William King (1650-1729) was perhaps the dominant Irish intellect of the period from 1688 until his death. An Anglican (Church of Ireland) by conversion, King was a strident critic of John Toland and the clerical superior of Jonathan Swift. ...
Politically King was pivotal to the emergence of the modern concept of the liberal nation state: his defence of the Church of Ireland led him to develop a theory of national rights and privileges that would influence thinkers such as Thomas Paine. King, a staunch conservative, was nonetheless an honest intellectual, a modest and devoted servant of his church and his nation and was at the very heart of the European Enlightenment.