22 JULY 1882, Page 14


(To THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR." j SIE,—In the Spectator for June 17th appeared a review of Mr. Warner's recent memoir of Washington Irving, in which the statement is made that it was through his English copyright. that Irving was "for the most part remunerated." This is an error on the part of your reviewer, into which he has, as we- judge, been led, by assuming that the amounts realised by Irving from the first American editions of his earlier books, (which appeared in Philadelphia) comprised his entire American receipts from these works. This was, however, very far from being the case. Irving sold to his Philadelphia publishers, not the copyright of these earlier books, but only the right to pub- lish certain editions of them. In 1848, he arranged with G. P. Putnam and Co., of New York, to publish these works and such later ones as he might prepare, receiving for the same a royalty on the sales. This royalty, which was paid to Irving until 1859, the year of his death, and which has since been paid to his heirs, produced for him (and for them) a very considerable annual in- come, and also provided the means for the purchase of the estate of Sunnyside ; and the gross receipts from the works under this American arrangement have very far exceeded the amounts (liberal as they undoubtedly were) which were paid to Irving

by Mr. Murray and Mr. Bentley. These first receipts from his English publishers were, moreover, as is shown in the " Lifo and Letters," practically swallowed up in the failure of the firm of Peter Irving and Co., in which firm Washington Irving was for some years a partner. Notwithstanding the liberal payments made to Irving by Mr. Murray and Mr. Bentley, and the claim which the former attempted to establish that, as Irving was a resident of England at the time of the first publication of " The Sketch-Book " and " Bracebridge Hall," he was entitled to the benefit of British copyright, they did not succeed in preventing the books from being " appropriated " by other publishers. In consequence of such appropriation and the failure of Mr. Murray's suit, Irving's receipts from the English editions of his later volumes were very inconsiderable. His income for the last ten years of his life, and the property left by him to his nephews and nieces (in addition to his income-producing American-copy- right agreements), was derived nearly exclusively from the royalties paid him by G. P. Putnam and Co. We are interested in making this correction, not only for the purpose of showing that Irving's interests were well cared for by our house, but to make clear that there has been during the past forty years no lack of appreciation on the part of American readers for an author whose works belong to standard literature on both sides 4of the Atlantic.—We are, Sir, &c., G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS. 27 and 29 West Twenty-third Street, New York July 7th.