Philip Furneaux was born at Totnes, Devon in December 1726 and died on 27 November 1783. He was educated at the local grammar school (along with Benjamin Kennicott), and subsequently at David Jennings' academy at Wellclose Square in London in 1742 or 1743, remaining there until 1749, when he became assistant at the Presbyterian Meeting of St Thomas's, Southwark. In 1752 he became one of the Sunday evening preachers at Salter's Hall, and in the following year he succeeded Moses Lowman as minister of the independent congregation at Clapham. He was a member of two important dissenting charities, the Coward and Dr Williams' Trusts. He was involved with the progress of the so-called Evans case (1754–67; see below), which furnished him with much of the subject matter of his Letters to Mr. Justice Blackstone (1769). In 1767 he was made DD of Marischal College, Aberdeen. He was present at the rejection in 1772 of the Feathers Tavern petition to relieve Anglican clergy from the necessity of subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles. Taking a hint from Lord North, that a similar petition on the part of the dissenting clergy could be accepted, an appropriate application was made in the same year, which, after several defeats in the House of Lords, led, in 1779, to the replacement of subscription to the Articles by a declaration of belief in the Scriptures. Furneaux was afflicted by hereditary insanity around 1777. A fund was raised for his support, to which Lord Mansfield, one of the judges in the Evans case, contributed.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.