Reed, Joseph

, a dramatic and miscellaneous writer, was born at Stockton, in the county of Durham, in March 1723, and succeeded his father in the business of a ropemaker, which he carried on in that country until 1757, when he removed to Sun Tavern fields at Stepney near London, and there pursued the same occupation with great credit and probity until his death, Aug. 15, 1787, aged sixty-four. In 1750 he married Sarah, daughter of Mr. John Watson, of Stockton, flax-dresser, who died many years before him, and by whom he left issue John Watson Reed, late of Ely-place, Holborn, attorney at law, who died Jan. 31, 1790; Shakspeare, who succeeded him in his business; and Sarah, who married Gilbert Wilson, and died his widow a few days before her brother.

Notwithstanding a due attention to business, Mr. Reed found leisure to amuse himself and the world with many miscellanies in prose and verse of very considerable merit. The late Mr. Ritson, who had for Mr. Reed, what he extended to very few, a high respect, intended to have edited some of these miscellanies, in a volume or volumes, | of which the following were to have been the contents: 1. “Madrigal and Trulletta, a mock tragedy,1758. 2. “The Register Office,1761, a farce, or rather a dramatic satire. 3. The same; the second edition. 4. “Tom Jones,” a comic opera, 1769. 5. “Dido,” a tragedy, 1767, printed for the first time by Messrs. Nichols in 1808, but the whole impression having been destroyed by the fire which consumed their premises in February of that year, it has not been reprinted. 6. The “Retort Courteous,” to the manager of the theatre. 7. An “Epitaph on the Earl of Chatham.” 8. “St. Peter’s Lodge,” a serio-comic legendary tale. 9. “A Rope’s end for Hempen monopolists.” Besides the above articles, Mr, Reed was the author of, 10. “A Poem, in imitation of the Scottish dialect, on the death of Mr. Pope,” printed in the Gentleman’s Magazine for August 1744. 11. “The Superannuated Gallant,” a farce, Newcastle, 1745, 12mo. 12. “A British Philippic, inscribed to the right hon. the earl of Granville,London, 1756, 4to. 13. “A Sop in the Pan for a physical critic, in a letter to Dr. Smollett, occasioned by a criticism (in the Critical Review) on Madrigal and Trulletta/’ 1759. 14.A humorous account of his own Life,“printed in the Universal Museum for 1764. 15.” The Tradesman’s Companion, or Tables of Averdupois weight, &c.“London, 1762, 12mo. 16.” The Impostors, or a Cure for Credulity,“a farce, acted for the benefit of Mr. Woodward, March 19, 1776, with an excellent prologue, not printed. To these may be added, several tragedies, comedies, and farces, never acted or printed; a few unpublished poems; and some numbers of the” Monitor,“a political paper published in the administration of the earl of Bute, and” Letters“under the signature Benedict, in defence of Mr. Garrick, on the publication of Kenrick’s” Love in the Suds," printed originally in the Morning Chronicle, and afterwards added to the fifth edition of that poem. 1


Biog. Dram. Nichols’s Bowyer, vol. IX. p. 116. Brewster’s History of Stockton.