1745–1833, English author and social reformer. She was educated, and later taught, at her sisters' school for girls in Bristol. At the age of 22 she became engaged to William Turner, a wealthy squire 20 years older than she; he never married her, but settled an annuity on her that made her financially independent. She became a friend of many of the notable figures of her time and was one of the bluestockings
. Her two ethical tragedies, Percy
and Fatal Falsehood,
were produced by Garrick in 1777 and 1779, respectively. Turning to religious and philanthropic works, she wrote Thoughts on the Importance of the Manners of the Great to General Society
(1788) and was instrumental in founding (1799) the Religious Tract Society. In the area of Wrington she established Sunday schools in which the poor were taught reading, personal hygiene, and religion. In 1808 her pious but popular novel Coelebs in Search of a Wife
appeared. Her writing is of little interest today, with the exception of her vivacious and highly informative letters, which were published in 1834.
See studies by M. A. Hopkins (1947) and M. G. Jones (1952).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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