(1745—1833) writer and philanthropist
an eminent member of the Blue Stocking Circle. She published in 1773 The Search for Happiness, a pastoral play for schools, and came to London in 1774, where she became a friend of Garrick and his wife and of Burke, Dr Johnson, S. Richardson, and Percy. She was greatly esteemed by Horace Walpole, who honoured her by printing her Bishop Bonner's Ghost (1781) on his press at Strawberry Hill. Her tragedy Percy, produced by Garrick in 1777, established her as a literary success. It was followed by another tragedy, The Fatal Falsehood (1779). Her poem Bas Bleu (1786) vividly describes the charm of Blue Stocking society. Meanwhile she had begun to write tracts directed towards the reform of the conditions of the poor; Village Politics (1793) and Cheap Repository Tracts (1795–8, of which the best‐known is The Shepherd of Salisbury Plain). In 1809 she published her successful novel Coelebs in Search of a Wife. Her letters give a full and entertaining picture of the intellectual and social world she frequented.