Born today was Joseph Priestley,
Dissenter, he was treated beastly,
Yet to ID oxygen was able,
The 8th on the Periodic table.
Priestley was a product of the Enlightenment, a genius far ahead of his time. He was one of the founders of utilitarianism, which said that morality is based on the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. He was a freethinking minister whose interests ranged over many fields: education, religion, politics, science. A friend of Jefferson who shared his Deism, Priestley's sympathy with the French Revolution resulted in a mob burning down his house and forcing him and his family to flee to Pennsylvania, where he lived and continued his chemical investigations until his death.