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Henry G. Wreford

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Published : 19 Articles
Pen Names : None
Date of Birth : N/A
Death : N/A
Views : 3820

Journalist. Born in Bristol. Sent to Italy, when a young man, for sake of his health; remained there for rest of his life; died in Capri. For more than fifty years, from Rome and from Naples, was correspondent for the Times, a connection in which he took much pride (Obituary, Times, March 29 I892). Also correspondent for the lllustrated London News and for the Daily News. His detailed and vivid Daily News articles written during time of Italy's struggle for freedom and unity were praised by Jessie White Mario; Wreford was, according to her, "the correspondent who kept England up anent the rights and wrongs of Italy". Met the Marios in 1860 and was presented by them to Garibaldi as "Italy's best English friend in Naples" (McCarthy and Robinson, The "Daily News" Jubilee, pp. 64, 66). Contributed to the Athenaeum, occasionally to Macmillan's. Author of Rome, Pagan and Papal; by an English Resident in That City, 1846.


Wreford and Dickens were not acquainted, but Dickens was aware that Wreford was a H.W. contributor. Relating to his wife in 1853 the gossip that he had heard in Naples, Dickens mentioned that "one Mr. Reeford who has written some Italian papers in Household Words" was living on the island of Capri and that idle young Englishmen of Naples were accustomed to going there to see him and the Capri girls (Mr. & Mrs. Charles Dickens, ed. Dexter, pp. 208-209).

H.W. introduced Wreford's first contribution with the statement that the writer was "a resident in Naples" who could furnish "authentic information" on conditions there. The Office Book assigns the article to Wreford alone, but contains the notation "Cut down from three times the quantity by W.H.W". Only one of the items assigned to Wreford is listed as revised by Morley, but Morley's letters indicate that he revised also others. One letter refers to "material of value" sent in by the contributor from Naples, which had to be recast "before it was suitable for the journal"; another mentions a mass of material from Naples "in a most unreadable hand", on which Morley was required to report (Solly, Life of Henry Morley, pp. 196, 204). Morley's reference to his having a "bothering Christmas paper from Naples to dress up" for the 1851 Christmas number (Solly, p. 200) is not clear; no paper by Wreford and no paper on Italy appeared in the 1851 Christmas number.

"Quails" and "A Locust Hunt" are not assigned to Wreford, but seem clearly to be by him. For "Quails" the Office Book gives only the partial authorship ascription "& Morley"; for "A Locust Hunt" it gives no ascription. The fact that Morley is recorded as reviser of "Quails" is one indication that the item is probably by Wreford; revising Wreford's contributions, as stated above, was one of Morley's assignments. Both articles deal with Capri—the first, with netting and shooting quail on the island; the second, with the destruction of locusts there. The two articles are obviously by one writer, as indicated by the parallel phraseology in which he states his being asked to be a spectator of these activities and his acceptance of the Invitation. In the first article he writes: "'Will you come and see the quail-netting?' Of course I would"; in the second: "Would I go out and see them [the locusts]? Certainly I would". The invitation to see the locusts is brought to the writer while "I was quietly at work at Capri ... in my study". Wreford, as indicated by the articles assigned to him, made frequent excursions and visits to Capri from Naples. One article mentions his "ascending the heights of the Island of Capri"; others, his talking with fishermen on the island, his attending there a rustic festival and a wedding. Dickens was told in 1853 that Wreford was living on the island. "Quails" and "A Locust Hunt" show the writer's friendly association with Italian villagers and his interest in their beliefs, customs, and activities; Wreford, as indicated by the articles assigned to him, had the same association and interests.

Payment for two of Wreford's contributions was sent to Stuckey's Banking Co., Bristol. Payment for six was sent to "Dr. Wreford". The Dr. Wreford resident in Wreford's native town of Bristol was John ReyneIl Wreford, D.D., F.S.A., dissenting minister (Mathews's Annual Bristol Directory, 1854), presumably Wreford's father.

Author: Anne Lohrli; © University of Toronto Press, 1971.

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