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building in lialtininro. I'inding it iibandonod. soiiip Acadian refugees oceiipied the upper portion which was still hal)ilal>le. I'lither Ashton said Mas-s in the lower room, although the hogs whieh had taken possession of it had first to be driven out. The priest brought his vestments with him, and a r\ide altar was erected. The fivithful never nuinbered more than forty, and consisted chiefly of Acadians and a few Irish. This is the lirst Baltimore congregation of which there is any record. Kather Ashton entered the Society of Jesus in 17.59. He was first employed in the missions of Yorkshire, England. Ho must have Ijeen a man of bvLsincss capacity, as at the assembly of the clergymen of Maryland and I'ennsylvania, which convened at Whitcniarsh, in 1784, he was unani- mously elected jirocurator-general, duty it was to preside over the managoinont of the various estates of the clergy. .Subsci|Ui'ntly, in 17S8, he was appointed to superintend the building of (ieorge- town College.

W'ominlork Ultera, III. 56, 57; Griffith, Annals of Balti- more: Camimiki.l, Catholic Church in Maryland; Cathedral Records (.Uultimure, 1906).

T. J. Campbell.

Ashton, RooEB, Venerable, Martyr, third son of Richard .\shton of Croston, in Lancashire. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn, 23 June, 1592. His indictment is not preserved. Challoner says it was for procuring a dispensation from Rome to marry his second cousin. Later evidence, while confirming this, shows that it was not the only cause. In 1585 he had gone to serve in the Low Countries vmder the Earl of Leicester against the Spaniards, Sir William Stanley having been placed on guard over the town of Deventer, which had revolted from the Spaniards, he, with the assistance of Ashton, gave the town back to Spain and went over to their side (29 January, 1,587). Cardinal Allen published a "Defence" of this act in the form of a letter ad- dressed to one " R. A.", whose letter to the Cardinal is prefixed, and under these initials it seems natural to recognize our martyr. Stanley next entrusted to Ashton the ditlicult task of bringing over his wife from Ireland, but she was already under arrest, and he is .said to have then sent Asliton to Rome. At the close of the year 1587 he returned to England and was apprehended in Kent with the marriage dispensation already mentioned. In January, 1.588, he was in the Tower, where he lay till towards the close of the year, when he was transferred to easier con- finement in the Marshalsea. From this he managed to escape and he fled to his brothers in Lancashire. He was seized later, at Shields near Newcastle, while trying to escape over the seas. Transferrccl thence to Dtirham and York, he was tried and sen- tenced at Canterbury, and died "very resolute", making nrofe-ssion of his faith and "... pitied of the people", though the infamous Tojidiffe tried to stir up ill-feeling against him by enlarging on his services to Spain.

Challoner, Mitsionan/ Prietlt (cd. 1874), I. 100; Dasknt, Acts ol I'rivy Cowicil, XX, 350, etc.. anil a MS. rclulion by Richard Vkrhtkoan in ttie WemtminHer Archives, IV, 309. For the family cf. Harleion MS.S. l.'J49, fol. 21; Alle.n's Defence of Stanley (ed. Heywood. Clietlmm Soc., 1851). Patrick Ryan.

Asia. —In the present article it is intended to give a rapid survey of the geography, ethnography, political and religious historj- of Asia, and especially of the rise, progress, and actual condition of Asiatic Christianity and Catholicism. Eor further infor- mation concerning the religious conditions of the various .\siatic countries, the reader is referred to the special articles on the subject in this Encyclopedia,

.\,sia is the largest of the continents, having a geographical area of about 17.1)00,000 square miles, or about one-third of the whole of the dry land. It is also the oldest known portion of the globe.

the earliest known seat of civilization and, in all probability, th(> cradle of the human race, although scholars dilTer iis to whether the primitive home of mankind should be located in South-western Asia, and more particularly in the Tigri.s-Euphrates valley, as the Biblical tradition of Genesis seems to indicate, or rather in Central Asia, and more particularly in the Indo-Iranian plateau. On the north, Asia is bounded by the Arctic Ocean; on the ea-st, by the Pacific Ocean; on the south, by the Indian Ocean; and on the west, by Europe, the Black Sea, the Creek Archipelago, the Mediterranean, and the Red Sea. It is imited with Africa by the de.sert Isthmus of Suez, and with Europe by the Caucasian mountains and the long I'ral range.

The physical features of Asia, owing to its immense geographical area, are of great diversity. There we meet with the most extensive lowlands, the most immense table-lands, and at the same time with the highest chains of mountains, and the most elevated summits in the world. About two-thirds of its area is table-land, and the other third mountainous regions, some of which are covered with perpetual snow. The lowland sections may be appropriately divided into six (hstinct region.*, namely: (1) The Siberian lowland, which is by far the largest, and for the most part cold, gloomy, and barren; (2) the Bucharistan lowland, situated between the Caspian Sea and the Lake Aral, a wide sterile waste; (3) the Syro-.\rabian lowland, partly sterile and partly extremely productive and fertile; (4) the Ilinaustan lowland, of about 5(M),000 square miles, comprising the great valley of the Ganges, and verj' fertile; (5) the Indo-Chinese lowland, including the regions of Cambodia antl ."^iam; and (6) the Chinese lowland, extending from Peking as far as the tropic of Cancer, of about 220,1)1)0 ,s<|uare miles, and extremely fertile. Asia is poor in lakes but very rich in rivers, the most fatnous of which are the Tigris and the Eiiphrales, the Indus with its many tributaries, the Brahma- putra, the Ganges, the Irrawaddy, the Salwin, the Me-nam, the Me-kong, the Hong-Kiang, the Yang-tze-kiang, the Hwang-ho, or Yellow River, the Amur, and the many river-systems of Siberia. On account of its v;Lst extent and diversity of climate, the mineral, vegetable, and animal products of Asia are nat\irally varied, rich, and almost unlimited.

Geographically, Asia may be divided into fout great regions: (1) Northern Asia, or Asiatic Russia, which includes Siberia, Caucasia, and the Aral- Caspian Basin, i. e. Russian Turkistan, the Turkoman country, Khiva, Bokhara, and the region of the upper ( Ixvis; (2) Eastern Asia, comprising China, Mongolia, Korea, and Japan; (3) Southern Asia, com- prising India, Indo-China, and Siam; (4) South-wes- tern Asia, comprising the famous historic lands of Persia, Media, Babylonia, Assyria, Mesoiiofamia, Asia Minor, Syria, Phfrnicia, Palestine, and .\rabia.

Politically, Asia is divided ;is follows: (1) R\issian Empire, inchiding Siberia and as far west as the bor- ders of Turkey, Persia, and Turkistan, and as far south as the ("hinese Empire; (2) Empire, including Mongolia, Manchuria, and Tibet; (3) Japanese Empire; (4) India proper, or British Empire; (.5) Siam; ((>) Indo-China, uncler French dominion; (7) Afghanistan; (8) Persia; and (9) Asiatic Turkey, which comprises all Irak and Mesoi>otamia, Kurdis- tan, Armenia, Asia Minor, Syria, and Arabia. The entire population of Asia (according to the statistics of 1901) IS estimated at about 800.000,(K)0, or more than half the entire population of the earth, and divided as follows: .\siatic Russia, 24,947,.500; China. 330,.829.9fX); Korea, 9.670.000; Japan, 46,494,000; Indo-China, 15,.590,000; Siam, 6,320,000; India. 302,.»<31 .700; Afghanistan. 4. .5.50.(H)0; Persia, 9,000,000; Asiatic Turkey, including Arabia, 19.r26,,500.

Ethnographically, the population of .\sia mav be