Synopses & Reviews
Excerpt from The Lone Grave of the Shenandoah, and Other Tales
The tales of love and labor collected in this little volume had their origin in an attempt to respond to a long-felt want in the pocketbook of their author. That they failed to fill that aching void-the vacuum which nature, human nature abhors - was not owing so much to a lack of excellence in the book itself as to the law of supply and demand, which is about the only law vouch safcd our American author. Lacking any other law, especially one granting an international copyright, theft augments the supply and gluts the market of demand. Eminently respectable publish ers - respectable because rich - and a pensive public have been content, the one to enjoy and the other to fatten on stolen goods.
A number of earnest fanatics were hanged at Chicago for bold ing that all property is theft, and resisting with bombs a police with pistols that joined issue with them on this proposition. The majesty of the law was maintained under the gallows, and the axiom established that all property is held under a sacred right sanctioned by God and sustained by common law and written constitutions, save and except that form of human industry called a book. A man may work his idea into a sewing machine, for example, and the courts will punish by imprisonment any anarchist or communist who dares appropriate the machine. But if he work his idea into a book, it is a common possession, and may be appro priated by any anarchist disguised as a publisher, and enjoyed by the public without compensation. If a misguided son of man approach the sewing-machine for the purpose of taking and carrying off the same, the proprietor may use bombs in its defence, and pub lic opinion, that is law, will approve of the defence. This, how ever, does not extend to the author of a book, and as such he must submit patiently to the spoliation.
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