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SLEEP, that state wherein the body seems perfectly at rest, and external objects act on the organs
sense, without exciting their usual sensations. Sleep is necessary not only to animals, but even some of the vegetable tribes have the faculty of assuming, during the night, a position essentially different from that which they bear throughout the day. This change takes place principally towards the approach of night, in leaves and flowers; the appearance of which often varies so considerably, that the same plants can scarcely be recognized. During the night, their leaves are observed to rise or curl up, and sometimes to be pendent, according to the nature and genus of the plant, in order to protect the flowers, buds, and young stems. This period of rest is absolutely necessary to vegetables ; their irritability being exhausted by the light and warmth of the day.... Dom. Encyclopedia.
SLOTH, an ill-formed animal, that takes its name from the extreme slowness of its motions.
It lives on the leaves, fruit, flowers, and bark of trees. Though it is formed by nature for climbing a tree with great pain and difficulty, yet it is utterly unable to descend; and is therefore obliged to drop from the branches to the ground, and feels no small shock in the fall. It moves not above three feet in an hour; and it often takes a week in crawling to a tree not fifty yards distant. "At every step it takes, it puts forth a most plaintive, melan. choly cry; its look is so piteous as to move compassion; it is also accompanied with tears, that dissuade every one from injuring so wretched a creature. The sloth chew $ the cud, has a coarse fur, and is so strong, that if it happens to take hold of a dog with its claws, it holds him fast....Goldsmith.
SMALL POX, a contagious disease, consisting of a general eruption of pu-tules tending to suppuration, and accompanied with a fever. Dr. Waterhouse, in a publication that recommends the substitution of the Cow Pox, makes the following statement. “No less than forty millions of people die of the small pox every century. The Europeans have carried the small pox over the globe. The Danes carried it to Greenland, and the
Spaniards to South America, where one hundred thou. sand perished with it in the single province of Quito. When the number of annual births in London was sixteen thousand two hundred and ninety-one, the number who died annually with the small pox was two thousand five hundred and fifty-four ; and still greater in some other large cities of Europe.” According to Mavius, an ancient bishop of the Christian church, the small pox, when it first appeared in the world, in the year 570, principally attacked horned cattle ; hence there is a strong probability that the cow pox is, in fact, no other than the small pox, only having undergone certain changes by passing through the system of the cow; nor is it a lit. tle remarkable that the same animal which first had the disease, should furnish man with the best preventative of this dreadful malady. See the articles INOCULATION, VACCINATION.
SNAKE BIRD, a very curious and handsome bird that is found in great plenty about the waters of the Floridas. The head and neck are extremely small and slender, the latter being remarkably long. The lower part of the belly and the thighs are as black and as glossy as a raven; the breast and upper part of the belly are covered with feathers of a cream colour; the tail is very loog, of a deep black, and tipped with a silvery white. They are frequently seen sitting on the dry limbs of trees, hanging over the water; and when they perceive themselves approached, they drop off from the limbs into the water, as if dead, and for a minute or two are not to be seen ; when on a sudden, at a distance, their long slender head and neck only appear, and have the appearance very much of a snake....Bartram.
SNOW, an aqueous meteor formed of vapors in the middle regions of the air; and whose parts are there congealed, and descend to the earth in white flakes. It has been a prevailing opinion that snow communicates to the earth some enriching substance which tends to increase its fertility; and in order to ascertain the truth of this opinion the following experiment was tried in Vermont, January 30, 1792. There was collected as much snow which lay next to the earth in an open field,
SNOW BIRD....SOCIETY ISLANDS....SOUND. 351
as produced six gallons of water : this snow had lain upon the ground fifty-nine days. Upon evaporating the water there remained a quantity of oily matter. The oil was of a dark brown colour, not inflammable, and weighed four pennyweights and nine grains, Tray weight. To this oily substance, is probably to be imputed that dirty or sooty appearance, which the snow is generally observed to have, after it begins to thaw. It was found that the same quantity of snow, collected, as it was falling, produced only five grains of the oily sub. stance.... Williams.
SNOW BIRD, a beautiful, active, sprightly little animal. They are generally of a grey colour, and less than a sparrow.
Flocks of them appear as soon as the snow begins to fall in any considerable quantity; and generally a day or two before. They perch on the spires of vegetables above the snow, on the bushes and trees ; and collect on the spots of bare ground. In the most severe storms of snow, these birds appear to be the most active and lively. They feed on the seeds of vegetables, and are extremely fat and delicious. They all disappear as soon as the snow goes off....Williams.
SOCIETY ISLANDS, a cluster of isles, discovered by Captain Cooke, in 1769, and so named by him, because they lie almost contiguous to one another. They are situated in the Southern Ocean; and abound with cocoa-nut, bread-fruit trees, and sugar-canes. So highly did the natives of these islands prize iron, after they had begun to know the use of it, that one of their chiefs who had gained possession of two nails, received no small emoluinent by letting them out to his neighbors for boring holes.... Cooke's Voyages.
SOUND, a perception raised by means of the air put in motion, and vibrating on the drum of the ear. Denser bodies propagate vibration or sound better than
If two stones be struck together under the water they may be heard a mile or two by any one, whose head is at that distance under the same body of water. If the ear be applied to one end of a long beam of timber, the stroke of a pin at the other end becomes
SOUTH AMERICA....SOUTH CAROLINA.
- sensible ; and if a poker be suspended in the middle of a garter, each end of which is pressed against the ear, the least percussions on the poker give great sounds. The organs of hearing belonging to fish, are for this reason much less complicated than those of quadrupeds, as the fluid they are immersed in so much better conveys its vibration....Darwin. Sound proceeds at the rate of about thirteen miles in a minute ; and its progress is the same whether it goes with the wind or against it.
SOUTH AMERICA, a great division of the Amer. ican continent; extending from the Atlantic to the Pa. cific Ocean, and from the Isthmus of Darien, at about the tenth degree of north latitude, to the fifty-sixth degree of south latitude, at the extremity of Cape Horn. Of this division, Terra Firma, Peru, Chili, and Paraguay, belong to Spain; Brazil belongs to Portugal; Cayenne to France, and Guiana to the Dutch. Amazonia and Patagonia are in the possession of the natives, or InGians.
SOUTH CAROLINA, one of the United States of America ; lying between 32° and 35° north latitude ; bordering on North Carolina and the Atlantic Ocean, and divided from Georgia by Savannah river; it is about two hundred miles in length, and a hundred and twenty-five in breadth. The soil is excellent in most parts of this state; and the plantations yield rice, indigo and cotton. Dr. Chalmers, of Charleston, in a sketch of the climale, water and soil of South Carolina, says: doubt not but South Carolina produces all sorts of metals; as gold, silver, copper, iron, and lead, have already been discovered. We also have antimony, alum, talc, black lead, marl, and very fine white clay, which is fit for making porcelain. I likewise have seen emeralds, that were brought from the country of the Cherokee Indians, which, when cut and polished, fell nothing short of those which are imported from India, in lustre; and rock-crystal abounds in several places.” Charleston, the metropolis of this state, is situated at the confluence of the rivers Ashley and Cooper, about seven miles from the ocean. Its situation is admirable, being built at the
confluence of those two large rivers, which receive in their course a great number of inferior streams; all navigable, in the spring, for flat boats. This is said to be the gayest city in the United States, and the richest in proportion to its size.
SPAIN, a kingdom of Europe ; lying between about 36° and 449 north latitude; extending seven hundred miles in length, and five hundred in breadth ; bounded by Portugal and the Atlantic, by the Mediterranean, by the Bay of Biscay, and by the Pyrenean Mountains, which separate it from France. It enjoys a fine climate and soil; but is thinly inhabited, and bears the evident marks of decay and poverty. A little more than two centuries ago, this was a most powerful kingdom. No European prince ever possessed such vast resources as Philip II. of Spain, in the sixteenth century. Besides his Spanish and Italian dominions, together with those of Portugal and the Netherlands, he enjoyed the whole East India commerce, and reaped the immensely rich harvest of the American mines. The following things have reduced the Spanish nation to its present impotent and abject state. First, the horrible inquisition, together with prodigious numbers of idle monks. Second, the long, bloody, expensive, and fruitless war with the Dutch. Third, the loss of the Armada, a fleet that was equipped at immense expense. Fourth, the emigrations to America, in quest of the precious metals. Fifth, the expulsion of the Moors, to the number of a million industri. ous people, which left a great part of the kingdom in a manner desolate. Sixth, the indolence and luxury produced by the vast influx of wealth from the mines of America and from the India commerce. Seventh, the contempt in which agricultural and mechanical labor has been held. Owing to these causes, Spain, though constantly replenished with golden showers, has been constantly decaying ; for her outgoes have exceeded her incomes This country, in ancient times, abounded with rich mines of the precious metals; and thence the Carthagenians drew the greater part of the silver and gold which they used in carrying on their vast commerce. Spain is renovated. Her glorious and successful struggles for independence, afford reasonable hopes,