Charles Watts

(1836—1906) secularist and journalist

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Charles Watts was born in Bristol, the son of a Wesleyan minister who himself became a Sunday School lecturer. He gradually developed a curiosity about the truth of revealed Christianity from listening to the lectures of George Jacob Holyoake, the founder of the philosophical position known as secularism. Upon coming to London he rapidly became acquainted with the leading infidels of the period (notably Charles Southwell and Robert Cooper). From his association with this circle he lost his religious faith and became heavily involved in the work of the London organized National Secular Society (NSS) as both publisher and lecturer. He was a close compatriot of Bradlaugh in the early years of the NSS and was, for a time, the society's special lecturer. Watts was thus entrusted with the task of communicating with, and lecturing to, the widely spread provincial movement. In 1877 he moved to Toronto, where he established his own secularist newspaper and was an associate of the premier American freethinker Robert Ingersoll. He returned to England in 1891 and briefly became President of the NSS.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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