Chronology of the Life of John Thelwall

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Date Place of Writing Event Writings, Lectures, Publications Correspondence Related Events & Activities Sources Bibliography/Location
July 27, 1764 Chandos St. Covent Garden birth of John Thelwall, to Joseph and Mary Thelwall
1764-81 residence alternates between family shop in Covent Garden and home in Walcot-Place Lambeth HCT Life of JT
Summer 1769 or 1770 Margate summer seaside vacation with family provides occasion for visionary episode described in "A Childish Retrospect" in The Peripatetic HCT Life of JT and Peripatetic
Circa 1768-74 early education with Rev. Pierce (Lambeth) and Mr. Dick (Hart St., Covent Garden) HCT Life of JT
1772 Covent Garden death of father, Joseph Thelwall DNB
1774-1777 Highgate sent to boarding school in Highgate, friendship with tutor 'Harvey' and Philip Bonafous HCT Life of JT, Peripatetic
mid-late 1770s Thelwall's "rage for theatricals" begins: he performs in school and family productions; tickets for Covent Garden theatre on sale at Thelwall shop, where actress in Garrick's company also boards HCT Life of JT, Alan Andrews
1777-1780 Covent Garden removed from school to work in family shop, domestic abuse and conflict intensifies; pursuing theatrical ambitions, applies to Colman the Elder at Haymarket & is discouraged HCT Life of JT
1780 West End is apprenticed to tailor for 1.5 years, begins habit of 'midnight rambles' and peripatetic reading, spends much time at Walcot Place (for health), is mugged on way to Walcot Place alters a Shakespeare play, begins epic on Caesar in England, compiles History of Engand HCT Life of JT
1780-1781 quits tailor job; studies divinity; pursuing artistic ambitions, applies to Benjamin West and other painters, but faces family and financial opposition HCT Life of JT
1782-1786 joins household of barrister brother-in-law Mr. Holt, and is articled to attorney John Impey for 3.5 years HCT Life of JT
1783 Covent Garden sale of effects at Mary Thelwall's shop, Covent Garden Andrews
mid-late 1780s London participation in debating societies, especially Society for Free Debate at Coachmaker's Hall HCT Life of JT
1786 London cancels legal indentures, begins life as a "literary adventurer" HCT Life of JT
1788 London writes "The Theft," "The Coquette," "The Turtle's Nest," "Rondeau"; delivers "A Speech in Rhyme"? Derby MS "A speech in rhyme ?" at Oxford
1787 London begins friendship with Dr. Henry Cline and Dr. Hawes (Humane Society) publishes "Orlando and Almeyda" and Poems on Various Subjects (2 vol); writes farce Inkle and Yarico and submits it to Colman of Haymarket Theatre. HCT Life of JT, Felsenstein & Scrivener Poems on Various Subjects in BL (vol.1), Cambridge, Harvard, Newbery(2 vols); "Orlando & Almeyda" at NYU
1788-1791 London edits Biographical and Imperial Magazine, contributes to Universal Magazine publishes Biographical and Imperial Magazine Biographical and Imperial Magazine in BL, Dove Cottage Grasmere
1789 Rutlandshire, London meets future wife Susannah Vellam on summer visit to Rutlandshire writes "Epistle to Mercutio" (pub in Peripatetic) HCT Life of JT, Peripatetic
Summer 1789 London writes "Ode on the Destruction of the Bastille" ( Biographical and Imperial Magazine), two sonnets "To the Nightingale," "Song--The Charm," "The Laurel," "The Dove," "Valclusa's Vale. To Mrs. W--," "Epistle to a Friend," "Ode to a Friend" HCT Life of JT, Scrivener Poetry & Reform, Derby MS rpt. Scrivener Poetry & Reform
1790 London friendship with Horne Tooke, campaigns for Tooke in Westminster election writes "Evander; or the consolations of Age"; publishes "Sketch of Life of John Howard," "Strictures on the lives and characters of the most eminent lawyers" HCT Life of JT, Claeys, Derby MS "Sketch of Life of Howard," LibCongress; "Strictures on ... lawyers" at Oxford
1791 #2 Maze Pond, Southwark attends lectures of Cline, Haighton, Babington and Hunter at Guys & St. Thomas Hospitals; friendship with Astley Cooper and Edwin LeGrand; joins Physical Society and Society of Friends of People publishes "Ode to Science", "Ode to Philomathian Society," "Ode for the Summer Anniversary of the Sols" HCT Life of JT, Claeys "Ode to Science" in BL, Oxford ; "Ode to Science" (1978 rpt) in Edinburgh
July 27, 1791 Oakham, Rutlandshire marries Susannah Vellam (Stella)
1792 April excursion to Canterbury (foundation for Peripatetic) lectures in Canterbury; joins Society of Friends of the People writes travel journals (now lost), much of The Peripatetic, review of Smith's sonnets; posts "Vindication of Liberty of Speech"; publishes "The Rock of Modrec; or The Legend of Sir Eltram"; writes opera The Incas and submits it to Harris of Covent Garden HCT Life of JT, Peripatetic, Claeys, J.Thompson, Felsenstein & Scrivener The Incas in BL MSS
January 26, 1793 London delivers and publishes Lecture on Animal Vitality Lecture on Animal Vitality at Oxford, BrownU
February, 1793 London
April, 1793 London friendship with Holcroft, who advises him to write for theatre publishes The Peripatetic Andrews The Peripatetic in BL, Oxford, LibCongress, Detroit Public Lib
October 21, 1793 London joins London Corresponding Society HCT Life of JT
October-November, 1793 London delivers Chaunticlere speech at Capel Court debating society; published in Eaton's Politics for the People HCT Life of JT
December, 1793 London birth of first child, Frances Maria Thelwall
January-May, 1794 Beaufort Bldgs dines with radicals including Godwin; hijacks performance of Otway's Venice Preserv'd; deputed to Society for Constitutional Information; is expelled from Guy's Hospital Physical Society; lectures at #3 New Compton St, Soho; rents Beaufort Bldgs. and lives there with family contributes prologue to Holcroft's Love's Frailties; delivers lecture On Origin of Sensation to Physical Society; publishes lectures On the Moral Tendency of a System of Spies and Informers and Sketches of the History of Prosecutions for Political Opinion, "On the Prostitution of our Public Theatres" Mar 10: letter to Jack Vellum Andrews, Claeys, HCT Life of JT Political Lectures no. 1 in BL, Oxford, Harvard, Princeton, BrownU, Dove Cottage Grasmere; letter: PRO (rpt. Davies 2002)
May-December, 1794 imprisoned in Tower (5 mos.) and Newgate May 13: arrested; May 19: sent to Tower (solitary confinement); Oct 24: sent to Newgate; Dec 1-5: tried, acquitted, released; late Dec: death of mother, Mary Thelwall writes prison sonnets and odes published in Poems Written in Confinement Claeys
1795-1796 Beaufort Bldgs regular lectures, publication, meetings at Beaufort Bldgs. publishes The Tribune (Mar 1795-Apr 1796) Claeys
1795 Beaufort Bldgs Feb 6: begins new twice-weekly lectures at Beaufort Bldgs; Susan miscarries; breaks with Tooke and Godwin publishes Poems Written in Close Confinement, "A Patriot's Feeling," "The Sheepsheering Song," "John Gilpin's Ghost," "Britain's Glory; or the Blessings of a Good Constitution," "Citizen Thelwall: Fraternity and Unanimity to the Friends of Freedom," The Natural and Constitutional Right of Britons ..., "News from Toulon; or the Men of Gotham's Expedition," Peacrful Discussion and Not Tumultuary Violence the Means ..., "To my Muse Give Attention," The Trial at Large of John Thelwall ..., "A Warning Voice to the Violent ..." DNB, Claeys "John Gilpin's Ghost" in BL, Oxford, Harvard, Yale, NYU; "Gilpin" 1978 rpt in Edinburgh; Natural & Constitutional Rights in BL, Cambridge, Oxford, LibCongress, Newbery, Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Case Western, NYPublic; "Peaceful Discussion and not tumultuary violence" in BL, Cambridge, Oxford, LibCongress; Poems in Confinement in BL, Cambridge, Oxford, LibCongress, YAle, Harvard; Political Lectures vol 1 Pt 1 in BL,Oxford, Harvard, Yale, Newbery; Political Lectures I-II in Union College Schenectady, Harvard, BrownU; "Trial for Treason" in Oxford, NY Albany, Philadelphia Bar Assn, UWash Law, Bowdoin; Tribune in Cambridge, Oxford, Dove Cottage Grasmere; Songs also at Dove Cottage Grasmere
Summer, 1795 Isle of Wight withdraws from LCS; retreats to Isle of Wight with family; returns to London leaving pregnant Susan and family on Isle of Wight writes "A Patriot's Feeling" HCT Life of JT, Scrivener Poetry & Reform "Citizen Thelwall: Fraternity & Unanimity to the Friends of Freedom" BL, "Patriot's Feeling" rpt in Poetry & Reform
September 25, 1795 Isle of Wight birth of Algernon Sydney Thelwall
October-December, 1795 addresses meetings at Copenhagen Fields (Oct 25, Nov 12), Marylebone Fields (Dec 7); Dec 18: Two Acts receive Royal Assent and go into force increases Beaufort lectures to 6 times weekly Claeys LCS/Copenhagen speeches in BL, Cambridge, Oxford, NY, Newbery, Harvard, Yale
January-April 1796 Beaufort Bldgs delivers lectures on classical history in London, until forced to stop in April; Apr: begins correspondence with Coleridge Apr: ceases publication of Tribune; publishes Democracy Vindicated (ed. Moyle's "Essay on Roman Government"); publishes The Rights of Nature, publishes Sober Reflections on Burke's Letter Claeys Thelwall's preface to Moyle's Democracy Vindicated in BL, "Prospectus of a course of lectures ? in strict conformity" in BL, CAmbridge, Oxford, LibCongress; Rights of Nature in BL,Cambridge, Oxford, Edinburgh, Duke, Uillinois, Yale, Crerar Chicago, Cornell, Harvard, LibCongress, UPenn, Philadelphia; Sober Reflections in BL, Cambridge, Oxford, Edinbrugh, Yale, Columbia, LibCongress, UCLA, UHouston, UNC Chapel Hill, Philadelphia, Brown, Newbery, Princeton, UTexas Austin, Cornell, Duke; "Strike, but Hear" at Oxford, Detroit Public
May 1796-May 1797 Norwich, Ashby, Yarmouth, Lynn, Wisbech, Derby, Stockport classical history lecture tour May 10: second (only surviving) letter to Coleridge Claeys letter: BL MSS (rpt. Scrivener Letters)
May-August 1796 Norwich gives 22 lectures on Classical History in Norwich, well received writes "Stanzas to Rosa Bella Bianca" Claeys, Poems in Retirement
August, 1796 Yarmouth attempts to lecture met with riots and press-gangs, books destroyed, is forced to defend himself with pistol publishes Appeal to Popular Opinion in Yarmouth Claeys Appeal to Popular Opinion (Yarmouth) at Cambridge, Oxford, Yale
September-October, 1796 Lynn, Wisbeach, Sheffield lectures disrupted by mob violence publishes Appeal to Popular Opinion and Account of Late Outrages (in London) Claeys Appeal to Popular Opinion (London) in BL, LibCongress, Yale, Princeton, Harvard, NYPublic;" Particular account of the late outrages" Cambridge, Oxford
late 1796-early 1797 Stockport, Lincolnshire, Rutlandshire visits with Vellam family; discusses agrarian justice with Owen in Stockport ends publication of Rights of Nature after part II; Dec: writes "To Stella in the Country" Claeys, Appeal to Popular Opinion, Poems in Retirement
1797 Derby, London, Norwich, West Country tour, Nether Stowey, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Llyswen Roe
January, 1797 publishes "To Stella in the country on her birthday 1790" in MM MM
February, 1797 Derby writes "The Tartan Pladdie" and "To Stella" letter to Wimpory Poems in Retirement letter: Houghton/Harvard (rpt. DWD Letters)
March, 1797 Derby lectures, family joins him, stays with Strutt family, more disruption of lectures
April, 1797 London edits Courier for two weeks before being driven out
May, 1797 Derby, Norwich May 25: birth of John Hampden Thelwall in Derby; late May: returns to Norwich where lectures met by riots
June-July, 1797 West Country tour: London, Windsor, Basingstoke, Overton, Salisbury, Wilton, Amesbury, Fonthill, Upton, Froome, Bath, Bristol keeps travel journals later published as "Pedestrian Excursion"
July 17-27, 1797 Nether Stowey, Somerset visits with Coleridge and Wordsworth, a "literary and political triumvirate" July 18: letter to Susan E.P.Thompson, Roe, JTSP letter: Pierpont Morgan (rpt. DWD Letters)
July 27, 1797 Bridgewater departs Nether Stowey on birthday writes "Lines Written at Bridgewater" Poems in Retirement
August-September, 1797 Bristol, Gloucestershire, Cowbridge, Swansea plan to lecture in Bristol abandoned; searches for place to settle; tries to visit Edward Williams in Cowbridge, but misses him Aug 7: letter to Mayor of Bristol Poems in Retirement, letter: PRO
October, 1797 Derby, Dovedale leases and stocks 35-acre farm in Llyswen, Wales, and moves there with family incl. Jack Vellum (Susan's brother) writes "The Woodbine," "To the Infant Hampden," "Maria, A Fragment" Poems in Retirement
late 1797-late 1800 Llyswen
1798 Llyswen corresponds with Coleridge, Crompton & others; possibly visits (or is visited by) Edward Williams (Iolo Morganwg); is visited by Wimpory, Coleridge and Wordsworth; gets into argument re water rights with neighbour (Roos Davies) intensive writing: completes 5 books of Hope of Albion; by March is working on "Prefatory Memoir" and Daughter of Adoption (for Phillips); begins Fairy of the Lake; writes "Prologue written for a Company of Strollers" "Prefatory Memoir," "Essay on Human Automatonism," Letter to Crompton rpt. Davies 2002. "Prologue" in Derby MSS, Derby Local Studies
January, 1798 Llyswen visited by Wimpory Jan 16: letter to Hardy; letter to STC via Wimpory Corfield, DWD Letters
February, 1798 Llyswen writes again to STC DWD Letters
March 3, 1798 Llyswen letter to Crompton letter: Houghton/Harvard (rpt. DWD Letters)
April 2, 1798 Llyswen takes neighbour Roos Davies to Brecknock Quarter Sessions for assault E.P. Thompson, Powys archives
May, 1798 Llyswen publishes "Phenomena of the Wye" in MM May 10: letter to Edward Williams (Iolo Morganwg) inviting him to Llyswen; Mary 24: letter to Hardy MM, DWD Letters, EPThompson letter: Nat Lib Wales MSS (rpt. DWD Letters)
August, 1798 Llyswen Coleridge and the Wordsworths visit Llyswen for at least 3-4 days JTSP
October-December, 1798 Llyswen
1799 Llyswen year of bitter harvest: mail intercepted, Jack Vellum leaves Llyswen, disastrous harvest, worsening relations with neighbours writes "Pedestrian Excursion" and "Essay on the Wye"; begins The Daughter of Adoption "Prefatory Memoir"
January 26, 1799 Llyswen letter to Duke of Portland complaining of interception of his mail PRO PRO 30/58/12A
March, 1799 Llyswen birth of Manon Roland Thelwall; Jack Vellum leaves Llyswen christening records
July, 1799 London walks to London with chap. 1 of Daughter of Adoption completes chapter 1 of Daughter of Adoption "Prefatory Memoir"
August 1799-November 1801 Llyswen publishes Pedestrian Excursion and "Essay on the Wye" in the Monthly Magazine MM
October, 1799 Llyswen Crabb Robinson visits Llyswen Crabb Robinson's correspondence
December 28, 1799 Llyswen death of Frances Maria Thelwall "Prefatory Memoir," MM obit notice
1800 Llyswen, Birmingham, Hereford
February-September, 1800 Llyswen, Birmingham, Hereford June & Sept: rallies with ironworkers at Merthyr Tydfil writes "Paternal Tears" elegies, "The Harp on the Willow," remainder of Daughter of Adoption and Fairy of the Lake Poems in Retirement
June, 1800 Llyswen, Merthyr Tydfil rallies with ironworkers at Merthyr Tydfil; Susan goes to Hereford Poems in Retirement, Coburn STC Notebooks
August, 1800 writes "Effusion X" Aug 12: letter to Dyer Poems in Retirement letter: Pforzheimer NYPL MSS
autumn 1800 rallies with ironworkers at Merthyr Tydfil writes "Effusion IX," completes Daughter of Adoption Sept 11: letter from Crompton Poems in Retirement Letter: Pierpont Morgan
December, 1800 Widemarsh St., Hereford moves to Hereford researches Hope of Albion Dec 17: renews correspondence with Coleridge STC letters
1801 Hereford, Sheffield, Birmingham, Leeds begins elocutionary profession; continues correspondence with Coleridge (until spring); appears in Public Characters for 1800-1801 begins translation of DeLille's "L'Homme des Champs"; publishes Daughter of Adoption (London & Dublin imprints) and Poems in Retirement (Hereford and London imprints) Daughter of Adoption (London) in BL, Oxford (rpt. Broadview 2013); Daughter of Adoption (Dublin) at Princeton, Harvard
February, 1801 birth of Sara Maria Thelwall Feb 28: letter to Hardy announcing purchase of house in Hereford, and intention to publish Poems; letter to STC proposing "secret expedition" re Fairy of the Lake christening records, Dove Cottage letters, STC letters letter to Hardy: Dove Cottage Grasmere
August-September, 1801 Hereford Aug 12: letter to Dyer requesting antiquarian books & discussing preparation and circulation of Poems publication of Poems in Retirement, Daughter of Adoption DWD Letters Poems in Retirement (Hereford) in BL, Cambridge, Oxford, UOregon, Yale, LibCongress, Harvard, Cornell, NYPub, Huntington, Miami U Oxford, IndianaU, Ohio State, Dove Cottage Grasmere; Poems in Retirement (Dublin) at Harvard; Daughter of Adoption (London) in BL, Uvirginia, Ucal Berkeley; Fairy of the Lake alone at Duke, LibCongress, Princeton, Yale, UMissouri; Poems in REtirement 2nd ed. at Oxford
November, 1801 Sheffield gives first elocutionary lecture EPThompson
1802 family in Hereford or Birmingham; JT touring extensively through midlands and north begins elocutionary lecture tours Thelwall Outlines
December, 1801-March, 1802 Leeds, Birmingham elocutionary lectures in Leeds; plans to sell house in Hereford and move family to Birmingham Dec 20: letter(s) to Strutt about new profession DWD Letters letter: Birmingham City MSS (rpt. DWD Letters)
May, 1802 extensive lecture tours through midlands and north of England and Scotland prints and sells numerous different Selections and Outlines of his elocutionary lectures at the door, and at booksellers, in all the towns where he lectures Thelwall Outlines letter: Birmingham City MSS (rpt. DWD Letters)
February-March, 1802 Leeds, Beverley, York lecture tour publishes Selections and "Black Bowl of Eboracum" in York; letter to MM re reputation and conflict with Belsham MM, Thelwall Outlines Selections (York) in BL, LibCongress, Yale, Cornell, UOregon; "Black Bowl of Eboracum" at Oxford, Cornell,
April-June, 1802 Barton upon Humber, Howden, Alnwick lecture tour; in Alnwick by late June publishes letter to Belsham MM June 26 MM, Thelwall Outlines
June-September, 1802 Wakefield, Sheffield, Ripon, Darlington, Stockton upon Tees, Sunderland, Newcastle, South Shields, North Shields, Knaresborough, Harrogate, Rotherham lecture tour; in Rotherham by early Sept; visits Dr. Warwick in Rotherham possibly writes "Draw your Yellow Stockings On" at Dr. Warwick's Derby MS, Thelwall Outlines Derby MS, Derby Local Studies; Selections (Wakefield): Dove Cottage Grasmere, BL
September-October, 1802 Nottingham lecture tour Thelwall Outlines
December, 1802 Birmingham, Hereford gives 14 lectures in Birmingham; birth of Edwin Northumbrian Thelwall Thelwall Outlines, christening records
1803 family in Kendal by Nov, JT touring extensively through north extensive lecture tours through north of England, settles family in Kendal writes "Ode to Paley," "Ode on Fan of Mrs. G" and probably several other odes and "fan-club" poems Derby MS Derby MS, Derby Local Studies
January, 1803 Shrewsbury Thelwall Outlines
February, 1803 Liverpool, Warrington gives 18 lectures in Liverpool; cultivates connections with Crompton and Roscoe circle Thelwall Outlines
March-May, 1803 Manchester gives 2 series of 15-16 lectures in Manchester writes and delivers "Sawney's Pocket Knife" letter to Hardy Thelwall Outlines Elocution & Oratory (Manchester) in Edinburgh, LibCongress, Yale
June-July, 1803 Rochdale, Mirfield, Halifax, Brighouse, Huddersfield June 18-July 7: lectures in Halifax; July 9-18: Brighouse; July 22-Aug 7: Huddersfield; Aug 8 ff: Halifax writes "Mirfield" & "The Expiring Zephyr" June 10: letter to Hardy from Rochdale Halifax Journal, Derby MS
Summer, 1803 Halifax gives 18 lectures Thelwall Outlines
October-November,1803 Kendal, Lancaster, Keswick, Oct: Thelwall family settles in Kendal; JT lectures in Kendal and meets Gough; early-mid Nov: JT lectures in Lancaster; late Nov: JT visits Wordsworth in Grasmere & Coleridge & Southey in Keswick Nov 15: writes letter to Gough via MM re theories of voice; publishes letter/essay on Burke's theory of language in MM Nov: letters to Coleridge Thelwall Outlines, Lancaster newspaper, STC letters, Kendal archives, MM
November-December, 1803 Penrith, Carlisle, Longtown, Langholme, Hawick, Selkirk, Edinburgh Nov 29: walks with Hazlitt to Penrith; Nov 30: onward through Carlisle; by Dec 8 in Edinburgh probably writes "Sonnet in the Style of Ossian" on road between Hawick and Selkirk Nov 29: letter to Susan Thelwall Derby MS, DWD Letters Letter: Pierpont Morgan (rpt. DWD Letters)
December, 1803 Edinburgh lecture series disrupted (by Jeffrey) and ends after first lecture Dec 13: publishes A Letter to Francis Jeffray A Letter to Francis Jeffray in BL, Oxford, Edinburgh, Yale, LibCongress, IndianaU, Louisiana State, UChicago, Uillinois; Mr. Thelwall's Reply ... in BL, Oxford, Edinburgh, LibCongress, Louisiana State, Chicago, Huntington, Uillinois, Yale; "Observations on Mr. Thelwall's letter ..." Edinburgh