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Martin Madan

(1725—1790) Church of England clergyman and advocate of polygamy


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Martin Madan died at Epsom on 2 May 1790. He was born into a family with some literary associations: his mother, Judith, was the aunt of the poet William Cowper, and his younger brother, Spencer, was a poet. Martin attended Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, receiving his BA on 9 November 1746. He was called to the Bar in 1748. After a somewhat dissolute time in his twenties, he turned to Methodism and became a preacher, a career in which he enjoyed some success. In 1751 he married Jan Hale, by whom he had five children. After his father's death in 1756, he became not merely comfortable but opulent. Private means enabled him to write numerous books, one of which, Thelyphthora, espoused distinctly unwelcome views. After the controversy caused by the publication of this book in 1780, he withdrew more into his private life.

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From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.


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