A crazy idea

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.


Filed under New Model, Print Culture, William Clarke

6 responses to “A crazy idea

  1. Nick

    Hurray that Plomer is on Google Books at last – this will save me trips to the Senate House Library rare books room!

    Atrributions are always difficult. I can see the logic behind the arguemnt, though. Have you looked at the print-type to see if there are any common things, eg colophons or cracked print?

  2. Having spent too many years going through SP28 I know that the NMA administration did get through an awful lot of paper. But then again £49 is a huge amount of money. I don’t know how much paper cost back then but I’d imagine you’d get loads for that – a cavalry horse was only £7.10s!

  3. Nick

    Joad Raymond’s “Pamphlets and pamphleteering” has a helpful chapter that looks at the material costs of printing, if you’re looking to get more on mid-17th century printing costs.

  4. gilbertmabbott

    Thanks! I’m actually starting to look at Pamphlets and Pamphleteering right now.

  5. Nick

    I don’t suppose you have the URL for Plomer – I’ve looked and can only find a snippet view. Is it on there as full view somewhere too?

  6. gilbertmabbott

    Try here: http://books.google.com/books?id=LPoXAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=plomer+and+booksellers&client=safari. I did a search for “Plomer and booksellers.” I assume that you were looking for the Dictionary of Booksellers etc. By the way, how is you Mazarinade project going? I got the wiki up.

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