(1705–1788), English physician and author of Visions in Verse (1751), a highly regarded volume of poetry for girls that reached a twelfth edition by 1794. Visions, a sequence of verse epistles concluding with personification allegories, continued to be reprinted at least until the 1820s, frequently paired in one volume with Edward Moore’s Fables for the Female Sex (1744). Cotton tried to persuade his audience of girls on the verge of womanhood that the pursuit of public recognition rarely led to happiness, whether making a brilliant marriage for money or high social rank or mingling in society's most fashionable circles. What distinguished Visions from other, similar works of advice in verse was the narrator's genuinely kind, concerned voice, widely regarded as reflecting Dr. Cotton's own admirable, unassuming character. He was known for his skill in treating mentally ill patients, including the poet William Cowper, at his private asylum in St. Albans.
From The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature in Oxford Reference.