Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/439

This page needs to be proofread.





the invasion of 1814 he resumed military service for a time, but was soon retired with the rank of chef de bataiUon.

A change of career then became necessary. After some hesitation, he settled down to the real work of his life, the study and advancement of the science of electricity. Becquerel's achievements are numerous and important. He combated Volta's contact theory of the fleet romot i ve force in a cell and showed that the real source of voltaic elec- tricity is to be foimd in chemi- cal action. That in fact, the gen- eration of elec- tricity in any case is possible only where there is chemical ac- tion, frictional work, or differ- ence of tempera- ture. He ob- served the dia- magnetic prop- erties of the metal antimony before Faraday, and constructed a constant cell with two liquids which was the forerunner of the well-known " Daniell coll ". His differential galvano- meter increased the accuracy to be attained in the measurement of electrical resistances. He applied the results of liis study of thermo-electricity to the construction of an electric thermometer and measured with it the temperature of the interior of animals, of the soil at different depths, of the atmosphere at different heights. He was also very much interested in questions of meteorology, cli- mate, and agriculture.

Becquerel's work in electro-chemistry brought him, in 1837, the award of the Copley medal of the Royal Society of London. He was a member of the Academy of Sciences (1829). professor-administrator of the Museum of Natural History, and Commander of the Legion of Honour. His character seems best described by the chemist Dumas: "Becquerel loved his country, his science, his family." Fizeau ends his funeral oration with these words: "He died with the serenity of a sage and the tranquillity of a good man, with confidence in God and the immortal hopes of a Christian".

More than 500 papers were published in the "Comptes Rendus" in Vols. I-LXXXV, and in the "Annates de Cliimie et Physique", series II-V. The following are some of liis more important works: (1) Traits experimental de I'electricite et du magn^tisme et de leurs ph^nomenes naturels (Paris, 1834-40, 7 vols.; 1855. 2 vols.); (2) La physique consid^r^e dans ses rapports avec la cliimie et les sciences naturelles (1844, 2 vols.); (3) Elements de physique terrestre et de met^orologie (1847, with his son Edmond); (4) Resume de T'lustoire de I'^lectricite et du ma- gn^tisme (1S.'>8); (5) Des forces physico-chimiques, de leur intervention dans la production des ph6no- m^nes naturels (with plates, Paris, 1873). The title of this book "On the Physico-chemical forces and their intervention in the production of natural phe- nomena" would appear to indicate a materialistic Ehilosophy. This impression is entirely removed by is explicit statement that "we must admit the ex- istence of a creative Power which manifests itself at

certain times", especially in order to explain the appearance of organic life.

Barral, Eloge hislorique d'A.C.B. (Paris). 1879.

WiixiAM Fox.

Bedard, Pierre, a French-Canadian lawyer and member of the Assembly of Lower Canada, b. at Charlesbourg near Quebec, 13 November, 1762; d. at Three Rivers, 26 April, 1829. He was the son of Pierre-Stanislas Bedard and Marie-Josephine Thibault. After he had completed the course of studies at the seminary of Quebec, where he proved himself an ex- cellent pupil, he studied law and was admitted to the bar. In 1792 Bedard was elected member of the Assembly for Northumberland and continued a mem- ber of the Assembly until 1812. Dui-ing these years he represented successively Northumberland, the lower town of Quebec, and Surrey, and gave proof of his sterling qualities. He devoted himself, however, chiefly to the study of constitutional questions of which many of the government officials seemed to have but an imperfect conception. When the news- paper, "Le Canadien" was founded in 1806, he be- came a regular contributor and expressed his views concerning the constitutional government of the province of Quebec with such warmth that the governor, Sir James Craig, in the spring of 1810 suppressed "Le Canadien" and threw Bedard into prison. Here Bedard remained some twelve months, although the governor offered him his freedom sc\-- eral times, so that he could take the seat in the Assembly to which he had been elected during his imprisonment. B6dard, however, demanded a regu- lar trial, which the authorities were not willing to grant. Finally for the sake of peace Bedard left the prison. After Craig had resigned his position and gone to England, the new governor. Sir George Prevost, appointed Bedard a judge of the superior court at Three Rivers as compensation for what he had endured. Bedard filled this position from 11 De- cember, 1813, until March, 1827, when illness obliged him to absent himself from his duties for some months. After this his health failed steadily until his death. He was buried in the parish church at Three Rivers. Bedard had four children one of whom, Elzevir, became a distinguished judge.


Bede (or Bead, whence Bedehouse, Bedesman, Bederoll). — The old English word bede (Anglo-Saxon bed) means a prayer, though the derivative form, gebed, was more common in this sense in Anglo- Saxon literature. When, in the course of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the use of little perforated globes of bone, wood, or amber, threaded upon a string, came into fashion for the purpose of counting the repetitions of the Our Father or Hail Mary, these objects themselves became known as bedes (i. e. prayers), and our modern word bead, as applied to small globular ornaments of glass, coral, etc., has no other derivation. In middle English the word bedes was used both in the sense of prayer and rosary. Thus Shakespeare could still WTite (Rich. Ill, iii, 7)

When holy and devout religious men

Are at their beads [prayers], 'tis much to draw them thence.

So sweet is zealous contemplation. While of Chaucer's Prioress we are told

Of smal coral aboute hire arm she bar A peire of bedes, gauded al with grene. The gauds, or gaudys, were the ornaments or larger beads used to divide the decades. The phrase pair of beads (i. e. set of beads — cf. pair of stairs), which may still be heard on the lips of old-fashioned English and Irish Catholics, is consequently of venerable antiquity. With such speakers a pair of beads means the round of the beads, i. e. the chaplet of