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is now of no use to follow this author, he at last concludes that, therefore the
vortex is every way impossible, ami insufficient in natural philosophy. Its me-
chanical generation is impossible ; it has only an axifugal force, and not a cen-
trifugal and centripetal force, as it should have ; and even if it had, it cannot
defend itself equally on all sides. It is not sufficient for explaining gravity, and
its properties ; it destroys Kepler's astronomical laws. What more can be de-
sired, in order to conclude with Sir Isaac Newton? ' Itaque hypothesis vorticum
' est impossibile, et cum phaenomenis astronomicis omnino pugnat, et non tarn
• ad explicandos quam ad perturbandos motus ccelestes conducit.' a. e. d.

j^n Account, . by David Hartley, M. B. F. R. S. of Dr. Trevo's Dissertation con-
cerning the Differences of a Human Body bejore and after Birth, intitled.
Diss, epistolica de differentiis quibusdam inter hominem natum et nascendum
intervenientibus, deque vestigiis Divini Numinis inde colligendis. Jo. Georgia
Kramero inscripta. Cum Tab. jEn. Aut. Christoph. Jacobo Trew, Nori-
bergice, 1730, Ato. N° 457, p. 436.

There are, according to Dr. Trew, 2 remarkable observations, which animal
bodies suggest, 1st. That the same general ends are accomplished in different
animals by all the possible varieties of means. 2dly, That animal bodies are
machines, which produce in themselves all those changes, that are necessary
for their preservation and well-being. Thus the same general ends of chylifi-
cation, circulation, secretion of bile, &c. are accomplished in different animals
by organs that differ considerably from each other ; and in the same animal the
body of the foetus is very different in its structure from that of the adult, at the
same time that this difference is effected by the body itself, each subsequent
variation, the natural and mechanical consequence of that which immediately
preceded, and the whole conducted in the best possible manner for tlie welfare
and happiness of the animal.

The author's design in this dissertation, is to consider those differences of a
human body before and after birth, which affect the circulation of the blood.
And for this purpose he has given us 78 v^ry curious and accurate figures of
the parts relating thereto, such as the heart, and trunks of the great blood-
vessels, the liver, the vena portarum, the umbilical chord, &c. subjoining to
them a very minute and precise explanation of each. The work contains
numerous anatomical disquisitions; which will be best read in the book itself.



There is a short dissertation, with four figures of the tongue, its vessels
glands, muscles, and nerves annexed, by the same author ; whose principal
intent is to show, that the vessels called salival ducts by Coschwilzius, are not
salival ducts, but veins.

Some curious Experimetils and Observations on a Beetle,* that lived three Years
without Food. By Mr. Henry Baker.-f- N° 457, p. 441.

In the middle of the month of June 1737, while Mr. Baker was at a rela-
tion's house at Tottenham in the county of Middlesex, a large cistern of lead,
that was placed in the coach-house-yard, to receive by pipes the rain-water from
some out-buildings, fell down. Curiosity led him to examine into this cistern;
and at the bottom he observed several black beetles, plunging in a muddy slimy
sediment, which the water had left. Taking out 2 or 3 of them, he found
them of a middling size, somewhat above an inch in length, having 6 pretty
long legs, with 2 little hooks at the extremity of each, in the manner of the
common beetles: they were all over of a rusty black colour, with antennae long
and jointed; a body covered with one strong shell, forming an appearance of
case-wings, but undivided, and without any filmy wings underneath, and a tail
turning up a little : in short, they resembled very much a sort of beetle that is
sometimes seen in houses, but were of a stronger and much more firm con-

As Mr. B. had preserved most of our English insects, he chose one of the

* The insect, whose strength of constitution was thus tried by Mr. Baker, is the tenebrio mortisa-
gus of Linnaeus.

t Mr. Henry Baker, F. R. S. was a learned antiquarj' and naturalist, on which subjects he com-
municated a great number of curious papers to the R. S. which were published in the Philos. Trans,
in the several volumes, from the 41st to the 56th j as well as some ingenious separate works ; as, the
Microscope made easy, in 8vo, 1742; and Employment for the Microscope, 8vo, 1764. He wrote
also Original Poems, Serious and Humourous, 8vo, 1725 j also the Universe, a Poem, intended to
restrain the pride of man.

Mr. Baker was born in London, and brought up to the business of a bookseller ; but he quitted
that profession, and undertook to teach deaf and dumb persons to speak and read, &c. ; by which he
acquired a decent fortune. In 1740 he was elected Fellow of the Royal and Antiquarian Societies,
from the former of which he received, the same year, the annual gold medal, for his microscopical
experiments on saline particles. Mr. B. married a daughter of the celebrated Daniel De Foe, by
whom he had two sons, one of whom, Henry, had some pretentions to mathematical and philoso-
phical learning, and had received lessons in the former of these branches from the celebrated Wm.
Jones, Esq. father of the late Sir Wm. Jones, chief judge in India ; but taking a turn to the theatre,
he married a lady eminent in that profession, and became a comedian himself; in which profession
he published a useful little book, called A Companion to the Playhouse. Our author, the father,
died in 1774, being upwards of 70 years of age.


largest of these beetles, and threw it into a cup full of common lamp-spirits,
that being the way of killing and preparing them for his purpose, and in a few
minutes it appeared to be quite dead. He then shut it up in a round pill-box,
of about an inch and half diameter, and carried it in his pocket next day to
London, where he tossed it into a drawer, and thought no more of it for above
2 months after; when, opening the box, he found it alive and vigorous; though
it had nothing to eat for all that time, nor received any more air than what
could be met with in so small a box, the cover of which shut very close.
Having however no intention of keeping it alive, he again plunged it into spirit
of wine, and let it lie considerably longer than the first time, till supposing it
dead beyond any possibility of recovery, he put it into the box again, and
locked it in a drawer, without looking any more at it for a month at least, when
he found it again alive. And now he began to imagine there must be some-
what extraordinary in this creature, since it could survive the force of spirit of
wine, which soon kills most other insects, and live for 3 months, without taking
in any sustenance.

A few days before this, a friend had sent Mr. B. 3 or 4 cock-roches, or as
Merian calls them, kakkerlacae, brought alive from the West Indies : these he
had placed under a large glass of 6 or 7 inches diameter, made on purpose to
observe the transformation of caterpillers: he put the beetle among them, that
it might enjoy a greater share of liberty than for 3 months before. He fed them
with green ginger moistened in water, and they eat it greedily ; but he could
not find, nor does he believe, that the beetle ever tasted it during the whole 5
weeks they lived under the glass together. He often took notice, that the
cock-roches would avoid the beetle, and seem frighted at its approach ; but
never observed any tokens of its liking or dislike of them, for he usually stalked
along, without regarding whether they came in his way or not. Perceiving the
cock-roches begin to decline in vigour, Mr. B. was afraid they would lose much
of their beauty, if he permitted them to die of sickness, and would become un-
fit to be preserved : he therefore put them into spirit of wine, and the beetle
their companion with them. They appeared dead in a few minutes, and he be-
lieved were really so : the beetle seemed likewise in the same condition : after
they had lain in the spirits about an hour, he took them out, and whelmed the
glass over them, till he should have leisure to dispose of them as he intended.
This was about 10 o'clock in the morning, and he saw them no more till even-
ing, but found the beetle then creeping about as strong and vigorous as ever :
and therefore he resolved to put him to a trial he imagined he could not possibly
survive, which was to let him remain a whole night in spirits ; but here too



Mr. B. found himself mistaken, for after he had been taken out a day, he ap-
peared as lively as if nothing had happened to him.

After that time Mr. B. put him no more in spirits, but kept him under the
glass aforementioned, where it was still living after 2 years and half, and Mr. B.
has never been able to discover, that he had drank or eaten any thing.

However, by way of experiment, Mr. B. put under his glass, at different
times, water, bread, fruits, &c. but he never found them in the least diminished
or touched by the beetle. These trials too were always made at many months
asunder, and he is pretty certain, there has been at least a year together, during
some part of the aforesaid time, in which nothing has been offered him either
to eat or drink.

The question will then be, how this creature has been wonderfully kept alive
for 2 years and a half, without taking any visible food ? The supposition, that
it finds its nourishment in the air, carries with it the highest probability : since
there are particles in the air which evidently supply a growth to plants of some
particular kinds, such as the sempervive, orpine, house-leek, &c. And the
same or some other particles in it may possibly be likewise able to afford a
nourishment to animals of some certain kinds. — There is a further reason also
to believe, that something like this must be the case; for, in the amazing plan
of nature, the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms are not separated from
each other by wide distances, or broken off by sudden starts, but differ from
each other, near their boundaries, by such minute and insensible degrees, that
it is impossible to find out certainly where the one begins, or where the other
ends. — As the air, therefore, yields nourishment to some kinds of plants, it
may probably do the same to some kinds of animals; for otherwise a link would
seem wanting in the mighty chain of beings. And that cameleons, lizards,
snakes, &c. can live for months together without any visible sustenance, is a
fact generally allowed to be true ; the cause of it too has been attributed to an
exceedingly slow digestion, circulation, and distribution of nourishment, in those
creatures ; but as their agility seems to imply a brisk motion of their animal
spirits, Mr. B. thinks the circulation of their other fluids cannot be so sluggish
as commonly is supposed : and perhaps it may not be unreasonable to believe,
that their being able to live so long without visible food, is rather owing to
some other nourishment they receive from the air, which supplies the want of
more substantial diet.

This beetle walked not much about under the glass that covered it, but was
usually found with its nose thrust close down to the bottom, perhaps to suck in
air. On removing the glass, it appeared robust and vigorous, and would
willingly run away. A strong aromatic kind of smell issued from it, agreeable


enough when there is not too much of it ; and the same scent hangs about the
fingers a long while after touching it. In the exhausted receiver, where it was
kept sometimes for half an hour, it seemed perfectly unconcerned, walking
about in vacuo as briskly as in the open air ; but, on admission of the air, it
shrinked its legs together, and appeared in a surprise for near a minute.

This beetle, after being kept half a year longer, was permitted to get away,
by the carelessness of a servant, who took down the glass to wipe it.

See the figure of this insect, in fig. 6, pi. 9.

The Discovery of a perfect Plant in Semine. By Mr. Henry Baker.*

N° 457, p. 448.

Since the ancient supposition of equivocal generation has been rejected, for
a more reasonable belief, that every thing proceeds from parents of its own
kind, numbers of curious people have busied themselves in search of experi-
ments, whereby to demonstrate the truth of the latter, and consequently the
falsity of the former opinion. For this purpose the animal and vegetable worlds
have been examined, and such analogy found between them, as proves con-
vincingly, that their generation and increase are brought about in a manner
pretty much alike. The animal and vegetable semina are found to be alike the
rudiments of their future offspring ; and both alike require only a proper re-
pository to preserve them from injuries, and proper juices to advance their growth,
and bring them to perfection-
Glasses are the means by which these secrets in nature are discovered to us.
The eye, assisted by a good microscope, can distinguish plainly, in the semen
masculinum of animals, myriads of animalcules alive and vigorous, though so
exceedingly minute, that it is computed 3000 millions of them are not equal to
a grain of sand, whose diameter is but the 100th part of an inch : and the
same instrument will inform us beyond all doubt, that the farinae of vegetables
are nothing else but a congeries of minute granula, whose shapes are constant
and uniform as the plants they are taken from. And as the seeds of plants are
found by repeated experiments to be unprolific, if the farina be not permitted to
shed, it has been supposed, that all its granula contain seminal plants of their
own kind.

The growth of animals and vegetables seems to be nothing else but a gradual

* This is one of those papers which have not escaped the animadversions of Sir John Hill, who
very properly observes that Mr. Baker's supposed enabryo plant is in reality no other than the germen
with its feathered stigmata. If the paper be worth preserving, it is that it may operate as a proper
caution to unguarded observers.


unfolding and expansion of their vessels, by a slow and progressive insinuation
of fluids adapted to their diameters, until being stretched to the utmost bounds
allotted them by Providence at their formation, they reach their state of perfec-
tion, or, in other words, arrive at their full growth. — If this be granted, the
consequence must be, that all the members of a perfect animal exist really in
every animalcule of the semen animale masculinum, and all the parts of a per-
fect plant in every little grain of the farina plantarum, however minute either of
them may be.

According to this theory, it is supposed by some, that, in animals, the semen
of the male being received into the matrix of the female, some of the animal-
cules it contains in such abundance, find an entrance into the ovaria, and lodge
themselves in some of the ova placed there by Providence as a proper nidus for
them. An ovum, becoming thus inhabited by an animalcule, gets loosened in
due time from its ovarium, and passes into the matrix through one of the
Fallopian tubes. The veins and arteries that fastened it to the ovary, and were
broken when it dropped from thence, unite with the vessels it finds here, and
compose the placenta : the coats of the ovum, being swelled and dilated by the
juices of the matrix, form the chorion and the amnion, integuments needful to
the preservation of the little animal, which, receiving continually a kindly
nourishment from the same juices, gradually stretches and enlarges its dimen-
sions, becoming then quickly visible with all the parts peculiar to its species,
and is called a foetus.

In plants, say they, which are incapable of removing from place to place, as
animals can, it was requisite a repository for their farina should be near at hand
to prevent its being lost ; and accordingly we find, that almost every flower,
producing a farina, has likewise in itself a proper ovary for its reception ; where
the ova thereby impregnated, are expanded by the juices of the parent plant, to
a certain form and bulk, and then, becoming what are called ripe seeds, they
fall to the earth, which is a natural matrix for them.

According to the above supposition, a ripe seed, falling to the earth, is in the
condition of the ovum of an animal getting loose from its ovary, and dropping
into the uterus : and, to go on with the analogy, the juices of the earth swell
and extend the vessels of the seed, as the juices of the uterus do those of the
ovum, till the seminal leaves unfold, and perform the office of a placenta to the
infant included plant ; which, imbibing suitable and sufficient moisture, gra-
dually extends its parts, fixes its own root, shoots above the ground, and may
be said to be born.

Others disapprove of this hypothesis, and insist that no animalcule can
possibly enter the ovum animale, nor any particle of the farina get into the


embryo of a seed. But, say they, in animals, either the finest part of the
semen is taken in by the vessels of the vagina and uterus, circulated with the
fluids, and carried into the ovaria, and even into the ova, by the vessels that
run thither ; or else fecundation is occasioned by a subtile spirit in the semen
masculinum, which passes the uterus, enters the ovaria, pervades the female
ova, actuates and enlivens the seminal matter contained in them, and produces
all the various symptoms of conception. In plants, too, .say they, the same is
effected by penetrating effluvia from the male semen or farina.

This account of animal and vegetable generation is intended to intro-
duce a discovery, which may possibly some way lead to a greater certainty
about it.

Among numberless inquirers, whom the opinion, that every seed includes a
real plant, has set at work to open all kinds of seeds, and try by glasses to find
evident proofs of, Mr. B. was not the least industrious. But after repeated
experiments, in every manner he could think of, and with the utmost nicety,
he began to despair of ever attaining an ocular demonstration of it. If by
moistening the seed it began to vegetate, he could indeed discern the seminal
leaves, and the germen or bud, whence the future plant should arise ; but he
was not able to go further, unless he waited till the moisture, gradually extend-
ing its vessels, made the little root shoot down, the stalk rise up, and the mi-
nute leaves expand, and bring themselves to view. This, however, was not
the thing he sought for ; but at length mere accident favoured him with a dis-
covery he had so often searched after to no purpose.

Endeavouring with a fine lancet to dissect a seed of the gramen tremulum,
with intention to examine the several parts of it with a microscope, imagining
he might find somewhat curious in the contexture of its husk, the edges of
which were transparent, he opened it the long way exactly in the middle, and
took notice of something exceedingly small between the two sides,' which he
had separated. He stuck the point of the lancet into it, with no other design
than to take it up, and place it in the microscope to see what it might be ;
which he had no sooner done, than he found the lancet had fortunately opened
a membranous case, that included a perfect plant, arising from a double root in
the basis of its case, with two stems of an equal height, each having many leaves
on it, like the grass from whence it was produced. He afterwards cut open
a great many seeds of the same kind, in hopes to be able to separate one of
these minute plants entirely from its theca ; which at last he successfully


On the Analogy between English freights and Measures of Capacity. By the
Rev. Mr. fVilliam Barlow of Plymouth. N° 458, p. 457.

The analogy between ancient English weights and measures seems for many
ages to have been entirely forgotten and unknown.

Our ancestors supposed, as Mr. B. thinks, a cubic foot of water (assumed as a
general standard for liquids) to weigh 624^1b. ; the exactness of which supposition
is confirmed by modern observation. From a cubic foot of water, multiplied
by 32, is raised a ton weight, or 2000 pounds, luckily falling into large round
numbers, and for that reason made choice of.

Agreeably to this were liquid measures accommodated, viz. 8 cubic feet of
water made a hogshead, and 4 hogsheads a ton, in capacity and denomination,
as well as weight.

Dry measures were raised on the same model. A bushel of wheat, assumed
as a general standard for all sorts of grain, was supposed to weigh 624. lb. equal
to a foot of water ; 8 of these bushels a quarter, and 4 quarters a ton weight.

Coals were sold by the chaldron, which was supposed to weigh a ton or 2O0O
pounds. See Chambers's Dictionary.

Therefore, though the measures containing a liquid ton, 4 quarters of wheat,
a chaldron of coals, &c. be all of different capacities ; yet the respective contents
are every one of the same weight. A ton in weight is the common standard
of all.

Afterwards, through ignorance of this analogy, a variety of weights and mea-
sures were introduced, incommensurate, and not reducible to any common
standard, or analogous relation. Whereas, had the original analogy been kept
up, it would have prevented that disorder and confusion so justly complained
of at present, concerning the subject of weights and measures.

From the foregoing scheme it is reasonable to suppose, that corn, and seve-
ral other commodities, both dry and liquid, were first sold by weight ; and that
measures, for convenience, were afterwards introduced, bearing some analogy
to the weights before made use of.

From the modern experiment before mentioned, a cubic foot of water
weighing 624- lb. it appears that the measure of a foot, and the weight of a
pound, are the same now as they were in use many ages before the conquest.

The foregoing scheme assigns a reason, why the word ton is applied both to
weight and liquid measure, viz. because the same quantity of liquor is a ton
both in weight and measure. Probably 4 quarters of grain had formerly the
same appellation, till the significancy of it was lost in the use of the avoir-
dupois ton.


The word quarter, as applied to grain, is also here explained. Most writers,
have supposed it the 4th part of some measure, but what that measure was,
could never satisfactorily be made out. The learned Fleetwood guessed nearest
the truth, supposing it the 4th part — not of any measure, but of some load or
weight. (Chron. Pretios. p. 72.) It is strange that he stopped here, and did
not observe what that load or weight was, viz. a ton or 2000 lb. But the avoir-
dupois ton, in use at present for all gross weights, threw such a mist over the
subject as could not easily be seen through.

From the original and natural signification of the word hundred, it plainly
appears, that twenty hundred, or a ton, must be exactly two thousand

uiccount of a Tract entitled^ Jo. Frederici fVeidleri Commentalio de Parheliis
Mense Januario ^nni 1736, prope Petroburgum Angli,e et Kitembergcg Saxo-
num visis. Accedit de rubore cceli igneo Mense Decembri Anni 1737> obser-
vato Corolla riui/i, Fitembergie, 1738, 4to. N'' 458, p. 459.

An Attempt to examine the Barrows in Cornwall. By Stephen fVilliams, M. D.

F.R.S. N°458, p. 465.

These barrows are conical hillocks, generally situated on places of eminence,
on or near the summit of downs, and so capable of being seen at a great dis-
tance ; and often near the most public or greatest roads, though sometimes in
inclosed or fenced lands. They are sometimes single, and other times a num-
ber together.

The height and dimensions of the barrows in Cornwall, are various, from 4
to 30 feet high, and from 15 to 130 broad; but they always bear a regular
proportion in their form. Some have a ditch round their circumferences ; some
a small circle of stones at the top ; some a circle of stones round the extreme
verge of their basis.

The barrows, which are the subject of the present inquiry, lie on the sum-
mit of St. Austle Downs, about a mile from the town, and half a mile from the

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 50 of 85)