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the Bible is ascribed to the date 1456 or before. In his "General Catalogue of Books," Bernard Quaritch describes the Bible:
"Two sorts of copies of the Mazarin Bible are met with. The first is the issue by Gutenberg himself, probably in 1455, of which no copy on vellum is known, and the second is the issue made by Fust in or about 1456, when he had legally robbed the inventor of his whole stock of types and copies. It is to this second issue that all the vellum copies (and also most of the paper copies) belong. The variation between the two is easily distinguished; in the second, or what we may call the vellum sort, the first five leaves, as well as one at the beginning of Maccabees, were reprinted, so as to occupy, by means of newly cut types of abbreviations, only FORTY LINES per column instead of FORTY-TWO, as in the original book. It is to be presumed that these leaves were spoiled in the transfer of the stock to Fust; the reason why he did not reprint them in exact conformity can not be ascertained. It might have been a vain desire to display fresh additions to the old type, which had been cast by Schoeffer for him after the severance from Gutenberg;-it might have been to make the Bible seem a different edition. Whatever was the cause, the fact remains, and we are enabled therefore to claim a superiority and priority for the unmixed issue on paper over all the copies on vellum."
The following list of printed references to the Gutenberg Bible will be found to include the main facts concerning this most venerable of books that bibliographers have been able to unearth:
Graesse: Tresor de Livres Rares et Precieux, Dresden; vol. 1, 1858, p. 389; do., p. 390.
Brunet: Manuel du Libraire, 5th ed., vol. I, (1860), col. 876.
Stevens, H.: The Bibles in the Caxton Exhibition MDCCCLXXVII, London. MDCCCLXXVIII, p. 23, p. 25. Dibdin: Biblio. Spencer, I, p. 6.
Bibliotheca Grenvilliana, London, 1842, vol. I, p. 74. Serapaeum: Leipzig, 1870; Aug. 15 and Aug. 31, p. 230,
Wyman and Bigmore: Bibliography of Printing, 1880; vol. I.
Lang, Andrew: "The Library," London.
De Bure: Bibliographie No. 25, p. 38.
The original Mazarin copy found by DeBure is now in the Royal Library of Paris. The copy acquired by Mr. Huth is the one purchased by Perkins at the Sykes sale for £199. Mr. Huth, it is said, paid Quaritch £3,000 for it.
HENRI EDUARD in American Book-Lore. *
The other day, in an hour of unusual leisure, unusually vacant, I picked up my boy's copy of "Robinson Crusoe," and read and read. I was a boy again. Alas! that it was only for an hour, and that since then I have been asking myself absurd adult questions about the book! However, boys do not read The Academy, and behind their backs I would fain jot down a few thoughts. In what does the charm of "Robinson Crusoe" lie? Surely in a most singular and paradoxical economy of the two most necessary ingredients of great stories-truth to nature and literary art.
Defoe's economy of truth to nature is apparent when we consider what the real fate of a man must have been who for fifteen years lived alone on a desert island. He might adopt Crusoe's cheerful contrivances at first, but he would soon forget human speech, eat grass like Nebuchadnezzar, and decline into savagery or madness. Yet his situation is represented by Defoe as almost cheerful. As someone has said, Crusoe's long stay on the island produced. in him only such mental suffering as might be due to a dull Sunday in Scotland. Defoe shows a like indifference to the artistic possibilities of the story. Charles Dickens marvelled that in all its pages there is nothing to make a man laugh or cry. If we consider what effects of humor or tragedy Dickens himself would have offered, or what a pile of philosophy Goethe would have dumped on Crusoe's foreshore, or what spectral and intolerable horrors Poe would have raised from that ocean prison, we shall see that Defoe's success-which is unchallenged-was won by a narrower set of powers than has gone to the making of any piece of fiction comparable to "Robinson Crusoe" in merit and fame.
Defoe, in fact, brought to his story little more than his wonderful circumstantial invention; and he was so little of an artist that he did not see that the story ends when Crusoe leaves his island and returns to England. But the tale thrives on its limitations. Men have cheerfully accepted a novel of human contrivance and homely wisdom in place of a novel of psychological insight and lofty tragedy. As for my boy, he would not barter a single passage from the Wreck for all that a committee of novelists could add of poetry, or sentiment, or climax.
FIRST PRINTED BOOK AND ITS PRINTERS.
Belonging to the French Institute is an interesting old library known as the Mazarin Library, which was founded by the Cardinal. A distinguished A distinguished "bookworm" and bibliographer, DeBure, was one day, about a century and a half ago, exploring its shelves when he came upon a remarkable book.
"My researches," he says, "having led me to the Mazarin Library, or College of the Four Nations, I was utterly surprised to light on this first and famous production of the press, which a mere impulse of curiosity made me open
a .precious edition of the Bible. I had not an instant's hesitation in allotting it priority, not merely before all Bibles, but even before the known editions of the book." Thus modestly is given the discovery of the famous book.
For a long time before, the researches of the learned in such matters had led them to speculate that there must be existing somewhere a book of earlier date than any then known, and this date was fixed at somewhere between the years 1450 and 1455. This was thought by many to be a mere dream; but in the old Chronicles there were distinct allusions to such a book, though it was not identified. Chevillier and Marchand among others were positive on the point, as the descriptions did not apply to any existing volume. Here is one of those acute speculations or happy guesses akin to those of astronomers as to some star or comet which ought to be in some place, and at last turns up; and this now for a century and a half has been verified and accepted without dispute. From fifteen to twenty copies of this first printed book have since been discovered, of which some half-dozen have "passed under the hammer" at extraordinary prices. Some are on vellum, but many more on paper. Paper was then a rarer and more costly article than vellum -another marvel, for nowadays printers find it difficult and embarrassing to print on that medium. On the first invention it seemed child's play. Only the other day, on November 7, 1898, a copy was put up for sale at Sotheby's, which, after a fairly brisk competition between Mr. Quaritch, "the Napoleon of booksellers," as he has been called, and Mr. Sotheran, was secured by the former for some £2,950. Nearly all the sold copies have passed through Mr. Quaritch's hands, and he has at this moment two, one of which is priced at £5,000. Thus until sold the custody of these precious volumes entails a yearly loss of some £400, which must be added to the price.
The history of this first printed book is of course bound up with the history of its printer, John Gutenberg, whose name, by the way, was the unromantic one of Gensfleisch, or Gooseflesh, his mother's name being Gutenberg, or Bonæ Montis-that is, "Goodhill," or Beaumont with us. He was
born about the beginning of the century at Mayence, at No. 23 Emmeraus Strasse, where a café now stands in the place of the old house. His memory is preserved by no fewer than three public statues, one at Mayence by the great Danish sculptor, Thorwaldsen, in the middle of the Gutenburg Place; another at Strassburg, by David D'Angors, also a distinguished sculptor; and one at Frankfort, which is part of an imposing group by Muller. This is a great homage to a printer. Gutenberg was of a litigious if not querulous nature, and was ever "in hot water" with someone or other. He was driven from his native place by his turbulence, and went to Strassburg, where he made his earliest discoveries. The papers of a lawsuit which he had with one Dritzehen, Riffe, and others, show that he was engaged to teach these people some other arts, on the condition of their putting in money or taking shares. Mention is made of "formes," and of portions of what seems like a press, the mechanism of which he wished to have concealed. An action for breach of promise was also brought by one Emblin zu den Thure, which further shows his quarrelsome nature. He was allowed to return to Mentz about 1440, when he began his experiments.
There is an accepted conventional likeness of Gutenberg, which serve very well, so as to be recognizable, but there is nothing authentic. We can, however, get as far back as the year 1640, when Malinkrot furnishes a portrait; and in a work by Roth-Scholtz, a collection of typographical portraits, we find a likeness of Gutenberg, which suggests that of Malinkrot. It is a grave face with full tuft of beard and moustaches.
One cannot but feel an interest in the house or printing office in which the first of all the books saw the light. It still stands in the Franciscan street at Mentz, and originally belonged to a family of the Jungen. It has since always been known as Zum Jungen, or" Young's House," the owners having in the troubled times retired to Frankfort. In the fifteenth century it was spread over a great deal more ground, and had a large courtyard. About 1508 a tablet was put up by Wittig to "the first inventor of printing with bronze letters," but this has long since disappeared.
It is impossible to stand before this little tenement and not feel a sort of awe and reverence when we think of the auspicious moment, some 446 years ago when the first sheet of the first of all the books was "put to press"; and what a moment that was when we co trast it with the miraculous torrent of books that have since flooded the earth! At present it might be said that there is nothing the world is so full of as of books. Books are everywhere. The presses never relax for an instant day or night. If every person that can read and write had but a
single book, this would make a total of some hundred millions of books! And then we turn back our eyes to the little office in Mentz where the first of all books saw the light, when there was but a single book in the world.
The day of manuscript, as we know, had given place to that of the block books, and the block books suggested the notion of printing. The manuscripts had a far greater circulation than is supposed; in fact, any amount that was demanded could be supplied. The block book, produced by tablets, on which were carved some rude illustration with some sentences of text, was a slow and clumsy process. These were stamped off-pressed on one side of the paper-much as calico designs are now wrought. With these before him it occurred to Gutenberg that if he could carve on such tablets rows of letters, and take the impression by the aid of strong leverage on both sides of the paper, he could conveniently turn out a vast number of copies. The press, therefore, would seem to have been at this stage the main element of the invention, such as it was.
In the great bronze group set up in Frankfort we can almost read the whole story of the origin of printing. It is a group of three stately figures in the fine old German costume, made familiar to us by the characters in Wagner's "Meistersingers." In the center is Gutenberg; on his right his partner, Faust, Fust, or Fusth, the goldsmith; on his left, Peter Schaeffer or Schoiffer, the apprentice, who did so much for the art. Below them we see a row of heads of all the famous printers, including our Caxton. Below, again, the names of all the early printing cities-Cologne, Strassburg, Basle, Venice, Augsburg, and others. At the corners are seated figures of Theology, History, Poetry, and Art. Certainly a highly suggestive monument.
Gutenberg had but little money, but that little, like a true inventor, he spent in the cause. This made him apply to Fust, the goldsmith, who probably saw there was "money in it," and supplied advances; and also to the intelligent apprentice, Peter Schaeffer, the workman (the opilio, or shepherd), the real author of printing, who brought it into working shape. Here are the regular elements in every invention: the dreamy, unpractical, impoverished conceiver of the notion; the moneyed man who gets possession of it; and the practical man who gives it form.
But there are two veracious chroniclers of the century who furnish full details of the stages of the process. The first is Trithemius, a worthy monk, who thus quaintly tells the tale: "It was about this time," he says, "that there was invented and imagined by Gutenberg, a citizen of Mayence, that memorable art-up to that time unknown-of printing blocks by the aid of raised characters. Gutenberg, having expended all he had to secure the success of his invention, found himself in the most seri
ous difficulties, and in his despair was on the point of abandoning the whole enterprise. With the aid, however, of John Faust-in the shape of advice and money-he managed to complete his work. They printed together a sort of vocabulary, known as the "Catholicon," in characters written in regular shape on tables of wood and with composed forms. But they could make no use of these plates for printing other works, as the letters could not be detached from the plates, but were actually carved thereon. As I have said, other inventors more ingenious still followed, and they found out a method of casting (separately) all the letters of the Latin alphabet. To these they gave the name of matrices, or moulds, from which they cast the letters in either bronze or brass, which should have the hardness necessary to bear the work of the press. These letters were previously cut by them with their hands; indeed, some thirty years ago I heard from Peter Schaeffer, of Gernsheim, son-in-law of the first inventor (i.e. Faust), that this method of printing offered almost insurmountable difficulties at its first introduction. Before they got to the end of the third sheet of the Bible over four thousand florins had been spent. But this Peter Schaeffer, who was first a workman in the place, and then became the son-in-law of Faust, the first inventor, discovered an easier fashion of casting the letters, and fairly completed the art, bringing it to the state in which it now is."
There is always a confusion caused by the modern use of the word "printing," which had a much stricter meaning in the early days. Printing is the Latin premere, pressing or stamping; and Gutenberg is described by Trithemius as inventing the "memorable art, till then unknown, of printing blocks by the aid of raised characters"—that is, pressing or stamping them. This seems to lay stress on the "press" element as the essence of Gutenberg's invention. We are then told of the enormous difficulties encountered-all the money expended on experiments that failed-say the half-dozen or so of wooden tablets, with the risk of constant accidents, splits, etc. And where was the new invention? Where was the movability of the types?
According to this view, the monk makes out that Gutenberg designed, first, carved tablets "with composed forms," that is, with regular lines and spaces, instead of the rudely cut memoranda of the block books. He also invented the notion of placing these tablets in a regular press, so that an impression could be got by regular mechanical means, and on both sides of the paper. And it must be said that the passage in the Cologne Chronicle as to the "prefiguration of the art" being found in the Dutch Donatus, as printed in Holland, also on wooden tablets, seems to point in this direction, Gutenberg's plan being thus shown to be impracticable.
But there is here one very significant passage,
which contains a great deal in the way of suggestion as to the progress of the work. He speaks of the difficulties of using "letters cut by them with their hands," and says that before they got to the end of the third sheet-that is, about the eleventh pageover 4,000 florins had been expended; that is, they must have prepared, say, a hundred copies of each letter. And we can see at once how the bill for labor and material would have fully reached this sum. Such cost was utterly prohibitive. Though it is added that Peter Schaeffer's device of casting completely solved the difficulty, it is not meant that the solution was found during the progress of the Bible, but some years later, for the Chronicler is merely summarising the stages of the invention. It has been calculated that though they expended so much on the first three sheets, the outlay had supplied them with almost sufficient type to go on with the book to the end, though in a slow and laborious fashion.
Still there are parts of this account that are most mystifying. The passage, for instance, as to the "Catholicon," described as having been printed from tablets of wood, the letters being carved on them, and of course immovable. There would seem to have been no doubt about this, from the positive statement that "the letters could not be detached from the plates." It may be said that it would be impossible to carry out such a system on so vast a scale. There must be an error here. Another difficult and perplexing point to settle'is, With what sort of letters was it printed? Were they of wood, or cut out of metal, or cast in lead? It is admitted that Schaeffer did not discover the fashion of casting from moulds until after the book had appeared, and it is nearly certain that letters of hard metal carved with a tool were used. Had they a stock of, say, 12,000 of these, they could start the work, print a sheet of four pages, then "distribute" and begin afresh. But then we are met with the fresh difficulty that to "cut" 12,000 letters would take an enormous time. At the rate of half a dozen a day, not 2,000 in the year would be produced-and to produce the 12,000 characters would require some six years. One would be inclined to think either that they managed to do with less type in hand or distributed after printing two pages instead of four. The letters seem to have a hard, sharp look, as if printed from bronze, and different from the softened tone resulting from lead type.
The testimony of the old Cologne Chronicle has always been the sheet-anchor of the Coster or Dutch claimants. This was published by one Koetkoff in 1499, within forty or fifty years of the time.
Under date of 1450 we find written: "This high and worthy art was invented first of all in Mentz in Germany, and the first discoverer was a burgher of that city who was born in Strassburg" (or came
from Strassburg), "and was called Joncke Johan Gutenburch. And it is a great honor to the German nation that such ingenious men are found among them; and it took place about the year of our Lord 1440; and from this time until the year 1450 the art and what is connected with it was being investigated; and in the year of our Lord 1450 it was a golden year (or jubilee), and they began to print, and the first book they printed was the Bible in Latin. It was printed in a large letter, resembling the letter in which all present missals are printed. Although the art was discovered in Mentz in the manner as is now generally used, yet the first prefiguration was found in Holland, in the Donatuses which were printed there before that time. And from these Donatuses the beginning of the art was taken. And it is more masterly and subtle than the ancient manner was, and by far more ingenious. . . The first inventor of printing was a citizen of Mentz, and was born at Strassburg, and called John Gutenburch. . . . There are foolish persons who assert that printing had been practised before Gutenberg; but that is not true, and no specimens are extant in any country. The beginning and progress of the aforesaid art was told me by word of mouth by the worthy Master Ullrich Zell of Hanau, printer, at Cologne, in the great year 1499."
This prefigurement, it is contended by the Costerians, or Dutch claimants, was an admission of their claim. But "prefigurement" surely means no more than an indication, or, as Dr. Johnson would say, "an adumbration"—that is, probably some attempt was made to improve upon the blockbook system, say by cutting sentences, or even words, out of the blocks, and putting them together in other forms and combinations. This we know was actually done; and that no more is intended is shown by the limitation in the positive passage about "the foolish persons" who asserted that the invention was known before Gutenberg, which "is not true," for the reason that no specimens were extant in any country. How positive and distinct too is the declaration that the whole story had been related to him by Ulrich Zell at Hanau. Zell was one of Gutenberg's own workmen, and set up for himself as a printer.
It is indeed a perplexing thing to decide the respective shares of the different inventors. The total testimonies of writers within a century of Gutenberg's day who name him as the inventor, and give him the entire credit, are some sixty or seventy. The popular voice of the world has joined in accepting this judgment. And yet it is open to some question. What did he invent? In the case of the MSS. every letter had to be fashioned for the occasion; in that of the block books it was the same, only they implied the idea of multiplying copies with extraordinary difficulty, and also the notion of
Gutenberg certainly de
"pressing" or stamping. vised the regular press, and made that part of the process easy. Then as to the letters, as he certainly conceived the idea of movable letters that could be arranged and rearranged, but seems to have got little further. These letters were not to be obtained, and could not be fashioned; and it was Peter Schaeffer who found the way to do so, and at once made printing feasible. Suppose the inventor of a locomotive had merely discovered that carriages could be moved by steam, but could not discover any method applying the movement to the wheels; the invention would have been useless. The person who thought of the crank had certainly an important share in the invention.
Gutenberg must have gone on for a long timecertainly for ten years-during which period he spent his all and two advances of eight hundred guilders, each supplied by Fust. The latter, it is clear from his later partnership with Schaeffer, and the attaching his own name to his book, must himself have been a printer, and have thrown himself into his work. From this long delay and expenditure it is plain that Gutenburg was anything but practical, and could not get forward. He must have been helped by readier intellects than his own. It has been debated whether Schaeffer, the workman, had any share in the production of the Bible. It is stated that his name is found among the witnesses at the trial; but as after the rupture Fust at once began to print for himself, with Schaeffer's co-operation, it seems certain that he must have helped in the production of the Bible. Further, we find in that book the same perfect and masterly treatment of details which is found in his other works.
Peter, however, we can trace to Paris in the year 1449, where he was acting as copyist. In the destroyed Strassburg Library was preserved a writing of his : "Here is the end of all the books, old as well as new, completed by me, Peter of Gernsheim, and also of Mentz, in the year 1449, in the illustrious city of Paris." A fac-simile of this writing is preserved, which is not in the "current" hand, but the letters are elaborately formed and of artistic shape. This characteristically shows that he had a taste for designing letters; and we can see here, too, an indication of his presence at Mentz, when the first book was being engendered, for he says: "Here is the end of all the books," &c., that is, he had finished his copying "job," and might have been thinking of returning to Germany.
One Joh. Frid. Faustus, of Aschaffenburg, thus testifies for Peter Schaeffer, quoting from family papers. He was no doubt of the family of the printing Fust: "Peter, perceiving his master's design, and being himself ardently desirous to improve the art, found out, by the good providence of God, the method of cutting characters in a matrix, so that the letters might be easily cast. He secretly cut
letters for the whole alphabet, and showed his master his matrices. But there were as many difficulties with these letters as with the wooden ones, the metal being too soft to bear the force of the impression, which was remedied by mixing the metal with some hard substance." It is said that the "Durandus" of 1849 was the first book printed on this "casting" system. There was, however, only one size of these letters, the larger sort being of the old cut type. It is a wonderful thing that our early printers should have selected for their first coup d'essai such a tremendous undertaking as the Bible-a gigantic business from its length, and the labor involved. Modern printers will tell us that there is no more serious "job." On a recent calculation made from a quarto Septuagint I found that it contained 1,050 columns, 106 lines in each column, seven or eight words in each line, making nigh half a million of words. To put it all together, there would be required about a million and three-quarters of characters, letters, "ems," spacings, &c.
But before bringing out this Bible the partners made a successful trial-piece of their process by issuing a sort of fly-leaf, a Papal "Indulgence," dated 1454. It is not possible that they received a commission from the Holy See to print these documents, for the invention was not forward enough, nor in shape at all. They had, of course, seen the paper in manuscript on the church doors, and thought it would be a good stroke of business to put it in type. They left blank spaces which could be filled with the names of the place and of the recipient or purchaser, so that it could be issued in various towns. The lynx-eyed bibliographers, your Henry Bradshaws and others, have scrutinized these papers, and have found that the actual types of the 42-line Bible of 1455 were used for the large letters, and that in another Indulgence the large type is identical with that of the "36-line" or Bamber Bible.
The date of the first Bible which can be clearly ascertained by external circumstances is almost positively fixed by a curious little record. In the National Library at Paris there is a copy which had been given to a professional illuminator to decorate and bind, and he set down this tribute to himself at the end of vol. ii. : "This book was illuminated, bound, and completed by me, Henry Cremer, Vicar of the Collegiate Church of S. Stephen, Mentz, in the year 1456." This shows that the printers "gave out" the book to be adorned; also that the Vicar put the sheets together and did the binding.
The book, it is believed, took about four years to produce, and when it appeared must have struck all with astonishment. Taking it into our hands, as I did at one of the late sales, we might expect a rude, imperfect thing, like all first attempts-such as the lump of old iron in South Kensington, the first steam engine. Instead we have a superb piece of