Johnson, Joseph

Joseph Johnson (1738-1809) was the leading Dissenting bookseller and publisher in London during the last quarter of the eighteenth century.  Born into a Baptist family in Liverpool, Johnson came to London in 1752 as an apprentice to George Keith, a Baptist bookseller in Gracechurch Street and brother-in-law to John Gill, well known High Calvinist pastor of the Particular Baptist meeting at Horsleydown (later Carter Lane), Southwark. In 1770, Johnson opened his own bookshop in St. Paul’s Churchyard, where he remained until his death.  He published and sold numerous works by Dissenters (he worshiped among the General Baptists for many years, as well as other Unitarian congregations in London), such as Mrs. Barbauld, Dr. Aikin and Joseph Priestley, as well as controversial political pamphlets by such writers as Mary Wollstonecraft, Gilbert Wakefield, and Horne Tooke. He also published Hays's radical novel, The Victim of Prejudice. She also wrote for his periodical, The Analytic Review. In 1797 he was sentenced to nine months imprisonment and fined £50 for selling Wakefield’s A Reply to Some Parts of the Bishop of Llandaff’s Address to the People of Great Britain (1798).  See Tyson 3, 135-75.