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Chambers, Robert, 1802-1871 / Chambers's book of days, a miscellany of popular antiquities in connection with the calendar, including anecdote, biography & history, curiosities of literature and oddities of human life and character
Vol. I (1879)

Time and its natural measurers,   pp. 1-14 ff. PDF (9.3 MB)


Page 13

THE CALENDAR-PRINTED ALMANACS.
sider of it, and settle his affairs in time.'
Partridge, after the 29th of March, publicly
denied that he had died, which increased the fun,
and the game was kept up in The Tatler.   Swift
wrote An Elegy on the Supposed Death of Par-
tridge, the Almanac-maker, followed by
'THE EPITAPH.
Here, five foot deep, lies on his back
A cobbler, starmonger, and quack,
Who to the stars, in pure good-will,
Does to his best look upward still.
Weep, all ye customers, that use
His pills, his almanacs, or shoes;
And you that did your fortunes seek,
Step to his grave but once a week.
This earth, which bears his body's print,
You'll find has so much virtue in't,
That I durst pawn my ears 'twill tell
Whate'er concerns you full as well
In physic, stolen goods, or love,
As he himself could when above.'
Partridge, having studied physic as well as astro-
logy, in 1682 styled himself 'Physician to his
Majesty,' and was one of the sworn physicians of
the court, but never attended nor received any
salary. His real epitaph, and a list of some of his
works, are printed by Granger in his Biographical
History. Partridge wrote a life of his contem-
porary almanac-maker, John Gadbury.
The Fox Stellarum of Francis Moore was the
most successful of the predicting almanacs. There
has been much doubt as to whether Francis Moore
was a real person, or only a pseudonym. A com-
munication to Notes and Queries, vol. iii. p. 466,
states that 'Francis Moore, physician, was one of
the many quack doctors who duped the credulous
in the latter period of the seventeenth century.
He practised in Westminster.* In all probability,
then, as in our own time, the publication of an
almanac was to act as an advertisement of his
healing powers, &c. Cookson, Salmon, Gadbury,
Andrews, Tanner, Coley, Partridge, &c., were all
predecessors, and were students in physic and
astrology. Moore's Almanac appears to be a per-
fect copy of Tanner's, which appeared in 1656,
forty-two years prior to the appearance of Moore's.
The portrait in Knight's London is certainly
imaginary. There is a genuine and certainly
very characteristic portrait, now of considerable
rarity, representing him as a fat-faced man, in a
wig and large neckeloth, inscribed " Francis
Moore, born in Bridgenorth, in the county of
Salop, the 29th of January 1656-7. John Dra-
pentier, delin. et sculp." Moore appears to have
been succeeded as compiler of the Almanac by Mr
Henry Andrews, who was born in 1744, and died
at Royston, Herts, in 1820. " Andrews was as-
tronomical calculator to the Board of Longitude,
and for many years corresponded with Maskelyne
* Francis Moore, in his Almanac for 1711, dates 'from
the Sign of the Old Lilly, near the Old Barge House, in
Christ Church Parish, Southwark, July 19, 1710.' Then
follows an advertisement in which he undertakes to cure
diseases. Lysons mentions him as one of the remarkable
men who, at different periods, resided at Lambeth, and
says that his house was in Calcott's Alley, High Street,
then called Back Lane, where he practised as astrologer,
physician, and schoolmaster.
and other eminent men." '-Notes and Queries,
vol. iv. p. 74. Mr Robert Cole, in a subsequent
communication to Notes and Queries, vol. iv.
. 162, states that he had purchased from Mr
illiam Henry Andrews of Royston, son of
Henry Andrews, the whole of the father's manu-
scripts, consisting of astronomical and astrolo.
gical calculations, with a mass of very curious
letters from persons desirous of having their
nativities cast. Mr W. H. Andrews, in a letter
addressed to Mr Cole, says: 'My father's calcu-
lations, &c., for Moore'sAlmanac continued during
a period of forty-three years, and although,
through his great talent and management, he in-
creased the sale of that work from 100,000 to
500,000, yet, strange to say, all he received for
his services was £25 per annum.'
The Ladies' Diary, one of the most respectable
of the English almanacs of the eighteenth cen-
tury, was commenced in 1704. Disclaiming as-
trology, prognostications, and  quackery, the
editor undertook to introduce the fair sex to the
study of mathematics as a source of entertain-
ment as well as instruction. Success was hardly
to have been expected from such a speculation;
but, by presenting mathematical questions as
versified enigmas, with the answers in a similar
form, by giving receipts for cookery and pre-
serving, biographies of celebrated women, and
other 'entertaining particulars peculiarly adapted
for the use and diversion of the fair sex,' the
success of the work was secured; so that, though
the Gentleman's Diary was brought out in 1741
as a rival publication, the Ladies' Diary continued
to circulate independently till 1841, when it was
incorporated with the Gentleman's Diary. The
projector and first editor of the Ladies' Diary,
was John Ti pper, a schoolmaster at Coventry.
In 1733, Benjamin Franklin published in the
city of Philadelphia the first number of his
almanac under the fictitious name of Richard
Saunders. It was commonly called Poor Rich-
ard's Almanac, and was continued by Franklin
about twenty -five years. It contained the usual
astronomical information, 'besides many leasant
and witty verses, jests, and sayings.' The little
spaces that occurred between the remarkable days
of the calendar he filled with proverbial sen-
tences inculcating industry and frugality. In
1757, he made a selection from these proverbial
sentences, which he formed into a connected
discourse, and prefixed to the almanac, as the
address of a prudent old man to the people attend-
ingan auction. This discourse was afterwards pub-
lis ed as a small tract, under the title of The Way
to Wealth, and had an immense circulation in
America and England. At the sale of the In-
graham Library, in Philadelphia, an original
Poor Richard's Almanac sold for fifty-two dollars.
-Notes and Queries, vol. xii. p. 143.
In 1775, the legal monopoly of the Stationers'
Company was destroyed by a decision of the
Court of Common Pleas, in the case of Thomas
Carnan, a bookseller, who had invaded their ex-
clusive right. Lord North, in 1779, brought in
a bill to renew and legalise the Company's
privilege, but, after an able argument by
Erskine in favour of the public, the minister's
bill was rejected. The defeated monopolists,
13
I


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