Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thomas Haydock, 18th Century English Catholic Publisher

According to wikipedia:

Thomas Haydock (1772–1859), born of one of the oldest English Catholic Recusant families, was a schoolmaster and publisher. His dedication to making religious books available to fellow Catholics suffering under the English Penal Laws came at great personal cost. He is best remembered for publishing an edition of the Douay Bible with extended commentary, compiled chiefly by his brother George Leo Haydock. Originally published in 1811 and still in print, it is one of the most enduring contributions to Catholic biblical studies. . . .

Haydock was born February 21, 1772 in Cottam, in the Fylde section of Lancashire in northern England. This is an area that was slow to accept the new Protestant religion. Speaking of Lancashire, Lord Burghley, advisor to Queen Elizabeth I complained, "The Papists every where are growen so confident, that they contempne Magistrats and their authoritie." In later centuries Lancashire would retain a small but determined Catholic population supported by families of the landed gentry, sometimes hosting secret Masses in their homes. The Haydocks were among the most prominent of these families and became legendary in their service to the Catholic Recusant movement. During the Elizabethan persecution, Father George Haydock (1556–1584), a "seminary priest", suffered martyrdom. He was beatified in 1987, earning the title “Blessed.” Early in the 18th century, Father Cuthbert Haydock (1684–1763) said secret Masses in a chapel hidden in the attic of Lane End House, Mawdesley, the home of his sister and brother-in-law.

Thomas Haydock was part of a unique generation whose combined contributions to this family tradition would be extraordinary. His father was a namesake of Blessed George Haydock. His two brothers both became priests. Older brother James (1765–1809) died caring for the sick of his congregation during a typhus epidemic. Younger brother George Leo (1774–1849), in addition to his work on the Bible, spent his career pastoring poor rural missions. A sister, Margaret (1767? - 1854), joined the Augustinian nuns, taking the name Sister Stanislaus.

He wanted to become a priest too:

After receiving his elementary education at a school established for Catholic students at Mowbreck Hall, Thomas was sent in 1785 to the English College, Douai, France, where he joined his brother, George. This institution was established for Catholic exiles in the 16th century to provide secondary education and preparation for the priesthood. His studies were interrupted in 1793, when the French revolutionary government declared war with England, closed the English College, and imprisoned some of its pro-England students. Both Haydock brothers managed to elude the authorities and escape back to England.

Continuing his pursuit of ordination, Thomas next went to the English College, Lisbon. His superiors there did not feel he had a priestly vocation and sent him home in 1795. Undeterred, he went to the new seminary established at Crook Hall, Durham with his brother George in 1796. Again, his vocation was questioned. Described as “easy going” (see also the “Tragic Personal Life” section below), he seems to have been judged by his superiors as constitutionally unsuited for the risks and hardships of the Catholic priesthood in Penal Period England. The eloquence and dedication Thomas expresses in his letters certainly support his sincerity; and his three attempts at the priesthood show his tenacity. However, against the wishes of his older and recently ordained brother James, he was finally persuaded to leave the seminary. Family friend and former Douay professor Benedict Rayment (1764–1842), who would later serve as editor of some of Haydock’s published works, remarked that of the three Haydock brothers seeking the priesthood, ‘’Thomas would have been the best’’.

Instead, he became a publisher of Catholic books, most notably his own brother George's commentary on the Douai-Rheims English translation of the Holy Bible. Although it was a very popular and important work, he struggled as a publisher:

Thomas Haydock had an enthusiasm for publishing, but was seriously lacking in business skills. He had a trustful nature that associates freely exploited, depriving him of profit and forcing him continually to operate on a shoestring. Although his Bible sold well, he lost money to his managers, clerks, and canvassers and was forced heavily into debt to an unscrupulous lender. Former Douay classmate Father (later Bishop) Robert Gradwell (1777–1860) wrote in August 1817 that Haydock was living in Dublin, “low in the world.” In 1818 he was arrested for debt and served four months in prison.

The experience did not discourage him from continuing his publishing business. By 1822 he was able to issue the first volume of a new edition of the Bible, a more modest undertaking this time, in a smaller octavo format and without the extended commentary of the folio edition. He had to take on several partners to complete the Bible’s second volume in 1824. This edition had many misprints, including the notable substitution of fornications for fortifications in II Corinthians 10:4. He had no known involvement with an American folio edition of the Haydock Bible published in Philadelphia in 1825.

Circa 1818 Haydock married Mary Lynch or Lynde of Dublin. Unfortunately, tragedy would dog his family life, just as it did his business. Mary died in 1823. Their three children all died young. The name of only one is known: George (1822–1840). Curiously, some books dated 1827 have the imprint, Thomas Haydock & Son. The apparent inconsistency between the publication date and the likely ages of any sons that could have been living at the time is a mystery.

Haydock struggled on with publishing at least until 1831, when he was able to reissue the New Testament portion of his original folio Bible. No dated works after that year are known, although he published undated works that may have appeared later. In 1832 he made an unsuccessful attempt to begin a journal called The Catholic Penny Magazine. At some point, he opened a school in Dublin where he resumed teaching until 1840. He left Dublin probably about that year and moved first to Liverpool, then to Preston. He could only watch as other publishers enjoyed success with new editions of his Bible: two British editions, one in 1845-48, another ca. 1853, and an American edition in 1852-4. He died at Preston in 1859, aged 87, with an estate valued at “less than 100 Pounds Sterling.” He was buried in the Haydock family grave at Newhouse Chapel, Newsham.

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