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ILLIAM BECKFORD, the author of
“ Vathek," was born in 1759. He was the son of the well-known and patriotic Lord
Mayor Beckford, the friend of the Earl of Chatham. His father died when he was eleven years of age, leaving him property which accumulated during his minority to an annual income of one hundred and ten thousand pounds, and this in addition to a million in ready money.
His education was partially superintended by his father's old friend, the Earl of Chatham, whose son, William Pitt, he excelled in elocutionary powers.
At the age of eighteen he published his “ Memoirs of Extraordinary Painters," a work of considerable power and humour, and real knowledge of the subject, which satirises some English artists under feigned names, and may even now be read with pleasure.
In 1780 he made a tour to the Continent, which formed the subject of a series of letters picturesque and poetical, since published under the title of “Italy, with Sketches of Spain and Portugal.” On his return to England, Mr. Beckford sat for the borough of Hindon in