Forrester, Charles Robert (DNB00)

FORRESTER, CHARLES ROBERT (1803–1850), miscellaneous writer, son of Robert Forrester of 5 North Gate, Royal Exchange, London, public notary, was born in London in 1803, and succeeded his father as a notary, having his place of business at 5 North Piazza, Royal Exchange; he afterwards removed to 28 Royal Exchange, where he remained till his death. His profession afforded him abundant means, and he employed his money and his leisure in the pursuit of literature. Adopting the pseudonym of ‘Hal Willis, student at law,’ he brought out in 1824 ‘Castle Baynard, or the Days of John,’ and in 1827 a second novel entitled ‘Sir Roland, a Romance of the Twelfth Century,’ 4 vols. In 1826–7 he contributed to ‘The Stanley Tales, Original and Select, chiefly Collected by Ambrose Marten,’ 5 vols. ‘Absurdities in Prose and Verse, written and illustrated by Alfred Crowquill,’ appeared in 1827, the illustrations being by Alfred Henry Forrester [q. v.], so that in this instance, as well as on succeeding occasions, the two brothers were conjointly using the same name. C. R. Forrester also wrote for ‘The Ladies' Museum,’ his first article in it being ‘The Ladye of the Sun,’ in the issue for April 1830, pp. 187–92. ‘The Old Man's Plaint, by the author of “Absurdities,”’ in Miss L. H. Sheridan's ‘Comic Offering,’ 1832, p. 70, was his first appearance in that annual. Under the editorship of Theodore Hook he was on the staff of the ‘New Monthly Magazine’ in 1837 and 1838, where he used the name of Alfred Crowquill, and inserted his first contribution, ‘Achates Digby,’ in xlix. 93–8. At the close of 1839 he became connected with ‘Bentley's Miscellany,’ in which magazine his writings are sometimes signed A. Crowquill and at other times Hal Willis, the former being illustrated by his brother. ‘Mr. Crocodile,’ in viii. 49–53 (1840), was the first of his long series of papers. In 1843 a selection of his articles in those two magazines was brought out in 2 vols. under the title of ‘Phantasmagoria of Fun.’ He was also the author of ‘Eccentric Tales, by W. F. von Kosewitz,’ 1827, ‘The Battle of the Annuals, a Fragment,’ 1835, and ‘The Lord Mayor's Fool,’ 1840, the last two of which were anonymous. He no doubt wrote other works, but his name is not found in the ‘British Museum Catalogue’ nor in any of the ordinary books on English bibliography. He was a good English classic and well acquainted with the Latin, French, German, and Dutch languages. His writings, like his conversation, have a spontaneous flow of wit. He died from heart disease, at his residence, Beaumont Square, Mile End, London, 15 Jan. 1850, and left a widow and four children.

[Gent. Mag. May 1850, p. 545; collected information.]

G. C. B.