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COLET, L.—COLIC

1867–1876, are Absolutissimus de octo orationis partium constructione libellus (Antwerp, 1530), Rudimenta Grammatices (London, 1539), Daily Devotions, Monition to a Godly Life, Epistolae ad Erasmum, and commentaries on different parts of the Bible.

See F. Seebohm, The Oxford Reformers; J. H. Lupton, Life of John Colet (1887); art. in The Times, July 7, 1909.


COLET, LOUISE (1810–1876), French poet and novelist, was born at Aix of a Provençal family named Revoil, on the 15th of September 1810. In 1835 she came to Paris with her husband Hippolyte Colet (1808–1851), a composer of music and professor of harmony and counterpoint at the conservatoire. In 1836 appeared her Fleurs du Midi, a volume of verse, of liberal tendency, followed by Penserosa (1839), a second volume of verse; by La Jeunesse de Goethe (1839), a one-act comedy; by Les Cœurs brisés (1843), a novel; Les Funerailles de Napoléon (1840), a poem, and La Jeunesse de Mirabeau (1841), a novel. Her works were crowned five or six times by the Institute, a distinction which she owed, however, to the influence of Victor Cousin rather than to the quality of her work. The criticisms on her books and on the prizes conferred on her by the Academy exasperated her; and in 1841 Paris was diverted by her attempted reprisals on Alphonse Karr for certain notices in Les Guêpes. In 1849 she had to defend an action brought against her by the heirs of Madame Récamier, whose correspondence with Benjamin Constant she had published in the columns of the Presse. She produced a host of writings in prose and verse, but she is perhaps best known for her intimate connexion with some of her famous contemporaries, Abel Villemain, Gustave Flaubert and Victor Cousin. Only one of her books is now of interest—Lui: roman contemporain (1859), the novel in which she told the story of her life. She died on the 8th of March 1876.


COLEUS, a genus of herbaceous or shrubby plants belonging to the natural order Labiatae, chiefly natives of the tropics. They are very ornamental plants, the colour of their leaves being exceedingly varied, and often very brilliant. They are of the easiest culture. The cuttings of young shoots should be propagated every year, about March, being planted in thumb pots, in sandy loam, and placed in a close temperature of 70°. After taking root shift into 6-in. pots, using ordinary light loamy compost, containing abundance of leaf-mould and sand, and keeping them near the light. They may be passed on into larger pots as often as required, but 8-in. pots will be large enough for general purposes, as they can be fed with liquid manure. The young spring-struck plants like a warm growing atmosphere, but by midsummer they will bear more air and stand in a greenhouse or conservatory. They should be wintered in a temperature of 60° to 65°. The stopping of the young shoots must be regulated by the consideration whether bushy or pyramidal plants are desired. Some of the varieties are half-hardy and are used for summer bedding.


COLFAX, SCHUYLER (1823–1885), American political leader, vice-president of the United States from 1869 to 1873, was born in New York city on the 23rd of March 1823. His father died before the son’s birth, and his mother subsequently married a Mr Matthews. The son attended the public schools of New York until he was ten, and then became a clerk in his step-father’s store, removing in 1836 with his mother and step-father to New Carlisle, Indiana. In 1841 he removed to South Bend, where for eight years he was deputy auditor (his step-father being auditor) of St Joseph county; in 1842–1844 he was assistant enrolling clerk of the state senate and senate reporter for the Indiana State Journal. In 1845 he established the St Joseph Valley Register, which he published for eighteen years and made an influential Whig and later Republican journal. In 1850 he was a member of the state constitutional convention, and in 1854 took an active part in organizing the “Anti-Nebraska men” (later called Republicans) of his state, and was by them sent to Congress. Here he served with distinction from 1855 until 1869, the last six years as speaker of the House. At the close of the Civil War he was a leading member of the radical wing of the Republican party, advocating the disfranchisement of all who had been prominent in the service of the Confederacy, and declaring that “loyalty must govern what loyalty has preserved.” In 1868 he had presidential aspirations, and was not without supporters. He accepted, however, the Republican nomination as vice-president on a ticket headed by General Grant, and was elected; but he failed in 1872 to secure renomination. During the political campaign of 1872 he was accused, with other prominent politicians, of being implicated in corrupt transactions with the Crédit Mobilier, and a congressional investigation brought out the fact that he had agreed to take twenty shares from this concern, and had received dividends amounting to $1200. It also leaked out during the investigation that he had received in 1868, as a campaign contribution, a gift of $4000 from a contractor who had supplied the government with envelopes while Colfax was chairman of the post office committee of the House. At the close of his term Colfax returned to private life under a cloud, and during the remainder of his lifetime earned a livelihood by delivering popular lectures. He died at Mankato, Minnesota, on the 13th of January 1885.

See J. C. Hollister’s Life of Schuyler Colfax (New York, 1886).


COLIC (from the Gr. κόλον or κῶλον, the large intestine), a term in medicine of very indefinite meaning, used by physicians outside England for any paroxysmal abdominal pain, but generally limited in England to a sudden sharp pain having its origin in the pelvis of the kidney, the ureter, gall-bladder, bile-ducts or intestine. Thus it is customary to speak of renal, biliary or intestinal colic. There is a growing tendency, however, among professional men of to-day, to restrict the use of the word to a pain produced by the contraction of the muscular walls of any of the hollow viscera of which the aperture has become more or less occluded, temporarily or otherwise. For renal and biliary colic, see the articles Kidney Diseases and Liver, only intestinal colic being treated in this place.

In infants, usually those who are “bottle-fed,” colic is exceedingly common, and is shown by the drawing up of their legs, their restlessness and their continuous cries.

Among adults one of the most serious causes is that due to lead-poisoning and known as lead colic (Syn. painters’ colic, colica Pictonum, Devonshire colic), from its having been clearly ascertained to be due to the absorption of lead into the system (see Lead-Poisoning). This disease had been observed and described long before its cause was discovered. Its occurrence in an epidemic form among the inhabitants of Poitou was recorded by François Citois (1572–1652) in 1617, under the title of Novus et popularis apud Pictones dolor colicus biliosus. The disease was thereafter termed colica Pictonum. It was supposed to be due to the acidity of the native wines, but it was afterwards found to depend on lead contained in them. A similar epidemic broke out in certain parts of Germany in the end of the 17th century, and was at the time believed by various physicians to be caused by the admixture of acid wines with litharge to sweeten them.

About the middle of the 18th century this disease, which had long been known to prevail in Devonshire, was carefully investigated by Sir George Baker (1722–1809), who succeeded in tracing it unmistakably to the contamination of the native beverage, cider, with lead, either accidentally from the leadwork of the vats and other apparatus for preparing the liquor, or from its being sweetened with litharge.

In Germany a similar colic resulting from the absorption of copper occurs, but it is almost unknown in England.

The simplest form of colic is that arising from habitual constipation, the muscular wall of the intestines contracting painfully to overcome the resistance of hardened scybalous masses of faeces, which cause more or less obstruction to the onward passage of the intestinal contents. Another equally common cause is that due to irritating or indigestible food such as apples, pears or nuts, heavy pastry, meat pies and puddings, &c. It may then be associated with either constipation or diarrhoea, though the latter is the more common. It may result from any form of enteritis as simple, mucous and ulcerative colitis, or an intestinal malignant growth. The presence