Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Green, Thomas (1769-1825)

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GREEN, THOMAS, the younger (1769–1825), miscellaneous writer, son of Thomas Green the elder (1722-1794) [q. v.], was born at Monmouth on 12 Sept. 1769. He was educated partly at the free grammar school in Ipswich, and then privately under a Mr. Jervis of Ipswich. In 1786 he was admitted of Caius College, Cambridge, but never resided there, his going to the university being prevented by illness, and the intention being abandoned on his recovery. He was called to the bar, and for a few years went the Norfolk circuit. On coming into his property on his father's death in 1794, he gave up his profession, and devoted himself to a literary life. He lived at Ipswich, visiting the continent and different parts of England from time to time. He died on 6 Jan. 1825, leaving an only son (Thomas) by his wife Catharine, daughter of Lieutenant-colonel (afterwards General) Hartcup.

His claim to remembrance is his ‘Diary of a Lover of Literature,’ extracts from which he published in 1810. In this he discusses and criticises the books he read from day to day, sometimes giving lengthy arguments on the subjects treated of by his authors, more especially upon metaphysical points, to which he had given considerable attention. It is varied by descriptions of scenery in the Isle of Wight and Wales, which are very vivid and happy, as he had evidently a keen eye for the points of a view. The extracts are only from the diary for the years 1796 to 1800; but it was continued throughout his life, and his friend, J. Mitford of Benhall, while editor of the 'Gentleman's Magazine,' printed a large additional portion in that periodical from January 1834 to June 1843, concluding with a sketch of his character. Many of the criticisms are clever and deserving of attention; others, especially those on theological subjects, are crude enough. But the whole forms very amusing reading.

Besides the extracts from the diary, he published the following pamphlets:

  1. ‘The Micthodion, or Poetical Olio,’ 1788, a volume of poems.
  2. ‘A Vindication of the Shop-tax,’ 1789.
  3. ‘Slight Observations upon Paine's pamphlet … on the French and English Constitutions,’ 1791.
  4. ‘Political Speculations,’ 1791.
  5. ‘A short Address to the Protestant Clergy of every denomination on the fundamental corruption of Christianity,’ 1792.
  6. ‘The Two Systems of the Social Compact and the Natural Rights of Man examined and confuted,’ 1793.
  7. Gibbon's ‘Critical Observations on the 6th Book of the Æneid,’ 1794.
  8. ‘An Examination of the leading Principles of the New System of Morals … in Godwin's enquiry concerning Political Justice,’ 1798; 2nd edition, 1799.
  9. Memoir of Dr. Pearson, Master of Sidney College, Cambridge, prefixed to Pearson's ‘Prayers for Families,’ 1819.
  10. Reveley's ‘Notices illustrative of the Drawings and Sketches of some of the most distinguished Masters in all the principal Schools of Design.’ This he revised for the press in 1820.

He contributed also to the ‘Gentleman's’ and ‘European’ magazines, and some poems by him are inserted in ‘The Chaplet, Ipswich, 1807, and ‘The Suffolk Garland,’ Ipswich, 1818.

[Memoir of Thomas Green of Ipswich, by J[ames] F[ord], Ipswich, 1825, privately printed (with a portrait prefixed); J. Mitford in Gent. Mag., January 1834, p. 1, June 1843, p. 582.]

H. R. L.