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PREFACE.

The germ of the present work was a Lecture delivered by the writer before the Members of the Colombo Athenæum, on the 24th February 1853. That Lecture was fully reported at the time in the Colombo Observer, and a few copies were subsequently printed for private distribution. These having been disposed of, the writer's attention was directed to the

preparation of a more extended essay upon the subject. The result of his labours is now submitted to the public. The work makes no pretension to the character of an exhaustive treatise; it is, in fact, but little more than a broad outline of the subject which

B

it ventures to describe; but it is hoped, that a fresh interest may have been imparted to some of the topics touched upon, and that

, they will be found placed in a light which, if not wholly new, is at any rate somewhat clearer than that in which they have hitherto been exhibited.

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Early Typography, .

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY.—LETTER-PRESS PRINTING THE “DIVINE

AND NOBLE” ART - WHY SO TERMED. - FREEDOM OF THE PRESS — WHERE FIRST PROCLAIMED. — PRINTING

KNOWN IN CHINA FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL.-METHOD

OF CHINESE PRINTING. - BIBLIOGRAPHY AND PALÆO

TYPOGRAPHY.

PRINTING is the art of producing copies of engraved writings or designs, by pressure, either upon the inked surfaces of characters raised in relief, or on metal plates, the upper surfaces of which are polished, and the sunk engravings charged with colour. The most important, if not the oldest branch of this art, is that of TYPOGRAPHY, or LETTER-PRESS PRINTING. To this Art, as it was invented and perfected in Europe in the Fifteenth

ever

seen.

century, the epithets DIVINE and NOBLE have not untruly been applied.

It is Noble, not merely because it is one of those arts or professions, the practice of which was permitted to the nobility of the German Empire, but because it is the nurse and preserver of all other arts and sciences; and is unquestionably the most important as well as the most beneficial invention the world has

It is the disseminator of every other discovery; the commemorator of all other inventions: it hands down to posterity every important event; immortalizes the actions of the great and good; and requires, moreover, in all who would thoroughly excel in its practice, the highest attainable combination of mental alacrity, educated intelligence, and expert manual dexterity.

It is Divine, inasmuch as it is one of the grand instruments in the hands of Providence for the regeneration of fallen humanity. By it the mightiest movement the world has ever

seen since the days when the Apostolic Twelve went about “turning it upside down," — the Great Reformation of the Sixteenth century, —was mainly effected. Without it the Word of God could not have been diffused, as it has been, is being, and will continue to be, to every nation and tribe and people and tongue throughout the world: while but for it England and the Anglo-Saxon race, who owe it so much for the stability and uniformity it gave to their language, * would

* "The multiplication of printed books and the consequent still greater multiplication of readers, created, what may be termed a literary public throughout England, and when the printed copies of a book from Caxton's press were spread throughout this public, each member of it used a copy that was uniform with the copies used by all the rest. But before printing was known, and while copies of a book could be made in manuscript only, the transcribers were apt to introduce changes of spelling, of syntax, and of phrase, according to the dialect of the part of the country to which each copyist belonged. And the dialects of different parts of England differed then from each other in a far greater degree than any amount of variation which can

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