- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /
5

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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INTRODUCTION.



Mary Wollstonecraft was born on the 27th of April,
1759. Her father—a quick-tempered and unsettled man,
capable of beating wife, or child, or dog—was the son of a
manufacturer who made money in Spitalfields, when
Spitalfields was prosperous. Her mother was a rigorous
Irishwoman, of the Dixons of Ballyshannon. Edward John
Wollstonecraft—of whose children, besides Mary, the second
child, three sons and two daughters lived to be men and
women—in course of time got rid of about ten thousand
pounds, which had been left him by his father. He began
to get rid of it by farming. Mary Wollstonecraft’s
first-remembered home was in a farm at Epping. When she
was five years old the family moved to another farm, by the
Chelmsford Road. When she was between six and seven
years old they moved again, to the neighbourhood of
Barking. There they remained three years before the next
move, which was to a farm near Beverley, in Yorkshire.
In Yorkshire they remained six years, and Mary
Wollstonecraft had there what education fell to her lot between
the ages of ten and sixteen. Edward John Wollstonecraft
then gave up farming to venture upon a commercial speculation.
This caused him to live for a year and a half at
Queen’s Row, Hoxton. His daughter Mary was then
sixteen; and while at Hoxton she had her education advanced
by the friendly care of a deformed clergyman—a Mr. Clare—who
lived next door, and stayed so much at home that his
one pair of shoes had lasted him for fourteen years.

But Mary Wollstonecraft’s chief friend at this time
was an accomplished girl only two years older than herself,
who maintained her father, mother, and family by skill in
drawing. Her name was Frances Blood, and she
especially, by her example and direct instruction, drew out her
young friend’s powers. In 1776, Mary Wollstonecraft’s
father, a rolling stone, rolled into Wales. Again he was a

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