Elizabeth Hamilton (1758–1816) was born in Belfast and brought up by her aunt and uncle, a farmer, near Stirling in Scotland. She was educated until the age of thirteen by a master in a mixed school, though she did not receive any instruction in the classics. As she finished her formal schooling her brother Charles (?1753–92) left Britain to begin a military career in the service of the East India Company under Warren Hastings (see p. 314, note to p. 214, ll. 21–4). For the next fourteen years, Elizabeth Hamilton pursued her education through a lengthy correspondence with her brother. Under his mentorship she embarked on a literary career, and came to share his intellectual and political interests. While in India, Charles Hamilton became involved with the group of Orientalists surrounding Sir William Jones (1746–94) at the Asiatic Society in Calcutta, which was dedicated to the reform of both colonial administration and Indian society and government. In 1787 he published An Historical Relation of the Origin, Progress, and Final Dissolution of the Government of the Rohilla Afghans, which justified British intervention in India as an attack on decadent courtly society, both in India and at home. In the following year, he returned to England on leave to translate a commentary on the Islamic law code, and Elizabeth Hamilton visited him in London. In 1790 she went to live with him there, and joined his circle of liberal but anti-revolutionary friends. He was preparing to leave for India again when he died of tuberculosis in 1792.