페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

himself the discovery of any part of the continent of America, the only inference which could be drawn from his silence would be, either that he was a man of great modesty, or that his mind was intent only on the acquisition of knowledge to himself, without feeling the usual impulse to communicate that knowledge to others. But it is not true that he has left behind him no claim of this discovery to himself. The letters to which we have appealed, and which are preserved in the archives of Nuremberg, together with the globe and map, which he certainly made, furnish as complete a confirmation of his claim as could have been furnished by the most elegant account of his voyages.

For the silence of the Portuguese, many reasons might be assigned. The discoveries of Columbus were made so much farther north than those of Behem, that, in an age when geographical knowledge was so very limited, both Spaniards and Portuguese might very naturally believe that the country discovered by the former of these navigators had no connexion with that discovered by the latter. any rate, the Portuguese, whose discoveries proceeded from avarice, were satisfied with scraping together gold wherever they could find it: and finding it in Africa, they thought not of searching for it in a more distant region, till the success of the Spaniards shewed them their mistake. One thing more is worthy of attention. The long stay of Columbus at Madeira makes his interview with Behem more than probable. It is impossible that he should have neglected seeing a man so interesting, and who could give him every kind of information for the execution of the plan which he had formed. The mariners who accompanied the Chevalier Behem might also have spread reports at Madeira and the Azores concerning the discovery of which they had been witnesses. What ought to confirm us in this is, that Mariana himself says (book xxvi. chap. 3.) that a certain vessel going to Africa, was thrown by a gaie of wind upon certain unknown lands; and that the sailors at their return to Madeira had communicated to Christopher Columbus the circumstances of their voyage. All authors agree that this learned man had some information respect.. ing the western shores; but they speak in a very vague manner. The expedition of the Chevalier Behen explains the mystery."

| American Philosophical Transactions, vol. II. paper by M. Otto. -Nichol. son's Journal, Nos, II, and 111.--Gleig's Suppl. to the Encyclop. Brit.

BEHMEN. See BOEMEN.

BEHN (APHARA), a celebrated English poetess, de. scended from a good family in the city of Canterbury, was born in the reign of Charles I. but in what year is not certain : her father's name was Johnson ; who being related to the lord Willoughby, and by his interest having been appointed lieutenant general of Surinam, and six-andthirty islands, embarked with his family for the West Indies; at which time Aphara was very young. Mr. Johnson died in his passage, but his family arrived at Surinam, where our poetess became acquainted with the American prince Oroonoko, whose story she has given us in her celebrated novel of that name.

She tells us, " she had often seen and conversed with that great man, and had been a witness to many of his mighty actions; and that at one time, he and Climene (or Imoinda his wife) were scarce an hour in a day from her lodgings.” The intimacy betwixt Oroonoko and our poetess occasioned some reflections on her conduct, from which the authoress of her life justifies her in the following manner : " Here," says she, “ I can add nothing to what she has given the world already, but a vindication of her from some unjust aspersions I find are insinuated about this town, in relation to that prince. I knew her intimately well, and I believe she would not havé concealed any love affairs from me, being one of her own sex, whose friendship and secrecy she had experienced, which makes me assure the world, there was no affair bes twixt that prince and Astræa, but what the whole plantation were witnesses of ; a generous value for his uncommon virtues, which every one that but hears them, finds in himself, and his presence gave her no more. Besides, his heart was too violently set on the everlasting charms of his Imoinda, to be shook with those more faint (in his eye) of a white beauty; and Astræa’s relations, there present, had too watchful an eye over her, to permit the frailty of her youth, if that had been powerful enough."

The disappointments she met with at Surinam, by losing her parents and relations, obliged her to return to England; where, soon after her arrival, she was married to Mr. Behn, an eminent merchant of London, of Dutch extraction. King Charles II. whom she highly pleased by the entertaining and accurate account she gave him of the colony of Surinam, thought her a proper person to be intrusted with the management of some affairs during the Dutch war, in other words to act as a spy; which was the occasion of her going over to Antwerp. Here she discovered the design formed by the Dutch, of sailing up the river Thames, in order to burn the English ships; which she learnt from one Vander Albert, a Dutchman. This man, who, before the war, had been in love with her in England, no sooner heard of her arrival at Antwerp, than he paid her a visit; and, after a repetition of all his former professions of love, pressed her extremely to allow him by some signal means to give undeniable proofs of bis passion. This proposal was so suitable to her present aim in the service of her country, that she accepted of it, and employed her lover in such a manner as made her very serviceable to the king. The latter end of 1666, Albert sent her word by a special messenger, that he would be with her at a day appointed, at which time he revealed to her, that Cornelius de Witt and De Ruyter had proposed the above-mentioned expedition to the States. Albert having mentioned this affair with all the marks of sincerity, Mrs. Behn could not doubt the credibility thereof; and when the interview was ended, she sent express to the court of England; but her intelligence (though well grounded, as appeared by the event) being disregarded and ridiculed, she renounced all state affairs, and amused herself during ber stay at Antwerp with what was more suited to her talents, the gallantries of the city. After some time she embarked at Dunkirk for England, and in her passage the ship was driven on the coast four days within sight of land; but, by the assistance of boats from that shore, the crew were all saved ; and Mrs. Behn arrived safely in London, where she dedicated the rest of her life to pleasure and poetry, neither of the most pure kind. She published three volumes of miscellany poems; the first in 1684, the *second in 1685, and the third in 1688, consisting of songs and miscellanies, by the earl of Rochester, sir George Etherege, Mr. Henry Crisp, and others, with some pieces of her own.

To the second collection is annexed a translation of the duke de Rochefoucault's moral reflections, under the title of “ Seneca, unmasked.” She wrote also seventeen plays, some histories and novels, which are extant in two volumes, 12mo, 1735, 3th edition, published by Mr. Charles Gildon, and dedicated to Simon Scroop, esq. to which is prefixed the history of the life, and memoirs of Mrs. Behn, written by one of the fair sex. She translated Fontenelle's History of oracles, and Plurality of worlds, to which last she annexed an essay on translation and translated prose, not very remarkable for critical acumen, The paraphrase of Enone's epistle to Paris, in the English translation of Ovid's Epistles, is Mrs. Beho's; and Mr. Dryden, in the preface to that work, compliments her with more gallantry than justice, when he adds, “I was desired to say, that the author, who is of the fair sex, understood not Latin; but if she does not, I am afraid she has given us occasion to be ashamed who do." She was also the authoress of the celebrated Letters between a nobleman and his sister, printed in 1684; and we have extant of hers, eight love-letters, to a gentleman whon she passionately loved, and with whom she corresponded under the name of Lycidas. They are printed in the Life and Memoirs of Mrs. Behn, prefixed to her histories and novels. She died between forty and fifty years of age, after a long indispor sition, April 16, 1689, and was buried in the cloisters of Westminster-abbey. Mrs. Behn, upon the whole, cannot be considered as an ornament either to her sex, or her nation. Her plays abound with obscenity; and her novels are little better. Mr. Pope speaks thus of her:

The stage how loosely does Astræa tread,

Who fairly puts all characters to bed!" The poet means behind the scenes, but Mr. Granger is of opinion she would have literally put them to bed before the spectators; but here she was restrained by the laws of the 'drama, not by her own delicacy, or the manners of the age. Her works, however, are now deservedly forgotten.'

BEHRENS (CONRAD BERTOLD), a German physician of note, was born at Hildesheim in Lower Saxony, Aug. 26, 1660. After studying medicine he was admitted to the degree of doctor at Helmstadt in 1684. In 1712, he was appointed court-physician to the duke of Brunswick Lunenburgh. He published many essays and dissertations in the Memoirs of the German Imperial academy, of which he was a member, and other works separately, both in German and Latin. The principal of these, are, 1. “ De constitutione artis medicæ," Helmstadt, 1696, 8vo. 2, “ The Legal Physician," in German, ibid. 8vo, containing several medico-legal questions, and the history of sudden deaths, with the appearances on dissection. 3. “ Selecta

1 Biog. Brit.-Gen. Dict.-Cibber's Lives, vol. III. Biog. Dramatiea.

sects, &c.

medica de medicina natura et certitudine," Francfort and Leipsic, 1708, an inquiry into the history of medicine, its

4. “ Selecta Diætetica, seu de recta ac conveniente ad sanitatem vivendi ratione tractatus," Francfort, 1710, 4to, in which he treats of air, food, exercise, sleep, and whatever may conduce to health ; of the causes of diseases ; the use of mineral waters, &c. Behrens died Oct. 4, 1736. His life was published by J. M. Glesener, at Hildesheim in the same year.

His son and grandson were both physicians and medical writers. The former published, 1. «Trias casuum memorabilium medicorum," Guelpherbiti (Wolfenbuttel), 1727, 4to. 2. “De imaginario quodam miraculo in gravi oculorum morbo, &c." Brunopolis (Brunswick), 1734, 4to. 3. “De felicitate medicorum aucta in terris Brunsvicensis," ibid. 1747, 4to."

BEIDHAVI, born in the village of Beidhah, was cadi or judge of the city of Schiraz in Persia, from whence he went to that of Zauris, where he died in the year of the hegira 685 or 692, of the Christian æra 1289, or 1291. He has written a literal commentary in 2 vols, on the Alcoran, which has been explained and commented on by several other authors. 2

BEIER (ADRIAN), a native of Jena, where he was born in 1634. In 1658, he was made law professor in that university. He was the first who wrote systematically, on the laws, usages, and duties of corporations and wardens of arts and manufactures, collecting such scattered notices as he could find on these subjects, and throwing considerable light on a part of jurisprudence not then well understood. He died in 1712. His works are, 1. “ Tyro prudentiæ juris opificialii præcursorum emissarius,” Jena, 1685, 4to, and again in 1688, but the best edition is that edited with great improvements by Struvius, 1717, 4to. 2. “Tractatus de jure prohibendi, quod competit opificibus in opifices," Jena, 1721, 4to, likewise improved by Struvius, 1721. 3. “ Boethus, peregre redus conspectibus et judice conspicuus,” Jena, 1685 and 1717, 4to.

BEJERLINCK. See BEVERNINCK.

BEISCH, or BEICH (JOACHIM FRANCIS), an artist, was born at Ravensburgh in Suabia, in 1665, and was taught the first rudiments of his art by his father, who was a ma

1 Dict. Hist. Haller.-Manget, 2 D'Herbelot Bibl, Orient.

3 Dict. Histo

.

« 이전계속 »