Bessel, Godfrey De

, a learned abbé of the convent of Benedictines of Gottvvich, in Austria, was born Sept. 5, 1672, at Buchheim in the electorate of Mentz. LothaireFrancis, archbishop of Mentz, of the family of the counts of Schoenborn, employed him in divers embassies at Rome, Vienna, and Wolfenbuttel, and admitted him of his privy council. In 1714 he was chosen abbé of Gottwich, and in 1720, the emperor Charles VI. sent him to Kempten to accommodate some differences which had arisen there. His convent having been destroyed by fire in 17 18, he succeeded in saving the library, and afterwards having rebuilt the convent with great magniticence, he enriched the library with a great many manuscripts and rare books, being an ardent lover of literature and learned men, and himself very learned in history and diplomacy. The “Chronicon Gottwicense, pars prima et secunda,” Tegernsée, 1732, fol. has been, often attributed to him, but there is reason to think that Francis Joseph de Hahn, afterwards bishop of Bamberg, was the real author. Bessel speaks of him in the preface as his coadjutor. It contains a great number of diplomas granted by the emperors from Conrad I. to Frederick II. whose seals and arms are very accurately engrayed, and throws so much light on the public law of Germany, that many writers have not scrupled to equal it to father Mabillon’s work “De re diplomatica,” Bessel also published St. Augustine’s letters to Optatus, “De pœnis parvulorum qui sine baptismate decedunt,Vienna, 1733. He died Jan. 20, 1749. 2


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