Early Printing and Printers.

Harper's New Monthly Magazine 64, 1855

It has been said that the age, not the man, invents. But it was not the fifteenth century that invented the art of Printing. It was not the demand of the age that forced such a discovery, nor the necessity of the times that led to it. The darkness of the Middle Ages had not begun to disappear. There was no more necessity for books than there had been for thousand of year. There was no progressing toward the discovery, no grasping after it, and approaching it, little by little, as is the case with most human inventions. The same old process of copying with the pen and hand, which was used in the days of Moses, was used in the fifteenth century after Christ; nor was there any more facility in the process at the later date than at the earlier.

The accidental thought of one man, suggested by an occurrence which took place in his presence for the hundredth or the thousandth time, but which had never suggested the idea to any man before, lit the flame which in a moment flashed the lustre of this great discovery on the astonished darkness of the period. In a half century the dark clouds of ignorance, which had hung heavily over Europe, then the only residence of civilization, were rolled away, and the light of knowledge, and next of a reformed religion, shone on the old world, and then on the new, which seems to have been reserved by God, unknown to educated men, until it might become the residence of a new race of men in an age of books, and of comparative liberty.

We do not propose in this article a very minute account of the invention of printing, but only a sketch of some of those points in the history of the art which are valuable to all, and likely to prove interesting to the Magazine-reader.

Books have been known nearly or quite as long as men have had a written language; and it appears manifest that, as early as the days of Abraham, Egyptian records were kept in an alphabetical language. The hieroglyphical writing of Egypt is not a language of pictures, as was formerly supposed, but is strictly alphabetical, each sign standing for the first sound uttered in pronouncing its name. Thus, in English, the picture of a man would stand for m, and of a sword for s. The Egyptians, at a very early period, impressed seals in clay with stamps, and on clay cylinders, which were afterward baked and hardened, and are to this day preserved. These stamps were the earliest steps made toward the art of printing; but they were the last steps made for three thousand years. They continued to be used in all countries and times afterward; and the Romans appear to have used stamps with ink upon them for sealing instruments or similar uses. One of this sort has been found which, on being tried with modern printer's ink, gives a clear and distinct impression of the letters
; which, being interpreted, reads. C. I. CAECILII HERMIAE STONUM, the signet of Caius Julius Caevilius Hermias. But this was a very small advance int he great art.

The books of the early ages were, of course, manuscript; and until the period of the Ptolemies in Egypt, all books and manuscripts were made of papyrus, the Egptian substitute for paper. This was the bark or pellicle of a plant which grows in swamps and marshes to a height of six to twelve feet. The bark was unrolled from the stem, and the pieces were fastened together in a sheet, the length of the sheet depending or the pleasure of the maker, and its width determined by the length of the roll cut from the stem.

It is worthy of remark, in passing, how many of our words are derived from this old Egyptian papyrus. The word paper is obvious. The Greek word for papyrus was Biblos, hence signifying also a book; and from this comes our word Bible and all our bibliographical words. The Latin word liber, from signifying originally the bark of a tree, and thence papyrus, became the word for a book, and hence our word library and others similar. Papyrus was a large article of commerce in the early centuries of the Christian era, and was the only article of which books were made until the invention of parchment.

In the second century before Christ, Eumenes, king of Pergamos, the chief town of Asia Propria, the second Eumenes of the family of Attalus, desired to increase the library at Pergamos, which already numbered two hundred thousand volumes, and which gave to his city the honor of standing first in the world in literary treasures. Ptolemy Euergetes the Sec-ond, of Egypt, jealous of the increasing renown of Pergamos — perhaps more jealous from the fact that his own cruelties had driven almost all the learned men from Egypt to the other countries bordering on the Mediterranean — decreed that no papyrus should be exported from Egypt, thinking thereby to stop the increase of the library of Eumenes. The men of Pergamos immediately invented a substitute for the papyrus in the skins of animals, which, when prepared, were called Carta Pergamena, or Pergamenta, whence came our word parehment. Thus the rivalry between the two kings Eumenes and Eumetes is kept in memory forever, as Sharpe remarks in his history of the Ptolemies, by the words paper and parchment.

The newly-invented sheets displaced the old papyrus, which is now unknown except as found in the tombs of the dead of two thousand years and more ago. For sixteen hundred years men wrote on parchment with pen and ink. All the grand works of the ancient authors, and all the sacred writings, were copied again and again, and copies were more or less costly as the style determined.

Every monastery had its writing-room, where long desks lay covered with vellum and parchment, at which the monks and scribes stood, hour after hour of long days and longer nights, copying old books, or elaborating those magnificent ornaments to the pages which now astonish us with their beauty and splendor. The manuscripts of the early centuries fell to pieces in time, and were replaced by copies of later date, so that we are now possessed of none of the originals, and those which we have become valuable in proportion to their approximation to the dates of their authors.

Parchment became scarce and expensive in the Middle Ages, and hence arose a custom of erasing the writing and using old parchments a second time. In this way ninny valuable manuscripts have been destroyed. Some were recovered with great labor and diligence at a later period, but doubtless very many are forever lost which would be curiosities of ancient literature. In 1816, a manuscript of 127 parchment leaves was found, on which were written the Epistles of Jerome. It was found that these were written over another work, and part of it written over a third time. On removing the apparent writing, the Institutes of Gaius were recovered. which had always been supposed forever lost.

The value of manuscripts was, of course, enormous. It was often the labor of a monk's life-time to copy and illuminate one work. It gives a strange picture of human life, to imagine a man living threescore years and ten in monastic seclusion, poring with dim eyes over the pages of an old manuscript of Plato or Plutarch, studying its strange characters until they were impressed on his very brain, and haunted his cell while he slept, and filled his imagination, while he dreamed or waked, with slow hand, spring after spring, summer after summer, winter after winter, guiding the pen across that parchment page, and leaving there the only traces of his having lived that he expected to bequeath to the world he knew nothing of, and that knew nothing of him, adding line by line, page by page, and measuring out his years by the measures of the Roman poet or the lives of old heroes, and folding his finished work at length between the heavy boards, and clasping, and closing, and shelving it, perhaps never to be opened again till a later age and a magnificent invention had reduced all his labor to a mere curiosity of patience and toil, and then going to his cell, haunted forever with the shapes and shadows of old Greek or Hebrew characters, or possibly attended with the pleasant music which the old poet had sung to hint for fifty years, and dying alone, and being thenceforth forgotten. This is, we say, a strange view of human life, and yet a view which is presented a thousand times to one who examines the splendid manuscripts of the Middle Ages.

Some of these parchment volumes were of inconceivable beauty and splendor. There is one book preserved at Upsal, in Sweden, known as the Silver Book, or the Gothic Gospels. It is a large folio of purple or violet-colored parchment, in which part of the New Testament is impressed on the pages in silver letters. The beginning of each Gospel and of the Lord's Prayer, and of other portions esteemed most worthy, are in gold letters. It was made by pressing each letter or word on the page with gold or silver foil, mach as we now impress the covers of books. It seems strange that so near an approximation to the art of printing did not result in its discovery. But this book, elegant as it is, does not equal another, "The book of the passion of our Lord, in characters composed of no material." This book is made from the finest vellum, and each letter and character is cut out of the page, the alternate leaves being blue. This book is now in France, and has been a desideratum to all royal collectors. No price could purchase it. Rodolf II. of Germany offered 11,000 ducats for it. It was doubtless made in an English monastery, as it bears English arms.

All the manuscripts of the Middle Ages were more or less brilliantly illuminated with colored initial letters, borders, strange pictures, quaint devices, monsters, and imaginary forms, all done with brilliant coloring, and usually with exquisite grace and beauty. Perhaps a better idea of the value set upon manuscripts may be given by an anecdote which is historical, than by naming prices paid for them in money.

About A.D. 1425, and shortly after the death of Henry V. of England, the Prior of Christ Church, Canterbury, presented his petition to the Privy Council, asking a decree that a book be returned to himthe works of St. Gregory — which the King hail borrowed before his death. and had never sent back. It appeared that the King had, in his last will and testament, directed the return of this borrowed hook, but his direction had not been complied with. The Countess of Westmoreland presented a similar petition in relation to the Chronicles of Jerusalem, which the royal borrower bad treated in the same way. In both cases the Privy Council, with great formality, ordered the return of the treasures. In fact, the value of a volume was almost the value of a dukedom; and princely revenues could not purchase what amount of reading matter is flow found in the house of any one of our humblest mechanics. The Countess of Anjou paid for one manuscript — the Homilies of Haimon — two hundred sheep, five quarters of wheat, and an equal amount of millet and rye. In St. Paul's Cathedral, in 1295, were twelve copies of the Gospels, all ornamented splendidly; some bound in gold, silver, and pearls, and other jewels, and one copy with eleven relics of saints set in the silver frame-work of the pages.

The general style of manuscripts varied, as manuscripts in our day vary, with the handwriting of the copyist. We give three specimens from as many manuscripts of the thirteenth century, which will convey a general idea of their appearance. The colored illuminations, except as indicated by the outline letter 5, are, of course, omitted. This letter S is in the manuscript exceedingly brilliant — the body of the, letter being blue and the flourishes vermilion.

Wood-cutting was, of course, the intermediate step between manuscript and printing. The date of its invention will never be known. That the Chinese practiced it centuries ago is well known, and they have long been aceustomed to carve entire pages of wood, and print from them by the hand. But as the civilized world derived no knowledge of this from them, we are left to seek its origin in the gloom of the dark ages. A somewhat doubtful story is on record of a brother and sister named Cunio, who lived at Venice in 1284, and who carved on wood the pages of a small book, which they printed, of the heroic actions of Alexander the Great. It purported to be wood-cuts of eight large paintings made by Alessandro Alberino Cunio and Isabella his sister, which they reduced in size, and carved, with explanatory reading matter, and printed to give to their friends. This book has been a fruitful source of discussion among bibliographers, and the weight of authority would seem to lean toward its authenticity. No copy of it is in existence.

In the fourteenth century wood-cutting was practiced extensively in Europe, especially for the making of cards. Some small books were printed, of which each page was cut out of a single block of wood, and usually contained a picture with some rude explanatory passages. Of this class was the book known as the Poor Man's Bible, which contained forty pages, each page containing scriptural illustrations with passages, texts, and verses, called Leonine verses. But up to the fifteenth century the notion of movable type was unknown, and the simple idea of cutting separate letters and transposing them as they might be needed to form words and sentences, had never occurred to any man. It was but a sparkle of thought, the momentary action of a mind, which was all-sufficient to change the nations — to overthrow and establish dynasties — to people desolate places, and reclaim wildernesses — to guide the destinies of the race of man, and revolutionize a world.

To appreciate the invention of printing — to understand how unexpected it was and how wholly unprepared was the mind of Europe for it we must take our position at the period when it was announced that such an invention was made.

In Paris — somewhere about 1450-60 purchasers of manuscripts, the King, the Archbishop, and other buyers, received offers of copies of the Bible, purporting to be manuscript. copies, at the usual price of such manuscripts, about 730 crowns. The King and Archbishop bought copies. Others paid less for them; and the Bible was at length sold for as low as fifty and even thirty crowns. This was unparalleled in the history of books. It created great astonishment in the city. The King and Archbishop compared notes, and were surprised, horrified in fact, to find that their purchases were not only copies, but were facsimiles each of the other, in size, shape, line, letter, blot, and dot. The devil - who was sure to be accused of all marvels in all ages - had the credit of publishing the Bible, and Faust, the seller, was of course arrested as his agent. Hence arose all the stories of Faust and Mephistophiles. To save his head, he revealed to the wonder-stricken King that the only devil in the matter was the printer's devil, and that in Mentz, a city of Germany, he, in company with John Guttenberg and Peter Sehoefier, had established an office for the production of copies of books by a new process, which consisted in arranging movable metallic letters in the forms of the words and sentences to be printed, putting ink on them, and taking off the ink on paper laid over them and pressed on them. The news spread like the wind. Europe awoke to the startling intelligence. It was as if a trumpet rang through all the land.

And now we may trace the history of this magnificent discovery. The contest, for three centuries, has been between Haarlem and Mentz, each claiming the honor of the invention. The contest is now over. All has been said on both skies that can be said, and at this late period a just history can be given.

Laurentius Coster was an old citizen of Haarlem, where be was born about 1870. Shortly before his death he carved on the bark of trees for the amusement of the children of his brother; and observing the marks which the bleeding bark made on paper, was led to the idea of carving wooden types for books, which he did, tying the type together with strings, and printing only on one side of the paper, pasting the leaves together to conceal the blank pages. He died in 1440, having doubtless printed several small tracts in this manner.

There is a story of his office having been robbed by a John Somebody — the surname never having been given. The Hollanders have studiously hinted that it was Faust; though, from the fact that the story says the robber was a servant of Laurentius, and Faust is known to have been a man of wealth, this can not be true. It is probable, however, that it was either the father of John Guttetnberg, or some person who communicated his plundered knowledge to Guttemberg. The idea of robbing a printing-office has been laughed at as incredible; but no one supposes that the winepress printing-press of Laurentins was stolen. Taking a dozen of his types was enough to rob him of his secret; and, in 1439, John Guttemberg was at Strasbourg, an exile from his native city Mentz, studying out the art of printing books.

The hints he may have derived from Laurentius should by no means detract front the fame of Guttemberg, or impugn his title to the name of Inventor of Printing. Coster died in 1440, and with him died the art in Haarlem. It was at best a rude idea, and Guttemberg made no practical use of it. He directed his attention toward the composition of metallic type; and having returned from Strasbourg to Mentz, be at length cut the type from metal, and finally cut matrices, or moulds, in which he cast type, which were the aim of all his labors. It was eleven years from the time he undertook this work before he had accomplished it.

Having exhausted his own funds, he had revealed his plans to John Faust, a wealthy citizen of Mentz, who had entered into partnership with him. A mysterious darkness hangs about the ten years between 1440 and 1450, and Guttentherg's office issued more subjects for romance and story during that time than ever afterward printed volumes.

Several books, or tracts, were printed with wooden type, or blocks, during this time; such as the Catholicon, the Confessionalia, and one or two others. They were all without date or printer's name, and probably had little or no circulation, and may be considered as experiments. In 1450 the metallic type were perfected; and between that time and 1455 the art was consecrated to God by the publication of a Latin Bible, the first book printed with movable cut metallic type, and, in fact, the first production of the great invention of printing. It is a matter of astonishment that the art should make its appearance so splendidly. It had no infancy. Men knew it first in a volume of 637 leaves of vellum, looking much like manuscript, which, indeed, it was designed to imitate, and finished in gorgeous style. The pages were elegantly illuminated by hand, as were nearly all books printed for twenty years after this; and it might well have been taken for a fine specimen of monkish copying.

The fact that the first production of the new art was the Bible, is one of the deepest interest. Men had for centuries been most studiously covering up the riches of the Word of God from the gaze and the grasp of the perishing world. But the "Word of God is not bound." One mail, one thought, one splendid effort of genius, in one year scattered more copies of that priceless volume over the world's surface, than had been produced in any century before. Nay, in twenty years from that date, it is safe to say the new art had furnished more copies of the Bible than had been made in all the centuries before. It was vain, then, for human invention to seek to hide it. It found its way into halls and huts, into the palaces of Continental kings and the mountain cabins of Scottish highlanders. Its enemies strove with every force to crush it. But a new power was in the world, hitherto unknown, and not now understood; a power that was destined to prove itself omnipotent over Church and State, over priests and princes. The printing-press was the new monarch, and the intellect of man was its kingdom. The Reformation blazed its splendor on the world almost immediately, and the forces of this new power were strong in its aid. Whatever has been its history since, it is a source of never-to-be-forgotten pride, in connection with the new art, that its first, and its continuous, and its most noble achievements have been in giving the Holy Scriptures to man.

The art thus given to the world did not enrich its inventor, either in fame or fortune. In 1457 Faust, and Schoeffer, his son-in-law — having dissolved partnership with Guttemberg in 1455 — published a Psalter, a very splendid work, in which they announced themselves as the inventors of metallic type. This very book Guttemberg had labored on for three years. He opened an office in Mentz, and continued to print until his death, in 1467. But his name sank into obscurity until a later and just age re stored it to its proper position. Up to 1462 time Mentz printers had kept their secret, binding all their workmen by the most solemn oaths not to reveal it. But in this year it became known, and instantly Europe was filled with it. Some writers have supposed this to be the sante year in which Faust was in Paris. Within a year printing-offices were established in every part of the civilized world, and before the year 1480 ninety-four printing-offices were in full operation in the different cities of Europe.

Mentelius, one of the assistants of Guttenberg, who had probably been with him when in Strasbourg before 1440, was already his rival, and indeed laid claim to the invention of the art. He printed books as early as 1460. His style will appear from the following specimen of his typography, taken from a ponderous folio from his press, without date, but probably between 1460-63.

The large letter in the volume is inserted by hand, in a brilliant vermillion. The outline gives an idea of its shape and ornaments.

This volume is the earliest specimen of typography in our possession, and from the similarity between the type and one of the specimens of manuscript before given, the reader will judge how readily the story of Faust and the French king and people might have been true. The volume is perfect, having never had a title-page, and consists of extracts from a hundred different authors, arranged in the alphabetical order of the subjects.

The new art was brought into England by William Caxton in 1474. He had been a merchant trading with Holland and Germany, and in those days the same mercer bought and sold books and dry goods of every sort. He left the mercantile business very early in life and attached himself to one of the German Courts. He became acquainted with the art of printing at its earliest publication, and seems to have printed at least one book at Cologne in Germany, namely, "The History of Troy," which he himself translated for Margaret of Burgundy. He brought the art to London, where, in 1474, he published "The Game of Chess," the first book printed in England. A specimen of Caxton's type of a later date, will be interesting to insert here.

Caxton was a rude and unskillful printer, and there are no books known by him which possess any merit as specimens of the art. But as the first English printer he will be always famous, and as long as there are printing-offices in any country where English is spoken his name will be preserved, if only for the phrases and words which are supposed to be derived from his office. Caxton's printing-office was in one of the chapels of Westminster Abbey. Hence came the phrase in printing-offices of "holding a chapel," which consists in trying an offender by a mock ceremony of Justice, at the imposing stone, where the oldest printer in the office presides. The ordinary words Friar and Monk, signifying blots and blanks on a printed page, resulting from either broken down type or an imperfect impression, and several other words, are of similar origin. It has even been said that the printer's devil derived his name from the first of that useful family, who was accustomed to bring Caxton's ink up from some deep vault of the old chapel.

Caxton's device which be used to mark his books is here given. The monogram between the initials W. and C., is supposed to stand for 74, 1474 being the date of his first printed book in England.

As every thing relating to Caxton is of interest, we give it portrait which has appeared as his in alt the bibliographical books for a hundred years. But we give it not as a portrait, but for the sake of showing one of those curious literary forgeries which have been passed upon collectors and hook men in all times. This portrait, which is to be found in Ames's great work on English printers, as well as in Lewis's life of Caxton, is actually a portrait of Burchillo Domenico, an Italian poet of the sixteenth century! It is to be found in La zucca of Doni, whence it was taken by the celebrated English engraver Faithorne, and engraved for an English noble-man as Caxton. Lewis copied it in his life of Caxton, and others, seeing Faithorne's name on it, were readily deceived. Dibdin has the credit of exposing the cheat.

The new art was soon spread over the civilized world, and the multiplication of books was incredible. Almost every known manuscript of antiquity was printed before the year 1500. But it must be observed that printing a book was by no means uhat it now is. The large majority of issues from the press in those days were ponderous folios or quartos, published at immense cost. The custom of illuminating the pages by letters inserted with the hand, and splendidly colored and gilded, as well as by illustrative figures and marginal lines of graceful and elegant beauty, continued to prevail long after the invention of typography, and did not entirely cease until the days when flans Holbein and others, in the early part of the sixteenth century, substituted initial letters and borders, which were cut on wood with great skill and beauty.

Nor were the designs remarkable for being in keeping with the character of the volumes they ornamented, as may be judged from the initial letter N given above, which is taken from the third book of Irenaeus de Quatuor Haeresibus, the edition by the great Erasmus, and published front the press of his friend Froben, in 1533, at Basil.

But nearly all the finest specimens of typography in the fifteenth century are printed with the initial of each chapter or principal division wanting, or, if inserted at all, only in a small type, so that the workman to whose hands it passed from the press should know what letter to insert in brilliant color — red, blue, or gold — with ornamental wreaths and flowers.

The Q below is from the first page of Tractatus Servitutum urbanorum proediorum domini Bartholomei Cepollae, printed at Rome by Rrynhord in 1475. It is selected, not as remarkably elegant, but as more convenient for the engraver than many other splendid specimens, of which no idea can be given without the aid of colors. The square which forms the background of the letter is gold. The letter itself contains three shades of red or carmine, three shades of green. as many of blue, the deepest of which is a very rich mazarine, some white and black, and lines of gold. The gilding in this copy is as brilliant and untarnished as if it were laid on this year, and all the colors are bright, clear, and rich. The initial letters throughout the volume are elegantly put in, mostly in deep blue, on which a fine sand or emery has been sprinkled while the paint was wet, so as to give it the brilliancy of jewels.

The type of the volume, of which a specimen is given, is the Roman letter. This was invented by Nicholas Jenson, who learned the art of printing at Mentz about 1438, but did not practice it until about 1471, at Venice. It was a new, beautiful, and graceful invention, and has been popular to this day. The pages of the volume of Bartolomens, from which we make the above extract, and of many other books of the same period and style, present an appearance of lightness, grace, and beauty that has never been surpassed in the art, and to which the taste of the present age is recurring, as Pickering's numerous publications indicate, and as the readers of Harper will perceive on turning to the head lines of the advertisements on the cover of the Magazine.

Title-pages were hardly known prior to the year 1480, and indeed were not very common till 1500. Paging was entirely neglected in the early books. Signatures, which are the marks at the foot of certain pages to guide the binder. were unknown until 1470, when they are found in an edition of Terence, printed at Milan by Zoratus.

It has already been remarked that the first books printed with wooden blocks were illustrated hooks. The practice of illustrating with wood-cuts was adopted very shortly after the invention of printing. One of the greatest illustrated books of the fifteenth century was the celebrated German edition of the Nuremberg Chronicles." The Latin edition was printed by Koburger, at Nuremberg, in 1493, without illustrations, and was followed the same rear by the German edition, which was tilled with wood-cuts, illustrating scenes in all periods, past, present, and future, from the creation of light to the judgment of the dead. More quaint, curious, and startling illustrations can hardly be imagined, as nifty be supposed from one which we give, reduced to onefourth its size, illustrating the sacrifice of Isaac, two scenes in one picture. The book is a large folio of 2S leaves, besides title-page and index leaves, and contains several hundred prints, some of which occupy the entire page of the book, being 141 inches by 9. The copy in our collection is perfect, and a very elegant specimen of this great work of Koburger's press, which has been celebrated for three hundred years.

A great improvement in printing was the invention of the Italic letter toward the close of the fifteenth century, by Aldus, the founder of the great press which has since been so famous in the history of printing. From this press, in rapid succession, for a period of nearly a hundred years, issued all the great works of antiquity, in splendid folios, quartos, and other shapes, which wore sold at enormous prices, as well on account of their elegant workmanship as their critical accuracy. Aldus Manutius was a learned man, writing out with his own band nearly every manuscript which he printed, and his successors were all accomplished scholars, men of elegant attainments, and their editions exhibited this fact. To this day copies of the Aldine classics are valued and bought and sold at high pries, and publishers in all the centuries since the fifteenth have gotten up careful counterfeits of them.

The Aldine type was especially valuable for Greek books, which were before printed with spreading type that took up too much space. (The first Greek type were used at Mentz, in 1465, and the first Greek book was the Grammar of Lasaris, printed at Milan in 1476.)

A more solid mass of printed matter can hardly be imagined than the PLUTARCH, Vitae Parallelae, published at Venice in 1519, of which we have a very handsome and perfect copy. We give a facsimile to show the Aldine Greek characters of that period. A copy of this volume was sold at the Pinelli sale for £5 10s., or about $27, and the book readily commands from $10 to $25, according to its condition and perfectness. It should be noted that, in order to have the illustration within our limit, we have selected two lines which occur on the first page, where the initial is omitted, and the lines do not extend across the page of the volume. The form or printed page of the book is nearly two inches wider than these lines indicate. The initial letter is omitted, to be inserted by hand.

The difficulties which attend the modern reader of old printing, consist chiefly in the absence of our usual methods of division which give lightness to the page, and an occasional rest to the reader. The division of a column into paragraphs was wholly unknown for half a century, and no break occurs, from the commencement to the end of a subject, in most of the old books. Hence page after page of solid double column black-letter frightens the unaccustomed eye. Besides this, the numerous abridgments of words, and signs for absent letters, are a never-ceasing source of perplexity. The patience of ANcient compositors as well as readers must have been inexhaustible. We have three heavy folio volumes of the sermons of Meffreth, printed by Kesler in 1488, which are destitute of paragraphs, and present hopeless mazes of reading. And to add to their curiosity, the second volume has bound in its very middle twenty-four large folio double-column pages of manuscript, indicating that the printers had omitted some sermons which are thus supplied! Imagine a quarto edition of Chalmers's Sermons, with twenty-four pages of manuscript in every copy!

In some books the absence of paragraphs is atoned for by occasional touches of red or blue paint on the first letter of a sentence, giving thus some variety to the page.

The early printers used only the full point and the double point or colon. The comma was not used until many years after the invention of printing. A substitute was introduced, which was a simple oblique dash after a word thus, /; and this finally became our comma. Capitals at the commencement of sentences are not found in the early books, and even the name of Christ is oftenest found abbreviated thus, xpus.

The binding of the early books was massive and often costly. Heavy oaken boards were covered with leather, oftenest hog skin or vellum, and ornamented with metallic studs, bosses, and clasps. Thu name was sometimes written on a slip of vellum, and let into the side of the cover, overlaid with transparent horn, which was bound around and fastened down by strips of brass or silver. Scaliger mentions a Psalter which his grandmother possessed, of which the cover was two inches thick, and hollow on the inner side, making a box or closet in which was a crucifix and sundry other ornaments.

We have some very beautiful specimens of early binding, such as elegantly stamped and gilded leather, and one volume of which the cover is brown leather, inlaid with stripes of the same material variously colored, white, red, and black, making a beautiful combination.

Gradually from year to year the style of printing and binding changed. The Gothic and black letter yielded to the Roman, and printing began to be practiced as one of the arts of use and not of ornament, so that after the early part of the sixteenth century few elegant works were published.

From the fact that the early editions of old authors were necessarily printed from manuscripts, and a correct edition required a careful collation and examination of various manuscripts, it may be judged that the curly printers were generally learned men and able scholars. Superintending their own works, and often cutting or casting their own tope, they were obliged to be familiar with all languages in which they printed, and as correct readings of passages, which were differently written in different manuscripts, were desirable; they were necessarily conversant with the authors whose works they printed.

A class of men were connected with the printing-offices of the fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, and even eighteenth centuries who are now unknown, namely, correctors of the press; very different persons from the modern proof readers. They were men of splendid attainments, the most brilliant and learned of the age, who acquired reputations that will last as long as the authors they edited. It was their work to compare editions, to suggest better readings, to hunt out and examine hitherto unknown manuscripts, and to find the original meaning and writing of an author out of the obscure blunders of successive copyists. Such were Erasmus of Rotterdam, the corrector and editor of the press of Froben at Basil, Cornelius Kilian of the press of Plantin, Frederick Sylburgius of the Wechelian press, and many others. This class of men did not disappear until the last century, when they became editors, without being attached to the printing-office as part of the establishment. Men of renown, to be forever kept in remembrance with the names of the authors they edited anti enriched with notes and commentaries, were Grynens, and Arlenius, and Serranus, and Lambinus, and the Scaligers, and Heyne, and Taylor, and a hundred others.

The mention of Scaliger leads to the relation of an anecdote of that learned man, Joseph John Scaliger, which he relates of himself. He says that his eye sight was so good that he could read at midnight without a light, and often woke in his bed and took a book and read without lighting his lamp. The statement would be incredible but for the excellence of the authority, which is that of a man of magnificent attainments, who was master of thirteen languages, who knew so that he could repeat any line of the thousands he had written, and who never forgot what be once heard or knew.

Having sketched thns briefly the early history of printing and its characteristics, we propose to notice some of the most celebrated printers and printing-offices of the first century after the birth of the art. Guttemberg sank into obscurity even amidst the blaze he had kindled. The younger offices surpassed his in the splendor of their issues, the elegance of their work, and the richness of their type and margins. Even his old partners, Faust and Schoeffer, rivaled and outshone him in Mentz itself. Sweynheym and Pannartz founded an office at Sabbiaco in 1465, and at Rome in 1467, from which issued many editiones principes of the classics. Vindelin de Spira established an office at Venice, as did Jenson before named, and both offices acquired great renown, as did that of Bruxella at Naples, Junta at Florence, and Koburger at Nuremberg. But it is difficult to single out any one office as excelling the others until the period of Aldus.

We have already spoken of this press in connection with the Italic letter. It was established by Aldus Manutius at Venice in 148S. The first issue of his press was a quarto edition of Musæus, esteemed very rare at this day. His son, Paul Manutius, continued the office until 1574, and the grandson and namesake of Aldus Manutius continued it until his death in 1597. Its reputation is world-wide, and the device of Aldus, Senior, the anchor and the dolphin, continued by his successors, has become famous for all time.

The printing-office of Henry Stephens, Stephanus, or Etienne, in Paris, became one of the most celebrated for causes similar to those which gave its renown to the Aldine press. He was born at Paris in 1470, and opened his office there in 1503, printing as his first book the Arithmetic of Boethius. He died in 1520.

Robert Stephens, his son, born 1503, carried on the business of the office in connection with he De Colines who married his father's widow. He himself married a learned lady, daughter of a printer, who would not allow any language but Latin to be spoken in her house. He published a fine edition of the New Testament, which led him into difficulty with the doctors of the Sorbonne, and he at length openly avowed Protestantism. To him has been ascribed the division of the Bible into chapters and verses, but erroneously, except as to the New Testament, which he did first divide into verses in 1551. The division of the Scriptures into chapters is due to Cardinal Hugo about 1250. He also printed his celebrated Thesaurus Linguae Latinae and some very fine editions of the Latin Bible and Greek Testament. Charles, his brother, was a printer in Paris from 1551 to 1564. Henry, eldest son of Robert, was one of the most profound scholars, as well as one of the most distinguished printers of his age, and added to the store of classical learning more than the world can ever be sufficiently grateful for. He was editor and printer from 1554 to 1598. His son, Paul Stephen, was a printer at Geneva, and his son, Anthony, was in the same business as king's printer at Paris till his death in 1629. Robert, grandson of the first Henry Stephens, continued a Roman Catholic, and his father cut him off. He was king's printer at Paris till his death in 1571, and had a son named Robert Stephen Stephens, who was also king's printer after his father's death, and died in 1629. Francis Stephens, another grandson of the first Henry, was a printer at Geneva, where he was a partner of Perrin, and published many French works. Thus nine printers of this family have left their names on record in connection with the great art of typography. The editions of the chiefs of the family are remarkable for their critical correctness, as well as their beauty of execution.

The press of Froben at Basil is deserving of especial notice, although it was not of so long continuance as some others. The, purity of its texts and the elegance of his editions gave the issues of the office of John Frobenius peculiar value, which is increased at this age in which we live by the memory of the learned Erasmus, who was his corrector of the press. Reference has already been made to one of the editions of this press. After the death of his father in 1527, the son, Jerome Frobenius, continued the business, and Erasmus continued the correctorship until 1536, when the great reformer and scholar died. The device which Frobenius used to mark his editions is here given. The issues of the Frobenian press are always valuable.

Henry Petrus, or Peter was a contemporary printer at Basle with Frobenius. All the publications of his press have their value, and many of them are highly prized. His peculiar device, the hammer striking the rock, is to be found in all the publications of his press, in one or another form. The above is taken from his edition of Plato, published in 1556, which was edited by Arnold Arlenius, or rather corrected by him from old manuscripts which he collected in Italy. The same device appears in other publications of Petrus, with the motto in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, "Nunquid non verba mea sunt quasi ignis, dicit dominus, et quasi malleus conterens petrum."

The family of Elzevirs, at Amsterdam and Leyden, of ehom there were five, Lewis, Bonaventure, Abraham, Lewis 2d, and Daniel, was celebrated for a long period. Lewis, who flourished at Leyden from and after 1495, is known as the first printer who distinguished between V and U. In 1674, Daniel Elsevir published a catalogue; of books printed by his family, which filled seven duodecimo volumes!

Space fails us wherein to speak of Arnold Birkman, of Cologne, whose curious device of the foxes shaking hands over a fat hen and a brood of chickens contrasted strangely with the title of "honest citizen," which he was accustomed to give himself; or of Christopher Plantin, scholar and printer, at Paris, Leyden, and Tours; or of Andreus Wechelius, whose classical reputation equals that of any printer of the sixteenth century; or of Sigismund Grimm and Marcus Wirsung, of whom Augsburg has always boasted, and whose strange device, the giant brandishing a club on the shield of Grimm toward the shield anti feathers of Wirsung, is certain to attract the collector's eye; or of many others, contemporaries and rivals of those we have named.

Before closing this article, it will not be uninteresting to mention a few of the productions of the early press, which are now esteemed particularly curious and valuable.

To the collector an editio princeps (which, for the unlearned reader we may explain, signifies the first printed edition of any work) is always valuable, while to the scholar a later edition, if more correct, possess greater interest and worth. Obviously, to all classes of collectors, the earliest printed books are of great value; and Guttemberg's Bible, of 1450-55, would sell for its weight, almost its size, in gold. How many copies of it are now known we have not at hand the means of stating, but the number is not over live. All of Guttemberg's books, and those of Faust and Schoeffer, are of great value, not to be measured by money. If ever offered fur sale, their price could he determined solely by the presence of wealthy collectors who would rival each other in bidding.

One of the rarest classical books now known is the edition of HORACE, published at Naples in 1474, by Arnoldus de Bruxella, of which but one copy is known to be in existence. This was formerly in the library of the Duke of Cassano, and was purchased about 1821, with the chief part of the Duke's library, by Earl Spencer, to enrich his already unrivaled collection. This is not an editio princeps, though none is known to be of prior date. The edition which is supposed to be the first, is one that, as is believed, was published at Milan about 1470, by Zarotus. The money value of this copy of Horace can not be stated, as it has not been sold except in this instance, and then with a library. Its probable value may be guessed from the fact, that the edition of Zarotus, esteemed much less valuable, sold at the Pinelli sale for £31 10s., or about $155. The value of this book consists in its rarity, not in its elegance.

Some editions of Virgil are of peculiar rarity. The first edition, by Sweynheym and Pannartz, published at Rome, without date, but supposed to be 1469, has always been esteemed of great value. An amusing anecdote is related of the discovery of a copy of this volume in an old monastery in Suabia. The monks, good fellows, would not be tempted by money to part with the book; but they had a weakness for Hock, and on the offer of a quantity of that wine, which was worth alamt seven guineas, they sold the Roman poet, and took to a wine he never heard of, and would doubtless have detested if he had. The purchaser sold it to an English bookseller for £50, and it is said that Lord Spencer paid £400 for the same copy. This price is probably greater than he did pay.

A copy of the second edition of Virgil, printed at Venice in 1470, on vellum, was sold in 1779 for 2308 livres; in 1780 for 2270 livres; and the same copy, a few years later, was sold in Paris for 1925 florins, or about $950.

A copy of the editio princeps of Plato, published at Venice by Aldus in 1513, on vellum, was sold in the latter part of the last century for £55 13s. Copies on paper are frequently met with.

But the classics are far from being the only valuable specimens of early typography. The art was applied to all sciences and uses to which we now apply it, and poetry and history, song and romance, abounded in printed pages. Edition after edition of the Bible, in its original tongues, appeared from the various offices of Europe, to which the utmost skill of editors and printers was devoted, and one of the greatest triumphs of the art was in the great Complutensian Polyglot of Cardinal Ximenes, published in 1522.

The style of this work may be gathered from the facsimile which we give. The reader will please to imagine the two extracts placed side by side in parallel columns, such being the page of the book. The Magazine page is not wide enough to permit this.

Mallinkrot, a writer in defense of Mentz against the claims of Haarlem, for the invention of printing, in a general treatise on the art, published in a small, dark, closely-printed Latin quarto, in 1640, relates this anecdote of Cardinal Ximenes in connection with this Polyglot Bible. He says, that he had often heard John Brocarius, son of Arnold William Broearius, the printer, say, that when a boy, he was sent by his father, wearing his hest clothing, to carry the last volume, just from the press, to the Cardinal, that he might know of its completion. The Cardinal, rejoiced at the sight, looking up to heaven, exclaimed, "I thank thee, O Christ, that thou hast brought this work, which I have superintended with so much labor, to its desired end!" and, turning to his friends, he added. "Verily, with great and difficult labor for the State, I have borne myself to this time, but there is nothing, my friends, concerning which I am more to be congratulated than this edition of the Bible, which opens at once all the sacred fountains of our religion."

And well might the good old man rejoice at his magnificent work ended. To edit this edition he studied Hebrew at sixty years of age, and employed many learned men to aid in his labors. He paid 4000 crowns for seven manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible, and the whole expense to his private purse was but fifty thousand ducats. The whole title of the nook will give the best idea of its contents.

BIBLIA SACRA POLYGLOTTA, complectentia vetus testamentum Hebraico, Græco et Latino, Idiomate; novum testamentum Græcum et latinum, et vocabularium Hebraicum et Chaldaicum veteris testamenti, cum grammatical Hebraica, nec non dictionario Græco, studio opera et impensis Cardinalis Francisca Ximenes de Cisneros.

The printing was commenced in 1502, and finished in 1517. Some difficulties were raised by the Romish Church as to the propriety of publishing it, which delayed the publication until 1522. Only about six hundred copies were printed. It has always been esteemed of great rarity and value. At the Pinelli sale, a copy on vellum was sold for £483, or nearly $500.

A curious fate attended the valuable manuscripts which the Cardinal collected at so great price for this work. During the last century, a great curiosity was expressed to find them, and the desire was universal to preserve them as invaluable treasures for the purposes of theological and biblical study. A search was accordingly instituted in 1784 at Alcals, which resulted in the discovery that about thirty-five years previously they had been sold by an ignorant librarian as useless parchments to a dealer in fireworks, who had used all of them but a few leaves in the manufacture of rockets! These few leaves alone remain of the Cardinal's treasures.

The limits of this article have already exceeded what was intended, and there remains much to be said which must be omitted. From the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, the art of printing became more and more diffused over the world, and books increased until their number became countless. It is sometimes curious to perceive the self-congratulatory remarks of printers or editors, from time to time, on the great advances which the art had made. Mailinkrot thought his contemporary, Matthew Merian, who published books of German topography, illustrated with steel and copper plates, an honor to the age, and says, that Koburger and his contemporaries would doubtless be astounded to behold his magnificent productions. But Mallinkrot would doubtless be silent with profound admiration could he see Kingsborough's Mexico, or Harper's Bible, or The Republican Court, or The Knickerbocker Gallery. But let us note distinctly that this improvement is in the art of illustration more than of printing. Presses have, indeed, improved, so that Faust himself would believe in the devil, and ascribe his art to Satanic inspiration, could he see a newspaper press at work in our day. But when the work is done, it is the same old work. The writer has specimens of the typographical art for at least every ten years from the date of Guttemberg's Bible to this time, and on placing open on the table the immense nameless folio of Mentellius, of about 1460, and other volumes ef the succeeding years, Koburger's great Chronicles, of 1493; Matthew Merian's Topographia Suevine, of 1643; Baskerville's magnificent Bible, of 1763, which is certainly as splendid a specimen of type as the world can expect to produce; Murray's Elephant folio of Perrin's Pyramids of Ghizeh; and one of the four volatiles of the great Italian edition of the Galleria Pitti, with its five hundred costly plates; it is, to say the least, exceedingly difficult to see what there is of the truly practical, valuable, and useful in the later issues, that surpasses the solid, substantial, clear, and legible typography of the contemporaries of Guttemberg.

But the contrast between an old printing-office and one in our day is greater than words ran describe, and the reader, who sees the illustration at the commencement of this article, which may serve for a fair view of the first printing-office, would be astounded by the view presented in the office from which this page issues.

Instead of the two old men leaning over the ponderous wooden press, on which their own hands had placed the form of type, he would see thirty-six magical masses of iron, from which are flying out pages like snowflakes, all driven by the tremendous energy of steam; on each press a form of modern electrotyped matter — not masses of type, but each page a solid piece of copper, presenting every letter, illustration, line, and dot on its surface, and following this matter from the author's pen to the table on which the Magazine is delivered to readers, he would lied that about six hundred persons had been employed in transforming the words he now reads from the manuscript of the author into the clear page which is before him.

Should any reader desire to follow this contract farther, he will be able to do so by reading the September Number of Harper's Story Books for Children, in which Mr. Jacob Abbott has given a full description of their entire establishment, with illustrations, which will afford a more perfeet and interesting account of the progress and present state of this great art than any work heretofore published.

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