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J U 9











FROM 1672 TO 1683.



/4^^3 L,







Extract of a Letter of M. Huygens, to the jiuthor of the Journal des Savans,
of July 25, 1672, attempting to explain the Cause of that odd Phenomenon
of the Quicksilver s remaining suspended far above the usual Height in the
Torricellian Experiment. N° 86, p. 5027-

A HE Experiment is briefly this : that a tube, being after the Torricellian
way, filled with mercury, and before inversion perfectly purged of air, does,
when inverted, remain top full, even to the height of 75 inches.

M. Huygens, as a probable cause of this strange effect conceives, that besides
the pressure of the air, which keeps the mercury suspended at the height of
about 27 * inches, and of the truth of which w^e are convinced by a great number
of other effects ; there is yet another pressure stronger than that, of a more
subtle matter than air, which without difficulty penetrates glass, water, quick-
sih^er, and all other bodies which we find impenetrable to air. This pressure,
he says, being added to that of the air, is capable of sustaining the 75 inches of
mercury, and possibly more, as long as it works only against the lower surface,
or against that of the mercury, in which stands the open end of the tube : but as
soon as it can work also on the other side, (which happens when striking against
the tube, or intromitting into it a small bubble of air, you give way to this
matter to begin to act) the pressure of it becomes equal on both sides, so that
there is no more but the pressure of the air, which sustains the mercury at the
ordinary height of 27 inches.

If you ask why the quicksilver in the tube of this experiment does not feel
the pressure of this matter, even whilst that vessel is yet full ; since M. Huy-
gens supposes, that it pierces without difficulty the glass as well as the mercurv
&c ? and why the particles of this matter do not join together and begin the

* French measure, or nearly 29 inches English measure.

r r '7 O


pressure, as they go and come through the whole extent of the mercury, and
that the glass does not hinder their communication with those that are without.

To remove this difficulty, which in M. Huygens's own opinion is very great,
he answers, that though the parts of the matter, by him supposed, do find pas-
sage between those that compose the glass, quicksilver, &c; yet they there find
not sufficiently large ones for many to pass together, nor to move there with
that force which is requisite to separate the parts of the quicksilver, that have
some connexion together. And this very same connexion, he says, is the cause, ~
that though on the side of the inner surface of the glass, which touches the sus-
pended mercury, many of its parts be pressed by the particles of this matter ;
yet there being also a great number of them that feel no pressure by reason of
the parts of the glass, behind which they are placed ; they retain one another,
and remain all suspended, because there is much less pressure on the surface of
the quicksilver that is contiguous to the glass, than upon that below, which is
all exposed to the action of that matter which makes this second pressure.

The ingenious and candid author of this solution acknowledges himself, that it
does not so fully satisfy him as not to leave some scruple behind ; but then he
adds, that that keeps him not from being very well assured of that new pressure^
which he has supposed besides that of the air, by reason as well of the experi-
ment already alleged, as of two others, which he subjoins, to this effect : —

First, When two plates of metal or marble, whose surfaces are perfectly plain,
are put one upon another, they do so stick together, that the uppermost being
lifted up, the undermost follows without quitting it: and the cause thereof is
justly ascribed to the pressure of the air against their two external surfaces. He
taking then two plates, each of them but about an inch square, being of that
matter of which anciently they made looking glasses, and closing so exactly
together, that without putting any thing between, the uppermost keeps not
only up the other, but sometimes also with it three pounds of lead fastened to
the lowermost, and thus they remain together as long as you please. Having
thus joined them and charged them with three pounds weight, he suspended
them in the recipient of his engine, and exhausted it of air so far as that there
remained not enough to sustain by its pressure as much as an inch high of water;
and yet his plates disjoined not. He adds, that he made the same experiment
by putting spirit of wine between the two plates; and found, that in the reci-
pient evacuated of air they sustained, without being severed, the same weight
they did when it was full of air. This he thinks shows clearly enough, that
there remains yet in the recipient a pressure great enough after that of the air is
thence taken away ; and that there is no more reason to doubt of it, than of the
pressure of the air itself.


The second experiment is, that whereas the effect of a syphon of unequal legs,
by which you make the water of a vessel run over, is no longer ascrihed to a
fuga vacui, but to the weight of the air, which pressing upon the water of the
vessel makes it rise in the syphon, whilst on the other side it descends by its
\veight; M. Huy gens found a means to make the water of the syphon run,
after the recipient was exhausted of air, and he saw, that with water purged of
air* it did the effect as well as without the recipient. The shortest of the leg*
of the syphon was 8 inches long, and its aperture, of two lines. And he will not
have us doubt, whether the recipient was well exhausted of air; for he did assure
himself of that, as well by finding that there came out no more air through the
pump, as by other more certain marks.

And this he takes for a further confirmation of his supposition of a pressing
matter more subtle than the air. To which he adds, that if you take the pains of
searching, to what degree the force of this pressure reaches, (which he says
cannot be better made than by pursuing the experiment with tubes full of mer-
cury, yet longer than those employed by M. Boyle,) it will perhaps be found,
that this force is great enough to cause the union of the parts of glass and of
other sorts of bodies, which hold too well together to be conjoined only by their
contiguity and rest, as M. Descartes would have it.-f-

Extract from Mr. John Templers Letter of March 30, 1672, to Dr. Walter
Needham, concerning the Structure of the Lungs. N° 86, p. 5031.

In answer to the request of an ingenious physician, I was lately engaged to
give my thoughts on the structure of the lungs, as follows : —

I formerly conceived the lungs to be composed of a multitude of vesicles; into
"which opinion I was persuaded by inflation in the aspera arteria of fowls ; and
observing the continuation of many vesicles extended from the bronchia through

* M. Huygens has made this experiment, as well with water as with mercury.

f M, Huygens, though a very great mathematician, in tliis memoir, very unphilosophically, in
order to explain the cause of the adherence of certain bodies together, when in close contact, has
recourse to the action of a matter, of whose existence there has never been any kind of evidence.
The effects in such instances as above-mentioned, have since that time been more rationally ascribed
to the attraction of cohesion j a principle which manifests itself whenever bodies are brought into close
contact. Hence arises tlie considerable adhesion of two perfect planes: hence the compact and firm
adherence of masses of matter : hence the ascent of fluids up the sides of their containing vessels :
hence their ascent even in open tubes, to considerable heights, so much the higher as the tubes are
smaller: hence the necessity of giving a considerable width to the barometer tubes: hence even a
drop of water falls not from a mass without a visible reluctance, &:c.



the abdomen to the anus, (which I imagine to be the cause of the constant
motion of the anus in fowls ; the air having ingress and egress there ; and also
that to be the reason why the anuses of fowls are, in malignant distempers, ap-
plied to draw the infection out of the body :) I thence conjectured the substance
of the lungs to be a complication of a multitude of vesicles with the sanguinQous
vessels. And in this opinion I thought myself confirmed, by blowing into the
aspera arteria of quadrupeds, when I had cut off part of the exterior membrane
of one lobe of the lungs, and found the lungs to rise with unequal protuberances
not unlike bladders.

But this second contrivance, which I am going to describe to you, has much
shaken that conjecture. March 2, l6^^, I made a ligature about a dog's neck,
and opening both the jugular veins with a pretty large orifice, I let him bleed to
death, (using this way to prevent being overcharged, either with any quantity
of blood, or with blood coagulated ; both which would have been hazarded, in
case I had either strangled the dog, or cut one or both of the jugulars asunder:)
immediately I opened the thorax, and tying the vena cava, with all the passages
from the left ventricle of the heart, or its auricle, I cut the lungs with the heart
and aspera arteria entirely out. To the aspera arteria I fitted a syphon 7 inches
long, which I thrust 2 inches in length into the said artery, and fastened it with
a strong binding of packthread. This done, I blew up the lungs, and fitting a
cork to the end of the syphon, hung them in a chimney to dry. In a quarter of
an hour they subsided about a sixth part ; whereupon I ordered a person to
watch them, and to blow them up as often as they subsided. Which course
continued, they would not the next morning subside a fourth part in three
hours. And (excepting three quarters of an inch distance from the circumfe-
rence of the lobes, where the thinness of the substance of the lungs gave the
external heat the advantage of a sudden passage, and quick dispatch of drying
those parts least furnished with moisture,) I did not perceive, making a propor-
tionable allowance for the drying of the whole substance of the lungs, any con-
siderable subsiding in two days more. But upon the blowing in at the syphon
(whose ligature I was now forced to renew,) I could easily feel the air pass
through the external membranes, both on the convex and concave sides, towards
the extremity of the circumference of the lobes; but most abundantly on the
concave side.

March 5th, I carefully cut off one of the lobes, and the inward structure
seemed like a cane or dried flag when transversely cut; and, upon blowing in at
the syphon, I fancied the air to come equally out at all the pores I had exposed
to view. Whereupon I fixed spittle in several places, and upon fresh blowing
found multitudes of bubbles, made in the denudated parts of the lobe. I im-


mediately made a deep transverse incision into that lobe, and blowing in at the
syphon, found the air to come so freely out at the larger ramifications of the
bronchia, that I could not give the lobe a considerable rise with a strong blast:
yet upon stopping with my fingers the larger passages of the bronchia, which I
had cut, I found that lobe upon a fresh blast, rise considerably with unequal
protuberances (where the incision was made) giving no small suspicion of some
latent vesicles. Hereupon I tied that lobe above the incision, and taking off
part of the external membrane of another lobe, (having first tied up all the rest
of the lobes) I poured water into the syphon, and applied a strong blast, in
hopes to have the water come forth in streams at all the pores; but that did not
satisfactorily succeed, it coming out in a confused irroration of the external
surface, without any ebullition, unless at the larger ramification of the bronchia.
Then I tied up this second lobe, and untied a third, pouring in an ounce of the
oil of turpentine; at the syphon I gave a small blast, and corked it up. Two
hours after I took off" the small membrane of that lobe, and upon a gentle blast
at the syphon found an ebullition of infinitely small bubbles.

March 10, (having continued it to the chimney) I cut all the lobes in pieces
by different and various irregular incisions; whence I could easily observe the
several ramifications of the aerial and sanguineous vessels, with their continua-
tion to the circumference of the lobes, and a proportionable diminution as they
were at a further distance from their original.

Shall I hence conclude the structure of the lungs to be a complication of a
multitude of the ramifications of the bronchia and sanguineous vessels ? and
that the seeming vesicles were occasioned only by the violence of the blast, and
the dryness of the extreme and smallest passages of the aerial vessels ; where-
upon those, nearest to the bronchia (being moister) were, more than their or-
dinary proportion, extended, upon hindrance of a free and usual passage to the
air in the lesser vessels or their extremities ? *

Soine Astronomical Observations in part already made, partly to he made.
By Mr. John Flamsteed. N° 86, p. 5034.

These prognostications and observations are now no longer of any use.

* The forcible inflation here resorted to is a great objection to deducing any conclusions from these
experiments, which mdeed appear to be of little value. The bronchial tubes, which are ramifica-
tions of tlie trachea, ultimately lose their cartilaginous structure, and terminate in membranous vesi-
cles or cells, which in the act of inspiration become distended with air. Upon the surfaces of tliese
air-cells are spread the minute ramuli of the pulmonary blood-vessels, so as to have their contained
fluid (the blood) subjected to the chemical action of the air; not indeed by immediate contact, but
with no other intervening medium than the exquisitely thin coats of the distended vesicles or ceils.


jin Accurate Description of the Lake of Geneva, not long since inade by a Person
that had visited it divers Times in the pleasantest Season of the Year-, and com-
municated to the Ptiblisher by one of his Parisian Correspondents. Translated
by tJw Editor. N° 86, p. 5043.

Instead of reprinting the description here given from the original Transac-
tions, we think it better to refer our readers to the description of this lake as
given by that accurate Swiss naturalist De Saussure, (Voyages dans les Alpes et
Hist. Naturelle des Environs de Geneve) and to the travels of our countryman
Mr. Coxe.

An Account of some Books. N° 86, p. 5047.

I. Lux Mathematica, Collisionibus Johannis Wallisii et Thomas Hobbesii
fcxcussa: Multis et fulgentissimis aucta radiis, Auth. R. R. Adjuncta Censura
Doctrinae Wallisianae de libra, una cum Roseto Hobbesii. Lond. 1672,
in 4to.

The author of this book (probably Mr. Hobbes himself) states that he has
deduced the rise and occasion of the disputes between Dr. Wallis and Mr.
Hobbes, and commended the many and difficult propositions and demonstra-
tions said to be advanced by the latter of them, and compared these with those
of Dr. Wallis. He then proceeds to the controversies themselves, endeavouring
to vindicate Mr. Hobbes's assertions from the objections of Dr. Wallis.

II. Optique de Portraiture et Peinture, contenant la Perspective Speculative
et Pratique accomplie, &c. Par Gregoire Huret, Desseignateur et Graveur or-
dinaire de la Maison du Roy, et de I'Academie Royale de Peinture et Sculpture.
A Paris, 1670, in fol.

This elegant volume in French states the chief aim of its author to have
been, to contribute what he could to the instruction and improvement of youth,
studious of these excellent arts, and groundedly to teach them the rules and
other means, that are really useful and absolutely necessary to them in the

III. Christiani Friderici Germani, Physici Chemnicensis, Academici Curiosi,
Homo ex ovo. Chem. 1672, in 4to.

This author having collected what has of late years been asserted and pub-
lished concerning the generation of other animals, as well as of fowl and fish,
out of eggs; and taken with Kerkringius particular notice, tam virgines quam
conjugatas saepissime ova excernere (which he no more wonders at, than that
hens and other birds are matres et tamen virgines) then proceeds to consider the


advantage of this doctrine, and its happiness in explaining many phacnomena,
hardly explicable without it ; such as the production of more foetuses than one ;
the production of monsters: the many odd symptoms in women, from the pu-
trcfuction or imperfect constitution of the egg or eggs; the production of
molas; barrenness, &c. Having dispatched this, he takes occasion to examine
the question, an fieri conceptio possit extra utcrum? ubi nonnuUa disseruntur
de homunculo chymico sive paracelsico; quae apud ipsum vide authorem.

IV. A short and sure Guide in the Practice of raising and ordering of Fruit-
trees; by Francis Drope, B.D. late Fellow of Magdalen College in Oxford.
Oxford, 1672.

This piece appears by the preface to have been written from the author's own
experience. The particulars insisted on in this discourse are principally: 1. Of
raising stocks from the seed. 2. Of the nursery. 3. Of grafting. 4. Of ia-
noculating of stocks raised without seed, and trees without incision.

j4n Extract of a Latin Epistle of Dr. Joel Langelot, Chief PhyHcian to the
Duke of Holstein now Regent ; wherein is represented, that by these three
Chemical Operations, Digestion, Fermentation, and Triture, or Grinding
(hitherto, in the Author's Opinion, not siifficiently regarded) many Things of
admirable use may be performed. Translated by Mr. Oldenburg. N° 87,
p. 5052.

It is sufficient to give the title of this long alchemical paper, without making
any extract from it. Philosophers can employ their time better in these days,
than by reading accounts of experiments said to yield results not reconcilable
with the known and immutable properties of natural bodies.

An Extract of a Letter from Mr. Lister to the Editor, both enlarging and cor^
reeling his former Notes about Kermes; arid insinuating his Conjecture of
Cochineal being a Sort of Kermes. N° 87, p. 5059.

We must correct as well as enlarge our notes concerning kermes.* These
things are certain :

] . That we have this year seen the very gum of the apricot and cherr}'- laurel
trees transudated, at least standing in a crystal drop upon some (though very
rarely) of the tops of these kermes. 2. That they change colour from a yellow
to a dark brown ; that they seem to be distended and to wax greater, and from
soft to become brittle. 3. That they are filled with a sort of mites ; that small

* Compare herewith what was published in Nos. 7l> 72, and 73.


powder (which I said to be excrement) being mites as well as that liquamen or
softer palp (which I took to be bee's meat) concerning both which particulars I
am pretty well assured by my own, and also by my ingenious friend Dr. John-
son of Pomfret's more accurate microscopical observations. 4. That the bee-
grubs actually feed on mites, there being no other food for them. 5. That
there are other species of bees or wasps besides those by me described ; which
are sometimes found to make these mites their food; Dr. Johnson having
opened one husk, with one only large maggot in it. 6. That there are proba-
bly different sorts of mites in these husks, making possibly different species of
kermes ; for some I have found to hold carnation-coloured mites, enclosed in a
fine white cotton, the whole husk starting from the twig, shrivelling up, and
serving only for a cap or cover to that company of mites. Other mites I have
seen white, and (which is most usual) the husks continuing entire, and not
coming away from the twig they adhere to, and but little cotton at the bottom.
Those of the first sort are the white cob-webs on the vine, described by Mr.
Hook Micrograph. Obs. 56. 7- That the shrivelled cap to be found upon the
mites enclosed in cotton, as also the whole husk itself, if taken early in April,
while soft, will, dried in the sun, shrink into the very figure of cochineal;
whence we guess that cochineal may be a sort of kermes taken thus early and

Hitherto this summer's notes concerning kermes. This advantage at least
we may have by them; that the account taken from M. Verney by Dr. Croon,
and published in one of the Transactions,* is made more intelligible; the small
scarlet powder there mentioned being to be understood of those mites, and they
to be distinguished from the bee-grubs, which are changed into the skipping
fly, that is, the bee, (for kind at least) by us described formerly, I am, &c.
York, Oct. p, 1671.

An Extract of a Letter from Mr. Thomas Piatt, from Florence, August 6,
\QT1, concerni7ig some Experiments there made upon Vipers, since M. Charas's
Reply to the Letter ivritten by Sig. t'rancesco Redi to M. Bourdelot and
M. Morus. N° 87, p. 5060.

The experiments related in this paper afford a complete refutation of Charas's
opinion, that the venom of vipers is in their angered spirits, and confirm in the
strongest manner the fact advanced by Redi, that their poison resides in the
yellow fluid contained in the vesicles attached to their gums. Mr. Piatt states,

* See No. 20. •


that being at the house of Sig. Magalotti on the 2d of June, 1672, there aime
Dr. Francini with a box containing many heads, cut off that morning, of vipers,
lately brought from Naples. He immediately desired to have some animals to
begin his experiments upon ; but there being at that time no other company
with Signer Magalotti but his brother and I, it was thought fit to stay till next
morning, that those gentlemen, who were at the dispute last winter, might be

I, however, desired the doctor to make at least one experiment, which being
granted, Signor Magalotti was sent to the public market for a couple of pigeons,
which were first wounded with the teeth of a viper's head that had been cut oft*
about seven or eight o'clock the same morning. The way of making the wound
was, by thrusting twice the master teeth into the fleshy part of the pigeon's
breast, till such time as pressing the upper part of the jaw, the two little blad-
ders that serve as gums to the teeth, did empty out upon the wound some of
that yellow liquor, which here is supposed to be the true and only poison of the
viper. This pigeon being thus bit, and set upon the ground, began to stagger
immediately, and died in less than three or four minutes. The second pigeon
was wounded in the same manner, but at the first w^ound there only entered
one of the teeth, which brought forth a great deal of blood; the second time
they both entered, and this had the same fiite, with this diflference only, that he
languished half a quarter of an hour.

The next morning there met at Signor Magalotti's chambers, besides the
company of the day before, Signor Carlo Dati, Signor Vincenzo Viviani, Signor
Paola del Ara, Dr. Savona, Dr. Neri, Dr. Fabrini, and some others. Where-
upon six pigeons and a cock having been brought, the first thing that Dr. Fran-
cini did, was to thrust several thorns of rose shrubs into the breast of one of
those pigeons, to manifest that such accidents as might befal those that should
be wounded by the teeth of the deg,d vipers, were not merely caused by the
wound. And whereas one of the company began to make some nice reflections,
and take some of the heads to measure the just proportions of their teeth, to see
what difi'erence there might be betwixt them and the thorns ; this made the
doctor lose patience, and soon taking a pin, which was none of the least, he
gave to the first pigeon, that he could lay hands on, a very deep wound in the

Online LibraryRoyal Society (Great Britain)The Philosophical transactions of the Royal society of London, from their commencement in 1665, in the year 1800 (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 83)