Besant, Sir Walter, was born at Portsmouth in 1838, and educated for the church at King's College, London, and Christ's College, Cambridge. He turned his attention, however, to literature, and in 1868 brought out a volume of Studies in Early French Poetry. He was secretary to the Palestine Exploration Fund, and assisted Professor Palmer (whose memoirs he afterwards wrote) in writing his History of Jerusalem. In 1871 he began jointly with Mr. James Rice to cultivate the field of fiction. The two partners published eleven novels, of which The Golden Butterfly and Ready-Money Mortiboy have been the most popular. Then Mr. Rice died, and Mr. Besant produced on his own account All Sorts and Conditions of Men, The Revolt of Man, Dorothy Forster, The Chaplain of the Fleet, Beyond the Dreams of Avarice, The Master-Craftsman, The City of Refuge, A Fountain Sealed, and other stories. Sir Walter Besant has lately devoted much energy to the protection of authors against publishers, whom he regards as their natural enemies. He has founded the Society of Authors, and also a journal to advocate his opinions. He was knighted in 1895.