Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Henderson, Andrew (fl.1734-1775)

HENDERSON, ANDREW (fl. 1734–1775), miscellaneous writer and bookseller, was born in Roxburghshire, where his ancestors had ‘lived for five hundred years before.’ He was educated at the universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh, and wrote M.A. after his name. For some time he taught in the high school of Edinburgh, and was private tutor in the families of the Countess of Stair and others. He came to London, and printed an anonymous translation of Voltaire's ‘History of Charles XII of Sweden,’ 1734, 12mo, also 1739 and 1750. At the time of the rebellion he was in Scotland, and after he left Watts's Academy, where he was mathematical master, he published at Edinburgh ‘The History of the Rebellion, 1745 and 1746, by an impartial hand who was an Eyewitness to most of the Facts,’ 1748, 12mo; a fifth edition appeared in London in 1753. He set up as a bookseller ‘at Dean Swift's Head, Longacre,’ London, where was published his anonymous ‘Life of John, Earl of Stair,’ London, 1748, small 8vo. He attached his name to a worthless play, ‘Arsinoe, or the Incestuous Marriage, a Tragedy,’ London [1752], 8vo, which was ‘never acted, nor, indeed, ever deserved such an honour’ (Biographia Dramatica, 1812, ii. 38). His other publications were: 1. ‘The History of Frederick, King of Sweden,’ London, 1752, 8vo. 2. ‘Memoirs of Dr. Archibald Cameron,’ London, 1753, 8vo. 3. ‘Memoirs of Field-Marshal Leopold, Count Daun, translated from a French MS.,’ London, 1757, 8vo. 4. ‘Memoirs of Field Marschal James Keith,’ London, 1758, 8vo; condemned in the ‘Critical Review.’ 5. ‘Considerations on the Question relating to the Scots' Militia,’ London, 1760, 8vo, two editions. 6. ‘The Life of William the Conqueror,’ London, 1764, sm. 8vo. 7. ‘The Life of William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland,’ London, 1766, 8vo; his best work. 8. ‘Dissertation on the Royal Line and first Settlers of Scotland,’ London, 1771, 8vo. 9. ‘Letter to the Bp. of Chester on his Sermon before the Lords,’ London, 1774, 8vo. 10. ‘Letter to Dr. Samuel Johnson on his Journey to the Western Isles,’ London [1775], 8vo. 11. ‘A Second Letter to Dr. Samuel Johnson, in which his wicked and opprobrious Invectives are shown,’ London [1775], 8vo. Nothing is known of Henderson after this date. The ‘Second Letter’ contains a highly abusive ‘impartial character of Smollett,’ with whom he had come into collision in his lives of Stair and the Duke of Cumberland. Johnson is called ‘a viper’ and ‘freight with venom and malignity.’

Henderson certainly appears to have been an odd character; he was a man of much reading, and his books are well written. After 1760 most of his books were published in Westminster Hall, famous for a couple of centuries for booksellers' shops (see Gent. Mag. November and December 1853, pp. 480, 602). The ‘Life of William the Conqueror’ and some of the later publications were ‘printed for the author and sold by J. Henderson in Westminster Hall.’ This may have been his son. The fact of his living or reading in the hall is alluded to in the ‘Pettyfoggers,’ a parody on Gray's ‘Elegy,’ in which a group of Westminster boys playing at fives

Makes Henderson, the studious, damn their eyes
When batt'ring down the plaster from the wall.

[Biographical memoranda in the prefaces to Life of William the Conqueror, 1764, Life of Duke of Cumberland, 1766, and Diss. on the Royal Line of Scotland, 1771; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. x. 427–8, 3rd ser. iii. 89, 216; J. D. Reuss's Alphabetical Register of Authors in Great Britain, Berlin, 1791, 8vo.]

H. R. T.