Tyers, Thomas

, a miscellaneous writer of considerable talents, was one of the two sons of Mr. Jonathan Tyers, the original embellisher of Vauxhall gardens, of which he was himself a joint proprietor till the end of the season of 1785, when he sold his share to his brother’s family. He was born in 1726, and being intended for one of the learned professions, was sent very early in life to the university of Oxford, where he entered of Exeter college, and was so young when he took his bachelor’s degree that he was called the boy bachelor. That of master of arts he completed in April 1745, when he was only nineteen. In 1753 he was admitted a student of the Inner Temple, and became, after he had kept his terms, a barrister in that house; but he tells us that, although his father hoped he would apply to the law, take notes, and make a figure in Westminster-hall, he never undertook any causes, nor went a single circuit. He loved his ease too much to acquire a character in that or any other profession. It is said that the character of Tom Restless (in the Idler, N 8 48) was intended by Dr. Johnson for Mr. Tyers, but he was certainly a man of superior cast to the person described under that name. It could not be said of Mr. Tyers that he sought wisdom more in conversation than in his library, for few men read more, and he was heard to say, not long before his death, that for the last forty years, he had not been a single day, when in health, without a book or a pen in his hand, “nulla dies sine linea.

He began early to write, and when at college, or very soon after, published two pastorals, “Lucy,” inscribed to lord Chesterfield, and “Rosalind,” to earl Grenville. He was also the author of a great deal of vocal poetry, or | what he called “sing song,” principally for Vauxhall-gardens; and the satisfactory description ofVauxhall, published in Mr. Nichols’s “History of Lambeth,” was drawriup by him. Having inherited from his father an easy fortune, and from nature an inclination to indulge in learned leisure, he was happily enabled “to see what friends and read what books he pleased.” He was, if any man could be said to be so, most perfectly master of his own time, which he divided at his pleasure between his villa at Ashted, near Epsom, and his apartments in Southampton-street. Indefatigable in reading the newest publications, either of belles lettres or politics, and blest with a retentive memory, he was every where a welcome guest; and, having the agreeable faculty of always repeating the good-natured side of a story, the anecdotes he retailed pretty copiously were rarely found either tedious or disagreeable. In the country he was considered by all the surrounding gentry as a man of profound learning, who had some little peculiarities in his manners, which were amply atoned for by a thousand good qualities both of the head and heart. In London he was in habits of intimacy with many whom the world have agreed to call both great and good. Dr. Johnson loved him, lord Hardwicke esteemed him, and even the mitred Lowth respected him. The literati in general had more regard for him than authors usually have for each other; as Mr. Tyers, though known for many years to have been a writer, was rather considered by them as an amateur than a professor of the art. He was certainly among the number of “gentlemen who wrote with ease;” witness hi* “Rhapsodies” on Pope and Addison; and particularly his Biographical sketches of Johnson, warm from the heart when his friend was scarcely buried, and which have not been exceeded by any one of our great moralist’s biographers. The “Political Conferences” of Mr. Tyers, however, will place him in a higher point of view; in that production, much ingenuity and sound political knowledge are displayed; and the work has received the plaudits it so well deserved, and passed through two editions. One part of Mr. Tyers’s knowledge he would have been happier had he not possessed. He had a turn for the study of medicine, and its operations on the human frame, which gave him somewhat of a propensity to hypochondriasm, and often led from imaginary to real ailments. Hence the least variation of the atmosphere had not unfrequently an effect | both on his mind and body. The last year or two of his life were also embittered by the death of several near and dear friends, whose loss made a deep impression on his sensibility, particularly that of a very amiable lady, to whom he was once attached, and that of his only sister, Mrs. Rogers, of Southampton, who died but a few months before him. He died at his house at Ashted, after a lingering illness, Feb. 1, 1787, in his sixty-first year. 1


Nichols’s Bowycr, vol. VI II.