Open main menu

Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 11.djvu/370

This page needs to be proofread.


362


NOTES AND QUERIES. [9 th s. XL MAY 9, im


1827, Evans could not (in 1846) have been one of its "earliest students." But as, down to 1842. only two Dissenting preachers had been admitted, and even that small number had given rise to considerable clamour about " proselytizing," Evans was probably the third of that description ad- mitted, and almost certainly he was the hrst "biennial student" at Lampeter. Bishop Burgess had laid down originally four years and a half as the term of residence. I his was, from the very start, reduced to tour years, and subsequently to three years and a term known as the "grace term.' The admission of a student for a shorter period was, in the forties, wholly irregular. Indeed, in the next decade we find Rowland Williams writing thus (' Life,' i. 187) : " The ' two-year plan is only to be in very exceptional cases here. Our visitor did not wish it to get into print." In 1846, I believe, the Bishop (Bethell) of Bangor asked the Principal (Lewellin) of Lampeter to admit Evans as a biennial. It is certain that Lewellin would have done nothing of the sort unless it had served some private object of his own. He had at that time several y9ung relatives approaching manhood. Granting the bishop's request would therefore be a useful precedent. But there was a more pressing reason. An examination of the college calendar will show that between the death of Rice Rees in 1839 and the appointment of David Williams in 1854, there is a gap in the list of Welsh professors. As a matter of fact the calendar is misleading. Thatgapshould be filled uppartly by the name of " Prof. Jones," a relative of Lewellin's, and partly by the names of certain student lecturers. Jones had to resign his chair because he could not teach Welsh, and Silvan Evans, who was already known as a promis- ing young Welsh writer, was admitted as a biennial, the condition undoubtedly being that he should do the work of the Welsh professor without the professor s title or emoluments. As Evans's name does not appear among those who had passed the University Examiners ordeal, the presumption is that he was not examined at Lampeter at all. That he studied other subjects than Welsh while there may be taken for granted. Grotius's ' De Veritate Rel. Christ.' was at the time the alternative allowed those who did not take up Hebrew, and as Evans subsequently trans lated that work into Welsh, we may fairly conclude that he attended lectures on it al Lampeter. In a word, Silvan Evans owec little or nothing to Lampeter, but, on the contrary, may be described as the victim of a very sordid bargain there. J. P. OWEN.


BILLION: TRILLION. THERE is much confusion as to the signifi- cation of billion. No one can be sure of what s meant, unless it is denoted by figures. A rillion in the United States generally stands 'or a thousand millions (nine ciphers), and in ,he United Kingdom for a million millions twelve ciphers). Confusion is worse con- Jounded when we come to trillion, which may mean either a million millions (twelve ciphers), a million billions (eighteen ciphers), or a billion billions (twenty-four ciphers) billion here having the English signification. The French notation, adopted in the United States, has the advantage of being in corre- spondence with the universal punctuation of the figures by threes. Its defects are (1) the eye does not readily catch the number of igures embraced when the row is a long one ; ^2) the notation in each step utilizes up to iiuiidreds only, causing the inclusion and waste of a large number of titles in naming big numbers ; and (3) the punctuation is con- fusing in a long row, as there are more groups cut off (from the right) than the name of the number implies thus, million (six ciphers) has two groups, billion (nine ciphers) three groups, trillion (twelve ciphers) four groups, &c.

The English notation seems, at first sight, to be more logical. It appears to follow the natural course of numbers in exhausting the numeration obtained from the previous steps before reaching the next. Thus ten tens are a hundred, a thousand thousands are a million, a million millions are a billion. It fails, however, in two important links in the chain, for a hundred hundreds in that case should logically be a thousand, and a billion billions a trillion. It is also defective in two other respects. The usual punctuation is meaningless. To be appropriate, it should be in sixes instead of in threes. It is im- possible to name any high number by the English notation without a considerable in- spection of the figures embraced.

A method that would combine both the systems into one, not only ridding us of all doubt on the subject, but getting over the defects in each, is very desirable. 1 make the suggestion of the following one for that purpose. By it the significations of billion, trillion,* <fec., would become crystallized, and the better known and more commonly used terms of ten, hundred, thousand, and million left unchanged. The only alterations are the introduction into the terminology of the


  • Etymologically, a billion is two millions, and a

trillion three millions.