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

. (page 169 of 203)
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tail, sharp muzzle, short, ovate ears, long hair of a color ranging from white to cream,
aud sometimes jet black. It is thought to be across between the arctic fox and some
of the small wolf-like arctic dogs. Of late it is somewhat in disfavor, as being snap-
pish and liable to hydrophobia; though for this the proof seems not to be supplied.

SPITZBEKGEN, a group of islands in the Arctic ocean, in lat. 76 30' 80 40' n., and
long. 9 C 22 e., lies 300 m. n. of Scandinavia, and 325 e. of Greenland. The group,
which is estimated to contain about 30,000 English, is composed of three large and
several small islands. The largest of the group, Spitsbergen Proper, consists of two
oblong and parallel tracts known as West Spitzbergeu and East Spitzbergen or NeV
Friesland, connected by a neck of land; the whole strongly resembling a boat hook in
shape. The two next in si/.e arc Egede and North-cant Ixlund. Being far within the Arc-
tic circle, and surrounded by a wide expanse of sea. almost the whole of its surface is
covered with perpetual snow aud glaciers. The whole of the w. side is mountainous,
the general elevation being 3,000 4,500 ft. above sea-level; and the same is true of the
n.e. coast, During ten months of the year mercury freezes, and for the other two
months the temperature is seldom more than 5 above the freezing-point; yet, during
this short summer, more than 100 species of plants, which constitute the vegetation of
this inhospitable region, succeed in springing up, and producing and ripening their
seed. The whole of Spitzbergen could not afford sustenance for one human being;
but it is, nevertheless, a haunt of reindeer, foxes, and bears, aud whales and seal*

Splay. HQ(\

Splints. 3<J

abound on the coast. Spitsbergen has from time to time been occupied by Dutcli r.::d
Russian colonies, who were supplied from the mainland of Europe. It was discovered,
in 1596, by William Barentz, the Dutch explorer, in his third voyage to discover the
North-east Passage, and. has since been frequently visited by other explorers and by
whalers. It is claimed as a dependency of its European territories by Russia.

SPLAY, the sloping or bevelled opening in window recesses and other such openings.
Also the corner taken off the outer angle of such openings.

SPLEEN, THE, is the largest and most important of the so called ductless glands,
whose chief object is supposed to be to restore to the circulation any substances that
may have been withdrawn from it. It is of an oblong flattened form, soft, of very brit-
.tle consistence, highly vascular, of a dark bluish-red color, and situated on the left
hypochondriac region, with its interior slightly concave surface embracing the cardiac
end of the stomach and the tail -of the pancreas. (See the figure in the article PAN-
CREAS.) It is invested by an external or serous coat, derived from the peritoneum, and
an internal fibrous elastic coat. Mr. Gray, who wrote the Astley- Cooper prize essay,
On tJie Structure and Use of the SpUen, states that the size and weight of this organ are
liable to very extreme variations at different periods of life, in different.individuals, and
in the same individual under different conditions. In the adult, in whom it attains its
greatest size, it is usually about 5 in. in length, 8 or 4 in breadth, and an inch or an inch
and a half in thickness, and weighs about 7 ounces. At birth its weight in proportion
to that of the entire body is as 1 to 350, which is nearly the same ratio as in the adult;
while in old age the organ decreases in weight, the ratio being as 1 to 700. The size of
the spleen is increased during and after digestion, and is large in highly fed, and small
iti starved animals. In intermittent fevers and leucocythemia it is much enlarged,
weighing occasionally from 18 to 20 Ibs., and constituting what is popularly known as
the ague-cake

On cutting into the spleen a section of it shows the presence of numerous srrall
fibrous bands termed trabecvla, united at numerous points with one another, and run-
ning in all directions. The parenchyma, or proper substance of the spleen, occupies
the interspaces of the above described areolar framework, and is a soft pulpy mass of a
dark reddish-brown color, consisting of colorless and colored elements. The colorless
elements are described by Gray as consisting of granular matter, of nuclei about the size
of the red blood-disks, and a few nucleated vesicles; and as constituting one-half or two-
thirds of the whole substance of the pulp in well-nourished animals, while they dimin-
ish in number, and sometimes altogether disappear in starved animals. The colored ele-
ments consist of red blood-disks and of colored corpuscles either free or included in
cells; sometimes enlarged blood-disks are seen included in a cell, but more frequently
the enclosed disks are altered in form and color, as if undergoing meta-
morphoses. Besides these, numerous deep-red, or reddish-yellow, or black corpu.-< les
and crystals, closely allied to the bsematin of the blood, are seen diffused through the
pulp substance.

The venous blood of the spleen is carried away by the splenic vein, which con-
tributes to form the great portal venous system, distributed through the liver; while
arterial blood is supplied by the splenic artery, the largest branch of the coeliac axis.
The branches of this artery subdivide and ramify like the branches of a tree, witli the
malpighian or splenic corpuscles attached to them like fruit. These splenic corpuscles,
originally discovered by Malpighi. are whitish .spherical bodies, which are either con-
nected with the smaller arterial branches by short pedicles, or are sessile upon their
sheaths. They vary considerably in size and number, their diameter usually ranging
from one-third to one-sixth of a'line. Each consists of a membranous capsule, homo-
geneous in structure, and formed by a prolongation from the sheath of the artery. The
blood-vessels ramifying on the surface of a corpuscle consist of the larger branches of
the artery with which "it is connected, of venous branches, and of a delicate capillary
plexus. From this arrangement of the vessels, it maybe inferred that active changes
are carried on in the contents of these corpuscles, which consist of a soft, white, semi-
fluid substance, made up of granular matter, nuclei similar to those found in the pulp,
and a few nucleated cells. These splenic corpuscles are much more distinct in early life
than subsequently, and are much smaller in mun than in most mammals. They, how-
e^er, bear a remarkable relation to the general state of nutrition, being much the great-
est in well-fed animals, especially in the early periods of the digestion of albuminous
food; while they diminish extremely in ill-fed animals, and in those that have been
starved, they disappear altogether.

The chemical composition of the spleen confirms the view that a retrograde change
of tissue occurs very freely in it. In 1000 parts there were found (by Oidtmann) nearly
250 of solid residue, of which more than 243 were organic, consisting of albumen,
fats, inosite, uric acid, sarcine, xanthine, leuciue, tyrosine, and pigment, all of which,
excepting the first two, are products of the metamorphosis of tissue. This gland also
contains^, large quantity of oxide of iron, obtained probably from the disintegration of
red blood-disks in it.

With regard to its uses, it may be regarded as a storehouse of nutritive material,
which maybe drawn, upon according to the requirements of the system; and of the

m Splay.


exertion of an assimilative action upon the alburnininous matter, during its withdrawal
from the general current of the circulation, we have direct evidence in the large increase
in the proportion of flbriue contained in its venous blood the blood of the. splenic vein
sometimes containing nearly six times the usual quantity of flbrine. Before the institu-
tion of the chemical inquiries which led to the above conclusion, it was held that the func-
tion of the organ was to act as a reservoir for the portal blood, with the view of pre-
venting the portal vessels from being unduly distended during the digestive process.
To what extent it is the seat of the disintegration of old blood-corpuscles, and of the
formation of new ones, is still uncertain. The removal of this organ from the body
has frequently been performed in animals without serious effects; but in some of these
cases, small secondary spleens are developed, and in others, various sets of lymphatic
glands are observed to increase rapidly, shortly after the operation, and these probably
act vicariously for the spleen. Its singular and complicated microscopic structure, and
its extreme vascularity, would lead to the inference that this is a highly important viscus.
It is unnecessary to enter into any detail regarding the diseases of the spleen, as
most of them occur secondarily in the course of other affections, as in intermittent
fever (ague) and leucocythemia (q.v.), when it is sometimes enlarged to 40 times its
natural weight. It is sometimes diminished to the size of a walnut, the cuuie of this
atrophy bc-iug unknown, but the apparent result being a loss of color, aud a compara-
tively bloodless condition. The spleen is also liable to the singular morbid change
known as waxy degeneration, in which the presence of starch like amylcid granules is
observed in the tissue on submitting it to microscopico-chemical investigation. These
remarkable granules dissolve when heated in water, and by the action of iodine acquire
a bluish tint, but not the pure iodide of starch purple. In their ultimate composition,
however, these granules resemble the alburninates rather than starclj, inasmuch as they
contain nitrogen.


SPLE NIC APOPLEXY, a disease of cattle and sheep, resembles r/'ack quarter (q.v.) in
suddenly attacking animals in good thriving condition, and, like iv,, appears to depend
upon the rapid manufacture of insufficiently elaborated blood, probably faulty in the
healthy proportion of some of its constituents. The animal staggers, froths at mouth,
throws itself about in convulsions, and sometimes dies withiu an hour. Few cases
recover. The blood is thin, dark-colored, and indisposed to coagulate. It accumulates
in the large internal organs, particularly in the liver and spleen, and is poured out on
the mucous surfaces. If the animal is seen in time, and before the pulse becomes
small and weak, a moderate bleeding may be tried. A full dose of physic, with a
prompt stimulant, must at once be given, and cloths wrung out of hot water applied, for
several hours continuously, to the belly and loins. If the animal is weak, and the pulse
scarcely perceptible, stimalants must be freely given from the first ; and where there is
stupor, cokl water likewise applied to the head. To prevent the disease, attention must
be paid to regular moderate feeding ; abundance of wholesome water must be supplied ;
the grazings not allowed to become too rank, and changed occasionally; rock-salt
placed within reach ; and a scton inserted in the dewlap of all cattle and sheep pastured
upon lands subject to splenic apoplexy.

SPLENIZA TION is a term employed in morbid anatomy to indicate a diseased condi
tion of the lung, in which the tissue of that organ resembles that of the spleen in \arious
physical points, such as softness, friability, etc.

SPLINT, or SPLENT, is a bony enlargement on the horse's leg, between the knee and
fetlock, usually appearing on the inside of one or both fore-legs, frequently situated
between the large and small canon bones, depending upon concussion, and most common
in young horses that have been rattled rapidly along hard roads before their bones are
consolidated. When of recent and rapid growth, the splint is hot and tender, and causes
lameness, especially noticeable when the horse is trotted along a hard road. A piece
of spongiopiline saturated with cold water should be applied to the splint, kept in posi-
tion with a light linen bandage, and wetted with cold water or a refrigerant mixture
every hour. Perfect rest must be enjoined for ten days or a fortnight. When the limb
is cool, and free from tenderness, the swelling, which will still remain, may be greatly
reduced by some stimulating applications, such as the ointment of the red iodide of
mercury, the common fly blister, or the firing iron.

SPLINT-BONES. The horse and certain allied mammals have what is popularly
known as an outer and an inner splint-bone in the skeleton of the leg. Beyond the bones
of the carpus and tarsus, there is one very large bone (the metacarpal or" metatarsus of
the third toe), which supports the whole weight of the animal. On either side of this
bone are the outer and inner splint-bones, which are small bones, not running more
than half the length of the great central bone, into which they merge. They represent,
in a rudimentary form, the metacarpal and metatarsal bones of the fourth and second toe.

SPLINTS, in surgery, are certain mechanical contrivances for keeping a fractured
limb in its proper position, and for preventing any motion of the fractured ends; they
are also employed for securing perfect immobility of the parts to which they are applieu
in other cases, as in diseased joints, after resection of joints, etc.

Splugen. 'TQO

Sponge* t O4

Ordinary splints are composed of wood carved to the shape of the limb, and padded;
the best pads being made out of old blankets, which should be cut into strips long and
wide enough to line the splints, and laid in sufficient number upon one another to give
the requisite softness. The splints should be firmly bound to the previously bandaged
limb with pieces of bandage, or with straps and buckles; care being taken that they are
put on sufficiently tight to keep the parts immovable, and to prevent muscular spasm,
but not so tight as to induce discomfort. Gutta percha, sole-leather, or pasteboard,
after having been softened in boiling water, may in some cases advantageously take the
place of wooden splints. They must be applied when soft to the part they are intended
to support, so as to take a perfect mold, and then be dried, stiffened, and, it' necessary,
lined. An account of the more complicated kinds of splint required in certain cases,
as Macintyre's splint, Liston's splint, etc., may be seen in any illustrated catalogue of
surgical instruments.

The ordinary splint is now to a great degree superseded by immovable bandages,
which consist of the ordinary bandage saturated with a thick mucilage of starch, or with
a strong solution of a mixture of powdered gum-arabic and precipitated chalk, which,
when dry, form a remarkably light but firm support. As, however, these bandages
require some hours to dry and become rigid, means must be used to counteract any dis-
placement of the limb in the interval. On this account, many surgeons prefer the plas-
ter of Paris or gypsum bandage, which is applied in the following manner: the limb
being protected by a layer of cotton-wool, a bandage composed of coarse and open
material, into which as much dry powdered gj'psum as possible has been rubbed, must
be immersed in water for about a minute, and then rolled around the limb. in a spiral
manner, just as an ordinary bandage; after every second or third turn of the bandage,
the left hand of the surgeon should be plunged into water, and smeared over the part
last applied. When the whole has been thus treated, the exterior of the bandage should
be smeared over with a paste of gypsum and water until a smooth surface and com-
plete rigidity have been attained a process not occupying more than 10 minutes or a
quarter of an hour. In a case of simple fracture, where no surgical aid is at hand, any
non-professional person of ordinary intelligence might apply this bandage, extreme care
being taken that the ends of the broken bone are in their proper position.

SPLIT GEN, a mountain of the Lepontine Alps, in the Grisons, Switzerland, whose
summit, 9,600 ft. high, bears the name of the Tombenhorn. The pass of the Splilgen,
conecting the s.e. of Switzerland with the region of Italy round lake Como, is at ita
highest point 6,940 ft. above the sea. and in its present "condition is the work of the
Austrian government (1823). The southern or Italian descent has three great "galleries"
i.e., covered portions of the pass constructed of solid masonry, and intended to pro-
tect the road from avalanches. They are the longest on any Alpine high-road. When
marshal Macdonald conducted the French army of reserve across the Spliigen by the old
path, Nov. 27-Dec. 4, 1800, he lost severely in men and horses from the fall of ava-

SPOFFORD, ArNSWORTH R, b. K H., 1825; was educated privately, chiefly as a
classical scholar; was made an assistant librarian in the library of congress, and in 1865
became principal librarian. He had already published (1864) the Alphabetical Catalogue
of the Library of Congress, and this was followed by supplements, the series being val-
uable aids to general "bibliography. The library of congress, which contained 90,000
volumes in 1865, had grown in 1880 to more than 300,000, and Mr. Spofford's influence
was used with successive congresses to obtain an appropriation for a building suitable
for so large and increasing a collection. In this he was measurably successful, and a
commodious and appropriate structure will probably be erected. Mr. Spofford is recog-
nized as a bibliographer of erudition and remarkable natural gifts, adapting him for the
responsible position of librarian in the national library. Besides his work in cataloguing,
he has published the American Almanac, 1878-81; a comprehensive storehouse of chro-
nology and facts in finance and politics.

SPOFFORD, HARRIET ELIZABETH (PRESCOTT), b. Me., 1835: received her educa-
tion at Newburyport, Mass., and in 1865 married Richard S. Spofford, a lawyer of Bos-
ton. Khe has been a frequent contributor to the Atlantic Monthly, Harper's Monthly,
and other periodicals. She wrote Sir Rohan's Ghost (185Q) ; The Amber Gods, and Other
Stones (1863); Azarian. an Episode (1864); New England Legends (1871); and The Ihief
in the Night (1872).

SPOHR, LUDWIG, an eminent German musical composer and violinist, son of a physi-
cian of Brunswick, was b. in that town in 1784. He began his violin studies in boy-
hood; at the age of 12 he played a violin concerto of his own at the court of Brunswick;
and at 13 he obtained an appointment as chamber-musician to the duke. A few years
later he made a musical tour through Russia and Germany, giving concerts, and
acquiring a high reputation as a performer on the violin. In 1804 he became music
director at the court of Saxe-Gotha, and held afterward for several years the office of
music director of the Theater an der Wien at Vienna. He visited Italy in 1817, Paris in
1819, and in 1820 appeared in London, where he was received with great applause at
the Philharmonic society's concerts, and produced two symphonies and an overture. In
1823 he became kapellmeister at the court of Hesse-Cassel, which post he continued to

733 Splugen.


hold-till 1857, when he retired from professional life. He died in 1859. Spohr's musi-
cal works include seven operas Fa ust, Jcssonda, Zcmira und Azoi; Der Ziceikampf der
Gdiebten, De r Bergge ist, Peter von Albano, and JJtr Alchymist; three oratorios, Die letzten
Dinge, DCS Heilund's letzte Stunden, and Der Fall Babylons; various masses, psalms, and
hymns, six grand symphonies, four overtures, besides nonets, quartets, violin con-
certos, sonatas for violin and harp, fantasias, and rondos. Die Ittztcn Dinge, or Last
Judgment, is a very grand and very attractive work; so also is Der Fall Babylons, first
produced at a Norwich musical festival. Of his operas, the most esteemed are Faust
and Jessoiuht, the latter remarkable for its successful embodiment of the spirit of oriental
poetry. His songs are rather deficient in broad and decided melody; but his instrumen-
tal works occupy a very high place in the estimation of musicians, more especially tl:e
C minor symphony, and the symphony known as Die Weilie der lone. As a violinist
Spohr's purity of tone and high finish have never been surpassed, and his VioHnschvle
is the best and most complete work on violin-playing ever written. See The Auto-
biography of L. Spohr; translated from the German (Lond. 1864).

SPOLE TO (Latin, Spoletium), a city of central Italy, province of Perugia, is situated
on a rocky hill, 61 m. n.c.e. of Rome. Pop. '71, 7,493. It is commanded by a citadel,
which is built on a separate hill, divided from that on which the town stands by a deep
gorge, crossed at an immense height by a bridge and aqueduct. The streets are steep,
narrow, and dirty. Spoleto has a fine cathedral, built in the time of the Lombard
dukes, and containing many interesting works of art. The churches of St. Dominico,
San Giovanni, the collegiate church of San Pietro, and the palace of the ancient dukes
of Spoleto, are also worthy of being mentioned. The ancient Spoletium had its origin
in a Roman colony which was planted here about 240 B.C.; and during the second
Punic war, Hannibal is said to have been repulsed bv the colonists in an assault which
he made on the town (217 B.C.), after the battle of Thrasymene. Under the Lombard
dukes h became the capital of an independent duchy. In I860 it was taken by the
Italians from a body of Irish mercenaries in the service of the pope, and now forms a
part of the kingdom of Italy. Spoleto contains many interesting Roman remains, as also
a ruin which goes under the name of the palace of Theodoric. It has manufactures of
woolens and hats


SPONGE, Sjwnfffa, a genus which originally included all the numerous genera and
Rpccies of the family spongiadce, all of which are still commonly spoken of by natural-
ists as sponges, although in its more popular sense that term is limited to a few kinds,
or to their fibrous framework. The sponges are creatures of very low organization,
concerning which there has been much difference of opinion, wheiher they ought
to be referred to the animal or to the vegetable kingdom. Naturalists are now gener-
ally agreed in regarding them as animals. They are, perhaps, the very lowest of
protozoa. The}' are attached, like plants or zoophytes, to rocks or other sub-
stances in water; most of them are marine. They consist of a glairy or gelatinous
substance (tarcode), and of a framework, which is often formed of a horny,
elastic substance (keratose), in fibers growing from a broad base, anastomozing and
intimately connecting together, or consists of calcareous, or more generally,
siliceous spicules, imbedded in the gelatinous mass, and exhibiting great variety of form
and arrangement. These spicules do not consist of mere mineral matter, but in part of
animal matter, by the growth of which their form is determined. They are most
beautiful microscopic objects, and spicules of different forms are sometimes found in
the same species, sometimes lying close together in bundles, sometimes straight or
slightly curved, sometimes in the shape of needles pointed at one end, or at both;
sometimes of needles radiating from a center; while some have a head at one end like a
pin, some have grapnel-like hooks at the ends. Some of the species with horny frame-
work have spicules imbedded in it; some have them implanted in the fibers; some are
destitute of them. There is a beautiful West Indian species, dictyocalyx punriccus, in
which the siliceous matter becomes itself a fibrous net-work, and is so fine and trans-
parent as to resemble spun glass. In a living state many sponges exhibit lively colors,
from the presence of some coloring matter, or from iridescence. Their gelatinous sub-
stance has a fish-like odor. If detached portions of it are examined under the micro-
scope, variable processes may be seen in motion, as in the amcela or jn-oteus (q.v.).
Bponges may be regarded as aggregations of amodce, or as still lower in the scale of
animal life, because individuality is soon lost when individuals of the same species arc
brought together. They coalesce into one. And if a sponge is divided by the knife,
the parts placed together very quickly reunite, even if not in their former relation to
each other. But parts of different species never unite in this way, however closely
placed together. Sponges have never been observed to exhibit irritability. At first,
they are like separate amoeba; but after they become fixed to a spot, increase by a kind

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 169 of 203)