Joseph Spence, an English author, born at Kingsclerc, Hampshire, April 25,1699, drowned at By fleet, Surrey, Aug. 20, 1768. He was educated at Oxford, entered holy orders, and was elected professor of poetry. He published in 1726 "An Essay on Pope's Odyssey," and made a tour through France and Italy in 1730-'33. In 1731 he published a biography of Stephen Duck, afterward prefixed to an edition of Duck's poems, and in 1736 reproduced with a preface at Pope's request Sackville's tragedy of "Gorboduc." In 1742 he was presented by his college to the rectory of Great Horwood, and appointed professor of modern history at Oxford. His most interesting production is "Anecdotes, Observations, and Characters of Books and Men," collected from the conversation of Pope and others, and valuable with reference to the literary history of his time. It was published, with notes and a biography, by S. W. Singer (London, 1820; new ed., 1858).
Joseph Stirling Coyne, a British playwright and humorist, born at Birr, Ireland, in 1805, died in London, July 18, 1868. He studied law, but devoted himself to writing for the stage. His first farce, "The Phrenologist," was produced in Dublin in 1835. In 1837 he went to London, where he wrote many plays which were favorably received. Among these were "The Queer Subject," "Everybody's Friend," "Nothing Venture, Nothing Win," "Presented at Court," "The Woman in Red," and "How to Settle Accounts with your Laundress," the last of which has been adapted, under other titles, to the French and German stage. He was one of the projectors and original proprietors of "Punch," to which he was a frequent contributor, and he also wrote much for the newspapers. From 1856 to 1868 he was secretary to the dramatic authors' society. He also published " The Scenery and Antiquities of Ireland," and several other works.
Joseph Tcckerman, an American clergyman, born in Boston, Jan. 18,1778, died in Havana, Cuba, April 20, 1840. He graduated at Harvard college in '1798, and from 1801 to 1826 was pastor of a Unitarian society in Chelsea. He then labored as a missionary among the poor of Boston. In 1812 he was instrumental in forming the first charitable society for the benefit of sailors in the United States, and subsequently the American seamen's friend society, and a "Benevolent Fraternity of Churches" for the support of a city mission, called the "Ministry at Large." He also visited Great Britain, and promoted similar organizations there. In 1830 he wrote a prize essay "On the Wages paid to Females." He published reports to the "Fraternity of Churches " (12mo, 1831; 2d ed., 1832), and "Principles and Results of the Ministry at Large".
Joseph Thomas, an American author, born in Cayuga co., N. Y., about 1811. He was educated at the Rensselaer institute, Troy, and at Yale college, was for some time professor of Latin and Greek in Haverford college, Pa., took the degree of M. D. in Philadelphia, and settled there as a physician. In 1857-'8 he was in India studying oriental languages. He is the author of the system of pronouncing geographical names in "Baldwin's Pronouncing Gazetteer" (Philadelphia, 1845), of the geographical and biographical vocabularies in several editions of Webster's Dictionary, and of "Travels in Egypt and Palestine" (1853). With Thomas Baldwin he edited "A New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States" (1854), and "Lippincott's Pronouncing Gazetteer of the World" (1855; new ed., 1866); and he edited alone a "Comprehensive Medical Dictionary" (1864), and a "Universal Pronouncing Dictionary of Biography and Mythology " (2 vols, large 8vo, 1870-'71).