An Introduction to: Some Observations upon a paper, Call’d, The Report of the Committee of the Most Honourable the Privy-Council in England, Relating to Wood’s Half-pence [Drapier’s Letter, III]
- Abbreviated title
- Drapier's Letters III, Some observations upon ... the report of the committee
- JSA Identification Number
- Teerink/Scouten Number
- ESTC Number
- Copy and its Location
- CUL , Hib.8.724.7
- Publisher and Printer
- Some observations upon a paper, Call’d, The report of the committee of the most honourable the Privy-Council in England, relating to Wood’s half-pence. By M. B. drapier. Author of the letter to the Shop-Keepers, &c., Vol. , pp .
- Dublin, Harding, John, 1724.
The first edition of the third Drapier’s letter was published on 5 September 1724.
Harding was not an elegant printer, and his types are worn, but he uses a great variety of them. The typography is not so lively as that of the first letter, but the text is varied with italics and words in capitals. Capitals are used emphatically (‘FREE PEOPLE’, ‘UTTER UNDOING’) and for innuendo (‘SOMETHING ELSE’).
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, but in this letter it also contains material, personal attacks on Wood’s witnesses, that is excluded from the Works text, which is significantly more cautious than this one.
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.
References: The Prose Writings of Jonathan Swift, ed. Herbert Davis and others, 16 vols. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1939-74), vol. x, pp. 25-49, 209-11; ; Irvin Ehrenpreis, Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age, 3 vols. (London: Methuen, 1962-83), vol. iii, pp. 237-44; Mary Pollard, A Dictionary of Members of the Dublin Book Trade 1550-1800 (London: The Bibliographical Society, 2000); Mary Pollard, ‘Who’s for Prison? Publishing Swift in Dublin’, Swift Studies, 14 (1999), 37-49; James Woolley, ‘Poor John Harding and Mad Tom: “Harding’s Resurrection”’, in That Woman! Studies in Irish Bibliography for Mary ‘Paul’ Pollard, ed. Charles Benson and Siobhàn Fitzpatrick (Dublin: Lilliput Press, 2005), pp. 102-21.