desired to inquire into his views. After tedious proceedings, during which Sir Henry Vane befriended him, Biddle was committed to custody and his Twelve Arguments, which he had now published, was ordered by parliament to be seized and burned by the hangman. Notwithstanding this and the ordinance of the 2nd of May 1648, visiting denial of the doctrine of the Trinity with death, Biddle issued two tracts, one a Confession of Faith touching the Holy Trinity, and the other The Testimonies of Irenaeus, &c., concerning the one God and the Persons of the Trinity (1648). These were suppressed by government, and the Westminster assembly of divines eagerly pressed for the passing of an act by which heretics like Biddle could be put to death. This, however, was resisted by the army, and by many of the Independent parliamentarians; and after the death of the king, Biddle was allowed to reside in Staffordshire under surveillance. He engaged in preaching and in literary work, particularly an edition of the Septuagint, published by Roger Daniel. In February 1652 the general act of oblivion gave him complete freedom, and his adherents soon began to meet regularly for worship on Sundays. They were called Biddellians, or Socinians, or Unitarians, the name which has now become associated with their opinions. Biddle was not left long in peace. He translated some Socinian books, among others the Life of Socinus, and published two catechisms which excited a fury of indignation. He was summoned before the parliament in December 1654 and imprisoned. The dissolution of that body again set him at liberty for a short time, but he was presently brought up for some expressions used by him in a discussion with John Griffin, an illiterate Baptist pastor, who invoked the law against his superior opponent. He was put upon trial, and was only rescued by Cromwell, who sent him (October 1655) out of the way to one of the Scilly Islands, allowed him 100 crowns a year, and in 1658, on the solicitation of many friends, released him. For a few years he lived and taught quietly in the country, but returning to London he was in June 1662 again arrested, and fined £100. As he was unable to pay this sum, he was at once committed to prison, where fever, caused by the pestilential atmosphere, carried him off on the 22nd of September 1662.
BIDDLE, NICHOLAS (1786-1844), American financier, was born in Philadelphia on the 8th of January 1786. He was the nephew of a naval officer, Captain Nicholas Biddle (1750-1778), who lost his life while fighting on the American side, during the War of American Independence. After almost finishing the prescribed course at the university of Pennsylvania, the boy went to Princeton, where he graduated with high honours in 1801. During 1804-1807 he was the secretary, first of John Armstrong, minister to France, and then of James Monroe, minister to Great Britain. After his return to America he practised law for several years in Philadelphia, was an associate editor of Dennie’s Portfolio, to which he contributed both prose and verse, and, with much literary skill, prepared for the press from the explorers’ own journals a History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark (1814). He was a prominent member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1810-1811 and of the Senate in 1814-1817, and in 1819 became, by President Monroe’s appointment, one of the five government directors of the Bank of the United States. In 1823 he replaced Langdon Cheves as its president. In general he followed a conservative policy and showed marked ability in the management of the bank, but during President Andrew Jackson’s warfare upon that institution, his character and his policy were violently assailed by the president and his followers. The bank’s national charter lapsed in 1836, but it was immediately chartered by Pennsylvania as the “Bank of the United States, of Pennsylvania”; and Biddle remained president until 1839, two years before the bank failed. As president of the board of trustees appointed for the purpose, he took a prominent part in the establishment of Girard College, in accordance with the will of Stephen Girard (q.v.). He died in Philadelphia on the 27th of February 1844.
His son, Charles John Biddle (1819-1873), served in the Mexican War as a captain of infantry, earning the brevet of major at Chapultepec; practised law in Philadelphia; was a representative in Congress in 1861-1863; was long editor-in-chief of the Philadelphia Age; and published ”The Case of Major André, with a Review of the Statement of it in Lord Mahon’s History of England,” in the Memoirs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (1858).
The best account of Nicholas Biddle’s administration of the bank may be found in an excellent work, by Ralph C. H. Catterall, The Second Bank of the United States (Chicago, 1903).
BIDEFORD, a seaport, market town and municipal borough in the Barnstaple parliamentary division of Devonshire, England, 8¼ m. S.W. of Barnstaple. Pop. (1901) 8754. It is served by the London & South-Western and the Bideford, Westward Ho & Appledore railways. It is picturesquely situated on two hills rising from the banks of the river Torridge, 3 m. above its junction with the estuary of the Taw. Many of the houses are built with timber framework in Elizabethan style, and the two parts of the town are united by a bridge of 24 arches, originally erected in the 14th century, when the revenue of certain lands was set apart for its upkeep. The church of St Mary, with the exception of the tower, is a modern reconstruction. A stone chancel screen and a Norman font are also preserved. Industries include the manufacture of earthenware, leather goods, sails, ropes and linen, and ironfounding. The small harbour has about 17 ft. of water at high tide, but is dry at low tide. Anthracite and a coarse potter’s clay are found near the town. The borough is under a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. Area, 3398 acres.
Bideford (Bedeford, Bydyford, Budeford, Bytheford) is not mentioned in pre-Conquest records, but according to Domesday it rendered geld for three hides to the king. From the time of the Conquest down to the 18th century, Bideford remained in the possession of the Grenville family, and it first appears as a borough in an undated charter (probably of the reign of Edward I.) from Richard de Grenville, confirming a charter from his grandfather, Richard de Grenville, fixing the rent and services due from the burgesses and granting them liberties similar to those in use at Breteuil and a market every Monday. Another charter, dated 1271, confirms to Richard de Grenville and his heirs a market every Monday and five days’ fair yearly at the feast of St Margaret (20th of July). In 1573 Elizabeth granted a charter creating Bideford a free borough corporate, with a common council consisting of a mayor, 5 aldermen and 7 chief burgesses, together with a recorder, town-clerk and 2 serjeants-at-mace. This charter also granted the Tuesday market, which is still held, and three annual fairs in February, July and November, now discontinued. A later charter from James I. in 1610 added the right to have a town seal, 7 aldermen instead of 5, and 10 chief burgesses instead of 7, and continued in force until the Municipal Corporations Act of 1873, which established 4 aldermen and 12 common councillors. In the 16th century Sir Richard Grenville, the famous Virginian settler, did much to stimulate the commercial development of Bideford, which long maintained a very considerable trade with America, Spain and the Mediterranean ports, the import of tobacco from Maryland and Virginia being especially noteworthy. From the beginning of the 18th century this gradually declined and gave place to a coasting trade in timber and coal, chiefly with Wales and Ireland. The silk industry which flourished in the 17th century is extinct.
See John Watkins, History of Bideford (Exeter, 1792).
BIDPAI (or Pilpay), FABLES OF, the name given in the middle ages (from Sanskrit Vidya-pati, chief scholar) to a famous collection of Hindu stories. The origin of them is undoubtedly to be found in the Pancha Tantra, or Five Sections, an extensive body of early fables or apologues. A second collection, called the Hitopadesa, has become more widely known in Europe than the first, on which it is apparently founded. In the 6th century a.d., a translation into Pahlavi of a number of these old fables was made by a physician at the court of Chosroes I. Anushirvan, king of Persia. No traces of this Persian translation can now be found, but nearly two centuries later, Abdallah-ibn-Mokaffa translated the Persian into Arabic; and his version, which is known as the “Book of Kalilah and Dimna,” from the two jackals in the first story, became the channel through which a knowledge of the fables was transmitted to Europe. It was translated into Greek by Simeon Sethus towards the close of the 11th century; his version, however, does not appear to have been retranslated into any other European language. But the