Scottish man of letters and Anglican bishop
Born 1721 Died 1807
John Douglas, was the son of a small shopkeeper at Pittenweem, Fife, where he was born on the 14th of July 1721. He was educated at Dunbar and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he took his M.A. degree in 1743, and as chaplain to the 3rd regiment of foot guards he was at the battle of Fontenoy, 1745. He then returned to Balliol as a Snell exhibitioner; became vicar of High Ercall, Shropshire, in 1750; canon of Windsor, 1762; bishop of Carlisle, 1787 (and also dean of Windsor, 1788); bishop of Salisbury, 1791. Other honors were the degree of D.D., 1758, and those of F.R.S. and F.S.A. in 1778.
Douglas was not conspicuous as an ecclesiastical administrator, preferring to his livings the delights of London in winter and the fashionable watering places in summer. Under the patronage of the Earl of Bath he entered into a good many literary controversies, vindicating Milton from W. Lauder's charge of plagiarism (1750), attacking David Hume's rationalism in his Criterion of Miracles (1752), and the Hutchinsonians in his Apology for the Clergy (1755). He also edited Captain Cook's Journals, and Clarendon's Diary and Letters (1763).
He died on the 18th of May 1807, and a volume of Miscellaneous Works; prefaced by a short biography, was published in 1820.
Being the entry for DOUGLAS, JOHN in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.