Helen Maria Williams
Helen Maria Williams (1762-1827) published several poems in the 1780s while living in London, where she had come under the influence of Dr. Andrew Kippis (1725-95), a prominent Dissenting minister. She moved to Paris in 1788, and, except for a brief return to England in 1792, remained in France and Europe the rest of her life, making a name for herself as a political writer. Her Letters written in France (1790-96) brought her considerable attention by providing English readers with a sympathetic eyewitness account of the French Revolution (Benjamin Flower published an excerpt from the Letters in the Intelligencer, 4 January 1794). William Stone’s brother, John Hurford Stone, had fled to France shortly after the Revolution, and soon became an intimate friend of Williams. Though a married man, he accompanied Williams on her travels in Switzerland in late 1794; at that time, she had been forced to flee France for fear of reprisals upon her by Robespierre (she would later record this experience in her Tour of Switzerland). J. H. Stone was later accused of treason and tried in absentia in 1798. He and Williams would live together until his death in 1818.