John Asgill (25 March 1659 – 10 November 1738) was an eccentric English writer and politician.[1]

John Asgill
Born25 March 1659
Died10 November 1738 (aged 79)
Occupation(s)lawyer, politician, pamphleteer
Notable workAn Argument Proving, that … Man may be Translated

Life edit

Asgill attended Nonconformist (Protestantism) services in his youth.[2] He studied law at the Middle Temple, 1686, and was called to the bar in 1692. He founded the first land bank in 1695 with Nicholas Barbon, which, after proving to be a profitable venture, merged with the land bank of John Briscoe in 1696. However, after profits dropped, the bank closed in 1699. He was then elected that year as Member of Parliament for Bramber.[3]

In 1700 Asgill had published An Argument Proving, that … Man may be Translated, a pamphlet aiming to prove that death was not obligatory upon Christians, which, much to his surprise, caused a public outcry and led to his expulsion from the Irish House of Commons in 1703, only a short time after he had stood successfully for Enniscorthy. He had moved to Ireland where the act for returning the forfeited estates which had been given away by William was providing work for lawyers.

Whilst in Ireland he had been re-elected to the English House of Commons for Bramber in 1702 and so returned to England. On 12 June 1707 he was arrested and imprisoned at Fleet Prison for debt; he claimed parliamentary immunity as a member of a current parliament despite the confusion whether the last English parliament and the first Parliament of Great Britain were the same body, and in December the House of Commons agreed. Nevertheless, two days after ordering his release from prison, he was expelled from the Commons for authoring a blasphemous book.

He fell on hard times, and passed the rest of his life between the Fleet prison and the King's Bench, but his zeal as a pamphleteer continued unabated.

Notes edit

  1. ^ Stephen, Leslie (1885). "Asgill, John" . In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 2. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 159–161.
  2. ^ Gauci, P. (2016). Regulating the British Economy, 1660–1850. Taylor & Francis. p. 77. ISBN 978-1-317-06873-0. Retrieved 23 January 2023.
  3. ^ Greaves, Richard L. "Asgill, John". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/734. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.). The first edition of this text is available at Wikisource: "Asgill, John" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.

  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons – via Wikisource.

External links edit

Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Enniscorthy
Served alongside: Morley Saunders
Succeeded by
Parliament of England
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Bramber
With: Francis Seymour-Conway
John Middleton
Samuel Sambrooke
The Viscount Windsor
Succeeded by