Henry Fielding, Novelist (1707-1764)

This brief biography is taken from ‘A Catalogue of Notable Middle Templars: With Brief Biographical Notices’ by John Hutchinson and Published by Printed by Butterworth and Co. for the Honourable society of the Middle Temple in 1902

Admitted 1 November, 1737.

Son and heir of Brigadier-General Edmund Fielding of East Stour, Dorset He was born at Sharpham Park, near Glastonbury. on 22 April, 1707. Though he devoted himself during his residence at the Temple with great energy to legal studies and made for some time after his call on 20 June, 1740, a serious attempt to get practice, his connection with the law, like that of his successors, Dickens (q.v.) and Thackeray (now little remembered amidst the glories of his achievements in the fields of literature. ” The friendships, however,” remarks one of his biographer«, “he met with in the course of his studies from gentlemen of that profession, and particularly from some who have since risen to be the first ornaments of the law, will ior ever do honour to his memory.” Before his entrance at the Temple, Fielding had acquired fame as a writer of Plays and Farces, and, finding no briefs came in at the law, he again took up his pen, but in a new character, and produced those incomparable works of fiction which have rendered his name immortal. In these, as in his writings for the Stage, there is evidence of his familiarity with the Temple life of those days. (See The Temple Beau, etc.). In 1748 he was appointed a Justice of the Peace for Westminster, ana was afterwards qualified to act for Middlesex, in which position he laboured energetically and conscientiously. The family of Fielding claimed kindred origin with the royal house of Hapsburg (see Earls of Denbigh, in Burkes Peerage). Referring to this connexion the historian Gibbon truly remarks, “The successors of Charles V. may disdain their brethren of England ; but the romance of Tom Jones will outlive the palace of Escurial and the imperial eagle of Austria.”

Quixote in England, a Comedy (1733) ; The Intriguing Chambermaid, a Comedy (1734) ; An Old Mantawjht Wisdom, a Farce (1734) ; The Universal (iallant, a Comedy (1735) ; The Man of Taste, or The Guardians, a Comedy (1735) ; Eurydice, a Farce (1735) ; A Hynm to the Mob (1735) ; Pasquín, a Dramatic Satire (1736); The Historical Register for Oie year 1736 (1737); Eurydice Hissed, a Farce (1737); Tumble-down Dick, Dramatic Entertainment (Í737) ; Mist Lucy in Town, a Farce (1742) ; Joseph Andrews. 2 vols. 12ino. London (1742); The Wedding Day, a Comedy (1743); Miscellanies (1743) ; Charge to the Grand Jury (1749) ; The True State of Bomvcrn I’enleij, in which the Riot Act is consúlered (1749) ; History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (1749) ; Enquiry into the Causes of tlie late Increase of Robbers (1752) ; Narrative of the Case of Habbakuk Hilding . . . by Drawcamir Alexander (1752) ; Examples of the interposition of Providence in the Detection of Murder (1752) ; Amelia (1752) ; A Proposal for Making Provision for the Poor (1753) ; The Case of Elizabeth Canning (1753) ; Tlie History of Jonathan Wild (1755) ; Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon (17 55) ; The Fathers, or The Good-natured Man, a Comedy (1778) ; A Journey from this World- to the Next, a Satire (1783). Fielding’s collected works were first published in 4 vols. 4to in 1762, since which time there have been several editions, the best of which is that by Arthur Murphy in 14 vols. 12mo in 1808. His residence while in the Temple was 4, Pump Court, ” three pair of stairs.”

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