BIDDEFORD, a city of York county, Maine, U.S.A., on the Saco river, opposite Saco, and on the Atlantic Ocean, 15 m. S.W. of Portland. Pop. (1890) 14,443; (1900) 16,145, of whom 7,149 were foreign-born (mostly French Canadians); (census, 1910) 17,079. Biddeford is served by the Boston & Maine railway, and is connected by electric lines with Portland and with Old Orchard Beach, a popular summer resort north of the Saco river. The climate and the scenery in and about Biddeford attract summer visitors and there are two resorts, Biddeford Pool and Fortune Rocks within the municipal limits; but the city is chiefly a manufacturing centre (third in rank among the cities of the state in 1905)—good water-power being furnished by the river—and cotton goods, foundry and machine shop products and lumber are the principal products, the first being by far the most important. The value of the factory products increased from $5,472,254 in 1900 to $6,948,722 in 1905, or 27%. There are large quarries of granite of excellent quality. A permanent settlement was established on both sides of the river about 1630 under the leadership of Richard Vines (1585-1651) and was named Saco. In 1718 the present name was adopted. In 1762 that portion of Biddeford which lay east of the river was incorporated as the town of Pepperellborough, for which name Saco was substituted in 1805. Biddeford was incorporated as a city in 1855.
BIDDER, GEORGE PARKER (1806-1878), English engineer, was born at Moreton Hampstead, in Devonshire, on the 14th of June 1806. From a very early age he manifested an extraordinary natural aptitude for calculation, which induced his father, who was a stone-mason, to exhibit him as a “calculating boy.” In this way his talent was turned to profitable account, but his general education was in danger of being completely neglected. Interest, however, was taken in him by some of those who happened to witness his performances, among them being Sir John Herschel, and it was arranged that he should be sent to school in Camberwell. There he did not remain long, being removed by his father, who wished to exhibit him again, but he was saved from this misfortune and enabled to attend classes at Edinburgh University, largely through the kindness of Sir Henry Jardine, to whom he subsequently showed his gratitude by founding a “Jardine Bursary” at the university. On leaving college in 1824 he received a post in the ordnance survey, but gradually drifted into engineering work. In 1834 Robert Stephenson, whose acquaintance he had made in Edinburgh, offered him an appointment on the London & Birmingham railway, and in the succeeding year or two he began to assist George Stephenson in his parliamentary work, which at that time included schemes for railways between London and Brighton and between Manchester and Rugby via the Potteries. In this way he was introduced to engineering and parliamentary practice at a period of great activity which saw the establishment of the main features and principles that have since governed English railway construction. He is said to have been the best witness that ever entered a committee-room. He was quick to discover and take advantage of the weak points in an opponent’s case, and his powers of mental calculation frequently stood him in good stead, as when, for example, an apparently casual glance at the plans of a railway enabled him to point out errors in the engineering data that were sufficient to secure rejection of the scheme to which he was opposed. In consequence there was scarcely an engineering proposal of any importance brought before parliament in connexion with which his services were not secured by one party or the other.
On the constructive side of his profession he was also busily occupied. In 1837 he was engaged with R. Stephenson in building the Blackwall railway, and it was he who designed the peculiar method of disconnecting a carriage at each station while the rest of the train went on without stopping, which was employed in the early days of that line when it was worked by means of a cable. Another series of railways with which he had much to do were those in the eastern counties which afterwards became the Great Eastern system. He also advised on the construction of the Belgian railways; with R. Stephenson he made the first railway in Norway, from Christiania to Eidsvold; he was engineer-in-chief of the Danish railways; and he was largely concerned with railways in India, where he strongly and successfully opposed break of gauge on through-routes. But though he sometimes spoke of himself as a mere “railway-engineer,” he was in reality very much more; there was indeed no branch of engineering in which he did not take an interest, as was shown by the assiduity with which for half a century he attended the weekly meetings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, of which he was elected president in 1860. He was one of the first to recognize the value of the electric telegraph. That invention was in its infancy when, in 1837, jointly with R. Stephenson he recommended its introduction on a portion of the London & Birmingham and on the Blackwall lines, while three years later he advised that it should be adopted to facilitate the working of the single line between Norwich and Yarmouth. He was also one of the founders of the Electric Telegraph Company, which enabled the public generally to enjoy the benefits of telegraphic communication. In hydraulic engineering, he was the designer of the Victoria Docks (London), being responsible not only for their construction, but also for what was regarded by some people at the time as the foolish idea of utilizing the Essex marshes for dock accommodation on a large scale. His advice was frequently sought by the government on points both of naval and military engineering. He died at Dartmouth on the 28th of September 1878.
His son, George Parker Bidder, Junr. (1836-1896), who inherited much of his father’s calculating power, was a successful parliamentary counsel and an authority on cryptography.
BIDDERY, or Bidri (an Indian word, from Bedar or Bidar, a town in the Nizam’s Dominions), an alloy of copper, lead, tin and zinc used in making various articles and ornaments which are inlaid with gold and silver.
BIDDING-PRAYER (O. Eng. biddan, to pray, cf. Ger. beten), the formula of prayer or exhortation to prayer said in England before the sermon in cathedrals, at university sermons, in the Inns of Court and elsewhere on special occasions. Such formulae are found in the ancient Greek liturgies, e.g. that of St Chrysostom, in the Gallican liturgy, and in the pre-Reformation liturgies of England. The form varies, but in all the characteristic feature is that the minister tells the people what to pray for. Thus in England in the 16th century it took the form of a direction to the people what to remember in “bidding their beads.” In course of time the word “bid” in the sense of “pray” became obsolete and was confused with “bid” in the sense of “command” (from O. Eng. beodan, to offer, present, and hence to announce, or command; cf. Ger. bieten, to offer, gebieten, to command), and the bidding-prayer has come practically to mean the exhortation itself. A form of exhortation which “preachers and ministers shall move the people to join with them in prayer” is given in the 55th canon of the Church of England (1603).
BIDDLE, JOHN (1615-1662), frequently called the father of English Unitarianism, was born on the 14th of January 1615, at Wotton-under-Edge, in Gloucestershire. He was educated at the grammar school of his native town and at Magdalen Hall, Oxford. He graduated B.A. in 1638 and proceeded M.A. in 1641, and was then appointed to the mastership of the free school in the city of Gloucester, where “he was much esteemed for his diligence in his profession, serenity of manners and sanctity of life.” He also diligently prosecuted theological studies, and the results he arrived at were of such a nature as to draw down upon him the reprobation of the civic authorities. A treacherous friend obtained the manuscript of his Twelve Arguments drawn out of Scripture, wherein the commonly received opinion touching the deity of the Holy Spirit is clearly and fully refuted; and in December 1645 he was summoned before the parliamentary committee then sitting at Gloucester. By them he was committed to prison, though he was at the time labouring under a dangerous fever. He was released on bail after a short imprisonment, but was in July 1647 called before parliament, which