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oirs of his owne scheme of which pon the islan, upon the
beyond the Cape.” In consequence of this condition, the duke his patron proposed to him from his majesty to form an establishment on the island of Madagascar, upon the same footing as he had proposed upon the island of Formosa, the whole scheme of which is published in his memoirs of his own life, and discovers vast knowledge of the interests of commerce, and a deep insight into the characters of men.
To a romantic mind and adventurous spirit such as the count possessed, a proposal like the present was irresistible; and after receiving the most positive assurances from the French ministry, that he should constantly receive from them the regular supplies necessary to promote the success of his undertaking, he set sail on the 22d of March, 1773, from Port L'Orient for Madagascar, under the treacherous auspices of recommendatory letters to Mr. De Ternay, governor of the isle of France, where he landed with a company of between four and five hundred men on the 22d of September following. Instead, however, of receive ing the promised assistance at this place, the governor en. deavoured by every means in his power to thwart the success of his enterprise; and no other step remained for him to take, than that of hastening for Madagascar. He accordingly set sail in the Des Torges, a vessel badly provided with those stores that were most likely to be of use, and came to an anchor at Madagascar on the 14th of February 177. The opposition which he met from the se. veral nations placed him in a dangerous situation ; but he at length, with great difficulty, formed an establishment on Foul Point, entered into a commercial intercourse, and formed treaties of friendship and alliance with the greater part of the inhabitants of this extensive island. But whether the count, whose commission only extended to open a friendly intercourse witil the natives, was abandoned by the minister from the cruelty of neglect, whilst he was in the regular execution of the commands of his sovereign, or because his exorbitant spirit and ambition began to soar to more than an ordinary pitch of power and greatness, the following curious and extraordinary narrative of his sube sequent conduct will manifestly shew.
The island of Madagascar, as is well known, is of vast extent, and is inhabited by a great variety of different nations. Among these is the nation of Sambarines, formerly governed by a chief of the name and titles of Rohandrian
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Ampansacabé Ramini Larizon; whose only child, a lovely daughter, had, it seems, been taken prisoner, and sold as a captive; and from this circumstance, upon the death of Ramini, his family was supposed to be extinct. “On the 2d of February,” says the count, “ M. Corbi, one of my most confidential officers, with the interpreter, informed me, that the old negress Susanna, whom I had brought from the isle of France, and who in her early youth had been sold to the French, and had lived upwards of fifty years at the isle of France, bad reported, that her companion, the daughter of Ramini, having likewise been made a prisoner, was sold to foreigners, and that she had certain marks that I was her son. This officer likewise represented to me, that in consequence of her report the Sambarine nation had held several cabars to declare me the heir of Ramini, and consequently proprietor of the province of Manahar, and successor to the title of Ampansacabé, or supreme chief of the vation. This information appeared to me of the greatest consequence, and I determined to take the advantage of it, to conduct that brave and generous nation to a civilized state. But as I had no person to whom I could entrust the secret of my mind, I lamented how blind the minister of Versailles was to the true interests of France. On the same day I interrogated Susanna on the report she had spread concerning my birth. The good old woman threw herself at my knees, and excused herself by confessing that she had acted entirely upon a conviction of the truth. For she said that she had known my mother, whose physiognomy resembled mine, and that she had herself been inspired in a dream by the Zahanbar to publish the secret. Her manner of speaking convinced me that she really believed what she said. I therefore embraced her, and told her that I had reasons for keeping the secret respecting my birth; but that nevertheless if she had any confidential friends she might acquaint them with it. At these words she arose, kissed my hands, and declared that the Sambarine nation was inforined of the circumstances, and that the Rohandrian Raffangour waited only for a favourable moment to ackuowledge the blood of Ramini.”
The fallacy to which the old woman thus gave evidence, feeble as the texture of it may appear to penetrating minds, was managed by the count with such profound dexterity and address, that he was declared the heir of Ramini, invested with the sovereignty of the nation, received ambas, sadors and formed alliances in the capacity of a king with other tribes, made war and peace, led his armies in person into the field, and received submission from his vanquished enemies. In this situation it is not wonderful that he should forget the allegiance he was under to the king of France; and, representing to his subjects the difficulties he had experienced from the neglect of the ininister, and the probable advantages that might result by forming a new and national compact either with that or some other powerful kingdom in Europe, he persuaded them to permit him to return to Europe for that purpose; and “on the 11th of October, 1776,” says the count, “I took my leave to go on board : and at this single moment of my life I experienced what a heart is capable of suffering, when torn from a beloved and affectionate society to which it is devoted.”
This account concludes his narrative; but among the memoirs and papers which fill the remaining part of the volume, it appears, that on his arrival in Europe his pro. posals to the court of France were rejected; that he made subsequent offers of his service to the emperor of Germany, which met with no better success; and that on the 25th of December, 1783, he offered, in the character of sovereign of the island of Madagascar, terms for an offensive and defensive alliance with the king of Great Britain : but this proposal was also declined. The ardour of the count, however, was not abated by these disappointments; he pretended to look with contempt on kings who could be so blind to the interests and advantages of their people; and, sending for his family from Hungary, he sailed from London with some of his associates for Maryland, on the 14th of April, 1784, with a cargo of the value of near 4,0001. sterling, consisting, it seems, of articles intended for the Madagascar trade. A respectable commercial house in Baltimore was induced to join in his scheme, and supplied him with a ship of 450 tons, whose lading was estimated at more than 1,000l. in which he sailed from that place on the 25th of Oct. 1784, and landed at Antangara on the island of Madagascar, on the 7th of July 1785, from whence he departed to Angouci, and commenced hostilities against the French by seizing their storehouse. Here he busied himself in erecting a town after the manner of the country, and from hence he sent a detachment of one hundred men
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to take possession of the French factory at Foul Point; but they were prevented from carrying their purpose into execution by the sight of a frigate which was at anchor off the Point. In consequence of these movements, the governor of the isle of France sent a ship with sixty regulars on board, who landed and attacked the count on the morning of the 23d of May 1786. He had constructed a small redoubt defended by two cannon, in which himself, with two Europeans and thirty natives, waited the approach of the enemy. The blacks fled at the first fire, and Benyowsky, having received a ball in his right breast, fell behind the parapet; whence he was dragged by the hair, and expired a few minutes afterwards.
Such is the abridgment of the history of this singular adventurer, taken from his Memoirs published in 1790, 2 vols. 4to, and inserted in the preceding edition of this Dictionary. We have reduced the narrative in some parts, but are yet doubtful whether accounts of this kind strictly belong to our plan, and still more, whether the space allotted to this is not disproportionate. The story, however, is interesting, and although the evidence is chiefly that of the adventurer himself, the two volumes of his memoirs may hereafter be found useful as far as they describe the hitherto almost unknown island of Madagascar. Of his character, it is not easy to form a decided opinion. Even from his own account, he appears to have been unsteady, ambitious, and cruel in his expedients, but how far his natural disposition may have been altered by his sufferings, and the love of life and liberty may bave predominated over that of truth and humanity, from what some are pleased to call a fatal necessity, we shall not presume to determine.'
BENZEL DE STERNAU (ANSELM FRANCIS DE), a privy counsellor of the electorate of Mentz, was born Aug. 28, 1738, and arrived at the dignity of counsellor when only nineteen years of age. The emperor invited him to Vienna, but he refused this honourable offer, and remained at Mentz, where having attained the rank of chancellor of state, he applied his attention to the reformation of the schools, and the regulation and diminution of the convents. He was one of the chief promoters of the union of the German bishops against the court of Rome. The death of the
1 Memoirs as above.
elector Emmerick Joseph, in 1774, interrupted his pursuits ; but he was soon recalled, and in 1782, appointed to the guardianship of the universities of the electorate, and distinguished himself by many humane and enlightened regulations. He died May 7, 1784. We have only from his pen, the plan of a “ New organization of the University of Mentz,” 1784, 8vo."
BENZELIUS (Eric), archbishop of Upsal, was born in Sweden in 1642, at a village called Benzeby, whence he took his name. His parents were of mean condition, but an uncle enabled him to pursue his studies at Upsal, where he was appointed tutor to the children of the count de la Gardie, grand chancellor of the kingdom. He afterwards travelled in Germany, France, and England, and on his return to his country, was appointed professor of history and morals. Having also made great progress in theological studies, he was created doctor of that faculty and appointed professor. In 1677 he was promoted to the bishopric of Strengnes, and in 1700, to the archbishopric of Upsal, which he held until his death, Feb. 17, 1709. He was twice married, and by his first wife had thirteen children, of whom three of the sons became archbishops of Upsal. Benzelius instructed Charles XII. in theological studies, and that prince preserved always a high esteem for him. · The archbishop wrote an “ Abridgment of Ecclesiastical History," several dissertations on subjects of theology and ecclesiastical history, and a Latin translation, with notes, of many of the homilies of St. Chrysostom, which he made from manuscripts in the Bodleian library. He had also the superintendance of the edition of the Bible, in the Swedish language, which Charles XII. ordered to be published in 1703, with engravings, and which still bears the name of that monarch. Very few alterations, however, were introduced in this edition, as the divines of the time could not agree on certain disputed passages, and an entire new translation was reserved for the reign of Gustavus III.
BENZELIUS (Eric), archbishop of Upsal, and one of the sons of the preceding, was born at Upsal in 1675. When he had finished his studies, his father sent him on his travels to the principal countries of Europe, and on his return, he was made librarian to the university of Upsal. He was afterwards for many years, and with great reputa
! Biog. Universelle.
2 Biog. Universelle.-Moreri.