Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Angell, John

ANGELL, JOHN (fl. 1758), a professional shorthand writer, of Dublin, and professor of the art there, published in 1758 ‘Stenography, or Shorthand Improved; being the most compendious, lineal, and easy method hitherto extant. … By John Angell, who has practised his art above 30 years,’ London, 1758, 8vo. It contained an historic preface, commonly ascribed to Dr. Johnson, though it has no trace of that author's style. Angell, indeed, on one occasion visited Johnson, who was not favourably impressed with his abilities as a reporter. ‘Mr. Samuel Johnson, A.M., London,’ was a subscriber to Angell's work. It was favourably commended to the public in 1770 by the Dublin Society, presided over by the lord-lieutenant. There was a second edition in 1782, sold by M. Angell in Lincoln's Inn Passage, London; and the method reached a fourth edition (without date), sold by the same publisher. Angell's shorthand, based on the lines more successfully followed up by Gurney, was never very popular. It is a variation of the system of W. Mason. He was the author of an ‘Essay on Prayer’ (London, 1761, 12mo), to which were annexed specimens of prayers of several eminent dissenting ministers in London, taken by the editor in shorthand.

[Lewis's Hist. of Shorthand, p. 122; Boswell's Life of Johnson, ed. Fitzgerald, i. 462; Watt's Bibl. Brit.]

J. E. B.