Helen Williams

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Born: 1762

Died: 14 December 1827, Paris, France


Helen Maria Williams, was born in the North of England in 1762. She published a volume of poems when only twenty-one years old, and in 1786 her Poems appeared in two small volumes. She visited Paris in 1788, and lived there for some years with a sister who had married a French Protestant. This was during the period of the Revolution and the Reign of Terror. She was an outspoken republican in her sympathies, and was imprisoned by Robespierre because of some of her utterances in advocacy of the Girondist cause, being released from prison only after his death, in 1794. Her Letters from France (1790 and 1795) were published in England, America, and France. They dealt with political, religious, and literary questions, and showed her to be a woman of more than ordinary intellectual strength. She published many volumes between 1786 and 1823, when her last volume appeared, titled Poems on Various Occasions, being a collection of all her previously published poems. She lived partly in England, but mostly in France, though the closing years of her life were spent in Holland in the home of a nephew who lived at Amsterdam and was pastor of the reformed Church there. -- Hymn Writers of the Church (Tillett and Nutter 1915)

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