnson, who hated his publishers with a reason, has a burlesque line which will here apply:--

Who drives fat oxen should himself be fat.

Messrs. Sampson Low, Son, and Marston buy an American book, probably, more Americano, rubbish. Nevertheless, it is theirs, and they fairly advertise to the world the fact. Another publisher receives an American copy of the work, and forthwith issues the book at an eighth of the first publisher's price. Hence an injunction, and, of course, irritated feelings; and, through the stupidity of the lawyers engaged, the case breaks down, again to be taken up, however. "Haunted Hearts" is the name of the prize for which these gentlemen contend. Would not all hearts have been more at ease if publishers made a compact not to touch books which others have announced, and, while the Americans deny us the right of copyright, to encourage English authors and leave Yankee rubbish over the water?

It is cheering to find that we have those amongst us who yet believe in the possibility of mediating in America. A deputation of gentlemen, with whom were Admiral Anson and Mr. James Spence (the "S" of the Times), waited on Lord Palmerston to urge the propriety of such a step. The jaunty Minister quoted a Hudibrastic couplet about the common result of interposing in quarrels, and said that, although England was not afraid of the "bloody nose" therein promised, still the time of mediation was not yet come. Surely, a message from over the sea by the Queen herself, or a letter in her own Royal hand expressive of her own and her people's sorrow at the excessive destruction of human life, would not meet with insult, and might form a basis for the peace party in America to work upon. There is nothing so heartless as red tape; could we not in this extremity do without it?

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