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Day, Thomas

DAY, THOMAS (1748-1789), British author, was born in London on the 22nd of June 1748. He is famous as the writer of Sandford and Merlon (1783-1789), a book for the young, which, though quaintly didactic and often ridiculous, has had considerable educational value as inculcating manliness and independence. Day was educated at the Charterhouse and at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and became a great admirer of J. J. Rousseau and his doctrine of the ideal state of nature. Having independent means he devoted himself to a life of study and philanthropy. His views on marriage were typical of the man. He brought up two foundlings, one of whom he hoped eventually to marry. They were educated on the severest principles, but neither acquired the high quality of stoicism which he had looked for. After several proposals of marriage to other ladies had been rejected, he married an heiress who agreed with his ascetic programme of life. He finally settled at Ottershaw in Surrey and took to farming on philanthropic principles. He had many curious and impracticable theories, among them one that all animals could be managed by kindness, and while riding an unbroken colt he was thrown near Wargrave and killed on the 28th of September 1789. His poem The Dying Negro, published in 1773, struck the keynote of the anti-slavery movement. It is also obvious from his other works, such as The Devoted Legions (1776) and The Desolation of America (1777), that he strongly sympathized with the Americans during their War of Independence.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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