Abbreviated title
Considerations upon two bills ... relating to the clergy of Ireland
JSA Identification Number
3_10_2
Teerink/Scouten Number
717
ESTC Number
T145270
Copy and its Location
CUL , Williams 300 (6)
Publisher and Printer
Considerations upon two bills, sent down from the Rt. Hon. the House of Lords to the Honourable House of Commons of Ireland, relating to the clergy of that kingdom. By the Rev. Dr. Swift, D.S.P.D. To which is added, A proposal for an Act of Parliament, to pay off the debt of the nation, without taxing the Subject, by which the Number of Landed Gentry, and substantial Farmers will be considerably encreas’d, and no one Person will be the poorer, or contribute one Farthing to the Charge. By A- P-, Esq;, Vol. , pp .
London, Roberts, James Bowyer, William Purser, John, 1732.

Commentary

This is a London printing of Considerations upon Two Bills. Faulkner’s publication of a summary of Swift’s arguments in the Dublin Journal of 26 February 1732 had led to complaints in the Irish House of Lords and to Faulkner’s arrest, which explains why the pamphlet was printed in London rather than in Dublin. This Roberts edition was published, like the Moore edition (ESTC T73914), on 25 March 1732. When Faulkner printed this piece in the Works (1738), he followed Moore rather than Roberts, but that might merely have been because the Moore edition was handy or presented the tidier text.

This Roberts edition was printed by John Purser for William Bowyer, Bowyer providing Purser with three reams of paper (see The Bowyer Ledgers, item 1785, 6 March [1732]). Maslen and Lancaster think the edition printed by Purser was the Moore edition (ESTC T73914), Teerink/Scouten 716 (for ‘A. Moore’), but the evidence shows that the Roberts edition is the one to have come from Purser’s shop. The factotum on p. 3 and the factotum on p. 23 are to be found in J. Lyons, Fancy-logy ‘Printed, and Sold by J. Purser’, on p. 95 and p. 1 respectively. The p. 3 factotum, this time with its accompanying p. 3 headpiece, is also to be found on p. 3 of Advantages Propos’d by Repealing the Sacramental Test (T145105), which the Bowyer ledgers suggest was similarly printed by Purser; in the case of The Advantages there is no rival London edition. The Advantages also has a Roberts imprint. John Purser was a printer of newspapers, who started printing Fog’s Weekly Journal on 1 May 1731. Fog’s was an opposition paper, the organ of the Jacobite Nathanial Mist; it seems highly likely the work was given to Purser because he was willing to work for writers of such political leanings and was willing to take the concomitant risks.

As this edition was printed through Bowyer’s agency, it plays a part in the complex arrangements between Faulkner and Bowyer in this period, when Faulkner was supplying items for London publication. For more on Swift and Bowyer, see Maslen’s essay on Faulkner and Bowyer, which summarizes some of the evidence in his edition of the ledgers. Maslen has some additional information there about books being sent to Faulkner. James Roberts was a trade publisher or distributor, so his name on the title page does not tell us anything about proprietorship; Bowyer, who was not a bookseller, would have needed a distributor.

William Bowyer, Sr. (1663-1737) and Jr. (1699-1777) were the major literary printers of the eighteenth century. They are the focus of John Nichols, Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century, 9 vols. (1812) and their records have been studied and published by Keith Maslen.

James Roberts (?1672-1754) was a master printer and also the outstanding trade publisher of the first half of the eighteenth century (though he seems to have been favoured by Whigs rather than by Tories). He took over the printing business from his widowed mother when he came of age, and in 1713 inherited the trade publishing business of his mother-in-law, Abigail Baldwin. A very large number of pamphlets and books were distributed through his shop in Warwick Lane. He was Master of the Stationers’ Company from 1729 to 1733. All my information on Roberts comes from the innovative research of Michael Treadwell.

References: The Prose Writings of Jonathan Swift, ed. Herbert Davis and others, 16 vols. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1939-74), vol. xi, pp. 189-202, 341-3; Irvin Ehrenpeis, Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age, 3 vols. (London: Methuen, 1962-83), vol. iii, pp. 716-19; The Bowyer Ledgers, ed. Keith Maslen and John Lancaster (London: Bibliographical Society; New York: Bibliographical Society of America); Keith Maslen, ‘George Faulkner and William Bowyer: The London Connection’, in his An Early London printing House at Work: Studies in the Bowyer Ledgers (New York: Bibliographical Society of America, 1993), pp. 223-33; Michael Treadwell, ‘James Roberts’, , in The D ictionary 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 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).