Archive for the ‘Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Vol. XXIX’ Category

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

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

Ⅳ. An account of what appear'd on opening the big belly'd woman near Haman in Shropshire, who was suppos'd to have continued many years with child. Communicated by Dr. Hollings M.D. from Shrewsbury.

A marry'd woman, near Haman about three miles from Shrewsbury, about the 40th year of her age, had then first the common reasons to believe she was with child; at the time of her account she had the usual signs of labour, and a good midwife, tho' mistaken, assur'd her it was so, but that the child was so big she could not be delivered without bringing it away in pieces. She not submitting to that, her pains went soon off, and she continued without any other disorders nine months longer, when she had again the signs of labour; and the same midwife assur'd her as before, and she persisting in her former resolution, her pains, after a day or two went off. Soon after her belly swell'd to a surprizing size, by which she got subsistance for her family by being seen as a shew. I saw her first above twenty years since, when her belly was almost even with her chin, the weight of it so great, that she was oblig'd to support it with a stool. She could not stand without the help of a rope from the cieling, which assisted her in changing her posture of fitting. She slept commonly with her arms folded on her belly, and her head rested between them. Sh had no swelling in her legs; every other part emaciated as usual in the like cases. Thus this poor creature liv'd without any other considerable complaint above thirty years, the most remarkable circumstance, I think, in her case. She died in May 1715, when this appear'd to be an ascites.
I need not mention the state the common teguments must necessarily be in from so great a distention, which had distorted may of her ribs, and forc'd the diaphragm so high, that it was suprizing to find her breathing could be so long continu'd. The water was all contain'd in the duplicature of the peritonaum, 13 gallons besides a quart that was split; it was saltish, with some little fat upon it, and towards the latter running ting'd with blood as usual. There was not any water in the cavity of the abdomen, except what was contain'd in a kind of bladder of the shape I have sent, Fig 31. which lay a-cross the pundus uteri. This was divided by a cartilaginous substance into two cavities; in one there was a pint and a half, in the other three parts of a pint of water. I believe it was this (I know not how) impos'd on the midwife. The uterus was of the natural size without any alteration, except that the os tinca and collum minus were fill'd with a gritty substance, hard as stone, which I take to be the humour separated there, and coagulated by time. Mr. Cooper Tab. 15. Fig. 4. says he found the same parts fill'd with a glutinous matter, which he think is useful to prevent the abortion; which if vitiated, impregnation is hinder'd.
The liver and other parts contain'd in the abdomen, were forc'd into an incredible small compass (and by that pressure a little chang'd in shape) to perform their office so long; to which the muscles of the abdomen, distended so as to be scarce discernible, could give but little, if any assistance.
The awe that people have here for dead bodies, tho' never so prejudicial to the living, would not suffer her friends to let me make any farther enquiry; so that I can send no account of any other part. The same error hindered me examining another woman, who died here about a week after, of an ascites which she had forty years, any farther than to be satisfied she had seven gallons of water contain'd between the duplicatures of the peritonaum, and none in the cavity of the abdomen.


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 452).

Philosophical Transactions. For the months of November and December, 1715. - Part VI.

Friday, March 8th, 2019

Ⅵ. An account of a book. Guilhelmi Musgrave Reg. Societ. Utriusque Socii, Geta Britannicus. Accedit Domus Severianæ Synopsis Chronologica; & de Icuncula Quondam M. Regis Ælfredi dissertatio. 8vo. Iscae Dumnoniorum. MDCCXV.

The author, having some1 years since publish'd a comment on Julius Vitalis his epitaph, which, (together with his monument) is to be seen at bath; does not present the publick with another volume of Belgic Antiquities; intending hereby, to illustrate part of a statue, which was found likewise near that city, and is at this time immured near the monument aforesaid, at the Eastern end of the Abby-Church, looking toward the grove.
This fragment of an Equestrian statue, is in Basse Releise; the rider has in his right hand a Hasta pura, and a parma in his left; as in Fig. I. of the book. It appears from2 Dio that Caius and Lucius, Cæsars, (the nephews, and adopted sons of Augustus) had each of them a Parma and an Hasta given him; and there being no instance of this honour paid to any of an inferiour rank among the Romans, but only to such as were of very great quality; if not to Casars only; we are from hence be a'lowed to think, that this statue represented some person of that quality.
But to discover the particular person, (if it might be done) the author compared a very good draught he had procured of this horseman, which such Roman Coyns, as he could meet with. This comparison shewed a great resemblance between the face in the statue, and that in two of Geta's coyns.
This argument, drawn from the similitude of faces (of great force to determine the reader's judgement in favour of Geta) is farther confirmed by the horse; a creature of which Geta was very fond; insomuch, as that he affected to be represented under the figure of Castor, (as the Roman Emperors often were under the figures of their Gods) of whom it is said, Castor gaudet Equis; — of this figure there is in3 Oiselius, a coyn of Geta's, very much to this purpose; represented Tab. IV. Fig. 5. of this book.
These things bring to mind, the authority which Geta had in South-Britain; where (as4 Herodian affirms) all matters were under his administration, during the stay which Severus and Caracalla made in the North; which was a year, or more. In this time, Geta had it in his power, to do many things, in favour of cities and countreys, here in the South. The great generosity of his mind prompted him to publick works; such as are, to this day, attested by5 inscriptions, with his name in them; and it is highly probable, [That this statue was erected to Geta on some such account.]
If this be granted, (as from the concurrence of so much, and so good testimony, it seems highly probable) here is a large and pleasant view opened into antiquity; not of late taken notice of by any writer; it shews, that Geta was a great benefactor to old Bath; either by laying, in a perfect morass, the foundation of that town; or by preserving the hot-springs, entire, from the influx of other waters; or both; works of great Munisicence, and becoming Geta's spirit. By these, or some such ways, it is probable, this people was obliged to Geta; but no one is more probable, than that of preserving the Aqua Calida; which were in those days so famous, as to give a denomination to the place. It is well know, that Rome had her Therma Severiana and Antoniniana, so called from their respective founders; the former being built by Severus, the father; the latter by Antoninus, the brother of Geta; so that to take care of baths, was a sort of greatness, that family seemed to delight in; and Geta may reasonably be supposed,to have his share of this delight.
From the great probability of this opinion, the author has, out of love to his native country, and the honour due to Geta, collected and put together, what he can meet with relating to that Emperor. He has made a new edition of Geta's Life, from the Historia Augusta Scriptores; restoring it to its true author, Julius Capitolinus; and explaining it, with the notes of Casaubon, Gruter, and Salmasius; to which he has added some of his own. He has reprinted all the inscriptions he can meet with, of Geta's, and many of his coyns; with short notes on both.
After all this, he is not so far engaged in his opinion, but that if, (by any inscription on the basis of this statue, or any other testimony) it shall hereafter appear, that this fragment deserves another explication, he shall readily comply with any such clearer testimony; being no way disposed, to give farther credit to this broken monument, than shall answer the imperfect condition it is now in.
To this dissertation, de Geta Britannico, he has added the chronology of his illustrious house; shewing, how his Father, Severus, from a private gentleman in Africa came by degrees to be Emperor of Rome; and indeed one of the greatest, that ever Rome had; how he, with his two sons, Bassiamus and Geta, (three Roman Emperors) resided, at one and the same time, here in Britain) and from hence sent their imperial edicts, orders, and dispatches, into all parts of the empire; and after an amazing greatness of about twenty four years, and a course of almost all virtues and vices, at length tumbled down; submitting to the accidents and fate of other men; and were all buried at Rome, in the Septizodium built by Severus.
To these Memoirs of Geta, the author has subjoyned a discourse, concerning that curious cimclium, which was, some years since, found at Athelney in Somerset. It did belong to K. Ælfred, and is now in the possession of Col. Palmer of Fairfield, in that country. Beside the critical use made of it, by the learned6 Dr. Hickes, our author writes of it, as an undeniable instance of the use of images, coming from the heathens into the Christian Church.
The book is adorned with several cuts, of the broken statue at Bath, of two of Geta's silver-coyns, of the Septizodium Severi, (out of Perac) and three sides of the philotrans2 Ælfredi.

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 385).

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

Thursday, March 7th, 2019

Ⅳ. An account of several extraordinary meteors or lights in the sky. By Dr. Edmund Halley, Savilian Professor of geometry at Oxon, and Secretary to the Royal-Society.

The theory of the air seemeth, at present to be perfectly well understood, and the differing densities thereof at all altitudes, both by reason and experiment are sufficiently defined; for supporting the same air to occupy spaces reciprocally proportional to the quantity of the superior or incumbent air, I have elsewhere proved that at 40 miles high the air is rarer than at the surface of the earth about 3000 times; and that the utmost height of the atmosphere, which reflects light in the crepusculum, is not fully 45 miles notwithstanding which, 'tis still manifest that some sort of vapours, and those in no small quantity, arise nearly to that height. An instance of this may be given in the great light the Society had an account of (vid. Transact. Sept. 1676) from Dr. Wallis, which was seen in very distant countries almost over all the South part of England. Of which though the doctor could not get so particular a reason, as was requisite to determine the height thereof, yet from the distant places it was seen in, it could not but be very many miles high.
So likewise that meteor which was seen in 1708. on the 31st of July, between nine and ten a clock at night, was evidently between 40 and 50 miles perpendicularly high, and as neat as I can gather, over Shereness and the Buoy on the Nore. For it was seen at London moving horizontally from E. by N. to E. by S. at least 50 degrees high, and at Redgrave in Suffolk, on the Tarmouth Road, about 20 miles from the East coast of England, and at least 40 miles to the Eastward of London, it appeared a little to the Westwards of the South, suppose by S. by W. and was seen about 30 degrees high, sliding obliquely downwards. I was shown in both places the situation thereof, which was as described, but could with some person skill'd in astronomical matters had seen it, that we might pronounce concerning its height with more certainty; yet, as it is we may securely conclude, that it was not many miles more Westerly than Redgrave, which as I said before, is above 40 miles more Easterly than London. Suppose it therefore, where perpendicular, to have been 35 miles East from London, and by the altitude it appear'd at in London, viz. 50 degrees, its tangent will be 42 miles, for the height of the meteor above the surface of the earth; which also is rather of the least because the altitude of the place shewn me, is rather more than less than 50 degrees; and the like may be concluded from the altitude it appear'd in at Redgrave, near 70 miles distant. Though at this great distance, it appear'd to move with an incredible velocity, darting, in a very few seconds of time, for about 12 degrees of a great circle from North to South, being very bright at its first appearance; and it died away at the end of its course, leaving for some time a pale whiteness in the place, with some remains of it in the track where it had gone; but no hissing sound as it past, or bounce of an explosion were heard.
It may deserve the honourable Society's thoughts, how so great a quantity of vapour should be raised to the very top of the atmosphere, and there collected, so as upon its accension or otherwise illumination, to give a light to a circle of above 100 miles diameter, not much inferior to the light of the moon; so as one might see to take a pin from the ground in the otherwise dark night. 'Tis hard to conceive what sort of exhalations should rise from the earth, either by the action of the sun or subterranean heat, so as to surmount the extream cold and rareness of the air in those upper regions; but the fact is indisputable, and therefore requires a solution.
Like to this, but much more considerable, was that famous meteor which was seen to pass over Italy on the 21st of March O.S. Anno 1676. about an hour and three quarters after sunset, which happen'd to be observed and well consider'd by the famous professor of mathematicks in Bononia Geminian Montanri, as may be seen in his Italian treatise about it, soon after published at Bononia. He observes that at Bononia, its greatest altitude in the S.S.E. was 38 degrees, and at Siena 58 to the N.N.W.; that its course by the concurrence of all the observers was from E.N.E. to W.S.W. that it came over the Adriatick Sea as from Dalmatia; that it crost over all Itality, being nearly vertical to Rimini and Savigniana on the one side, and to Leghorn on the other; that its perpendicular altitude was at least 38 miles; that in all places near this course, it was heard to make a hissing noise as it passed, ronzare, Far strepito comme unfunco artificiale, fisciare per aria comme un raggio di polve; that having past over Leghorn it went off to sea towards Corsica, and lastly that at Leghorn it was heard to give a very great blow, tuno di maggior rumore di grossa cannoata; immediately after which another sort of sound was hard like the rattling of a great cart running over stones, which continued about the time of a credo.
He concludes from the apparent velocity it went on with at Bononia, at above 50 miles distance, that it could not be less swift than 160 miles in a minute of time, which is above ten times as swift as the diurnal rotation of the earth under he equinoctial, and not many times less than that wherewith the annual motion of the earth about the sun is performed. To this he adds the magnitude thereof, which appeared at Bononia bigger than the moon i none diameter, and above half as big again in the other; which with the given distance of the eye, makes its real lesser diameter above half a mile, and the other in proportion. This supposed, it cannot be wondred that so great a body moving with such an incredible velocity through the air, though so much rarified as it is in its upper regions, should occasion so great a hissing noise, as to be heard at such a distance as it seems this was. But 'twill be much harder to conceive, how such an impetus could be impressed on the body thereof, which by many degrees exceeds that of any cannon ball; and how this impetus shou'd be determind in a direction so nearly parallel to the horizion; and what sort of substance it must be ,that could be so impelled and ignited at the same time; there being no vulcano or other spiraculum of subterraneous fire in the N.E. parts of the world, that we ever yet heard of, from whence it might be projected.
I have much considered this appearance, and think it one of the hardest things to account for, that I have yet met with in the phanomena of meteors, and am induced to think that it must be some collection of matter form'd in the ether, as it were by some fortuitous concourse of atoms, and that the earth met with it as it past along in its orb, then but newly formed, and before it had conceived any great impetus of descent towards the sun. For the direction of it was exactly opposite to that of the earth, which made an angle with the meridian at that time (the sun being in about 11 degrees of Aries) of 67 Gr. that is, its course was from W.S.W. to E.N.E. wherefore the meteor seem'd to move the contrary way; and besides falling into the power of the earth's gravity, and losing its motion from the opposition of the medium, it seems that it descended towards the earth, and was extinguish'd in the Tyrrhene Sea, to the W.S.W. of Leghorn. The great blow being heard upon its first immersion into the water, and the rattling like the driving a cart over stones being what succeeded upon its quenching; something like which is always observed upon quenching a very hot iron in water. These facts being dispute, I would be glad to have the opinion of the learned thereon, and what objection can be reasonably made against the above said hypothesis, which I humbly submit to their censure.
P.S. Since this was written, there has fallen into my hands an account of much such another appearance, seen in Germany, in the year 1686, at Leipsic, by the late Mr. Gottfreid Kirch, who was for many years a very diligent observer of the heavens and perfectly well instructed in astronomical matters. He in an appendix to his Ephemerides for the year 1688, gives us this remarkable relation in the following words.
Die 9 Jul. st.vct. hora 1 1/2 matutina, Globus ardens preditus in 8 1/2 gr. aquarii & 4 Gr. Sept. apparuit, qui per semiquadrantum hora immotus perstitit, cujus diameter semidiametrum luna circiter aquabat. Primo lux tanta erat, ut ejus ope fine candelis legere potuissemus; postea pedetentim in loco suo evinascebat. Phanomenon istud dicto tempore multis aliis in locis pariter visum est, prasertim Schlaizii, oppido undecium milliaribus germanicis abhine (i.e. a Lipsia) versus meridiem distante, altitudine circiter 60 Gr. ab horizonte meridiano.
At the time of this appearance the sun was in 26 1/2 Gr. of1, and by the given palce of the meteor, 'tis plain, it was seen about 3/4 of an hour past the meridian, or in S. by W. and by its declination it could not be above 24 degrees high at Leipsie, though the same, at Schlaize was about 60 Gr. high; the angle therefore at the meteor was about 36 Gr. whence by an easy calculus it will be found, that the same was not less than 16 German miles distant in a right line from Leipsick, and above 6 1/2 such miles perpendicular above the horizon, that is at least 30 English miles high in the air. And though the observer says of it immotus perstitit per semiquadrantem hora; 'tis not to be understood that it kept its place like a fixt star, all the time of its appearance; but that had no very remarkable progressive motion. For himself has at the end of the said Ephemerides given a figure of it, which he has marked Fig. D. whereby it appears that it darted downwards obliquely to the right hand, and where it ended, left two globules or nodes, not visible but by an optick tube.
The same Mr. Gottfried Kirch in the beginning of a German treatise of his, concerning the great comet which appeared in the year 1680, intituled2 printed at Nurenburg anno 1681, (of which perhaps we shall have further occasion to make mention) gives ua relation of such another luminous meteor seen likewise at Leipsick on the 22nd of May 1680. st. vet. about three in the morning; which though himself saw not, was yet there observ'd by divers persons who made various reports of it, but the more intelligent agreed that it was seen descending in the North and left behind it a long white streak where it has past. At the same time at Haarburgh the like appearance was seen in N.E. or rather N.N.E.; as also at Hamburg, Lubeck and Stralsund, all which are about 40 German miles from Leipsick; but in all these places, by person acquainted with the manner of properly describing things of this kind. So that we all can conclude from it is, that this meteor was exceeding high above the earth, as well as the former.
All the circumstances of these phanomena agree with what was seen in England in 1708, but it commonly so happens that these contingent appearances escape the eyes of those that are best qualified to give a good account of them. 'Tis plain however that this sort of luminous vapour is not exceedingly seldom thus collected; and when the like shall again happen, the curious are entreated to take more notice of them than has been hitherto done, that we may be enabled thereby better to account for the surprizing appearances of this sort of meteor.


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 159).

  1. Please see the image that is in Gr. of: philo-trans-21 []
  2. Please see what is shown as the title: philo-trans []

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

Sunday, March 3rd, 2019

Ⅲ. Miscellaneous observations made about Rome, Naples and some other countries, in the year 1683 and 1684; and communicated to the publisher by Tancred Robinson M.D.R.S.S.


You having been pleas'd to think some of my observations might be agreeable to the publick, I shall here freely give you them (such as they are) omitting those that were formerly extracted out of the MSS. Diaries of my Travels, some of which are printed in several Philosophical Transactions, and others in some of Mr. Ray's English Tracts.
In my journey from Rome to Naples I observ'd on the rubbish of the Tre Taberne an unusual vegetable for that place, remote from town or house, which was the Ficus Indica Spinosa commonly call'd the Opuntia or Iuna, and by our writers of America the prickly-pear, whose juice gives the urine a red colour; when I came to Naples, I found it there near the rocks, and in some wild solitary places like a native. If the Spaniards planted it, they chose desert situations. On this plant the cochineel vermiculus is said to feed in great numbers, before it changes into the chrysalis or aurelia of a lady cow; but the colour lies in the nymph worm before it turns into a beetle. This gives me occasion to reflect upon the many species of our European Vermiculi, some of which might be found to yield colours (if try'd); we are certain the maggot of our ilex gives the kermes, and a noble scarlet dye before it turns into a fly. Many shell-fish (which are a sort of insect) contain purple juices.
This brings on another remark I made in passing the Apennies and Alps, where I noted in some beds or strata, and even in the midst of the hardest rocks, great varieties of perfect shells, that never occurr'd to me on the Italian Shores, nor in any of the numerous museums of that country; so I guess they might be exotick.
Going further on the Via Appia, I observ'd abundance of the Siliqua Arbor or Carob Tree, commonly call'd Panis S. Joannis Baptista; on the pulp whereof many poor people were feeding. The husks tasted like Manna to me. Near them grew plenty of the Arbor Juda.
The arbutus, or strawberry tree, was common in the woody places; if this grows wild in the South West parts of Ireland, as some affirm, I shall think them much warmer than any countries of England.
Before I enter'd the beautiful Campania of Naples large woods of cork trees grew on each side of the road, where the inhabitants were decorticating them. I ask'd if the trees did not perish; they answer'd, some did, but the acorns return'd annual supplies. The women and children wore shoes made of the bark.
Coming near Capua I observ'd a species of ash, or Ornus, on the trunk whereof many Saccharin concretions were visible. This prov'd the true Manna, that issues out thro' the incisions made in this tree by the inhabitants of Calabria. Swarms of cicada's were sucking the body and boughs, and perhaps by wounding then made way for fresh Manna. Here I may note, that many insects have not only a proboseis to bore and draw out the juices of plants for aliment, but other proper instruments to convey their eggs into vegetables and animals, where they may find covert and food when they come to hatch, in the gall-tumours, and other excrescences occasion'd by the wounds of the parent insects, that make such variety of cunicali in all parts of plants, and even in the cutaneous parts of living creatures and in dead flesh.
This confirms me, that many gums and exudations find their way out of vegetables thro' the wounds of insects and other apertures. Most voyagers thro' the East Indies affirm, that gum lack is work'd and made by large ants that cover trees. I rather think the insects fuck and terebrate the tree, and so give vent to that peculiar sap that hardens in the sun. This may extend to most basfamiferous, gummiferous, and saccharine plants, especially in hot climates where insects abound, and are more active. In cold climates the saps of many vegetables will boyl into sugars, as that of maple, birch, reeds, &c. Not but that the fluids of plants (like those of animals) will spontaneously break thro' their vessels in a plethory, and make on the superficial parts various eruptions and congestions.
Discoursing of manna I may here take notice there are many adulterations of this drug; all passes for the Calabrian, whereas that of Brianson is from the larix, that of Persia from the Myrica, and these frequently mixt with the juices of sponges, and other purgative ingredients. I must not here deny that dew will sometimes cool mornings shoot, and congeal into a solid, sweet, white substance, which I once observ'd in very hot weather before sun-rise.
Upon viewing the vulcano's about Naples, Vesuvius on the East side, the Solfatara and Monte di Cincre on the West near Puzzuolo and Baja; I observ'd the same face of nature, which I believe runs thro' all the other vulcano's of our globe, viz. heaps of pumice stones and cinders of Marchasites on the sides, with beds of flower of brimstone on the tops. The holes and cavities in those calcin'd minerals seem to be the nidus of the sulphur, which hath been sublim'd by the heat and fire of that vast mass of pyrites, that compose the bowels of those vulcano's and lye scatter'd thro' many parts of the earth, even under the sea, where they sometimes germinate, ferment, and take fire, throwing up the little islands. Earthquakes and other choc's of the globe may spring from the mines of these combustible and explosive minerals, loaden with brimstone and elastic salts. Hence some account may be given of therma or hot baths, whose waters gliding thro' these hot beds take their gas. Of such medicinal boiling waters and stoves, there are more about Naples than in any place I ever saw or heard of, the whole country being continually pervaded by hot streams.
Walking round this city I found palm trees, some with unripe dates hanging down, others without any fruit; and there was another species of palm that sweats out the gum dragon; I suppose the Monks had transplanted them out of Africa. I saw growing here may sugarcanes, rice, maiz, abundance of the purging senna, and cummin seed. Thro' the whole campania of Naples I observ'd the same vegetables to be larger and more proud than in other parts of Italy, as the platanus, the lentiscus, the terabinthus, the pistaches, the oleanders, agnus castus, barba jovis, the tragacanth, the stryax, the capers, &c. The melons, jujubes, the azaroles, and other fruits were of a better taste. The gossypium, with the cotton breaking out of the husks, adorn'd some of the fields the hedges full of pomegranats, almonds, tamarisk, sumach, cedrus lycia (a sort of juniper or savin) abundance of phillyrea, alaternus, cisti, cytisi, myrtles, Spanish broom, bays, laurustines, &c. all wilds, indigenous of that warm soil and kind climate. The watermelons, the olives, the oranges, lemons and citrons were better than about Genoa or in Provence.
The lotus arbor or nettle tree, the paliurus or christ thron, the ricinus or palma christi, common in the hedges, with several thymelea's.
I saw them fishing for coral, and hippocampi; the first did not come soft out of the sea; the hard incrustation covers the vegetable part that bears seed, as the alga's and fuci do. They take the sword-fish by darting a spear into him, as they do the whales in the Greenland fishery.
When dark night came on, I could see multitudes of luminous flies thro' the Campania of Naples; perhaps our male gloworm, or flying cicindela, may abound there; not but that many other insects may carry such lanthorns about them. The scorpions creep out about that time; and I have found them often in bed, with the punaises.
The hedges are full of lizards of various colours; and the cicada's chirp and sing towards evening. I observ'd several species of stinging spiders in the corn fields, some of which, in hot harvests, may prove taratula's; the poysons of animals and plants increasing abundance of silk worms were spinning on the trees and shrubs; the birds prey'd upon them, before they could change into papilo's, as they do upon swarms of locusts.
I eat often young frogs, tortoises and snails, served up with oyl and pepper, which agreed well within me; so did their sea urchins, and the urtica marina, (called sea gelly or blubber, tho' it be an animal, having a true heart, and vessels for the circulation of fluids) some of their thistles are no ungrateful sallet.
I saw some vitriol works about Siena, Rome and Puzzuolo; those of alum only about civita vecchia. Amongst the sands of the Adriatic Sea I observ'd many white, clear, shining flints ;which they told me were carried to Venice, to make the fine chrystal glass at Muran.
Upon reading our ingenious Dr. Musgrave, de Geta Britan. & Synop. Chronolog. Dom. Sever. I consulted my diary taken at Rome. The magnificent Septizonium figur'd by him stood near the foot of the Palatine Hill, on the E.S.E. side, overlooking the Via Appia and the Circus Maximus, the Amphitheatre of Titus being near on the other side. By the number of Portico's (which were seven) it might contain multitudes of people, as spectators of the trumphal entries and the publick games. But I would not be thought to differ from our Learned Countryman, who with good authority, thinks in the sepulchretum of that imperial family; tho's most of the ancient mausoleum's, (at least those I saw) were Rotonda's, or Columbaria's, for the more convenient placing the urns of the kindred; as that of Augustus near the Campus Martius; that of Adrian on the other bank of the Tyber' those said to be of Scipio, of Cicero, and Munatius Plancus, near Galeta and the Via Appia; that of Virgil on the side of Mount Pausilippus; that of C. Metella and some others on the Via Flaminia. Some were pyramidal as that of Cestius in the wall of Rome, and a few others on the public roads. This Septizonium Severi seems to differ from the rest of those ancient Sepulchretum's which might be varied according to the fancy and humor of great families.
This urn burial was only in fashion amongst the gentes majores; as for the dead bodies of the plebeians and slaves, they were generally laid in places where they had dug stone; and those quarries became catacombes. The laws prohibited them to bury within a city, unless the bodies were first reduc'd to ashes.
I observ'd in many of the ruins about Rome and Naples, great stones laid close, and wedged very fast with little or no cement; the bricks towards the middle of a building were generally of a Rhomboiaal figure, very smooth, shining and hard, laid in plaister as firm as marble. Their mortar was much more durable then ours, as appears at this day by their aquaducts and piscina's, the cento camare, and caligula's bridge under water at baja. Pliny says, they made use of the Terra Puteolana, but the present inhabitants have lost the way of tempering it.
During my abode at Genoa, Leghorn, Ostia, and Civita Vecchia, I observ'd many torpedo's or cramp fishes, most accurately anatomized by S. Lorenzini; plenty of sphyrana's, (a species of sea pike, a-kin to the needle-fishes) the uranoscopous, call'd bocca in capa and prete. The mola or sun fish. The dentex or pentalis, altavela's a sort of pastinaca. The pesce balestra or capriscus. The pesce pettine or novacula. The zygana or ballance fish, as large as the saw-fish or most sharks. The scolopax or trombetta, call'd by our seamen the bellows or trumpet-fish. The raco marinus. The tunny-fish. The centrina or pesce porco. The squila. The scorpius major, with varieties of turdi in the markets. But what pleas'd me most, was some odd sea animals, as the lepus marinus, (a species of naked snail) the hystrix marnius, or eruca, call'd by the seamen pincio, with a brush hanging out of the tail, like the byssus or silk of the pinpa. Many tamburo's or drum-fishes; plenty of murana's. I observ'd a strange sea animal, call'd the microcosmo marino, with many shells, tubuli and vegetables growing or sticking to the back of it, this appear'd to me a kin to the enchin's marini, or rather to the stella marina, being triangular, and sometimes pentadaetylous.
I embark't once with the fishermen, who shew'd me several loligo's, polypi, and sepia's, or cuttle-fishes, (all crustaceous) some of them were casting out their ink in the water; I supposed some sharks, dog-fishes, or other enemies, were near them; this black liquor may be the gall of those animals. In the nets, I often found sea insects, and vegetables; and indeed a new world, undescrib'd by natural writers, at least unknown to me; but for want of the art of designing or drawing abundance of things escap'd me, and were utterly lost; therefore I would advise all travellers to be conversant in that most useful science.
I observ'd the Italians near the Alps and Appennines, call'd several birds francolino's, as our red, grey and black game; and even their red and white patridges; the different colours of the hens from the cocks, the many variegations in feathers, the different ages and places, have all given occasion to multiply names and species; the same may happen in fishes, quadrupeds, insects, and all the divisions of zoology; and even in botany and minerology.
The Italians call many of their little fat birds beccastigo's, that feed upon figs, grapes, and other sweet fruits. So the French multiply their ortulans, taken in the vineyards and gardens. Some of the antient writers take notice that the Romans used to feed their geese and other birds with figs, when they intended to swell their livers to a monstrous bigness.
The merops or apiaster is common on their brooks; it flies like our kings-fisher, and preys not only upon insects but fish. There is a very beautiful bird in Italy, that suspends its nest down from the boughs of trees. When I saw it fly by me, I took it for an Indian, from the brightness of its colours; it is as large as our missel bird and thrush an ieterus vlinii?
The great cock of the wood (said to be found in Ireland) is common on the sides of the Italian hills, and brought frequently to the markets. I saw twice or thrice the himantopus, and the phanicopterus or flamingo, (whose tongue was a dainty amongst the Romans, when they grew luxurious). I observ'd some spoon-bills; these three last birds were wading in the rivers and marshes, near the sea. Once I spy'd some pelecans on the Adriatic, near the mouth of the Po. The Avis Diomedea was hung up dry'd in one of the museums at Florence, but they told me it had been taken on some of the isles of the Archipelago.
On the Laguna of Venice, I saw several species of mergi, lari, colymbi, and other water fowls, most of which div'd. I was surpriz'd with the variety of them, having not seen so many on other coasts; perhaps the hard winter had forc'd some unusual birds thither. The monks and fryers told me, they eat some of those sea birds in lent and on fast days, because they liv'd upon fish, and had a piscose taste, as the French pretend their macreuse to have, which is a sort of sea duck, common on the coast of Normandy, and brought to the markets, even at Paris on Maigre days; of which I gave a long history in the Philos. Transact. An 1685. N°. 172.
Buffalo's are common in the kingdom of Naples, and in some parts of Lombardy, where they plough and draw with them. A peculiar cheese is made of their milk (call'd casio di cavallo) rowl'd up like stiff pieces of ribbon. Out of their black shinning horns they make snuff-boxes and combs. The creature is unruly, and therefore they lead them with iron or brass rings down thro' their noses. They make a buff leather of their skins. I once saw some hairy sheep feeding on a common; perhaps they had been brought from Africa.
In passing the high alps, I had a view of the Ibex or Steinbock, whose large horns are recurvated almost as far back as the tail; they are very ponderous for the bulk of the animal, having many knotty rings, that may help them in climbing. They are rarely taken.
The rupicapra or chamois is very common on the sides of the cliffs, whose skins afford the soft leather. The mas alpinus or marmota, is as large as a rabbet, will soon grow tame in houses, tho' brought down from the summits of the highest mountains, where it will grow fat.
I have seen in several towns of Italy fresh strong porcupines, which the inhabitants told me were taken in the hedges and ditches thereabouts, tho' much more rare than our land urchins. In the Grisons Country, and in some cantons of Switzerland, I have often observ'd the rannacuus viridis or small tree-frog, perching on the boughs and leaves.
In the Northern parts of Germany I saw several elk skins, and those of the rhin-deer stuffed, and set up in Museum's, but never alive; tho' the animals are said to be common in Muscovy and Lapland, and sometimes seen in the forests of Prussia.
The skins of Hippopotami (said to be the Behemoth) are in some collections of curiosities in Italy and Holland; so are those of the musk-deer, one of which is in the museum of our Royal Society.
Give me leave here to reflect a little upon the late Aurora Borealis, whose phenomena you have so well describ'd and explain'd in your late Philosophical Transaction, No. 347. I am of your opinion, that those phosphorous or luminous appearances in the firmament, proceed from the various Effluvia perspir'd out of our globe, or passing thro' it; for I have seen those lights over Vesuvius, the Strombulo Islands, and towards Ietna in dark nights, when those vulcano's were not flaming nor burning, their sides and tops being passable to travellers at that time, and all their outward parts quiet. We are certain that Iceland and Greenland abound with vulcano's; so may North East Lapland, North Russia, and Tartar, where vast chains of mountains are said to run. The Jesuits, and other travellers, relate many prodigious eruptions of fires, and earthquakes towards the North of China; but nearer the pole the earth must be clos'd and pent up many months, by the long severe freezings and continual snow and ice, which relaxing towards Spring, may give vent to that vast mass or magazine of perspirable matter, that had been lept so long in hot subterraneous prisons. This may be one reason changes at that season in our climate, when perspiration is upon such an increase; but I will not take up your time any longer, especially upon a subject that you understand so well.

Your most humble Servant,
Tancred Robinson.

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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.


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.


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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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