William Hone, an English author, born in Bath in 1779, died in Tottenham, Nov. 6, 1842. At the age of 10 he was placed with an attorney in London, but after the expiration of his apprenticeship ho abandoned the law, and in 1800 set up as a bookseller, with a circulating library, in Lambeth Walk. During the next 16 or 17 years he experienced a succession of vicissitudes. Having no talent for business, he failed in almost every enterprise he undertook, and repeatedly became bankrupt. In 1817 he brought himself into great notoriety by the series of political satires entitled "The Political House that Jack built," "The Man in the Moon," "The Queen's Matrimonial Ladder," "A Slap at Slop," "The Political Showman," "Non Mi Ricordo," etc. Among these were several in the nature of parodies on various parts of the " Book of Common Prayer," for the printing and publishing of which Hone was tried on three separate indictments in December, 1817, but was acquitted in each instance. His " Three Trials," describing the proceedings on this occasion, went through 19 editions before the close of 1818. His friends attempted to set him up in business as a book auctioneer, but in a few years he found himself the inmate of the King's Bench prison, where during a confinement of about three years he edited and published his "Every-Day Book" (2 vols. 8vo, 1826-7), "Table Book " (8vo, 1827-'8), and " Year Book " (8vo, 1829), his most useful works.
Upon his release from prison he attempted to establish himself as landlord of the Grasshopper coffee house, but failed. Finally he joined an Independent church, became a preacher, and officiated until disabled by paralysis. Among his other works were: "Ancient Mysteries Described" (8vo, 1823); an edition of Strutt's "Sports and Pastimes of the English;" and "Early Life and Conversion of William Hone."