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CHARWOMAN—CHASE, S. P.

of the Guiers Mort. The original settlement here was founded by St Bruno about 1084, and derived its name from the small village to the S.E., formerly known as Cartusia, and now as St Pierre de Chartreuse. The first convent on the present site was built between 1132 and 1137, but the actual buildings date only from about 1676, the older ones having been often burnt. The convent stands in a very picturesque position in a large meadow, sloping to the S.W., and watered by a tiny tributary of the Guiers Mort. On the north, fine forests extend to the Col de la Ruchère, and on the west rise well-wooded heights, while on the east tower white limestone ridges, culminating in the Grand Som (6670 ft.). One of the most famous of the early Carthusian monks was St Hugh of Lincoln, who lived here from 1160 to 1181, when he went to England to found the first Carthusian house at Witham in Somerset; in 1186 he became bishop of Lincoln, and before his death in 1200 had built the angel choir and other portions of the wonderful cathedral there.

The principal approach to the convent is from St Laurent du Pont, a village situated on the Guiers Mort, and largely built by the monks—it is connected by steam tramways with Voiron (for Grenoble) and St Béron (for Chambéry). Among the other routes may be mentioned those from Grenoble by Le Sappey, or by the Col de la Charmette, or from Chambéry by the Col de Couz and the village of Les Échelles. St Laurent is about 5½ m. from the convent. The road mounts along the Guiers Mort and soon reaches the hamlet of Fourvoirie, so called from forata via, as about 1510 the road was first pierced hence towards the convent. Here are iron forges, and here was formerly the chief centre of the manufacture of the famed Chartreuse liqueur. Beyond, the road enters the “Désert” and passes through most delightful scenery. Some way farther the Guiers Mort is crossed by the modern bridge of St Bruno, the older bridge of Parant being still visible higher up the stream. Here begins the splendid carriage road, constructed by M. E. Viaud between 1854 and 1856. It soon passes beneath the bold pinnacle of the Oeillette or Aiguillette, beyond which formerly women were not allowed to penetrate. After passing through four tunnels the road bends north (leaving the Guiers Mort which flows past St Pierre de Chartreuse), and the valley soon opens to form the upland hollow in which are the buildings of the convent. These are not very striking, the high roofs of dark slate, the cross-surmounted turrets and the lofty clock-tower being the chief features. But the situation is one of ideal peace and repose. Women were formerly lodged in the old infirmary, close to the main gate, which is now a hôtel. Within the conventual buildings are four halls formerly used for the reception of the priors of the various branch houses in France, Italy, Burgundy and Germany. The very plain and unadorned chapel dates from the 15th century, but the cloisters, around which cluster the thirty-six small houses for the fully professed monks, are of later date. The library contained before the Revolution a very fine collection of books and MSS., now mostly in the town library at Grenoble.

The monks were expelled in 1793, but allowed to return in 1816, but then they had to pay rent for the use of the buildings and the forests around, though both one and the other were due to the industry of their predecessors. They were again expelled in 1904, and are dispersed in various houses in England, at Pinerolo (Italy) and at Tarragona (Spain). It is at the last-named spot that the various pharmaceutical preparations are now manufactured for which they are famous (though sold only since about 1840)—the Elixir, the Boule d’acier (a mineral paste or salve), and the celebrated liqueur. The magnificent revenues derived from the profits of this manufacture were devoted by the monks to various purposes of benevolence, especially in the neighbouring villages, which owe to this source their churches, schools, hospitals, &c., &c., built and maintained at the expense of the monks.

See La Grande Chartreuse par un Chartreux (Grenoble, 1898); H. Ferrand, Guide à la Grande Chartreuse (1889); and Les Montagnes de la Chartreuse (1899)  (W. A. B. C.) 


CHARWOMAN, one who is hired to do occasional household work. “Char” or “chare,” which forms the first part of the word, is common, in many forms, to Teutonic languages, meaning a “turn,” and, in this original sense, is seen in “ajar,” properly “on char,” of a door “on the turn” in the act of closing. It is thus applied to a “turn of work,” an odd job, and is so used, in the form “chore,” in America, and in dialects of the south-west of England.


CHASE, SALMON PORTLAND (1808–1873), American statesman and jurist, was born in Cornish township, New Hampshire, on the 13th of January 1808. His father died in 1817, and the son passed several years (1820–1824) in Ohio with his uncle, Bishop Philander Chase (1775–1852), the foremost pioneer of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the West, the first bishop of Ohio (1819–1831), and after 1835 bishop of Illinois. He graduated at Dartmouth College in 1826, and after studying law under William Wirt, attorney-general of the United States, in Washington, D.C., was admitted to the bar in 1829, and removed to Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1830. Here he soon gained a position of prominence at the bar, and published an annotated edition, which long remained standard, of the laws of Ohio. At a time when public opinion in Cincinnati was largely dominated by Southern business connexions, Chase, influenced probably by James G. Birney, associated himself after about 1836 with the anti-slavery movement, and became recognized as the leader of the political reformers as opposed to the Garrisonian abolitionists. To the cause he freely gave his services as a lawyer, and was particularly conspicuous as counsel for fugitive slaves seized in Ohio for rendition to slavery under the Fugitive Slave Law of 1793—indeed, he came to be known as the “attorney-general of fugitive slaves.” His argument (1847) in the famous Van Zandt case before the United States Supreme Court attracted particular attention, though in this as in other cases of the kind the judgment was against him. In brief he contended that slavery was “local, not national,” that it could exist only by virtue of positive State Law, that the Federal government was not empowered by the Constitution to create slavery anywhere, and that “when a slave leaves the jurisdiction of a state he ceases to be a slave, because he continues to be a man and leaves behind him the law which made him a slave.” In 1841 he abandoned the Whig party, with which he had previously been affiliated, and for seven years was the undisputed leader of the Liberty party in Ohio; he was remarkably skilful in drafting platforms and addresses, and it was he who prepared the national Liberty platform of 1843 and the Liberty address of 1845. Realizing in time that a third party movement could not succeed, he took the lead during the campaign of 1848 in combining the Liberty party with the Barnburners or Van Buren Democrats of New York to form the Free-Soilers. He drafted the famous Free-Soil platform, and it was largely through his influence that Van Buren was nominated for the presidency. His object, however, was not to establish a permanent new party organization, but to bring pressure to bear upon Northern Democrats to force them to adopt a policy opposed to the further extension of slavery.

In 1849 he was elected to the United States Senate as the result of a coalition between the Democrats and a small group of Free-Soilers in the state legislature; and for some years thereafter, except in 1852, when he rejoined the Free-Soilers, he classed himself as an Independent Democrat, though he was out of harmony with the leaders of the Democratic party. During his service in the Senate (1849–1855) he was pre-eminently the champion of anti-slavery in that body, and no one spoke more ably than he did against the Compromise Measures of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Bill of 1854. The Kansas-Nebraska legislation, and the subsequent troubles in Kansas, having convinced him of the futility of trying to influence the Democrats, he assumed the leadership in the North-west of the movement to form a new party to oppose the extension of slavery. The “Appeal of the Independent Democrats in Congress to the People of the United States,” written by Chase and Giddings, and published in the New York Times of the 24th of January 1854, may be regarded as the earliest draft of the Republican party creed. He was the first Republican governor of Ohio,