Thornton Leigh Hunt

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Thornton Leigh Hunt
Born(1810-09-10)10 September 1810
Hampstead, London, England
Died25 June 1873(1873-06-25) (aged 62)
Kilburn, London, England
Burial place Kensal Green Cemetery
OccupationJournalist and editor
Employer The Daily Telegraph
The Spectator
Political party Liberal
Katharine Gliddon(m. 18341873)
Family Leigh Hunt (father)
Marianne Hunt (mother)

Thornton Leigh Hunt (10 September 1810 25 June 1873) was the first editor of the British daily broadsheet newspaper The Daily Telegraph .

<i>The Daily Telegraph</i> British daily broadsheet newspaper

The Daily Telegraph, commonly referred to simply as The Telegraph, is a national British daily broadsheet newspaper published in London by Telegraph Media Group and distributed across the United Kingdom and internationally. It was founded by Arthur B. Sleigh in 1855 as Daily Telegraph & Courier.



Hunt was the son of the writer Leigh Hunt and his wife Marianne, née Kent. As a child he lived in Hampstead until the age of twelve, when his father moved the family to Italy for three years in order to edit The Liberal . Though he aspired to become a painter, an allergy to the pigments he was using thwarted Hunt's ambitions, though he did provide eight woodcuts to illustrate his father's poem 'Captain Sword and Captain Pen'. [1]

Leigh Hunt English critic, essayist, poet and writer

James Henry Leigh Hunt, best known as Leigh Hunt, was an English critic, essayist and poet.

Hampstead affluent area of London, England

Hampstead, commonly known as Hampstead Village, is an area of London, England, 4 miles (6.4 km) northwest of Charing Cross. Part of the London Borough of Camden, it is known for its intellectual, liberal, artistic, musical and literary associations and for Hampstead Heath, a large, hilly expanse of parkland. It has some of the most expensive housing in the London area. The village of Hampstead has more millionaires within its boundaries than any other area of the United Kingdom.

<i>The Liberal</i>

The Liberal was a London-based magazine "dedicated to promoting liberalism around the world", which ran in print from 2004 to 2009 and online until 2012. The publication explored liberal attitudes to a range of cultural issues, and encouraged a dialogue between liberal politics and the liberal arts. Ideologically, The Liberal challenged the concept of 'liberalisms', arguing for the continuity of the liberal tradition, which finds its modern expression in social liberalism.

Lacking the ability to become an artist, Hunt instead took up a career in journalism. He was employed as a sub-editor for the Radical publication The Constitutional from 1837 until 1838, where he worked alongside William Makepeace Thackeray and Douglas Jerrold. In 1838 he went north where he worked as an editor for first the Cheshire Reformer, then the Glasgow Argus . He returned to London in 1840, where for the next several years he contributed to a variety of periodicals, co-founded The Leader with George Henry Lewes, and wrote a novel, The Foster-Brother: A tale of the War of Chiozza (1845).

Radicals (UK) parliamentary political grouping in the United Kingdom

The Radicals were a loose parliamentary political grouping in Great Britain and Ireland in the early to mid-19th century, who drew on earlier ideas of radicalism and helped to transform the Whigs into the Liberal Party.

William Makepeace Thackeray novelist

William Makepeace Thackeray was a British novelist and author. He is known for his satirical works, particularly Vanity Fair, a panoramic portrait of English society.

Douglas William Jerrold English dramatist and writer

Douglas William Jerrold was an English dramatist and writer.

In 1855, he was asked by Joseph Moses Levy to co-edit The Daily Telegraph with his son Edward Levy-Lawson. Hunt accepted and despite the initial arrangement he soon emerged for all practical purposes as the editor of the paper, a position he held until his death. [2] A Liberal, Hunt was cultivated by Lord Palmerston, and developed a close relationship to William Ewart Gladstone, serving as his journalistic amanuensis during much of the 1860s. The two men corresponded on a variety of political issues, and were in close contact during the Reform Bill crisis in the 1860s. [3]

Joseph Moses Levy British publisher

Joseph Moses Levy was a British newspaper editor and publisher.

Edward Levy-Lawson, 1st Baron Burnham British newspaper proprietor

Edward Levy-Lawson, 1st Baron Burnham, known as Sir Edward Levy-Lawson, 1st Baronet, from 1892 to 1903, was an English newspaper proprietor.

Liberal Party (UK) political party of the United Kingdom, 1859–1988

The Liberal Party was one of the two major parties in the United Kingdom with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party arose from an alliance of Whigs and free trade Peelites and Radicals favourable to the ideals of the American and French Revolutions in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, it had formed four governments under William Gladstone. Despite being divided over the issue of Irish Home Rule, the party returned to government in 1905 and then won a landslide victory in the following year's general election.

Hunt was also editor of The Spectator from around 1859 to January 1861. James Buchanan was at that time President of the United States and was attempting to counter civil war over the issue of slavery, mostly by adopting a vacillatory position. Two Americans based in London - a businessman called John McHenry and an Assistant Secretary to ambassador George M. Dallas, called Benjamin Moran - determined to use the magazine as a counter to the generally anti-Buchanan position of the British press. Hunt had assisted Robert Stephen Rintoul at The Spectator and appears to have stayed on after Rintoul's death in April 1858. A short period under ownership by another person preceded the American purchase around December 1858. The nationality of those behind the purchase was disguised by dint of the co-financiers using Hunt as an intermediary, and he was installed as editor. The American owners dramatically altered the tone of the magazine, its circulation declined substantially and there were several occasions when Moran had to pump additional funds into the venture. Having paid £4200 for it, they sold for £2000 in January 1861; soon afterward, Abraham Lincoln had taken over from Buchanan. [4]

<i>The Spectator</i> British weekly conservative magazine on politics, culture, and current affairs

The Spectator is a weekly British magazine on politics, culture, and current affairs. It was first published in July 1828. It is owned by David and Frederick Barclay who also own The Daily Telegraph newspaper, via Press Holdings. Its principal subject areas are politics and culture. Its editorial outlook is generally supportive of the Conservative Party, although regular contributors include some outside that fold, such as Frank Field, Rod Liddle and Martin Bright. The magazine also contains arts pages on books, music, opera, and film and TV reviews.

James Buchanan 15th president of the United States

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George M. Dallas 11th Vice President of the United States

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Throughout his life Hunt was often associated with liberal political movements. He was a charter member of the Association for the Promotion of the Repeal of the Taxes on Knowledge and campaigned with the Chartists and the People's International League. Hunt also engaged in unorthodox social arrangements such as communal living in a phalanstère. Though married to Katherine Gliddon from 1834 until his death, he became the lover of Agnes Jervis Lewes, the wife of his collaborator George Henry Lewes on The Leader, and fathered four children with her. [5]

Chartism British democratic movement (1838-1857)

Chartism was a working-class movement for political reform in Britain that existed from 1838 to 1857. It took its name from the People's Charter of 1838 and was a national protest movement, with particular strongholds of support in Northern England, the East Midlands, the Staffordshire Potteries, the Black Country, and the South Wales Valleys. Support for the movement was at its highest in 1839, 1842, and 1848, when petitions signed by millions of working people were presented to the House of Commons. The strategy employed was to use the scale of support which these petitions and the accompanying mass meetings demonstrated to put pressure on politicians to concede manhood suffrage. Chartism thus relied on constitutional methods to secure its aims, though there were some who became involved in insurrectionary activities, notably in south Wales and in Yorkshire.


A phalanstère was a type of building designed for a self-contained utopian community, ideally consisting of 500–2000 people working together for mutual benefit, and developed in the early 19th century by Charles Fourier. Fourier chose the name by combining the French word phalange, with the word monastère (monastery).

George Henry Lewes British philosopher

George Henry Lewes was an English philosopher and critic of literature and theatre. He was also an amateur physiologist. American feminist Margaret Fuller is known to have called Lewes a "witty, French, flippant sort of man". He became part of the mid-Victorian ferment of ideas which encouraged discussion of Darwinism, positivism, and religious skepticism. However, he is perhaps best known today for having openly lived with Mary Ann Evans, who wrote under the pen name George Eliot, as soulmates whose lives and writings were enriched by their relationship, though they never married each other.

Hunt died in Kilburn, London in 1873. He is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery next to his father.

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  1. Carroll Viera, "Hunt, Thornton Leigh", in The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, H.C.G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, eds. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), vol. 28, p. 874.
  2. Stephen Koss, The Rise and Fall of the Political Press in Britain, vol. 1: The Nineteenth Century (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1981) 58, 97.
  3. The Gladstone Diaries, vol. 6, 1861-1868, H. C. G. Matthew, ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978)
  4. Fulton, Richard (Winter 1991). "The "Spectator" in Alien Hands". Victorian Periodicals Review. The Johns Hopkins University Press on behalf of the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals. 24 (4): 187–196. JSTOR   20082560.(subscription required)
  5. Viera, op cit.
Media offices
Preceded by
New position
Editor of The Daily Telegraph
Succeeded by
Edwin Arnold