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The Philosophical transactions of the Royal society of London, from their commencement in 1665, in the year 1800 (Volume 8) online

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were much swoln, but very likely to live. They also thrust the teeth of a viper's
head, cut off 24 hours before, into the flesh of a fowl, which turned black
immediately ; but the fowl perfectly recovered, without any application.


Some Electrical Experiments intended to be communicated to the Royal Society,
by Mr. Stephen Gray, F. R. S. and taken from his Mouth by Cromwell Mor-
timer, M.D. R. S. Seer. Feb. 14, 1735-6, being the Day before he died,
N° 444, p. 400.

Exper. 1. — Take a small iron globe, of an inch or inch and half diameter,
which set on the middle of a cake of rosin, of about 7 or 8 inches diameter,
having first excited the cake by gently rubbing it, clapping it three or four times
with the hands, or warming it a little before the fire. Then fasten a light
body, as a small piece of cork, or pith of elder, to an exceedingly fine thread,
5 or 6 inches long, which hold between the finger and thumb, exactly over the
globe, at such a height, that the cork, or other light body, may hang down
about the middle of the globe; this light body will of itself begin to move
round the iron globe, and that constantly from west to east, being the same
direction which the planets have in their orbits round the sun. If the cake of
rosin be circular, and the iron globe placed exactly in its centre, then the light
body will describe a circular orbit round the iron globe ; but if the iron globe
be placed at any distance from the centre of the circular cake, tlien the light
body will describe an elliptical orbit, which will have the same excentricity as
the distance of the globe from the centre of the cake.

If the cake of rosin be of an elliptic form, and the iron globe be placed in its
centre, the light body will describe an elliptical orbit, of the same excentricity
as the form of the cake.

If the iron globe be placed in or near one focus of the elliptical cake, the
light body will move much swifter in the apogee part of the orbit than in the
perige^ part, contrary to what is observed of the planets.

Exper. 1. — Take the same, or such another iron globe, and having fastened
it on an iron pedestal about one inch high, set it on a table: then set round it
a glass hoop or portion of a hollow glass cylinder, of 7 or 8 inches diameter,
and 2 or 3 inches high: this hoop must be first excited by warming and gently
rubbing it; then hold the light body suspended as in the first experiment, and
it will of itself move round the iron globe from west to east, in a circular orbit,
if the hoop be circular and the globe stand over its centre, but in an elliptic
orbit, with the same excentricity, if the globe does not stand in the centre of
the hoop, as in the first experiment, when the globe does not stand on the
centre of the cake.

Exper. 3. — ^Tbis same iron globe being set on the bare table, without either
the cake of rosin or the glass hoop, the small light body, being suspended as


in experiments 1 and 2, will make revolutions round it, but slower and nearer
to it, than when it is placed on a cake of rosin, or within a glass hoop.

Remarks. — Mr. Gray had not yet found that these experiments would succeed,
if the thread, by which the light body was suspended, was supported by any
other thing than a human hand; but he imagined it might happen the same, if
the thread should be supported or fastened to any animal substance whatever;
and he intended to have tried the foot of a chicken, a piece of raw flesh, or
the like.

He thought to explain the foregoing particular, by the following odd pheno-
menon, of which he asserted he was very certain, having often observed it,
viz. if a man, resting his elbows on his knees, places his hands at some small
distance from each other, they will gradually accede to each other, without any
will or intention of the man to bring them together; and they will again recede
of themselves. In like manner, the hand will be attracted by the body ; or the
face of a man, if he stand near a wall, will be attracted to the wall, and be
again repelled by it.

He told the Doctor, he had thought of these experiments only a very short
time before his falling sick; that he had not yet tried them with variety of
bodies, but that from what he had already seen of them, which struck him with
new surprise every time he repeated them, he hoped, if God would spare his
life but a little longer, he should, from what these phaenomena point out, bring
his electrical experiments to the greatest perfection ; and he did not doubt but
in a short time to be able to astonish the world with a new sort of planetarium
never before thought of, and that from these experiments might be established
a certain theory for accounting for the motions of the grand planetarium of the

In trying these experiments since Mr. Gray's death, the Doctor found that
the small light body will make revolutions round a body of various shapes and
substances, as well as round the iron globe, if set on the cake of rosin. Thus
he tried with a globe of black marble, a silver sand-dish, a small chip box, and
a large cork. He observed that the cake, if nothing stood upon it, would in
any part strongly attract the light body, as held suspended by the thread; but
when the globe, or other body, was set upon it, the edges of the cake attracted
the strongest, and so gradually the attraction seemed as it approached the centre
to grow less, till at a certain distance it was changed into a repulsion, which
proceeded from the globe, or other body placed on the cake, which very
strongly repels the light body, unless it be held very near it, and then it attracts
it strongly. While the light body is suspended, as in the foregoing experi-


ments, if the finger of the other hand be brought near it, it will fly from the
finger, or be repelled by it with great vigour.

Some Thoughts on the Sun and Moon, when near the Horizon, appearing larger
than when near the Zenith. By James Logan, Esq. N" 444, p. 404.

It may perhaps be needless now to add any thing in confirmation of Dr.
Wallis's solution, in the Transactions, N° 187, of the sun and moon's appear-
ing so much larger at rising or setting, than when in a greater altitude; though
some have very absurdly still gone on to account for it from vapours. It is true
indeed, that it is these vapours, or the atmosphere alone, that make those
bodies, when very near the horizon, appear in a spheroidal form, by refracting,
and thereby raising the lower limb more than the upper; yet these can be no
cause of the other. The sun and moon, each subtending about half a degree,
appear in the meridian of the breadth of 8 or 10 inches, to some eyes more,
and to others less ; and in the horizon to be 2 or 3 feet, more or less, according
to the extent of ground they are seen over; but if one can have an opportunity
of seeing the sun rise or set over a small eminence, at the distance of a mile
or two, with tall trees on it standing pretty close, as is usual in woods without
underwood, his body will then appear to be 10 or 12 feet in breadth, according
to the distance and circumstances of the trees he is seen through ; and where
there has been some thin underwood, or a few saplings, Mr. Logan has ob-
served that the sun setting red, has appeared through them like a large exten-
sive flame, as if some house was on fire beyond them. Now the reason of
this is obvious, viz. that being well acquainted with trees, the ideas of the space
they take up are in a manner fixed; and as one of those trees subtends an angle
at the eye, perhaps not exceeding 2 or 3 seconds, and would scarcely be distin-
guishable, were it not for the strong light behind them, the sun's diameter of
above 30 minutes takes in several of them, and therefore will naturally be judged
vastly larger. Hence it is evident, that those bodies appear greater or less,
according to the objects interposed, or taken in by the eye on viewing them.
And to this only is that phenomenon to be imputed.

Mr. Logan acknowledges that, this method of arguing is not new ; yet the
observations here given may probably tend, he thinks, to illustrate the case
beyond what had been advanced on the subject.


A Catalogue of the Fifty Plants, from Chelsea-Gardens, presented to the Royal
Society by the Company of Apothecaries, for the Year 1 735, pursuant to
the Direction of Sir Hans Sloane, Bart. Med. Reg. & Soc. Reg. Pries. By
Isaac Rand, Apothecary, F. R. S. Hart. Chel. Pr/es. ac Prcelec. Botan.
N°445, p. 1.

This is the 14th annual present of 50 plants, completing the number
of 700 plants presented.

The Case of a Lad bitten by a mad Dog. By Mr. Edw. Nourse, F. R. S.
and Surgeon to St. Bartholomew's Hospital. N° 445, p. 5.

Stephen Bellass, about l6 years of age, was, some time in June 1735, bitten
by a mad dog through the nail of his right thumb : Mr. N. being imme-
diately called, proposed to make a ligature above, and to cauterize the wounded
part: but that not being complied with, he desired Mr. Gernum the apothe-
cary, who was present, to make up the remedy mentioned by Dampier in the
Phil. Trans. N° 237, and N°443, viz. R Lichen, ciner. terrestris, Piper, nig. aa
5i. f. Pulvis. Of this powder he took 5i. within an hour after he was bitten ;
repeating it the next morning before he set out for Gravesend, where he was
10 days, and was dipped in the salt water every day; during which time he re-
peated the medicine night and morning, and continued so to do for 40 days.

The boy was without the least sign of being affected by the poison, till
Tuesday the J 1th of Jan. 1736-7, when in the evening he complained of a
numbness in 3 of the fingers of the hand that was not bitten. Next morning
he was sick, had great pain across his stomach, and in all his bones; in the
evening Mr. N. was sent for to bleed him, the people about him supposing he
had got cold. When he came, he found him feverish, with a hard full pulse :
he asked what complaints he had ? he told him those abovementioned. Mr.
N. inquired what nourishment he had taken that day? the answer was, none,
for he could not swallow : Mr. Nourse looked into his mouth, but there was
no inflammation ; neither did any thing occur that could produce the difficulty
of swallowing. Mr. N. offered him some sack-whey in a basin, but he started
at the sight of it, not suffering it to come near him: he was then offered a
spoonful, which he was prevailed on to swallow : the moment it was down, he
was convulsed, and a remarkable horror appeared in his countenance, which
was succeeded by a profuse sweat all over his face and head. He afterwards
took another spoonful ; the consequence was as before, but in a higher degree.
Mr. N. was now convinced that this was the iS^o^o^ia, and that it arose from



his having been bitten ig months before; for after the most strict inquiry, it
did not appear that he had been bitten by any animal since; and if he had, it
is very probable Mr. N. would have known it, his master living next door to
him, and the boy knowing how much danger he was thought to be in, when
he was bitten. Mr. N. acquainted his friends with his apprehensions, and de-
sired further advice; on which Dr. Monro was sent for, who ordered him to be
let blood, a repetition of the abovementioned medicine in a bolus every 4
hours, ai;d a clyster : he was blooded, and the clyster was injected; but he
could not be prevailed on to take more than 1 bolus. That night was spent
with great inquietude, and without any sleep : Thursday morning he was ge-
nerally convulsed, and had frequent retchings and yawnings alternately. About
noon his mind, which till then continued sound, left him, and he raved and
foamed at the mouth till 5 o'clock in the afternoon ; at which time nature
seemed quite spent, and he lay very quiet till 7, when he died.

Thus' the poison was latent near IQ months; which Mr. N. finds mentioned
by others, but it never fell within his own observation before.

j4n Explanation of the Runic Characters of Helsingland. By Mr. Andrew
CelsiiLS, R. S. Suec. Seer. F. R. S. and Professor of Astronomy at Upsal.
N" 445, p. 7.

It is well known, that there are stones found in several parts of Sweden,
which were formerly set up as obelisks in memory of the dead. These monu-
ments are marked with the ancient northern letters, called Runor or Runic
characters. But there is one province of North Sweden, named Helsingland,
where 5 of those stones occur, which have characters cut into them, that seem
to differ from the common Runic. On the introduction of our modern letters,
these Runic characters became so little regarded, that their interpretation was
lost even to the Swedish antiquarians, till the year l674; when Magnus Cel-
sius, the author's grandfather, then professor of astronomy in the university
of Upsal, revived their reading, and drew up the following alphabet of them,
ranged after the manner of the ancients, fig. 1, pi. 5.

There are but l6 letters, and the words are frequently distinguished either
by three points set perpendicularly over one another, or by two at some dis-
tance asunder.

Among the several alphabets hitherto known, it would be diflicult to find one
like the foregoing ; if we may not perhaps except the characters of the Perse-
polis inscriptions, which have not yet been deciphered. For the letters gene-
rally used signify different sounds, according to their various shapes : whereas


in this alphabet, the same character often denotes a different sound, according
to the diversity of its place and attitude between the two parallels. Thus a
straight stroke, standing perpendicular to the parallel lines, signifies i, f, d
and s. For when it joins these parallels, it signifies i; when it rests on the
lower parallel, it signifies f ; on the upper, s ; and d when it touches neither
of them. The small wedge leaning to the right, and placed near the upper
parallel, denotes l ; in the middle, n ; and o, near the lower. A line de-
scending from the upper parallel, and making a curve downward to the left,
stands for k; the same placed contrarywise, from the lower parallel upward,
expresses r : and so of the rest.

The intention of the first inventor of these letters, seems to have been, to
form all the characters of small wedges, straight and crooked lines, and two
points, variously placed between the two parallels. For the wedges may be
placed 1 5 different ways, as represented in fig. 2.

The straight line may also have 15 different situations, as in fig. 3. *

The crooked lines can likewise be varied 14 different ways, as in fig. 4.

Lastly, the two points admit of 12 variations, as in fig. 5. . »

But as the ancient Sueo-Gothi had but l6 letters in their alphabet, they
did not want all these variations of the wedges, lines, and points : therefore
they employed 6 variations of the wedges ; of the straight lines, 5 ; of the
crooked, 3 ; and but 2 of the points.

If we now suppose these Helsingic characters to be older than the common
Runics, the greatest part of the common Runics can easily be derived from the
Helsingics, by adding a perpendicular line to the small wedges and curves ; as
appears by fig. 6.

But if we suppose the common Runics to be older, and to be derived, as it
is very probable, from the ancient Greek and Roman letters ; we must, in the
contrary way, deduce the Helsingic characters from the common Runics, by
subtracting the perpendicular line.

As a specimen, fig. 7 represents a stone found at Malstad ; of which
M. Celsius took an exact copy in the jear 1725, in company with his uncle,
the Rev. Dr. Olave Celsius, of whom he expected a complete account of all
these Helsingic inscriptions. — On the outward limb or border, is what is re-
presented in fig. 8 — In the first curvature, as in fig. Q. — In the second snake
or dragon, as in fig. 10. — In the inner limb, as in fig. IJ. — In the second cur-
vature, as in fig. 12. — In the first snake, as in fig. 13. — In the heads of the
snakes, as in fig. 14.

The inscription of the figures is thus rendered into English : —

Frument erected this itone to Fisiulfi the son of Brisi : but Brisi was the son

a 2


of Lini. But Lint tvas the son of Un. But Un was son of Fah. But Fah the
son of Duri. But he (the son) of Barlaf. But he the son of Drun : but he
(the son) of Lanas : but he (the soil) of Fidrasiv. Frumunt the son of Fisiulfi
made these Runic \letters.'\ We have placed this stone to the north of Bala stone.
Arva was the mother of Fisiulfi. Siulfir (or Fisiulfir) was the Governor of this
Province. His place of abode was in Rimbium.

That this monument was erected since Christianity began to flourish in
Sweden, sufficiently appears by the figure of the cross. It is probable that
Fisiulfi, as the governor of the Province, was descended of a very noble
family; seeing his genealogy is traced 10 generations backward. Now if we
suppose Frumunt to have been 30 years of age when he erected this monu-
ment for his father, and, with Sir Isaac Newton, allow 30 years for each
generation ; we shall find 330 years from the death of Fisiulfi to the birth of
Fidrasiv, who is the stock of these generations.

A figlire of this stone is in M. de la Motraye's Travels; but with consider-
able errors in the windings of the snakes, and in the letters, as well as in the
explanation of them.

A Collection of the Observations made on the Eclipse of the Moon, on March J 5,
1735-6, which were communicated to the Royal Society.

A Lunar Eclipse observed in Fleet-street, London, March 15, 1735-6. By
Mr. Geo. Graham. N° 445, p. 14.

lO** 13™ the beginning.

11 11 the total immersion.

12 49 the emersion.

13 47 the end.

The same, by Dr. Halley at Greenwich, p. J4.

The beginning 10^ 13"" 37'
The immersion 1 1 g 42

The same, observed in Fleet-street. By M. Celsius, F. R. S. p. 15.

10*" 22"" 6* the shade on the middle of Kepler.
11 917 the total immersion is about to begin.
13 45 50 the eclipse is nearly ended.
13 46 12 the eclipse is certainly ended.


The same, observed in Covent Garden, London. By Dr. Bevis,* p. i6.

True Time.

10'' 9*" 40* A thin penumbra commences near Hevelius.

10 10 20 the penumbra is now very sensible.

• John Bevis, M. D. and a valuable member of the R. Soc. was born Oct. 31, 1695, o. s. near
Old Samm in Wiltshire. At a proper age he was entered at Christ's College, Oxford, where he
applied diligently as well to the study of physic, for the practice of which he was intended, as to
other sciences, particularly astronomy and optics, in which he became a considerable proficient,
both in theory and in practice. Having taken his degree of M.D. he left the university, and tra-
velled through France and Italy, where he made respectable connections, and on his return com-
ijaenced the occupation of a physician at and near Ixjndon, where he had considerable practice.

But the study of physic alforded him little pleasure in comparison with that of contemplating the
celestial bodies and their motions. As early as 1738 he had made an excellent collection of astrono-
mical instruments, for furnishing a new observatory, which he had built at Stoke Newington near
London. Here he became an indefatigable observer, having filled 3 folio volumes with observations
made in the course of one year. From these he selected the most important parts, making one
volume of 196 pages, on large paper, where it frequently appears that the transits of 16"0 stars, &c.
have been observed by him in one night.

Dr. Bevis continued to observe the heavens with the same assiduity till the year 1745 ; when,
from his vast collection of materials, he undertook the laborious task of arranging, and publishing
by subscription, a work entitled Uranographia Britannica, or an exact view of the heavens, on 5'Z
plates, similar to that of Bayer, representing the constellations, and all the fixed stars observed by
former astronomers, with the addition of those observed by himself.

Those plates, so honourable to his country and to himself, though they have been engraved for
so many years, have unfortunately been prevented from coming before the public ; having entrusted
the care of engraving the plates, and receiving the subscriptions, to a person who, after receiving
several hundred pounds of the money subscribed, became a bankrupt ; by which the work passed
into tlie hands of the creditors, and thus has been lost to the world.

Dr. Bevis was the real author of a great many works, which have been well received by the public,
but which his modesty prevented him from taking the merit of. It is to him we are indebted for
the publication of Dr. Halley's Astronomical Tables, after they had been printed more tlian 20
years; having supplied some auxiliary tables, and the precepts for using them, he brought tJie whole
to light in the year 1749. — At a meeting of the Board of Longitude, Sept. 18, 1764, Dr. Bevis was
nominated to compute the observations made at Greenwich, and to compaie them with those made
at Portsmouth and elsewhere, for the purpose of ascertaining the accuracy of Mr. Harrison's Time-
keepers. — In Mr. Simpson's Essays, p. 10, are delivered practical rules for finding the aberration,
which were drawn up and given him by Dr. Bevis, with examples of the correction applied to se-
veral stars, which he had carefully observed witli proper instruments ; by which he has proved, the
first of any one, that the phenomena are as conformable in right ascension, as Dr. Bradley, who
made this great discovery, found them to be in declination. — Several pieces of the Doctor's were
inserted in the few numbers that were published of a work, called The Mathematical Magazine, by
Mr. Moss and Mr. Witchell, particularly a curious paper on the Satellite of Venus, and several sheets
of a new Mathematical Dictionary. — Dr. Bevis enriched the Philos. Trans, with 27 valuable papers,
mostly containing Astronomical Obsenations, viz. from vol. 40 to vol. 59 inclusive. He announced
in the Journal des S9avans, for August 1771, an English translation of La Lande's Astronomy,


True Time.

2Qh J 2™ 40» beginning of the eclipse.

11 10 O the total immersion.

12 46 56 beginning of the emersion,

13 46 25 the true shadow ends.

13 48 30 the penumbra no longer sensible.

The same observed at Yeovil in Somersetshire. Latitude 50 Degrees 52
Minutes. By Mr. John Milner, p. 18.

The beginning of the eclipse 10*" 6" O*

Beginning of total obscuration 114 30

Middle of the eclipse 1 1 54 O

End of total obscuration .... 12 43 30

The end of the eclipse 139 15

Some Investigations, by which it is proved that the Figure of the Earth must ap-
proach very near to an Ellipsis, according to the Laws of Attraction Inversely
as the Squares of the Distances. By M. Alexis Clair aut,* F. R. S. and of

made principally by himself j but this was never published, though left ready for the press at his
death — ^The only things which appeared separately with his name, besides the papers in the Philos.
Trans, just mentioned, were two pamphlets, the one entitled " The Satellite Sliding Rule," for
determining the immersions and emersions of Jupiter's four Satellites. The other was, "An Expe-
rimental Enquiry concerning the Contents, Qualities, and Medicinal Virtues of the two Mineral
Waters lately discovered at Bagnigge Wells near London, &c. in 8vo. 1760."

Dr. Bevis made some curious experiments on the refractive power of glass, in the composition of
which he had used a quantity of Ijorax, and found the refrangibility was as gi-eat as that of English
crystal. He corresponded with most of the principal astronomers in all parts of the continent j
several of whom make honorable mention, in their works, of the civilities and attention they received
from him, either during their stay in England, or by communications to them abroad.

On the death of Mr. Bliss, in 1765, his friends made great exertions to procure for Dr. Bevis
the situation of Astronomer Royal, but the superior interest of Dr. Maskelyne secured the office
for the latter.

A few years before his death. Dr. Bevis removed from his house and observatory at Stoke
Newington, to reside in the Temple, London, for the better convenience of his occupation as a

Online LibraryRoyal Society (Great Britain)The Philosophical transactions of the Royal society of London, from their commencement in 1665, in the year 1800 (Volume 8) → online text (page 15 of 85)