Scientist, writer, theologian.
Educated in theology. A nonconformist minister, he wrote widely on theological topics. After meeting Franklin and other men of science in London in the winter of 1765-66, he developed a greater interest in the natural sciences.
Wrote History and Present State of Electricity (1767). Perhaps most famous for his experiments in isolating individual gases, including oxygen, from the atmosphere.
Sympathized with the Americans during the Revolutionary War and opposed the slave trade. Rioters burned his house because he supported the French Revolution (1791).
Moved to America (1794). Settled in Northumberland, Pennsylvania.
Born in Birstall, Yorkshire, England. Married in 1762 to Mary Wilkinson. One daughter, three sons.