Charles Gildon (1665 – 1724)

from Colin Heydt, University of South Florida, September 26, 2015

Charles Gildon’s 1695 apology for the suicide of Charles Blount (a famous 17th century deist) was a very well known (and infamous) piece in this period.   An ethics textbook from 1735 lists pro and con positions on suicide: ‘See Thomas Johnson’s (from Cambridge) 1735 Questiones Philosophicae, p.189, question 24: “Suicidium sit licitum?” Under affirmative answers are listed: “Persian Letters. Philosophical Letters concerning Death Alberto Radicati’s A Philosophical Dissertation Upon Death, published in London in 1732. Life of C. Blount.” Under Negative answers: “Adams on Self-Murder. Fleetwood’s Sermons on the Subject. Sherlock on Death, Provid. C. 7 p. 249, 252. Law’s Notes on King, p.456. n. z.”’  There may be a few texts cited here that are of interest, but the “Life of C. Blount” is Gildon’s text. Gildon, by the way, later renounced his defense of suicide and his alliance with Blount and became a re-committed Anglican.

Full work available online through HathiTrust The Miscellaneous Works of Charles Blount, Esq (London?, 1695)

Other Sources

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General Works

Farberow, Norman L. Suicide in Different Cultures. Baltimore, London, Tokyo. University Park Press, 1975.

Fedden, Henry Romilly. Suicide: A Social and Historical Study. London, Peter Davies Limited, 1938.

Hooff, Anton J.L. van. From Autothanasia to Suicide. London and New York. Routledge, 1990.

Lecky, William Edward Hartpole. History of European Morals. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1897.

Murray, Alexander. Suicide in the Middle Ages. Oxford University Press. New York, 1998.