Monday, 31 December 2012

1933 - Letter C

BFTF has been fascinated by the contents of a multi-volume 1933 Odhams Press publication entitled "The British Encyclopedia". The volumes provide a glimpse into the the way the world looked at that time and BFTF thought you, gentle reader, might be interested to read a few extracts from some of the somtimes surprising, sometimes shocking, sometimes sad entries. See here for extracts from other sections of the encyclopaedia

Please note that these are only tiny extracts and are not meant to be a summary of the entire encyclopedia entry.

…One of the finest churches is St Pierre [built in 1308]… there is a public library with over 100,000volumes.

In Mohemmedan mythology, a mountain, which surrounds the whole earth as a hedge encloses a field. Its foundation is the stone Sakharal, which is an emerald, whose reflection gives the sky its tints.

…The most celebrated of the Abbaside caliphs of Baghdad was Haroun al Rashid (Aaron the Just), 786-808, under whom learning, science and art were in a flourishing state. Subsequently the Muslim kingdom lost province after province and the temporal authority of Baghdad was destroyed.

… the most brilliant period of the Western Caliphate was in the ninth and tenth centuries, when literature, science and art were in more flourishing condition than anywhere else in Europe…

[this entry deals only with camouflage against observation from the air, no mention of camouflage clothing etc]

Capital Punishment
Formerly in Great Britain, as in many other countries, it was the ordinary form of punishment for felonies of all kinds, but a more accurate knowledge of the nature and remedies of crime; a more discriminating sense of degrees in criminality, and an increased regard for human life have all combined to restrict, if not to abolish, the employment of the penalty of death.

…The work of practical reform initiated in 1770 by Sir William Meredith…but the modifications secured [by proposed bills] were few, owing to the opposition of the House of Lords, which continued down to 1832 to oppose all attempts at criminal law reform…

[Reports an authoritative statement given to the House of Commons in May 1921 regarding WW1 casualties : Great Britain(743,702 dead, 1,693,262 wounded); India(61,398 dead, 70,859 wounded); Australia(59,330 dead, 152,171 wounded); Canada(56,625 dead, 149,732 wounded)]

Catholic Emancipation
…[ In 18th century Ireland, Roman Catholics] were deprived of the guardianship of their children…

Cetacea [Whales and dolphins]
…The blood vessels in these animals break up into extensive plexuses or networks, in which a large amount of oxygenated blood is delayed, and they are thus enabled to remain a considerable time under water. Injury to these dilated vessels leads to profuse hemorrhage, and hence the whale is killed by the comparatively trifling wound of the harpoon…

…these substances, by union of which all the different sorts of known matter are built up, are about 80 in number and are called chemical elements.

…the recent work of J.J. Thompson and others indicates [that] these atoms are themselves complex and are built up of positive and negative electrons. According to this conception the atoms of all elements are formed of the same material - these electrons - but in different quantities and it is thus not inconceivable that one element should be transformed into another…

…An electrical theory of the nature of atoms, based on the properties of electrons, has made great progress in recent years. According to the theory, the mass of an atom is derived from a nucleus which is made up of some whole number of elementary nuclei, all perfectly alike.

In 1880 its population was 503,185; in 1930 it had increased to 3,376,438.

Child Labour Regulation
…It has been increasingly realised how bad are the after effects of employing young children in factories and workshops…

…The international protection of children in industry formed an important subject of consideration at the Conference held at Washington in Oct 1919 under the League of Nations, when recommendations were made to the several nations of the League for levelling up the legislation of the more backward nations to a common minimum standard…

…In 1920, in Great Britain, the Women, Young Persons and Children (Employment) Act was passed. It made it illegal to any child under the age of 14 to be employed in any industrial undertaking other than an undertaking in which only members of the same family are employed…The Act does not apply to domestic service, agriculture of transport by hand…

Children’s Games
The study of children’s games is an important branch of folk-lore. These games are historically valuable on account of their derivation from the ancient ceremonies and religious rites inseparable from every great occasion in the lives of our ancestors.

…[Line Singing Games] are contestant in character and consist of two lines of players, representing rival tribes or villages which alternately advance and retreat before each other. “Nuts in May” is a popular example of the line game and preserves the ancient custom of marriage by capture, the boy, or prospective husband, advancing to carry off the girl for his wife.

…[Circle Singing Games] are the survivals of those occasions when the people of one community met to celebrate some special local event, such as a marriage, seed-time or harvest. “Oats and Beans and Barley” belong to this time and depicts the ceremonies of seed-time combined with marriage customs. “Kiss in the Ring” is also a circle game representing an early form of marriage by choice.

In bodily strength they [Chinese] are far inferior to Europeans, but superior to most Asiatics, and their great assuidity and patient endurance of fatigue make them valuable as labourers. They are considered to be deficient in courage. In their moral qualities there is much that is amiable. They are strongly attached to their homes, hold age in respect, toil hard for the support of their families…In the great mass these qualities are counterbalanced, or rather supplanted,, by numerous vices - treachery, lying and various others.

In the western parts Mohammedanism has many followers, estimated at 20,000,000.

[on trade:]…a second embassy in 1816, by Lord Amherst, was treated with insolence ; and subsequently the treatment of British merchants became such that a collision was inevitable. In 1840 the British, on being refused redress for injuries, proceeded to hostilities, and a treaty was concluded (1842) , by which the five ports…were opened to British merchants”

[after a definition of Christianity:] This comprehensive statement defines…its universalism, which differentiates it from Judaism and Islam, both of which remain national forms of theism.

The average length of the common cod is about 2.5 or 3 feet and the weight between 30 and 50lb, though sometimes cod are caught weighing three times this.

A town in south-west France…pop 6640.

…Reduced by a long course of oppression and misrule to a state of degradation, the number and national character of the Copts have greatly declined. At present they number about 700,000.

… the women go out with veiled faces, like the Moslem women…

The Copts are quiet and industrious, have a good capacity for business, but are servile and crafty.

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