Page:Observations on an autograph of Shakespeare, and the orthography of his name.djvu/23

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And the Orthography of his Name.

Here I might close my case; but a few words more may be requisite in regard to some other presumed specimens of Shakspere's handwriting. I would certainly not go so far as Malone, in asserting, that if any other original letter or MS. of his should be discovered, his name would appear as just written;[1] but I think any variation would afford reasonable cause for suspicion. Since I commenced this paper, I have discovered that two other volumes claim the honour of containing Shakspere's autograph, not manufactured by Ireland. The first of these is a copy of Warner's Albion's England, 4to. 1612, which was bought at Steevens's sale in 1800, by Mr. Heber, and which is now in the British Museum. On the title page is "William Shakspeare his booke;" and it will be evident to any one who takes the trouble of comparing it with the similar notorious forgeries of Ireland on a copy of Holland's translation of Pliny, folio, 1601, and on Bartholomeus de Proprietatibus Rerum, Thomas Berthelet, [1535], fol. in Sir Joseph Banks's library, that they all three are traced by the same hand. Whether Steevens had any hand in Ireland's fabrications, is a discussion foreign to my purpose; but I do not think it very improbable. The second claimant is a copy of Bacon's Advancement of Learning, 1605. In 1829 it was in the possession of Mr. Thomas Fisher, of the East India House, and is described as being "filled with MS. notes." It bears in limine the same signature as in Warner's work, and a fac-simile of it is given by Nichols, in his Autographs. From an inspection of

  1. "Inquiry," p. 120.