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being taken away, it must be presumed there was some account made up at the time? Yes.
*(Q. 1696.) Can you state the amount of the profits divided at each of those periods among the partners ?-No.
Here are three simple steps : moneys were divided, entries of the sums were made, yet the amount of the sum so divided and so entered could not be stated.
*(Q. 1706.) Mr. Spottiswoode has been examined upon it, and referred to you in regard to profits ?-I understand he did; but not as, I suppose, the Committee mean. I know the business generally, but am not able to give detailed information.
'(Q. 1722.) Mr. Spottiswoode was understood to say he had charge of the operative branch ; he was asked how the general accounts were kept of the work done and the charges made, and he has stated he cannot give any information upon that subject ?-I cannot tell how that is ; I only know I am quite incompetent.
'(Q. 1723.) Is there any other person likely to be better informed than Mr. Spottiswoode?-No.'
Surely if on earth there be a temple of confusion, a fit receptacle for the goddess of dulness, it is a royal printing office! A great politician once said, that mankind were not aware how little sense sufficed to govern the world. It would really seem as if the omnipotence of stu. pidity extended beyond courts and cabinets. The case before us demonstrates that a small measure of wisdom and of order-if all was true-suffices to conduct a large business, and to print Bibles for a great nation! In the history of commerce, in the experience of courts and committees, the exhibition of which a specimen is here given, has not often found a parallel. Upon such a question as profit, however, Mr. Hume was not the man to be easily defeated. The questions pro. eeed till a few sparks of light are at last elicited.
*(Q. 1731.) You admit a very large capital belonging to you, employed to carry on the King's printing ? - Yes.
(Q. 1732.) In what manner are you repaid for the use of that capital, and how is the account kept ?-By the produce of the concern.
(Q. 1733.) In what way is it ascertained ?--By a debtor and creditor account.
(Q. 1734.) Then there are debtor and creditor accounts ?-Yes, undoubtedly."
'(Q. 1735.) Cannot you supply a copy of that made up annually, or at other periods ?-No; because it involves a great many other con. cerns of other people, some of whom are dead and gone, and whose interests I am bound to protect,'
At last it comes out, that the profits of the patent are at least £12,000 per annum! But enormous as this sum is, I am far from satisfied of the correctness of the admission. It is clear that the patentee, Mr. Eyre, was either very incapable or obstinately averse to deal with the question. But, sir, I have at length found a key to open every door and every cell of this enchanted castle. Are the people of England prepared to listen to the amount of profit realized, during the ten years preceding 1831, by the English monopolists ? Let them, VOL. IX.
then, hear the fact ; those profits were about £60,000 a-year ! Nothing can be more conclusive than the proof of this astounding fact. At page 359 of the evidence of 1831, you will find a table, dated February 18, 1831, of · Returns of the amounts that have been paid to each University, and to the King's printers, as drawback on the duty on paper, used for Bibles, Testaments, and Books of Common Prayer, for the last ten years.' Of this most important return, the following is the result. There were paid
Such, sir, are the facts—now for their application. The proof is merely an affair of the rule of proportion in its simplest form. The amount of drawback, as unerringly given by the Excise-Office, determines the amount of business done by the parties respectively ; therefore, independently of size, price, and quantity, if we can ascertain the gross or the nett profits of any of the bodies of patentees, we can ascertain, with sufficient accuracy, the sums realized by the rest. This we have done. When Sir David Hunter Blair was requested to state his profits, in a frank and honourable manner he referred the committee to Mr. Waddell, his manager. There was with him no shuffling, evasion, or equivocation ; no plea of complexity, or delicacy, or difficulty; and the servant was worthy of his master. He was brought from Edinburgh in such haste that he had no time for regular preparation ; but, to the extent of his knowledge, he spoke on every subject with an honourable candour and a beautiful transparency. Some of the chief questions follow:
*(Q. 270.) What is the amount of the nett profits last year?- The nett profit, last year, was about £9,600.
(Q. 271.) Have you any bad debts ?-Yes, the bad debts were struck out before I made my balance, but I made no allowance for in. terest on capital, and for wear and tear of stock.
(Q. 272.) From your recollection, have the past years been more or less ?-Some of them more, but I think none of them less.
(Q. 273.) Do you suppose the average of the last ten years will amount to £10,000 ?--I should suppose between £9,000 and £10,000, but not £10,000.
The manager, Mr. Waddell, obviously an honest man and an upright witness, was in error. He clearly considers that the profits were nearly, but not quite, £10,000. The truth, however, is, that they were considerably more than that sum. The total drawback on the paper, during the ten previous years, was £16,645 4s. ; the drawback on the year in question, viz. 1830, was £1,616 1s. 3d. If you divide the total of the ten years by the sum of that year, you will find the quotient will measure the divisor, and leave a fraction of considerably more than one-fourth above the £10,000 as the anoual profit of the Scotch patentee! But what is the total profits for the ten years ? Considerably upwards of One Hundred Thousand Pounds !
Sir, here is a simple case of schoolboy arithmetic: the drawback of the Scotch monopolist was £16,645 4s. ; the drawback of the English monopolists was £97,321 ls. 6d, during the ten specified years. If £16,645 4s. realize upwards of £100,000 during that period, what will £97,321 ls. 6d. realize? It will realize within a small fraction of Six Hundred Thousand Pounds! How much is this short of Sixty Thousand Pounds a-year? Let the people of England ponder these words !'
On the expiration of the patents in Scotland, a new order of things was established, whereby all that choose to give security for correctness are at full liberty to print the Scriptures. For the superintendence of this matter a special Board has been created, and their first Report issued during the summer of last year, sets forth the result of their experience in the following terms.
* Among the advantages arising from the abolition of the monopoly in printing, a prominent place must be given to the reduction of price in the various works that were formerly to be procured only from one patentee. The sum already saved to the public in this manner is very considerable ; and, as this saving becomes available chiefly to the middle and lower classes of society in a matter of infinite importance, and to Bible Societies, by which they are enabled to circulate the Scriptures to a greater extent than formerly among those who, though most needing them, would otherwise have been altogether deprived of their instructions and consolations, the money that is saved must be considered as having a value far beyond its nominal amount. It is not merely a question as to the amount of reduction, by the effects of competition, though, even in this respect, it is far from being undeserving of attention, but whether a vast number of individuals are or are not to be put in possession of the sacred Scriptures. In this way a very small diminution of price acquires a magnitude and importance essentially different from what can be predicated in respect of any other article of sale. The difference of a single penny in the price of a Bible determines year after year, whether the Word of God is or is not to enlighten and gladden thousands of families.
• The extent to which the prices of Bibles, Catechisms, and Confessions, are to be lowered in price, cannot be ascertained until the works prepared under the new system come more numerously into the market. It is not six months since the printing of Bibles and Testaments commenced under the Lord Advocate's license; and, though there are several works in progress, no Bibles have yet been published, and only one or two editions of the New Testament.
· The Board understand that a very considerable reduction has taken place in the price of English Bibles sold in Scotland: but they are without documents to enable them to give a statement as to its exact amount; neither are they aware whether the reduction extends to England ; but they know that Bibles printed in England can be bought in Scotland, at present, from twenty to thirty per cent. lower than they could have been purchased in England previously to the expiry of the former patent.
* Already, however, even under the prospective influence of the change of system, a very considerable reduction of the prices of Bibles and Testaments has taken place. By a “Catalogue of Bibles, New Testaments, Common Prayer Books, &c.,' published in April, 1838, by your Majesty's late printers, as compared with another published by the same parties in July, 1839, there is a reduction in every article, with the exception of certain editions of the Catechism and Confession of Faith ; in none that we have observed, is it less than eight or nine, and in some it is as much as thirty-three per cent. The average reduction in the Catalogue of 1839 may be stated at about fifteen per cent. This reduction must be ascribed partly to the importation of Bibles printed in England, and partly to the natural wish, on the part of the former patentees, to preserve the market against those in Scotland who may enter into the field of competition, and avail themselves of their new privilege. Already, however, several editions are in the press ; intimation has been given of others ; and, when all these come into the market, there cannot be a doubt that Bibles and Testaments will be sold at least a third, and in some instances one half, lower than during the continuance of the monopoly.
Such, sir,' Mr. Campbell goes on to say, “is the testimony of her Majesty's Board-a body composed of the Lord Advocate, the Queen's Solicitor for Scotland, the moderator of the General Assembly of the Scottish Church, two clergymen of the Establishment, two advocates at the Scottish bar, and Dr. Welsh as secretary-seven gentlemen of station, integrity, and character. Which is the more entitled to credit, the Board of seven, or Mr. Spottiswoode? Shall we believe a body of honourable and wholly disinterested men, or him who has made his thousands upon thousands by the system which he lauds and upholds ? He asserts that, in point of cheapness,' no other system' can equal the present' one of monopoly ; the Board maintains, that, under the free trade system, there cannot be a doubt that Bibles and Testaments will be sold at least a third, and in some instances one half, lower than during the continuance of the monopoly.' So much for 'the bare-faced' assertion of Mr Spottiswoode! This is one of the * fallacies' which I am seeking to impress, I have reason to believe with sume success, upon the people of England.
Mr. Spottiswoode, in his letter, states, with matchless composure, that whatever glosses may have been put upon the
subject, it has never yet been shown to those who would take 'the trouble to investigate, that equal efficiency or cheapness 'could be obtained upon any other system than the present for • supplying copies of the holy Scriptures to the public. In controversy it is a great comfort to have an opponent who speaks in terms that can be dealt with. Mr. Campbell took the * trouble to investigate,' and the following is the extraordinary result.
* Before me lies the catalogue of Sir D. H. Blair, dated November 10, 1810, and beside it two of those of Mr. Spottiswoode, procured at the house of Longman, and at that of another of his agents, on Nov. 17, 1840. I select from these documents thirteen of the principal editions as nearly as possible of the same size, paper, and type. In two or three cases of slight difference, the superiority in point of excellence, in our view, attaches to the volumes of Blair. The descriptions of the respective books are in the very words of the catalogues above mentioned.
Mr. Spottiswoode's Prices in
sheets. Quarto Bibles.
£ $. * Pica Type, with Dr.
Type, with Dr. Blayney's Marginal References' . . . .0 18
Pica Type, fine wove
Type, with Dr. Blay-
Sir David Hunter Blair's Prices
in Sheets. Quarto Bibles.
£ s. d. • Blayney's Marginal Re
ferences, Pica Letter,
0 Ditto. - With Marginal Refer
ences, Small pica Let-
perfine royal paper,
ences, Brevier Letter,
12mo. • Nonpareil Type, with
Dr. Blayney's Marginal References' ..0
Ditto. · Brevier Letter, super
fine demy paper, cold pressed'' . . .0
12mo. · With Marginal Refer
ences, Nonpareil Letter, demy paper, cold pressed' . . . .0
12mo. Ditto . . . . . .0