Reader’s Letters: The Aesthetics’ Point of View 2

November 30, 1885 ·

The Marquess Mallen and his family summoned me to clarify on my last statement. Thusly I will write several further statements from the perspective of The Aesthetics, each one punctiliously addressed to every dignitary respectively.

Respondence to The Most Honourable: The Marquess of Mallen

I answer duly to your summons for a depction of a decent collaboration between science and religion. According to my credo (diligentia quam suis rebus) I disclose in this affair Mr. Priestly.

Joseph Priestley, (13 March 1733 – 6 February 1804) was an 18th-century English theologian, clergyman, natural philosopher, chemist, educator, and political theorist who published over 150 works. He is usually credited with the discovery of oxygen, having isolated it in its gaseous state.

During his lifetime, Priestley’s considerable scientific reputation rested on his invention of soda water, his writings on electricity, and his discovery of several “airs” (gases), the most famous being what Priestley dubbed “dephlogisticated air” (oxygen).

Priestley’s science was integral to his theology, and he consistently tried to fuse Enlightenment rationalism with Christian theism. In his metaphysical texts, Priestley attempted to combine theism, materialism, and determinism, a project that has been called “audacious and original”. He believed that a proper understanding of the natural world would promote human progress and eventually bring about the Christian Millennium.

A scholar and teacher throughout his life, Priestley also made significant contributions to pedagogy, including the publication of a seminal work on English grammar, books on history, and he prepared some of the most influential early timelines. These educational writings were some of Priestley’s most popular works. It was his metaphysical works, however, that had the most lasting influence: leading philosophers including Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and Herbert Spencer credit them among the primary sources for utilitarianism.

Long live Victoria!

Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville

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