Catharine Trotter Cockburn
    At a very young age, Catharine's father, who was a sea captain, died at sea and took the family fortune down with him.  However, Catharine was able to help the family out with financial situations by writing five plays which were published by the age of seventeen.  At the age of twenty, she peaked her interest of philosophical issues of her time by writing a defense of John Locke.
    In 1708, she married a clergyman and took some time off from her writings to raise a large family.  She got back into the swing of things by acting as a mentor to her niece and once again, she took on the challenge of writing philosophical controversies.
    After her death, a family friend, Thomas Birch published a collection of her various works, including an extensive bibliography.  He made sure to note the extreme circumstances under which she was able to continue writing her whole life long.
The Vindication of an Essay Concerning Human Understanding was published anonymously due to the sexist attitude during her time.  This piece supported John Locke's Essay, and it showed that it established security in morality.  When Locke found out that it was Catharine who wrote the piece, he thanked her with books and money. 4

Return to Home