Evans, Thomas (1742-1784) (DNB00)


EVANS, THOMAS (1742–1784), bookseller, was born in 1742 and served an apprenticeship with Charles Marsh of Round Court and Charing Cross. He opened a shop in the Strand, where he published a quantity of works on English literature and antiquities, generally well printed, and many edited by himself. To these he prefixed dedications to friends and patrons, Garrick, Reynolds, Sheridan, and others. His chief literary undertaking was an excellent collection of old ballads, of which a third edition was brought out by his son. In an advertisement prefixed to Peck's ‘Desiderata Curiosa’ (1779) he submitted a proposal to reprint Tanner's ‘Notitia Monastica,’ afterwards published by Dr. Nasmith. He was a leading member of the booksellers' club in the Grecian Coffee-house, to which Thomas Davies (1712?–1785) [q. v.] belonged. He must not be confounded with his homonym who had the scuffle with Goldsmith, with whom he was on friendly terms. Evans collected the first London edition of the poet's writings. He was full of humour and much sought after for his companionable qualities. He died on 30 April 1784, leaving a widow and a son, Robert Harding Evans [q. v.]

The following are the works written or edited by him: 1. ‘Poems by Mr. W. Shakespeare’ [London, 1774], sm. 8vo. 2. ‘A History of Wales by Caradoc of Lhancarvan. Englished by Dr. Powell,’ London, 1774, 8vo. 3. ‘Memoirs of the Cardinal de Retz, translated,’ London, 1774, 4 vols. sm. 8vo. 4. ‘The Works of Richard Savage,’ London, 1775, 2 vols. sm. 8vo. 5. ‘The Works of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham,’ London, 1775, 2 vols. sm. 8vo. 6. ‘The English, Scotch, and Irish Historical Libraries, by Bishop W. Nicolson, a new edition,’ London, 1776, 4to. 7. ‘A Solemn Declaration of Mr. Daniel Perreau [forger], written by himself,’ London, 1776, 8vo. 8. ‘Desiderata Curiosa, by Francis Peck, new edition,’ London, 1779, 2 vols. 4to. 9. ‘Poetical Works of Matthew Prior,’ London, 1779, 2 vols. 8vo. 10. ‘Poetical and Dramatic Works of O. Goldsmith,’ London, 1780, 2 vols. sm. 8vo. 11. ‘Old Ballads, Historical and Narrative, with some of Modern Date, now first collected and reprinted from Rare Copies and MSS., with Notes by T. Evans,’ London, 1784, 2 vols. sm. 8vo (first edition, 1777, 2 vols.; third edition, edited by R. H. Evans, 1810, 4 vols. sm. 8vo). 12. ‘The Works of Francis Rabelais, translated,’ London, 1784, 4 vols. sm. 8vo.

[Memoir in Gent. Mag. 1784, vol. liv. pt. i. p. 396, reproduced in Nichols's Lit. Anecd. vi. 434–5. See also ib. iii. 647; and Forster's Life of O. Goldsmith, 1854, ii. 161, 387.]

H. R. T.