Imatges de pÓgina
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Sarah, the daughter of Joshua and Sarah Kirby, was born at Ipswich, on the 6th of January, 1741. Her father was a man of an excellent understanding, and of great piety; and so bigh was his reputation for knowledge of divinity, and so exemplary his moral conduct, that, as an exception to their general rule, which admitted no layman, he was chosen member of a clerical club in the town in which he resided *.

From him she imbibed the purest sentiments of religion and virtue, and learnt betimes the fundamental principles of Christianity. At how early a period he began to lay this foundation, cannot

* Mr. Kirby was the author of two works, which did him great credit. The one was entitled, “ Dr. Brooke Taylor's Method of Perspective made Easy," and the other (published in 1761, under the munificent patronage of his Majesty George the Third) “ The Perspective of Architecture."


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It has for some time been in contemplation to publish a slight sketch of the Life of the late Mrs. Trimmer, from an idea that it might be interesting to those who are acquainted with her writings, and also from the hope, that a recital of the virtues which adorned her character might be beneficial to others. The delay which has taken place in the publication was, in the first instance, occasioned by the doubt whether the Journal of her Prayers and Meditations should be introduced in its original form, and afterwards by the difficulty of making selections from it.

This Journal was written in the most secret hours of retreat, and without the least now be exactly ascertained, but probably with the very first dawn of reason, since she always considered it as one of the greatest blessings of her life, that she could never remember the time when she did not look up with gratitude to the great Author of her being, and pay him the willing tribute of prayer and thanksgiving.

When old enough to acquire the usual female accomplishments, she was sent, for some hours every day, to a boarding school in Ipswich, kept by Mrs. Justinier. This lady was a woman of elegant manners and refined sentiments, and had in early life moved in the circle of fashion; but an imprudent marriage had cut her off from her family connexions, and obliged her, in order to procure a respectable maintenance, to undertake the education of young ladies. Mrs. Trimmer always spoke of Mrs. Justinier with regard, and considered her as well qualified for the office she had undertaken.

At this school, her studies were chiefly directed to English and French; she had great pleasure in translating from the latter language, which she did with readiness and accuracy; and she frequently said it was that practice, which, by giving her choice of words, and facility of expression, led the way to her becoming an author. She likewise acquired a very good hand-writing, which was afterwards improved by an excellent master in London.

Whether it was from Mrs. Justinier, or from

her father, that she learnt her graceful manner of reading English, is not known, but in this she excelled ; and even to the end of her life, retained the faculty of reading aloud for a greater length of time than most people are capable of.

It has already been said that Mrs. Trimmer was greatly indebted to her father for giving her a religious education, and it is hoped the reader will not think it irrelative to the subject if a letter be here introduced from her Grandfather Kirby, to his son, Mr. Joshua Kirby. The motive for inserting it is to show, that as she was indebted to her excellent father for religious impressions, so he also imbibed the same from his own worthy parent. How encouraging is this to those who take pains to implant betimes in the minds of their infant race sentiments of piety and morality! Who can say how far these sentiments may reach, and how many yet unborn may be benefited by such precepts and example! But to return to the letter alluded to, which was writ. ten upon the death of a much loved son, to another son, equally dear to this pious and affectionate father.


Wickham-Market, June 17, 1741. My dear Son,

I had the pleasure of your's, Sunday last, by your servant, and thank you for that filial affec.

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