between the assignats themselves there were differences. The royal assignats, which had been issued under Louis XVI., had depreciated less than the republican ones. They were worth from 8 to 15% more, a fact due to the hope that in case of a counter-revolution they would be less likely to be discredited.
The Directory was guilty of even greater abuses in dealing with the assignats. By 1796 the issues had reached the enormous figure of 45,500,000,000 francs, and even this gigantic total was swollen still more by the numerous counterfeits introduced into France from the neighbouring countries. The assignats had now become totally valueless—the abolition of the “maximum” the previous year (1795) had produced no effect, and, though, by various payments into the treasury, the total number had been reduced to about 24,000,000,000 francs, their face-value was about 30 to 1 of coin. At this value they were converted into 800,000,000 francs of land-warrants, or mandats territoriaux, which were to constitute a mortgage on all the lands of the republic. These mandats were no more successful than the assignats, and even on the day of their issue were at a discount of 82%. They had an existence of six months, and were finally received back by the state at about the seventieth part of their face-value in coin.
Authorities.—L. A. Thiers, Histoire de la révolution française, gives a full and graphic account of the assignats, the causes of their depreciation, &c.; J. Garnier, Traité des Finances (1862); J. Bresson, Histoire financière de la France (1829); R. Stourm, Les Finances de l’ancien régime et de la révolution (1885); F. A. Walker, Money (1891); Henry Higgs, in the Cambridge Modern History, vol. viii. (1904).
(T. A. I.)
ASSIGNMENT, Assignation, Assignee (from Lat. assignare, to mark out), terms which, as derivatives of the verb “to assign,” are of frequent technical use in law. To assign is to make over, and the term is generally used to express a transference by writing, in contradistinction to a transference by actual delivery. In England the usual expression is assignment, in Scotland it is assignation. The person making over is called the assignor or cedent; the recipient, the assign or assignee. An assignee may be such either by deed, as when a lessee assigns his lease to another, or in law, as when property devolves upon an executor. The law as to assignment in connexion with each particular subject, as the assignment of a chose in action, assignment in contract, of dower, of errors, of a lease, &c., will be found under the respective headings. In a colloquial sense, “assignation” means a secretly contrived meeting between lovers.
ASSINIBOIA, a name formerly applied to two districts of Canada, but not now held by any. (1) A district formed in 1835 by the Hudson’s Bay Company, having in it Fort Garry at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers in Rupert’s Land, North America. It extended over a circular area, with a radius of 50 m. from Fort Garry. It was governed by a local council nominated by the Hudson’s Bay Company. It ceased to exist when Rupert’s Land was transferred to Canada in 1870. (2) A district of the North-west Territories, which was given definite existence by an act of the Dominion parliament in 1875. Assiniboia extended from the western boundary of Manitoba (99° W. in 1875, and 101° 25′ W. in 1881) to 111° W., and from 49° N. to 52° N. The name was a misnomer, as it barely touched the Assiniboine river. To the north of the district lay the district of Saskatchewan, so that when the two were united by the Dominion act of 1905, they were somewhat changed in boundaries and the name Saskatchewan was given to the new province. The derivation of Assiniboia is from two Ojibway words, assini meaning a stone, and the termination “to cook by roasting”; from these came a name first applied to a Dakota or Sioux tribe living on the Upper Red river; afterwards when this tribe separated from the Dakotas, its name was given to the branch of the Red river which the tribe visited, the river being known as the Assiniboine and the tribe as Assiniboin.
ASSINIBOIN (“Stone-Cookers”), a tribe of North American Indians of Siouan stock. Their name (see above) is said to refer to their method of boiling water by dropping red-hot stones into it. Their former range was between the Missouri and the middle Saskatchewan on both sides of the Canadian frontier. In 1904 there were 1234 in the United States, all on reservations in Montana; and in 1902 there were 1371 in Canada.
See Handbook of American Indians, ed. F. W. Hodge (Washington, 1907).
ASSISE (from the Fr., derived from Lat. assidere, to sit beside), a geological term for two or more beds of rock united by the occurrence of the same characteristic species or genera.
ASSISI (anc. Asisium), a town and episcopal see of Umbria, Italy, in the province of Perugia, 15 m. E.S.E. by rail from the town of Perugia. Pop. (1901) town, 5338; commune, 17,240. The town occupies a fine position on a mountain (1345 ft. above sea-level) with a view over the valleys of the Tiber and Topino. It is mainly famous in connexion with St Francis, who was born here in 1182, and returned to die in 1226. The Franciscan monastery and the lower and upper church of St Francis were begun immediately after his canonization in 1228, and completed in 1253, being fine specimens of Gothic architecture. The crypt was added in 1818, when the sarcophagus containing his remains was discovered. The lower church contains frescoes by Cimabue, Giotto and others, the most famous of which are those over the high altar by Giotto, illustrating the vows of the Franciscan order; while the upper church has frescoes representing scenes from the life of St Francis (probably by Giotto and his contemporaries) on the lower portion of the walls of the nave, and scenes from Old and New Testament history by pupils of Cimabue on the upper. The church of Santa Chiara (St Clare), the foundress of the Poor Clares, with its massive lateral buttresses, fine rose-window, and simple Gothic interior, was begun in 1257, four years after her death. It contains the tomb of the saint and 13th-century frescoes and pictures. Santa Maria Maggiore is also a good Gothic church. The cathedral (San Rufino) has a fine façade with three rose-windows of 1140; the interior was modernized in 1572. The town is dominated by the medieval castle (1655 ft.), built by Cardinal Albornoz (1367) and added to by Popes Pius II. and Paul III. Two miles to the east in a ravine below Monte Subasio is the hermitage delle Carceri (2300 ft.), partly built, partly cut out of the solid rock, given to St Francis by Benedictine monks as a place of retirement. Below the town to the south-west, close to the station, is the large pilgrimage church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, begun in 1569 by Pope Pius V., with Vignola as architect; but not completed until 1640. It contains the original oratory of St Francis and the cell in which he died. Adjacent is the garden in which the saint’s thornless roses bloom in May. Half a mile outside the town to the south-east is the convent of San Damiano, erected by St Francis, of which St Clare was first abbess.
In the early middle ages Assisi was subject to the dukes of Spoleto; but in the 11th century it seems to have been independent. It became involved, however, in the disputes of Guelphs and Ghibellines, and was frequently at war with Perugia. It was sacked by Perugia and the papal troops in 1442, and even after that continued to be the prey of factions. The place is now famous as a resort of pilgrims, and is also important for the history of Italian art. The poet Metastasio was born here in 1698.
See L. Duff-Gordon, Assisi (“Mediaeval Towns” series, London, 1900). For ancient history see Asisium.
ASSIUT, or Siut, capital of a province of Upper Egypt of the same name, and the largest and best-built town in the Nile Valley south of Cairo, from which it is distant 248 m. by rail. The population rose from 32,000 in 1882 to 42,000 in 1900. Assiut stands near the west bank of the Nile across which, just below the town, is a barrage, completed in 1902, consisting of an open weir, 2733 ft. long, and over 100 bays or sluices, each 16½ ft. wide, which can be opened or closed at will. At the western end of the barrage begins the Ibrahimia canal, the feeder of the Bahr Yusuf, the largest irrigation canal of Egypt. The Ibrahimia canal is skirted by a magnificent embankment planted with shady trees leading from the river to the town. There are several bazaars, baths and handsome mosques, one noted for its lofty minaret, and here the American Presbyterian mission has established a college for both sexes. Assiut is famous for its red and black pottery and for ornamental wood and ivory work,