Benvenuti, Charles

, an Italian Jesuit, physician, and mathematician of considerable eminence, was born at Leghorn, Feb. 8, 1716. He began his noviciate among the Jesuits at the age of sixteen, but did not take the four vows, according to the statutes of that order, until eighteen years afterwards. He had already published a funeral oration on Louis Ancajani, bishop of Spoleto, 1743, and a species of oratorio, to be set to music, entitled “Cristo presentato al tempio,” but it was neither as an orator or poet that he was destined to shine. He became professor of philosophy at Fermo, and when father Boscovich was obliged to leave Rome to complete the chorographical chart of the papal state, which he published some years afterwards, Benvenuti succeeded him in the mathematical chair of the Roman college, and also resumed his lectures on philosophy in the same college. His first scientific work was an Italian translation of Clairaut’s Geometry, Rome, 1751, 8vo and he afterwards published two works, which gained him much reputation: 1. “Synopsis Physics generalis,” a thesis maintained by one of his disciples, the marquis de Castagnaga, on Benvenuti’s principles, which were those of sir Isaac Newton, Rome, 1754, 4to. 2. “De Lumine dissertatio physica,” another thesis maintained by the marquis, ibid. 1754, 4to. By both these he contributed to establish the Newtonian system in room of those fallacious principles which had so long obtained in that college; but it must not be concealed that a considerable part of this second work on light, belongs to father Boscovich, as Benvenuti was taken ill before he had completed it, and after it was sent to press. After the | expulsion of the Jesuits, there appeared at Rome an attack upon them, entitled “Riflessioni sur Gesuitismo,1772, to which Benvenuti replied in a pamphlet, entitled “Irrefiessioni sur Gesuitismo” but this answer gave so much offence, that he was obliged to leave Rome and retire into Poland, where he was kindly received by the king, and became a favourite at his court. He died at Warsaw, in September, 1789. 1


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