Francis Lieber.

Library of universal knowledge. A reprint of the last (1880) Edinburgh and London edition of Chambers' encyclopaedia, with copious additions by American editors (Volume 13) online

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remarkably handsome. In the Piazzsi del Campo stands the Palazzo Pubblico, built ia
the 13th c., in which there are magnificent rooms, and paintings by eminent artists.
Sienna has a fine cathedral, erected, it is said, on the foundations of the temple of
Minerva, begun in 1059; the facade built in the 13th century. It is faced with blauk
and white marble, and is covered with ornaments and sculptures. The pavement is of
marble tesselated, representing many biblical subjects. In the different chapels, and in
the baptistery, there are frescoes, paintings, and statues, by a number of distinguished
masters. The other churches are also rich in works of art." Of tlie many oratorios, the
U. K. XIII. 31 -~^

Sienna. 4-89


most noteworthy is that of St. Catharine (q.v.). occupying the house of the saint. Sienna
is un archiepiscopal see. The Siennese are singularly industrious, and have numerous
manufactories of cloth and woolen, silk and linen stuffs, of felt and straw hats, of wax
and beet-sugar. There are marble quarries in the neighborhood. There is a university,
founded in 1330, famous especially as a school of medicine, which has upward of 100
students. The Italian spoken at Sienna is reckoned among the purest.

Sienna was founded as a Roman colony in the time of Julius Caesar, under the name
of Sena, or Sena Julia. There are no remains of antiquity ; and it does not appear to
have been a place of any consequence until the middle ages, when it became one of the
powerful city republics of Italy. It embraced the Ghibelline cause, and in conjunction
with the forces of Pisa, defeated the Tuscan Guelfs, in the memorable battle of Monte
Aperto (1260). At the height of its greatness it is said to have contained 200,000
inhabitants. ' Seina produced a "school" of artists, of whom the most distinguished
pames are Guido da Siena, Simone Memmi, Sodoma, Beccafumi, and Baldassare


SIERRA, a name applied in Spain, and in countries in which the Spanish language
has prevailed, to a ridge of mountains. The word means saw, and is descriptive of the
motched or saw-like sky-line of certain mountain-ranges.

SIERRA, a co. in n.e. California, adjoining Nevada on the e. ; drained by the forks
of the Yuba river; 830 sq.m. ; pop. '80, 6,6233,457 of American birth; 1250 Chinese.
The surface is mountainous, as the county lies among the peaks of the Sierra Nevada,
of which some are from 6,000 to 8,000 ft. high. The climate is severe; and but a small
part of the surface suited for agriculture. Gold is found in large quantities, and there
are 6 quartz-mills. Co. seat, Downieville.

SIERRA LEONE (Mountain of the Lion), a British colonial settlement on the Sierra
Leone coast, western Africa, The settlement consists chiefly of a peninsula, about 25
m. long, from n. to s., and 12 m. broad; but several islets, as the isles de Loss and the
Banana islands, belong to it. Area, according to the latest returns, 468 sq.m. ; pop. '70,
38,936, a decrease of 2,688 since 1860. There were 255 whites and 38,681 colored;
19, 445 males and 19,491 females. Pop. '72, 37,089. The peninsula is bounded on the
n. by the Sierra Leone river, and on the s. by Calmont creek and Yawry bay. Along
t'ae coast stretches a belt of rich low-lying land, and elsewhere in the colony there are
fertile tracts; but the interior is a mass of rugged mountains, with a generally barren
soil. The climate is humid and unhealthy the wet season, lasting from May to Novem-
l>er, being specially pestilential. Tropical fruits an.l plants grow luxuriantly in the more
favorable regions, and coffee, sugar, indigo, and cotton have been introduced by the
British. In 1872 the exports amounted to 358,633, the chief articles being gold, cotton
goods, ground-nuts, palm-oil, hides, palm-nuts, manufactured tobacco, and timber. In
the same year the imports amounted to 411,936, and the chief articles were cotton
goods (nearly one-half of the whole value), gunpowder, ready-made apparel, hardware,
haberdashery, and rum. The revenue in 1874 amounted to 95,325, and the expendi-
ture to 93,643. In 1877 Sierra Leone and Gambia exported to Great Britain goods
valued at 176,111, and imported thence to the value of 604,391. The colony is ruled
by a crown-appointed governor, assisted by a council. In 1866 Sierra Leone, the Gam-
bia, the Gold Coast, and Lagos were placed under one general government, to be called
the "government of the west African settlements."

The settlement of Sierra Leone was established in 1787, when 470 destitute negroes
were removed to it from London by a body of philanthropists; and 1196 negroes were
sent to it from Nova Scotia the climate of which had proved too severe for them in
1790. The population was also increased by other bands of people of color; and after
the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, the slaves captured by British cruisers have
been put ashore, and settled here. In 1820 the settlement contained only 12,000 inhab-
itants, or less than a third of its present population.

SIERRA MA DRE a name given to central portions of the great chain of Cordilleras
or Rocky mountains, in Mexico, from lat. 19 to 25 n., and in New Mexico, to the
great western range, from lat. 34 to 38 north. These ranges, but partially explored,
contain some of the richest silver mines in the world.

SIERRA MORENA, a mountain-range in Spain, on the southern border of New Cas-
tile, and between the modern provinces *of Ciudad Real and Jaen. It separates the
upper portions of the basins of the Guadiana on the n., and of the Guadalquivir on the
$., and rises in its highest point to 5,500 ft. above the sea. It is frequently mentioned
in Don Quixote, and is the scene of many of the incidents therein described.

SIERRA NEVA'DA (Snowy Range), a mountain range of Spain in Andalusia,
extending e. from Padul, 12 m. s. of Granada, to the frontiers of the modern province
of Almeria, is 60 m. in length, from 20 to 30 m. in breadth, and covers an area of
upward of 1000 sq. miles. It is continued on the n.e. by the Sierra de la Filabras, and


forms a portion of the watershed between the streams that flow into the Mediterranean
and those that flow into the Atlantic. The peak of Mulhacen reaches a height of
11,678 ft., and is the highest summit not only of the Spanish peninsula, but of the whole
of Europe w. of the Alps. The peak of Veleta is 11,387 ft. high. The range receive*
its name from the perpetual snow which covers the highest summits. The views from
the summits, from which, on the s., may be seen the faint outline of the African coast,
on the n. the jagged sierras of the Castiles, can hardly be surpassed in beauty and mag-
nificence by any in Europe.

SIEREA NEVADA, a range of mountains in California, forming a portion of its east-
ern boundary, is the source of a multitude of rivers, which swell the Sacramento and
San Joaquiu. The range extends from u.w. to s.e. 450 miles, and is united to the Coast
range, which runs parallel with the Pacific, by mount San Bernardino. Among the
higher peaks of the Sierra Nevada are Saddle peak, 7,200 ft. high; Table mountain, 8,000
ft. ; and the Buttes, 9,000 feet. Here are immense deposits of gold quartz, with steam
and water power crushing-mills; deep tunnels and mines, increasing with their depth,
their yearly product.

SIEYES. EMMANUEL JOSEPH, Comte, who, as the abbe Sieys, prominently figures
in the history of the French revolution, was born at Frejire, May 3, 1748. He was
educated at the university of Paris with a view to his entering the church ; and on the
completion of his studies he obtained the appointment at Treguier, in Bretagne (1775),
whence, in 1780 he was transferred to the cathedral of Chartres, of the diocese of which
he became chancellor and vicar-general. He had early imbibed the extreme liberal
opinions on all matters social and political which were preparing the French revolution;
and when, in 1789, the states-general were summoned, he issued his famous pamphlet,
entitled Q>i'est-ce que le Tiers Etat? This work, which claimed for the people political
recognition, naturally enough obtained an immense popularity for its author, and pro-
cured his election as one of the deputies for Paris. Mainly through his urgency and
influence it was that, on June 16, 1789, the representatives of the peonle took the decisive
etep of constituting themselves into an independent body, and became the national
assembly. Of this body he continued for some time to be one of the most prominent
and leading figures. In 1791 he was elected to the legislative assembly, then convened,
as member for the department of Paris. By this time, however, he had sunk somewhat
from his first pre-eminence ; bolder and fiercer spirits had passed him in the* race for
power and popularity, and where he had once led, 1 c now reluctantly followed. In the
convention of 1792, to which he was elected as deputy of the department of La Sarthe,
he prudently refrained from any active participation in the debates, and en the occasion
of the king's trial he recorded a silent vote. While Robespierre and his party were in
power, he consulted his safety by retiring from Paris. When afterward asked what he
had done during the reign of terror, he quietly replied : <Tai rectt, (" I have lived"). On
the full of Robespierre he returned to his post in the convention, and resumed his active
interest in affairs, becoming a member of the new committee of public safety. He was
engaged chiefly in the department of foreign policy, and he went as ambassador to Hol-
land and Berlin successively to negotiate treaties of alliance. He became a member of
the directory in 1799, and among other reactionary measures, he succeeded in closing the
celebrated Jacobin club. Perceiving that a stable government was on no other terms
possible, he became anxious to secure the co-operation of some powerful military leader,
the more particularly as he was ambitious above all things of giving France a " consti-
tution" (of which he had drawn up one or several); and on the return of Bonrparte from
Egypt, he entered into a league -w ith him, the result of which was the revolution of the
18th Brumaire (Nov. 9, 1799), and the institution of the consulate. Sieves, Napoleon, and
Roger Ducos being the three first consuls. Speedily, however, Sieys discovered in his
new ally his master. As to the distribution of power in the new constitution to be
formed, he and Napoleon differed irreconcilably; the man of bayonets was the stronger;
his political nostrums never got beyond the *p a P er on which they were written; and
finally, in disgust at the subordinate position into which he found himself about to sink,
Sieyes threw up his place in the government. As a reward of his services, he receive^
on his retirement a sum of 600.000 francs and the estate of Crosne; afterward exchanged
for the equivalent of a splendid hotel in Paris and the lands of Fainanderie, in the park
of Versailles. Also the title of count was conferred upon him. Subsequently the
presidency of the senate was offered him, but he declined it, and never afterward con-
cerned himself in public affairs. Banished at the restoration, lie did not return to Franc
till after the revolution of 1830; and in Paris, on June 20, 1836, he died. During th
revolution Sieyfis drew up a good many papers of one kind and another; but he is chiefly
remembered for his plan of a new constitution, which, however, is very little known.
Mignet's Hisloire de la Revolution contains a description of it: and under the title of
Iheorie Constitutionettt, of Sieved, and Constitution de FAn VIII., M. Boulay (de la
Meurthe) published (Par. 1836) from Sieyes own Memoire* Inedits a more detailed

SIGEL, FRANZ, b. Zinsheim, Baden, 1824; educated at the military school at Carls -
ruhe; adjt. in the army of the grand-duku of Baden, 1847. Resigning his commis-

Sighing. 4.CM


sion in the army he participated in the revolution of 1848, and was appointed minister
of war by revolutionary leaders in the same year. He fought against the Prussians, car-
ried the remnant of his forces into Switzerland, and, expelled from thence, took passage
for this country; where he taught mathematics in Dr. Rudolph Dalon's academy in New
York, and married his daughter. He joined the state militia; commissioned maj. of the
5th regiment. He was a professor in a college in St. Louis, Mo., 1858. At the begin-
ning of the war of the rebellion he entered the union army as col. of the 3d Missouri
volunteers, assisting in the capture of camp Jackson, at the battle of Carthage, and at
Wilson's creek second in command under gen. Lyon. In charge of a brigade lie went
. through the s. Missouri campaign; was prominent in the battle of Pea Ridge; resigned
F in 1862; accepted a commission as maj. gen. a month later, and was placed in command
of Harper's Ferry. A few months after, he took command of Fremont's army corps,
served through the Virginia campaign and the second battle of Bull Run; commanded the
dept. of West Virginia, 1864, was register of New York city 1871, and was prominent
in politics in 1876.

SIGHING, THE ACT OF, is nothing more than a very long-drawn inspiration, in which
a larger quantity of air than usual is made to enter the lungs. This is continually tak-
ing place to a moderate degree, and Dr. Carpenter remarks that it particularly occurs
when the attention is released, after having been fixed upon an object which has strongly
exc-ited it, and which has prevented our feeling the insufficiency of the ordinary move-
ments of respiration. Hence this action is often a simple result of deficient aeration;
while in other cases, as is universally known, it is excited by a depressed state of the

SIGHT, DEFECTS OF. Under this head we shall consider such affections of the eye-
sight as are due to some known or unknown peculiarity of the optical apparatus (includ-
ing the optic nerve) not dependent on disease viz., short-sight, long-sight, double vision,
color-blindness, and night-blindness.

Short-sight, near-sight, or myopia (derived from the Greek words myo, I close, ops, the
eye), is often popularly confounded with dim or weak sight; but in reality short-sight
applies exclusively to the range and not to the power of sight, and a short -sighted per-
son may possess the acutest power of vision for near objects. In this affection the rays
which ought to come to a focus upon the retina converge to a point more or less in front
of it. The cause of this defect probably differs in different persons. It may arise from
over-convexity of the cornea or the fens, from undue density or abundance of the
humors of the eye, from elongation of the globe in its antero-posterior diameter, or
from an imperfectpower of the eye to adjust iiself to objects at various distances. The
distance at which objects are perceived most distinctly by the perfectly normal eye
} ranges from 16 to 20 in. ; an eye which cannot perceive objects distinctly beyond 10
in. may fairly be regarded as short-sighted; and in extreme cases the point of distinct
vision may be 3, 2, or even only 1 in. from the eye. Short-sight is frequently hered-
itary in families. As a general rule the inhabitants of towns are much more liable to it
than persons living in the country, and students and literary men are the most liable of
all. While in the foot-guards, consisting of nearly 10,000 men, "not half a dozen men
have been discharged, nor have a dozen recruits been rejected on account of this imper-
fection, hi a space of 20 years, in one college at Oxford no less than 32 short-sighted
men (or myopes, as they are termed by some oculists) were met with out of 127" (Don-
ders, On the Accommodation and Refraction of the Eye, Loud. 1864, p. 342). The fre-
quency of this affection in the cultivated ranks points directly to its principal cause
tension of the eyes for near objects. The myopia depending, as Donders believes, upon
prolongation of the visual axis, this eminent physiologist inquires: "How is this pro-
longation to be explained? Three factors may here come under observation: 1. Pres-
sure of the muscles on the eye-ball in strong convergence of the visual axis; 2. Increased
pressure of the fluids resulting from accumulation of blood in the eyes in the stooping
position; 3. Congestive processes in the base of the eye, which, leading to softening,
give rise to extension of the membranes. That in increased pressure the extension
occurs principally at the posterior pole is explained by the want of support from the
muscles of the eye at that part. Now, in connection with the causes mentioned, the
injurious effect of flue work is, by imperfect illumination, still more increased; for
thus it is rendered necessary that the work be brought closer to the eyes, and that the
stooping position of the head, particularly in reading and writing, is also increased.
Hence it is that in schools where, by bad light, t,he pupils read bad print in the evening,
or write with pale ink, the foundation of myopia is mainly laid. On the contrary, in
watchmakers, although they sit the whole day with a magnifying-glass in one eye, we
observe no development of myopic, undoubtedly because they fix their work only with
one eye, and therefore converge but little, and because they usually avoid a very stoop-
ing position." Op. cit. pp. 343, 344.

So far from short-sightedness improving in advanced life, as is popularly believed, it
is too frequently a progressive affection ; and every progressive myopia is threatening
with respect to the future. " If," says Donders, " it continues progressive, the eye will
soon, with troublesome symptoms, become less available, and not unfrequently, at the


age of 50 or GO, if not much earlier, the power of vision is irrevocably lost, whether
through separation of the retina from the choroid, from effusion of blood, or from
atrophy and degeneration of the yellow spot."

In the treatment of myopia the principal objects arc: 1. To prevent its further devel-
opcmont and the occurrence of secondary disturbances; and 2. By means of suitable
glasses, to render the use of the myoptic eye easier and safer.

1. To effect, if possible, the first object, the patient must look much at a distance',
but as we cannot absolutely forbid his looking at near objects, spectacles must be pro-
vided which render vision distinct at from 16 to 18 inches. Moreover, it is desirable that
at intervals of a half hour work should be discontinued for a couple of minutes, and no
working in a stooping position should be permitted. The patient should read with the
book in the hand, and in writing should use a high and sloping desk.

2. The optical remedy for short-sight obviously consists in concave glasses of a focus
suited to the individual case. At first sight it might be supposed that glasses with a
concavity exactly sufficient to neutralize the defect in the eye would always suihVe;
and when the glasses are used exclusively for distant vision (for example, in the double
eye-glass, which is only at intervals held before the eye), or when the affection i.s slight,
and the eye is otherwise healthy, perfeot neutralization is admissible; but so many cir-
cumstances forbid the complete neutralization of the myopia that an oculist of reputa-
tion should always, if possible, be consulted as to the choice of spectacles. Glasses, if
injudiciously selected, usually aggravate the evil they are intended to remedy ; and ia
connection with this subject we must warn our readers against the prevalent habit of
employing a single eye-glass; it is most prejudicial to the eye which is left unemployed,
and often lea Is to its permanent injury.

Long-sight and presbyopia (derived from the Greek words presbys, an aged person, and
dps, the eye) are usually considered by English writers as synonymous terms. Dondci-s,
who is now universally accepted as the highest authority on this department of eye-affec-
tions, maintains that " the term presbyopia is to be restricted to the condition in which,
as the result of the increase of years, the range of accommodation is diminished, and the
vision of near objects is interfered with." As from youth up to extreme old age, the
vision of near objects becomes progressively more and more difficult, it is impossible to
fix any limit as the commencement of presbyopia. In practice, however, a word is
required which indicates the condition in which the eye, at an advanced period of life,
and sometimes sooner, requires convex spectacles for distinct near vision, as, for exam-
ple, for reading, and this word is presbyopia. In this state, the nearest point of distinct
binocular vision is found to lie about 8 in. (or double the ordinary distance) from the
eye, and at this point Bonders arbitrarily places the commencement of presbyopia. This
condition, which is as natural a concomitant of advanced life as gray hairs or wriuklej,
is occasionally met with in young persons. In these cases, it generally arises from intes-
tinal irritation, and may be a precursor of amaurosis; henca such cases should be care-
fully watched. In ordinary presbyopia, the defect is at once remedied by the use of
glasses of low convex power, as of 30 or 24 in. focus, which should, however, only be
worn during reading and writing, and not constantly. Although the improper use of
convex glasses is not by any means so dangerous as the inconsiderate use of concave
glasses, the advice of a good oculist regarding the choice of spectacles is well worth his

Double vision, or diplopia, is of two kinds. It may arise from a want of harmony
in the movements of the two eyes, the vision of each eye singly being perfect; or there
may be double vision with one eye only. The first form may occur (1) in cases of
squinting, or (2) in cases of paralysis of one or more of the muscles of the orbit. In
cases of squinting (q.v.), the vision of the most distorted eye is almost always imperfect;
and it is well known that impressions on the two retinae are similar in kinds but dissimilar
in form. The mind takes cognizance only of the former; so that a person with a bad
squint sees objects with the sound eye only. But if the sight of both eyes is nearly
equal, as often is the case when the squint is not very well marked, double vision results 1
whenever botli eyes are employed together, in consequence of images of nearly equal
intensity falling on non-corresponding parts of the two retinae. This variety of double
vision, although annoying, is perfectly harmless. When double vision arises from mus-
cular paralysis, disease of the brain of a serious nature is to be apprehended, although
the affection sometimes appears to arise from exposure to cold. The second form of
double vision viz., double vision with a single eye is a much more rare affection than
the preceding one, and depends upon some irregular refraction of the cornea or lens.

Color-blindness is noticed under its own name.

Night-blindness, or hemeralopid (from the Greek, signifying "day-sight "), is a peculiar
form of intermittent blindness, the subjects of which see perfectly with an ordinary
light, but become entirely and almost instantaneously blind as soon as twilight com-
mences. It is seldom met with in this country except among sailors just returned from
tropical regions. It is frequent among the natives of some parts of India, who attribute
it, as our own sailors do, to sleeping exposed to the moonbeams. The most probable
cause of the affection is, however, exhaustion of the power of the retina from over-
excitement from excessive light, so that this organ is rendered incapable of appreciating
the weaker stimulating action of twilight or moonlight. All that suggests itself in the

Sight. AQft


way of treatment is to protect the eyes from strong light during the day, and to prescribe
quiniue and a nourishing mixed diet.

8now-biitidnes must be regarded as an allied affection to the preceding.


SIGILLA EIA, a genus of fossil plants which are of importance because of their singu
lar structure, and their remarkable abundance in the coal measures. They seem to hav
contributed more than any other genus of plants to the formation of coal. The roots of
gigillaria are found preserved in the shale which forms the floor of all coal-seams. These
roots were originally supposed to be distinct plants, and have received tdie generic name
of stigmaria. The most feasible notion, and that generally accepted regarding them,
was that they were fleshy water-plants, with numerous linear leaves, articulated to the

Online LibraryFrancis LieberLibrary of universal knowledge. A reprint of the last (1880) Edinburgh and London edition of Chambers' encyclopaedia, with copious additions by American editors (Volume 13) → online text (page 112 of 203)