Robert Leslie Ellis

(1817—1859) mathematician and classical scholar

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Robert Leslie Ellis was born in Bath on 25 August 1817 and died at Anstey Hall, Trumpington on 12 May 1859. Ellis was never at school. He was educated by two private tutors at Bath, one for classics, the other for mathematics. In 1834 he became a pupil of the Revd James Challis, rector at Papworth St Everard, Cambridgeshire, afterwards Plumian Professor of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge. Ellis entered Trinity College, Cambridge in 1836, as a pupil of the mathematician Revd George Peacock, afterwards Lowndean Professor and Dean of Ely. Already at the time of his undergraduate studies he suffered from ill-health, handicapped as he also was by his very tender sight. In 1840 he graduated as Senior Wrangler, and was elected Fellow of Trinity College in October of the same year, a position he held until 1849. After taking his MA in 1843, he intended to read for the Bar. In 1847 he undertook, together with James Spedding and Douglas Denon Heath, to edit the work of Francis Bacon, being responsible for the edition and annotation of the philosophical works. After the expiration of the tenure of his Fellowship he decided to complete his work on Bacon abroad, then travelled to southern France and northern Italy, where he was seized with rheumatic fever, suffering from the rheumatism which subsequently forced him into a wheelchair, later confining him to his bed. He had to resign from the Bacon project at the end of 1849. His ‘General Preface to the Philosophical Works’, published in vol. 1 of the edition, remained fragmentary. He spent his last years, from 1853 to 1859, at his house Anstey Hall in Trumpington.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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