Creasy, Edward Shepherd (DNB00)

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CREASY, Sir EDWARD SHEPHERD (1812–1878), historian, was born in 1812 at Bexley in Kent, where his father was a land agent. In the boy's early youth the father removed to Brighton, where he set up in business as an auctioneer and started the ‘Brighton Gazette,’ chiefly with a view of publishing his own advertisements. Young Creasy having displayed intellectual leanings was placed on the Eton foundation, and obtained the Newcastle scholarship in 1831. He became fellow of King's College, Cambridge, in 1834, and was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1837. For several years he went on the home circuit, and he was for some time assistant-judge at the Westminster sessions court. In 1840 he was appointed professor of modern and ancient history in London University. In 1860 he was appointed chief justice of Ceylon, and received the honour of knighthood. Ten years afterwards he returned home on account of indisposition, and although able again to resume his duties, his health was permanently broken, and he finally retired in about two years. He died 27 Jan. 1878. The work by which Creasy is best known is his ‘Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World,’ 1852, which, in some degree on account of its striking title, immediately became popular, and, while it has secured the favour of the general reader, has met with the approval of those learned in military matters. The ‘Historical and Critical Account of the several Invasions of England,’ published in the same year (1852), though not so well known, possesses similar merit. His ‘Biographies of Eminent Etonians,’ which first appeared in 1850, has passed through several editions, but does not possess much intrinsic value. ‘The History of the Ottoman Turks’ has also obtained a wide circulation, the latest edition being that of 1878. Among his other works are:

  1. ‘History of England,’ 1869–70, in 2 vols.
  2. ‘Old Love and the New,’ a novel, 1870.
  3. ‘Imperial and Colonial Institutions of the British Empire, including Indian Institutions,’ 1872.

Along with Mr. Sheehan and Dr. Gordon Latham he took part in contributing to ‘Bentley's Miscellany’ the political squibs in verse known as the ‘Tipperary Papers.’

[Men of the Time, 9th edit.; Annual Register, cxx. 130; Athenæum for February 1878.]

T. F. H.