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tures on operations in surgery. Being afterwards elected man-midwife to the Middlesex and British
• Lying-in-Hospitals, he began to get into considerable midwifery practice. In 1750 he obtained the
degree of M. D. from the university of Glasgow. After this period he rose into great repute, bofh
by his lectures and his writings, and in 1768 he had the honour of being appointed physician extra-
ordinary to the queen, having been consulted on occasion of her Majesty's pregnancy 2 years before.
He had been elected F. R.S. in 1767. The same year he was appointed anatomical lecturer to the
Royal Academy of Arts. In 1781 he succeeded Dr. Fothergill as president of the Society of Physi-
cians in London, to whose publication, entitled Medical Observations and Inquiries, he contributed
some valuable papers. About this period, too, he was elected a member of the Medical Society of
Paris, and of the French Academy of Sciences. He died in the spring of 1783, in the 65th year of
his age, displaying uncommon serenity and strength of mind as his dissolution drew near.

Dr. H. was autlior of some papers inserted in the Medical Observations and Inquiries before men-
tioned; of two other communications, besides the above inserted in the Phil. Trans, (vols. 58 aud6l)
and of a work entitled Medical Commentaries ; but his great work is the Anatomy of the Human
Gravid Uterus, illustrated by a series of plates, which combine the most accurate exposition of struc-
ture on the part of the anatomist, with the most exquisite workmanship on the part of the engravers.
A description of the gravid uterus was found among the doctor's papers after his death, and was pub-
lished some years since by his nephew and successor Dr. Baillie, to whom the medical world owes
great obligations for his very valuable works on Morbid Anatomy.

Although the anatomical preparations constimte a principal part of the late Dr. Hunter's museum,
yet it further contains a collection of shells, and other subjects of natural history, (once the property
of Dr. Fotliergill) besides a cabinet of medals, and a library stored with some of the best and scarcest
editions of the ancient authors. A description of some of the coins has been published by Dr. Combe,
the intimate friend of Dr. H., and a gentleman in whom a large share of classical learning, and a
thorough knowledge of antiquities, are united with a great degree of medical skill.

Dr. Simmons informs us, that by his will Dr. H. directed that his nephew Dr. Baillie (or in case
of his death Mr. Cruickshank) should have the use of his museum, under the direction of trustees,
for the term of 30 years ; after which period the whole collection is bequeathed to the university of

When Dr. H. first came to London his finances were so small that they were little more than suf-
ficient to defray his travelling expences ; but by great abilities and exertions as a lecturer and a prac-
titioner, joined to a system of strict regularity and economy, he at length amassed a very ample for-
tune. There was something in his manner peculiarly interesting and impressive, and his language was
highly correct and perspicuous. With these qualifications, added to a Uiorough knowledge of his
subject, it is not to be wondered that he could render the most difficult parts of anatomy clear and ta-
uiiliar to his pupils. As a demonstrator he was certainly without an equal. > ; . j i


tual abrasion ; connected with strong ligaments, to prevent dislocation ; and
inclosed in a bag that contains a proper fluid deposited there, for lubricating the
two contiguous surfaces. So much in general.

But if curiosity lead us a step further, to examine the peculiarities of each
articulation, we meet with a variety of composition calculated to all the varieties
of motion requisite in the human body. Is the motion to be free and exten-
sive in one place ? there we find the whole apparatus contrived accordingly.
Ought it to be more confined in another ? here we find it happily limited. In
short, as Nature's intentions are various, her workmanship is varied accord-

These are obvious reflections, and perhaps as old as the inspection of dead
bodies. But modern anatomists have gone further : they have brought the
articulations, as well as the other parts of the body, under a narrower inquiry,
and entered into the minutest parts of their composition. The bones have
been traced fibre after fibre ; but the cartilages have not hitherto been suffi-
ciently explained. After some fruitless attempts, by macerating and boiling
the cartilages in different menstrua, Mr. H. fell upon the method not only of
bringing their fibrous texture to view, but of tracing the direction and arrange-
ment of those fibres.

Now, an articulating cartilage, is an elastic substance, uniformly compact,
of a white colour, and somewhat diaphanous, having a smooth polished sur-
face covered with a membrane ; harder and more brittle than a ligament, softer
and more pliable than a bone.

When an articulating cartilage is well prepared, it feels soft, yields to the
touch, but restores itself to its former equality of surface when the pressure is
taken off. This surface, when viewed through a glass, appears like a piece of
velvet. If we endeavour to peel the cartilage off in lamellae, we find it imprac-
ticable ; but, if we use a certain degree of force, it separates from the bone in
small parcels ; and we never find the edge of the remaining part oblique, but
always perpendicular to the subjacent surface of the bone. If we view this edge
through a glass, it appears like the edge of velvet; a mass of short and nearly
parallel fibres rising from the bone, and terminating at the external surface of
the cartilage : and the bone itself is planned out into small circular dimples,
where the little bundles of the cartilaginous fibres were fixed. Thus we may
compare the texture of a cartilage to the pile of velvet, its fibres rising up from
the bone, as the silky threads of that rise from the woven cloth or basis. In
both substances the short threads sink and bend in waves on being compressed ;
but, by the power of elasticity, recover their perpendicular bearing, as soon as
they are no longer subjected to a compressing force. If another comparison


was necessary, we might instance the flower of any corymbiferous plant, where
the floscuh and stamina represent the little bundles of cartilaginous fibres ; and
the calyx, on which they are planted, bears analogy to the bone.

Now these perpendicular fibres make the greatest part of the cartilaginous
substance ; but doubtless there are likewise transverse fibrils which connect
them, and make the whole a solid body, though these last are not easily seen,
because being very tender, they are destroyed in preparing the cartilage.

We are told by anatomists, that cartilages are covered with a membrane
named perichondrium. If they mean the cartilages of the ribs, larynx, ear,
&c. there, indeed, such a membrane is very conspicuous ; but the perichon-
drium of the smooth articulating cartilages is so fine, and firmly braced on the
surface, that there is room to doubt whether it has been often demonstrated, or
rightly understood. This membrane, however, Mr. H. had raised in pretty large
pieces after macerating ; and found it to be a continuation of that fine, smooth
membrane that lines the capsular ligament, folded over the end of the bone from
where that ligament is inserted. On the neck of the bone, or between the in-
sertion of the ligament, and border of the carwiigp, it is very conspicuous, and
may be pulled up with a pair of pincers ; but where it covers the cartilage it
coheres to it so closely, that it is not to be traced in the recent subject without
great care and delicacy. In this particular it resembles that membrane which is
common to the eye-lids and the fore-part of the eye-ball, and which is loosely
connected with the albuginea, but strongly attached to the cornea.

From this description it is plain, that every joint is invested with a membrane,
which forms a complete bag, and gives a covering to every thing within the ar-
ticulation, in the same manner as the peritonaeum invests not only the parietes,
but the contents of the abdomen.

The blood-vessels are so small, that they do not admit the red globules of the
blood ; so that they remained in a great measure unknown, till the art of filling
the vascular system with a liquid wax brought them to light. Nor even by this
method are we able, in adult subjects, to demonstrate the vessels of the true
cartilaginous substance ; the fat, glands, and ligaments, shall be red with in-
jected vessels, while not one coloured speck appears on the cartilage itself. In
very young subjects, after a subtle injection, they are very obvious ; and Mr. H.
found their course to be as follows : all round the neck of the bone there are a
great number of arteries and veins, which ramify into smaller branches, and
communicate with one another by frequent anastomoses, like those of the me-
sentery. This might be called the circulus articuli vasculosus, the vascular
border of the joint. The small branches divide into still smaller ones on the
adjoining surface, in their progress towards the centre of the cartilage. We are



very seldom able to trace them into its substance, because they terminate ab-
ruptly at the edge of the cartilage, like the vessels on the albuginea oculi when
they come to the cornea. The larger vessels, which compose the vascular
circle, plunge in by a great number of small holes, and disperse themselves into
branches between the cartilage and bone. From these again there arises a crop
of small short twigs, that shoot towards the outer surface ; and whether they
serve for nourishing only, or if they pour out a dewy fluid, Mr. H. does not
pretend to determine. However that be, he observes that the distribution
of the blood-vessels to the articulating cartilages is very peculiar, and seems cal-
culated for obviating great inconveniencies. Had they run on the outer sur-
face, the pressure and motion of the two cartilages must infallibly have occa-
sioned frequent obstructions, inflammations, &c, which would soon have ren-
dered our motions painful, and at last entirely deprived us of them. But by
creeping round the cartilaginous brim, where there is little friction, or under
the cartilage, where there is none, they are perfectly well defended from such

It were to be wished we could trace the nerves of cartilages : but, in relation
to these organs, here, as in many other parts of the body, we are under a ne-
cessity, from the imperfection of our senses, of being satisfied with mere con-
jecture. And though, from the great insensibility of a cartilage, some have
doubted of its being furnished with nerves ; yet, as it is generally allowed that
these area sine qua non in the growth and nourishment of animals, we have no
sufficient reason to deny their existence in this particular part. With regard to
the manner of their distribution, we may presume, from analogy, that they fol-
low the same course with the blood-vessels.

The articulating cartilages are most happily contrived to all purposes of mo-
tion in those parts. By their uniform surface, they move upon one another
with ease : by their soft, smooth, and slippery surface, mutual abrasion is pre-
vented : by their flexibility, the contiguous surfaces are constantly adapted
to each other, and the friction diffused equally over the whole : by their elas-
ticity, the violence of any shock, which may happen in running, jumping, &c.
is broken and gradually spent : which must have been extremely pernicious, if
the hard surfaces of bones had been immediately contiguous. As the course of
the cartilaginous fibres appears calculated chiefly for this last advantage, to
illustrate it, we need only reflect on the soft undulatory motion of coaches,
which mechanics want to procure by springs ; or on the difference between
riding a chamber horse and a real one. To conclude, the insensibility of arti-
culating cartilages is wisely contrived, as by this means the necessary motions
of the body are performed without pain.

If we consult the standard chirurgical writers, from Hippocrates down to the



present age, we shall find, that an ulcerated cartilage is universally allowed to
be a very troublesome disease; that it admits of a cure with more difficulty
than a carious bone ; and that, when destroyed, it is never recovered. Hil-
danus, in considering these diseases, has observed, that when the cartilages of
a joint were destroyed, the bones commonly threw out a cementing callus ; and
thus a bony anchylosis, or immoveable continuity, was formed where the move-
able joint had been. So far as he had opportunities of examining diseased
joints, either after death or amputation, he had found, according to the nature
and stage of the disease, the cartilages in some parts redish and lax ; or soft and
spongy ; or raised up in blisters from the bone ; or quite eroded, and perhaps
the extremities of the bones carious ; or, lastly, a bony anchylosis formed. But
he could never see, nor indeed hear of, the least appearance of an exfoliation
from the surface of the cartilage. Now, if we compare the texture and morbid
phenomena of those cartilages together, all the diseased appearances will admit
of as rational a solution, as perhaps any other part of the vitiated economy.

It appears from maceration, that the transverse fibrils are extremely tender
and dissoluble ; and that the cohesion of the parts of the straight fibres is
stronger than their cohesion with the bone. When a cartilage therefore is in-
flamed, and soaked in purulent matter, the transverse or connecting fibres will
the soonest give way, and the cartilage becomes more or less red and soft, &c.
If the disorder goes on a little longer, the cartilage does not throw off a slough,
but separates from the bone, where the force of cohesion is least, and where
the disease soon arrives, by reason of the thinness of the cartilage. When the
bone is thus exposed, the matter of the ulcer, or motion of the joint, corrodes
or abrades the bony fibres. If the constitution is good, these will shoot forth
a callus ; which either cements the opposite bones of the articulation, or fills
up the cavity of the joint, and for the future prevents motion. But if, unfor-
tunately, the patient labours under a bad habit of body, the malignancy, having
got root in the bone, will daily gain ground, the caries will spread, and at last
the unhappy person must submit to extirpation, a doubtful remedy, or wear
out a painful, though probably a short life.

Explanation of the figure. Fig. 4, pi. 18, represents a view of the patella on
the backside, where it is covered with a smooth cartilage. In this we may ob-
serve, AAAA, the surface of the cartilage, appearing, when the perichondrium
is removed, like velvet. Near the middle, part of the cartilage is taken out, in
order to show b, the subjacent surface of the bone ; and c, the thickness of the
cartilage, where the perpendicular fibres are seen very distinctly ; d, the
scabrous lower point of this bone, into which the ligament is inserted that binds
it to the tibia.



Concerning some Worms whose Parts live after they have been cut asunder. By
the Rev. Thomas Lord. N° 470, p. 522.

After having, without success, made several repeated searches for tlie polypus,
in several fish-ponds, and a small stream, Mr. L. collected the different insects
of various sorts he had there met with, and which were of more than 30 kinds,
putting them all together ; but some of them voraciously seized on others, and
devoured them, so that in a day's time he had hardly any left, but a few of one
sort, which rolled themselves up like millepedes, or hog-lice, but were, on the
whole, more of the leech kind, and could extend themselves about an inch in
length. These he cut asunder, but the pieces died in about 30 hours after the
operation. He then recollected, that in the account published by Dr. Morti-
mer, Philos, Trans. N° 467, mention is made of a French gentleman, who had
discovered water-worms, that would live after cutting: he searched for all he
could find fastened either on rotten wood, leaves, straws, or stones, taken out
from the bottom of the water, and cut of every sort asunder ; but none lived
above 48 hours, except one sort, in one glass were 4 pieces that seemed to be
complete worms, and the same as the 2 in the other phial : these 4 pieces, 12
days before, were 2 worms : he cut them asunder with a penknife, and found
that each part, from the first, continued vigorous and strong ; and in 3 days
the ends where the wounds were given, were grown sharper, and they moved
along like the entire worms.

The other two entire worms were each cut presently after into 2 pieces, which
soon after completed themselves, grew longer, and were several weeks after in
a vigorous and thriving condition.

The Natural History of the Rhinoceros. By Dr. Parsons.* N° 470, p. 523.

Albert Durer's figure of this creature has led several natural historians, who
have written since his time, into errors ; for such have always copied him ; and
indeed many have exceeded him in adorning their figures with scales, scallops,

* Dr. Js. Parsons was author of a Mechanical and Critical Inquiry into the nature of Hermaphro-
dites, 1741 J of a Description of the Urinary Bladder, with figures, 1742 ; and of various papers,
besides the Croonian Lectures, inserted in the Philos. Trans., which papers chiefly relate to natural

He was descended from a good family, and was born at Barnstaple in Devonshire in 1705. After
receiving his medical education at Paris, he took his degree of M.D. at Rheims in 1736, and came
to settle in London the same year. Here he was befriended by Dr. Jas. Douglas, and was elected
F.R.S. in 174-0, to which Society he was appointed assistant secretary for foreign correspondence in
1750. He died in 1770. Dr. Parsons was a man of an inquisitive and philosophical turn of mindj
and although anatomy, physiology, and natural history, were his favourite pursuits, he nevertheless
bestowed considerable attention on the study of antiquities.


and other fictitious forms. Now, from the badness of his figure. Dr. P. was induced
to believe that that great man never saw the animal ; for he certainly could not
have been so mistaken in the performance. Many years after him, one Hen-
drik Hondius published in Holland an exact copy of Durer's print, counterfeit-
ing the date and mark.

Bontius says he has often seen these animals in the woods and stables abroad ;
and values himself for having exhibited a figure without the decorations that
Albert Durer put upon his ; and yet, instead of the hoofs which are proper to
the animal, he has drawn a paw not unlike that of a dog, only something bulky.

The figure given by Chardin, in his Voyages, has some truth, as to the folds
or plicae in the skin of the rhinoceros ; and likewise as to the feet : but in other
respects it is not like the animal. There is also a little truth in the figures of
Camerarius, in his emblems taken from animals ; but far from a thorough re-
presentation of the creature : and, in short, the other originals, as that taken
from the rhinoceros in l685, that published by Carwitham in 1739, and, to
look back to the Roman times, those in the pavement of Prseneste, and Do-
mitian's medals, are very inaccurate, but have none of Albert Durer's deco-

When the rhinoceros arrived here in 1739, Dr. Douglas went frequently to
see him, for the purpose of correcting the opinions respecting him ; and on
June 24, of this year, exhibited before the Royal Society a drawing, with a
collection of figures of that creature, taken from several authors, who had
written of him before. He mentioned also his dimensions ; and on the 28th
of the same month, he produced a collection of horns, with some account of
them, but proceeded no further. Therefore, as another occasion might not
offer in many years. Dr. P. gives the following account of the male rhinoceros
shown in Eagle-street near Red Lion-square, in 1739, and the drawings an-
nexed to it. In this account, he had no regard to those of other authors, but
barely described him as he often saw him both then and afterwards.

The drawings are a side, fore, and back view of the animal fore-shortened :
the figures of 2 single horns ; and a double one or two sticking to the same
piece of skin ; the penis ; the tail of an old rhinoceros ; and an upper and under
view of one of the feet.

He was fed here with rice, sugar, and hay : of the first he ate 7 pounds
mixed with 3 of sugar every day, divided into 3 meals ; and about a truss of hay
in a week, besides greens of different kinds, which were often brought to him,
and of which he seemed fonder than of his dry victuals ; and drank large quan-
tities of water at a time, being then, it seems, 2 years old.

He appeared very peaceable in his temper, suffering himself to be handled in

Qq4 philosophical transactions. [anno 1743.

any part of his body ; but outrageous when struck or hungry, and pacified
in either case only by victuals. In his outrage he jumps about, and springs to
an incredible height, driving his head against the walls of the place with great
fury and quickness, notwithstanding his lumpish aspect : this Dr. P. saw seve-
ral times, especially in a morning, before his rice and sugar were given him.

In height he did not exceed a young heifer, but was very broad and thick.
His head, in proportion, is very large, having the hinder part, next his ears,
extremely high, in proportion to the rest of his face, which is flat, and sinks
down suddenly forward towards the middle, rising again to the horn, but in a
less degree. The horn stands on the nose of the animal, as on a hill. The
part of the bone on which the horn is fixed, rises into a blunt cone, to answer
to a cavity in the basis of the horn, which is very hard and solid, having no
manner of hollow nor core, like those of other quadrupeds. That of this ani-
mal, being young, does not rise from its rough base above an inch high, is
black and smooth at the top, like those of the ox-kind, but rugged downwards;
the determination of its growth is backwards, instead of straight up; which is
apparent, as well in the different horns of old rhinoceroses, as in this of our
present subject; for the distance from the base to the apex of this, backward,
is not within a third part so long as that before, and it has a curved direction;
and, considering the proportion of this animal's size to its horn, we may justly
imagine, that the creature which bore any one of those great ones, must have
been a stupendous animal in size and strength ; and, indeed, it were no wonder,
if such were untractable at any rate.

The sides of his under jaw are wide asunder, slanting outward to the lower
edge ; and backward to the neck, the edges turn outward ; from this structure
his head naturally looks large. The part that reaches from the fore part of the
horn towards the upper lip, may be called the nose, being very bulky, and
having a kind of circular sweep downward towards the nostrils: on all this part
he has a great number of rugae rutming across the front of it, and advancing
on each side towards his eyes. The nostrils are situated very low, in the same
direction with the rictus oris, and not above an inch from it. If we look at
him in a fore view, the whole nose, from the top of the horn to the bottom of
his lower lip, seems shaped like a bell, viz. small and narrow at top, with a
broad base. His under lip is like that of an ox, but the upper more like that
of a horse; using it, as that creature does, to gather the hay from the rack,
or grass from the ground; with this difference, that the rhinoceros has a power
of stretching it out above 6 inches, to a point, and doubling it round a stick,
or one's finger, holding it fast; so that, as to that action, it is not unlike the
proboscis of an elephant.


As to the tongue of the rhinoceros, though it be confidently reported by
authors, that it is so rough as to be capable of rubbing a man's flesh from his
bones; yet that of our present animal is soft, and as smooth as that of a calf;

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 80 of 85)