Abbreviated title
A proposal for correcting, improving and ascertaining the English tongue
JSA Identification Number
Teerink/Scouten Number
ESTC Number
Copy and its Location
CUL, Williams 328 or Dd*.2.50/9
Publisher and Printer
A proposal for correcting, improving and ascertaining the English tongue; in a letter to the most honourable Robert Earl of Oxford and Mortimer, Lord High Treasurer of Great Britain, Vol. , pp .
London, Tooke, Benjamin, 1712.


The Pr oposal was first published on 17 May 1712 in this edition by Swift’s regular bookseller, Benjamin Tooke. The presence of Tooke’s name on the title page is an indication of the seriousness of the pamphlet. Presumably Tooke would have been happy to disclose the author’s name, if asked.

Benjamin Tooke, Jr. (1671-1723, fl. 1693-1723) was the son of Benjamin Tooke, Sr., sometimes confused with him. He was Swift’s bookseller from 1701, when he published some of Temple’s papers, until his death. He published important works, including Contests and Dissentions and Tale of a Tub; Swift’s formal and serious works bore his imprint. After he began to write for the ministry in 1710, Swift was drawn into an alliance with the government printer, John Barber, but Tooke shared with Barber the appointments that came through ministry patronage, perhaps through Swift’s influence: The London Gazette; Stationers to the Ordnance; the reversion of Queen’s printer.

References: The Prose Writings of Jonathan Swift, ed. Herbert Davis and others, 16 vols. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1939-74), vol. iv, pp. 3-21, 285-7; Irvin Ehrenpeis, Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age, 3 vols. (London: Methuen, 1962-83), vol. ii, pp. 542-9; Michael Treadwell, ‘Swift’s Relations with the London Book Trade to 1714’, in Author/Publisher Relations during the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, ed. Robin Myers and Michael Harris (Oxford: Oxford Polytechnic Press, 1983), pp. 1-36.