James Martineau

1805-1900. English Unitarian minister and teacher. Born at Norwich, he held various teaching posts before becoming in 1832 minister of a church in Liverpool and simultaneously professor of philosophy in Manchester New College. He became principal there in 1869. He began his career as a follower of Joseph Priestley,* holding the characteristic doctrines of Unitarianism because of their allegedly biblical character. Later, in his Rationale of Religious Enquiry (1836) he adopted a more rationalistic position, and came finally to advocate a philosophical theism grounded on the moral consciousness, opposing the materialism of Spencer and Tyndall. Martineau had a great literary output (e.g., Types of Ethical Theory, 1885) and became a popular figure in his attempts to harmonize religion and the “modern thought” of the Victorian era. He was also active in the temperance movement.