Abbreviated title
An answer to a paper, called A memorial of the poor ... of Ireland
JSA Identification Number
10_2_2
Teerink/Scouten Number
41
ESTC Number
T52771
Copy and its Location
CUL , Hib.5.735.13
Publisher and Printer
The works of J.S, D.D, D.S.P.D., Vol. IV, pp 216-72.
Dublin, Faulkner, George, 1735.

Commentary

An Answer to a Paper, called A Memorial of the Poor Inhabitants, Tradesmen and Labourers of the Kingdom of Ireland was first published as a pamphlet by Sarah Harding in 1728. This version was published by George Faulkner in volume IV of his edition of Swift’s Works in 1735.

There are some minor revisions of the text in this version, perhaps made during discussions between Swift and Faulkner, or between Faulkner and some of Swift’s friends. The changes are sometimes corrections of Harding’s text (‘District’ for ‘Distinct’ and ‘Excise’ for ‘excuse’), sometimes concerned with updating the representation of time (‘lately’ for ‘some days ago’), and on one occasion to give a full name (‘Whitshed’ for ‘J—ge’).

The text, like all of Faulkner’s work, is well printed and rather formal in its presentation. It uses printer’s ornaments, small capitals at the beginning of each paragraph, and capitals at the beginning of all nouns. This text is notable for its very heavy use of italics. Some of them were probably agreed with Swift, particularly their use for the names of vices on p. 271, when Swift is stressing that evil should be named and punished, but the effect in such a passage is weakened by their pervasiveness in this printing. Faulkner often uses italics for the names of groups (Farmers and Graziers, for example) and that creates a very busy page where more important highlighting cannot function well. However, the general impression created by the typography is of a pamphlet written in a mood of heightened emotion and exasperation – which may not be far wrong.

George Faulkner (?1703-1775) was Swift’s most important publisher and editor. In his early years Swift tended to publish his major works through the London trade, but with the Drapier’s Letters (1724) Dublin publication became more important. Faulkner, who had worked for William Bowyer in London and was a polished printer, brought out the first collected edition of the Drapier’s Letters, as Fraud Detected, in 1725, and by 1732 was planning a subscription edition of Swift’s Works. The four volumes came out in 1735, and established Faulkner as Swift’s printer. Swift, at least to some extent, and his friends had collaborated in the edition. Faulkner continued to print Swift and to enlarge his edition, which by 1771 consisted of twenty volumes.

Faulkner did his best both to date Swift’s works and to elucidate them with footnotes. His pioneering work is of first importance both for Swift’s text and for explanatory notes. For further discussion of Faulkner, see the long note in the Gulliver’s Travels volume in the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jonathan Swift, and Mary Pollard’s entry on him in her Dictionary.

References: The Prose Writings of Jonathan Swift, ed. Herbert Davis and others, 16 vols. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1939-74), vol. xii, pp. 15-25, 324-5; Irvin Ehrenpreis, Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age, 3 vols. (London: Methuen, 1962-83), vol. iii, pp. 576-80, vol. iii, pp. 779-90; Mary Pollard, A Dictionary of Members of the Dublin Book Trade 1550-1800 (London: The Bibliographical Society, 2000); Mary Pollard, ‘George Faulkner’, Swift Studies, 7 (1992), 79-96.