John Shute Barrington

(1678—1734) politician and Christian apologist

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John Shute Barrington was born John Shute at Theobalds, Hertfordshire. He died at Becket, Berkshire on 14 December 1734. He changed his name to Barrington in 1710, on being left the estate of Tofts in Hertfordshire by the husband of his first cousin on condition that such a change was made: this was effected by Act of Parliament in 1716. He came from a dissenting family and was educated at the academy of Thomas Rowe, where Isaac Watts was also a pupil. Barrington was related to the Abney family with whom Watts lived; Watts wrote an ode to him. In common with many dissenters of the day he was sent to the University of Utrecht, where he published Oratio de Studio Philosophiae conjugendo cum Studio Juris Romani in 1698. In the same year he returned to England and was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple. He became a friend of Locke around 1701 and some of his letters to Locke, but not Locke's replies, survive. In one of the earlier ones he replies to Locke's failure to find him a place (via the Earl of Pembroke, the dedicatee of the Essay) and in a later one he requests Locke's assistance in a revision of his Interest of England consider'd (1701; second edition, 1703). He wrote several further works on the rights of the Protestant dissenters, largely based on Locke, who is directly cited in The rights of Protestant Dissenters (1704) written against Sir Humphrey Mackworth. In 1707 Barrington took part in the negotiations on the Act of Union. He also wrote extensively on purely theological matters, corresponding with Nathaniel Lardner. His works on toleration, in spite of their reference to Locke's views, remain primarily those of a lawyer.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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