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fore he could produce one letter to please himself, and some thousands before the shallow stream of profit began to flow.
His first attempt was a quarto edition of Virgil, 1756, price one guinea, but now much more valuable. This he reprinted in 8vo, 1758, and in that year was employed by the university of Oxford on an entire new-faced Greek type. Soon after this he obtained leave from the university of Cambridge, to print a bible in royal folio, and two editions of the Common Prayer, in three sizes, for which permission he paid a considerable premium. The next in order of his works was, “ Dr. Newton's edition of Milton," 1759, 2 vols. 8vo; “ Dodsley's Fables,” 1761, 8vo ; “ Juvenal and Persius," 1761, 8vo; “ Congreve's Works,” 1761, 3 vols. 8vo; “ The Book of Common Prayer,” 1762, 8vo, and an edition in 12mo; “ Horace, edited by Mr. Livie, 1762, 8vo; “ Addison's Works, 1763, 4 vols. 4to; “ Dr. Jennings's Introduction to the knowledge of Medals," 1763, 8vo. He also printed editions of Terence, Catullus, Lucretius, Sallust, and Florus, in royal 4to.
These publications rank the name of Baskerville with those persons who have the most contributed, at least in modern times, to the beauty and improvement of the art of printing. But after the publication of his folio Bible in 1763, he appears to have been weary of the profession of a printer; or at least declined to carry it on, except through the medium of a confidential agent. In 1765, he applied to his friend the eminent Dr. Franklin, then at Paris, to sound the literati respecting the purchase of his types; but received for answer, " That the French, reduced by the war of 1756, were so far from being able to pursue
schemes of taste, that they were unable to repair their public buildings, and suffered the scaffolding to rot before them.”
In regard to his private character, he was much of a humourist, idle in the extreme, but his invention was of the true Birmingham model, active. He could well design, but procured others to execute : wherever he found merit he caressed it: he was remarkably polite to the stranger, fond of shew: a figure rather of the smaller size, and delighted to adorn that figure with gold lace. Although constructed with the light timbers of a frigate, his movement was stately as a ship of the line. During the twentyfive last years of his life, though then in his decline, he retained the singular traces of a handsome man.
If he ex
hibited a peevish temper, we may consider that good-nature and intense thinking are not always found together. Taste accompanied him through the different walks of agriculture, architecture, and the fine arts. Whatever passed through his fingers, bore the lively marks of John Baskerville.
He died without issue, Jan. 8, 1775. We lament to add, that in his will, executed about two years before, he unblushingly avows not only bis disbelief, but his contempt for revealed religion, and that in terms too gross to be transcribed. The same aversion to Christianity induced him to order that he should be buried in a tomb of masonry, in the shape of a cone, under a wind-mill in his garden. This was accordingly performed, and although his dwelling-house was destroyed in the riots in 1791, his remains continued undisturbed. In April 1775, his widow wholly declined the printing business, but continued that of a letter-founder until Feb. 1777. Many efforts were used after Baskerville's death to dispose of his types in this country, but without effect; and in 1779, they were purchased by a literary society of Paris for 3,7001. and were afterwards employed on a splendid edition of Voltaire's Works. Many unjust and unnecessary reflections are made, in the work which furnishes the principal part of this memoir, on the booksellers and universities having declined to purchase those types. The answer is easy: Baskerville himself derived little advantage from them; and at the time they were offered for sale, and for many years afterwards, the principal works which came from his press were sold at a price so inferior as to render any farther speculation hopeless."
BASNAGE (BENJAMIN), the first of a family of French Calvinists, celebrated for learning and piety, was the son of N. Basnage, minister of Norwich in England, and afterwards of Carentan in Normandy, and was born in 1580. After studying divinity, he succeeded his father as minister of Carentan, and remained in that sacred charge the whole of his life, although invited to Roan, and some other more considerable churches, and even permitted by the national synod of Charenton to change his situation. He used to say that his first church was his spouse, from which he ought not to be separated unless by death. At the abovementioned synod, he sat in 1623, as deputy from the pro
I Hutton's Hist, of Birmingham.-Nichols's Life of Bowyer.--Biog, Brita
vince of Normandy, but when named again in 1631, by the same province, the king forbid his going to the synod, and deprived him of his church, until the remonstrances of the assembly induced his majesty to restore him. In 1637, he presided as moderator of the national synod of Alençon, and contributed very essentially to preserve moderation during a crisis peculiarly important to the reformed church of France. In 1644, being chosen assistant moderator to the national synod of Charenton, he was deputed by them to the queen-dowager, who received him with marks of favour. He entered into the usual controversies with Lescrivain, Draconis, and other adherents of the church of Rome. His principal work, “ Treatise on the Church,” printed at Rochelle in 1612, was much esteemed, and he left behind him, but in an imperfect state, a work against worshipping the Virgin Mary. . He died in 1652, after having been in the ministry fifty-one years. He is frequently mentioned in Quick's Synodicum, having been deputed to king James I. and having gone to Scotland, where he served the churches in . matters pertaining to their temporal interest. King James's letter of leave styles him, “ deputy from all the churches of France.”
BASNAGE (ANTHONY), eldest son of the above, was born in 1610, and became minister of Bayeux, and was called to suffer persecution in his old age, being thrown into the prison at Havre de Grace, when he was seventyfive
On the revocation of the edict of Nantz he was set at liberty, and took refuge in Holland, where he probably passed the remainder of his days in quiet. He died at Zutphen in 1691. His son, SAMUEL BASNAGE DE FLOTMANVILLE, succeeded him in his congregation at Bayeux, but was forced to leave France in 1685, and retire to Zutphen, with the reputation of being one of the ablest of the French reformed clergy. He wrote “ Exercitations on Baronius,” beginning where Casaubon left off; but changing his purpose, he turned his work into the shape of Ecclesiastical Annals, published in 1706, under the title of “ Annales politico-ecclesiastici,” 3 vols. fol. and coming down to the reign of Phocas. This work is, undoubtedly, useful, but has been superseded by that of James Basnage, of whom we are soon to speak. Anthony died in 1721.
Gen. Dict.Collier's Dict. vol. IV.
BASNAGE (HENRY) DU FRAQUENY, second son of Benjamin, was born at St. Mere Eglise in Lower Normandy, Oct. 16, 1615. He was admitted an advocate in the parliament of Normandy in 1636, and proved one of the most learned and eloquent of his order, and was employed in a great many causes, as well as political affairs of importance, in all which he gave the greatest satisfaction. As a writer, likewise, he stood very high in the opinion of his countrymen. His “ Commentaire sur la Coutume de Normandie," or common law of Normandy, was first published in 1678, and was so much approved, that a new edition was published in 1694, 2 vols. fol. His “ Traité des Hypotheques, or Mortgages, was also so popular as to go through three editions before the above year. Notwithstanding his religion, persons of rank and influence in the Komish church, testified the highest esteem for him. He died at Roan, Oct. 20, 1695.
BASNAGE (JAMES) DE FRANQUENER, son of the preceding, and the most celebrated of his family, was born at Roan in Normandy, Aug. 8, 1653, and received an education suitable to the talents which his father discovered in him. He first studied under the celebrated Tanaquil Faber, who made him his favourite scholar, but endeavoured to dissuade him from engaging in the ministry. At seventeen years of age, after he had made the Greek and Latin authors familiar to him, and learned the English, Italian, and Spanish languages, he went to Geneva, where he passed through a course of philosophy under Mr. Chouet. He began his divinity studies there under Mestrezat, Turretin, and 'Tronchin, and finished them at Sedan under the professors Jurieu and Le Blanc de Beaulieu. But disliking Mr. Jurieu's less tolerant sentiments, he applied himself more particularly to the latter, who was a divine of a moderate and pacific temper. He returned afterwards to Roan; and the learned Mr. Le Moine having been called to the professorship of divinity at Leyden, Mr. Basnage succeeded him, as pastor of the church of Roan in 1676, though he was then but twenty three
and here studied ecclesiastical history and the fathers, and went on with the collections which he had begun at Geneva and Sedan. In 1684 he married Susanna du Moulin, daughter of Cyrus du Moulin, first cousin of Charles du Moulin, the Papinian of France, and grand-daughter of the famous Peter du Moulin. The exercise of the protestant religion being suppressed at Roan in 1685, and Mr. Basnage being no longer allowed to perform the functions of his ministry, he desired leave of the king to retire into Holland, and obtained it for himself, his wife, and a nurse ; but upon condition, that the nurse should return into France at the end of two years.
He settled at Rotterdam, where he was a minister pensionary till 1691, when he was made pastor of the Walloon church of that city. The works which he wrote raised him a great reputation over al} Europe; and he kept a correspondence with a great many learned men both in the United Provinces, and in foreign countries. His studies employed the greater part of his time, and his only relaxation was a select society of men of learning, who met once a week at each other's houses. The principal members of this little society were Messrs. Paatz, Basnage, De Beauval, his brother, Bayle, Lufneu, and Leers. Their contests were sometimes sharp, but friendly, and there was that candid interchange of sentiment from which Basnage confessed that he had derived great advantage. He had frequent disputes with Mr. Jurieu, his brother-in-law, particularly on the subject of the revolt of the Cevennois, which Jurieu approved and Basnage condemned. The author of his life mentions a conference which they had upon that subject, in 1703, in which Jurieu was obliged by the reasons of his antagonist to condemn the cruelties of the Camisars, and he only urged in their justification, that they had been used with rigour, and had lost patience. In 1709 pensionary Heinsius, who had a great regard for him, procured him to be chosen one of the pastors of the Walloon church at the Hague. He was then employed to manage a secret negotiation with mareschal D'Uxelles, plenipotentiary of France at the congress of Utrecht; and he executed it with so much success, that he was afterwards entrusted with several important commissions. Cardinal de Bouillon, dean of the Sacred College, who was then in Holland, imparted to him all his concerns with the States. The abbé Du Bois, who was afterwards cardinal and first minister of France, having arrived at the Hague in 1716, with the character of ambassador plenipotentiary, to negotiate a defensive alliance between France, England, and the States General, was ordered by the duke of Orleans, regent of France, to apply to Mr. Basnage for his advice, the consequence of which was, that they acted