402. Possibly, one of the consequences resulting from such an association, would be the establishment of a good and an impartial review, a work the want of which has been felt for several years. The two long-established and celebrated reviews, the unbending champions of the most opposite political opinions. are, from widely differing causes, exhibiting unequivocal signs of decrepitude and decay. The quarterly advocate of despotic principles is fast receding from the advancing intelligence of the age; the new strength and new position which that intelligence has acquired, demands for its expression, new organs, equally the representatives of its intellectual power, and of its moral energies: whilst, on the other hand, the sceptre of the northern critics has passed, from the vigorous grasp of those who established its dominion, into feebler hands.
403. It may be stated as a difficulty in realizing this suggestion, that those most competent to supply periodical criticism, are already engaged. But it is to be observed, that there are many who now supply literary criticisms to journals, the political principles of which they disapprove; and that if once a respectable and well-supported review(5*) were established, capable of competing, in payment to its contributors, with the wealthiest of its rivals, it would very soon be supplied with the best materials the country can produce. (6*) It may also be apprehended that such a combination of authors would be favourable to each other. There are two temptations to which an editor of a review is commonly exposed: the first is, a tendency to consult too much, in the works he criticizes, the interest of the proprietor of his review; the second, a similar inclination to consult the interests of his friends. The plan which has been proposed removes one of these temptations, but it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to destroy the other.
1. The whole of the subsequent details relate to the first edition of this work.
2. These details vary with different books and different publishers; those given in the text are believed to substantially correct, and are applicable to works like the present.
3. It is now understood that the use of spies has been given up; and it is also known that the system of underselling is again privately resorted to by many, so that the injury arising from this arbitrary system, pursued by the great booksellers, affects only, or most severely, those whose adherence to an extorted promise most deserves respect. Note to the second edition.
4 The monopoly cases. Nos. 1. 2. and 3. of those published by Mr Pickering, should be consulted upon this point; and, as the public will be better able to form a judgement by hearing the other side of the question, it is to be hoped the Chairman of the Committee (Mr Richardson) will publish those regulations respecting the trade, a copy of which. Mr Pickering states, is refused by the Committee even to those who sign them.