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John Almon


  1. An Essay on Crimes and Punishments: translated from the Italian, with a commentary attributed to Mons. de Voltaire, translated from the French. translation has paratext publisher
  2. The Chains of Slavery. A work wherein the clandestine and villainous attempts of princes to ruin liberty are pointed out, and the dreadful scenes of despotism disclosed: To which is prefixed, an Address to the Electors of Great Britain in order to draw their timely attention to the choice of proper representatives in the next Parliament has translation publisher



Almon started his career as a seaman before moving to London to become a political journalist. His partisan pamphlets made him a favourite with supporters of Pitt (later Lord Chatham) and opponents of the Bute ministry during the 1760s and 1770s, and he wrote for Charles Green Say's Gazetteer and the London Evening Post. Under the patronage of the influential Earl Temple, he set up a publishing business in Piccadilly, which became a centre of information and activity for the opposition for 20 years. He gained a reputation for fearlessness in publishing works opposed to the government.

He published several journals, including the London Courant, Political Register and The Remembrancer. In June 1770, he was prosecuted by the government for seditious libel for reprinting a copy of Junius' notorious letter to King George III from 19 December 1769. Almon was instrumental in supporting and promoting Wilkes' political career in England through the medium of the press.

Besides Wilkes and Beccaria, other authors he published included Thomas Paine ('Common Sense', 1776, and 'The American Crisis', 1777), David Williams, and Henry Fuseli's translation of Giacinto Dragonetti's 'Treatise on virtues and rewards' (1769), which Paine would memorably quote in both 'Common Sense' and his later 'Address to the Addressers (1792). Almon also pioneered the publication of the Debates and Proceedings of the House of Commons (later taken over by Hansard).

In 1781 he retired, selling his business on to Debrett, including his prestigious 'Almon's Peerage' (better known as 'Debrett's Peerage'). In 1786, he was prosecuted again for publishing a libel in his General Advertiser, which had been planted by government agents. He fled to France and was outlawed, but on his return to England in 1792, he was imprisoned for a year, provoking outrage from the London newspapers. He spent the rest of his life compiling memoirs and histories.

See John Almon, 'Memoirs of a Late Eminent Bookseller' (1790), D.D. Rogers, 'Bookseller as Rogue: John Almon and the Politics of Eighteenth-Century Publishing' (1986), and his entry in the ONDB by Lynda L. Leitner.