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sacred city Anarajapoora, is in all probability the the species are of large size and great strength, oldest tree in the world, of which the age can some of them far exceeding in these respects all
other serpents. The story related by the ancients of a serpent 120 feet in length, which devoured several soldiers, and caused alarm to a Roman army in Africa, may perhaps be deemed unworthy of credit, although the skin is said to have been long preserved at Rome; but there is good reason to believe that serpents in more modern times have attained at least half this length, and have made even the larger mammalia, and sometimes man, their prey.
The Boïdoe are not venomous; but their mouth, although destitute of poison-fangs, is so furnished with teeth as to make their bite very severe. Their teeth are numerous, long, and directed backwards, so as the more effectually to prevent th mouth, and then the serpent, with a rapidity of
Head of Boa.
motion which the eye of the closest observer fails
perfectly to follow, coils itself around it; the From a Drawing in Tennent's work on Ceylon. powerful muscles of the body are afterwards brought
into action to compress it, so that usually in a few
minutes its life is extinct, and its bones are broken. he ascertained by historical evidence. It was Deglutition then takes place-not, as has been planted in 288 B. C.
, and is therefore now (in 1860) | alleged, after the prey has been licked and covered 2148 years old. Sir James Emerson Tennent, in with saliva by the tongue, but accompanied with an his work on Ceylon, gives reasons for believing extraordinary flow of saliva, which seems not only that the tree is really of this wonderful age, and to serve for lubrication, but to have the property refers to historic documents in which it is men- of hastening the decomposition of animal substances, tioned at different dates, as 182 A, D., 223 A. D., and and so to assist in making the prey more easy to be so, on to the present day. This tree is invested, swallowed,
It is always swallowed entire, and the in the estimation of the Buddhists, with wonderful process is sometimes rather a tedious one, and seems sanctity. “To it,' says Sir James, 'kings have even
to require no small muscular effort ; but the muscles dedicated their dominions in testimony of their of the serpent are capable of acting for this purpose', belief that it is a branch of the identical fig-tree even at the neck, when that usually narrowest part under which Gotama Buddha reclined at Uruwelava of the body is distended to an enormous degree when he underwent his apotheosis.' Its leaves are
as the prey passes through it. The lower jaw carried away as treasures by pilgrims; but it is too is not simply articulated to the skull, but by the sacred to be touched with a knife, and therefore they intervention of other bones, a structure without are only gathered when they fall.
which the prodigious dilatation of the throat would BO'A, in popular language, the name of all those be impossible. The lungs consist of two lobes, one large serpents which kill their prey by entwining much larger than the other, and at the extremity themselves around it, and constricting it in their of the larger is an extremely capacious air-bag, coils; but by zoologists of the present day, limited which is supposed to serve for the necessary aeraas the name of a genus to a very small portion tion of the blood whilst respiration is impeded in the of their number, all of which are natives of the process of deglutition. warm parts of America—the similar large serpents The tail in all the Boïdæ has great prehensile of Asia and Africa forming the genus Python (q. v.). power, and its grasp of a tree round which it may The name B., liowever, was certainly not originally be coiled is aided by the opposing action applied to American serpents, for ii is used by of two claws, one on each side of the anus, Pliny, who accounts for its origin by a fable of which are really the representatives of serpents sucking the milk of cows, thus referring the hinder limbs of the superior verteit, very improbably, to the Latin bos, an ox, The brate animals, and which, on dissection, Linnæan genus B. comprehended all serpents are found to be connected not only with having simple subcaudal plates, but without spur strong muscles, but with bones entirely or rattle at the end of the tail, and was thus very concealed within the serpent, one jointed artificial, as founded chiefly upon a single unimport- to another, so as to make the character ant character, and consisted of a very miscellaneous of a rudimentary limb very a parent. assemblage of species, venomous and non-venom- These serpents, being almost all inhabitThe B. family, or Bordæ, as now constituted ants of watery places, often lie in wait for
Claw of (containing the Pythons, &c., of the old world, animals that come to drink; thus the as well as the true Boas of the new), is almost largest of the American species, Boa exclusively confined to tropical climates, and all|(Eunectes) murina—sometinies called Anaconda
BOADICEA-BOARD OF ADMIRALTY.
although Anaconda seems to be originally, like B., | their collective capacity, who have the management the name of a serpent of the old world-- is to be found of some public office or department, bank, railway, where rivers or narrow lagoons are overshadowed charity, or, indeed, of any other trust. Thus, the by gloomy forests. Perhaps the want of sufficient Commissioners of Customs, when met for the transsupplies of water, more than the greater cold of action of business, are called the B. of Customs; the climate, may account for the short time that the Lords of the Treasury, the B. of Treasury; specimens of the Boïdæ brought to Europe have comniissioners of Excise, B. of Excise ; directors of generally lived in confinement.
railways, B. of Directors; poor-law guardians, B. of Afier a repast, these serpents spend a considerable Guardians, &c. See Customs, TREASURY, &c. time in a state of comparative torpidity-several
BOARD, BOARDING. In nautical language, weeks generally elapsing before they waken up to board is used with many significations. Besides its require a new supply—and in this lethargic state ordinary application to a plank of wood, B. is a they are easily killed. When they do waken up, space or portion of sea over which a ship passes in the demands of appetite seem to be very urgent. tacking; hence the phrases, 'to make a good board,' Many of our readers must still remember the interest to make short boards,' to make a stern-board,' 'to excited some years ago concerning a B. in the leave the land on back-board,' &c.—all of which London Zoological Gardens, which, to the astonish- refer to the direction of a ship's movement at a ishment of its keepers, swallowed its rug; but this, particular time and place. Again, board or aboard after a trial of a week or two, it found indigestible, relates to the interior of the ship, in such phrases as and the animal then gratified public curiosity by a 'to go aboard,''to heave overboard,' &c. reversal of the process of deglutition.
But the most important of these meanings is that The head in the Boïdee is thick, yet somewhat which relates to the boarding of an enemy's ship, or elongated; the eyes are small; the body is thickest making a forcible entry for i he sake of capturing it. in the middle; the tail usually has a blunt termina- Whenever this bold operation is determined on, tion. The scales are numerous and rather small. certain seamen are told off to act as boarders. It The colours are various, and in many of the species is very rarely that, between two men-of-war, this rather bright and elegantly disposed. The true operation is ventured on; it would, in most cases, bors have the plates underneath the tail single, be too perilous to the assailants, who more frequently whilst in the pythons they are double. The species conquer by cannon and musketry. Boarding is, in to which the name Boa Constrictor is appropriated, most instances, attempted by privateers against is far from being one of the largest, seldom attaining merchantmen, where the defenders are few in numa length of more than twelve feet. It is common ber. The assailant well considers all the circumin Surinam and Brazil, where its skin is used for stances for and against him—the relative sizes of making boots and saddle-cloths. The name Boa the two vessels, the relative strength of the crews, Constrictor is, however, popularly extended to the state of the wind and sea, and the chances of almost any of the species.-The number of species, escape it foiled. Besides the pistols, cutlasses, and whether in the genus or in the family, is far from boarding-pikes of the seamen, there are provided being well ascertained.
powder-flasks for producing smoke and confusion Boas are much infested by intestinal worms, which on the enemy's deck, and shells called stink-pots, appear often to cause their death. The excrement for producing an intolerable stench. The moment of the B.—the urine and fæces being combined as and the spot being selected, the fuses of the flasks in other reptiles, and voided by a single vent-is a and stink-pots are lighted; these combustibles are solid white substance, and consists mainly of urate thrown upon the enemy's deck ; and while the fire, of ammonia, accompanied by phosphate of lime smoke, and stench are doing their work by con(bone-earth). It is employed as an easy source of fusing the enemy, the boarders climb on board, and uric acid.
gain a mastery by their personal prowess--that is, BOADICE'A, a warrior-queen of the Iceni, a if the calculations of relative strength have been duly tri ie inhabiting the eastern coast of Britain, in the made. Sometimes terrible hand-to-hand encounters time of the Romans. She flourished after the middle take place on deck before victory decides for or of the 1st century. Prasutagus, her husband, who against the assailants. died a, 1. 60, or 61, had left his wealth joi::tly to the General Sir Howard Douglas, in his recent work Roman Emperor Nero, and to his two daughters, on' Warfare with Steam,' expresses an opinion that hoping that by this artifice his kingdom would be steam war-ships are likely sometimes to come to protected from oppression ; but the Roman soldiery, close quarters ; and that, on that account, they should taking advantage of the defenceless condition of the be provided with a larger quota of marines and of country, began to plunder unscrupulously. B. her boarding implements than have hitherto been supself was scourged, her daughters were violated, and plied to sailing ships. The defenders, he adds, the noblest among the Iceni were treated as slaves. should construct loopholed barricades across the These outrages soon drove the Britons to revenge. terminations of the quarter-deck and the foreB. gathered round her a large army; attacked castle, to prolong the defence within board. The and captured the Roman colony of Camalodunum; French naval officers, it is known, look forward to defeated Petilius Cerealis, legate of the ninth legion, a great increase in all such military resources on who was marching to its relief; took Londinium board war-steamers; and Sir Howard is endeavourand Verulamium ; and destroyed, it is said, some- | ing to impress similar convictions on the English where about 70,000 Romans, many of them by authorities. torture. Suetonius, the Roman governor of Britain, BOARD OF ADMIRALTY, government now advanced at the head of 10,000 men against B., department which has the management of all who, we are informed, had under her command no
matters concerning the British navy. In the article less than 263,000. A dreadful battle ensued (62 A.D.), ADMIRAL, the steps are noticed by which the duties in which, according to Tacitus, 80,000 Britons of the Lord High Admiral, in former days, were perished, and only 400 Romans. These figures, of transferred to à Board of Commissioners. The course, cannot be trusted; but the victory must constitution and functions of this body will now be have been decisive, as it finally established the described. authority of the Romans in Britain. B., overwhelmed The B. of A. comprises six lords commissioners, with despair, committed suicide.
who decide collectively on all important questions. BOARD, the general name applied to persons in ' Besides this collective or corporate action, each his
BOARD OF ORDNANCE-BOAR'S IIEAD.
special duties assigned to him. There are two civil | in the cabinet, he had less political power. The or political lords, and four naval or sea lords. The Board days were thrice a week; and each of the first lord, who is always a cabinet minister, besides four members had control over certain departments a general control, has the management of naval -the patronage of which was generally vested in estimates, finance, political affairs, slave-trade pre- him. Scarcely any improvements were made from vention, appointments, and promotions. The first | 1828 till 1854, and the general arrangements were naval lord manages the composition and distribution very defective. Of the four members, the masterof the fleet, naval discipline, appointment of inferior general had a sort of general authority and veto; officers, commissioving ships, general instructions, the surveyor-general bad control over ihe artillery, sailing orders, and the naval reserve. The second engineers, sappers and miners, ordnance, medical naval lord attends to armaments, manning the navy, corps, contracts, laboratory, gunpowder, barracks, the coast-guard, the marines, marine artillery, dock and navy gunners; the chief clerk managed the yard brigades, and naval apprentices. The third estimates, money.arrangements, civil establishment, naval lord attends to naval architecture, the build- pensions, superannuations, and ordnance property; ing and repairing of ships, steam-machinery, and while the storekeeper-general had charge of stores, new inventions. The fourth naval lord has control store-rooms, naval equipments, and naval war-stores. over the purchase and disposal of stores, victualling In matters relating to coast-defences, it was often ships, navy medical affairs, transports, convicts, and difficult to decide between the Admiralty and the pensioners. The junior civil lord attends to accounts, Ordnance: cach board claiming authority. mail-packets, Greenwich Hospital, naval chaplains, the Crimean disasters took place in 1854, the defects and schools. Under these six lords are two secre- of the B. of 0. became fully apparent: it could not taries-in-chief, who manage the daily office work. work harmoniously with the other government The lords all resign when the prime minister resigns, departments. The Board was dissolved, the office and are usually replaced by others. This change of master-general abolished, and the duties were gives rise to many evils. There is likely to be a distributed among different branches of the Warchange of views and of system: the new Board is office, in a way that will be briefly noticed under not bound to act on the plans of its predecessors; WAR DEPARTMENT. and many of the costly novelties in the navy within BOARD OF TRADE. See TRADE, BOARD OF. the last ten years are directly traceable to this The system is defended on the plea that Dory q. v.family, or Zeidæ, differing from the
BOA’R-FISH (Capros), a genus of fishes of the these changes infuse new blood into the Admiralty, genus Zeus, or Dory, in the still more protractile and give fir-play to increased knowledge and new
mouth-the resemblance of which to the snout of plans. Some statesmen advocate a modified plan: proposing to render a few naval officers of rank in the want of spines at the base of the dorsal
a hog is supposed to have given origin to the name permanent lords of the Admiralty, and only changing the others on a change of ministry. A connecting. link between the old and new Boards is the surveyor of the navy, who is a permanent officer. Every morning, a junior lord assists a clerk in apportioning all letters and dispatches among the several depart
Each lord of a department then attends to his own.
The secretaries and the lords determine which letters ought to be submitted to the Board collectively and that portion of the correspondence is treated as in most boards and committees. All delicate or doubtful matters are specially reserved for the first lord ; but in the Board meetings he has only one vote, like the rest. The Admiralty House at Whitehall being too small for the business required to be done, many rooms in Somerset House
11 are also appropriated by the Board; an arrangement that leads to much waste of time. The offices of
Boar-Fish (C. 1 per). the surveyor of the navy, the accountant-general, the storekeeper-general, the comptroller of victual- and anal fins, and of long filaments to the dorsal ling and transports, the navy medical department, / spines. The body has the usual oval, much comthe comptroller of steam machinery, and the director pressed form of the family. The common B. of works-are at Somerset House; and numerous (C. Aper) is a well-knowrr inhabitant of the Medimessengers are employed all day long in con- terranean, rarely caught on the coasts of England. veying letters, documents, and messages from those The eyes are very large, and placed far forward, departments to the Admiralty, where the lords, the body is of a carmine colour, lighter below, and the chief secretaries, and the hydrographer have / with seven transverse orange bands on the back. their offices.
The flesh is little esteemed. BOARD OF O'RDNANCE, a government
BOAR'S HEAD. The B. H. is the subject of department having the management of all affairs a variety of legends, poetic allusions, and carols relating to the artillery and engineering corps of the connected with the festivities of Christmas in
Under this precise designation, the England. At this wintry season, the wild boar Board no longer exists: a change having recently was hunted, and his head served up as the most been made which requires brief explanation. The important dish on the baronial table. According B. of (., until 1854, comprised the master-general to Scott's graphic lines: of the Ordnance, the surveyor-general, the clerk of Then was brought in the lusty brawn the Ordnance, and the principal storekeeper. There By blue-coated serving-man; was no chairman at the meetings, and the Board
Then the grim boar's head frowned on high,
Crested with bays and rosemary. often consisted of only one officer. The master
Well can the green-garbed ranger tell, general had a veto, and was in that respect more
How, when, and where the monster fell; powerful than the chief member of the Board of
What dogs before his death he tore, Admiralty ; although, not having necessarily a seat And all the baiting of the boar.