meanings, viz. (1) crowd or throng, often used of the mêlée in a battle, (2) a shelved cupboard for books or clothes, and (3) an apparatus for exerting pressure on various substances, and for various purposes. The first meaning is still current, though usually it has a literary air; a specific use is the nautical one of “press of sail,” i.e. as much sail as the Wind will allow; cf. the similar use of “crowd.” The second use has given way to other words, but is still the technical term in use in libraries, where the books bear “press-marks” specifying the case or shelf where they may be found. As a term for a machine or apparatus for exerting pressure, there are innumerable examples, usually with a qualifying word giving the purpose for which the pressure is applied, either for attaining compression into a small space, or a required shape, or for extracting juices or liquids, or the methods adopted for exerting the pressure. The printing-press has given rise to obvious transferred uses of the word “press”: thus it is applied to an establishment for printing, e.g. the Clarendon Press, at Oxford, or the Pitt Press, at Cambridge, to a printing-house and to the staff which conduct the business, to the issue of printed matter and especially to its daily or periodical issue, hence newspapers and periodicals generally. According to the New English Dictionary this use originated in phrases such as “the liberty of the press,” “to write for the press,” &c. The earliest quotation given is from the first number of the Dublin Press, 1797. For the history of the liberty or freedom of the press see Press Laws; also Newspapers and Periodicals. For the punishment of “pressing” see Peine Forte et Dure. It is now recognized that “press” in “press gang,” “to press,” i.e. to force or compulsorily enlist men for naval or military service, is a word distinct from the above. It stands for the earlier “prest,” and is ultimately due to French prêter, to lend (see Impressment).
PRESSBURG (Hung. Pozsony, Lat. Posonium), a town of Hungary, capital of the county of the same name, 133 m. N.W. of Budapest by rail. Pop. (1900), 61,537, about half of whom are Germans. Pressburg is picturesquely situated on the left bank of the Danube, at the base of the outlying spurs of the Little Carpathians, in a position of strategical importance near the Porta Hungarica. Pressburg was the capital of Hungary from 1541 until 1784, while the Hungarian parliament held its sittings here till 1848. One of the most conspicuous buildings of the town is the royal palace, situated on the Schlossberg, a plateau 270 ft. above the Danube, which was destroyed by fire in 1811 and has since been in ruins. Other noteworthy buildings are the cathedral, a Gothic edifice of the 13th century, restored in 1861-1880, in which many of the Hungarian kings were crowned; the town hall, also a 13th-century building, several times restored, and containing an interesting museum; the Franciscan church, dating from 1272; and the law-courts, erected in 1783, where the sittings of parliament were held from 1802 to 1848. The Grassalkowitch palace is now the residence of an archduke, and there is an archiepiscopal palace. Educational establishments include an academy of jurisprudence, a military academy, a Roman Catholic and a Protestant seminary, a training school for female teachers, and several secondary and technical schools. A large business is carried on in wooden furniture, tobacco and cigars, paper, ribbons, leather wares, chemicals, liqueurs, confectionery and biscuits. There is, besides, a dynamite factory, which produces over 2,000,000 ℔ of explosives annually, a large cloth factory and several flour-mills. Trade in grain and wine is active. Besides the extensive traffic on the Danube, the town is also an important railway junction. The first railway line in Hungary was that from Pressburg to Tyrnau through the valley of the Waag. The town has many points of interest in its environs. About twenty-five minutes by steamer down the Danube, the extensive ruins of the castle of Theben (Hung. Dévény), the former gate of Hungary, are situated at the point where the March, which forms the boundary between Austria and Hungary, falls into the Danube. Opposite on the left bank is Hainburg, the gateway of Hungary from the Austrian side. Eastward and southward of Pressburg stretches a long and fertile plain, known as the Upper or Little Hungarian plain. It has an area of 2825 sq. m., of which two-thirds lay on the right bank of the Danube, and the whole is bounded by the rivers Neutra and Raab. In the extreme south-west of this plain is situated the lake of Fertö-Tava (Ger. Neusiedler See), which has an area of about 100 sq. m., but it is of varying size, and sometimes dries up in part. Eastward it is united with the extensive marsh called the Hanság, through which it is in communication with the river Raab and with the Danube. In the Roman period it was known as Peïso or Pelso. In several places of the dry bed traces of prehistoric lake-dwellings have been discovered. In conjunction with the regulation of the river Raab, and the drainage of the Hanság marsh, plans for the drainage of the lake have been proposed.
Little is known of the early history of Pressburg, which was founded about 1000. It was soon strongly fortified, though it was captured by the king of Bohemia, Ottakar II., in 1271. It received many privileges from the Hungarian kings, especially from the emperor Sigismund, and its strategic situation made it an important fortress. Sigismund held Imperial diets in the town. After the battle of Mohacs in 1526 and the capture of Buda by the Turks, Pressburg became the capital of Hungary. Here in 1608 the Austrian and Hungarian malcontents concluded a treaty with the archduke Matthias, afterwards emperor, against their lawful sovereign, the emperor Rudolf II. In 1619 the town was taken by Bethlen Gabor, but it was recovered by the Imperialists in 1621. In 1687 it was the scene of the session of the estates of Hungary during which the Hungarians renounced their right of choosing their own king and accepted the hereditary succession of the Habsburgs. Here also was held the diet of 1741 when the members swore to assist their sovereign, Maria Theresa, against Frederick the Great. In 1784 Buda took the place of Pressburg as the capital of Hungary, but the latter town continued to be the seat of the parliament until 1848. On the 26th of December 1805 peace was signed here between Napoleon and the emperor Francis I., and in 1809 the town was bombarded by the French.
See J. Kiraly, Geschichte des Donau- Mauth- und Urfahr-Rechts der Freistadt Pressburg (Pressburg, 1890); T. Ortvay, Geschichte der Stadt Pressburg (Pressburg, 1892), and Pressburgs Strassen und Plätze (Pressburg, 1905).
PRESSENSÉ, EDMOND DEHAULT DE (1824-1891), French Protestant divine, was born at Paris on the 7th of January 1824. He studied at Lausanne under Alexander Vinet, and at Halle and Berlin under F. A. G. Tholuck and J. A. W. Neander, and in 1847 became pastor in the Evangelical Free Church at the chapel of Taitbout in Paris. He was a powerful preacher and a good political speaker; from 1871 he was a member of the National Assembly, and from 1883 a senator. In 1890, he was elected a member of the Academy of Sciences. Pressensé laboured for the revival of biblical studies. He contended that the Evangelical Church ought to be independent of the power of the state. He died on the 8th of April 1891.
He founded in 1854 the Revue chrétienne, and in 1866 the Bulletin théologique. His works include: Histoire des trois premiers siècles de l'église chrétienne (6 vols. 1856-1877; new ed. 1887-1889), L'Église et la révolution française (1864; 3rd ed., 1889), Jésus-Christ, son temps, sa vie, son œuvre (against E. Renan, 1866; 7th ed. 1884), Les Origines, le problème de la connaissance; le problème cosmologique (1883; 2nd ed. 1887). See T. Roussel, Notice sur la vie et les œuvres de Pressensé (1894).
PRESS GANG, the popular name for the companies of officers and men who were commissioned to execute the warrants for the impressment of seamen in Great Britain (see Impressment). These bodies consisted of a captain, one or more lieutenants, and a band of trustworthy men. They were sent to seaports, or occasionally to inland towns where sailors' were likely to be met when going from one coast to another. A “rendezvous” was opened, volunteers were enlisted, deserters arrested, and such “able bodied persons” as were liable to be pressed for service in the fleet were seized, and sent to the guard ships (q.v.).
PRESS LAWS, the laws concerning the licensing of books and the liberty of expression in all products of the printing-press,