An Introduction to: An Answer to Several Letters Sent Me from Unknown Hands
- Abbreviated title
- An answer to several letters sent me from unknown hands
- JSA Identification Number
- Teerink/Scouten Number
- ESTC Number
- Copy and its Location
- ECCO BL , 90.d.8
- Publisher and Printer
- The works of Dr. Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick's, Dublin. Volume VIII. Part I. Collected and revised by Deane Swift, Esq; of Goodrich, in Herefordshire, Vol. VIII, pp 192-7.
- London, Johnston, William, 1765.
This is the first printing of this work. There was a reprint by George Faulkner in Dublin in Works, vol. xii, pp. 287-95, in the same year.
This text is the best evidence for what Swift wrote, but it has been modernized in its capitalization, and, I strongly suspect, in its punctuation. In the early eighteenth century most nouns, often all, began with capital letters; here they do not. The punctuation has probably been lightened, as there are few colons and semi-colons. The text is, however, very thoroughly commaed, in a modernizing way.
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 when he revised Hawkesworth’s edition of Swift in 1765.
William Johnston (fl. 1748-73) was, according to Plomer, ‘One of the foremost booksellers and publishers in London. He boasted that his name was on three-quarters of the books in the trade as part-proprietor’.
References: The Prose Writings of Jonathan Swift, ed. Herbert Davis and others, 16 vols. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1939-74), vol. xii, pp. 85-90, 332; Irvin Ehrenpreis, Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age, 3 vols. (London: Methuen, 1962-83), vol. iii, pp. 617-18; A Dictionary of the Printer s 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).