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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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A chicken, or a pigeon, whose head is suddenly struck off^, shows in both
parts, if no preconceived opinion led us to think otherwise, strong signs of
pain and suffering, and the very same signs, that the respective parts of the
animal show of that sensation, while it is surely living and entire; and I have
been told by some, who have seen the heads of malefactors suddenly severed
from their bodies, that the same observation holds also in our own species.
But we have all seen .it hold much stronger in the more imperfect animals, as
they are commonly called, such as worms, where, on the separation of the body

• The ancients have taken notice of this, and some even seem to have had no doubt, that life
continued some time in the parts of a divided insect. Aristotle observes in the 4th book of his His-
tory of Animals, that almost all insects live some time when pulled asunder, wasps particularly; and
that those live longest, when so separated, which have a long body, and many feet; so that the sco-
lopendra being cut asunder, one part moves on forwards, and the other backwards. But a passage of
St. Austin is so remarkable on this head, that I cannot help transcribing it. Me revocat quod his

hausi oculis Cum enim nuper in agro essemus Liguriae, nostri illi adolescentes, qui tunc rae-

cum erant studiorum suorum gratia, animadverterunt humi jacentes in opaco loco reptantem bestiolara
multipedem, longum dico quemdam vermiculum ; vulgo notus est ; hoc tamen quod dicam nunquam
in eoexpertus eram; verso namque stylo, quem forte habebat unus illorum, animal medium percussit:
turn ambae partes corporis ab illo vulnere in contraria discesserunt, tanta pedum celeritate, ac nihilo
imbecilliore nisu, quam si duo hujuscemodi animantia forent. Quo miraculo exterriti, caussatque
curiosi, ad nos, ubi simul ego et Alypius considebamus, alacriter viventia ilia frusta detulerunt. Ne-
que nos parum commoti, ea currere in tabula quaquaversum poterant, cernebamus; atque unum ipso-
rum, stylo tactum, contorquebat se ad doloris locum, nihil senliente alio, ac suos alibi motus pera-
gente. Quid plura ? tentavimus quatenus id valeretj atque vermiculum, imo jam vermiculos, in
multas partes concidimus ; ita omnes movebantur, ut nisi a nobis illud factum esset, et compiirercnt
vulnera recentia, totidem illos separatim natos, ac sibi quenquam vixi.sse crederemus. Aug. Lib. do
Quantitate Animse. — Orig.

4 12


into two parts, life has continued seemingly in both, and with strong signs of
it, longer than we have had the patience to attend and examine. We have
been, indeed, quite uncertain, in which of the parts this seeming life has been
most conspicuous; and as both parts have seemed to endeavour to get away
and have frequently soon after been found missing, boys and ordinary people
are generally possessed of an opinion, that they unite and grow together again
after their separation.

Now, if it could once be allowed, that animal life and sensation might sub-
sist but an instant, in both parts of the creature, after its section; the whole
remaining difficulty would be only as to the cure of the wounds, and the repro-
duction of the necessary organs that are wanting. And, for the first of these,
we know very well, that the more imperfect animals are killed with much
greater difficulty than the more perfect, their vitals being more diffused, and
their general organization being, I suppose, far more simple than that of the
higher tribes; and as to the other, I think no one will see any impossibility in
the reproduction of certain parts, after what we have seen and read of, in the
lobster and cray-fish kinds, who when they chance by any misfortune to lose a
claw, reproduce it in a short time with all its joints, and the proper muscles for
moving them : all which appears as difficult as the regaining of a mouth and a
tail to some of the worm-kind ; whose general organization being simple, and
consisting chiefly of only one straight gut, or passage, from the mouth to the
vent, they seem to want little more to reproduce either, than a contraction of
the wound, with the assistance of the muscles that move the several rings of
which the body is composed; and every one of which, in its first and natural
state, performs almost the same motions as are necessary for suction or ejection:
the latter of which we have even sometimes seen very wonderfully supplied in
our own species, in those cases, where grievous wounds of the intestines have
put nature on trying to perform her operations in a new way.

On the whole, we are all very desirous to see M. Reaumur's memoir on this
curious subject; we hope it will soon be published, when, as his curious and
exact experiments will afford infinite entertainment, so his judicious remarks
upon them will doubtless be no less instructive; but will, in all probability,
give a light into these matters we do not yet think of. In the mean time I
could not help just mentioning what came into my own head on the occasion,
hoping that however you may look on my thoughts as the dreams, perhaps, of
a man bewildered in his inquiries into nature, you will still believe me to be a
firm and constant lover of truth, and ready at all times to receive and embrace
whatever is really such, however odd and surprising it may at the first chance to


r shall therefore only add one or two facts I should indeed have mentioned
before, when I was speaking of the difficulty of killing some of the tribes of
insects and reptiles; which are, that I have myself seen the heart of a viper
continue its regular beats more than 6 hours after it had been taken out of the
body ; that I have seen that body move and seem alive to all purposes for a great
part of the same time, after having lost the heart ; and that I have seen wasps,
whose heads had been taken off, creeping in the window the next day ; and
butterflies that have lived, and attempted even to fly, several days after under-
going the same severe operation.

Insects seem at first to suffer but little from the loss of their hinder parts,
though these contain most of their viscefa; nor does the loss of limbs seem to
affijct them in any proportion to the more perfect animals. But even in our
own kind, in infancy, before the parts have lost all their softness, much greater
wounds may be received without loss of life, than afterwards. If we go yet
further back to our embryo state, it is very probable, that yet vastly greater
hurts are recoverable; and it is on that principle chiefly, that the best and most
likely account has been given by modern writers in anatomy, of some ve y
remarkable monsters that have appeared in the world, where even some of 4he
most essential parts of two foetuses have been seen wonderfully united in one
and the same body.

y/ Synopsis of the Calculation of the Transit of Mercury over the Disk of the
Sun, Oct. 25, J 743. By Mr. John Catlyn. N"* 466 p. 235.

The equal time of the true cS at Greenwich Oct. 24'* 22^ 15™ 58*

The equation of natural days add l6 11

Apparent time of the true ^ Oct. 24 22 32 Q

At which time the true place of the sun and of Mercury

seen from the earth n^ 12° 36' 44"

The geocentric latitude of Mercury south 9 37

Elongation in 5 hours, i. e. the 2^ immediately preceding

and following the (5 2Q 1 6

Difference of latitude in the same time 4 24

Therefore the angle of the apparent way of 5 with the ecliptic 8 33 O
And the distance of their centres at the time of their nearest

approach g 31

And the motion of interval between that and the (5 1 26

And the hourly motion of Mercury in his path over the sun's disk 5 55-^
And the motion of the 4 duration from the first to the last

exterior contacts of the limbs 13 15


Motion of the same for the interior contacts 13' 4"

Hence, the time of the interval from the ^ to the middle 14 32

Of i the exterior transit 2° 14 22

Of 4- the interior transit 2 J 2 30

Hence, the first exterior contact of the limbs, Oct. 25, morn S'^ S'i"" ig«

The first interior contact 8 34 11

The nearest approach of the centres, or middle 10 46 41

The last interior contact, afternoon O 59 11

The last exterior contact, or end of the transit i 1 3

This computation is made from tables * which give the ascending node of
Mercury at the time of this transit 6' 17" too forward, according to the result
of very accurate observations made of that in the year 1723, by Dr. Halley,
Dr. Bradley, and Mr. Graham. Therefore making the calculation with this
correction of the place of the node, the times of the several circumstances of
the transit will be as follows :

The first exterior contact 8*" 29" 21'

The first interior contact 8 31 5

The nearest approach of the centres 10 46 6

The last interior contact 1 1 77

The last exterior contact 1 2 51 J afternoon.

This transit may be very aptly compared with that which happened on the
24th day of October l6g7;-|- as happening at the end of a remarkable period
in Mercury's motion, by which he is nearly in the same situation, with respect
to the sun, at every completion of it. Dr. Halley, in his series of moments,
in which Mercury is joined to the sun, &c. published in the Philos. Trans.
N° 193, makes the middle of this transit at 11"* past 6 in the morning the 24th
day, or the 23d day at IS** 1 ]" p. m. and the distance of the centres of the
sun and Mercury 1 0' 4".

Only the egress of Mercury, in the transit of 1 697, could be observed in
Europe;! which was done at Nuremberg in Germany, by Mr. Wurtzelbaur,
and at Paris by M. Cassini: at Greenwich clouds prevented it. At Nuremberg
Mr. Wurtzelbaur observed Mercury to go off the sun's disk § at 8*^ 45-^™
mane, about 734^ degrees from the vertex of the sun to the right hand; and
M. Cassini observed the same accurately at B^ 10"" 24* mane; therefore from

* Philos. Trans. N" 386. — Orig.
+ Mean period 46" years Id. oh. 43' 42''. — Orig.
J Flamsteed's Hist. Coelest. lib. ii, fol. 32. — Orig.

§ Vertex to the right, it says, a nadir solis ad dextras; but it is a manifest mistake, as any one on
trial may find. — Orig.


the known difference of meridians of these places, the egress must have hap-
pened at Greenwich at S** 1"" mane. 1

The observation of Mr. Wurtzelbaur will greatly avail at coming at the dura-
tion of the transit. It is mentioned, that Mercury left the sun's limb 73° 30'
from his vertex to the right. Now at that time at Nuremberg, the angle of
the ecliptic with the vertical passing through the sun's centre, was 42° S' 5"',
therefore the last point of contact on the sun's limb was observed 31° 26' 55*
from the ecliptic to the south, and consequently his latitude was 8' "28" south
at that time.

To find the point on the sun's limb of the ingress, in order to come at the
duration of the transit, we must be beholden to computation and the theory of
Mercury's motion: I have therefore, from the tables from which the above
times of the transit of 1743 are drawn, carefully computed his motion along
his path crossing the sun's disk, and find that he moved along it after the rate
of 5' 53y in an hour, and the difference of latitude in 5 hours 4' 2i", and his
elongation 29' 7": therefore the angle of his visible way was 8° 29' 50", which
doubled, and added to 31° 26' 55", gives 48° 26' 35", his distance, on the limb
of the sun, from the ecliptic, also to the southward at his ingress on it: there-
fore the nearest approach of his centre to that of the sun was lO' iQ", and the
length of the path run during the transit 25' 14", and consequently the time
of running it 4*' 17'", the half of which 2'' S-i-'", subtracted from 20*" 1", the
end of the transit at Greenwich, gives the middle there at 17'' 52"" SO*, earlier
by 1 84^" than the series of moments, &c. give it.

Now as the said series makes the middle of the transit of 1743, at ll** 2™
mane, and as it corresponds with that of 1697; and the computation of that is
18-i^" too late by the series of moments, &c. it may be reasonably expected,
that the same computation for this of 1743 will be so much too late also; and
if so, the middle may be set down at 43.^*" past 10, or 44"* at farthest, Oct. 25
in the forenoon.

By computation from the tables abovementioned, with the correction of the
node, I make the distance of the centres at the nearest approach in 1697, to
be 10' 33", but by the observations of Mr. Wurtzelbaur it turns out only )o'
19", less by 14". Should therefore their distance in 1743, computed in the
same manner at 9™ 10*, be as much diminished, the duration of the transit will
be protracted no less than 5"" 24', and the first contact will be 2™ 42' earlier,
and the last so much later, than the times abovementioned for them.

In the computation of the transit of 1743, the semidiaineter of the sun is
supposed 16' 14V', and that of Mercury 4-i-"; but in that of 1697, have taken
Mercury's only 3-^^", imagining the precise moments of the first and last exte-


rior conlacts are not observable; but that the ingress is seen some little time
later, and the egress sooner, than the true times. I have all along spoken of the
motion of Mercury, without mentioning that of the sun, whereas, in reality,
it is that of them both jointly; but as we may suppose the sun to standstill
during the transit, it will then be considered as the apparent motion of Mer-
cury alone for that time.

Concerning a Man who lived 1 8 Years on Water. By Mr. Robert Campbell of

Kernan. N° 466, p. 240.

About 18 years before, viz. about 17^4, John Ferguison, of the parish of
Killmelfoord, in Argyleshire, happened to overheat himself on the mountains,
in pursuit of cattle, and in that condition drank excessively of cold water from
a rivulet, near by which he fell asleep; he awaked about 24 hours after in a
high fever; during the paroxysm of the fever, and ever since that time, his
stomach loaths, and can retain, no kind of aliment, except water, or clarified
whey, which last he uses but seldom, there being no such thing to be had by
persons of his condition in that country during many months in the year.

Archibald Campbell of Ineverliver, to whom this man's father is tenant, car-
ried him to his own house, and locked him up in a chamber for 20 days, and
supplied him himself with fresh water, to no greater quantity in a day, than
an ordinary man would use for common drink ; and at the same time took par-
ticular care, that it should not be possible for his guest to supply himself with
any other kind of food without his knowledge; yet after that space of time, he
found no alteration in his vigour or visage.

? He is now about 36 years of age, middle stature, a fair and fresh complexion,
with a healthy, though not seemingly robust, fresh complexion; his habit of
body is meagre, but in no remarkable degree; his ordinary employ is looking
after cattle, by which means he needs must travel 4 or 5 miles a day in that
mountainous country.

He uses no tobacco; yet seems to discharge as much saliva as others, who
do not use stimuli to provoke that evacuation.

'If we may judge of his insensible perspiration by the softness and freshness
of skin, he is in that respect like other men, and like them sweated with vio-
lent exercise ; as to the grosser excrements, it did not occur to Mr. C. to inquire
about them, but he concluded he discharged none; because the country people,
who strongly fancied him supported by supernatural means, would not forget
to object this to him, if he evacuated any quantity of gross faeces, with which
water is not charged.

This history of this abstemious person he had from Mr. Campbell of Inever-


liver, liis neighbour in that country, a gentleman of great candour and inge-
nuity, neither credulous himself, nor anywise inclined to impose on the credu-
lity of others. He had the same account from several others, and confirmed
by the belief of the whole country. The man himself he never saw, but the
bearer, Mr. Charles Campbell, preacher, has conversed with him, whose vera-
city might be depended on.

The case appeared very singular, and worthy the notice of men of letters;
being an instance to convince us, that a great part of the gross meats which
we greedily destroy, is not necessary for the support of animal life; and that
there must be some other qualities in the pure element of water, than what
have fallen under common observation, since they have supported this man in
health and vigour for so many years, and supplied the evacuations necessary in
the animal economy.

An Account and Abstract of the Meteorological Observations communicated to the
Royal Society, for the Years \73\, 1732, 1733, 1734, and 1735. By Geo.
Hadley, Esq. F. R. S. N° 466, p. 243. ;

The diaries that continue throughout the said 5 years, are only those kept at
Crane-court, Southwick, and Coventry. The Kentish diary for the year 1731
is wanting, and ends with the year 1734. In the former account of the years
1729 and 1730, Mr. H. gives an account of the method and contents of the
two first. Mr. Henry Beighton's, from GrifF near Coventry, contains the
height of the barometer at several times of the day, in inches and decimals,
and the weather. That from Upsal by Mr. Celsius, from Hudicksval by Mr.
Broman, and from Abo by Mr. Sporing, go no farther than the year 1731 ;
for which year there is also one from Lunden by an anonymous author; for it
appears not to be Mr. Conrad Quensel's, whose diary ends in the year 1730,
from the same place: it contains observations on the barometer twice a-day, the
wind and thermometer, which is a particular one of his own.

Wr. Weidler's diary from Wirtemberg continues to the end of the year
1734. In the year 1732, he alters his method of the barometrical heights,
from Paris to London measure, and the days of the month from the new style
to the old one, to make them the better correspond with our observations. He
gives a very accurate account of the phenomena of several northern lights in the
ends of the years 1731 and 1733, and the beginning of the year 1/34. His
diaries also contain some few astronomical observations, and extraordinary oc-

Captain Christopher Middleton's journal of his voyage to Hudson's bay is



published already in Philos. Trans. N" 418. The Naples Diary, by Dr. Cyril-
lus, ends in the year 1732, and also that from New-England by Mr. Dudley.

For the year 1734, that from Dr. Pack, at Canterbury, exhibits at one
view, by a table for every month of the year, in the first column, the quantity
of rain, and the evaporation : in the 2d, 3d, and 4th, the greatest and least
and middle heights of the barometer, thermometer, and hygrometer : in the
5th, the meteors, by variety of marks : in the 6th, the direction and strength
of the winds. He gives also a description of the instruments he invented, and
made use of, for observing the quantity of rain and evaporation, and the hygro-
meter, with a draught of each. For the month of January, there is a particular
table, containing great variety of observations for every day of that month.
There is a letter of his, relating to a chart of the levels of Kent, which, he
thinks, are so contrived as to cause a circulation of air from the sea, which is
of great use. Mr. Forth's Diary, at large, from Darlington, begins in the
year 1737 ; but he has given an abstract for the 3 preceding years: in which
the greatest, least, and middle height of the barometer is given for every
month. By a letter of his it appears, that his thermometer stands at 45°
when Mr. Hauksbee's stands at 33, which is J 2 difference ; and I suppose he
means they differ so much throughout the scale ; so by that rule are his obser-
vations reduced to the table. Quere, at what time of the day the observations
were made, and where the thermometer was placed ; for the mean heights
differ but little from those at London, as he observes in his letter. There is
an extract of a letter from Signer Didacus de Revillas to Dr. Mortimer, con-
taining an account of the rain that fell at Rome, beginning with August 1734,
and ending with July 1735, in Paris measure.

Marquis Poleni's diaries at large, from Padua, end in the year 1730 ; but he ^
sent an abstract of his observations for the 6 following years, which was pub-
lished in the Philos. Trans. N° 448.

These are all the manuscript observations communicated to the Royal Society,
relating to meteorological observations. Mr. H. has added the observations of
the barometer, thermometer, and rain, at Edinburgh, from the 4 volumes of
Medical Essays ; and Mr. Doppelmaier's Barometrical Observations, from the
printed ones at Norimberg, to make the tables as general as he could.*

* For want of knowing the particular heights and situations of the different places of observation,
as well as the width and forms of the barometers, and the other instruments, which were then not
accurately made; the tables cannot be depended on for any useful purposes; and they are therefore
here omitted.


A short Account, by James Parsons, M.D. F.R.S. of a Book entitled, Traite
des Sens, i^c. By M. le Cat, M. D. F. R. S. Printed at Rouen, 1 740, 6vo,
N° 466, p. 264.

This treatise appears to be a part of a physiological work, which the author
says is not likely to be soon published ; and he has therefore exhibited this part
for the use of lovers of philosophy, who might not be so agreeably entertained
by the rest of the work, as treating chiefly of the human body, and therefore
calculated rather for those of the faculty of medicine.

He says, that he has before established certain general principles of sensation,
and that now he proceeds to recount the particular parts with which nature has
furnished the animal economy, serving to our different senses ; and then ex-
patiates a little on their general utility.

His first chapter treats of the sense of feeling, in which he has compiled all
the different phenomena that regard this sense, as those of heat, cold, and
other objects of feeling, with the structure of the skin ; to which he subjoins
some curious histories of peculiar and exquisite feelings.

Tasting is his next subject, where, as in the foregoing chapter, the author
has drawn together the several sections relating to it; as, an account of the
organs of taste, the mechanism of savours, and the manner of their being varied
into compound tastes.

The sense of smelling is discussed in his 3d chapter, where he observes the
same method as in the two former, in describing the mechanism of the organs
serving to that sense, and accounting for the conveyance of odours to those
organs ; and for the stimulus of some odoriferous particles causing tears to flow,
as well as sneezing caused by a glaring light ; and, after making some reflec-
tions on the many effects of smells on the human body, and the exquisite
sense of smelling in some animals, he recites some curious stories of its peculiar

He proceeds next to treat of hearing, and brings under that head the whole .
mechanism and doctrine of sounds ; the vibrations of all sounding bodies : and
from the experiment of holding a candle near any vibrating or sounding body,
without the flames being moved or otherwise affected, he argues, that the
common air does not produce the sound, but a more subtile fluid better pro-
portioned to the organs of hearing. He then comes to his last section, which
treats of seeing : including the structure of the eye, and all the phenomena of
vision. He begins it with the doctrine of lights and colours, making use
of many experiments and explanations of Sir Isaac Newton.

4 K 2


The principal writers besides, on anatomy and physiology, which our author
seems to have had in view, are Du Verney, Willis, Senac upon Heister, and
Verduc's excellent book, L'Usage des Parties.

yarious Medico-chirurgical Observations. By John Daniel Schlichting, M. et
Chir. D. i^c. N° 466, p. 270. u4n Abstract from the Latin.

Of these observations, the first relates to the spina ventosi, between which
and the lues venerea. Dr. S. thinks there is a great analogy. He has found
that mercury used internally and externally (but particularly mercurial inunction
over the affected parts), to be as efficacious in many cases of the spina ventosa,

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