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According to the elder Thomas Cadell ([William West]; "Notice of the Robinsons," Aldine Magazine ([1839], 135). "Before the year 1780, he had the largest wholesale trade that was ever carried on by an individual. . . . the bookselling firm of G. G. and J. Robinson . . . [were for] many years the greatest trading booksellers and publishers known in this country" (C. H. Timperley, Encyclopaedia of Literary and Typographical Anecdote, 2nd Edition [1842], 808, 852). I have incorporated in the Table below a few similar Robinson documents in Yale for Holcroft, Jephson, Malone, and Mortimer. The only similar 18th Century collections known to me, besides those for surviving firms and for Cadell and Davies, are those by William Upcott in the British Library: (1) Original Assignments of Manuscripts between Authors and Publishers, principally for Dramatic Works, 1703-1810, mostly concerned with Lowndes (Add. MSS 38,728); (2) Original Assignments . . . principally for Mathematical & Elementary Works, 1707-1818, largely concerned with Nourse (Add. MSS 38,729); and (3) Original Assignments of Copy-rights of Books and other Literary Agreements between various Publishers, 1712-1822 (Add. MSS 38,730), recording chiefly what shares in copies Lowndes bought and sold at Coffee House sales. For example, at The Globe on 17 Dec 1772 George Robinson & Moses Staples sold to Thomas Lowndes a quarter of Maitland's London (£153) and a ninety-sixth of [Defoe's] Tour through Britain (£1.11.6) (f. 168); at Mrs Shuckburgh's sale on 28 July 1768 Robinson & Roberts bought from Thomas Lowndes one seventy-second share of Gordon's Geographical Grammar for 10s.6d. (f. 169); and at The Globe on 30 Dec 1777 Thomas Lowndes bought from George Robinson one forty-eighth share of Clarke's Introduction [to Heraldry] for £2.17.6, one sixteenth of Ogilby's Roads for £7.17.6, and one twenty-fourth of Selecta Profani for £3.10.0 (f. 169). For details of Nourse and British Library Add. MSS 38,729, see J.P. Feather, "John Nourse and his Authors", Studies in Bibliography, 34 (1981), 205-226. N.B. There was another firm of booksellers named G. & G. Robinson, in Liverpool, which retired from business and sold its extensive stock at Sotheby's, 6-11 March 1857.


Most of the facts about booksellers here derive from Ian Maxted's invaluable London Book Trades 1775-1800: A Preliminary Checklist of Members (1977).


[William West], Fifty Years' Recollections of an Old Bookseller (1837), pp. 92-93.


Robinson's name does not appear on the titlepage of The Critical Review, but advertisements with the issues of January and July 1790 give G. G. and J. Robinson as publishers, as well as A. Hamilton whose name does appear on the titlepage.


See William J. Howard, "Literature in the Law Courts, 1770-1800," pp. 79-91 of Editing Eighteenth-Century Texts: Papers given at the Editorial Conference, University of Toronto, October 1967, ed. D. I. B. Smith (1968).


See Terry Belanger, "Tonson, Wellington and the Shakespeare Copyrights," pp. 195-209 of Studies in the Book Trade in Honour of Graham Pollard (1975).


Perhaps a few of these unidentified works were published in George Robinson's journals such as The Critical Review, The New Annual Register, and The Political Herald.


In one or two cases, these documents permit us to identify the name on the titlepage as a pseudonym.


The work is "by me", Anna Thomson (according to the receipt of 18 Jan 1791), not by Harriet Piggot, who is credited with it in the National Union Catalogue.


In his Modern Times (1785), III, 39, Dr John Trusler says: "If you give a bookseller a work to get printed and conclude upon an edition of five hundred; they [sic] will order seven hundred and fifty, or perhaps more, to be printed, call all above five hundred their own, sell all their own first, and account with you for the remainder." (Quoted in D. M. Blakey, The Minerva Press 1790-1820 [1939], pp. 77-78.)


Dr Hugh Farmer wrote on 24 Jan 1774 about his Demoniacs that he was to have "25 copies for my Friends"; "I will not allow a higher price than five shillings to be fixed upon the Work, without an additional consideration" (John Nichols, Illustrations of the Literary History of the Eighteenth Century, IV [1822], 826).


The real average-per-book was doubtless higher, for some of these fees are incomplete, and some are for only part of a volume.


C. Kegan Paul, William Godwin: His Friends and Contemporaries (1876), I, 20-21. Robinson published Italian Letters on 10 July 1784 (Jack W. Marken, "The Canon and Chronology of William Godwin's Early Works", Modern Language Notes, 69 [1954], 176-180). I am grateful for advice about Godwin to Professors Gary Kelly, Robin Alston, F. E. L. Priestley, Jack W. Marken, and Burton W. Pollin.


Jack W. Marken, "William Godwin's Writings for the New Annual Register", Modern Language Notes, 68 (1953), 477-479.


Marken (1953). There is no reference to The New English Peerage in the extensive bibliography of Godwin's own writings in Burton W. Pollin, Education and Enlightenment in the Works of William Godwin (1962) or in his Godwin Criticism: A Synoptic Bibliography (1967). Notice that Harriet Lee wrote a work called The New Peerage (1787).


Jack W. Marken, "William Godwin and the Political Herald and Review", Bulletin of the New York Public Library, 65 (1961), 523-524. Godwin's contributions are reprinted in his Uncollected Writings (1785-1822), ed. J. W. Marken & B. R. Pollin (1968).


Jack W. Marken, "William Godwin's History of the United Provinces", Philological Quarterly, 45 (1966), 379-386.


Kegan Paul, I, 67, 68.


Kegan Paul, I, 80-81, merely echoed by Ford K. Brown, The Life of William Godwin (1926), p. 43, George Woodcock, William Godwin: A Biographical Study (1946), p. 39, and others.


Kegan Paul, I, 80.


Percy Bysshe Shelley, Letters, ed. F. L. Jones (1964), I, 221.


Kegan Paul, II, 130.


Shelley and his Circle 1793-1822, ed. K. N. Cameron, I (1961), 298-299.


Don Locke, A Fantasy of Reason: The Life and Thought of William Godwin (1980), p. 212.


Kegan Paul, I, 315, 339, 342.