Item of the Day: Hannah More’s Tales for the Common People (1801)

Full Title: The Works of Hannah More, in Eight Volumes; including several pieces never before published. Vol. V. “Tales for the Common People.” London: Printed by A. Strahan for T. Cadell Jun. and w. Davis, 1801.


To improve the habits, and raise the principles of the common people, at a time when their dangers and temptations, moral and political, were multiplied beyond the example of any former period, was the motive which impelled the Author of these volumes to devise and prosecute the institution of the Cheap Repository. This plan was established with an humble wish, not only to counteract vice and profligacy on the one hand, but error, discontent, and false religion on the other. And as an appetite for reading had, from a variety of causes, been increasing among the inferior ranks in this country, it was judged expedient, at this critical period, to supply such wholesome aliment as might give a new direction to their taste, and abate their relish for those corrupt and inflammatory publications which the consequences of the French Revolution have been so fatally pouring in upon us.The success of the plan exceeded the most sanguine expectation of its projector. Above two millions of the Tracts were sold within the first year, besides very large numbers in Ireland; and they continue to be very extensively circulated, in their original form of single Tracts, by Evans, in Long-lane, West Smithfield, Hatchard in Piccadilly, and Hazard in Bath, as well as in three bound volumes sold by Rivington, Hatchard, and all other booksellers.

As these stories, though principally, are not calculated exclusively for the middle and lower classes of society, the Author had, at the desire of her friends, selected those which were written by herself, and presented them to the public in this collection of her works, in an enlarged and improved form.


  • The Shepherd of Salisbury Plain: In Two Parts.

  • The Two Shoemakers: In Six Parts.

  • The History of Tom White the Postboy: In Two Parts.

  • The History of Hester Wilmot: In Two Parts; being the Sequel to the Sunday School.

  • The Grand Assize, or General Goal Delivery: An Allegory.

  • The Servant Man turned Soldier: An Allegory.

  • The History of Betty Brown the St. Giles Orange Girl, with some Account of Mrs. Sponge the Money-Lender.

  • Black Giles the Poacher: In Two Parts. Containing some Account of a Family who had rather live by their Wits than their Work.

  • Tawney Rachel; or, The Fortune-teller; with some Account of Dreams, Omens, and Conjurers.


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Filed under 1800's, Fiction, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Women

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