Oliver Goldsmith


Oliver Goldsmith was born in County Longford Ireland on 10th   November 1730.{date disputed] ,the son of an Anglican clergyman. He went to Trinity College, Dublin, but did not work hard and graduated bottom of the class. He developed a taste for fine clothes, playing cards, singing Irish songs and playing the flute.


He was a very ugly man, badly disfigured by smallpox and small in stature because of this he was badly bullied at school.


He came to London in 1756 where he found employment as a hack writer for London publishers but was always in debt because of his gambling habit. He became acquainted with Samuel Johnson and with him was a founder member of the literary club which met in Joshua ReynoldsÕs studio in Leicester Square. As a result he began to write more seriously.


He became one of the Streatham Worthies. One of the group of 12 men who regularly met and stayed at Hester ThraleÕs Salon at the ThraleÕs Country house in Streatham Park.


According to his biographer, James Boswell, Johnson often related the story of how once Goldsmith was in considerable debt due to his gambling and had not paid his landlady for a considerable time. In an effort to get the money owed to her she called in the SheriffÕs officer. Goldsmith, thrown in a panic when confronted by the official, sent for his close friend Samuel Johnson. Johnson came immediately, picked up GoldsmithÕs finished novel and sold it to a bookseller for £60. This book, The Vicar of Wakefield, became his best known and most successful book. Thanks to JohnsonÕs quick thinking, Goldsmith was saved from the debtorsÕ prison!


Goldsmith lived for a while in the 16th Century Canonbury Tower in Canonbury, now part of Islington. Here again he did not pay his landlord and so as a peace offering he took his landlord and family to the London Spa in what is now Spa Fields Islington. When he got there he found he had no money so the Landlord had to lend him money and also pay for entry and refreshments. Goldsmith died on 4th April 1774, apparently of kidney disease which he had self-diagnosed and treated.