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A NEW AND GENERAL
BRIGIT, or BRIDGET, and by contraction BRIDE, (ST.) a saint of the Romish church, and the patroness of Ireland, flourished in the beginning of the sixth century, and is named in the martyrology of Bede, and in all others since that age. She was born at Fochard in Ulster, soon after Ireland was converted, and took the veil in her youth from the hands of St. Mel, nephew and disciple of St. Patrick. She built herself a cell under a large oak, thence called Kill-dare, or the cell of the oak, and being joined soon after by several of her own sex, they formed themselves into a religious community, which branched out into several other nunneries throughout Ireland, all which acknowledge her for their mother and foundress. Her biographers give no particulars of her life, but what are too much of the miraculous kind for modern readers. Several churches in England and Scotland are dedicated to her, and some in Germany and France, by which we may guess at her past reputation. According to Giraldus Cambrensis, . her body was found, with those of St. Patrick and St. Columba, in a triple vault at Down-Patrick in 1185, and were all three translated to the cathedral of the same city, but their monument was destroyed in the reign of Henry VIII. She is commemorated in the Román martyrology on the first of February. This Brigit was a virgin; but in the Roman calendar we find another Bridgit, a widow, the foundress of the monasteries of the Brigittines, who died July 23, 1373.
BRILL (MATTHEW), an artist of whom very few particulars are mentioned; the most material are, that he was born at Antwerp, in 1550, and learned the rudiments of his art in that city; that he went to study at Rome, and in a very few years manifested so much merit in landscape and history, that Pope Gregory XIII. employed him to work in the Vatican, and allowed him an honourable pension as long as he lived. He died in 1584, aged thirtyfive. 1
BRILL (PAUL), an excellent artist, brother to Matthew Brill, was born at Antwerp, in 1554, but bred to the profession of painting under Daniel Voltelmans. From the time of his quitting that master till he went to Italy, his manner was rather stiff, his pictures had a predominant brown and yellow tinge, and his design and colouring were equally indifferent. But when he visited his brother Matthew at Rome, and saw the works of Titian and Caracci, he altered his Flemish manner entirely, and fixed upon a style that was abundantly pleasing, with a charming tone of colour. The pension and employment which his brother possessed at the Vatican were conferred upon Paul; and he so far surpassed him, that he daily rose in his reputation, till he was considered as the first in his profession. Annibal Caracci generally painted the figures in his landscapes, and by that means increased their value to a very high degree. His manner of painting is true, sweet, and tender; the touchings of his trees are firm, and yet delicate; his scenery, his situations, and distances, are admirable, most of them being taken from nature; and the masses of his light and shadow are strong, and very judicious; though, in some of his small easel-pictures, he may be sometimes accounted rather too green, or at least more greenish than could be wished. It is remarked of him, that, in the latter part of his life, his landscapes were always of a small size; but they are beautiful and exquisitely finished, and frequently he painted them on copper. The genuine works of this eminent master are now rarely to be met with, especially those of the larger size, aud they afford prices that are extremely high in every part of Europe. Sandrart observes, that in his time the pictures of Paul Brill were eagerly coveted in all countries where the polite arts are encouraged; that abundance of pur
chasers appeared at the public sales, ambitious to possess them; and that very large sums of money were given for them whenever they could be procured. And it seems that their intrinsic value is not diminished, since, a very few years ago, one of the landscapes of this master sold in Holland for 160l. and another, at an auction in London, for 120 guineas or upwards, and yet they were deemed to be cheaply purchased. He died in 1626, aged seventy
BRINDLEY (JAMES), a man of a most uncommon genius for mechanical inventions, and who particularly excelled in planning and conducting inland navigations, was born at Tunsted, in the parish of Wormhill, and county of Derby, in 1716. His parents were possessed of a little freehold, the small income of which his father dissipated by a fondness for shooting and other field-diversions, and by keeping company with people above his rank. The consequence of this was, that his son was so totally neglected, that he did not receive the ordinary rudiments of education. The necessities of the family were so pressing, that young Brindley was obliged, as early as possible, to contribute towards its support; and, till he was nearly seventeen years of age, he was employed in those kinds of light labour which are usually assigned, in country places, to the children of the poor. At this period of his life, he bound himself apprentice to one Bennet, a mill-wright, near Macclesfield, in Cheshire, and soon became expert in the business; besides which, he quickly discovered a strong attachment to the mechanic arts in general, and a genius for extending them much farther than they had hitherto been carried. In the early part of his apprenticeship, he was frequently left by himself, for whole weeks together, to execute works concerning which his master had given him no previous instructions. These works, therefore, he finished in his own way; and Mr. Bennet was often astonished at the improvements his apprentice, from time to time, introduced into the mill-wright business, and earnestly questioned him from whence he had gained his knowledge. He had not been long at the trade, before the millers, wherever he had been employed, always chose him again, in preference to the master, or any other workman; and, before the expiration of his servitude, at which Pilkington,-Strutt.-Argenville.-Descamps.
time Mr. Bennet, who was advanced in years, grew unable to work, Mr. Brindley, by his ingenuity and application, kept up the business with credit, and supported the old man and his family in a comfortable manner.
It may not be amiss to mention a singular instance of our young mechanic's active and earnest attention to the improvement of mill-work. His master having been employed to build an engine paper-mill, which was the first of the kind that had been attempted in those parts, went to see one of them at work, as a model to copy after. But, notwithstanding this, when he had begun to build the mill, and prepare the wheels, the people of the neighbourhood were informed by a mill-wright, who happened to travel that road, that Mr. Bennet was throwing his employers' money away, and would never be able to complete, to any effectual purpose, the work he had undertaken. Mr. Brindley, hearing of the report, and being sensible that he could not depend upon his master for proper instruc tions, determined to see, with his own eyes, the mill intended to be copied. Accordingly, without mentioning his design to a single person, he set out, on a Saturday evening, after he had finished the business of the day; travelled fifty miles on foot; took a view of the mill; returned back, in time for his work, on Monday morning; informed Mr. Bennet wherein he had been deficient; and completed the engine, to the entire satisfaction of the proprietors. Besides this, he made a considerable improvement in the press-paper.
Mr. Brindley afterwards engaged in the mill-wright business on his own account, and, by many useful inventions and contrivances, advanced it to a higher degree of perfection than it had formerly attained; so that he rendered himself greatly valued in his neighbourhood, as a most ingenious mechanic. By degrees, his fame began to spread itself wider in the country, and his genius was no longer confined to the particular branch in which he had hitherto been employed. In 1752, he erected a very extraordinary water-engine at Clifton, in Lancashire, for the purpose of draining some coal-mines, which before were worked at an enormous expence. The water for the use of this engine was brought out of the river Irwell, by a subterraneous tunnel, nearly six hundred yards in length, carried through a rock; and the wheel was fixed thirty feet below the surface of the ground. Mr. Brindley's