William Warburton, 1698–1779, English bishop and author. Ordained in 1727 and serving successively in several rectories, he became chaplain to Frederick Louis, prince of Wales, in 1738, preacher to Lincoln's Inn in 1746, and chaplain to George II in 1754. He was made prebendary of Durham in 1755, dean of Bristol in 1757, and bishop of Gloucester in 1760. His writing, most of which was ecclesiastical, is noted for its arrogance and its often prejudiced scholarship. The Alliance between Church and State (1736) was followed by The Divine Legation of Moses, a learned antideist polemic, the first six books of which appeared in 1737–38 and 1741 and the ninth in 1788. Warburton and Alexander Pope became warm friends with the appearance of A Vindication of the Essay on Man (1739–40). Warburton edited Shakespeare with Pope, and, as Pope's literary executor, edited his works (1751). The Doctrine of Grace (1763) was an assault upon Methodism that invoked replies from its leaders, John and Charles Wesley and George Whitefield. Bishop Hurd prefaced his edition of Warburton's works (1788) with a life, which was separately published in 1860.
See A. W. Evans, Warburton and the Warburtonians (1932); I. D'Israeli, Quarrels of Authors (3 vol., 1814; repr. 1970).