Richardson, David Lester (DNB00)

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RICHARDSON, DAVID LESTER (1801–1865), poet and miscellaneous writer, was born in 1801. He became a cadet in the Bengal army, and went to India in 1819, but, though he became a major, he saw little military service, and was soon given civil employment. He served on the staff of the governor-general, Lord William Bentinck, and in the education department at Calcutta. In 1827 he returned to England, and founded the ‘London Weekly Review,’ which afterwards became ‘Colburn's Court Journal,’ but in 1829 he went back to Calcutta, and from 1830 to 1837 acted as editor of the ‘Bengal Annual,’ afterwards editing the ‘Calcutta Monthly Journal,’ and from 1834 to 1849 ‘The Calcutta Literary Gazette.’ In 1836 he became professor of English literature of the Hindoo College at Calcutta, largely on Macaulay's recommendation, and in 1839 he was promoted to the newly-created post of principal of the college, while retaining his professorship. He finally left India in 1861, and became proprietor and editor of ‘The Court Circular’ and editor of ‘Allen's Indian Mail.’ Richardson died at Clapham, Surrey, on 17 Nov. 1865.

He published: 1. ‘Miscellaneous Poems,’ Calcutta, 1822, 8vo. 2. ‘Sonnets and other Poems,’ London, 1825, 8vo; reprinted under the title of ‘Sonnets and Miscellaneous Poems, partly written in India,’ in ‘Jones's Diamond Poets,’ London, 1827, and again in ‘Jones's Cabinet of the British Poets,’ in 1837. To these reprints were appended numerous favourable criticisms, to which Professor Wilson, who had noticed the poems unfavourably in ‘Blackwood's Magazine’ (xxi. 856), refers (Noctes Ambrosianæ, No. xl., December 1828), calling the author ‘the Diamond Poet, who published three hunder and sixty-five panegyrics on his ain genius, by way of Notes and Illustrations to his Sonnets.’ 3. ‘Literary Leaves,’ Calcutta, 1836, 8vo; 2nd edit. enlarged, London, 1840, 2 vols. 8vo, which Carlyle called ‘a welcome, altogether recommendable book,’ and Lord Lytton, in ‘Alice,’ ‘elegant and pleasant essays.’ 4. ‘Selections from the British Poets, from the time of Chaucer to the Present Day, with Biographical and Critical Notices,’ Calcutta, 1840, 8vo, compiled at the request of Macaulay, the ‘Notices’ being issued separately, Calcutta, 1878, 8vo. 5. ‘The Anglo-Indian Passage,’ London, 1845, 12mo; 2nd edit. 1849. 6. ‘Literary Chit-chat, with Miscellaneous Poems,’ Calcutta, 1848, 8vo. 7. ‘Literary Recreations,’ London (Calcutta printed), 1852, 8vo. 8. ‘Flowers and Flower Gardens, with an Appendix … respecting the Anglo-Indian Flower Garden,’ Calcutta, 1855, 8vo. He is stated by Allibone to have also published 9. ‘Trials and Triumphs,’ 12mo. 10. ‘Lord Bacon's Essays, annotated,’and 11. ‘History of the Black Hole of Calcutta.’

[Allen's Indian Mail, 1865, p. 864; Allibone's Dict. of English Lit.; Gent. Mag. 1866, i. 176.]

G. S. B.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.234
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
223 ii 59-60 Richardson, David L.: omit under Macaulay
224 i 5  for ‘Bengal Monthly Magazine’ read ‘Calcutta Monthly Journal’
7  for In 1835 he became principal read In 1836 he became professor of English literature
8  omit Metropolitan and after Calcutta insert largely on Macaulay's recommendation, and in 1839 he was promoted to the newly created post of principal of the college, while retaining his professorship