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BASCOM—BASE–BALL

they occur in immense masses, and cover great areas. In Washington, Oregon, and Idaho many thousands of square miles are occupied by basaltic-lava flows. In the Sandwich Islands and Iceland they are the prevalent lavas; and the well-known columnar jointed basalts of Skye, Staffa, and Antrim (Giant's Causeway) form a southward extension of the Icelandic volcanic province, with which they are connected by the similar rocks of the Faeroe Islands. In the Deccan in India great basaltic lava fields are known; and Etna and Vesuvius emit basaltic rocks. In older geological periods they were not less common; for example, in the Carboniferous in Scotland.  (J. S. F.) 


BASCOM, JOHN (1827- ), American educationalist and philosophical writer, was born at Genoa, New York, on the 1st of May 1827. He graduated at Williams College in 1849 and at the Andover Theological Seminary in 1855, was professor of rhetoric at Williams College from 1855 to 1874, and was president of the University of Wisconsin and professor of mental and moral philosophy there from 1874 to 1887. In 1887-1891 and in 1901-1903 he was lecturer in sociology, and in 1891-1901 professor of economics in Williams College. He retired in 1903. Among his publications may be mentioned: Aesthetics (1862); Philosophy of Rhetoric (1865); Science, Philosophy and Religion (1871); Philosophy of English Literature (1874); Philosophy of Religions (1876); Problems in Philosophy (1885); The New Theology (1891); Social Theory (1895); Evolution and Religion (1896); Growth of Nationality in the United States (1899); and God and His Goodness (1901).


BASE (1) (Fr. bas, Late Lat. bassus, low; cf. Gr. βαθύς) an adjective meaning low or deep, and so mean, worthless, or wicked. This sense of the word has sometimes affected the next, which is really distinct. (2) (Gr. βάσις, strictly "stepping," and so a foundation or pedestal) a term for a foundation or starting point, used in various senses; in sports, e.g. hockey and baseball; in geometry, the line or face on which a figure or solid stands; in crystallography, e.g. "basal plane"; in surveying, in the "base line," an accurately measured distance between the points from which the survey is conducted; in heraldry, in the phrase "in base," applied to any figure or emblem placed in the lowest part of a shield.

In chemistry the term denotes a substance which combines with an acid to form a salt. In inorganic chemistry such compounds are almost invariably oxides or hydroxides, and water in eliminated during the combination; but in organic chemistry many compounds exist, especially ammonia derivatives, which directly combine with acids. Chemical bases are consequently antithetical to acids; and an acid is neutralized by a base with the production of a salt. They reverse certain colour reactions of acids, e.g. turn red litmus blue; this is termed an "alkaline reaction."

In architecture the "base" is the lowest member of a column or shaft. In Egyptian and Greek architecture it is the raised slab in stone or cement on which the primitive timber column was placed, to keep it dry. Afterwards it was always reproduced in Egypt, even although the column, being in stone, no longer required it; a custom probably retained because, being of a much larger circumference than the lower part of the column, it gave increased stability. In Assyrian architecture, where it served to carry wooden posts or columns, it took the form of a large torus moulding with enrichments. In Persian architecture the base was much higher than in any other style, and was elaborately carved. In primitive Greek work the base consisted of the stone plinth as found in Crete and Tiryns, and of three small steps at Mycenae. In archaic Greek work it has already disappeared in the Doric order, but in the Ionic and Corinthian orders it is more or less richly moulded, the most elaborate examples being those found in the temple of Apollo at Branchidae in Milesia. For the contour of the mouldings see Orders. The Roman orders all have the favourite design known as the Attic base. Romanesque bases were rude but vigorous copies of the old classic base, and were often decorated with projections or spurs (Fr. griffes) at the angles of the square dies, thus connecting them with the square base. In the Early English style, these spurs followed the conventional design of the period, and about the same time the mouldings were deeply sunk and occasionally cut downwards, so that they would have held water if used externally. Later, the base becomes less bold in treatment, but much more complex in its contours, and in the 15th century is given an unusual height with two stages, the lower one constituting a kind of plinth, which is sometimes known as the ground table, or the base course.

A Base Court (Fr. basse cour, i.e. the lower court), is the first open space within the gates of a castle. It was used for exercising cavalry, and keeping live stock during a siege. (See Enceinte).

The Base of a Wall or Ground Table, in architecture, is the mouldings round a building just above ground; they mostly consist of similar members to those above described and run round the buttresses. The flat band between the plinth and upper mouldings is frequently panelled and carved with shields, as in Henry VII. Chapel at Westminster.


BASE-BALL (so-called from the bases and ball used), the national summer sport of the United States, popular also throughout Canada and in Japan. Its origin is obscure. According to some authorities it is derived from the old English game of rounders (q.v.), several variations of which were played in America during the colonial period; according to other authorities, its resemblance to rounders is merely a coincidence, and it had its origin in the United States, probably at Cooperstown, New York, in 1839, when it is said, Abner Doubleday (later a general in the U.S. army) devised a scheme for playing it. About the beginning of the 19th century a game generally known as "One Old Cat" became popular with schoolboys in the North Atlantic states; this game was played by three boys, each fielding and batting in turn, a run being scored by the batsman running to a single base and back without being put out. Two Old Cat, Three Old Cat, and Four Old Cat were modifications of this game, having respectively four, six, and eight players. A development of this game bore the name of town-ball and the Olympic Town-Ball Club of Philadelphia was organized in 1833. Matches between organized base-ball clubs were first played in the neighbourhood of New York, where the Washington Baseball Club was founded in 1843. The first regular code of rules was drawn up in 1845 by the Knickerbocker Baseball Club and used in its matches with the Gotham Eagle and Empire clubs of New York, and the Excelsior, Putnam, Atlantic and Eckford clubs of Brooklyn. In 1858 the first National Association was organized, and, while its few simple laws were generally similar to the corresponding rules of the present code, the ball was larger and "livelier," and the pitcher was compelled to deliver it with a full toss, no approach to a throw being allowed. The popularity of the game spread rapidly, resulting in the organization of many famous clubs, such as the Beacon and Lowell of Boston, the Red Stockings of Cincinnati, the Forest City of Cleveland and the Maple Leaf of Guelph, but owing to the sharp rivalry between the foremost teams, semi-professionalism soon crept in, although in those days a man who played for a financial consideration always had some other means of livelihood, as the income to be derived from playing ball in the summer time was not enough to support him throughout the year. In spite of its popularity, the game acquired certain undesirable adjuncts. The betting and pool selling evils became prominent, and before long the game was in thorough disrepute. It was not only generally believed that the matches were not played on their merits, but it was known that players themselves were not above selling contests. At that time many of the journals of the day foretold the speedy downfall of the sport. A convention of those interested financially and otherwise in the game, was held in 1867 in Philadelphia, and an effort was made to effect a reformation. That the sport even then was by no means insignificant can be seen from the fact that in that convention some 500 organizations were represented. While the work done at the convention did not accomplish all that was expected, it did produce certain reforms, and the sport grew rapidly thereafter both in the eastern and in the middle western part of the United States. In the next five years the