William Hickey (memoirist)

William Hickey (Memoirist)

William Hickey (memoirist)

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William Hickey (June 30, 1749 – May 31, 1830) was an English lawyer, but is best-known for his vast Memoirs, composed in 1808-10 and published between 1913 and 1925, which in their manuscript form cover seven hundred and forty closely-written pages. Described by Peter Quennell as "One of the most remarkable books of its kind ever published in the English Language", Hickey's Memoirs give an extraordinarily vivid picture of life in late 18th-century London, Calcutta, Madras and Jamaica which stands comparison with the best of his near-contemporary James Boswell.

Early Life 1749-1769

Hickey was born in St. Albans Street, Pall Mall, Westminster, England, on the 30th June 1749, the seventh son of Joseph Hickey, a successful Irish solicitor, and Mary Boulton, from a Yorkshire gentry family. He began his education at Westminster School, but was removed "in high disgrace" in December 1763 after neglecting his studies, frequenting public houses and leading, in his own words, a life of "idleness and dissipation". Instead he was sent to a private school at Streatham in Surrey, where he was able to study Arithmetic, Writing, French, Drawing and Dancing in addition to the Classical Studies which had failed to engage him at Westminster. In January 1766 he left school and began his legal training, but he continued to lead an extremely debauched existence. In his old age Hickey wrote rather censoriously of his youthful indiscretions in London, where he...
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