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ASTI—ASTOR

painless and insignificant, is performed as follows:—“After painting one side of the septum nasi with a few drops of cocaine and resorcin, I draw a line with a galvano-cautery point from a spot opposite the middle turbinated body, forwards and slightly downwards for a distance of rather less than half an inch. In about one week’s time I repeat the operation on the other side.” In his monograph on the subject, he classifies a large number of cases treated in this manner, most of which resulted in complete relief, some in very great improvement, and a very few in slight or no relief.

ASTI (anc. Hasta), a town and episcopal see of Piedmont, Italy, in the province of Alessandria, situated on the Tanaro; it is 22 m. W. by rail from Alessandria. Pop. (1901) town, 19,787; commune, 41,047. Asti has still numerous medieval towers, a fine Gothic cathedral of the 14th century, the remains of a Christian basilica of the 6th century, and the octagonal baptistery of S. Pietro (11th century). It was the birthplace of the poet Vittorio Alfieri. In ancient times it manufactured pottery. It is now famous for its sparkling wine (Asti spumante), and is a considerable centre of trade.

ASTLEY, JACOB ASTLEY, Baron (1579-1652), royalist commander in the English Civil War, came of a Norfolk family. In 1598 he joined Counts Maurice and Henry of Orange in the Netherlands, where he served with distinction, and afterwards fought under the elector palatine Frederick V. and Gustavus Adolphus in the Thirty Years’ War. He was evidently thought highly of by the states-general, for when he was absent, serving under the king of Denmark, his company in the Dutch army was kept open for him. Returning to England with a well-deserved reputation, he was in the employment of Charles I. in various military capacities. As “sergeant-major,” or general of the infantry, he went north in 1639 to organize the defence against the expected Scottish invasion. Here his duties were as much diplomatic as military, as the discontent which ended in the Civil War was now coming to a head. In the ill-starred “Bishops’ War,” Astley did good service to the cause of the king, and he was involved in the so-called “Army Plot.” At the outbreak of the Great Rebellion (1642) he at once joined Charles, and was made major-general of the foot. His characteristic battle-prayer at Edgebill has become famous: “O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget Thee, do not forget me. March on, boys!” At Gloucester he commanded a division, and at the first battle of Newbury he led the infantry of the royal army. With Hopton, in 1644, he served at Arundel and Cheriton. At the second battle of Newbury he made a gallant and memorable defence of Shaw House. He was made a baron by the king, and at Naseby he once more commanded the main body of the foot. He afterwards served in the west, and with 1500 men fought stubbornly but vainly the last battle for the king at Stow-on-the-Wold (March 1646). His remark to his captors has become as famous as his words at Edgehill, “You have now done your work and may go play, unless you will fall out amongst yourselves.” His scrupulous honour forbade him to take any part in the Second Civil War, as he had given his parole at Stow-on-the-Wold; but he had to undergo his share of the discomforts that were the lot of the vanquished royalists. He died in February 1651/2. The barony became extinct in 1668.

ASTLEY, SIR JOHN DUGDALE, Bart. (1828-1894), English soldier and sportsman, was a descendant of Lord Astley, and son of the 2nd baronet (cr. 1821). From 1848 to 1859 he was in the army, serving in the Crimean War and retiring as lieutenant-colonel. He married an heiress in 1858, and thenceforth devoted himself to horse-racing, pugilism and sport in general. He succeeded to the baronetcy in 1873, and from 1874 to 1880 was Conservative M.P. for North Lincolnshire. He was a popular figure on the turf, being familiarly known as “the Mate,” and won and lost large sums of money. Just before his death, on the 10th of October 1894, he published some entertaining reminiscences, under the title of Fifty Years of my Life.

ASTON, ANTHONY (fl. 1712-1731), English actor and dramatist, began to be known on the London stage in the early years of the 18th century. He had tried the law and other professions, which he finally abandoned for the theatre. He had some success as a dramatic author, writing Love in a Hurry, performed in Dublin about 1709, and Pastora, or the Coy Shepherdess, an opera (1712). For many years he toured the English provinces with his wife and son, producing pieces which he himself wrote, or medleys from various plays fitted together with songs and dialogues of his own.

ASTON MANOR, a municipal and parliamentary borough of Warwickshire, England, adjoining Birmingham on the north-east. Pop. (1901) 77,326. There are extensive manufactures, including those of motors and cycles with their accessories, also paper-mills, breweries, &c., and the population is largely industrial. Aston Hall, erected by Sir Thomas Holte in 1618-1635, is an admirable architectural example of its period, built of red brick. It stands in a large park, the whole property being acquired by the corporation of Birmingham in 1864, when the mansion became a museum and art gallery. It contains the panelling of a room from the house of Edmund Hector, which formerly stood in Old Square, Birmingham, where Dr Samuel Johnson was a frequent visitor. Aston Lower Grounds, adjoining the park, contain an assembly hall, and the playing field of the Aston Villa Football Club, where the more important games are witnessed by many thousands of spectators. Aston Manor was incorporated in 1903. The parliamentary borough returns one member. The corporation consists of a mayor, 6 aldermen and 18 councillors. Area, 960 acres.

ASTOR, JOHN JACOB (1763-1848), American merchant, was born at the village of Walldorf, near Heidelberg, Germany, on the 17th of July 1763. Until he was sixteen he worked in the shop of his father, a butcher; he then joined an elder brother in London, and there for four years was employed in the piano and flute factory of an uncle, of the firm of Astor & Broadwood. In 1783 he emigrated to America, and settled in New York, whither one of his brothers had previously gone. On the voyage he became acquainted with a fur-trader, by whose advice he devoted himself to the same business, buying furs directly from the Indians, preparing them at first with his own hands for the market, and selling them in London and elsewhere at a great profit. He was also the agent in New York of the firm of Astor & Broadwood. By his energy, industry and sound judgment he gradually enlarged his operations, did business in all the fur markets of the world, and amassed an enormous fortune,—the largest up to that time made by any American. He devoted many years to carrying out a project for organizing the fur trade from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Ocean, and thence by way of the Hawaiian Islands to China and India. In 1811 he founded at the mouth of the Columbia river a settlement named after him Astoria, which was intended to serve as the central depot; but two years later the settlement was seized and occupied by the English. The incidents of this undertaking are the theme of Washington Irving’s Astoria. A series of disasters frustrated the gigantic scheme. Astor made vast additions to his wealth by investments in real estate in New York City, and erected many buildings there, including the hotel known as the Astor House. The last twenty-five years of his life were spent in retirement in New York City, where he died on the 29th of March 1848, his fortune then being estimated at about $30,000,000. He made various charitable bequests by his will, and among them a gift of $50,000 to found an institution, opened as the “Astor House” in 1854, for the education of poor children and the relief of the aged and the destitute in his native village in Germany. His chief benefaction, however, was a bequest of $400,000 for the foundation and endowment of a public library in New York City, since known as the Astor library, and since 1895 part of the New York public library.

See Parton’s Life of John Jacob Astor (New York, 1865).

His eldest son, William Backhouse Astor (1792-1875), inherited the greater part of his father’s fortune, and chiefly by judicious investments in real estate greatly increased it. He was sometimes known as the “Landlord of New York.” Under