Guy, Thomas

, founder of Guy’s hospital, was the son of Thomas Guy, lighterman and coal-dealer in Horseleydown, Southwark. He was put apprentice, in 1660, to a | "bookseller, in the porch of Mercers’ chapel, and set up trade with a stock of about 200l. in the house that forms the angle between Cornhill and Lombard-street. The English Bibles being at that time very badly printed, Mr. Guy engaged with others in a scheme for printing them in Holland, and importing them; but, this being put a stop to, he contracted with the university of Oxford for their privilege of printing then), and carried on a great Bible trade for many years to considerable advantage. Thus he began to accumulate money, and his gains rested in his hands; for, being a single man and very penurious, his expences were very trifling. His custom was to dine on his shop-counter, with no other table,-cloth than an old newspaper; he was also as little nice in regard to his apparel. The bulk of his fortune, however, was acquired by the less reputable purchase of seamen’s tickets during queen Anne’s wars, and by South-sea stock in the memorable year 1720.

To shew what great events spring from trivial causes, it may be observed, that the public are indebted to a most trifling incident for the greatest part of his immense fortune’s being applied to charitable uses. Guy had a maidservant, whom he agreed to marry; and, preparatory to his nuptials, he had ordered the pavement before his door to be mended so far as to a particular stone which he marked. The maid, while her master was out, innocently looking on the paviours at work, saw a broken place they had not repaired, and mentioned it to them; but they told her that Mr. Guy had directed them not to go so far. “Well,” says she, “do you mend it: tell him I bade you, and I know he will not be angry.” It happened, however, that the poor girl presumed too much on her influence over her wary lover, with whom the charge of a few shillings extraordinary turned the scale entirely against her; for, Guy, enraged’to find his orders exceeded, renounced the matrimonial scheme, and built hospitals in his old age.

In 1707 he built and furnished three wards on the north side of the outer court of St. Thomas’s hospital in Southwark, and gave 100l. to it annually for eleven years preceding the erection of his own hospital. Some time before his death he erected the stately iron gate, with the large houses on each side, at the expence of about 3000l. was seventy-six years of age when he formed the design of | building the hospital near St. Thomas’s which bears his name. The charge of erecting this vast pile amounted to 18,793l. besides 219,499l. which he left to endow it: and he just lived to see it roofed in. He erected an almshouse, with a library, at Tarn worth, in Staffordshire (the place of his mother’s nativity, and which he represented in parliament), for fourteen poor men and women; and for their pensions, as well as for the putting out of poor children apprentices, bequeathed 125l. a year. To Christ’s hospital he gave 400l. a year for ever; and the residue of his estate, amounting to about 80,000l. among those who could prove themselves in any degree related to him.

He died December 17, 1724, in the eighty-first year of his age, after having dedicated to charitable purposes more money than any one private man upon record in this kingdom. 1


Noorthonck’s Hist, of London. Nichols’s Bowyer.