I am no inconsiderable shop-keeper in this town : Swift and his Dublin printers of the 1720's: Edward Waters, John Harding and Sarah Harding
thesisposted on 01.03.2017, 23:40 by Pett, Craig Francis
Swift's political writing was at its most subversive and presented the greatest risk to his printers when as Dean of St. Patrick's in Dublin in the 1720's he embarked upon a campaign of defending Irish liberties. His pamphlets during this period were intended to rally the people of Ireland against English oppressions. In writing them Swift also sought to reassert himself over his Whig enemies who were then in government in Westminster. It was a period of violent prosecutions, imprisonments and courtroom warring between judges and juries, and it was a period that exacted a human cost. This thesis is a study of Swift's working relationships with the Dublin printing industry during this time. Always writing either anonymously or under a pseudonym, Swift worked with printers who were from the lowest ranks of the industry. These were printers who were more prepared to run the risk of publication and bear the brunt of any prosecution. The first of these printers was Edward Waters. In May 1720, Waters printed Swift's "A Proposal for the Universal Use of Irish Manufacture" and was subsequently prosecuted in a case that was protracted over fifteen months. The second was John Harding, who printed the five pamphlets Swift wrote in 1724 under the pseudonym M. B. Drapier. Harding was prosecuted for the fourth of those pamphlets and died a few months afterwards from the effects of his imprisonment. The third was Harding's widow, Sarah Harding, who as a mother of two continued to print occasionally for Swift without ever receiving the support from him that can be said to have been owing to her. This thesis is written from the perspective of the printers. It offers new evidence with regard to the lives and careers of the printers and Swift's conduct in relation to them.