The Prince and the Pauper
A Minimal Edition


Mark twain’s manuscript of The Prince and the Pauper has survived, but the secretarial transcription that evidently served as printer’s copy and the proof sheets that the author saw and revised have both been lost. The textual history of the first American edition, published in Boston by James R. Osgood and Company on 12 December 1881, therefore rests chiefly on the evidence obtained from collations of the author’s manuscript, the publisher’s prospectus, and the two states of that edition. Additional collations have shown that the first Canadian edition and the three states of the first English edition derive in complicated ways from the first American edition; all later editions are also derivative and embody no authorial revision. This evidence, in conjunction with other documents and letters, makes possible a more detailed account than has previously been available of how Mark Twain saw his book into print.

On 1 February 1881 Mark Twain wrote Osgood from Hartford, “Suppose you . . . run down here & sign, & lug off the MS—which I finished once more to—day.” Osgood presumably went to Hartford; in any event he signed the contract for the book on February 9. Whether he actually returned to Boston with the manuscript is uncertain: the contract specified only that the manuscript was to be in his hands “as soon as practicable after the date of this agreement, and not later than April 1hi: st  next ensuing.” But in less than a month he did indeed have it, for on March 3 Mark Twain wrote to A. V. S. Anthony, who was in charge of hiring illustrators for the book, “Very well then, I do say ‘go ahead’ to the artist who is ready to make a couple of drawings on approbation.”

Mark Twain’s manuscript probably became the house copy for the Osgood company, and may have been used by the illustrators as well, but it did not serve as printer’s copy. In 1885, Mark Twain remembered that “Osgood had the Prince & Pauper copied, & sent the copy to the printer.” The manuscript has only a few minor notes and changes in another hand on the first pages, most of them added by someone in Osgood’s office. Osgood himself added “Boston lb:   James R. Osgood & Company” to the title page and moved “All rights reserved” from there to the copyright page.

The printer’s copy, now lost, was apparently a handwritten secretarial copy of the manuscript. Although it was Mark Twain’s usual practice to revise printer’s copy, he evidently had no opportunity to do so for The Prince and the Pauper before Osgood sent it to the printer: he confined his postmanuscript revisions to proof.

The typesetting of the first American edition was done by the Franklin Press: Rand, Avery, and Company, Boston, who also electroplated the illustrations and, later, the book itself. Although the author told one correspondent on 22 April 1881 that his book was “in press,” he doubtless meant only that the slow work of producing the illustrations had begun. The records of the Osgood company show that the first two “relief plates” were completed on April 21 and that these continued to be manufactured in batches until October 7. The type setting of the book itself may have begun in April, but it seems somewhat more likely that it was delayed until the company had prepared, and Mark Twain had approved, a sizable number of illustrations. On July 2 he asked the company to send him “proofs of the pictures that are thus far completed for my book,” and reminded them that “Osgood promised, but Osgood forgot.” On July 31 Mark Twain told another correspondent, “Proofs of a hundred & fifty of the engravings for my new book came yesterday, & I like them far better than any that have ever been made for me before.” The next day, August I, he praised the pictures extravagantly to Benjamin H. Ticknor, Osgood’s partner, and tried to arrange for special printings to be neatly bound in boards. At this time he had clearly not seen any proof sheets of the text, for he told Ticknor, “Put titles under the pictures yourself—I’ll alter them in proof if any alteration shall seem necessary.” And on August 14 he again praised the illustrations to Ticknor but said (apparently in response to an inquiry from the publisher), “I hain’t got no proofs, yet—but there may be some in the post office now.” The next day he had in fact received the first installment of proofs—an incomplete set which omitted several chapters and which contained, moreover, a problem with the illustration in chapter 1. Ticknor must have explained that this illustration had been made too large and would need to be redone—a step that probably required most of this short chapter to be reset. On August 15 Mark Twain wrote him, “Yes, that is the correct idea—do the cut over again; process it down to the required reduction.” He added that he would “have to wait till you send Chap 1 again, & then begin fair & read consecutively—can’t begin in the middle of the book.”

The illustration was eventually redone, but Mark Twain evidently could not resist the temptation to begin reading, even “in the middle of the book,” and he must have read chapters 1, 3, 5, and probably 7 as well, sometime between August 15 and 23. His reaction to the quality of the typesetting was mixed, and he set it forth in a detailed letter to Ticknor while Osgood was in Europe: quote:
If the printers will only follow copy strictly, in the matter of capitals and punctuation, my part of the proof—reading will be mere pastime. I never saw such beautiful proofs before. You will observe that in this first chapter I have not made a mark. In the other chapters I had no marks to make except in restoring my original punctuation and turning some ‘tis’s into “it is”—there being a dern sight too many of the former. What I want to read proof for is for literary lapses and infelicities (those I’ll mark every time); so, in these chapters where I have had to turn my whole attention to restoring my punctuation, I do not consider that I have legitimately read proof at all. I did n’t know what those chapters were about when I got through with them.

Let the printers follow my punctuation—it is the one thing I am inflexibly particular about. For corrections turning my “sprang” into “sprung” I am thankful; also for corrections of my grammar, for grammar is a science that was always too many for yours truly; but I like to have my punctuation respected. I learned it in a hundred printing—offices when I was a jour, printer; so it’s got more real variety about it than any other accomplishment I possess, and I reverence it accordingly.

I have n’t seen any chapter 2, nor chapter 4—nor the prefatory paragraph. But no matter; if my punctuation has been followed in them I will go bail that nobody else can find an error in them. Only, you want to be sure that they’ve been set up and not omitted. </span>  Shortly after writing Ticknor in this fashion Mark Twain wrote to Osgood, on August 23, and he was more than annoyed:

My dear Osgood, Welcome home again! Shall see you before you get this letter. I am sending Chapter VI back unread. I don’t want to see any more until this godamded idiotic punctuating & capitalizing has been swept away & my own restored.

I didn’t see this chapter until I had already read Chap. VII—which latter mess of God—forever—God—damned lunacy has turned my hair white with rage.

This letter makes it clear that Mark Twain was not able to read consecutive chapters, at least in the initial stages of proof: he looked at chapters 1, 3, 5, and 7, and that “latter mess of God—forever—God—damned lunacy” finally enraged him. At some point before August 23 he evidently received the even—numbered chapters, or at least chapter 6—which he returned “unread,” presuming that the “godamded idiotic punctuating & capitalizing” was as bad there as in the odd—numbered chapters. Despite his tirades to Ticknor and to Osgood, chapters 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 30, and 31 appeared in the book with their punctuation and word forms drastically altered from the manuscript readings. Chapters 2,4, and 6, on the other hand, are fairly close to the manuscript. It therefore seems likely that alternate chapters were set by two compositors, only one of whom had been carefully or persuasively instructed in the author’s preference for his own styling. Mark Twain’s protest about the early chapters was ineffective: if the compositors did reset them or follow his corrections on the proofs, they did not succeed in restoring the practice of the manuscript. Nevertheless, he did eventually prevail, and of the thirty—four chapters in the first American edition, twenty—five conform fairly closely to the manuscript in the styling of accidentals.

Mark Twain met with Osgood on August 25 in Boston, and the problems with the printers were probably ironed out at that time. On September 12 he took a trip to Fredonia, New York, to visit his “mother & the rest of that family.” He reported to Mary Mason Fairbanks on September 18 that when he had returned two days previously he had found “a stack” of proofs, “waiting to be read.” He had already read “⅔ of it in proof,” he explained, and he now supposed that his “labors on that work corr: were  about ended.” Presumably he finished reading and returned the final third of the proofs promptly.

Although there is of course no direct evidence of the revisions Mark Twain made on the proofs during the summer, comparison of the manuscript with the first American edition reveals a number of “literary lapses and infelicities” that were corrected at this time, some of them undoubtedly by the author. For instance, the first American edition substitutes “Hugo” for the manuscript “Hugh” at 241.3 and 241.22. Mark Twain had mixed up the names of his villains intermittently throughout the work and had already corrected the mistake several times in his manuscript—for example, at 240.5 and 242.5.

In fact Mark Twain generally seems to have continued on the proofs the process of revision that he had begun on his manuscript. He polished his dialogue and narration, often choosing the modern form of a word instead of an archaic one. In addition to the substitution in chapter 3 of “It is” for the manuscript “’Tis” (at 62.21, 64.13, and 64.37), which he mentioned in his letter to Ticknor, the first American edition substituted “since” for the manuscript “sith” at 105.30. Mark Twain had altered “sith” to “since” five times in his manuscript (at 93.11, 140.17, 143.1, 148.16, and 167.17) and was obviously making the same change on proof here.

Also consistent with his manuscript revision are several changes in italic and roman word forms. Mark Twain took great pains when marking for emphasis and often returned to his work to tinker with italics, especially in dialogue. There are eight such changes that probably occurred on proof (see the emendations at ref: 69.14 , ref: 78.14  corr: twice , ref: 139.5 , ref: 139.15 , ref: 164.8 , ref: 229.19 , and ref: 235.24 ).

By October 7 the publisher’s prospectus was printed and ready for distribution to the canvassing agents. It was made up of selected pages that would later appear in the first American edition, as well as four pages of descriptive material inserted by the publisher (including a price list), several ruled pages for subscribers’ names, and samples of four bindings. Machine collation of the prospectus against the first American edition reveals that both were printed from plates rather than from standing type.

As Mark Twain indicated in his letter to Mrs. Fairbanks, he had considered his work on the book virtually finished when he returned the proofs to Osgood in late September. Nevertheless, a number of revisions were made in the plates sometime between the printing of the prospectus and the printing of the first American edition. Many of these changes were suggested by William Dean Howells and Edward H. House.

Between September 11 and October 12, Mark Twain sent a set of proof sheets to Howells, who had been commissioned to write a review of The Prince and the Pauper, which appeared in the New York Tribune of October 25. Howells had already read the book in manuscript the year before, when Mark Twain gave it to him seeking his reaction and comments. On October 12, Howells wrote to him about the proofs: quote:
I send some pages with words queried. These and other things I have found in the book seem rather strong milk for babes—more like milk—punch in fact. If you give me leave I will correct them in the plates for you; but such a thing as that on p. 154, I can’t cope with. I don’t think such words as devil, and hick (for person) and basting (for beating,) ought to be suffered in your own narration. I have found about 20 such.
  And again on October 13 he wrote: quote:
I send some passages marked, which I don’t think are fit to go into a book for boys: your picture doesn’t gain strength from corr: them  and corr: they  would justly tell against it. I venture to bring them to your notice in your own interest; and I hope you wont think I’m meddling.
  Mark Twain’s response indicated that he did not think that Howells was meddling. On October 15 he wrote: quote:
Slash away, with entire freedom; & the more you slash, the better I shall like it & the more I shall be cordially obliged to you. Alter any and everything you choose—don’t hesitate.
  Despite Mark Twain’s apparent willingness for Howells to make changes without consultation, Howells was actually sending him the proof sheets with queries or suggested alterations, and the author was making the decisions. He had often in the past asked Howells to read his works as an editor and as a friend; Howells had criticized The Adventures of Tom Sawyer before it was published, for example. And just as he had done with Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain undoubtedly took some of Howells’ suggestions, rejected some, and came up with new solutions in other instances.

Of the problems that Howells specifically mentioned in his letter of October 12, “devils” was altered to “fiends” at 50.15, and “basting” was altered to “beating” at 115.6. The word “hick” mysteriously does not appear in the manuscript, the prospectus, the first American edition, or either of the two editions set from American proof sheets (the first English and Canadian editions). Mark Twain may have added it during his first proofreading and then taken it out again before the book was printed.

In the instances already mentioned Howells may have suggested the alternative readings that Mark Twain adopted. But Mark Twain apparently supplied his own new reading for the “thing . . . on p. 154” (p. 150 of this edition) which Howells couldn’t cope with changing—the last line of the ballad that Miles Hendon sings (beginning at 148.8). The manuscript reads: lg: l: There was a woman in our town,  l: In our town did dwell—  l: She loved her husband dearilee,  l: But another man twice as well,—    In the first American edition the last line of the ballad was altered, in the plates, to read “But another man he loved she,—.”

In order to identify the other revisions resulting from the “20 such” queries that Howells mentioned in his first letter about the proofs, and the unspecified “passages marked” which he wrote of in his second, we must rely on the physical evidence provided by the altered plates. Alterations in the plates have been discovered by two methods. The first is machine collation of the prospectus against the first American edition with a Hinman collator. At 90.3, for instance, such collation revealed that “styes” was cut into the plates of the first American edition. lg: l: 78space:  TOM  l: in the slums may tell  l: soever “—    lg: l: 78space:  TOM  l: in the styes may tell  l: soever”—    Prospectus space:   First American edition

The second method is careful sight inspection of the first American edition pages. The way the type was cut in made many plate changes apparent, because slight differences in type size, alignment, and height often resulted in uneven inking. For instance, an inspection of the first American edition reveals that “magnificent array of” was cut into the plates at 58.11–12. lg: l: g bastions and turrets, the huge stone  l: and its magnificent array of colossal  l: signs and symbols of English royalty.  l: be satisfied at last? Here, indeed, was a    First American edition

About thirty plate alterations that were probably suggested by Howells have been identified. Although in the absence of the proofs themselves it is of course impossible to determine their provenance with certainty, most of them reflect the sorts of concerns which Howells expressed in his letters of October 12 and 13. He undoubtedly considered the words “womb” at 96.9 and 267.4, and “misbegotten” at 152.9 and 175.37–38, “rather strong milk for babes,” for example. Other alterations seem aimed at ridding the book of American colloquialisms, and one of the few criticisms that Howells offered in his review of October 25 was that “the effort to preserve the English of Henry VII.’s reign in the dialogue sometimes wavers between theatrical insistence and downright lapse into the American of Arthur’s Presidency.”

Not long after the plate alterations presumably suggested by Howells had been ordered, House also saw a set of proof sheets and made suggestions that resulted in further alterations. House, like Howells, had read the book once before, in manuscript. When he saw the proofs he became concerned about an anachronism that he had apparently not noticed the first time: by calling the Hendons baronets Mark Twain was giving them a title that did not exist in the time of Henry VIII. His discovery set off a flurry of activity to find ways to correct or rationalize the Hendons’ status without having to tear up the plates of the book once again.

House wrote of his discovery to Mark Twain, who replied on October 21: quote:
No, my boy, we couldn’t have spoken of the baronet matter (eh?); because I should have known in an instant that baronets in Henry VIII’s time wouldn’t begin to answer. I’ve suggested to Osgood a foot—note which is possibly a leather—headed way out of the difficulty, & asked him to advise with you & Howells about it. If there was no baronet but Miles, I could turn him into a knight, easily enough; but there’s his derned old father & his brother besides, & they would make just no end of trouble, because there is so much about the transmission of the title; whereas I can’t venture to let a knight transmit his title. It would be indecent.
  In a letter to Osgood written the same day, Mark Twain proposed two possible footnotes to follow the words “My father is a baronet” in Miles Hendon’s speech at 139.23–24. The longer of the notes, which he canceled before he sent the letter, reads: quote:
After the plates of this book were ready for the press, del: it  I chanced to remember that in England at that time, there were not yet any baronets. But it was too late to change the plates & make the correction. Now, therefore, wherever a baronet occurs in these pages, I ask the reader to kindly remember that I created him, & ought in simple right & justice to have the praise & credit of it.—M.T. </span>  Realizing that there might be difficulty in fitting such a long footnote onto the page, he also wrote a shorter version: “I created all the baronets that occur in this book. My plates were electrotyped & ready for the press before it recurred to my memory that in England there were no baronets in those days.—M.T.”

Adding a footnote meant that room had to be made for the new matter by deleting lines from the text. In the same letter Mark Twain indicated that he had “succeeded in providing the necessary room” for the shorter footnote, apparently by deleting “A grateful . . . him;” (139.10–11) and making the paragraph at 139.21 run—in. The deletion and the altered paragraphing stood in the first American edition, but he adopted another solution to the baronet problem, and a different footnote was used.

Before Osgood acted on Mark Twain’s letter, House wrote proposing the new solution. House’s letter included a list of changes to be made where the text referred to the Hendons’ rank, and suggestions for at least two alternative footnotes. The author replied to House: quote:
I am under unspeakable obligations to you, & you can bet that Mrs. Clemens will be, too, . . . for she was totally unable to reconcile herself to that proposed foot—note of mine—felt about it just as you did—& she made me feel so, too, which was the reason I wanted you advised with before anything should be done with it. . . .

And to go through the tedious work of searching out the resulting changes in the book—text & applying the remedies was another heavy job, too. For all of which I am most sincerely grateful. . . .

I prefer Form B, & have written Osgood explaining why; but I want my preference to yield to yours & Osgood’s. I have lent Osgood your letter to make the emendations by, as they are all clearly set forth in it. . . .

You have given me a prodigious sense of relief, my boy. I was in a confoundedly awkward place. And I was taking a mighty awkward & dangerous way to get out of it, too. </span>  “Form B” was almost certainly the footnote that appears in chapter 12 (p. 139): quote:
He refers to the order of baronets, or baronettes,—the barones minores, as distinct from the parliamentary barons;—not, it need hardly be said, the baronets of later creation.
  According to House’s later statement, he was responsible for “nearly a dozen” changes in the text, made to adjust it to the Hendons’ new status. In addition to the footnote, the changes were the substitution of the word “knight” for “baronet” (at 144 caption, 144.18, 145.5, 247.6, 247.9, 289.5, and 330.2), the substitution of “honors” or “show” for “title” (at 285.9 and 331.11), the substitution of “For” for “Sir” (at 266.20), and the insertion of the phrase “one of the smaller lords, by knight service—” following “baronet—” in Miles Hendon’s speech at 139.24. Although most of these alterations were cut into the plates, collation of the prospectus against the first American edition reveals that the page with the footnote and the added phrase was entirely reset.

Mark Twain was very pleased with this solution. In his letter to Osgood explaining why he preferred “Form B” of House’s footnote, he said: quote:
It effectually checkmates the criticaster, & at the same time it doesn’t furnish him detailed information to spread out on; whereas, if we furnished him these details in an elaborate Appendix—note, it is ammunition which he would try to find a way to use against us—just to show his learning. Damn him, he doesn’t know where to look for it, now.
  Mark Twain made no mention of further revision in his correspondence after late October. But alteration of the plates continued even after printing had begun: a second state of the first American edition corrects three errors passed over in the preparation of the first state.

The first American edition was published on 12 December 1881. Four impressions, totaling just over 25,000 copies, were made between mid—November and the end of December. By 1 March 1882 over 21,000 copies had been sold, and soon another impression of 5,000 copies was made. Most of the printing for these five impressions was done by Rand, Avery, and Company; the balance was done by John Wilson and Son. Sales declined drastically thereafter, for almost 5,000 copies remained unsold by February 1884, when Osgood ceased to be Mark Twain’s publisher and all rights, stock, and other material were transferred to Charles L. Webster and Company.

After becoming Mark Twain’s publisher in 1884, the Webster company continued to issue the first American edition of The Prince and the Pauper until 1891. At first the unbound copies acquired from Osgood were simply cased in Webster bindings with no change of imprint, but later when new sheets were printed the title page bore the Webster company name and the date of issue. The change of publishers produced no change in the text. All subsequent American editions derive from the second state of the first American edition and contribute nothing to the present text.

The first English edition, set from American proof sheets, was published earlier than the first American edition to ensure the English copyright. It was printed by Spottiswoode and Company, London, and published by Chatto and Windus on 1 December 1881. Mark Twain did not see the printer’s copy, nor did he read proof. The text exists in three states, the first set from proofs sent from the United States in late September and October, the second corrected against a copy of the first American edition, and the third further corrected and styled apparently by a Chatto and Windus or press proofreader. Machine collation indicates that all three states of the first English edition were printed from standing type, into which corrections were introduced.

Because the English edition had to appear before the American edition, it was important to coordinate their production. The English copyright of Mark Twain’s preceding book, A Tramp Abroad, also typeset from American proof sheets, had been threatened when the first English edition was published later than the first American edition. A misunderstanding delayed the dispatch of electroplates for the illustrations, and over a hundred pages of text had not reached England when the American Publishing Company brought out the book in the United States in March of 1880 with no advance notice to Chatto and Windus. When the final pages did reach England, Chatto and Windus quickly printed an unillustrated two—volume “Library Edition” and later, when the electroplates came, followed it up with a more expensive illustrated edition. But Andrew Chatto felt that the American Publishing Company had seriously threatened the English copyright by publishing “without giving us sufficient notice” and complained of the financial burden of having to make two distinct typesettings with no copyright guarantee.

The following year, remembering all the difficulties with A Tramp Abroad and more concerned than ever about his copyright, Mark Twain wrote to Chatto on 7 October 1881 to assure him that the same thing would not happen with The Prince and the Pauper: quote:
Osgood will get the pictures & advance sheets to you in ample time, & there will be no misunderstanding & no trouble about anything.
  Osgood did send everything to Chatto and Windus in “ample time.” The publishers’ records indicate that the first third of the proofs and duplicate electroplates for the illustrations had arrived by September 27. Chatto immediately placed an order with his printers for an impression of 5,000. He wrote to Osgood on the same day that they would issue an illustrated edition of the book first, instead of an unillustrated edition as they had done with A Tramp Abroad. He wrote to Mark Twain on November 1: quote:
All goes smoothly for issuing the volume here by the date arranged . . . ; we found the illustrations so important a feature in the book that we concluded it would be better to start at once with the single volume illustrated edition at 7/6.
  Evidently by the time Chatto wrote, the rest of the proofs had arrived, and the first impression was complete or nearly so, for soon after, on November 3, Chatto and Windus ordered a second impression of 5,000. On the last day of the month, the company ordered a third impression of 5,000, after which no further copies of the first English edition were printed.

The earliest state of the first English edition incorporates the changes that Mark Twain made on the American proofs during the summer, but not all of the changes suggested by Howells in October, in particular those in the first part of the book. Spottiswoode and Company received the first installment of the American proofs and began setting type from them before all of the plate alterations had been made in the United States, but collation indicates that the printers must have received later proofs after they had been corrected or marked to include Howells’ changes. In any case Mark Twain had nothing to do with the proofs forwarded to England, which were as a matter of course sent directly from the Osgood company.

However, during the flurry of activity over the American proofs set off by House’s discovery of the baronet anachronism, Mark Twain did become concerned about the transmission of the alterations to England. On October 25, after sending House’s list of changes to Osgood, he suggested that Osgood cable at least a footnote to Chatto and Windus: quote:
Wouldn’t it answer to cable Chatto about thus: . . .

If convenient, in paragraph . . . ., Chapter . . . ., after the words “Sir Richard Hendon,” refer by the usual sign to either a foot—note or Appendix—note, said note to be worded thus:

corr: here, in your cablegram, insert del: one of  the foot—notedel: s  in form B. —corr: or A foot—note, to be new devised by House.  Osgood.

How is that, Osgood? If not convenient, Chatto would leave things as they are, & no harm done.

English critics are more likely to discover such a flaw than ours. . . .

Or, send any other cablegram that suits you. Or none at all, if that seems best. Do just what seems best, & I am content. </span>  Apparently Osgood did cable the baronet footnote and all of House’s related changes to England, for even the earliest state of the first English edition shares these readings with the first American edition.

On November 18 Ticknor informed Mark Twain that he had “mailed Chatto a complete book so that he can look the whole thing over.” This copy of the first American edition was probably used by the Chatto and Windus editors to correct the early printing of the first English edition and resulted in the second state. The second state differs from the first in ten substantive readings, nine of which are taken from the first American edition; for instance, “devils” becomes “fiends” at 50.15, and “make a” is corrected to “make” at 80.9. The English editors were not thorough, however, and did not alter in the English edition all of the substantive readings that had been changed in the first American edition; for example, the description of the beggars at 191.22, “diseased ones, with running sores peeping from ineffectual wrappings,” was retained throughout the first English edition, although it had been dropped from the American.

The third state of the first English edition reflects the efforts of a house editor or press proofreader who made further necessary corrections (“art” for “are” at 197.12), fussed with usage (“slowly” for “slow” at 59.1), and corrected for house style as well (“By—and—by” for “By and by” at 54.4). All three states of the first English edition contain a great many house conventions, as well as a number of sophistications and Anglicisms.

Although the first English edition has no primary authority, it is of interest because of its close relationship with various stages of the first American edition, which Mark Twain revised. No subsequent English edition in his lifetime has any bearing on the present text.

Like the first English edition, the first Canadian edition of The Prince and the Pauper was published earlier than the first American. It was an unillustrated edition brought out by Dawson Brothers, Montreal, to establish Canadian copyright. Printer’s copy was again a set of the American proof sheets. Although printed in Canda, it was set and plated in the United States. The author did not read proof for the edition.

Mark Twain was determined to obtain Canadian copyright in order to prevent a Canadian piracy of The Prince and the Pauper. Piracies of his earlier books had been sold not only in Canada but in the United States, severely undercutting the sales and profits of the American subscription editions for which he received royalties. In late September, Osgood, having read the Canadian copyright act and corresponded with Samuel Dawson, “a thoroughly honorable man and the most intelligent publisher in Canada,” suggested a plan whereby Mark Twain would put out an authorized edition in Canada, attempting to get Canadian copyright, but would meanwhile assign his imperial copyright to Chatto and Windus, who would be in a better legal position to fight infringers in case the effort failed. In addition, Osgood wrote, Clemens was to go to Canada for several days before and after publication, and they would “arrange to have an edition set up & printed in Canada at the proper time.”

At first the author agreed: he wrote Osgood on October 2 to “go ahead and set up the types for Canada whenever you please.” But by October 27 he had begun to have second thoughts, having realized that “in setting up and printing in Canada, we run one risk—that the sheets may be bought or stolen, and a pirated edition brought out ahead of us.” He suggested as a solution that a signature here and there be left out of the Montreal printing until a few days before the Canadian publishing date. The next day he advanced another plan to Osgood whereby the first and last signatures would be typeset in Boston and the rest in Canada. quote:
You see, what I’m after is a preventive; it is preferable to even the best of cures. Those sons of up there will steal anything they can get their hands on—possible suits for damages and felony would be no more restraint upon them, I think, than would the presence of a young lady be upon a stud—horse who had just found a mare unprotected by international copyright.
  Finally, on November 1, he wrote Osgood, “Derned if I can think of anything to suggest except taking a set of plates to Canada to print from. If that will answer in place of setting up the book there, I should recommend that.—They wouldn’t need to be electrotyped, but only stereotyped.” This idea was adopted; the book was set and plated in Boston by Rand, Avery, and Company, and the plates were sent to Dawson Brothers for printing on November 18.

Clemens left for Montreal on November 26 and two days later wrote Osgood from Canada, “Have just returned from visiting Mr. Dawson. He has printed an edition of 275, and they are ready to be put into the paper covers.” Although he was greatly concerned about the way the Canadian edition was to be produced, and was in Montreal when it was printed, he had nothing directly to do with its production. Thus the text of the Dawson edition is without authority and is of interest mainly because of its close relationship with the publication of the first American edition.

Collation indicates that printer’s copy for the Dawson edition was a late stage of the American proof sheets. Once it was designated as copy for the Canadian edition, it undoubtedly did not leave the house of Rand, Avery, and Company, who were simultaneously working on the first American edition. The composition was quite accurate, and the Dawson text closely resembles that of the first American edition. The Canadian edition lacks the illustrations and the Latimer letter frontispiece and transcription, but otherwise differs from the first American edition in only six substantive readings, two of which (“cornered” at 88.37 and “slums” at 90.3) are manuscript readings that also appear in the earliest state of the English edition, apparently having been changed for the American edition only in a very late stage of proof. The other four variants appear to be due to compositor error—for example, the substitution of “unchartered” for “uncharted” at 100.5.

One odd circumstance of the Canadian edition is that of the three readings that differentiate the first and second states of the first American edition, the Canadian edition shares one reading with the first state and two readings with the second state. Perhaps the compositor first noticed the need for the two corrections in the text as he was setting type for the Canadian edition, and as a consequence they were later, along with the third correction, cut into the plates of the first American edition.

Although Clemens went to Montreal to establish residency, he was not granted a Canadian copyright. The copyright law required that he be “domiciled” in Canada, which was interpreted to mean permanent and not merely temporary residency. Consequently, as he had feared, two pirated editions of The Prince and the Pauper appeared in Canada. The earliest, the Rose—Belford Publishing Company edition, appeared in early 1882. Sometime later in the year the second piracy appeared, published by John Ross Robertson. Both piracies derive from the Dawson edition and are therefore without authority.

The second American edition, set from a copy of the second state of the first American edition, was published by the Webster company in 1892. Clemens was in Europe at the time and had no involvement with the production of the new edition. His only concern with it seems to have been financial. Collation against the first American edition reveals only fourteen substantive variants, all of them probably due to compositor error.

All subsequent American editions published in the author’s lifetime derive from the Webster 1892 edition; Mark Twain had nothing to do with their production. The third American edition, called the “Library Edition,” was set from a copy of the second and published by Harper and Brothers in 1896. The fourth American edition, the last published in Mark Twain’s lifetime, was set from a copy of the third. Issued in numerous impressions with varied imprints, the fourth American edition was variously called the “Autograph Edition,” the “Royal Edition,” the “Japan Edition,” the “De Luxe Edition,” the “Riverdale Edition,” the “Underwood Edition,” the “Hillcrest Edition,” the “Author’s National Edition,” and so on.

Sometime after the “Autograph Edition” was printed, a marked copy of the “Royal Edition” of The Prince and the Pauper was used to correct the plates. It does not contain authorized revisions and corrects only those errors introduced into the text of the “Autograph Edition.” Collation indicates that the proofreader must have drawn his corrections from the 1896 “Library Edition,” because errors that had first occurred in that edition were not corrected. Mark Twain seems to have been consulted only once, about whether to make corrections in the transcription of the Latimer letter frontispiece (see the textual note at ref: 29.6–32 ).

The second English edition was ordered by Chatto and Windus from Spottiswoode and Company on the same day as they ordered the third impression of the first English edition. It probably derives from one of the later states of the first English edition. The third English edition was a Chatto and Windus resetting from a copy of the third state of the first English edition. First printed in 1891, it was initially called the “7/6” and later the “3/6” edition by the publishers. In 1900 Chatto and Windus offered a set of Mark Twain’s works for sale by subscription. This set, called the “Author’s De Luxe Edition,” was actually the 1899 American Publishing Company edition produced with a dual imprint. The Prince and the Pauper is volume 15 of this set. The last English edition published during Mark Twain’s lifetime was printed in 1907 in an impression of 50,000 copies to sell for sixpence each.