Hazlitt, William (DNB00)
|←Hazlewood, Colin Henry||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 25
Hazlitt, William (1778-1830)
|Head, Edmund Walker→|
HAZLITT, WILLIAM (1778–1830), essayist, born on 10 April 1778, was the son of William Hazlitt (1737–1820) and grandson of John Hazlitt, an Irish protestant, originally of Antrim, settled at Shrone Hill, near Tipperary. William Hazlitt, the father, studied at Glasgow for five years, where he was a contemporary of Adam Smith, joined the presbyterian ministry, and ultimately became a unitarian. He was chosen minister at Wisbeach in 1764; at Marshfield, Gloucestershire, in 1766; at Maidstone in 1770–1, where he frequently met Dr. Franklin; and at Bandon, co. Cork, in 1780. In 1783 he sailed to America, and was for fifteen months at Philadelphia, where, in addition to preaching, he delivered a course of lectures in the college on the evidences of Christianity. He is said to have founded the first unitarian church in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1786–7 he returned, and settled at Wem in Shropshire, and while there published three volumes of sermons. In 1766 he married Grace Loftus, daughter of a farmer near Wisbeach. Their first child, John, was born at Marshfield in 1767; their daughter, Peggy, at the same place; and William in Mitre Lane, Maidstone. The elder Hazlitt retired from the ministry, moved to Addlestone, Surrey, in 1813, afterwards to Bath, and finally to Crediton, where he died on 16 July 1820 (cf. Murch, Hist. of Presbyterian and General Baptist Church in West of England, p. 45).
William went with his parents to America, and was educated chiefly in his father's house at Wem. Early letters to his family indicate a very precocious intellect. In 1791 the ‘Shrewsbury Chronicle’ inserted a letter from him upon the persecution of Priestley at Birmingham. At the age of fifteen he was sent to the unitarian college at Hackney to prepare for the ministry. He had already written (in 1792) ‘A Project for a New Theory of Criminal and Civil Legislation,’ suggested by a dispute about the Test Acts; and his tutor, who had found him backward in some of his studies, encouraged him to elaborate this essay (published in his ‘Literary Remains’). For some reason, not stated, he gave up all thoughts of the ministry about 1797. In January 1798 Coleridge, then on the point of leaving the unitarians, visited the elder Hazlitt at Wem, and there preached his last sermon. Young Hazlitt was profoundly impressed, and attracted the kindly notice of the preacher. The lad tried to explain a metaphysical discovery which he supposed himself to have made. Coleridge encouraged his disciple to pursue the inquiry (which ultimately resulted in Hazlitt's ‘Principles of Human Action’), and invited a visit. Hazlitt, accordingly, in the following spring went to see Coleridge at Stowey, passed three weeks there, made an excursion with Coleridge to Lynton and met Wordsworth. A pamphlet published in 1806 was the result of Hazlitt's study of Coleridge's articles (of 1800) in the ‘Morning Post.’
Hazlitt now lived chiefly at his father's, and acquired most of the knowledge which was afterwards to be turned to account. He read few books, but studied those few thoroughly, enjoyed them keenly, and delighted in solitary thought. He studied the chief English philosophical writers from the time of Hobbes, but read neither Greek nor German. Burke, Junius, and Rousseau were among his chief favourites, Rousseau chiefly for the ‘Confessions’ and the ‘Nouvelle Héloïse,’ which he knew almost by heart. Cooke's ‘British Novelists’ introduced him to Fielding, Smollett, and Richardson; he had much of Shakespeare at his fingers' ends, and was fond of Boccaccio. His reading was necessarily fragmentary in youth, and he confessed frankly to the many blanks which he never filled. His love of reading afterwards diminished, and it is said that he never read a book through after he was thirty (Plain Speaker, ‘On Reading Old Books,’ W. C. Hazlitt, i. 80, 185, 191).
His brother John had studied under Reynolds, exhibited in the Academy from 1788, and was getting into fair practice as a miniature-painter. William, who had also shown early artistic tastes, resolved to follow his brother's profession. He learnt the elements of the art, probably under his brother, and spent four months at Paris in the winter of 1802–3, making copies of pictures at the Louvre, for which he had several commissions from his friends. After his return he made a tour in the north and painted some portraits, including those of Hartley Coleridge and Wordsworth. Wordsworth's portrait was destroyed as unsatisfactory. Although Hazlitt acquired, and always preserved, a strong love of the art, he gradually became convinced that he could not succeed so far as to satisfy his own ambition. A list of his known paintings is given in Mr. W. C. Hazlitt's biography (i. xvi). The most interesting was the portrait of Lamb as a Venetian senator, executed probably in 1805 (now in the National Portrait Gallery). This was, it seems, his last attempt. He was dividing his time between Wem and London. His brother John was known to the Lambs. His own acquaintance with Coleridge, the unitarian preacher Joseph Fawcett [q. v.], and Wordsworth procured him easy admission to the circles of which Lamb and Godwin were the centres. He began to turn his early studies to account. He published in 1806 his ‘Principles of Human Action.’ He took Godwin's part in the controversy with Malthus in 1807, and in the same year published an abridgment of Tucker's ‘Light of Nature’ and a volume of selections from parliamentary speeches. In 1808 he prepared a grammar, embodying the ‘discoveries of Mr. Horne Tooke,’ which, however, did not appear till 1810. His ethical treatise was scrupulously dry, though showing great acuteness. His other works, though honest task-work, were not calculated to win popularity.
Meanwhile he had been falling in love at short intervals, and with a want of success which left some permanent pangs. During his northern tour he had become attached to a Miss Railton, daughter of some family friends at Liverpool. Her relations thought his prospects too doubtful, and the affair was broken off. In the Lakes the deceitful daughter of a farmer led him into a flirtation which seems to have ended in his being ducked in the village brook (W. C. Hazlitt, i. 105; Lamb's Letters, ed. Ainger, i. 279; Patmore, iii. 141). De Quincey declares that he made an offer to Miss Wordsworth (Works, ii. 201), and other passing attachments are mentioned. At some time, probably after June 1806 (see W. C. Hazlitt, i. 137, where the letter from Mary Lamb seems to be inconsistent with Mr. Hazlitt's theory of a previous lovemaking), he became acquainted with Miss Sarah Stoddart, daughter of a retired naval officer, and sister of Dr. Stoddart, afterwards editor of the ‘Times.’ The Stoddarts were friends of John Hazlitt, and through him of the Lambs. In 1807 Hazlitt was engaged to Miss Stoddart. There were some difficulties as to ways and means. Miss Stoddart had inherited from her father a small property at Winterslow, some six miles from Salisbury, producing about 120l. a year. This was settled upon her, ‘at her brother's insti- gation,’ much to the annoyance of Hazlitt, who had become partly estranged from the doctor on political grounds. At last, however, the marriage took place on 1 May 1808 at St. Andrew's, Holborn, in presence of the Stoddarts and the Lambs.
Upon his marriage Hazlitt settled at Winterslow in one of the cottages belonging to his wife. Hazlitt's attachment to Winterslow is commemorated in several passages of his works, and he specially delighted in strolls through the neighbouring woods of Norman Court. In the autumn of 1809 the Lambs paid them a visit, and Lamb visited Oxford with Hazlitt. At Winterslow Hazlitt wrote his grammar and prepared the memoir of Holcroft (d 23 March 1809) from papers entrusted to him. A son, born in January 1809, died in the following July, and another, William, the only child who survived, was born on 26 Sept. 1811. An increased income became highly desirable. The Hazlitts moved in 1812 to London, in order to be within reach of literary employment, and settled at 19 York Street, Westminster, a house belonging to Jeremy Bentham, said to have been formerly Milton's, and occupied for a few months in 1810 by James Mill. Hazlitt delivered a course of ten lectures at the Russell Institution upon ‘The Rise and Progress of Modern Philosophy.’ His works had clearly gained him some reputation in ‘modern philosophy,’ which, as the syllabus shows, meant Hobbes, Locke, and Locke's followers. He took special interest in the materialism and necessitarianism of Hartley and Helvetius. He followed Horne Tooke in the theory of language. The fragments given in the ‘Literary Remains’ show that the lectures were in part a reproduction of the ‘principles of human action.’ H. C. Robinson (Diary, i. 368–71) attended his lectures, was much interested, and speaks of his rapid improvement in delivery. Hazlitt now finally left speculation for literature and journalism. He became a parliamentary reporter for the ‘Morning Chronicle,’ making notes in longhand. His health suffered from the work and from habits of intemperance, then common in the gallery. He broke off this habit about 1815 under medical advice, and thenceforward abstained from all fermented liquors. Haydon asserts (Autobiography, i. 279) that his reformation was the result of a long drinking bout intended to drown the memory of Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo. His enemies continued to taunt him as a drunkard, and called him ‘Pimpled Hazlitt.’ He afterwards drank strong black tea in Johnsonian quantities. On leaving the gallery he became theatrical critic to the ‘Morning Chronicle’ in 1814, and wrote some political articles, among which his replies to ‘Vetus’ (the elder Sterling) appear to have been most noticed. A quarrel with the proprietors led to his leaving the ‘Chronicle;’ and he also wrote in the ‘Champion,’ edited by John Scott (afterwards editor of the ‘London Magazine’), and in the ‘Times.’ A more important connection was that with the ‘Examiner,’ then belonging to John and Leigh Hunt. John Hunt was one of the few persons for whom Hazlitt's regard never seems to have cooled. Leigh Hunt proposed to join Hazlitt in a series of papers in the old ‘Spectator’ manner, to be called ‘The Round Table.’ These papers first showed Hazlitt's characteristic vein. He had been forced to take up his pen by want of money, and always required a certain effort at starting (Patmore, iii. 1–6). But he soon became a ready writer, and acquired the animated style necessary to command public attention. A review of Wordsworth's ‘Excursion’ in the ‘Examiner’ led incidentally to an estrangement from Lamb and a quarrel with Robinson (ib. ii. 39). Hazlitt had borrowed without leave a copy of the book, which had been sent to Lamb for review in the ‘Quarterly.’ Lamb was delayed by the detention, and Hazlitt, as he says, gave him a ‘blowing up’ for being angry. The coolness probably grew when Hazlitt attacked Lamb's friends in the ‘Chronicle.’ They always retained, however, a kindly feeling at bottom. Hazlitt dedicated his ‘Shakespeare Characters’ to Lamb, and often wrote appreciatively of his essays. When Lamb wrote his letter to Southey in 1825, he took occasion to eulogise Hazlitt's finer qualities, while lamenting that his gloomy distrust of friends had caused a partial separation. Hazlitt was much gratified, and in his last illness was affectionately attended by Lamb (see ‘Conversation of Authors’ and the ‘Pleasure of Hating’ in the Plain Speaker). Some articles in the ‘Champion’ were read by Lady Mackintosh, who spoke of them to Jeffrey, and led to an invitation to contribute to the ‘Edinburgh Review’ (Robinson, i. 461). His first article (on Dunlop's ‘History of Fiction’) appeared in November 1814, and he contributed at intervals till his death (to the list given by Mr. W. C. Hazlitt five are added by Mr. Ireland in Notes and Queries, 5th ser. xi. 165). He was never in the inner circle of the ‘Review.’ Its politics were uncongenial, and he was confined to literary topics. His articles are not in his best manner, probably because he felt the constraint of Jeffrey's editing, and could not indulge the strong personal vein conspicuous in his other writing. In 1817 Hazlitt published his ‘Characters of Shakespeare.’ He re- ceived 100l. for it. The first edition went off in six weeks; the sale of the second was spoilt, as he thought, by an attack in the ‘Quarterly Review.’ For this and a later assault Hazlitt revenged himself by a vigorous ‘Letter to William Gifford,’ exposing some misrepresentations, and accusing his most hated enemy of deliberate falsehood. Gifford's brutality was such as to justify the retaliation. The second book reviewed by Gifford was the ‘English Poets,’ the republication of a series of lectures given at the Surrey Institution in 1818. Two other courses, on the ‘Comic Writers’ and the ‘Age of Elizabeth,’ were given at the same place in 1819–20. He had known little of the dramatists, and borrowed a dozen volumes from Procter (Autobiog. p. 173), which he got up during six weeks at Winterslow. Patmore, who as secretary to the institution now first made his acquaintance, and Talfourd, who heard him, speak of his success as a lecturer. His manner impressed his hearers, in spite of some shocks to the prejudices of a middle-class audience. His general reputation was rising, though hardly in proportion to his merits. His services were in request by editors. He contributed in 1818 to the ‘Yellow Dwarf,’ started by John Hunt. He was one of the contributors to the ‘London Magazine,’ in which appeared part of his ‘Table Talk’ in 1819, and was even supposed—though erroneously—to have been the editor (W. C. Hazlitt, ii. 9). In 1821 he had a sharp quarrel with Leigh Hunt, who resented some attacks made by Hazlitt upon Shelley in the ‘Table Talk.’ Hazlitt repeated the offence afterwards, to the renewed anger of Hunt. Hunt, however, upon Shelley's death, obtained his help in the ‘Liberal,’ started by Byron [see under Byron, George Gordon], in which Hazlitt wrote five papers. Byron's association with mere literary hacks such as Hunt and Hazlitt was much resented by T. Moore, upon whom Hazlitt afterwards made some sharp attacks. Hazlitt never wrote, according to Patmore, till he was in actual want of money, although he then wrote very rapidly and discharged his engagements punctually. He was driven to isolation by his wayward temper and obstinate adherence to his peculiar political creed. He despised the whigs, loathed the tories, and vehemently attacked the radicals of Bentham's school. He liked to be in a minority of one, and tried to punish the apostasy (as he thought it) of his old friends Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Southey by inexcusably bitter attacks in the ‘Chronicle’ (see Political Essays).
Meanwhile his domestic life had become intolerable to him. Mrs. Hazlitt was a woman of considerable reading and vigorous understanding. She was, however, an utterly incompetent housewife, despised the ordinary proprieties, and had a love of incongruous finery. She visited some friends, drenched to the skin, after attending a walking-match in the rain. She had no sentiment, was slow to sympathise, and her estimate of Hazlitt's writings was considerably lower than his own. She was not jealous, nor does it appear that Hazlitt gave her cause for jealousy, beyond passing fits of admiration for other women (W. C. Hazlitt, i. 214, ii. 12, 269). It was not surprising, however, that such a woman should fail to agree with a man singularly fastidious, exacting in all his relations, and constantly taking umbrage at trifles. Their one bond seems to have been their common affection for their only child. From the autumn of 1819 (ib. ii. 26) Hazlitt lived chiefly apart from his wife, staying frequently at ‘The Hut’ (also called the Pheasant Inn), a coaching inn near Winterslow, on the road from Salisbury to London, described by Mr. Ireland (Hazlitt, p. xxxi). In 1820 he took lodgings at 9 Southampton Buildings, Chancery Lane. His landlord, a Mr. Walker, had two daughters, for one of whom, Sarah, he conceived a strong passion. She confessed to a previous attachment, but, if his account be accurate, coquetted very freely with him. In 1820 or 1821 he proposed a divorce from his wife, intending when free to marry Sarah Walker. Miss Walker is described by Procter (Autobiog. p. 180), who says that Hazlitt's passion was unaccountable, and almost verged upon madness. In January 1822 he started for Scotland. He wrote an account of his conversations with Miss Walker at Stamford on 19 Jan. 1822. He reached Edinburgh soon afterwards, where Mrs. Hazlitt arrived on 21 April. Her diary (partly published by Mr. W. C. Hazlitt) gives a business-like account of the various stages of the proceedings by which a divorce was ultimately obtained. During some of the delays Hazlitt made a trip to the highlands, and afterwards wrote part of his ‘Table Talk’ at Renton Inn, Berwickshire. He wrote impassioned letters to Patmore about Miss Walker. He had some conversations with his wife, and when all was settled told her that he had hopes of marrying ‘some woman with a good fortune,’ which would enable him to give up writing and do something for his brother and his son (W. C. Hazlitt, ii. 63). Both husband and wife clearly believed in the legal validity of the proceedings. It had been held that forty days' residence brought the parties under Scottish jurisdiction. Several persons had taken advantage of this doctrine. One Lolley had, however, been sentenced to transportation for bigamy in 1812 after obtaining a divorce from his first wife on Hazlitt's method. The point of law was then argued before all the English judges, and the sentence confirmed (article by Mr. R. Campbell in Journal of Jurisprudence, 1869, xiii. 481, &c.).
Hazlitt, on returning to London, satisfied himself (as it seems) that Miss Walker had been all along deceiving him, and preferred a younger lover. He put together the strange book called ‘Liber Amoris,’ consisting of the conversations above mentioned, with letters to Patmore and J. S. Knowles. The mask of anonymity was transparent to all the persons concerned, especially as he poured out his grievances to any one who would listen (Procter). De Quincey charitably calls the book an ‘explosion of frenzy,’ necessary to ‘empty his overburdened spirit.’ The necessity, created by his morbid egotism, was probably not obvious to Miss Walker, who was soon afterwards married, and about whose conduct he made statements unmanly, even if true. He was sane enough to get 100l. from a publisher for showing his skill in rivalling Rousseau's ‘Confessions.’ The passion was apparently soon forgotten.
He now lodged in Down Street, Piccadilly, and contributed to the ‘Liberal,’ the ‘London Magazine,’ and the ‘New Monthly,’ and published his ‘Characteristics,’ in imitation of Rochefoucauld. In the first half of 1824 he reverted to the intention announced to Mrs. Hazlitt at Edinburgh by marrying a Mrs. Bridgewater. Her maiden name is unknown. She was of Scottish birth, had gone out to Granada, married a Colonel Bridgewater, and upon his death soon afterwards returned to Scotland. She had a small property, stated at 300l. a year. She is said to have been charming; but little is known about her. Upon his marriage Hazlitt carried out a plan, projected a year or two previously, for a tour through France and Italy, visiting picture galleries, and describing his impressions in letters to the ‘Morning Chronicle.’ He sailed on 1 Sept. 1824, travelled to Paris, where he met the first Mrs. Hazlitt, talked to her civilly, and supplied her with money. He crossed the Mont Cenis to Turin, visited Florence, where he saw W. S. Landor, went to Rome, and thence to Venice, returning by Milan and the Simplon to Switzerland, and spending the summer of 1825 at Vevey. Here he met Medwin, who described their conversations in ‘Fraser's Magazine’ for March 1839. He reached England, by way of the Rhine and Holland, on 16 Oct. 1825. He wrote to his wife from England a fortnight after his return to ask when he should fetch her home. She replied that they had parted for ever. Hazlitt's son had been with them, and seems to have made some pointed remarks to his stepmother which precipitated this catastrophe.
Hazlitt after this event lived a solitary life, moving to furnished lodgings in Half Moon Street, Bouverie Street, and Frith Street, Soho. He published two collections of essays containing some of his best work, the ‘Spirit of the Age’ (1825) and the ‘Plain Speaker’ (1826). One of his most remarkable performances was his report of conversations with Northcote, which appeared as ‘Boswell Redivivus’ in ‘Colburn's New Monthly Magazine’ in 1826 and 1827. Patmore says (ii. 337) that Hazlitt was strictly accurate in reporting Northcote's anecdotes, though working in his own reflections. Northcote affected to be furious when some of them gave offence to persons whom he had mentioned. They were, however, continued as before with his perfect acquiescence (see Cunningham, Lives of the Painters, vii. 107–116). Besides other occasional writings, Hazlitt devoted himself to a ‘Life of Napoleon,’ which he began at Winterslow Hut in 1827. His labour caused a breakdown of health. He had cherished an idolatry for his hero, singular in one who boasted of an uncompromising love of political liberty; but he regarded Napoleon as representing antagonism to the doctrine of the divine right of kings. The task was infelicitous. As opposed to the prejudices of most English readers who had sympathised with Scott's life of the emperor (1827), it had little chance of popularity. But Hazlitt was also deviating from his proper career. He had no historical knowledge and made no pretence of research, reading chiefly the authors on his own side of the question. Neither serious nor superficial readers could be satisfied with the book, though some passages have been much admired. The failure of his publishers involved the loss of the 500l. upon which he had counted. His health had declined since his illness of 1827. Harassed by such troubles he broke down under an attack due to his old digestive weakness. Lamb came to him, and Jeffrey, to whom he had appealed for help, according to Talfourd, in a too peremptory letter, at once sent him 50l., which arrived too late to be recognised. He died 18 Sept. 1830 at his lodgings in Frith Street. His last words were ‘Well, I've had a happy life.’
His first wife died in 1842–3; his brother John died at Stockport on 16 May 1837, and his sister Peggy in 1844. A miniature portrait was taken of Hazlitt when a child in America. His brother took a miniature portrait of him in 1791, oil portraits at the ages of nineteen and thirty, and a miniature on ivory about 1808. Bewick made a chalk drawing of him in Scotland in 1822; and late in life he made a portrait of himself. A cast was taken after death, from which and some portraits Joseph Durham [q. v.] made a bust (W. C. Hazlitt, i. xvii). He appears as an ‘investigator’ in Haydon's picture of ‘Christ's Entry into Jerusalem.’ His face was eminently intellectual, with a very fine brow and a sensitive and expressive mouth. His appearance was injured by his slovenly dress. Though fragile in appearance he was a good fives-player, and could walk forty or fifty miles a day (Patmore, iii. 65).
Hazlitt's habits are fully described, perhaps with some over-colouring, by Patmore. A morbid self-consciousness, or, as Patmore calls it, an ‘ingrained selfishness’ (i. 272), clouded his life. He suffered from an exaggerated shyness; his domestic troubles deprived him of a home, and his easiness in taking offence made him solitary. ‘I have quarrelled,’ he says, ‘with almost all my old friends’ (‘Pleasures of Hating’ in the Plain Speaker). In his last years he visited no one except the Basil Montagus, Northcote, Leigh Hunt, and Patmore. He fancied that footmen thought him unfit to appear in a drawing-room, and that if his servants neglected him they must have read the attacks in ‘Blackwood’ (Patmore, ii. 352). He had many passing adorations for women, and yet was ill at ease with them, and even resented their intended favours as affronts (ib. ii. 301). He was inclined to suspect his friends of abusing him behind his back. He often retorted supposed offences by allusions in his essays, which if not clear enough he took care to explain. Patmore dwells upon the diabolical scowl which resented abuse of Napoleon or any insult to his pet sensibilities. His excessive touchiness was stimulated by the brutal abuse of political antagonists. When at his ease he could talk admirably and with genuine frankness. He was welcome at Lamb's Wednesday evenings, till their intimacy declined, and at the Southampton Coffee-house, where he generally dined or supped, and held forth to a less distinguished audience. Lamb called him, ‘in his natural and healthy state, one of the finest and wisest spirits breathing’ (Letter to Southey), and his later friends, Patmore, Procter, J. S. Knowles, and W. Hone, recognised his finer qualities under his strange infirmities of temper.
Hazlitt possessed a keen intellect and an intense sensibility to all æsthetic impressions. An artist by nature, he was brought up as a strict dissenter. The tastes and opinions imbibed in his youth became stereotyped. His early dogmas were sacred to him; he boasted of never changing an opinion after he was sixteen. His ‘love of truth’ or of his early opinions, right or wrong, was equally proof against interest and against experience. His opponents were wicked by nature, and conversion or even development the mark of a turncoat. His literary and artistic appreciations were equally dominated by the youthful impressions, endeared by early associations. He defended them with the psychological acuteness shown in his first book upon abstract questions, and afterwards applied to the analysis of character. Practice improved his facility in uttering judgments which had already been cast into clear-cut moulds in personal discussions, and in the solitary reveries to which he recurs so fondly. In later life he trusted too much to impressions no longer as vivid or as thoroughly absorbed as those of his youth, and permitted himself to be biassed by personal antipathy. Yet he never descends to mere verbiage, and his general appreciation of literary excellence often struggled successfully (as in the case of the Waverley novels) against his hatred of an author's politics. His criticisms are hardly equal, however, to the directly personal confessions which, if not always edifying, bear the impress of a keen mind and a singularly sensitive nature, stimulated by a lively interest on the subject. The wayward ill-temper which alienated his contemporaries has also limited the circle of his posthumous friends. Yet few men have written so much at so high a level, and no contemporary surpassed him in terseness and vivacity of style.
His works are as follows (the later editions were edited by his son, and the collections of essays had appeared in various periodicals, especially the ‘London Magazine’ and ‘Colburn's New Monthly;’ many of them were differently arranged in various editions, for notices of which, with a collection of criticisms, see Mr. A. Ireland's ‘List of the Writings of William Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt,’ 1868): 1. ‘Essay on the Principles of Human Action; being an Argument in favour of the natural disinterestedness of the Human Mind. To which are added some Remarks on the Systems of Hartley and Helvetius,’ 1805. 2. ‘Free Thoughts on Public Affairs,’ 1806. 3. Abridgment of Abraham Tucker's ‘Light of Nature,’ 1807. 4. ‘Eloquence of the British Senate’ (selection of speeches in parliament, with notes), 1807. 5. ‘Reply to Malthus …,’ 1807. 6. ‘A New and Improved Grammar of the English Tongue … in which the discoveries of Mr. Horne Tooke … are for the first time incorporated. To which is added a New Guide to the English Tongue … by Edward Baldwin’ (i.e. William Godwin), 1810. 7. ‘Memoir of Thos. Holcroft, written by himself and …’ continued by Hazlitt, 1816. 8. ‘The Round Table,’ first published in forty-eight numbers in the ‘Examiner,’ January 1815 to January 1817. Leigh Hunt wrote twelve of these, and an anonymous writer one; the collected edition omitted some, and in the third edition (1841) by his son three were added from the ‘Liberal,’ and others transferred to new editions of other works. 9. ‘Characters of Shakespeare's Plays,’ 1817, 1818, 1838, 1848, 1858; reproduced at Boston, Mass., in 1838. 10. ‘A Review of the English Stage; or a Series of Dramatic Criticisms,’ 1818, 1821, 1851 (with new matter and omissions, reprinted from various papers, 1814–17). 11. ‘Lectures on the English Poets,’ 1818, 1819, and 1841 (with an essay from the ‘Round Table’ on ‘Love of the Country,’ and an appendix of additional papers). 12. ‘Lectures on the English Comic Writers,’ 1819 and 1841. 13. ‘Letter to William Gifford, Esq.,’ 1819. 14. ‘Political Essays, with Sketches of Public Characters,’ 1819; 2nd edition 1822. 15. ‘Lectures on the Dramatic Literature of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth,’ 1821 (two edits.), 1840. 16. ‘Table Talk; or Original Essays on Men and Manners,’ 1821–2, 1824, 1845–6; (with two new essays) 1857. 17. ‘Liber Amoris, or the New Pygmalion,’ 1823 (new edit. by R. Le Gallienne, 1894). 18. ‘Sketches of the principal Picture Galleries in England, with a criticism on “Marriage à la Mode”’ (partly from ‘London Mag.’), 1824; with new papers 1843–4 as ‘Criticisms on Art.’ 19. ‘Characteristics, in the manner of Rochefoucauld's Maxims,’ 1823, 1827. 20. ‘The Spirit of the Age; or Contemporary Portraits,’ 1825, 1835, 1858. 21. ‘The Plain Speaker; or Opinions on Books, Men, and Things,’ 1826 and 1851. 22. ‘Notes of a Journey through France and Italy …,’ 1826 (from ‘Morning Chronicle’). 23. ‘The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte,’ vols. i. and ii. 1828, vols. iii. and iv. 1830, and 4 vols. 1852. 24. ‘Conversations of James Northcote, Esq., R.A.,’ 1830 (new edit. by E. Gosse, 1894). Posthumous collections by his son were: 1. ‘Painting and the Fine Arts …,’ from ‘Encyclopædia Brit.,’ 7th edit. 2. ‘Winterslow; Essays and Characters written there,’ 1839. 3. ‘Sketches and Essays now first Collected,’ 1839; new edit. 1852 as ‘Men and Manners; Sketches and Essays by William Hazlitt’ (Nos. 2 and 3 include some of his best essays). 4. ‘Literary Remains,’ with memoir by his son, and estimates by E. L. Bulwer and Serjeant Talfourd, 2 vols., 1836.
A selection of speeches at county meetings in 1821 and 1822 has been ascribed to Hazlitt, but, according to Mr. W. C. Hazlitt, erroneously. He had a share with Lamb and Procter in the ‘Selections from the English Poets’ (1824), which was withdrawn in consequence of copyright difficulties, and reissued, with omissions, with Hazlitt's name on the title page, in 1825. He had also some part in putting together the confused ‘Life of Titian … by James Northcote,’ 1830. A excellent selection from his writings was published in 1889 as ‘William Hazlitt, Essayist and Critic,’ by Mr. Alexander Ireland.Memoirs of William Hazlitt by [his grandson] W. Carew Hazlitt, 2 vols. 1867; Memoir by Ireland prefixed to ‘William Hazlitt’ (see above); Talfourd's Final Memorials of Lamb, chap. ix.; Lamb's Letters (ed. Ainger and ed. Lucas); Cyrus Redding's Past Celebrities, i. 75–101; Haydon's Autobiography, 1853, i. 209–11, 224, 279, 342, 346; H. C. Robinson's Diaries, i. 63, 68, 300, 368–71, 380, 461, ii. 36, 39, 258; Patmore's My Friends and Acquaintances, vols. ii. and iii.; Essays by Bulwer and Talfourd. prefixed to Literary Remains, 1836; Procter's Autobiographical Fragments, 1873, pp. 167–82; De Quincey's Works, 1862, xi. 297–312; Macvey Napier's Correspondence, pp. 21, 70, 199, 256.]