Part 40 out of 53
PLOTINUS, an Alexandrian philosopher of the Neo-Platonic school,
born at Lycopolis, in Egypt; he taught philosophy at Rome, a system in
opposition to the reigning scepticism of the time, and which based itself
on the intuitions of the soul elevated into a state of mystical union
with God, who in His single unity sums up all and whence all emanates,
all being regarded as an emanation from Him (207-270).
PLUGSTON OF UNDERSHOT, Carlyle's name in "Past and Present" for a
member or "Master-Worker" of the English mammon-worshipping manufacturing
class in rivalry with the aristocracy for the ascendency in the land, who
pays his workers his wages and thinks he has done his duty with them in
so doing, and is secure in the fortune he has made by that cash-payment
gospel of his as all the law and the prophets, called of "Undershot," his
mill being driven by a wheel, the working power of which is hidden
unheeded by him, to break out some day to the damage of both his mill and
PLUMPTRE, EDWARD HAYES, distinguished English divine and scholar,
born in London; was Dean of Wells; as a divine he wrote commentaries on
books of both the Old and New Testaments, and as a scholar executed able
translations in verse of Sophocles, AEschylus, and the "Commedia" of
Dante, the last perhaps his greatest and most enduring work (1821-1891).
PLUNKET, LORD, Chancellor of Ireland, born in Ireland, bred to the
bar; entered the Irish House of Commons; opposed the Union with Great
Britain; after the Union practised at the bar, and held legal
appointments; was made a peer, and materially aided the Duke of
Wellington in the House of Lords in carrying the Catholic Emancipation
Bill of 1829 (1764-1854).
PLUTARCH, celebrated Greek biographer and moralist, born at
Chaeronea, in Boeotia; studied at Athens; paid frequent visits to Rome,
and formed friendships with some of its distinguished citizens; spent his
later years at his native place, and held a priesthood; his fame rests on
his "Parallel Lives" of 46 distinguished Greeks and Romans, a series of
portraitures true to the life, and a work one of the most valuable we
possess on the illustrious men of antiquity, and an enduring memorial of
PLUTO, god of the nether world, son of Kronos and Rhea, brother of
Zeus and Poseidon, and husband of Persephone; on the dethronement of
Kronos the universe was divided among themselves by the three brothers,
Zeus assuming the dominion of the upper world and Poseidon that of the
ocean, leaving the nether kingdom to him, a domain over which and forth
of which he ruled with a greater and more undisputed authority than the
other two over heaven, earth, and sea.
PLUTONIC THEORY, the theory that unstratifled rocks were formed by
fusion in fire.
PLUTUS, the god of riches, son of Jason and Demeter. Zeus is said to
have put out his eyes that he might bestow his gifts without respect to
merit, that is, on the evil and the good impartially.
PLYMOUTH (87), the largest town in Devonshire, stands on the N.
shore of Plymouth Sound, 250 m. W. of London by rail; adjacent to it are
the towns of Stonehouse and Devonport. Among the chief buildings are a
Gothic town-hall, a 15th-century church, and a Roman Catholic cathedral.
The chief industry is chemical manufactures. There is a large coasting
and general trade, and important fisheries. Many sea-going steamship
companies make it a place of call. The Sound is an important naval
station, and historically famous as the sailing port of the fleet that
vanquished the Armada.
PLYMOUTH BRETHREN, an anti-clerical body of Christians, one of the
earliest communities of which was formed in Plymouth about 1830; they
accept, along with Pre-Millenarian views, generally the Calvinistic view
of the Christian religion, and exclude all unconverted men from their
communion, while all included in the body are of equal standing, and
enjoy equal privileges as members of Christ. They appear to regard
themselves as the sole representatives in these latter days of the Church
of Christ, and as the salt of the earth, for whose sake it exists, and on
whose decease it and its works of darkness will be burnt up. They are
known also by the name of Darbyites, from the name of one of their
founders, a barrister, John Nelson Darby, an able man, and with all his
exclusiveness a sincere disciple of Christ (1800-1882).
PNEUMONIA, name given to acute inflammation of the lungs.
PO, the largest river in Italy, rises 6000 ft. above sea-level in
the Cottian Alps, and after 20 m. of rocky defiles emerges on the great
Lombardy plain, which it crosses from W. to E., receiving the Ticino,
Adda, Mincio, and Trebbia, tributaries, and enters the Adriatic by a
rapidly growing delta. Its total course is 360 m.; the width and volume
of its stream make it difficult to cross and so a protection to all
Italy. The chief towns on its banks are Turin, Piacenza, and Cremona.
POCAHONTAS, the daughter of an Indian chief in Virginia, who
favoured the English settlers there, saving the life of Captain Smith the
coloniser, and afterwards married John Rolfe, one of the settlers; came
to England, and was presented at Court; several Virginian families trace
their descent to her.
POCKET BOROUGH, a borough in which the influence of some magnate of
the place determines the voting at an election time, a thing pretty much
of the past.
POCOCK, EDWARD, English Arabic and Hebrew scholar, born at Oxford,
and occupied both the chairs of Arabic and Hebrew there, and left works
in evidence of his scholarship and learning in both languages, quite
remarkable for the time when he lived (1604-1691).
POCOCKE, RICHARD, English prelate, born at Southampton; travelled
extensively, particularly in the East; wrote a description of the
countries of the East and of others, among them "Tours In Scotland" and a
"Tour in Ireland," all deemed of value (1704-1765).
PODESTA, the name given to the chief magistrate of an Italian town,
with military as well as municipal authority; he was salaried, and
annually elected to the office by the council, and had to give an account
of his administration at the end of his term.
PODIEBRAD, GEORGE, king of Bohemia; rose, though a Hussite, and in
spite of the Pope, from the ranks of the nobles to that elevation; forced
his enemies to come to terms with him, and held his ground against them
till the day of his death (1420-1471).
POE, EDGAR ALLAN, an American poet, born in Boston, Massachusetts; a
youth of wonderful genius, but of reckless habits, and who came to an
unhappy and untimely end; left behind him tales and poems, which, though
they were not appreciated when he lived, have received the recognition
they deserve since his death; his poetical masterpiece, "The Raven," is
well known; died at Baltimore of inflammation of the brain, insensible
from which he was picked up in a street one evening (1809-1849).
POERIO, CARLO, Italian patriot; was conspicuous in the revolutionary
movement of 1848; was arrested and banished, but escaped to England,
where he was received with sympathy by Mr. Gladstone among others; he
rose into power on the establishment of the kingdom of Italy (1803-1867).
POET LAUREATE, the English court poet, an office which dates from
the reign of Edward IV., the duty of the holder of it being originally to
write an ode on the birthday of the monarch.
POETICAL JUSTICE, ideal justice as administered in their writings by
POETRY, the gift of penetrating into the inner soul or secret of a
thing, and bodying it forth rhythmically so as to captivate the
imagination and the heart.
POET'S CORNER, a corner in the SW. transept of Westminster Abbey, so
called as containing the tombs of Chaucer, Spenser, and other eminent
POGGENDORF, JOHANN CHRISTIAN, a German physicist and chemist, born
at Hamburg; professor of Physics at Berlin; was the editor for more than
half a century of the famous _Annalen der Physik und Chimie_, and the
author of numerous papers (1796-1877).
POGGIO, BRACCIOLINI, an Italian scholar, born in Florence, was a
distinguished humanist, and devoted to the revival of classical learning,
collecting MSS. of the classics wherever he could find them that might
otherwise have been lost, including Quintilian's "Institutions," great
part of Lucretius, and several orations of Cicero, &c.; wrote a "History
of Florence," where he died; he was the author of a collection of stories
and of jests in Latin at the expense of the monks (1380-1459).
POINT DE GALLE (33), a town on a promontory in the SW. of Ceylon,
with a good harbour, and the great port of call for the lines of steamers
in the Eastern waters.
POISSON, SIMEON-DENIS, a celebrated French mathematician, born at
Pithiviers; was for his eminence in mathematical ability and physical
research raised to the peerage; wrote no fewer than 300 memoirs
POITIERS (34), the capital of the dep. of Vienne, 61 m. SW. of
Tours; has a number of interesting buildings, a university and large
library; in its neighbourhood Clovis defeated Alaric II. in 507, Charles
Martel the Moors in 732, and the Black Prince the troops of King John in
POITOU, formerly a province in France, lying S. of the Loire,
between the Vienne River and the sea; passed to England when its
countess, Eleanor, married Henry I., 1152; was taken by Philip Augustus
1205, ceded to England again 1360, and retaken by Charles V. 1369.
POLA (31), the chief naval station of Austria, 73 m. S. of Trieste,
in the Adriatic; the harbour is both spacious and deep; was originally a
Roman colony, and a flourishing seat of commerce.
POLAND, formerly a kingdom larger than modern Austro-Hungary, with a
population of 24 millions, lying between the Baltic and the Carpathians,
with Pomerania, Brandenburg, and Silesia on the W., and the Russian
provinces of Smolensk, Tchernigoff, Poltava, and Kherson on the E.; the
Dwina, the Memel, and the Vistula flowed through its northern plains; the
Dnieper traversed the E., the Dniester and the Bug rose in its SE.
corner. The country is fertile; great crops of cereals are raised; there
are forests of pine and oak, and extensive pasture lands; vast salt-mines
are wrought at Cracow; silver, iron, copper, and lead in other parts.
Poland took rank among European powers in the 10th century under
Mieczyslaw, its first Christian king. During the 12th and 13th centuries
it sank to the rank of a duchy. In 1241 the Mongols devastated the
country, and thereafter colonies of Germans and Jewish refugees settled
among the Slav population. The first Diet met in 1331, and Casimir the
Great, 1333-1370, raised the country to a high level of prosperity,
fostering the commerce of Danzig and Cracow. The dynasty of the Jagellons
united Lithuania to Poland, ended two centuries' contest with the
Teutonic knights, and yielded to the nobles such privileges as turned the
kingdom into an oligarchy and elective monarchy. At the time of the
Reformation Poland was the leading power in Eastern Europe. The new
doctrines gained ground there in spite of severe persecution. Warsaw
became the capital in 1569. The power and arrogance of the nobles grew;
the necessity for unanimity in the votes of the Diet gave them a weapon
to stop all progress and all correction of their own malpractices.
Sigismund III. made unsuccessful attempts to seize the crowns of Russia
and Sweden. In the middle of the 17th century a terrible struggle against
Russia, Sweden, Brandenburg and the Cossacks ended in the complete defeat
of Poland, from which she never recovered. Wars with the Turks,
dissensions among her own nobles, quarrels at the election of every king,
the continuance of serfdom, and the persecution of the adherents of the
Greek Church and the Protestants, rendered her condition more and more
deplorable. Austria, Russia, and Prussia began to interfere in her
affairs. She was unfortunate in her choice of kings, and in the second
half of the 18th century she was without natural boundaries, and
Frederick the Great started the idea of partition. The first seizure of
territory by the three interfering powers took place in 1772. A movement
for reform reorganised the Diet, improved the condition of the serfs,
established religious toleration, and promulgated a new constitution in
1781; but a party of unpatriotic nobles resented it, and laid the country
open to a second seizure of territory by Prussia and Russia in 1793. The
Poles now made a desperate stand under Kosciusko, but their three
powerful neighbours were too strong, and the final partition of Poland
between them took place in 1795. The Congress of Vienna rearranged the
division in 1815, and reconstituted the Russian portion as a kingdom,
with the Czar as king; but discontent broke into rebellion, and led to
the final repression of independence in 1832.
POLDERS, low marshy lands in Holland and Belgium, drained and
reclaimed from sea or river; they form an important part of the former,
and are conspicuous from the verdure they display; they include nearly
150 acres of good land, the largest being that of Haarlem Meer, which is
70 square miles in extent, and was drained by steam.
POLE, the name given to the extremities of the imaginary axis of the
earth, round which it is conceived to revolve.
POLE, REGINALD, cardinal, archbishop of Canterbury, born at Stourton
Castle, Staffordshire, of royal blood; studied at Oxford; took holy
orders, and was appointed to various benefices by Henry VIII., who held
him in high favour; but he opposed the project of divorcing Catherine,
and was driven from the royal presence and deprived of his power; but
elected to the cardinalate by the Pope, he tried to return after Henry's
death, but was not received back till Mary's accession, when he came as
Papal legate, and was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury after the death
of Cranmer, whom he refused to supersede as long as he lived; he was not
obsequious enough to the Pope, and his legation was cancelled; the
Queen's illness accelerated his own end, and he died the day after her;
he has been charged with abetting the Marian persecution, but it is
highly questionable how far he was answerable for it (1506-1558).
POLE-STAR or POLARIS, a star in the northern hemisphere, in
Ursa Minor, the nearest conspicuous one to the N. pole of the heavens,
from which it is at present 11/2 deg. distant; a straight line joining the two
"pointers" in Ursa Major passes nearly through it.
POLIGNAC, DUC DE and DUCHESS DE, husband and wife; were
chargeable with the extravagances of the court of Louis XVI., and were
the first to emigrate at the outbreak of the Revolution, the former dying
in 1817 and the latter in 1793.
POLIGNAC, PRINCE DE, French statesman, born at Versailles, of an old
noble family, prime minister of Charles X., to whose fall he contributed
by his arbitrary measures; in attempting flight at the Revolution was
captured and sentenced to death, which was converted into banishment; he
was allowed to return at length (1780-1847).
POLITIAN, ANGELO, eminent Italian scholar, born in Tuscany; was
patronised by Lorenzo de' Medici, was made professor of Greek and Latin
at the university of Florence, his fame in which capacity drew to his
class students from all parts of Europe; he did much to forward the
Renaissance movement, and was distinguished as a poet no less than as a
scholar; he became a priest towards the close of his life (1454-1494).
POLITICAL ECONOMY, the name given to the modern _soi-disant_ science
concerned with the production, distribution, and exchange of wealth,
against the relevancy of which to the economics of the world Ruskin has,
for most part in vain, during the last forty years emitted a scornful
protest, affirming that this is "mercantile" and not "political economy
at all," which he insists is the "economy of a state or of citizens,"
consisting "simply in the production and distribution at fittest time and
place of useful or pleasurable things ... a science which teaches nations
to desire and labour for the things that lead to life, and to scorn and
destroy those that lead to destruction ... though, properly speaking, it
is neither an art nor a science, but a system of conduct and legislature,
founded on the sciences, directing the arts, and impossible, except under
certain conditions of moral culture," with which last, however, the
modern political economists maintain their science has nothing whatever
POLIZIANO. See POLITIAN.
POLK, JAMES KNOX, eleventh President of the United States, of Irish
descent; admitted to the bar in 1820, entered Congress in 1825, became
President in 1844, his term of office having been signalised by the
annexation of Texas and California (1795-1849).
POLLIO, CAIUS ASINIUS, orator, historian, and poet, born at Rome;
sided with Caesar against Pompey, and after the death of the former with
Antony; was a patron of letters and the friend of Virgil and Horace, both
of whom dedicated poems to him; he was the first to establish a public
library in Rome (76 B.C. to A.D. 4).
POLLOCK, SIR EDWARD, an eminent English judge, born in London,
contemporary of Brougham, a Tory in politics, represented Huntingdon, was
twice over Attorney-General, became Chief Baron of the Exchequer in 1844,
and made a baronet on his retirement from the bench (1783-1870).
POLLOCK, SIR GEORGE, field-marshal, born at Westminster, brother of
the preceding; distinguished himself in Nepal and the Afghan War, in the
latter forced the Kyber Pass, defeated Akbar Khan, and relieved Sir
Robert Sale, who was shut up in Jelallabad (1786-1872).
POLLOK, ROBERT, Scottish poet, born in Renfrewshire; bred for the
Secession Church, wrote one poem, "The Course of Time," in 10 books, on
the spiritual life and human destiny, which was published when he was
dying of consumption, a complaint accelerated, it is believed, by his
studious habits (1799-1827).
POLLUX, the twin brother of Castor (q. v.).
POLO, a game similar to hockey, played on horseback with mallets,
and devised by British officers in India in place of football.
POLO, MARCO, a celebrated traveller, born in Venice of a noble
family in 1271; accompanied his father and uncle while a mere youth to
the court of the Great Khan, the Tartar emperor of China, by whom he was
received with favour and employed on several embassies; unwilling to part
with him the emperor allowed him along with his father and uncle to
escort a young princess who was going to be married to a Persian prince
on the promise that they would return, but the prince having died before
their arrival, and deeming themselves absolved from their promise by his
death, they moved straight home for Venice, where they arrived in 1295,
laden with rich presents which had been given them; having fallen into
the hands of the Genoese in a hostile expedition, Marco was put in
prison, where he wrote the story of his adventures, originally in French
it would seem, which proved to be the first account that opened up to
wondering Europe the magnificence of the Eastern world (1255-1323).
POLYANDRY, the name given to a form of polygamy met with among
certain rude races, under which a woman is united and lives in marriage
to several husbands.
POLYBIUS, a Greek historian, born at Megalopolis, in Arcadia; sent
to Rome as a hostage, he formed an intimate friendship with Scipio
AEmilianus, who aided him in his historical researches, and whom he
accompanied to Africa on the expedition which issued in the destruction
of Carthage, after which he returned to Greece and began his literary
labours, the fruit of which was a history of Greece and Rome from 220 to
146 B.C. in 40 books, of which 5 have come down to us complete, a work
characterised by accurate statement of facts and sound judgment of their
import, written with a purpose to instruct in practical wisdom; he has
been called "the first pragmatical historian" (204-122 B.C.).
POLYCARP, bishop of Smyrna, one of the early Fathers of the Church,
a disciple of the Apostles and in particular of St. John; was for nearly
70 years bishop, and suffered martyrdom for refusing to renounce Christ,
"after having served Him," as he said, "for 86 years"; of his writings
the only one extant is an "Epistle to the Philippians," the genuineness
of which, at one time questioned, is now established, and is of value
chiefly in questions affecting the canon of Scripture and the origin of
POLYCRATES, the tyrant of Samos, and friend of Anacreon and art and
literature generally; formed an alliance with Amasis, king of Egypt, who,
struck with his prosperity, ascribed it to the envy of the gods,
insinuating that they intended his ruin thereby, and advised him, in
order to avert his impending doom, to throw the most valuable of his
possessions into the sea, upon which he threw a signet ring of great
price and beauty, to find it again in the mouth of a fish a fisherman had
sold him; still, though upon this Amasis broke alliance with him, his
prosperity clung to him, till one day he was allured by a Persian satrap,
his enemy, away from Samos, and by him crucified to death, 521 B.C.
POLYGNOTUS, an early Greek painter, born in Thasos, and settled in
Athens 463 B.C.; is considered the founder of historical painting, and
is praised especially by Aristotle, who pays a high tribute to him; was
the first to attempt portrait-painting and exhibit character by his art.
POLYHYMNIA, one of the nine MUSES (q. v.); she is
represented as in a pensive mood, with her forefinger on her mouth; she
was the inventress of the lyre and the mother of Orpheus.
POLYNESIA is the collective name of all the islands of the Pacific
of coral or volcanic origin. These South Sea islands are scattered,
isolated, or more usually in groups over a stretch of ocean 7000 m. from
N. to S. and 6000 from E. to W.; with the exception of the two chief
members of the New Zealand archipelago they are mostly small, and exhibit
wonderful uniformity of climate; the temperature is moderate, and where
there are any hills to intercept the moisture-laden trade-winds the
rainfall is high; they are extremely rich in flora; characteristic of
their vegetation are palms, bread fruit trees, and edible roots like yams
and sweet potatoes, forests of tree-ferns, myrtles, and ebony, with
endless varieties of beautiful flowering plants; their fauna is
wonderfully poor, varieties of rats and bats, a few snakes, frogs,
spiders, and centipedes, with the crocodile, being the chief indigenous
animals; the three divisions of Polynesia are Micronesia, comprising five
small archipelagoes in the NW., N. of the equator, of which the chief are
the Mariana and Caroline groups; Melanesia, comprising eleven
archipelagoes in the W., S. of the equator, of which the largest are the
Solomon, Bismarck, Fiji, New Caledonia, and New Hebrides groups; and
Eastern Polynesia, E. of these on both sides of the equator, including
New Zealand, Hawaii, and Samoa, ten other archipelagoes, and numerous
sporadic islands; the first of these divisions is occupied by a mixed
population embracing many distinct elements, the second by the black,
low-type Melanesians, the third by the light brown, tall Polynesians;
traces of extinct civilisation are found in Easter Island and the
Carolines; most of the islands are now in the possession of European
powers, and are more or less Christianised; New Zealand is one of the
most enterprising and flourishing colonies of Great Britain; everywhere
the native races are dying out before the immigration of Europeans.
POLYPHEMUS, in Homeric legend a son of Neptune, the most celebrated
of the Cyclops, a huge monster with one eye, who dwelt in Sicily in a
cave near AEtna, and whose eye, after making him drunk, Ulysses burnt out,
lest he should circumvent him and devour him, as he had done some of his
POLYTECHNIC SCHOOL, an institution for teaching the practical arts
and the related sciences, especially such as depend on mathematics.
POLYTHEISM, a belief in a plurality of gods each with a sphere of
his own, and each in general a personification of some elemental power
concerned in the government of the world.
POMBAL, MARQUIS DE, a great Portuguese statesman, born in Coimbra;
was Prime Minister of Joseph I.; partial to the philosophic opinions of
the 18th century, he set himself to fortify the royal power, to check
that of the aristocracy, and to enlighten the people; he was the
pronounced enemy of the Jesuits, reformed the University of Coimbra,
purified the administration, encouraged commerce and industry, whereby he
earned for himself at the hands of the people the name of the Great
Marquis; on the accession of Maria, Joseph's daughter and successor, he
was, under Jesuit influence, dispossessed of power, to die in poverty
POMERANIA (1,521), a Prussian province lying between the Baltic and
Brandenburg, with West Prussia on the E. and Mecklenburg on the W., is a
flat and in some parts sandy country, with no hills, many lakes, and a
large lagoon, the Stettiner Haff, into which the chief river, the Oder,
falls; the islands of Wallin, Usedom, and Ruegen belong to the province;
the main industry is agriculture, principal products rye and potatoes;
poultry-rearing and fishing are extensively carried on; there are
shipbuilding, machine-works, sugar and chemical factories; Stettin, the
capital, and Stralsund are important trading centres; a university is at
Greifswald; the Slavic population embraced Christianity in the 12th
century; shortly afterwards the duke joined the German Empire; after the
Thirty Years' War much of the province fell to Sweden, and the whole was
not finally ceded to Prussia till 1815.
POMONA, or MAINLAND, the largest island in the Orkneys, has a
low treeless surface, many lakes, and extensive pasture-land; agriculture
has of late improved, and, with stock-raising and fishing, is the chief
industry; the only towns are Kirkwall and Stromness.
POMONA, in the Roman mythology is the goddess of fruits, who
presided over their ripening and in-gathering, and was generally
represented bearing fruits in her lap or in a basket.
POMPADOUR, MARQUISE DE, a famous mistress of Louis XV., born in
Paris; celebrated for her beauty and wit; throwing herself, though a
married woman, in the king's way, she took his fancy, and was installed
at Versailles; for 20 years exercised an influence both over him and the
affairs of the kingdom, to the corruption and ruin of both, and the
exasperation of the nation; she was preceded as mistress of Louis by La
Chateroux, and succeeded by Du Barri (1721-1764).
POMPEII, an ancient Italian seaport on the Bay of Naples, fell into
the possession of Rome about 80 B.C., and was converted into a
watering-place and "the pleasure haunt of paganism"; the Romans erected
many handsome public buildings, and their villas and theatres and baths
were models of classic architecture and the scenes of unbounded luxury;
the streets were narrow, provided with side-walks, the walls often
decorated with painting or scribbled over by idle gamins; the number of
shops witnesses to the fashion and gaiety of the town, the remains of
painted notices to its municipal life; a terrible earthquake ruined it
and drove out the inhabitants in A.D. 63; they returned and rebuilt it,
however, in a tawdry and decadent style, and luxury and pleasure reigned
as before till in A.D. 79 an eruption of Vesuvius buried everything in
lava and ashes; the ruins were forgotten till accidentally discovered in
1748; since 1860 the city has been disinterred under the auspices of the
Italian Government, and is now a favourite resort of tourists and
POMPEY, CNEIUS, surnamed the Great, Roman general and statesman;
entered into public life after the death of Marius; associated himself
with Sulla; distinguished himself in Africa and in the Mithridatic War;
was raised to the consulate with Crassus in 71 B.C.; cleared the
Mediterranean Sea of pirates in 67-66; formed against the Senate, along
with Caesar and Crassus, the first triumvirate, and in 54 entered into
rivalry with Caesar; after a desperate struggle he was defeated at
Pharsalia, and escaping to Egypt, was assassinated there by orders of
Ptolemy XII. (106-48 B.C.).
POMPEY'S PILLAR, a block of red granite near Alexandria, forming a
pillar 98 ft. 3 in. high; erected in honour of the Emperor Diocletian,
who conquered Alexandria in 296. The name is an invention of some
mistaken early traveller.
PONCE DE LEON, Spanish navigator; conquered Porto Rico in 1510, and
discovered Florida in 1512. Also the name of a Spanish poet; was a
professor of Theology at Salamanca; was translator of the Song of
Solomon, and wrote a commentary on it in Latin.
PONCHO, a kind of cloak or shawl, of woollen or alpaca cloth, oblong
in shape, with a slit in the centre, through which the wearer passes his
head, allowing the folds to cover his shoulders and arms to the elbows,
and to fall down before and behind; worn by the native men in Chili and
Argentina. Ponchos of waterproof are used by the United States cavalry.
PONDICHERRY (173), a small French colony on the E. coast of India,
53 m. S. of Madras; was first occupied in 1674. It was captured by the
Dutch in 1693, and by the English successively in 1761, 1778, and 1793,
but on each occasion restored. The capital, Pondicherry (41), is the
capital of the French possessions in India; has handsome tree-lined
streets, government buildings, college, lighthouse, cotton mills, and
dye-works. The harbour is an open roadstead; trade is small, the chief
export oil seeds.
PONDOS, a branch of Zulu-Kaffirs, 200,000 in number, occupying
territory called Pondo Land, annexed to Cape Colony, in South Africa.
PONIATOWSKI, PRINCE JOSEPH, Polish general, born in Warsaw;
commanded the Polish contingent that accompanied Napoleon in his
expedition into Russia in 1812; was created Marshal of France on the
field of Leipzig; covered the retreat of the French army, and was drowned
crossing the Elster; his chivalrous bravery earned him the honourable
appellation of the Polish Bayard; he was buried at Cracow, and his
remains placed beside those of Sobieski and Kosciusko (1762-1813).
PONS ASINORUM (i. e. Bridge of Asses), the fifth proposition in
the 1st book of Euclid, so called for the difficulty many a tyro has in
PONSONBY, SIR FREDERICK CAVENDISH, military officer; served in the
Peninsular War; distinguished himself at Waterloo; lay wounded all night
after the engagement; was conveyed next day in a cart to the village with
seven wounds in his body; was a great favourite with the army
PONTEFRACT (16), an ancient market-town of Yorkshire, 13 m. SE. of
Leeds; has a castle in which Richard II. died, and which suffered four
sieges in the Civil War, a market hall, grammar school, and large
market-gardens, where liquorice for the manufacture of Pomfret cakes is
PONTIFEX MAXIMUS, the chief of the college of priests in ancient
Rome, the officiating priests being called Flamens.
PONTIFICAL, a service-book of the Romish Church, containing prayers
and rites for a performance of public worship by the Pope or bishop; also
in the plural the name of the full dress of an officiating priest.
PONTINE MARSHES, a district, 26 m. by 17, in the S. of the Campagna
of Rome, one of the three malarial districts of Italy, and the most
unhealthy of the three, extending about 30 m. in length and 10 or 11 in
varying breadth, is grazing ground for herds of cattle, horses, and
buffaloes. Many unsuccessful attempts have been made to drain these
PONTUS, the classical name of a country on the SE. shores of the
Black Sea, stretching from the river Halys to the borders of Armenia; is
represented by the modern Turkish provinces of Trebizond and Sivas.
Originally a Persian province, it became independent shortly after 400
B.C., and remained so till part was annexed to Bithynia in 65 B.C., and
the rest constituted a Roman province in A.D. 63.
POOLE (15), a seaport of Dorsetshire, 5 m. W. of Bournemouth; has a
trade in potters' and pipe-clay, with considerable shipping.
POOLE, MATTHEW, English controversialist and commentator, born at
York, educated at Cambridge; became rector of St. Michael le Querne in
London, but was expelled from his living by the Act of Uniformity 1662;
retiring to Holland he died at Amsterdam; besides polemics against Rome
he compiled a "Synopsis Criticorum Biblicorum," containing the opinions
of 150 Biblical critics (1624-1679).
POONA (160), 119 m. by rail SE. of Bombay, is the chief military
station in the Deccan, and in the hot season the centre of government in
the Bombay Presidency; with narrow streets and poor houses, it is
surrounded by gardens; here are the Deccan College, College of Science,
and other schools; the English quarters are in the cantonments; silk,
cotton, and jewellery are manufactured; it was the capital of the
Mahrattas, and was annexed by Britain in 1818.
POOR RICHARD, the name assumed by FRANKLIN (q. v.) in his
POPE (i. e. Papa), a title originally given to all bishops of the
Church, and eventually appropriated by Leo the Great, the bishop of Rome,
as the supreme pontiff in 449, a claim which in 1054 created the Great
Schism, and which asserted itself territorially as well as spiritually,
till now at length the Pope has been compelled to resign all territorial
power. The present Pope, Pius X., is the successor of 258 who occupied
before him the Chair of St. Peter.
POPE, ALEXANDER, eminent English poet, born in London, of Roman
Catholic parents; was a sickly child, and marred by deformity, and
imperfectly educated; began to write verse at 12 in which he afterwards
became such a master; his "Pastorals" appeared in 1709, "Essay on
Criticism" in 1711, and "Rape of the Lock" in 1712, in the production of
which he was brought into relationship with the leading literary men of
the time, and in particular Swift, between whom and him a lifelong
friendship was formed; in 1715-20 appeared his translation of the
"Iliad," and in 1723-25 that of the "Odyssey," for which two works, it is
believed, he received some L9000; afterwards, in 1728, appeared the
"Dunciad," a scathing satire of all the small fry of poets and critics
that had annoyed him, and in 1732 appeared the first part of the famous
"Essay on Man"; he was a vain man, far from amiable, and sometimes
vindictive to a degree, though he was capable of warm attachments, and
many of his faults were due to a not unnatural sensitiveness as a
deformed man; but as a poet he is entitled to the homage which Professor
Saintsbury pays when he characterises him as "one of the greatest masters
of poetic form that the world has ever seen" (1688-1744).
POPISH PLOT, an imaginary plot devised by TITUS OATES (q. v.)
on the part of the Roman Catholics in Charles II.'s reign; in the
alleged connection a number of innocent people lost their lives.
PORCH, THE, the name given to the school of ZENO (q. v.),
so called from the Arcade in Athens, in which he taught his philosophy, a
"many-coloured portico," as decorated with the paintings of
POLYGNOTUS (q. v.).
PORCUPINE, PETER, a pseudonym assumed by WILLIAM COBBETT (q. v.).
PORPHYRY, a Neo-Platonic philosopher of Alexandria, born at Tyre;
resorted to Rome and became a disciple of PLOTINUS (q. v.),
whose works he edited; he wrote a work against Christianity, known only
from the replies (233-305).
PORSENA, a king of Etruria, famous in the early history of Rome, who
took up arms to restore Tarquin, the last king, but was reconciled to the
Roman people from the brave feats he saw, certain of them accomplished,
as well as the formidable power of endurance they displayed.
PORSON, RICHARD, eminent Greek scholar, born in Norfolk; was a
prodigy of learning and critical acumen; edited the plays of AEschylus and
four of Euripides, but achieved little in certification to posterity of
his ability and attainments; was a man of slovenly and intemperate
habits, and died of apoplexy (1759-1808).
PORT ARTHUR, a naval station on the peninsula extending S. into the
Gulf of Pechili; conceded to Russia on a lease of 99 years.
PORT DARWIN, one of the finest harbours in Australia; is on the N.
coast opposite Bathurst Island; on its shores stands Palmerston, terminus
of the overland telegraph, the cable to Java, and a railway to the gold
mines 150 m. inland.
PORT ELIZABETH (25), the third largest town and chief trading centre
of Cape Colony; stands on Algoa Bay, 85 m. SW. of Grahamstown; it has
magnificent public buildings, parks, and squares, a college, library, and
museum. It is the chief port in the E. of the colony and for Natal, the
principal exports being wools, hides, and ostrich feathers.
PORT GLASGOW (15), a Renfrewshire seaport on the S. shore of the
Firth of Clyde, 3 m. E. of Greenock and 20 W. of Glasgow; was founded by
the magistrates of Glasgow in 1668 as a port for that city before the
deepening of the river was projected. In the beginning of the 18th
century it was the chief port on the Clyde, but has since been surpassed
by Greenock and Glasgow itself. There are shipbuilding, iron and brass
founding industries, and extensive timber ponds.
PORT LOUIS (62), capital of Mauritius, on the NW. coast; is the
chief port of the colony, with an excellent harbour, and contains the
British government buildings, a Protestant and a Roman Catholic
cathedral, barracks, and military store-houses. It is a naval
PORT ROYAL, a convent founded in 1204, 8 m. SW. of Versailles, and
which in the 17th century became the head-quarters of JANSENISM
(q. v.), and the abode of Antoine Lemaitre, Antoine Arnauld, and
others, known as the "Solitaires of the Port Royal." They were
distinguished for their austerity, their piety, and their learning, in
evidence of which last they established a school of instruction, in
connection with which they prepared a series of widely famous educational
PORT-AU-PRINCE (20), on the W. coast of Hayti, on Port-au-Prince
Bay, is the capital; a squalid town; exports coffee, cocoa, logwood,
hides, and mahogany.
PORTCULLIS, a strong grating resembling a harrow hanging over the
gateway of a fortress, let down in a groove of the wall in the case of a
PORTE, SUBLIME, or simply the Porte, is a name given to the Turkish
PORTEOUS MOB, the name given a mob that collected in the city of
Edinburgh on the night of the 7th September 1736, broke open the Tolbooth
jail, and dragged to execution in the Grassmarket one Captain Porteous,
captain of the City Guard, who on the occasion of a certain riot had
ordered his men to fire on the crowd to the death of some and the
wounding of others, and had been tried and sentenced to death, but, to
the indignation of the citizens, had been respited. The act was one for
which the authorities in the city were held responsible by the
Government, and the city had to pay to Porteous' widow L1500.
PORTER, JANE, English novelist, born in Durham; her most famous
novels were "Thaddeus of Warsaw" (1803) and "The Scottish Chiefs" (1810),
both highly popular in their day, the latter particularly; it induced
Scott to go on with Waverley; died at Bristol (1776-1850).
PORTER, NOAH, American philosophical writer, born at Farmington,
Connecticut, educated at Yale; was a Congregationalist minister 1836-46,
then professor of Moral Philosophy at Yale, and afterwards President of
the college; Edinburgh University granted him the degree of D.D. in
1886; among his works are "The Human Intellect" and "Books and Reading";
PORTEUS, BEILBY, English churchman, born at York, of American
parentage; graduated and became Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge,
and took orders in 1757; from the rectory of Hunton, Kent, he was
preferred to that of Lambeth in 1767, thence to the bishopric of Chester
in 1776, and to that of London 1787; a poor scholar, he yet wrote some
popular books, especially a "Summary of Christian Evidences," and
"Lectures on St. Matthew's Gospel"; he posed as a Sabbatarian and an
advocate of the abolition of slavery (1731-1809).
PORTIA, the rich heiress in the "Merchant of Venice," whose destiny
in marriage depended, as ordained by her father, on the discretion of the
wooer to choose the one of the three caskets that contained her
PORTLAND, 1, the largest city (50) and principal seaport of Maine,
stands on a peninsula in Casco Bay, 108 in. NE. of Boston by rail. It has
extensive wharfs, dry-docks, and grain-elevators, engineer shops,
shoe-factories, and sugar-refineries. Settled as an English colony in
1632, it was ravaged by fire in 1866. Longfellow was born here. 2,
largest city (90) in Oregon, on the Willamette River, nearly 800 m. N. of
San Francisco; is a handsome city, with numerous churches and schools;
there are iron-foundries, mechanics' shops, canneries, and flour-mills;
railway communication connects it with St. Paul and Council Bluffs, and
the river being navigable for deep-sea steamers, it is a thriving port of
PORTLAND, ISLE OF, a rocky peninsula in the SW. of Dorsetshire,
connected by Chesil Bank and the Mainland; is famous as the source of
great quantities of fine building limestone; here is also a
convict-prison opened 1848, accommodating 1500 prisoners.
PORTLAND VASE, an ancient cinerary urn of dark blue glass ornamented
with Greek mythological figures carved in a layer of white enamel found
near Rome about 1640, and which came into the possession of the Portland
family in 1787, and is now in the British Museum. It is ten inches high
and seven inches round.
PORTO RICO (814), a West Indian island, half the size of Wales, 75
m. E. of Hayti, is well watered and very fertile. Ranges of hills run
from E. to W., and are covered with valuable timber. Sugar, coffee, and
rice are the principal crops; tobacco and tropical fruits are grown;
cattle and horses are reared. Textile goods, hardware, and provisions are
imported; the exports are sugar, coffee, tobacco, and cattle. The capital
is St. John's (24), Mayaguez (27), and Ponce (40), the other towns. The
island was discovered by Columbus, who called it Hispaniola, in 1493.
Colonised by Spain in 1510, it attempted unsuccessfully to gain
independence in 1820-23. The abolition of slavery in 1873, and the growth
of population, marked the remainder of its history as a Spanish colony.
It was seized by the United States in the war of 1898.
PORTOBELLO (8), a Midlothian watering-place on the Firth of Forth, 3
m. E. of Edinburgh, with which it is now incorporated for municipal
purposes; has a fine esplanade and promenade pier, and manufactures of
pottery, bricks, and bottles.
PORTSMOUTH, 1, largest city (10) of New Hampshire, and only seaport
in the State, on the Piscataqua River, 3 m. from the ocean; is by rail 57
m. NE. of Boston, a handsome old town and favourite watering-place; near
it is a U.S. navy-yard. 2, (12), On the Ohio River, in Ohio; is the
centre of an extensive iron industry. 3, (13), Seaport and naval station
on the Elizabeth River, Virginia.
PORTSMOUTH (159), the most important British naval station, a
seaport and market-town, is situated on Portsea Island, on the coast of
Hants, 15 m. SE. of Southampton. It is an unimposing town, but strongly
fortified. St. Thomas's and Garrison Chapel are old churches with
historical associations. The naval dockyards contain 12 docks lined with
masonry, vast store-houses, wood-mills, anchor-forges, and
building-slips. Some of the docks are roofed over, as also is a large
building-slip on which four vessels may be constructed at once. The
harbour can receive the largest war-vessels, and in Spithead roadstead
1000 ships can anchor at once. The trade of Portsmouth is dependent on
the dockyards. It owes its defences to Edward IV. Elizabeth, and William
III. It was the scene of Buckingham's assassination and of the loss of
the _Royal George_. Three novelists were born here--Dickens, Meredith,
PORTUGAL (5,000), a country as large as Ireland, bounded on the S.
and W. by the Atlantic, on the N. and E. by Spain, from which at
different places it is separated by the rivers Minho, Douro, Tagus, and
Guadiana; consists of the Atlantic slopes of the great peninsular
tableland, and has a moist, warm atmosphere, heavy rains, and frequent
fogs. The above rivers and the Mondego traverse it; their valleys are
fertile, the mountain slopes covered with forests. In the N. the oak
abounds, in the centre the chestnut, in the S. cork-trees and palms.
Agriculture, carried on with primitive implements, is the chief industry.
Indian corn, wheat, and in the S. rice, are extensively grown; the vine
yields the most valuable crops, but in the N. it is giving place to
tobacco. There are a few textile factories. The largest export is wine;
the others, cork, copper ore, and onions, which are sent to Great
Britain, Brazil, and France. The principal imports, iron, textiles, and
grain. The capital is Lisbon, on the Tagus, one of the finest towns in
the world. Oporto, the chief manufacturing centre, and second city for
commerce, is at the mouth of the Douro. Braga was once the capital.
Coimbra, on the Mondego, is the rainiest place in Europe. There are good
roads between the chief towns, 1200 m. of railway and 3000 m. of
telegraph. The people are a mixed race, showing traces of Arab, Berber,
and Negro blood, with a predominance of northern strains. They are
courteous and gentle; the peasantry hard-working and thrifty. Roman
Catholic is the national faith, but they are tolerant of other religions.
The language is closely akin to Spanish. Education is backward. The
Government is a limited monarchy, there being two houses of
Parliament--Peers and Deputies. The Azores and Madeira are part of the
kingdom; there are colonies in Africa and Asia, in which slavery was
abolished only in 1878. The 14th and 15th centuries saw the zenith of
Portugal's fortunes. At that time, in strict alliance with England, she
raised herself by her enterprise to the foremost maritime and commercial
power of Europe; her navigators founded Brazil, and colonised India. Diaz
in 1487 discovered and Vasco da Gama in 1497 doubled the Cape of Good
Hope. In 1520 Magellan sailed round the world; but in the 16th century
the extensive emigration, the expulsion of the Jews, the introduction of
the Inquisition, and the spread of Jesuit oppression, led to a speedy
downfall. For a time she was annexed to Spain. Regaining her
independence, she threw herself under the protection of England, her
traditional friend, during the Napoleonic struggle. She is now an
inconsiderable power, commercially thriving, politically restless,
POSEIDON, in the Greek mythology the god of the sea, a son of Kronos
and Rhea, and brother of Zeus, Pluto, Hera, Hestia, and Demeter; had his
home in the sea depths, on the surface of which he appeared with a long
beard, seated in a chariot drawn by brazen-hoofed horses with golden
manes, and wielding a trident, which was the symbol of his power,
exercised in production of earthquake and storms. See PLUTO.
POSEN (1,752), a province of Prussia on the Russian frontier,
surrounded by West Prussia, Brandenburg, and Silesia; belongs to the
great North German plain; has several lakes, and is traversed by the
navigable Warthe, Netze, and Vistula. The prevailing industry is
agriculture; the crops are grain, potatoes, and hops; there are some
manufactures of machinery and cloth. Originally part of Poland, half the
population are Poles; except the Jews, most of the people are Catholics.
The capital is POSEN (70), on the Warthe, by rail 185 m. E. of
Berlin. It is a pleasant town, with a cathedral, museum, and library,
manufactures of manure and agricultural implements, breweries and
distilleries. It is now a fortress of the first rank. Gnesen and Bromberg
are the other chief towns.
POSIDONIUS, an eminent Stoic philosopher, born in Syria; established
himself in Rhodes, where he rose to eminence; was visited by Cicero and
Pompey, both of whom became his pupils; maintained that pain was no evil;
"in vain, O Pain," he exclaimed one day under the pangs of it, "in vain
thou subjectest me to torture; it is not in thee to extort from me the
reproach that thou art an evil" (135-34 B.C.).
POSITIVISM, the philosophy so called of AUGUSTE COMTE (q. v.),
the aim of which is to propound a new arrangement of the sciences
and a new theory of the evolution of science; the sciences he classes
under the categories of abstract and concrete, and his law of evolution
is that every department of knowledge passes in the history of it through
three successive stages, and only in the last of which it is entitled to
the name of science--the Theological stage, in which everything is
referred to the intervention of the gods; the Metaphysical, in which
everything is referred to an abstract idea; and the Positive, which,
discarding at once theology and philosophy, contents itself with the
study of phenomena and their sequence, and regards that as science
proper. Thus is positivism essentially definable, in Dr. Stirling's
words, as "a method which replaces all outlying agencies, whether
Theological deities or Metaphysical entities, by Positive laws; which
laws, and in their phenomenal relativity, as alone what can be known,
ought alone to constitute what is sought to be known." See Dr. Stirling's
POSSE COMITATUS, a Latin expression, signifies the whole coercive
power of a county called out in the case of a riot, and embraces all
males over 15 except peers, ecclesiastics, and infirm persons. These may
be summoned by the sheriff to assist in maintaining the public peace,
enforcing a writ, or capturing a felon; but usually the constabulary is
sufficient for these duties.
POST RESTANTE, department of a post-office where letters lie till
they are called for.
POTEMKIN, Russian officer, born at Smolensk, of Polish descent; a
handsome man with a powerful physique, who attracted the attention of
Catharine II., became one of her chief favourites, and directed the
foreign policy of Russia under her for 13 years; is understood to have
been an able man, but unscrupulous (1736-1771).
POTOMAC RIVER, rising in the Alleghany Mountaine, flows 400 m.
eastward between Maryland and the Virginias into Chesapeake Bay; the
Shenandoah is the chief tributary. The river is navigable as far up as
Cumberland, and is tidal up to Washington, which is on its banks.
POTOSI (12), an important mining and commercial town of Bolivia,
situated 13,000 ft. above sea-level on the slopes of the Cerro de Potosi;
is one of the loftiest inhabited places on the globe, but a dilapidated,
squalid place. There is a cathedral, next to Lima the finest in South
America, a mint, and extensive reservoirs; the streets are steep and
without vehicles; the climate is cold, and the surrounding hillsides
barren; the industry is silver mining, but the mines are becoming
exhausted and flooded.
POTSDAM (54), 18 m. SW. of Berlin, stands on an island at the
confluence of the Nuthe and Havel, and is the capital of the Prussian
province of Brandenburg; a handsome town, with broad streets, many parks
and squares, numberless statues and fine public buildings; it is a
favourite residence of Prussian royalty, and has several royal palaces;
was the birthplace of Alexander von Humboldt; has sugar and chemical
works, and a large violet-growing industry.
POTT, AUGUST FRIEDRICH, eminent philologist, born in Hanover; wrote
on the Indo-Germanic languages, a work which ranks next in importance to
Bopp's "Comparative Grammar"; he was the author of a number of
philological papers which appeared in the learned journals of the day
POTTER, JOHN, archbishop of Canterbury, born in Yorkshire, son of a
draper, a distinguished scholar; author of "Archaeologia Graeca," a work on
the antiquities of Greece, and for long the authority on that subject
POTTER, PAUL, a great Dutch animal-painter, lived chiefly at
Amsterdam and The Hague; his most celebrated picture, life-size, is the
"Young Bull," now at The Hague (1625-1654).
POTTERIES, THE, a district in North Staffordshire, 9 m. long by 3
broad, the centre of the earthenware manufacture of England; it includes
Hanley, Burslem, Stoke-upon-Trent, &c.
POT-WALLOPERS (i. e. Pot-boilers), a popular name given prior to
the Reform Bill of 1832 to a class of electors in a borough who claimed
the right to vote on the ground of boiling a pot within its limits for
POURPARLER, a diplomatic conference towards the framing of a treaty.
POUSSIN, NICOLAS, one of the most illustrious of French painters,
born near Andelys, in Normandy; studied first in Paris and then at Rome,
where he first attained celebrity, whence he was in 1640 invited to Paris
by Louis XIII., who appointed him painter-in-ordinary, with a studio in
the Tuileries, returning three years after to Rome, where he died; he is
the author of numerous great works, among which may be mentioned the
"Shepherds of Arcadia," "The Deluge," "Moses drawn out of the Water,"
"The Flight into Egypt," &c., all of which display simplicity of taste,
nobility of character, and artistic talent of a high order (1594-1665).
POWELL, BADEN, physicist, rationalist in theology, born in London;
was Savilian professor of Geometry at Oxford, wrote a number of treatises
on physical subjects, and contributed to the famous "Essays and Reviews"
an essay on the evidences of Christianity which gave no small offence to
orthodox people (1796-1860).
POWELL, MAJOR, American geologist and ethnologist, born in New York
State; served in the Civil War, explored the canon of Colorado, and
became Director of the U.S. Geological Survey; has written on geological
and ethnological subjects; _b_. 1834.
POWERS, HIRAM, American sculptor, born in Vermont; began his career
by modelling busts at Washington, in 1837 emigrated to Italy, and resided
the rest of his life at Florence, where he produced his "Eve," his "Greek
Slave," and other works (1807-1873).
POYNINGS'S LAW, an Act of Parliament held at Drogheda in 1495 in the
reign of Henry VII., declaring that all statutes hitherto passed in
England should be also in force in Ireland, so called from Sir Edward
Poynings, the lieutenant of Ireland at the time.
POYNTER, EDWARD JOHN, painter, born in Paris; was educated in
England, studied in Rome and Paris, and settled in London in 1860; held
appointments at University College and at Kensington, but resigned them
in 1881 to prosecute his art, which he has since assiduously done, and
with distinction; was elected President of the Royal Academy in 1896; is
the author of "Lectures on Art"; _b_. 1836.
POZZO DI BORGO, COUNT, the lifelong enemy of Napoleon, born in
Ajaccio, Corsica; was a partisan of Paoli; obliged to flee from Corsica,
took refuge in London, in Vienna, and then in Russia, and plotted
everywhere to compass the ruin of his arch-enemy; seduced, out of simple
hatred of him, Bernadotte from the service of Napoleon, and egged on the
allies against France; represented Russia at the Congress of Vienna, and
died in Paris (1764-1842).
POZZUOLI (12), an Italian city on the Bay of Naples, is noted for
its classical remains; the cathedral was once the temple of Augustus;
there are ruins of other temples, a forum, and the ancient harbour of
Puteoli, where St. Paul landed; the town has been submerged and partially
raised again by volcanic action; Mount Solfatara, behind, supplies
medicinal gases and springs; near it are the Italian works of Armstrong
P. P., CLERK OF THIS PARISH, the feigned author of a volume of
memoirs written by Arbuthnot in ridicule of Burnet's "History of My Own
PRAED, WINTHROP MACKWORTH, witty facile versifier and politician,
born in London; practised in verse-making from a boy, notably at Eton;
bred for the bar, entered Parliament as a Tory in 1830, and rose into
office; wrote several verse-tales, some pieces of promise, such as
"Arminius" and "My Pretty Josephine," a grotesque production called "The
Red Fisherman," and exquisite _vers de societe_ (1802-1839).
PRAETOR, a Roman magistrate at first, virtually a third consul, with
administrative functions, chiefly judiciary, originally in the city, and
ultimately in the provinces as well, so that the number of them increased
at one time to as many as 16.
PRAETORIAN GUARD, a select body of soldiers distributed in cohorts,
as many as ten of a thousand each, to guard the person and maintain the
power of the emperors, and who at length acquired such influence in the
State as to elect and depose at will the emperors themselves, disposing
at times of the imperial purple to the highest bidder, till they were in
the end outnumbered and dispersed by Constantine in 312.
PRAGMATIC SANCTION, a term applied to "an ordinance of a very
irrevocable nature which a sovereign makes in affairs belonging wholly to
himself, or what he reckons within his own right," but applied more
particularly to the decree promulgated by Charles VI., emperor of
Germany, whereby he vested the right of succession to the throne of
Austria in his daughter, Maria Theresa, wife of Francis of Lorraine, a
succession which was guaranteed by France, the States-General, and the
most of the European Powers.
PRAGUE (310), capital of Bohemia, on the Moldau, 217 m. by rail NW.
of Vienna, is a picturesque city with over 70 towers, a great royal
palace, unfinished cathedral, an old town-hall, a picture-gallery,
observatory, botanical garden, and museums; the University, partly German
and partly Czech, has 300 teachers, 4000 students, and a magnificent
library; the centre of an important transit trade, Prague is the chief
commercial city of Bohemia; has manufactures of machinery, chemicals,
leather, and textile goods; four-fifths of the population are Czechs;
founded in the 12th century, it has suffered in many wars; was captured
by the Hussites 1424, fell frequently during the Thirty Years' War,
capitulated to Frederick the Great 1757, and in 1848 was bombarded for
two days by the Austrian Government in quelling the democratic
demonstrations of the Slavonic Congress of that year.
PRAIRIE, name given by the French to an extensive tract of flat or
rolling land covered with tall, waving grass, mostly destitute of trees,
and forming the great central plain of North America, which extends as
far N. as Canada.
PRAKRIT, name given to a group of Hindu languages based on Sanskrit.
PRATIQUE, license given to a ship to enter port on assurance from
the captain to convince the authorities that she is free from contagious
PRAXITELES, great Greek sculptor, born at Athens; executed statues
in both bronze and marble, and was unrivalled in the exhibition of the
softer beauties of the human form, especially the female figure, his most
celebrated being the marble one of Aphrodite at Cnidus; he executed
statues of Eros, Apollo, and Hermes as well, but they have all perished.
PRAYING-WHEELS, cylinders with printed prayers on them, driven by
hand, water, or wind-power, in use among the Buddhists of Thibet.
PRE-ADAMITES, a race presumed to have existed on the earth prior to
Adam; traditional first fathers of the Jews.
PRECESSION OF THE EQUINOXES, name given to the gradual shifting of
the equinoctial points along the ecliptic from east to west. See
PRECIEUSES RIDICULES, a play of Moliere's, published in 1653,
directed against the affectations of certain literary coteries of the
PREDESTINATION, the eternal decree which in particular foreordains
certain of the human family to life everlasting and others to death
everlasting, or the theological dogma which teaches these. See
ELECTION, THE DOCTRINE OF.
PREDICABLES, the five classes of terms which can be predicated of a
subject, viz.--GENUS, containing species; SPECIES, contained in
a genus; DIFFERENTIA, distinguishing one species from another;
PROPERTY, quality possessed by every member of a species; and
ACCIDENT, attribute belonging to certain individuals of a species
and not others.
PREGEL, a navigable river in E. Prussia, 120 m. long and 730 ft.
broad, which falls into the Frische Haff below Koenigsberg.
PREJEVALSKI, NICHOLAS, Russian explorer, born in Smolensk; joined
the army, served against the Poles in 1861, and was appointed to Siberia
in 1867; his first explorations were in the country S. of the Amur; in
1871-73 he travelled through Southern Mongolia from Pekin to the upper
Yangtse-kiang region; thereafter his energies were devoted to Thibet; he
made repeated unsuccessful attempts to reach Lhassa, exploring by the way
the desert of Gobi and the upper Hoang-ho, and died finally at Karakol,
in West Turkestan; he discovered the wild camel and wild horse, and
brought back valuable zoological and botanical collections, which are now
in St. Petersburg (1839-1888)
PRE-RAPHAELITISM, a movement headed by Rossetti, Holman Hunt, and
Millais, of revolt against the style of art in vogue, traceable all the
way back to Raphael, and of a bold return to the study of nature itself,
agreeably to the advice of Ruskin, that "they should go to Nature in all
singleness of heart, and walk with her laboriously and trustingly, having
no other thought than how best to penetrate her meaning: rejecting
nothing, selecting nothing, and scorning nothing"; the principle of the
movement, as having regard not merely to what the outer eye sees in an
object, but to what the inner eye sees of objective truth and reality in
PRESBURG (52), the ancient capital of Hungary, close to the Austrian
frontier, on the Danube, by rail 40 m. E. of Vienna; is a pleasant town,
with a cathedral, a town-house, and a Franciscan church, all of the 13th
century, the old Parliament House, and a ruined royal castle;
manufactures beer, dynamite, and starch, and trades largely in live stock
PRESBYOPIA, diminution of sight due to age, occurring usually about
forty-five, when near objects are less distinctly seen than distant, an
affliction due to the flattening of the lens.
PRESBYTERIANISM, that form of Church government which, discarding
prelacy, regards all ministers in conclave as on the same level in rank
and function, and which is the prevailing form of Church government in
Scotland; inherited from Geneva, as also prevailing extensively in the
United States of America. The government is administered by a gradation
of courts, called "Kirk-Sessions," of office-bearers in connection with a
particular congregation; "Presbyteries," in connection with a small
district; "Synods," in connection with a larger; and finally a General
Assembly or a Synod of the whole Church, which, besides managing the
affairs of the collective body, forms a court of final appeal in disputed
matters or cases.
PRESCOTT, WILLIAM HICKLING, American historian, born at Salem,
Massachusetts; son of a lawyer; graduated at Harvard in 1814, and applied
himself to study law; by-and-by he travelled in Europe, married, and
turned to literature as a profession; growing blind, the result of an
accident at college, he fortunately inherited means, employed assistants,
and with great courage in 1826 began to study Spanish history. "Ferdinand
and Isabella" appearing in 1838, established his reputation in both
worlds; "The Conquest of Mexico" was published in 1843, and "The Conquest
of Peru" in 1847; he was elected corresponding member of the French
Institute; his style is vivid, direct, and never dull; though not
philosophical, his histories are masterpieces of narrative and incident;
he died of apoplexy at Boston before completing the "History of Philip
PRESENT TIME, defined impressively by Carlyle as "the youngest born
of Eternity, child and heir of all the past times, with their good and
evil, and parent of all the future with new questions and significance,"
on the right or wrong understanding of which depend the issues of life or
death to us all, the sphinx riddle given to all of us to rede as we would
live and not die.
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, is popularly elected for four years,
or rather by delegates so elected to each State, and sometimes re-elected
for other four; is commander-in-chief of the army and navy; sees to the
administration of the laws, signs bills before they pass into law, makes
treaties, grants reprieves and pardons, and receives an annual salary of
PRESS-GANG, a party armed with powers to impress men into the naval
service in times of emergency, a practice which often gave rise to
serious disturbances, and is not in any circumstances likely to be had
recourse to again. See IMPRESSMENT.
PRESSENSE, EDMOND DE, eminent French Protestant theologian, born at
Luasanne, in Paris; studied under Vinet and Neander at Berlin; became
Protestant minister in Paris; was elected a deputy in the National
Assembly in 1871, and a senator in 1883; wrote a "Life of Christ," and on
numerous subjects of theological and ecclesiastical interest (1824-1891).
PRESTER, JOHN. See JOHN, PRESTER.
PRESTON (112), Lancashire manufacturing town on the Ribble, 31 m. N
W. of Manchester; is a well laid out brick town, with three parks, a
magnificent town-hall, a market, public baths, free library, museum, and
picture-gallery; St. Walburge's Roman Catholic church has the highest
post-Reformation steeple in England, 306 ft. The deepening of the river
and construction of docks have added to the shipping trade. The chief
industry is cotton, but there are also shipbuilding yards, engineer
shops, and foundries. One of Cromwell's victories was won here; it was
the birthplace of Richard Arkwright, and the scene of the beginning of
the English total abstinence movement in 1832.
PRETENDERS, THE, the names given to the son and the grandson of
James II. (Prince Charlie) as claiming a right to the throne of England,
and called respectively the Elder and the Younger Pretender; the elder,
who made one or two attempts to secure his claim, surrendered it to his
son, who in 1745 was defeated at Culloden.
PRETORIA (whites, 10), capital of the Transvaal, stands on a
mountain-enclosed plain 1000 m. NE. of Cape Town, and nearly 300 m. W. of
Lorenzo Marquez, Delagoa Bay, with both of which and with Natal it is
connected by rail. It is a thriving town, growing rapidly with
flourishing trade, the see of a bishop, and containing twenty English
schools. Coal is found near, and wheat, tobacco, cotton, and indigo
grown. It is the seat of the government of the Transvaal.
PREVOST D'EXILES, ANTOINE FRANCOIS, or ABBE PREVOST, a French
romancer, born in Heslin, Artois; was educated by the Jesuits, and became
a Benedictine monk, but proving refractory, fled to Holland and England;
wrote several novels, but his fame rests on one entitled "Manon Lescaut,"
a work of genius, charming at once in matter and style; a "story," says
Professor Saintsbury, "chiefly remarkable for the perfect simplicity and
absolute life-likeness of the character-drawing"; derives its name from
the subject of it, a young girl named Manon (1697-1763).
PREVOST-PARADOL, LUCIEN ANATOLE, French litterateur and publicist,
born in Paris; distinguished himself as journalist and essayist; was an
enemy of the Empire, but accepted a post under Ollivier as envoy to the
United States in 1870, and committed suicide at Washington almost
immediately after landing; it was on the eve of the Franco-German War,
and he had been the subject of virulent attacks from the republican press
of the day (1829-1870).
PRIAM, the old king of Troy during the Trojan War; was the son of
Laomedon, who with the help of Apollo and Poseidon built the city; had a
large family by his wife Hecuba, Hector, Paris, and Cassandra, the most
noted of them; was too old to take part in the war; is said to have
fallen by the hand of Pyrrhus on the capture of Troy by the Greeks.
PRIAPUS, an ancient deity, the personification of the generating or
fructifying power, and worshipped as the protector of flocks of sheep and
goats, of bees, of the vine and other garden products; a worship known as
the Priapus worship prevailed extensively all over the East.
PRICE, RICHARD, English moralist, born in Glamorganshire; wrote on
politics and economics as well as ethics, in which last he followed
CUDWORTH (q. v.), and insisted on the unimpeachable quality of
moral distinctions, and the unimpeachable authority of the moral
PRICHARD, JAMES COWLES, founder of ethnology and a philologist, born
in Hereford; bred to medicine, and practised in Bristol; wrote
"Researches into the Physical History of Mankind," "The Eastern Origin of
the Celtic Nations," "Analysis of Egyptian Mythology," and the "Natural
History of Man"; maintained the original unity of the race, and that the
original pair were negroes; philology was in his hands the handmaid of
ethnology, and he made himself master of the primitive languages
PRIDEAUX, HUMPHREY, English prelate and scholar; remembered chiefly
as the author of a learned work entitled "The Connection of the History
of the Old and New Testaments"; wrote a "Life of Mahomet," popular in its
day and for long after (1648-1724).
PRIDE'S PURGE, the name given to a violent exclusion, in 1649, at
the hands of a body of troops commanded by Colonel Pride of about a
hundred members of the House of Commons disposed to deal leniently with
the king, after which some eighty, known as the Rump, were left to deal
with his Majesty and bring him to justice.
PRIESSNITZ, founder of the water-cure, in connection with which he
had a large establishment at Graefenberg, in Austrian Silesia; was a mere
empiric, having been bred to farming (1799-1851).
PRIEST, properly a man in touch with the religious life of the
people, and for the most part consecrated to mediate between them and the
Deity; the prophet, on the other hand, being one more in touch with the
Deity, being at times so close to Him as to require a priest to mediate
between him and the laity.
PRIESTLEY, JOSEPH, a Socinian divine, born near Leeds; wrote in
defence of Socinianism, and in defence of Christianity; gave himself to
physical research, particularly pneumatic chemistry; is claimed as the
discoverer of oxygen; sympathised with the French Revolution; was mobbed,
and had to flee to America, where he died, believing in immortality
despite his materialistic philosophy (1733-1804).
PRIM, JUAN, a Spanish general; distinguished as a statesman; rose to
be Minister of War, but aspiring to dictatorship, was shot by an
assassin; he was the leader of the movement that overthrew Isabella in
1868 and installed Amadeo in her stead (1814-1870).
PRIMROSE, the name of a family in Goldsmith's "Vicar of Wakefield."
PRIMROSE LEAGUE, a politico-Conservative organisation founded in
1883 in memory of Lord Beaconsfield, and so called because the primrose
was popularly reported to be his favourite flower. It includes a large
membership, nearly a million, comprising women as well as men; is divided
into district habitations; confers honours and badges in the style of
Freemasonry, and has extensive political influence under a grand-master.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND (109), an island province of Canada, in the S.
of Gulf of St. Lawrence, occupies a great bay formed by New Brunswick,
Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton, and is somewhat larger than Northumberland.
The coast-line is exceedingly broken, the surface low and undulating, and
very fertile. The chief industry is agriculture, oats and potatoes are
the best crops; decayed shells found in beds on the shore are an
excellent manure; sheep and horses are raised with great success. The
climate is healthy, milder and clearer than on the mainland, but with a
tedious winter. Coal exists, but is not wrought. The fisheries are the
best on the Gulf, but are not developed. Manufactures are inconsiderable.
Discovered by the Cabots, it was settled by the French in 1715, and ceded
to Great Britain in 1763. Constituted a province in 1768, the name was
changed from St. John to Prince Edward in 1799. Since 1875 the local
government have bought out most of the great proprietors, and resold the
land to occupying owners. Education is free. There are normal schools and
two colleges. Half the people are Roman Catholics. A railway traverses
the island, and there is daily steam communication with the mainland. The
capital is Charlottetown (13); Summerside, Georgetown, and Sourio are the
PRINCE OF PEACE, a title given by Charles IV. of Spain to his Prime
Minister, DON MANUEL GODOY (q. v.).
PRINCETON (3), a town of New Jersey, 50 m. SW. of New York; was the
scene of a battle in the War of Independence, and the meeting-place of
the Continental Congress of 1783; now noted as the seat of the College of
New Jersey, founded at Newark 1746, and removed to Princeton ten years
later, with now 50 teachers and 600 students; Jonathan Edwards and Dr.
James M'Cosh as presidents, James Madison and others as alumni, have
given it lustre. The Theological Seminary, the oldest and largest
Presbyterian one in the States, was founded in 1812, and a School of
Science in 1871. The college is rich in museums, observatories,
laboratories, libraries, and funds.
PRINGLE, THOMAS, minor poet, born in Roxburghshire; edited the
_Monthly Magazine_; emigrated to South Africa; held a small government
appointment; was bullied out of it; returned home, and became Secretary
to the Anti-Slavery Society (1789-1834).
PRINTED PAPER, Carlyle's satirical name for the literature of France
prior to the Revolution.
PRINZENRAUB (the stealing of the princes), name given to an attempt,
to satisfy a private grudge of his, on the part of Kunz von Kaufingen to
carry off, on the night of the 7th July 1455, two Saxon princes from the
castle of Altenburg, in which he was defeated by apprehension at the
hands of a collier named Schmidt, through whom he was handed over to
justice and beheaded. See CARLYLE'S ACCOUNT OF THIS IN HIS
PRIOR, MATTHEW, English poet and diplomatist, born near Wimborne,
East Dorset; studied at Cambridge; became Fellow of Trinity College; was
ambassador to France; involved himself in an intrigue, was imprisoned,
and on his release lived in retirement; he is remembered as a poet; wrote
in 1687 a parody of Dryden's "Hind and Panther," entitled "The Story of
the Country Mouse and the City Mouse," and afterwards, "Solomon on the
Vanity of the World," "Alma; or, The Progress of the Mind," after Butler,
as well as tales, lyrics, and epigrams; Professor Saintsbury calls him
"the king of 'verse of society'" (1664-1721).
PRISCIAN, Latin grammarian of the 6th century, born in Caesarea; was
author of "Grammatical Commentaries" in 18 books, a standard work during
the Middle Ages, and in universal use at that time.
PRISCILLIAN, a Spaniard of noble birth, who introduced a Gnostic and
Manichaean heresy into Spain, and founded a sect called after him, and was
put to death by the Emperor Maximius in 385; his followers were an idly
speculative sect, who practised a rigidly ascetic style of life, and
after being much calumniated did not survive him over 60 years.
PRISMATIC COLOURS, the seven colours a ray of pure white light is
resolved into when refracted through a prism, applied figuratively by
Carlyle to the pure light refracted through the soul of a man of genius.
PRISONER OF CHILLON, the name given to FRANCOIS DE BONIVARD
(q. v.), who was for six years kept prisoner in the castle of Chillon,
on the Lake of Geneva, and is the subject of a well-known poem by Byron.
PRIVATEER, a private vessel licensed by Government under a letter of
marque to seize and plunder the ships of an enemy, otherwise an act of
the kind is treated as piracy.
PRIVY COUNCIL, is theoretically a council associated with the
sovereign to advise him in matters of government. As at present
constituted it includes the members of the royal family, the Cabinet, the
two archbishops and the bishop of London, the principal English and
Scotch judges, some of the chief ambassadors and governors of colonies,
the Commander-in-Chief, the First Lord of the Admiralty, &c. No members
attend except those summoned, usually the Cabinet, the officers of the
Household, and the Primate. The functions of the Privy Council may be
grouped as: (1) executive, in which its duties are discharged by the
Cabinet, which is technically a committee of the Privy Council; (2)
administrative--the Board of Trade, the Local Government Board, and the
Board of Agriculture originated in committees; the Education Department
is still a committee, and the Council retains such branches as the
supervision of medical, pharmaceutical, and veterinary practice, the
granting of municipal charters, &c.; (3) judicial--the Judicial Committee
is a court of law, whose principal function is the hearing of appeals
from ecclesiastical courts and from Indian and colonial courts.
PRIVY SEAL, the seal of the sovereign appended to grants that do not
require to pass the great seal.
PROBUS, MARCUS AURELIUS, Roman emperor from 276 to 282, born in
Pannonia; having distinguished himself in the field as a soldier, was
elected by the army and the citizens to succeed Tacitus; defended the
empire successfully against all encroachments, and afterwards devoted
himself to home administration, but requiring the service of the soldiers
in public works, which they considered degrading, was seized by a body of
them compelled so to drudge, and put to death.
PROCLUS, a Neo-Platonic philosopher, born in Constantinople; appears
to have held a Trinitarian view of the universe, and to have regarded the
All abstractly viewed as contained in the Divine ever emerging from it
and returning into it, a doctrine Implied in John i. 1, but far short of
the corresponding trinity in the ripe philosophy of Hegel (412-485).
PROCONSUL, name given to the governor of a Roman province who was
absolute ruler of it, disposed of the army, dispensed justice, controlled
administration, and was represented by legates.
PROCOP, the name of two Hussite leaders of the Taborites, who after
leading successful forays on all hands from their head-quarters in
Bohemia, fell in battle with their rivals the Calixtines at Lippau in
PROCOPIUS, a Greek historian, born at Caesarea, the secretary of
Belisarius, and author of a History of the Wars of Justinian, which is
still the chief authority for the events of his reign; _d_. 565.
PROCRUSTES, a brigand of ancient Attica, who when any one fell into
his hands placed him on a bed, stretching him out if he was too short for
it and amputating him if he was too long till he died; he was one day
overpowered by Theseus, who tortured him to death as he had done his own
victims; his practice has given name to any attempt to enforce conformity
by violent measures.
PROCTER, BRYAN WALTER, English lyrist, known by his pseudonym as
Barry Cornwall, born in London; was bred to the bar, and was for 30 years
a Commissioner of Lunacy, and is chiefly memorable as the friend of all
the eminent literary men of two generations, such as Wordsworth, Lamb,
and Scott on the one hand and Carlyle, Thackeray, and Tennyson on the
other; he was no great poet (1787-1874).
PROCTOR, RICHARD ANTONY, astronomer and lecturer on Astronomy;
determined the rotation of the planet Mars, and propounded the theory of
the solar corona (1837-1888).
PROCURATOR-FISCAL, is a Scottish law officer appointed by the
sheriff, and irremovable on efficient and good behaviour, whose duties
are to initiate the prosecution of crimes and inquire into deaths under
PROGNE, the sister of Philomela and wife of Tereus, changed into a
swallow by the gods. See TEREUS.
PROGRESS OF THE SPECIES MAGAZINES, Carlyle's name for the literature
of the day which does nothing to help the progress in question, but keeps
idly boasting of the fact, taking all the credit to itself, like AEsop's
fly on the axle of the careering chariot soliloquising, "What a dust I
PROHIBITIONIST, one who would prohibit the sale of all intoxicating
PROLETARIAT, the name given to the lowest and poorest class in the
State, and which still retains the original Roman meaning, as denoting,
from _proles_, offspring, one who enriches the State not by his
prosperity, but by his progeny.
PROMETHEUS (i. e. Forethought), a Titan, the son of lapetus and
Klymene, and the brother of EPIMETHEUS (q. v.), who, when the
gods, just installed on Olympus, met with men at Mekone to arrange with
them as to their dues in sacrifice, came boldly forth as the
representative and protector of the human race and slew a bullock in
sacrifice, putting the flesh of it in one pile and the entrails with the
bones in another, veiled temptingly with fat, and invited Zeus to make
his choice, whereupon, knowing well what he was about, Zeus chose the
latter, but in revenge took away with him the fire which had been
bestowed by the gods upon mortals. It was a strife of wit _versus_ wit,
and Prometheus, as the defender of the rights of man, was not to be
outwitted even by the gods, so he reached up a hollow fennel stalk to the
sun and brought the fire back again, whereupon the strife was transformed
into one of force _versus_ force, and Zeus caught the audacious Titan and
chained him to a rock on Mount Caucasus, where an eagle gnawed all day at
his liver which grew again by night, though, in inflicting this
punishment, Zeus was soon visited with a relenting heart, for it was by
express commission from him that Hercules, as a son of his, scaled the
rock and slew the eagle. The myth is one of the deepest significance,
reflecting an old belief, and one which has on it the seal of Christ, as
sanctioned of Heaven, that the world was made for man and not man for
the world, only there is included within it an expression of the jealousy
with which Heaven watches the use mankind make of the gifts that, out of
her own special store, she bestows upon them. Prometheus is properly the
incarnation of the divine fire latent from the beginning in the soul of
PROPAGANDA, a congregation, as it is called, at Rome, originated by
Gregory XIII., and organised in 1622 by Gregory XV., the object of which
is to propagate the faith of the Church among heathen nations and in
countries where there is no established hierarchy, connected with which
there is a college at Rome called the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide,
where pupils are instructed for different fields of missionary
PROPERTIUS, SEXTUS, a Latin elegaic poet, born in Umbria; went to
Rome and became a protege of Maecenas; devoted himself to the cultivation
of the poetic art; came under the spell of a gifted lady, to whom, under
the name of Cynthia, he dedicated the first products of his muse, and
whom he has immortalised in his poems; in his elegies he follows Greek
models; his poetry, and the poetic quality it displays, have been much
admired by Goethe (51-14 B.C.).
PROPHECY, properly not a forecasting of particular events and the
succession of them, but so far as it refers to the future at all is an
insight into the course of things in the time to come from insight into
the course of them in days gone by or now, and that is believed to be the
character of Hebrew prophecy, founded on faith in the immutability of the
divine order of things.
PROPHETS. See PRIESTS, HEBREW PROPHECY.
PROSELYTES, converts from heathenism to Judaism, of which there were
two classes: Proselytes of the Temple, those who accepted the ceremonial
law and were admitted into the inner court of The temple; and Proselytes
of the Gate, who accepted only the moral law, and were admitted only into
the outer court. They were a numerous class after the Dispersion, and
were reckoned at hundreds of thousands.
PROSERPINA, the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, who was carried off
while gathering flowers by PLUTO (q. v.), became Queen of Hades,
and is represented as sitting on an ebony throne beside him wearing a
crown. According to later tradition Pluto had to allow her to revisit the
upper world for two-thirds of the year to compromise matters with her
mother, her arrival being coincident with the beginning of spring and her
return to Hades coincident with the beginning of winter. She became by
Pluto the mother of the Furies.
PROSPERO, one of the chief characters in Shakespeare's "Tempest," an
exiled king of Milan, who, during his exile, practises magic, and breaks
his wand when he has accomplished his purpose.
PROTAGORAS, one of the earliest of the Greek Sophists, born at
Abdera, and who flourished in 440 B.C., and taught at Athens, from which
he was banished as a blasphemer, as having called in question the
existence of the gods; he taught that man was the measure of all things,
of those that exist, that they are; and of those things that do not
exist, that they are not; and that there is nothing absolute, that all is
an affair of subjective conception.
PROTECTION, name given to the encouragement of certain home products
of a country by imposing duties on foreign products of the class, opposed
PROTESTANTISM, the name given to a movement headed by Luther in the
16th century, in protestation of the supremacy in spiritual things
claimed by the Church of Rome, and made on the ground of the authority of
conscience enlightened by the Word of God, conceived of as the ultimate
revelation of God to man.
PROTESTANTS, a name given to the adherents of Luther, who, at the
second Diet of Spires in 1529, protested against the revocation of
certain privileges granted at the first Diet in 1526.
PROTEUS, in the Greek mythology a divinity of the sea endowed with
the gift of prophecy, but from whom it was difficult to extort the
secrets of fate, as he immediately changed his shape when any one
attempted to force him, for it was only in his proper form he could
enunciate these secrets.
PROTOGENES, a Greek painter of the time of Alexander the Great, born
in Caria; lived chiefly at Rhodes; was discovered by Apelles, who brought
him into note; his masterpiece is a picture of Ialysus, the tutelary hero
of Rhodes, on which he spent seven years, and which he painted four times
PROTOPLASM, a name given to presumed living matter forming the
physical bases of all forms of animal and vegetable life; the term is now
superseded by the term bioplasm. See DR. STIRLING, "AS REGARDS
PROUDHON, PIERRE JOSEPH, French Socialist, born at Besancon, the son
of a cooper; worked in a printing establishment, spent his spare hours in
study, specially of the social problem, and in 1840 published a work
entitled "What is Property?" and in which he boldly enunciated the
startling proposition, "Property is theft"; for the publication of this
thesis he was at first unmolested, and only with its application was he
called to account, and for which at last, in 1849, he was committed to
prison, where, however, he kept himself busy with his pen, and whence he
from time to time emitted socialistic publications till his release in
1852, after which he was in 1858 compelled to flee the country, to return
again under an act of amnesty in 1860 and die; he was not only the
assailant of property, but of government itself, and preached anarchy as
the goal of all social progress and not the starting-point, as so many
unfortunately fancy; but by anarchy, it would seem, he meant the right of
government spiritually free, and, in the Christian sense of that
expression, to exemption from all external control (see I Tim. i. 9)
PROUT, SAMUEL, eminent English water-colour artist, born at
Plymouth; had from a child an irrepressible penchant for drawing, which,
though discouraged at first by his father, was fostered by his
schoolmaster; was patronised by Britton the antiquary, and employed by
him to assist him in collecting materials for his "Beauties of England
and Wales," but it was not till his visit to Rouen in 1818 that he was
first fascinated with the subject that henceforth occupied him; from this
time excursions were continually made to the Continent, and every corner
of France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy ransacked for its
fragments of carved stone; the old architecture that then fascinated him
henceforth became a conspicuous feature in all his after-works; "the
works of Prout," says Ruskin, "will one day become memorials of the most
precious of things that have been ... A time will come when that zeal
will be understood, and his works will be cherished with a melancholy
gratitude, when the pillars of Venice shall be mouldering in the salt
shallows of her sea, and the stones of the goodly towers of Rouen have
become ballast for the barges of the Seine" (1789-1852).
PROUT, FATHER. See MAHONY, FRANCIS.
PROVENCAL LANGUAGE, one of the Romance dialects of France, spoken in
the South of France, and different from that spoken in the N. as in
closer connection with the original Latin than that of the N., which was
modified by Teutonic influence.
PROVENCE, a maritime province in the South of France, originally
called Provincia by the Romans, and which included the departments of
Bouches-du-Rhone, Basses-Alpes, Var, and part of Vaucluse.
PROVERBS, BOOK OF, a book of the Hebrew Scriptures, full of the
teachings of wisdom bearing on the conduct of life, and though ascribed
to Solomon, obviously not all of his composition, or even collection, and
probably ascribed to him because of his fondness for wisdom in that form,
and from his having procured the first collection. The principles
inculcated are purely ethical, resting, however, on a religious basis,
and concern the individual not as a member of any particular community,
but as a member of the human race; the lessons of life and death are the
same as in the covenant with Moses, and the condition in both cases is
the observance or non-observance of God's commandments. There is no
change in the principle, but in the expansion of it, and that amounts to
the foundation of a kingdom of God which shall include all nations. In
them the bonds of Jewish exclusiveness are burst, and a catholic religion
PROVIDENCE (175), a seaport and semi-capital of Rhode Island, U.S.,
on a river of the name, 44 m. SW. of Boston; it is a centre of a large
manufacturing district, and has a large trade in woollens, jewellery, and
hardware; has a number of public buildings, and institutions, churches,
schools, libraries, and hospitals, as well as beautiful villas and
PRUDENTIUS, MARCUS AURELIUS CLEMENS. Christian poet of the 4th
century, born in Spain; after spending the greater part of his life in
secular affairs, gave himself up to religious meditation, and wrote
hymns, lyrics, and polemics in verse.
PRUSSIA (24,690), the leading State of the German Empire, occupies
about two-thirds of the imperial territory, and contributes three-fifths
of the population; it stretches from Holland and Belgium in the W. to
Russia in the E., has Jutland and the sea on the N., and Lorraine,
Bavaria, Hesse-Darmstadt, Saxony, and Austria on the S.; the SW. portion
is hilly and the soil often poor, but containing valuable mineral
deposits; the N. and E. belongs to the great European plain, devoted to
agriculture and grazing; Hesse-Cassel is extremely fertile, and Nassau
produces excellent wine; in the E. and in Hanover are extensive forests;
Silesia, Westphalia, and Rhenish Prussia contain the chief coal-fields,
and are consequently the chief industrial provinces; half the zinc of the
world is mined in Prussia; lead, iron, copper, antimony, &c., are also
wrought; the Hartz Mountains are noted for their mines; Salt, amber, and
precious stones are found on the Baltic shores; textiles, metal wares,
and beer are the main industries; Berlin and Elberfeld are the two chief
manufacturing centres on the Continent; the great navigable rivers,
Niemen, Vistula, Oder, Elbe, Weser, Rhine, and their tributaries and
canals, excellent railways, and her central European position all favour
Prussia's commerce, while her coast-line, harbours, and growing
mercantile fleet put her in communication with the markets of the world;
seven-eighths of the people are Germans; Slavonic races are represented
by Poles, Wends, Lithuanians, and Czechs, while the Danes appear in
Schleswig-Holstein; the prevailing religion is Protestant; education is
compulsory and good; there are ten universities, and many great libraries
and educational institutions; the Prussian is the largest contingent in
the German army; the king of Prussia is emperor of Germany. The basis of
the Prussian people was laid by German colonists placed amid the pagan
Slavs whom they had conquered by the Teutonic knights of the 13th
century; in 1511 their descendants chose a Hohenzollern prince; a century
later the Hohenzollerns of Brandenburg succeeded; despite the Thirty
Years' War Prussia became a European State, and was recognised as a
kingdom in 1703; Frederick the Great (1740-1786) enlarged its bounds and
developed its resources; the successive partitions of Poland added to her
territory; humiliated by the peace of Tilsit 1807, and ruined by the
French occupation, she recovered after Waterloo; William I. and Bismarck
still further increased her territory and prestige; by the Austrian War
of 1866 and the French War of 1870-71 her position as premier State in
the German Confederation was assured.
PRYNNE, WILLIAM, a Puritan _censor morum_, born near Bath, bred to
the bar; wrote a book or pamphlet called "Histrio-Mastix, or the Player's
Scourge," against the stage, for which and a reflection in it against the
virtue of the queen he was brought before the Star Chamber in 1634,
sentenced to the pillory, and had his ears cropped off, and for an
offence against Laud, whether by order of the Star Chamber or not is
uncertain, was in 1637 sentenced anew, and "lost his ears a second and
final time, having had them 'sewed on again' before; this time a heroine
on the scaffold," adds Carlyle, "received them on her lap and kissed
him"; after this the zeal of Prynne appears to have waxed cold, for he
was as a recalcitrant imprisoned by Cromwell, after whose death he
espoused the Royalist cause, and was appointed Keeper of the Records of
the Tower (1600-1669).
PRYTANE`UM, name given to the public hall in Greek cities, and the
head-quarters of the Executive.
PSALMANAZAR, GEORGE, an impostor, born in the South of France, who,
being brought to London, imposed on Compton, bishop of London, by
fabricating a history of Formosa, of which he professed to be a native,
but was convicted of the error of his ways by Law's "Serious Call," and
led afterwards what seemed a sober life, and one to commend the regard of
PSALMS, THE BOOK OF, the name given in the Septuagint to a
collection of sacred songs in the Hebrew Bible, which are all of a
lyrical character, and appear to have been at first collected for
liturgical purposes. Their range is co-extensive with nearly all divine
truth, and there are tones in them in accord with the experience and
feelings of devout men in all ages. Nay, "the Psalter alone," says
Ruskin, "which practically was the service-book of the Church for many
ages, contains, merely in the first half of it, the sum of personal and
social wisdom,... while the 48th, 72nd, and 75th have in them the law and
the prophecy of all righteous government, and every real triumph of
natural science is anticipated in the 104th." The collection bears the
name of David, but it is clear the great body of them are of later date
as well as of divers authorship, although it is often difficult to
determine by whom some of them were written, and when. The determination
of this, however, is of the less consequence, as the question is more a
speculative one than a spiritual one, and whatever may be the result of
inquiry in this matter now going on, the spiritual value of the Psalms,
which is their real value, is nowise affected thereby. It matters nothing
who wrote them or when they were written; they are _there_, are conceived
from situations such as are obvious enough and common to the lot of all
good men, and they bear on spiritual interests, which are our primary
ones, and these, still, as in every other time, the alone really pressing
ones. They express the real experiences of living men, who lay under an
inner necessity to utter such a song, relieving themselves by the effort
and ministering a means of relief to others in a like situation of soul.
PSYCHE (i. e. the soul), in the later Greek mythology the youngest
of three daughters of a king, and of such beauty as to eclipse the
attractions and awake the jealousy of Venus, the goddess of beauty, who
in consequence sent Cupid, her son, to inspire her with love for a
hideous monster, and so compass her ruin. Cupid, fascinated with her
himself, spirited her away to a palace furnished with every delight, but
instead of delivering her over to the monster, visited her himself at
night as her husband, and left her before daybreak in the morning,
because she must on no account know who he was. Here her sisters came to
see her, and in their jealousy persuaded her to assure herself that it
was not a monster that she slept with, so that she lit a lamp the next
night to discover, when a drop of oil from it fell on his shoulder as he
lay asleep beside her, upon which he at a bound started up and vanished
out of sight. She thereupon gave way to a long wail of lamentation and
set off a-wandering over the wide world in search of her lost love, till
she came to the palace of Venus, her arch-enemy, who seized on her person
and made her her slave, subjecting her to a series of services, all of
which she accomplished to the letter, so that Venus was obliged to relent
and consent that, in the presence of all the gods of Olympus, Cupid and
she should be united in immortal wedlock. It is the story of the trials
of the soul to achieve immortality. See "Stories from the Greek
Mythology," by the Editor.
PSYCHICAL RESEARCH, SOCIETY FOR, a society founded in 1882 to
inquire into the phenomena of spiritualism and kindred subjects of a
recondite kind, the subject of Telepathy having engaged recently a good
deal of attention.
PTOLEMAIC SYSTEM, the highly complex system of astronomy ascribed to
Claudius Ptolemy, which assumed that the earth was the centre of a sphere
which carried the heavenly bodies along in its daily revolution,
accounted for the revolutions of the sun and moon by supposing they moved
in eccentric circles round the earth, and regarded the planets as moving
in epicycles round a point which itself revolved in an eccentric circle