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wrote also “ Histoire des guerres des deux Bourgognes,” under the reign of Lewis XIII. and XIV, 1772, 2 vols. 12mo. “ Precis de l'Histoire de Bourgogne," 8vo. “Description generale du duchè de Bourgogne,” 6 vols. 8vo, written in part by the abbé Courtépée; and several articles in the Encyclopedia. In conjunction with Poncelin, he also published “ Histoire de Paris, avec la description de ses plus beaux monumens,” Paris, 1780, 3 vols. 8vo."
BEHAM (Hans or JOHN SEBALD), an engraver of Nuremberg, who flourished about the middle of the sixteenth century, was either instructed, or became an imitator of Henry Aldegrever, and Albert Durer, and like them, engraved on wood as well as copper, and also etched some few plates ; but these last, by far the most indifferent, are also the smallest part of his works. If his style of engraving be not original, it is at least an excellent and spirited imitation of that which was adopted by the preceding masters of the country in which he resided. His pictures, for he was a painter, as well as his engravings, were held in such high estimation, that the poets of that
celebrated him in their poems, calling him in Latin, Bohemus. He was certainly a man of much genius, and possessed great fertility of invention. But the Gothic taste which so generally prevailed in Germany at this time, is much too prevalent in his works. His draperies are stiff, and loaded with a multiplicity of short, inelegant folds. His drawing of the naked figure, which he is fond of introducing, though mannered, is often very correct, and sometimes masterly. His heads, and the other extremities of his figures, are carefully determined, and often possess much mérit. Of his numerous works, the following may be mentioned as specimens; on wood, a set of prints for a book entitled “Biblicæ Historiæ artificiossissimæ depictæ,” Francfort, 1537; and on copper, “ History of the creation and fall of man:" The labours of Hercules :" “ The virtues and vices," &c. He had a brother, Bartholomew Beham, who resided principally at Rome. He was also an engraver, and from such of his prints as have been ascertained, which is somewhat difficult, he appears to have been a very excellent artist, and one of the superior scholars of Marc Antonio, whose style of engraving he imitated with great success. His drawing is correct and
1 Dict. Hist.--Month, Rey, LIV. p. 395.
masterly ; his heads are characteristic, and the other extremities of his figures well marked.'
BEHEM (MARTIN), otherwise Behaim, Behm, or BeHENIRA, an eminent geographer and inathematician of the fifteenth century, was born at Nuremberg, an imperial city in the circle of Franconia, of a noble family, not yet extinct. He had the best education which the darkness of that age permitted, and his early studies were principally directed to geography, astronomy, and navigation. As he advanced in life, he often thought of the existence of the antipodes, and of a western continent, of which he was ambitious to make the discovery.
Filled with this great idea, in 1459 he paid a visit to Isabella, daughter of John I. king of Portugal, at that time regent of the duchy of Burgundy and Flanders;
and having informed her of his designs, he procured a vessel, in which, sailing westward, he was the first European who is known to have landed on the island of Fayal. He there established in 1460 a colony of Flemings, whose descendants
yet exist in the Azores, which were for some time called the Flemish islands. This circumstance is proved, not only by the writings of contemporary authors, but also by the manuscripts preserved in the records of Nuremberg; and although this record is contrary to the generally received opinion, that the Azores were discovered by Gonsalva Velho, a Portuguese, yet its authenticity seems unquestionable. It is confirmed not only by several contemporary writers, and by Wagenseil, one of the most learned men of the last century, but likewise by a note written on parchment in the German language, and sent from Nuremberg, a few years ago, to M. Otto, who was then investigating the discovery of America. The note contained, with other things, the following facts : “ Martin Beham, esq. son of Mr. Martin Bebam, of Scoperin, lived in the reign of John II. king of Portugal, in an island which he discovered, and called the island of Fayal, one of the Azores, lying in the western ocean.”
After having obtained from the regent a grant of Fayal, and resided there about twenty years, Behem applied in 1484 (eight years before Columbus's expedition), to John II. king of Portugal, to procure the means of undertaking a great expedition towards the south-west. This
prince gave him some ships, with which he discovered that part
of America which is now called Brazil ; and he even sailed to the straits of Magellan, or to the country of some savage tribes whom he called Patagonians, from the extremities of their bodies being covered with a skin more like bear's paws than human hands and feet. A fact so little known, and apparently so derogatory to the fame of Columbus, ought not to be admitted without sufficient proof; but the proofs which have been urged in support of its authenticity are such as cannot be controverted. They are not only the letters of Behem himself, written in 1486, and preserved in the archives of Nuremberg, but likewise the public records of that city; in which we read that “ Martin Behem, traversing the Atlantic ocean for several years, examined the American islands, and discovered the strait which bears the name of Magellan before either Christopher Columbus or Magellan sailed those seas; whence he'mathematically delineated, on a geographical chart, for the king of Lusitania, the situation of the coast around every part of that famous and renowned strait, long before Magellan thought of his expedition.” - This wonderful discovery has not escaped the notice of contemporary writers. A confirmation of it occurs in the Latin chronicle of Hartman Schedl, and in the remarks made by Petrus Mateus on the canon law, two years before the expedition of Columbus. These passages demonstrate that the first discovery of America is due to the Portuguese, and not to the Spaniards; and that the chief merit belongs to a German astronomer. The expedition of Frederick Magellan, which did not take place before the year 1519, arose from the following fortunate circumstance :- This person being in the apartment of the king of Portugal, saw there a chart of the coast of America, drawn by Behem, and at once conceived the bold project of following the steps of our great navigator. Jerome Benzon, who published a description of America in 1550, speaks of this chart; a copy of which, sent by Behem himself, is preserved in the archives of Nuremberg. The celebrated astronomer Riccioli, though an Italian, yet does not seem willing to give his countryman the honour of this important discovery. In his “Geographia Reformata,” book III. p. 90, he says, “ Christopher Columbus never thought of an expedition to the West Indies until his arrival in the island of Madeira, where, amusing himself in forming and
delineating geographical charts, he obtained information from Martin Boehm, or, as the Spaniards say, from Alphonsus Sanchez de Huelva, a pilot, wbo had chanced to fall in with the islands afterwards called Dominica." And in another place, “ Bæhm and Columbus have each their praise; they were both excellent navigators; buti Columbus would never have thought of his expedition to America, had not Bæhm gone there before him. His name is not so much celebrated as that of Columbus, Americus, or Magellan, although he is superior to them all.”
That Behem rendered some very important services to the crown of Portugal, is put beyond all controversy by the recompense bestowed on him by king John, who in 1485 made him a knight, and governor of Fayal; he is said also to have espoused the daughter of a great lord, “ in consideration of the important services he had performed.” These marks of distinction conferred on a stranger, could not be meant as a recompense for the discovery of the Azores, which was made twenty years before, but as a reward for the discovery of Congo, from whence the chevalier Behem had brought gold and dif ferent kinds of precious wares. In 1492, crowned with honours and riches, he undertook a journey to Nuremberg, to visit his native country and family. He there made a terrestrial globe, which is looked on as a master-piece for that time, and which is still preserved in the library of that city. The outline of his discoveries may there be seen, under the name of western lands; and from their situation it cannot be doubted that they are the present coasts of Brazil, and the environs of the straits of Magellan. This globe was made in the e year
that Columbus set out on his expedition; therefore it is impossible that Behem could have profited by the works of that navigator, whó, besides, went a much more northerly course.
After having performed several other interesting voyages, the chevalier Behem died at Lisbon, in July 1506, regretted by every one, but leaving behind him no other work than the globe and chart, which we have mentioned. The globe is made from the writings of Ptolomy, Pliny, Strabo, and especially from the account of Mark Paul, the Venetian, a celebrated traveller of the thirteenth century; and of John Mandeville, an Englishman, who, about the middle of the fourteenth century published an account of a journey of thirty-three years in Africa and Asia. He
has also added the important discoveries made by himself on the coasts of Africa and America.
From these circumstantial accounts, which have been but very lately brought to light, there can be little doubt, we think, that America was discovered by Martin Behem. Dr. Robertson, indeed, is of a different opinion; but great as we willingly acknowledge his authority to be, we may differ from him without presumption in this case, since he had it not in his power to consult the German documents to which we have appealed, and has himself advanced facts not easily to be reconciled to his own opinion. He allows that Behem was very intimate with Christopher Columbus ; that he was the greatest geographer of his time, and scholar of the celebrated John Müller or Regiomontanus; that he discovered, in 1483, the kingdom of Congo, upon the coast of Africa ; that he made a globe which Magellan made use of; that he drew a map at Nuremberg, containing the particulars of his discoveries; and that he placed in this chart land which is found to be in the latitude of Guiana. He adds, indeed, without proof, that this land was a fabulous island; but if authentic records are to give place to bare assertion, there is an end of all historical evidence. If Bebem took for an island the first land which he discovered, it was a mistake surely not so gross as to furnish grounds for questioning his veracity, or for withholding from him for ever that justice which has been so long delayed. But this very delay will by some be thought a powerful objection to the truth of Behen's claim to the discovery of America; for if it was really discovered by him, why did he not leave behind him some writing to confirm the discovery to himself? and why did not the court of Portugal, so jealous of the discovery of the new world, protest against the exclusive claim bf the Spaniards ?
To these objections we may reply, that, however plau. sible they may at first appear, they do not in the smallest degree invalidate the positive evidence which we have urged for the Chevalier Behem's being the real discoverer of the new world: for it would surely be very absurd to oppose the difficulty of assigning motives for certain actions performed at a remote period, to the reality of other actions for which we bave the testimony of a cloud of contemporary witnesses. Supposing it were true, therefore, that Behem had left behind him no writing claiming to