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was a convention which deposed James II. National convention was the name of the assembly of the delegates of the French nation; so, in the U. States, there have been, of late years, various conventions to amend the constitutions of the several states respectively, as the Virginia convention, &c. CONVENTION MONEY (in German, Conventionsgeld); money coined according to the 20 guilder standard of 1753. The courts of Vienna and Munich made a convention, in that year, to coin 283 guilders 5 kreuzers and 344 pence (Pfennige) of one fine mark of gold; and 20 guilders, or 13 convention dollars, or Species-Thaler, of one fine mark of silver. This standard was afterwards adopted by all the states of Germany excepting Holstein, Lübeck, Hamburg, Mecklenburg, Bremen, Oldenburg and Prussia. The 24 guilder standard, so called, is not another actual standard, but only a nominal division of the coins coined according to the above standard. 20 kreuzers of convention money, according to this, are counted as 24, &c.
CONVERSATION. With all civilized nations, agreeable conversation has been considered as one of the most important productions and promoters of social intercourse. The standard of good conversation must be different in different ages, countries, individuals, and even sects. A sober Quaker's idea of good conversation is probably very unlike what a gay man of the world would term such. The monotonous life which is led in Asia indisposes the natives to the quick interchange of thought, and makes them patient listeners to long narrations, or the endless creations of a fertile imagination; while the diversities and rapid changes of life in Paris afford a vast stock of subjects, so that a ready converser may touch on twenty different topics in the course of five minutes. When Leibnitz returned from a learned dinner, and said he had been entertained with fine conversation, he meant something very different from what an officer in the London horse-guards would designate by this phrase. In the same way, the conversation must always bear the impress of the age. A conversation at the frivolous courts of Louis XIV and XV, or in the dissolute circle of Charles II, must have had a different character from that which prevails at present in the courts of Versailles and St. James. Notwithstanding the numerous varieties of character which conversation assumes under different circumstances, there are certain general rules, which ought to be followed, wherever it takes
place, according to the meaning given to it among the civilized nations of the West. Our rules would not, indeed, be applicable to some nations; e. g., the Chinese, among whom the better classes are said to converse often by alternate improvisation. Conversation is an art which must be learned like every other; and, as is the case in other arts, there are individuals and whole nations who have peculiar talents for it. Yet, as it is practised by every accomplished man, it is the duty of every such man to perfect himself in it as much as possible. It is, however, as in the case of every art, much easier to say what should be avoided, than what is to be done. A friend of ours, whose servants were Methodists, gave them leave to invite a party of their friends, which they did. Males and females of their sect came, but seated themselves apart from each other. Not a word was spoken. At last, recourse was had to the Bible. Who of us has not witnessed the reverse of this?-some noisy company, where every one spoke, and no one could distinguish even his own voice. These are the two extremes of unskilfulness in conversation. The intermediate shades we need not describe. The object of conversation is to afford entertainment or agreeable information; and one of its first rules is to allow every body to contribute his share; at the same time, we should not be entertained passively, but exert ourselves for the gratification of the company. Egotism is the very bane of conversation, the purpose of which is not to please ourselves, nor to obtain admiration, but to please others. We must carefully avoid tediousness in narration, and any display of self-conceit. We cannot, however, assent to the rule of the venerable Franklin, never to contradict in company, nor even correct facts, if wrongly stated, because difference of opinion is the soul of conversation. To adapt yourself to the company, and your conversation to your talents and information, is another rule; as, also, to keep the conversation flowing; to seize upon points which can turn it into new channels; and, above all, not to talk about the weather. The English and Americans talk more on this subject than any other nation. Perhaps this may be partly owing to their variable climate. If you see that your hearers understand already all you are going to say, proceed to something else. If you relate an anecdote, be quick: avoid episodes, and oblige others to support you: don't laugh at your own wit-it takes away all the point.
Nothing is more disagreeable than a speaker's laugh outlasting his joke. Good sense and good feeling should guide in the selection of topics for conversation, and prevent you from touching subjects unpleasant to your companions. Conversation, moreover, is not a parliamentary debate; and, if the demonstration of what you have said becomes tedious, let it go. When you are inclined to complain of a dull conversation, remember that two are necessary for a lively exchange of ideas, and consider whether you were not the party in fault. This complaint of tediousness is too often made by ladies, who forget that it is their duty to contribute to the conversation. The natural tact and politeness of the French, founded on a humane feeling, have made them distinguished above all other nations for sparkling, fluent, animated and delightful conversation. The Encyclopédie Moderne gives the following definition of its character:-La conversation n'est point une course vers un but, une attaque régulière sur un point, c'est une promenade au hasard dans un champ spacieux, où l'on s'approche, on s'évite, on se froisse quelquefois sans se heurter jamais. Rousseau justly remarks, that "the tone of good conversation is neither dull nor frivolous. It is fluent and natural; sensible, without being pedantic; cheerful, without being boisterous; elegant, without being affected; polite, without being insipid, and jocose, without being equivocal. It deals not in dissertations nor epigrams; conforms to the demands of good taste, without being bound by rule; unites wit and reason, satire and compliment, without departing from the rules of a pure morality, and allows all to speak on subjects which they understand. Each one expresses his opinion, and supports it in as few words as possible; and no one attacks that of another with warmth, or upholds his own with obstinacy. All impart information, and all are entertained." The middle of the last century, when the most polite and refined circles collected around ladies of polished minds and graceful manners, such as L'Espinasse, Du Deffand and Geoffrin (q. v.), (to the last of whom we are indebted for an excellent treatise on conversation), may be justly regarded as the flourishing period of refined society in France. Though the art of conversation can be learned very imperfectly from books, yet these sources of information are not to be despised. We would, therefore, refer our readers to Delille's poem entitled La Conversation; madame Vannoz's Conseils à une Femme, sur
les Moyens de plaire dans la Conversation; and Chazet's L'Art de causer. Diderot and madame de Staël have given us at once rules and examples for delightful conversation. We will, therefore, willingly take the French as our masters in this art, believing in the old maxim-que les Francais seulement savent converser et que les autres nations ne savent que disserter et discuter. The Encyclopédie Moderne contains the following passage, which we insert as containing some truth in the midst of its extravagance:-Les Allemands ne causent pas, ils argumentent: la conversation des Italiens est une pantomime mêlée d'exclamations. Chez les Anglais, ce qu'on nomme conversation est un silence syncopé par des monosyllabes et interrompu de quart d'heure en quart d'heure par le bruit de l'eau qui s'échappe de l'urne à thé. We must observe, that the English have no word precisely corresponding to causer. It might be as difficult to find a word in any other language corresponding to prosing. Goldoni, in his comedy called the CoffeeHouse, has characterized the different nations of Europe by the nature of their conversations. It is surprising that the Western nations have never been sensible how important it is to instruct children in the art of agreeable narration. A large part of their time in schools is spent in acquiring facility in written composition; and yet, have we not occasion to relate a hundred times where we have occasion to write once? If we look around us, how few persons do we see who know how to relate, properly, any thing of length! Among the Asiatics, the art of relating is in high estimation, and properly taught. We ought to imitate them in this respect.
CONVEX (from the Latin convexus, vaulted, arched); rising in a circular form; the contrary to concave. Thus the inside of a watch-glass is concave, the outer surface convex. The mathematician defines a curved line convex on the side on which the point of intersection of two tangents falls, and concave on the opposite side. Convexity and concavity are of particular importance in catoptrics and dioptrics, as applied to mirrors and lenses.
CONVEYANCE, in law, is the transfer of the title to lands or hereditaments. There are different kinds of conveyance at common law; as by feoffment and livery (making a deed of the land in fee, and putting the grantee into possession); by lease and release (granting a term of years, or other limited right of possession of the land, and then relinquishing the remainder to the lessee, after he has taken posses
sion); by grant, which was first used in regard to incorporeal hereditaments (such as the right of receiving a certain perpetual rent, or appointing a clergyman to a particular church), where no livery of seizin and actual possession could be given, but was subsequently applied to corporeal hereditaments; or, finally, by bargain and sale, which is, in fact, a species of grant. (See Bargain and Sale.) Such were the modes of conveyance by the common law; but the introduction of uses and trusts made a great revolution in the modes of conveyance in England. The feoffment to uses was first introduced, whereby the fee of the land was granted to one person, for the use or benefit of another. The statute of 27 Henry VIII was passed to prevent this species of conveyance, by enacting, that, where it was made, the fee should pass to the person for whose benefit the grant was made, so that the effect should be the same as if the conveyance had been made to him directly. To evade this statute, trusts were invented, whereby the land was conveyed to one, for the use of another, in trust for a third; and the courts, favoring this evasion of the statute, held that, in such case, the fee would pass to the second, to be held for the use and benefit of the third; thus effecting, by the intervention of another party to the conveyance, what the statute was intended to prevent. This contrivance has rendered the system of conveyancing very intricate and complicated in England. It is more simple and direct in the U. States, following, substantially, the transfer by bargain and sale, as has been already remarked under that head.
CONVOCATION; an assembly of the clergy of England, by their representatives, to consult on ecclesiastical matters. It is held during the session of parliament, and consists of an upper and a lower house. In the upper sit the bishops, and in the lower the inferior clergy, who are represented by their proctors, consisting of all the deans and archdeacons, of one proctor for every chapter, and two for the clergy of every diocese; in all, 143 divines. The convocation is summoned by the king's writ, directed to the archbishop of each province, requiring him to summon all bishops, deans, archdeacons, &c. The power of the convocation is limited by a statute of Henry VIII. They are not to make any canons or ecclesiastical laws without the king's license; nor, when permitted to make any, can they put them in execution but under several restrictions.
They have the examining and censuring all heretical and schismatical books and persons, &c.; but there lies an appeal to the king in chancery, or to his delegates. The clergy in convocation, and their servants, have the same privileges as members of parliament. In 1665, the convocation gave up the privilege of taxing themselves to the house of commons, in consideration of being allowed to vote at the elections of members for that house.
CONVOY (from the French convoyer, to accompany), in naval language, signifies a fleet of merchantmen, bound on a voyage to some particular port or general rendezvous, under the protection of a ship or ships of war. It also means the ship or ships appointed to conduct and defend them on their passage thither. In military language, it is used for escort. (q. v.)— Convoy, or brake, is a crooked lever, applied to the surface of the wheels of carriages, so as to retard their motion by its friction.
CONVULSION (Latin, convulsio; from convello, to pull together); a diseased action of muscular fibres, known by violent and involuntary contractions of the muscular parts, with alternate relaxations. Convulsions are universal or partial, and have obtained different names, according to the parts affected, or the symptoms; as the risus sardonicus, when the muscles of the face are affected; St. Vitus's dance, when the muscles of the arm are thrown into involuntary motions, with lameness and rotations. The hysterical epilepsy, or other epilepsies, arising from different causes, are convulsive diseases of the universal kind. The muscles of the globe of the eye, throwing the eye into involuntary distortions, in defiance of the direction of the will, are instances of partial convulsion. The muscles principally affected, in all species of convulsions, are those immediately under the direction of the will; as those of the eyelids, eye, face, jaws, neck, superior and inferior extremities. The muscles of respiration, acting both voluntarily and involuntarily, are not unfrequently convulsed; as the diaphragm, intercostals, &c. The more immediate causes of convulsions are mental affection, or any irritating cause exciting a great action in the arterial system of the brain and nerves. After muscles have been once accustomed to act involuntarily, and with increased action, the same causes can readily produce the same effects on those organs. All parts that have muscular fibres may be convulsed. The sensations in the mind most capable of pro
ducing convulsions, are timidity, horror, anger, great sensibility of the soul, &c.
CONVULSIONISTS. (See Jansenists.) CONWAY, Thomas, major-general in the army of the U. States, and knight of the order of St. Louis, was born in Ireland. At the age of six years, he went with his parents to France, where he was educated to the profession of arms, and acquired considerable reputation as an officer and a man of sound judgment. Having come to America with strong recommendations, he was appointed by congress a brigadier-general in May, 1777, and soon rendered himself conspicuous for his hostility to general Washington, and used every endeavor to substitute general Gates in the station of commander-in-chief. In this he was supported by some members of congress. He was appointed by that body inspectorgeneral of the army, with the rank of major-general, but was soon obliged to resign his commission, in consequence of his unpopularity with the officers. The brigadiers, in particular, had taken great umbrage at his promotion over them, and remonstrated to congress against the proceeding, as implicating their honor and character. His calumnies against Washington at length became so atrocious, that general Cadwallader challenged him to answer for them in a duel. The parties met, and Conway received a ball through the lower part of his head, but the wound was not mortal. Conceiving, however, that it was, he wrote a satisfactory letter of apology to Washington, for the injury he had endeavored to inflict upon his character.
Cook, James; an English seaman, highly celebrated for his maritime discoveries. He was born at Marton, a village in the north riding of Yorkshire, in 1728, of sober and industrious parents, not above the rank of peasantry. After having learned reading, writing and a little arithmetic, at a country school, he was put apprentice to a shopkeeper at Snaith, a small town on the sea-coast. Here he acquired such a taste for the occupation of a sailor, and so much consequent dislike of his business, that his master gave up his indentures, and he soon after bound himself to two brothers, ship-owners of Whitby, for three years, and continued in their employ for some time after. At the commencement of the French war in 1755, he entered the royal navy. In 1759, he was made master of the Mercury, which belonged to the squadron sent against Quebec, and performed the haz
ardous service of taking soundings in the river St. Lawrence, opposite the French encampment. He also made a chart of the river St. Lawrence below Quebec, in a very satisfactory manner. After the capture of Quebec, he assisted at the taking of Newfoundland, and afterwards made a survey of the harbor of Placentia. At the end of 1762, he returned to England; but, the next year, he went again to Newfoundland as marine surveyor. After again visiting England, he went out in the same capacity with sir Hugh Palliser, appointed governor of Labrador and Newfoundland. In this situation, he made himself known to the royal society by the communication of an observation on a solar eclipse, in 1766, with the longitude of the place deduced from it. In 1768, he was appointed to the command of the Endeavor, a vessel destined to convey to the Pacific ocean persons employed by government to make observations on the transit of Venus. He sailed from Deptford, June 30, 1768, with the rank of lieutenant in the navy. He was accompanied by Mr. (afterwards sir Joseph) Banks, and the Swedish naturalist doctor Daniel Solander. The transit of Venus, June 3, 1769, was advantageously observed at Otaheite; the neighboring islands were explored, and lieutenant Cook then sailed for New Zealand, where he arrived in October. Six months were employed in examining the shores of the islands; after which he took his departure for New Holland, the eastern coast of which he attentively surveyed. On his return, Cook was raised to the rank of master and commander in the navy. An account of the voyage, drawn up by doctor Hawkesworth, was speedily published, and a second expedition was planned to explore the antarctic regions, for the purpose of ascertaining the existence or non-existence of a circum-polar southern continent. On this occasion, two ships were employedthe Resolution, of which captain Cook had the command, and the Adventure, under captain Furneaux. Doctor John Reinhold Forster and his son went out as naturalists, Mr. Hodges as painter, and Messrs. Wales and Bayley as astronomers. The voyage was commenced in July, 1772; and, after proceeding as far south as the latitude of 71°, where a barrier of ice opposed any further progress, discovering the island of New Georgia, in 54° south latitude, and visiting Otaheite and other places, captain Cook returned to England in 1775. So successful were the means employed by captain Cook for the pre
vention of disease among his crew, that only one man was lost by sickness during the expedition. The captain having communicated to the royal society a paper describing the regulations and remedies which he had adopted, he was chosen a fellow of that body, and his experiments were rewarded by the Copleian gold medal. Government rewarded him with the rank of post-captain in the navy, and the appointment of captain in Greenwich hospital. The narrative of this voyage was drawn up by captain Cook himself, and merely arranged for the press by doctor Douglas, afterwards bishop of Salisbury. In July, 1776, he sailed on an expedition to ascertain whether any communication existed between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans in the arctic regions. In this voyage, he again commanded the Resolution, which was accompanied by the Discovery, and explored a considerable extent of the western coast of North America. He also discovered the Sandwich islands, and to Owhyhee, one of this group, he returned from his American survey, to pass the winter of 1778. In February, captain Cook sailed for Kamtschatka, but was compelled by an accident to put back to Owhyhee. A boat having been stolen by one of the islanders, the captain went on shore to seize the king of Owhyhee, and keep him as a hostage till the boat was restored. The people, however, were not disposed to submit to this insult their resistance brought on hostilities, and, in attempting to reach his boat, captain Cook and some of his attendants became victims to the fury of the irritated islanders. The death of this great seaman took place Feb. 14, 1779. A medal in commemoration of him was struck by order of the royal society; his eulogy was pronounced in the Florentine academy, and was made a prize subject by one of the French scientific societies.
COOKE, George Frederic; a theatrical performer of great eminence. He was born in Westminster, April 17, 1756. His father was a subaltern officer in the army, who, dying when young, left his wife in straitened circumstances. The youth evinced an early taste for his future profession; and, being apprenticed to a printer, he neglected the labors of the office, and engaged his companions to assist him in performing plays. His indentures were consequently cancelled, and he was dismissed. He was then tried in the navy; but his inclination for the stage overcame all restraint, and he at length joined an itinerant company of actors. Here he was
quite in his element; and, after having acquired a competent acquaintance with stage business, he became the hero of the scene at York, Newcastle, Chester, Manchester, Liverpool, and other places. He acquired so much fame, that, in 1794, he was engaged by the manager of the Dubin theatre; and, after performing that season with great success, he returned to England. In 1797, he went again to Dublin, and continued there three years. At length, he made his appearance at Coventgarden theatre, Oct. 31, 1800, in the character of Richard III. His reputation was, at once, established, as a histrionic performer of the first class; and, after repeating the part of Richard III several times, he acted Iago, Macbeth, Shylock, sir Giles Overreach, sir Pertinax Macsycophant, Kitely, &c., with at least equal applause, if not with equal skill and discrimination. The talents of Cooke were obscured by indulgence in pernicious habits of intemperance, which ultimately destroyed his popularity. Owing to the irregularity of his conduct, Cooke at length became the plague and terror of English managers, few, if any, of whom, probably, regretted his removal to the U. States, where he had formed a theatrical engagement. In America, he displayed the same powerful abilities, and the same vicious weakness, which had distinguished him in his native country. Ďeath, hastened by intemperance, put an end to his career, March 25, 1812.
COOKERY. It is not great things, but trifles, which principally make up the sum of human happiness. Who would not think a dull razor, which draws tears from the eyes every morning, or a creaking tavern sign, which disturbs us every night, a much greater evil than the single sharp pang occasioned by the drawing of a tooth? An act, therefore, like eating. which is repeated several times every day by the millions who inhabit the globe, is a subject worthy of serious investigation. The scientific pride, which disdains to dwell on the ordinary affairs of common life, is rapidly vanishing; and, in an age when utility is the great object of the philosopher, cookery may hope to engage a share of his attention. It has been asked, Why does man cook? Why does he, unlike the lower animals, transform the materials, which nature gives him for nourishment, at least with the exception of some savage tribes? Some philosophers have ascribed it to a desire innate in man to make changes in every thing that he meets. But however philosophers may solve this