Victorian London - Charities - Royal Literary Fund

LITERARY FUND (ROYAL), 73, GREAT RUSSELL STREET. Instituted 1790, by the untiring exertions of Daivd Williams, Esq., and incorporated 1818. The object of this excellent fund is to administer assistance to authors of merit and good character who may be reduced to distress by unavoidable calamities, or deprived by enfeebled faculties or declining life of the power of literary exertion. The relief is distributed by the committee, and is done without divulging names. Amount distributed in 1846 in relief to distressed authors, their widows and orphans, 1407l. ; total amount thus applied since the foundation of the Institution in 1790 to Dec.31st 1846, 33,830l.; average annual amount of subscriptions and donations, 1100l. Charlotte Lenox, author of The Female Quixote, derived her chief support in her old age from this fund; and at the dinner of 1822, when Chateaubriand's health was proposed by the Duke of York, as the ambassador of France, he mentioned in his acknowledgement of the toast, that he was himself aware of the benevolent character of the fund for, during the period of the French Revolution, a French literary gentleman was in difficulties, and those difficulties having been represented to the Committee by one of his friends, a sum was voted sufficient to relieve him from all anxiety, and that at a time when the Institution was itself struggling into notice. This gentleman, Chateaubriand continued, was thus enabled to maintain his ground. At the Restoration he returned to France to acquire fresh honours as a literary man, and to rise in the favour of his sovereign. He had now returned to England, but in a different capacity - as the ambassador of his sovereign - and He was that man. Applicants for relief will obtain information  as to the modes of proceeding, by addressing the secretary, who will furnish printed forms to be filled up.

Peter Cunningham, Hand-Book of London, 1850

The ROYAL LITERARY FUND, 4 Ade]phi Terrace, Strand, was founded in 1790, and incorporated in 1818. The principle of the Institution is to administer assistance to authors of genius and learning who may be reduced to distress by unavoidable calamities, or deprived, by enfeebled faculties or declining life, of the power of literary exertion. It is not the purpose of this Fund to encourage bad authorship, to sustain the idle, or to indulge the profligate. The income of the Society (about 2000l per annum) is administered by a committee of noblemen and gentlemen connected with literature, who meet for the purpose of considering applications on the second Wednesday in every month, except August, September, and October. Printed forms of application are furnished gratuitously by the secretary. Since the foundation the Royal Literary Fund has devoted to the relief of the unfortunate scholar the sum of 54,3051., and 2860 grants have been bestowed upon upwards of 1300 applicants. Every case is attended to with promptitude, and an almost punctilious delicacy.

Cruchley's London in 1865 : A Handbook for Strangers, 1865