John Mudge, Printer

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. IX, (January 1916 to January 1917), pp. 196-7.


R. Pearse Chope

Prepared by Michael Steer

Following construction of the dockyard on the shores of Stoke Damerel in the 1690s, this area was often mistakenly, though not officially, called Plymouth-Dock, after her neighbour the nearby town of Plymouth. With growth of the town that subsequently grew around the dockyard, there was never any legal Act, nor official document, specifying that Stoke Damerel henceforth contain the word Plymouth in its name, yet for over 100 years it was consistently referred to as Plymouth-Dock - even by the Admiralty. Little is known about John Mudge, Printer, Bookseller and Stationer in Plymouth Dock between 1822-24. The Note provides evidence that he seems to have been a particularly impudent entrepreneur. He was declared an insolvent debtor in 1822, The extract, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

[Royal Arms.]

under royal patronage.

Every Individual who has perused an Advertisement, stating that no one but the King's Printer can print Acts of Parliament, may have been (if they ever were so inclined) led to purchase an Abstract of the Act for " Lighting, &c. the Town of Dock " ; and have been also told how much more advantageous it is to give Two Shillings (or more or less, as the (or any other) Printer may please to charge) for an Abstract, than purchase a True Copy from the Original at Eighteen Pence, under the very considerative Motive of saving the Printer from Prosecution; and have also been recommended to buy the Abstract, to avoid the Tediousness of the Act itself ; but I would ask any Man, whether, in case of Dispute, or for any other particular Cause, he can be satisfied with


when he knows the Liability to Perversion of the true Meaning and Intent of the Act.

Where is the Authority that denies the Privilege of printing Acts of Parliament f or, where the Authority that secures the Right to the King's Printer ?

to inform all who have been so ridiculously misled, that it is by no Means confined to the King s Printer, but as common to all who can recommend themselves to the Job, as even our own Parish Printing, laying entirely at the Disposal of some individual Influence, and generally claimed by Strength of Interest, and not from Merit, or real Desert and Right.

What with King's Printer, Stationer's Hall, and Parish influence, every fair speculation is put under Contraband.

I again advertise the Publication to take place of the Act complete, being a True Copy from the Original, at is. 6d. on Monday next, July 25th, I beg to subscribe myself,

            A fair Competitor,
                        John Mudge,
                                    Printer to the King,
                                                and all his loyal Subjects, No. 3, Duke-street, Dock.

            R. Pearse Chope.