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WINTHROP MACKWORTH PRAED (1802–1839)

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Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 241 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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WINTHROP MACKWORTH PRAED (1802–1839), English poet, was born in London on the 26th of July 1802. The old family name was Mackworth, the additional name of Praed being derived from the marriage of the poet's great grand-father with a Cornish heiress. His father, William Mackworth Praed, was a serjeant-at-law. His mother belonged to the English branch of the New England family of Winthrop. In 1814 Praed was sent to Eton College. He there founded a manuscript periodical called A pis matina. This was succeeded in October 182o by the Etonian, a paper projected and edited by Praed and Walter Blount, which appeared every month until July 1821, when the chief editor, who signed his contributions " Peregrine Courtenay," left Eton, and the paper died. Henry Nelson Coleridge, William Sidney Walker, and John Moultrie were the three best known of his coadjutors in this periodical, which was published by Charles Knight, and of which many interesting particulars are given in Knight's Autobiography and in Maxwell Lyte's Eton College. Before Praed left school he succeeded in establishing over a shop at Eton a " boys' library," the books of which are now amalgamated in the School Library. His career at Cambridge, where he matriculated at Trinity College, October 1821, was marked by exceptional brilliancy. He gained the Browne medal for Greek verse four times, and twice the chancellor's medal for English verse. He was bracketed third in the classical tripos in 1825, won a fellowship at his college in 1827, and three years later carried off the Seatonian prize. At the Union his speeches were only rivalled by those of Macaulay and of Charles Austin (1799—1874), who subsequently made a great reputation at the parliamentary bar. The character of Praed during his university life is described by Bulwer Lytton in the first volume of his Life. He began to study law, and in 1829 was called to the bar at the Middle Temple. He went the Norfolk circuit, where his prospects of advancement were bright, but the bias of his feelings inclined him towards politics, and after a year or two he devoted himself entirely to political life. Whilst at Cam-bridge he leaned to Whiggism, and even to the autumn of 1829 his feelings were bent towards the same side, but during the agitation for parliamentary reform his opinions changed, and when he was returned to parliament for St Germans (Dec. 17, 1830) his election was due to the Tory party. He sat for that borough until December 1832, and on its extinction contested the borough of St Ives, within the limits of which the Cornish estates of the Praeds were situated. The squibs which he wrote on this occasion were collected in a volume printed at Penzance in 1833 and entitled Trash, dedicated without respect to James Halse, Esq., M.P., his successful competitor. Praed sat for Great Yarmouth from 1835 to 1837, and was secretary to the Board of Control during Sir Robert Peel's short administration. He sat for Aylesbury from 1837 until his death. During the progress of the Reform Bill he advocated the creation of three-cornered constituencies, in which each voter should have the power of giving two votes only, and maintained that freeholds within boroughs should confer votes for the boroughs and not for the county. Neither of these suggestions was then adopted, but the former ultimately formed part of the Reform Bill of 1866. He married in 1835 Helen Bogle. He died of consumption at Chester Square, London, on the 15th of July 1839. Praed's lighter poetry was the perfection of ease. Mr Austin Dobson has justly praised his " sparkling wit, the clearness and finish of his style, and the flexibility and unflagging vivacity of his rhythm " (Ward's English Poets). It abounded in happy allusions to the characters and follies of the day. In his humorous effusions he found numerous imitators. His poems were first edited by R. W. Griswold (New York, 1844) ; another American edition, by W. A. Whitmore, appeared in 1859; an authorized edition with a memoir by Derwent Coleridge appeared in 1864: The Political and Occasional Poems of W. M. Praed (1888), edited with notes by his nephew, Sir George Young, included many pieces collected from various newspapers and periodicals. Sir George Young separated from his work some poems, the work of his friend Edward Marlborough Fitzgerald, generally confused with his. Praed's essays, contributed to various magazines, were published in Morley's Universal Library in 1887.
End of Article: WINTHROP MACKWORTH PRAED (1802–1839)
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