Dawks, Ichabod (DNB00)

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DAWKS, ICHABOD (1661–1730), printer, eldest son of Thomas Dawks the younger [q. v.], born at Westerham in Kent 22 Sept. 1661, was apprenticed on 16 May 1673 to Mrs. Maxwell, a printer, to whom his father was overseer. He afterwards commenced business for himself as printer and publisher. ‘He is very obliging and diligent, and reasonable in his prices,’ says Dunton, and ‘has a very rich invention; witness his new letter, with which he printed his newspaper’ (Life and Errors, i. 250). The new letter was a type resembling writing, now called script, and was used in ‘Dawks's News-Letter,’ of which the first number was issued on 4 Aug. 1696. This was printed on writing-paper in the script type, with a blank space left for manuscript correspondence. The ‘News-Letter’ continued for a considerable time. The ‘Tatler’ for 21 May 1709 playfully remarks that ‘the judicious and wary Mr. Ichabod Dawks hath … got himself a reputation from plagues and famines;’ and again, on 30 May 1710, ‘honest Ichabod is as extraordinary a man as any of our fraternity, and as particular. His style is a dialect between the familiarity of talking and writing, and his letter such as you cannot distinguish whether print or manuscript.’ The ‘Spectator’ of 14 Aug. 1712 also refers to ‘Dawks's News-Letter.’ When it came to an end is not known; Nichols quotes a number for 14 Jan. 1714–15. A complete set would be valuable and interesting. Dawks died 27 Feb. 1730 in his seventieth year, and was buried at Low Leyton with his wife Sarah, who died 6 June 1737, aged 60.

[Nichols's Lit. Anecd. i. 3, 72, 118, 373, ii. 161, iii. 176, 290–1, iv. 9; Andrews's Hist. of British Journalism, 1859, i. 87, 94, 101; Timperley's Encyclopædia, 579, 660.]

H. R. T.