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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 4

Historic Presses

page 29

Historic Presses.

An Auckland friend has lent us a copy of a rare pamphlet, the title-page of which (in full) is as follows: « A Short Account of the Character and Labours of the Rev. Samuel Marsden, formerly Chaplain of the Church of England in New South Wales; written for the express purpose of raising funds towards the erection of a church in the Parish of Marsfield, Parramatta. Printed and published by B. Isaacs, Parramatta. 1844. » The pamphlet, which consists of 84 pp. crown 8vo, is not noted in Mr Collier's recently-published Bibliography. It is anonymous, but a manuscript note on the title reads, « By the Rev. Dr Wooles, Ph. D. » The most interesting feature about the pamphlet is the following note, in italic, at the end:—

It is rather singular that this little work respecting Mr. Marsden, should have been printed at the very Press which that Rev. Gentleman introduced into New Zealand. The Press (in consequence of the arrival of others better adapted for the Church Mission) was sold by the Society to Mr. Isaacs, who brought it with him to Parramatta. Two of the Compositors also, it may be stated, came to this part of the world in the same vessel with the celebrated Shungee, to whom such frequent reference has been made.

We have been quite unable to trace the history of the early missionary presses. One, we believe, was brought out to Auckland by Bishop Selwyn some two or three years after the arrival of the first press at the Bay of Islands, and this may be the one referred to, as the pamphlet was published nine years after that event. We hear that there are portions of an old missionary press in the « early history » department of the exhibition at Dunedin. We have in our own office a Columbian dated 1841, formerly belonging to the Church mission (and a few of the superannuated types and borders.) Some of these characters were probably in Mr Colenso's original packets, opened out five-and-fifty years ago. There is endless wear in the old small-pica—a North Island daily is using it now for leading articles! Only a few days ago an old pressman told us that in 1850 he was working in San Francisco, at the office of the Journal of Commerce, when the proprietor imported from the New Zealander office in Auckland an old wooden press, for which he paid a high price. Mr R. P. Brydone, our informant, added that he had worked the said press, using with it the old-fashioned inking-balls. We have made many inquiries as to the ultimate disposal of the historic « Stanhope, » brought out by Mr Colenso in 1835, but without gaining any information. We would be glad to receive from any quarter authentlc particulars relating to the first presses in the colony.