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wishes of a very large and most respectable class of readers, whose opportunities of studying the ponderous tomes of science are as unfrequent as their aspirations after knowledge are ardent. To the literati, I know it can present few attractions; to the man of science it presumes not to offer anything new. But there may be times, when even these may find it convenient to consult a hand-book of reference, so portable and yet so full, if it be merely to refresh the memory on some neglected or forgotten theme.

Dec. 15, 1840.

PREFACE TO THIS EDITION.

S. M.

THIS Edition has been subjected throughout to a careful revision. Antiquated matter has been replaced by new; the various terms and inventions that have come into general use of late years have been defined and described; and, in a word, no pains have been spared to meet the requirements of those classes for whose use this popular digest of SCIENCE, LITERATURE, and ART, was originally compiled.

September, 1853.

VOCALISTS PREFER THE OPEN SOUND OF THE LETTER A, BECAUSE IT IS THE MOST MUSICAL AND MOST CAPABLE OF EXPANSION

THE PROGRESS OF LITERATURE IS THE MOST CERTAIN SIGN OF CIVILIZATION.

THE

SCIENTIFIC AND LITERARY

TREASURY.

AB

A IS the first letter, and the first vowel, of the alphabet in every known language, except the Ethiopic; and is used either as a word, an abbreviation, or a sign. If pronounced open, as in FATHER, it is the simplest and easiest of all sounds; the first, in fact, uttered by human beings in their most infantile state, serving to express many and even opposite emotions, according to the mode in which it is uttered. A has therefore, perhaps, had the first place in the alphabet assigned to it. In the English language it has four different sounds: the broad sound, as in FALL; the open, as in FATHER; the slender, or close, as in FACE; and the short sound, as in FAT. Most of the other modern languages, as French, Italian, German, &c. have only the open, or Italian a, pronounced short or long. Among the Greeks and Romans, A was used as an arithmetical sign: by the former for 1; by the latter for 500; or with a stroke over it for 5,000. The Romans also very extensively used it as an abbreviation; which practice we still retain, as A.M., artium magister; A.D. anno domini, &c.-A, a, or aa, in medical prescriptions, denote ana, or equal parts of each.-A, in music, is the nominal of the sixth note in the diatonic scale; in algebra it denotes a known quantity; in logic, an universal affirmative proposition; in heraldry, the dexter chief, or chief point in an escutcheon; and it is the first of the dominical letters in the calendar.

AA'M, or HAA'M, a Dutch liquid measure, containing about 36 English gallons. AAN'CHE, a name sometimes given to wind instruments with reeds or tongues, as the clarionet, hautboy, &c. AA'NES, in music, the tones and modes of the modern Greeks. AARD VARK, or EARTH PIG, an animal common in Southern Africa, which feeds entirely upon ants, and is remarkable for the facility with which he burrows deep in the earth to avoid his pursuers, and for the instinct he displays in securing his insect prey.

AAVO'RA, a species of palm-tree.

AB, in the Hebrew calendar, the 11th month of the civil year, and the 5th of the

ABA

ecclesiastical. In the Syriac calendar, it is the last of the summer months. The eastern Christians called the first day of this month Suum Miriam, the fast of Mary, and the 15th, on which day the fast ended, Fathr-Miriam.

A'BAB, a sort of militia among the Turks. AB'ACA, a plant, of which there are two species, growing in the Philippine Islands; the white producing lint, of which fine linen is manufactured; and the grey, hemp, which is made into cordage.

ABACINA'RE, a punishment, described by writers of the middle ages, wherein the criminal was blinded, by holding red-hot irons before his eyes.

ABACISCUS, in ancient architecture, the square compartments of Mosaic pave

ments.

AB'ACOT, a cap of state worn in the form of a double crown, used by the ancient kings of England.

ABACTUS, a term used by ancient physicians for a miscarriage.

AB'ACUS, a sort of cupboard or buffet, used by the Romans, and which in times of great luxury was plated with gold.ABACUS, in architecture, the superior member of the capital of a column, to which it serves as a kind of crown. It was originally intended to represent a square tile laid over a basket; and it still retains its original form in the Tuscan, Doric, and Ionic orders; but in the Corinthian and Composite, its four sides or faces are arched inwards, having a rose or some other ornament in the middle.-ABACUS, among ancient mathematicians, was a table strewed over with dust, or sand, on which they drew their figures.ABACUS, in arithmetic, an ancient instrument for facilitating operations by means of counters. Its form is various; but that chiefly used in Europe is made by drawing parallel lines distant from each other at least twice the diameter of a counter; which placed on the lowest line, signifies 1; on the second, 10; on the third, 100; on the fourth, 1000; and so on. In the intermediate spaces, the same counters are estimated at one half of the value of the line immediately superior.-There

LANGUAGE, AS WELL AS THE FACULTY OF SPEECH, IS OF DIVINE ORIGIN.

SO IGNORANT OF ARITHMETICAL SCIENCE WERE THE ROMANS, THAT THE USE OF THE ABACUS WAS THE VERY EXTENT OF THEIR SKILL.

[B

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THE KING OF FRANCE HAD FORMERLY THE RIGHT OF APPOINTING ABBOTS OVER TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIVE MONASTERIES.

THE TROUGH IN WHICH THE ORE IS WASHED IN MINES IS CALLED ABACUS MAJOR.

ABA]

The Scientific and Literary Treasury;

were also other inventions similarly denominated; viz. ABACUS PYTHAGORICUS, a multiplication table, invented by Pythagoras; and ABACUS LOGISTICUS, a rectangled triangle, whose sides, forming the right angle, contain all the numbers from 1 to 60, and its area the products of each two of the opposite numbers. This is also called a canon of sexagesimals.

In justice to the present advanced state of science, and at the same time, as a sincere though feeble tribute to the genius of one of the most scientific men of the

age, we are bound to notice in this place a most extraordinary automatic invention by Mr. Babbage, (infinitely exceeding the powers of the abacus of ancient arithmeticians,) the object of which is to compute and print the most difficult astronomical or navigation tables, &c., such as could not otherwise be effected without immense intellectual and manual labour. We hear that the machine is not yet quite completed, but the inventor asserts, and his assertions are verified by Sir David Brewster and other eminent men, that not only can the highest operations of arithmetic be performed by this stupendous engine, but it is capable of correcting its own errors, and, when corrected, it can print off the results, independent of human aid! By this it appears that the machine consists of two parts, a calculating, and a printing part, both of which are absolutely necessary to its entire perfection. In explaining his mode of accomplishing such great objects, the inventor observes, "that nearly all tables of numbers which follow any law, however complicated, may be formed, to a greater or less extent, solely by the proper arrangement of the successive addition and subtraction of numbers befitting each table" and he then proceeds to shew, by a series of tables and explanations, the theory of his art, as well as the mechanical execution required for its performance. The limits of our work, however, are inadequate to give a fair illustration of so skilful a contrivance, but it may be sufficient to lead the enquiring mind to farther investigation. [We may here remark, en passant, that it is to this end that a book of reference, so extensive in its aim as the present, must of necessity be constantly directed. Wherever, by reason of its brevity, or the magnitude of the subject on which it treats, it cannot enter into the necessary details, it may still excite a laudable curiosity for more elaborate information, and thereby lead to its acquirement.] ABATEMENT, in law, signifies the rejecting a suit, on account of some fault either in the matter or proceeding. ABATEMENT, in heraldry, something added to a coat of arms, in order to lessen its true dignity, and point out some imperfec. tion or stain in the character of the person who bears it. In commerce, ABATEMENT means a discount in the price of commodities for money advanced by the buyer, or some other cause.

AB'ATIS, trees cut down and laid with

[ABB

their branches turned towards the enemy, so as to form a defence for troops stationed behind them.

ABATOR, in law, one who enters into house or lands, void by the death of the last possessor, before the true heir. AB'ATURES, a term, with huntsmen, to denote the sprigs or grass thrown down by the stag in passing by. ABB, or ABB-WOOL, a term used by clothiers for the warp.

AB'BE, a French word, literally meaning an abbot; but the character generally spoken of under the name of abbé has long ceased to be of any official nature. Before the Revolution, the term abbé designated a very numerous body of persons, who had little or no connexion with the church, except the apparent one which they derived from this title, but who followed a course of theological study, in hopes that the king would confer on them a real abbey, that is, a part of the revenues of a monastery. They were engaged in every kind of literary occupation, and exerted an important influence on the character of the country; nor was there scarcely a family of distinction in France wherein an abbé was not found in the capacity of a familiar friend and spiritual adviser. AB'BESS, the superior of a nunnery, or other religious community of women. She has the same authority as an abbot, but cannot exercise any of the spiritual functions. AB'BEY, a religious house governed by a superior, under the title of an abbot or abbess. Abbeys differ in nothing from priories, except that the latter are governed by priors, instead of abbots. The abbeys of England, at their dissolution under Henry VIII., became lay-sees; when no less than 190 were dissolved, the yearly revenue of which has been estimated at 2,853,0001.; an almost incredible sum, con. sidering the value of money in those days. At present, an abbey is, in general, the cathedral or episcopal church of the see or diocese in which it stands.

AB'BOT, was originally the name of every aged monk; but, since the 8th century, it denotes the head of a monastery. In most countries they held a rank next to that of bishop, and had votes in the ecclesiastical councils. At present they are chiefly distinguished into regular and commendatory; the former being real monks or religious, and the latter only seculars or lay-men. These last, notwithstanding that the term commendam seems to signify the contrary, have the perpetual enjoyment of the fruits of their abbeys. Anciently the ceremony of creating an abbot consisted in clothing him with the habit called caculla, or cowl: putting the pastoral staff into his hand, and the shoes called pedales, on his feet; but at present, it is only a simple be nediction. It was because certain abbots and priors in England, in right of their monasteries, held lands of the crown, for which they owed military service, that they obtained the title of LORDS, and were summoned, as barons, to parliament; and

THE IDLE INMATES OF A MONASTERY ARE DESIGNATED ABBEY-LUBBERS.

SOME PROTESTANT CLERGYMEN, IN GERMANY, STILL BEAR THE TITLE OF ABBOT, WITH THE RIGHT OF SITTING IN THE DIET OF THE STATES.

THE ABDUCTOR OCULI IS ONE OF THE MUSCLES ARISING FROM THE ORBIT OF THE EYE, AND 18 SOMETIMES CALLED THE SCORNFUL MUSCLE.

ABE]

BY THE JEWISH LAW, ABDUCTION IS CONSIDERED A CAPITAL OFFENCE.

A New Dictionary of the Belles Lettres.

from this custom the bishops, in modern times, have the same honour.

ABBREVIATION, a contracted manner of writing words so as to retain only the initial letters. Such abbreviations were in common use with the Romans, as they are with us, to save time and space. [For a complete list of those most necessary to be known at present, we refer to "The Treasury of Knowledge."]-ABBREVIA TION, a mathematical term, given to the process by which a fraction is reduced to lower terms. ABBREVIATION, (in musie.) One dash, through the stem of a minim or crotchet, or under a semibreve, converts it into as many quavers as it is equal to in time: two dashes into semiquavers; three into demisemiquavers; and so When minims are connected together like quavers, semiquavers, &c., they are to be repeated as many times as if they were really such notes. An oblique dash through the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th lines after an arpeggio, signifies that it is to be repeated; for quavers, a single dash being used; for semiquavers, a double one; and so on.

on.

ABBREVIATORS, officers who assist the vice-chancellor in drawing up the Pope's briefs, and reducing petitions into proper form, to be converted into bulls.

ABDICATION, properly speaking, is a voluntary resignation of a dignity, particularly a regal one; and if he in whose favour the abdication was made, dies, or declines the offered dignity, the right of the abdicated prince is reverted. Involuntary resignations are, however, also termed abdications, as in the case of Napoleon's abdication at Fontainbleau.

ABDITA'RIUM, or ABDITO'RUM, in archæology, a secret place for hiding or preserving valuables.

ABDOMEN, that part of the body usually called the belly. It contains the viscera more or less immediately connected with digestion, and the kidneys which secrete the urine. By anatomists, the abdomen is divided into three anterior regions, viz. the epigastric, or upper one; the umbilical, or middle one; and the hypogastric, or lower one: there is also one posterior region, called regio lumbaris.

ABDOMINALES, a numerous order of fishes, which have the ventral fins placed behind the pectoral, in the abdomen; as salmon, trout, herrings, carp, sprats, &c. It includes the greatest number of the fresh-water species.

ABDUCTION, the crime of unlawfully taking away, either by force or fraud and persuasion, the person of another, whether of child, wife, ward, heiress, or woman generally. The word abduction is also used in surgery, to express a peculiar fracture of the bones.

ABDUCTOR, in anatomy, a name given to several muscles on account of their serving to open or draw backwards the parts into which they are inserted.

ABELIANS, or A'BELITES, a Christian sect which sprang from the Gnostics. They abstained from matrimony, but

[ABO

adopted the children of others, and brought them up in their own principles.

ABELMOS'CHUS, the seed of an Egyptian plant, which resembles musk in its perfume, and is used by the Arabians in their coffee. ABERRATION, in astronomy, an apparent motion of the fixed stars, occasioned by the progressive motion of light. ABERRATION, in optics, the deviation of the rays of light, when reflected by a lens or speculum, whereby they are prevented from meeting in the same point. Aberrations are of two kinds, one arising from the figure of the reflecting body, the other from the unequal refrangibility of the rays themselves. ABEY'ANCE, in law, the expectancy of an estate or possession: thus, if lands be leased from one person for life, with reversion to another for years, the latter estate is in abeyance till the death of the lessee. It is a fixed principle of law, that the feesimple of all lands is in somebody, or else in abeyance. ABJURATION, a forswearing, or renouncing by oath in the old law it signi fied a sworn banishment, or an oath taken to forsake the realm for ever. In its modern, and now more usual signification, it extends to persons, and doctrines, as well as places.

ÁBLACTATION, a sort of ingrafting trees, by leaving the graft on its proper stock, until it be fully incorporated with the new stock. Also, the weaning a child from the breast.

ABLECTI, in ancient Rome, a chosen band of foreign troops, selected from the extraordinarii sociorum.

ABLEG'MINA, in Roman antiquity, choice parts of the entrails of victims, called also proficiæ, porriciæ, prosecta, and prosegmina. The ablegmina were sprinkled with flour, and burnt on the altar; the priests pouring some wine on them. AB'LUENTS, diluting medicines, or such as dissolve and carry off impurities from any part of the body. ABLUTION, a religious ceremony of washing the body, still used by the Turks and Mahomedans. It originated in the obvious necessity of practising cleanliness, for the prevention of diseases in hot countries; for which purpose it was made a religious rite; and by an easy transition of idea, the purity of the body was made to typify the purity of the soul: an idea the more rational, as it is perhaps physically certain that outward wretchedness debases the inward mind. ABLUTION, among physicians, is used either for washing the external parts of the body by baths; or deterging the bowels by thin diluting fluids. ABOL'LA, a kind of military garment worn by the Greek and Roman soldiers. ABOMA'SUS, the paunch, or fourth stomach of ruminating animals, in which the process of digestion is completed. Ruminating animals, or such as chew the cud, have four stomachs; the first, is called

THE ROMISH CHURCH RETAINS ABLUTION BEFORE MASS, AND SOMETIMES AFTER.

FORMERLY, FELONS TAKING REFUGE IN A CHURCH MIGHT ESCAPE PUNISHMENT, BY CONFESSING THEIR GUILT AND ABJURING THE REALM.

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