The chief point of interest in the preceding table is the enormous increase in the United States. In considering the figures, the character of the beer produced must be taken into consideration. Thus, although Germany produces roughly 25% more beer in liquid measurement than the United Kingdom, the latter actually uses about 50% more malt than is the case in the German breweries. According to a Viennese technical journal, the quantities of malt employed for the production of one hectolitre (22 gallons) of beer in the respective countries is 0.40 cwt. in the German empire, 0.72 cwt. in the United States, and 0.81 cwt. in the United Kingdom. In a sense, therefore, England may still claim pre-eminence as a beer-producing nation. Large as the per capita consumption in the United Kingdom may seem, it is considerably less than is the case in Bavaria, which stands at the head of the list with over 50 gallons, and in Belgium, which comes second with 47.7 gallons. In the city of Munich the consumption is actually over 70 gallons, that is to say, about 1½ pints a day for every man, woman and child. It is curious to note that in Germany, which is usually regarded as a beer-drinking country par excellence, the consumption per head of this article is slightly less than in England, and that inversely the average German consumes more alcohol in the shape of spirits than does the inhabitant of the British Islands (consumption of spirits per head: Germany, 1.76 gallons; United Kingdom, 0.99 gallons). This is accounted for by the fact that the peasantry of the northern and eastern portions of the German empire consume spirits almost exclusively. In the British colonies beer is generally one of the staple drinks, but if we except Western Australia, where about 25 gallons per head of population are consumed, the demand is much smaller than in the United Kingdom. In Australia generally, the per capita consumption amounts to about 12 gallons, in New Zealand to 10 gallons, and in Canada to 5 gallons. (P. S.)
BEERSHEBA, a place midway between Gaza and Hebron (28 m. from each), frequently referred to in the Bible as the southern limit of Palestine (“Dan to Beersheba,” Judg. xx. i, &c.) Its foundation is variously ascribed to Abraham and Isaac, and different etymologies for its name are suggested, in the fundamental documents of Genesis (xxi. 22, xxvi. 26). It was an important holy place, where Abraham planted a sacred tree (Gen. xxi. 23), and where divine manifestations were vouchsafed to Hagar (Gen. xxi. 17), Isaac (xxvi. 24), Jacob (xlvi. 2) and Elijah (1 Kings xix. 5). Amos mentions it in connexion with the shrines of Bethel and Gilgal (Amos v. 5) and denounces oaths by its numen (viii. 14). The most probable meaning of the name is “seven wells,” despite the non-Semitic construction involved in this interpretation. Seven ancient wells still exist here, though two are stopped up. Eusebius and Jerome mention the place in the 4th century as a large village and the seat of a Roman garrison. Extensive remains of this village exist, though they are being rapidly quarried away for building; some inscriptions of great importance have been found here. Later it appears to have been the site of a bishopric; remains of its churches were still standing in the 14th century. Some fine mosaics have been here unearthed and immediately destroyed, in sheer wantonness, by the natives quarrying building-stone. The Biblical Beersheba probably exists at Bir es-Seba‘, 2 m. distant.
BEESLY, EDWARD SPENCER (1831- ), English historian and positivist, son of the Rev. James Beesly, was born at Feckenham, Worcestershire, on the 23rd of January 1831. He was educated at Wadham College, Oxford, which may be regarded as the original centre of the English positivist movement. Richard Congreve (q.v.) was tutor at Wadham from 1849 to 1854, and three men of that time, Frederic Harrison (q.v.), Beesly and John Henry Bridges (1832-1906), became the leaders of Comtism in England. Beesly left Oxford in 1854 to become assistant-master at Marlborough College. In 1859 he was appointed professor of history at University College, London, and of Latin at Bedford College, London, in 1860. He resigned these appointments in 1893 and 1889, and in 1893 became the editor of the newly-established Positivist Review. He collaborated in the translation of Comte’s system of Positive Polity (4 vols., 1875-1879), translated his Discourse on the Positive Spirit (1903), and wrote a biography of Comte for a translation of the first two chapters of his Cours de philosophie positive, entitled Fundamental Principles of Positive Philosophy (1905). Professor Beesly stood unsuccessfully as Liberal candidate for Westminster in 1885 and for Marylebone in 1886, and is the author of numerous review articles on social and political topics, treated from the positivist standpoint, especially on the Irish question. His works also include a series of lectures on Roman history, entitled Catiline, Clodius, Tiberius (1878), in which he rehabilitates in some degree the character of each of his subjects, and Queen Elizabeth (1892), in the “Twelve English Statesmen” series.
BEET, a cultivated form of the plant Beta vulgaris (natural order Chenopodiaceae), which grows wild on the coasts of Europe, North Africa and Asia as far as India. It is a biennial, producing, like the carrot, a thick, fleshy tap-root during the first year and a branched, leafy, flowering stem in the following season. The small, green flowers are borne in clusters. A considerable number of varieties are cultivated for use on account of their large fleshy roots, under the names of mangel-wurzel or mangold, field-beet and garden-beet. The cultivation of beet in relation to the production of sugar, for which purpose certain varieties of beet stand next in importance to the sugar cane, is dealt with under Sugar. The garden-beet has been cultivated from very remote times as a salad plant, and for general use as a table vegetable. The variety most generally grown has long, tapering, carrot-shaped roots, the “flesh” of which is of a uniform deep red colour throughout, and the leaves brownish red. It is boiled and cut into slices for being eaten cold; and it is also prepared as a pickle, as well as in various other forms. Beet is in much more common use on the continent of Europe as a culinary vegetable than in Great Britain, where it has, however, been cultivated for upwards of two centuries. The white beet, Beta cicla, is cultivated for the leaves, which are used as spinach. The midribs and stalks of the leaves are also stewed and eaten as sea-kale, under the name of Swiss chard. B. cicla is also largely used as a decorative plant for its large, handsome leaves, blood red or variegated in colour.
The beet prospers in a rich deep soil, well pulverized by the spade. If manure is required, it should be deposited at the bottom of the trench in preparing the ground. The seeds should be sown in drills 15 ins. asunder, in April or early in May, and the plants are afterwards to be thinned to about 8 in. apart in the lines, but not more, as moderate-sized roots are preferable. The plants should grow on till the end of October or later, when a portion should be taken up for use, and the rest laid in in a sheltered corner, and covered up from frost. The roots must not be bruised and the leaves must be twisted off—not closely cut, as they are then liable to bleed. In the north the crop may be wholly taken up in autumn, and stored in a pit or cellar, beyond reach of frost. If it is desired to have fresh roots early, the seeds should be sown at the end of February or beginning of March; and if a succession is required, a few more may be sown by the end of March.
BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN (1770-1827), German musical composer, was baptized (probably, as was usual, the day after birth) on the 17th of December 1770 at Bonn. His family is traceable to a village near Louvain, in Belgium, in the 17th century. In 1650 a lineal ancestor of the composer settled in Antwerp. Beethoven’s grandfather, Louis, quarrelled with his family, came to Bonn in 1732, and became one of the court musicians of the archbishop-elector of Cologne. He was a genial man of estimable character, and though Ludwig van Beethoven was only four years old when his grandfather died, he never forgot him, but cherished his portrait to the end of his life. Beethoven’s father, a tenor singer at the archbishop-elector’s court, was of a rough and violent temper, not improved by his passion for drink, nor by the dire poverty under which the family laboured. He married Magdelina Leim or Laym, the widow of a vâlet-de-chambre of the elector of Trier and daughter of the chief cook at Ehrenbreitstein. Beethoven’s father wished to profit as early as possible by his son’s talent, and accordingly