Bellenden, William

, more generally known by his Latin name of Gulielmus Belendenus, a native of Scotland, was born in the sixteenth century. We find him mentioned by Dempster as humanity professor atParis, in | 1602. He is reported by the Scots to have possessed an eminent degree of favour with James VI. to whom he was master of requests, and “Magister Supplicum Libellortim,” or reader of private petitions, which, it is conceived, must have been only a nominal office, as his more constant residence was in France. By the munificence of that monarch, Bellenden was enabled to enjoy at Paris all the conveniences of retirement. While he continued thus free from other cares, he suffered not his abilities to languish; but employed his time in the cultivation of useful literature. His first work, entitled “Ciceronis princeps,” was printed at Paris in 1608, a work in which he extracted from Cicero’s writings, detached passages, and comprised them into one regular body, containing the rules of monarchical government, and the duties of the prince. To this first edition was prefixed “Tractatus de processu et scriptoribus rei politicae.” “Ciceronis Consul” was the next publication of Bellenden. It appeared also at Paris in 1612, and both were inscribed to Henry prince of Wales. In 1616 was published a second edition, to which was added “Liber de statu prisci orbis,” with a dedication to prince Charles, the surviving brother of Henry. While Bellenden was occupied in the composition of these three treatises, he was so much attracted by the admiration of Cicero, that he projected a larger work, “De Tribus Luminibus Romanorum,” and what he had already written concerning Cicero he disposed in a new order. Death, however, interrupted his pursuit, before he could collect and arrange the materials which related to Seneca and Pliny, but of the time of his death we have no account. The treatises of Bellenden which remain, have been esteemed as highly valuable, and worthy the attention of the learned. They were extremely scarce, but had been much admired by all who could gain access to them. At length they were rescued from their obscure confinement in the cabinets of the curious, by a new edition which appeared at London in 1787, in a form of typography and an accuracy of printing which so excellent an author may jusily be said to merit. It was accompanied with an eloquent Latin preface in honour of three modern statesmen. Dr. Samuel Parr, the author of the preface, and to whom literature is indebted for the restoration of such a treasure, has charged Middleton with having meanly withheld his acknowledgments, after having embellished the life of Cicero | by extracting many useful and valuable materials from the works of Bellenden. This, if we mistake not, had been before pointed out by Dr. Warton in the second volume of his “Essay on Pope.1


Pan’s Introduction. Remarks on the new edition of BeHendenus, 1787, 8vo.