Open main menu
This page needs to be proofread.

be numerically the same as the ratio of the electromagnetic and electrostatic units. In fact, the means of the best determinations of each of these quantities separately agree with one another more closely than do the various values of either. One of Maxwell's last great contributions to science was the editing (with copious original notes) of the Electrical Researches of the Hon. Henry Cavendish, from which it appeared that Cavendish, already famous by many other researches (such as the mean density of the earth, the composition of water, &c.), must be looked on as, in his day, a man of Maxwell's own stamp as a theorist and an experimenter of the very first rank. In private life Clerk Maxwell was one of the most lovable of men, a sincere and unostentatious Christian. Though perfectly free from any trace of envy or ill-will, he yet showed on fit occasion his contempt for that pseudo-science which seeks for the applause of the ignorant by professing to reduce the whole system of the universe to a fortuitous sequence of uncaused events.

His collected works, including the series of articles on the properties of matter, such as “Atom,” “Attraction,” “Capillary Action,” “Diffusion,” “Ether,” &c., which he contributed to the 9th edition of this encyclopedia, were issued in two volumes by the Cambridge University Press in 1890; and an extended biography, by his former schoolfellow and lifelong friend Professor Lewis Campbell, was published in 1882. (P. G. T.)

MAXWELLTOWN, a burgh of barony and police burgh of Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland. Pop. (1901), 5796. It lies on the Nith, opposite to Dumfries, with which it is connected by three bridges, being united with it for parliamentary purposes. It has a station on the Glasgow & South-Western line from Dumfries to Kirkcudbright. Its public buildings include a court-house, the prison for the south-west of Scotland, and an observatory and museum, housed in a disused windmill. The chief manufactures are woollens and hosiery, besides dyeworks and sawmills. It was a hamlet known as Bridgend up till 1810, in which year it was erected into a burgh of barony under its present name. To the north-west lies the parish of Terregles, said to be a corruption of Tir-eglwys (terra ecclesia, that is, “ Kirk land ”). The parish contains the beautiful ruin of Lincluden Abbey (see Dumfries), and Terregles House, once the seat of William Maxwell, last earl of Nithsdale. In the parish of Lochrutton, a few miles south-west of Maxwelltown, there is a good example of a stone circle, the “ Seven Grey Sisters,” and an old peel-tower in the Mains of Hills.

MAY, PHIL (1864–1903), English caricaturist, was born at Wortley, near Leeds, on the 22nd of April 1864, the son of an engineer. His father died when the child was nine years old, and at twelve he had begun to earn his living. Before he was fifteen he had acted as time-keeper at a foundry, had tried to become a jockey, and had been on the stage at Scarborough and Leeds. When he was about seventeen he went to London with a sovereign in his pocket. He suffered extreme want, sleeping out in the parks and streets, until he obtained employment as designer to.a theatrical costumier. He also drew posters and cartoons, and for about two years worked for the St Stephen's Review, until he was advised to go to Australia for his health. During the three years he spent there he was attached to the Sydney Bulletin, for which many of his best drawings were made. On his return to Europe he went to Paris by way of Rome, where he worked hard for some time before he appeared in 1892 in London to resume his interrupted Connexion with the St Stephen's Review. His studies of the London “guttersnipe” and the coster-girl rapidly made him famous. His overflowing sense of fun, his genuine sympathy with his subjects, and his kindly wit were on a par with his artistic ability. It was often said that the extraordinary economy of line which was a characteristic feature of his drawings had been forced upon him by the deficiencies of the printing machines of the Sydney Bulletin. It was in fact the result of a laborious process which involved a number of preliminary sketches, and of a carefully considered system of elimination. His later work included some excellent political portraits. He became a regular member of the staff of Punch in 1896, and in his later years his services were retained exclusively for Punch and the Graphic. He died on the 5th of August 1903.

There was an exhibition of his drawings at the Fine Arts Society in 1895, and another at the Leicester Galleries in 1903. A selection of his drawings contributed to the periodical press and from Phil May's Annual and Phil May's Sketch Books, with a portrait and biography of the artist, entitled The Phil May Folio, appeared in 1903.

MAY, THOMAS (1595–1659), English poet and historian, son of Sir Thomas May of Mayfield, Sussex, was born in 1595. He entered Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, in 1609, and took his B.A. degree three years later. His father having lost his fortune and sold the family estate, Thomas May, who was hampered by an impediment in his speech, made literature his profession. In 1620 he produced The Heir, an ingeniously constructed comedy, and, probably about the same time, The Old Couple, which was not printed until 1658. His other dramatic works are classical tragedies on the subjects of Antigone, Cleopatra, and Agrippina. F. G. Fleay has suggested that the more famous anonymous tragedy of Nero (printed 1624, reprints in A. H. Bullen's Old English Plays and the Mermaid Series) should also be assigned to May. But his most important work in the department of pure literature was his translation (1627) into heroic couplets of the Pharsalia of Lucan. Its success led May to write a continuation of Lucan's narrative down to the death of Caesar. Charles' I. became his patron, and commanded him to write metrical histories of Henry II. and Edward III., which were completed in 1635. When the earl of Pembroke, then lord Chamberlain, broke his staff across May's shoulders at a masque, the king took him under his protection as “my poet, 'f and Pembroke made him an apology accompanied with a gift of £50. These marks of the royal favour seem to have led May to expect the posts of poet laureate and city chronologer when they fell vacant on the death of Ben Jonson in 1637, but he was disappointed, and he forsook the court and attached himself to the party of the Parliament. In 1646 he is styled one of the “ secretaries ” of the Parliament, and in 1647 he published his best known work, The History of the Long Parliament. In this official apology for the moderate or Presbyterian party, he professes to give an impartial statement of facts, unaccompanied by any expression of party or personal opinion. If he refrained from actual invective, he accomplished his purpose, according to Guizot, by “ omission, palliation and dissimulation.” Accusations of this kind were foreseen by May, who says in his preface that if he gives more information about the Parliament men than their opponents it is that he was more conversant with them and their affairs. In I6SO he followed this with another work written with a more definite bias, a Breviary of the History of the Parliament of England, in Latin and English, in which he defended the position of the Independents. He stopped short of the catastrophe of the king's execution, and it seems likely that his subservience to Cromwell was not quite voluntary. In February 1650 he was brought to London from Weymouth under a strong guard for having spread false reports of the Parliament and of Cromwell. He died on the 13th of November in the same year, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, but after the Restoration his remains were exhumed and buried in a pit in the yard of St Margaret's, Westminster. May's change of side made him many bitter enemies, and he is the object of scathing condemnation from many of his contemporaries.

There is a long notice of May in the Biographia Britannica. See also W. J. Courthope, Hitt. of Eng. Poetry, vol. 3; and Guizot, Etudes biographiques sur la revolution d’Angleterre (pp. 403-426, ed. 1851).

MAY, or Mey(e), WILLIAM (d. 1560), English divine, was the brother of John May, bishop of Carlisle. He was educated at Cambridge, where he was a fellow of Trinity Hall, and in 1537, president of Queen’s College. May heartily supported the Reformation, signed the Ten Articles in 1536, and helped in the production of The Institution of a Christian Man. He had close connexion with the diocese of Ely, being