Elizabeth Ryves was born in Ireland, but very little is known of her early life. According to her friend Isaac D'Israeli (father of the future Prime Minister), she was descended from an Irish family of distinction. It appears that in her youth, she possessed -- or expected to inherit -- considerable property, but was deprived of it on her father's death. She then moved to London to petition the government for return of her property and turned to writing to make a living. She wrote articles for newspapers, a comic opera, a novel called The Hermit of Snowden (1789) and several collections of poetry, including Poems on Several Occasions (1777). She also translated Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s The Social Contract and works by Guillaume Raynal into English. She died poor and unmarried in 1797.