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spread throughout Europe. He communicated to the royal society of London several barometrical and meteorological observations; with others on the ignis fatuus, and on the spots that appear in stones, and in acknowledgement he was chosen a member of that learned body in 1728. He confesses that in his constitution he was not without some igneous sparks, which were easily kindled into anger
and other vehement emotions; yet he was resolved to evince by example what he had constantly taught, that the medicine of the mind is more to be studied than that of the body; and that they are truly wise and happy who have learnt to heal their distorted and bad affections. He had brought himself to such an equal temper of mind, that but a few hours before his death he wanted to mark the heights of the barometer and thermometer, which was his usual practice three times every day. Thus, after many and various labours, died this learned and ingenious man, the 30th of Jan. 1766, and was buried in the church of St. Maria ad Baracanum, where an inscription is carved on his monument. He published the following works :
“ Lettere al cavaliere Tommaso Derham, intorno la meteora chiamata fuoco fatuo. Edita primum in societatis Lond. transact.” 1720. 2. “ Dissertatio metheorologicamedica, in qua aëris temperies et morbi Bononiæ grassantes annis 1729, et sequenti describuntur.” 3. “ Parere intorno al taglio della macchia di Viareggio," Lucca, 1739, 4to. 4. “ De longis jejuniis dissertatio." Patavii, 1743, fol. 5. “ De quamplurimis phosphoris nunc primum detectis commentarius," Bononiæ,” 1744, 4to. 6. quamplurim. &c. commentarius alter.” 7.
66 De motu intestino corporum fluidorum." 8. “ De medicatis Recobarii aquis.” 9. “ De lacte.” 10. “ Epistolæ tres medicæ ad Franciscum Roncalium Parolinum,” Brixiæ, 1747, fol. 11.“ Scriptura medico-legalis,” 1749; and some others. He left behind him several manuscripts."
BECCARIA (JOHN BAPTIST), a monk of the EcolesPies, or Pious Schools, was born at Mondovi, and died at Turin, May 22, 1781. He was professor of mathematics and philosophy, first at Palermo, then at Rome; and by his experiments and discoveries was so successful as to throw great light on natural knowledge, and especially on that of electricity. He was afterwards called to Turin to take upon him the professorship of experimental philoso
I Fabroni vitæ Italorum vol. V.--Dict. Hist.
phy. Being appointed preceptor to the two princes, Benedict duke of Chablais, and Victor Amadæus duke of Carignan, neither the life of a court, nor the allurements of pleasure, were able to draw him aside from study. Loaded with benefits and honours, he spared nothing to augment his library, and to procure the instruments necessary for his philosophical pursuits. His dissertations on electricity would have been inore useful, if he had been less strongly attached to some particular systems, and especially that of Mr. Franklin. He published, 1.“ Experimenta quibus Electricitas Vindex late constituitur, &c.” Turin, 1771, 4to. 2. “ Electricismo artificiale,” 1772, 4to, an English translation of which was published at Lond. 1776, 4to. We have also by him an Essay on the cause of Storms and Tempests,” where we meet with nothing more satisfactory than what has appeared in other works on that subject; several pieces on the meridian of Turin, and other objects of astronomy and physics. Father Beccaria was no less respectable for his virtues than his knowledge.'
BECHER (JOHN JOACHIM); born in 1645, at Spires, was at first professor of medicine, and then first physician to the elector of Mentz, and afterwards to him of. Bavaria. He went to London, where his reputation had got before him, and where the malice' of his rivals had forced him to seek an asylum, and here he died in 1685. His works are various, among which we may distinguish the following: 1. Physica subterranea,” Frankfort, 1669, 8vo, reprinted at Leipsic, 1703, and in 1759, 8vo. 2.“ Experimentum Chymicum novum,” Frankfort, 1671, 8vo. 3. “ Character pro notitia linguarum universali;" a universal language, by means whereof all nations might easily understand each other; the fanciful idea of a man of genius. 4. “ Institutiones Chymicæ, seu manuductio ad philosophiam hermeticam," Mentz, 1662, 8vo. 5.“ Institutiones Chymicæ prodromæ," Frankfort, 1664, and Amsterdam, 1665, 12mo. 6.“ Experimentum novum ac curiosum de Minerâ arenaria perpetua,” Frankfort, 1680, 8vo. 7. “ Epistola Chymicæ,” Amsterdam, 1673, 8vo. Becher was reputed to be a very able machinist and a good chymist. He was a man of a lively temper, impetuous and headstrong, and therefore indulged in a thousand chymical reveries. He was the first who applied the art of chymistry, in all its
1 Dict. Hist.
extent, to philosophy, and shewed what use might be made of it in explaining the structure, the combinations, and the mutual relations of bodies. He pretended to bave found out a sort of perpetual motion. However, it is beyond a doubt that the world is indebted to him for some useful discoveries, and he attempted to make some improvements in the art of printing. I
BECKER (DANIEL) was born at Konigsberg in 1627, the son of a father of the same names, who was doctor and professor of medicine, and first physician to the elector of Brandenburgh. He also followed his father's profession, and took his doctor's degree at Strasburgh in 1652. Next year he was appointed public professor at Konigsberg, and in 1663 the elector of Brandenburgh admitted him a counsellor, and to be his first physician. He died at Konigsberg in 1673, almost in the prime of life. His works were, 1.“ Medicus Microcosmus," Rostock, Leyden, and Lond. 1660. 2. “ De Cultrivoro Prussiaco," Konigsberg, 1636, Leyden, 1638. 3. “ Hist. morbi academici Regiomontani," Leyden, 1649. 4. “ De unguento armario," in the “Theatrum Sympatheticum,” Nuremberg, 1662. 5. “Commentarius de Theriaca," Konigsberg, 1649.
BECKET (THOMAS), archbishop of Canterbury in the reign of Henry II. was born in London 1119, the son of Gilbert, a merchant, and Matilda, a Saracen lady, who is said to have fallen in love with him, when he was a prisoner to her father in Jerusalem. Thomas received the first part of his education at Merton-abbey in Surrey, whence he went to Oxford, and afterwards studied at Paris. He became in high favour with Theobald archbishop of Canterbury, who sent him to study the civil law at Bononia in Italy, and at his return made him archdeacon of Canterbury, and provost of Beverley. Before this he had discovered such superior talents for negociation, that archbishop Theobald dispatched him as his agent to the pope, on a point he thought of great moment, which was to get the legantine power restored to the see of Canterbury. This commission was performed with such dexterity and success, that the archbishop entrusted to him ali his most sccret intrigues with the court of Rome, and particularly a matter of the highest importance to England, the soliciting
· Moreri. Manget.-Hallen - Dict. Hist.
2 Manget and Moreri.
from the pope those prohibitory letters against the crowning of prince Eustace, by which that design was defeated. This service, which raised Becket's merit not only with the prelate by whom he was employed, but also with king Henry, was the original foundation of his high fortune. It is remarkable, that he was the first Englishman, since the latter years of the reign of William the Conqueror, ou whom any great office, either in church or state, had been conferred by the kings of the Norman race; the exclusion of the English from all dignities having been a maxim of policy, which had been delivered down by that monarch to his sons. This maxim Henry the Second wisely and liberally discarded, though the first instance in which he deviated from it happened to be singularly unfortunate.
Theobald also recommended him to king Henry II. in so effectual a manner, that in 1158 he was appointed high chancellor, and preceptor to the prince. Becket now laid aside the churchman, and affected the courtier; he conformed himself in every thing to the king's humour; he partook of all his diversions, and observed the same hours of eating and going to bed. He kept splendid levees, and courted popular applause; and the expences of his table exceeded those of the first nobility. In 1159 he made a campaign with king Henry into Toulouse, having in his own pay 1200 horse, besides a retinue of 700 knights or gentlemen. While here he gave a piece of advice which marked the spirit and fire of his character. This was, to seize the person of Lewis, king of France, who had imprudently thrown himself into the city of Toulouse without an army. But the counsel was deemed too bold. Besides several political reasons against complying with it, it was thought an enormous and criminal violation of the feudal allegiance, for a vassal to take and hold in captivity the person of his lord. We need not inform our historical readers, that Henry, though a very powerful monarch, did, by the large possessions he held in France, stand in the relation of a vassal to the king of that country. In the war against the earl of Toulouse, Becket, besides his other military exploits, engaged, in single combat, Engelvan de Trie, a French knight, famous for his valour, dismounted him with his lance, and gained his horse, which he led off in
In 1160, he was sent by the king to Paris, to treat of a marriage between prince Henry and the king of France's YOL. IV.
eldest daughter, in which he succeeded, and returned with the young princess to England. He had not enjoyed the chancellorship above four years, when archbishop Theobald died; and the king, who was then in Normandy, immediately sent over some trusty persons to England, who managed matters so well with the monks and clergy, that Becket was almost unanimously elected archbishop.
It has been said that it was with the utmost difficulty Becket could be prevailed upon to accept of this dignity, and that he even predicted it would be the cause of a breach between the king and him. But this is greatly doubted by lord Lyttelton in his History of Henry II. and it stands contradicted by the affirmation of Foliot, bishop of London, and ill agrees with the measures which were taken to procure Becket's election. His biographers themselves acknowledge, that one reason which induced Henry to promote him to Canterbury, was, “because he hoped, that, by his means, he should manage ecclesiastical, as well as secular affairs, to his own satisfaction.” Indeed, no other reasonable motive can be found. Nothing could incline that prince to make so extraordinary and so exceptionable a choice, but a firm confidence, that he should be most usefully assisted by Becket, in the important reformation he meant to undertake, of subjecting the clergy to the authority of the civil government. Nor is it credible that he should not have revealed his intention, concerning rhat affair, to a favourite minister, whom he had accustomed to trust, without reserve, in his most secret counsels. But if such a declaration had been made by that minister, as is related by the historians, it is scarcely to be supposed, that a king so prudent as Henry would have forced hiin into a station, in which he certainly might have it in his power to be exceedingly troublesome, instead of being serviceable to his royal master. It was by a different language that the usual sagacity of this prince could have been deceived. Nor, indeed, could the most jealous and penetrating eye bave discovered in Becket, after he was elected archbishop of Canterbury, any marks of an enthusiastic or bigotted zeal. That several indications of a contrary temper, and different principles, had appeared in his conduct, is shewn by lord Lyttelton, who produces two remarkable instances in support of his assertion. The same noble writer hath brought, likewise, satisfactory evidence, to prove that Becket was almost as eager for procuring the archbishopric,