W. (William) Roberts.

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was not long before he married another, whose
' Duntonian ' appellation was ' Valeria.' This lady's
mother was probably a bit mean in parting with her
cash ; for upon an occasion when John was hard up,
he applied to her, but without success. A parting
thereupon took place between John and his wife, of
whom, however, he always speaks in affectionate
terms. John inundated his mother-in-law with
pamphlets, in which her injustice was shown up in a
truly terrible light. The only one of these squibs of
which the title need be quoted here is ' The Case of
John Dunton with Respect to Madame Jane Nicholas,
of St. Albans, his Mother-in- Law, 1700.'

Not long after the death of his first wife he made
a trip to Ireland, landing at Dublin in April, 1698,
with a cargo of books, most of which he disposed of by
auction ; but he did not seem to be more welcome to
the fraternity at Dublin than in America. Those at
the former place he dressed off in ' The Dublin
Scuffle ; being a challenge sent by John Dunton,
citizen of London, to Patrick Campbel, bookseller in
Dublin ; together with the small skirmishes of bills
and advertisements. To which is added the Billet
Doux sent him by a citizen's wife in Dublin, tempting

302 The Earlier History of English Bookselling.

him to lewdness, with his answers to her. Also some
account of his conversation in Ireland, intermixed
with particular characters of the most eminent per-
sons he conversed with in that kingdom, but more
especially in the city of Dublin. In several letters to
the spectators of this scuffle. With a poem on the
whole encounter, " I wear my pen as others do their
sword," Oldam.' This queer publication, with its
long-winded explanatory title, was dedicated to the
Hon. Colonel Butler, a member of the House of
Commons, in Ireland, and was dated from London,
February 20, 1698-9. 'To those that are angry with
me/ observes John, concerning his Irish scuffle, ' I
answer here (with the ingenious Montaigne) " that
constancy is not so absolutely necessary in authors as
in husbands ; " and for my own part, when I have my
pen in my hand, and subject in my head, I look
as mounted my horse to ride a journey ; wherein,
although I design to reach a town by night, yet will
I not deny myself the satisfaction of going a mile or
two out of my way, to gratify my senses with some
new and diverting prospect.' In his ' Farewell ' to his
acquaintances in Dublin, friends and enemies, dated
from Dublin, Monday morning, December 26, 1698,
he has the satisfaction of announcing the disposal of
the ' venture of books I brought into this country,
maugre all opposition.' His receipts were about
I5OO/. It is said that a clergyman told Mr. Penny,
an English gentleman, that Dunton had done more
service to learning, by his three auctions, than any
one single man that had come into Ireland for the
previous three hundred years.

John Dunton. 303

Perhaps of all the books he published, the one
best known at the present day, at least by name, is
'The Life and Errors of John Dunton, late citizen of
London, written by himself in solitude. With an
Idea of a New Life; wherein is shewn how he'd
think, speak, and act, might he live over his days
again : intermixed with the new discoveries the
author has made in his travels abroad, and his private
conversation at home. Together with the lives and
characters of a thousand persons now living in
London, &c. Digested into seven stages, with their
own respective ideas.'

' He that has all his own mistakes confess'd,
Stands next to him that never has transgress'd ;
And will be censured for a fool by none
But they who see no errors of their own.

Foe's Satyr upon himself?

This work, which was published in 1705, is perhaps
the maddest of all mad books, than which certainly
never a more eccentric passed the bookbinder's hands.
But its value to all students of the literary history of
the eighteenth century can hardly be over-estimated.
The principal classes with which it deals are
licensers of the press, booksellers, and book auc-
tioneers ; and, as Mr. G. L. Craik once truly observed,
1 never certainly, before or since, were all the graces,
both of mind and body, so generously diffused among
any class of men as among these old London book-
sellers.' Dunton's vagaries are scarcely ever to be
trusted, especially when he has the ' biographicalizing '
fit on.

304 The Earlier History of English Bookselling,

The bad booksellers, &c., are about one per cent.,
but when dealing with them, John does not spare
them. For instance : ' Mr. Fuller is not only a
villain, but he is known to be so. He has something
peculiar in his face that distinguishes him from the
rest of mankind. However, he has been such a
mystery of iniquity that the world had much ado to
unriddle him. His books are so honest and innocent
that you would think it was impossible that any
mischief should be lodged in his heart. . . . His
penitence and his confession . . . neither signify a
farthing.' It is highly probable that Mr. Fuller was
gathered unto his fathers before he had an oppor-
tunity of reading Dunton's character of him, or else a
second 'scuffle' would have to be chronicled in Dun-
ton's career.

Sir Roger L'Estrange comes at the head of the
characters, as one of the licensers with whom Dunton
had done business. He is characterized as 'a man
that betrays his religion and country in pretending
to defend it ; that was made surveyor of the press,
and would wink at unlicensed books if the printer's
wife would but smile on him/ Mr. Fraser gets a
better character for a like employment, in which he
was engaged for several years, and during that period
he licensed for Dunton the Athenian Mercuries, 'The
Works of the Learned/ ' The Royal Voyage,' and
' such a numerous company of other books, as advanced
his fees, for bare licensing, to thirty pounds per annum,
which I paid him for several years together.' Than
Fraser, also, ' no man was better skilled in the
mystery of winning upon the hearts of booksellers,

John Dunton. 305

nor were the Company of Stationers ever blessed
with an honester Licenser.' We have no space in
which to quote further selections from these amusing
characters, which, moreover, have been freely drawn
upon in the course of this book. But his ingenious
generalization of his country confreres certainly
deserves a little room, as showing the brief and
emphatic manner in which a ' great ' man can deal
with a heterogeneous subject : ' Of three hundred
booksellers now trading in country towns, I know
not of one knave or blockhead amongst them all.'

A short time previous to his writing his ' Life,'
Dunton, from the unsuccessful results that attended
his later efforts, had moved out of the bookselling
trade ; but nothing, except the positive absence of
pens, ink, and paper, or some other equally insur-
mountable difficulty, could keep the hero of the
Dublin scuffle from publishing his projects and
notions. To most of these he placed his name.
One of the most curious was his series of 'Athenian
Catechisms,' the first volume of which included
twenty numbers, and contained a catechism for each
of the following classes, among others : The Atheist,
Player, High Flyer, Bigoted Dissenter, Occasional
Conformist, Nonconformist, Lady's (for paint and
patches), (Late) Pamphleteer's, Coffee-house and

' Whipping-post ; or, a Satire upon Everybody,'
was published in 1706, a few months after the ap-
pearance of ' The Life and Errors.' It contained a
' panegyrick on the most deserving gentlemen and
ladies in the three kingdoms ; the Living Elegy, or


306 The Earlier History of English Bookselling.

Dunton's Letter to his few creditors ; with the
character of a summer friend, and also the secret
history of the weekly writers, in a distinct challenge
to each of them.' This work was sold by, and printed
for, B. Bragg, of the Black Raven, in Paternoster Row.
The Sacheverell controversy, which, commencing
soon after the assize sermon preached at Derby on
August 14, 1709, and another at St. Paul's Cathedral
on November 5, raged so furiously for a time, was
one which Mr. Dunton was hardly likely to keep out
of, and his eager and restless brain gave birth to at least
three pamphlets : ' The Sacheverellite Plot,' written
by the unknown author of ' Neck or Nothing,' and
which forms part of another pamphlet, ' The Im-
peachment, or Great Britain's Charge,' both issued
about 1710. The third one had a much more charac-
teristic name than either of the others, being ' The

Bull-baiting, or Sach 11 dress'd up in Fireworks,

lately brought over from the bear-garden in South-
wark ; and expos'd for the diversion of the citizens
of London at six-pence a-piece. By John Dunton,
author of the answer to Dr. Kennett, intituled "The
Hazard of a Death-bed Repentance." Being remarks
on a scandalous sermon bellow'd out at St. Paul's
on the fifth of November last before the Right
Honourable the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen,

by Dr. Sach 11,' 1709. On the 44th page of this

peculiar pamphlet Dunton further promises ' The

Second Bull-baiting, or Sach 11 dressed up

again in Fireworks,' but this never seems to have
been issued. J. Morphew was the bookseller of The

John Dunton. 307

At the end of the last-mentioned publication is an
announcement of a forthcoming work, ' Athenianism,'
at that time going through the press. Its sub-title, as
is usual, runs to some length, and is as follows : ' The
New Projects of Mr. John Dunton, author of the
essay intituled "The Hazard of a Death-bed Repent-
ance ;" being six hundred distinct treatises (in prose
and verse) written with his own hand ; and is an
entire collection of all his writings, both in manuscript
and such as were formerly printed. To which is
added " Dunton's Farewell to Printing/' in some
serious thoughts on those words of Solomon, "Of
making many books there is no end ; and much study
is a weariness of the flesh." With the author's
effigies, to distinguish the original and true copies
from such as are false and imperfect.' The purchaser
is further advised that the true copies have the wood-
cuts engraved by Knight and Vander Gucht. To
this work, published by Morphew in 1710, is pre-
fixed an heroic poem upon Dunton's projects by the
Athenian Society. This volume as John Nichols
truly observes, is a strange mixture of sense and folly,
containing some good articles in prose and verse, a
few of a licentious turn, and some deeply tinctured
with insanity, a misfortune under which Dunton ap-
pears to have long laboured.

Dunton is also accredited with the authorship of
' The Preaching Weathercock,' which was 'written
against William Richardson, once a dissenting teacher;'
and ' Mordecai's Memorial, or, There's nothing done
for him : a just representation of unrewarded services,'
1716. 'Athenian Sport,' for John could never get

X 2

308 The Earlier History of English Bookselling.

over the idea of his being an Athenian, or, ' Two
thousand paradoxes merrily argued to amuse and
divert the age,' appeared in 1 707 ; and in the follow-
ing year he had published ' The Hazard of a Death-
bed Repentance/ which he so often quotes as being a
production of his own pen. Lowndes mentions the
following four pamphlets as being written by Dunton:
' Stinking Fish/ ' Queer Robin/ ' State Weathercocks/
and ' The Mob War/ A work for a long period
associated with the name of Lord Somers, but
which there seem to be good reasons for assigning
to Dunton, is ' The Judgment of Kingdoms and
Nations, concerning the rights, power, and prero-
gatives of kings, and the rights, etc., of the people/
It was published by T. Harrison, of the Royal Ex-
change, Cornhill, 1710. Dunton's own copy, with
his autograph, is referred to at length in ( Censura
Literaria/ vi. 247-250. This pamphlet has affixed
to it sometimes the Sacheverell tract, ' The Impeach-
ment ' (ante, p. 306). ' Neck or Nothing/ in a letter
to the Earl of Oxford, appeared in 1713, and called
forth some banter, to be presently quoted, from Swift
in his ' Public Spirit of the Whigs/ It should not be
confounded with another publication, with the same
primary title, referred to on page 23 1 . Both an ' Essay
on Death-bed Charity/ exemplified in Mr. Thomas
Guy, bookseller ; Madame Jane Nicholas, of St.
Albans, and Mr. Fr. Bancroft, draper ; and ' Religio
Bibliopolae, or religion of a bookseller/ appeared in

One of his later projects forms another illustration
of political ingratitude. In ' An Appeal to George I.,'

John Dunton. 309

which he considered as ' in some sense ' his ' Dying
Groans from the Fleet Prison, or a Last Shift for
Life,' he claims to have had the most distinguished
share in bringing about the Hanoverian succession,
the Pretender, he says, having sworn that ' John
Dunton is the first man he will hang at Tyburn if
ever he ascends the British throne, for his having
writ forty books to prove him a Popish impostor, and
all his adherents either fools, knaves, or madmen.'
But not only did no good come of this ' Appeal,' but
the ' literary gentlemen ' retained by the Government
in power taunted an already wretched man with
poverty, and the ' high-flyers ' among the Ministry
exhibited their consummate high-breeding in heap-
ing reproaches and insults upon poor old Dunton's

The last half-score years or more of Dunton's life
were spent in great misery, which was fearfully
enhanced by the maudlin, incoherent state in which
his diseased intellect had placed him. It is not pos-
sible to entertain any great admiration for this quixotic
scribe, but who can read the following, 4 which
appeared on the title-page of what was perhaps his
last work, without feeling a certain amount of sym-
pathy and kindly consideration towards the author
in his senile and lonely condition ?

' Upon this Moment depends Eternity ; or, Mr.
John Dunton's serious thoughts upon the present and
future state, in a fit of sickness that was judged
mortal ; in which many new opinions are started and

4 Quoted in ' Lit. Anec.,' v. 83, where it is stated that this
advertisement appeared on October 17, 1723.

3 1 o The Earlier History of English Bookselling.

proved ; in particular this, That the sincere practice of
known duties, or dying daily to this life and world,
would of itself resolve the most ignorant person in
all the abstruse points of the Christian religion being
a new directory for holy living and dying ; composed
of the author's own experience in religion, politics,
and morals, from his childhood to his sixty-third year
(but more especially during his dangerous disease in
Ireland in the year ninety-eight, when his life was
despaired of) ; and completed in twenty essays upon
such nice and curious points in divinity as were never
handled before. To which is added, The Sick Man's
Passing-bell, to remind all men of that death and
eternity to which they are hastening. Containing,
i. God be merciful to me a Sinner; or, Dunton at
confession, in which he .discovers the secret sins of
his whole life, with his resolution in what penitent
manner (by the help of God) he'll spend the short
time he has yet to live. 2. Dunton's Legacy to his
Native Country ; or, a dying farewell to the most re-
markable persons and things both in Church and
State, with his last prayer (or those very petitions to
Almighty God) with which he hopes to expire. 3. A
Living Man following his own Corpse to the Grave ; or,
Dunton represented as dead and buried, in an essay
upon his own funeral ; to which is added (for the
oddness and singularity of it) a copy of his last Will
and Testament ; his living elegy wrote with his own
hand, and the epitaph designed for his tombstone in
the new burying-place. Together with, 4. The real
Period of Dunton's Life; or, a philosophical essay upon
the nature of the grand climacteric year sixty-three, in

John Dunton. 3 1 1

which (as few persons outlive that fatal time) he ex-
pects to be actually buried with the best of wives
Mrs. Elizabeth Annesley, alias Dunton ; with their
reasons for sleeping together in the same grave till
the general resurrection, as contained in two letters
that passed between Mr. Dunton and his wife a few
days before she died. The whole directory and pass-
ing-bell submitted to the impartial censure of the
Right Reverend Father in God, William Lord Bishop
of Ely. By Mr. John Dunton, a member of the
Athenian Society, and author of the essay intituled
" The Hazard of a Death-bed Repentance."

" We are all seiz'd with the Athenian itch,
News, and new things do the world bewitch."

Dr. Wild.

Printed for S. Popping, in Paternoster Row, price
is. 6d'

Truly religious melancholia had set its hard and
uncanny grip upon the hero of six hundred books !

Dunton has not been damned to everlasting fame by
the satirists of his day. His own individuality was so
strong as to have dispensed with extraneous help.
Even Pope has only an incidental reference to ' Dun-
ton's modern bed' (Dunciad, ii. 1. 144), which is, how-
ever, an obvious hint at the old bookseller's poverty ;
for ' a shaggy tapestry,' which the poet declares to be
worthy of being ' spread on Codrus old,' will at once
call to the reader's mind Codrus' poverty as described
by Juvenal. From Swift, however, he gets some
characteristic banter, which he was silly enough to
consider as praise. In his ' Public Spirit of the Whigs '

312 The Earlier History of English Bookselling.

(1714), the Dean grimly states that among the present
writers on the Whig side, he only knows of three of
any great distinction. These are Ridpath, the author
of the Flying Post, Dunton, and Steele, author of
* The Crisis.' ' Mr. Dunton/ Swift goes on to say, ' hath
been longer and more conversant in books than any
of the three, as well as more voluminous in his pro-
ductions : however, having employed his studies in so
great a, variety of other subjects, he hath, I think, but
lately turned his genius to politicks. His famous track.
*' Neck or Nothing," must be allowed to be the shrewd-
est piece, and written with the most spirit, of any that
hath appeared from that side since the change of Minis-
try : it is indeed a most cutting satire upon the Lord
Treasurer and Lord Bolingbroke ; and I wonder none
of our friends ever undertook to answer it. I confess,
I was at first of the same opinion with several good
judges, who from the style and manner suppose it to
have issued from the sharp pen of the Earl of Not-
tingham ; and I am still apt to think it might receive
his Lordship's last hand.' But in 1704, in the intro-
duction to ' The Tale of a Tub,' Swift refers to Dunton
in a manner which is unmistakably the reverse of
flattering. Speaking of ' oratorical machines,' the
pulpits, and the early publication of orators' speeches,
which he looks ' upon as the choicest treasury of our
British eloquence/ Swift continues/ 1 am informed, that
worthy citizen and bookseller, Mr. John Dunton, hath
made a faithful and a painful collection, which he
shortly designs to publish in twelve volumes in folio,
illustrated with copper-plates: a work highly useful
and curious, and altogether worthy of such a hand ! '

John Dunton. 313

The 'praise' contained in the 'Public Spirit of the
Whigs/ coming as it does from the * Reverend and
Learned Dr. Jonathan Swift, though a great Jacobite,'
is gratefully welcomed as clearing the object of it from
' the undeserved slander of being crazed in his intel-

Dunton died in 1733, but where and under what
precise circumstances, are not now known.

3 1 4 The Earlier History of English Bookselling.



THOMAS GUY, the philanthropic bookseller, and
founder of Guy's Hospital, was, according to Maitland
('History of London,' 1739), born in the north-east
corner-house of Pritchard's Alley, two doors east of
St. John's Churchyard, in Fair Street, Horsleydown,
Southwark, in the year 1645, but the exact date does
not seem to have been discovered. Mr. Knight, in his
' Shadows of the Old Booksellers,' observes that Fair
Street which still exists, is at the eastern extremity
of Tooley Street, where Horsleydown begins, and at a
short distance from the Thames. The ' Downs where
horses once grazed, and where, probably, the child
Thomas Guy once played, is now built over/

His father, dying when Thomas was eight years
old, was a lighterman and coal-dealer, and after his
decease, the widow and her children left London for
her native place in Staffordshire, Tamworth. A writer
in the Gentleman's Magazine, 1784, p. 430, says that
Tamworth was the place of young Guy's birth. Mrs.
Guy,, who married a second time shortly after the re-
moval, took precaution, according to Maitland, 'to have
her children carefully educated, and at a proper age put
her son Thomas apprentice.' His education from be-

Thomas Guy. 315

tween the ages of eight and fifteen was in all likelihood
obtained in Tamworth. He was bound apprentice on
September 2, 1660, to John Clark, a bookseller in the
porch of Mercers' Chapel. After his apprenticeship
had expired, he, in 1668, became a Freeman of the
City of London, and of the Stationers' Company, and
commenced business with a capital of about 2OO/. His
first shop was at ' the little corner-house of Lombard
Street and Cornhill.' The house, sometimes termed
' Lucky Corner ' in more recent years, was a new one,
for the Great Fire which raged a couple of years before
he set on in business had devastated nearly all the sur-
rounding structures. Guy's shop was hard by ' Stocks'
Market,' which was for centuries a trading rendezvous
of butchers and fishmongers, and its denomination is
said to have arisen from the Stocks, a form of pun-
ishment to which we were compelled to allude in our
account of Mr. Curll's life and adventures. It is upon
this area that the present Mansion House stands.
' Many persons,' remarked Mr. Knight, in 1865, ' now
living will remember this little corner-house, when it
was occupied by a noted lottery-office keeper, and
scarcely a passer-by failed to fancy the lucky member
that looked out upon him with seductive eyes out of
that shop-window. When Guy settled here it must
have been a capital situation, for the ruins of Sir
Thomas Gresham's Exchange had been cleared away,
and new dwellings had sprung up with the rapidity
which the exigencies of trade never fail to command.
Within a year after our Thomas had taken up his
position, the second Exchange was opened with great
pomp ; and it stood through all the changes and re-

3 1 6 The Earlier History of English Bookselling.

volutions of thrones and institutions, of laws and
commerce, till it was burnt down in 1838' (January
10). In the course of the improvements which were
made in the neighbourhood of Cornhill and Lombard
Street about 1833 or 1834, Guy's little corner-shop
once for all became a thing of the past.

Guy was admitted a Liveryman of the Company
of Stationers in 1673. His progress for some time
was probably satisfactory. He seems to have been a
bookseller, pure and simple, confining himself almost
exclusively to retailing the publications of his more
adventurous associates. He was not what we should
now understand by the term 'publisher,' such as
Tonson, Lintot, Curll, and Dunton. Apparently he
reserved his energy for the purpose of directing it
into a channel as yet unworked by his rivals. The
extreme rarity of coming across a. work bearing Guy's
imprint has already been remarked in Notes and
Queries (4th S. vi.), where only two examples are
quoted, viz. a devotional book entitled 'Jacob's
Ladder,' by Jo. Hall, B.D., pth edition, ' London,
printed by F. Collins for Thos. Guy, at the Oxford
Arms in Lumbar Street, 1 1698.' The other, a small
quarto, is ' Death's Vision represented in a Philo-
sophical Sacred Poem/ an anonymous production,
' London, printed for Thomas Guy, at the Oxford Arms
in Lumbar Street, 1709-'

But this absence of his name as bookseller or

publisher is not confined to general literature : it

applies with equal, if not even greater, force to what

he must have sold many thousands of during his

1 That is, Lombard Street.

Thomas Guy. 317

career, we refer, of course, to the Bible. It is not
known for certain at what period Guy commenced to
devote his attention to producing better editions than
those which were in circulation in the middle and
latter part of the seventeenth century. It will not be
necessary to quote here any of the innumerable

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