Byerley, Thomas (DNB00)

BYERLEY, THOMAS (d. 1826), journalist and compiler of the ‘Percy Anecdotes,’ was the brother of Sir John Byerley. Devoting himself to literary pursuits, he became editor of the ‘Literary Chronicle’ and assistant editor of the ‘Star’ newspaper. He was also editor of ‘The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction,’ from 1823 till his death, on 28 July 1826. Under the pseudonym of Stephen Collet Byerley published ‘Relics of Literature,’ London, 1823, 8vo, a collection of miscellanies, including a long article, reprinted in 1875, on the art of judging the character of individuals from their handwriting; but his chief claim to remembrance rests on ‘The Percy Anecdotes,’ 20 vols., London, 1821–3, 12mo. These volumes, which came out in forty-four monthly parts, were professedly written by ‘Sholto and Reuben Percy, brothers of the Benedictine monastery of Mount Benger.’ Reuben Percy was Thomas Byerley, and Sholto Percy was Joseph Clinton Robertson, who died in 1852. The name of the collection was taken from the Percy coffee-house in Rathbone Place, where Byerley and Robertson were accustomed to meet. Byron insisted that ‘no man who has any pretensions to figure in good society can fail to make himself familiar with the “Percy Anecdotes;”’ but the work is now acknowledged to be of no real value. The ‘Anecdotes’ were reprinted in 2 vols. in the ‘Chandos Library,’ with four pages of preface by John Timbs, F.S.A. The ‘Brothers Percy’ also compiled ‘London, or Interesting Memorials of its Rise, Progress, and Present State,’ 3 vols., London, 1823, 12mo.

[Notes and Queries, 1st ser. vii. 214, 3rd ser. ix. 168; Cat. of Printed Books in Brit. Mus.; Preface to reprint of Percy Anecdotes; Gent. Mag. N.S. xxxviii. 548.]

T. C.