Lathy, Thomas Pike (DNB00)

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LATHY, THOMAS PIKE (fl. 1820), novelist, was born in Exeter in 1771. Though bred to trade he devoted himself from 1800 to 1821 to literary production. He appears to have been in America in 1800, when his 'Reparation, or the School for Libertines, a dramatic piece, as performed at the Boston Theatre with great applause,' was published at Boston 'for the benefit of the author.' The only other work of Lathy's in the British Museum Library is his 'Memoirs of the Court of Louis XIV, in three volumes, with splendid embellishments,' London, 1819, 8vo, a compilation of some merit, based upon contemporary memoirs and letters, and dedicated to the prince regent. 'The Rising Sun,' 1807, and 'The Setting Sun,' 1809, two novels by Eaton Stannard Barrett [q.v.], issued without the author's name, have been wrongly attributed to Lathy by Watt. He is also credited by the same authority with six other novels: 'Paraclete,' 1805, 5 vols.; 'Usurpation,' 1805, 3 vols.; 'The Invisible Enemy,' 1806, 4 vols.; 'Gabriel Forrester,' 1807, 4 vols.; 'The Misled General,' 1807, anon.; 'Love, Hatred, and Revenge,' 1809, 3 vols.

In 1819 Lathy perpetrated a successful plagiaristic fraud. At the time a kind of mania was prevalent among book-buyers for angling literature. Lathy accordingly called upon Gosden, the well-known bookbinder and publisher, with what he alleged to be an original poem on angling. 'Gosden purchased the manuscript for 30l., and had it published as "The Angler, a poem in ten cantos, with notes, etc., by Piscator" [T. P. Lathy, esq.], with a whole-length portrait of himself, armed with a flashing-rod and landing-net, leaning sentimentally against a votive altar dedicated to the manes of Walton and Cotton.' After a number of copies were printed on royal paper, and one on vellum at a cost of 10l., it was discovered that the poem was copied almost in toto form 'The Anglers. Eight Dialogues in verse,' London, 1758, 12mo (reprinted in Ruddiman's 'Scarce, Curious, and Valuable Pieces,' Edinburgh, 1773), by 'Dr. Thomas Scott of Ipswich' [q. v.] The fraud was pointed out by Scott's great-nephew, the possessor of the original manuscript in autograph, in the 'Gentleman's Magazine' (1819, ii. 407).

[Biog. Dict. of Living Authors, p. 196; Watt's Bibl. Brit. ii. 589; Halkett and Laing's Dict. Anon. Lit. pp. 92, 2217; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. vii. 17; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

T. S.