Beverland, Adrian

, born at Midclleburgh in Zealand, in 1653 or 1654, was a man of genius, but prostituted his talents by employing them in the composition of loose and impious pieces. He took the degree of doctor of law, and became an advocate; but his passion for polite literature diverted him from any pursuits in that way. He was a passionate admirer of Ovid, Catullus, Petronius, and appears to have derived from them that corruption of morals which, more or less, appeared in the whole of his life and writings. Mr. Wood tells us, that Beverland was at the university of Oxford in 1672. In 1675, he published his treatise on original sin. It is entitled “Peccarnm orlginale we Eo%W, sic nuncupaturn philologice problem aticos elncubratum a Tiiemidis alunrmo. Vera redit facies, tiissimuluta pent. Eleutheropali. Extra plateum obscuram, privilegio authoris, absqtie ubi et quan Jo.” At the end of tue book are these words “In horto Hesperidum typis Ad ami Evse Terrae fiiii, 1673.” His design in this piece is to shew, that Adam’s sin consisted entirely in the commerce with his wife, and that original sin is nothing else but the inclination of the sexes to each other. For this he was summoned before the university of Leyden, sent to prison, and his name struck out of the list of students but he was discharged after he had paid a fine, and taken an oath that he would never write again upon such subjects. He then removed to Utrecht, where he led a most dissolute life, and boasted every where of his book, which had beeu burnt at Leyden. His behaviour at length obliged the magistrates to send him notice privately, that they expected he should immediately leave the city. He wrote a severe satire against the magistrates and ministers of Leyden, under the title of “Vox claaiantis in deserto,” which was dispersed in manuscript but finding after this, that it would not be safe for him to remain in Holland, he went over to England, where Dr. Isaac Vossius procured him a pension. His income was inconsiderable, yet he spent the greatest part of it in purchasing scarce books, indecent prints, pictures, medals, and strange shells. He seems afterwards to have repented of his irregular life: and as an atonement, he is | said to have published his treatise “De Fornicatione cavenda,” in 1698. He tells us, in an advertisement prefixed to this book, that it was the result of his repentance and speaks of his loose pieces in the following terms “I condemn the warmth of my imprudent youth I detest my loose style and my libertine sentiments. I thank God, who has removed from my eyes the veil which blinded my sight in a miserable manner, and who would not suffer me any longer to seek out weak arguments to defend this crime. He has likewise inspired me with such a resolution, that I have burnt all that I have written upon this subject, and sent to the rector magniticus of the university of Leyden, the books `De Prostibulis Veterum.' I desire all persons who have procured any manuscript of my writing either privately, or in any other method, to return it to me, that I may burn it myself. And if any person should refuse this, I wish him all the misfortunes which use to happen to one who violates his trust.” Yet, notwithstanding these expressions, his sincerity has been suspected; and it has been alleged, that he wrote this last piece with no other view than to raise the curiosity of mankind, to inquire after the former. After Vossius’s death, he fell into extreme poverty, and incurred universal hatred from the many violent satires which he had written against different persons. Besides this misfortune, his reason began to be affected; and in the year 1712, he wandered from one part of England to another, imagining that two hundred men had confederated together to assassinate him. It is probable that he died soon after; for we hear no more of him from that time. In 1746, twelve Latin letters of Beverland were published, addressed to some learned men of his time; but our authority does not state where this publication made its appearance. While in England, he must at one time have been in some reputation, as sir Godfrey Kneller made a fine portrait of him, dated 1689, which is now in the picture gallery, Oxford. 1


Gen. Dict.Biog. Univ. —Dict. Hist. Morerj. SUxji Onomast. Granger.