Archive for January, 2019

Philosophical Transactions. For the months of June, July and August, 1715. - Part IV.

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

Ⅳ. An account of an experiment made by Dr. Brook Taylor assisted by Mr. Hawkesbee, in order to discover the Law of the Magnetical Attraction.

By order of the Royal Society Mr. Hawkesbee and myself made an experiment with the great loadstone belonging to the Royal Society, in order to discover the Law of the Magnetical Attraction; and not long after I gave an account of it to the Society in a letter to Dr. Sloane, (who was then Secretary) dated June 25, 1712. Since that, Mr. Hawkesbee made another experiment of the same nature with a smaller loadstone; which he has given an account of in the Philosophical Transactions No. 335. But upon comparing the numbers of that experiment with those of the other, I find the numbers of the first experiment to be very much more regular. Wherefore I conclude that to be the best experiment, and since no notice has been taken of the account I gave of it, and I have reason to believe Mr. Hawkesbee lost the table I left with him for the Society, of the numbers relating to it, I take this occasion to present the Society with the following account of it.
We placed the great loadstone belonging to the Royal Society so, that it's two poles lay in the plane of the horizon, and were in a line exactly at right angles with the natural direction of the needle we made us of, (which was that Dr. Halley had made to observe the variety actions with). And by means of a carriage contrived for that purpose, the stone was easily moved to and fro, the poles continuing always in the same line. The needle was so placed, that the center it play'd upon was in the same line with the poles of the stone; the North Pole being towards the needle. We measured the distances from the center of the needle to the extremity of the stone; and we found the variations of the needle from its natural position to be as in the following table.

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A pdf version of the entire text of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London can be found here (this article begins on page 294).


Philosophical Transactions. For the months of March, April and May, 1715. - Part IV.

Monday, January 28th, 2019

Ⅳ. An account of a book. Bibliographiae anatomicae specimen sive catalogus omnium pene auctorum, qui ab Hippocrate and Harveium rem anatomicam ex professo vel obiter scriptis illustrarunt, &c. curâ & studio
Jacobi Douglas, M.D. Reg. Soc. S. & in Colleg. Chirurg. Londinensi praelect. Anatom. 8vo. Londini 1715.

The author of this treatise, whose admirable skill in the practice of dissections, as well as in the theory of the structure of the parts, leaves him not many equals, in order to discover what improvements and progress anatomy has met with, and with what industry the study of it has been cultivated, has with much application perused a very great number of authors who have advanced the science; observing therein who have the honour of being the first discoverers, and who have unjustly arrogated to themselves that title, that each may receive a due proportion of praise according to his merit. And in this decision he has impartially weighed their deserts, the better to lay before the reader the increase of these studies, and to determine more exactly the differences that have arisen about who are first inventors; which the book, chapter and page where they are treated of will easily manifest.
The history, lives and elogies ascrib'd to anatomists, which he has inserted either from their own writings, or their editors, or commentators, will afford a great variety of pleasure, in which he has been particulary careful to set down the names, sur-names, country, time of their birth, what year they died in, under what masters educated, where they flourish'd, and in what part of anatomy they excell'd.
Nor has he been less diligent in the account he has given of the books of Anatomy, which his friends supply'd him with in great number. The reader will see here laid before him, all the several editions, in what language, what volume they were printed in, with the place and date of the year they were published at; and which are the first impressions, and which copied from them. Nor has he judged it improper to give some account of the figures dispers'd up and down in anatomical books as whether they were originals or copies, cut in wood or copper &c. To these he has added three indexes, whose use will be seen by the titles. As for the difference of style remarkable in this treatise, it is chiefly owing to the variety of authors made use of, he thinking himself not at liberty to vary the expression of them whose authority he quotes.
He says he would willingly have recounted the great advantage of anatomy has received from the English nation; but out of just regard to their merits, he has resign'd this province to his friend Mr. William Becket1, whose industry in collecting their writings will not in his opinion exceed his talent and abilities to recommend them to the world.
He hopes the reader will pardon him in this, that as several books and editions came late to his hands, he was forc'd to add the omissa separately; which being in greater number than at first expected, the author earnestly desires the favour of those who have in their collections anything of this kind here omitted, that they would please to communicate the same, in order to render this first specimen still more complete.

A pdf version of the entire text of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London can be found here (this article begins on page 263).


  1. Mr. William Becket is a famous antiquary from London - he was a Fellow of the Royal Society and a member of the Society of Antiquaries. []

Arenal.

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

I often find myself lost in thought when staring out of the car window on the long drives in Costa Rica. It feels tranquil to be flying by the colorful tropical vegetation and endless hillsides. Since I first visited CR and over the last five months of living here, the car has always been this imagined sign of a pause. Sure, I can always get in trouble, no matter what, and under any circumstances - but the risk always seemed so minimal while riding in the car.1 It's been some of the very few moments in which I allowed myself to breathe and think about the reality of my new life.2 The crew was headed to Arenal and I was excited. I had made a bloody mess of the last trip and now was the time for me to return to the jungle for redemption.3
The trip started out well enough, as I had stayed up the night before defining about 26 words. Allow me to introduce you to this game we play. The directions are simple, Master and Hannah will go back and forth producing words that I have to define. If I don't know the word then I have to write it down and give an explanation during our next interaction. The game stops when I can accurately define a word thats given. So, to answer your question, yes - they have only stopped out of pity for me but I think I'm still a winner... I like to call the second phase of the game the bonus round (they didn't know this) because once I bring back the defined word list, Master goes into these riveting explanations of how the words came to be. I'm so fortunate for my life, which consists of driving through one of the most scenic routes in the world, all the while listening to philology from the man himself.

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Look, free monkeys! Coati monkeys are the raccoons of the jungle, so much so that tourists blocked the road trying to feed them. Monkeys weren't the only thing to block the road on this trip. Since the holidays are over, its now time for construction in Costa Rica. The locals decided to block one of the only major highways in the country for going on over thirty five minutes. Lucky for us, we ended up at the beginning of the line and had Master in the car. It took him only around a minute with the workers before the cones went up and they quickly got out of the way. Of course, this was after a few nervous looking men walked over to the workers and bailed out of any confrontation by getting on their phones and taking the walk of shame back to their cars without saying a word. So, on we went with miles of cars in our rear. We finally made it to the cabin with a view of the volcano and a legendary pool. But first, I was instructed to help back the car into the covered parking spot. This sounds like an easy task, but I was already nervous from fucking this up during the last trip.4 Instead of delivering on the order - I got in the way of the driver, made incompetent hand gestures, and spoke so low no one heard me give direction. My incredible angst was of no use in this situation, and I was hoping to turn this around before the end of the trip, but as the saying goes - no such luck. However, I did develop a well adjusted panic on the road back to the cabin every night in anticipation of assisting with parking.5 Anxiety has been a friend of mine since I can remember. I occupy a no relax zone and would like move on from it as soon as possible (see what I did there?). It will always be true that the most desirable state for a tasked slave is focused with a clear mind. I am not that slave yet, but the trip goes on. And on it goes to the pool.
This pool is unlike anything I had ever seen before. Not only is it an infinity pool that overlooks the volcano and the volcanic lake, but it has fountains, an attached hot tub, and is constructed of beautiful regal blue and white tiles. Master and I spent a good amount of time wrestling in the water. He is suspiciously immune to my various sneak attacks and ankle grabs, which leaves me gasping for air and choking on water. Over ten years of trained swimming and yet, I still find myself pinned at the bottom of the pool and at the mercy of his foot (of course, he's enjoying my lack of air and under water struggle while making out with a certain Wannaackins on the surface, pretentious much?!). Finally, the sun sets and we all enjoy watching it fade into the seemingly forever narrowing river. I give everyone foot rubs in the hot tub and we head back to the cabin. By head back to the cabin, I mean that I walk back naked. We suspect that the cars that saw me naked were driven by the people at the pool who watched us with disapproving faces from afar. We also saw these people at breakfast the following morning. 'Tis a sad honeymoon for them when they realize that they won't ever have as much fun as the harem. After breakfast, we headed for hiking by way up in a sky tram. Hiking was an enjoyable moment and I'm growing more accustomed to appreciating nature instead of a phone. Since transcribing Philosophical Transactions, I can only imagine what a trek it must have been for any expedition to explore this land.6

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I finally grew up enough to be trusted with handling a camera. This was the perfect trip for it, since I haven't yet found the right words to describe how beautiful it is here and well, a picture would be really hard to fuck up. My dread returned as I had to assist with parking the car again. This time seemed like my worst attempt and frustrated everyone to the point of yelling or getting out of the car... Master wouldn't let me see the surprise until I cheered up, but they saw me first!

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Volcanic cows were squatting in our back yard.7 Check out the white guy being all weird and creeping in the corner.8 The rest of the afternoon was spent sipping champagne and me praying that we won't need to move the car again. It took me hours to fall asleep that night, staring at the ceiling in the dark and endlessly going over the details of the day in order to have some preparedness for the next.
It was leavin' time and we packed up the car so that... I could drive. My minimal experience of driving manual shot me into an immediate panic on the way to find breakfast. Before we could find somewhere that met the standards, I had already fucked up past any sort of tolerable point. My stomach pitted up when I heard the words, "get out of the car". I watched the BMW drive off while on the side of a jungle road in a short dress and high heels. It only took a few steps for me to get stuck in mud and trip into some bushes that caused an instantaneous skin rash with hives (I've never had hives before or seen them on my skin.). The only reason I took those few steps was because I wanted to get out of the rain and the road. At which point, I started crying and begging the rain forest to please give me a fucking break. A wonderful Costa Rican family stopped and offered me a ride9, which I declined. I spent my time standing there by entertaining my thoughts between how much I had fucked up...etc. and well, what if they don't come back. My purse with my passport and any belongings were in the car - my options were to beg someone for a ride or join the family of coati monkeys. Time did its trick of slowing down for me. Thought after thought rushed into my head and I can't say that I feel any better thinking about it now. The BMW circled its way back to me and I can't tell you how long they were gone for but, I tried to get my shit together as best as I could upon their return. I made a resolve with myself that the only way back to the cage was by me driving, so I had to make it happen.
I drove by ignoring my emotions of being extremely overwhelmed and on the verge of a break down. We ate breakfast at some German restaurant that I hardly remember. The road to Monte Verde was painful for both me and the car. Every rock felt like it was ding at my chances for making it back to Giuseppe. When I was finally relieved of driving duty, I was sent to sit in the passenger seat. Master likes the passenger seat up for leg room and he did kindly allow me to move the seat back some. However, when we arrived at a restaurant for dinner, my legs were so cramped that I looked like a fawn trying to walk for the first time. Dinner was the best part of the day. I eventually was able to focus on something other than the jungle warfare that I had just lived through. It was monumental for me to return to the first restaurant that I had kneeled at. This place has become a touchstone for my slavery10 ... I no longer live a life of imagined breaks in the car or delusions that my time is my own. Watching them laugh was & is a reminder of why I was so desperate to kneel in the first place and why it would be such a waste to resist any part of this life.

  1. Which may seem like an insane thought - fear of riding in a car is reality for a lot of people. I'm guessing those people haven't been kicked out of someones house and made to walk home or hit with a hammer for taking to long...etc. []
  2. I should mention that being entertaining in the car is mandatory. I do my best to balance the state of reflection and engagement; however, often times I find myself being scolded for lack of good conversation, knowledge, and jokes. Of course, justly scolded and I'm told these things improve over time but the sting of under performing stays with me. []
  3. Redemption from what?! Well, mostly me being quiet and slave shocked and also, a lack of tampons. You cant take the Indiana out of the girl... []
  4. To make matters worse, on the last trip I did not realize that there was a garage, so I stopped the car before it even got properly parked. For this fuckupery I was painfully beat with a dog toy, or better known as a bitch toy. It still sits in my closet taunting me over this transgression. Sigh. []
  5. Costa Ricans do this weird thing were they employ people to help you park your car at almost every location. They will have a man in a reflective vest standing around and waiting to assist you with backing up. This is unlike anything I have ever seen in the states. []
  6. Good thing they travl'd with a pike man and a cook... []
  7. I'm glad they chose this trip time to do it. On our previous trip, I was punished to lay in the same grass naked and those cows well defiled it. []
  8. I need to admit that I did ruin Master's shot of me naked and barefoot petting a cow, whew. Now you know. []
  9. I wonder if any of the girls I have seen crying on the side of the road have been kicked out of the car for disappointing their Master. []
  10. Incidentally, I was on all fours crawling out of the restaurant in a dress so short that my ass and cunt showed, while a shocked girl stared on in a state of disbelief. []

Philosophical Transactions. For the months of October, November, and December, 1714. - Part V.

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

Ⅴ. Some remarks on the variations of the magnetical compass published in the memoirs of the Royal Academy of Sciences, with regard to the general chart of those variations made by E. Halley; as also concerning the true longitude of the Magellan Streights1

It must be acknowledged that the gentlemen of the Royal Academy of Sciences in France, have, for some years past, apply'd themselves with much candour, as well as diligence, to examine the chart I publish'd in the year 1701, for shewing at one view the variations of the magnetical compass, in all those seas with which the English navigators are acquainted; and, to my no small satisfaction, I find that what I did so long ago, has been since abundantly verified by the concurrent reports of the French pilots, who of late have had frequent opportunities of enquiring into the truth thereof. So that I am in hopes I have laid a sure foundation for the future discovery of an invention, that will be of wonderful use to mankind when perfected; I mean that of the law or rule by which the said variations change, in appearance regularly, all the world over. Of this I have adventured long since to give my thoughts in N°'48 and N°195 of these transactions, and as yet I see no cause to retract what I there offer for a reason of this change; but of this we might be more certain, had we a good collection of observations made in that ocean which divides Asia and America, and occupies about two fifths of the whole circumference of the globe. This, we hope, from the natural curiosity of the French (who want no means of performing it) may be effectually supply'd by such of that nation who may return from Peru by the East-Indies.
In the mean time, I cannot omit to take notice of two particulars, seeming to call in question the truth of my aforesaid map, which I have lately observed in the Memoirs of the Royal Academy of Sciences.
The one is in the Memoirs of the year 1700, concerning the variation observed at Paraíba in Brasile, about 25 leagues to the northwards of Pernambeuc, by M. Couplet le Fils, whose words are these,
Le 20 Mai, 1698. Ayant auparavant tracé soigneusement une ligne meridienne, dont je m'etais fervi pour les observations astronomiques, j'observai la declinaicon de l' aiguille aimantée de 5° 35' nordouest. And the same observer tells us, that he found the latitude of the town of Paraíba 6° 38' 18". Now it so fell out, that myself was in the river of paraíba, in the month of March, 1699 and there sitted and cleaned my ship, so that I had full opportunity to observe the variation both on board and on shore, and found it constantly to be above 4 Gr. North-East; so that I am willing to believe this to be an error of the press, putting N.W. for N.E; or rather of the memory of M.Couplet, who it seems, lost all his papers by shipwreck in his return. The like may be said of the latitude of Paraíba, which, though I did not observe myself, yet at the Fort of Cabo Dello, at the mouth of the river, and which is about 3 leagues more northerly than the town, I found the latitude not less than 6° 55' South, and by consequence that of the town more than 7 degrees.
The other is in a discourse of M de Lisle, in the Memoirs of 1710; where he compares the variations observed in some late voyages, with my map of the variations. Among other things, 'tis there said, that on the East-side of the island St. Thomas, under the equinoctial line, M. Bigot de La Canté, Second Lieutenant of the King's ship La Sphere, had in the beginning of the year 1708, found the variation 11 ½ Gr. whereas my chart makes it but 5 ½ Gr. 'Tis true, that I never observed myself in those parts; and 'tis from the accounts of others, and the analogy of the whole, that in such cases I was forc'd to supply what was wanting; and 'tis possible that there may be more variation on that coast than I have allowed. But consulting my chart (which was fitted to the year 1700) I find I then make the variation at the isle of St. Thomas full 7 ½ Gr. and not 5 ½ Gr. the which, by the year 1708, might well arise to near.
So that the difference will become very tolerable; ereas an error of 6 degrees, such as is here represented, would render the credit of my chart justly suspected, and the same by consequence wholly useless, as not to be confided in.
But a further thing I might complain of is, that in the same Memoire of M. de Lisle, the geography of my chart is called in question; and we are told that I have placed the entrance of the Magellan Straights as least 10 degrees more Westerly than I ought to have done; for that the ship St. Louis, in the year 1708, sailing from the mouth of Rio Gallega, in about the latitude of 52 Gr. South, and not far from Cape Virgin, directly for Cape Bonne Esperance (which course perhaps was never run before) had found the distance between the two lands not more than 1350 leagues, which, he concludes, is much less than my chart of the variation makes it. I know not from what computation M. de Lisle has deduced this consequence, but I find by my chart that I have made the longitude of Rio Gallega 75 Gr. West from London, and that of Cape Bonne Esperance 16 ½ East from it; that is in all 91 ½ Gr. difference of longitude. This, with the two latitudes, gives the distance, according to the rhumb-line 1364 leagues, but according to the arch of a great circle, no more than 1287 leagues; so that instead of invalidating what I have there laid down, it does absolutely confirm it, as far as the authority of one single ship's journals can do it.
I do not pretend that I have had observations made with all the precision requisite, to lay down incontestably the Magellan Straights in their true geographical state; but yet it has not been without good grounds that I have placed them as I have done. For when Sir John Narborough, in the year 1670, wintered in Port St. Julian, on the coast of Patagonia, Capt. John Wood, then his lieutenant, and an approved artist in sea affairs, did observe the beginning of an eclipse of the moon, Sept. 18ⅤO stil. vet. at just 8 night; and the same beginning was observ'd by M. Hovellius at Dantzick at 14h 22'; whence Port St. Julian is more westerly than Dantzick 6h 22', or than London 5h 6, that is 76 ½ Gr. Besides, I have had in my custody a very curious journal of one Capt. Strong, who went into the South Seas in quest of a rich plate-wreck, and who disover'd the two islands he called Falkland's Isles, lying about 120 leagues to the Eastwards of the Patagon Coast, about the lat. of 51 ½. This Capt. Strong had a quick passage from the island of Trinadada (in 20 ½ south) to the Magellan Straights; and in this journal, which was very well kept, I found that Cape Virgin was, by his account, 45 degrees of longitude more Westerly than that island, whose longitude I know to be just 30 degrees from London; that is in all 75 Gr.
From these concurrent testimonies, wanting better, I adventured to fix the longitude of this coast as I have done; and I can by no means grant an error of 10 degrees to be possible in it, though perhaps it may need some smaller correction. I will however readily grant, that those that go thither from Europe, shall find the land more Easterly than is here express'd, by reason of a constant current setting to the Westward near the equator, where ships are many times long detained by calms, whilst the stream carries them along with it; which thing befalls all ships bound to any part of the East Coast of the South America.

A pdf version of the entire text of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London can be found here (this article begins on page 165).


  1. On the contents page, this article is titled as: Some remarks on the variations of the magnetical compass, published in the memoirs of the Royal Academy of Sciences, with regard to the general chart of those variations made by Dr. Halley. As also concerning the true geographical longitude of the Magellan Streights. By the same. []

Philosophical Transactions. For the months of July, August and September, 1716. - Part II.

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

Ⅱ. A letter of the Reverend Mr. John Sackette, A.M. to Dr. Brook Taylor, Reg. Soc. Secr. Giving an account of a very uncommon sinking of the earth, near Folkestone in Kent.

Sir,

I am about to give you the best account I can of what is remarkable, and known almost to all hereabouts, concerning the pressing forward of the cliffs, and sinking of the hills in the neighbourhood of our town of Folkestone. I begin with giving you a sketch of the situation of the country. This I shall do by describing a strait road from what we call the Mooring-Rock, to Tarlingham-house; the manner of the country, as to the rising and falling, being much the same, for about a mile on either hand of the road described.

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A. The Mooring-Rock, about half-way between high and low water-mark.
B. The foot of the cliff, 50 yards from the rock.
C. The top of the cliff, about 6 yards high.
C D. A plain of 50 yards.
D E. A cragged1 cliff, of 60 yards high.
E F. A plain above a mile long.
F G. An hill of steep ascent, near half a mile.
G H. The land from the top of the hill to the house, near a mile.
I. Tarlingham house, lying near 2 miles and a half N.N.W. from the rock.
E G H. A line of sight.
K B L. The shore at high water mark.
I hope Sir, you will understand the situation of the place pretty well, tho' I have not observed exact proportion in the sketch; which the paper would not allow after I had taken the rise of the cliffs so high, which I thought proper for the more particular describing of them.
The Mooring-rock (tho' it lies surrounded with great numbers of other rocks) is it self a most noted one, known by this name, time out of mind2. At this vessels use to be moored, while they are loading other rocks; which they take from hence, not only for our own Pier Heads but for those of Dover Pier; and a very great quantity of them were shipt, in the time of Oliver's usurpation, and carried to Dunkirk, for the service of that harbour.
This rock has remain'd fixt thus, for the memory of man; and old men have observed, that, for forty years and upwards, the distance between it and the foot of the lesser cliff A B. has been much the same; neither can they be much out in their guess, the distance being so small. Tho' there seems nothing extraordinary in this, yet its what they take special notice of, to their great surprize; for they say, and prove by good marks and tokens, that the lesser cliff B C has been constantly falling in, insomuch, that from time to time, in their memory, near 10 rods forward to the land has been carried away by the sea. From whence, as it appears that the plain between the top of the lesser cliff and the foot of the higher C D has been formerly double the breadth that it is at present, so the distance been the rock and the foot of the lesser or lower cliff A B. should have increased in proportion, and would have been double at present, to what it has been formerly; but this distance remaining the same (as is above noted) or rather less (in the opinion of many) is what is greatly wonder'd at; nor can it be accounted for otherwise, than by supposing that the land pressing forward into the sea is washed away by the high tides; and, as often as this happens, presses forward again. This pressing forward of the land into the sea, would be incredible, were it not shewn to be matter of fact; and that not only at this one place of observation, but by like observations all along this coast, as far as the situation continues the same.
Now, Sir, let us climb both these cragged cliffs, and place our selves at the top of the higher one, at the point E. And here we are to observe, that (as old men inform us) upward of forty years ago, not so much as the top of Tarlingham-house could be discern'd, neither from hence, nor yet a good distance off at sea; but it discover'd it self by degrees, till at this day, not only the whole house, but a great tract of land below it, is plainly to be seen, as in the line of sight E G H. The tact of land is more in proportion than describ'd in the sketch, between the point at H and the house. In this there can be no fallacy; and we can ascribe it to nothing less than the sinking of the hills (for their tops could never wear away considerably, being always cover'd with grass, and never broken up by the plough or otherwise). These hills are all of chalk, and have probably very large caverns within, springs of water always flowing plentifully from the foot of them; and I have had it observ'd to me, that upon their tops frequent cracks have been taken notice of. Whatever be the cause of it, 'tis not to be doubted but that these hills are greatly sunk. And this sinking of the hills, the people at this place believe, forces the cliffs and all the land forward into the sea. The cliffs consist of great ragged sand-stones till we come to near a yard (at some places more) of the bottom; then we meet with what they call a slipe, i.e. a slippery fort of clay always wet. Upon this slipe at the bottom, they presume that the hard stony land above slides forwards toward the sea, as a ship is launch'd upon tallow'd planks. I thought it proper to give you this account of the nature of the earth; and withal to mingle with it the opinion of the people, that you might perceive they are so far from doubting the truth of what is above written, that they endeavour to find some solution of it, as being a thing not more strange than true. If I should take all the hands that can be got to testifie the truth of this, it would make too large a roll, so I shall chuse only a few of the most antient and of best credit.
I assure myself that I have credit enough with you to be believed upon my own single subscription, that I am,

Sir, Yours,

Folkestone in Kent,
February 24, 1715-16.

John Sackette.

We whose names are underwritten do hereby testifie the truth of the matters of facts in the within written letter related,
Benjamin Master, a Jurat of the Town, aged 74.
Robert Hammond, Senior, a Jurat of the Town, aged 77.
William Godden, a Fisherman, aged 74.
Thomas Marsh, a Fisherman, aged 72.
William Hall, a Fisherman, aged 73.
James Godden, a Fisherman, upward of 60.

A pdf version of the entire text of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London can be found here (this article begins on page 469).


  1. Cragged: a steep, rugged rock/rough, broken, projecting part of a rock. []
  2. The phrase time out of mind has origins as early as the 1400s, when it was used in the British Rolls of Parliament. The phrase means a time in the past that was so long ago, that people have no recollection of it. The phrase time out of mind is time out of mind... []

Philosophical Transactions. For the months of Octob. Novem. and Decem. 1716. - Part II.

Friday, January 18th, 2019

Ⅱ. A Description of that curious natural machine, the wood-peckers tongue, &c. By Richard Waller
Esq, late Secretary to the Royal Society.1

The picus martius or wood-pecker has several particularities in the structure and mechanism of its whole Body, which may deserve a nice and accurate observation and description; all which are wisely contrived and adapted, either for catching the food and sustenance of the individual, or continuing the species.
That this Bird makes a round hole even in sound and hard trees, such as the oak, horn-beame, beech and the like, is commonly observed; and that within these Holes, the hollow being enlarged, the nest is made, the eggs laid and hatch'd; and the young brood fed, as by other birds.
For this purpose, that he may be enabled to perform such hard work, the muscles of his neck, breast, and thighs are exceeding strong in proportion to the bigness of the bird; he has also a very firm strong sharp bill, his legs are strengthned with very strong tendons; and his toes, which are two before and two behind (as it is in some other birds) are provided with sharp strong hooked claws or talons; besides this, his tail consists of ten very stiff large and strong quills, firmly set into a robust strong uropygium or rump; so that when he has fastened his claws and feet into the clefts and inequalities of the bark of the tree, he claps his strong tail-feathers against the body of the tree; and so stands with his head erect, to give the strokes with his bill with the greater Force.
That he is of the insectivorous kind is certain, and lives not only upon insects catcht creeping on the outside of trees, but also on such as are under the bark between the bark and wood, as likewise on those in rotten wood; and as I am very confident on worms and other insects in the ground; for I have frequently observed the roots of their Bills very dirty, as it is in crows and rooks, &c. Whence I suppose he strikes his long sharp bill into the soft earth to take the worms out of it. I have also found their craws full of small ants.
But the contrivance2 and mechanism of the tongue in this bird being the soft remarkable, I shall presume to lay before this illustrious society some few remarks of this curious contrivance of nature, with some figures I have drawn by the parts themselves, in order to explain the whole.
This bird is known to throw out a long, slender, round tongue, to a considerable distance beyond the end of his bill; and to draw it in again very quick into his mouth or bill, with the caught insect spitted on the tip of it.
The chameleon indeed darts out its tongue to a considerable length; and having intangled the fly in the glutinous matter at the end of it, draws it into its mouth, together with the prey; but the mechanism in that animal is wholly different from that of the present subject; as may be seen by the account the gentlemen of the academy royal give thereof in their memoirs for a history of animals.
The protrusion therefore of the tongue to the length even of three or four inches in this bird, being very extraordinary, and the mechanism of the several parts for that end no less curious; several learned and diligent enquirers have attempted to explain it; but I am of opinion they have been, in some particulars at least, mistaken. I shall mention some of these.
The learned and curious enquirer into nature, Mons. Perault, describes it after this manner*3 .
This long tongue he throws out by the means of two small bony cartilages, about seven inches long, and of the thickness each of a middling pin, which are perfectly smooth and slippery. These two cartilages are united at the end, and being in this place covered with flesh make the fore-part of the tongue. The rest of these cartilages are separated from each other, and pass turning round under the ears; and then rising up behind the head, where they meet again, they pass over the top of the head, and so extend themselves to the root of the beak. These cartilages which make the hinder part of the tongue, are also inclosed in a channel fleshy on the out-side, and whole inside is covered with a very smooth slippery membrane.
Now these fleshy channels, which incompass and keep in these cartilages, are the muscles by which the tongue is moved; for having their origine at the Larynx, and their insertion at the extremities of the cartilages, it comes to pass, that when those muscles of the two fleshy channels, which make the hinder part of the tongue are shortned, they force the fore-part of the tongue out of the beak, by drawing the posterior or farthest end nearer to the larynx; and on the contrary, when the fleshy channel which makes the anterior part acts, it draws the fore-part of the tongue into the bill towards the larynx.
This mechanism of making a hard part, such as the bony cartilages are, to come out and return into another, such as the canals are, by the means of cords drawing them, which are the muscles, is made use of in coaches to pull up the glasses of the doors; for the string, being fasten'd to the lower part of the glass-frame, makes it rise when drawn, which resembles that action of the muscles by which this tongue is moved.
Of these cartilages and other parts, and of the head of the bird, Mr. Perault gives the figures.
Either the wood-peckers in France are different from ours in England; or this figure of the head is very ill designed; it being much too broad and large, and the beak too short. Besides he makes the two cartilages to come to the root of the beak separately, one on one side, the other on the other side of it; whereas in all the wood peckers heads I have met with, the two cartilages joyn close together about the top of the head, and thence proceed joyned, tho' not fastned to one another, a little slanting towards the right nose-hold, where they end together.
Besides upon viewing and examining several subjects, I could not find them agree in diyers particulars with his account and explication. For the muscles which are fastened to the end of the cartilages at the root of the upper beak, are not inserted at the larynx, but pass on and are fastened to the lower bill. This pair I take to be the muscles chieftly concerned in forcing the tongue out of the bill. There is another pair of muscles, which, being fastened to the place where the two bony cartilages are articulated with one single bone in the fore-part of the tongue; (as will be shewn in the 4th figure) is, as I apprehend, the chief pair concerned in the drawing the tongue with its prey into the mouth. These proceeding from that articulation of the cartilages as far as the larynx, (each of them sending a branch to the cartilago scutiformis) from thence go on along with the neck, (tho' not fastned to it) till they come within the cavity of the thorax, where they are inserted under the clavicula or merry-thought-bone4, as 'tis called. This pair is represented by K.K in the second figure; and by Q.Q. in the first.
There is likewise a very slender white thread, (whether tendon or nerve, I am uncertain) which accompanies this muscle its whole length; and which drawn gently, (for fear of breaking) pulls in with it the end of the tongue. As there is such another all along the vagina to the end at c.
Volker Coiterus, as he is mentioned by Gerad Blasius, in his Antaome Animalium, Cap. 24. p. 64. treating of the Tongue of this bird, makes it to be made of three slender bones, round, and as he says bound together, (invicem colligatis) which is a mistake; for tho' reckoining the two bony cartilages for ossicula, yet the third is not bound up with them, but articulated to the end of them. The same person says the tongue may be thrust out to the length of an inch and a half, whereas when drawn in, it is scarce half an inch long; when in reality it may be thrown out near four inches; and I believe cannot be drawn in, so as to be less than an inch and quarter, viz. to that place where the two cartilages are articulated with the single bone. Besides he makes the use of the long flat muscle running over the top of the head, to be (if I rightly apprehend his meaning) to draw the tongue to the upper jaw, whereas their use is for thrusting the tongue out of the birds mouth.
But this person having given no figures, has rendred what he says less intelligible; tho' indeed he mentions two pair of muscles, as there are so many chiefly concerned, yet there are at least two other pair, that assist the performance.
Wherefore I shall leave him, and proceed to the account given by Alphonsus Borellus in his Treatise de Motu Animalium5, part. 2. pag. 24. which is in several respects likewise unsatisfactory, and the figure given by him to explain it very defective and ill designed.
He makes the pair of muscles concerned in thrusting the tongue out, to be fastened indeed as they are to the lower beak towards the point; but then he makes their insertion at their other end to be at the extremities of the two ossa hyoidea (Oss hyoidea is a U-shaped bone that supports the tongue muscles and is located at the base of the tongue.)); whereas they really reach to the very end of the long cartilages that go round the head; these by another mistake, he makes to be the retractors of the tongue, and joins another pair as assistants in the same action, which he makes to be twisted spirally about the trachia. None of all which agree with the subjects I have met with, as will be seen by the descriptions of my figures.
In the history of the Academic Royale des Sciences, publish'd in Latin by Mons. Du Hamel, 1698, lib. 4. Cap. 5. There is another description of this admirable contrivance of nature, by Mons. Mery, read at a meeting of the academic, November 16, 1695.
In this he differs from both Perault and Borelli, taking the horny end and bone to which it is joined, to be only the tongue properly so called, and that the next two bones answer the hyoides with the long cartilages annexed to them. But even in this he seems to me not to be so clear; confounding, as I apprehend, the two bones with the cartilages. He describes the vagina, in which the bones and part of the cartilages are encompassed, and which is fastned to the horny end and is protruded and drawn back with the tongue; he takes notice of the little sharp points or prickles on the horny part being moveable, and with their points bending towards the throat; but I apprehend it is a mistake to make the mucous matter glutinous which is furnished by the two pyramidal glands; for I take the use of that mucus to be chiefly, if not only, to lubricate the passage in the vagina, for the more easy slipping of the cartilages therein.
He describes the muscles for exerting the tongue, and extends them from their insertion at the lower beak, to the end of the springy ligaments, as he terms what I call cartilages to which he adds another small ligament capable of extension, at the end of the other two next the nose, which when the tongue is thrust out is relaxt and stretch'd. He also describes the pair of muscles fastned to the root of the tongue and os hyoides, serving to draw the tongue into the mouth; these he makes to be wound round about the aspera arteria once or twice, in which I think there is some mistake; being of opinion the mechanism for this action of drawing in of the tongue, is different from what is here described, as in the explication of the figures I shall endeavour to shew. But not to insist on all the particularities mentioned in this description, which, for want of more figures to explain the several parts in so curiously contrived an organ, is not so clear as might be desired (there being but one, and that a wooden cut of the head, tongue, bones, muscles, &c.) I shall now proceed to the explication of the several draughts I made, with what exactness and care I could, in 8 or 10 several subjects.

Figure the first.
Represents the head with part of the neck of this bird, the skin being taken off, in which,
A. The skull having two shallow grouves or channels, or rather one broad one with a small rising in the midst, on the sinciput or back part, from each sides of the neck to the top of the head, where they unite into one, which passes slanting towards the right side, and ends at the hole for the nostril on that side at c.
b. Is the hole or passage for hearing.
d. A large white gland, containing a glutinous liquor, almost like cream as to colour and consistence, which empties it self into the mouth; I suppose to lubricate the cartilages.
e. The eye, which has a bony ring, encompassing the iris.
f. Part of the tongue, which in this figure is represented as almost all drawn into the mouth, of which more when I come to describe the cartilages, &c. In the 2d fig.
g. Part of the neck, which is large and furnished with very strong muscles.
h. The ocsophagus, opening very wide at the fauces6 and wholly musculous.
i.i.i. A long but thin and flat muscle in respect of its breadth, which is about 1/8 of an inch, reaching from the end of the cartilage at c, to the under bill or beak at k, to the inside of which it is very firmly fastned; as is such another on the other side.
k. The under bill very strong and sharp pointed, articulated with the scull a little behind the ear-hole b.
l.l.l. The cartilage on one side, the other being exactly the same. This cartilage is round, very smooth, even and slippery, about the size of a pretty large pin; and reaches, when the tongue is drawn in and the muscle i.i. relaxed, from the root of the upper beak at c, to the root of the tongue properly so called, or to the bones of the tongue where they are articulated, being bent like a hoop as in the figure, slipping very freely in a sheath or membranous ductus fastned on the outward or convex edge of the flat muscle i.i.i. which muscle accompanies it from its end at c, almost to the end of the canal or sheath, which opens at a hole a little before the larynx; (as will be shewn in the third figure) and thence the muscle proceeds to its insertion into the lower beak at k. From the concave edge of this muscle there is a thin and transparent but very strong membrane, strained like a drum-head to the skull at m, where it is very strongly fastned; this membrane is furnished with capillary veins and arteries, and doubtless is nervous. n.n. represents this membrane. This cartilage, when the tongue is exerted, parts about half an inch from the root of the beak at c.
o.o. A pretty large vein and artery.
p.p. A muscle reaching from one jaw to the other, under the throat, serving as a bandage to keep in the cartilages, and the root and os hyoides of the tongue, as I may call it, from starting out that part where are the articulations of the cartilages with the bones, when by the muscles, inserted into the sheath at or near p and thence passing to the end of the tongue, it is drawn into the mouth.
q.q. One of the last mentioned muscles, which is round, of the size in the figure, and fastned to the breast of the bird, cut off at r.
s. The aspera arteria consisting of perfect rings.
t.t. A muscle accompanying the aspera arteria.

Figure the second.
A.A. The under part of the lower bill.
B.b. The tongue.
b. The place where the two cartilages and two bones represented by f.f. in fig. 4. are brought into and inclosed in one tube or membranous sheath.
C.C. Two glands displaced in this figure.
c.c. Two muscles attending these glands, and fastned near the end of the bill.
d.d. The two bony cartilages, bent, and passing on each side of the neck, but united at b.
eee,eee. The pair of muscles, one attending each cartilage from the end of it at the upper beak, and firmly adhering to the vagina, in which it slips, till about f.f.
f.f. The place where these muscles leave the vagina, and pass on to the inside of the bill, where they are inferred. Their action is to thrust the tongue forward, or out of the mouth.
g.g. A pair of muscles fastned a little below the larynx, to the musculous part of the aspera arteria, at i; the other end of them going up to the place b at the root of the tongue, whence they go in incompassed by the vagina to the articulation of the cartilages with the two bones. I take their action to be to draw the end of the tongue towards the larynx.
k.k. Two muscles fastned at one end within the thorax, under the merry-thought or clavicula; and at the other ends to the articulation of the cartilages with the two bones of the tongue, marked f.f. in fig.4. These have the forementioned nerves accompanying them. I take these to be chiefly concerned in drawing in the tongue; each of these fends a branch to the grisle at the top of the aspera arteria at n.
l.l.l.l. Two muscles running along and fastned to the sides of the aspera arteria, from the thorax to the place where they are united, where each of them sends a branch; which binding over the bones and cartilages goes on to the facues, where they are inserted.
m. Part of the gula.
n. A cartilage at the top of the aspera arteria.
o.o. The aspera arteria.
p. The neck bending like an s. The wind pipe and gula in this bird pass always on the right side of the neck.

Figure the third.
A.A. The two long flat muscles represented by i.i. in the first figure. These join close to one another at the top of the head, and so pass on together to the end of the cartilages; to the end of which, as I take it, they are fastned; from whence a slender weak king of ligament reaches to, and is inserted at, the right nose-hole, at the root of the upper beak. This ligament is relaxt when the tongue is thrust out.
b.b. The cartilages running in their vagina on the outside of the said muscles.
c. The larynx or passage to the aspera arteria. I observed no epiglottis.
d.d. Two articulations or joints in the under beak or bill.
e. The hole or passage, whereby the tongue in its vagina comes out and is drawn in again.
f. What I call the tongue, in the inside of which the two cartilages are brought together, till they are both articulated to one single bone, at the end of which is the horny barbed tip.
g. One of the pyramidal glands.
h. The lower bill.

Figure the fourth.
A. That part which I think may most properly be called the tongue; a small bone running thro' it; this, as far as c, is flat and thing at the sides. It is cut away at d, to shew the bones within it.
b. The horny tip of the tongue, about a quarter of an inch long, strong and sharp, furnished with four or five barbs on each side; (not with an infinite number as coiterus says) these barbs are sharp and moveable, like the small teeth at the root of the tongue, and beginning of the gula, in the pike and jack-fishes, in that of eagles and the like; so as to let the prey slip easily on, but not so easily get off again.
c. The end of the bone of the tongue where the two bony cartilages are articulated.
d. The place where the upper part of the tongue is cut away to shew the bone.
e. Several small tendons, or rather, as I take them to be, nerves running thro' the tongue. Of these some go to the end of the cartilages, others accompany the muscles to the neck.
f.f. Two bones or cartilages, which in the bird are united by a thin membrane as far as the next joynt, so as to open asunder to some distance, but not to separate quite. These two bones seem to answer to the ossa hyoidea in other creatures. At the place marked g.g. the muscle that draws the tongue into the mouth is fastned, or rather leaves the tongue at that place; it having its insertion near to the end of it. This muscle is represented by q.q. in the first figure.
h.h. The two bony and springy cartilages running on each side of the neck; which being joyned close together on the top of the head, pass so joyned to the nostril, or nose-hole on the right side.
From the consideration and comparing of these four figures, the true mechanism and motion of the tongue, seems to be in short thus; the two long muscles inserted near the end of this lower beak, and reaching to the end of the cartilages, being contracted, the round hoop of the cartilages is drawn up, from each side of the neck, close to the pyramidal glands; and at the same time the muscles that draw the tongue into the the7 mouth being relaxed, and the articulations at c and g.g. in the 4th figure brought near to a straight line, the tongue is thrown out to the length of 4 or 5 inches.
But when those long muscles are relaxed, the pair of muscles represented by k.k. in the second figure, being contracted, draw articulations g.g. where they are fastned, down into the throat or wide loose skin of the neck and at the same time the cartilages opening into a wide hoop, the whole tongue is drawn into the mouth.

Figure the fifth.
A. The scull.
b. The shallow crena or groove, for the cartilages.
c. The place of their ending at the right nose-hole.
d. The orbite of the eye.
e. The hole for the optic nerve.
f. A hole or passage thro' from one orbite to the other.
g. A bone covering the hole to the ear.
h. The lower jaw and bill.
i. A ridge or processus in the skull, beginning at the root of the upper bill, and keeping the two ends of the bony cartilages in their place on the right side.
k. The os fugale.
l. The upper bill.

Figure the sixth.
Represents the right leg and foot, in which there are two digiti before, and two behind. The strength largeness, and sharpness of the hooked claws or talons are remarkable.

Figure the seventh.
A. The oesophagus.
B. The ingluvies or crop, partly musculous, and lined with a glandulous coat. This I found quite filled with small black pismires; as also.
c. The ventriculus or gizzard, which joyned close tot he ingluvies.
d.d.d. The intestines nearly of the same bigness for the whole length.
e. The beginning of the rectum.
f. The pancreas.

Figure the eighth.
One of the middle pair of feathers of the tail, in which the great strength of the quill for so small a feather, and its bifurcate end, are very remarkable.

Figure the ninth.
The roof of the mouth, where 'tis observable, that the rima or passage for the air to the nostrils, is beset on each side with a row of 10 or 12 little sharp teeth, with their points standing inwards, towards the gula. These take the prey from the end of the tongue whose barbs or prickles are moveable, and are to keep it from going out of the beak again with the tongue, and from hence it is conveyed to the swallow.

for-the-months-of-octob-novem-and-decem-1716-22
for-the-months-of-octob-novem-and-decem-1716-3

A pdf version of the entire text of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London can be found here (this article begins on page 509).


  1. This entry is titled in the contents page as: A Description of that curious natural machine, the wood-peckers tongue, &c. By Richard Waller, Esq, late Secretary to the Royal Society. []
  2. Contrivance is defined as the use of a skill to bring something about or create something. Contrivance may also be a device in literary or artistic composition that gives a sense of artificiality. In addition, it may also be a thing which is created skillfully and inventively to serve a specific purpose. []
  3. for-the-months-of-octob-novem-and-decem-1716 []
  4. A merry-thought-bone is the forked bone between the neck and breast of a bird and is the prior name for a wishbone. []
  5. Giovanni Alfonso Borelli is a Reanissance physiologist, physicist, and mathematician who focused much of his work around biomechanics. The De Motu Animalium (I & II) relates animals to machines by using mathematical theories to sustain his the theories. He was the first to argue the corpuscular influence on the movements of muscles and that the vital movement of muscles is contracting. Corpuscular theory of light was created by Descartes and consists of the theory that light is made up of small discrete particles called corpuscles. []
  6. The definition of fauces is arch shaped opening at the back of the mouth and which leads into the pharynx. []
  7. Duplicate 'the' is in the text, with no clear meaning as to why. This could be a possible ocr miss-scan. []

Philosophical Transactions. For the months of April, May and June, 1714 - Part I.

Monday, January 14th, 2019

Ⅰ. A new method for making logarithms, and vice versâ, for finding the number corresponding to a logarithm given, by help of the following table. Communicated by Mr. John Long, S. Theol. Bacc. and Fellow of Corpus Christi Coll. Oxon1.

philo-trans-for-the-months-of-april-may-and-june-1
philo-trans-for-the-months-of-april-may-and-june-2

This table is what I sometimes make use of for finding the logarithm of any number propos'd, and vice versâ. For instance: suppose I had occasion to find the logarithm of 2000. I look in the first class of my table (the whole table consists of 8 classes) for the next less to 2, which is 1.995262315, and against it is 3, which consequently is the first figure of the logarithm sought. Again; dividing the number propos'd 2, by 1.995262315 the number found in the table, the quotient is 1.002374467; which being look'd for in the second class of the table, and finding neither its equal, nor a lesser, I add 0 to the part of the logarithm before found, and look for the said quotient 1.002374467 in the third class, where the next less is 1.002305238, and against it is 1, to be added to the part of the logarithm already found; and dividing the quotient 1.002374467, by 1.002305238, last found in the table, the quotient is 1.0000690705 which being sought in the fourth class gives 0, but being sought in the fifth class gives 2, to be added to the part of the logarithm already found; and dividing the last quotient by the number last found in the table, viz. 1000046053, the quotient is 1.000023015, which being sought in the sixth class, gives 9 to the part of the logarithm already found; and dividing the last quotient by the new divisor, viz. 1.000002072, the quotient is 1.000000219, which being greater than 1.000000115, shews that the logarithm already found, viz. 3.3010299 is less than the truth by more than half an unit; wherefore adding I, you have Briggs's logarithm of 2000, viz. 3.3010300.
If any logarithm be given, suppose 3.3010300, throw away the characteristic, then over against these figures 3...0...I...0..2..0..0, you have in their respective classes. I.995262315.....0.....1.002305238......0.....1.000069080....0...0 which multiplied continually into one another, the product is 2.000000019966, which by reason the characteristic is 3, becomes 2000.000019966, &c. that is, 2000, the natural number desired. I shall not mention the method by which this table is fram'd, because you will easily see that from the use of it.
It is obvious to the intelligent reader, that these classes of numbers are no other than so many scales of mean proportionals; in the first class, between 1 and 10; so that the last number thereof, viz. 1.258925412 is the tenth root of 10, and the rest in order asscending are the powers thereof. So in the second class, the last number 1.023292992 is the hundredth root of 10, and the rest in order asscending are the powers thereof. So in the second class, the last number 1.023292992 is the hundredth root of 10, and the rest in the same manner are powers thereof. So 1.002305238 in the third class, is the tenth root of the last of the second, and the rest its powers, &c. Or, which is all one, each number in the preceding class, is the tenth power of the corresponding number in the next following class: whence 'tis plain, that to construct these tables requires no more than on extraction of the fifth or sursolid2 root for each class, the rest of the work being done by the common rules of arithmetick; and for extracting the fifth root, you will find more than one very compendious rule in num. 210 of these transactions, if any one shall desire to examin the computus of these tables.
The process is exactly the reverse of Mr. Briggs's doctrine, in Cap. XII. of his Arithmetica Logarithmica of Vlacq's Edition; and had Briggs been appriz'd hereof, it would have greatly eased the labour of deducing the logarithms of the first prime numbers, which appear to have cost him so much pains.

A pdf version of the entire text of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London can be found here (this article begins on page 52).


  1. The contents page titled this article as the following: Ⅰ. A new method for making logarithms, and vice versâ, for finding the number corresponding to a logarithm given, by help of a small table. Communicated by Mr. John Long, S. Theol. Bacc. and Fellow of Corp. Christi Coll. Oxon. []
  2. The fifth power of a number []

Philosophical Transactions. For the months of January, February and March, 1714 - Part III.

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

Ⅲ. An Extract from the Acta Eruditorum for the Month of March, 1713. Pag. 111.

De Contagiosâ Epidemiâ, quae in patavino agro & totâ fere venetâ ditione in boves irrepsit, differtatio. Auctore Bernardino Ramazzini, practice medicince professore publico. Patavii, 1712. in 8vo.

A dissertation concerning the dreadful contagious distemper. seizing the black cattle in the Venetian territories, and especially about Padua.

It is now (at the publishing the discourse) a year and half, since a dreadful, unexpected and violent contagion has seiz'd the black cattle, which, like an increasing fire, could neither be extinguish'd nor stopt by any human means.
This first began to be observ'd a little in Agro Vincentino, and soon discover'd it self more openly in the country, spreading it self every way even to the very suburbs of Padua, with a cruel destruction of the cows and oxen. It has also been taken notice in Germany, in many places; nor has it been yet wholly conquer'd, publick news informing us, that it still remains in the territories of Milan.
Of this so threatning a distemper, the famous Dr. Ramazzini1, according to his yearly custom, on November 9, 1711. made a particular dissertation; in which he inquir'd into the canses of the distemper, and shew'd what remedies might be us'd, to put a stop to its violent course2.
It is sufficiently evident, that this distemper, in the cow-kind, was a true fever, from the coldness, rigor and standing up of the hair of the cattle at first, which was soon succecded by a violent sharp burning, with a quick pulse. That this fever was malignant, mortal and pestilential, its concomitant symptoms plainly shew'd; such as great uneasiness with difficulty of breathing, great pantings with a sort of snorting, and at the beginning a kind of stupor and drowziness, a continual flux of a strong smelling matter from the nose and mouth, a very fetid dung, sometimes with blood, all rumination ceasing, pustules breaking out over the whole body on the 5th or 6th day, like the small-pox; they all generally dy'd about the 5th or 7th day, very few of them escaping.
The author deduces this distemper from a contagious original. He tells us, it is certain, that out of a great drove, such as the merchants bring yearly into Italy out of Dalmatia and the bordering countries, one beast happen'd to straggle from the rest, and be left behind; which a cowherd finding, brought to a farm belonging to the illustrious and reverend Count Borromeo, Canon of Padua. This beast infected all the cows and oxen of the place where he was taken in, with the same distemper he labour'd under; the beast it self dying in a few days, as did all the rest, except one only, who had a rowel put into his neck.
'Tis no strange thing therefore, if from the essluvia, like an atmosphere, proceeding from the sick cattle, from those dead, and from the cowhouses and pastures where they were fed, and by that means infected, and chiefly from the cloaths of the cowherds themselves, this infection falling upon a proper subject, should diffuse it self so largely. When therefore this subtile venomous exhalation happens to meet with any of the cow kind, joining it self with the ferous juices and animal spirits, whilst it is carry'd all over the body, disorders the natural consistence of the blood, and corrupts the ferments of the viscera; whence it naturally follows, that the natural functions of the viscera are vitiated, and the requisite secretions stop'd. For3
Dr. Ramazzini not only supposes, but asserts, that this poison is of that kind which rather fixes and coagulates, than dissolves the blood; for besides the forementioned symptoms accompanying the disease, the eye it self is a witness; since the dead carcases being open'd while they are yet hot, little or no blood nevertheless runs out; those animals having naturally a thick blood, especially when the fever has continued so many days. Whether therefore this plague came first from the foreign beast, or any other way, it is the same thing, when at last it fell upon some animal in which there was the morbid seminary or ground prepared for it.
In the dead bodies of all the cattle it was particularly observed, that in the omasus, or paunch, there was found a hard compact body, firmly adhering to the coats of the ventricle, of a large bulk, and an intolerable smell. In other parts, as in the brain, lungs, &c. were several hydatides, and large bladers fill'd only with wind, which being open'd gave a deadly stink; there were also ulcers at the root of the tongue, and bladders fill'd with a serum on the sides of it. This hard and compact body, like chalk, in the omasus, the author takes to be the first product of the contagious miasma. He adds a prognostick, believing that from so many attempts and experiments, and the method observ'd in the cure of this venom, at last a true and specifick remedy will be found out to extirpate the poisonous malignity wholly. He also expects some mitigation of it, from the approaching winter and north winds. He does not think this contagion can affect human bodies, since even other species of ruminating animals, symbolizing with the cow-kind, are yet untouch'd by it; nor was the infection catch'd from the air, provided due care was taken in the burying the dead bodies.
As for the cure of it: from the chirurgical4 part he commends bleeding, burning on both sides of the neck with a broad red hot iron, making holes in the ears with a round iron, and putting the root of hellebore in the hole, a rowel or seton under the chin, in the dewlaps; he also orders tongue and palate to be often wash'd and rub'd with vinegar and salt.
As for the pharmactutical part; he recommends alexipharmicks, and specifick cordials; and from the vegetable kingdom, three ounces of jesuits bark, infus'd in 10 or 12 pints of cordial water or small wine, to be given in 4 or 5 doses; which is to be done in the beginning of the fever, when the beast begins to be sick. From the animal, two drams of sperma ceti dissolv'd in warm wine. From the mineral, antimonium diaphoreticum, against worms breeding, an infusion of quicksilver or petroleum and milk is to be given. And lastly, as to the food, drinks made with barly or wheat flower or bread, like a ptisane, fresh sweet hay made in May and macerated in fair water. In the mean time the cattle must be kept in a warm place, and cloath'd, to keep them as much as possible from the cold air, daily making fumigations in the cowhouses with juniper berries, galbanum, and the like. As to prevention, he enjoyns care in cleaning the stalls, and scraping the crust off from the walls; care also is to be taken of their food, that it be good, the hay and straw not spoil'd by rain in the making and judges their food ought to be but sparing; friction, rubbing and currying not only with the hand, but with a currycomb and brush; with setons under their chin, made with a hot iron run through the part, and kept open with a rope put through it.

A pdf version of the entire text of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London can be found here (this article begins on page 46).


  1. Famous indeed, as Dr. Bernardino Ramazzini is known as the father of occupational medicine. Dr. Ramazzini published De Morbis Artificum Diatrib in 1700, which contained his collection of observations regarding the correlation between a work area and associated disease. []
  2. See my previous article for the 'recipe' that was being used for a cure. []
  3. OCR must have left a random 'for' as a part of the scanned text. []
  4. Supposed archaic definition of relating to surgery. []

Philosophical Transactions. For the months of September and October, 1715 - Part II.

Saturday, January 5th, 2019

Ⅱ. An Account of a journey from the Port of Oratava in the Island of Tenerife to the top of the pike in that island, in August last; with observations thereon by Mr. J. Edens.

On Tuesday August the 13th N.S. at half an hour past ten in the evening, I, in the company of four more English and one Dutch-man, with horses and servants to carry our provision, together with a guide (which is the same that has conducted all those that have been on this journey for many years) set forward from the Port of Oratava1. The night being somewhat cloudy, and the moon in the full at 12 the night following.
At half an hour past eleven we came to the town of Oratava, which is about two miles from the port, where we stopt for about half an hour, to get walking staves to assist us in our ascending the steep of the pike.
At one a-clock on Wednesday morning we came to the foot of a very steep rising, about a mile and half above the town of Oratava, where it began to clear up; and we saw the pike with a white cloud covering the top of it like a cap.
At two a-clock we cme to a plain place in the road which the Spaniards call Dornajito en el Monte verde (the little Trough in the green mountain) so call'd I suppose because a little below this plain, on the right hand as we went, there is a spout of wood placed in a rock, through which there runs very clear and cool water, which comes from the mountains; and at a descent a little lower than the spout there is a trough into which the water comes.
At three, after travelling a road, which was sometimes pretty smooth and at other times very rough, we came to a little wooden cross, by the road side on the left-hand, which the Spaniards call la Cruz de la Solera (The Cross of the Solera). A solera is a long pole with a hole at each end, which the Spaniards use to draw wood with, by fastning one end to the wood and the other to the oxen. This cross was made with a piece of solera, and for that reasion is so call'd, but why it was set up in this place I can't tell, unless it was because somebody was kill'd thereabouts. At this place we also saw the pike before us; and altho' we had come up hill quite from the port, yet to our thoughts it seem'd almost as high here as when we were there, the white cloud still hiding the greatest part of the sugar-loaf.
After riding about half a mile further, we came to the side of a hill which was very rough and steep, the place call'd Caravala; where are a great many pine trees that grow on both sides the road for a great way, both on the right-hand and the left, one of which was close to the road, on the right-hand as we went, our guide defir'd us to observe; it having a great branch growing out, which with all the boughs2 that were upon it look'd like the forepart of a ship. And from the likeness of this tree has to a ship I suppose the place took its name, for Caravela signifies an old-fashioned vessel formerly much used in Spain, sharp before, ill shap'd every way, and all the masts stooping foorwrds; their sails are all mizen sails, that is, triangular; they will lye nearer the wind than other sails, but are not so commodious to handle. Amongst these trees, not a great height in the air, we saw the sulphur discharge itsself like a squib or serpent made of gun-powder, the fire running downwards in a stream, and the smoak ascending upwards from the place where it first took fire; and like this we saw another, whilst we lay under the rocks the next night at la Stancha, part of the way up the pike; but I could not observe whether either of them gave any report as they discharg'd.
At three quarters after four we came to the top of this high rough and steep mountain, where grows a tree which the Spaniards call el Pino de la Merenda, the pine tree of the afternoon's meal. This is a large tree, and is burnt at the bottom, as having had fires made against it; and in the burnt place there issues out turpentine, a little of which I brought with me. At a few yards distance from this tree we had a fire made, where we stay'd and baited our horses, and breakfasted our selves. These hills are very sandy, and there are a great many rabbets which breed there; there is also much sand found a great way up to the pike itself, and not a great way below the foot of the sugar-loaf, some of which I brought down with me.
At three quarters after five we set forwards again, and at half an hour past six came to the portillo, which in Spanish signifies a breach or gap. We saw the pike about two leagues and a half before us, cover'd still with a cloud at top; and the Spaniards told us we were come about two leagues and a half from the port.
At half an hour past seven we came to las Faldas, that is the skirts of the pike; from whence all the way to la Stancha, which is about a quarter of a mile up from the foot of the pike, we rode upon little light stones, for the most part not much bigger than ones fist; and a great many not much broader than a shilling and if we kept the beaten track which was used before, it was not so deep, but if we turn'd out of it the horses went almost over their feet. I lighted and made a hole there, thinking to find how deep these little stones lie, but could not find the bottom; which makes me conclude they may cover the ground for a great thickness.
There are a great many vast rocks, some of them two mile or thereabouts from the foot of the pike, which the pike-man told us was cast out from the top of the pike at the time it was a vulcano; many of them lye in heaps of above threescore yards long, and I observ'd that the further these rocks lye from the foot of the pike, the more like they are to the stone of other common rocks: but the nearer we went to the pike we found them more black and solid; and some of them, tho' not many, were glossy like flint, and all extream heavy. Those that shone so, I suppose, retain'd their natural colour, but there are some that look like dross that comes out of a smith's forge, which without doubt was occasioned by the extream heat of the place they came from.
Some of these great rocks were thrown out of the caldera or kettle in the top of the pike; and others from a cave or cistern which is a pretty way up the side of the pike, and had by some been thought to have no bottom, more of which I shall say anon.
At nine on Wednesday morning we arrived at la Stancha, about a quarter of a mile above the foot of the pike on the east-side, where are three or four large hard and solid black rocks lodg'd under some of these we put our horses, and under others we lay down ourselves to sleep, after having refresh'd ourselves with a little wine and we had a fire made in order to get our dinner ready, where a cook we took along with us both roasted and boyled our meat and fowls very well. We slept here for about two hours, then rose again, and at about two in the afternoon went to dinner.
There are several mountains that lye eastward from the pike at four or five miles distance, call'd the Malpeses, and one more lying a little more to the southward call'd la Montaña de Rejada; all which were formerly vulcanos, tho' not so great as that of the pike, as appears by the rocks and small burnt stones that lye near them, just in the same manner as about the pike.
Still being at la Stancha, after we had dined we lay down again to take a nap under the rocks as before dinner, but not sleeping very well we all got up again, the rest of them spending the afternoon at cards, &e. But I made it my business to admire the strangeness and vastness of that great body, which indeed is very wonderful, insomuch that its impossible to express to one that has never seen it, in what a manner that confused heap of rubish lyes; for it may very well be stiled one of the greatest wonders in the world. About six at night we saw grand Canaria from la Stancha bearing from E. by N.
At nine at night, after having had our suppers, we retired to our former lodgings, where laying stones for our pillows and our cloaks for bed-cloaths, we endeavoured to get to sleep, but all in vain for a great while. Some lying pretty nigh a fire complain'd of being burnt on the one side and froze on the other (for the air was very cutting and sharp). Others happening to lye in a place where there was a great many fleas; though it be something strange that fleas should be found there, the place being so cold in the night; perhaps the goats sometimes get under these rocks and so leave them; and I am inclin'd to believe it, because the guide and I found a dead goat in a cave at the very top of the pike. I suppose this goat straggling up here by chance was benighted, and so finding the cold got into this place for heat, where meeting with too much of it, and a very strong sulphurious vapour it overcame him, for he was almost dryed to powder. But to proceed, betwixt eleven and twelve we got to sleep, and slept till one, when waking, our guide told us 'twas time to prepare for our journey. We immediately rose, and by half an hour past one we were all upon the march and leaving our horses and some of our men behind, we went away fasting excepting about two mouthfulls of wine apiece, which we took at our uprising. Betwixt la Stancha and the top of the pike there are two very high mountains and the sugar-loaf, each of which mountains is almost half a mile's walking; on the first of them the rubbish is more small, and we were apt to flip back as we stept upwards. But the uppermost is all composed of hard loose rocky great stones, cast one among another in a very confused order. After resting several times we came to the top of the first mountain, where we drank every one of us a little more wine, and eat each of us a bit of ginger-bread we had smongst us. Then being pretty well refresh'd, we set forwards again to ascend the second mountain, which is higher than the first, but is better to walk on because of the firmness of the rocks. After we had travel'd for about half an hour up the second mountain, we came within sight of the sugar-loaf, which before we could not see by reason of the interposition of these great hills. After we were arriv'd to the top of this second mountain we came to a way that was almost level, but bearing some small matter up-hill; and about a furlong farther is the foot of the sugar-loaf, which was soon after came to. Then looking upon our watches found it to be just three a-clock. The night was clear where we were, and the moon shone very bright but below over the sea we could see the clouds, which look'd like a valley at a prodigious depth below us. We had a brisk air, the wind being S.E. by S as it was for the most part whilst we were upon our journey.
Whilst we sat at the foot of the sugar-loaf, resting and refreshing our selves as before in other places, we saw the smoak break out in several places, which at first look'd like little clouds, but they soon vanish'd, others not long after coming in their room from the same or other places.
We set forwards to ascend the last and steepest part of our journey, viz. The sugar-loaf, exactly at half an hour past three, and after we had rested twice or thrice, I left the guide and the rest of my company, and ran forwards; and when I was got very nigh the top (which was at three quarters after three) two more of the company deserted, and came up about five minutes after me; the rest of the company and the guide coming up to the top just at four.
The shape of the top of the pike is partly oval, the longest diameter lying N.N.W. and S.S.E, and is as nigh as I could guess, about 140 yards long; the breadth the other way being about 110. Within the top of the pike is a very deep hold call'd the caldera (or kettle) the deepest part of which lyes at the south end; it is I believe 40 yards deep, reckoning from the highest side of the pike; but it is abundance shallower reckoning from the side opposite to Garachica. The sides of this kettle are very steep, in some places as steep as the descent on the outside of the sugar-loaf. At the bottom of this kettle we all were, where lye a great many very large stones, some of them higher than our heads. The earth that is withinside the kettle, being roll'd up long and put to a candle, will burn like brimstone. Several places withinside the top of the pike are burning, as on the outside; and in some places if you turn up the stones you'll find very fine brimstone or sulphur sticking to them. At these holes were the smoak comes out there also comes forth a great heat, so hot that one cannot endure one's hand there long. At the N. by the E. side within the top is the cave where we found the dead goat; in which cave sometimes the true spirit of sulphur distills, as they say, but it did not drop whilist I was there.
The report is false about the difficulty of breathing upon the top of this place; for we breath'd as well as if we had been below; we eat our breakfast there, and I was up in all for about two hours and a quarter.
Without doubt the quicksilver would have fell very much upon this high place, if I had but the good fortune to have got a couple of barometers to try. But there is no such thing in this island, and I was fearful of not getting company in the mind to go up with me another year (for to go up by ones self is very chargeable) else I would have sent to England to have been supply'd, tho' the expence had come all out of my own pocket.
Before the sun rose I think the air was as cold as I have known in England, in the sharpest frost I was ever in; I could scarcely endure my gloves off. There was a great dew all the while we were there till sun rising, which we could find by the wetness of our cloaths; but the sky look'd thereabouts as clear as possible.
A little after sun rising we saw the shadow of the pike upon the sea, reaching over the island of Gomera; and the shadow of the upper part, viz. of the sugar-loaf, we saw imprinted like another pike in the sky itself, which look'd very surprizing; but the air being cloudy below us, we saw none of the other islands but Grand Canaria and Gomera.
At six on Thursday morning we came down from the top of the sugar-loaf; at seven we came to the cistern of water which is reported to be without bottom; this the guide says is false, for about seven or eight years ago, when there was a great vulcano in this country, the cave was dry and he walk'd all about it, and said that the deepest part of water, when we were there, was not above two fathoms.

The dimensions of this cave I guess to be as follows.

Length about 35 yards
Breadth ― 12
Ordinary depth 14 from top to bottom.

Upon the furthermost side grows white stuff, which the pike-man told us was salt-peter. There was both ice and snow in it when we were there and the ice was of a great thickness covered with water about knee deep. We let down a bottle at the end of a string for some of the water, in which we put some sugar and drank it, but it was the coldest I ever drank in my life. The ice was broken just under the mouth of it, where we could see the stones lye at the bottom, for it was very clear. A little to the right-hand within this cave the ice was risen up in a high heap, in form of a spire steeple or like a sugar-loaf; and in this place I believe the water comes in. I should have been glad to have come at it, to let down a line to try whether there may not be some hole that the guide knows not of, that may be a great depth.
In our way home, we came by a cave three or four miles from the pike, where are a great many skeletons and bones of men; and some say there are the bones of giants in this cave, but we know not how many bodies are laid here, nor how far the cave may go. I intend (god willing) to go again before I leave the island, and then I'll take a light with me and see what discoveries I can make.
We came home to the port at about six a-clock this evening, being Thursday August 15, 1715. NS.
Whoever reads this, I hope, will pardon the faults my pen may have committed, for I was forc'd to write all night; the ship being to sail the next morning, and I have not time to examine it.

A pdf version of the entire text of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London can be found here (this article begins on page 317).


  1. Also known as Puerto de la Cruz which was developed as a major place of trade. []
  2. Boughs: a main branch of a tree. []

My new G

Friday, January 4th, 2019

So, im out here in Costa Rica feeling a little bit lonely. You see, I dont speak the language of either the native or noble people. Which means that my best option is to explore the gringo scene. This desire for social exploration led me to a picnic at Ciudad Colon...

I get overly optimistic when I met new people. The prospect of possibility trumps some critical thought on my end. At least this time, this hope was short lived when my neighbors sister in law picked me up in a honda with the trunk strapped down by a bungee cord and a baby in the back seat. She had invited me to the picnic the day before and I started the morning with peak bimbo excitement. The trunk was the first notch against any hope of a good day. We made small talk on the way...she was from Minnesota1 and moved here to teach and "marry a Tico". In fact, she informed me that the women we were meeting with had all moved here to marry Ticos. Notch two and I know enough to stop counting.
When we arrived at our destination, I was introduced to two women who were both teachers... three teachers from Minnesota and I were going on a picnic. You could tell how proud they were to have moved to Costa Rica2 by how many areas of the country I was instructed to avoid - it made me sad to realize that after 5+ years they are just permanent tourists. Their lack of understanding of actual Costa Rica was solidified by the host not offering anyone Costa Rican coffee. Emily had made lemonade with packets of pre-made mix and sandwiches from store bought bread. The ladies continued to make small talk3 about Minnesota life and excitedly warned me about venturing out alone. This was because one of them was robbed by a man in the capital of Costa Rica, San Jose, who repeatedly asked her for her cell phone until she just handed it over. I humored them by not telling her that, no - she wasn't actually robbed and from now on she should probably carry two of everything. The group was pretty shocked to see me wearing heels and a dress to a park in 75 degree weather. According to them, I should buy jeans/pants because "your body will adjust to this climate"4. Also, they freely offered to help me get a smart phone (with whatsapp) and a facebook account. The rest of the conversation consisted of talking about working at a school and vacations with their parents5. My desperation for socialization had led me to the type of people I actively avoided in the states. I wont bore you with any more details from the rest of the day6 - besides how I rushed home to try and wash away the degenerate feeling I was left with, but in the shower is when I met a real G!

arealg2

It was suggested to me that the little guy should be named Giuseppe and its the perfect name. Living with a gecko is a nice change from the raccoons that owned the trash cans in Indiana7. Were working on getting him his own scrub brush, shower cap, and weight set, so that hes ready to battle any spiders or gringos that come our way. I finally found a real G8 in Giuseppe the gecko.

arealg4

  1. When you tell people you are from Chicago, they naively resort to thinking that you walk down the street dodging bullets. I mostly encounter this by women who live a boring sheltered life and never had anal - so you can see why I dont correct them in hopes that they would never visit or move to chicago. Didn't think id see it in another country but hey, you cant take the basic out of becky. []
  2. When in fact they should have never moved anywhere under any circumstances, ever []
  3. I understand I repeated the word 'small talk' but thats all they are capable of. []
  4. Which is a harem inside joke, as the dresses are mandatory and I was warmer than usual. []
  5. This is even more sad when you realize that they were in their early thirties or younger []
  6. Guaranteed nothing they do will be worth mentioning by anyone ever again []
  7. This is not an exaggeration, all hoosiers know that you throw the garbage and run because those bastard raccoons are vicious. []
  8. To quote urban dictionary - "a real G is someone who is true to themselves and stood the test of time", but I've always know a real g to mean a real gangster. []