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written by himself, he was the means, by his extensive correspondence, of conveying to the Society the intelligence and observations of other inquisitive and philosophical men. His correspondence was not confined to his own country. To him we are obliged for a true history of the Coccus Polonicus, transmitted by Dr. Wolfe. It is to Mr. Baker that we owe the larger Alpine strawberry, now so much cultivated in England. The seeds of it were sent from Professor Bruni of Turin, to our philosopher, who gave them to several of his friends, by whose care they furnished an abundant increase. The seeds likewise of the true Rhubarb, or Rheum Palmatum, were first transmitted to Mr. Baker by Dr. Mounsey, physician to the Empress of Russia. These, like the former, were distributed to his various acquaintance. And it is conceived that most of the plants of the Rhubarb now in Great Britain were propagated from this source.
In 1728 Mr. Baker, under the assumed name of Henry Stonecastle, as Steele had before done under that of Isaac Bickerstaff, projected, and, for nearly five years, solely conducted “ The Universal Spectator," a periodical work, published weekly; during that time by far the greater part of the essays were written by him. A selection from these essays has been since published in four volumes, and has passed through several editions. In 1737 he published in two volumes, 8vo, “Medulla Poetarum Romanorum,” an arranged selection of passages from the Roman Poets, with translations in English verse.
In 1743 appeared his account of that most extraordinary animal“The Water Polype,” in one volumo 8vo. of which there have been several editions. But his principal publications are,"The Microscope made p. 432. 557. 576. Vol. XLV. p. 174, 270. Vol. XLVI. p. 196. 336. 499. 601. 617. 689. Vol. XLVII. p. 3. Vol. XLVIII. p. 117. Vol. XLIX. p. 12. Vol. L. p. 296. 777. Vol. LI. p. 694. Vol. LIV. p. 16, Vol. LVI. p. 67.
easy," and "Employment for the Microscope.” The first of these appeared in 1742, the other in 1762. They have since gone through many editions in two volumes 8vo; they form still the most interesting and useful work published on this subject, and almost all the other works which have since appeared on the microscope are little else than compilations from this work of Mr. Baker's.
“ The Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce,” is under singular obligations to our worthy Naturalist; he was one of the earliest members of it, and in fact contributed in no small degree to its rise and establishment, of which the Society was at that time so fully sensible as to make the voting him a perpetual member, one of its first acts. In his attendance he was almost unfailing; and not only in its first arrangement, but in the general deliberations of the Society, he was ever a most active, intelligent, and useful nember*.
* A short account of the Origin of this Society, drawn up by Mr. Baker, and which was readbefore the Society of Antiquaries, is here annexed.
Mr. William Shipley, living at Northampton, being persuaded that a Society to give premiums, in the manner of one in Ireland, would be highly beneficial to this Kingdom, came to London several times in the years 1752 and 1753, and talked about it to Mr. Henry Baker, who was of the same opinion, but doubted the possibility of bringing it into effect. However, in the year 1753, a general recommendation of such a Society was drawn up, print, ed, and dispersed; and by the indefatigable pains taken by Mr. Shipley to put it into the hands of persons of quality and fortune, a Meeting was appointed to consider how such a scheme might be put into execution. At this first Meeting, which was held at Rathinill's Coffee House, in Henrietta-street, Covent Garden, March 22, 1754, were present, Lord Viscount Folkestone, Lord Romney, Dr. Hales, Mr. Goodchild, Mr. Baker, Mr. Brander, Mr. Crisp, Mr Messiter, Mr. Lawrence, Mr. Short, Mr. Shipley. It was then proposed to give premiums for the discovery of Cobalt, and the cultivation of Madder, and for the best Drawings made by boys and girls; and the above two noble Lords, to whose goodness, generosity, and public spirit, the very being of this Society must ever be acknowledged entirely owing, resolved (at another Meeting) to make a beginning with these articles; and, as money would be wanting, each of them paid down ten guineas, and ten guineas for Lord Shaftesbury, but subscribed
Mr. Baker was a poetical writer in the early part of his life. His “ Invocation to Health” got abroad without his knowledge, but was reprinted by himself in his “Original Poems serious and humorous," in two parts, published in 1725 and 1726. Among these poems are some tales as witty and as loose as Prior's. He was the author also of “ The Universe, a Poem, intended to restrain the Pride of Man," which has been often reprinted. It has been said of Mr. Baker, that“ he was a philosopher in little things.” If it was intended by this language to lessen his reputation, it has no propriety *. He was an intelligent, upright, and benevolent man, much respected by those who knew him best. His friends were the friends of science and virtue. He was ever ready to promote by his own exertions, and to contribute and assist others, in whatever could tend to the advancement of knowledge, and the benefit of society.
This tranquil, good man was not happy in his children. His eldest son, David-Erskine Baker, was a young man of genius and learning p. Like his
five guineas apiece only in the book, lest a larger sum might discourage others. At the same time some other gentlemen paid two guineas each; but the number being small, the aforesaid noble Lords declared they would make good all deficiencies, and accordingly paid thirty guineas more. But notwithstanding this beginning, the Society was yet unformed, without any head or regulations, till Mr. Baker drew up a plan for the establishment of proper officers for the orderly government of the Society. The plan, after due consideration, being confirmed and printed, and the Society thereby established, they, out of regard to the pains Mr. Baker and Mr. Shipley 'had taken, elected them both unanimously to be perpetual members of this Society. Mr. Baker all along took the minutes, though Mr. Shipley's name appeared as the nominal secretary of the Society.
* If this had reference to his microscopical pursuits, he has repelled it most satisfactorily in the motto from Pliny prefixed to his work, “Natura nusquam magis quam in minimis." Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. XI. cap. 2.
+ Communications by D. E. Baker will be found in the following volumes of Philosophical Transactions; Vol. XLIII. p. 540. Vol. XLIV. p. 529. Vol. XLV. p. 598, Vol. XLVI. p. 467. Vol. XLVIII. p. 564.
father he was a Philosopher, an Antiquary, and a Poet. Being very partial to mathematical and geometrical studies, he was under the patronage of the Duke of Montagu, then Master of the Ordnance, placed in the Drawing Room in the Tower, to qualify him for the Royal Engineers; but unfortunately marrying the daughter of Mr. Clendon, a reverend empiric*, who had like himself a most violent and infatuated turn for dramatic performance, he repeatedly engaged with strolling companies, and provincial Theatres, in spite of every effort of his father to reclaim him. Many of his occasional poems were published in the periodical collections, and were much admired. He was the author of "The Companion to the Play-house,” in two volumes 12mo, 1764, a work which, though imperfect, had considerable merit, and evinced a very extensive knowledge of dramatic literature. An edition of this work was published in 1780, much improved by the late Isaac Reedt, esq. Mr. D. E. Baker died Feb. 16, 1767.
Mr. Baker's other son Henry was brought up to the Law: he too had a turn for Literature. Jointly with his brother he translated from the Italian, and from the French, some Tracts published by the elder Dodsley; and he also, like his father and brother, was a Poet; too much indeed addicted to the Muse.
A friend who knew him well was of opinion that the two following lines of Pope were but too applicable to him:
“ A clerk foredoom'd his father's will to cross, Who penn'd a stanza when he should engross"
* See Verses to the Rev. Mr. Clendon of Sutton near Maidstone, on his advertizing to cure deafness, and the King's Evil. Gent. Mag. 1754. Vol XXIV. pp. 562. 614.
† Another edition of it, considerably enlarged and improved, which had long been a desideratum, was presented to the publick, as this page was passing through the press, froin the assiduous and accurate researches of my friend Mr. Stephen Jones.
He died young, August 24th, 1766 ; and left one son William, who has been already mentioned as the grandfather's heir,
In 1756 he published “ Essays Pastoral and Elegiac,” in two volumes, 8vo. His profession however was not wholly neglected; he left ready for the press an arranged collection of all the Statutes relating to Bankruptcy, with Cases, Precedents, &c. with the title of is The Clerk to the Commission." This work, it is believed, was published under another title in 1768.
WILLIAM BECKET, esq. a surgeon of considerable eminence, died Nov. 25. 1738. He was the author of Essays “on the Antiquity of Touching for the King's Evil, 1722,” 8vo; “On the Venereal Disease in England;" and on other subjects, in the Philosophical Transactions, Nos. 357, 365. 366, 383.
BEAUPRE BELL, son of Beaupré Bell, esq. of Beaupré hail in Upwell and Outwell in Clackclose hundred, Norfolk, where the Beaupré family had settled early in the 14th century, and enjoyed the estate by the name of Beaupré (or de bello prato) till Sir Robert Bell intermarried with them, about the middle of the 16th *. Sir Robert was Speaker of the House of Commons 14 Eliz. and Chief Baron of the Exchequer ; and caught his death at the Black Assize at Oxford, 1577. Beaupré Bell, his fourth lineal descendant, married Margaret, daughter of Sir Anthony Oldfield, of Spalding, bart. who died 1720, by whom he had issue his namesake, the subject of this article, and two daughters, of whom the youngest married William Graves, esq. of Fulborn in Cambridgeshire, whọ thereby inherited the family estate near Spalding, with the site of the Abbey, and has a striking likeness of his brother-inlaw. Mr. Bell, junior, was educated at Westminster school; admitted of Trinity-college, Cambridge, 1723 ; and soon commenced a genuine and able * Parkins's and Blomfield's Norfolk, IV. 180. 193.