John Douglas (bishop of Salisbury)

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Bishop Douglas.

John Douglas (14 July 1721 – 18 May 1807) was a Scottish scholar and Anglican bishop.

Douglas was born at Pittenweem, Fife, the son of a shopkeeper, and was educated at Dunbar, East Lothian, and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he took his MA degree in 1743.

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 the Eleventh Stall at St George's Chapel, Windsor in 1762 (to 1776); a member of the chapter of St Paul's Cathedral in 1777; Bishop of Carlisle in 1787 (and also Dean of Windsor in 1788); and Bishop of Salisbury in 1791. Other honours were the degree of DD (1758), and those of Fellow of the Royal Society and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

Douglas was not an outstanding churchman. He preferred to stay in London in winter and at fashionable watering places in summer. Under the patronage of the Earl of Bath he entered into several literary controversies. He defended John Milton against William Lauder's charge of plagiarism (1750), and attacked David Hume's rationalism in his Letter on the Criterion of Miracles (1754); he went on to criticise the followers of John Hutchinson in his Apology for the Clergy (1755). He also edited Captain Cook's Journals, and Clarendon's Diary and Letters (1763). A volume of Miscellaneous Works; prefaced by a short biography, was published posthumously in 1820.

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Church of England titles
Preceded by
Edmund Law
Bishop of Carlisle
1787–1791
Succeeded by
Edward Venables-Vernon
Preceded by
John Harley
Dean of Windsor
1788–1791
Succeeded by
Hon. James Cornwallis
Preceded by
Shute Barrington
Bishop of Salisbury
1791–1807
Succeeded by
John Fisher