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ASPHYXIA—ASQUITH

No satisfactory derivation of the word is suggested. The English word “daffodil” is a perversion of “asphodel,” formerly written “affodil.” The d may come from the French fleur d’affodille. It is no part of the word philologically.

See Pauly-Wissowa, Realencyclopädie, s.v.; H. O. Lenz, Botanik der alten Griechen und Römer (1859); J. Murr, Die Pflanzenwelt in der griechischen Mythologie (1890).

ASPHYXIA (Gr. ἀ- priv., σφύξις, a pulse), a term in medicine, literally signifying loss of pulsation, which is applied to describe the arrestment of the function of respiration from some hindrance to the entrance of air into the lungs. (See Respiratory System: Pathology.)

ASPIC (French, from Lat. aspis), an asp or viper found in Egypt whose bite is supposed to cause a swift and easy death, hence poetically a term for any venomous snake. From association, perhaps, with the coldness of the aspic (as in the French proverb, froid comme un aspic), the word is used for a savoury jelly containing meat, fish or eggs, &c. It is also the botanical name of the Lavandula spica, or spikenard, from which a white, aromatic and highly inflammable oil is distilled, called huile d’aspic.

ASPIDISTRA, a small genus of the lily order (Liliaceae), native of the Himalayas, China and Japan. Aspidistra lurida is a favourite pot-plant, bearing large green or white-striped leaves on an underground stem, and small dark purplish, cup-shaped flowers close to the ground.

ASPIROTRICHACEAE (O. Bütschli), an order of Ciliate Infusoria, characterized by an investment, general or partial, of nearly uniform cilia, without any distinct adoral wreath, and one or two adoral endoral undulating membranes. With the Gymnostomaceae it formed the Holotricha of Stein.

ASPIROZ, MANUEL DE (1836–1905), Mexican statesman and diplomatist, was born at Puebla, and educated at the university of Mexico, where he took his degree in 1855. He took part in the war against the emperor Maximilian, and in 1867, on the establishment of the republic, was appointed assistant secretary of state for foreign affairs. In 1873 he became Mexican consul at San Francisco, where he remained till his election to the Senate in 1875. He was professor of jurisprudence at the college of Puebla from 1883 to 1890, when he was again appointed assistant secretary of foreign affairs. From 1899 till he died in 1905 he was Mexican ambassador to the United States. Among his writings may be mentioned; Código de extranjeria de los Estados-Unidos Mexicanos (1876), and La liberdad civil como base del derecho internacional privado (1896).

ASPROMONTE, a mountain of Calabria, Italy, rising behind Reggio di Calabria, the west extremity of the Sila range. The highest point is 6420 ft. and the slopes are clad with forest. Here Garibaldi was wounded and taken prisoner by the Italian troops under Pallavicini in 1862.

ASQUITH, HERBERT HENRY (1852–), English statesman, son of Joseph Dixon Asquith, was born at Morley, Yorkshire, on the 12th of September 1852. He came of a middle-class Yorkshire family of pronounced Liberal and Nonconformist views, and was educated under Dr Edwin Abbott at the City of London school, from which he went as a scholar to Balliol, Oxford; there he had a distinguished career, taking a first-class in classics, winning the Craven scholarship and being elected a fellow of his college. He was president of the Union, and impressed all his contemporaries with his intellectual ability, Dr Jowett himself confidently predicting his signal success in any career he adopted. On leaving Oxford he went to the bar, and as early as 1890 became a K.C. In 1887 he unsuccessfully defended Mr R. B. Cunninghame Graham and Mr John Burns for their share in the riot in Trafalgar Square; and in 1889 he was junior to Sir Charles (afterwards Lord) Russell as counsel for the Irish Nationalists before the Parnell Commission—an association afterwards bitterly commented upon by Mr T. Healy in the House of Commons (March 30, 1908). But though he attained a fair practice at the bar, and was recognized as a lawyer of unusual mental distinction and clarity, his forensic success was not nearly so conspicuous as that of some of his contemporaries. His ambitions lay rather in the direction of the House of Commons. He had taken a prominent part in politics as a Liberal since his university days, especially in work for the Eighty Club, and in 1886 was elected member of parliament for East Fife, a seat which he retained in subsequent elections. Mr Gladstone was attracted by his vigorous ability as a speaker, and his evidence of sound political judgment; and in August 1892, though comparatively unknown to the general public, he was selected to move the vote of want of confidence which overthrew Lord Salisbury’s government, and was made home secretary in the new Liberal ministry. At the Home Office he proved his capacity as an administrator; he was the first to appoint women as factory inspectors, and he was responsible for opening Trafalgar Square to Labour demonstrations; but he firmly refused to sanction the proposed amnesty for the dynamiters, and he was violently abused by extremists on account of the shooting of two men by the military at the strike riot at Featherstone in August 1893. It was he who coined the phrase (Birmingham, 1894) as to the government’s “ploughing the sands” in their endeavour to pass Liberal legislation with a hostile House of Lords. His Employers’ Liability Bill 1893 was lost because the government refused to accept the Lords’ amendment as to “contracting-out.” His suspensory bill, with a view to the disestablishment of the church in Wales, was abortive (1895), but it served to recommend him to the Welsh Nationalists as well as to the disestablishment party in England and Scotland. During his three years of office he more than confirmed the high opinion formed of his abilities.

The Liberal defeat in 1895 left him out of office for eleven years. He had married Miss Helen Melland in 1877, and was left with a family when she died in 1891; in 1894, however, he had married again, his second wife being the accomplished Miss Margaret (“Margot”) Tennant, daughter of the wealthy ironmaster, Sir Charles Tennant, Bart., a lady well known in London society as a member of the côterie known as “Souls,” and commonly identified as the original of Mr E. F. Benson’s Dodo (1893). On leaving the Home Office in 1895, Mr Asquith decided to return to his work at the bar, a course which excited much comment, since it was unprecedented that a minister who had exercised judicial functions in that capacity should take up again the position of an advocate; but it was obvious that to maintain the tradition was difficult in the case of a man who had no sufficient independent means. During the years of Unionist ascendancy Mr Asquith divided his energies between his legal work and politics; but his adhesion to Lord Rosebery (q.v.) as a Liberal Imperialist at the time of the Boer War, while it strengthened his position in the eyes of the public, put him in some difficulty with his own party, led as it was by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (q.v.), who was identified with the “pro-Boer” policy. He was one of the founders of the Liberal League, and his courageous definiteness of view and intellectual vigour marked him out as Lord Rosebery’s chief lieutenant if that statesman should ever return to power. He thus became identified with the Roseberyite attitude towards Irish Home Rule; and, while he continued to uphold the Gladstonian policy in theory, in practice the Irish Nationalists felt that very little could be expected from his advocacy. In spite of his Imperialist views, however, he did much to smooth over the party difficulties, and when the tariff-reform movement began in 1903, he seized the opportunity for rallying the Liberals to the banner of free-trade and championing the “orthodox” English political economy, on which indeed he had been a lecturer in his younger days. During the critical years of Mr Chamberlain’s crusade (1903–1906) he made himself the chief spokesman of the Liberal party, delivering a series of speeches in answer to those of the tariff-reform leader; and his persistent following and answering of Mr Chamberlain had undoubted effect. He also made useful party capital out of the necessity for financial retrenchment, owing to the large increase in public expenditure, maintained by the Unionist government even after the Boer War was over;