THE ART OF "STEALING READY-MADE" EXEMPLIFIED.
WHEN last week we gave away the Anatomy of the Peerage by way of Supplement, we at least gave away our own. Our readers were aware of the extent of our labours in that line; but those who, with a view to comparison, have cast an eye over what may be called the second edition, will have perceived how numerous are the errors we have corrected, how many the fresh names we have ferreted out of the lists of place and pension. It was pleasant, there- fore, on the morning of publication, to find a respectable Weekly Paper, of large circulation, rivalling us with our own work—not in its amended shape, but just a-; it had formerly appeared from week to week in our columns, with all its errors on its head, and bodily transferred, by the aid of shears, into a gratis supplement forsooth, under the title of "Newspaper Companion." Gratis, indeed, it had need be, for it had cost the parties nothing but a sacrifice of common honesty. It is possible that this larceny may have pre- vented the spread of some thousand or two of our own paper: but of this we make no complaint in the Spectator—though it is not agreeable to be undersold, much less undergiven, with the aid of our own materials. We did not steal our birch, but our contem- porary stole his brooms ready-made ; so that the advantage of his position was great. We do not object, as we have said, on private, but on public grounds. After having taken immense pains to correct mistakes, to collect new facts, to present altogether a just view of the matter,—almost impossible at the first effort,—we bitterly regret to see all our old errors repeated, perpetuated, and extensively circulated. It is the public who suffer—it is the cause of truth that is injured, by this unworthy grasping at a petty advantage. The robbery is committed in a way most likely to impose upon the public. The Sunday Times, resolving upon appropriating the i labours of the Spectator, s aware that it will not answer the purl pose to say, "Here is a huge morsel from an old Number of the Spectator, of which we have not altered a word:" they therefore imagine the following device— "A List of the whole English Peerage, &c.; corrected from LODGE'S Peerage of the British Empire, just published."
The effrontery of the person who wrote this must have been con- summate as his contempt for the dull and uninquiring public whom he has doubtless always found capable of swallowing similar enormities. The assertion is false. The list is not corrected in any one instance by LODGE'S Peerage : it is verbatim copied from the list published in the first edition of the Spectator, and which, in the Supplement of last week, after more diligent investigation, and the consultation of persons well acquainted with the subject, we found reason to remodel.
In taking, next, the greater part of the table of Money In- fluences, the conscientious Editor informs the world, that it is " abridged " from the Spectator. Abridged, in this gentleman's vo- cabulary, means "cut off." Since the first publication of this ela- borate statement, we have employed great pains and no little ex- pense to render it more complete than we ever pretended it was— perfect it never can be. We have collected some hundreds of new facts, and set right numerous errors, which will necessarily creep into a first attempt of the kind; but here, in our face, on the very day when we have brought our labours to bear, we are met in all parts of the town with the ghost of our ancient sins ! The thief has not even struck out our dead men; and galled as we were at having permitted slips of the sort, it is still more provoking to see them insinuated once more into the world on. our authority.
Altogether, this scheme of the Sunday Times to catch a little sale and a little fame is a discreditable affair.
We trust it will put people on their guard against these generous gifts on the part of Newspapers: they may learn of how little value such generosity may be, and save their pence and their patience. They may also be led to open their eyes and look a little beyond the surface of similar impositions. The incident before us is a part of the system of cheap-paper-making' the manufacturers of which seem to understand far better the handling of the scissors than the pen, and-naturally prefer the instrument they are most adroit in the use of. That such works should be produced at a cheap rate, we cannot be surprised: the fatigue is not of the brain, but of the steel—the knifegririder, in an annual visit, repairs in half an hour the wear' and tear of the year. • Heroes like this of the Sunday Times will become celebrated, like Lord COCHRANE, for heir exploits in cutting out.