Page images

Printed by A. and R. Spottiswoode,

Printers-Street, London.



WHATEVER reason there might have been in former days to complain of the want of due respect to the memory of distinguished persons, it can hardly be said of our times, that an indifference prevails in regard to departed merit. Instead of lamenting, with the great lord BACON, that "The writing of Lives is not frequent," we could, perhaps, with more propriety, wish that the practice were either limited or better directed.

The compiler of a BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY, at least, cannot well avoid this feeling; doomed, as he necessarily is, to drudge, and often with fruitless weariness, in search of information respecting men who were truly famous in their generation; while his attention is continually diverted or perplexed with barren accounts and pompous eulogies of persons of ephemeral reputation. Of late years, thanks to the officious zeal of friendship, and the active industry of literary undertakers, Biographical Memoirs have become as multitudinous, prolix, and veracious as epitaphs in a country church-yard. To form a proper selection from such an increasing mass of intelligence, for an alphabetical register, already abundantly copious, is by no means an easy task, particularly when so many places are required for characters of real eminence in literature, science, religion, and politics. The number of names of this description, that have been enrolled with the dead, since the last edition of this Dictionary, is so great that, without some alteration in the construction and arrangement of the collection, it would have been impossible to have compressed the old matter, with the unavoidable additions, into a single volume. To preserve the work, therefore, in the same portable form, and at the same time render it a standard of authority as a book of reference, all the articles exclusively belonging to General History, whether ancient or modern, civil or ecclesiastical, have been expunged. The reigns of sovereigns, and the revolutions of empires, demand a minuteness of detail incompatible with the contracted limits of a few pages. Besides this, the objects of historical inquiry are far more numerous and diversified than those which come under the proper denomination of Biography, since they not only include the actions and characters of individuals who have shone conspicuously in various ages of the world, but extend also to the particular events, natural as well as moral, that constitute the great body of Chronology.

[blocks in formation]

To satisfy curiosity, therefore, on every fact of importance, recorded in the annals of time, would require a volume of, at least, an equal magnitude with the present.

Such a Dictionary, purely Historical and Chronological, the author has long had in contemplation; and he hopes, if health permits, speedily to carry the plan into execution, so as to render the work a fit companion, though perfectly independent in itself, of this compendium of Biography; which, through the public patronage, has now reached a fourth edition.


In strict justice to himself, however, the compiler should here observe, that the present is a new work, rather than a new edition ; for, owing to causes over which he had no controul, the preceding impression was so incorrectly printed, that he found himself under the absolute necessity, not only of revising, but actually of re-writing the whole; carefully examining every authority, and taking the utmost care that no errors, in facts, names, or dates, should escape the press. With the same sedulous attention, to render the Dictionary both accurate and complete, a supplement has been subjoined, consisting of amended and additional articles, thus bringing the biographical series up to the day of publication. As far, therefore, as fidelity and industry can ensure correctness, the author may feel satisfied in having attained it; but after all, considering the imperfection of human nature, and the frequent conflict in accounts relating to the same object, he must adopt the language of the great lexicographer, "If sometimes the desire of accuracy has urged me to superfluities, and sometimes the fear of prolixity betrayed me to omissions; I do not despair of approbation from those who, knowing the uncertainty of conjecture, the scantiness of knowlege, the fallibility of memory, and the unsteadiness of attention, can compare the causes of error with the means of avoiding it, and the extent of art with the capacity of man."

London, April 10. 1821.

The following abbreviations alone require explanation, as the other references are sufficiently clear, and may be ascertained by consulting the corresponding names in the Dictionary:

Bibl. Top. Brit. - The Bibliotheca Topographica Britannica, by Nichols, 4to. Biog. Brit. Biographia Britannica, by Campbell, &c., 7 vols. folio, 1747, &c.; ditto, by Kippis, 5 vols. folio, 1778, &c.

Biog. Class.

Biog. Dram.

Biographia Classica, 2 vols. 12mo., 1750.
Biographia Dramatica, by Reed, 4 vols. 8vo.

Biog. Mod.- Biographie Moderne, 3 vols. 8vo., Paris.

Biog. Univ.

1811, &c. Dict. Hist.


Biographie Universelle, ancienne et moderne, 20 vols. 8vo., Paris,

Nouveau Dictionnaire Historique, 21 vols. 8vo., Lyons, 1804. Gen. Biog. Dict. — General Biographical Dictionary, by Alexander Chalmers, 32 vols. 8vo., 1812.

Gen. Dict. - General Historical Dictionary, including Bayle, by Lockman and others, 10 vols. folio, London, 1734.

Encycl. Brit. - The Encyclopædia Britannica, with its various supplements.
Univ. Hist. — The Universal History, ancient and modern, 65 vols. 8vo.





(Peter Vander), a bookseller of Leyden, where he carried on an extensive business from 1682 to his death, in 1730. He applied chiefly to the publication of geographical works, a catalogue of which appeared at Amsterdam in 1729. The principal of his compilations are -1. A Collection of Travels in Europe, 30 vols. 12mo. 1706. 2. A Collection of Voyages in the two Indies, 8 vols. fol. 1706; and again in 29 vols. 8vo. 1707-10. 3. A Collection of Voyages in the East, by the Portuguese and other nations, 4 vols. fol. All these works are in Dutch. 4. An Atlas of two hundred Maps, fol. 5. A Gallery of the World, containing maps and topographical plates, 66 vols. folio, but commonly bound in 35. He was also the publisher of Grævius' Thesaurus, or an account of modern Italian writers; and a work on the antiquities of Sicily. Noue. Dict. Hist.

[blocks in formation]

AAGARD (Christian), a Danish poet, was born at Wibourg in 1616. He became successively professor of poetry at Sora, and of theology at Rissen in Jutland. His works are-1. De Homagio Fred. III. 1660, fol. 2. Threni Hyperborei, or the



Death of Christian IV. He died in 1664. His brother, Nicholas Aagard, was likewise a professor at Sora, where he died at the age of 45, in 1657. His principal works are1. A Treatise on Subterraneous Fires. Dissertation on Tacitus. 3. Observations on Ammianus Marcellinus. 4. A Dissertation on the style of the New Testament, 4to. 1655. All these pieces are in Latin. — Moreri.

AAGESEN (Suend), better known by the Latin name of SUENO, a Danish historian, flourished about the year 1186. He appears to have been secretary to the Archbishop Absalon, who directed him to compile the history of Denmark, under the title of "Compendiosa Historia Regum Daniæ." This work is held in great estimation on account of its accuracy. Sueno was also the author of another book, entitled "Historia Legum Castrensium Regis Canuti Magni, or the Laws of Canute.' Both works have been frequently reprinted. - Biog. Universelle, 1811.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

cian at Constantinople in the thirteenth century. He is known chiefly by a Commentary on the Pentateuch, printed at Jena, in folio, 1710; and a Hebrew Grammar, printed at Constantinople in 1581. There have been several Hebrew writers of the same name; as 1, Aaron Schascon, a learned rab bi and chief of the synagogue of Thessalonica, who wrote a book called the Law of Truth, printed at Venice in 1631, folio. 2. Aaron Hacharoen, the author of a treatise on Jewish customs. He was a native of Nicomedia, and flourished in the fourteenth century. 3. Aaron Ben Asser, another rabbi of the fifth century, was the author of a Hebrew Grammar, printed at Venice in 1515. To him some have ascribed the invention of the Hebrew points and accents; but with little appearance of probability. 4. Aaron Levita, of Barcelona, was the author of a rabbinical commentary on the precepts of Moses, printed at Venice in 1528. He died in 1292. 5. Aaron Ben Chaim, an African Jew of Morocco, acquired some distinction among his brethren by treatises on the Hebrew Scriptures, which were printed together at Venice, in 1609. — Moreri.

AARON (Isaac), a learned Greek, who was interpreter to the emperor Manuel Comnenus; but having grossly misrepresented his master's meaning in order to serve the interests of the Latin princes, he fell into disgrace, and lost his eyes and estate. When Andronicus usurped the imperial throne, Isaac was taken into favour; on which occasion he avenged himself with savage cruelty upon his enemies, whom he deprived of their sight and tongues. Providence, however, did not suffer his treachery and barbarity to go unpunished; for on the accession of Isaac Angelus to the throne, in 1203, that emperor caused his tongue to be torn out, under which torture he died. — Ibid.

AARON (Pietro), a Florentine writer upon music. He was one of the composers belonging to the chapel of Leo X., at whose death he lost his situation. His works are numerous; and the best is entitled Toscanello della Musica, printed at Venice in 1523 and in 1539.- Burney.

AARSENS (Francis), Lord of Someldyck and Spyck, and one of the ablest diplomatists of his age, was the son of Cornelius Aarsens, greffier or secretary of state to the United Provinces. The son was born at the Hague in 1572, and when young was placed under the care of Duplessis Mornay; after which he was employed by Barneveldt, as agent at the court of France, where he became ambas sador, and in such favour, that Louis XIII. honoured him with the title of baron. But after residing there 15 years, he gave such offence to the French monarch, that he was recalled and employed in an embassy to Venice and other courts. In 1620 he emme to England, and again in 1641, to ne

a marriage between the prince of

Orange and a daughter of Charles I. Previous to this last mission he had succeeded in removing the prejudices which were conceived against him by the court of France, whither, in 1624, he went as ambassadorextraordinary. Cardinal Richelieu held him in high estimation, saying that there were but three great politicians in his time, who were Oxenstiern of Sweden, Viscardi of Montserrat, and Francis Aarsens. He died in 1641. A volume of his Negotiations has been printed; besides which, A Journey into Spain," has been ascribed to him, which was written by his grandson. Bayle. ABANO, see APANO.

[ocr errors]

ABARIS, a personage of antiquity, concerning whom there is more of fable than truth. He is said to have been sent by the Scythians on an embassy to the Athenians, in the time of a general plague; and that while in Greece he held a disputation with Pythagoras, in the presence of Phalaris; which circumstances are contradicted by chronological facts. According to the old writers who dealt in the marvellous, Abaris was a philosopher, divinely inspired by Apollo, who gave him a golden arrow, which enabled him to perform miraculous cures, and to transport himself from place to place with the utmost celerity. These idle stories in time became a bulky history, of which the Pagans availed themselves to attack the credit of the gospel. - Bayle, Brucker, Hist. Phil.

ABAS (Shah). The eighth king of Persia, of that name, was the grandson of the great Shah Abas, the friend of the English, who assisted him in the capture of Ormus, and in consequence were favoured beyond other traders to his dominions. The grandson, who died at the early age of 37, in 1666, merits record for his tolerant spirit, which he expressed by saying, when desired to enforce Islamism by compulsion, that "the Almighty alone is Lord of men's minds; and that, for his own part, instead of meddling with private opinions, he felt it his duty to minister justice impartially."— Mod. Univ. Hist.

ABASSA, sister to Haroun al Raschid, who gave her in marriage to his vizier Giafar, on this strange condition,-that the union should not be consummated. Love, however, prevailed over the royal mandate; and a son was born, whom the parents conveyed secretly from Bagdad to the country; yet not with such caution as to elude the vigilance of the caliph, who not only disgraced Giafar, but afterwards put him to death, and turned the princess out of the palace, with orders that no one should give her relief. In this wretched state she went about clad in a sheep's skin, and reciting her own story in plaintive verse to excite compassion. — D'Herbelot.

ABATE (Andrea), a painter of Naples, who excelled in the representation of fruit

« PreviousContinue »