But his real importance depends upon his contribution to the history of religious toleration. Before reaching England he had published a treatise on the methods of investigation, De Methodo, hoc est, de recte investigandarum tradendarumque Scientiarum ratione (Basel, 1558, 8vo); and his critical spirit placed him outside all the recognized religious societies of his time. On his arrival in London he had joined the Dutch Reformed Church in Austin Friars, but he was "infected with Anabaptistical and Arian opinions'' and was excluded from the sacrament by Grindal, bishop of London. The real nature of his heterodoxy is revealed in his Stratagemata Satanae, published in 1565 and translated into various languages. The "stratagems of Satan'' are the dogmatic creeds which rent the Christian church. Aconcio sought to find the common denominator of the various creeds; this was essential doctrine, the rest was immaterial. To arrive at this common basis, he had to reduce dogma to a low level, and his result was generally repudiated. Even Selden applied to Aconcio the remark ubi bene, nil melius; ubi male, nemo pejus. The dedication of such a work to Queen Elizabeth illustrates the tolerance or religious laxity during the early years of her reign. Aconcio found another patron in the earl of Leicester, and died about 1566.
AUTHORITIES.—Gough's Index to Parker Soc. Publ.; Strype's Grindal, pp. 62, 66; Bayle's Dictionnaire; G. Tiraboschi, Storia della lett. italiana (Florence, 1805—1813); Osterreichisches Biogr. Lexikon; Nouvelle biogr. generale; Dict. Nat. Biogr. (A. F. P.)
ACONITE (Aconitum), a genus of plants belonging to the natural order Ranunculaceae, the buttercup family, commonly known as aconite, monkshood or wolfsbane, and embracing about 60 species, chiefly natives of the mountainous parts of the northern hemisphere. They are distinguished by having one of the five blue or yellow coloured sepals (the posterior one) in the form of a helmet; hence the English name monkshood. Two of the petals placed under the hood of the calyx are supported on long stalks, and have a hollow spur at their apex, containing honey. They are handsome plants, the tall stem being crowned by racemes of showy flowers. Aconitum Napellus, common monkshood, is a doubtful native of Britain, and is of therapeutic and toxicological importance. Its roots have occasionally been mistaken for horse-radish. The aconite has a short underground stem, from which dark-coloured tapering roots descend. The crown or upper portion of the root gives rise to new plants. When put to the lip, the juice of the aconite root produces a feeling of numbness and tingling. The horse-radish root, which belongs to the natural order Cruciferae, is much longer than that of the aconite, and it is not tapering; its colour is yellowish, and the top of the root has the remains of the leaves on it.
Many species of aconite are cultivated in gardens, some having blue and others yellow flowers. Aconitum lycoctonum, wolfsbane, is a yellow-flowered species common on the Alps of Switzerland. The roots of Aconitum ferox supply the famous Indian (Nepal) poison called bikh, bish or nabee. It contains considerable quantities of the alkaloid pseudaconitine, which is the most deadly poison known. Aconitum palmatum yields another of the celebrated bikh poisons. The root of Aconitum luridum, of the Himalayas, is said to be as virulent as that of A. ferox or A. Napellus. As garden plants the aconites are very ornamental, hardy perennials. They thrive well in any ordinary garden soil, and will grow beneath the shade of trees. They are easily propagated by divisions of the root or by seeds; great care should be taken not to leave pieces of the root about owing to its very poisonous character.
Chemistry.—-The active principle of Aconitum Napellus is the alkaloid aconitine, first examined by P. L. Geiger and Hesse (Ann., 1834, 7, p. 267), Alder Wright and A. B, Luff obtained apoaconitine, aconine and benzoic acid by hydrolysis; while, in 1802, C. Ehrenberg and A. Purfurst (Journ. Prat. Chem., 1892, 45, p. 604) observed acetic acid as a hydrolytic product. This, and allied alkaloids, have formed the subject of many investigations by Wyndham Dunstan and his pupils in England, and by Martin Freund and Paul Beck in Berlin. But their constitution is not yet solved, there even being some divergence of opinion as to their empirical formulae, Aconitine (C33H45NO13, according to Dunstan; C34H47NO11, according to Freund) is a crystalline base, soluble in alcohol, but very sparingly in water; its alcoholic solution is dextrorotatory, but its salts are laevorotatory. When heated it loses water and forms pyraconitine. Hydrolysis gives acetic acid and benzaconine, the chief constituent of the alkaloids picraconitine and napelline; further hydrolysis gives aconine. Pseudaconitine, obtained from Aconitum ferox, gives on hydrolysis acetic acid and veratrylpseudaconine, the latter of which suffers further hydrolysis to veratric acid and pseudaconine. Japaconitine, obtained from the Japanese aconites, known locally as "kuza-uzu,'' hydrolyses to japbenzaconine, which further breaks down to benzoic acid and japaconine. Other related alkaloids are lycaconitine and myoctonine which occur in wolfsbane, Aconitum lycoctonum. The usual test for solutions of aconitine consists in slight acidulation with acetic acid and addition of potassium permanganate, which causes the formation of a red crystalline precipitate. In 1905, Dunstan and his collaborators discovered two new aconite alkaloids, indaconitine in "mohri'' (Aconitum chasmanthum, Stapf), and bikhaconitine in "bikh'' (Aconitum spicatum); he also proposes to classify these alkaloids according to whether they yield benzoic or veratric acid on hydrolysis (Jour. Chem. Soc., 1905, 87, pp. 1620, 1650).
From the root of Aconitum Napellus are prepared a liniment and a tincture. The dose of the latter (Brit. Pharmacop.) is of importance as being exceptionally small, for it is not advisable to give more than at most five drops at a time. The official preparation is an ointment which contains one part of the alkaloid in fifty. It must be used with extreme care, and in small quantities, and it must not be used at all where cuts or cracks are present in the skin.
Pharmacology of Aconite and Aconitine.—-Aconite first stimulates and later paralyses the nerves of pain, touch and temperature, if applied to the skin, broken or unbroken, or to a mucous membrane; the initial tingling therefore gives place to a long-continued anaesthetic action. Taken internally aconite acts very notably on the circulation, the respiration and the nervous system. The pulse is slowed, the number of beats per minute being actually reduced, under considerable doses, to forty, or even thirty, per minute. The blood-pressure synchronously falls, and the heart is arrested in diastole. Immediately before arrest the heart may beat much faster than normally, though with extreme irregularity, and in the lower animals the auricles may be observed occasionally to miss a beat, as in poisoning by veratrine and colchicum. The action of aconitine on the circulation is due to an initial stimulation of the cardio-inhibitory centre in the medulla oblongata (at the root of the vagus nerves), and later to a directly toxic influence on the nerve-ganglia and muscular fibres of the heart itself. The fall in blood-pressure is not due to any direct influence on the vessels. The respiration becomes slower owing to a paralytic action on the respiratory centre and, in warm-blooded animals, death is due to this action, the respiration being arrested before the action of the heart. Aconite further depresses the activity of all nerve-terminals, the sensory being affected before the motor. In small doses it therefore tends to relieve pain, if this be present. The activity of the spinal cord is similarly depressed. The pupil is at first contracted, and afterwards dilated. The cerebrum is totally unaffected by aconite, consciousness and the intelligence remaining normal to the last. The antipyretic action which considerable doses of aconite display is not specific, but is the result of its influence on the circulation and respiration and of its slight diaphoretic action.
Therapeutics.—-The indications for its employment are limited, but definite. It is of undoubted value as a local anodyne in sciatica and neuralgia, especially in ordinary facial or trigeminal neuralgia. The best method of application is by rubbing in a small quantity of the aconitine ointment until numbness is felt, but the costliness of this preparation causes the use of the aconite liniment to be commonly resorted to. This should be painted on the affected part with a camel's hair brush dipped in chloroform, which facilitates the absorption of the alkaloid. Aconite is indicated for internal administration whenever it is desirable to depress the action of the heart in the course of a fever. Formerly used in every fever, and even in the septic states that constantly followed surgical operations in the pre-Listerian epoch, aconite is now employed only in the earliest stage of the less serious fevers, such as acute tonsilitis, bronchitis and, notably, laryngitis. The extreme pain and rapid swelling of the vocal cords—-with threatened obstruction to the respiration that characterize acute laryngitis may often be relieved by the sedative action of this drug upon the circulation. In order to reduce the pulse to its normal rate in these cases, without at the same time lessening the power of the heart, the drug must be given in doses of about two minims of the tincture every half-hour and then every hour until the pulse falls to the normal rate. Thereafter the drug must be discontinued. It is probably never right to give aconite in doses much larger than that named. There is one condition of the heart itself in which aconite is sometimes useful. Whilst absolutely contra-indicated in all cases of valvular disease, it is of value in cases of cardiac hypertrophy with over-action. But the practitioner must be assured that neither valvular lesion nor degeneration of the myocardium is present.
Toxicology.—-In a few minutes after the introduction of a poisonous dose of aconite, marked symptoms supervene. The initial signs of poisoning are referable to the alimentary canal. There is a sensation of burning, tingling and numbness in the mouth, and of burning in the abdomen. Death usually supervenes before a numbing effect on the intestine can be observed. After about an hour there is severe vomiting. Much motor weakness and cutaneous sensations similar to those above described soon follow. The pulse and respiration steadily fail, death occurring from asphyxia. As in strychnine poisoning, the patient is conscious and clear-minded to the last. The only post-mortem signs are those of asphyxia. The treatment is to empty the stomach by tube or by a non-depressant emetic. The physiological antidotes are atropine and digitalin or strophanthin, which should be injected subcutaneously in maximal doses. Alcohol, strychnine and warmth must also be employed.
ACONTIUS (Gr. Akontios), in Greek legend, a beautiful youth of the island of Ceos, the hero of a love-story told by Callimachus in a poem now lost, which forms the subject of two of Ovid's Heroides (xx., xxi.). During the festival of Artemis at Deles, Acontius saw Cydippe, a well-born Athenian maiden of whom he was enamoured, sitting in the temple of the goddess. He wrote on an apple the words, "I swear by the sacred shrine of the goddess that I will marry you,'' and threw it at her feet. She picked it up, and mechanically read the words aloud, which amounted to a solemn undertaking to carry them out. Unaware of this, she treated Acontius with contempt; but, although she was betrothed more than once, she always fell ill before the wedding took place. The Delphic oracle at last declared the cause of her illnesses to be the wrath of the offended goddess; whereupon her father consented to her marriage with Acontius (Aristaenetus, Epistolae, i. 10; Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses, i., tells the story with different names).
ACORN, the fruit of the oak-tree; a word also used, by analogy with the shape, in nautical language, for a piece of wood keeping the vane on the mast-head. The etymology of the word (earlier akerne, and acharn) is well discussed in the New English Dictionary. It is derived from a word (Goth. akran) which meant "fruit,'' originally "of the unenclosed land,'' and so of the most important forest produce, thc oak. Chaucer speaks of "achornes of okes.'' By degrees, popular etymology connected the word both with "corn'' and "oak-horn,'' and the spelling changed accordingly.
ACORUS CALAMUS, sweet-sedge or sweet-flag, a plant of the natural order Araceae, which shares with the Cuckoo Pint (Arum) the representation in Britain of that order of Monocotyledons. The name is derived from acorus, Gr. akoros, the classical name for the plant. It was the Calamus aromaticus of the medieval druggists and perhaps of the ancients, though the latter has been referred by some to the Citron grass, Andropogon Nardus. The spice "Calamus'' or "Sweet-cane'' of the Scriptures, one of the ingredients of the holy anointing oil of the Jews, was perhaps one of the fragrant species of Andropogon. The plant is a herbaceous perennial with a long, branched root-stock creeping through the mud, about 3/4 inch thick, with short joints and large brownish leaf-scars. At the ends of the branches are tufts of flat, sword-like, sweet-scented leaves 3 or 4 ft. long and about an inch wide, closely arranged in two rows as in the true Flag (Iris); the tall, flowering stems (scapes), which very much resemble the leaves, bear an apparently lateral, blunt, tapering spike of densely packed, very small flowers. A long leaf (spathe) borne immediately below the spike forms an apparent continuation of the scape, though really a lateral outgrowth from it, the spike of flowers being terminal. The plant has a wide distribution, growing in wet situations in the Himalayas, North America, Siberia and various parts of Europe, including England, and has been naturalized in Scotland and Ireland. Though regarded as a native in most counties of England at the present day, where it is now found thoroughly wild on sides of ditches, ponds and rivers, and very abundantly in some districts, it is probably not indigenous. It seems to have been spread in western and central Europe from about the end of the 16th century by means of botanic gardens. The botanist Clusius (Charles de l'Escluse or Lecluse, 1526-1609) first cultivated it at Vienna from a root received from Asia Minor in 1574, and distributed it to other botanists in central and western Europe, and it was probably introduced into England about 1596 by the herbalist Gerard. It is very readily propagated by means of its branching root-stock. It has an agreeable odour, and has been used medicinally. The starchy matter contained in its rhizome is associated with a fragrant oil, and it is used as hair-powder. Sir J. E. Smith (Eng. Flora, ii. 158, 2nd ed., 1828) mentions it as a popular remedy in Norfolk for ague. In India it is used as an insectifuge, and is administered in infantile diarrhoea. It is an ingredient in pot-pourri, is employed for flavouring beer and is chewed to clear the voice; and its volatile oil is employed by makers of snuff and aromatic vinegar. The rhizome of Acorus Calamus is sometimes adulterated with that of Iris Pseudacorus, which, however, is distinguishable by its lack of odour, a stringent taste and dark colour.
ACOSTA, JOSE DE (1539?—1600), Spanish author, was born at Medina del Campo about the year 1539. He joined the Jesuits in 1551, and in 1571 was sent as a missionary to Peru; he acted as provincial of his order from 1576 to 1581, was appointed theological adviser to the council of Lima in 1582, and in 1583 published a catechism in Quichua and Aymara—the first book printed in Peru. Returning to Spain in 1587, and placing himself at the head of the opposition to Acquaviva, Acosta was imprisoned in 1592—1593; on his submission in 1594 he became superior of the Jesuits at Valladolid, and in 1598 rector of the Jesuit college at Salamanca, where he died on the 15th of February 1600. His treatise De natura novi orbis libri duo (Salamanca, 1588-1589) may be regarded as the preliminary draft of his celebrated Historia natural y moral de las Indias (Seville, 1590) which was speedily translated into Italian (1596), French (1597), Dutch (1598), German (1601), Latin (1602) and English (1604) The Historia is in three sections: books I. and II. deal with generalities; books III. and IV. with the physical geography and natural history of Mexico and Peru; books V., VI. and VII. with the religious and political institutions of the aborigines. Apart from his sophistical defence of Spanish colonial policy, Acosta deserves high praise as an acute and diligent observer whose numerous new and valuable data are set forth in a vivid style. Among his other publications are De procuranda salute Indorum libri sex (Salamanca, 1588), De Christo revelato libri novem (Rome, 1590), De temporibus novissimis libri quatuor (Rome, 1590), and three volumes of sermons issued respectively in 1596, 1597 and 1599.
AUTHORITIES.—-Jose R. Carricido, El P. Jose de Acosta y su importancia en La literatura cientifica espanola (Madrid, 1899); C. Sommervogel, Bibliotheque de La Compagnie de Jesus, Premiere Partie (Brussels and Paris, 1890), vol. i., col. 31-42; and Edward Grimston's translation of the Historia reprinted (1880) for the Hakluyt Society with introduction and notes by Sir Clements R. Markham. (J. F.-K.)
ACOSTA, URIEL (d. 1647), a Portuguese Jew of noble family, was born at Oporto towards the close of the 16th century. His father being a convert to Christianity, Uriel was brought up in the Roman Catholic faith, and strictly observed the rites of the church till the course of his inquiries led him, after much painful doubt, to abandon the religion of his youth for Judaism. Passing over to Amsterdam, he was received into the synagogue, having his name changed from Gabriel to Uriel. His wayward disposition found, however, no satisfaction in the Jewish fold. He came into conflict with the authorities of the synagogue and was excommunicated. Unlike Spinoza (who was about fifteen at the time of Acosta's death), Acosta was not strong enough to stand alone. Wearied by his melancholy isolation, he was driven to seek a return to the Jewish communion. Having recanted his heresies, he was readmitted after an excommunication of fifteen years, but was soon excommunicated a second time. After seven years of exclusion, he once more sought admission, and, on passing through a humiliating penance, was again received. His vacillating autobiography, Exemplar Humanae Vitae, was published with a "refutation'' by Limborch in 1687, and republished in 1847. In this brief work Acosta declares his opposition both to Christianity and Judaism, though he speaks with the more bitterness of the latter religion. The only authority which he admits is the lex naturae. Acosta was not an original thinker, but he stands in the direct line of the rational Deists. His history forms the subject of a tale and of a tragedy by Gutzkow. Acosta committed suicide in 1647. The significance of his career has been much exaggerated.
ACOTYLEDONES, the name given by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu in 1789 to the lowest class in his Natural System of Botany, embracing flowerless plants, such as ferns, lycopods, horse-tails, mosses, liverworts, sea-weeds, lichens and fungi. The name is derived from the absence of a seed-leaf or cotyledon. Flowering plants bear a seed containing an embryo, with usually one or two cotyledons, or seed-leaves; while in flowerless plants there is no seed and therefore no true cotyledon. The term is synonymous with Cryptogams, by which it was replaced in later systems of classification.
ACOUSTICS (from the Gr. akouein to hear), a title frequently given to the science of sound, that is, to the description and theory of the phenomena which give rise to the sensation of sound (q.v.). The term "acoustics'' might, however, with advantage be reserved for the aspect of the subject more immediately connected with hearing. Thus we may speak appropriately of the acoustic quality of a room or hall, describing it as good or bad acoustically, according as speaking is heard in it easily or with difficulty. When a room has bad acoustic quality we can almost always assign the fault to large smooth surfaces on the walls, floor or ceiling, which reflect or echo the voice of the speaker so that the direct waves sent out by him at any instant are received by a hearer with the waves sent out previously and reflected at these smooth surfaces. The syllables overlap, and the hearing is confused. The acoustic quality of a room may be improved by breaking up the smooth surfaces by curtains or by arrangement of furniture. The echo is then broken up into small waves, none of which may be sufficiently distinct to interfere with the direct voice. Sometimes a sounding-board over the head of a speaker improves the hearing probably by preventing echo from a smooth wall behind him. A large bare floor is undoubtedly bad for acoustics, for when a room is filled by an audience the hearing is much improved Wires are frequently stretched across a room overhead, probably with the idea that they will prevent the voice from reaching the roof and being reflected there, but there is no reason to suppose that they are efficient. The only cure appears to consist in breaking up the reflecting surfaces so that the reflexion shall be much less regular and distinct. Probably drapery assists by absorbing the sound to some extent, and thus it lessens the echo besides breaking it up. (J. H. P.)
ACQUI, a city and episcopal see of Piedmont, Italy, in the province of Alessandria; from the town of that name it is 21 m. S.S.W. by rail. Pop. (1901) 13,786. Its warm sulphur springs are still resorted to; under the name of Aquae Statiellae they were famous in Roman times, and Paulus Diaconus and Liutprand speak of the ancient bath establishment. In the neighbourhood of the town are remains of the aqueduct which supplied it. The place was connected by road with Alba Pompeia and Augusta Taurinorum. The tribe of the Statielli, to whom the district belonged, had joined the Romans at an early period, but was attacked in 173 and in part transferred to the north of the Po. The town possesses a fine Gothic cathedral.
ACRE, or AQUIRY, a river of Brazil and principal tributary of the Purus, rising on the Bolivian frontier and flowing easterly and northerly to a junction with the Purus at 8 deg. 45' S. lat. The name is also applied to a district situated on the same river and on the former (1867) boundary line between Bolivia and Brazil. The region, which abounds in valuable rubber forests, was settled by Bolivians between 1870 and 1878, but was invaded by Brazilian rubber collectors during the next decade and became tributary to the rubber markets of Manaos and Para. In 1899 the Bolivian government established a custom-house at Puerto Alonso, on the Acre river, for the collection of export duties on rubber, which precipitated a conflict with the Brazilian settlers and finally brought about a boundary dispute between the two republics. In July 1899 the Acreanos declared their independence and set up a republic of their own, but in the following March they were reduced to submission by Brazil. Various disorders followed until Brazil decided to occupy Puerto Alonso with a military force. The boundary dispute was finally settled at Petropolis on the 17th of November 1903 through the purchase by Brazil of the rubber-producing territory south to about the 11th parallel, estimated at more than 60,000 sq. m.
ACRE, Akka, or ST JEAN D'ACRE, the chief town of a governmental district of Palestine which includes Haifa, Nazareth and Tiberias. It stands on a low promontory at the northern extremity of the Bay of Acre, 80 m. N. N.W. from Jerusalem, and 25 m. S. of Tyre. The population is about 11,000; 8000 being Moslems, the remainder Christians, Jews, &c. It was long regarded as the "Key of Palestine,'' on account of its commanding position on the shore of the broad plain that joins the inland plain of Esdraelon, and so affords the easiest entrance to the interior of the country. But trade is now passing over to Haifa, at the south side of the bay, as its harbour offers a safer roadstead, and is a regular calling.place for steamers. Business, rapidly declining, is still carried on in wheat, maize, oil, sesame, &c., in the town market. There are few buildings of interest, owing to the frequent destructions the town has undergone. The wall, which is now ruinous and has but one gate, dates from the crusaders: the mosque was built by Jezzar Pasha (d. 1804) from materials taken from Caesarea Palaestina: his tomb is within. Acre is the seat of the head of the Babist religion.
History.—Few towns have had a more chequered or calamitous history. Of great antiquity, it is probably to be identified with the Aak of the tribute-lists of Tethmosis (Thothmes) III (c. 1500 B.C.), and it is certainly the Akka of the Tell el-Amarna correspondence. To the Hebrews it was known as Acco (Revised Version spelling), but it is mentioned only once in the Old Testament, namely Judges i. 31, as one of the places from which the Israelites did not drive out the Canaanite inhabitants. Theoretically it was in the territory of the tribe of Asher, and Josephus assigns it by name to the district of one of Solomon's provincial governors. Throughout the period of Hebrew domination, however, its political connexions were always with Syria rather than with Palestine proper: thus, about 725 B.C. it joined Sidon and Tyre in a revolt against Shalmaneser IV. It had a stormy experience during the three centuries preceding the Christian era. The Greek historians name it Ake (Josephus calls it also Akre); but the name was changed to Ptolemais, probably by Ptolemy Soter, after the partition of the kingdom of Alexander. Strabo refers to the city as once a rendezvous for the Persians in their expeditions against Egypt. About 165 B.C. Simon Maccabaeus defeated the Syrians in many battles in Galilee, and drove them into Ptolemais. About 153 B.C. Alexander Balas, son of Antiochus Epiphanes, contesting the Syrian crown with Demetrius, seized the city, which opened its gates to him. Demetrius offered many bribes to the Maccabees to obtain Jewish support against his rival, including the revenues of Ptolemais for the benefit of the Temple, but in vain. Jonathan threw in his lot with Alexander, and in 150 B.C. he was received by him with great honour in Ptolemais. Some years later, however, Tryphon, an officer of the Syrians, who had grown suspicious of the Maccabees, enticed Jonathan into Ptolemais and there treacherously took him prisoner. The city was also assaulted and captured by Alexander Jannaeus, by Cleopatra and by Tigranes. Here Herod built a gymnasium, and here the Jews met Petronius, sent to set up statues of the emperor in the Temple, and persuaded him to turn back. St Paul spent a day in Ptolemais. The Arabs captured the city in A.D. 638, and lost it to the crusaders in 1110. The latter made the town their chief port in Palestine. It was re-taken by Saladin in 1187, besieged by Guy de Lusignan in 1189 (see below), and again captured by Richard Coeur de Lion in 1191. In 1229 it was placed under the control of the knights of St John (whence one of its alternative names), but finally lost by the Franks in 1291. The Turks under Sultan Selim I. captured the city in 1517, after which it fell into almost total decay. Maundrell in 1697 found it a complete ruin, save for a khan occupied by some French merchants, a mosque and a few poor cottages. Towards the end of the 18th century it seems to have revived under the comparatively beneficent rule of Dhahar el-Amir, the local sheikh: his successor, Jezzar Pasha, governor of Damascus, improved and fortified it, but by heavy imposts secured for himself all the benefits derived from his improvements. About 1780 Jezzar peremptorily banished the French trading colony, in spite of protests from the French government, and refused to receive a consul. In 1799 Napoleon, in pursuance of his scheme for raising a Syrian rebellion against Turkish domination, appeared before Acre, but after a siege of two months (March—May) was repulsed by the Turks, aided by Sir W. Sidney Smith and a force of British sailors. Jezzar was succeeded on his death by his son Suleiman, under whose milder rule the town advanced in prosperity till 1831, when Ibrahim Pasha besieged and reduced the town and destroyed its buildings. On the 4th of November 1840 it was bombarded by the allied British, Austrian and French squadrons, and in the following year restored to Turkish rule.
Battle of Acre.—-The battle of 1189, fought on the ground to the east of Acre, affords a good example of battles of the Crusades. The crusading army under Guy of Lusignan, king of Jerusalem, which was besieging Acre, gave battle on the 4th of October 1189 to the relieving army which Saladin had collected. The Christian army consisted of the feudatories of the kingdom of Jerusalem, numerous small contingents of European crusaders and the military orders, and contingents from Egypt, Turkestan, Syria and Mesopotamia fought under Saladin. The Saracens lay in a semicircle east of the town facing inwards towards Acre. The Christians opposed them with crossbowmen in first line and the heavy cavalry in second. At Arsuf the Christians fought coherently; here the battle began with a disjointed combat between the Templars and Saladin's right wing. The crusaders were so far successful that the enemy had to send up reinforcements from other parts of the field. Thus the steady advance of the Christian centre against Saladin's own corps, in which the crossbows prepared the way for the charge of the men-at-arms, met with no great resistance. But the victors scattered to plunder. Sajadin rallied his men, and, when the Christians began to retire with their booty, let loose his light horse upon them. No connected resistance was offered, and the Turks slaughtered the fugitives until checked by the fresh troops of the Christian right wing. Into this fight Guy's reserve, charged with holding back the Saracens in Acre, was also drawn, and, thus freed, 5000 men sallied out from the town to the northward; uniting with the Saracen right wing, they fell upon the Templars, who suffered severely in their retreat. In the end the crusaders repulsed the relieving army, but only at the cost of 7000 men. (R. A. S. M.)
ACRE, a land measure used by English-speaking races. Derived from the Old Eng. acer and cognate with the Lat. ager, Gr. agros, Sans. ajras, it has retained its original meaning "open country,'' in such phrases as "God's acre,'' or a churchyard, "broad acres,'' &c. As a measure of land, it was first defined as the amount a yoke of oxen could plough in a day; statutory values were enacted in England by acts of Edward I., Edward III., Henry VIII. and George IV., and the Weights and Measures Act 1878 now defines it as containing 4840 sq. yds. In addition to this "statute'' or "imperial acre,'' other "acres'' are still, though rarely, used in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and certain English counties. The Scottish acre contains 6150.4 sq. yds.; the Irish acre 7840 sq. yds.; in Wales, the land measures erw (4320 sq. yds.), stang (3240 sq. yds.) and paladr are called "acres''; the Leicestershire acre (2308 3/4 sq. yds.), Westmoreland acre (6760 sq. yds.) and Cheshire acre (10,240 sq. yds) are examples of local values.
ACRIDINE, C13H9N, in chemistry, a heterocyclic ring compound found in crude coal-tar anthracene. It may be separated by shaking out with dilute sulphuric acid, and then precipitating the sulphuric acid solution with potassium bichromate, the resulting acridine bichromate being decomposed by ammonia. It was first isolated in 1890 by C. Graebe and H. Caro (Ann., 1871, 158, p. 265). Many synthetic processes are known for the production of acridine and its derivatives. A. Bernthsen (Ann., 1884, 224, p. 1) condensed diphenylamine with fatty acids, in the presence of zinc chloride. Formic acid yields acridine, and the higher homologues give derivatives substituted at the meso carbon atom,
Acridine may also be obtained by passing the vapour of phenylortho-toluidine through a red-hot tube (C. Graebe, Ber., 1884, 17, p. 1370); by condensing diphenylamine with chloroform, in presence of aluminium chloride (O. Fischer, Ber., 1884, 17, p. 102); by passing the vapours of orthoaminodiphenylmethane over heated litharge (O. Fischer); by heating salicylic aldehyde with aniline and zinc chloride to 260 deg. C. (R. Mohlau, Ber., 1886, 19, p. 2452); and by distilling acridone over zinc dust (C. Graebe, Ber., 1892, 25, p. 1735).
Acridine and its homologues are very stable compounds of feebly basic character. They combine readily with the alkyl iodides to form alkyl acridinium iodides, which are readily transformed by the action of alkaline potassium ferricyanide to N-alkyl acridones. Acridine crystallizes in needles which melt at 110 deg. C. It is characterized by its irritating action on the skin, and by the blue fluorescence shown by solutions of its salts. On oxidation with potassium permanganate it yields acridinic acid (quinoline -a-b-dicarboxylic acid) C9H5N(COOH)2. Numerous derivatives of acridine are known and may be prepared by methods analogous to those used for the formation of the parent base. For the preparation of the naphthacridines, see F.Ullmann, German patents 117472, 118439, 127586, 128754, and also Ber., 1902, 35, pp. 316, 2670. Phenyl-acridine is the parent base of chrysaniline, which is the chief constituent of the dyestuff phosphine (a bye-product in the manufacture of rosaniline). Chrysaniline (diamino-phenylacridine) forms red-coloured salts, which dye silk and wool a fine yellow; and the solutions of the salts are characterized by their fine yellowish-green fluorescence. It was synthesized by O. Fischer and G. Koerner (Ber., 1884, 17, p. 203) by condensing ortho-nitrobenzaldehyde with aniline, the resulting ortho-nitro-para-diamino-triphenylmethane being reduced to the corresponding orthoamino compound, which on oxidation yields chrysaniline. Benzoflavin, an isomer of chrysaniline, is also a dye-stuff, and has been prepared by K. Oehler (English Patent9614) from meta-phenylenediamine and benzaldehyde. These substances condense to form tetra-aminotriphenylmethane, which, on heating with acids, loses ammonia and yields diaminodihydrophenylacridine, from which benzoflavin is obtained by oxidation. It is a yellow powder, soluble in hot water. The formulae of these substances are:—
ACRO (or ACRON), HELENIUS, Roman grammarian and commentator, probably flourished at the end of the 2nd century A.D. He wrote commentaries on Terence and perhaps Persius. A collection of scholia on Horace, originally anonymous in the earlier MSS., and on the whole not of great value, was wrongly attributed to him at a much later date, probably during the 15th century. It has been published by Pauly (1861) and Hauthal (1866), together with the other Horace scholia.
See Pseudoacronis Scholia in Horatium Vetustiora, ed. O. Keller (1902-1904).
ACROBAT (Gr. akrobatein, to walk on tiptoe), originally a rope-dancer; the word is now used generally to cover professional performers on the trapeze, &c., contortionists, balancers and tumblers. Evidence exists that there were very skilful performers on the tight-rope (funambuli) among the ancient Romans. Modern rope-walkers (e.g. Blondin) or wire-dancers generally use a pole, loaded at the ends, or some such assistance in balancing, and by shifting this are enabled to maintain, or readily to recover, their equilibrium.
ACROGENAE ("growing at the apex''), an obsolete botanical term, originally applied to the higher Cryptogams (mosses and ferns), which were erroneously distinguished from the lower (Algae and Fungi) by apical growth of the stem. The lower Cryptogams were contrasted as Amphigenae ("growing all over''), a misnomer, as apical growth is common among them.
ACROLITHS (Gr. akrolithoi, i.e. ending in stone), statues of a transition period in the history of plastic art, in which the trunk of the figure was of wood, and the head, hands and feet of marble. The wood was concealed either by gilding or, more commonly, by drapery, and the marble parts alone were exposed. Acroliths are frequently mentioned by Pausanias, the best known specimen being the Athene Areia of the Plataeans.
ACROMEGALY, the name given to a disease characterized by a true hypertrophy (an overgrowth involving both bony and soft parts) of the terminal parts of the body, especially of the face and extremities (Gr. akron, point, and megas, large). It is more frequent in the female sex, between the ages of 25 and 40. Its causation is generally associated with disturbances in the pituitary gland, and an extract of this body has been tried in the treatment, as one of the recent developments in organotherapeutics; thyroid extract has also been used, but without marked success, On the apparent analogy of acromegaly with myxoedema.
ACRON, a Greek physician, born at Agrigentum in Sicily, was contemporary with Empedocles, and must therefore have lived in the 5th century before Christ. The successful measure of lighting large fires, and purifying the air with perfumes, to put a stop to the plague in Athens (430 B.C.), is said to have originated with him; but this has been questioned on chronological grounds. Suidas gives the titles of several medical works written by him in the Doric dialect.
ACROPOLIS (Gr. akros, top, polis, city), literally the upper part of a town. For purposes of defence early settlers naturally chose elevated ground, frequently a hill with precipitous sides, and these early citadels became in many parts of the world the nuclei of large cities which grew up on the surrounding lower ground. The word Acropolis, though Greek in origin and associated primarily with Greek towns (Athens, Argos, Thebes, Corinth), may be applied generically to all such citadels (Rome, Jerusalem, many in Asia Minor, or even Castle Hill at Edinburgh). The most famous is that of Athens, which, by reason of its historical associations and the famous buildings erected upon it, is generally known without qualification as the Acropolis (see ATHENS).
ACROPOLITA (AKROPOLITES), GEORGE (1217-1282), Byzantine historian and statesman, was born at Constantinople. At an early age he was sent by his father to the court of John Ducas Batatzes (Vatatzes), emperor of Nicaea, by whom and by his successors (Theodorus II. Lascaris and Michael VIII. Palaeologus) he was entrusted with important state missions. The office of "great logothete'' or chancellor was bestowed upon him in 1244. As commander in the field in 1257 against Michael Angelus, despot of Epirus, he showed little military capacity. He was captured and kept for two years in prison, from which he was released by Michael Palaeologus. Acropolita's most important political task was that of effecting a reconciliation between the Greek and Latin Churches, to which he had been formerly opposed. In 1273 he was sent to Pope Gregory X., and in the following year, at the council of Lyons, in the emperor's name he recognized the spiritual supremacy of Rome. In 1282 he was sent on an embassy to John II, emperor of Trebizond, and died in the same year soon after his return. His historical work (Xronike Supsgrafe, Annales) embraces the period from the capture of Constantinople by the Latins (1204) to its recovery by Michael Palaeologus (1261), thus forming a continuation of the work of Nicetas Acominatus. It is valuable as written by a contemporary, whose official position as great logothete, military commander and confidential ambassador afforded him frequent opportunities of observing the course of events. Acropolita is considered a trustworthy authority as far as the statement of facts is concerned, and he is easy to understand, although he exhibits special carelessness in the construction of his sentences. He was also the author of several shorter works, amongst them being a funeral oration on John Batatzes, an epitaph on his wife Eirene and a panegyric of Theodorus II. Lascaris of Nicaea. While a prisoner at Epirus he wrote two treatises on the procession of the Holy Ghost ('Ekporeusis, Processio Spiritus Sancti).
Editio princeps by Leo Allatius (1651), with the editor's famous teatise De Georgiis eorumque Scriptis; editions in the Bonn Corpus Scriptoruin Hist. Byz., by I. Bekker (1836), and Migne, Patrologia Graeca, cxl.; in the Teubner series by A. Heisenberg (1903), the second volume of which contains a full life, with bibliography; see also C. Krumbacher, Geschichte der byzantinischen Litteratur (1897).
ACROSTIC (Gr. akros, at the end, and stichos, line or verse), a short verse composition, so constructed that the initial letters of the lines, taken consecutively, form words. The fancy for writing acrostics is of great antiquity, having been common among the Greeks of the Alexandrine period, as well as with the Latin writers since Ennius and Plautus, many of the arguments of whose plays were written with acrostics on their respective titles. One of the most remarkable acrostics was contained in the verses cited by Lactantius and Eusebius in the 4th century, and attributed to the Erythraean sibyl, the initial letters of which form the words 'Insous Arist.os Theou uios sozer: "Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour.'' The initials of the shorter form of this again make up the word ichthbs (fish), to which a mystical meaning has been attached (Augustine, De Civitale Dei, 18, 23), thus constituting another kind of acrostic.
The monks of the middle ages, who wrote in Latin, were fond of acrostics, as well as the poets of the Middle High German period, notably Gottfried of Strassburg and Rudolph of Ems. The great poets of the Italian renaissance, among them Boccaccio, indulged in them, as did also the early Slavic writers. Sir John Davies (1569-1626) wrote twenty-six elegant Hymns to Astraea, each an acrostic on "Elisabetha Regina''; and Mistress Mary Fage, in Fame's Roule, 1637, commemorated 420 celebrities of her time in acrostic verses. The same trick of composition is often to be met with in the writings of more recent versifiers. Sometimes the lines are so combined that the final letters as well as the initials are significant. Edgar Allan Poe worked two names—-one of them that of Frances Sargent Osgood—into verses in such a way that the letters of the names corresponded to the first letter of the first line, the second letter of the second, the third letter of the third, and so on.
Acrostic verse has always been held in slight estimation from a literary standpoint. Dr Samuel Butler says, in his "Character of a Small Poet,'' "He uses to lay the outsides of his verses even, like a bricklayer, by a line of rhyme and acrostic, and fill the middle with rubbish.'' Addison (Spectator, No. 60) found it impossible to decide whether the inventor of the anagram or the acrostic were the greater blockhead; and, in describing the latter, says, "I have seen some of them where the verses have not only been edged by a name at each extremity, but have had the same name running down like a seam through the middle of the poem.'' And Dryden, in Mac Flecknoe, scornfully assigned Shadwell the rule
Some peaceful province in acrostic land.
The name acrostic is also applied to alphabetical or "abecedarian'' verses. Of these we have instances in the Hebrew psalms (e.g. Ps. xxv. and xxxiv.), where successive verses begin with the letters of the alphabet in their order. The structure of Ps. cxix. is still more elaborate, each of the verses of each of the twenty-two parts commencing with the letter which stands at the head of the part in our English translation.
At one period much religious verse was written in a form imitative of this alphabetical method, possibly as an aid to the memory. The term acrostic is also applied to the formation of words from the initial letters of other words. 'Ichthbs, referred to above, is an illustration of this. So also is the word "Cabal,'' which, though it was in use before, with a similar meaning, has, from the time of Charles II., been associated with a particular ministry, from the accident of its being composed of Clifford, Ashley, Buckingham, Arlington and Lauderdale. Akin to this are the names by which the Jews designated their Rabbis; thus Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (better known as Maimonides) was styled "Rambam,'' from the initials R.M.B.M.; Rabbi David Kimchi (R.D.K.), "Radak,'' &c.
Double acrostics are such as are so constructed, that not only initial letters of the lines, but also the middle or last letters, form words. For example:—-1. By Apollo was my first made. 2. A shoemaker's tool. 3. An Italian patriot. 4. A tropical fruit. The initials and finals, read downwards, give the name of a writer and his nom de plume. Answer: Lamb,
1. L yr E 2. A w L 3. M azzin I 4. B anan A
ACROTERIUM (Gr. akroterion the summit or vertex), in architecture, a statue or ornament of any kind placed on the apex of a pediment. The term is often restricted to the plinth, which forms the podium merely for the acroterium.
ACT (Lat. actus, actum), something done, primarily a voluntary deed or performance, though any accomplished fact is often included. The signification of the word varies according to the sense in which it is employed. It is often synonymous with "statute'' (see ACT OF PARLIAMENT). It may also refer to the result of the vote or deliberation of any legislature, the decision of a court of justice or magistrate, in which sense records, decrees, sentences, reports, certificates, &c., are called acts.
In law it means any instrument in writing, for declaring or justifying the truth of a bargain or transaction, as: "I deliver this as my act and deed.'' The origin of the legal use of the word "act'' is in the acta of the Roman magistrates or people, of their courts of law, or of the senate, meaning (1) what was done before the magistrates, the people or the senate; (2) the records of such public proceedings.
In connexion with other words "act'' is employed in many phrases, e.g. act of God, any event, such as the sudden, violent or overwhelming occurrence of natural forces, which cannot be foreseen or provided against. This is a good defence to a suit for non-performance of a contract. Act of honour denotes the acceptance by a third party of a protested bill of exchange for the honour of any party thereto. Act of grace denotes the granting of some special privilege.
In universities, the presenting and publicly maintaining a thesis by a candidate for a degree, to show his proficiency, is an act. "The Act'' at Oxford, up to 1856 when it was abolished, was the ceremony held early in July for this purpose, and the expressions "Act Sunday,'' "Act Term'' still survive.
In dramatic literature, act signifies one of those parts into which a play is divided to mark the change of time or place, and to give a respite to the actors and to the audience. In Greek plays there are no separate acts, the unities being strictly observed, and the action being continuous from beginning to end. If the principal actors left the stage the chorus took up the argument, and contributed an integral part of the play, though chiefly in the form of comment upon the action. When necessary, another droma, which is etymologically the same as an act, carried on the history to a later time or in a different place, and thus we have the Greek trilogies or groups of three dramas, in which the same characters reappear. The Roman poets first adopted the division into acts, and suspended the stage business in the intervals between them. Their number was usually five, and the rule was at last laid down by Horace in the Ars
Neve minor, neu sit quinto productior actu Fabula, quae posci vult, et spectata reponi. "If you would have your play deserve success, Give it five acts complete, nor more nor less.'' (Francis.)
On the revival of letters this rule was almost universally observed by dramatists, and that there is an inherent convenience and fitness in the number five is evident from the fact that Shakespeare, who refused to be trammelled by merely arbitrary rules, adopts it in all his plays. Some critics have laid down rules as to the part each act should sustain in the development of the plot, but these are not essential, and are by no means universally recognized. In comedy the rule as to the number of acts has not been so strictly adhered to as in tragedy, a division into two acts or three acts being quite usual since the time of Moliere, who first introduced it. It may be well to mention here Milton's Samson Agonistes as a specimen in English literature of a dramatic work founded on a purely Greek model, in which, consequently, there is no division into acts.
For "acting,'' as the art and theory of dramatic representation (or histrionics, from Lat. histrio, an actor), see the article DRAMA.
ACTA DIURNA (Lat. acta, public acts or records; diurnius, daily, from dies), called also Acta Fopuli, Acta Publica and simply Acta or Diurna, in ancient Rome a sort of daily gazette, containing an officially authorized narrative of noteworthy eventsat Rome. Its contents were partly official (court news, decrees of the emperor, senate and magistrates), partly private (notices of births, marriages and deaths). Thus to some extent it filled the place of the modern newspaper (q.v.). The origin of the Acta is attributed to Julius Caesar, who first ordered the keeping and publishing of the acts of the people by public officers (59 B.C.; Suetonius, Caesar, 20). The Acta were drawn up from day to day, and exposed in a public place on a whitened board (see ALBUM). After remaining there for a reasonable time they were taken down and preserved with other public documents, so that they might be available for purposes of research. The Acta differed from the Annals (which were discontinued in 133 B.C.) in that only the greater and more important matters were given in the latter, while in the former things of less note were recorded. Their publication continued till the transference of the seat of the empire to Constantinople. There are no genuine fragments extant.
Leclerc, Des Journaux chez les Romains (1838); Renssen, De Diurnis aliisque Romanorum Actis (1857); Hubner, De Senatus Populique Romani Actis (1860); Gaston Boissier, Tacitus and other Roman Studies (Eng. trans., W. G. Hutchison, 1906), pp. 197-229.
ACTAEON, son of Aristaeus and Autonoe, a famous Theban hero and hunter, trained by the centaur Cheiron. According to the story told by Ovid (Metam. iii. 131; see also Apollod iii. 4), having accidentally seen Artemis (Diana) on Mount Cithaeron while she was bathing, he was changed by her into a stag, and pursued and killed by his fifty hounds. His statue was often set up on rocks and mountains as a protection against excessive heat. The myth itself probably represents the destruction of vegetation during the fifty dog-days. Aeschylus and other tragic poets made use of the story, which was a favourite subject in ancient works of art. There is a well-known small marble group in the British Museum illustrative of the story.
ACTA SENATUS, or COMMENTARII SENATUS, minutes of the discussions and decisions of the Roman senate. Before the first consulship of Julius Caesar (59 B.C.), minutes of the proceedings of the senate were written and occasionally published, but unofficially; Caesar, desiring to tear away the veil of mystery which gave an unreal importance to the senate's deliberations, first ordered them to be recorded and issued authoritatively. The keeping of them was continued by Augustus, but their publication was forbidden (Suetonius, Augustus, 36). A young senator (ab actis senatus) was chosen to draw up these Acta, which were kept in the imperial archives and public libraries (Tacitus, Ann. v. 4). Special permission from the city praefect was necessary in order to examine them. For authorities see ACTA DIURNA.
ACTINOMETER (Gr. aktis, ray, metron, measure), an instrument for measuring the heating and chemical effects of light. The name was first given by Sir John Herschel to an apparatus for measuring the heating effect of solar rays (Edin. Journ. Science, 1825); Herschel's instrument has since been discarded in favour of the pyrheliometer (Gr. tur, fire, elios, sun). (See RADIATION.) The word actinometer is now usually applied to instruments for measuring the actinic or chemical effect of luminous rays; their action generally depends upon photochemical changes (see PHOTO-CHEMISTRY). Certain practical forms are described in the article PHOTOGRAPHY.
ACTINOMYCOSIS (STREPTOTRICHOSIS), a chronic infective disease occurring in both cattle and man. In both these groups it presents the same clinical course, being characterized by chronic inflammation with the formation of granulomatous tumours, which tend to undergo suppuration, fibrosis or calcification. It used to be believed that this disease was caused by a single vegetable parasite, the Ray-Fungus, but there is now an overwhelming mass of observations to show that the clinical features may be produced by a number of different species of parasites, for which the generic name Streptothrix has been generally adopted. In 1899 the committee of the Pathological Society of London recommended that the term Streptotrichosis should be used as the appropriate clinical epithet of the large class of Streptothrix infections. And since that year the name Actinomycosis has been falling into disuse, and in any case is only used synonymously with Streitotrichosis. For a further account of these parasites see the articles on BACTERIOLOGY and on PARASITIC DISEASES.
Pathological Anatomy.—-The naked-eye appearance of the different organs affected by Streptothrix infection varies according to the duration and acuteness of the disease. In some tissues the appearance is that of simple inflammation, whereas in others it may be characteristic. The liver when affected shows scattered foci of suppuration, which may become aggregated into spheroidal masses, surrounded by a zone of inflammation. In the lungs the changes may be any that are produced by the following conditions. (1) An acute bronchitis. (2) A phthisical lung, grey nodules being scattered here and there almost exactly simulating tuberculous nodules. (3) An acute broncho-pneumonia with some interstitial fibrosis and a tendency to abscess formation. The most characteristic lesions are in the skin. These appear as nodules, sarcomatous-looking, soft and pulpy. Their colour is mottled, yellow and purplish red. The skin over them is thinned out, and broken down in places to form one or two crateriform ulcers from which a clear sticky fluid exudes. The size varies from that of a pea to a small orange. The pus is characteristic, varying in consistency though usually viscid, and containing numerous minute specks.
The disease is more common in males than in females, aod more prevalent in Germany and Russia than in England. The infection is probably spread by grain (corn or barley), on which the fungus may often be found. In a great number of recorded cases the patient has been following agricultural pursuits. The disease can only be transmitted from one individual to another with considerable difficulty, and no case of direct transmission from animal to man has yet been noted.
Clinical History.—-The course of actinomycosis is usually a chronic one, but occasionally the fungus gets into the blood, when the course is that of an acute infective disease or even pyaemia. The symptoms are entirely dependent on the organ attacked, and are in no way specially characteristic. During life a diagnosis of phthisis is continually made, and only a microscopic examination after death renders the true nature of the disease apparent. The nature of the skin lesion is the most evident, and here the parasite can be detected early in the illness. The only drug which appears to have any beneficial influence on the course of the disease is potassium iodide, and this has occasionally been used with great benefit. Surgical interference is usually needed, either excision of the part affected, or, where possible, a thorough scraping of the lesion and free application of antiseptics.
ACTINOZOA, a term in systematic zoology, first used by H. M. D. de Blainville about 1834, to designate animals the organs of which were disposed radially about a centre. De Blainville included in his group many unicellular forms such as Noctiluca (see PROTOZOA), sea-anemones, corals, jelly-fish and hydroid polyps, echinoderms, polyzoa and rotifera. T. H. Huxley afterwards restricted the term. He showed that in de Blainville's group there were associated with a number of heterogeneous forms a group of animals characterized by being composed of two layers of cells comparable with the first two layers in the development of vertebrate animals. Such forms he distinguished as Coelentera, and showed that they had no special affinity with echinoderms, polyzoa, &c. He divided the Coelentera into a group Hydrozoa, in which the sexually produced embryos were usually set free from the surface of the body, and a group Actinozoa, in which the embryos are detached from the interior of the body and escape generally by the oral aperture. Huxley's Actinozoa comprised the sea-anemones, corals and sea-pens, on the one hand, and the Ctenophora on the other. Later investigations, whilst confirming the general validity of Huxley's conclusions, have slightly altered the limits and definitions of his groups. (See ANTHOZOA, COELENTERA, CTENOPHORA and HYDROZOA.) (P. C. M.)
ACTION, in law, a term used by jurists in three different senses: (1) a right to institute proceedings in a court of justice to obtain redress for a wrong (actio nihil aliud est quam jus prosequendi in judieio quod alicui debetur, Bracton, de Legibus Angliae, bk. iii. ch. i., f. 98 b); (2) the proceeding itself (actionn n'est auter chose que loyall demande de son droit, Co. Litt. 285 (a)); (3) the particular form of the proceeding. The term is derived from the Roman law (actio), in which it is used in all three senses. In the history of Roman law, actions passed through three stages. The first period (terminated about 170 B.C. by the Lex Aebutia) is known as the system of legis actiones, and was based on the precepts of the XII. tables and used before the praetor urbanus. These actiones were five in number —sacramenti, per judicis postulationem, per condictionem, per manus injectionem, per pignoris captionem. The first was the primitive and characteristic action of the Roman law, and the others were little more than modes of applying it to cases not contemplated in the original form, or of carrying the result of it into execution when the action had been decided. The legis actiones were superseded by the formulae, originated by the praetor peregrinus for the determination of controversies between foreigners, but found more flexible than the earlier system and made available for citizens by the Lex Aebutia. Under both these systems the praetor referred the matter in dispute to an arbiter (judex), but in the later he settled the formula (i.e. the issues to be referred and the appropriate form of relief) before making the order of reference. In the third stage, the formulary stage fell into disuse, and after A.D. 342 the magistrate himself or his deputy decided the controversy after the defending party had been duly summoned by a libellus.
The classifications of actiones in Roman law were very numerous. The division which is still most universally recognized is that of actions in rem and actions in personam (Sohm, Roman Law, tr. by Ledlie, 2nd ed. 277). An action in rem asserts a right to a particular thing against all the world. An action in personam asserts a right only against a particular person. Perhaps the best modern example of the distinction is that made in maritime cases between an action against a ship after a collision at sea, and an action against the owners of the ship.
In English law the term "action'' at a very early date became associated with civil proceedings in the Court of Common Pleas, which were distinguished from pleas of the crown, such as indictments or informations and for suits in the Court of Chancery or in the Admiralty or ecclesiastical courts. The English action was a proceeding commenced by writ original at the common law. The remedy was of right and not of grace. The history of actions is the history of civil procedure in the courts of common law. As a result of the reform of civil procedure by the Judicature Acts the term "action'' in English law now means at the High Court of Justice "a civil proceeding commenced by writ of summons or in such other manner as may be prescribed by rules of court'' (e.g. by originating summons). The proceeding thus commenced ends by judgment and execution. This definition includes proceedings under the Chancery, Admiralty and Probate jurisdiction of the High Court, but excludes proceedings commenced by petition, such as divorce suits and bankruptcy and winding-up matters, as well as criminal proceedings in the High Court or applications for the issue of the writs of mandamus, prohibition, habeas corpus or certiorari. The Judicature Acts and Rules have had the effect of abolishing all the forms of "action'' used at the common law and of creating one common form of legal proceeding for all ordinary controversies between subjects in whatever division of the High Court. The stages in an English action are the writ, by which the persons against whom relief is claimed are summoned before the court; the pleadings and interlocutory steps, by which the issues between the parties are adjusted; the trial, at which the issues of fact and law involved are brought before the tribunal; the judgment, by which the relief sought is granted or refused; and execution, by which the law gives to the successful party the fruits of the judgment.
The procedure varies according as the action is in the High Court, a county court or one of the other local courts of record which still survive; but there is no substantial difference in the incidents of trial, judgment and execution in any of these courts. The initial difference between actions in the High Court and the county court is that the latter are commenced by plaint lodged in the court, on which a summons is prepared by the court and served by its bailiff, whereas in the High Court the party prepares the writ and lodges it in court for sealing, and when it is sealed, himself effects the service.
An action is said to "lie'' when the law provides a remedy for some particular act or omission by a subject which infringes the legal rights of another subject. An act of such a character is said to give a "cause of action.'' In the action the person who alleges himself aggrieved claims a judgment of the court in his favour giving an adequate and appropriate remedy for the injury or damage which he has sustained by the infraction of his rights. As to the time within which an action must be brought, see LIMITATION, STATUTES OF. When the rights of a subject are infringed by the illegal action of the state, an action lies in England against the officers who have done the wrong, unless the claim be one arising out of breach of a contract with the state, or out of an "Act of State.'' For a breach by the state of a contract made between the state and a subject the remedy of the subject is, as a general rule, not by action against the agents of the state who acted for the state with reference to the making or breach of the contract, but against the Crown itself by the proceeding called Petition of Right (see PETITION).
While as a generic term "action'' in its proper legal sense includes suits by the Crown and "criminal actions'' (see Co. Litt. 284b; Bracton, de Legibus Angliae, bk. iii. ch. v. f. 1046; Bradlaugh v. Clarke, 1883, 8 App. Cas. 354, 361, 374), in popular language it is taken to mean a proceeding by a subject and is now rarely applied in England even by lawyers to criminal proceedings. What are now known as "penal actions,'' i.e. proceedings in which an individual who has not suffered personally by a breach of the law sues as a common informer for the statutory penalty either on his own benefit or on behalf also of the Crown (qui tam pro rege quam pro se ipso), bear some analogy to the actio popularis of Roman law, from which they are derived (see the statute 4 Hen. VII. 1488); but they are now treated for most purposes as civil and not as criminal proceedings. The law of Scotland follows the lines of the civil law, and the expression "criminal action'' is in use to distinguish proceedings to punish offences against the public as distinguished from civil action, brought to enforce a private right.
In the United States, and the British colonies in which English law runs by settlement, charter, proclamation or statute, the nature of an action is substantially the same as in England. The differences between one state of the Union and another, and one colony and another, depend mainly on the extent to which the old procedure of the common law has been abolished, simplified or reformed by local legislation.
AUTHORITIES.—Roman Law: Sohm, Institutes of Roman Law, W. G. Ledlie (2nd ed., 1901). English Law: Pollock and Maitland, English Law; Holmes, The Common Law; Bullen and Leake, Prec. Pleadings (3rd ed.: 6th ed. 1905).
ACTIUM (mod. Punta), the ancient name of a promontory in the north of Acarnania (Greece) at the mouth of the Sinus Ambracius (Gulf of Arta) opposite Nicopolis, built by Augustus on the north side of the strait. On the promontory was an ancient temple of Apollo Actius, which was enlarged by Augustus, who also, in memory of the battle, instituted or renewed the quinquennial games called Actia or Ludi Actiaci. Actiaca Aera was a computation of time from the battle of Actium. There was on the promontory a small town, or rather village, also called Actium.
History.-Actium belonged originally to the Corinthian colonists of Anactorium, who probably founded the worship of Apollo Actius and the Actia games; in the 3rd century it fell to the Acarnanians, who subsequently held their synods there. Actium is chiefly famous as the site of Octavian's decisive victory over Mark Antony (2nd of September 31 B.C.). This battle ended a long series of ineffectual operations. The final conflict was provoked by Antony, who is said to have been persuaded by Cleopatra to retire to Egypt and give battle to mask his retreat; but lack of provisions and the growing demoralization of his army would sufficiently account for his decision. The fleets met outside the gulf, each over 200 strong (the totals given by ancient authorities are very conflicting). Antony's heavy battleships endeavoured to close and crush the enemy with their artillery; Octavian's light and mobile craft made skilful use of skirmishing tactics. During the engagement Cleopatra suddenly withdrew her squadron and Antony slipped away behind her. His flight escaped notice, and the conflict remained undecided, until Antony's fleet was set on fire and thus annihilated.
AUTHORITIES— Dio Cassi us, 50.12-51.3; Plutarch, Antonius, 62-68; Velleius Paterculus, ii. 84-85. C. Merivale, History of the Romans under the Empire, iii. pp. 313-325 (London, 1851); V. Gardthausen, Augustus und seine Zeit, i. pp. 369-386, ii. pp. 189-201 (Leipzig, 1891 ): G. Ferrero in the Revue de Paris, Mar. 15, 1906, pp. 225-243; b. Kromayer, in Hermes, xxxiv. (1899), pp. 1-54. (M. O. B. C.)
ACT OF PARLIAMENT. An act of parliament may be regarded as a declaration of the legislature, enforcing certain rules of conduct, or defining rights and conferring them upon or withholding them from certain persons or classes of persons. The collective body of such declarations constitutes the statutes of the realm or written law of the British nation, in the widest sense, from Anglo-Saxon times to the present day. It is not, however, till the earlier half of the 13th century that, in a more limited constitutional sense, the statute-book is generally held to open, and the parliamentary records only begin to assume distinct outlines late in the reign of Edward I. It gradually became a fixed constitutional principle that an act of parliament, to be valid, must express concurrently the will of the entire legislature. It was not, however, till the reign of Henry VI. that it became customary, as now, to introduce bills into parliament in the form of finished acts; and the enacting clause, regarded by constitutionalists as the first perfect assertion, in words, of popular right, came into general use as late as the reign of Charles II. It is thus expressed in the case of all acts other than those granting money to the crown:—-"Be it enacted by the King's most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same.'' Where the act is a money grant the enacting clause is prefaced by the words, "Most gracious Sovereign, we, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled, towards making good the supply1 which we have cheerfully granted to Your Majesty in this session of Parliament, have resolved to grant unto Your Majesty the sums hereinafter mentioned; and do therefore most humbly beseech Your Majesty that it may be enacted, &c.'' The use of the preamble with which acts are usually prefaced is thus quaintly set forth by Lord Coke: "The rehearsal or preamble of the statute is a good meane to find out the meaning of the statute, and, as it were, a key to open the understanding thereof'' (Co. Litt. 79a). Originally the collective acts of each session formed but one statute, to which a general title was attached, and for this reason an act of parliament was up to 1892 generally cited as the chapter of a particular statute, e.g. 24 and 25 Vict. c. 101. Titles were, however, prefixed to individual acts as early as 1488. Now, by the Short Titles Act 1892, it is optional to cite most important acts up to that date by their short titles, either individually or collectively. Most modern acts have borne short titles independently of the act of 1892. (See PARLIAMENT; STATUTE.)
1 Where the grant is not of supply, the preamble varies a little, e.g. in the Prince of Wales's Children Act 1889.
ACTON (JOHN EMERICH EDWARD DALBERG ACTON), IST BARON (1834-1902), English historian, only son of Sir Richard Acton, 7th baronet, and grandson of the Neapolitan admiral, Sir J. F. E. Acton, 6th baronet (q.v.), was born at Naples on the 10th of January 1834. His grandfather, who had succeeded in 1791 to the baronetcy and family estates in Shropshire, previously held by the English branch of the Acton family, represented a younger branch which had transferred itself first to France and then to Italy, but by the extinction of the elder branch the admiral became head of the family; his eldest son, Richard, had married Marie Louise Pelline, the daughter and heiress of Emerich Joseph, duc de Dalberg (q.v.), a naturalized French noble of ancient German lineage who had entered thc French service under Napoleon and represented Louis XVIII. at the congress of Vienna in 1814, and after Sir Richard Acton's death in 1837 she became (1840) the wife of the 2nd Earl Granville. Coming of a Roman Catholic family, young Acton was educated at Oscott till 1848 under Dr (afterwards Cardinal) Wiseman, and then at Edinburgh, and at Munich under Dollinger, whose lifelong friend he became. He had wished to go to Cambridge, but for a Roman Catholic this was then impossible. By Dollinger he was inspired with a deep love of historical research and a profound conception of its functions as a critical instrument. He was a master of the chief foreign languages, and began at an early age to collect a magnificent historical library, with the object, never in fact realized, of writing a great History of Liberty. In politics he was always an ardent Liberal. Without being a notable traveller, he spent much time in the chief intellectual centres of Europe, and in the United States, and numbered among his friends such men as Montalembert, De Tocqueville. Fustel de Coulanges, Bluntschli, von Sybel and Ranke. He was attached to Lord Granville's mission to Moscow, as British representative at the coronation of Alexander II. in 1856. In 1859 Sir John Acton settled in England, at his country house, Aldenham, in Shropshire. He was returned to the House of Commons in that year for the Irish borough of Carlow, and became a devoted admirer and adherent of Mr Gladstone; but he was practically a silent member, and his parliamentary career came to an end after the general election of 1865, when, having headed the poll for Bridgnorth, he was unseated on a scrutiny; he contested Bridgnorth again in 1868, but without success. Meanwhile he had become editor of the Roman Catholic monthly paper, the Rambler, in 1859, on J. H. Newman's retirement from the editorship; and in 1862 he merged this periodical in the Home and Foreign Review. His contributions at once gave evidence of his remarkable wealth of historical knowledge. But though a sincere Roman Catholic, his whole spirit as a historian was hostile to ultramontane pretensions, and his independence of thought and liberalism of view speedily brought him into conflict with the Roman Catholic hierarchy. As early as August 1862, Cardinal Wiseman publicly censured the Review; and when in 1864, after Dollinger's appeal at the Munich Congress for a less hostile attitude towards historical criticism, the pope issued a declaration that the opinions of Catholic writers were subject to the authority of the Roman congregations, Acton felt that there was only one way of reconciling his literary conscience with his ecclesiastical loyalty, and he stopped the publication of his monthly periodical. He continued, however, to contribute articles to the North British Review, which, previously a Scottish Free Church organ, had been acquired by friends in sympathy with him, and which for some years (until 1872, when it ceased to appear) actively promoted the interests of a high-class Liberalism in both temporal and ecclesiastical matters; he also did a good deal of lecturing on historical subjects. In 1865 he married the Countess Marie, daughter of the Bavarian Count Arco-Valley, by whom he had one son and three daughters. In 1869 he was raised to the peerage by Gladstone as Baron Acton; he was an intimate friend and constant correspondent of the Liberal leader, and the two men had the very highest regard for one another. Matthew Arnold used to say that "Gladstone influences all round him but Acton; it is Acton who influences Gladstone.''
In 1870 came the great crisis in the Roman Catholic world over the promulgation by Pius IX. of the dogma of papal infallibility. Lord Acton, who was in complete sympathy on this subject with Dollinger (q.v.), went to Rome in order to throw all his influence against it, but the step he so much dreaded was not to be averted. The Old Catholic separation followed, but Acton did not personally join the seceders, and the authorities prudently refrained from forcing the hands of so competent and influential an English layman. In 1874, when Gladstone published his pamphlet on The Vatican Decrees, Lord Acton wrote during November and December a series of remarkable letters to The Times, illustrating Gladstone's main theme by numerous historical examples of papal inconsistency, in a way which must have been bitter enough to the ultramontane party, but demurring nevertheless to Gladstone's conclusion and insisting that the Church itself was better than its premisses implied. Acton's letters led to another storm in the English Roman Catholic world, but once more it was considered prudent by the Vatican to leave him alone. In spite of his reservations, he regarded "communion with Rome as dearer than life.'' Thenceforth he steered clear of theological polemics. He devoted himself to persistent reading and study, combined with congenial society. With all his capacity for study he was a man of the world, and a man of affairs, not a bookworm. Little indeed came from his pen, his only notable publications being a masterly essay in the Quarterly Review of January 1878 on "Democracy in Europe''; two lectures delivered at Bridgnorth in 1877 on "The History of Freedom in Antiquity'' and "The History of Freedom in Christianity''—these last the only tangible portions put together by him of his long-projected "History of Liberty''; and an essay on modern German historians in the first number of the English Historical Review, which he helped to found (1886). After 1879 he divided his time between London, Cannes and Tegernsee in Bavaria, enjoying and reciprocating the society of his friends. In 1872 he had been given the honorary degree of doctor of philosophy by Munich University; in 1888 Cambridge gave him the honorary degree of LL.D., and in 1889 Oxford the D.C.L.; and in 1890 he was made a fellow of All Souls. His reputation for learning had gradually been spread abroad, largely through Gladstone's influence. The latter found him a valuable political adviser, and in 1892, when the Liberal government came in, Lord Acton was made a lord-in-waiting. Finally, in 1895, on the death of Sir John Seeley, Lord Rosebery appointed him to the Regius Professorship of Modern History at Cambridge. The choice was an excellent one. His inaugural lecture on "The Study of History,'' afterwards published with notes displaying a vast erudition, made a great impression in the university, and the new professor's influence on historical study was felt in many important directions. He delivered two valuable courses of lectures, on the French Revolution and on Modern History, but it was in private that the effects of his teaching were most marked. The great Cambridge Modern History, though he did not live to see it, was planned under his editorship, and all who came in contact with him testified to his stimulating powers and his extraordinary range of knowledge. He was taken ill, however, in 1901, and died on the 19th of June 1902, being succeeded in the title by his son. Richard Maximllian Dalberg Acton, 2nd Baron Acton (b.1870). Lord Acton has left too little completed original work to rank among the great historians; his very learning seems to have stood in his way; he knew too much and his literary conscience was too acute for him to write easily, and his copiousness of information overloads his literary style. But he was one of the most deeply learned men of his time, and he will certainly be remembered for his influence on others. His extensive library, formed for use and not for display, and composed largely of books full of his own annotations, was bought immediately after his death by Mr Andrew Carnegie, and presented to Mr John Morley, by whom it was forthwith given to the university of Cambridge.
See Mr Herbert Paul's excellent Introductory Memoir to the interesting volume of Lord Acton's Letters to Mrs Drew (1904), and the authorities cited there; also Dom Gasquet's Lord Acton and his Circle (1906). A Bibliography of the works of Lord Acton, by W. A. Shaw, was published by the Royal Historical Society in 1903. The Edinburgh Review of April 1903 contains a luminous essay; and Mr Bryce has a chapter on Acton in his Studies of Contemporary Biography (1903). Lord Acton's Lectures on Modern History, edited by J. N. Figgis and R. V. Laurence, appeared in 1906; and his History of Freedom and other Essays and Historical Essay's and Studies (by the same editors) in 1907. (H. CH.)
ACTON, SIR JOHN FRANCIS EDWARD, BART. (1736—1811). prime minister of Naples under Ferdinand IV., was the son of Edward Acton, a physician at Besancon, and was born there in 1736, succeeding to the title and estates in 1791, on the death of his cousin in the third degree, Sir Richard Acton of Aldenham Hall, Shropshire. He served in the navy of Tuscany, and in 1775 commanded a frigate in the joint expedition of Spain and Tuscany against Algiers, in which he displayed such courage and resource that he was promoted to high command. In 1779 Queen Maria Carolina of Naples persuaded her brother the Grand-Duke Leopold of Tuscany to allow Acton, who had been recommended to her by Prince Caramenico, to undertake the reorganization of the Neapolitan navy. The ability displayed by him in this led to his rapid advancement. He became commander-in-chief of both services, minister of finance, and finally prime minister. His policy was devised in concert with the English ambassador, Sir William Hamilton, and aimed at substituting the influence of Austria and Great Britain for that or Spain, at Naples, and consequently involved open opposition to France and the French party in Italy. The financial and administrative measures which were the outcome of a policy which necessitated a great increase of armament made him intensely unpopular, and in December 1798 he shared the flight of the king and queen. For the reign of terror which followed the downfall of the Parthenopean Republic, five months later, Acton has been held responsible. In 1804 he was for a short time deprived of the reins of government at the demand of France; but he was speedily restored to his former position, which he held till, in February 1806, on the entry of the French into Naples, he had to flee with the royal family into Sicily. He died at Palermo on the 12th of August 1811.
He had married, by papal dispensation, the eldest daughter of his brother, General Joseph Edward Acton (b. 1737), who was in the Neapolitan service, and left three children, the elder son, Sir Richard, being the father of the first Lord Acton. The second son, Charles Januarius Edward (1803-1847), after being educated in England and taking his degree at Magdalene College, Cambridge, in 1823, entered the Academia Ecclesiastica at Rome. He left this with the rank of prolate, in 1828 was secretary to the nuncio at Paris and was made vice-legate of Bologna shortly afterwards. He became secretary of the congregation of the Disciplina Regolare, and auditor of the Apostolic Chamber under Gregory XVI., by whom he was made a cardinal in 1842. Cardinal Acton was protector of the English College at Rome, and had been mainly instrumental in the increase, in 1840, of the English vicariates-general to eight, which paved the way for the restoration of the hierarchy by Pius IX. in 1850. He died on the 23rd of June 1847.
ACTON, an urban district in the Ealing parliamentary division of Middlesex, England, suburban to London, 9 m. W. of St. Paul's Cathedral. Pop. (1861) 3151; (1901) 37,744. Its appearance is now wholly that of a modern residential suburb. The derivation offered for its name is from Oak-town, in reference to the extensive forest which formerly covered the locality. The land belonged from early times to the see of London, a grant being recorded in 1220. Henry III. had a residence here. At the time of the Commonwealth Acton was a centre of Puritanism. Philip Nye (d. 1672) was rector; Richard Baxter, Sir Matthew Hale (Lord Chief-Justice), Henry Fielding the novelist and John Lindley the botanist (d. 1865) are famous names among residents here. Acton Wells, of saline waters, had considerable reputation in the 18th century.