Abbreviated title
The Examiner
JSA Identification Number
6_2_1
Teerink/Scouten Number
50
ESTC Number
T139458
Copy and its Location
ECCO BL, 1487.aa.12
Publisher and Printer
Volume V. of the author’s works. Containing The conduct of the allies and the Examiners, Vol. vi., pp 66-264.
Dublin, Faulkner, George, 1738.

Commentary

The Examiners were printed weekly, starting on 3 August 1710. Swift’s first contribution was on 2 November 1710 and the last 14 June 1711. A collection of the numbers for 1711 was published in 1712. This collection was used in this Works edition of 1738. There are extensive changes between the 1738 edition and its predecessors. I suspect they were changes made while Faulkner was reading the material to Swift before publication. Herbert Davis points to some significant changes in the treatment of the royal prerogative in the essay of 25 January 1711. Most of the changes, however, are ‘improvements’ in expression such as are found regularly in these works: ‘although’ for ‘though’, ‘Pounds’ for ‘Pound’, ‘Aversion against’ for ‘Aversion for’. Some other changes are more carefully considered. For example, in reviewing objections to the Queen’s changing her ministers, Swift tightens an argument in favour of public trust. Originally the argument was based on ‘what no Body doubts, that a Prince may chuse his own Servants without giving a Reason to his Subjects; because it is certain that a wise and good Prince will not change his Ministers without very important Reasons’; in 1738 that becomes the argument ‘that a good and wise Prince may be allowed to change his Ministers without giving a Reason to his Subjects; because it is probable that he will not make such a Change without very important Reasons’. The two parts of the argument are more closely related, and the argument now specifically applies only to wise and good princes.

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 forthcoming Gulliver’s Travels volume in the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jonathan Swift, and Mary Pollard’s entry on him in her Dictionary of the Dublin Book Trade .

References: The Prose Writings of Jonathan Swift, ed. Herbert Davis and others, 16 vols. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1939-74), vol. iii, pp. 1-173, 273-6; Irvin Ehrenpreis, Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age, 3 vols. (London: Methuen, 1962-83), vol. ii, pp. 406-21, vol. iii, pp. 779-90; Mary Pollard, A Dictionary of Members of the Dublin Book Trade 1550-1800 (London: The Bibliographical Society, 2000).