Brit (clupea minima, Peck), a small species of herring, varying in length from one to four inches, found at some seasons of the year in immense numbers on the coast of New England; it serves as food for the bluefish and other predatory species. The back is nearly black, the upper part of the sides dark green, and the sides silvery with roseate and golden reflections; the lateral line is very high up, and the abdominal ridge is serrated; the lower jaw rather projects beyond the upper. It used to be very abundant in the bay of Fundy, but is rare there of late years; it is said to be frequently met with in the gulf of St. Lawrence, and is mentioned by De Kay in his " Fishes of New York." In the young specimens the dorsal ridge is a black line, and the space between this and the lateral line is light green, with small darker points. Its immense numbers might make it of value in some localities as a manure, and as a bait for other fish.
Britannia Metal, also called white metal, an alloy of 86 parts of tin, 10 of antimony, 3 of zinc, and 1 of copper. Its composition, however, is somewhat variable. Dr. Thomson gives the analysis of one specimen: tin, 85.72; antimony, 10.39; zinc, 2.91; copper, .98=100. It is cast into ingots and rolled into thin sheets. It is an alloy of great use for the manufacture of domestic utensils, and is very generally employed as the base of articles designed to be plated with silver. It was first manufactured in England about 1770, by Jessop and Hancock.
British America, the whole of North America N. of the United States, with the exception of Alaska, the N. W. corner of the continent. The boundary line between British America and the United States was mainly determined by the conventions of 1839 and 1846; and finally, as to the disputed possession of the island of San Juan, in 1872, by the arbitration of the emperor of Germany. The extreme southern point of British America is on or near Middle island, in Lake Erie, lat. 41° 40' N. British America is bounded N. by the Arctic ocean, N. E. and E. by Baffin bay, Davis strait, and the Atlantic ocean, S. by the United States, and W. and N. W. by the Pacific ocean and Alaska. The total area about 3,500,000 sq. m.; pop. 4,455,000. British America, as organized under regular governments, comprises the Dominion of Canada, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland. (See those titles).
See Burmah, British.
British Gum, a name given by calico printers to dextrine, produced by heating starch to about 400° F., or until it becomes soluble in cold water and loses its property of forming a blue color with iodine. It is used for stiffening fabrics, and also as an adhesive substance on postage stamps, on labels, on photographic pictures, and the like. (See Dextrine).
Broad River, a stream of North and South Carolina, rising at the foot of the Blue Ridge, in the western part of the former state, and entering South Carolina on the line between Spartanburg and York counties. It then takes a southerly course through a rich and highly productive tract of country, covered with fields of maize and cotton, and finally unites with the Saluda to form the Congaree river. The city of Columbia is at their junction.