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742
BEN NEVIS—BENNIGSEN

at the Royal Academy of Music. Shortly before his death he produced a sonata called the Maid of Orleans, an elaborate piece of programme music based on Schiller’s tragedy. He died at his house in St John’s Wood, London, on the 15th of February 1875.

See the Life, by his son (1908).

BEN NEVIS, the highest mountain in the British Isles, in Inverness-shire, Scotland. It is 4406 ft. above the level of the sea, and is situated 4½ m. E.S.E. of Fort William, the meridian of 5° W passing through it. As viewed from Banavie on the Caledonian Canal, it has the appearance of two great masses, one higher than the other, and though its bulk is impressive, its outline is much less striking than that of many other Highland hills. Its summit consists of a plateau 100 acres in area, with a slight slope to the south, terminating on its north-eastern side in a sheer fall of more than 1500 ft. Snow lies in some of the gorges all the year round. The rocks of its lower half are mainly granite and gneiss; its upper half is composed of porphyritic greenstone, and a variety of minerals occur. Its circumference at the base is about 30 m. It may be described as flanked on the west and south by the Glen and Water of Nevis, on the east by the river and Glen of Treig, and on the north by the river and Glen of Spean. From 1881 till 1904 meteorological observations were taken from the summit of Ben Nevis, the observers at first making the ascent daily for the purpose. In 1883, however, an observatory, equipped at a cost of £4000 (raised by public subscription), was opened by Mrs Cameron Campbell of Monzie, who provided the site. The observatory, which was connected by wire with the post office at Fort William, was provisioned by the Scottish Meteorological Society, to whom it belonged. The burden of maintaining it, however, proving too great for the society’s means, appeal was made in vain to government for national support, and the station was closed in 1904. The bridle road up the mountain leaves Glen Nevis at Achintee; it has a gradient nowhere exceeding 1 in 5, and the ascent is commonly effected in two to three hours. There is a small hotel on the summit for the convenience of tourists, especially of those anxious to witness sunrise. From the summit every considerable peak in Scotland is visible. Observations conducted during several months have shown that, whilst the mean temperature at Fort William was 57° F., at the summit of Ben Nevis it was 41° F., and that though the rainfall at the fort amounted to 24 in., it was as much as 43 in. on the top of the Ben.

BENNIGSEN, LEVIN AUGUST, Count von (1745-1826), Russian general, of Hanoverian family, was born on the 10th of February 1745 in Brunswick, and served successively as a page at the Hanoverian court and as an officer of foot-guards. He retired from the Hanoverian army in 1764, and in 1773 entered the Russian service as a field officer. He fought against the Turks in 1774 and in 1778, becoming lieutenant-colonel in the latter year. In 1787 his conduct at the storming of Oczakov won him promotion to the rank of brigadier, and he distinguished himself repeatedly in the Polish War of 1793-1794 and in the Persian War of 1796. The part played by Bennigsen in the actual assassination of the tsar Paul I. is not fully known, but he took a most active share in the formation and conduct of the conspiracy. Alexander I. made him governor-general of Lithuania in 1801, and in 1802 a general of cavalry. In 1806 he was in command of one of the Russian armies operating against Napoleon, when he fought the battle of Pultusk and met the emperor in person in the sanguinary battle of Eylau (8th of February 1807). Here he could claim to have inflicted the first reverse suffered by Napoleon, but six months later Bennigsen met with the crushing defeat of Friedland (14th of June 1807) the direct consequence of which was the treaty of Tilsit. Bennigsen now retired for some years, but in the campaign of 1812 he reappeared in the army in various responsible positions. He was present at Borodino, and defeated Murat in the engagement of Tarutino, but on account of a quarrel with Marshal Kutusov, the Russian commander-in-chief, he was compelled to retire from active military employment. After the death of Kutusov he was recalled and placed at the head of an army. Bennigsen led one of the columns which made the decisive attack on the last day of the battle of Leipzig (16th-19th of October 1813). On the same evening he was made a count by the emperor Alexander I., and he afterwards commanded the forces which operated against Marshal Davout in North Germany. After the general peace he held a command from 1815 to 1818, when he retired from active service and settled on his Hanoverian estate of Banteln near Hildesheim. Count Bennigsen died on the 3rd of December 1826. His son, Alexander Levin, count von Bennigsen (1809-1893), was a distinguished Hanoverian statesman.

BENNIGSEN, RUDOLF VON (1824-1902), German politician, was born at Lüneburg on the 10th of July 1824. He was descended from an old Hanoverian family, his father, Karl von Bennigsen, being an officer in the Hanoverian army, who rose to the rank of general and also held diplomatic appointments. Bennigsen, having studied at the university of Göttingen, entered the Hanoverian civil service. In 1855 he was elected a member of the second chamber; and as the government refused to allow him leave of absence from his official duties he resigned his post in the public service. He at once became the recognized leader of the Liberal opposition to the reactionary government, but must be distinguished from Count Bennigsen, a member of the same family, and son of the distinguished Russian general, who was also one of the parliamentary leaders at the time. What gave Bennigsen his importance not only in Hanover, but throughout the whole of Germany, was the foundation of the National Verein, which was due to him, and of which he was president. This society, which arose out of the public excitement created by the war between France and Austria, had for its object the formation of a national party which should strive for the unity and the constitutional liberty of the whole Fatherland. It united the moderate Liberals throughout Germany, and at once became a great political power, notwithstanding all the efforts of the governments, and especially of the king of Hanover to suppress it. In 1866 Bennigsen used all his influence to keep Hanover neutral in the conflict between Prussia and Austria, but in vain. He took no part in the war, but his brother, who was an officer in the Prussian army, was killed in Bohemia. In May of this year he had an important interview with Bismarck, who wished to secure his support for the reform of the confederation, and after the war was over at once accepted the position of a Prussian subject, and took his seat in the diet of the North German Confederation and in the Prussian parliament. He used his influence to procure as much autonomy as possible for the province of Hanover, but was a strong opponent of the Guelph party. He was one of the three Hanoverians, Windthorst and Miquel being the other two, who at once won for the representatives of the conquered province the lead in both the Prussian and German parliaments. The National Verein, its work being done, was now dissolved; but Bennigsen was chiefly instrumental in founding a new political party—the National Liberals,—who, while they supported Bismarck’s national policy, hoped to secure the constitutional development of the country. For the next thirty years he was president of the party, and was the most influential of the parliamentary leaders. It was chiefly owing to him that the building up of the internal institutions of the empire was carried on without the open breach between Bismarck and the parliament, which was often imminent. Many amendments suggested by him were introduced in the debates on the constitution; in 1870 he undertook a mission to South Germany to strengthen the national party there, and was consulted by Bismarck while at Versailles. It was he who brought about the compromise on the military bill in 1874. In 1877 he was offered the post of vice-chancellor with a seat in the Prussian ministry, but refused it because Bismarck or the king would not agree to his conditions. From this time his relations with the government were less friendly, and in 1878 he brought about the rejection of the first Socialist Bill. In 1883 he resigned his seat in parliament owing to the reactionary measures of the government, which made it impossible for him to continue his former co-operation with Bismarck, but returned in 1887 to support the coalition of national parties. One of the first acts of the emperor William II. was to appoint him president of the province of Hanover. In 1897 he resigned this post and