Abbreviated title
Drapier's Letters IV, To the whole people of Ireland
JSA Identification Number
9_8_1
Teerink/Scouten Number
644
ESTC Number
N10952
Copy and its Location
A CUL , letter to the whole people of Ireland. Dublin : printed by John Harding, in Molesworth’s-Court in Fishamble Street, Hib.8.724.7
Publisher and Printer
A letter to the whole people of Ireland. By M. B. drapier. Author of the Letter to the shop-keepers, &c., Vol. , pp .
Dublin, Harding, John, 1724.

Commentary

The first edition of the fourth Drapier’s letter was published on 22 October 1724. Harding was not an elegant printer, and his types are worn, but he uses a great variety of them. The typography is not as lively as that of the first letter, but the text is varied with italics and words in capitals. Capitals are used emphatically (‘you ARE and OUGHT to be as FREE a People as your Brethren in England’).

In some small respects the first edition is more colloquial and less precise than the revised edition published by Faulkner as part of the Works in 1735, but in this letter it is also a little tougher, with the Works toning it down a little. So ‘He [Wood] orders it to be Printed in another Paper, that Mr W---- will cram t his Brass down our Throats’ is later altered to ‘’In another printed Paper of his contriving, it is roundly expressed, that Mr. Walpole . . .’. That said, it is noticeable that Walpole is named in 1735, whereas he isn’t in 1724.

John Harding had worked as a press corrector for Edward Waters, and was a printer on his own account from 1718 until his death in 1725. He was the printer of two journals, the Post Boy and the Dublin (or Weekly) Impartial, and there were rumours he was in trouble for printing news of the Pretender. He seems to have first been employed by Swift in the protests over the Bank of Ireland in November 1721. He was prosecuted for printing false information about the gold coin on 17 May 1723, and was imprisoned for it. He became Swift’s printer for the Drapier’s Letters in the controversy over Wood’s brass coinage between February and December 1724. After the fourth letter, £300 was offered for discovery of the author, and Harding was taken into custody. Mary Pollard has found no evidence of a prosecution. He died on 19 April 1725. It has been said he died in prison, but the evidence is unclear.

References: The Prose Writings of Jonathan Swift, ed. Herbert Davis and others, 16 vols. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1939-74), vol. x, pp. 51-68, 211-12; Irvin Ehrenpreis, Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age, 3 vols. (London: Methuen, 1962-83), vol. iii, pp. 253-63; Mary Pollard, A Dictionary of Members of the Dublin Book Trade 1550-1800 (London: The Bibliographical Society, 2000); Mary Pollard, ‘Who’s for Prison? Publishing Swift in Dublin’, Swift Studies, 14 (1999), 37-49; James Woolley, ‘Poor John Harding and Mad Tom: “Harding’s Resurrection”’, in That Woman! Studies in Irish Bibliography for Mary ‘Paul’ Pollard, ed. Charles Benson and Siobhàn Fitzpatrick (Dublin: Lilliput Press, 2005), pp. 102-21.