Robert Mackenzie Beverley

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Robert Mackenzie Beverley (1798-1868) was an author, magistrate, and controversialist. He was born in the town of Beverley in Yorkshire, attended Richmond School, and matriculated at Trinity College, University of Cambridge in 1816. He received the degree of LL.B. in 1821, after which he lived at Beverley, in due course becoming a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant.[1]

Beverley was born into a Quaker family, but in 1836-1837 in the Beaconite Controversy he was one of the figures who followed Isaac Crewdson in resigning from the Society of Friends. He was among a number who then joined the Plymouth Brethren. As the Quakers did not practise baptism, he was baptised by the Brethren at Oxford in October 1838, Henry Bellenden Bulteel performing the service.[2]

Beverley wrote books, satires and poems mainly on religious themes, but including some on politics, both ecclesiastical[3][4] and temporal,[5] and with at least one foray into biology in which he attacked the then still new Darwinian theory.[6] He also wrote some epic poetry that achieved no lasting acclaim.[7][8] He is mentioned in some other writings of the day, largely in response to his attacks, for example in the Anacalypsis by Godfrey Higgins.[9]

In 1833 he published A letter to H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester, the chancellor of Cambridge at the time, on what he saw as the then corrupt state of the University. Much of its content was immoderate to a degree that provoked retaliation[10][11] and disapproval, including a rebuff from The Times.[1]

Beverley wrote on a range of other subjects, which often were of a controversial nature. He died at Scarborough on 3 November 1868.

Some of Beverley's works, alone or as part author[edit]

  • Horrida Hystrix, Satyricon Castoreanum 1826
  • Jubal, A Dramatic Poem 1827
  • An essay on the Zodiacs of Dendera 1831
  • The Tombs of the Prophets: A Lay Sermon on the Corruptions of the Church of Christ 1831
  • A Letter to his Grace the Archbishop of York, on the Present Corrupt State of the Church of England 1831
  • A Second Letter to his Grace the Archbishop of York, on the Present Corrupt State of the Church of England 1832
  • A letter to Lord Henley, on the Deficiencies of his Plan of Church Reform 1833
  • A Letter to His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester on the Present Corrupt State of the University of Cambridge 1833
  • Letters on the Present State of the Visible Church of Christ: Addressed to John Angel James 1836
  • The Wrongs of the Caffre Nation; a Narrative 1837
  • An inquiry into the Scriptural Doctrine of Christian Ministry 1840
  • The Church of England Examined by Scripture and Tradition: in an answer to lectures by the Rev. John Venn 1843
  • The Redan, a Poem 1856
  • Spiritual Worship, a Lay Discourse 1865
  • The Darwinian Theory of the Transmutation of Species 1867


  1. ^ a b Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives, Robert Mackenzie Beverley: Correspondence regarding his Attack on Cambridge University, MS Add.4249
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Beverley, Robert Mackenzie. A letter to lord Henley, on the deficiencies of his plan of Church reform. Sold by Simpkin and Marshall and others 1833 Available at
  4. ^ Beverley, Robert Mackenzie. The Posthumous Letters of Rev. Rabshakeh Gathercoal. Publisher: G. Westley and A. H. Davis 1835. Available under the pseudonym at
  5. ^ Beverley, R. M.; Philip, John, supposed author; Glenelg, Charles Grant. The wrongs of the Caffre nation; a narrative 1837 Available at
  6. ^ Beverley, Robert Mackenzie. The Darwinian Theory of the Transmutation of Species. Publisher: J. Nisbet 1867 may be downloaded from:
  7. ^ Beverley, Robert Mackenzie. The Redan, a poem. 1856 may be downloaded from:
  8. ^ Robert Mackenzie Beverley (1827). Jubal, a dramatic poem. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  9. ^ Godfrey Higgins (1 January 2007). Anacalypsis (Volume 1 of 2, Part 2 of 2). Publishing. pp. 496–. ISBN 978-1-4209-2992-8. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  10. ^ A Letter to R.M. Beverley, Esq., from an Undergraduate of the University of Cambridge.. T. Stevenson; and Longman, Rees, & Company, London. 1833. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  11. ^ Francis Russel Hall; Robert Mackenzie Beverley (1834). A letter to R.M. Beverley ... containing strictures on his Letter to ... the duke of Gloucester ... on the present corrupt state of the University [of Cambridge]. pp. 40–. Retrieved 30 June 2013.