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The year 1820, has ushered in a new volume, being the Fourth of the ANNUAL BIOGRAPHY and OBI
The Editor is not unwilling to assume some trifling credit, in consequence of an early and regular publication ; but for all that is curious, interesting, or original, in the present work, the Reader is wholly indebted to the assistance, correspondence, and communications of others. Some elucidations on this subject, may not prove altogether unworthy of attention.
The Memoir of the greatest female singer* this country has ever produced, is drawn up with the most scrupulous attention to delicacy and decorum. It was composed by a gentleman, who both knew and admired her in the character of a professional woman, and he has been kindly and readily assisted with the most correct information on the part of one of her surviving trustees.
* Mrs. Billington.
The life of the Anglo-American Colonel Tatham, will be found replete with incident and misfortunes : it is to the full as singular as'that of Mr. Harriott in the preceding volume.
The biography of a late Knight of the Bath *, to whom the Letters of Junius have been recently ascribed, with a hardihood that at least challenges investigation, contains, what he himself was accustomed to term “ Notes for History,” most of which have been obtained from personal communication.
We have prevailed on a gentleman, perhaps the only one in the kingdom, who had inclination and opportunities to execute such a task — to draw up an account of a celebrated charactert, who, after expending upwards of 100,0001. in objects of vertù, lately died in a jail! By such as knew him, this article will be deemed at once curious, interesting, and original : indeed, like some fine specimens of his own shells, it must be termed unique, as no other similar collection of facts is in existence.
The Memoirs of a late celebrated poet f, are drawn up by two of his friends. The one part, whịch is chiefly dedicated to the consideration of his early life, appears to have been compiled both from oral communication, and documents furnished by himself. The supplement, written by a gentle
Sir Philip Francis. + H. C. Jennings, Esq. Dr. Wolcot.
man who holds a very respectable situation in one of the public offices, while it rectifies some errors respecting his family, details a variety of curious particulars connected with the latter portion of his life. Had it been received sooner, more justice would have been done to an article, which, in its original form, must have merited a double portion of praise. The whole, taken together, will, perhaps, be found to constitute one of the completest specimens of biography, lately submitted to the notice of the Public. A short but authentic life of the late James Watt, F. R. S. cannot fail to attract attention. It has been sanctioned by the approbation of those to whom his memory and reputation are peculiarly dear.
At a time, when the penal statutes are thought by some to stand in need of revision, and the condition of the criminal poor, has become a subject of frequent debate and investigation in both Houses of Parliament, the documents contained in the memoirs of the late * Inspector-General of convicts, cannot fail to prove worthy of attention. The rules laid down by him being the result of long experience both by sea and land, are well calculated to afford useful hints to such benevolent legislators as are occupied about meliorating the condition of those confined on board of hulks, conveyed to distant settlements by means of transports, or doomed to spend a large portion of their lives in Penitentiary
* Aaron Graham, Esq.
It is greatly to be lamented, that we have been unable to include many celebrated characters within the limits of the present volume. Among some others that excite our regret, are the Father of the English Bar* ; the venerable and learned Dean of Christ Church ; and a nobleman, whose name is connected with the Agriculture of this country, in all its various branches, having not only devoted the greater part of his life to husbandry, experimental and practical, but to the improvement of our various breeds of cattle, both native and foreign. Of all these, memoirs shall appear in our next volume.
* Sir Arthur Pigot, late Attorney-General.