London: Printed for J. Johnson, 1796. First edition. A very good copy. Disbound. Octavo. , 34 pp. Item #14320
Francis Webb (1735-1815) was secretary of the College of Heralds. Samuel Ireland, consulted him on the authenticity of the papers supposedly in William Shakespeare’s hand, which were “discovered” by his son, William Henry Ireland. Webb was convinced that they were genuine and wrote this defense in their favor. By the time it appeared, the young Ireland was already being attacked by James Boaden, Edmund Malone, and other scholars. Webb declares that the errors in the manuscripts confirm their authenticity, since a forger would have taken more pains, and that “no human wisdom, cunning, art, or deceit if they could be united are equal to the task of such an imposition.”.
Jaggard, p. 683. Mair, The Fourth Forger, Chapter X.