The papers are composed of: poems with corrections, including verses on the death of George Augustus, Earl of Guildford; explanatory note, 1776; engraving of Home, 1799; letter to Andrew Strahan, MP, 1804; and, an inscription in a copy of Alonzo.
Papers relating to John Home (1722-1808)
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- ReferenceGB 237 Coll-367
- Dates of Creation1776-1804
- Language of MaterialEnglish.
- Physical Description2 manuscript volumes, 2 manuscript letters.
- LocationDc.1.51; Dc.4.101-103 Home; Dk.6.27/4; Dn.4.15
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
John Home was born in Leith, Edinburgh, on 21 September 1722. He was educated in Leith and then studied at Edinburgh University with a view to joining the Church. He was licensed as a probationer by the Presbytery of Edinburgh in 1745. During the Jacobite Rebellion he enlisted for the defence of Edinburgh and he was present at the Battle of Prestonpans and the Battle of Falkirk. For a short time he was imprisoned in Doune Castle. In 1747 Home became Minister of Athelstaneford, East Lothian. While at Athelstaneford he completed the tragedy of Agis which he took to London at the end of 1747. After his return to Scotland he set to work on his tragedy of Douglas founded on a popular Scottish ballad. Again he took it to London. Both of these tragedies had been rejected by David Garrick (1717-1779) the actor, manager, and dramatist, and so with the support of his contemporaries Douglas was put on in a theatre in Edinburgh's Canongate in December 1756. Although the work was enthusiastically received by the public, the Church was outraged and the play was denounced as profane. In February 1757, Home went to London and in March the play was produced at Covent Garden by Rich. On his return to Scotland, the Church took proceedings against him but these were cut short when he resigned his charge at Athelstaneford. Soon after, Home was appointed as Private Secretary to Lord Bute and also became the tutor of the Prince of Wales (later George III). From this position he was able to persuade Garrick to put on Agis, and it was performed at Drury Lane in February 1758. In 1760, his Siege of Aquileia was produced at Drury Lane too, followed by Fatal discovery in 1769 and Alonzo in 1773. In 1802, Home published The history of the rebellion of 1745. John Home died in the Merchiston district of Edinburgh on 5 September 1808.
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Explanatory note, purchased Christie's auction, 1962, Accession no. E62.2.
The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Stephen, Leslie. and Lee, Sidney (eds.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol.9. Harris-Hovenden. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1908.
Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.
Other Finding Aids
Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.
Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.