Okay, here’s a crazy idea. I don’t have any real proof, and it’s probably just a weird coincidence. There’s a publisher, C. W., that pops up, I think in late 1647, does a lot of work in the second half of 1648, and then more or less disappears, near as I can tell (I did some quick-and-dirty EEBO searching). I checked Plomer (whose Dictionary of English Printers is now on Google books) and he lists no C. W.s except Charles Webb, whom he lists as active 1658-60. Glancing on EEBO, I only found a Charles Wright, publishing in the early 1630s. Now, it looks like William Clarke was behind one of the published versions of the king’s trial, signing it C. W. Here’s the crazy: I think the publisher C. W. may have been William Clarke, too.
It makes some sense. To be a publisher, all a person needed was the capital to pay for everything (ie, no printing skills). Mabbott’s imprint had disappeared by late 1648, so the army may have needed a new way to get its info out. That explains C. W.’s frequency in late 1648. Also, I think the C. W. I saw from 1647 was in September, while Mabbott was temporarily sacked from his post. C. W. seems to exlusively publish army-related news. I tried to follow a money trail, but couldn’t find one, by looking at Clarke’s contingencies accounts, though he does pay a Mr. Paxton over £49 for paper, ink, and parchment. That seems like a lot, but then I’m sure the New Model’s hq went through a lot of paper. Anyway, that’s my crazy idea for the day; it probably won’t play out. If anybody actually reads this blog, what do you think?
It’s about 30 minutes later. I just found something published by a “C. Withrington.” That’s probably C. W. However, it’s not military news, and the print looks distinctly different. I don’t know, it’s probably time to put this in the “too crazy” idea pile.