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The Scottish Nation
Bell


BELL, ANDREW, D.D. AND LL.D., founder of the Madras system of education, was born at St. Andrews in 1753, and was educated in the university there. Some part of his early life was spent in America. It is not known when he entered into holy orders; but in 1789 he went to India as chaplain to the Hon. East India Company at Fort-George, and minister of St. Mary’s at Madras. Whilst in this capacity he was led by circumstances to the formation of a new and improved system of education, the advantages of which were early acknowledged. Having undertaken the superintendence of the Military Male Orphan Asylum, which had been instituted by the Company at that station, he introduced the plan of mutual tuition by the scholars themselves, and it is highly honourable to his character that he declined to receive the remuneration of 1,200 pagodas (£480) allowed by the Company as the salary of the superintendent; the institution being supported chiefly by voluntary subscriptions. It was while engaged in this pleasing duty, that he invented that excellent plan of instruction which is now known by the name of the Madras System of elementary education. He returned to England in 1797, on account of his health. On leaving India, the directors of the asylum passed a resolution for providing him a free passage home, declaring, at the same time, that, “under the wise and judicious regulations which he had established, the institution had been brought to a degree of perfection and promising utility, far exceeding what the most sanguine hopes could have suggested at the time of its establishment; and that he was entitled to their fullest approbation for his zealous and disinterested conduct.” Soon after his arrival in England, he published a pamphlet, entitled ‘An Experiment in Education, made at the Male Asylum of Madras; suggesting a System by which a School or Family may teach itself, under the superintendence of the Master or Parent.’ In 1798 his system was adopted in St. Botolph’s Aldgate, and in the Kendal Schools of Industry. The system, indeed, has been found to work so well in practice, that it has since been adopted in every civilized nation in the world. In Great Britain alone there were, in 1833, “ten thousand schools, without any legislative assistance, wherein six hundred thousand children were educated by voluntary aid and charity;” and the number has been every year since then on the increase. The most gratifying testimonials were transmitted to Dr. Bell, in proof of the excellence of his plan. These he had the satisfaction of receiving not only from the highest quarters in this country, but from several governments and learned bodies throughout Eurpoe, Asia, and America. A vast improvement in the religious and moral condition of the lower classes is found to take place wherever his system is adopted; and the labours of this illustrious individual well entitle him to be considered one of the greatest benefactors of mankind. Mr. Lancaster’s plan was not propounded till the year 1803, and in his early publications he not only admitted the priority of Dr. Bell’s system, but acknowledged his obligations to him for some improvements which he had grafted on his own; although he afterwards endeavoured to claim the whole merit of the invention to himself. The original discovery, however, is now universally allowed to belong to Dr. Bell, “who,” in Lancaster’s own words, “so nobly gave up his time and liberal salary, that he might perfect that institution, (The Male Asylum at Madras,) which flourished greatly under his fostering care.” The evening of Dr. Bell’s pious and useful life was passed at Cheltenham, where his benevolence and many virtues gained him the affection and respect of all classes of the community. He had amassed a large fortune, which, with the generous feelings which ever actuated him, he bequeathed for educational purposes to several institutions in Scotland. To his native city of St. Andrews he left £10,000, besides a sum of £50,000 for the building and endowment of a new college there. Altogether he distributed no less a sum than £120,000 among various national institutions and public charities. The mastership of Sherborn Hospital, Durham, was conferred on him by Bishop Barrington. He was also a fellow of the Asiatic Society, and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In 1819 he received a Prebendal Stall at Westminster. Among the valuable works which, in his later years, he published on the system of education, were ‘The Elements of Tuition;’ ‘The English School;’ and ‘Mutual Tuition and Moral Discipline, or a manual of Instructions for conducting schools through the agency of the scholars themselves, for the use of Schools and Families, With an Introductory Essay on the Object and Importance of the Madras system of Education, a brief Exposition of the Principles on which it is founded; and an historical sketch of its Rise, Progress, and Results.’ The seventh edition of the latter work appeared in 1823. These will ever occupy a distinguished place in the educational department of our national literature. Dr. Bell died at Lindsay cottage, Cheltenham, January 27, 1832, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. The committee of the National Society for the education of the poor passed the following resolution at its first meeting after his decease: “That the committee having learnt that it has pleased Almighty God to remove from this present life the Rev. Dr. Bell, the superintendent of the Society’s schools, deem it incumbent upon them to pay a public mark of respect to the memory of a man who may justly be regarded as the founder of a system of education, which, under the divine blessing, has been productive of incalculable benefits to this church and nation; and that, as it is understood that his remains are to be interred in Westminster Abbey, the secretary be directed to ascertain the day fixed for his interment, and communicate the same to the committee for the information of such members as may find it convenient to attend.” In the funeral procession were the carriages of the archbishop of Canterbury, and of several bishops and persons of distinction.

      The following is a list of Dr. Bell’s works:

      A Sermon on the Education of the Poor on an improved system. 1807, 8vo.

      An Experiment in Education, made at the Male Asylum of Madras; suggesting a system by which a school or family may teach itself, under the superintendence of the Master or Parent. London, 1797, 8vo.

      An Analysis of the Experiment in Education made at Egmore, near Madras, suggesting a scheme for the better administration of the poor laws, by converting Schools for the lower orders of youth into Schools of Industry. Lond. 1797, 8vo. 3d edit. 1807, 8vo.

      Instructions for conducting Schools on the Madras System. Lond. 1799, 12mo. 3d. edit. 1812, 12mo.

      The Madras School; or Elements of Tuition, comprising an Analysis of an Experiment in Education, made at the Male Asylum, Madras, with its Facts, Proofs, and Illustrations. Lond. 1808, 8vo.

      National Education; or, a short account of the Efforts which have been made to educate the Children of the Poor, according to the new System of Education invented by Dr. Bell; including an account of the recent establishment of the National Society, with a letter on the subject of National Education. 1812, 12mo.

      Ludus Literarius; or Elements of Tuition. Part iii. 1815, 8vo.

      Brief Manual of Mutual Instruction and Discipline.

      The English School.

      Mutual Tuition and Moral Discipline. 7th edition, 1823.

BELL, BENJAMIN, an eminent surgeon, the son of a respectable farmer, was born at Dumfries in 1749. His father, Mr. George Bell, had in his youth been engaged in the Levant trade; but having met with serious losses, and been made prisoner by the Spaniards, on his return to Scotland, he took a farm in Eskdale, belonging to the duke of Buccleuch, where he lived to an advanced age. Benjamin received the rudiments of his education at the grammar school of his native town, the rector of which was Dr. George Chapman, author of an esteemed work on education, who paid great attention to the classical instruction of his scholars. The estate of Blackett House in Dumfries-shire, which for several centuries had belonged to his progenitors, having devolved on him on the death of his grandfather, he gave a remarkable instance of disinterested generosity by disposing of it, and applying the sum received for it in educating himself and the younger branches of the family – fourteen in number. After serving his apprenticeship to Mr. Hill, surgeon and apothecary in Dumfries, in 1766 he proceeded to Edinburgh, and entered upon his medical studies. In due time he passed the usual examinations at Surgeons’ Hall, and was admitted a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh. In 1770 he visited Paris and London, remaining in each capital for several months, in order to improve himself in surgery. In 1772 he returned to Edinburgh, and immediately commenced his professional duties. Both as a skillful operator and consulting surgeon, his reputation soon rose very high, and in a short time he was established in an extensive practice. In 1778 he published the first volume of his System of Surgery. The remaining volumes appeared at intervals, until the whole work was completed in six volumes 8vo, in 1788. For this work there was an extensive demand, and it reached to seven editions, the last of which was much improved, and had an additional volume. In 1793 he published a treatise on Gonorrhoea, and in the year following a ‘Treatise on Hydrocele,’ but these were never very popular. He died April 4, 1806. A portrait of him, from a painting by Sir Henry Raeburn, engraved by Beugo, appeared in the Scots Magazine for 1801. The subjoined is from Kay:

He had married, in 1776, the daughter of Dr. Robert Hamilton, professor of divinity in the university of Edinburgh, by whom he had a large family. Mr. Robert Bell, advocate, procurator for the Church of Scotland, was his second son.

      The following is a list of Dr. Bell’s works:

      Treatise on the Theory and Management of Ulcers, with a Dissertation on White Swellings of the Joints, and an Essay on the Surgical treatment of Inflammation and its consequences. Edin. 1778, 8vo. 3d edit. 1784, much enlarged.

      A System of Surgery. Edin. 1783, vol. i., 8vo. Vols. ii. and iii. 1784. Vol. iv. 1785, 8vo. Vol. v. 1787, 6 vols. 8vo. Another edition, 1796, 7 vols. 8vo.

      Treatise on the Gonorrhoea Virulenta, and Lues Venerea. Edin. 1793, 2 vols. 8vo.

      A Treatise on the Hydrocele, or Sarcocele, or Cancer, and other Diseases of the Testes. Edin. 1794, 8vo.

      Three Essays; on Taxation of Income; on the National Debt; the Public Funds, &c. Edin. 1799, 8vo.

      Essays on agriculture, with a plan for the speedy and general improvement of Land in Great Britain. Edin. 1802, 8vo.

      Case of Epilepsy considerably relived by Flowers of Zinc. Med. Com. 1. p. 204. 1773

      Case in which some of the Vertebrae were found dissolved. Ib. iii. p. 82. 1775.

BELL, JOHN, of Antermony, a celebrated traveller, the son of Patrick Bell, who inherited that estate from an honourable line of ancestors, and of Anabel Stirling, daughter of Mungo Stirling of Craigbarnet, was born in the parish of Campsie, Stirlingshire, (where his paternal estate was situated,) in 1691. He received an excellent education, and having chosen the medical profession, he passed physician in the twenty-third year of his age. He soon after resolved to travel. Of his motives for doing so he has himself informed us, in the preface to his interesting book of travels, in which he says, “In my youth I had a strong desire of seeing foreign parts, to satisfy which inclination, after having obtained, from some persons of worth, recommendatory letters to Dr. Areskine, chief physician and privy counsellor to the Czar Peter the First, I embarked at London in the month of July 1714, on board the Prosperity of Ramsgate, Captain Emerson, for St. Petersburg.” On Bell’s arrival he was introduced to Peter the Great, who at that very time was preparing an embassy to Persia; and Dr. Areskine having recommended him, as one skilled in surgery and physic, to Artemy Petrovich Valensky, the person chosen to go to the Persian court as Russian ambassador, he was immediately engaged as surgeon and physician to the expedition. On the 15th July 1715 the embassy left St. Petersburg. “That city,” he says, “Which has since grown so considerable, was then in its infancy, having been founded only ten or eleven years before.” They proceeded to Moscow, and thence to Cazan, where the severity of the weather compelled them to remain till June 4, 1716. They next sailed down the Wolga to Astracan, and then went by the Caspian sea to Derbent, and proceeded by Taurus and Saba to Ispahan; where they arrived March 13, 1717. After remaining in that city about six months, they set out on their return to St. Petersburg, which they reached December 30, 1718. In these long journeys Bell found ample gratification for his “strong desire of seeing foreign parts,” as well as for his spirit of adventure; and, accordingly, the account which he published of the places he visited, and the scenes he passed through, is full of interest. At the close of it he informs his readers, that in spite of the Swedish war, in which the Czar was then engaged, the Russian capital had been so improved and beautified during his absence, that he scarcely knew it again. On his arrival he learnt, to his great grief, that his patron, Dr. Areskine, was dead; but Peter the Great being about to send a grand embassy to China, he was recommended by Valensky to Leoff Vasilovich Ismayluff, the ambassador appointed to go to Pekin, who readily engaged his services. They departed from St. Petersburg, July 14, 1719, and travelled by Moscow, and through Siberia and the great Tartar deserts, to the celebrated wall of China, arriving at Pekin “after a tedious journey of sixteen months.” They quitted the Chinese capital March 2, 1721, and arrived at Moscow January 5, 1722. His account of this journey, and particularly his description of the manners, customs and superstitions of the Chinese, is the most interesting part of his book. Peter the Great having concluded peace with Sweden, resolved to assist the Shah of Persia against the Afghans, who had invaded his territories, and seized upon Candahar and other provinces on the frontiers. In May 1722, Bell, whose services were engaged in this expedition, accompanied the Czar and his empress with the army to Derbent, a celebrated pass between the foot of the Caucasus and the Caspian sea. He returned to St. Petersburg in December 1722. During their march homewards the Russians were much annoyed by the incessant attacks of the half-savage mountain tribes; and Peter and his empress were frequently exposed to great danger on the journey. In his account of this expedition, Bell gives a brief but excellent description of Tzercassia, or Circassia. Soon after, Mr. Bell revisited his paternal estate in Scotland, where he resided for some time, and seems to have returned to St. Petersburg about 1734. In 1737, in consequence of the war in which Russia was then engaged with Turkey, he was singled out as the fittest person to go to Constantinople to treat of peace, the Czar wishing to put an end to hostilities. This mission he undertook at the desire of Count Osterman, grand chancellor of Russia, and of Mr. Rondeau, British minister at the Russian court. Quitting St. Petersburg, December 6, 1737, he arrived at Constantinople with only one servant who could speak the Turkish language. He returned to the Russian capital May 17, 1738. He seems to have afterwards settled as a merchant at Constantinople, where he continued for some years. About 1746 he married Mary Peters, a Russian lady, and in 1747 returned to Scotland. The latter part of his active life was spend in ease and affluence on his estate. He is described as a warm-hearted and benevolent person; and such was his sincerity and good faith, that he obtained from his friends the title of “Honest John Bell.” He died at Antermony, July 1, 1780, at the age of 89. Although fond of talking about his journeys and adventures, he does not seem to have had any desire to publish his travels, till urged to it by one distinguished friend. In his preface, dated Oct. 1, 1762, he tells us that about four years before, “spending some days at the house of a right honourable and most honoured friend,” his travels became the subject of conversation, and he was pressed to prepare his work for publication, which he diffidently consented to. The work, under the title of ‘Travels from St. Petersburg in Russia to Various Parts in Asia,’ 2 vols, 4to, was published by subscription in Glasgow in 1763. A writer in the Quarterly Review for 1817, who styles this work “the best model perhaps for travel-writing in the English language,” adds in a note: – “For many years after Mr. Bell returned from his travels, he used to amuse his friends with accounts of what he had seen, refreshing his recollection from a simple diary of occurrences and observations. The earl Granville, then president of the council, on hearing some of his adventures, prevailed on him to throw his notes together into the form of a narrative, which, when done, pleased him so much that he sent the manuscript to Dr. Robertson, with a particular request that he would revise and put it into a fit state for the press. The literary avocations of the Scottish historian at that time not allowing him to undertake the task, he recommended Mr. Barron, a professor in the university of Aberdeen, and on this gentleman consulting Dr. Robertson as to the style and the book of travels which he would recommend him to adopt for his guide, the historian replied, ‘Take Gulliver’s Travels for your model, and you cannot go wrong.’ He did so, and ‘Bell’s Travels’ have all the simplicity of Gulliver, with the advantage which truth always carries over fiction.” The latter part of this story is very unlikely. The simplicity of the style is an evidence that the book was Bell’s own composition. Of Bell’s work there have been various editions; and a French translation, including a Journal kept by M. de Lange, attaché to the embassy to Pekin, was published on the continent, where it became very popular. – M’Crie’s History of Glasgow. – Quarterly Review for 1817.

BELL, JOHN, an eminent surgeon and anatomist, the first who, in Scotland, successfully applied the science of anatomy to practical surgery, was born in Edinburgh, May 12, 1763. His paternal grandfather was minister of Gladsmuir in East Lothian; and he was the second son of the Rev. William Bell, who, while very young, was induced to become a member, and afterwards a minister, of the episcopalian church in Edinburgh. His mother was Miss Morrice, the grand-daughter of Bishop White. There were eight children of the marriage, and of these four distinguished themselves in their respective professions, namely, his eldest brother, Robert Bell, Esq., Advocate, professor of conveyancing to the Society of Writers to the Signet, author of the Scots Law Dictionary, and of several other works on the law of Scotland, who died in 1816; John Bell, the subject of this article; George Joseph Bell, Esq., Advocate, professor of the Scots law in the university of Edinburgh, appointed one of the principal clerks of Session, in 1831, and author of Commentaries on the Law of Scotland, of whom a notice immediately follows; and Sir Charles Bell, F.R.S., London, a distinguished anatomist, a memoir of whom is also subsequently given.

      The following interesting anecdote is told, to account for John’s being educated for the medical profession. About a month before his birth, his father, then 59 years old, had submitted to an operation for the cure of stone, and his gratitude for the relief he had experienced led him to devote to the cause of medicine, and the benefit of mankind, the talent of the son, born while he was recovering from that severe malady. John Bell, after receiving his education at the High School of Edinburgh, became the pupil of the late Mr. Alexander Wood, surgeon there. He entered on his medical studies with enthusiasm, and was soon distinguished for his attainments both in midwifery and chemistry. The Edinburgh university at that period could boast of possessing some of the most accomplished professors in Europe. Of these Dr. Black, Dr. Cullen, and the second Dr. Monro, were the most eminent. Bell studied anatomy under the latter, and it was while attending his classes that the idea of teaching the application of anatomy to surgery, a branch of medical instruction which was overlooked by Monro, first suggested itself to him. Before entering on his professional career, he travelled for some time in Russia and the north of Europe. On his return he began to lecture on surgery and anatomy. In 1790 he built a theatre in Surgeons’ Square, Edinburgh, where he carried on dissections, and laid the foundation of a museum. This establishment of a separate school on his part was considered at the time as an encroachment on the rights of the professors. In 1793 he published the first volume of his ‘Anatomy of the Human Body,’ consisting of a description of the Bones, Muscles, and Joints. In 1797 appeared the second volume, containing the Heart and Arteries; and in 1802 the third volume, containing the Anatomy of the Brain, description of the course of the Nerves, and the Anatomy of the Eye and Ear. Being in the habit of introducing into his lectures remarks derogatory to Dr. Monro’s eminence as a anatomist, as well as of criticising severely Mr. Benjamin Bell’s system of surgery, a pamphlet was published in 1799, entitled ‘Review of the Writings of John Bell, Esq. by Jonathan Dawplucker;’ which, under the pretence of eulogising the first volume of his Anatomy, represented him as a plagiarist, and vindicated Dr. Monro and Mr. Benjamin Bell from his unfavourable observations. The author of this pamphlet was supposed to be some friend of the latter. Mr. John Bell replied by publishing a second number of the Review, under the same name of Jonathan Dawplucker, addressed to Mr. Benjamin Bell, in which he retaliated in a similar strain of the latter’s system of surgery, which from that time quite lost its popularity with the students. In 1796 he was induced, by the increase of his practice, to discontinue his lectures, in which his brother Charles had been for some time united with him; the one taking the surgical and the other the anatomical department. About this time the dispute as to the right of the junior members of the College of Surgeons in Edinburgh to perform operations in the Royal Infirmary, engrossed the medical profession in that city almost exclusively, and led to much bad feeling among them. By the new system adopted in the surgical attendance at the Infirmary, principally on the recommendation of Dr. Gregory, Mr. Bell, whose expertness as an operator was universally acknowledged, was with his pupils excluded from that institution. To the memorial given in by Dr. James Gregory to the managers of the Infirmary on this occasion, he wrote an answer which was published in 1800. He likewise made an appear personally to the board of the Infirmary, at the same time producing, as evidence of the utility and necessity of his system of teaching, six folio books filled with surgical drawings and cases. But his remonstrance proving ineffectual, he brought the question before the courts of law, whether the managers had the power to exclude him from the Infirmary, and it was decided against him. In this unfortunate controversy both Dr. Gregory and Mr. Bell were indefatigable in writing against each other; the principal work produced by Bell on the subject being ‘Letters on Professional Character and Manners,’ addressed to Dr. Gregory, and published at Edinburgh in 1810; which is conceived in a tone of great bitterness and sarcasm. In 1798 he went to Yarmouth, and passed some weeks among the men belonging to Lord Duncan’s fleet who had been wounded at Camperdown; applying himself with his accustomed activity to the cure of the sufferers. In 1803, when Great Britain was threatened by Buonaparte with invasion, he made an offer to government for the embodying of a corps of young men to be instructed in military surgery, and in the duties of the camp and hospital, with the view of their being of service in defence of the country. The offer was first accepted, but subsequently declined. He how devoted himself with increased zeal to his practice, which was very extensive, his works and his high character as an operator and consulting surgeon having made his name celebrated not only in Great Britain, but on the continent. In 1805 he married the daughter of Dr. Congalton, a retired physician of Edinburgh, but had no family. Early in 1816 he was thrown from his horse, and seems never to have entirely recovered from the effects of this accident. His constitution was never very strong, and his health having very much declined, he was induced, in the autumn of that year, to travel on the continent. After visiting Paris he proceeded to Italy, and ultimately arrived at Rome, where he died of dropsy, April 15, 1820, in the 57th year of his age. In the course of his last journey he had made notes of his ‘Observations on Italy,’ which were published by his widow after his decease, edited by the late Bishop Sandford of Edinburgh. This work shows that he possessed talents for general literature of a very superior order, which required only cultivation to have made him as eminent in this department as his professional attainments had rendered him distinguished in his own peculiar sphere.

      Mr. Bell was under the middle size, but exceedingly well-proportioned. He was of a generous disposition, lively temperament, and independent character. In the fine arts his tastes had been highly cultivated. His anatomical drawings were remarkable for the correctness and skill with which they were executed. His musical parties were celebrated in their day. Although his income was large, it was not sufficient for his style of living, which demanded an expenditure greater than his resources could at all times meet; hence he was sometimes placed in circumstances of great embarrassment. Endowed with varied talents, and possessing great energy and industry, with uncommon facility in communicating his ideas, and singular acuteness and discrimination in availing himself of all knowledge essential to surgical science, this eminent man had yet little acquaintance with the world, and but small patience with the prejudices which society and the profession continued to retain. Popular and eloquent as a lecturer, he was an entertaining and instructive writer, and an acute and powerful controversialist, though often severe and bitter in his remarks, even beyond his intention and wish.

      The following is a catalogue of his works:

      The Anatomy of the Human Body; vol. i. containing the Bones, Muscles, and Joints. Edin. 1793, 8vo. Vol. ii, containing the Heart and Arteries. Edin. 1797, 8vo. Vol. iii. containing the anatomy of the Brain, Description of the course of the Nerves, and the Anatomy of the Eye and Ear, 1803. Complete edition, with plates by Charles Bell, third edition, 1811, 8vo.

      Engravings, explaining the Anatomy of the Bones, Muscles, and Joints, drawn and engraved by the Author. Edin. 1794. 4to. Second edition, 1804, 4to. 1813, 4to.

      Engravings of the Arteries, illustrating the second volume of the Anatomy of the Human Body, royal 4to, 1801; 3d edition, 8vo. 1810.

      Discourses on the Nature and Cure of Wounds. Edin. 1795, 2 vols. 8vo. 3d. ed. 1812.

      Answer, for the Junior Members of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, to the Memorial of Dr. James Gregory, on the Edinburgh Infirmary. Edin. 1800, 8vo.

      Memorial concerning the Present State of Military Surgery. Edin. 1800, 8vo.

      The Principles of Surgery. Vol. i. of the Ordinary Duties of the Surgeon; containing the Principles of Surgery as they relate to Wounds, Ulcers, and Fistulas; Aneurisms, and Wounded Arteries; Fractures of the Limbs; and the Duties of the Military and Hospital Surgeon; with plates, accurately coloured from Nature. Edin. 1801. 4to. Vol. ii. containing the Operations of Surgery, viz., The Anatomy and Pathology of the Skull and Brain; in the form of Discourses on the Structure and Diseases of the Skull; the Structure and Diseases of the Brain; on Apoplexy, Palsy, Hydrocephalus, Phrenzy, the various species of Fractures of the Skull, and the Operation of Trepan. Edin. 1806, 4to. Vol. iii. being Consultations and Operations on the more important Surgical Diseases, containing a series of Cases, calculated to illustrate chiefly the Doctrine of Tumours, and other irregular parts of Surgery; and to instruct the young Surgeon how to form his Prognosis, and plan his Operations. 37 plates. Edin. 1807, 4to.

      Letters on Professional Character and Manners, on the Education of a Surgeon, and the Duties and Qualifications of a Physician, addressed to James Gregory, M.D. Edin. 1810, 8vo.

      Observations on Italy. Posthumous work, edited by Bishop Sandford of Edinburgh.

BELL, GEORGE JOSEPH, author of ‘Principles of the Law of Scotland,’ and other legal works, a brother of the preceding, was born at Fountainbridge, near Edinburgh, on the 26th of March, 1770. He was educated at Edinburgh, and passed advocate in 1791. He early turned his attention to the study of mercantile law, a department of Scottish jurisprudence at that time almost unregarded. His investigations, however, were not limited to the law of Scotland, as he applied his powerful mind to the thorough investigation of the principles of the mercantile jurisprudence of the empire, the value of which in connection with the growing commercial importance of Great Britain he clearly foresaw. He was perhaps one of the greatest masters of commercial jurisprudence generally that ever lived, and in particular of that department of it relating to the laws of bankruptcy; and the various suggestions for their improvement, contained in his published and unpublished writings (which have in great part been adopted into the legislation of the country), claim the gratitude of posterity. In 1822 he was chosen by the Faculty of Advocates to fill the chair of Scots law in the university of Edinburgh. As a Lecturer on Scots Law he was unsurpassed. His style was terse and lucid in a remarkable degree. In 1823 Mr. Bell was appointed a member of the commission for inquiring into Scottish judicial proceedings. He was selected by his colleagues to draw up their Report; and soon after he was called up to London in order to assist the Committee of the House of Lords in framing the bill. Subsequently he was named member of a commission to examine into and simplify the mode of proceeding in the court of session. The report of this commission was the groundwork of the Scottish Judicature Act, prepared by Mr. Bell, by which many important changes were effected in the forms of process; the Jury Court, as a separate judicature, being abolished, and conjoined with the Court of Session.

      In 1831 Mr. Bell was appointed one of the principal clerks of session, and in 1833 he was named chairman of the Royal Commission to examine into the state of the law in general. About the year 1831 he prepared a bill for the establishment of a Court of Bankruptcy in Scotland, and in his valuable notes accompanying the Bill for this Act he paved the way for the introduction of the Institution of Bankruptcy courts with official assignees in the United Empire, by which already some millions have been saved to the commercial world. He died 23d September, 1843. The following is a list of his works:

      A Treatise on the Laws of Bankruptcy in Scotland. Edin. 1804, 2 vols. 8vo. Enlarged edition, with the title Commentaries on the Laws of Scotland, and on the principles of Mercantile Jurisprudence, considered in relation to Bankruptcy, Compositions of Creditors, and Imprisonment for Dept. Edin. 1810, 4to; fifth edition. 1826, 2 vols. 4to.

      Examination of the Objections stated against the Bill for better regulating the Forms of Process in the Courts of Scotland. Edinburgh, 1825, 8vo.

      Principles of the Law of Scotland, for the use of Students in the University of Edinburgh. Edin., 1829, 8vo. The same. Edin., 1830, 8vo. Fourth edition, Edin., 1839, 8vo.

      Illustrations, from Adjudged Cases, of the Principles of the Law of Scotland. Edin., 1838, 3 vols, 8vo.

      Commentaries on the recent Statutes relative to Diligence or Execution against the moveable Estate; Imprisonment; Cessio Bonorum, and Sequestration in Mercantile Bankruptcy. Edin., 1840, 4to.

BELL, SIR CHARLES, a distinguished surgeon, lecturer, and medical writer, youngest brother of the preceding, and of John Bell the celebrated surgeon, was born in Edinburgh in 1778. He was educated at the High School of his native place, and, while yet a mere youth, he assisted his brother John in his anatomical demonstrations, and lectured to some hundreds of pupils on anatomy. In 1799 he was admitted a member of the College of Surgeons, Edinburgh. In the year previous, he had published the first part of his ‘System of Dissections.’ He was soon afterwards appointed one of the surgeons of the Royal Infirmary, where, throughout all his connection with that hospital, he exhibited remarkable skill as an operator. In 1806 he left Edinburgh for London, the latter being a wider and more promising field for professional exertion. In 1811, he associated himself with Mr. James Wilson, in the Hunterian school of Great Windmill Street, as a lecturer on anatomy and surgery, and afterwards succeeded to it altogether. Here he officiated for some years with great success. In 1814 he was elected one of the surgeons of Middlesex hospital, where, from the first week of his appointment, he delivered clinical lectures, which were spoken of with high approbation in the Medical Gazette, and obtained the spontaneous recommendation of many of the most distinguished physicians and surgeons of the metropolis. This institution he raised to the highest repute, and on retiring from it in 1836, he justly boasted of leaving it with “full wards, and one hundred and twenty thousand pounds in the Funds.”

      Having long been anxious to make himself acquainted with the subject of gun-shot wounds, he twice relinquished his engagements in London, in order to obtain a knowledge of this department of practice. One of those occasions was in 1809, immediately after the battle of Corunna, when the wounded, hurried home in transports, were landed on the southern coasts of England, and the other was after the battle of Waterloo, when he repaired to Brussels. Of the former opportunity he particularly availed himself, and published a useful practical essay ‘On Gun-shot Wounds,’ as an Appendix to his ‘System of Operative Surgery,’ which appeared in two volumes in 1814. On occasion of his professional visit to Brussels, after the battle of Waterloo, he was put in charge of an hospital, and afforded his assistance to no fewer than 300 men. “The drawings,” says Mr. Pettigrew, in his Medical Portrait Gallery, “with which he was thus enabled to enrich his portfolio, have been referred to as the finest specimens of water-colouring in the English anatomical school.” In 1812 he was admitted a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of London. It is related, that on this occasion the examiners asked Mr. Bell, with suitable gravity, what was his opinion of the probable fate of Napoleon Bonaparte; and immediately on receiving his answer, declared themselves satisfied “with the candidate’s proficiency!”

      The most important of his professional studies are those which relate to the ‘Nervous System,’ various papers on which from his pen were inserted in the ‘Philosophical Transactions,’ the first of which appeared in 1821. It was read before the Royal Society, and excited immediate attention. The main views there laid down had been printed in a pamphlet entitled ‘Idea of a New Anatomy of the Brain,’ issued for distribution amongst his friends, in 1811. This was fortunate for Mr. Bell, as various persons, recognising the value of his discovery, soon came forward to claim the merit of it. The discovery was, indeed, a most important one, and is thus explained by the writer of his biography in the National Cyclopaedia: “Before the time of Bell, all nerves were held to be alike in character, and were considered simply to give more or less nervous susceptibility to any organ, in proportion to the numbers in which they were there distributed. Bell discovered, and showed, that the nerves were naturally distinguished among themselves and clearly classified; and that the nerves of sense (whether peculiar or general), and those of motion, were totally distinct in their character and origin. He, in fact, laid bare, for the first time, the great fact of a distinction existing in the nature and quality of the nervous energy, which, before his Discourses, had been all huddled together under one interpretation. As respects the body and spinal marrow, Bell discovered a division of the nerves perfectly analogous to that detected by him in relation to the brain. The common nerves distributed over the animal truck fulfil the two grand functions of giving sensation and motion. On cutting a spinal nerve, the older anatomists found both feeling and motion to be lost by the part which is thence supplied with nervous energy, and they concluded that the nerve carried both qualities conjointly. But Ball looked deeper into the matter; and he was rewarded by the discovery that the two roots, by which the spinal nerves are connected with the vertebral medulla, derive and bear from them different qualities – the anterior root conveying the motor power, and the posterior that of sensation, or the sensor power. Following up his inquiries, he discovered, likewise, the special nerve of respiration, and others with particular qualities, as to which before his time not even a conjecture had been made. Before quitting this subject, in which Bell may be named as a discoverer equal even with Harvey, we ought to point to one of his practical inferences from his own views, which establishes the existence of a sixth sense – that by which we attain our knowledge of distance, size, weight, form, texture, and resistance of objects. Two of his essays, ‘On the Nervous Circle,’ and ‘On the Eye,’ have reference to this theory. The basis of it is, that the nerves of sensation play the part of reporters on the motor nerves, and indicate to the central seats of perception the condition of things within the influence of these nerves, thus forming the sixth or muscular sense.”

      In 1824, he was appointed senior professor of anatomy and surgery in the Royal College of Surgeons, London, and he subsequently became a member of the council. At the request of Lord Brougham, he had written some papers on the animal economy, for ‘The Library for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge,’ which were published in 1828-29, and became deservedly popular, particularly his two dissertations on ‘Animal Mechanics,’ which had formed a portion of his lectures at the London College of Surgeons. He afterwards edited, conjointly with his lordship, the illustrated edition of ‘Paley’s Evidences of Natural Religion,’ published in 1836.

      On the accession of William the Fourth, in 1831, he was one of the five eminent men in science on whom the Guelphic Order of knighthood was conferred, the others being Sir John Herschel, Sir David Brewster, Sir John Leslie, and Sir James Ivory. On the establishment of the London university, now University College, in 1826, the governors of the new institution offered to place Sir Charles at the head of their new medical school. He accordingly delivered the general opening lecture in this section of the college, and followed it by a regular course of characteristic lectures on Physiology. In a short time, however, he gave in his resignation, and confined himself to his practice, which, though very extensive, was chiefly in nervous affections. By his valuable writings, the surgical knowledge of his time was much advanced, and his discoveries on the nervous system gave him a European fame.

      Sir Charles was one of the eight eminent men who were selected to write the celebrated Bridgewater Treatises, On the Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God, as manifested in the Works of Creation; his contribution being on ‘The Hand, its mechanism and vital endowments, as evincing design,’ which was published in 1834. For this work he received the premium of one thousand pounds.

      In 1836 he was elected professor of surgery in the university of Edinburgh, in the room of Dr. Turner, when he removed to Edinburgh, having been absent from that city thirty years. His opening lecture as surgical professor was numerously attended by professional and non-professional men of eminence, and he held that chair with great distinction till his lamented death. The only great work which, in his later years, he was enabled to finish, was a new edition of his ‘Anatomy of Expression,’ largely increased and improved by his observations on an Italian journey undertaken by him in one of the intervals betwixt his sessions at college. Sir Charles died suddenly of an attack of spasms or angina pectoris, to which he was subject, on the morning of April 28, 1842, at Hallow Park, near Worcester, the seat of Mrs. Holland, with whom he and Lady Bell were making a short stay on their way to London. His body was interred on the 2d of May in Hallow churchyard. He was a Fellow of the Royal Societies of London and Edinburgh, and a member of some other learned bodies. He married, in 1811, the second daughter of Charles Shaw, Esq., of Ayr. His wife survived him. – Subjoined is a portrait of Sir Charles:

      The following is a list of Sir Charles Bell’s works:

      A system of Dissections, explaining the Anatomy of the Human Body, the manner of displaying the parts, and their varieties in disease. Plates. Lond. 1798, 2 vols. fol. 2d edit. in fol. illustrated with engravings. 3d edit. 1809, 2 vols. 12mo.

      Engravings of the Arteries, illustrating the two vols. Of the Anatomy of the Human Body, by John Bell, and serving as an introduction to the Surgery of the Arteries. Lond. 1801, 4tp. 3d edit. 1813, 8vo.

      The Anatomy of the Brain explained, in a series of Engravings. Lond. 1802, 4to.

      Essays on the Anatomy of Expression in Painting. Plates. Lond. 1806, 4to. A new and enlarged edition was published after his death, under the title of The Anatomy and Philosophy of Expression as connected with the Fine Arts. Lond., 1844, 8vo.

      A System of Operative Surgery, founded on the basis of Anatomy, vol. i. Lond. 1807, royal 8vo. Vol. ii. 1809, royal 8vo. 3d. edit. 1814, 2 vols. 8vo.

      Idea of a new Anatomy of the Brain, printed for private circulation. 1811.

      Account of the Muscles of the Ureter, with their effects in the irritable states of the Bladder. Med. Chir. Trans. iii. 171. 1812.

      Letters concerning the Diseases of the Urethra. Lond. 1810, 8vo.

      Engravings of Morbid Parts. Lond. 1813, fol.

      Dissertation on Gun-shot Wounds. Lond. 1814, 2 vols. 8vo.

      Anatomy and Physiology of the Human Body. 3 vols. 1816.

      Surgical Observations, a Quarterly Report of Cases in Surgery treated in the Middlesex Hospital. Lond. 1816, 8vo. 4th Quarterly Report. 1817, 8vo. Vol. ii. part i. 1818, 8vo.

      Essay on the Forces which Circulate the Blood, 1819.

      Treatise on the Diseases of the Urethra, &c., 1820.

      Various papers on the Nervous System, which originally appeared in the Philosophical Transactions; commencing in 1821, 4to.

      Illustrations of the Great Operations of Surgery, Trepan, Hernia, Amputation, Aneurism, and Lithotomy. London, 1821, 4to.

      Observations on the Injuries of the spine and of the Thigh Bone, 1824, 4to.

      Exposition of the Natural System of the Nerves of the Human Body, 1824.

      Paley’s Evidences of Natural Religion, edited conjointly with Lord Brougham. London, 1836.

      Institutes of Surgery. Edinburgh, 2 vols, 1838, 12mo.

      Animal Mechanics; contributed to the Library for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.

      Nervous System of the Human Body, 1830, 4to. new and complete edition. Edinburgh, 1836, 8vo.

      Bridgewater Treatise on ‘The Hand, its Mechanism and Vital Endowments, as evincing design.’ London, 1834.

      Practical Essays. Edinburgh, 1841, 8vo.

BELL, HENRY, the first successful applier of steam to the purposes of navigation in Europe, was the fifth son of Patrick Bell, a mechanic, and was born at Torphichan, in the county of Linlithgow, April 7, 1767. He received what little education he ever possessed at the parish school; and in 1780 was sent to learn the art of a stone mason. Disliking this employment, in 1783 he was bound apprentice to his uncle, a millwright in the neighbourhood. He afterwards went to Borrowstoun-ness, to be instructed in ship-modeling; and in 1787 he engaged with Mr. James Inglis, engineer at Bell’s Hill, with the view of completing his knowledge of mechanics. Having subsequently repaired to London, he was for some time employed by the celebrated Mr. Rennie. About the year 1790 he returned to Glasgow, and for several years worked there as a house-carpenter. In 1808 he removed to Helensburgh, nearly opposite Greenock, where, while his wife kept the principal inn, he employed himself chiefly in pursuing a series of mechanical projects and experiments, which generally ended in failure and disappointment; but he at last hit upon the important discovery of the successful application of steam to the purposes of navigation. Dr. Cleland, in his work on Glasgow, states, that it may be said, without the hazard of impropriety, that he “invented” the stem-propelling system, “for he knew nothing of the principles which had been so successfully followed out by Mr. Fulton,” an American engineer, who, on October 3, 1807, launched his first steamboat on the Hudson. In 1811, Bell caused a vessel, forth feet in length, to be build on a plan entirely his own, which was named ‘the Comet,’ that year being remarkable for the appearance of a large comet. He constructed the steam engine himself, and in January 1812, the first trial in Europe of a steam-vessel took place on the river Clyde. Dr. Cleland adds, “After various experiments, the Comet was at length propelled on the Clyde by an engine of three-horse power, which was subsequently increased to six. Mr. Bell continued to encounter and overcome the various and indescribable difficulties incident to invention, till his ultimate success encouraged others to embark in similar undertakings.” Bell himself did not realize any advantages from his discovery. In his old age he would have been in a very destitute condition, had it not been for the liberality of the citizens of Glasgow, and other places, who benevolently came to his aid. A public subscription having been entered into on his behalf, a considerable sum was raised. Besides this, he received from the trustees of the river Clyde an annuity of one hundred pounds, which he enjoyed for several years, and the half of which at his death was continued to his widow. He died at Helensburgh, November 14, 1830.

BELL, THOMAS, the Rev., author of several religious works, and father of James Bell, the geographical writer, was born at Moffat, December 24, 1733. After having studied at the university of Edinburgh, he was in 1767 licensed as a preacher by the presbytery of Relief, and the same year became the minister of the Relief congregation at Jedburgh. In 1777 he obtained the pastoral charge of a congregation in the Relief communion in Glasgow, in which city he died, October 15, 1802. He published in 1780 a work entitled ‘The Standard of the Spirit lifted up against the Enemy coming in like a Flood,’ being the substance of several sermons preached at Glasgow. In 1785 appeared ‘A Proof of the true and eternal Godhead of the Lord Jesus Christ,’ a translation from the Dutch. He likewise translated a work from the Latin, ‘On the Controversies agitated in Great Britain under the unhappy names of Antinomians and Neonomians,’ with notes; which, with ‘Sermons on various important Subjects,’ and ‘A View of the Covenants of Works and Grace,’ were published at Glasgow after his death. He left several works in manuscript.

BELL, JAMES, AN EMINENT GEOGRAPHICAL WRITER, SON OF THE PRECEDING, WAS BORN AT Jedburgh in 1769. In 1777, he removed with his father to Glasgow, where he received a liberal education, and afterwards served his apprenticeship to the weaving business. In 1790 he commenced trade on his own account, as a manufacturer of cotton goods upon a large and respectable scale, and with every prospect of success. In consequence, however, of the mercantile depression that occurred in 1793, Mr. Bell was obliged to give up business; and he subsequently acted for a number of years as a common warper in the warehouses of different manufacturers. About the year 1806 he quitted the warping, and became a teacher of the classics to young men attending the university, which he continued for some years; he himself, with untiring zeal, pursuing at the same time a course of study in various branches, particularly in history, systematic theology, and especially in geography. About the year 1815 he was engaged to edit a new edition of the Glasgow System of Geography, an original work in two volumes, which had met with deserved encouragement, and which was now, by his valuable additions and improvements, extended to five volumes. This afterwards formed the basis of his principal work, ‘A System of Popular and Scientific Geography,’ which was published at Glasgow in six vols. Previous to the latter publication he had brought out ‘Critical Researches in Geography,’ and also an elegant edition of Rollin’s ‘Ancient History,’ copiously illustrated with notes. Besides these works, he had commenced preparing a general gazetteer, upon a new and improved plan. His Gazetteer of England and Wales was in course of publication at the time of his death. He had resided for some years for the benefit of his health at Lukeston, near Campsie, where he died, May 3, 1833.


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