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being suggested to liin, after a labour of twenty-five years, he brought out in one vol. 4to, 1749, Typographical Antiquities, being an historical account of Printing in England, with some memoirs of our ancient Printers, and a register of the books printed by them from 1471 to 1600; with an appendix concerning Printing in Scotland and Ireland to the same time. He inscribed his work to lord chancellor Hardwicke, and was at the same time fellow of the Royal and Antiqnarian Societies, being chosen secretary to the last of them. Sir Hans Sloane in particular showed him very great countenance, and left him trustee to his will. Mr. Ames died in 1739, much esteemed. Besides his great work, he wrote a Catalogue of English Printers from 1471 to 1700, 4to; 2. An Index to Lord Pembroke's Coins ; 3. A Catalogue of English Heads; or an account of 2000 English prints, describing what is peculiar to each ; 4. Parentalia, or Memoirs of the family of Wren, 1750, 'folio. An enlarged edition of the Typographical Antiquities was published by the late Mr. W. Herbert, vol. 1, 1785, vol.2, 1786, and vol. 3, 1790. A new and splendid edition of Ames and Herbert has since been presented to the world by the Rev. T. F. Dibdin.
It is somewhat extraordinary that Mr. Cole, a celebrated Antiquary and collector, who was on friendly terms and corresponded with Ames, should have drawn the following severe character of him, and which appears under the head “ Biographiana" in the 24th Number of Sir Egerton Brydges's Restituta, in article 3.---After copying the full title page of Ames's Typographical Antiquities he says,
“ I have written as follows on the back, of the title-page-The author, Mr. Ames, I was well acquainted with, having been several times to see him, in order to look over his curious prints, of which he had no small collection, especially of English heads; many of which at different times I purchased of him to add to my collection of the same sort. He lived in a strange alley or lane in Wapping : was a patten-maker, an Anabaptist, with a spice of Deism mixed with it. I have often thought it no small reproach and disgrace to the Antiquarian Society, to have so very illiterate a person to be their Secretary : he could not spell, much more write, English: I have several letters of his by me at this time which prove it. It was by no means proper to have such a person in that station, which required reading aloud at the meetings of the Society, several papers in various languages often, of which he was used to make miserable work; more especially when strangers and foreigners happen to be there, which was often the case.
“He was a little, friendly, good-tempered man; a person of vast
application and industry in collecting curious old printed books, prints, and other curiosities both natural and artificial. It is to this must be attributed his office of Secretary to the Society: but surely, a Secretary, who could neither read nor write, was an odd appoint. ment for a learned Society! He must have procured some one to have perused his book for him, which yet is full of blunders, and prove my assertion in an hundred places: the printers would correct the false English and spelling.
“What is singular, Mr. Stephen Wren employed Mr. Ames, an Independent, and Deist professed, to usher into the world the Parentalia, or Memoirs of the Family of the Wrens in 1750, which through out is a most orthodox book, full of reflections upon the fanatics of King Charles's time.”
“ The origin of Printing, by multiplying letters, is intitled to the first place after the invention of letters themselves (though it gives light to all other arts) remains itself in obscurity. It has been the subject of repeated discussions.--Mr. Meerman is the last who has written upon it, and he has endeavored to reconcile some difficulties on this head in his “ Origines Typographicæ," printed in 1765 ; and translated and abridged by Mr. Bowyer, in his two Essays on the Origin of Printing, 1784.
“ The more we reflect on the accidental discovery by Laurentius, of the effect produced by concave wooden types, the more we wonder that the mechanics of antiquity should never have applied the concavity of their metal inscriptions to the same use as those of their intaglios, and their liquid colours to an use similar to that which they made in way. But we are not here to extend our views beyond our own country. Whether Laurentius of Haerlem, Geinsflech, of Mentz, or Guttenburg, at Strasburgh, invented single wooden types, much certainly may be concluded, that the invention took place rather before the middle of the fifteenth century in Holland or Germany. We have a fact established beyond controversy, that WILLIAM Caxton first introduced the Art of Printing with fusile types into England; and some suppose that Frederic Corsellis, or some foreigner, used wooden types a few years before him. Be this as it may, Caxton (an eminent mercer and negotiator) within a few years of the discovery of printing, is thought to have printed a French romance at Cologne in 1464."
“ William Caxton an Englishman, memorable for having first introduced the art of printing into his native country, was born in Kent about 1410, and served an apprenticeship to Robert Large, a London mercer, who in 1439 was Lord Mayor. On the death of his master, Caxton went to the Netherlands, as agent for the Mercers' company, in which situation he continued about twenty-three years. His reputation for probity and abilities occasioned his being employed, in conjunction with Richard Whitchill, to conclude a treaty of commerce between Edward IV. and Phillip duke of Burgundy. He appears subsequently to have held some office in the household of duke Charles, the son of Phillip, whose wife, the lady Margaret of York, distinguished herself as the patroness of Caston. Whilst abroad he became acquainted with the then newly discovered invention of printing, by John Fust. At the request of the duchess, his
mistress, he translated from the French, a work, which he entitled “ The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye, by Raoul le Feure,” wbich he printed at Cologne, 1471, in folio. This book, considered as the earliest specimen af Typography in the English Language, is reckoned very valuable. At the famous sale of the Duke of Roxburgh's library in 1812, a copy was purchased by the Duke of Devonshire for 10601. 10s., which originally belonged to Elizabeth Gray, Queen of Edward the Fourth. A copy sold in West's Sale 1773, for 321. 118., an imperfect copy sold at Lloyd's Sale in 1816, for 1261. After this he printed other works abroad, chiefly translations from the French; at length having provided himself with the means of practising the art in England, he returned thither, and in 1474 had a press at Westminster abbey, where he printed the “Game and Plave of the Chesse," generally admitted to be the first typographical work executed in England. Caxton continued to excrcise his art for nearly twenty years, during which space he produced between fifty and sixty volumes, most of which were composed or translated by himself. Among his most distinguished patrons were John Íslip, abbot of Westminster, and those two learned noblemen Jobn Tibetot, earl of Worcester, and Anthony Wydeville, earl Rivers. Caxton died about 1492, and was buried according to some accounts at Campden in Gloucestershire ; though others state his interment as having taken place at St. Margaret's, Westminster. The following lines from his epitaph are characteristic of the age .
“ Moder of merci, shylde him from th' orribul fynd,
And bring him lyff eternal, that never hath ynd.” Ames devotes 116 quarto pages to an account of Caxton, and of the Works that passed through his press; to Wynken de Worde, the second Printer of note, he has bestowed 120 pages, and to Richard Pinson, 84 pages. He has also given portraits of the above person. ages, with one or two others, which I insert as fac-similes of the rude wood block devices, characteristic of the time.
John Lettou and William Machlinia, or Macklyn, were cotempo. raries of Caxton, as well as Wynken de Worde. "Lyttletons Tenures," is supposed by Sir William Dugdale, to have been Printed by them in the reign of Henry VIII., and Dr. Middleton, in his discourse on Printing, supposes the above book to have been put to press by the Author, Littleton, who died 1481. It contains 108 leaves folio.
Mr. Ames has placed John Lettou with William Machlinia between Caxton and Wynken de Worde which authorizes the supposition of Sir Wm Dugdale, and of Middleton.
" Wynken de Worde. This famous printer was a foreigner, born in the dukedom of Lorrain, as appears by the patent-roll in the chapel of the Rolls. Our first printer, Caxton, when resident abroad, might probably meet with him there, and engage him to come over to England for a servant or assistant, like as John Faust at Mentz had his lad, or servant, Peter Sheoffer, whom they chose for their ingenuity and promising parts; and their after works shew they were not mistaken in their choice. However this he, he con. tinued in some capacity with Caxton till his death, 1491 ; and printed at his house in Westminster afterwards.
If he was married or not, or had relations that came over with
him does not appear by his will ; yet we find in the church-wardens accounts for St. Margarets Westminster, an entry made in the year 1498. - Item for the knell of Elizabeth de Worde vi pence, Item, For iï torches, with the grete belle for her, v. iii.” Again, in the year 1500,-item for the knell Julian de Worde, with the grete bell, vi. pence.
"By bis connection with Mr. Caxton, and on account of this new art, he occasionally fell into the company and acquaintance of the learned and noble of this kingdom ; and at length was appointed printer to Margaret mother of king Hen. VII. and grandame to Henry the VIII., as he styles himself in 1509; which is the first year of thus describidg himself.
“After the death of Mr. Caxton, he printed, in his house as afore. said ; primarily it may be supposed with his types, sometimes using his cypher only, without the printer's name; sometimes adding in Caxton's house;" and at other times, probably the latter part of his dielling there, adding thereto his own name also. By his colophons we learn that he continued at Westminster until the very likely 1501; in which year we find in 1 only one book, "Mons perfectionis. nient for being a printer to the was printed ; but Palmer's conkorew; hy which he was ausir. Ames, an account of refer to Westminster precationer, and to print andator hhout any, account where it printed by him at the anguages, as also Greminuator has added “* ibid," which must
un in Fleet-street before 1503: however I We do not fing, which might be atle of crysten men” was printed there in 1502. It has been
any sign mentioned by him while at Westminster. as a siames Servingham I supposed that Caxton's cypher might have been exhibited self,
de Holde of Hurin, but we find no imitation of this by either Caxton or him. nered, 1582"
A Copy so He printed Bartholomæus de Proprietatibus Reruw.—The first another at Jook printed on paper made in England.
Juhn I. At the Duke of Roxburgh's in 1812, a copy sold for 701. 78. An in Sutto imperfect copy at the Sale of Stanesby Alchorne, Esq. in 1813, sold late T
to the Duke of Devonshire for 131. 138. is su Rowe Mores was of opinion that Wynken de Worde was his own Bra Letter Founder, a circumstance that shews the rapid progress of the fess Art in England at so early a period ; in fact, the circumstance can.
not be doubted, for it appears that Caxton had him employed with
Fust's servant's, at Cologne ;-amongst whom were also said to be, A. Pynson, Rood, Macklin, and Lettou.
The great advancement and improvements in this beautiful Art, А during
the whole of the last and present centuries, has been truly astonishing ; aided by the taste and talents of the Caslons, Baskerville, Fry, Figgins, Thorowgood, and others, as Type Founders.
“ Richard Pynson, Esq., was born in Normandy in France, as appears by king Henry's patent of naturalization, wherein he is styled “ Richardus Pynson, in partibus Normand, oriund.” However there were of the same name in England, as may be seen in the church-warden's account for St. Margaret's Westminster, in the year 1504 ; “ Item, received of Robert Pynson for four tapers ijii d." Perhaps some relation of his. There was one also Philip Pinson an Englishman, who died of the plague, the 2d of December, 1503; three days after he had been nominated to the archbishoprick ef Tuam, in Ireland.”
“ Whether this artist was apprentice to Mr. Caxton, as intiinated by Mr. Lewis, is rather uncertain; nor can I see any reason for such a supposition of him any more than of W. de Worde, whom he styles his foreman or journeyman : perhaps these characters may be equally true of them both, at different periods of time. However this be, Pynson himself in his first edition of Chaucer, calls Caxton his wor. shipful master-" whicbe boke diligently ouirsen & duely examined by his pollitike reason and ouirsight of my worshipful master Willian ( axton," &c.”
Mr. Ames intimates that our artist was in such esteein with the lady Margaret, King Hen. Vll's mother, and other great personages, that he printed for them all his days; but this does not particularly appear.
He printed “ The life of a Virgyn cully'd Petronylia, whom Erle Flaccus desired to his Wyf.” 18mo.
“A very rare Poetical Tract, consisting only of three leaves, 18mo., and which at Townley’s Sale in 1814, was sold for the very moderate towanego
A Worces, or two guineas per leaf, to Messrs. Longman and Co."
ad was buan. Horne Tooke's Sale in 1813, for the Mr. Heber bought a copy though Olas sixpence. sum of six pounds, two shillings, and Westmi. Roman letters to this coun
“ Pynson was the first who introduced the age vblications, which con. try, and he was eminently successful in his youn th' ot: died about 1529. sist chiefly of law books. He is supposed to havever hatuthe utmost fami
Psalmanaazaar intimates that this printer lived in of Caxtörturbed by liarity and friendship with W. de Worde, and quite undmade Drather any mutual emulation or rivalship in trade ; the contrary Rich difappears by their works, for they are found frequently printing personas ferent editions of the same books, at or near the same time; not f the partners, or the one's name taken out, and the other's inserted to a certain number of the same edition. He tells us indeed that they printed several year books together : perhaps they might be joined in the same privilege or licence for printing them.
Reynold Woolfe, Esq., King's Printer, “He was a man of eminence, a good antiquary, great promoter of the reforniation, and in favour with king Henry Vill. lord Cromwell, archbishop Cranmer, &c. John Leland was of his acquaintance. Our learned Kentish antiquary John Twine calls him a German by nation, good man, and wt 11 learned, and a very faithful friend of his, whose kindness he had experienced in prosperity and adversity, and who, when he was set at liberty from his imprisonment in the Tower, took him into his house, situ squaloreque obsitum, and entertained him there till he could return to Canterbury, to his own house and family. John Stowe observes of him, that in the year 1549, the bones of the deail, in the Charnel house of St. Paul's, amounting to more than 1000 cart loads, were carried to Finsbury field, and the expence paid by him. He spent 25 years in collecting materials for an universal cosmography of all nations, which though at his death he left undi. gested, be thereby laid the foundation of those chronicles, which afterwards were compiled by Ralpli Hiolinshed, who frankly acknowledged so much in his dedication to lord Burghleigh. Those chron. icles were published in 1577 by John Harrison his son in law; and