Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 50.djvu/71

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resumed business as a print-seller in the Strand, but before long he retired to a private residence at Knightsbridge, from which he disappeared on 1 April 1783. On the following day an advertisement was issued offering a reward of 300l. for his apprehension on a charge of forging and uttering two bills of exchange for 7,114l. with intent to defraud the East India Company. On the arrival of the officers to arrest him in a small house near Stepney, he made a desperate attempt to commit suicide by cutting his throat. On 27 July he was tried at the Old Bailey before Sir Francis Buller, convicted, and sentenced to death. He was hanged at Tyburn on 29 Aug. 1783, the execution being delayed some time by a violent thunderstorm, and was buried at Feltham, Middlesex. He left a widow and six children, for whose benefit two plates left by him unfinished, ‘King John ratifying Magna Charta,’ after John Hamilton Mortimer, A.R.A., and ‘The Interview between Edgar and Elfrida after her Marriage with Athelwold,’ after Angelica Kauffmann, R.A., were completed respectively by Francesco Bartolozzi, R.A., and by William Sharp. His widow kept a print-shop for many years in Oxford Road, and his daughter became a teacher of drawing, and instructed the Princess Elizabeth and others of the royal family. One of Ryland's brothers was in 1762 convicted of highway robbery, committed in a drunken frolic, and was reprieved only on the morning of the day of execution through his brother's personal influence with the king.

There is a medallion portrait in profile of Ryland, engraved by D. P. Pariset from a drawing made by Pierre Étienne Falconet in 1768, of which a smaller copy was published in 1783. The Rev. Mr. Cotton, ordinary of Newgate, had a drawing of Ryland for which he sat while in prison after his trial. A copy of it, by Robert Graves, A.R.A., is in the possession of the writer of this article.

[Authentic Memoirs of William Wynne Ryland, 1784; Dodd's Memoirs of English Engravers, xi. 104–10 (Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 33404); Noble's Catalogue of Engravers, 1806, manuscript in possession of R. E. Graves; Roberts's Memoir of Hannah More, i. 280; Strutt's Biogr. Dict. of Engravers, 1785–6, ii. 285; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists of the English School, 1878; Bryan's Dict. of Painters and Engravers, ed. Graves and Armstrong, 1886–9, ii. 432; Exhibition Catalogues of the Incorporated Society of Artists, 1761–9, and of the Royal Academy, 1772–5.]

R. E. G.

RYLANDS, JOHN (1801–1888), merchant and manufacturer, third son of Joseph Rylands, manufacturer of cotton goods, of St. Helens, Lancashire, was born on 7 Feb. 1801, and educated at the grammar school of his native town. His aptitude for trade declared itself early, and, after carrying on a small weaving concern on his own account, he, before the age of eighteen, entered into partnership with his elder brothers Joseph and Richard. Their father joined them in 1819, when the firm of Rylands & Sons was established, the seat of operations being removed to Wigan. Their manufactures for some years consisted of ginghams, checks, ticks, dowlases, calicoes, and linens. John, the youngest partner, occupied himself with travelling over several counties for orders until 1823, when he opened a warehouse for the firm in Manchester. Business increased rapidly, and in the course of a few years extensive properties at Wigan, along with dye works and bleach works, were purchased. Valuable seams of coal were afterwards discovered under these properties, and proved a great source of wealth to the purchasers. In 1825 the firm became merchants as well as manufacturers, and about the same time they erected a new spinning mill. The Ainsworth mills, near Bolton, and other factories were subsequently acquired. The brothers Joseph and Richard retired about 1839. Joseph Rylands senior died in July 1847, leaving his son John sole proprietor of the undertaking. A warehouse was opened in Wood Street, London, in 1849. A great fire occurred at the Manchester warehouse in 1854, but the loss, although very large, was speedily repaired. In 1873 Rylands converted his business into a limited company, retaining, however, the entire management of it, and purchasing new mills, and entering into fresh business in many quarters of the globe. The firm, which had a capital of two millions, became the largest textile manufacturing concern in the kingdom.

Rylands was personally of a peculiarly retiring and reserved disposition, except among his personal friends, and always shrank from public office of any kind, although he was not indifferent to public interests. When the Manchester Ship Canal was mooted, and there seemed a doubt as to the ways and means for the enterprise, he took up 50,000l. worth of shares, increasing his contribution when the project appeared again in danger. In politics he was a liberal, and in religion a congregationalist, with leanings to the baptist form of faith. His charities were numerous but unobtrusive. Among other benefactions he established and maintained orphanages, homes for aged gentlewomen, a home of rest for ministers of slender means, and he provided a town-hall, baths, library, and a coffee-house in the village of Stret-