wife defended with great intrepidity. His estates in Halland were also repeatedly ravaged by the enemy. Skram died, at an advanced age, at Urup on the 11th of July 1581.
Skram's audacity won for him the nickname of “Denmark's dare-devil,” and he contributed perhaps more than any other Dane of his day to destroy the Hanseatic dominion of the Baltic. His humanity was equally remarkable; he often imperilled his life by preventing his crews from plundering.
(R. N. B.)
SKRZYNECKI, JAN ZYGMUNT (1787-1860), Polish general, was born in Galicia in 1787. After completing his education at the university of Lemberg, he entered the Polish Legion formed in the grand duchy of Warsaw, as a common soldier and won his lieutenancy at the battle of Raszyn in 1809. At the battle of Leipzig he greatly distinguished himself and at Arcis-sur-Aube, in 1814, saved Napoleon from the sudden onslaught of the enemy by sheltering him in the midst of his battalion. On the formation of the kingdom of Poland in 1815 Skrzynecki was put in command of five infantry regiments of the line, and on joining the insurrection of 1830 was entrusted with the organization of the Polish army. After the battle of Grochow, he superseded Prince Radziwill as commander in chief; but avoided all decisive operations as he hoped for the pacific intervention of the powers in favour of Poland. In the beginning of March 1831 he even entered into correspondence with the Russian Field-marshal Diebitsch, who was taken very ill both at Paris and London. When at last Skrzynecki did take the offensive his opportunity was gone, and he committed more than one tactical blunder. At Ostrolenka (26th of May 1831) he showed his usual valour and considerable ability, but after a bloody contest Diebitsch prevailed and Skrzynecki fell back upon Warsaw, where he demanded a reconstruction of the government and his own appointment as dictator. To this the diet would not consent, though it gave Skrzynecki a vote of confidence. But public opinion was now running strongly against him and he was forced on the 10th of August, in his camp at Bolimow, to place his resignation in the hands of his successor, Dembinski. Skrzynecki thereupon joined a guerilla corps and on the 22nd of September took refuge in Austrian territory. Subsequently he resided at Prague, but migrated to Brussels where he was made commander in chief of the Belgian army, an appointment he was forced to resign by the combined and emphatic protest of Russia, Austria and Prussia, in 1839. With the permission of the Austrian government he finally settled at Cracow, where he died in 1860. Skrzynecki was remarkable for his personal courage and made an excellent general of division, but he was unequal to the heavier responsibility of supreme command, and did much harm in that capacity by his irresolution. He wrote Two Victorious Days (Pol.) (Warsaw, 1831); and Mes Erreurs (Paris, 1835).
(R. N. B.)
SKUA, the name for a long while given to certain of the Laridae (see Gull), birds which sufficiently differ in structure, appearance and habits to justify their separation as a distinct genus, Stercorarius (Lestris of some writers), or even subfamily, Stercorariinae. Swift of flight, powerfully armed, but above all endowed with extraordinary courage, they pursue their weaker cousins, making the latter disgorge their already swallowed prey, which is nimbly caught before it reaches the water; and this habit, often observed by sailors and fishermen, has made these predatory, and parasitic birds locally known as “Teasers,” “Boatswains,” and, from a misconception of their intent, “Dunghunters.” On land, however, whither they resort to breed, they seek food of their own taking, whether small mammals, little birds, insects or berries; but even here their uncommon courage is exhibited, and they will defend their homes and offspring with the utmost spirit against any intruder, repeatedly shooting down on man or dog that invades their haunts, while every bird almost, from an eagle downwards, is repelled by buffets or something worse.
- Thus written by Hoier (circa 1604) as that of a Faeroese bird (hodie Skúir) an example of which he sent to Clusius (Exotic. Auctarium, p. 367). The word being thence copied by Willughby has been generally adopted by English authors, and applied by them to all the congeners of the species to which it was originally peculiar.
- This name in seamen's ornithology applies to several other kinds of birds, and, though perhaps first given to those of this group, is nowadays most commonly used for the species of Tropic-bird (q.v.), the projecting middle feathers of the tail in each kind being generally likened to the marlinespike that is identified with the boatswain's position; but perhaps the authoritative character assumed by both bird and officer originally suggested the name.
- It has long been subjected to persecution in these islands, a reward being paid for its head. On the other hand, in the Shetlands a fine was exacted for its death, as it was believed to protect the sheep against eagles. Yet for all this it would long ago have been extirpated there, and have ceased to be a British bird in all but name, but for the special protection afforded it by several members of two families (Edmonston and Scott of Melby), long before it was protected by modern legislation.
- It is the “Fasgadair” of the Hebrides, the “Shooi” of the Shetlands, and the “Scouti-allen” of the fishermen on the east coast of Scotland.