Ashe, Thomas (1770-1835) (DNB00)

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ASHE, THOMAS (1770–1835), novelist and miscellaneous writer, traced his descent from the younger branch of a family whose ancestors accompanied William the Conqueror to England. A cadet of this younger branch served with William of Orange in Ireland, and obtained one of the forfeited Irish estates. Ashe was the third son of a half-pay officer, and was born at Glasnevin, near Dublin, 15 July 1770. He received a commission in the 83rd regiment of foot, which, however, was almost immediately afterwards disbanded, whereupon he was sent to a counting-house at Bordeaux. There he suffered a short imprisonment for wounding in a duel a gentleman whose sister he had seduced, but, the wound not proving fatal, the prosecution was not persisted in. Returning to Dublin, he was appointed secretary to the Diocesan and Endowed Schools Commission, but, getting into debt, resigned his office and retired to Switzerland. He then spent several years in foreign travel, living, according to his own account (Memoirs and Confessions, 3 vols. 1815), in a free and unconstrained fashion, and experiencing a somewhat chequered fortune. Besides recording in his 'Memoirs' his impressions of the countries he visited, he published separately 'Travels in America in 1806,' 1808; 'Memoirs of Mammoth and other Bones found in the vicinity of the Ohio,' 1806; and 'A Commercial and Geographical Sketch of Brazil and Madeira,' 1812. He was also the author of several novels, including the 'Spirit of the Book,' 1811, 4th edition 1812; the 'Liberal Critic, or Henry Percy,' 1812: and the 'Soldier of Fortune,' 1816. In his later years Ashe was in rather indigent circumstances. He died at Bath 17 Dec. 1835.

[Ashe's Memoirs, 1815.]

T. F. H.