Unrecorded 18th century satirical broadside concerning the press and the growing influence of print culture in England
Unrecorded c.1760s polemical broadside in the tradition satirist Ned Ward or the mock poem Hudibras.
While the present broadside includes only a few lines of poetry, like Hudibras it appears to describe a religious controversy between a “Methodist Grub-Street Printer” named Don Dismallo Thickscullo de Halfwitto and another printer, Dicko-Don-Quacko.The broadside reports that the printers’ dispute was also carried out in dueling newspapers, the eighteenth century equivalent of an internet “flame war.”
That the dispute was ongoing seems to be implied in the manuscript addition written at the top of the broadside: “Third Part.” The broadside states:
The Methodists and their Printer having erected their Battery of Lampoonary against the Printer of the Paper call’d Helter Skelter, He hereby declares a Paper War, against all Dicko Don Quack’s Mendicant Crew…
A mention in the broadside of a work printed by the “Methodist Grub-Street Printer” concerning Pondicherry may well help to date the broadside to after 1761 when British forces in India defeated the French at Pondicherry. An account of a legal dispute between two printers found in a 1768 English literary annual, The British Palladium, may well shed light on the controversy outlined in the present broadside and suggests a possible place of publication, Norwich, England. The account begins:
An eminent Printer in the City of Norwich was once personally aspersed by a single Quack, distributing Hand-bills against him, in that city, who, as a Remedy for his Disorder, brought out a Pamphlet, cried about the Streets, intitled, The History of Dicko Don Quacko Liliano Brazenfaciano, who instead of considering it as a wholesome Remedy for his Evil, took Offence at his Prescriber, insisting on his being misnamed and misrepresented. In consequence whereof a Trial was appointed to come on before a certain Judge…
The tradition of such fantastically named characters hearkens back to Samuel Butler’sHudibras (1663, 1664 and 1678) and to Four Hudibrastick Canto’s, Being Poems on Four the greatest Heroes That liv’d in any Age since Nero’s, Don Juan Howlet, Hudibras, Dicko-ba-nes and Bonniface (1715), sometimes attributed to Ned Ward.
Unrecorded eighteenth century satirical broadside concerning the press and the growing influence of print culture in England.
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