Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/153

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137
SIMSON, R.—SIN

accept this dignity at the hands of a democracy, refused the offer. Simson, bitterly disappointed at the outcome of his mission, resigned his seat in the Frankfort parliament, but in the summer of the same year was elected deputy for Königsberg in the popular chamber of the Prussian Landtag. Here he soon made his mark as one of the best orators in that assembly. A member of the short-lived Erfurt parliament of 1850, he was again summoned to the presidential chair.

On the dissolution of the Erfurt assembly, Simson retired from politics, and for the next few years devoted himself exclusively to his academical and judicial duties. It was not until 1859 that he re-entered public life, when he was elected deputy for Königsberg in the lower chamber of the Prussian Landtag, of which he was president in 1860 and 1861. In the first of these years he attained high judicial office as president of the court of appeal at Frankfort on the Oder. In 1867, having been elected a member of the constituent assembly of the North German Federation, he again occupied the presidential chair, as he did also in the first regular Diet and the Zoll-parliament which succeeded it. On 18th December 1870 Simson arrived at the head of a deputation in the German headquarters at Versailles to offer the imperial crown to the king of Prussia in the name of the newly-elected Reichstag. The conditions under which Prussia might justly aspire to the hegemony in Germany at last appeared to have been accomplished, no obstacles, as in 1849, were in the way of the acceptance of the crown by the leading sovereign of the confederation, and on 18th January 1871 King William of Prussia was proclaimed with all pomp German Emperor in the Salle des Glaces at Versailles. Simson continued as president of the Reichstag until 1874, when he retired from the chair, and in 1877 resigned his seat in the Diet, but at Bismarck's urging, accepted the presidency of the supreme court of justice (Reichsgericht), and this high office he filled with great distinction until his final retirement from public life in 1891. In 1888 the emperor Frederick bestowed upon Simson the order of the Black Eagle.

His political career coincides with the era of German struggles towards unity. As a politician he was one of the leaders of modern Liberalism, and though always loyal when appeals were made to patriotism, such as government demands for the army, he remained obdurate on constitutional questions; and he resolutely opposed the reactionary policy of the Prussian Conservatives. On his retirement from the presidency of the Reichsgericht, he left Leipzig and made his home in Berlin, where he died on the 2nd of May 1899.

His Life was written by his son, Bernard von Simson, under the title Eduard von Simson, Erinnerungen aus seinem Leben (1900).

SIMSON, ROBERT (1687-1768), Scottish mathematician, the eldest son of John Simson of Kirktonhill in Ayrshire, was born on the 14th of October 1687. He was intended for the church, but the bent of his mind was towards mathematics, and, when a prospect opened of his succeeding to the mathematical chair at the university of Glasgow, he proceeded to London for further study. After a year in London he returned to Glasgow, and in 1711 was appointed by the university to the professorship of mathematics, an office which he retained until 1761. He died on the 1st of October 1768.

Simson's contributions to mathematical knowledge took the form of critical editions and commentaries on the works of the ancient geometers. The first of his published writings is a paper in the Philosophical Transactions (1723, vol. xl. p. 330) on Euclid's Porisms (q.v.). Then followed Sectionum conicarum libri V. (Edinburgh, 1735), a second edition of which, with additions, appeared in 1750. The first three books of this treatise were translated into English, and several times printed as The Elements of the Conic Sections. In 1749 was published Apollonii Pergaei locorum planorum libri II., a restoration of Apollonius's lost treatise, founded on the lemmas given in the seventh book of Pappus's Mathematical Collection. In 1756 appeared, both in Latin and in English, the first edition of his Euclid's Elements. This work, which contained only the first six and the eleventh and twelfth books, and to which in its English version he added the Data in 1762, was for long the standard text of Euclid in England. After his death restorations of Apollonius's treatise De sectione determinata and of Euclid's treatise De porismatibus were printed for private circulation in 1776 at the expense of Earl Stanhope, in a volume with the title Roberti Simson opera quaedam reliqua. The volume contains also dissertations on Logarithms and on the Limits of Quantities and Ratios, and a few problems illustrative of the ancient geometrical analysis.

See W. Trail, Life and Writings of Robert Simson (1812); C. Hutton, Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary (1815).

SIMSON, WILLIAM (1800-1847), Scottish portrait, landscape and subject painter, was born at Dundee in 1800. He studied under Andrew Wilson at the Trustees' Academy, Edinburgh, and his early pictures—landscape and marine subjects—found a ready sale. He next turned his attention to figure painting, producing in 1829 the “Twelfth of August,” which was followed in 1830 by “Sportsmen Regaling” and a “Highland Deer-stalker.” In the latter year he was elected a member of the Scottish Academy; and, having acquired some means by portrait-painting, he spent three years in Italy, and on his return in 1838 settled in London, where he exhibited his “Camaldolese monk showing Relics,” his “Cimabue and Giotto,” his “Dutch Family,” and his “Columbus and his Child” at the Convent of Santa Maria la Rabida. He died in London on the 29th of August 1847. Simson is greatest as a landscapist; his “Solway Moss—Sunset,” exhibited in the Royal Scottish Academy of 1831 and now in the National Gallery, Edinburgh, ranks as one of the finest examples of the early Scottish school of landscape. His elder brother George (1791-1862), portrait-painter, was also a member of the Royal Scottish Academy, and his younger brother David (d. 1874) practised as a landscape-painter.

SIN (O. Eng. syn: a common Teutonic word, cf. Dutch zonde, Ger. Sünde), a general term for wickedness or a wicked act. As psychology recognizes a distinction of pleasure and pain, and metaphysics of good and evil, so morality assumes the difference between right and wrong in action, good and bad in character; but the distinction in psychology and metaphysics applies to what is, the difference in morality is based on a judgment of what is by what ought to be. When the act or the character does not correspond with the standard, this want of correspondence may in different relations be variously described. In relation to human society, and the rules it imposes on its members, action that ought not to be done is crime; a habit which is injurious to a man's own moral nature, especially if it involves evil physical consequences, is described as vice. If man is thought of as under the authority of God, any transgression of or want of conformity to the law of God is defined as sin. Crime is a legal, vice a moral, and sin a religious term. Sin may be distinguished from guilt as follows: guilt is the liability to penalty, that is, to the suffering conceived not as the natural consequence, but as the expression of the divine displeasure, which sin as a breach of divine law involves. Sin is a term applied not only to actions, but also to dispositions and motives. In the theological phrase original sin it means the inherited tendency to do wrong.

There have been two great controversies in the Christian Church on this question, the Augustinian-Pelagian and the Calvinistic-Arminian, one in the 5th century and the other in the 17th. Pelagius declared the capacity of every man to become virtuous by his own efforts, and summoned the members of the Church in Rome to enter on the way of perfection in monasticism. His friend Caelestius was in 412 charged with and excommunicated for heresy because he regarded Adam as well as all his descendants as naturally mortal, denied the racial consequences of Adam's fall, asserted the entire innocence of the new-born, recognized sinless men before the coming of Christ. Pelagius himself desired to avoid controversy, and with mental reservations denied these statements of his friend; but he did not escape suspicion, and his condemnation in 418 was the signal for a literary polemic, which lasted ten years, and in which Julian of Eklanum was the most brilliant but reckless combatant on the side of Pelagius. In the East the freedom of the will was so insisted on, that one may regard Greek theology as essentially Pelagian. In the West there was unanimity only on three points: the necessity of baptism for the remission of sins, the inheritance of sin as a result of Adam's fall, and the indispensableness of the divine grace in the attainment of goodness. Pelagius insisted that