“By his [White’s] death”, recorded Anthony à Wood, “the Roman Catholics lost an eminent ornament from among them; and it hath been a question among some of them, whether ever any secular priest of England went beyond him in philosophical matters.”1 But his actual death on a July afternoon in 1676 attracted little attention, and only a few years later Ralph Sheldon, on being asked for biographical information, went to interview not fellow philosophers or even previous colleagues in the Catholic Chapter, but White’s former landlady in Drury Lane. It was in her humble lodgings that he had lived his final years as an elderly and discredited priest, and it was she who disclosed to Sheldon what little we know about his “death and sepulture”.2 Despite a formidable reputation in the middle decades of the century, his immediate influence proved comparatively short lived.


Biographical Information Actual Death Sceptical Challenge Philosophical Matter Sceptical Doubt 
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  1. 4.
    P. Harth, Contexts of Dryden’s Thought (Chicago and London, 1968), ch. 8.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Taylor, Dissuasive, Part 2 (1668), p. 64.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    John Sergeant, Sure Footing in Christianity (London, 1665), Preface.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    John Sergeant, The Method to Science (London, 1696), Preface.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beverley C. Southgate
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HertfordshireUK

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