Joseph Blanco White

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Joseph Blanco White (July 11, 1775-May 20, 1841) was a British theologian and poet. He was born in Seville in Spain.

White was educated for the Roman Catholic priesthood, but after his ordination in 1800, religious doubts led him to escape from Spain to England (1810). There he ultimately entered the Anglican Church, having studied theology at Oxford and made the friendship of Arnold, Newman and Whately. He became tutor in Whately's family when he was made archbishop of Dublin in 1831. While in this position he embraced Unitarian views, and he found an asylum amongst the Unitarians of Liverpool, where he died on May 20th 1841.

White edited El Español, a monthly Spanish magazine in London, from 1810 to 1814, and afterwards received a civil list pension of £250. His principal writings are Doblado's Letters from Spain (1822), Evidence against Catholicism (1825), Second Travels of an Irish Gentleman in Search of a Religion (2 vols., 1834) and Observations on Heresy and Orthodoxy (1835). They all show literary ability, and were extensively read in their day. He also translated Paley's Evidences and the Book of Common Prayer into Spanish.

He is best remembered, however, for his sonnet "Night and Death" ("Mysterious Night! when our first parent knew"), which was dedicated to Samuel Taylor Coleridge on its appearance in the Bijou for 1828 and has since found its way into several anthologies. Three versions are given in the Academy of September 12 1891.

References

  • Life of the Rev. Joseph Blanco White, written by himself, with portions of his Correspondence, edited by John Hamilton Thom (London, 3 vols., 1845).
  • This entry incorporates public domain text originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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