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The New International Encyclopædia/Beccaria, Cesare Bonesano

BECCARIA, bĕk'kȧ-rḗ'ȧ, Cesare Bonesano, Marquis of (1735-93). An Italian economist and jurist, born in Milan. The opinions of the French encyclopædists, as well as those of Montesquieu, had the greatest influence on the development of his thought. He wrote on the currency and other economic subjects, but his greatest work was his Trattato dei delitti e delle pene (Treatise on Crimes and Punishments), first published in 1764, in which he argues against capital punishment, and which established his fame as the originator of more humane methods in dealing with criminals. The work was extremely popular, passing through six editions within eighteen months, and was translated into many European languages. Kent unfairly accuses the author of an affected humanity, but did expose the invalidity of some of the arguments brought forward. Beccaria was among the first to advocate the beneficial influence of education in lessening crime. In 1768 Beccaria was appointed professor of public law and economy at Milan, and achieved great success as a lecturer. His lectures are published in the Italian collection, Scrittori classici italiani, Vols. XI. and XII., where also a biographical sketch will be found. A translation of his essay on “Crimes and Punishments” is included in J. A. Farrar's Crimes and Punishments (New York, 1872; London, 1880).