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Considerations On The Case Of Dr. T[rapp]’s Sermons
by [?]

24. If abridgments be condemned, as injurious to the proprietor of the copy, where will this argument end? Must not confutations be, likewise, prohibited for the same reason? Or, in writings of entertainment, will not criticisms, at least, be entirely suppressed, as equally hurtful to the proprietor, and certainly not more necessary to the publick?

25. Will not authors, who write for pay, and who are rewarded, commonly, according to the bulk of their work, be tempted to fill their works with superfluities and digressions, when the dread of an abridgment is taken away, as doubtless more negligences would be committed, and more falsehoods published, if men were not restrained by the fear of censure and confutation?

26. How many useful works will the busy, the indolent, and the less wealthy part of mankind be deprived of! How few will read or purchase forty-four large volumes of the transactions of the royal society, which, in abridgment, are generally read, to the great improvement of philosophy!

27. How must general systems of sciences be written, which are nothing more than epitomes of those authors who have written on particular branches, and those works are made less necessary by such collections! Can he that destroys the profit of many copies be less criminal than he that lessens the sale of one?

28. Even to confute an erroneous book will become more difficult, since it has always been a custom to abridge the author whose assertions are examined, and, sometimes, to transcribe all the essential parts of his book. Must an inquirer after truth be debarred from the benefit of such confutations, unless he purchases the book, however useless, that gave occasion to the answer?

29. Having thus endeavoured to prove the legality of abridgments from custom from reason, it remains only that we show, that we have not printed the complainant’s copy, but abridged it[1].

30. This will need no proof, since it will appear, upon comparing the two books, that we have reduced thirty-seven pages to thirteen of the same print.

31. Our design is, to give our readers a short view of the present controversy; and we require, that one of these two positions be proved, either that we have no right to exhibit such a view, or that we can exhibit it, without epitomising the writers of each party.

[1] A fair and bona fide abridgment of any book is considered a new work; and however it may injure the sale of the original, yet it is not deemed, in law, to be a piracy, or violation of the author’s copyright. 1 Bro. 451. 2. Atk. 141. and Mr. Christian’s note on the Commentaries, ii. 407.–Ed.