Seally, John (DNB00)
|←Seagrave, Robert||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 51
SEALLY, JOHN (1747?–1795), miscellaneous writer, born in Somerset about 1747, was educated at Bristol grammar school, with a view to ordination. He may possibly be identical with 'John Sealy,' son of John Sealy of Bridgwater, Somerset, who matriculated from Hertford College, Oxford, on 22 May 1760, aged 18, and graduated B.A. in 1764 (Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1715-1886, s. v.) The death of his uncle and patron obliged him to enter a solicitor's office, which he soon quitted to learn the business of a merchant under Malachy Postlethwayt [q. v.] His master's strictness was so little relished by Seally that, with some assistance from his mother, he betook himself to authorship and journalism as a means of livelihood. During a visit to Manchester he persuaded a wealthy heiress to elope with him, but was overtaken by the father at Worcester, The lady is said to have died broken-hearted, and Seally consoled himself by marrying, in 1766, a reputed rich widow of double his age, only to find, some years later, that she had no money and a husband (the Rev. William Lewis) still living. In the meantime Seally sought occupation as a writing-master and accountant. About 1767 he established a school in Bridgwater Square, Westminster and after some years successful tuition took holy orders. In 1790 he was presented to the vicarage of East Meon with Froxfield and Steep, Hampshire. He died in Queen Square, Westminster, in March 1795. After his separation from Mrs. Lewis he married Mary, eldest daughter of Joseph Humphreys, rector of Ellisfield, Hampshire, and of North Stoke, Somerset, who survived him (notes from Seally's will, proved in P. C. C. on 22 April 1795).
Seally was elected fellow of the Royal Society on 30 June 1791 (Thomson, Hist. Royal Soc. Appendix iv. p. lxii). During a sojourn in Rome in 1774 he obtained admission to the Roman Academy (Arcadia] by a eulogy on Maria Maddelana Fernandez Corilla, poet-laureate of Italy. He was also M.A. and LL.D. A portrait engraved by Thorowgood is mentioned by Bromley.
Seally contributed occasional verses to various magazines, projected a short-lived political paper signed 'Britannicus,' conducted for some time the 'Universal Museum' and the 'Freeholder's Magazine,' and was concerned in the 'St. James's Magazine, edited by Robert Lloyd [q. v.] He likewise published several novels, poems, and school books, including: 1. 'The Loves of Calisto and Emira, or the Fatal Legacy' 12mo, London, 1776; a French translation was published at Paris in 1778. 2. 'Moral Tales after the Eastern manner,' 12mo, London (1780?). 3. 'The Marriage of Sir Gawaine,' an opera, 1782. 4. 'A complete Geographical Dictionary,' 2 vols. 4to, London, 1787. 6, 'The Lady's Encyclopaedia,' 3 vols, 12mo, London, 1788.[Notes and Queries, 7th ser. xi. 287, 395, Baker's Biogr. Dram. (1812), vol. i. pt. ii. p. 637; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; information from the vicar of East Moon.]