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CONKLING—CONNAUGHT, DUKE OF

America. These consist in an amplification of the method of concealing coins and cards at the back of the fingers. The principle has received the incongruous title of “back-palming.” By means of this method both back and front of the hand alternately can be shown empty, while, notwithstanding its apparent emptiness, the hand nevertheless conceals a coin or card. The first and fourth fingers are caused to act as pivots, upon which the concealed articles are turned from front to back, and vice versa, the turning being performed by the second and third fingers. The movement is very rapid, and is accomplished in the act of turning over the hand to show the two sides alternately. The sleight requires an enormous amount of practice. It has been brought to the highest state of perfection by Herr Valadon.

In all ages a very popular magical effect has been the apparent floating of a person in empty space. An endless variety of ingenious apparatus has been invented for the purpose of producing such effects, and the present article would be incomplete without some reference to one or two of the more modern examples. A very pretty illusion of this kind is that originally produced under the title of “Astarte.” A lady is brought forward, and after making her bow to the audience she retires to the back of the stage, the whole of which is draped with black velvet and kept in deep shadow. There she is caused to rise in the air, to move from side to side, to advance and retire, and to revolve in all directions. The secret consists in an iron lever, covered with velvet to match the background, and therefore invisible to the audience. This lever is passed through an opening in the back curtain and attached to a socket upon the metal girdle worn by the performer. The girdle consists of two rings, one inside the other, the inner one being capable of turning about its axis. By means of this main lever and a spindle passing through it and gearing into the inner ring of the girdle, the various movements are produced. A hoop is passed over the performer with a view to demonstrate her complete isolation, but the audience is not allowed to examine it. It has a spring joint which allows it to pass the supporting lever. Among illusions of this class there is probably none that will bear comparison with the “levitation” mystery produced by Mr Maskelyne. A performer, in a recumbent position, is caused to rise several feet from the stage, and to remain suspended in space while an intensely brilliant light is thrown upon him, illuminating the entire surroundings. Persons walk completely round him, and a solid steel hoop, examined by the audience, is passed over him, backwards and forwards, to prove the absence of any tangible connexion.

The secrets of conjuring were for a long time jealously guarded by its professors, but in 1793 a work appeared in Paris, by M. Decremps, entitled Testament de Jérome Sharpe, professeur de physique amusante, which gives a very fair account of the methods then in vogue. In 1858 a still more important and accurate book was published—Sorcellerie ancienne et moderne expliquée, by J. N. Pousin; and in 1868 J. E. Robert-Houdin issued his Secrets de la prestidigation et de la magie, which is a masterly exposition of the entire art and mystery of conjuring. The last-mentioned book was translated into English by Professor Louis Hoffman, the author of Modern Magic. See also Hoffman, More Magic, and Later Magic; Edwin Sachs, Sleight of Hand; and J. N. Maskelyne, Sharps and Flats.  (J. A. Cl.; G. Fa.; J. N. M.) 


CONKLING, ROSCOE (1829–1888), American lawyer and political leader, was born in Albany, New York, on the 30th of October 1829. He was the son of Alfred Conkling (1789–1874), who was a representative in Congress from New York in 1821–1823, a Federal district judge in 1825–1852, and U.S. minister to Mexico in 1852–1853. Roscoe Conkling was admitted to the bar at Utica, New York, in 1850, was appointed district-attorney of Oneida county in the same year, and soon attained success in the practice of his profession. At first a Whig, he joined the Republican party at its formation, and was a Republican representative in Congress from 1859 to 1863. He refused to follow the financial policy of his party in 1862, and delivered a notable speech against the passage of the Legal Tender Act, which made a certain class of treasury notes receivable for all public and private debts. In this opposition he was joined by his brother, Frederick Augustus Conkling (1816–1891), at that time also a Republican member of Congress. In 1863 he resumed the practice of law, and in April 1865 was appointed a special judge advocate by the secretary of war to investigate alleged frauds in the recruiting service in western New York. He was again a representative in Congress from December 1865 until 1867, when he entered the Senate. After the war he allied himself with the radical wing of his party, was a member of the joint committee that outlined the congressional plan of reconstructing the late Confederate States, and laboured for the impeachment of President Johnson. During President Grant’s administration he was a member of the senatorial coterie that influenced most of the president’s policies, and in 1873 Grant urged him to accept an appointment as chief justice of the Supreme Court, but he declined. In the Republican national convention of 1876 Conkling sought nomination for the presidency, and after the disputed election of this year he took a prominent part in devising and securing the passage of a bill creating an electoral commission. In 1880 he was one of the leaders of the unsuccessful movement to nominate Grant for a third presidential term. With Grant’s successors, Hayes and Garfield, his relations were not cordial; an opponent of civil service reform, he came into conflict with President Hayes over the removal of Chester A. Arthur and other federal office-holders in New York; and when in 1881 President Garfield, without consulting him, appointed William H. Robertson, a political opponent of Conkling, as collector of the port of New York, and when this appointment was confirmed by the Senate in spite of Conkling’s opposition, Conkling and his associate senator from New York, Thomas C. Platt, resigned their seats in the Senate and sought re-election as a personal vindication. Being unsuccessful, Conkling took up the practice of law in New York city, again declining, in 1882, a place on the bench of the Supreme Court, and appeared in a number of important cases. While in public life Conkling always attracted attention by his abilities, his keenness and eloquence in debate, his aggressive leadership and his striking personality. Though always a strenuous worker in Congress, he was not the originator of any great legislative measures, and his efficiency as a law-maker is thought to have been much impaired by his personal animosities. His hostility to James G. Blaine, a fellow Republican senator, was especially marked. He died in New York city on the 18th of April 1888.

See A. R. Conkling (ed.), The Life and Letters of Roscoe Conkling (New York, 1889).


CONN, LOUGH, a lake of western Ireland, in Co. Mayo. Its length (N.N.W. to S.S.E.) is 9 m. and its extreme breadth rather over 4 m., but two promontories projecting from opposite shores about the centre narrow it to less than 1 m. On the south a passage so narrow as to be bridged communicates with Lough Cullin; the current through this channel, normally from Conn to Cullin, is sometimes reversed. The total length of the two loughs is nearly 12 m. They drain eastward by a short channel tributary to the Moy, and the principal affluents are the Deel and the Manulla. Lough Conn lies 42 ft. above sea-level. It contains a few islands, and its shores are generally low, but the isolated mass of Nephin (2646 ft.) rises finely on the west. The lake is in favour with anglers.


CONNAUGHT, ARTHUR WILLIAM PATRICK ALBERT, Duke of (1850–), third son and seventh child of Queen Victoria, was born at Buckingham Palace on the 1st of May 1850. Being destined for the army, the young prince was entered at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, in 1866, and gazetted to the Royal Engineers on the 19th of June 1868. In the following November he was transferred to the Royal Artillery, and on the 3rd of August 1869 to the Rifle Brigade. He became captain in 1871, and, transferred to the 7th Hussars in 1874, was promoted major in 1875, and returned to the Rifle Brigade as lieutenant colonel in September 1876. He was promoted colonel and major general in 1880, lieutenant-general in 1889, and general in 1893. He accompanied the expeditionary force to Egypt in 1882, and commanded the Guards brigade at the battle of Tel-el-Kebir. He was mentioned three times in dispatches, received the C.B.