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Charles Dilly


  1. A defence of the constitutions of government of the United States of America: Against the Attack of M. Turgot in his Letter to Dr. Price, Dated the twenty-second day of March, 1778 has translation publisher
  2. Marcus Flaminius. A view of the military, political, and social life of the Romans in a series of letters from a patrician to his friend has translation publisher
  3. Observations on the Reflections of the Right Hon. Edmund Burke on the Revolution in France, in a letter to the Right Hon. the Earl of Stanhope has translation publisher
  4. Paul and Virginia translation publisher
  5. Studies of nature. By James-Henry-Bernardin de Saint-Pierre. Translated by Henry Hunter D.D. translation has other edition publisher
  6. The Repository: containing various political, philosophical, literary, and miscellaneous articles bookseller
  7. Thoughts on the commencement of a new parliament with an Appendix, containing remarks on the Letter of the Right Hon. Edmund Burke, on the Revolution in France has translation publisher


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Charles Dilly was born in Southill, Bedfordshire to a farming family. He took up an apprenticeship under his elder brother Edward, a London bookseller, on 1st June 1956, and left in June 1763. On return from his travels in America, he traded in partnership with Edward; they worked together from 1765 until Edward's death in 1779. In 1803, Charles was master of the Stationers' Company.

The brothers often gave dinners at The Poultry. Their frequent guests included Samuel Johnson, who had his famous meeting with John Wilkes at their table on 15th May 1776 (and the two returned together on 8th May 1781); Richard Cumberland; Oliver Goldsmith; John Hoole; Vicesimus Knox; Samuel Parr; Joseph Priestly; Isaac Reed; Samuel Rogers; Sutton Sharps; and James Thomson. They were considered radical publishers; indeed, Charles belonged to the Club of Honest Whigs and the Society for Constitutional Information. He was invited to the post of alderman for the ward of Cheap in 1782, but conceded it to John Boydell.

He retired in 1801, handing the company over to Joseph Mawman, but publications in his name continued to appear until 1807, and he maintained an active social life through literary dinner parties at his house on Brunswick Row, Bloomsbury. He died whilst on a visit to Richard Cumberland in Ramsgate on 4th May 1807, and was buried on 12th May in the cemetery of St. George the Martyr, Holborn. He left a fortune of nearly £60,000,


Leslie Stephen, ed. 'Dilly, Charles', in 'Dictionary of National Biography', vol. 15, London: Smith, Elder & Co, 1888. John Stephens, 'Mayo, Henry', in 'Oxford Dictionary of National Biography' (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/18456 John Cannon, 'Belsham, William', in 'Oxford Dictionary of National Biography' (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/2067 Michael J. Franklin, 'Jones, Sir William', in 'Oxford Dictionary of National Biography' (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/15105 J. J. Caudle, 'Dilly, Charles', in 'Oxford Dictionary of National Biography' (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/7671