Page:Essays in librarianship and bibliography.djvu/226

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206
ESSAYS IN LIBRARIANSHIP

Maximus—a man to be ever honoured for his public spirit—had given them and their press house-room in his palace. We learn from other colophons that an edition of Sallust consisting of four hundred copies, and that two editions of Cicero's Epistles to his friends, were carried through the press in four months. The comparative cheapness of typography is also a frequent matter of congratulation. It is said to have brought Virgil within the reach of all scholars, and to have enabled every man to be his own lawyer; but the printer seldom tells us what the price of the volume was. We observe that the trade of the book-producer has not yet become differentiated into the two great classes of printers and publishers. While, as before remarked, there is every reason to conclude that the early printers were persons of liberal education, we do not, so far as I am aware, find evidence of this mechanical craft being exercised by men of gentle blood. I have, however, already mentioned the priestly printer, Clemente Patavino, and a colophon reveals that the printers of one book were two priests. One rather wonders what became meanwhile of their religious duties. I suppose that a priest would not in general have been allowed to follow a secular calling, at least openly, but in this instance of printing there is no attempt at concealment. A circumstance honourable in its way to the craft to which we owe our existence, and suggesting that the ecclesiastical authorities of the fifteenth century thought of printers as our