Dilly, Edward (DNB00)


DILLY, EDWARD (1732–1779), bookseller, the second of the three brothers, was born at Southill, Bedfordshire, 25 July 1732. He had an extensive business at 22 in the Poultry, London, and carried on a large American export trade, especially in dissenting theology. On the return of his brother Charles [q. v.] from a trip to America he took him into partnership. He was an admirer of the politics (as well as the person, it is said) of Catherine Macaulay, and published her writings. Boswell includes a couple of his letters, one descriptive of the origin of the edition of the poets, in his ‘Life of Johnson,’ and in a communication to Temple (Letters, p. 240) describes his death, which took place 11 May 1779, at his brother John's house at Southill. He was a pleasant companion, but so loquacious and fond of society that ‘he almost literally talked himself to death,’ says Nichols (Literary Anecd. iii. 191).

[Gent. Mag. xlix. 271; Boswell's Life of Johnson (G. Birkbeck Hill), iii. 110, 126, 396; Boswelliana, ed. by Dr. Ch. Rogers, 1874; Nichols's Literary Anecd. iii. 190–2; Timperley's Encyclopædia, p. 744.]

H. R. T.