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warned against possible piracy; but he had, as he imagined, by special injunctions to his foreman and others, taken all reasonable precautions. Nevertheless, by a combination of bribery, negligence, and fraud, during his absence on a brief visit to Bath to bring back his daughter Polly, the sheets of five of the volumes, and parts of the sixth and seventh, were smuggled to Ireland, where an incomplete and unauthorised edition was issued before the book had appeared in London, the piratical putters-forth being Messrs. Exshaw, Wilson, and Saunders of Dublin. Richardson was highly incensed, and no doubt fretted sadly, as his correspondence shows, over this "Invasion of his Property " by the "Irish Rapparees," for which, however, in the existing state of the law, it was not possible for his friends to offer any consolation but sympathy. He issued the above-mentioned pamphlet, and made various appeals to his Irish correspondents, but without obtaining any redress. Worse than this, he seems to have had reason to apprehend that the same nefarious course would be taken in Scotland, and that pirated copies would be transmitted to France for translation.
Among other persons who commented upon this piece of unjustifiable sharp practice was Arthur Murphy, who, in No. 3 of his new paper, the Gray's Inn Journal, and under his assumed character of "Mr. Charles Ranger," made it the text of some very sensible remarks upon the calamities of authors. After referring to these in general, and particularly to that infamous and detestable action for which, "owing to the Poverty of the Language," no stronger term is used than piracy, he goes on "MR. RICHARDSON,
Author of the celebrated PAMELA, and the justly admired CLARISSA (if I may be allowed to judge from his Productions) is subject to every delicate Sensation above ascribed to fine Writers, and therefore, after his having prepared for the Public, The History of SIR CHARLES GRANDISON, and printed the same entirely at his own Expence, which cannot but amount to a large Sum, an ingenuous Mind must be shocked to find, that Copies of very near all this Work, from which the Public may reasonable expect both Entertainment and Instruction, have been clandestinely and fraudulently obtained by a Set of Booksellers in Dublin, who have printed off the same, and advertised it in the public Papers, even before the lawful Proprietor has made Publication here.
"I am not inclined to cast national Reflections, but I must avow, that I look upon this to be a more flagrant and atrocious Proceeding than any I have heard of for a long Time. Wit has been finely called, 'the Owner's Wife, which other Men enjoy,' and, in this Instance, the Phrase appears to me more just than ever, as great Part of that Profit, which Mr. Richardson might justly promise himself, is rapaciously seized from him, and that too, by the vile Artifices of Bribing the Author's Servants, which is a Practice unworthy of the meanest Member of the Common-Wealth of Learning."
The paper concludes with an expression of regret that the laws of the land have not sufficiently secured to Authors the property of their works; and by the issue of a burlesque order from Parnassus, signed by Jonathan Swift, to the students of Trinity-College, Dublin, enjoining them to toss Messrs. Exshaw, Wilson,
and Saunders in a blanket, but not till they are dead." It does not appear that Richardson obtained even this modest satisfaction for his wrongs; and, though he afterwards sent a cheap authorised edition of Sir Charles to Ireland, the pirates continued to undersell him, and he made but scant profit in that island by his venture.
LAST YEARS AND GENERAL ESTIMATE
ONCE in all probability upon that visit to Bath with Mrs. Richardson to which reference was made in the foregoing chapter-the Rev. Richard Graves, Rector of Claverton, and afterwards author of the Spiritual Quixote, met the author of Sir Charles Grandison at the house of Mr. James Leake, who, it will be remembered, was Richardson's brother-in-law. The interview took place in the bookseller's parlour, which we may, perhaps, fairly assume to have been that pleasant, and still existent, vaulted chamber on the "Walks," close to Lilliput Alley, which was the favoured resort of Fielding's "Squire Allworthy," Ralph Allen, and where Sheridan, later, is said to have written The Rivals. Richardson told Mr. Graves that he was going to dine with Mr. Allen at Prior Park. "Twenty years ago," said he, "I was the most obscure man in Great Britain, and now I am admitted to the company of the first characters in the Kingdom." His exultation was pardonable, but exaggerated. Many estimable and some distinguished people had recognised his ability, but they scarcely constituted the illustrious body to whom he compared them. "The doors of the Great were
1 Peach's Life and Times of Ralph Allen, 1895, pp. 73, 135.
never opened to him," says candid Lady Mary, with whom Mrs. Barbauld is very severe, appealing to the list of Richardson's friends and correspondents as proof to the contrary. But the evidence invoked scarcely supports her contention. It is true that Richardson was occasionlly visited at North End by the Bishop of Oxford (Dr. Secker), and by Lord Trentham the Sir Thomas Robinson who had been one of the Trustees of the defunct "Society for the Encouragement of Learning." Arthur Onslow, the Speaker, Richardson had known before he began to write. But for his other friends, — Lady Bradshaigh, and Lady Echlin, the Delanys, Mrs. Donnellan, Miss Sutton, Warburton, Allen himself, Young, and so forth, they can hardly be held to justify the description of them which he has given. That they were friends of a standing greatly superior to that of those he might have expected to make had he continued to be nothing but a Fleet Street printer, and that he was justifiably proud of his relations with them (he gave lavish vails to Onslow's servants to secure their respect) may be conceded. But the testimony of the mourning rings which he left in his will shows that the roll of his intimates scarcely went beyond his known correspondents; and it must be concluded that Lady Mary was substantially accurate in what she said. Since 1740, however, his general social position had distinctly improved, and his means, without opulence, were easy. His books, though still professedly anonymous, had brought him considerable reputation; and he had, in due course, become Master of the Stationers' Company, - an office, says Mrs. Barbauld, "not only honourable but lucrative," and of which the