An Introduction to: A Letter Concerning the Sacramental Test
- Abbreviated title
- A letter concerning the sacramental test
- JSA Identification Number
- Teerink/Scouten Number
- ESTC Number
- Copy and its Location
- CUL , Hib.7.709.1
- Publisher and Printer
- A letter from a member of the House of Commons in Ireland to a member of the House of Commons in England, concerning the sacramental test., Vol. , pp .
- London, Morphew, John, 1709.
This Letter is one of the most heavily revised of Swift’s pieces. He excluded parts of it from both the 1711 and the 1727 Miscellanies and yet more from the 1735 Works. In order to read the full original text it is necessary to read this version. There are four passages omitted in later printings: (1) The first comes after a famous passage in which Swift dismisses two writers: the first ‘the Fellow that was Pillor’ d, I forget his Name’ is Daniel Defoe; the second the writer of the Observator. Swift originally went on to condemn attacks on the archbishops of Canterbury and Dublin, generously praising the latter, but he marked the passage for deletion in a copy of the 1727 Miscellanies and deleted it in 1735. (2) In the second, an attack on Broderick goes with a suggestion that he and his family would be better hanged. The passage is deleted after this edition. (3) The third passage, not deleted until 1735, says that Irish Tories would pass for Whigs in England. (4) The fourth, criticizing three clergymen, has its omission explained in 1711: ‘I have taken leave to omit about a Page which was purely Personal, and of no use to the Subject’.
The printing of this piece is good and, though Swift’s later repudiation of personal attacks is interesting, it seems the best text to read.
John Morphew was a trade publisher. He had been a journeyman in Edward Jones’s printing house and took on John Nutt’s business when Nutt took over Jones’s printing shop in 1706. He continued the publishing business until he died in 1720. He seems to have been the trade publisher the Tories preferred. His was a small business, employing only a woman and a boy.
References: The Prose Writings of Jonathan Swift, ed. Herbert Davis and others, 16 vols. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1939-74), vol. ii, pp. 109-25, 281-4; Irvin Ehrenpeis, Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age (London: Methuen, 1962-83), vol. ii, p. 266-75; Michael Treadwell, ‘Swift’s Relations with the London Book Trade to 1714’, in Author/Publisher Relations during the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, ed. Robin Myers and Michael Harris (Oxford: Oxford Polytechnic Press, 1983), pp. 1-36.