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Foote, Samuel
1720-1777

Playwright, actor and satirist, born in Truro and baptized on 27 January 1720. Educated at Oxford, he came from a wealthy Cornish family. He lived extravagantly and, after imprisonment for debt, turned to acting. His mimicry brought him fame and he exploited this gift in his dramatic writings. Almost all his plays included satirical portraits of living individuals, notably the Methodists in The Minor (1760), in which 'Dr. Squintum' was a popular charicature of George Whitefield. This was followed by a sequel, The Methodist in 1761. Like others, Foote aimed to expose the absurdity and hypocrisy of Methodism, but his profanity and ribaldry aroused great indignation. He died at Dover on 21 October 1777 and is buried in the cloisters at Westminster Abbey.

Sources

  • Luke Tyerman, John Wesley, vol.2 pp.366-68
  • A.M. Lyles, Methodism Mocked (1960)
  • Oxford DNB

Entry written by: EWD
Category: Person

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