Evans, Thomas (1739-1803) (DNB00)


EVANS, THOMAS (1739–1803), bookseller, was born in Wales in 1739, and began life in London as a bookseller's porter with a William Johnston of Ludgate Street. By industry and perseverance he became the publisher of the ‘Morning Chronicle’ as well as the ‘London Packet,’ in which was printed the objectionable letter reflecting on Goldsmith and Miss Horneck, the ‘Jessamy bride,’ nine days after the first representation of ‘She stoops to conquer’ in 1773. Goldsmith went to cane Evans in his shop in Paternoster Row, as the person responsible for the article, and got the worst of the encounter. Goldsmith was indicted for an assault, and compromised by paying 50l. to a Welsh charity. Evans took over the extensive business of Messrs. Hawes, Clarke, & Collins, at No. 32 Paternoster Row. He retired some years before his death, and was of rough and eccentric habits. He was separated from his wife owing to her affection for a graceless son, and left the bulk of a large fortune to an old friend, Christopher Brown, formerly assistant to Mr. Longman of Paternoster Row, and father of the Thomas Brown afterwards a member of the famous firm.

Evans died 2 July 1803 at his lodgings in Chapter House Court, at the age of sixty-four, after a short illness. His only son married in 1790 a daughter of the second Archibald Hamilton, and was in business for himself, but deserted his family, went to America, came back, and died in poverty eighteen months before his father (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. v. 712).

[Memoir in Gent. Mag. July 1803, vol. lxxiii. pt. ii. p. 696, reprinted in Nichols's Lit. Anecd. iii. 720–1. See also Boswell's Life of Johnson (G. B. Hill), ii. 209–10; J. Forster's Life of O. Goldsmith, 1854, ii. 384–91; A. Andrews's Hist. of British Journalism, 1859, 2 vols.]

H. R. T.