Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Payne, Thomas (1752-1831)

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PAYNE, THOMAS, the younger (1752–1831), bookseller, eldest son of Thomas Payne (1719–1799) [q. v.], by his wife Elizabeth Taylor, was born on 10 Oct. 1752. He was educated at the classical school of M. Metayer in Charterhouse Square, London, and was trained in modern and dead languages for the further development of the family business. After he had been for more than twenty years a partner with his father, the latter retired in 1790 in favour of his son. In 1806 he transferred the business to more commodious premises in part of Schomberg House, on the south side of Pall Mall, which also became a literary centre. He took into partnership in 1813 his apprentice and connection, Henry Foss, when Charles Lamb playfully designated the new firm as ‘Pain & Fuss.’ In 1817 he was the master of the Stationers' Company, but a few years later his health began to decline, and he could no longer travel on the continent in quest of books. About 1825 he was succeeded in business by his nephew John Payne, who continued the establishment, in partnership with Foss, until 1850. Thomas Payne was seized by apoplexy on 8 March 1831, and died at Pall Mall on 15 March. He was buried in St. Martin's-in-the-Fields on 24 March.

Payne, at the time of his death, was the father of the London booksellers. He possessed a vast store of literary anecdote. Among the collections which he sold were the libraries of Dean Lloyd and Rev. Henry Homer, and that of M. de Lamoignon, keeper of the seals of France. An account of the sale of the Borromeo collection of novels and romances, which Payne and Foss had purchased, and the details of their acquisitions at the Larcher, MacCarthy, and subsequent sales are given in Dibdin's ‘Bibliographical Decameron’ (iii. 149, 161–80, cf. ii. 172).

John Payne, after the cessation of the business in 1850, withdrew to Rome. He and his wife, Sarah Burney, received much foreign company, and were especially friendly with Cardinal Antonelli.

[Nichols's Lit. Anecdotes, viii. 504; Gent. Mag. 1831, pt. i. p. 276; Early Diary of Frances Burney, ii. 130–1.]

W. P. C.