Samuel Squire

Last updated

Samuel Squire
Died4 November 1764(1764-11-04) (aged 49–50)
Education Lord Weymouth's Grammar School, St John's College, Cambridge (1730)
OccupationBishop, Pamphleteer and historian

Samuel Squire (1714 7 May 1766) was a Bishop of the Church of England and a historian.


Early life

Squire was the son of a druggist in Warminster, Wiltshire, and was first educated at Lord Weymouth's Grammar School. He matriculated at St John's College, Cambridge in 1730 and graduated BA in 1734, winning the Craven scholarship the same year. He was elected a fellow of St John's in 1735, proceeded MA in 1737, and was made a Doctor of Divinity in 1749. [1] [2]

Ecclesiastical career

Squire began his church career in 1739 when he was ordained a deacon of the Church of England; he was ordained priest in 1741, in which year he was appointed vicar of Minting, Lincolnshire. In 1743 was made a canon of Wells Cathedral, and Archdeacon of Bath, holding both preferments until 1761. Adding to his growing number of parish livings, he was appointed rector of Toppesfield, Essex (1749–50) and subsequently of St Anne's Church, Soho (1750–66), and vicar of St Alphege's, Greenwich (1751–66), where William Paley, who later achieved fame as a theologian and philosopher, served as his curate. He was briefly Dean of Bristol (1760) and was finally appointed Bishop of St David's in 1761. His attainment of offices was due to his open attachment to the court Whigs; he was chaplain to the Duke of Newcastle, whose use of patronage for the court Whig interest was renowned. [3]

Published works

The title page of Squire's An Enquiry into the Foundation of the English Constitution (1745). A new edition was published in 1753. The phrase "antiquam exquirite matrem" means "seek out your ancient Mother", and is a quotation from Virgil's Aeneid (book III, line 96). Samuel Squire, An Enquiry into the Foundation of the English Constitution (1745, title page) - 20141127.jpg
The title page of Squire's An Enquiry into the Foundation of the English Constitution (1745). A new edition was published in 1753. The phrase "antiquam exquirite matrem" means "seek out your ancient Mother", and is a quotation from Virgil's Aeneid (book III, line 96).

In the 1740s Squire published five essays on political subjects in which he voiced his support for the Whig party. His Letter to a Young Gentleman of Distinction (1740) argued for the benefits of a standing army against a militia to protect Britain in its wars against France and Spain. Squire advocated Britain's continental commitment of troops in The Important Question Discussed (1746). He came to the aid of Henry Pelham's administration by trumpeting its Whig principles in A Letter to a Tory Friend (1746). Squire also disputed the arguments of the Jacobite historian Thomas Carte by publishing two pamphlets in 1748: Remarks upon Mr. Carte's Specimen and A Letter to John Trot-Plaid. In the Remarks, Squire used natural law theory to contend against Carte's support of the House of Stuart, and in A Letter he satirised Carte by mocking his interpretation of the past in terms of the present. [2]

Squire also published two works on English history, An Enquiry into the Foundation of the English Constitution (1745) and Historical Essay upon the Balance of Civil Power in England (1748). In An Enquiry, Squire wrote on the German and Anglo-Saxon love of liberty and constitutionalism. In his Historical Essay, Squire wrote that liberty depended upon an equipoise among competing institutions and groups in society, suggesting that whenever such an equipoise collapses an arbitrary government takes its place. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 had ended the struggle to secure a balance and thus ensure liberty. [4]

In May 1746 Squire was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society as: "A Gentleman well known to the Learned World by Several valuable Treatises, perticularly [ sic ] 'Two Essays on the Antient Greek Chronology' and 'On the Origin of the Greek Language'; A new Edition of Plutarch's Discourse on 'Isis & Osiris', with an English Translation & Commentary; and an 'Historical Essay on the Anglo-Saxon Government both in Germany & England'". [5]

He died in Harley Street, Westminster.


  1. "Squire, Samuel (SKR730S)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. 1 2 Reed Browning, 'Squire, Samuel (bap. 1714, d. 1766)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. Retrieved 21 June 2009.
  3. Venn, Al. Cantab.
  4. Reed Browning, 'Samuel Squire, the Court Whig as Historian', Political and Constitutional Ideas of the Court Whigs (Louisiana State University Press, 1982) p. 124.
  5. "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society . Retrieved 10 October 2010.[ permanent dead link ]
Church of England titles
Preceded by Bishop of St David's
Succeeded by

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henry Fielding</span> English novelist and dramatist, 1707–1754

Henry Fielding was an English novelist, irony writer, and dramatist known for earthy humour and satire. His comic novel Tom Jones is still widely appreciated. He and Samuel Richardson are seen as founders of the traditional English novel. He also holds a place in the history of law enforcement, having used his authority as a magistrate to found the Bow Street Runners, London's first intermittently funded, full-time police force.

Thomas or John Carte (1686–1754) was an English historian with Jacobite sympathies, who served as a Church of England clergyman.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset</span>

Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset, known by the epithet "The Proud Duke", was an English peer. He rebuilt Petworth House in Sussex, the ancient Percy seat inherited from his wife, in the palatial form which survives today. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, he was a remarkably handsome man, and inordinately fond of taking a conspicuous part in court ceremonial; his vanity, which earned him the sobriquet of "the proud duke", was a byword among his contemporaries and was the subject of numerous anecdotes; Macaulay described him as "a man in whom the pride of birth and rank amounted almost to a disease".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Perceval, 2nd Earl of Egmont</span> British politician with Irish connections

John Perceval, 2nd Earl of Egmont, PC, FRS was a British politician, political pamphleteer, and genealogist who served as First Lord of the Admiralty.

Admiral Vere Beauclerk, 1st Baron Vere, known as Lord Vere Beauclerk until 1750, was a Royal Navy officer, British peer and politician who sat in the House of Commons for 24 years from 1726 to 1750. After serving various ships in the Mediterranean and then commanding the third-rate HMS Hampton Court, he joined the Board of Admiralty, ultimately serving as Senior Naval Lord.

Events from the year 1686 in England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Finch (diplomat)</span>

William Finch of Charlewood, Hertfordshire, was a British diplomat and Whig politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1727 to 1761. He was considered anindolent diplomat and became an opponent of Walpole, but maintained his post in the Royal Household for over 20 years until he began to lose his senses.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Samuel Sharp (surgeon)</span>

Samuel Sharp FRS (1709–1778) was an English surgeon and author. As a surgeon at Guy's Hospital, from 1733 to 1757, was internationally famous. His A Treatise on the Operations of Surgery, was the first British study focuses exclusively on operative technique.

John Burton, M.D. (1710–1771) was an English physician and antiquary.

In Britain in the period from the 1680s to the 1740s, and especially under the Walpole ministry from 1730 to 1743, the Country Party was a coalition of Tories and disaffected Whigs. It was a movement rather than an organised party and had no formal structure or leaders. It claimed to be a nonpartisan force fighting for the nation's interest—the whole "country"—against the self-interested actions of the Court Party, that is the politicians in power in London. Country men believed the Court Party was corrupting Britain by using patronage to buy support and was threatening English and Scottish liberties and the proper balance of authority by shifting power from Parliament to the prime minister. It sought to constrain the court by opposing standing armies, calling for annual elections to Parliament, and wanted to fix power in the hands of the landed gentry rather than the royal officials, urban merchants or bankers. It opposed any practices it saw as corruption.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Jackson (controversialist)</span> English clergyman, born 1686

John Jackson (1686–1763) was an English clergyman, known as a controversial theological writer.

Ralph Heathcote (1721–1795) was an English cleric and writer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Samuel Carte</span> English antiquarian and clergyman

Samuel Carte was an English antiquarian and clergyman of the Church of England. After attending Magdalen College, Oxford, he held many ecclesiastical positions in his adult life, publishing two sermons. He was an active local antiquarian researcher, assisting several fellow antiquarians in their histories of Leicestershire, and publishing several articles and one book on such subjects.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Taylor of Ashbourne</span>

John Taylor of Ashbourne, Derbyshire was an English lawyer and cleric, known as a wealthy landowner and stockbreeder. He was at school with Samuel Johnson, and they became lifelong friends.