Corbet, William (d. 1838?), printer and newspaper proprietor, was in business in Dublin by 1783; he later had premises in Great Britain Street (1788–1810), Sycamore Alley (1813–22), College Green (1823–4), Palace Street (1825–30), and Upper Ormond Quay (from 1831). In 1783 he was the printer of the Volunteers’ Journal, a lively and controversial newspaper edited by Mathew Carey (qv) that reflected the views of radical Volunteers. Corbet acquired in 1795 the Morning Star, a Dublin newspaper with liberal sympathies, renamed it the Hibernian Telegraph, and turned it into a pro-government paper. He had already been instrumental in the conversion of William Paulet Carey (qv), brother of Mathew and owner of the liberal National Evening Star, to a government supporter, and later persuaded Charles Brenan, editor of The Press, to betray his United Irish associates. The Hibernian Telegraph subsisted on Dublin Castle proclamations, had few advertisements, a low circulation, and no commercial success. In 1810, at the behest of the chief secretary, William Wellesley-Pole (qv), Corbet discontinued it and started The Patriot, which, while deriving an income from proclamations, had more success (in 1813 Corbet claimed that it had 750 subscribers) and by the 1820s was giving half-hearted support to the principle of catholic relief. In 1826 it was renamed The Statesman and in 1829 ceased publication. Throughout his career as a newspaper owner Corbet acted as a government agent and informer and received payments from the Castle.
After Peter Wilson (qv), founder, compiler, and owner of Wilson's Dublin Directory, died in September 1802, Corbet purchased the copyright from his daughters and grandson. He continued the directory (started in 1751) until the issue for 1837. He maintained the high standard of Peter Wilson and his son William (d. 1801) and increased the amount of information given. He was printer of the directory, as well as owner and compiler, until the issue for 1830. Later issues bear the imprints of other printers. Eventually competition from the Post Office Annual Directory, started in 1832, proved too much for Corbet and the issue of Wilson's Dublin Directory for 1837 was the last. He continued to be listed in the Post Office Annual Directory as a ‘law and mercantile printer’ in its issues for 1838 and 1839, but in the 1840 and later issues a David Corbet (presumably a son or nephew) replaced him. It is presumed that William Corbet died in 1838.