pleasing the public at times induces them which, when they build on a running to deviate from a correct standard of stream, is always cut higher up than the taste. They succeed best in comic scenes. place of their residence, and floated down. Their contemporaries preferred them The materials used for the construction even to Shakspeare, affirming that the of their dams are the trunks and prarches English drama reached its perfection in of small birch, mulberry, willow and popthem. Impartial posterity has reversed lar trees, &c. They begin to cut dowo. this decision, and adjudged the palm to their timber for building early in this Shakspeare. They are said to have fre- summer, but their edifices are not con. quented taverns and alehouses, to study menced until about the middle or latter the human character, and to have been part of August, and are not completed arrested, while disputing in such a place until the beginning of the cold season. respecting the conclusion of a play. One The strength of their teeth, and their wished to have the king in the piece perseverance in this work, may be fairly assassinated, the other opposed it; and, estimated by the size of the trees they being overheard, they were apprehended cut down. Doctor Best informs us, that on suspicion of conspiring the death of he has seen a mulberry tree, eight inches their sovereign.

in diameter, which had been gnawed BEAUMONT, madame Leprince de; born down by the beaver. We were shown, at Rouen, 1711; died at Annecy, in Sa- while on the banks of the Little Miami voy, 1780; lived partly in France, partly river, several stumps of trees, which had in England, where she devoted her tal- evidently been felled by these animals, ents to the instruction of youth. A sim- of at least five or six inches in diameter.


chosen historical passages, and a happy into the water, and then floated towards imagination, render her writings agreea- the site of the dam or dwellings. Small ble, although much is too artificial, and shrubs, &C., cut at a distance, they drag the theological views are no longer of with their teeth to the stream, and then value. She has written a great many launch and tow them to the place of deromances and works for children. Her posit. At a short distance above a beaver Magazin des Enfans was formerly the dam, the number of trees which have manual of all governantes and French been cut down appears truly surprising, boarding-schools.

and the regularity of the stumps might

lead persons, unacquainted with the habits BEAVER (castor, L.); a genus of clavic- of the animal, to believe that the clearing ulated, mammiferous quadrupeds, of the was the result of human industry.-The order glires, L., rodentia, C., or gnawers. figure of the dam varies according to cir

Having drawn up, with great care, the cumstances. Should the current be very natural history of this species in another gentle, the dam is carried nearly straight work (American Natural History, vol. ii., across; but when the stream is swift, it p. 21), we shall avail ourselves of some is uniformly made with a considerable of the most interesting statements, and curve, having the convex part opposed to refer the reader thereto for more ample the current. Along with the trunks and details, as well as for the fabulous history branches of trees they intermingle mud of the animal. It is only in a state of and stones, to give greater security; and, nature that the beaver displays any of when dams have been long undisturbed those singular modes of acting, which and frequently repaired, they acquire have so long rendered the species cele- great solidity, and their power of resistbrated. These may be summed up in a ing the pressure of water, ice, &c., is statement of the manner in which they greatly increased by the willow and birch secure a depth of water that cannot be occasionally taking root, and eventually frozen to the bottom, and their mode of growing up into something like a regular constructing the huts in which they pass hedge. The materials used in constructthe winter. They are not particular as to ing the dams are secured solely by the The site which they select for the establish- resting of the branches, &c. against the ment of their dwellings, but if it is in a bottom, and the subsequent accumulation lake or pond, where a dam is not re- of mud and stones by the force of the quired, they are careful to build where stream, or by the industry of the beavers. the water is sufficiently deep. In stand- --The dwellings of the beavers are form ing waters, however, they have not the ed of the same materials as their dams, advantage afforded by a current for the are very rude, and adapted in size to the transportation of their supplies of wood, number of their inhabitants : seldom more

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than four old, or six or eight young ones, of a community do not co-operate in fabare found in one of the lodges, though ricating houses for the common use of dorable that number have been sometimes the whole. The only affair in which seen. In building their houses, they place they have a joint interest, and upon which inost of the wood crosswise, and nearly they labor in concert, is the dam. Beahorizontally, observing no other order than vers also make excavations in the adjacent that of leaving a cavity in the middle. banks, at regular distances from each Branches projecting inwards are cut off other, which have been called washes. with their teeth, and thrown among the These are so enlarged within, that the rest. The houses are not of sticks, and beaver can raise his head above water to then plastered, but of all the materials breathe without being seen, and, when lised in the dams-sticks, mud and stones, disturbed at their huts, they immediately if the latter can be procured. This com- swim under water to these washes for position is employed from the foundation greater security, where they are easily to the summit. The mud is obtained taken by the hunters. The food of the from the adjacent banks or bottom of the beaver consists chiefly of the bark of the stream or pond near the door of the hut. aspen, willow, birch, poplar, and, occaThe beaver always carries mud or stones sionally, alder: to the pine it rarely reby holding them between his fore paws sorts, unless from severe necessity. They and throat. Their work is all perform- provide a stock of wood from the trees ed at night, and with much expedition. first mentioned, during summer, and When straw or grass is mingled with the place it in the water, opposite the enmud used in building, it is an accident trance into their houses.—The beaver owing to the nature of the spot whence produces from two to five at a litter. It the mud is obtained. As soon as any is a cleanly animal, and always performs portion of the materials is placed, they its evacuations in the water, at a distance turn round, and give it a smart blow with from the hut: hence no accumulation of the tail. The same sort of blow is struck filth is found near their dwellings.-The by them on the surface of the water beaver is about two feet in length; its when they are in the act of diving. The body thick and heavy; the head comoutside of the hut is covered or plastered pressed, and somewhat arched at the with mud, late in the autumn, and after front, the upper part rather narrow; the frost has begun to appear. By freezing, snout much so. The eyes are placed it soon becomes almost as hard as stone, rather high on the head, and the pupils effectually excluding their great enemy, are rounded; the ears are short, elliptical, the wolverene, during the winter. Their and almost concealed by the fur. The habit of walking over the work frequent- skin is covered by two sorts of hair, of ly, has led to the absurd idea of their which one is long, rather stiff, elastic, and using the tail as a trowel. The houses of a gray color for two thirds of its length are generally from four to six feet thick next the base, and terminated by shining, at the apex of the cone: some have been reddish-brown points, the other is short, found as much as eight feet thick at top. thick, tufted and soft, being of different The door or entrance is always on the shades of silver-gray or light lead color. side farthest from land, and is near the The hair is shortest on the head and feet. foundation, or a considerable depth under The hind legs are longer than the fore, water: this is the only opening into the and are completely webbed, The tail is lut. The large houses are sometimes 10 or 11 inches long, and, except the found to have projections of the main third nearest the body, is covered with building thrown out, for the better sup- hexagonal scales. The third next the port of the roof, and this circumstance body is covered with hair like that on the has led to all the stories of the different back. (See Godman's Am. Nat. Hist., apartments in beaver huts. These larger vol. ii, p. 19, et seq.) edifices, so far from having several apart- BECCARIA, Cesare Bonesana, marchese ments, are double or treble houses, the di, born at Milan, 1735, was early excited, parts having no communication except by by Montesquieu's Lettres Persanes, to the water. It is a fact, that the muskrat is cultivation of his philosophical talents, sometimes found to have taken lodgings and afterwards favorably known as a phiin the huts of the beaver. The otter, losophical writer by his memorable work, also, occasionally intrudes : he, however, full of a noble philanthropy, Dei Delitti e is & dangerous guest, for, should provis- delle Pene (On Crimes and Punishments), ions grow scarce, it is not uncommon for Naples, 1764, and several others. With him to devour his host. All the beavers the eloquence of true feeling, and a lively

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imagination, he opposes capital punish- BECHER, John Joachim; author of the ments and the torture. This work led to first theory of chemistry ; born at Spire, in the establishment of more settled and 1635. He finished his restless life at Lonmore correct principles of penal law, and don, in 1685, after having resided in many contributed to excite a general horror parts of Germany. He had many eneagainst inhuman punishments. B. was a mies, and has been accused, not entirely true friend, a good son, a tender husband without justice, of charlatanry ; yet his inand a real philanthropist. He is also fluence on the science of chemistry gives known, in Italy, as the author of a philo- him still a claim to remembrance. He sophical grammar and theory of style, brought it into a nearer connexion with Ricerche intorno alla Natura dello Stilo physics, and sought for the causes of all (Milan, 1770), and of several good trea- the phenomena of the inorganic universe tises on style, on rhetorical ornament, &c., in these two departments of science. contained in the journal Il Caffe, edited This is the object of his principal work, by him, in conjunction with his friends Physica subterranea. At the same time, Visconti, Verri and others. A fit of apo- he began to form a theory of chemistry : plexy put an end to his useful life in No- and conceived the idea of a primitive acid, vember, 1793.

of which all the others were only modifiBECCARIA, Giovanni Battista; born, cations. He also made researches into 1716, at Mondovi; went to Rome in 1732, the process of combustion. He mainwhere he studied, and afterwards taught tained that every metal consists of a comgrammar and rhetoric ; at the same time, mon earthy matter, of a common comhe applied himself with success to math- bustible principle, and of a peculiar merematics. He was appointed professor of curial substance. If we heat a metal so philosophy at Palermo, and afterwards at that it changes its form, we disengage the Rome. Charles Emanuel, king of Sar- mercurial substance, and nothing remains dinia, invited him to Turin, in 1748, to fill but the metallic calx. This was the first the professorship of natural philosophy at germ of the phlogistic theory, which was the university there. Electricity had, at further developed by Stahl, and prevailed that time, through the experiments of until the time of Lavoisier. The numerFranklin and others, become an object of ous works of B. are, even now, not withuniversal interest. He therefore published out interest. his Dell' Elettricismo naturale ed artifiziale BECK, ' Christian Daniel ; one of the (Turin, 4to). The experiments which must active living philologists and historithis work contains on atmospherical elec- ans, born in Leipsic, Jan. 22, 1757. He tricity are so numerous and various, that is professor at the university in that city, Priestley affirmed, in his History of Elec- and has rendered himself famous by a tricity, that Beccaria's labors far surpass great number of excellent works. His all that had been done, before and after editions of the classics are in high esteem. him, on this subject. The academies in Between 1787 and 1806 appeared the 4 London and Bologna elected him a mem- volumes of his work, Introduction to a ber. He wrote many other valuable Knowledge of the General History of the works on this subject. The most impor- World and of Nations, until the Discovtant, Dell' Elettricismo artifiziale (1772), ery of America. He also translated Goldcontains all that was then known of elec- smith's History of Greece, and Ferguson's tricity. Franklin, who esteemed the History of the Roman Republic. Of his works of B., had them translated into theological works, we may mention his English. In 1759, the king employed Commentarii historici Decretorum Religiohim to measure a degree of the meridian nis Christiana, et Formulæ Luther (Leipsic, in Piedmont. He began the measure- 1800). He has also edited a learned pement in 1760, together with the abbot riodical work. Canonica, and published the result in BECKET, Thomas, the most celebrated 1774. The doubts expressed by Cassini Roman Catholic prelate in the English anof the exactness of this measurement, nals, was born in London, 1119. He was drew from him his Lettere d'un Italiano ad the son of Gilbert, a London merchant. un Parigino, in which he showed the in- His mother is said to have been a Saracen fluence of the proximity of the Alps on lady, to whose father Gilbert was prisoner, the deviation of the pendulum. As his in Jerusalem, being taken captive in one thoughts were entirely absorbed by his of the crusades. The lady is said to have studies, he often neglected the nicer rules fallen in love with the prisoner, and to of good-breeding, without losing, however, have followed him to London, where he the general esteem. He died April 27,1781. married her. After studying at Oxford








and Paris, B. was sent, by the favor of by the laity on the rights and immunities Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury, to of the church. On his return to England, study civil law at Bononia, in Italy, and, he began to act in the spirit of this repreon his return, was made archdeacon of sentation, and to prosecute several of the Canterbury and provost of Beverley. His nobility and others, holding church posclaim to the good opinion of Theobald was sessions, whom he also proceeded to exfounded on his skill in negotiation shown communicate. Henry, an able and politic in a matter of the highest importance to monarch, was anxious to recall certain England--the soliciting from the pope the privileges of the clergy, which withdrew prohibitory letters against the crowning of them from the jurisdiction of the civil Eustace, the son of Stephen, by which courts; and it was not without a violent that design was defeated. This service struggle, and the mediation of the pope, not only raised Becket in the esteem of that B. finally acquiesced. The king che archbishop, but in that of king Henry soon after summoned a convocation or [I, and was the foundation of his high parliament at Clarendon, to the celebrated fortune. In 1158, he was appointed high constitution of which, although the archchancellor and preceptor to prince Henry, bishop swore that he would never assent, and at this time was a complete courtier, he at length subscribed it, and, alleging conforming, in every respect, to the hu- something like force for his excuse, by mor of the king. He was, in fact, his way of penance, suspended himself from prime companion, had the same hours his archiepiscopal functions until the of eating and going to bed, held splendid pope's absolution could arrive. Finding levees, and courted popular applause. In himself the object of the king's displeas1159, he made a campaign with the king ure, he soon after attempted to escape to in Toulouse, having in his own pay 700 France; but, being intercepted, Henry, in a knights and 1200 horsemen; and it is parliament at Northampton, charged him said he advised Henry to seize the person with a violation of his allegiance, and all of Louis, king of France, shut up in his goods were confiscated. A suit was alToulouse without an army. This coun- so commenced against him for money lent sel, however, so indicative of the future him during his chancellorship, and for the martyr, being too bold for the lay coun- proceeds of the benefices which he had sellors of one of the boldest monarchs of held vacant while in that capacity. In the age, was declined. In the next year, this desperate situation, he, with great he visited Paris, to treat of an alliance be- difficulty and danger, made his escape to tween the eldest daughter of the king of Flanders, and, proceeding to the pope at France and prince Henry, and returned Sens, humbly resigned his archbishopric, with the young princess to England. He which was, however, restored. He then had not enjoyed the chancellorship more took up his abode at the abbey of Ponthan four years, when his patron Theo- tigny, in Normandy, whence he issued exbald died, and king Henry was so far mis- postulatory letters to the king and bishops taken as to raise his favorite to the pri- of England, in which he excommunicated macy, on the presumption that he would all violators of the prerogatives of the aid him in those political views, in respect, church, and included in the censure the to church power, which all the sovereigns principal officers of the crown. Henry of the Norman line embraced, and which, was so exasperated, that he banished all in fact, caused a continual struggle, until his relations, and obliged the Cistercians its termination by Henry VIII. It has to send him away from the abbey of Ponbeen asserted, that B. told the king what tigny; from which he removed, on the he was to expect from him; but, inde- recommendation of the king of France, pendent of the appointment itself, there to the abbey of Columbe, and spent four is evidence to prove his eagerness to ob- years there in exile. After much negotain the dignity, and the disgust entertain- tiation, a sort of reconciliation took place ed by Henry at the first symptoms of the in 1170, on the whole to the advantage of real temper of the man whom he had been Becket, who, being restored to his see, so anxious to promote. B. was consecra- with all its former privileges, behaved, on ted archbishop in 1162, and immediately the occasion, with excessive haughtiness. affected an austerity of character which After a triumphant entry into Canterbury, formed a very natural prelude to the part the young king Henry, crowned during which he meant to play. Pope Alexan- the life-time of his father, transmitted der III held a general council at Tours, him an order to restore the suspended and in 1163, at which B. attended, and made excommunicated prelates, which he rea formal complaint of the infringements fused to do, on the pretence that the pope

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alone could grant the favor, although the professor of philosophy, economy, policy, latter had lodged the instruments of cen- finance and commerce in Göttingen, was sure in his hands. The prelates immedi- born at Hoya in 1739. In 1763, he was apately appealed to Henry in Normandy, pointed, on Büsching's recommendation, who, in a state of extreme exasperation, professor of the Lutheran gymnasium in exclaimed, “What an unhappy prince am St. Petersburg. In 1766, he became proI, who have not about me one man of fessor in Göttingen, where he lectured spirit enough to rid me of a single inso- with great success. B. died in 1811, belent prelate, the perpetual trouble of my ing a member of most of the learned solife!" These rash and too significant cieties of the north of Europe. There words induced four attendant barons, are a number of text-books, in the differReginald Fitz-Urse, William de Tracy, ent sciences above-mentioned, by him. Hugh de Morville and Richard Breto, to Among his other works is a History of resolve to wipe out the king's reproach. Inventions, Leipsic, 1780–1805, 5 vols. Having laid their plans, they forthwith BED, in gunnery; the frame of timproceeded to Canterbury, and, having ber or planks in which cannon, mortars, formally required the archbishop to re- &c. are placed, to give them a steady and store the suspended prelates, they return- even position, necessary for aiming. ed in the evening of the same day (Dec. BED OF JUSTICE. (See Lit de Justice.) 29, 1170), and, placing soldiers in the BEDE, or BEDA, an eminent ecclesiastic court-yard, rushed, with their swords of the eighth century, usually called the drawn, into the cathedral, where the venerable Bede, was born in the year 672 archbishop was at vespers, and, advan- or 673, in the neighborhood of Wearcing towards him, threatened him with mouth, in the bishopric of Durham. death if he still disobeyed the orders of From the age of 7 to that of 19, he pursued Henry. B., without the least token of his studies in the monastery of St. Peter, fear, replied, that he was ready to die for at Wearmouth. Being then ordained the rights of the church; and magnani- deacon, he was employed in the task of mously added, “I charge you, in the name educating the youth who resorted to the of the Almighty, not to hurt any other monastery for instruction, and pursued person here, for none of them have been his own studies with unremitting ardor. concerned in the late transactions." The In his thirtieth year, he was ordained confederates then strove to drag him out priest; and, his fame for zeal and erudiof the church; but, not being able to do tion reaching the ears of pope Sergius, he so, on account of his resolute deportment, was invited to Rome, but, in consequence they killed him on the spot with repeated of the death of that pontiff, never went wounds, all which he endured without a there. It is not even certain that he ever groan. The conduct of Henry, and the left Northumberland, which, of course, consequences of this assassination, form a reduces the incidents of his life to his litpart of English history wherein the dis- erary pursuits and domestic occupations, cerning student will perceive the subtle as he accepted no benefice, and never policy of the court of Rome, which eager- seems to have interfered in civil transacly availed itself of this opportunity to ad- tions. His church history was published vance its general object, with a due in 731. His last literary labor was a transregard to the power of Henry and his lation of the Gospel of St. John into Saxstrength of character. The perpetrators on, which he completed, with difficulty, of the deed, on taking a voyage to Rome, on the very day and hour of his death. were admitted to penance, and allowed to The writings of Bede were numerous expiate their enormity in the Holy Land. and important, considering the time in Thus perished Thomas Becket, in his which they were written, and the sub52d year, a martyr to the cause which he jects of which they treat, which extended espoused, and a man of unquestionable to ecclesiastical affairs, religion and eduvigor of intellect. He was canonized cation only. His English Ecclesiastical two years after his death, and miracles History is the greatest and most popular abounded at his tomb. In the reign of of his works, and has acquired additional Henry III, his body was taken up, and celebrity by the translation of king Alfred. placed in a magnificent shrine, erected The collections which he made for it by archbishop Stephen Langton; and of were the labor of many years. Besides the popularity of the pilgrimages to his his own personal investigations, he kept tomb, the Canterbury Tales of Chaucer up a correspondence with the monastewill prove an enduring testimony

ries throughout the Heptarchy, to obtain BECKMANN, John, for almost 45 years archives and records for his purpose ; and

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