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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matter, and are a very acceptable food to horses and cattle, but especially to hogs, which
grub them up for themselves when they have opportunity.

SOGDIA'NA, in ancient geography, a country in Asia, bounded on the n. by the .Tax-
artes, which divided it from Scythia; on the s.w. by the Oxus, which divided it from
Bactria; and on the n.w. by the sea of Aral. It was conquered by -the Persians in the
reign of Cyrus; was invaded by Alexander, after whose time it fell 'into the power of

SOIIAR', a t. on the sea of Oman, in Oman, Arabia: capital of the province of Batina;
pop. about 20,000. It is defended by a wall, and has a castle. Woolen stuffs, carpets,
fire arms, and silk are the chief manufactures. Its trade has been taken away by

SOIIX, KARL FERDINAND, 1805-67; b. Berlin, Prussia; studied art at the Berlin
academy, at Diisseldorf, and in Italy. He painted a large number of pictures, all noted
for the rich coloring of the female figures. Among the best were " The Two Leonoras;"
"Romeo and Juliet;" " The Lute Player;" and ''The Four Seasons." From 1838 to
1855 he was professor at the Diisseldorf art academy.

SOIGNIES, a t. of Belgium, province of Haiuault. 22 m. s.w. of Brussels by railway.
Its church of St. Vincent Maldegaire, founded in the 10th c., if not earlier, is probably

Soils. ft O

Solan aceae. \JStft

the oldest in Belgium. Soignies has breweries, distilleries, trade in stone and lime, and
large fairs. Pop. 7,000. Some m. to the n.e. , in the province of South Brabant, lies
the forest of Soiguies, at whose southern extremity is situated the* famous field of

SOILS consist of the disintegrated materials of the hard crust of the earth, mixed
with decayed vegetable matter. This disintegration is effected partly by the chemi-
cal action of oxygen, carbonic acid, and the otiier acid or alkaline substances brought
by the atmosphere to bear upon rocks, and partly by the wearing action of water in a
fluid state or in the form of glaciers, or by its bursting force when frozen in deep clefts.
The soils produced by running water, floods, and tides, are found along the banks or
at the mouths of rivers, and are generally called alluvial soils; those produced by glacier
action are known as drift soils; and both are generally found at a great disiance from
the rocks of whose disintegrated materials they are composed. But by far the greater
mass of soil has been produced in the other way auove mentioned, by the gradual
weathering of rock under atmospheric influence; and it is generally found adjoining or
overlying the rocks from which it has been produced. Immediately beneaih the .soil
or stratum of earth which affords nourishment to plants, is a mass of earth or rock,
unmixed with decayed vegetable matter, to which the term subsoil is applied. The sub-
soil may or may not be similar in its geological constitution to the soil ; and from the
absence of vegetable matter, is generally lighter in color than the latter.

Every species of rock has produced its soil; but the older formations, from their
greater hardness and power of resistance to atmospheric action, produce, in proportion
to their exposed surface, less soil than do the secondary and tertiary groups. The fer-
tility of soils has no relation to the chronological succession of the strata of the earth's
crust; thus, igneous rocks produce a naturally fertile soil, though they seldom become
thoroughly disintegrated; metamorphic or transition rocks" furnish one of poor
quality, as does also the greater portion of the Silurian system; while to
the vast mass of the secondary group of deposits, -especially the Devonian
system, with its old red sandstone, and limestone, and marl beds, the mountain
limestone of the carboniferous system, and the new red sandstone of the Permian and
triassic systems, belong some of the richest tracts in great Britain, though numerous
members of the same group supply barren and ungrateful soils. The lias, and oolitic,
and wealden systems generally supply clay-soils "of considerable fertility, but of the
densest texture and most intractable character; soils formed from the cretaceous group
are extremely variable in quality; but when the chalk is largely mixed with sand or
clay, they exhibit a considerable degree of fertility; however, They have one great gen-
eral defect, that of not sufficiently retaining moisture. The soils produced from the ter-
tiary formations possess no general characteristics, being sometimes extremely fertile,
and again almost wholly barren; and, in short, we are bound to come to the conclusion
that the mere geological composition of soils affords no very reliable criterion by which
their economic value can be estimated; the same rock which produces the almost barren
soil of Argyleshire, weathers into the fertile soil of the Channel islands; and to the old
red sandstone is due at once the rich soil of Hereford, Monmouth, Moray, and Strath-
more, and some of the most barren heaths and moors in Scotland. These apparent
anomalies are no doubt largely produced by the various action of heat, moisture, and
other meteorological agencies.

But however soils may vary in a geological point of view, they are all resolvable
into a few elements viz., the various compounds of aluminium, iron, manpane.-e, the
four alkaline metals, the v seven alkaline earths, and the four organic elementary sub-
stances. These eighteen bodies supply, singly or in combination, all the constituents
necessary to the growth of plants, each'of them having its own portion of the plant to
sustain the silica producing strength and rigidity in the stems; alumina giving tenac-
ity to the soil, and so rendering it a stable support; magnesia perfecting the seeds; iron
absorbing oxygen and ammonia from the atmosphere, and giving it up as required; and
so on. Of these ingredients, silica, alumina, lime, along with matter derived from
organic bodies, constitute the bulk o^ the soil; the .other ingredients existing only in
minute quantity, and hence is derived the common quadruple division of soils into
siliceous or sandy, argillaceous or clayey, calcareous, and humous.

It is not sufficient that soil possesses all the ingredients necessary for rendering it
fertile, or that these ingredients are in a sufficiently comminuted state to enable them t
be absorbed; there is besides a certain physical or mechanical condition necessary.
Thus, for example, a soil which possesses too great a proportion of silica is too little
retentive of moisture, and has not sufficient consistency of texture to be an effective
support of tall plants; one in which calcareous matter abounds is also too dry a soil;
while if alumina predominates, it is generally too retentive of moisture; and a great
excess of the last-named ingredient renders it so extremely tenacious as to be almost
incapable of reduction to a proper mechanical state. The soil which is physically most
perfect is composed of about equal proportions of the two great ingredients, silica and
alumina, and is generally known as loam, being distinguished into clay loam or sandy
loam, according as the alumina or silica sensibly predominates. But the physical quali-
ties of soils do not wholly depend upon their composition; they are also largely affected
by the depth of the soil itself, and the quality of the subsoil. Should the soil and sub

r ( t) o Soils.


toil be both retentive, or both porous, the defects of these states as to dryness or moist-
ure arc considerably increased; if porous and retentive soils of good depth rest upon
subsoils of a contrary diameter, the defects of the former are to a considerable degree
amended. But the advantages and disadvantages of these conditions must to a very
large extent be judged by the prevalent character of the climate, a somewhat porous
subsoil in a cold moist district being generally preferable, and vice versa. Each of these
classes of soils, when possessed of the chemical ingredients in quantity sufficient for the
wants of plants, and of a texture favorable to their growth, excels in the production of,
certain species. Thus, the clay loams are unequaled for the production of wheat and
beans; the sandy loams for barley, rye, and the various root-crops; while both are well
united for the growth of the other cultivated plants, or for perennial pasture.

Besides the calcareous and marly soils which may be, according to circumstances,
classed as a clayey or sandy soil, rarely the former, there is the humous soil, which
possesses characteristics peculiarly its own. It is not devoid of consistency like the
sandy, or retentive of moisture like the clayey soils, but in its natural state is spongy
and elastic in texture, of a remarkably dark color, and, when dried, becomes inflam-
mable, and even, when much improved by culture retains these characteristics in a con-
siderable degree. It consists wholly, or to a great extent, of vegetable mattar, and is
found in perfection in forests of ancient date, as the woods of America, and in th
peculiar form of peat (q.v.) in many parts of the world. In its ordinarily decomposed
condition, it is at once 'the richest of soils; but in the state of peat it calls for long-
continued drainage, and the application of decomposing agents, before it can be ren-
dered of service in the production of crops.

Improvement of a soil must, then, as is seen from the foregoing considerations, be
effected either by supplying the substances required by plants to a soil which is deficient

incorporation of manures (q
the requisite ingredients, and in such a condition as to be assimilable by plants either
directly or indirectly through the soil, and by the more thorough exposure of the soil to
the action of the atmosphere; the second is effected by the admixture of marl or clay
with sandy, chalky, or peat soils, of lime, ashes, or burned clay, with tenacious clay
soils, or by the mixture of the subsoil (if differing in quality) with the soil by means of
the subsoil plow, or by more complete surface-tillage, and free exposure to the action of.
frost; and the third is accomplished by drainage (q.v.) and irrigation (q.v.). The fertility
and chemical composition of a soil may be approximately determined by inspection of
its color and texture; but more accurately, as well as its dryness or moisture, excess or
defect of silica and alumina, by the predominance of certain species of wild plants or

SOISSONS, a t. of France, in the department of Aisne, stands in a fertile vale on the
banks of the river Aisne, about 65 m. n.e. of Paris. Soissons is the key of Paris for an
army invading France from the Netherlands, and is the meeting-point of six military
roads. The principal building is the cathedral, founded in the 12th c the library of
which contains many rare MSS. There are also some remains of the great castellated
abbey of St. Jean des Vignes, where Thomas & Becket found refuge when in exile.
Quite near to Soissons is an institute for "deaf and dumb," which occupies the site of
the famous abbey of St. Medard, where Clothaire and Siegbert were buried. Soissons
has manufactures of linen, woolens, and cottons. Pop. '76, 10,754. Soissons is one of
the oldest towns in France, and was celebrated even in the time of the Romans, when it
bore the names first of Noviodunum, and afterward of Augusta Saeftsionum; hence its
modern name of Soissons. It was the last Roman stronghold in Gaul that withstood,
the arms of Clovis, who here overthrew Syagrius, the Roman commander, in 486, and
made it (lie seat of the Frankish monarchy, which it long continued to be.

SOKOTO, a kingdom of Africa, in Sudan, to the s.w. of lake Tchad, and separated
from it by the state of Bornu (q.v.). Area, 117,000 sq. miles. The inhabitants, who are
mostly of the Fulbe tribe, are numerous. A formidable military force is maintained.
Sokoto, the capital, stands on the Zirmie, an affluent of the Sokoto, which flows into the
Quorra. Its market is of great importance: it trades in raw silk, glass-wares, and per-
fumery, carries on extensive and famous manufactures of leather goods, and has from
20,000 to 23,000 inhabitants.

SOLANACE2E, or SOIANE^E, a natural order of exogenous plants, mostly herbaceoui
plants and shrubs, but including a few tropical trees. The leaves are mostly alternate,
undivided, or lobed, without stipules. The flowers are regular, or nearly so; the calyx
and corolla generally 5 cleft; the stamens generally five. The fruit is either a capsule
or a berry, mostly 2-celled. The plants of this 'order are mostly natives of tropical
countries, a small number extending into the temperate and moderately cold climates of
both hemispheres; in the coldest regions they are entirely av anting. They are mostly
distinguished by an offensive smell, and by containing in greater or less abundance a
narcotic, poisonous substance, usually associated with a pungent principle, and some of
them are among the most active poisons. Sometimes the narcotic substance predomi-
nates, as in mandrake (q.v.) and henbane (q.v.); sometimes the pungent substance pro-


dominates, or is alone present, as in Cayenne pepper (capsicum); sometimes both arc
present in more or less equal proportion, as in tobacco, thorn-apple, or stramonium, and
belladonna. The fruit is generally poisonous; but that of a considerable number of
species, in which acids and mucilage predominate, is eatable, us. for instance, the berries
of the winter cherry and other species of physnlis, those of the egg-plant (q.v.) and some
other species of solannm, and of the love-apple (lycopers/cutit). Tne tubers, which occur
in a few species, contain much starch, and serve as an article of food, of which th
potato is the chief example. The seeds of all contain a fixed oil, which in the s. of Ger-
many is expressed from the seeds of the belladona itself.

SOLANDER, DANIEL CHARLES, LL.D., 1736-82; b. Sweden; studied with Linnaeus;
graduated in medicine at the university of Upsala; visited England in 1760; accom-
panied vair Joseph Batiks on the voyage round the world with capt. Cook; appointed
under-librariau of the British museum, 1773, to which he left a collection of valuable
manuscripts. He wrote a Description of tlie Collection of Petrifactions f omul in, llamp
shire, and Observations on Natural History in Cook's Voyage.



SOLA'NO, a co. in central California, bounded on the s. by the strait of Carquinez
and Suisun bay ; crossed by the California Pacific railroad; about 800 sq.m. ; pop. '80,
18,475 12,564" of American birth. The surface is varied. The soil is fertile. The prin-
cipal productions are cattle, wheat, barley, wool, and wine. "Co. seat, Fairfield.

SOLA NITM, a genus of plants of the natural order solanacece, containing a great num-
ber of species, which are distributed all over the world but are particularly abundant in
South America and the West Indies. Some of the species are herbaceous, others are
shrubs; some of them unarmed and some of them spiny; many covered with a down rf
star-like hairs. The flowers are in false umbels,, or almost in panicles; seldom in racemes,
or solitary. The anthers open by two holes at the top. The berries are two-celled, and
contain manj 7 smooth seeds. The species of this genus almost always contain in all
their parts a poisonous alkaloid, solanine, in greater or less quantity, sometimes so much
that the leaves or the berries cannot be eaten without danger, while in a few species the
quantity present is so small as to be insignificant, and these parts are eaten freely, being
agreeable and harmless. -By far the most important of all thespecies is 8. tubeivsum, the
potato (q.v.), in which, however, solanine is found in considerable quantity, so that not
only the herbage, but the juice of the raw tubers is unwholesome. Of the species with
eatable, fruit, the principal is S. mclonrjcna, the egg-plant (q.v.). The only British species
are 8. dulcamara, the bittersweet (q.v.), and" 8. nigrum, the common nightshade
(q.v.), both of which possess poisonous and medicinal qualities. The berries, leaves,
bark, and roots of various species are employed for different medicinal uses in the warm
countries of which they are natives; but their properties have not yet been sufficiently
investigated. The berries of 8. saponaceum are used as a substitute for soap.

SOLAR, an upper chamber or loft. The only private apartment in the old baronia*
halls was so called. It was placed over the pantry, at one end of the hall, and served as
parlor and sleeping apartment for the baron and his family.


SOLAR MICROSCOPE, an instrument for producing magnified images of minute objects
on a screen, through the agency of the sun's rays. The tube of the microscope is coni-
cal, and is fastened to the interior side of a closed window-shutter over a hole in the
latter; a reflector, placed at the hole so that the rays of light may fall on it, i so adjusted
as to throw them along the tube. They are then collected by a powerful double convex
lens, and thrown on the object, which is inserted into the tube at the focus of the lens
by a slit at the side. After passing the object, the rays again pass through a single lenr,
or a combination of lenses, make their exit from the tube, and fall on a screen, on which
they depict a magnified image of the object. We have here supposed the object to be
so translucent as to allow of the passage of rays through it. Should it be opaque, the
rays of light reflected from the mirror are caught by the double convex lens, which con-
centrates them on another mirror near the opposite end of the tube; they are thence
reflected upon the back of the object, and diverge on the system of lenses at the mouth,
which form the image. Instead of the sun's rays, the oxyhydrogen lime-light (and more
recently the electric light) has been employed, its rays being thrown on the double-ron-
'vex condenser by means of a concave reflector, in whose focus the piece of burning lime
or marble is situated. The instrument is hence often called the oxyhydrogen microscope.

SOLAR SYSTEM. The planets and comets which circle round the sun combine with
it to form a system to which is given the name of solar or planetary system. It is probable
that each star is the center of an analogous system. This, however, is merely a matter
of speculation, and in no way practically concerns us; but it 'is different with the solar
system. Xo change of much magnitude can take place in the elements of the planets
without having effect on the earth and its inhabitants, on account of the mutual attrac-
tions of the planets for each other; in fact, they appear as members of one isolated
family, bound together by common ties, which could not be ruptured iu the case of one?




individual without communicating a general shock to the others. The various members
pf the solar system arc noticed under PLANETS, PLANETOIDS, COMET, SUN, MOON, SATEL-
LITES, METEORS in HTTP., vol. x. ; and their motions are treated of under GKAVITA-
TION, CENTRAL FOKCKS, PHKCESSION, etc., so that it only remains here to give the more
interesting numerical facts connected with them, which can be done most conveniently
in. a tabular form.


in Miles.


being = 1.

Mass. Sun's
being = 1.

from Sun
in Millions
of Miles.

Period of
in Days.

in Orbit
Miles per

Velocity C
Rotation . t
Miles per
















1 010

















Minor planets






21 221

21 538




1 754







2 746


11 958
















SOLATIUM, in Scotch law, means compensation for wounded feelings, and is some-
thing over and above the ordinary pecuniary value of the damage. In England such a
ground of damages is not in strict prfncipfe admitted, but in practice there is uo sub-
stantial difference.

SOLDER, an easily fusible alloy used for joining metals. Solders are of various
kinds, suited to different metals. They always require to be used with a flux, such as
borax, resin, chloride of zinc, sal-ammoniac, etc. The following are the principal sol-
ders: Peicterera' solder bismuth, 2 parts; lead, 4 parts; tin, 3 parts. This can be used
for coarse work by the direct application of naked lire; but for fine work, requiring the
protection of a muffle- furnace, the composition must be bismuth and lead, of each 1 part;
tin, 2 parts. Phiwbtrs' solder for coarse work tin, 1 part; lead, 3 parts. For liner
work tin, 2 parts; lead, 1 part. Spelter solder 12 parts zinc to 1Q parts of copper.
Soft spelter solder equal parts of copper and zinc. When solders are applied in the com-
mon work of plumbers and tinmen, a tool called the soldering-iron is used: this is made
red-hot, and affords a convenient means of applying fire direct to the solder and flux.
Although called the soldering-iron, the portion of the tool to be heated must be of cop,
per. In many manufactures, a flame produced bj r a mixture of atmospheric air and coal,
gas is used to melt the solder; and for fine work, such as jewelry, the common blow-
pipe is often used.

SOLDIEE is one who enters into an obligation to some chieftain or government to
devote for a specified period his whole energies, and even if necessary his life itself, to
the furtherance of the policy of that chief or government. The consideration may be
immediate pay, or prospective reward; or the contract may be merely an act of loyal
devotion. The acknowledgment of the service by the employer constitutes the man a
recognized soldier, and empowers him to take life in open warfare, without being liable
to the penalties of an assassin and a robber. The fact of being mercenary, that is, of
receiving wasres for killing and being killed, does not render a soldier's trade less hon-
orable. He bears arms that others may be able to do without them: he is precluded by
the exigencies of military training from maintaining himself by peaceful occupation; and
it is therefore but fair that those whom he protects should support him, and give him,
over and above actual maintenance, reasonable wages for the continual risk of his life.
If a man Willingly enlist himself as a soldier in what he believes to be an unrighteous
cause, it is an act of moral turpitude; but when once enlisted, the soldier ceases to be
morally responsible for the Justice or iniquity of the war he wages; that rests with his
employer. Obedience, implicit and entire, is his sole virtue. The maxim is, " Tire
military force never deliberates, but always obeys." See ENLISTMENT, MAKTIAL L.v^.
WAK, etc.

SOLDIERS' HOMES. The first institution of this character established by the U. 8.
government was founded by act of congress passed Mar. 3, 1851 "to found a mili-
tary asylum for the relief and support of invalid and disabled soldiers of the army of the
United States." The funds to conduct this institution originated in tribute levied by
gen. Scott on tlie City of Mexico, after its capture, for the benefit of the U. S. army.
The act referred to above defined the beneficiaries thereof to be soldiers who had served
20 years; pensioners, after surrendering their pensions; and persons disabled by wound-;
or sickness incurred in the military service of their country. Besides ihe >nm of money
already named, the act appropriated nn unexpended balance of a previous appropriation
to the same purpose, and placed the institution in charge of a board of commissioners,
to include the ceu. of the army and those general officers commanding the eastern
U. K. XIII. 40

Soldo. o ft


and western military divisions ; and the chiefs of the medical, pay, commissary, and
quartermaster's departments, and the adjt.gen. of the army. This portion of the act
was revised by the act of Mar. 3, 1859, reducing the number of commissioners to include
only the adjt.gen., surgeon-gen., and commissary -gen. of subsistence. Various tempo-
rary asylums were erected or leased between 1851 and 1857. In 1851 a purchase of land

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 144 of 203)