Page:A biographical dictionary of modern rationalists.djvu/42

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

AHRENS

ALBEE

written a number of Ethical-Rationalist works.

Ahrens, Professor Heinrich, Ph.D., German jurist. B. July 14, 1808. Ed. Gottingen University, where he met, and adopted the Pantheistic philosophy of, K. F. C. Krause. In 1833 he began to lecture on German philosophy at Paris, and in the following year he became professor of philosophy at Brussels. He was appointed Deputy to the Frankfort Parliament in 1848, and was prominent among the advanced liberals. In 1850 he was appointed professor of law and political science at Gratz University, and from 1860 onward he was professor of practical philosophy and politics at Leipzig. Ahrens founded a special school of law, and his Cours de droit naturel (2 vols., 1838) and other works had high authority. D. Aug. 2, 1874.

Aikenhead, Thomas, Scottish martyr. B. 1678. Ed. Edinburgh University. In his eighteenth or nineteenth year, while he was still at the University, Aikenhead adopted Deism, and was arrested for blasphemy. He said that Ezra had forged the Old Testament, that all theology was "a rhapsody of ill-contrived nonsense," and that Christ was merely human. After an appalling travesty of a trial he had no counsel, and the only witnesses were those of the prosecution ho was sentenced to death (Howell's State Trials, 1812, vol. xiii, pp. 917-38). In his History of England (iv, 783-86) Macaulay writes with glowing indignation of the martyrdom. Under Scottish law, he says, the youth might have been imprisoned until he retracted, but Lord Advocate Stewart "called for blood." In his horrible and lonely position Aikenhead retracted, but the clergy, fearing the clemency of William III, pressed for his death, and he was hanged on Jan. 8, 1697.

Airy, Sir George Biddell, K.C.B., D.C.L., LL.D., F.R.S., Astronomer Royal. B. July 27, 1801. Ed. Colchester Grammar School and Cambridge University (Trinity). After a brilliant course of study Airy was in 1826 appointed professor of mathematics at Cambridge, and two years later he became professor of astronomy and Director of the Observatory. He was Astronomer Royal from 1835 to 1881, President of the Royal Society in 1872-73, and President of the Royal Astronomical Society for a quarter of a century. He was a man of exceptional industry and profound know ledge, and his services to the science of astronomy in England were very consider able. In 1872 he was made a Knight Commander of the Bath. He received also Russian, Prussian, Swedish, and Brazilian decorations, besides innumerable honours and diplomas from learned societies. His two hundred and seventy-seven papers and numerous volumes deal with mathematical and astronomical subjects; but in 1876 he startled the orthodox by the publication of his Notes on the Earlier Hebrew Scriptures, in which, while retaining Theism, he rejects revelation and miracles and accepts all the results of advanced critics. In the Preface he says: "It is scarcely necessary to say that I regard the ostensible familiarity of the [Biblical] historian with the counsels of the Omnipotent as mere oriental allegories" (p. vii). D. Jan. 2, 1892.

Aitzema, Lieuwe van, Dutch historian. B. Nov. 19, 1600. He published a volume of poems (Poemata juvenilia, 1617) in his seventeenth year, and in later life he wrote a very valuable history of the Netherlands (14 vols., 1655-1671). Bayle observes in his Dictionary that the work is hostile to the Churches, and Reimmann (Historia Universalis Atheismi, p. 479) describes the author as an Atheist. Aitzema represented the Hanseatic towns at the Hague from 1645 until his death, and he had a high repute throughout northern Europe for scholarship and integrity. D. Feb. 23, 1669.

Albee, John, American writer. B. Apr.

11

12