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without the knowledge of her family. Early one morning in February, 1772, she left Staningfield for London, and, with a few necessary articles of apparel packed in a band-box, walked, or rather ran, a distance of two miles, to the place from whence the coach set out for the metropolis. This step, in a girl of sixteen years of age, did not augur very favourably of her future conduct and respectability ; but the subsequent tenor of her life affords additional proof that very admirable results will often arise out of indifferent, and even reprehensible, beginnings. On her arrival in London, she sought a distant relation, who lived in the Strand; but, on reaching the house, was, to her great mortification, informed that she had retired from business, and was settled in North Wales. It was near ten o'clock at night, and her distress at this disappointment moved the compassion of the people of whom she had made her inquiries, who kindly accommodated her with a lodging. This civility, however, awakened her suspicions: she had read in Clarissa Harlowe, of various modes of seduction practised in London, and feared that similar intentions were meditating against her. A short time after her arrival, therefore, observing that she had awakened their curiosity, our young heroine seized her band-box, and, without uttering a single word, rushed out of the house, and left them to their conjectures, that she was either a maniac or an impostor.”
Her necessities drove her to the stage, where she met with considerable success, and performed principal characters when only eighteen years of age. After a residence of four years in Edinburgh, with her husband, Mr Inchbald, also an actor of some celebrity, she removed to London, where she acted for several years at Covent Garden.
Soon after her return to the metropolis she became an authoress. Her first piece, the comedy entitled • I'll tell you What,' was at first rejected by Colman of Haymarket, but finally approved and brought out with considerable success, in 1785. In 1789 she retired from the stage, and devoted herself from that period entirely to literature. She wrote a number of popular dramatic pieces, and edited a new edition of • The British Theatre,' and other dramatic collections. But it is to her two novels, · Nature and Art,' and “The Simple Story,' that she chiefly owes her literary reputation.
Mrs Inchbald died at Kensington in 1821. The following character of her is from the pen of Mr Taylor, then editor of the Sun newspaper: “ Her mind had an original cast, and her literary style was peculiar, terse, pointed, and impressive. By exemplary industry and prudence she had raised herself into a state of comfortable independence; but she had a liberal heart, and deprived herself of many enjoyments, in order to provide for relations who stood in need of her assistance. animated, cheerful, and intelligent in conversation, and her remarks were not taken on trust, but were the effects of acute penetration. Her dramatic productions and her novels, a Simple Story,' and · Nature and Art,' show a deep knowledge of the human heart, and those novels in particular are well calculated to improve it. She was very handsome in youth, and retained much of her beauty and elegance till her death. Those who did not know her real character, and the benevolence of her nature, considered her prudence as parsimony; but she was capable of
| Annual Obituary, vol. vi.
the most generous actions, and, having secured her great object, independence, she was always the ready friend of distress. As a proof that prudence, and not parsimony, governed her actions, she was offered a thousand pounds, by two different booksellers, for memoirs of herself, which she was known to have written, and which only extended to the period when she fixed her residence in London, but she declined both offers, conceiving that such a publication would be improper during her life. She was about sixty-six years of age, but appeared to be much younger. Though beautiful in person, and in the early part of her life exposed to the hardships and vicissitudes of the theatrical profession, in a provincial career, ber conduct was unimpeached, and unimpeachable, and society has seldom suffered a heavier loss than in the death of this truly estimable woman. Mrs Inchbald's published productions are: 1. Appearance is against Them, a farce ; 8vo. 1786. 2. I'll tell you What, a comedy ; 8vo. 1786. 3. The Widow's Vow, a farce ; 8vo. 1786. 4. The Child of Nature, a play ; 8vo. 1788. 5. Midnight Hour, a comedy ; 8vo. 1788. 6. Such Things are, a play, 8vo. 1788. 7. The Married Man, a comedy; 1789. 8. Next-door Neighbours, a comedy ; 1791. 9. A Simple Story, a novel ; 4 vols. 12mo. 1791. 10. Every One has bis Fault, a comedy ; 8vo. 1793. 11. The Wedding-day, a comedy ; 8vo. 1794. 12. Nature and Art, a novel; 2 vols. 12mo. 1796. 13. Wives as they were, and Maids as they are; 1797. 14. Lover's Vows, a play ; 8vo. 1798. 15. Wise Man of the East; 8vo. 1799. 16. To Marry or not to Marry, a comedy ; 8vo. 1805. 17. A Collection of Plays, with Biographical and Critical Prefaces; 25 vols. 12mo. 1806-1809. 18. A Collection of Farc and other Afterpieces; in 7 vols. 12mo. and 18mo. 1808. 19. The Modern Theatre; 10 vols. 12mo. 1809.
Hester Lynch Piozzi.
BORN A, D. 1739,-DIED A. D. 1821.
This lady was the daughter of John Salusbury, Esq., a Welsh gentleman. She was born at Bodville, in Caernarvonshire. Her education was conducted with great care and skill, and, in very early life, her literary acquirements rendered her the object of considerable admiration in the fashionable circles to which she was introduced. In her 24th year she married Mr Thrale, a brewer of opulence, and then M. P. for Southwark. “ Dr Johnson,” says Boswell, “ had a very sincere esteem for Mr Thrale, as a man of excellent principles, a good scholar, well-skilled in trade, of a sound understanding, and of manners such as presented the character of a plain English squire. As a false notion has prevailed that Mr Thrale was inferior, and, in some degree, insignificant, compared with Mrs Thrale, it may be proper to give a true state of the case from the authority of Johnson himself, in bis own words: 'I know no man (said the doctor) who is more master of his wife and family than Thrale; if he but holds up a finger he is obeyed. It is a great mistake to suppose that she is above him in literary attainments : she is more flippant; but he has ten times her learning: he is a regular scholar; but her learning is that of a school-boy in one of the lower forms.""
Mr Thrale died in 1781, and, in 1784, his widow, greatly to the annoyance of Dr Johnson, who had assumed a sort of guardianship over her, gave her hand to an Italian gentleman of the name of Piozzi. Shortly after her marriage she accompanied her husband to Florence, where her literary tastes found exercise in "The Florence Miscellany,' of which the author of the · Baviad' gives the following amusing account: “In 1785 a few English of both sexes, whom chance had jumbled together at Florence, took a fancy to while away their time in scribbling high-flown panegyrics on themselves ; and complimentary canzonnettas on two or three Italians, who understood too little of the language in which they were written to be disgusted with them. In this there was not much barm ; nor, indeed, much good; but as folly is progressive, they soon wrought themselves into an opinion that they really deserved the fine things which they mutually id and sung of each other. Thus persuaded, they were unwilling their inimitable productions should be confined to the little circle that produced them; they, therefore, transmitted them to England ; and as their friends were enjoined not to show them, they were first handed about the town with great assiduity, and then sent to the press.
A short time before the period we speak of, a knot of fantastic coxcombs had set up a daily paper, called “The World.' It was perfectly unintelligible, and, therefore, much read; it was equally lavish of praise and abuse ; (praise of what appeared in its own columns, and abuse of everything that appeared elsewhere ;) and as its conductors were at once ignorant and conceited, they took upon them to direct the taste of the town, by prefixing a short panegyric to every trifle that came before them. At this auspicious period the first cargo of poetry arrived from Florence, and was given to the public through the medium of this favoured paper. There was a specious brilliancy in these exotics, which dazzled the native grubs, who had scarce ever ventured beyond a sheep, and a crook, and a rose-tree grove, with an ostentatious display of blue hills,' and 'crashing torrents,' and 'petrifying suns.' From admiration to imitation is but a step. Honest Yenda tried his hand at a descriptive ode, and succeeded beyond his hopes ; Anna Matilda ; in a word
Unius scabie cadit, et porrigine porci. While the epidemic malady was spreading from fool to fool, Della Crusca came over, and immediately announced himself by a sonnet to love. Anna Matilda wrote an incomparable piece of nonsense in praise of it; and the two 'great luminaries of the age,' as Mr Bell calls them, fell desperately in love with each other. From that period not a day passed without an amatory epistle fraught with lightning and thunder,
et quicquid habent telorum armamentaria cæli.' The fever turned to a frenzy. Laura Maria, Carlos, Orlando, Adelaide, and a thousand other nameless names, caught the infection ; and from one end of the kingdom to the other all was nonsense and Della Crusca."
On her return to England, Mrs Piozzi published an account of her travels, which little interested the public. She continued, however, to write on in spite of an undiscerning public, and produced several vo
lumes, none of which seem to have excited much interest, with the exception of her · Anecdotes of Dr Johnson.'
She died at Clifton, on the 2d of May, 1821. Her life has been thought memorable enough to furnish a volume of Piozziana, from which we shall extract one anecdote of her: When Gifford had abused her, in his Baviad and Mæviad, as · Thrale’s grey widow,' she contrived to get herself invited to dine at the same table with him, just after the publication of his poem, when she sat opposite to him, and removed his perplexity by proposing a glass of wine as a libation to their future good fellowship.
BORN A. D. 1761.--DIED A. D. 1821.
This eminent architect and engineer was born at Phantassie, in East Lothian, on the 7th of June, 1761. His father was a respectable farmer in that celebrated agricultural district, but died while the subject of this notice was yet in his fifth year. At twelve years of age he was apprenticed to an ingenious mill-wright, the proximity of whose shop to the farm occupied by the Rennies had first drawn the attention of the boy to mechanical arts. He speedily acquired a competent practical knowledge of mill-wright work, and further improved bimself by removing to Edinburgh, and attending the lectures of Professors Robison and Black. The former of these gentlemen, pleased with his intelligence, and the mastery which he displayed in practical mechanics, introduced him to Messrs Boulton and Watt of Birmingham, by whom he was engaged to superintend the erection of the Albion mills at Blackfriar's Bridge. These mills were completed about 1787, and wilfully destroyed by fire in 1791, in consequence of a popular notion that they created a monopoly injurious to the public good. Mr Watt has, in his notes to Professor Robison's account of the steam-engine, borne unqualified testimony to the skill displayed by Mr Rennie in the works thus wantonly destroyed : “In place of wooden wheels," he says, “always subject to frequent derangement, wheels of cast-iron, with the teeth truly formed and finished, and properly proportioned to the work, were here employed ; and other machinery, which used to be made of wood, was made of cast-iron, in improved forms; and, I believe, the work executed here may be said to form the commencement of that system of mill-work which has proved so useful to this country. In the construction of that mill-work and machinery, Boulton and Watt derived most valuable assistance from that able mechanician and engineer, Mr John Rennie, then just entering into business, who assisted in planning them, and under whose direction they were executed.”
Soon after this Mr Rennie was employed to construct the machinery of Whitbread's brewhouse, and of the powder-mills at Tunbridge. “In these mills, and all the mill-work which he erected, he effected one great improvement, by making the horizontal bridgetree perfectly immoveable, and thus freeing the machinery from that irregular play which must, in the end, have destroyed every kind of mechanism. Forinerly, it had been usual to place the vertical axis of the running inillstone in a bush, placed in the middle of the horizontal bridgetree which was supported only at its two extremities, in consequence of which the bridgetree yielded to the variations of pressure, arising from the greater or less quantity of grain which was adınitted between the millstones ; and was conceived (till Mr Rennie showed it to be an injurious one,) to be a useful effect.”!
Mr Rennie was destined, however, to reap a higher fame in another department of practical engineering. He early turned his attention to architectural works, and from the death of Smeaton, to the day of his own death, stood at the head of our civil engineers. One of the first bridges which he planned and executed, was the much admired one immediately below the junction of the Teviot with the Tweed, at Kelso. It consists of a level roadway, resting on five elliptical arehes, each of which has a span of twenty-three feet, and a rise of twenty-one feet, and is in perfect accordance with the scenery which surrounds it. He was also architect of the aqueduct bridge over the Lune at Lancaster, the new bridges at Leeds, Musselburgh, Newton-Stewart, and New Galloway; and that noble structure the Waterloo bridge over the Thames, of which the foundation-stone was laid on old Michaelmas day, in 1811, and the last a short time previous to the 18th of June, 1816, the first anniversary of the battle of Waterloo ; when it was opened, with great pomp, by the Duke of Wellington, the Prince Regent, and other persons of the first distinction. The expense of this maynificent structure was a million, all of which was raised by private shares. The execution of this bridge, which has not altered inore than five inches in any part, is worthy of the design ; the arches and piers are built of large blocks of granite, with short counter-arches over each pier ; the curve of equilibrium passes everywhere extremely near to the iniddle of the blocks,-in short, “the accuracy of the whole execution seenis to have vied with the beauty of the design, and with the skill of the arrangement, to render the bridge of Waterloo a monument, of which the metropolis of the British empire will have abundant reason to be proud for a long series of successive ages.”
“ Mr Rennie was also the architect of the Southwark bridge, which," says M. Dupin, " is the first in which the bold idea of using cast-iron in solid masses, and of an extent greatly surpassing that of the largest stones employed in arches. The arches of this bridge are formed by metallic masses, of a size which could only be cast in a country in which metallurgy is carried to the highest degree of perfection. Mr Rennie derived from this advanced state of industry all the advantage which it could furnish to his talents. When we consider the extent and the elevation of the arches of this bridge, and the enormity of the elements of which it is composed, we acquire a higher idea of the force of inan, and we exclaim involuntarily, in our admiration of this chef d'auvre, . This is the bridge of giants ! If, from the incalculable effect of the revolutions which empires undergo, the nations of a future age
should demand one day, what was formerly the New Sidon, and what has become of the Tyre of the West, which covered with her vessels every sea ?--most of the edifices, devoured by a destructive climate, will no longer exist to answer the curiosity of man by the voice of monuments; but the