BELSHAM, THOMAS (1750-1829), English Unitarian minister, was born at Bedford on the 26th of April 1750. He was educated at the dissenting academy at Daventry, where for seven years he acted as assistant tutor. After three years spent in a charge at Worcester, he returned as head of the Daventry academy, a post which he continued to hold till 1789, when, having adopted Unitarian principles, he resigned. With Joseph Priestly for colleague, he superintended during its brief existence a new college at Hackney, and was, on Priestly's departure in 1794, also called to the charge of the Gravel Pit congregation. In 1805 he accepted a call to the Essex Street chapel, where in gradually failing health he remained till his death in 1829. Belsham's first work of importance, Review of Mr Wilberforce's Treatise entitled Practical View (1798), was written after his conversion to Unitarianism. His most popular work was the Evidences of Christianity; the most important was his translation and exposition of the Epistles of St Paul (1822). He was also the author of a work on philosophy, Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind (1801), which is entirely based on Hartley's psychology. Belsham is one of the most vigorous and able writers of his church, and the Quarterly Review and Gentleman's Magazine of the early years of the 19th century abound in evidences that his abilities were recognized by his opponents.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)