Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

other causes of intellectual movements in the Fifteenth century, he adds:—"Still more strongly was the advancement of intellectual activity aided during the last half of the fifteenth century, by the discovery and rapid progress of the art of printing. The power of swiftly and cheaply multiplying copies of a book, in a more conveniently transmissible, and a more easily legible form, than that of the best manuscript, gave now to an author an increase of mental and moral authority over his fellow men, somewhat resembling the increase in importance, and the extension of operations, which the steam engine has in our age given to invention in mechanics and manufactures. The circulation of printed books created hosts of readers, who otherwise would have remained ignorant of any kind of literature, ancient or modern.

It gave an immeasurable increase to the weight of public opinion. It stimulated discovery. It promoted discussion. It made the suppression

base every

of opinion difficult, and generally impossible. It shook to the very

institution that was founded on fraud, or upheld by unjust force. It gave also weapons to those who seek violent changes merely from the love of innovation and violence. Among the numerous causes which co-operated in giving European history the altered character which we discover in it during and after the close of the fifteenth century, none have been more operative than the invention of moveable types. [combined, we take the liberty of adding, with the invention of the printing

press.]

* History of England, vol. ii. pp. 526–7.

[blocks in formation]

AUTHORITIES IN THEIR FAVOR.-ABUNDANCE OF SUCH TESTIMONY IN FAVOR OF GUTENBERG AND MENTZ.

- PROBABLE ORIGIN OF TRADITION. — BLOCK BOOKS. - SPECULUM HUMANÆ SALVATIONIS. - EVIDENCE OF

[ocr errors]

THE TYPES : WOOD OR METAL, CUT OR CAST?

- Books “JETTEZ EN MOLLE.”—AGE OF THE PAPER. - DATE OF COSTUME. FRATERNITY OF BRETHREN

AND CLERKS OF THE COMMON LIFE.

CLEAR and convincing as the evidence appears to be, that the Art of Typography originated in Germany, and that the honor claimed for Gutenberg as its inventor is rightly his; both positions are stoutly contested by the Dutch, who assert that the Art originated at Haarlem, and was the invention of one Laurence Janssoen, the Coster or Sacristan of the great church of that city, who according to some of their writers, was not only the first engraver of block-books, and cutter of separable letters, but also the first who cast fusile metal types. It is necessary therefore, before proceeding further, to examine the grounds upon which these assertions are based, and to ascertain what amount of truth they contain.

The claim on behalf of Haarlem was first made by Jan Van Zuyren, (b. 1517; d. 1591), between the years 1549 and 1561,-(upwards of a century, at least, after the appearance of the first printed book in Germany), -in “A Dialogue on the first Invention of the Art of Typography,” of which only a part of the Dedicatory Preface remains. In this fragment, leprinted by Scriverius, the writer says:

"It is from the love of my country alone,

6

that I undertake this work, and that I institute further inquiries upon the subject of it; as I cannot consent that our claims to a portion of this glory ;-claims which are even at this day fresh in the remembrance of our fathers, to whom, so to express myself, they have been transmitted from hand to hand from their ancestors, should be effaced from the memory of men, and be buried in eternal oblivion; claims of which it is our duty to preserve the memorial, for the benefit of our latest posterity.

“ The city of Mentz, without doubt, merits great praise, for having been the first to produce and publish to the world in a becoming garb, an invention which she had received from us; for having perfected and embellished an art as yet rude and unformed. Who indeed, (although it be less difficult to add to an invention already made, than to originate a new one) would withhold the praises and honor due to a city, to which all the world

« AnteriorContinuar »