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MR. ARCHIBALD HAMILTON,
a native of North Britain, was bred to the profession of a Printer at Edinburgh; but quitted that city in 1736, after the riots occasioned there by the popular vengeance against Captain Porteus; in which he was in some degree implicated, by having been present at the illegal execution of that unfortunate culprit; whose melancholy history may be found in the Gentleman's Magazine, and in the other periodical publications of that period.
On his arrival in London, he had the good fortune to become associated with the late Mr. Strahan; whose printing-office he for some time superintended in the capacity of principal manager. But this was not a field wide enough for his talents, or his ambition; and he very soon commenced business on his own account; which he carried on with great success for many years. Amongst other fortunate connexions, his acquaintance with Dr. Smollett was not the least; whose History of England alone proved a little fortune both to the Printer and the Bookseller, as well as to the Author and Stationer.
The system of publishing Bibles, Travels, &c. was also carried by Mr. Hamilton and his Friends in The Row, to an extent of profit till then unknown,
In 1756, with the assistance of Dr. Smollett, and other literary friends, he commenced the "Critical Review;" which, aided afterwards by the critical acumen of the Rev. Joseph Robertson, he carried on with considerable success to the time of his death. For a few of the last years of his life he was a partner with Mr. Jackson of Oxford in the University press; but, at the same time, relieved himself from the more immediate labour of personal attendance in his printing-office
*The more active part of his business was conducted for some years by very able assistants-among whom were Mr. Christopher Pidgeon, an old apprentice of Mr. Bowyer's; Mr. Thomas
by purchasing a villa at Ash in Hampshire in the neighbourhood of Farnham, to which he frequently retired. He had also a town residence in Bedford-row, where he died March 9, 1793, in his 74th year.
He will long be remembered as a valuable con tributor to the literary interests of his time, and as a man whose social qualities, well-informed mind, and communicative disposition, had endeared him to a numerous circle of friends, and rendered his death a subject of unfeigned regret.
He left one daughter; and one son, Archibald Hamilton, who was also a Printer, in the office which had formerly been Mr. Bettenham's, near St.
Wright; and Mr. Jonas Davis, who, after carrying on a most extensive business on his own account for a few years, retired to the enjoyment of a farm at Uckfield in Sussex, which he still continues to cultivate.
Mr. Wright colonized from Falcon-court about the year 1766; and carried on the business of a Printer, first in Chancery lane, and afterwards in Peterborough court, till his death, March 3, 1797. He was a well-educated sensible man; printed several works of consequence; and was much respected by many literary men of the first eminence. He planned some works for others; and meditated some for himself, particularly one on the same plan with these "Anecdotes," which his own personal knowledge would have enabled him to have performed with credit. He printed the "Westminster Magazine:" in which he had marked the Writer of every article in a copy which probably still exists. He had in like manner, when at Mr. Hamilton's, prefixed the names of the Writers in the "Critical Review," In a Preface to the Second Volume of " Essays and Criticisms by Dr. Goldsmith, 1798," Mr. Seward says, "The late Mr. Thomas Wright, Printer, a man of literary observation and experience, had, during his connexion with those periodical publications in which the early works of Dr. Goldsmith were originally contained, carefully marked the several compositions of the different writers, as they were delivered to him to print. Being therefore, it was supposed, the only person able to separate the genuine performances of Dr. Goldsmith from those of other writers, in these miscellaneous collections, it became the wish of several admirers of the Author of the Traveller and Deserted Village, that his authentic writings should no longer be blended with other doubtful or spurious pieces. Mr. Wright was therefore recommended, and prevailed upon, to print the present selection, which he had just completed at the time of his death."
John's Gate, where, amongst other works, he began "The Town and Country Magazine;" which had a prodigious sale. He had a printing-office also in the country, first on the road between Highgate and Finchley, and afterwards at Golder's Green, Hendon, where he died Oct. 6, 1792; leaving two sons, Archibald, and Samuel, both Printers, a third son in the Army, and several daughters.
JOHN RIVINGTON, Esq.
was a Bookseller of considerable eminence in St. Paul's Church-yard, where he carried on his business, universally esteemed, for more than half a century; and enjoyed the especial patronage of the Clergy, particularly those of the higher order. He was many years Bookseller to the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge; a Governor of most of the Royal Hospitals; a member of the Court of Lieutenantcy, and of the Common Council; a Director of the Amicable Society in Serjeants Inn, and of the Union Fire-office; and an antient member of the Company of Stationers, of which he was Master in 1775; and where at one period he had two Brothers and four Sons, Liverymen. He died Feb. 16, 1792, in his 73d year; and his widow on the 21st of October following. One of his sons, Mr. John
*Of these, James, who was the eldest brother, was a Bookseller, and for some years in partnership with Mr. Fletcher in St. Paul's Church-yard. He afterwards settled at New York; where, or a considerable time before the American Revolution, he held he office of King's Printer. He died there in December 18092, Deing at that time the oldest Liveryman of the Company of Stationers.-The youngest Brother, Mr. Charles Rivington, carried on an extensive business, as a Printer, for 32 years, in Steyning lane, in a noble house, which had formerly been the residence of a Lord Mayor. He was also a member of the Common Council; and died June 22, 1790. His only daughter was married, Oct. 16, 1790, to the Rev. James Stovin, Rector of Rossington, co. York.
Rivington, a Printer, in St. John's-square, died June 28, 1785. Another son, Robert, Captain of the Kent East Indiaman, met with a glorious death, in October 1800, in bravely defending his ship against the attack of a French frigate of far superior force: he was a young man of great merit, and conspicuous talents; and it was his first voyage as Captain.-Henry, the youngest son, a respectable Solicitor, is the present Clerk to the Company of Stationers.
The business of the Father is carried on, with great diligence and augmented reputation, by two of the Sons, and a Grandson, under the firm of Francis, Charles, and John Rivington.
THOMAS OSBORNE, ESQ.
"Of Tom Osborne," says Mr. Dibdin*, "I have in vain endeavoured to collect some interesting biographical details. What I know of him shall be briefly stated. He was the most celebrated Bookseller of his day; and appears, from a series of his Catalogues in my possession, to have carried on a successful trade from the year 1738 to 1768. What fortune he amassed is not, I believe, very well known: his collections were truly valuable, for they consisted of the purchased libraries of the most eminent men of those times. In his stature he was short and thick; and, to his inferiors, generally spoke in an authoritative and insolent manner 'It has been confidently related,' says Boswell, that Johnson, one day, knocked Osborne down in his shop, with a folio, and put his foot upon his neck. The simple truth I had from Johnson himself. Sir, he
* Bibliomania, p. 470.
He was many years one of the Court of Assistants of the Stationers Company, and died Aug. 21, 1767.
In the latter part of his life his manners were considerably softened; particularly to the young Booksellers who had occasion to frequent his shop in the pursuit of their orders. If they were so fortunate as to call whilst he was taking wine after his dinner, they were regularly called into the little parlour in Grays Inn to take a glass with him. "Young man," he would say, "I have been in business more than 40 years, and am now worth more than 40,000l. Attend to your business; and you will be as rich as I am." VOL. III. DD was
was impertinent to me, and I beat him. But it was not in his shop: it was in my own chamber."
"Of Osborne's philological attainments, the meanest opinion must be formed, if we judge from his advertisements, which were sometimes inserted in the London Gazette, and drawn up in the most ridiculously vain and ostentatious style. He used to tell the publick, that he possessed all the pompous editions of Classicks and Lexicons.' I insert the two following advertisements, prefixed, the one to his Catalogue of 1748, the other to that of 1753, for the amusement of my bibliographical readers, and as a model for Messrs. Payne, White, Miller, Evans, Priestley, Cuthell, &c.
This Catalogue being very large, and of consequence very expensive to the proprietor, he humbly requests, that, if it falls into the hands of any gentleman gratis, who chooses not himself to be a purchaser of any of the books contained in it, that such gentleman will be pleased to recommend it to any other whom he thinks may be so, or to return it.'
"To his Catalogue of 1753 was the following:
To the Nobility and Gentry who please to favour me with their commands. It is hoped, as I intend to give no offence to any nobleman or gentleman, that do me the honour of being my customer, by putting a price on my Catalogue, by which means they may not receive it as usual--it is desired that such nobleman or gentleman as have not received it, would be pleased to send for it; and it's likewise requested of such gentlemen who do receive it, that, if they chuse not to purchase any of the books themselves, they would recommend it to any bookish gentleman of their acquaintance, or to return it; and the favour shall be acknowledged by, their most obedient and obliged, T. OSBORNE *.'
"The Harleian Collection of MSS. was purchased by Government for 10,000l. and is now deposited in the British Museum. The Books were
* Mr. Dibdin here attributes an anecdote to Osborne, in which the former edition of this Work had misled him. It was Charles Marsh, not Osborne, who made the Rum Bargain. See vol.V. p.171.