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BECCARIA—BECHER

laying down this pavement with vast designs in commesso work,—white marble, that is, engraved with the outlines of the subject in black, and having borders inlaid with rich patterns in many colours. From the year 1517 to 1544 Beccafumi was engaged in continuing this pavement. He made very ingenious improvements in the technical processes employed, and laid down multitudinous scenes from the stories of Ahab and Elijah, of Melchisedec, of Abraham and of Moses. These are not so interesting as the simpler work of the earlier schools, but are much more celebrated and more jealously guarded. Such was their fame that the agents of Charles I. of England, at the time when he was collecting for Whitehall, went to Siena expressly to try and purchase the original cartoons. But their owner would not part with them, and they are now in the Siena Academy and elsewhere. The subjects have been engraved on wood, by the hand, as it seems, of Beccafumi himself, who at one time or another essayed almost every branch of fine art. He made a triumphal arch and an immense mechanical horse for the procession of the emperor Charles V. on his entry into Siena. In his later days, being a solitary liver and continually at work, he is said to have accelerated his death by over-exertion upon the processes of bronze-casting.


BECCARIA, GIOVANNI BATTISTA (1716-1781), Italian physicist, was born at Mondovi on the 3rd of October 1716, and entered the religious order of the Pious Schools in 1732. He became professor of experimental physics, first at Palermo and then at Rome, and was appointed to a similar situation at Turin in 1748. He was afterwards made tutor to the young princes de Chablais and de Carignan, and continued to reside principally at Turin during the remainder of his life. In May 1755 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London, and published several papers on electrical subjects in the Phil. Trans. He died at Turin on the 27th of May 1781. Beccaria did much, in the way both of experiment and exposition, to spread a knowledge of the electrical researches of Franklin and others. His principal work was the treatise Dell’ Elettricismo Naturale ed Artificiale (1753), which was translated into English in 1776.


BECCARIA-BONESANA, CESARE, Marchese de (1735-1794), Italian publicist, was born at Milan on the 15th of March 1735. He was educated in the Jesuit college at Parma, and showed at first a great aptitude for mathematics. The study of Montesquieu seems to have directed his attention towards economic questions; and his first publication (1762) was a tract on the derangement of the currency in the Milanese states, with a proposal for its remedy. Shortly after, in conjunction with his friends the Verris, he formed a literary society, and began to publish a small journal, in imitation of the Spectator, called Il Caffè. In 1764 he published his brief but justly celebrated treatise Dei Delitti e delle Pene (“On Crimes and Punishments”). The weighty reasonings of this work were expounded with all the additional force of a clear and animated style. It pointed out distinctly and temperately the grounds of the right of punishment, and from these principles deduced certain propositions as to the nature and amount of punishment which should be inflicted for any crime. The book had a surprising success. Within eighteen months it passed through six editions. It was translated into French by Morellet in 1766, and published with an anonymous commentary by Voltaire. An English translation appeared in 1768 and it was translated into several other languages. Many of the reforms in the penal codes of the principal European nations are traceable to Beccaria’s treatise. In November 1768 he was appointed to the chair of law and economy, which had been founded expressly for him at the Palatine college of Milan. His lectures on political economy, which are based on strict utilitarian principles, are in marked accordance with the theories of the English school of economists. They are published in the collection of Italian writers on political economy (Scrittori Classici Italiani di Economia politica., vols. xi. and xii.). In 1771 Beccaria was made a member of the supreme economic council; and in 1791 he was appointed one of the board for the reform of the judicial code. In this post his labours were of very great value. He died at Milan on the 28th of November 1794.


BECCLES, a market town and municipal borough, in the Lowestoft parliamentary division of Suffolk, England; on the right bank of the river Waveney, 109 m. N.E. from London by the Great Eastern railway. Pop. (1901) 6898. It has a pleasant, well-wooded site overlooking the flat lands bordering the Waveney. The church of St Michael, wholly Perpendicular, is a fine example of the style, having an ornate south porch of two storeys and a detached bell tower. There are a grammar school (1712), and boys’ school and free school on the foundation of Sir John Leman (1631). Rose Hall, in the vicinity, is a moated manor of brick, of the 16th century. Printing works, malting, brick and tile, and agricultural implement works are the chief industries. Beccles was incorporated in 1584. It is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. Area, 2017 acres.


BECERRA, GASPAR (1520-1570), Spanish painter and sculptor, was born at Baéza in Andalusia. He studied at Rome, it is said under Michelangelo, and assisted Vasari in painting the hall of the Concelleria. He also contributed to the anatomical plates of Valverde. After his return to Spain he was extensively employed by Philip II., and decorated many of the rooms in the palace at Madrid with frescoes. He also painted altar-pieces for several of the churches, most of which have been destroyed. His fame as a sculptor almost surpassed that as a painter. His best work was a magnificent figure of the Virgin, which was destroyed during the French war. He became court painter at Madrid in 1563, and played a prominent part in the establishment of the fine arts in Spain.


BÊCHE-DE-MER (sometimes explained as “sea-spade,” from the shape of the prepared article, but more probably from the Port, bicho, a worm or grub), or Trepang (Malay, tripang), an important food luxury among the Chinese and other Eastern peoples, connected with the production of which considerable trade exists in the Eastern Archipelago and the coasts of New Guinea, and also in California. It consists of several species of echinoderms, generally referred to the genus Holothuria, especially H. edulis. The creatures, which exist on coral reefs, have bodies from 6 to 15 in. long, shaped like a cucumber, hence their name of “sea-cucumbers.” The skin is sometimes covered with spicules or prickles, and sometimes quite smooth, and with or without “teats” or ambulacral feet disposed in rows. Five varieties are recognized in the commerce of the Pacific Islands, the finest of which is the “brown with teats.” The large black come next in value, followed by the small black, the red-bellied and the white. They are used in the gelatinous soups which form an important article of food in China. They are prepared for use by being boiled for about twenty minutes, and then dried first in the sun and afterwards over a fire, so that they are slightly smoked.


BECHER, JOHANN JOACHIM (1635-1682), German chemist, physician, scholar and adventurer, was born at Spires in 1635. His father, a Lutheran minister, died while he was yet a child, leaving a widow and three children. The mother married again; the stepfather spent the tiny patrimony of the children; and at the age of thirteen Becher found himself responsible not only for his own support but also for that of his mother and brothers. He learned and practised several small handicrafts, and devoting his nights to study of the most miscellaneous description earned a pittance by teaching. In 1654, at the age of nineteen, he published an edition of Salzthal’s Tractatus de lapide trismegisto; his Metallurgia followed in 1660; and the next year appeared his Character pro notitia linguarum universali, in which he gives 10,000 words for use as a universal language. In 1663 he published his Oedipum Chemicum and a book on animals, plants and minerals (Thier- Kräuter- und Bergbuch). At the same time he was full of schemes, practical and unpractical. He negotiated with the elector palatine for the establishment of factories at Mannheim; suggested to the elector of Bavaria the creation of German colonies in Guiana and the West Indies; and brought down upon himself the wrath of the Munich merchants by planning a government monopoly of cloth manufacture and of trade. He fled from Munich, but found a ready welcome elsewhere. In 1666 he was appointed teacher of