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SHARK.....SHEA TREE.

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such a manner that the herdsman was obliged to shut her up."

SHARK, the leviathan of the deep. He is sometimes found from twenty to thirty feet long : the head is large and somewhat flatted ; the snout long, and he has great goggle eyes. The mouth is enormously wide; as is the throat, which is capable of swallowing a man with great ease. He has a horrible furniture of teeth, consisting of six rows, extremely hard, sharppointed, and of a wedge-like figure ; so that the animal he seizes dies, pierced with a hundred wounds in a moment. No fish can swim so fast as he. Such is his swiftness, and so insatiable his cruelty, that if he could seize his prey instantly, and had also clearness of sight, he would quickly destroy almost all creatures in the ocean; but to prevent his making universal destruction, his upper jaw is so formed that he is obliged to turn on one side to seize his prey ; and while he is doing this, the animal he pursues flies from him and often escapes. The shark is a fish so voracious, that he will not only devour his own species, when pressed by hunger, but he swallows, without distinction, every thing that drops from a ship into the sea, cordage, cloth, pitch, wood, iron, nay, even knives. It is nevertheless well known, that, however urged by famine, he never touches a kind of small fish, speckled with yellow and black, called the pilot fish, which swims just before his snout, to guide him to his prey, which he cannot see till he is close to it; for nature, as a counterbalance to his ferocity, has rendered him almost blind..... Gold. smith, St. Pierre.

SHEA TREE, a tree of Africa, from the fruit of which they make vegetable butter. These trees grow in great abundance in the kingdom of Bambarra. The tree itself

very

much resembles the American oak, and the fruit, from the kernel of which the butter is prepared, has somewhat the appearance of a Spanish olive. The kernel is contained in a sweet pulp under a thin green rind, and the butter produced from it, besides the advantage of its keeping the whole year without salt, is whiter, firmer, and of a richer flavor, than the

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SHEPHERD....SHETLAND.

best butter made of cow's milk. The shean butter constitutes a main article of the inland commerce of Africa....Park.

SHEPHERD, a feeder of sheep ; an employment which, in the early ages of the world and in the eastern countries, was followed by young women of the first families as well as men. Goldsmith tells us, that in some parts of the Alps, and even in some provinces of France, the shepherd, as in ancient times, leads his Hock by the sound of his pipe. The flock is regularly penned every evening, to preserve them from the wolf; and the shepherd returns homeward at sun-set, with his sheep following him, and seemingly pleased with the sound of the pipe, which is blown with a reed, and resembles the chanter of the bag-pipe. There are two great nations of shepherds and herdsmen which have subsisted in this way for some thousands of years, and sometimes have poured themselves upon other countries like an irresistible torrent ; these are the Tartars and Arabs. “ The inhabitants of the vastly extensive plains of Scythia or Tartary, have been frequently united under the dominion of the chief of some conquering horde or clan ; and the havoc and devastation of Asia have always signalized their union. The inhabitants of the inhospitable deserts of Arabia, the other great nation of shepherds, have never been united but once, namely, under Mahomet and his immediate suc. cessors ; and their union was signalized in the same

If the hunting nations of America should ever become shepherds, their neighborhood would be much more dangerous to the European colonies (and to the United States) than it is at present." The reason is obvious : an army of hunters can keep together but a few days, for want of provisions ; but an army of shepherds and herdsmen, carrying their flocks and herds along with them, have always the means of subsistence at hand : such armies, in Asia, are said to have consisted, sometimes, of two or three hundred thousand.

manner.

SHETLAND, the general name of a cluster of islands which lie north of Scotland. In the Shetland

SHINING MOUNTAINS....SHIP-WORM. 341

islands the Aurora Boreales are very remarkable. They are the constant attendants of clear. evenings, and prove great reliefs amid the gloom of the long winter nights. They commonly appear at twilight near the horizon, of a dun colour, approaching to yellow : sometimes continuing in that state for several hours, without any apparent motion ; after which they break out into streams of stronger light, spreading into columns, and altering slowly into ten thousand different shapes, varying their colours from all the tints of yel. low, to the most obscure russet. They often cover the whole hemisphere, and then make a most brilliant appearance.... Walker.

SHINING MOUNTAINS, a part of a range of mountains, beginning at Mexico, and continuing northward, between the sources of the Missisippi and the rivers that run into the Pacific Ocean, and ending in about 47 or 48 degrees of north latitude: they are calculated to be more than three thousand miles in length. Among the mountains of this range, those that lie to the west of the river St. Pierre, are called the Shining Mountains, from an infinite number of crystal stones, of an amazing size, with which they are covered, and which, when the sun shines full upon them, sparkle 80 as to be seen at a very great distance. These mountains, probably, in future agts, may be found to contain more riches in their bowels, than those of Hindostan, or even of the Peruvian mines.... Carver.

SHIP-WORM, a destructive little animal that has two calcareous jaws, hemispherical, flat before, and angular behind. The shell is taper, winding, penetrating ships, and submarine wood. These insects were brought from India to Europe : they bore their passage in the direction of the fibres of the wood, which is their nourishment, and cannot return or pass obliquely, and when two of them meet together, with their stony mouths, they perish for want of food. the year 1731 and 1732, the United Dutch Provinces were under a dreadful alarm concerning these insects, which had made great depredations on the piles which support the banks of Zealand ; but it was happily dis

In

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SIAM....SIBERIA.

covered a few years afterwards, that these insects had totally abandoned that island. The celebrated Linnaeus saved the Swedish navy by finding out the time in which the ship-worm laid its eggs, and recommending the immersion in water of the timber of which the ships were to be built, during the season that tho worms deposited their eggs.... Darwin, American Museum.

SIAM, a kingdom of Asia, bordering on the bay of Bengal; extending eight hundred miles in length, and from two hundred to three hundred and fifty in breadth. It is a flat country, which in the rainy season is overflowed ; insomuch that the inhabitants have no commu. nication for some months but by means of boats. The natives, both men and women, go almost naked, except the wealthy, who wear costly garments. The king,

, who is the proprietor of all the lands in the country, keeps a numerous army, among which are a thousand elephants: he shows himself but once a year to the common people. It is a commercial country ; but no one can buy any kinds of merchandize till the king has had his choice of them. The women are the only merchants in buying goods; the men being generally maintained by the industry of their wives. It is accounted a great honor for the nobles who attend the palace, ladies as well as gentlemen, to be whipt on their naked backs by the king; and, as they walk the streets, they strip their backs, and show the marks of the rod with no small degree of pride....Walker.

SIBERIA, a country extending two thousand miles in length, and scven hundred and fifty in breadth ; being the most northern part of the Russian empire in Asia, and approaching so near to China, that the Chinese merchants frequently attend the annual fairs in Siberia. Thither criminals, and persons under the displeasure of the court, are sent into banishment from Russia. Ledyard, the celebrated American traveller, gives the following account of the cold, in a part of Siberia : “ Mercury, he says, freezes in the thermometer, even in the month of November. The atmosphere is frozen : the air being so condensed as to appear like a thick fog. Water freczes at the depth of sixty feet

SICILY....SIERRA LEONE.

343

from the surface of the ground. People of these regions therefore are obliged to use ice and snow, and they have also ice windows. Glass is of no use to the few who have it, the difference of the state of the air, within and without, is so great, that the glass is covered withinside with several inches of ice, and in that situa. tion is less luminous than ice. The timber of the houses splits, and opens with loud cracks; the rivers thunder and oper, with broad fissures; all nature groans beneath the rigorous winter.” Providence has supplied à warm clothing to the animals of this country, which abounds with excellent furs; by means whereof the inhabitants carry on a commerce with China.

SICILY, an island of the Mediterranean sea, almost in the form of a triangle; extending one hundred and sixty miles in length, and one hundred and twelve in breadth : the soil is the most excellent in the known world. The finest species of corn, which is wheat, might be referred to Sicily, where, in fact, they pretend it was originally found. Fable has immortalised this discovery, by making this island the scene of the amours of Ceres, the goddess of harvest. This much is certain, that corn (or wheat] is no where indigenous but in Sici. ly, if, however, it still perpetuates itself there spontaneously, as the ancients affirm it did. This island, now weak, was once exceedingly powerful. The Carthagenians, several centuries before the Christian era, sent for the reduction of Sicily, an army of three hundred thousand men, with a fleet composed of two thousand ships of war, and three thousand transports. A hun-. dred and fifty thousand of this army the Sicillians killed in battle, and took all the rest prisoners; and of all their ships only eight escaped.... St. Pierre, Encyclopædia.

SIERRA LEONE, a great river of Africa, in the country of Guinea : its mouth is in latitude 8° 15" north, and is eight miles wide. In 1721, an act of the British parliament was obtained for incorporating a company, called the Sierra Leone company, for the express pur. pose of cultivating West-India and other tropical pro. ductions on the banks of this river, on land purchased of the prince of the country. The first settlers amount.

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