DICKENS, CHARLES. (1812-1870) English novelist of the Victoria era. Autograph Statement Signed, “Charles Dickens”, with a big bold paraph under his signature. One page, octavo. “Tavistock House, London, Eight April, 1857”. Dickens writes:
“I beg to state that I give my free consent, on the solicitation of Mr. King of St. Michael’s Hill, Bristol, to the admission into this country, of one copy of the Leipzig reprint of David Copperfield, and one Copy of a Liepzig reprint of Pickwick (I being the author of both books) brought over by a German passenger from Germany Manilla [sic] in the Hamberg ship Martahan… Charles Dickens”.
During Dickens visit to the United States in 1842, he campaigned vigorously for an international copyright law. He realized that he had lost income when his The Pickwick Papers was published in the US in 1837 by publishing ‘pirate’ firms. On this visit, he met with Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and even President John Tyler to press the need for an international copyright. Under the British Copyright Act of 1842; that law provided for the copyright period to last for the lifetime of the author plus 7 years, or for 42 years from first publication, whichever was longer. In this signed statement, Dickens is acknowledging, and allowing for the importation into the UK of a German edition of his works. He was thus ensuring that his hard earned efforts in establishing copyright protections were being met in this way. A very fine letter. Any mention, of any of his better know works, merits special consideration by the serious collector. When two of his greatest works are mentioned in the same letter, then that is a letter of very special qualities indeed!