Harriet, an English authoress, born in Norwich, June 12, 1802. She is descended from French ancestors, who on the revocation of the edict of Nantes established themselves at Norwich. She received a liberal education, and at an early age, being afflicted with a constantly increasing deafness and a total lack of the sense of smell, found her chief recreation in literary composition. Pecuniary disasters soon compelled her to rely upon her pen for support. In 1823 she published " devotional Exercises for the Use of the Young " and in 1824 a tale entitled "Christmas Day,'" a sequel to which, "The Friend;' appeared in 1825. Encouraged by the success of these works, she produced "Principle and Practice." "The Rioters," and "Original Hymns (1826); " The Turn-Out" and "Mary Campbell"(1827); "My Servant Rachel," a "Sequel to Principle and Practice " (1828); and a series of - Tracts " on questions relating to the working classes, in whose welfare several of her previous writings had shown a strong interest. In 1831 she published, under the title of "Traditions of Palestine," a series of sketches of the Holy Land during the period of Christ's ministry.
In the same year she obtained prizes from the British and foreign Unitarian society for three tracts on "The Faith as Unfolded by many Prophets," "Providence as Manifested'through Israel," and " The Essential Faith of the Christian Church." About this time she conceived the plan of issuing a series of monthly stories illustrating the leading principles of political economy. The society for the diffusion of useful knowledge, to which she at first applied, refused to enter into the project, and it was only after many rebuffs and disappointments that she succeeded in finding a publisher. The immediate and remarkable success with which the first tale was received repaid the author for her perseverance. The series extended to 24 stories, which were many times reprinted and translated into French and German, and which fixed her reputation as an earnest thinker and a writer of fiction. The " Illustrations of Taxation" and "Poor Laws and Pauper," which next appeared, were written with the same plan, and also published serially.
In 1834-6 she travelled extensively in the United States, and on her return recorded her impressions of American life and institutions in a work entitled "Society in America" (1837). She also published in 1838 her "Retrospect of Western Travel," which gave more of her personal experiences. In the following year appeared "Deerbrook," her first and most popular novel; in 1840, "The Hour and the Man," a work of fiction founded on the career of Toussaint l'Ouverture; and about the same time a series of tales for children entitled "The Playfellow," among which were "The Settlers at Borne," " Feats on the Fiord," and "The Crofton Boys." Her health, which had been delicate from childhood, became so seriously affected in 1839 that she was long obliged to desist from all literary occupation. In 1843 she published "Life in the Sick Room." On recovering through the agency, as she believed, of animal magnetism, she published in 1844 an account of the treatment in a letter which excited much attention. Her next works were "Forest and Game Law Tales" (1845), and "The Billow and the Rock" (1846). In 1S46, in company with her friends Mr. and Mrs. Richard V. Yates, she undertook an oriental tour, of which an account appeared in her "Eastern Life, Past and Present" (1848). Her next important publication was a continuation of the "History of England during the Thirty Years1 Peace, 1816-1846," begun by Mr. Charles Knight, but of which only the first book had appeared (2 vols. 4to, 1849-'50; "Introduction," 1 vol., 1851). In the same year she published her correspondence with Mr. H. G. Atkinson on "The Laws of Man's Nature and Development," which abounds in curious revelations of her own psychological experiences, and manifests a decided leaning toward the principles of Comte. Her philosophical views were still more plainly set forth in a condensed version of Comte's "Positive Philosophy" (1854; 2d ed., 2 vols., 1871-2). Among Miss Martineau's other writings are: "Five Years of Youth;" "How to Observe," a work for travellers, published in "Knight's Series;" -The Maid-of-all-work;" "The Housemaid;" "The Lady's Maid;" "The Dressmaker;'1 "Household Education;" a "Complete Guide to the Lakes" (1854); "The Factory Controversy" (1855); "Local Dues on Shipping " (1857); " British Rule in India " (1857); "England and her Soldiers" (1859); "Endowed Schools for Ireland" (1859); "Health, Husbandry, and Handicraft" (1861); " Steps in the Dark" (1864); and "Biographical Sketches" ( 1869). She has been a frequent contributor to periodicals and to the editorial columns of the London "Daily News," and has twice, on conscientious grounds, refused a government pension.
H. James, an English Unitarian clergyman, brother of the preceding, born in Norwich about 1805. He studied at the Unitarian college in York, and was settled successively over chapels in Dublin and Liverpool. In 1853 he was called to the chair of moral and mental philosophy in Manchester New college. In 1857 he went with the college to London, and in 1869 became its principal, but retired in 1874. In 1859 he became joint pastor with the Rev. John James Tayler of the principal Unitarian chapel in Little Portland street, of which he was sole minister from 1861 to 1874. He was engaged in a controversy with 13 clergymen of the church of England, in a series of lectures afterward collected and published in two volumes, entitled "Unitarian ism Confuted and "Unitarianism Defended." He is the author of "The Rationale of Religions Inquiry" (1836); Endeavors after the Christian Life "(2 vols., 1843; 5th ed., 1873)- "Mis-cellanies," edited by the Rev. Thomas Starr King (Boston, 1852); "Studies of Christianity, edited by the Rev. William R. Alger (Boston, 1858); "Essays, Philosophical and Theological" (2 vols., 1866-'9); "Studies of Christianity" (1873); and many articles in the "Westminster," "National," and other English reviews and journals.