- (1753-1831)Historian, s. of a market-gardener near Liverpool, for a time assisted his f., devoting all his spare time to mental improvement. Subsequently he entered the office of an attorney, and in due time went into business on his own account, continuing, however, his literary studies. In 1799 he joined a local bank as partner and manager, which proved an unfortunate step, as the bank was obliged, in 1816, to suspend payment. In 1795 he rose into fame at a bound by his Life of Lorenzo de' Medici. It was followed in 1805 by the Life and Pontificate of Leo the Tenth, which, though also a work of great ability, had not the same success--his treatment of the Reformation offending Protestants and Roman Catholics alike. Both works were translated into various languages. He also wrote some poems, including The Butterfly's Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast, and several pamphlets on political questions, including the slave-trade, of which he was a determined opponent. He also took a leading part in the public life of Liverpool, which he represented in Parliament for a few years. He was an accomplished botanist.
Short biographical dictionary of English literature . John W. Cousin. 2011.
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