Andrew Law's Petition (1781)

Source: Connecticut State Library, Manuscript (Colleges and Schools, 1661-1789), Series I, Vol. II, Document 147.

Andrew Law's Petition (1781), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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Chapter 1 Page 1

      To the hon[orable] General Assembly of the state of Connecticut
now sitting in Hartford The Memorial of Andrew Law of Cheshire
in New Haven County humbly sheweth that after much [?] to gain a
competent Degree of Knowledge in the Art of singing to qualify
himself for teaching Psalmody; he in the year 1777 made a large
Collection of the best & most approved Tunes, Copies of some of
which he purchased of the original Compiler, others he took from
Books of Psalmody printed in England, which were never printed in
America & after much pains & Expence he made such a Collection
that he tho't it might be useful to the public to engrave a new
plate & strike of a number of Books - when he procured assistance
to purchase the engraving a plate, which together with making the
Collection cost your Memorialist nearly 500.0 (pounds) - Lawful
Money some which your Memorialist has struck of a Number of Copies
which have been very acceptable to the public, but by the rapid
Depreciation of the Continental Currency the three last years he
has rec[eive]d very little Compensation for the great tunes he is
in [?] & since the [?] of the County has been established upon a
more fix'd & solid Basis, he has had hopes of being reimbursed in
part - but to his great Surprize he now finds that some persons
unknown to your Memorialist who are acquainted with the Art of
Engraving are making Attempts to make a plate in Resemblance of
that [procured?] by your Memorialist & to [?] of books under the
Name of your Memorialist thereby to defeat the Interest of your
Memorialist [?], that the works of Art ought to be protected in
this County & and all proper [?] given thereto as in other
Countries - He has no Doubt but that your honors will give him
all reasonable Encouragement which does not interfere with the
rights & privileges of others - he proposes your honors to give
him an exclusive patent for imprinting

Chapter 1 Page 2


and vending the Tunes following - for the Term
of five Years from this Date, he conceives such an exclusive
right is not incompatible with the principles of a free State
& not invading the rights of any individual, your Memorialist
will furnish to the public as many Copies as they shall Demand
& at a reasonable Rate as they can [XXXXXX] be afforded,
and your Memorialist as in Duty bound will pray dated
at Hartford this 15th day of October AD 1781

                                                            Andrew Law

            In the upper House
                        The Prayer of the Memorial is granted
                        And that a Bill in form may be brought in thereon

      The Tunes of which the book consists are as follows - viz

Aynhoc                              Northington                              Anthems
Ballock                              Ode on Spring                        trip, shine, O Zion for they Light
Bunker Hill                              Providence                        If the Lord himself
Cheshire                              Psalm 21                        I said I will take heed,
Denbigh                              22                        O clap your hands,
Denmark                              25                        O Lord our Governor,
Easter                              32                        O Lord God of Israel,
Elstow                              46                        O sing unto the Lord a new song
Falmouth                              115                        Praise the Lord O my soul
Farmington                              122                        The beauty of Israel is slain
Freedom                              136
Greenwich                              148
Judgment                              Rugby
Keen                              Salem
Leeds                              Southington
Leicester                              Springfield
Loughborough                              Trumpet
Middletown                        Willingborough
Milford                              Waybridge

Concurred in the Lower House
[?] Jed. [?] Clerk

Transcription by: Megan Wren


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