Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/682

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PURRAH—PURVEYANCE

The treatment will bear reference to any causes which may be discovered as associated with the onset of the disease, such as unfavourable hygienic conditions, and nutritive defects should be rectified by suitable diet. The various preparations of iron seem to be the best medicinal remedies in this ailment, while more direct astringents, such as gallic acid, ergot of rye, turpentine or acetate of lead, will in addition be called for in severe cases and especially when hemorrhage occurs. Sir A. Wright considers that in all cases of purpura the coagulation time of the blood should be estimated. In such cases the time taken for clotting may be increased to three times as long as that taken by normal blood. He therefore advises calcium chloride in order to increase coagulability. In severe hemorrhages, adrenalin is often useful.


PURRAH, Purroh, or Poro, a secret society of Sierra Leone, West Africa. Only males are admitted to its ranks, but two other affiliated and secret associations exist, the Yassi and the Bundu, the first of which is nominally reserved for females, but members of the Purrah are admitted to certain ceremonies. All the female members of the Yassi must be also members of the Bundu, which is strictly reserved to women. Of the three, the Purrah is by far the most important. The entire native population is governed by its code of laws. It primarily represents a type of freemasonry, a “friendly” society to which even infants are temporarily admitted, the ceremony in their case consisting merely of carrying them into the Purrah “bush” and out again. But this side of the Purrah is merged in its larger objects as represented by its two great aspects, the religious and the civil. Under the former, boys join it at puberty, while under the latter it is practically the native governing body, making laws, deciding on war and peace, &c.

The Purrah has its special ritual and language, tattooing and symbols, but details are unknown, as the oath of secrecy is always kept. It meets usually in the dry season, between the months of October and May. The rendezvous is in “the bush,” an enclosure, separated into apartments by mats and roofed only by the overhanging trees, serving as a club-house. There are three grades, the first for chiefs and “big men,” the second for fetish-priests and the third for the crowd. The ceremonies of the Purrali are presided over by the Purrah “devil,” a man in fetish dress, who addresses the meeting through a long tube of wood.

The Purrah can place its taboo on anything or anybody; and as no native would venture to defy its order, much trouble has been caused where the taboo has been laid upon crops. In 1897 the British or local government was compelled to pass a special ordinance absolutely forbidding the imposition of the taboo on all indigenous products. Of the affiliated societies the Yassi appears to some extent to be an association for providing men and women, who believe themselves ill through “fetish,” with medical treatment, on payment of certain fees. The women's Bundu is in many ways a replica of the men's Purrah, though without political power.

See T. J. Alldridge, The Sherbro and its Hinterland (1901).


PURSE (Late Lat. bursa, adapted from Gr. Bopaa, hide, skin; possibly O. Eng. pusa, bag, has influenced the change from b to p), a small bag for holding money, originally a leather pouch tied at the mouth, but now of various shapes. The great seal of England is borne by the purse-bearer in a purse, usually styled “ burse, ” decoratedgwith the arms of the kingdom, the “ burse" being thus one of the insignia of office of the lord chancellor of England. The “privy purse” is the amount of public money set apart in the civil list for the private and personal use of the sovereign (see PRIVY PURSE).


PURSER, the old name for the paymaster of the British and American navies still used in merchant vessels of to-day. In the British navy he was appointed by a warrant from the admiralty and was paid partly by salary and partly by a percentage (IO%) on the value of unexpanded stores. PURSLANE, the common name for a small fleshy annual with prostrate stems, entire leaves and small yellow flowers, known botanically as Portulaca oleracea. It is a native of India, which was introduced into Europe as a salad plant, and in some countries has spread so as to become a. noxious weed. In certain parts of the United States the evil qualities of “ pussly” have become proverbial. Its juice is refreshing and is used in tropical countries as a refrigerant in fever. Some of the species of the same genus, such as P. grandytora and its varieties, are grown in gardens on rock-work owing to the great beauty and deep colouring of their flowers, the short duration of individual blossoms being compensated for by the abundance with which they are produced.


PURSUIVANT (O. Fr. porsivant, ponrsioant, mod. poursnivant, strictly an attendant, from ponrsuiwe, to follow), the name of a member of the third and lowest rank of heraldic officers, formerly an attendant on the heralds. There are four pursuivants in the English Heralds' College, Rouge Croix, Bluemantle, Rouge Dragon and Portcullis; three in the Court of Lyon King of Arms (Scotland), Carrick, Unicorn and March; and four in the court of Ulster King of Arms (Ireland), Athlone and three St Patrick pursuivants. (See HERALD and HERALDRY.)


PURULIA, a town of British India, headquarters of Manbhum district in Bengal, on the Sini-Asansol branch of the Bengal-Nagpur railway. Pop. (1901), 17,291. It is a growing centre of trade.


PURVEYANCE (Lat. providere, to provide), in England in former times the right of the sovereign when travelling through the country to receive food and drink and maintenance generally from his subjects for himself and his retinue. The custom dates from Anglo-Saxon times and is analogous to the right of fodrum, or annona militaris, exercised by the Frankish kings. Although in early times purveyance was reasonable and necessary, enabling the king to make journeys for the purpose of administering justice and discharging the other duties of government, it was liable to grave abuses, and under the later Plantagenet kings it became very oppressive. Provision for the royal needs was interpreted in the widest possible sense, and the right was exercised, not only on behalf of the king, but on behalf of his relatives. Besides victuals it included the compulsory use of horses and carts and even the enforcement of personal labour. Not infrequently no payment was made; when it was it often took the form of tallies, which gave the recipient the right to deduct the amount from any taxes he might have to pay in the future. Purveyors were appointed to requisition goods, and they also fixed the price. The abuses of purveyance, which appear to have reached their climax during the reign of Edward I., frequently provoked legislation. Chapter xxviii. of Magna Carta is directed against them, while further attempts to curb them were made in the Statute of Westminster of 1275 and in the Articuli super cartas of 1306. Purveyance was entirely forbidden by the ordinance of 1311, but in spite of all prohibitions its evils grew and flourished. During the reign of Edward III. ten statutes were directed against it, and by a law of 1362 it was restricted to the personal wants of the king and queen; at the same time the hated name of purveyor was changed to that of buyer, and ready money was ordered to be paid for the articles taken. From this time little was heard about the evils of purveyance until 1604, when the House of Commons petitioned James I., giving some striking illustrations of its hardships. It was asserted that when the royal officials required 200 carts they ordered 800 or 900 to be brought, in order that they might obtain bribes from the owners. Bacon called purveyance “ the most common and general abuse of all others in the kingdom.” Twice James entered into negotiations with his parliament for commuting his crown rights, of which purveyance was one, for an annual payment, but no arrangement was reached. In 1660, however, the right of purveyance, which had fallen into disuse with the execution of Charles I., was surrendered by Charles II. in return for the grant of an excise on beer and liquors. The custom was exercised by almost all European \sovereigns, and in France at least was as oppressive as in England. The word purveyor now means merely a vendor, generally a vendor of food and drink.

See W. Stubbs, Constitutional History of England (1896), vol. ii.; H. Hallam, Constitutional History of England (1863); and S. R. Gardiner, History of England (1905), vol. i.