Richard Phillips

Sir Richard Phillips (1767-1840) founded the Leicester Herald in 1792, and the next year was convicted of selling and printing seditious materials. He was released in 1795, after which his house in Leicester burned, forcing him to seek refuge for a time in the home of the wealthy hosier John Coltman of St. Nicholas Street just prior to his removal to London. Coltman was the father of Elizabeth Coltman Heyrick, a friend of Elizabeth Coltman and Mary Reid (all attended the Great Meeting in Leicester, as did Phillips) and all were friends of Mary Steele of Broughton and probably later known as well to Mary Hays. Phillips settled in London at the end of 1795 and commenced publication of the Monthly Magazine, a popular literary vehicle for London’s radicals; he also operated a printing business and bookshop in St. Paul’s Churchyard next door to the Unitarian bookseller, Joseph Johnson. Hays, Elizabeth Coltman, John Reid, Anthony Robinson, J. T. Rutt, and Crabb Robinson all contributed to the Monthly Magazine. Phillips would later publish short biographies of Mary Wollstonecraft and Charlotte Smith in his Annual Necrology and his Public Characters series (1800, 1801), as well as her important 6-volume set, Female Biography (1803). He appears in several letters in the Hays correspondence. For more on the connections between Phillips and the Coltman family, see Samuel Coltman, “Time’s Stepping Stones – or some Memorials of four Generations of a family – by an Octogenarian member of the same,” Chapter 3, Coltman MSS. 15D57/448-50, Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester, and Rutland.