Butler's Life and Times
Chronology of Bishop Joseph Butler, 1692-1752
||Born May 18, 1692
||Student at Jones' academy
||letters to Clarke
||student at Oriel College
||more letters to Clarke
||preacher at the Rolls Chapel
||rector of Stanhope
||The Analogy of Religion (1736)
||Bristol and London
||bishop of Bristol, dean of St. Paul's
||Durham and London
||bishop of Durham
||Charge to the Clergy
||Died June 16, 1752
- 1692 May 18. Butler was born at
Wantage in Berkshire, the youngest of the eight children of Thomas
Butler, a prosperous shopkeeper. There is some uncertainty
regarding the date of his birth (Spooner 1901).
In preparation for the Presbyterian ministry, Butler was sent to
Mr. Samuel Jones' academy, initially located in Gloucester.
- 1713 November 4. First letter to
Samuel Clarke, sent anonymously with the aid of Thomas Secker.
- 1713 November 10. First reply from
- 1713 November 23. Second letter to
- 1713 November 28. Second reply from
- 1713 December 5. Third letter to
- 1713 December 10. Third reply from
- 1713 December 16. Fourth letter to
- 1713/14 January 29. Fourth reply from
- 1713/14 February 3. Fifth letter to
- 1714 March.
Butler examines the principles of non-conformity with Presbyterian
divines. Is confirmed by William Talbot.
- 1714 April 8. Fifth reply from
Clarke. The two month delay in answering was caused by Clarke's
having lost Butler's letter.
- 1714 April [?]. In his sixth letter
to Clarke (undated), Butler states that he left Gloucester three
- 1714/15 March 17. Matriculates, Oriel
- 1715 Butler becomes close friends
with Edward Talbot (admitted Oriel 1709, elected a fellow
- 1716 June. Thomas Secker visits
Butler at Oxford. (folio 7)
- 1717 September 30. Seventh letter to
Clarke. Butler says of his education at Oxford: "
We are obliged
to mis-spend so much time here in attending frivolous lectures and
unintelligible disputations, that I am quite tired out with such a
disagreeable way of trifling ..."
- 1717 October 3. Seventh reply from
- 1717 October 3. Eighth letter to
- 1717 October 9. Eighth reply from
- 1717 October 10. Ninth letter to
- 1718 October 18(?). Butler graduated
- 1718 October 26.
Ordained deacon by Bishop Talbot at Salisbury.
- 1718 December 21.
Ordained priest by Bishop Talbot at St. James, Westminster; Samuel
- 1719 July. Butler appointed Preacher
at the Rolls Court, London, by Sir Joseph Jekyll, Master of the
Rolls, on the recommendation of Edward Talbot and Samuel
- 1719. Letter of Thanks.
Sometimes ascribed to Butler.
- 1720. Thomas Secker says he kept up
his correspondence with Butler and that around May he received an
offer that Bishop Talbot would provide for him if he went into
orders because Butler had mentioned him to Edward Talbot. f.9 Later
in the year, Butler introduced Secker to Edward Talbot. f.10
- 1720 December. Edward Talbot dies. On
his deathbed, he recommends Butler and Secker to his father, Bishop
- 1721 March 27.
Butler is collated by Bishop Talbot to the prebend of Yetminster
Prima in Salisbury Cathedral. Secker says Dr. Rundle, chaplain to
Bishop Talbot recommended Butler to Mr. John Evans of Oriel, but
then gossips that Rundle was jealous of Butler.
- 1721 June 10. Butler awarded Bachelor
of Law degree (B.C.L.).
- 1722. William Talbot translated to
murham and collates Butler to the living at Haughton-le-Skerne,
near Darlington. Rundle is Butler's domestic chaplain. Bishop
Talbot ordains Secker and presents him Houghton-le-Spring.
- 1724. Benson is given a rich prebend
- 1724 August 4. Butler resigns
Haughton into the Bishop's hands.
- 1724 August 5. Butler again takes the
oaths for Haughton.
- 1725 January. Butler is still in need
of family support and receives £100 from an older
- 1725 June 10. Bishop Talbot presents
Butler with Stanhope, in Weardale, known as the Golden
- 1726 July 12. Butler celebrates Holy
Communion, his last act at the Rolls. Butler can now afford to
resign the Rolls and Haughton, and leaves London for Stanhope.
Fifteen Sermons Preached at the Rolls Chapel
- 1729 September 6. Second edition of
Fifteen Sermons (date of preface).
- 1730. Tindal publishes
Christianity as Old as the Creation.
- 1730 October 10. Bishop Talbot
- 1731. Butler's father, Thomas Butler,
- 1732. Secker mentions Butler to the
queen, and she checks with Archbishop Blackburne.
- 1730's. Butler engages in
correspondence, now lost, with Henry Home (Lord Kames) on the
evidences of natural and revealed religion.
Butler becomes chaplain to Lord Chancellor Talbot (Charles, son of
Bishop Talbot and older brother of Edward).
- 1733. Butler awarded D.C.L., but he
seems to have used LL.D.
- 1734. The men in Butler's circle are
all bishops by now: Secker (Bristol), Benson (Gloucester), Rundle
(Derry), Berkeley (Cloyne).
- 1736 May. Analogy of
- 1736 July.
Butler appointed Clerk of the Closet to Queen Caroline.
- 1736. Charles Talbot, Lord
Chancellor, presented Butler to the Prebend of the second Stall in
- 1736. Anonymous review of
Analogy in Bibliotheque Raisonnee des Ouvrages
Des Savans De L'Europe.
- 1737. Letter to the Weekly
Miscellany, replies by "Philanthropus" (Thomas Bott), and by
- 1737 March 28. Butler calls on David
Hartley and has a talk recorded by John Byrom.
- 1737 November 20. Queen Caroline
dies, after asking Archbishop Potter to take care of Butler, her
Clerk of the Closet. The king soon summoned Butler to preach before
- 1738. Richard Price studies Butler's
- 1738 Easter. Secker offends
- 1738 May 24. John Wesley's
- 1738 August 27. Walpole notifies
Butler the King has nominated him to the See of Bristol.
- 1738 August 28. Butler accepts.
- 1738 December 3. Butler consecrated
at Bristol, allowed to hold prebend at Rochester and rectory at
Stanhope in commendam,
- 1739 February. Hume sends Butler his
- 1738/39 February 16. Butler preaches
before the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign
Parts. Remarks on slavery.
- 1739 February 24. Butler meets with
- 1739. Butler has a fifteen minute
meeting with John Wesley in June or early August, then meetings of
over an hour each on August 16 and 18.
- 1740 Monday in Easter week. London
- 1740/1741 January 30. Sermon on the
martyrdom of King Charles I (House of Lords).
- 1740 Prebendary of Postpool.
- 1740 May 24.Butler installed as Dean
of St. Paul's.
- 1740. Resigned Rochester Prebend and
- 1740. As Dean of St. Paul's,
presented Mr. Barton, his teacher in Wantage, with the Rectory of
Hutton in Essex.
- 1741. Agreement on Mucking
- 1742 June 13. Add Mss 9815 (in
- 1742. Hume to Kames on Butler's
approval of political essays.
- 1743. Wesley's Earnest
Appeal mentions Butler.
- 1745 May 9. London Charity Schools
- 1747 June 11. Sermon to House of
- 1747 October 10. Archbishop Potter
- 1747 October 12. Newcastle sees the
Bishop of London (Gibson); he declines. An offer made to the Bishop
of Salisbury (Sherlock).
- 1747 October 13. Sherlock declines;
Bishop of York (Herring) is warned.
- 1747 October 15. Second offer to
- 1747 October 17. Herring replies to
- 1747 October 18. Sherlock again
- 1747 October 20. Herring warned
- 1747 October 21. Herring replies to
second warning; Sherlock again refuses.
- 1747 October 22. Offer made to
- 1747 October 24. Herring
- 1747. Letter to a Friend.
- 1747 December 22. Letter to a
- 1748 March 31. London Infirmary
- 1748 September 25. Letter to
- 1748 September 28. Letter from
- 1749 February 14. Dinner with
- 1749. Fourth Charge at Bristol.
- 1750. Plans for Episcopacy in
- 1740's. Undated incidents in Bristol:
building, gift of cedar, marble cross, Tucker anecdote.
- 1750 July 31. Butler nominated to
- 1750 August 5. Letter to
- 1750 August 13. Letter of
- 1750 August 22. Letter to George
- 1750 October 16. Translation to
- 1750 November 9. Enthroned in Durham
- 1751 June 28. Butler arrives in
Durham and is greeted by Sir John Dolben.
- 1751 June 30. Entertains the
corporation of Durham in the castle.
- 1751 July 4. Entertains the mayor and
aldermen of Newcastle.
- 1751 July 17. Arrives in
- 1751 July 19. Travels to Alnwick.
Butler's letter to the Duchess of Somerset was written after he saw
Auckland and was received by the Duchess.
- 1751 July 20. Arrives Berwick.
- 1751 July 22. Visits Bamburgh
- 1751 July 23. Back to Alnwick.
- 1751 July 25. Visits Morpeth.
- 1751 July 26. Final visitations in
the Archdeaconry of Northumberland.
- 1751 July 27. Returns to Durham.
- 1751 July 30. Visitation of Easington
and Chester deaneries at Durham.
- 1751 August 27. Visitation of
Darlington and Stockton at Stockton. Corporation of Stockton dines
- 1751 September 1. John Sharp preached
in Auckland Castle.
- 1751 September [early]. Henry Carr
discusses rental of lands.
- 1751 October 14. Henry Carr spends
the day with Butler.
- 1751 December 1. Letter to Newcastle
- 1751 December 12. Mandate to install
Thomas Chapman in the third stall.
- 1752 January 1. Thomas Chapman
- 1752 [early in the year] Letter to
- 1752. Butler's health declines, and
he is advised to go to Bristol.
- 1752 April 22. Date of Butler's
- 1752 April 25. Date of the
- 1752 [?]. Visits Seeker at
- 1752 June 4. Butler is moved to
- 1752 June 16. Dies at Bath.
- 1752 June 19. Corpse carried back to
- 1752 June 20. Interred at the foot of
the episcopal chair, Bristol Cathedral.