Burnet's Bill of Complaint and Chetwood's Answer, The National Archives (1721)

Source: The National Archives: c.11 242/45

Citation:
Burnet's Bill of Complaint and Chetwood's Answer, The National Archives (1721), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org

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2o October 1721            Smith                                    To the Right Honourable Thomas Earl of Macclesfield
                                                                                                            Lord High Chancellor of Great Brittain

Humbly complaining sheweth your Lordship Your Orator George Burnet of Eriholm in the County of York Gentleman
Brother & sole Executor of the last Will & Testament of Thomas Burnet Doctor of Laws late Master of the Charter
House in the Citty of London. That in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Six Hundred & Ninety two the said Doctor
Thomas Burnet your Orator's Brother & Testator did Publish a Book which he had written in the Latin Tongue Intituled
Archæologiæ Philosophicæ sive Doctrina Antiqua de Rerum Originibus which said Book was printed for Walter Kettleby
a Bookseller then living in St Pauls Church yard & was entered in the Register of the Stationers Company in the name
of the said Walter Kettleby & there being some offence taken at some Passages in the said Book the said Doctor
Burnet did shortly after write in the Latin Tongue a Letter in Apology or vindication thereof. After which a certain
Scribler Published a Book or Pamphlet containing a Collection or Translation into English of certain Irreligious
peices [sic] which were styled the Oracle of Reason & to set of & make the said Trash saleable the said writer
translated into English or procured to be translated into the said Book or Pamphlet one Chapter of the said Book of
Archæologiæ Philosophicæ of which Translation the said Doctor Burnet had no notice till the said Pamphlet was
published in Print at which usage your Orators said Brother had so great an Indignation that he did all he could to
prevent the same for the future & the better to keep the said Book of Archæologiæ Philosophicæ under his own power & to
prevent the same being either Reprinted Abridged or Translated without his leave & approbation the said Doctor Burnet
insisted that the said Walter Kettleby his Bookseller should make a Declaration of Trust to him the said Doctor Burnet
that the said Book styled Archæologiæ Philosophicæ with the said Epistle which were entered in his the said Walter Kettlebys
name were so entered in the Register of the said Stationers Company for & in Trust for him the said Doctor Burnet as in Truth
they were which Declaration of Trust & an Assignment of the said Copy the said Walter Kettleby did make accordingly by
writing under his hand & Seale bearing date the Twenty second day of February in the year of our Lord One Thousand Six
hundred & Ninety four & five As by the said Declaration of Trust & Assignment ready to be produced to this Honourable
Court may appear. And your Orator further sheweth ^unto^ your Lordship that your Orator's said Brother departed this life
on or about the Twenty Seventh day of September in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven hundred & fifteen having
before made his last Will & Testament & thereof constituted & appointed your Orator his Brother sole Executor & your
Orator hathe duely proved the said Will before the Lawfull Ordinary as by the Probate thereof ready to be produced to
this Honourable Court may appear. And your Orator further sheweth that in the life time of your Orators said Brother no
person did pretend to translate the said Book your Orator's said Brother in several Passages of his other writings having
expressed himself that the said Book was only intended to the Learned & for that reason was writ in Latin & not writ in
the Vulgar Language. But your Orator sheweth that since the death of your Orators said Brother one William Chetwood
of Russell Street in the Parish of St Pauls Covent Garden in the County of Middlesex Bookseller hath entered into a
Confederacy & Combination with some other Booksellers to Imploy some persons to translate the said Book into English &
to publish the same without the Consent of your Orator or any of the friends of your Orators said Brother which said Booksellers
& Confederates your Orator hath been Informed & chargeth the truth to be as followth viz William Taylor in Pater Noster Row
& Richard Franklin in Fleet Street London which said Confederates with some others of their Trade whose names your Orator
hath not yet discovered have Imployed some persons very unfit for such an undertaking ^to translate^ the said Latin Book of
your Orators said Brother into English amongst which Translators one Mr Gabriel Rousillon hath been Imployed by the said
Confederate William Chetwood to translate some part of the said Book & there being many hands Imployed therein your Orator
hath reason to believe that the said Translation (such as it is) is near finished for that in the Publick News Papers there is inserted
an advertisement on the 26th of September last past to this effect viz: That on that day was published & given Gratis Proposals
for Printing by Subscription Archæology or Thoughts of the Ancient Philosophers concerning the Origin of Things by way of
Commentary upon the Theory of the Earth Done from the Latin of Doctor Burnet by Mr Rousillon. Proposals are given
& Subscriptions for the Author taken at Buttons Coffee House in Covent Garden. N: B. The Books will be delivered in less than
a Fortnights time. Which was the first notice that your Orator had of the said Design & Thereupon some persons that are Your
Orators friends & were friends to your Orators said Brother in his life time & had regard & esteem for his memory having made an
Inquiry after the said Translation & having seen one Sheet thereof found that there were most Gross errors & Blunders in the said
Translation & that either through the Hast or Ignorance of the said Translators the sense & words of the Author of the said Book is utterly
mistaken & represented after a most absurd & ridiculous manner. And your Orator further sheweth your Lordship that your Orator & the
friends of your Orators said deceased Brother being desirous according to the Intentions of your Orators said Brother to have the said
Translation entirely supprest: Your Orators friends were made acquainted that several persons who had a value for the author had
subscribed for the Translation of the said Book & that the same was near finished & that the said Confererates as they pretended had been at
a Considerable Expence in the Printing thereof so that they must & would go on & pretend that they are ready to publish the Translation of
the said Book in a little time & the said Confederates make the greater dispatch & hasten the same to evade the Justice of this Honourable
Court. And your Orator further sheweth your Lordship that your Orators said Brother in his life time writ another Book in the Latin Tongue
Intituled De Statu Mortuorum & Resurgentium which he never did Publish but as his Manner was with his other writings he ordered two or
three Copys thereof to be printed at his own Charge & for his own use. One of which Copys was interleaved with Blank paper in which
upon Reveiw he made several Additions & Alterations which said Interleaved Copy was found in the Study of the said Doctor Burnet after
his death But your Orator sheweth that the Person who was Intrusted by the said Doctor Burnet to Print the said Copy did privately &
unknown to the said Doctor Burnet Orint one Copy thereof for himself or kept the Proof sheets of the said Book styled De Statu Mortuorum
& Resurgentium which said surreptitious Copy since the Death of the said Doctor Burnet happening to fall into the hands of a
worthy & learned Person who had an Esteem for the said Doctor Burney & his writings The said learned Person did order ten or twelve
Copys & no more of the said Book to be printed at his own Charge & in a very fair Character which said Copys so printed the said learned
Person did make Presents to some of his friends with an obligation that neither they nor any person into whose hands the said Book should
fall should permit the same either to be Copied or Printed & a short advertisement was written in Latin by the said worthy & learned person
& printed before the said Book, to the effect aforesaid. But your Orator sheweth that some of the friends of the said learned person to
whom he made Presents of the said Book being dead the said William Chetwood & the other Confederates or some of them have found
means to procure one of the said Copys & Give out that they Intend speedily not only to print the same but also to have the same translated
into English & the said William Chetwood & his Confederates pretend to Insist that they have a Right so to do for that he or they pretend
that the said Copy of the said Book De Statu Mortuorum & Resurgentium was bought or purchased by them & as to the other Book intituled
Archæologiæ Philosophicæ the said William Chetwood & his Confederates pretend that the same being written in Lattin a Translation
thereof into English is a new Book & that they or the writers they imploy have a Right to publish the same. Whereas your Orator is advised
that the original Property in the said Book being in the Author your Orators Brother & Testator the Right thereof is now ^[unreadable
interlineation]^ in your Orator & that the same ought not to be printed or translated against your Orators Consent or those
friends of your Orators said late Brother to whom your Orator has committed the Care of his said Brothers writings who by their
Conversation & Intimacy with your Orators said late Brother were acquainted with his Mind & Intention touching the Publication of his
writings & your Orator is advised that by the Statute made in the eight year of the Reign of her late Majesty Queen Anne Intituled an Act
for the Incouragement of Leaning the Law is still further Inforced for vesting the Copys of Printed Books in the Authors or Purchasers of
such Copys during the times therein mentioned And the said William Chetwood & his said Confederates pretend that by the said Act of
Parlement there are some Penaltys which they may be lyable to if they should make the Discovery sought by this your Orator's Bill but your
Orator sheweth that he doth hereby offer to waive any advantage of the Pecuniary Penalties in the said Act. And your Orator also sheweth
that the said William Chetwood & his Confederates have drawn into Confederacy with them one John Watts of Great Wilde street in ye
County of ^Middx^ Printer & at whose Printing Houses the said erronious Translation is printing So that if this Honourable Court doth not
interpose the said Confederates will gain their Design And your Orator sheweth that the before named Walter Kettleby is dead Intestate &
Mary Kettleby his daughter hath taken administration from a lawfull Ordinary to her said father & is thereby become his Representative
Now Forasmuch as your Orator hath not adequate Remedy in the Premises by the Common Law & the matters aforesaid are in their own
nature proper for the Jurisdiction & Relief of your Lordship in this Honourable Court May it please your Lordship that the said William
Chetwood & his said Confederates William Taylor Richard Franklin John Watts Gabriel Rousillon & their other Confederates when
discovered may true & perfect answer make to all & singular the Premises & in particular may set forth & discover whether he the said
William Chetwood & his Confederates did not imploy any & what Persons to translate the said Lattin Book stiled Archæologiæ
Philosophicæ into English & may set forth the names of all such Persons that were so imployed & where such Persons live & whether the
same was not done without the consent or knowledge of your Orator & whether the said William Chetwood & his ^said^ Confederates did
not publish such advertisement in Print in some or one of the Publick News Papers & whether all the said Book was Translated or printed
before the said William Chetwood & his said Confederates were served with the Process of this Honourable Court or how much thereof
remained to be translated or printed & what person or Persons were or are imployed to print the said Book & where they live & how many
Sheets therof hath been translated or printed since the said Confederates or any of them were served with the said Process And that the said
William Chetwood & his said Confederates may answer whether he they or any of them have procured any Copy of the beforementioned
Lattin Book Intituled De Statu Mortuorum & Resurgentium & when & by what means & from what person they or any of them procured
the same & in whose custody or power the same now is & whether the said last mentioned Book hath beene put to the Press & whether the
same is now printing or translating into English & by whom And that the said William Chetwood & his said Confederates may be restrained
by the order & Injunction of this Honourable Court from the printing or Publishing any Translation of the said Book stiled Archæologiæ
Philosophicæ or the printing or Publishing the said Book stiled De Statu Mortuorum & Resurgentium or the Making or Publishing any
Translation thereof ^& that all such sheets of the translation of either of the said books that are printed may be delivered to your Orator to be
damaskt or made wast paper according to the Statute of her said late Majestie Queen Ann^ & that the said Gabriel Rousillon may be
likewise restrained & injoined from taking any subscriptions for the printing or Publishing the said Books or either of them & that upon the
whole matter your Orator may be releived in all & singular the Premises according to Equity & good Conscience. May it please your
Lordship to grant your Orator his Majesties Writ of Subpoena to be issuing out of this Court to be directed to the said William Chetwood
William Taylor Richard Franklin John Watts & Gabriel Rousillon & their Confederates & for Conformity to the said Mary Kettleby thereby
commanding them & every them to appear before your Lordship in this Honourable Court to answer all & singular the Premises & also his
Majesties Writ of Injunction to stop & restrain the said Confederates from translating printing or publishing the said Books or either of them
& that the said William Chetwood & his Confederates may stand to & abide such Order & Decree in the Premises as to your Lordship shall
seem just & [blank] Harris
                        Your Orator shall ever pray &c:                                    T Wilkinson


    

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