thus accruing “unearned” to him. (See also Compensation.) The whole problem is one of the incidence of taxation and the question of land values, and various applications of the principle of betterment have been tried in America and in England, raising considerable controversy from time to time.
See A. A. Baumann, Betterment, Worsement and Recoupment (1894).
BETTERTON, THOMAS (c. 1635-1710), English actor, son of an under-cook to King Charles I., was born in London. He was apprenticed to John Holden Sir William Davenant’s publisher, and possibly later to a bookseller named Rhodes, who had been wardrobe-keeper to the theatre in Blackfriars. The latter obtained in 1659 a licence to set up a company of players at the Cockpit in Drury Lane; and on the reopening of this theatre in 1660, Betterton made his first appearance on the stage. His talents at once brought him into prominence, and he was given leading parts. On the opening of the new theatre in Lincoln’s Inn Fields in 1661, Sir William Davenant, the patentee, engaged Betterton and all Rhodes’s company to play in his Siege of Rhodes. Betterton, besides being a public favourite, was held in high esteem by Charles II., who sent him to Paris to examine stage improvements there. According to Cibber it was after his return that shifting scenes instead of tapestry were first used in an English theatre. In 1692, in an unfortunate speculation, Betterton and his friend Sir Francis Watson were ruined; but Betterton’s affection for Sir Francis was so strong that he adopted the latter’s daughter and educated her for the stage. In 1693, with the aid of friends, he erected the New Playhouse in the tennis court in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. It was opened in 1695 with Congreve’s Love for Love. But in a few years the profits fell off; and Betterton, labouring under the infirmities of age and gout, determined to quit the stage. At his benefit performance, when the profits are said to have been over £500, he played Valentine in Love for Love. In 1710 he made his last appearance as Melantius in The Maid’s Tragedy; he died on the 28th of April, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
In appearance he was athletic, slightly above middle height, with a tendency to stoutness; his voice was strong rather than melodious, but in recitation it was used with the greatest dexterity. Pepys, Pope, Steele and Cibber all bestow lavish praise on his acting. His repertory included a large number of Shakespearian rôles, and although many of these were presented in the tasteless versions of Davenant, Dryden, Shadwell and Nahum Tate, yet they could not hide the great histrionic gifts which Betterton possessed, nor does his reputation rest on these performances alone. The blamelessness of his life was conspicuous in an age and a profession notorious for dissolute habits. Betterton was author of several adaptations which were popular in their day. In 1662 he had married Mary Saunderson (d. 1712), an admirable actress, whose Ophelia shared the honours with his Hamlet.
See Howe, Thomas Betterton (1891); The Life and Times of Thomas Betterton (1886).
BETTIA, a town of British India, in the Champaran district of Bengal; situated on a former branch of the Harha river, with a station on the Tirhoot section of the Bengal & North-Western railway. Bettia is the residence of one of the leading noblemen of northern Behar, who enjoys a rent-roll of £66,000. In 1901, owing to a disputed succession, the estate was under the management of the court of wards. It comprises land in no fewer than ten districts, much of which is let on permanent leases to indigo-planters. Besides the palace of the maharaja, the town contains a middle English school and a female dispensary, entirely supported out of the estate. There is a Roman Catholic mission, with about 1000 converts, which was founded by an Italian priest in 1746.
BETTINELLI, SAVERIO (1718-1808), Italian Jesuit and man of letters, was born at Mantua on the 18th of July 1718. After studying under the Jesuits in his native city and at Bologna he entered the society in 1736. He taught the belles-lettres from 1739 to 1744 at Brescia, where Cardinal Quirini, Count Mazzuchelli, Count Duranti and other scholars, formed an illustrious academy. He next went to Bologna, to pursue the study of divinity, and there he enjoyed the society of many learned and literary men. At the age of thirty he went to Venice, where he became professor of rhetoric, and was on friendly terms with the most illustrious persons of that city and state. The superintendence of the college of nobles at Parma was entrusted to him in 1751; and he had principal charge of the studies of poetry and history, and the entertainments of the theatre. He remained there eight years, visiting, at intervals, other cities of Italy, either on the affairs of his order, for pleasure or for health. In 1755 he traversed part of Germany, proceeded as far as Strassburg and Nancy, and returned by way of Germany into Italy, taking with him two young sons or nephews of the prince of Hohenlohe, who had requested him to take charge of their education. He made, the year following, another journey into France along with the eldest of his pupils; and during this excursion he wrote his famous Lettere dieci di Virgilio agli Arcadi, which were published at Venice with his sciolti verses, and those of Frugoni and Algarotti. The opinions maintained in these letters against the two great Italian poets and particularly against Dante, created him many enemies, and embroiled him with Algarotti. In 1758 he went into Lorraine, to the court of King Stanislaus, who sent him on a matter of business to visit Voltaire. Voltaire presented him with a copy of his works, with a flattering inscription in allusion to Bettinelli’s Letters of Virgil. From Geneva he returned to Parma, where he arrived in 1759. He afterwards lived for some years at Verona and Modena, and he had just been appointed professor of rhetoric there, when, in 1773, the order of Jesuits was abolished in Italy. Bettinelli then returned into his own country, and resumed his literary labours with new ardour. The siege of Mantua by the French compelled him to leave the city, and he retired to Verona, where he formed an intimate friendship with the chevalier Hippolito Pindemonti. In 1797 he returned to Mantua. Though nearly eighty years old, he resumed his labours and his customary manner of life. He undertook in 1799 a complete edition of his works, which was published at Venice in 24 vols. 12mo. Arrived at the age of ninety years, he still retained his gaiety and vivacity of mind, and died on the 13th of September 1808. The works of Bettinelli are now of little value. The only one still deserving remembrance, perhaps, is the Risorgimento negli studj, nelle Arti e ne’ Costumi dopo il Mille (1775-1786), a sketch of the progress of literature, science, the fine arts, industry, &c., in Italy.
BETTWS Y COED, an urban district of Carnarvonshire, North Wales, 4 m. from Llanrwst and 16 m. from Llandudno, on a branch of the London & North-Western railway. Pop. (1901) 1070. The name means “warm place of the wood,” according to Llyn’s definition of bettws. The other derivation of the word from Abbatis (domus) agrees with its vicinity to Yspytty Ifan (Ieuan), Hospitium Ioannis, near Pentre’r Foelas. The words “y coed” are added to distinguish this Bettws from several others in Wales, especially that near Llandeilo Fawr, Carmarthenshire, not far from the Bettws hills. Bettws y coed is a favourite village for artists and tourists. It is a centre for excursions towards Capel Curig and Snowdon, or towards Blaenau Festiniog, via Roman Bridge. There is excellent fishing for salmon and trout, and in summer coaches leave their daily loads of tourists here. The best-known streams and waterfalls are Llugwy, Lledr, with Rhaiadr y wenol (Swallow falls), Conwy and Machno falls. In the neighbourhood are Dolwyddelan castle and the hill of Moel Siabod.
BETTY, WILLIAM HENRY WEST (1791-1874), English actor, known as “the young Roscius,” was born on the 13th of September 1791 at Shrewsbury. He first appeared on the stage at Belfast before he was twelve years old, as Osman in Aaron Hill’s Zara, an English version of Voltaire’s Zaire. His success was immediate, and he shortly afterwards appeared in Dublin, where it is said that in three hours of study he committed the
- Other places named “Yspytty” are Y. Cynfyn and Y. Ystwyth. For the name Yspytty, cf. Bale’s King John, 2125: “So many masendeens (maisons Dieu), hospytals and spyttle howses.”