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Look on thy sons, so daring and so brave,
Grant, that he ne'er increase his large demains,'
• As before at the bat!le of Pavia, where Francis the First was taken prisoner. + Hannibal, that melted the Alps with vinegar, according to Livy's account. The King of Great-Britain.
France and Spain.
The Author of this little Piece was Mr. Francis Burges, a Printer, who first carried
that Art and Mystery to Norwich. But, meeting with small Encouragement, and great Opposition, as if he had brought an additional Expence to the City, he published this, by way of Apology: In the first Place, shewing, that he broke not in upon any other Persons Property, that his Trade was of great Use in a trading Place, a great Means to promote Piety, and a certain Method to do Good to several other Trades; because, under the Printer, the Bookseller, Book binder, Joiner, Smith, &c. may hope to reap Advantage.
Concerning the Usefulness of Printing. WHIS (says a late author) is so plain to all discerning men, that
I known to be the great propagator and diffuser of all useful knowledge. For, since the art of printing was found out, wbich is not yet three-hundred years, all sorts of learning have been more diffused and cultivated, than in a thousand years before. And what great advances, and mighty progress is daily made, in finding out abstruse secrets, and discovering the bidden mysteries of art and nature, those that are conversant among books do very well know. And all this is justly to be attributed to this incomparable art, which gives men such an advantage of communicating their thoughts to each other, in so plain and easy a manner, as the ages, before this invention, werè ignorant of. And therefore erudition and learning, the improvement of all the works of nature, and the perfection of all arts and sciences, are the genuine effects of this noble mystery, and an evident demonstration of its usefulness, as well as its excellency.
It is by the art of printing, that we come to know the lives and actions of the renowned worthies of the first ages of the world; whereby those things that were transacted some thousand years ago, are as familiar to us, as if they had been done but yesterday. It is printing that does immortalise the memory of ancient and modern heroes, and transmits their worthy deeds and actions to the end of time.
* This was the first book that ever was printed at Norwich, which was published on the 27th of September, 1701. Octavo, containing seventeen pages.
And it is in respect of its usefulness, that Polydore Virgil stiles it, • A divine benefit afforded to mankind; and therefore Cardan tell us, that it is an art inferior to none, either for usefulness or wit; far out-doing the most dextrous writer, both for neatness and expedition : For one press can dispatch more business in one day, than the swiftest writer can transcribe in a year or two. On this account also, Petrus Scriverius calls it, Palladium, præsidium, of tutelam musarum, & omnis doctrinæ ; that is, the fortress, garison, and defence, not only of the muses, but of all literature whatso ever.'
This noble mystery has illustriously shewn its usefulness in the assistance it has given to the propagation of the true religion ; having banished that Cimmerian darkness that had overspread the face of the earth, and caused the glorious light of the gospel to shine forth with a resplendent lustre, by the printing that incomparable treasure of a Christian " The Holy Scriptures.' Before the finding out of this illustrious art, the Epistle of St. James was thought a mighty penny-worth, when purchased for a load of hay; whereas now, both the Old and New Testament may be bought for five shillings.
But it is not by printing of the Holy Bible only, that this noble art and mystery (for so it was stiled by Queen Elisabeth, when she did it the honour to go and see it) has been serviceable to religion, but also by emitting many other good books and useful tracts into the world, whereby the errors of Popery have been discovered and confuted, and the way of truth made known. Hence says N. Billingsley, in his Brachy-Martyrologia.
• The gospel-light appear'd not very clear,
And another ingenious author to the same purpose says:
· The noble art of printing found
Lastly, this art of printing was first brought into England by Simon Islip, in the year 1471, at the charge of King Henry VI. Whence printing was for may years accounted the King's prerogative as much as coining: But in process of time it became a free trade. The first printing-press, in England, was set up by the fore-named Simon Islip, in Westminster-Abbey, London; and printing first used there by William Caxton. And its being first set up in a church, occasioned all printing-houses in England to be called chapels, which name they retain to this day.
Concerning the Original of Printing. IT would certainly redound very much to the dishonour of printers, if the original of this noble art should not be transmitted to posterity: Since it is by printing alone, that the earliest actions of antiquity are brought down to the present age: For this art, by multiplying books, hath multiplied knowledge, and brought to our cognisance both persons and things vastly remote from us, and long before our time ; which otherwise had perished in oblivion, and been as things wbich never had a being.
I have therefore endeavoured, in this short essay, to rescue from the iron-teeth of time, the original of that noble mystery, which gives immortality even to learning itself, and is the great conserrator of all arts and sciences.
And yet, to whom the world is indebted, for this excellent invention, we do not certainly know. This being one of the inventa adespota of the masterless inventions, of which the only reason, that can be assigned, is,
Laus veterum est meruisse omnis præconia famæ,
Of doing good, than of obtaining praise.
O Germanica! muneris repertrix,
Libros scribere, quæ doces premendo.
O noble German ! author of this gift,
But, whether Higher or Lower Germany shall have the honour of it is yet a controversy undecided : And in the Upper Germany, whether Mentz or Basil, or Strasburg, for all these do not only challenge it, but contend no less for the birth-place of this noble mystery, than the Grecian cities did for the cradle of Homer. Which, by the way, is no small indication of the just value which the world has of it, since there is such striving for the honour of its original. The general voice is for Mentz, and that one John Guttemberg (or Fust, or Faustemberg, as others term him) a knight and citizen of that city, was the true father and inventer of this art, about the year 1440.' And that the occasion of it was, he having cut the letters of his name out of the bark of a tree, which was green, and full of sap, and afterwards putting them into a fine linnen handkerchief, the letters impressed upon the linnen their own characters : This first inspired him with the thoughts of making characters of metal, that might make an impression upon paper, which he afterwards effected. This is strongly affirmed by the citizens of Mentz, saith Polydore Virgil, lib. ii. cap. 7. de invent. rerum : And for proof hereof they produce a copy of Tully's Offices, printed in parchment, and preserved in the library of Augsburg, having this memorandum at the latter end of it, • Præsens M. Tullii opus clarissimum, Jo. Fust, Moguntinus civis non atramento plumali canna, neque ærea, sed arte quadam perpulchra manu Petri Gersheim, pueri mei, fæliciter effeci : Finitum, anno 1440. Die quarto Mens. Feb.' In English thus : 'I John Fust, citizen of Moguntia, have happily effected the present most illustrious work of Mark Tully, performed neither by pen and ink, nor brass, but by a certain art, purely by the fair hand of my son Peter Gersheim : Done in the year 1440, on the fourth day of February.' This is cited by Salmuth, in his annotations on Pancirollus, who stands stifly for Germany (his own country) in this point: And also cites another argument from the library of Francfort, wherein an old copy of the decisions of the Rota are kept; at the latter end thereof it is said, “That it was printed in civitate Moguntiæ artis impressoriæ inventrice & elimatrice prima; that is, In the city of Moguntia, being the first inventer and refiner of the art of printing.'
But, nothwithstanding all these evidences for High Germany, yet Hadrianus Junius, a very learned man of the Low-Countries, is as stiff, on the other side for Haerlem, making that the birth-place of this noble art. This Junius (in his history of the Netherlands) tells us, • That one Laurence John (others call him Laurence Coster) a burgher of good note and quality in the city of Haerlem, was the first inventer of it ;' and saith, That he made letters at first of the barks of trees (as was before said of the other) which being set and ranked in order, and put with their heels upwards upon paper, he made the first essay and experiment of this art : At first he made but a line or two, then whole pages, and then books, but printed on one side only :' Which rudiments of the art, Junius says, he saw in the town.
And then to turn John Guttemberg, or Fust, or Faustus, quite out of doors, he gives us this further account: That, after this, the aforenamed Laurence John made types or characters of tin, and brought the art to further perfection daily : But one John Faustus (though he proved Infaustus to him) who was bis servant and had learned the mystery, stole away all the letters, and other utensils belonging to the trade ; and, after several removes, set up for himself at Mentz, making as if he were the first inventer of it; (whereas, if what Junius says be true, he had only stole it from Laurence John) and the first book, he printed there, was the