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constant in all their waies, and of no satled] 1 compted not muche upon them, nor thought that their Sermon and Oracion proceeded of any perswasion of coscience but [forecast altogether, howed to serue the time, as the comon [study &] practice of [al] that foxie generation is.
[And in like sort] But now of late I chaunced (lately] to read an excellent, and a right notable [learned] Oration, entitled De vera Obediēcia, made in latine [nere] about .xx. yeres past by D. Stephan Gardener, than B.isshop of V Vinchestre, [and] now Lord Chancellour and comon cutthrot of England, touchinge as well the kinges supremaci and absolute power (ynder God) of the church of England, and the necessary diuorce (as he calleth it) of the said king Henry the eighte from the quenes (graces] Mother that now is, [and] together with the lauful and chast mariage (for so he termeth the matter) [solemnised] had betwene the sayde Kynge and quene Anne, to consist by the vnfailynge almightie word or GOD : as also concernynge the false fained authoritie and vsurped power of the bishoppe of Rome, and vnlaufull or vnadvysed othees and vowes : ioyned with the (pleasaunte] preface of doughtie Doctoure Boner, then archdeaco of Leicestre, [and the kynges Embassadoure in Denmarke), gaping to be [made] a bishop as he is now by the way of usurpocion (was afterwarde) of London for the commendacion and praise of the same Oracion.
I think the reader will believe that these two editions
if he did not understand English, he was not altogether ignorant of French, and knew how to adorn his work with some such flowers of conjectural criticism and humorous emendation as should render it worthy of the Seeley press from which it was to issue. It might be vulgar, but it would be not only truth, but good English, if a reviewer were to say of this author, that it was “hard to deal with such a chap;” and perhaps most readers would pass over the phrase without once thinking of the words “dealer and chapman,” which still linger amidst our phraseology, in a sense which has now become obsolete with respect to "merchant. This work is anonymous ; but in case any future Placcius sbould be inclined to inquire about its authorship, three marks may be mentioned as possibly offering a clue. First, some other exhibitions of ignorance, such as I have mentioned—as for instance, in support of bis assumed character of an ultra-tractarian, the author dates his dedication, “ October 23, Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola.” As a piece of humour this is, perhaps, equal to anything in the whole book ; but not being much at home in the Calendar, he has unluckily got hold of St. Ignatius the Patriarch, instead of St. Ignatius the Jesuit, whose day is the 31st of July. Again, any man who should affect to write a life of Bishop Bonder, though only in a solemn jest of less than hundred pages, while under a belief that the Cotton MSS. are at Oxford, should really be himself placed in the British Museum as a national curiosity. See p. 13; and it is likely that where there are such things, there are plenty of such like. A second mark is, that the book is printed at Durham. A third, and the most observable, is, that it quotes a “charge " delivered by one “ of the Dignitaries of the church,” named Townsend.
were printed in the order which their title-pages suggest; but, supposing their dates to be relatively true as to the order of precedence between them, do we not begin to feel some surprise at those dates themselves? The former edition purports to have issued “from Roane, xxvi. of Octobre,” in the year 1553; and the later from Rome “in Novembre of the same year. It will be seen, therefore, that the date of this Roane book is only eleven days after Laurence Saunders's sermon, at Allhallows, Bread-street. To be sure, Gardiner had been Lord Chancellor ever since the 23rd of August, but how had he earned the title of
common cut-throat of England”? Whose throat had he or anybody else cut? What had “Doughtie D. Bonner " done by that time? In short, does not this style of writing, as well as even the coupling together of the names, rather savour of a later period, and a subsequent state of things and of feelings? Does it not look as if there was something not quite accordant with strict truth in the times so punctually set forth in the titles of these books, any more than in the places assigned to them by the same authority?
And now that these suspicions are raised, let us go back a little, and look again at that Hamburgh edition of 1536, which was the first to present the public with Archdeacon Bonner's Preface, and from which Dr. Brown's reprint in his Fasciculus, as well as the English translation, are professedly made. I propose this, because there is something very curious about the early history of printing in Hamburgh. I lay the following story, relating to that subject, before the reader, without pretending to vouch for the truth of all its particulars; but at the same time assuring him, that in such sources of information as I have had opportunity to consult, I have found nothing to contradict any of them.
The Story of Hamburgh. One fine morning, in the year 1491, when all the inhabitants of Hamburgh were deeply engaged in business and pleasure--that is, either in actual buying and selling, or in bargaining-so that even the gate-keeper (it is not known of which gate) had stepped up into the city to learn the state of exchange between Hamburgh and Berlin, two men, whose outlandish appearance afforded no infor
3 Some readers may think I ought to have said Lubeck, perhaps, or some other place more known in the early bistory of commerce.
mation as to the place whence they came-indeed, I believe it has never to this day been even guessed at-contrived to slip in unobserved. How they managed to bring in with them all the materials and machinery necessary for establishing a printing-office is not known; but it may well be imagined that nobody observed them, in a city where every man had his hand in his pocket, his heart in his purse, and his head in his ledger. So John and Thomas Brocard, or Borchard, or Burchard, with their typographical gear, went forward unmolested, until they came to the vacant space in front of the Town-house; where, as it seemed to them that they should have plenty of room and be in nobody's way, they set up their press, and incontinently fell to work, printing a folio book in great Gothic type to the honour of the Virgin Mary.
All that day, as every day, everybody in Hamburgh was minding bis own business, and the Proconsuls and Consuls (as the citizens loved to call what more modern folks would designate as the Burgo. masters and Town-Council) were assembled in the Town-house, to mind the business of every body else. Nobody, therefore, heeded the printers, until the municipal grandees came forth, after a long day's discussion on a new tariff, and were struck with amazement by the strange novelty. John and Thomas, by incredible skill and diligence at case and press, had just worked off their book, and hastily gathering and folding a few copies, presented one to each of the senators who had surrounded them, and were gazing in silent wonder at their proceedings. Most of the Consuls, indeed, had little idea of what was going forward ; but two or three of the most enlightened looked at each other knowingly, and in a way that plainly said, this will not do. Aye, aye,” said one of the Proconsuls, at length, giving utterance to the thoughts of the others as well as his own, “If this is allowed it will be the ruin of the place. The exchange will be deserted by book-reading fools, and the workhouse crammed with book-writing beggars. Trade will be ruined, and all the profit of our exports and imports together will not meet our poor-rates. We have staved off this new-invented folly during twenty or thirty years that it has stultified Mentz and Cologne, Frankfort and Strasburgh, and I know not what places beside, and we must the exact truth is not known, I do it on purpose to give the good city of Berlin a lift, as Mr. Cattley has done in bis edition of Fox, by telling us that in the year 1538 it was honoured by the presence of Henry the Eighth, while his Vicar-General Cromwell was for some inscrutable reason quartered at Utrecht, or, as the cautious editor (not to depart at once too much from the ancient orthography which he is correcting,) is pleased to spell it “ Eutrecht." The proof of this is a letter from no less a person than Archdeacon Bonner, then bishop elect of Hereford, to the Lord Cromwell. The antiquated mode of spelling, which the editor has so carefully corrected, would in all likelihood have led some readers to quite another part of the world. They would have been liable to suppose that Byrling and Erwridge were the two seats of the Lord Burgavenny in Kent and Sussex, better known to modern readers (especially the readers of Nichol's Royal Progresses) by the visits of Queen Elizabeth.–See Fox, vol. v. p. 152.
not give way now. In spite of bad example, not a type has ever yet been set up in the good city of Hamburgh, and we are not going to begin now."
John and Thomas rubbed their thumbs on their aprons, and looked sheepishly at each other. It was clear that they had made a great mistake. But they were sharp fellows, and in great emergencies great wits jump. They formed a sudden resolution, made a sudden start, ran off at full speed, and were never more seen or heard of.
The senators stood still and stared after them, but they stirred not a step. Perhaps they had some sympathy with Dogberry, and were not sorry to get rid of bad company at so little expence. For that matter, indeed, when the property which John and Thomas had abandoned in their flight came to be carried to account as firewood and old metal, there was a balance of some dollars in favour of the city chest. But so deeply were the Proconsuls, and Consuls, and Citizens, and indeed all the inhabitants, impressed with a sense of the danger which they had so narrowly escaped, that so long as any one of those senators lived (and it was more than forty years) no man, woman, or child, ever printed a book, or a bit of one, in the good city of Hamburgh; though none of them knew all the parti. culars which have just been laid before the reader, some of which have never, indeed, been divulged until this present occasion seemed to call for them.
I have already said that I do not vouch for the truth of all things contained in this story, and I hope the reader does not think that I believe it all myself, or wish him to believe more of it than he likes. I merely give it as what may be true—that is, what cannot be contradicted on the authority of any of the common sources of bibliographical information. This must, I think, appear to every reflecting person very remarkable; and it will, perhaps, be hardly believed, unless I state the case more plainly and technically.
If the reader will turn to Panzer's “Annales Typographici,”4 he will find what that writer has to say of printing in Hamburgh during the fifteenth century. It is all comprised in a notice of one single book, entitled, “ Laudes beate Marie virginis," said, in its colophon, to have been printed (if not with all the circumstances here stated) by the persons, and at the time, specified in this Story of Hamburgh. Panzer states that it was the first book, and the only one, printed there before the year 1500. In accordance with this, Santander tells us that this book, " est la seule impression faite dans la ville anséatique d'Hamburg, avant l'an • 1500, et par conséquent Joh. et Thomas Borchard sont les
+ Vol. iv. p. 453.
seuls imprimeurs de cette ville."5 Dr. Falkenstein, in his history of early printing, published so recently as 1840, has nothing to offer against these statements, and acknowledges that the ancient city of Hamburgh, so celebrated in the history of German commerce, can boast of only one book printed in the fifteenth century.
One book, and only one book, and that by printers who are not known to have printed any other book, there or elsewhere, before or after. Surely this is very singular. Dr. Falkenstein gives us a list of 176 places in which printing had been carried on before this year 1491, and it is strange enough that Hamburgh should not be among them. But it is incomparably more strange that, when the art had penetrated that city in the year 1491—when a press had been set up and had produced one book-it should have disappeared and remained unheard of for forty-five years. And not only did the newly-arrived art disappear, but the artists also vanished, not from Hamburgh only, but from all human ken. The migrations of early printers are notorious, and nobody would have been surprised to learn that John and Thomas Brocard had been next heard of at the far end of Christendom; but I am not aware that their names are to be found connected with any other time, or place, or book, than that single one which they are said to have printed at Hamburgh in 1491, or that there is, or ever was anything else in the whole world to attest that such persons ever existed.
Now when we consider how easy it was for any one of the printers who really were hard at work in so many other places, to put a false name of place or printer in a bookhow very possible it is that some one of them may have been led, by some reason or some caprice which we cannot fully understand, to do in this case, what we know to have been done in so many others—shall we not be led to suspect
5 " Essai historique sur l'origine de l’Imprimerie, ainsi que sur l'histoire de son établissement dans les villes, bourgs, monastères et autres endroits de l'Europe.”—p. 433.
Geschichte der Buchdruckerkunst in ihrer Entstehung und Ausbildung, &c. Ein Denkmal zur vierten Säcular-Feier der Typographie." He says, “ Die alte Hansestadt Hamburg, die in der Geschichte des deutschen Handels eine so ausgezeichnete Rolle spielt, hat nur ein einzigen Druck aufzuweisen, welcher dem fünfzehnten Jahrhunderte angehört. Es ist 'Laudes,'” &c. p. 198.