Wellins Calcott

(fl. 1756—1769) religious writer and freemason

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Wellins Calcott was born in Cheshire. His father was a member of the corporation of Shrewsbury. In the Preface to his Thoughts Moral and Divine (1756) he confesses that he has turned author out of necessity rather than inclination. He was a Freemason, and his last publication was instrumental in recruiting new members. Calcott's ‘thoughts’ are often borowed from other writers without acknowledgement. He probably had no formal training, beyond a conventional eighteenth-century classical/theological education, and he seems to have felt that philosophy could be anthologized, or produced in ‘eye bites’ for eighteenth-century readers who were, as he was, unacquainted with the formal, serious study of philosophy. He describes philosophy negatively as a subject not suited for ‘popular Ostentation’, adding that it does not rest inWords, but in Things; it is not an Entertainment taken up for Delight, or to give a Taste to our Pleasures, but fashions the Mind, governs our Actions, instructs us what we are to do and what not, it sits at the Helm and guides us through all Hazards.The work consists entirely of apothegms, most sententious, some instructive. He devotes several pages, for example, to atheism, but also considers such conventional philosophical topics as benevolence, conscience, evil, justice, reason, etc.

From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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