Abbildungen der Seite

among the angels, and the seraph Sammael tempted them, and succeeded in leading them to their fall from innocence. According to the Koran, all the angels paid homage to Adam excepting Eblis, who, on account of his refusal, was expelled from Paradise. To gratify his revenge, Eblis seduced Adam and Eve, and they were separated. Adam was penitent, and lived in a tent on the site of the Temple of Mecca, where he was instructed in the divine commandments by the Archangel Gabriel. After two hundred years of separation, he again found Eve on Mount Arafat.

Adobe Houses are dwellings peculiar to Central and South America, Mexico and Texas, made of unburnt brick. They are usually one story high, and their durability is much greater than would be expected, as there are a number now in existence which have been standing for considerably more than a century. The composition of the bricks is loamy earth, containing about twothirds fine sand and one-third clayey dust. This is mixed with water and pressed into the required size in molds, and then taken from the molds and placed on edge on the ground and left to harden in the sun. The adobes are laid with mortar, the same as an ordinary brick, and at the completion of every two feet of the structure an interval of two weeks is allowed for drying, and a similar space of time between the completion of the walls and the putting on of the roof.

Æolian Harp was the invention, it is believed, of Athanasius Kircher, who lived in the seventeenth century, and it is so called from Æolus, the god or ruler of the winds. It is a simple musical instrument, the sounds of which are produced by the vibrations of strings moved by wind. It may be composed of a rectangular box made of thin boards, five or six inches deep and about the same width, and of a length sufficient to extend across the window it is to be set at, so that the breeze coming in can sweep over it. At the top of each end of the box a strip of wood is glued, about a half-inch in height; the strings are then stretched lengthwise across the top of the box, and may be tuned in unison by means of pegs constructed to control their tension, as in the case of a violin. The sounds produced by the rising and falling wind, in passing over the strings, are of a drowsy and lulling character, and have been beautifully described by the poet Thomson as supplying the most suitable kind of music for the Castle of Indolence.

Aerial Navigation.–Pilatre des Rosiers made the first balloon ascension at Paris November 21, 1783. His balloon was inflated with heated air. December 1, 1783, an ascension was made by M. Charles, a Professor of Natural Philosophy, at Paris, and at about the same time successful ascensions were also made by Messrs. Rittenhouse and Hopkins, of Philadelphia, hydrogen gas being used in these instances for inflating purposes. The valve at the top of the balloon, and the hoop attached to the balloon with netting, by which is suspended the car, are the inventions of M.

Charles. In 1785 a successful passage of the English Channel was made by M. Blanchard, the first professional aeronaut, and an American traveler named Dr. Jeffries. The use of ropes for the purpose of steadying balloons was first adopted by M. Gay-Lussac, in 1803. From 1852 to 1884 French, German and American aeronauts labored with degrees of success to improve the method of construction and to invent a means for the propulsion of balloons, and in the latter year Captains Renard and Krebs produced an airship which was considered the crowning effort in this line of invention. This ship was a cigar-shaped balloon, carrying a platform, on which the steering and propelling apparatus was placed. The balloon was made of strong silk and covered with a light netting of cords. It was 197 feet long and 39 feet in diameter. Te the netting was suspended the platform, 131 feet long and 10 feet broad, on the front of which was fixed the propeller, a screw of light, wooden frame-work and air-tight cloth. The rudder was at the rear of the platform. The propeller was driven by electricity, generated by a dynamo, which was in turn driven by stored electricity. The first ascension of this ship fully satisfied the most sanguine expectations of its builders. " It was driven seven miles and back in the space of forty minutes, and obeyed fully every movement of the rudder. During the siege of Paris, in the Franco-German war of 1870–71, ballooning was extensively used by the besieged for communication with the outer world, and also by the besiegers for military purposes, and since that date military ballooning has become an important subject of study and experiment by soldiers.

Æsthetics is a term invented about the middle of the last century by Baumgarten, a Professor of Philosophy in the University of Frankfort-on-the-Oder, to denote the science of the Beautiful, particularly of art, as the most perfect manifestation of the Beautiful. Notwithstanding the fact that the Beautiful was a favorite subject of contemplation among the ancients, Baumgarten is held to be the first who considered the subject from the true scientific point of view, and therefore entitled to be called the founder of the philosophy of art. All sensuous apprehension, not in one form or manifestation only, but in every possible form or manifestation, was included in his view of the subject, and this conception he expressed by the word Æsthetics, from the Greek aisthanomai, I feel-indicating not absolute nor subjective knowledge of things, but such as is conditioned subjectively by the play of our sensibilities. Beauty was, with Baumgarten, the result of the highest and purest aesthetic perception, to the realization of which the finer portion of our nature aspires, and to trace which, through the whole sphere of art, was the work of aesthetic philosophy.

Age of Animals.— The exact age attained by animals other than those domesticated it is of course impossible to ascertain. It is believed, however, among East Indians, that the elephant lives about 300 years, and instances are on record of the animals having been kept in captivity as long as 130 years, their ages being unknown when they were first taken from the forest. Camels live from 40 to 50 years; horses average from 20 to 30, oxen about 20, sheep 8 or 9, and dogs from 12 to 14 years. The age of a whale is ascertained by the size and number of the laminæ of certain organs in the mouth, formed of a horny substance commonly called whalebone. These laminæ increase yearly, and if the mode of computation be correct. it is known that whales have attained to the age of 400 years. Some species of birds attain a great age. The swan has been known to live 100 years, and it is recorded that the raven has exceeded that age. Parrots have been known to live 80 years. Pheasants and domestic poultry rarely exceed 12 or 15 years. Among fishes and animals that live in the water great age is often attained. The carp has been known to live 200 years. Common river trout have been confined in a well 30 and even 50 years; and a pike was caught in 1497 in a lake near Heilbronn, in Swabia, with a brass ring attached to it recording that it was placed in the lake the year 1230.

Ages, The.—The term “Age” is used in mythology to designate various epochs in the civilization of the human race. According to Ovid there were four such Ages, but Hesiod indicates five. The Golden Age, synchronous with the reign of Saturn, was a period of innocence and happiness, of patriarchal simplicity, when the earth yielded its fruits spontaneously, and when spring had no end. The Silver Age, under the rule of Jupiter, was a lawless or voluptuous time, when the seasons were divided, when agriculture assumed the form of a craft, and when men began to hold property in land. The Brazen Age was during the reign of Neptune, and was an epoch of war and violence. The era of Mars was the Heroic Age (omitted by Ovid), and it was filled with adventures, and was also warlike. The Golden Age of Roman literature is reckoned from the time of Livius Andronicus, about 250 years before Christ, to the time of Augustus Cæsar's death, A. D. 14. In English literature we have the Elizabethan Age, when so many eminent scholars and writers lived. Hesiod believed himself to be living in the Iron or Plutonian Age, when justice and piety were no longer upon the earth. This idea of a succession of Ages is so natural that it has inwrought itself into the religious convictions of almost all nations. It is sanctioned by Scripture, for it is symbolically adopted in the Apocalypse to a certain extent; it also manifests itself in the sacred books of the Indians. Modern Philosophy, at least in Germany and France, has also attempted to divide human history into definite Ages or periods. Fichte numbers five, of which he conceives that we are the third; Hegel and Auguste Comte reckon three, placing us in the last.

Agnosticism. According to Herbert Spencer, a celebrated teacher of that school, agnosticism is the belief that the existence of a personal Deity can be neither proved nor disproved, because of the necessary limits of the human mind, or because of the insufficiency of the evidence furnished by psychical or physical data to warrant a positive conclusion. The words “agnosticism” and “agnostic ” are derived from the Greek, signifying simply “not to know.”

Agriculture, Department of.—Previous to February, 1889, the Department of Agriculture was simply a bureau. Shortly before it adjourned, the Fiftieth ('ongress passed a bill making the bureau a Department and the Commissioner of Agriculture a Secretary and a member of the Cabinet. Norman J. Colman, who had been commissioner of the bureau from 1885, was made Secretary of the Department by President Cleveland, and held the position until the advent of the new administration in March, when Jeremiah M. Rusk succeeded by appointment to the position. The duty of the Secretary of Agriculture consists mainly in procuring information concerning agriculture and in compiling agricultural statistics, and publishing the same at intervals in pamphlet form for distribution through the country. He has also the supervision of the purchase and distribution of rare seeds and plants; and the conduct of experiment-farms established by Congress is largely under his direction. Another important duty of the department is the investigation of the diseases of animals and the enforcement of laws against the sale of diseased stock. The salary of the Secretary is the same as that of the other Cabinet officers, i. e., $8,000 per annum.

Alabama Claims were demands made upon Great Britain by the United States for damages caused by the destruction of her shipping by the privateers in the service of the Southern Confederacy which were built, or armed and equipped in and sailed from British ports. The vessel which committed the most depredations upon the United States shipping was the Alabama, which gave its name to the claims. Commissioners appointed by the two Governments, after thirty-four meetings, agreed upon the Treaty of Washington, proclaimed in force July 4, 1871, by which the claims were referred to a Tribunal of Arbitration, to be composed of one arbitrator named by the King of Italy, one by the Emperor of Brazil, one by the President of Switzerland, one by the Queen of Great Britain, and one by the President of the United States. The appointees were, respectively, Count Federigo Sclopis, of Salerano; Baron Itajuba; M. Jaques Staempfli; Sir Alexander Cockburn, Lord Chief Justice; and Charles Francis Adams, Esq. J. C. Bancroft Davis represented the United States as agent, presenting their case to the Tribunal; Lord Tenterden represented England in the same capacity. Their ultimate decision, September 14, 1872, signed by all except Sir Alexander Cockburn, who filed a long, dissenting opinion, was an award of $15,500,000, in gold, to be paid by Great Britain to the United States. The Tribunal sat in Geneva, and hence this is commonly called the Geneva Award. It was paid by Great Britain in 1874.

Alaska was purchased by the United States from Russia in 1867 for $7,200,000 in gold, and was formally taken possession of October 9th of the same year by General Rousseau on behalf of the United States at New Archangel, on the Island of Sitka. With the islands, it comprises 580,107 square miles, or nearly onesixth of the entire area of the United States previous to this purchase. The land abounds in fur-bearing animals; the seas yield fur-bearing seals and others, and fish in immense quantities. Among other important resources of the Territory are lumber and minerals of all kinds. The southwestern part is covered for thousands of miles with dense forests of yellow cedar, white spruce, and balsam fir. Among the valuable minerals, coal has been found at different places along the coast; petroleum, lead, iron and graphite various points; copper, marble and sulphur in great abundance; also gold and silver and valuable stones, such as amethysts, garnets, agates, and carnelians. The climate of the Territory is very severe in the inland districts, but mild along the coast. At Fort Yukon the thermometer sinks as low as seventy degrees below zero in the winter; the summers are short and hot, the winters long and cold. In Southern Alaska the winter climate is the average winter climate of Kentucky, and the summer climate about that of Minnesota. The capital of Alaska is Sitka, and the Territory is governed by a Governor and other necessary officers appointed by the authorities at Washington. The trade of seal-hunting is entirely in the hands of the Alaska ('ommercial Company, who in 1870 secured, by Act of Congress, a monopoly of this business for twenty years. They are not allowed, however, to kill the animals except during certain months in the year, nor more than a specified number annually.

Albigenses.--About the beginning of the thirteenth century various sects of heretics abounded in the south of France, and to these was applied the name Albigenses. The name arose from the circumstance that the district of Albigeois in Languedoc-now in the department of Tarn, of which Albi is the capital-was the first point against which the crusade of Pope Innocent III, 1209, was directed. The immediate pretense of the crusade was the murder of the papal legate and inquisitor, Peter of ('astelnau, who had been commissioned to extirpate heresy in the dominions of Count Raymond VI of Toulouse; but its real object was to deprive the Count of his lands, as he had become an object of hatred from his toleration of the heretics. It was in vain that he had submitted to the most humiliating penance and flagellation from the hands of the legate Milo, and had purchased the papai absolution by great sacrifices. The expedition took by storm Beziers, the capital of Raymond's nephew Roger, and massacred 20,000 of the inhabitants, ('atholics as well as heretics. Simon, Count of Montfort, who conducted the crusade under the legates, proceeded in the same relentless way with other places in the territories of Raymond and his allies. The conquered lands were

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »