Neale, Thomas (DNB00)

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NEALE, THOMAS (d. 1699?), was master of the mint and groom-porter in the latter part of the seventeenth century. Nothing seems known of his early life, but he is said to have run through two fortunes, doubtless through his gaming and speculative tendencies. He was appointed master and worker of the mint in the thirtieth year of Charles II (30 Jan. 1677–8—29 Jan. 1678–9), and held the office under James II and William III till about January 1699. His name in this capacity appears on certain medals of William III (Hawkins, Med. Illustr. ii. 13). His salary in 1693 was 500l. per annum (Chamberlayne, Present State of England, 1694, p. 618). ‘A Proposal for amending the Silver Coins of England,’ 1696, 8vo, by Neale is in the British Museum Library, and also the following proposal, printed 20 Feb. 1696–7: ‘The best way of disposing of Hammer'd Money and Plate, as well for the advantage of the Owners thereof as for raising One Million of Money in (and for the service of) the year 1697 by way of a Lottery, wherein the benefits will be the same … as were had in the Million Adventure, and the blanks will be prizes besides, to be paid sooner or later, as chance shall determine, but all to be cleared in one year.’ Hammered money and plate were by this scheme received at 6s. an ounce, and tickets of 10l. each given as an equivalent.

In (or before) 1684 Neale was appointed groom-porter to Charles II (London Gazette, 24–28 July 1684). He held the same post under William III till about 1699. His duties were to see the king's lodgings furnished with tables, chairs, and firing; to provide cards and dice, and to decide disputes at the card-table and on the bowling-green. His annual salary was 2l. 13s. 4d., with board-wages 127l. 15s. (Chamberlayne, op. cit. p. 239). In 1684 he was, as groom-porter, authorised by the king to license and suppress gaming-houses, and to prosecute unlicensed keepers of ‘rafflings, ordinaries, and other public games’ (London Gazette, 24–28 July 1684; Malcolm, Manners and Customs of London, 1811, pp. 430–1).

In 1694 the government proposed to raise a million by a lottery-loan, on the security of a new duty on salt, &c. (5 Will. & Mary, c. 7). The plan—a loan and lottery combined—appears to have originated with Neale, who was appointed master of the transfer office established in that year (in Lombard Street) for conducting the business of the lottery. He acted in this way till about January 1699. The loan was divided into a hundred thousand shares of 10l. each. The interest on each share was 20s. annually, i.e. ten per cent. during sixteen years. As an additional inducement to the public to lend, some of the shares were to be prizes, and the holders of the prizes (determined by lot) were to receive not only the ten per cent. interest on their shares, but to divide among them the sum of 40,000l. annually during sixteen years. A million was obtained for the state in this way (cf. Ashton, Hist. of Engl. Lotteries, p. 49). Neale conducted at least two other public lotteries. Several of his printed prospectuses are preserved in the British Museum, that of the lottery-loan of 1694 being headed: ‘A Profitable Adventure to the Fortunate, and can be unfortunate to none’ (London, 1693–4, s. sh. fol.) Pepys (Diary, ed. Braybrooke, v. 344) speaks of Neale's project for a lottery as the chief talk of the town, and Evelyn (whose coachman won a prize of 40l.) mentions ‘the lottery set up after the Venetian manner by Mr. Neale’ (Evelyn, Diary, ed. Bray, ii. 326).

Neale's name appears in the list of subscribers to the National Land Bank proposed by Briscoe in 1695, and carried into effect by Robert Harley [q. v.], afterwards Earl of Oxford, in the following year, his subscription being entered as 3,000l. On 24 Feb. 1695–6 Neale printed a proposal entitled ‘The National Land Bank, together with Money … capable also of supplying the Government with any sum of Money … as likewise the Freeholder with Money at a more moderate Interest than if such Bank did consist of Money alone without Land’ (copy in Guildhall Library, London). Two millions were to be raised by a subscription of money, and one million by a subscription of land.

He also engaged in building and mining schemes, and was interested in the East India trade (Neale's tract ‘To Preserve the East India Trade,’ &c., 1695, s. sh. fol. in Brit. Mus.). He projected and began the building of the London streets known as the Seven Dials. On 5 Oct. 1694 Evelyn (Diary, ii. p. 332) went ‘to see the building beginning near St. Giles's, where seven streets make a star from a Doric pillar placed in the middle of a circular area’ (cp. Pope, Works, ed. Elwin and Courthope, x. 281). The streets were not all completed till after 1708 (Walford, Old and New London, iii. 204). Before 1695 Neale obtained from Sir Thomas Clarges [q. v.] a large piece of land on the road from Piccadilly to Hyde Park. The rent was 100l. per annum, and Neale undertook to expend 10,000l. in building on the land. He, however, left the ground waste for ten years, and died insolvent, owing 800l. for rent to Sir Walter (son of Sir Thomas) Clarges (Malcolm, Londinium Rediv. iv. 328–9). Clarges Street was subsequently built on this site in 1717 (Walford, Old and New London, iv. 292). On 28 Aug. 1697 Neale (and another) obtained by letters patent a lease for thirty-one years of ‘the coal-mines in Lanton, alias Lampton Hills, in the common fields of Wickham,’ Durham (Cal. State Papers, Treasury Ser. 1720–8, p. 456).

It is sometimes stated that Neale died in 1705, but a report of the commissioners of the lottery made to the lord high treasurer in 1710 refers to his death as having taken place ‘about January 1699’ (ib. 1708–14, p. 517). It is moreover certain that his connection with the mint and with the transfer office ceased just about that time. A rare medalet (or lottery ticket?), existing in the British Museum, in silver and copper, is engraved, and described in Hawkins's ‘Medallic Illustrations,’ ii. 104–5. It has on the obverse a bust of Neale inscribed tho. neale armiger, and on the reverse a figure of Fortune on a globe, and the motto non eadem semper. The portrait bears out Matthew Prior's observation (made in France in 1701) as to the likeness between James II, ‘lean, worn, and rivelled,’ and ‘Neale the projector’ (Ellis, Letters of Eminent Men, p. 265).

Another Neale, Thomas (fl. 1643), was eldest son of Sir Thomas Neale, knt. (d. 1620), of Warnford, Hampshire, one of the auditors of Queen Elizabeth and James I. Walter Neale [q. v.] was his uncle. Neale was author of ‘A Treatise of Direction how to Travell safely and profitably into forraigne Countries,’ published in London in 1643, 12mo (Brit. Mus. Cat.; Hazlitt, Bibl. Coll. and Notes, 3rd ser. 1887, p. 169). This work, which was originally written in Latin, is dedicated to the author's brother, William Neale. It is a pedantic little treatise, full of quotations from the classics, but devoid of a solitary hint from the writer's own experience. A second edition appeared in 1664, London, 12mo (Brit. Mus. Cat.; Lowndes, Bibl. Manual). Complete copies have a portrait of the author by W. Marshall. Neale married on 15 Sept. 1632 Lucy, third daughter of Sir William Uvedale of Wickham, Hampshire (Nichols, Herald and Genealogist, iv. 42).

Neale, Thomas (fl. 1657), engraver, worked in the style of Wenceslaus Hollar [q. v.] He engraved, copying Hollar, twenty-four plates of Holbein's ‘Dance of Death.’ The first plate is dated ‘Paris, 1657,’ and the plates are signed ‘T. N.,’ or with his name in full. Nagler supposes him to have engraved the plates for the eighth edition of John Ogilby's ‘Fables of Æsop,’ and states that he engraved some of the plates for Barlow's ‘Diversæ Avium species,’ Paris, 1659 [see, however, under Barlow, Francis].

[Neale's tracts and prospectuses in Brit. Mus. and Guildhall Library; Ruding's Annals of the Coinage; Cal. State Papers, Treasury Ser.; London Gazette; Hawkins's Medallic Illustrations, ii. 104–5, &c.; Macaulay's Hist. of Engl. ch. xx., ‘1694;’ authorities cited above.]

W. W.