Reasons for Naturalizing the Jews in Great Britain and Ireland, on the Same Foot with All Other Nations: Containing Also a Defence of the Jews Against All Vulgar Prejudices in All Countries by John Toland (Paperback, 2013)
Reasons for Naturalizing the Jews in Great Britain and Ireland was first published in 1714, shortly after the succession of George I to the British throne. It has come to be seen as a landmark work in the movement for emancipation and equal citizenship of the Jewish people. While the concerns raised by Toland might best be understood in the context of British political life of the time, it remains, nevertheless, a remarkable work, quite ahead of its time. It shows Toland for the skilled and fearless commentator that he was; one who accepted thing at face value but always brought an independent mind to bear on any issue that he tackled: a dog will run at a stone, when he dares t attack the man that threw it. I am t igrant how much the world is governed by prejudices, and how farr some, who wou'd t be counted of the vulgar, are yet sway'd by vulgar errors. ... But one rule of life, which is willingly admitted, nay, and eagerly pleaded by all Societies in their own case (tho miserably neglected in that of others) is, t to impute the faults of a few to the whole number. The Foreign and Protestants Naturalization Act of 1709 allowed immigrants to claim British citizenship upon swearing an oath of allegiance to the British throne, and taking the sacrament in a Protestant church. In this pamphlet Toland is calling for the same privileges to be extended to the Jews. This edition of John Toland's pamphlet has been faithfully reproduced from the original with an Introduction, editor's tes and a Chrology of Toland, his life and times. Previously available only in facsimile editions, the text has been reset using a modern typeface but with original spelling, emphasis and formats preserved.
John Toland (1670-1722) was an Irish born scholar and philosopher of international renown. In his considerable volume of writings, he challenged political and ecclesiastical authority and was a prolific writer on important political and religious issues of his day: a radical republican who challeged the divine right of kings; a diplomat whose Account of the Courts of Hanover and Berlin is still quoted by historians of the period; the first person to be called a freethinker (by Bishop Berkeley); the first to advocate full citizenship and equal rights for Jewish people. John Toland was born in Donegal, Ireland to a Gaelic-speaking Catholic family on November 30th 1670. At the age of sixteen he joined the Church of Ireland, which enabled him to receive an education at the Protestant school of Redcastle. He attended the University of Glasgow, where he gained a scholarship to study theology and later graduated with a Master of Arts from Edinburgh University in July 1689: the day before the Battle of the Boyne as he later recalled. He also attended the University of Leyden, before returning to England where he stayed in prominent Whig households in Oxford and London, earning his living as a propagandist for the Whig party. He is chiefly remembered today for what was in fact his first work, Christianity Not Mysterious (1696) - a book which was denounced in the English and Irish Parliaments and publicly burned in Dublin. J.N. Duggan who is the General Editor for this project, first came across the name of John Toland while researching her biography, 'Sophia of Hanover: from Winter Princess to Heiress of Great Britain 1630-1714', which was published by Peter Owen Publishers in 2010 (ISBN: 978 0 7206 1342 1). This prompted her to write her own short biography of Toland - 'John Toland: Ireland's Forgotten Philosopher, Scholar ... and Heretic' published the same year (ISBN: 978-1-907522-08-6).