Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 40.djvu/165

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Needham
Needham
159
that they are formed by an expansive and a resistent force, and that they degenerate into vegetables. Generally speaking, his ideas are difficult of comprehension, because they are set forth without lucidity or method.’
  1. ‘Observations des Hauteurs faites avec le baromètre au mois d'Aoust, 1751, sur une partie des Alpes,’ Berne, 1760, 4to; reprinted in Needham's ‘Nouvelles recherches sur les Découvertes Microscopiques,’ ii. 221.
  2. ‘De Inscriptione quâdam Ægyptiacâ Taurini inventâ, et Characteribus Ægyptiacis, olim Sinis communibus, exaratâ, Idolo cuidam antiquo in Regiâ universitate servato, ad utrasque Academias, Londinensem et Parisiensem, rerum antiquarum investigationi et studio præpositas, data Epistola,’ Rome, 1761, 8vo. In this work, which produced a great sensation among the antiquaries of Europe, Needham endeavoured, by means of the Chinese characters, to interpret an Egyptian inscription on a bust, supposed to be that of Isis, which is preserved at Turin. His ingenious theory was completely refuted by Guignes and Bartoli in the ‘Journal des Savans’ (December 1761 and August 1762); also by Winckelmann and Wortley Montague. The jesuits, assisted by the Chinese literati, decided that the characters in question, though four or five bore a sensible resemblance to as many Chinese ones, were not genuine Chinese characters, having no connected sense nor proper resemblance to any of the different forms of writing, and that the whole inscription had nothing Chinese on the face of it; but, in order to promote discoveries, they sent an actual collation of the Egyptian with the Chinese hieroglyphics engraved on twenty-six plates.
  3. ‘Questions sur les Miracles,’ Geneva, 1764, 8vo, Lond. 1769, 8vo; a collection of letters which passed between Needham and Voltaire.
  4. ‘Nouvelles recherches sur les découvertes Microscopiques et la génération des corps organisés; traduites de l'Italien de M. l'Abbé Spalanzani; avec des notes, des Recherches physiques et métaphysiques sur la Nature et la Religion, et une nouvelle Théorie de la Terre, par M. de Needham,’ 2 vols. London and Paris, 1769, 8vo. Appended to the second volume is Needham's ‘Relation de son voyage sur les Alpes, avec la mesure de leurs hauteurs, comparées à celles des Cordilleres.’
  5. ‘Mémoire sur la maladie contagieuse des bêtes à cornes,’ Brussels, 1770, 8vo.
  6. ‘Idée sommaire ou vue générale du système Physique et Métaphysique de M. Needham sur la génération des corps organisés,’ first printed at the end of ‘La vraie Philosophie’ of the Abbé Monestier (Brussels, 1780, 8vo), and afterwards separately (Brussels, 1781, 8vo). In this work he modifies, and even retracts, some of his ideas which seemed to tend towards materialism; but he does this in an obscure and embarrassed manner, and he complains particularly of the consequences which had been deduced from his system by the Baron von Holbach.
  7. ‘Principes de l'Electricité, traduits de l'Anglois de Mylord Mahon,’ Brussels, 1781, 8vo.

A list of his communications to the ‘Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society’ will be found in Watt's ‘Bibliotheca Britannica.’ His contributions to the ‘Mémoires de l'Académie Impériale et Royale des Sciences et Belles Lettres de Bruxelles’ include treatises on the nature and economy of honey-bees; a collection of physical observations, and observations on the natural history of the ant. A complete list is given in Namur's ‘Bibliographie Académique Belge,’ pp. 6, 21, 36, 43, 56.

Needham edited the translation into French verse by John Towneley of Butler's ‘Hudibras,’ London (Paris), 3 vols. 1757, 12mo, and ‘Lettre de Pekin, sur le génie de la langue Chinoise, et la nature de leur écriture symbolique, comparée avec celle des Anciens Egyptiens; en réponse à celle de la Société Royale de Londres, sur le même sujet: avec un Avis Préliminaire de M. Needham, et quelques autres pieces,’ Brussels, 1773, 4to. This was written by Father Cibot, S.J.

[Life by the Abbé Mann in ‘Mémoires de l'Académie de Bruxelles,’ 1783, vol. iv. introd. pp. xxxiii. seq.; Ellis's Letters of Eminent Literary Men, pp. 418, 422; Hutton's Philosophical and Mathematical Dict. 1815; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bohn), p. 336; Monthly Review, 1784, lxx. 524; Nichols's Illustr. of Lit. viii. 605; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. vii. 283, 635; Nouvelle Biog. Générale, xxxvii. 602; Nouveau Dict. Hist.]

T. C.

NEEDHAM or NEDHAM, MARCHAMONT (1620–1678), journalist, was born at Burford in Oxfordshire, and baptised there 21 Aug. 1620. His father, also named Marchamont Nedham, born of genteel parents in Derbyshire, matriculated at St. John's College, Oxford, 16 June 1610, and took the degree of B.A. from Gloucester Hall 19 Feb. 1611–12. He was afterwards an attendant on the Lady Elizabeth Walter (wife of Sir William Walter of Sarsden, near Burford), and died in 1621. Nedham's mother was Margery, daughter of John Collier, the host of the George Inn at Burford, who took as her second husband, in 1622, Christopher Glynn, vicar of Burford and master of the free school there (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. iii. 1180; Wood, Alumni Oxon. 1st ser. p. 1055). Nedham was educated at Burford