Abbreviated title
The importance of The guardian considered
JSA Identification Number
7_14_1
Teerink/Scouten Number
591
ESTC Number
T17780
Copy and its Location
CUL , Williams 312
Publisher and Printer
The importance of The guardian considered, in a second letter to the Bailiff of Stockbridge. By a friend of Mr. St---le., Vol. , pp .
London, Morphew, John, 1713.

Commentary

There was only one edition of this work in Swift’s lifetime. It seems to have been published on 2 November 1713, and to have been handled by John Barber and John Morphew, as was usual for Swift’s work in this period. The printing is quite complex, as Swift’s text depends on Steele’s earlier letter. Italics are used for citing Steele, or for inventing speeches, and there are side notes giving page references. The printing is expressive of the work’s engagement in detailed controversial exchange.

John Barber (baptized 11 April 1675, died 2 January 1741) was the government printer while the Tories were in office: he printed the Votes of the House of Commons, The Examiner, and The Mercator and, in association with Benjamin Tooke, The London Gazette. He and Tooke were also Stationers to the Ordnance; together they were granted the reversion of Queen’s printer, but that was held by John Baskett and the assigns of Henry Hills and Thomas Newcomb until January 1740. Barber was also printer to the South Sea Company; Barber also had a successful career in London politics, becoming an alderman and serving as Lord Mayor in 1733-4. He had a large printing shop, employing two apprentices and seven journeymen, one of his compositors being John Wright, later the printer of Pope’s Dunciad Variorum and other of his later works. The output of Barber’s shop is generally very impressive in quality, and he showed considerable ingenuity in operating with reissues and cancels. Swift’s relations with Barber seem to have been good. They often dined together. Mrs Manley, who took over the writing of The Examiner from Swift, lived with Barber.

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: Jonathan Swift, English Political Writings, 1711-1714, ed. Bertrand A. Goldgar and Ian Gadd (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 442-5 (443-4); The Prose Writings of Jonathan Swift, ed. Herbert Davis and others, 16 vols. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1939-74), vol. viii, pp. 3-25, 201; Irvin Ehrenpreis, Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age, 3 vols. (London: Methuen, 1962-83), vol. ii, pp. 688-92; Charles A. Rivington, ‘Tyrant’: The Story of John Barber (York: William Sessions, 1989); 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; Michael Treadwell, ‘London Trade Publishers, 1675-1750’, Library, 6th ser. 4 (1982), 99-134.