Abbreviated title
An answer to a paper, called A memorial of the poor ... of Ireland
JSA Identification Number
10_2_1
Teerink/Scouten Number
665
ESTC Number
T21996
Copy and its Location
CUL , Hib.8.724.7 (15)
Publisher and Printer
An answer to a paper, called A memorial of the Poor ... of Ireland, Vol. , pp .
Dublin, Harding, Sarah, 1728.

Commentary

This is the first edition of An Answer to a Paper, called A Memorial of the Poor Inhabitants, Tradesmen and Labourers of the Kingdom of Ireland. The pamphlet was printed by Sarah Harding, the printer favoured by Swift after the death of her husband,

The pamphlet Swift was answering is John Browne’s To the R—d Dr. J—n S—t, The Memorial of the Poor Inhabitants, Tradesmen, and Labourers of the Kingdom of Ireland.

Sarah Harding’s is a faithful if rough printing, but as a result it draws us close to Swift’s writing. The printing is uncomplicated and the imposition sometimes awkward, but Harding seems to have tried hard to follow copy, which was probably an amanuensis’s copy of Swift’s manuscript. ‘Tann’, for example, may be a Swift spelling, but some other unusual readings are mistakes (for example, ‘Distinct’ for ‘District’ and ‘excuse’ for ‘Excise’). An oddity of this particular pamphlet is that its type is not of uniform size. The use of smaller type (at the top of page 6, for the last two-thirds of page 7, and the top two-thirds of page 8) is unrelated to sense or organization. My impression is that this sort of variation was more acceptable in Dublin printings. The text occupies exactly one sheet, and I suspect the small type was in order to squeeze the material into the space, rather than because Sarah Harding didn’t have enough type of the right size.

Sarah Harding was the widow of John Harding, who had printed the Drapier’s Letters and other controversial works for Swift. She seems to have run a small shop, operating on very narrow margins. For further information, see the exemplary accounts by James Woolley.

References: The Prose Writings of Jonathan Swift, ed. Herbert Davis and others, 16 vols. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1939-74), vol. xii, pp. 15-25, 324-5; Irvin Ehrenpreis, Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age, 3 vols. (London: Methuen, 1962-83), vol. iii, pp. 576-80; James Woolley, ‘Sarah Harding as Swift’s Printer’, in Walking Naboth’s Vineyard: New Studies of Swift, ed. Christopher Fox and Brenda Tooley (Notre Dame, IN: University of Natre Dame Press, 1995), pp. 164-77; The Intelligencer, ed. James Woolley (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992); Mary Pollard’s A Dictionary of Members of the Dublin Book Trade 1550-1800 (London: The Bibliographical Society, 2000).