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The word pyx is derived from a Greek word meaning a box, and is applied in the Roman Catholic Church to the box in which the sacred host is kept, and mariners also apply it to the receptacle wherein the compass is suspended. In early times the mint master in England was simply a person under contract with the government for the manufacture of the coinage, and periodical examinations were consequently necessary to see that the terms of the contract were complied with. The mint master is now an officer of the crown, but the manner of conducting the ceremony is substantially unchanged. The finished coins are delivered to the mint master in weights called journey-weights—that is, 15 pounds troy weight of gold, containing 701 sovereigns, or 1,402 half-sovereigns; of silver 60 pounds troy. From each journey-weight a coin is taken and placed in the pyx for the annual trial. The examination of the coins is made by the Goldsmiths' Company, under the direction of the crown, in the presence of the “Queen's remembrancer,” who administers the oath to the jury and presides over the proceedings. The coins are compared with pieces cut from trial-plates of standard fineness, which are in keeping of the “ warden of the standards.” If the coins are found to be of standard fineness and weight, within certain limits, a statement to that effect is testified to by the jurors, and handed over to the treasurer. The coins to be tested are kept in the ancient chapel of the pyx at Westminster Abbey, in joint custody of the lords of the Treasury and the comptroller general. This custom was first ordered during the thirty-second year of the reign of King Henry II. (1154-1189), and took place occasionally in subsequent reigns, whenever royalty chose to order it. King James was present at one of the ceremonies in 1611. There was one held at the exchequer office July 17, 1861, and the next February 15, 1870. During the year 1870 a coinage act was passed by Parliament providing for an annual trial of the pyx, and the ceremony has been observed each year since then.
Hub of the Universe.-A name applied to Boston, Massachusets, in derision of its pretensions to great importance.
Hudson's Bay Company.—This company was started in 1670 by means of a charter granted to Prince Rupert and seventeen other noblemen and gentlemen by Charles II. The charter secured to them the absolute proprietorship, subordinate sovereignity, and exclusive traffic of an undefined territory which, under the name of Rupert's Land, comprised all the regions discovered, or to be discovered, within the entrance of Hudson's Strait. In 1821 they obtained a license for the monopoly of trade in the vast regions lying to the west of the original grant. At this time the Hudson's Bay Company and the Northwest Fur Company amalgated, and the monopoly of trade was held conjointly. In 1838 the former company obtained a renewal of the license for themselves alone, which ran until 1859. Since that date the district has been open to all.
Hunkers. -A name applied to the faction of the Democratic party in New York opposed to the Barnburners. They were the conservative wing, and were in harmony with the Democratic national administration. Subsequently they were known as the Hards, or Hard Shells. (See Free Soil Party.) The origin of the name Hunkers is uncertain. This name has at various times been applied to the conservative wing of the Democratic party in other States.
I am a Republican, Who Carried His Sovereignty Under His Own Hat-This remark, originally made by A. W. Campbell, of West Virginia, in the Republican national convention of 1880, was quoted with approval by George William Curtis, on June 4, 1884, at the Republican national convention held in Chicago. The occasion was similar, namely the opposition of a motion declaring that every member of the convention was in honor bound to support the candidate it might select, whoever he might be, and that no man who would not agree to give such support was entitled to hold a seat in the convention. Curtis made a brilliant speech, commencing, “A Republican and a free man I came to this convention, and by the grace of God a Republican and a free man will I go out of it," and the obnoxious motion was withdrawn. “I carry my sovereignty under my hat,” has become the watchword of the Independents. Curtis was one of the prominent leaders against Blaine, the Republican candidate, in the campaign of 1884.
I am Not Worth Purchasing ; but, such as I am, the King of Great Britain is Not Rich Enough to do It.—This was the reply of General Joseph Reed, a member of the Continental Congress, to an offer of £10,000 and any colonial office in the king's gift, as the price of his influence to restore the colonies to Great Britain. The offer was made through a lady soon after the evacuation of Philadelphia by the British in 1778.
Idaho was acquired by the Louisiana purchase. (See Annexations 1,) It formed successively à part of Oregon and of Washington Territories. It was seprately organized by Act of March 3, 1863, and was admitted to the Union as a State by Act of July 3, 1890. It is entitled to one seat in the House of Representatives and three electoral votes. The population according to the last census (1890) was 84,385. The capital is Boise City. (See Governors; Legislatures.)
I do not feel that I Shall Prove a Dead-head in the Enterprise if I Once Embark in it. I See Various Channels in which I Know I Can be Useful.—These are the closing sentences of James G. Blaine's letter to Warren Fisher, dated June 29, 1869. They came into common use in the presidential campaign of 1884. (See Mulligan Letters.)
I'd Rather be Right than be President of the United States.--Henry Clay, though he favored a high tariff, in 1833 introduced a bill reducing the then existing duties. (See Tariffs of the United States.) Its object was to pacify the agricultural States, which had objected vehemently. In South Carolina the opposition
had taken a very serious form. (See Vullification.) His friends told Clay that his chances for the presidency would be injured thereby. His reply is given above.
If a Crow Wants to Fly Down the Shenandoah, He Must Carry His Provisions With Him.-In 1864, after defeating the Confederate General Early, General Sheriden devastated the valley of the Shenandoah in order to prevent any further movements on Washington from that quarter. So thoroughly was this done that the above remark is said fairly to describe its condition at that time.
If Any One Attempts to Haul Down the American Flag, Shoot Him on the Spot.-In December, 1860, General John A. Dix, Secretary of the Treasury, ordered two revenue cutters from New Orleans to New York. New Orleans was at that time practically in the hands of secessionists, and the captain of one of the cutters refused to obey the order. Dix telegraphed to the lieutenant to place the captain under arrest, and closed his dispatch as above.
I Have Just Given to England a Maritime Rival that Will Sooner or Later Humble Her Pride.—The remark made by Napoleon on the purchase of Louisiana from France.
Illini. (See American Knights.)
I'll Try, Sir. During the battle of Lundy's Lane in the War of 1812, a certain British battery was doing great damage to the Americans. Colonel Miller was asked if he could take it and answered as above. The saying has become historic.
Illuminati.—A Latin word meaning the enlightened. It had been used by different sects in Europe at different times. In United States history the name was used to denote certain societies of French sympathizers about the year 1799.
Immigration. Prior to the year 1820 no official records of the arrival of alien passengers were kept. It is estimated, however, that the total number arrived in the United States from 1775 to the year 1820 was 250,000. It has been estimated that prior to the year 1856
about 98 per cent. of the total aliens arrived were immi.
* Immigrants from Canada and Mexico not included.
The nationality of immigrants to the United States for the year ending June