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JOHN MILTON'S posthumous work the Letters of State exists in two separate editions, both printed in 1676. For purposes of reference, the two editions may be easily distinguished by the labels Face and Fruit: the device on the title page of one bears an open-mouthed face in its center; that of the other depicts some fruit. Since one edition is a page-for- page reprint of the other (except for the Preface of a page and a half), the question naturally raised is, which is the first edition ? It is generally assumed that the Face edition is a reprint of the Fruit. But that assumption has not as yet been proved.[1] My purpose here is to bring forth the bibliographical evidence which demonstrates that the Face edition does in fact reprint the Fruit.


Page 182

Short bibliographical descriptions of the two editions are as follows:


Title page: LITERÆ | PJeudoScnatSs Anglicani, | CROMWELLII, | Reliquorumque Perduellium | nomine ac juIIu con- | Icriptæ | A | JOANNE MILTONO. | [device: fruit, 33 x 46 mm.] | ImpreIIæ Anno x676.

Collation: 12 : Z2 A-K12 [S7 (-K7) signed; misprinting E4 as E2]; I22 leaves, pp. [2] #2-[#3] I-234 [235-240]. (Pp. in parens centered, misprinting p. 92 as go, I94 as 294.)

Contents: zI:Title (verso blank). pp. #2-[#3]:Printer's preface to thc reader. x-234:text of the Livere. On Kg': 'FINIS.' KI0-KI2V: blank.

CW] B8V Ex- [Ad] D3v Iigni [digniIIimum] D6 ye- [veItramque] Es perè [pere] Eg' Veltra [veItra] EI0 liand [liana] G6 Itilitatis [Itilitati] G6T velit [velut] HII brun (var: burn) [burni] KI da [das]. Note: The printer's measure is 60.5 mm. In the reduced matter, DI for example, it is just over 4x mm.

Copies examined: University of Illinois Library's copies, I,5,I7, and three uncatalogued.


Title page: LITERæ | Pfeudo-Scnatus Anglicani, | CROMWELLIT, | Reliquorumque Perduellium | nomine ac juIIu con- | Icripta | A | JOANNE MILTONO. [deuie: triangular scrolls with open-mouthed face in center, 27 x 44 mrn.] ImpreIIæ Anno I676.

Collation: I2 : Z2 A-I12 K10 [$7 (-K7) signed; misprinting K4 as K3, K6 as Ks, one copy correct]; I20 leaves, pp. [2] #2-[#3] I-234 [235-236]. (Pp. in parens, centered.)

Contents: zI:Title (verso blank). pp. #2-[#3] Printer's preface to the reader. I-234, text of the literar. On KgV: 'FINIS.' K10r-v: blank.

CW] B8V Ex- [AD] D3r digniIIi- D6 ve- Es pere Egs veItra EI0 liana G6 Itilitatis G6V velut HII burni KI das

Note: The printer's measure is 58.5 mm. In the reduced matter, DI for example, it is 4I mm.

Copies examined: University of Illinois Library's copies 2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,15,16, and three uncatalogued.

There are three arguments that the Face edition is the reprint. Perhaps none is in itself conclusive, but the cumulative effect of the three amounts to bibliographical proof. The crucial evidence is found in (I) the printing of the preliminaries and of signature K in the Face edition, (2) the catchwords noted above, and (3) the manner of justifying certain lines in both editions.

Since one edition reprints the other, proof that the Fruit edition is not likely a reprint is naturally proof that the Face edition is the reprint. It will be noted in the bibliographical description above that for the Fruit edition, gathering K was machined in full, though six pages were left blank. Furthermore, the preliminaries of four pages in length were printed separately. This manner of printing could have occurred quite naturally if the printer did not know what his preliminary matter was when he came to gathering K. Rather than keep K standing until he found out, he might have preferred to machine K with blank leaves, even though it wasted paper. Afterwards he was to see that the preliminary matter could have been machined with gathering K.


Page 183

In a first edition such a procedure is common enough. This method, however, with its consequent wastage of paper, is difficult to imagine in a reprint. It is likely, therefore that the Fruit edition is the first.

When one turns to the Face edition, one sees that the preliminaries were printed with gathering K, quite in a manner of a reprint. The preliminaries, that is, were printed on half of the cut-off in 12mo.

The method of printing can be inferred quite clearly from the divided watermarks of gathering K. In twelve copies of the Face edition which I have examined at the University of Illinois Library, the watermarks are found divided between the top outer margin of K9 and K10 (when the latter is still in the bound volume); in four copies, the watermarks are found divided between K5 and the second leaf of the volume (*2).

That the half-watermark of K gathering is completed on *2 is proof that the first two leaves of the volume were printed with K. Having decided to set the preliminaries with his last gathering, the printer would naturally have them put on what would become an inner fold of his 12 sheet, because this method is the most economical of paper.

One position of the watermark in 12o is on folios 11 and 12 of any gathering. In gathering K of the Face edition, because two leaves are taken from the middle folding of four to make the preliminaries, the watermarks should appear on folios 9, not 11; and 10, not 12. This in fact occurs in several Illinois copies. The alternate position of the watermark in 12 should be in folios 7 and 8 of any gathering. But 7 and 8 are part of the cut-off; and hence in copies 8, 13, and 16, the watermark is found divided between K5 and the second leaf of the volume, which contains the printer's Preface to the reader.

The appearance of the watermark on *2 and K5 proves, furthermore, that the preliminaries were printed on one half of the cut-off, rather than in its center. The cut-off was then cut in half before folding. If this were not so, the watermark would be divided either between the title page and K5 or between *2 and K6.

Because of the position of the watermark it is clear that the introductory matter and the title page were printed with gathering K in the Face edition. One cannot imagine a reprinter doing otherwise. It is strongly suggested, therefore, that the Face edition is the reprint.[2]

My second argument for the priority of the Fruit edition involves the catchwords noted above in the bibliographical descriptions. The ten errors in correspondence between catchword and following word in the Fruit edition are mainly errors in accidentals. Despite the fact that it is dangerous to argue from


Page 184
accidentals, I would like to point out that only one of these errors exists in the Face edition. Furthermore, in all but one case, the words correspond by virtue of a change in the catchword, rather than the following word.

It should also be noted in the case of B8v-B9, Ex- [AD], where the error stands in both editions, that the printer has gone to the second line of the formal heading of a letter for his catchword. Perhaps this example could be called a "partial" error. In the instance of G6-G6v the "correction" was made in the following word, which is made better Latin. Indeed, the text is most often better in the Face edition.

Now while it is true that simple multiplicity of error in setting up a book does not necessarily tell us much about the succession of editions, errors involving definite printing practice are important. In four cases of lack of agreement, it should be observed, the error involves a catchword on the verso of a leaf. If Fruit were a reprint, that is, there would be four instances of error when the compositor had open before him a book in which he could see both the catchword and its following word without even turning over a page. And what is more, to hold that Fruit could be a reprint, one would have to suppose that in eight of the ten instances of error, the mistake would be made in the catchword itself, rather than in the following word-a coincidence in which it is hard to believe.

It is conceivable that the original printer could make all these errors in correspondence, but it is highly improbable that a printer making a page-by-page reprint would. Face, then, is more than likely a reprint of Fruit. My last bit of evidence concerns the justification of certain lines in both editions. Ordinarily, one edition follows the other line for line. It is the departure from this practice which is bibliographically interesting. An example of one of these departures from line-by-line reprinting is found toward the middle of D1 (p. 73). In both editions the width of line is reduced to permit brackets and numerals on the right side of the page. In the Fruit edition, the reader will find the following passage, which completes a paragraph:

quidem perficere & conati ſu-
mus & in manu noſtra ſitum e-
rat, niſi eos Belgæ iniquiſſimè de-
fendiſſent, quæ pecunia amiſſa
ad impenſas faciendas jamdu-
dum in Europa triplum peper-
iſſet: quod Nos æſtimamus
In the Face copies this passage reads:
quidem perficere & conati ſumus
& in manu noſtra ſitum erat,
niſi eos Belgæ iniquiſſè defen-
diſſent, quæ pecunia amiſa ad im-
penſas faciendas jamdudum in
Europa triplum peperiſſet: quod
Nos æſtimamus


Page 185

As will be noted, the compositor of the Fruit edition permitted bad syllabification, particularly in the second line, e- rat. This slipshod piece of work is bettered in almost every line by the compositor of the Face edition. At any rate, that is my hypothesis-for a reprinter can look ahead to the end of the paragraph and see that he can set up the lines better than his copy. Were the Fruit compositor working from a copy of Face, there would be no excuse for his untidy work -particularly since his inner line is slightly wider and his total line is considerably wider.

From these three kinds of evidence, therefore, I would conclude that the Face edition reprints the Fruit, and that, from a bibliographical point of view, the Fruit edition should consequently be used as an editor's copy-text.