Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 04.djvu/64

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Beaumont
Beaumont
60

ments. All the portraits of the officers were engraved by R. White on one large half-sheet in six ovals, joined by as many hands expressive of their union. The print, which is called the 'Portsmouth Captains,' is extremely scarce (Granger, Biog. Hist., 2nd ed., iv. 306). Colonel Beaumont was with the Prince of Orange at his first landing. After the coronation he was made colonel of the regiment of which he had previously been lieutenant-colonel, and served with it in Ireland, where he was present at the battle of the Boyne, in Flanders, and in Scotland, holding his command till December 1695 (Luttrell, Relation of State Affairs, iii. 564). He was also for some time governor of Dover Castle. In 1685 he was chosen M.P. for Nottingham, and he was returned for Hastings in 1688 and 1690. In May 1695 he fought a duel with Sir William Forrester, 'occasioned by some words between them in the parliament house, and the latter was disarmed' (ib. iii. 468). Beaumont died on 3 July 1701. He was twice married: first, to Felicia, daughter of Mr. Hatton Fermor of Easton Neston, and widow of Sir Charles Compton, and, second, to Phillipe, daughter of Sir Nicholas Carew of Bedington, Surrey, but by neither had he any issue.

[Nichols's Leicestershire, iii. 738-9, 744; Luttrell's Relation of State Affairs (1857); Reresby's Memoirs (1875), pp. 402, 403; History of the Desertion (1689); Burnet's Own Time, i. 767; Clarke's Life of James II; Granger's Biog. Hist., 2nd ed., iv. 306; Macaulay's England, chaps ix. and xvi.; Townsend-Wilson's James II and the Duke of Berwick (1876), pp. 78-9.]

T. F. H.


BEAUMONT, JOHN (d. 1731), geologist, lived a retired life at Stone-Easton, Somersetshire, where he practised as a surgeon. His letters to the Royal Society in 1676 and 1683 on the 'Rock-plants growing in the Lead Mines of Mendip Hills' attracted much attention, and their author was advised by Dr. Robert Hooke, a distinguished fellow of the society, to write the natural history of the county. Beaumont gave a specimen in his 'Account of Okey [Wookey]-hole and several other subterraneous Grottoes and Caverns,' printed in No. 2 of Hooke's 'Philosophical Collections' for 1681, and some three years afterwards presented a draft of his design to the society. He was elected a fellow in 1685, but soon laid his intended history aside that he might devote himself to theology and spiritualism. He was a man of considerable reading, of excessive credulity, and a firm believer in supernatural agency. His principal and certainly most curious performance, 'An Historical, Physiological, and Theological Treatise of Spirits, Apparitions, Witchcrafts, and other Magical Practices,' 8vo, London, 1705, is written in an amusing, gossiping style, and abounds with grotesque tales and illustrations from little-known authors. His personal experience of spirits, good and bad, was long and varied (pp. 91-4, 393-7); but he innocently contrives to lessen the effect of his narration by adding that in their frequent visitations 'all would disswade me from drinking too freely.' Of this work a German translation by Theodor Arnold appeared at Halle in 1721. Dr. Fowler, bishop of Gloucester, expressed high approval of this curious treatise (Thoresby's Diary, ii. 103, 124). Beaumont was buried at Stone-Easton on 23 March 1730-1. He had married Dorothy, daughter of John Speccott, of Penheale, Egloskerry, Cornwall; and his wife's claim to the family estate involved Beaumont in a long and disastrous lawsuit. His other publications were: 1. 'Considerations on a Book entituled the Theory of the Earth, publisht by Dr. Burnet,' 4to, London, 1693. 2. Postscript to above, 4to, London, 1694. 3. 'The Present State of the Universe,' 4to, London, 1694. 4. 'Gleanings of Antiquities,' 8vo, London, 1724 (the third part of which contains additions to the 'Treatise of Spirits').

[Gough's British Topography, ii. 189, 223; Nicolson's Historical Libraries, ed. 1776, pp. 7, 17-18; Plot's Staffordshire, p. 251; MS. Sloane 4037, ff. 128-32; Ray's Philosophical Letters, p. 262; Letters of Eminent Literary Men, ed. Sir H. Ellis (Camd. Soc.), p. 199; Stone-Easton Register; Law Cases in British Museum.]

G. G.


BEAUMONT, JOHN THOMAS BARBER (1774–1841), founder of insurance offices, usually known as 'Barber Beaumont,' was born 22 Dec. 1774, and devoted his early life to historic painting, securing medals from the Royal Academy and the Society of Arts. At the time of the threatened Bonaparte invasion of England he raised a rifle corps, urged that the people should be armed as sharpshooters, and is said to have trained his men so perfectly in rifle practice, that on one occasion he held the target in Hyde Park, while his entire corps fired at it from a distance of one hundred and fifty yards. In 1807 he founded the County Fire and the Provident Life offices, still carrying on business in Regent Street, in offices designed by himself. He resisted a fraudulent claim made upon the fire company in 1824 by Thomas Thurtell, and ultimately secured the committal of this man and his associates to Newgate. The brother, John Thurtell (after-