A notably successful female novelist and essayist of the late 18th and early 19th century, Elizabeth Hamilton was born in Ireland but grew up and spent most of her life in Scotland, the native land of her father. Active during the Revolutionary Controversy of the 1790s, and writing also on matters of the intellectual and social roles of women, Hamilton texts position her as a moderate relative to her contemporaries. In her poetry, however, she was more concerned with the everyday scenes and language of her adopted homeland. A composer of a number of songs in Scots, she found in that language a greater range of emotional expression than in the English in which she had received her education. Her proclivity for Scots is evident in her most famous work of prose, the novel The Cottagers of Glenburnie, and in her later life she was to propose the study of the language in her capacity as an educationalist.