John Morley

On this date in 1838, author and statesman John Morley was born in England. He was educated at Cheltenham College and Oxford. His father wanted him to become a clergyman and withdrew his financial support when Morley demurred. His plans to take the bar were interrupted by taking editorship of the rationalist Fortnightly Review in 1867, for which he also wrote. The trademark of agnostic Morley was to spell "God" with a small "g." His books include Burke (1867), Voltaire (1871), Rousseau (1873), On Compromise (1874), Diderot (1878), Life of Gladstone (3 vols., 1903), and Recollections (1917). He became editor of the crusading newspaper Pall Mall Gazette in 1880 and supported Gladstone, who won. Morley represented Newcastle in Parliament from 1883 to 1895, and Montrose Burghs from 1896 to 1908. He supported parliamentary reform and Irish Home Rule, and opposed the Boer War. Morley was Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1886, and 1892 to 1895. Known as "honest John Morley," he was Secretary of State for India from 1905 to 1910, and Lord President of the Council from 1910 to 1914, retiring from politics to protest entry into WWI. D. 1923.

“Where it is a duty to worship the sun, it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat.”

—John Morley, Voltaire, Critical Miscellanies, 1872, and Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th Edition.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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