physical theories of the early physical philosophers who explained all existence in terms of primary matter (see Ionian School), and, on the other hand, to the theory of Heraclitus that all existence may be summed up as perpetual change. As against these theories the Eleatics maintained that the true explanation of things lies in the conception of a universal unity of being. The senses with their changing and inconsistent reports cannot cognize this unity; it is by thought alone that we can pass beyond the false appearances of sense and arrive at the knowledge of being, at the fundamental truth that "the All is One." There can be no creation, for being cannot come from not-being; a thing cannot arise from that which is different from it. The errors of common opinion arise to a great extent from the ambiguous use of the verb "to be," which may imply existence or be merely the copula which connects subject and predicate.
In these main contentions the Eleatic school achieved a real advance, and paved the way to the modern conception of metaphysics. Xenophanes in the middle of the 6th century had made the first great attack on the crude mythology of early Greece, including in his onslaught the whole anthropomorphic system enshrined in the poems of Homer and Hesiod. In the hands of Parmenides this spirit of free thought developed on metaphysical lines. Subsequently, whether from the fact that such bold speculations were obnoxious to the general sense of propriety in Elea, or from the inferiority of its leaders, the school degenerated into verbal disputes as to the possibility of motion, and similar academic trifling. The best work of the school was absorbed in the Platonic meta physic (see E. Caird, Evolution of Theology in the Greek Philosophers, 1904).
ELECAMPANE (Med. Lat. Enula Campana), a perennial composite plant, the Inula Helenium of botanists, which is common in many parts of Britain, and ranges throughout central and southern Europe, and in Asia as far eastwards as the Himalayas. It is a rather rigid herb, the stem of which attains a height of from 3 to 5 ft.; the leaves are large and toothed, the lower ones stalked, the rest embracing the stem; the flowers are yellow, 2 in. broad, and have many rays, each three notched at the extremity. The root is thick, branching and mucilaginous, and has a warm, bitter taste and a camphoraceous odour. For medicinal purposes it should be procured from plants not more than two or three years old. Besides inulin, C12H20O10, a body isomeric with starch, the root contains helenin, C6H3O, a stearoptene, which may be prepared in white acicular crystals, insoluble in water, but freely soluble in alcohol. When freed from the accompanying inula-camphor by repeated crystallization from alcohol, helenin melts at 110° C. By the ancients the root was employed both as a medicine and as a condiment, and in England it was formerly in great repute as an aromatic tonic and stimulant of the secretory organs. "The fresh roots of elecampane preserved with sugar, or made into a syrup or conserve," are recommended by John Parkinson in his Theatrum Botanicum as "very effectual to warm a cold and windy stomack, and the pricking and stitches therein or in the sides caused by the Spleene, and to helpe the cough, shortness of breath, and wheesing in the Lungs." As a drug, however, the root is now seldom resorted to except in veterinary practice, though it is undoubtedly possessed of antiseptic properties. In France and Switzerland it is used in the manufacture of absinthe.
ELECTION (from Lat. eligere, to pick out), the method by which a choice or selection is made by a constituent body (the electors or electorate) of some person to fill a certain office or dignity. The procedure itself is called an election. Election, as a special form of selection, is naturally a loose term covering many subjects; but except in the theological sense (the doctrine of election), as employed by Calvin and others, for the choice by God of His "elect," the legal sense (see Election, in law, below), and occasionally as a synonym for personal choice (one's own "election"), it is confined to the selection by the preponderating vote of some properly constituted body of electors of one of two or more candidates, sometimes for admission only to some private social position (as in a club), but more particularly in connexion with public representative positions in political government. It is thus distinguished from arbitrary methods of appointment, either where the right of nominating rests in an individual, or where pure chance (such as selection by lot) dictates the result. The part played by different forms of election in history is alluded to in numerous articles in this work, dealing with various countries and various subjects. It is only necessary here to consider certain important features in the elections, as ordinarily understood, namely, the exercise of the right of voting for political and municipal offices in the United Kingdom and America. See also the articles Parliament; Representation; Voting; Ballot, &c., and United States: Political Institutions. For practical details as to the conduct of political elections in England reference must be made to the various text-books on the subject; the candidate and his election agent require to be on their guard against any false step which might invalidate his return.
Law in the United Kingdom.—Considerable alterations have been made in recent years in the law of Great Britain and Ireland relating to the procedure at parliamentary and municipal elections, and to election petitions.
As regards parliamentary elections (which may be either the "general election," after a dissolution of parliament, or "by elections," when casual vacancies occur during its continuance), the most important of the amending statutes is the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act 1883. This act, and the Parliamentary Elections Act 1868, as amended by it, and other enactments dealing with corrupt practices, are-temporary acts requiring annual renewal. As regards municipal elections, the Corrupt Practices (Municipal Elections) Act 1872 has been repealed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1882 for England, and by the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898 for Ireland. The governing enactments for England are now the Municipal Corporations Act 1882, part iv., and the Municipal Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Practices) Act 1884, the latter annually renewable. The provisions of these enactments have been applied with necessary modifications to municipal and other local government elections in Ireland by orders of the Irish Local Government Board made under powers conferred by the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898. In Scotland the law regulating municipal and other local government elections is now to be found in the Elections (Scotland) (Corrupt and Illegal Practices) Act 1890.
The alterations in the law have been in the direction of regard to the conduct of elections, and increased control in the public interest over the proceedings on election petitions. Various acts and payments which were previously lawful in the absence of any corrupt bargain or motive are now altogether forbidden under the name of "illegal practices" as distinguished from "corrupt practices." Failure on the part of a parliamentary candidate or his election agent to comply with the requirements of the law in any particular is sufficient to invalidate the return (see the articles Bribery and Corrupt Practices). Certain relaxations are, however, allowed in consideration of the difficulty of absolutely avoiding all deviation from the strict rules laid down. Thus, where the judges who try an election petition report that there has been treating, undue influence, or any illegal practice by the candidate or his election agent, but that it was trivial, unimportant and of a limited character, and contrary to the orders and without the sanction or connivance of the candidate or his election agent, and that the candidate and his election agent took all reasonable means for preventing corrupt and illegal practices, and that the election was otherwise free from such practices on their part, the election will not be avoided. The court has also the power to relieve from the consequences of certain innocent contraventions of the law caused by inadvertence or miscalculation.
The inquiry into a disputed parliamentary election was formerly conducted before a committee of the House of Commons, chosen as nearly as possible from both sides of the House for that particular business. The decisions of these tribunals laboured