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BELKNAP, W. W.—BELL, SIR C.

persons who have been distinguished in America, generally known as American Biography (1792-1794); The Foresters (1792), &c.


BELKNAP, WILLIAM WORTH (1829-1890), American soldier and politician, was born at Newburgh, N.Y., on the 22nd of September 1829. Entering the Union army in 1861, he took part in the battles of Shiloh, Corinth and Vicksburg, as major of the 15th Iowa volunteers. In the Atlanta campaign under Sherman he gained considerable distinction, rising successively to the rank of brigadier-general in 1864 and major-general in 1865. During the four years that followed he was collector of internal revenue for Iowa, leaving that post in 1869 to become secretary of war. In 1876, in consequence of unproved accusations of corruption, he resigned. He died at Washington, D.C., on the 13th of October 1890.


BELL, ALEXANDER GRAHAM (1847-  ), American inventor and physicist, son of Alexander Melville Bell, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on the 3rd of March 1847. He was educated at the university of Edinburgh and the university of London, and removed with his father to Canada in 1870. In 1872 he became professor of vocal physiology in Boston University. In 1876 he exhibited an apparatus embodying the results of his studies in the transmission of sound by electricity, and this invention, with improvements and modifications, constitutes the modern commercial telephone. He was the inventor also of the photophone, an instrument for transmitting sound by variations in a beam of light, and of phonographic apparatus. Later, he interested himself in the problem of mechanical flight. He published many scientific monographs, including a memoir on the formation of a deaf variety in the human race.

BELL, ALEXANDER MELVILLE (1819-1905), American educationalist, was born at Edinburgh, Scotland, on the 1st of March 1819. He studied under and became the principal assistant of his father, Alexander Bell, an authority on phonetics and defective speech. From 1843 to 1865 he lectured on elocution at the university of Edinburgh, and from 1865 to 1870 at the university of London. In 1868, and again in 1870 and 1871, he lectured in the Lowell Institute course in Boston. In 1870 he became a lecturer on philology at Queen’s College, Kingston, Ontario; and in 1881 he removed to Washington, D.C., where he devoted himself to the education of deaf mutes by the “visible speech” method of orthoepy, in which the alphabetical characters of his own invention were graphic diagrams of positions and motions of the organs of speech. He held high rank as an authority on physiological phonetics (q.v.) and was the author of numerous works on orthoepy, elocution and education, including Steno-Phonography (1852); Letters and Sounds (1858); The Standard Elocutionist (1860); Principles of Speech and Dictionary of Sounds (1863); Visible Speech: The Science of Universal Alphabetics (1867); Sounds and their Relations (1881); Lectures on Phonetics (1885); A Popular Manual of Visible Speech and Vocal Physiology (1889); World English: the Universal Language (1888); The Science of Speech (1897); The Fundamentals of Elocution (1899).

See John Hitz, Alexander Melville Bell (Washington, 1906).


BELL, ANDREW (1753-1832), British divine and educationalist, was born at St Andrews on the 27th of March 1753. He graduated at the university there, and afterwards spent some years as a tutor in Virginia, U.S.A. On his return he took orders, and in 1787 sailed for India, where he held eight army chaplaincies at the same time. In 1789 he became superintendent of the male orphan asylum at Madras, and having been obliged from scarcity of teachers to introduce the system of mutual tuition by the pupils, found the scheme answer so well that he became convinced of its universal applicability. In 1797, after his return to London, he published a small pamphlet explaining his views on education. Little public attention was drawn towards the “monitorial” plan till Joseph Lancaster (q.v.), the Quaker, opened a school in Southwark, conducting it in accordance with Bell’s principles, and improving on his system. The success of the method, and the strong support given to Lancaster by the whole body of Nonconformists gave immense impetus to the movement. Similar schools were established in great numbers; and the members of the Church of England, becoming alarmed at the patronage of such schools resting entirely in the hands of dissenters, resolved to set up similar institutions in which their own principles should be inculcated. In 1807 Bell was called from his rectory of Swanage in Dorset to organize a system of schools in accordance with these views, and in 1811 became superintendent of the newly formed “National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church.” For his valuable services he was in some degree recompensed by his preferment to a prebend of Westminster, and to the mastership of Sherburn hospital, Durham. He tried, but without success, to plant his system in Scotland and on the continent. He died on the 27th of January 1832, at Cheltenham, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. His great fortune was bequeathed almost entirely for educational purposes. Of the £120,000 given in trust to the provost of St Andrews, two city ministers and the professor of Greek in the university, half was devoted to the founding of the important school, called the Madras College, at St Andrews; £10,000 was left to each of the large cities, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leith, Inverness and Aberdeen, for school purposes; and £10,000 was also given to the Royal Naval School.

Southey’s Life of Dr Bell (3 vols.) is very tedious; J. D. Meiklejohn’s An Old Educational Reformer is concise and accurate.


BELL, SIR CHARLES (1774–1842), Scottish anatomist, was born at Edinburgh in November 1774, the youngest son of the Rev. William Bell, a clergyman of the Episcopal Church of Scotland; among his brothers were the anatomist, John Bell, and the jurist, G. J. Bell. After attending the high school and the university of Edinburgh, he embraced the profession of medicine, and devoted himself chiefly to the study of anatomy, under the direction of his brother John. His first work, entitled A System of Dissections, explaining the anatomy of the human body, the manner of displaying the parts, and their varieties in disease, was published in Edinburgh in 1798, while he was still a pupil, and for many years was considered to be a valuable guide to the student of practical anatomy. In 1802 he published a series of engravings of original drawings, showing the anatomy of the brain and nervous system. These drawings, which are remarkable for artistic skill and finish, were taken from dissections made by Bell for the lectures or demonstrations he gave on the nervous system as part of the course of anatomical instruction of his brother. In 1804 he wrote the third volume, containing the anatomy of the nervous system and of the organs of special sense, of The Anatomy of the Human Body, by John and Charles Bell. In November of the same year he migrated to London, and from that date, for nearly forty years, he kept up a regular correspondence with his brother George, much of which was published in the Letters of Sir Charles Bell, &c., 1870. The earlier letters of this correspondence show how rapidly he rose to distinction in a field where success was difficult, as it was already occupied by such men as John Abernethy, Sir Astley Cooper and Henry Cline. Before leaving Edinburgh, he had written his work on the Anatomy of Expression, which was published in London soon after his arrival and at once attracted attention. His practical knowledge of anatomy and his skill as an artist qualified him in an exceptional manner for such a work. The object of this treatise was to describe the arrangements by which the influence of the mind is propagated to the muscular frame, and to give a rational explanation of the muscular movements which usually accompany the various emotions and passions. One special feature was the importance attributed to the respiratory arrangements as a source of expression, and it was shown how the physician and surgeon might derive information regarding the nature and extent of important diseases by observing the expression of bodily suffering. This work, apart from its value to artists and psychologists, is of interest historically, as there is no doubt the investigations of the author into the nervous supply of the muscles of expression induced him to prosecute inquiries which led to his great discoveries in the physiology of the nervous system.

In 1811 Bell published his New Idea of the Anatomy of the Brain,