1842 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Isaac Reed

C. H. Timperley, in Encyclopaedia of Literary and Typographical Anecdote (1842) 2:830n.



Isaac Reed was the son of a banker in the parish of St. Dunstan in the West, London, and his early attainments were marked with that enthusiasm which frequently prevails in a strong uncultivated mind. He commenced his public life as a sollicitor and conveyancer. But the law, however alluring its prospects, had not charms sufficient to engage his whole attention. His intimate knowledge of ancient English literature was unbounded; and there scarcely appeared any literary work in this country, of the least consequence, that required any extensive research, which had not the advantage of his liberal assistance. Even the labours of Dr. Johnson were benefited by his accuracy. His collection of books, which were chiefly English, was perhaps one of the most extensive in that kind that any private individual ever possessed. His own publications, though not very numerous, were all valuable. If ever there was a mind devoid of guilt, it was Isaac Reed's; and an attempt to make "the worse appear the better cause," would have been with him a breech of moral obligation. He died at his chambers in Staple Inn, January 5, 1807, and was buried at Amwell. See Bibliotheca Reediana; a catalogue of the curious and extensive library of the late Isaac Reed, Esq. of Staple-Inn, deceased, in English literature, &c.; sold by auction, by Messrs. King and Lochee, November 1807. 8vo.