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posed to act... But in spite of this maxim, or rather perhaps owing to it, a vast stride was made even in the construction of railways during his administration.-H. BOSWORTH SMITH: Life of Lord Lawrence, vol. ii., ch. xii.

Few die, and none resign, a pithy summary of a phrase which origi nated with Thomas Jefferson. When he became President in 1801, he announced that all civil offices held at pleasure and filled by Adams after the result of the election was surely known were to be considered vacant. Acting on this principle, Elizur Goodrich was removed from the collectorship of New Haven to make room for Samuel Bishop. Goodrich had managed the affairs of the office with honesty, ability, and despatch. Bishop's advanced age, feebleness, and lack of business training made him an unfortunate choice. The merchants were highly offended. Eighty of them, headed by Elias Shipman, signed a remonstrance. In his reply Jefferson said, "The will of the nation calls for an administration in harmony with the opinions of those elected. For the fulfilment of that will, displacements are necessary, and with whom can displacements more fittingly begin than with placemen appointed in the last moments of a dying government, not for its own aid, but for its successor's discomfiture? If a due participation of office is a right, how are vacancies to be obtained? Those by death are few, by resignation none." See, also, RIGHT MAN IN THE RIght Place,

Fiasco. This is the Italian word for bottle or flask. It is said that the Venetian glass-blowers, in making their beautiful glass-ware, when they discovered a flaw in the bulb would convert it into an ordinary flask, or fiasco, whence fiasco came to be synonymous with a failure. "In Italy, when a singer fails, even to the extent of a single false note, the audience shout 'olà, olà fiasco,' perhaps an allusion to the bursting of a bottle," or perhaps to the custom of the Venetian glass-blowers.

An Italian contemporary, in reviewing the past musical season, adopted recently a system of symbols which we may commend to the notice of English journalists. Appended to the notice of each new opera was the picture of a wine-flask, which varied in size with the degree of failure achieved by the particular work. Every one who remembers that the word fiasco -popularized as a synonyme with failure-is really the Italian for a flask, will perceive the convenient possibilities opened up by this method. At present the critic is often condemned to write whole columns of which the gist might be comprised in two words. How much better it would be if we adopted the delightfully terse symbolism thus suggested! One column would be reserved every week, the names of the pieces set down, and opposite we should put a finely-gradated series of wine-flasks, showing the precise degree of good and ill success attained.-Saturday Review.

Fiat experimentum in corpore vili (L., "Let the experiment be performed on a worthless subject"). The origin of this phrase is sometimes associated with Mark Anthony Muretus on the strength of an anecdote told in the "Menagiana" and elsewhere. Being attacked by sickness on a journey, the two physicians who attended him, believing him an obscure person, agreed to use a novel remedy, with the remark, "Faciamus periculum in anima vile" ("Let us try this dangerous thing on a worthless soul"). Muretus greatly disconcerted them by tranquilly replying to their Latinity, "Vilem animam appellas, pro quâ Christus non dedignatus est mori?" ("Do you call that a worthless soul, for which Christ did not disdain to die?") The accuracy of the anecdote has, however, been called in question. A common American phrase is, "Try it on the dog."

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Experimentum in corpore vili" is a good rule which will ever make me adverse to any trial of experiments on what is certainly the most valuable of all subjects, the peace of this Empire.-BURKE: Select Works, vol. i. p. 224.

Fiat justitia, ruat cœlum (L., "Let justice be done, though the heavens fall"). This phrase became famous through its quotation by Lord Mansfield in his decision in the case of John Wilkes in 1768. Wilkes had been sen⚫

tenced to outlawry for the publication of "The North Briton," No. 45, without having been present in court. He asserted the constitutional right of an Englishman to a public trial in the presence of the accused. In his opinion, reversing the sentence, Judge Mansfield says, "The constitution does not allow reasons of state to influence our judgment. God forbid it should! We must not regard political consequences, however formidable they might be; if rebellion was the certain consequence, we are bound to say, 'Justitia fiat, ruat cœlum."" The words are printed in quotation in the report of the case; but it is uncertain whence his lordship quoted. The identical words may be found in the controversial literature of the times of the struggles between King Charles I. and Parliament; in Prynne's "Fresh Discovery of Prodigious New Wandering Blazing Stars," second edition, 1646, and Ward's "Simple Cobler of Agawam in America," 1647. The motto of the Emperor Ferdinand I., which contemporaries attributed to his authorship, comes very near in form to Judge Mansfield's quotation: "Fiat justitia, pereat mundus." It is not likely, for obvious reasons, that this could be a Latinized version of a maxim of Luther, "Justice must have her way, even should the world go down to ruin," of which it is, however, an accurate translation.

The "quotation" of Lord Mansfield may have been an independent epigrammatic rendering of Cicero's "Fundamenta justitiæ sunt, ut ne cui noceatur, deinde ut communi utilitati serveatur" ("The foundations of justice are that no one shall suffer wrong; then, that the public good be furthered"), which is at least just as likely as that he unearthed it out of musty and forgotten records.

It is related of Joseph Jekyll, the witty barrister, that he declined an invitation to dinner at Lansdowne House, because of an engagement with the judges. During the dinner, part of the ceiling in the dining-room came down, and Jekyll, commenting on the incident, raised a laugh by saying, "I was asked to ruat cœlum, but dined instead with fiat justitia.”

Fiddle, To play first, to take a leading part, as the more usual "to play second fiddle" is to take a subordinate part. The derivation is obvious.

If my friends will shout Titmarsh forever, hurrah for etc., etc., I may go up with a run to a pretty fair place in my trade, and be allowed to appear before the public as among the first fiddles.-THACKERAY: Letter to W. E. Aytoun, January 2, 1847.

She had inherited from her mother an extreme objection to playing, in any orchestra whatever, the second fiddle.-JAMES PAYN: A Grape from a Thorn, ch. xi.

To hang up one's fiddle is a common expression, meaning to resign, to desist, to retire from public to private life.

Fiddle-de-dee! This exclamation has no connection with bosh, the gypsy or Romany word for "fiddle," from which it has been fancifully derived by George Borrow, from the similarity of meaning of the two expletives "bosh!" and "fiddle-de-dee !" Its probable origin is the Italian expletive “Fediddio" fede di Dio), = "God's faith !" or "'S faith!"

Field of the Forty Footsteps, a piece of land at the back of the British Museum, called also Southampton Fields, and once known by this name. The tradition is that two brothers, in the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion, took different sides, and here engaged each other in deadly fight. Both were killed, and forty impressions of their feet remained on the field for many years, where no grass would grow. The Misses Porter wrote a novel on the subject, and the Messrs. Mayhew a melodrama.

Fig for you! an English colloquial expression of contempt. Dr. Johnson says, "To fig, in Spanish higas dar, is to insult by putting the thumb between the fore and middle fingers. From this Spanish custom we yet say, in contempt,

'A fig for you.' To this Douce has added the following: "Dr. Johnson has properly explained this phrase; but it should be added that it is of Italian origin. When the Milanese revolted against the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, they placed the Empress, his wife, upon a mule, with her head towards the tail, and ignominiously expelled her from their city. Frederick afterwards besieged and took the place, and compelled every one of his prisoners, on pain of death, to take with his teeth a fig from the posterior of a mule, the party at the same time being obliged to repeat to the executioner the words Ecco la fica. From this circumstance far la fica became a term of derision, and was adopted by other nations. The French say, faire la figue." (Illustrations of Shakespeare.) But in a subsequent edition Douce withdrew the explanation, saying that it rested on the very weak authority of Albert Crantz, a credulous and comparatively modern historian. Richard Payne Knight, in his "Symbolical Language of Ancient Art and Mythology," is inclined to give the phrase a Priapic origin: "The fig was a still more common symbol, the statues of Priapus being made of the tree, and the fruit being carried with the phallus in the ancient processions in honor of Bacchus, and still continuing among the common people of Italy to be an emblem of what it anciently meant whence we often see portraits of persons of that country painted with it in one hand, to signify their orthodox devotion to the fair sex. Hence, also, arose the Italian expression far la fica, which was done by putting the thumb between the middle and fore fingers, as it appears in many Priapic ornaments now extant."

Leigh Hunt, in "The Italian Poets," translates the latter part of the third line of Canto xxv. of the "Inferno" as follows:

Take it, God,-a fig for thee!

The lines in the original are,

Al fine delle sue parole il ladro

Le mani alzò con ambiduo le fiche,
Gridando: Togli Dio, ch' a te le squadro.

Literally, "At the conclusion of his words the thief raised up his hands with [i.e., in the form of] both the figs, shouting, Take them, God, for at thee I aim them.'" The Pistojans, the thief's townsmen, built a tower on the rock of Carmignano, and at the top of it were two arms of marble, with hands that made the figs at Florence.

Shakespeare, in "The Merry Wives of Windsor," makes Pistol say,— "Convey" the wise it call. "Steal!" foh! a fico for the phrase.-Act i., Sc. 3.

Figs. In the name of the Prophet-figs! A familiar bit of humor, burlesquing some anticlimax, or bathetic expression, borrowed from the figand other merchants of Oriental countries, who are wont solemnly to cry their wares in this fashion.

In Morocco the costermonger recommends his wares by pledging the credit of a saint: "In the name of Mulai Idriss ! Roast chestnuts!"' "In the name of our Lord Mohammed Al Hadj! Popcorn! Popcorn!" "In the name of Sidna Ali-bu-Khaleh! Melons! Nice, sweet melons!" "God is gracious! Beans! Fried Beans!" "There be no might nor majesty save in Allah! Water! Cool Water!" These and the like are heard at every turn. Even the auctioneer who is calling out the price of a slave girl, or the bids for a Rabat carpet, is careful to interlard his professional talk freely with allusions to his Maker and the plethoric roll of Moorish saints.—Chambers's Journal.

Filibuster. This word, one of the significations of which is a "pirate," has a curious etymological history. It is derived, according to Max Müller, from the Spanish word filibote, a small boat of peculiar rig, but the Spanish word itself is a corruption of the English word flyboat.

This origin, however, is now discredited, as having no support in history or

in linguistic form. The curious fact remains, however, that while the word was adopted into our language from its Spanish prototype filibustero, the Spaniards themselves derived it from the French flibustier, while the French again is a gallicisation of the Dutch vrijbuiter, the English for which is freebooter. In "De Americaensche Zee-Roovers" (1678), written by John Oexmelin, sometimes called Exquemelin or Esquemeling (translated into English in 1684), the West Indian adventurers who subsequently developed into the criminals and pirates generally known as the "buccaneers" were divided into "boucaniers," "flibustiers," and "habitans," the first being hunters, the second rovers, and the last farmers with fixed habitations. They were mainly French, with an admixture of Dutch and English." The "flibustiers" are said to have derived their name "from the English word flibuster, which means rover." This must be referred, however, to the word freebooter, which appears to have been derived from the Dutch vrijbuiter.

In a narrower sense, in the United States, filibuster is applied to the bands of men who at various times have organized illegal military and naval expeditions with the purpose of invading foreign states (mainly the CentralAmerican republics and the island of Cuba), with a view to revolutionizing their government. The principal expeditions of this nature were those organized and led by Narcisso Lopez from New Orleans against Cuba in 1850-51, and the expeditions of William Walker against the State of Sonora, in Mexico, and against Nicaragua, in 1855-58. In the latter, Walker was partially successful, and for some time he exercised sovereign power there. Both leaders were finally captured and put to death.

To filibuster, used as a verb, has come to designate in the United States, in parliamentary language, the practice on the part of a minority in a legislative or deliberative assembly to obstruct and delay the proceedings by technical and dilatory motions, useless speeches, and trivial objections, with the purpose of tiring out their opponents, and thus preventing legislation or the passage of a resolution objectionable to them. One who filibusters in this sense is called a filibusterer.

Filthy Lucre, a humorous colloquialism for money. Douglas Jerrold playfully nicknamed Stirling Coyne, the dramatist, by the synonyme "Filthy Lucre."

Fin de Siècle (Fr., literally, "end of the century"), a fashionable "gag," indicating the supposed moral, intellectual, and political disintegration attendant on a moribund century, which originated in the dilettante circles of Paris in 1890. In February of that year a caustic picture of Parisian life, entitled "Paris Fin de Siècle," by M. Blum, was brought out at a Paris theatre. Though the play was a failure, part of its title, borrowed apparently from Bourget's "Mensonges," passed into current slang. It flattered the semi-humorous notion that civilization gets worn out at the end of a century, and that a new dawn will be ushered in by a terminal unit of measurement in our calendars.

This appears to be a new sensation. Towards the end of the tenth century, indeed, there was a wide-spread belief in the end of the world: fields were left untilled, houses unrepaired; it was useless to work for posterity when the Great Consummation was at hand. But I do not find that any subsequent fin de siècle betrayed morbid self-consciousness. Carlyle, it is true, set the fashion of anathematizing the poor eighteenth century as bankrupt, and taught us to regard the French Revolution as the grand collapse of an age of shams; but I see no trace of our grandfathers considering their times exceptionally bad, or of their being anxious to reach 1801. We are apt to forget that a century is a purely arbitrary division, so that there can be no moral or material difference between 1900 and 1901. Were it otherwise, fin de mille ought to have tenfold significance; and if the Romans, by placing a stone at every thousandth step, gave us the word "milestone," a "mile of years" should be a notable division of time. Our grandchildren, as the year 2000 approaches, ought to feel tenfold depression, not from apprehension of the end of the world, but from the lassitude of a millennium on its


last legs. Nay, more, what the last decade is to a century the last century is to a millennium; so far, therefore, from sighing for 1901, we ought to be positively dreading it, and 2001 ought to be as great a relief as was 1001.-Atlantic Monthly.

Fine by degrees and beautifully less, usually misquoted "small by degrees," etc., is a line in Prior's "Henry and Emma:"

That air and harmony of shape express,
Fine by degrees, and beautifully less.

Pope has imitated it :

Fine by defect, and delicately weak.

Moral Essays, Epistle ii., 1. 43.

Finis Poloniæ! (L., “The end of Poland!") This expression is persistently ascribed to Kosciusko when he fell wounded under the balls of Suvarof's soldiers at Maciejowice. October 10, 1794. Yet Kosciusko himself emphatically and scornfully denounced it as a Russian invention. In the first place, as he wrote to Count de Ségur, who had given publicity to the story in his "Décade Historique" (1800), he was all-but mortally wounded, and could not speak. If, however, he had retained the faculty of speech, he would certainly not have had the presumption to exclaim, "Finis Poloniæ," since neither his death nor the death of any one else could be for Poland a fatal misfortune. Ségur complied with Kosciusko's request that the libel should be withdrawn from all subsequent editions; but the first edition remained to do its mischief. The falsehood was perpetuated in Michaud's “Biographie Universelle," whence it has passed into numberless works all over the world.-See, for the full text of Kosciusko's letter to Ségur and other particulars, Notes and Queries, fifth series, viii. 383.

Fire, To, or To fire out, a familiar Americanism, meaning to eject with violence, to expel, to hurl out with a force and speed resembling those of a bullet fired from a gun. An attempt has been been made to fasten the origin of this phrase on Shakespeare, on the strength of the last two lines of Sonnet CLXIV.:

Yet this shall I ne'er know, but live in doubt,

Till my bad angel fire my good one out.

This is all very well as a bit of philological jocosity. But, seriously, Shakespeare used the phrase in an entirely different sense, as can be plainly seen by this passage from “King Lear," Act v., Sc. 3:

He that parts us shall bring a brand from heaven,

And fire us hence like foxes.

Compare, too, the phrase "fire drives out fire" in "Coriolanus," Act ii., Sc. 7, and Julius Cæsar," Act iii., Sc. 1.

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"Young man," thundered the camp-meeting orator, "were you ever fired with enthu siasm ?" It is a painful subject," he responded, "but I was. Miss Wedly's father supplied the enthusiasm."-Texas Siftings.

Fire, Baptism of. "Louis has just received his baptism of fire." These are the words in which Napoleon III. announced in a despatch to the Empress Eugénie the momentary exposure of the prince imperial to the fire of the enemy at the affair of Saarbrück on August 10, 1870. This application of the term baptism of fire to the young soldier who has happily survived his first attack of "Kannonenfieber" (lit., "cannon-fever"), as the Germans happily put it, without having become "food for powder," was, however, previously made by the great Napoleon. In a conversation with O'Meara on St. Helena, August 2, 1817 (see O'Meara's "Voice from St. Helena"), Napoleon I. said, "I love a brave soldier, who has undergone his baptism of fire (baptême de feu), no matter to what nation he belongs."

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