John Toland, a British author, born near Londonderry, Ireland, in 1669 or 1670, died at Putney, near London, March 11, 1722. He studied three years at the University of Glasgow, received the degree of M. A. at the university of Edinburgh in 1690, studied two years for the ministry at Leyden, and finally became a conspicuous free thinker at Oxford. He went to Dublin in 1G9T, where the Irish parliament ordered the common hangman to burn his "Christianity not Mysterious " (London, 1696), and returning to London published "An Apology for Mr. Toland" (1697). He visited the courts of Hanover and Berlin, apparently as a political agent, and held a theological discussion with Beausobre. On returning to England, he professed himself in 1702 " a true Christian " and " a good churchman," but in 1705 declared himself a pantheist. He wrote political pamphlets for the earl of Oxford (Har-ley), by whom he was sent again in 1707 to Germany and Holland, as a political spy. Returning after three years, he was supported by Harley till a quarrel separated them.
His other publications include '.' The Militia Reformed, or an Easy Scheme of Furnishing England with a constant Land Force" (1698); a "Life of Milton" (1698); editions of Lord Holles's "Memoirs" and of Harrington's "Works;" "Anglia Libera" (1701), a treatise on the succession of the crown of England; and "Nazarenus, or Jewish Gentile, or Mahometan Christianity, containing the History of the Ancient Gospel of Barnabas, and the Modern Gospel of the Mahometans, attributed to the same Apostle, this last Gospel being now first made known among Christians," etc, which involved him in controversies. His posthumous works were published with a biography by Des Maizeaux (2 vols., 1726; new ed., 1747).