In the world of literature and art, Goldsmith and Johnson had gone; Cowper was not yet much known; the most prominent poets were Hayley and Darwin; the most distinguished prose-writer, Gibbon. […] Miss Burney, afterwards Madame D’Arblay, surprised the reading world with her entertaining, but somewhat vulgar novels; and Mrs. Inchbald, Mrs. Charlotte Smith, and a then anonymous author, Robert Bage (who wrote Hermsprong, and Man as He Is), delighted liberal politicians with theirs. Mrs. Inchbald was also a successful dramatist; but her novels, which were written in a style to endure, were her chief merits.
– Leigh Hunt (Autobiography, p. 66f.)1