From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

productive funds amounted to $591,623 and the income, including appropriations from the state, was $1,124,731. In scholarship, as in numbers, the university stands in the front rank of American colleges.

Wise, Henry Alexander, an American statesman, was born at Drummondtown, Va., Dec. 3, 1806. He graduated at Washington College, Pennsylvania, and studied law. He became prominent in politics, advocating the nomination of Jackson at Baltimore and favoring the doctrine of states' rights. He was sent to Congress in 1833, where he went over to the Whig party, in opposition to Jackson's course. Under Tyler, whose nomination Wise had secured, he had a strong influence and was made minister to Brazil, In 1854 he became governor of Virginia. In December, 1859, he signed the death-warrant of John Brown (q. v.). Though making an effort for peace as a member of the Virginia convention, he went with his state into secession, and became a brigadier-general in the Confederate army. He served in the Kanawha valley and at Roanoke Island. Here his forces were captured and his son was killed. He wrote Seven Decades of the Union. He died at Richmond, Va., Sept. 12, 1876.

Wise′man, Nicholas, cardinal and Roman Catholic archbishop of Westminster, was born at Seville, Spain, of Irish parents, Aug 2, 1802. He studied in Ireland and at Rome, where his brilliant course secured him in 1823 the appointment of vice-rector of the English College, which in 1828 was changed to rector. In England he first became known by lectures on the doctrines of the Roman church, which were followed by the founding with Mr. O'Connell of The Dublin Review. His appointment as archbishop of Westminster and cardinal produced great excitement, as it was looked upon as an effort of the Roman church to recover possession of England, where there had been no Roman Catholic bishops since the reign of Elizabeth. Wiseman's addresses and publications did much to allay the excitement, and his ability and moderation as well as his literary position won the admiration of all. He wrote on literature and art besides his religious works. Influence of Words, Lectures on Religion and Science, Points of Contact between Science and Art, Fabiola and The Real Presence were books that obtained a large circulation. He died at London on Feb. 15, 1865.

Wista′ria, a class of climbing plants named after Professor Wistar of Philadelphia. The leaf is formed of from nine to 15 oval leaflets, and the flowers, usually lilac in color, grow in thick, long clusters and resemble the flowers of the locust-tree or sweet peas or other plants of the Leguminosæ or bean family, to which it belongs. The seeds or beans are found in long pods. It grows rapidly, often 20 feet in a season. The Chinese wistaria, introduced from Japan, blooms earlier, with a looser cluster of flowers, of a paler lilac or white. There are several other varieties, including a double-flowered one.

Wis′ter, Owen, American author and story-writer, was born in Philadelphia, Pa., on July 14, 1860. He is a grandson of Fanny Kemble, the actress. He graduated in 1882 from Harvard. He subsequently passed through Harvard Law School, was admitted (1889) to the Philadelphia bar, but two years later took to a literary career, chiefly writing stories of western life and character. Besides contributing articles to The American Sportsman's Library on the bison, musk-ox, sheep and goat, Mr. Wister's other well-known works embrace Oliver Wendall Holmes in the American Men of Letters Series and Benjamin Franklin in the English Men of Letters Series. His other writings include The Dragon of Wantley; Red Man and White; Lin McLean; U. S. Grant; The Virginian; Journey in Search of Christmas; and Lady Baltimore.

Witch and Witch′craft. The names witch and wizard are given to persons supposed to possess unusual powers, popularly thought to have been acquired by a compact with Satan. The belief is an old one, as the Witch of Endor is said to have raised Samuel for Saul in the early days of the Jewish nation, and Paul had several contests with sorcerers. Sorcerers, soothsayers, diviners and magicians often were popularly classed together and with witches; but the magicians claimed to be a distinct class, using their knowledge of the secrets of nature for the benefit of mankind, while the witches and sorcerers delighted in doing harm. The belief in evil spirits has been common in every nation and country, and the legends of a people are full of the deeds of supernatural beings. In popular belief a witch usually was an old woman, who rode on a broomstick through the air by night to attend the witches' gathering and delighted in acts of spite and meanness. Their victims, on whom they had cast the evil eye, pined away mysteriously or were troubled by strange noises and curious losses. The witches' mark was a spot of some kind made on the body by the devil as a sign of his bargain and was indelible. It was sought for by the clans of inquisitors known as the witch-finders. Shakespeare's Macbeth and other plays, Burns' Tam O'Shanter and the Walpurgis Night in Goethe's Faust give an idea of these popular beliefs.

The belief in witchcraft as the work of evil spirits led to the bloody and cruel persecution and punishment of witches which lasted in Europe for four centuries. In these, it is estimated, 9,000,000 persons were put to death. The bull of Pope Innocent VIII in 1484 began the work of destruction, in which confession was ex-