« ZurückWeiter »
for trade; merchant, and a school in theats in Yorkshiitaneous
“ Description of Virginia,” fol. In Francis Moryson's edition of " The Laws of Virginia," Lond. 1662, fol. the preface informs us that sir William was the author of the best of them.'
BERKENHOUT (Dr. John), an English miscellaneous writer, was born, about 1730, at Leeds in Yorkshire, and educated at the grammar-school in that town. His father, who was a merchant, and a native of Holland, intended him for trade; and with that view sent him at an early age to Germany, in order to learn foreign languages. After continuing a few years in that country, he made the tour of Europe in company with one or more English noblemen. On their return to Germany they visited Berlin, where Mr. Berkenhout met with a near relation of his father's, the baron de Bielfeldt, a nobleman then in high estimation with the late king of Prussia; distinguished as one of the founders of the royal academy of sciences at Berlin, and universally known as a politician and a man of letters. With this relation our young traveller fixed his abode for some time; and, regardless of his original destination, became a cadet in a Prussian regiment of foot. He soon obtained an ensign's commission; and, in the space of a few years, was advanced to the rank of captain. He quitted the Prussian service on the declaration of war between England and France in 1756, and was honoured with the command of a company in the service of his native country. When peace was concluded in 1760, he went to Edinburgh, and commenced student of physic. Dùring his residence at that university he compiled his “ Clavis Anglica Lingua Botanicæ ;" a book of singular utility to all students of botany, and at that time the only botanical lexicon in our language, and particularly expletive of the Linnæan system. It was not, however, published until 1765.
Having continued some years at Edinburgh, Mr. Berkenhout went to the university of Leyden, where he took the degree of doctor of physic, in 1765, as we learn from his “ Dissertatio medica inauguralis de Podagra,” dedicated to his relation baron de Bielfeldt. Returning to England, Dr. Berkenhout settled at Isleworth in Middlesex, and in 1766, published his “Pharmacopæia Medici," 12mo, the third edition of which was printed in 1782. In 1769, he
1 Ath. Ox. II. 586.--Biog. Dram. --Lysons's Environs, vol. III.
published “Outlines of the Natural History of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. I. ; vol. II. appeared in 1770, and vol. III. in 1771. The encouragement this work met with afforded at least a proof that something of the kind was wanted. The three volumes were reprinted together in 1773, and in 1788 were again published in 2 vols. 8vo, under the title of “ Synopsis of the Natural History of Great Britain, &c.” In 1771, he published “ Dr. Cadogan's dissertation on the Gout, examined and refuted ;" and in 1777, “ Biographia Literaria, or a Biographical History of Literature; containing the lives of English, Scotch, and Irish authors, from the dawn of letters in these kingdoms to the present time, chronologically and classically arranged,” 4to, vol. I. the only volume which appeared. The lives are very short, and the author frequently introduces sentiments hostile to religious establishments and doctrines, which could not be very acceptable to English readers. The dates and facts, however, are given with great accuracy, and in many of the lives he profited by the assistance of George Steevens, esq. the celebrated commentator on Shakspeare. This was followed by “A treatise on Hysterical Diseases, translated from the French." In 1778, he was sent by government with certain commissioners to treat with Anierica, but neither the commissioners nor their secretary were suffered by the congress to proceed further than New York. Dr. Berkenhout, however, found means to penetrate as far as Philadelphia, where the congress was then assembled. He appears to have remained in that city for some time without molestation ; but at last on suspicion that he was sent by lord North for the purpose of tampering with some of their leading members, he was seized and committed to prison. How long he remained a state prisoner, or by what means he obtained his liberty, we are not informed; but we find from the public prints, that he rejoined the commissioners at New York, and returned with them to England.- For this temporary sacrifice of the emoluments of his profession, and in consideration of political services, he obtained a pension. In 1780, he published his “ Lucubrations on Ways and Means, inscribed to lord North,” proposing certain taxes, some of which were adopted by that minister, and some afterwards by Mr. Pitt, Dr. Berkenhout's friends at that time appear to have taken some pains to point him out as an inventor of taxes. His next work was “An essay on the Bite of a Mad Dog, in which the claim to infallibility of the principal preservative remedies against the Hydrophobia is examined.” In the year following Dr. Berkenhout published his “ Symptomatology;" a book which is too universally known to require any recommendation. In 1788, appeared “ First lines of the theory and practice of Philosophical Chemistry,” dedicated to Mr. Eden, afterwards lord Auckland, whom the doctor accompanied to America. Of this book it is sufficient to say, that it exhibits a satisfactory display of the present state of chemistry. His last publication was “ Letters on Education, to his son at Oxford,” 1791, 2 vols. 12mo; but in 1779, he published a continuation of Dr. Campbell's “ Lives of the Admirals,” 4 vols. 8vo; and once printed “ Proposals for a history of Middlesex, including London,” 4 vols. fol. which, as the design dropt, were never circulated. There is also reason to suppose him the author of certain humorous publications, in prose and verse, to which he did not think fit to prefix his name, and of a translation from the Swedish language, of the celebrated count Tessin's letters to the late king of Sweden. It is dedicated to the prince of Wales, his present majesty of Great Britain ; and was, we believe, Mr. Berkenhout's first publication. He died the 3d of April 1791, aged 60.
When we reflect on the variety of books that bear his name, we cannot but be surprised at the extent and variety of the knowledge they contain. He was originally intended for a merchant; thence his knowledge of the principles of commerce. He was some years in one of the best disciplined armies in Europe; thence his knowledge of the art of war. His translation of count Tessin's Letters shew him to be well acquainted with the Swedish language, and that he is a good poet. His Pharmacopeia Medici, &c. demonstrate his skill in his profession. His Outlines of Natural History, and his Botanical Lexicon, prove his knowledge in every branch of natural history. His First lines of Philosophical Chemistry have convinced the world of his intimate acquaintance with that science. His essay on Ways and Means proves him well acquainted with the system of taxation. All his writings prove him to have been a classical scholar, and it is known that the Italian, French, German, and Dutch languages were familiar to him. He was moreover a painter; and played well, it is said, on various musical instruments. To these acquire
been a clas taxation. Alles him well ac
ments may be added, a considerable degree of mathematical knowledge, which he attained in the course of his military studies. An individual so universally informed as Dr. Berkenbout, is an extraordinary appearance in the republic of letters. In this character, which, we believe, was published in his life-time, there is the evident hand of a friend. Dr. Berkenhout, however, may be allowed to have been an ingenious and well-informed man, but as an author he ranks among the useful, rather than the original; and the comparisons of his friends between him and the “ admirable Chrichton” are, to say the least, highly injudicious.'
BERNARD (St.) one of the most, if not the most distinguished character of the twelfth century, was born at Fountaine, a village of Burgundy, in 1091, and was the son of Tecelinus, a military nobleman, renowned for what was then deened piety. His mother, Aleth, who has the same character, had seven children by her husband, of whom Bernard was the third. From his infancy he was devoted to religion and study, and made a rapid progress in the learning of the times. He took an early resolution to retire from the world, and engaged all his brothers, and several of his friends in the same monastic views with himself. The most rigid rules were most agreeable to his inclination, and hence he became a Cistertian, the strictest of the orders in France. The Cistertians were at that time but few in number, men being discouraged from uniting with them on account of their excessive austerities. Bernard, however, by his superior genius, his eminent piety, and his ardent zeal, gave to this order a lustre and a celebrity, which their institution by no means deserved. At the age of twenty-three, with more than thirty companions, he entered into the monastery. Other houses of the order arose soon after, and he himself was appointed abbot of Clairval. To those noviciates who desired admission, he used to say, “If ye hasten to those things which are within, dismiss your bodies, which ye brought from the world; let the spirits alone enter; the flesh profiteth nothing." Yet Bernard gradually learned to correct the harshness and asperity of his sentiments, and while he preached mortification to his disciples, led them on with more mild
1 Corrected from the very erroneous account in the last edition of this Dica. tionary.-European Magazine, 1788.-Gent, Mag. vol. LXI,
ness and clemency than he exercised towards himself. For some time he injured his own health exceedingly by austerities, and, as he afterwards confessed, threw a stumbling block in the way of the weak, by exacting of them a degree of perfection, which he himself had not attained. After he had recovered from these excesses, he began to exert bimself by travelling and preaching from place to place, and such were his powers of eloquence, or the character in which he was viewed, that he soon acquired an astonishing prevalence, and his word became a law to princes and nobles. His eloquence, great as it was, was aided in the opinion of his hearers by his sincerity and humility, and there can be no doubt that his reputation for those qualities was justly founded. He constantly refused the highest ecclesiastical dignities, among which the bishoprics of Genoa, Milan, and Rheims, may be instanced, although his qualifications were indisputable. Such was his influence, that during a schism which happened in the church of Rome, his authority determined both Louis VI. king of France and Henry I. king of England, to support the claims of Innocent II., one instance, among many, to prove the ascendancy he had acquired. Yet although no potentate, civil or ecclesiastical, possessed such real power as he did, in the Christian world, and though he stood the highest in the judgment of all men, he remained in his own estimation the lowest, and referred all he did to diyine grace.
His power, however, was not always employed to the best purposes. The crusade of Louis VII. was supported by Bernard's eloquence, who unhappily prevaited to draw numbers to join that monarch in his absurd expedition, which was, in its consequences, pregnant with misery and ruin. In his dispute with the celebrated Abelard, he appears more in character. At a council called at Soissons in 1121, Abelard was charged with tritheism, and with having asserted, that God the father was alone Almighty. He was ordered to burn his books, and to recite the symbol of Athanasius, with all which he complied, and was set at liberty : but it was long after this before Bernard took any particular notice of Abelard, having either heard little of the controversy, or not being called upon to deliver his sentiments. Abelard, however, notwithstanding his retractations, persevered in teaching his heresies, and it became, at length, impossible for his errors to escape the