Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hutton, Catherine

HUTTON, CATHERINE (1756–1846), miscellaneous writer, only daughter and surviving child of William Hutton (1723-1815) [q.v.], by his wife Sarah Cock of Aston-on-Trent, Derbyshire, was born on 11 Feb. 1756. She was a woman of considerable shrewdness, and possessed some literary talent, as well as a wonderful memory and great industry. Her health was always delicate. She never married, and was the constant companion of her father, who describes her, in his 'History of the Hutton Family,' as being incapable of an ill-natured speech; 'whatever lies within the bounds of female reach she ventures to undertake, and whatever she undertakes succeeds' (The Life of William Hutton, &c., p.45). After her father's death in September 1815 she continued to live at Bennett's Hill, near Birmingham, where she died from an attack of paralysis on 13 March 1846, in the ninety-first year of her age. Three engraved portraits of her at the respective ages of forty-three, sixty-eight, and eighty-three are extant.

In the record of the occupations of her long life, written in her eighty-ninth year for her friend Markham John Thorpe, she states, after giving some curious details of the 'efforts' of her needle, that she had published twelve volumes, and had contributed sixty papers to different periodicals (Gent. Mag. 1846, pt. i. p.477). She supplied Sir Walter Scott with a short memoir of Robert Bage [q.v.] for the ninth volume of Ballantyne's 'Novelists' Library' (pp.xvii-xxv). From girlhood until near her death she collected autograph letters, and corresponded with many famous contemporaries. She left between two and three thousand rare and valuable letters, besides several folio volumes of fashion-plates with curious annotations by herself, and 'masses of matter, written for publication,' in manuscript.

She published the following: 1. 'The Miser Married; a Novel,' London, 1813, 12mo, 3 vols. 2. 'The Life of William Hutton: including a particular Account of the Riots at Birmingham in 1791. To which is subjoined the History of his Family, written by himself, and published by his daughter, Catherine Hutton,' London, 1816, 8vo; a second edition, with some additions, was published in 1817; another edition, with extracts from her father's other works (forming one of Knight's ' English Classics'), London, 1841, 8vo; a condensed edition, with considerable additions on the Hutton family by Llewellynn Jewitt, was published in 1872, and forms part of the Chandos Library. 3. 'The Welsh Mountaineer; a Novel,' &c., London, 1817, 12mo, 3 vols. 4. ' Oakwood Hall; a Novel,' &c., London, 1819, 12mo, 3 vols. 5. 'The History of Birmingham … continued to the present time by Catherine Hutton,' the 4th edition, London, 1819, 8vo. 6. 'The Tour of Africa containing a concise Account of all the Countries in that quarter of the Globe hitherto visited by Europeans. … Selected from the best Authors and arranged by Catherine Hutton,' London, 1819-1821, 8vo, 3 vols. According to the 'Gentleman's Magazine,' 1846, pt. i. p.436, Miss Hutton produced about 1826 'A History of the Queens of England, Consort and Regnant, from the Norman Conquest downward,' but no copy seems now known. Her 'Conclusion' to the 'Life of William Hutton' and three of her shorter articles will be found in the second edition of L. Jewitt's 'William Hutton and the Hutton Family,' &c. (pp 311-22, 82-95). A selection from her correspondence has been prepared by her cousin, Mrs. Catherine Hutton Beale, under the title of 'Reminiscences of a Gentlewoman of the Last Century'(1891).

[The Life of William Hutton and the History of the Hutton Family, ed. Llewellynn Jewitt, 2nd edit.; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. vol. ix.; Colvile's Worthies of Warwickshire, pp. 451-3; Gent. Mag. 1846, pt. i. pp.436, 476-7; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

G. F. R. B.