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The Political House that Jack Built (1819) — [on Romantic Circles]
The Every-Day Book (1825-26)

Who's Who in William Hone's Letters

The following list identifies many of the people who appear in Hone's letters, either as correspondents or subjects. The sources for these brief biographical descriptions are listed at the bottom of the page.

Jump to: A - F | G - O | P - Z


A - F

  • Aspland, Robert (1782-1845) -- Influential Unitarian minister of the Gravel Pit Chapel in Hackney. Aspland was a significant figure among the dissenter community, partly due to his theology but also due to his editorship of the radical Monthly Repository. He was of great assistance to Hone during the Trials of 1817. DNB
  • Behnes, Charles -- Charles Behnes was the youngest of three artist brothers (see Henry and William Behnes below). His association with Hone seems to have been incidental to the close friendship between Hone and William Behnes.
  • Behnes, Henry [a.k.a. "Burlowe"] (1801-1837) -- The younger brother of William Behnes, Henry was also a portrait sculptor. In the 1830s Henry changed his surname to "Burlowe," perhaps to avoid professional confusion with his brother and perhaps to dissociate himself from William's more dissolute ways. Behnes/Burlowe moved to Italy in the mid-1830s and died shortly thereafter. DNB
  • Behnes, William (1791?-1864) -- A gifted artist/sculptor who was associated with the Royal Academy during the Regency period and then continued as a highly successful portrait sculptor. Despite episodes of drunkenness and insolvency, Behnes was one of Hone's closest friends and confidants during the late 1820s and 1830s. Behnes may have been the inspiration for Hone's son Alfred to pursue sculpture as a career. DNB
  • Bevans, James -- The architect who designed the York Retreat which, soon after it opened in 1796, became a model for the humane treatment of the mentally infirm. Bevans worked with Hone and Edward Wakefield to design a London Asylum, but the project was never completed, probably due to a lack of financial resources.
  • Binney, Thomas (1798-1874) -- Influential Congregational minister of the Weigh House Chapel in Eastcheap. Binney was a close confidant of Hone during the mid-1830s when Hone, along with several members of his family, were taken into the church. Binney encouraged Hone to write a spiritual autobiography in which he was to detail the progress of his transformation from "infidel" to devout Christian. DNB
  • Bone, John -- John Bone was likely an associate of Hone's from the days of the London Corresponding Society in the later 1790s. Bone and Hone collaborated on the "Tranquillity" project in 1806-07 (see their joint publication, The Rules and Regulations of an Institution Called Tranquillity, 1806). After that project collapsed, Bone maintained the editorship of a journal called The Reasoner, and Hone and Bone together operated a book shop at 331 Strand until a bankruptcy ended the partnership in 1810. Hackwood
  • Butler, Rev. Samuel (1774-1839) -- Influential Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield and headmaster of Shrewsbury School. Butler corresponded with Hone during his public squabble with the Quarterly Review in 1824. DNB [more]
  • Carlile, Richard (1790-1843) -- Originally a tinworker from Devon, Carlile became a prolific radical publisher during the 1810s. Carlile was among the most prominent of the publishers of Thomas Paine's work, for which he was tried on libel charges in 1819. Carlile read much of Paine's "Age of Reason" during the trial and then, though he was sentenced to six years in jail, he published the records of his trials which, in this form, were free from prosecution. Though Hone was not fond of Carlile's tactics, he did attend the trial and provide some measure of advice and support. DNB [more]
  • Cartwright, John "Major" (1740-1824) -- Long-time activist and political reformer, Cartwright was born in Nottinghamshire, served with distinction in the Navy (where he earned the "Major" moniker), and then was active and influential in promoting political reform including a platform of full male suffrage. Hone and Cartwright were acquainted and worked together on reformist activities in the mid-1810s. DNB [more]
  • Childs, John Filby (1784-1853) -- Printer and nonconformist activist from Bungay. Childs had a substantial reputation as a political radical and was active especially in ecclesiastical politics. In the early 1830s He was a principal figure in the movement to abolish the government monopoly on Bible printing, and in the late 1830s he earned the epithet of the "Bungay Martyr" after he served a short prison term rather than pay his local church rates. This latter activity--part of the long-running church rates controversy of Victorian England--was publicized and supported by Hone's journalism in The Patriot. Childs and Hone were close friends--fellow printers and radicals and nonconformists--from the time of Hone's trials in 1817. There is a long body of correspondence (often quite amusing and biographically rich) between them. At least two of Hone's sons became apprentices in Childs's printing shop in Bungay. DNB, Hackwood
  • Childs, Robert (1786-1837) -- The affable younger brother and business partner of John Childs of Bungay. Robert was fascinated by phrenology and had a cast of Hone's head made in the early 1830s. He is distinguished in Hone's correspondence by a cheerful, playful demeanor. Robert committed suicide in 1837. DNB
  • Cruikshank, George (1792-1878) -- A brilliant caricaturist referred to by some as "the 19th-century Hogarth," George Cruikshank was the son of Isaac Cruikshank, a prominent caricaturist from the late 18th century, who then came into fame in his own right as the illustrator of Hone's pamphlets from the post-Peterloo period. Cruikshank was a frequent visitor at the Hone household until a break in their friendship in the later 1820s. The two later mended that relationship, and Cruikshank, together with his friend Charles Dickens, attended at Hone's funeral in 1842. DNB
  • Dyer, George (1755-1842) -- Poet, classicist, and radical political activist, Dyer was acquainted with Wordsworth and Coleridge, Charles Lamb and Leigh Hunt. DNB
  • Evans, Thomas (1763-1831?) -- Spencean and radical activist. Evans was one of the twelve "United Englishmen" arrested in 1798 for which he served three years in prison. Upon his release he worked in various capacities in London, becoming the leader of the Society of Spencean Philanthropists in 1814 and publishing Christian Policy: The Salvation of the Empire in 1816. Various radical activities continued, both in London and in Manchester, until Evans fell into obscurity in the mid 1820s. DNB
  • Fenning, Elizabeth (1793-1815) -- Listed as a "convicted poisoner" in the DNB, Fenning was found guilty of murder by poison in 1815. Popular sentiment was sympathetic toward Fenning, deeming the conviction on wholly circumstantial evidence to be unfair. Hone took an interest in the case, producing a popular pamphlet called La Pie Voleuse (often called The Maid and the Magpie), and publishing legal analyses that were critical of the conviction. DNB.
  • Fox, W[illiam] J[ohnson] (1786-1864) -- Though raised in a strict Calvinist household, Fox eventually became an influential Unitarian minister, associated with figures such as Robert Aspland, John Bowring, and the Benthamite circle. In 1826, Fox became editor of the Monthly Repository. DLB.
  • Fry, Alfred -- Long-time friend and companion of Hone and George Cruikshank, Fry (according to Charles Knight's Passages of a Working Life) was present at the jovial meeting that led to the publication of Hone and Cruikshank's influential Political House that Jack Built. Fry was a frequent visitor in the Hone household through the 1830s.

G - O

  • Galloway, Alexander (1776-1847) -- A friend of Hone's from the days of LCS radicalism in the later 1790s. Galloway was an engineer by trade, but also active in radical circles, particularly with the Spenceans. Galloway renewed his association with Hone in 1817-18, when he energetically supported Hone in particular, and the free press more generally, in the events surrounding Hone's trials. DNB.
  • Gilchrist, John Borthwick(1759-1841) -- A philologist and specialist in South Asian languages, Gilchrist became an outspoken advocate of political reform and the author of Parliamentary Reform, on Constitutional Principles (1815; with an Appendix by Major Cartwright). An uncompromising, quarrelsome personality made it challenging for Gilchrist to maintain his friendships and professional alliances. DNB
  • Hazlitt, William (1778-1830) -- Celebrated essayist and prose stylist, Hazlitt was, in his youth, the friend and protegee of Wordsworth and Coleridge. Hazlitt and Hone were close friends during the later Regency years and Hone published his Political Essays in 1819. DLB, DNB, ERL
  • Hill, Matthew Davenport (1792-1872) -- Born in Birmingham and brought up in his father's school at Hill Top, Hill went to Lincoln's Inn in 1814 and was called to the bar in 1819. He became an influential lawyer (defending printers charged with seditious libel, among other things), an MP, and a noteworthy penal reformer. DNB
  • Hobhouse, John Cam (1786-1869) -- Byron's travelling companion and friend, Hobhouse became well known in his own right for his radical politics. After serving time in prison in 1819-20, he was returned to Parliament in the Westminster elections of March 1820. Though the extent of his radicalism is open to debate, he was a friend of Francis Burdett, a supporter of the Queen during the Queen Caroline affair, and an advocate for the reform of libel laws. DNB, Hobhouse's Recollections of a Long Life
  • Hone, Alfred [son] (1810-1883) Alfred became a portrait sculptor of some renown. In June 1835 he married Elizabeth Preece.
  • Hone, Alice [daughter] (1825- after 1871) Alice Hone led a varied life, first marrying an Italian man by the name of Lovati, then a Frenchman by the name of Fourdinois.
  • Hone, Ellen [daughter] (1822-1910) -- Ellen Hone became a schoolmistress in an infant school; in 1855 she married Joseph Simmonds Soul.
  • Hone, Emma [daughter] (1814-1880) -- Emma moved to South Africa as a missionary; she married Carl Hugo Hahn in 1843 in Windhoek, South Africa.
  • Hone, Fanny [daughter] (1803-1883) -- Fanny married Thomas Hemsley, an optician, in 1826.
  • Hone, John [son]
  • Hone, Joseph [brother] (1783-1861) Hone's younger brother was a lawyer by trade. Because of William's notoriety during the late Regency period, Joseph was unable to attract clients in London, so he emigrated to Tasmania in 1824 where he was appointed Master of the Tasmanian Supreme Court. He continued in Hobart Town as a high-ranking civil authority until his death in 1861.
  • Hone, Matilda [daughter] (1805-1884) Worked as a printseller, then at her father's Grasshopper coffee house; later as a school master.
  • Hone, Rose [daughter] (1818-1898) -- Rose apparently never married and may have worked as a school mistress. Her letters are deeply religious. The British Library Hone Papers hold an inventory of her home made in 1864.
  • Hone, Samuel Parr [son] (1820-1870) -- Samuel Parr Hone went to Christ's Hospital from 1829 to 1835 after which he spent time with Childs' printing office in Bungay. He eventually became a printer at The Times.
  • Hone, Sarah [wife] (1781 [30 Nov]-1864 [26 Sept) The daughter of a Mrs. Johnson of Southwark, Sarah Hone became one of the strengths of the Hone family. Her steadiness and forthrightness earned the respect of such figures as Alexander Galloway and William Hazlitt.
  • Hone, Sarah [daughter] (1801-1883) -- Sarah married Jacob Henry Burn in 1822; sometime in the mid-19th century they emigrated to Melbourne, Australia.
  • Hone, William [son] (1807-1827) William spent some time as an informal apprentice with John Childs in Bungay; he joined the navy and died unexpectedly in 1827.
  • Hunt, Henry Leigh -- The son of John Hunt (and therefore nephew of Leigh Hunt). In 1819, Henry Leigh Hunt took over much of the daily editorial duties of The Examiner. In this capacity, he maintained a warm correspondence with Hone. In 1825, H. L. Hunt partnered with Charles Cowden Clarke (Keats's friend) to form the "Hunt and Clarke" publishing house. This venture was short-lived—the firm folded in 1829—but they were the publishers to whom Hone consigned the Every-Day Book following his 1826 bankruptcy.
  • Hunt, John (1775-1848) -- Printer, editor, and publisher (with his brother Leigh Hunt) of the The Examiner, an influential radical newspaper. The Hunts both suffered imprisonment on charges of seditious libel, but The Examiner continued to press its reformist agenda. John Hunt actively supported Hone in his 1817 imprisonment, and when Hunt was in prison once again in 1821, Hone was much concerned with his defense. DNB
  • Hunt, Leigh (1784-1859) -- Journalist and poet, influential editor (with his brother John) of The Examiner, the chief liberal newspaper through much of the Regency period. A poet himself and friend of Byron, Shelley, and Keats, Leigh Hunt had a massive influence on the literary and political culture of his day. Like Hone, Hunt was imprisoned on charges of seditious libel. DLB, DNB
  • Jeffrey, Francis (1773-1850) Writer, judge, and influential editor of the Edinburgh Review, a Whig quarterly. DNB
  • Lamb, Charles (1775-1834) Poet and prolific essayist and social critic (author of the Elia essays), Lamb and his sister Mary were among Hone's closest and enduring friends. Lamb wrote a celebratory poem about Hone's Every-Day Book; Hone responded in kind and dedicated the first volume to him. DLB, DNB, ERL
  • McCreery, John (1768-1832) -- Printer, originally from Ireland, developed his business and craft in Liverpool and then moved to London in 1805. McCreery (sometimes "McCreary" or "M'Creery") was author and printer of "The Press" (1803), a poem that both celebrates and demonstrates the craft of printing. McCreery was a close friend of Hone who frequently employed him as a printer especially during the 1810s.DNB
  • Montagu, Basil (1770-1851) -- Author, legal reformer, and friend of many prominent romantic writers. Montagu and Hone maintained a long but not particularly intimate acquaintance. DNB, ERL
  • Montgomery, James (1771-1854) -- Philanthropist, poet, and writer of many hymns and other miscellaneous works. Montgomery is probably best remembered for his Chimney Sweepers' Friend and his advocacy for relief for the plight of the sweepers. Hone contacted Montgomery while he was working on the chimney sweeper entry for the Every-Day Book (May 1, 1825). DLB, DNB, ERL
  • Mott, Charles (1788-1851) -- Mott was a sort of entrepreneur who held various positions in the management of insane asylums and poor houses. He became assistant poor law commissioner in 1834 and was a frequent visitor in the Hone household and at the Grasshopper coffeehouse in the 1830s. DNB

P - Z

  • Parkes, Joseph (1796-1865) An advocate for legal and political reform, Parkes was a solicitor associated with figures such as Jeremy Bentham, Basil Montagu, Francis Place, and Samuel Parr. Active initially in Birmingham, Parkes moved to London in 1833 where he developed a reputation as a parliamentary solicitor. DNB
  • Parr, Samuel (1747-1825) Commonly known as the "Whig Johnson," Samuel Parr was a schoolmaster, classicist, minister, and political activist. Hone came to know Parr in the last years of his life, particularly as he became active in the Queen Caroline affair of 1820-21. Hone's son, born 1820, was named after Parr. DNB
  • Pearson, Charles (1793-1861) Pearson was a lawyer who, during the later Regency period, took a particular interest in cases of libel, assisting T. J. Wooler and then Hone in 1817. Pearson's research and advocacy exposed and publicized the common practice of "jury-packing"; such research was an essential precursor to Hone's courtroom heroics in December 1817. During the mid-Victorian period, Pearson served as City Solicitor in which post he advocated successfully for several civic-improvement projects. DNB
  • Phillips, Charles (1786-1859) -- Born in Sligo Ireland, Phillips entered Trinity College, Dublin in 1802, and Middle Temple in 1807. He became a barrister noteworthy for his distinctive rhetoric which drew commentaries from Henry Brougham and William Hazlitt. Hone published the Speeches of Charles Phillips in 1817 and in the same year Phillips provided some legal help to Hone. DNB
  • Place, Francis (1771-1854) -- A violent, energetic radical, Place came to be something of a power broker in the hotly contested Westminster elections in the 1810s. He was associated with Hone for some of this period, claiming to have enabled Hone to start publishing his short-lived newspaper, the Reformists' Register in 1817. Place and Hone maintained a long-term, if sporadic, relationship through the late 1810s and 20s. DNB; Wallas, The Life of Francis Place, (1898).
  • Rennell, Thomas (1786-1824) -- With an impressive reputation as a scholar, Rennell was a writer, classicist, theologian, and preacher. In 1822 he published Proofs of Inspiration, a volume intended to challenge the canonical status of the texts presented in Hone's Apocryphal New Testament (1820). DNB
  • Rolleston, Frances (1781-1864) -- A rather quirky intellectual, author of Mazzaroth (1862), happened to be Hone's neighbor in north London in the middle years of the 1830s. Hone and Rolleston exchanged many conversations and traded books, and Rolleston eventually produced one of the key biographical sources for Hone: Some Account of the Conversion from Atheism to Christianity of the Late William Hone (James Ivison, Keswick, 1853).
  • Sharp, Thomas (1770-1841) -- Sharp was an antiquary from Coventry who, like Hone in the early 1820s, was researching the medieval mystery plays. Sharp and Hone corresponded on their separate projects: Hone's Ancient Mysteries Described (1823) and Sharp's Dissertation on the Pageants, or Dramatic Mysteries, Anciently Performed at Coventry (1825). DNB
  • Shepherd, Samuel (1760-1840) -- Having a distinguished legal career and having been knighted in 1814, Shepherd became the Attorney General early in 1817. As such, Shepherd was the chief prosecutor in Hone's trials in 1817, and, though the government's position was defeated in the Hone trials, Shepherd earned a reputation as an effective prosecutor in libel trials against James Watson and Richard Carlile. Shepherd's deafness hampered his ability to pursue his courtroom career; in later life he served in legal posts in Scotland where he enjoyed the respect and friendship of Walter Scott. DNB
  • Southey, Robert (1774-1843) -- A prolific and controversial writer, Southey was initially associated with the so-called Lake poets (Wordsworth and Coleridge). His political leanings later shifted from an early radicalism to a far more conservative position, and Southey was made Poet Laureate in 1813. Southey's "Vision of Judgment" was famously satirized by Byron (and less famously by Hone in A Slap at Slop). A later exchange of letters shows that Southey greatly admired Hone's antiquarian work, and Hone offered Southey some research support for his Life of Bunyan. DLB, DNB, ERL [more]
  • Stoddart, John (1773-1856) -- Stoddart was lead writer of The Times during the late Napoleonic years. His vitriolic rhetoric was skewered in Hone's Buonapartephobia(1815) where he was given the lasting epithet "Dr. Slop." Stoddart later became a principal in the monarchist Constitutional Association and founder of the conservative New Times where he was again satirized by Hone in A Slap at Slop (1821). Stoddart's sister Sarah was the wife of William Hazlitt.
  • Tegg, Thomas (1776-1846) -- Largely a "self-made" man, Thomas Tegg emerged in the early nineteenth century as a publisher of cheap reprints of classic works and as a bookseller of remainder stock. The business developed into one of the most prolific publishing houses in London during the late-Romantic and Victorian periods. Tegg purchased the copyrights for Hone's Every-Day Book as well as the Table Book and the Year Book, all of which were reprinted several times over the next decades. DNB.
  • Upcott, William (1779-1845) -- Antiquarian and collector of autographs, coins, and other items, Upcott was author of Bibliographical Account of the Principal Works Relating to English Topography (3 vols. 1818); he assisted William Bray in editing the first edition of John Evelyn's Diary (1818) which he then re-edited and published in 1826. Upcott served as assistant librarian of the London Institution and later was instrumental in establishing the Guildhall Library.
  • Venning, John -- An early acquaintance of Hone's from his two years in Chatham in the late 1790s. Venning remained a WH correspondent for several years following their residence in close proximity. Hackwood
  • Waithman, Robert (1764-1833) -- Liberal political activist from the City of London, Waithman convened the public meeting called to celebrate Hone's acquittals in 1817. Waithman was elected to Parliament in 1818, was named Sheriff of London in 1820, and became Lord Mayor in 1823. He was returned to Parliament in 1826 where he served until his death in 1833. DNB
  • Wakefield, Edward (1774-1854) -- Author of the two-volume Account of Ireland: Statistical and Political (1812), Wakefield was a philanthropist and writer on political economy. He worked with Hone and James Bevans on a plan to establish a facility for the humane treatment of the insane. DNB
  • Wilson, Walter (1781-1847) -- Nonconformist antiquarian and bookseller, the author of The history and antiquities of dissenting churches and meeting houses in London, Westminster, and Southwark (4 vols. 1808-1814). Wilson was an avid collector materials related to the life and works of Daniel Defoe whose 3-volume biography--Memoirs of the Life and Times of Daniel Defoe--he completed and published in 1830. Wilson and Hone were good friends from at least the first decade of the century, and after about 1812 or 1813, Hone served as Wilson's agent in London, seeking out stray Defoe publications and sending them to Wilson. DNB
  • Wooler, Thomas Jonathan (1786?-1853) -- Wooler was born in Yorkshire, but soon moved to London where he established a reputation as a very capable radical journalist. His Black Dwarf, a satirical political newspaper, ran from 1817 to 1824. Wooler was arrested at about the same time as Hone in May of 1817 and came to trial in June. Together with the radical attorney Charles Pearson, Wooler publicized and attacked the practice of packing special juries--an important precursor to Hone's trial later the same year. Wooler was closely associated with Major Cartwright and wrote a number of influential tracts about the British legal system and Parliamentary reform. DNB

Abbreviations of sources:

  • DLB: The Dictionary of Literary Biography
  • DNB: The Dictionary of National Biography
  • ERL: The Encyclopedia of Romantic Literature, ed. Frederick Burwick (Blackwell, 2012).
  • Hackwood: William Hone: His Life and Times, by Frederick W. Hackwood (Ayer, 1912).