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The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Beccaria, Cesare Bonesana, Marchese di

BECCARIA, Cesare Bonesana, Marchese di, bĕk-kā-rē'ạ, chā'sä'rĕ bō-nā-sä'nạ, mär-kā'sĕ dĕ, Italian author: b. Milan 1735 (or 1738); d. 28 Nov. 1794. He was early excited by Montesquieu's ‘Persian Letters,’ to the cultivation of his philosophical talents, and was afterward favorably known as a philosophical writer by his noble philanthropic ‘Crimes and Punishments’ (1764), and several other works. With the eloquence of true feeling and a lively imagination he opposes capital punishments and torture. This work led to the establishment of more correct principles of penal law, and contributed to excite a general horror against inhuman punishments. He is also known in Italy as the author of a philosophical grammar and theory of style, ‘Ricerche intorno alia Natura dello Stilo’ (Milan 1770), and of several good treatises on style, rhetorical ornament, etc., contained in the journal Il Caffé, edited by him in conjunction with his friends, Visconti, Verri and others. In 1768 a chair of political philosophy was created for him at Milan.