Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

In 1613 he led a large army against his persecutor, on whose murder by two of his officers that year Bethlen was placed on the throne by the Porte, in opposition to the wishes of the emperor, who preferred a prince who would incline more towards Vienna than towards Constantinople. On the 13th of October 1613, the diet of Klausenburg confirmed the choice of the sultan. In 1615 Gábor was also officially recognized by the emperor Matthias. Bethlen no sooner felt firmly seated on his throne than he seized the opportunity presented to him by the outbreak of the Thirty Years’ War to take up arms in defence of the liberties and the constitution of the extra-Transylvanian Hungarian provinces, with the view of more effectually assuring his own position. While Ferdinand was occupied with the Bohemian rebels, Bethlen led his armies into Hungary (1619), and soon won over the whole of the northern counties, even securing Pressburg and the Holy Crown. Nevertheless he was not averse to a peace, nor to a preliminary suspension of hostilities, and negotiations were opened at Pressburg, Kassa and Beszterczebánya successively, but came to nothing because Bethlen insisted on including the Bohemians in the peace, whereupon (20th of August 1620) the estates of North Hungary elected him king. Bethlen accepted the title but refused to be crowned, and war was resumed, till the defeat of the Czechs at the battle of the White Hill gave a new turn to affairs. In Bohemia, Ferdinand II. took a fearful revenge upon the vanquished; and Bethlen, regarding a continuation of the war as unprofitable, concluded the peace of Nikolsburg (31st of December 1621), renouncing the royal title on condition that Ferdinand confirmed the peace of Vienna (which had granted full liberty of worship to the Protestants) and engaged to summon a general diet within six months. For himself Bethlen secured the title of prince of the Empire, the seven counties of the Upper Theiss, and the fortresses of Tokaj, Munkács and Ecsed. Subsequently Bethlen twice (1623 and 1626) took up arms against Ferdinand as the ally of the anti-Habsburg Protestant powers. The first war was concluded by the peace of Vienna, the second by the peace of Pressburg, both confirmatory of the peace of Nikolsburg. After the second of these insurrections, Bethlen attempted a rapprochement with the court of Vienna on the basis of an alliance against the Turks and his own marriage with one of the Austrian archduchesses; but Ferdinand had no confidence in him and rejected his overtures. Bethlen was obliged to renounce his anti-Turkish projects, which he had hitherto cherished as the great aim and object of his life, and continue in the old beaten paths. Accordingly, on his return from Vienna he wedded Catherine, the daughter of the elector of Brandenburg, and still more closely allied himself with the Protestant powers, especially with Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, who, he hoped, would assist him to obtain the Polish crown. He died before he could accomplish any of his great designs (15th of November 1629), having previously secured the election of his wife Catherine as princess. His first wife, Susannah Károlyi, died in 1622.

Gabriel Bethlen was certainly one of the most striking and original personages of his century. A zealous Calvinist, whose boast it was that he had read the Bible twenty-five times, he was nevertheless no persecutor, and even helped the Jesuit Kaldy to translate and print his version of the Scriptures. He was in communication all his life with the leading contemporary statesmen, so that his correspondence is one of the most interesting and important of historical documents. He also composed hymns.

The best editions of his correspondence are those by Sándor Szilágyi, both published at Buda (1866 and 1879). The best life of him is that by the Bohemian historian Anton Gindely, Acta et documenta historiam Gabrielis Bethleni illustrantia (Budapest, 1890). This work has been largely utilized by Ignáe-Acsády in his excellent Gabriel Bethlen and his Court (Hung., Budapest, 1890).

 (R. N. B.) 

BETHNAL GREEN, an eastern metropolitan borough of London, England, bounded N. by Hackney, E. by Poplar, S. by Stepney and W. by Shoreditch. Pop. (1901) 129,680. It is a district of poor houses, forming part of the area commonly known as the “East End.” The working population is employed in the making of match-boxes, boot-making, cabinet-making and other industries; but was formerly largely devoted to silk-weaving, which spread over the district from its centre in Spitalfields (see Stepney). This industry is still maintained. The Bethnal Green museum was opened in 1872. It contains exhibits of food and animal products, formerly at South Kensington, entomological collections, &c.; and various loan exhibitions are held from time to time. The Museum also housed the Wallace collection until the opening of Hertford House, and the pictures now in the National Portrait Gallery. It stands in public gardens; there are several other small open spaces; and some 70 out of the 217 acres of Victoria Park are within the borough. Close by the park there stood, until the 19th century, a house believed to have belonged to the notorious Bishop Bonner, the persecutor of Protestants in the reign of Mary; his name is still attached to a street here. Among institutions are the missionary settlement of the Oxford House, founded in 1884, with its women’s branch, St Margaret’s House; the North-Eastern hospital for children, the Craft school und the Leather Trade school. The parliamentary borough of Bethnal Green has two divisions, each returning one member. The borough council consists of a mayor, 5 aldermen and 30 councillors. Area, 759.3 acres.

BÉTHUNE (Family). The seigneurs of Béthune, avoués (advocati) of the great abbey of Saint-Vaast at Arras from the 11th century, were the ancestors of a great French house whence sprang the dukes of Sully, Charost, Orval, and Ancenis; the marquises of Rosny, Courville and Chabris; the counts of Selles and the princes of Boisbelle and Henrichemont. Conon de Béthune (q.v.), the crusader and poet, was an early forebear. The most illustrious member of the Béthune family was Maximilien, baron of Rosny, and afterwards duke of Sully (q.v.), minister of Henry IV. His brother Philip, count of Selles and of Charost, was ambassador to Scotland, Rome, Savoy and Germany, and died in 1649. Hippolyte de Béthune, count of Selles and marquis of Chabris, who died in 1665, bequeathed to the king a magnificent collection of historical documents and works of art. The Charost branch of the family gave France a number of generals during the 17th and 18th centuries.

The last duke of Charost, Armand Joseph de Béthune (1738-1800), French economist and philanthropist, served in the army during the Seven Years’ War, after which he retired to his estates in Berry, where, and also in Brittany and Picardy, he sought to ameliorate the lot of his peasants by abolishing feudal dues, and introducing reforms in agriculture. During the Terror he was arrested, but was liberated after the 9th Thermidor. He was mayor of the 10th arrondissement of Paris under the Consulate, and died at Paris on the 20th of October 1800, of small-pox, contracted during a visit to a workshop for the blind which he had founded. He published essays on the way to destroy mendicancy and to improve the condition of the labourers, and also on the establishment of a fund for rural relief and the organization of rural education. His life throws light on some phases of the ancien régime which are often overlooked by historians. Louis XV. said of Charost, “Look at this man, his appearance is insignificant, but he has put new life into three of my provinces.” His only son, Armand Louis de Béthune, marquis de Charost, was beheaded on the 28th of April 1794.

BÉTHUNE, CONON or Quesnes, DE (c. 1150-1224), French trouvère of Arras, was born about the middle of the 12th century. He came about 1180 to the court of France, where he met Marie de France, countess of Champagne. To this princess his love poems are dedicated, and much of his time was passed at her court where the trouvères were held in high honour. At the French court he met with some criticisms from Queen Alix, the widow of Louis VII., on the roughness of his verse and on his Picard dialect. To these criticisms, interesting as proof of the already preponderant influence of the dialect of the Île de France, the poet replied by some verses in the satirical vein that best suited his temperament. Some of his best songs were inspired by anger at the delays before the crusade of 1188-1192. His plain-speaking made him many enemies, and when he returned