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BENITOITE—BENJAMIN

Authorities.—H. L. Roth, Great Benin, its Customs, Art and Horrors (Halifax, 1903), a comprehensive and profusely illustrated work, with an annotated bibliography; C. H. Read and O. M. Dalton, Antiquities from Benin ... in the British Museum (1899); Pitt Rivers, Works of Art from Benin (1900); R. E. Dennett, At the Back of the Black Man’s Mind (London, 1906); Sir R. Burton, Wanderings in West Africa (London, 1863); H. L. Gallwey, “Journeys in the Benin Country,” Geog. Jnl., vol. i., London, 1893; A. Boisragon, The Benin Massacre (London, 1897); R. H. Bacon, Benin, the City of Blood (London, 1898), by a member of the punitive expedition of 1897; the annual Reports on Southern Nigeria, issued by the Colonial Office, London.

BENITOITE, a mineral discovered in 1907 near the headwaters of the San Benito river, San Benito Co., California, and described by Prof. G. D. Louderback. It is a titano-silicate of barium (BaTiSi3O9), crystallizing in the hexagonal system, with a hardness of 6.5, and specific gravity 3.65. It may be colourless or blue, the colour varying sometimes in different parts, and passing to a deep sapphire blue. The blue variety is cut as a gem stone, and often resembles blue spinel, though its softness distinguishes it from spinel and sapphire. It is a brilliant stone, with high refractive index, and is strongly dichroic, being pale when viewed parallel to the principal axis and dark when viewed transversely.

BENJAMIN, a tribe of Israel, named after the youngest son of Jacob and Rachel. As distinct from the others Benjamin was born not beyond the Jordan but in Palestine, between Bethel and Ephrath. His mother, dying in childbed, gave him the name Ben-ōnī, “Son of my sorrow,” which was changed by his father to Ben-jāmīn, meaning probably “Son of the right hand” (i.e. “of prosperity,” or, perhaps, “son of the south”; Gen. xxxv. 16-18). Of his personal history little is recorded. He was the favourite of his father and brothers (with which contrast the spirit of the stories in Judg. xix.-xxi.), and the reputation of fierceness ascribed to him in the blessing of Jacob (“Benjamin is a wolf that teareth,” Gen. xlix. 27) agrees with what is told of the tribe’s warriors (see Ehud, Saul, Jonathan). It is a curious feature that its noted slingers were said to be left-handed (Judg. xx. 16, cf. iii. 15) and even ambidextrous (1 Chron. xii. 2). The late references to this tribe in the Israelite wanderings in the wilderness are of little value. On entering Palestine it is allotted a portion encompassed by the districts of Ephraim, Dan and Judah. In the time of the “judges” the tribe of Benjamin was almost exterminated (see Judges, Book of), 600 men alone escaping (Judges xix. sqq.). The tribe was built up again by the rape of the maidens of Shiloh at one of their annual festivals (for which cf. Judges ix. 27), but a later narrative gives currency to a tradition that 400 virgins were also brought to Shiloh, the survivors of a massacre of the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead. At all events, Benjamin claimed the honour of providing the great king of Israel whose heroic deliverance of Jabesh-Gilead is referred to elsewhere (see Saul), and it is noteworthy that the tribe only now attain historical importance. If the genealogies associated it with Joseph the father of Ephraim and Manasseh, its fortunes were for a time bound up with the northern kingdom (see David). Although its territory lies open on the west and east, its physical features unite it to Judah, and what is known of its mixed population[1] makes it difficult to determine how far the youngest of the tribes of Israel enjoyed any independent position previous to the monarchy. Its neutral position between Judah and Ephraim gave it an importance which was religious as well as political. Anathoth the home of Abiathar and Jeremiah, Gibeon the old Canaanite sanctuary, the royal sanctuary at Bethel, its associations with Samuel and the prophetic gilds of the times of Elijah and Elisha, and finally Jerusalem itself, the centre of worship, give “the least of all the tribes” a unique value in the history of Old Testament religion.

See H. W. Hogg, Ency. Bib., col. 534 sqq.

 (S. A. C.) 

BENJAMIN OF TUDELA (in Navarre), a Jewish rabbi of the 12th century. He visited Constantinople, Egypt, Assyria and Persia, and penetrated to the frontiers of China. His journeys occupied him for about thirteen years. He was credulous, but his Itinerary, or Massa’oth, contains some curious notices of the countries he visited and of the condition of the Jews. Thus his work is of much value for the Jewish history of the 12th century. It is from Benjamin that we know that the Jews of Palestine and other parts of the East were noted for the arts of dyeing and glass-making.

His Itinerary was translated from the Hebrew into Latin by Arias Montanus in 1575, and appeared in a French version by Baratier in 1734. There have been various English translations. One was published by Asher in 1840; another (with critical Hebrew text) by M. N. Adler (Jewish Quarterly Review, vols. xvi.-xviii.; also reprinted as a separate volume, 1907).

BENJAMIN, JUDAH PHILIP (1811-1884), Anglo-American lawyer, of Jewish descent, was born a British subject at St Thomas in the West Indies on the 11th of August 1811, and was successively an American lawyer, a leading Confederate politician and a distinguished English barrister. He eventually died in Paris a domiciled Frenchman. After 1818 his parents lived in Charleston, South Carolina, and he went to Yale in 1825 for his education, but left without taking a degree, and entered an attorney’s office in New Orleans. He was admitted to the New Orleans bar in 1832. He compiled with his friend John Slidell a valuable digest of decisions of the superior courts of New Orleans and Louisiana; and as a partner in the firm of Slidell, Benjamin & Conrad, he enjoyed a good practice. In 1848 he was admitted a councillor of the supreme court, and in 1852 he was elected a senator for Louisiana, and thereafter he took an active part in politics, declining to accept a judgeship of the supreme court. In 1861 he withdrew from the Senate, left Washington and actively espoused the Confederate cause. He joined Jefferson Davis’s provisional government as attorney-general, becoming afterwards his secretary for war (1861-1862), and chief secretary of state (1862-1865). Although at times subject to fierce criticism with regard to matters of administration and finance, he was recognized as one of the ablest men on the Confederate side, and he remained with Jefferson Davis to the last, sharing his flight after the surrender at Appomattox, and only leaving him shortly before his capture, because he found himself unable to go farther on horseback. He escaped from the coast of Florida in an open boat, and after many vicissitudes reached England, an exile. In 1866 his remaining property was lost in the banking failure of Overend & Gurney.

In London Benjamin was able to earn a little money by journalism, and on the 13th of January 1866 he entered Lincoln’s Inn. He received a hospitable welcome from the legal profession. The influence of English judges who knew his abilities and his circumstances enabled him to be called to the bar on the 6th of June 1866, dispensing with the usual three years as a student, and he acquired his first knowledge of the practice and methods of English courts as the pupil of Mr C. E. (afterwards Baron) Pollock. Pollock fully recognized his abilities and they became and remained firm friends. Benjamin was naturally an apt and useful pupil; for instance, an opinion of Mr Pollock, which for long guided the London police in the exercise of their right to search prisoners, is mentioned by him as having been really composed by Benjamin while he was still his pupil. Benjamin joined the northern circuit, and a large proportion of his early practice came from solicitors at Liverpool who had correspondents in New Orleans. His business gradually increased, and having received a patent of precedence, he was on the 2nd of November 1872 called within the bar as a queen’s counsel. In addition to his knowledge of law and of commercial matters he had considerable eloquence, and a power of marshalling facts and arguments that rendered him extremely effective, particularly before judges. He was less successful in addressing juries, and towards the close of his career did not take Nisi prius work, but in the court of appeal and House of Lords and before the judicial committee of the privy council he enjoyed a very large practice, making for some time fully £15,000 a year. The question of raising him to the bench was seriously considered by Lord Cairns, who, however, seems to have thought that the ungrudging hospitality and

  1. Jerusalem and its district was Jebusite until its capture by David (see 2 Sam. v.); for Beeroth and Gibeon, see 2 Sam. iv. 2 seq., xxi. 2, and note the Benjamite and Judahite names which find analogies in the Edomite genealogies. See, on these points, S. A. Cook, Jew. Quarterly Review (1906), pp. 528 sqq.