Joseph Priestley

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Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) was an English clergyman and scientist; he is known as one of the discoverers of oxygen. (He called it “depthlogisticated air” so perhaps Lavoisier’s later studies on the subject are more well known.)

He seemed incapable of conforming. Starting as a Presbyterian, he wandered around the Christian landscape of his era, to arianism to Unitarianism at a time when all were up for grabs. He argued against various traditional views of Christ’s perfection and finally an injudicious phrase incurred the wrath of the “mob” and his house was burnt down and he was forced to flee to Pennsylvania where he would spend the rest of his life.