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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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A serf residing a year in a borough without challenge on the part of his lord, became
ipso facto a free man; and the result of experience showed that the industry of
the free laborer was quite as productive as that of the serf. At all events, serfdom
died out in England without any special enactment; yet it was not wholly extinct
in the latter half of the 16th c., for we find a commission issued in 1574 by queen
Elizabeth, to inquire into the lands and goods of all her bondsmen and bondswomen in
the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, and Gloucester, in order to compound with
them for their manumission, that they might enjoy all their lands and goods as freed men.
In a few rare instances, liability to servile duties and payments in respect of lands seem
to have continued down to the r< ign of Charles I. In Scotland, as in England, serfdom
disappeared by insensible degrees; but a remarkable form of it continued to survive
down to the closing years of last century. Colliers and salters were bound by the law,
independent of paction, on entering to a coal-work or salt-mine, to perpetual service
there; and in case of sale or alienation of the ground on which the works were situated,
the right to their services passed without any express grant to the purchaser. The sons
of the collier and salter could follow no occupation but that of their father, and were not
at liberty to seek for employment .anywhere else than in the mines to which they had
been attached by birth. Statutes 15 Geo. III. c. 28 and 39 Geo. III. c. 56. restored these
classes of workmen to the rights of freemen and citizens, and abolished the last remnant
ot slavery in the British islands.

In France, though a general edict of Louis X., in 1315, purported to enfranchise the
serfs on the royal domain on payment of a composition, this measure seems never to
have been carried into effect, and a limited sort of villeinage continued to exist in some
places down to the revolution. In some estates in Champagne and Mivernais, Ihe
villeins, known as gens de main morte, were not allowed to leave their habitations,
and might have been followed by their lords into any part of France for the taitte or
villein tax. In Italy, 'me gteat cause of the decline of villeinage was the necessity
under which the cities and petty states found themselves to employ the peasant popula-
tion for their defense, whom it became expedient to reward with enfranchisement. In the
11 th and 12th centuries the number of serfs began to decrease, and villeinage seems no
longer to have had an existence in Italy in the 15th century. Over a large portion of
Germany the mass of the peasants had acquired their freedom before the end of the
13th c., but in some parts of the Prussian dominions a modified villeinage continued to
exist until swept away by the reforms of Von Stein in the present century.

In Russia, where the feudal system never prevailed, the early condition of the peasant
was not a servile one. Down to the llth c. he could occupy any portion of the soil
that he had the means of cultivating, the land being the property of all, and farmed on
on the purest communistic principles. The reduction of the peasantry to a state
of serfdom, and their attachment to the soil, was gradually effected, and not completed
till the: close of the 16th century. The Russian peasant of the 19th c. was in some
respects in as serrile a condition as the feudal villein of the 12th c. in the w. of
Europe; but there w,as this peculiarity attaching to his position, that while he himself
was the property of his lord, the land which he cultivated belonged to himself a con-
sideration which greatly complicated the question of his emancipation. The emperor
Alexander I. introduced various improvements in the condition of the peasantry, par-
ticularly tho8e belonging to the crown, and in his reign serfdom was abolished in Cur-

O X Q Serge.


land and Livonia. The entire abolition of villeinage has been effected by the present
emperor, Alexander II., by a very sweeping measure. From March, 1863, the peasants,
both husbandmen and domestics, have been made entirely free as regards their persons,
while they have also obtained the perpetual usufruct of their cottages and gardens, and
certains portions of land. See, on the subject of serfdom generally, Hallam's State of
Europe During tlte .Middle Aye*, chap. 2.

SERGE, a kind of twilled worsted cloth of inferior quality. There is also a coarsa
kind of twilled silk used for lining gentlemen's coats called silk serge.

SERGEANT, JOHN, 1710-49; b. N. J. ; graduated at Yale college 1729; tutor there
1732-35; ordained a Congregational minister at Deerfield, Mass., in 1 735, and preached
among the Indians at Skatekook and Unahktukook on the Ilousatonic river. He traup-
lated into the Indian language parts of the Old Testament and all of the New except
Revelation. Through his labors 129 Indians were baptized.

SERGEANT, JOHN, LL.D. ; 1779-1852; b. Philadelphia; graduated at Princeton
college in 1705; admitted to the bar in 1801; was deputy attorney-general of Pennsyl-
vania; counsel in many important cases in the state and U. S. supreme courts; several
times member of the legislature; a member of congress for six terms between 1815 and
1842; president of the state constitutional convention in 1830; whig candidate for vice-
president with Henry Clay in 18;)2. He took strong ground against the extension of
ulavery, and exerted great personal influence in the community.

SERGEANT, JONATHAN DICKINSON, 1746-93; b. N. J. ; graduated at Princeton
college in 1762; studied law; was a member of the continental congress 1776-77, taking
his seat soon after the declaration of independence; was attorney-general of the state in
1777, which position resigning in 1780, he devoted himself to his profession in Philadel-
phia, in which he took high rank. He fell a victim to the yellow fever during his
benevolent exertions as a member of the board of health.

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS, in the English court of chancery, is the officer who attends
upon the lord chancellor with the mace, and who executes by himself or deputies various
writs of process directed to him in the course of a chancery suit, such as apprehending
parties who are pronounced to be in contempt of the court. A similar officer attends on
each house of parliament, and arrests any person ordered by the house to be arrested.

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS (ante). In the U. S. senate this officer is authorized to pre-
serve order; and, under the direction of the president of the senate, to expel from the
senate-chamber; to arrest and bring before the bar of the senate; to serve processes; and
to keep in custody those persons whom he may arrest under the authority of the senate.
The pay of the office includes an annual salary of $2.000, and fees for specially desig-
nated services. The duties of the sergeant at-arms of the house of representatives are
of a similar yature to those just described. In addition, he has charge of the accounts
of the house with the members, disburses money, etc. His salary is $4,320, and he has
no fees.

SERGEANT-AT-LAW used to be the highest degree of barrister in the common law of
England, and was called sergeant-counter, or of the coif. The degree is of great
antiquity, and formerly a barrister could only be appointed after being of sixteen years'
standing, but now no particular qualification as to time is required. Formerly, also,
they had exclusive audience in the court of common pleas, but that monopoly has been
abolished. The proper forensic dress of a sergeant is a violet-colored robe with a scarlet
hood. A sergeant is appointed by a writ or patent of the crown. The chief-justice of
the common pleas recommends the barrister to the lord chancellor, who advises the
crown to make the appointment. The degree of sergeant is entirely honorary, and
merely gives precedence over barristers: and when he is appointed, he is rungotit'of the
inn of court to which he belongs, and thereafter joins the brotherhood of sergeants, who
form a separate community. By ancient custom, the common-law judges were always
admitted to the order of sergeants before sitting as judges, but this practice was abolished
in 1874. A queen's counsel (q.v.) takes precedence of all sergeants, unless these have
patents of precedence, which prevent them being displaced by the queen's counsel who
come after them. Sometimes one or more of the sergeants are appointed queen's ser-

SERGEANTS (Fr. from Lat. se.rvienn, serving) are non-commissioned officers of the army
and marines in the grade next above corporal. They are selected from the steadiest
among the corporals, and their duties are to overlook" the soldiers in barracks, and to
assist the officers in all ways in the field. They also command small bodies of men aa
guards, escorts, etc. Every company has four sergeants, of whom the senior is the
color-sergeant. A superior class are the staff-sergeants, as the quartermaster-sergeant,
armorer-sergeant, hospital-sergeant; and above them all is the sergeant-major. Tho
daily pay of a sergeant varies from Is. lid. in the infantry, to 2s. lid. in the horse-
artillery. For his privileges, see NON-COMMISIONED OFFICERS. In ancient times the
rank of sergeant was considerably more exalted. In the 12th c. the sergeants were
gentlemen of less than knightly rank, serving on horseback. Later, the sergeauts-at-
arms were the royal body-guard of gentlemen armed cap-a-pie.
U. K. XIII. 23


SERGEANTRY, GRAND (Fr. sergenterie, from Lat. serriens}, a tenure by which lands
were held in feudal times in England. After the conquest the forfeited lauds were
pareeled out by William to his adherents on condition of the performance of services of
a military character. The military tenants of the crown were, however, of two descrip-
tions: some held merely per sermcium militare, by knight-service; others held per /-
gentium, by grand sergeantry, a higher tenure, which involved attendance on the king
not merely in war, but in his court at the three festivals of the year, aud at other times
when summoned. Although the word baron, in its more extended sense, was applied to
both classes of crown tenants, yet it was only those holding by grand sergeantry whose
tenure was said to be per baroniam. In its earliest stage the distinction between the
.greater nobility and lesser nobility or gentry in England was, that the former held by
grand sergeantry, aud the latter by knight-service only. In theory, lands held by ser-
geantry could nor be alienated or divided; but practically this came to be often done,
and by thi mean* tenures by sergeantry became gradually extinct before the abolition
of military LuiUing; Considerable misapprehension on the part of Dugdale and later
writers has an ... iroin a double use of the word serviens, or sergeant, which is sometimes
applied to a tenant either by grand sergeantry or knight-service who had not ta^ken on
himself the obligations attendant on knighthood.

The term petty sergeantry was applied to a species of socage tenure in which the
services stipulated for bore some relation to war, but were not required to be executed
personally by the tenant, or to be performed to the person of the king, as the payment
of rent in spurs or arrows.

SERGI PE. a maritime province of Brazil, bounded on the n. by the Sao Francisco,
which separatesit from Alagoas; on the w. and s. by Bahia; and on thee. by the Atlantic.
According to the most recent statements, this province is the smallest in the empire.
Area, 15,000 sq.. m. ; pop. 177,000. The shores are low and sandy, the interior mount-
ainous. The e. part is fertile, well-wooded, and produces sugar and tobacco; tlte
western districts are devoted principally to the rearing of cattle. The chief town is
Sergipe d'el Rev r at the mouth of the chief river the Vasa Barris and with a pop.
stated at 9, 000."



SERINAGUR, SiRiNroeuR, or CASHMERE, the capital of the valley of Cashmere,
stands on both sides of the JheTum, which is here 100 yds. wide. 170 m. n.n.e. of
Lahore. It is quaint and picturesque-looking almost beyond conception. The streets,
or rather narrow lanes, lead to the river, and tho houses, five and six stories high, are
built of wood. Not a single straight line is to be seen. The houses overhamr the river,
and lean toward each other above the lanes in various stages of dilapidation. Com-
munication between the two quarters is kept up by means of a number of rustic wooden
bridges, built on enormous piles of timber. Shawls are an important article of manufac-
ture (see CASHMERE). The manufacture of articles of papier- rmtclie, the designs of
which are far in advance "of the workmanship, and engraving on stone and metal, are
also important branches of industry. The vicinity of the city, with its border of
towering mountains, is exceedingly beautiful. The numerous lakes, connected with
the town and river by canals, recall Venice to the traveler. The most notable public
structures are the Jumna Musjid or "Great Mosque," capable, according to native
estimate, of containing 60,000 persons, the mosque of Shah Hamedan, a royal tomb, and
the governor's residence. Near the e, end of the city lies the dal or lake of Scriuagur,
about 5 m. long, and 2-J broad. It is a krvely and tranquil sheet of water, was formerly
a choice retreat of the Mogul emperors, the remains of whose pleasure-grounds and
palaces are still visible on its margin, the most celebrated being the Shalimar, of polished
black marble. Pop. in '71, 132,681; in the early part of the present c., it is stated to
have been from 150, 000 to 200,000. Captain Knight's Diary of a Pedestrian in Cashmere
and Thibet (1863).

SERINGAPATAM (properly, Shri Ranga Patanam, city of Vishnu), a decayed city of
southern India, built on an island in the channel of the Kaveri. nine m. n.n.e. of Maisur.
The island, three m. long, and one m. broad, has a wretched appearance, and the town
Itself is ill-built, ill-ventilated, and ugly. The fort, about three-quarters of a m. broad.
is surrounded by strong walls of stone, and contains the palace of Tipu Sahib (q.v.). In
the days of its highest prosperity, Seringapatam is said to have contained 300.000
inhabitants; in 1800, it contained 31,895, and in '71 it contained 10,594. Hyder AH
(q.v.) made it the seat of his government in 1765. It was besieged by lord Cornwallis
in 1791, and again in 1792. On the last occasion, the terms dictated by the commander
of the British to Tipu, the son and successor of Hyder Ali, were very severe. A British
army appeared before the walls again in 1799; and on May 3 of that year the fort was
stormed, and Tipu slain in the vicinity of his own palace.

SEROUS FLUIDS. This term is applied by chemists and physicians to various fluids
occurring in the animal body. They are arranged by Gorup-Besanez, one of the highest
authorities on physiological chemistry, under three heads: 1. Those which are contained




in the serous sacs of the body, as the cerebro-spinal fluid, the pericardia! fluid, the perl
toneal fluid, the pleural fluid, the fluid of the tunica vaginalis testis, and the synovia!
fluid. 2. The tears and the fluids existing iu the eyeball, the amniotic fluid, and transu-
dations into the tissue of organs. 3. Morbid or excessive transudations, such as dropsical
fluids, the fluids occurring in hydatids, and in blebs and vesicles on the skin, and transu-
dation-i from the blood in the intestinal capillaries, as in cases of intestinal catarrh,
cholera, or dysentery.

All these fluids bear a close resemblance to one another, both in their physical and

the fats, animal soaps, cholesteriue, extractive matters, urea (occasionally), the same inor-
ganic salts which are found in the serum of the blood, and the same gases as occur in the
blood. As rare constituents, and only occurring iu disease, may be mentioned sugar,
the biliary acids, salts of lactic and succinic acids, creatinine, mucine, etc. The follow-
ing analysis of four of these fluids will serve to give a good idea of their composition:

Plasma of
the Blood.





901 51




Solid Constituents

98 49



41 4




Albumen |


62 8


Extractive Matters j




14 6

Inorganic Salts



7 4

11 8

SERMONE'TA, MICHELANGELO CAETANI, Duke of; b. Italy, 1804, of a noble and
ancient family. He early showed great talent as an artist, and as a literary man. He
waeau earnest student of Dante, and lias published several essays on the Divina Commedia,
as well as a series of illustrations, of originality and delicacy of execution. Since 1865
SeTnoneta has been blind. In 1870 he was president of the commission which announced
to Victor Emmanuel the result of the Roman plebiscite.

SEROUS MEMBRANES. There are seven of these membranes in the human body,
three being median and single, while two are dovble and lateral. They are the arach-
noid, the pericardium, and the peritoneum, with the two pleurae and tunica? vaginales
testis. Thus they are connected, with the obvious view of facilitating motion and
affording general protection, with all the most important organs in the body. They are
all closed sacs, with one exception, and a reference to the articles PERICARDIUM, PERI-
TONEUM, and PLEURA, will at once show the reader that each sac or continuous mem-
brane consists of two portions a parietal one, which lines the walls of the cavity, and
a visceral, or reflected one. which forms an almost complete coating or investment for
the viscera contained in the cavity. The interior of the sac is filled during life with a
halitus or vapor, which after death condenses into a serous fluid. With regard to their
structure it is sufficient to state that they consist essentially of (1) epithelium; (2) base-
ment membrane; (3) a stratum of areolar or cellular tissue, which constitutes the chief
thickness of the membrane, and is the constituent on which its plrysical properties are
mainly dependent. This layer is more liable to variation than the others, and one of the
most common alterations is an augmentation of the yellow fibrous element, by which an
increased elasticity is given to the membrane, whictr'is thus better adapted for distention,
and for a subsequent return to its original bulk. The situations in which this augmen -
tation is found are, as Dr. Brinton (Cyclopaedia of Anatomy and Physiology, vol. iv. p.
524) has pointed out, in exact conformity with this view: in the peritoneum, which line*
the anterior abdominal wall, and covers the bladder, it attains its maximum; in the
detached folds of the mesentery, in the costal pleurae, and in the suspensory ligament of
the liver it is still very prominent; while on the posterior wall of the belly, and in serous
membranes covering the heart, liver, etc.. it is almost absent.

The following are the most important of the morbid changes to which these mem-
branes are liable. One of the most frequent of the morbid appearances seen in these
structures is the presence of an excess of serous fluid in their cavity. This condition
occurs in deaths from various diseases, and in general the serous membrane only shares
in a dropsy which is common to other structures, and especially affects the areolar or
cellular issue. When general anasarca, or dropsy of the cellular tissue, has existed for
a long time, more or less dropsical effusion is usually found in the pleurae and perito-
neum. The inflarrfmation of these structures is sufficiently described in the articles
PERICARDITIS PERITONITIS, and PLEURISY. Tubercle is seldom primarily deposited
in these membranes, although it is not uncommon after other organs have been impli
cated. Cancer and ossification of the serous membranes are rare affections, but cysts of
various kinds, some of which are of parasitic origin, are often found.

Serpent. 356


Synovial membranes present many points of similarity to serous membranes; as,
however, they also present several points of difference, they will be briefly noticed in a
special article.

SEBPENT, a powerful bass rmisical wind instrument, consisting of a tube of wood
covered with leather, furnished with a mouth-piece like a trombone, ventages, and kt-ys,
and twisted into a serpentine form, whence its name. Its compass is said to be from B?
below the bass staff to C in the third space of the treble clef, including every tone and

semitone F ^ ' 3 but the highest octave does not sound well with

ordinary players. When unskillf ully played, it exhibits the most startling inequalities of

rcy~ ~f i '3

tone, in consequence of there being three notes P^ ' * i H much more power

P 3

ful than the rest The serpent is in B^, and therefore music for it must be written a
whole tone above the real sounds. The serpent was invented by a French priest at
Auxerre in 1590, and while its principal use has been in military music, it has also been
employed in the orchestra to re-enforce the basses. As an orchestral, and even as a
military instrument, the serpent is far less manageable than the ophicleide (q.v.), which
has nearly superseded it. It is still much used in the music of the Roman Catholic


SERPENT-CHARMING, an art which has been practiced in Egypt and throughout the
east from remote antiquity, and which forms the profession of persons who employ it for
their own gain, and for the amusement of others. In India, and partly if not entirely
in other countries, this profession is hereditary.

There are several allusions to serpent-charming in^the Old Testament: see Psalm
Iviii. 4, 5; Ecclea. x. 11; Jer. viii. 17. It is mentioned also by some of the ancient
classics, as Pliny and Lucan.

Serpent-charmers usually ascribe their power over serpents to some constitutional
peculiarity, and represent themselves as perfectly safe from injury even if bitten by
them To confirm this, they are accustomed, in their exhibitions, to exasperate the ser-
pents, and allow themselves to be bitten, so that blood flows freely. But it has been
fully ascertained that the serpents which they carry with them, and produce on these
occasions, although of the most venomous kinds, have been at least deprived of their
poison-fangs, and to prevent new ones from growing, a portion of the maxillary bone is
often if not always taken out; in some cases, it appears that the poison-glands themselves
are removed by excision and cautery.

So much, however, being set aside as of the nature of a mere juggler's trick, much
still remains which is interesting, and in which there is unquestionable reality. The
serpent-charmers of the east have a power beyond other men of knowing when a serpent
is concealed anywhere, long practice having probably enabled them to distinguish the
musky smell which serpents very generally emit, even when it is t >o faint to attract the
attention of others. They are therefore sometimes employed to remove serpents from
gardens and the vicinity of houses. In this, as in their exhibitions, they pretend to use
spells. What power the tones of their voice may exert is of course uncertain ; but they
accompany their words with whistling, and make use also of various musical instru-
ments, the sound of which certainly, has great power over serpents. When they issue
from their holes, the serpent-charmer fearlessly catches them, by pinning them to the
ground by means of a forked stick; But one of the first things he does afterward is to
knock out or extract the poison-fangs.

In the exhibitions of serpent-charmers, the creatures are often made to twine round
the bodies of the performers. They also erect themselves partially from the ground,
and in this posture they perform strange movements to the sound of a pipe, on which
the serpent-charmer plays. It appears also that lie exerts a very remarkable influence
over them by his eye, for even before any musical sound has been employed, he govern
and commands them by merely fixing his gaze upon them.

In 1850, a party of Arab serpent-charmers visited London, where exhibitions took
place similar to those which are common in the east.

SERPENTINE, a mineral composed of silica and magnesia in almost equal pro-
portions, with about 13 to 15 per cent of water, and a little protoxide of iron. Serpentine

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 82 of 203)