he is weaker.
It was not, perhaps, necessary that he should treat of American literature at all; at any rate, it is safe to say that his chapter on this subject has a perfunctory air; it seems like the work of a tired man, who feels that he ought to say something on that point, yet does not care to grapple with it as with his main question; and so puts us off with vague and needless, though kindly apologies.
He is so ready to find good reasons for our doing no more, that he takes no pains to analyze or weigh what we have done; and unfortunately the habit of colonial deference is still so strong among us, that we are more disposed to be grateful to such a kindly apologist than to question his words.
It has been a lifelong conviction with me that the injury done to American literature by the absence of a copyright law is a trivial thing compared with the depressing influence of this prolonged attitude of dependence: an attitude which has disappeared from our political institutions, but still exists in regard to books.
To test it we have only to reverse in imagination the nationality of a few authors and critics, and consider what a change of estimate