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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the seal ot Alexander II. In both countries there were also the privy seals with the
royal arms only.

Ecclesiastical seals first appear in tha 9th c., and attained great beauty in the 13th
and 14th. They are of the pointed oval form known as veirica pise is ; and have for sub-
jects, a figure of the bishop, sometimes of the Trinity, the Virgin, or a patron saint,
seated under an elaborate architectural canopy. The arms of the bishop are often

Under the Norman monarchsof England, sealing became a legal formality, necessary
to the authentication of a deed; and from the 13th c. onward, the seals of all persons
< f noble or gentle birth represented their armorial ensigns. The seal was generally
i-ppt-nded to the document by passing a strip of parchment or a cord through a slit ir
i ! s lower edge; and the ends being held together, the wax was pressed or molded round
the :i a short distance from the extremity, and the matrix impressed on it. Occasionally
the seal was not pendant, but the wax was spread on the dei-d. The colored wa>: with
the impression was sometimes imbedded in a mass of while wax forming a protective
border to it. In England, a seal is still an essential to all I<'u;il instrument* l>y which
real estate is conveyed; but since subscription has also become necessary, thr 'practice
.of sealing has degenerated into a mere formality. The custom was grndually.introdueed
of covering the wax with white paper, on which the impression was made,' and latterly
wafers have been considered a sufficient substitute for seals.

In Scotland, every freeholder was obliged by statutes of Robert III. and James I. to
have his seal of arn.s, an impression of which was kept in the office of the clerk of court


of the shire; and among the Scottish armorial seals of Ihe 14th and 15th centuries are
some of wonderful beauty of execution. At 1540, c. 117, for th3 tirst time made sub-
scription an essential formality to deeds; but sealing still continued to be necessary till
1584, when it was dispensed with in the case of deeds containing a clause of registra-
tion, and soon afterward the practice was altogether laid aside.

The use of corporate seals by towns and boroughs dates as far back as the 12th cen-
tuny. The earlier corporate seals bear the town gates, city walls, or some similar
device; Hie use of corporate arms did not begin till the latter half of the 141 h century.

The principal use of seals in the present day is in closing letters, and even for this pur-
pose they have of late years been less used than formerly; owing to the fashion of using
stamped adhesive envelopes.

The study of mediaeval seals is of great importance and interest in connection with
many branches of archaeology, including heraldic and genealogical investigations. See

SEAL (nntc), in law, is defined by Coke, as "wax with an impression," and such a
seal was required at common law. In many of the states, a scroll, i.e., a mark or flourish
with the pen has the validity ; f a seal. Courts take judicial notice of the .seal of a
notary public, and of superior courts, but not of foreign courts, except courts of mari-
time und admiralty jurisdiction. No proof need be made of the public seal of a foreign
state, and all documents, decrees, etc., bearing such seal are presumed genuine. A con-
tract with a seal afiixed is called a specialty. The seal of the United Slates was adopted
by congress June 20, 1782.

SEAL, PIiocci a LinnTean genus of mammalia, now forming the family phocidce, and
Including all that family except the morse (q.v.), or walrus. The name seal is from the
Anglo-Saxon scol. The Phocidce constitute, in Cuvier's system, a section of carnivore*
(q.v.) designated amphibia. Their structure is most perfectly adapted to an aquatic life,
and they live chiefly in water, but spend part of their time on shore, reposing and basking
in the sunshine on rocks, sand-banks, ice-tields, or beaches; and they bring forth their
young on shore. The body is elongated, and tapers from the chest to the tail; the head
somewhat resembles that of a dog, and in most of the species the brain is large; the feet
are short, and little more than the paw projects beyond the skin of the body; all the
feet are thoroughly webbed, and five-toed; the fore-feet are placed like those of other
quadrupeds; but the hind-feet are directed backward, like a prolongation of the bod}',
and between them is a short tail. The toes, particularly those of the hind-feet, are
capable of being spread out very widely in swimming, so as to give great propulsive power.
The movements of seals in the water are very rapid and graceful; on land, they are
very peculiar; even the fore-feet being little used or not at all, but the body contracted
by an upward bending of the spine, and so thrown forward by a succession of jerks; in
which way, however, a seal makes its escape very rapidly from an assailant. The flexi-
bility of the spine in seals is very remarkable, and depends on the very large intervertebral
cartilages, formed of fibrous concentric rings. The muscles, which are connected with
the spine on all sides, are of great strength.

The tcetli differ considerably in the different genera, but in all are adapted for the
seizure of slippery prey, the chief food of sef:ls being fishes, although they do not reject
other animal food, and are said even to feed in part on vegetable substances. Their
incisors are either six in the upper jaw and four in the lower, or four in the upper and
two yi the lower; they all have large and strong canine teeth; and the molars, usually
five or six on each side in each jaw r , are either sharp-edged or conical, and beset with
points. Seals have a remarkable habit of swallowing large stones, for which no probable
reason has yet been conjectured. Their stomachs are very often found to be in part
filled with stones. The stomach is quite simple; the gullet (awphagus) enters it at the
left extremity; the ccecum is short, the intestinal canal long.

The respiration of seals is extremly slow, about two minutes intervening between
one breath and another, when the animal is on land and in full activity. A seal has
been known to remain twenty-five minutes under water. Their slowness of respiration,
and power of suspending it for a considerable time, is of great use, as enabling them to
pursue their prey under water. The fur of seals is very smooth, and abundantly lubri-
cated with an oily secretion. There is generally an inner coating of rich fur, through
which grow long hairs, forming an outer covering. Another adaptation to aquatic life
and cold climates appears in a layer of fat immediately under the skin from which
teal oil is obtained serving not only for support when food is scarce, but for protection
from cold, and at the same time rendering the whole body lighter. The nostrils are
capable of being readily and completely closed, and are so while the seal is under
water; and there is a similar provision for the ears; while the eye, which is large,
exhibits remarkable peculiarities, supposed to be intended for its adaptation to use both
in .".i 1 .- and wiittT. The face is provided with strong whiskers, connected at their base
with large nerves.

Seals produce t'.oir young only o:;c-e \\ year; sometimes one. sometimes two. at a
birth. Not long after their birth, the young are conducted by the mother to the .-en.
Many, if not all, of the species are polygamous. Terrible tights occur among tho male*.

Seals are very much, on their guard against the approach of uiuu, 'where they have



beeu much molested; but -where they have been subjected to no molestation, they are
far from being shy, and approach very close to boats, or to men on shore, sis it' an'm.i.ud
by curiosity. They are much affected by musical sounds. A flute is said to al tract
seals to a boat, where they have not learned caution from sore experience; and the
ringing of the church bell ut Hoy, in Orkney, has very often caused the appearance of
numerous seals in the little bay. Seals -possess all the five senses in perfection.

The common seal and some of the other species are very intelligent; but there is con-
siderable difference in this respect amoug the species, flic common seal and some
others have often been tamed, and are capable of living long in domestication, if freely
supplied with water. They become very familiar with those who attend to them, and
are very fond of caresses and of notice, recognize their name like dogs, and readily
learn many little tricks, of which advantage has been taken for exhibitions.

Seals are found in all the colder parts of the world, most abundantly in thj arctic
and antarctic regions; some of them also in temperate climates, as far s. as the
Mediterranean, and as far n. as the La Plata. Some of them ascend rivers to some dis-
tance in pursuit of salmon and other fish. They are found in the Caspian sea, and even
in the fresh water lake Baikal.

The species are numerous, but in no group of mammalia does more remain for further
investigation. Seals are divided into two principal groups seals, more strictly so called,
and otarii's (q.v.); the former distinguished by the complete want of external ears,
which the latter possess, and by their dentition. The true seals have been further sub-
divided into genera, chiefly characterized by their dentition. In the restricted genus
phoca or calocepludus, the incisors are pointed and sharp-edged, six above and four
below. The common seal (jrfioca vitttlina) is found in the northern parts of the Atlantic
ocean, and in the Arctic ocean. It is common on the wilder and more unfrequented
parts of the British coast, particularly in the north. It is remarkably distinguished,
even among its nearest congeners, by the oblique position of the molar teeth. The fur
is yellowish, variously spotted, and marked with brown. The whole length is from 3
to 5 feet. Its love of salmon is so great that it has been known to haunt the neighbor-
hood of a salmon-net for a long time, and to take the fish after they were entrapped in
it. The common seal is generally seen in small herds. Its skin and oil are of consider-
able mercantile importance. The skin is dressed with the fur on, to make caps, etc.,
or is tanned and used as leather. The oil, when made before decay has begun, is color-
less and nearly inodorous; it is much superior to whale-oil. The flesh is much used for
food in veiy northern countries, <;s is that of all the other species which they produce.
It is not easy to shoot a seal. While flint-locks were in use, the seal always dived so
quickly on seeing the flash as generally to escape the ball. The popular name SEA-
CALF, and the specific name tititliiia, have reference o a supposed resemblance of the
voice to that of a calf. The HARP SEAL (P. Granlandica) receives its popular name from
a large, black, crescent-shaped mark on each side of the back. It is sometimes seen on
the British coasts, but belongs chiefly to more northern regions. It is from 6 to 8 or
even 9 ft. in length. The GREAT SEAL, or BEARDED SKAL (R larbaia), also found on the
British coasts, and plentiful on the coasts of Greenland, is generally about 9 or 10 ft. long,
sometimes more. The ROUGH or BRISTLED SEAL (P. Mspida) frequents quiet bays on
the coasts of Greenland, where many thousands are annually killed for their skins
and oil. It is the smallest of the northern species. The GRAY SEAL (llnlirharus
grisevz), which has a very flat head, and attains a si/e nearly equal to the Great seal,
occurs on the British coasts, but is much more common in more northern lattiudes,
and in_the Baltic sea. The CRESTED SEAL (stemmatopus cristatus) is remarkable for
the elevation of the septum of the nose of the adult male into a crest, which sup-
ports a hood covering the head, and capable of being distended and elevated or depressed
at pleasure. The use of this appendage is not known. This seal is plentiful on the
coasts of Greenland and the northern parts of North America. The seals of the southern
seas are quite distinct from those of the northern. One of them is the SEA LEOPARD,
or LEOPARD SEAL (leptonyxWeddellii), so called from its spotted fur. It is found on the
South Orkneys and other very southern islands. By far the largest of all the seals is
the ELEPHANT SEAT,, or sea elephant of the southern seas.

Seals are to some extent migratory, although their migrations do not extend to very
great distances, and are probably regulated by the abundance or scarcity of food. The
Vme of the return of certain species to certain coasts, is very confidently reckoned
vpon by the natives of the n. and by penl-hunters.

Seal-hunting or finking, as it is often called requires great patience and skill.
Most of the seals, if not all. are gregarious, and one seems to be always placed on the
watch, where danger is to be apprehended from bears or from hunters. They climb
up through holes in the ice-fields of the polar seas, even when there is a height of
several feet from the water, but it is difficult for the hunter to get between them and
the hole. Nor is seal-hunting unattended with danger, an enraged seal being a formid-
able antagonist, at least to the inexperienced.

Seal hunting is the great occupation of the Greonlanders, but it is 'also extensively
prosecuted in other northern parts of the world; great numbers are taken on the coasts
of Newfoundland aud other northern purts of America; whale-fishers kill seals as they

9QQ Seal.

9 ' Semen.

find opportunity; and vessels arc fitted out expressly for the purpose, from the northern
parts of Europe and of America.


SEALING-WAX. A composition of hard resinous materials used for receiving and
retaining the impressions of seals. Simple as it may appear, its manufacture is one of
great importance, and formerly was far more so than at present the use of gummed
envelopes having to a great extent superseded it. Common becsw;ix was first used in
this country and in Europe generally, being mixed with earthy materials to give it con-
sistency. Nevertheless, it was difficult to preserve it, as a very small amount of heat
softened it.

The Venetians, however, brought the Indian sealing-wax to Europe, and th'> Span-
iards received it from the Venetians, and made it a very important branch of their
commerce. The great value of the Indian wax consisted in the fact that it was made
onlv of shell-lac, colored with vermilion or some other pigment, and this has been found
superior to all other materials. In addition to the shell-lac and coloring material, there
is always added to the wax made in Europe a portion of Venetian turpentine (see TVJU-
PENTINE), and of resin.


SEA-LION, in heraldry, a monster consisting of the upper part of a lion combined
with the tail of a fish.


SEALKOTE, a t. in the Punjab, near the left bank of the Chenab, 05 m. n.n.e. from
Lahore. It contains (1863) 2.1,337 inhabitants, and carries on the manufacture of paper.
Sealkote was formerly a military station, and at the period of the outbreak of the Indian
mutiny, there was a rifle-practice depot here. All the European troops had been
removed in July, 18-17. to repress disturbances that had broken out elsewhere, and on
the 9th of that 'month the native troops fired on their officers. A considerable number
of Europeans were killed, and the survivors suffered great privations until the sepoys,
having plundered the station, started off in the direction of Delhi.

SEALSFIELD, CHARLES, 1793-1864; b. Moravia; the assume.! name of Karl Postel.
In early life he was secretary to a religious order at Prague, and afterward traveled
extensively in the United States, Mexico, and Central America. He then .settled at
Bolothurn. Switzerland, where he devoted himself to literature, writing among oth.r
books, Tritiix'tfl'iiifii' Traveling Skstche*; Pictures of Life in both Hemispheres; North'
and S'nith ; The Viceroy and the. Aristocracy.

SEAMEN are technically those persons below the rank of officer, who arc employed
in navigating decked vessels on the high seas men working on lakes and rivers being
styled "watermen." Two oppjsite conditions are essential to the well-being of the
vessel first, the absolute subordination and perfect obedience of the crew to the master;
and secondly, their protection against tyranny or caprice on his part. For this purpose
the law of England is extremely minute in the rules laid down for both masters and

By an act of 1845, specially leveled against pimps and swindling agents, no person
may hire seamen except the owner or master of a ship, and individuals licensed for that
purpose by the board of trade. Under the mercantile marine act of 18.10. a written
agreement must be made when a man is engaged, setting forth the nature and length of
voyaire, the capacity in which the man is to be employed, wages, fines, provisions, pun-
ishments, etc. If the ship be going abroad, this agreement must be attested before a
shipping-master, who has a poster of periodical inspection over the agreements of all
seamen in vessels in his port. Any clause in the agreement would be inoperative which
deprives the sailor of a lien upon his ship, or of other recovery for his wages, or of
rights of salvage. In virtue of this agreement the seaman is bound to do his utmost in
the service of the vessel; and consequently, if a master of a ship in distress promise his
men extra pay for extraordinary exertions, the men cannot compel him to fulfill his

In the event of disobedience or insubordination the master may administer correction,
the law holding him responsible that such correction is reasonable. Desertion from the
ship is punishable by imprisonment; and deserters may be apprehended on the informa :
tion of the master without warrant. In case of open mutiny, the master may adopt thd
most stringent measures.

The mariner's wages are not due in case of loss of the ship, unless he duly exerted
liimself, and only up to the date of loss. It is a misdemeanor for the master to leave a
sailor on shore in foreign parts, unless through the man's wrongful acl.

SEAMEN (ante), as a chss supposed to be especially subject to imposition while on
shore and subject to cruel treatment while at sea, art protected by statutes regulating the
method of their employment, their rights as to pay, their treatment while at sea, and
their return to this country after discharge. Sailors in the U. S. navy are of course gov-
erned by the rules of the service; mercantile seamen from their contract by signing a

te 30

written agreement called the shipping articles, which every master of a vessel is required
to have. This must describe clearly, the voyage with the ports at either end, the rate of
wages and all other matters necessary to u full understanding of the contract. Such
articles are not beyond impeachment by purol evidence. Penalties for the violation of
the contract on either side are provided. The master is bound to furnish a seaworthy
vessel, a survey being allowed on application of one mate and a majority of the crew.
Not only is he bound to furnish provisions but the amount is fixed by statute; and if
thev fall short lie forfeits a day's pay to each man while on short allowance. The master
is bound to pay the wages, but may deduct 40 cents a month for the marine hospital fund
or declare all or part forfeited as punishment for insubordination. Other punishments
are extra work, imprisonment, confinement in irons, etc. ; Hogging was abolished by the
ac.t of 1850. but it is held that this does not include blows struck in the heat of anger.
If the seaman desert before the voyage, lie may be seized on a warrant and confined
until the ship sails, forfeiting double his adva'nce wages. If he desert on the voyage lie
forfeits his entire wages and all property on board. But if compelled to desert by
cruelty, this does not hold. Sailors have a wages lien on both ship and freight.
Engineers, pilots, clerks, and stewards, are sailors as to their rights of wages, etc. The
master must present his papers to the U.S. consul in all ports visited and must explain
absences. If he discharge a man abroad he is bound to pay three months' wages
beyond what is due. Of this one-third goes to a fund for the maintenance of our seamen
in foreign countries and for bringing them home. If a, sailor be discharged without
cause and against his will in a foreign port, the master is liable to six months' imprison-
ment or a ipoOO tine.

SEA-MOUSE, ApJirodite, a genus of dorsibranchiate annclida. of the family apJiro-
ditidce, to all of which the popular name is extended. They are readily distinguished
by two longitudinal ranges of broad membranous scales covering the back, under which
are the gills in the form of little fleshy crests. The scales move up and down as the
animal respires; and are concealed by a substance resembling tow or felt, which permits
the access of water but excludes mud and sand. The head is furnished with tentacles;
some have two eyes and some four. The body is edged with spines. Besides all tffis,
its sides are covered with flexible bristles or silky hairs, which give to these creatures a
wonderful beauty of color, unsurpassed by that of humming birds or the most brilliant
gems. Each hair, even when viewed singly, and moved about in the sunshine, reflects
jill the hues of the rainbow. Yet sea-mice are generally to be found concealed under
b ones, and dwell among the mud at the bottom of the sea. Storms frequently throw
tnem on the beach in great numbers. A very beautiful species, aphrodite aculeate, of
an oval form, about 6 or 8 inches long, and 2 or 3 broad, is the common sea-mouse of
the British coasts..

SEA-PARROT. See AUK, ante.

SEA-PIKE, Cenlrojwmtis undecimalis, a fish, which, notwithstanding its popular name,
belongs to the perch family. Its form, however, is elongated like that of the pike. The
body is compressed; there are two dorsal fins; the mouth is not very large; and the
teeth are numerous, fmall, and equal. The color is silvery-white, tinged with green on
the back. It is found on the western coasts of tropical America. It attains a large size,
and is a valuable fish. On the British coasts, the name sea-pike is sometimes given to
the garfish.





SEARCH OF INCTTMBRANCES means the inquiry made by a purchaser or mortga-
gee of lands as to the burdens and state of the title,, in order to see whether his purchase
or Investment is safe. Owing to the want of any general system of registration of deeds
affecting land in England, it is not possible by any search to find out with certainty all
fhese burdens; nevertheless, there are some special registers which are usually included
in such searches, such as judgment debts, bankruptcies, disentailing deeds, annuity
deeds, etc. The search usually goes back for 60 years. In Scotland, where all the deeds
affecting land rights are registered, it is easy to discover the exact state of the title and
burdens on the land. The usual search is made only for 40 years. The registers are
subdivided into various kinds as the general and" particular register of Sasines. the
recorl of Abbreviates of Adjudications, register of Inhibitions, etc. See RECORDS.

SEARCH-WARRANT is an authority granted to n constable by a justice of the peace
to enter the premises of a person suspect ed of secreting stolen goods, in order to discover,
and if found, to seize the goods; arid similar warrants are granted to discover property
in respect of which oilier offenses are committed. Before such a warrantcan be issued,
a credible witness must 011 oath prove a reasonable cause to suspect that the party pro-


ceeded against has the proper!}- in Us possession or in his promises. The name of the
person whose premises an- to be searched must be correctly described in the warrant.

SEARCH WARRANT (mite). The 4th amendment to the U. S. constitution pro-
hibits the " general warrants," which were at one time granted in England in behalf <>f
the government, particularly in eases of alleged sedition or libel, upon suspicion solely,
without specifications. The amendment m question provides that the right of the people
to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable" searches
and seizures shall not be violated, aijd 110 warrants shall issue but upon probable cause,

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 69 of 203)