Thomas Robert Malthus was born in Surrey, England, in 1766, and was given a liberal education by his father, a country squire. His godfathers were the philosophers David Hume and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He was born with a cleft palate and suffered from a speech defect. At Cambridge University Malthus was tutored by a religious dissenter, William Frend, before being ordained into the Church of England in 1788. Like his teacher he never shied away from controversy. In 1798, he published his Essay on the Principle of Population, the work that would bring him notoriety. In 1805, the new East India College appointed him Professor of Political Economy, a subject not yet taught at universities, which perhaps makes him the first academic economist. Malthus died of heart disease in 1834, aged 68.
Key works: 1798 An Essay on the Principle of Population, 1815 The Nature of Rent, 1820 Principles of Political Economy