Part 46 out of 53
SIBBALD, SIR ROBERT, physician and naturalist, born in Edinburgh, of
Balgonie, Fife; established a botanic garden in Edinburgh, and was one of
the founders of the Royal College of Physicians (16411712).
SIBERIA (5,000), a vast Russian territory in North Asia (one and a
third times the size of Europe), stretching from the Ural Mountains (W.)
to the seas of Behring, Okhotsk, and Japan (E.), bounded on the N. by the
Arctic Ocean and on the S. by China and the Central Asiatic provinces of
Russia; forms in the main an immense plain, sloping from the Altai and
other mountain ranges on the S. to the dreary, ice-bound littoral on the
N., drained by the northward-flowing Obi, Irtish, Yenesei, Lena, &c.,
embracing every kind of soil, from the fertile grain-growing plains of
the S. and rich grazing steppe-land of the W. to the forest tracts and
bogland of the N. and experiencing a variety of climates, but for the
most part severely cold; hunting, fishing, and mining are the chief
industries, with agriculture and stock-raising in the S. and W. The great
Trans-Siberian Railway, in construction since 1891, is opening up the
country, which is divided into eight "governments," the chief towns being
Tomsk, Irkutsk, Omsk, and Tobolsk; three-fifths of the population are
Russians, chiefly exiles and descendants of exiles. Russian advance in
Asia against the Tartars was begun in 1850, and was carried on by warlike
Cossack marauders, followed by hunters, droves of escaping serfs, and
persecuted religious sects.
SIBYL, name given to a woman, or rather to a number of women, much
fabled of in antiquity, regarded by Ruskin as representing the voice of
God in nature, and, as such, endowed with visionary prophetic power, or
what in the Highlands of Scotland is called "second-sight"; the most
famous of the class being the Sibyl of Cumae, who offered King Tarquin of
Rome nine books for sale, which he refused on account of the exorbitant
sum asked for them, and again refused after she had burnt three of them,
and in the end paid what was originally asked for the three remaining,
which he found to contain oracular utterances bearing on the worship of
the gods and the policy of Rome. These, after being entrusted to keepers,
were afterwards burned, and the contents replaced by a commission
appointed to collect them in the countries around, to share the same fate
as the original collection. The name is applied in mediaeval times to
figures representative of the prophets who foretold the coming of Christ;
the prophets so represented were reckoned sometimes 10, sometimes 12 in
number; they are, says Fairholt, "of tall stature, full of vigour and
moral energy; the costume rich but conventional, ornamented with pearls
and precious stones."
SICILIAN VESPERS, name given to a massacre of the French in Sicily
at the hour of vespers on the eve of Easter Monday in 1282, the signal
for the commencement being the first stroke of the vesper bell; the
massacre included men and women and children to the number of 8000 souls,
and was followed by others throughout the island.
SICILY (3,285), the largest island in the Mediterranean, lying off
the SW. extremity of Italy, to which it belongs, and from which it is
separated by the narrow strait of Messina, 2 m. broad; the three
extremities of its triangular configuration form Capes Faro (NE.),
Passaro (S.), and Boco (W.); its mountainous interior culminates in the
volcanic Etna, and numerous streams rush swiftly down the thickly-wooded
valleys; the coast-lands are exceptionally fertile, growing (although
agricultural methods are extremely primitive) excellent crops of wheat
and barley, as well as an abundance of fruit; sulphur-mining is an
important industry, and large quantities of the mineral are exported;
enjoys a fine equable climate, but malaria is in parts endemic; the
inhabitants are a mixed--Greek, Italian, Arabic, &c.--race, and differ
considerably in language and appearance from Italians proper; are
ill-governed, and as a consequence discontented and backward, even
brigandage not yet being entirely suppressed. Palermo, the largest city,
is situated on the precipitous N. coast. As part of the "Kingdom of the
Two Sicilies," comprising Sicily and Naples, it was overrun by Garibaldi
in 1860, and in the same year was incorporated with the kingdom of Italy.
SICKINGEN, FRANZ VON, a German free-lance, a man of a knightly
spirit and great prowess; had often a large following, Goetz von
Berlichingen of the number, and joined the cause of the Reformation; lost
his life by a musket-shot when besieged in the castle of Landstuhl; he
was a warm friend of Ulrich von Hutten (1481-1523).
SICYON, a celebrated city of ancient Greece, was situated near the
Corinthian Gulf, 7 m. NW. of Corinth; was an important centre of Grecian
art, especially of bronze sculptures and painting; in the time of Aratus
(251 B.C.) figured as one of the chief cities of the Achaean League; only
a few remains now mark its site.
SIDDONS, SARAH, the greatest tragic actress of England, born at
Brecon, the daughter and eldest child of Roger Kemble, manager of an
itinerant theatrical company; became early a member of her father's
company, and at 19 married an actor named Siddons who belonged to it; her
first appearance in Drury Lane as Portia in 1755 was a failure; by 1782
her fame was established, after which she joined her brother, John
Kemble, at Covent Garden, and continued to act there till her retirement
in 1812; she was distinguished in many parts, and above all Lady Macbeth,
in which character she took farewell of the stage; she appeared once
again in London after this in 1815, for the benefit of her brother
Charles, and again a few nights in Edinburgh in aid of a widowed
SIDEREAL YEAR, the period during which the earth makes a revolution
in its orbit with respect to the stars.
SIDGWICK, HENRY, writer on ethics, born at Shipton, Yorkshire;
professor of Moral Philosophy at Cambridge; "Methods of Ethics," being a
compromise between the intuitionalists and utilitarians, "the Principles
of Political Economy," and the "Elements of Politics"; he holds a high
place in all these three studies; _b_. 1838.
SIDLAW HILLS, a range of hills extending from Kinnoul Hill, near
Perth, NE. to Brechin, in Forfarshire; most interesting point Dunsinane
SIDMOUTH (4), a pretty little watering-place on the S. Devonshire
coast, 14 m. ESE. of Exeter; lies snugly between high cliffs at the mouth
of a small stream, the Sid; is an ancient place, and has revived in
popularity since the opening of the railway; has a fine promenade 11/2 m.
SIDMOUTH, HENRY ADDINGTON, VISCOUNT, statesman, born in London, the
son of a physician; studied at Oxford, and was called to the bar, but
gave up law for politics, entered Parliament in 1783, and was Speaker
from 1789 till 1801, in which year, after the fall of Pitt over Catholic
emancipation, he formed a ministry, assuming himself the offices of First
Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer. This ministry of
the "King's Friends" went out of office in 1804, after negotiating the
Peace of Amiens (1802), and in subsequent governments of Pitt Sidmouth
held various offices, being an unpopular Home Secretary from 1812 to
1821; created viscount in 1805 (1757-1844).
SIDNEY or SYDNEY, ALGERNON, a noted politician and soldier
of extreme republican views, second son of Robert, second Earl of
Leicester; first came into public notice in 1641-1642 by his gallant
conduct as leader of a troop of horse in the Irish Rebellion; came over
to England in 1643, joined the Parliamentarians, rose to a colonelcy and
command of a regiment in 1645; was subsequently governor of Dublin and of
Dover (1647), entered Parliament (1646), and although appointed one of
the commissioners to try Charles I., absented himself from the
proceedings, but afterwards approved of the execution; withdrew from
politics during Cromwell's Protectorate, but on the reinstating of the
Long Parliament (1659) became a member of the Council of State; was on a
diplomatic mission to Denmark when the Restoration took place, and till
his pardon in 1677 led a wandering life on the Continent; intrigued with
Louis XIV. against Charles II., assisted William Penn in drawing up the
republican constitution of Pennsylvania, was on trumped-up evidence tried
for complicity in the Rye House Plot and summarily sentenced to death by
Judge Jeffreys, the injustice of his execution being evidenced by the
reversal of his attainder in 1689 (1622-1683).
SIDNEY, SIR PHILIP, poet, and one of the most attractive figures at
Elizabeth's court, born at Penshurst, Kent, the son of Sir Henry Sidney,
lord-deputy of Ireland; quitted Oxford in 1572, and in the manner of the
time finished his education by a period of Continental travel, from which
he returned imbued with the love of Italian literature; took his place at
once in the court of Elizabeth, his uncle, the Earl of Leicester, being
then high in favour, and received rapid promotion, being sent as
ambassador in 1576 to the court of Vienna; nor was his favour with the
queen impaired by his bold "Remonstrance" against her marriage with the
Duke of Anjou, and in 1583 received a knighthood; two years later, "lest
she should lose the jewel of her dominions" the queen forbade him to
accompany Drake to the West Indies, and appointed him governor of
Flushing, but in the following year he received his death-wound at the
battle of Zutphen gallantly leading a troop of Netherlander against the
Spaniards; his fame as an author rests securely on his euphuistic prose
romance "Arcadia," his critical treatise "The Defence of Poesy," and
above all on his exquisite sonnet-series "Astrophel and Stella," in which
he sings the story of his hapless love for Penelope Devereux, who married
Lord Rich; was the friend of Edmund Spenser, and the centre of an
influential literary circle (1554-1586).
SIDON, an ancient Phoenician city on the E. of the Mediterranean, 20
m. N. of Tyre, with an extensive commerce; was famed for its glass and
purple dye; also suffered many a reverse of fortune.
SIEBENGEBIRGE, a range of hills on the right bank of the Rhine, 20
m. above Koeln, distinguished by its seven high peaks.
SIEGFRIED, a hero of various Scandinavian and Teutonic legends, and
especially of the "NIBELUNGEN LIED" (q. v.), was rendered
invulnerable by bathing in the blood of a dragon which he had slain,
except at a spot on his body which had been covered by a falling leaf; he
wore a cloak which rendered him invisible, and wielded a miraculous sword
named BALMUNG (q. v.).
SIEMENS, WERNER VON, a celebrated German electrician and inventor,
born at Lenthe, Hanover; served in the Prussian artillery, and rendered
valuable services in developing the telegraphic system of Prussia;
patented a process for electro-plating in gold and silver, and was the
first to employ electricity in exploding submarine mines; retired from
the army in 1849, and along with Halske established a business in Berlin
for telegraphic and electrical apparatus, which has become notable
throughout the world, having branches in several cities; made many
contributions to electrical science; was ennobled in 1888 (1816-1892).
SIEMENS, SIR WILLIAM (Karl William), younger brother of the
preceding, born at Lenthe, Hanover; like his brother took to science, and
in 1844 settled in England, naturalising in 1859; was manager of the
English branch of the Siemens Brothers firm, and did much to develop
electric lighting and traction (Portrush Electric Tramway); his inventive
genius was productive of a heat-economising furnace, a water-meter,
pyrometer, bathometer, &c.; took an active part in various scientific
societies; was President of the British Association (1882), and received
a knighthood in 1883 (1823-1883).
SIENNA or SIENA (28), an interesting old Italian city of much
importance during the Middle Ages, in Central Italy, 60 m. S. of
Florence, is still surrounded by its ancient wall, and contains several
fine Gothic structures, notably its cathedral (13th century) and
municipal palace; has a university and institute of fine arts; silk and
cloth weaving, and a wine and oil trade are the chief industries.
SIERRA, the name given to a range of mountains with a saw-like
SIERRA LEONE (75), a British maritime colony since 1787, on the W.
coast of Africa, having a foreshore of 180 m. between Rivieres du Sud
(N.) and Liberia (S.); includes the peninsula of Sierra Leone proper with
its densely-wooded Sugar-Loaf Mountain, and a number of coast islands,
and stretches back to a highland eastern frontier ill defined; the
climate is hot, humid, and unhealthy; has been called "The White Man's
Grave"; is fertile, but not well exploited by the indolent negro
population, half of whom are descendants from freed slaves; ground-nuts,
kola-nuts, ginger, hides, palm-oil, &c., are the principal exports.
FREETOWN (q. v.) is the capital. The executive power is
exercised by a governor and council of five.
SIERRA MADRE, the main cordillera system of Mexico, extending in a
northerly direction to Arizona, and forming the western buttress of a
fertile plateau stretching eastwards; to the W. the States of Sinaloa and
Sonora slope downwards to the sea.
SIERRA MORENA, a mountain chain in South Spain, forming the
watershed between the valleys of the Gaudiana (N.) and Guadalquivir (S.);
has valuable deposits of lead, silver, quicksilver, and other metals.
SIERRA NEVADA, 1, a mountain range in South Spain, 60 m. in length;
lies for the most part in Granada, crossing the province E. and W. in
bold, rugged lines, and clad on its higher parts with perpetual snow,
whence the name; Mulhacen (11,660 ft.) is the highest peak. 2, A mountain
system in California, stretching NW. and SE. 450 m., and forming the
eastern buttress of the Great Central Valley; highest peak Mount Whitney
(14,886 ft.). 3, A lofty mountain group in Colombia, South America,
stretching NE. almost to the borders of Venezuela.
SIEYES, ABBE, a conspicuous figure all through the French
Revolution, the Consulate, and the Empire, who thought in his simplicity
that the salvation of France and the world at large depended on sound
political institutions, in the drafting of which he spent his life; was
born in Frejus, of the bourgeois class; represented Paris in the States
General; sat in the Centre in the Legislative Assembly; renounced the
Christian religion in favour of the Goddess of Reason; projected a
constitution which was rejected; supported Napoleon; fled to Belgium on
the return of the Bourbons, and returned to France in 1830, by which time
he was politically defunct (1748-1836).
SIGISMUND, emperor of Germany, son of the Emperor Charles IV., was
markgrave of Brandenburg, king of Hungary, and palatine of the Rhine;
struggled hard to suppress the Hussites; held the Council of Constance,
and gave HUSS (q. v.) a safe-conduct to his doom; he is the
"Super Grammaticam" of Carlyle's "Frederick" (1362-1437).
SIGISMUND is the name of three kings of Poland, the last of whom
died in 1632.
SIGNORELLI, LUCA, the precursor of Michael Angelo in Italian art,
born at Cortona; studied at Arezzo under Piero della Francesca, and
became distinguished for the accurate anatomy of his figures and for the
grandeur and originality of design exhibited in his admirable frescoes of
religious subjects at Loretto, Orvieto, and elsewhere (1441-1525).
SIGOURNEY, MRS., American authoress, was a prolific writer; wrote
tales, poems, essays, chiefly on moral and religious subjects; was called
the American Hemans (1791-1863).
SIGURD. See SIEGFRIED.
SIKHS (lit. disciples), a native religious and military community,
scattered, to the number of nearly two millions, over the Punjab, and
forming some fifteen States dependent on the Punjab government; founded
(1469) by Baber Nanak as a religious monotheistic sect purified from the
grosser native superstitions and practices; was organised on a military
footing in the 17th century, and in the 18th century acquired a
territorial status, ultimately being consolidated in to a powerful
military confederacy by Ranjit Singh, who, at the beginning of the 19th
century, extended his power over a wider territory. In 1845-46 they
crossed their E. boundary, the Sutlej, and invaded English possessions,
but were defeated by Gough and Hardinge, and had to cede a considerable
portion of their territory; a second war in 1848-49 ended in the
annexation of the entire Punjab, since when the Sikhs have been the
faithful allies of the English, notably in the Indian Mutiny.
SIKKIM (7), a small native State in North-East India, lying on the
southern slopes of the Himalayas, between Nepal (W.) and Bhotan (E.);
under British protection; the ruling family being Buddhist, and of
SILAGE, the name given to green fodder, vegetables, &c., stored in
stacks or pits (or silos) under heavy pressure, the process being known
as ensilage. The practice of thus preserving green crops for fodder dates
from earliest times, but its general adoption in Britain only began in
1882 since when its spread has been rapid. Originally the process in
vogue involved slight fermentation, resulting in "sour silage," but in
1884 it was found that by delaying the application of pressure for a day
or two a rise of temperature took place sufficiently great to destroy the
bacteria producing fermentation, the result being "sweet silage." Both
kinds are readily eaten by cattle.
SILENCE, WORSHIP OF, Carlyle's name for the sacred respect for
restraint in speech till "thought has silently matured itself, ... to
hold one's tongue till _some_ meaning lie behind to set it wagging," a
doctrine which many misunderstand, almost wilfully, it would seem;
silence being to him the very womb out of which all great things are
SILENUS, a satyr who attended Dionysus, being his foster-father and
teacher; assisted in the war of the giants, and slew Enceladus; had the
gift of vaticination; is represented as mounted on an ass and supported
by other satyrs.
SILESIA (4,224), a province of South-East Prussia, stretching S.
between Russian Poland (E.) and Austria (W. and S.); the Oder flows NW.
through the heart of the country, dividing the thickly forested and in
parts marshy lands of the N. and E. from the mountainous and extremely
fertile W.; rich coal-fields lie to the S., and zinc is also a valuable
product; agriculture and the breeding of cattle, horses, and sheep
flourish, as also the manufacture of cottons, linens, &c.; Breslau is the
capital; for long under the successive dominions of Poland and Bohemia,
the Silesian duchies became, in the 18th century, a _casus belli_ between
Austria and Prussia, resulting in the SEVEN YEARS' WAR (q. v.)
and the ultimate triumph of Frederick the Great of Prussia.
SILESIA, AUSTRIAN (602), that portion of the original Silesian
country preserved to Austria after the unsuccessful struggle with
Prussia; forms a duchy and crownland of Austria, and extends SW. from the
border of Prussian Silesia; agriculture and mining are the chief
SILHOUETTE, name given to the profile of a portrait filled in with
black; a design familiar to the ancients, and in vogue in France during
the reign of Louis XV.
SILISTRIA (12), a town of Bulgaria, on the Danube, 70 m. below
Rustchuk; occupies a fine strategical position, and is strongly
fortified; withstood successfully a 39 days' siege by the Russians during
the Crimean War; cloth and leather are the chief manufactures.
SILIUS ITALICUS, a Roman poet; was consul in the year of Nero's
death, and his chief work an epic "Punica," relating the events of the
Second Punic War, a dull performance.
SILLIMAN, BENJAMIN, American chemist and geologist, born in North
Stratford (now Trumbull), Connecticut; graduated at Yale, and was called
to the bar in 1802, but in the same year threw up law for science; became
professor of Chemistry at Yale, a position he held for 50 years (till
1853); did much to stimulate the study of chemistry and geology by
lectures throughout the States; founded (1818) the _American Journal of
Science_, and was for 28 years its editor; during 1853-55 was lecturer on
Geology at Yale; his writings include "Journals of Travels in England,
Holland, and Scotland" (1779-1864). BENJAMIN SILLIMAN, son of
preceding, also an active scientist along his father's lines; founded the
Yale School of Science, and filled the chairs of Chemistry at Louisville
(1849-1854) and at Yale (till 1869); was co-editor of the _Journal of
Science_ (1845-85), and wrote various popular text-books of chemistry and
SILLOTH (3), a watering-place of Cumberland, on the Solway Firth, 20
m. W. of Carlisle; has good docks and an increasing commerce.
SILURES, one of the ancient British tribes occupying the SE. of
Wales; conjectured to be of Non-Aryan stock, and akin to the Iberians;
offered a fierce resistance to the invading Romans.
SILVANUS, an Italian divinity, the guardian of trees, fields, and
husbandmen; represented as a hale, happy, old man.
SILVER AGE, the age in the Greek mythology in succession to the
Golden; gold being viewed as the reality, and silver the idle reflection.
See AGES and GOLDEN AGE.
SIMEON, ST., the aged seer who received the infant Christ in his
arms as He was presented to the Lord by His mother in the Temple; usually
so represented in Christian art.
SIMEON STYLITES, famous as one of the PILLAR SAINTS (q. v.).
SIMFEROPOL (36), a town in the Crimea, 49 m. NE. of Sebastopol;
surrounded by gardens, orchards, and vineyards; exports a great quantity
SIMLA (15, but largely increased in summer), the chief town of a
district in the Punjab, and since 1864 the summer hill-quarters of the
British Government in India; beautifully situated on the wooded southern
slopes of the Himalayas, 7156 ft. above sea-level, and 170 m. N. of
Delhi; has a cool and equable climate, and possesses two vice-regal
palaces, government buildings, beautiful villas, &c.
SIMMS, WILLIAM GILMORE, a prolific American writer, born at
Charleston, South Carolina; turned from law to literature; engaged in
journalism for some years, and found favour with the public as a writer
of poems, novels, biographies, &c., in which he displays a gift for
rapid, vivid narrative, and vigour of style; "Southern Passages and
Pictures" contains characteristic examples of his poetry, and of his
novels "The Yemassee," "The Partisan," and "Beauchampe" may be mentioned
SIMON, JULES, French statesman and distinguished writer on social,
political, and philosophic subjects, born at Lorient; succeeded Cousin in
the chair of Philosophy at the Sorbonne; entered the Chamber of Deputies
in 1848; lost his post at the Sorbonne in 1852 for refusing to take the
oath of allegiance to Napoleon III.; subsequently became Minister of
Education under Thiers (1871-73), a life-senator in 1875, and in 1876
Republican Prime Minister; later more conservative in his attitude, he
edited the _Echo Universel_, and was influential as a member of the
Supreme Educational Council, and as permanent secretary of the Academy of
Moral and Political Sciences; his voluminous works include treatises on
"Liberty," "Natural Religion," "Education," "Labour," &c., and various
philosophic and political essays (1814-1896).
SIMON, RICHARD, a celebrated French biblical scholar, born at
Dieppe; entered the Congregation of the Oratory in 1659, and became
professor of Philosophy at the College of Juilly; was summoned to Paris,
and under orders of his superiors spent some time in cataloguing the
Oriental MSS. in the library of the Oratory; his free criticisms and love
of controversy got him into trouble with the Port-Royalists and the
Benedictines, and the heterodoxy of his "Histoire Critique du Vieux
Testament" (1678) brought about his withdrawal to Belleville, where he
remained as cure till 1682, when he retired to Dieppe to continue his
work on Old and New Testament criticism; he ranks as among the first to
deal with the scriptural writings as literature, and he anticipated not a
few of the later German theories (1638-1712).
SIMON MAGUS, a sorcerer, one who by his profession of magic
aggrandised himself at the expense of the people of Samaria, and who,
when he saw the miracles wrought by the Apostles, and St. Peter in
particular, offered them money to confer the like power on himself;
Peter's well-known answer was not without effect on him, but it was only
temporary, for he afterwards appeared in Rome and continued to impose
upon the people so as to persuade them to believe him as an incarnation
of the Most High. Hence Simony, the sin of making gain by the buying or
selling of spiritual privileges for one's material profit.
SIMONIDES OF AMORGOS, a Greek poet who flourished in the 7th century
B.C.; dealt in gnome and satire, among the latter on the different
classes of women.
SIMONIDES OF CEOS, one of the most celebrated lyric poets of Greece;
spent most of his life in Athens, employed his poetic powers in
celebrating the events and heroes of the Persian wars; gained over
AEschylus the prize for an elegy on those who fell at Marathon; composed
epigrams over the tombs of the Spartans who fell at Thermopylae, and in
his eightieth year was crowned victor at Athens; shortly after this was
invited by Hiero to Syracuse, at whose court he died; his poetry was
distinguished at once for sweetness and finish; he was a philosopher as
well as a poet (556-467 B.C.).
SIMOOM or SIMOON, a hot, dry wind-storm common to the arid
regions of Africa, Arabia, and parts of India; the storm moves in cyclone
(circular) form, carrying clouds of dust and sand, and produces on men
and animals a suffocating effect.
SIMPLON, a mountain in the Swiss Alps, in the canton of Valais,
traversed by the famous Simplon Pass (6594 ft. high), which stretches 41
m. from Brieg in Valais to Domo d'Ossola in Piedmont, passing over 611
bridges and through many great tunnels, built by Napoleon 1800-6.
SIMPSON, SIR JAMES YOUNG, physician, born, the son of a baker, at
Bathgate, Linlithgowshire; graduated M.D. at Edinburgh in 1832; was
assistant to the professor of Pathology and one of the Presidents of the
Royal Medical Society before his election to the chair of Midwifery in
1840; as an obstetrician his improvements and writings won him wide
repute, which became European on his discovery of chloroform in 1847; was
one of the Queen's physicians, and was created a baronet in 1866;
published "Obstetric Memoirs," "Archaeological Essays," &c. (1811-1870).
SIMROCK, KARL JOSEPH, German scholar and poet, born at Bonn; studied
at Bonn and Berlin, where he became imbued with a love for old German
literature, in connection with which he did his best-known work;
modernised the "Nibelungen Lied" (1827), and after his withdrawal from
the Prussian service gave himself to his favourite study, becoming
professor of Old German in 1850, and popularising and stimulating inquiry
into the old national writings by volumes of translations, collections of
folk-songs, stories, &c.; was also author of several volumes of original
SIMS, GEORGE ROBERT, playwright and novelist, born in London; was
for a number of years on the staff of _Fun_ and a contributor to the
_Referee_ and _Weekly Dispatch_, making his mark by his humorous and
pathetic Dagonet ballads and stories; has been a busy writer of popular
plays (e. g. "The Lights o' London," "The Romany Rye") and novels (e. g.
"Rogues and Vagabonds," "Dramas of Life"); contributed noteworthy
letters to the Daily News on the condition of the London poor; _b_. 1847.
SIMSON, ROBERT, mathematician, born in Ayrshire; abandoned his
intention of entering the Church and devoted himself to the congenial
study of mathematics, of which he became professor in the old university
at Glasgow (1711), a position he held for 50 years; was the author of the
well-known "Elements of Euclid," but is most celebrated as the first
restorer of Euclid's lost treatise on "Porisms" (1687-1768).
SINAI, MOUNT, one of a range of three mountains on the peninsula
between the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Akaba, at the head of the Red
Sea, and from the summit or slopes of which Moses is said to have
received the Ten Commandments at the hands of Jehovah.
SINCERITY, in Carlyle's ethics the one test of all worth in a human
being, that he really with his whole soul means what he is saying and
doing, and is courageously ready to front time and eternity on the stake.
SINCLAIR, name of a Scottish family of Norman origin whose founder
obtained from David I. the grant of Roslin, near Edinburgh.
SINCLAIR, SIR JOHN, philanthropist and statistician, born at Thurso
Castle, bred to the bar; succeeding to the family estate devoted himself
to his duties as a landed proprietor; sat for different constituencies in
Parliament; published in 1784 "History of the Revenue of the British
Empire," and in 1791-99, in 21 vols., "Statistical Account of Scotland"
SIND, SINDH, or SCINDE (2,903), a province of North-West India,
in the Presidency of Bombay; extends from Beluchistan and Punjab (N.) to
the Indian Ocean and Runn of Cutch (S.); traversed by the Indus, whose
delta it includes, and whose broad alluvial valley-tracts yield abundant
crops of wheat, barley, hemp, rice, cotton, etc., which are exported, and
give employment to the majority of the people; N. and E. are wide
stretches of desert-land, and in the S. are the Hala Mountains; was
annexed to the British possessions after the victories of Sir Charles
Napier in 1843; chief city and port is Kurrachee.
SINDIA, the hereditary title of the Mahratta dynasty in Gwalior,
Central India, founded in 1738 by Ranojee Sindia, who rose from being
slipper-bearer to the position of hereditary prime minister of the
Mahrattas; these princes, both singly and in combination with other
Mahratta powers, offered determined resistance to the British, but in
1803 the confederated Mahratta power was broken by Sir Arthur Wellesley,
and a large portion of their territory passed into British hands. Gwalior
having been restored (1805), and retaken in 1844, the Sindia dynasty was
reinstated under a more stringent treaty, and Boji Rao Sindia proved
faithful during the Mutiny, receiving various marks of good-will from the
British; was succeeded by his adopted son, a child of six, in 1886.
SINGAPORE, 1, (185, chiefly Chinese), the most important of the
BRITISH STRAITS SETTLEMENTS (q. v.); consists of the island of
Singapore and upwards of 50 islets, off the southern extremity of the
Malay Peninsula, from which it is separated by a narrow strait (2 to 1/2 m.
broad); is hot, humid, and low-lying, yet healthy, and possessing a
fertile soil which grows all kinds of spices, fruits, sugar-cane, coffee,
etc.; purchased by the British in 1824. 2, Capital (160) and port, on the
Strait of Singapore, close to the equator; the chief emporium of trade
with the East Indies and South-Eastern Asia generally; is a picturesque
and handsome town, strongly fortified, and an important naval coaling
station and depot, with spacious harbour, docks, etc.
SINOLOGY, the science treating of the language, literature, laws,
and history of the Chinese.
SINON, a wily Greek who beguiled the Trojans and persuaded them to
admit the Wooden Horse into the city, to its ruin.
SINOPE (8), a seaport of Turkey in Asia, situated on a narrow
isthmus connecting with the mainland the rocky headland of Cape Sinope
which projects into the Black Sea, 350 m. NE. of Constantinople;
possesses two fine harbours, naval arsenal, Byzantine ruins, etc.; an
ancient Greek town, the birthplace of Diogenes, and capital of
Mithridates; it was captured by the Turks in 1461, who themselves in 1853
suffered a disastrous naval defeat in the Bay of Sinope at the hands of
SION, capital of the Swiss canton of Valais, on the Rhine, 42 m. E.
of Lausanne; is a mediaeval town, with an old Gothic cathedral, and in the
neighbourhood ruined castles.
SIOUT or ASIOOT (32), capital of Upper Egypt; commands a fine
view near the Nile, 200 m. S. of Cairo; has a few imposing mosques and a
government palace; is a caravan station, and noted for its red and black
pottery; occupies the site of the ancient city of Lycopolis.
SIOUX or DAKOTA INDIANS, a North American Indian tribe, once
spread over the territory lying between Lake Winnipeg (N.) and the
Arkansas River (S.), but now confined chiefly to South Dakota and
Nebraska. Failure on the part of the United States Government to observe
certain treaty conditions led to a great uprising of the Sioux in 1862,
which was only put down at a great cost of blood and treasure; conflicts
also took place in 1876 and 1890, the Indians finding in their chief,
Sitting Bull, a determined and skilful leader.
SIRDAR, a name given to a native chief in India.
SIREN, an instrument for measuring the number of aerial vibrations
per second, and thereby the pitch of a given note.
SIRENS, in the Greek mythology a class of nymphs who were fabled to
lure the passing sailor to his ruin by the fascination of their music;
Ulysses, when he passed the beach where they were sitting, had his ears
stuffed with wax and himself lashed to the mast till he was at a safe
distance from the influence of their charm. Orpheus, however, as he
passed them in the Argonautic expedition so surpassed their music by his
melodious notes, that in very shame they flung themselves into the sea
and were changed into boulders.
SIRIUS or THE DOG-STAR, the brightest star in the heavens, one
of the stars of the Southern constellation of _Canis Major_; is
calculated to have a bulk three times that of the sun, and to give 70
times as much light. See DOG-DAYS.
SIRKAR, a name used in India to designate the government.
SIROCCO. See SIMOOM.
SISMONDI, JEAN CHARLES LEONARD SIMONDE DE, celebrated Swiss
historian, born at Geneva; son of a Protestant clergyman of Italian
descent; the family fortune was lost in the troublous days of the French
Revolution, and exile in England and Italy followed, but in 1800 Sismondi
returned to Geneva, and having received a municipal appointment gave
himself to literary pursuits; the works which have established his
reputation are his great histories of "The Italian Republics in the
Middle Ages," "European Literature," and "A. History of the French";
wrote also on political economy (1773-1842).
SISTINE CHAPEL, celebrated chapel of the Vatican at Rome,
constructed by order of Pope Sixtus IV., and decorated with frescoes by
Michael Angelo, representing a succession of biblical subjects, including
among others the "Creation of the World," the "Creation of Man," the
"Creation of Woman," the "Temptation of Eve," the "Deluge," "Judith and
Holophernes," "David and Goliath," "The Last Judgment," &c.
SISTOVA (12), a town of Bulgaria, on the Danube, 33 m. above
Rustchuk; carries on trade in wine, leather, and cereals; was captured by
the Russians in 1877.
SISYPHUS, a mythical king of Corinth, who for some offence he gave
the gods was carried off to the nether world, and there doomed to roll a
huge block up a hill, which no sooner reached the top than it bounded
back again, making his toil endless.
SITKA or NEW ARCHANGEL (1), capital of Alaska, on the W. coast
of Baranof Island, overhung by snowy mountains; has a good harbour;
salmon fishing and curing the chief employment of most of the
inhabitants, mostly Indians.
SIVA or CIVA, the Destroyer in the Hindu trinity, in which
Brahma is the Creator and Vishnu the Preserver; Vishnu representing, as
it were, death issuing in life, and Siva life issuing in death, the
transition point, and Brahma, who, by means of them, "kills that he may
make alive." He is worshipped as "Mahadeva" or the great god, and his
worshippers are called Saivas or Caivas, as distinct from those of
Vishnu, which are called Vaishnavas. The LINGA (q. v.) is his
symbol, in emblem of the creation which follows destruction. See Psalm
SIVAJI, the founder of the Mahratta power in India, a bold warrior
but an unlettered, of Rajput descent, brought up at Poona; began his
career at 19; on his succession assumed the title of rajah in 1664, and
was enthroned at Raigpur in 1674, and died sovereign of the whole Deccan
SIX ARTICLES. See BLOODY STATUTE.
SIXTUS, the name of five popes. S. I., St., Pope from 116 to
125; S. II., st., pope from 257 to 259; S. III., Pope from 432
to 440; S. IV., pope from 1471 to 1484; S. V., Pope from 1585
to 1590; of whom only two are of any note.
SIXTUS IV., born near Savona, the son of a fisherman; became general
of the Franciscans; succeeded Paul II. as Pope; was notorious for his
nepotism; abetted Pazzi in his conspiracy against the Medici at Florence,
but was a good administrator, and a man of liberal views; _b_. 1414.
SIXTUS V., born near Monalto, of poor parents, was of the Franciscan
order, and famed as a preacher; was elected successor to Gregory XIII.,
during whose pontificate he affected infirmity, to reveal himself a
vigorous pontiff as soon as he was installed; set himself at once to
stamp out disorder, reform the administration, and replenish the
exhausted treasury of the Church; he allowed freedom of worship to the
Jews, and yet was zealous to put down all heresy in the Christian States
of Europe; his services to Rome were not repaid with gratitude, for the
citizens destroyed his statue on his death; _b_. 1521.
SIZAR, a poor student at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford,
so called from the size or allowance of food they were recipients of out
of the college buttery.
SKAGER-RACK, an arm of the North Sea stretching NE. between Norway
and Denmark, and connecting the Cattegat with the North Sea, 140 m. long
and 70 broad, the deep water being on the Norwegian coast.
SKALD, an old Scandinavian poet, a reciter or singer of poems in
praise of the Norse warriors and their deeds.
SKEAN-DHU, a small dirk which a Highlander wears in his stocking.
SKEAT, WALTER WILLIAM, English philologist, born in London;
professor of Anglo-Saxon at Cambridge; author of "Etymological Dictionary
of the English Language," and a great authority on Early English
literature; the first Director of the Dialect Society, established in
1873; _b_. 1835.
SKEGGS, MISS, a character in the "Vicar of Wakefield," boastful for
her aristocratic connections and delicacy of taste, but vulgar at bottom.
SKELTON, JOHN, early English satirist, his chief poetic works being
"Why come ye not to Courte," a satire against Wolsey; the "Book of Colin
Clout," against the corruption of the Church; and the "Book of Phyllyp
Sparrow," the grief of a nun for the death of her sparrow; Erasmus calls
him "the glory and light of English letters" (1460?-1528).
SKENE, WILLIAM FORBES, Scottish historian, born in Kincardineshire,
bred to law; devoted 40 years of his life to the study of the early, in
particular the Celtic, periods of Scottish history, and was from 1881
historiographer for Scotland (1809-1892).
SKERRYVORE, a rock with a lighthouse, one of an extensive reef 10 m.
W. of Tiree, on the west coast of Scotland; the light is a revolving one;
is seen at the distance of over 18 nautical miles.
SKIDDAW, a mountain in Cumberland, 3054 ft. in height; is some 6 m.
from Keswick, whence it is of easy ascent.
SKIMPOLE, HAROLD, a plausible character in "Bleak House," who was in
the habit of sponging his friends.
SKINNER, JOHN, author of "Tullochgorum," born in Bervie,
Aberdeenshire; originally a schoolmaster; became an Episcopal clergyman
SKIPTON (10), a market-town in Yorkshire, 26 m. NW. of Leeds;
population largely engaged in agriculture; has manufactures of cotton and
SKOBELEFF, MICHAEL, a Russian general, distinguished himself by his
bravery in the Russian service, particularly in the Russo-Turkish War of
1877-78; was a leader in the Panslavist movement; died suddenly
SKYE (16), next to Lewis the largest of the Hebrides Islands,
belongs to the Inner group, and is included in Inverness-shire, from the
mainland of which it is separated by the narrow channel Kyle Rhea; has a
deeply indented coast-line, and a picturesquely diversified surface of
mountain, moor, and loch; the most notable features being the lofty
Coolin Hills (highest point 3234 ft.), Loch Coruisk, Glen Sligachan, and
the wild columnar height of basalt, the Quiraing; sheep and Highland
cattle are raised, and valuable ling, cod, and herring fisheries are
carried on in the coastal waters. Portree is the chief town and port, but
is little better than a small village.
SLADE, FELIX, antiquary and art-collector; left his art-collection
to the British Museum, and money to found Slade professorships of art at
Oxford, Cambridge, and London Universities (1789-1868).
SLAVE COAST, name given to the Bight of Benin, in West Africa, from
Lagos to the Volta River.
SLAVONIA, a kingdom that at one time included Croatia and that lies
between the Drave and the Military Frontier.
SLAVS, an important branch of the Aryan race-stock, comprising a
number of European peoples chiefly in East Europe, including the
Russians, Bulgarians, Servians, Bohemians, Poles, Croatians, Moravians,
Silesians, Pomeranians, &c. At the dawn of history we find them already
settled in Europe, chiefly in the neighbourhood of the Carpathians,
whence they spread N., S., and W., assuming their present position by the
7th century. They are estimated to number now 100,000,000, and the
various languages spoken by them are notable, compared with the Teutonic
and Celtic tongues, for their rich inflections.
SLAWKENBERGIUS, an author quoted and referred to in "Tristram
Shandy," distinguished by the length of his nose, and a great authority
on the subject of noses.
SLEEPING BEAUTY, a princess who was by enchantment shut up to sleep
100 years in a castle surrounded by a dense forest, and was delivered
from her trance at the end of that term by a prince, to admit whom the
forest opened of itself.
SLEIPNIR, in the Scandinavian mythology the horse of Odin, which had
eight legs, as representing the wind with its eight principal "airts."
SLESWICK-HOLSTEIN (1,217), a province of North Prussia, stretching
up to Denmark, between the North Sea and the Baltic; various canals cross
the country, bearing to the coast the export produce--corn and cattle;
the land is highly cultivated, and fishing is an important industry on
the Baltic coast; Flensburg, the chief seaport, and Sleswick (15), the
capital, are both situated on inlets of the Baltic; the latter lies 28 m.
NW. of Kiel, consists of a single street 31/2 m. long, and possesses a fine
Gothic cathedral with a fine altar-piece, &c., the sections representing
the history of the Passion of Christ.
SLICK, SAM, a clockmaker and pedlar, a character illustrating Yankee
peculiarities, and remarkable for his wit, his knowledge of human nature,
and his use of "soft sawder," a creation of JUDGE HALIBURTON'S
SLIGO, 1, a maritime county of North-West Ireland (98), in the
province of Connaught; fronts the Atlantic on the N. between Mayo (W.)
and Leitrim (E.), Roscommon forming the S. boundary; the land, sloping N.
to the coast from the Ox Mountains, is chiefly under grass for cattle
pasture, and divided into small holdings; Sligo Bay is a fine sheet of
water, and in the S. and E. are the picturesque Loughs Arrow and Gill;
the manufacture of coarse woollens and linens and fishing are the
principal industries; the Moy, Owenmore, and Garvogue are navigable
rivers. 2, At the mouth of the Garvogue stands Sligo (10), the county
town, 137 m. NW. of Dublin; has ruins of a 13th-century Dominican abbey,
a Roman Catholic cathedral, and exports cattle, corn, butter, &c.
SLOANE, SIR HANS, physician and naturalist, born in co. Down,
Ireland, of Scotch descent; settled as a physician in London; attained
the highest distinction as a professional man; his museum, which was a
large one, of natural objects, books, and MSS. became by purchase the
property of the nation, and formed the nucleus of the British Museum
SLOeJD (sleight), a system of manual training adopted to develop
technical skill originally in the schools of Sweden and Finland; is
education of the eye as well as the hand.
SLOP, DOCTOR, a choleric physician in "Tristram Shandy."
SLOUGH OF DESPOND, a deep bog in the "Pilgrim's Progress," into
which Christian sinks under the weight of his sins and his sense of their
SLOVAKS, a Slavonic peasant people numbering some 2,000,000, subject
to the crown of Hungary since the 11th century, and occupying the
highlands of North-West Hungary; speak a dialect of Czech.
SLOVENIANS, a Slavonic people akin to the Servians and Croatians in
Austro-Hungary, dwelling chiefly in Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola.
SLY, CHRISTOPHER, a drunken sot of a tinker in the "Induction" to
"Taming of the Shrew."
SMART, CHRISTOPHER, English poet, born in Kent; was a Fellow of
Cambridge and a friend of Johnson's; author of the "Song to David," now
famous, much overrated, think some; he was subject to insanity, and it
was written during lucid intervals; he was the author of a prose
translation of Horace (1722-1771).
SMEATON, JOHN, civil engineer, born near Leeds; began life as a
mathematical instrument-maker; made improvements in mill-work, and gained
the Copley Medal in 1758; visited the principal engineering works in
Holland and Belgium; was entrusted with the rebuilding of EDDYSTONE
LIGHTHOUSE (q. v.) after it was in 1755 burnt down, which he
finished in 1759; did other engineering work in the construction of
canals, harbours, and mills, rising to the summit of his profession
SMECTYMNUUS, a pamphlet written in 1641, the title of which is made
up of the initial letters of the names of the authors.
SMELFUNGUS, a name given by Sterne to Smollett as author of volume
of "Travels through France and Italy," for the snarling abuse he heaps on
the institutions and customs of the countries he visited; a name Carlyle
assumes when he has any seriously severe criticisms to offer on things
particularly that have gone or are going to the bad.
SMILES, SAMUEL, author of "Self-Help," born in Haddington; was bred
to medicine, and professed it for a time, but abandoned it for literary
and other work; wrote the "Life of George Stephenson" in 1857, followed
by "Self-Help" two years after; _b_. 1812.
SMITH, ADAM, political economist, born in Kirkcaldy, Fife; studied
at Glasgow and Oxford, went to Edinburgh and became acquainted with David
Hume and his confreres; was appointed to the chair of Logic in Glasgow in
1751, and the year after of Moral Philosophy; produced in 1759 his
"Theory of Moral Sentiments," visited Paris with the young Duke of
Buccleuch, got acquainted with Quesnay, D'Alembert, and Necker, and
returning in 1766, settled in his native place under a pension from the
Duke of Buccleuch, where in 1776 he produced his "Inquiry into the Nature
and Causes of the Wealth of Nations," a work to which he devoted 10 years
of his life, and which has had a world-wide influence, and that has
rendered his name world-famous; in 1778 he settled in Edinburgh as
Commissioner of Customs for Scotland, and in 1787 was elected Lord Rector
of Glasgow University (1723-1790).
SMITH, ALEXANDER, poet, born in Kilmarnock; began life as a
pattern-designer, contributed to the _Glasgow Citizen_, wrote a volume of
poems, "A Life Drama," and produced other works in a style characterised
as "spasmodic," and which, according to Tennyson, "showed fancy, but not
SMITH, GEORGE, Assyriologist, born at London; trained as a bank-note
engraver, but attracted the attention of Sir Henry Rawlinson by his
interest in cuneiform inscriptions, and in 1867 received an appointment
in the British Museum; acquired great skill as an interpreter of Assyrian
inscriptions, published "Annals of Assurbanipal," and in 1872 discovered
a tablet with the "Chaldean Account of the Deluge"; carried through
important expeditions (1871-3-6) in search of antiquities in Nineveh and
other parts of Assyria, accounts of which he published; wrote also
histories of Babylonia, Assyria, Sennacherib, &c. (1840-1876).
SMITH, GOLDWIN, English man of letters, born in Berks; was at one
time intimately associated with Oxford University, went to America and
became professor of English History in Cornell University, and since 1871
has settled in Canada, and believes that Canada will be annexed to the
United States; has written a number of books and pamphlets, one on the
"Relations between England and America" and another on "The Political
Destiny of Canada"; he is an ultra-Liberal; _b_. 1823.
SMITH, JAMES AND HORACE, authors of the famous parodies "The
Rejected Addresses," born at London: James, in business as a solicitor,
and Horace, a wealthy stockbroker; both were occasional contributors to
the periodical press before the public offer of a prize for the best
poetical address to be spoken at the re-opening of Drury Lane Theatre
prompted them to issue a series of "Rejected Addresses," parodying the
popular writers of the day--Wordsworth, Southey, Coleridge, Scott, Byron,
&c.; intensely clever, these parodies have never been surpassed in their
kind; Horace was also a busy writer of novels now forgotten, and also
published two vols. of poetry; James subsequently wrote a number of
Charles Mathews' "Entertainments" (James, 1775-1839; Horace, 1779-1849).
SMITH, JOHN, Cambridge Platonist, born in Northamptonshire; left
"Select Discourses," giving signs both of spiritual insight and vigour of
SMITH, JOHN, sailor, born in Lincolnshire; had a life of adventure
and peril, and became leader of the English colonists of Virginia;
established friendly relations with the Indians, returned to this country
twice over, and introduced POCAHONTAS (q. v.) to the Queen; died
at Gravesend (1580-1631).
SMITH, SYDNEY, political writer and wit, born at Woodford, Essex, of
partly English and partly Huguenot blood; educated at Westminster and
Oxford, bred for the Church; after a brief curacy in Wiltshire settled in
Edinburgh from 1798 to 1803, where, while officiating as a clergyman, he
became one of the famous editors of the _Edinburgh Review_, and a
contributor; settled for a time afterwards in London, where he delivered
a series of admirable lectures on ethics, till he was appointed to a
small living in Yorkshire, and afterwards to a richer living in Somerset,
and finally a canonry in St. Paul's; his writings deal with abuses of the
period, and are, except his lectures perhaps, all out of date now
SMITH, SIR WILLIAM, classical and biblical scholar, born in London;
distinguished himself at the university there and took a course of law at
Gray's Inn, but followed his bent for scholarship, and in 1840-42 issued
his great "Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities," following it up
with the "Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology" and the
"Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography"; did eminent service to the
cause of education by a series of popular editions of Greek and Latin
texts, school grammars, dictionaries, &c.; not less valuable are his
"Dictionary of the Bible," &c.; was editor of the _Quarterly Review_ from
1867, and in 1892 received a knighthood (1813-1893).
SMITH, WILLIAM ROBERTSON, biblical scholar and critic, born at Keig,
Aberdeenshire; educated for the Scottish Free Church, became professor of
Hebrew in the connection at Aberdeen; was prosecuted for heresy in the
matter of the origin of the books of the Old Testament, and finally
removed from the chair; became joint-editor of the "Encyclopaedia
Britannica," and finally professor of Arabic at Cambridge; he was a man
of versatile ability, extensive scholarship, keen critical acumen, and he
contributed not a little to vindicate the claims of the scholar in regard
to the Bible (1846-1894).
SMITH, SIR WILLIAM SIDNEY, British admiral, born at Westminster;
entered the navy at 12, became a captain after many gallant services at
18, was naval adviser to the king of Sweden and knighted, joined Lord
Hood off Toulon and helped to burn the French fleet; was taken prisoner
by the French in 1796, and after two years made his escape; forced
Napoleon to raise the siege of Acre, and was wounded at Aboukir; was
rewarded with a pension of L1000, and raised in the end to the rank of
SMITHFIELD or SMOOTHFIELD, an open space of ground in London,
N. of Newgate, long famous for its live-stock markets; in olden times lay
outside the city walls, and was used as a place of recreation and of
executions; the scene of William Wallace's execution and the death of Wat
Tyler; gradually surrounded by the encroaching city, the cattle-market
became a nuisance, and was abolished in 1855; is partly laid out as a
SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, a celebrated American institution "for the
increase and diffusion of knowledge among men," in Washington; founded
and endowed by James Macie Smithson, a natural son of the Duke of
Northumberland, a zealous chemist and mineralogist, after having had a
paper rejected by the Royal Society, of which he was a Fellow. The
building is one of the finest in the capital; is under government
control, and the President of the United States is _ex officio_ the head
of the institution; encourages scientific research, administers various
funds, and directs expeditions for scientific purposes.
SMOKY CITY, Pittsburg, in Pennsylvania, from the effect produced by
the bituminous coal used in the manufactories.
SMOLENSK (34), an ancient town of Russia, and capital of a
government (1,412) of the same name, on the Dnieper, 244 m. SW. of
Moscow; is surrounded by walls; has a fine cathedral, and is strongly
fortified; carries on a good grain trade; here in 1812 Napoleon defeated
the Russians under Barclay de Tolly and Bagration on his march to Moscow
in August 1812.
SMOLLETT, TOBIAS GEORGE, novelist, born at Dalquhurn,
Dumbartonshire, of good family; bred to medicine, but drifted to
literature, in prosecution of which he set out to London at the age of
18; his first effort was a failure; he took an appointment as a surgeon's
mate on board a war-ship in 1746, which landed him for a time in the West
Indies; on his return to England in 1748 achieved his first success in
"Roderick Random," which was followed by "Peregrine Pickle" in 1751,
"Count Fathom" in 1755, and "Humphrey Clinker" in 1771, added to which he
wrote a "History of England," and a political lampoon, "The Adventures
of an Atom"; his novels have no plot, but "in inventive tale-telling and
in cynical characterisation he is not easily equalled" (1721-1771).
SMRITI, in the Hindu religion the name given to traditional usage,
as opposed to Sruti, or revelation, and from which proceeded, at a later
date, the body of laws, such as that of Manu, in which the morality
prescribed is, "sound, solid, and practical."
SMYRNA (210), a town of great antiquity, since ancient times the
chief port of Asia Minor; is situated amid surrounding hills at the head
of the Gulf of Smyrna, an arm of the AEgean Sea; has no imposing
structures, and is, especially in the Turkish quarter, ill-drained and
crowded; is the seat of the Turkish Governor-General of the province, of
archbishops, Roman Catholic, Greek, and Armenian; manufactures embrace
carpets, pottery, cottons and woollens; a splendid harbour favours a
large import and export trade; for long a possession of Greece and then
of Rome, it finally fell into the hands of the Turks in 1424.
SMYRNA, GULF OF, an inlet of the AEgean Sea, 40 m. in length by 20 m.
in breadth, with an excellent anchorage.
SNAKE RIVER, chief tributary of the Columbia; rises in Wyoming amid
the Rockies; flows S. and NW. through Idaho, forming the Shoshone Falls,
rivalling Niagara, which they exceed in height; through Southern
Washington it flows W. under the name of the Lewis River or Fork, and
discharges into the Columbia after a course of 1050 m.
SNAKE-STONES, stones popularly believed to cure the bites of snakes,
probably due to a porosity in their substance drawing off the poison.
SNIDER, JACOB, American mechanical genius; invented a method of
converting muzzle-loading rifles into breech-loading; died unrewarded in
SNODGRASS, AUGUSTUS, a member of the Pickwick Club in the "Pickwick
SNORRI STURLASON, Icelandic historian and poet; published the
collection of sagas entitled "Heimskringla," among which were many songs
of his own composition; was a man of position and influence in Iceland,
but having provoked the ill-will of Haco was at his instigation
assassinated in 1241. See EDDA.
SNOWDON, a mountain range in Carnarvon, North Wales, extending from
the coast to near Conway; it has five distinct summits, of which
Moel-y-Wyddfa (the conspicuous peak) is the highest, being 3560 ft.; the
easiest ascent is from Llanberis on the N., and is the route usually
taken by tourists, for whose behoof there is a house on the summit.
SOANE, SIR JOHN, English architect, who left his house in Lincoln's
Inn Fields with art collection to the nation at his death in 1837.
SOBIESKI, surname of the great patriot king of Poland, John III., in
the 17th century; born at Olesko, in Galicia; was elected king of Poland
in 1674, having, by repeated victories over the Turks and Russians, shown
himself the greatest soldier of his country; proved a wise and brave
ruler, a true leader of his people, and with unbroken success defied the
utmost efforts of the infidel Turks (1624-1696).
SOBRAON (4), a town in the Punjab, India, on the Sutlej, in the
vicinity of which Sir Henry Gough won the decisive victory over the
Sikhs, 10th February 1846.
SOCAGE, name given to a feudal tenure by a certain and determinate
service other than knight service.
SOCIAL WAR, name given to an Insurrection of the allied States in
Italy against the domination of Rome, and which lasted from 90 to 88 B.C.,
in consequence of their exclusion from the rights of citizenship and
the privileges attached; they formed a league to assert their rights,
which ended in defeat.
SOCIALISM, a social system which, in opposition to the competitive
system that prevails at present, seeks to reorganise society on the
basis, in the main, of a certain secularism in religion, of community of
interest, and co-operation in labour for the common good, agreeably to
the democratic spirit of the time and the changes required by the rise of
individualism and the decay of feudalism.
SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE, a society founded in 1698
which during the last 200 years has originated and supported a number of
agencies, both in this country and abroad, for propagating Christian
knowledge; distributed into a number of separate departments.
SOCIETY ISLANDS (24), an archipelago in the South Pacific,
consisting of 13 principal islands and numerous islets, the chief being
Tahiti; they are mountainous, and engirdled by belts of flat land as well
as coral reefs; have a fertile soil and luxuriant vegetation, while the
climate is healthy though enervating; the inhabitants are intelligent but
indolent, and the land is worked by immigrant races.
SOCIETY OF JESUS, the Jesuit order founded by IGNATIUS LOYOLA
SOCINIANS, a sect of the Unitarian body who, in the 16th century,
take their name from FAUSTUS SOCINUS (q. v.), who, besides
denying the doctrine of the Trinity, deny the divinity of Christ and the
divine inspiration of Scripture; they arose into importance originally in
Poland, and in the 17th century spread by degrees in Prussia, the
Netherlands, and England.
SOCINUS, FAUSTUS, a theologian, born in Italy; had for his views to
exile himself for years, and was much persecuted for his opinions; in
Cracow, where he dwelt for a time, he was by a mob dragged from a
sick-bed half-naked along the street, had his house robbed and his papers
SOCIOLOGY, the science which treats of the nature and the
developments of society and of social institutions; a science to which
Herbert Spencer, in succession to Comte, has contributed more than any
other scientist, deducing, as he does, a series of generalisations by
comparison of individual organisms with social.
SOCOTRA (10), an island off the E. coast of Africa, 148 m. NE. of
Cape Guardafui, over 70 m. long and 20 m. broad; it is mountainous,
surrounded by a margin of plain land from 2 to 4 m. broad; is
comparatively barren; is inhabited by Mohammedans, who rear sheep, goats,
and cattle; exports aloes, hides, and pearls; the sultan is a feudatory
SOCRATES, Athenian philosopher, pronounced by the Delphic oracle the
wisest of men; was the son of Sophroniscus, a statuary, and Phaenarete, a
midwife; was brought up to his father's profession, in which it would
seem he gave promise of success; he lived all his days in Athens, and
gathered about him as his pupils all the ingenuous youth of the city; he
wrote no book, propounded no system, and founded no school, but was ever
abroad in the thoroughfares in all weather talking to whoso would listen,
and instilling into all and sundry a love of justice and truth; of quacks
and pretenders he was the sworn foe, and he cared not what enmity he
provoked if he could persuade one and another to think and do what was
right; "he was so pious," says Xenophon in his "Memorabilia," "that he
did nothing without the sanction of the gods; so just, that he never
wronged any one, even in the least degree; so much master of himself,
that he never preferred the agreeable to the good; so wise, that in
deciding on the better and the worse he never faltered; in short, he was
the best and happiest man that could possibly exist;" he failed not to
incur enmity, and his enemies persecuted him to death; he was charged
with not believing in the State religion, with introducing new gods, and
corrupting the youth, convicted by a majority of his judges and condemned
to die; thirty days elapsed between the passing of the sentence and its
execution, during which period he held converse with his friends and
talked of the immortality of the soul; to an offer of escape he turned a
deaf ear, drank the hemlock potion prepared for him with perfect
composure, and died; "the difference between Socrates and Jesus Christ,"
notes Carlyle in his "Journal," "the great Conscious, the immeasurably
great Unconscious; the one cunningly manufactured, the other created,
living and life-giving; the epitome this of a grand and fundamental
diversity among men; but did _any_ truly great man ever," he asks, "go
through the world without _offence_, all rounded in, so that the current
moral systems could find no fault in him? most likely never"
SOCRATES, APOLOGY OF, a work of Plato's, being a speech put into the
mouth of Socrates before the AREOPAGUS (q. v.) in his defence in
answer to the charge brought against him, and which Plato wrote after his
SOCRATES, Church historian of the 4th century, born at Byzantium;
bred to the bar; his "Ecclesiastical History" embraces a period from 306
to 439, a work of no great merit.
SODOM AND GOMORRAH, two ancient cities which, for their wickedness
were, as the Bible relates, consumed with fire from heaven; they are
supposed to have stood near the S. border of the Dead Sea, though they
were not, as was at one time supposed, submerged in the waters of it.
SOFALA, a Portuguese maritime district of South-East Africa,
stretching from the Zambesi S. to Delagoa Bay, and forming the S. portion
of the colony of Mozambique. Sofala (1), chief port on a bay of the same
name, is a place of little importance.
SOFIA (50), capital since 1878 of Bulgaria; is a fortified town,
situated in the broad valley of the Isker, a tributary of the Danube, 75
m. NW. of Philippopolis; has recently largely undergone reconstruction,
and with hotels, banks, a government palace, &c., presents a fine modern
appearance; has a national university; is an important trade emporium,
and is on the Constantinople and Belgrade railway; manufactures cloth,
silks, leather, &c., and has long been famed for its hot mineral springs.
SOFRONIA, a Christian maiden of Jerusalem, who, to avert a general
massacre of the Christians by the Mohammedan king, accused herself of the
crime for which they were all to suffer, and whose story with the issue
is touchingly related in Tasso's "Jerusalem Delivered."
SOISSONS (11), a fortified town of North France, dep. Aisne, on the
Aisne, 65 m. NE. of Paris; has a 12th-century cathedral and ruins of a
famous abbey; chief industries are brewing and the manufacture of various
textiles; was a place of much importance in early times, and figures in
the wars of Clovis and Pepin, frequently in the Hundred Years' War, and
in 1870 was captured by the Germans; is considered the key to Paris from
the Netherlands side.
SOKOTO (11,000), a native kingdom of West Central Africa, within
territories administered now by the British Government; lies between the
Soudan (N.) and the river Benue (S.), the main affluent of the Niger; the
dominant people are the Fulahs, exercising sway over various native
tribes; is a country capable of much agricultural development, and has
large deposits of iron. Wurno (15), the capital, is on the Gandi, 18 m.
E. of the town of Sokoto.
SOLANO, name given to a hot oppressive wind in the Mediterranean.
SOLAR CYCLE, a period of 28 years, within which the first day of the
year passes successively through the same sequence of week-days.
SOLAR MYTH, a myth, the subject of which is a deified
personification of the sun or phenomena connected with it.
SOLAR YEAR, the period of 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 52 seconds
which the earth takes to complete a revolution of the sun.
SOLDAN, a corruption of Sultan, and denoting in mediaeval romance the
SOLECISM, the name given to a violation of the syntax or idiom of a
language, as well as to an incarnate absurdity of any kind, whether in
mind or morals.
SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT. See COVENANT.
SOLENT, the western portion, SPITHEAD (q. v.) being the
eastern, of the strait which separates the Isle of Wight from the
mainland of Hants, 17 m. long, with an average breadth of 3 m., but at
its W. entrance, opposite Hurst Castle, contracts to 3/4 m.
SOLEURE (86), a canton of North-West Switzerland, between Bern (W.
and S.) and Aargau (E); is hilly, but fertile and well cultivated,
especially in the valley of the Aar; inhabitants are mainly Catholics and
German-speaking. Soleure, the capital (8), situated on the Aar, 18 m. NE.
of Berne, has a fine cathedral, and manufactures of cottons, clocks, and
SOLFATA`RA, a fissure or crevice in the earth which emits sulphurous
and other vapours, and in regions where volcanoes have ceased to be
active; they are met with in South Italy, the Antilles, Mexico, and Java.
SOLFERINO, a village in North Italy, 20 m. NW. of Mantua, where the
Austrians were defeated by the French and Piedmontese in 1859.
SOLIDARITY, community of interest or responsibility; also that
community of being which binds humanity into one whole, so that each
affects and is affected by all.
SOLIDUS, a Roman gold coin adopted by the Franks, and first coined
by them in gold, but subsequently in silver, when it was equivalent to
one-twentieth of the libra, or pound; as the "sol" or "sou" it
depreciated greatly in value; was minted in copper, and on the
introduction of the decimal system its place was taken by a five-centime
piece; the "soldo" in Italy, and the Solidus L.S.D. owe their origin to
SOLINGEN (37), a manufacturing town of Prussia, situated near the
Wupper, 13 m. E. of Duesseldorf; has long been famed for its steel and
iron works and cutlery manufactures.
SOLOMON, king of Israel from 1015 to 977 B.C., second son of David
and Bathsheba, and David's successor; in high repute far and wide for his
love of wisdom and the glory of his reign; he had a truly Oriental
passion for magnificence, and the buildings he erected in Jerusalem,
including the Temple and a palace on Mount Zion, he raised regardless of
an expense which the nation resented after he was gone; the burden of
which it would seem had fallen upon them, for when his successor,
following in his courses, ascended the throne, ten of the tribes
revolted, to the final rupture of the community, and the fall of first
the one section and then the other under alien sway.
SOLOMON OF ENGLAND, an appellation conferred on Henry VII., and also
satirically on James I., characterised by Sully as "the wisest fool in
SOLOMON OF FRANCE, a title bestowed on Louis IX.
SOLOMON ISLANDS (167), a large group of islands in the West Pacific,
500 m. E. of New Guinea, the N. islands of which belong to Germany, and
the S. to Britain; are volcanic in origin, mountainous, wooded, and
thickly populated by Melanesian savages, who are totem worshippers, and
still practise cannibalism.
SOLOMON'S RING, a ring worn by Solomon, in which was a stone from
which, according to the Rabbins, he learned whatever he wished to know.
SOLON, the great Athenian law-giver, and one of the seven sages of
GREECE (q. v.), born in Athens, was of royal degree, and kinsman
of Pisistratus; began life as a trader, and in that capacity acquired a
large experience of the world, and he soon turned his attention to
political affairs, and showed such wisdom in the direction of them that
he was elected archon in 594 B.C., and in that office was invested with
full power to ordain whatever he might deem of advantage for the benefit
of the State; he accordingly set about the framing of a constitution in
which property, not birth, was made the basis of the organisation, and
the title to honour and office in the community; he divided the citizens
into four classes, gave additional power to the assemblies of the people,
and made the archons and official dignitaries responsible to them in the
administration of affairs; when he had finished his work, he ordered the
laws he had framed to be engraved on tablets and set up in a public
place, then took oath of the people to observe them for ten years, after
which he left the country and set out on travel; at the end of the ten
years he returned, to find things lapsing into the old disorder, and
Pisistratus ready to seize the sovereignty of the State, whereupon he
withdrew into private life, and died the subject of a tyrant at the age
of eighty (640-559 B.C.).
SOLSTICE, summer and winter, the two recurring periods of the year
at which the sun is farthest distant N. or S. from the equator, which
mark midsummer and midwinter, the times being the 21st of June and 22nd
of December; also applied to the two points in the ECLIPTIC (q. v.),
which the sun appears to reach on these two dates.
SOLWAY FIRTH, an arm of the Irish Sea, and in its upper part forming
the estuary of the river Esk, separating Cumberland from the S. of
Scotland (Kirkcudbright and Dumfries); stretches inland from Balcarry
Point 36 m., and from 2 to 20 m. broad; receives the Annan, Dee, Nith,
Eden, and Derwent, and has valuable salmon-fishings; the spring tides ebb
and flow with remarkable rapidity, the "bore" often reaching a speed of
from 8 to 10 m. an hour; is spanned near Annan by a railway viaduct 1960
SOLWAY MOSS, a moss, now drained and cultivated, in Cumberland, on
the Scottish border, that was the scene of the defeat of the Scotch army
in 1542, a disaster which broke the heart of James V.
SOLYMAN II., surnamed THE MAGNIFICENT, the tenth and greatest of
the Ottoman sultans, the son and successor of Selim I.; succeeded his
father at 24; set himself at once to reform abuses and place the internal
administration on a strict basis, and after making peace with Persia and
allaying tumult in Syria, turned his arms westwards, captured Belgrade,
and wrested the island of Rhodes from the Knights of St. John; he twice
over led his army into Hungary; in connection with the latter invasion
laid siege to Vienna, from which he was obliged to retire after the loss
of 40,000 men, after which he turned his arms to the east, adding to his
territory, and finally to the North of Africa, to the conquest of the
greater part of it; he died at Szigeth while opening a new campaign
against Hungary; _d_. 1566.
SOMA, the intoxicating juice of a plant offered in libation to a
Hindu god, especially to INDRA (q. v.), to strengthen him in his
war with the demons, and identified with the invigorating and inspiring
principle in nature which manifests itself at once in the valour of the
soldier and the inspiration of the poet; as a god Soma is the counterpart
of AGNI (q. v.).
SOMAI, BRAHMO. See BRAHMO-SOMAJ.
SOMALILAND, a broad plateau of East Africa, bounded by the Gulf of
Aden on the N. and the Indian Ocean on the SE.; inhabited by the Somalis,
a pastoral people, who rear camels, sheep, and oxen, and are of the
Mohammedan faith; are under chiefs, and jealous of strangers.
SOMERSET HOUSE, a handsome Government building in London, with a
double frontage on the Strand and the Victoria Embankment, built on the
site of the palace of the Protector Somerset, and opened in 1786;
accommodates various civil departments of the Government--the Inland
Revenue, Audit and Exchequer, Wills and Probate, Registry-General. The
east wing is occupied by King's College and School.
SOMERSETSHIRE (484), a maritime county of England, fronting the
Bristol Channel, between Devon (N.) and Gloucester (SW.), with Wilts and
Dorset on the E. and S.; diversified by the Mendips (NE.), Quantock
Hills, Exmoor (SW.), and other smaller elevations; is yet in the main
occupied by wide level plains largely given over to pastoral and dairy
farming; watered by the Bristol Avon, the Parret, and other lesser
streams; its orchards rank next to those of Devon; is prolific in Roman,
Saxon, and ancient British remains; Taunton is the county town, but Bath
SOMERVILLE, MRS. MARY, a lady skilled in mathematics and physics,
born at Jedburgh; was brought up at Burntisland and Edinburgh;
contributed to the _Transactions of the Royal Society_; wrote a book
entitled the "Mechanism of the Heavens" on the suggestion of Lord
Brougham, as a popularisation of Laplace's "Mechanique Celeste," which
was followed by her "Connection of the Physical Sciences," "Physical
Geography," and "Molecular and Microscopic Science," the last published
in her ninetieth year; died at Naples (1770-1872).
SOMME, 1, a river of North France; rises in the department of Aisne,
near St. Quentin, and flows 150 m. SW. and NW. to the English Channel;
navigable as far as Abbeville. 2, A department (546) of North France,
fronting the English Channel, between Seine-Inferieure (S.) and
Pas-de-Calais (N.); one of the most prosperous agricultural and
manufacturing districts of France; AMIENS (q. v.) is the chief
SOMNATH (7), an ancient maritime town of Oujarat, India, in the SW.
of the peninsula of Kathiawar; has interesting memorials of Krishna,
who, it is alleged, is hurled in the vicinity; close by is a famous
ruined Hindu temple, despoiled in the 11th century of its treasures,
sacred idol, and gates; in 1842 Lord Ellenborough brought hack from
Afghanistan gates which he thought to be the famous "Gates of Somnath,"
but doubt being cast on their authenticity, they were eventually placed
in the arsenal of Agra.
SOMNATH, IDOL OF, "a mere mass of coarse crockery," says Jepherson
Brick, an imaginary friend of Carlyle's, "not worth five shillings, sat
like a great staring god, with two diamonds for eyes, which one day a
commander of the Faithful took the liberty to smite once as he rode up
with grim battle-axe and heart full of Moslem fire, and which thereupon
shivered into a heap of ugly potsherds, yielding from its belly half a
waggon-load of gold coins; the gold coins, diamond eyes, and other
valuables were carefully picked up by the Faithful; confused jingle of
potsherds was left lying; and the idol of Somnath, once showing what it
_was_, had suddenly come to a conclusion."
SOMNUS, the god of Sleep, a brother of Death, and a son of Night,
represented, he and Death, as two youths sleeping or holding inverted
torches in their hands; near the dwelling of Somnus flowed the river of
Lethe, which crept along over pebbles, and invited to sleep; he was
attended by Morpheus, who inspired pleasing dreams.
SONATA, a musical composition chiefly designed for solo instruments,
especially the pianoforte, and consisting generally of three or four
contrasted movements--the allegro, adagio, rondo, minuetto or scherzo;
reaches its noblest expression in the sonatas of Beethoven.
SONDERBUND, the name given to the union of the Catholic cantons
(Lucerne, Zug, Freiburg, and Valais) of Switzerland, which led to the
civil disturbances of 1845-1846, and the war of 1847.
SONNET, a form of poetical composition invented in the 13th century,
consisting of 14 decasyllabic or hendecasyllabic iambic lines, rhymed
according to two well-established schemes which bear the names of their
two most famous exponents, Shakespeare and Petrarch. The Shakespearian
sonnet consists of three four-lined stanzas of alternate rhymes clinched
by a concluding couplet; the Petrarchan of two parts, an octave, the
first eight lines rhymed abbaabba, and a sestet, the concluding six lines
arranged variously on a three-rhyme scheme.
SONS OF THE PROPHETS. See NEBIIM.
SONTAG, HENRIETTA, a German singer, born at Coblenz; made her
_debut_ at 15; had a brilliant career twice over (1806-1854).
SOOCHOO (500), a large city in China, 50 m. NW. of Shanghai; is
intersected by canals, walled all round, and manufactures fine silk.
SOPHERIM, THE, the name by which the SCRIBES (q. v.) are
designated in Jewish literature.
SOPHIA, ELECTRESS OF HANOVER, youngest daughter of ELIZABETH,
QUEEN OF BOHEMIA (q. v.), and mother of George I. (1630-1714).
SOPHIA, ST., the personification of the Divine wisdom, to whom, as
to a saint, many churches have been dedicated, especially the Church of
SOPHIE CHARLOTTE, wife of Friedrich I. of Prussia, born in Hanover,
daughter of Electress Sophia; famous in her day both as a lady and a
queen; was, with her mother, of a philosophic turn; "persuaded," says
Carlyle, "that there was some nobleness for man beyond what the tailor
imparts to him, and even very eager to discover it had she known how";
she had the philosopher Leibnitz often with her, "eagerly desirous to
draw water from that deep well--a wet rope with cobwebs sticking to it
often all she got--endless rope, and the bucket never coming to view"
SOPHISTS, a sect of thinkers that arose in Greece, and whose radical
principle it was that we have only a subjective knowledge of things, and
that we have no knowledge at all of objective reality, that things are as
they seem to us, and that we have no knowledge of what they are in
themselves; "on this field," says SCHWEGLER, "they disported,
enjoying with boyish exuberance the exercise of the power of
subjectivity, and destroying, by means of a subjective dialectic, all
that had been ever objectively established," such as "the laws of the
State, inherited custom, religious tradition, and popular belief.... They
form, in short, the German AUFKLAeRUNG (q. v.), the Greek
Illumination (q. v.). They acknowledged only _private_ judgment and
ignored the existence of a judgment that is not private, and has absolute
rights irrespective of the sentiments of the individual."
SOPHOCLES, Athenian tragic poet, born at Colonos, a suburb of
Athens; when but 16, such was his musical talent, he was selected to lead
the choir that sang the song of triumph over the victory of Salamis; his
first appearance as a dramatist was in 488 B.C., when he had AEschylus as
his rival and won the prize, though he was seven years afterwards
defeated by Euripides, but retrieved the defeat the year following by the
production of his "Antigone." That same year one of the 10 _strategi_ (or
generals) and he accompanied Pericles in his war against the aristocrats
of Samos. He wrote a number of dramas, over 100 it is alleged, but only 7
survive, and these in probable order are "Ajax," "Antigone," "Electra,"
"Oedipus Tyrannus," "Trachineae," "Oedipus Coloneus," and "Philoctetes."
Thus are all his subjects drawn from Greek legend, and they are all alike
remarkable for the intense humanity and sublime passion that inspires
them and the humane and the high and holy resolves they stir up.
SORATA, a volcanic peak in the Bolivian Andes, 21,470 ft. in height.
SORBONNE, a celebrated college of Paris, taking its name from its
founder, Robert of Sorbon, chaplain to Saint Louis in the 13th century;
was exclusively devoted to theology, and through the rigour of its
discipline and learning of its professors soon exercised a predominant
influence on the theological thought of Europe, which it maintained until
the new learning of the Renaissance (16th century), together with its own
dogmatic conservatism, left it hopelessly stuck in the "Sorbonnian bog"
of derelict scholastic theology; became an object of satiric attacks by
Boileau, Voltaire, and others, and was suppressed in 1789 at the outburst
of the Revolution; was revived by Napoleon in 1808; is at present the
seat of the Academie Universitaire de Paris, with faculties of theology,
science, and literature.
SORDELLO, a Provencal poet whom Dante and Virgil met in Purgatory
sitting solitary and with a noble haughty mien, but who sprang up at
sight of Virgil and embraced him and accompanied him a part of his way;
Browning used his name, as the title of a poem showing the conflict a
minister experiences in perfecting his craft.
SOREL, AGNES, the mistress of Charles VII. of France, who had a
great influence over him; had been maid of honour to the queen
SORROW, SANCTUARY OF, Goethe's name for the fold of Christ, wherein,
according to His promise (Matt. v. 4) the "mourners" who might gather
together there would find relief and be comforted, the path of sorrow
leading up to the "porch" of the sanctuary.
SORROW, WORSHIP OF, Goethe's name for the Christian religion, "our
highest religion, for the Son of Man," Carlyle adds, interpreting this,
"there is no noble crown, well worn or even ill worn, but is a crown of
SORROWS OF THE VIRGIN. See SEVEN DOLOURS.
SORROWS OF WERTHER, a work by Goethe and one of his earliest, the
production of which constituted a new era in the life of the poet, and
marks a new era in the literature of Europe, "as giving expression to a
class of feelings deeply important to modern minds, but for which our
older poetry offered no exponent, and perhaps could offer none, because
they are feelings that arise from Passion incapable of being converted
into Action, and belong to an ignorant, uncultivated, and unbelieving age
such as ours," feelings that Byronically, "in dark wayward" mood reflect
a mere sense of the miseries of human life.
SORTES VIRGILIANAE, consulting the pages of Virgil to ascertain one's
fortune, by opening the book at random, putting the finger on a passage
and taking that for the oracle of fate one is in quest of.
SOSTRATUS, architect of the Pharos of Alexandria, lived in the 3rd
century B.C., and was patronised by Ptolemy Philadelphus.
SOTHERN, EDWARD ASKEW, comedian, born in Liverpool; at 23 went on
the stage, and for some time was a member of the stock company of the
Theatre Royal, Birmingham; afterwards acted in America, and made his mark
in Tom Taylor's "Our American Cousin" (1858) in the small part of Lord
Dundreary, which he gradually developed into an elaborate and
phenomenally successful caricature of an English peer, and in which he
appeared thousands of times in America and England; scored a great
success also as David Garrick in Robertson's well-known comedy
SOUBISE, DUC DE, French soldier; served first under Prince Maurice
of Orange, and commanded the Huguenots against Louis XIII., but after
some successes was compelled to take refuge in England; distinguished
himself at the defence of Rochelle, but was defeated again and had to
betake himself to England as before, where he died (1589-1641).
SOUBISE, PRINCE DE, marshal of France; was aide-de-camp to Louis XV.
in Flanders, was favoured by Pompadour, held an important command in the
Seven Years' War, but was defeated by Frederick the Great at Rossbach
SOUDAN or "THE LAND OF THE BLACKS," the cradle of the negro
race, a vast tract of territory stretching E. and W. across the African
continent from the Atlantic (W.) to the Red Sea and Highlands of
Abyssinia (E.), between the Sahara (W.) and the Gulf of Guinea and the
central equatorial provinces (S.); divided into (a) Upper Soudan,
embracing Senegambia, Sierra Leone, Ashanti, Dahomey, Liberia, and west
coast-lands; (6) Lower Soudan, including the Fulah States, Massina,
Gando, Sokoto, &c.; (c) Egyptian Soudan, which in 1882 was subdivided
into (1) West Soudan, including Dar-Fur, Kordofan, Bahr-el-Ghazal, and
Dongola; (2) Central Soudan, comprising Khartoum, Sennaar, Berber,
Fashoda, and the Equatorial Province, &c.; (3) Eastern Soudan, bordering
on the Red Sea, and embracing Taka, Suakim, and Massowah; (4) Harar,
stretching E. of Abyssinia. The extension of Egyptian rule into this
territory began in 1819 with the capture of Khartoum, which became the
base of military operations, ending in the gradual conquest of the
surrounding regions in 1874. A serious revolt, fanned by religious
fanaticism, broke out in 1882, and headed by the MAHDI (q. v.)
and his lieutenant Osman Digna, ended in the utter rout of the Egyptian
forces under Hicks Pasha and Baker Pasha; Gordon, after a vain attempt to
relieve him, perished in Khartoum; but Stanley was more successful in
relieving Emin Bey in the Equatorial Province. Anarchy and despotism
ensued until the victorious campaign of KITCHENER (q. v.) again
restored the lost provinces to Egypt.
SOUFFLOT, French architect of the Pantheon of Paris (1713-1780).
SOUL, the name given to the spiritual part of man, the SEAT OF
REASON (q. v.) and conscience, by which he relates and subordinates
himself to the higher spiritual world, inspiring him with a sense of
SOULT, NICOLAS-JEAN DE DIEU, duke of Dalmatia and marshal of France,
born at St. Amans-la-Bastide, department of Tarn; enlisted as a private
in 1785, and by 1794 was general of a brigade; gallant conduct in Swiss
and Italian campaigns under Massena won him rapid promotion, and in 1804
he was created a marshal; served with the emperor in Germany, and led the
deciding charge at Austerlitz, and for his services in connection with
the Treaty of Tilsit received the title of Duc de Dalmatia; at the head
of the French army in Spain he outmanoeuvred the English in 1808,
conquered Portugal, and opposed to Wellington a skill and tenacity not
less than his own, but was thwarted in his efforts by the obstinate
incompetence of Joseph Bonaparte; turned Royalist after the abdication of
Napoleon, but on his return from Elba rallied to the emperor's standard,
and fought at Waterloo; was subsequently banished, but restored in 1819;
became active in the public service, and was honoured as ambassador in
England in 1838; retired in 1845 with the honorary title of
"Marshal-General of France" (1769-1851).
SOUND, THE, a strait, 50 m. long, between Sweden and Denmark, which
connects the Cattegat with the Baltic Sea; dues at one time levied on
ships passing through the channel were abolished in 1857, and over three
millions paid in compensation, Britain contributing one-third and
undertaking to superintend the navigation and maintain the lighthouses.
SOUTH, ROBERT, an English divine, born at Hackney; obtained several
preferments in the Church, but refused a bishopric; was distinguished for
his hostility to the Dissenters, and was never tired of heaping ridicule
on them and their principles; wrote a book in defence of the Trinity in a
somewhat rationalistic view of it, which involved him in a furious
controversy with Dr. Sherlock; was a man of great wit and good sense as
well as refinement; his chief writings consist of "Sermons" (1633-1716).
SOUTH AFRICAN COMPANY. See RHODESIA.
SOUTH AFRICAN REPUBLIC. See TRANSVAAL.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA (320), second largest of the five colonies of
Australia, stretches N. and S. in a broad band, 1850 in. long, through
the heart of the continent from the Southern Ocean to the Gulf of
Carpentaria and the Arafura Sea, having Queensland, New South Wales, and
Victoria on the E., and Western Australia on the W.; ten times the size
of Great Britain, but the greater portion comprises the Northern
Territory, which consists, save a low alluvial coastal strip, of parched
and uninhabited tableland. South Australia proper begins about 26 deg. S.
latitude, and is traversed southwards by the Finke River as far as Eyre
Lake (3706 sq. m.), by the Flinders Range, and the lower Murray River in
the E., and diversified here and there by low ranges and Lake Amadeus
(NW.), Torrens and Gairdner (S.); the S. coast is penetrated by the great
gulfs of Spencer and St. Vincent, round and to the N. and E. of which the
bulk of the population is gathered in a region not much larger than
Scotland; is the chief wheat-growing colony, and other important
industries are mining (chiefly copper), sheep-rearing, and wine-making;
chief exports, wool, wheat, and copper; the railway and telegraph systems
are well developed, the Overland Telegraph Line (1973 m.) stretching
across the continent from Adelaide to Port Darwin being a marvel of
engineering enterprise. Adelaide is the capital. The governor is
appointed by the crown, and there are a legislative council or upper
house, and an assembly or lower house. State education is free. Began to
be settled in 1836, and five years later became a Crown colony.
SOUTH SEA BUBBLE, the name given to the disastrous financial project
set on foot by HARLEY (q. v.) to relieve the national debt and
restore public credit, which produced an unparalleled rush of
speculation, ending in the ruin of thousands of people. Through the
efforts of Harley a company of merchants was induced in 1711 to buy up
the floating national debt of L10,000,000 on a government guarantee of 6
per cent. interest, and a right to a monopoly of trade in the South Seas.
The shares rose by leaps and bounds as tales of the fabulous wealth of
the far South Seas circulated, till, in 1720, L200 shares were quoted at
L1000; earlier in the same year the company had taken over the entire
national debt of upwards of 30 millions. In the craze for speculation
which had seized the public hundreds of wild schemes were floated. At
length the "Bubble" burst. The chairman and several directors of the
company sold out when shares had reached L1000; suspicion followed,
confidence vanished, stock fell, and in a few days thousands from end to
end of the country were bewailing their ruin. The private estates of the
fraudulent directors were confiscated for the relief of the sufferers. To
Sir Robert Walpole belongs the credit of extricating the finances of the
country from the muddle into which they had fallen.
SOUTHAMPTON (94), an important seaport of South Hampshire, 79 m. SW.
of London, situated on a small peninsula at the head of Southampton Water
(a fine inlet, 11 m. by 2), between the mouths of the Itchen (E.) and the
Test (W.); portions of the old town-walls and four gateways still remain;
is the head-quarters of the Ordnance Survey; has splendid docks, and is
an important steam-packet station for the West Indies, Brazil, and South
Africa; yacht and ship building and engine-making are flourishing
SOUTHCOTT, JOANNA, a prophetess, born in Devon, of humble parents;
became a Methodist; suffered under religious mania; gave herself out as
the woman referred to in Revelation xii.; imagined herself to be with
child, and predicted she would on a certain day give birth to the
promised Prince of Peace, for which occasion great preparations were
made, but all to no purpose; she died of dropsy two months after the time
predicted; she found numbers to believe in her even after her death; she
traded in passports to heaven, which she called "seals," and persuaded
numbers to purchase them (1750-1814).
SOUTHERN CROSS, a constellation of the southern heavens, the five
principal stars of which form a rough and somewhat irregular cross, the
shape of which is gradually changing; it corresponds in the southern
heavens to the Great Bear in the northern.
SOUTHEY, ROBERT, poet-laureate, born, the son of a linen-draper, at
Bristol; was expelled from Westminster School for a satirical article in
the school magazine directed against flogging; in the following year
(1793) entered Balliol College, where he only remained one year, leaving
it a Unitarian and a red-hot republican; was for a time enamoured of
Coleridge's wild pantisocratic scheme; married (1795) clandestinely Edith
Frickes, a penniless girl, sister to Mrs. Coleridge, and in disgrace with
his English relatives visited his uncle in Lisbon, where in six months he
laid the foundation of his knowledge of Spanish history and literature;
the Church and medicine had already, as possible careers, been abandoned,
and on his return to England he made a half-hearted effort to take up
law; still unsettled he again visited Portugal, and finally was relieved
of pecuniary difficulties by the settlement of a pension on him by an old
school friend, which he relinquished in 1807 on receiving a pension from
Government; meanwhile had settled at Keswick, where he prosecuted with
untiring energy the craft of authorship; "Joan of Arc," "Thalaba,"
"Madoc," and "The Curse of Kehama," won for him the laureateship in 1813,
and in the same year appeared his prose masterpiece "The Life of Nelson";
of numerous other works mention may be made of his Histories of Brazil
and the Peninsular War, Lives of Bunyan and Wesley, and "Colloquies on
Society"; declined a baronetcy offered by Peel; domestic affliction--the
death of children, and the insanity and death of his wife--saddened his
later years, which were brightened in the last by his second marriage
(1839) with the poetess and his twenty years' friend, Caroline Bowles; as
a poet Southey has few readers nowadays; full of miscellaneous interest,
vigour of narrative, and spirited rhythm, his poems yet lack the finer
spirit of poetry; but in prose he ranks with the masters of English prose
style "of a kind at once simple and scholarly" (1774-1843).
SOUTHPORT (41), a watering-place of Lancashire, situated on the
southern shore of the Ribble estuary, 18 m. N. of Liverpool; is a town of
quite modern growth and increasing popularity; has a fine sea-shore,
esplanade, park, theatre, public library, art gallery, etc.
SOUTHWARK (339), or the BOROUGH, a division of London, on the
Surrey side of the Thames, opposite the City, and annexed to it in 1827;
it sends three members to Parliament, and among its principal buildings
are St. Saviour's Church and Guys Hospital.
SOUTHWELL, ROBERT, poet, born in Norfolk; studied at Douay, and
became a Jesuit priest; came to England as a missionary, was thrown into
prison, tortured ten times by the rack, and at length executed at Tyburn
as a traitor for disseminating Catholic doctrine; his poems are religious
chiefly, and excellent, and were finally collected under the title "St.
Peter's Complaint," "Mary Magdalen's Tears, and Other Works"; "The
Burning Babe" is characterised by Professor Saintsbury as a "splendid
SOUVESTRE, EMILE, French novelist and playwright, born at Morlaix;
at 30 he established himself in Paris as a journalist, and became noted
as a writer of plays and of charming sketches of Breton life, essays, and
fiction; "Les Derniers Bretons" and "Foyer Breton" are considered his
best work (1806-1854).
SOUZA, MADAME DE (maiden name Adelaide Filleul), French novelist,
born in Paris, and educated in a convent, on her leaving which she was
married to the Comte de Flahaut, a man much older than herself, and with
whom she lived unhappily; fled to Germany and then to England on the
outbreak of the Revolution; afterwards returned to Paris, and as the wife
of the Marquis de Souza-Botelho presided over one of the most charming of
_salons_, in which the chief attraction was her own bright and gifted
personality; her novels, "Eugene de Rothelin," "Eugenie et Mathilde,"