Freethought of the Day

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There are 1 entries for this date: Viscount Bolingbroke
Viscount Bolingbroke

Viscount Bolingbroke

On this date in 1678, Henry St. John, who later became Viscount Bolingbroke, was born near Battersea, England. Brought up by grandparents when his mother died soon after his birth, he was educated at Eton and Oxford. St. John became a prominent Tory in Parliament, where he was first elected in 1701. He served as Secretary of War from 1704-1708, and from 1710 -1714 was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, negotiating the Treaty of Utrecht. He became a favorite counselor of Queen Anne, was named Viscount Bolingbroke in 1712 and entered the House of Lords. Bolingbroke was forced to flee to France after being impeached for high treason by King George I in 1715. The witty Deist, who criticized the bible, dismissed the idea of an anthropomorphic god, rejected prayer and miracles, doubted the existence of a soul or immortality, argued against divine morality, and wrote that Platonism had corrupted Christianity, met and impressed Voltaire. In 1725, Bolingbroke was permitted to return to England and claim his property but was never reseated to Parliament. His Tory-sympathizing circle of friends included Swift and Pope, and Voltaire visited him in England. "The Idea of a Patriot King" was Bolingbroke's most significant political contribution. His irreligious views, which influenced friends such as Voltaire, were only published posthumously, and created a sensation. D. 1751.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Freethought of the Day

Would you like to start your day on a freethought note? "Freethought of the Day" is a daily freethought calendar brought to you courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, highlighting birthdates, quotes, and other historic tidbits.

If you would like to be placed on the "Daily Freethought" e-mail list to automatically receive the calendar notice, log in and edit your email settings (My Membership). Or, email  and include your first and last name with your request for verification purposes. This email service is limited to members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation or subscribers to Freethought Today. To become an FFRF member, click here.


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