Thackeray, William Makepeace (DNB00)
|←Thackeray, George||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 56
Thackeray, William Makepeace
|1904 Errata appended.|
THACKERAY, WILLIAM MAKEPEACE (1811-1863), novelist, born at Calcutta on 18 July 1811, was the only child of Richmond and Anne Thackeray. The Thackerays descended from a family of yeomen who had been settled for several generations at Hampsthwaite, a hamlet on the Nidd in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Thomas Thackeray (1693-1760) was admitted a king's scholar at Eton in January 1705-6. He was scholar (1712) and fellow (1715) of King's College, Cambridge, and soon afterwards was an assistant master at Eton. In 1746 he became headmaster of Harrow, where Dr. Parr was one of his pupils. In 1748 he was made chaplain to Frederick, prince of Wales, and in 1753 archdeacon of Surrey. He died at Harrow in 1760. By his wife Anne, daughter of John Woodward, he had sixteen children. The fourth son, Thomas (1736-1806), became a surgeon at Cambridge, and had fifteen children, of whom William Makepeace (1770-1849) was a well-known physician at Chester; Elias (1771-1854), mentioned in the 'Irish Sketchbook,' became vicar of Dundalk; and Jane Townley (1788-1871) married in 1813 George Pryme [q. v.], the political economist. The archdeacon's fifth son, Frederick (1737-1782), a physician at Windsor, was father of General Frederick Rennell Thackeray [q. v.] and of George Thackeray [q. v.], provost of King's College, Cambridge. The archdeacon's youngest child, William Makepeace (1749-1813), entered the service of the East India Company in 1766. He was patronised by Cartier, governor of Bengal; he was made 'factor' at Dacca in 1771, and first collector of Sylhet in 1772. There, besides reducing the province to order, he became known as a hunter of elephants, and made money by supplying them to the company. In 1774 he returned to Dacca, and on 31 Jan. 1776 he married, at Calcutta, Amelia Richmond, third daughter of Colonel Richmond Webb. Webb was related to General John Richmond Webb [q. v.], whose victory at Wynendael is described in 'Esmond.' W. M. Thackeray had brought two sisters to India, one of whom, Jane, married James Rennell [q. v.] His sister-in-law, Miss Webb, married Peter Moore [q. v.], who was afterwards guardian of the novelist. W. M. Thackeray had made a fortune by his elephants and other trading speculations then allowed to the company's servants, when in 1776 he returned to England. In 1786 he bought a property at Hadley, near Barnet, where Peter Moore had also settled. W. M. Thackeray had twelve children: Emily, third child (1780-1824), married John Talbot Shakspear, and was mother of Sir Richmond Campbell Shakspear [q. v.]; Charlotte Sarah, the fourth child (1786-1854), married John Ritchie; and Francis, tenth child and sixth son, author of the 'Life of Lord Chatham' (1827), who is separately noticed. Four other sons were in the civil service in India, one in the Indian army, and a sixth at the Calcutta bar. William, the eldest (1778-1823), was intimate with Sir Thomas Munro and had an important part in the administration and land settlements in Madras. Richmond, fourth child of William Makepeace and Amelia Thackeray, was born at South Mimms on 1 Sept. 1781, and in 1798 went to India in the company's service. In 1807 he became secretary to the board of revenue at Calcutta, and on 13 Oct. 1810 married Anne, daughter of John Harman Becher, and a 'reigning beauty' at Calcutta. William Makepeace, their only child, was named after his grandfather, the name 'Makepeace' being derived, according to a family tradition, from some ancestor who had been a protestant martyr in the days of Queen Mary. Richmond Thackeray was appointed to the collectorship of the 24 pergunnahs, then considered to be 'one of the prizes of the Bengal service,' at the end of 1811. He died at Calcutta on 13 Sept. 1816. He seems, like his son, to have been a man of artistic tastes and a collector of pictures, musical instruments, and horses (Hunter, Thackerays in India, p. 158). A portrait in possession of his granddaughter, Mrs. Ritchie, shows a refined and handsome face.
His son, William Makepeace Thackeray, was sent to England in 1817 in a ship which touched at St. Helena. There a black servant took the child to look at Napoleon, who was then at Bowood, eating three sheep a day and all the little children he could catch (George III in Four Georges). The boy found all England in mourning for the Princess Charlotte (d. 6 Nov. 1817). He was placed under the care of his aunt, Mrs. Ritchie. She was alarmed by discovering that the child could wear his uncle's hat, till she was assured by a physician that the big head had a good deal in it. The child's precocity appeared especially in an early taste for drawing. Thackeray was sent to a school in Hampshire, and then to one kept by Dr. Turner at Chiswick, in the neighbourhood of the imaginary Miss Pinkerton of 'Vanity Fair.' Thackeray's mother about 1818 married Major Henry William Carmichael Smyth (d. 1861) of the Bengal engineers, author of a Hindoostanee dictionary (1820), a 'Hindoostanee Jest-book,' and a history of the royal family of Lahore (1847). The Smyths returned to England in 1821, and settled at Addiscombe, where Major Smyth was for a time superintendent of the company's military college. From 1822 to 1828 Thackeray was at the Charterhouse. Frequent references in his writings show that he was deeply impressed by the brutality of English public school life, although, as was natural, he came to look back with more tenderness, as the years went on, upon the scenes of his boyish life. The headmaster was John Russell (1787- 1863) [q.v.], who for a time raised the numbers of the School. Russell had been trying the then popular system of Dr. Bell, which, after attracting pupils, ended in failure. The number of boys in 1825 was 480, but afterwards fell off. A description of the school in Thackeray's time is in Mozley's 'Reminiscences.' George Stovin Venables [q.v.] was a school fellow and a lifelong friend. Venables broke Thackeray's nose in a fight, causing permanent disfigurement. He remembered Thackeray as a 'pretty, gentle boy,' who did not distinguish himself either at lessons or in the playground, but was much liked by a few friends. He rose to the first class in time, and was a monitor, but showed no promise as a scholar; and in the latter part of his time he became famous as a writer of humorous verses. Latterly he lived at a boarding-house in Charterhouse Square, and as a 'day boy' saw less of his schoolfellows. In February 1828 he wrote to his mother, saying that he had become 'terribly industrious,' but 'could not get Russell to think so.' There were then 370 boys in the school, and he wishes that there were only 369. Russell, as his letters show, had reproached him pretty much as the master of 'Greyfriars' reproaches young Pendennis, and a year after leaving the school he says that as a child he had been 'licked into indolence,' and when older 'abused into sulkiness' and 'bullied into despair.' He left school in May 1828 (for many details of his school life, illustrated by childish drawings and poetry, see Cornhill Mag. for January 1865, and Greyfriars for April 1892). Thackeray now went to live with the Smyths, who had left Addiscombe, and about 1825 taken a house called Larkbeare, a mile and a half from Ottery St. Mary. The scenery is described in 'Pendennis,' where Clavering St. Mary, Chatteris, and Baymouth stand for Ottery St. Mary, Exeter, and Sidmouth. Dr. Cornish, then vicar of Ottery St. Mary, lent Thackeray books, among others Gary's version of the 'Birds' of Aristophanes, which the lad illustrated with three humorous watercolour drawings. Cornish reports that Thackeray, like Pendennis, contributed to the poet's corner of the county paper, and gives a parody of Moore's 'Minstrel Boy' (cited in Thackeray Memorials) ridiculing an intended speech of Richard Lalor Sheil [q. v.], which was probably the author's first appearance in print. Thackeray read, it seems, for a time with his stepfather, who was proud of the lad's cleverness, but probably an incompetent 'coach.' Thackeray was entered at Trinity College, Cambridge. His college tutor was William Whewell [q. v.] He began residence in February 1829. He was thus a 'by-term man,' which, as the great majority of his year had a term's start of him, was perhaps some disadvantage. This, however, was really of little importance, especially as he had the option of 'degrading' that is, joining the junior year. Thackeray had no taste for mathematics; nor had he taken to the classical training of his school in such a way as to qualify himself for success in examinations. In the May examination (1829) he was in the fourth class, where 'clever non-reading men were put as in a limbo.' He had expected to be in the fifth. He read some classical authors and elementary mathematics, but his main interests were of a different kind. He saw something of his Cambridge cousins, two of whom were fellows of King's College; and formed lasting friendships with some of his most promising contemporaries. He was very sociable; he formed an 'Essay' club in his second term, and afterwards a small club of which John Allen (afterwards archdeacon), Robert Hindes Groome [q. v.], and William Hepworth Thompson [q. v.] (afterwards master of Trinity) were members. Other lifelong friendships were with William Henry Brookfield [q.v.], Edward FitzGerald, John Mitchell Kemble, A. W. Kinglake, Monckton\Milnes, Spedding, Tennyson, and Venables. He was fond of literary talk, expatiated upon the merits of Fielding, read Shelley, and could sing a good song. He also contributed to the 'Snob: a literary and scientific journal not conducted by members of the University,' which lasted through the May term of 1829. 'Snob' appears to have been then used for townsmen as opposed to gownsmen. In this appeared 'Timbuctoo,' a mock poem upon the subject of that year, for which Tennyson won the prize; 'Genevieve' (which he mentions in a letter), and other trifles. Thackeray was bound to attend the lectures of Pryme, his cousin's husband, upon political economy. He adorned the syllabus with pen-and-ink drawings, but his opinion of the lectures is not recorded. He spoke at the Union with little success, and was much interested by Shelley, who seems to have been then a frequent topic of discussion. Thackeray was attracted by the poetry but repelled by the principles. He was at this time an ardent opponent of catholic emancipation.
He found Cambridge more agreeable but not more profitable than the Charterhouse. He had learnt 'expensive habits,' and in his second year appears to have fallen into some of the errors of Pendennis. He spent part of the long vacation of 1829 in Paris studying French and German, and left at the end of the Easter term 1830. His rooms were on the ground floor of the staircase between the chapel and the gateway of the great court, where, as he remarks to his mother, it will be said hereafter that Newton and Thackeray both lived. He left, as he said at the time, because he felt that he was wasting time upon studies which, without more success than was possible to him, would be of no use in later life. He inherited a fortune which has been variously stated at 20,000l., or 500l. a year, from his father. His relations wished him to go to the bar; but he disliked the profession from the first, and resolved to finish his education by travelling. He in 1830 went by Godesberg and Cologne, where he made some stay, to Weimar. There he spent some months. He was delighted by the homely and friendly ways of the little German court, which afterwards suggested 'Pumpernickel,' and was made welcome in all the socialities of the place. He had never been in a society more simple, charitable, courteous, gentlemanlike.' He was introduced to Goethe, whom he long afterwards described in a letter published in Lewes's 'Life of Goethe' (reprinted in 'Works,' vol. xxv.) He delighted then, as afterwards, in drawing caricatures to amuse children, and was flattered by hearing that the great man had looked at them. He seems to have preferred the poetry of Schiller, whose 'religion and morals,' as he observes, 'were unexceptionable,' and who was 'by far the favourite' at Weimar. He translated some of Schiller's and other German poems, and thought of making a book about German manners and customs. He did not, however, become a profound student of the literature. His studies at Weimar had been carried on by 'lying on a sofa, reading novels, and dreaming;' but he began to think of the future, and, after some thoughts of diplomacy, resolved to be called to the bar. He read a little civil law, which he did not find 'much to his taste.' He returned to England in 1831, entered the Middle Temple, and in November was settled in chambers in Hare Court.
The 'preparatory education' of lawyers struck him as 'one of the most cold-blooded, prejudiced pieces of invention that ever a man was slave to.' He read with Mr. Taprell, studied his Chitty, and relieved himself by occasional visits to the theatres and a trip to his old friends at Cambridge. He became intimate with Charles Buller [q. v.], who, though he had graduated a little before, was known to the later Cambridge set; and, after the passage of the Reform Bill, went to Liskeard to help in Buller's canvass for the following election. He then spent some time in Paris; and soon after his return finally gave up a profession which seems to have been always distasteful. He had formed an acquaintance with Maginn in 1832 (Diary, in Mrs. Ritchie's possession). F. S. Mahony ('Father Prout') told Blanchard Jerrold that he had given the introduction. This is irreconcilable with the dates of Mahony's life in London. Mahony further said that Thackeray paid 500l. to Maginn to edit a new magazine a statement which, though clearly erroneous, probably refers to some real transaction (B. Jerrold's 'Father Prout' in Belgravia for July 1868). In any case Thackeray was mixing in literary circles and trying to get publishers for his caricatures. A paper had been started on 5 Jan. 1833 called the 'National Standard and Journal of Literature, Science, Music, Theatricals, and the Fine Arts.' Thackeray is said (Vizetelly, i. 235) to have bought this from F. W. N. Bayley [q. v.] At any rate, he became editor and proprietor. He went to Paris, whence he wrote letters to the 'Standard' (end of June to August) and collected materials for articles. He returned to look after the paper about November, and at the end of the year reports that he has lost about 200l. upon it, and that at this rate he will be ruined before it has made a success. Thackeray tells his mother at the same time that he ought to 'thank heaven' for making him a poor man, as he will be 'much happier' presumably as having to work harder. The last number of the 'Standard' appeared on 1 Feb. 1834. The loss to Thackeray was clearly not sufficient to explain the change in his position, nor are the circumstances now ascertainable. A good deal of money was lost at one time by the failure of an Indian bank, and probably by other investments for which his stepfather wos more or less responsible. Thackeray had spent too much at Cambridge, and was led into occasional gambling. He told Sir Theodore Martin that his story of Deuceace (in the 'Yellowplush Papers') represented an adventure of his own. 'I have not seen that man,' he said, pointing to a gambler at Spa, 'since he drove me down in his cabriolet to my bankers in the city, where I sold out my patrimony and handed it over to him.' He added that the sum was lost at écarté, and amounted to 1,500l. (Merivale and Marzials, p. 236). This story, which is clearly authentic, must refer to this period. In any case, Thackeray had now to work for his bread. He made up his mind that he could draw better than he could do anything else, and determined to qualify himself as an artist and to study in Paris. 'Three years' apprenticeship would be necessary. He accordingly settled at Paris in 1834. His aunt (Mrs. Ritchie) was living there, and his maternal grandmother accompanied him thither in October and made a home for him. The Smyths about the same time left Devonshire for London (some confusion as to dates has been caused by the accidental fusion of two letters into one in the 'Memorials,' p. 361). He worked in an atelier (probably that of Gros; Haunts and Homes, p. 9), and afterwards copied pictures industriously at the Louvre (see Hayward's article in Edinburgh Review, January 1848). He never acquired any great technical skill as a draughtsman, but he always delighted in the art. The effort of preparing his drawings for engraving wearied him, and partly accounts for the inferiority of his illustrations to the original sketches (Orphan of Pimlico, pref.) As it is, they have the rare interest of being interpretations by an author of his own conceptions, though interpretations in an imperfectly known language.
It is probable that Thackeray was at the same time making some literary experiments. In January 1835 he appears as one of the 'Fraserians' in the picture by Maclise issued with the 'Fraser' of that month. The only article before that time which has been conjecturally assigned to him is the story of 'Elizabeth Brownrigge,' a burlesque of Bulwer's 'Eugene Aram,' in the numbers for August and September 1832. If really by him, as is most probable, it shows that his skill in the art of burlesquing was as yet very imperfectly developed. He was for some years desirous of an artistic career, and in 1836 he applied to Dickens (speech at the Academy dinner of 1858) to be employed in illustrating the 'Pickwick Papers,' as successor to Robert Seymour [q. v.], who died 20 April 1836. Henry Reeve speaks of him in January 1836 as editing an English paper at Paris in opposition to 'Galignani's Messenger,' but of this nothing more is known. In the same year came out his first publication, 'Flore et Zéphyr,' a collection of eight satirical drawings, published at London and Paris. In 1836 a company was formed, of which Major Smyth was chairman, in order to start an ultra-liberal newspaper. The price of the stamp upon newspapers was lowered in the session of 1836, and the change was supposed to give a chance for the enterprise. All the radicals Grote, Molesworth, Buller, and their friends promised support. The old 'Public Ledger' was bought, and, with the new title, 'The Constitutional,' prefixed, began to appear on 15 Sept. (the day on which the duty was lowered). Samuel Laman Blanchard [q. v.] was editor, and Thackeray the Paris correspondent. He writes that his stepfather had behaved 'nobly,' and refused to take any remuneration as 'director,' desiring only this appointment for the stepson. Thackeray acted in that capacity for some time, and wrote letters strongly attacking Louis-Philippe as the representative of retrograde tendencies. The 'Constitutional,' however, failed, and after 1 July 1837 the name disappeared and the 'Public Ledger' revived in its place. The company had raised over 40,000l., and the loss is stated at 6,000l. or 7,000l. probably a low estimate (Fox Bourne, English Newspapers, ii. 96-100; Andrews, British Journalism, p. 237).
Meanwhile Thackeray had taken advantage of his temporary position. He married, as he told his friend Synge, 'with 400l.' (the exact sum seems to have been eight guineas a week), 'paid by a newspaper which failed six months afterwards,' referring presumably to his salary from the 'Constitutional.' He was engaged early in the year to Isabella Gethin Creagh Shawe of Doneraile, co. Cork. She was daughter of Colonel Shawe, who had been military secretary, it is said, to the Marquis of Wellesley in India. The marriage took place at the British embassy at Paris on 20 Aug. 1836 (see Marzials and Merivale, p. 107, for the official entry, first made known by Mr. Marzials in the Athenæum).
The marriage was so timed that Thackeray could take up his duties as soon as the 'Constitutional' started. The failure of the paper left him to find support by his pen. He speaks in a later letter (Brookfield Correspondence, p. 36) of writing for 'Galignani' at ten francs a day, apparently at this time. He returned, however, to England in 1837. The Smyths had left Larkbeare some time before, and were now living at 18 Albion Street, where Thackeray joined them, and where his first daughter was born. Major Smyth resembled Colonel Newcome in other qualities, and also in a weakness for absurd speculations. He wasted money in various directions, and the liabilities incurred by the 'Constitutional' were for a long time a source of anxiety. The Smyths now went to live at Paris, while Thackeray took a house at 13 Great Coram Street, and laboured energetically at a variety of hackwork. He reviewed Carlyle's 'French Revolution' in the 'Times' (3 Aug. 1837). The author, as Carlyle reports, 'is one Thackeray, a half-monstrous Cornish giant, kind of painter, Cambridge man, and Paris newspaper correspondent, who is now writing for his life in London. I have seen him at the Bullers' and at Sterling's' (Life in London, i. 113).
In 1838, and apparently for some time later, he worked for the 'Times.' He mentions an article upon Fielding in 1840 (Brookfield Correspondence, p. 125). He occasionally visited Paris upon journalistic business. He had some connection with the 'Morning Chronicle.' He contributed stories to the 'New Monthly' and to some of George Cruikshank's publications. He also illustrated Douglas Jerrold's 'Men of Character' in 1838, and in 1840 was recommended by (Sir) Henry Cole [q. v.] for employment both as writer and artist by the anti-cornlaw agitators. His drawings for this purpose are reproduced in Sir Henry Cole's 'Fifty Years of Public Work' (ii. 143). His most important connection, however, was with 'Fraser's Magazine.' In 1838 he contributed to it the 'Yellowplush Correspondence,' containing the forcible incarnation of his old friend Deuceace, and in 1839-1840 the 'Catherine: by Ikey Solomons,' following apparently the precedent of his favourite Fielding's 'Jonathan Wild.' The original was the real murderess Catherine Hayes (1690-1726) [q. v.], whose name was unfortunately identical with that of the popular Irish vocalist Catherine Hayes (1825-1861) [q. v.] A later reference to his old heroine in 'Pendennis' (the passage is in vol. ii. chap. vii. of the serial form, afterwards suppressed) produced some indignant remarks in Irish papers, which took it for an insult to the singer. Thackeray explained the facts on 12 April 1850 in a letter to the 'Morning Chronicle' on 'Capers and Anchovies' (dated 'Garrick Club, 11 April 1850'). A compatriot of Miss Hayes took lodgings about the same time opposite Thackeray's house in Young Street in order to inflict vengeance. Thackeray first sent for a policeman; but finally called upon the avenger, and succeeded in making him hear reason (see Haunts and Homes, p. 51).
For some time Thackeray wrote annual articles upon the exhibitions, the first of which appeared in 'Fraser' in 1838. According to FitzGerald (Remains, i. 154), they annoyed one at least of the persons criticised, a circumstance not unparalleled, even when criticism, as this seems to have been, is both just and good-natured. In one respect, unfortunately, he conformed too much to a practice common to the literary class of the time. He ridiculed the favourite butts of his allies with a personality which he afterwards regretted. In a preface to the 'Punch' papers, published in America in 1853, he confesses to his sins against Bulwer, and afterwards apologised to Bulwer himself. 'I suppose we all begin by being too savage,' he wrote to Hannay in 1849; 'I know one who did.' A private letter of 1840 shows that he considered his satire to be 'good-natured.'
Three daughters were born about this time. The death of the second in infancy (1839) suggested a pathetic chapter in the 'Hoggarty Diamond.' After the birth of the third (28 May 1840) Thackeray took a trip to Belgium, having arranged for the publication of a short book of travels. He had left his 'wife nearly well,' but returned to find her in a strange state of languor and mental inactivity which became gradually more pronounced. For a long time there were gleams of hope. Thackeray himself attended to her exclusively for a time. He took her to her mother's in Ireland, and afterwards to Paris. There she had to be placed in a masion de santé, Thackeray taking lodgings close by, and seeing her as frequently as he could. A year later, as he wrote to FitzGerald, then very intimate with him, he thought her 'all but well.' He was then with her at a hydropathic establishment in Germany, where she seemed to be improving for a short time. The case, however, had become almost hopeless when in 1842 he went to Ireland. Yet he continued to write letters to her as late as 1844, hoping that she might understand them. She had finally to be placed with a trustworthy attendant. She was placid and gentle, though unfitted for any active duty, and with little knowledge of anything around her, and survived till 1892. The children had to be sent to the grandparents at Paris; the house at Great Coram Street was finally given up in 1843, and Thackeray for some time lived as a bachelor at 27 Jermyn Street, 88 St. James's Street, and probably elsewhere.
His short married life had been perfectly happy. 'Though my marriage was a wreck,' he wrote in 1852 to his friend Synge, 'I would do it over again, for behold love is the crown and completion of all earthly good.' In spite of the agony of suspense he regained cheerfulness, and could write playful letters, although the frequent melancholy of this period may be traced in some of his works. Part of 'Vanity Fair' was written in 1841 (see Orphan of Pimlico). He found relief from care in the society of his friends, and was a member of many clubs of various kinds. He had been a member of the Garrick Club from 1833, and in March 1840 was elected to the Reform Club. He was a frequenter of 'Evans's,' described in many of his works, and belonged at this and later periods to various sociable clubs of the old-fashioned style, such as the Shakespeare, the Fielding (of which he was a founder), and 'Our Chub.' There in the evenings he met literary comrades, and gradually became known as an eminent member of the fraternity. Meanwhile, as he said, although he could suit the magazines, he could not hit the public (Cassell's Magazine, new ser. i. 298).
In 1840, just before his wife's illness, he had published the 'Paris Sketchbook,' using some of his old material; and in 1841 he pub- lished a collection called 'Comic Tales and Sketches,' which had previously appeared in 'Fraser' and elsewhere. It does not seem to have attracted much notice. In September of the same year the 'History of Samuel Titmarsh and the Great Hoggarty Diamond,' which had been refused by 'Blackwood,' began to appear in 'Fraser.' His friend Sterling read the first two numbers 'with extreme delight,' and asked what there was better in Fielding or Goldsmith. Thackeray, he added, with leisure might produce masterpieces. The opinion, however, remained esoteric, and the 'Hoggarty Diamond' was cut short at the editor's request. His next book records a tour made in Ireland in the later half of 1842. He there made Lever's acquaintance, and advised his new friend to try his fortunes in London. Lever declared Thackeray to be the 'most good-natured of men,' but, though grateful, could not take help offered by a man who was himself struggling to keep his head above water (Fitzpatrick, Lever, ii. 396). The 'Irish Sketchbook' (1843), in which his experiences are recorded, is a quiet narrative of some interest as giving a straightforward account of Ireland as it appeared to an intelligent traveller rust before the famine. A preface in which Thackeray pronounced himself decidedly against the English government of Ireland was suppressed, presumably in deference to the fears of the publisher. Thackeray would no doubt have been a home-ruler. In 1 840 he tells his mother that he is 'not a chartist, only a republican,' and speaks strongly against aristocratic government. 'Cornhill to Cairo' (1846), which in a literary sense is very superior, records a two months' tour made in the autumn of 1844, during which he visited Athens, Constantinople, Jerusalem, and Cairo. The directors of the 'Peninsular and Oriental Company,' as he gratefully records, gave him a free passage. During the same year the 'Luck of Barry Lyndon,' which probably owed something to his Irish experiences, was coming out in 'Fraser.' All later critics have recognised in this book one of his most powerful performances. In directness and vigour he never surpassed it. At the time, however, it was still unsuccessful, the popular reader of the day not liking the company of even an imaginary blackguard. Thackeray was to obtain his first recognition in a different capacity.
'Punch' had been started with comparatively little success on 17 July 1841. Among the first contributors were Douglas Jerrold and Thackeray's schoolfellow John Leech, both his friends, and he naturally tried to turn the new opening to account. FitzGerald apparently feared that this would involve a lowering of his literary status (22 May 1842). He began to contribute in June 1842, his first article being the 'Legend of Jawbrahim Heraudee' (Punch, iii. 254). His first series, 'Miss Tickletoby's Lectures on English History,' began in June 1842. They ran for ten numbers, but failed to attract notice or to give satisfaction to the proprietors (see letter in Spielmann, p. 310). Thackeray, however, persevered, and gradually became an acceptable contributor, having in particular the unique advantage of being skilful both with pen and pencil. In the course of his connection with 'Punch' he contributed 380 sketches. One of his drawings (Punch, xii. 59) is famous because nobody has ever been able to see the point of it, though a rival paper ironically offered 500l. for an explanation. This, however, is a singular exception. His comic power was soon appreciated, and at Christmas 1843 he became an attendant at the regular dinner parties which formed 'Punch's' cabinet council. The first marked success was 'Jeames's Diary,' which began in November 1845, and satirised the railway mania of the time. The 'Snobs of England, by One of Themselves,' succeeded, beginning on 28 Feb. 1846, and continued for a year; and after the completion of this series the 'Prize Novelists,' inimitably playful burlesques, began in April and continued till October 1847. The 'Snob Papers' were collected as the 'Book of Snobs' (issued from the 'Punch' office). Seven, chiefly political, were omitted, but have been added to the last volume of the collected works.
The 'Snob Papers' had a very marked effect, and may be said to have made Thackeray famous. He had at last found out how to reach the public ear. The style was admirable, and the freshness and vigour of the portrait painting undeniable. It has been stated (Spielmann, p. 319) that Thackeray got leave to examine the complaint books of several clubs in order to obtain materials for his description of club snobs. He was speaking, in any case, upon a very familiar topic, and the vivacity of his sketches naturally suggested identification with particular individuals. These must be in any case doubtful, and the practice was against Thackeray's artistic principles. Several of his Indian relatives are mentioned as partly originals of Colonel Newcome (Hunter, p. 168). He says himself that his Amelia represented his wife, his mother, and Mrs. Brookfield (Brookfield Correspondence, p. 23). He describes to the same correspondent a self-styled Blanche Amory (ib. p. 49). Foker, in 'Pendennis,' is said to have been in some degree a portrait—according to Mr. Jeaffreson, a flattering portrait—of an acquaintance. The resemblances can only be taken as generic, but a good cap fits many particular heads.
The success of the 'Snob Papers' perhaps led Thackeray to insist a little too frequently upon a particular variety of social infirmity. He was occasionally accused of sharing the weakness which he satirised, and would playfully admit that the charge was not altogether groundless. It is much easier to make such statements than to test their truth. They indicate, however, one point which requires notice. Thackeray was at this time, as he remarks in 'Philip' (chap, v.), an inhabitant of 'Bohemia,' and enjoyed the humours and unconventional ways of the region. But he was a native of his own 'Tyburnia,' forced into 'Bohemia' by distress and there meeting many men of the Bludyer type who were his inferiors in refinement and cultivation. Such people were apt to show their 'unconventionally' by real coarseness, and liked to detect 'snobbishness' in any taste for good society. To wear a dress-coat was to truckle to rank and fashion. Thackeray, an intellectual aristocrat though politically a liberal, was naturally an object of some suspicion to the rougher among his companions. If he appreciated refinement too keenly, no accusation of anything like meanness has ever been made against him. Meanwhile it was characteristic of his humour that he saw more strongly than any one the bad side of the society which held out to him the strongest temptations, and emphasised, possibly too much, its 'mean admiration of mean things' (Snob Papers, chap, ii.)
Thackeray in 1848 received one proof of his growing fame by the presentation of a silver inkstand in the shape of 'Punch' from eighty admirers at Edinburgh, headed by Dr. John Brown (1810-1882) [q. v.], afterwards a warm friend and appreciative critic. His reputation was spreading by other works which distracted his energies from 'Punch.' He continued to contribute occasionally. The characteristic 'Bow Street Ballads' in 1848 commemorate, among other things, his friendship for Matthew James Higgins [q. v.], one of whose articles, 'A Plea for Plush,' is erroneously included in the last volume of Thackeray's works (Spielmann, p. 321 n.) Some final contributions appeared in 1854, but his connection ceased after 1851, in which year he contributed forty-one articles and twelve cuts. Thackeray had by this time other occupations which made him unwilling to devote much time to journalism. He wrote a letter in 1855 to one of the proprietors, explaining the reasons of his retirement. He was annoyed by the political line taken by 'Punch' in 1851, especially by denunciations of Napoleon III, which seemed to him unpatriotic and dangerous to peace (Spielmann, pp. 323-4, and the review of John Leech). He remained, however, on good terms with his old colleagues, and occasionally attended their dinners. A sentence in his eulogy upon Leech (1854) appeared to disparage the relative merits of other contributors. Thackeray gave an 'atonement dinner' at his own house, and obtained full forgiveness (Trollope, p. 42; Spielmann, p. 87). The advantages had been reciprocal, and were cordially admitted on both sides. 'It was a good day for himself, the journal, and the world when Thackeray joined "Punch,"' said Shirley Brooks, afterwards editor; and Thackeray himself admitted that he 'owed the good chances which had lately befallen him to his connection with 'Punch' (ib. pp. 308, 326).
From 1846 to 1850 he published yearly a 'Christmas book,' the last of which, 'The Kickleburys on the Rhine,' was attacked in the 'Times.' Thackeray's reply to this in a preface to the second edition is characteristic of his own view of the common tone of criticism at the time. Thackeray's 'May Day Ode' on the opening of the exhibition of 1851 appeared in the 'Times' of 30 April, and probably implied a reconciliation with the 'Thunderer.'
Thackeray had meanwhile made his mark in a higher department of literature. His improving position had now enabled him to make a home for himself. In 1846 he took a house at 13 Young Street, whither he brought his daughters, and soon afterwards received long visits from the Smyths (Brookfield Correspondence). There he wrote 'Vanity Fair.' Dickens's success had given popularity to the system of publishing novels in monthly numbers. The first number of 'Vanity Fair' appeared in January 1847, and the last (a double number) in July 1848. It has been said that 'Vanity Fair' was refused by many publishers, but the statement has been disputed (cf. Vizetelly, i. 281 &c.) He received fifty guineas a number, including the illustrations. The first numbers were comparatively unsuccessful, and the book for a time brought more fame than profit. Gradually it became popular, and before it was ended his position as one of the first of English novelists was generally recognised. On 16 Sept. Mrs. Carlyle wrote to her husband that the last four numbers were 'very good indeed' he 'beats Dickens out of the world.'
Abraham Hayward [q. v.], an old friend, had recommended Thackeray to Macvey Napier in 18-45 as a promising 'Edinburgh Reviewer.' Thackeray had accordingly written an article upon N. P. Willis's 'Dashes at Life,' which Napier mangled and Jeffrey condemned (Napier Correspondence, 498, 506; Hayward Correspondence, i. 105). Hayward now reviewed the early numbers of 'Vanity Fair' in the 'Edinburgh' for January 1848. It is warmly praised as 'immeasurably superior' to all his known works. Edward FitzGerald speaks of its success a little later, and says that Thackeray has become a great man and goes to Holland House. Monckton Milnes writes (19 May) that Thackeray is 'winning great social success, dining at the Academy with Sir Robert Peel,' and so forth. Milnes was through life a very close friend; he had been with Thackeray to see the second funeral of Napoleon, and had accompanied him 'to see a man hanged' (an expedition described by Thackeray in Fraser's Mag, August 1840). He tried to obtain a London magistracy for Thackeray in 1849. It was probably with a view to such an appointment, in which he would have succeeded Fielding, that Thackeray was called to the bar at the Middle Temple on 26 May 1848. As, however, a magistrate had to be a barrister of seven years' standing, the suggestion came to nothing (Wemyss Reed, Monckton Milnes, i. 427). Trollope says (p. 34) that in 1848 Lord Clanricarde, then postmaster-general, proposed to make him assistant secretary at the post office, but had to withdraw an offer which would have been unjust to the regular staff. Thackeray, in any case, had become famous outside of fashionable circles. In those days youthful critics divided themselves into two camps of Dickens and Thackeray worshippers. Both were popular authors of periodical publications, but otherwise a 'comparison' was as absurd as most comparisons of disparate qualities. As a matter of fact, Dickens had an incomparably larger circulation, as was natural to one who appealed to a wider audience. Thackeray had as many or possibly more adherents among the more cultivated critics; but for some years the two reigned supreme among novelists. Among Thackeray's warmest admirers was Miss Bronte, who had published 'Jane Eyre' anonymously. The second edition was dedicated in very enthusiastic terms to the 'Satirist of Vanity Fair.' He was compared to a Hebrew prophet, and said to 'resemble Fielding as an eagle does a vulture.' An absurd story to the effect that Miss Bronte was represented by Becky Sharp and Thackeray by Mr. Rochester became current, and was mentioned seriously in a review of 'Vanity Fair' in the 'Quarterly' for January 1849. Miss Bronte came to London in June 1850, and was introduced to her hero. She met him at her publisher's house, and dined at his house on 12 June. Miss Bronte's genius did not include a sense of humour, and she rebuked Thackeray for some 'errors of doctrine,' which he defended by 'worse excuses.' They were, however, on excellent terms, though the dinner to which he invited her turned out to be so oppressively dull that Thackeray sneaked off to his club prematurely (Mrs. Ritchie, Chapters, &c., p. 62). She attended one of his lectures in 1851, and, though a little scandalised by some of his views, cordially admired his great qualities.
'Vanity Fair' was succeeded by 'Pendennis,' the first number of which appeared in November 1848. The book has more autobiography than any of the novels, and clearly embodies the experience of Thackeray's early life so fully that it must be also pointed out that no stress must be laid upon particular facts. Nor is it safe to identify any of the characters with originals, though Captain Shandon has been generally taken to represent Maginn; and Mrs. Carlyle gives a lively account in January 1851 of a young lady whom she supposed to be the original of Blanche Amory (Memorials, ii. 143-7). When accused of 'fostering a baneful prejudice against literary men,' Thackeray defended himself in a letter to the 'Morning Chronicle' of 12 Jan. 1850, and stated that he had seen the bookseller from whom Bludyer robbed and had taken money 'from a noble brother man of letters to some one not unlike Captain Shandon in prison' (Hannay says that it is 'certain' that he gave Maginn 500l.) The state of Thackeray's finances up to Maginn's death (1842) seems to make this impossible, though the statement (see above) made by Father Prout suggests that on some pretext Maginn may have obtained such a sum from Thackeray. Anyway the book is a transcript from real life, and shows perhaps as much power as 'Vanity Fair,' with less satirical intensity. A severe illness at the end of 1849 interrupted the appearance of 'Pendennis,' which was not concluded till December 1850. The book is dedicated to Dr. John Elliotson [q. v.], who would 'take no other fee but thanks,' and to whose attendance he ascribed his recovery.
On 25 Feb. 1851 Thackeray was elected member of the Athenæum Club by the committee. An attempt to elect him in 1850 had been defeated by the opposition of one member. Macaulay, Croker, Dean Milman, and Lord Mahon had supported his claims (Hayward Correspondence, i. 120). He was never, as has been said, 'blackballed.' He was henceforward a familiar figure at the club. The illness of 1849 appears to have left permanent effects. He was afterwards liable to attacks which caused much suffering. Meanwhile, although he was now making a good income, he was anxious to provide for his children and recover what he had lost in his youth. He resolved to try his hand at lecturing, following a precedent already set by such predecessors as Coleridge, Hazlitt, and Carlyle. He gave a course of six lectures upon the 'English Humorists' at Willis's Rooms from 22 May to 3 July 1851 . The first (on Swift), though attended by many friends, including Carlyle, Kinglake, Hallam, Macaulay, and Milman, seemed to him to be a failure (ib. i. 119, where 1847 must be a misprint for 1851; C. Fox, Memories, &c., 1882, ii. 171). The lectures soon became popular, as they deserved to be. Thackeray was not given to minute research, and his facts and dates require some correction. But his delicate appreciation of the congenial writers and the finish of his style give the lectures a permanent place in criticism. His 'light-in-hand manner,' as Motley remarked of a later course, 'suits well the delicate hovering rather than superficial style of his composition.' Without the slightest attempt at rhetorical effect his delivery did full justice to the peculiar merits of his own writing. The lectures had apparently been prepared with a view to an engagement in America (Brookfield Correspondence, p. 113, where the date should be early in 1851, not 1850). Before starting he published 'Esmond,' of which FitzGerald says (2 June 1852) that 'it was finished last Saturday.' The book shows even more than the lectures how thoroughly he had imbibed the spirit of the Queen Anne writers. His style had reached its highest perfection, and the tenderness of the feeling has won perhaps more admirers for this book than for the more powerful and sterner performances of the earlier period. The manuscript, now in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, shows that it was written with very few corrections, and in great part dictated to his eldest daughter and Mr. Crowe. Earlier manuscripts show much more alteration, and he clearly obtained a completer mastery of his tools by long practice. He took, however, much pains to get correct statements of fact, and read for that purpose at the libraries of the British Museum and the Athenæum (With Thackeray in America, pp. 1-0). The book had a good sale from the first, although the contrary has been stated. For the first edition of 'Esmond' Thackeray received 1,200l. It was published by Messrs. Smith & Elder, and the arrangement was made with him by Mr. George Smith of that firm, who became a warm friend for the rest of his life (Mrs. Ritchie, Chapters, p. 30).
On 30 Oct. 1852 Thackeray sailed for Boston, U.S.A., in company with Clough and J. R. Lowell. He lectured at Boston, New York, Philadelphia (where he formed a friendship with W. B. Reed, who has described their intercourse), Baltimore, Richmond, Charleston, and Savannah. He was received with the characteristic hospitality of Americans, and was thoroughly pleased with the people, making many friends in the southern as well as in the northern states—a circumstance which probably affected his sympathies during the subsequent civil war. He returned in the spring of 1853 with about 2,500l. Soon after his return he stayed three weeks in London, and, after spending a month with the Smyths, went with his children to Switzerland. There, as he says (The Newcomes, last chapter), he strayed into a wood near Berne, where the story of 'The Newcomes' was 'revealed to him somehow.' The story, like those of his other longer novels, is rather a wide section of family history than a definite 'plot.' The rather complicated action gives room for a good deal of autobiographical matter; and Colonel Newcome is undoubtedly drawn to a great degree from his stepfather. For 'The Newcomes' he apparently received 4,000l. It was again published in numbers, and was illustrated by his friend Richard Doyle [q. v.], who had also illustrated 'Rebecca and Rowena' (1850). Thackeray was now living at 36 Onslow Square, to which he had moved from Young Street in 1853. At Christmas 1853 Thackeray went with his daughters to Rome. There, to amuse some children, he made the drawings which gradually expanded into the delightful burlesque of 'The Rose and the Ring,' published with great success in 1854. lie suffered also from a Roman fever, from which, if not from the previous illness of 1849, dated a series of attacks causing much suffering and depression. The last number of 'The Newcomes' appeared in August 1855, and in October Thackeray started for a second lecturing tour in the United States. Sixty of his friends gave him a farewell dinner (11 Oct.), at which Dickens took the chair. The subject of this new series was 'The Four Georges.' Over-scrupulous Britons complained of him for laying bare the weaknesses of our monarchs to Americans, who were already not predisposed in their favour. The Georges, however, had been dead for some time. On this occasion his tour extended as far as New Orleans. An attempt on his return journey to reproduce the 'English Humorists' in Philadelphia failed owing to the lateness of the season. Thackeray said that he could not bear to see the 'sad, pale-faced young man' who had lost money by undertaking the speculation, and left behind him a sum to replace what had been lost. He returned to England in April 1856. The lectures upon the Georges were repeated at various places in England and Scotland. He received from thirty to fifty guineas a lecture (Pollock, Reminiscences, ii. 57). Although they have hardly the charm of the more sympathetic accounts of the 'humorists,' they show the same qualities of style, and obtained general if not equal popularity.
Thackeray's hard struggle, which had brought fame and social success, had also enabled him to form a happier home. His children had lived with him from 1846; but while they were in infancy the house without a mistress was naturally grave and quiet. Thackeray had the strongest love of all children, and was a most affectionate father to his own. He did all that he could to make their lives bright. He took them to plays and concerts, or for long drives into the country, or children's parties at the Dickenses' and elsewhere. They became known to his friends, grew up to be on the most easy terms with him, and gave him a happy domestic circle. About 1853 he received as an inmate of his household Amy Crowe, the daughter of Eyre Evans Crowe [q.v.]. who had been a warm friend at Paris. She became a sister to his daughters, and in 1862 married his cousin, now Colonel Edward Talbot Thackeray, V. C. His old college friend Brookfield was now settled as a clergyman in London, and had married a very charming wife. The published correspondence shows how much value Thackeray attached to this intimacy. Another dear friend was John Leech, to whom he was specially attached. He was also intimate with Richard Doyle and other distinguished artists, including Landseer and Mr. G. F. Watts. Another friend was Henry Thoby Prinsep [q. v.], who lived in later years at Little Holland House, which became the centre of a delightful social circle. Herman Merivale [q. v.] and his family, the Theodore Martins, the Coles and the Synges, were other friends of whose relation to him some notice is given in the last chapter of Mr. Merivale's memoir. Thackeray was specially kind to the younger members of his friends' families. He considered it to be a duty to 'tip' schoolboys, and delighted in giving them holidays at the play. His old friendships with Monckton Milnes (Lord Houghton), Venables, Kinglake, and many other wellknown men were kept up both at his clubs and at various social meetings. The Carlyles were always friendly, in spite of Carlyle's severe views of a novelist's vocation. Thackeray's time, however, was much taken up by lecturing and by frequent trips to the continent or various country places in search of relaxation. His health was far from strong. On 11 Nov. 1854 he wrote to Reed that he had been prevented from finishing 'The Newcomes' by a severe fit of 'spasms,' of which he had had about a dozen in the year. This decline of health is probably to be traced in the comparative want of vigour of his next writings.
In July 1857 Thackeray stood for the city of Oxford, the member, Charles Neate (1806-1879) [q.v.], having been unseated on petition. Thackeray was always a decided liberal in politics, though never much interested in active agitation. He promised to vote for the ballot in extension of the suffrage, and was ready to accept triennial parliaments. His opponent was Mr. Edward (afterwards Viscount) Cardwell [q.v.], who had lost the seat at the previous election for opposing Palmerston on the Chinese question. Thackeray seems to have done better as a speaker than might have been expected, and Cardwell only won (21 July) by a narrow majority—1,085 to 1,018. Thackeray had fought the contest with good temper and courtesy. 'I will retire,' he said in a farewell speech, 'and take my place at my desk, and leave to Mr. Cardwell a business which I am sure he understands better than I do.' 'The Virginians,' the firstfruits of this resolution, came out in monthly numbers from November 1857 to October 1859. It embodied a few of his American recollections (see Reed's Haud Immemor), and continued with less than the old force the history of the Esmond family. A careful account of the genealologies in Thackeray's novels is given by Mr. E. C. K. Gonner in 'Time' for 1889 (pp. 501, 603). Thackeray told Motley that he contemplated a grand novel of the period of Henry V, in which the ancestors of all his imaginary families should be assembled, He mentions this scheme in a letter to FitzGerald in 1841. He had read many of the chronicles of the period, though it may be doubted whether he would have been as much at home with Henry as with Queen Anne.
In June 1858 Edmund Yates [q. v.] published in a paper called 'Town Talk' a personal description of Thackeray, marked, as the author afterwards allowed, by 'silliness and bad taste.' Thackeray considered it to be also 'slanderous and untrue,' and wrote to Yates saying so in the plainest terms. Yates, in answer, refused to accept Thackeray's account of the article or to make any apology. Thackeray then laid the matter before the committee of the Garrick Club, of which both he and Yates were members, on the ground that Yates's knowledge was only derived from meetings at the club. A general meeting of the club in July passed resolutions calling upon Yates to apologise under penalty of further action. Dickens warmly took Yates's part. Yates afterwards disputed the legality of the club's action, and counsel's opinion was taken on both sides. In November Dickens offered to act as Yates's friend in a conference with a representative of Thackeray with a view to arranging 'some quiet accommodation.' Thackeray replied that he had left the matter in the hands of the committee. Nothing came of this. Yates had to leave the club, and he afterwards dropped the legal proceedings on the ground of their costliness.
Thackeray's disgust will be intelligible to every one who holds that journalism is degraded by such personalities. He would have been fully justified in breaking off intercourse with a man who had violated the tacit code under which gentlemen associate. He was, however, stung by his excessive sensibility into injudicious action. Yates, in a letter suppressed by Dickens's advice, had at first retorted that Thackeray in his youth had been equally impertinent to Bulwer and Lardner, and had caricatured members of the club in some of his fictitious characters. Thackeray's regrettable freedoms did not really constitute a parallel offence. But a recollection of his own errors might have suggested less vehement action. There was clearly much ground for Dickens's argument that the club had properly no right to interfere in the matter. The most unfortunate result was an alienation between the two great novelists. Thackeray was no doubt irritated at Dickens's support of Yates, though it is impossible to accept Mr. Jeaffreson's view that jealousy of Dickens was at the bottom of this miserable affair. An alienation between the two lasted till they accidentally met at the Athenæum a few days before Thackeray's death and spontaneously shook hands. Though they had always been on terms of courtesy, they were never much attracted by each other personally. Dickens did not care for Thackeray's later work. Thackeray, on the other hand, though making certain reserves, expressed the highest admiration of Dickens's work both in private and public, and recognised ungrudgingly the great merits which justified Dickens's wider popularity (see e.g. the 'Christmas Carol' in a 'Box of Novels,' Works, xxv. 73, and Brookfield Corretpondence, p. 68).
Thackeray's established reputation was soon afterwards recognised by a new position. Messrs. Smith & Elder started the 'Cornhill Magazine' in January 1860. With 'Macmillan's Magazine,' begun in the previous month, it set the new fashion of shilling magazines. The 'Cornhill' was illustrated, and attracted many of the rising artists of the day. Thackeray's editorship gave it prestige, and the first numbers had a sale of over a hundred thousand. His acquaintance with all men of literary mark enabled him to enlist some distinguished contributors; Tennyson among others, whose 'Tithonus' first appeared in the second number. One of the first contributors was Anthony Trollope, to whom Thackeray had made early application. 'Justice compelled' Trollope to say that Thackeray was 'not a good editor.' One reason was that, as he admitted in his 'Thorns in a Cushion,' he was too tender-hearted. He was pained by the necessity of rejecting articles from poor authors who had no claim but poverty, and by having to refuse his friends—such as Mrs. Browning and Trollope himself—from deference to absurd public prejudices. An editor no doubt requires on occasion thickness of skin if not hardness of heart. Trollope, however, makes the more serious complaint that Thackeray was unmethodical and given to procrastination. As a criticism of Thackeray's methods of writing, this of course tells chiefly against the critic. Trollope's amusing belief in the virtues of what he calls 'elbow-grease' is characteristic of his own methods of production. But an editor is certainly bound to be businesslike, and Thackeray no doubt had shortcomings in that direction. Manuscripts were not considered with all desirable punctuality and despatch. His health made the labour trying; and in April 1862 he retired from the editorship, though continuing to contribute up to the last. His last novels appeared in the magazine. 'Lovel the widower' came out from January to June 1860, and was a rewriting of a play called 'Wolves and the Lamb,' which had been written in 1854 and refused at a theatre. The 'Adventures of Philip' followed from January 1861 till August 1862, continuing the early 'Shabby-Genteel Story,' and again containing much autobiographical material. In these, as in the 'Virginians,' it is generally thought that the vigour shown in their predecessors has declined, and that the tendency to discursive moralising has been too much indulged. 'Denis Duval,' on the other hand, of which only a part had been written at his death, gave great promise of a return to the old standard. His most characteristic contributions, however, were the 'Roundabout Papers,' which began in the first number, and are written with the ease of consummate mastery of style. They are models of the essay which, without aiming at profundity, gives the charm of playful and tender conversation of a great writer.
In 1861 Thackeray built a house at 2 Palace Green, Kensington, upon which is now placed the commemorative tablet of the Society of Arts. It is a red-brick house in the style of the Queen Anne period, to which he was so much attached; and was then, as he told an American friend, the 'only one of its kind' in London (Stoddard, p. 100). The 'house-warming' took place on 24 and 25 Feb. 1862, when 'The Wolves and the Lamb' was performed by amateurs. Thackeray himself only appeared at the end as a clerical father to say in pantomime 'Bless you, my children!' (Merivale in Temple Bar, June 1888). His friends thought that the house was too large for his means; but he explained that it would be, as in fact it turned out to be, a good investment for his children. His income from the 'Cornhill Magazine' alone was about 4,000l. a year. Thackeray had appeared for some time to be older than he really was, an effect partly due perhaps to his hair, originally black, having become perfectly white. His friends, however, had seen a change, and various passages in his letters show that he thought of himself as an old man and considered his life to be precarious. In December 1863 he was unwell, but attended the funeral of a relative, Lady Rodd, on the 21st. Feeling ill on the 23rd with one of his old attacks, he retired at an early hour, and next morning was found dead, the final cause being an effusion into the brain. Few deaths were received with more general expressions of sorrow. He was buried at Kensal Green on 30 Dec., where his mother, who died a year later, is also buried. A subscription, first suggested by Shirley Brooks, provided for a bust by Marochetti in Westminster Abbey. Thackeray left two daughters: Anne Isabella, now Mrs. Richmond Ritchie; and Harriet Marian, who in 1867 married Mr. Leslie Stephen, and died 28 Nov. 1875.
Nothing need be said here of Thackeray's place in English literature, which is discussed by all the critics. In any case, he is one of the most characteristic writers of the first half of the Victorian period. His personal character is indicated by his life. 'He had many fine qualities,' wrote Carlyle to Monckton Milnes upon his death; 'no guile or malice against any mortal; a big mass of a soul, but not strong in proportion; a beautiful vein of genius lay struggling about him Poor Thackeray, adieu, adieu! 'Thackeray's weakness meant the excess of sensibility of a strongly artistic temperament, which in his youth led him into extravagance and too easy compliance with the follies of young men of his class. In later years it produced some foibles, the more visible to his contemporaries because he seems to have been at once singularly frank in revealing his feelings to congenial friends, and reticent or sarcastic to less congenial strangers. His constitutional indolence and the ironical view of life which made him a humorist disqualified him from being a prophet after the fashion of Carlyle. The author of 'a novel without a hero' was not a 'hero-worshipper.' But the estimate of his moral and intellectual force will be increased by a fair view of his life. If naturally indolent, he worked most energetically and under most trying conditions through many years full of sorrow and discouragement. The loss of his fortune and the ruin of his domestic happiness stimulated him to sustained and vigorous efforts. He worked, as he was bound to work, for money, and took his place frankly as a literary drudge. He slowly forced his way to the front, helping his comrades liberally whenever occasion offered. Trollope only confirms the general testimony by a story of his ready generosity (Trollope, p. 60). He kept all his old friends; he was most affectionate to his mother, and made a home for her in later years; and he was the tenderest and most devoted of fathers. His 'social success' never distracted him from his home duties, and he found his chief happiness in his domestic affections. The superficial weakness might appear in society, and a man with so keen an eye for the weaknesses of others naturally roused some resentment. But the moral upon which Thackeray loved to insist in his writings gives also the secret which ennobled his life. A contemplation of the ordinary ambitions led him to emphasise the 'vanity of vanities,' and his keen perception of human weaknesses showed him the seamy side of much that passes for heroic. But to him the really valuable element of life was in the simple and tender affections which do not flourish in the world. During his gallant struggle against difficulties he emphasised the satirical vein which is embodied with his greatest power in 'Barry Lyndon' and 'Vanity Fair.' As success came he could give freer play to the gentler emotions which animate 'Esmpnd,' 'The Newcomes,' and the 'Roundabout Papers,' and in which he found the chief happiness of his own career.
Thackeray was 6 feet 3 inches in height. His head was very massive, and it is stated that the brain weighed 58½ ounces. His appearance was made familiar by many caricatures introduced by himself as illustrations of his own works and in 'Punch.' Portraits with names of proprietors are: plaster bust from a cast taken from life about 1825, by J. Devile (Mrs. Ritchie: replica in National Portrait Gallery). Two drawings by Maclise dated 1832 and 1833 (Garrick Club). Another drawing by Maclise of about 1840 was engraved from a copy made by Thackeray himself for the 'Orphan of Pimlico.' Painting by Frank Stone about 1836 (Mrs. Ritchie). Two chalk drawings by Samuel Laurence, the first in 1853, a full face, engraved in 1854 by Francis Hall, and a profile, reading. Laurence made several replicas of the last after Thackeray's death, one of which is in the National Portrait Gallery. Laurence also painted a posthumous portrait for the Reform Club. Portrait of Thackeray, in his study at Onslow Square in 1854, by E. M. Ward (Mr. R. Hurst). Portrait by Sir John Gilbert, posthumous, of Thackeray in the smoking-room of the Garrick Club (Garrick Club; this is engraved in 'Maclise's Portrait Gallery'), where is also the portrait of Thackeray among the 'Frasereans.' A sketch from memory by Millais and a drawing by F. Walker—a back view of Thackeray, done to show the capacity of the then unknown artist to illustrate for the 'Cornhill—belong to Mrs. Ritchie. The bust by Marochetti in Westminster Abbey is not thought to be satisfactory as a likeness. A statuette by Edgar Boehm was begun in 1860 from two short sittings. It was finished after Thackeray's death, and is considered to be an excellent likeness. Many copies were sold, and two were presented to the Garrick Club and the Athenaeum. A bust by Joseph Durham was presented to the Garrick Club by the artist in 1864; and a terra-cotta replica from the original plaster mould is in the National Portrait Gallery. A bust by J. B. Williamson was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1864; and another, by Nevill Northey Burnard [q. v.], is in the National Portrait Gallery. For further details see article by F. G. Kitton in the 'Magazine of Art' for July 1891.
Thackeray's works as independently published are: 1. 'Floreet Zephyr: Ballet Mythologique par Théophile Wagstaff' (eight plates lithographed by E. Morton from sketches by Thackeray), fol. 1836. 2. 'The Paris Sketchbook,' by Mr. Titmarsh, 2 vols. 12mo, 1840, includes 'The Devil's Wager' from the 'National Standard,' 'Mary Ancel' from the 'New Monthly' (1838), the 'French Plutarch' and 'French School of Painting' from 'Fraser,' 1839, and three articles from the 'Corsair,' a New York paper, 1839. 'The Student's Quarter,' by J. C. Hotten, professes to be from 'papers not included in the collected writings,' but is made up of this and one other letter in the 'Corsair' (see Athenæum, 7, 14 Aug. 1886). 3. 'Essay on the Genius of George Cruikshank, with numerous illustrations of his works,' 1840 (reprinted from the 'Westminster Review'). 4. Sketches by Spec. No. 1. 'Britannia protecting the drama' . Facsimile by Autotype Company from unique copy belonging to Mr. C. P. Johnson. 5. 'Comic Tales and Sketches, edited and illustrated by Mr. Michael Angelo Titmarsh,' 2 vols. 8vo, 1841, contains the 'Yellowplush Papers' from 'Fraser,' 1838 and 1840; 'Some Passages in the Life of Major Gahagan' from 'New Monthly,' 1838-9; the 'Professor' from 'Bentley's Miscellany,' 1837; the 'Bedford Row Conspiracy' from the 'New Monthly,' 1840; and the 'Fatal Boots' from Cruikshank's 'Comic Almanack' for 1839. 6. 'The Second Funeral of Napoleon, in three letters to Miss Smith of London' (reprinted in 'Cornhill Magazine' for January 1866), and the 'Chronicle of the Drum,' 16mo, 1841. 7. 'The Irish Sketchbook,' 2 vols. 12mo, 1843. 8. 'Notes of a Journey from Cornhill to Cairo by way of Lisbon, Athens, Constantinople, and Jerusalem, by Mr. M. A. Titmarsh,' 12mo, 1846. 9. 'Mrs. Perkins's Ball, by M. A. Titmarsh,' 4to, 1847 (Christmas, 1846). 10. 'Vanity Fair: a Novel without a Hero, with Illustrations by the Author,' 1 vol. 8vo, 1848 (monthly numbers from January 1847 to July 1848; last number double). 11. 'The Book of Snobs,' 8vo, 1848; reprinted from 'The Snobs of England, by One of Themselves,' in 'Punch,' 1846-7 (omitting 7 numbers). 12. 'Our Street, by Mr. M. A. Titmarsh,' 4to, 1848 (Christmas, 1847). 13. 'The History of Pendennis, his Fortunes and Misfortunes, his Friends and his Greatest Enemy, with Illustrations by the Author,' 2 vols. 8vo, 1849-50 (in monthly numbers from November 1848 to December 1850, last number double; suspended, owing to illness, for the three months after September 1849). 14. 'Dr. Birch and his Young Friends, by Mr. M. A. Titmarsh,' 16mo, 1849 (Christmas, 1848). 15. 'The History of Samuel Titmarsh and the Great Hoggarty Diamond' (from 'Fraser's Magazine' of 1841), 8vo, 1849. 16. 'Rebecca and Rowena: a Romance upon Romance,' illustrated by R. Doyle, 8vo, 1850 (Christmas, 1849); enlarged from 'Proposals for a continuation of "Ivanhoe"' in 'Fraser,' August and September, 1846. 17. 'Sketches after English Landscape Painters, by S. Marvy, with short notices by W. M. Thackeray,' fol. 1850. 18. 'The Kickleburys on the Rhine, by Mr. M. A. Titmarsh,' 4to, 1850; 2nd edit, with preface (5 Jan. 1851), being an 'Essay on Thunder and Small Beer,' 1851. 19. 'The History of Henry Esmond, Fsq., a Colonel in the Service of Her Majesty Queen Anne, written by himself,' 3 vols. 8vo, 1852. 20. 'The English Humorists of the Eighteenth Century: a series of lectures delivered in England, Scotland, and the United States of America,' 8vo, 1853. The notes were written by James Hannay (see his Characters, &c. p. 55 n.) 21. 'Preface to a Collection of Papers from "Punch,"' printed at New York, 1852, 22. 'The Newcomes: Memoirs of a most respectable Family, edited by Arthur Pendennis, Esq.,' 2 vols. 8vo, 1854-5, illustrated by R. Doyle (twenty-four monthly numbers from October 1853 to August 1855). 23. 'The Rose and the Ring, or the History of Prince Giglio and Prince Bulbo: a Fireside Pantomime for great and small Children, by Mr. M. A. Titmarsh,' 8vo, 1855, illustrated by the author. 24. 'Miscellanies in Prose and Verse,' 4 vols. 8vo, 1855, contains all the 'Comic Tales and Sketches' (except the 'Professor'), the 'Book of Snobs' (1848), the 'Hoggarty Diamond' (1849), 'Rebecca and Rowena' (1850); also 'Cox's Diary,' from the 'Comic Almanack' of 1840; the 'Diary of Jeames de la Pluche,' from 'Punch,' 1845-6; 'Sketches and Travels in London,' from 'Punch,' 1847, and 'Fraser' ('Going to see a man hanged'), 1840; 'Novels by Eminent Hands,' from 'Punch,' 1847; 'Character Sketches,' from 'Heads of the People,' drawn by Kenny! Meadows,' 1840-1; 'Barry Lyndon,' from 'Fraser,' 1844; 'Legend of the Rhine,' from Cruikshank's 'Tablebook,' 1845; 'A little Dinner at Timmins's,' from 'Punch,' 1848; the 'Fitzboodle Papers,' from 'Fraser,' 1842-3; 'Men's Wives,' from 'Fraser,' 1843; and 'A Shabby-Genteel Story,' from 'Fraser,' 1840. 25. 'The Virginians: a Tale of the last Century' (illustrated by the author), 2 vols. 8vo, 1858-9 (monthly numbers from November 1857 to October 1859). 26. 'Lovel the Widower,' 8vo, 1861, from the 'Cornhill Magazine,' 1860 (illustrated by the author). 27. 'The Four Georges,' 1861, from 'Cornhill Magazine,' 1860. 28. 'The Adventures of Philip on his way through the World; showing who robbed him, who helped him, and who passed him by,' 3 vols. 8vo, 1862, from 'Cornhill Magazine,' 1861-2 (illustrated by F.Walker). 29. 'Roundabout Papers,' 8vo, 1863, from 'Cornhill Magazine,' 1860-3. 30. 'Denis Duval,' 8vo, 1867, from 'Cornhill Magazine,' 1864. 31. 'The Orphan of Pimlico, and other Sketches, Fragments, and Drawings, by W. M. Thackeray, with some Notes by A. T. Thackeray,' 4to, 1876. 32. 'Etchings by the late W. M. Thackeray while at Cambridge,' 1878. 33. 'A Collection of Letters by W. M. Thackeray, 1847-1855' (with introduction by Mrs. Brookfield), 8vo, 1887; first published in 'Scribner's Magazine.' 34. 'Sultan Stork' (from 'Ainsworth's Magazine,' 1842) and 'other stories now first collected; to which is added the bibliography of Thackeray '[by R. H. Shepherd] 'revised and considerably enlarged,' 8vo, 1887. 35. 'Loose Sketches. An Eastern Adventure,' &c. (contributions to 'The Britannia' in 1841, and to 'Punch's Pocket-Book' for 1847), London, 1894.
The first collective or 'library' edition of the works appeared in 22 vols. 8vo, 1867-9; the 'popular' edition in 12 vols. cr. 8vo, 1871-2; the 'cheaper illustrated edition' in 24 vols. 8vo, 1877-9; the 'Edition de luxe' in 24 vols. imp. 8vo, 1878-9; the 'standard' edition in 26 vols. 8vo, 1883-5, and the 'biographical' edition with an introduction to each volume by Mrs. Richmond Ritchie, 13 vols. crown 8vo. All the collective editions include the works (Nos. 1-30) mentioned above, and add 'The History of the next French Revolution,' from 'Punch,' 1844; 'Catherine' from 'Fraser,' 1839-40;' 'Little Travels and Roadside Sketches,' from 'Fraser,' 1844-5; 'John Leech,' from 'Quarterly Review,' December 1854; and 'The Wolves and the Lamb' (first printed). 'Little Billee' first appeared as the 'Three Sailors' in Bevan's 'Sand and Canvas,' 1849. A facsimile from the autograph sent to Bevan is in the 'Autographic Mirror,' 1 Dec. 1864, and another from Shirley Brooks's album in the 'Editor's Box,' 1880.
The last two volumes of the 'standard' edition contain additional matter. Vol. xxv. supplies most of the previously uncollected 'Fraser' articles and a lecture upon 'Charity and Humour,' given at New York in 1852; the letter describing Goethe; 'Timbuctoo' from the 'Snob,' and a few trifles. Vol. xxvi. contains previously uncollected papers from 'Punch,' including the suppressed 'Snob' papers, chiefly political. These additions are also contained in vols. xxv. and xxvi. added to the 'édition de luxe' in 1886. Two volumes, with the same contents, were added at the same time to the 'library' and the 'cheaper illustrated,' and one to the 'popular' edition. The 'pocket' edition, 1886-8, has a few additions, including 'Sultan Stork' (see No. 34 above), and some omissions. Vol. xiii. of the 'biographical' edition will contain, in addition to all these miscellanea, the contributions to the 'Britannia' in 1841 and 'Punch's Pocket-Book' for 1847, first reprinted in 1894 (see No. 35 above).
The 'Yellowplush Correspondence' was reprinted from 'Fraser' at Philadelphia in 1838. Some other collections were also published in America in 1852 and 1853, one volume including for the first time the 'Prize Novelists,' the 'Fat Contributor,' and 'Travels in London' and another, 'Mr. Brown's Letters,' &c., having a preface by Thackeray (see above). 'Early and late Papers' (1867) is a collection by J. T. Fields. 'L'Abbaye de Penmarc'h' has been erroneously attributed to W. M. Thackeray from confusion with a namesake.
The above includes all such writings of Thackeray as he thought worth preservation; and the last two volumes, as the publishers state, were intended to prevent the publication of more trifles. The 'Sultan Stork' (1887) includes the doubtful 'Mrs. Brownrigge' from 'Fraser' of 1832 and some others. A list of many others will be found in the bibliography appended to 'Sultan Stork.' See also the earlier bibliography by R. H. Shepherd (1880), the bibliography appended to Merivale and Marzials, and Mr. C. P. Johnson's 'Hints to Collectors of First Editions of Thackeray's Works.'
[Thackeray's children, in obedience to the wishes of their father, published no authoritative life. The introductions contributed by his eldest daughter, Mrs. Ritchie, to the forthcoming biographical edition of his works (1898-9) contain valuable materials. Mrs. Ritchie's Chapters from some Memoirs (1894) contain reminiscences of his later years; and she has supplied information for this article. The Memorials of the Thackeray Family by Jane Townley Pryme (daughter of Thomas Thackeray), and her daughter, Mrs. Bayne, privately printed in 1879, contain extracts from Thackeray's early letters. These are used in the life by Herman Merivale and Frank T. Marzials (Great Writers Series), 1879. This is the fullest hitherto published. Mr. Marzials has kindly supplied many references and suggestions for this article. The life by A. Trollope, in the Men of Letters Series, 1879, is meagre. Anecdote Biographies of Thackeray and Dickens (New York 1875), edited by R. H. Stoddard, reprints some useful materials. Thackerayana, published by Chatto & Windus, 1875, is chiefly a reproduction of early drawings from books bought at Thackeray's sale. The Thackerays in India by Sir W. W. Hunter (1897), gives interesting information as to Thackeray's relatives. With Thackeray in America, 1893, and Thackeray's Haunts and Homes, 1897, both by Eyre Crowe, A. R. A., contain some recollections by an old friend. See also Life in Chambers's Encyclopædia, by Mr. Richmond Thackeray Ritchie. The following is a list of the principal references to Thackeray in contemporary literature: Serjeant Ballantyne's Barrister's Life, 1882, i. 133; Bevan's Sand and Canvas, 1849, pp. 336-43; Brown's Horæ Subsecivæ, 3rd ser. 1882, pp. 177-97, from North British Review for February 1864; Cassell's Magazine, new ser. vols. i. and ii. 1870 (recollections by R. Bedingfield); Church's Thackeray as an Artist and Art Critic, 1890; Cole's Fifty Years of Public Work, 1884, i. 58,82, ii. 143; Fields' Yesterdays with Authors, 1873, pp. 11-39; FitzGerald's Remains, 1889, i. 24, 5i, 65, 68, 96, 100, 141, 154, 161, 188, 193, 198, 200, 215,217, 221, 275, 295; Fitzpatrick's Life of Lever, 1879, i. 239, 335-40, ii. 396, 405, 421; Forster's Life of Dickens, 1872, i. 94, ii. 162, 439, iii. 51, 84, 104, 208, 267; Gaskell's Life of Charlotte Brontë, 1865, pp. 233, 282, 312, 316, 332, 365, 380, 385, 401; James Hannay's Characters and Criticisms, 1865, pp. 42-59; Hayward's Correspondence, 1886, i. 105, 119, 120, 143-5; Hodder's Memories of my Time, 1870, pp. 237-312; Hole's Memories of Dean Hole, 1893. pp. 69-76; Lord Houghton's Monographs, 1873, p. 233; Life by Wemyss Reed, 1890, i. 83, 251, 263, 283, 306, 356, 425-9, 432, ii. Ill, 118; Jeaffresons Book of Recollections, vol. i. passim; Jerrold's A Day with Thackeray, in The Best of All Good Company, 1872; Kemble's Records of Later Life, 1882, iii. 359-63; Life of Lord Lytton, ii. 275; Knight's Passages of a Working Life, 1873, iii. 35; Maclise Portrait Gallery, pp. 95, 222; Mackay's Forty Years' Recollections, 1877, ii. 294-304; Locker-Lampson's My Confidences, 1896, pp. 297-307; Macready's Reminiscences, ii. 30; Theodore Martin's Life of Aytoun, 1867, pp. 130-5; Motley's Letters, 1889, i. 226, 229, 235, 261, 269; Napier's Correspondence, 1879, pp. 498, 506; Planché's Recollections and Reflections, 1872, ii. 40; Sir F. Pollock's Personal Reminiscences, 1887, i. 177, 189,289, 292, ii. 36, 57; Reed's Hand Immemor, in Blackwood's Mag. for June, 1872 (privately printed in 1864); Skelton's Table Talk of Shirley, 1895, pp. 25-38; Spielmann's History of Punch, 1895, pp. 308-26, and many references; Tennyson's Life of Tennyson, 1897, i. 266, 444, ii. 371; Simpson's Many Memories, &c., 1898, pp. 105-10; Bayard Taylor's Life and Letters, 1884, pp. 308, 315, 321, 333, and B. Taylor in Atlantic Monthly for March 1864; 'Theodore Taylor's' (pseudonym of J. C. Hotten) Thackeray the Humorist, 1864; Vizetelly's Glances back through Seventy Years, 1893, i. 128, 235, 249-52, 281-96, ii. 105-10; Lester Wallack's Memories of Fifty Years, 1889, pp. 162-6; Yates's Recollections, chap, ix.]
|91||ii||16||Thackeray, William M.: for Bowood read Longwood|
|95||ii||25||for 1892 read 11 Jan. 1894|
|99||ii||11f.e.||for 1854 read December 1854|
|105||ii||20||for Ballantyne's read Ballantine's|