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[280] English school-books from our market, just as we do the coarser cottons, and for the same reason, and by the same process. With the encouragement of an international copyright, we should soon supply our market entirely, and supply it with books more wisely adapted to our wants generally, but never by any possibility excluding the better sort of English books, because we can reprint them so much cheaper than the English publishers can furnish them to us. . . . .

One thing more. France has made an international copyright treaty with England, and the cases of France and the United States in this particular are so nearly parallel, that, if it is for her interest to have such a treaty, it can hardly fail to be for ours. For France prints great numbers of English books; England prints hardly any French books; nothing so many as she prints of American. If reciprocity be desirable, therefore, it is much more nearly to be attained between England and the United States, than between England and France. Moreover, this principle of reciprocity between us and England tends every year more towards an even balance, for the English print ten of our books now, to where they printed one a dozen years ago. True, our books are now protected in copyright, by a recent decision of their courts of law; but true it is also that if we do not give equal protection to their books, we shall lose it for our own, by act of Parliament, very speedily; and this protection is constantly growing more important to us. It may in time be more important to us than it is to them.

Half a century ago I was fitted for college in none but grammars, etc., printed in England, for no others were to be had. It is vastly more probable now that, half a century hence, English boys will be using manuals printed in the United States for this purpose,—indeed, some are using them now,—than it was, in 1800, that we should, in fifty years, be printing what we now print.

The argument of future benefit is, therefore, I conceive, much stronger on our side than it is on the English. But so, I think, is the argument of present benefit. Through the means of a wise international copyright treaty, I think we could, by the exclusion of worthless and injurious English books, and by the encouragement of American authors and publishers, fill the country with useful, interesting, healthy reading, to a degree never known before, and with beneficial consequences, all of which cannot now be foreseen. We could, in fact, adapt our reading to our real wants and best interests much more than we do now, and so do much more by it for the general improvement and elevation of the national character.


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