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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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 121 of 203)
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the Gospel are adduced no less than the words of Socrates on the day of his taking the
hemlock; of Pythagoras at the end of. his Golden Epistle, etc.

The enclyclopaedia of treatises which this secret association has left as the monument
of its existence was first compiled at Basrah about 1000 A.D.; but has (save one often
reproduced chapter, called "The Contest between Man and Animal") never been printed.
The 51 treatises are divided into four classes: 1, the "mathematical," in 13 dissertations
or treatises; 2, the "physical/' in 17; 3, the "origins" of mental activity, or the think-
ing soul, in 10; and 4th and last, " the divine law," in 11 treatises, the last of which con-
tains a general outline of the whole work.

The interest attaching to this production, as the earliest encyclopaedia deserving the
name, reflecting, as it does, the state of science both of the east and west at the end of
the first thousand years after the introduction of Christianity, is so great that we append
a sketch of the contents and method.

The first 13 treatises, belonging to what may be called the mathematico-philosophical
division, treat of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, geography, music, followed by
psychological and ethical reflections. This part concludes with introductions to phil-
osophy and logic. Throughout, the authors only treat of the theoretical part of their
subject, without entering into further details as to their practical side, or teaching* them
systematically one by one.

From these preliminaries the work proceeds to its second part, the physical division,
which comprises the whole cosmos in its special phenomena, and the laws that govern
them: heaven and earth, the three natual kingdoms, the mysterious union of body and
soul, how the latter pervades the former, and communicates itself to all its parts ; the changes
of life and death, joy and mourning, the senses, and all that is perceptible through
them all the great questions, in fact, which most vitally engage man's attention in this
world of growth and decay. An attempt is made to "ascertain how far human under-
standing can penetrate these dim regions of speculation and metaphysics, and even the
languages and their original elements are drawn into the circle of these investigations,
and subjected to philosophical scrutiny.


The third division treats of the origins of mental activity. Heterogeneous though
some of its elements be, it yet keeps its subject -sufficiently in view throughout. The
elements of mental activity are investigated tirst according to Pythagoras, then accord-
ing to the bretliern themselves. Next comes man both as microcosm and macrocosm.
The revolutions of the heavenly bodies, love, resurrection, the world to come, motion,
cause and effect, dogmas, and customs, are then treated of; each and all contributing
their share to the aimed-at outward union between reason and faith.

The fourth division borders very closely on the suprauaturalistic and purely specula-
tive. At the same time it touelies vital doctrines of Islam, and treats them in an abstract
and very free manner. How the knowledge of God is gained; the life of the soul after
<death; the relation of the brethren toward each other; the essence of the true t'aiih: the
divine law; prophecy; and the relation of religion generally to the peculiar phase of it
as adopted bv the lodge; and a number of similar points, are taken up.

So far, in the most general outlines, those 51 treatises, which, though they be neither
strictly systematically arranged nor methodized, nor free from repetitions, and by no
means so instructive in detail as the enumeration of the contents would lead to believe,
yet belong to the most comprehensive and creditable efforts of the human mind.

A small specimen of the manner and method of these treatises, taken from the chapter
(20) on plants may not be unacceptable :

" Know that the plants are only perceptible as the visible, palpable phenomena, but
that* their artistic working within is secret, invisible, and hidden before tne eye. It is
what we call the part-souls, what the philosophers call the natural powers, what religion
calls aiijrels, or divine hosts commissioned with the calling into being and development
of the plants and creatures, with the creation of the stones, etc. Tke terms diii'er, but
the sense and meaning is identical. Philosophers trace these thinga to the powers of
nature; the religious law to the angels, but not directly to the blessed and exalted God.
For the blessed "God is too exalted to form a natural body himself to move and to act
bodily, just as kings, generals, and high dignitaries are too high to execute any vyork
themselves, though they are considered their authors, through having ordered and willed
them. If, e g., you hear it said that Alexander built Alexandria, you must not, of
course, fancy that he himself bodily did build the city he ordered it to be built. Thus
the works of God's servants are traced back to the exalted God, even as the Koran says:
' It is not you who have killed them, but God.' "

One ot the most attractive portions of the work, and the one which alone has been
repeatedly edited and translated into many languages (not into English), is the so-called
" Contest" bet ween Man and Animal," which forms a part of the 21st treatise. In this on
place alone man and animals are introduced speaking; in all other portions, rhetoric,
ornamented by allegories and metaphors, mostly well chosen and artistically wrought,
forms the ordinary style. These dissertations may not have fulfilled their purpose any
more than did the whole lodge; but they will be all the better appreciated when that
darkest period of Mohammedan history, the lOlh c., is taken into consideration.
Hypocrisy stood for piety at the courts of the many emirs, low cunning for wisdom, the
vi'.est adulation for fidelity, and oppression for justice. No wonder this manly and
scientific protest was not received very favorably by so corrupt a generation. Besides
which, the want of strict logical arrangement a circumstance owing probably to the
voluntary suppression of the intermediate portion and the vagueness in which many of
the most important points are treated, made even the few independent and faithful
minds fail to appreciate it. The chief cause of the discontent which they excited among
the contemporaries lay in their conciliatory tendencies. Theology pure and simple
would not hear of philosophy. Religion, the orthodox champion said, was a revelation
divinely given, not to be understood even by human intelligence: philosophy, on the
other hand, was a vain thing, treating of human things and other futile subjects. The
philosophers, though they dared not be quite so outspoken on* theology, felt no less
keenly that there was no- compromise possible under these circumstances, even if they
had not repudiated any notion of being "reconciled."

We have treated this subject somewhat more fully than usual, both on account of its
deep intrinsic interest, as forming the most striking refutation of the commonplace
notion that the religion of Mohammed was a stationary, hard, fanatical, and dotard
creed, never questioned or reasoned upon by the faithful; and further, because little or
no information on the subject is generally accessible. The work itself has, as we have
said, with the exception of the one fairy-tale fragment, never been edited; and there are,
even among the authorities on Mohammedan matters, but three or four who have paid
special attention to this important subject, and what fragmentary information we possest
lies scattered in oriental "transactions," in notes, and in prefaces. See Sprenger, in
Asiatic Journal of Bengal; FH'igel, in Dentxche Morgenl. Zeit&chrift; De Sacy, Notices el
Extmits; Dieterici, Men-sc/t und Thier; Nauwerck; etc.

SINCLAIR, FAMILY OF. The Scottish historical house of Sinclair or St. Clair is of
Norman descent, the surname (Lati nixed De Sancto Claro) being doubtless derived from
possessions in Normandy. Two families bearing this surname, whose connection can-
not now be traced, the St. Clairs of Kosslyn and of Herdmanston, appear in Mid-Lothian
and East Lothian in the beginning of the 12th century. Henry St. Clair, vicecomes of


~Richard Morville. chancellor of Scotland, obtained, in 1862, a charter of the lauds of
Herdunanston, which have ever since continued in the family. His descendant reiiuered
signal service to Hubert Bruce, i'or which he is said to have presented him with a sword,
still in the possession of the family, with the words inscribed: '/.<.' K>>I m< ihn/n. tit.
('lair i//a jiorfe." The ancestor of the other line was "William St. Clair, who had ix< s>lyn
confirmed to him by charter from David 1. His descendant was, his eouU-rr.poiary
of the Herdmanston line, a companion-in-arms of Robert I., on whose death sir Y\ ihiatn
St. Clair of Rosslyn was one of the knights selected to accompany the good >ir .Ij.mes
Douglas, with the heart of his sovereign, to Jerusalem. With the" Douglas, he Ml in
battle against the Moors in KJ30. But the fortunes and importance of the la;;.i'y were
principally due to the marriage of the sou of this sir "William with ll.e d;;ui Ltcr of
Malise. earl of Strati, earn, Caithness, and Orkney, and heiress of the Norwegian Jai'ls of
the Orkneys. In this way the St. Clair family acquired the earldom of Orkney, coupled,
with some very stringent conditions of fealty to the king of Norway, ^\ hiclr \\Yuul l.ave
rendered it impossible for him, in the event of a war "between the countries, to have
retained botli his Scotch ami his Norse possessions. The Orkney earldom was, however,
acknowledged and confirmed to him by Robert II. ; and for the next two generation^
the power of the family continued to be little less than princely, the St. influence
being further increased by intermarriages with near relatives of 'the royal house of Scot-
land. William, the third' earl, held the high offices of lord admiral, lord justice-gem. ral,
lord chancellor, and lord warden of the three marches. He was made earl of Caithness
in 1450. At his castle of Rosslyn he kept up an almost regal state and pomp, lie
founded and endowed a collegiate church there, bringing skilled workmen from ioreign
parts to build that rich and elabqrate chapel, which is still among the architectural gems
of Scotland, and in its style more resembles the churches of Spain than those of north
Britain. His daughter was given in marriage to Alexander, duke of Albany, son of
James II. On the marriage of James III. with princess Margaret of Denmark the sov-
ereignty of the Orkneys was made over by king Chnstiern in mortgage to the Scottish
crown, a transaction which eventually led to the permanent cession of these i>landa.
The earl soon after resigned into James's hands his earldom of Orkney, with the islands
of Orkney and Shetland, and as a compensation it has been said a very inadequate one
obtained the lands of Dysart and Ravensheugh, and the castle of Ravenscraig in Fife.
He was still earl of Caithness and lord Sinclair, and from the extent of his possessions
one of the most powerful nobles in Scotland. Instead, however, of keeping these i os
sessions united, he partitioned them among his three sons in such a way us contributed
far more than the loss of the Orkneys to break down the family influence. On V* idiam,
his eldest sou, he bestowed merely the lauds of Newburg. in Abenlceushire; on his
second, sir Oliver, he settled all his estates s. of theTay; while, with consent of the
crown, he conveyed the earldom of Caithness to his youngest son, also named William.

LORDS SINCLAIR. The eldest son of this last earl of Orkney endeavored to set aside
his father's settlement, by which he had been postponed to his younger brothers, and
. succeeded at last in effecting an arrangement by which sir Oliver made over to him all
the Fifeshire estates, while he renounced all claim to Rosslyn, and the other lands in the
county of Edinburgh. He was still lord Sinclair, and on his death, on the field of
Flodd'en. he was succeeded by a line of lords Sinclair, who ranked among the more con-
siderable of the Scottish nobility. His grandson. bV"'a daughter, was the notorious earl
of Bothwell. third husband of queen Mary, and whom, in memory of his maternal
descent, that unhappy queen created duke of Orkney. The seventh lord Sinclair had.
no male issue, but a daughter, married to St. Clair of Herdmanston, the representative
of the other house of Sinclair already alluded to. The sou of this marriage, in virtue of
a new patent obtained from Charles II., became eighth lord Sinclair this patent, sin-
gularly enough, bringing in, on failure of heirs male, his paternal relatives, the St.
Glairs of Herdmanston. strangers in blood to the former lords Sinclair. The contingency
provided for occurred in the next generation. The two sons of the eighth lord having
died without issue, the title went to the Siuclairs of Herdmanston, who have ever since
inherited it.

EARLS OF ROSSLYX. Rosslyn had been purchased by one of the sons of the eighth
lord Sinclair from the last of sir Oliver's line, and while the title thus went to an entirely
different line, the estates, both of Rosslyn and Dysart, were carried by destination to
the issue of the eighth lord's second daughter, whose grandson, sir James Erskine of
Alva, succeeded to the earldom of Rosslyn. which had first been conferred on his mater-
nal uncle, the lord chancellor Loughborough.

STXCLAIRS OF ROSSLYX. Sir Oliver, the above-mentioned second son of the last earl
of Orkney, was progenitor of a line of borons who. for two centuries, owivd the splen-.
did domains of Rosslyn. and were buried in the vault of the chapel, in royal l'a>hion, in
their armor. Sir Oliver's second son was the noted Oliver Sinclair, the favorite of James
V., whom, to the general disgust, he placed in command of the army sent to encounter
the English in 1542. To the repugnance of the army to serve under him is attributed
the disgraceful rout of Solway Moss, where 10.000 Scottish troops fled at the sight of
300 English cavalry, to whom they can hardly be said to have /made any resistance.
Among the functions discharged by the Sinclairs of Rosslyn were those of protectors of
the gypsy race, and hereditary grand-masters of the masonic fraternity of Scotland. The


last of sir Oliver's line, impoverished by the political troubles in which his support of
the Stewarts had involved him, sold Rosslyn, which then became, as has been already
Been, the property of the disinherited elder branch.

EARLS OF CAITHNESS. This title was, us has been seen, conferred on William, the
youngest son of the last earl of Orkney, and has been ever since held by his descendants,
passing repeatedly from one branch to another on the failure of the direct line. The
third earl, ambitious enough to aspire to be an independent prince, endeavored, in 1529,
bv force of arms, to recover the Orkneys from the crown. He was joined by his cousin,
;the second lord Sinclair, but this foolish expedition met with a signal defeat. The sup-
iport of the islanders had been calculated on, but the large majority of them turned out
'to he steady in their loyalty, and encountered the insurgents in a naval battle, in which
the earl with 500 men were slain, and lord Sinclair and the rest made prisoners. The
sixth earl, having got into difficulties, conveyed his lands to his powerful creditor, sir
John Campbell of Glenurquhy, afterward first earl of Breadalbane, who, in 1677, got a
patent creating him earl of Caithness, and took possession of the Caithness estates. He
was dispossessed, however, by George Sinclair, the heir-male, who entered Caithness
with an armed force, and was eventually found to have the sole right to the title and
estates. The Sinclairs of Ulbster are sprung from a legitimated son of William Sinclair,
second son to the fourth earl of Caithness, to whom the valuable and extensive lands of
Ulbster were conveyed in 1596 and 1600 by the fifth earl. See SINCLAIR, SIR JOHN.

A genealogical history of the St. Glairs of Rosslyu, written by father It. A. Hay, was
printed privately at Edinburgh in 1835.

SINCLAIR, -Sir JOHN, an eminent agricultural improver, and patriotic Scottish gentle-
man, was b. at Thurso castle in 1754. He represented the Sinclairs of Ulbsicr, a
branch of the noble house of Caithness. After a careful education, completed at Oxford,
he studied law, and was admitteded a member of both the Scottish and English bars, but
having, in his 16th year, succeeded to the family estate, he devoted himself to his duties
as a northern landlord, and to the more engrossing pursuits of public life. In 1780 he
was returned to parliament for his native county, which he represented for many years.
He wrote pamphlets on public affairs on the navy, the militia force, the national
finances, etc. In 1784 he published a History of the Revenue of the British Empire, an
elaborate work in two 4to vols. ; and in 1786 he was created a baronet. He traveled over
Europe, gathering information on economical and commercial questions, and on his
return set about establishing a society in Scotland for improving the breeds of sheep
and the quality of wool. His exertions also led to the formation of the board of agri-
culture in 1793, of which he was president for 13 years. This institution was the pre-
cursor of numerous agricultural associations, by which the country was greatly bencfi.l.
Sir John's most important undertaking was originating and carrying through the Slatis-
Uc'il Account of Scotland, completed in the year 1798 in 20 large vols., and comprising a
description of every parish in Scotland. The parochial clergy were the chief contribu-
tors, but the indefatigable baronet also employed statistical missionaries, and was for
seven years actively engaged in prosecuting the work. Sir John wrote on all manner
of topics, including even a tragedy and treatises on health and longevity; and his pub-
lications during 50 years of ceaseless exertion are said to amount in number to 367! Not
one of the whole seems destined to live; their value perished in the using; but the long
and active life of their author was highly beneficial to his country. The venerable
baronet died at Edinburgh, Dec. 21, 1835, in the 82d year of his age.

Sir John Sinclair left a numerous family, some of whom have attained to distinction.
CATHERINE SINCLAIR, fourth daughter of the deceased baronet, was the author of ;>
number of tales and descriptive works Modern Accomplishments, Modern Society, Scot-
land and tlie Scotch, Shetland and the SJietlanders, etc., which all evince literary taste and
talent, combined with fine moral feeling; while her practical benevolence and social
kindness greatly endeared her to her fritnds, and to Edinburgh society generally. Miss
Sinclair died, universally regretted, in 1864, aged 63.

SINDE, an extensive province of British India, lies in the extreme w. of that territory,
and is bounded on the n. by Bcloochistan and the Punjab, e. by Rajputana, w. by Beloo-
chistan, and s. by the Arabian sea and the Great Western Runn, an extensive lacustrine
inlet which separates Sinde from Cutch. It is 380 m. in greatest length, 280 in greatest
breadth, contains 46,599 (besides a tributary area) English sq.m., with a pop. '72 of 2,-
192,415. The sea-coast, which extends n.w. for 150m., is very low and flat, with the
sole exception of the small portion beyond Karatchi (Kurrachi), and is studded here and
there with low mud-banks formed by the Indus, or with sand hills, the accumulated
drift from the beach; it is overflowed at high-tide to a considerable distance inland, and
Is hardly visible, according to Burnes, at a league from shore. The province is trav-
ersed through its whole length by the Indus (q.v.), which, on approaching the coast,
divides and subdivides into a number of channels, forming a delta of 75 m. in length by
130 in breadth. This delta, unlike that of the Ganges, is almost wholly destitute of
wood, and the soil consists of a mixture of clay, sand, and vegetable mold, which is
speedily baked hard by the heat. Along each bank of the Indus is an alluvial tract of
great fertility, extending 2 to 12 m. from the river, and mostly irrigated by artificial
canals and water-courses, which, overflowing during the inundations, cover the soil with



a silt so rich as to yield two, and sometimes three crops in a year. The soil, neverthe-
lese, contains iu the n. so much saltpeter, and iu the s. so much salt, that after the year's
crops have heen obtained, these substances are extracted for home consumption and
export. Between the Indus and its most easterly branch, the Narva, is an alluvial
" doab," averaging 75 m. in width, but which, from want of irrigation, has become
almost a desert. East of this, on the other side of tiie Narra, is the Thur, a dt>ert of
shifting sand. West of the Indus the country is occupied by the desert of Shikarpur on
the n., a desert not of sand, but of alluvial clay, the same as that of the delta, which only
requires irrigation to render it fertile; and in the s. it is traversed by the llala mountains.
The Thar, or eastern desert, has numerous vestiges of former towns, in the shape of
heaps of fragments of bricks and pottery. The climate of Sinde is remarkably sultry
and dry, it being completely beyond the action of the s.w. monsoon; at Haidarabad, the
fail of rain in one year was 3 in., and the average .annual fall at Karatchi does not
exceed 6 to 8 in., and Larkhana has been known to be destitute of rain for three years in
succession; the average maximum heat for six months at Haidarabad was 98.5 J in the
shade, and is still greater iu upper Sinde. There are generally two harvests per annum;
the first, or rabbi (spring) harvest, consists of wheat, barley, oil-seeds, millet, durra,
opium, hemp, and tobacco; the second, or kurif (autumn) harvest, of those crops whose
ripening requires much heat, as rice, sugar-cane, cotton, indigo, maize. The population
consists of a mixture of Juts (a Hindu race) and Beluchis, with a few Afghans in the
n.w. ; the greater portion of them are Mohammedans, and the remainder, who profess
Hinduism'have fallen far from the strictness of observance which characterizes the most
of its followers. Generally, the Sindians are tall and handsome; the Beluchi portion of
them warlike and independent; the Juts peaceable, and given to agricultural pursuits.

From the time (711) that Sinde was conquered by the caliph, Abd-ul-Melek, it under-
went numerous vicissitudes, forming at times a part of the empire of Delhi, and being
latterly (1756) joined to Afghanistan. In 1779 the Beluchis rebelled, deposed their ruler,
defeated the Afghans (1786), and raised their leader, the chief of the TalpOir tribe, to
supreme power. This chief made large grants of territory to various of his relatives,
reserving most of lower Sinde for himself and his three brothers; so that there were
four " ameers'' at Haidarabad, three at Khyerpur, and one or two at Mirpur. The
ameers of Sinde always regarded the British government with suspicion, and occasionally
troubled those traders who visited their dominions; but they subsequently concluded
commercial treaties, which were observed with punctuality. On the outbreak of the
Afghan war in 1838, the British government intimated its intention to take temporary
possession of Shikarpur, and forced the ameers of Haidarabad and Mirpur to agree to a,
treaty which virtually destroyed their independence. Their expression of a natural dis-
like at the mode in which they had been treated, provoked fresh demands from the Cal-
cutta government, to which the Haidarabad ameers agreed, despite the clamors and
threats of their followers, who attacked the British residency on the following day. Sir
Charles James Napier, the British envoy, at the head of a considerable military force,
then marched against the enemy, totally routed them at Meeanee (Feb. 17, 1843^, and by
defeating the ameers of Mirpur, at Dubba. near Haidarabad (Mar. 24), completed the
subjugation of Sinde. The conquered territory was divided into three collectorates
Haidarabad, Karatchi, and Shikarpur; the ameer of Khyerpflr, by continuing faithful
to the British, retaining his dominions. For two years afterward, Napier was actively
employed in reducing the marauding tribes of the Vest, who pillaged the province; and
so successful was the "Sheitanka bhai " (devil's brother), as the robber tribes named
him. that they were completely rooted out of their fastnesses, and mcst of them trans-

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 121 of 203)