Hays, Mary (1759–1843)

Writer. Brought up in a Dissenting home in London, she first found fame with her Cursory Remarks on an Enquiry into the Experience and Propriety of Public Worship (1792). This propelled her into the circle of radicals around the publisher Joseph Johnson (1738–1809; DNB). Hays’s Memoirs of Emma Courtney (1796) gained her some notoriety, as it was a thinly-disguised version of her relationship with the radical William Frend (1757–1841; DNB). She was caricatured in, among other places, Charles Lloyd’s Edmund Oliver (1798), but her main claim to posthumous fame has been her feminist writings, especially An Appeal to the Men of Great Britain in Behalf of Women (1798). Southey met Hays in London in 1797 and corresponded with her in the early 1800s.