Imatges de pÓgina

Mlauge 20. enacts that the provisions of 3 & 4 Will. 4. c. 15. shall be extended to musical compositions, and the term of copyright, as provided by this act, applied to the liberty of representing dramatic pieces and musical compositions,

Clause 23. enacts that pirated books shall become the property of the proprietor of the copyright, and may be recovered by action.

Clause 25. makes copyright personal property.

It was farther enacted by the statute 5 & 6 Vict. c. 47. that the importation of all books, of which there is an existing copyright, into the United Kingdom, should be absolutely prohibited from the 1st of April, 1813.

The great practical difficulty in interpreting the copyright acts, is in distinguishing between an original work and a copy made, animo furandi, from one already in existence. The following is a summary of Mr. Godson's remarks on this subject :

** The identity of a literary work consists entirely in the sentiments and language. The same conceptions, clothed in the same words, must necessarily be the same composition ; and whatever method is taken of exhibiting that composition to the ear or the eye, by recital, or by writing, or by printing, in any number of coples, or at any period of time, the property of another person has been violated; for the new book is still the ident cal work of the real author.

* Thus, therefore, a transcript of nearly all the sentiments and language of a book is a glaring piracy. To copy part of a book, cither by taking a few pages verbatim, when the sentiments are not new, or by imitation of the principal ideas, aithough the treatises in other respects are different, is also considered to de illegal.

• Although it was held by Ellenborough C. J. that a variance in form and manner is a variance in substance, and that any material alteration which is a melioration cannot be considered as a piracy ; yet a piracy is committed, whether the author attempt an original work, or call his book an abridgment, if the principal parts of a book are servilely copied or unfairly varied.

" But if the main design be not copied, the circunstance that part of the composition of one author is found in another is not of itself piracy sufficient to support an action. A man may fairly adopt part of the work of another ; he may so make use of another's labours for the promotion of science, and the benefit of the public: but having done so, the question will be, Was the matter so taken used fairly with that view, and without what may be termed the animus furandi?

" In judging of a quotation, whether it is fair and candid, or whether the person who quotes has been swayed by the animus furandi, the quantity taken, and the munner in which it is adopted, of course must be considered.

** If the work complained of he in substance a copy, then it is not necessary to show the intention to pirate ; for the greater part of the matter of the book having been purloined, the intention is apparent, and other proof is superfluous. A piracy has undoubtedly been conmitted.

* But is only a small portion of the work is quoted, then it becomes necessary to show that it was done animo furanii, with the intention of depriving the author of his just reward, by giving his work to the public in a cheaper form. And then the mode of doing it becoines a subject of inquiry; for it is not Bufficient to constitute a piracy, that part of one author's book is found in that of another, unless it be nearly the whole, or so much as will show (being a question of fact for the jury) that it was done with a bad intent, and that the matter which accompanies it has been colourably introduced.” (pp. 215 -- 217.)

11 a work be of such a libellous or mischievous nature as to affect the public morals, and that the author cannot maintain an action at law upon it, a court of equity will not interpose with an injunction to protect that which cannot be called property. Even if there be a doubt as to its evil tendency, the Lord Chancellor will not intersere." -- (Godson, p. 212.)

II. Expediency of limiting Copyrights to a reasonable Term. - It is argued by many that copyrights should be made perpetual ; that, were this done, men of talent and learning would devote themselves much more readily than at present to the composition of works requiring great labour ; inasmuch as the copyright of such works, were it perpetual, would be an adequate provision for a family. But we doubt much whether these anticipations would be realised. Most books or manuscripts are purchased by the book. sellers, or published upon the presumption that there will immediately be a considerable demand for them; and we apprehend that when copyrights are secured for 42 years certain, very little more would be given for them were they made perpetual. When an annuitv, or the rent or profit arising out of any fixed and tangible property, with respect to which there can be no risk, is sold, if the number of years for which it is to continue be considerable, the price which it is worth, and which it fetches, does not differ materially from what it would bring were it perpetual. But the copyright of an unpublished work is, of all descriptions of property in which to speculate, the most hazardous, and the chances of reaping contingent advantages from it, at the distance of 42 years, would be worth very little indeed.

Those who write books, and those who publish them, calculate on their obtaining a ready and extensive sale, and on their being indemnified in a few years. Very few authors, and still fewer booksellers, are disposed to look forward to so distant a period even as 28 years for remuneration. They are, with very few exceptions, sanguine enough to suppose that a much shorter term will enable them to reap a full harvest of fame and profit from the publication; and we doubt much whether there be one case in a hundred, in which an author would obtain a larger sum for a perpetual copyright, than for one that is to continue for the period stipulated in the late act.

But while the making of copyrights perpetual would not, as it appears to us, he of any material advantage to the authors, there are good grounds for thinking that it would be disadvantageous to the public. Suppose an individual computes a table of logarithms to five or seven places; if his computations be correct, no improvement can be made upon them, to the extent at least to which they go. But is he or his assignees to be entitled, in all time to come, to prevent other individuals from publishing simnilar tables, on the ground of an invasion of private property ? Such a pretension could not be

admitted without leading to the most mischievous consequences; and yet there is no real ground (though the courts have attempted to make one) on which the claim in question and others of the saine description could be resisted, were copyrights made perpetual, and placed in all respects on the same footing as other property. We, therefore, are clearly of opinion that good policy suggests the limitation of the exclusive right of printing and publishing literary works to some such reasonable period as may secure to authors the greater part of the profit to be derived from their works; and that this period being expired, they should become public property.

Perhaps the period of 28 years has been advantageously extended to 42; but we are satisfied that more injury than benefit would result to literature by extending it beyond this term. In France, copyrights continue for 20 years after the death of the author. In most of the German states they are perpetual ; this, however, until very recently, bardly indemnified the authors for the ease with which spurious copies might be obtained from other states. But by a late resolution of the Diet, a copyright secured in one state is good in all.

III. International Copyrights. — The establishment of an international copyright system, that should enable the authors of one country to secure the copyright of their works in other countries, has, of late, excited a good deal of attention. We doubt, however, whether the advantages that would result from such a system, were it established, would be so great as many seem to suppose.

No doubt it wculd be advantageous for the authors of popular works in Great Britain and the United States, for example, to be able to secure a copyright in both countries; but the real question is, would the interests of literature and of the public be promoted by such arrangement? Now we incline to think that this question must be answered in the negative. The single market of either Great Britain or the United States is quite large enough to secure a sale for really good works sufficient to afford ample encouragement to their authors; and such being the case, it is difficult to see on what ground the republication at a cheap rate in the one country of books originally published in the other should be prevented. Indeed, such prevention would appear, by obstructing the circulation of knowledge and of amusement, to be injurious to both. It has, it is true, been alleged, that if we had a copyright system in common with America, English and American books might be published at a less price, inasmuch as the extension of the market would secure them a larger sale. But though this result might, we doubt much whether it really would, happen. We apprehend that then, as now, authors and publishers would impose such prices on their works as they supposed would realise the largest amount of profit, and that if they thought a high price more likely to do this than a low one, it would be preferred.' The extensive reprinting of cheap editions of French works that has for a lengthened period been carried on at Brussels has certainly been disadvantageous to the literati of France. Still, however, the market of that kingdom seems to be sufficiently extensive to insure the unlimited production of works displaying the greatest talent, research, and industry; and it is plain that if the production of valuable works be not checked in France by their being reprinted abroad, the injury done to French men of letters redounds to the advantage of every foreigner who has occasion to look into or consult their works. Every effort should be made to prevent copyrights being invaded by pirates at home, and by the clandestine importation of books printed abroad ; but farther than this we should not go. We are well convinced that it is for the advantage of the public and of literature that nations should have full liberty to republish each other's works in such forms and at such times and prices as they may think fit.

The real evil with which our literature has to contend originates in the barefaced piracy carried on at home, and not in the proceedings of foreigners. The latter may, perhaps, interfere a little with the sale of native works, by supplying the public with foreign instead of home editions ; but the proceedings of the indigenous pirates are ten times more mischievous. They consist for the most part of knaves and drudges, without talent or learning of any sort, save only that of transmuting and adulterating the labours of others, and disguising their own rascality. Such persons fasten like leeches on any new work of talent, research, and industry ; they forthwith announce some system, compilation, or abridgment of the same sort, every idea and statement in which is stolen ; and then publish their spurious rubbish at a low price, advertise it as being decidedly the best work on the subject, and find numbers of newspaper writers ready to puit off and eulogise their disinterested and meritorious labours! It is difficult, we admit, to deal with such a nuisance, and it cannot, perhaps, be abated by legislation. But while we regret the fact, there cannot, we believe, be a question that courts and juries have for a lengthened period inclined too much to a lenient interpretation of the law as to piracy; and that literary plunderers, whose robberies are but little disguised, too often escape with impunity.

IV. Taxes on Literature. -- These taxes, when carried to any considerable extent, are at once impolitic, oppressive, and unjust : impolitic, because they tend to obstruct

the growth and diffusion of knowledge; oppressive, because they very frequently swallow up the entire reward of the labours of the most deserving persons ; and unjust, because they are not proportioned to the value of the article on which they are laid, and are, indeed, much oftener paid out of capital than out of profit.

These taxes consist, in Great Britain, of the duty on paper, the 5 copies of all works given to certain public libraries, and the advertisement duty. When the former edition of this work was published, these were exceedingly heavy and most oppressive. In the interval, however, they have been diminished fully a hail, and are now comparatively moderate ; though the principle on which they are imposed still necessarily renders them productive of hardship and injustice.

The following statements show the mode in which the duties operate : they are also interesting as throwing some light on the expense of publishing books, and the precarious and limited nature of the profit to be derived from them : they refer to an octavo volume of 500 pages, the paper such as this, with the ordinary quantity of matter on the page, and sold by retail at 128. a copy. We subjoin an

Estimate of the cost of such a volume when 500, 750, and 1,000 copies are printed, showing what portion of the cost consists of duty, and the profits of the author and publisher on each edition when the whole is sold off: a similar estimate is subjoined for a pamphlet of 80 pages.

£ . 193 16 76 18

[ocr errors]


0 0 0 7 4 0 1 3 3 12 10



0 0 0 9 12 0 1 11 0 15 0 0



[ocr errors]

£ 5. d. 397 16 0 257 10 0

6 0

Total Cost Whereof Duty. Five Hundred Copies.

d. Printing and corrections

89 18 0

0 0 0 Paper

32 0 0

4 16 0 Boarding in cloth

16 0 0

0 15 6 Advertising

40 00 10 00

176 18 0 15 11 6 5 copies to public libraries. 20 copies to author, Reviews, &e. 475 copies for sale at 8s. 6d, 25 as 24

Deduct cost
Por profitt a rendere and publisher, commission, and interest on capital,} 16 18

Seven Hundred and Futy Coples.
Printing and corrections

95 4 0

48 0 0 Hoarding in cloth :

24 0 0

0 0

4 0 20 17 3 5 copies to public libraries. 20 copies to author, Reviews, &c.

E 8. d. 725 copies for sale at 8.. 6d. 25 as 24

995 16 0 Deduct cost

: :

217 4 0 For profile tore author and publisher, commission, and interest on capita!;} 78 12

One Thousand Copies. Printing and corrections

101 10 0 Paper

64 0 0 Boarding

32 00 Advertising

CO 0 0

257 10 0 5 copies to public libraries. 20 cop es to author, Reviews, &c. 975 copies for sale at 88. 6d. 25 as 21 Deduct cost

: For profit to author and publisher, commission, and interest on

capital; } 140 when all are sold.

Pamphlet of 5 sheds, 500 printed. Printing

14 14 0 Corrections and alterations

5 5 0 Paper

5 0 0 Suitching

0 12 6 Advertising (say)

10 0 0

35 11 6 3 5 0 25 copies for author and public libraries. 475 copies for sale, at 25 for 21. 146. Deduct cost


: : For profit to author and publisher, interest, &c. when all are sold

15 14 6 These statements show that, notwithstanding their reduction, the duties are yet far from inconsiderable, and form indeed a heavy charge on the publication of works for which the demand is limited. As seen above, they amount, on an edition of 500 copies of an ordinary octavo volume, to nearly as much as the sum remaining after the entire impression has been sold, for profit for author and publisher.

It is essential, however, to bear in mind that the previous statements show only how the duties affect books when the entire impression is sold off at the full publication price; but this seldom happens. Excluding pamphlets, it may be truly affirmed, that, at an average, the original impression of halt the books printed is hardly ever sold off, except at a ruinous reduction of price. Now, if we suppose, in the previous example of an edition of 750 copies, that only 625 instead of 725 were sold, the result would be that only 371. 168. would remain as profit to the author and publisher, and as a compensation for interest, the risk of had debts, &c. Were only 500 copies sold, a loss of 131. 48., exclusive of the author's labour, would be incurred ; and were only 400 copies sold, government would receive 201. 178. 31. of duty from a speculation by which the author'must lose all his labour, and the bookseller 541. of his capital: The mere possibility of such a supposition being realised, is sufficient to show the hardship of the duties; dut, in point of fact, such cases, instead of being merely possible or rare, are of every day occurrence!

There is a radical difference between the demand for books, or of food for the mind, and food for the body. The latter is always sure, under any circumstances, to command a sale. It cannot be dispensed with, and the demand for it is, therefore, comparatively constant. If a tax be laid on malt, hats, or shoes, it will, perhaps, somewhat lessen the demand for these articles; but the quantities of them brought to market, in future, will sell for such an advanced price as will leave the customary rate of profit to their producers. But with books the case is altogether different. The taste for them is proverbially capricious ; so much so, that the most sagacious individuals are every day deceived in their anticipations as to the success of new works, and even as to the sale of new editions. But if a book do not take, it is so very ruinous an affair, that a publisher is glad to dispose of the greater part of an

0 0 0 0 0 15 0 0 2 10

[ocr errors]


d. 51 6 0 35 11 6

impression at a fourth or a fifth part of its regular price ; and is often, indeed, obliged to sell it as waste paper to the trunk-maker or the tobacconist.

On an investigation into the affairs of an extensive publishing concern, a few years since, it was found, that of 130 works published by it in a given time. fifiy had not paid their expenses. Of the 80 that did pay, 13 only had arrived at a second edition ; but, in most instances, these second editions had not been profitable.' In general it may be estimated, that of the books published, a fourth do not pay their expenses; and that only one in right or ton can be reprinted with advantage. As respects pamphleis, we know we are within the mark, when we affirm that not one in silly pays the expenses of its publication 1

Now, when such is the case, it is plain that nothing can be more unfair than to impose the same duty on all works before they are published. In a few cases such duty falls principally on the buyers, and makes only an inconsiderable deduction from the profits of the author and publisher ; but in a much larger number of cases it makes a serious inroad upon their prcits, and goes, indeed, far to swallow them up; while in very many instances there are no profits to absorb, so that the duty has to be paid out of the capital of the unfortunate author or publishers, who, though they may have done nothing very meri. torious, would hardly seem to deserve such harsh treatment.

The reduction of the advertisement duty in 1833 was a most proper measure. But the above state. ments show that it still presst's very severely on literature, and in the majority of cases is more injurious than the paper duties. Formerly i copies of all new works had to be given to different public libraries. Happily, however, this tax, which not im frequently prevented the publication of expensive works that had only a limited demand, has been reduced to 5 copies. We incline to think that it is expedient, to secure the preservation of books and to facilitate their consultation, that copies of all works should be depo. sited in the British Museum, and in libraries in Edinburgh and Dublin. Perhaps it would be right that the public, for whose advantage they are preserved, should pay for such copies : we should not, ho'serer, object to the authors doing this, but they should not be required to do more. To call upon then to provide copies for the libraries of rich foundations, like the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, is a proceeding at variance with every fair principle.

The law of other countries is, in this respect, preferable to ours. In America, Prussia, Saxony, and Bavaria, only one copy of any work is required from the author; in France and Austria two copies are required ; and in the Netherlands, three.

V. Book Trade of Great Britain. - London is the great centre of the British book trade; the number of new publications that issue from its presses being far greater than all that appear in the rest of the empire. Within the course of the last forty years, however, many very important works bave been published in Edinburgh ; but the latter, as well as those that appear in Oxford, Cambridge, Glasgow, &c, are principally disposed of by the London trade. The booksellers of Edinburgh, and of all the provincial towns, have agents in London to whom they consigo a certain number of copies of every work ihes y ube lish; and to whom, also, they address their orders for copies of such new or old works as they have occasion for. The London booksellers, who act as agents for those in the country, are in the habit of regularly despatching parcels to their correspondents on the last day of each month, with the magazines and other monthly publications; but if any new work of interest appears in the interim, or orders be received from the country that cannot be conveniently deferred to the end of the month, a parcel is immediately forwarded by coach. The booksellers of Edinburgh and Dublin act as agents for those of London, and supply the Scotch and Irish country trade with the metropolitan publications.

The price of new works is fixed by the publishers, who grant a deduction to the retail dealers of from 20 to 25 per cent. on the price of quartos, and from 25 to 30 per cent. on that of octavos, and those of smaller size. The credit given by the publishers to the retailers varies from seven to twelve months, a discount being allowed for prompt payment at the rate of 5 per cent. per annum.

From inquiries we have made with much care and labour, we find that at an average of the 4 years ending with 1842, 2,147 volumes of new works, and 755 volumes of new editions and reprints (exclusive of pamphlets and periodical publications), were annually published in Great Britain ; and we have farther ascertained that the publication price of the former was 88. 9 d., and of the latter Rs. 2d. a volume. Hence, if we suppose the average impression of each work to have been 750 copies, it will be seen that the total value of the new works annually produced, if they were sold at their publication price, would be 708,4982. 88. 9d., and that of the new editions and reprints, 231,2181. 158. We believe, however, that it we estimate the price at which the entire impressions of both descriptions of works actually sell at 48. a volume, we shall not be far from the mark; and if so, the real value of the books annually produced will be 435,6004. a year. Subjoined is a summary of these results.

[blocks in formation]






[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]


3,780 2



7 Average of the four years - 2,149

915 0 84


308 11 Average price of each vol.


8. d.
750 copies of 2,149 vols. at 8 94

709,438 8 9
of 755
8 2

231,218 15 0
of 2,904 4 0

435,600 0 0 We regret that no estimate can be formed of the number or price of the pamphlets that annually make their appearance ; but we shall endeavour, in the article PERIODICAL PUBLICATIONS, to give some details as to the number and cost of the latter. It would be, in many points of view, desirable, were the libra. rians of the British Museum directed to keep and annually publish an account, classified according to the subjects and the size of the works, of all the new British books, pamphlets, and perioklical publications that come into their hands, specifying the average publication price of each class.' Such a return migit be made up without any great difficulty, and would afford curious information not otherwise attainable.

The old book trade carried on in Great Britain is very extensive, and employs many dealers. The price of old books depends very much on their condition; but, independently of this circumstance, it is very fluctuating and capricious; equally good copies of the same works being frequently to be had in some shops for a half or a third part of what they can be bought for in others. VI. Regulations as to Importation of Foreign Works. - For the duties, see TARIFF.

To prevent foreign books and maps, the property of individuals, from being charged with duty more than once, the proprietor shall, on each importation subsequent to the original onc, declare that the duties were paid

when they were first imported, or that he purchased them in this country in a fair way of trade ; that they are the identical books or maps he exported from this kingdom, and that they are now brought back for his private use, and not for sale. – (Treasury Order, 3d, and Customs Order, 8th of Oct., 1818.)

Individuals coming from foreign parts might, down to the 1st of April 1-43, import as baggage single copies of English works of which the copyright had not expired; but, in consequence of the facilities for smuggling that grew out of this indulgence, it has been withdrawn, and the importation of all English works printed in foreign countries, of which there is an existing copyright, is absolutely prohibited... (5&6 Vict. cap. 47. $ 24.).

The duty on foreign works produced in 1841, 8.4501. 188. M. nett.

VII. Book Trade of France. - The activity of the French press has been very greatly increased since the downfall of Napoleon. Count Daru, in his Notions Statistiques sur la Librairie, published in 1827, estimated the number of printed sheets, exclusive of newspapers, produced by the French press in 1816, at 66,8.52,863; and it appears (art. Librairie, Dict. du Commerce) that in 1836 the number of printed sheets (ex. newspapers) had increased to LÍR.857.000 ; so that it may now (1843) be fairly esti. mated at from 120 to 130 millions of sheets! The quality of many of the works that have recently issued from the French press is also very superior ; and it may be doubted whether such works as the Bungraphie L'niverselle, the new and enlarged edition of the Art de rérifer les Dates, in 38 vols. octavo, and the ixo octavo editions of Bayle's Dictionary, could have been published in any other country. The greater number of new French works of merit, or which it is supposed will command a considerable sale, are inmediately reprinted in the Netherlands or Switzerland, but principally in the former. To such an extent is this practice carried, that a single bookseller in Brussels has reprinted as many as 150,000 volumes of new French works in the course of a single year!

All the French booksellers are brevetés, that is, licensed, and sworn to abide by certain prescribed rules. This regulation is justly complained of by the publishers, as being vexatious and oppressive; and as tending to lessen the number of retail booksellers in the country, and to prevent that competition which is so advantageous.

The discount allowed by the French publishers to the retail dealers is not regulated, as in England, by the size of the volumes, but by the subjects. The discount on the sale of books of history, criticism, and general literature, is usually about 25 per cent ; in the case of mathematical and strictly scientitie works, it is seldom more than 10 or 15 per cent. ; while upon romances, tales, &c. it is often as high as 50 or 60 per cent.

viu. German Book Trade. - This trade is very much facilitated by the book fairs at Leipsic; the Easter fair being frequented by all the bookseliers of Germany, and by those of some of the neighbouring countries, as of France, Switzerland, Denmark, Livonia, &c., in order to settle their mutual accounts, and to form new connections. The German publisher sends his publications to the keeper of assorta ments à condition, that is, on commission, for a certain time, after which the latter pays for what have been sold, and may return the remainder. This is not so favourable for the publisher as the custom in the French and English book trades, where the heepers of assortinents take the quantity they want at a fixed rate. In the German book trade it is the custom for almost every house, either in the country or abroad, which publishes or sells German books, to have its agent at Lripsie, who receives and distributes its publications. A., of Riga, who publishes a book calculated for the German trade, has his agent B. in Leipsic, to whom he sends, free of expense, a number of copies of his publication, that he may distribute the new work to all the booksellers with whom he is connected, from Vienna to Hamburgh, and from Strasburgh to Königsberg, each of whom has his agent in Leipsic. Instructions are also given as to the number of copies to be sent to each. B. delivers those copies in Leipsic to the agents, who seod them every week, or more or less frequently, by the post or by carriers, at the expense of the receiver. C., of Strasburgh, who finds that he lias not received copies enough, writes for an additioral number of copies to his agent D., of Leipsic: D. gives this order to B., who delivers the number wanted to D., to be transmitted to C. This angemeni is advantageous to the German book trade, as well as to Leipsie. The dealer receives every thing from Leipsie ; and as a great number of packets, with books from all parts of Germany, arrive there for him every week, he can have them packed together and sent at once. The carriage is thus much less than if the packets were sent to him separately from the different places, and the whole business is simplified. The booksellers are also enabled to agree with ease on a certair discount per cent. No such intimate connection of the booksellers has yet been formed in any other country. The German booksellers rarely unite, as is the practice in England, in undertaking the publication or extensive works." -- (German Conversations-Lexicon, American edition.)

The literary deluge which commenced in Germany in 1814 still continues to increase. For the 2,000 works which were then about the annual complernent, we have now from 5,000 to 7,500. The catalogue of the Leipsic fair for Easter, 1837, contained 4,738 articles, of which 4,251 were actually published. Magazines and Encyclopædias have increased in the same proportion, and the public has shown as great a desire to read as the learned have to write. Private libraries are diminishing, while the public ones are daily increasing,

BOOTS AND SHOES, the external covering for the legs and feet, too well known to require any description. -- For an account of the value of the boots and shoes annually produced in Great Britain, see LEATHER.)

BORAX, OR TINCAL (Arab. Buruk ; Pers. Tunkar), one of the salts of soda. It is white, transparent, rather greasy in its fracture; its taste is styptic, and it converts syrup of violets to a green. It readily dissolves in hot water, and swells and bubbles in the fire. It is of great use as a flux for metals. --( Thomson's Chemistry.)

This salt is found in a crystallised state at the bottom of certain lakes in Thibet, and in various localities in Persia, China, South America, and Europe. Fermerly, however, the demand of Europe was almost wholly supplied from the Past, and especially by importations from Thibet, where the salt is comparatively abundant. Wheu imported, it is called lineal ; and is in a crude or impure state, being enseloped in a iatt, matter, from which it has to be separated by a process that was long known only to the Venetians and Dutcl.

The demand for borax is now in great part supplied from the famous lagoons near Monte Cerbole, in Tuscany. These lagoons, which occupy a large extent of surface, consist of an infinite number of low volcanoes, and springs in a furious state of ebullition ; the ground, which shakes and burns beneath the feet, is coverred with crystallisations of sulphur and other minerals; the whole scene presenting a striking picture of the most tremendous energy and sterility. The vapours that are constantly bursting forth from the boiling lagoons being found to contain boracic acid, it occurred to a most ingenious person, a M. Larderel, to construct pans through which the vapours being made to pass impregnate the water in ther with the acid. The pans are kept boiling by the heat of the lagnons; and the water being evaporated, the acid is deposited in crystals. Tu consequence of this discovery, the lagoons from being altogether worthless have become inost valuable. From 10,000 to 12,000 lbs. (12 oz. each) of acid are now daily producer; and this vast supply, and the facility with which borax may be obtained from the acid, has occasiones a great reduction in its price, and enabled it to be much more extensively employed than before. Dr. Bowring, from whose valuable Report on Tuscany we have derived these particulars, gives the following

« AnteriorContinua »