Daniel Williams

(c. 1643—1716) Presbyterian minister and benefactor

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Daniel Williams was born in the vicinity of Wrexham, Denbighshire and died at Hoxton, London on 26 January 1716. He was most likely self-educated. In Williams's funeral sermon, John Evans comments that his early education ‘would have cramped a common genius through his whole life’. Evans also remarks that Williams ‘began to mind Religion in earnest in his Younger Years’. Before he was twenty he had become an itinerant nonconforming preacher. In 1664 he became chaplain to the Countess of Meath, and in 1667, minister of the Independent congregation of Wood Street, Dublin. There he met Gilbert Rule, through whom he developed a preference for Presbyterian polity. His opposition to James II led to conflict with Roman Catholics in Ireland, and, his life threatened, Williams removed to London in 1687. He supported the Revolution of 1688 and remained thereafter a strong defender of the British Constitution and the Protestant monarchy. In 1688, he was made minister of the Presbyterian congregation at Hand Alley, Bishopsgate, and remained there until his death. He was a close friend of Richard Baxter and in 1691 succeeded him as lecturer at Pinner's Hall, a position from which he was dismissed in 1694. Nevertheless, Williams remained a leading member of the dissenting clergy in England. He became one of the lecturers at the newly founded Salters' Hall. In 1701 he was chosen to lead a delegation of non-conformist denominations to offer congratulations and pledge loyalty to Anne on her accession to the throne, and he was selected again for this honour in 1714 when George I succeeded her. In 1709 both Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities made him DD. A series of judicious marriages left him a wealthy man. In his will he left provision for the education of dissenting ministers and the library in London that bears his name.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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