BRYANT, Jacob (bap. 1717, d. 1804), antiquary and classical scholar. Autograph letter signed to Jacob Bryant, 3 sides, with address panel with armorial wax seal and interesting postal franks (inc. Windsor mileage handstamp), 4to, Windsor, 23 August 1804. Commenting upon his nephew’s plans and prospects; giving news of (royal) neighbours and friends; and reflecting upon his advanced years: “I grow weaker continually, so that I am not able to dine out, when requested by my noble neighbours …….. It was not in my power to attend the celebrity in my neihbourhood at the Elections which I never before neglected for sixty years ……. I must now quit the stage, which I shall do with proper gratitude, and without any apprehension or reluctance.” Piece of paper torn away by seal (not affecting text), and fold repaired (where removed from an album?).
Following work as a private tutor, Bryant was appointed in 1756 secretary to Charles Spencer, third duke of Marlborough, accompanying him to Germany in 1758, where the duke died suddenly. On his return to England, the Marlborough family generously provided Bryant with a sizeable income, living quarters at Blenheim, and use of their famous library. Having attained financial independence, Bryant devoted the rest of his long life to arcane researches, book collecting, and authorship. In his later years Bryant lived at Cypenham in Farnham Royal, near Windsor, where George III often visited him for the sake of his conversation, which was said to be pleasing, instructive, and slyly humorous. Some eleven weeks after writing this letter, Bryant injured a leg while reaching for a book in his library, developed an unstoppable infection, and died of gangrene on 14 November 1804. ODNB