Abbreviated title
Drapier's Letters II, To Mr. Harding
JSA Identification Number
9_6_1
Teerink/Scouten Number
638 (II)
ESTC Number
T38169
Copy and its Location
CUL, Hib.8.724.7
Publisher and Printer
A letter to Mr. Harding the printer, upon occasion of a paragraph in his news-paper of Aug. 1st. Relating to Mr. Woods’s half-pence. By M. B. Drapier. Author of the Letter to the shop-keepers, &c., Vol. , pp .
Dublin, Harding, John, 1724.

Commentary

This first edition of the second Drapier’s letter was published on 6 August 1724. Harding was not an elegant printer, and his types are worn, but he uses a great variety of them. The typography is not as lively as that of the first letter, but the text is varied with italics and words in capitals. Capitals are used ironically to quote Wood’s claim that he would not coin more than forty thousand pounds unless ‘THE EXIGENCES OF TRADE REQUIRE IT’, and in a similar spirit for ‘DIREFUL APPREHENSIONS’.

In some small respects the first edition is more colloquial and less precise than the revised edition published by Faulkner as part of the Works in 1735: ‘Loosers’ appears rather than ‘Losers’, ‘Coyning’ for ‘Coining’, and sums of money are later corrected by being increased. John Harding had worked as a press corrector for Edward Waters, and was a printer on his own account from 1718 until his death in 1725. He was the printer of two journals, the Post Boy and the Dublin (or Weekly) Impartial, and there were rumours he was in trouble for printing news of the Pretender. He seems to have first been employed by Swift in the protests over the Bank of Ireland in November 1721. He was prosecuted for printing false information about the gold coin on 17 May 1723, and was imprisoned for it. He became Swift’s printer for the Drapier’s Letters in the controversy over Wood’s brass coinage between February and December 1724. After the fourth letter, £300 was offered for discovery of the author, and Harding was taken into custody. Mary Pollard has found no evidence of a prosecution. He died on 19 April 1725. It has been said he died in prison, but the evidence is unclear.