Lawrence, George Alfred (DNB00)

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LAWRENCE, GEORGE ALFRED (1827–1876), author of 'Guy Livingstone.' was born at Braxted rectory, Essex, 26 March 1827. His father, Alfred Charnley Lawrence, was of Christ College, Cambridge, B.A. 1813, M.A. 1818, rector of Sandhurst, Kent, 1831-1857, and died about 1867. His mother was Emily Mary, third daughter of George Finch Hatton (1797-1868) of Eastwell Park, Kent. George Alfred, the eldest son, was entered at Rugby in August 1841; he matriculated from Ballioi College, Oxford, 29 Nov. 1845, but graduated B.A. 5 Dec. 1850 from New Inn Hall. He was called to the bar at the Inner Temple 17 Nov. 1852, but soon leaving his Profession gave himself up to literature. In 1857 he astonished novel-readers by his 'Guy Livingstone, or Thorough.' with its deification of strength and very questionable morality. The hostile critics depicted the hero as a mixture of the prize-fighter and the libertine, while the admirers of the book praised the disregard of conventionalities and personal daring of both the hero and the author, and a report that in the work the author had described his own boyhood and college life lent an additional piquancy to the book. It had a large sale, and from this time forward Lawrence produced a work of fiction nearly every alternate year. One of the best of these was 'Sword and Gown,' 1859, which has a coherence and an air of probability hardly to be found elsewhere in his writings. In 1863 appeared 'Border and Bastile,' a record of a journey to the United States with the intention of joining the confederate army as a volunteer. But before he got near the confederate lines he was taken a prisoner and shut up in a guard-house, whence, after correspondence with Lord Lyons, the English ambassador at Washington, he was liberated on the condition of his immediate return to England. In his numerous books Lawrence's style is always vigorous, and he is never dull. He died, at 134 George Street, Edinburgh, on 23 Sept. 1876.

The following is a list of Lawrence's writings: 1. 'Guy Livingstone, or Thorough.' 1857; 6th edit. 1867; this work has also been translated into French. 2. 'Sword and Gown.' 1859; 5th edit. 1888. 3. 'Barren Honour.' 1862, 2 vols., other editions. 4. 'Border and Bastile.' 1863; 3rd edit. 1864. 5. 'A Bundle of Ballads.' 1864. 6. 'Maurice Dering, or the Quadrilateral.' 1864; 2nd edit. 1869. 7. 'Sans Merci, or Kestrels and Falcons.' 1866, 3 vols.; 3rd edit. 1869; there is also a French edition. 8. 'Brakespeare : Fortunes of a Free Lance.' 1868, 3 vols.; 2nd edit. 1869. 9. 'Breaking a Butterfly: Blanche Ellerslie's Ending.' 1869, 3 vols.; 2nd edit. 1870. 10. 'Anteros.' 1871, 3 vols.; 3rd edit. 1888. 11. 'Silverland.' 1873. 12. 'Hagarene.' 1874, 8 vols.; new edit. 1875. The first of these works is anonymous, all the rest are stated on their title-pages to be by 'the author of Guy Livingstone.'

[Times, 2 Oct. 1876, p. 10; Law Times, 7 Oct 1876, p. 388; Spectator, 28 Oct. 1876, pp. 1345-1347.]

G. C. B.