Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Mortimer, Favell Lee

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MORTIMER, Mrs. FAVELL LEE (1802–1878), authoress, second daughter of David Bevan, of the banking firm of Barclay, Bevan, & Co., born in London in 1802, was religiously educated, and in 1827 passed through the experience of conversion. She at once threw herself with great zeal into educational work, founding parish schools on her father's estates, and taking an active and intelligent part in their management. Through her brother she made the acquaintance of his schoolfellow and college friend, Henry Edward Manning [q. v.], with whom she corresponded on religious topics, and on whom she exercised for a time a considerable influence. In after years at his instance she returned his letters, while she allowed her own to remain in his hands. In 1841 she married Thomas Mortimer, minister of the Episcopal Chapel, Gray's Inn Road, after whose death in 1850 she devoted herself to the care of the destitute and the afflicted. She died on 22 Aug. 1878, and was buried in the churchyard, Upper Sheringham, Norfolk.

She is best known as the author of educational works for the young, of which the most popular, 'The Peep of Day, or a Series of the Earliest Religious Instruction the Infant Mind is capable of receiving,' has passed through a multitude of editions, the sixth in 1840 and the latest in 1891, and has been translated into French and several barbarous dialects. It was followed by little manuals of a similar kind, viz. 'Line upon Line,' London, 1837, 12mo; 'More about Jesus,' London, 1839, 12mo; 'Lines left out,' London, 1862, 12mo; 'Precept upon Precept,' London, 1867, 16mo, 2nd edit. 1869. Hardly less deservedly popular were Mrs. Mortimer's manuals of elementary secular instruction, viz. 'Near Home, or the Countries of Europe described,' London, 1849, 8vo; 'Far off, or Asia and Australia described,' London, 1852-1854, 16mo, latest edit. 1890, 8vo; 'Reading without Tears,' London, 1857, 12mo; 'Reading Disentangled,' London, 1862, 16mo; 'Latin without Tears, or One Word a Day,' London, 1877, 8vo.

Mrs. Mortimer also published the following miscellanea : 1. 'The History of a Young Jew, or of Alfred Moritz Myers,' Chester, 1840 12mo. 2. The History of Job,' London, 1841, 18mo. 3. 'The English Mother,' 3rd edit. 1849, 18mo. 4. 'The Night of Toil,' 4th edit. 1853, 12mo. 5. 'The Angel s Message, or the Saviour made known to the Cottager,' London, 1857, 12mo. 6. 'Light in the Dwelling, or a Harmony of the Four Gospels,' London, 1858, 8vo. 7. 'Streaks of Light, or Fifty-two Tracts from the Bible for the Fifty-two Sundays of the Year,' London, 1861, 8vo, last edit. 1890. 8. 'The Apostles preaching to Jews and Gentiles,' London, 1873, 18mo, new edit. 1875. 9. 'The Captivity of Judah,' London, 1875, 18mo, new edit. 1870.

[The Family Friend, 1878, p. 183; Reminiscences, by Lord Forester, in the Times, 20 Jan. 1892; private information; Supplement to Allibone's Dict.; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

J. M. R.