Clement XI, yielding to the desire of King Charles Emmanuel III of Sardinia, established the Diocese of Biella by the Bull "Prsecipua". The first bishop was Giulio Cesare Viancino, formerly Archbishop of Sassari in Sardinia. In 1803 Napoleon suppressed the diocese, wliich again fell under the jurisdiction of \'ercelli, but was re-estabUshed in 1S17 by Pius VII who appointed as bishop the Minor Observantine, Bernardino Ballato. It is difficult to determine when the Gospel was first preached at Biella; cer- tainly not before it reached VerceiU. According to the opinion of Fedele Savio, S.J., the latter city re- ceived the Faith in the second half of the third cen- tury from Milan.
In the shrine of Maria Santissima d'Oropa. situated on a lofty mountain near Biella, the diocese preserves a memorial of St. Eusebius, the great Bishop of Ver- celli, who was banished to the Orient by Emperor Constantius for his courageous defence of Catholic truth against Arianism. St. Eusebius, according to tradition, upon his return from the East, is said to have brought three pictures of the Madonna painted on cedar wood, one of which, the image of Oropa, he placed in a small oratory he had built. In the tenth century the chapel was placed in charge of the Bene- dictines. The latter having abandoned the place, Pius II, in 1459, made over the shrine to the chapter of the collegiate church, now the Cathedral of Biella, lo which it has since belonged. In the sixteenth century, the inhabitants of Biella, in thanksgiving for their deliverance from the ]5lague, built a stately church over the chapel. Even to-day the shrine of Oropa draws many devout pilgrims.
.4mong the religious edifices of the city of Biella, the most notable is the Gothic cathedral, built in 1402. Its beautiiful choir is by Galliari. The baptistery, in the form of a small temple, is said to be an ancient Roman edifice.
Cappelletti, Le chiese d' Italia (Venice, 1844), XIV, 649.
U. Benigni. Bielski (or Wolski), Marcin, a Polish clironicler, b. of noble parentage on the patrimonial estate of Biala (whence the family name), in the province of Sieradz, Poland, in 1495; d. there, 1.575; the name Wolski is derived from his estate at Wola. One of two Polish wTiters, of the same name, he was the first to use the Polish language, hence his designa- tion as the father of Polish prose. He was educated in the University of Cracow, foimded by Casimir the Great in 1364, and spent some time with the military governor of that city. He served in the army in the wars against the Wallachians and Tatars, and participated in the battle of Obertyn (Galicia), 1531. He ranks among Poland's most prolific ^Titers, and the development of historical studies in that countrj' is due to his extensive WTitings. He is the author of numerous works: "^ywoty Filosofow" (Lives of the Philosophers, 1535); "Kronika Swiata" (I'niversal Chronicle, 1550-64), from the earliest time down to his day, divided into six periods, was the first important universal history published in ihe national idiom, and the first attempt at a com- prehensive history of Poland, from 550 to 1580; in the .second edition (15.54) there is a reference to .•Vmerica; after the author's death the work was continued, rearranged, and brought down to the year 1.597, under the title of "Kronika Polska" (Chronicle of Poland) by his son Joachim (b. 1540; d. 1.599). secretary to King Sigismund III; "Sprawa Rycerskiego", a treatise on military art (1.569), according to the Greek science of warfare, in eight parts, contains valuable data about the Polish army, and kindred subjects. After the demise of Bielski .several satirical poems were published: "Seym Majowy", (The May Diet, 1590), descriptive of the degradation of Hungary, and an appeal to his countrymen to emulate a higher standard of life:
"Seym Niewieici", (Woman's Council, 1586-95), analytical of the then existing political conditions in Poland: "Sen Maiowy" (Dream of a Hermit, 1.586); "Komedia Justina y Konstanciey" (Comedy of Justinian and Constantia, 1557).
EsTREicHER, Polisk bibliography (1800-70): Bohomolec, Collection of Histories (Warsaw, 1764); Idem, Martin Biehki (Warsaw, 1764); Sobieszczanski, Chronicle of Po- land (Warsaw, 1851); Sibeneycheb, Chronicle of Poland (Ci-acow, 1597); TuROWSKl, Chronicle of Poland (Cracow, 1855-62).
Bienniuin Canonicorum. See Schools.
Bienville, Jean-Baptiste le Moyne, Sieur de, French Governor of Louisiana and founder of New Orleans, b. in Montreal, Canada, 24 February, 1680; d. in Paris. 7 March. 1767. His father, Charles le Moyne de Bienville, settled in Canada in 1640; his three brothers, Iberville, Serigny, and Chateauguay. likewise distinguished themselves in the early historj- of Louisiana. In 1698-1699, Bienville accompanied his brother Iberville in an expedition despatched from France to explore the territory near the mouth of the Mississippi. They founded a settlement at old Biloxi, where in 1700 Bienville became coirmiand- ant, and, after Iber\-ille's death in 1706, governor of the colony.
It was believed in France that Louisiana presented a rich field for enterprise and speculation and a grant with exclusive privileges was obtained by .\ntoine Crozat for fifteen years. In 1712 Crozat appointed M. la Mot he Cadillac, governor, and M. de Bienville lieutenant-governor. But Cadillac dying in 1715, Bienville once more assumed the reins of government. In 1716. he conducted an expedition against the Natchez Indians, and having brought them to terms, finished the fort "Rosalie" which had been commenced by his brother, Iberville. sixteen years before. In 1717, Epinay, a new governor, arrived in the colony, bringing with him the decoration of the Cross of St. Louis for Bien- ville. In the meantime. Crozat, failing to rcahze the great profits he had expected, abandoned the whole enterprise and surrendered his charter to the king in 1717. Another company was at once formed and Bienville received a new commission as governor of the province. He now resolved to remove the headquarters from Biloxi, Mobile, and St. Loui.-; Bay to the more fertile region of the Mississippi River, and in 1718 he selected the site for a new settlement, which he called New Orleans. He left fifty persons there to clear the land and build some houses, but it was not till 1722 that it became the seat of government.
Experience had shown Bienville that the fertile soil of the lower Mississippi, as well as the climate, was well adapted to the cultivation of sugar, cotton, tobacco, ami rice, and that Europeans were not fitted for field-work in the burning sims of Louisiana, for they sickened and died. The first plantation of any extent was therefore commenced with negroes imported from Guinea. In 1719. the province became involved in hostihties with the Spaniards in consequence of the war with France and Spain. The governor twice reduced the town of Pensacola and sent detachments to prevent the Spaniards from making inroads into upper Louisiana, and the countrj' bordering on the Rio Grande.
When peace was restored, immigrants began to arrive in great numbers from France and Germany. In the autumn of 1726. the Government of Louisiana passed out of the hands of Bienville and he retired to France to recruit his health. In 1734, the king reappointed him Governor an<l Commandant-General of Louisiana, and early in the autumn he arrived at New Orleans and entered upon the duties of his office. -\n expedition against the Chickasaw Indians in the spring of 1736 resulted in disaster, but another