Thomas De Quincey
(1785 - 1859)
Afflicted with ague and whooping cough as a child, Thomas De Quincey excelled at the study of Latin and Greek. “That boy,” a master once said of him, “could harangue an Athenian mob better than you or I could address an English one.” De Quincey first took opium to treat a toothache in 1804 and began using the drug daily in 1812. He published his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater serially to wide acclaim in 1821 in London Magazine, to which he also contributed essays on suicide, Thomas Malthus, and Macbeth.