Page images
[ocr errors]

the sixth letter of the alphabet, and > fourth consonant, is by some reckoned a mute, and by others a semi-vowel: it is formed by forcing the breath out strongly, and at the same time joining the upper teeth and under lip : it has much the same sound with the Greek ©, or ph in English words, and is only written in the words of Latin origin, ph being used instead of it in those derived from the Greek. Suetonius tells us, that the Emperor Claudius invented the f, and two other letters; and that it had the force of v consonant, and was wrote inverted 1. As a numeral, F denotes 40, and with a dash over it thus F, 40,000 : in music, it stands for the bass clef; and frequently for forte, as f does for forte forte. As an abreviation, F stands for filius, Jellow, and the like; thus F. R. S. signifies Fellow of the Royal Society. FA, in music, one of the syllables invented by Guido Aretine, to mark the fourth note of the modern scale, which rises thus, ut, re, mi, fa. Musicians distinguish two fa’s, viz. the flat, marked with a b, and the sharp or natural, marked thus 3, and called biquadro. FABER, a fish of the zeus kind, called in English doree, or john doree. See ZEUs. FABLE, is used for the plot of an epic or dramatic poem, and is, according to Aristotle, the principal part, and, as it were, the soul of a poem. FABRICIA, in botany, a genus of the Icosandria Monogynia class and order. Calyx five-cleft, half superior; five petals, without claws; stigma capitate; capsule many-celled; seeds winged. There are two species, viz. the myrtifolia and the latvigata, both found in New-Holland. FACE, comprehends all that part of the head which is not covered with the common long hair. See ANAToMY. Face, or facade, in architecture, the front, of a building, or the side which contains the chief entrance. Sometimes, however, it is used for whatever side presents to the street, garden, court, &c. or its opposite to the eye. Face, in fortification, an appellation iven to several parts of a fortress, as the face of a bastion, &c.

FACET, or Facrtte, among jewellers, the name of the little faces or planes to be found in brilliant and rose-diamonds.

FACTITIOUS, any thing made by art, in opposition to what is the produce of nature. Thus factitious cinnabar is op

'posite to native cinnabar. See CINNABAR.

FACTOR, in commerce, is an agent or correspondent residing beyond the seas, or in some remote part, commissioned by merchants to buy or sell goods on their account, or assist them in carrying on their trade. A factor, in law and in merchandise, is one authorized to sell goods and merchandise, and otherwise act for his principal, with an allowance or commission for his care. He must pursue his orders strictly. He is accountable for all lawful oods coming to his hands; yet if the actor buy goods for his principal, and they receive damage in his possession, through no negligence of his, the principal shall bear the loss; and if a factor is robbed, he shall be discharged; if a factor act contrary to his orders in .# goods, he is liable for the loss, thoug there may be a probability of advantage by his act: so he is slable for not making insurance, if ordered to do so. Facton, in multiplication, a name given to the multiplier and multiplicand, because they constitute the product. See An ITH MEtic. FACTORAGE, called also commission, is the allowance given to factors by the merchant who employs them.

[blocks in formation]

the sun; they are but very seldom seen. One was seen by Hevelius in 1634, whose breadth was said to be equal to a third art of the sun's diameter FACULTY, in law, a privilege granted to a person, by favour and indulgence, of doing what, by law, he ought not to do. For granting these privileges there is a court under the Archbishop of Canterbury, called the court of the faculties, the chief officer whereof is styled master of the faculties, who has a power of granting dispensations in divers cases, as to marry without the bans being first published; to eat flesh on days prohibited; to ordain a deacon under age; for a son to succeed his father in his benefice; a clerk to hold two or more livings, &c. Faculty, in the schools, a term applied to the different members of an university, divided according to the arts and sciences taught there: thus in most universities there are four faculties, viz. 1. Of arts, which include humanity and philosophy. 2. Of theology, 3.Qf physic. And, 4. Of civil law. The degrees in the several faculties of our universities are those of bachelor, master, and doctor. Faculty of advocates, a term applied to the college or society of advocates in Scotland, who plead in all actions before the Court of Session. They meet in the beginning of every year, and choose the annual officers of the society, viz. dean, treasurer, clerks, private and public examinators, and a curator of the library. FÅ2CULA, in chemistry, the substance obtained by bruising or grinding certain vegetables, or grain, in water; the facula is that part which, after standing some time, falls to the bottom; this, in plants, appears to be only a slight alteration of their mucilage, for it differs from mucilage in no other respect than in being insoluble in cold water. Most plants contain faecula, but the seeds of gramineous and leguminous vegetables, and all tuberose roots, contain it in great abundance. FAGARA, in botany, a genus of the Tetrandria Monogynia class and order. Natural order of Dumosae. Terebintaceae, Jussieu. Fssential character: calyx fourcleft; coroila four-petalled; capsule twovalved, with one seed. There are ten species. FAGONIA, in botany, a genus of the Decandria Monogynia class and order.

Natural order of Gruinales. Rutaceae, Jussieu. Essential character: calyx fiveleaved; petals five, cordate; capsule fivecelled, ten-valved, with one seed in each cell. There are three species. FAGRAEA, in botany, so called in honour of Jonas Theodore Fagratus, M. D. a genus of the Pentandria Monogynia class and order. Natural order of Contortae. Apocinez, Jussieu. Essential character: calyx bell-shaped; corolla funnel#. berry two-celled, fleshy; seeds globular; stigma peltate. Only one specles. FAGUS, in botany, chesnut tree, a genus of the Monoecia Polyandria class and order. Natural order of Amentaceae. Essential character: male, calyx five-cleft, bell-shaped; corolla none; stamina twelve: female, calyx four toothed; corolla none; styles three; capsule muricate, fourvalved ; seeds two. There are five species, viz. two chesnut trees, and three of the beech, one of which is a native of Cochin-china. FAINT action, or FEIGNED action, in law, is a sort of fictitious suit, contrived for the purpose of trying a particular question of fact, and is generally directed by the Court of Chancery. FAIR, a greater kind of market, granted to a town, by privilege, for the more speedy and commodious providing of such things as the place stands in need of. It is incident to a fair, that persons shall be free from being arrested in it for any other debt contracted than what was contracted in the same ; or, at least, promised to be paid there. These fairs are generally kept once or twice a year, and, by statute, they shall not be held longer than they ought, by the lords thereof, on pain of their being seized into the King's hands, &c. Also proclamation is to be made how long they are to continue; and no person shall sell any goods after the time of the fair is ended, on forfeiture of double the value, one fourth to the prosecutor, and the rest to the King. There is a toll usually paid in fairs, on the sale of things, and for stallage, picage, &c. FAIRs and MARKETs, in law. No person can claim a fair or market, unless by grant from the King, or by prescription, which supposes such grant. Owners and governors of fairs are to take care that every thing be sold according to just weight and measure, and for that and other purposes may appoint a clerk of the fair or market, who is to mark

[ocr errors]

and allow such weights, and for his duty can only take his reasonable and just fees. Generally, all regular sales of thin usually sold there shall be good, not only between the parties, but also binding on all those that have any right or property therein. FAIRY rings. The circles of darkgreen grass, frequently observed in old pastures, have long been-known under the name of fairy rings, and have generally been supposed to be occasioned, in some way or other, by electricity. Dr. Wollaston has, in a late volume of the “Transactions of the Royal Society,” given a new and very ingenious theory, of which we shall present our readers with a brief account, premising that Mr. Davy, in the course o; lectures at the Royal Institution, had occasion to refer to the subject, and seemed to coincide in opinion with Dr. Wollaston. That which first attracted his notice was the position of certain fungi, which are always found growing upon these circles, if examined in a proper season. The position of these fungi led him to imagine, that the progressive increase from a central point was the probable mode of formation of the ring: hence he conjectured that the soil, which had once contributed to the support of the fungi, might be so exhausted of some peculiar pabulum necessary for their production, as to be rendered incapable of producing a second crop. The second year's crop would, if this theory be just, appear in a small ring surrounding the original centre of vegetation, and at every succeeding year the defect of nutriment on one side would necessarily cause the new roots to extend themselves solely in the opposite direction, and would occasion the circle of fungi continually to proceed, by an annual enlargement, from the centre outwards. An appearance of luxuriance of the grass would follow as a natural consequence, as the soil of an interior circle would always be enriched by the decayed roots of fungi of the year's growth. This theory is supported by some observations of Dr. Withering ; and Dr. Wollaston says, by way of confirmation, that whenever two adjacent circles are found to interfere, the not only do not cross each other, but bot circles are invariably obliterated between the points of contact; the exhaustion occasioned by each obstructs the progress of the other, and both are starved. Phil. Trans. 1807, Part. II.

Though it cannot be doubted that most fairy rings, if not all of them, have considerable relation to the running of a fungus, there, nevertheless, seems reason to conclude that electricity may likewise be concerned in their production. The electrical effect may relate to fairy rings of a different kind from those occasioned by the fungus, or it may have been ante. cedent to the production of the vegetable. It is a familiar effect in our experiments, that the spark proceeding from a positive conductor breaks or radiates at about one-third of its course, and strikes the receiving conductor by a central spark surrounded by other smaller ones. The concentric rings produced upon polished metallic surfaces by the strong explosion of a battery, as first observed by Priestley, appears to be a fact of the same kind; and the forked radiations of lightning are well known. The editor of this work related in the Phil. Journal, Vol. I: 4to, some events which happened in Kensington Gardens in June, 1781, when a very powerful thunder storm passed over the western extremity of London. The explosions were very marked and distinct, and in many instances forked at the lower end, but never at the top ; from which it seems proper to conclude, that the general mass of clouds, or, at least, that extremity which passed over London, was in the state called positive. Five days afterwards, upon visiting Kensington Gardens, it was observed, that every part of that extensive piece of ground shewed marks of the agency of the lightning, chiefly by discolouration of the grass in zigzagstreaks, some of which were fifty or sixty yards in length. Instances of this superficial course of the lightning along the ground, before it enters #. earth, are suffieiently frequent. But the circumstances applicable to our present subject is, that five trees, out of a grove consisting of seven, had been struck by the lightning. Two of them, which stood on the outside to the westward, had holes torn in the ground close to the trunk; and round one of these trees was a space of six feet in diameter, in which the grass was very much scorched. Another tree on the west was surrounded by a faint ring of burnt or faded ass, which seemed to be occasioned y some earlier stroke, as the vegetation had began to shoot up again. Another tree, standing on the outside to the south, was surronnded by a ring of twelve feet diameter and eighteen inches broad. Within the ring the grass was fresh ; but on the surface of the ring, the grass and the ground were much burned. To the eastward of the tree, upon the ring itself, were two holes, in which the ground had the appearance of ashes. Another tree, on the east side of the grove, had the half of a faint ring to the westward. And, lastly, a tree which stood in the middle was surrounded by a faint ring of twelve feet diameter, within which the grass was unhurt; and to the westwarel, at the distance of about three feet from the inner ring, was part of another similar ring, of nearly the same appearance; the verdure being unhurt in the interval between the rings. FALCO, the falcon, in natural history, a genus of birds of the order Accipitres. Generic character: the bill hooked and covered at the base with a cere; head and neck covered with closely-set feathers; tongue bifid at the end; nostrils placed in the cere; legs and feet scaly; middle toe connected with the outermost by a strong membrane as far as the first joint; claws large, much hooked, and very sharp; the female stronger and larger than the male. The falcon tribe uniformly have close set feathers on the head and neck, and in this respect are particularly distinguished from the vulture tribe, which are destitute of feathers always on part of the head, and sometimes on the whole head and neck. The claws of the falcon class are more hooked and sharp also than those of the vulture. The falcon derives exquisite delight from destroying its prey, and devouring it while fresh. Though it will sometimes devour a quantity of food calculated to excite astonishment, at one repast, it will endure abstinence of several day’s duration, and has been even stated by some to survive in situations, in which, for weeks, it has not had the smallest sup. ply. It lives on fish, as well as on flesh, and also on snakes and reptiles. It is confined to no particular climate, but found in almost all. To the falcon class belongs the eagle, which takes the precedence among birds, as the lion among quadrupeds, from its strength, activity, and courage; and some ingenious natura. lists have been fond of running a parallel between these animals to a considerable extent and minuteness. It is observed of the eagle, that he never undertakes a chase singly, but when the female is engaged in incubation, or in feeding her young; during this period he supplies,

by his solitary exertions, the wants of his partner and of himself; at every other season their efforts are united in the pursuit of prey. They often soar beyond the reach of the human eye; but, though unseen, their sounds are heard with considerable distinctness, and have been compared to the barking of a dog. There belong to the falcon genus, according to Latham, 98 species, and Gmelin enumerates no fewer than 136. The following merit the principal attention. F. chryasaetus, or the golden, eagle, measures more than three feet in length, and above eight in breadth, and weighs about 16 pounds; the male weighs little more than two-thirds of the female. This bird has been known to breed in the highest mountains of Wales, and among the Cheviot hills, but is very rarely j recognized in Great Britain, though it is said to be seen not unfrequently in the mountainous districts of the sister island: it is very seldom found beyond the 55th degree of northern latitude. See Aves, Plate VII. fig. 1. The F. leucocephalus, or the bald eagle, is found in Europe, but more frefl. in North-America, and lives on sh as well as flesh. The singular manner in which it procures the former is deserving of notice. It is described by the ingenious and eloquent Wilson in a manner, as his biographer Mr. Ord justly observes, that is perhaps unrivalled by the whole tribe of naturalists, from the age of Pliny to the present day. “In procuring these, he displays, in a very singular manner, the genius and energy of his character, which is fierce, contemplative, daring and tyrannical; attributes not exerted but on particular occasions; but when put forth, overpowering all opposition. Elevated on the high dead limb of some gigantic tree, that commands a wide view of the neighbouring shore and ocean, he seems calmly to contemplate the motions of the various feathered tribes that pursue their busy avocations below; the snow white gulls slowly winnowing the air; the busy tringae coursing along the sands; trains of ducks streaming over the surface; silent and watchful cranes intent and wading: clamorous, crows, and all the winged multitudes that subsist by the bounty of this vast liquid magazine of nature. High over all these hovers one, whose action instantly arrests all his attention. By his wide curvature of wing, and sud. den suspension in air, he knows him to be the fish-hawk settling over some devoted victim of the deep. His eye kindles at the sight, and balancing himself, with half-opened wings on the branch, he watches the result. “Down, rapidas an arrow from heaven, descends the distant object of his attention, the roar of its wings reaching the ear as it disappears in the deep, making the surges foam around ! At this moment the eager looks of the eagle are all ardour; and levelling his neck for flight, he sees the fish-hawk once more emerge, struggling with his prey, and mounting in the air with screams of exultation. These are the signal for our hero, who, launching into the air, instantly gives chase, soon gains on the fish-hawk, each exerts his utmost to mount above the other, displaying in these rencontres the most elegant and sublime aeriel evolutions. The unincumbered eagle rapidly advances, and is just on the point of reaching his opponent, when with a sudden scream, probably of despair and honest execration, the latter drops his fish; the eagle, poising himself for a moment as if to take a more certain aim, descends like a whirlwind, snatches it in his grasp ere it reaches the water, and bears his ill-gotten booty silently away to the woods.” This eagle is adopted as the emblem of our country. F. ossifragus, or sea-eagle, frequents the sea-shore, and subsists principally upon fish; it is nearly of the size of the golden eagle, and is found in many countries both of Europe and America; and is supposed by many persons, and with § reason, to be only the young of the ald eagle; its sight is stated to be equally clear by night and by day. Mr. Barlow relates, that he saw a bird of this species engaged once in a violent conflict in the air, with a cat which he had lifted in his talons, whose efforts, however, were finally too powerful for him, and brought him again to the ground. F. haliaetus, osprey or fish-hawk, is to be found in almost all parts of Europe and America, on the borders of the ocean, which it frequents for the sake of the fish contained in it, which constitute its principal subsistence, and on which it darts with considerable accuracy; it builds a large nest on trees, and is the most numerous of the larger birds of prey. See Aves, Plate VII. fig. 3. F. buteo, or buzzard of Europe. The buzzard is abundantly provided with

means of defence, as well as attack: but is sluggish and cowardly with all its strength, and will suffer itself to be brought to the ground by a sparrowhawk, without at all employing those means, which, if fully exerted, would uniformly and inevitably prove fatal to the assailant. The length of the common buzzard is about 20 inches : scarcely any two of the species are marked alike ; its food consists of birds, vermin, reptiles, and insects. If the female bird be destroyed by violence or disease during incubation, the male will, it is said, succeed to the charge, and perfectly accomplish it. F. milvus, or the kite, is about two feet long, and distinguished from the buzzard by a forked tail. In England it continues during the whole year : in various parts of Europe it is migratory, and, as winter approaches, takes its flight to Egypt. It preys chiefly upon small birds, : from a distance in the air at which it is invisible to the sight of man, will pounce on them with incredible rapidity and fatal precision. It frequently makes attempts and depredation on broods of young chickens, and furnishes hereby to the observer an interesting spectacle of maternal affection and courage in the hen: from these conflicts the kite generally retires worsted, and obliged to await the opportunity, when he may elude the almost incessant vigilance of the dam, or pick up an unfortunate straggler beyond the reach of her superintendance. F. palumbarius, or the goshawk, is about twenty inches in length; it feeds on mice and small birds, which last it plucks, before it devours them, with great dexterity and neatness; it tears these and other animals to pieces before eating them, then swallows these pieces whole, and, like its congeners, throws up from its stomach the hair or remaining feathers which belonged to them, in the form of small pellets. This bird was formerly in high estimation in England, when the diversion of falconry prevailed, and was trained by very careful discipline to the most accurate obedience of its keeper, and to the most vigorous and fatal pursuit of numerous animals, which, in a state of nature, it left unmolested : even geese and cranes, and also rabbits, it was taught to consider as its prey, and by the judicious application of rewards and punishments, its natural powers attained an improvement, which previously would scarcely have been deemed possible, from any efforts for this purpose.

« PreviousContinue »