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which the last Eighteen Hundred Years have presented to the View of Mankind," in two volumes, quarto, 1801.
The "Autobiographical Memoirs," and the annotated books, were given by her to the late Sir James Fellowes, of Adbury House, Hants, M.D., F.R.S., to whom the letters were addressed. He and the late Sir John Piozzi Salusbury were her executors, and the present publication takes place in pursuance of an agreement with their personal representatives, the Rev. G. A. Salusbury, Rector of Westbury, Salop, and Captain J. Butler Fellowes.
Large and valuable additions to the original stock of materials have reached me since the announcement of the work.
The Rev. Dr. Wellesley, Principal of New Inn Hall, has kindly placed at my disposal his copy of Boswell's "Life of Johnson" (edition of 1816), plentifully sprinkled with marginal notes by Mrs. Piozzi.
The Rev. Samuel Lysons, of Hempsted Court, Gloucester, has liberally allowed me the free use of his valuable collection of books and manuscripts, including numerous letters from Mrs. Piozzi to his father and uncle, the Rev. Daniel Lysons and Mr. Samuel Lysons.
From 1776 to 1809 Mrs. Piozzi kept a copious diary and note-book, called "Thraliana." Johnson thus alludes to it in a letter of September 6th, 1777: "As you have little to do, I suppose you are pretty diligent at the Thraliana;' and a very curious collection posterity will find it. Do not remit the practice
of writing down occurrences as they arise, of whatever kind, and be very punctual in annexing the dates. Chronology, you know, is the eye of history. Do not omit painful casualties or unpleasing passages; they make the variegation of existence; and there are many passages of which I will not promise, with Æneas, et hæc olim meminisse juvabit." "Thraliana," which at one time she thought of burning, is now in the possession of Mr. Salusbury, who deems it of too private and delicate a character to be submitted to strangers, but has kindly supplied me with some curious passages and much valuable information extracted from it.
I shall have many minor obligations to acknowledge as I proceed.
Unless Mrs. Piozzi's character and social position are freshly remembered, her reminiscences and literary remains will lose much of their interest and utility. It has therefore been thought advisable to recapitulate, by way of introduction, what has been ascertained from other sources concerning her; especially during her intimacy with Johnson, which lasted nearly twenty years, and exercised a marked influence on his tone of mind.
"This year (1765)," says Boswell, "was distinguished by his (Johnson) being introduced into the family of Mr. Thrale, one of the most eminent brewers in England, and member of Parliament for the borough of Southwark. . Johnson used to give this account of the rise of Mr. Thrale's father: He worked at six shillings a
week for twenty years in the great brewery, which afterwards was his own. The proprietor of it had an only daughter, who was married to a nobleman. It was not fit that a peer should continue the business. On the old man's death, therefore, the brewery was to be sold. To find a purchaser for so large a property was a difficult matter; and after some time, it was suggested that it would be advisable to treat with Thrale, a sensible, active, honest man, who had been employed in the house, and to transfer the whole to him for thirty thousand pounds, security being taken upon the property. This was accordingly settled. In eleven years Thrale paid the purchase money. He acquired a large fortune, and lived to be a member of Parliament for Southwark. But what was most remarkable was the liberality with which he used his riches. He gave his son and daughters the best education. The esteem which his good conduct procured him from the nobleman who had married his master's daughter made him be treated with much attention; and his son, both at school and at the University of Oxford, associated with young men of the first rank. His allowance from his father, after he left college, was splendid; not less than a thousand a year. This, in a man who had risen as old Thrale did, was a very extraordinary instance of generosity. He used to say, 'If this young dog does not find so much after I am gone as he expects, let him remember that he has had a great deal in my own time.""
What is here stated regarding Thrale's origin, on
the alleged authority of Johnson, is incorrect. The elder Thrale was the nephew of Halsey, the proprietor of the brewery whose daughter was married to a nobleman (Lord Cobham), and he naturally nourished hopes of being his uncle's successor. In the Abbey Church of St. Albans, there is a monument to some members of the Thrale family who died between 1676 and 1704, adorned with a shield of arms and a crest on a ducal coronet. Mrs. Thrale's marginal note on Boswell's account of her husband's family is curious and characteristic:
"Edmund Halsey was son to a miller at St. Albans, with whom he quarrelled, like Ralph in the Maid of the Mill,' and ran away to London with a very few shillings in his pocket. He was eminently handsome, and old Child of the Anchor Brewhouse, Southwark, took him in as what we call a broomstick clerk, to sweep the yard, &c. Edmund Halsey behaved so well he was soon preferred to be a house-clerk, and then, having free access to his master's table, married his only daughter, and succeeded to the business upon Child's demise. Being now rich and prosperous, he turned his eyes homewards, where he learned that sister Sukey had married a hardworking man at Offley in Hertfordshire, and had many children. He sent for one of them to London (my Mr. Thrale's father); said he would make a man of him, and did so: but made him work very hard, and treated him very roughly, Halsey
In "Thraliana" she says: "strolled to London with only 48. 6d. in his pocket."
being more proud than tender, and his only child, a daughter, married to Lord Cobham.
"Old Thrale, however, as these fine writers call him, -then a young fellow, and, like his uncle, eminent for personal beauty,―made himself so useful to Mr. Halsey that the weight of the business fell entirely on him; and while Edmund was canvassing the borough and visiting the viscountess, Ralph Thrale was getting money both for himself and his principal: who, envious of his success with a wench they both liked but who preferred the young man to the old one, died, leaving him never a guinea, and he bought the brewhouse of Lord and Lady Cobham, making an excellent bargain, with the money he had saved."
When, in the next page but one, Boswell describes Thrale as presenting the character of a plain independent English squire, she writes: "No, no! Mr. Thrale's manners presented the character of a gay man of the town like Millamant, in Congreve's comedy, he abhorred the country and everything in it."
In "Thraliana" after a corresponding statement, she adds: "He (the elder Thrale) educated his son and three daughters quite in a high style. His son he wisely connected with the Cobhams and their relations, Grenvilles, Lyttletons, and Pitts, to whom he lent money, and they lent assistance of every other kind, so that my Mr. Thrale was bred up at Stowe, and Stoke and Oxford, and every genteel place; had been abroad with Lord Westcote, whose expenses old Thrale cheerfully paid, I suppose, who was thus a kind of tutor to the