Edgeworth. I. Richard Lovell, a British inventor and author, born in Bath in 1744, died at Edgeworthstown, county Longford, Ireland, June, 13, 1817. He belonged to an ancient Irish family, and was educated at Trinity college, Dublin, and at Oxford. While at the latter university he ran away with a young lady of Oxford, married her, and settled near Reading. He had great mechanical ingenuity, and invented various contrivances, particularly a system of telegraphs, and a locomotive machine which carried with itself a movable railway. For these he was awarded two medals by the society of arts. In 1771 he went to France, and superintended part of the works undertaken at Lyons to alter the course of the Rhone. In 1782 he took up his residence at Edgeworthstown and devoted himself to the cultivation of his estates. He was much interested in questions of education, and brought up his eldest son upon the principles inculcated in Rousseau's Emile. He was also interested in political economy, and labored for the improvement of the condition of his tenants.
He took an active part in public affairs, was a member of the reform convention which assembled at Dublin in 1783, and entered the Irish parliament in 1798. He was opposed to the legislative union of England and Ireland, and when the Irish parliament gave its assent to that measure, he retired from political life. In 1804 he constructed for the government a telegraph between Dublin and Galway. He was placed upon commissions to revise the laws relating to education, and to investigate the best means of draining an extensive bog in Ireland. He was married four times, the last time to Honora Sneyd, who is supposed to have been affianced to Major Andre. Besides various parliamentary reports, he wrote, either alone or in conjunction with his daughter, among other things, "Professional Education," "Practical Education," and an "Essay on the Construction of Roads and Carriages." - See "Memoirs of Richard Lovell Edgeworth, Esq., begun by himself and concluded by his daughter" (2 vols. 8vo, London, 1820). II. Maria, an English authoress, daughter of the preceding, born at Hare Hatch, near Reading, England, Jan. 1, 1767, died at Edgeworthstown, Ireland (where she had resided since 1782), May 21, 1849. She was educated by her father, and became his assistant both in business affairs and in literary pursuits.
The "Early Lessons," "Parent's Assistant," and "Essay on Irish Bulls" were the fruit of their joint labors. The views which she shared with him in regard to education were exemplified in " Harry and Lucy " and "Rosamond," commenced by him and completed by her after his death, and in " Frank," written by herself. The long series of excellent novels and tales for which she was celebrated began with "Castle Rackrent" (1801). Among the most noted of them are " Belinda," " Ennui," " The Absentee," " Patronage," "Harrington," "Helen," and "Ormond." All her writings are characterized by strong good sense, practical judgment, and high moral tone. Sir Walter Scott, whom she preceded as a novelist, was her warm friend and admirer, and she passed a fortnight with him at Abbots-ford in 1823. A complete edition of her works was published in London in 1832, in 18 vols. 12mo, and they still continue to be reprinted.