1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Austin, Sarah

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AUSTIN, SARAH (1793–1867), English author, was born in 1793, the daughter of John Taylor (d. 1826), a wool-stapler and a member of the well-known Taylor family of Norwich. Her great grandfather, Dr John Taylor (1694-1761), had been pastor of the Presbyterian church there, and wrote a once famous polemical work on The Scripture Doctrine of Original Sin (1738), which called forth celebrated treatises by Jonathan Edwards on Original Sin. Her mother, Susannah Cook, was an exceedingly clever woman who transmitted both her beauty and her talent to her daughter. Their friends included Dr Alderson and his daughter Mrs Opie, Henry Crabbe Robinson, the Gurneys and Sir James Mackintosh. Sarah Taylor married in 1820 John Austin (q.v.). They lived in Queen Square, Westminster, where Mrs. Austin, whose tastes, unlike her husband’s, were extremely sociable, gathered round her a large circle, Jeremy Bentham, James Mill and the Grotes being especially intimate. She received many Italian exiles, who found a real friend in her. In 1821 was born her only child, Lucie, afterwards Lady Duff-Gordon. Mrs. Austin never attempted any considerable original work, contenting herself chiefly with translations, of which the most important are the History of the Reformation in Germany and the History of the Popes (1840), from the German of Leopold von Ranke, Report on the State of Public Instruction in Prussia (1834) from the French of V. Cousin, and F. W. Carove’s The Story without an End (1864). After her husband’s death in 1859 she edited his Lectures on Jurisprudence. She also edited the Memoirs of Sydney Smith (1855) and Lady Duff-Gordon’s Letters from Egypt (1865). She died at Weybridge on the 8th of August 1867.

See Three Generations of Englishwomen (1888), by her grand-daughter, Mrs Janet Ross.