Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

more strictly used of the balanced arrangement of the parts of a picture, of a piece of sculpture or a building, so that they should form one harmonious whole. The word also means an agreement or an adjustment of differences between two or more parties, and is thus the best general term to describe the agreement, often called by the equivalent German word “Ausgleich,” between Austria and Hungary in 1867. A more particular use is the legal one, for an agreement by which a creditor agrees to take from his debtor a sum less than his debt in satisfaction of the whole (see Bankruptcy). In logic “composition” is the name given to a fallacy of equivocation, where what is true distributively of each member of a class is inferred to be true of the whole class collectively. The fallacy of “division” is the converse of this, where what is true of a term used collectively is inferred to be true of its several parts. A common source of these errors in reasoning is the confusion between the collective and distributive meanings of the word “all.” Composition, often shortened to “compo,” is the name given to many materials compounded of more than one substance, and is used in various trades and manufactures, as in building, for a mixture, such as stucco, cement and plaster, for covering walls, &c., often made to represent stone or marble; a similar moulded compound is employed to represent carved wood.

COMPOUND (from Lat. componere, to combine or put together), a combination of various elements, substances or ingredients, so as to form one composite whole. A “chemical compound” is a substance which can be resolved into simple constituents, as opposed to an element which cannot be so resolved (see Chemistry); a word is said to be a “compound” when it is made up of different words or parts of different words. The term is also used in an adjectival form with many applications; a “compound engine” is one where the expansion of the steam is effected in two or more stages (see Steam-engine); in zoology, the “compound eye” possessed by insects and crustacea is one which is made up of several ocelli or simple eyes, set together so that the whole has the appearance of being faceted (see Eye); in botany, the “compound leaf” has two or more separate blades on a common leaf-stalk; in surgery, in a “compound fracture” the skin is broken as well as the bone, and there is a communication between the two. There are many mathematical and arithmetical uses of the term, particularly of those forms of addition, multiplication, division and subtraction which deal with quantities of more than one denomination. Compound interest is interest paid upon interest, the accumulation of interest forming, as it were, a secondary principal. The verb “to compound” is used of the arrangement or settlement of differences, and especially of an agreement made to accept or to pay part of a debt in full discharge of the whole, and thus of the arrangement made by an insolvent debtor with his creditors (see Bankruptcy); similarly of the substitution of one payment for annual or other periodic payments,—thus subscriptions, university or other dues, &c., may be “compounded”; a particular instance of this is the system of “compounding” for rates, where the occupier of premises pays an increased rent, and the owner makes himself responsible for the payment of the rates. The householder who thus compounds with the owner of the premises he occupies is known as a “compound householder.” The payment of poor rate forming part of the qualification necessary for the parliamentary franchise in the United Kingdom, various statutes, leading up to the Compound Householders Act 1851, have enabled such occupiers to claim to be placed on the rate. In law, to compound a felony is to agree with the felon not to prosecute him for his crime, in return for valuable consideration, or, in the case of a theft, on return of the goods stolen. Such an agreement is a misdemeanour and is punishable with fine and imprisonment.

The name “compounders” was given during the reign of William III. of England to the members of a Jacobite faction, who were prepared to restore James II. to the throne, on the condition of an amnesty and an undertaking to preserve the constitution. Until 1853, in the university of Oxford, those possessing private incomes of a certain amount paid special dues for their degrees, and were known as Grand and Petty Compounders.

The corruption “compound” (from the Malay kampung or kampong, a quarter of a village) is the name applied to the enclosed ground, whether garden or waste, which surrounds an Anglo-Indian house. In India the European quarter, as a rule, is separate from the native quarter, and consists of a number of single houses, each standing in a compound, sometimes many acres in extent.

COMPOUND PIER, the architectural term given to a clustered column or pier which consists of a centre mass or newel, to which engaged or semi-detached shafts have been attached, in order to perform, or to suggest the performance of, certain definite structural objects, such as to carry arches of additional orders, or to support the transverse or diagonal ribs of a vault, or the tie beam of an important roof. In these cases, though performing different functions, the drums of the pier are often cut out of one stone. There are, however, cases where the shafts are detached from the pier and coupled to it by armulets at regular heights, as in the Early English period.

COMPRADOR (a Portuguese word used in the East, derived from the Lat. comparare, to procure), originally a native servant in European households in the East, but now the name given to the native managers in European business houses in China, and also to native contractors supplying ships in the Philippines and elsewhere in the East.

COMPRESSION, in astronomy, the deviation of a heavenly body from the spherical form, called also the “ellipticity.” It is numerically expressed by the ratio of the differences of the axes to the major axis of the spheroid. The compression or “flattening” of the earth is about 1/298, which means that the ratio of the equatorial to the polar axis is 298:297 (see Earth, Figure of the). In engineering the term is applied to the arrangement by which the exhaust valve of a steam-engine is made to close, shutting a portion of the exhaust steam in the cylinder, before the stroke of the piston is quite complete. This steam being compressed as the stroke is completed, a cushion is formed against which the piston does work while its velocity is being rapidly reduced, and thus the stresses in the mechanism due to the inertia of the reciprocating parts are lessened. This compression, moreover, obviates the shock which would otherwise be caused by the admission of the fresh steam for the return stroke. In internal combustion engines it is a necessary condition of economy to compress the explosive mixture before it is ignited: in the Otto cycle, for instance, the second stroke of the piston effects the compression of the charge which has been drawn into the cylinder by the first forward stroke.

COMPROMISE (pronounced cómprŏmize; through Fr. from Lat. compromittere), a term, meaning strictly a joint agreement, which has come to signify such a settlement as involves a mutual adjustment, with a surrender of part of each party’s claim. From the element of danger involved has arisen an invidious sense of the word, imputing discredit, so that being “compromised” commonly means injured in reputation.

COMPROMISE MEASURES OF 1850, in American history, a series of measures the object of which was the settlement of five questions in dispute between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States. Three of these questions grew out of the annexation of Texas and the acquisition of western territory as a result of the Mexican War. The settlers who had flocked to California after the discovery of gold in 1848 adopted an anti-slavery state constitution on the 13th of October 1849, and applied for admission into the Union. In the second place it was necessary to form a territorial government for the remainder of the territory acquired from Mexico, including that now occupied by Nevada and Utah, and parts of Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. The fundamental issue was in regard to the admission of slavery into, or the exclusion of slavery from, this region. Thirdly, there was a dispute over the western boundary of Texas. Should the Rio Grande be the line of division north of Mexico, or should an arbitrary boundary be established farther to the eastward; in other words, should a considerable part of