Hanway, Jonas (DNB00)
|←Hanson, Richard Davies||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 24
HANWAY, JONAS (1712–1786), traveller and philanthropist, was born on 12 Aug. 1712 at Portsmouth, where his father, Thomas Hanway, was for some years agent victualler for the navy. His father being killed by an accident, his mother removed with her children to London, where Jonas was sent to school. At the age of seventeen he was apprenticed to a merchant at Lisbon. On the expiration of his apprenticeship he set up in business there for a short time, but afterwards returned to London, and in February 1743 accepted a partnership in the house of Mr. Dingley, a merchant at St. Petersburg. Here Hanway became acquainted with the Caspian trade, and offered his services to go into Persia with a caravan of woollen goods. He left St. Petersburg on 10 Sept. 1743, and reaching Zaritzen, on the banks of the Volga, on 9 Oct., travelled down the river to Yerkie, where he embarked on a British ship, and arrived at Astrabad Bay on 18 Dec. While at Astrabad a rebellion broke out in the province, the city was taken by Mahommed Hassan Bey, and Hanway's caravan plundered. Leaving Astrabad on 24 Jan., after undergoing many privations, he arrived on 20 March at the camp of the Shah Nadir, who ordered the restitution of his goods. Returning to Astrabad, where the rebellion had been quelled by the shah's general, Behbud Khan, he ultimately obtained in goods and money some 85 per cent, of the original value of his caravan. On his return voyage along the southern coast of the Caspian Sea his ship was attacked by pirates. At Reshd he fell ill with fever, and at Yerkie was detained in quarantine for six weeks on the island of Caraza. Leaving Astrachan on 22 Nov. he travelled by land on the western side of the Volga to Zaritzen, and passing again through Moscow reached St. Petersburg on 1 Jan. 1745, where he learnt of the death of a relation, from which he 'reaped certain pecuniary advantages, much exceeding any he could expect from his engagement in the Caspian affairs' (Pugh, edition of 1798, p. 70). On 9 July 1750 Hanway left St. Petersburg, and after travelling through Germany and Holland landed at Harwich on 28 Oct. 1750. Hanway now took up his residence in London, and busied himself in preparing an account of his travels for the press, the first edition of which cost him 700l., and was published in January 1753. With the exception of two visits abroad Hanway spent the rest of his life in England. His first appearance in public controversy was on the question of the naturalisation of the Jews, which he opposed with much vigour. He became untiring in his advocacy of all kinds of useful and philanthropic schemes. In 1754 he urged the necessity of improving the state of the highways of the metropolis. In 1756, with Fowler, Walker, and Sir John Fielding, he founded the Marine Society, for the purpose of keeping up a supply of seamen for the navy, and so successful were its operations that in 1762, only six years after its commencement, no less than 5,451 boys and 4,787 landsmen volunteers had been fitted out by the society. In 1758 he became a governor of the Foundling- Hospital, and was ultimately successful in his endeavours to remodel the system of indiscriminate relief which was then in vogue. In the same year, with Robert Dingley and others, he founded the Magdalen Hospital. Called at first Magdalen House, it was opened on 10 Aug. 1758 inPrescot Street, Goodman's Fields. The charity was incorporated in 1769, and a new hospital erected in St. George's Fields, which in 1869 was removed to Streatham. He also worked indefatigably on behalf of the infant parish poor. In order to call public attention to the excessive mortality of these children he visited the most unhealthy dwellings of the poor parts of London, as well as the workhouses in this country and the continent. In 1761 he obtained an act (2 Geo. Ill, c. 22) obliging every London parish to keep an annual register of all parish infants under a certain age, and, after a further struggle, another act (7 Geo. Ill, c. 39), which directed that all parish infants belonging to parishes within the bills of mortality should not be housed in the workhouse, but should be sent out to nurse a certain number of miles out of town until they were six years old. In addition to all these labours he pleaded for the protection of the young chimney-sweeps, opposed the absurdly extravagant custom of vails-giving, called attention to the bad effects of midnight routs and crowded assemblies, recommended the solitary confinement of prisoners, and zealously advocated the establishment of Sunday schools. Moreover, he is said to have been the first man who made a practice of using an umbrella while walking in the streets of London. After persevering for some thirty years, in spite of the jeers of the passengers and the clamour of the chairmen and hackney coachmen, he saw his own practice generally adopted. At the request of some of the leading London merchants that some mark of public favour should be conferred upon Hanway for his disinterested services, he was appointed a commissioner of the victualling office on 10 July 1762, a post from which he was compelled to retire, owing to ill-health, in October 1783. He died unmarried in Red Lion Square on 5 Sept. 1786, aged 74, and was buried in Hanwell churchyard, Middlesex, on the 13th of the same month. His portrait, painted by Edward Edwards, hangs in the committee-room of the Marine Society in Bishopsgate Street Within, where there is also an engraving of the portrait by Robert Dunbart. In 1788 a monument was erected to Hanway's memory in the west aisle of the north transept of Westminster Abbey. Hanway was an honest, philanthropic, single-minded man ; but, like most other benevolent characters, he allowed his sentiments sometimes to get the better of his common sense. Johnson on one occasion is said to have affirmed that Hanway 'acquired some reputation by travelling abroad, but lost it all by travelling at home' (Boswell, Life of Johnson, ii. 122). Miss Burney describes him as being 'very loquacious, extremely fond of talking of what he has seen and heard, and would be very entertaining were he less addicted to retail anecdotes and reports from newspapers' (Diary and Letters of Madame d'Arblay, 1846, ii. 231). Carlyle, who by an unaccountable slip speaks of him as ' Sir 'Jonas, calls him a 'dull worthy man,' though he afterwards allows that Hanway 'was not always so extinct as he has now become' (Works, Library edit. xxvi. 264).
Hanway was a voluminous writer, as well as a loquacious speaker. His best book was his first, in which he gave an account of his travels. His other works are of a desultory and moralising character, and are only interesting on account of the causes on behalf of which they were written. His 'Essay on Tea,' in which he attacked the 'pernicious' custom of tea-drinking, was severely criticised by Johnson in the 'Literary Magazine' (ii. 161-7), and by Goldsmith in the 'Monthly Review' (xvii. 50-4). According to Boswell, Hanway wrote an angry answer to Johnson's review, to which Johnson replied ; 'the only instance, I believe, in the whole course of his [Johnson's] life, when he condescended to oppose anything that was written against him' (Boswell, Life of Johnson, i. 314).
Besides a number of miscellaneous communications to the 'Public Advertiser' Hanway was the author of the following works : 1. 'An Historical Account of the British Trade over the Caspian Sea ; with a Journal of Travels from London through Russia into Persia, and back again through Russia, Germany, and Holland, to which are added the Revolutions of Persia during the present century, with the particular History of Nadir Kouli,' &c., London, 1753, 4to, 4 vols. ; 2nd edition, London, 1754, 4to, 2 vols. Third and fourth editions were also published according to Pugh. An abridged edition of the 'Travels' appeared in vols. xiv. and xv. of 'The World Displayed,' c. (3rd edition, 1777). 2. 'A Letter against the Proposed Naturalization of the Jews,' 1753, 8vo. 3. 'Thoughts on the Proposed Naturalization of the Jews,' 1753, 8vo. 4. 'A Review of the Proposed Naturalization of the Jews/ &c. ; 3rd edit. London, 1753, 8vo. 5. 'Letters, Admonitory and Argumentative, from J. H., Merchant, to J. S——t, Merchant, in reply to ... a pamphlet entitled "Further Considerations in the Bill," ' &c., London, 1753, 8vo. 6. 'A Letter to Mr. John Spranger on his excellent proposal for Paving, Cleansing, and Lighting the Streets of Westminster and the Parishes adjacent in Middlesex,' 1754, 8vo. 7. 'A Morning's Thought on the Pamphlet entitled "Test and Contest," ' 1755, 8vo. 8. 'Thoughts on Invasion,' 1755, 8vo. 9. 'A Journal of Eight Days' Journey from Portsmouth to Kingston-upon-Thames,' &c., 1756, 4to ; this was printed for presentation only and not sold. A second edition was published in 2 vols., to which was added ' An Essay on Tea, considered as pernicious to Health, obstructing Industry, and impoverishing the Nation,' &c., London, 1757, 8vo. 10. 'Motives for the Establishment of the Marine Society. By a Merchant,' London, 1757, 4to. 11. 'A Letter from a Member of the Marine Society ; showing the . . . utility of their design with respect to the Sea-service,' 4th edit, with additions, London, 1757, 8vo. 12. 'Three Letters on the subject of the Marine Society. ... To which is prefixed a General View of the Motives for Establishing the Society,' London, 1758, 4to. 13. ' First Thoughts in relation to the Means of Augmenting the number of Mariners in the Dominions belonging to the Crown of Great Britain,' 1758, 4to. 14. 'A Letter to Robert Dingley, Esq., being a proposal for the Relief and Employment of Friendless Girls and Repenting Prostitutes,' London, 1758, 4to. 15. 'An Account of the Marine Society. . . . The sixth edition, adapted to the present time,' London, 1759, 8vo. 16. 'Reasons for an Augmentation of at least Twelve Thousand Mariners to be employed in the Merchant's Service,' &c., London, 1759, 4to ; this was republished with alterations in 1770. 17. 'A Candid Historical Account of the Hospital for the Reception of Exposed and Deserted Young Children,' &c., London, 1759, 8vo ; second edition, London, 1760, 8vo. 18. 'Thoughts on the Plan for a Magdalen House for Repentant Prostitutes,' &c. ; second edition, with additions, London, 1759, 4to. 19. 'Rules and Orders of the Stepney Society, with an account of the End and Design of this Benevolent and Politic Institution,' &c., 1759, 4to. 20. 'Instructions to Apprentices placed out by the Stepney Society to Marine Trades,' 1759, 12mo. 21. 'The Genuine Sentiments of an English Country Gentleman upon the Present Plan of the Foundling Hospital,' &c., 1759, 8vo. 22. 'An Account of the Society for the Encouragement of the British Troops in Germany and North America,' &c., London, 1760, 8vo. 23. ' A Reply to C—— A—— [David Stansfield], Author of the "Candid Remarks on Mr. Hanway's Candid Historical Account of the Foundling Hospital," ' &c., London, 1760, 8vo. 24. 'Eight Letters to his Grace-Duke of on the Custom of Vails-giving in England,' &c., London, 1760, 8vo. 25. 'The Sentiments and Advice of Thomas Trueman, a Virtuous and Understanding Footman, in a letter to his brother Jonathan, setting forth the custom of Vails-giving,' &c., London, 1760, 8vo. 26. 'Proposals for a Saving to the Public by giving Apprentice Fees with Foundlings,' 1760, 8vo. 27. 'Reflections, Essays, and Meditations on Life and Religion, with a Collection of Proverbs in Alphabetical order, and twenty-eight Letters written occasionally on several subjects,' &c., London, 1761, 8vo, 2 vols. 28. 'Essays and Meditations on Life and Practical Religion, with a Collection of Proverbs,' &c., London, 1762, 8vo. 29. 'Serious Considerations on the Salutary Design of the Act of Parliament for a Regular Uniform Register of the Parish Poor in the Parishes within the Bills of Mortality,' &c., 1762, 8vo. 30. 'Letters written on the Customs of Foreign Nations in regard to Harlots,' &c., 1762, 8vo. 31. 'Reasons for serious candour in relation to Vulgar Decisions concerning Peace and War,' 1762, 8vo. 32. 'Christian Knowledge made easy ; with a Plain Account of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. To which are added the Seaman's Faithful Companion, with an Historical Account of the late War,' &c. [London, 1763 ?], 12mo ; this was also published under the name of 'The Seaman's Faithful Companion.' 33. ' A Proposal for Saving from Seventy Thousand Pounds to One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Pounds to the Public, and at the same time rendering Five Thousand Persons of both sexes more happy to themselves and useful to their country, than if so much money were expended on their account,' 1764, 8vo. 34. 'Thoughts on the Uses and Advantages of Music and other Amusements most in esteem in the Polite World, in Nine Letters,' 1765, 8vo. 35. 'The Case of the Canadians at Montreal distressed by Fire, with Motives for a Subscription towards their Relief,' 1765, 8vo. 36. 'An Earnest Appeal for Mercy to the Children of the Poor . . . also a Proposal for the more effectual Preserving the Parish Children here,' &c., London, 1766, 4to. 37. 'The Christian Officer, addressed to the Officers of His Majesty's Forces, including the Militia,' 1766, 8vo. 38. 'Letters on the Importance of the Rising Generation of the Laboring part of our Fellow-Subjects,' &c., London, 1767, 8vo, 2 vols. 39. 'Moral and Religious Instructions to Young Persons, with Prayers for various occasions,' 1767, 8vo. 40. 'Moral and Religious Instructions intended for Apprentices, and also for Parish Poor; with Prayers from the Liturgy, and others adapted to private use. To which is added the Eight Rev. Dr. Synge's " Knowledge of the Christian Religion," ' &c., London, 1767, 12mo. 41. 'Letters to the Guardians of the Infant Poor to be appointed by the Act of the last Session of Parliament,' 1767, 8vo. 42. ' Rules and Regulations of the Magdalene Hospital, with Prayers suited to the Condition of the Women,' 1768, 8vo. 43. 'Advice to a Daughter on her going into Service,' &c., 1769. 44. 'Advice from a Farmer to his Daughter in a Series of Discourses,' 1770, 8vo, 3 vols. 45. 'Observations on the Causes of the Dissoluteness which reigns among the Lower Classes of the People,' &c., London, 1772, 4to. 40. 'The State of the Chimney Sweeper's Young Apprentices, showing their Wretched Condition,' &c., 1773, 8vo. 47. 'A Letter on occasion of the Public Enquiry concerning the most proper Bread to be assized for General Use,' 1773, 8vo. 48. 'The Great Advantage of Eating Pure and Genuine Bread, comprehending the Heart of the Wheat with all its Flour,' 1774, 8vo. 49. 'Virtue in Humble Life, containing Reflections on the Reciprocal duties of the Wealthy and Indigent,' &c., London, 1774, 8vo, 2 vols. ; second edition, enlarged, London, 1777, 4to; translated into German, Leipzig, 1775-6, 8vo. 'Domestic Happiness,' &c., abridged from this work, was published in 1786, 1817, and by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge in 1835 (?) 'Advice from Farmer Trueman to his daughter Mary upon her going into Service,' also abridged from this work, was published in 1796, 1800, and 1805, and also in the fifth volume of 'Tracts' issued by the Unitarian Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. 50. 'The Defects of Police the cause of Immorality . . . with various Proposals for preventing Hanging and Transportation,' &c., London, 1775, 4to. 51. 'Common Sense. Nine Dialogues on the American War,' 1775 ; this was reprinted at New York. 52. 'Solitude in Imprisonment, with proper Profitable Labour and a Spare Dict.,' &c., London, 1776, 8 vo. 53. 'The Soldier's Faithful Friend, being Moral and Religious Advice to Soldiers ; with an Historical Abridgment of the Events of the Last War,' c., London, 1776, 8vo ; third edition, London, 1777, 12mo. 54. ' The Commemorative Sacrifice of our Lord's Supper, considered as a Preservative against Superstitious Fears and Immoral Practices,' &c., London, 1777, 12mo. 55. 'Earnest Advice, particularly to persons who live in an habitual neglect of our Lord's Supper,' &c., London, 1778, 12mo. 56. 'The Sea Lad's Trusty Companion,' London, 1778, 12mo. 57. 'The Seaman's Christian Friend, containing Moral and Religious Advice to Seamen,' London, 1779, 8vo. 58. 'An Account of the Maritime School at Chelsea, for the Maintenance and Instruction of the Sons of Officers in the Naval Line,' 1779, 8vo. 59. 'The Citizen's Monitor ; showing the necessity of a Salutary Police,' &c., London, 1780, 4to. 60. 'To the Memory of Mr. George Peters, junior, of St. Petersburg, Merchant,' privately printed, [London, 1780], 4to. 61. 'Distributive Justice and Mercy ; showing that a Temporary, Real, Solitary Imprisonment of Convicts supported by Religious Instruction ... is essential to their well-being,' &c., London, 1781, 8vo. 62. 'The Importance of our Lord's Supper, and the dangerous consequences of neglecting it; in sixty-eight Letters addressed to the Countess Spencer,' 1782, 8vo. 63. 'Proposal for County Naval Free Schools to be built on Waste Lands, giving such effectual Instructions to Poor Boys as may nurse them for the Sea-service,' &c., London, 1783, fol.; second edition, in three vols., 1783, 12mo. An abridgment of the same in 1 vol. 1783, 12mo. 64. 'A Letter to the Governors of the Maritime School, recommending a mode of preserving their object to posterity,' 1783, 12mo. 65. 'Reasons for pursuing the Plan proposed by the Marine Society for the Establishment of County Free Schools,' 1784, 8vo. 66. The Plan, with the Rules and Regulations of the Maritime School at Chelsea,' 1784, 8vo. 67. 'Observations, Moral and Political, particularly respecting the necessity of good order and religious oeconomy in our Prisons,' 1784, 8vo. 68. 'The Neglect of the effectual Separation of Prisoners and the want of good order and religious oeconomy in our Prisons/ &c., London, 1784, 8vo. 69. 'Midnight the Signal,' c., 2 vols. 1784, 12mo. 70. 'A New Year's Gift to the People of Great Britain pleading for the necessity of a more vigorous . . . Police,' &c., London, 1784, 8vo. 71. 'Addressed to Mr. George Hanway Blackburn, on occasion of his Baptism,' &c. ; privately printed [1784 ?], 4to. 72. 'A Sentimental History of Chimney Sweepers in London and Westminster . . . with a Letter to a London Clergyman on Sunday Schools,' &c. [London], 1785, 8vo. 73. 'A Comprehensive View of Sunday Schools,' &c., London, 1786, 8vo. 74. 'Prudential Instruction to the Poor Boys fitted out by the Corporation of the Marine Society,' &c., London, 1788, 12mo. The preface is dated 'Red Lion Square, December 1783.'
[John Pugh's Remarkable Occurrences in the Life of Jonas Hanway (editions of 1787 and 1798); BosweU's Life of Johnson (G. B. Hill's edition) ; Chalmers's Biog. Dict. xvii. 133-5 ; Forster's Life of Oliver Goldsmith, 1875, pp.