Imágenes de páginas

susception of a different body; which is, in reality, but a false kind of rarifaction.





pass on to the dilatations and tumefactions made in bodies, by their innate spirit; whether these tumefactions and dilatations be natural, or preternatural, as they are called; yet, without fire, or manifest external heat: though in these cases also there may sometimes follow an addition, or introsusception of moisture, besides the simple dilatation itself.

Most new wines, or other fermenting liquors, when put up into the cask, swell and rise considerably, so as to burst the vessel, unless they get vent: and when vent is given, they heave and froth over, as if it were by ebullition.

Spirituous liquors being close confined, or hard stopt down in bottles, often burst them with a great force; and sometimes throw out the cork, or stopple, almost like a bullet out of a gun.

The seeds of plants, as of peas, beans, &c.


[ocr errors]

are observed to swell a little, before they strike root, or shoot into a stem.

Trees swelling with their native juice and spirit, sometimes burst their bark, and thence discharge gum and tears.

Many of the gems seem to be eruptions of pure juices, strained through the rocks: for both gums and gems appear, from their transparency and splendor, to be strained and depurated juices; so that even rocks and stones may swell with their native spirit.*

And no doubt, but in the sperm of animals, in the first act towards vivification there is a certain expansion of the mass.

Vitriol shoots out an efflorescence, and sprouts or grows, almost like a tree.†

Stones, with time and age, shoot out a salt, especially in moist places, that resembles nitre. ‡

All glebe-earth swells with nitre; for any kind of ground that remains covered, and heaped up, so that its juice shall neither be exhausted by the

* See Mr. Boyle of the Origin and Virtues of Gems. + Particularly the artificial vitriols of silver, and iron, as we see very remarkably in the Arbor Dianæ, and Arbor Martis, as they are called. See several curious papers upon this subject in the French Memoirs.

Of this see Glauber in his Prosperity of Germany; and Stubbs's Answer to Henshaw's History of Nitre. Consider also of the isicles in wine-vaults, &c.

sun and air, nor consumed in the growing of vegetables, will collect nitre, as an internal tumefaction. Hence in certain parts of Europe they make artificial mines of this salt, by preserving and storing up earth in houses prepared for the purpose, and excluding the rays of the sun.

Sweat, in animals, proceeds from a dilatation of the spirits; and, as it were a liquefaction of the juices, by motion.

The pulse of the heart and arteries, in animals, proceeds from the never-ceasing and alternate dilatation and contraction of the spirits.t

So, likewise, the voluntary motion of animals, which in the more perfect kinds of creatures, is performed by means of the nerves, seems to have its foundation, first in the compression, and then in the relaxation of the spirits.

A tumor follows upon the contusion of any limb, in animals; and frequently also upon pains.

The stinging of wasps and bees, produces a large tumefaction, in proportion to the wound;

* See M. Lemery's two Papers of the Origin of Nitre, in the French Memoirs; and compare them with the account of Glauber.

+ Let this be carefully compared with what is delivered relating to the same purpose in the author's History of Life and Death.

but the bite of a viper does this in a still greater


Nettles, bryony, and the like, raise the skin, and cause blisters upon it.

The swelling of the face, or body, is accounted an evident sign of poison; especially of that kind which operates by a malignant quality, and not by corrosion.

In the common blisters made by cantharides, there arises a watery humour, or ichor, which flows out upon pricking or cutting of the skin.

All pustules proceeding from an internal cause, and the like eruptions, and impostumations, bring on apparent tumours, and raise the skin*.

Sudden anger, in some, inflates the cheeks; so likewise does pride and haughtiness.

The bodies of the frog and toad are subject to tumefaction; and many other animals, in the way of fierceness, brustle up their combs, hair, or feathers; from a contraction of the skin, by means of a swelling of the spirits.

Turkey-cocks swell themselves greatly, and brustle up their feathers astrut. And birds, while they sleep, have their bodies somewhat

* As in the small pox, &c. here also might be mentioned the swelling of the tongue and head upon salivation.

tumid; the spirit being then dilated by the natural heat of the internal parts.

The native spirits of a body begin to swell, in all cases of rottenness, and putrefaction; when these spirits hastening to come forth, dissolve and alter the texture of the body and if its structure be somewhat viscous and tenacious, so as to prohibit their exit, they contribute to the production of new forms; and then generate insects, worms, &c. but the origin of this act is, from the dilatation of the spirits+.

Nor does the spirit, confined in putrefaction, contribute only to the production of living creatures; but also produces the rudiments of vegetables : as appears in moss; and the roughness on the coats of some trees.

Having once, by accident, left a cut citron in a parlour, for two months in the summer; I afterwards found a sprouted putrefaction on the part that was cut, appearing to rise in certain hairs, the height of an inch; and on the top of each hair grew a head, like the head of a small

This instance should be well considered, as to its justness; or rather a competent set of experiments should be made to determine the fact: for it appears not exactly determined at present.

« AnteriorContinuar »