William Hone Chronology

William Hone, a Brief Chronology

This list of dates offers a sketchy outline of the major events in Hone's life. For more complete information about Hone's publications and for a short list of scholarly and biographical work on Hone, see the William Hone homepage and bibliography.


Hone born on 3 June in Bath, the first child of William Hone and Frances Maria Stawell Hone.
Hone family moves to Grafton Street, London
first "publication": a privately printed half-sheet broadside called The Contrast attacking the principles of the French Revolution. Hone employed in various legal offices.
joins London Corresponding Society, much to the dismay of his father.
moves to Chatham where he takes position a clerk in solicitor's office.
returns to London; takes lodgings in Southwark.
on 19 July in St. Anne's, Westminster, marries Sarah Johnson, the daughter of his landlady (and a long-time acquaintance of his father). Opens stationery shop and circulating library in Southwark, the first of a series of failed stationery and bookshops.
enters partnership with John Bone (former LCS operative); together they establish "Tranquillity," a combination savings bank, employment office, and annuity plan.
June--"Tranquillity" plan collapses; Bone and Hone take over J. S. Jordan bookshop at 331 Strand.
June--Working with Francis Place and others, Hone helps organize celebration of Sir Francis Burdett's release from prison;

October--Bone and Hone bankrupt.

becomes an "auctioneer to the book trades" with premises in Ivy Lane.
Working with Robert Waithman, James Bevans, and Edward Wakefield, Hone devises plan for the improvement of insane asylums. Despite interest among some MPs, the plan is never put into effect.
January--begins editorship of Critical Review.

December--moves with family into small house and bookselling shop at 55 Fleet Street.

March--witnesses shooting of Edward Vyse in Old Burlington Street; publishes accounts of inquest.

June--removed from position at Critical Review, probably for political reasons.

August--publishes first of several accounts of the trial and execution of Elizabeth Fenning.

Autumn--publishes several satirical accounts of Prince Regent's extravagance; Hone at this time close to many principal figures of London radicalism, including Major Cartwright, Alexander Galloway, Thomas Evans, Sir Richard Phillips, Francis Place, Robert Waithman, and others.

October--opens shop at 67 Old Bailey; maintains tiny shop at 55 Fleet Street as well.

January--with assistance from Francis Place, begins publishing a weekly newspaper called Hone's Reformists' Register. The newspaper lasts until October.

February--publishes liturgical parodies as part of anti-government pamphlet campaign.

3 May--is arrested for publishing liturgical parodies; held in King's Bench prison until 2 July.

18, 19, 20 December--three trials on charges of blasphemy and sedition for having produced the liturgical parodies. Hone, defending himself against the Attorney General, earns consecutive Not Guilty verdicts. A public meeting in Hone's support generates over 2500 pounds to alleviate financial strain.

takes premises at Ludgate Hill; tries to reestablish himself as auctioneer; publishes little more than accounts of his trials.
publishes several influential works including Cruikshank's engraving of a "Bank Note," Hazlitt's Political Essays, a mock continuation of Byron's Don Juan called Don Juan, Canto the Third!, and, in early December, The Political House that Jack Built.

March-April--in Birmingham to assist Joseph Russell, a printer who was being tried on charges of sedition and blasphemy for publishing Hone's liturgical parodies. Meets Samuel Parr.

continues publishing numerous illustrated satirical pamphlets, many about the so-called "Queen Caroline Affair." Among Hone's most popular works of 1820: The Man in the Moon, The Queen's Matrimonial Ladder, and Non Mi Ricordo.   Also, Hone is engaged in long-term antiquarian research in British Library, probably begun as preparation for his announced (but never produced) History of Parody. As one result of this research, Hone publishes his controversial edition of the Apocryphal New Testament.
Publishes Knox's The Spirit of Despotism, his own abbreviated and revised version of Defoe's Jure Divino, as well as comic parodies called The Political Showman--At Home! and A Slap at Slop!
engaged primarily in antiquarian research for his projected History of Parody ; publishes very little.
produces Aspersions Answered and Another Article for the Quarterly, both are defensive reactions against vicious Quarterly review of Apocryphal New Testament.
produces The Every-Day Book in weekly numbers beginning 1 January 1825. Bound and sold as two-volume edition in 1827.
April--declared bankrupt and remanded to the rules of King's Bench; proprietorship of Every-Day Book transferred to the new publishing house of Hunt and Clark, but Hone continues as chief writer and editor.
produces The Table Book in weekly numbers, on model of The Every-Day Book. In December, son William dies while in Navy and son Alfred suffers life-threatening head injury. Hone decides to give up The Table Book.
Hone, destitue, living mainly in Newington Green, picks up some work as editor, producing, for example, Poor Humphrey's Calendar (published by his daughter Matilda Hone 1829) and Joseph Strutt's Sports and Pastimes of the People of England (published 1830).
Money from a subscription run by (among others) Charles Lamb and Francis Place enables Hone to open a coffee-house called The Grasshopper in Gracechurch Street.
Begins working (for Thomas Tegg) on The Year Book, another miscellany on the model of The Every-Day Book and The Table Book.
Undergoes a religious conversion and becomes a devout follower of the Rev. Thomas Binney, then pastor of the Weigh-House Chapel.
suffers a "paralytic attack"--probably a stroke--leaving him helpless for several weeks. During this period, the Grasshopper is taken over by creditors.
moves to Peckham Rye Common, where he lives next to Frances Rolleston, his first biographer. Occasional contributions to The Times and Charles Knight's Penny Magazine.
February--staying with John Childs in Bungay and working on memoirs, apparently at the urging of Binney.

December--for 2 pounds per week, takes position as editor of The Patriot, an evangelical newspaper. Lives for the next few years at Bolt Court, near the newspaper offices.

Involved in publicizing in The Patriot the progress of the Church Rates controversy in which his friend John Childs played a central role.
January--suffers another "paralytic attack" leaving him almost unable to write and afraid to go outdoors.
gives up position at The Patriot and retires to small Tottenham cottage.
edits and writes a preface to his father's unfinished memoirs, published by T. Ward in 1841 as The Early Life and Conversion of William Hone.
6 November--dies after several weeks as near complete invalid. His funeral is attended by Charles Dickens, who takes an interest in subsequent welfare of Sarah Hone; he is buried in Abney Park Cemetery.