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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ferred to Eton. Shy and sensitive, yet self-willed and unsubmissive, he suffered much
from the harsh discipline of masters and the tyranny of his ruder associates. In his
refusal to fag at Eton he gave early indication of that passionate impatience of every
form of constituted authority not approving itself to his reason which continued through
life to distinguish him, and to find expression in his writings. In 1808 he left school,
and after two years passed at hfemc he was sent to University college, Oxford. Even
thus early he had become a free-thinker of a somewhat advanced kind, and a pamphlet,
entitled A Defmse of Atlif.ism, which he circulated during the second year of his college
course, led to his expulsion from Oxford. This so irritated his father, that for some
time he declined to receive him; \\i\\ on his rash marriage, in Aug., 1811, to a Miss
Harriet Westbrook, the daughter of a r tirod innkeeper, the estrangement between them
became fin-al ;md complete, the old gentleman consenting to allow his son a liberal yearly
income, but never after having any intercourse with him. Shelley's marriage was in its
issue tragical. In 1813 a separation took place between him and his wife, who, with
two children, returned to the care of her father; and three years after the unhappy


woman drowned herself. The refinements of intellectual sympathy -which poets
desiderate iu their spouses, Shelley failed to find in his wife, but for a. time he seems to
have lived with her not unhappily; nor to the last had he any fault to allege against her,
except such negative ones as might be implied in his meeting a woman he liked belter.
This was Mary Godwin, daughter of the celebrated "William Godwin and Mary Woll-
stonecral't, with whom, in 1814, he traveled in France and Switzerland, and who after-
ward became his second wife. Such excuse of his conduct in the matter as the theory
of "congenial souls" may afford in the eye of the moralist must to the full be allowed
for Shelley, whose later union was of almost ideal felicity and completeness, On the
death of his first wife he laid claim to his children; but this their grandfather, Mr.
Westbrook, strange as it may now seem, successfully resisted at law on the ground of
his atheism, as exhibited in the poem of Queen Mai), which a year or two before he had
printed, though only for private circulation, In Iblo, while living at Bishopsgate, near
Windsor, he wrote iiis Afaxtor, one the most finished and characteristic of his works;
which was followed by The Revolt of Mam, composed in 1817 at Marlow. During the
interval, m the course of a tour in Switzerland, lie had formed the acquaintance of lord
Byron, with whom afterward in Italy he had much intimate intercourse. In Mar.,
1818, he left England finally as it proved to proceed to Italy; and during that and the
following year, chiefly while a resident in Rome, he produced what may rank as his two
finest poems the grand lyrical drama of Prometheus Unbound and the tragedy of The
Genci. While at Venice with lord Byron in 1820 he wrote Julian and Maddalo, a
record in enduring verse of an interesting conversation of the discussional kind between
the noble poet and himself. His other works of chief importance are: Rosalind and
llilni, begun before he left England; The Witch of the Atlas, written in 1819; Ej/i^y-
ch til ion ; Adonais (a lament on the death of Keats); and HeUas (a lyrico-dramatic burst
of exu'tation on the outbreak of the Greek war of liberty) all three produced in 1821.
The winter of 1822 Shelley passed at Pisa; and in the April following he established
himself near Lerici, in the gulf of Spezia. His fondness for boating had through life
amounted to a passion, and here he indulged it to the full. On July' 8, 1823, in the
company of an ex-naval friend, Mr. Williams, he sailed from Leghorn, whither he had
gone to welcome his friend, Mr. Leigh Hunt, to Italy, and was lost in a sudden squall
on his voyage homeward. The bodies were, after some time, washed ashore, and were
burned, as the quarantine law of the country required, in presence of lord Byron, Mr.
Leigh Hunt, and another intimate friend, Mr. Trelawney. Shelley's ashes were carefully
preserved, and lie buried iu the Protestant cemetery at Rome, near the grave of Keats.

In Shelley's opinions, religious, social, and political, crude as they often were, and
everywhere expressed witli an unwise reckless vehemence, there was much that might
reasonably offend; and they not only on their own account roused against him a storm
of obloquy, but made him throughout life the accredited mark of the most foul and
malicious slanders. To this chiefly it is to be attributed that, whilst he lived, his genius
met with no wide appreciation; but since, it has been amply recognized, and perhaps no
writer of his time at this day ranks higher on the whole than he. In sustained lyrical
impetuosity Shelley surpasses every other writer; his diction is not more remarkable for
its opulence than for the expressive subtlety and precision with which it defines the
nicest refinements of feeling and thought; and his page flashes with imagery like a royal
robe rich with gems. But too often, while he dazzles, he also bewilders; he is fond of
BUpereubtle abstractions, unsubstantial as clouds or dreams; and frequently in rending
him we seem merely to be looking on wreaths of rainbow-colored mist. This want of
clear and firm outlines is more or less felt throughout all his larger works, with the single
exception of The Cenci, in which a terrible story of real life is dramatized with consum-
mate vigor and directness of treatment. As to the matter of the rest of his poems, they
concern themselves, for the most part, not with the world as it is or has been, but with
a perfected world which is to be. Shelley is the votes of the future, as Scott is the
poet of the past. Of the charge of atheism against Shelley it is enough to say that it
rests mainly on his boyish poem of Queen Nab ; that this he did not himself give to the
world; and' that when, in 1821, it was surreptitiously published, he issued an express
protest against his being held answerable for any opinions set forth in it. In his later
works a vague pantheism seems indicated; and one or two passages occur which fairly
admit of a purely theistic interpretation. Perhaps the most complete edition of Shelley's
poems is that by R. II. Shepherd (1875). A selection from his letters, with translations
and prose essays, appeared in 1840. See Medwin's Life <>f Shelley (1849); Trelawney 's
Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron (Lond. 1858); the Shelley Nc,ii/<>ri<d*,
by lady Shelley (185!)); Shelley's Early Life, by D. MacCarthy (1872); and Shedey : A
Critical Btoc/ntpliy, by G. Barnet Smith (1877).

By common testimony of all who k r icw him, Shelley, who was held up to execration as a
perfect monster of iniquity, was on, of the purest, gentlest, most lovable of men; of the
tenderest private affections, and. beyond the immediate circle of these, of the largest
flowing charity. The passion of philanthropy expressed in his writings found as practical
an expression in his daily life as if he had never made any very great -profession of it. The
episode of Iiis first marriage seems more or less awkward for him: but the one p>ssirn:ife
frailty of a boy can scarcely be held a serious blemish on a man \\hosc whole subsequent
life wa* exceptional iu virtue and beueficeuce.

Shell. 499


MA.KY WOLLSTONECRAFT GODWIN, wife of the poet, was b. in London 1798, married
Shelley, as above stated, in 1816, and in the same year produced a remarkable novel,
entitled Frankenstein, the hero of which, a profound student of nature, discovers the
secret of creating life, and produces a monster whose history, though wild and horrible in
its Incidents, is invested with a strong human interest. The work had a great success,
and may be reckoned the best of Mrs. Shelley's literary efforts. Other novels of hers
are Valperga, The Last Man, Lodore, and The Fortunes of Pcrkin Warbeck. She likewise
wrote Rambles in Germany and Italy; a series of biographies of foreign artists and poets
for the Cabinet Cyclopedia; and carefully edited her husband's poems. She died in
London, Feb. 1, 1851.

SHELL-GUNS belong rather to the past than the present, as in modern rifled artillery
all guns fire shells. Before their introduction, however, shells were fired from guns of
large bore, and proportionately small thickness of metal, not differing materially from
howitzers, except that they had greater length.


SHELLS, called in earlier times bombs, consist of hollow vessels of metal, containing
gunpowder or other explosive compound, so arranged that it shall explode at a certain
point, and spread destruction around by the forcible dispersion of its fragments. The
invention of this murderous missile cannot be accurately traced. Shells were employed
in 1480 A.D. by the sultan of Gujerat, and by the Turks at the siege of Rhodes, in 1522.
The Spaniards and Dutch both used them during the war of Dutch independence; and
they appear to have been generally adopted by about 1634. As shells required mortars
(q.v.) for their projection, they were not used in naval warfare until the French con-
structed special bomb-vessels in 1681; but since that period, shell-guns, being cannon of
large bore, have been introduced, and shells are now employed by all ships of war.

Until within a few years, every shell was a hollow sphere of cast-iron, varying in
thickness from half an in. to 2 in., and in diameter from 5 in. to 13 inches. The sphere
had a fuse-hole (like a bung-hole) an inch across, through which the charge was inserted
consisting of -pieces of metal and powder to burst the shell. The hole was plugged by a
fuse, which was a tube of slow-burning powder, timed to communicate fire to the charge
after the lapse of a certain number of seconds. This fuse might either be kindled by
hand the moment before the mortar was fired, or its ignitiou might be effected by the
act of firing itself. The Shrapnell shell, introduced by col. Shrapuell of the royal
artillery, about 1803, contained a number of bullets, and being fired at bodies of men,
it was timed to explode about 100 yards before reaching them, when the shell burst,
'and the bullets with the fragments continued their course, diverging continually as they
went, until they reached their object in a death-cloud. The concussion shell, or percus'
sion shell, is one in which the charge is fired by the detonation of a cap on striking an
object. If sufficiently delicate to explode on touching a soft object, and at the same
time not to be exploded by the resistance of the air to its rapid flight, this form of shell
is the most certain in execution.

Since the introduction of rifled ordnance, the shell has become the commonest form
of projectile. It has ceased to be spherical, and is usually in the shape of an elongated
bolt. Several rival shells at present divide public favor, and compete for adoption into
war service. Without noticing the numerous varieties which are in course of trial on
the continent and in America, the following are the principal British competitors: Tho
Armstrong shell is a pointed bolt of iron (usually psrcussion), containing an inner "seg-
ment shell," made up of 49 segments of cast-iron. Seven of these segments form a
circle, or ring, and 7 circles give the necessary length. A coating of lead affords a soft
medium for fitting into the grooves of the gun. The shell thus made somewhat resem-
bles a bottle without a neck. The necessary bursting charge having been inserted, the
rear-end is plugged with lead, the fuse is screwed into the front, and the shell is ready
for action. This projectile has a great and accurate range, and its segments cannot fail,
on explosion, to do great damage. The principal drawback has been found in the lead-
casing, which is often thrown off in parts soon after the shell leaves the gun. and which
thus falls among the foremost ranks of the army using it, sometimes inflicting severe
wounds. The Whitworth shell is an elongated hexagonal bolt of iron or steel, cast in
one piece, and with a bursting charge at the rear end. It explodes on percussion; but the
space allowed for the burster is deemed insufficient to produce the full effect which tha
length and correctness of the weapon's range give cause to expect. The Lancaster shell
i.s oval, to fit the bore of the Lancaster gun (q.v.). Martin's shell is charged with molten
iron, which sets on fire all combustible matter on which it can be thrown. The Dia-
phragm shell, invented by col. Boxer, n. A., has an iron division or diaphragm to sepa-
rate the powder in the shell from any balls or slugs, in order that the friction of the latter
may not prniaturely cause the powder to explode. A six-pounder diaphragm shell con-
tains 30 cartiiuc-balls, an eight-inch shell, 322 musket-bulls. The Palliser shell, which
is now employed in the British service, is chiefly remarkable for the hardness imparted
to its fire-point by a process of " chilling" during casting. This gives it a great power
of penetration into iron plates, etc.

SHELL-SAND. Sand consisting in great part of fragments of shells, and often con-
taining a small proportion of organic matter, is a very useful manure, particularly for


clay soils, heavy loams, and newly-reclaimed bogs. It is also advantageously applied to
any soil deficient in lime. It neutralizes the organic acids which abound in peat and
forms with them compounds which serve as food for plants. Great deposits of shell-
sand are found- on the coasts of Devonshire and Cornwall, and are of great value in the
agriculture of that district. Shell-sand is also found on many other parts of the British
coast, and nowhere more abundantly than in the outer Hebrides. The sand of many
parts of tht coast, however, being mostly silicious, is incapable of the same use. Shell-
Band is much used as a manure in some of the maritime districts of France, as Bretagne
and Normandy.

SHELLY'S CASE. There is a rule of real-property law known as "the rule iii
Shelly's case," established in a case decided in 1591, and reported in Coke i. 104. " When
the ancestor," says Coke, " by any gift or conveyance taketh an estate of freehold, and
in the same gift or conveyance an estate is limited, either mediately or immediately, to
his heirs in fee or in tail, tJie fieirs are words of limitation and not words of purchase."
The rule is interpreted by Preston, Estates, vol. i. as follows: When a person takes an
estate of freehold (i.e., for life) under an instrument which also contains a limitation by
way of remainder, with or without an intermediate estate interposed, to his heirs or the
heirs of his body, ax a, class of persons, the limitation to the heirs entitles the ancestor to
the whole estate. The rule has been abolished by statute in most of the states.

SHELTER ISLAND, a township in Suffolk co., N. Y., comprising the island of that
name in Gardiner's bay; 8,000 acres; pop. '80, 732. The island was settled by emigrants
from Connecticut in 1652, who bought it from the earl of Stirling. It is near. the e.
end of Long Island; about 6 m. long; has a tine hotel, and is a very popular summer

SHEMAKHA, the former name for what is now known ae the government of Baku,
occupying the s.e. portion of Transcaucasia. Area, 14,915 sq.m. ; pop. '67, 486,229.
North of the Kur and around its mouth the surface is level, low, and fruitful, though
little of the surface is under cultivation. Only in the towns and sea-ports, and in the
villages in their vicinity, are agriculture and industry pursued. The mountainous
regions are inhabited by a rude predatory population.

SHEMAKHA, the capital of one of the six circles in the government of Baku, about
70 m. w.n. w. of the town of Baku. Formerly a thriving town with silk and other manu-
factures, it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1859. /After having been rebuilt it was
again destroyed, all but entirely, by another earthquake in 1872. It had a pop. in 1867
of 25,609.

SHEMITIC (Semitic""") LANGUAGES, the general name of a certain number of dialects
supposed at one time to have been spoken by the descendants of Shem. The term is of
recent origin (Schlozer, Eichhorn). and a misnomer; for, in the first place, not all tlie
nations derived in Genesis from Shem spoke an idiom akin to those understood by the
term Shemitic (e.g., the Elamites, Lud, etc.), and, on the other hand, Canaan and Cush,
whose Shemitic speech is undoubted, are there traced to Ham. Shemitic languages,
however, as a "conventional appellation," is still the best of all the general terms hith-
erto proposed (Arabic; Syro- Arabic, analogous to Indo-Germanic).

The family of Shemitic languages which spread originally over Canaan (Phenicia
and Palestine), Assyria, Aram (Syria, Mesopotamia, Babylonia), and Arabia; and at a
later period over part of Asia Minor and the Punic northern coast i.e., from the coun-
tries on the Mediterranean to the Tigris, and from the Armenian mountains to the s.
coast of Arabia may broadly be divided into three principal classes: 1. The Aramaic
or northern (north-eastern) dialect, comprising chiefly the so-called Chaldee and Syriac;
2. The southern, the chief representative of which is the Arabic, closely allied to whose
older (Himyaritic) form is the Ethiopia; 8. The Middle, or principally Hebraic, to which
also belong the languages of the other Palestinian inhabitants, those of the Canaanites
and Phenicians above all. The difference between the middle and northern branches is
less sharply marked than between the middle and the southern or Arabic.

Before proceeding to treat of them individually we shall try to point out their general
position among other languages, and principally the salient points of difference between
the Shemitic and that other most important family of the Indo-Germanic or Aryan lan-
guages. First of all, then, AVC notice the preponderance given in Shemitic to the conso-'
nants in contradistinction to the vowels. The former are indeed the basis and the body
of its words. The vowels are more or less accessories, modifying, fixing, precising the
meaning, but never themselves containing it, while in the Indo-Germanic languages the
root itself consists generally of a combination of vowels and consonants. A further
peculiarity is the prevailing " triliteralness" of Shemitic roots in the advanced stage in
which we now know them. The Indo-Germanic languages derive their wealth from the
logical law of their composition of roots, of verbs, and particles; the Shemitic add to
their store in phonetically multiplying their sounds: cither by splitting, as it were, their

"In Hebrew, the name from which the adjective is derived, is spelt Shem; but, as in many other
cases, the sh of the original was transformed by the Septuagint into s (see SHIBBOLETH): and hence,
through the influence of the modern versions that have in this respect followed the Swptuagint, the
form Semitic is more current among continental writers than Shemitic.



single consonants into two or more, through the reduplication of radicals, or by the
addition of new consonants to the primary root, which is thus developed often from a
monosyllabic (for by far the greatest number of Shemitic roots consisted primarily of
two consonants only, to which a third was generally added at a later period) into a root
of five letters. Compound words are of the utmost rarity both in the noun (except
proper names) and the verb, and they never consist of combined roots of verbs and
particles, but of verbal and nominal roots. Regarding the formation of cases, tenses,
and all those other grammatical changes of noun and verb which, in the Indo-Gcrmanic
family, are wrought as far as the verb or noun itself is concerned almost exclusively
joy suffixes, while the radical vowel changes merely according to euphonic rules within
its own limited sphere; the Shemitic languages, principally and chiefly work their
flections by a change of vowels within the radical consonants, leaving the latter them-
selves intact. Only when these changes suffice no longer for the more elaborate modes
of speech and thought, supplementary letters and syllables are sought in aid and a cer-
tain small number of prefixes or affixes represents the vast and varied groups of little
words (amounting at times to whole phrases) of the Indo-Germanic. The Shemitic lan-
guages are also, if poorer, less complicated in forms than the former family. There are
only two genders which, however, are also distinguished in the second and third per-
sons of the verb and two principal tenses. These are strongly marked by the position
of the personal pronoun, represented by a suffix in the so-called perfect and by a prefix
in the so-called aorist or imperfect (future). The former expresses the finite, the com-
pleted action, the fact; the latter the incompleted action, the thought, that which is
becoming, growing as it were into a fact. One of the most curious features is the sud-
den change that may be produced in the two by a certain prefixed conjunctive-consonant.
Perfect then becomes future, and vice vertd. Declension in the Indo-Germanic sense
exists, if at all, in an extremely limited sense in Shemitic. The Juxtaposition of two
words (with slight vowel changes) forms the genitive, while the other cases (in the
Hebraic at least) are formed by prepositions. The oblique cases of pronouns are indi-
cated by suffixes. The syntax is of the crudest and simplest description: a mere string-
ing together of sentences without any particular attempt at a logical and methodical
arrangement of periods, according to thtir temporary superior or inferior relation to the

Another most important point of distinction between the two families is formed by
what has been called their lexical difference, i.e., the want except in a few isolated
i ::-es of any correspondence or identity in their individual words. Most of those
words which exhibit a similarity can be shown to have been either adopted at a late
.period,, or they simply fall under the category of onomatopoeic words (words imitating
the sound of the object expressed, and therefore showing in all cases greater or smaller
affinity to the original sound); or, again, words in which the common type of human
language would involuntarily and under all circumstances connect a special meaning
with a special sound, and would, therefore, be more or less identical in all idioms. Of
words introduced into European languages by Slumitic (Phenician) traders may be
instanced, kanua = cane, gamal = camel, mor = myrrh, kezvsh = cassia, ufielim = aloe,
nerd nard, carkon = crocus, mppir = sapphire, suk = sack, etc. Of onomatopoeic
terms, lakak = (Sansk. lih) to lick, eharat (Sansk. charidcoi} = to grate, scratch, .gafyl =
to roll, parak = to break, etc. On the other hand, words have crept into Shemitic from
foreign languages; e.<r., the Egyptian, ior, iero, iaro, river, Nile, is found as ycor in
Hebrew. p/mfe/(Heb.) paradise, is Persian, kop (Sausk. kapi) is the Heb. for ape, karpas
(Sansk. karp&ta) = wool, cotton, etc.

As regards the age of the family of Shemitic languages, it is matter of great doubt
whether or not they were developed earlier than any other, e.g., the Indo-Germanic.
The monuments that have survived are not sufficient for us to form a final judgment as
yet. It stands to reason, however, that a deA'elopment may have taken place simultane-
ously and independently in the idioms of other nations. The notion long cherished (and
still "upheld by a few isolated speculators) that Hebrew was the original language of all
mankind up to the episode of the tower of Babel, may litre be passed over without
remark. See PHILOLOGY.

We shall now endeavor to draw an outline of the relation of the Shemitic languages
nmong themselves, and to cast a rapid glance at their individual characteristics mid
history, referring for fuller details to the articles devoted to the special brandies indi-
cated. Although the Shemilic languages are clearly sister dialects, their relationship ip
far from being so close as, for instance, that of the different Greek dialects. Thui
Abraham, belonging bv his descent to a people of Shemitic tongue, and coming from a
countrj^where Shemirtc was the general language, at his arrival in his new place of
abode, inhabited by Shemitcs, was considered, and considered himself a foreigner to a

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 98 of 203)