University of Virginia Library


The Supplement to the Gentleman's Magazine is the thirteenth number of a yearly volume, and in the period with which this paper is concerned it regularly consists of three main sections: (1) a titlepage and preface to the volume for the year; (2) reports of parliamentary debates and miscellaneous articles; and (3) indexes for the volume of the magazine. The Supplement to GM for 1738 appears in two impressions. The following points discriminate them.

    Impression A

  • Titlepage of the volume, line 5 of col. b: Deaths,
  • Heading of p. 665: . . . / For the YEAR 1738. / [single rule] / . . . / (Continued from page 632.) / . . .
  • Collation: last gathering is 4X 2 (—4X 2)
  • Pagination: 681 numbered correctly
  • RT: upper right serif of first letter, T, does not print on pp. 666, 672, 680, 682, 684, 686, 688, 690, 696, 698
  • "PF"[1]: 717-8 placed just after "Chess" of the line above

  • 211

    Page 211
  • CW: 712 Stella.
  • Text, p. 672b, line 31: midddle p. 684b, lines 27-28: Negotia-/tion
  • Copies examined: IEN ICU2 OU OO TNG Mi MoU IaU

    Impression B

  • Titlepage of the volume, line 5 of col. b: Deaths
  • Heading of p. 665: . . . / For the YEAR 1738. / [no rule] / . . . / (Continued from Page 32.) / . . .
  • Collation: last gathering is 4X 2
  • Pagination: 681 misnumbered 645
  • RT: upper right serif of T DOES print on pp. 684, 688, 690, 696, 698
  • "PF": 717-8 placed closer to the number "384" than to "Chess"
  • CW: 712 Stella
  • Text, p. 672b, line 31: middle p. 684b, lines 27-28: Negotiati-/on
  • Copies examined: WM InI OCI [variant: 4X 2 (—X2)]

A and B are two impressions, not two editions. This is indicated by the straight-edge test, which shows a difference of greater than an en in alignment of letters on only 7 pages. It is further indicated by an examination of individual letters, which shows that even where the alignment of letters in A and B differs, standing type has been used. On p. 672, for example, the straight-edge test shows a difference in alignment of type in the top half of column a, and lines 4 and 5 are divided at different points in the texts of A and B.

A: upon / the Prolocutor's
B: upon the / Prolocutor's
But even where the difference is greatest, it is found that identical sorts were used in both printings. In both A and B there is a nick in the left ascender of U in "Upon" in line 6, in the upper horizontal of P in "Prince" in line 9, and in the lower horizontal of C in "Consort" in line 10. The type was rearranged, but it was not distributed and reset. Similarly, on p. 686b a close examination shows that standing type was used even though lines 27-28 are divided at different points in A and B. Clear indication of reset type appears on only two pages: p. 684a-b and p. 688b show not only variant alignment of letters, variant line-divisions, and variant spellings, but also variant sorts. The titlepage to the volume is reimpressed from the same type as indicated by the same imperfections in the letters: nicks in the right ascender of u in Volume, in the horizontal of L in SYLVANUS,


Page 212
and in the right ascender of a in Cave. In 40 pages of text (I have not checked the 21 pages of index), there are 11 substantive variants, the most important one being on a page that is positively indicated by an inspection of the sorts as a reimpressed, not a reset, page. On p. 700, lines 10-11, Issue A reads: "Volumes printed in the same / Manner with the Specimen annexed to the Proposals." Issue B reads: "Volumes printed on a neat / Letter of the same Size with the Specimen annexed."

Impression A is prior to Impression B. This is proven by the variant on p. 672b, where A reads "midddle", B "middle". Testing the column with a straight edge shows no difference in alignment of type in A and B. Moreover, all copies of A and B exhibit the use of identical sorts: nicked lower curve of P in "Pontiff" in line 2; nicked curve of P in "Place" in line 18; broken curve of f in "of" in line 25; broken ligature of ct in "erecting (same line as midddle/middle); and broken left serif of w in "now" in line 6 from bottom. As the variant occurs in an otherwise undisturbed column of type, the only plausible explanation for it is that "middle" is a correction of the original "midddle".

A feature of particular literary interest in this number of GM is that it contains the "Proposals for Anagrammata Rediviva." Disguised as proposals for publishing a book by subscription, this is in reality a key to the "Lilliputian" names used in the parliamentary debates that GM was regularly printing in evasion of the law. B. B. Hoover speculates that Samuel Johnson (who began writing for GM in 1738) may be the author of the spurious "Proposals."[2] A short form of the proposals appears on p. 700 in both A and B. The full form appears only in B, pp. 719-720, leaf 4X2. Of 20 copies of A that I have seen, none contains 4X2. Of the 3 copies of B that I have seen, 2 contain 4X2, and 1 does not. In the only copy that I could examine for conjugacy (WM), 4X1 and 4X2 are conjugate. In both A and B, 4X1v is indicated as the end of the planned printing unit by the finis "The End of Vol. VIII." In the next year's volume of GM (IX, 699), the proposals are referred to as having been "inserted in the last Supplement."