Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Boothby, Brooke

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BOOTHBY, Sir BROOKE (1743–1824) poet, seventh baronet, eldest son of Sir Brooke Boothby, of Ashbourne Hall, Derbyshire, was born in 1743. When a young man he moved in London society, and he is mentioned by one of Mrs. Delany's correspondents as ‘one of those who think themselves pretty gentlemen du premier ordre.’ He joined the literary circle at Lichfield to which Miss Seward, Dr. Erasmus Darwin, Thomas Day, and the Edgeworths belonged, and was a member of a botanical society which Dr. Darwin started there. One of Miss Seward's odes and several of her printed letters are addressed to him. He resided some time in France, and became intimate with Rousseau. In his ‘Observations on the Appeal from the Old Whigs,' &c., he enters into an earnest defence of Rousseau's character and works from the ‘wanton butcherly attack’ made by Burke. He succeeded to the baronetcy on the death of his father in 1789. He married Susannah, daughter and heiress of Mr. Robert Bristoe. The only child of this marriage died in 1791 at the early age of six years, and was interred in Ashbourne Church, where a monument by Thomas Banks, R.A., was erected to her memory.

He published the following:

  1. ‘A Letter to the Right Honourable Edmund Burke,' 1791 (8vo, pp. 120); a remonstrance with that statesman on the doctrines contained in his ‘Reflections on the French Revolution.’
  2. ‘Observations on the Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs, and on Mr. Paine’s Rights of Man,’ in two parts, 1792 (8vo, pp. 5283); the first part is a further defence of the principles of the French revolution, and the second is directed against Paine's arguments for equality.
  3. ‘Sorrows Sacred to the Memory of Penelope,’ 1796 (fol. pp. 87), a volume of verse illustrated.
  4. ‘Britannicus, a Tragedy, from the French of Racine,’ 1803, 8vo.
  5. ‘Fables and Satires, with a preface on the Esopean Fable,’ Edinburgh, 1809, two volumes, 12mo.

Sir Brooke Boothby died at Boulogne 23 Jan. 1824, aged 80, and was interred in the family cemetery at Ashbourne Church.

[Hist. and Topogr. of Ashbourne, 1839, pp. 35-38; Mrs. Delany's Corresp. iv. 262, 423; Seward's Memoirs of Darwin, p. 78; Seward's Letters; Playfair's British Family Antiquity, vi. 464; Baker's Biogr. Dramatica, i. 50, ii. 68.]

C. W. S.