DE QUINCEY, THOHAS, a distinguished English writer, was b. in Manchester, Aug. 15, 1786. His father was a wealthy :Manchester merchant, who, dying while his children were yet young, left his widow a .fortune of £1600 a year. De Q. received his first education at home, and was afterwards sent to the grammar school of Bath. He pro ceeded to the yniversity of Oxford in 1803, and remained there till 1808. At the uni versity, he made, the acquaintance of opium, Which was ever afterwards his dread familiar. On leaving college, he went to reside at the laltes,'and formed one of the cluster of literary lights which made that region at the time so illustrious, and after wards so memorable. He left Cumberland in 1819; and in 1843, lie came to reside. in Scotland, settling with his family at the village of Lasswade, near Edinburgh. He died at Edinburgh on the8th Dec., 1859.
With the exception of a strange episode of his youth, described in the Confessions of an Opium-eater, the heroine of which was, singularly enough, one of the "waifs of womanhood," be Q.'s career was almost entirely eventless. He led a lonely and a specu lative life, and his writings are at once history and autobiography. He was perhaps, with the exception of his friend prof. Wilson,.the most brilliant magazine-writer in this
century of magazines. Everything he wrote, putting aside the Confessions, The Logic of Political Ecomnny, and a novel, which no one seems to have read, or, if read, to have remembered, is in the form of articles. Even the Confessions themselves were originally published as a series of articles in the London Magazine. De Q. has written on a great variety of subjects, and in a great variety of styles. Ile has written articles pervaded by humor of the most curious and novel kind, philosophical • and critical articles distin guished by originality and daring of speculation, and articles of the nature of prose poems, which are unquestionably of their kind the most wonderful things in English literature. In point of imaginative grandeur, and music and sweep of sentence, the Suspiria de Profundis, and the opium visions that close the Confessions, are miracles of impassioned prose. De Q.'s works were first collected and republished in America. The edition of De Q.'s works, in 16 vols., published by A. C. Black, Edin., includes nearly all his writings. See Page's Life and "Writings qf De Q. (1877).