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SELWYN, A. R. C.—SEMAPHORE

SELWYN, ALFRED RICHARD CECIL (1824–1902), British geologist, son of the Rev. Townshend Selwyn, Canon of Gloucester, was born at Kilmington in Somerset on the 28th of July 1824. Educated in Switzerland, he there became interested in geology, and in 1845 he joined the staff of the Geological Survey of Great Britain. He was actively engaged in the survey of North Wales and bordering portions of Shropshire, and a series of splendid geological maps resulted from his joint work with A. C. Ramsay and J. B. Jukes. In 1852 he was appointed director of the Geological Survey of Victoria, Australia, where he gave special attention to the gold-bearing rocks, until in 1869 the Colonial Legislature brought the Survey to an abrupt termination. At this date Sir W. E. Logan had just retired from the office of director of the Geological Survey of Canada, and Selwyn was appointed his successor. In this new sphere of activity he continued his geological work with marked success, devoting particular attention to the Pre-Cambrian rocks of Quebec. He retired in 1894. Meanwhile in 1874 he had been elected F.R.S., in 1876 he was awarded the Murchison Medal of the Geological Society of London, and he was created C.M.G. in 1886 for his distinguished work as assistant to the Canadian Commissioners at the exhibitions in Philadelphia (1876), Paris (1878) and London (1886). He retired to Vancouver in British Columbia, where he died on the 19th of October 1902.

See memoir with portrait in Geol. Mag. (Feb. 1899).


SELWYN, GEORGE AUGUSTUS (1719–1791), English wit, son of Colonel John Selwyn (d. 1751) of Matson, Gloucestershire, was born on the 11th of August 1719. Educated at Eton and Oxford, he became member of parliament for the family borough of Ludgershall in 1747, and from 1754, three years after he inherited Matson, to 1780 he represented Gloucester. In parliament he took no part in debate, but he managed to obtain two or three lucrative sinecures; in society he was very popular and won a great reputation as a wit. He is said to have been very fond of seeing corpses, criminals and executions, and Horace Walpole says he loved “ nothing upon earth so well as a criminal, except the execution of him.” He died in London on the 25th of January 1791. Like the eccentric duke of Queensberry Selwyn claimed to be the father of Maria Fagniani, who became the wife of Francis Charles Seymour, 3rd marquess of Hertford.

See J. H. Jesse, George Selwyn and his Contemporaries (1843–1844; new ed., 1882); and S. P. Kerr, George Selwyn and the Wits (1909).


SELWYN, GEORGE AUGUSTUS (1809–1878), English bishop, second son of William Selwyn (1775–1855), a distinguished legal writer, was born at Hampstead, London, on the 5th of April 1809. He was educated at Eton and at St John's College. Cambridge, where in 1829 he rowed in the first university boat-race. He took his degree (second in the classical tripos) in 1831. He returned to Eton as private tutor, was ordained deacon in 1853, and devoted himself with characteristic energy to work in the parish of Windsor. In 1841 it was proposed that he should go out as first bishop to New Zealand, then just beginning to be colonized. Despite the advice of his friends he accepted the offer. He studied navigation and the Maori language on the voyage, and gave himself up to a life of continual strain and hardship. He spent days and sometimes nights in the saddle, swam broad rivers and provided himself with a sailing vessel. Unfortunately, just when he had gained the confidence of the natives, his ascendancy was rudely shaken by the first Maori war. Selwyn endeavoured to mediate, but incurred the hostility of both parties. He went to the battlefield to minister to the sick and wounded in both camps; but the Maoris were persuaded that he had gone out to fight against them, and years afterwards one of them pointed out a scar on his leg to an Anglican bishop which he declared had been inflicted by Selwyn's own hands. It was long before he regained the confidence he had forfeited by his strict adherence to duty. In 1854 he returned to England for a short furlough; but he spent much of it in pleading the needs of his diocese. He returned to New Zealand with a band of able associates, including J. C. Patteson, and began to divide his large diocese into sees of more manageable proportions. The colonists carrie to respect his uprightness, and the Maoris learned to regard him as their father. In 1868, while he was in England to attend the first pan-Anglican synod, the bishopric of Lichfield became vacant, and after some hesitation he accepted it. In his new sphere of work he displayed the same unselfish activity as before, and in the “ Black Country ” portion of his diocese he won the hearts of the working classes. He called his clergy and laity together for consultation in the diocesan conference, an innovation the value of which he had proved by his colonial experience. On his death, on the 11th of April 1878, his great work for the church was celebrated by a remarkable memorial, Selwyn College, Cambridge, being erected by public subscription and incorporated in 1882.

See Lives by H. W. Tucker (2 vols., 1879) and G. H. Curteis (1889).

His son, John Richardson Selwyn (1844–1898), bishop of Melanesia, was born in New Zealand on the 2oth of May 1844. He was educated at Eton and at Trinity College, Cambridge, and was ordained deacon in 1869. At first he laboured with energy and tact as vicar of Wolverhampton in his father's diocese of Lichfield; but the martyrdom of John Coleridge Patteson, bishop of Melanesia, led him to volunteer for service in the Australasian Archipelago. After three years' service, during which the bishopric remained vacant, he was nominated as Patteson's successor (1877). F or twelve years he threw himself with intense energy into his arduous work, but his health broke down and he returned to England in 1890. There he found an appropriate sphere in the mastership of Selwyn College, where he remained until his death on the 12th of February 1898.


SEMANG, an aboriginal people of the Malay peninsula, found in northern Perak, Kedah, Kelantan, Trengganu and the northern districts of Pahang. They are a fairly pure branch of the woolly-haired Negrito race, which includes the natives of the Andaman islands, the Aetas of the Philippines and the dwarfs of Central Africa. The men average about 4 ft. 9 or 10 in., while the women are 312 in. shorter. Their colour is a very dark brown or black. The shape of the head is round, or intermediate between round and long. The forehead is low and rounded, and projects over the root of the nose, which is short, depressed and pyramid-shaped. The eyes are wide open and round, showing no obliquity, the iris being of a very rich, deep brown. Lips vary from moderate to full, the mouth is rather large, the chin feebly developed, and the jaws are often slightly projecting. The hair is very dark-brown black, never blue-black as among Chinese and Malays. It grows in short, spiral tufts, curling closely all over the head. The arm-stretch is almost always greater than their height. The feet are usually short and splayed, with a remarkable inward curve of the great toe, and are very prehensile. The Semangs live in caves or leaf-shelters formed between branches. A waist cloth for the men, made of tree bark hammered out with a wooden mallet from the bark of the terap, a species of wild bread-fruit tree, and a short petticoat of the same for the women, is the only dress worn; many go naked. Tattooing, or rather scarring, is practised, by drawing the finely serrated edge of a sugar-cane leaf across the skin and rubbing in charcoal powder. They have bamboo musical instruments, a kind of Jews' harp a.nd a nose fiute. On festive occasions there is song and dance, both sexes decorating themselves with leaves. The Semangs bury their dead simply, food and drink being placed in the grave.


SEMAPHORE, a town of Adelaide county, South Australia, 912 m. by rail from the city of Adelaide. It is one of the chief watering-places of the state, with a pier 1800 ft. long. Pop. about 8000.


SEMAPHORE (Gr. σῆμα, sign, and φορά, carrying, from φέρειν, to bear), the name of an apparatus or mechanical device by which information or messages can be signalled to a distance. It consists of movable arms or blades of wood, worked by levers and affixed to a high post or pole. The most familiar semaphore is that used in railway signalling on the block system, where the blade if horizontal signifies danger, if dropped safety. Used

with a code, the semaphore is still used in the navy for signalling