Richardson, Joseph

, a man of letters, was originally of Hexham in Northumberland; and was entered of St. John’s college, Cambridge, in 1774. Dr. Ferris, the present dean of Battle, and Dr. Pearce, now dean of Ely, were his tutors at the university. Under the superintendance of those two excellent scholars, he acquired sound learning and a correct taste. He possessed, indeed, an excellent understanding, and a sort of intuitive knowledge of mankind. He distinguished himself at college by the elegance, beauty, and vigour, of his prose and poetical compositions; a love of the Muses very early in life took possession of his mind, and often interfered with the laborious duties of his studies. He entered himself a student of the Middle Temple in 1779, and was called to the bar in 1784. But literary pursuits and political connections took up too much of his time to admit of his pursuing, with sufficient diligence, the study of the law; otherwise, it is highly probable that he would have become a distinguished ornament of the bar. The chief works in which he was publicly known to have taken a part were in those celebrated political satires, “The Rolliad,” and the “Probationary Odes,” in the composition of which his talents were conspicuous. He wrote also the comedy of “The Fugi* live,” which was honoured by a considerable share of applause, both on the stage and in the closet. In private life so happily was the suavity of his temper blended with the vigour of his understanding, that he was esteemed by his adversaries in political principles, as well as by a very large circle of private friends. He was brought into parliament by the duke of Northumberland, in whose friendship he held a distinguished place, and by whose loan of 2000l. (which the duke has given up to his family) he was enabled to become proprietor of a fourth part of Drury-Iane theatre. He was suddenly taken ill on June 8, 1803, and died next day, leaving a widow and four daughters, to lament the loss of their affectionate protector. He was interred in Egham churchyard. 1


Gent. Mag. 1803.