1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Beesly, Edward Spencer
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Beesly, Edward Spencer
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BEESLY, EDWARD SPENCER (1831- ), English historian and positivist, son of the Rev. James Beesly, was born at Feckenham, Worcestershire, on the 23rd of January 1831. He was educated at Wadham College, Oxford, which may be regarded as the original centre of the English positivist movement. Richard Congreve (q.v.) was tutor at Wadham from 1849 to 1854. and three men at that time, Frederic Harrison (q.v.), Beesly and John Henry Bridges (1832-1906), became the leaders of Comtism in England. Beesly left Oxford in 1854 to become assistant-master at Marlborough College. In 1859 he was appointed professor of history at University College, London, and of Latin at Bedford College, London, in 1860. He resigned these appointments in 1893 and 1889, and in 1893 became the editor of the newly-established Positivist Review. He collaborated in the translation of Comte's system of Positive Polity (4 vols., 1875-1879), translated his Discourse on the Positive Spirit (1903), and wrote a biography of Comte for a translation of the first two chapters of his Cours de philosophie positive, entitled Fundamental Principles of Positive Philosophy (1905). Professor Beesly stood unsuccessfully as Liberal candidate for Westminister in 1885 and for Marylebone in 1886, and is the author of numerous review articles on social and political topics, treated from the positivist standpoint, especially on the Irish question. His works also include a series of lectures on Roman history, entitled Catiline, Clodius, Tiberius (1878), in which he rehabilitates in some degree the character of each of his subjects, and Queen Elizabeth (1892), in the "Twelve English Statesmen" series.