Welsh Journals

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Thomas Jones the Almanacer. Thomas Jones of Shrewsbury, almanac-maker, printer, and vendor of patent medicines, is one of the most interest- ing characters in the history of Welsh Literature. In a recent number of the Trafodion Cymdeithas Hanes Bedydd- wyr Cymru, Mr. Shankland has thrown a great deal of light on his career, and has acclaimed him as the father of Welsh Periodical Literature. Mr. Shankland points out that for many long years, before the advent of the magazine, the annual, and the newspaper, the almanac served the purpose of each of them, and was the means by which public news was circulated among the monoglot Welsh. Thomas Jones was the first person to print and publish an almanac in the Welsh language, so that he is distinctly entitled to the distinction given him. In his almanac for 1699 he states that he was 50 years old on May 1st, 1698, so that he was born on May 1st, 1648. Accord- ing to Rowlands, he was born at Tre'rddol, near Corwen, and went to London as a tailor when 18 years old. He issued his first almanac in 1679 presumably, as the issue for 1685 is called the sixth, and it is probable that each almanac was published before the beginning of the year to which it related. From the imprint to an English tract which he published in 1681, it appears that in 1681 he sold books at his shop in Paul's Alley, but it may of course have been his tailor's shop. It is clear however from this book that he had only published two issues of the almanac previous to 1681. At the end of the 1684 almanac he advertises another English book, which was also probably of his own composition, viz., The Famous Fortune Teller, or the Manifestation of Moles. This book we have not seen, but Jones gives the following account of it:- First, shewing you by any mole, wart, or mark, that you shall perceive upon the face, or neck of any person, where you may find another on the body of the same