Abbreviated title
Journal to Stella [letters I-XII]
JSA Identification Number
5_2_1_1_1
Teerink/Scouten Number
88
ESTC Number
T140271
Copy and its Location
ECCO BL, 633.f.21 or 97.c.22
Publisher and Printer
Letters, written by the late Jonathan Swift, D.D. Dean of St. Patrick’s, Dublin, and several of his friends. From the year 1710 to 1742. Published from the originals; collected and revised by Deane Swift, Esq. Of Goodrich, in Herefordshire. Volume IV., Vol. IV, pp [1]-171.
London, Bathurst, Charles Woodfall, Henry Strahan, William Rivington, J. Davis, Lockyer Reymers, Charles Owen, William Baldwin, Robert Davies, Thomas Johnston, William Longman, Thomas Hardy, John, 1768.

Commentary

Swift’s letters, edited by Hawkesworth, first appeared in three volumes in 1766. Hawkesworth says the letters ‘were obtained of Dr. Lyon by Mr. Thomas Wilkes, of Dublin, and of Mr. Wilkes by the booksellers for whom they are published’. Some of the letters in the Journal to Stella are included: I and XLI-LXV (with the exception of LIV). In this Deane Swift collection of letters, published two years later, Deane Swift published letters I-XL of the Journal to Stella in volumes IV and V; he obtained them from his mother-in-law, Martha Whiteway.

The letters printed by Hawkesworth survive (they were given to the British Museum by the booksellers); those published here by Deane Swift do not. Except, therefore, for some printing of letters in Deane Swift’s Essay upon the Life, Writings, and Character, of Dr. Jonathan Swift (1755), this printing is the sole authority for the text of these letters. Deane Swift gave himself a fairly free hand in altering the text. He does represent some of the ‘little language’ that formed part of the intimacy of Swift’s correspondence with Esther Johnson and Rebecca Dingley, but he tends to normalize it. For example, ‘good mallows, little sollahs’ becomes ‘good morrow, little sirrahs’; instead of being ‘Pdfr’ Swift becomes ‘Presto’. Harold Williams, who has an excellent short discussion of these issues in his edition (vol. I, pp. lvii-lviii), spots Deane Swift making up his own endearments (‘Stellakins’). We must be grateful to Deane Swift for accepting, and in part reproducing, the intimacy of these exchanges, while regretting his decision to destroy the manuscript.

Deane Swift (1707-83) was doubly linked to Swift by family ties. His father, also Deane Swift, was Swift’s Cousin, the son of Godwin Swift, who had supported Swift’s education. He married Mary, the daughter of Martha Whiteway, also Swift’s cousin and one of the people who cared for him in later life. Deane Swift was on good terms with Swift in the 1730s (Swift praised him in a letter to Pope), and he later wrote An Essay upon the Life, Writings, and Character of Dr. Jonathan Swift (1755), an important biographical study. Mrs Whiteway inherited many of Swift’s manuscripts, and Deane Swift was able to draw on this collection, not just on the letters, when he revised Hawkesworth’s edition of Swift in 1765.

The group of booksellers responsible for this publication is distinguished. They are led by Charles Bathurst, who was taken into apprenticeship by Benjamin Motte, the bookseller for Gulliver’s Travels and other of Swift’s official publications, in 1727 for the large sum of £80. He became a partner in the firm in 1734 and, after Motte’s death in 1738, he carried on the business until his own death in 1786. All my information on Motte and Bathurst comes from the research of Michael Treadwell.

References: Jonathan Swift, Journal to Stella, ed. Harold Williams, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1948; subsequently incorporated into the Herbert Davis edition of the prose writings); Irvin Ehrenpreis, Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age, 3 vols. (London: Methuen, 1962-83), vol. ii, pp. 651-61; Michael Treadwell, ‘Benjamin Motte, Jr’, in Dictionary of Literary Biography, vol. 154, The British Literary Book Trade, 1700-1820, ed. James E. Bracken and Joel Silver (Detroit, MI: Gale, 1995); A Dictionary of the Printers and Booksellers . . . 1726 to 1775, ed. H. R. Plomer, G. H. Bushell, E. R. McC. Dix (Oxford: Oxford University Press for the Bibliographical Society, 1932).