Thomas De Quincey, 1785—1859

[Mentioned in Science and Health, p. 113]

Great contrasts marked the conditions of the life of Thomas De Quincey. English prose writer, and great contrasts in qualities existed in his character. His earliest years, a period of "divinest happiness." were spent in his father's country houses, near Manchester. When the boy was seven his father died. The boy's education continued under tutors until the family moved to Bath. Here he attended private schools and excelled in Greek and Latin. Glimpses into the social and the political worlds came on a visit to Dublin with a young friend. Lord Westport.

De Quincey next attended the Manchester Grammar School. In spite of advantages he enjoyed as head boarder, he decided to run away. Grasmere attracted him because he was an admirer of Wordworth's poetry. However, he headed for Wales. His mother allowed him a guinea a week.

After several months of roaming, often hungry and often sleeping on the ground, De Quincey went to London, hoping to borrow on the inheritance he would have upon coming of age. That winter he spent in inter destitution, sleeping in an unfurnished, unheated house in Soho and wandering about the city during the day.

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Signs of the Times
February 28, 1959

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