PONTIFEX                                                1526                                               POOR-LAWS

being forced to submit to British rule. He was killed at Cahokia, 111., by a drunken Indian in 1769.

Pon'tifex, the title borne by the members of one of the great religious colleges among the ancient Romans, the other being the college of Augurs. Although it is customary to speak of the college of pontiffs as a priesthood, it was not such, strictly speaking; that is, the members were not charged with the worship of any particular divinity nor did they conduct sacrifices. The duties of the pontiffs embraced the regulation of all religious rites and ceremonies of the state — how the gods should be worshiped, how burials should be conducted, how the manes (departed spirits) of the head should be appeased. In matters of religion their authority was supreme; there was no appeal from their decisions; and they themselves1 were responsible neither to senate nor to people. Their president was termed poniifex maximus. Their number, including the pontijex maximus, was originally five, all of whom were taken from the patricians. In 300 B. C. the Ogulnian law raised the number to nine, four of whom were to be plebeians. The first plebeian, however, who attained the dignity was Tiberius Coruncanius in 254 B. C. Sulla in 81 B. C. increased the number to 15, and Julius Caesar to 16, he himself filling the position. During the empire the emperors generally discharged the functions of the position, but after the establishment of Christianity the title was assumed by the bishops of Rome, and the term pontiff is now one of the designations of the pope. The original Latin means the greatest or chief bridge-builder.

Pontine (pŏrÝt´n) Marshes, a low district forming the southern part of the Cam-pagna of Rome and extending from Vel-letri southeast to the sea at Terracina. The length of the plain is about 28 miles, the breadth varying from 4 to 12 miles. The Appian Way was projected through this district in 312 B. C, and various plans were tried . by the ancients Romans for draining the marshes, but with poor success. By the expenditure of some $2,000,000 Pope Pius VI during 1777-96/brought the Pontine marshes to their present state, in which a portion of the land is brought under cultivation, and other portions furnish pasture for horses, cattle and other animals. In 1899 the Italian government granted about 11 million dollars for further drainage of the district.

Pontoon' (from pons, Latin for a bridge), boats connected together and stretched across a lake or stream to furnish a temporary bridge for the passage of an army. From the earliest times pontoon bridges have been used in crossing streams; and a pontoon train has become a necessity for every army manceuvering in a country

where there are rivers too deep to be forded, many important campaigns having failed from lack of pontoons.

Pon'tus, the name given by the ancient Greeks to a country in the northeast of Asia Minor, bordering on the Pontus Eux-inus (whence its name) and extending from Halys River in the west to the frontiers of Colchis and Armenia in the east. The name seems to have come into use after the era of Alexander the Great. See Mithradates. Poo'na, a town in British India, situated on the Muta, 120 miles southeast of Bombay. Although the place abounds in beautiful gardens, the streets are mostly crooked and narrow and the houses poor. The city was the capital of the Mahratta princes, but was annexed by the British in 1817. Here have been built Decca College and the college of science, a normal school, a high school, and other educational establishments. Population with suburbs 171,000

Poor-Laws. The obligation of providing for the poor has been recognized by all civilized nations. Among the primitive peoples of the earth the giving of alms to those who were in need was inculcated as a religious observance, and ancient European nations regarded a provision for the poor as a matter of state policy. In early times Athens could boast of having no citizen in want, "nor did any disgrace the nation by begging." But war. at length brought poverty, and the state decreed the maintenance of those who were wounded in battle and afterward of the widows and children of those who fell. There also were societies for the relief of distress among some of the Grecian states. Among the Romans the distribution of grain was introduced by Gaius Gracchus, and continued till the fall of the empire. In the time of Augustus 200,000 people were thus fed. Cicero mentions this provision of the Roman law as one in high favor with the people, since it furnished them abundant subsistence without labor; other Roman writers describe its results as injurious, creating a nation of idlers and mendicants, and leaving the soil uncultivated.

In the middle ages the great body of the laboring classes were in a condition of serfdom, and looked to their feudal lords for support. But the church constituted herself the great receiver and dispenser of alms. The rich monasteries and abbeys distributed doles to the poor, as is still done at the mosque under the Mohammedan system. In most states of continental Europe the church remains to a greater or lesser extent the source of relief to the poor, the state only stepping in when the contributions of the church and of private charity are insufficient. In England the statute of 1388 is the first that makes provision for the impotent poor. Various statutes were passed after that time, culminating in the statute of