Hendrik Conscience, a Flemish novelist, born in Antwerp, Dec. 3, 1812. His father, a French marine speculator at Antwerp, allowed him to educate himself by eager but irregular reading. In 1829 he became a private teacher, and upon the Belgian revolution of 1830 he volunteered in the army and served six years, reaching the grade of sergeant major. During his service he wrote a number of spirited French songs, and became the popular poet of the army. Being discharged in 1836, he quarrelled with his family, and maintained himself by turns as a working gardener, an employee in the archives of Antwerp, and clerk of the academy of art. At this time a national party was trying to establish a Flemish literature in opposition to the French spirit and the philo-sophical ideas of the 18th century. Conscience joined this movement, and in 1837 brought out his In het Wonderjaer 1566 (" In the Year of Miracles 1566 "), containing a series of brilliant dramatic pictures of the Spanish rule in Flanders. This was received with great popular favor, but his success enraged his father, who renounced him entirely. Through the painter Wappers, however, he obtained a small pension from Leopold I., and was able to continue his literary career.

His Leeuw van Vlaen-deren ("Lion of Flanders ") appeared in 1838, and gave him a national reputation. In 1845 he was appointed assistant professor in the university of Ghent, and subsequently became instructor of the royal children in the Flemish language and literature. In 1847 he was made professor, and in 1857 commissary of the administrative department of Courtrai. In 1870 he gained the prize of literature given every fifth year, by his Bavo en Lieveken, which is considered by some one of his best romances. Conscience has held consistently his purpose of restoring the Flemish idiom, and has discouraged the use of French by his countrymen, although able to use it himself with ease and power. He stands in the front rank of Flemish writers. His historical romances fail in ideal characterization, but are fresh and interesting. He is most successful in his quiet pictures of home life. His works have all been translated into German, and many of them into English, Danish, Italian, and French. Besides the works mentioned above, he has published Phantasia (1837), a collection of Flemish poems and legends; Avonstunde ("Evening Hours, 1839"), and several other graceful sketches of Flemish manners; Geschiedenis van Belgien, an illustrated history gathered from old chronicles (1845); and a number of novels, partly historical, among which may be mentioned Hugo van Craenhoeve (1845), Lanibrecht Hensmans (1846), Jakob van Artevelde (1849), Baes Gansendonch (1850), De arme Edelman and De blinde Rosa (1851), De Boerenkryg (1853), Hlodwig en Clotildis (1854), De Plag der Dorpen (1855), Batavia (1858), Simon Tur-chi and Aurelien (1859), Het yzeren Graf (1860), Bella StocJc (1861), Moederliefde (1862), and De Kerelsvan Vlaenderen (1871). He published his memoirs in the Revue Contemporaine in 1858.