« PreviousContinue »
“ Liberty of Conscience;" Literature of
Quid Est Veritas? (Poetry), 219.
Press. Work in Ireland ; The Ussher
Ugo Foscolo and his Age, 87.
WHETHER the ancient Irish were press and composing-stick than my much devoted to reading or not, lord's mowers and reapers for the is a question which we are not called new-fangled substitutes for hook on to decide. The chiefs had their and scythe, introduced by his Scotch minds pretty fully occupied by the steward. We might adduce other troubled state of the country. Their stringent causes for the late visit wives and daughters could scarcely of the printer and his machine to have found time for the perusal of Dublin ; the reader will find abundfiction ; even had Faust discovered ance of them in the preface to the printing, and Miss Braddon brought work about to be quoted; but it is the sensational novel to perfection sufficient here to note the date of six hundred years since. While the the issue of the first printed book in early printers were bringing their Ireland, viz.—1551, the memorable noble art to perfection, Irish princes volume being the “ Book of Comand chiefs, and Anglo-Irish lords, mon Prayer.” A unique copy is to left no leisure to each other to in- be seen in Trinity College. In this quire into the results of the new paper we mean to touch on the invention. They now and then' progress of the typographic art from listlessly took up an Irish or English that time till the issue of the first MS., jealously guarded as an heir- Irish newspaper, our attention beloom, endeavoured to get through ing thenceforward chiefly given to a page or two of the close-written, the periodical press. For the incontracted writing, and fell asleep. formation here conveyed, our readers That our scribes were as industrious are indebted to Dr. R. R. Madden, and as numerous as those of any author of many valuable works, country in Europe-more so, indeed, chiefly on Irish subjects.' may be safely said, but the writers The stereotyped formula of critics, of original matter saw no prospect “The author has brought to his of a large sale for their lucubrations, task great ability, unparalleled diliif put in type, and the mere copiers gence," &c., is not applicable in had no more welcome for the hand- the present case. We have good authority for asserting that Dr. intimate sense of every passage in Madden is blessed with leisure, and it, than the writer himself. competence in worldly goods, that We have access to old newspapers, he has ready access to every library and will probably endeavour to worth consulting in the British Em- amuse and interest our readers with pire or on the Continent, but above curious extracts from them at a all that, he is the most determined not distant date ; but for all the inand the most insatiable collector of formation given to our readers in books on Irish subjects to be found the present paper, they are indebted So we give him no credit for a to Dr. Madden's most ably and foregone intent to write a history of carefully-executed work ;-no need Irish literature, and then an indus- to travel out of it. Whether the trious collection of materials, and author paid innumerable visits to a weary succession of visits to the libraries, and collected his mass of great libraries, to fit him for this materials with a view to publication, task. He had visited the libraries, or published in order to get his and in all probability bought up materials off his mind, the advanevery valuable work on Irish sub- tage to his readers is the same. No jects which came within his reach, one in the three kingdoms was more before thinking of publishing these happily gifted, or better fitted to two portly volumes. It is our be- bring out the truly national work. lief that he first entertained the project during a fit of ennui on finding
1 The History of Irish Periodical Literature from the End of the Seventeenth to the Middle of the Nineteenth Century: its Origin, Progress, and Results ; with notices of Remarkable Persons connected with the Press in Ireland during the past two Centuri By Richard Robert Madden, M.R.I.A., Author of “Life and Correspondence of Blessington," &c , &c. London: Thomas Cautley Newby.
EARLY PRESS-WORK IN IRELAND. no more curious works on his The first book printed from movefavourite subject to be had for able type in Ireland was, as already money. Had Alexander been as mentioned the “Book of Common wise in his generation, and set about Prayer," latterly discovered by Dr. to write the history of his conquests Madden in the library of Trinity when he found no more to be made, College Dublin, and purporting to he would not have died of a drunk be “imprinted by Humfrey Powell, en fever in the prime of manhood. Printer to the King's Majesty in We shall therefore not say that Dr. His Highnesses Realme of Ireland, Madden has brought to his most dwelling in the cittee of Dublin, in commendable task, rare abilities, the great Toure by the Crane Cum full knowledge, love of his subject, Privilegium (sic) ad imprimendum facility of reference, and abundance solum. Anno Domini, M.D.L.1.". of materials. All these were un- The public crane then stood bedoubtedly in his possession, and to tween the old Bridge and that part keep his head and hands healthily of Essex-street into which Craneemployed he engaged them on the lane opens, a locality not favourhistory of printed literature in Ire- able to literature in our days. Withland.
in thirty years we have seen Swift's . If the estimable historian of Irish bust occupying a niche in the wall literature protests against our as- of the corner house, Parliamentsumption of the knowledge of cir- street and Essex-street. We are cumstances which should be best under the impression that it was known to himself, he will thereby stationed there by the reverential show himself unaware of the chief care of George Faulkner the printer. and primal relation existing between Dublin citizens are very incurious author and reviewer,--viz., that this on the subject of printing and publatter personage is in most cases lishing in their city during last cenbetter acquainted with all the cir- tury. Few would be able to point cumstances attending the composi- out the house in Dame-street whence tion and issuing of a book, and the “Walker's Hibernian Magazine”
was issued for forty years. Of a thou- ten by John Olde, an exile for the sand people who pass “Saunders' Protestant religion under Queen News-letter” office in the day, does Mary). Emprinted at Waterford, any one ofthem,on looking down Cog- the 7th day of November, 1555." hill's-court towards its back entrance, 2. “An Epistle by John Scory, know or remember that the Camis- the late Bishop of Chichester, unto sard leader, Jean Cavallier, had an all the Faythful that be in Pryson in English version of his fighting in Englande, or in any other trouble the Cevennes printed in that court for the defence of Goddes Truthe." in the early years of last century ? The book does not bear the name Few would be now so hardy as to “Waterford ;" but it corresponds in venture up Molesworth-court, Wood- type, paper, and press-work with the quay, where the “ Drapier's Letters" other. were printed. A zealous man of The book, whose possession over· letters from the country now ascend- came the moral scruples of the still
ing into Hoey's-court from the Castle- undiscovered conveyancer, had for steps to refresh his eyes with the titlesight of the house in which Dr. “Archbishop Cranmer's ConfutaJonathan Swift was born, will again tion of Unwritten Verities ; 8vo., descend with a heavy heart after Waterford 1855.” It was stolen gazing with sad disappointment on from the library of Trinity College a dead wall, where the skeleton (at Dublin. least) of the building stood some Perhaps, after all, these books years since. Were it not for the were printed in London, but attriloving labour of Mr. Gilbert, the buted to a Waterford press, to put localities connected with many in the authorities on a wrong scent., teresting occurrences and notable We have no record of any other personages of ancient Dublin would volume or volumes printed in Iresoon be impossible to be ascer- land after the date of the Waterford tained.
books, till the year 1566 ; and the Three books bearing a Waterford literary world would still be ignorant imprint were to be seen by diligent of the solitary work printed in Dubseekers some time since, till the love lin that year, only for the industry of a unique literary relic of the old of Archdeacon Cotton, who, some Danish city prevailed over some years ago, discovered in the Thorp individual's sense of duty to his Collection (a portion of the Library neighbour, and made him guilty of of the Royal Dublin Society), a appropriating to his own use what volume of whose title the following belonged to every literary visitor to is a transcript :our venerable seat of learning. We “A Breefe Declaration of certain supply the titles of the two, which Principall Articles of Religion, set have till now escaped the concupis- out by order and authoritie, as well ence of learned klephts, and are of the Right Honourable Sir Henry still to be consulted in the Bodleian Sidney, Knight of the most noble Library, Oxford.
order, Lord President of the Coun1. “ The Acquittal or Purgation of cel, in the principalitie of Wales the Most Catholyke Christen Prince, and Marches of the same, and Edward, VI., Kinge of Englande, General Deputie of this Realme of Fraunce, and Irelande, &c. of the Irelande, as by the Archbyshops, Church of Englande, Reformed and and Byshops, and other Her MaGoverned under Hym, against all jesty's High Commissioners for such as blasphemously and traitor- causes Ecclesiasticall in the same ously infame Hym or the said Realme. Churche of Heresie or Sedicion (writ “ Imprunted at Dublin by Humfrey Powell, the 20th of January, proper for every one to adopt, who 1566."
would be submissive to the ordiSixteen years have elapsed since nance of God and the Queen of this the introduction of printing. We are kingdom. Translated from Latin now at 1571, and still no novel or and English into Irish by John romance has appeared for the enter- O'Kearney. . . . Printed in the tainment of youth or age, or news- town of the Ford of Hurdles, Dublin, letter or magazine for the study of at the cost of Master John Ussher, the country gentleman or the mer- Alderman, at the head of the bridge, chant. As we look through the win the 20th of June, 1571, with the dows of the commercial buildings, privilege of the Great Queen. 1571. Dame-street, and gaze on the hun- The Usshers and Molyneuxs zealdred men of business, more or less, ously, and worthily contributed to the occupying their leisure minutes with advancement of knowledge and its reviews, magazines, weekly periodi exponents, in our country. William cals, and newspapers, we endeavour, Ussher, son of the estimable citizen but with little success, to realize the above mentioned, had the first Irish fashion in which Dublin merchants, New Testament, printed in his preassembled in 1571, for the transac- mises Bridgefoot-street, in 1602. tion of business, amused their un- The version made from the original occupied moments.
Greek by William O'Donnell, and However, the press was at work still the standard one, was printed in the above year, but not for the by John Francke, and dated The production of novel or newspaper. Town of Hurdles. It was dedicated It was put in motion by a God- to James I., but he contributed nofearing man, one anxious to farm thing to the expense of publication, the customs of Dublin, as he found This was followed in 1604, by Sir by experience that the greater part William Ussher's instructions to his of his well-to-do acquaintance were children. used to act on the system then However, the press was not left known by the name of “ Catch he unoccupied from 1571 to 1602. that catch can," and he saw no evil The first Dublin Almanack (is it in in attending to his own interests existence ?) was issued in 1587, by rather than to those of his neigh. William Farmer. Surely in the half bours.
century in question some broad-side
ballads and accounts of gamblers THE USSHER FAMILY,
and other miserable sinners taken This was John Ussher of Bridge- in the manner, and carried away foot Street, who had been mayor in bodily by Satan, were struck off in 1561. Being anxious to render the the Cook-street of the day. As Dr. religion of his sovereign acceptable Madden mentions no specimen by to the natives, he employed a cer- him, we may take for granted that tain John o'Kearney to translate the none are extant. English Church Catechism into In 1608 the translator of the New Irish, and had it printed at his own Testament translated into Irish expense in the Irish character, and got printed the Book of Common Queen Elizabeth having graciously Prayer except the psalms. Francton, sent over the type. The production the printer, incurred the expense of consisted of sixteen pages, imo., publication. Next year the worthy and was thus entitled,
William O'Donnell was promoted “ The Irish Alphabet and Cate- to the archbishopric of Tuam, where chism, Precept or Instruction of a he died, 1628. Christian, together with certain Arti- The seventeenth century brought cles of a Christian Faith, which are with it some literary activity. Arch