Beccaria, John Baptist

, a monk of the EcolesPies, or Pious Schools, was born at Mondovi, and died at Turin, May 22, 1781. He was professor of mathematics and philosophy, first at Palermo, then at Rome; and by his experiments and discoveries was so successful as to throw great light on natural knowledge, and especially on that of electricity. He was afterwards called to Turin to take upon him the professorship of experimental | philosophy. Being appointed preceptor to the two princes, Benedict duke of Chablais, and Victor Amadscus duke of Ctirignan, neither the life of a court, nor the allurements of pleasure, were able to draw him aside from study. Loaded with benefits and honours, he spared nothing to augment his library, and to procure the instruments necessary for his philosophical pursuits. His dissertations on electricity would have been more useful, if he had been less strongly attached to some particular systems, and especially that of Mr. Franklin. He published, 1. “Experimenta quibus Electricitas Vindex late constituitur, &c.Turin, 1771, 4to. 2. “Electricismo artificiale,1772, 4to, an English translation of which was published at Lond. 1776, 4to. We have also by him an “Essay on the cause of Storms and Tempests,” where we meet with nothing more satisfactory than what has appeared in other works on that subject; several pieces on the meridian of Turin, and other objects of astronomy and physics. Father Beccaria was no less respectable for his virtues than his knowledge. 1