Molesworth, Sir William

Molesworth, Sir William an English statesman and celebrated writer on philosophy and political economy, was born in Surrey is 1810. He was at an early age ready for college and sent to Cambridge University, where, however, he failed to complete his course of study, because of a quarrel in which he engaged with one of his tutors, whom he even challenged to a duel. He finally continued his studies at the University of Edinburgh, and subsequently went abroad, and studied for some time in the high-schools of Germany. In 1831 he became prominent in the political affairs of his native country, and soon rose to distinction hi English parliamentary society. He also largely identified himself with literary labors, and in 1834 founded the London Review, shortly after merged into the Westminster Review, of which he was for many years an editorial associate with the late John Stuart Mill (q.v.). Sir William was also the intimate friend of James Mill and of Bentham, and was generally regarded as the parliamentary representative of the "philosophical Radicals." He is, however, of particular interest to us as the student of Hobbes, whom Sir William greatly admired. He accumulated materials' for a life of the "Philosopher of Malmesbury," which remain in MS. uncompleted. He was more successful in the publication of an edition of Hobbes's works — which he commenced in 1839, and carried to completion at a cost of many thousand pounds — consisting of a reprint of the entire miscellaneous and voluminous writings of Hobbes (Lond. 1842- 45, 11 volumes, 8vo), and constituting a valuable contribution to the republic of letters. By Sir William's munificence the works of Hobbes were placed in most of the university and provincial public libraries. The publication, however, did him great disservice in public life, his opponents endeavoring to identify him with the freethinking opinions of Hobbes in religion, as well as with the great philosopher's conclusions in favor of despotic government; yet he continued a parliamentary career of the greatest energy and usefulness. Indeed, even for his political connections he deserves our notice. He was the first to call attention to the evils connected with the transportation of criminals, and as chairman of a parliamentary committee brought to light all the horrors of the convict system, and by untiring labors remedied this abuse, as well as the disorders generally in colonial administration. In 1855 he became secretary of state for the colonies, and no doubt would have greatly distinguished himself by his wholesome measures, but he died soon after, October 22, 1855. The London Times called him the "liberator and regenerator of the colonial empire of Great Britain." See English Cyclop. s.v.; Fraser's Magazine, 17:338; Lond. Gentleman's Magazine, 1845, part 2, page 645; Blackwood's Magazine, 38:506; 43:519; 44:625. SEE HOBBES. (J.H.W.)

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Verse reference tagging and popups powered by VerseClick™.