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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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at 9 at night, a (Hgfatfbl glade of fire, or draco volans, fraat east to west.

October I, 1736, day doody, wind s.w. dear evenii^ six at night, feU a
great ball of fire oat of the air to the earth ; no rain 15 days before, and only a
few drops 2 days after.

Angost 28, 1738, at 5 tm. wind s.w. sky dear, the son bright shining, a
fiery meteor ap pe ar ed v.b. ran iwrth, like a apear of fire, with a great roond
head, which borst like a rocket, spread ahont in a large fire, and iranisfaed
soddenly. This was a great drought, which continoed without rain to Sq>-
tember 7.

The next was Dec emb e r 2, 1739, at 6 at nigfat, wind north, sky dear, m
white frost, a great halo dmot the moon. This meteor appemd lake a largte
round body of fire, of about a foot and a half diameter ; seemed very low,
therefore could not be observed far, though it went all over this country from
north to sooth; preUy sharply, but nodiing near so qoickly as a glade of light-
ning, was succeeded instantly by a most dismal aoond in the air, like carta,
drums, and groans mixed. It kcft the tract of the meteor, hot in an opposite
course, viz. from south to west. This was a most fiightfnl time of rains, snow,
storms, 2cc.


A Conjunction of Planus and Mercury, May 17, 1737, observed at Greenwich.
By J. Bevis, M. D. N° 459, p. 630.

At 9'' 44", the planet Mercury appeared immediately under Venus, their
distance asunder not more than a 10th part of the diameter of the latter.

An Occultation of Aldeharan by the Moon, Dec. 12, 1738, p.m. observed in
Fleet-street with a reflecting Telescope of \5 Inches in Length. By Mr. G.
Graham, F. R. S. N° 459, p. 632.

The occultation at 5^ 27"* &

Emerged at 5 29 59

Duration 1 2 53

An Eclipse of the Sun, Dec. I9, 1739> in the Morning, observed by Mr. Short
in Surry-street, with a Reflecting Telescope of\6 Inches Focus, that magnified
about 40 times. N° 459, P- ^33.

The beginning could not be seen for clouds about the horizon. About 35"
after 8 o'clock, there was an opening, when the sun seemed to be about 2 or 3
digits eclipsed. The end was exactly observed at 9*^ 1" 45% t. app.

^n Eclipse of the Moon, Jan. 1, 1740, observed at Mr. Graham's house in Fleet-
street, by Mr. Short, with a reflecting Telescope ofQ Inches Focus, that mag-
nified about 40 times. N° 459, P- 633.

Beginning about 8*" 25" 0' t. app.

Beginning of total darkness at . . . 9 31 10

End of total darkness 1 1 15 20

End of the eclipse at 12 22 O

But the beginning and end could not be distinctly seen for clouds.

Some Remarks and Experiments concerning Electricity. By the Rev. J. T. De-
saguliers, LL. D., F. R. S. N° 459, p. 634.

1. Bodies electric per se, are such in whom a virtue of attracting and repel-
ling small bodies at a distance is inherent, though it is not always in action, so
as to produce that effect. But by rubbing, patting with the hand, hammering,
warming, and sometimes only exposing to dry air, such bodies exert the virtue
above mentioned ; otherwise they are in a non-electric state.

2. Non-electric bodies, are such in which no electrical virtue can be excited


by any action on the bodies themselves, such as rubbing, warming, &c. But
an electric per se, when excited, can communicate its virtue to a non-electric,
and that virtue will be received by all the parts of the non electric, be the body
ever so long or large, and be strongest, being as it were collected at that end
of the non-electric, which is farthest from the place where the electricity is
first received,

3. A non-electric, having received electricity, will communicate to another
body brought to touch it, or only brought pretty near, and that often with
a snapping noise, and a small flash of light, losing by that means all its own

4. An electric per se will become a non-electric for a time, if it be made wet
or moist, and become receptive of electricity, which it will receive at one end,
and carry to the other, where the electricity will go off with a small explosion,
to impregnate any other non-electric, which is brought near.

5. An electric per se, in which electricity has been excited, may become
non-electric by being exposed to moist air, whose humid vapours it attracts ;
and then, brought to the fire, or into very dry air, recover its electricity when
the moisture is exhaled again. ^

6. An electric per se may be made strongly electric in part of its length,
while the other part remains in a non-electric state.

7. A body in a state of electricity, whether a non-electric having received
electricity, or an electric per se, excited to electricity, will attract all non-elec-
trics, and repel other bodies that are in a state of electricity, provided the elec-
tricity be of the same kind.

8. A non-electric body will not retain the electricity which it receives from an
electric per se, unless it be free from touching any other non-electric body ;
but must be suspended or supported by electrics per se touching only them and
the air.

Q. An electric per se, when it is not reduced to a non-electric state, will not
receive electricity from another electric per se, whose electricity is excited, so
as to run along its whole length ; but will only receive it a little way, being as
it were saturated with it.

jO. An electric per se will not lose all its electricity at once, but only the
electricity of such parts of the body as have comniunicated it to other bodies, or
near which non-electrics have been brought.

11. When a non-electric, which has received electricity, communicates its
electricity to another, it loses all its electricity at once ; and the effluvia, in
coming out, strike the new body brought near, as well as the body first made


12. Excited electricity exerts itself in a sphere round the electric per se ; or
rather a cylinder, if the body be cylindrical.

13. The electricity which a non-electric of great length, for example, a
hempen string 800 or gOO feet long, receives, runs from one end to the other
in a sphere of electrical effluvia. But all the supports of this string must be
electrics per se.

14. If this string be branched out into many strings, the electricity will run
to all their ends.

15. If the non-electric string, which is to receive and carry on tVie electric
effluvia, be not continuous, but has between its ends some electrics per se, the
effluvia will stop at the first of them, unless the interruption or discontinuation
of the non-electric be short ; because in that case the electricity jumps from
the end of the first non-electric to the beginning of the next, especially if the
air be very dry, even though the ends of the string should be about a foot dis-
tant, and no body but the air between. Sometimes indeed the distance must
not be above an inch or two.

There are two sorts of electrics per se, known by what follows. A body im-
pregnated with electricity from one sort will repel all bodies that have that sort
of electricity, till they have lost their own electricity by coming to some non-
electric. But an electric per se of the other sort, though excited, will attract
all those bodies, though in a state of repulsion on account of the other elec-
tricity ; and so vice versa.

Some Electrical Experiments made before the Royal Society, Jan. 12, J 740-1,

By the same. N° 450, p. 637-

It being a matter in dispute, whether there is any difference between the
electricity of glass, and that of gums and resins, Dr. D. made the following
experiments to settle that point.

He fastened a string of dry cat-gut, which when dry is an electric per se, •
from one pillar to the other, at the end of the table in the meeting-room of the
Royal Society, about seven feet from the floor ; and to the middle of that cat-
gut fastened a silken thread about 1 feet long, which hung down, and at its
lower end had a down feather. Then rubbing the end of a stick of wax pretty
quick and strongly against his cloth waistcoat, the wax became electrical, and
attracted the feather, which stuck to it awhile, and then was repelled from it,
as long as it retained the electricity it had received from the wax : but having
touched the feather with his finger, it lost its electricity ; and, becoming a
non-electric, was again attracted by the wax, which gave it fresh electricity ;
and then it was repelled from it, and so toties quoties. When the feather was


in its electric state, he applied to it another stick of wax, which was first
rubbed ; and it repelled the feather, though it had not touched it before, and
did the same as the other stick of wax had done.

After that he rubbed a glass tube, which first attracted and then repelled the
feather, as the wax had done. And another tube, being rubbed, repelled the
feather, when it was put into an electric state by the first tube, without first
attracting it. But non-electrics, such as the finger, or a stick, attracted the
feather, when it had first been made electric ; and not only so, but electrics
per se, when they were become non-electric, as the tube unrubbed, or the
wax unrubbed ; nay, the rubbed tube also, when its end was moistened,
or that end of it turned to the feather, which had been held in the hand.

Then he made the feather electric, by the application of the excited tube ;
and having rubbed the wax, to give it electriciiy, he brought it near the fea-
ther, which it attracted strongly, though it had repelled it before, when the
feather had been made electric by wax.

Afterwards he made the feather electric by the wax, which first attracted
and then repelled it : and, having applied the rubbed tube to the feather, it
attracted it strongly, though it repelled it when the feather was made electric
by another glass tube.

Electrical Experiments made before the Royal Society, on Thursday, March 13,
1740-t. By the same. N° 459, p. 639.

Dr. D. having showed lately by some plain experiments, that the electricity
of glass is different from that of sealing-wax ; because the wax attracted a
feather suspended in the air by a fine silk, when the rubbed glass tube repelled
it, he made the experiment with a cake of rosin, instead of sealing-wax ; and
it appeared to have the same kind of electricity as the wax. Then considering
that the supporters of any non-electric conductors of electricity, must them-
selves be electric, he tried whether bodies, endued with either kind of elec-
tricity, were in any-wise different in that case, by the following experi-

He laid a piece of wood, 4 feet long, on 1 glass plates, whose ends stood
1 foot beyond the side of the table on which they were laid ; then applying the
rubbed tube to one end of the wood, the other attracted leaf-brass, or a thread
hanging down from a stick. Then, instead of the glass plates, he laid the
long piece of wood on 2 cakes of rosin, and applied the rubbed tube to the end
of the said wood, which conducted the electricity to the other end, where leaf-
brass and the thread were attracted in the same manner.

This shows that, in order to conduct electricity along any non-electric body,

VOL. viii. 3 P


it is indifferent what kind of electricity its supporters are endowed with, pro-
vided they are but electric.

Concerning an Extraordinary Hernia Inguinalis. By John Huxham, M. D.

F. R. S. N° 459, p. 640.

Mr. Burman, a taylor of Plymouth, about 40, had from his childhood la-
boured under a small inguinal rupture on the right side ; but about 6 years
before his death, from a blow received in his groin, the hernia became very
large, and the gut always remained down in the scrotum ; for he wore no bag,
truss, or the like, to support it. The day before his death, he was following
his work, as usual, with his pressing-iron, without any violent jerk or strain-
ing ; when, about 10 in the morning, all at once, he felt a very great pain in
his right inguen ; which, continually increasing^ in 2 or 3 hours threw him
into vomitings, cold sweats, &c. His apothecary gave him a clyster, which
brought off a small matter of thin stool ; but gave no relief, though it had
been formerly very serviceable to him in the like disorder.

About 8 in the evening Dr. H. was sent for, and found him in cold sweats,
with scarcely any pulse. The hernial tumour was prodigiously large, and exceed-
ingly hard ; the pains extremely violent, which caused excessive languors.
He ordered, that he should be placed in a proper posture, that a warm aromatic
emollient fomentation should be frequently and long applied, and that a reduc-
tion of the intestine should be attempted ; or, if that did not succeed, that the
operation for the bubonocele should be performed. The fomentation was tried
a long while, emollient terebinthinate clysters injected, and the reduction at-
tempted, for an hour or two, by a skilful surgeon, but in vain ; nay, the swel-
ling increased considerably during the application ; and the pain became, if
possible, more aggravated all over the hernia, which before was chiefly at, and
near the rings of the abdominal muscles ; and this too, though he took, with
an easy cordial, and mulled wine, Laudan. Solid, gr. ij 3iis horis.

Early the next morning, Dr. H. saw him again ; and finding that he had
not slept a moment, the tumour considerably increased, and excessively hard,
though not discoloured, and the patient exceedingly weak and pained, he ad-
vised the operation forthwith, as the only possible means of saving him : but
the patient was unwilling to admit of it, and we were all indeed diffident of the
success. While a fresh fomentation was getting ready, the poor man expired
in agonies.

About an hour or two after they opened the scrotum, which in so short a
space of time appeared all livid, and the blood vessels were extremely turgid
and varicose. On cutting through the teguments, part of the colon and ilium



thrust out with great force; tliey were both prodigiously distended with wind,
highly inflamed, and in several places very livid. That part of the guts com-
monly called caecum, was blown up into a kind of globular figure, as large as a
child's head. It was remarkable, whether it was in the original conformation,
or by the vast distention, that there was no manner of appearance of the appen-
dix vermiformis to be found, though diligently sought for. And further, that
the caecum was vastly thicker set with glands, and these much larger than he
had ever seen before in any subject. The convolutions of the ilium and colon
were so immensely distended with wind, that the valvular corrugations in both
almost totally disappeared. Yet exactly at the valvula Tulpii, alias Bauhini,
there was a very great constriction of the intestinal canal, as if tied strongly
with a cord ; and though we opened the colon about a hand's breadth beyond
the valve, and let out the flatus, we could not possibly press any wind from
the ilium into the colon through the valve. Dr. H. suspected indurated ex-
crement, as an obstacle ; but on a careful inquiry, he only found the whole
valvular production, and the end of the ilium, at its insertion into the colon,
highly inflamed, and quite shutting up the passage. On dilating the rings of
the oblique and transverse muscles, the wind rumbled up out of the ilium into
the cavity of the belly very readily. They found pretty much bloody sanies in
the guts, on slitting them open, but little or no indurated faeces : a manifest
proof, that the exceeding hardness of the tumour was owing only to the exces-
sive flatulence, and great inflammation ; and shows how much we may be de-
ceived in our conjecture on like occasions. The tumour of the scrotum was 28
inches round. There was no adhesion of the intestines to the containing parts,
though he had so long laboured under the hernia.

This unhappy case gave Dr. H. a severe reflection, and he thought the
malady was much increased by the repeated application of the hot fomentations;
as it rarefied the air greatly, and, by relaxing the parts, gave further room to
the vast expansion, — At that time he had never seen Belloste's second part to
his Hospital-Surgeon, where he advises, in such cases, the most cold astringent
fomentations. In this and the like, they might have been very proper ; espe-
cially if a portion of spirit of wine camphorated had been added to prevent

It sometimes happens, that though the annular perforations of the abdominal
muscles are dilated by the operation, yet the hernia cannot be reduced, — Dr, H.
believes, as the guts were distended to so enormous a bulk in this man, it
would have been impracticable. In such cases may it not be proper to prick
them with a needle, to let out the flatus, as is commonly practised in small
wounds of the abdomen, where the intestine thrusts out, and becomes so turgid



with wind, that it cannot otherwise be returned ? — In some ventral ruptures, as
they are called, this also may be necessary. He finds Mr. Sharp, in his late
excellent piece of surgery, approves of this method, from an old English
practitioner, who had often used it with success. — Dr. H. was persuaded, punc-
tures in this manner are much less dangerous than the operation ; and believes,
in such cases, may be more effectual. It is a common thing with graziers and
cattle-doctors, to prick the guts of their sheep and bullocks with great success,
when, by feeding on clover, or fresh young grass, their guts become so vastly
distended with wind, as would otherwise certainly kill them. May not a very
small hollow needle with perforations, as in that used by some instead of the
trocar for a paracenthesis, be more proper than a common needle ? May not the
hernial tumour be perceived to be chiefly flatulent by its being in some degree
transparent on applying a candle, as used in the hydrocele ? and may not that
direct the proper place for punctures ?

An Observation on the Planet Fenus, ivith regard to her having a Satellite.
Made by Mr. James Short, F.R.S. at Sun-rise, Oct. 23, 1740. N° 459,
p. 646.

Directing a reflecting telescope of iS-i- inches focus, with an apparatus to
follow the diurnal motion, towards Venus, Mr. S. perceived a small star pretty
near her; on which he took another telescope of the same focal distance, which
magnified about 50 or 60 times, and which was fitted with a micrometer, in
order to measure its distance from Venus ; and found its distance to be about
10'. Finding Venus very distinct, and consequently the air very clear, he put
on a magnifying power of 240 times, and, to his great surprise, found this star
put on the same phasis with Venus. He tried another magnifying power of 140
times, and even then found the star under the same phasis. Its diameter seemed
about a third, or somewhat less, of the diameter of Venus ; its light was not
so bright or vivid, but exceedingly sharp and well defined. A line, passing
through the centre of Venus and it, made an angle with the equator of about
1 8 or 20 degrees.

Mr. S. saw it for the space of an hour several times that morning ; but the
light of the sun increasing, he lost it altogether about a quarter of an hour
after 8. He looked for it every clear morning after, but never had the good
fortune to see it again.

Cassini, in his astronomy, mentions much such another observation. Mr. S.
likewise observed two darkish spots on the body of Venus ; for the air was ex-
ceedingly clear and serene.






















An Occultation of Jupiter and his Satellites by the Moon, Oct. 27, 1740, in the
Morning ; observed at Mr. George Graham's, in Fleet-street. By Dr. Bevis
and Mr. James Short, F. R. S. N° 459, p. 647.

The moon's centre passed the meridian.

Jupiter's centre passed the meridian.

Jupiter's 3d satellite eclipsed by the moon.

Jupiter's 2d satellite eclipsed by the moon.

Jupiter's preceding limb immerged.

Jupiter's subsequent limb immerged.

Jupiter's 1st. satellite eclipsed by the moon. These immer-
sions were taken with a reflecting telescope, of l6.5 inches
focus, that magnified 120 times.
None of the emersions could be seen for clouds. While Jupiter was im-
merging, the sky was perfectly serene; and, at his nearest approach to the moon,
he did not appear to alter his figure in the least, nor to be tinged with any pris-
matic colours ; neither did he, as is said to have been sometimes observed
through refracting telescopes, seem to enter at all on the moon's body. >

That part on the moon's limb where Jupiter entered, was a hollow ; and
though some are of opinion, that the circumference of the moon, as it is
bounded to our eye, is a perfectly smooth circle, and that no hills or hollows
appear there, as on the surface of the moon ; yet if it be looked at in a clear
night with a good telescope, that magnifies about lOO times, or even less, it
will be seen rugged and uneven all round.

Notwithstanding Jupiter's light seems to be more vivid than that of the
moon, when he is seen at a good distance from her, and far more so when the
moon is away ; yet the contrary is plainly discerned when they are near each
other : and in this observation, while Jupiter was immerging behind the moon,
his disk appeared much dimmer, and of a more faint and dusky complexion,
than the disk of the moon.

A Letter from James Parsons, M. D., F.R.S. to the R. S. giving a short Ac-
count of his Booh intitled, A Mechanical Critical Inquiry into the Nature of
Hermaphrodites. London, 1741, in%vo. N° 459, P- 650.

This treatise was written at the time when an Angolan was publicly exhibited
as an hermaphrodite. The intent is to prove contrarily to common opinion,
that there are no such things as hermaphrodites in the human race. 1 . The
"itroduction, which is chiefly historical, lays down the manner of this error's



being propagated among Jews, Pagans, and Christians, at all times ; with an
account of Jewish, civil, and canon laws made against such as were reputed
hermaphrodites, as well as those that were always in force at Rome, by which
great numbers of people were destroyed from time to time.

1. The 1 St chapter exhibits many reasons against a possibility of their exist-
ence in human nature ; with a true discovery of such diseases as have been the
cause of men and women being called hermaphrodites.

3. The 2d chapter is a critical account of the causes authors have assigned
for the produce of hermaphrodites ; wherein it is proved, that no such effects
could arise from those causes ; and several absurdities are exposed in the argu-
ments advanced for the support of this error.

4. The 3d chapter is a critical view of the histories of hermaphrodites given
by several authors ; showing that those so reputed were either perfect men or
women, having only some deformity or disease in the parts of generation.

3. The conclusion describes the state of all female foetuses, with some ob-
servations which the author laid before the R. S. ; which prove that every female
foetus may as well be thought an hermaphrodite, as any that were ever so

Of an ancient Date in Arabian Figures, on the North Front of the Parish
Church of Rum^ey in Hamphire. By the Rev. Mr. fVilliam Barlow.
N° 459, P- 632.

As the knowing how long the Arabian or Indian figures have been used in
the west, may sometimes be a means of distinguishing spurious from genuine
dates ; so a wrong hypotheses may possibly induce us to suspect genuine dates
to be doubtful or spurious. To give some light to this subject, Mr. B. has sent
a draught of part of the north front of the abbey (now parish) church of Rum-
sey, in the county of Southampton, with an inscription on it, represented fig. g,
pi. g. That this inscription is a date, 101 1, is evident from the figures. That
it is a genuine date, the apparent antiquity of the building plainly demonstrates.
A spurious date in this place would have expressed the time when the abbey
was founded by King Edward, grandfather of Edgar, above 100 years before
the time here mentioned.

There is something very remarkable with regard to the time when this
church was built. Not only during the year of this date, 1011, but for several

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 55 of 85)