The satires of Francois Marie Arouet, who wrote under the pen-name of 'Voltaire', got him jailed and exiled from France to England (1726-29). He was very impressed, when Isaac Newton died in 1927, that a country would revere a mere Mathematician so highly as to bury him with great ceremony in the national mausoleum, Westminster Abbey. He helped to popularise Newton's ideas, and was a tireless campaigner for justice.
During his exile he was taught English by a Quaker and became sympathetic to the Quaker outlook (inspired by the teachings of Leicestershire born George Fox) and in Letters Concerning the English Nation, a series of 24 essays based on his experiences living in England, the first four were about the Quakers. He describes their customs, beliefs and history together with an appreciation of the simplicity of their rituals, in particular lack of baptism, communion and priests, stating that he believed ‘that the doctrine and the history of so extraordinary a people were worthy the attention of the curious’.
Page updated 12/2/2020.