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P R E F A C E.

      The writer of the following Memoir is one of the
few surviving members of Mrs. Barbauld's family who
retains a personal recollection of her, having spent
much of her early life under her care, owing her like-
wise a large debt of gratitude and love. Earnestly
desiring to revive some memory of one who though
enjoying in her lifetime a considerable amount of literary
fame, is now, from the circumstance of her works
having been long out of print and difficult to procure,
comparatively unknown to the present generation, the
author has availed herself of a collection of letters and
family papers in her possession, to compile a fuller
account of the life and family of Mrs. Barbauld, than
her niece Lucy Aikin thought herself justified in doing,
when she wrote the original Life, prefixed to the edition
of the Works of Mrs. Barbauld, published soon after
her death in 1825.
      Feelings of delicacy towards members of Mr.
Barbauld's family, then living, prevented the true ac-
count being given of the unfortunate state of mind with
which her husband became afflicted, a calamity which
in a great degree crippled her powers for many of the


best years of her life. Many names were also suppress-
ed for reasons no longer existing.
      The account of Mrs. Barbauld's ancestors, written
in late years by Miss Aikin, for the benefit of the
younger members of her family; though not intended
for publication, is now printed to shew the influences
which in part formed Mrs. Barbauld's pure and noble
      The poems alluded to in the course of the Memoir,
will be found at the end of the volume; as well as her
Essay, "On Inconsistency in our Expectations," which
has always been considered one of the most finished of
her prose writings, and was a few years ago printed and
circulated by an unknown friend. The portrait pre -
fixed, is from a cameo, for which she sat about the
year 1773, at the request of her valued friend Josiah

      Hampstead, 1874.

C O N T E N T S.

APPENDIX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page.
      Letter from Rev. Dr. Doddridge to Miss
            Jennings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201
      Bonner's Ghost by Mrs. Hannah More . . . . .205
      Answer by Mrs. Barbauld . . . . . . . . . . . . . .208
      Washing Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .211
      Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .215
      Enigma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217
      Notice of Arthur Aikin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219
      Essay on Inconsistency in our Expectations . 225

                    M E M O I R.

      ANNA LETITIA, the eldest child, and only
daughter of John Aikin,
D.D. and Jane his
wife, daughter of the Rev. John Jennings,
was born at the village of Kibworth Har-
court in Leicestershire, on the 20th June,
      The following particulars relating to her
family, are taken from some unpublished
memorials written by the late Lucy Aikin,
her niece.
      "John Aikin, my great grandfather,"
says Miss Aikin, "transferred himself at an
early age from the Scotch town of Kircud-
bright to London. How long this place


had been the seat of the Aikins, or what
station they held there, I cannot say, all
that my father knew on the subject was
that the family arms were registered in the
Herald's office at Edinburgh ; consequently
that they, like Scotchmen in general, laid
claim, to 'Gentle blood,' however little they
might possess of the world's wealth.
      Of the career of my great grandfather in
London, I am equally uninformed, till he
became the master of a linen draper's shop
in that part of Newgate Street than called
Blowbladder Street, from the vicinity of the
great meat market of the city. He appears
at this time to have been a man of substance,
and he took to wife Anne Bentall, whose
father was deacon of the congregation of that
Daniel Burgess of whom Swift has left us an
amusing notice in the Tatler, showing him
to be more rogue than fool in his fanatical
rants. An old portrait of my great grand-
mother which I have seen, represented her
with nothing striking about her except a
profusion of long ringlets, which had cer-
tainly nothing of Puritan primness. My


father had a great notion that she was a
very silly woman, and handed down to his
posterity this one anecdote of her. Some
few months before the birth of her eldest
son, walking with her husband in the fields,
she was siezed with a violent longing to crop
a few mouthfuls of the tempting herbage.
In those days, as we have all heard, any
fancy of a matron under such circumstances
must be gratified at all events. Precious
privilege, now lost to the sex ! Down there-
fore went the dame on hands and knees and
grazed. To this circumstance my father
added, that his father, between jest and
earnest, would ascribe his rural tastes !
      This couple had three sons, of whom my
grandfather was the eldest. He was at
first destined for commerce, and placed in
a mercantile house as French clerk. I pre-
sume he had acquired this language at his
school, the master of which was probably
no deep classic, but having been an actor,
taught him that impressive declamation of
English verse for which he was always dis-
tinguished. An ardent love of study, and


conscious power of intellect, soon rendered
the routine of the counting house insupport-
able to him, and he prevailed upon an in-
dulgent father to enter him a pupil of the
Kibworth Academy, afterwards removed to
      Of this institution, by the early death
of my great grandfather, the Rev. John
Jennings, Dr. Doddridge had become the
head, but so recently that young Aikin was
his first pupil.............The prosperity of my
great grandfather gradually forsook him.
What I have been told was merely this ;
that not being so sharp as his countrymen,
he allowed them to make a prey of him. In
the end he gave up business, and found an
asylum with his worthy son at Kibworth.
A long old age it was ; he survived to the age
of 92.
      My great-great grandfather Jennings was
a clergyman, in what was then called Pow-
island, and a part of Wales ; and was one
of the noble 2000 who resigned their livings
rather than violate conscience at the promp-
ting of that treacherous bigot Lord Claren-


don. The loss was the heavier to Mr.
Jennings from his cure being his own ad-
vowson. I know not what carried him to
Kibworth, so remote from his native country,
for he was a Welshman--but I believe he
was the founder of the Academy afterwards
carried on by his son. This son, the Rev.
John Jennings, was a very industrious
teacher, and a man of letters...............After
the passing of the Toleration Act, he became
the dissenting minister of Kibworth. His
first wife was a beautiful young girl, only
child of one of the principal members of his
congregation. Seven months after mar-
riage she produced a babe, small and puny,
which died almost immediately. Puritan
rigor was little disposed in such a case, to
grant to a suspected offender the benefit of
even the most reasonable doubt. An old hag
of the congregation, gained or forced admit-
tance to the bedside of the new mother, to
tell her, weak and exhausted as she was,
the evil thoughts of all the world on this
occasion. The poor young creature wept


all the rest of the day, and died the next.
When the widower married a second time,
the father of her who had been 'done to
death by slanderous tongues,' said to him,
'call your first daughter Jane, after my
poor girl, and I will give her a rood land.'
How much this means I know not, but his
daughter, my grandmother, was named
Jane, and had the land. Her husband sold
it when they removed from Kibworth to
      My great grandmother, the second wife of
Mr. Jennings, was Anna Letitia, one of the
many daughters of Sir Francis Wingate of
Harlington Grange, Beds., by the Lady
Anne, daughter of Sir Arthur Annesley,
first Earl of Anglesey, and Lord Privy Seal
under Charles II. Her name of Anna, I
suppose she bore in compliment to her
mother; Letitia, was an appellation brought
into the Wingate family long before. Lettice
Wingate, a nun, is commemorated in the
pedigree book at Harlington, as having
taught her nephew to read.


      The old family house,* on the most an-
tique end of which, my uncle remembered a
plate bearing the date 1396, was the seat of
a family, Norman I presume, of the name
of Belverge ; bearing on their shield three
pears or (bel verger) till it was conveyed by
the marriage of an heiress at the end of the
14th century, to a Wingate of the neigh-
bouring village of Sharpenhoe. Wingate of
Harlington, is included in the list of gentry
made by the Heralds' College on their visi-
tation, held in the reign, and under the
auspices of Henry VI ; which intimates
him to have belonged to the Lancastrian
party. The master of the Grange was never
Lord of the Manor, therefore only the
second great man of Harlington ; yet his
estates appear to have been considerable.
Edward Wingate held the exalted office of

      * The house still stands; at present occupied by
George Pearse, Esq., who married Elizabeth, the only
child of Mrs. Aikin's brother, John Wingate Jennings,
the last of the name. This lady, who never quitted her
old home, died a few years ago at a ripe age in the house
in which she was born, beloved and respected by all
who knew her.


'Master of the Bears,' to Queen Elizabeth.
Sir Francis, in his elaborate letter of declara-
tion to the Lady Anne, still preserved, I
think, values his estate at 1000 per annum,
and promises to keep a coach and six. The
Earl, her father, gave her several thousand
pounds. Bishop Burnet writes of this noble
lord, that he had sold himself so often that
at length no party thought him worth buy-
ing. He seems indeed to have feathered
his nest pretty well, but was certainly an
able man. We may take comfort, roguery
is not hereditary, folly often is.
      Grand were the preparations made at
poor Harlington for the reception of the
bride. The hall and state bedchamber over
it, were fitted up on the occasion. The
chamber was hung with tapestry, 'disfigur-
ing and representing' the judgment of
Paris, and other classical stories ; the bed
was of crimson damask, richly adorned with
fringe and gilding ; there was a handsome
Japan cabinet, heavy arm chairs, and toilet
ornaments to match, and a dressing room


within; splendors which excited my youth-
ful awe and veneration, decayed and faded
as they were,--but as for Lady Anne, tra-
dition, says that she sat her down and cried
when she saw to how poor a place she had
been brought as her future home. Her
husband looks in his portrait very good na-
tured, but heavy enough--the Lady Anne--
let us hope she was of a sweeter temper
than she looks in her's. She was a stiff
presbyterian, her husband a jolly episcopa-
lian, who said somewhat bitterly, that when
he was gone she would certainly turn his
great hall into a conventicle. Perhaps this
thought had set an edge on his zeal, when,
in the character of a Justice of the Quorum,
he committed John Bunyan to Bedford gaol
for unlicensed preaching. The only mem-
orable action of his life, as far as I am aware.
      But that an old family mansion must
absolutely have a ghost, in fact it would be
almost as disgraceful to the race to be with-
out one as to want a coat without arms, I
would not be so undutiful to my great-great
grandmother as to tell the tale, but it is a


matter of necessity, so here it is. The lady
Anne had a friend who unknown to her
husband had made up a purse, the contents
of which she destined to be shared among
her children by a former marriage. On her
deathbed she entrusted to her this deposit.
Lady Anne, I dare not say with what
thoughts, she being then a widow, and hard
pressed enough, delayed to deliver over the
money. One night, she was startled by a
mysterious rustling in a certain long, dark,
crooked passage into which her chamber
opened ; the rustling--yes, she could not
be mistaken--of a silk gown, the very gown
of her departed friend. It passed on to a
certain narrow door, at which something
seemed to enter, and the rustling ceased.
Her ladyship paid the money next day, and
nothing was ever heard or seen more ; but
some people had an odd feeling as they
passed that door, leading only to the china
closet, within my memory.
      A more favorable trait of Lady Anne has
been preserved. She possessed two beau-
tiful miniatures, evidently a pair ; one


represented her brother, Lord Altham, the
other a lady, so lovely in feature, and still
more in expression, one was never weary of
gazing upon it. Lady Anne was accustom-
ed often to take it out of her cabinet and
weep tenderly over it ; so far her daughters
could attest from their own knowledge, but
she would never inform them whom it
represented, or what had been her story.
Lord Altham, worthy to shine amongst the
courtiers of Charles II, had three wives
living at the same time ; the first of these
deceived and unhappy ladies was probably
his sister's friend ; yes, it must have been
her wrongs over which she shed these fre-
quent tears; and shame at her brother's
treachery and wickedness doubtless tied her
      Sir Francis died in middle age, leaving
his lady with three sons, and six ill por-
tioned daughters. Some few notices have
reached me of all the six sisters. Mr.
Moore, the husband of the eldest, was a
clergyman, very poor, very honest, and the
simplest of the simple. He would some-


times borrow a trifle of his mother-in-law,
giving her an acknowledgment in these
cautious terms, 'I promise to pay, if I am
able.' 'My dear' he once cried out to his
wife, 'a great rude girl came and robbed our
apple tree while I was in the garden.' 'And
did you let her ?' 'How could I help it?
Neither could he help his sons going to
ruin. Another sister married a Dr. Hay,
a Scotch physician. She was accounted a
wit, and one or two of her good things I have
heard, but should be sorry to recite in the
'ears polite' of a younger generation.
      The sons all possessed the estate in suc-
cession. The first dissipated more than his
prudent brother was able to retrieve. The
third, John, a retired naval captain, just
managed to make both ends meet. He was
long a widower, and as he had no surviving
child, it was a matter of anxious speculation
which nephew he would make his heir.
Charles Moore, eldest nephew, chose to re-
gard it as his right, and prepared himself
for the enjoyment of the few ancestral acres
by such a course of idleness, extravagance,


and folly, as determined his uncle never to
put them at his mercy. For the opposite
qualities he at length declared it to be his
intention to leave the old place to my
grandfather, Arthur Jennings.
      By way of retaliation I suppose, for his
persecution of Bunyan, two of the daughters
of Sir Francis married dissenting ministers,
not in his lifetime, however. One was
Mrs. Norris, the other was Anna Letitia, my
great grandmother. One died single, aunt
Rachel, of whom all I know is that she had
the honor to have Rachel, lady Russell, for
her Godmother ; the families being in some
way related.*

      *She was niece to Lady Anglesey, and the Wingates
seem to have taken advantage of the relationship to push
their fortune, though without success, by the following
passage in Lady Russell's Letters.
      " We are told that Mr. Middleton is in a dying con-
dition,--his place in the Prize Office is worth about 400
a year. My cousin lady Anne Wingate would be con-
tented if it could be obtained for Sir Francis. Lord
Bedford and myself would show our readiness to serve
my Lady Anne and Sir Francis, and the more friends
joyn will not recommend it less to my Lord Devonshire,
if he can do anything in it. I have writ to him Lord
Bedford's thoughts of Sir Francis; which are, that he
is an understanding, honest, gentleman, and has almost


      My great grandmother was left a rather
young and slenderly provided widow, with
four children, Arthur, John, Francis, and
Jane, my grandmother Aikin. She con-
tinued to reside at Kibworth : Dr. Dod-
dridge, her husband's successor as head of
the academy, was boarded in her house.
Her children were indebted to him for much
early instruction, which contributed with
their advantages of birth and connection,
to raise them in the estimation of their
neighbours above the level of a narrow for-
tune. My grandmother was presented at
court by a lady of the Annesley connection,
no small distinction in those days. She
was sprightly, not without personal charms,
and had a natural talent for singing. The
result of the whole was, that her honored
tutor was moved to indite an elaborate
epistle, still preserved, in which he labored
to convince her, that it was actually possible

exceeded any in this country in his zeal and activeness
towards the present Government."
To Lord Devonshire, 1690.
      *Dr. Doddridge's letter is in the appendix.


for a grave divine of thirty years of age to
experience the passion of love for a little
gentlewoman of fifteen. The converse of
the problem he seems to have taken for
granted; not so the young lady, who sted-
fastly refused to become the Eloise of such
an Abelard. Arthur her eldest brother, was
my grandfather, my elder brothers could a
little remember him, but he died before my
birth. I have often regretted it ; all I ever
heard of him was delightful. My father
used to say he had as much of the milk of
human kindness as ever man had, and had
a rich vein of humor, and told a story ad-
mirably. He was short, broad-chested, and
of extraordinary strength. His span was
eleven inches, and he would say he feared
no man if he could once get him within his
grip. He would walk when a gay young
man from London to Harlington,* six or

      *The village of Harlington is very near the great
chalk downs of Dunstable, at this time one of the hunt-
ing grounds of the famed Dick Turpin and his gang.
One morning Mr. Jennings' own horse was found in the
stable, heated, trembling, and covered with foam ; evi-
dently having been ridden all night. Another time Mrs.
Jennings was going to town for the winter, and travelling


eight and thirty miles to a dance, and walk
back next morning. He had the bright
hazel eye of the Wingates.
      His brother John, destined for a dissent-
ing minister was the wit of Dr. Doddridge's
academy, and the darling of his relations
and friends. A diary of Mr. Merivale his
fellow-student records several of the smart
sayings and merry stories of 'Jack.' Soon
after he had finished his education, he went
to live in a kind of chaplain capacity with
Mr. Coward, a wealthy merchant I believe,
who left the fund which still bears his name,
for the education of dissenting teachers. A
chaplain, this zealous puritan appears not
greatly to have needed, since he took upon
himself the performance of the family de-
votions. On these occasions he would be

over the downs towards evening (she always slept on the
road) they perceived a horseman persistently keeping
pace with them. This went on some time, till Mrs.
Jennings got into such a state of alarm and nervousness
that she could bear it no longer, and putting her head
out of the carriage window, she called out, "If you want
to rob us, do!" "Lord bless me madam," cried a familiar
voice, "rob you ! I am only John so and so, keeping up
with the carriage for company."


carried out in prayer to very extraordinary
lengths indeed, according to the reports
of Uncle Jack, faithfully preserved by his
contemporaries. He had once insured for a
considerable sum a ship called the Mingen,
which was lost. Accounting himself ill-
treated by the Deity on the occasion, he
thus remonstrated--' But O Lord! thou
nickedst me in the Mingen.'
      Let us now return to my grandfather
Aikin. Among his fellow-students was Mr.
Merivale afterwards a dissenting minister
at Exeter, whose diary communicated to me
by his grandson (the late John Herman
Merivale one of the Judges in Bankruptcy,)
is curiously illustrative of the simplicity of
the age. 'He and Aikin,' he says, 'set out
from London for the Academy on the same
day. Aikin having two younger brothers
to take to school, travelled by the wagon,
but I did not choose it, for it would have
cost half-a-guinea !' Therefore he walked by
the side.
      After quitting Doddridge's Academy, my
grandfather went to the university of Aber-

deen, then I believe illustrated by a school
of learned and able theologians, such as
Lowman and the Fordyces who were casting
off the fetters of Calvin. My grandfather
settled at length in what was called low
Arianism, which subsequently became, under
his tuition, the system of the Warrington
divines, almost without exception. That
his University regarded him as an alumnus
to be proud of, was evinced by its degree of
D.D. conferred upon him at Warrington,
not alone without solicitation but without
notice. In fact to his humble and retiring
temper, the distinction was actually dis-
tressing, and he would have been well
pleased to shut up his diploma in a drawer,
and say nothing about it to any one. He
had just married and accepted the invitation
of a congregation at Market Harborough,
when an affection of the chest ascribed to
a fall, compelled him to resign his pulpit,
and look to tuition as his sole resource. A
letter to his friend Merivale explains his
circumstances with a charming simplicity.
Twelve pounds per annum for board, lodging


and the instruction of such a man! But he
had his reward in the attachment, the ven-
eration, of his scholars ; in the atmosphere of
respect and admiration which everywhere
surrounded him ; and his gains were ade-
quate to his humble wants, his modest
wishes. He left behind him as the savings
of his life, with some small additions pro-
bably on the side of his wife, about five-and
twenty hundred pounds.
      In my first visit to Liverpool, twenty
years after my grandfather's death, I several
times met with elderly or middle-aged gen-
tlemen who showed me attentions I was at
a loss to account for, till I found they all
boasted of having been my grandfather's
pupils. Not twenty years since a gentleman
introduced himself with 'I was at your
grandfather's funeral.'
      It was his constant care never, even by
inadvertence to do the smallest hurt to any
human creature. To this principle he gave
a last token of adherence in his positive
direction not to be buried within the walls
of the Meeting-house, but in the open


Churchyard. After resigning his tutorship,
shortly before his death, he calmly said that
he had now fothing to do either for this
world or another.
      A letter from his widow (Dr. Doddridge's
Miss Jenny) is touching in its piety and

            To Mrs. Barbauld. Jan. lst, 1781.
My dear Child,
      It is a considerable alleviation of the
heavy stroke that is fallen upon me that I
have children who were sensible of the worth
of their excellent father, and I believe sin-
cerely lament the loss of him, and tenderly
sympathise with their afflicted mother, let
us mingle our tears and pay that best tribute
of honour and love to his memory, the imi-
tating his virtues. I am indeed greatly
afflicted, and the few remaining days of my
pilgrimage will be sorrowful, oh ! may it be
that sorrow by which the heart is made
better ! may His gracious purpose be answer-
ed that I may have reason to say, it is good
for me that I have been afflicted. Nor


would I ungratefully forget His past boun-
ties, my whole life has been a life of mercies ;
my union with your dear father was a
constant source of happiness ; very few
couples have lived so long together ; peace
and plenty crown'd our days, we saw our
children brought up, saw them virtuous,
esteemed, beloved, and comfortably settled
in the world; and when increasing infir-
mities no longer permitted my dearest
partner to labour in his Lord's vineyard, he
was called to receive his reward, and has
left a name behind him that will reflect an
honor on his latest posterity. On his ac-
count we ought to rejoice, his constitution
was so worn that had he continued longer,
his sufferings would probably have been
greater than his enjoyments, let us therefore
say from our hearts, the Lord gave, the Lord
has taken away, blessed be the name of the
      It would have been a soothing consolation
if your poor father had been able to take
such a last leave of us as his piety and love
would have dictated, but alas ! he was so


oppressed with the violence of his distemper,
that I believe that though he was sensible
he had not the command of his thoughts,
and his asthma was so severe that he could
scarce collect breath to utter a short sen-
tence. Two or three times he pressed me
to go to bed, and whenever I gave him
anything said with his usual complaisance,
'thank you my dear,' and when I asked him
if he would have Dr. Turner called in, said
with some calmness, no, no ; but gave no
intimation that he was apprehensive of his
approaching change. The few words I have
mentioned were (in a manner) all he spoke
during his short illness; t'is a satisfaction
to me that I never left him from the time
he was seized till I closed those eyes which
were the light of my life. Your brother
saw him expire, and was affected as a son
ought to be ; he and your sister have shewn
me every attention and tenderness, and
press me to live with them. I have not yet
determined how I shall dispose of myself,
but if upon mature consideration I have
reason to think that it will be neither incon-


venient nor disagreeable to them, it seems
the most eligible asylum I could chuse.
Was I to continue in my present solitary
situation, I believe I should sink under it.
Pray for your poor mother, that I may attain
to a calm submission to the divine will, and
so live that I may again meet with the dear
partner of my soul in that happy world
where all tears shall be wiped away, and
there shall be no more death.
      I am ever your affectionate Mother,

      Dr. and Mrs. Aikin had two children,
Anna Letitia, afterwards Mrs. Barbauld,
and her brother John, the writer and phy-
sician, four years younger than herself.
      That quickness of apprehension by which
she was distinguished shewed itself from her
earliest infancy. Her mother says in a
letter, in which after gently bewailing the
backwardness of her grand-children, Ed-
mund and Lucy, both under four, 'I once
indeed knew a little girl who was as eager
to learn as her instructors could be to teach


her, and who at two years old could read
sentences and little stories in her wise book,
roundly, without spelling ; and in half a
year more could read as well as most women ;
but I never knew such another, and I believe
never shall." The earliest event she used
to speak of as remembering, was the stir in
the family caused by the news of the entrance
of the Pretender's Army into England in
1745, she then being three years old. Kib-
worth being in the high road to London,
the question of their immediate removal
was anxiously discussed, till the news of the
defeat of the rebels put an end to their
      To resume Miss Aikin's narrative.--"Her
mother, a woman of sense and a gentle-
woman said, that there was no alternative
for a girl brought up in a boy's school,
between being a prude and hoyden. She
preferred the first, rightly, no doubt, if the
case must be so, but it was owing to this
training, I presume, that Mrs. Barbauld
never appeared at her ease, nor felt so, as
she has often told me, in general society.


Ceremonious she was, and humble to strang-
ers to a degree which sometimes provoked
one. Strangers would sometimes say they
could not be afraid of her, she was so un-
assuming, which was true. In her youth,
great bodily activity, and a lively spirit
struggled hard against the tight rein which
held her. London cousins wondered some-
times at the gymnastic feats of the country
lass. It was these perhaps, added to the
brightness of her lilies and roses which sunk
so deep into the heart of Mr. Haynes, a
rich farmer of Kibworth. He followed this
damsel of fifteen to Warrington and obtain-
ed a private audience of her father, and
begged his consent to make her his wife.
My grandfather answered that his daughter
was then walking in the garden, and he
might go and ask her himself. With what
grace the farmer pleaded his cause I know
not ; but at length out of all patience at his
unwelcome importunities, she ran nimbly
up a tree which grew by the garden wall, and
let herself down into the lane beyond, leav-
ing her suitor 'planté là.' The poor man


went home disconsolate ; he lived and died
a bachelor ; though he was never known to
purchase any other book whatever, 'the
works of Mrs. Barbauld' splendidly bound
adorned his parlour to the end of his days.
This whole story I heard from an old servant
of the family, and my aunt who was present,
did not contradict it in a single word.
      My father had a notion that her deport-
ment alarmed young men, and rather struck
them 'with amazement and blank awe' than
won their hearts, but this was surely a mis-
take, I know three or four of her lovers who
never ceased to regard her with affection as
well as admiration. Her conversation in
her happiest moods had a charm inexpres-
sible; wit, playful wit, tempered with true
feminine softness, and the gentle dignity
of a high mind, unwont to pour forth its
hidden treasures on all demands.
      She observed to me once, that she had
never been placed in a situation which
suited her. It was true, unless the bright
years of Warrington might be excepted.
She had then her father, her brother, the


academic body, and a crowd of admirers.
But the manner of her home savored no
doubt of puritanical rigor. She and her
mother, neat, punctual, strict, though of
cultivated mind and polished manners, were
thoroughly uncongenial.
      The removal of her father, Dr. Aikin, to
Warrington as Theological tutor to the
newly founded Academy (or rather college)
there, took place when she was just fifteen.
Her person is thus described at this time.
'She was possessed of great beauty, dis-
tinct traces of which she retained to the
latest period of her life. Her person was
slender, her complexion exquisitely fair with
the bloom of perfect health; her features
regular and elegant, and her dark blue eyes
beamed with the light of wit and fancy.'
The Warrington Academy belongs now
so entirely to the past, that a short account
of it seems almost necessary here ; and I
am happy to be allowed to make use of
a most interesting and lively sketch read
by Mr. Henry A. Bright of Liverpool to
the Historic Society of Lancashire and


Cheshire--'ln the year 1753 the failure
or decay of the several Academies belong-
ing to the English Presbyterian body
caused no inconsiderable anxiety to the
more thoughtful and earnest among the
liberal dissenters. Where could those
ministers be educated in theology un-
shackled by creed and doctrine ? On none
did these questions press with greater
weight than on John Seldon, the young
minister at Warrington. The idea of found-
ing a new Academy was never dropped until
it had been carried out in action. How he
worked, and wrote, and explained, and
begged ! He is never discouraged, though
his discouragements are innumerable. He
is never down-hearted though his friends
are always suggesting difficulties and pro-
phesying evil................A circular was sent
round signed by Daniel Bayley (of Manches-
ter), John Lees, afterwards Sir Caryll
Worsley, and seven others; and in June,
1757, the first general meeting was held.
Lord Willoughby of Parham* was appoint-

      *His nephew who was one of the first pupils at


ed President. Sir H. Hoghton, Messrs.
Heywood and Percival, and other Manches-
ter and Liverpool gentlemen subscribed to
take houses in Warrington and appoint
tutors for the new Academy. 'The tutors
will take boarders into their houses at £15
per annum for those who had two months
vacation, and £18 for those who had no
vacation.' These terms are however ex-
clusive of tea, washing, fire and candles.
The tutors were Dr. Taylor of Norwich,
author of the Hebrew Concordance, whose
learning was so generally acknowledged that
all the English and Welch Bishops and
Archbishops, with but four exceptions, were
subscribers to the work. Mr. Holt was
mathematical tutor, and Dr. Aikin languages
and literature, and after Dr. Taylor's death,
divinity; Dr. Priestley, Dr. Enfield, and the
Rev. Gilbert Wakefield were afterwards ap-
pointed. 'The tutors in my time,' says Dr.
Priestley, 'lived in the most perfect harmony.

Warrington, was afterwards 17th and last Lord
Willoughby of Parham ; the last also of the old Presby-
terian nobility of England.

                                      D 2


We drank tea together every Saturday, and
our conversation was equally instructive and
pleasing,--we were all Arians, and the only
subject of much consequence on which we
differed respected the doctrine of the Atone-
ment, concerning which Dr. Aikin held
some obscure notions.'
      In the letter of invitation from Mr.
Seddon to Dr. Aikin at Kibworth, one pas-
sage is curious, as showing what travelling
in England was a hundred years ago. 'Mr.
Holland has given us some reason to hope
yt you will come over to Warrington in the
Easter week, in order to take a view of yr
future situation ; if so, give me leave to
recomend ye the following plan. I'll suppose
you set out from Kibworth on Sunday after-
noon ; as you intend travelling in post-
chaises, you'l easily reach Loughborough,
or perhaps Derby that night, ye next night
you may come to Offerton, wh is about a mile
short of Stockport, where I am with Mrs.
Seddon, and will be ready to receive you and
wait upon you to Warrington; you will do
well to come prepared for riding, for you


will not meet with any carriages at Stock-
port ; nor are the roads to Warrington proper
for them; when you get to a place called
Bullock's Smithy, about two miles short of
Stockport, enquire for Offerton. Mr. Roe,
late of Birmingham, now lives there ; and
we shall be glad to see you. If you'l write
to me time enough, and be particular enoh
in your time, I will endeavour to meet you
with my own chaise, or send a servant for
that purpose.'
      Besides the students, distinguished
strangers came to Warrington to consult
the tutors, or visit the students. Howard
the Philanthropist came in order that the
younger Aikin might revise his MSS and
correct his proofs. Roscoe of Liverpool
came, and first learned to care for Botany
from his visits to the Warrington Botanical
Gardens. Pennant the Naturalist; Currie,
the biographer of Burns; and many a Pres-
byterian minister, eminent then, though
now forgotten--were among the visitors to
the Athens of our country. But there were
other attractions besides the tutors and


their philosophy. 'We have a knot of
lasses just after your own heart' writes Mrs.
Barbauld, then Miss Aikin, to her friend
Miss Belsham 'as merry, blithe and gay, as
you could wish ; and very smart and clever
--two of them are the Miss Rigbys. We
have a West Indian family too, that I think
you would like ; a young couple who seem
intended for nothing but mirth, frolic, and
gaiety.' It was a sad day for Warrington
when Miss Lizzy Rigby became Mrs. Bunny,
and Miss Sally Rigby was wooed and wed-
ded by Dr. Parry of Bath :--it was sadder
still when the lively West Indian had to
slip away from his creditors and leave War-
rington for ever--saddest of all was it when
'our poetess' herself, after winning the
hearts of half the students, some one or two
of whom lived sighing and single for her
sake--when she too followed the Miss Rigbys'
unfortunate example, and was carried off to
Palgrave.' From difficulties in the man-
agement of this Academy however, and the
deaths of Dr. Taylor, Dr. Aikin, and Mr.
Seddon, and the want of sufficient discipline,


--hopes of the Trustees were but partial-
ly realized, and the Academy was closed in
1786, after a useful but precarious existence
of nine and twenty years. A College at
Manchester was established to which the
Warrington Trustees transferred their
library--It then removed to York, and has
now removed to London. It still retains
the old Warrington characteristics of a free-
dom quite unshackled, a fearless daring in
the cause of truth, and a clear and penetra-
ting glance into the deepest problems of
theology. An extract from a letter from
Lucy Aikin to Mr. Bright will close the
subject. 'I have often thought with
envy of that society. Neither Oxford nor
Cambridge could boast of brighter names
in literature or science than several of these
dissenting tutors--humbly content in an
obscure town, and on a scanty pittance, to
cultivate in themselves, and communicate to
a rising generation, those mental acquire-
ments and moral habits which are their
own exceeding great reward. They and(
theirs lived together like one large family,


and in the facility of their intercourse they
found large compensation for its deficiency
in luxury and splendor--such days are past
--whom have we now 'content with science
in a humble shed ?'
      It was at Warrington in the year 1773
that the 1st vol. of Miss Aikin's Poems
was published. They had an immediate
success. The reviews praised, letters of
congratulation poured in--from old friends,
--from entire strangers. Two of these
have been preserved, from Dr. Priestley,
whose excellent wife was her dearest friend
--and from Mrs. Montagu.

                  Leeds, 13th June 1769.
Dear Miss Aikin,
            You will be surprised when I tell
you I write this on the behalf of Pascal
and the brave Corsicans, but it is
strictly true. Mr. Turner of Wakefield,
who says he reads your poems not with
admiration but astonishment, insists upon
my writing to you, to request that a copy
of your poem called Corsica may be sent to


Mr. Boswell, with permission to publish it
for the benefit of those noble islanders. He
is confident that it cannot fail greatly to pro-
mote their interest now that a subscription
is open for them, by raising a generous ardor
in the cause of liberty, and admiration of
their glorious struggles in its defence. Its
being written by a lady, he thinks, will be a
circumstance very much in their favour, and
that of the poem ; but there is no occasion
for Mr. Boswell to be acquainted with your
name, unless it be your own choice some
time hence. I own I entirely agree with
Mr. Turner in these sentiments, and there-
fore hope Miss Aikin will not refuse so
reasonable a request, which will at the same
time lay a great obligation on friends in
England, and contribute to the relief of her
own heroes in Corsica. I consider that you
are as much a general as Tyrtæus was, and
your poems (which I am confident are much
better than his ever were) may have as great
an effect as his. They may be the coup de
to the French troops in that island,
and Paoli, who reads English, will cause


it to be printed in every history in that re-
nowned island.
      Without any joke, I wish you would com-
ply with this request. In this case you
have only to send a corrected copy to us at
Leeds, or to Mr. Johnson* in London, and
I will take care to introduce it to the notice
of Mr. Boswell by means of Mr. Vaughan
or Mrs. Macaulay, or some other friends of
liberty and Corsica in London. The sooner
this is done the better. Mr. Turner regrets
very much that it was not done some time
      I shall not tell you what I think of your
poems, for more than twenty reasons, one of
which is that I am not able to express it.
We are now all expectation at the opening
of every packet from Warrington.
      My piece on Perspective is nearly ready
for the press. Come and see me before it
is quite printed, and I will engage to teach
you the whole art and mystery of it in a few
hours. If you come a month after, I may
know no more about the matter than any

      *The publisher of St. Paul's Churchyard.


body else. I am about to make a bolder
push than ever for the pillory, the King's
Bench Prison
, or something worse. Tell Mr.
Aikin he may hug himself that I have no
connexion with the Academy. On Monday
next Mr. Turner and I set out on a visit to
the Archdeacon at Richmond.
      With all our compliments to all your
worthy family,
            I am, with the greatest cordiality,
                  Your friend and admirer,
                                        J. PRIESTLEY.

                  Hill Street, Feb. 22nd, 1774.
Dear Madam,
            If I had not been prevented by
indisposition from making my immediate
acknowledgments, you would have been
assured before this time of my sense of the
favour done to me by your polite letter, and
the great pleasure I feel in the opening a
more intimate correspondence with Miss
Aikin. As the world is in general too much
disposed, you are certainly obliged to every
man who is not jealous, and every woman


who is not envious of your talents ; that I
did not withhold the praise that is due to
them gives me some merit with you, but
that you may not over rate the obligation
I will confess that I act from a perfect and
long experience, that it is more to my per-
sonal happiness and advantage to indulge
the love and admiration of excellence, than
to cherish a secret envy of it. To this dis-
position I owe friendships which have been
the happiness and honour of my life. You
must not expect to find in me, the talents
which adorn the friends around me, I shall
not think myself disgraced in your opinion
if you find something in me to love, tho'
nothing to admire. The genuine effect of
polite letters is to inspire candour, a social
spirit, and gentle manners ; to teach a dis-
dain of frivolous amusements, injurious
censoriousness, and foolish animosities. To
partake of these advantages and to live
under the benign empire of the muses, on
the conditions of a naturalized subject, who,
not having any inherent right to a share of
office, credit, or authority, seeks nothing but


the protection of the society is all I aim at.
I am much pleased with the hope you give
me of adding so valuable an ornament to my
circle of Friends as Miss Aikin. I always
wish to find great virtues where there are
great talents, and to love what I admire, so,
to tell you the truth, I made many enquiries
into your character as soon as I was acquaint-
ed with your works, and it gave me infinite
pleasure to find the moral character returned
the lustre it received from the mental ac-
complishments. Your essays have made
me still more intimately acquainted with the
turn of your mind, more sincerely your
friend, and more warmly your admirer. I
dare not repeat, to you, what I have said of
them to others; what might, to your modest
diffidence, have the appearance of flattery
would set me at a distance from your friend-
ship to which I aspire. I hope whenever
you come to London you will come before
the Spring is far advanced, for I usually
leave London early in May. Bad health,
and a variety of engagements make me a
remiss correspondent, but I shall at any


time be very happy to hear from you, and
happier still if you can suggest anything
I can do for your service. If any work ap-
pears in the Literary World which you would
wish to have convey'd to you, favour me at
any time with your commands. Your style
is so classical, that I imagine that your
Father's Study chiefly abounds with old
books, if anything new excites your curiosity
let me have the pleasure of conveying it to
you. With great esteem,
                  I am Dear Madam,
                        Your most obedient and
                              sincere humble Servant,
      I made my friend Gen. Paoli very happy
by presenting him with your Poems. The
muses crown virtue when fortune refuses
to do it.

      After passing through four editions with-
in twelve months, this first volume was
followed, ere the end of the year, by another,
in which she and her brother joined : the
title was 'Miscellaneous Pieces in Prose,


by J. and A. L. Aikin.' These likewise met
with much notice and admiration, and have
been several times reprinted.
      Having thus successfully laid the founda-
tion of a literary reputation, she might have
gone on to longer and more important works,
had not an event, of the greatest conse-
quence in all women's lives, now taken place
which subjected her to new influences, new
duties, and station in life.
      Shortly before this time, there came as a
pupil to the Academy a young Frenchman of
the name of Rochemont Barbauld, descend-
ed from a family of French Protestants.
During the persecutions of Louis XIV, his
grandfather, then a boy, was carried on
board a ship inclosed in a cask and conveyed
to England; and on the marriage of one of
the daughters of George II to the Elector
of Hesse, was appointed his chaplain, and
attended her to Cassel.
      At this place his son Rochemont was born.
On the breaking up of the household of the
Electress he returned to England with his
father, who destined him for the Church,
                                      E 2


but somewhat unadvisedly sent him for
instruction to the dissenting Warrington
Academy; and from the change of opinions
formed there, he felt obliged to renounce his
expectations from the Church, though by
doing so he raised the further obstacle of
want of fortune and profession to the ob-
jections already felt by Miss Aikin's parents
to his union with their daughter.
      Lucy Aikin speaks in strong but no doubt
appropriate terms of this event ; which,
consideration towards surviving members
of the Barbauld family, prevented her saying
when she first wrote the life of her aunt.
      "Her attachment to Mr. Barbauld was
the illusion of a romantic fancy--not of a
tender heart. Had her true affections been
early called forth by a more genial home
atmosphere, she would never have allowed
herself to be caught by crazy demonstrations
of amorous rapture, set off with theatrical
French manners, or have conceived of such
exaggerated passion as a safe foundation on
which to raise the sober structure of domes-
tic happiness. My father ascribed that


ill-starred union in great part to the baleful
influence of the 'Nouvelle Heloise,' Mr. B.
impersonating St. Preux. She was inform-
ed by a true friend that he had experienced
one attack of insanity, and was urged to
break off the engagement on that account.
--'Then' answered she, 'if I were now to
disappoint him, he would certainly go mad.'
To this there could be no reply ; and with
a kind of desperate generosity she rushed
upon her melancholy destiny. It should
however in justice be said, that a more up-
right, benevolent, generous or independent
spirit than Mr. Barbauld's did not exist, as
far as his malady would permit ; his moral
character did honor to her choice, but he
was liable to fits of insane fury, frightful in
a schoolmaster. Her sufferings with such
a husband, who shall estimate ? Children
this pair seemed immediately to have des-
paired of. My brother Charles, born only
one year after their marriage, was bespoken
by them almost directly, they took him
home with them before he was two years
old--she enjoyed in his dutiful affection--

in the charms of his delightful disposition
--his talents and his accomplished mind,
her pride, her pleasure, the best solace of
her lonely age. Mrs. Barbauld's indolence
was a standing subject of regret and re-
proach with the admirers of her genius
--but those who blamed her, little knew
the daily and hourly miseries of her home ;
--they could not compute the amount of
hindrances proceeding from her husband's
crazy habits, and the dreadful apprehensions
with which they could not fail to inspire
      At length the blow fell--Mr. B's insanity
became manifest, undeniable, and it took the
unfortunate form of a quarrel with his wife.
Well for her that she had the protection of
an opposite neighbour in her brother ! We
were all of us constantly on the watch as
long as she persisted in occupying the same
house with the lunatic. Her life was in
perpetual danger. Then shone forth the
nobleness of her spirit. She had a larger
share than any woman I ever knew of the
great quality of courage--courage both


physical and moral. She was willing to
expose herself to really frightful danger from
the madman's rage, rather than allow him
to be irritated by necessary restraint. When
all was over and this miserable chapter of
her history finally closed, her genius reas-
serted its claims. Her best poems, her
noble, though not appreciated, 1811--all
those evincing a tenderness she had never
before been known to possess,--bear date
from her widowhood."


   Unconscious of the future miseries of her
life, Mrs. Barbauld shortly after her marriage
prepared to accompany her husband to the
village of Palgrave in Suffolk, where he had
accepted the charge of a dissenting congre-
gation, and opened a boys' school. Before
they had determined upon this plan Mrs.
Montagu wrote to propose to her to become
the Principal of a kind of Ladies' College
which she wished to establish, and in these
days it is curious to read in Mrs. Barbauld's
answer the reasons she gives for declining
the offer. "A kind of Academy for ladies"
she says, "where they are to be taught in a
regular manner the various branches of
science, appears to me better calculated to
form such characters as the Précieuses or
Femmes Savantes than good wives or agree-
able companions. The best way for a


woman to acquire knowledge is from con-
versation with a father or brother, and by
such a course of reading as they may
recommend, perhaps you may think that
having myself stepped out of the bounds
of female reserve in becoming an author, it
is with an ill grace I offer these sentiments
--but my situation has been peculiar, and
would be no rule for others. I should
likewise object to the age proposed--
geography, languages, &c. are best learned
from about nine to thirteen. I should have
little hopes of cultivating a love of know-
ledge in a young lady of fifteen who came
to me ignorant and uncultivated : it is
too late then to begin to learn. The em-
pire of the passions is coming on--those
attachments begin to be formed, which in-
fluence the happiness of future life--the
care of a mother alone can give suitable
attention to this important period. The
ease and grace of society ; the duties
in their own family,--to their friends, the
detail of domestic economy--lastly their
behaviour to the other half of their


species, who then begin to court their notice
--these are the accomplishments which
a young woman has to learn till she is
married or fit to be so ; and surely these are
not to be learned in a school : my next
reason is that I am not at all fit for the
task. I have seen a good deal of the educa-
tion of boys, but in a girls' school I should
be quite a novice. I never was at one my-
self, I have not even the advantage of sisters ;
indeed for the early part of my life, I con-
versed little with my own sex. In the village
where I was there were none to converse
with ; and this I am sensible has given me
an awkwardness about common things
which would make me peculiarly unfit for
the education of girls. I could not judge
of their music, their dancing ; and if I
pretended to correct their air, they might be
tempted to smile at my own ; for I know my-
self to be remarkably deficient in graceful-
ness of person, in my air and manner--I am
sensible the common schools are upon a
very bad plan, and believe I could project
a better--but I could not execute it."


   The rapid and uninterrupted success of
the school was no doubt partly owing to
Mrs. Barbauld's name ; and Mr. Barbauld's
county connections brought them several
sons of noblemen and gentlemen of fortune.
Mrs. B. threw herself heart and soul into
the work. She kept all the accounts (still
extant) of the school and their private purse.
She wrote charming lectures on History and
Geography, and took the entire charge of a
class of little boys. The first Lord Denman,
Sir William Gell, Dr. Sayers, and William
Taylor of Norwich, both well-known writers,
were among these. For them and her ne-
phew Charles she wrote her 'Early Lessons'
and 'Hymns in Prose.' Dr. Johnson and
Mr. Fox were both pleased to express their
disapproval of her wasting her talents in
writing books for children,* but, practically
employed in education as she then was, she
felt the entire want of elementary books fit
to put into their hands, and naturally was
led to try to supply it. Her preface to the

   * See Boswell's Life of Johnson, and Recollections
of C. J. Fox by Mr. Rogers.


Early Lessons first written for her little
Charles explains this.
   "This little publication was made for a
particular child, but the public is welcome
to the use of it. It was found that amidst
the multitude of books professedly written
for children, there is not one adapted to the
comprehension of a child from two to three
years old. A grave remark or a connected
story however simple is above his capacity,
and nonsense is always below it, for folly is
worse than ignorance. Another defect is
the want of good paper, a clear and large type,
and large spaces. Those only who have
actually taught young children can be sensi-
ble how necessary these assistances are.
The eye of a child cannot catch a small
obscure ill-formed word amidst a number of
others all equally unknown. To supply
these deficiencies is the object of this book.
The task is humble, but not mean, for to lay
the first stone of a noble building and to
plant the first idea in a human mind can
be no dishonor to any hand."
   Of the 'Hymns in Prose for Children,'


perhaps the best known of all her writings,
she says in her preface her "peculiar object
was to impress devotional feelings as early
as possible on the infant mind--to impress
them, by connecting religion with a variety
of sensible objects, with all that he sees, all
he hears, all that affects his young mind
with wonder and delight ; and thus by deep,
strong, and permanent associations, to lay
the best foundation for practical devotion
in future life." That this end was accom-
plished, the numerous editions, even to the
present time, of this charming little work,
fully shows.
   To relieve their minds as much as pos-
sible during this busy life, Mr. and Mrs.
Barbauld always spent their winter vacation
in London, and took some journey in the
summer, a few extracts from the letters she
regularly wrote to her brother are here given.

                                      London, Jan., 1784.
   "Well my dear brother, here we are in
this busy town, nothing in which (the sight
of friends excepted) has given us so much


pleasure as the sight of the balloon exhibit-
ing in the Pantheon, it is sixteen feet one
way and seventeen another. When set
loose from the weight, it mounts to the top
of that magnificent dome with such an easy
motion as puts one in mind of Milton's line,
"rose like an exhalation" ............Next to
the balloon, Miss Burney is the object of
public curiosity. I had the pleasure of
meeting her yesterday. She is a very un-
affected sweet and pleasing young lady--
but you, now I think of it, are a Goth, and
have not read Cecilia. Read it, read it,
for shame ! ...............................
   I begin to be giddy with the whirl of
London, and feel my spirits flag. There
are so many drawbacks, from hair dressers,
bad weather, and fatigue, that it requires
strong health greatly to enjoy being abroad.
   We are got into the visiting way here,
which I do not consider quite as an idle
employment, because it leads to connections,
but the hours are intolerably late ; the other
day at Mrs. Chapone's, none of the party but
ourselves was come at a quarter to eight,


and the first lady that arrived said she
hurried away from dinner without waiting
for coffee. There goes a story of the
Duchess of Devonshire, that she said to a
tradesman, 'call on me to-morrow morning
at four,' and that the honest man knocked
the family up at day-break. Last week we
met the American Bishops at Mr. Vaughan's,
--if bishops they may be called--without
title, without diocese, and without lawn
sleeves. I wonder our bishops will con-
secrate them, for they have made very free
of the Common Prayer, and have left out
two Creeds out of three ........................
   I have been much pleased with the poems
of the Scottish Ploughman, (Burns). His
Cotter's Saturday Night has much the same
merit as the Schoolmistress ; and the Daisy,
and the Mouse, are charming. The Eton
Boys have published a periodical which they
say is clever.* Dr. Price has a letter from
Mr. Howard dated Amsterdam ; he says the
Emperor gave him a long audience. A
pasquinade was fixed upon the gates of the

          *The Philanthropist.


lunatic hospital in Vienna, 'Josephus, ubi-
cumque secundus, hic primus.'
   The King, I heard, was playing at drafts
with Dr. Willis, and having got a man to
the top, the Dr. asked ' if he would not crown
his king
.' 'No' said his Majesty, 'for I
think a king the most miserable man on
earth.'* ......................................
   Charles is losing his hair, (after a fever)
I believe I ought to have the rest shaved,
but it is such a frightful thing to see a boy
in a wig. Do you remember some of my
father's scholars in wigs ? I do, and coat
lappets set out with buckram. Well, I hope
we do improve in taste..........................
   What have you seen, you will say, in
London? Why in the first place Miss
More's new play which fills the house very
well and is pretty generally liked. Miss
More is I assure you very much the ton, and

   * Mrs. Barbauld always felt respect and attachment to
the King, partly perhaps from being exactly of the same
age. Her writings seem to have become known at Court,
as her mother, in one of her letters, says "Miss Belsham
has heard that Her Majesty (Queen Charlotte) has declar-
ed, that if she is an enthusiast in anything it is in
admiration of Mrs. Barbauld."


moreover has got 600l or 700l by her play.
I wish I could produce one every two winters,
we would not keep school. I cannot say
however that I cried so much at 'Percy,' as I
laughed at the 'School for Scandal' which
is positively the wittiest play I remember
to have seen, and I am sorry to add, one of
the most immoral and licentious. In prin-
ciples, I mean, for in language it is very
   Mrs. Montagu, not content with being
the Queen of literature and elegant society,
sets up for the Queen of fashion and splen-
dour. She is building a very fine house,
has a fine service of plate, dresses, visits
more than ever, and I am afraid will be as
much the woman of the world as the philo-
sopher. I heard much of the Astronomer,*
who has discovered three hundred new stars
and a new planet or comet. He was a piper
in a Hessian regiment, and has improved
telescopes to an astonishing degree. He
has sat they say for twenty-four hours, rub-
bing and polishing his spectrum, and been

* Herschel.


fed by the attentions of others. We are
reading in idle moments, Boswell's long
expected life of Johnson. It is like going
to Ranelagh, you meet all your acquain-
tances ; but it is a base and a mean thing to
bring thus every idle word into judgement ;
the judgement of the public. Johnson, I
think, was far from a great character, he
was continually sinning against his consci-
ence, and then afraid of going to Hell for it.
A Christian, and a man of the town ; a
philosopher, and a bigot ; acknowledging
life to be miserable, and making it more
miserable through fear of death ; professing
great distaste to the country, and neglecting
the urbanity of towns ; a Jacobite and
pensioned ; acknowledged to be a giant in
literature, and yet we do not trace him as
we do Locke, or Rousseau or Voltaire in his
influence on the opinion of the times. We
cannot say, Johnson first opened this view
of thought, led the way to this discovery,
or this turn of thinking. In his style he is
original, and there we can track his imita-
tors.--In short, he rather seems to me to


be one of those who have shone in the belles
lettres, rather than what he is held out to
be by many, an original and deep genius in
investigation. ..........................................
   Mrs. Montagu, who entertains all the
aristocrats of France, had invited a Mar-
chioness De Boufflers and her daughter to
dinner--after making her wait till six, the
Marchioness came and made an apology for
her daughter, that just as she was going to
dress she was seized with a 'dégoût momen-
tané du monde,' and could not wait upon her.
   Mr. Brand Hollis has sent me an Ameri-
can poem, a regular epic in twelve books--
The Conquest of Canaan--but I hope I need
not read it. Not that the poetry is bad, if
the subject were more interesting. What
had he to do to make Joshua his hero, when
he had Washington of his own growth.
   Mr. Howard is setting out upon another
tour to the north-west of England ; he looks
well and happy and lively ; he has been
south as far as Moscow, where he says that
they live in all the Asiatic magnificence.
He told me of a Russian nobleman who has

built a convent, where he has educated at
his own expense 600 young ladies, by whose
means he hopes to polish the Empire."
   A further notice of this great man occurs
in a letter about this time, in a letter from
Mrs. Barbauld's mother in Warrington.
"Mr. Howard left us yesterday to the great
regret of all who had the happiness of his
acquaintance, he is indeed an astonishing
person ; where could another be found who
would incur the expense, fatigue and danger
which he has done, in visiting three times
over every prison in England, besides many
in foreign parts ; where, one who has
brought his appetites under such subjection
as to be able to live almost without eating ?
He takes nothing but a dish of tea or coffee
and a mouthful of bread and butter till
night ; and then eats only a few potatoes,
and drinks nothing but water, and yet he
never seems to want either spirits or
strength, and is a most lively entertaining
companion." He once told them that
wishing, whilst in Paris, to see the Bastille,
he made inquiries for that purpose, and


finding it quite impossible to obtain an order,
he determined to try without one. Accord-
ingly he boldly drove up to the gates in a
handsome carriage and four, with several
servants in livery, dressed himself like a
gentleman of the court. Stepping out of
the carriage, with an air of authority, he
desired to be shown over the building. The
officials, taken by surprise, and never doubt-
ing from his deportment his right to be
obeyed, permitted him to examine every-
thing he chose. A further short account
of him by Lucy Aikin may be introduced
here--it was written late in her life to a
young relation.
   "Few, very few, survive to the present
time to say, I remember Howard the ever
memorable philanthropist--l have seen him,
his image is still before my eyes--a small
man, brisk in his movements, with an ex-
pressive countenance--extremely fond of
children and entertaining them with narra-
tives fitted to their understanding. I was
indeed no more than eight years old when
his high career was arrested by death, on a

far distant coast, but immediately before
embarking on his last hazardous journey,
he had passed some time where my father
then resided, at Yarmouth in Norfolk, occu-
pied in preparing for the press, with his
assistance, his concluding volume on Laz-
arettoes, Prisons, and Hospitals. He loved
to unbend at times from this occupation, to
forget for a few moments in domestic inter-
course the scenes of distress and horror which
he had encountered in the fulfilment of his
high mission, and which he viewed it as a
sacred duty to expose to public notice. The
society of my mother was peculiarly accept-
able to him. Her step-mother was a lady
of the Whitbread family, with which Mr.
Howard was closely connected both by
blood and friendly intercourse, and from
this circumstance she had enjoyed from her
tenderest years, the privilege of knowing and
revering him, whilst her strictness of prin-
ciple, her steady conduct, and the whole
cast of her serene and amiable character,
had been peculiarly adapted to win his
esteem and affection.


   Both in his frequent visits to London,
where Arthur Jennings, my grandfather,
usually lived, and afterwards in Bedford-
shire, where he had inherited a small family
estate at Harlington, within a few miles of
his own property at Cardington, Mr.
Howard had many opportunities of cultivat-
ing this family connection, and I conceive
this to have been the channel through which
my father, the nephew as well as the son-
in-law of Mr. Jennings, was introduced to
him. It had been the irreparable misfor-
tune of Mr. Howard, owing to the narrow
and sordid notions of ignorant guardians,
who placed him under an utterly incompe-
tent schoolmaster, never to obtain the power
of writing correctly his own language. On
this account he had always found it desirable
to obtain literary assistance, in giving to
the world the valuable matter of his works.
   It was under my father's superintendence
that his previous volumes had issued from
the Warrington Press, and he was now for
the last time imparting a precious record of
his unparalleled exertions to one who enter-


ed heart and soul into his objects, and
honored himself almost beyond all human
   Eleven years spent in teaching left Mrs.
Barbauld, as well as her husband, so much
exhausted and out of health, that they gave
up their school at the end of that time, in
1785 ; and after a year spend on the continent
and another in London, fixed themselves at
Hampstead, where, besides taking one or
two pupils, Mr. Barbauld accepted an invi-
tation to perform duty at a small chapel,
for which a larger building has now been
substituted, and of which the Rev. Dr. Sadler
is the minister.
   Mrs. Barbauld describes the place in a
letter to her brother ;
   "Hampstead is certainly the pleasantest
village about London. The mall of the
place, a kind of terrace, which they call
Prospect Walk, commands a most extensive
and varied view over Middlesex and Berk-
shire, in which is included, besides many
inferior places, the majestic Windsor and
lofty Harrow, which last is so conspicuously


placed that you know King James called it
'God's visible Church upon earth.' Hamp-
stead and Highgate are mutually objects to
each other, and the road between them
is delightfully pleasant, lying along Lord
Mansfield's fine woods, and the Earl of
Southampton's ferme ornée. Lady Mans-
field and Lady Southampton, I am told, are
both admirable dairy-women, and so jealous
of each other's fame in that particular, that
they have once or twice been very near a serious
falling-out, on the dispute which of them
could make the greatest quantity of butter
from such a number of cows. On observing
the beautiful smoothness of the turf in some
of the fields about this place, I was told, the
gentlemen to whom they belonged had them
rolled like a garden plot.
   I imagine we shall stay here till pretty
late in the autumn, but if we enjoy the
sunny gleams, we shall likewise endure
many a cutting blast, for I think, except
Avignon, this is the most windy place I ever
was in.


   As we have no house, we are not visited
except by those with whom we have con-
nections, but few as they are, they have
filled our time with a continual round of
company, we have not been six days alone.
This is a matter I do not altogether wish,
for they make very long tea drinking after-
noons, and a whole long afternoon is really
a piece of life. However they are very
kind and civil. I am trying to get a little
company in a more improving way, and
have made a party with a young lady to
read Italian together.
   I pity the young ladies of Hampstead,
there are several very agreeable ones. One
gentleman in particular has five tall mar-
riageable daughters, and not a single young
man is to be seen in the place, but of
widows and old maids such a plenty."
   The village of Hampstead was then even
more secluded than its distance from town
seemed to warrant, the hill apparently being
considered almost inaccessible. In a diary
kept by Mr. Barbauld, he frequently speaks
of being prevented going to town by the


state of the roads; and the passengers by
the stage coach were always required to walk
up the hill. Mrs. B. in a letter to Dr. Aikin
describes the house they afterwards took as
"standing in the high road at the entrance
of the village quite surrounded by fields."
The house still stands--the one immediately
above Rosslyn Terrace--but the fields have
alas, disappeared.
   Mrs. Barbauld found many excellent and
kind friends in this place. Mrs. Joanna
Baillie, Mr. Hoare, and Mr. and Mrs. Carr
of Frognal were some of the most intimate ;
with the last large family she remained on
affectionate terms to the end of her life.
Mr. Carr, then Solicitor to the Excise, was
always ready to give her his valuable legal
advice, and help ; and the eldest daughter,
afterwards married to the Rt. Hon. Dr.
Lushington, was her peculiar favorite.
   Joanna Baillie and her sister had lately
established themselves also in a house at
Hampstead, in which for the next half
century they received all the choicest society
England could boast--Mrs. Barbauld writes


--"I have received great pleasure lately from
the representation of De Montfort, a tragedy
which you probably read half a year ago in
a volume entitled 'A series of Plays on the
Passions.' I admired it then, but little
dreamed I was indebted for my entertain-
ment to a young lady of Hampstead whom
I visited, and who came to Mr. Barbauld's
Chapel all the while with as innocent a face
as if she had never written a line. The
play is admirably acted by Mrs. Siddons
and Kemble, and is finely written, with
great purity of sentiment, beauty of diction,
strength and originality of character ; but it
is open to criticism--I cannot believe such
a hatred natural. The affection between
the brother and sister is beautifully touched,
and as far as I know, quite new. The play
is somewhat too good for the present taste."
   At Hampstead Mrs. Barbauld wrote
several of her prose Essays, and contributed
to Dr. Aikin's popular little work of
"Evenings at Home"--of which however
only fourteen of the ninety-nine pieces are
her's. Also a poem addressed to Mr.


Wilberforce on the rejection of the "Bill for
abolishing the Slave Trade." Mrs. Hannah
More acknowledged a copy of the poem as

                   Cowslip Green, July, 1791.
My dear Madam,
      Sickness and a variety of perplexing
circumstances have thrown me so much
out of the way of seeing you, that I hardly
feel myself intitled to any mark of kindness
from you. But had I seen your incompar-
able Poem by accident, and had it not come
to me endeared as your gift, I should not
have been able to have withheld writing to
you to express my delight, my gratitude,
my admiration. I cannot tell you how
many times I have read it. I really had
begun to pray (as I told the excellent person
to whom you have addressed it) that my
poetical enthusiasm was quite dead, but I
find that like another idol it was only gone
a journey or was asleep, and that it can be
awakened at any time by such verses as you
have sent me. I thank you for writing so


well, for writing on a subject so near my
heart, and for addressing it to one so every
way worthy of your highest esteem. I could
not forbear repeating to him part of the
animated description of the union of bar-
barity and voluptuousness in the West
Indian woman, and he did full justice to
this striking picture.* He is now upon a
visit to me, and I wish I could tempt Mr.
Barbauld and you to indulge me with your
company would find quiet, plea-
sing picturesque scenery, a few books and
a great deal of friendship.
   I hardly know how to enclose the trifling
verses within. I wrote them in a playful

* Lo ! where reclined, pale Beauty courts the breeze
   Diffused on sofas of voluptuous ease ;
   With anxious awe her menial train around
   Catch her faint whispers of half-uttered sound ;
   See her, in monstrous fellowship unite
   At once the Scythian and the Sybarite !
   Blending repugnant vices, misallied,
   Which frugal nature purposed to divide ;
   See her, with indolence to fierceness joined,
   Of body delicate, infirm of mind,
   With languid tones imperious mandates urge ;
   With arm recumbent wield the household scourge ;
   And with unruffled mien, and placid sounds,
   Contriving torture, and inflicting wounds.


hour at the Bishop's ; they owe their ap-
pearance in print to the gallantry of my
friend Mr. Walpole. To send them to you
is keeping up the African trade of beads and
bits of glass in exchange for gold and ivory.
My sisters join me in kind regards to Mr.
B. and yourself,
      I am, my dear Madam,
   Your obliged and very affectionate,
                                H. MORE."

   The poem mentioned at the end of this
letter was called 'Bonner's Ghost' in which
he is supposed to lament the liberality of
the age ; this drew an answer, which will
be found in the Appendix. It was never
before printed, but copies must have been
circulated, as the lines
      "Nor brush one cob web from St. Paul's
      Lest you should shake the dome,"

were quoted in a Church debate in the
House of Commons. It is to be supposed
she did not send a copy to her friend Hannah
   Between the Aikin and the Rogers family


a long friendship had subsisted, and Mrs.
Barbauld watched the career of the young
poet* with affectionate interest--he pre-
served among his papers the following letter
--we cannot discover however whether he
accepted the invitation it contains, and join-
ed Mrs. Barbauld's party to the Long Room.

"To Mr. Samuel Rogers, junr.
         We are obliged to you for much
elegant amusement, thro' the books which
we safely received, and which we shall beg
leave to keep a little longer. Your visit was
so short that we wish to think of anything
which may induce you to make a longer, and

   *Mr. Rogers has often been accused of too great fond-
ness for rank and fashion, he was however sincerely
anxious to become a popular poet, and nothing gratified
him more than to think his writings known to the
classes below himself. He told Miss Aikin, in illustra-
tion of this, that being one evening in the gallery of the
Opera House, he observed a plain, very respectable,
elderly man gazing at him for a long time with great
earnestness. At length, between the acts, this person
quitted his seat, and coming up to him said solemnly,
"pray sir, is your name Samuel Rogers?" "Yes, it is,"
he replied, with a benignant smile. "Then sir, I should
be glad to know why you have changed your poulterer."


as we are to have an assembly at the Long
Room, on Monday next, the 22nd, which
they say will be a pretty good one, I take
the liberty to ask whether it will be agree-
able to you to be of our party, and in that
case, we have a bed at your service. I
could, I am sure, have my petition supported
by a round robin of the young ladies of
Hampstead, which would act like a spell
to oblige your attendance, but not being
willing to make use of such compulsory
methods I will only say how much pleasure
it will give to Sir,
         Your obliged and obedient servant,
                             A. L. BARBAULD.
   Our dinner hour, if you can give us your
company to dinner, is half after three.
      Hampstead, October, (about I788.)"

   In the year I793 Mrs. Barbauld paid a
visit to Edinburgh, no letters are preserved
describing it, but Sir Walter Scott gives the
following account of an evening at Mr.
Dugald Stewart's, at which he was not
himself present, though he and Mrs.


Barbauld afterwards met in London.
   It will be observed that he calls her Miss
Aikin though she had been married more
than twenty years.
   "About the summer of I793 or I794, the
celebrated Miss Letitia Aikin, better known
as Mrs. Barbauld, paid a visit to Edinburgh,
and was received by such literary society as
the place then boasted, with the hospitality
to which her talents and her worth entitled
her. Among others, she was kindly wel-
comed by the late excellent and admired
Professor Dugald Stewart, his lady, and
   It was in their evening society that Miss
Aikin drew from her pocket-book a version
of 'Lenore' executed by William Taylor,
Esq., of Norwich, with as much freedom as
was consistent with great spirit and scru-
pulous fidelity. She read this composition
to the company, who were electrified by
the tale. It was the more successful, that
Mr. Taylor had boldly copied the imitative
harmony of the German, and described the
spectral journey in language resembling


that of the original. Bürger had thus
painted the ghastly career.

         'Und hurre, hurre, hop, hop, hop !
         Ging's fort in sausendem Galopp,
         Dass Ross und Reiter schnoben,
         Und Kies und Funken stoben.'

   The words were rendered by the kindred
sounds in English.

      'Tramp, tramp, across the land they speed,
      Splash, splash, across the sea,
      Hurrah ! the dead can ride apace
      Dost fear, to ride with me ?'

   When Miss Aikin had finished her reci-
tation she replaced in her pocket-book the
paper from which she had read it, and en-
joyed the satisfaction of having made a
strong impression on the hearers, whose
bosoms thrilled yet the deeper as the ballad
was not to be more closely introduced to
them. The author* was not present on this
occasion, although he had then the distin-
guished advantage of being a familiar friend
and frequent visitor of Professor Stewart
and his family. But he was absent from
town while Miss Aikin was in Edinburgh,

      * Sir Walter Scott.


and it was not until his return that he
found all his friends in rapture with the
intelligence and good sense of their visitor,
but in particular with the wonderful trans-
lation from the German by means of which
she had delighted and astonished them.
The enthusiastic description given of
Bürger's ballad and the broken account of
the story, of which only two lines were
recollected, inspired the author, who had
some acquaintance as has been said, with
the German language, and a strong taste
for popular poetry, with a desire to see the
   (From Scott's Essay on Imitations of the
Ancient Ballads.)
   The only reference found to this visit, is
in a letter to her niece Lucy Aikin, who
also visited Edinburgh many years later--
it is dated from Stoke Newington, Decem-
ber 12th, 1811.

"My dear Niece,
      I am much obliged to you for your
entertaining letter, indeed we live very


much upon your letters, and as that kind
of food has the property as well as the
widow's cruse of being divided without di-
minishing, we do not scruple to impart it.
I rejoice you spend your time so pleasantly
at Edinburgh, as indeed you could not well
fail to do in such a family and such a town.
   I have not yet received from the Princess
Mary her picture set in diamonds, nor a
tea equipage of Sèvres China, nor so much
as a gold medallion of the King, with a
round robin of thanks from all the Royal
family, one or other of which I have been
in daily expectation of ever since I heard
from you Lord Buchan's intention with re-
gard to my poor copy of verses,* which, I
must confess I did not think quite calculated
to please a courtly ear, however, as Lord
Buchan has got them, let him do what he
pleases.--Pray tell him with my compli-
ments, that I have by no means forgotten his
hospitality nor the pleasant day I spent at
Dryburgh Abbey, nor the busts, nor the

         * On the King's illness.


incident of my hat's falling into the Tweed,
and if he will send me the verses he wrote
on that occasion, I will send him mine on
the ruins of the Abbey...........Does Jeffery
ride his great horse yet ? By the way, I
wish Grace would draw a caricature of that
scene, where you were bridling, Miss
Fletcher I suppose tittering, and the con-
scious culprit* bowing--or is he where he
ought to be, on his knees at your feet--but
possibly you are very good friends by this
   Well I have finished my verses, there are
a hundred and fifty faults in them, more
than I can mend, but my brother is pleased
with them, so I shall have some talk with
friend Richard about it.§ I would advise
you to let Constable have the Ode to Dun

   * Dr.---- had been engaged to Miss Aikin; he broke
it off owing to a distrust of his pecuniary resources, which
turned out to be quite unfounded. Meeting her some
years after at Edinburgh, where she was much admired
and caressed, he would gladly have renewed the engage-
ment had Miss A. been so inclined; she was so no longer
however, though they remained good friends to the end
of their lives.
         § Mr. Richard Taylor, the printer.


Edin and Holyrood House, and that pretty
little piece to Grace Fletcher on her draw-
ing her mother's portrait, which you have
written, but send us down some copies by
the coach, for I want to see them. How
ridiculous the complaint of the Clans you
tell me of against Miss Baillie. I suppose
it would be taking too great a liberty to write
anything about Gog and Magog, lest it
should affront some of their descendants.
   Pray if you see Miss Maclear give her
my affectionate compliments, and to Mr.
and Mrs. Dugald Stewart pray express my
affectionate veneration. Farewell, tho' we
miss you, we do not wish you in any other
place or company than that where you are
receiving and giving so much pleasure.
            Your affectionate aunt,
                                     A. L. BARBAULD."

   A letter from Dr. Priestley in his self-
imposed banishment in America belongs to
this period.

                             United States, 1797.
Dear Mrs. Barbauld,
      The pleasure I received from your
letter was the greater from it having been
unexpected. It has brought a great number
of pleasing scenes to mind, tho' attended
with the melancholy reflection that one
person* present to them all is now absent.
Tho' for many years she wrote but few
letters, there were not many persons who
were more frequently the subject of our
conversation, or whom she spoke of with so
much pleasure as yourself. Indeed, pleas-
ing impressions of so early a date are not
soon effaced, if no pains were taken to revive
them. If my diaries had not been destroyed
in the riots, I should have been able to
retrace some of them better than I can do
now. She often lamented the loss of a folio
book, into which she had copied all your
unpublished poems, and other small pieces,
especially the first poem we ever saw of
yours, on taking leave of her when we left

                * His wife.


Warrington, and of this I think I heard you
say you had no copy. The perusal of it
would give me more pleasure now than it
did at the first. The short and very just
character which you draw of her I have, and
value much. We regretted also the loss of
the little poem you wrote on the birth of
Joseph. But the time is fast approaching,
with respect to me, when our intercourse,
from which I have derived so much satis-
faction, will be renewed with advantage ;
and to this future scene late events have
drawn my attention in a more particular
manner than ever. How much to be pitied
are they who are not Christians. What
consolation can they have in their sorrow ?
mine have sometimes such a mixture of joy
as hardly to describe the name.
   Your letter, tho' dated Feb. 28th, I have
but just received, and since that date I find
I am under particular obligations to you for
taking under your care a daughter of Sally.*
A friend in need, they say, is a friend indeed,
and such you are to her, and I consider it

      * Dr. Priestley's daughter, Mrs. Finch.


as more than any act of friendship to myself.
   What you wish almost, I wish altogether,
that you and many others of my friends, in
England, were here. There cannot be a
more delightful spot on the face of the earth,
and here I trust we shall have peace. In
England, I fear, there will be troubles. If
possible, however, I propose to myself the
satisfaction of seeing my native country once
more before I die.
   I am glad that what I published here in
defence of Christianity, gives you pleasure.
By this time you may have seen more pieces
of the same tendency. Here the defection
from Christian principles is as great as with
you. But I consider it a certain sign of
better times. I am much pleased with Mr.
Towers on Prophecy. It is an extraordinary
performance for so young a man. I hope
that a beginning being now made, our
correspondence will be continued, at least
occasionally. I shall always be exceedingly
happy to hear from you. With all our best
respects,       Your's and Mr. Barbauld's,
                      Most sincerely,
                                    J. PRIESTLEY."


   Dr. Aikin who had been for some years
established as a physician in London, was
in 1798 attacked with an illness which seem-
ed to threaten his life, and put an end to
his hopes of remaining in practice. He
therefore gave up his house to his son
Charles, and took one in Stoke Newington,
then a pretty and rural village, of which Lucy
Aikin writes, "This suburban village has
been a very Elysian field of non-conformity.
Worthy Dr. Watts resided here five years
from 1876, as tutor to the son of Sir John
Hartopp, Bart. The last thirty-six years
of his life, which ended in 1748, were also
passed here under the roof of first, Sir
Thomas Abney, and afterwards of his widow
and daughter in succession. Dr. Price
lived as domestic chaplain for the thirteen
years preceding 1757, with Mr. Streatfield,
of Church street, Stoke Newington, in one


of the two houses which about 1709 had
afforded a tranquil shelter to the memorable
Daniel Defoe, also a dissenter.
   Here too England's great philanthropist
John Howard, born in 1727, resided between
1752 and 1756. On his removal, with
characteristic generosity, he made a hand-
some donation to the congregation in Church
street, for the purpose of providing a house
for the minister. Here no doubt must have
been formed his intimate, confidential, and
affectionate friendship, with the excellent
Dr. Price, in which he found unfailing aid
and solace, down to their last solemn leave-
taking, previous to the departure of Howard
on his last pilgrimage."
   Dr. Aikin, though so ill when he went to
Stoke Newington (to which the family were
drawn by its being the abode of Mrs. Kinder,
Mrs. Aikin's only sister,) recovered, and
really lived twenty years there ; giving him-
self to a life of literature, but occasionally
practising in consultation, and attending
many poor persons gratuitously.
   Between himself and his sister the tend-


erest affection had always existed, and the
longing for daily intercourse now became so
strong in both, that Mrs. Barbauld in 1802
persuaded her husband to quit Hampstead
and purchase a house close to her brother's,
in which she remained to the end of her
life. A little poem addressed to her by her
brother, at this time expresses their feelings.

   Yet one dear wish still struggles in my breast,
   And points one darling object unpossest ;--
   How many years have whirled their rapid course
    Since we, sole streamlets from one honored source,
   In fond affection as in blood allied,
   Have wandered devious from each other's side ;
   Allowed to catch alone some transient view,
   Scarce long enough to think the vision true !
   O then while yet of life some zest remains,
   While transport yet can swell the beating veins,
   While sweet remembrance keeps her wonted seat,
   And fancy still retains some genial heat ;
   When evening bids each busy task be o'er,
   Once let us meet again, to part no more !

   The following letters belong to this time.
They are arranged according to dates. The
literary project, mentioned by Miss Edge-
worth, in the first letter, does not appear to
have ever been carried out.


                                  July 22nd, 1804.
"My dear Madam,
         I will not trouble you with any
common places, about time, and distance,
and friendship, but taking it for granted
that you are the same Mrs. Barbauld, and
that I am the same Maria E. who made
acquaintance with each other in the year
1799, I proceed to mention a scheme of my
father's. He thinks that a periodical paper,
to be written entirely by ladies, would suc-
ceed, and we wish that all the literary ladies
of the present day might be invited to take
a share in it.--No papers to be rejected--
each to be signed by the initial of the
author's name--each to be inserted in the
order in which it is received.
   If you approve, tell us what would be the
best method of proceeding. Would a paper
in the Monthly Magazine put the business
in train ? Why cannot you, dear Mrs. Bar-
bauld, prevail upon yourself to come to
Ireland, or rather, why cannot we prevail
upon you ? We do not pretend to diminish
the terrors of sea-sickness, but we could


hope to balance a few hours of pain by some
months of pleasure. We are vain enough
to feel tolerably certain that you would be
happy in the midst of a family, united
amongst themselves, who have from their
childhood, heard the name of Mrs. Barbauld
with respect, and who, as they have grown
up, have learnt better and better to appre-
ciate her merit.
   Mrs. Edgeworth and my father join with
me in every kind wish for your health and
happiness, and we hope we have not lost our
place in good Mr. Barbauld's esteem and
affection. Believe me to be, my dear
                      Your sincerely affectionate,
                                MARIA EDGEWORTH."

                    "Stoke Newington,
                                  Aug. 30th, 1804.
Dear Madam,
         I wish I could convey to you an
adequate idea of the pleasure it gave me to
receive a letter from your hand, and I will
add, of the sensibility excited in me by that

token of your esteem, conscious as I was
that my own hand had but ill obeyed the
dictates of my heart, in expressing those
sentiments of esteem and regard which are
indelibly engraven upon it. When I received
your letter I was just going to Tunbridge,
and as the contents required some consider-
ation, I thought it best not to answer it
till my return. As to the scheme of a peri-
odical paper, there is no one who would not
be delighted to see it undertaken by your-
self and Co., provided the Co. was in any
measure adequate to the first of the firm,
but I do not know what to say to the idea,
which seems to be a leading one in your
plan, of inviting the literary ladies to join
it. All the literary ladies ! Mercy on us !
Have you ever reckoned up how many there
are, or computed how much trash, and how
many discordant materials would be poured
in from such a general invitation. I feel
also doubtful of the propriety of making it
declaredly a lady's paper. There is no bond
of union among literary women, any more
than among literary men ; different senti-


ments and different connections separate
them much more than the joint interest of
their sex would unite them. Mrs. Hannah
More would not write along with you or me,
and we should probably hesitate at joining
Miss Hays, or if she were living, Mrs.
Godwin. But suppose a sufficient number
willing and able to co-operate, which I am
willing to think might probably be found,
still I do not see why it should be ostensibly
'The Lady's Paper.' Many would sneer
at the title, they would pretend to expect,
however unreasonably, frivolity or romance.
There is a great difference between a paper
written by a lady, and as a lady. To write
professedly as a female junto seems in some
measure to suggest a certain cast of senti-
ment, and you would write in trammels.
If a number of clergymen were to join in
writing a paper, I think they should not
call it 'The Clergymen's Paper,' except they
meant to make it chiefly theological. With
regard to the scheme in general of a peri-
odical paper, I am apt to think there is
room for one. The Mirror, and Cumber-


land's Observer were the last of the kind, if
indeed they may be reckoned of the kind.
The Mirror was never circulated in England
but in vols., and I am not sure whether the
Observer was anywhere. A paper is a
pleasing mode of writing, as it admits equal-
ly the lightest and the gravest subjects ; the
most desultory, and the most profound, if
treated concisely ; but humour and charac-
ter, the manners and modes of the times
seem to be the subject more particularly
called for. And why if you can find gen-
tlemen, should not gentlemen be admitted.
I am sure we have not any writer of that
sex who ought not, and I believe who would
not, he proud to join with Miss Edgeworth ;
and surely Mr. Edgeworth at least would
give his assistance, and would not Dr.
Beddoes ? How rich an accession that
would be. One thing my own judgment is
clear in, that there ought not to be more
than half-a-dozen principals in such a
scheme, occasional correspondence should
also be admitted, but by no means without
selection, and a very strict one too, other-


wise you would be overwhelmed with trash ;
and if you print in London, the person who
selects must live there, and perhaps the
same person as Editor should have the care
of the paper, so far that it should be on him
or her to see that the press did not stand
still. I should think signatures, that might
be afterwards acknowledged like those in
the Spectator, would in general be more
agreeable to the feelings of the writers than
the giving the name at first. With regard
to myself, I would offer you my assistance,
and should feel highly gratified in all re-
spects if you permitted me to join my name
with yours, did I feel that fertility and flow
of fancy which is requisite for the under-
taking. Once it was a favorite scheme of
mine, had my brother been willing to join,
and I had then several little pieces which
might have answered such a purpose, but
they have been scattered about in Mag-
azines, and I dare not trust to the future,
expecting naturally to grow duller and duller,
and besides always writing slow, so that I
should not dare to bring upon myself an


obligation, I should feel a tremendous one,
that of supplying the press at stated times,
whether I have anything to say or not--
but I would rank with pleasure among the
occasional contributors, If I can be of any
service by sounding or inviting anybody
that I know in London, male or female, to
the scheme, command me. We have here
Miss Baillie, Mrs. Opie, give me leave to
add my niece Lucy Aikin, and many others ;
Mr. S. Rogers I rather think would not be
averse to join a scheme of this kind. But
you--you are a host in yourself. How
much have we all to thank you for of en-
tertainment and instruction, how admirably
have you contrived to join fancy, interest,
knowledge of the world, sound sense, use-
ful morality in the various pieces which
with so rich and flowing a vein of instruct-
ion you have poured out before us. Will
you permit me to name my two favorites in
your last work. They are Rosanna and
To-morrow, tho' the latter I confess I read
not without some twinges of conscience
which interrupted my amusement...........


   I am told just now I ought to be fright-
ened at the impending invasion, and if I
were at a watering place perhaps I should,
but really the invasion has been got up so
often it begins to lose its effect, and I think
we are pretty well prepared ; besides my be-
ing afraid will do no good.
   Remember us to Mr. and Mrs. Edgeworth
with affection and gratitude, and may
every happiness rest on yourself and your
family is the wish of Mr. Barbauld and

   To Mrs. Barbauld,
                               September 4th 1804.

My dear Madam,
         I tell you, because I know it will
give you pleasure, that no people in similar
situations upon this oblate spheroid which
used formerly to be called a globe, live to-
gether in more perfect amity and confidence
than Mrs. E., Maria, and myself, and yet till
this day I never ventured to open a letter
directed to either of them. But this morn-


ing, as Maria's literary partner, I took it
upon my conscience and honour to open
yours in her absence, as I knew your hand
and as I was privy to the contents of her
letter to you. She will take great pleasure
in returning an answer of her own ; but that
shall not prevent me from seizing this
favourable occasion of assuring you of my
most sincere and affectionate esteem, and
of the regard and respect which I feel for
Mr. Barbauld.
   I agree with you implicitly in all you
say with respect to my scheme for a Fem-
inead. It is something curious that the
subject and the title should be spoken of in
Mr. Edwards' letters to Richardson, which
came to our hands long after Maria had
written to you.
   In particular I agree with you about the
imprudence of engaging to furnish, as poor
Johnson was obliged to do, a certain quantity
of copy every week. To avoid this necessity
nothing is requisite but such a collection of
papers as would suffice for two thirds of the
work before we published any. To prevent


all cavil as to female authorship--let the
paper be announced as the work of a society
of Gentlemen and Ladies. Bankers, I
mean honest, solvent bankers, keep two-
thirds of whatever may be demanded from
them in constant readiness, we may therefore
not only collect two-thirds of the original
stock, but each of the society may engage
to furnish one additional paper as soon as
one of their writing has been published.--
The editor would thus be tolerably secure
of sufficient support.
   The names you mention are highly ap-
proved of in this family. Miss Baillie has
more of what is usually called genius than
most ladies whose works have fallen into my
hands. The correctness, sound judgment,
and enlarged mind of another female writer,
who has still more genius, might be acquir-
ed by Miss B. if she is a lady who supposes
that those who write and act the best are
those who are most capable of improvement.
I do not know Mrs. Inchbald, but my son
Lovell (who is still prisoner at Verdun)
thought well of her ; would she be a useful


correspondent? We are so unfortunate as
never to have seen Miss Aikin's poetry for
children ; but we saw one piece of her writ-
ing in London five years ago, and we saw
the lady herself. We are therefore able to
determine that she does not disgrace the
Aikin school.
   We have read the greatest part of
Richardson's Life and Correspondence.
Your criticisms are excellent, and your
censures of the indecent passages in your
author are highly becoming and highly
useful. As your sex becomes more civiliz-
ed every day, it is necessary that they should
become more circumspect in conversation
and in all the paraphernalia of modesty.
A married lady in France is allowed one
lover, she is pardon'd for two ; three is rather
too many--but great delicacy of sentiment,
elegant language, decent dress, and a good
choice of the objects of her attachments will
preserve her from absolute excommunica-
tion, but a failure in any of these circum-
stances places her in a disreputable class of
females. You have made R. appear to


great advantage, without using any of the
unfaithful arts of an editor. You have
shewn, that like other mortals, he had fail-
ings ; but his enthusiasm for virtue, his
generosity, and true politeness of heart and
conduct, are brought so distinctly before the
eye, that we love the man as much as we
admire the author. His invitations to his
friends are so kind and so hearty, that we
really wish to learn his art of persuading
those whom he loved to visit him, and we
would try it first upon you. If the
French land in England, which I think will
happen, come over here, where you may be
sure they will not come till they have tried
their fortune on the shores of Britain.
   We have learned some good precepts from
your criticisms, and in return I have mark'd
two or three careless passages in the early
part of your life of Richardson. I took the
book out of the hands of one of the eight
readers round our table this 4th of Septem-
ber, 1804, 9 p.m., to look for some of my
criticisms, but I was so struck upon the
second reading with your excellent remarks


upon Pamela, that I could not turn away to
look for them, and the book could not be
spared to me. Why do you quote Sedley's
lines, they are un peu trop séduisants. I
am delighted with Mad. Klopstock, and ab-
solutely shocked at her death. Richardson's
remarks on Miss Mulso's correspondence
about love are of high value, particularly to
us, as they are the best apologies I have
seen for Belinda--whom Madam de Sanza
(formerly Mlle. Flacoux) thought a monster,
not a woman.
   Mrs. E's. daughter, whom she was nurs-
ing when you saw her, caught something of
the divine air from your kisses. She
promises to have an observing judicious
mind and an affectionate temper. She has
two other daughters--none of them beauties
--but all very well--all healthy. I have a
charming daughter-- a most promising lad
of science, ten years old--and two fine
captains, who will defend and amuse you if
you come here--but nobody here or else-
where values you more highly than I do.
   Be so good as to give my respects to Dr.


Aikin who supports virtue, science, and good
letters, so ably by his pen and his example.
              I am, Dr. Madam,
                       Most sincerely yours,
                                   R. L. EDGEWORTH."

                                Sept. 23rd, 1804,
My dear Madam,
      On my return home yesterday I
had the pleasure of your letter ; my father
would not forward it to me, but kept it, as
he said, on purpose to increase my agreeable
associations with home. It was indeed a
great pleasure to receive such a letter from
you. From the first moment that you pro-
fessed a regard for us, I never could doubt
of our holding a place in your esteem, so
long as we remained unchanged ; but not-
withstanding the steadiness of this belief,
it was delightful to me to receive assurances
under your own hand and seal that I was
in the right. The freedom and affectionate
warmth of your letter were peculiarly grate-
ful to me ; and though the praise you bestow


on some of our works, may be far beyond
what your cool judgment would allow, yet
I am perfectly well satisfied to find that in
our cause your judgment is not cool. Is not
it said of Pascal, that he wore a girdle of
spikes, which he pressed into himself when-
ever he was conscious of any emotions of
vanity? How deep they must have been
pressed, if he had been praised by Mrs.
Barbauld ! For my part, I do not pretend
to any ascetic humility, nor do I inflict upon
myself the penance of abstinence from the
refined delicacies of praise--especially when
they are presented by a friend.
   With respect to the Lady's Paper, my father
desires me to tell you, dear Madam, that it
was his proposal, not mine ; I am glad that
your objections have appeared to him satis-
factory. I agree with you perfectly in
thinking that to provoke a war with the
other sex, would be neither politic nor be-
coming in ours. Our literature would never
be placed in competition with theirs to
plague them, it should be added to the
common stock of amusement and happiness.


To attempt to form a corps of literary
women, where all would wish to be officers,
except those best suited to command, where
there would be no discipline, and where, as
you observe, the individuals might not
choose to mess together, would be absurd
and ridiculous.
   As I was not at home, when my father
answered your letter, I am perhaps repeat-
ing the very things which he has said ; but
this you must excuse, for we are notorious
for expressing the same ideas, often in the
same words, at different ends of the same
   To one thing in your letter, dear Madam,
I must object, even if my father has not
dared to do so : I must remonstrate against
your being only an occasional correspond-
ent. I am not surprised, that you should
not like to bind yourself to feed the press
with daily delicacies, but by proper economy
and arrangements, amongst the principal
purveyors, you would never be exposed to
this tremendous necessity. I hope therefore
that upon second thoughts, which Dr. Aikin


will in this case allow to be best, you will
consent to give credit to our firm, by placing
your name foremost as the acting partner.
We should rejoice to have the able, and
elegant assistance of Miss Aikin, of your
brother, and of Mr. Rogers, Miss Baillie,
and Mrs. Opie.
   Do not imagine, dear Mrs. Barbauld,
when I mention the life of Richardson, that
I am going to a4tempt that return of eulo-
gium, with which authors sometimes treat
each other.--You are quite above this traffic
of bays, and, I hope, so am I. The eager
interest with which I read the life of Rich-
ardson you would have thought the most
unequivocal testimony I could give of
my liking it. My father, in jest, said that
I was wildly anxious to read it, because it
was the life of an author, but I knew that
my interest in it arose from its being writ-
ten by Mrs. Barbauld. I think I should be
able to distinguish her style from that of
any other female writer by the ease, fre-
quency, and felicity, of its classical allusions
--allusions sufficiently intelligible to the


unlearned, and which serve as freemason
signs to the learned.
   Though you have such an aversion to the
sea, we do not yet give up the hopes of
having you and Mr. Barbauld at Edge-
worthstown. We shall expect you along
with the blessings of peace. But when--
is I fear in the bosom of Emperors. In the
mean time, dear madam, accept my grate-
ful thanks for your kindness, and believe
me with sincere esteem and admiration.
            Affectionately yours,
                                MARIA EDGEWORTH."

                          "Stoke Newington,
                                January 28th, 1805.
Dear Miss Edgeworth,
            I appear before you again as a
culprit, and you have too much reason to
imagine me inattentive to the contents of
your last most friendly letter. They have
however dwelt much upon my mind, and
when I returned home (for I received it at
Bristol) I revolved the scheme much in my


mind, and made what enquiries I could
the probable success of a periodical paper
and it should seem that the first step should
be to consult with a Bookseller, for tho'
there would be no doubt of the success when
gathered into volumes, there is no very
recent experience of an undertaking of this
kind in the feuille volante. The Mirrors were
never published in England, till they were
in volumes; and the Ramblers, as I see from
Richardson's correspondence, lay heavy on
Cave's hands when they first came out.
Therefore the opinion of a Bookseller should
be first had, and that Bookseller should be
a man, active, and disposed to push such a
scheme, not to let the papers sleep in his
shop for want of advertisements, &c. Then
as to the coadjutors, as it is no longer
necessary they should be all ladies, I have
been this long while attacking my brother
on the subject, but on account of his other
engagements, I cannot get him to think of
more than an occasional paper, which I dare
say he would now and then offer. There is
a person, whom I should think very proper


for such an undertaking, and I think it not
unlikely that it might suit him, as, with a
good deal of genius, he has not, that I know
of, any important literary work in hand ; I
mean Mr. William Taylor of Norwich. He
has an uncommon share of learning and in-
formation, and great originality of thought
and style ; the last mentioned quality it is
necessary to apprise you of, because it often
leads him to singularity both in matter and
style, and I believe he often sports opinions
for the value of defending them, with a
great deal of ingenuity and critical acumen.
In language, he is fond of old Saxon words,
thinking, and very justly, that we have
weakened the nerve and strength of our
language, by abandoning much of its ancient
riches, But he can write without these
particularities. He has written a good deal
of poetry, which ought, I think, to have
established his fame, but it has been care-
lessly thrown into Magazines, piece by
piece, and has not assumed that importance
to the eye, which is generally necessary to
give celebrity. Perhaps you may have seen


his translation (the best I think) of Bürger's
Leonora ; and a beautiful one of Goethe's
Iphigenia. As a man, he is most amiable
and worthy. I was on the point of men-
tioning the scheme to him, but I thought it
was right you should first know what he was.
But, my dear Madam, I am convinced it is
necessary for such a scheme as this, that
you should yourself come to town, and in
truth you ought to do so on every account.
We cannot let Ireland engross you. Come
and enjoy your own celebrity. Come and
give pleasure to your numerous friends.
Come and explore all London can afford of
food for the mind and the imagination. In
two or three years there is always something
new. How much I should rejoice in such
a determination, I trust I need not say,
nor how much I shall feel myself honoured
and delighted with as much as you can
afford me of your society. I became very
impatient for your Griselda, before Johnson
thought proper to produce it, need I add we
have read it with great pleasure. It is
charming, like everything you write, but I


can tell you the gentlemen like it better than
the ladies, and if you were to be tried by a
jury of your own sex, I do not know what
punishment you might be sentenced to, for
having betrayed their cause. " The author
is one of your own sex, we men have
nothing to do but to stand by and laugh ;"
as the remark of a gentleman, no less
candid aman than Dr. Aikin : and then the
moral (a general moral if I understand it
right), that a man must not indulge his
wife too much ! If I were a new-married
woman, I do not know whether I would
forgive you till you had made the amende
honorable, by writing something to expose
the men. All however are unanimous in
admiring the sprightliness of the dialogue,
and the ingenious and varied perversenesses
of the heroine. The Royal Institution has
been very much crowded this year, and
Sidney Smith is the favourite of the day.
I have not heard him, but I understand he
makes his lectures on morals very diverting,
which is not exactly what I should have
expected from such a subject, however, it suc-

ceeds. Have you seen Master Betty? have
you heard Sidney Smith ? are the questions
that generally succeed one another. We
enjoyed great pleasure this summer in see-
ing your two sisters at Bristol, and in being
introduced to Mr. King, whom we had not
seen before. And now, if I were not so near
the bottom of my paper, I should turn to
Mr. Edgeworth, and thank him for the
favour of a charming letter, which, if I
possessed a share of his sprightliness, I
would endeavour to answer. I am very sen-
sible to the obliging things you both say on
the subject of Richardson, and I kiss the
rod with regard to the verses of Sedley
To own the truth, my conscience did remon-
strate a little, but I was seduced by the
beauty of the verses. Seriously however
I shall be much obliged to Mr. Edgeworth
or you for any criticisms on the life, because
Phillips talks of publishing it separately.
I am obliged to comprise in little room a
thousand things, as well from Mr. Barbauld
as myself, which would endeavour to express
the esteem and affection so justly due to


Mr. and Mrs. Edgeworth and all your family.
   Believe me ever, with high regard.
                             Yours &c.,
                                A. L. BARBAULD."

              To Miss Aikin,
                     At Mr. Taylor's, Norwich.
"My dear Niece,
            After the very entertaining letter
you favoured me with, you had a right
to expect an earlier answer, and nothing,
believe me, has prevented it, but the con-
ciousness of not having equal entertainment
to offer in return.
   I am much obliged to you for the infor-
mation relative to the convenience of our
good friends with regard to receiving us,
but I do not now think we shall take the
journey at all this year, for I am grown so
deaf of late, that I am not willing to intrude
such an infirmity on the sprightly and ani-
mating parties Norwich affords, or to
undergo myself the mortification of Tanta-
lus, when the cup of social joy is offered to
my lips. I rejoice however in the pleasure


that you are giving and receiving, and most
particularly in the good accounts of your
health, the foundation of all enjoyment.
I hope this journey will strengthen and
confirm it, and that every circumstance
will contribute to increase the pleasure we
shall enjoy, when we see you again. We
have paid two pleasant visits since I heard
from you, one was to Mr. Rogers in his
elegant house, looking into the Green Park,
every decoration of which is as elegant and
recherché as his verses. Indeed, I think one
might naturally conclude from the perusal
of his poems, that his bookcase is of satin-
wood, and his drawing room furnished with
marbles, bronzes, &c. The company was
Mrs. Weddel a connoiseur in painting and
an intimate friend of the late Mr. Palgrave,
Gifford, Mathias, the Rogers', and Sharpes,
and Mr. S.--distinguished in the witty and
fashionable world, and whose conversation
is esteemed by his admirers the most bril-
liant of any man's in those circles. There is
a romantic story belonging to his marriage.
When abroad in Italy, he unconsiously, as


it is said, made a conquest of the heart of a
married lady. Her husband, who doted
upon her, discovered his wife's attachment,
I believe indeed she acknowledged it to him,
upon which he wrote to Mr. S. who had
then left the place, to meet him at a town
which he named. Mr. S. went and found
the corpse of the husband, who had shot
himself, and a letter in which he said that
finding Mr. S. alone could make his wife
happy, he had taken out of the way the
only impediment to their union and charged
him as a man of honour to marry and pro-
tect his wife. And could she marry him
upon her husband's grave said I ? But
Mr. Barbauld asserts she was obliged to it
from regard to her husband, who otherwise
would have shot himself thro' the head for
nothing. I leave it as a crust for the female
casuists. Well, our other visit was paid
yesterday to Dr. Gregory* (or parson G. as
his parishioners call him) and his wife at
West Ham. My brother and sister were with

* Rector of West Ham, and husband to a dear old
friend of Mrs. Barbauld's.


us. We called in the way on Mr. Lindsay
who has got a very noble house indeed by
Old Ford, which situation lying under some
suspicion from the neighbourhood of the
Lea marshes, Mr. Macmurdo stoutly asserted
that the playground was as high as St.
Paul's. West Ham betrays its vicinity by a
plantation of reeds for the basket makers,
and causeways raised above the meadows,
and as a village it is inferior to Layton--
however our friends like it, they have got a
good house and Mrs. Gregory seems quite
happy with the varied employments of
visiting the parish, taking care of her chil-
dren, pigs, ducks, peacocks, cows, &c., &c. ;
she assures me she can make butter.
   We have been reading with might and
main to get thro' Mr. Roscoe's four 4to
vols.; for four 4to vols., let me tell you, is an
arduous undertaking ; and there is such an
utter depravity of morals, and all kind of
principles among these Italians, that there
is hardly one I care three farthings about.
I was struck with one passage as affording
a fine frame for a novel in the gloomy and


terrible style to be entitled The Confessions of
. Gonsalvo, it seems, on his death-
bed lamented two faults he had been guilty
of in the course of his life ; but there was a
third crime he never would reveal, 'he could
have unfolded a tale' says Roscoe, but he
died a penitent, and trusted it with his other
faults to the bosom of his God. Now he
must have revealed it to his Confessor who
might have committed it to writing and it
was probably found by the French, in some
of the late convulsions, from whence Mr.
Godwin, I think, might come to the know-
ledge of this mysterious and horrible crime.
Or will you and Mr. Taylor undertake it ?
But I believe your conferences are rather
metaphysical, and if so, pray Madam what
is your opinion of causation ? Do you agree
with Dugald Stewart, Hume, and Mr. Leslie,
because if you do, I think you may as well
throw Paley's last work into the fire. But
perhaps you are by this time got to Yar-
mouth, and if so, I fear you are out of the way
of enjoying and giving pleasure. Where-
ever you are, pray remember us to those we


know and love. To Mr. Taylor and dear
Susan, I will certainly write soon. There
is only one sentence of your letter I quarrel
with, where you apologize for large paper.
Fie ! Repeat the fault and I will forgive
the apology. All are well and desire to be
                      Your affectionate aunt,
                                A. L. BARBAULD
Stoke Newington,
     July 27th, 1805."

                                Feb. 26th, 1801.
My dear Mrs. Barbauld,
      Holcroft wrote the heads of the
Chapters in Popular Tales ; he was employ-
ed by Johnson to correct the press. We were
so much scandalized when we saw them that
Johnson offered to cancel the whole im-
pression. My father says that I should not
enter into long explanations about trifles ;
but I cannot help being anxious to assure
you, that those trite vulgar sentences were


not written by my father and preceptor.
You will wonder why I should thus abruptly
address my justification to you. My dear
Madam, we have just been reading a review,
or rather an eulogium of Popular Tales,
which from the excellence of the writing
and its generous warmth, we are persuaded
could be written by no other but our friend
Mrs. Barbauld. I never felt, and my father
declares he never felt, so much pleasure from
any praise--indeed we never before received
any of so high value and from a judge whom
we so much respect. We would rather
have one grain of such praise than a cwt.
of compliment from common critics.
   I regret that I inserted in the Modern
Griselda the offensive line from Chaucer.
Let me assure you that this little tale was
written in playfulness not bitterness of
heart. My father had often declared that
he could not be imposed upon by me ; but
that he should know my writing without
my name to it. When he was absent for a
few weeks, and none but the ladies of the
family at home, I wrote this story, sent it to


Johnson, had it printed with a title page
without my name, and on my father's re-
turn home showed it to him. Not one of
the female committee who sat upon it every
day whilst it was writing and reading ever
imagined that it would be thought a severe
libel upon the sex--perhaps because the
attention was fixed upon Mrs. Granby, who
is at least as much a panegyric as Mrs.
Bolingbroke is a satire upon the sex. It is
curious that the Edinburgh Reviewers laugh
at us for introducing into every story some
charming wife, sister, mother, or daughter,
who acts the part of the good fairy of the
piece. Leonora will confirm them in this
opinion and will I hope make my peace with
   There is some probability that my father
and two or three of this family may be in
England this year, and we look forward to
the hopes of seeing you, my dear Madam, as
one of the greatest pleasures that a visit to
London can afford. My brother Sneyd,
who is going to enter the Temple, will cer-
tainly accompany my father to England.


You may remember, if you do not always
forget your own goodness, that you select-
ed and read to us, several years ago, some
lines On Evening in the Monthly Mag. by
C. S. E.--written when he was ten years
old. He has not indulged since in writing
much poetry as he had far other studies to
pursue for the College of Dublin--on quit-
ing that College he wished to leave some
memorial behind, and he has just finished a
poem called The 'Transmigrations of Indur'
--the plan taken from your tale in Evenings
at Home. If this poem should obtain a
premium from the College we shall think
it worthy of the honor of being presented
to you my dear Mrs. Barbauld.
   My father did not see you since he saw
Mr. and Mrs. Carr in Bloomsbury Square :
they were extremely civil to him, and im-
pressed him with the idea that they would
be inclined to comply with any reasonable
request that he might make to them. My
father wishes for Mr. Carr's advice as to
the best method of disposing of Sneyd in
London for two years to come. It is his


present intention to be called to the Irish
bar, and two years will be sufficient eating
for him, to complete his terms, as he has
already eaten nine terms in Dublin. If
Mr. Carr could afford five minutes to write
to him he would esteem it a real favour.
   He wants his advice at present, simply on
these questions--
   Where should Sneyd lodge? And what
mode of living whould^ he recommend?            ^spelling error accurate to text
   Mrs. Edgeworth and my father are as
anxious as I am to preserve a place in Mr.
Barbauld's benevolent heart. My father
hopes he is now quite well.
   Believe me, dear Mrs. Barbauld, I am
with sincere esteem and grateful affection,
                         Your friend,
                               MARIA EDGEWORTH."

            To Miss Edgeworth,
                       "Stoke Newington,
                                 March 23rd, 1806.
Dear Madam,
      Few things, believe me, can give
me greater pleasure than to be remembered


by you with that partiality which you have
indulged me with. To read you, to hear
from you, and to see you, makes up the
most agreeable climax in the world, and I
am truly delighted to find that we on this
side the water may hope to enjoy the last
part of it. But I was much surprised to
see your letter begin with the name of
Holcroft. How, thought I, can Holcroft
come in as a third between Miss Edgeworth
and me ? To be serious, I do assure you
upon my honour, that I did not write the
Review of Popular Tales,* nor did I see a
single word of it till I received the printed
vol. Nor did I ever review any work of
yours. I am also of opinion that the man-
ner in which the titles were mentioned, was
not sufficiently respectful to Mr. Edgeworth,
even supposing him the author, and that it
was very little necessary to mention them
at all. For my own part I am not sure that
I knew there were titles till Mr. Edgeworth
directed my attention towards them, for
when a building is very inviting I am but

         * It was written by Lucy Aikin.


little inclined to stop at the porch. And
now, my dear Miss Edgeworth, permit me
to ask whether it is not more regular to
address any remarks relative to a Review
to the Editor, who is the only ostensible
person in the business. I do assure you I
have never asked, nor do I know, the
Reviewer of any article of mine in the
Annual R., tho' the Editor is my own Ne-
phew. And now let me thank you for the
very high pleasure and entertainment we
have recently received from your Leonora,
the heroine is an amiable and touching
picture of every virtue, and if there are any
who think you have played false to our sex
in Griselda, I hope they will be satisfied
with the amende honorable you have made
them. If I were writing to any one but
yourself, I should say more than you would
perhaps allow me to, of the delicate satire,
the good sense and knowledge of life, the
wit and brilliancy displayed in the charac-
ters of Olivia and Gabrielle, that admirable
Gabrielle, so truly a Frenchwoman, so
characteristic, and yet, till you drew her,


not that I know of, described. And the
General's letters ! But I forbear. There
is however in all human compositions some-
thing for a critic to nibble at, and if I have
the pleasure of seeing you, I shall ask you
whether you believe a promise binding upon
the conscience, that cannot be kept without
a crime, an engagement to one person that
implies the breach of a previous solemn vow
to another. It is impossible, I think, such
a sentiment can be yours, yet is not the
reader led to think so ? Extricate me my
dear Friend from this difficulty. Pray have
you seen a small vol. of Poems by Mr. Mont-
gomery ?* We are all delighted with them,
and consider him as a new star risen on the
poetical horizon. The author is a printer
at Sheffield, and has made himself what he
is, and seems to have keenly felt, as all in
narrow circumstances must do, the mortifi-
cation of having his mind ill suited to his
situation and his prospects. There is a
poem in particular, entitled the Ocean, very
striking, both from its sentiments and its

         * James Montgomery.


harmony. A verse of it has been running
in my head all day, as the Park and Tower
Guns were firing for our late victory.--

         For Britannia is wielding her trident to-day,
         And consuming her foes in her ire ;
         She is hurling her thunders with absolute sway,
         From her wave-ruling chariots of fire.

   I have sent Mr. Edgeworth's Queries to
Mr. Carr, from whom I suppose he has
heard or will hear. I think it is since Mr.
E. saw him that Mr. Carr has got the place
of Solicitor of Excise. I hope in any case
we shall see Mr. Sneyd's Poem when he
comes to town. The subject seems to me
susceptible of much poetical embellishment.
We are impatient to know when you come
to London, and how many of the family
will be of the party ; I would have all, I would
not willingly spare one of you to stay at
home. When the new projected Balloons
are perfected, how pleasantly a family party
might come over in one. I have only one
word to say, indulge us at Newington as
much as you can with your much valued
company. In the mean time, present from


Mr. Barbauld and myself, the most cordial
and respectful remembrances to Mr. and
Mrs. Edgeworth and all the family, and
believe me, with the highest sentiments of
esteem, Dear Madam,
                Your obliged and faithful,
                                   A. L. BARBAULD.


   MR. BARBAULD'S increasing mental disease
at this time, made his wife constantly feel
the comfort of living close to her brother
and his family--though it was not till her
life was actually endangered by his violence,
that she would consent to any restraint
being put upon the unhappy sufferer. He
one day at dinner, seized a knife from the
table and pursued her round the room ; she
only escaped by springing from the window

into the garden, and taking refuge in Dr.
Aikin's house.* In the end, a separation
took place, and Mr. Barbauld was, in the
care of a keeper, removed to a house next
Mr. C. R. Aikin's, in London, where he seem-
ed for a time to mend. Being, however,
imprudently trusted with money, he one day
bribed his attendant to allow him to walk
out alone, and as he never returned, search
was made, and his lifeless body found in the
New River. Miss Aikin remarks "and
though the escape of a sufferer, from the
most melancholy of human maladies, could
not in itself be a subject of rational regret,
her spirits were deeply wounded both by the

   * It was singular that Mrs. B. ran another danger
from the same cause a few years later.
   In Mr. Robinson's diary he gives an interesting ac-
count of Mr. Elton Hamond, a young man of great
talents, eloquence, and remarkably fine person. He
came to Mrs. B. with an introduction from the Edge-
worths, and was a very frequent visitor, indeed, he
persuaded her to take his sister as an inmate for several
years. After a time he became very strange, and in the
end destroyed himself. Mr. Robinson, whom he left
his executor, found after his death, among his papers,
one which discussed at great length, the best way of
'putting an end to Mrs. Barbauld's life'--by poison, a
sudden blow, shooting, stabbing, &c.


severe trials through which she had passed,
and by the mournful void, which always
succeeds the removal of an object of long and
deep, however painful, interest. An affect-
ing Dirge was found among her poems
which records her feelings on this occasion."

         Pure spirit ! O where art thou now !
         O whisper to my soul !
         O let some soothing thought of thee
         This bitter grief controul !

         T'is not for thee the tears I shed,
         Thy sufferings now are o'er ;
         The sea is calm, the tempest past.
         On that eternal shore.

         No more the storms that wrecked thy peace,
         Shall tear that gentle breast,
         Nor Summer's rage, nor Winter's cold,
         Thy poor, poor frame molest.

         Thy peace is sealed, thy rest is sure,
         My sorrows are to come ;
         Awhile I weep and linger here,
         Then follow to the tomb.

         And is the awful veil withdrawn
         That shrouds from mortal eyes,
         In deep impenetrable gloom,
         The secrets of the skies ?


         O, in some dream of visioned bliss,
         Some trance of rapture show
         Where, on the bosom of thy God,
         Thou rest'st from human woe !

         Thence may thy pure devotion's flame
         On me, on me descend ;
         To me thy strong aspiring hopes,
         Thy faith, thy fervour lend.

         Let these my lonely path illume,
         And teach my weakened mind
         To welcome all that's left of good,
         To all that's lost resigned.

         Farewell ! with honour, peace, and love,
         Be thy dear memory blest !
         Thou hast no tears for me to shed,
         When I too am at rest.

   The following extract from a letter of Sir
James Mackintosh to Mrs. John Taylor of
Norwich, must have reached England after
Mr. Barbauld's tragical end. It cannot now
be known whether it was ever seen by the
mourner ; but it may be taken for granted,
that so kind and faithful a friend as Mrs.
Taylor, would have communicated anything
that might have soothed her feelings at
such a time of distress.


                   "Bombay, 10th Oct., 1808.

   If I had been a little more acquainted with
Mrs. Barbauld, I should have written to
her.* If I could have spoken any conso-
lation, it would have been only payment of
a long arrear of instruction and pleasure for
thirty years. In another sense, it would
have been but the payment of a debt. I
could have said little, but what I learned
from herself. If ever there was a writer
whose wisdom is made to be useful in the
time of need, it is Mrs. Barbauld. No
moralist has ever more exactly touched the
point of the greatest practicable purity,
without being lost in exaggeration or sink-
ing into meanness. She has cultivated a
philosophy which will raise and animate
her, without refining it to that degree, when
it is no longer applicable to the gross pur-
poses of human life, and when it is too apt
to evaporate in hypocrisy and ostentation.
Her observations on the moral of 'Clarissa,'

   * On the aberration of intellect, under which her
husband was then suffering.


are as fine a piece of mitigated and rational
stoicism as our language can boast of : and
she who has so beautifully taught us the folly
of inconsistent expectations and complaints,
can never want practical wisdom under the
sharpest calamities. Mental disease is per-
haps the subject on which topics of conso-
lation are the most difficult to be managed.
Yet I have been engaged since my arrival
here in a very singular and not altogether
unsuccessful correspondence with poor Hall,
formerly of Cambridge, on the subject of
his own insanity. With Mrs. B's firmer
and calmer philosophy, I should think it
easy to teach the imagination habitually to
consider the evil only as a bodily disease,
of which the mental disturbance is a mere
symptom. That this habit deprives insan-
ity of its mysterious horrors, is obvious
enough from the instance of febrile delirium,
which fills us with no more horror than
any other morbid appearance, because we
steadily and constantly consider it as an
effect. The horrible character of the disease
seems much to depend on its being consid-


ered as arising from some secret and
mysterious change in the mind, which, by
a sort of noble superstition, is exalted
above vulgar corporeal organs. Whoever
firmly regards it as the result of physical
causes, will spare themselves much of this
horror, and acquire the means of being use-
ful to the sufferer. My advice may be
useless, but I should wish my sympathy
known to Mrs. Barbauld. It is the privilege
of such excellent writers, to command the
sympathy of the distant and unborn. It is
a delightful part of their fame ; and no
writer is more entitled to it, than Mrs.


   MRS. BARBAULD had the fortitude to seek
relief from dejection in literary occupation,
and incapable, as yet, of any stronger effort,
she consented to edit in 1810, a collection
of British Novelists, with an introductory
essay, and biographical and critical notices
prefixed to each author.
   In the following year, she compiled for
the use of young ladies, a collection of
verse and prose in one volume, entitled the
Female Speaker. She also resumed her
correspondence with a few friends ; some
letters are given here.

                         To Mrs. Taylor.
                                "June 18th, 1810.

         A thousand thanks for your kind
letter ; still more for the very short visit
that preceded it--though short--too short,
it has left indelible impressions on my mind ;


my heart has truly had communion with
yours--your sympathy has been balm to it ;
and I feel that there is no one now on earth
to whom I could pour out that heart more
readily, I may say so readily, as to yourself.
Very good also has my dear amiable Mrs.
Beecroft been to me, whose lively sweetness
and agreeable conversation, has at times,
won me to forget that my heart is heavy.
   I am now sitting alone again, and feel
like a person who has been sitting by a
cheerful fire, not sensible at the time of the
temperature of the air, but the fire removed,
he finds the season is still winter. Day after
day passes, and I do not know what to do
with my time, my mind has no energy, nor
power of application. I can tell you, how-
ever, what I have done with some hours of
it, which have been agreeably employed in
reading Mrs. Montagu's Letters. I think
her nephew has made a very agreeable
present to the public ; and I was greatly
edified to see them printed in modest octavo,
with Mrs. Montagu's sweet face (for it is a
very pretty face) at the head. They cer-


tainly show a very extraordinary mind, full
of wit, and also of deep thought, and sound
judgement. She seems to have liked, not a
little, to divert herself with the odd and the
ludicrous, and shows herself, in the earlier
letters, passionately fond of races and balls :
this was natural enough at eighteen. Per-
haps you may not so easily pardon her for
having early settled her mind, as she
evidently had, not to marry except for an
establishment. This seems to show a want
of some of those fine feelings, that one ex-
pects in youth ; but when it is considered
that she was the daughter of a country
gentleman with a large family, and no
fortune to expect, and her connections all
in high life, one is disposed to pardon her,
especially as, I dare say, she would never
have married a fool or a profligate. I heard
her say--what I suppose very few can say--
that she never was in love in her life. Many
of the letters are in fact essays ; and I think
had she turned her thoughts to write in
that way, she would have excelled Johnson.
   I have also turned over Lamb's Speci-

mens of Old Plays, and am much pleased
with them. I made a discovery there, that
La Motte's fable of Genius, Virtue, and
Reputation, which has been so much
praised for its ingenious turn, is borrowed
from Webster, an author of the age of
Shakespeare ; or they have taken it from
some common source, for a Frenchman was
not very likely to light upon an English
poet of that age : they knew about as much
of us then, as we did, fifty years ago, of the
Germans. It is surprising how little in-
vention there is in the world ; no very good
story was ever invented. It is perhaps
onginally some fact a little enlarged,
then by some other hand embellished with
circumstances, then by somebody else,
a century after, refined, drawn to a point,
and furnished with a moral. When shall
we see the moral of the world's great story,
which astonishes by its events, interests by
the numerous agents it puts in motion, but
of which we cannot understand the bear-
ings, or predict the catastrophe ? It is a
tangled web, of which we have not the clue.

I do not know how to rejoice at this victory,
splendid as it is, over Buonaparte, when I
consider the horrible waste of life, the mass
of misery, which such gigantic combats
must occasion. I will think no more of it ;
let me rather contemplate your family ;
there the different threads all wind evenly,
smoothly, and brightly."

             To Miss Edgeworth.
                    "Stoke Newington,
                             September 5th, 1809.
My dear Madam,
         I am much obliged to you for your
permission to enrich the Selection of Novels
with your 'Belinda' and 'Griselda,' and am
quite of your opinion that the latter answers
more truly to the definition than 'Castle
Rackrent,' the high merit of which has
given me a desire to lay hands upon it,
as writers sometimes will strain a point to
enrol a favorite character among their
countrymen. I remember Mr. Senebier, in
his account of the illustrious men of Geneva,
reckons, first, those who were born and lived


there ; then those who were born in the
territory, but lived elsewhere ; thirdly, those
who lived at Geneva and were born in other
countries, and, lastly, some of those if very
eminent, who had made any occasional stay
in the place. I mention it, that if you
have a particular objection to be claimed by
future generations for any country province
you may take care not to go there. But to
return to my Novels, from which I confess
I have rambled somewhat unreasonably.
As you wish them to be printed from your
corrected copy, the Booksellers will be much
obliged to you to send one as soon as may
be convenient, as they wish now to set
about printing in good earnest. To say the
truth, the whole ought to have been out
long ago, but the course of my thoughts
and my whole mind has been so adverse
for many months past, which you will not
wonder at, to the engagement I had enter-
ed into, that I have sufficiently exercised
the forbearance of the Booksellers. Let me
now, my dear Miss Edgeworth, thank you
for the very great pleasure which, in com-


mon with all who read, I have received from
your new tales. I may not, to you, ex-
patiate on the variety, the invention, the
spirit, ever new and ever charming, of your
various publications, but I may congratulate
you on having so much power, and so much
will to impress the heart with virtuous feel-
ings, and by those modes of writing which
are generally managed so as to enfeeble the
mind, to gird it up for the real business
and duties of life^ You may expect some             ^period omitted in text
striking Poetry soon from Montgomery,* I
do not know whether he is a favourite of
yours. I think Campbell has disappointed
the public in his Gertrude, and I doubt if
he will ever recover his ground. You know
I presume, that Miss Hamond is with me,
and I am gratified to find that she seems
to be happy, as it also contributes to my
comfort that I have one with me to break
the solitude of my desolate house. I saw
her brother yesterday, the high respect all
the family have for you makes an interest-
ing point of connexion between us. Miss

         * James Montgomery.


Hamond says modestly that she is not your
correspondent, and therefore hardly thought
herself entitled to send her respects. I told
her I should send them notwithstanding, and
I have now not room for more than to add
mine to Mr. and Mrs. Edgeworth, whose kind-
ness I know. I am a poor correspondent,
but should you ever feel inclined to bestow a
line upon me, it would give me true pleasure.
My Brother's family desires remembrances."

                      To Mrs. Barbauld.
                                January 18th, 1810.
My dear Madam,
      I have great pleasure in making a
good beginning of this new year by fulfilling
a request of your's. My brother Sneyd will
have the honor of waiting upon you with
'Belinda.' I wish I could be of the party,
but alas ! this is quite out of my power.
My father, thank God, has perfectly recover-
ed his health and strength, but he is now
engaged in an undertaking which will attach
him for some time to the bogs of Ireland.


Sneyd will give you an account of the
Commissioners for improving our bogs ;
and pray ask him for a history of the moving
bog in our neighbourhood, of the wonders
of which he has been an eye witness. I
would tell you of these, but that he can tell
in five minutes what I could not write in
five. So to return to my own business.
'Belinda' I have taken some, and my father
has taken a great deal of pains, to improve
her. In the first volume, the alterations
are very slight, and merely verbal. In the
second volume, 'Jackson' is substituted for
the husband of Lucy instead of 'Juba,'
many people having been scandalised at the
idea of a black man marrying a white
woman ; my father says that gentlemen have
horrors upon this subject, and would draw
conclusions very unfavorable to a female
writer who appeared to recommend such
unions ; as I do not understand the sub-
ject, I trust to his better judgment, and
end with--for Juba read Jackson.
   In the third volume, I have taken out
everything that gave encouragement (be-


yond esteem) to Mr. Vincent, for great
complaints were made against Belinda for
want of constancy to Clarence Hervey, and
for jilting Vincent. By taking out her
consent to marry, I hope I shall in some
degree, satisfy all parties. Belinda is but
an uninteresting personage after all, but I
cannot mend her in this respect, without
making her over again--and indeed with-
out making the whole book over again.
I was not either in Belinda or Leonora
sufficiently aware that the goodness of a
heroine interests only in proportion to the
perils and trials to which it is exposed.
   I have been made still more sensible of
my own deficiencies, by just reading the
'Simple Story,' which throughout has such
a powerful, irresistible, interest. I hope you
think of it as I do, that it is one of the most
pathetic tales that ever was written.
   I long, my dear madam, to see your
prefaces* and wish for your sake as well as
for that of the public, that they were finished ;
for I know how any unfulfilled engagement

* To Mrs. Barbauld's Edition of the British Novelists.


of that sort presses upon the mind.
   What a loss, what an irreparable loss we
have had of our excellent friend Johnson ;*
ask Sneyd to tell you how generously, how
kindly, he behaved to us in the last act almost
of his life. I think the excellent character of
him which appeared in the Star could have
come from none but such a writer and such
a friend as Mrs. Barbauld. I am glad to
hear that Johnson's habits of liberality did
not injure his fortune, and that his property
descends to a representative so worthy of
him as Mr. Miles. Ask Sneyd also how
Mr. Miles behaved towards us. I know you
have pleasure in hearing of instances of
virtue in whatever class or rank of life.
   I do not know whether you received a
letter I wrote you some time ago, about a
son of Mrs. Priscilla Wakefield, Mr. Edward
W. who has spent some time with us. The
idle stories which have been in circulation
about him and which originated, as I firmly
believe, only in the imprudence or malice of
some young ladies have died away, and

         * Mr. Johnson the Publisher.


people are coming round to our opinion of
him. I wish to have this supported how-
ever by your testimony in his favour.
   I beg you will say every thing that is
kind for me to Miss H. Hamond, who I hope
continues with you, that is the best wish I
can form for her improvement and happi-
ness. I hope her brother is well, and
engaged in some fixed pursuit, commercial
or literary or both. Mrs. Edgeworth and
my father beg their kind respects to you.
      Believe me, dear Madam,
             Your obliged and affectionate
                          MARIA EDGEWORTH."

"Dear Miss Edgeworth,
         I feel myself very faulty towards
you in not having written before, when I
have many things to thank you for, and
many things to say. It has in part been
owing to the expecting the corrected copy
of 'Griselda,' as it has not been sent, I
imagine you have no corrections to make,
and I find the Printers, without my know-


ledge, have presumed so far on that
supposition as to proceed to the printing,
but they desired me to say they would
cancel anything you wished, if they have
notice time enough. I hope however you
have no alterations, I am sure I cannot
discern that it wants any. We have read
with great pleasure Mr. Edgeworth's work.*
You and he, who are all candour, encourage
me to criticise it, and had I felt that I had
anything to offer which would be of service,
I might have been presumptuous enough to
attempt the task, but indeed I had not.
There is only one passage which struck me
as particularly objectionable in the detail,
that is partly obviated by a note, and in
another Edition Mr. Edgeworth will prob-
ably alter it in such a manner as to prevent
misconstruction. You will perhaps guess
that I mean the passage where the Gauls
(as I recollect, I have not the book to refer
to) are mentioned as exciting the courage
of their youth by allowing them to torment
their prisoners. But tho' my penny arrows

         * Practical Education.


of criticism, if I were inclined to shoot them,
would recoil blunted and harmless against
the book considered as a composition, I do
not say that I can quite agree with the
author with respect to the leading idea, the
devoting a child from its birth to a particu-
lar profession. I fear the expectations of
the present would be often disappointed,
from the alteration in his own circumstances
which fifteen or sixteen years is likely to
produce ; few ever remain in the same
position, except gentlemen of estates for
that space of time, they are richer or poorer,
they have changed their residences and got
into other connections, a relation will in-
troduce their child into his business, &c.
How can a young couple entering life, with
their fortune to make, uncertain of success
and whether their family be large or small,
devote from his birth, their first child to any
particular profession. They can only de-
termine, as they generally do, that it shall
be very clever and very successful and rise
very high in whatever it undertakes. The
cradle is rocked by Hope, but her bright


visions can scarcely take any determinate
form. Then with regard to the child, his
health, the gradual development of his
faculties, impressions made accidentally will
favour or counteract the views of his parents,
and circumstances will operate over which
they have no controul. A friend of mine
says she is sure her son was determined to
the law by seeing Counsellor Mingay, who
lived next door to them, coming home every
evening with his green bag, which he
imagined was full of money. I should be
afraid also, where the plan succeeded, of
producing a regard too exclusive for a par-
ticular walk of life. I should have supposed
the paths of life did not divide so soon.
Let the young colt run freely about for a
while before the blinkers are put on, which
must, alas, when he is put to real service
confine his eyes to one unvarying straight-
forward path, for the remainder of his life.
   But from all these saucy remarks which
you have encouraged me to make on the
work of one so infinitely better acquainted
with life and manners than myself, do you


conclude that I wish the book unwritten or
altered ? Certainly not. In this as in all
great questions let men of abilities write,
and write strongly, on the side that strikes
them ; by this collision the truth will be
struck out. A part of a system is often
practicable where the whole may not be so,
and the reader, from various views of various
authors, strikes out a medium which would
be insipid in the authors themselves, but
may best suit his particular case. Alas !
how have we been disappointed on this side
the water by the failure of your proposed
expedition to England. How fondly did I
cherish the hopes of seeing you ; I will foster
the idea that it is only delayed, and I hope
the state of Mr. Edgeworth's health will
allow me to do so. Everybody here has
been reading with great avidity 'The Lady
of the Lake,' and there are two parties about
it. One that extol it above anything the
author has written, another that pretends
it is made up of shreds and patches from
his former poems. For my own part I
pretend not to decide whether it exceeds or


falls short of the fancy of his former Poems,
but I am sure it has most beautiful passages,
and I admire the fertility of genius and the
wonderful rapidity with which, in so short
a period, he has poured out three Poems of
so much bulk as well as beauty. Have you
read my Niece's Poem ?* I dare venture to
predict that you will be pleased with it, and
I hope the gentlemen will allow that the
partiality of a woman to her sex has not
led her to assume more importance for them
than fairly belongs to them.
   She begins to feel a little of the trepidation
about the Reviews, very natural in a young
author, but you, my dear Miss Edgeworth,
I hope, feel yourself quite above them.
You cannot be judged by them, they may be
judged by their strictures upon you. I had
not seen the Quarterly before you mention-
ed it. I then read it with great indignation
indeed, nor could I help venting a little of
it, as much as I thought would do good, in
a paper, which perhaps you saw in the

         * Epistles on Women by Lucy Aikin.


Gentleman's Magazine. Write on, shine
out, and defy them."

                                August lst, 1810.

My dear Mrs. Barbauld,
      Your kind and delightful letter
gave us all peculiar pleasure, not only from
its kindness and the highly gratifying ex-
pressions of a regard, which we know to be
sincere, but from its proving to us that your
mind has resumed all its energy, and that
you have recovered from that cruel and
unavoidable depression of spirits. You can
hardly know unless you were with us, my
dear Mrs. B., how much we rejoiced at this,
nor how earnestly we desire to add, if we
could, to your happiness. Why cannot you
cross this vile sea, and be with us in a
week ? Look at the frank of this letter.
With pride I bid you look and see that it is
franked by your pupil Lord Selkirk, a pupil
who does you the greatest honor, a pupil
who sets you the best example too, for this


is his second visit to Edgeworthstown.--
And you !
   Lord Selkirk begs me to remember him
to you in the most respectful and kind
manner, and I am sure you will be glad to
hear that he seems in perfect health and
happiness. His arrival, and that of a suc-
cession of visitors, prevented my finishing
the errata for Griselda as soon as I wished,
and must now be my apology for sending
them to you in their blotted and blurred
state, for I really have not time this day to
copy them, and I fear to delay your printer.
   Your observations on Professional Educa-
tion, are as solid as they are elegantly
expressed. My father thanks you for them
with his whole head and heart. He is
correcting the book for a second Edition,
and he will avail himself of your remarks
about the impossibility in some classes of
life of the parents early deciding the child's
   I thank you my kind and able defender
for the essay in the Gentleman's Magazine.
May it ever be my fate to be so attacked


and so defended. We did not know the
Essay was written by you, but the moment
we read it we were struck, not only with its
strength and ability, but with its judicious
zeal, and we settled that it must be written
by some friend who was warmly and per-
sonally interested for us.
   Can you suppose that any one in this
house could see an advertisement of a book
of Miss Aikin's without immediately sending
for it ? But alas ! you little know how long
it is before our impatience to see new pub-
lications can be gratified. In the centre of
Ireland we wait sometimes months before
we can get possession of the books we long
for. We have not yet the Lady of the
Lake of our own, though we have begged
and borrowed her, and though we wrote for
her the moment we heard that she was about
to appear in the world. For 'Epistles on
Women' we wrote at the same time, and
again, and again, and again ! And now
we have forbid Sneyd, who is coming
over, to appear before us, unless he brings it
with him, or unless he sends it (as I have


desired him till I am hoarse) under cover,
to Edward Connor, Esq., Dublin Castle.
What has prevented his doing this, I
cannot imagine, and really wish I could
beat him for it.
   We have not yet given up all hopes of
seeing you in England. My father talks of
going to London in spring, but I dare not
feed my fancy on these 'pictured tales of
bright heroic deeds.' I know this however,
for certain, that if we do reach London ever
again, nothing can prevent our having the
pleasure of seeing you, and hearing you.
My father has quite recovered his health,
and is as busy in the vast Hibernian bogs
as possible. I don't know whether he will
improve them, but I am sure they have im-
proved him, for the air and exercise have
quite renovated him. Mrs. Edgeworth
sends her real love to you, which I assure
you, she never sends, as words of course, to
any body. She is again in blooming health,
and her darling little Francis repays her
for all she has suffered for him. He has
all his father's liveliness of look and quick-


ness of motion, and he is without exception,
the best humored little mortal of his years,
of his months I mean, that I ever saw. He
is now crowing and dancing at the window,
looking out at his sisters who are making
hay. I am much inclined to believe that
he has a natural genius--for happiness--in
other words, as Sydney Smith would say,
great hereditary 'constitutional joy.'
   I am very well, and have been very idle
lately, but intend to be industrious. I have
however begun a story on Patronage and
wish I could talk with you about it for half
an hour or even five minutes. It is so vast
a subject that it flounders about in my hands
and overpowers me. I have also written a
preface and notes (for I too will be an editor)
for a little book which a very worthy country-
woman of mine is going to publish--Mrs.
Leadbeater, grand-daughter to Burke's first
preceptor--She is poor--She has behaved
most handsomely about some letters of
Burke's to her grand-father and herself.
It would have been advantageous to her to
publish them, but as Mrs. Burke (Heaven


knows why) objected, she desisted. The
Bishop of Meath afterwards persuaded Mrs.
B. that the letters wd be highly honorable
to Burke's memory, and Mrs. B. retracted
and gave her permission, but Mrs. Lead-
beater, who is a very scrupulous quaker,
conceived that having once promised not to
publish them during Mrs. Burke's life, she
should not break this promise. This
perhaps is a foolish delicacy but it is a fault
on the right side. The book she is now
going to publish, 'Cottage Dialogues,' will
be, I hope, for Ireland, what the Cottagers
of Glenburnie are for Scotland--minus the
humor of the cottagers. I do not pretend to
say that the dialogues are equal in humor or
ability to Mrs. Hamilton's book, but I think
they will do as much good in this country
as her's did in Scotland. And they give
such an excellent picture of the modes of
living of the lower Irish, that I am in hopes
they will interest in England. Of this she,
poor modest simple creature, had not the
least hope or idea till we suggested it. We
took her M.S. out of the hands of an Irish


publisher, and our excellent friend's worthy
successor in St. Paul's Church Yard has on
our recommendation agreed to publish it for
her. She accepts from me a preface and
notes for the mere English reader.
   Adieu my dear Mrs. Barbauld, abruptly,
but most sincerely, and affectionately,
                   Your obliged,
                              MARIA EDGEWORTH."

   It was soon after her removal to Stoke
Newington that Mrs. Barbauld made the
acquaintance of one whose active kindness
and animated and interesting conversation
brightened many of her lonely hours. Mr.
Henry Crabb Robinson's own characteristic
account of his introduction to her is given
   "I formed a new acquaintance of which
I was reasonably proud and in the recollec-
tion of which I still rejoice. At Hackney I
saw repeatedly Miss Wakefield, a charming
girl (eldest daughter of the Rev. Gilbert
Wakefield,) and one day at a party where
Mrs. Barbauld had been the subject of con-


versation, and I had spoken of her in
enthusiastic terms, Miss Wakefield came to
me and said 'Would you like to know Mrs.
Barbauld ?' I exclaimed 'you might as well
ask me whether I should like to know the
Angel Gabriel !' 'Mrs. Barbauld is how-
ever much more accessible, I will introduce
you to her nephew.' She then called to
Charles Aikin whom she soon after married ;
and he said 'I dine every Sunday with my
aunt at Stoke Newington, and I am expected
always to bring a friend with me. Two
knives and forks are laid for me. Will you
go with me next Sunday ?' Gladly ac-
ceding to the proposal, I had the good
fortune to make myself agreeable, and
soon became intimate in the house. Mrs.
Barbauld bore the remains of great personal
beauty. She had a brilliant complexion,
light hair, blue eyes, a small and elegant
figure, and her manners were very agreeable,
with something of the generation then
departing. She received me very kindly,
spoke of my aunt, and said she had once
slept at my father's house. Mrs. Barbauld


is so well known by her writings that it is
needless for me to attempt to characterize
her. In the estimation of Wordsworth she
was the first of our literary women, and he
was not bribed to this judgement by any
especial congeniality of feeling. I may here
relate an anecdote connecting her and
Wordsworth, though out of its proper time
by many years ; but it is so good that it
ought to be preserved from oblivion.
   It was after her death, that Lucy Aikin
published Mrs. Barbauld's works, of which
I gave a copy to Miss Wordsworth. Among
the poems, is a stanza on Life,* written in
extreme old age. It had delighted my sis-
ter, to whom I repeated it on her deathbed.
It was long after I gave these works to Miss
Wordsworth, that her brother said, 'Repeat
me that stanza by Mrs. Barbauld.' I did so.
He made me repeat it again ; and so he
learned it by heart. He was at the time
walking in his sitting room, at Rydal, with
his hands behind him, and I heard him
mutter to himself 'I am not in the habit

         *In the Appendix.


of grudging people their good things, but I
wish I had written those lines.'

         ^Life, we've been long together                   ^Open quotation marks
         Through pleasant and through cloudy weather."    omitted in text

   Mr. Robinson also mentions taking
Wordsworth to meet Mrs. Barbauld at a
party at Mr. C. R. Aikin's, at which, though
rather a large one, he himself and the
hostess* were the only persons in the room
who were not authors. He at another time
took his friend Charles Lamb§ and his sister

   * Her daughter may be allowed here to record the
opinion passed upon her by Mr. Wordsworth, in writing
to Mr. Robinson. "I have never been well since that
evening, yet I am content to pay this price for the
knowledge of so pleasing a person as Mrs. Charles
Aikin, being quite an enthusiast, when I find a woman
whose countenance and manners are what a woman's
ought to be."
   Her family lost her soon after, by a rapid attack of
fever, leaving them desolate, and her youngest child an
unweaned infant.

   § Another friend of Mr. Robinson's, an enthusiastic
young American, came one day with a letter of intro-
duction. He was shewn, for a few minutes, into a
room where the table was laid for dinner, and wishing
to preserve some memorial of his visit, he took some
salt out of a saltcellar, and put it into his pocket. He
repeated this anecdote himself at Dr. Aikin's, when
Mrs. A., who was rather deaf, understood him to say,
he had put the saltcellar into his pocket, which being


to spend an afternoon with Mrs. Barbauld.
She, as well as Dr. Aikin and his daughter,
did early justice to Lamb's genius.


   At the end of the year 1811, a very
gloomy period, Mrs. Barbauld wrote a poem
bearing that name, which unfortunately
reflected too much of the despondency of
her own mind, and drew down many severe
remarks, notwithstanding the beauty of the
verse. Mr. Robinson says "Dear Mrs.
Barbauld this year incurred great reproach,
by writing a poem entitled 1811. It
prophesies that on some future day, a
traveller from the Antipodes will, from a
broken arch of Blackfriars' Bridge, contem-

a rather handsome old-fashioned silver one, she was
filled with wonder at this trait of American manners,
till her mistake being happily discovered, was rectified,
amid the merriment of the party.


plate the ruin of St. Pauls.* This was
written more in sorrow than in anger ; but
there was a disheartening and even gloomy
tone, which I, even with all my love for
her, could not quite excuse. It provoked
a very coarse review in the Quarterly, which
many years after, Murray told me, he was
more ashamed of than any other article in
the review."

   * Mr. Robinson must have had in his mind a similar
passage in Macaulay's works, but the following is an
extract from Mrs. Barbauld's Poem "1811". Must not
this have suggested Lord Macaulay's celebrated "New
Zealander" on the ruined arch of Blackfriars' Bridge?

   " Yet then the ingenuous youth whom Fancy fires
   With pictured glories of illustrious sires,
   With duteous zeal, their pilgrimage shall take,
   From the Blue Mountains, or Ontario's Lake ;
   With fond adoring steps to press the sod
   By statesmen, sages, poets, heroes trod.
   *         *         *          *         *         *         *
   But who, their mingled feelings shall pursue,
   When London's faded glories rise to view?
   *         *         *          *         *         *         *
   Pensive and thoughtful shall the wanderers greet
   Each splendid square, and still, untrodden street ;
   Or of some crumbling turret, mined by time,
   The broken stairs with perilous step shall climb,
   Thence stretch their view the wide horizon round,
   By scattered hamlets trace its ancient bound,
   And choked no more with fleets, fair Thames survey
   Through reeds and sedge, pursue his idle way."


   Miss Edgeworth says, "I cannot describe
to you the indignation, or rather the dis-
gust, that we felt at the manner in which
you are treated in the Quarterly Review, so
ungentlemanlike, so unjust, so insolent a
review I never read. My father and I, in
the moment of provocation, snatched up
our pens to answer it, but a minute's re-
flection convinced us, that silent contempt
is the best answer--that we should not
suppose it possible, that it can hurt any-
body with the generous British public, but
the reviewers themselves. The lines even
which they have picked out with most
malicious intent, are excellent, and speak
for themselves. But it is not their criticism
on your poem which incenses me, it is the
odious tone in which they dare to speak of
the most respectable and elegant female
writer that England can boast. The public,
the public will do you justice !"
   This was the last time she appeared in
print. No one indeed, who loved her, could
have wished her to be again exposed to
such a shock to her feelings, or such cruel


misunderstanding of her sentiments. The
remainder of her life was passed quietly at
Stoke Newington, among her family and a
few friends. From her nephew Charles,
she received all the duty and affection of a
son, and in the great sorrow of his life, her
kindness to him and his motherless child-
ren, was unremitting.
   One of the few journies she again took,
was to her old friends Dr. and Mrs. Estlin,
near Bristol, from whose house she visited
Mrs. Hannah More.

   She writes to Dr. Aikin.
"Dear Brother,
      I thank you for your kind letter,
and hope soon to return to the dear circle,
for indeed it is quite time I should turn my
thoughts homeward. I cannot, however, at
present fix the day, but I believe it will be the
latter end of next week. Mr. Belsham, I
have reason to think, will not come into this
part of the country, and my friends here will
not let me go without some acquaintance.


   We continue to have very fine weather
here. It has rained one evening and the
ensuing night, and I think that is all the
rain we have had since I came here. We
had a very pleasant day last Monday at
Ham Green. Mr. Bright has greatly en-
larged the house, and done it with so much
judgment, that you do not perceive it was
not all built at once, and he has opened the
view, so that you see the river and the
vessels from the drawing room. I wished
my sister there to see a fine magnolia in
fall bloom, with many other fine plants
and trees. The finest plants, however, are
the olive branches round his table, there
seems to be the greatest confidence and
harmony through all tlhe family. Miss
Bright is a very excellent young woman, and
employs herself very much among the poor.
There is an abominable practice here, which
is that of building high stone walls, by way
of enclosure, which shut out the view from
the road ; this they have done great part of
the way to Mr. Bright's.
   You ask me how my visit to Mrs. More's


went off. Very pleasantly indeed. Nothing
could be more friendly than their reception,
and nothing more charming than their
situation. An extensive view over the
Mendip hills is in front of their house, with
the pretty view of Wrington. Their house
(cottage, because it is thatched,) stands on
the declivity of a rising ground, which they
have planted and made quite a little para-
dise. The five sisters, all good old maids,
have lived together these fifty years, without
any break having been made in their little
community, by death, or any other cause of
separation. Hannah More is a good deal
broken by illness, but possesses fully her
powers of conversation, and her vivacity.
We exchanged riddles like the wise men of
old. I was given to understand she is
writing something. Hannah had read with
great pleasure your Selden and Usher, and
thought it very liberal.
   I have had great pleasure in congratu-
lating my good friends here, on a legacy of
three thousand pounds, which has been left
them by an old scholar. John Estlin too


has five hundred. Dr. Stock, five thousand.
   I hope you will go on with your plan of
Biography. I like it much, and here is a
subject for you in Bristol ; a Quaker, Mr.
Reynolds, who they say gives away ten
thousand a year ; he lives very plainly
   Love to the Kinders and my sister.
                   Your ever affectionately
                                A. L. BARBAULD."

         To Miss Edgeworth.
                      "Stoke Newington,
                             August 23rd, 1816.
Dear Madam,
      Will you permit me to address
you, conscious as I am, that I have neglect-
ed the advantage and the honour of that
intercourse by letter, which my heart all
the while acknowledged in its fullest extent.
What an excellent and what a cruel piece
is your 'To-morrow !' How you could en-
ter so well into feelings which your activity
and strength of mind must have hindered
you from partaking, I connot^ imagine, but             ^spelling error accurate to text


to me it has given many a twinge of con-
science, and most particularly in the affair
of letter writing which, if I have happened
to delay a little too long, always becomes
difficult to me beyond imagination, Days
pass, and the more honour and esteem I
have for my correspondent, the more I feel
that I have nothing worth communicating
and my brain feels dry, as the remaining
biscuit after a voyage. With regard to your-
self, though longing to write, I doubt if I
should have had the courage, but for a hint
communicated by Mrs. Joanna Baillie
intimating that I might have taken amiss
not seeing more of you when you were in
London. Oh my dear Miss Edgeworth, I
cannot bear you should think so for a mo-
ment. Much as I value your society, I well
know the demands on your time, I know
the homage paid you and I exulted in it
for your sake and for my sex's sake. And
now will you forgive me ? Will you now
receive all the acknowledgment I owe you,
both in common with all those who have
been delighted and instructed by your


charming works, and more particularly as
having received them from your hands.
Long may you continue to delight the
world with livelier wit and humour than
those who write merely for amusement, and
with juster and more impressive sentiments
of morality than most of those who write
merely for instruction. I should ask you
if you could resist the general spirit of
migration and stay at home when England
is pouring itself over the continent, if I did
not hear, and very sorry I am to hear it,
that Mr. Edgeworth's state of health is
such as must prevent your leaving him.
I tremble to think what tours must be pre-
paring for the press, what sweeping
characters of nations will be given by the
traveller who has dined two or three times
at a table d'hôte, and how often we shall be
sick between Dover and Calais. I am
wishing to lay a tax on English Absentees,
not the tourist of a few months, but the
Nobleman who dismisses his servants, shuts
up his mansion, and spends his vast rents
abroad. Pray have you any summer in

Ireland ? We have not ; a sweeping, chill-
ing, hope disappointing summer, if we must
call it such, but that it might not entirely
want energy, we have had, it seems, an
earthquake in Scotland. A summer with-
out heat, is like a youth without affections,
there is nothing to cheer the damp and
dreary season which succeeds it. I have
myself felt much want of some enlivening
influence, to counteract the langour of age,
and the dreariness of a solitary house.
Writing anything I have not felt equal to,
and reading has at times been a task to me,
but at present I feel better. Every one
here has not been so idle. Perhaps you
have seen my brother's Annals, and though
necessarily somewhat dry, from the necess-
ary compression of such an eventful period,
I think you will have been pleased with the
fairness and impartiality, with which they
are written. My niece, Miss Aikin, has
made some progress in her 'Memoirs of the
Reign of Queen Elizabeth.' She is taking
great pains with it, and I hope it will
answer her expectation and her friends'.


We are expecting every day another Canto
of 'Childe Harold,' but I apprehend the
author has lost too much of the public
favour, by his late cruel behaviour to his
wife, to be as popular as he has been. I
have now upon my table, the strangest
Poem 'Wilson's City of the Plague,' a heap
of horrors, natural and moral ; and 'Leigh
Hunt's Rimini,' the most fantastic. Thus
it is, when the natural and easy, has become
a beaten path, and the intellectual taste
wants excitement, as the sensitive, by more
pungent, relishes the originally disagreeable.
My dear Madam, have I not tired you ?
Will you forgive me ? Will you love me,
little as I may deserve it ? Will you convey
my respectful compliments to Mr. and Mrs.
Edgeworth, and best wishes for all your
family, and will you believe me, with the
highest esteem, and most affectionate good
                             Your ever obliged,
                                    A. L. BARBAULD.
   I beg you to believe that I have written
this upon the 'knees of my heart.'"


         To Mrs. Barbauld.
"My dear Madam,
      My sight has lately been so much
impaired, as to prevent me from writing
with my own hand ; I have, however, such
a number of good secretaries, as to prevent
me from feeling much inconvenience from
this circumstance ; and I now and then
derive a peculiar pleasure in using my pen,
upon some extraordinary occasion, to assure
a friend of the continuance of my regard.
Maria is very timid:--though she ought
to have been satisfied, as I was, with the
consciousness of feeling diminished af-
fection and esteem for you. She feared that
you might have been hurt, by the hurried
manner in which she saw you at Newington.
   You were too wise, and too kind, to
attribute the shortness of her visit, to any
thing but necessity. Indeed the tenor of
our lives shows that we value the friendship
of the wise and good, instead of courting
the notice of the great. In London we
certainly met a most flattering reception ;


but it has not tempted us to renew our
visit. We are perfectly happy in absolute
retirement, and we have not the least desire
to rush into the continental vortex.
   Your letter, my dear Madam, gave me a
kind of satisfaction, that is perhaps allied
to vanity ; but it was a proof of what I have
often asserted that 'I never lost a friend in
my life.'
   I do not pretend to have made many,
but it is a real pleasure to know that I have
lost none.
   We have sent for Dr. Aikin's Annals,
which we never heard of till now.
      Believe me to be sincerely yours,
                   RICHD. LOVELL EDGEWORTH."

"My dear Mrs. Barbauld,
      Your kind, warm, friendly letter,
has set my heart at ease, upon a subject
which has long been very painful to me.
I feared, and I could not bear to think,
that I had lost that place in your esteem
and affection, with which I knew that you
once honoured me. I could not bear the


idea, that you suspected me of being so
weak, so vain, so senseless, as to have my
brain turned by a little fashionable flattery,
and to have so changed my character, as
not to feel the difference between your
friendship, and the common-place compli-
ments of Lady This and That and T'other.
Your letter has dissipated all the very
painful fancies, and real fears that have
been growing and preying upon me these
two years. Thank you--'on the knees of
my heart' I thank you. And be assured that
your condescension and goodness, in beg-
ging my pardon, when I ought to have
begged, and did a hundred times in my
secret soul beg yours, is not thrown away
upon me.
   So we will now go on where we left off,
too long ago. I will write whenever I have
anything to say that I wish to say to you,
whether it be worth your hearing or not ;
and if you do not answer me, I will only
regret, I promise you I will never be angry,
nor will I ever more fret myself, with the
notion, that you are angry with me. God


bless Mrs. Baillie, for breaking the ice
between us.
   You have no idea how long, how terribly
long, it is, before books of any substantial
merit, reach this remote ultimate Edge-
worthstown. Such trash as 'Glenarvon'
and such mischief as 'Bertram' comes too
fast, poisoning all the wind. We have book
societies in the country, and do order books
of merit and reputation ; but it is a tedious
time before the Dublin booksellers get them,
as they dare not write for them on their
own account. I shall immediately bespeak
Dr. Aikin's Annals for our society. We
shall anxiously expect Miss Aikin's Reign
of Elizabeth. Have you seen a book of
Dr. Millar's, on the Philosophy of History ?
The introductory chapter is well done, but
I fear there is a vice de construction in the
plan of the book. The witty, bitterly witty,
Plunket told him, that with such a plan,
he should not have published the book, till
the day of Judgment. His plan, you know,
is to shew, that all history forms a moral
drama. Now, till the drama is finished,


how can he come to the moral, and without
omniscience, how can he see the connexion
of the parts and the whole.
   I have lately seen a poem, which remind-
ed me of the spirit of your '1811.' I do
not mean to say in the versification, for that
is unharmonious, and often defective, but
I admire in it the noble spirit of patriotism
and virtue. His classical taste and Anti-
Byron principles. The poem I mean is
'Greece' by Mr. Haygarth. I know nothing
of him, but I think if he cultivates his
interests, he may either become a fine his-
torian, or a fine tragedian. This praise
implies a great range of mind, but I do not
say he is--I say he may become--all this,
--and I should very much wish to know
whether you think the same.
   On the contrary, I do not think that the
author of 'Bertram,'* though he has writ-
ten a successful tragedy, will ever write a
good tragedy--feeling run mad !--
   As to 'Glenarvon,' it surely can do no
mischief, it is such nonsense. I stuck fast

      * The Rev. R. C. Maturin.


in the blood and love in the second volume,
and in that condition, fell fast asleep, and
never would have opened my eyes on the
third volume, but that my father begged
me to read the death of the Princess of
Madagascar, which seems, with all that
relates to the Princess, to be written by a
pen, much superior to Lady Caroline
Lamb's.--Who wrote it ? Is it known ?
   We have just got a little book called
'Display,' a tale for young people, which
we like much. It is written by the daugh-
ter of a physician, a Miss Jane Taylor, who
keeps a school near Dublin. I am not
acquainted with her. The good people in
this book, are more to my taste, than those
in Coelebs, because they are not so meddling.
I only wish they had not objected to young
people going to balls. Before I could finish
my sentence, in praise of all the good sense
and excellent writing of this tale, a circle of
young and old ladies were open-mouthed
with the question,--but why object to
balls ? I hope you like the Antiquary. And
I hope you have no doubt of its having
been written by Walter Scott.


   We have just received two numbers of a
new 'Journal of the Arts and Sciences,' edit-
ed at the Royal Institution of Great Britain.
Like it much. Glad to see Sir Humphrey
Davy's lamp lighting him back to the paths
of Science, from the bootless excursion he
took into the land of fashion. Better be
the first, than the last of a class. Better
be the first man of science, than the last
man of fashion.--Especially as he can be
the one, and cannot be the other.
   In the first number of this Journal, there
is a paper, by Dr. Park, on the laws of sensa-
tion, which my father admires very much.
   I think the nerves will give physicians
and philosophers, enough to do for the next
century. The humorers have had their day.
   Here is a gentleman in our neighbour-
hood, who one year imagines himself to be
without bones, and another year without
muscles, and one year is a Harry-long-legs,
and another a man ; and all the time, eats
and drinks heartily, and wears a coat like
other men, and is not considered as more
than nervous.


   I will now finish, lest you should repent
having let loose my pen upon you. My
father has been better lately ; but his health
is far from strong. I say as little as I can
upon this subject, it is too near my heart.
Mrs. Edgeworth is in as blooming, happy,
and useful health as when you knew her
at Clifton.
   I wish, my dear Mrs. Barbauld, I could
transport you into this large cheerful family,
where every body,--from little Pakenham
at four years old, to the old housekeeper,
'eldest of forms,' would do every-thing
in their power to make you feel quite at
home. You should never see any wash-
ing-day* but one.
   Your friend, Lord Longford, has just
written us word that he is going to be
married, and from his own and the impar-
tial account of his dear sister--(commonly
called the Duchess of Wellington), the lady
he has chosen will not only permanently
please himself but satisfy the anxious

   * A playful poem of Mrs. B's given in the Appendix.


wishes of his host of family friends. She
is Lady Georgina Lygon, tenth daughter of
Lord Beauchamp. He says she will not
permit him to be an 'absentee', so we shall
now have him again settled at Pakenham
Hall, within ten miles of us. Now, my
dear Mrs. Barbauld, could not you summon
up resolution enough to be sea sick for six
hours, say ten at the utmost, to make us
happy, and I hope yourself, for as many
months ! I have two brothers now at
Cheltenham, Lovell and Sneyd, both known
to you, both coming over to Ireland, Mrs.
Sneyd E. also--could you not come with
them ? Anna (Mrs. Beddoes) also coming
in the spring.
   Think of what has been said ! and do not
tremble at the thoughts of my pestering
you often with such long letters, for I
assure you it is not my habit, but in the
warmth of heart kindled by your warm
affectionate letter all this poured out.
         Your affectionate, obliged
                   and grateful friend,
                             MARIA EDGEWORTH."


               To Miss Edgeworth.
"Dear Madam,
      I am penetrated with your kind-
ness, your frank forgiveness and the valued
favour of your long letter. For your kind
invitation too I sincerely thank you, nor
could anything be more attractive than the
society to which you invite me, not to
mention the attraction of a country, interest-
ing, and to me new, but indeed I am now
too old to travel, or shall I rather say, I
expect to take a journey longer than that,
and to a country more unknown. Short
excursions indeed I do not disclaim, and
am now just returned from a visit to Mr.
W. Smith * of Parndon, whose family I be-
lieve you know. He is now one of the
oldest members of the House of Commons
that we have, and has always been very
steady to his principles, but he was then as
busy as an old Roman in getting in his
harvest. Patty Smith, the eldest and most
accomplished, is in very indifferent health,
I am sorry to say. My brother is delighted

      * Mr. William Smith M.P. for Norwich.


that you are pleased with Mr. Haygarth's
Poem, for the author is the son of a very
intimate friend of his, a Physician, who
died lately at Bath, or rather near it, and
left his son in circumstances to indulge all
his elegant tastes without being confined
to any profession ; he is now again upon
his travels. I think his Poem elegant and
beautiful, but you will excuse my differing
from you, if I say that I should rather
reverse the character you give of his
genius, and the author of Bertram ; for
Haygarth seems to me to have already
attained nearly the acme of his, grace,
elegance, classic taste ; but in Bertram,
along with much that is dark, wild, and
repulsive, equally to taste and moral sense,
I think I see sparks of a high genius and
more capabilities of improvement--Au reste,
pray do not reproach us with sending you
'Bertram,' you sent it us. I have not
seen Dr. Millar's publication, but I can
hardly allow to Plunket that in a good
Drama you must wait for the conclusion
before you can form any opinion of the


catastrophe of the piece. We judge by the
bearings. Who doubts long before the con-
clusion of the piece, that Desdemona's
innocence will become apparent, and Othello
die in agonies of remorse, but in the great
Drama of the Universe, the difficulty is to
see the bearings. Turner in his History of
the Anglo-Saxons, a work of great research,
has attempted something of this kind, but
I think without much success. 'Display' we
sent for on your recommendation, and are
much pleased with a good deal of it, but
we are entirely of your opinion with regard
to balls, and indeed there is a great deal in
her system that I should object to, par-
ticularly the doctrine, which I think a very
pernicions one, that all, the innocent and
good as well as the bad, must undergo a
mysterious change before they are in a safe
state. Emily was very good for aught that
I could see before her conversion. I
trembled, as I drew near the close, lest
Elizabeth should have a fine fortune left
her by somebody, and was much pleased
with the author's good sense in handing


her to her post behind the counter. By the
way, are you not mistaken in the Author ?
We take it to be the production of Jane
of Ongar, who has written several
pieces, both verse and prose, for children.
I am just entering on 'Mrs. Marcet's
Conversations on Political Economy,' a
new subject for a Lady's pen. You are I
believe personally acquainted with Mr.
Roscoe, I send you the enclosed sonnet
to show how well he bears the bitter depri-
vation, to a man of letters and of taste, of
his noble collection of books and paintings.
Among the curiosities of literature let me
ask if you have seen the Rimini of Leigh
Hunt ? An author, who, in exaggeration
of all the slovenliness of the new school,
has thought proper to come into public with
his neckcloth untied and his stockings about
his heels.
   My dear Miss Edgeworth, though I shall
never see, I enjoy your account of Edge-
worthstown. I do not conceive a more
agreeable abode, and beg to be remembered
to every individual of it. I rejoice much in


the approaching happiness of Lord Long-
ford and the more because, if he is what he
was, I believe him fully qualified to appre-
ciate and enjoy domestic pleasures. If he
is so good as to remember me pay my com-
pliments. My nephew Arthur Aikin and
his friends have been in the bustle of
canvassing for some weeks past. He is
soliciting for the situation of Secretary to the
Society of Arts,* vacant by the death of Mr.
Taylor, and with a very fair prospect of
success. He has sixteen hundred members
to canvass and being naturally rather taci-
turn and very modest, we have been amused
to think how he would acquit himself, but
he says he improves in assurance every day.
In point of literary and scientific merit, none
of the candidates can pretend to stand a
comparison with him. My dear Miss
Edgeworth, if I did as I ought to do, I
should write this bad scrawl, full of blun-
ders, over again, but then I should lose my

   * He held this office for twenty years, and that of
Chemical Lecturer of Guy's Hospital for almost as long
a time afterwards. A short notice of him by his sister
Lucy Aikin, will be found in the Appendix.


frank, so you must excuse it, and believe
me ever your obliged, affectionate,
                                    A. L. BARBAULD."
September 17th, 1817.

                   To Mr. Rogers.
"Dear Sir,
      My Brother and Sister as well as
myself are very truly sensible of the favour
of your invitation, nor are we insensible of
the entertainment* which Monday evening
will afford, notwithstanding which we must
with sincere thanks decline so tempting an
offer. With regard to Lucy, whose youth
and spirits would best have borne the fatigue
of such a day, or rather night, and might
have communicated enjoyment as well as
received it, she is at Liverpool. Suffer me
to add with regard to myself, I feel sensibly
touched with the kindness which prompted
you to think of me on this occasion, distant
as I am from you, and little able as I feel
myself to return by mine the pleasure I

   * The fireworks and illuminations for the Peace with


always receive from your company. I have
another instance of attention from you
which has for some time demanded my
thanks, a most elegant little poem,* which
as its parent did not choose to own it, was
left to disclose its parentage by its merits.
You scorn to take advantage of the fame
you are in possession of, and choose to
surprise the admiration you might command.
I hope this is an earnest of more, and as I
see you can with readiness take any style
and manner you please, I shall be upon the
watch for you whenever I see anything par-
ticularly elegant.
   Adieu dear Sir, and believe me no one is
more desirous of your esteem or sensible to
your friendship than your obliged and
                                       A. L. BARBAULD.
   Excuse blunders, I write with children
about me."

   She received about this time a visit from
one who seems to form a link with the

             * Jacqueline.


succeeding age, Dr. Channing, who alludes
to it in a letter to Miss Aikin after Mrs.
Barbauld's death.

                   "Boston, Feb. 27th, 1827.
      I thank you, as thousands have
done for your tribute to the memory of
Mrs. Barbauld, and I am peculiarly in-
debted to you for the present of her works.
   I can remember Mrs. B's poetry from
early life, and I owe her more than delight.
Some of her pieces we may suppose she
will recollect for ever with pleasure, for they
have lifted many minds to that pure world
in which she has found rest. Much of the
prose volume was new to me, and I felt
that she had not received the praise due to
her in this species of composition. I was
struck with the felicity of the style, and the
freshness and animation and frequently the
originality of her thoughts.
   I remember my short interview with her
with much pleasure. Perhaps I never saw
a person of her age who had preserved so
much of youth--on whom time had laid so


gentle a hand. Her countenance had
nothing of the rigidness and hard lines of
advanced life, but responded to the mind
like a young woman's. I carry it with me
as one of the treasures of memory."

   Mr. Crabb Robinson also in one of his
last visits to her, remarks, as well as Dr.
Channing, upon her personal appearance.
   "I called on the Colliers, and then went
to Mrs. Barbauld's. She was in good
spirits, but she is now the confirmed old
lady. Independently of her fine under-
standing, and literary reputation, she
would be interesting. Her white locks,
fair and unwrinkled skin, brilliant starched
linen, and rich silk gown, make her a fit
object for a painter. Her conversation is
lively, her remarks judicious, and always
pertinent." (Mr. Robinson's Diary.)    

   A letter to Miss Edgeworth, and the
fragment of verse which follows it, are
almost her last writings.


"My dear Miss Edgeworth,
      I was very glad to see your hand
writing again, and to hear that your pen
was again in employment, that pen which
has already given us so much pleasure, and
from which, I hope, the world may expect
pleasure and improvement for many years
to come.
   The Enigma* you do me the honour to
ask for, will accompany this, but I have
first to find it, for though I have looked a
good deal, I have not yet been able to lay
my hands on it. I beg to make proviso,
that if I should want myself to insert it in
any publication, I may be at liberty to do
it. Though, truly, that is not very likely,
for well do I feel, one faculty after another
withdrawing, and the shades of evening
closing fast around me, and be it so. What
does life offer at past eighty, (at which
venerable age, I arrived one day last June,)
and I believe you will allow, that there is
not much of new, of animating, of inviting,
to be met with after that age. For my own

            * In the Appendix.


part, I only find that many things I knew
I have forgotten, many things I thought I
knew, I find I know nothing about ; some
things, I know, I have found not worth
knowing, and some things I would give--
Oh ! what would one not give to know, are
beyond the reach of human ken. Well, I
believe this is what may be called prosing,
and you can make much better use of your
time than to read it. I saw yesterday two
boys, modern Greeks, in the costume of
their country, introduced by Mr. Bowring,
who has the charge of them.--du Grec, ah
ma soeur du Grec, ils parlent du Grec! I
have been reading one or two American
novels lately. They are very well, but I do
not wish them to write novels yet. Let
them explore and describe their new
country. Let them record the actions of
their Washington, the purest character per-
haps, that history has to boast of ; let them
enjoy their free, their unexpensive govern-
ment, number their rising towns, and boast
that persecution does not set her bloody foot
in any corner of their extensive territories.
                                         R 2


Then let them kindle into poetry, but not
yet, not till the more delicate shades and
nicer delineations of life are familiar to
them, let them descend to novels. But
tempted, by writing to you, I am running
on, till my eyes are tired, and perhaps you
too. Compliments to Mrs. Edgeworth and
all your family. If I find the riddle, I will
send it you, mean while, I am, with the
truest esteem and friendship, dear Miss
Edgeworth, your affectionate friend,
                                A. L. BARBAULD.
Stoke Newington,
      Oct. 25th, 1823."

         Fall, fall ! poor leaf, that on the naked bough,
         Sole lingering spectacle of sad decay,
         Sits shivering at the blasts of dark November ;
         Thy fellows strew the ground, not one is left
         To grace thy naked side ; late who could count
         Their number multitudinous and thick,
         Veiling the noon-day blaze, behind their shade
         The birds half-hid disported ; clustering fruit
         Behind their ample shade lay glowing ripe ;
         No bird salutes thee now ; nor the green sap
         Mounts in thy veins, thy spring is gone, thy summer ;
         Even the crimson tints,


         Thy grave but rich autumnal livery,
         That pleased the eye of contemplation--
         Some filament perhaps, some tendril stronger
         Than all the rest, resists the whistling blast.
         Fall, fall, poor leaf,
         Thy solitary single self shews more
         The nakedness of winter,
         Why wait and fall, and strew the ground like them ?

   The following is taken from Miss Aikin's
   "An asthmatic complaint which was
slowly undermining her excellent constitu-
tion, more and more indisposed her for any
exertion either of mind or body ; but the
arrival of a visitor had always the power to
rouse her from a state of languor. Her
powers of conversation continued to the last
though her memory of recent circumstances
became somewhat impaired. Her dispo-
sition, (of which sensibility was not in earlier
life the leading feature,) now mellowed into
softness, pleasingly exhibited. 'those ten-
der tints that only time can give.' Her
manners--never tainted by pride--which
with the baser but congenial affection of
envy was a total stranger to her bosom,


were now remarkable for their extreme
humility ; she spoke of every one not merely
with the candour and forbearance which
she had long practised, but with interest
and kindness, with an indulgence which
sometimes appeared but too comprehensive ;
she seemed reluctant to allow or believe
that any of her fellow creatures had a failing,
while she gave them credit gratuitously for
many virtues. This state of mind, which
with her native acuteness it must have cost
her some struggles to attain, had at least
the advantage of causing her easily to admit
of such substitutes as occurred for those con-
temporary and truly congenial friendships,
which in the course of nature were now
fast failing her. She lost her early and
affectionate friend Mrs. Kenrick in 1819.
In December 1822 her brother sunk under
a long decline which had served as a pain-
full preparation to the final parting. A few
months later she lost in the excellent Mrs.
John Taylor of Norwich, perhaps the most
intimate and highly valued of all her distant


   A gentle and scarcely perceptible decline
was now sloping the passage to the tomb.
She felt and hailed it as a release from
languor and infirmity, a passport to another
and higher state of being. Her friends
however flattered themselves that they
might continue to enjoy her a little longer,
and she had consented to remove to the
house of her adopted son, that his affec-
tionate attention and those of his family
might be the solace of every remaining
hour. But Providence had ordained it
otherwise. She quitted indeed her own
house, but whilst on a visit to the neigh-
bouring one of her sister-in-law Mrs. Aikin,
the constant and beloved friend of nearly
her whole life, her bodily powers gave way
almost suddenly, and after lingering a few
days she expired without a struggle, on the
9th of March 1825, in the eighty second
year of her age.
   To claim for this distinguished woman
the praise of purity and elevation of mind,
may well seem superfluous. Her education
and connections, the course of her life,


the whole tenour of her writings, bear testi-
mony to this part of her character. It is a
higher, or at least a rarer commendation to
add that no one ever better loved 'a sister's
praise,' even that of such sisters as might
have been peculiarly regarded in the light of
rivals. She was acquainted with almost
all the principal female writers of her time,
and there was not one whom she failed to
mention in terms of admiration, esteem, or
affection. To humbler aspirants, who often
applied to her for advice or assistance, she
was invariably courteous, and often service-
able. The sight of youth and beauty was
peculiarly gratifying to her fancy and feel-
ings, and children and young persons were
large sharers in her benevolence ; she loved
their society, and would often invite them
to spend weeks and months in her house,
where she spared no pains to amuse and
instruct them, and she seldom failed to
recall herself to their recollection, by af-
fectionate and playful letters, or welcome
   In the conjugal relation, her conduct


was guided by the highest principles of
love and duty. As a sister, the uninter-
rupted flow of her affection, manifested by
numberless tokens of love--not alone to her
brother, but to every member of his family,
will ever be recalled by them, with emotions
of tenderness, respect, and gratitude. She
passed through a long life, without having
dropped, it is believed, a single friendship,
and without having drawn upon herself
a single enmity which could be called
   Though in the preceding pages, Mrs.
Barbauld's literary character has been
chiefly dwelt upon, it would be an imperfect
view of it, which did not include some notice
of her deep interest in the cause of civil
and religious liberty.
   Living as she did, through times in which
the profession of liberal opinions was in the
highest degree unpopular, not to say dan-
gerous, she never hesitated to employ all
her gifts of eloquence and reasoning, to
endeavour to bring about a better state of
things, and as a dissenter especially, to free


those who shared her opinions, from the
social disabilities, which after the lapse of
many years were happily removed.
   On the defeat of a Bill brought before
Parliament in 1790, for the repeal of the
Corporation and Test Acts, she wrote a
powerful and eloquent pamphlet, which
though anonymous, was soon recognised as
hers. The following letters addressed to
her, among many others, at that time, from
Mr. Rogers, and Dr. Moore the author of
Zeluco, and father of General Sir John
Moore, show the appreciation of the liberal
party of her efforts on this occasion.

   "Newington Green, March 29th, 1790.
Dear Madam,
   I have read over and over again
the address to the opposers of the Repeal,
and cannot sufficiently thank you for hav-
ing first suggested it to my notice ; though
its spirit and elegance are now indeed the
subject of universal admiration and curiosity.
Its author may elude our search for a little
while, but cannot long remain undiscovered.


Its fine irony, its elevation and sublimity
of sentiment, will soon blaze out the secret,
though 'wrapt in tenfold night.' And
whoever has read the essays of a lady whose
superior genius every one has the discern-
ment to see and admire except yourself, is
already, I think, in the possession of a clue
that cannot fail to direct his inquiries.
      I remain with great respect,
             Dear Madam, your obliged
                          Friend and Servant,
                                    SAML. ROGERS.
I beg my best Compts.
        to Mr. Barbauld."

"To the Revd. Rochemont Barbauld,
                   Clifford Street,
                                  29 Nov. 1790.
Dear Sir,
      When I had the pleasure of seeing
Mrs. Barbauld and you at your house at
Hampstead, I had not read her address to
the opposers of the repeal of the Test Acts,
but I had heard a report of her intending
to answer Mr. Burke's famous pamphlets,


--and I confess I heard this with some
degree of concern, for notwithstanding the
high opinion I had formed of her talents, I
could not help being a little uneasy at the
thoughts of her entering the lists with so
formidable an antagonist--but I have just
finished the perusal of her address, and all
my fears are vanished. I hardly know
anything in the English language superior
in delicacy of irony, and strength of reason-
ing, to that truly eloquent performance.
And in my opinion she could not employ
her time more to her own honour and the
public benefit, than by publishing her senti-
ments on Mr. Burke's works.
   I beg you will offer my respectful thanks
to Mrs. Barbauld for the pleasure I received
from her pamphlet, which I sincerely think
the most elegant and most judicious pro-
duction that has issued from the press for
a very long time.
         I am dear Sir, with much esteem,
            Your obedient and humble servant.
                                              T. MOORE."


   In a letter to a friend announcing the
death of her, who had been to him as a
mother, Mr. Charles Rochemont Aikin con-
cludes with the following passage.
   "I will fill this page with a few lines which
will interest you, as being I believe, the very
last which my venerable aunt committed to
paper when she felt the hand of death ap-
proaching her. It is a few unfinished
sentences, but to me deeply interesting."

         "Who are you ?
         Do you not know me, have you not expected me ?
         Whither do you carry me ?
         Come with me and you shall know.
         The way is dark.
         It is well trodden.
         Yes, in the forward track.
         Come along !
         Oh, shall I see there my beloved ones, will they wel-
come me, will they know me, oh, tell me, tell me,
thou canst tell me ?
         Yes, but thou must come first.
         Stop a little, keep thy hand off till thou hast told
me !
         I never wait.
         Oh shall I see the warm sun again in my cold grave ?


          Nothing is there that can feel the sun.
         Oh where then ?
         Come, I say."

   Mrs. Barbauld was buried in the family
vault of Dr. Aikin in Stoke Newington
   Shortly after her death Mr. C. R. Aikin
was requested by the congregation of
Newington Green Chapel, where she had
attended as long as her strength allowed, to
place some memorial of her upon their
   A marble tablet was therefore erected by
him with the following inscription written
by her nephew Arthur Aikin.







LET THOSE OF MATURER YEARS, CAPABLE OF APPRETIATING^                          ^accurate to text