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works, I am greatly indebted. The interesting information they have accumulated I have freely made use of in the preparation of this volume, although I differ considerably from some of the conclusions which one or other of them has arrived at.

Early Typography.

CHAPTER II.

DATE OF THE ORIGIN OF TYPOGRAPHY IN EUROPE.

ALLEGED EARLY ENGRAVINGS. — PLAYING CARDS. — BLOCK-BOOKS.—MR. F. Holt's HYPOTHESIS.-EVIDENCE

OF COSTUME.-GERMAN “BRIEF-MALERS.”-DECREE OF

GOVERNMENT OF VENICE.-STATE OF EUROPE IN THE MIDDLE AGES.-CULTIVATION OF CLASSICAL LITERATURE AT THE CLOSE OF THE FOURTEENTH AND COM

MENCEMENT OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY.

It has been a question much debated, whether the Art of Printing was not introduced to Europe from the East at a much earlier period than that generally assigned as the date of its invention; and we are informed by Klaproth, that it might have been known in Europe a hundred and fifty years prior to its discovery by the Germans, if Europeans had been able to read and translate the Persian historians, as the Chinese method of printing is clearly explained in the Djemm'a-et-tewarikh, by Rachid-Eddin, who finished this immense work about the year 1310.

On this subject, Mr. William Savage, a well-known printer, and a gentleman to whom the public and the profession are indebted for several valuable works on the art, states, in the preface to a volume published in 1841,—“The dates given of the introduction of the practice into Europe by previous writers, are questionably erroneous, as we have conclusive evidence of its being followed as a profession for nearly a century before the earliest date they give:”—and he announced his intention of embodying the facts and information he had been for a long period collecting, in another work, as hitherto, he declares, there has in reality been but little said on the History or Practice of Printing, the numerous works on the subject being chiefly copies from one or

un

two of the earlier writers.

This is true

enough. From the very nature of the case it can scarcely be otherwise, until and unless the discovery of fresh facts, or the investigations of fresh inquirers lead to conclusions different to those which had previously been generally received.

It is possible, nay probable, that a knowledge of the art, as practised in China, may have been carried to Europe by the Venetian travellers, or traders, at a very early date; but, as no account is known to exist that such really was the case, so no certain conclusion on the subject can be arrived at. Whether it was so or not, there is little difficulty in supposing that on many occasions attempts might be made similar to that contained in the much disputed account given by Papillon of the discovery at Bagneux, a village near Mont-Rouge, in the library of M. De Greder, a Swiss Captain, of a work, lent to M. De Greder by M. Sperchtvel, another Swiss Officer, supposed to have been printed in 1284 or 1285. This work, which has never since been seen, is said to have borne the following inscription in old Italian.

"The heroic actions, represented in figures, of the great and magnanimous Macedonian king, the bold and valiant Alexander ; dedicated, presented, and humbly offered to the most holy Father, Pope Honorius IV, the glory and support of the Church, and to our illustrious and generous father and mother, by us Allessandro-Alberico Cunio, Cavaliere, and Isabella Cunio, twin brother and sister: first reduced, imagined, and attempted to be executed in relief with a small knife on blocks of wood made even and polished by this learned and dear sister, continued and finished by us together, at Ravenna, from the eight pictures of our invention, painted six times larger than here represented; engraved, explained by verses, and thus marked upon the paper to perpetuate the number of them, and to enable us to present them to our relations and

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