Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 01.djvu/367

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Ames
Ames
353

nent service in saving ye triumph fired in fight with the Dutch’ on that occasion, a gold medal was awarded him by parliament (Commons' Journals, vii. 296). In succeeding years Ames was in command of several ships of war, and made repeated voyages to America and the West Indies. Under his care many royalist prisoners were transported to the colonies, and on 8 Oct. 1655 he was the bearer of a young deer as a present to Cromwell from the president of the Providence plantation in New England. He withdrew from active service, according to his grandson, the bibliographer, about 1673, and retired to Yarmouth, where he died in December 1695. He was a member of the presbyterian congregation of his native town. Several of his letters, addressed to the admiralty commissioners under the Commonwealth, are preserved among the State papers of the time.

[Memoir in Ames's Typographical Antiquities (ed. Herbert and Dibdin), i. 22 et seq.; State Paper Calendars, 1652–3, 1654, 1655; S. D. U. K. Biographical Dictionary.]

S. L. L.

AMES, JOSEPH (1689–1759), bibliographer and antiquary, was descended from the old Norfolk family of that name, and was the eldest child of John, a master in the merchant service, the latter being the sixth son of the Captain Joseph Ames, R.N., whose life is recorded above. Joseph Ames was born at Yarmouth 23 Jan. 1688–9, and was educated at a small grammar school in Wapping. He lost his father when twelve years old, and three years later was apprenticed to a plane maker in King Street or Queen Street, near the Guildhall, in the city of London. He is said to have served his time in a creditable manner, but does not appear to have taken up his freedom. He moved to Wapping near the Hermitage, where his father had previously settled, and where he entered into business either as a shipchandler, according to Walpole (Cat of Engravers, p. 3), as a plane-iron maker (Mores, Diss. upon English Typogr. Founders, p. 85), a patten maker (Cole's MSS. vol. xxx.), or an ironmonger (see letters so addressed in Nichols's Illustrations, iv.). He continued the business, which must have been of a lucrative character, until his death. In 1712 his mother died, and was buried in Wapping church near her husband. Two years later Ames married Mary, daughter of William Wrayford, a merchant in Bow Lane. She died in 1734, after bearing six children, of whom only a daughter survived her.

Ames owed his taste for learned studies to the Rev. John Russel of St. John's, Wapping, and the Rev. John Lewis of Margate, the well-known antiquary, to whom he was introduced by Mr. Russel. At some period before 1720 Ames made the acquaintance, while attending Dr. Desaguliers's lectures, of Mr. (afterwards Sir) Peter Thompson, a Hamburg merchant and member for St. Albans, and a man of marked character and considerable acquirements. The three friends exercised much influence upon the bookish career of Ames. Lewis had long been making collections for a history of printing in this country, and at least as early as 1730 suggested to Ames that he should undertake the work and make use of his notes. These appear to have been sent to Ames from time to time, and were carefully preserved and bound into a volume, which may now be seen in the British Museum (Add. MS. 20035). They include lists of printers and facsimiles of their marks, copies of title-pages, extracts, &c. The national collection also contains another volume of original papers used by Ames (Add. MS. 5151). Ames at first declined the offer, as a printer of the name of Samuel Palmer was then passing a similar work through the press. This appeared in 1732 under the title of ‘The General History of Printing … particularly its introduction, rise, and progress here in England,’ London, 1732, 4to. Palmer died before the publication of his work, which was then completed by the industrious pen of the impostor, George Psalmanazar. A continuation in manuscript by Palmer, devoted to the practical part of the art, was sold among Ames's collections. The book proved so poor a performance that Ames decided at last to undertake the great work by which his name will always be held in honour among bibliographers, and which was to form the chief object of his life. In the year 1739–40 he circulated a preliminary list of English printers from 1471 to 1600, which included 215 names, most of them being those of London men, with the announcement: ‘As the history and progress of printing in England, from 1474 to 1600, is in good forwardness for the press; if any gentleman please to send the publisher, Jos. Ames in Wappin, some account of these printers, or add others to them, or oblige him with what may be useful in this undertaking, the favour will be gratefully acknowledged.’ The fine volume of engravings descriptive of the cabinet of coins belonging to the Earl of Pembroke, and known as the ‘Numismata Antiqua,’ was brought out in 1746 without a syllable of letterpress. To remedy the defect, Ames printed for private distribution an index of four leaves, which he said ‘may be put into the book altho' it is bound.’ It con-

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