William Baffin, an English navigator, born in 1584, died in 1622. In 1612 he accompanied James Hall on his fourth arctic expedition, and on his return wrote an account of it, in which a method is laid down for the first time of determining the longitude at sea by an observation of the celestial bodies. In 1613 he explored the coast of Greenland, and wrote a narrative of his voyage. In 1615 Baffin accompanied Robert Bylot as mate on a voyage to the northwest in the Discovery. In the following year he again sailed with Bylot, and on this occasion discovered the bay which has since borne his name. Baffin published an account of both voyages, and gave a very accurate description of the bay. He afterward made voyages to the East, and in 1621 joined an English expedition to the Persian gulf, which united with the Persians to expel the Portuguese, and was killed at Ormuz.
William Barnes, an English poet and philologist, born in Dorsetshire in 1810. His family were farmers, his means of education were limited, and his philological learning was the result of study late in life. He was for a while a teacher in Dorsetshire, became curate of Whitcombe in 1847, and rector of Winter-bourn Came in 1862. He is the author of "Poems in the Dorset Dialect" (1864) and "Poems of Rural Life" (1868). Among his philological and scientific works are: a "Grammar of the Dorset Dialect;" a "Philological Grammar," grounded upon English and formed from a comparison of more than 60 languages; "Tiev, or a View of the Roots and Stems of the English as a Teutonic Tongue;" "An Anglo-Saxon Dilectus;" "Views of Labor and Gold; " and a treatise on linear perspective and the projection of shadows.
William Billings, an American composer, born in Boston, Oct. 7, 1746, died there, Sept. 26, 1800. He forsook the trade of tanner to become a teacher of singing and a composer of psalm tunes, which eventually found their way into every church choir of New England. He published six collections of tunes, which, with a few exceptions, were of his own composition. Though his musical education was very slight, he had a taste in melody, and his tunes became very popular. Many of them were sung and played wherever New England troops were stationed. Billings was an intimate friend of Samuel Adams, who frequently sat with him at church in the singing choir. He is the first American composer of whom there is record.
William Billy (Austin), the reputed natural son of Queen Caroline. He was known as a poor lad of Deptford, near London, who bore a striking resemblance to the queen; and though her majesty was judicially acquitted in 1808 of the charge of being his mother, she insisted upon keeping him near her person. In 1830 he was sent to a lunatic asylum at Milan, and remained there till 1845. Being then brought back to England and subjected to a medical examination at the request of his guardians, the Right Hon. S. Lushington and Sir J. P. Wilde, he was transferred to a private asylum in London.