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The History of Napoleon Bonaparte
The Oriental Herald
The Education of the People
Splendid Library Edition of Fables
178 Statistical Society
Hymns and Fireside Verses
The Unity of Disease
180 Society of Schoolmasters
Eau de Cologne
Copy of a Letter written by a Poet to his
Biography, Bibliography, Criticism, and the Arts.
VOL. I. No. 1.
DECEMBER 1, 1838.
For the Accomodation of Subscribers in the Country, and Abroad, the Weekly Numbers of The Aldine Magazine are re-issued in Monthly Parts, and forwarded with the other Magazines.-Orders received by all Booksellers, Newsvenders, &c.
LETTERS TO MY SON AT ROME. That work, with my retrospection, crude as it was, is nearly out of print. Its general features came down only to the period of 1785. I have, therefore, nearly fifty-four years' material to lay before you and the public.
MY DEAR SON,
A brother bibliopole, about forty-five years ago, wrote and published Memoirs of the Forty-five First Years of his Life," in a series of letters to a friend, with the following triple dedication :
1st. To the public.
2nd. To that part of the numerous body of booksellers of Great Britain and Ireland, whose conduct JUSTLY claimed the addition of RE
"I'll give every one a smart lash in my way.” Now this personage, of whom I shall have to give an extended memoir, with anecdotes, in their proper place, had fair causes, great objects, and weighty motives for adopting his
mode of procedure, which succeeded to the extent of his "most sanguine expectations."
My first object is to gratify my vanity in endeavouring to amuse the public; my second, to deavouring to amuse the public; my second, to benefit myself;-and I would not desire a more powerful distich applied to me than the following, by my old friend Pindar,* to the venerable and worthy John Nichols and his Gentleman's Magazine :
Although you are now treading on classic ground, you are aware that I left a country
(And lastly, though not least, in fame,) 3rd. To those sordid and malevolent BOOKSELLERS, whether they resplendent live in state-school at twelve years of age; and was engaged, ly mansions, or in wretched huts of dark and grovelling obscurity; to whom he says-
like Cincinnatus, in agricultural pursuits till fourteen, when I proceeded to London, immediately after the demise of Dr. Samuel Johnson, 13th December, 1784. To this event I formerly alluded, as indirectly leading me to be articled in 1785 to Mr. Thomas Evans, an emi
nent bookseller of that day, (in_Paternoster
Row,) and with whom my brother had been articled from the year 1778.
Of the experience and vicissitudes of my eventful and varied life, you and the public have yet to be informed through the succeeding pages, addressed to you in a series of letters; a form that will admit of unlimited digressions, and of objects diverging from each other, without running into a dry and tedious detail, or causing those unpleasant breaks and interruptions to which a common narrative might be deemed liable.
"John's Magazine all Magazines excels,.
And what's still better too for John-it sells !" The phrase," it sells," is so well understood by every bookseller, that its mention requires no apology; nor shall I offer any for dedicating a certain portion of my bibliographical labours to you, although in a style so different from the one which you suggested, after the publication of my introductory volume of "FIFTY YEARS' RECOLLECTIONS OF AN OLD BOOKSELLER.'
I published for Peter Pindar, (the late Dr. John Wolcot,) for five years.
VOL. I. NO. I.
The style you advised me to adopt of writing plain FACTS into agreeable FICTIONS does not suit either my talent or my taste, (if I possess either,) nor would it meet the taste of the public, unless I could infuse the wizard-like spell of a Scott, or the lofty imagination or profound classical attainments of a Croly. I have no pretensions to the school of either; my intention is merely to state facts, and their results, as they occurred..
4th. The Letters of Ignatius Sancho, (could I happily follow his diction,) a black, vulgarly called a negro, or negur, whose freedom of style often gratified me.
5th. The powerful Letters of Paul to his Kinsfolk; and
6th. The playful Letters of Peter to his Kinsfolk.
Surely then there can be no impropriety in my thus addressing my lucubrations to you. My dear Son, I am,
Your affectionate Father,
AN OLD BOOKSELLER.
I rest my hope on the Aldine anchor, and its little bark, which will ever be freighted with On the arrival of its contents at Rome, I have to request you will return an exchange of commodity, acceptable and interesting to the literary world.
MY DEAR SON,
The booksellers and bookish world have alI date this from a spot of classic name: to you, who are luxuriating in a region of classic glory ready anticipated the objects of the Aldine -upon the very soil on which, in your neighbour Magazine, and express themselves warmly in soil on which, in your neighbour-its favour. Some, well acquainted with the subhood of Bassiano and the Pontine Marshes, Aldus Manutius drew his earliest breath. Iject, observe that no publisher, or wholesale or retail bookseller, or his assistants, should be without it as it passes through the press.
was glad to hear that you had quitted Rome for and again sojourned at Florence, that city of palaces, and which appears to have gratified you more than Pisa. Your return, however, to the Eternal City was requisite; and the kind attention paid you by the venerable Thorwaldsen, (that heaven-inspired sculptor,) --by your brother artists, architects as well as painters and sculptors, and by the British nobility,-will, I trust, enable you at some future day to become the architect of your own fortune. At all events, this attention and your letters are eminently gratifying to an old man, hastening on to the septuagenarian.
sister Mrs. C., and nine of my grandchildren Yesterday was my birthday. Your dear out of fifteen, spent the day with your aged and affectionate mother and me. They were all in in the morn." I regretted that my great grandruddy health, and, like Aurora, they "ushered children also were not with me; but they are still in Warwickshire, reclining on the banks of the Avon. I must rest upon my oars, for
Aldine Chambers, Paternoster Row,
To return to the Aldine Chambers, and early associations. Nearly fifty four years have elapsed since I first beheld Mr. Stanley Crowder on these premises, surrounded by his dozen clerks, and double that number of black leather water buckets, hung around his warehouse in case of fire. This impressed me with an idea of his respectability and consequence. He was, indeed, one of the most eminent booksellers of that day. He graduated with the celebrated Sir James Hodges, bookseller, at the sign of the Looking Glass, on Old London Bridge, and who made himself conspicuous in voting the freedom of the city to the late Earl Chatham.
From these chambers my letters will be conveyed to you as "part and parcel" of "The ALDINE MAGAZINE.”
It is from this port, or harbour, that the Aldine vessel is to get under weigh weekly and monthly, with its cargo of literary merchandize, as stated in its original MANIFEST; and as I have changed my position in the land service of others, in the language of Dryden, to "You authentic witnesses I bring Of this my manifest, that never more
My hand shall combat on the crooked shore."
The present proprietor of the Aldine Chambers is Mr. Bagster, the printer and publisher of the exquisite Polyglotts, in various sizes, of the Comprehensive book of Holy Writ;" a performance that will render his name as imperishable as the name of Aldus, after whom he has appropriately designated the property.
"The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve,” and apprised me that I must conclude. Your affectionate Father, AN OLD Bookseller.
P.S. After the biographical sketch of the Aldine Triumvirate, will be given memoirs of the most eminent persons connected with literature in the olden times, with their various marks, &c.; and, what will create considerable interest in the present race, anecdotes of some of the most respectable booksellers and others of our own time and their ancestors, for three, four, and even five generations.
THE ALDINE TRIUMVIRATE.
connected with the Art of Typography," after citing more than one hundred arguments and opinions on the priority of claims to the invention, draws this conclusion:-" That to JOHN GUTENBERG is due the appellation of the Father of Printing; to PETER SCHOEFFER, that of Father of Letter-founding; and to JOHN FAUST, that of the Generous Patron, by whose means the wondrous discovery of the art of Printing was brought rapidly to perfection."
at this period that Aldus first conceived the idea of establishing a printing office. About the year 1488 he is believed to have taken up his residence at Venice, as a spot eligible for maturing his plans; and in 1494, or 1495, he sent forth the first production of his press.
In the course of the ensuing twenty years Manutius printed the works of the most ancient Latin and Greek authors, as well as many productions of his contemporaries. Whilst he
At a future season it is our intention to pre-paid the most sedulous attention to the affairs sent the readers of THE ALDINE MAGAZINE of his printing office, he carried on a very exwith notices of the early printers; and, of the tensive correspondence with the literati of more eminent, to insert their distinctive mono- Europe; he established an academy in his own grams and private marks. In the case imme- house, delivered lectures, and explained the diately before us the name and fame of Aldus classics to a numerous auditory of students; were so nearly coeval with the first exercise of and even found time to compose a Latin Gramthe noble art, and were at an early period so mar, a Treatise on the Metres of Horace, a inseparably associated with the most elegant Greek Dictionary, and several other works chaproductions of the press, that we prefer plung-racterised by profound learning and an extening at once, in medias res, and gleaning, from sive variety of knowledge. So absorbed was various sources, a concise account of the Aldine Aldus in his professional duties, that, having Triumvirate father, son, and grandson-by ordered his other essentially necessary affairs, whom, for more than a century, the business it was his custom to shut himself up in his of typography was carried on with a degree of study, and there to employ himself in revising success never yet surpassed, or even rivalled. his Greek and Latin manuscripts, in reading the letters which he received from the learned in all parts of the world, and in writing answers to them. To prevent interruption by impertinent visits, he caused the following inscription to be placed over the door of his sanctum :—
According to Renouard (in his Annales de l'imprimerie des Aldes), Tiraboski,* the Biographie Universelle, and other authorities, Aldus Manutius was born at Bassian, or Bassiana, a little town in the duchy of Lermonetta, in the Roman territory, about the year 1446 or 1447. He is thought to have been of Jewish extraction. His christian name, Aldus, was a contraction of Theobaldus: his surname was Manutius, or Manuzzio, to which he sometimes added the appellation of Pius, or Bassianus, or Romanus. The first of these appellatives was assumed by Aldus in 1509, from his having been the tutor of Albertus Pius, a prince of the noble house of Carpi, and to whom the grateful printer dedicated the Organon of Aristotle, in 1495; the second was derived from his birth-place.
The education of Aldus Manutius was received at Rome and at Ferrara: in the latter town he learned Greek under Baptista Guarino. As indicated above, he became tutor to Albertus Pius, Prince of Carpi. In 1482 he left Ferrara, with his noble pupil, to reside at Mirandola, with the celebrated Pius Mirandola.†
* Girolamo Tiraboschi, born at Bergamo in 1731, died in 1794, was librarian and counsellor to the Duke of Modena, by whom he was knighted. was the author of a History of Italian Literature, in sixteen volumes, quarto, and other works.
+ This John Picus, youngest son of John Francis Picus, Prince of Mirandola, appears to have been
"Whoever you are, ALDUS earnestly entreats you to dispatch your business as soon as possible, and then depart; unless you come hither, like another Hercules, to lend him some friendly assistance; for here will be work sufficient to employ you, and as many as enter this place."
This inscription was afterwards adopted, for a similar purpose, by the learned Oporinus, a printer, of Basil.
Aldus Manutius was the inventor of the italic, or cursive character, which was first cut, under his instructions, by Francesco of Bo
another admirable Crichton. He was born in 1463. At the age of eighteen he is said to have been master of eighteen languages, and was accounted a prodigy of erudition. Master of all the liberal arts, an admirable poet, and a skilful disputant, he, in 1486, ing to dispute on nine hundred propositions on differwent to Rome, where he published a challenge, offerent subjects. Instead, however, of being answered as he expected, a charge of heresy was brought against him, and he was compelled to leave the eternal city. Settling at Florence, on an estate given to him by Lorenzo de Medici, he devoted his latter years to the study of theology. He died in 1496. It may not be thought unamusing to add, that his works were printed at Strasburgh, in the year 1507, by a printer named Knobloch; when the errata of a single volume occupied fifteen folio pages !