Royal Society (Great Britain).

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

. (page 70 of 85)
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 70 of 85)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

For let it be considered, that from the moment any part of the powder
within the barrel takes fire, the flame of the powder already fired is always con-
tiguous to some part of the powder as yet unfired ; and consequently some
part of this last must be continually taking fire, so long as any unfired powder
remains within the barrel ; that is, the firing of the powder cannot be over, till
all the unfired powder is driven out of the gun : but before any part, how
small soever, of the unfired powder is driven out of the gun, the bullet which
lies between the charge and the muzzle, must necessarily have been driven out
of the gun. Therefore the firing of the powder is not over, or all the powder
that is fired, is not fired till after the bullet is driven out of the gun. And
consequently the bullet must be sensibly moved from its place, before all the
powder that is fired has taken fire.

As to the 2d question. Whether the distance to which the bullet is thrown,
may not become greater or less, by changing the form of the chamber, though

• Mr. Robins afterwards determined that the ball is not sensibly moved from its place, when the
powder is fired.


the charge of powder and all other circumstances continue unchanged ? The
committee are of opinion, that the change of the form, in the chamber, will
produce a change of the distance to which the bullet is thrown. Their opinion
is grounded on the following experiments, in which the longest chamber of
equal capacity drove the ball farthest.

Three brass chambers were made, whose depths were respectively 3 inches ;
14- inch ; and 4 inch ; so turned as to fit the chamber of Mr. Hauksbee's mor-
tar ; each of these chambers contained, when full, 1 oz. Troy of powder. The
ball was of brass, weighing 24lb. 6-i-oz. Avoirdupois, that is, nearly 356 ounces

The ball touched the powder of the charge in all these experiments. W
the first chamber of 3 inches deep, the elevation of the mortar being 45°, the
ranges at 4 different trials were found to be as below.
Shot. Chains. Links.

I 11 39 or nearly 752 feet.

II 10 38 685

III 11 17 737

IV 11 10 733

In the 2d of these experiments, the brass chamber, not being sufficiently
thrust home before the discharge, was by the violence of the pqwder driven in
so, that it could not be got out again without the help of an iron screw, and a
vast force applied to iron wedges. This was doubtless the cause of the great
irregularity observed in this case. The mean distance, collected from the other
3 experiments, is nearly 741 feet.

Then 3 discharges were made with the chamber ^ of an inch deep, with ball,
powder, and elevation, as before. The ranges were.
Shot. Chains. Links.

I. 7 6 or 466 feet nearly,

II 7 2 463

III 72 463

The mean distance to which the ball was thrown in these 3 experiments is
464 feet.

The chamber 14^ inch deep, was also tried ; but this not fitting the mortar so
well as the other 2, the ranges were found to be very irregular, being
Shot. Chains. Links.

1 10 40 or nearly 686 feet.

II 9 6 598

III 7 8 467

• Supposing 14 oz. U dwts. and 15 grs. and a half Troy, equal to 1 pound Avoirdupois. — Orig.

4 H2


The last shot, falling so much short, may be ascribed to the damp, it being
late in the evening when it was fired. That moisture greatly weakens the effect
of powder, is commonly known ; and the committee found by an experiment
that powder dried by means of a phial in balneo, and put warm into the cham-
ber, threw the ball twice as far as the same quantity of powder taken out of the
same barrel, before it was dried.

Of a Meteor seen near Holkam in Norfolk, August 1741. By the Right Hon.
Thomas Lord Lovell, F.R.S. N" 465, p. 183.

Some of Lord Lovell's ploughmen, being at work, about the middle of
August 1741, on a fair day, at 10 o'clock in the morning, saw on a heath about
a quarter of a mile from them, a wind like a whirlwind, come gradually towards
them, in a straight line from east to west. It passed through the field where they
were at plough, tore up the stubble and grass in the ploughed ground,for 2 miles
in length, and 30 yards in breadth. When it came to some closes at the top of
a rising ground, some men there saw it appear like a great flash or ball of fire.
To some others it appeared as a fire, and some saw only a smoke, and heard
such a noise as fire makes when a barn is burning, and the wind making a
terrible noise, like that of a violent fire, or like carts over stoney ground, which
passed by a house, tearing up the stones in the road ; it tore up a rank of pales,
sprung several of the posts out of their places and carried a pewter plate that
stood on the outside of the window about 40 yards from the house ; also a
large box-cover, about an inch and a half thick and 4 feet square and cross-
barred, was carried away much farther, and torn all to pieces ; and the gravel
and stones flew about like feathers. It also broke down some fences, and
frightened the cattle. And, what is very remarkable, every where else but
in this place, the weather was clear and fine, and no sign of any storm or
disturbance whatever. There was a strong smell of sulphur, both before and
after the wind passed, and the noise was heard a great while after seeing the
smoke. They said it moved so slowly forward, as to be near 10 minutes in
coming from the closes to the house.

On the Proportions of the English and French Measures and Weights, from the
Standards of the same, kept at the Royal Society. N°465, p. 185.
Some curious gentlemen, both of the Royal Society of London, and of the
Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris, thinking it might be of good use, for the
better comparing together the success of experiments made in England and in
France, proposed some time since, that accurate standards of the measures and
weights of both nations, carefully examined, and made to agree with each


other, might be laid up and preserved in the archives both of the Royal Society
here, and of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris : which proposal having
been received with the general approbation of both those bodies, they were
pleased to give the necessary directions for bringing the same into effect. In
consequence of which, Mr. George Graham, Fellow of the Royal Society, did,
at their desire, procure from Mr. Jonathan Sisson, instrument-maker in Beau-
fort-buildings, two substantial brass rods, well planed and squared, and of the
length of about 42 inches each, together with 2 excellent brass scales of 6
inches each, on both of which one inch is curiously divided by diagonal lines,
and fine points, into 500 equal parts; and on each of the rods Mr. Graham did,
with the greatest care, lay off the length of 3 English feet from the standard of
a yard kept in the tower of London. He also at the same time directed Mr.
Samuel Read, scale and weight maker near Aldersgate, to prepare, in the best
manner he could, 2 single Troy pound weights, with 2 piles of the same weight,
decreasing from 8 ounces to one quarter of an ounce respectively, 2 parcels of
the less corresponding weights, that is, from 5 dwts. to half a dwt., and grain
weights from 6 grains to one-fourth of a grain; with 2 single Avoirdupois pound
weights : all which, when made, were carefully examined, and found to agree
sufficiently with each other. Things being thus provided, the 2 brass rods,
one of the 6-inch scales, and one set of all the weights, were sent over to Paris,
one of the rods to be returned, and all the other particulars, to be presented
for their use, to the Royal Academy of Sciences there : who, on receipt of
them, desired the late M. Du Fay, and Abbe Nollet, both members of the
Academy, and also fellows of the Royal Society, to see the measure of the Paris
half-toise, containing 3 Paris feet, accurately set off on both the brass rods, in
like manner as the length of the English yard, containing 3 English feet, had
already been set off on the same. After which those gentlemen returned over
one of the rods to the Royal Society, with a standard weight of 2 marcs, or J 6
Paris ounces, accompanied with a proces verbal, or authentic certificate from
the proper office, of the due examination of them.

The rod being returned, Mr. Graham caused Mr. Sisson to divide both the
measure of the English yard, and the Paris half-toise, each into 3 equal parts,
for the more ready taking off both the English and Paris foot from the same :
after which, both this rod and 2 marc weight, sent over from France, were,
together with the other particulars before mentioned, carefully laid up in the
archives of the Royal Society, where they now remain, as their duplicates do
in those of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris : but as, before they were
so laid up, an accurate examination and comparison of them was made by direc-


tion of the council of the Royal Society, the result of the same is here subjoined
as follows : that is,

1. The Paris half toise, as set off on the standard in the Royal Society, con-
tains English inches by the same standard 38.355. Whence it appears, that
the English yard and foot, is to the Paris half toise and foot, nearly as 107 to
114. For as 107 to 114, so is 36 to 38.35514.

2. The Paris 2 marc, or 16 ounce weight, weighs English Troy grains
7560. Whence it appears, that the English Troy pound, of 12 ounces, or
5760 grains, is to the Paris 2 marc or \6 ounce weight, as 16 to 21 : that the
Paris ounce weighs English Troy grains 472.5, and that consequently the Eng-
lish Troy ounce is to the Paris ounce, as 64 is to 63.

3. The English Avoirdupois pound weighs Troy grains 7004 ; hence the
Avoirdupois ounce, of which 16 make a pound, is found equal to 437.75 Troy
grains : and it follows of consequence, that the Troy pound is to the Avoirdu-
pois pound, as 88 to 107 nearly; for as 88 to 107, so is 5760 to 7003.636;
that the Troy ounce is to the Avoirdupois ounce, as 80 to 73 nearly ; for as
80 to 73, so is 480 to 438 ; and lastly, that the Avoirdupois pound and ounce,
is to the Paris 2 marc weight and ounce, as 63 to 68 nearly ; for as 63 to 68,
so is 7004 to 7559.873.

4. The Paris foot, expressed in decimals, is equal to'l.o654 of the English
foot, or contains 12.785 English inches,

^ Method of making a Gold-coloured Glazing for Eartheyi Ware ; communicated
by M. Godofrid Heinsius, Astron. Prof, at St. Petersburg. N° 463, p. 188.
Take of litharge 3 parts ; of sand or calcined flint 1 : pound and mix these
very well together, then run them into a yellow glass with a strong fire. Pound
this glass, and grind it into a subtile powder, which moisten with a well satu-
rated solution of silver ; make it into a paste, which put into a crucible, and
cover it with a cover. Give at first a gentle degree of fire ; then increase it,
and continue it till you have a glass, which will be green. Pound this glass
again, and grind it to a fine powder ; moisten this powder with some beer, so
that by means of a hair pencil you may apply it on the vessels, for any piece of
earthen ware. The vessels' that are painted or covered over with this glazing,
must be first well heated, then put under a muffle, and as soon as the glass
runs, you must smoke them, (afflare debes fumum) and take out the vessels.

Excerpta ex Ephemeridibus Meteor ologicis Romanis Anni 174*j observante Di-
daco de Revillas, Abbate Hieronymiano, in Romana Acad. Math. Prof, et
R.S.S. N°466, p. 193.
This monthly register of the weather at Rome is of no further use now.


Concernin" a IValer-insect ; * which, being cut into several Pieces, becomes so
many perfect Animals. By J. F. Gronovius, M.D. at Ley den. N° 466, p. 218.

Some Conjectures concerning the Position of the Colure in the Ancient Sphere.

By the Rev. Ebenezer Latham, M.D. and F.D.M. N° 466, p. 221.

This paper is on a draught of the constellation Aries, as it was exactly copied
by Dr. White, from a book in the library of Samuel Sanders, Esq. Possibly it
may be of some use for determining the famous controversy with respect to Sir
Isaac Newton's chronology. Dr. Halley observes, (Philos. Trans. N° 3g7)
" that the dispute is chiefly, over what part of the back of Aries the colure
passed. Sir Isaac Newton takes it to be over the middle of the constellation;
P. Souciet will have it, that it passed over the middle of the Dodecatemorion
of Aries, which by consequence would make it pass about mid-way between
the rump and first of the tail ;" which situation could never be said to be over
the back : whereas, if the ring in this cut was designed, as I apprehend, to
image the colure in the ancient sphere, it exactly answers Hipparchus's descrip-
tion — iv S\ TM sTs'pa xoAspa (pncri xtiVQai ra xjia ra jcara ■vKci.Toq, and justifies the con-
struction Sir Isaac put on those words beyond exception. The sculptures from
whence this was taken, have the title of Arataea, sive Signa Coelestia, in quibus
Astronomicae Speculationes Veterum ad Archetypa vetustissimi Arataeorum Cae-
saris Germanici Codicis (44) ob oculos ponuntur a Jacobo de Geyn ex Biblioth.
Acad. Lugd. Bat, Amstel. ]652.-f-

Of an Extraordinary Dropsy. By Tho. Short, M. D. of Sheffield.

N° 466, p. 223.

Jan. 1742, Dr. S. was called to visit a woman 30 years of age, who about 7
years before, had a complaint like a severe fit of the stone in her left kidney, with
all the common symptoms of a stone, but she recovered again. Three years
afterwards she had another fit, but got better in a few days ; though she mostly
complained of a dull pain in that place ever after. Her menses had been very
irregular, and small, since her last paroxysm, and totally obstructed since Sep-
tember ; her pulse was very small and quick, her countenance pale and languid ;
a pain at the pit of her stomach, towards the spleen, besides that in the kid-
ney ; her whole stomach and belly full, and somewhat swelled, but harder on

* This is the Polype, (at that time commonly called an Insect) of which a sufficient description is
given in a paper by M. Trembley, in the following number of the Philos. Trans. ; on which account
it is not deemed necessary to preserve this article.

+ Hug. Grotii Batavi Syntagma Arataeorum : ex offic. Plantin. Mo, See Germanicus's Interpreta-
tion, p. 25, the figure of the constellation Aries. — Orig.


the left side than the right ; a fluctuation of water or matter among the abdo-
minal muscles, and the peritonaeum very hard under it : the right side was full,
and softer. She had no appetite, little sleep, a small cough, a little jthirst
slight fever, and much pain. He ordered her some laxative, aperient, attenu-
ating, diuretic pills, with an antihydropic stomachic mixture, the country air,
and daily moderate riding. She pursued this method a few weeks with some
advantage, but not so much as she expected and desired. She then took the
advice of another physician, to no better purpose. In April he was consulted
again by her. Her flesh was now much shrunk, the belly fuller, pulse quicker,
pain the same, urine scanty but pale, appetite languid. He prescribed other
things to the same purpose as above, but with no better success. In June he
put her on drinking Nevil-Holt water (which last year had cured three of
dropsies, which were all that had used it for that purpose) and riding. On this
she made water freely, slept tolerably well, had a better appetite, less pain,
and was much more chearful ; but the swelling of the belly was still the same.
Always on turning in bed, she heard and felt a jolting and fluctuating of water
in the belly : this put her on being tapped, not doubting but she would recover
then. Next day he was sent for to see the water drawn off^, July 23, but to
his surprize, on the perforation, between 3 and 4 pints of very thick, ropy
mixed matter came away ; some was matter, some a thick white slime, but the
greatest part was a thick reddish-brown liquor, like liver mashed with a little
water : it could not get through the canula, without often clearing it with a
goose-quill. After this came near 6 pints of clear water or serum, as in a
dropsy. She seemed much easier then, and all the afternoon and night ; next
forenoon not so easy, though she came down stairs to dinner. Quickly after
it, she was most severely and violently seized with such excruciating pain all
down the left side to the foot, as threw her into the most profuse sweat, often
fainting, vomiting, &c. At 4 o'clock, she wholly lost both sense and mo-
tion of that thigh and leg; at 5 she was insensible, and at 6 she died, July 24 th.
Next day the body was opened, when a monstrous tumour on the left side
of the belly showed itself, and a large bag of water on the right side appeared,
which two filled the whole cavity. The abdominal muscles on the left side were
very large, flabby, bloated, and a livid pale. The peritonaeum uncommonly
hard, thick, and scirrhous ; the liver and spleen both much emaciated ; the
first not above 2lb. the last about 2 or 3 oz. ; the stomach and intestines, from
the cardia to the anus, full of small, hard, white, scirrhous knots, like small
peas, or hail stones; the intestines of a dusky yellow colour: the remains of
the omentum were mortified : the kidneys were sound : the pancreas very small
and yellow. The tumor on the left side, which was the ovarium, being cut


up, some pints of the same matter as was first drawn ofF in tapping, ran out :
it was divided into innumerable cells, full of different matter, some as above;
some white, thick and slimy, some fatty, some purulent, &c. The partitions
between the cells very strong, cartilaginous in the middle, so as to resist the
knife ; like muscular flesh below and above this cartilage, so was each cell.
The whole ovarium, before it was first broken, might weigh about 20lb. The
bag of water on the right side, was the other ovarium, wherein was nothing
but like a large ox bladder, containing 9 or 10 pints of water ; like a bladder
at the lower end, and rising up like a crooked horn at the other end ; the skin
was very thin and smooth. The vesica urinaria and uterus were both sound.

From this account, it appears, 1st. that here was a triple dropsy, viz. One
intermuscular on the left side of the abdomen ; one in the cavity of the belly ;
one, and the largest of all, in the right ovarium. 2dly, in barren women, and
stale maids, tapping should be very cautiously undertaken ; especially when the
whole belly is not equally distended, and not a free fluctuation of the water
heard and observed from side to side, as the sick turn in bed ; but especially if
there was, or is, a sensible difference to be felt in the hardness or softness of
the parts of the belly, before it is greatly distended.

Concerning the Insect * mentioned by Gronovius in page 216 oj' this Number of
the Original; and alluded to in page 607 of this Volume of our Abridgment.
By a Gentleman of Cambridge. N" 466, p. 227.

The last news from Paris mentions something very surprising in the account
of M. Reaumur's late memoir, read in the Royal Academy of Sciences there,
concerning an animal called a polypus, in which life is said to be preserved,
after it has been cut into several pieces, so that one animal seems by section to
be immediately divided into 2 or 3 more complete animals, each separately en-
joying life, and continuing to perform the proper offices of its species.

Such an account would have been less regarded, had we not been informed
before, that two letters had been communicated to the Royal Society, some
months since, both which mentioned the same thing, and related it as a fact
averred, and carefully examined, by one of the greatest judges, and most in-
defatigable promoters of natural history, and especially of that part of it, which
leads to the knowledge of what is most particular and remarkable in the insect
and reptile part of the creation.

The most common operations, both of the animal and vegetable world, are
all in themselves astonishing ; and nothing but daily experience, and constant
observation, make us see, without amazement, an animal bring forth another
of the same kind ; or a tree blossom, and bear leaves and fruit.
* Improperly so called, since it belongs to the class of worms,

VOL. vm. 4 I


The same observation, and daily experience, make it also familiar to us, that
besides the first way of propagating vegetables from their respective fruit and
seed, they are also propagated from cuttings; and every one knows, that a twig
of a willow particularly, cut off and only stuck into the ground, presently takes
root and grows, and becomes as much a real and perfect tree, as the original
one from which it was first taken.

Here is then, in the vegetable kingdom, the very thing quite common, that
M. Reaumur's memoir is said to give a rare example of in the animal. The
best philosophers have long observed very strong analogies between these two
classes of beings: and the moderns, as they have penetrated farther into nature,
have every day found reason to extend that analogy; some have even with great
probability talked of a scale of nature, in which she, by an insensible transi-
tion, passed from the most perfect of animals, not only to the most imperfect,
and thence to the most imperfect of vegetables, but even through coralline
bodies, and minerals, to the very earths and stones, which seem the most ina-
nimate parts of our globe.

Now in such a scale, who is the man that will be bold to say, just here ani-
mal life entirely ends, and here vegetable life begins? or, just thus far, and no
farther, one sort of operation goes, and just here another sort quite different
takes its place? or, again, who will venture to say, life in every animal is a
thing absolutely different from that which we dignify by the same name in every
vegetable ? And might not a man even be excused, if he should modestly doubt,
whether plants and vegetables may not themselves be considered as a very low
and imperfect tribe of animals; as animals might, in like manner, be consi-
dered as a more perfect and exalted kind of vegetables?

We see the two sexes of male and female run through all the higher parts of
the animal creation; yet would he have gone a great deal too far, who should
have thence asserted, there were no exceptions to this general economy; or
that this was one of the general and distinguishing affections of all the animal
kind: for modern discoveries have informed us, that there is somewhat very
analogous to this in the vegetable creation also; and even in the animal it has
been found, that snails, earthworms, and some others, are really herma-
phrodites, having in themselves the organs of both sexes: while the working
bee is truly of no sex at all, nor anywise employed in the production of that
species, it labours so hard daily to provide with food.

But whereas in animals, the division of the sexes is almost general ; and the
union of them in one subject appears but in a few instances; contrarywise, in
vegetables, almost all have the whole apparatus of generation in each individual,
while only a few sorts seem to emulate animals in what is analogous to the divi-
sion of them.


I seem perhaps to wander too much from the point first- mentioned; but as I
am only offering loose hints, and such wild conjectures as come in my way,
hope to be excused, though I yet hazard another observation, which is, that
what appears chiefly to be new in the subject of this memoir, is, that the ani-
mal or animals live and do well after their separation, and that they are capable
of re-producing such parts as the head and the tail, which seemed essentially

I say, that the animal's living and doing well again, is what is chiefly new;
for that an animal, after separation of some of the principal parts, seems for
some time to retain life in each part, must have been observed by every body;*
and though people generally say, from their prejudice in favour of some of the
principles above hinted at, that to be sure only one of the parts, though they
know not always which, feels and has the sensation of pain; yet have all that
I have ever talked with on the subject, as freely acknowledged, that the phe-
nomena appeared on the other side.

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 70 of 85)