Abbreviated title
A short view of the state of Ireland
JSA Identification Number
10_1_1
Teerink/Scouten Number
41
ESTC Number
T52771
Copy and its Location
ECCO BL , 632.d.36 or RB.23.a.10242
Publisher and Printer
The works of J. S, D.D, D.S.P.D. in four volumes, Vol. iv., pp 250-260.
Dublin, Faulkner, George, 1735.

Commentary

A Short View of the State of Ireland was first published as a pamphlet by Sarah Harding in 1727-8. This version was published by George Faulkner in volume IV of his edition of Swift’s Works in 1735.

There are some minor revisions to the text in this version, perhaps made during discussions between Swift and Faulkner, or between Faulkner and some of Swift’s friends. The changes are largely for the purposes of clarification: for example, ‘us’ becomes ‘this Kingdom’ and later ‘this Kingdom’ becomes specified as ‘Ireland’.

This text is bolder than earlier editions, naming ‘Lord Chief Justice Whitshed’ and printing ‘Commissioners’ in full. One surprising change is ‘The Fifth [cause of prosperity] is, the Priviledge of Free Trade’, where ‘Priviledge’ has been substituted for ‘Liberty’, a change that diminishes the force of Swift’s commitment to liberty as a value, an important theme in his work.

The text, like all of Faulkner’s work, is well printed and rather formal in its presentation. It uses printer’s ornaments, small capitals at the beginning of each paragraph, and capitals for the beginning of all nouns. It uses full capitals tellingly for ‘IRELAND’ and ‘ENGLAND’, but disappointingly not, as in the earlier editions, for Whitshed’s motto ‘Libertas & Natale Solum’.

George Faulkner (?1703-1775) was Swift’s most important publisher and editor. In his early years Swift tended to publish his major works through the London trade, but with the Drapier’s Letters (1724) Dublin publication became more important. Faulkner, who had worked for William Bowyer in London and was a polished printer, brought out the first collected edition of the Drapier’s Letters, as Fraud Detected, in 1725, and by 1732 was planning a subscription edition of Swift’s Works. The four volumes came out in 1735, and established Faulkner as Swift’s printer. Swift, at least to some extent, and his friends had collaborated in the edition. Faulkner continued to print Swift and to enlarge his edition, which by 1771 consisted of twenty volumes.

Faulkner did his best both to date Swift’s works and to elucidate them with footnotes. His pioneering work is of first importance both for Swift’s text and for explanatory notes. For further discussion of Faulkner, see the long note in the Gulliver’s Travels volume in the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jonathan Swift, and Mary Pollard’s entry on him in her Dictionary.

References: The Prose Writings of Jonathan Swift, ed. Herbert Davis and others, 16 vols. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1939-74), vol. xii, pp. 3-12, 323; Irvin Ehrenpreis, Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age, 3 vols. (London: Methuen, 1962-83), vol. iii, pp. 572-4, 779-90; Mary Pollard, A Dictionary of Members of the Dublin Book Trade 1550-1800 (London: The Bibliographical Society, 2000); Mary Pollard, ‘George Faulkner’, Swift Studies, 7 (1992), 79-96.