Page images

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 Svo; 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 member*.

* 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

Ir. Henry Baker, who was of the same opinion, but doubted the possibility of bringing it into effect. However, in the year 1753, 2 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 Sleeting was appointed to consider how such a scheine might be put into execution. At this first Meeting, which was held at Rathinill's Coffee House, in Henrietta-street, Covent Garden, Alarch 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 Macder, 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 bis “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. 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.

t Communications by D. E. Baker will be found in the following volumes of Philosophical Transactions ; Vol. XLIII.

Vol. XLIV. p. 529. Vol. XLV. p. 598. Vol. XLVI. p. 467. Vol. XLVIII. p. 564.


p. 540.

father he was a Philosopher, an Antiqua ry, 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 Jeafness, and the King's Evil Gent, Mag. 1754. Vol XXIV. pp. 569. 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, from the assiduous and accurate researches of my friend Mr. Stephen Jones.


He died young, August 24th, 1766; and left onę 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 - 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 Kiny's Évil, 1722,” Svo; “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 hall 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, who 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; adınitted of Trinity-college, Cambridge, 1723 ; and soon commenced a genuine and able * Parkins's and Blomfield's Norfolk, IV. 180. 193.


Antiquary. He made considerable collections of church notes in his own and the neighbouring courties; all which he bequeathed to the College where he received his education. Mr. Blomfield acknowledges his obligations to him for collecting many evidences, seals, and drawings, of great use to him in his “ History of Norfolk *.” The old gentleman led a miserable life, hardly allowed his son necessaries, and dilapidated his house.

He had 500 horses of his own breeding, many above 30 years old, unbroke up. He took his son home from College, where his library was left to mould. On his death, his son succeeded to his estate, of about 1500l. a year; which he enjoyed not long; and dying, of a consumption, unmarried, on the road to Bath, left the reversion, after the death of his sister (who was then unmarried, and not likely to have issue), with his books and medals, to Trinity college; under the direction of the late viçe-master, Dr. Walker. But his sister marrying (as above) it is said the entail was cut off. He was buried in the family burying-place, in St. Mary's chapel, in Outwell church ; for the paving of which, and for a monument, he left 150l. The Registers of the Spalding Society abound with proofs of Mr. Bell's taste and knowledge in antient coins, both Greek and Roman, besides many other interesting discoveries. He published Proposals, elegantly printed, for the following work, at 58. the first subscription, Tabulæ Augustæ; sive, Imperatorum Romanorum, Augustorum, Cæsarum, Tyrannorum, et illustrium virorum à Cn. Pompeio Magno ad Heraclium Aug. series chronologica. Ex historicis, nummis, et marmoribus collegit Beaupreius Bell, A. M. Cantabrigiæ, typis academicis * 1734;" which was in great forwardness in

* Preface, p. iii.

+ The late Earl of Uxbridge had as many, and the late Duke of Ancaster's brother in 1794 had 1500.

“My late friend Mr. Beaupré Bell, a young gentleman of most excellent knowledge in medals, whose immature death is a real loss to this part of learning, was busy in putting out a book like that of Patarol, and left his MSS. plates, and coins, to Trinity college, Cambridge.” Stukeley's Carausius, 1. 67.

« PreviousContinue »