James Boswell died in 1795 believing he had touched and kissed a cache of Shakespeare's original letters and papers discovered by a Mr. Ireland. His friend, Edmond Malone, publicly exposed the lot as a forgery just a year later.
Chase PriceBorn 1731
Died Jun 28, 1777
Son of John Price and Elizabeth Chase. Married (1766) to Sarah Glanville (1735-1826), daughter of William E. Glanville. He was educated at Westminster School and at Oxford. He was called to the bar in 1757. MP for Leominster (1759-1767). MP for Radnorshire (1768-1777).
At Westminster School, Price became a friend of William Cowper, and Ryskamp suggests that he may even have been a member of the Nonsence Club with Lloyd, Thornton, Cowper and others, and that he was among the Geniuses of the town when Boswell was in London in 1763.1 "One of the most celebrated and ribald wits of his time", he was referred to by William Combe as "the Falstaff of the ... age".2 Price also functioned as a contact between Wilkes and the Rockinghamites, who were sending Wilkes money.3 Price is known to have been in severe financial difficulties in his final years.
He suffered much from gout in 1775/6, and had at the time a generally poor health according to two of many letters from Price to the 3rd Duke of Portland.
Price's daughter, Sarah Bridget Frances Price (1766-1820), married sometime MP for Liverpool, Bamber Gascoyne (1758-1824), who was himself son of the MP for Truro of the same name. Sarah and Bamber Gascoyne were grandparents of Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil (1830-1903), the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, who served as Prime Minister from 1895 to 1902.4
- 1. Ryskamp, Charles (1959). William Cowper of the Inner Temple, Esq: A Study of His Life and Works to the Year 1768. p. 83, 84, 147, 179, etc.
- 2. ibid.
- 3. Thomas, Peter D. G. (1996). John Wilkes, a Friend to Liberty. OUP. p. 201.
- 4. Some data also from Barker, G. F. Russell and Alan H. Stenning, comp. The Record of Old Westminsters. Volumes I-II. London: Chiswick Press, 1928.
Life with Boswell:
Boswell dined with Price at Lord Eglinton's on May 29, 1763, shortly after he had met the London geniusses at Thornton's on May 24, 1763. In that context it is surprising that he merely referred to him as Mr. Price, a Welsh member, but he may not have been aware of Price's connection with the other geniuses, as Price wasn't an author or poet as the rest of them. Boswell still described the occasion as "truly English and genteel" [being] "very comfortable" speaking "a little with a manly confidence". One might guess, that Boswell would have taken a great liking to Price, had they met just a few months earlier (before Johnson entered and Temple re-entered Boswell's life).