Busching, Anthony Frederic

, an eminent geographer, was born at Stadthagen in Germany in 1724. After having been instructed in the learned languages, mathematics, and astronomy, by M. Hauber, at Copenhagen, he went, in 1744, to study divinity at Halle. In 1746, he published his first work, “An Introduction to the Epistle of St. Paul to the Philippians,” which was followed by his “Lectures” on Isaiah and on the New Testament. Having been employed, in 1748, to superintend the education of the son of count Lynar, he accompanied that nobleman to Petersburgh in 1749, and in the course of this journey planned his new system of geography, for the completion of which he went in 1752 to Copenhagen. Here he edited a periodical work on the state of the arts and sciences in Denmark. In 1759, he accepted the office of extraordinary professor of philosophy at Gottingen, with a salary of 200 rix-dollars to enable him to complete his geography. In consequence of the death of Mosheim, he wished to succeed to the theological chair of Gottingen, but he had so openly avowed the principles of the new German theological school, that he was not only denied the professorship, but ordered afterwards to abstain from lecturing on the subject, or publishing any thing not approved of by the privy council of Hanover. This, however, did not prevent his being appointed professor of philosophy in 1759; and in 1761 he became pastor to a Lutheran congregation at Petersburgh, where he established a public school, sanctioned by Catherine the empress. He had a dispute soon after with his congregation, and removed to Altona. In 1766, he was appointed director of a school at Berlin, where he passed the remainder of his life. He died in 1793, and according to his own desire, was buried in his garden, where he had formerly buried his wife, | In his own delineation of his character, he acknowledges, that though he was candid and open-hearted, affable, ready to assist others, and of a compassionate disposition, he had behaved with harshness to many persons, and on various occasions. He expresses his confidence in * the Supreme Being, his firm faith in the Saviour of the world, and his satisfaction with the dispensations of providence. His temper, he says, was warm, and occasionally irritable; and his firmness had sometimes assumed the appearance of obstinacy; and his quickness had betrayed him occasionally into precipitation. “I am moderate,” says he, “in all things; contented with little, and master of my appetites. In my intercourse with the world I expect too much from myself; I am therefore often dissatisfied with my own conduct; and on that account wish to confine my intercourse within a very narrow circle, and to shun society. I am free from pride, but not void of ambition, though I often struggle with this passion, and on reflection endeavour to suppress it. I am so much attached to labour, that it seems to me a requisite to life, and that my impulse to it is greater than to any sensual pleasure whatever.” Thiebault, in his “Original Anecdotes of Frederic the Great,” assures us that in no country he met with a man whose vanity was equal to that of Busching. “I have heard,” says Thiebault, “of two or three persons in Europe, who said there were, in their time, no more than three great men, Voltaire, Frederic, and themselves. To these persons M. Busching cannot be compared, for he never acknowledged any man to be so great as himself; in short, his excessive vanity rendered him absolutely intolerable.

Busching compiled above an hundred volumes, mostly elementary treatises on geography, history, &c. His system of “Geography,” begun in 1754, formed six quarto volumes, and was often reprinted. An edition was published in English, 1762, also in 6 vols. 4to, but was an unfortunate speculation for the bookseller, He published also a “Magazine of Modern History and Geography,” of which we have seen seventeen 4to. vols. from 1777 to 1788, consisting of a collection of original, authentic, and important papers, most of them in German, but some in French, relating to Portugal, Spain, France, &c. This is perhaps the most useful of his publications, and the | most unobjectionable as it is independent of style, in which he was very deficient. 1


Dict. Hist.Rees’s Cyclopedia.—Thiebault’s Anecdotes, vol. II. p. 137.— Saxii Onomast. vol. VIII.