one of the most brilliant female ornaments of Christian literature, was born at the village of Stapleton, in Gloucestershire, February 2, 1745, and was the daughter of a clergyman of the Church of England, a man eminent for his classical attainments, and at that time employed as a village schoolmaster in charge of a charity school. Some time after the birth of his daughter Hannah he removed to Bristol, where he kept a private school. There were other daughters, and the family soon began to be taken notice of as one in which there was a display of talent that was unusual; so that some exertions were made by persons to whom they were known, and the sisters became early in life established in a school for the education of girls, which continued for many years the most flourishing establishment of the kind in the west of England. Hannah was from the beginning the most remarkable of the group. She wrote verse at a very early age, and though these compositions were highly thought of in the family circle, they were never allowed to go beyond the precincts of their own house. And vet, in ways and by circumstances almost unnoticed, the fame of her literary talent was widely spread, and in 1773 she was prevailed upon to publish a pastoral drama, which was entitled The Search After Happiness. It was brought out under the direction of her pastor, Dr. Stonehouse, a learned clergyman of the Church of England. He it was also who introduced Hannah to the great literati. In 1774 she published a regular tragedy on the story of Regulus, and two tales in verse; and her turn being then thought by her friends to incline to the drama, means were taken to obtain an introduction for her to Garrick, by whom she was very kindly received. He, in turn, introduced her to Dr. Johnson, Burke, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and other persons, who at that time formed what was considered the best literary society of London. Her manners and conversation confirmed the good impression elicited by her talents, and the position in society originally conceded as a favor was soon acknowledged as a well- established right. During this period of her life she produced two tragedies, Percy (1777) and The Fatal Falsehood (1779), and other poems. These attempts at dramatic composition, and the consequent connection with the stage, seem to indicate that she was then, in a great measure, if not altogether, a stranger to evangelical views of Christian duty. But the death of David Garrick (1779), to whom she had become very much attached, produced a great change in her character. Educated as she had been with a deep impression of the truths of the Christian religion, the life which she now led began to appear to her as unbefitting a creature with the glorious prospects which Christianity opens to man. She therefore determined on forsaking the drama and retiring from the gay circles of fashion and of literature, and even quitted London in order the better to devote herself to the life befitting, as she thought, a child of God and an heir of immortality. She established her residence at a little rural retreat in the vicinity of Bristol, named Cowslip Green, where she enjoyed a freshness of feeling and a sweet mental tranquillity to which she had previously been a stranger. In her transitive state she had produced her Sacred Dramas (1782), a publication more favorably received perhaps than her former works. But she finally resolved to devote herself to a treatment of subjects surer of good results, and to write with careful preparation. She felt obliged to confess, to quote her own words from the Preface of the third volume of her works, that she did not "consider the stage in its present state as becoming the appearance or countenance of a Christian; on which account she thought proper to renounce her dramatic productions in any other light than as mere poems." Having become sensible of the follies of the world and the reigning defects of modern society, she resolved to embody the results of her observations and experience in the form of earnest and solemn admonitions against them. The first in this series of contemplated works was of a didactic nature, and was entitled Essays to Young Ladies. This was almost immediately followed by Thoughts on the Manners of the Great, a little volume which was issued in 1788 anonymously, and the object of which was to expose, in order to amend, the low morality — the loose and licentious principles — of fashionable society. Having excited a considerable degree of interest and curiosity, the work was attributed to the pen of more than one person of official dignity in the Church as well as the State. But the real author was ere long discovered, and the eclat which the discovery gave to her name encouraged her to persevere in the course of moral instruction she had contemplated. Almost every successive year brought out some new production from her pen; and such was the power as well as the charms of her eloquent composition that her works were universally applauded, and by none more than by the very classes whose faults many of them were designed to expose and censure. Thus, immediately after the last-mentioned popular work, appeared An Estimate of the Religion of the Fashionable World (1791), and this enjoyed as great a measure of success as its predecessor. To counteract the principles of the French Revolution, which had unsettled every European nation, and introduced a wild and turbulent spirit among some classes even of Great Britain, she conferred an incalculable benefit on her country by publishing, first, Village Politics, by Will Chipp, and next a periodical work, "The Cheap Repository Tracts" — a series of admirable tales of a moral and religious nature for the common people, one of which is the well-known Shepherd of Salisbury Plaim. The influence which both these publications had over the popular mind is almost beyond conception. They were circulated by hundreds of thousands in all parts of the United Kingdom, and were more than anything else instrumental in maintaining the cause of order and of true religion against the torrent of infidel philosophy which had set in so strongly from France. The next work which came from her pen was entitled Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education (1799). Exceptions were taken by some to the "high Calvinistic principles" of this work; but it amounted to little after all, for she was known to do so much good that the opposition soon died out. Testimony was borne to its merits by bishop Porteus, in that he recommended the authoress as a competent person to superintend the education of the young princess Charlotte; and although an absurd etiquette, it seems, prevented that responsible office being held by any lady beneath the ranks of the aristocracy, she showed her fitness for the task by the publication of Hints towards Forming the Character of a Young Princess (1805). After the lapse of some years she published Caelebs in Search of a Wife, one of the best of novels in respect to principle and moral tendency; and this was followed by Practical Piety (1811); Christian Morals (1812), The Spirit of Prayer (1813), An Essay on the Character and Writings of St. Paul (1815), and Modern Sketches (1819). But though these literary labors demanded much of her time, she yet found a portion for philanthropic labor; and having built a pleasant home and received her sisters there. she devoted herself with them to the people of her vicinity, especially the poor, of whom there were many — it being a mining district — who "had grown up coarse, brutal, ferocious, utterly neglected by their clergy, without any means of education or hopes of improvement" (Perry). Determined to elevate these downtrodden and forlorn people, the three sisters attempted the appalling task of alleviating all suffering and of educating the laboring classes. They devised various schemes of benevolence and usefulness, not the least of which was the erection of schools, which, though at first confined to the children of their immediate surroundings, soon extended their operations over no less than ten parishes where there were no resident clergymen, and in which upwards of 1200 children were thus provided with the benefits of a moral and religious education. Miss Hannah More's numerous writings, which produced her upwards of $150,000, enabled her to do much, but she was by no means dependent upon her own resources. Her high character had impressed itself on her friends and associates, and these freely poured out their treasures for the promotion of the More schemes. Bibles were distributed, prayer-books given away, and instruction provided for all who came to study, whether adult or child. In short, so unremitting were they in their labors and measures that what had been a moral desert was changed into a garden, which brought forth in rich abundance the excellent fruits of wide-spread intelligence, of elevated morality, and genuine religion. But at last age came upon Hannah More, and brought along some of its infirmities. In 1828 she was moved therefore to quit Barleywood, the place in which many years had been spent, and she now took up her abode at Clifton. Here she continued amid a painful and protracted illness until relieved by death on the 7th of September, 1833, surrounded by many to honor her and many also to love her; who looked up to her as one of the great reformers of the manners of English society; one who had asserted very successfully the right of Christianity, or, in other words, the right of the Christian Scriptures to have a larger share than it had been the wont to allow them in forming the character and directing the course of human beings while in this state of their probation. She bequeathed £10,000 for pious and charitable purposes. The best edition of her works is in 11 volumes, 16mo (Lond. 1853). See The Memoirs and Correspondence of Hannah More, by William Roberts (Lond. 1834, 4 volumes, 8vo; N.Y. 1836, 2 volumes, 12mo, abridged in "Christian Family Library"); Life, by Reverend H. Thompson (Lond. 1838, 8vo); Correspondence of Hannah More with Zachary Macaulay (Lond. 1860); Mrs. Hall's visit to Mrs. Hannah More in Pilgrimage to English Shrines; Lives of Bishop Wilberforce; Perry, Hist. Church of England, 3:480 sq.; Clissold, Lands of the Church (Lond. 1863, 12mo), page 167
sq.; Jamieson, Cyclop. Religious Biog. s.v.; and the literature appended to the excellent article in Allibone, Dict. Brit. and Amer. Auth. s.v.