Ilive, Jacob (DNB00)

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ILIVE, JACOB (1705–1763), printer, letter-founder, and author, born in 1705, was the son of a printer of Aldersgate Street, one of those 'said to be highflyers' (see 'Negus's List,' 1724, in Nichols, Lit. Anecd. i. 309). His mother, Jane (b. 1669 d. 29 Aug. 1733), was the daughter of Thomas James, printer. His two brothers, Abraham (d. at Oxford 1777) and Isaac, were also printers. About 1730 'he applied himself to letter-cutting, and carried on a foundry and a printing-house together. In 1734 he lived at Aldersgate over against Aldersgate coffee house; afterwards he 'removed to London House, the habitation of the late Dr. Rawlinson, on the opposite side of the way … in 1746, but his foundry had been purchased 3 July 1740 by Mr. Joh. James' (E. Rowe Mores, Dissertation upon English Typographical Founders, 1778, p. 64). He abandoned type-founding, but carried on the printing-office to the end of his life. `He was an expeditious compositor … and knew the letters by touch' (ib. p. 65). In 1730 he printed his chief book, `The Layman's Vindication of the Christian Religion, in 2 pts.: (i.) The Layman's general Vindication of Christianity; (ii.) The Layman's Plain Answer to a late Book' (i.e. the `Grounds and Reasons' of Anthony Collins), London, 1730, 8vo. He delivered at Brewers' Hall, 10 Sept., and at Joiners' Hall, 24 Sept. 1733, an `Oration' on the plurality of worlds and against the doctrine of eternal punishment. This was written in 1729 and made public in 1733 (2nd edit. 1736), `pursuant to the will' of his mother, who shared his religious views. `A Dialogue between a Doctor of the Church of England and Mr. Jacob Ilive upon the subject of the Oration spoke at Joyners' Hall, wherein is proved that the Miracles said to be wrought by Moses were artificial acts only,' followed in the same year, in support of the `Oration.' He hired Carpenters' Hall, London Wall, and lectured there `on the religion of nature' ( W. Wilson, History of Dissenting Churches, 1808, ii. 291). From January 1736 to 1738 Ilive published a rival to Cave's `Gentleman's Magazine,' with the same title, objects, price, and size (Athenæum, 26 Oct. 1889, p. 560, and Bookworm, 1890, p. 284). In 1738 he brought out another 'Oration' 'spoke at Trinity Hall, in Aldersgate Street,' on 9 Jan. 1738, and directed against Felton's 'True Discourses' on personal identity in the resurrection. He published a 'Speech to his Brethren the Master Printers on the great Utility of the Art of Printing at a General Meeting 18th July 1750,' London, n. d. 8vo. In 1751 he printed anonymously, and with great mystery, a clumsy forgery, purporting to be a translation of a so-called `Book of Jasher, with Testimonies and Notes explanatory of the Text, to which is prefixed various Readings translated into English from the Hebrew by Alcuin of Britain, who went a Pilgrimage into the Holy Land,' printed in 1751, 4to, reissued with additions by Rev. C. R. Bond, Bristol, 1829, 4to (see T. H. Horne, Introduction, 1856, iv. 741-6; E. R. Mores, Dissertation, p. 65).

On 20 June 1756 Ilive was sentenced to three years' imprisonment with hard labour in the House of Correction at Clerkenwell, for writing, printing, and publishing `Some Remarks on the excellent Discourses lately published by a very worthy Prelate [Thomas Sherlock] by a Searcher after Religious Truth,' London, 1754, 8vo. It was anonymous, and was rewritten and enlarged as `Remarks on the two Volumes of excellent Discourses lately published by the Bishop of London,' London, 1755, 8vo. It was declared to be 'a most blasphemous book … denying in a ludicrous manner the divinity of Jesus Christ' as well as 'all revealed religion.' He remained in gaol until 10 June 1758, employing himself `continually in writing.' He published 'Reasons offered for the Reformation of the House of Correction … with a Plan of the Prison' (1757), and a `Scheme' (1759) for the employment of persons sent there as disorderly. The two pamphlets contain a minute and highly interesting description of prison life, written with much freedom, and including some useful suggestions for reforms. The 'Scheme' gives the titles of twelve other treatises (see pp. 74-80) either commenced or projected by Ilive.

In 1762 Ilive published 'The Charter and Grants of the Company of Stationers, with Observations and Remarks thereon,' London, 1762, 8vo (see T. C. Hansard, Typographia, 1825, pp. 274-5). This was a pamphlet on certain grievances he had discovered in the management of the Stationers' Company, and he called a meeting on 3 July. A committee was appointed to inquire into the state of the company, and a new master and wardens elected, but the temporary schism does not seem to have gone much further (Gough, British Topography, 1780, i. 597). 'Ilive was somewhat disordered in his mind,' says Nichols (Lit. Anecd. i. 309), an opinion apparently based upon the printer's unorthodoxy. His published writings show much shrewdness. He died in 1763, aged 58.

[Nichols's Lit. Anecd. i. 309-10; Chalmers's Gen. Biog. Dict.xix. 227-8; T.B. Reed's Old English Letter Foundries, 1887, pp. 346-9; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. v. 415, 7th ser. vii. 387.]

H. R. T.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.163
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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414 i 33 Ilive, Jacob: for Jane read Elizabeth