« PreviousContinue »
as a magician, and his lodgings being searched, and a great number of copies being found, they were seized. The red ink with which they were embellished was supposed to be his blood, and it was seriously adjudged that he was in league with the devil; and if he had not fled, he would have shared the fate of those whom superstitious judges condemned in those days for witchcraft, A.D. 1460.-Nouv. Dict. DIADEM. The band or fillet worn by the ancients instead of the crown, and which was consecrated to the gods. At first, this fillet was made of silk or wool, and set with precious stones, and was tied round the temples and forehead, the two ends being knotted behind, and let fall on the neck. Aurelian was the first Roman emperor who wore a diadem, A.D. 272.-Tillemont.
Invented by Anaximander, 550 B.C.-Pliny. The first dial of the sun seen at Rome, was placed on the temple of Quirinus by L. Papirius Cursor, when time was divided into hours, 293 B.C.-Blair. In the times of the emperors almost every palace and public building had a sun-dial. They were first set up in churches in A.D. 613.-Lenglet.
DIAMONDS. They were first brought to Europe from the East, where the mine of Sumbulpour was the first known; and where the mines of Golconda were discovered in 1584. This district may be termed the realm of diamonds. The mines of Brazil were discovered in 1728. From these last a diamond, weighing 1680 carats, or fourteen ounces, was sent to the court of Portugal, and was valued by M. Romeo de l'Isle at the extravagant sum of 224 millions; by others it was valued at fifty-six millions its value was next stated to be three millions and a half; but its true value is 400,000. The diamond called the "mountain of light," which belonged to the king of Caubul, was the most superb gem ever seen; it was of the finest water, and the size of an egg, and was also valued at three millions and a half. The great diamond of the emperor of Russia weighs 193 carats, or 1 oz. 12 dwt. 4 gr., troy. The empress Catharine II. offered for it 104,1667. 13s. 4d., besides an annuity for life, to the owner, of 10417. 13s. 4d., which was refused; but it was afterwards sold to Catharine's favorite, count Orloff, for the first mentioned sum, without the annuity, and was by him presented to the empress on her birth-day, 1772; it is now in the sceptre of Russia. The Pitt diamond weighed 136 carats, and after cutting 106 carats; it was sold to the king of France for 100,000. in 1720. The Pigot diamond was sold for 9,500 guineas, May 10, 1802. Diamonds were found in the Ural mountains in 1829.
DIAMONDS, INFLAMMABILITY OF. Boetius de Boot conjectured that the diamond was inflammable, 1609.-Hist. of Gems. It was discovered that when exposed to a high temperature, it gave out an acrid vapour in which a part of it was dissipated, 1673.-Boyle. Sir Isaac Newton concluded from its great refracting power that it must be combustible, 1675.-Newton's Optics. The celebrated Averani demonstrated, by concentrating the rays of the sun upon it, that the diamond was exhaled in vapour, and entirely disappeared, while other precious stones merely grew softer, 1695. It has been ascertained by Guyton, Davy, and others, that although diamonds are the hardest of all known bodies, they yet contain nothing more than pure charcoal, or carbon.
DIAMONDS, NINE OF.
This card has been called the curse of Scotland, owing, it is said, to a Scotch member of parliament, part of whose family arms was the nine of diamonds, having voted for the introduction of the malt tax into Scotland. DIANA, TEMPLE of, at EPHESUS. One of the seven wonders of the world, built at the common charge of all the Asiatic States. The chief architect was Ctesiphon; and Pliny says that 220 years were employed in completing this temple, whose riches were immense. It was 425 feet long, 225 broad, and was supported by 127 columns, (60 feet high, each weighing 150 tons of Parian marble) furnished by so many kings. It was set on fire on the night of Alexander's nativity, by an obscure individual named Eratostratus, who confessed on the rack, that the sole motive which had prompted him to destroy so magnificent an edifice, was the desire of transmitting his name to future ages, 356 B.C. The temple was rebuilt, and again burnt by the Goths, in their naval invasion, A.D. 256.-Univ. Hist. DICE. The invention of dice is ascribed to Palamedes, of Greece, about 1224 B.C. The keeper of the temple of Hercules, playing at dice, made that god one of the number in the game; and Hercules having been the winner, became entitled to the
favours of Acca Laurentia, a celebrated courtezan, in whose honour the Laurentalia (which see) were afterwards instituted.-Plutarch. The game of Tali and Tessera among the Romans was played with dice. Act to regulate the license of makers, and the sale of dice, 9 George IV. 1828.
DICTATORS. These were supreme and absolute magistrates of Rome, instituted 498 B.C., when Titus Larcius Flavus, the first dictator, was appointed. This office, respectable and illustrious in the first ages of the Republic, became odious by the perpetual usurpations of Sylla and J. Cæsar; and after the death of the latter, the Roman senate, on the motion of the consul Antony, passed a decree, which for ever forbade a dictator to exist in Rome, 44 B.C.
DICTIONARY. A standard dictionary of the Chinese language, containing about 40,000 characters, most of them hieroglyphic, or rude representations somewhat like our signs of the zodiac, was perfected by Pa-out-she, who lived about 1100 B.C.Morrison. Cyclopædias were compiled in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The first dictionary of celebrity, perhaps the first, is by Ambrose Calepini, a Venetian friar, in Latin; he wrote one in eight languages, about A.D. 1500.-Niceron. The Lexicon Heptaglotton was published by Edmund Castell, in 1659. Bayle's Dictionary was published in 1696, "the first work of the kind in which a man may learn to think."-Voltaire. Chambers' Cyclopædia, the first dictionary of the circle of the arts, sciences, &c., was published in 1728. The great dictionary of the English language, by Samuel Johnson, who was truly called the " Leviathan of Literature," appeared in 1755. Francis Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, was compiled in 1768; and from this period numerous dictionaries have been added to our store of literature.
DIEPPE. Laid in ashes by the English admiral Russell, in July 1694, and the town has not been so considerable since that time. It was again bombarded, together with the town of Granville, by the British, September 14, 1803.
DIET OF THE GERMAN EMPIRE. The supreme authority of this empire may be said to have existed in the assemblage of princes under this name. The diet, as composed of three colleges, viz. :-the college of electors, the college of princes, and the college of imperial towns, commenced with the famous edict of Charles IV. 1356.-See Golden Bull. Diets otherwise constituted had long previously been held on important occasions. The diet of Wurtzburg, which proscribed Henry the Lion, was held in 1179. The celebrated diet of Worms, at which Luther assisted in person, was held in 1521. That of Spires, to condemn the Reformers, was held in 1529; and the famous diet of Augsburg, in 1530. In the league of the German princes, called the Confederation of the Rhine, they fixed the diet at Frankfort, July 12, 1806. Germany is now governed by a diet of seventeen voices, “DIEU-DONNĖ." The name given in his infancy to Louis le Grand, king of France, because the French considered him as the gift of Heaven, the queen, his mother, having been barren for twenty-three years previously, A.D. 1638.-Voltaire. DIEU ET MON DROIT, “God, and my right." This was the parole of the day, given by Richard I. of England, to his army at the battle of Gisors, in France. In this battle (which see) the French army was signally defeated; and in remembrance of this victory, Richard made " Dieu et mon droit" the motto of the royal arms of England, and it has ever since been retained, A.D. 1198.-Rymer's Fœdera. DIGEST. The first collection of Roman laws under this title was prepared by Alfrenus Varus, the civilian of Cremona, 66 B.c.-Quintil. Inst. Orat. Other digests of Roman laws followed. The Digest, so called by way of eminence, was the collection of laws made by order of the emperor Justinian: it made the first part of the Roman law, and the first volume of the civil law. Quotations from it are marked with a ff.-Pardon.
DIGITS. Arithmetical figures were known to the Arabian Moors about A.D. 900. They were introduced from thence into Spain in 1050, and into England about 1253. The digit is any whole number under 10-as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, which are called the nine digits; also a measure containing three-quarters of an inch. In astronomy, the digit is also a measure used in the calculation of eclipses, and is the twelfth part of the luminary eclipsed.-See article, Figures. DIOCESE. The first division of the Roman empire into dioceses, which were at that period civil governments, is ascribed to Constantine, A.D. 323; but Strabo remarks
that the Romans had the departments called dioceses long before.-Strabo, lib. xiii. In England these circuits of the bishops' jurisdiction are coeval with Christianity; there are twenty-four dioceses, of which twenty-one are suffragan to Canterbury, and three to York.
DIOCLETIAN ERA. Called also the era of Martyrs, was used by Christian writers until the introduction of the Christian era in the sixth century, and is still employed by the Abyssinians and Copts. It dates from the day on which Diocletian was proclaimed emperor at Chalcedon, 29th August, 284. It is called the era of martyrs, on account of the persecution of the Christians in the reign of Diocletian. DIORAMA. This species of exhibition, which had long previously been an object of wonder and delight at Paris, was first opened in London, September 29, 1823. The diorama differs from the panorama in this respect, that, instead of a circular view of the objects represented, it exhibits the whole picture at once in perspective, and it is decidedly superior both to the panorama and the cosmorama in the fidelity with which the objects are depicted, and in the completeness of the illusion. DIRECTORY, THE CHURCH. The book so called was published in England at the period of the civil war. It was drawn up at the instance of the parliament, by an assembly of divines at Westminster, with the object that the ministers might not be wholly at a loss in their devotions after the suppression of the Book of Common Prayer. There were some general hints given, which were to be managed at discretion, for the Directory prescribed no form of prayer, nor manner of external worship, nor enjoined the people to make any responses, except Amen. The Directory was established by an ordinance of the parliament in 1644.—Bishop Taylor. DIRECTORY, FRENCH. The French Directory was installed at the Little Luxembourg, at Paris, under a new constitution of the government, Nov. 1, 1795, and held the executive power four years. It was composed of five members, and ruled in connexion with two chambers, the Council of Ancients and Council of Five Hundred, which see. Deposed by Buonaparte, who, with Cambacérès and Siéyès, became the ruling power of France, the three governing as consuls, the first as chief, November 9, 1799. See Buonaparte. DISCIPLINE, THE BOOK OF. Drawn up by an assembly of ministers in Scotland, in A.D. 1650. In this book the government of the church by prelates was set aside. DISPENSATIONS. Ecclesiastical dispensations were first granted by pope Innocent III. in 1200. These exemptions from the law and discipline of the church led eventually, with indulgences, absolutions, and the remission of sins, to the Reformation in Germany in 1517, and subsequently to that in England in 1534 et seq. DISPENSING POWER OF THE CROWN. This was a power unconstitutionally asserted by James II. in 1686. Most of the judges were dismissed by that infatuated monarch for refusing to allow the legality of this power, 1687. Since this period the same power has been on certain occasions exercised, as in the case of embargoes upon ships, the restraint upon corn leaving the kingdom, &c., without the previous concurrence of parliament. See Indemnity. DISSENTERS. They arose early in the Reformation, contending for a more complete departure from the Romish models of church government and discipline. They were reproached with the name of Puritans, on account of the purity they proposed in religious worship and conduct; and the rigorous treatment they endured under Elizabeth and James I. led multitudes of them to emigrate in those reigns. The first place of worship for Dissenters in England was established at Wandsworth, a village near London, November 20, 1572; and now, in London alone, the number of chapels, meeting-houses, &c. for all classes of Dissenters, amounts to near 200. The great act for the relief of Dissenters from civil and religious disabilities, was the statute passed 9 George IV. c. 17. By this act, called the Corporation and Test Repeal Act, so much of the several acts of parliament of the preceding reigns as imposed the necessity of receiving the sacrament of the Lord's Supper as a qualification for certain offices, &c. was repealed, May 9, 1828. Several other acts of ameliorating effect have been since passed.
DISTAFF. The staff to which hemp, flax, wool, or other substances to be spun is fastened. The art of spinning with it, at the small wheel, first taught to English women by Anthony Bonavisa, an Italian, 20 Henry VII. 1505.-Stowe.
DISTILLATION, and the various chemical processes dependent on the art, are generally believed to have been introduced into Europe by the Moors, about A.D. 1150; their brethren of Africa had them from the Egyptians. The distillation of spirituous liquors was in practice in these countries in the sixteenth century.-Burns. DIVINATION. In the Scriptures we find mention made of different kinds of divination; and it is mentioned by most of the ancient authors. It was retained in the hands of the priest and priestesses, the magi, soothsayers, augurs, and other like professors, till the coming of Christ, when the doctrines of Christianity and the spirit of philosophy banished such visionary opinions. The oracles of Delphi began, 1263 B.C. Augurs were instituted by Numa at Rome, 710 B.c.-See Augury, Witchcraft, &c. DIVING-BELL. First mentioned, though obscurely, by Aristotle, 325 B.C. The diving-bell was first used in Europe, A.D. 1509. It is said to have been used on the coast of Mull, in searching for the wreck of part of the Spanish Armada, before A.D. 1669. Halley greatly improved this machine, and was, it is said, the first who, by means of a diving-bell, set his foot on dry ground at the bottom of the sea. Smeaton applied the condensing-pump to force down air. Mr. Spalding and his assistants going down in a diving-bell in Ireland, were drowned, June 1, 1783. The Royal George man-of-war, which was sunk off Portsmouth in 1782, was first surveyed by means of a diving-bell, in May 1817. Lately, and particularly in 1840, it has been employed in sub-marine surveys. The first diving-belle was the wife of Captain Morris, at Plymouth, who descended in one a few years ago.
DIVORCES FOR ADULTERY. Of the earliest institution, both in ecclesiastical and civil law, among the ancients. First put in practice by Spurius Carvilius at Rome, 231 B. C.-Blair. At this time morals were so debased, that 3000 prosecutions for adultery were enrolled. Divorces were attempted to be made of more easy obtainment in England, in A.D. 1539. The bill to prevent women marrying their seducers was brought into parliament in 1801.
DIZIER, ST., IN CHAMPAGNE. One of the most memorable sieges in modern history was sustained by this town for six weeks against the army of Charles V. emperor of Germany, A.D. 1544. A battle was fought here between the army of the allies on one side, and the French commanded by Napoleon in person on the other, in which the latter army was defeated with considerable loss, January 27, 1814. DOCKS OF LONDON. They are said to be the most extensive and finest constructions of the kind, for the purposes of commerce, in the world. In London there are a number of these docks, of which the following are the principal:-The West India docks, the act for whose formation passed in July 1799; they were commenced February 3, 1800, and were opened August 27, 1802, when the Henry Addington West Indiaman first entered them, decorated with the colours of the different nations of Europe. The London docks were commenced June 26, 1802, and were opened January 31, 1805. The East India docks were commenced under an act passed July 27, 1803, and were opened August 4, 1806. The first stone of the St. Katherine docks was laid May 3, 1827; and 2,500 men were daily employed upon them until they were opened, October 25, 1828. DOCK-YARDS, ROYAL. There are seven chief dock-yards in England and Wales, and nine others in various of our colonies. That of Woolwich was already an extensive one in 1509. Chatham dock-yard was founded by queen Elizabeth, and is one of the principal stations of the royal navy; it contains immense magazines of warlike stores, rendering it one of the finest arsenals in Europe. The dock-yard at Portsmouth was established by Henry VIII. Plymouth Dock, now Devonport, is a matchless naval magazine and rendezvous. After the insult of the Dutch, who burnt our men-of-war at Chatham in 1667, Charles II. strengthened Sheerness, where there is a fine dock-yard. Great fire in the dock-yard at Devonport, by which the Talavera, of 74 guns, the Imogene, of 28 guns, and immense stores were destroyed; the relics and figure-heads of the favourite ships of Boscawen, Rodney, Duncan, and other naval heroes, which were preserved in a naval museum, were also burnt, September 27, 1840. Fire at Sheerness dock-yard on board the Camperdown, October 9, 1840.
DOCTOR. This rank was known in the earliest times. Doctor of the church was a title given to SS. Athanasius, Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, and Chrysostom, in the Greek church; and to SS. Jerome, Augustin, and Gregory the Great, in the
Romish church, A.D. 373, et seq.
Doctor of the law was a title of honour among
the Jews. The degree of doctor was conferred in England, 8 John, 1207.Spelman. Some give it an earlier date, referring it to the time of the Venerable Bede and John de Beverley, the former of whom, it is said, was the first that obtained the degree at Cambridge, about A.D. 725.-See Collegiate Degrees. DOCTORS' COMMONS. The college for the professors of civil and canon law, residing in the city of London; the name of Commons is given to this college from the civilians commoning together as in other colleges. Doctors' Commons was founded by Dr. Henry Harvey, whose original college was destroyed in the great fire of 1666, but after some years it was rebuilt on the old site. The causes taken cognizance of here are, blasphemy, divorces, bastardy, adultery, penance, tithes, mortuaries, probate of wills, &c.-See article Civil Law.
DOG. The chien de berger, or the shepherd's dog, is the origin of the whole race.Buffon. Buffon describes this dog as being "the root of the tree," assigning as his reason that it possesses from nature the greatest share of instinct. The Irish wolfdog is supposed to be the earliest dog known in Europe, if Irish writers be correct. Dr. Gall mentions that a dog was taken from Vienna to England; that it escaped to Dover, got on board a vessel, landed at Calais, and after accompanying a gentleman to Mentz, returned to Vienna. Statute against dog-stealing, 10 George III. 1770. Dog-tax imposed, 1796, and again in 1808. The cruel employment of dogs in drawing carts and burthens through the streets, was abolished January 1, 1840.— See Greyhound.
DOG-DAYS. The canicular or dog-days, commence on the 3d of July, and end on the 11th of August. Common opinion has been accustomed to regard the rising and setting of Sirius, or the dog-star*, with the sun, as the cause of excessive heat, and of consequent calamities, instead of its being viewed as the sign when such effects might be expected. The star not only varies in its rising, in every one year as the latitude varies, but is always later and later every year in all latitudes, so that in time the star_may, by the same rule, come to be charged with bringing frost and snow.-Dr. Hutton.
DOGE. The title of the duke of Venice, which state was first governed by a prince so named, Anafesto Paululio, A.D. 697. The Genoese revolted against their count, and chose a doge from among their nobility, and became an aristocratic republic, 1030-4. The ceremony of the doge of Venice marrying the sea, "the Adriatic wedded to our duke," was instituted in 1173, and was observed annually on Ascension-day, until 1797, when the custom was dispensed with.-See Adriatic. DOGGET COAT AND BADGE. The annual rowing-match upon the Thames, thus called, originated in this way. Mr. Thomas Dogget, an eminent actor of Drury-lane, on the first anniversary of the accession to the throne of George I. gave a waterman's coat and silver badge to be rowed for by six young watermen in honour of the day. And, to commemorate that event, he bequeathed at his death a sum of money, the interest whereof was to be appropriated annually, for ever, to the same purpose. The candidates start, at a signal given, at that time of the tide when the current is strongest against them, and row from the Old Swan, London-bridge, to the White Swan, at Chelsea; first match, August 1, 1715.
DOIT. A silver Scottish penny, of which twelve were equal to a penny sterling Some of those struck by Charles I. and II. are in the cabinets of the curious. A Dutch piece of this name was also coined.
DOMINGO, ST. Discovered by Columbus in his second voyage, in 1493. The city was founded in 1494. The town of Port-au-Prince was burnt down, and nearly destroyed by the revolted negroes, in Oct., Nev., and Dec., 1791. Toussaint L'Ouverture governed the island, on the expulsion of the French colonists, after this till 1802, when he was entrapped by Buonaparte, and died in prison. His successor, Dessalines, recommended the blacks, by proclamation, to make a general massacre of the whites, which was accordingly executed with horrid cruelty, and 2500 were butchered in one day, March 29, 1804. Dessalines proclaimed himself emperor,
* Mathematicians assert that Sirius, or the Dog Star, is the nearest to us of all the fixed stars; and they compute its distance from our earth at 2,200,000 millions of miles. They maintain that a sound would not reach our earth from Sirius in 50,000 years; and that a cannon-ball, flying with its usual velocity of 480 miles an hour, would consume 523,211 years in its passage thence to our globe.