Page images

of York;' the History of the Loyal Town of Ripon,' &c.; and the History of the Royal and Beautiful Town of Kingston-upon-Hull. He died at his house at York, in his 87th year, in poor circumstances. A portrait of him in his old age was painted by one of the Drakes, of York, and was exhibited for his profit. Of this there is a fine mezzotinto engraving by Valentine Green. A play, also, was twice performed for his benefit. His Shop-bill, in 1743, is a curious specimen of the sober, almost lofty style, in which the better educated of those who followed the liberal calling of printer and bookseller were wont to address their claims for the patronage of scholars and gentlemen, with some approach to a footing of equality.


ÆTAT. 50,


A PERSON descended from the Gents in Staffordshire, freeman of London, York, and two other remarkable cities, lawful printer and stationer ; a lover of these English northern parts, in which, as a right master, he has brought up several reputable servants ; and, under God's divine providence, hitherto protected his family, to the comfort also of some needy, but honest deserving people. Within his new well-contrived office, abovesaid, printing work is performed in a curious and judicious manner, having sets of fine characters for the Greek, Latin, English, Mathematics, &c. He sells the Histories of Rome, France, England, particularly of this ancient City, Aynsty, and extensive County, in five volumes ; likewise a book of the holy life of St. Winifred, and her wonderful Cambrian fountain. He has stimulated an ingenious founder to cast such musical types, for the common press, as never yet were exhibited; and has prepared a new edition for his York History against the time when the few remaining of that first and large impression are disposed of, wherein will appear several remarkable occurrences and amendments, if it pleases the Divine Majesty to grant him life at the publication thereof.

Psallite Domino, in citharâ, in citharâ et voce Psalmi; in tubis ductilibus, et voce tubæ corneæ.

Ipsi vero in vanum quæsierunt animam meam, introibunt in inferiora terræ ; tradentur in manus gladii; partes vulpium erunt.



p@HERE has been a dinner at "young Jacob

Tonson's”-a literary dinner at which
Swift, and Steele, and Addison, were of

the company. The nephew of old Jacob had become his partner. This dinner was on the 26th of July, 1711. The Tories had come into power. Swift had deserted his former political friends; and so had Prior, who was in consequence expelled from the Kit-cat Club. The distinguished guests are departed, and the nephew and the uncle are left alone to talk over the occurrences of the evening. It had not been altogether a pleasant evening, for Addison and Swift were not cordial; and Steele, goodtempered as he was at all times, and especially so over his wine, was more than usually careful in his talk. “ Well! I think you gave that puffed-up Vicar of Laracor a piece of your mind when you charged him with trying to make the Secretary take from us the printing of The Gazette.'” “But he denied it," replied old Jacob. “True! But he writes foul libels, and therefore might not stick at a falsehood.” “No, , no, he is too proud to speak a lie, especially when there is a chance of being found out.” “I firmly believe that it was he," said young Jacob, “who got

[ocr errors]

Steele turned out of his office of “Gazette' writer. " It is a great shame," said the uncle, “The Gazette' is just that one little place which an honest government would give to a deserving man of letters, without regard to party; or at any rate would not turn out the holder of it when he had done nothing offensive in his office. Poor Dick was very careful. I have heard him say that the Gazetteer was the lowest minister of state; and that he never erred against the rules observed by all ministries to keep The Gazette' very innocent and very insipid.” “It will become a post for the lowest Grub-street Judas, or the vulgarest hanger-on of an Irish viceroy,” quoth young Jacob.*

The Tonsons did not give themselves up to fruitless lamentations when they lost the printing of • The Gazette. Naturally they did not abate their suspicions of the management of Swift in these petty things of party. He was well known to be stirring heaven and earth to procure John Barber some lucrative appointments, in connexion with a brother stationer. Barber and his lucky friend appear to have been insatiable in their demands upon the Tory government. In the ‘Journal to Stella' he describes these exertions. He had obtained for them the appointment of Stationers to the Ordnance—the third employment he had got for them. When they still want something more, the great humourist, who can be kind enough to the most unblushing partisan, writes (January 16, 1711-12):—“My printer and bookseller want me to hook in another employment for them in the Tower, because it was enjoyed before by a stationer, although it be to serve the Ordnance with oil, tallow, &c., and is worth four hundred pounds per annum more. I will try what I can do. They are resolved to ask several other employments of the same nature to other offices; and I will then

* “Mr. Addison and I have at last met again. I dined with him and Steele to-day at young Jacob Tonson's. The two Jacobs think it is I who have made the secretary take from them the printing of the Gazette,' which they are going to lose, and Ben Tooke and another are to have it. Jacob came to me t'other day to make his court; but I told him it was too late, and that it was not my doing. reckon they will lose it in a week or two."• Swift's Journal to Stella,' July 26th, 1711.

grease fat sows, and see whether it be possible to satisfy them. Why am not I a stationer ?” In a letter, written at the time when the successful printer had reached the highest civic dignity (being the only one of that trade who became Lord Mayor of London),

“ Alderman Barber was my old acquaintance;

I got him two or three employments when I had credit with the Queen's ministers." The alderman was not only one of the most violent of Tories, but a Jacobite. Travelling in Italy, he was introduced to the Pretender, and was arrested on his return home. His memory is preserved by the ostentatious inscription which he placed upon the monument of Butler, erected in Westminster Abbey at his expense. There was another patron of genius who, in the same manner, desired to link his fame to that of Milton. An epigram, ascribed to Pope, which he proposed to be placed on the blank scroll under Shakspere's bust,

Swift says,

« PreviousContinue »