Bacon, John

Bacon, John

▪ American clergyman and legislator
born April 9, 1738, Canterbury, Conn., U.S.
died Oct. 25, 1820, Stockbridge, Mass.

      American clergyman, legislator, and judge who was an early advocate of civil and religious liberty.

      After graduating from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) in 1765, Bacon preached in Delaware. In 1771 he was named minister of Old South Church in Boston, Mass., where, however, his views on certain points of theological doctrine proved unacceptable to the members of the church, and he was dismissed in 1775. Thereafter he lived on a farm in Stockbridge. Though not a lawyer, Bacon served as associate judge and later as presiding judge of a Massachusetts county court of common pleas; he also served in both houses of the state legislature (a total of 22 terms) and for one term as a U.S. representative.

      Bacon indicated his concern for civil and religious liberty while he was still pastor of Old South Church and later opposed provisions that denied suffrage to blacks and Indians in the proposed state constitution of 1778. The discriminatory clause was absent from the constitution adopted two years later.

▪ British sculptor [1740-1799]
born Nov. 24, 1740, London
died Aug. 4, 1799, London

      British Neoclassical sculptor who perfected certain sculpturing techniques.

      In 1754 Bacon was apprenticed in a porcelain works at Lambeth, London. There he was at first employed in painting small ornamental pieces of china, but he soon became modeler to the works. During his apprenticeship he improved the method of working statues in artificial stone, an art that he afterward carried to perfection. Bacon first attempted working in marble about 1763 and improved the method of transferring the form of the model to the marble by the invention of a more accurate instrument for the purpose. This instrument was more exact, took a correct measurement in every direction, was contained in a small compass, and could be used upon either the model or the marble. In 1769 he won the first gold medal for sculpture given by the Royal Academy, his work being a bas-relief representing the escape of Aeneas from Troy. In 1770 he exhibited a figure of Mars, which gained him the gold medal of the Society of Arts and his election as associate of the Royal Academy. Some of his best works are found in Westminster Abbey.

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Universalium. 2010.

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