is best known for his autobiographical work Confessions
of an English Opium Eater and his tale The
English Mail Coach.
De Quincey met Coleridge in London and visited him and Wordsworth in the Lake District. He was also a friend of Southey and Beddoes.
The daughter of Francis Dashwood Antonina Dashwood stayed with the de Quinceys. Thomas found her a magnificent Witch and records with amusement how she bested the clergy in a debate about Christianity: His encounter, therefore, with Mrs. Lee [née Dashwood] presented the distressing spectacle of an old, toothless, mumbling mastiff, fighting for the household to which he owed allegiance against a young leopardess fresh from the forests. Every touch from her, every velvety pat, drew blood....Horror, blank horror, seized him upon seeing a woman, a young woman, a woman of captivating beauty, whom God had adorned so eminently with gifts of person and of mind, breathing sentiments that to him seemed fresh from the mintage of hell. Wordsworth was also impressed with her and read her Essay on Government almost to the end, a rarity for him.
Of William Godwin, de Quincey said: Most people felt of Mr. Godwin the same alienation and horror as of a ghoul, or a bloodless vampyre or the monster created by Frankenstein.
De Quincey was one of three people to whom Charlotte Brontë sent a complimentary volume of the poems she and her sisters published.