Part 51 out of 53
which slopes from the Appalachians to the Atlantic, a manufacturing
region; a central, which slopes S., formed by the Mississippi Valley, an
agricultural and pastoral region; a plateau supported by the Rocky and
Cascade ranges, a metalliferous region; and a territory with the valley
of the Sacramento, which slopes to the Pacific, of varied resources. The
great rivers are in the Mississippi Valley, as also the two largest
lakes, the Michigan and Great Salt Lake, though there are important
rivers both for navigation and water-power on the Atlantic and Pacific
slopes. The climate is of every variety, from sub-arctic to sub-tropic,
with extremes both as regards temperature and moisture, in consequence of
which the vegetation is varied. The mineral wealth is immense, and
includes, besides large beds of coal, all the useful metals. The
industries, too, are manifold, and embrace manufactures of all kinds,
with agriculture, grazing, mining, and fishing, while commerce is
prosecuted with an activity that defies all rivalry, the facilities in
railway and waterway being such as no other country can boast of, for
there are over 182,000 miles of railway, not to mention street railways
and traction lines, with telegraphic and telephonic communication. The
population is mostly of British and German descent, with eight million
negroes, who are all English-spoken. The Government is a federal republic
of 45 States; the legislature consists of two Houses--a Senate
representing the States, each one sending two members, and a House of
Representatives representing the people, every citizen over 21 having a
vote, and every 170,000 voters having a representative--the head of the
Government being the President, elected for a term of four years, and
commander-in-chief of both army and navy. Religious equality prevails
through all the States, though the Protestant section of the Church is in
the ascendant, and education is free and general, though backward in
some of the former slave-holding States, the cost being met by State or
local funds, supplemented by the Federal Government.
UNITED STATES, PRESIDENTS OF, George Washington (1789-1797); John
Adams (1797-1801); Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809); James Maddison
(1809-1817); James Munroe (1817-1825); John Quincy Adams (1825-1829);
Andrew Jackson (1829-1837); Martin Van Buren (1837-1841); John Tyler
(1841-1845); John K. Polk (1845-1849); Zachary Taylor (1849-1850);
Millard Fillmore (1850-1853); Franklin Pierce (1853-1857); James Buchanan
(1857-1861); Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865); Andrew Johnson (1865-1869);
Ulysses D. Grant (1869-1877); Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881); James A.
Garfield (1881); Chester A. Arthur (1881-1885); Grover Cleveland
(1885-1889); Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893); Grover Cleveland (1893-1897);
William McKinley (1897-1901); Theodore Roosevelt (1901).
UNITIES, THREE, name given to the rule laid down by Aristotle that a
tragedy should be limited to one subject, to one place, and a single day.
UNIVERSALISTS, a body of Christians who profess to believe in the
final restoration of all the fallen, angels as well as men; a body
chiefly of American growth, having an ecclesiastical organisation, and
embracing a membership of 40,000; there are many of them Unitarians, and
all are more or less Pelagian in their views of sin.
UNKNOWN, THE GREAT, name given to Sir Walter Scott from withholding
his name in publishing the Waverley novels.
UNTERWALDEN (27), a canton of Switzerland S. and E. of Lucerne,
consisting of two parallel valleys 15 m. long running N. and S.; an
entirely pastoral country, and exports articles of husbandry.
UNYANYEMBE, a district of German East Africa, with a town of the
name, with a settlement of Arabs who cultivate the soil, the fruits of
which they export.
UNYORO (1,500), a native State of Central Africa, between Lake
Albert Nyanza and the territory of Uganda.
UPAN`ISHADS (Instructions), a voluminous heterogeneous collection of
treatises connected with the Vedas, and the chief source of our knowledge
of the early metaphysical speculations and ethical doctrines of the
Hindus; they are to a great extent apocryphal, and are posterior to the
rise of Buddhism.
UPAS TREE, a poison-yielding-tree, at one time fabled to exhale such
poison that it was destructive to all animal and vegetable life for miles
UPOLU (16), the principal island in the SAMOAN GROUP (q. v.),
is 140 m. in circumference, and rises in verdure-clad terraces from
a belt of low land on the shore, with Apia, the capital of the group, on
the N. border.
UPPINGHAM, market-town in Rutland, with a famous public school.
UPSALA (21), the ancient capital of Sweden, on the Sala, 21 m. NW.
of Stockholm, the seat of the Primate, and of a famous university with
1900 students, and a library of 250,000 volumes; its cathedral, built of
brick in the Gothic style, is the largest in Sweden, contains the tombs
of Linnaeus and of Gustavus Vasa.
URAL, a river of Russia, which rises in the E. of the Urals and
forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia, and falls after a
course of 870 m. by a number of mouths into the Caspian Sea.
URALS, THE, a range of mountains rich in precious as well as useful
metals, extending from the Arctic Sea to the Sea of Aral, and separating
European from Asiatic Russia, and is 1330 m. in length, 60 m. in breadth,
and 3000 ft. in average height.
URALSK (26), a town, a Cossack centre, on the Ural River, 280 m.
from the Caspian Sea, and a place of considerable trade.
URANIA, the muse of astronomy, is represented with a globe in her
hand, to which she points with a small rod.
URANUS, a planet, the outermost but one of the solar system, is 1770
millions of miles from the sun, takes 30,686 of our days, or 84 of our
years, to revolve round it, has four times the diameter of the earth, and
is accompanied by four moons; it was discovered in 1781 by Herschel, and
called by him Georgium Sidus in honour of George III.
URANUS (Heaven), in the Greek mythology the son of Gaia (the Earth),
and by her the father of the Titans; he hated his children, and at birth
thrust them down to Tartarus, to the grief of Gaia, at whose instigation
Kronos, the youngest born, unmanned him, and seized the throne of the
Universe, to be himself supplanted in turn by his son Zeus.
URBAN, the name of eight popes: URBAN I., Pope from 223 to 230;
URBAN II., Pope from 1088 to 1099, warm promoter of the first
Crusade; URBAN III., pope from 1185 to 1187; URBAN IV., Pope
from 1261 to 1264; URBAN V., Pope from 1362 to 1370, man of an
ascetic temper; URBAN VI., Pope from 1378 to 1389, in his reign the
schism in the papacy began which lasted 40 years; URBAN VII., Pope
in 1590; and URBAN VIII., Pope from 1623 to 1644, founded the
College de Propaganda Fide.
URBINO, an ancient town of Central Italy, 20 m. SW. of Pesaro; was
once the capital of a duchy; is the seat of an archbishop, and was the
birthplace of Raphael.
URI (17), a Swiss canton N. of Unterwalden; is almost entirely
pastoral; is overlooked by Mount St. Gothard; Altdorf is the capital.
URIM AND THUMMIM, two ornaments attached to the breastplate of the
Jewish high-priest which, when consulted by him, at times gave
mysteriously oracular responses.
URQUHART, SIR THOMAS, of Cromarty, a cavalier and supporter of
Charles I., and a great enemy of the Covenanters in Scotland; travelled
much, and acquired a mass of miscellaneous knowledge, which he was fain
to display and did display in a most pedantic style; posed as a
philologist and a mathematician, but executed one classical work, a
translation of Rabelais; is said to have died in a fit of laughter at the
news of the restoration of Charles II. (1605-1660).
URSA MAJOR, the Greater Bear, a well-known constellation in the
northern hemisphere, called also the Plough, the Wagon, or Charles's
Wain, consists of seven bright stars, among others three of which are
known as the "handle" of the Plough, and two as the pointers, so called
as pointing to the pole-star.
URSA MINOR, the Lesser Bear, an inconspicuous constellation, the
pole-star forming the tip of the tail.
URSULA, ST., virgin saint and martyr, daughter of a British king;
sought in marriage by a heathen prince, whom she accepted on condition
that he became a Christian and that he would wait three years till she
and her 11,000 maidens accomplished a pilgrimage to Rome; this pilgrimage
being accomplished, on their return to Cologne they were set upon and all
save her slain by a horde of Huns, who reserved her as a bride to Etzel,
their king, on the refusal of whose hand she was transfixed by an arrow,
and thereby set free from all earthly bonds; is very often represented
in art with arrows in her hands, and sometimes with a mantle and a group
of small figures under it, her martyred sisters.
URSULINES, an order of nuns founded in 1537 by St. Angela Merici of
Brescia in honour of St. Ursula, devoted to the nursing of the sick and
the instruction of the young, and now established in homes in different
cities of both Europe and North America.
URUGUAY (730), the smallest State in South America and a republic,
formerly called Banda Oriental; lies between the Atlantic and the Uruguay
River, and is bounded on the S. by the estuary of the Plata; it covers an
area of over 70,000 sq. m., and is little more than one-third the size of
France; the mineral wealth is abundant, but little has been done to
exploit it; the cultivation of the soil is only begun, and the land is
mostly given over to pasture, cattle-rearing and sheep-farming being the
chief industries, and the chief products and exports being hides, wool,
preserved meats, and similar articles of commerce. The people are mostly
natives of mixed race, with some 30 per cent. of Europeans; primary
education is compulsory; there are numerous schools, and a university,
and though the established religion is Roman Catholic, all others are
tolerated. Montevideo is the capital.
URUMIYA (32), a town in Persia, near a lake of the name, SW. of the
Caspian Sea, the seat of a Nestorian bishop and the birthplace of
USEDOM (33), island belonging to Prussia, at the mouth of the Oder,
with Schwinemuende on the N.
USHANT, island off the W. coast of France, in department of
Finisterre, where Howe gained a signal victory over the French in 1794.
USHER, JAMES, Irish episcopal prelate, born in Dublin of good
parentage, educated at Trinity College, Dublin; took orders and devoted
years to the study of the Fathers of the Church; was in 1607 appointed
professor of Divinity in his Alma Mater, in 1620 bishop of Meath, and in
1621 archbishop of Armagh; in 1640 he went to England, and during the
rebellion next year his house was broken into and plundered, after which
he settled in London and was eight years preacher at Lincoln's Inn;
adhered to the royal cause, but was favoured by Cromwell, and by him
honoured with burial in Westminster; he was a most saintly man,
evangelical in his teaching, and wrote a number of learned works
UTAH (207), a territory on the western plateau of the United States,
W. of Colorado, traversed by the Wahsatch range, at the foot of which
lies the Great Salt Lake, is in extent nearly three times as large as
Scotland, and occupied by a population four-fifths of which are Mormons,
a territory rich in mines of the precious and useful metals as well as
coal; originally wholly a desert waste, but now transformed where the
soil has admitted of it, into a fruit-bearing region. SALT LAKE
CITY (q. v.) is the capital.
UTAKAMAND, the summer capital of the Presidency of Madras, India, on
the Nilgherries, 7000 ft. above the sea-level, and where the temperature
in summer is as low as 60 deg..
UTGARD (out-yard), in the Norse mythology a place or circle of rocks
on the extreme borders of the world, the abode of the giants, the same as
UTICA, an ancient city of North Africa, founded by the Phoenicians
on a site 20 m. NW. of Carthage; was in alliance with Carthage during the
first and second Punic Wars, but took part with the Romans in the third,
and became afterwards the capital of the Roman province.
UTICA (56), a city in New York State, U.S., 232 m. NW. of New York
City; is on the Erie Canal, in the heart of a dairy-farming district; has
a noted market for cheese, and has various manufactures.
UTILITARIANISM, the theory which makes happiness the end of life and
the test of virtue, and maintains that "actions are right in proportion
as they tend to promote happiness, and wrong as they tend to produce the
reverse," a theory characterised by Carlyle, who is never weary of
denouncing it, as "reducing the infinite celestial soul of man to a kind
of hay-balance for weighing hay and thistles on, pleasures and pains on."
The great apostle of this theory was John Stuart Mill, and the great
father of it Jeremy Bentham.
UTOPIA (Nowhere), an imaginary island described by Sir Thomas More,
and represented as possessing a perfect political organisation, and which
has given name to all schemes which aim at the like impossible
perfection, though often applied to such as are not so much impossible in
themselves as impracticable for want of the due individual virtue and
courage to realise them.
UTRAQUISTS (i. e. both kinders), followers of Huss who maintained
that the Eucharist should be administered to the people in both kinds,
both bread and wine.
UTRECHT (60), an old town, the capital of a province of the name
(224), in Holland, on the Old Rhine, 23 m. SE. of Amsterdam; it is
fortified by strong forts, and the old walls have been levelled into
beautiful promenades; has a number of fine buildings, a Gothic cathedral,
St. Martin's, a famous university with 700 students, and a library of
160,000 volumes, besides a town-hall and the "Pope's house" (Pope Adrian
VI., who was born here), &c.; manufactures iron goods, textiles,
machinery, &c., and trades in butter and cheese; here in 1713 the treaty
was signed which closed the Spanish Succession War. Is the name also of a
S. province of the Transvaal.
UTTOXETER, market-town of Staffordshire, 14 m. NE. of Stafford; has
sundry manufactures and brewing; here Dr. Johnson did public penance,
with head uncovered, as a man, for want of filial duty when, as a boy, he
refused to keep his father's bookstall in the market-place when he was
UXBRIDGE, town of Middlesex, 16 m. W. of London; has two fine
churches, and a large corn-market.
UZBEGS, a race of Tartar descent and Mohammedan creed, dominant in
Turkestan, the governing class in Khiva, Bokhara, and Khokand especially;
territory now annexed to Russia.
VAAL, a river of South Africa, which rises in the Drakenberg
Mountains, separates the Free State from the Transvaal, and after a
course of 500 m. in a SW. direction joins the Nu Gariep to form the
VACCINATION. Inoculation with the matter of cowpox as a protection
against smallpox, was introduced 1796-98 by EDWARD JENNER (q. v.),
and at length adopted by the faculty after much opposition on the
part of both medical men and the public.
VAIGATZ, an island in the Arctic Ocean, 67 m. long by 26 m. broad,
the "Holy Island" of the SAMOYEDES (q. v.), an abode of furred
animals, seals, &c.
VAISHNAVAS, in India, name given to the worshippers of Vishnu.
VAISYAS. See CASTE.
VALAIS, a Swiss canton, between Berne on the N. and Italy on the S.,
in a wide valley of the Rhone, and shut in by lofty mountains;
cattle-rearing is the chief industry.
VALDAI HILLS, a plateau rising to the height of 1100 ft. above the
sea-level in Russia, forming the only elevation in the Great European
VALENCIA (180), a city of Spain, once the capital of a kingdom, now
of a fertile province of the name; is situated on the shores of the
Mediterranean, 3 m. from the mouth of the Guadalaviar, in the midst of a
district called the Huerta, which is watered by the river, and grows
oranges, citron, almond, mulberry-trees in richest luxuriance, the fruits
of which it exports; is an archbishop's see, and contains a large Gothic
cathedral, a picture gallery, and a university with a large library; has
silk, cloth, leather, cigar, floor-tile manufactures, and exports grain
and silk besides fruits.
VALENCIA (40), a city of Venezuela, in a rich district, on a lake of
the same name; large numbers of cattle, horses, and mules are reared in
VALENCIENNES (24), an ancient fortified city in the dep. Nord,
France, on the Scheldt, 32 m. SE. of Lille, with a citadel planned by
Vauban, a fine town-hall, and a modern Gothic church and other buildings;
has textile manufactures, besides iron-works, and was once famous for its
VALENS, FLAVIUS, Emperor of the East from 364 to 378; nominated by
his brother Valentinian I. emperor of the West; was harassed all his
reign by the Goths, who had been allowed to settle in the empire, and
whom he drove into revolt, to the defeat of his army in 378, in a battle
in which he was himself slain; the controversy between the orthodox and
the Arians was at its height in this reign, and to the latter party both
he and his victors belonged; _b_. 328.
VALENTIA, an island in co. Kerry, Ireland, is the European terminus
of the Atlantic telegraph system.
VALENTINE, BASIL, a German alchemist of the 15th century, is said to
have been a Benedictine monk at Erfurt, and is reckoned the father of
VALENTINE'S DAY, the 14th of February, on which young people of both
sexes were wont (the custom seems gradually dying out) to send
love-missives to one another; it is uncertain who the Valentine was that
is associated with the day, or whether it was with any of the name.
VALENTINIAN I., Roman emperor from 364 to 375, born in Pannonia, of
humble birth; distinguished himself by his capacity and valour; was
elected emperor by the troops at Nicaea; his reign was spent in repelling
the inroads of the barbarians.
VALENTINIANS, a Gnostic sect, called after their leader Valentine, a
native of Egypt of the 2nd century, regarded heathenism as preparatory to
Christianity, and Christ as the full and final development in human form
of a series of fifteen stages of emanation from the infinite divine to
the finite divine in Him "the fulness of Him that filleth all in all,"
each stage in the process achieved by the union of a male element with a
female, that is, a conceptive and a susceptive.
VALERIANUS, LUCINIUS, Roman emperor from 253 to 260, elected by the
legions in Rhaetia; the empire being assailed on all hands he set out to
defend it on the E.; was defeated at Edessa, taken prisoner, and cruelly
treated; when he died his skin, it is said, was stuffed and paraded as a
VALERIUS MAXIMUS, a Roman writer of the age of Tiberius, who
compiled a collection of the sayings and doings of notable Romans; it is
of very miscellaneous character, and is written in a bombastic style, and
dedicated to the emperor.
VALETTA (62), a fortress city, the capital of Malta, on a promontory
on the NE. coast of the island, between two bays; the streets are steep,
and the harbour is strongly fortified; it contains several fine
buildings, a cathedral, the palace of the Grand-Masters of the Knights
Templar, and the hospital of St. John; there is also a university and a
large public library.
VALETTE, JEAN PARISOT DE LA, grand-master of the order of St. John,
famous for his military exploits and for his defence of Malta against the
Turks in 1565 (1494-1565).
VALHALLA, Hall of Odin, the heaven of the brave in the Norse
mythology, especially such as gave evidence of their valour by dying in
battle, the "base and slavish" being sent to the realm of Hela, the
VALKYRS, in the Norse mythology daughters of Odin, who selected such
as were worthy to be slain in battle, and who conducted them to
VALHALLA (q. v.).
VALLA, LAURENCE, a learned humanist, born in Rome, and a valiant
defender of the claims of scholarship; was a distinguished Latinist
VALLADOLID (62), a famous city of Spain, the capital of old Castile,
and now of a province of the name, 150 m. N. of Madrid; is a fortress
town; is the seat of an archbishop; has a university and a number of
churches; manufactures textile fabrics, iron, and leather.
VALLOMBROSA (shady valley), a Benedictine abbey 15 m. E. of
Florence, in a valley of the Apennines, surrounded by forests of beech,
firs, &c.; is a classic spot.
VALMY, a village of France, 20 m. NE. of Chalons, where the
Prussians, under the Duke of Brunswick, were defeated by the troops of
the French Republic under Kellermann in 1792.
VALOIS, an ancient duchy of France, which now forms part of the
departments of Oise and Aisne, a succession of the counts of which
occupied the throne of France, beginning with Philippe VI. in 1328 and
ending with Henry III. in 1574.
VALPARAISO (Vale of Paradise) (150), the second city and chief port
in Chile, over 100 m. NW. of Santiago, at the head of a bay which looks
N., and where the anchorage is dangerous; is quite a commercial city;
exports ores, nitre, wheat, hides, &c., the business affairs of which are
largely in the hands of foreigners, chiefly English, American, and
Germans; it has been on various occasions visited by severe earthquakes;
was bombarded by a Spanish fleet in 1866 and suffered in the Civil War of
VAMBERY, ARMINIUS, traveller and philologist, born in Hungary, of
poor Jewish parentage; apprenticed to a costumier; took to the study of
languages; expelled from Pesth as a revolutionary in 1848, settled in
Constantinople as a teacher, travelled as a dervish in Turkestan and
elsewhere, and wrote "Travels and Adventures in Central Asia," a most
valuable and notable work; _b_. 1832.
VAMPIRE, the ghost of a dead person accursed, fabled to issue from
the grave at night and suck the blood of the living as they sleep, the
victims of whom are subject to the same fate; the belief is of Slavonic
origin, and common among the Slavs.
VAN (35), a town in the Kurdistan Highlands, on the SE. shore of
Lake Van, and 145 m. SE. of Erzerum; inhabited by Turks and Armenians.
VAN BUREN, MARTIN, the eighth President of the United States, born
in New York; devoted from early years to politics, and early made his
mark; elected President in 1835, an office which he adorned with honour,
though to the sacrifice of his popularity (1782-1862).
VAN DIEMEN'S LAND. See TASMANIA.
VANADIUM, a metallic silver-white elementary body of rare
occurrence, and occurring in very small quantities; discovered first in
1801 by Del Rio.
VANBRUGH, SIR JOHN, dramatist, of uncertain birth; his dramas
adaptations from the French of Moliere and others; had been a soldier;
was Clarencieux King-at-Arms, and is noted as an architect; _d_. 1726.
VANCOUVER ISLAND (30), a rugged-coasted island on the W. of North
America; belongs to British Columbia; is separated from it by a strait of
the sea; is 278 m. long and 50 to 65 m. of average breadth; is covered
with forests, and only partially cultivated; is rich in minerals, and has
VANDALS, a fierce nation of the Teutonic race, who, from the NE. of
Europe, invaded Rome on the E., mutilating and destroying the works of
art in the city.
VANDERBILT, CORNELIUS, American millionaire, born on Staten Island;
began life as a ferryman, acquired his fortune by enterprise in steamship
navigation, and speculating in railway extensions (1794-1877).
VANDEVELDT, WILLIAM, the Elder, marine painter, born at Leyden;
painted sea-fights; was patronised by Charles II. and James II.
VANDEVELDT, WILLIAM, the Younger, marine painter, son of preceding;
patronised likewise by Charles II. (1633-1707).
VANDYCK, SIR ANTHONY, great portrait-painter, born in Antwerp;
studied under Rubens, whose favourite pupil he was; visited Italy, and
devoted himself to the study of the great masters; on his return to
Antwerp painted "Christ Crucified between Two Thieves"; came to England
in 1632, and was patronised by Charles I.; was knighted, and made court
painter; painted the royal family, the king, queen, and their two
children, and during the next eight years executed portraits of all the
court people; his portraits are very numerous, and the most celebrated
are in England; died at Blackfriars, and was buried in St. Paul's
VANE, SIR HENRY, a notability of the Civil War period in England;
was a Puritan of the republican type, born in Kent; studied at Oxford;
emigrated for a time to New England, but returned, entered Parliament,
took an active part against the Royalists, withstood Cromwell, and was
openly rebuked by him; his opposition to the Protectorate led to his
imprisonment for a time; at the Restoration he was arrested and beheaded
on Tower Hill (1612-1662).
VAR (288), a department in the SE. of France; is in part
mountainous, with fertile valleys; yields wine, tobacco, and various
VARENNES, a small town near Verdun, in France, where in 1791 Louis
XVI. was intercepted in his attempt to escape from France.
VARNA (25), a port of Bulgaria, on a bay in the Black Sea; a place
of considerable trade, specially in exporting corn; here the French and
English allied forces encamped for four months in 1854 prior to their
invasion of the Crimea.
VARNHAGEN, VON ENSE, German memoir writer, and excellent in that
department; a man of many vicissitudes; memorable chiefly as the editor
of his wife's letters. See RAHEL.
VARRO, MARCUS TERENTIUS, "the most learned of the Romans," wrote a
number of works both in prose and verse, of which only fragments remain,
but enough to prove the greatness of the loss; was the friend of Pompey,
then Caesar, then Cicero, but survived the strife of the time and spent
his leisure afterwards in literary labours (116-27 B.C.).
VARUNA, in the Hindu mythology the god of the luminous heavens,
viewed as embracing all things and as the primary source of all life and
every blessing. "In connection with no other god," says M. Barth, "is the
sense of the divine majesty and of the absolute dependence of the
creature expressed with the same force. We must go to the Psalms to find
similar accents of adoration and supplication." He was the prototype of
the Greek Uranus, the primeval father of gods and men.
VARUS, PUBLIUS QUINTILIUS, Roman consul, appointed by Augustus
governor of Germany; being attacked by Arminius and overpowered with loss
of three Roman legions under his command, he committed suicide; when the
news of the disaster reached Rome Augustus was overwhelmed with grief,
and in a paroxysm of despair called upon the dead man to restore him his
VASARI, GIORGIO, Italian painter and architect, born in Arezzo; was
the author of biographies of Italian artists, and it is on these, with
the criticism they contain, that his title to fame rests (1511-1574).
VASSAR COLLEGE, a college 2 m. E. of Poughkeepsie, New York, founded
by Matthew Vassar, a wealthy brewer, in 1861 for the higher education of
VATHEC, an Oriental potentate and libertine, guilty of all sorts of
crimes, and hero of a novel of the name by WILLIAM BECKFORD (q. v.).
VATICAN, THE, the palace of the Pope in Rome and one of the largest
in the world; contains a valuable collection of works of art, and is one
of the chief attractions in the city; it is a storehouse of literary
treasures as well and documents of interest bearing on the history of the
VATICAN COUNCIL, a Church council attended by 764 ecclesiastics
under the auspices of Pius IX., which assembled on December 8, 1869, and
by a majority of nearly 481 decreed the doctrine of Papal Infallibility.
VAUBAN, SEBASTIEN LE PRESTRE DE, marshal of France in the reign of
Louis XIV.; military engineering was his great forte, and as such he
"conducted 53 sieges, was present at 104 battles, erected 33 fortresses,
and restored the works of 300 old ones"; he was originally in the service
of Spain, and was enlisted in the French service by Cardinal Mazarin; he
was a political economist as well as engineer, but his animadversions
only procured for him the royal disfavour (1633-1707).
VAUCLUSE (valley shut in) (235), department in the SE. of France;
chief industries agriculture, silk-weaving, pottery, &c., and with a
village of the name, 19 m. E. of Avignon, famous for its fountain and as
the retreat of Petrarch for 16 years.
VAUD (247), a canton in the W. of Switzerland, between Jura and the
Bernese Alps; is well cultivated, yields wines, and its inhabitants
Protestants; the capital is Lausanne.
VAUDEVILLE, a light, lively song with topical allusions; also a
dramatic poem interspersed with comic songs of the kind and dances.
VAUDOIS, the name given to Waldenses who, driven forth from France
or Vaud, found refuge and settled down in the mountain fastnesses of
VAUGHAN, CHARLES JOHN, English clergyman, born at Leicester; was a
pupil of Dr. Arnold's at Rugby; for many years famous as Master of the
Temple, a post he resigned in 1894; held in high esteem as a preacher and
for his fine spirit (1816-1897).
VAUGHAN, HENRY, English poet, self-styled the "Silurist" from the
seat of his family in South Wales; studied at Oxford, was a partisan of
the royal cause; wrote four volumes of poems in the vein of George
Herbert, but was much more mystical and had deeper thoughts, could he
have expressed them; of his poems the first place has been assigned to
"Silex Scintillans," the theme the flinty heart when smelted giving out
sparks. "At times," adds Prof. Saintsbury, "there is in him genuine blood
and fire; but it is not always, or even often, that the flint is kindled
and melted to achieved expression" (1622-1695).
VAUGHAN, HERBERT, CARDINAL, archbishop of Westminster, born at
Gloucester, son of Lieut.-Colonel Vaughan; educated at Stonyhurst and
abroad; succeeded Cardinal Manning as archbishop in 1872, having
previously been bishop of Salford; _b_. 1832.
VAUVENARGUES, MARQUIS DE, celebrated French essayist, born at Aix,
Provence, poor, but of an old and honourable family; entered the army at
18, served in the Austrian Succession War, resigned his commission in
1744, settled in Paris and took to literature; his principal work was
"Introduction a la Connaissance de l'Esprit Humain," followed by
reflections and maxims on points of ethics and criticism; he suffered
from bad health, and his life was a short one (1715-1747).
VEDANGA, one of the six commentaries on the Vedas.
VEDANTA, a system of Hindu speculation in interpretation of the
Vedas, founded on the pre-supposition of the identity of the spiritual
working at the heart of things and the spiritual working in the heart of
VEDAS, the sacred books of the Hindus, of sacerdotal origin and
ancient date, of which there are four collections, severally denominated
the Rig-Veda, the Atharva-Veda, the Sama-Veda, the Yajur-Veda, to each of
which are attached Brahmanas in elucidation.
VEDDAS, the aborigines of Ceylon, of whom some 2000, still in a wild
state, are extant between Kandy and the E. coast.
VEGA, LOPEZ DE LA, known as Lope, Spanish dramatist, born in Madrid;
began life as a soldier; served in the Armada; was secretary to the Duke
of Alva; took orders, and became an officer of the Inquisition; wrote a
heroic pastoral entitled "Arcadia" at the instance of the duke, and the
"Dragonica" over the death of Drake as the destroyer of the supremacy of
Spain on the sea; was a man of fertile inventiveness, and is said to have
written 2000 plays, besides no end of verses, and was called by Cervantes
a "Prodigy of Nature" (1562-1635).
VEHMGERICHTE or FEHMGERICHT, a tribunal in Germany during the
Middle Ages, of which there were several, all powerful, in connection
with a secret organisation under sanction of the emperor for the
enforcement of justice and punishment of crime at a period when the
States severally were too weak to uphold it. These courts were held in
secret places at night, and inspired great terror in the 13th and 14th
VEII, an ancient city of Etruria, and in early times a formidable
rival of Rome, from which it was only 12 m. distant. The Romans under
Camillus laid siege to it, and it baffled them for 10 years.
VEIT, PHILIPP, painter of the Romanticist school, born at Berlin;
his best-known work is a fresco, "Christianity bringing the Fine Arts to
VELASQUEZ, DIEGO DE SILVA, greatest of Spanish painters, born at
Seville, of Portuguese family; studied under FRANCISCO HERRERA
(q. v.), who taught him to teach himself, so that but for the hint he
was a self-taught artist, and simply painted what he saw and as he saw
it; portrait-painting was his forte, one of his earliest being a portrait
of Olivarez, succeeded by one of Philip IV. of Spain, considered the most
perfect extant, and by others of members of the royal family; specimens
of his work are found in different countries, but the best are in Spain,
in Madrid, and they include sacred subjects, genre, landscape, and animal
paintings, as well as portraits (1599-1660).
VENDEE, LA (442), a dep. of France, on the Bay of Biscay, S. of
Loire-Inferieure; marshy on the W., wooded on the N., and with an open
fertile tract in the middle and S.; it is famous as the seat of a
stubborn resistance to the Revolution, and for the bloody violence with
which it was suppressed.
VENDEMIAIRE (vintage month), the first month of the French
Revolution year, from 22nd September to 21st October.
VENDETTA, the practice which existed in Corsica and Sicily on the
part of individuals of exacting vengeance for the murder of a relative on
the murderer or one of his relations.
VENDOME, LOUISE JOSEPH, DUC DE, French general, born at Paris,
great-grandson of Henry IV.; served in the wars of Louis XIV., and gained
several victories; was defeated by Marlborough and Prince Eugene at
Oudenarde in 1708, but by his victory at Villaviciosa contributed to the
restoration of Philip V. to the Spanish throne in 1711; was a man of
gross sensuality, and has been pilloried by Saint Simon for the
execration of all mankind (1654-1712).
VENEZUELA (2,323), a federal republic in South America, founded in
1830, over three times as large as Spain, consisting of nine States and
several territories; composed of mountain and valley, and in great part
of llanos, within the basin of the Orinoco; between the Caribbean Sea,
Colombo, Brazil, and British Guiana, and containing a population of
Indian, Spanish, and Negro descent; on the llanos large herds of horses
and cattle are reared; the agricultural products are sugar, coffee,
cotton, tobacco, &c.; the forests yield mahogany, ebony, and dye-wood,
while the mines yield iron, copper, &c., and there are extensive
gold-fields, considered the richest in the world; the boundary line
between the British colony and Venezuela was for long matter of keen
dispute, but by the intervention of the United States at the request of
the latter a treaty between the contending parties was concluded,
referring the matter to a court of arbitration, which met at Paris in
1895, and settled it in 1899, in vindication, happily, of the British
claim, the Schomburgk line being now declared to be the true line, and
the gold-fields ours.
VENGEUR, LE, a war-vessel of the French fabled to have gone down
rather than surrender to the English in a battle off Ushant on 1st June
1794, the crew shouting "Vive la Republique," when it was really a cry
VENICE, a city of Italy, in a province of the same name, at the head
of the Adriatic, in a shallow lagoon dotted with some eighty islets, and
built on piles partly of wood and partly of stone, the streets of which
are canals traversed by gondolas and crossed here and there by bridges;
the city dates from the year 432, when the islands were a place of refuge
from the attacks of the Huns, and took shape as an independent State with
magistrates of its own about 687, to assume at length the form of a
republic and become "Queen of the Adriatic Sea," the doge, or chief
magistrate, ranking as one of the sovereign powers of the Western world;
from its situation it became in the 10th century a great centre of trade
with the East, and continued to be till the discovery of the route round
the Cape, after which it began to decline, till it fell eventually under
the yoke of Austria, from which it was wrested in 1866, and is now part
of the modern kingdom of Italy, with much still to show of what it was in
its palmy days, and indications of a measure of recovery from its
down-trodden state; for an interesting and significant sketch in brief of
its rise and fall see the "SHADOW ON THE DIAL" in Ruskin's "St.
VENTNOR, a town and favourite watering-place on the S. shore of the
Isle of Wight, with a fine beach; much resorted to in winter from its
warm Southern exposure.
VENUS, the Roman goddess of love, of wedded love, and of beauty
(originally of the spring), and at length identified with the Greek
APHRODITE (q. v.); she was regarded as the tutelary goddess of
Rome, and had a temple to her honour in the Forum.
VENUS, an interior planet of the solar system, revolving in an orbit
outside that of Mercury and within that of the earth, nearly as large as
the latter; is 67 millions of miles from the sun, round which it revolves
in 224 days, while it takes 231/4 hours to rotate on its own axis; it is
the brightest of the heavenly bodies, and appears in the sky now as the
morning star, now as the evening star, according as it rises before the
sun or sets after it, so that it is always seen either in the E. or the
W.; when right between us and the sun it is seen moving as a black spot
on the sun's disk, a phenomenon known as "Transit of Venus," the last
instance of which occurred in 1882, and that will not occur again till
after 1051/2 years.
VERA CRUZ (24), a chief seaport of Mexico, on the Gulf of Mexico,
263 m. SE. of the capital; is regularly built and strongly fortified, but
is unhealthily situated, and the yellow and other fevers prevail; trade
is chiefly in the hands of foreigners; exports ores, cochineal, indigo,
VERDI, GIUSEPPE, Italian composer, born at Roncole, Parma; his
musical talent was slow of recognition, but the appearance of his
"Lombardi" and "Ernani" in 1843-44 established his repute, which was
confirmed by "Rigoletto" in 1851 and "Il Trovatore" and "La Traviata" in
1853; _b_. 1813.
VERDUN (18), a strongly fortified town in the department of Meuse,
35 m. W. of Metz; capitulated to the Germans in 1870 after a siege of six
VERESTCHAGIN, Russian painter, is realistic to an extreme degree and
anti-conventional; _b_. 1842.
VERGIL, POLYDORE, historian and miscellaneous writer, born at
Urbino; was a friend and correspondent of Erasmus; was sent to England by
the Pope as deputy-collector of Peter's pence, and was there promoted to
ecclesiastical preferments; wrote in Latin an able and painstaking
history of England, bringing it down to the year 1538 (1470-1555).
VERIGNIAUD, an eloquent orator of the French Revolution; a man of
indolent temper, but by his eloquence became leader of the Girondins;
presided at the trial of the king, and pronounced the decision of the
court--sentence of death, presided as well "at the Last Supper of his
party, with wild coruscations of eloquence, with song and mirth," and was
guillotined next day, the last of the lot (1753-1793).
VERLAINE, PAUL, French poet, born in Metz; has written lyrics of a
quite unique type (1844-1896).
VERMONT (green mount) (332), an inland New England State, W. of New
Hampshire and a little larger in size, includes large tracts of both
pastoral and arable land; rears live-stock in great numbers, yields
cereals, and produces the best maple sugar in the States, and has large
quarries of granite, marble, and slate.
VERNE, JULES, French story-teller, born at Nantes, inventor and
author of a popular series of semi-scientific novels; _b_. 1828.
VERNET, CLAUDE, French marine-painter, born at Avignon; executed
more than 200 paintings, both landscape and sea pieces (1712-1789).
CARLO, son of preceding, painter of battle-pieces, born at Bordeaux
(1768-1833). HORACE, son of latter, born in Paris, distinguished
also for his battle-pieces in flattery of French Chauvinism (1789-1863).
VERNON, DI, the heroine in Sir Walter Scott's "Rob Roy," an
enthusiastic royalist, distinguished for her beauty and talents.
VERONA (72), an old Italian town on the Adige, in Venetia, 62 m. W.
of Venice; is a fortress city and one of the famous Quadrilateral; has
many interesting buildings and some Roman remains, in particular of an
amphitheatre; has manufactures of silk, velvet, and woollen fabrics, and
carries on a large local trade.
VERONESE, PAOLO, painter of the Venetian school, born at Verona,
whence his name; studied under an uncle, painted his "Temptation of St.
Anthony" for Mantua Cathedral, and settled in Venice in 1555, where he
soon earned distinction and formed one of a trio along with Titian and
Tintoretto; the subjects he treated were mostly scriptural, the most
celebrated being the "Marriage Feast at Cana of Galilee," now in the
VERONICA, ST., according to legend a woman who met Christ on His way
to crucifixion and offered Him her veil to wipe the sweat off His face.
VERSAILLES (51), a handsome city of France, capital of the
department of Seine-et-Oise, 11 m. by rail SW. of Paris, of which it is
virtually a suburb, and was during the monarchy, from Louis XIV.'s time,
the seat of the French court; has a magnificent palace, with a gallery
embracing a large collection of pictures; was occupied by the Germans
during the siege of Paris, and in one of its halls the Prussian king was
proclaimed emperor of Germany as William I.
VERTUMNUS in Roman mythology the god of the seasons, wooed Pomona
under a succession of disguises, and won her at last.
VESPASIAN, TITUS FLAVIUS VESPASIANUS, Roman emperor (from 70 to 79)
and tenth of the 12 Caesars, born in the Sabine territory of humble
parentage; rose by his valour to high rank in the army and in favour with
it, till at length he was elected by it to the throne; he had waged war
successfully in Germany, Britain, and at Jerusalem, and during his
reign, and nearly all through it, the temple of Janus was shut at Rome.
VESPUCCI, AMERIGO, navigator, born at Florence; made two voyages to
America in 1499 and in 1501, and from him the two continents derived
their name, owing, it is said, to his first visit being misdated in an
account he left, which made it appear that he had preceded Columbus
VESTA, the Roman goddess of the hearth, identified with the Greek
Hestia; was the guardian of domestic life and had a shrine in every
household; had a temple in Rome in which a heaven-kindled fire was kept
constantly burning and guarded by first four then six virgins called
Vestals, whose persons were held sacred as well as their office, since
any laxity in its discharge might be disastrous to the city.
VESTAL VIRGINS. See VESTA.
VESUVIUS, a flattened conical mountain, 4161 ft. in height, and an
active volcano on the Bay of Naples, 10 m. SE. of the city; it was by
eruption of it that the two cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii were
overwhelmed in 79 A.D.; its crater is half a mile in diameter, and has a
depth of 350 ft.; there are some 60 eruptions on record, the latest being
VETURIA, a Roman matron, the mother of Coriolanus.
VIA DOLOROSA, way leading from the Mount of Olives to Golgotha,
which Christ traversed from the Agony in the Garden to the Cross.
VIATICUM, name given to the Eucharist administered by a priest to a
person on the point of death.
VICAR OF BRAY. See BRAY.
VICAR OF CHRIST, title assumed by the Pope, who claims to be the
Vicegerent of Christ on earth.
VICENZA (27), a town in the NE. of Italy, in a province of the name,
bordering on the Tyrol, 42 m. W. of Venice; has fine palaces designed by
Palladio, a native of the place; manufactures woollen and silk fabrics,
and wooden wares; was a place of some importance under the Lombards.
VICHY, a fashionable watering-place in Central France, on the
Allier, at the foot of the volcanic mountains of Auvergne; has hot
alkaline springs, much resorted to for their medicinal virtues.
VICKSBURG (13), largest city on the Mississippi, on a bluff above
the river, fortified by the Confederates in the Civil War; after a siege
of over a year surrendered to General Grant, 4th July 1864, with 30,000
VICO, GIOVANNI BATTISTA, Italian philosopher, born at Naples, where
he was for 40 years professor of rhetoric; his great work "Scienza
Nuova," by which he became the father of the philosophy of history, which
he resolved Calvinistically into a spiritual development of the purpose
of God (1668-1744).
VICTOR, CLAUDE PERRIN, marshal of France, served with distinction
all through the wars of Napoleon, and held command, not to his honour,
under the Bourbons after his fall (1764-1841).
VICTOR, ST., the name of two martyrs, one of Marseilles and one of
Milan, distinguished for their zeal in overthrowing pagan altars.
VICTOR EMMANUEL II., king of Sardinia, and afterwards of united
Italy, born in Turin, eldest son of Charles Albert; became king in 1849
on the abdication of his father; distinguished himself in the war against
Austria, adding Austrian Lombardy and Tuscany to his dominions, and by
the help of Garibaldi, Naples and Sicily, till in 1861 he was proclaimed
King of Italy, and in 1870 he entered Rome as his capital city
VICTORIA (1,140), a colony of Great Britain, the smallest and most
populous in Australia, lying S. of New South Wales, from which it was
separated in 1851; originally settled as Port Phillip in 1834, it
developed gradually as a pastoral and agricultural region till, in 1851,
the discovery of gold led to an enormous increase in both the population
and the revenue, and the sudden rise of a community, with Melbourne for
centre, which, for wealth and enterprise, eclipsed every other in the
southern hemisphere of the globe; the wealth thus introduced led to a
further development of its resources, and every industry began to
flourish to a proportionate extent; the chief exports are wool, gold,
live-stock, bread-stuffs, hides and leather, and the imports are no less
manifold; the climate is remarkably healthy, and ice and snow are hardly
known; there is no State religion; 75 per cent. of the people are
Protestants, 22 per cent. Catholics, and 1/2 per cent. Jews, and every
provision is made for education in the shape of universities, State
schools, technical schools and private schools, and the legislative
authority is vested in a Parliament of two chambers, a Legislative
Council of 48, and a Legislative Assembly of 95.
VICTORIA, ALEXANDRINA, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Ireland and Empress of India, born at Kensington Palace, the only
child of the Duke of Kent, fourth son of George III., who died in 1820,
leaving her an infant eight months old; educated under the eye of her
mother with special regard to her prospective destiny as Queen;
proclaimed, on the death of William IV., on 20th June 1837; crowned at
Westminster 28th June 1838; married Prince Albert 10th February 1840; in
1877 added "Empress of India" to her titles; during 1861 became a widow
through the death of Prince Albert. Her reign was long and prosperous;
1887 being celebrated as her "Jubilee" year, and 1897 as her "Diamond
Jubilee"; was the mother of four sons and five daughters; had
grandchildren and great-grandchildren, William II., Emperor of Germany,
being a grandchild, and Nicholas II., Czar of Russia, being married to
another; _b_. 1819; died at Osborne, Isle of Wight, Jan. 22, 1901.
VICTORIA CROSS, a naval and military decoration in the shape of a
Maltese cross, instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856 for conspicuous
bravery in the presence of an enemy.
VICTORIA NYANZA, a lake in East Central Africa, on the Equator, is
about the size of Ireland, 300 m. long and 20 m. broad, at an elevation
of 3500 ft. above the sea-level; discovered by Captain Speke in 1858, and
circumnavigated by Stanley in 1875; is regarded as the head-source of the
Nile, the waters of it flowing through Albert Nyanza 80 m. to the N.,
between which two lakes lies the territory of Uganda.
VIDAR, in the Scandinavian mythology the god of wisdom and silence,
whose look penetrates the inmost thoughts of men.
VIENNA (1,364), the capital of the Austrian empire, on a southern
branch of the Danube, in a situation calculated to make it the central
city of the Continent; it is the residence of the emperor and the seat of
the government; has noble buildings, a university, and numerous large
libraries, a large promenade called the Prater, and a varied industry,
and ample means of both external and internal communication; in the SW.
of it is Schoenbrunn, the summer residence of the emperor, amid gardens of
matchless beauty; it has been the scene of the signing of important
treaties, and it was here the Congress met to undo the work of Napoleon
VIENNE (22), an ancient town of France, on the Rhone, 19 m. S. of
Lyons; was the chief town of the Allobroges in Caesar's time, and
possesses relics of its connection with Rome; it manufactures silk and
woollen fabrics, paper and iron goods, and has a trade in grain and wine.
VIGFUSSON, GUDBRAND, Scandinavian scholar, born in Iceland, of good
family; well familiar with the folk-lore of his country from boyhood, and
otherwise educated at home, he entered Copenhagen University in 1850,
occupying himself with the study of his native literature, and of every
document he could lay his hands on, and out of which he hoped to obtain
any light; in 1855 he published a work on the chronology of the sagas,
and this was followed by editions of the sagas themselves; after this he
came to Oxford, where he produced an Icelandic-English Dictionary and
other works in the same interest, and died and was buried there
VIGNY, ALFRED, COMTE DE, French poet of the Romanticist school, born
at Loches; entered the army, but left after a few years for a life of
literary ease; produced a small volume of exquisitely finished poems
between 1821 and 1829, and only another "Poemes Philosophiques," which
were not published till after his death; wrote also romances and dramas,
and translated into French "Othello" and "Merchant of Venice"
VIGO (15), a seaport in Galicia, NW. of Spain, on a bay of the name;
beautifully situated, and a favourite health resort.
VIKINGS (creekers), name given to the Scandinavian sea-rovers and
pirates who from the 8th to the 10th centuries ravaged the shores chiefly
of Western Europe.
VILLARI, Italian author, born at Naples; professor of History at
Florence; has written the Lives of Savonarola and Macchiavelli; _b_.
VILLARS, DUC DE, marshal of France, born at Moulins; one of the most
illustrious of Louis XIV.'s generals, and distinguished in diplomacy as
well as war; served in Germany under Turenne, and in the war of the
Spanish Succession; suppressed the Camisards in the Cevennes, but was
defeated by Marlborough at Malplaquet (1653-1734).
VILLENAGE, in feudal times the condition of a "villein," one of the
lowest class in a state of menial servitude.
VILLENEUVE, SILVESTRE, French admiral, born at Vilensoles,
Basses-Alpes; entered the navy at 15, became captain at 30; commanded the
rear at the battle of the Nile; was placed in command at Toulon, steered
his fleet to the West Indies to draw Nelson off the shores of France, but
was chased back by Nelson and blockaded in Cadiz to the defeat of
Napoleon's scheme for invading England, but felt constrained to risk a
battle with the English admiral, which he did to his ruin at Trafalgar
VILLEROI, DUC DE, marshal of France; was a courtier but no soldier,
being defeated in Italy by Prince Eugene and at Ramillies by Marlborough;
was guardian to Louis XV. (1644-1730).
VILLIERS, CHARLES PELHAM, reformer, brother of the Earl of
Clarendon; bred to the bar; entered Parliament; M.P. for Wolverhampton,
which he represented to the end; was an advocate from the first, and one
of the sturdiest, for free trade and poor-law reform, and had a marble
statue raised in his honour at Wolverhampton before his death
VILLON, FRANCOIS, French poet, born in Paris; studied at the
university, but led a singular life; had again and again to flee from
Paris; was once condemned to death, but set free after a four years'
imprisonment into which the sentence was commuted; is the author of two
poems, entitled the "Petit Testament" and the "Grand Testament," with
minor pieces bearing on the swindling tricks of Villon, the name he
assumed, and his companions (1431-1485).
VINCENNES (24), an eastern suburb of Paris, in the famous Bois de
Vincennes, which contains a large artillery park and training place for
troops; it is a favourite resort for Parisians of the middle class.
VINCENT, ST., a Spanish martyr who in 304 was tortured to death; is
represented with the instruments of his torture, a spiked gridiron for
one, and a raven beside him such as drove away the beasts and birds of
prey from his dead body.
VINCENT DE PAUL, ST., a Romish priest, born in Gascony, of humble
parents; renowned for his charity; he founded the congregation of the
Sisters of Charity, and that of the Priests of the Missions, afterwards
called Lazarites, from the priory of St. Lazare, where they first
established themselves, and instituted the Foundling Hospital in Paris;
he was canonised by Pope Clement XII. in 1737 (1576-1660).
VINDHYA MOUNTAINS, a range of hills, 500 m. in length, forming the
N. scarp of the plateau of the Deccan in India, the highest peak of which
does not exceed 6000 ft.
VINEGAR BIBLE, an edition of the Bible printed at Oxford, in which
the page containing the "Parable of the Vineyard" in Luke xx. was headed
"Parable of the Vinegar."
VINEGAR HILL, a hill (385 ft.) near Enniscorthy, co. Wexford,
Ireland, where General Lake defeated the Irish rebels on June 21, 1798,
to the utter annihilation then and after of almost every man of them.
VINET, ALEXANDRE RODOLPHE, a Protestant theologian, born near
Lausanne, where he studied and ultimately became professor of Practical
Theology; was a zealous defender of the liberty of conscience and of the
freedom of the Church from State connection and control; he was a
litterateur as well as an able and eloquent divine (1797-1847).
VIOTTI, GIOVANNI BATTISTA, celebrated violinist, born in Piedmont
VIRCHOW, RUDOLF, eminent pathologist, born in Pomerania; is
distinguished as a politician as well as a man of science, and is in the
former regard a strenuous Liberal; his services not only in the interests
of medicine but of science generally and its social applications have
been very great; _b_. 1821.
VIRGIL, great Latin poet, born near Mantua, author in succession of
the "Eclogues," the "Georgics," and the "AEneid"; studied at Cremona and
Milan, and at 16 was sent to Rome to study rhetoric and philosophy, lost
a property he had in Cremona during the civil war, but recommended
himself to Pollio, the governor, who introduced him to Augustus, and he
went to settle in Rome; here, in 37 B.C., he published his "Eclogues," a
collection of 10 pastorals, and gained the patronage of Maecenas, under
whose favour he was able to retire to a villa at Naples, where in seven
years he, in 30 B.C., produced the "Georgics," in four books, on the art
of husbandry, after which he devoted himself to his great work the
"AEneid," or the story of AEneas of Troy, an epic in 12 books, connecting
the hero with the foundation of Rome, and especially with the Julian
family, and which was finished in 19 B.C.; on his deathbed he expressed
a wish that it should be burned, and left instructions to that effect in
his will; he was one of the purest-minded poets perhaps that ever lived
VIRGIN ISLANDS (45), a group of islands in the West Indies, few of
them of any size, belonging partly to Denmark, Britain, and Spain.
VIRGIN QUEEN, appellation popularly given to Queen Elizabeth.
VIRGINIA (1,655), one of the United States of America, a State
somewhat larger than Scotland, between Maryland and North Carolina, so
named by its founder Sir Walter Raleigh in honour of Queen Elizabeth; is
divided from West Virginia by the Appalachians; it is well watered; the
soil, which is fertile, yields the finest cotton and tobacco, and
minerals, particularly coal and iron, are abundant; the largest city is
Richmond, with flour-mills.
VIRGINIA, WEST (762), formed originally one State with the
preceding, but separated in 1861 to join the Federal cause; is nearly the
same in size and resources; is a great mining region, and is rich in coal
and iron; its largest city is Wheeling, on the Ohio.
VISHNU, the Preserver, the second god of the Hindu triad, BRAHMA (q. v.)
being the first and SIVA (q. v.) the third; revealed himself by a
succession of avatars, RAMA (q. v.) being the seventh and KRISHNA (q. v.)
the eighth; he has had nine avatars, and on the tenth he will come to
judgment; he is extensively worshipped, and his worshippers, the
Vaishnavas, are divided into a great number of sects.
VISIGOTHS, a branch of the Goths that settled in the South of France
and in Spain.
VISTULA, a central river of Europe, which rises in the Carpathians
and after a course of 600 m. falls into the Baltic; it is almost
navigable throughout, and carries down great quantities of timber, grain,
and other produce to the Baltic ports.
VITALIS, ST., a martyr of the 1st century, who was stoned to death,
is represented as buried in a pit with stones on his head.
VITELLIUS, AULUS, Roman emperor; reigned only eight months and some
days of the year 69; was notorious for his excesses, and was murdered
after being dragged through the streets of Rome.
VITRUVIUS, POLLIO, Roman architect and engineer; wrote on
architecture, lived in the days of Augustus.
VITTORIA (127), the capital of Alava, a Basque province in the North
of Spain, famous as the scene of one of Wellington's victories in June
1813; has a fine old 12th-century cathedral and extensive manufactures;
it is one of the most prosperous towns in Spain.
VIVES, LUDOVICUS, a humanist, born at Valencia, studied in Paris;
wrote against scholasticism, taught at Oxford, and was imprisoned for
opposing Henry VIII.'s divorce; died at Bruges (1492-1540).
VIVIAN, an enchantress in Arthurian legend. See MERLIN.
VLADIMIR (12), capital of a government in the centre of Russia, 120
m. NE. of Moscow; once practically the capital of the country, with many
remains of its ancient grandeur.
VLADIMIR I. THE GREAT OR ST., grand-duke of Russia; converted to
Christianity through his wife Anna Romanovna, laid the foundation of the
Russian empire; has been canonised by the Russian Church; _d_. 1015.
VLADIMIR II., surnamed Monomachus; succeeded to the throne of Russia
in 1113, and consolidated it by the establishment and enforcement of just
laws; was married to Gida, a daughter of King Harold of England
VOGLER, ABBE, composer, born in Wuerzburg; distinguished once both as
a musical performer and teacher; lives only in Browning's "Dramatis
VOGT, CARL, German naturalist, born at Giessen; a materialist and
disciple of Darwin; has written on geology and anthropology; _b_. 1817.
VOGULS, a Finnish tribe on the E. slope of the Urals; are
Christianised, but still practise many Shamanist rites; number some
VOLAPUeK, a universal language by Schleyer, a German pastor; as yet
practically limited to its applicability to commercial intercourse.
VOLGA, a river of European Russia, the largest in Europe, which
rises in the Valdai Hills, and after a course of 2200 m. falls by a delta
with 200 mouths into the Caspian Sea; it is navigable almost throughout,
providing Russia with 7200 m. of water-carriage, and has extensive
fisheries, especially of salmon and sturgeon.
VOLNEY, French philosopher, born at Craon; travelled in Egypt and
Syria; wrote an account of his travels in his "Voyage"; was imprisoned
during the Reign of Terror; patronised and promoted to honour by
Napoleon, and by the Bourbons on their return; his principal work,
"LES RUINES, OU MEDITATIONS SUR LES REVOLUTIONS DES EMPIRES," was
an embodiment of 18th-century enlightenment (q. v.) (1757-1820).
VOLSUNGS, a race figuring in Norse and German legend of the 12th
century, and with the fate in whose history it is so widely occupied, and
that of its heroes.
VOLTA, ALESSANDRINO, Italian physicist, born at Como; professor of
Physics at Pavia; made electrical discoveries which laid the foundation
of what is called after him voltaic electricity; volt, the unit of
electric motive force, being a term among sundry others in electric
science similarly derived (1745-1827).
VOLTAIC ELECTRICITY, a current of electricity generated by chemical
action between metals and different liquids as arranged in a voltaic
VOLTAIRE, FRANCOIS MARIE AROUET DE, great French "persifleur" and
"Coryphaeus of Deism," born in Paris, son of a lawyer; trained to scoff at
religion from his boyhood, and began his literary career as a satirist
and in the production of lampoons which cost him twice over imprisonment
in the Bastille, on his release from which he left France in 1726 and
went to England, where he stayed three years, and got acquainted with the
free-thinking class there; on his return to Paris he engaged in some
profitable commercial speculations and published his "Charles XII.,"
which he had written in England, and retired to the chateau of Cirey,
where he lived five years with Madame du Chatelet, engaged in study and
diligent with his pen, with whom he left France and went to Poland, after
her death paying his famous visit to Frederick the Great, with whom
before three years were out he quarrelled, and from whom he was glad to
escape, making his head-quarters eventually within the borders of France
at Ferney, from which he now and again visited Paris, where on his last
visit he was received with such raptures of adulation that he was quite
overcome, and had to be conveyed home to die, giving up the ghost exactly
two months after. He was a man of superlative adroitness of faculty and
shiftiness, without aught that can be called great, but more than any
other the incarnation of the spirit of his time; said the word which all
were waiting to hear and who replied yea to it--a poor word indeed yet a
potent, for it gave the death-blow to superstition, but left religion out
in the cold. The general, the great offence Carlyle charges Voltaire
with is, that "he intermeddled in religion without being himself in any
measure religious; that he entered the Temple and continued there with a
levity which, in any temple where men worship, can beseem no brother man;
that, in a word, he ardently, and with long-continued effort, warred
against Christianity, without understanding, beyond the mere superficies,
what Christianity was" (1694-1778).
VOLUNTARYISM, the doctrine that the Church should not depend on the
State, but should be supported exclusively by the voluntary contributions
of its members.
VOODOO, name given to a system of magic and superstitious rites
prevalent among certain negro races.
VORTIGERN, a British prince of the 5th century, who, on the
withdrawal of the Romans, invited the Saxons to aid him against the
incursions of the Picts, to, as it proved, their own installation into
sovereign power in South Britain.
VOSGES, a range of mountains in the NE. of France, since 1871
forming the Franco-German frontier by the inclusion of Alsace in German
territory; they separate the basin of the Moselle from that of the Rhine.
VOSS, JOHANN HEINRICH, German poet and scholar, born in Mecklenburg;
spent most of his life in Heidelberg; his fame rests chiefly on his
idyllic poem "Luise" and his translations, particularly of Homer
VOSSIUS, GERARD, Dutch philologist, born near Heidelberg; wrote a
history of Pelagianism, which brought him disfavour with the orthodox;
was made a prebendary of Canterbury through the influence of Laud; was,
on some apology to orthodoxy in 1633, called to the chair of History in
the Gymnasium of Amsterdam; he was a friend of Grotius; he fell from a
ladder in his library, and was found dead (1577-1649).
VULCAN, the Roman god of fire and an artificer In metals, identified
with the Greek HEPHAESTUS (q. v.); had a temple to his honour in
early Rome; was fabled to have had a forge under Mount Etna, where he
manufactured thunderbolts for Jupiter, the Cyclops being his workmen.
VULGATE, a version of the Bible in Latin executed by ST.
JEROME (q. v.), and was in two centuries after its execution
universally adopted in the Western Christian Church as authoritative for
both faith and practice, and from the circumstance of its general
reception it became known as the Vulgate (i. e. the commonly-accepted
Bible of the Church), and it is the version accepted as authentic to-day
by the Roman Catholic Church, under sanction of the Council of Trent.
"With the publication of it," says Ruskin, "the great deed of fixing, in
their ever since undisturbed harmony and majesty, the canon of Mosaic and
Apostolic Scripture, was virtually accomplished, and the series of
historic and didactic books which form our present Bible (including the
Apocrypha) were established in and above the nascent thought of the
noblest races of men living on the terrestrial globe, as a direct message
to them from its Maker, containing whatever it was necessary for them to
learn of His purposes towards them, and commanding, or advising, with
divine authority and infallible wisdom, all that it was best for them to
do and happiest to desire. Thus, partly as a scholar's exercise and
partly as an old man's recreation, the severity of the Latin language was
softened, like Venetian crystal, by the variable fire of Hebrew thought,
and the 'Book of Books' took the abiding form of which all the future art
of the Western nations was to be an hourly expanding interpretation."
VYASA, the mythical author of the Hindu Mahabharata and the Puranas;
was the illegitimate child of a Brahman and a girl of impure caste of the
WAAL, a S. branch of the Rhine, in Holland.
WACE, Anglo-Norman poet, born in Guernsey; author of two metrical
chronicles, "Geste des Bretons" and "Roman de Rou," the latter recording
the fortunes of the dukes of Normandy down to 1106 (1120-1183).
WACE, HENRY, Principal of King's College, London; has lectured ably
on Christian apologetics, and written valuable works in defence of
Christianity; _b_. 1836.
WADE, GEORGE, English general; commanded in Scotland during the
rebellion of 1715, has the credit of the construction in 1725-35 of the
military roads into the Highlands, to frustrate any further attempts at
rebellion in the north (1668-1748).
WADMAN, WIDOW, a lady in "Tristram Shandy" who pays court to Uncle
WADY, an Arabic name for the channel of a stream which is flooded in
rainy weather and at other seasons dry.
WAGNER, WILHELM RICHARD, the great musical composer, born at
Leipzig; showed early a faculty for music, and began the enthusiastic
study of it under Beethoven; in 1835 became conductor of the orchestra of
the theatre of Magdeburg, and held the same post afterwards at Riga and
Koenigsberg; his principal works were "Rienzi" (1840), "The Flying
Dutchman" (1843), "Tannhaeuser" (1845), "Lohengrin" (1850), "Tristan and
Isolde" (1859), "The Mastersingers of Nuernberg" (1859-60), and the "Ring
of the Nibelungen," the composition of which occupied 25 years; this last
was performed in 1876 at Bayreuth in a theatre erected for the purpose in
presence of the emperor of Germany and the principal musical artists of
the world; "Parsifal" was his last work; his musical ideas were
revolutionary, and it was some time before his works made their way in
WAGRAM, a village, 10 m. NE. of Vienna, where Napoleon gained a
great victory over the Austrians under the Archduke Charles, on July 5
and 6, 1809.
WAHABIS, a Mohammedan sect which arose among the Nedj tribe in
Central Arabia, whose aims were puritanic and the restoration of Islamism
to its primitive simplicity in creed, worship, and conduct; in creed they
were substantially the same as the SUNNITES (q. v.).
WAIKATO, the largest river in New Zealand, in the North Island, the
outlet of the waters of Lake Taupo, the largest lake; has a course of 170
WAKEFIELD (37), a borough of Yorkshire, 9 m. S. of Leeds; has large
woollen and other manufactures.
WALCHEREN, an island in the province of Zeeland, in the delta formed
by the Maas and Scheldt; was the destination of an unfortunate expedition
sent to the help of the Austrians against Napoleon in Antwerp, in which
7000 of the army composing it died of marsh fever, from which 10,000 were
sent home sick and the rest recalled.
WALDECK-PYRMONT (57), two high-lying territories in North Germany
forming one principality and subject to imperial authority; consists of
hill and valley.
WALDENSES, a Christian community founded in 1170 in the south of
France, on the model of the primitive Church, by Peter Walden, a rich
citizen of Lyons, and who were driven by persecution from country to
country until they settled in Piedmont under the name of the
VAUDOIS (q. v.), where they still exist.
WALES (1,519), one of three divisions of Great Britain; is 135 m. in
length and from 37 to 95 m. in breadth, and bounded on the NW. and S. by
the sea; it is divided into 12 counties, of which 6 form North Wales and
6 South Wales; is a mountainous country, intersected by beautiful
valleys, which are traversed by a number of streams; it is largely
agricultural; has mines of coal and iron, lead and copper, as well as
large slate-quarries, which are extensively wrought; the Church of
England is the church established, but the majority of the people are
Nonconformists; it is represented in Parliament by 30 members; the
natives are Celts, and the native language Celtic, which is still the
language of a goodly number of the people.
WALES, PRINCE OF, title borne by eldest son of the English monarch;
first conferred in 1301 on eldest son of Edward I. after subjugation of
Wales (1282); since 1901 borne by Prince George, formerly Duke of York;
entered the navy in 1877, and attained the post of commander in 1890;
became heir of the throne on death of his brother, Duke of Clarence
(1892); married Princess Mary of Teck (1893), and has by this marriage
four sons and a daughter; _b_. 1865.
WALFISH BAY, a dependency of Cape Colony, in the middle of the
coast-line of German South-West Africa.
WALKER, GEORGE, defender of Londonderry against the army of James
II., born in co. Tyrone, of English parents; was in holy orders, and by
his sermons encouraged the town's-people during the siege, which lasted
105 days; he afterwards fought in command of his Derry men at the battle
of the Boyne, where he lost his life.
WALLACE, ALFRED RUSSEL, English naturalist, born at Usk, in
Monmouthshire; was devoted to the study of natural history, in the
interest of which he spent four years (1848-52) in the valley of the
Amazon, and eight years after (1854-62) in the East India Archipelago,
from the latter of which expedition especially he returned with thousands
of specimens of natural objects, particularly insects and birds, and
during his absence he wrought out a theory in the main coincident with
Darwin's natural selection in corroboration thereof; he has since devoted
much of his time to the study of spiritualism, and in spite of himself
has come to be convinced of its claims to scientific regard; he has
written on his travels, "Contributions to the Theory of Natural
Selection," "Miracles and Modern Spiritualism," &c.; _b_. 1823.
WALLACE, SIR WILLIAM, the champion of Scottish independence, born in
Renfrewshire, second son of Sir Malcolm Wallace of Elderslie; was early
seized with a desire to free his country from foreign oppressors, and ere
long began to figure as chief of a band of outlaws combined to defy the
authority of Edward I., who had declared himself Lord of Scotland, till
at length the sense of the oppression became wide-spread, and he was
appointed to lead in a general revolt, while many of the nobles held
aloof or succumbed to the usurper; he drove the English from one
stronghold after another, finishing with the battle of Stirling, and was
installed thereafter guardian of the kingdom; such a reverse was more
than the "proud usurper" could brook; he accordingly mustered a large
army, and at Falkirk literally crushed Wallace and his followers with an
overwhelming force, the craven nobles still standing aloof, one of them
in the end proving traitor, and handing Wallace over to the enemy, who
carried him off to London, and had him hanged, beheaded, and quartered.
WALLACE COLLECTION, a collection of works of art bequeathed to the
nation by Lady Wallace, and now being housed in Hertford House,
Manchester Square, London.
WALLENSTEIN, general of the Imperial army in the Thirty Years' War,
born in Bohemia, of a Protestant family, but on the death of his parents
was, in his childhood, adopted and educated by the Jesuits, and bred up
in the Catholic faith; bent on a military life, he served first in one
campaign and then another; rose in imperial favour, and became a prince
of the empire, but the jealousy of the nobles procured his disgrace, till
the success of Gustavus Adolphus in the Thirty Years' War and the death
of Tully led to his recall, when he was placed at the head of the
imperial army as commander-in-chief; drove the Saxons out of Bohemia, and
marched against the Swedes, but was defeated, and fell again into
disfavour; was deprived of his command, charged with treason, and
afterwards murdered in the castle of Egra; he was a remarkable man, great
in war and great in statesmanship, but of unbounded ambition; is the
subject of a drama by Schiller, in three parts (1583-1634).
WALLER, EDMUND, poet, born in Hertfordshire to great wealth, and
educated at Eton and Cambridge; early gave evidence of his genius for
poetry, which, however, was limited in practice to the production of
merely occasional pieces; he was in great favour at court; was a member
of the Long Parliament; leant to the Royalist side, though he wrote a
panegyric on Cromwell, which, too, is considered his best poem; he
revived, or rather "remodelled," the heroic couplet form of verse, which
continued in vogue for over a hundred years after (1605-1687).
WALLOONS, name given to the descendants of the ancient Belgae, a race
of a mixed Celtic and Romanic stock, inhabiting Belgium chiefly, and
speaking a language called Walloon, a kind of Old French; in Belgium they
number to-day two and a quarter millions.
WALPOLE, HORACE, Earl of Orford, born in London, educated at Eton
and Cambridge; travelled on the Continent with Gray, the poet, who had
been a school-fellow, but quarrelled with him, and came home alone;
entered Parliament in 1741, and continued a member till 1768, but took
little part in the debates; succeeded to the earldom in 1791; his tastes
were literary; wrote "Anecdotes of Painting in England," and inaugurated
a new era in novel-writing with his "Castle of Otranto," but it is by his
"Letters" he will live in English literature, which, "malicious, light as
froth, but amusing, retail," as Stopford Brooke remarks, "with liveliness
all the gossip of the time"; he is characterised by Carlyle as "one of
the clearest-sighted men of his century; a determined despiser and
merciless dissector of cant" (1717-1797).
WALPOLE, SIR ROBERT, Earl of Orford, Whig statesman, born at
Houghton, Norfolk, educated at Eton and Cambridge; entered Parliament in
1701, and became member for King's Lynn in 1702; was favoured by the Whig
leaders, and promoted to office in the Cabinet; was accused of corruption
by the opposite party when in power, and committed to the Tower; on his
release after acquittal was re-elected for King's Lynn; in 1715 became
First Lord of the Treasury, and in 1721 became Prime Minister, which he
continued to be for twenty-one years, but not without opposition on
account of his pacific policy; on being driven against his will into a
war with Spain, which proved unsuccessful, he retired into private life;
he stood high in repute for his financial policy; it was he who
established the first Sinking Fund, and who succeeded as a financier in
restoring confidence after the bursting of the SOUTH SEA BUBBLE
(q. v.); it is to his policy in defeating the plans of the Jacobites
that the Hanoverian dynasty in great part owe their permanent occupancy
of the British throne; it was a favourite maxim of his. "Every man has
his price," and he was mortified to find that Pitt could not be bought by
any bribe of his (1677-1745).
WALPURGIS NIGHT, the eve of the 1st May, when the witches hold high
revel and offer sacrifices to the devil their chief, the scene of their
festival in Germany being the BROCKEN (q. v.). This annual
festival was in the popular belief conceded to them in recompense for the
loss they sustained when by St. Walpurga the Saxons were persuaded to
renounce paganism with its rites for Christianity.
WALSINGHAM, SIR FRANCIS, English statesman, born at Chiselhurst; was
ambassador at Paris, and was there during the St. Bartholomew massacre,
and was afterwards appointed one of Queen Elizabeth's Secretaries of
State; he was an insidious inquisitor, and had numerous spies in his pay,
whom he employed to ferret out evidence to her ruin against Mary, Queen
of Scots, and he had the audacity to sit as one of the Commissioners at
her trial (1536-1590).
WALSTON, ST., patron saint of husbandmen, of British birth; gave up
wealth for agriculture, and died at the plough; is represented with a
scythe in his hand and cattle near him.
WALTER, JOHN, London printer; the founder proper, though his father
was the projector, of the _Times_ newspaper, and forty years in the
management of it, under which it became the "leading journal" of the day,
a success due to his discernment and selection of the men with the
ability to conduct it and contribute to it (1773-1847).
WALTER THE PENNILESS, a famous mob leader, adjutant of Peter the
HERMIT (q. v.) in the first Crusade.
WALTON, IZAAK, the angler, born in Stafford; settled as a
linen-draper, first in Fleet Street and then in Chancery Lane, London;
married a lady, a grand-niece of Cranmer, and on her death a sister of
Bishop Ken, by whom he had several children; he associated with some of
the best clergymen of the Church of England, among the number Dr. Donne,
and was much beloved by them; on the death of his second wife he went to
Winchester and stayed with his friend Dr. Morley, the bishop; his
principal work was the "Complete Angler; or, the Contemplative Man's
Recreation," which was extended by his friend Charles Cotton, and is a
classic to this day; he wrote in addition Lives of Hooker, Dr. Donne,
Bishop Sanderson, Sir Henry Wotton, and George Herbert, all done, like
the "Angler," in a uniquely charming, simple style (1593-1683).
WANDERING JEW. See JEW, WANDERING.
WAPENSHAW, originally gatherings of the people of a district in
ancient times in Scotland, at which every man was bound to appear duly
armed according to his rank, and make exhibition of his skill in the use
of his weapons, against a time of war.
WARBECK, PERKIN, an impostor who affected to be Richard, Duke of
York, second son of Edward IV., alleged to have been murdered in the
Tower, and laid claim to the crown of England in preference to Henry VII.
In an attempt to make good this claim he was taken prisoner, and hanged
at Tyburn in 1499.
WARBURTON, WILLIAM, an English divine, born at Newark; was bishop of
Gloucester; was author of the famous "Divine Legation of Moses,"
characterised by Gibbon as a "monument of the vigour and weakness of the
human mind"; is a distracted waste of misapplied logic and learning; a
singular friendship subsisted between the author and Pope (1698-1779).
WARD, ARTEMUS, the pseudonym of C. F. BROWNE (q. v.).
WARD, MRS. HUMPHRY, English authoress, born at Hobart Town; is a
niece of Matthew Arnold; translated Amiel's "Journal," a suggestive
record, but is best known by her romance of "Robert Elsmere," published
in 1888, a work which was a help to some weak people and an offence to
others of the same class; _b_. 1851.
WARD, WILLIAM GEORGE, English theologian; was a zealous promoter of
the Tractarian Movement, and led the way in carrying out its principles
to their logical issue by joining the Church of Rome; he was a
broad-minded man withal, and won the regard of men of every school;
became editor of the _Dublin Review_ (1812-1882).
WARRINGTON (55), a parliamentary borough in Lancashire, on the
Mersey, 20 m. E. of Liverpool; an old town, but with few relics of its
antiquity; manufactures iron-ware, glass, soap, &c.; sends one member to
WARS OF THE ROSES, name given to a civil war in England from 1452 to
1486, between the Houses of York and Lancaster, so called from the badge
of the former being a _white_ rose and that of the latter being a _red_;
it terminated with the accession of Henry VII., who united in his person
the rival claims.
WARSAW (465), formerly the capital of Poland, now of the province of
Russian Poland; stands on the left bank of the Vistula, 700 m. SW. of St.
Petersburg; is almost in the heart of Europe, and in a position with many
natural advantages; is about as large as Birmingham, and the third
largest city in the Russian empire; it has a university with 75
professors and 1000 students, and has a large trade and numerous
WARTBURG, an old grim castle overhanging EISENACH (q. v.),
where Luther was confined by his friends when it was too hot for him
outside, and where, not forgetful of what he owed his country, he kept
translating the Bible into the German vernacular, and where they still
show the oaken table at which he did it, and the oaken ink-holder which
he threw at the devil's head, as well as the ink-spot it left on the
WARTON, THOMAS, English poet, born at Basingstoke; was professor of
Poetry at Oxford, and Poet-Laureate; wrote a "History of English Poetry"
of great merit, and a few poetic pieces in faint echo of others by Pope
and Swift for most part (1728-1790).
WARWICK (11), the county town of Warwickshire, on the Avon, 21 m.
SE. of Birmingham; it dates from Saxon times, and possesses a great
baronial castle, the residence of the earls of Warwick, erected in 1394
on an eminence by the river grandly overlooking the town; it is the seat
of several industries, and has a considerable trade in agricultural
WARWICK, RICHARD NEVILLE, EARL OF, eldest son of the Earl of
Salisbury, THE KING-MAKER (q. v.); fought in the "Wars of the
Roses," and was in the end defeated by Edward IV. and slain (1428-1471).
WARWICKSHIRE (805), central county of England; is traversed by the
Avon, a tributary of the Severn; the north portion, which was at one time
covered by the forest of Arden, is now, from its mineral wealth, one of
the busiest industrial centres of England; it contains the birthplace of
Shakespeare; Birmingham is the largest town.
WASH, THE, an estuary of the E. coast of England, between the
counties of Norfolk and Lincoln, too shallow for navigation.
WASHINGTON (278), capital of the United States, in the district of
Columbia, on the left bank of the Potomac, 35 in. SW. of Baltimore; was
founded in 1791, and made the seat of the Government in 1800; it is
regularly laid out, possesses a number of noble buildings, many of them
of marble, the chief being the Capitol, an imposing structure, where the
Senate and Congress sit; near it, 11/2 m. distant, is the White House, the
residence of the President, standing in grounds beautifully laid out and
adorned with fountains and shrubbery.
WASHINGTON (340), a NW. State of the American Union, twice the size
of Ireland; lies N. of Oregon; is traversed by the Cascade Mountains, the
highest 8138 ft., and has a rugged surface of hill and valley, but is a
great wheat-growing and grazing territory, covered on the W. by forests
of pine and cedar; Olympia is the capital. Washington is the name of
hundreds of places in the States.
WASHINGTON, GEORGE, one of the founders and first President of the
United States, born at Bidges Creek, Westmoreland Co., Virginia, of a
family from the North of England, who emigrated in the middle of the 17th
century; commenced his public life in defending the colony against the
encroachments of the French, and served as a captain in a campaign
against them under General Braddock; In the contest between the colony
and the mother-country he warmly espoused that of the colony, and was in
1775 appointed commander-in-chief; his first important operation in that
capacity was to drive the English out of Boston, but the British rallying
he was defeated at Brandywine and Germantown in 1777; next year, in
alliance with the French, he drove the British out of Philadelphia, and
in 1781 compelled Cornwallis to capitulate in an attack he made on
Yorktown, and on the evacuation of New York by the British the
independence of America was achieved, upon which he resigned the command;
in 1789 he was elected to the Presidency of the Republic, and in 1793 was
re-elected, at the end of which he retired into private life after paying
a dignified farewell (1732-1799).
WATERBURY (46), a city of Connecticut, U.S., 88 m. NE. of New York,
with manufactures of metallic wares; world-famous for its cheap watches.
WATERFORD (21), a town in a county of the same name (98), in
Munster, Ireland, at the junction of the Suir and the Barrow; has a
splendid harbour formed by the estuary, and carries on an extensive
export trade with England, particularly in bacon and butter, the chief
industries of the county being cattle-breeding and dairy-farming.
WATERLOO, a village 11 m. S. of Brussels, which gives name to a
battle in which the French under Napoleon were defeated by an army under
Wellington on June 18, 1815.
WATLING STREET, a great Roman road extending from Dover and
terminating by two branches in the extreme N. of England after passing
through London, the NE. branch, by York, and the NW. by or to Chester.
WATSON, WILLIAM, poet, born in Yorkshire; the first poem which
procured him recognition was "Wordsworth's Grave," and his subsequent
poems have confirmed the impression produced, in especial his "Lachrymae
Musarum," one of the finest tributes paid to the memory of Tennyson on
the occasion of his death; among his later productions the most important
is a volume entitled "Odes and other Poems," published in 1894; has also
written an admirable volume of essays, "Excursions in Criticism"; _b_.
WATT, JAMES, inventor of the modern steam-engine, born in Greenock,
son of a merchant; began life as a mathematical-instrument maker, opened
business in Glasgow under university patronage, and early began to
experiment on the mechanical capabilities of steam; when in 1703, while
engaged in repairing the model of a Newcomen's engine, he hit upon the
idea which has immortalised his name. This was the idea of a separate
condenser for the steam, and from that moment the power of steam in the
civilisation of the world was assured; the advantages of the invention
were soon put to the proof and established, and by a partnership on the
part of Watts with MATTHEW BOULTON (q. v.) Watt had the
satisfaction of seeing his idea fairly launched and of reaping of the
fruits. Prior to Watt's invention the steam-engine was of little other
use than for pumping water (1736-1819).
WATTEAU, ANTOINE, celebrated French painter and engraver, born at
Valenciennes; his pictures were numerous and the subjects almost limited
to pseudo-pastoral rural groups; the tone of the colouring is pleasing,
and the design graceful (1684-1721).
WATTS, GEORGE FREDERICK, eminent English painter, born in London; is
distinguished as a painter at once of historical subjects, ideal
subjects, and portraits; did one of the frescoes in the Poets' Hall of
the Houses of Parliament and the cartoon of "Caractacus led in Triumph
through the Streets of Rome"; has, as a "poet-painter," by his "Love and
Death," "Hope," and "Orpheus and Eurydice," achieved a world-wide fame;
he was twice over offered a baronetcy, but on both occasions he declined;
WATTS, ISAAC, Nonconformist divine, born at Southampton, son of a
schoolmaster; chose the ministry as his profession, was for a time pastor
of a church in Mark Lane, but after a succession of attacks of illness he
resigned and went on a visit to his friend Sir Thomas Abney, with whom he
stayed for 36 years, at which time his friend died, and he resumed
pastoral duties as often as his health permitted; he wrote several books,
among which was a book on "Logic," long a university text-book, and a
great number of hymns, many of them of wide fame and much cherished as
helps to devotion (1674-1748).
WATTS, THEODORE, critic, born at St. Ives, bosom friend of
Swinburne, who pronounces him "the first critic of our time--perhaps the
largest-minded and surest-sighted of any age"; his influence is great,
and it has been exercised chiefly through contributions to the
periodicals of the day; has assumed the surname of Dunton after his
mother; _b_. 1836.
WAUGH, EDWIN, a Lancashire poet, born at Rochdale, bred a
bookseller; wrote, among other productions, popular songs, full of
original native humour, the first of them "Come Whoam to thy Childer and
WAYLAND, the smith, a Scandinavian Vulcan, of whom a number of