Liberty's Apostle - Richard Price, His Life and Times
Born in the village of Llangeinor, near Bridgend in south Wales, Richard Price (1723–91) was, to his contemporaries, an apostle of liberty, an enemy to tyranny and a great benefactor of the human race. His friend Benjamin Franklin described aspects of his work as ‘the foremost production of human understanding that this century has afforded us’. A supporter of the American and French Revolutions, Price corresponded with the likes of Jefferson, Adams, Washington, Mirabeau and Condorcet. In November 1789 he publicly welcomed the start of the French Revolution and thus inspired not only Edmund Burke to write his rebuttal in Reflections on the Revolution in France, but also the Revolution Controversy, ‘the most crucial ideological debate ever carried on in English’. Price also brought to world attention the Bayes-Price Theorem on probability, which is the invisible background to so much in modern life, and wrote a fundamental text on moral philosophy. Yet, despite all this and more, he remains little-known beyond academia, a situation that this biography helps to rectify. Liberty’s Apostle tells his life story through his published works and, fully for the first time, his now published correspondence with a host of eighteenth century celebrities. The life revealed is of a truly remarkable Welshman and, as Condorcet remarked, of ‘one of the formative minds’ of the eighteenth century Enlightenment.
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