Abbreviated title
The advantages proposed by repealing the sacramental test, impartially considered
JSA Identification Number
Teerink/Scouten Number
ESTC Number
Copy and its Location
CUL , Williams 289
Publisher and Printer
The advantages proposed by repealing the sacramental test, impartially considered. By the Rev. Dr. Swift, Dean of St. Patrick’s. To which is added, remarks on a pamphlet intitled, The nature and consequences of the Sacramental Test consider’d. With reasons humbly offer’d for Repeal of it, Vol. , pp .
London, Roberts, James Bowyer, William Purser, John, 1732.


This edition was printed by John Purser for William Bowyer, Bowyer providing Purser with two reams of paper (see The Bowyer Ledgers, item no. 1775 (24 February 1732)). The factotum on p. 3 is to be found in J. Lyons, Fancy-logy ‘Printed, and Sold by J. Purser’, on p. 95. The text follows the Faulkner’s first edition very closely. John Purser was a printer of newspapers, who started printing Fog’s Weekly Journal on 1 May 1731. Although this printing precedes by a day or two the problems with the Irish House of Lords over Faulkner’s printing of extracts from Considerations upon Two Bills, Bowyer may have sensed a dangerous controversy. 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.

If 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. xii, pp. 241-51, 345-6; Irvin Ehrenpeis, Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age, 3 vols. (London: Methuen, 1962-83), vol. iii, pp. 724-6; 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).