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Ireland
Ireland
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author ‘on the spot.’ He paid at least one visit to France (cf. W. H. Ireland, Confessions, p. 5), and the charge brought against him by his enemies that he was never out of England is unfounded. A second edition appeared in 1795. The series, which was long valued by collectors, was continued in the same form in ‘Picturesque Views on the River Thames,’ 1792 (2 vols., 2nd ed. 1800–1), dedicated to Earl Harcourt; in ‘Picturesque Views on the River Medway,’ 1793 (1 vol.), dedicated to the Countess Dowager of Aylesford; in ‘Picturesque Views on the Warwickshire Avon,’ 1795 (1 vol.), dedicated to the Earl of Warwick; and in ‘Picturesque Views on the River Wye,’ 1797 (1 vol.). In 1800, just after Ireland's death, appeared ‘Picturesque Views, with an Historical Account of the Inns of Court in London and Westminster,’ dedicated to Alexander, lord Loughborough, and the series was concluded by the publication in 1824 of ‘Picturesque Views on the River Severn’ (2 vols.), with coloured lithographs, after drawings by Ireland, and descriptions by T. Harral. Ireland had announced the immediate issue of this work in his volume on the Wye in 1797.

In 1790 Ireland resided in Arundel Street, Strand, and a year later removed to 8 Norfolk Street. His household consisted of Mrs. Freeman, a housekeeper and amanuensis, whose handwriting shows her to have been a woman of education, a son William Henry, and a daughter Jane. The latter painted some clever miniatures. He had also a married daughter, Anna Maria Barnard.

Doubts are justifiable about the legitimacy of the surviving son, William Henry Ireland (1777–1835), the forger of Shakespeare manuscripts, with whose history the later career of the father is inextricably connected. Malone asserted that his mother was Mrs. Irwin, a married woman who was separated from her husband, and with whom the elder Ireland lived (manuscript note in British Museum copy of W. H. Ireland, Authentic Account, 1796, p. 1). According to the same authority the boy was baptised as William Henry Irwin in the church of St. Clement Danes in the Strand in 1777, in which year he was undoubtedly born, but there is no confirmation of the statement in the parish register. He himself, in a letter to his father dated January 1797 (Addit. MS. 30346, f. 307), mournfully admitted that there was a mystery respecting his birth, which his father had promised to clear up on his coming of age, and in an earlier letter, 13 Dec. 1796, he signed himself ‘W. H. Freeman,’ evidence that he believed his father's housekeeper to be his mother (ib. f. 302 b). Although undoubtedly christened in the names of William Henry, his father habitually called him ‘Sam,’ in affectionate memory, it was asserted, of a dead brother, and he occasionally signed himself ‘Samuel Ireland, junior,’ and ‘S. W. H. Ireland.’ At first educated at private schools in Kensington, Ealing, and Soho, he was sent when he was thirteen to schools in France, and he retained through life the complete knowledge of French which he acquired during his four years' stay there. On his return home he was articled to William Bingley, a conveyancer in chancery of New Inn. He emulated his father's love of antiquities, and while still a boy picked up many rare books. He studied Percy's ‘Reliques,’ Grose's ‘Ancient Armoury,’ and mediæval poems and romances, and amused himself by writing verse in imitation of early authors. His father read aloud to him Herbert Croft's ‘Love and Madness,’ and the story of Chatterton, with which part of the book deals, impressed him deeply. At the same time he was devoted to the stage. The elder Ireland was a fervent admirer of Shakespeare, and about 1794, when preparing his ‘Picturesque Views of the Avon,’ he took his son with him to Stratford-on-Avon. They carefully examined all the spots associated with the dramatist. The father accepted as true many unauthentic village traditions, including those concocted for his benefit by John Jordan [q. v.], the Stratford poet, who was his chief guide throughout his visit; and he fully credited an absurd tale of the recent destruction of Shakespeare's own manuscripts by an ignorant owner of Clopton House.

Returning to London in the autumn of 1794, young Ireland, who developed lying proclivities at an early age, obtained some ink which had all the appearance of ancient origin, and wrote on the fly-leaf of an Elizabethan tract a dedicatory letter professing to have been addressed by the author to Queen Elizabeth. His father was completely deceived. The young man had much time to himself at Bingley's chambers, and had free access there to a collection of parchment deeds of the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. At the house of Albany Wallis, a solicitor of Norfolk Street, and an intimate friend of his father, he had similar opportunities of examining old legal documents. In December 1794 he cut from an ancient deed in Bingley's office a piece of old parchment, and wrote on it in an old law hand a mortgage deed purporting to have been made between Shakespeare and John Hem-