Page:Cousins's Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature.djvu/45
wrights, and produced many plays and novels, also poems and pamphlets. The former are extremely gross, and are now happily little known. She was the first English professional authoress. Among her plays are The Forced Marriage, Abdelazer, The Rover, The Debauchee, etc., and her novels include Oronoko and The Nun. The former of these was the first book to bring home to the country a sense of the horrors of slavery, for which let her have credit.
Bell, Henry Glassford (1805-1874). -- Poet and historian, was a member of the Scottish Bar, and became Sheriff of Lanarkshire. He wrote a Life of Mary Queen of Scots (1830), strongly in her defence, and two vols. of poetry, Summer and Winter Hours (1831), and My Old Portfolio, the latter also containing pieces in prose.
Bellenden, or Ballantyne, John (fl. 1533-1587?). -- Poet, b. towards the close of the 15th century, and ed. at St. Andrews and Paris. At the request of James V. he translated the Historia Gentis Scotorum of Boece. This translation, Chroniklis of Scotland is a very free one, with a good deal of matter not in the original, so that it may be almost considered as a new work. It was pub. in 1536, and is the earliest existing specimen of Scottish literary prose. He also translated the first five books of Livy. He enjoyed the Royal favour, and was Archdeacon of Moray. He latterly, however, became involved in controversy which led to his going to Rome, where he d., according to one account, about 1550. Another authority, however, states that he was living in 1587.
Bentham, Jeremy (1748-1832). -- Writer on jurisprudence and politics, b. in London, s. of a prosperous attorney, ed. at Westminster and Oxford, was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn, but disliking the law, he made little or no effort to practise, but devoted himself to physical science and the theory of jurisprudence. In 1776 he pub. anonymously his Fragment on Government, an able criticism of Blackstone's Commentaries, which brought him under the notice of Lord Shelburne, and in 1780 his Introduction to Principles of Morals and Legislation. Other works were Panopticon, in which he suggested improvements on prison discipline, Discourse on Civil and Penal Legislation (1802), Punishments and Rewards (1811), Parliamentary Reform Catechism (1817), and A Treatise on Judicial Evidence. By the death of his f. he inherited a competency on which he was able to live in frugal elegance, not unmixed with eccentricity. B. is the first and perhaps the greatest of the "philosophical radicals," and his fundamental principle is utilitarianism or "the greatest happiness of the greatest number," a phrase of which he is generally, though erroneously, regarded as the author. The effect of his writings on legislation and the administration of the law has been almost incalculable. He left his body to be dissected; and his skeleton, clothed in his usual attire, is preserved in University College, London.
Bentley, Richard (1662-1742). -- Theologian, scholar, and critic, b. in Yorkshire of humble parentage, went at the age of 14