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FOUR CENTURIES OF BOOK PRICES.
THE controversy between the London Times and the London publishers, recently exploited at length in Labouchere's London Truth, from the viewpoint of that lively and aggressive English periodical, hinges on the refusal of the Times to accept the trade terms offered by publishers for supply of books to members of the Times Book Club, an organization conducted under Times auspices, and having as one reason for its existence the purchasing of books at prices below the publishers' normal retail rates.
The English reading classes are taking immense interest in this semi-literary, semicommercial conflict, which has been raging, with considerable activity on both sides, during the last three months. Incidentally, the discussion in a general way of book prices has been revived as one result of the still-existing differences of opinion between the most famous English newspaper and a group of the most famous English publishers.
An article by A. W. Pollard in the Cornhill Magazine deals interestingly with "Four Centuries of Book Prices," going over the ground of current values in rare and other books, from the days of Robert Copland, bookseller, who was the first native Englishman to take up the printing art in England, after Caxton's death.
The peny, or penny, in Copland's day, was worth the shilling of to-day. This should be kept in mind when comparing book prices, past and present. The value of money having changed during each century of England's literary history, it is not always possible to tell accurately what current values were at any given time. It is definitely known, however, that a hundred years ago, incomes were equal in worth to twice their nominal values at the present day. That fact can be used as a guide. Incomes of 200 years ago were worth about five times what they represent in the coinage and currency of 1907. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the days of Copland and his immediate successors in the field of printing, publishing, and bookselling,-money was worth fully ten or twelve times what it represents in this, the twentieth century, and possessed a much greater purchasing power.
Some idea of what could be purchased in the way of literary wares for a "peny or thereabouts can be gained from the following quaint description:
Had Copland's visitor gone to John Dorne's shop (Dorne was a famous sixteenth century of other literature for his penny maximum. If bookseller) he could have found quite a variety he desired history he might buy the "Cronica Angliæ," two quarto sheets containing the names imaginary. If a student of geography, he might of British and English kings, the former mostly have invested in a little tract, "Of the newe fonde land," an exceptionally good pennyworth, if it be rightly identified with the pamphlet printed at Antwerp by John of Doesborg, "Of the newe landes and of the people found by the messengers of the Kynge of portyngale named Emanuel," for this contains no fewer than twentyfour leaves. If he cared for such plays as were then in fashion, he could have bought the interlude of St. John Evangelist, apparently the same work of which an edition printed about 1560 sold at Sotheby's last year for £102. In religious poetry a choice was offered between a "LamenA Complaint of St. Magtation of Our Lady,' dalen," and a variety of Christmas carols; in hagiology between lives of St. Erasmus, St. Roche, and St. Barbara.
Mr. Pollard failed to find, in Dorne's day-book, particulars as to price of Pynson's editis princeps of Lord Berners' translation of Froissart, published about 1523. The Pynson edition of Chaucer's poetry and Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales " were also missing. Others not in the list were 66 Remyell of the History of Troy,"-the first English book printed; the "Dicts and Sayings of the Philosophers," the first dated book printed in England, and Melory's "Morte d'Arthur." The Great Bible, the possession of which was ordered, in 1541, for every parish church in England, was sold at 10 shillings in sheets or 12 shillings, bound. The Second Prayer Book of Edward VI. sold, by order, at 2 shillings and 6 pence in quires; in parchment, 3 shillings and 4 pence; in leather, clasped or paper boards, 4 shillings. The current price of the First Folio Shakespeare was, according to the best information obtainable, £1. Nearly half a century later, in 1668, the first edition of Milton's Paradise Lost' was sold at 3 shillings.
In 1697 Dryden's "Virgil " was published by subscription at £5. This, however, was probably a complimentary price in honor of the writer or to befriend him. Two thousand copies of the same writer's "Miscellany Poems" were sold at 2 guineas. Eighteenth century prices were not very different, all things considered, from those of to-day. Early in that period it became customary to charge 2s. 6d. a volume for novels.
THE NEW BOOKS.
NOTES ON RECENT AMERICAN PUBLICATIONS.
HISTORY AND BIOGRAPHY.
One of the most fascinating bits of historical interpretation we have read for some time is Mr. J. Ellis Barker's "Rise and Decline of the Netherlands " (Dutton). This author, who is well known as an English essayist and writer for the English reviews, presents in this volume a political and economic history and a study in practical statesmanship. In the actual historical fate of the Netherlands he sees the potential destiny of Great Britain. In the eyes of the Dutch all through their career, he says,
commerce was more important than statesmanship; wealth was better than the manly virtues which are usually summed up in the word patriotism'; and administrative anarchy, called individualism, was better than national union and national organization. . . . Unless Great Britain and the British colonies be soon organized and united in accordance with mod ern requirements, the history of the Netherlands may repeat itself, and Great Britain may lose her power, her colonies, her industries, her trade, her shipping, and her wealth to other nations."
Eugénie de Montijo, Spanish beauty of Scotch ancestry, Empress of the French, exile, and the most interesting widow in Christendom,"--how much has been written which is yet unsatisfactory about this remarkably fascinating figure! Among the latest efforts which hold the attention is Jane T. Stoddart's "Life of the Empress Eugénie" (Dutton), which has just gone through its third edition. The work is illustrated with photogravure portraits, reproductions of famous paintings. The one we reproduce is from the Winterhalter painting, now in the Augustin Rischgitz collection. With reference to the one dark page in the Empress' life history, the writer of this work says in her preface: The writers of defamatory pamphlets accusing Eugénie of being the author of the Franco-Prussian War, with all their malice, have not succeeded in fastening any personal charge upon Napoleon's consort, and most of them display a surprising ignorance of the facts of her career."
Mr. Stead's book on the conflict between the Lords and the Commons, referred to in our editorial department last month, is not only a history of the contest between the two houses of the British Parliament. It furnishes, also, a suggestion as to how the Lords can be "mended." The book, which is entitled "Peers or People? An Appeal to History" (T. Fisher Unwin), is divided into three parts, entitled respectively: (1) "The Lords versus the Nation,' (2) What the House of Lords Has Done," and (3) What Must Be Done with the House of Lords." Mr. Stead's general suggestion is that the hereditary chamber of the British Parliament be replaced by some sort of senate which would be more responsive to popular will.
THE EMPRESS EUGÉNIE. (After Winterhalter.)
In the series "Original Narratives of Early American History," reproduced under the auspices of the American Historical Association and under the general editorship of Dr. J. Franklin Jameson (Carnegie Institute, Washington), Scribners have just brought out Early English and French Voyages,-1534 to 1608." This volume, with maps, has been edited chiefly from Hakluyt by Dr. Henry S. Burrage, of the Maine Historical Society.
"In the Path of the Alphabet," by Frances D. Jermain, is a historical account of the ancient beginnings and evolution of our modern alphabet. It was prepared by the author during her twenty-five years at the head of the Toledo Public Library, and is published at Fort Wayne, Ind., by William D. Page.
How far the dramatic profession has advanced beyond the position occupied by even the best of its members two centuries ago is strikingly shown in John Fyvie's "Comedy Queens of the Georgian Era" (Dutton). This volume is a series of biographical sketches of some of the most prominent English comedy actresses during the time of the Georges. Portraits of most of the characters considered complete the book.
In a historical biography entitled "A Revolutionary Princess" (Dutton). H. Remsen Whitehouse has given us the history of Italy from 1808 to 1871 while telling the life story of Christina Belgiojoso-Trivulzio. The volume is illustrated.
"Famous Actor Families in America," by Montrose J. Moses (Crowell), contains entertaining biographical sketches of the Booths, the Jeffersons, the Sotherns, the Boucicaults, the Hacketts, the Drews, the Barrymores, the Wallacks, the Davenports, the Hollands, and the Powers, with many references to other American and English families well known to the stage. Veteran playgoers will be particularly interested in Mr. Moses' studies of these various family trees, and those who wish to pursue the subject further will find in the bibliographical notes at the end of the volume many valuable references.
Volumes IV. and V. of J. A. Doyle's "English Colonies in America (Holt) are devoted respectively to the middle colonies and the colonies under the house of Hanover. The completion of these volumes advances the history to the middle of the eighteenth century and the beginning of those disputes which ended in the separation of the colonies from the mother country.
SCIENCE AND PHILOSOPHY.
The scholarly and versatile editor of La Revue, of Paris, has just brought out his study of "Race Prejudice," the English translation of which has been published in London and imported by the Duttons. M. Finot argues for
international peace and fraternity and endeavors to find argument and reason for universal brotherhood in the underlying principles and traits of our common humanity. He has considered the points of difference between races and the causes which have led to racial prejudice. The term "race," he declares, is only a product of our mental activities, "the work of our intellect and outside of reality." It is possible, he stoutly maintains in conclusion, to build "on the ruins of the falsehood of races solidarity and true equality, founded on a rational sentiment of respect for human dignity."
When Mark Twain discusses a subject, be it a new religion or an old historic myth, he always illuminates it and makes it vivid in all its phases. In his recent volume on "Christian Science" (Harpers) he has given us the result of years of careful investigation of Mrs. Eddy's cult and writings and of the church which she has founded. In this book Mr. Clemens has endeavored "earnestly to answer impartially those questions which the public generally have been asking about Christian Science." Much of the material was written five or six years ago, but the whole, he informs us, has been revised thoroughly, and the few original errors of judgment and of fact," corrected "to the best of my ability and later knowledge." It has been "my honest purpose,' says Mr. Clemens, "to present a character-portrait of Mrs. Eddy, drawn from her own acts and words solely, not from hearsay and rumor; and to explain the nature and scope of her monarchy, as revealed in the laws by which she governs it, and which she wrote herself."
No doubt the highest living authority on Mars and things Martian is Prof. Percival Lowell, director of the observatory at Flagstaff, Ariz., and astronomical investigator and writer known over the entire world. Professor Lowell's book, Mars and Its Canals" (Macmillan), is the final word, up to the present, on the planet and what we know of it. All the different theories, and there are many, as to the genesis, development, and possible uses of the canal system of the planet Mars are treated, and the volume is copiously illustrated from photographs by the author. Professor Lowell's most significant conclusion is found in this ser tence: "To find, therefore, upon Mars highly intelligent life is what that planet's state would lead one to expect."
A remarkably fair and conservative study of the subject of psychic phenomena, with citations of a number of noteworthy experiences, is Dr. I. K. Funk's recently issued little volume, "The Psychic Riddle" (Funk & Wagnalls Company). Dr. Funk's contributions to modern scholarship, including, as they do, the Standard Dictionary (of which he was editor-in-chief) and other works on the general subject of psychic manifestations, are guaranties of the care and intellectual honesty with which he approaches this fascinating but little known field of human research. While not himself a spiritualist in any sense recognized by that term, Dr. Funk asserts that he is "deeply interested in psychic research, because it seems more and more likely that by these efforts may be discovered marvelous powers of the human soul not yet fully recognized by the science of psychology, as telepathy,
clairvoyance, prescience, secondary personalities, cure of disease by hypnotic suggestion, etc., and by them also much new light may be thrown upon many forms of insanity."
"Our Children," by Dr. Paul Carus, editor of the Open Court (published by his own company in Chicago), includes a series of essays on the care and education of our little folks, written in thought-provoking style. The book contains many hints from practical experience.
It was an ambitious task to collate all the data upon and interpret the growth of the human race's knowledge of the world in which it lives. This, however, has been done in coherent, entertaining style by Mr. Carl Snyder in his book just brought out by Longmans, entitled "The World Machine" (the first of a proposed series of three). This work is really a history of philosophy and an interpretation of the philosophy of history. Perhaps the gist of the entire volume may be found in the following paragraph: "Thanks to five or ten thousand years, perhaps a still greater period. of tolerably connected and consecutive effort, there has been built up a considerable stock of knowledge which, deftly fitted together in an orderly way, has become our one sure guide in this weird journey through the wilderness. Supported by this slowly wrought fabric of fact and logical theory, it is possible now to give at least a partial answer to some of the primitive human problems. Relative to the rest of the cosmos, we know to some extent what we are, we know to some extent where we are, we have some slight idea as to whence we have come, we are beginning to perceive dimly whither we are going."
POLITICS, LAW, AND BUSINESS.
Legislatures and Legislative Methods." In this work Professor Reinsch not only gives a debodies, both State and federal, do their work, scription of the manner in which our lawmaking but he also discusses at some length the various forms of what he terms the perversion of legislative action,-for example, the development and organization of the lobby, the growth of the bosses, legislative blackmail, and the abuse of the committee system. In short, Professor Reinsch's method of treatment is frankly critical and is concerned with the exact manner in which the legislative bodies perform their functions, rather than with their purely constitutional powers. The first chapter of the volume, dealing with the constitutional framework of congressional government, is the work of Prof. Bernard C. Steiner, of the Johns Hopkins University.
"Act of State in English Law" is the somewhat obscure title of an English law treatise by W. Harrison Moore (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co.), which deals with the relations between states, and therefore belongs to the province of international law. The work is of special value as tracing the development of a system of international law from the viewpoint of English history.
A well-known New York lawyer, Mr. John R. Dos Passos, has developed certain interesting reflections on his own profession under the title "The American Lawyer: As He Was,-As He Is. As He Can Be" (New York: The Banks Law Publishing Company). In this work Mr. Dos Passos discusses in broad outline what he conceives to be the real mission of the lawyer in society, his relation to the government of which he is a citizen, and his clearly defined duties in that relation. It is strange that this side of the lawyer's life has been apparently neglected heretofore in most of the books written with a view to expounding the ethics of the pro
fession. Mr. Dos Passos has approached the subject from a wholly new point of view.
An American edition of Kenny's "Outlines of Criminal Law," a standard English work on the subject, has been prepared by Mr. James H. Webb, of the law department at Yale University (Macmillan). The advantages of an American revision of this work for the use of American students and general readers are quite obvious,
since the English edition devotes much attention to modern English statutes and rules which do not obtain in the United States. Mr. Webb eliminated from the present edition those portions of the original text that are not authoritative in the United States. It is hoped that this work will prove to be of more interest and value than the usual legal textbook, even to those American students and readers who are not pursuing technical law courses. The subject of criminal law in this country has been unduly neglected by students of our social system.
Mr. Arthur Train, a member of District Attorney Jerome's staff, in New York, whose short stories based on his official experiences and observations have delighted thousands of magazine readers, has attempted, in an entertaining volume entitled "The Prisoner at the Bar (Scribners), to describe the administration of criminal justice in a series of graphic illustrations. Mr. Train's chapters are intended chiefly for the layman and are so constructed as to give a clear insight into the actual processes of our criminal courts. The chapters on "The Law's Delays and "Red Tape" relate in an amusing manner the experiences of a substantial citizen of New York in his first contact with the machinery of the police courts. One totally unfamiliar with court procedure might gain from a perusal of these chapters more definite information than would be afforded by a whole library of technical law books.
In the Citizen's Library (Macmillan) Dr. Samuel E. Sparling, of the University of Wisconsin, writes "An Introduction to Business Organization," covering the most important phases of farm, factory, and commercial organization generally, and devoting considerable attention to such practical topics as the mail-order business, advertising, credits, and collections. It is indicative of the larger place that business institutions and operations are taking in schemes of university instruction that this little book is the outgrowth of a course of lectures delivered at the University of Wisconsin in connection with the courses in commerce.
A series of pamphlets dealing with the probable effect on the securities of the coal-carrying railroads of the separation of railroad and coal properties required by the new rate law has recently been issued (New York: Half-Hourly News Service, 99 Nassau street). The writer of these pamphlets is optimistic as to the ultimate results to be expected from the full operation of the new law, and the general effect of his discussion is to reassure the stockholders of these properties and to furnish a basis for confidence in the future of the several railroads involved. The conclusions drawn are evidently the result of a scientific study of the subject, and in presenting them much valuable information concerning the financial condition of the coal roads is incidentally set forth.
AGRICULTURE AND HORTICULTURE.
Mr. Charles L. Goodrich's "First Book of Farming" (Doubleday, Page & Co.) is a helpful adjunct to farmers, teachers, and students in their search for the basic principles of farming. Since its original publication, two years ago, it has steadily won its way in popular favor and may now be recommended as one of the indispensable books of its class. It is not a mere textbook of abstract truth. The experiments described at various points in the text not only make the work interesting to the general reader, but serve to stimulate the student to investigate for himself.
Mr. T. Byard Collins has written an interesting volume entitled "The New Agriculture" (New York: Munn & Co.), in which he gives a popular outline of the changes which are revolutionizing the methods of farming and the habits of farm life. The writer maintains that farm life was never so attractive as it is to-day, although he admits that present methods of production and distribution outside the farm leave much to be desired. On the whole, however, he finds in the new soil, the new fertilizing, the new transportation, the new creations, new varieties, new practices, and new machinery many inducements to the thoughtful young American to make farming his career. All these latest phases of American farm development are described and illustrated in detail.
The French Garden City Association, which includes in its activities almost all the phases