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procuring paper and getting engravings made for the splendid edition of Cæsar's Commentaries, which he published under the care of Dr. Clarke in 1712 : perhaps the most magnificent work that has been issued from the English press. Before he went abroad, he had acquired a villa at Barn-elms, in Surrey, about six miles from London; which he adorned with the portraits of the Kit-Kat Club, painted by Kneller,' on canvas somewhat larger
and both Lord Carlisle and Cobham expressed a great desire of having onc mecting next winter, if you came to townc,—not as a Club, but old friends that have been of a Club, and the best Club that ever met." - A paragraph in a letter from G. Stepncy to Tonson, dated Vienna, March 24, 1703, ascertains the lours they kept : “My hearty affections to the Kic-Cat: I often wish it were in my power to make one with you at three in the morning."
A It consisted only of a house and garden, held by lcasc from the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's.
s Thc roon where these portraits were intended to be hung, (in which the Club often dined,) not being suf. ficiently lofty for half-length pictures, that circumstance is said to have been the occasion of a shorter canvas being uscil, which is now denoininated a Kit-kat, and is susficiently long to admit a hand. The canvas for a Kie-kat is thirty-six inches long, and ewenty-eight wide. It appears from the will of thc younger Jacob Tonson, which was made Aug. 16th, and proved Dec. 6th, 1735, (Pre. Orf. Ducic, qu. 257.) that he was then by the grant and assignment of his uncle entitled to this Collection of Pictures, after his uncle's death ; and that the testator had not long before erected a new rooin at Baru.cims, in which
than a three-quarters, and less than a half-length : a size which has ever since been denominated a Kit-kat from this circumstance. In 1719 he made an excursion to Paris, where he spent several months, and was fortunate enough to gain a considerablc sum by adventuring in the Mississippi scheme. In consequence of his attachment to the Whigs, he obtained in January 1719-20, probably by the patronage of the Duke of Newcastle and Secretary Craggs, a grant? to himself . and his nephew, Jacob Tonson, junior, (who was the son of his elder brother, Richard,) of the office of Stationer, Bookbinder, Bookseller, and Printer, to some of the principal publick Boards and great Of. ficcs,' for the term of forty years; and not long afterwards (1722) he assigned and made over the
the Kit-kat portraits were then hung. They were painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller, chiefly in the rcign of Qucen Anne, and are all of the same size, except that of tlic painter. Tonson's portrait is one of the set. Between 1732 and 1736, Faber made mezzotinto prints of the whole Col. lection.
6 Vanbrugh, in a letter to Jacob Tonson, written, Nov. 29, 1719, (two months only before this grant,) says, “ I shewed Mr. Secretary Craggs what you writ to him. He returns you his compliments, and seems much dis. posed to be your friend and servant." Mr. Craggs had been made Secretary of State about cight months before the date of this letter.
i Pat. 6 Geo. I. p. 3. n. 17. .: The Post-Office, and War-Office, the offices of the Treasurer of the Navy, and the Commissioners for Stamp. duties, &c.
e date of custo
whole benefit of this grant to his nephewis who, in 1733, obtained from Sir Robert Walpolo'a further grant of the same employment for forty years more, to commence at the expiration of the former terni: a very lucrative appointment, which was enjoyed by the Tonson family, or their assigns, till the monih of January, 1800. From about the year 1720, the elder Tonson seems to have transferred his business to his nephew; and lived principally on his estate in Herefordshire, till 1736, when he died, probably about eighty years old.' On his
9 Pat. 6 Geo. II. p. 2.. n. 4.
"March 18, 1735-6.-In one of the Stationers' Books I found the following entry :-" 5° Junii, 1670. Jacob Tonson, sonne of Jacob Tonson, late of Holborne, Barber Chyrurgcon, deccased, hath put him selfe an apprentice to Thomas Bassct, foeight years from this day." -As, by his father's will, his mother was directed to bind him an apprentice to some trade at the age of fourteen, it may be presumed that he was born in 1656.--In The GENTLE. Mby's Magazine he is stated to have died worth only forty thousand pounds: but he probably possessed double that suun. --Soon after his successful adventure in the Mississippi scheme, he wrote to his friend, Sir John Van. brugli, to look out for a purchase for him; and Sir John proposed one to him, for which thirty thousand pounds were to have been paid. From his will, which was made Dec. 2, 1735, and proved April 9, 1736, (Pre. Off. Derby, qu. 91.) it appears that he had estates in Glocestershire and Herefordshire. Even supposing him to have quitted business about 1720,-by-ncar fifty years traffick, with a : great accession from the French funds, he must have acquired a much larger sum than that attribucd to him soon after his death.
death-ded he is reported to have said, “I wish I had the world to begin again ;" and having been asked--why hc expressed such a wish, to have re. plied, “because then I should have died worth a hundred thousand pounds; whereas now I die worth only eighty thousand pounds :" but the circumstances in which he died, and the situation of his family, render this anecdote extremely improbable, and worthy of little credit.: Only four months before, his nephew had died; and even he, of whom perhaps this story was originally told, had no occasion to wish for rejuvenescence, to obtain the sum which is here stated as the completion of human felicity; for according to the printed accounts of that period, he was at the time of his death worth an hundred thousand pounds. For what purpose then could the elder Tonson wish for any additional wealth? He had
• Sir David Dalrymple, from whom I derive this ancc. dote, was a very curious inquirer, and extremely accurate in his researches: but he has merely mentioned this, and another traditional story, which has been shown to be without foundation, (sce p. 320,) as cales that were current about forty years ago, and were worth examination and inquiry, without vouching for their authenticity. : ; GENT. MAG. for Nov. 1735. He died at Barnes, Nov. 15, 1735. His will, which was made, August 16, 1735, and proved Dec. 6th following, (PRE. Ofr. Ducie. qu. 257.) filled twenty-scven pages, and was all written by himself; and shows himn not only to have abounded in wealth, but to have been a prudent, just, and worthy man. He is therefore very unlikely to have expressed any such wish as that above mentioned. After having devised
ho children of his own; and the children of his nephew were all most amply provided for by their father's will. Seventeen days after the death of that nephew, (Dec. 2, 1735,) old Jacob Tonson niade his will; in which he consirmed a settlement that he had made on him, (probably at the time of his marriage,) and appointed his greatnephew, Jacob Tonson, the eldest son of the former Jacob, his executor and residuary legatce. This must have been an immense accession to what lic alrcady had derived from his father ; who devised all his estates in Herefordsliire, Glocester: shire, and Worcestershire, in what is called strict settlement, to his sons, Jacob, Richard, and Sad' mucl, successively; and the whole benefit of his patent between the two clder, whom he also
his cstates in Herefordshire, Glocestershire, and Worces: tershire, and bequcathed no less a sum than thirty-four thousand pounds to his three daughters and his younger son Samuel, and disposed of his patent, he mentions his uncle, old Jacob Tonson, to whom he licaves fifty guincas for mourning; but knowing his love of quiet and retire. ment, he says, he would not burthen him with the office of executor of his will. He however recommends his family to his uncle's care, and exhorts all lois children to rei member their duty to their supcriours and their infcriours ; tenderly adding" And so God bless you all!" This is not the language of a man whose heart was inordinately set on gain. It appears from his will, that he was a book seller, bookbinder, and stationer, all which business was carried on in his house; and that he was also a printer, in partnership with J. Watts. The elder Jacob probably also carried on all thesc several occupations.