Abbreviated title
A letter concerning the sacramental test
JSA Identification Number
Teerink/Scouten Number
ESTC Number
Copy and its Location
CUL , Hib.5.735.13
Publisher and Printer
The works of J. S, D.D, D.S.P.D. in four volumes, Vol. iv., pp 1-20.
Dublin, Faulkner, George, 1735.


This Letter was significantly revised for Faulkner’s 1735 Works. There are four passages from the first edition omitted here. (1) The first comes after a famous passage in which Swift dismissed 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 was deleted in 1711. The third passage, not deleted until 1735, says that Irish Tories would pass for Whigs in England. 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’.

This printing, like others in the 1735 Works, uses capitals for all nouns and begins each paragraph with a capital and small capitals, thereby making the text look very orderly.

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: 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, 3 vols. (London: Methuen, 1962-83), ), vol. ii, p. 266-75; vol. iii, pp. 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.