« PrécédentContinuer »
physicist and astronomer, was born at Paris 21st surrounded by a strong wall flanked with towers April 1774. He at first entered the artillery, but its streets are narrow, but clean; it has several forsook the service for science; and in 1800 became mosques with tall minarets, a caravansary, a bazaar, Professor of Physics in the Collége de France. and a ruined citadel and castle. Travellers and He was made a member of the Institute in 1803 ; caravans from Aleppo to Diarbekir, Bagdad, Persia, and in 1804, it was solely through him that the &c., cross the Euphrates at this point. From B. Institute voted against making Napoleon emperor. Colonel Chesney proposed to navigate the Euphrates Along with Arago, he was made a member of the by small steamers to its mouth in the Persian Bureau of Longitude, and (1806) sent to Spain to Gulf, a distance of 1143 miles. B., which signifies carry out the measuring of a degree of the meridian, well,' is also the prefix of several other small preparatory to the introduction of the present French towns in Arabia. system of weights and measures. On his return, he BIRCH (Betula), a genus of plants of the natural devoted himself to physical researches and to lectur
order Amentacece (q. v.), sub-order Betuliną, the ing. In 1815 the Royal Society of London elected
natural order Betulacece of some botanists. In this him one of their 50 foreign members. In 1817, he
order, or sub-order-which contains only the two visited England, and went as far north as the
genera, Birch and Alder (q. v.)--the flowers have Shetland Islands, in order to make observations merely small scales for their perianth; the ovary is along the line of the English arc of meridian, which two-celled, but the fruit-a small achenium (a, v. had been extended by Colonel Mudge. His most is by abortion one-celled; the fruits and scales united valuable contributions to science are on the polarisa- form a sort of cone; and the leaves have stipules tion of light; and his researches connected with ancient astronomy are also very valuable. Of his numerous writings may be mentioned Traité Elémentaire d'Astronomie Physique, 3 vols. (Paris, 1805); 3d ed., considerably augmented (1850), 6 vols., with vol. of plates-translated into English. Traité de Physique, 4 vols. (1816); Précise de Physique, an abridgment of the former in 2 vols. (1817), often republished; Recueil d'Observations Géodésiques, &c. (1821). B. also contributed very many excellent biographies of scientific men to the Biographie Universelle. The “Mémoires' of the Institute, and similar publications, contain many valuable contributions from Biot. Of the more recent is a Mémoire sur la Constitution de l'Atmosphere Terrestre in the Connaissance des Temps (1841). In 1849, B. was made a commander of the Legion of Honour. He was also a member of most of the learned societies in Europe. He died February 3, 1862.
BIOT, EDUARD CONSTANT, son of the former, a distinguished Chinese scholar, was born at Paris 2d July 1803. He was one of the first to promote the introduction of railways in France: but his health failing, he retired from the public service, and devoted his leisure to the study of Chinese, and the history of the social organisation of the Celestial Empire. He died March 1850. He wrote a Dictionnaire des Villes, &c., de l'Empire Chinois (1842), and a multitude of Mémoires on Chinese subjects of scientific and social interest, printed in the Journal Asiatique, &c. His interesting work,
Common Birch (Betula alba).
which soon fall off. They are all trees or shrubs, plied, as descriptive, to man, more frequently to birds,
hindi natives of temperate and cold regions.-The genus and which scarcely admits of application to any other |
| Betula is distinguished by 10-12 stamens, and animal except a very few species of reptiles, some |
he winged achenia. -The Common B. (Betula alba) has of which are batrachian (see BATRACHIA and SYREN). / small ovato-triangular doubly serrated leaves. It is and sume saurian (see SAURIA). Some two-footed a very beautiful forest-tree, abounding in the North saurians may be regarded as forming a link between
of Europe and of Asia, often forming large groves by that order and serpents, the two-footed batrachians
itself. In the south of Europe, it is found only upon as connecting batrachians with fishes, other charac
mountains of considerable elevation. It is a tree of ters of resemblance being in both instances associated
ciated rapid growth. In favourable situations, it attains with this.
the height of 60 or even 70 feet, with a diameter BIPE'NNIS, a double-headed axe, the weapon
of 14 or 2 feet; whilst on the northern, or utmost
alpine limits of vegetation, it only appears as a which, according to ancient historians and artists, particularly distinguished those fabulous female
stunted bush. The bark is smooth and silvery
white, and its outermost layers are thrown off as warriors, the Amazons.
the tree advances in age. The smaller branches BIQUADRA'TIC. See EQUATIONS.
are very slender and flexible, and in a particularly
of from 1800 to 2000 houses of Asiatic Turkey, in of some botanists), they are still more slender, elonthe pashalic of Diarbekir. It is situated on the gated, and pendulous. Some of the finest Weeping east bank of the Euphrates, in lat. 37° 3' N., long. Birches in Britain stand on the banks of the river 38° E., on a steep hill above the river, the passage Findhorn, near Forres, in Morayshire; they are 60 of which is here commanded by a castle. B. is feet high, and exhibit pendent masses of spray 10 feet in length. The bark and leaves of the B. are, in some of the kidneys and in cases of urinary calculus northern countries, used medicinally in cases of fever | It contains more than 2 per cent. of sugar.--The and eruptions. They are also used for dyeing yellow. WHITE B. of North America (B. populifolia) very The bark is sometimes used for tanning, and is pre- | nearly resembles the common B., but is of much less ferred to every other kind of bark for steeping nets, value. It is found as far south as Pennsylvania. sails, and cordage. See Bark FOR TANNING. It is in the wood is scarcely used.--The Black B. of the some countries made into shoes, hats, drinking-cups, same country (B. nigra), also sometimes called RED &c., and it is even twisted into a coarse kind of B., and very similar to the common B., produces ropes. Portable boats made of it are used on the very hard and valuable timber. It attains the Volga. It is remarkable for durability. In many height of 70 feet. It is not found further north parts of the north of Europe, it is used instead of than Massachusetts. The bark is of a dark colour, the slates or shingles by the peasantry; and in Russia | epidermis in the younger trees reddish.--But the the outer or white layers being subjected to distilla- name BLACK B. is also given to another species tion-there is obtained a reddish empyreumatic oil found in the more northern parts of North America, called B. Oil; it yields also the B. TAR, or Degutt, and sometimes called the Sweet B. or CHERRY B. which is employed in the preparation of Russia (B. lenta), also a tree of 70 feet or upwards in height, leather. Dried, ground, and mixed with meal, B. and of which the timber is fine-grained, and valuable bark is used in Norway for feeding swine; and, in for making furniture, and for other purposes. Its times of scarcity, has even served for human food. leaves, when bruised, diffuse a sweet odour, and The wood is in universal use in northern countries when carefully dried, make an agreeable tea. It is for the most various purposes. It is white, firm, and remarkable that this tree has been little planted in tough, and is employed by wheel-wrights, coopers, Britain.--The YELLOW B. of North America (B. turners, &c. It is very much employed in the manu- excelsa) is a tree of 70-80 feet high, destitute of facture of barrels for fish. It is much employed branches for 30-40 feet, remarkable for its large for smoking hams, herrings, &c., because of the leaves, which are 31 inches long, and for the brilliant flavour which it imparts. Much of it is made golden yellow colour of the epidermis. It is found into charcoal for forges. The twigs are in general in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, &c. Its use for besoms. In the Highlands of Scotland, timber is used in ship-building. The young saplings and in many other countries, the sap is not only of all these American species are much employed for used as a beverage in a fresh state, but is con- making hoops for casks.--The PAPER B. (B. papyverted by fermentation into a kind of wine. To racea) is found in the northern parts of North obtain it, a hole is bored in the stem, in spring, in America. It attains the height of 70 feet. The an oblique direction, one or two inches deep, and a bark of the young trees is of a brilliant whiteness. small tube is introduced to carry the sap into a vessel. The bark is capable of division into very thin sheets, From a strong stem, there often flows as much as which have been used as a substitute for paper. It from four to six quarts in a day. If the hole is again is used by the Indians for canoes, boxes, buckets,
baskets, &c. Large plates of it are curiously
BIRCH, THOMAS, D.D., an industrious historical writer, son of a coffee-mill maker, il Quaker, born at Clerkenwell, November 23, 1705, was at first an isher in different schools. Having taken priests'
orders in 1731, he was presented in 1732 to a Common Birch :
living in Essex, and in 1734 became chaplain to the
Ear of Kilmarnock, who was beheaded in 1746. Sewing catkin and leaves.
Appointed in the latter year Rector of St. Margaret
Pattens with St. Gabriel, Frenchurch Street, London, closed up each time with a wooden plug, covered B. was elected in 1752 one of the secretaries of the over with clay or rosin, and the tapping is annually Royal Society, a history of which he published in renewed in the same place, the tree sustains verv 4 vols., 4to, in 1756–1757. In 1761, he was preferred ittle injury. B. sap is very beneficial in diseases I to the Rectory of Deepdene, Surrey. His first
literary undertaking, in which he was assisted by I last picture, the 'Embarkation of Louis XVIII. others, was The General Dictionary, Historical and for France,' which was never finished, was the least Critical, 10 vols., 1734–1741, founded on Bayle's satisfactory of all his works. He died in 1819. His celebrated work. He next edited the collection of most popular works are—“The Blacksmith's Shop,' state-papers of Thurloe, secretary to Oliver Cromwell, The Country Auction,' 'The Village Politicians, 7 vols., folio, 1742. His other works are Life of The Young Recruit,' &c. the Hon. Robert Boyle, 1744; Lives and Characters of BIRD-BOLT. Stevens, in his note on Much the Illustrious Persons of Great Britain, the engrav- Ado about Nothing, says the B. is a short, thick ings by Houbraken, Gravelot, and Vertue (London, arrow, without point, spreading at the extremity so 1743–1752); Inquiry into the Share which King much as to leave a broad flat surface, about the Charles I. had in the Transactions of the Earl of Glamorgan, 1747 ; Historical View of the Negotiations between the Courts of England, France, and Brussels, 1592 to 1617, 1749; Life of Tillotson, 1752; Memoirs of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, 2 vols., 1754; Life of Henry Prince of Wales, 1760; &c. He likewise edited the works of Sir Walter Raleigh, Bacon's works, and various others. He was killed by a fall from his horse in the Hampstead Road, 9th January 1766. He left an extensive MS. collection, with his library, to the British Museum, of which he was a trustee.
Bird-Bolts. From these MSS. were compiled The Courts and Times of James I., and Charles I., 4 vols. 8vo. (Lou- breadth of a shilling. Such are to this day in use to don, 1848).
kill rooks with, and are shot from a cross-bow. The BIRCH PFEIFFER, CHARLOTTE, a German
annexed illustration is copied from Douce's Illustraactress and writer of plays, was born at Stuttgart
+tions of Shakspeare. in the year 1800. Her passion for the stage dis
| BIRD-CATCHING SPIDER, a name originally played itself so strongly, that after encountering i given to a large spider, Mygale avicularia, a native of much opposition on the part of her parents, she Cayenne and Surinam; but which is now more made her debut at Munich at the age of thirteen, extensively applied, being equally appropriate to a and afterwards played with great success at Berlin, nụmber of large species of Mygale (q. v.) and Epeira Vienna, and Hamburg. In 1825, she married Dr. (q. v.), perhaps also of other genera. It has, indeed, Christian Birch of Copenhagen, and afterwards been denied by some observers that the name is performed at Petersburg, Pesth, Amsterdam, and truly appropriate, but the positive evidence is too other places. In 1837, she undertook the direction strong to be easily set aside by evidence merely of the theatre at Zurich. At a later period, she negative. The Mygale avicularia is nearly two acquired even greater renown as a writer for the inches long, very hairy, and almost entirely black; stage than as an actress. 'Her principal theatrical | its feet, when stretched out, occupy a surface of pieces are Pfefferrösel ; Hinko; Die Günstlinge, nearly a foot in diameter. The hooks of its manperhaps her best piece; Der Glöckner von Notre dibles are strong, conical, and very black. This Dame; &c. In 1843, Madame B. resigned the great spider fornis à tube-shaped cell, widening direction of the Zurich theatre, and after visiting professionally most of the cities in Germany, made an engagement with the theatre-royal at Berlin. Since that time, her works have displayed marked progress. The chief productions of what may be termed her later manner are Die Marquise von Villette (1845), Dorf und Stadt (1848), Eine Familie (1849), Anna von Ostreich (1850), Ein Billet (1851). In 1847, Madame B. commenced to publish a complete edition of her dramatic works, which are about 70 in number. She died September 27, 1868.
BIRD, EDWARD, an English "genre' painter of considerable celebrity, was born at Wolverhampton in 1772. He having early displayed a strong inclina
Bird-catching Spider. tion for drawing, his father thought he was consulting his son's taste when he apprenticed him to towards the mouth, of a fine white semi-transparent a Birmingham tea-board manufacturer, his duty | tissue, like muslin, in clefts of trees or hollows there being to paint flowers, shepherds, &c., on the among rocks and stones. From this it issues only at boards. On the expiration of his apprenticeship, night, to prey upon insects, and, it is said, upon B. established himself as a drawing-master in humming-birds. It does not construct a net for the Bristol; and two of his pictures, the 'Choristers capture of its prey, but takes it by hunting, as do Rehearsing,' and 'The Will,' having been bought other large species of Mygale, natives of the warm by the Duke of Clarence, afterwards William IV., parts of America, the East Indies, and Africa. It and the Marquis of Hastings, his reputation was is probably a species of this genus that Dampier secure. He was elected a Royal Academician, mentions as found in Campeachy, the fangs of which, and soon obtained some good commissions. The black as jet, smooth as glass, and, at their small • Field of Chevy Chase the Day after the Battle' end as sharp as a thorn,' are said by him to be worn is generally considered his master-piece. His Death by some persons in their tobacco-pouches, to pick of Eli' obtained the British Institution prize of 300 their pipes with ; and to be by others used as toothguineas. In 1813, B. was appointed painter to the picks, in the belief of their having power to expel Princess Charlotte. He now became ambitious to the toothache. The bite of the large species of this excel in Scripture subjects, and painted several, genus is said to be dangerous. none of which, however, added to his fame. His | It appears that spiders of the genus Epeira feed
BIRD-CHERRY-BIRD OF PARADISE.
upon small birds caught in their webs, which have, they exhibit a great similarity, not only in the char. even been described as in some cases large enough acters of the bill, feet, &c., and in general form, but to arrest the flight of a bird the size of a thrush, and also in their habits, and even in their voice. They to impede the traveller in tropical forests.
have been the subject of many fables. The state in BI'RD-CHERRY (Padus), a subdivision of the which their skins are usually exported from their genus Cerasus (see CHERRY), itself very generally | native islands, gave rise to the notion that they were regarded as a sub-genus of Prunus (see PLUM). The destitute of feet; and free scope being allowed to Bird-cherries are distinguished by racemes of small fancy, it became the prevalent belief that they spent flowers and deciduous leaves.-The COMMON B. their whole lives floating in the air, except when (Prunus or Cerasus Padus), called in Scotland perhaps they suspended themselves for a little Hagberry, is a tall shrub or small tree, sometimes by their long tail-filaments from the uppermost reaching the height of 40 feet, growing wild in branches of trees. As for their food, it was supposed moist woods in Britain, and in most parts of Europe to be either mere dew and vapours, or nectar and the north of Asia. Its younger branches are
ranches are obtained from the flowers of trees, climbers, and of a very dark or reddish-brown colour. The plants growing on the branches of trees, in the drupes are small, of a sweetish subacid taste,
high regions of bright sunshine above the shade of combined with a degree of what many regard as
the tropical forests. Antony Pigafetta, indeed, who nauseous bitterness; but to some palates they are accompanied Magellan in his voyage round the not disagreeable. A well-flavoured spirituous liquor world, described them as having legs, and stated is prepared from them in the north of Europe. In that these were cut off as useless in the preparation Siberia. the juice expressed from the ripe fruit is of the skins; but his statement was not credited. drunk either alone or mixed with milk, and the and Aldrovandus went the length of accusing him remaining mass is kneaded into cakes, and used of an audacious falsehood. It would seem that the as food. Very nearly allied to this species is fables concerning the Birds of P. are in part to be the VIRGINIAN B. (P. or C. Virginiana) a tree ascribed to the desire of the inhabitants of those of 80-100 feet in height. found from Tennessee to islands in which they are found to increase the Upper Canada, and now frequent in Britain as an value of their skins as an article of merchandise : ornamental tree, although never attaining the size and a sort of sacred character being attached to which it does in the United States. The wood is them, they were employed not merely for ornament, compact, fine-grained, takes a fine polish, and is much but as a charm to secure the life of the wearer used in America by cabinet-makers. The bark is against the dangers of battle. The people of Ternate used in the United States as a febrifuge. The fruit call them Manuco-Dewata, or Birds of God; which is not agreeable : but a cordial is made from it by name Buffon modified into Manucode. In different infusion in spirits with sugar, and, when dried and languages they are known by names signifying Birds bruised, it forms an esteemed addition to peminican of the Air, Birds of the Sun, &c. (q. v.).
The males alone are birds of splendid plumage, BIRD ISLAND, the north-west island of the
that of the females possessing neither brilliancy of Sandwich Archipelago, in lat. 22° 20' N., and long.
colours nor remarkable development. The plumage
08 of the males is not only characterised by great 160° W. It is, as its name implies, a mere haunt of sea-fowl—the links of the chain increasing pretty
brightness of tints, but by a glossy velvety appear
Iance, a metallic lustre, and a singularly beautiful regularly in size and elevation from B. I. on the
play of colours. Tufts of feathers generally grow north-west to Hawaii on the south-east.
from the shoulders, and these, in some of the kinds, BIRD-LIME is a viscid and adhesive substance, are prolonged so as to cover the wings; in the which is placed on twigs of trees or wire-netting species sometimes called the Common B. of P., and for the purpose of catching the birds which may sometimes the Great Emerald B. of P. (Paradisea alight thereon. A common practice is to place a decoy or tame bird in a cage near where the B. is spread; the wild birds, attracted to the spot by the song of the tame bird, get entangled with the birdlime. The substance is generally prepared from the middle bark of the holly, misletoe, or distaff-thistle, by chopping up the bark, treating it with water, boiling for several hours, then straining; and lastly, concentrating the liquid by evaporation, when the B. assumes a gelatinous consistence resembling that of moist putty. It mainly consists of a substance named by the chemist viscin. A second mode of preparing B., is to employ ordinary wheat-flour; place it in a piece of cotton cloth; tie up the ends, so as to form a bag; immerse the whole in a basin of water, or allow a stream of water to flow upon it; and repeatedly squeeze the bag and its contents. The result is, that the starch of the wheat-flour is pressed out of the cloth bag, and an adhesive substance named gluten is left on the cloth. This substance resembles that prepared by the previous process in its properties; but the former mode of preparing B. is a much cheaper plan, and is that generally followed.
Bird of l'aradise (Paradisea apoda)--male. BIRD OF PA'RADISE, the common name of a family of birds, Paradiseido of ornithologists, apoda), the prolongation of these shoulder tufts is found chiefly in New Guinea and neighbouring so great, that they extend far beyond the body, and islands, and remarkable for splendour of plumage. even far beyond the tail. They constitute the most In all other respects, however, they are very closely magnificent part of the well-known B. of P. plumes. allied to the crow-family, Corvidae (q. v.), to which They are exquisitely light and delicate. It has