Elizabeth Coltman's The Warning originally appeared c. 1805, published by Darton and Harvey of London. The work is assigned to ‘Eliza Coltman’ by the Early American Imprints Series, from which the 1807 copy-text has been taken; other libraries assign the work to Elizabeth Coltman Heyrick, with one referring to the author as ‘Elizabeth Coltman, afterwards Heyrick’. No other British editions are extant.

Coltman's tract bears some similarities to Anna Laetitia Barbauld’s Sins of Government, Sins of the Nation; or, a Discourse for the Fast, appointed on April 19, 1793, 4th ed. (London: J. Johnson, 1793). Though Barbauld does not base her argument upon prophecy, she nevertheless takes the Pitt administration of 1793 sternly to task for violating what to Barbauld are clear scriptural requirement for good government: ‘Repent this day, not only of the actual evil you have done, but of the evil of which your actions have been the cause.---If you slander a good man, you are answerable for all the violence of which that slander may be the remote cause; if you raise undue prejudice against any particular class or description of citizens, and they suffer through the bad passions your misrepresentations have worked up against them, you are answerable for the injury, though you have not wielded the bludgeon, or applied the firebrand; if you place power in improper hands, you are answerable for the abuse of that power; if you oppose conciliatory measures, you are answerable for the distree which more violent ones may produce. If you use intemperate invectives and inflammatory declamations, you are answerable if others shed blood’ (p. 39).

Coltman’s opposition to the war with France put her at odds with the majority of nonconformists by 1807. Her prophetic stance upon which she bases her opposition was clearly influenced by the writings of James Bicheno (1752-1831), Baptist minister at Newbury and Cote, Oxfordshire, 1780-1824, especially The Signs of the Times: or, the Overthrow of the Papal Tyranny in France, the Prelude of Destruction to Popery and Despotism, but of Peace to Mankind (1793), A Word in Season: Or, a Call to the Inhabitants of Great Britain, to Stand Prepared for the Consequences of the Present War (1795), and The Probable Progress and Issue of the Commotions which have Agitated Europe since the French Revolution, argued from the Aspect of Things, and the Writings of the Prophets (1797). Bicheno’s conclusion to his 2nd edition of Signs of the Times (1794), which he reprinted in the 6th edition (1808), argued that all the signs point to a ‘general shaking and renovation of things’, and woe be to those who guilty of ‘opposing the providence of God’. Prosecuting the war against France, even with good intentions, in the light of prophetic fulfillment is folly and even wickedness, for if England as a nation finds itself “acting contrary to the principles both of policy and the eternal obligations of morality, we are certainly precipitating our fate, and aggravating our ruin. It becomes us then, with great seriousness, to consider our ways: for it is not what the French are that ascertains the safety or danger of our situation: they may be all that they are represented to be, and yet our case be never the better: the worse they are, the more fit are they, in some respects, to be the instruments of God’s threatened judgments.’ Bicheno was convinced as early as 1793 that, based on prophetic scripture, France was that ‘beastly power, which [...] was to cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed; it is also the tenth part of the great Antichristian city where the witnesses, after what is called three days and a half, were again to rise to political life and power; and whether that time be not arrived?’ Thus, Bicheno warns, French Infidelity is not the problem but rather English sin and lack of repentance and reformation. ‘Let every man and every nation – repent and reform’, he writes, ‘[...] let every government reform its abuses, and by the practice of justice and mercy, break every heavy yoke, and by these means make the wilderness and the solitary place glad.’ For England to form a coalition with Germany against France will only make God laugh in heaven, for ‘without repentance and reformation, his judgments will speedily come.’ Bicheno, and Coltman in The Warning, opposed the war against France based upon their reading of biblical prophecy; another Dissenting writer and radical reformer, Benjamin Flower (he was an Independent turned Baptist turned Unitarian) continued to oppose the war against France throughout the 1790s and the first decade of the nineteenth century, but based his opposition on moral grounds, believing the commencement of the war to have been unjustified. See Bicheno, Signs of the Times, 6th ed. (London: J. Adlard, 1808), pp. 162, 163; 96, 97; Benjamin Flower, Reflections on the Preliminaries of Peace, between Great Britain and the French Republic (Cambridge: Holborn, London: Printed and sold by B. Flower and Crosby and Letterman ... T. Conder ... and M. Gurney, 1802), and Flower’s Preface to Robert Aspland’s Divine Judgments on Guilty Nations, their Causes and Effects Considered, in a Discourse delivered at Newport in the Isle of Wight, before a Congregation of Protestant Dissenters (Cambridge: B. Flower, 1804).