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Samuel Squire (1714 – 7 May 1766) was a Bishop of the Church of England and a historian.

Squire received his BA from St John's College, Cambridge in 1734 and won the Craven scholarship the same year. He was elected a fellow of St John's in 1735, completed his MA in 1737 and was created DD in 1749.[1][2]

Squire began his church career in 1739 when he was ordained deacon. He was eventually appointed Bishop of St David's in 1761. His attainment of offices was due to his open attachment to the court Whigs. In the 1740s Squire published five essays on political subjects in which he voiced his support for the court Whigs. The Letter to a Young Gentleman of Distinction (1740) argued for the benefits of a standing army against a militia to protect Britain in its wars against France and Spain. Squire advocated Britain's continental commitment of troops in The Important Question Discussed (1746). He came to the aid of Henry Pelham's administration by trumpeting its Whig principles in A Letter to a Tory Friend (1746). Squire also disputed the arguments of the Jacobite historian Thomas Carte by publishing two pamphlets in 1748: Remarks upon Mr. Carte's Specimen and A Letter to John Trot-Plaid. In Remarks Squire utilised natural law theory to contend against Carte's support of the House of Stuart and in A Letter he satirised Carte by mocking his interpretation of the past in terms of the present.[3]

Squire also published two works on English history, An Enquiry into the Foundation of the English Constitution (1745) and Historical Essay upon the Balance of Civil Power in England (1748). In An Enquiry Squire wrote on the German and Anglo-Saxon love of liberty and constitutionalism. In the Historical Essay Squire wrote that liberty depended upon an equipoise among competing institutions and groups in society. Whenever such an equipoise collapses an arbitrary government takes its place. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 had ended the struggle to secure a balance and thus ensure liberty.[4]

Notes

  1. ^ Squire, Samuel in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.
  2. ^ Reed Browning, ‘Squire, Samuel (bap. 1714, d. 1766)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 21 June 2009.
  3. ^ Browning.
  4. ^ Reed Browning, ‘Samuel Squire, the Court Whig as Historian’, Political and Constitutional Ideas of the Court Whigs (Louisiana State University Press, 1982) p. 124.
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Anthony Ellis
Bishop of St David's
1761–1766
Succeeded by
Robert Lowth
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