Abbreviated title
A letter concerning the sacramental test
JSA Identification Number
2_5_2
Teerink/Scouten Number
2 (1a)
ESTC Number
T39454
Copy and its Location
CUL , Williams 131
Publisher and Printer
Miscellanies in prose and verse, Vol. , pp 315-350.
London, Morphew, John Bowyer, William, 1711.

Commentary

This reprinting of the Letter in his Miscellanies begins Swift’s rejection of some of the elements of personal attack. There are two passages omitted. (1) In the first, an attack on Broderick, contains the suggestion that he and his family would be better hanged. (2) The second, which criticizes three clergymen, has its omission explained in this 1711 edition: ‘I have taken leave to omit about a Page which was purely Personal, and of no use to the Subject’. Otherwise this is a close reprint of the first edition.

Miscellanies in Prose and Verse is an important early collection of Swift’s work (though he was forty-three when it was published) brought about in cooperation with his bookseller Benjamin Tooke. It appeared at the end of February 1711 and cost four shillings. It is an attractive and well-printed book, with a very narrow measure for the prose and wide margins. The ESTC notes that Bowyer was the printer of these Miscellanies: ‘See Bowyer Ledgers, 60 (no date), no entry, ornament 118’.

Benjamin Tooke, Jr. (1671-1723, fl. 1693-1723) was the son of Benjamin Tooke, Sr., sometimes confused with him. He was Swift’s bookseller from 1701, when he published some of Temple’s papers, until his death. He published important works, including Contests and Dissentions and Tale of a Tub; Swift’s formal and serious works bore his imprint. After he began to write for the ministry in 1710, Swift was drawn into an alliance with the government printer, John Barber, but Tooke shared with Barber the appointments that came through ministry patronage, perhaps through Swift’s influence: The London Gazette; Stationers to the Ordnance; the reversion of Queen’s printer.

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.

William Bowyer, Sr. (1663-1737), the printer of these Miscellanies, was a learned printer, like his son of the same name. His was one of the major printing houses in London; its records have been studied extensively by Keith Maslen.

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, 422-4; 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; The Bowyer Ledgers, ed. Keith Maslen and John Lancaster (London: Bibliographical Society; New York: Bibliographical Society of America); Keith Maslen, ‘George Faulkner and William Bowyer: The London Connection’, in his An Early London printing House at Work: Studies in the Bowyer Ledgers (New York: Bibliographical Society of America, 1993), pp. 223-33.