Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hewlett, Joseph Thomas James

HEWLETT, JOSEPH THOMAS JAMES (1800–1847), novelist, son of Joseph Hewlett of the parish of St. Pancras, Middlesex, was born in 1800, and educated at the Charterhouse, where he was placed by Lord-chancellor Eldon. He matriculated from Worcester College, Oxford, on 13 May 1818, and graduated B.A. on 5 Feb. 1822, and M.A. on 25 May 1826. After taking holy orders he was appointed head-master of Abingdon grammar school. His career there was a failure; he did not hold the post long, and his subsequent life was a prolonged struggle with poverty. Retiring to Letcombe Regis, near Wantage, Berkshire, he endeavoured to gain an income by writing novels. In 1840, through the intercession of Fox Maule (afterwards Lord Panmure), an old schoolfellow, Lord-chancellor Cottenham presented him to the rectory of Little Stambridge, near Rochford, Essex, of the annual value of 175l. He died there on 24 Jan. 1847.

His works are: 1. ‘Peter Priggins, the College Scout,’ 3 vols., London, 1841, with illustrations by ‘Phiz’ (Hablot K. Browne). This novel was edited by Theodore Hook, the author's intimate friend. 2. ‘The Parish Clerk,’ 1841. 3. ‘Poetry for the Million; poems. … By a Member of Parliament,’ London, 1842, 8vo; 2nd ser. 1843. 4. ‘College Life; or the Proctor's Note-Book,’ 3 vols., London, 1843. 5. ‘Parsons and Widows,’ a novel, 3 vols., London, 1844, 12mo, and London, 1857, 8vo, in which, under the name of the ‘Curate of Mosbury,’ he obviously describes himself. 6. ‘Dunster Castle: a Tale of the Great Rebellion,’ 1845. 7. ‘Great Tom of Oxford,’ a novel, 3 vols., London, 1846, 12mo. 8. Many articles in Colburn's ‘New Monthly Magazine,’ including a series of amusing tales and sketches, under the title of ‘Æsop Illustrated.’

[Gent. Mag. 1847, pt. i. 441; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Cat. Oxf. Grad.]

T. C.