Isaac Bickerstaffe

Biography of Isaac Bickerstaffe

Isaac Bickerstaffe or Bickerstaff (26 September 1733 - 1812?) was an Irish playwright and Librettist.

Isaac John Bickerstaff was born in Dublin, on 26 September 1733, where his father John Bickerstaff held a government position overseeing the construction and management of sports fields including bowls and tennis courts. The office was abolished in 1745, and he received a pension from the government for the rest of his life.

In his early years Isaac was a page to Lord Chesterfield, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland which allowed him to mix with fashionable Dublin society. When Chestefield was replaced in the position in 1745 he arranged for Isaac to be given a commission in the army. In October 1745, Bickerstaff joined the 5th Regiment of Foot known as the Northumberland Fusiliers. He served as an Ensign until 1746, when he was promoted to Lieutenant. The regiment, under the command of Alexander Irwin, was on the Irish Establishment and was based in Kinsale in Ireland. In March 1755, the regiment was moved to Bristol in England. Having recently come into some money, Isaac resigned his commission in August and went on half-pay.

He intended to become a writer, but his first work was published but not performed and he soon ran into financial difficulties. By March 1758, he was so short of money that he joined the Marine Corps as a Lieutenant stationed at Plymouth and served through the Seven Years War. In 1763, following the Treaty of Paris he was honourably discharged as the Corps was reduced in size.

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