Archive for February, 2019

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

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

To these observations of Mr. Leewenhock I shall join,

III. An extract from the Journal Literaire, publish'd at the Hague, for the months of January and February, 1714. Pag. 238. Being,1
An account of several observations concerning the frame and texture of the muscles; by Mr. Muys of Franequer;

The celebrated Mr. Muys, who always acts for the honour of the Academy of Franequer, and advantage of students in physick and anatomy, has made several discoveries, as to the mechanism and texture of the muscles of animals; of which these are some.
He has observed, that the fleshy fibres of the muscles are composed of other smaller fibres, which he calls fibrilla; that these fibrilla are of the size of a slender hair, and that 500 or 600 of them, may be counted in one fleshy-fibre, whose diameter is no more than a 24th part of an inch.
That each of these fibrilla also is made up of more than 300 little transparent tubuli, but so slender, that if a blood globule (which, according to Mr. Leuwenhock, is but the 1,000,000th part of grain of sand) were divided into 24 parts, one of these could hardly pass thro' these small pipes.
He has shewn, that tho' the fleshy-fibres of the muscles are joined to the tendons and tendinous membrane of a muscle; yet these tendinous fibres are not a continuation of the fleshy ones, as most anatomist suppose; which he proves thus; if by means of a wooden knife, or only by pulling it, you separate the fleshy fibres from the tendon, the end of the tendon to which they were joined, will remain smooth and even, and not rugged.
Having made several injections of warm water into the crural artery of a lamb of a year old, all the fleshy-fibres lost all their redness, and became entirely white. The fibres behing whitened by this injection, he injected a coloured liquor by the same artery; and then not only the small arteries appeared filled with this tinged liquor, but he found also that the liquor past thro' each fibre, either in a serpentine manner, or undulating, or frameing several angles, or joined by a great number of anastomoses.
He observed also, that many small branches of the arteries which before could not be seen, appeared visibly, spread all round the little fibrilla, and tinged with the same colour.
Having remarked, that the parts of the fleshy fibres, which were near the extremities of the arteries, appeared tinged with the liquor, he examined them with a micrscope, and found the little fabrilla filled and tinged with the same liquor; and yet there was not least appearance of the liquor in the interstices between the fibrilla.
Having made injections by the crural artery, of another coloured liquor, in the muscles, whiten'd, as before, with water, he saw not only the fibres in some of the muscles, and the most part of them in the others filled with this matter; but having examined them with a good microscope, he found the fibrilla, and even the least tubuli which compose them, filled and tinged with the same matter; and nevertheless the small ramifications of the nerves appeared perfectly white.
It results from all these observations,
1st. That the little tubes, which make a fibrilla, are really hollow, and that the extremities of the capillary arteries open into them, and empty there a part of their liquor, which is re-conveyed by the veins to the heart.
2d. That the blood globules must be divided into an almost infinite degree of smallness, before they can enter and pass these tubuli. That the blood-globules may be so divided, and when so divide pass thro' the small tubuli, is evident from the redness of the fibres and fibrilla of animals, which have a red flesh; which will be no surprize to them who have read Mr. Leeuwenhocks letter 42, where he says, that these globules do divide themselves after this manner, to pass thro' the last extremities of the capillary arteries of the brain; nor to those who know, that the globules are extreame soft and easily separable, as Mounsieur Muys has evinced by arguments grounded on very curious observations.
Monsieur Muys has added to his observations very exact figures, which contribute very much to the forming a clear and distinct idea of the structure of these fibres of the muscles, and of the manner of the arteries passing through them; but I dare not so far depend on my skill in designing to venture to copy them.
This knowing person has also made several discoveries of the course and ramifications of the nerves in the muscles; but I wait for an opportunity of informing my self better of several particularities, before I can communicate them to you.
In my last I wrote to you concerning the salts which Mr. Muys had discover'd in human blood; but I had forgot to inform you, that he had found out a way to separate them from the blood, without any chymical analysis, and without making them undergo any change, and to form them into cristais, visible without a microscope; as he has shewn to his students in physick.

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 473).


  1. The article title is displayed on the contents page as: An extract from the Journal Literaire, &c. giving an account of several observations of the texture of the muscles, by Mr. Muys, Professor of Anatomy at Franequer. []

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

Monday, February 25th, 2019

Ⅱ. An extract of a letter from Mr. Anthony van Leeuwenhoeck, F.R.S. dated October the 12th. 1713. Concerning the fibres of the muscles, &c.

Gentlemen,

In compliance with your desires, I here send you a copy of the observations I communicated to the greater pensionary Monsieur Heinsius, concerning the membranes with which the fibrilla of the muscles appear to be encompassed, both in the flesh of a whale, cod-fish, salmon, and smelt; and also in that from an oxe to a mouse; in all which the appearance was the same.
TheThe flesh of the whale, was a small piece cut off near the tail of the fish, which I desired a sea-captain to bring me, that I might observe how the flesh in that part was joined to the tendons in so large an animal. Viewing this thro' the microscope, I judged the fibres thereof to be four times as large as those I had formerly observed in another piece of whale's flesh, taken from another part of the fish; which made me consider, whether the fibres of that part might not be, by nature, furnished with larger fibres for its greater strength.
Cutting the said flesh-parts length wise, and a cross the fibres, I discovered more plainly than before, that each particle or flesh-fibre, was enwrapt in a fine thin membrane.
To have a better idea of these flesh-fibres of a whale, I cut a thin slice of it a-cross, which I laid on a wetted piece of glass, that the flesh which was very dry and shrunk, might, by the moisture be swelled, and thereby distended to the natural size it had when on the body of the fish itself. In this state, placed before the microscope, it appeared as I caused it to be drawn in the figure. A.B.C.D. in which the parts were so close together, that their encompassing membranes, represented by the black lines, were but just discernable, some whereof appeared larger than others; these, if attentively viewed, seem'd plainly to be divided into multitudes of others, cut also transverse the bigness of which was no larger than a common sand to the naked eye. These were so close crowded together, that their figure was very irregular, as well as their sizes different; for tho' each seem'd encompassed with six others, yet some of them were twice as large as the other.
Having formerly mentioned the slenderness of these fibrilla in the flesh of a whale, and judging these, as I said before, to be four times as large, I took a thin slice of the formerly mentioned whale-flesh (which I had still kept by me) and after having made it thoroughly wet, I viewed it with the same microscope as I had done this of the tail. This appear'd as is represented (Fig. 2.) E.F.G.H. Letting the moisture dry away from these slices, so stuck on to the glass, the particles, became much smaller, and the membranes with which each was encompassed, became very visible; that is, those which were not shrunk away; which was a very entertaining object to the curious; and as often as I made new cuts, a new object presented itself.
A small particle of this flesh I caused to be drawn, as in (Fig.3.) I.K.L.M. These particles seem'd to touch and be joined to others; but now being dried, they shrunk in from the membranes round about them; for the membranes could not shrink, because they were all join'd to one another.
Along these flesh-fibres there runs some such thick membranes, that they equal the thickness of a hair or more, which are scarce distant the breadth of a sand from each other; from these larger membranes and other parts are spread, dividing each fibre into numerous fibrilla; so that it may be said, each flesh fibre no bigger than a hair, is a little muscle encompassed in its peculiar coat or membrane, as I have said before. Whereas the designer had not the same apprehension of the size of these fibres, as I and some other persons had, I made him draw a little piece as large as it appeared to my apprehension, as in (Fig. 4.) N.O.P. whence appears the difference of one man's sight from another.
I have also often seen some few of these fibres, tho' joyned to others, yet but one fourth of their bigness to which they were joined.
When I again moistend those represented in the third and fourth figures, (dryd up and shrunk) they would be again so swelled and distended, as to fill up the spaces between the membranes, and re-assume the shape they had before they were dried. Among several little pieces of flesh placed before another microscope, and moisten'd as before, there was one, whose particles were not separated upon drying, which I supposed to be, from the splitting and tearing asunder of a large membrane that run thro' the middle of it, as may be seen in (Fig. 5.) Q.R.S.T.V.W where between S.T. and V. the dried particles remain unseparated; these being cut a little thicker appeared also of a darker hew, and if they had been sliced yet thicker would have appeared of a dark red. By S.W. is represented the thick membrane dividing this piece, which was about the bigness of a hair; this at T. sent out a branch, and near W. is split into two, I apprehend that a great number of blood-vessels are spread over this membrane, which by their smallness are not visible; for it is by these the nourishment is convey'd. Between R.S. and Q.W. the exceeding fine membranes torn from the great are visible.
Is it not amazing that in such vast animals as a whale, such exceeding small fibrilla should be found? nay, such they are i nsmall animals; and that the whole fifth figure is not so large as a course grain of sand.
This whale was so large, that the upper part of its body yielded 60 quarteels of blubber or fat, which allowing 30 rotterdam stopes (making each about 3 English quarts) to one quarteel, it will nearly amount to 24000 pound weight; besides, there is a very great deal of fat about the entrails.
Then I caused a very little piece, consisting only of five fibrilla, to be drawn lengthwise, as they were seen thro' the microscope, as (in Fig. 6.) A.B.C.D.E.F. in which figure at A. and a little at that place, it is divided into two fibrilla. Between C. and F. are to be seen the little membranes which incompass the fibrilla, which are here torn asunder.
I have frequently, with pleasure, observed these flesh fibres lengthways, to be as it were corrugated or wrinkled, which I imagined to be the representation of their rest or unbent posture; and yet more, when the part to which they belong is bowed together, or brought nearer; but when the muscle is extended, and its antagonist acts, there is not the least wrinkle observable in these fibrilla.
However, all the little inequalities in these fibrilla must not be taken for those corrugations, since many of them are only the articles torn off from the membranes which encompass the fibrilla.
Figure (7) G.H.I.K. represent four little fibres of a piece of whales-flesh I had procured two years since; this I caused to be drawn to shew the difference. By the two Figures 6 and 7, is visible the diameters of the fibres are as big again in one, as in the other, therefore the fibres, must be four times as big in Fig. 6. as in Fig. 7. Now each flesh fibre being composed of a great many smaller fibrilla, we may imagine each of these in lying fibres do likewise consist of others of the like nature.
I have a fresh viewed several small fibres of ox-flesh, and observed, that each of the fibrilla in them was encompassed with a thin membrane. But I cannot shew these membranes so clearly to other persons in cows-flesh, as in whales-flesh because the parts of the former are of a much more compact and close texture than that of the whale, from whence they do not shrink so much in drying.
I, am of opinion, that what I have said of the membranes (encompassing the fibres and fibrilla) of the flesh in a whale, will likewise hold true in other kinds of flesh; yea even down to that of a rat or mouse; concerning which I shall prosecute my observations. I conclude, &c.

philo-trans-89

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 55).


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

Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

Ⅳ. An extract of several letters from Cotton Mather, D.D. to John Woodward, M.D. and Richard Waller, Esq; S.R. Secr.1

The first letter directed to Dr. Woodward, is dated at Beston in New England, Nov. 17. 1712. In this the writer gives an account of a large work in manuscript, in two volumes in Folio, but does not name the author. This, according to the account of it, is a large commentary upon some passages in the bible, interspers'd with large Philosophical remarks, taken out of natural historians, and the observations of himself and others, more particularly as to matters observ'd in America, whence he entitles the work, Biblia Americana. This work Dr. Mather recommends to the patronage of some generous mecanas, to promote the publication of. As a specimen of it, he transcribes a passage out of it, being a note on that passage in Gen chap. 6.v.4. relating to giants; and confirms the opinion of there having been, in the Antediluvian World, men of a very large and prodigious statures, by the bones and teeth of some large animals, found lately in Albany in New England, which, for some reasons he judges to be human; particularly a tooth brought from the place where it was found to New York, 1705. being a very large grinder, weighing 4 pounds and three quarters, with a bone, suppos'd to be a thigh-bone, 17 foot long. He also mentions another tooth, broad and flat like a fore-tooth, four fingers broad; the bones crumble to pieces in the air after they are dug up; they were found near a place call'd Cluverack, about 30 miles on this side Albany. He then gives the description of one, which the resembles to the eye-tooth of a man; he says it has four prongs, or roots, flat, and something worn on the top it was six inches high, lacking one eighth, as it stood upright on its root, and almost thirteen inches in circumference; it weigh'd two pounds four ounces troy weight; there was another near a pound heavier, found under the bank of Hudson's river, about fifty leagues from the sea, a great way below the surface of the earth, where the ground is of a different colour and substance from the other ground, for seventy five foot long, wich they suppose to be from the rotting of the body, to which these bones and teeth did, as he supposes, once belong. It were to be wish'd the writer had given an extact figure of these teeth and bones.
The second letter to the same person, is dated Nov. 18, 1712. from Boston, as all the following are. In this he treats of the plants of America; and in the first place, offers a conjecture of his concerning the shittim wood, mentioned in the sacred writings to be made use of for the Ark, &c. It is said to be not as most other woods, subject to rot; he judges that it was the black acacia; that the gopher wood was the juniperus arbor tetragonophyllos, frequent in the East-Indies, &c. He observes that the Indians often perform very great cures with their plants; of which there is a great variety, differing from the Europen, which he promises a catalogue and description of; and, for the present, instances in some. As, a plant efficacious in curing inflammations, whence they call it aniterisypelas; it grows plentifully in the woods. A chymical oil extracted from it, taken inwardly, does wonders in absorbing scorbutick salts. Another plant, which goes by the name of partridge-berries, excellent in curing the dropsy; a decoction of leaves being drank several days as a tea, discharging a vast quantity of urine, as long as the disease lasts; after which it may be drank without provoking urine observably gouty persons drink it with benefit.
The root call'd the bleeding root, curing the jaundies in five or six days.
Another for gangrenes, of which he does not give the name.
Another specifick for the bite of the rattle-snake, and another for quinsies, or sore throats. A plant, call'd by the Indians, Taututtipang; infallible for the Lues Venera, the root being used in a decoction, and drank half a pint; a cataplasm of the same root, bruised, apply'd to the ulcers, cures them also.
A thistle call'd the boar-thistle; very short and prickly, with a large and long root. To this they add a root, call'd the cancer root, and a sort of devils bit; a decoction of which three roots is a cure for the King's evil, tho' very far gone; a small quantity being drank every day, and the bruised roots apply'd to the Scrophulous tumors.
But of these American plants he promises a larger crop.
The third letter relates chiefly to the birds of that country; where, he says, they have many of the same species with ours in England. He mentions very large wild turkies, some weighing 50 or 60 pound, but the flesh is very tough and hard. He takes notice of a very large eagle with a great head, soaring very high, as all of that genus do. As to the itinerants; he takes notice of vast flights of pigeons, coming and departing at certain seasons; and as to this, he has a particular fancy of their repairing to some undsicovered satellite, accompanying the earth at a near distance.
The next letter relates to antipathies, and the force of the imagination. As to the first, he says, a gentlewoman of his neighbourhood swoons upon the seeing any one cut their nails with a knife; which if done with a pair of scissors has no effect upon her. The wife of a person, vomitting upon seeing her husband take a vomit; the patient that took it being not mov'd, but forc'd to take a fresh emetic.
Some histories are here related of the macula materna. One particularly, of a woman longing for peas, but refusing to gratifie her desire, for fear of a sort of bug, with which at that time most of their peas were infested; this woman's child, when born, had an excrescence on the forehead, resembling one of those peas, with a black speck, as the buggy peas had, which after some time, dry'd away, and shell'd out the fancy'd, as the bugs are observ'd to leave the husk of the pea.
This letter concludes with an account of a stone, generated under the tongue, near the root.
The fifth letter gives an account of some monstrous births, but nothing very observable.
The sixth letter relates the stories of some persons that had informations of medicines for the distempers they lay under, in their dreams; these accounts relate little to natural philosophy.
The next, and last to Dr.Woodward, relates the cures of several wounds in persons, which were judg'd mortal. In this little of philosophical information.
The next letter, being the first to Mr. Waller, is dated at Boston, Nov. 24. 1712. In this the writer observes, in the first place, that the Indians have no division of time, except by sleeps, moons and winters. Altho' the Indians have not divided or distinguished the stars into constellations, yet it is observable that they call the stars of Ursa Major, Paukunawaw, that is, the Bear; and this long before they had any communication with Europeans. He says there is a tradition among them, that in November 1668. a star appear'd below the body of the moon, within the horns of it. In the next place he mentions the evening glade; first taken notice of by Dr. Childrey, to be constantly observ'd there in February, and a little before and after that month; adding that the cause of that appearance must be sought for above the atmosphere. Then he gives a new method of his own for finding the Julian period, adding a table for that purpose; which concludes the letter.
The next relates the appearance of several uncommon rainbows and mock suns. On the 2d of January, in a clear sky, but very cold; the sun was from ten o'clock, for near three hours after, attended with four parhelia, in the midst whereof were two rainbows.
About six weeks after this, in a day much colder than used to be at that time of the year, the air a little hazy, a little after one o'clock, for about half an hour, four mock-suns were seen.
He observes, that these appearances with them are of great varieties, each usually differing in some respect from the other.
The next letter dated, Nov. 26th to the same person, has the relation of a strange discovery of the murder of a person in England, to his brother Joseph Beacon, at that time at Boston, in a dream; the person wounded appearing with the wound on his head; with the attestations of several person, as to the truth of it. The information by the dream was on the 2d of May, 1687, about five o'clock in the morning; on the very same day his brother dy'd at London, of the wounds he had receiv'd in April before; of which misfortune his brother Joseph Beacon neither had, nor could have any notice, till the next communication by shipping, towards the latter end of June following; when he had a letter of his brother's death, and the cause of it, agreeable to his dream, but this not directly relating to natural philosophy, I omit the particulars, tho' the relation seems to be well attested.
The following letter sent likewise to Mr. Waller, treats chiefly of the rattle-snake, hinting at the occasion of its name, from the rattles in its tail, in which he says are sometimes twenty of those loose rings, tho' he does not come in with the opinion, that one is added every year. Next follow these observations. That the more Northerly they travel, these snakes are less numerous, as well as less venomous; nor as it is said, are any seen to the North of Merinack River, which is about 40 miles North of Boston. Here he relates a story, as he says, constantly affirmed by the Indians, that these snakes frequently lie coiled at the bottom of a great tree, with their eyes fixed on some squirril above in the tree which tho' seeming by his cries and leaping about, to be in a fright, yet at last runs down the tree, and into the jaws of devourer. Then he relates, that the winter aboad of these snakes; is in the clefts of inaccessible rocks, from whence in the spring, they come forth a sunning themselves, at first very feeble, which is their chief time of destroying them. At this time the cystis or gall bladder in these snakes is full of an acid azure coloured juice, which they squeeze out into a glass, but it is so spirituous, that if the glass be not immediately stopt, it will soon evaporate; this liquor therefore they mix with a convenient quantity of powder'd chalk or Indian meal, and use it as a proper medicine against the venemous bite of this snake; some have named it trochisci connecticotiani, from the Connecticot colony. 'Tis observable when the summer heats come on, the snakes have no longer this azure liquor in their gall bladders, in which there is only found a black thick sediment, of no known use, at which time they think the forementioned spirituous juice is carried to, and lodged in their gums, and so conveyed or thrown by the hollow of the teeth into the wound, when they bite, having received another digestion, and higher exaltation by passing thro' several strainers and glands before it arrives to the gums; as an instance of the virulence of this liquor, he tells us, that a traveller killing one of these snakes, suffered the inraged dying viper, to bite the end of his switch, with the lashes of which he had disabled them; and a fly by chance disturbing one of his temples as he rod on afterwards, he rub'd his temple with the other end of the switch, whichas he relates it, immediately caused his whole head to swell to a great excess, the poison as he supposes permeating the whole length of the switch. He adds another relation as to the penetrating quality of this poison, a person provoking a rattle-snake to bite the edge of a broad axe he had in his hand; the colour, and at the first stroke he made with it in using his ax, the so discoloured part broke out, leaving a gap in his ax. But to return to the trochies made of the gall, he says it is a cordial sudorifick, and so good an anodine, that he knows some who take 3 or 4 gains of it to compose them to rest after travel. 'Tis good in all fevers, especially the malignant. 'Tis an infallible remedy for obstructions incident to women upon catching a cold in childbed. Being taken in a convenient quantity, 12 hours before the fit, it certainly cures a quartan ague. The dose is 14 grains more or less according to the circumstances of the patient in any vehicle. The next letter treats of the effects of thunder and lightning very frequent with them, which from its frequent destroying animals, without any visible hurt on the external parts, he compares to the Jewish punishment of pouring melted lead down the throats of the condemn'd which they call'd combustio anima. Tho' he likewise observes some have had their hair singed with marks on their skin like those made by small shot; some have had their bones made limber like a gristle. The captain of their castle was found dead in his bed after a storm of lightning without any apparent hurt. Here he relates a passage of which an account has sometime since been given in the Philosoph. Transact. but is here confirm'd. That July 24th, 1681. a ship whereof one Mr. Lad was master about 100 leagues from New England in Lat. 38. met with a violent storm of thunder, which did much damage to the ship; at which time, a bituminous matter fell on the ship burning with that violence, as not to be extinguish'd with water till it was all burnt out, smelling strongly like fired gunpowder; and when they came to observe the stars at night, they found the polarity or direction of their sea compasses to be changed; the North point being turned to the South, and so continued to do for the rest of the voyage for a 1000 leagues. He adds farther, that one of these compasses continues to do so still, and was upon his table before him at the time of his writing this present letter. He makes a quere whether this may be accounted for by Mr. Boyl's experiment of heating a loadstone red-hot, and by altering the position in which it was cool'd, he could change its polarity. Which some may say, might happen to this needle, supposing it was made red-hot, and turned upon its center in the storm.
From thunder he proceeds to earth-quakes, which tho' he says they have not done with them the mischiefs frequent in Sicily, Italy, &c. yet they have had several very sensible and affrightning. In the year 1663, they had 6 or 7 violent shakes in the space of 3 days; a town lying on the river Connecticut, has had scores of them in a year, for many years together. The Indians affirm, that several rivers have not only been stopt in their course and diverted, but some wholly swallowed up by earth-quakes. He farther adds, a passage out of Josselin who dwelt in the neighbourhood, that in the year 1670, at a place called Kenebunch, near the side of the river, a piece of clay ground was thrown up over the tops of high oaks, growing between it and the river, which it thereby stopt, and left a hole in the place from which it was thrown forty yards square, &c. Next as to storms of hail, he relates that they have had very extraordinary ones, insomuch that they have lain 3 or 4 foot thick on the ground, some as big as hens eggs, others five times as big. He mentions, as an accident sometimes happening to them in the winter, that it has rain'd plentifully, and at night frozen so extremely, that the weight of the icicles has broken the limbs of the trees, and not unfrequently split their trunks. Tho' they have not those hurricanes to which the Caribbe Islands are subject; yet they have had whirlwinds, or gusts, drive along a particular narrow tract, for divers miles together, with a violence not to be opposed by any thing on earth; that if their towns had stood in the way, they must undoubtedly have been destroy'd. Of these, he says, a thick dark, small cloud has arose, with a pillar of light in it, of about 8 or 10 foot diameter, and past along the ground in a track not wider than a street, horribly tearing up trees by the roots, blowing them up in the air like feathers, and throwing up stones of a great weight to a considerable height in the air, throwing down all in its passage; the noise this cloud made was so great all the while, that the noise of the mischiefs done by it, was thereby quite drown'd.
The remainder of this letter relates to some very ancient remains, at a place call'd Ammuskeag, a little above the hideous falls of Merimack River. There is a huge rock in the midst of the stream, on the top of which are a great number of pits, made exactly round, like barrels or hogsheads of different capacities, some so large as to hold several turns; the natives know nothing of the time they were made; but the neighbouring Indians have been wont to hide their provisions in them, in their wars with the Maqua's; affirming, God had cut them out for that use for them. They seem plainly to be artificial.
In the next place, he gives an account of a strange inscription found on a rock, in these words. At Taunton, by the side of a tiding river, part in part out of the river, there is a large rock, on the perpendicular side of which, next to the stream, are 7 or 8 lines, about 7 or 8 foot long, and about a foot wide, each of them ingraven with unaccountable characters. not like any known character. He has not yet been able to procure the whole, which he hopes to be master of before long, and has herewith sent a copy of two of them, promising the rest; they are as represented, Fig. 8.
The last letter of this collection, dated Nov. 29, 1712. gives a calculation of the possible increase of the descendants of Adam; and from this introduction proceeds to the account of some long-liv'd persons there, as likewise of their fruitfulness. He says, 'tis no rare thing with them to have an aged gentlewoman see many more than 100 of her offspring. He mentions one woman that had 23 children, of which 19 liv'd to man's estate. Another that had 27; another 26, of which 21 were sons, one whereof was Sir William Phipps; another 39 children. Here he gives several instances of persons living, with them, to above 100 years of age. This man, to the last year, could carry a bushel of wheat to the mill, above 2 miles. He relates the case of an old man, above 100, that lost the memory of several of the latter years of his life, but very well retain'd the remembrance of what past in his younger days. I do not find, by any of these relations, that the persons observ'd any regularity, or method, in their manner of diet, exercise, or the like.

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 62).


  1. This entry is titled on the contents page as the following: An extract of several letters from Cotton Mather, D.D. F.R.S. to John Woodward, M.D. S.R.S. & Prof. Med. Gresh. and to Ric. Waller, Esq; S.R. Secr []

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

Thursday, February 21st, 2019

Ⅱ. Ludovici Ferdinatidi Marsilii dissertatio de
generatione fungorum. Rom. 1714. 4to.

This author tells us that he gave his youthful inclinations to the study of the mathematicks and observations of nature, under the tuition of the celebrated Malpigius, and Lelius Triumfettus botanick Professor of Bononia; and amongst the various productions of nature, his chief delight was in the contemplation of the sudden growth and various sorts of mushrooms which both the earth and trees brought forth. Of the first kind he observed the greatest number to arise in camps, produced from the horse dung, and are commonly called prataiouli.
In the years 1699 and 1700, being then in Croatia and Transylvania, in the the armies there, he made a large volume of designs of fungi, which he sent to Triumfetti to put in order, who added a great number of them to such as he found about Bononia; yet after all the most diligent search, he could never find them to produce any see either in the gills or other parts.
The origin and generation of mushrooms he says is not easy to demonstrate, since both the antients and moderns disagree very much about it. The late botanists seem to be of three different sentiments concerning their produce. Mr. Ray, Dr. Sherrard, Mr. Doody, Beccone and Mentziius having observed some mushrooms to have had seed, were of opinion others might have the same original. Clusius and John Baptista Porta had in some also observed their seed; others, viz. Sharrock and the accurate, Malpigius, who could not find any seed in them, altho' with the assistance of microscopes, did suppose they might be produced by pieces of themselves, carried by the winds from place to place, as other plants are by slips and offsetts.
The third opinion, which he says most agree in, is that they arise from putrefaction, or a mixture of certain salts, sulphur and earth impregnated with the dung of beasts.
The fungus seminifer campaniformis Mentzelii, &c. being the mushroom which first gave the occasion of the opinion of their having seed, this nice author has accurately figured and observed, and supposes with others that these feedlike bodies may be the ovaria of some insects; and the rather because they are so very large in proportion to the smallness of the mushroom; and that they had often been sowed by Dr. Amadoes a curious botanist, without any success towards raising them. From whence he concludes these bodies ought to have another denomination than seed; neither is he of the opinion that they are produced by parts of themselves.
In his division of mushrooms he first treats of the truffles and their increase, situation and soyl, colour, tast and consistence. He next proceeds to soft mushrooms, such as he observed in his own garden; which having in the spring been meliorated with horse-dung, about the middle of June there sprung up divers of that sort which the Italians call prataiuoli, amongst a bed of lettice. These continued till near the midst of August before they went off. Of these and some other kinds he accurately figures the first shootings and fibres.
His next tribe are such as grow from wood, but yet are themselves soft. Of these he observes three kinds; the first a large one in his window, out of a piece of firwood which it has been often rained on; with two smaller sorts from some rotten boards in his garden. All these he figures both in their natural and divided states, as also microscopically.
Treating of hard woody mushrooms (of which he also gives you some accurate figures) he observes they rarely appear on the trees, in Germany and Croatia, before they are twenty or thirty years old; but most commonly when forty or fifty; and the original of them he attributes chiefly to the rottenness of the wood, and says they generally break out in the spring, when the leaves begin to shoot. And that usually they grow below the middle of the trees, and are cause of so much decay in them, that they often die in three or four years.
It may not here be amiss to subjoin what Dr. Lancisius communicates to our author, concerning the lapis fungarius, viz. that altho' this mushroom producer has the name of a stone, it ought not to be reckoned of that genus, it being really no other than a mass or congeries of roots, seeds and juices coagulated with earth into, as it were, a stony substance. Upon which pouring water and setting it in a warm place, it loosens its hardned substance; and by mollifying its fibres and moistning its concrete juices, out of the cliffs and chinks thereof the mushrooms spring, as they do in other places from simple dung and loose earth. And it is also farther to be noted, that when this stony mass has thus yielded these its offspring, the remains grow light, porous and decay'd, its nutritive juices being then exhausted.

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 350).


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

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

Ⅶ. The art of living under water; or, a discourse concerning the means of furnishing air at the bottom of the sea, in any ordinary depths. By Edm. Halley, LL.D. Secretary to the Royal Society.

There have been many methods proposed, and engines contrived, for enabling men to abide a competent while under water; and the respiring fresh air being found to be absolutely necessary to maintain life in all that breath, several ways have been thought of, for carrying this Pabulum Vita down to the diver, who must, without being somehow supplied therewith, return very soon, or perish.
We have heard of the divers for spunges in the Archipelago, helping themselves by carrying down spunges dipt in oyl in their mouths; but considering how small a quantity of air can be supposed to be contained in the pores or interstices of a spunge, and how much that little will be contracted by the pressure of the incumbent water, it cannot be believed that a supply, by this means obtained ,can long subsist a diver. Since by experiment it is found that a gallon of air, included in a bladder, and by a pope reciprocally inspired and expired by the lungs of a man, will become unfit for any further respiration, in little more than one minute of time; and though its elasticity be but little altered, yet in passing the lungs, it loses its vivifying spirit, and is rendred effete, not unlike the medium found in damps, which is present death to those that breath it; and which in an instant extinguishes the brightest flame, or the shining of glowing coals or red hot iron, it put into it. I shall not go about to shew what it is the air loses by being taken into the lungs, or what it communicates to the blood by the extream ramifications of the Aspera Arteria, so intimately interwoven with the capillary blood vessels; much less to explain how 'tis performed, since no discovery has yet been made, to prove that the ultimate branches of the veins and arteries there, have any anastomoses with those of the trachea; as by the microscope they are found to have with one another. But I rather choose to leave this enquiry to the curious anatomist, to whom the structure of the lungs is better understood; and shall only conclude from the aforesaid experiment, that a naked diver, without a sponge, may not be above a couple of minutes enclosed in water, (as I once saw a Florida-Indian at Bermudas) nor much longer with a spunge, without suffocating; and not near so long without great use and practice; ordinary persons generally beginning to stifle in about half a minute of time. Besides if the depth be considerable, the pressure of the water on the vessels is found by experience to make the eyes blood-shot, and frequently to occasion spitting of blood.
When therefore there has been occasion to continue long at the bottom; some have contrived double flexible pipes, to circulate air down into a cavity enclosing the water, and to give leave to his breast to dilate upon inspiration; the fresh air being forced down by one of the pipes with bellowes or otherwise, and returning by the other of them; not unlike to an artery and vein. This has indeed been found sufficient for small depths, not exceeding twelve or fifteen foot; but when the depth surpasses three fathoms, experience teaches us that this method becomes impracticable; for though the pipes and the rest of the apparatus may be contrived to perform their office duly; yet the water, its weight being now become considerable, does so closely embrace and clasp the limbs that are bare, or covered with a flexible covering, that it obstructs the circulation of the blood in them; and presses with so much force on all the junctures, where armour is made tight with leather, skins or such like, that if there be the least defect in any of them, the whole engine will instantly fill with water, which will rush in with so much violence, as to endanger the life of the man below, who may be drown'd before he can be drawn up. Upon both which accounts, the danger encreases with the depth. Besides a man thus shut up in a weighty case, as this must needs be, cannot but be very unwieldy and unactive, and therefore unfit to execute what he is designed to do at the bottom.
To remedy these inconveniences, the diving-bell was next thought of; wherein the diver is safely conveyed into any reasonable depth, and may stay more or less time under water, according as the bell is of greater or lesser capacity. This is most conveniently made in form of a truncare cone, the smaller basis being closed, and the larger open; and ought to be so poized with lead, and so suspended, that the vessel may sink full of air, with its greater or open basis downwards, and as near as may be in a situation parallel to the horizon, so as to close with the surface of the water all at once. Under this couvercle the diver setting, sinks down together with the included air into the depth desired; and if the cavity of the vessel may contain a tun of water, a single man may remain therein at least an hour, without much inconvenience, at five or six fathoms deep. But this included air, as it descends lower, does contract itself according to the weight of the water that compresses it; so as at thirty three foot deep or thereabouts, the bell will be half full of water, the pressure of it being then equal to that of the whole atmosphere; and at all other depths, the space occupied by the comprest air in the upper part of the bell, will be to the under part of its capacity fill'd with water, as thirty three feet to the depth of th surface of the water in the bell below the common surface thereof. And this condensed air, being taken in with the breath, soon insinuates itself into all the cavities of the body, and has no sensible effect, if the bell be permitted to descend so slowly as to allow time for that purpose. The only inconvenience that attends it, is found in the ears, within which there are cavities opening only outwards, and that by pores so small as not to give admission even to the air itself, unless they be dilated and distended by a considerable force. Hence on the first descent of the bell, a pressure begins to be felt on each ear, which by degrees grows painful, like as if a quill were forcibly thrust into the hole of the ear; till at length, the force overcoming the obstacle, that which constringes these pores yields to the pressure, and letting some condensed air slip in, present ease ensues. But the bell descending still lower, the pain is renewed, and again eased after the same manner. On the contrary, when the engine is drawn up again, the condensed air finds a much easier passage out of those cavities, and even without pain. This force on the auditory passages might possibly be suspected to be prejudicial to the organs of hearing, but that experience teaches otherwise. But what is more inconvenient in this engine, is the water entering into it, so as to contract the bulk of air (according to the aforesaid rule) into so small a space, as that it soon heats and becomes unfit for respiration, for which reason it must be often drawn up to recruit it; and besides the diver being almost covered with the water thus entering into his receptacle, will not be long able to endure the cold thereof.
Being engaged in an affair that required the skill of continuing under water, I found it necessary to obviate these difficulties which attend the use of the common diving-bell, by inventing some means to convey air down to it, whilst below; whereby not only the air included therein, would be refresh'd and recruited, but also the water wholly driven out, in whatever depth it was. This I effected by a contrivance so easy, that it may be wondred it should not have been thought of sooner, and capable of furnishing air at the bottom of the sea in any quantity desired. The description of my apparatus, take as follows.
The bell I made use of was of wood, containing about 60 cubick foot in its concavity, and was of the form of a truncate-cone, whose diameter at the top was three foot, and at bottom five. This I coated with lead so heavy that it would sink empty, and I distributed the weight so about its bottom, that it would go down in a perpendicular situation and no other. In the top, I fixed a strong but clear class, as a window to let in the light from above; and likewise a gock to let out the hot air that had been breathed; and below, about a yard under the bell, I laced a stage which hung by three ropes, each of which was charged with about one hundred weight, to keep it steddy. This machine I suspended secured by stays to the mast-head, and was directed by braces to carry it over-board clear of the ship side, and to bring it again within board as occasion required.
To supply air to this bell when under water, I caused a couple of barrels, of about 36 gallons each, to be cased with lead, so as to sink empty; each having a bung-hole in its lowest part to let in the water, as the air in them condensed on their descent; and to let it out again, when they were drawn up full from below. And to a hole in the uppermost part of these barrels I fixed a leathern trunk or hose, well liquored with bees-wax and oyl, and long enough to fall below the bung-hole, being kept down by a weight appended; so that the air in the upper part of the barrels could not escape, unless the lower ends of these hose were first lifted up.
The air barrels being thus prepared, I fitted them with tackle proper to make them rise and fall alternately, after the manner of two buckets in a well; which was done with so much ease, that two men, with less than half their strength, could perform all the labour required; and in their descent they were directed by lines fastned to the under edge of the bell, the which past through rings placed on both sides of the leathern hose in each barrel; so that sliding down by those lines, they came readily to the hand of a man, who stood on the stage on purpose to receive them, and to take up the ends of the hose into the bell. Through these hose, as soon as their ends came above the surface of the water in the barrels, all the air that was included in the upper parts of them was blown with great force into the bell, whilst the water entred at the bung-holes below and fill'd them; and so soon as the air of the one barrel had been thus received; upon a signal given. That was drawn up, and at the same time the other descended; and by an alternate succession furnished air so quick and in so great plenty, that I myself have been one of five who have been together at the bottom, in nine or ten fathoms water, for above an hour and half at a time, without any sort of ill consequence; and I might have continued there as long as I pleased, for anything that appeared to the contrary. Besides the whole cavity of the bell was kept entirely free from water, so that I sat on a bench, which was diametrically placed near the bottom, wholly drest with all my cloaths on. I only observed, that it was necessary to be let down gradually at first, as about 12 foot at a time; and then to stop and drive out the water that entred, by receiving three or four barrels of fresh air, before I descended further. But being arrived at the depth designed, I then let out as much of the hot air that had been breathed, as each barrel would replenish with coo, by means of the gock at the top of the bell; and through whose aperture, though very small, the air would rush with so much violence, as to make the surface of the sea boyle, and to cover it with a white foam, not withstanding the great weight of water over us.
Thus I found I could do anything that was required to be done just under us; and that, by taking off the stage; I could, for a space as wide as the circuit of the bell, lay the bottom of the sea so far dry, as not to be over-shoes thereon. And by the glass window, so much light was transmitted, that, when the sea was clear, and especially when the sun shone, I could see perfectly well to write or read, much more to fasten or lay hold on anything under us, that was to be taken up. And by the return of the air-barrels, I often sent up orders, written with an iron pen on small plates of lead, directing how to move us from place to place as occasion required. At other times when the water was troubled and thick, it would be dark as night below; but in such case, I have been able to keep a candle burning in the bell as long as I pleas'd, notwithstanding the great expence of air requisite to maintain flame.
This I take to be an invention applicable to various uses; such as fishing for pearl, diving for coral, spunges and the like, in far greater depths than has hitherto been thought possible. Also for the fitting and plaining of the foundations of moles, bridges, &c. upon rocky bottoms; and for the cleaning and scrubbing of ship bottoms when foul, in calm weather at sea. But as I have no experience of these matters I leave them to those that plcase to try. I shall only intimate, that by an additional contrivance, I have found it not impracticable for a diver to go out of our engine, to a good distance from it, the air being conveyed to him with a continued stream by small flexible pipes; which pipes may serve as a clew to direct him back again, when he would return to the bell. But of this perhaps more hereafter.

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 492).


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

Saturday, February 16th, 2019

Ⅴ. Observations and experiments relating to the motion of the sap in vegetables. By Mr. Richard Bradely, R.S.S.

Of plants in general we may first observe, that they are either terrestrial, amphibious, or aquatick; and so nearly do vegetables agree with animals in most points, except local motion and its consequences, that from the knowledge of the one we are reasonably led to the discovery of the other.
Those plants which I call terrestrial are such as trees, shrubs and herbs, which grow only on the land. These like land animals have diversities of food, a method of generating, and certain periods of life.
Of the amphibious race, which live as well on land as in the waters, are the willows, rushes, minths, &c. these are not unlike in many respects to the otter, tortoise, frog, &c.
The aquaticks, whether of lakes, rivers, or the sea, are very numerous; these may be compared with the fifth-kind, and like them will not live out of their proper element. In fresh waters are the water-lilly's, plantains, &c. and in the sea, corals, fuci, &c.
Plants seem to possess only the next degree of life below the most stupid animal; or where animal life leaves off the vegetable life seems to begin.
The seasons of motion in plants are the same with those of animals, which sleep during the winter. An artificial heat will give motion to either of these in the coldest of time.
The common opinions relating to the saps motion are as follows. First, the sap does not rise by the pitch; because some have observ'd the trunks of large trees to be without that part, and yet the same trees have continued to put forth fruit, and branches on their tops. I have observ'd, that the pith is not found in those branches of a tree which exceed two or three years growth; and it is certain, that the pith which is a branch of this year, will (the greatest part of it) be distributed into those boughs which form themselves the next season.
It is said by some, that the tree does not receive its nourishment by the bark, for that trees having lost that part, will still continue their growth. Others tell us, that if the bark be cut away round the trunk of a tree, it will presently die. These various opinions seem to have been set on foot without extraordinary consideration, upon the belief that a tree has but one bark; whereas, upon examination with the microscope, we find four distinct coverings to each branch, without the woody parts. The two outermost barks may be taken from a tree without great damage, but the other two which lye nearer the wood being strip'd off will kill the tree.
Some affirm, that the sap doth neither rise nor fall in the woody part of a tree, because they have not been able to discern any sap to issue out that part, when a branch has been cut. The microscope plainly shews us the vessels in the wood, though which the sap riseth from the root; but as these tubes are not large enough to admit into them any thing more gross than vapour, so they have not been esteem'd to be of any great use. But I hope the explanation of the adjoyn'd figure will in some measure discover the office of these, and of such other parts of a plant as are severally design'd for the growth of vegetables; but it will first be convenient to enquire a little into the nature of the root.
The root of a tree is chiefly composed of a parenchyma, more gross than that in the stem or body of the tree; it has likewise vessels and a covering, which I shall better explain in another paper. The root, that is, the principal part of it, receives into it such juices of the earth as are proper for it, and no other. Some what like a weck of cotton, which having been impregnated with oil, will only admit oil into it. This provision being made in the stomach of the plant (as I call it) chiefly in the Autumn months, the tree is prepared for germination so soon as the earth is sufficiently warm'd, either by the sun's beams, or an artificial heat, such as horse dung, bran and water, or other such like ferments. These heats raise into vapour the juices contained in the root, and by that means cause vegetation.
Figure I. which I am about to explain, is part of the branch of an apple tree made in May 1715, and cut in April 1716. It was cut in figure of a half cylinder, the length somewhat more than the diameter, which was about a quarter of an inch. This being magnified with one of Campani's microscopes, discovers the following parts, viz.
1,2,3,4,5,6,7. are capillary vessels, which run longitudinally through the branch, in the ligneous part, which was made in the year 1715. Through these tubes, the steam riseth from the root; the strength of which is well explain'd by the engine for raising water by fire, invented by the late Captain Savory.
From A to B, we may view vessels of the same fort, made at the same time.
8, 9. are vessels of the same use with the former, now forming themselves for the use of the year 1716.
By this means the diameter of the branch is increas'd, and additional nourishment suffer'd to pass into those buds which are to make new branches. These are made out of the fourth or innermost bark, markt C,C.
The mouths of the capillary tubes of the years 1715, and 1716 are D,E. The vapour which riseth from the root, is continued in these vessels, to the extremities of the branches; where it meets with parts (not here describ'd) like to glands; which glands, if we may so call them, are likewise found at every knot or joynt. At these places, the vapour coming near the air is condensed, and returns between the barks, by means of its own weight, down F,G,H, leaving in each bark mark'd I, K,L, such juices as each of them naturally inclin'd to separate from it; till at last, the more oyly part passing to the root, may lengthen the fibres thereof, as icicles are lengthned; and by its oleous particles, preserve them from rotting by wet. The parts which compose the several barks, are parenchymous or spongey.
The first mark'd M, is of a closer texture than the second N, and the second closer than the third O, and so on till these parenchymous parts interwoven with the longitudinal wood-vessels, where they are somewhat constrain'd, till they come to make the pith mark'd P. Then they are much larger than in any other part of the tree; and by what I have observ'd, seem to contain a more finish'd jucie than the rest, and may well enough be stiled the Medulla.
We may note, that when the fourth or innermost bark C, has once compleated its sap-vessels, and its firmly join'd to the wooden part, then the third bark O takes its place for the succeeding year; and so the rest except that the first mark'd M, splits and divides itself, to supply the place of the second, as I shall demonstrate hereafter.
Before I conclude, I shall beg leave to recommend the following enquiry to the curious, viz.
If the several barks, having different texture of parts, admit into each separate and different juices from the rest; whether those juices may not be of very different vertues; the first more astringent than the others, the second perhaps emetick; and the third cathartick. This seems to be worth enquiry.

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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 486).


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

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

Ⅳ. An account of the mischiefs ensuing the swallowing of the stones of bullace and sloes. By the Reverend William Derham, Prebendary of Windsor, and F.R.S.

Among the accounts which the Royal Society hath had the mischiefs ensuring the swallowing of divers forts of stones, I do not remember any case wherein the lesser stones of fruits (such as sloes particularly and bullace) have produced any dangerous symptoms, especially in the stomach alone. The larger stones, I know, of prunes, and other great plumbs, have produced very fatal effects; but the lesser stones of sloes, cherries, &c. many swallow rather out of choice, than with any apprehensions of danger, thinking them useful in preventing a surfeit from the fruit. But the following case will shew the danger even of these lesser stones. And I have acquainted the Society with it, on purpose to prevent dangers, if it should be thought fit to publish in these Transactions, for a warning to others.
The case is this. About two years ago the manservant of a neighbouring Clergyman complained to me of excessive pains in and about his stomach; that he lay under a great dejection of appetite; and whenever he eat, that he could not retain it, but in a little time vomited it up. By which means he was, in a short time, reduced to a very low and languishing condition, in so much as they began to despair of his life.
Upon this he applied himself to some practitioners in Physick; one of which ply'd him with strong vomits eight days together, with very little signs of success. But some time after, having occasion to ride somewhat more than ordinary, he found himself very sore in his stomach and sick; which ending in violent vomiting and straining, brought up the first stones he ever perceived to come from him, which were about twenty in number.
After this he had frequent returns of the vomiting up of bullace and sloe-stones, especially upon strong exercises; particularly moving and stooping much in weeding in the garden; in riding also, although it was only to water his Master's house. Upon these occasions he would be seized with acute pains in his stomach, and soon after vomit up more of those stones.
He hath continued above one hundred and twenty bullace and sloe-stones that have been discharged; and many other he could not number, by reason they came up when he was in riding or in his business. He is not yet free of them, but is in pain oftentimes, and vomits them up, especially in riding; but after he hath discharged them, he is much easier for a while. He commonly brings up a slimy matter with them, mixed with blood or something very like blood.
The cause of all this disaster the man assures himself was this, namely, being in his youth a great lover of fruit, he used greedily to devour all sorts he could come at, and bullace and sloes being the easiest to be gotten, he used to ingurgitate great quantities of them, without evacuating many of the stones by stool, as he well remembers, and as he observed others did. These stones he thinks have lain in his stomach (some of them at least) above ten years; but he felt no pains till about four years ago. And those at first were not so violent, nor attended with such severe fits of vomiting, and loss of appetite, as they by degrees came to be afterwards.
Thus having related the case as the man told it me, I shall leave the etiology of it to the learned physicians, it being sufficient for me to relate the matters of fact, and thereby testifie the duty and respects owing to the Society by

Their most obedient
Humble Servant,
W. Derham.

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 484).


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

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

Ⅵ. Some microscopical observations, and curious remarks on the vegetation, and exceeding quick propagation of moldiness, on the substance of a melon. Communicated by the same.

I had lately a large melon-fruit, which I split length ways thro' the middle, in order to observe the vessels which composed the membrane or tunick of each ovary; but my affairs at that time not permitting me to continue the work I had began, I lay'd by the one half of the melon, to be examin'd when I might have more leisure.
At the end of four days, I found several spots of moldiness began to appear on the fleshy part of the fruit, somewhat green towards the rind; and of a paler colour towards the middle of the fruit. These spots grew larger every hour, for the space of five days; at which time the whole fruit was quite cover'd.
This surprising vegetation made me curious to examine, if there was any difference between those parts which were green and the others, besides their colour. The first being seen with the microscope, appear'd to be a Fungus, (See Fig. 2.) whose cap was fill'd with little seeds, to the number of about five hundred; which shed themselves in two minutes after they had been in the glasses.
The other sort had many grass like leaves, among which appear'd some stalks with fruit on their top. Each plant might well enough be compared to a sort of Bull-Rush.1 (Fig. 3.) They had their seed in great quantities, which I believe were not longer than three hours before they began to vegetate; and it was about six hours more, before the plants were wholly perfected; for about seven of the clock one morning, I found three plants at some distance from any others; and about four the same day, I could discern above five hundred more growing in a cluster with them, which I supposed were seedling plants of that day. The seed of all these were then ripe and falling.
When the whole fruit had been thus cover'd with mold for six days, this vegetable quality began to abate, and was entirely gone in two days more. Then was the fruit putrified, and its fleshy parts now yielded no more than a stinking water, which began to have a gentle motion on its surface, that continued for two days without any other appearance. I found then several small maggots (Fig. 4.) to move in it, which grew for the space of six days; after which they laid themselves up in their bags. Thus they remain'd for two days more without motion, and then came forth in the shape of flies. (Fig. 5.) The water at that time was all gone, and there remain'd no more of the fruit than the seeds, the vessels which composed the tunicks of the ovarys, the outward rind, and the excrement of the maggots; all which together weigh'd about an ounce. So that there was lost of the first weight of the fruit when it was cut, above twenty ounces.
We may judge from this, and other cases of the like nature, how much vegetable life is dependent on fermentation, and animal life on putrifacation.

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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 490).


  1. Bull-Rush and Scirpus lacustris are alternative names for cattail. []

Philosophical Transactions. For the months of April, May and June, 1716. - Part I.

Monday, February 11th, 2019

Ⅰ. A description of the phenomenon of March 6; last as it was seen on the ocean, near the coast of Spain. With an account of the return of the same sort of appearance, on March 31, and April I. and 2. following.

In our last, we endeavour'd to give the publick as good an account of the late surprizing meteor, seen in the heavens, on the sixth of March last, as could be gathered from the several relations of very distant spectators, which had then come to the Royal Society's notice. And since then, we can only add thereto, that at Paris, the light was so inconsiderable, that it was not regarded; but from a letter to Mr. Alexander Geekie, surgeon, dated on board a ship in Nevis Road, in America, April 19, 1716, we have copied the following passage. "On the sixth of March, at 9 a clock in the evening, we being then in the latitude of 45°. 36' (off of the N.W. Coast of Spain). A clear cloud appeared East of us, not far distant from our Zenith, which afterwards darted itself forth into a number of rays of light, every way like the tail of a comet, of such a great length, that it reach'd within a short way of the horizon. There likewise appear'd a body of light, N.N.E. of us, and continued as light almost as day, till after 12 a clock. It appear'd at a good distance from us, and darkened on a sudden."
Hence it should seem, that the vapour which caused this appearance, arose indifferently out of the deep ocean sea, as well as from the land; by which we may conclude the great subtilty of the matter thereof, since it could permeate so great a quantity of water, and yet retain its velocity; which is a circumstance deserving the further consideration of the curious.
But since this, most of the same phenomena have been repeated three several nights successfully, viz. One the last of March, and first and second of April. The best and fullest description of the two first, is, from a letter of Dr. Brook Taylor, LL.D. and Secretary to the Royal Society, dated April 2, from Cotterstock, near Oundle in Northampton Shire, who thus describes them. "On Saturday night last, and last night, I saw appearances of the same kind, with those of March 6. but not to compare for extent and strength to the other. They both began soon after sunset, and continued till after 12, but how much longer I cannot tell. They were both about 10 or 15 degrees to the Westward of the North, and took up about 80 degrees of the horizon; and the Aurora rose about 30 gr. high, with a dark bottom, like what was seen in the first; and from whence there sprung out several bodies of light, which immediately run into streams, ascending about 30, or at most 40 gr. high. There was no flashing nor waving light, but in all other respects, these lights were of the same kind with what we saw at London. Indeed in that last night, there was one phenomenon like the flashing lights, for a body of light about 15 or 20 degrees long, parallel to the horizon, rose till it came about 6 degrees above the black basis, and then sent up two strong streams of light about 40 gr. high, which at top dasht against one another, and disappear'd.
At London, the first night, March 31. It did not begin to radiate, till towards mid-night, and was seen but by few curious person; the beams not rising very high, and scarce appearing over the houses, were little taken notice of; but by the relation of those that saw it, it was much more considerable than the next night following Easter-day, for it then sent out but few and very short beams, mostly terminating in a sharp point, and presently disappearing. Only it beginning to stream so soon as it became dusky, it was very observable, that those rays which arose out of the West end of the luminous arch, next the sun, were enlightened by its beams, and shew'd themselves much brighter than those which sprung up under the pole, or to the Eastward thereof. And after nine, till midnight, no more beams arose; and the luminous arch with its black basis, settled down very low in the Northern horizon.
The same two nights, by the observation of Mr. William Lingen, the like appearance was seen at Dublin, about the hours of nine or ten; at which time, in the former night, it was near as light as in a moon-light night. And from France we have an account, that both those nights, the same was seen at Paris, with much the same circumstances as at Dublin. So that it seems this meteor, though no ways comparable to that of the 6th of March. was seen not less than 150 leagues, and probably much further.
The following night, April 2. When it began to be dark, a luminous arch appear'd in the North, with a very narrow black bottom under it, very low, and depress'd to the horizon; nor was it seen at, or about London, to project any pointed rays as the former.
But what was most remarkable that evening, was, what was seen at London, by that ingenious gentlemen Martin Foulks, Esq; R.S.S. about nine that night. He being in the open air at that time, saw in an instant, a bright ray of very white light, appear in the East, out of the pure sky, then very serene and still; it very much resembled the tail of a comet, and was about 20 gr. inclined from the perpendicular to the right, beginning about Y of Bayer in the Corona Borea1, and terminating about the Informis by some call'd Cor Caroli. This having appear'd but a very short time, disappear'd at once, as in a moment. When on a sudden, such another beam was instantly produced, not exactly in the same place, but in the same situation. Its lower end being about 20 gr. high, was terminated exactly between x and y, in the right hand and arm of Hercules, and the middle of it past over σ and ǥ in the Girdle of Bootes, and thence proceeded Westwards, leaving Cor Caroli four or five degrees to the Northwards. After it had continued in this posture near 10 minutes immoveable among the stars, it began to move slowly towards the North; and the lower end passing over the Northern edge of the Crown, and the ray itself over Cor Caroli, it grew fainter, and vanished, having continued in all about 20 minutes. This latter with some interruptions was extended between Castor and Pollux, very far into the West. And about that time, the same, or such another beam was seen at St. Asaph2, by Doctor Stanley, the Reverend Dean of that church.

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 464).


  1. The Corona Borea is a constellation, and it's brightest stars form a semicircular arc. []
  2. St. Asaph is located in Denbighshire, Wales. []

I got 99 problems.

Monday, February 11th, 2019

Mocky's recent blog post on whores in Qatar inspired me to relay a few of my experiences in the US and here in Costa Rica.

While living in the US, I never interacted with any blatant stereotypical street prostitutes (although I am sure they're out there). The girls who have an interest in that type of career have adapted their behavior to be 'subtly whoresque'. A group of these girls can admit to themselves and therefore others about their intentions. You can find them on private snatch-chat for an average of $20 a month for your private session. Girls of instagram is a known phrase and code for instagram models who you can message directly on the site to met you or will gladly accept a plane ticket to join you on vacation.. maybe to Qatar even... I'm also not going into any details about webcam models or escort sites because you know them - they've been around.

Another group of girls exist in the US who are in pursuing fortune the same way; however, they chose to wear the mask of looking for a rich husband. It's in vogue to say that you want to marry an engineer but, of course for his mind, right? I've met numerous girls at college who were attending because they "just want to find a husband." A majority of them never worked or work as office admin. This behavior isint new, but the current generation wants to demand #metoo and, at the same time be entitled to a well off husband who comes with a house that includes an etsy workshop.

I was looking forward to seeing what legal prostitution looked like. I thought that the girls in a tropical paradise like Costa Rica, would create a fun and wild scene. One of my first outings led us to the Del Rey, which is a known hangout site for the local tutes. Except, when we got there - the restaurant was empty, besides for the two girls playing on their phones at one table (one table out of about 20). Not only were they sitting and not looking at all engaging, but I had to be told they they're prostitutes. So no, they didn't dress the part, look happy, or have men around them like I would have thought. The exception to this, was one guy who seemed to close the deal by telling the girl that, "I don't know how this works and didn't want to assume"... right?1

The next outing was at a hotel near the beach. This hotel had a pool that looked like it had been created for parties. The place had all of the trappings of an actual venue by having cool lights, music with a decent beat, a huge pool, and a bar at the center. This time the place was even populated, but with a bunch of twenty somethings girls who sat either alone or two to three to a table and played on their phones. Again, I had no idea that they were working due to their lack of expressions and movement. We were the only table that was even making audible noise. To be fair, guys were populating the place by awkwardly shuffling in and out of the pool area, looking at their feet, and without making eye contact - because no country knows how this works.

  1. Check out the comments for a better retelling and more exact information. []