William Maginn, an Irish author, born in Cork, Nov. 11,1793, died at Walton-on-Thames, near London, Aug. 21, 1842. His father was a classical teacher, under whose care he evinced remarkable aptitude for learning, and in his 10th year he was admitted to Trinity college, Dublin. Though one of the youngest of the competitors on entering, he was one of the most advanced, and he maintained his distinction for scholarship throughout his university career. He taught school in Cork for ten years. At 23 years of age he received the degree of LL. D. from Trinity college, being the first who had ever obtained it so young. Having already contributed in prose and verse to various periodicals, in 1819 he translated the old ballad of "Chevy Chase" into Latin verse for " Blackwood's Magazine," nearly every number of which from that time for many years contained one or more articles by him. He assumed the sobriquet of Morgan Odoherty, under which he figures in the "Noctes Am-brosianae," which were due to his suggestion. In London he wrote for the " Quarterly Review;" and he was at one time selected in preference to Moore to receive the papers and write the biography of Lord Byron. When in 1824 John Murray started his daily journal, the "Representative," Maginn was sent to Paris as foreign correspondent.
In 1828 he became junior editor of the London " Standard," an ultra tory journal. He was one of the projectors of " Fraser's Magazine " in 1830. In 1837 he began his "Shakespeare Papers," and the first of his 16 Homeric ballads appeared in 1838. Irregular habits caused his connection with the "Standard" and with "Fraser" to be broken off. In 1839 he became editor of the "Lancashire Herald," a weekly journal in Liverpool, but was not successful, and he returned to London the same year. In 1840 he began a weekly issue of " Magazine Miscellanies, by Doctor Maginn," which extended only to 10 numbers. He was beset by creditors, and in 1842, being cast into Fleet prison for debt, he passed through the insolvency court, and became reduced to great poverty. He was the author of " Whitehall, or the Days of George IV., a Romance " (London, 1827); "John Manesty " (1844), completed after his death by Charles Oilier; and "Homeric Ballads" (1849). Besides his papers in " Blackwood," " Fraser," and the " Quarterly," he wrote many others, equally marked by wit and scholarship, for " Bentley's Miscellany" and the first two volumes of "Punch." His " Fraserian Papers," " Odoherty Papers," " Homeric Ballads," and "Shakespeare Papers" have been collected and edited by R. S. Mackenzie (5 vols., New York, 1855-'7).