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elements, the result is an alloy, or proper considerable portion of land is torn away at chemical combination. One of the most once by the violence of the current, and striking proofs of actual combination be- joined to a neighbouring estate, it may be tween the parts of an alloy, is a remarkable claimed again by the former owner. increase of fusibility. This, in almost all ALMAGEST, the name of a celebrated cases, is much greater than could be infer- book composed by Ptolemy; being a colred from the mean fusibility of its compo- lection of a great number of the observanent parts. Thus, equal parts of tin and tions and problems of the ancients, relating iron will melt at the same temperature as is to geometry and astronomy; but especially required for equal parts of tin and copper, the latter. And being the first work of this potwithstanding the great difference be- kind which has come down to us, and contween the fusing heat of copper and iron, taining a catalogue of the fixed stars, with when they are each of them pure. So also their places, beside numerous records and an alloy of tin, bismuth, and lead, in the observations of eclipses, the motions of the proportion of 3, 8, and 5, will melt in boil- planets, &c. it will ever be held dear ing water, which is a less heat than is neces- and valuable to the cultivators of astrosary for the liquefaction of bismuth, the most nomy. See PTOLEMY. fusible of the three. The oxydability of an In the original Greek it is called ouitatis alloy is generally either greater or less than peyism, the “ great composition” or “collecthat of the unmixed metals. Tin and lead tion.” And to the word usy.sn the Arabians mixed will, at a low red heat, take fire and joined the particle “al,” and thence called oxydate immediately.
it “ Almaghesti,” or, as we call it, from ALLUSION, in rhetoric, a figure by them, the Almagest. which something is applied to, or understood ALMAMON, Caliph of Bagdat, a philoof another, on account of some similitude sopher and astronomer in the beginning of between them.
the ninth century, he having ascended the ALLUVIAL, by alluvial depositions is throne in the year 814. He was son of meant the soil which has been formed by Harun Al-Rashid, and grandson of Almanthe destruction of mountains, and the sor. Having been educated with great washing down of their particles by torrents care, and with a love for the liberal sciences, of water. The alluvial formations constitute he applied himself to cultivate and encourthe great mass of the earth's surface. They age them in his own country. For this have been formed by the gradual action of purpose he requested the Greek emperors rain or river water upon the other forma- to supply him with such books of philosophy tions. They may be divided into two kinds, as they had among them; and he collected viz. those deposited in the valleys and moun. skilful interpreters to translate them into tainous districts, or upon elevated plains, the Arabic language. He also encouraged which often occur in mountains; and those his subjects to study them; frequenting the deposited upon flat land. The first kind meetings of the learned, and assisting at consists of sand, gravel, &c. which consti- their exercises and deliberations. He formed tuted the more solid parts of the neighbour- a college at Khorasan, and selected to preing mountains, and which remained when side over it Mesul of Damascus, a famous the less solid parts have been washed away. Christian physician. When his father, who They sometimes contain ores, particularly was still living, remonstrated against the gold and tin, which existed in the neigh- appointment, on account of the president's bouring mountains. The second kind con- religion, he replied, that he had chosen him, sists of loam, clay, sand, turf, and calctuff. not as a teacher of theology, but for the Here are also earth and brown coal in which instruction of his subjects in science and the amber is found, wood coal, bituminous wood, useful arts, and that his father well knew, and bog-iron ore
The sand contains some that the most learned men and skilful artists metals. The calctuff contaius plants, roots, in his dominions were Jews and Christians. moss-bones, &c. which it has incrusted. He caused Ptolemy's Almagest to be transThe clay and sand often contain petrified lated in 827, by Isaac Ben-honain, and wood, and skeletons of quadrupeds. Thabet Ben-korah, according to Herbelot,
ALLUVION, among civilians, denotes but according to others by Sergius, and the gradual increase of land along the sea. Alhazen, the son of Joseph. In his reign, shore, or on the bauks of rivers. This, and doubtless by his encouragement, an when slow and imperceptible, is deemed astronomer of Bagdat, named Habash, coma lawful means of acquisition; but when a posed three sets of astronomical tables,
Almamon himself made many astronomi- and then exclaiming in the spirit of piety, cal observations, and determined the obli “O thou who never diest, have mercy on quity of the ecliptic to be then 23° 35', or me, a dying man.” He expired at the age 23° 33' in some man
anuscripts, but Vossius of 49, after a reign of 20 years. He was says 23° 51' or 23° 34'. He also caused interred at Tarsus. To the principles of skilful observers so procure proper instru- science, and not to those of the Mohammements to be made, and to exercise them- dan religion, have been ascribed the liberaselves in astronomical observations; which lity and benignity of temper which he disthey did accordingly at Shemasi in the pro- played in certain trying circumstances. vince of Bagdat, and upon Mount Casius, When his uncle and rival Ibrahim was taken, near Damas.
brought to trial, and condemned, the caliph, Under the auspices of Mamon also a de- instead of sanctioning the sentence, tenderly gree of the meridian was measured on the embraced his relation, saying, “ Uncle, be plains of Sinjar, or Sindgiar, upon the bor- of good cheer, I will do you no injury:" and ders of the Red Sea; by which the degree he not only pardoned him ; but granted him was found to contain 56 miles, of 4000 a rank and fortune suitable to his birth. coudees each, the coudee being a foot and Being complimented on account of this gea half: but it is not known what foot is here nerous deed, he exclaimed, “ Did but men meant,whether the Roman, the Alexandrian, know the pleasure that I feel in pardoning, or some other. Abulfeda says that this all who have offended me would come and cubit contained 27 inches, each inch being confess their faults." Almamon in the determined by six grains of barley placed course of his reign, employed the most skilsideways; but Thevenot says, that 144 ful astronomers that he could find to comgrains of barley placed in this manner pose a body of astronomical science, which would give a length equal to 14 Paris foot: still subsists among oriental MSS. entitled, four cubits would be equal to one toise and “ Astronomia elaborata à compluribus D.D. nine inches, and therefore 4000 cubits, that jussu regis Maimon.” is 564 miles, would give 63,730 toises. But ALMANAC, in matters of literature, a if the ordinary cubit of 24 inches was the table containing the calendar of days and measure to which the calculation is to be months, the rising and setting of the sun, the referred, the degree, in this estimate of it, age of the moon, &c. would contain 56,666 toises. According to Authors are neither agreed about the inanother valuation of a cubit, this measure ventor of almanacs, nor the etymology of would consist of 53,123 French toises. the word; some deriving it from the Arabic
Almamon was a liberal and zealous en- particle al, and manah, to count; whilst courager of science, in consequence of others think it comes from almanah, i. e. which the Saracens began to acquire a de- handsels, or new year's gifts, because the gree of civilization and refinement to which astrologers of Arabia used, at the beginning they had formerly been strangers. The of the year, to make presents of their epheliberality of his mind obtained for Alma- merides for the year ensuing. mon the reputation of infidelity. But what As to the antiquity of almanacs, Ducange ever opinions he might hold respecting the informs us, that the Egyptian astrologers, Koran, he seems to have liad a confidence long before the Arabians, used the term and trust in the Supreme Being. In this almenach, and almenachica descriptio, for work we shall not follow the caliph into the their monthly predictions. Be this as it field of battle, nor record his victories, which will, Regiomontanus is allowed to have been were brilliant and important. We must the tirst who reduced almanacs to their prelook to him in the character of a philoso- sent form. pher and man of science, and in addition to Almanacs, construction of. The first thing what has already been noticed, we may re to be done, is to compute the sun's and mark, that he built a new nilometer, for moon's place for each day in the year, or it measuring the increase of the Nile, and may be taken from some ephemerides and repaired one that was gone to decay. In entered in the almanac; next, find the dothe year 833, as he was returning from one minical letter, and, by means thereof, distriof his expeditions, he unwarily quenched bute the calendar into weeks: then, having his thirst, while very much heated by exer- computed the time of Easter, by it fix the cise, with cold water, which brought on a other moveable feasts; adding the immovedisorder that terminated his life. During his able ones, with the names of the martyrs, ļast illness, he settled the affairs of the state, the rising and setting of each luminary, the
length of day and night, the aspects of the was at first intended as a proof of the goodplanets, the phases of the moon, and the ness of the commodity, and therefore a seal sun's entrance into the cardinal points of was invented as a signal that the commodity the eliptic, i. e. the two equinoxes and sol- was made according to the statute. stices.
ALNAGER, in the English polity, a pubThese are the principal contents of alma- lic sworn officer, whose business is to exnacs; besides which there are others of a amine into the assize of all woollen cloth political nature, and consequently different made throughout the kingdom, and to fix in different countries, as the birth-days and seals upon them. Another branch oo his coronation of princes, tables of interest, &c. office is to collect an alnage duty to the
On the whole, there appears to be no king. See the last article. mystery, or even difficulty, in almanac-mak There are now three officers relating to ing, provided tables of the heavenly motions the alnage, namely, a searcher, measurer, be not wanting. For the duties upon alma- and alnager; all which were formerly commacs, see STAMP-DUTIES.
prized in the alnager, until by his own negALMANAC, nautical, and astronomical lect it was thought proper to separate these ephemeris, is a kind of national almanac, offices. published annually by anticipation, under ALNUS, the alder-tree, in botany. See the direction of the commissioners of longi- BETULA. tude. Besides everything essential to ALOE, in botany, a genus of the Hexangeneral use that is to be found in other dria Monogynia class of plants, with a liliaalmanacs, it contains, among other particu ceous flower, consisting of only one tubular lars, the distances of the moon from the sun leaf, divided into six deep segments at the and fixed stars for every three hours of ap- edge: its fruit is an oblong capsule, divided parent time, adapted to the meridian of into three cells, and containing a number of Greenwich, by comparing which with the angulated seeds. There are 16 species. distances carefully observed at sea, the ma Several species of this exotic plant are riner may readily infer his longitude to a cultivated in the gardens of the curious, degree of exactness, that may be thought where they afford a very pleasing variety, sufficient for most nautical purposes. The as well by the odd shape of their leaves as publication of it is chiefly designed to faci- by the different spots with which they are litate the use of Mayer's lunar tables, by variegated. superseding the necessity of intricate calcu Some aloes are arborescent, or divided lations in determining the longitude at sea. into a number of branches, like trees; others
ALMANAC, is part of the law of Eng are very small, growing close to the ground. land, of which the courts must take notice The two most considerable species are the in the returning of writs; but the almanac aloe of America, and that of Asia ; the for. to go by is that annexed to the Book of mer on account of its beautiful flowers, and Common Prayer. An almanac in which the latter for the drug prepared from it. the father had written the day of the nativity All the aloes are natives of hot climates; of his son was allowed as evidence, to prove and the place of growth of most of them is the nonage of his son.
the Cape of Good Hope. The Hottentots ALMOND-tree, in botany. See AMYG- hollow out the trunk of the first species, or DALUS.
A. dichotoma, to make quivers for their arALMUCANTARS, in astronomy, an rows; and several of them are used for Arabic word denoting circles of the sphere hedges. Among the Mahometans, and parpassing through the centre of the sun, or a ticularly in Egypt, the aloe is a kind of star, parallel to the horizon, being the same symbolic plant, and dedicated to the offices as parallels of altitude.
of religion: for pilgrims, on their return Almucantars are the same with respect from Mecca, suspend it over their doors as to the azimuths and horizon, that the paral an evidence of their having performed that lels of latitude are with regard to the meri. holy journey. The superstitious Egyptians dians and equator. They serve to shew the imagine, that it has the virtue of keeping off "height of the sun and stars, and are described apparitions and evil spirits from their houses, on many quadrants, &c.
and it is hung over the doors of Christians ALNAGE, or AULNAGE, in the English and Jews in Cairo for this purpose. They polity, the measuring of woollen manufac- also distil from it a water, which is sold in tures, with an ell, and the other functions of the shops, and recommended in coughs, the alnager. See the next article. Alpage asthmias, and hysterics. Hasselquist meu
tions a person who was cured of the jaundice juice of the leaves of the aloe has the proin four days by taking about half a pint of perty of absorbing oxygen, of assuming it. The Arabians call it sabbara. The a fine reddish purple, and of yielding a negroes, as we are informed by Adanson, in pigment which he strongly recommends to his voyage to Senegal, make very good ropes the artist. of the leaves of the Guinea aloes, which are ALOPECURUS, fox-tail-grass, in bonot apt to rot in water. M. Fabroni, as we tany, a genus of the Triandria Digynia class learn from the Annales de Chimie, procured of plants, and of the natural order of Grasses, from the leaves of the aloe succotrina an the calyx of which is a bivalve glume, congustifolia a violet dye, which resists the taining a single flower: the valves are holaction of oxygen, acids, and alkalies. This low, of an ovate lanceolated figure, equal juice, he says, produces a superb transparent in size, and compressed; the corolla is unicolour, which is highly proper for works in valve; the valve is concave, and of the miniature, and whicb, when dissolved in length of the cup, and has a very long arista water, may serve, either cold or warm, for inserted into its back near the base. There dying silk from the lightest to the darkest is no pericarpium: the corolla itself reshade: and he reckons it one of the most mains, and contains the seed, which is single durable colours known in nature. Aloes and of a roundish figure. There are 12 spewas used among the ancients, in embalming, cies. The A. pratensis, meadow foxtail
, is to preserve bodies from putrefaction. Of a native of most parts of Europe, and is this species of aloes, interpreters understand found with us very common in pastures and that to have been which Nicodemus brought meadows. It is perennial, and flowers in to embalm the body of Christ. John xix. 3. May. This is the best grass to be sown in Aloes, whose resinous part is not soluble in low meadow grounds, or in boggy places water, has been used as a preservative to which have been drained. It is grateful to ships' bottoms against the worms, to which cattle, and possesses the three great requithose that trade to the East and West sities of quantity, quality, and earliness, in Indies are particularly subject. One ounce. a degree superior to any other, and is thereof aloes is sufficient for two superficial feet fore highly deserving of cultivation in lands of plank; about 12 lb. for a vessel of 50 tons that are proper for it. The seed may be burthen, and 300 lb. for a first rate man of easily collected, as it does not quit the chaff,
It may be incorporated with six and the spikes are very prolific; but the pounds of pitch, one of Spanish brown, or larvæ of a species of muscæ, which are whiting, and a quart of oil; or with the same themselves the prey of the cimex campestris, proportion of turpentine, Spanish brown, devour the seeds so much, that in many and tallow. Such a coat, it has been said, spikes scarcely one is found perfect. A. will preserve a ship's bottom eight months, agrestis is a very troublesome weed in culand the expense for a first-rate ship will be tivated ground, and among wheat it is exeabout 181. The same composition may be crated by farmers, under the name of blackused in hot countries for preserving rafters, bent; it is also common by way-sides, as &c. from the wood-ant. The efficacy of well as in corn-fields, and in pastures in the aloes, as a defence against worms, has been Isle of Wight. It has acquired the name controverted.
of mouse-tail grass in English, from the Aloe, or Aloes, in pharmacy, the in- great length and slenderness of the spike, spissated juice of the aloe perfoliata, asiatic which resembles the tail of a mouse. It is aloe, prepared in the following manner : annual, and flowers in July, continues flowfrom the leaves, fresh pulled, is pressed a ering till autumn, and comes into bloom juice, the thinner and purer part of which is very soon after being sown. poured off, and set in the sun to evaporate ALPHABET, in matters of literature, to a hard yellowish substance, which is call- the natural or accustomed series of the se. ed succotrine uloe, as being chiefly made veral letters of a language. at Succotra. The thicker part, being put As alphabets were not contrived with into another vessel, hardens into a substance design, or according to the just rules of anaof a liver-colour, and thence called aloe he- logy and reason, but have been successively patica. The thickest part, or sediment, framed, and altered, as occasion required, hardens into a coarse substance, called aloe it is not surprizing that many grievous comcabalina, or the horse-aloe, as being chiefly plaints have been heard of their deficienused as a purge for horses.
cies, and divers attempts made to establish Fabroni has discovered that the recent new and more adequate ones in their place.
All the alphabets extant are charged by bic, twenty-eight; the Persian, thirty-one; Bishop Wilkins with great irregularities, the Turkish, thirty-three; the Georgian, with respect both to order, number, power, thirty-six; the Coptic, thirty-two; the Musfigure, &c.
covite, forty-three; the Greek, twenty-four; As to the order, it appears (says he) in the Latin, twenty-two; the Sclavonic, artificial, precarious, and confused, as the twenty-seven; the Dutch, twenty-six; the vowels and consonants are not reduced into Spanish, twenty-seven; the Italian, twenty; classes, with such order of precedence and the Ethiopic, as well as Tartarian, two hunsubsequence as their natures will bear. Of dred and two; the Indians of Bengal, twenthis imperfection the Greek alphabet, which ty-one; the Baramos, nineteen; the Chiis one of the least defective, is far from nese, properly speaking, have no alpabet, being free: for instance, the Greeks should except we call their whole language their have separated the consonants from the alphabet: their letters are words, or rather vowels; after the vowels they should have hieroglyphics, and amount to about 80,000. placed the dipthongs, and then the conso If alphabets had been constructed by able nants; whereas in fact, the order is so per persons, after a full examination of the subverted that we find the opinpoy the fifteenth ject, they would not have been filled with letter, in order of the alphabet, and the sucli contradictions between the manner of wpcfa, or long o, the twenty-fourth and last, writing and reading, as we have shewn above, the : the fifth, and the , the seventh. nor with those imperfections that evidently
With respect to number, they are both appear in the alphabets of every nation. redundant and deficient; redundant, by al- Mr. Lodowick, however, and Bishop Willotting the same sound to several letters, as
kins, have endeavoured to obviate all these, in the latin c and k, f and ph; or by reckon- in their universal alphabets or characters. ing double letters among the simple ele- See CHARACTER. ments of speech, as in the Greek č and t,
It is no wonder that the number of letters the Latin 9 or cu, r or ex, and the j conso in most languages should be so small, and nant; deficient in many respects, particu- that of words so great, since it appears that larly with regard to vowels, of which seven allowing only 24 letters to an alphabet, the or eight kinds are commonly used, though different words or combinations that may the Latin alphabet takes notice only of five. be made out of them, taking them first one Add to this, that the difference among them, by one, then two by two, &c. &c. would with regard to long and short, is not suffi
amount to the following number :-1391, ciently provided against.
724288, 887252, 999425, 128493, 4022000. The powers, again, are not more exempt See COMBINATION. It must be admitted from confusion; the vowels, for instance, nevertheless, that the condition that every are generally acknowledged to have each of syllable must contain at least one vowel, them several different sounds; and among would modify this number in the way of the consonants we need only bring as evi- denomination; but on the other hand the dence of their different pronunciation, the combinations in polysyllabic words would letter c in the word circa, and g in the word operate the contrary way. negligence. Hence it happens, that some
Many learned authors have composed words are differently written, though pro- inquiries into the origin of alphabetic writnounced in the same manner, as cessio and ing, and not a few have referred the invensessio; and others are different in pronun- tion to the immediate inspiration of God. ciation, which are the same in writing, as Nevertheless it appears to be a very simple gire, dare, and gice, vinculum.
and direct improvement of the heiroglyphic Finally, the figures are but ill-concerted, art. Sensible objects are depicted in outthere being nothing in the characters of the lines by children, and most rude nations ; vowels answerable to the different manner of and, as in the construction of languages, so pronunciation; nor in the consonants analo- in this writing by figures, substantives will gous to their agreements or disagreements. come to be used adjectively, to denote rela
Alphabets of different nations vary in the tions or qualities. As words become more number of their constituent letters. The complex and less perfect by the use of abEnglish alphabet contains twenty-four let. stractions, so likewise must the hieroglyphic ters, to which if j apd o consonants are ad- pictures become combined and imperfect, ded, the sum will be twenty-six; the French, and at length must have denoted things twenty-three; the Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, very different from any object capable of and Samaritan, twenty-two each; the Ara- being delineated: and among other conse