City Readers Digital Historic Collections at the New York Society Library
Mary Meeke (1761-1826)
Elizabeth Meeke (13 November 1761–c. October 1826?) was a prolific English author. She wrote around 30 novels published by the Minerva Press during the early 19th century, and is believed to have died around October 1826. She sometimes used the pseudonym Gabrielli. Her first published novel was Count St Blanchard in 1795; others include The Abbey of Cluny, The Mysterious Wife, Anecdotes of the Altamont Family, and Which is the Man?. Her works include several translations from French, e.g. Elizabeth, or the Exiles of Siberia.
The third edition of Chamber's Cyclopaedia of English Literature gave a disparaging assessment of her work:
The novels are worthless and would be quite forgotten but for the mention of them in the Life of Macaulay, who in his younger days at least "all but knew them by heart". According to Macaulay's sister the most of them turn on the fortunes of some young man in a very low rank of life who ultimately proves to be the son of a duke.
"Our public schools," Mary Meeke said in her time, "are mere hot-beds for the encouragement of vice and dissipation, which flourish in still greater perfection at college; and as for the grand tour, "why, half those who undertake it return greater fools than they set out".