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Title: A History of Inventions, Discoveries, and Origins, Volume I (of 2)
Author: Beckman, Johann
Language: English
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“Were I to pray for a taste which should stand me in stead under every
variety of circumstances, and be a source of happiness and cheerfulness
to me during life, and a shield against its ills, however things
might go amiss and the world frown upon me, it would be a taste for
reading.... Give a man this taste, and the means of gratifying it, and
you can hardly fail of making him a happy man; unless, indeed, you
put into his hands a most perverse selection of books. You place him
in contact with the best society in every period of history,--with
the wisest, the wittiest, the tenderest, the bravest, and the purest
characters who have adorned humanity. You make him a denizen of all
nations, a contemporary of all ages. The world has been created for
him.”--SIR JOHN HERSCHEL. _Address on the opening of the Eton Library_,


  _Lud. Schmidt._      _J. J. Hinchliff._

_John Beckmann._]




  Fourth Edition,

  J. W. GRIFFITH, M.D., F.L.S.,

  VOL. I.




  Italian Book-keeping                               1
  Odometer                                           5
  Machine for noting down Music                     12
  Refining Gold and Silver Ore by Quicksilver       14
  Cold or Dry Gilding                               19
  Gold Varnish                                      20
  Tulips                                            22
  Canary Bird                                       32
  Archil                                            35
  Magnetic Cures                                    43
  Secret Poison                                     47
  Wooden Bellows                                    63
  Coaches                                           68
  Water-clocks, Clepsydras                          82
  Tourmaline                                        86
  Speaking-trumpet                                  93
  Ananas.--Pine-apple                              102
  Sympathetic Ink                                  106
  Diving-bell                                      111
  Coloured Glass.--Artificial Gems                 123
  Sealing-wax                                      137
  Corn-mills                                       147
  Verdigris, or Spanish Green                      171
  Saffron                                          175
  Alum                                             180
  Falconry                                         198
  Turf                                             205
  Artichoke                                        212
  Saw-mills                                        222
  Stamped Paper                                    230
  Insurance                                        234
  Adulteration of Wine                             245
  Artificial Pearls                                258
  Paving of Streets                                269
  Collections of Natural Curiosities               282
  Chimneys                                         295
  Hungary Water                                    315
  Cork                                             318
  Apothecaries                                     326
  Clocks and Watches                               340
  Clocks and Watches (additional)                  355
  Quarantine                                       373
  Paper-hangings                                   379
  Kermes. Cochineal                                385
  Writing-pens                                     405
  Wire-drawing                                     414
  Buck-wheat                                       425
  Saddles                                          431
  Stirrups                                         435
  Horse-shoes                                      442
  Floating of Wood                                 454
  Lace                                             463
  Ultramarine                                      467
  Cobalt, Zaffer, Smalt                            478
  Turkeys                                          487
  Butter                                           499
  Aurum Fulminans                                  509
  Garden-flowers                                   512


In revising Beckmann’s celebrated Work, we have endeavoured to improve
it principally by altering such names, characters, descriptions, and
opinions as have become obsolete, or are now known to be erroneous;
and by such additions as seemed necessary to bring the accounts of
the subjects treated of to the present state of knowledge. In some
cases, these additions may appear to diverge from the declared object
of the work; but in this we have only followed the example of Beckmann
himself, who frequently deviates from a strict historical path, and
we think advantageously, for the purpose of introducing curious,
instructive, or amusing information. In most cases, where the subject
under consideration is a process of manufacture, we have given a brief
outline of its practice or theory, unless this had previously been done
by the author. The translation, also, has been carefully compared with
the German, but in only a very few cases could we detect errors which
rendered the passages contradictory or unintelligible: on the whole,
it is extremely well executed; and too much praise cannot be given to
Johnston, for the judicious manner in which he has embodied in one
article, detached essays on the same subject, which Beckmann published
at different periods, as he acquired fresh information. The only
instances in which this had been omitted, are the articles on _Turf_,
_Cork_, and _Quarantine_, which were still encumbered with addenda; in
the present edition, these have been incorporated. All such quotations
from Latin and Greek authors, as might be deemed essential to the
understanding of the text, have been given in English; those of a mere
critical and philological character, it has been thought advisable to
leave untranslated. The book may be classed as a compound of learned
research and light reading, suitable both to the popular reader and the
scholar; and that character has been preserved in the present edition.
To the kindness of John Frodsham, Esq., the present proprietor of
Arnold’s Chronometer Establishment, we are indebted for much of the
interesting information added to the article on ‘Clocks and Watches;’
and we have also to return our thanks to the publisher, Mr. H. G. Bohn,
for the assistance he has constantly afforded us, as well as for his
Memoir of the author.



That the arts had their rise in the East, and that they were conveyed
thence to the Greeks, and from them to the Romans, is universally
admitted. Respecting the inventions and discoveries however of the
earliest ages, nothing certain is known. Many of those most useful in
common life must have been the production of periods when men were
little acquainted with letters, or any sure mode of transmitting an
account of their improvements to succeeding generations. The taste
which then prevailed of giving to every thing a divine origin, rendered
traditional accounts fabulous; and the exaggeration of poets tended
more and more to make such authorities less worthy of credit. A variety
of works also, which might have supplied us with information on this
subject, have been lost; and the relations of some of those preserved
are so corrupted and obscure, that the best commentators have not
been able to illustrate them. This in particular is the case with
many passages in Pliny, an author who appears to have collected with
the utmost diligence whatever he thought useful or curious, and whose
desire of communicating knowledge seems to have been equal to his
thirst for acquiring it.

Of all those nations whose history has been preserved, the most
distinguished are certainly the Greeks and the Romans; but, as far as
can be judged at this remote period, the former were superior to the
latter in point of invention. The Romans indeed seem to have known
little, except what they borrowed from the Grecians; and it is evident,
by their sending their young men of rank to finish their education
in Greece, that they considered that country as the seat of the arts
and the sciences, and as a school where genius would be excited by
the finest models, while the taste was corrected and formed. From
some hints given however by Pliny and other writers, we have reason
to conclude that the Romans possessed more knowledge of the arts than
the moderns perhaps are willing to allow, and that some inventions,
considered as new, may be only old ones revived and again rendered

When Rome, abandoned to luxury and vice, became an easy prey to those
hordes of barbarians who overran the empire, her arts shared in the
general wreck, and were either entirely lost, or for a time forgotten.
The deplorable state of ignorance in which Europe was afterwards
plunged during several centuries, retarded their revival; and it was
not till a late period, when favoured and protected by a few men of
superior genius, that they began to be again cultivated. It cannot
however be denied, that several important discoveries, altogether
unknown to the ancients, which must have had considerable influence
on the general state of society, were made in ages that can hardly be
exempted from the appellation of barbarous. As a proof of this may be
mentioned the invention of paper[1], painting in oil[2], the mariner’s
compass[3], gunpowder[4], printing[5], and engraving on copper[6].
After the invention of the compass and printing, two grand sources
were opened for the improvement of science. In proportion as navigation
was extended, new objects were discovered to awaken the curiosity and
excite the attention of the learned; and the ready means of diffusing
knowledge, afforded by the press, enabled the ingenious to make them
publicly known. Ignorance and superstition, the formidable enemies of
philosophy in every age, began soon to lose some of that power which
they had usurped; and states, forgetting their former blind policy,
adopted improvements which their prejudice had before condemned.

Though it might be expected that the great share which new inventions
and discoveries have at all times had in effecting such happy changes
among mankind would have secured them a distinguished place in the
annals of nations, we find with regret, that the pen of history
has been more employed in recording the crimes of ambition and the
ravage of conquerors, than in preserving the remembrance of those
who, by improving science and the arts, contributed to increase the
conveniences of life, and to heighten its enjoyments. So little indeed
has hitherto been done towards a history of inventions and discoveries,
that the rise and progress of part of those even of modern times is
involved in considerable darkness and obscurity: of some the names of
the inventors are not so much as known, and the honour of others is
disputed by different nations; while the evidences on both sides are so
imperfect, that it is almost impossible to determine to which the palm
is due. To Professor Beckmann, therefore, those fond of such researches
are much indebted for the pains he has been at to collect information
on this subject; and though he has perhaps not been able to clear up
every doubt respecting the objects on which he treats, he has certainly
thrown much light on many curious circumstances hitherto buried in

The author, with much modesty, gives to this work in the original the
title of only Collections towards a History of Inventions: but as he
has carefully traced out the rise and progress of all those objects
which form the subject of his inquiry, from the earliest periods of
their being known, as far as books supplied information, and arranged
his matter in chronological order, the original title may admit,
without being liable to much criticism, of the small variation adopted
in the translation. The author, indeed, has not in these volumes
comprehended every invention and discovery, but he has given an account
of a great many, most of them very important.

Should any one be disposed to find fault with the author for
introducing into his work some articles which on the first view may
appear trifling, his own words, taken from the short preface prefixed
to the first volume of the original, will perhaps be considered as
a better exculpation than anything the translator might advance in
his favour. “I am sensible,” says he, “that many here will find
circumstances which they may think unworthy of the labour I have
bestowed upon them; but those who know how different our judgements
are respecting utility, will not make theirs a rule for mine. Those
whose self-conceit would never allow them to be sensible of this truth,
and who reject as useless all ore in which they do not observe pure
gold, as they display very little acuteness, must be often duped by
the tinsel glare of false metal; and they give me as little uneasiness
as those who have no desire to know the origin of inventions, or how
they were brought to their present utility. If my extending the term
Invention farther than is perhaps usual, by comprehending under it
several police-establishments, be a fault, it is at any rate harmless,
and on that account may be pardoned without much apology.”


[1] Montfaucon, notwithstanding all his researches in France and Italy,
was not able to discover any charter or diploma written on common
paper, older than the year 1270. Paper, however, made of cotton, is
said to be much older, and to have been introduced into Europe by the
Arabs. If we can believe an Arabian author, who wrote in the thirteenth
century, quoted by Casiri, in Biblioth. Arabico-Hispana, vol. ii. p.
9, paper (doubtless of cotton) was invented at Mecca by one Joseph
Amru, about the year of the Hegira 88, or of the Christian æra 706.
According to other Arabian authors, quoted by Casiri and Abulfeda, the
Arabs found a manufactory of paper at Samarcand in Bucharia, when they
conquered that country in the year of the Hegira 85, or of our æra
704. The art of making paper from silk was, as some pretend, known to
the Chinese 180 years before Jesus Christ. See a letter from Father
de Mailla to Father Etienne Souciet, in Mémoires des Inscript. et des
Belles Lettres, vol. xv. 520.

[2] The oldest picture, known at present, painted in oil-colours on
wood is preserved in the Imperial Gallery at Vienna. It was painted in
the year 1297, by a painter named Thomas de Mutina, or de Muttersdorf,
in Bohemia. Two other paintings in the same gallery are of the year
1357; one of them is by Nicholas Wurmser of Strasburg, and the other
by Thierry of Prague. It appears therefore that painting in oil was
known long before the epoch at which that invention is generally fixed;
and that it is erroneously ascribed to Hubert van Eyck and his brother
and pupil, John van Eyck, otherwise called John of Bruges, who lived
about the end of the fourteenth century, and not the beginning of the
fifteenth, as is commonly supposed. [There is evidence in the books of
the Painters’ Company, under the date of the 11th of Edward I. (1283),
that oil painting was in use at that time. See a communication from Sir
Francis Palgrave given in the new edition of Carter’s Ancient Sculpture
and Paintings in England, page 80.]

[3] The person who first speaks of the magnetic needle and its use in
navigation, is a Provençal poet, who lived in the beginning of the
thirteenth century, and who wrote a poem entitled Bible Guyot. This
work is a satire, in which the author lashes with great freedom the
vices of that age. Comparing the Pope to the polar star, he introduces
a description of the compass, such as it appears to have been in
its infancy. This invention however is claimed by the Italians, who
maintain that we are indebted for it to a citizen of Amalphi, named
Flavius Gioja, and in support of this assertion quote commonly the
following line of Panormitanus:

  Prima dedit nautis usum magnetis Amalfis.

[4] Of the use of gunpowder in Europe no certain traces occur till
towards the middle of the fourteenth century. It seems pretty well
proved, that artillery was known in France after the year 1345. In
1356, the city of Nuremberg purchased the first gunpowder and cannon.
The same year the city of Louvain employed thirty cannon at the battle
of Santfliet against the Flemings. In 1361, a fire broke out at Lubec,
occasioned by the negligence of those employed in making gunpowder. In
1363, the Hans-towns used cannon for the first time, in a naval combat
which they fought against the Danes. After 1367, the use of fire-arms
became general throughout Italy, into which they had been introduced
from Germany.

[5] The invention of printing has given rise to many researches.
Meermann in his Origines Typographicæ, published in 1768, endeavours
to prove that Laurence Coster of Haarlem was the inventor, about the
year 1430. Most authors however agree that John Gutenberg was the
inventor of moveable types, but they differ respecting the place of the
invention. Some make it to be Strasburg, others Mentz, and some fix the
epoch of the invention at 1440, and others at 1450.

[6] Vasari, in Vite de’ Pittori, vol. iv. p. 264, ascribes the
invention of engraving on copper to a goldsmith of Florence, named
Maso Finiguerra, about 1460. The oldest engravers whose names and
marks are known, were Israel de Mecheln, of Bokholt, in the bishopric
of Munster; Martin Schœn, who worked at Colmar in Alsace, where he
died in 1486; and Michael Wolgemuth of Nuremberg, who was preceptor
to the famous Albert Durer, and engraved the plates in the well-known
Nuremberg Chronicle. It may be proper here to observe, that the art of
engraving on wood seems to be older than the invention of printing, to
which perhaps it gave rise. The names of the first engravers on wood
are however not known. [In the Athenæum Journal for 1845, page 965, is
given a fac-simile of a large wood-engraving, bearing the date of 1418,
which was discovered at Malines in 1844, and is now preserved in the
public library at Brussels.]


John Beckmann, Professor of Œconomy at Göttingen during a period of
forty-five years, was born at Hoye, a small town in the kingdom of
Hanover, in 1739. His father held the appointment of postmaster and
receiver of taxes in that place, and at the same time cultivated a
small farm, which appears to have inspired his son with a taste for
agricultural pursuits. The superintendence of his education devolved
principally on his mother, a woman of great prudence and strength
of mind, who was left a widow when young Beckmann was scarcely
seven years old. In a lonely house, amid examples of industry and
daily labour, he passed his youth in the perusal of works, which,
although of a common-place description, were not without their use,
as they led him to contract a methodical habit of mind, and afforded
considerable information on various subjects, which in the sequel
greatly assisted him in the pursuits to which he owed his celebrity. He
himself relates that, when quite a boy, he was in the habit of making
extracts of all the striking passages he met with in the course of
his reading, by which means he acquired a ready use of the pen. The
insufficient circumstances of his family prevented his education being
cultivated in the schools till nearly fifteen; at which age he was
sent to the Gymnasium of Stade, then under the direction of Gehlen,
where in a short time he highly distinguished himself in classical
literature. Intended for the clerical profession, he entered the
university of Göttingen in 1759, for the purpose of completing his
theological studies; but whether the advice of Hollmann (afterwards
his father-in-law), with whom he had formed a close intimacy, produced
a change in his plans, or that the mathematical instructions of
Professors Kaestner and Mayer were more congenial to his mind than
divinity, he abandoned the career marked out for him, and devoted
himself to the natural sciences and their application, as well as to
mathematics; whilst he cultivated philology with such zeal, that he
ultimately made himself master of ten different languages. In order
to gain greater proficiency in these pursuits, he made a journey in
1762 to the Netherlands, but returned to Hoye in the following year,
in consequence of the serious indisposition of his mother, who dying
shortly afterwards, left him destitute of guidance, and in the greatest
anxiety respecting his future prospects. At this juncture Büsching
advised him to travel to St. Petersburg, where, upon the strong
recommendations with which he was provided, he was speedily appointed
to the chair of Natural Philosophy. Shortly after, Büsching, quitting
the institution, returned to Germany, and dissensions having arisen
among the directors, Beckmann likewise resigned his office. He then
proceeded to Sweden, with the view of acquiring a detailed knowledge
of the working of the mines in that country; making his principal
sojourn at Upsal, where he became acquainted with Linnæus, and enjoyed
the friendship and hospitality, as well as the instructions, of
that eminent naturalist[7]. Leaving Sweden, he directed his course
to Denmark, visiting Copenhagen and other towns, where he examined
the various museums, libraries and manufacturing establishments. On
arriving at Altona, he found there his friend Büsching, who recommended
him to Münchhausen, curator of the Academy of Göttingen. After paying
a visit to his brother at Marburgh, he proceeded to Hanover; and being
approved of by Struve, then president of Göttingen under Münchhausen,
he was appointed, in 1766, Professor Extraordinary of Philosophy to
that university, of which he eventually became one of the brightest

His lectures upon œconomy had the recommendation of novelty, and
produced so much applause, that in 1770 he was made ordinary professor
of that science. They were attended by the flower of the studious
youth of all countries, Göttingen being at that period one of the most
popular universities in Europe; and many even of the distinguished
statesmen and public functionaries of Germany did not disdain to be
ranked among his auditors. He was in the habit of accompanying them
himself into the workshops, to give them a practical knowledge of the
different processes and handicrafts of which he had explained the
theory. Once a week, also, he held a _Practicum Camerale_, a scientific
meeting, at which he explained subjects of œconomy, administration, and
finance, illustrating them by readings from a great variety of sources.
He composed, to serve as a guide in this course of instruction,
treatises on rural œconomy, policy, finance, commerce, and other
departments of knowledge; which, though since carried to a higher
degree of perfection, owed to Beckmann their first systematic form. He
never entirely relinquished these public lectures, but insensibly his
private studies took a direction altogether historical, the motives for
which it may not be uninteresting to point out.

It is indispensably requisite at Göttingen that every professor should
be able to give account of the progress and existing state of the
science to which he is appointed. Any one, who two years after the
publication of a work of importance in his department should not have
read and analysed it, with a view of enriching his own observations,
would not be regarded as a worthy successor to the chair of Haller,
of Mosheim, of Gessner and Michaelis. Beckmann, who had studied at
Göttingen at a time when the example of these great men dictated the
law and gave the tone to the University, and perhaps to the literature
of Europe, was determined to keep pace with the spirit of the age, and
not to remain ignorant of the great advances then making throughout
Europe, in the numerous sciences which furnished the subjects of his
practical investigations. But this was a task of no slight magnitude:
and indeed when the immense additions to so many different sciences
are considered, can it be wondered at, that, notwithstanding his
utmost zeal and application, he found it impossible to read up all the
important works which had appeared since 1770, in chemistry, physics,
natural history and mathematics? Despairing of success in so Herculean
an undertaking, he began to entertain feelings of aversion towards
what he deemed the innovations, which were then changing the face and
enlarging the scope of science. But his course of lectures, turning
principally on practical matters, was not materially affected; he was,
however, so fearful of falling under the imputation of being behind
the progress of the age, that he devoted his mind, peculiarly fitted
for this kind of study, almost exclusively to the history of arts and
trades; employing in the illustration of his subjects, the materials
to which he had access in the very extensive library belonging to the
university; and it is to his consequent labours and researches that we
owe the “History of Inventions and Discoveries.” In this work, Beckmann
traces their first germs from the remotest periods of antiquity, and
following their gradual development, exhibits the latest improvements
among civilized nations with almost unequalled acumen and ability. It
abounds with invaluable materials respecting the general history of
the origin and progress of the mechanic arts, which are so important
a branch in civilization; and what must give it an additional value
in the eyes of all who are unwilling to place reliance on assertions
unsupported by authority, or may be anxious to investigate the subject
more deeply, the most scrupulous references to original authorities
accompany each article. Among the numerous other works of merit for
which we are indebted to the literary industry of Beckmann, are,
“A History and Analysis of early Voyages and Travels,” a highly
interesting collection, which occupied the last years of his life, and
was left unfinished at the eighth number; elaborate editions of “De
Mirabilibus Auscultationibus,” attributed to Aristotle, 1786; “Antigoni
Carystii Historiæ Mirabiles,” 1791; and “Marbodi Liber de Gemmis,”
1799; publications which required the rare combination of physical
knowledge with philological learning.

The Royal Society of Göttingen had, in the year 1772, admitted him one
of its members, and from that period to 1783 he continued to supply
their proceedings with interesting memoirs (all written in Latin),
among which are the following: “On the Reduction of Fossils to their
original substances;” “On the History of Alum;” “On the Sap of Madder;”
“On Meerschaum, from which are formed the heads for tobacco pipes;”
“On the History of Sugar,” &c. After this period, however, he declined
participating any longer in the labours of this learned body; owing,
probably, to a change in the objects of his own particular studies.
In 1784 he was created an aulic councillor of Hanover; in addition to
which he was elected member of the Imperial Academy of Naturalists, of
the Swedish Society of Science, of the Academies of Norway and Mayence,
of the Physiographical Society of Lund, and of almost all the learned
societies in Germany and the North of Europe.

With a copious knowledge of the principal sciences, Beckmann united
extensive reading in the works of ancient and modern writers, not only
in reference to their immediate connection with his main studies,
but in respect also to their application generally to every other
branch. Convinced that every professor ought, as much as possible, to
have thoroughly searched into all matters relating to the subject on
which he treats, he spared no expense in forming a most extensive,
as well as choice library; at the same time he did not fail to avail
himself of the rich intellectual stores contained in that belonging
to the university. His mind being wholly directed to all that is
practical in human knowledge, it was his especial endeavour to bring
it into systematic rules, based upon fundamental principles. To him
particularly is to be ascribed the merit of having been the first to
give to agriculture its scientific form, and to have separated it
more distinctly than heretofore from the administrative and financial
departments. The number of pupils indebted to him for their education,
and who, eventually,--whether filling offices of state or following his
footsteps as professors,--brought into effect the principles he had
taught them, formed a very numerous body; and whilst he was thus the
means of considerably enlarging the circle of academic subjects for
the instruction of the student, he contributed not a little towards
the prosperity of the university itself. His activity likewise as a
writer was as persevering as it was meritorious; he united an extensive
knowledge of nature, with a decided turn for applying it to practical
purposes; and he published several works in German, which show this
tendency of mind; among others, “Principles of German Agriculture,”
“Introduction to Technology,” “Introduction to the Science of
Commerce,” &c.

To assist his literary researches, he issued a periodical work called
“Physico-Œconomical Library,” in which quarterly information was
communicated respecting the newest works connected with the arts,
manufactures, and agriculture, giving short extracts of whatever was
valuable, instead of severe criticisms, of which he did not approve. It
was commenced in 1770, and continued, with some little interruption,
until 1807, forming 23 volumes.

Having said thus much respecting his abilities and genius, we will
in conclusion take a brief glance at his private character, which,
amiable and virtuous as it was, cannot fail to command the world’s
estimation. Honest and unpretending, a lover of peace and justice, he
lived quite retired, devoted to the conscientious performance of his
duties; his candour, his sincerity in friendship, his affability to
the students, have been celebrated with one accord by his coadjutors
and auditors. In the domestic relations of life, he presented an
example of the most exact system of order and œconomy, and enjoyed the
reputation of being one of the richest professors of the university;
which enabled him to exercise his ready benevolence during a period
of severe dearth and suffering. Among his colleagues, Schlœtzer,
the distinguished historian, with whom in his youth he had become
acquainted in Russia, was the one with whom he maintained the most
uninterrupted intimacy, arising, no doubt, from the congeniality of
their pursuits. Few were better qualified than Schlœtzer to appreciate
the researches of Beckmann, as he had himself insisted with so much
force on the necessity of introducing into history a simultaneous view
of the influence exercised on social institutions by the efforts of
industry, and the rise and maturity of domestic arts. Beckmann married
the daughter of Hollmann, his tutor and friend, with whom he enjoyed
a long and uninterrupted course of happiness; she survived him only
a few weeks, leaving a son and daughter who had arrived at years of
maturity. His decease took place on the 3rd of February, 1811, in the
72nd year of his age. His illustrious colleague, Heyne, pronounced an
eloquent eulogium on him before the Academy, which was published in the
Göttingen Transactions, from which we subjoin a few extracts.

    “O colleagues, if we indulge in deep sorrow at this new diminution
    of our fraternity by the death of one of its seniors, it must be
    forgiven, as consonant to our duty and piety, as well as to the
    affections of human nature. Indeed, when his death was announced,
    and when I afterwards beheld the mournful pomp of his funeral, I
    was afflicted with the utmost grief. Nor can this be wondered at,
    when it is borne in mind that he was nearly of my own age, and
    next to me the eldest of our Society; the habit, too, of friendly
    intercourse enjoyed for many years, has great influence in
    riveting the affections of the mind.

    “There is a narrative in Herodotus, concerning Psammenitus king
    of Egypt, who was conquered by Cambyses king of Persia. The city
    of Memphis being taken by storm, he had fallen into the hands of
    Cambyses; who, enraged at the vigorous defence he had encountered,
    commanded the royal family to be brought forth and put to death.
    In the first place, his daughter was paraded before him, with many
    maidens of noble birth, clothed as slaves; and though the other
    parents uttered piteous lamentations, yet Psammenitus kept his
    eyes fixed on the ground: in like manner, when his sons, together
    with two thousand of the principal youths, their necks bound with
    ropes, with bridles in their mouths, were ignominiously led to
    death, the king did not even utter a groan; but on seeing an aged
    man approach, one of his old friends, who had formerly partaken of
    the royal table, walking in the dress of a mendicant, and imploring
    mercy through the different ranks of the army, then indeed the king
    could restrain his emotions no longer, but broke forth into the
    most bitter wailings. The cause of this strange grief it would be
    foreign to our present purpose to discuss; I only wish to draw this
    conclusion--that the death of an old friend and companion was alone
    able to subdue his mind, even after it had supported him against
    the severest calamities. For the force of habit and friendly
    intercourse is most powerful: we bring to recollection many things
    which prey upon our feelings; they rush upon our memory with one
    impetus, and swell the rising grief; we dwell on early struggles,
    on proofs of mental power, and instances of benevolence, which
    formerly we had passed unheeded.

    “What is known favourably of the character of him who is taken
    away from us, it is our pleasing duty to bring before you; what is
    otherwise, if anything exist, it is not our province to remember.

    “The studies of Beckmann were applied to other branches of
    learning, quite distinct from those in which I am occupied: but
    it was this very circumstance which cemented our acquaintance.
    His conversations on scientific subjects could not but prove
    profitable; especially as he blended them with a feeling for
    ancient literature. I was accustomed to consult him concerning
    subjects of nature and art, which I did not sufficiently
    understand; and he sometimes referred to me respecting philological
    matters, of which he wished to gain further information. But
    the varied talents of this illustrious man were wonderful: an
    unceasing desire to search into the origin of arts and sciences,
    and the history and success of inventors, was united with an
    insatiable thirst for general knowledge and classical learning.
    He was incessantly in our public library, eagerly investigating
    and comparing rare books in pursuit of his object; seizing their
    hidden treasures, and then contributing his booty to the mental
    improvement of the million.”

_The remainder of this elegant oration concerns the details of his
career, which are already embodied in the preceding sketch._

  H. G. B.


[7] Heyne, in his funeral oration, says Beckmann was so struck
with admiration at the vast knowledge of Linnæus, that he became
ensnared, like the companions of Ulysses in the island of Circe, and
was disheartened from proceeding any further in his own botanical
studies. To this circumstance is attributed the coolness with which he
afterwards cultivated this department of science.





Those who are acquainted with the Italian method of book-keeping
must allow that it is an ingenious invention, of great utility to
men in business, and that it has contributed to extend commerce and
to facilitate its operations. It requires no less attention, care,
and accuracy, than many works which are styled learned: but it is
undoubtedly true, that most mercantile people, without knowing the
foundation of the rules on which they proceed, conduct their books in
as mechanical a manner as many of the literati do their writings.

The name, Italian book-keeping, _Doppia scrittura_, with several words
employed in this branch of science and still retained in all languages,
make it probable that it was invented by the Italians; and that other
nations borrowed it, as well as various short methods of reckoning,
from their mercantile houses, at the time when all the East-India trade
passed through Italy.

De la Porte says[8], “About the year 1495, brother Luke, an Italian,
published a treatise of it in his own language. He is the oldest
author I have seen upon the subject.” Anderson, in his Historical
and Chronological Deduction of the Origin of Commerce[9], gives the
following account: “In all probability, this art of double-entry
accounts had its rise, or at least its revival, amongst the mercantile
cities of Italy: possibly it might be first known at Venice, about the
time that numeral algebra was taught there; from the principles of
which science double-entry, or what we call merchants’ accounts, seems
to have been deduced. It is said that Lucas de Burgo, a friar, was the
first European author who published his algebraic work at Venice, anno

This author, who was one of the greatest mathematicians of the
fifteenth century, and who is supposed to be the first person who
acquired a knowledge of algebra from the writings of the Arabians,
was called Lucas Paciolus, e Burgo S. Sepulchri. He was a Franciscan,
and so surnamed from a town in the duchy of Urbino, on the Florentine
confines, called Burgo S. Sepulchro[10].

Anderson tells us[11], that he had in his possession the oldest book
published in England in which any account is given of the method of
book-keeping by double-entry. It was printed at London, in 1569, in
folio. The author, whose name is James Peele, says, in his preface,
that he had instructed many mercantile people in this art, which had
been long practised in other countries, though in England it was then
undoubtedly new. One may readily believe that Mr. Anderson was not
ignorant of the difference between the method of book-keeping by single
and that by double-entry; but he produces nothing to induce us to
believe that Peele taught the latter and not the former; for what he
says of debit and credit is of no importance, as it may be applied also
to the method by single-entry.

Of this Peele no mention is made in Ames’s Typographical Antiquities;
but in that work (p. 410) there is an account of a still older treatise
of book-keeping, entitled A briefe instruction and manner how to keepe
bookes of accompts, after the order of debitor and creditor, and as
well for proper accompts, partible, &c. by three bookes, named the
memoriall, journall, and leager. Newly augmented and set forth by John
Mellis schole maister. London 1588, 12mo. Mellis, in his preface, says
that he is only the re-publisher of this treatise, which was before
published at London in 1543 by a schoolmaster named Hugh Oldcastle.
From the above title, and particularly from the three account books
mentioned in it, I am inclined to believe that this work contained the
true principles of book-keeping by double-entry.

The oldest German work on book-keeping by double-entry with which I am
at present acquainted, is one written by John Gotlieb, and printed at
Nuremberg, by Frederick Peypus, in 1531[12]. The author in his preface
calls himself a citizen of Nuremberg, and says that he means to give
to the public a clear and intelligible method of book-keeping, such as
was never before printed. It appears, therefore, that he considered his
book as the first of the kind ever published in Germany.

It is worthy of remark, that even at the end of the sixteenth century,
the Italian method of book-keeping began to be applied to finances and
public accounts. In the works of the celebrated Simon Stevin, published
at Leyden in Dutch, and the same year in Latin, we find a system of
book-keeping, as applied to finances, drawn up it appears for the use
of Maurice prince of Orange. To this treatise is prefixed, in Dutch
and Latin, a dedication to the duke of Sully, in which the author
says, that his reason for dedicating the work to Sully was because the
French had paid the greatest attention to improve the method of keeping
public accounts. The work begins with a conversation, which took
place between Stevin and prince Maurice, respecting the application
of book-keeping to public accounts, and in which he explains to the
prince the principles of mercantile book-keeping. This conversation
commences with explaining the nature of debit and credit, and the
principal accounts. Then follow a short journal and ledger, in which
occur only the most common transactions; and the whole concludes with
an account of the other books necessary for regular book-keeping,
and of the manner of balancing. Stevin expressly says, that prince
Maurice, in the year 1604, caused the treasury accounts to be made
out after the Italian method, by an experienced book-keeper, with the
best success; but how long this regulation continued I have not been
able to learn. Stevin supposes, in this system, three ministers, and
three different accounts: a _quæstor_, who receives the revenues of
the domains; an _acceptor_, who receives all the other revenues of
the prince; and a _thesaurarius_ (treasurer), who has the care of the
expenditure. All inferior offices for receiving or disbursing are to
send from their books monthly extracts, which are to be doubly-entered
in a principal ledger; so that it may be seen at all times how much
remains in the hands of each receiver, and how much each has to collect
from the debtors. One cannot help admiring the ingenuity of the Latin
translator[13], who has found out, or at least invented, words to
express so many new terms unknown to the ancient Romans. The learned
reader may, perhaps, not be displeased with the following specimen.
Book-keeping is called _apologistica_ or _apologismus_; a book-keeper
_apologista_; the ledger _codex accepti expensique_; the cash-book
_arcarii liber_; the expense-book _impensarum liber_; the waste-book
_liber deletitius_; accounts are called _nomina_; stock account _sors_;
profit and loss account _lucri damnique ratiocinium_, _contentio_ or
_sortium comparatio_; the final balance _epilogismus_; the chamber of
accounts, or counting-house, _logisterium_, &c.

In the end of this work Stevin endeavours to show that the Romans,
or rather the Grecians (for the former knew scarcely anything but
what the latter had discovered), were in some measure acquainted
with book-keeping, and supports his conjecture by quoting Cicero’s
oration for Roscius. I confess that the following passage in Pliny,
_Fortunæ omnia expensa, huic omnia feruntur accepta, et in tota ratione
mortalium sola utramque paginam facit_[14], as well as the terms
_tabulæ accepti et expensi_; _nomina translata in tabulas_, seem to
indicate that the Romans entered debit and credit in their books on two
different pages; but it appears to me not yet proved, and improbable,
that they were acquainted with our scientific method of book-keeping;
with the mode of opening various accounts; of comparing them together,
and of bringing them to a final balance. As bills of exchange and
insurance were not known in the commerce of the ancients, the business
of merchants was not so intricate and complex as to require such a
variety of books and accounts as is necessary in that of the moderns.

Klipstein is of opinion that attempts were made in France to apply
book-keeping, by double-entry, to the public accounts, under Henry IV.,
afterwards under Colbert, and again in the year 1716. That attempts
were made, for this purpose, under Henry IV., he concludes from a work
entitled An Inquiry into the Finances of France; but I do not know
whether what the author says be sufficient to support this opinion.

[The system of double-entry began from the commencement of the present
century to be adopted by several governments in the management of the
public accounts, among others by those of Austria, France and Holland,
with highly beneficial effects. Some attempts have been more recently
made in this country to introduce it into the government offices,
and from the great success which has attended them, this system will
probably soon be generally used.]


[8] La science des négocians et teneurs de livres. Paris 1754.

[9] Vol. i. p. 408.

[10] Those who are desirous of further information respecting Lucas
de Borgo, may consult Scriptores ordinis Minorum, recensuit Fr. Lucas
Waddingus, Romæ 1650;--Heilbronneri Historia Matheseos universæ, Lipsiæ
1742;--Histoire des Mathématiques, par Montucla, Paris 1758.

[11] Vol. i. p. 409.

[12] The title runs thus: Ein Teutsch verstendig Buchhalten für Herren
oder Gesellschafter inhalt wellischem Process.

[13] Bayle says, that the Latin translation of Stevin’s works was
executed principally by Willebrord Snellius.

[14] Lib. ii. cap. 7.


An Odometer, Pedometer, Perambulator, or Way-measurer, is an instrument
or machine by which the steps of a person who walks, or the revolutions
made by the wheel of a carriage, can be counted, and by which the
distance that one has travelled can be ascertained. Vitruvius, in
his tenth book[15], describes a machine of this kind for a carriage,
and which, in his opinion, would answer for a ship. We are told by
Capitolinus, in the life of the emperor Pertinax, that among the
effects of the emperor Commodus exposed to sale, there were carriages
of various kinds, some of which “measured the road, and pointed out the
hours;” but whether by these words we are to understand an odometer,
cannot with certainty be determined.

That this instrument was known even in the fifteenth century, can be
proved from the carving on the ducal palace at Urbino--an edifice
erected in an uncommon style of magnificence, by duke Frederic, who
died in 1482. The ornaments here employed form, almost, a complete
representation of all the warlike apparatus used at that period, both
by sea and land; and among these is the figure of a ship, which seems
to be furnished with an odometer; but whether the wheels and springs,
carved out apart, be intended to show the construction of it, I will
not venture to decide[16].

The celebrated John Fernel, physician to Catherine of Medici, queen of
France, measured with an instrument of this kind, in 1550, a degree
of the meridian between Paris and Amiens, and found it to be 68,096
geometrical paces, or about 56,747 toises (364,960 English feet); that
is, 303 toises less than Picard found it to be; or about 300 toises
less than later measurements have made it. Picard himself, in his
mathematical measurement, assisted by the newest improvements, erred
123 toises. It is therefore very surprising that Fernel should approach
so near the truth with such an instrument. The manner of constructing
it however, as far as I know, appears to be lost[17].

Levin Hulsius, in his Treatise of mechanical instruments, published
at Frankfort in 1604, describes an odometer, but without naming the
inventor. It appears, however, that it was the production of Paul
Pfinzing, born at Nuremberg in 1554[18]; and who, besides other works,
published, in 1598, Methodus Geometrica, or a Treatise on measuring
land, and how to use proper instruments for that purpose, on foot, on
horseback, or in a carriage. This treatise, which was never sold, but
given away by the author, contains a description of the same instrument
described by Hulsius, and which, as Nicolai says, is still preserved in
the collection of curiosities at Dresden.

In the same collection is an odometer which Augustus, elector of
Saxony, who reigned between the years 1553 and 1586, employed in
measuring his territories. This instrument is mentioned by Beutel[19],
without naming the inventor; but I think it very probable that it
was made by Martin Feyhel, who was born at Naumburg, and resided at
Augsburg; as Von Stetten[20] relates, in his History of the Arts at
Augsburg, that Feyhel made a way-measurer (probably odometer) for the
elector of Saxony, and that he himself called it a new instrument never
before heard of. This artist was an intimate friend of the celebrated
Christopher Schissler, also of Augsburg, who in 1579 constructed a
quadrant, still to be found at Oxford; and in 1606 an armillary sphere,
still preserved at Augsburg.

The emperor Rudolphus II., who reigned from 1576 to 1612, and who was
fond of, and acquainted with, the mechanical arts, possessed two very
curious odometers, which not only pointed out distances, but also
marked them down on paper by the way. The description and use of one
of these is given by De Boot[21], who was that prince’s librarian; and
what he says has been copied by Kircher[22], and illustrated with a
coarse figure. It is not improbable that the before-mentioned Schissler
was the maker of this instrument, as we are informed by Stetten that
he constructed a great many machines and automata for the emperor
Rudolphus II. The other odometer, which was much more curious, appears
to have been constructed by that emperor himself[23].

About the end of the 17th century, an artist in England, named
Butterfield, invented an odometer which met with great approbation. In
the first volume of the Philosophical Transactions there are two papers
written by this ingenious man; but of his odometer I have not yet been
able to find a description.

In the beginning of the last century, Adam Frederick Zurner, to whom
we are indebted for good maps of the electorate of Saxony, invented
also an odometer, or geometrical carriage, a description and figure of
which, taken from Schramm’s Saxonia Monumentis Viarum illustrata, is
given by Nicolai. This instrument is not now to be found in the Dresden

In Bion’s Treatise on the construction of mathematical instruments,
improved by Doppelmayer, there is a description of a pedometer, and the
author praises a new invention by one Sauveur.

In the year 1724 Meynier laid before the Royal Academy of Sciences
at Paris an odometer, a short account of which, without a figure, is
given in the history of the Academy for that year. This machine was
afterwards improved by Outhier; and a description of the improvements,
but without any figure, is to be found in the history of the Academy
for 1742. A full description, together with a figure, may however
be seen in a work, entitled Machines et Inventions approuvées par
l’Académie, t. vii.

Perhaps the most perfect machine of this kind was that made at Berlin
by an artist named Hohlfeld, a short account of which may be found
in the ninth volume of the Hamburg Magazine. A complete description
I have not seen; but I learn from Professor Bernoulli’s Tour through
Brandenburg, Pomerania, &c., that a model of it is preserved in the
excellent collection of Count de Podewils at Gusow[24]. The inventor
of it was a man of such rare talents, and rendered such benefit to
the public, that the following anecdotes of his life may prove not
unacceptable to many readers. It was written by Professor Muller at
Berlin, and transmitted to me by Dr. Bloch.

Hohlfeld was born of poor parents at Hennerndorf in the mountains of
Saxony, in 1711. He learned the trade of lace-making at Dresden, and
early discovered a turn for mechanics by constructing various kinds of
clocks. From Dresden he removed to Berlin to follow his occupation.
As he was an excellent workman, and invented several machines for
shortening his labour, he found sufficient time to indulge his
inclination for mechanics; and he made there, at the same time that he
pursued his usual business, air-guns and clocks.

In the year 1748 he became acquainted with the celebrated Sulzer, at
whose desire he undertook the construction of a machine for noting down
any piece of music when played on a harpsichord. A machine of this
kind had been before invented by Von Unger; but Hohlfeld, from a very
imperfect description, completed one without any other assistance than
that of his own genius. Of this machine, now in the possession of the
Academy of Sciences at Berlin, Sulzer gave a figure, from which it was
afterwards constructed in England. This ingenious piece of mechanism
was universally approved, though several things may be wanting to
render it complete; but no one was so generous as to indemnify the
artist for his expenses, or to reward him for his labour.

About the year 1756, the Prussian minister, Count de Podewils, took him
into his service, chiefly for the purpose of constructing water-works
in his magnificent gardens at Gusow. There he invented his well-known
thrashing machine, and another for chopping straw more expeditiously.
He also displayed his talent for invention by constructing an
apparatus, which, being fastened to a carriage, indicates the
revolutions made by the wheels. Such machines had been made before, but
his far exceeded every thing of the kind. Having lost this machine by a
fire, he invented another still simpler, which was so contrived as to
be buckled between the spokes of the wheel. This piece of mechanism was
in the possession of Sulzer, who used it on his tour, and found that it
answered the intended purpose.

In the year 1765, when the duke of Courland, then hereditary prince,
resided at Berlin, he paid a visit to Hohlfeld, and endeavoured
to prevail on him to go to Courland, by offering him a pension of
800 rix-dollars; but this ingenious man was so contented with his
condition, and so attached to his friends, that he would not, merely
for self-interest, quit Berlin. His refusal, however, obtained for him
a pension of 150 dollars from the king.

Besides the before-mentioned machines, he constructed, occasionally,
several useful models. Among these were a loom for weaving figured
stuffs, so contrived that the weaver had no need of anything to
shoot through the woof[25]; a pedometer for putting in the pocket;
a convenient and simple bed for a sick person, which was of such a
nature, that the patient, with the least effort, could at any time
raise or lower the breast, and when necessary convert the bed into a
stool; and a carriage so formed, that if the horses took fright or ran
away, the person in it could, by a single push, loosen the pole and set
them at liberty. The two last models have been lost.

Every machine that this singular man saw, he altered and improved in
the simplest manner. All his own instruments he made himself, and
repaired them when damaged. But as he was fonder of inventing than of
following the plans of others, he made them in such a manner that no
one except himself could use them. Several of his improvements were,
however, imitated by common workmen, though in a very clumsy manner.
It is worthy of remark, that he never bestowed study upon anything;
but when he had once conceived an idea, he immediately executed it.
He comprehended in a moment whatever was proposed, and at the same
time saw how it was to be accomplished. He could therefore tell in an
instant whether a thing was practicable; if he thought it was not, no
persuasion or offer of money could induce him to attempt it. He never
pursued chimæras like those mechanics who have not had the benefit
of education or instruction; and though this may be ascribed to the
intercourse he had with great mathematicians and philosophers, there
is every reason to believe that he would have equally guarded against
them, even if he had not enjoyed that advantage. The same quickness of
apprehension which he manifested in mechanics he showed also in other
things. His observations on most subjects were judicious, and peculiar
to himself; so that it may be said, without exaggeration, that he was
born with a philosophical mind.

A little before his death he had the pleasure of seeing a curious
harpsichord he had made, which was purchased by his Prussian Majesty,
and placed in an elegant apartment in the new palace at Potsdam. As he
had for some time neglected this instrument, the too great attention
which he bestowed on putting it in order contributed not a little to
bring on that disease which at last proved fatal to him. His clock
having become deranged during his illness, he could not be prevented,
notwithstanding the admonition of his friend and physician Dr. Stahls,
from repairing it. Close application occasioned some obstructions which
were not observed till too late; and an inflammation taking place, he
died in 1771, at the house of Count de Podewils, in the 60th year of
his age.

[The instrument now generally used in this country for measuring the
distance gone over, is that invented by Mr. Payne, watchmaker, of
Bond-street. In this ingenious contrivance motion is communicated
from the traveller to the machinery of the pedometer, by means of a
horizontal lever, which is furnished with a weight at one end and a
pivot or axis at the other; under the lever is a spring, which keeps
the lever when at rest close up to a regulating screw; the spring is so
arranged as to be only just sufficiently strong to overcome the weight
of the lever and to prevent its falling downwards.

When the body of the traveller is raised in progression, the lever
is impelled downwards by the jerk, and immediately returned to its
place by the spring, and so long as the motion is continued the lever
is constantly in a state of vibration. A small ratchet-wheel is
fixed to the axis of the lever, and beneath it is another and larger
ratchet-wheel which fits on the same axis, but is not attached to it.
These two wheels are connected by a ratchet or pale in such a manner,
that when the lever falls, both wheels are moved forward one or more
teeth, but when the lever rises again from the force of the spring, the
larger ratchet-wheel is held stationary by a ratchet. The larger wheel
is connected with a series of toothed wheels and pinions, by means of
a pinion fixed on its under-surface. The centre wheel carries an index
or hand, which points to figures on the dial-plate. The whole apparatus
packs into the case of a watch[26].]


[15] C. 14. Nicolai, in the first part of his Travels, has translated
this description of an odometer, and illustrated it with a figure by H.

[16] This palace, with its ornaments, is described in the Memorie
concernenti la citta di Urbino. Roma, 1724. fol. The figure to which I
allude is in plate 53. Bernardino Baldi, the author of the descriptive
part, considers it as an odometer.

[17] In Joannis Fernelii Ambianatis Cosmotheoria, Parisiis 1528, we
find only the following passage respecting this invention:--“Nec vulgi
supputatione satiatus, vehiculum, quod Parisios recta via petebat,
conscendi, in eoque residens tota via 17024 fere rotæ circumvolutiones
collegi, vallibus et montibus ad equalitatem, quoad facultas nostra
ferebat, redactis. Erat autem rotæ diameter.” In Almagesti novi parte
posteriori, tomi primi, Bononiæ 1651. fol. the author, Riccioli,
says that Fernel contrived his carriage in such a manner, that the
revolutions of the wheels were shown by a hammer striking on a bell.
Where that jesuit discovered this I cannot learn.

[18] Doppelmayer, Nachricht von Nurnberg Künstlern, p. 82. Will,
Nurnbergisches Gelehrten-Lexicon, iii. p. 156.

[19] Cimelium Geographicum Tripartitum. Dresden, 1680.

[20] Kunstgeschichte von Augsburg, p. 167.

[21] Gemmarum et Lapidum Historia. Lugd. Bat. 1647, 8vo, p. 468.

[22] Magnes, sive De arte magnetica. Coloniæ, 1643, 4to, p. 221.

[23] Boot. Hist. Gemmarum, p. 473.

[24] This machine was used by Sulzer during his tour. See his Journal,
published at Leipsic, 1780, 8vo, p. 3. It has been since improved by
Schumacher, a clergyman at Elbing, by Klindworth, Catel at Berlin, and
by an anonymous clergyman in the Schwabisches Magazin, 1777, p. 306.

[25] This model is preserved in the collection of the Academy.

[26] There is a figure of it in the Penny Cyclopædia, vol. xvii. p. 367.


As I have occasionally mentioned in the preceding article, a machine
for noting down any piece of music played on a harpsichord or other
musical instrument, I shall here add a short history of the invention
of it, as far as I know; and with the greater pleasure, as another
nation has laid claim to it, though it belongs to my countrymen.

It appears incontestable, that a proposal for inventing such a machine
was first made known by an Englishman. In the month of March 1747,
John Freke transmitted to the Royal Society a paper written by a
clergyman of the name of Creed, which was printed in the Philosophical
Transactions under the following title:--A Demonstration of the
possibility of making a machine that shall write extempore voluntaries,
or other pieces of music, as fast as any master shall be able to play
them upon an organ, harpsichord, &c.; and that in a character more
natural and more intelligible, and more expressive of all the varieties
those instruments are capable of exhibiting, than the character now in
use[27]. The author of this paper however points out the possibility
only of making such a machine, without giving directions how to
construct it.

In the year 1745, John Frederic Unger, then land-bailiff and
burgomaster of Einbec, and who is known by several learned works, fell
upon the same invention without the smallest knowledge of the idea
published in England. This invention however, owing to the variety of
his occupations, he did not make known till the year 1752, when he
transmitted a short account of it, accompanied with figures, to the
Academy of Sciences at Berlin. The Academy highly approved of it, and
it was soon celebrated in several gazettes, but a description of it was
never printed.

A few days after Euler had read this paper of Unger’s before the
Academy, M. Sulzer informed Hohlfeld of the invention, and advised him
to exert his ingenuity in constructing such a machine. In two weeks
this untaught mechanic, without having read Unger’s paper, and even
without inspecting the figures, completed the machine, which Unger
himself had not been able to execute through want of an artist capable
of following his ideas.

Unger’s own description of his invention was printed, with
copper-plates, at Brunswick, in the year 1774, together with the
correspondence between him and Euler, and other documents. A
description of Hohlfeld’s machine, illustrated with figures, was
published after his death by Sulzer, in the new memoirs of the Academy
of Berlin, 1771, under the title of ‘Description of a machine for
noting down pieces of music as fast as they are played upon the
harpsichord.’ Sulzer there remarks, that Hohlfeld had not followed
the plan sketched out by Unger, and that the two machines differed in
this--that Unger’s formed one piece with the harpsichord, while that of
Hohlfeld could be applied to any harpsichord whatever.

When Dr. Burney visited Berlin, he was made acquainted with Hohlfeld’s
machine by M. Marpurg; and has been so ungenerous, or rather unjust,
as to say in his Musical Travels, that it is an English invention,
and that it had been before fully described in the Philosophical
Transactions. This falsehood M. Unger has sufficiently refuted. Without
repeating his proofs, I shall here content myself with quoting his
own words, in the following passage:--“How can Burney wish to deprive
our ingenious Hohlfeld of the honour of being the sole author of that
invention, and to make an Englishman share it with him, because our
German happened to execute successfully what his countryman Creed only
suggested? Such an attempt is as unjust in its consequences as it is
dishonourable to the English nation and the English artists. When we
reflect on the high estimation in which music is held in England, the
liberality of the English nobility, and their readiness to spare no
expenses in bringing forward any useful invention, a property peculiar
to the English, it affords just matter of surprise that the English
artists should have suffered themselves to be anticipated by a German
journeyman lace-maker. To our Hohlfeld, therefore, will incontestably
remain the lasting honour of having executed a German invention; and
the Germans may contentedly wait to see whether Burney will find
an English mechanic capable of constructing this machine, from the
information given by his countryman Creed.”


[27] Phil. Trans. vol. xliv. p. ii. No. 483, p. 446.



It is well known that quicksilver unites very readily with almost all
metals, and when added in a considerable quantity forms with them a
paste which can be kneaded, and which is called amalgam. On the other
hand, as it does not unite with the earths, being a metallic substance,
it furnishes an excellent medium for separating gold and silver from
the substances with which they are found. The amalgam is squeezed
through a piece of leather, in which these precious metals remain with
a certain portion of the quicksilver; and the former are freed from the
latter by means of fire, which volatilizes the mercury. This amalgam
made with gold serves also for gilding metals (water-gilding)[28], if
it be rubbed over them, and afterwards heated till the quicksilver be
driven off.

The first use of quicksilver is commonly reckoned a Spanish invention,
discovered about the middle of the sixteenth century; but it appears
from Pliny, that the ancients were acquainted with amalgam and its use,
not only for separating gold and silver from earthy particles, but also
for gilding[29]. Vitruvius describes the manner of recovering gold from
cloth in which it has been interwoven. The cloth, he says, is to be put
into an earthen vessel, and placed over the fire, in order that it may
be burnt. The ashes are to be thrown into water, and quicksilver added
to them. The latter attracts the particles of the gold, and unites with
them. The water is then to be poured off, and the residue put into a
piece of cloth; which being squeezed with the hands, the quicksilver,
on account of its fluidity, oozes through the pores, and the gold is
left pure in a compressed mass[30]. Isidore of Seville says also, that
quicksilver is best preserved in vessels of glass, as it penetrates
all other substances; and that without it neither silver nor brass can
be gilded[31]. Modern mineralogists however have this advantage over
the ancient, that they know how to separate the quicksilver from gold
and silver without losing it. Instead of exposing the amalgam to an
open fire, as formerly, and driving off the volatile metal, it is now
put into a retort, and the quicksilver is collected in a receiver for
further use.

Those also who wash gold from the sand found near rivers, use
quicksilver before their work is completed; and I am strongly inclined
to believe that this method prevailed in Germany long before the
discovery of the mines in America. In the year 1582, John Michael
Heberer described the washing of gold as he saw it practised at
Selz, not far from Strasburg; and at that time quicksilver had been
long employed for that purpose. In Treitlinger’s Dissertation, also,
concerning the collecting of gold, and particularly in the Rhine, there
is a description of the manner in which gold sand is washed by means of
quicksilver, but no date is mentioned[32].

The history of employing mercury in procuring the American silver is,
as far as I know, most fully given by the Jesuit Acosta[33], whose
relation of the Indies abounds with curious and useful information.
The quicksilver mines of Peru are situated in an extensive ridge of
mountains near Guamanga, on the south side of Lima, and at no great
distance from it. They are called Guancabelica, or Guancavilia. The
mines were discovered about the year 1566 or 1567, when Castro was
viceroy of Peru, by Henry Garces, or Graces, as he is called by the
Portuguese. This man was a native of Porto, went to Peru in the Spanish
service, and after the death of his wife became canon of the cathedral
of Mexico. He translated the Lusiad of Camoens from the Portuguese
into Spanish, and this has procured him a place in Professor Dieze’s
translation of Velasquez’s History of Spanish Poetry. He caused a law
to be enacted that no silver bullion should be suffered to circulate
in Peru; but his greatest service was the discovery of the quicksilver
mines. As he was one day examining the red earth, which the Indians use
for paint, and call _limpi_, he observed that it was native cinnabar;
and as he knew that quicksilver was extracted from it in Europe, he
went to the place where it was dug up, made some experiments, and thus
laid a foundation for the most important works. No one however thought
of employing this metal in the silver mines till the year 1571, when
Francis de Toledo being viceroy, one Pero Fernandes de Velasco came
to Peru, and offered to refine the silver by mercury, as he had learnt
at the smelting-houses in Mexico. His proposal being accepted, and
his attempts proving successful, the old methods were abandoned, and
that of amalgamation was adopted in its stead[34]. From this account
it appears that Garces was not the inventor of amalgamation, that it
was introduced into Peru in the year 1571, and that it had been long
before practised in Mexico; but at what period it was first used there
I have not been able to learn. The abbé Raynal says, that quicksilver
was a free article of trade till the year 1571, when it was declared
to belong exclusively to the crown; and this regulation was made in
consequence of its being employed in refining. Robertson, in his
History of America, tells us that the mines of Guanacabelica were
discovered in 1563, and that amalgamation was introduced in 1574.

Anderson says, in his History of Commerce[35], that in the second
volume of Hakluyt there is a letter which shows the use of quicksilver
to have been a new invention in the year 1572. This letter I
found, not in the second, but in the third and last volume of the
Voyages collected by Hakluyt[36]. It was written in the above year
by a merchant named Henry Hawks, and contains only the following
information: “A good owner of mines must have much quicksilver; and as
for this charge of quicksilver, it is a new invention, which they find
more profitable than to fine their ore with lead.”

Gobet, in a work entitled The Ancient Mineralogists of France, accuses
Alphonso Barba of asserting that he found out amalgamation in the
year 1609. To examine this charge, it will be necessary to give some
account of the metallurgic works of that Spaniard, which, perhaps,
may not prove unacceptable to those who are fond of metallurgy and
mineralogy. Alvaro Alphonso Barba was born at Lepe, a small town in
Andalusia, and officiated many years as clergyman of the church of St.
Bernard, at Potosi. The first edition of this work was printed in
quarto, at Madrid, in 1640, in the Spanish language, and illustrated
with cuts. This book the Spaniards for a long time concealed, because
they considered it as containing all their metallurgic secrets; though
at that time there were much better works of the kind in Germany, and
though amalgamation had been long known and practised. Edward earl of
Sandwich, being ambassador to Spain, found however an opportunity of
procuring a copy of it, as a great rarity; and he began a translation
of it into English, but translated only the first two books. This
translation was published at London in octavo, in 1674, after the
earl’s death, and entitled The First Book of the Art of Metals, in
which is declared the manner of their generation, and the concomitants
of them. Written in Spanish by Albaro Alonso Barba, translated by the
earl of Sandwich. From this English edition several German translations
have been made, of which I am acquainted with the following: two
at Hamburg, one printed in 1676, and the other in 1696; and two at
Frankfort, one in 1726, and another in 1739. In the year 1749 a new
edition appeared at Vienna. This edition, which is very different from
any of the former, was translated from the French by one Godar, who was
not a German, and who on that account apologises in the preface for the
badness of his style. All these editions however are imperfect; for the
original contains five books, as we learn from Leibnitz, who caused
them to be transcribed. In the year 1751 a new translation came out
at Paris, entitled Metallurgy, or the art of extracting and purifying
metals, translated from the Spanish of Alphonso Barba, by M. Gosfort,
with the most curious dissertations on mines and metallic operations;
of this translation the celebrated abbé Lenglet de Fresnoy is said to
have been the editor[37].

To judge by two of the German editions, Gobet has done Barba an
injustice. In that of 1676, I find Barba expressly says he does not
believe the ancients were acquainted with the art of extracting silver
from pounded ore by the means of quicksilver. This certainly does not
indicate that he laid claim to the invention; besides, he everywhere
speaks of amalgamation as an art long used in America, but complains
of the negligence with which it was practised. In a passage however
in the Vienna edition, and which has probably been added by Gobet, we
are told that in the year 1609, Barba attempted to fix quicksilver,
and with that view bethought himself of mixing it with finely pounded
silver ore; that he at first imagined, with surprise, that he had
obtained a mass of silver, but that he soon perceived that the mercury
was not changed into silver, but had only attracted the particles of
that metal. “I was,” adds Barba, “highly pleased with my new discovery
of managing ore, of extracting its contents, and of refining it; and
this method I continued to practise.” I imagine that Barba was still in
Europe in 1609, and made that experiment before he was acquainted with
the smelting-works in America. I am however of opinion, that one will
see by the original that Barba did not wish to claim the invention of
amalgamation as practised in the mines of America.


[28] [Among the improvements of recent date there are perhaps none
of greater importance than those of electro-gilding and gilding by
immersion, which have almost entirely superseded the process of gilding
by an amalgam of mercury and gold, so fatal to the workmen exposed
to the deleterious effects of the mercurial vapours. It is not our
intention to enter at present into a history of the invention of these
processes; they will more properly be reserved for a future volume,
in which the discoveries of the present century will be treated of.
The following short outline may however not prove uninteresting to the
reader:--It had long been known to experimentalists on the chemical
action of voltaic electricity, that solutions of several metallic
salts were decomposed by its agency, and the metal produced in its
free state. The precipitation of copper by the voltaic current was
noticed by Mr. Nicholson[a] in a paper entitled ‘Account of the new
Electrical Apparatus of Sig. Alex. Volta, and experiments performed
with the same;’ but the earliest recorded process in electro-gilding is
probably that contained in a letter from Brugnatelli to Van Mons[b],
in which he states that he had deposited a film of gold on ten silver
medals by bringing them into communication by means of a steel wire
with the negative pole of a voltaic pile, and keeping them one after
the other immersed in ammoniuret of gold newly made and well-saturated.
This announcement of a process identical with those now extensively
used, attracted no attention at the time it was made, and no further
experiments on the application of electricity to the deposition of
metals for the purposes of the arts were published until the year
1830, when Mr. E. Davy read a paper before the Royal Society, in
which he distinctly states that he had gilded, silvered, coppered
and tinned various metals by the voltaic battery[c]. The experiments
of Brugnatelli and Davy were however completely lost sight of, and
the art may be said to date its origin from the period when the late
Professor Daniell described his constant battery. Since that time the
art has continued to advance most rapidly, either in the perfecting of
the apparatus or in the pointing out of more suitable salts of gold
and silver, from which the metals might be precipitated. Among those
who have contributed to its advancement we may particularly instance
the names of our countrymen, Woolrich, Spencer, Jordan, Mason, Murray,
Smee, Elkington, Fox Talbot, and Tuck. Nearly all the gilt articles
manufactured at Birmingham are now gilded by the process patented by
Mr. Elkington, in which, after the articles have been cleansed by
a weak acid, they are placed in a hot solution of nitro-muriate of
gold, to which a considerable excess of bicarbonate of potash has been
added; in the course of a few seconds they thus receive a beautiful and
permanent coating of gold.]

  [a] Nicholson’s Journal, July 1800, p. 179.

  [b] Philosophical Magazine, 1805.

  [c] Phil. Trans. 1831, p. 147.

[29] Lib. xxxiii. cap. 6.

[30] Vit. lib. vii. c. 8.

[31] In Origin. lib. xvi. c. 18.

[32] De Aurilegio, præcipue in Rheno. Argent. 1776.

[33] Historia naturale e morale delle Indie. Venetia, 1596.

[34] The same account as that given by Acosta may be seen in Garcilasso
de la Vega, Commentarios reales; Lisboa 1609, p. 225; in Rycaut’s
English translation, London 1688, fol. i. p. 347; and in De Laet, Novus
Orbis, Lugd. Bat. 1633, fol. p. 447.

[35] Vol. i. p. 414.

[36] Hakluyt’s Collection of Voyages. London, 1600, fol. vol. iii. p.

[37] See La France littéraire. Paris, 1769, 2 vols. 8vo, vol. ii. p.


Dry gilding, as it is called by some workmen, is a light method of
gilding, by steeping linen rags in a solution of gold, then burning
them; and with a piece of cloth dipped in salt water, rubbing the ashes
over silver intended to be gilt. This method requires neither much
labour nor much gold, and may be employed with advantage for carved
work and ornaments. It is however not durable.

I am of opinion that this manner of gilding is a German invention, and
that foreigners, at least the English, were first made acquainted with
it about the end of the last century; for Robert Southwell describes it
in the Philosophical Transactions for the year 1698, and says that it
was known to very few goldsmiths in Germany.


As mankind could not have everything that they wished for of gold,
they were contented with incrusting many articles with this precious
metal. For that purpose the gold was beat into plates, with which the
walls of apartments, dishes, and other vessels were covered. In early
ages these plates were thick, so that gilding in this manner was very
expensive[38]; but in process of time the expense was much lessened,
because the art was discovered of making these gold plates thinner,
and of laying them on with a size. Articles however ornamented in this
manner were still costly, and the valuable metal was always lost.
Yellow golden colours of all kinds were then tried; but these did
not fully produce the required effect, as they wanted that splendour
peculiar to metals, and appeared always languid and dull. It was not
till modern times that artists conceived the idea of overlaying with
silver, or some cheaper white metal, such things as they wished to
have the appearance of gold, and then daubing them over with a yellow
transparent varnish, in order to give to the white metal the colour
of gold, and to the colour the splendour of metal. “When we cover
our houses with gold,” says Seneca, “do we not show that we delight
in deception? for we know that coarse wood is concealed under that

This ingenious process, which at present is employed all over Europe
in gilding wooden frames, coaches, and various articles, and which
was formerly used in the preparation of the now old-fashioned leather
tapestry, was invented towards the end of the 17th century. Anderson,
in his Historical and chronological deduction of the Origin of
Commerce, says that it was introduced into England by one Evelyn in the
year 1633; and quotes, in support of this assertion, The Present State
of England, printed in 1683.

This invention, however, does not belong to the English, but to the
Italians, and properly to the Sicilians. Antonino Cento, an artist of
Palermo, found out the gold varnish, and in the year 1680 published
there an account of the method of preparing it. That work I have never
seen; but I found this information in a book printed at Palermo in
1704, and entitled The Inventions of the Sicilians[40]. Among the few
important things contained in this book, the greater part of which is
compiled from old Latin writers, there is, in the additions, a receipt
how to prepare the gold varnish (_vernice d’oro_). The whole account I
shall transcribe, as the authors of the French Journal of Agriculture,
Commerce, and the Arts, thought it worth their trouble to make it known
in that work in 1778.

“Take shell-lac, and having freed it from the filth and bits of wood
with which it is mixed, put it into a small linen bag, and wash it in
pure water, till the water no longer becomes red; then take it from the
bag and suffer it to dry. When it is perfectly dry, pound it very fine;
because the finer it is pounded the more readily will it dissolve. Then
take four parts of spirit of wine, and one of the lac, reduced, as
before directed, to an impalpable powder, so that for every four pounds
of spirit you may have one of lac: mix these together, and, having put
them into an alembic, graduate the fire so that the lac may dissolve in
the spirit. When dissolved, strain the whole through a strong piece of
linen cloth; throw away what remains in the cloth, as of no use, and
preserve the liquor in a glass bottle closely corked. This is the gold
varnish which may be employed for gilding any kind of wood.

“When you wish to use it, you must, in order that the work may be done
with more smoothness, employ a brush made of the tail of a certain
quadruped called the vari, well-known to those who sell colours for
painting; and with this instrument dipped in the liquor wash gently
over, three times, the wood which has been silvered. You must, however,
remember every time you pass the brush over the wood to let it dry; and
thus your work will be extremely beautiful, and have a resemblance to
the finest gold.”

After this invention was made known, it was not difficult to vary,
by several methods, the manner of preparing it. Different receipts,
therefore, have for that purpose been given in a number of books, such
as Croker’s Painter, and others: and, on this account, young artists
are frequently at a loss which to choose; and when a receipt is found
better than another, experienced artists keep it always secret.

With the preparation of that varnish used for gilding leather tapestry
Reaumur was acquainted, and from his papers it was made known by
Fougeroux de Bondaroy. The method of making the English varnish was
communicated by Scarlet to Hellot, in the year 1720; and by Graham
to Du Fay, in 1738. In the year 1761, Hellot gave the receipt to the
Academy of Sciences at Paris, who published it in their memoirs for
that year.

If it be true, as Fougeroux says, that gilded tapestry was made above
two hundred years ago, it might be worth the little trouble that such
an examination would require to investigate the method used to gild it.


[38] One may see in Homer’s Odyssey, book iii. v. 432, the process
employed for gilding in this manner, the horns of the cow brought by
Nestor as an offering to Minerva.

[39] Epist. 115.

[40] La Sicilia inventrice. Palermo, 1704, 4to.


The greater part of the flowers which adorn our gardens have been
brought to us from the Levant. A few have been procured from other
parts of the world; and some of our own indigenous plants, that grow
wild, have, by care and cultivation, been so much improved as to merit
a place in our parterres. Our ancestors, perhaps, some centuries
ago paid attention to flowers; but it appears that the Orientals,
and particularly the Turks, who in other respects are not very
susceptible of the inanimate beauties of nature, were the first people
who cultivated a variety of them in their gardens for ornament and
pleasure. From their gardens, therefore, have been procured the most of
those which decorate ours; and amongst these is the tulip.

Few plants acquire through accident, weakness, or disease, so many
tints, variegations, and figures, as the tulip. When uncultivated, and
in its natural state, it is almost of one colour, has large leaves,
and an extraordinary long stem. When it has been weakened by culture,
it becomes more agreeable in the eyes of the florist. The petals are
then paler, more variegated, and smaller; the leaves assume a fainter
or softer green colour: and this masterpiece of culture, the more
beautiful it turns, grows so much the weaker; so that, with the most
careful skill and attention, it can with difficulty be transplanted,
and even scarcely kept alive.

That the tulip grows wild in the Levant, and was thence brought to
us, may be proved by the testimony of many writers. Busbequius found
it on the road between Adrianople and Constantinople[41]; Shaw found
it in Syria, in the plains between Jaffa and Rama; and Chardin on the
northern confines of Arabia. The early-blowing kinds, it appears, were
brought to Constantinople from Cavala, and the late-blowing from Caffa;
and on this account the former are called by the Turks _Cavalá lalé_,
and the latter _Café lalé_. Caval is a town on the eastern coast of
Macedonia, of which Paul Lucas gives some account; and Caffa is a town
in the Crimea, or peninsula of Gazaria, as it was called, in the middle
ages, from the Gazares, a people very little known[42].

Though florists have published numerous catalogues of the species of
the tulip, botanists are acquainted only with two, or at most three,
of which scarcely one is indigenous in Europe[43]. All those found
in our gardens have been propagated from the species named after that
learned man, to whom natural history is so much indebted, the Linnæus
of the sixteenth century, Conrad Gesner, who first made the tulip known
by a botanical description and a figure. In his additions to the works
of Valerius Cordus, he tells us that he saw the first in the beginning
of April 1559, at Augsburg, in the garden of the learned and ingenious
counsellor John Henry Herwart. The seeds had been brought from
Constantinople, or, according to others, from Cappadocia. This flower
was then known in Italy under the name of tulipa, or tulip, which is
said to be of Turkish extraction, and given to it on account of its
resembling a turban[44].

Balbinus asserts that Busbequius brought the first tulip-roots to
Prague, from which they were afterwards spread all over Germany[45].
This is not improbable; for Busbequius says, in a letter written in
1554, that this flower was then new to him; and it is known that
besides coins and manuscripts he collected also natural curiosities,
and brought them with him from the Levant. Nay, he tells us that he
paid very dear to the Turks for these tulips; but I do not find he
anywhere says that he was the first who brought them from the East.

In the year 1565 there were tulips in the garden of M. Fugger, from
whom Gesner wished to procure some[46]. They first appeared in
Provence, in France, in the garden of the celebrated Peyresc, in the
year 1611[47].

After the tulip was known, Dutch merchants, and rich people at Vienna,
who were fond of flowers, sent at different times to Constantinople for
various kinds. The first roots planted in England were sent thither
from Vienna, about the end of the sixteenth century, according to
Hakluyt[48]; who is, however, wrong in ascribing to Clusius the honour
of having first introduced them into Europe; for that naturalist only
collected and described all the then known species.

These flowers, which are of no further use than to ornament gardens,
which are exceeded in beauty by many other plants, and whose duration
is short and very precarious, became, in the middle of the 17th
century, the object of a trade such as is not to be met with in the
history of commerce, and by which their price rose above that of the
most precious metals. An account of this trade has been given by many
authors; but by all late ones it has been misrepresented. People laugh
at the Tulipomania[49], because they believe that the beauty and rarity
of the flowers induced florists to give such extravagant prices: they
imagine that the tulips were purchased so excessively dear in order
to ornament gardens; but this supposition is false, as I shall show

This trade was not carried on throughout all Europe, but in some cities
of the Netherlands, particularly Amsterdam, Haarlem, Utrecht, Alkmaar,
Leyden, Rotterdam, Hoorn, Enkhuysen, and Meedenblick; and rose to the
greatest height in the years 1634-37[50]. Munting has given, from some
of the books kept during that trade, a few of the prices then paid, of
which I shall present the reader with the following. For a root of
that species called the Viceroy the after-mentioned articles, valued as
below expressed, were agreed to be delivered:--

     2 lasts of wheat         448
     4 ditto rye              558
     4 fat oxen               480
     3 fat swine              240
    12 fat sheep              120
     2 hogsheads of wine       70
     4 tons of beer            32
     2 ditto butter           192
  1000 pounds of cheese       120
       a complete bed         100
       a suit of clothes       80
       a silver beaker         60
                    Sum      2500

These tulips afterwards were sold according to the weight of the roots.
Four hundred perits[51] of Admiral Leifken cost 4400 florins; 446 ditto
of Admiral Von der Eyk, 1620 florins; 106 perits Schilder cost 1615
florins; 200 ditto Semper Augustus, 5500 florins; 410 ditto Viceroy,
3000 florins, &c. The species Semper Augustus has been often sold for
2000 florins; and it once happened that there were only two roots of
it to be had, the one at Amsterdam and the other at Haarlem. For a
root of this species, one agreed to give 4600 florins, together with a
new carriage, two gray horses, and a complete harness. Another agreed
to give for a root twelve acres of land; for those who had not ready
money, promised their moveable and immoveable goods, houses and lands,
cattle and clothes. A man whose name Munting once knew, but could not
recollect, won by this trade more than 60,000 florins in the course of
four months. It was followed not only by mercantile people, but also by
the first noblemen, citizens of every description, mechanics, seamen,
farmers, turf-diggers, chimney-sweeps, footmen, maid-servants and old
clothes-women, &c. At first, every one won and no one lost. Some of
the poorest people gained in a few months houses, coaches and horses,
and figured away like the first characters in the land. In every town
some tavern was selected which served as a ’Change, where high and low
traded in flowers, and confirmed their bargains with the most sumptuous
entertainments. They formed laws for themselves, and had their notaries
and clerks.

When the nature of this trade is considered, it will readily be
perceived, that to get possession of these flowers was not the real
object of it, though many have represented it in that light. The price
of tulips rose always higher from the year 1634 to the year 1637; but
had the object of the purchaser been to get possession of the flowers,
the price in such a length of time must have fallen instead of risen.
“Raise the prices of the productions of agriculture, when you wish
to reduce them,” says Young; and in this he is undoubtedly right,
for a great consumption causes a greater reproduction. This has been
sufficiently proved by the price of asparagus at Göttingen. As it
was much sought after, and large prices paid for it, more of it was
planted, and the price has fallen. In like manner plantations of tulips
would have in a short time been formed in Holland, and florists would
have been able to purchase flowers at a much lower price. But this was
not done; and the chimney-sweeper, who threw aside his besom, did not
become a gardener, though he was a dealer in flowers. Roots would have
been imported from distant countries, as asparagus was from Hanover
and Brunswick to Göttingen; the high price would have induced people
to go to Constantinople to purchase roots, as the Europeans travel to
Golconda and Visapour to procure precious stones; but the dealers in
tulips confined themselves to their own country, without thinking of
long journeys. I will allow that a flower might have become scarce, and
consequently dearer; but it would have been impossible for the price
to rise to a great height, and continue so for a year. How ridiculous
would it have been to purchase useless roots with their weight of gold,
if the possession of the flower had been the only object! Great is the
folly of mankind; but they are not fools without a cause, as they would
have been under such circumstances.

During the time of the Tulipomania, a speculator often offered and
paid large sums for a root which he never received, and never wished
to receive. Another sold roots which he never possessed or delivered.
Oft did a nobleman purchase of a chimney-sweep tulips to the amount of
2000 florins, and sell them at the same time to a farmer; and neither
the nobleman, chimney-sweep or farmer had roots in their possession, or
wished to possess them. Before the tulip season was over, more roots
were sold and purchased, bespoke and promised to be delivered, than in
all probability were to be found in the gardens of Holland; and when
Semper Augustus was not to be had, which happened twice, no species
perhaps was oftener purchased and sold. In the space of three years, as
Munting tells us, more than ten millions were expended in this trade in
only one town of Holland.

To understand this gambling traffic, it may be necessary to make the
following supposition. A nobleman bespoke of a merchant a tulip-root,
to be delivered in six months, at the price of 1000 florins. During
these six months the price of that species of tulip must have risen or
fallen, or remained as it was. We shall suppose that at the expiration
of that time the price was 1500 florins; in that case the nobleman did
not wish to have the tulip, and the merchant paid him 500 florins,
which the latter lost and the former won. If the price was fallen
when the six months were expired, so that a root could be purchased
for 800 florins, the nobleman then paid to the merchant 200 florins,
which he received as so much gain; but if the price continued the
same, that is 1000 florins, neither party gained or lost. In all these
circumstances, however, no one ever thought of delivering the roots
or of receiving them. Henry Munting, in 1636, sold to a merchant at
Alkmaar, a tulip-root for 7000 florins, to be delivered in six months;
but as the price during that time had fallen, the merchant paid,
according to agreement, only ten per cent. “So that my father,” says
the son, “received 700 florins for nothing; but he would much rather
have delivered the root itself for 7000.” The term of these contracts
was often much shorter, and on that account the trade became brisker.
In proportion as more gained by this traffic, more engaged in it;
and those who had money to pay to one, had soon money to receive of
another; as at faro, one loses upon one card, and at the same time
wins on another. The tulip-dealers often discounted sums also, and
transferred their debts to one another; so that large sums were paid
without cash, without bills, and without goods, as by the _Virements_
at Lyons. The whole of this trade was a game at hazard, as the
Mississippi trade was afterwards, and as stock-jobbing is at present.
The only difference between the tulip-trade and stock-jobbing is, that
at the end of the contract the price in the latter is determined by
the Stock-exchange; whereas in the former it was determined by that at
which most bargains were made. High- and low-priced kinds of tulips
were procured, in order that both the rich and the poor might gamble
with them; and the roots were weighed by perits, that an imagined
whole might be divided, and that people might not only have whole,
but half and quarter lots. Whoever is surprised that such a traffic
should become general, needs only to reflect upon what is done where
lotteries are established, by which trades are often neglected, and
even abandoned, because a speedier mode of getting fortunes is pointed
out to the lower classes. In short, the tulip-trade may very well serve
to explain stock-jobbing, of which so much is written in gazettes,
and of which so many talk in company without understanding it; and I
hope, on that account, I shall be forgiven for employing so much time
in illustrating what I should otherwise have considered as below my

At length, however, this trade fell all of a sudden. Among such a
number of contracts many were broken; many had engaged to pay more than
they were able; the whole stock of the adventurers was consumed by the
extravagance of the winners; new adventurers no more engaged in it; and
many, becoming sensible of the odious traffic in which they had been
concerned, returned to their former occupations. By these means, as
the value of tulips still fell, and never rose, the sellers wished to
deliver the roots _in natura_ to the purchasers at the prices agreed
on; but as the latter had no desire for tulips at even such a low rate,
they refused to take them or to pay for them. To end this dispute, the
tulip-dealers of Alkmaar sent in the year 1637 deputies to Amsterdam;
and a resolution was passed on the 24th of February, that all contracts
made prior to the last of November 1636 should be null and void; and
that, in those made after that date, purchasers should be free on
paying ten per cent. to the vender.

The more people became disgusted with this trade, the more did
complaints increase to the magistrates of the different towns; but
as the courts there would take no cognizance of it, the complainants
applied to the states of Holland and West Friesland. These referred the
business to the determination of the provincial council at the Hague,
which on the 27th of April 1637 declared that it would not deliver its
opinion on this traffic until it had received more information on the
subject; that in the mean time every vender should offer his tulips
to the purchaser; and, in case he refused to receive them, the vender
should either keep them, or sell them to another, and have recourse on
the purchaser for any loss he might sustain. It was ordered also, that
all contracts should remain in force till further inquiry was made. But
as no one could foresee what judgement would be given respecting the
validity of each contract, the buyers were more obstinate in refusing
payment than before; and venders, thinking it much safer to accommodate
matters amicably, were at length satisfied with a small profit instead
of exorbitant gain; and thus ended this extraordinary traffic, or
rather gambling.

It is however certain, that persons fond of flowers, particularly in
Holland, have paid, and still pay, very high prices for tulips, as
the catalogues of florists show[53]. This may be called the lesser
Tulipomania, which has given occasion to many laughable circumstances.
When John Balthasar Schuppe was in Holland, a merchant gave a herring
to a sailor who had brought him some goods. The sailor, seeing
some valuable tulip-roots lying about, which he considered as of
little consequence, thinking them to be onions, took some of them
unperceived, and ate them with his herring. Through this mistake the
sailor’s breakfast cost the merchant a much greater sum than if he
had treated the prince of Orange. No less laughable is the anecdote
of an Englishman who travelled with Matthews. Being in a Dutchman’s
garden, he pulled a couple of tulips, on which he wished to make
some botanical observations, and put them in his pocket; but he was
apprehended as a thief, and obliged to pay a considerable sum before he
could obtain his liberty[54].

Reimman and others accuse Just. Lipsius of the Tulipomania[55]; but
if by this word we understand that gambling traffic which I have
described, the accusation is unfounded. Lipsius was fond of scarce and
beautiful flowers, which he endeavoured to procure by the assistance
of his friends, and which he cultivated himself with great care in
his garden; but this taste can by no means be called a mania[56].
Other learned men of the same age were fond of flowers, such as John
Barclay[57], Pompeius de Angelis, and others, who would probably have
been so, even though the cultivation of flowers had not been the
prevailing taste. It however cannot be denied, that learned men may be
infected with epidemical follies. In the present age, many have become
physiognomists because physiognomy is in fashion; and even animal
magnetism has met with partisans to support it.


[41] “As we passed, we saw everywhere abundance of flowers, such as the
narcissus, hyacinth, and those called by the Turks tulipan, not without
great astonishment, on account of the time of the year, as it was then
the middle of winter, a season unfriendly to flowers. Greece abounds
with narcissuses and hyacinths, which have a remarkably fragrant smell:
it is, indeed, so strong as to hurt those who are not accustomed to
it. The tulipan, however, have little or no smell, but are admired for
their beauty and variety of their colour. The Turks pay great attention
to the cultivation of flowers; nor do they hesitate, though by no
means extravagant, to expend several aspers for one that is beautiful.
I received several presents of these flowers, which cost me not a
little.”--_Busbequii Ep._, Basiliæ, 1740, 8vo, p. 36.

[42] See some account of them in Memoriæ populorum ad Danubium by

[43] The _Tulipa sylvestris_, Linn. grows wild in the southern parts of
France. Dodonæus says, in his Florum coronariarum herbarum historia,
Antverpiæ 1569, 8vo, p. 204, “In Thracia et Cappadocia tulipa exit;
Italiæ et Belgio peregrinus est flos. Minores alicubi in Gallia
Narbonensi nasci feruntur.” Linnæus reckons it among the Swedish
plants, and Haller names it among those of Switzerland, but says,
afterwards, I do not believe it to be indigenous, though it is found
here and there in the meads.--_Hist. Stirp._ ii. p. 115. It appears
that this species is earlier than the common _Tulipa Gesneriana_,
though propagated from it. The useless roots thrown perhaps from
Gesner’s garden have grown up in a wild state, and become naturalized,
as the European cattle have in America. See Miller’s Gardener’s
Dictionary, iv. p. 518.

[44] See Martini Lexicon Philologicum, and Megiseri Diction.
Turcico-Lat., where the word _tulbent_, a turban, is derived from the

[45] Balbini Miscellanea Bohemiæ, p. 100.

[46] Gesneri Epistolæ Medicinales. Tiguri, 1577, 8vo, p. 79 and 80.

[47] Vita Peirescii, auctore Gassendo. 1655, 4to, p. 80.

[48] Hakluyt says, “And now within these four years there have been
brought into England from Vienna in Austria, divers kind of flowers
called tulipas, and those and others procured thither a little
before, from Constantinople, by an excellent man, Carolus Clusius.”
See Biographia Britannica, ii. p. 164. [Gerarde in his Herbal, 1597,
speaks of the Tulip in the following manner:--“My loving friend Mr.
James Garret, a curious searcher of simples, and learned apothecary in
London, hath undertaken to find out, if it were possible, the infinite
sorts by diligent sowing of their seeds, and by planting those of his
own propagation, and by others received from his friends beyond the
seas for the space of twenty years, not being yet able to attain to the
end of his travail, for that each new year bringeth forth new plants of
sundry colours not before seen; all of which, to describe particularly,
were to roll Sisyphus’ stone, or number the sands.”]

[49] This word was coined by Menage.

[50] The principal works in which an account of this Tulipomania is to
be found are,--Eerste Tzamenspraak tuschen Waermondt en Gaargoed nopens
deopkomst en ondergang van Flora. Amsterdam, 1643, 12mo.--Meterani
Novi, or New History of the Netherlands, part fourth. Amsterdam, 1640,
folio, p. 518, from which Marquard, De Jure Mercatorum, p. 181, has
taken his information.--Naauwkeurige beschryving der Aardgewassen, door
Abraham Munting. Leyden en Utrecht, 1696, folio, p. 907.--De Koophandel
van Amsterdam, door Le Long, ii. p. 307.--Le Negoce d’Amsterdam, par
J. P. Ricard. A Rouen, 1723, 4to, p. 11.--Breslauer Samlung von Natur-
und Kunst-Geschichten, 1721, May, p. 521.--Francisci Schaubühne, vol.
ii. p. 639.--Tenzel, Monatliche Unterredungen, 1690, November, p.
1039.--Année Littéraire, 1773, xv. p. 16.--Martini Zeiler Miscellanea,
p. 29.--Christ. Funcii Orbis Politicus, p. 879.

[51] A perit is a small weight less than a grain.--TRANS.

[52] [How well the author’s remarks apply to the recent mania in
railway scrip!]

[53] In the year 1769, the dearest kinds in England were _Don Quevedo_
and _Valentinier_; the former cost 2_l._ 2_s._ and the latter 2_l._
12_s._ 6_d._ See Weston’s Botanicus Universalis, part 2. In the German
catalogues none of the prices are so high. The name _Semper Augustus_
is not once to be found in new catalogues. [They still remain flowers
of considerable value among florists; for, according to Mr. Hogg, a
moderate collection of choice bulbs cannot now be purchased for a sum
much less than 1000_l._, at the usual prices.--See Chambers’ Journal,
March 15, 1845.]

[54] Blainville’s Travels.

[55] Introd. in Hist. Lit. iii. 3, p. 92.

[56] That he might relax and refresh his mind, worn out by study, he
amused himself with the cultivation of his garden and of flowers, and
particularly of tulips, the roots of which he was at great pains to
procure from all parts of the world, by means of Dodonæus, Clusius,
and Boisotus, men singularly well-skilled in horticulture, and by
others of his friends. Here, at a distance from civil tumult, with a
cheerful countenance and placid eye, he sauntered through his plants
and flowers, contemplating sometimes one declining, sometimes another
springing up, and forgetting all his cares amidst the pleasure which
these objects afforded him. See the Life of Lipsius, prefixed to the
edition of his works printed at Antwerp in 1637. This is confirmed
by what Lipsius says himself in his book De Constantia, ii. 2, 3, in
praise of gardening.

[57] He rented a house near to the Vatican, with a garden, in which
he had planted the choicest flowers, and those chiefly which are not
propagated from seeds or roots, but from bulbs. These flowers were
not known about thirty years before, nor had they been ever seen at
Rome, but lay neglected in the Alps.--Of these flowers, which have no
smell, but are esteemed only on account of their colours, Barclay was
remarkably fond, and purchased their bulbs at a great price. Erythræi
Pinacotheca. Lips. 1712, 8vo, iii. 17, p. 623. See also Freheri
Theatrum, p. 1515.


This little bird, highly esteemed for its song, which is reared with
so much care, particularly by the fair sex, and which affords an
innocent amusement to those who are fond of the wild notes of nature,
is a native of those islands from which it takes its name. As it was
not known in Europe till the fifteenth century, no account of it is
to be met with in any of the works of the old ornithologists. Bellon,
who about the year 1555 described all the birds then known, does not
so much as mention it. At that period it was brought from the Canary
Islands. It was therefore so dear that it could be procured only by
people of fortune, and those who purchased were even often imposed
on[58]. It was called the sugar-bird, because it was said to be fond
of the sugar-cane, and that it could eat sugar in great abundance.
This circumstance seems to be very singular; for that substance is to
many birds a poison. Experiments have shown, that a pigeon to which
four drachms of sugar were given died in four hours, and that a duck
which had swallowed five drachms did not live seven hours after. It is
certain, therefore, that the power of poison is relative.

The first figure of this bird is given by Aldrovandus, but it is small
and inaccurate. That naturalist reckons the Canary bird among the
number of those which were scarce and expensive, as it was brought from
a distant country with great care and attention. The first good figure
of it is to be found in Olina[59]: it has been copied by both Johnston
and Willughby.

In the middle of the seventeenth century these birds began to be bred
in Europe, and to this the following circumstance, related by Olina,
seems to have given occasion. A vessel, which, among other commodities,
was carrying a number of Canary birds to Leghorn, was wrecked on the
coast of Italy; and these birds, being thus set at liberty, flew to
the nearest land, which was the Island of Elba, where they found the
climate so favourable, that they multiplied, and perhaps would have
become domesticated, had they not been caught in snares; for it appears
that the breed of them there has been long since destroyed. Olina says
that the breed soon degenerated; but it is probable that these Canary
birds, which were perhaps all males, did at the Island of Elba what the
European sailors do in India. By coupling with the birds of the island,
they may have produced mules. Such hybrids are described by Gesner and
other naturalists[60].

The breeding of these birds was at first attended with great
difficulty; partly because the treatment and attention they required
were not known, and partly because males chiefly, and few females, were
brought to Europe. We are told that the Spaniards once forbade the
exportation of males, that they might secure to themselves the trade
carried on in these birds, and that they ordered the bird-catchers
either to strangle the females or to set them at liberty[61]. But this
order seems to have been unnecessary; for, as the females commonly do
not sing, or are much inferior in the strength of their notes to the
males, the latter only were sought after as objects of trade. In the
like manner, as the male parrots are much superior in colour to the
females, the males are more esteemed, and more of them are brought
to Europe than of the females. It is probable, therefore, that in
our system of ornithology, many female parrots belonging to species
already well-known are considered as distinct species. It was at first
believed that those Canary birds bred in the Canary Islands were much
better singers than those reared in Europe; but this at present is
doubted[62]. In latter times various treatises have been published in
different languages, on the manner of breeding these birds, and many
people have made it a trade, by which they have acquired considerable
gain. It does no discredit to the industry of the Tyrolese that they
have carried it to the greatest extent. At Ymst there is a company
who, after the breeding season is over, send out persons to different
parts of Germany and Switzerland to purchase birds from those who breed
them. Each person brings with him commonly from three to four hundred,
which are afterwards carried for sale, not only through every part of
Germany, but also to England, Russia, and even Constantinople. About
sixteen hundred are brought every year to England; where the dealers
in them, notwithstanding the considerable expense they are at, and
after carrying them about on their backs, perhaps a hundred miles, sell
them for five shillings apiece. This trade, hitherto neglected, is now
carried on in Schwarzwalde; and at present there is a citizen here at
Göttingen, who takes with him every year to England several Canary
birds and bullfinches (_Loxia pyrrhula_), with the produce of which he
purchases such small wares as he has occasion for.

The principal food of these birds is the Canary seed, which, as is
commonly affirmed, and not improbably, was first brought, for this
purpose, from the Canary Islands to Spain, and thence dispersed all
over Europe. Most of the old botanists, however, are of opinion that
the plant which produces it is the same as that called _Phalaris_ by
Dioscorides[63]. Should this be true, it will follow that this kind
of grass must have grown wild in other places besides the island it
takes its name from; which is not improbable. But those who read the
different descriptions which the ancients have given of _Phalaris_,
will, in my opinion, observe that they may be equally applied to more
plants; and Pliny seems to have used this name for more than one
species of grass[64].

However this may be, it is certain that this seed, when it was used
as food for these birds, began to be cultivated first in Spain,
and afterwards in the southern parts of France. At present it is
cultivated in various parts, and forms no inconsiderable branch of
trade, particularly in the island of Sicily, where the plant is called
_Scagliuola_, or _Scaghiola_. The seed is sold principally to the
French and the Genoese. In England, the industrious inhabitants of the
Isle of Thanet, particularly those around Margate and Sandwich, gain
considerably by this article, as they can easily transport it to London
by water.

That this plant might be cultivated with little trouble in Germany, is
shown by the yearly experience of those who raise it in their gardens,
and by its having become so naturalized in some parts of Hesse, that it
propagates by seed of itself in the fields. The use of the seed might
also be extended, for it yields a good meal; but the grains are not
easily freed from the husks.

I shall here take occasion to remark, that Savary[65] has been guilty
of an error, when he says that archil is cultivated in the Canary
Islands in order to be sold as food for Canary birds. One may easily
perceive that this mistake has arisen from his confounding that
lichen used for dyeing with this kind of grass; and I should not have
considered it worth notice, had it not been copied into Ludovici’s
Dictionary of Trade, from which, perhaps, it may be copied into the
works of others.


[58] Gesneri Historiæ Animalium, liber tertius. Tiguri, 1555, fol. p.

[59] Uccelliera, overo Discorso della natura di diversi Uccelli. Roma,
1622, 4to.

[60] Gesneri redivivi, aucti et emendati, tomus ii. Franc. 1669, fol.
p. 62. More information respecting hybrids may be found in Brisson,
Ornithologie, t. iii. p. 187; and Frisch, Vorstellung der Vögel in
Teutschland, the twelfth plate of which contains several good figures.

[61] Coleri Œconomia ruralis et domestica. Franc. 1680, folio.

[62] Barrington’s paper in the Phil. Trans. vol. lxiii. p. 249.

[63] _Phalaris Canariensis._ The best figure and description of it are
to be found in Schreber’s Beschreibung der Gräser, ii. p. 83, tab. x. 2.

[64] Lib. iii. c. 159, and lib. xxvii. c. 12.

[65] Dictionnaire de Commerce, t. v. 1765, fol. p. 1149.


Under the names Orseille, Orceille, Orsolle, Ursolle, Orcheil, Orchel,
in Italian Oricello[66], Orcella, Roccella, in Dutch Orchillie, and in
English Archil, Canary weed or Orchilla weed, is understood a lichen
used for dyeing, and from which a kind of paint is also prepared. This
species of lichen, of which the best figure and a full description may
be seen in Dillenius[67], is by Linnæus called _Lichen roccella_. It
is found in abundance in some of the islands near the African coast,
particularly in the Canaries, and in several of the islands in the
Archipelago. It grows upright, partly in single partly in double stems,
which are about two inches in height. When it is old these stems are
crowned with a button, sometimes round and sometimes of a flat form,
which Tournefort very properly compares to the excrescences on the
arms of the Sepia. Its colour is sometimes a light, and sometimes a
dark gray. Of this lichen with lime, urine, ammoniacal salts, or a
solution of ammonia prepared by distillation, is formed a dark red
paste, which in commerce has the same name, and which is much used in
dyeing. That well-known substance called litmus is also made of it.

Theophrastus[68], Dioscorides[69], and their transcriber Pliny[70],
give the name of _Phycos thalassion_ or _pontion_ to a plant which,
notwithstanding its name, is not a sea-weed but a lichen, as it grew
on the rocks of different islands, and particularly on those of Crete
or Candia. It had in their time been long used for dyeing wool, and
the colour it gave when fresh was so beautiful, that it excelled the
ancient purple, which was not red, as many suppose, but violet. Pliny
tells us, that with this lichen dyers gave the ground or first tint
to those cloths which they intended to dye with the costly purple. At
least I so understand, with Hardouin and others, the words _conchyliis
substernitur_, which the French dyers express by the phrase _donner le

Though several kinds of lichen produce a similar red dye, I agree in
opinion with Dillenius, that _Phycos thalassion_ is our archil; for at
present no species is known which communicates so excellent a colour,
and which corresponds so nearly with the description of Theophrastus.
Besides, it is still collected in the Grecian islands, and it appears
that it has been used there since the earliest ages[71].

Tournefort[72] found this lichen in the island Amorgos, which lies on
the eastern side of Naxos, and which at present is called Morgo. In
his time it was sent to England and Alexandria, at the rate of ten
rix-dollars per hundred weight; and he says expressly that it was
common in the other islands. He shows from Suidas, Julius Pollux[73],
and other ancient writers, that this island was once celebrated for a
kind of red linen cloth, which in commerce had the name of the island;
and he conjectures, not without probability, that it might have been
dyed with this lichen.

Imperati[74] says, that the _roccella_, of which he gives a figure, was
procured from the Levant. This naturalist gives the figure also of a
lichen from Candia, used for dyeing, which was then called _rubicula_,
and which, as may be seen in Bauhinus[75], is comprehended under the
name of Roccella. Dillenius and Linnæus, however, make it a distinct
species; and the latter names it _Lichen fuciformis_. This distinction
is, perhaps, not improper: for the _rubicula_ does not grow like a
shrub or bush, as the _roccella_, but belongs rather to the foliaceous
lichens. Be this as it may, it is certain, as Dillenius has remarked,
and as I know from my own observation, that _L. fuciformis_ is often
mixed with the real roccella, and particularly with that brought from
the Canary Islands; but whether it be equally good, experience has not
yet taught us.

From what has been said, I think I may venture to conclude that our
archil was not unknown to the ancient Grecians. But when was it first
employed as a dye by the moderns, and introduced into our commerce?
Some writers are of opinion that this drug was first found in the
Canary Islands, and afterwards in the Levant. The use of it, therefore,
is not older than the last discovery of that island. That this opinion
is false, will appear from what follows.

Among the oldest and principal Florentine families is that known under
the name of the Oricellarii or Rucellarii, Ruscellai or Rucellai,
several of whom have distinguished themselves as statesmen and men of
letters. This family are descended from a German nobleman named Ferro
or Frederigo, who lived in the beginning of the twelfth century[76].
One of his descendants in the year 1300 carried on a great trade in
the Levant, by which he acquired considerable riches, and returning at
length to Florence with his fortune, first made known in Europe the
art of dyeing with archil. It is said that a little before his return
from the Levant, happening to make water on a rock covered with this
lichen, he observed that the plant, which was there called _respio_ or
_respo_, and in Spain _orciglia_, acquired by the urine a purple, or,
as others say, a red colour. He therefore tried several experiments;
and when he had brought to perfection the art of dyeing wool with this
plant, he made it known at Florence, where he alone practised it for a
considerable time, to the great benefit of the state. From this useful
invention the family received the name of Oricellarii, from which at
last was formed Rucellai[77].

As several documents, still preserved among the Florentine archives,
confirm the above account of the origin of this family name, from the
discovery of dyeing with oricello[78], we may, in my opinion, consider
it as certain that the Europeans, and first the Florentines, were made
acquainted with this dye-stuff and its use in the beginning of the
fourteenth century. At that time the Italians brought from the East the
seeds of many arts and sciences, which, afterwards sown and nurtured
in Europe, produced the richest harvests; and nothing is more certain
than that the art of dyeing was brought to us from the East by the
Italians. I do not believe that the merit of having discovered this
dye by the above-mentioned accident is due to that Florentine; but I
am of opinion that he learnt the art in the Levant, and on his return
taught it to his countrymen, which was doing them no small service[79].
After that period the Italians long procured archil from the Levant
for themselves, and afterwards for all Europe. I say for a long time,
because since the discovery of the Canary Islands the greater part of
that substance has been procured from them.

These islands, after being a considerable time lost and forgotten,
were again discovered about the end of the fourteenth or the beginning
of the fifteenth century, and since that time they have been much
frequented by the Europeans. One of the first who endeavoured to
obtain an establishment there, was John de Betancourt, a gentleman
of Normandy, who in 1400, or, as others say, in 1417, landed on
Lancerotta. Amongst the principal commodities which this gentleman and
other Europeans brought back with them was archil, which was found
there more beautiful and in greater abundance than anywhere else; and
Betancourt enjoyed in idea the great profit which he hoped to derive
from this article in commerce. Glass is surprised that the Europeans,
immediately upon their arrival, sought after this lichen with as much
eagerness and skill as they did after gold in America, though they
were not so well acquainted with the former as the latter before the
discovery of these new lands[80]. But as this is not true, the wonder
will cease.

According to information procured in the year 1731, the island of
Teneriffe produced annually five hundred quintals of this moss; Canary,
four hundred; Forteventura, Lancerotta, and Gomera, three hundred
each; and Fero, eight hundred; making in all two thousand six hundred
quintals. In the islands of Canary, Teneriffe and Palma, the moss
belongs to the crown; and in the year 1730 it was let by the king of
Spain for one thousand five hundred piastres. The farmers paid then for
collecting it from fifteen to twenty rials per hundred weight[81]. In
the rest of the islands it belongs to private proprietors, who cause
it to be collected on their own account. In the beginning of the last
century a hundred weight, delivered on board at Santa Cruz, the capital
of Teneriffe, was worth from only three to four piastres; but since
1725 it has cost labour amounting to ten piastres, because it has been
in great request at London, Amsterdam, Marseilles, and throughout all
Italy[82]. In the year 1726 this lichen cost at London eighty pounds
sterling per ton, as we are told by Dillenius, and in 1730 it bore the
same price.

Towards the end of the year 1730, the captain of an English vessel,
which came from the Cape de Verde islands, brought a bag of archil to
Santa Cruz by way of trial. He discovered his secret to some Spanish
and Genoese merchants, who, in the month of July 1731, resolved to
send a ship to these islands. They landed on that of St. Anthony and
St. Vincent, where in a few days they obtained five hundred quintals
of this lichen, which they found in such abundance, that it cost
them nothing more than a piastre per cent. by way of present to the
governor. The archil of the Cape de Verde islands appears larger,
richer, and longer than that of the Canaries, and this, perhaps, is
owing to its not being collected every year[83]. Adanson, in 1749,
found also the greater part of the rocks in Magdalen island, near
Senegal, covered with this lichen. Though the greater part of our
archil is at present procured from the Canary and Cape de Verde
islands, a considerable quantity is procured also from the Levant, from
Sicily, as Glass says, and from the coast of Barbary; and some years
ago the English merchants at Leghorn caused this lichen to be collected
in the island of Elba, and paid a high price for it[84].

Our dyers do not purchase raw archil, but a paste made of it, which
the French call _orseille en pâte_. The preparation of it was for a
long time kept a secret by the Florentines. The person who, as far
as I know, made it first known was Rosetti; who, as he himself tells
us, carried on the trade of a dyer at Florence. Some information was
afterwards published concerning it by Imperati[85] and Micheli the
botanist[86]. In later times this art has been much practised in
France, England, and Holland. Many druggists, instead of keeping this
paste in a moist state with urine, as they ought, suffer it to dry, in
order to save a little dirty work. It then has the appearance of a dark
violet-coloured earth, with here and there some white spots in it.

The Dutch, who have found out better methods than other nations of
manufacturing many commodities, so as to render them cheaper, and
thereby to hurt the trade of their neighbours, are the inventors also
of lacmus[87], a preparation of archil called _orseille en pierre_,
which has greatly lessened the use of that _en pâte_, as it is more
easily transported and preserved, and fitter for use; and as it is
besides, if not cheaper, at least not dearer. This art consists,
undoubtedly, in mixing with that commodity some less valuable
substance, which either improves or does not much impair its quality,
and which at the same time increases its weight[88]. Thus they pound
cinnabar and smalt finer than other nations, and yet sell both these
articles cheaper. In like manner they sift cochineal, and sell it at a
less price than what is unsifted.

It was for a long time believed that the Dutch prepared their lacmus
from those linen rags which in the south of France are dipped in the
juice of the _Croton tinctorium_[89]; and this idea appeared the more
probable, as most of this _tournesol en drapeaux_ was bought up by
the Hollanders: but, as they are the greatest adulterators of wine
in Europe, they may perhaps have used these rags to colour Pontack
and other wines. It is however not improbable that they at first made
lacmus of them, as their dye approaches very near to that of archil.
At present it is almost certainly known that _orseille en pâte_ is the
principal ingredient in _orseille en pierre_, that is in lacmus[90]:
and for this curious information we are indebted to Ferber[91]. But
whence arises the smell of the lacmus, which appears to me like that
of the Florentine iris? Some of the latter may, perhaps, be mixed
with it; for I think I have observed in it small insoluble particles,
which may have been pieces of the roots. The addition of this substance
can be of no use to improve the dye; but it may increase the weight,
and give the lac more body; and perhaps it may be employed to render
imperceptible some unpleasant smell, for which purpose the roots of
that plant are used on many other occasions.

Another kind of lichen, different from the roccella, which in commerce
is known by the names _orseille de terre_, _orseille d’Auvergne_,
is used also for the like purpose; but it contains fewer and weaker
colouring particles. This species, in botany, is called _Lichen
Parellus_ (_Lecanora Parella_), and is distinguished from the roccella
by its figure, as it grows only in a thin rind on the rocks. It is
collected in Auvergne, on rocks of granite and volcanic productions,
and in some parts of Languedoc; the greater part of it is brought from
St. Flour. Its name, _perelle_, comes from an old Languedocian word
_pére_ (_pierre_, a rock); as _roccella_, afterwards transformed into
_orseille_, is derived from _rocca_. The use of _perelle_ is very
trifling: the Dutch purchase it to make lacmus, perhaps on account of
its low price. This lichen has been found also in Northumberland[92]
and other mountainous districts of Great Britain, but it is not
collected there for any purpose.


[66] In the Dictionary of the Academy della Crusca the word _oricello_
is thus explained: Tintura colla quale si tingono i panni, che si fa
con orina d’uomo, e con altri ingredienti.

[67] Historia Muscorum, Ox. 1741, 4to, p. 120.

[68] Hist. Plant. iv. c. 7.

[69] Lib. iv. c. 95.

[70] Lib. xxvi. c. 10; xxxii. c. 6.

[71] Hardouin quotes Aristot. Hist. Animal. vi. c. 9. But that
naturalist speaks of a sea-weed which was cast on shore by the
Hellespont. A dye or paint was made of it, and the people in the
neighbourhood imagined that the purple of this sea-weed, which served
as food to certain shell-fish, communicated to them their beautiful
dye. A proof that sea-weeds (_fuci_) can communicate a red colour may
be found in the Transactions of the Swedish Academy, iv. p. 29.

[72] Voyage du Levant. Amsterd. 1718, 4to, i. p. 89.

[73] “Præterea Amorgina, optima quidem in Amorgo fiunt, sed et
hæc e lino esse asserunt. Tunica autem Amorgina etiam amorgis
nuncupatur.”--Onomasticon, vii. c. 16.

[74] Histor. Nat. lib. xxvii. c. 11.

[75] Pinax Plant. p. 365. Hist. Plant. iii. 2. p. 796.

[76] Other accounts say that he was an Englishman; but the name
Frederigo confirms his German extraction.

[77] Giornale de’ Letterati d’ Italia, t. xxxiii. parte i. p. 231.

[78] These documents from the Florentine records may be found in
Dominici Mariæ Manni de Florentinis Inventis Commentarium. Ferrariæ,
1731, p. 37, from which I have extracted the following:--“One of this
family resided formerly a long time in the Levant, where he carried
on trade, according to the custom of the Florentine nation. Being one
day in the fields, and happening to make water on a plant, of which
there was great abundance, he observed that it immediately became
extraordinarily red. Like a prudent man, therefore, he resolved to
make use of this secret of nature, which till that time had lain
hid; and having made several experiments on that herb, and finding
it proper to dye cloth, he sent some of it to Florence, where, being
mixed with human urine and other things, it has always been employed
to dye cloth purple. This plant, which is called _respo_, is in Spain
named _orciglia_, and by botanists commonly _corallina_. The mixture
made with it is called _oricello_, and has been of great utility and
advantage to the woollen manufacture, which is carried on to greater
extent in Florence than in any other city. From this circumstance the
individuals of that family, by being the inventors of oricello, have
been called Oricellai, and have been beloved by the people for having
procured to them this particular benefit. Thus has written John di
Paolo Rucellai (_Manni says that this learned and opulent man wrote
in the year 1451_); and the same account is still given by dyers
in our city, who relate and affirm that their ancestors have for a
century exercised the art of dyeing, and that they know the above from

This is confirmed by another passage:--“One of this family, on account
of the trade carried on faithfully and honestly by the Florentines,
travelled to the Levant, and brought thence to Florence the art, or
rather secret, of dyeing in oricello.”

[79] In the genealogical history of the noble families of Tuscany and
Umbria, written by P. D. Eugenio Gamurrini, and published at Florence
1668-1673, 3 vols. in folio, is the following account, vol. i. p. 274,
of the origin of this family:--“This family acquired their name from a
secret brought by one of them from the Levant, which was that of dyeing
in oricello, never before used in this country. On that account they
were afterwards called Oricellari, as appears from several records
among the archives of Florence, and then by corruption Rucellari and
Rucellai. Of their origin many speak, and all agree that they came into
Tuscany from Britain.”

[80] The History of the Discovery and Conquest of the Canary Islands,
by George Glass. London, 1764, 4to.

[81] [Dr. Ure copies this information in his Dictionary, but gives it
as the return of an official report for the year 1831!]

[82] This information is to be found in Hellot’s Art of Dyeing, into
which it has been copied, as appears by the Dictionnaire d’Histoire
Naturelle, par Valmont de Bomare, from an account written by M.
Porlier, who was consul at Teneriffe in 1731.

[83] As the archil grows in the African islands, and on the coast
of Africa, Glass supposes that the Getulian purple of the ancients
was dyed with it; but this opinion is improbable, for Horace praises
“Gætula _murice_ tinctas vestes.”

[84] Lettres sur l’Histoire Naturelle de l’Isle d’Elbe, par Koestlin.
Vienne, 1780, 8vo, p. 100.

[85] Lib. xxvii. c. 9.

[86] Nova Plantarum Genera. Flor. 1729.

[87] Some translate this word _lacca musica_, _musiva_.

[88] [According to Dr. Ure, the Dutch first reduce the lichen to a fine
powder by means of a mill, then mix a certain proportion of potash with
it. The mixture is watered with urine and allowed to undergo a species
of fermentation. When this has arrived at a certain degree, carbonate
of lime in powder is added to give consistence and weight to the paste,
which is afterwards reduced into small parallelopipeds, which are
carefully dried.]

[89] This plant grows in the neighbourhood of Montpelier, and above
all, in the flats of Languedoc. In harvest, the time when it is
collected, the peasants assemble from the distance of fifteen or twenty
leagues around, and each gathers on his own account. It is bruised in
a mill, and the juice must be immediately used; some mix with it a
thirtieth part of urine. It is poured over pieces of canvas, which they
take care to provide, and which they rub between their hands. These
rags are dried in the sun, and then exposed, above a stone stove, to
the vapour of urine mixed with quick-lime or alum. After they have
imbibed the juice of the plant, the same operations are repeated till
the pieces of cloth appear of a deep blue colour. They are called in
commerce _tournesol en drapeaux_. Large quantities of them are bought
up by the Dutch, who make use of them to colour wines and the rinds of
their cheese.--TRANS.

[90] [Lacmus or litmus is now prepared from _Lecanora tartarea_, the
famous _Cudbear_, so called after a Mr. Cuthbert, who first brought
it into use. It is imported largely from Norway, where it grows
more abundantly than with us; yet in the Highland districts many an
industrious peasant gets a living by scraping off this lichen with an
iron hoop, and sending it to the Glasgow market.]

[91] Linn. Mantissa Plantarum, i. p. 132.

[92] See Wallis’s Natural History and Antiquities of Northumberland,
1769, 2 vols. 4to, i. p. 279.


The external use of the magnet, to cure the tooth-ache and other
disorders, is a remedy brought into fashion in modern times, but
not a new discovery, as supposed by Lessing, who ascribes it to
Paracelsus[93]. It was known to Aëtius, who lived so early as the year
500. That author says, “We are assured that those who are troubled
with the gout in their hands or their feet, or with convulsions, find
relief when they hold a magnet in their hand[94].” He does not however
give any proof of this from his own experience: and perhaps he doubted
the truth of it. The above passage contains the oldest account known at
present respecting this virtue; for the more ancient writers speak only
of the internal use of the magnet.

It is evident therefore that this cure has not been discovered in later
times, but that it has been preserved by the old physicians copying
it from each other into their works. In like manner, many things are
mentioned in the Materia Medica which were used or proposed by the
ancients, but into the properties of which they never made sufficient

Paracelsus recommended the magnet in a number of diseases, as fluxes,
hæmorrhages, &c. Marcellus, who lived in the fifteenth century, assures
us that it cures the tooth-ache[95]. The same virtue is ascribed to
it by Leonard Camillus[96], who lived in the sixteenth century: and
Wecker[97], who was nearly co-temporary, says that the magnet when
applied to the head, cures the head-ache; and adds that Holler had
taken this cure from the works of the ancients[98]. We read also
in Porta[99], that it was recommended for the head-ache; and in
Kircher[100], that it was worn about the neck as a preventive against
convulsions, and affections of the nerves. About the end of the 17th
century magnetic tooth-picks and ear-pickers were made, and extolled as
a secret preventive against pains in the teeth, eyes and ears[101].

[In addition to these external uses of the magnet, in which it was
supposed to act by a peculiar power over the nervous system, it
has been employed on account of its true magnetic properties. Thus
Kirkringius, Fabricius Hildanus, and subsequently Morgagni, have used
it to remove particles of iron which had accidentally fallen into
the eyes. Kircher employed it also to cure hernia. The patient took
iron-filings internally; and the loadstone in the state of powder mixed
with some vegetable substance, thus forming a magnetic plaster, was
applied to the hernia. Even Ambrose Paré states on the authority of a
surgeon, that several patients had been thus cured.

About the 16th and early in the 17th century, two cases occurred,
one near Prague in Bohemia, the other in Prussia, in which a knife
was swallowed, but it unfortunately got too far and passed into the
stomach. By the application of these magnetic plasters, the point
became attracted towards the surface, so that it could be removed by

In the 18th century, after the properties of magnets had begun to be
scientifically investigated, they were made of various forms and their
effects studied in numerous parts of Europe, and many treatises were
published on their supposed properties. Perhaps the most important
and best authenticated, are those of MM. Audry and Thouret. These
experimenters believed that they were effective agents.

Since that time, the use of magnets as remedial agents has been almost
entirely laid aside and forgotten, it having been found that no
constancy was exhibited in the results of their application, and that
their occasional supposed efficacy depended upon other circumstances,
which were overlooked from the sufferers’ attention being engrossed by
the magnet. The application of the magnet to remove small particles of
iron or steel which have accidentally fallen into the eyes, has been
lately revived. In some manufactories, where these minute particles
are constantly thrown off in the grinding of hardware and driven into
the eyes, large magnets are kept fixed at a proper height, so that the
workmen can resort to them immediately. Such is the case for instance
at Fairbairne in Belgium, and we believe the same has been adopted in
some of our own manufactories to catch the floating particles, and
thus to prevent their being drawn into the lungs during respiration.
The reader may form some idea of the effective manner in which magnets
can be applied, from the following incident which occurred to Prof.
Faraday, whilst experimenting with a powerful (electro-) magnet; an
iron candlestick which happened to be standing near its poles on the
table at which he was at work flew to them, attracted with such
violence as to displace or break everything in its way.

In the 18th century, a new supposed magnetic power was discovered,
and with various success has continued to be applied to the delusion
of the public. About 1770, Father Hehl, a jesuit, the Professor of
Astronomy at Vienna, who had great faith in the influence of the
loadstone on human diseases, and had invented steel plates of a
peculiar form, which he impregnated with magnetic virtues and applied
to the cure of diseases, communicated his discoveries to Anton Mesmer,
who subsequently invented animal magnetism or mesmerism. Mesmer made
use of his friend Hehl’s plates to employ the magnet according to
certain notions of his own. In his subsequent experiments magnets were
gradually dispensed with, and as practised in modern times, they have
been found unnecessary. Hence mesmerism or animal magnetism has no
relation to the magnetism of the magnet, and may therefore form the
subject of a future article.

About the year 1798, a man named Perkins invented a method of treating
various diseases with metallic bars called tractors; these were applied
to and drawn over various parts of the body, and were supposed to cure
numerous maladies, such as ulcers, head-aches, &c. These instruments
were patented. A few years afterwards, Dr. Falconer had wooden tractors
made so exactly to resemble those of Perkins, that they could not be
distinguished by the eye; on employing these on a large scale at the
Bath hospital, he found that exactly the same effects and cures were
produced by one as the other. Since that time these tractors have
hardly been heard of, and are now forgotten.

Quite recently, a new means has been contrived in England for deluding
the public, in the form of rings, which are to be worn upon the fingers
or toes, and are said to prevent the occurrence of, and cure various
diseases. They are called galvanic rings. But this invention may be
with propriety classed with the real magnet, animal magnetism and

What has been stated relative to the metallic tractors, equally
applies to the magnetic rings; for although by the contact of the two
metals of which they are composed an infinitesimally minute current
of electricity, hence also of magnetism, is generated, still from the
absurd manner in which the pieces of metal composing the ring are
arranged, and which displays the most profound ignorance of the laws of
electricity and magnetism, no trace of the minute current traverses the
finger or toe on which the ring is worn; so that a wooden, any other
ring, or none at all, would have exactly the same effect, as regards
the magnetism or galvanism.]


[93] In his Kollektaneen. Berlin, 1790, ii. p. 117.

[94] Aëtii Op. 1. ii. c. 25.

[95] In Stephani Artis Med. Princip. ii. p. 253.

[96] De Lapidibus, lib. ii. p. 131.

[97] J. J. Wecker, De Secretis.

[98] I took the trouble to search for this passage in Jac. Hollerii
lib. de morbis internis, Parisiis 1711, 4to, but I could not find it,
though the beginning of the book treats expressly of head-aches.

[99] Magia Naturalis, lib. vii.

[100] Kircheri Magnes, sive De Arte Magnetica, lib. iii. c. i.

[101] P. Borrelli, Hist. et Observ. Medico-physic. cent. 4. obs. 75.

[102] Observations sur l’usage de l’aimant en médecine, par MM. Audry
et Thouret.


Under this name are generally understood all poisons which can be
administered imperceptibly, and which gradually shorten the life of
man, like a lingering disease. They were not first discovered in the
17th century in France and Italy as many believe, but were known to
the ancient Greeks and Romans, by whom they were used. I must however
allow, that they were never prepared with more art at any period, or
in any country, or employed oftener and with more success, than they
were in these countries, and at that time. If it be true that they
can be prepared in such a manner as to occasion death at a certain
period previously determined, or that the person to whom they are given
will die within a certain time limited, it must be confessed that
the ancient poisoners have been far exceeded by the modern. But this
advantage will be considered as scarcely possible, when one reflects
upon the many variable circumstances which have an influence on the
operation of medicines and poisons; and it has often happened that a
company have swallowed the same poison, at the same time, and in the
same quantity, some of whom have died sooner and some later, while
some have survived. Thus died Pope Alexander VI. in the year 1503,
and Cæsar Borgia recovered without any loss of health, though, by the
bottles being changed through mistake, he drank of the poison that
had been prepared for the other guests alone. At any rate, I am of
opinion that the celebrated Tophania, when she engaged to free wives
from disagreeable husbands within stated weeks and days, must have had
certain and very accurate information respecting their constitution and
manner of living, or, as the physicians say, their idiosyncrasy.

Some physicians have doubted respecting secret poison[103]; and others
have only denied that its effects can with certainty be regulated to
a fixed time[104]. I agree in opinion with the latter; but the former
can be confuted by many examples both of ancient and modern times; for
that the ancients were acquainted with this kind of poison, can be
proved by the testimony of Plutarch, Quintilian, and other respectable
authors. We are told by Plutarch, that a slow poison, which occasioned
heat, a cough, spitting of blood, consumption, and a weakness of
intellect, was administered to Aratus of Sicyon[105]; and Quintilian
in his Declamations, speaks of this poison in such a manner as proves
that it must then have been well known[106]. It cannot be said that
such an invention was too great for that period, or that it required
more knowledge of chemistry than any one possessed; for the Indians in
America are acquainted with a most perfect poison of this kind, and
can employ it with so much skill, that the person to whom it is given
cannot guard against the treachery, even with the utmost precaution,
but infallibly dies, though in a lingering manner, often after the
expiration of some years[107].

Theophrastus speaks of a poison which could be moderated in such a
manner as to have effect in two or three months, or at the end of a
year, or two years; and he remarks that the death, the more lingering
it was, became the more miserable. This poison was prepared from
aconitum, a plant which, on that account, people were forbidden to have
in their possession, under pain of capital punishment[108]. He relates
also, that Thrasyas had discovered a method of preparing from other
plants a poison which, given in small doses of a drachm, occasioned an
easy but certain death, without any pain, and which could be kept back
for a long time without causing weakness or corruption. This Thrasyas,
whose scholar Alexias carried the art still further, was a native of
Mantinea, a city in Arcadia, and is celebrated by Theophrastus on
account of his abilities, and particularly his knowledge of botany; but
those are mistaken who ascribe to him the discovery of secret poison.

This poison was much used at Rome about two hundred years before the
Christian æra. As several persons of distinction died the same year at
that period, and of the like distemper, an inquiry being made into the
cause, a maid-servant gave evidence against some ladies of the first
families, who, she said, prepared and distributed poison; and above a
hundred and fifty of them were convicted and punished[109]. As so many
had learnt this destructive art, it could not be suppressed; and we
find sufficient proofs in the Roman history that it was continually
preserved. Sejanus caused such a secret poison to be administered
by an eunuch to Drusus, who gradually declined afterwards, as by
a consumptive disorder, and at length died[110]. Agrippina, being
desirous of getting rid of Claudius, but not daring to despatch him
suddenly, and yet wishing not to leave him sufficient time to make new
regulations respecting the succession to the throne, made choice of a
poison which should deprive him of his reason, and gradually consume
him. This she caused to be prepared by an expert poisoner, named
Locusta, who had been condemned to death for her infamous actions,
but saved that she might be employed as a state engine. The poison
was given to the emperor in a dish of mushrooms; but as, on account
of his irregular manner of living, it did not produce the desired
effect, it was assisted by some of a stronger nature[111]. This Locusta
prepared also the poison with which Nero despatched Britannicus, the
son of Agrippina, whom his father Claudius wished to succeed him on
the throne. As this poison occasioned only a dysentery, and was too
slow in its operation, the emperor compelled Locusta by blows, and
by threatening her with death, to prepare in his presence one more
powerful. It was first tried on a kid; but as the animal did not die
till the end of five hours, she boiled it a little longer, until it
instantaneously killed a pig to which it had been given, and this
poison despatched Britannicus as soon as he had tasted it[112]. For
this service the emperor pardoned Locusta, rewarded her liberally, and
gave her pupils whom she was to instruct in her art, in order that it
might not be lost.

The art of preparing this poison must have been well understood also
at Carthage. When M. Attilius Regulus, the Roman general, who had been
taken by the Carthaginians, was sent to Rome to propose to the senate
that the Carthaginian prisoners might be restored in exchange for him,
he prevented this negotiation, because he knew that a poison had been
administered to him, by which the state would soon be deprived of his
services. He returned, therefore, to Carthage, in compliance with the
promise he had made to the enemy, who put him to death with the most
exquisite torture[113].

All these poisons were prepared from plants, particularly aconite,
hemlock and poppy, or extracted from animal substances. Among those
made from the latter, none is more remarkable than that supplied by
the sea-hare, _lepus marinus_, with which, as Philostratus says[114],
Titus was despatched by Domitian. Without here attempting to define
the substances employed by the ancients to compose their poisons, I
shall only observe, that the _lepus marinus_, the terrible effects of
which are expressly mentioned by Dioscorides, Galen, Nicander, Aëtius,
Ælian[115], Pliny[116], and others, is that animal called at present in
the Linnæan system _Aplysia depilans_[117], as Rondelet conjectured,
and has been since fully proved by Bohadsch[118]. This animal poison
however seems to have been seldom used, as it easily betrays itself by
some peculiar symptoms. It appears that it was not known to Aristotle,
at least he makes no mention of it[119]. With the far stronger, and
now common mineral poisons the ancients were not acquainted; for their
arsenic was what we call orpiment, and not that pernicious metallic
oxide which formed the principal ingredient of those secret poisons
which in latter times were in France and Italy brought to a diabolical

No one was ever more infamous by this art than Tophania, or Toffana, a
woman who resided first at Palermo, and afterwards at Naples. She sold
those drops, which from her acquired the name of _aqua Tophania_, _aqua
della Toffana_, and which were called also _acquetta di Napoli_, or
only _acquetta_; but she distributed her preparation by way of charity
to such wives as wished to have other husbands. From four to six drops
were sufficient to destroy a man; and it was asserted that the dose
could be so proportioned as to operate in a certain time. As she was
watched by the government, she fled to an ecclesiastical asylum; and
when Keysler was at Naples in 1730, she was then still living, because
no one could, or was willing to take away her life, while under that
protection. At that time she was visited by many strangers out of

In Labat’s Travels through Italy[121] we also find some information
which may serve still further to illustrate the history of Tophania.
She distributed her poison in small glass phials, with this
inscription, _Manna of St. Nicholas of Bari_, and ornamented with the
image of the saint. A miraculous oil, employed by folly in the cure of
many diseases, drops from the tomb of that saint which is shown at Bari
in the kingdom of Naples; and on this account it is dispersed in great
abundance under the like name. It was therefore the best appellation
which Tophania could give to her poison, because the reputed sanctity
of it prevented the custom-house officers from examining it too
closely. When the viceroy was informed of this, which I think was in
1709, Tophania fled from one convent to another, but was at length
seized and thrown into prison. The clergy raised a loud outcry on
account of this violation of ecclesiastical freedom, and endeavoured
to excite the people to insurrection. But they were soon appeased on a
report being spread that Tophania had confessed she had poisoned all
the springs in the city. Being put to the rack, she acknowledged her
wickedness, and confessed to having caused the death of not less than
600 persons; named those who had protected her, who were immediately
dragged from churches and monasteries; and declared that the day before
she had absconded, she had sent two boxes of her manna to Rome, where
it was found in the custom-house, but she did not accuse any one of
having ordered it. She was afterwards strangled, and to mitigate the
archbishop, her body was thrown at night into the area of the convent
from which she had been taken. Tophania however was not the only person
at Naples who understood the making of this poison; for Keysler says
that at the time he was there it was still secretly prepared and much

In the year 1659, under the government of Pope Alexander VII., it was
observed at Rome that many young married women were left widows, and
that many husbands died when they became disagreeable to their wives.
Several of the clergy declared also, that for some time past various
persons had acknowledged at confession that they had been guilty of
poisoning. As the government employed the utmost vigilance to discover
these poisoners, suspicion fell upon a society of young married women,
whose president appeared to be an old woman who pretended to foretell
future events, and who had often predicted very exactly many deaths
to persons who had cause to wish for them. To ascertain the truth, a
crafty female, given out to be a person of considerable distinction,
was sent to this old woman, pretending that she wished to obtain her
confidence, and to procure some of her drops for a cruel and tyrannical
husband. The whole society were by this stratagem arrested; and all
of them, except the fortune-teller, whose name was Hieronyma Spara,
confessed before they were put to the torture.--“Where now,” cried she,
“are the Roman princes, knights and barons, who on so many occasions
promised me their protection! Where are the ladies who assured me
of their friendship! Where are my children whom I have placed in so
distinguished situations!” In order to deter others from committing the
like crime, one Gratiosa, Spara’s assistant, three other women, and
the obstinate Spara herself, who still entertained hopes of assistance
till the last moment, were hanged in the presence of innumerable
spectators. Some months after, several more women were executed in
the same manner; some were whipt, and others were banished from the
country. Notwithstanding these punishments, the effects of this
inveterate wickedness have been from time to time remarked. Le Bret,
to whom we are indebted for the above account, says[122] that Spara
was a Sicilian, and acquired her knowledge from Tophania at Palermo. If
that be true, the latter must have been early initiated in villany, and
must have become when very young a teacher of her infamous art. Keysler
calls her a little old woman.

The art of poisoning never excited more attention than it did in
France about the year 1670[123]. Mary Margaret d’Aubray, daughter of
the lieutenant-civil Dreux d’Aubray, was in the year 1651 married to
the Marquis de Brinvillier, son of Gobelin president of the Chamber
of Accounts, who had a yearly income of thirty thousand livres,
and to whom she brought a portion of two hundred thousand. He was
mestre-de-camp of the regiment of Normandy, and during the course of
his campaigns became acquainted with one Godin de Sainte Croix, a young
man of a distinguished family, who served as a captain of cavalry
in the regiment of Trassy. This young officer, who was then a needy
adventurer, became a constant visitor of the marquis, and in a short
time paid his addresses to the marchioness, who lost her husband after
she had helped to dissipate his large fortune, and was thus enabled to
enjoy her amours in greater freedom. Her indecent conduct, however,
gave so much uneasiness to her father, that he procured a lettre de
cachet, had Sainte Croix arrested while in a carriage by her side,
and thrown into the Bastille[124]. Sainte Croix there got acquainted
with an Italian named Exili, who understood the art of preparing
poison, and from whom he learnt it. As they were both set at liberty
after a year’s imprisonment, Sainte Croix kept Exili with him until he
became perfectly master of the art, in which he afterwards instructed
the marchioness, in order that she might employ it in bettering the
circumstances of both. When she had acquired the principles of the
art, she assumed the appearance of a nun, distributed food to the
poor, nursed the sick in the Hôtel-Dieu, and gave them medicines, but
only for the purpose of trying the strength of her poison undetected
on these helpless wretches[125]. It was said in Paris, by way of
satire, that no young physician, in introducing himself to practice,
had ever so speedily filled a churchyard as Brinvillier. By the
force of money, she prevailed on Sainte Croix’s servant, called La
Chaussée, to administer poison to her father, into whose service she
got him introduced, and also to her brother, who was a counsellor of
the parliament, and resided at his father’s house. To the former the
poison was given ten times before he died; the son died sooner; but
the daughter, Mademoiselle d’Aubray, the marchioness could not poison,
because perhaps she was too much on her guard; for a suspicion soon
arose that the father and son had been poisoned, and the bodies were
opened. She would however have escaped, had not Providence brought to
light the villany.

Sainte Croix, when preparing poison, was accustomed to wear a glass
mask; but as this once happened to drop off by accident, he was
suffocated, and found dead in his laboratory. Government caused the
effects of this man, who had no family, to be examined, and a list of
them to be made out. On searching them, there was found a small box, to
which Sainte Croix had affixed a written request, that after his death
it might be delivered to the Marchioness de Brinvillier, or in case she
should not be living, that it might be burnt[126]. Nothing could be a
greater inducement to have it opened than this singular petition; and
that being done, there was found in it a great abundance of poisons of
every kind, with labels on which their effects, proved by experiments
made on animals, were marked. When the marchioness heard of the death
of her lover and instructor, she was desirous to have the casket,
and endeavoured to get possession of it, by bribing the officers
of justice; but as she failed in this, she quitted the kingdom. La
Chaussée, however, continued at Paris, laid claim to the property of
Sainte Croix, was seized and imprisoned, confessed more acts of villany
than were suspected, and was in consequence broke alive on the wheel in

A very active officer of justice, named Desgrais, was despatched in
search of the Marchioness de Brinvillier, who was found in a convent
at Liège, to which she had fled from England. To entice her from this
privileged place, which folly had consecrated for the protection
of vice, Desgrais assumed the dress of an abbé, found means to get
acquainted with her, acted the part of a lover, and, having engaged
her to go out on an excursion of pleasure, arrested her. Among her
effects at the convent, there was found a confession, written by her
own hand, which contained a complete catalogue of her crimes. She
there acknowledged that she had set fire to houses, and that she had
occasioned the death of more persons than any one ever suspected. She
remarked also, that she had continued a virgin only till the seventh
year of her age. Notwithstanding all the craft which she employed
to escape, she was conveyed to Paris, where she at first denied
everything; and, when in prison, she played picquet to pass away
the time. She was however convicted, brought to a confession of her
enormities, became a convert, as her confessor termed it, and went with
much firmness to the place of execution, on the 16th of July, 1676;
where, when she beheld the multitude of the spectators, she exclaimed
in a contemptuous manner, “You have come to see a fine spectacle!” She
was beheaded and afterwards burnt; a punishment too mild for such an
offender[127]. As she had been amused with some hopes of a pardon, on
account of her relations, when she mounted the scaffold, she cried out,
“_C’est donc tout de bon!_[128]”

Among a number of persons suspected of being concerned in this affair,
was a German apothecary, named Glaser, who on account of his knowledge
in chemistry, was intimate with Exili and Sainte Croix. From him they
had both procured the materials which they used, and he was some
years confined in the Bastille; but the charge against him being more
minutely investigated, he was declared innocent, and set at liberty. He
was the author of a Treatise on Chemistry, printed at Paris in 1667,
and reprinted afterwards at Brussels in 1676, and at Lyons in 1679.

By the execution of this French Medea, the practice of poisoning
was not suppressed; many persons died from time to time under very
suspicious circumstances; and the archbishop was informed from
different parishes that this crime was still confessed, and that traces
of it were remarked both in high and in low families. For watching,
searching after, and punishing poisoners, a particular court, called
the _Chambre de Poison_ or _Chambre ardente_, was at length established
in 1679. This court, besides other persons, detected two women named
La Vigoreux and La Voisin[129], who carried on a great traffic in
poisons. The latter was a midwife. Both of them pretended to foretell
future events, to call up ghosts, and to teach the art of finding
hidden treasures, and of recovering lost or stolen goods. They also
distributed philtres, and sold secret poison to such persons as they
knew they could depend upon, and who wished to employ them either to
get rid of bad husbands, or recover lost lovers. Female curiosity
induced several ladies of the first rank, and even some belonging
to the court, to visit these women, particularly La Voisin; and who,
without thinking of poison, only wished to know how soon a husband,
a lover, the king or his mistress, would die. In the possession of
La Voisin was found a list of all those who had become dupes to her
imposture. They were arrested and carried before the above-mentioned
court, which, without following the usual course of justice, detected
secret crimes by means of spies, instituted private trials, and began
to imitate the proceedings of the holy inquisition. In this list were
found the distinguished names of the Countess de Soissons, her sister
the Duchess de Bouillon, and Marshal de Luxembourg. The first fled
to Flanders to avoid the severity and disgrace of imprisonment; the
second saved herself by the help of her friends; and the last, after
he had been some months in the Bastille, and had undergone a strict
examination, by which he almost lost his reputation, was set at liberty
as innocent. Thus did the cruel Louvois the war minister, and the
Marchioness de Montespan, ruin those who opposed their measures. La
Vigoreux and La Voisin were burnt alive on the 22nd of February 1680,
after their hands had been bored through with a red-hot iron and cut
off. Several persons of ordinary rank were punished by the common
hangman; those of higher rank, after they had been declared by this
tribunal not guilty, were set at liberty; and in 1680 an end was put to
the _Chambre ardente_, which in reality was a political inquisition.

It is certain that notwithstanding such punishments, like crimes have
given occasion to unjust succession both in Italy and in France, and
that attempts have been made for the same purpose even in the northern
kingdoms. It is known that in Denmark Count Corfitz de Ulfeld was
guilty, though it was not proved, of having intended to give the king
a poison, which should gradually destroy him like a lethargy[130].
Charles XI. also, king of Sweden, died by the effects of such a
poison. Having ruined several noble families by seizing on their
property, and having after that made a journey to Torneo, he fell into
a consumptive disorder which no medicine could cure. One day he asked
his physician in a very earnest manner, what was the cause of his
illness? The physician replied, “Your majesty has been loaded with too
many maledictions.” “Yes,” returned the king, “I wish to God that the
reduction of the nobility’s estates had not taken place, and that I had
never undertaken a journey to Torneo!” After his death his intestines
were found to be full of small ulcers[131].

The oftener poisoning in this manner happens, the more it is to be
wished that preventives and antidotes were found out, and that the
symptoms were ascertained; but this is hardly possible as long as it is
not known of what the poison properly consists. Governments, however,
have wisely endeavoured to conceal the recipes, by suppressing the
criminal procedures. Pope Alexander VII. caused them to be shut up
in the castle of St. Angelo; in France, it is said, they were burnt
together with the criminals; in Naples only the same precaution was
not taken. I do not know that observations on the bodies of persons
destroyed by slow poison have been ever published; for what Pitaval
says on that subject is not sufficient[132]. People talk of powders
and pills, but the greater part of this kind of poison appears to be a
clear insipid water, and that prepared by Tophania never once betrayed
itself by any particular effects on the body. The sale of aqua-fortis
was a long time forbidden at Rome, because it was considered as the
principal ingredient; but this is very improbable. At Paris it was
once believed that succession powder consisted of diamond dust pounded
exceedingly fine. Without assenting to this idea, one may contradict
Voltaire, who conceives that diamond dust is not more prejudicial than
powder of coral. It may be rather compared to that fine sand which is
rubbed off from our mill-stones, and which we should consider and
guard against as a secret poison, were we not highly negligent and
careless of our health in the use of food[133]. In the casket of Sainte
Croix were found corrosive sublimate, opium, regulus of antimony,
vitriol, and a large quantity of poison ready prepared, the principal
ingredients of which the physicians were not able to distinguish.
Many have affirmed that sugar of lead was the chief ingredient[134];
but the consequences of the poison did not seem to indicate the use
of that metal. For some years past a harmless plant, which is only
somewhat bitter and astringent, the ivy-leaved Toadflax (_Linaria
Cymbalaria_), that grows on old walls, has been loaded with the
opprobrium of producing this slow poison, while at the same time it
has been celebrated by others on account of its medicinal properties;
but it is perhaps not powerful enough to do either mischief or good;
and it is probable that it has been added to poisons either through
ignorance, or to conceal other ingredients; for the emperor Charles
VI., who was king of the Two Sicilies at the time when Tophania was
arrested, told his physician Garelli, who communicated the same in
a letter[135] to the celebrated Hoffmann, in 1718 or 1719, that the
poison of that Italian Circe was composed of an arsenical oxide,
dissolved in _aqua cymbalariæ_, and which I suppose was rendered
stronger and more difficult to be detected by a salt that may be
readily guessed. It is dreadful to think that this secret poison is
administered as a febrifuge by ignorant or unprincipled physicians,
quacks, and old women. It drives off obstinate fevers, it is true; but
it is equally certain that it hastens death: it is therefore a cure,
which is far worse than the disease, and against which governments and
physicians cannot exclaim too severely. It was remarked at Rome, by
accident, that lemon juice and the acid of lemons are, in some measure,
counter-poisons; and a physician named Paul Branchaletti, respecting
whom I can find no information, wrote a book expressly on this antidote
to these drops, according to the account of Keysler, who however adds,
“Everything hitherto found out, supposes that one has taken the drops
only for a short time, or that one has had an opportunity to be upon
one’s guard when suspicious circumstances occurred, and to discover the
threatened danger.”

It seems to be almost certain that the poisons prepared by Tophania
and Brinvillier were arsenical mixtures, or, as Dr. Hahneman[136]
rightly conjectures, neutral salts of arsenic. Loss of appetite,
faintness, gnawing pains in the stomach, loss of strength without
any visible cause, a continual indisposition, followed by a wasting
of the viscera, a slow fever, &c., are all symptoms which seem to
announce that dangerous metallic oxide. The opinion, however, that it
was composed of opium and cantharides has, in latter times, received
so many confirmations, that one is almost induced to believe that
there are more kinds than one of this Stygian water. The information
given by the abbé Gagliani, seems to carry too much weight with it
to be denied[137]. It is confirmed also by M. Archenholz[138]; but
what he says of the use made of Spanish flies, by the Chinese, to
invigorate the sixth sense, gives reason to suspect that his voucher
is _L’Espion Dévalisé_, to whom the abbé Gagliani ascribes the same
words. It appears to me, however, if I may be allowed to judge from
probabilities, that the poison known in the East Indies under the
name of _powst_ is also water which has stood a night over the juice
of poppies. It is given in the morning fasting to those persons, and
particularly princes, whom people wish to despatch privately, and
without much violence. It consumes them slowly, so that they at length
lose all their strength and understanding, and in the end die torpid
and insensible[139].

[Chemical science has made such rapid progress of late years, that
there are but few, if any, poisonous substances which cannot be
detected with certainty. The improved state of our medical knowledge,
and the institution of coroners’ inquests in all cases where any
suspicion of the cause of death occurs, fortunately renders secret
poisoning almost, if not quite impossible, at least in this country.]


[103] Heberden in the Neue Hamburg. Mag. xvii. p. 219. I am convinced
that many of the accounts we have of the extraordinary effects of
poison are fabricated, like those mentioned in Frid. Hoffmanni Dissert.
de Læsionibus externis, abortivis Venenis ac Philtris. Francof. 1729,
et recusa Lips. 1755. That author, however, denies some which are true.
It is, for example, certain that camphor and rue do not produce the
effects ascribed to them by Dioscorides, Paulus Ægineta, and others;
but there are without doubt other substances which will produce these

[104] Sennerti Instit. Med. ii. 2, 12.

[105] He gave to Aratus a poison, not speedy and violent, but of
that kind which at first occasions a slow heat in the body, with a
slight cough, and then gradually brings on a consumption. One time,
when Aratus spat up blood, he said, “This is the effect of royal
friendship.” See Plutarch, Vit. Arati.

[106] Quint. Declamat. xvii. 11.

[107] With the poison of the Indians, however, the ancients could not
be acquainted, as it is prepared from a plant unknown in Europe before
the discovery of America. Kalm, in his Travels, does not name it,
and in that he has done right; for, as the plant is now to be found
everywhere, no government could guard against a misapplication of it,
were it publicly known.

[108] They say a poison can be prepared from aconite so as to occasion
death within a certain period, such as two, three, or six months,
a year, and even sometimes two years. Those, we are told, whose
constitutions are able to hold out longest, die in the greatest misery;
for the body is gradually consumed, and must perish by continual
wasting. Those die easiest who die speedily. No remedy has been found
out for this poison.--Theophr. Hist. Plant. ix. c. 16.

[109] Livius, lib. viii. c. 18.

[110] Taciti Annal. lib. iv. c. 8.

[111] The account given by Tacitus deserves to be read; see lib. xii.
c. 66.

[112] The history of this horrid affair may be found both in Tacitus,
Annal. xiii. c. 15 and 16, and in Suetonius, vi. cap. 33. Respecting
Locusta, see also Juvenal, sat. i. 71.

[113] This account is given by Aulus Gellius from the now lost works
of Tuditanus.--Noct. At. lib. vi. cap. 4. Cicero often speaks of the
magnanimity of Regulus; as, for example, in his Oration against Piso,
and in his Offices, book iii. chap. 27; but he makes no mention of his
having been poisoned. Valerius Maximus also, book i. chap. i. 14, says
nothing of poison.

[114] Apollonii Vit. lib. vi. c. 14.

[115] Histor. Animal. lib. ii. c. 45.

[116] Lib. ix. c. 48, and lib. xxxii. c. 1.

[117] In Linnæi Systema Nat., through an error of the press, stands
_Laplysia_, which word has since become common. Ἀπλυσία signifies an
uncleanness which cannot be washed off; and in Aristotle’s History of
Animals, b. v. ch. 15, and Pliny, b. ix. ch. 45, it is the name of a
zoophyte. In the like manner other errors in the System of Linnæus have
been copied into the works of others, such as _Dytiscus_ instead of
_Dyticus_, &c.

[118] J. B. Bohadsch De quibusdam animalibus marinis. Dresdæ, 1761,
4to, p. 1-53. In this work there is a full description, with a figure
of this animal, under the name of _Lernæa_, which was used in the first
editions of Linnæus.

[119] The accounts given by the ancients of the sea-hare have been
collected in Grevini Lib. de Venenis, Antverpiæ 1571, p. 209. In the
Annals of Glycas, iii. (_Script. Byz._), it is said that Titus was
despatched by this poison; and in the first book, b. 27, he says the
sea-hare occasions speedy and inevitable destruction to man.

[120] See Stenzelii Diss. de venenis terminatis et temporaneis,
quæ Galli _les poudres de succession_ vocant; resp. J. G. Arnold.
Vitebergæ, 1730. This tract contains several historical relations; but
the reader is often referred to authors who either do not say that
for which they were quoted, or who must relate the same thing in a
different manner in some other place. As for example, Galen in b. ii.
c. 7, De Antidotis, speaks of poisons without mentioning secret poison
in particular. Avicenna is made to say, in his book De Viribus Cordis,
that the Egyptian kings often employed this poison; but if by that
quotation we are to understand Fen. undecima de dispositionibus cordis,
I have sought for this information in vain. In lib. iv. fen. 6. tract.
2. c. 14, it is said “Fel canis aquatici interficit post hebdomadam.”
Rhodiginus also does not relate that for which he is quoted by Stenzel.
p. 7.

[121] Vol. iv. p. 33.

[122] J. F. le Bret, Magazin zum Gebrauche der Staaten
und-Kirchen-Geschichte, part iv. Francf. and Leips. 1774, 8vo, p.

[123] The following account is collected from Causes celèbres, par
M. Guyot de Pitaval, tome i.--Lettres de Mad. de Sevigné, tome
iv.--Histoire du Règne de Louis XIV., par M. de Reboulet. Avignon,
1746, v. p. 159.--Histoire de Louis XIV., par M. B. de la Martinière,
1740, iv. p. 229.--Le Siècle de Louis XIV., par Voltaire, etc.

[124] Voltaire says that the father did not get Sainte Croix thrown
into the Bastille, but sent to his regiment. This however is not the
case, for this reprobate was at that time not in the army.

[125] This circumstance is denied by Voltaire, but only, as appears, to
contradict Pitaval, whom he calls _un avocat sans cause_.

[126] This request was as follows:--“I humbly beg that those into whose
hands this box may fall, will do me the favour to deliver it into the
hands only of the Marchioness de Brinvillier, who resides in the Rue
Neuve Saint Paul, as everything it contains concerns her, and belongs
to her alone; and as, besides, there is nothing in it that can be of
use to any persons except her; and in case she shall be dead before me,
to burn it, and everything it contains, without opening or altering
anything; and in order that no one may plead ignorance, I swear by
the God whom I adore, and by all that is most sacred, that I advance
nothing but what is true. And if my intentions, just and reasonable as
they are, be thwarted in this point, I charge their consciences with
it, both in this world and the next, in order that I may unload mine,
protesting that this is my last will. Done at Paris this 25th of May in
the afternoon, 1672.


[127] Martinière says that she was burnt alive, together with all the
papers respecting her trial. The latter is improbable, and the former
certainly false, notwithstanding the account given in the Encyclopédie.

[128] The following description of Brinvillier may perhaps be of use
to our physiognomists:--“In order to satisfy the curiosity of those
who may be desirous of knowing if such a celebrated criminal partook
of the beauties of her sex, I shall observe that nature had not been
sparing of them to the marchioness; her features were exceedingly
regular, and the form of her face, which was round, was very graceful.
This beautiful outside concealed a heart extremely black. Nothing
proves more that _metoposcopy_, or the science of physiognomy, is
false; for this lady had that serene and tranquil air which announces
virtue.”--Pitaval, p. 269.

[129] Some information respecting La Voisin may be found in Lettres
Historiques et Galantes par Madame de C----. A Cologne, 1709-1711, 4
vols. 12mo, ii. p. 101, and iv. p. 376. The authoress of these letters
was Mad. du Noyer.

[130] Leben des Grafen von Ulfeld, von H. P. aus dem Dänischen
übersetzt. Copenhagen und Leipzig, 1775, 8vo, p. 200.

[131] This anecdote was told to me by the celebrated Linnæus. An
account of what appeared on opening the body of this prince may be seen
in Baldinger’s Neues Magazin für Aerzte, vol. i. p. 91.

[132] “The lieutenant-civil continued still to grow worse. After having
languished a long time, being seized with a loathing of every kind of
food presented to him, his vomitings still continuing, and nature being
at length exhausted, he expired without any fever. The three last days
he had wasted very much; he was become extremely shrunk, and he felt
a great heat in his stomach. When opened, that part and the duodenum
were found to be black, and sloughing off in pieces; the liver was
mortified, and as it were burnt. The counsellor was ill three months,
had the like symptoms as the lieutenant-civil, and died in the same
manner. When opened, his stomach and liver were found in a similar
state.”--pp. 274, 275.

[133] In one year a ton of sand, at least, which is baked with the
flour, is rubbed off from a pair of mill-stones. If a mill grinds only
4385 bushels annually, and one allows no more than twelve bushels to
one man, a person swallows in a year above six pounds, and in a month
half a pound of pulverized sandstone, which, in the course of a long
life, will amount to upwards of three hundred weight. Is not this
sufficient to make governments more attentive to this circumstance?

[Although not very agreeable to the reader to learn that he swallows
above six pounds of mill-stone powder in the course of the year, it
may perhaps ease his mind to know that the learned author is entirely
mistaken in regarding it as a poison. The inhabitants of the northern
countries of Europe frequently mix quartz powder with their heavy food
to assist in its digestion; and we are informed by Professor Ehrenberg,
that in times of scarcity, the inhabitants of Lapland mix the siliceous
shells of some species of fossil Infusoria with the ground bark
of trees for food. It is probably from this circumstance that the
infusorial deposit derives its name of _Berg-mehl_, or _Mountain-meal_.]

[134] For the following important information I am indebted to
Professor Baldinger:--“There is no doubt that the slow poison of the
French and Italians, commonly called succession powder (_poudre de
la succession_), owes its origin to sugar of lead. I know a chemist
who superintends the laboratory of a certain prince on the confines
of Bohemia, and who by the orders (perhaps not very laudable) of his
patron, has spent much time and labour in strengthening and moderating
poisons. He has often declared, that of sugar of lead, with the
addition of some more volatile corrosive, a very slow poison could
be prepared; which, if swallowed by a dog or other animal, would
insensibly destroy it, without any violent symptoms, in the course of
some weeks or months.”

[135] Garelli, the emperor’s principal physician, lately wrote to
me something remarkable in the following words:--“Your elegant
dissertation on the errors respecting poisons brought to my
recollection a certain slow poison, which that infamous poisoner,
still alive in prison at Naples, employed to the destruction of
upwards of six hundred persons. It was nothing else than crystallised
arsenic, dissolved in a large quantity of water by decoction, with the
addition, but for what purpose I know not, of the herb cymbalaria. This
was communicated to me by his imperial majesty himself, to whom the
judicial procedure, confirmed by the confession of the criminal, was
transmitted. This water, in the Neapolitan dialect, is called _aqua del
Toffnina_. It is certain death, and many have fallen a sacrifice to
it.”--Hoffmanni Med. Rationalis System., p. ii. c. 2. § 19.

[136] Ueber die Arsenikvergiftung. Leips. 1786, 8vo, p. 35.

[137] On the 20th of December, 1765, died the dauphin, father of Louis
XVI., and in 1767 died the dauphiness. It was a public report that
they were both despatched by secret poison: and the gradual decline of
their health, the other circumstances which accompanied their illness,
and the cabals which then existed at court, make this at least not
improbable. Many private anecdotes respecting these events may be found
in a book entitled L’Espion Dévalisé. Feliciter audax. London, 1782. In
page 61 it is said, that on account of the suspicions then entertained,
it was wished that information might be procured respecting secret
poison, and the methods of preparing it; and that the abbé Gagliani,
well known as a writer, has given the following:--“It is certain that
in Europe the preparation of these drugs renders them pernicious and
mortal. For example, at Naples the mixture of opium and cantharides,
in known doses, is a slow poison; the surest of all, and the more
infallible as one cannot mistrust it. At first it is given in small
doses, that its effects may be insensible. In Italy we call it _aqua
di Tufania_, Tufania water. No one can avoid its attacks, because the
liquor obtained from that composition is as limpid as rock water, and
without taste. Its effects are slow and almost imperceptible: a few
drops of it only are poured into tea, chocolate, or soup, &c. There is
not a lady at Naples who has not some of it lying carelessly on her
toilette with her smelling-bottles. She alone knows the phial, and can
distinguish it. Even the waiting-woman, who is her confidant, is not in
the secret, and takes this phial for distilled water, or water obtained
by precipitation, which is the purest, and which is used to moderate
perfumes when they are too strong.

“The effects of this poison are very simple. A general indisposition
is at first felt in the whole frame. The physician examines you,
and perceiving no symptoms of disease, either external or internal,
no obstructions, no collection of humours, no inflammations,
orders detergents, regimen, and evacuation. The dose of poison is
then doubled, and the same indisposition continues without being
more characterized. The physician, who can see in this nothing
extraordinary, ascribes the state of the patient to viscous and peccant
humours, which have not been sufficiently carried off by the first
evacuation. He orders a second--a third dose--a third evacuation--a
fourth dose. The physician then sees that the disease has escaped him;
that he has mistaken it, and that the cause of it cannot be discovered
but by changing the regimen. He orders the waters, &c. In a word, the
noble parts lose their tone, become relaxed and affected, and the
lungs particularly, as the most delicate of all, and one of those most
employed in the functions of the animal œconomy. The first illness
then carries you off; because the critical accumulation settles always
on the weak part, and consequently on the lobes of the lungs; the pus
there fixes itself, and the disease becomes incurable. By this method
they follow one as long as they choose for months, and for years.
Robust constitutions resist a long time. In short, it is not the liquor
alone that kills, it is rather the different remedies, which alter
and then destroy the temperament, exhaust the strength, extenuate and
render one incapable of supporting the first indisposition that comes.”

[138] England und Italien, ii. p. 354.

[139] Universal History, xxiii. p. 299-323.--The information contained
there is taken from Fraser’s History of Nadir Shah. Aurengzebe also
caused one of his sons to be put to death by this poison.


After the discovery of fire, the first instrument employed to blow
it and strengthen it, has undoubtedly been a hollow reed, until the
art was found out of forming a stick into a pipe by boring it. Our
common bellows, which consist of two boards joined together by a piece
of leather, and which probably are an imitation of the lungs, appear
to have been early known to the Greeks. I have, however, met with no
passage in any ancient author from which I could learn the oldest
construction of this machine, which in latter times has received many
improvements. Had I found such information, I should have endeavoured
to explain it, as it would have contributed to enlarge the knowledge we
have of the metallurgy of the ancients.

It may be remarked on the following lines of Virgil,

  ... Alii taurinis follibus auras
  Accipiunt redduntque[140]....

that bull’s leather is unfit for bellows, and that ox or cow leather
only can be used for that purpose; but accuracy is not to be expected
in a poet; and besides, Virgil is not the only author who employs the
expression _folles taurinos_; for Plautus says also, “Quam folles
taurini habent, cum liquescunt petræ, ferrum ubi fit.”

Strabo[141] tells us, from an old historian, that Anacharsis, the
Scythian philosopher, who lived in the time of Solon, invented the
bellows, the anchor, and the potter’s wheel: but this account is very
doubtful, as Pliny, Seneca[142], Diogenes Laërtius[143], and Suidas,
who likewise speak of the inventions ascribed to that philosopher,
mention only the last two, and not the bellows: besides, Strabo himself
remarks that the potter’s wheel is noticed in Homer, and this poet is
certainly older than Anacharsis. The latter, perhaps, became acquainted
with that useful instrument during the course of his travels, and on
his return, made his countrymen first acquainted with it. However this
may be, it is well known that the person who introduces a foreign
invention among a people, is often considered as the author of it.

In the oldest smelting-houses the bellows were worked by men. Refuse,
therefore, and other remains of metal, are often found in places where
until a recent period no works could be erected, on account of the want
of water.

Bellows made with leather, of which I have hitherto spoken, are
attended with many inconveniences. They require careful management; are
expensive in their repairs; and besides last often not more than six or
seven years. If thin leather is employed, it suffers a great deal of
the air to escape through it; an evil which must be guarded against by
continually besmearing it with train-oil, or other fat substances; and
this is even necessary when thick leather is used, to prevent it from
cracking in the folds. Damage by fire and water must also be avoided;
and every time they are repaired, the leather must be again softened
with oil, which occasions a considerable loss of time.

In wooden bellows these inconveniences are partly lessened, and partly
remedied. As these bellows, except the pipe, consist entirely of
wood, many, who are not acquainted with the construction of them, can
hardly conceive the possibility of making such a machine. Though they
cannot be properly described without a figure, I shall endeavour to
give the reader some idea of them by the following short sketch. The
whole machine consists of two boxes placed the one upon the other, the
uppermost of which can be moved up and down upon the lower one, in
the same manner as the lid of a snuff-box, which has a hinge, moves
up and down when it is opened or shut; but the sides of the uppermost
box are so broad as to contain the lower one between them, when it is
raised to its utmost extent. Both boxes are bound together, at the
smallest end, where the pipe is, by a strong iron bolt. It may be
readily comprehended, that when both boxes fit each other exactly, and
the upper one is raised over the under one, which is in a state of
rest, the space contained by both will be increased; and consequently
more air will rush in through the valve in the bottom of the lower
one; and when the upper box is again forced down, this air will be
expelled through the pipe. The only difficulty is to prevent the air,
which forces its way in, from escaping anywhere else than through the
pipe; for it is not to be expected that the boxes will fit each other
so closely as to prevent entirely the air from making its way between
them. This difficulty, however, is obviated by the following simple and
ingenious method. On the inner sides of the uppermost box there are
placed moveable slips of wood, which, by means of metal springs, are
pressed to the sides of the other box, and fill up the space between
them. As these long slips of wood might not be sufficiently pliable to
suffer themselves to be pressed close enough, and as, though planed
perfectly straight at first, they would in time become warped in
various directions, incisions are made in them across through their
whole length, at the distance of from fifteen to eighteen inches from
each other, so as to leave only a small space in their thickness, by
which means they acquire sufficient pliability to be everywhere pressed
close enough to the sides[144].

The advantages of these wooden bellows are very great. When made of
clean fir-wood without knots, they will last thirty or forty years, and
even longer, though continually kept in action forty-six or forty-eight
weeks every year: nay, Polhem assures us, that, when properly made,
they will last a century. The effect produced by them is stronger, as
well as more uniform, and can be moderated according to circumstances.
They are worked also with greater facility. The slips of wood on their
sides are apt to become damaged; but they can soon and easily be
repaired. Every three or four months, however, the outer sides only of
the inner box, and the bolt which keeps the boxes together, must be
smeared with oil. If we reckon up the price of such bellows, and the
yearly expense, they will, according to Grignon’s account, be only a
fifth part of those of the old leather bellows.

That the invention of these wooden bellows belongs to the Germans,
is certain. Grignon[145] expressly affirms so; and in Becher’s[146]
time they were to be found in Germany, but not in England. Genssane,
who ascribes the invention to the Swiss, is certainly mistaken; and
perhaps he was led into this error, because these bellows were first
made known in France by a Swiss. I cannot, however, ascertain the name
of the real inventor. In the middle of the sixteenth century lived at
Nuremberg an artist called Hans Lobsinger, who, in the year 1550, gave
to the magistrates of that city a catalogue of his machines. From this
catalogue Doppelmayer concludes that he understood the art of making
small and large bellows without leather, and entirely of wood, which
could be used in smelting-houses and for organs, and likewise copper
bellows that always emitted a like degree of wind. As Lobsinger made
organs, he, perhaps, fell upon this invention; but in what it actually
consisted, or whether it might not have died with him, I have not been
able to learn. Agricola, who died in the year 1555, makes no mention of
wooden bellows.

Samuel Reyher, formerly professor at Kiel, in a dissertation on
air[147], printed there in 1669, tells us, that about forty years
before that period, two brothers, Martin and Nicholas Schelhorn,
millers at the village of Schmalebuche in Coburg, first invented
wooden bellows. Both the brothers, he says, kept the invention secret,
though he thinks they did not conceal it so closely as to prevent its
being guessed at; and he relates also how he himself formed an idea of

To these bellows Schluter has assigned a much nobler inventor, who,
perhaps, was the first person who made them known by a description. He
says expressly that they were invented by a bishop of Bamberg[149]: but
of this I have been able to find no confirmation; and I am inclined to
ascribe that service rather to an organ-builder, or a miller, than to
a bishop. According to Schluter’s account, these bellows were employed
so early as the year 1620, in the Harz forest, to which they were
first brought by some people from Bamberg. What Calvor says respecting
the introduction of these bellows into the Harz forest is much more
probable; that in the year 1621 Lewis Pfannenschmid, from Thuringia,
settled at Ostfeld near Goslar, and began to make wooden bellows. The
bellows-makers of that place conspired therefore against him, and swore
they would put him to death; but he was protected by the government.
He would disclose his art to no one but his son, who, as well as his
grandson a few years ago, had the making of all the bellows in the

We are told by French authors, that the art of making these bellows was
introduced into France, particularly into Berry, Nivernois, and Franche
Comté, by a German.


[140] Georg. iv. 171.

[141] Lib. vii.

[142] Epist. 90.

[143] Lib. i. 8.

[144] A complete description and a figure of these bellows may be found
in Schluter’s Unterricht von Hütten-werken. Brunswick, 1738.--Traité de
la fonte des mines par le feu du charbon de terre; par M. de Genssane.
Paris, 1770, 2 vols. 4to. [Ure’s Dictionary, p. 1128, also contains an
excellent figure of these wooden bellows.]

[145] “Germany is the country of machines. In general the Germans
lessen manual labour considerably by machines adapted to every kind
of movement; not that we are destitute of able mechanics; we have
the talent of bringing to perfection the machines invented by our
neighbours.”--P. 200. [This remark of Grignon will sound rather odd to
English ears.]

[146] Becher’s Narrische Weisheit und weise Narrheit. Frankfort, 1683,
12mo, p. 113.

[147] In this dissertation, the time of the invention is stated to
be about forty years before, which would be the year 1629 or 1630;
but in an improved edition, printed with additions at Hamburg, in
1725, a different period is given. “About eighty years ago,” says
the author, “a new kind of bellows, which ought rather to be called
the pneumatic chests, was invented in the village of Schmalebuche,
in the principality of Coburg, in Franconia. Two brothers, millers
in that village, Martin and Nicholas Schelhorn, by means of some box
made by them, the lid of which fitted very exactly, found out these
chests, as I was told by one of their friends, a man worthy of credit.
These chests are not of leather, but entirely of wood joined together
with iron nails. In blacksmiths’ shops they are preferred to those
constructed with leather, because they emit a stronger blast, as
leather suffers the more subtile part of the air to escape through its

[148] In many places these bellows were at first put in a wooden case,
to prevent their construction from being known.

[149] In J. P. Ludewig, Scriptores Rerum Episcopatus Bambergensis.
Francof. 1718, fol. Where any bishop of latter times is praised, I find
no mention of this useful and ingenious invention.


If by this name we are to understand every kind of covered carriage
in which one can with convenience travel, there is no doubt that some
of them were known to the ancients. The _arcera_, of which mention is
made in the twelve tables, was a covered carriage used by sick and
infirm persons[150]. It appears to have been employed earlier than the
soft _lectica_, and by it to have been brought into disuse. A later
invention is the _carpentum_, the form of which may be seen on antique
coins, where it is represented as a two-wheeled car with an arched
covering, and which was sometimes hung with costly cloth[151]. Still
later were introduced the _carrucæ_, first mentioned by Pliny; but so
little is known of them, that antiquaries are uncertain whether they
had only one wheel, like our wheelbarrows, or, as is more probable,
four wheels. This much, however, is known, that they were first-rate
vehicles, ornamented with gold and precious stones, and that the Romans
considered it as an honour to ride in those that were remarkably
high[152]. In the Theodosian code the use of them is not only allowed
to civil and military officers of the first rank, but commanded as a
mark of their dignity[153].

After this, covered carriages seem more and more to have become
appendages of Roman pomp and magnificence; but the manner of thinking
which prevailed under the feudal system banished the use of them for
some time. As it was of the greatest importance to the feudal lords
that their vassals should be always able to serve them on horseback,
they could not think of indulging them with elegant carriages. They
foresaw that by such luxury the nobility would give over riding on
horseback, and become much more indolent and less fit for military
service. Masters and servants, husbands and wives, clergy and laity,
all rode upon horses or mules, and sometimes women and monks upon
she-asses, which they found more convenient. The minister rode to
court, and the horse, without any conductor, returned alone to his
stable, till a servant carried him back to court to fetch his master.
In this manner the magistrates of the imperial cities rode to council
in the beginning of the sixteenth century; so that in the year
1502 steps to assist in mounting were erected by the Roman gate at
Frankfort[154]. The members of the council who, at the diet and on
other occasions, were employed as ambassadors, were on this account
called _Rittmeister_; and even at present the expression _riding
servant_ is preserved in some of the imperial cities. The public entry
of great lords into any place, or their departure from it, was never in
a carriage, but on horseback; and in all the works which speak of the
papal ceremonies there is no mention of a state coach or body coachmen,
but of state horses or state mules. It was necessary that a horse for
his holiness should be of a gray colour; not mettlesome however, but a
quiet, tractable nag; that a stool with three steps should be brought
to assist him to mount, and the emperor and kings, if present, were
obliged to hold his stirrup and to lead the horse[155], &c. Bishops
made their public entrance on horses or asses richly decorated[156].
At the coronation of the emperor, the electors and principal officers
of the empire were ordered to make their entrance on horses, and to
perform their service on horseback[157]. Formerly it was requisite
that those who received an investiture should make their appearance on
horseback: the vassal was obliged to ride with two attendants to his
lord’s court, where, having dismounted from his horse, he received his

Covered carriages were known in the beginning of the sixteenth century;
but they were used only by women of the first rank, for the men thought
it disgraceful to ride in them. At that period, when the electors and
princes did not choose to be present at the meetings of the states,
they excused themselves by informing the emperor that their health
would not permit them to ride on horseback; and it was considered as
an established point, that it was unbecoming for them to ride like
women[158]. What, according to the then prevailing ideas, was not
allowed to princes, was much less permitted to their servants. In the
year 1544, when Count Wolf of Barby was summoned by John Frederic,
elector of Saxony, to go to Spires to attend the convention of the
states assembled there, he requested leave, on account of his ill
state of health, to make use of a close carriage with four horses.
When the counts and nobility were invited to the marriage solemnity
of the elector’s half brother, duke John Ernest, the invitation was
accompanied with a memorandum, that such dresses of ceremony as they
might be desirous of taking with them should be transported in a small
waggon[159]. Had they been expected in coaches, such a memorandum would
have been superfluous. The use of covered carriages was for a long
time forbidden even to women. In the year 1545 the wife of a certain
duke obtained from him, with great difficulty, permission to use a
covered carriage in a journey to the baths, in which however much pomp
was displayed, but with this express stipulation, that her attendants
should not have the same indulgence[160]. It is nevertheless certain,
that the emperor, kings and princes, about the end of the fifteenth
century, began to employ covered carriages on journeys, and afterwards
on public solemnities.

In the year 1474 the emperor Frederic III. came to Frankfort in a close
carriage; and as he remained in it on account of the wetness of the
weather, the inhabitants had no occasion to support the canopy which
was held over him, but while he went to the council-house, and again
returned. In the year following the emperor visited the same city in a
very magnificent covered carriage. In the description of the splendid
tournament held by Joachim, elector of Brandenburg, at Ruppin, in 1509,
we read of a carriage gilt all over, which belonged to the electress;
of twelve other coaches ornamented with crimson, and of another of
the duchess of Mecklenburg, which was hung with red satin. At the
coronation of the emperor Maximilian, in the year 1562, the elector
of Cologne had twelve carriages. In 1594, when the margrave John
Sigismund did homage at Warsaw on account of Prussia, he had in his
train thirty-six coaches with six horses each[161]. Count Kevenhiller,
speaking of the marriage of the emperor Ferdinand II. with a princess
of Bavaria, says, “The bride rode with her sisters in a splendid
carriage studded with gold; her maids of honour in carriages hung with
black satin, and the rest of the ladies in neat leather carriages.” The
same author mentions the entrance of Cardinal Dietrichstein into Vienna
in 1611, and tells us that forty carriages went to meet him[162]. At
the election of the emperor Matthias, the ambassador of Brandenburg had
three coaches[163]. When the consort of that emperor made her public
entrance, on her marriage in 1611, she rode in a carriage covered
with perfumed leather. Mary, infanta of Spain, spouse of the emperor
Ferdinand III., rode, in Carinthia, in 1631, in a glass carriage in
which no more than two persons could sit. The wedding carriage of the
first wife of the emperor Leopold, who was also a Spanish princess,
cost together with the harness 38,000 florins[164]. The coaches used
by that emperor are thus described by Rink:--“In the imperial coaches
no great magnificence was to be seen: they were covered over with red
cloth and black nails. The harness was black, and in the whole work
there was no gold. The pannels were of glass, and on this account
they were called the imperial glass coaches. On festivals the harness
was ornamented with red silk fringes. The imperial coaches were
distinguished only by their having leather traces; but the ladies
in the imperial suite were obliged to be contented with carriages
the traces of which were made of ropes.” At the magnificent court of
duke Ernest Augustus at Hanover, there were, in the year 1681, fifty
gilt coaches with six horses each[165]. So early did Hanover begin to
surpass other cities in the number of its carriages. The first time
that ambassadors appeared in coaches on a public solemnity was at the
imperial commission held at Erfurth in 1613, respecting the affair of

The great lords at first imagined that they could suppress the use of
coaches by prohibitions. In the archives of the county of Mark there
is still preserved an edict, in which the feudal nobility and vassals
are forbid the use of coaches, under pain of incurring the punishment
of felony. In the year 1588, duke Julius of Brunswick published an
order, couched in very expressive terms, by which his vassals were
forbid to ride in carriages. This curious document is in substance
as follows:--“As we know from ancient historians, from the annals of
heroic, honourable and glorious achievements, and even by our own
experience, that the respectable, steady, courageous and spirited
Germans were heretofore so much celebrated among all nations on account
of their manly virtue, sincerity, boldness, honesty and resolution,
that their assistance was courted in war, and that in particular the
people of this land, by their discipline and intrepidity, both within
and without the kingdom, acquired so much celebrity, that foreign
nations readily united with them; we have for some time past found,
with great pain and uneasiness, that their useful discipline and
skill in riding, in our electorate, county and lordship, have not
only visibly declined, but have been almost lost (and no doubt other
electors and princes have experienced the same among their nobility);
and as the principal cause of this is that our vassals, servants
and kinsmen, without distinction, young and old, have dared to give
themselves up to indolence and to riding in coaches, and that few of
them provide themselves with well-equipped riding horses and with
skilful experienced servants, and boys acquainted with the roads: not
being able to suffer any longer this neglect, and being desirous to
revive the ancient Brunswick mode of riding, handed down and bequeathed
to us by our forefathers, we hereby will and command, that all and each
of our before-mentioned vassals, servants and kinsmen, of whatever rank
or condition, shall always keep in readiness as many riding-horses
as they are obliged to serve us with by their fief or alliance; and
shall have in their service able, experienced servants, acquainted
with the roads; and that they shall have as many horses as possible
with polished steel harness and with saddles proper for carrying the
necessary arms and accoutrements, so that they may appear with them
when necessity requires. We also will and command our before-mentioned
vassals and servants to take notice, that when we order them to
assemble, either altogether or in part, in times of turbulence or to
receive their fiefs, or when on other occasions they visit our court,
they shall not travel or appear in coaches, but on their riding-horses,
&c.”[167] Philip II., duke of Pomerania-Stettin, reminded his vassals
also, in 1608, that they ought not to make so much use of carriages as
of horses[168]. All these orders and admonitions however were of no
avail, and coaches became common all over Germany.

It would be difficult to give an exact description of these carriages
without a figure, and drawings or paintings of them do not seem to be

In the month of October 1785, when I visited the senate-house at
Bremen, I saw in the tax-chamber a view of the city, painted on the
wall in oil colours, by John Landwehr, in 1661. On the left side of
the fore-ground I observed a long quadrangular carriage, which did not
appear to be suspended by leather straps. It was covered with a canopy
supported by four pillars, but had no curtains, so that one could see
all the persons who were in it. In the side there was a small door, and
before there seemed to be a low seat, or perhaps a box. The coachman
sat upon the horses. It was evident, from their dress, that the persons
in it were burgomasters.

In the history of France we find many proofs that at Paris, in the
fourteenth, fifteenth, and even sixteenth centuries, the French
monarchs rode commonly on horses, the servants of the court on mules,
and the princesses, together with the principal ladies, sometimes on
asses. Persons of the first rank frequently sat behind their equerry,
and the horse was often led by servants. When Charles VI. wished to see
incognito the entrance of the queen, he placed himself on horseback
behind Savoisy, who was his confidant, with whom, however, he was
much incommoded in the crowd[169]. When Louis, duke of Orleans, that
prince’s brother, was assassinated in 1407, the two _ecuyers_ who
accompanied him rode both upon the same horse[170]. In the year 1534,
queen Eleonora and the princesses rode on white horses (_des haquenées
blanches_) during a sacred festival. That private persons also, such as
physicians, for example, used no carriages in the fifteenth century,
is proved by the principal entrance to their public school, which was
built in 1472, being so narrow that a carriage could not pass through
it, though it was one of the widest at that period. In Paris also, at
all the palaces and public buildings, there were steps for mounting on
horseback, such as those which the parliament caused to be erected in
1599; and Sauval says on this occasion, that though many of these steps
in latter periods had been taken away, there still remained several of
them in his time at old buildings.

Carriages, however, appear to have been used very early in France. An
ordinance of Philip the Fair, issued in 1294, for suppressing luxury,
and in which the citizens’ wives are forbid to use carriages (_cars_),
is still preserved[171]. Under Francis I., or about 1550, somewhat
later, there were at Paris, for the first time, only three coaches,
one of which belonged to the queen, another to Diana de Poictiers,
the mistress of two kings, Francis I. and Henry II., by the latter of
whom she was created duchess of Valentinois, and the third to René
de Laval, lord of Bois-dauphin. The last was a corpulent unwieldy
nobleman, who was not able to ride on horseback. Others say, that the
first three coaches belonged to Catherine de Medici; Diana, duchess
of Angoulême, the natural daughter of Henry II., who died in 1619, in
the eightieth year of her age; and Christopher de Thou, first president
of the parliament. The last was excused by the gout; but the rest
of the ministers of state soon followed his example[172]. Henry IV.
was assassinated in a coach; but he usually rode through the streets
of Paris on horseback, and to provide against rain, carried a large
cloak behind him. For himself and his queen he had only one coach; as
appears by a letter still preserved, in which he writes to a friend, “I
cannot wait upon you today, because my wife is using my coach[173].”
We, however, find two coaches at the public solemnity on the arrival
of the Spanish ambassador, Don Peter de Toledo, under Henry IV.[174]
This contradiction is not worth further research; but it shows that
all writers do not speak of the same kind of carriages or coaches, and
that every improvement has formed as it were an epoch in the history of
them, which perhaps would be best elucidated by figures or engravings.

Roubo, in his costly Treatise on joiners’ work[175], has given three
figures of such (_chars_) carriages as were used under Henry IV., from
drawings preserved in the king’s library. By these it is seen that
those coaches were not suspended by straps, that they had a canopy
supported by ornamented pillars, and that the whole body was surrounded
by curtains of stuff or leather, which could be drawn up. The coach
in which Louis XIV. made his public entrance, about the middle of the
seventeenth century, appears, from a drawing in the king’s library, to
have been a suspended carriage.

The oldest carriages used by the ladies in England were known under
the now-forgotten name of _whirlicotes_. When Richard II., towards
the end of the fourteenth century, was obliged to fly before his
rebellious subjects, he and all his followers were on horseback; his
mother only, who was indisposed, rode in a carriage. This, however,
became afterwards somewhat unfashionable, when that monarch’s queen,
Ann, the daughter of the emperor Charles IV., showed the English
ladies how gracefully and conveniently she could ride on a side-saddle.
Whirlicotes therefore were disused, except at coronations and other
public solemnities[176]. Coaches were first known in England about
the year 1580, and, as Stow says, were introduced from Germany by
Fitz-allen, earl of Arundel[177]. In the year 1598, when the English
ambassador came to Scotland, he had a coach with him[178]. Anderson
places the period when coaches began to be in common use, about the
year 1605. The celebrated duke of Buckingham, the unworthy favourite of
two kings, was the first person who rode with a coach and six horses,
in 1619. To ridicule this new pomp, the earl of Northumberland put
eight horses to his carriage.

Towards the end of the thirteenth century, when Charles of Anjou made
his entrance into Naples, the queen rode in a carriage, called by
historians _caretta_, the outside and inside of which were covered with
sky-blue velvet, interspersed with golden lilies, a magnificence never
before seen by the Neapolitans. At the entrance of Frederic II. into
Padua, in the year 1239, it appears that there were no carriages, for
the most elegantly dressed ladies who came to meet him were on palfreys
ornamented with trappings (_sedentes in phaleratis et ambulantibus
palafredis_). It is well known that the luxury of carriages spread from
Naples all over Italy.

Coaches were seen for the first time in Spain in the year 1546. Such at
least is the account of Twiss, who, according to his usual custom, says
so without giving his authority[179].

Towards the end of the sixteenth century, John of Finland, on his
return from England, among other articles of luxury, brought with him
to Sweden the first coach[180]. Before that period, the greatest lords
in Sweden, when they travelled by land, carried their wives with them
on horseback. The princesses even travelled in that manner, and, when
it rained, took with them a mantle of wax-cloth.

It appears that there were elegant coaches in the capital of Russia so
early as the beginning of the seventeenth century[181].

But to what nation ought we to ascribe the invention of coaches? If
under this name we comprehend covered carriages, these are so old as
not to admit of any dispute respecting the question. To the following,
however, one might expect an answer, Who first fell on the idea of
suspending the body of the carriage from elastic springs, by which the
whole machine has undoubtedly been much improved? To this question,
however, I can find no answer, except the information before-mentioned,
that suspended carriages were known in the time of Louis XIV.

As the name coach is now adopted, with a little variation, in all the
European languages, some have thought to determine the country of
this invention from the etymology of the word[182]. But even allowing
that one could fix the origin of the word, it would by no means be
ascertained what kind of a carriage we ought properly to understand
by it. M. Cornides[183] has lately endeavoured to prove that the word
_coach_ is of Hungarian extraction, and that it had its rise from a
village in the province of Wieselburg, which at present is called
_Kitsee_, but was known formerly by the name of _Kotsee_, and that this
travelling machine was even there first invented. However this may
be, the grounds on which he supports his assertion deserve to be here
quoted, as they seem at least to prove that in the sixteenth century,
or even earlier, a kind of covered carriages was known, under the name
of Hungarian carriages[184]. As the word _Gutschi_, and not _Gutsche_,
was used at first in Germany, the last syllable gives us reason to
conjecture that it is rather of Hungarian than German extraction. As
Hortleder[185] tells us that Charles V., because he had the gout, laid
himself to sleep in an Hungarian _Gutsche_, one might almost conclude
that the peculiarity of these carriages consisted in their being so
constructed as to admit people to sleep in them. This conjecture
is supported by the meaning of the word _Gutsche_, which formerly
signified a couch or sofa[186]. As the writers quoted by Cornides call
the Hungarian coaches sometimes (_leves_) light, sometimes (_veloces_)
swift, they ought rather to be considered as a particular kind of
carriages for travelling with expedition. It is, however, still more
worthy of remark, that, so early as the year 1457, the ambassador of
Ladislaus V., king of Hungary and Bohemia, brought with him to the
queen of France, besides other presents, a carriage which excited great
wonder at Paris, and which, as an old historian says, was _branlant et
moult riche_[187]. Does not the first word of this expression seem to
indicate that the carriage was suspended?

A peculiar kind of coach has been introduced in latter times under the
name of Berlin. The name indicates the place which gave birth to the
invention, as the French themselves acknowledge; though some, with very
little probability, wish to derive it from the Italian[188]. Philip de
Chiese, a native of Piedmont, and descended from the Italian family
of Chiesa, was a colonel and quarter-master-general in the service of
Frederic William, elector of Brandenburg, by whom he was much esteemed
on account of his knowledge in architecture. Being once sent to France
on his master’s business, he caused to be built, on purpose for this
journey, a carriage capable of containing two persons; which, in France
and everywhere else, was much approved, and called a berline. This
Philip de Chiese died at Berlin in 1673[189].

Coaches have given rise to a profession which in large cities affords
maintenance to a great number of people, and which is attended with
much convenience; I mean that of letting out coaches for hire, known
under the name of _fiacres_, hackney-coaches[190]. This originated in
France; for about the year 1650 one Nicholas Sauvage first thought of
keeping horses and carriages ready to be let out to those who might
have occasion for them. The Parisians approved of and patronised this
plan; and as Sauvage lived in the street St. Martin, in a house called
the _hôtel St. Fiacre_, the coaches, coachmen and proprietor, were
called _fiacres_. In a little time this undertaking was improved by
others, who obtained a license for their new institutions on paying a
certain sum of money[191]. Some kept coaches ready in certain places
of the streets, and let them out as long as was required, to go from
one part of the city to another. These alone, at length, retained the
name of _fiacre_, which at first was common to every kind of hired
carriage without distinction. Others kept carriages at their houses,
which they let out for a half or a whole day, a week, or a month:
these coaches were known by the name of _carosses de remise_. Others
kept carriages which at a certain stated time went from one quarter of
the city to another, like a kind of stages, and took up such passengers
as presented themselves; and in the year 1662 some persons set up
carriages with four horses, for the purpose of conveying people to
the different palaces at which the court might be; these were called
_voitures pour la suite de la cour_. The proprietors often quarreled
respecting the boundaries prescribed to them by their licenses; and on
this account they were sometimes united into one company, and sometimes
separated. The police established useful regulations, by which the
safety and cleanliness of these carriages were promoted; marks were
affixed to them, by which they might be known; and young persons and
women of the town were forbidden to use them[192], &c.

A particular kind of hackney carriage, peculiar to the Parisians, in
the opinion of some does no great honour to their urbanity. I mean
the _brouettes_, called sometimes _roulettes_, and by way of derision
_vinaigrettes_. The body of these is almost like that of our sedans,
but rolls upon two low wheels, and is dragged forwards by men. An
attempt was made to introduce such machines under Louis XIII.; but the
proprietors of the sedans prevented it, as they apprehended the ruin of
their business. In the year 1669 they were however permitted, and came
into common use in 1671, but were employed only by the common people.
Dupin, the inventor of these _brouettes_, found means to contrive them
so that they did not jolt so much as might have been expected; and he
was able to conceal this art so well, that for a long time he was the
only person who could make them[193]. The number of all the coaches at
Paris is by some said to be fifteen thousand; the author of Tableau de
Paris reckons the number of the hackney coaches to amount to eighteen
hundred, and asserts that more than a hundred foot passengers lose
their lives by them every year.

Coaches to be let for hire were first established at London in 1625. At
that time there were only twenty, which did not stand in the streets,
but at the principal inns. Ten years after, however, they were become
so numerous, that king Charles I. found it necessary to issue an order
for limiting their number. In the year 1637 there were in London and
Westminster fifty hackney coaches, for each of which no more than
twelve horses were to be kept. In the year 1652 their number had
increased to two hundred; in 1654 there were three hundred, for which
six hundred horses were employed; in 1694 they were limited to seven
hundred, and in 1715 to eight hundred[194].

Hackney coaches were first established in Edinburgh in 1673. Their
number was twenty; but as the situation of the city was unfavourable
for carriages, it fell in 1752 to fourteen, and in 1778 to nine, and
the number of sedans increased.

_Fiacres_ were introduced at Warsaw, for the first time, in 1778. In
Copenhagen there are a hundred hackney coaches[195].

In Madrid there are from four to five thousand gentlemen’s
carriages[196]; in Vienna three thousand, and two hundred hackney

At Amsterdam coaches with wheels were in the year 1663 forbidden, in
order to save the expensive pavement of the streets; for coaches there,
even in summer, are placed upon sledges, as those at Petersburgh are in
winter. The tax upon carriages in Holland has from time to time been
raised, yet the number has increased; and some years ago the coach
horses in the Seven United Provinces amounted to twenty-five thousand.

When Prince Repnin made his entrance into Constantinople in 1775, he
had with him eighty coaches, and two hundred livery servants.

[Since the former edition of this work, published in 1814, public
conveyances have undergone considerable changes. Stage-coaches, which
in this country had arrived at such a degree of perfection, and
which, till within a few years, passed through and connected almost
every small town in the United Kingdom, have now nearly disappeared
in consequence of the introduction of railroads. It is also rare in
London to meet with a solitary hackney coach, this class of vehicles
being almost entirely superseded by the lighter one-horsed cabriolets
which were first introduced as public conveyances in the year 1823. The
number of hackney coaches and cabriolets now plying for hire in the
streets of London amounts to 2650, of which probably not more than 250
are two-horsed coaches.

That very useful form of public conveyance, the omnibus, which is at
present met with in nearly every large town in Europe, originated in
Paris in 1827. In the latter part of 1831 and the beginning of 1832,
omnibuses began to ply in the streets of London. Those running from
Paddington to the Bank were the earliest. Carriages, however, of a
similar form were used in England as Long Stages more than forty years
ago, but were discontinued as they were not found profitable. They were
in most request at holiday time, by schoolmasters in the neighbourhood
of London; and some even of the present generation will remember their
joyous pranks on journeying home in these capacious machines.

There are now about 900 omnibuses running in London and its
immediate vicinity. The line from Paddington to the Bank is served
by two companies, the London Conveyance Company, and the Paddington
Association, which have mutually agreed to run forty omnibuses each. An
idea of the utility of these conveyances may be formed from the fact
that the receipts of each of the eighty carriages on the above line
averages 1000_l._ per annum, in sixpences.

Omnibuses began to run in Amsterdam in 1839.]


[150] See Leges XII. tab. illustratæ a J. N. Funccio, p. 72. Gellius,
xx. 1.

[151] Scheffer de Re Vehiculari, Spanhem. de Præstant. Numismatum.
Amst. 1671, 4to, p. 613. Propertius, iv. 8. 23, mentions _serica

[152] In my opinion the height here alluded to is to be understood as
that of the body, rather than that of the wheels, as some think.

[153] Codex Theodos. lib. xiv. tit. 12. and Cod. Justin. lib. xi. tit.

[154] Lersner, Chronica der Stadt Frankfurt, i. p. 23.

[155] Sacrarum Cæremoniarum Romanæ Ecclesiæ Libri tres, auctore J.
Catalano. Romæ, 1750, 2 vols. fol. i. p. 131.

[156] See Cæremoniæ Episcoporum, lib. i. c. 11.

[157] Ludewig’s Erläuter. der Güldenen Bulle. Franc. 1719, vol. i. p.

[158] Ludolf, Electa Juris Publici, v. p. 417.

[159] Ludolf, _l. c._

[160] Sattler, Historische Beschreibung des Herzogthums Würtemberg.

[161] Suite des Mémoires pour servir à l’Hist. de Brandenburg, p. 63,
where the royal author adds, “The common use of carriages is not older
than the time of John Sigismund.”

[162] Annal. Ferdin. V. p. 2199; and vii. p. 375.

[163] In Suite des Mém. pour serv. à l’Hist. de Brandenburg, p. 63, it
is remarked that they were coarse coaches, composed of four boards put
together in a clumsy manner.

[164] Rink, Leben K. Leopold, p. 607.

[165] Lünig’s Theatr. Cer. i. p. 289.

[166] Ludolf, v. p. 416. Von Moser’s Hofrecht, ii. p. 337.

[167] Lunig. Corp. Jur. Feud. Germ. ii. p. 1447.

[168] An attempt was made also to prevent the use of coaches by a law
in Hungary in 1523.

[169] Histoire des Antiquités de Paris, par Sauval, i. p. 187.

[170] Sauval; also Mezeray, Abregé Chron. de l’Histoire de France.
Amsterdam, 1696, iii. p. 167.

[171] This ordinance is to be found also in Traité de la Police, par De
la Mare, i. p. 418.

[172] Valesiana. Paris, 1695, 12mo, p. 35.

[173] Variétés Historiques, p. 96.

[174] Sauval says, “I shall here remark, that this was the first time
coaches were used for that ceremony (the entrance of ambassadors), and
that it was only at this period they were invented, and began to be

[175] L’Art du Menuisier-carossier, p. 457, planche 171.

[176] Stow’s Survey of London, 1633, fol. p. 70.

[177] Anderson’s Hist. of Commerce, iv. p. 180.

[178] Arnot’s Hist. of Edinburgh, p. 596.

[179] Twiss’s Travels through Spain and Portugal.

[180] Dalin, Geschichte des Reichs Schweden, iii. 1, p. 390 and 402.

[181] Bacmeister, Essai sur la Bibliothèque de l’Académie de S.
Pétersburg, 1776, 8vo, p. 38.

[182] Joh. Ihre, Glossarium Sueogothic. i. col. 1178. _Kusk_, a
coachman. It seems properly to denote the carriage itself. Gall.
_cocher_. Hisp. id. Ital. _cocchio_. Ang. _coach_. Hung. _cotczy_.
Belg. _goetse_. Germ. _kutsche_. The person who drives such carriages
is by the English called _coachman_, which in other languages is made
shorter, as the French say _cocher_, and the Germans _kusk_. It is
difficult, however, to determine whence it is derived, as we do not
know by whom these close carriages were invented. Menage makes it
Latin, and by a far-fetched derivation from _vehiculum_; Junius derives
it somewhat shorter from ὀχέω to carry. Wachter thinks it comes from
the German word _kutten_, to cover; and Lye from the Belgic _koetsen_,
to lie along, as it properly signifies a couch or chair.

[183] Ungrisches Magaz. Pressburg, 1781, vol. i. p. 15.

[184] Stephanus Broderithus says, speaking of the year 1526, “When the
archbishop received certain intelligence that the Turks had entered
Hungary, not contented with informing the king by letter of this event,
he speedily got into one of those light carriages, which, from the
name of the place, we call _Kotcze_, and hastened to his majesty.”
Siegmund baron Herberstein, ambassador from Louis II. to the king
of Hungary, says, in Commentario de Rebus Moscoviticis, Basil 1571,
fol. p. 145, where he occasionally mentions some stages in Hungary,
“The fourth stage for stopping to give the horses breath is six miles
below Jaurinum, in the village of _Cotzi_, from which both drivers and
carriages take their name, and are still generally called _cotzi_.”
That the word _coach_ is of Hungarian extraction is confirmed also by
John Cuspinianus (Spiesshammer), physician to the emperor Maximilian
I., in Bell’s Appar. ad Histor. Hungariæ, dec. 1, monum. 6, p. 292.
“Many of the Hungarians rode in those light carriages called in
their native tongue _Kottschi_.” In Czvittinger’s Specimen Hungariæ
Litteratæ, Franc. et Lips. 1711, 4to, we find an account of the service
rendered to the arts and sciences by the Hungarians; but the author
nowhere makes mention of coaches.

[185] In his Account of the German War, p. 612.

[186] Examples may be seen in Frisch’s German Dictionary, where it
appears that the beds which are used for raising tobacco plants are at
present called _Tabacks kutschen_, tobacco beds. This expression is
old, for I find it in Pet. Laurembergii Horticultura, Franc. 1631, p.

[187] Roubo, p. 457. The historian, however, gives it no name.

[188] “_Berlin._ A kind of carriage which takes its name from the city
of Berlin, in Germany; though some persons ascribe the invention of it
to the Italians, and pretend to find the etymology of it in _berlina_,
a name which the latter give to a kind of stage on which criminals are
exposed to public ignominy.”--Encyclopédie, ii. p. 209.

[189] Nicolai Beschreibung von Berlin, Anhang, p. 67.

[190] At Rome, however, at a very early period, there appears to have
been carriages to be let out for hire: Suetonius calls them (i. chap.
57) _rheda meritoria_, and (iv. c. 39) _meritoria vehicula_.

[191] Charles Villerme paid in 1650, into the king’s treasury, for the
exclusive privilege of keeping coaches for hire within the city of
Paris, 15,000 livres.

[192] A full history of the Parisian _fiacres_, and the orders issued
respecting them, may be seen in Continuation du Traité de la Police.
Paris, 1738, fol. p. 435. See also Histoire de la Ville de Paris, par
Sauval, i. p. 192.

[193] An account of the manner in which these _brouettes_ were
suspended may be seen in Roubo, p. 588. He places the invention of
post-chaises in the year 1664.

[194] Anderson’s Hist. of Commerce.

[195] Haubers Beschr. von Copenhagen, p. 173.

[196] Twiss’s Travels through Spain and Portugal.


We are well assured that the ancients had machines by which, through
the help of water, they were able to measure time[197]. The invention
of them is by Vitruvius[198] ascribed to Ctesibius of Alexandria,
who lived under Ptolemy Euergetes, or about the year 245 before the
Christian æra[199]. They were introduced at Rome by P. Cornelius
Scipio Nasica, in the year 594 after the building of the city, or
about 157 years before the birth of Christ. How these water-clocks
were constructed, or whether they were different from the clepsydras,
I shall not inquire. If under the latter name we understand those
measurers of time which were used in courts of justice, the clepsydra
is a Grecian invention, first adopted at Rome under the third
consulship of Pompey[200]. The most common kinds of these water-clocks
all, however, corresponded in this, that the water issued drop by drop
through a hole of the vessel, and fell into another, in which a light
body that floated marked the height of the water as it rose, and, by
these means, the time that had elapsed. They all had this failing in
common, that the water at first flowed out rapidly, and afterwards more
slowly, so that they required much care and regulation[201].

That ingenious machine, which we have at present under the name of
a water-clock, was invented in the seventeenth century. The precise
time seems to be uncertain; but had it been before the year 1643[202],
Kircher, who mentions all the machines of this kind then known, would
in all probability have taken notice of it. It consists of a cylinder
divided into several small cells, and suspended by a thread fixed to
its axis in a frame on which the hour distances, found by trial, are
marked out. As the water flows from the one cell into the other, it
changes very slowly the centre of gravity of the cylinder, and puts
it in motion[203]; much like the quicksilver puppets invented by the

These machines must have been very scarce in France in 1691; for
Graverol at that time gave a figure and description of the external
parts of one, but promised to give the internal construction as soon as
he should become acquainted with it[205]. This was the only one then in
Nismes. He says, also, that they were invented a little before by an
Italian Jesuit, who resided at Bologna, but were brought to perfection
by Taliaisson, professor of law at Toulouse, and a young clergyman
named De l’Isle.

Alexander says more than once that this machine was invented at Sens
in Burgundy, in 1690, by Dom Charles Vailly, a Benedictine of the
brotherhood of St. Maur, and that he brought it to perfection by the
assistance of a pewterer there, named Regnard. This account is in
some measure confirmed by Ozanam; for he says expressly, that the
first water-clocks were brought from Burgundy to Paris in 1693, and he
describes one which was made of tin at Sens. Dom Charles Vailly was
born at Paris in 1646, and died in 1726; he was celebrated on account
of his mathematical knowledge, though he is known by no works, as he
burned all his manuscripts[206].

Alexander, however, who was of the same order, seems to have ascribed
to his brother Benedictine an honour to which he was not entitled; for
Dominic Martinelli, an Italian of Spoletto, published at Venice, in
1663, a treatise written expressly on these water-clocks, which Ozanam
got translated into French by one of his friends, and caused to be
printed with his additions[207]. This translator says that water-clocks
were known in France twenty years earlier than Ozanam had imagined. It
appears therefore that they were invented in Italy about the middle of
the seventeenth century, and that Vailly, perhaps, may have first made
them known in France[208].

It may perhaps afford some pleasure to those who are fond of the
history of the arts, to know that Salmon, an ingenious pewterer at
Chartres in France, has given very full and ample directions how
to construct and use this machine[209]. He is of opinion that the
invention is scarcely a century old; and that these water-clocks, which
are now common, were first made for sale and brought into use among the
people in the country, by a pewterer at Sens in Burgundy. What this
artist affirms, that they can be constructed of no metal so easily, so
accurately, and to last so long as of tin, is perfectly true. I have
however in my possession one of brass, which is well constructed; but
it suffers a little from acids. Among the newest improvements to this
machine may be reckoned an alarum, which consists of a bell and small
wheels, like those of a clock that strikes the hours, screwed to the
top of the frame in which the cylinder is suspended. The axis of the
cylinder, at the hour when one is desirous of being wakened, pushes
down a small crank, which, by letting fall a weight, puts the alarum in
motion. A dial-plate with a handle is also placed sometimes over the

[A very ingenious application of the principle of the clepsydra, for
the purpose of measuring accurately very small intervals of time, is
due to the late Captain H. Kater. Mercury is allowed to flow from a
small orifice in the bottom of a vessel, kept constantly filled to
a certain height. At the moment of noting any event, the stream is
interrupted and turned aside into a receiver, into which it continues
to run till the moment of noting any other event, when the intercepting
cause is suddenly removed. The stream then flows in its original
course. The weight of mercury in the receiver, compared with the weight
of that which passes through the orifice in a given time, observed by
the clock, gives the interval between the events.]


[197] [Sextus Empiricus (Adv. Math. cap. 21) says that the Chaldæans
divided the zodiac into 12 equal parts, as they supposed, by allowing
water to run out of a small orifice during the whole revolution of a
star, and dividing the fluid into 12 equal parts, the time answering
to each part being taken for that of the passage of a sign over the

[198] Lib. ix. c. 9.

[199] [Some mode of measuring time by the reflux of water, however rude
it might be, was used at Athens before the time of Ctesibius, as we see
by various passages in Demosthenes.]

[200] Auctor Dialog. de Caus. Cor. Eloq. 38.--The orators were confined
to a certain time; and hence Cicero says, _latrare ad clepsydram_.

[201] Some account of the writers who have spoken of the water-clocks
of the ancients may be found in Fabricii Bibliograph. Antiquaria,
p. 1011. They were formerly used for astronomical observations. The
authors who treat of them in this respect are mentioned in Riccioli
Almagest. Novo, i. p. 117.

[202] In that year Kircher’s Ars Umbræ et Lucis was published for the
first time. In the edition of 1671, several kinds of water-clocks are
described, p. 698.

[203] A particular account of these water-clocks is to be found in
Ozanam, Recréations Math. et Physiques [republished in Hutton’s
Mathematical Recreations, ii. 40]. Bion on Mathematical Instruments.

[204] Muschenbroek, Philos. Natur. i. p. 143.

[205] Journal des Sçavans, 1691.

[206] This monk may be considered as the restorer of the clepsydra,
or clock which measures time by the fall of a certain quantity of
water confined in a cylindric vessel. These clocks were in use
among ancient nations. They are said to have been invented at the
time when the Ptolemies reigned in Egypt. Dom Vailly, who applied
himself particularly to practical mathematics, having remarked the
faults of these clocks, bestowed much labour in order to bring them
to perfection; and by a number of experiments, combinations, and
calculations, he was at length able to carry them to that which they
have attained at present. At the time of their arrival they were very
much in vogue in France.--Hist. Littéraire de la Congr. de St. Maur,
ordre de S. Bénoit. Bruxelles, 1770, 4to, p. 478.

[207] Ozanam, ii. p. 475.

[208] Alexander will not admit this to be the case. “It is possible,”
says he, “that two persons of penetrating genius may have discovered
the same thing.”

[209] Art du potier d’étain, par Salmon. Paris, 1788, fol. p. 131.


The ancients, though ignorant of electricity, were acquainted with
the nature of amber, and knew that when rubbed it had the power
of attracting light bodies. In like manner they might have been
acquainted with the tourmaline, and might have known that it also,
when heated, attracted light bodies, and again repelled them; for had
they only bethought themselves, in order to search out the hidden
properties of this stone (which on account of its colour and hardness
is very remarkable), to put it into the fire, they would have then
seen it sport with the ashes. Some learned men have thought they
found traces of the properties of this stone, in what the ancients
tell us respecting the _lyncurium_, _theamedes_, and _carbunculus_.
The fruit of my researches respecting this subject I shall here lay
before the reader. All that we find in the ancients to enable us to
characterize the lyncurium is, that it was a very hard stone, which
could with difficulty be cut; that seals were formed of it; that it
was transparent, and of a fiery colour, almost like that of yellow
amber; that it attracted light bodies, such as chaff, shavings of wood,
leaves, feathers, and bits of thin iron and copper leaf, in the same
manner as amber; that the ancients procured it from Æthiopia, but that
in the time of Pliny no stone was known under that name[210].

This information proves, in my opinion, that the lyncurium cannot be
the belemnites, as some old commentators and Woodward have affirmed;
for the latter has not the celebrated hardness and transparency of the
former, neither has it the property of attracting light bodies, nor is
it fit for being cut into seals. That opinion probably has arisen in
the following manner:--the ancients supposed that the lyncurium was
the crystallized urine of the animal which we call the lynx. As some
belemnites contain bituminous particles which give them an affinity to
the swine-stone, naturalists, when they have rubbed or heated yellow
and somewhat transparent pieces of this fossil, have imagined that they
smelt the fabulous origin of the lyncurium.

Less ridiculous is the opinion of some old and modern writers, that
the lyncurium was a species of amber. Theophrastus, however, the
ablest and most accurate mineralogist of the ancients, would certainly
have remarked this and not have separated the lyncurium from amber.
Besides, the latter has not the hardness of the former, nor can it be
said that it is difficult to be cut; for at present it is often made
into various toys with much ingenuity. The opinion of Pliny is here of
little weight; for it is founded, as ours must be, on the information
of Theophrastus.

Epiphanius, who considered the Bible as a system of mineralogy, but
could not find the lyncurium in it, supposes that it may have been the
hyacinth[211]. However ridiculous the cause of this conjecture may be,
it must be allowed that it is not entirely destitute of probability;
and I say with John de Laet, “The description of the lyncurium does
not ill agree with the hyacinth of the moderns[212].” If we consider
its attracting of small bodies in the same light as that power which
our hyacinth has in common with all stones of the glassy species, I
cannot see anything to controvert this opinion, and to induce us to
believe the lyncurium and the tourmaline to be the same. The grounds
which Watson produces for this supposition, are more in favour of the
hyacinth than the tourmaline[213]. Had Theophrastus been acquainted
with the latter, he would certainly have remarked that it did not
acquire its attractive power till it was heated. At present, at least,
no tourmaline is known to attract until it is heated; though it would
not appear very wonderful if a stone like the magnet should retain its
virtue for a long time.

The duke of Noya Caraffa believes the theamedes of the ancients to
have been the tourmaline[214]. Of that stone we are told, by Pliny,
only that it possessed a power contrary to the power of the magnet;
that is, that it did not attract but repel iron. But this only proves,
that it had then been remarked that the magnet repelled the negative
pole of a piece of magnetic iron. This account has been thus explained
by Boot[215]. To induce us to consider the theamedes as the tourmaline,
Pliny ought to have said that it attracted iron and then repelled it.

With much greater probability may we consider as the tourmaline a
precious stone, classed by Pliny among the numerous varieties of the
carbuncle[216]; for however perplexed and unintelligible his account of
the carbuncles may be, and however much the readings in the different
copies may vary, we still know that he describes a stone which was very
hard; which was of a purple, that is a dark violet colour, and used for
seals; and which, when heated by the beams of the sun, or by friction,
attracted chaff and other light bodies. Had Pliny told us that it at
first attracted and then repelled them, no doubt would remain; but he
does not say so, nor do his transcribers Solinus and Isidorus[217].

A much later account of a stone that, when rubbed, is, like the magnet,
endued with an attractive power is to be found in a passage of John
Serapion, the Arabian, pointed out to me by Professor Bütner[218]. This
stone indeed cannot with much probability be taken for the tourmaline,
as all precious stones, when heated, have the same property; but it is
worthy of remark, that, like the lyncurium of the ancients, it belongs
to the hyacinths, the colour of which many of the real tourmalines
have; and among those of the island of Ceylon there are, perhaps, some
which ought to be classed among the hyacinths, rather than among the

The real tourmaline was first brought from Ceylon, and made known
by the Dutch, about the end of the seventeenth or beginning of the
eighteenth century. It is commonly believed that the first account of
it ever published is that to be found in the Memoirs of the Academy of
Sciences at Paris for the year 1717; but it appears that fuller and
more accurate descriptions of the properties of that stone were given
in German works ten years before. The earliest information that I know
respecting it is in a book now almost and justly forgotten, entitled
Curious Speculations during Sleepless Nights[219]. In a passage, where
the author, speaking of hard and glassy bodies which attract light
substances, affirms that this property is not magnetic, he says, “The
ingenious Dr. Daumius, chief physician to the Polish and Saxon troops
on the Rhine, told me, that in the year 1703 the Dutch first brought
from Ceylon in the East Indies a precious stone called tourmaline, or
turmale, and named also _trip_, which had the property, that it not
only attracted the ashes from the warm or burning coals, as the magnet
does iron, but also repelled them again, which was very amusing; for as
soon as a small quantity of ashes leaped upon it, and appeared as if
endeavouring to writhe themselves by force into the stone, they in a
little sprang from it again, as if about to make a new effort; and on
this account it was by the Dutch called the _ashes-drawer_. The colour
of it was an orange-red heightened by a fire colour. When the turf
coals were cold, it did not produce these effects, and it required no
care like the magnet. I have considered whether it would not attract
and repel the ashes of other burning coals as well as those of turf;
and I have no doubt, that, if heated, it would attract other things
besides ashes.”

This whole passage has been inserted word for word, without variation
or addition, and without telling the source from which taken, in a book
perhaps equally forgotten, called Observationes curioso-physicæ, or
Remarks and Observations on the great Wonders of the World, by Felix
Maurer, physician[220]. This thick volume is entirely compiled from a
number of works, the names of which are not mentioned.

In the Catalogue of the collection of natural curiosities belonging to
Paul Hermann, which were sold at Leyden in June 1711, I find, among the
precious stones, _Chrysolithus Turmale Zeylon_. Though no description
is added, it cannot be doubted that our tourmaline is meant. From this
however we learn that the name together with the stone came to us from
Ceylon, as Watson has remarked. We learn further, that the stone was
at first considered as a chrysolite, and perhaps it may be mentioned
under this name in the old accounts of Ceylon. Hermann, whose service
to botany is well known, was in that island from 1670 to 1677; and it
might be presumed, from his spirit of inquiry, that, had he known this
stone, he would somewhere or other in his works have taken notice of
its properties: but I find no mention of it either in his Cynosura
Materiæ Medicæ, or in Musæum Zeylonicum.

In the year 1719 the Academy of Sciences at Paris announced in their
memoirs for 1717, that in the latter year M. Lemery had laid before
them a stone found in a river in the island of Ceylon, which attracted
and repelled light bodies[221]. It is there called a small magnet,
though some difference between the two stones was admitted; but the
German naturalist before-mentioned, denies that the tourmaline is
endowed with magnetic virtue. It is however very remarkable, that
though it is said, in the Memoirs of the Academy, that it has the power
of attracting and repelling, no mention is made that it acquires that
property, only after it has been heated, which is expressly remarked
by the German. Those therefore who wish to ascribe to the ancients
a knowledge of the tourmaline may say, If the editor of the Memoirs
of the French Academy could forget this circumstance, is it not
highly probable that Theophrastus might have forgot it in describing
the lyncurium; Pliny, in describing the carbuncle; and Serapion, in
describing his hyacinth?

After this period the tourmaline must have been very scarce in Europe;
for when Muschenbroek made his well-known experiments with the
loadstone, and spared no labour to carry them to the utmost extent, he
was not acquainted with the nature of the tourmaline, which, according
to the account given of it by the Academy at Paris, he considered as a
magnet, as he himself says in the preface to his first dissertation,
published in 1724.

About the year 1740 however some German naturalists made experiments
with this stone, in order to discover the real cause of its attractive
property. These may be seen, under the article _Trip_, in the
well-known Dictionary of Natural History which is often printed with
Hübner’s preface; but I do not know to whom the honour belongs of
having first investigated the properties of this stone. As the above
dictionary is common, I shall give here only a very short extract
from it:--“This stone was brought to Holland by some persons who had
travelled in India, from the island of Ceylon, where it is found pretty
frequently among the fine sand near Columbo, and sold to the German
Jews. These caused it to be cut thinner, and the price of it soon rose
to eight and ten Dutch florins. It has been since much dearer; but at
present it is cheaper. It attracts not only ashes, but also metallic
calces: it however attracts more easily and with greater force those
which have been formed by means of sal-ammoniac, or the spirit of
that salt. It acquires its attractive power only after it has been
moderately heated; for when cold or heated to a greater degree it
produces no effect, which the author ascribes to its being united
with martial sulphur. The chrysolites and other precious stones of the
island do not possess the same property.” As the author quotes the
Laboratorium Zeylonicum, I consulted it, but found no information in it
respecting the tourmaline. The first person who thought of explaining
the property of the tourmaline by electricity was the great Linnæus,
who in the preface to his Flora Zeylanica[222], where he enumerates the
productions of the island, calls it the electrical stone; but at that
time, as he himself afterwards told me, he had not seen it.

What Linnæus only conjectured, Æpinus proved at Berlin in 1757 by
accurate observation and experiments, when endeavouring with Wilke
to investigate the secret of negative and positive electricity. The
history of their discoveries I shall here omit, as a better account of
them than I could give has been published in the Transactions of the
Swedish Academy by Wilke.

[The discovery by Huygens, in 1678, of the polarization of light
by double refraction, laid the foundation of a much more important
application of the tourmaline; for MM. Biot and Seebeck, in their
subsequent experiments, discovered that certain yellowish tourmalines,
that is, those which are yellowish by refracted light, possessed the
remarkable property of absorbing or checking one of the rays of a beam
of polarized light, and transmitting the others. This discovery led to
the use of tourmalines in most experiments which were subsequently made
with polarized light. For this purpose, the tourmaline, which generally
crystallizes in the form of a long prism, is cut lengthwise, that is,
parallel to the axis of the prism, into plates about the 30th of an
inch thick.

The invention of Mr. Nichol of a method of destroying one of the rays
of a polarized beam in a crystal of calcareous spar, has however in
later times entirely replaced the use of the tourmaline in optical
science, the colour of the tourmaline being a disadvantage which is
entirely removed in the use of Nichol’s prism[223].]


[210] Theophrast. De Lapidibus, edit. Heinsii, fol. p. 395, and Plin.
lib. xxxvii. c. 3, and lib. viii. c. 38.

[211] Epiphanius De XII Gemmis.

[212] J. de Laet De Gemmis. 1647, 8vo, p. 155.

[213] Phil. Trans. vol. li. 1. p. 394.

[214] Recueil de Mem. sur la Tourmaline, par Æpinus. Petersb. 1762,
8vo, p. 122.

[215] Gemm. et Lapidum Historia. 1647, 8vo, p. 441, 450.

[216] Plin. lib. xxxvii. c. 7.

[217] India produces also the lychnites, the splendour of which is
heightened when seen by the light of lamps; and on this account it
has been so called by the Greeks. It is of two colours; either a
bright purple, or a clear red, and if pure is thoroughly transparent.
When heated by the rays of the sun, or by friction, it attracts
chaff and shavings of paper. It obstinately resists the art of the
engraver.--Solinus, c. lii. p. 59. Traj. 1689, fol.

[218] “Hager albuzedi is a red stone, but less so than the hyacinth,
the redness of which is more agreeable to the eye, as there is no
obscurity in it. The mines where this stone is found are in the
East. When taken from the mine it is opake; but when divested of its
outer coat by a lapidary, its goodness is discovered, and it becomes
transparent. When this stone has been strongly rubbed against the hair
of the head it attracts chaff, as the magnet does iron.”--Serapionis
Lib. de simplicibus medicinis. Argent. 1531, fol. p. 263.

[219] Curiöse Speculationes bey Schlaf-losen Nächten, 8vo, Chemnitz,
1707. The author’s name appears to be expressed by the initials I. G.
S. This work consists of forty-eight dialogues, each twelve of which
have a distinct title.

[220] Frankf. 1713, 8vo.

[221] I shall here lay before the reader the whole passage, taken from
Histoire de l’Académie for 1717, p. 7:--“Here we have a small magnet.
It is a stone found in a river of the island of Ceylon. It is of the
size of a denier, flat, orbicular, about the tenth part of an inch in
thickness, of a brown colour, smooth and shining, without smell and
without taste, which attracts and afterwards repels small light bodies,
such as ashes, filings of iron, and bits of paper. It was shown by M.
Lemery. It is not common, and that which he had cost twenty-five livres
(about twenty shillings sterling). When a needle has been touched with
a loadstone, the south pole of the loadstone attracts the north pole
of the needle, and repels its south pole: thus it attracts or repels
different parts of the same body, according as they are presented to
it, and it always attracts or repels the same. But the stone of Ceylon
attracts, and then repels in the like manner, the same small body
presented to it: in this it is very different from the loadstone. It
would seem that it has a vortex....”

[222] “I must not omit to mention that the rivers contain the electric
stone, which is of the size of a halfpenny, flat, orbicular, shining,
smooth, of a brown colour, one-tenth of an inch in thickness, without
smell and without taste, and which attracts light bodies, such as
ashes, filings of iron, shavings of paper, &c., and afterwards repels
them. A wonderful and singular property, discovered and observed in
this stone alone, when neither heated by motion nor by friction.”

[223] [Light is called polarized, which, having been once reflected
or refracted, is incapable of being again reflected or refracted in
certain positions of the second medium. Ordinarily, light which has
been reflected from a pane of glass or any other substance, may be a
second time reflected from another surface, and will also freely pass
through transparent bodies. But if a ray of light be reflected from a
pane of glass at an angle of 57°, it is rendered totally incapable of
reflexion from the surface of another pane in some positions, whilst it
will be completely reflected by it in others. If a plate of tourmaline,
cut in the manner described above, or a Nichol’s prism be held between
the eye and a candle, and turned slowly round in its own plane, no
change will take place in the image of the candle; but if the plate or
prism be fixed in a vertical position, on interposing another of the
same kind between the former and the eye, parallel to the first, and
turning it round slowly in its own plane, the image of the candle will
be found to vanish and re-appear alternately at each quarter turn of
the plate, varying through all degrees of brightness down to total or
almost total evanescence, and then increasing again by the same degrees
as it had before decreased. These changes depend upon the relative
positions of the plates; when the longitudinal sections of the two
plates are parallel, the brightness of the image is at its maximum; and
when the axes of the sections cross at right angles, the image of the
candle vanishes. Thus the light, in passing through the first plate of
tourmaline, has acquired a property totally different from the ordinary
light of the candle; the latter would penetrate the second plate
equally well in all directions, whereas the altered light will only
pass through it in particular positions, and is altogether incapable of
penetrating it in others. The light is polarized by passing through the
first plate or prism. Thus, one of the properties of polarized light is
proved to be the incapability of passing through a plate of tourmaline
perpendicular to it in certain positions, and its ready transmission in
other positions at right angles to the former.]


Instruments by which the voice could be so strengthened as to be heard
at a much greater distance than would otherwise have been possible,
were known in the earliest ages; for of all musical instruments, wind
instruments were first invented, and their use in war to give the
signal of battle, we find mentioned in Job[224]. It had been remarked,
even in Pliny’s time, that the least touch of a beam of wood could be
heard when the ear was applied to the other end[225]. It was known
likewise that the larger trumpets emitted a louder and stronger sound.
The Grecians had a wind instrument with the bellowing noise of which
the people who were placed to guard the vineyards frightened away the
wild animals[226]. All these wind instruments however were little
in comparison with the monstrous trumpets of the ancient Chinese, a
kind of speaking-trumpets, or instruments by which words could not
only be heard at the greatest distance possible, but could be also
understood[227]. This invention belongs to the 17th century, though
some think that traces of it are to be found among the ancient Grecians.

Kircher, as far as I have been able to learn, was the first person who
made known, from a very ancient manuscript of Aristotle, De Secretis
ad Alexandrum Magnum, preserved in the Vatican, that Alexander had
a prodigious large horn with which he could assemble his army at
the distance of a hundred stadia, or eight Italian miles. It was,
according to the manuscript, five cubits in diameter; and Kircher,
who gives a figure of it, which he says he found in the manuscript,
thinks that, on account of its size, it must have been suspended
from a beam by a ring. This horn has by many been considered as the
oldest speaking-trumpet[228], but in my opinion without reason.
Aristotelis Secretum Secretorum ad Alexandrum Magnum I have never had
an opportunity to see. It appears to have been printed only once, and
is, like all the other works ascribed to that philosopher, extremely
scarce; for they have all had the fate of being little regarded after
it became the unanimous opinion of the learned that they were forged.
These works, however, are old; some of them indeed very old: and, if
some one would take the trouble to fix their antiquity, they might be
used with advantage on many occasions. Morhof had in his possession
the edition of that book published by Alexander Achillinus, a physician
at Bologna, in 1516, which is a Latin translation from the Arabic[229].
If we compare what is said there and by Kircher, we may make the
following conclusion:--

In the first place, it is certain that the book itself, as well as
the whole account, is not the production of Aristotle, for in all the
writers who relate the actions of Alexander we do not find the least
mention of such a horn. Secondly, it is not expressly said in that work
that Alexander spoke through this horn, but only that he assembled his
soldiers by it, which in past times was done by the sound of a trumpet,
and at present is done both by trumpets and drums. It appears also
that the author of the book, perhaps an Arabian, intended to give the
reader an idea of a horn that had an uncommonly strong and loud sound.
Thirdly, Kircher’s account and figure of the horn do not agree with
that which Morhof found in the edition of Achillinus[230]. Lastly,
none of these descriptions are such that an instrument to serve as a
speaking-trumpet could be constructed from them.

Wolf and other mathematicians are of opinion that the most advantageous
form of a speaking-trumpet would be found with more certainty by
experience than by theory. It may then be asked, whether any one ever
caused such an instrument to be made from these descriptions. Kircher,
who attempted things much more improbable, says he never tried it.
Duhamel however relates that a Frenchman tried it, and discovered
the real instrument[231]; but this information is of little weight,
as it is much to be doubted that this Frenchman caused it to be made
sufficiently exact according to the ancient description. I am as little
acquainted with Bettini as Morhof; but I suspect that Duhamel meant
Mar. Bettini, who, without making the smallest mention of Alexander’s
horn, proposes only a tube, the one end of which should be applied
to the mouth of a person who speaks, and the other to the ear of one
who is dull of hearing[232]. This was rather an ear-trumpet than a
speaking-trumpet, and it is certain that the former was invented before
the latter.

What we read in Porta, and what many think alludes to a
speaking-trumpet, alludes evidently to an ear-trumpet only. That author
infers, very justly, from the form of the ear, and particularly from
that of the ears of those animals which are quick of hearing, that to
hear at a distance one must apply to the ear a kind of wide funnel,
as people to strengthen the sight use spectacles[233]. He asserts
also, with equal truth, that one, through a long tube, can convey a
whisper to the ear of another person at a very great distance[234]; an
experiment which he himself made at the distance of two hundred paces.
Schwenter, who wrote before the speaking-trumpet was known, proposes,
from the hint of Porta, an ear-trumpet, one end of which should be
applied to the ear[235].

Sir Samuel Morland, an Englishman, and the jesuit Kircher, have in
later times contended respecting the invention of the speaking-trumpet.
The former, in 1671, published a particular description of one,
after he had made many experiments upon it the year preceding. This
instrument, shaped like a wide-mouthed trumpet, he caused first to
be constructed of glass, and afterwards of copper, with various
alterations, and performed several experiments with it in presence of
the king (Charles II.), prince Rupert, and other persons, who were
astonished at its effects[236].

As an account of this discovery was soon spread all over Europe,
Kircher asserted that he had constructed speaking-trumpets before
Sir Samuel Morland, and supported his assertion by referring to his
former writings, and by the testimony of other authors. I shall first
take notice of the former. His Ars Magna Lucis et Umbræ was first
printed in 1643. I at least conclude so, because, in the preface to his
Phonurgia, printed in 1673, he says that work had been published thirty
years before. The second edition is of 1671, in which I find only the
already-quoted passage respecting Alexander’s horn, and the figure of
a tube, which, like that proposed by Bettini, should be applied to
the ear of a person who hears, and to the mouth of the speaker. The
Musurgia, printed in 1650, contains better grounds for supporting the
assertion of Kircher. In the second part he describes how a funnel
can be placed in a building in such a manner, that a person in an
apartment where the narrow end is introduced can hear what is spoken
without the building, or in another apartment, where the wide end may
be. To this description a figure is added, and the author acknowledges
he was led to that idea by the construction of a well-known building
of Dionysius[237]. He does not however say expressly that he had
ever tried the experiment; but in the last page of the preface to the
Phonurgia, he pretends that so early as the year 1649 he had caused
such a machine to be fixed up in the Jesuits’ college. But, supposing
this to be true, it can only be said that he then approached very near
to the invention of the speaking-trumpet, by an instrument, which, in
reality, however, was calculated to strengthen the hearing, and not
the voice; and therefore only the half is true of what he advanced in
his preface in 1673, that twenty years before he had described in his
Musurgia the trumpet invented in England.

In the Phonurgia, however, written after Morland’s publication was
everywhere known, Kircher certainly treats of the speaking-trumpet,
and says that, from the similarity of the progress of sound to that
of the rays of light, he was led to the idea of conveying the former,
in the same manner as the latter, to a great distance, by means of
an instrument. For this purpose, about twenty-four years before, he
had caused to be constructed, in the Jesuits’ college at Rome, an
ear-trumpet, through which the porter could communicate anything he had
to say to him when he was in his apartment in the upper story. This
apparatus attracted the notice of many strangers, who were astonished
at its effect. He here represents it as a proper speaking-trumpet,
and adds, that it excited much surprise, on account of the uncommon
strength which it gave to the voice. For this reason he was very
desirous of trying to what distance words could be distinctly conveyed
by such a tube; and an opportunity occurred of doing this the same
year that he wrote his Phonurgia. From a convent, situated on the top
of a mountain, he assembled twelve hundred persons to divine service,
at the distance of from two to five Italian miles, and read the Litany
through it. Soon after, the emperor caused a tube to be made according
to Kircher’s description, by which, without elevating the voice, he
could be understood from Ebersdorf to Neugebeu. But though Kircher came
so near to the invention of the speaking-trumpet, it does not appear
certain by his works that he attempted or constructed it before Sir
Samuel Morland. I shall now examine the evidences he adduces in his

The most important of these is Schott, because he published his Magia
Naturalis[238] in 1657, before the invention of Sir Samuel Morland.
All that is to be found in this work, however, relates alone to the
ear-trumpet, a figure of which is added from the Musurgia; but we
learn, with certainty, that Kircher then had the before-mentioned
funnel or tube in his apartment. It is also not improbable that he
had tried to answer the porter from his apartment, and that he had
thereby remarked that the voice was strengthened; for it is not proved
by Schott that he at that time was acquainted with and had in his
possession a portable speaking-trumpet.

Another author by whom Kircher endeavours to support his claim is
Harsdorfer; who, however, speaks only of tubes to be closely applied
to the mouth and to the ear, and who refers to the Musurgia, without
mentioning the real speaking-trumpet, though the second part of his
Mathematical Recreations was first printed in 1677, and the third
in 1692. Besides these testimonies, Kircher quotes also Eschinard
concerning sound[239]. With that work I am not acquainted; but as the
information it contains is taken from the Musurgia, it is of as little
importance as that of Derham[240], who refuses the invention to his
countryman, and gives it to Kircher. When I unite all the evidence in
favour of Kircher, it appears to be certain that he made known and
employed the ear-trumpet earlier than the portable speaking-trumpet;
that he, however, approached very near to the invention of the latter,
but did not cause one to be constructed before Sir Samuel Morland, to
whom the honour belongs of having first brought it to that state as to
be of real use. Such, at least, is the manner in which this dispute is
decided by the Jesuit De Lanis[241].

When Morland’s invention was made known in France, it was pretended
that Salar, an Augustine monk, had seven or eight years before caused
such tubes or trumpets to be made, in order to strengthen the voice of
a weak bass-singer; but he himself acknowledges that he never had an
idea of speaking with them at a distance[242].

This instrument was soon made for sale at Nuremberg in Germany,
particularly by that well-known artist Grundler, mentioned by Becher,
who imagined that two persons, by means of a speaking-trumpet and an
ear-trumpet, could converse together at a great distance, without any
one in the neighbourhood, or in the intermediate space, hearing what
they said.

Of those who employed their ingenuity in improving this instrument
I shall mention the following. Cassegrain, known on account of
his optical instruments, published some hints for that purpose in
1672[243]; as did Sturm[244], Conyers[245], Hase and others afterwards.
The last who investigated the theory of the speaking-trumpet was
Lambert[246]; according to whose ideas the figure of a shortened
cone, if not the best, is at least as good as any other that might be

[It would appear, however, from the experiments of Hassenfratz (Journ.
de Phys., t. xxvi.) that neither the shape of the instrument nor the
material of which it is composed is of much consequence. He ascertained
the power of the trumpet by fixing a small watch in the mouth-piece,
and observing the distance at which the beats ceased to be audible,
and thus found that the effects were precisely the same with a trumpet
of tinned iron, whether used in its naked form, or tightly bound round
with linen to prevent vibration, or when lined with woollen cloth
whereby reflexion was entirely prevented; he also found that the range
of a cylindrical trumpet was as great as that of a conical one.

Leslie supposes the effect of the trumpet to be owing to the more
condensed and vigorous impulsion given to the air from its lateral
flow being checked. He observes, “that the tube, by its length and
narrowness, detains the efflux of air, and has the same effect as if
it diminished the volubility of that fluid, or increased its density.
The organs of articulation strike with concentrated force, and the
pulses, so vigorously thus excited, are, from the reflected form of the
aperture, finally enabled to escape and to spread themselves along the


[224] Goguet. i. p. 326.

[225] Plin. lib. xvi. c. 38, p. 32.

[226] Septalii Comm. in Aristotelis Problem. Lugd. 1632, fol. p. 206.
There is also a passage to the same purpose in Seneca, Epist. 108.

[227] See Anciennes Relations des Indes et de la Chine, de deux
voyageurs Mahometans, qui y allèrent dans le neuvième siècle. Par
Renaudot. Paris, 1718, 8vo, p. 25.

[228] Ars magna lucis et umbræ. Amst. 1671, fol. p. 102. Kircher
repeats this account with some new circumstances in his Phonurgia, p.

[229] Morhofii Diss. de vitro per vocis sonum rupto, in
Dissertationibus Academicis. Hamburgi 1669, 4to, p. 381.

[230] Morhof quotes the following passage:--“With this brazen horn,
constructed with wonderful art, Alexander the Great called together
his army at the distance of sixty miles. On account of its inestimable
workmanship and monstrous size, it was under the management of sixty
men. Many kinds of sonorous metals were combined in the composition of

[231] “Among many things which the celebrated D’Alance caused to be
made for this purpose, the trumpet ascribed to Alexander, and with
which he called together his army, ought not to be omitted. As the
figure of it was represented in an old manuscript in the Vatican
library, and had been described by Bettini, that learned man was
desirous of trying whether it could be proved by experience, and the
attempt succeeded; for that kind of trumpet, if it does not excel,
seems undoubtedly to equal the other instruments constructed for that

[232] Bettini Apiaria univ. Philosophiæ Mathemat. Bonon. 1642, fol. p.

[233] Magia Natural. lib. xx. c. 5.

[234] “To communicate anything to one’s friends by means of a tube.
This can be done with a tube made of earthenware, though one of lead is
better, or of any other substance, but very close, that the voice may
not be weakened; for whatever you speak at the one end, the words issue
perfect and entire as from the mouth of the speaker, and are conveyed
to the ears of the other, which, in my opinion, may be done for some
miles. The voice, neither broken nor dispersed, is carried entire to
the greatest distance. We tried it at the distance of two hundred
paces, not having convenience for a greater, and the words were heard
as clearly and distinctly as if they had come from the mouth of the
speaker.”--Lib. xvi. c. 12.

[235] Mathematische Erquickstunden, i. p. 243.

[236] An Account of the Speaking-trumpet, as it hath been contrived and
published by Sir Samuel Morland, knight and baronet, together with its
use both at sea and land. London, 1671. An extract from it may be seen
in the Phil. Trans., No. 78, p. 3056.

[237] Among the antiquities of Syracuse in Sicily, one beholds with
wonder chambers and galleries which are hewn out in the solid rock,
and particularly a grotto, from which arises a winding passage, that
becomes upwards still narrower. Ancient tradition says that this was a
prison, which the celebrated tyrant Dionysius caused to be built for
state prisoners, that in an apartment of his palace, which stood over
the narrow end of the passage, he might hear everything the prisoners
said, or what plots they formed against him. This grotto therefore
is called _Orechio di Dionysio_, or _la grotta della favella_; _auris
Dionysii_, the ear of Dionysius. Many travellers and others formerly
imagined that this passage was an ingenious imitation of that part of
the human ear called the helix, which was first remarked by Alcmaon
the Pythagorean. This is the account given by Kircher, who was there
in the year 1638. See his Phonurgia (published 1673), p. 82, where
there is a figure of it. In later times, however, this grotto has
been examined with more skill and acuteness by people less subject to
prejudice, and since that period the supposed wonder has been lessened.
The rock consists of limestone, at least I conclude so from what is
said by Brydone, who found it everywhere full of cracks and fissures.
The stones of which Syracuse was built were hewn from the rock; and
hence have been formed these chambers or openings, like those found in
the neighbourhood of other ancient and modern cities, such as Rome,
Naples, and Maestricht. Many of these, in the course of time, have been
employed as prisons, or used as burying-vaults. The above-mentioned
passage, which has excited so much wonder, is not properly spiral, and
is of such a figure that it may have been produced either by accident
or through the whim of the workmen employed to hew out the stones.
The double echo which Kircher assures us he heard in the grotto was
not remarked by Schott, who was there in 1646, as he expressly says,
in opposition to his brother jesuit, in his Magia Naturalis. In the
accounts still remaining of Dionysius we find mention of an astonishing
prison, which is well described by Cicero in his fifth oration against
Verres: “You have all heard of,” says he, “and most of you know the
prison (lautumias) of Syracuse. It is an immense and magnificent work,
executed by kings and tyrants; the whole is sunk to a wonderful depth
in the rock, and has been entirely cut out by the labour of many
hands. No place so secured against an escape; no place so enclosed
on all sides; no place so safe for confining prisoners can be either
planned out or constructed.” But it cannot be proved, and according to
D’Orville’s opinion it is improbable, that this grotto was the work of
that tyrant, who, as Plutarch tells us in his Life of Dion, employed
very different means to learn the intention of dangerous persons. “The
common people attacked the tyrant’s friends, and seized those whom they
called his emissaries (προσαγώγιδας), worthless men, detested by the
gods. These went about the city, mixed with the citizens, and, prying
into everything, gave an account to the tyrant of what they thought and
what expressions they made use of.” It was merely for its strength, and
the labour employed in building it, and not on account of its ingenious
construction, that the ancients admired the prison of the tyrant. At
present the upper end of the winding passage is closed up; and it is
so narrow, that some years ago the captain of an English vessel found
great difficulty to clamber up it. It cannot, however, be denied that
this grotto may have been used for the service ascribed to it; and I
can readily believe that it may have led Kircher to the invention of
the ear-trumpet. See the Travels of P. de la Valle, Ray, and Brydone;
Delle antiche Siracuse, da G. Bonanni, &c., 2 vols. fol. Palermo 1717.
Dan. Bartolo del suono e de’ tremori harmonici, Bonon. 1680, who
examined this grotto as a naturalist. D’Orville, Sicula. Amst. 1764,
pp. 182, 194.

[238] This machine was invented by Kircher, in imitation of the ear
of Dionysius; nor is it a vain and empty speculation, for the machine
produces an infallible effect. Kircher caused to be made at Rome, of
tin plate, a very large and straight tube, like a funnel, and placed it
in an apartment next to his chamber, in such a manner that the large
end projected into the garden of the college, and the less entered his
chamber. When the porter of the college had occasion to call him to the
gate, that he might not be obliged always to go up stairs, or to bawl
out, he went to the broad end of the funnel, and communicated what he
wished to Kircher.--Schotti Magia Universalis, ii. p. 156.

[239] Eschinardi Discursus de Sono Pneumatico, p. 10.

[240] Physico-theology.

[241] Our Kircher, in his Phonurgia, justly claims that invention,
as it was several years ago exhibited by him in the Jesuits’ college
at Rome, and an account of it printed. That this is true I myself
was an eye-witness; though I must acknowledge that no one before the
above-mentioned Englishman ever applied this speaking instrument, at
least in so perfect a manner, to that use for which it was afterwards
employed.--Magisterium Naturæ et Artis. Brixiæ, 1684-92, fol. ii.
p. 436.

[242] Journal des Sçavans, tome iii.

[243] Ibid. p. 131.

[244] J. A. Sturm, Collegium Experimentale, ii. p. 146.

[245] Philosophical Transactions.

[246] Mémoires de l’Acad. des Sciences à Berlin, 1763, p. 97.

[247] Experimental Inquiry into the Nature, &c. of Heat, p. 225.


To discover the excellence of the ananas required no great skill; it
recommended itself so much by its taste, smell, and colour, as to
attract the notice of the first Europeans who visited Brazil; and we
find it praised in the earliest writers on America, who give an account
of it, as well as of tobacco, maize, and other productions of the new

Gonçalo Hernandez de Oviedo is, as far as I know, the first person who
described and delineated the ananas. This author was born at Madrid in
1478, went to America in 1513, and in 1535 was governor of St. Domingo.
In the last-mentioned year his General History of America was printed
at Seville. At that time three kinds were known, which in America were
called _yayama_, _boniama_, and _yayagua_, but by the Spaniards _pinas_.
Attempts had then been made to send the fruit to Spain by pulling it
before it was ripe; but it had always become spoilt in the course of
the voyage. Oviedo had tried also to send slips or young shoots to
Europe, but these also died by the way. He however entertained hopes
that means would be found to rear the ananas in Spain, in which maize
or Turkish corn had been brought to maturity, provided it could be
transported with sufficient expedition[248].

Geronimo Benzono, a Milanese, who resided in Mexico from 1541 to 1555,
caused, on his return, his History of the New World to be printed, for
the first time, at Venice in 1568. In this work he highly extols the
pinas, and says he believes that no fruit on the earth can be more
pleasant; sick persons, who loathed all other food, might relish it.

After him, Andrew Thevet, a French monk, who was in Brazil from 1555 to
1556, described and delineated this plant under the name of _nanas_.
The art of preserving the fruit with sugar was at that time known[249].

John de Lery, who went to Brazil in 1557 as chaplain to a Huguenot
colony, in the account of his voyage first used the word _ananas_,
which probably took its rise from the _nanas_ of Thevet[250].

In the middle of the sixteenth century Franc. Hernandes, a naturalist,
undertook an expensive, and almost useless voyage to Mexico. It cost
Philip II. king of Spain 60,000 ducats, and the observations he
collected, for which, at the time Acosta was in America, 1200 figures
were ready, were never completely printed; and in what are printed
one can scarcely distinguish those of the original author from the
additions of strangers. He has, however, given a somewhat better figure
of the ananas, which he calls _matzatli_ or _pinea Indica_[251].

Christopher Acosto, in his Treatise of the drugs and medicines of the
East Indies, printed in 1578, calls this plant the ananas. He says
it was brought from Santa Cruz to the West Indies, and that it was
afterwards transplanted to the East Indies and China, where it was at
that time common. The latter part of this account is confirmed by J.
Hugo de Linschotten, who was in the East Indies from 1594 to 1595[252].

Attempts were very early made, as Oviedo assures us, to transplant
the ananas into Europe; and as in the beginning of the seventeenth
century it was reckoned among the marks of royal magnificence to have
orange-trees in expensive hot-houses, it was hoped that this fruit
could be brought to maturity also in the artificial climate of these
buildings. These attempts, however, were everywhere unsuccessful;
no fruit was produced, or it did not ripen, because, perhaps, this
favourite exotic was treated with too much care. It is not certainly
known who in Europe first had the pleasure of seeing ananas ripen in
his garden; but it appears that several enjoyed that satisfaction at
the same time in the beginning of the last century.

The German gardens in which the ananas was first brought to maturity
appear to have been the following. First, that of Baron de Munchausen,
at Schwobber, not far from Hameln, which on account of the botanical
knowledge of its proprietor, and the abundance of plants it contains,
is well-known to all those who are fond of botany. In the beginning
of the last century it belonged to Otto de Munchausen, who, perhaps,
was the first person who erected large buildings for the express
purpose of raising that fruit, and who had the noble satisfaction of
making known their advantageous construction. With this view he sent a
description and plan of his ananas-houses to J. Christopher Volkamer,
a merchant of Nuremberg, who inserted them in his continuation of
the Nuremberg Hesperides, printed there in 1714, and by these means
rendered the attainment of this fruit common. This Baron de Munchausen
is the same who has been celebrated by Leibnitz: “All the travellers
in the world,” says that great man, “could not have given us, by their
relations, what we are indebted for to a gentleman of this country,
who cultivates with success the ananas, three leagues from Hanover,
almost on the banks of the Weser, and who has found out the method
of multiplying them, so that we may, perhaps, have them one day as
plentiful, of our own growth, as the Portuguese oranges, though there
will, in all appearance, be some deficiency in the taste[253].” As
the Baron Munchausen’s garden at Schwobber was in the absence of the
proprietor, as Volkamer says, under the care of J. F. Berner, canon of
the cathedral of St. Boniface, he probably may have had some share in
rendering this service to horticulture.

This fruit was produced also in the garden of Dr. Volkamer at
Nuremberg, and in that of Dr. F. Kaltschmid at Breslau, almost about
the same time. The latter was so fortunate as to bring it to maturity
so early as 1702, and he sent some of it then for the first time to
the imperial court. At Frankfort on the Maine it was first produced in
1702[254]; and at Cassel in 1715, by the skill of Wurstorfs, the head

Holland procured the first ripe ananas from the garden of De la Court,
whom Miller calls Le Cour, in the neighbourhood of Leyden. As a great
many plants were sold out of this garden to foreigners, and as the
English had theirs first from it, many are of opinion that Europe is
indebted for the first possession of this fruit to De la Court, and his
gardener William de Vinck[255].

I shall here take occasion to mention a circumstance which belongs
also to the history of gardening. Before the cultivation of the ananas
was introduced, the Dutch had begun to employ tanner’s bark for making
forcing-beds. From them the English learned this improvement, and the
first forcing-beds in England were made at Blackheath in Kent, in 1688,
and employed for rearing orange-trees; but about the year 1719, much
later than in Holland, ananas became more common, and forcing-beds were
in much greater use[256].

This plant, the history of which I have given, received from
Plumier[257], who first distinguished its characters, the name of
_Bromelia_[258], after the Swedish naturalist, whose remembrance
deserves to be here revived. Olof Bromelius was born in 1639, at
Oerebro, where his father carried on trade. He studied physic at
Upsal, disputed there in 1667 de Pleuritide, and in 1668 taught botany
at Stockholm. In 1672 he was physician to the embassy to England,
and afterwards to that to Holland, where, in 1673, he received the
degree of doctor at Leyden, and wrote a dissertation De Lumbricis. On
his return to his native country, in 1674, he became a member of the
college of physicians at Stockholm; but in 1691 he was city physician
to Gottenburg, and provincial physician in Elsburg and Bahuslan, in
which situation he died in the year 1705. His botanical writings are
Lupologia, and Chloris Gothica[259]. His son, Magnus von Bromel, is the
author of Lithographia Suecana.

[Within the few last years, large numbers of pine-apples have been
imported into this country from the Bahamas, where they are grown as
turnips are grown in our fields. They are sold comparatively speaking
at an extremely moderate price, and those that have become somewhat
spoilt by the long carriage are hawked about the streets of London
at a halfpenny or penny per slice. They are however vastly inferior
in flavour to the pines cultivated in our hot-houses, but it is to
be expected, from the considerable demand, that greater care will be
bestowed on their cultivation, and the markets of London be regularly
supplied with a much improved kind.]


[248] La Historia General de las Indias. Sevilla, 1535, fol. lib. xvii.
c. 13. [An earlier notice of the pine-apple had been given by Andræa
Navagero in his letter to Rannusio, dated from Seville, May 12, 1526.
He says, “I have also seen a most beautiful fruit, the name of which
I do not recollect: I have eaten of it, for it was imported fresh. It
has the taste of the quince, together with that of the peach, with some
resemblance also of the melon: it is fragrant, and is truly of most
delicious flavour.”--Lettere di xiii Huomini Illustri.]

[249] Les Singularitez de la France Antarctique, autrement nommée
Amerique. Par André Thevet. Anvers, 1558.

[250] Voyage faict en la terre du Brésil, autrement dite Amerique. Par
J. de Lery. Genève, 1580, 8vo, p. 188.

[251] Rerum Med. novæ Hispaniæ Thesaurus. Rome, 1651. fol.

[252] The accounts given by Acosta and Linschotten may be seen in
Bauhini Histor. Plantarum, iii. p. 95. Kircher in his China Illustrata
says, “That fruit which the Americans and people of the East Indies,
among whom it is common, call the ananas, and which grows also in
great abundance in the provinces of Quantung, Chiamsi, and Fokien, is
supposed to have been brought from Peru to China.”

[253] See Leibnitz, Nouveaux Essais sur l’Entendement Humain (Œuv.
Phil.), p. 256, Amst. 1765, 4to.

[254] Lersner, Chronik, ii. p. 824.

[255] Miller’s Gardener’s Dictionary, i. p. 132. Lueder, Wartung der
Küchengewächse. Lubeck, 1780, 8vo, p. 248.

[256] Miller, ii. p. 824. Lueder, p. 39. That putrid bark forms
an excellent manure, had been before remarked by Lauremberg, in
Horticultura, p. 52.

[257] Nova Plantarum Americanarum Genera. Parisiis 1708, 4to, p. 46.

[258] [The plants producing the pine-apple have been separated by Prof.
Lindley under the name _Ananassa_ from the allied genus _Bromelia_,
after which the Natural Order BROMELIACEÆ takes its name.]

[259] Halleri Bibl. Botan. i. p. 640.


If we give this name to any fluid, which when written with, will remain
invisible till after a certain operation, such liquids were known in
very early periods. Among the methods, with which Ovid teaches young
women to deceive their guardians, when they write to their lovers[260],
he mentions that of writing with new milk, and of making the writing
legible by coal-dust or soot. Ausonius proposes the same means to
Paulinus[261]; but his commentators seem not to have fully understood
his meaning; for _favilla_ is not to be explained by _favilla non
modice calida_, as Vinetus has explained it, but by _fuligo_. That
word is often employed by the poets in the same sense. As a proof of
it, Columella, speaking of the method, not altogether ineffectual,
and even still used, of preserving plants from insects by soot, calls
it _nigra favilla_; and afterwards, when mentioning the same method,
free from poetical fetters, he says _fuliginem quæ supra focos tectis
inhæret_[262]. It may be easily perceived, that instead of milk any
other colourless and glutinous juice might be employed, as it would
equally hold fast the black powder strewed over it. Pliny, therefore,
recommends the milky sap of certain plants for the like purpose[263].

There are several metallic solutions perfectly colourless, or, at
least, without any strong tint, which being used for writing, the
letters will not appear until the paper be washed over with another
colourless solution, or exposed to the vapour of it; but among all
these there is none which excites more astonishment, than that
which consists of a solution of lead in acetic acid, and which by
sulphuretted hydrogen gas becomes black, even at a considerable
distance. This ink, which may be employed by conjurers, proves the
subtlety of this gas, and the porosity of bodies; as the change or
colouring takes place, even when the writing is placed on the other
side of a thin wall.

This effect presented itself perhaps accidentally to some chemist; but
the discovery is not of great antiquity. Wecker, who compiled his book
De Secretis from Porta, Cardan, and several old writers, and printed it
for the first time in 1582, and gave a third edition in 1592, must have
been unacquainted with it; else he certainly would not have omitted it
in the fourteenth book, where he mentions all the methods of secret
writing. Neither would it have been unnoticed by Caneparius, whose book
De Atramentis was printed at Venice, for the first time, in 1619.

The first person who, as far as I have been able to learn, gave a
receipt for preparing this ink, was Peter Borel, in Historiarum et
Observationum Medico-physic. Centuriæ quatuor. In this work, which
was printed for the first time in 1653, and a second time in 1657, at
Paris, and of which there were several editions afterwards, the author
calls it a magnetic water, which acts at a distance[264]. After the
occult qualities of the schoolmen were exploded, it was customary to
ascribe phænomena, the causes of which were unknown, and particularly
those the causes of which seemed to operate without any visible agency,
to magnetic effluvia; as the tourmaline was at first considered to be
a kind of magnet. Others concealed their ignorance under what they
called sympathy, and in latter times attraction and electricity have
been employed for the like purpose. Borel, who made it his business
to collect new observations that were kept secret, learned the method
of preparing this magnetic water from an ingenious apothecary of
Montpelier, and in return taught him some other secrets. Otto Tachen,
a German chemist[265], afterwards thought of the same experiment,
which he explains much better, without the assistance of magnetism
or sympathy. The receipt for making these liquids, under the name of
sympathetic ink, I find first given by Le Mort[266], and that name has
been still retained[267].

Another remarkable kind of sympathetic ink is that prepared from
cobalt, the writing of which disappears in the cold, but appears again
of a beautiful green colour, as often as one chooses, after being
exposed to a moderate degree of heat.

The invention of this ink is generally ascribed to a Frenchman named
Hellot. He was, indeed, the first person who, after trying experiments
with it, made it publicly known, but he was not the inventor; and he
himself acknowledges that a German artist of Stolberg first showed him
a reddish salt, which, when exposed to heat, became blue, and which he
assured him was made out of Schneeberg cobalt, with aqua regia[268].
This account induced Hellot to prepare salts and ink from various
minerals impregnated with cobalt; but A. Gesner proved, long after,
that this ink is produced by cobalt only, and not by marcasite[269].

When Hellot’s experiments were made known in Germany, it was affirmed
that Professor H. F. Teichmeyer, at Jena, had prepared the same ink
six years before, and shown it to his scholars, in the course of his
lectures, under the name of sympathetic ink[270]. It appears, however,
that it was invented, even before Teichmeyer, in the beginning of the
last century by a German lady. This is confirmed by Pot, who says that
the authoress of a book printed in 1705, which he quotes under the
unintelligible title of D. J. W. in clave, had given a proper receipt
for preparing the above-mentioned red salt, and the ink produced by
it[271]. If it be true that Theophrastus Paracelsus, by means of this
invention, could represent a garden in winter, it must be undoubtedly

[In consequence of the progress of modern chemistry and the discovery
of a vast number of new chemical compounds, sympathetic inks may be
made in an almost endless number and variety. The principal may be
classed in the following manner:--1, _such as when dried upon paper
being invisible, on moistening with another liquid become again
evident_: of this kind there are a vast number; among which we may
mention a solution of a soluble salt of lead, or bismuth, for writing,
and a solution of sulphuretted hydrogen for washing over; the writing
then appears black; or green vitriol for writing and prussiate of
potash for washing over, when the writing becomes blue[273]; 2, _such
as are rendered evident by being sifted over with some powder_, as
the milk with soot described above; 3, _those which become visible
by heat_, such as characters in dilute sulphuric acid, lemon-juice,
solutions of the nitrate and chloride of cobalt, and of chloride of
copper; the two former become black or brown, the latter are rendered
green, the colouring disappearing subsequently when allowed to cool
in a moist place. Amusing pictures are sometimes made with these
sympathetic inks, particularly those composed of cobalt; for if a
landscape be drawn to represent winter, the vegetation being covered
with a solution of cobalt, on holding the paper to the fire, all those
portions covered with the solution appear of a bright green, and thus
completely change the character of the scene.]


[260] De Arte Amandi, lib. iii. v. 629.

[261] Ausonii Epist. xxiii. v. 21. The poet afterwards teaches other
methods of secret writing, and Gellius, lib. xvii. cap. 9, mentions the

[262] Colum. De Re Rust. x. 354. and xi. 3, 60.

[263] Plin. lib. xxvi. cap. 8. p. 400.

[264] The sixth observation of the second century is as follows:
_Magnetic waters which act at a distance_. An astonishing effect,
indeed, is produced by the contest of the following waters, which
are thus made. Let quick-lime be quenched in common water, and while
quenching, let some orpiment be added to it (this however ought to
be done by placing warm ashes under it for a whole day), and let the
liquor be filtered, and preserved in a glass bottle well corked. Then
boil litharge of gold well pounded, for half an hour with vinegar in
a brass vessel, and filter the whole through paper, and preserve it
also in a bottle closely corked. If you write any thing with this last
water with a clean pen, the writing will be invisible when dry; but if
it be washed over with the first water it will become instantly black.
In this, however, there is nothing astonishing; but this is wonderful,
that though sheets of paper without number, and even a board be placed
between the invisible writing and the second liquid, it will have the
same effect, and turn the writing black, penetrating the wood and
paper without leaving any traces of its action, which is certainly
surprising; but a fetid smell, occasioned by the mutual action of the
liquids, deters many from making the experiment. I am, however, of
opinion, that I could improve this secret by a more refined chemical
preparation, so that it should perform its effect through a wall. This
secret I received, in exchange for others, from J. Brosson, a learned
and ingenious apothecary of Montpelier.

[265] Tachenii Hippocraticæ Medicinæ Clavis, p. 236. 1669.

[266] Collectanea Chymica Leydensia, edidit Morley. Lugd. Bat. 1684,
4to, p. 97.

[267] For an account of various kinds of secret writing see Halle,
Magie oder Zauberkräfte der Natur. Berlin, 1783, 8vo, v. i. p. 138.

[268] Hist. et Mém. de l’Acad. des Sciences à Paris, 1737, pp. 101 and

[269] Historia Cadmiæ fossilis, sive Cobalti. Berl. 1744.

[270] This account, together with Teichmeyer’s receipt for preparing
it, may be found in Commercium Litterarium Norimbergense, 1737, p. 91.

[271] “Copiosius minera bismuthi tam ab aqua forti quam ab aqua
regia dissolvitur, restante pulvere albo corroso; solutio in aqua
forti roseum colorem sistit, quæ si sali in aqua soluto, secundum
præscriptum D. J. W. in clave, affundatur, abstrahatur, ex residuo
extrahitur sal roseum, quod pulverisari et cum spiritu vini extrahi
potest: adeoque hæc autrix jam anno 1705 publice totum processum et
fundamentum sic dicti atramenti sympathetici, quod a calore viridescit,
evulgavit.”--Pot, Observ. Chym. collectio prima. Berolini, 1739, p. 163.

[272] So thinks Gesner in Selecta Physico-œconomica, or Sammlung von
allerhand zur Naturgeschichte gehörigen Begebenheiten. Stutgard, vii.
p. 22.


  [_Inks formed of solutions     _and washed with solutions
   of the following salts_,                  of_               _become_
  Muriate of antimony,             tincture of galls,          yellow.
  Green vitriol,                   tincture of galls,          black.
  Nitrate of cobalt,               oxalic acid,                blue.
  Subacetate of lead,              hydriodic acid,             yellow.
  Arseniate of potash,             nitrate of copper,          green.
  Nitrate of copper,               prussiate of potash,        brown.
  Solution of gold,                muriate of tin,             purple.
  Perchloride of mercury,          hydrochlorate of tin,       black.]


The first divers learned their art by early and adventurous experience,
in trying to continue under water as long as possible without
breathing; and, indeed, it must be allowed that some of them carried it
to very great perfection. This art, however, excites little surprise;
for, like running, throwing, and other bodily dexterities, it requires
only practice; but it is certain that those nations called by us
uncultivated and savage excel in it the Europeans[274], who, through
refinement and luxury, have become more delicate, and less fit for such
laborious exercises.

In remote ages, divers were kept in ships to assist in raising
anchors[275], and goods thrown overboard in times of danger[276]; and,
by the laws of the Rhodians, they were allowed a share of the wreck,
proportioned to the depth to which they had gone in search of it[277].
In war, they were often employed to destroy the works and ships of the
enemy. When Alexander was besieging Tyre, divers swam off from the
city, under water, to a great distance, and with long hooks tore to
pieces the mole with which the besiegers were endeavouring to block up
the harbour[278]. The pearls of the Greek and Roman ladies were fished
up by divers at the great hazard of their lives; and by the like means
are procured at present those which are purchased as ornaments by our

I do not know whether observations have ever been collected respecting
the time that divers can continue under water. Anatomists once believed
that persons in whom the oval opening of the heart (_foramen ovale_)
was not closed up, could live longer than others without breathing, and
could therefore be expert divers. Haller[279], however, and others,
have controverted this opinion; as people who had that opening have
been soon suffocated, and as animals which have it not can live a long
time under water: besides, when that opening is perceptible in grown
persons, it is so small as not to be sufficient for that purpose,
especially as the _ductus arteriosus_ is scarcely ever found open.

The divers of Astracan, employed in the fishery there, can remain only
seven minutes under water[280]. The divers in Holland seem to have
been more expert. An observer, during the time they were under water,
was obliged to breathe at least ten times[281]. Those who collect
pearl-shells in the East Indies can remain under water a quarter of
an hour, though some are of opinion that it is possible to continue
longer; and Mersenne mentions a diver, named John Barrinus, who could
dive under water for six hours[282]. How far this may be true I shall
leave others to judge.

[The various statements regarding the length of time during which
divers can remain under water, unaided by apparatus for renewing the
supply of atmospheric air, are not borne out by the experience of those
who have carefully observed and noted these phænomena. The average time
which human beings can remain in the water under these conditions, is
one and a half or two minutes[283]; extraordinary cases are attested
where five and even six minutes have elapsed, but these are exceedingly
rare instances and far beyond the average; no instance of a longer
time than this is recorded on credible authority. Some interesting
remarks on this point were made not long since by a member of the
Asiatic Society to Dr. Faraday. The lungs in their natural state are
charged with a large quantity of impure air; this being a portion of
the carbonic acid gas which is formed during respiration, but which,
after each expiration, remains lodged in the involved passages of the
pulmonary tubes. By breathing hard for a short time, as a person does
after violent exercise, this impure air is expelled, and its place is
supplied by pure atmospheric air, by which a person will be enabled to
hold his breath much longer than without such precaution. Dr. Faraday
states, that although he could only hold his breath, after breathing in
the ordinary way, for about three-fourths of a minute, and that with
great difficulty, he felt no inconvenience, after making eight or ten
forced respirations to clear the lungs, until the mouth and nostrils
had been closed more than a minute and a half; and that he continued
to hold breath to the end of the second minute. A knowledge of this
fact may enable a diver to remain under water at least twice as long as
he otherwise could do. It is suggested that possibly the exertion of
swimming may have the effect of occasioning the lungs to be cleared, so
that persons accustomed to diving may unconsciously avail themselves of
this preparatory measure.]

It is certain, however, that men began very early to contrive means
for supplying divers with air under the water, and of thereby enabling
them to remain under it much longer. For this purpose the diving-bell,
_campana urinatoria_, was invented. Those who had no idea of this
machine, might have easily been led to it by the following experiment.
If a drinking-glass inverted be immersed in water, in such a manner
that the surface of the water may rise equally around the edge of the
glass, it will be found that the glass does not become filled with
water, even when pressed down to the greatest depth; for where there
is air no other body can enter, and by the above precaution the air
cannot be expelled by the water. In like manner, if a bell of metal be
constructed under which the diver can stand on a stool suspended from
it so that the edge of the bell may reach to about his knee, the upper
part of his body will be secured from water, and he can, even at the
bottom of the sea, breathe the air enclosed in the bell.

The invention of this bell is generally assigned to the sixteenth
century, and I am of opinion that it was little known before that
period. We read, however, that even in the time of Aristotle divers
used a kind of kettle to enable them to continue longer under water;
but the manner in which it was employed is not clearly described.

The oldest information we have respecting the use of the diving-bell
in Europe is that of John Taisnier, quoted by Schott[284]. The former,
who was born at Hainault in 1509, had a place at court under Charles
V., whom he attended on his voyage to Africa. He relates in what manner
he saw at Toledo, in the presence of the emperor and several thousand
spectators, two Greeks let themselves down under water, in a large
inverted kettle, with a burning light, and rise up again without being
wet. It appears that this art was then new to the emperor and the
Spaniards, and that the Greeks were induced to make the experiment in
order to prove the possibility of it. After this period the use of the
diving-bell seems to have become still better known. It is described
more than once in the works of Lord Bacon, who explains its effects,
and remarks that it was invented to facilitate labour under the

In the latter part of the seventeenth century the diving-bell was
sometimes employed in great undertakings. When the English, in the year
1588, dispersed the Spanish fleet called the Invincible Armada, part
of the ships went to the bottom near the Isle of Mull, on the western
coast of Scotland; and some of these, according to the account of the
Spanish prisoners, contained great riches. This information excited,
from time to time, the avarice of speculators, and gave rise to several
attempts to procure part of the lost treasure. In the year 1665, a
person was so fortunate as to bring up some cannon, which, however,
were not sufficient to defray the expenses. Of these attempts, and
the kind of diving-bell used, an account has been given by a Scotsman
named Sinclair[286]; but Paschius[287], Leupold[288] and others falsely
ascribe the invention of this machine to that learned man. He himself
does not lay claim to this honour; but says only, that he conversed
with the artist and measured the machine.

Some years after attempts of the like kind were renewed. William
Phipps, the son of a blacksmith, born in America in 1650, and who
had been brought up as a ship-carpenter at Boston, formed a project
for searching and unloading a rich Spanish ship sunk on the coast of
Hispaniola, and represented his plan in such a plausible manner,
that king Charles II. gave him a ship, and furnished him with every
thing necessary for the undertaking. He set sail in the year 1683;
but, being unsuccessful, returned again in great poverty, though with
a firm conviction of the possibility of his scheme. He endeavoured,
therefore, to procure another vessel from James II., who was then on
the throne; but as he failed in this, he tried to find the means of
executing his design by the support of private persons, and, according
to the prevailing practice, opened for that purpose a subscription.
At first he was laughed at; but at length the duke of Albemarle,
son of the celebrated General Monk, took part in it, and advanced a
considerable sum to enable him to make the necessary preparations for
a new voyage. Phipps soon collected the remainder; and in 1687 set
sail in a ship of two hundred tons burthen to try his fortune once
more, having previously engaged to divide the profit according to the
twenty shares of which the subscription consisted. At first, all his
labour proved fruitless; but at last, when his patience was almost
entirely exhausted, he was so lucky as to bring up, from the depth of
six or seven fathoms, so much treasure, that he returned to England
with the value of two hundred thousand pounds sterling. Of this sum he
himself got about sixteen, others say twenty thousand, and the duke
ninety thousand pounds. After he came back, some persons endeavoured
to persuade the king to seize both the ship and the cargo, under a
pretence that Phipps, when he solicited for his Majesty’s permission,
had not given accurate information respecting the business. But the
king answered, with much greatness of mind, that he knew Phipps to be
an honest man, and that he and his friends should share the whole among
them, had he returned with double the value. His Majesty even conferred
upon him the honour of knighthood, to show how much he was satisfied
with his conduct. This Phipps was afterwards high sheriff of New
England, and died at London, greatly respected, in 1693. This affair
was attended with such good consequences to the duke of Albemarle, that
he obtained from the king the governorship of Jamaica, in order to try
his fortune with other ships sunk in that neighbourhood. But whether it
was that the gold had been already taken from the one before-mentioned,
or that, when the vessel went to pieces, the sea had dispersed the
cargo, it is certain that nothing further was found worth the labour of
searching for[289].

In England, however, several companies were formed, and obtained
exclusive privileges of fishing up goods on certain coasts, by means
of divers. The most considerable of these was that which, in 1688,
tried its success at the Isle of Mull, and at the head of which was
the earl of Argyle. The divers went down to the depth of sixty feet
under water, remained there sometimes a whole hour, and brought up gold
chains, money, and other articles, which, however, when collected,
were of very little importance[290]. Without giving more examples of
the use of the diving-bell, I shall now mention some of those who,
in later times, have endeavoured to improve it. That this machine
was very little known in the first half of the sixteenth century,
I conclude from the following circumstance. To the oldest edition
of Vegetius on the art of war, there are added, by the editor, some
figures, of which no explanation is given in the book. Among these is
represented a method of catching fish with the hands, at the bottom of
the sea. The apparatus for this purpose consists of a cap, which is
fitted so closely to the head of the diver that no water can make its
way between; and from the cap there ascends a long leather pipe, the
opening of which floats on the surface of the water. Had the person
who drew these figures been acquainted with the diving-bell, he would
certainly have delineated it rather than this useless apparatus[291].
Of the old figures of a diving machine, that which approaches nearest
to the diving-bell is in a book on fortification, by Lorini; who
describes a square box bound round with iron, which is furnished with
windows, and has a stool affixed to it for the diver. This more
ingenious contrivance appears, however, to be older than that Italian;
at least he does not pretend to be the inventor of it[292].

In the year 1617, Francis Kessler gave a description of his
water-armour[293], intended also for diving, but which cannot really
be used for that purpose[294]. In the year 1671, Witsen taught, in a
better manner than any of his predecessors, the construction and use of
the diving-bell[295]; but he is much mistaken when he says that it was
invented at Amsterdam. In 1679 appeared, for the first time, Borelli’s
well-known work De Motu Animalium[296], in which he not only described
the diving-bell, but also proposed another, the impracticability of
which was shown by James Bernoulli[297]. When Sturm published his
Collegium Curiosum, in 1678, he proposed some hints for the improvement
of this machine, on which remarks were made in the Journal des Sçavans
(Jan. 1678). None, however, have carried their researches further for
this purpose than Dr. Halley, and Triewald, a Swede.

The bell which Edmund Halley, secretary to the Royal Society, caused
to be made, was three feet broad at the top, five feet at the bottom,
and eight feet in height; forming a cavity of sixty-three cubic
feet. It was covered with lead; and was so heavy that it sunk to the
bottom, even when entirely empty. Around the lower edge, weights were
disposed in such a manner that it should always sink in a perpendicular
direction, and never remain in an oblique position. In the top was
fixed a piece of strong glass to admit the light from above, and
likewise a valve to give a passage to the air corrupted by the breath.
Around the whole circumference of the bottom was placed a seat, on
which the divers sat; and a stool, fixed to ropes, hung below, on which
they could stand in order to work. The whole machine was suspended
from a cross beam fastened to the mast of a ship, so that it could
be easily lowered down into the water and again drawn up. That the
bell might be supplied with fresh air under the water, large vessels
filled with air, and which had an opening below through which the water
compressed the included air, were let down by ropes. In the top of
these vessels were leather pipes, besmeared with oil, through which the
diver introduced air from the vessels into the bell; and as soon as a
vessel was emptied, it was drawn up, on a signal made by the diver,
and another let down. The foul air in the bell, being the warmest and
lightest, rose to the top of the machine, where it was suffered to
escape through the valve before-mentioned. By these means the bell
could be continually supplied with fresh air in such abundance, that
Halley, and four other persons, remained under water, at the depth of
ten fathoms, an hour and a half, without suffering the least injury,
and could, with equal security, have continued longer, or even as long
as they might have wished. This precaution, however, is necessary,
that the bell be let down at first very slowly, that the divers may be
gradually accustomed to inspire the compressed air; and at every twelve
fathoms the bell must be held fast, in order to expel the water which
has rushed in, by letting fresh air into it. By such apparatus, Halley
was enabled to make the bottom of the sea, within the circumference
of the bell, so dry that the sand or mud did not rise above his shoe.
Through the window, in the top, so much light was admitted, that when
the sea was still and the waves did not roll, he could see perfectly
well to read and write under the water. When the empty air-vessels were
drawn up, he sent up with them his orders, written with an iron spike
on a plate of lead, and could thus let those above know when he wished
to be removed with the bell to another place. In bad weather, and when
the sea was rough, it was as dark under the bell as at night; he then
kindled a light; but a burning candle consumed as much air as a man.
The only inconvenience of which Halley complained was, that, in going
down, he felt a pain in his ears, as if a sharp quill had been thrust
into them. This pain returned every time the bell was let down to a
greater depth, but soon went off again. A diver thought to prevent this
pain by putting chewed paper into both his ears; but the bits of paper
were forced in so far by the air, that a surgeon found great difficulty
to extract them.

Another improvement of the diving-bell was effected by the well-known
Triewald, a Swede, in 1732. His bell, which was much smaller and more
commodious, was made of copper, tinned in the inside. On the top there
were panes of glass, which, for the greater security, were fixed in a
frame of the same metal. The stool below was placed in such a manner,
that the head only of the diver, when he stood upon it, rose above the
surface of the water in the bell. This situation is much better than
when the whole body is raised above the water in the bell, because near
the surface of the water the air is much cooler and fitter to breathe
in than at the top of the machine. That the diver also might remain
conveniently in the upper part of the bell, Triewald arranged his
apparatus so that when the diver had breathed as long as possible in
the upper air, he found at the side of the bell a spiral pipe, through
which he could draw in the lower cool air which was over the surface of
the water. To the upper end of this copper pipe was affixed a pliable
leather one, with an ivory mouth-piece, which the diver put into his
mouth, and could thus inspire fresh air, in whatever position his body
might be[298].

[In 1776, Mr. Spalding of Edinburgh made some improvements in Dr.
Halley’s diving-bell, for which he was rewarded by the Society of
Arts. His diving-bell was made of wood, and was so light, that, with
the divers and the weights attached to its rim, it would not sink;
the weight necessary to counteract its buoyancy being added in the
form of a large balance-weight, suspended from its centre by a rope,
which was so mounted on pulleys that the divers could either draw
the balance-weight up to the mouth of the bell or allow it to fall a
considerable depth below it. Thus by letting the weight down to the
bottom, the divers could, as it were, anchor the bell at any required
level, or prevent its further descent if they perceived a rock or part
of a wreck beneath it, which might otherwise overturn it. Also, by
hauling in the rope while the weight was at the bottom, the persons
in the bell might lower themselves at pleasure. Another improvement
consisted in the addition of a horizontal partition near the top of the
bell, which divided off a chamber, that might, by suitable openings
and valves, be filled either with water or with air from the lower
part of the bell, so as to alter the specific gravity of the whole
machine, and thereby cause it to ascend or descend at pleasure. The
bell was supplied with air by an apparatus resembling that of Dr.
Halley, and ropes stretched across the bell were used instead of seats
and platforms for standing on. Thus the persons in the diving-bell
were enabled, in case of accident, to raise themselves to the surface
without any assistance from above, and it was rendered so perfectly
manageable, that it might be removed to a considerable distance from
the point at which it descended; its outward motion and its return to
the vessel for the purpose of being hauled up, being assisted by a long
boat, which carried the signal lines and the tackle for working the

Mr. John Farey, junior, made an improvement in Spalding’s
apparatus[299]. The upper chamber of the diving-bell is very strong and
air-tight, without any openings for the admission of water. Two pumps
are fixed in the partition, by which air may be forced into the upper
chamber, whenever, during a pause in the descent, the lower chamber
or the cavity of the bell is replenished with air. By this means, the
upper chamber is made a reservoir of condensed air, from which the
bell may be replenished with air, when it is desired to increase its
buoyancy, by forcing out the water from the lower part. Hence also, the
buoyancy of the bell may be at any time diminished, by pumping some
of the air from it into the upper chamber, whereby the water will be
allowed to enter to a greater height; and as this is effected without
wasting the air, there is no danger of diminishing the buoyancy of the
machine to a degree which would prevent it from rising, in case the
suspending rope or chain should break.

Smeaton first employed the diving-bell in civil engineering operations
in repairing the foundations of Hexham bridge in 1779. The bell was
made of wood, and was supplied with air by means of a forcing-pump,
which was fixed to the top, and threw in a gallon of air at a time;
the river being shallow, the top of the bell was not covered with
water[300]. In 1788 he used a cast-iron one in repairing Ramsgate
harbour; a forcing-pump in a boat supplied air through a flexible tube.
Since that time it has been frequently used by Rennie and others in
submarine operations, recovering property from wrecks, blasting, &c.
Mr. Rennie has moreover constructed apparatus for moving the bell in
any direction.

In addition to the various forms of diving-bell, different water- and
air-tight dresses have been invented to enable divers to remain in
the water and perform various operations. Thus, Dr. Halley invented
a leaden cap which covered the diver’s head; it had glass before it,
and contained as much air as was sufficient for two minutes, and had
affixed to it a thick pliable pipe, with the other end fastened to the
bell, and which, at the cap, was furnished with a valve to convey fresh
air to the diver from the bell. This pipe, which the diver was obliged
to wind round his arm, served him also as a guide to find his way back
to the bell[301].

Mr. Martin states that a gentleman at Newton-Bushel, in Devonshire,
invented an apparatus consisting of a large case of strong leather,
holding about half a hogshead of air, made perfectly water-tight, and
adapted to the legs and arms, with a glass in the anterior part, so
that when the case was put on, he could walk about very easily at the
bottom of the sea, and go into the cabin and other parts of a ship in a
wreck, and deliver out the goods; and that he practised this method for
forty years, and thereby acquired a large fortune and equal fame[302].

M. Klingert also invented a similar kind of apparatus, and described
it in a pamphlet published at Breslau in 1798. The armour was made of
tin-plate, in the form of a cylinder, with a round end to enclose the
head and body; also, a leather jacket with short sleeves, and a pair of
water-tight drawers of the same, buttoned on the metal part, where they
joined, and were made tight by brass hoops. Two distinct flexible pipes
terminated in the helmet, and rose to the surface of the water; one was
for inhaling, and terminated in an ivory mouth-piece, the other was for
the escape of foul air. The body was kept down by weights.

Another method of supplying air to the apparatus was used by Mr. Tonkin
in 1804. This consisted in the application of a bellows or pump, until
the elastic force of the air was equal to the pressure of the water,
the foul air being allowed to escape into the water through a valve, or
conducted to the surface by a pipe[303].]


[274] Instances of the dexterity of the savages in diving and swimming
may be seen in J. Kraft, Sitten der Wilden, Kopenhagen, 1766, 8vo,
p. 39. To which may be added the account given by Maffæus of the
Brasilians: “They are,” says he, “wonderfully skilled in the art of
diving, and can remain sometimes for hours under water, with their eyes
open, in order to search for any thing at the bottom.”--Hist. Indic.
lib. ii.

[275] Lucanus, iii. 697.

[276] Livius, xliv. c. 10. Manilii Astronom. v. 449.

[277] A Latin translation of these laws may be found in Marquard de
Jure Mercatorum, p. 338. “If gold or silver, or any other article be
brought up from the depth of eight cubits, the person who saves it
shall receive one-third. If from fifteen cubits, the person who saves
it shall, on account of the danger of the depth, receive one-half. If
goods are cast up by the waves towards the shore, and found sunk at the
depth of one cubit, the person who carries them out safe shall receive
a tenth part.” See also Scheffer De Militia Navali, Upsaliæ, 1654, 4to,
p. 110.

[278] Q. Curtius, iv. c. 3. The same account is given by Arrian, De
Expedit. Alexandri, lib. ii. p. 138. We are told by Thucydides, in his
seventh book, that the Syracusans did the same thing.

[279] Boerhaave, Prælectiones Academicæ, edit. Halleri, Göttingæ, 1774.
8vo, v. ii. p. 472-474. Halleri Elementa Physiologiæ, iii. p. 252, and
viii. 2, p. 14.

[280] “The divers of Astracan stepped from the warm bath into the
water, in which they could not continue above seven minutes, and were
brought back from the water, cold and benumbed, to the warm bath, from
which they were obliged to return to the water again. This change
from heat to cold they repeat five times a day, until at length the
blood flows from their nose and ears, and they are carried back quite
senseless.”--Gmelin’s Reise durch Russland, ii. p. 199.

[281] Acta Philosophica Societatis in Anglia, auctore Oldenburgio.
Lipsiæ, 1675, 4to, p. 724.

[282] Scheeps-bouw beschreven door Nic. Witsen. Amsterdam, 1671, fol.
p. 288.

[283] [See the account of the Ceylon pearl fishery in Percival’s

[284] “Were the ignorant vulgar told that one could descend to the
bottom of the Rhine, in the midst of the water, without wetting one’s
clothes, or any part of one’s body, and even carry a lighted candle
to the bottom of the water, they would consider it as altogether
ridiculous and impossible. This, however, I saw done at Toledo, in
Spain, in the year 1538, before the emperor Charles V. and almost ten
thousand spectators. The experiment was made by two Greeks, who taking
a very large kettle, suspended from ropes with the mouth downwards,
fixed beams and planks in the middle of its concavity, upon which they
placed themselves, together with a candle. The kettle was equipoised by
means of lead fixed round its mouth, so that when let down towards the
water no part of its circumference should touch the water sooner than
another, else the water might easily have overcome the air included in
it, and have converted it into moist vapour. If a vessel thus prepared
be let down gently, and with due care, to the water, the included air
with great force makes way for itself through the resisting fluid. Thus
the men enclosed in it remain dry, in the midst of the water, for a
little while, until, in the course of time, the included air becomes
weakened by repeated aspiration, and is at length resolved into gross
vapours, being consumed by the greater moisture of the water: but if
the vessel be gently drawn up, the men continue dry, and the candle is
found burning.”--Taisneri Opuscula de celerrimo motu, quoted by Schott
in his Technica Curiosa, lib. vi. c. 9, p. 393.

[285] “Excellent use may be made of this vessel, which is employed
sometimes in labouring under water on sunk ships, to enable the divers
to continue longer under water, and to breathe, in turns, for a little
while. It was constructed in this manner. A hollow vessel was made of
metal, which was let down equally to the surface of the water, and thus
carried with it to the bottom of the sea the whole air it contained.
It stood upon three feet, like a tripod, which were in length somewhat
less than the height of a man; so that the diver, when he was no longer
able to contain his breath, could put his head into the vessel, and,
having breathed, return again to his work.”--Novum Organum, lib. ii. §
50. Bacon relates the same thing in his Phænomena Universi.

[286] G. Sinclari Ars nova et magna gravitatis et levitatis. Rot. 1669,
4to, p. 220.

[287] Paschii Inventa nov-antiqua. Lipsiæ, 1700, 4to, p. 650.

[288] Theatri Statici universalis pars tertia. Lipsiæ, 1726, fol. p.

[289] This account is taken from the History of the British Empire in
America, by J. Wynne. London, 1770, 2 vols. 8vo, i. p. 131, and from
Campbell’s Lives of the Admirals.

[290] Martin’s Description of the Western Islands. The second edition.
London, 1716, 8vo, p. 253.--Campbell’s Political Survey of Britain.
London, 1774, 2 vols. 4to, p. 604.

[291] These figures are to be found in the following editions of
Vegetius:--Lutetiæ apud C. Wechelum, 1532, fol. p. 180. Fegetius, vier
Bücher von der Rytterschafft. Erfurt, Hans. Knappen, 1511, fol. These
figures are inserted also in Leupold’s Theatrum Pontificale, p. 11,
tab. ii. fig. 6.

[292] Le Fortificationi di Bounaiuto Lorini. Venet. 1609, fol. p. 232.

[293] Fran. Kessleri Secreta. Oppenheim, 1617, 8vo.

[294] Bartholini Acta Hafn. 1676, p. i. obs. 17.

[295] Scheeps-bouw, ut supra.

[296] See vol. i. p. 222, edit. Hag. Com. 1743.

[297] Acta Eruditorum, 1683, Decemb. p. 553. Jac. Bernoulli Opera.

[298] Phil. Trans. 1736.--Martin Triewald’s Konst at lefwa under
watnet. Stockholm, 1741, 4to.

[299] Brewster’s Edinburgh Encyclopædia, Art. Diving-bell.

[300] Reports of the late John Smeaton, F.R.S., vol. iii. p. 279.

[301] Phil. Trans. 1717 and 1721. The art of living under water, by

[302] Martin’s Philosophia Britannica, vol. iii. p. 180.

[303] For further information on this important subject the reader is
referred to the article Diving-bell in the Encyclopædia Britannica
and its Supplement, also the Encyclopædia Metropolitana, Brewster’s
Edinburgh and the Penny Cyclopædia, Halley’s papers in the Phil. Trans.
for 1716 and 1721, Triewald’s in the same for 1736, Healy in the
Philosophical Magazine, vol. xv., and Leopold’s Theatrum Machinarum


It is probable that there was no great interval between the discovery
of the art of making glass, and that of giving it different colours.
When the substance of which it is formed contains, by accident, any
metallic particles, the glass assumes some tint; and this happens
oftener than is wished; nay, a considerable degree of foresight is
necessary to produce glass perfectly colourless; and I am of opinion
that this skill has not been attained till a late period in the
progress of the art. Even in Pliny’s time the highest value was set
upon glass entirely free from colour, and transparent, or, as it was
called, crystal[304]. From the different colours which glass acquired
of itself, it was easy to conceive the idea of giving it the tinge of
some precious stone: and this art, in ancient times, was carried to a
very great extent. Proofs of this may be found in Pliny, who, besides
others, mentions artificial hyacinths, sapphires, and that black glass
which approached very near to the obsidian stone, and which in more
than one place he calls _gemmæ vitreæ_[305]. Trebellius Pollio relates
in how whimsical a manner Gallienus punished a cheat who had sold to
his wife a piece of glass for a jewel[306]: and Tertullian ridicules
the folly of paying as dear for coloured glass as for real pearls. The
glass-houses at Alexandria were celebrated among the ancients for the
skill and ingenuity of the workmen employed in them. From these, the
Romans, who did not acquire a knowledge of that art till a late period,
procured for a long time all their glass ware. The learned author of
Recherches sur les Égyptiens et les Chinois, in the end of his first
volume, relates more of these glass-houses than I know where to find in
the works of the ancients; but it is certain that coloured glass was
made even in those early ages. The emperor Adrian received as a present
from an Egyptian priest, several glass cups which sparkled with colours
of every kind, and which, as costly wares, he ordered to be used
only on grand festivals[307]. Strabo tells us, that a glass-maker in
Alexandria informed him that an earth was found in Egypt, without which
the valuable coloured glass could not be made[308].

Seneca, in his ninetieth epistle, in which he judges too
philosophically, that is, with too little knowledge of the world,
in regard to the value of labour, mentions one Democritus who had
discovered the art of making artificial emeralds[309]; but in
my opinion this discovery consisted in giving a green colour by
cementation to the natural rock crystal: and this art I imagine
was treated of in that book, the name of which Pliny, through an
over-anxious care lest the deception should become common, does not
mention[310]. For colouring crystal and glass, so as to resemble
stones, Porta[311], Neri[312], and others have, in modern times, given
directions which are, however, not much used, because the crystal is
thereby liable to acquire so many flaws that it cannot be easily
cut afterwards, though, as Neri assures us, these by attention may
sometimes be avoided.

It is worthy of remark, that in some collections of antiquities at
Rome, there are pieces of coloured glass which were once used as
jewels. In the Museum Victorium, for example, there are shown a
chrysolite and an emerald, both of which are so well executed, that
they are not only perfectly transparent and coloured throughout, but
neither externally nor internally have the smallest blemish, which
certainly could not be guarded against without great care and skill.

What materials the ancients used for colouring glass, has not been told
to us by any of their writers. It is, however, certain that metallic
oxides only can be employed for that purpose, because these pigments
withstand the heat of the glass furnaces; and it is highly probable
that ferruginous earth, if not the sole, was at least the principal
substance, by which not only all shades of red, violet, and yellow,
but even a blue colour, could be communicated, as Professor Gmelin has
shown[313]. Respecting the red, of which only I mean here to speak,
there is the less doubt, as, at present, sometimes an artificial, and
sometimes a natural, iron ochre is often employed for that purpose. For
common works this is sufficient; but when pure clear glass, coloured
strongly throughout with a beautiful lively red, free from flaws,
and in somewhat large pieces, is required, iron is not fit, because
its colour, by the continued heat necessary for making glass, either
disappears or becomes dirty and almost blackish[314].

In the last century, some artists in Germany first fell upon the method
of employing gold instead of iron, and of thereby making artificial
rubies, which when they were well set could deceive the eye of a
connoisseur, unless he tried them with a diamond or a file. The usual
method was to dissolve the gold in aqua regia, and to precipitate it
by a solution of tin, when it assumed the form of a purple-coloured
powder. This substance, which must be mixed with the best frit, is
called the precipitate of Cassius, gold-purple, or mineral-purple[315].

This Cassius, from whom it takes its name, was called Andrew, and
because both the father and the son had the same christian name, they
have been often confounded with each other. The father was secretary to
the duke of Schleswig, and is not known as a man of letters; but the
son is celebrated as the inventor or preparer of the gold-purple, and
of a bezoar-essence. He took the degree of doctor at Leyden, in 1632,
practised physic at Hamburg, and was appointed physician in ordinary
to the bishop of Lubec. As far as I know, he never published anything
respecting his art; but this service was rendered to the public by his
son, who was born at Hamburg, and resided as a physician at Lubec.
He was the author of a well-known treatise, now exceedingly scarce,
entitled Thoughts concerning that last and most perfect work of nature,
and chief of metals, gold, its wonderful properties, generation,
affections, effects, and fitness for the operations of art; illustrated
by experiments[316].

From this work, it will be easily understood why the author does not
give himself out as the inventor of the gold-purple[317], which he
is commonly supposed to be, at which Lewis is much astonished. It is
seen also by it that Leibnitz calls him improperly a physician at
Hamburg, having probably confounded the father and son together[318].
Upon the whole, it is not proved that any of the Cassius’s was the
inventor of the above precipitate, else it would certainly not have
been omitted[319] in this treatise; and mention of gold-purple is to be
found in the works of several old chemists[320].

Something of this kind has, doubtless, been meant by the old chemists,
when they talk of red lions, the purple soul of gold, and the golden
mantle; but what they wished to conceal under these metaphors, I am
not able to conjecture. In the year 1606, when Libavius published his
Alchemy, the art of making ruby-glass must have been unknown. He indeed
quotes an old receipt for making rubies; and conjectures, that because
the real stones of the same name are found in the neighbourhood of gold
mines, they may have acquired their colour from that metal; and that by
means of art, glass might be coloured by a solution of gold[321]. The
later chemists, however, and particularly Achard, found no traces of
gold, but of iron, in that precious stone[322].

Neri, who lived almost at the same time as Libavius[323], was better
acquainted with the gold-purple, though his receipt is very defective.
According to his directions, the gold solution must be evaporated,
and the residue suffered to remain over the fire until it becomes of
a purple colour. One may readily believe that this colour will be
produced; but glass will scarcely be coloured equally through by this
powder, and perhaps some of the gold particles will show themselves
in it. Kunkel affirms, and not without reason, that something more
is necessary to make rubies by means of gold; but he has not thought
proper to tell us what it is[324].

Glauber, who wrote his Philosophical Furnace[325] about the middle of
the seventeenth century, appears to have made several experiments with
the gold-purple. He dissolved the metal in aqua regia; precipitated
it by liquor of flint, and melted into glass the precipitate, which
contained in it abundance of vitreous earth[326].

None, however, in the seventeenth century, understood better the
use and preparation of gold-purple than John Kunkel, who, after
being ennobled by Charles XI., king of Sweden, assumed the name of
Löwenstiern. He himself tells us, that he made artificial rubies in
great abundance, and sold them by weight, at a high price. He says,
he made for the elector of Cologne a cup of ruby-glass, weighing not
less than twenty-four pounds, which was a full inch in thickness, and
of an equally beautiful colour throughout. He employed himself most on
this art after he engaged in the service of Frederic William, elector
of Brandenburg, in the year 1679. At that time he was inspector of
the glass-houses at Potsdam; and, in order that the art of making
ruby-glass might be brought to perfection, the elector expended 1600
ducats. A cup with a cover, of this manufacture, is still preserved at
Berlin. Kunkel, however, has nowhere given a full account of this art.
He has only left in his works a few scattered remarks, which Lewis has

In the year 1684, earlier than Cassius, John Christian Orschal
wrote his well-known work, Sol sine veste[328], in which he treats,
more intelligibly than any one before him, of the manner of making
ruby-glass. He, however, confesses that Cassius first taught him to
precipitate gold by means of tin; that Cassius traded in glass coloured
with this precipitate, and that a good deal of coloured glass was then
made at Freysingen, but that the art was kept very secret. As Orschal
deserves that his fate should be better known, I shall here mention the
following few particulars respecting him. About the year 1682 he was at
Dresden, in the service of John Henry Rudolf, from whom he learnt many
chemical processes, and particularly amalgamation, by which he gained
money afterwards in Bohemia. After this he was employed at the mines in
Hesse; but he brought great trouble upon himself by polygamy and other
irregularities, and died in a monastery in Poland.

Christopher Grummet, who was Kunkel’s assistant, wrote, in opposition
to Orschal, his known treatise, Sol non sine veste, which was printed
at Rothenburg, in 1685[329]. In like manner, an anonymous author
printed against Orschal, at Cologne, in 1684, another work, in
duodecimo, entitled Apelles post tabulam observans maculas in Sole sine
veste. The dispute, however, was not so much concerning the use of
gold-purple, as the cause of the red colour, and the vitrification of

It is worthy of remark, that Kunkel affirms he could give to glass a
perfect ruby-red colour without gold; which Orschal and most chemists
have however doubted. It is nevertheless said, that Krüger, who was
inspector of the glass-houses at Potsdam, under Frederic William king
of Prussia, discovered earlier the art of making ruby-glass without
gold, and that a cup and cover of cut glass made in this manner is
still preserved at Berlin.

Painting on glass and in enamel, and the preparation of coloured
materials for mosaic work, may, in certain respects, be considered as
branches of the art of colouring glass; and in all these a beautiful
red is the most difficult, the dearest, and the scarcest. When the old
master-pieces of painting on glass are examined, it is found either
that the panes have on one side a transparent red varnish burnt into
them, or that the pieces which are stained through and through, are
thinner than those coloured in the other manner[330]. It is therefore
extremely probable that the old artists, as they did not know how to
give to thick pieces a beautiful transparent red colour, employed
only iron, or manganese, which pigment, as already observed, easily
becomes in a strong heat blackish and muddy[331]. Enamel-painters,
however, were for a long time obliged to be contented with it. A red
colour in mosaic work is attended with less difficulty, because no
transparency, nay rather opacity, is required. At Rome those pieces are
valued most which have the beautiful shining red colour of the finest
sealing-wax. We are told by Ferber that such pieces were at one time
made only by a man named Mathioli, and out of a kind of copper dross;
at present (1792), there are several artists in that city who prepare
these materials, but they are not able to give them a perfect high

[Of late years the interesting art of painting on glass has attracted
considerable attention; lovers of the fine arts, antiquaries, and
chemists, have contributed to its perfection, and have sought to
ascertain by what methods their predecessors were able to give those
beautiful and brilliant tints to their productions, many of which have
been so wantonly destroyed by the barbarity of the last century[333].
One of the most ingenious essays that has been written on the subject,
is that published by an anonymous correspondent in the Philosophical
Magazine for December 1836, which we subjoin in elucidation of our
present knowledge on the subject.

_On the Art of Glass-Painting._ _By_ a Correspondent.

It is a singular fact, that the art of glass-painting, practised with
such success during the former ages from one end of Europe to the
other, should gradually have fallen into such disuse, that in the
beginning of the last century it came to be generally considered as
a lost art. In the course of the eighteenth century, however, the
art again began to attract attention, and many attempts were made to
revive it. It was soon found by modern artists, that by employing the
processes always in use among enamel-painters, the works of the old
painters on glass might in most respects be successfully imitated;
but they were totally unable to produce any imitation whatever of
that glowing red which sheds such incomparable brilliancy over the
ancient windows that still adorn so many of our churches[334]. For
this splendid colour they possessed no substitute, until a property,
peculiar to silver alone among all the metals, was discovered, which
will presently be described. The art of enamelling on glass differs
little from the well-known art of enamelling on other substances. The
colouring materials (which are exclusively metallic) are prepared by
being ground up with a _flux_, that is, a very fusible glass, composed
of silex, flint-glass, lead, and borax: the colour with its flux is
then mixed with volatile oil, and laid on with the brush. The pane
of glass thus enamelled is then exposed to a dull red heat, just
sufficient to soften and unite together the particles of the flux, by
which means the colour is perfectly fixed on the glass. Treated in
this way, gold yields a purple, gold and silver mixed a rose-colour,
iron a brick-red, cobalt a blue[335]; mixtures of iron, copper and
manganese, brown and black. Copper, which yields the green in common
enamel-painting[336], is not found to produce a fine colour when
applied in the same way to glass, and viewed by transmitted light; for
a green therefore recourse is often had to glass coloured blue on one
side and yellow on the other. To obtain a yellow, silver is employed,
which, either in the metallic or in any other form, possesses the
singular property of imparting a transparent stain, when exposed to
a low red heat in contact with glass. This stain is either yellow,
orange, or red, according to circumstances. For this purpose no flux
is used: the prepared silver is merely ground up with ochre or clay,
and applied in a thick layer upon the glass. When removed from the
furnace the silver is found not at all adhering to the glass; it is
easily scraped off, leaving a transparent stain, which penetrates to a
certain depth. If a large proportion of ochre has been employed, the
stain is yellow; if a small proportion, it is orange-coloured; and by
repeated exposure to the fire, without any additional colouring matter,
the orange may be converted into red. This conversion of orange into
red is, I believe, a matter of much nicety, in which experience only
can ensure success. Till within a few years this was the only bright
red in use among modern glass-painters; and though the best specimens
certainly produce a fine effect, yet it will seldom bear comparison
with the red employed in such profusion by the old artists.

Besides the enamels and stains above-described, artists, whenever
the subject will allow of it, make use of panes coloured throughout
their substance in the glass-house melting-pot, because the perfect
transparency of such glass gives a brilliancy of effect, which
enamel-colouring, always more or less opake, cannot equal. It was to
a glass of this kind that the old glass-painters owed their splendid
red. This in fact is the only point in which the modern and ancient
processes differ, and this is the only part of the art which was
ever really lost. Instead of blowing plates of solid red, the old
glass-makers used to _flash_ a thin layer of red over a substratum of
plain glass. Their process must have been to melt side by side in the
glass-house a pot of plain and a pot of red glass: then the workman,
by dipping his rod first into the plain and then into the red glass
pot, obtained a lump of plain glass covered with a coating of red,
which, by dexterous management in blowing and whirling, he extended
into a plate, exhibiting on its surface a very thin stratum of the
desired colour[337]. In this state the glass came into the hands of
the glass-painter, and answered most of his purposes, except when the
subject required the representation of white or other colours on a red
ground: in this case it became necessary to employ a machine like the
lapidary’s wheel, partially to grind away the coloured surface till the
white substratum appeared.

The material employed by the old glass-makers to tinge their glass red
was the protoxide of copper, but on the discontinuance of the art of
glass-painting the dependent manufacture of red glass of course ceased,
and all knowledge of the art became so entirely extinct, that the
notion generally prevailed that the colour in question was derived from
gold[338]. It is not a little remarkable that the knowledge of the
copper-red should have been so entirely lost, though printed receipts
have always existed detailing the whole process. Baptista Porta (born
about 1540) gives a receipt in his Magia Naturalis, noticing at the
same time the difficulty of success. Several receipts are found in the
compilations of Neri, Merret and Kunckel, from whence they have been
copied into our Encyclopædias[339]. None of these receipts however
state to what purposes the red glass was applied, nor do they make any
mention of the _flashing_. The difficulty of the art consists in the
proneness of the copper to pass from the state of protoxide into that
of peroxide, in which latter state it tinges glass green. In order to
preserve it in the state of protoxide, these receipts prescribe various
deoxygenating substances to be stirred into the melted glass, such as
smiths’ clinkers, tartar, soot, rotten wood, and cinnabar.

One curious circumstance deserves to be noticed, which is, that glass
containing copper when removed from the melting-pot sometimes only
exhibits a faint greenish tinge, yet in this state nothing more than
simple exposure to a gentle heat is requisite to throw out a brilliant
red. This change of colour is very remarkable, as it is obvious that no
change of oxygenation can possibly take place during the _recuisson_.

The art of tinging glass by protoxide of copper and flashing it on
crown-glass, has of late years been revived by the Tyne Company in
England, at Choisy in France[340], and in Suabia in Germany, and in
1827 the Academy of Arts at Berlin gave a premium for an imperfect
receipt. To what extent modern glass-painters make use of these new
glasses I am ignorant; the specimens that I have seen were so strongly
coloured as to be in parts almost opake, but this is a defect which
might no doubt be easily remedied[341].

I shall now conclude these observations by a few notices respecting
glass tinged by fusion with gold, which, though never brought into
general use among glass-painters, has I know been employed in one or
two instances, flashed both on crown- and on flint-glass. Not long
after the time when the art of making the copper-red glass was lost,
Kunkel appears to have discovered that gold melted with flint-glass
was capable of imparting to it a beautiful ruby colour. As he derived
much profit from the invention, he kept his method secret, and his
successors have done the same to the present day. The art, however, has
been practised ever since for the purpose of imitating precious stones,
&c., and the glass used to be sold at Birmingham for a high price under
the name of _Jew’s glass_. The rose-coloured scent-bottles, &c., now
commonly made, are composed of plain glass flashed or coated with a
very thin layer of the glass in question. I have myself made numerous
experiments on this subject, and have been completely, and at last
uniformly, successful, in producing glass of a fine crimson colour.
One cause why so many persons have failed in the same attempt[342],
I suspect is that they have used too large a proportion of gold; for
it is a fact, that an additional quantity of gold, beyond a certain
point, far from deepening the colour, actually destroys it altogether.
Another cause probably is, that they have not employed a sufficient
degree of heat in the fusion. I have found that a degree of heat, which
I judged sufficient to melt cast-iron, is not strong enough to injure
the colour. It would appear, that in order to receive the colour, it is
necessary that the glass should contain a proportion either of lead, or
of some other metallic glass. I have found bismuth, zinc, and antimony
to answer the purpose, but have in vain attempted to impart any tinge
of this colour to crown-glass alone.

Glass containing gold exhibits the same singular change of colour
on being exposed to a gentle heat, as has been already noticed with
respect to glass containing copper[343]. The former when taken from the
crucible is generally of a pale rose-colour, but sometimes colourless
as water, and does not assume its ruby colour till it has been exposed
to a low red-heat, either under a muffle or in the lamp. Great care
must be taken in this operation, for a slight excess of fire destroys
the colour, leaving the glass of a dingy brown, but with a blue
transparency like that of gold-leaf. These changes of colour have been
vaguely attributed to change of oxygenation in the gold; but it is
obviously impossible that mere exposure to a gentle heat can effect any
chemical change in the interior of a solid mass of glass, which has
already undergone a heat far more intense. In fact I have found that
metallic gold gives the red colour as well as the oxide, and it appears
scarcely to admit of a doubt, that in a metal so easily reduced, the
whole of the oxygen must be expelled long before the glass has reached
its melting-point. It has long been known that silver yields its colour
to glass while in the metallic state, and everything leads one to
suppose that the case is the same as to gold.

There is still one other substance by means of which I find it is
possible to give a red colour to glass, and that is a compound of tin,
chromic acid, and lime; but my trials do not lead me to suppose that
glass thus coloured will ever be brought into use.

       *       *       *       *       *

With respect to the production of artificial gems, they are now made
abundantly of almost every shade of colour, closely approximating to
those which occur in nature, excepting in hardness and refractive
power. They are formed by fusing what is called a base with various
metallic oxides. The base varies in composition: thus, M. Fontanieu
makes his by fusing silica with carbonate of potash, carbonate of
lead and borax. M. Donault Wieland’s consists of silica, potash,
borax, oxide of lead, and sometimes arsenious acid. Hence the base
differs but little in composition from glass. By fusing the base with
metallic oxides, the former acquires various tints. Thus with oxide of
antimony the oriental topaz is prepared; with oxide of manganese and a
little purple of cassius, the amethyst; with antimony and a very small
quantity of cobalt, the beryl; with horn silver (chloride of silver),
the diamond and opal: the oriental ruby is prepared from the base, the
purple of cassius, peroxide of iron, golden sulphuret of antimony,
manganese calcined with nitre and rock crystal.]


[304] Lib. xxxvi. c. 26.

[305] Lib. xxxv. c. 26. and lib. xxxvii. c. 9. The _lapis obsidianus_,
which Obsidius first found in Ethiopia, and made known, is undoubtedly
the same as that vulcanic glass which is sometimes called Icelandic
agate, _pumex vitreus_, and by the Spaniards, who brought it from
America and California, named _galinace_.

[306] Historiæ Augustæ Scriptores, in vita Gallieni, cap. 12.

[307] Ib. in Vopisc. vita Saturnini, c. 8.

[308] Strabo, Amst. 1707, fol. lib. xvi. p. 1099.--Some consider the
glass earth here mentioned as a mineral alkali that was really found
in Egypt, and which served to make glass; but, as the author speaks
expressly of coloured glass, I do not think that the above salt,
without which no glass was then made, is what is meant; but rather a
metallic oxide, such perhaps as ochre or manganese.

[309] Sen. Op. Lipsii, p. 579.

[310] Hist. Nat. lib. xxxvii. c. 12. A passage in Diodorus Siculus,
lib. ii. c. 52, alludes, in my opinion, to this method of colouring by

[311] Magia Naturalis. Franc. 1591, 8vo, p. 275.

[312] Kunkel’s Ars Vitraria. Nur. 1743, 4to, pp. 98, 101.

[313] Comment. Soc. Scient. Gotting. ii. p. 41.

[314] Montamy von den Farben zuni Porzellan- und Email-malen. Leipsic,
1767, 8vo, p. 82. Fontanieu, p. 16.

[315] [The extensive use of this substance in colouring glass and
porcelain has rendered its best and most œconomical preparation
a subject of interest both to the chemist and the manufacturer.
Although the determination of its true chemical composition has
presented obstacles almost insuperable, still many important points
with regard to its manufacture have been elucidated. It has been
found that the tin salt used in precipitating it must contain both
the binoxide and protoxide of tin in certain proportions, and it has
been also discovered that the degree of dilution both of the gold
and tin solutions exerts a very perceptible influence on the beauty
of the preparation. Capaun has examined this latter point with great
attention, by testing all the different products as to their power of
colouring glass.

The first point to be attained is the preparation of a solution of
sesquioxide of tin; and for this purpose Bolley proposes to employ the
double compound of bichloride of tin with sal-ammoniac (pink salt).
This salt is not altered by exposure to the atmosphere, and contains
a fixed and known quantity of bichloride of tin, and when boiled with
metallic tin it takes up so much as will form the protochloride;
as the exact quantity of the bichloride is known, it is very easy
to use exactly such a quantity of tin as will serve to form the
sesquichloride. 100 parts of the pink salt require for this purpose
10·7 parts of metallic tin.

Capaun recommends dissolving 1·34 gr. of gold in aqua regia, an excess
being carefully avoided, and diluting the solution with 480 grs. of
water. 10 grs. of pink salt are mixed with 1·07 gr. of tin filings and
40 grs. of water, and the whole boiled till the tin is dissolved. 140
grs. of water are then added to this, and the solution gradually mixed
with the gold liquor, slightly warmed, until no more precipitation
ensues. The precipitate washed and dried weighs 4·92 grs. and is of a
dark brown colour.

M. Figuier states, as the results of his investigations, that the
purple of Cassius is a perfectly definite combination of protoxide of
gold and of stannic acid, or peroxide of tin, the proof of which is,
that it is instantly produced when protoxide of gold and peroxide of
tin are placed in contact.]

[316] The original title runs thus:--De extremo illo et perfectissimo
naturæ opificio ac principe terrenorum sidere, auro, et admiranda ejus
natura, generatione, affectionibus, effectis, atque ad operationes
artis habitudine, cogitata; experimentis illustrata. Hamburgi, 1685,

[317] Joh. Molleri Cimbria Literata. Havniæ, 1774, fol. i. p. 88.

[318] Miscellanea Berolinensia, i. p. 94.

[319] The author shows only, in a brief manner, in how many ways this
precipitate can be used; but he makes no mention of employing it in
colouring glass.

[320] I cannot, however, affirm that the _vasa murrhina_ of the
ancients were a kind of porcelain coloured with this salt of gold. This
is only a mere conjecture.

[321] Alchymia Andr. Libavii. Franc. 1606, fol. ii. tract. i. c. 34.

[322] See Gotting. Gel. Anzeigen, 1778, p. 177.

[323] It is well known that Neri’s works are translated into Kunkel’s
Ars Vitraria, the edition of which, published at Nuremberg in 1743,
I have in my possession. The time Neri lived is not mentioned in the
Dictionary of Learned Men; but it appears, from the above edition
of Kunkel, that he was at Florence in 1601, and at Antwerp in 1609.
The oldest Italian edition of his works I have ever seen is L’arte
vetraria--del R. R. Antonio Neri, Fiorentino. In Venetia, 1663. The
first edition, however, must be older. [It is Florence, Giunti,

[324] Neri, b. vii. c. 129, pp. 157 and 174.

[325] Amst. 1651, vol. iv. p. 78. Lewis says that Furnus Philosophicus
was printed as early as 1648.

[326] Glauber first made known liquor of flint, and recommended it for
several uses. See Ettmulleri Opera, Gen. 1736, 4 vol. fol. ii. p. 170.

[327] Lewis, Zusammenhang der Künste. Zür. 1764, 2 vols. 8vo, i. p. 279.

[328] The first edition was printed at Augsburg, in duodecimo, and the
same year at Amsterdam. It has been often printed since, as in 1739, in
3 vols. 4to, without name or place.

[329] A French translation of Orschal and Grummet is added to l’Art de
la Verrérie de Neri, Merret et Kunkel. Paris, 1752, 4to. The editor is
the Baron de Holbach.

[330] See Peter le Vieil’s Kunst auf Glas zu malen, Nuremberg, 1779,
4to, ii. p. 25. This singular performance must, in regard to history,
particularly that of the ancients, be read with precaution. Seldom has
the author perused the works which he quotes; sometimes one cannot find
in them what he assures us he found, and very often he misrepresents
their words.

[331] In what the art of Abraham Helmback, a Nuremberg artist,
consisted, I do not know. Doppelmayer, in his Account of the
Mathematicians and Artists of Nuremberg, printed in 1730, says that
he fortunately revived, in 1717, according to experiments made in a
glass-house, the old red glass; the proper method of preparing which
had been long lost.

[332] Ferber’s Briefe aus Welschland. Prague, 1773, 8vo, p. 114.

[333] The devastations to which the productions of this beautiful art
have been subjected are deeply to be regretted. It appears from the
interesting Account of Durham Cathedral, published by the Rev. James
Raine, that there was much fine stained glass in the fifteen windows of
the Nine Altars which

            “shed their many-colour’d light
  Through the rich robes of eremites and saints;”

until the year 1795, when “their richly painted glass and mullions were
swept away, and the present plain windows inserted in their place. The
glass lay for a long time afterwards in baskets on the floor; and when
the greater part of it had been purloined the remainder was locked
up in the Galilee.” And in 1802 a beautiful ancient structure, the
Great Vestry, “was, for no apparent reason, demolished, and the richly
painted glass which decorated its windows was either destroyed by the
workmen or afterwards purloined.” The exquisite Galilee itself had been
condemned, but was saved by a happy chance.

[334] In 1774 the French Academy published Le Vieil’s treatise on
Glass-painting. He possessed no colour approaching to red, except the
brick-red or rather rust-coloured enamel subsequently mentioned in the
text, derived from iron.

[335] It appears by a boast of Suger, abbot of St. Denis, which has
been preserved, that the ancient glass-painters pretended to employ
sapphires among their materials; hence, perhaps, the origin of the term
_Zaffres_, under which the oxide of cobalt is still known in commerce.

[336] Oxide of chromium is now substituted for the copper.

[337] That such was the method in use, an attentive examination of
old specimens affords sufficient evidence. One piece that I possess
exhibits large bubbles in the midst of the red stratum; another
consists of a stratum of red inclosed between two colourless strata:
both circumstances plainly point out the only means by which such an
arrangement could be produced.

[338] In 1793, the French government actually collected a quantity of
old red glass, with the view of extracting the gold by which it was
supposed to be coloured! Le Vieil was himself a glass-painter employed
in the repair of ancient windows, and the descendant of glass-painters,
yet so little was he aware of the true nature of the glass, that he
even fancied he could detect the marks of the brush with which he
imagined the red stratum had been laid on!

[339] [M. Langlois names the following writers: “Neri en 1612,
Handicquer de Blancourt en 1667, Kunkel en 1679, Le Vieil en 1774,
et plusieurs autres écrivains à diverses époques, decrivaient ces
procédés.” (p. 192.) He fixes the restoration of the art in France at
about the year 1800, when Brongniart, who had the direction of the
Sèvres porcelain manufacture, worked with Méraud at the preparation
of vitrifiable colours, p. 194. Among modern artists he particularly
mentions Dihl, Schilt, Mortelègue, Robert, Leclair, Collins, and

[340] Bulletin de la Société d’Encouragement pour l’Industrie
Nationale, 1826.

[341] Though it is difficult to produce the copper-glass uniformly
coloured, it is easy to obtain streaks and patches of a fine
transparent red. For this purpose it is sufficient to fuse together 100
parts of crown-glass with one of oxide of copper, putting a lump of tin
into the bottom of the crucible. Metallic iron employed in the same way
as the tin throws out a bright scarlet, but perfectly opake.

[342] “Dr. Lewis states that he once produced a potfull of glass of
beautiful colour, yet was never able to succeed a second time, though
he took infinite pains, and tried a multitude of experiments with that
view.” Commerce of Arts, p. 177.

[343] [At the recent meeting of the British Association for the
Advancement of Science, held at Cambridge (June 1845), M. Splittgerber
exhibited specimens of glass into the composition of which gold entered
as a chloride. These specimens were white, but upon gently heating them
in the flame of a spirit-lamp, they became a deep-red. If again the
same reddened glass is exposed to the heat of an oxygen blowpipe, it
loses nearly all its colours, a slight pinkiness only remaining.]


Writers on diplomatics mention, besides metals, five other substances
on which impressions were made, or with which letters and public acts
were sealed, viz. _terra sigillaris_, cement, paste, common wax, and
sealing-wax[344]. The _terra sigillaris_ was used by the Egyptians, and
appears to have been the first substance employed for sealing[345]. The
Egyptian priests bound to the horns of the cattle fit for sacrifice a
piece of paper; stuck upon it some sealing-earth, on which they made an
impression with their seal; and such cattle only could be offered up as

Lucian speaks of a fortune-teller who ordered those who came to consult
him to write down on a bit of paper the questions they wished to ask,
to fold it up, and to seal it with clay, or any other substance of the
like kind[347]. Such earth seems to have been employed in sealing by
the Byzantine emperors: for we are told that at the second council of
Nice, a certain person defended the worship of images by saying, no one
believed that those who received written orders from the emperor and
venerated the seal, worshiped on that account the sealing-earth, the
paper, or the lead[348].

Cicero relates that Verres having seen in the hands of one of his
servants a letter written to him from Agrigentum, and having observed
on it an impression in sealing-earth (_cretula_), he was so pleased
with it that he caused the seal-ring with which it was made to be taken
from the possessor[349]. The same orator, in his defence of Flaccus,
produced an attestation sent from Asia, and proved its authenticity
by its being sealed with Asiatic sealing-earth; with which, said he
to the auditors, as you daily see, all public and private letters in
Asia are sealed: and he showed on the other hand that the testimony
brought by the accuser was false, because it was sealed with wax, and
for that reason could not have come from Asia[350]. The scholiast
Servius relates, that a sibyl received a promise from Apollo, that she
should live as long as she did not see the earth of the island Erythræa
where she resided; that she therefore quitted the place, and retired
to Cumæ, where she became old and decrepid; but that having received a
letter sealed with Erythræan earth (_creta_), when she saw the seal she
instantly expired[351].

No one however will suppose that this earth was the same as that to
which we at present give the name of _creta_, chalk; for if it was a
natural earth it must have been of that kind called potters’ clay, as
that clay is capable of receiving an impression and of retaining it
after it is hardened by drying. That the Romans, under the indefinite
name of _creta_, often understood a kind of potters’ earth, can be
proved by many passages of their writers. Columella speaks of a kind
of chalk of which wine-jars and dishes were made[352]. Virgil calls
it tough[353]; and the ancient writers on agriculture give the same
name to marl which was employed to manure land[354]. Notwithstanding
all these authorities, I do not clearly comprehend how letters could
be sealed with potters’ clay, as it does not adhere with sufficient
force either to linen, of which in ancient times the covers of letters
were made, or to parchment; as it must be laid on very thick to have
a distinct impression; as it is long in drying, and is again easily
softened by moisture; and, at any rate, if conveyed by post at present,
it would be crumbled into dust in going only from Hamburg to Altona.
I can readily believe that the Roman messengers employed more skill
and attention to preserve the letters committed to their care than are
employed by our postmen; but the distance from Asia to Rome is much
greater than that from Hamburg to Altona.

But may there not be as little foundation for the ancient expression
_creta Asiatica_, Asiatic earth, as for the modern expression, _cera
Hispanica_, Spanish wax? May not the former have signified a kind of
coarse artificial cement? These questions might be answered by those
who have had an opportunity of examining or only seeing the _sigilla
cretacea_ in collections of antiquities. We are assured that such are
still preserved; at least we find in Ficoroni[355] the representation
of six impressions which, as he tells us, consisted of that earth.
In that author however I find nothing to clear up my doubts; he says
only that some of these seals were white; others of a gray colour,
like ashes; others red, and others brown. They seem all to have been
enclosed in leaden cases. Could it be proved that each letter was
wrapped round with a thread, and that the thread, as in the seals
affixed to diplomas, was drawn through the covering of the seal,
the difficulty which I think occurs in the use of these earths, as
mentioned by the ancients, would entirely disappear[356]. It seems to
me remarkable that neither Theophrastus nor Pliny says anything of the
Asiatic _creta_, or speaks at all of sealing-earth; though they have
carefully enumerated all those kinds of earth which were worth notice
on account of any use.

In Europe, as far as I know, wax has been everywhere used for sealing
since the earliest ages. Writers on diplomatics, however, are not
agreed whether yellow or white wax was first employed; but it appears
that the former, on account of its low price, must have been first and
principally used, at least by private persons. It is probable also,
that the seals of diplomas were more durable when they consisted of
yellow wax; for it is certain that white wax is rendered more brittle
and much less durable by the process of bleaching. Many seals also may
at present be considered white which were at first yellow; for not
only does wax highly bleached resume in time a dirty yellow colour,
but yellow wax also in the course of years loses so much of its colour
as to become almost like white wax. This perhaps may account for the
oldest seals appearing to be of white, and the more modern of yellow
wax. These however are conjectures which I submit with deference to the
determination of those versed in diplomatics.

In the course of time wax was coloured red; and a good deal later,
at least in Germany, but not before the fourteenth century, it was
coloured green, and sometimes black. I find it remarked that blue wax
never appears on diplomas; and I may indeed say it is impossible it
should appear, for the art of giving a blue colour to wax has never
yet been discovered; and in old books, such as that of Wecker, we
find no receipt for that purpose. Later authors have pretended to
give directions how to communicate that colour to wax, but they are
altogether false; for vegetable dyes when united with wax become
greenish, so that the wax almost resembles the hip-stone; and earthy
colours do not combine with it, but in melting fall again to the
bottom. A seal of blue wax, not coloured blue merely on the outer
surface, would be as great a rarity in the arts as in diplomatics, and
would afford matter of speculation for our chemists; but I can give
them no hopes that such a thing can ever be produced[357]. The emperor
Charles V. in the year 1524 granted to Dr. Stockamar of Nuremberg, the
privilege of using blue wax in seals;--a favour like that conferred in
1704 on the manufactories in the principality of Halberstadt and the
county of Reinstein, to make indigo from minerals. It was certainly
as difficult for the doctor to find blue wax for seals as for the
proprietors of these manufactories to discover indigo in the earth[358].

Much later are impressions made on paste or dough, which perhaps
could not be employed on the ancient parchment or the linen covers
of letters, though in Pliny’s time the paper then in use was joined
together with flour paste[359]. Proper diplomas were never sealed with
wafers; and in the matchless diplomatic collection of H. Gatterer
there are no wafer-seals much above two hundred years old. From that
collection I have now in my possession one of these seals, around the
impression of which is the following inscription, _Secretum civium in
Ulma, 1474_; but it is only a new copy of a very old impression. Kings,
however, before the invention of sealing-wax, were accustomed to seal
their letters with this paste[360].

Heineccius and others relate that _maltha_ also was employed for
seals. This word signifies a kind of cement, formed chiefly of
inflammable substances, and used to make reservoirs, pipes, &c.
water-tight. Directions how to prepare it may be found in the writers
on agriculture, Pliny, Festus and others. The latter tells how to make
it of a composition of pitch and wax[361]: but neither in that author
nor in any other have I found proofs that letters were sealed with it,
or that seals of it were affixed to diplomas: for the words of Pollux,
“cera qua tabella judicum obliniebatur[362],” will admit of a different
explanation. If maltha has been in reality used for seals, that mixture
may be considered as the first or oldest sealing-wax, as what of it is
still preserved has been composed of resinous substances.

Some writers assert[363], upon the authority of Lebeuf[364], that
sealing-wax was invented about the year 1640 by a Frenchman named
Rousseau; but that author refers his readers to Papillon[365], who
refers again to Pomet[366], so that the last appears to be the first
person who broached that opinion. According to his account, Francis
Rousseau, born not far from Auxerre, and who travelled a long time in
Persia, Pegu and other parts of the East Indies, and in 1692 resided in
St. Domingo, was the inventor of sealing-wax. Having, while he lived
at Paris as a merchant, during the latter years of the reign of Louis
XIII., who died in 1643, lost all his property by a fire, he bethought
himself of preparing sealing-wax from shell-lac, as he had seen it
prepared in India, in order to maintain his wife and five children.
A lady of the name of Longueville made this wax known at court, and
caused Louis XIII. to use it, after which it was purchased and used
throughout all Paris. By this article, Rousseau, before the expiration
of a year, gained 50,000 livres. It acquired the name of _cire
d’Espagne_, Spanish wax, because at that time a kind of lac, which was
only once melted and coloured a little red, was called Portugal wax,
_cire de Portugal_[367].

That sealing-wax was either very little or not at all known in Germany
in the beginning of the sixteenth century, may be concluded from its
not being mentioned either by Porta or Wecker; though in the works of
both these authors there are various receipts respecting common wax,
and little known methods of writing and sealing[368]. The former says,
that to open letters in such a manner as not to be perceived, the wax
seal must be heated a little, and must be then carefully separated
from the letter by a horse’s hair; and when the letter has been read
and folded up, the seal must be again dexterously fastened to it. This
manœuvre, as the writers on diplomatics remark, has been often made
use of to forge public acts; and they have therefore given directions
how to discover such frauds[369]. The above method of opening letters,
however, can be applied only to common wax, and not to sealing-wax:
had the latter been used in Wecker’s time he would have mentioned this

Whether sealing-wax was used earlier in the East Indies than in Europe,
as the French think, I cannot with certainty determine. Tavernier[371],
however, seems to say that the lac produced in the kingdom of Assam
is employed there not only for lackering, but also for making Spanish
sealing-wax. I must confess also that I do not know whether the Turks
and other eastern nations use it in general. In the collection of
natural curiosities belonging to our university there are two sticks
of sealing-wax which Professor Butner procured from Constantinople,
under the name of Turkish wax. They are angular, bent like a bow, are
neither stamped nor glazed, and are of a dark but pure red colour. Two
other sticks which came from the East Indies are straight, glazed,
made somewhat thin at both ends, have no stamp, and are of a darker
and dirtier red colour. All these four sticks seem to be lighter than
ours, and I perceive that by rubbing they do not acquire so soon nor so
strong an electrical quality as our German wax of moderate fineness.
But whether the first were made in Turkey and the latter in the East
Indies, or whether the whole four were made in Europe, is not known.
That sealing-wax however was made and used in Germany a hundred years
before Rousseau’s time, and that the merit of that Frenchman consisted
probably only in this, that he first made it in France, or made the
first good wax, will appear in the course of what follows.

The oldest known seal of our common sealing-wax is that found by
M. Roos, on a letter written from London, Aug. 3rd, 1554, to the
rheingrave Philip Francis von Daun, by his agent in England, Gerrard
Hermann[372]. The colour of the wax is a dark-red; it is very shining,
and the impression bears the initials of the writer’s name G. H. The
next seal, in the order of time, is one of the year 1561, on a letter
written to the council of Gorlitz at Breslau. This letter was found
among the ancient records of Gorlitz by Dr. Anton, and is three
times sealed with beautiful red wax[373]. Among the archives of the
before-mentioned family M. Roos found two other letters of the year
1566, both addressed to the rheingrave Frederick von Daun, from Orchamp
in Picardy, by his steward Charles de Pousol; the one dated September
the 2nd, and the other September the 7th. Another letter, written by
the same person to the same rheingrave, but dated Paris January 22nd,
1567, is likewise sealed with red wax, which is of a higher colour, and
appears to be of a coarser quality. As the oldest seals of this kind
came from France and England, M. Roos conjectures that the invention,
as the name seems to indicate, belongs to the Spaniards. This
conjecture appears to me however improbable, especially as sealing-wax
was used at Breslau so early as 1561; but this matter can be best
determined perhaps by the Spanish literati. It is much to be lamented
that John Fenn, in his Original letters of the last half of the
fifteenth century[374], when he gives an account of the size and shape
of the seals, does not inform us of what substances they are composed.
Respecting a letter of the year 1455, he says only, “The seal is of red
wax;” by which is to be understood, undoubtedly, common wax.

Among the records of the landgraviate of Cassel, M. Ledderhose found
two letters of Count Louis of Nassau to the landgrave William IV.,
one of which, dated March the 3rd, 1563, is sealed with red wax, and
the other, dated November 7th, the same year, is sealed with black
wax[375]. M. Neuberger, private keeper of the archives at Weimar,
found among the records of that duchy a letter sealed with red wax,
and written at Paris, May the 15th, 1571, by a French nobleman named
Vulcob, who the year before had been ambassador from the king of France
to the court of Weimar. It is worthy of remark, that the same person
had sealed nine letters of a prior date with common wax, and that
the tenth is sealed with Spanish wax. P. L. Spiess, principal keeper
of the records at Plessenburg, who gave rise to this research by his
queries, saw a letter of the year 1574 sealed with red sealing-wax,
and another of the year 1620 sealed with black sealing-wax. He found
also in an old expense-book of 1616, that Spanish wax, expressly,
and other materials for writing were ordered from a manufacturer of
sealing-wax at Nuremberg, for the personal use of Christian margrave of

The oldest mention of sealing-wax which I have hitherto observed in
printed books is in the work of Garcia ab Orto[377], where the author
remarks, speaking of lac, that those sticks used for sealing letters
were made of it. This book was first printed in 1563, about which
time it appears that the use of sealing-wax was very common among the

The oldest printed receipt for making sealing-wax was found by Von
Murr, in a work by Samuel Zimmerman, citizen of Augsburg, printed in
1579[378]. The copy which I have from the library of our university is
signed at the end by the author himself. His receipts for making red
and green sealing-wax I shall here transcribe.

“To make hard sealing-wax, called Spanish wax, with which if letters be
sealed they cannot be opened without breaking the seal:--Take beautiful
clear resin, the whitest you can procure, and melt it over a slow coal
fire. When it is properly melted, take it from the fire, and for every
pound of resin add two ounces of vermilion pounded very fine, stirring
it about. Then let the whole cool, or pour it into cold water. Thus
you will have beautiful red sealing-wax.

“If you are desirous of having black wax, add lamp-black to it. With
smalt or azure you may make it blue; with white-lead white, and with
orpiment yellow.

“If instead of resin you melt purified turpentine in a glass vessel,
and give it any colour you choose, you will have a harder kind of
sealing-wax, and not so brittle as the former.”

What appears to me worthy of remark in these receipts for sealing-wax
is, that there is no mention in them of shell-lac, which at present is
the principal ingredient, at least in that of the best quality; and
that Zimmerman’s sealing-wax approaches very near to that which in
diplomatics is called _maltha_. One may also conclude therefore that
this invention was not brought from the East Indies.

The expression Spanish wax is of little more import than the words
Spanish-green, Spanish-flies, Spanish-grass, Spanish-reed, and several
others, as it was formerly customary to give to all new things,
particularly those which excited wonder, the appellation of Spanish;
and in the like manner many foreign or new articles have been called
Turkish; such as Turkish wheat, Turkish paper, &c.

Respecting the antiquity of wafers, M. Spiess has made an
observation[379] which may lead to further researches, that the oldest
seal with a red wafer he has ever yet found, is on a letter written by
D. Krapf at Spires in the year 1624, to the government at Bayreuth.
M. Spiess has found also that some years after, Forstenhäusser, the
Brandenburg factor at Nuremberg, sent such wafers to a bailiff at
Osternohe. It appears however that wafers were not used during the
whole of the seventeenth century in the chancery of Brandenburg, but
only by private persons, and by these even seldom; because, as Spiess
says, people were fonder of Spanish wax. The first wafers with which
the chancery of Bayreuth began to make seals were, according to an
expense account of the year 1705, sent from Nuremberg. The use of wax
however was still continued; and among the Plassenburg archives there
is a rescript of 1722, sealed with proper wax. The use of wax must have
been continued longer in the duchy of Weimar; for in the Electa Juris
Publici there is an order of the year 1716, by which the introduction
of wafers in law matters is forbidden, and the use of wax commanded.
This order however was abolished by duke Ernest Augustus in 1742, and
wafers again introduced.


[344] Gattereri Elem. Artis Diplom. 1765, 4to, p. 285.

[345] It is singular that Pliny denies that the Egyptians used seals,
lib. xxiii. c. 1. Herodotus however, and others, prove the contrary;
and Moses speaks of the seal-rings of the Egyptians. See Goguet.

[346] Herodot. lib. ii. c. 38.

[347] Lucian. in Pseudomant.

[348] Act. iv. ap. Bin. tom. iii. Concil. part. i. p. 356. Whether
the γῆ σημαντρὶς, however, of Herodotus and the πηλὸς of Lucian and
of the Byzantine be the same kind of earth, can be determined with as
little certainty as whether the _creta_, called by some Roman authors a
sealing-earth, be different from both.

[349] Orat. in Verrem, iv. c. 9. In the passage referred to, some
instead of _cretula_ read _cerula_. I shall here take occasion to
remark also, that in the Acts of the Council of Nice before-mentioned,
instead of πηλὸν some read κηρόν: but I do not see a sufficient
reason for this alteration, as in the before-quoted passage of Lucian
it is expressly said, that people sealed κηρῷ ἣ πηλῷ. Reiske himself,
who proposes that amendment, says that πηλὸν may be retained.
Stephanus, however, does not give that meaning to this word in his
Lexicon. Pollux and Hesychius tell us, that the Athenians called
sealing-earth also ῥύπον.

[350] Orat. pro Flacco, c. 16.

[351] Serv. ad lib. vi. Æneid. p. 1037.

[352] Lib. xii. c. 43.

[353] Georg. i. v. 179.

[354] Creta fossica, qua stercorantur agri.--Varro, i. 7. 8. It appears
also that the πηλὸς of the Greeks signified a kind of potters’ earth.
Those who do not choose to rely upon our dictionaries, need only to
read the ancient Greek writers on husbandry, who speak of ἀῤῥαγεῖ πηλῷ
ἀργιλλώδει. See Geopon. x. c. 75. 12, and ix. c. 10. 4.

[355] I piombi antichi. Roma 1740, 4to, p. 16.

[356] Heineccius and others think that the _amphoræ vitreæ diligenter
gypsatæ_, in Petronius, were sealed; but it is much more probable that
they were only daubed over or closed with gypsum, for the same reason
that we pitch our casks.

[357] [Blue wax may now be seen in every wax-chandler’s shop; it is
coloured blue by means of indigo.]

[358] Heineccii Syntagma de Vet. Sigillis, 1719, p. 55.

[359] Plin. lib. xxii. c. 25.

[360] Trotz, Not. in Prim. Scribendi Origine, p. 73, 74.

[361] P. Festi de Verb. Sig. lib. xx. Hesychius calls this cement
μεμαλάγμενον κηρόν.--Plin. lib. xxxvi. c. 24.

[362] Lib. viii. c. 4.

[363] Nouveau Traité de Diplomatique. Paris, 1759, 4to, iv. p. 33.

[364] Mémoires conc. l’Histoire d’Auxerre. Par. 1743, ii. p. 517.

[365] Bibliothèque des Auteurs de Bourgogne, 2 vols. fol. ii. p. 217.

[366] Histoire Générale des Drogues. Paris, 1735.

[367] This Rousseau appears also in the History of Cochineal, as he
sent to Pomet a paper on that subject, which was contradicted by the
well-known Plumier in the Journal des Sçavans for 1694. He is mentioned
also by Labat, who says he saw him at Rochelle; but at that time he
must have been nearly a hundred years of age.

[368] Von Murr, in his learned Beschreibung der Merkwürdigkeiten in
Nürnberg, Nurnb. 1778, 8vo, p. 702, says that Spanish wax was not
invented, or at least not known, before the year 1559. This appears
also from a manuscript of the same year, which contains various
receipts in the arts and medicine. There are some in it for making the
common white sealing-wax green or red.

[369] See Chronicon Godvicense, p. 102.

[370] Wecker gives directions also to make an impression with calcined
gypsum, and a solution of gum or isinglass. Porta knew that this could
be done to greater perfection with amalgam of quicksilver; an art
employed even at present.

[371] Tavernier, in his Travels, says that in Surat lac is melted and
formed into sticks like sealing-wax. Compare with this Dapper’s Asia,
Nuremberg, 1681, fol. p. 237.

[372] Bruchstücke betreffend die Pflichten eines Staatsdieners; aus den
Handlungen des Raths Dreitz, nebst Bemerkungen vom ältesten Gebrauche
des Spanischen Siegelwachses, Frankf. 1785, 4to, p. 86; where the use
of these antiquarian researches is illustrated by examples worthy of

[373] Historische Untersuchungen gesammelt von J. G. Meusel, i. 3, p.

[374] Original Letters of the Paston Family, temp. Henry VI. i. p. 21,
and p. 87 and 92.

[375] Meusel’s Geschichtforscher. Halle, 8vo, vi. p. 270.

[376] Ibid. iv. p. 251.

[377] Aromatum et Simplicium aliquot Historia, Garcia ab Horto auctore.
Antverpiæ 1574, 8vo, p. 33.

[378] Neu Titularbuch,--sambt etlichen hinzugethanen Gehaimnüssen und
Künsten, das Lesen und die Schreiberey betreffendt. 4to, 1579, p. 112.

[379] Archivische Nebenarbeiten und Nachrichten. Halle, 1785, 4to, ii.
p. 3.


If under this name we comprehend all those machines, however rude,
employed for pounding or grinding corn, these are of the highest
antiquity. We read in the Scriptures, that Abraham caused cakes to
be baked for his guests of the finest meal; and that the manna was
ground like corn. The earliest instrument used for this purpose seems
to have been the mortar; which was retained a long time even after
the invention of mills properly so called, because these perhaps at
first were not attended with much superior advantage[380]. It appears
that in the course of time the mortar was made rigid and the pestle
notched, at least at the bottom; by which means the grain was rather
grated than pounded. A passage of Pliny[381], not yet sufficiently
cleared up, makes this conjecture probable. When a handle was added
to the top of the pestle, that it might be more easily driven round
in a circle, the mortar was converted into a hand-mill. Such a mill
was called _mola trusatilis_, _versatilis_, _manuaria_[382], and was
very little different from those used at present by apothecaries,
painters, potters and other artists, for grinding coarse bodies,
such as colours, glass, chalk, &c. We have reason to suppose that in
every family there was a mill of this kind. Moses forbade them to
be taken in pawn; for that, says he, is the same thing as to take a
man’s life to pledge. Michaelis, on this passage, observes that a man
could not then grind, and consequently could not bake bread for the
daily use of his family[383]. Grinding was at first the employment of
the women, and particularly of the female slaves, as it is at present
among uncivilised nations, and must therefore have required little
strength[384]; but afterwards the mills were driven by bondsmen, around
whose necks was placed a circular machine of wood, so that these poor
wretches could not put their hands to their mouths, or eat of the meal.

In the course of time shafts were added to the mill that it might be
driven by cattle, which were, as at present, blindfolded[385]. The
first cattle-mills, _molæ jumentariæ_, had perhaps only a heavy pestle
like the hand-mills[386]; but it must have been soon remarked that the
labour would be more speedily accomplished if, instead of the pestle,
a large heavy cylindrical stone should be employed. I am of opinion,
however, that the first cattle-mills had not a spout or a trough as
ours have at present; at least the hand-mills which Tournefort[387] saw
at Nicaria, and which consisted of two stones, had neither; but the
meal which issued from between the stones, through an opening made in
the upper one, fell upon a board or table, on which the lower stone,
that was two feet in diameter, rested.

The upper mill-stone was called _meta_, or _turbo_; and the lower one
_catillus_. _Meta_ signified also a cone with a blunt apex[388]; and
it has on that account been conjectured that corn was at first rubbed
into meal by rolling over it a conical stone flatted at the end, in the
same manner as painters at present make use of a grinding-stone; and
it is believed that the same name was afterwards given to the upper
mill-stone. This conjecture is not improbable, as some rude nations
still bruise their corn by grinding-stones. I do not, however, remember
any passage in the ancients that mentions this mode of grinding; and I
am of opinion, that the pestle of the hand-mill, for which the upper
mill-stone was substituted, may, on account of its figure, have been
also called _meta_. Niebuhr[389] found in Arabia, besides hand-mills,
some grinding-stones, which differed from those used by us in their
consisting not of a flat, but of an oblong hollow stone, or trough,
with a pestle, which was not conical, but shaped like a spindle, thick
in the middle and pointed at both ends. In this stone the corn, after
being soaked in water, was ground to meal and then baked into cakes.

Respecting the figure and construction of the ancient hand-mills, I
expected to find some information from engraved stones, and other
remains of antiquity; but my researches would have proved fruitless,
had not Professor Diez, to whose memory and erudition I am much
indebted, pointed out to me the only figure of one remaining. I say the
only one remaining with the more confidence, as Heyne tells us also
that he remembers no other. Anthony Francis Gori[390] has described
a red jasper, on which is engraved the naked figure of a man, who in
his left-hand holds a sheaf of corn, and in his right a machine that
in all probability is a hand-mill. Gori considers the figure as a
representation of the god Eunostus, who, as Suidas says, was the god of
mills. The machine, which Eunostus seems to exhibit, or to be surveying
himself, is, as far as one can distinguish (for the stone is scarcely
half an inch in size), shaped like a chest, narrow at the top, and wide
at the bottom. It stands upon a table, and in the bottom there is a
perpendicular pipe from which the meal, represented also by the artist,
appears to be issuing. Above, the chest or body of the mill has either
a top with an aperture, or perhaps a basket sunk into it, from which
the corn falls into the mill. On one side, nearly about the middle of
it, there projects a broken shank, which, without overstraining the
imagination, may be considered as a handle, or that part of the mill
which some called _molile_. Though this figure is small, and though
it conveys very little idea of the internal construction, one may,
however, conclude from it, that the roller, whether it was of wood
or of iron, smooth or notched, did not stand perpendicularly, like
those of our coffee-mills, but lay horizontally; which gives us reason
to conjecture a construction more ingenious than that of the first
invention. The axis of the handle had, perhaps, within the body of
the mill, a crown-wheel, that turned a spindle, to the lower end of
the perpendicular axis of which the roller was fixed. Should this be
admitted, it must be allowed also, that the hand-mills of the ancients
had not so much a resemblance to the before-mentioned colour-mills as
to the philosophical mills of our chemists; and Langelott consequently
will not be the real inventor of the latter. On the other side,
opposite to that where the handle is, there arise from the mill of
Eunostus two shafts, which Gori considers as those of a besom and a
shovel, two instruments used in grinding; but as the interior part
cannot be seen, it appears to me doubtful whether these may not be
parts of the mill itself.

The remains of a pair of old Roman mill-stones were found in the
beginning of the last century at Adel in Yorkshire, a description of
which was given by Thornsby[391], in the Philosophical Transactions.
One of the stones was twenty inches in breadth; thicker in the middle
than at the edges, and consequently convex on one side. The other was
of the same form, but had that thickness at the edges which the other
had in the middle, and some traces of notching could be observed upon

I shall not here collect all those passages of the ancients which
speak of hand- and cattle-mills, because they have been already
collected by others, and afford very little information[392]. Neither
shall I inquire to what Ceres the Grecians ascribed the invention of
mills[393]; who Milantes was, to whom that honour has been given by
Stephanus Byzantinus[394]; or how those mills were constructed which
were first built by Myletes the son of Lelex, king of Laconia[395].
Such researches would be attended with little advantage. I shall
proceed therefore to the invention of water-mills.

These appear to have been introduced in the time of Mithridates,
Julius Cæsar, and Cicero. Because Strabo[396] relates that there was a
water-mill near the residence of Mithridates, some have ascribed the
honour of the invention to him; but nothing more can with certainty
be concluded from this circumstance, than that water-mills were at
that period known, at least in Asia. We are told by Pomponius Sabinus,
in his remarks upon a poem of Virgil called Moretus, that the first
mill seen at Rome was erected on the Tiber, a little before the time
of Augustus; but of this he produces no proof. As he has taken the
greater part of his remarks from the illustrations of Servius, and
must have had a much completer copy of that author than any that has
been printed, he may have derived this information from the same
source[397]. The most certain proof that Rome had water-mills in the
time of Augustus is the description which has been given of them by
Vitruvius (lib. x. 10). We learn from this passage, that the ancients
had wheels for raising water, which were driven by being trod upon by
men. That condemnation to these machines was a punishment, appears
from Artemidorus, lib. i. c. 50, and Sueton. Vita Tiber. cap. 51. And
the pretty epigram of Antipater; “Cease your work, ye maids, ye who
laboured in the mill; sleep now, and let the birds sing to the ruddy
morning; for Ceres has commanded the water-nymphs to perform your task:
these, obedient to her call, throw themselves on the wheel, force round
the axle-tree, and by these means the heavy mill.” This Antipater[398],
as Salmasius with great probability asserts, lived in the time of
Cicero. Palladius[399] also speaks with equal clearness of water-mills,
which he advises to be built on possessions that have running water, in
order to grind corn without men or cattle.

There are also other passages of the ancients which are commonly
supposed, but without certain grounds, to allude to water-mills. Among
these is the following verse of Lucretius[400]:

  Ut fluvios versare rotas atque haustra videmus.

It appears also that the water-wheels to which Heliogabalus caused some
of his friends and parasites to be bound[401], cannot be considered
as mills. These, as well as the _haustra_ of Lucretius, were machines
for raising water, like those mentioned in the before-quoted passage
of Vitruvius[402]. It is however evident that there were water-mills
at Rome at this period; and it affords matter of surprise that we do
not find mention oftener made of them, and that they did not entirely
banish the use of the laborious hand- and cattle-mills. That this was
not the case, and that the latter were very numerous for some time
after, may be concluded from various circumstances. When Caligula,
about twenty-three years after the death of Augustus, took away all
the horses and cattle from the mills, in order to transport effects
of every kind which he had seized, there arose a scarcity of bread at
Rome; from which Beroaldus justly infers that water-mills must have
been then very rare[403]. Nay, more than three hundred years after
Augustus, cattle-mills were so common at Rome, that their number
amounted to three hundred[404]. Mention of them, and of the hand-mills
always occurs, therefore, for a long time after in the laws. The Jurist
Paulus, who lived about the year 240, particularizing the bequest of
a baker, mentions _asina molendaria_ and _mola_, a mill-ass and a
mill[405]. In the year 319 Constantine ordered that all the slaves
condemned to the mills should be brought from Sardinia to Rome[406].
Such orders respecting mill-slaves occur also under Valentinian[407].
When by the introduction of Christianity, however, the morals of men
became improved, slaves were less frequent; and Ausonius, who lived
under Theodosius the Great, about the end of the third century,
expressly says, that in his time the practice had ceased of condemning
criminals to slavery, and of causing mills to be driven by men.

Public water-mills, however, appear for the first time under Honorius
and Arcadius; and the oldest laws which mention them, about the year
398, show clearly that they were then a new establishment, which it was
necessary to secure by the support of government; and the orders for
that purpose were renewed and made more severe by Zeno towards the end
of the fifth century[408]. It is worthy of remark, that in the whole
code of Justinian one does not find the least mention of wooden pales
or posts, which occur in all the new laws; and which, when there were
several mills situated in a line on the same stream, occasioned so many
disputes. The mills at Rome were erected on those canals which conveyed
water to the city; and because these were employed in several arts, and
for various purposes, it was ordered that by dividing the water the
mills should be always kept going. The greater part of them lay under
Mount Janiculum[409]; but, as they were driven by so small a quantity
of water, they probably executed very little work; and for this reason,
but chiefly on account of the great number of slaves, and the cheap
rate at which they were maintained, these noble machines were not so
much used, nor were so soon brought to perfection as they might have
been. It appears, however, that after the abolition of slavery they
were much improved and more employed; and to this a particular incident
seems in some measure to have contributed.

When Vitiges, king of the Goths, besieged Belisarius in Rome, in the
year 536, and caused the fourteen large expensive aqueducts to be
stopped, the city was subjected to great distress; not through the want
of water in general, because it was secured against that inconvenience
by the Tiber; but by the loss of that water which the baths required,
and, above all, of that necessary to drive the mills, which were all
situated on these canals. Horses and cattle, which might have been
employed in grinding, were not to be found: but Belisarius fell upon
the ingenious contrivance of placing boats upon the Tiber, on which
he erected mills that were driven by the current. This experiment was
attended with complete success; and as many mills of this kind as were
necessary were constructed. To destroy these, the besiegers threw into
the stream logs of wood and dead bodies, which floated down the river
into the city; but the besieged, by making use of booms, to stop them,
were enabled to drag them out before they could do any mischief[410].
This seems to be the invention of floating-mills, at least I know of no
other. It is certain that by these means the use of water-mills became
very much extended; for floating-mills can be constructed almost upon
any stream, without forming an artificial fall; they can be stationed
at the most convenient places, and they rise and fall of themselves
with the water. They are however attended with these inconveniences,
that they require to be strongly secured; that they often block up the
stream too much, and move slowly; and that they frequently stop when
the water is too high, or when it is frozen.

After this improvement the use of water-mills was never laid aside or
forgotten: they were soon made known all over Europe; and were it worth
the trouble, one might quote passages in which they are mentioned in
every century. The Roman, Salic, and other laws[411] provided security
for these mills, which they call _molina_ or _farinaria_; and define a
punishment for those who destroy the sluices, or steal the mill-irons
(_ferramentum_). But there were water-mills in Germany and France a
hundred years before the Salic laws were formed. Ausonius, who lived
about the year 379, mentions some which were then still remaining on a
small stream that falls into the Moselle, and which were noticed also
by Fortunatus[412], in the fifth century. Gregory of Tours, who wrote
towards the end of the sixth century, speaks of a water-mill which was
situated near the town of Dijon; and of another which a certain abbot
caused to be built for the benefit of his convent[413]. Brito, who in
the beginning of the thirteenth century wrote in verse an account of
the actions of Philip Augustus king of France[414], relates how by
the piercing of a dam the mills near Gournay (_castrum Gornacum_ or
_Cornacum_) were destroyed, to the great detriment of the besieged.
In the first crusade, at the end of the eleventh century, the Germans
burned in Bulgaria seven mills which were situated below a bridge on
a small rivulet, and which seem to have been floating-mills[415]. In
deeds of the twelfth and thirteenth century, water-mills are often
called _aquimollia_, _aquimoli_, _aquismoli_, _aquimolæ_[416]. Petrus
Damiani, one of the fathers of the eleventh century, says, “Sicut
aquimolum nequaquam potest sine gurgitis inundantia frumenta permolere,
ita, &c.[417]”

At Venice and other places, there were mills which righted themselves
by the ebbing and flowing of the tide, and which every six hours
changed the position of the wheels. Zanetti[418] has shown, from some
old charters, that such mills existed about the year 1044; and with
still more certainty in 1078, 1079, and 1107. In one charter are the
words: _Super toto ipso aquimolo molendini posito in palude juxta
campo alto_; where the expression _aquimolum molendini_ deserves
to be particularly remarked, as it perhaps indicates that the mill
in question was a proper grinding-mill. Should this conjecture be
well-founded, it would prove that so early as the eleventh century
water-mills were used not only for grinding corn, but for many other

It appears that hand- and cattle-mills were everywhere still retained
at private houses a long time after the erection of water-mills. We
read in the Life of St. Benedict, that he had a mill with an ass, to
grind corn for himself and his colleagues. Among the legendary tales
of St. Bertin, there is one of a woman who, because she ground corn on
a fast-day, lost the use of her arm; and of another whose hand stuck
to the handle, because she undertook the same work at an unseasonable
time. More wonders of this kind are to be found at later periods in the
Popish mythology. Such small mills remained long in the convents; and
it was considered as a great merit in many ecclesiastics, that they
ground their own corn in order to make bread. The real cause of this
was, that as the convents were entirely independent of every person
without their walls, they wished to supply all their wants themselves
as far as possible; and as these lazy ecclesiastics had, besides, too
little labour and exercise, they employed grinding as an amusement,
and to enable them to digest better their ill-deserved food. Sulpicius
Severus[419] gives an account of the mode of living of an Eastern monk
in the beginning of the fifth century, and says expressly that he
ground his own corn. Gregory of Tours mentions an abbot who eased his
monks of their labour at the hand-mill, by erecting a water-mill. It
deserves here to be remarked, that in the sixth century malefactors
in France were condemned to the mill, as is proved by the history of
Septimina the nurse of Childebert[420].

The entrusting of that violent element water to support and drive mills
constructed with great art, displayed no little share of boldness; but
it was still more adventurous to employ the no less violent but much
more untractable, and always changeable wind for the same purpose.
Though the strength and direction of the wind cannot be any way
altered, it has however been found possible to devise means by which
a building can be moved in such a manner that it shall be exposed to
neither more nor less wind than is necessary, let it come from what
quarter it may.

It is very improbable, or much rather false, that the Romans had
wind-mills, though Pomponius Sabinus affirms so, but without any
proof[421]. Vitruvius[422], where he speaks of all moving forces,
mentions also the wind; but he does not say a word of wind-mills; nor
are they noticed either by Seneca[423] or Chrysostom[424], who have
both spoken of the advantages of the wind. I consider as false also,
the account given by an old Bohemian annalist[425], who says that
before the year 718 there were none but wind-mills in Bohemia, and that
water-mills were then introduced for the first time. I am of opinion
that the author meant to have written _hand- and cattle-mills_ instead
of _wind-mills_.

It has been often asserted that these mills were first invented in
the East, and introduced into Europe by the crusaders; but this also
is improbable; for mills of this kind are not at all, or very seldom,
found in the East. There are none of them in Persia, Palestine, or
Arabia, and even water-mills are there uncommon, and constructed on a
small scale. Besides, we find wind-mills before the crusades, or at
least at the time when they were first undertaken. It is probable that
these buildings may have been made known to a great part of Europe,
and particularly in France and England[426], by those who returned
from these expeditions; but it does not thence follow that they were
invented in the East[427]. The crusaders perhaps saw such mills in the
course of their travels through Europe; very probably in Germany, which
is the original country of most large machines. In the like manner, the
knowledge of several useful things has been introduced into Germany
by soldiers who have returned from different wars; as the English and
French, after their return from the last war, made known in their
respective countries many of our useful implements of husbandry, such
as our straw-chopper, scythe, &c.

Mabillon mentions a diploma of the year 1105, in which a convent
in France is allowed to erect water- and wind-mills, _molendina ad
ventum_[428]. In the year 1143, there was in Northamptonshire an abbey
(Pipewell) situated in a wood, which in the course of 180 years was
entirely destroyed. One cause of its destruction was said to be, that
in the whole neighbourhood there was no house, wind- or water-mill
built, for which timber was not taken from this wood[429]. In the
twelfth century, when these mills began to be more common, a dispute
arose whether the tithes of them belonged to the clergy; and Pope
Celestine III. determined the question in favour of the church[430]. In
the year 1332, one Bartolomeo Verde proposed to the Venetians to build
a wind-mill. When his plan had been examined, a piece of ground was
assigned to him, which he was to retain in case his undertaking should
succeed within a time specified[431]. In the year 1393, the city of
Spires caused a wind-mill to be erected, and sent to the Netherlands
for a person acquainted with the method of grinding by it[432]. A
wind-mill was also constructed at Frankfort in 1442, but I do not know
whether there had not been such there before.

To turn the mill to the wind, two methods have been invented. The
whole building is constructed in such a manner as to turn on a post
below, or the roof alone, together with the axle-tree, and the wings
are moveable. Mills of the former kind are called German-mills, those
of the latter Dutch. They are both moved round either by a wheel
and pinion within, or by a long lever without[433]. I am inclined
to believe that the German-mills are older than the Dutch; for
the earliest descriptions which I can remember, speak only of the
former. Cardan[434], in whose time wind-mills were very common both
in France and Italy, makes however no mention of the latter; and the
Dutch themselves affirm, that the mode of building with a moveable
roof was first found out by a Fleming in the middle of the sixteenth
century[435]. Those mills, by which in Holland the water is drawn up
and thrown off from the land, one of which was built at Alkmaar in
1408, another at Schoonhoven in 1450, and a third at Enkhuisen in
1452, were at first driven by horses, and afterwards by wind. But as
these mills were immoveable, and could work only when the wind was in
one quarter, they were afterwards placed not on the ground, but on a
float which could be moved round in such a manner that the mill should
catch every wind[436]. This method gave rise perhaps to the invention
of moveable mills.

It is highly probable, that in the early ages men were satisfied with
only grinding their corn, and that in the course of time they fell upon
the invention of separating the meal from the pollard or bran. This
was at first done by a sieve moved with the hands; and even yet in
France, when what is called _mouture en grosse_ is employed, there is a
particular place for bolting, where the sieve is moved with the hand by
means of a handle. It is customary also in many parts of Lower Saxony
and Alsace, to bolt the flour separately; for which purpose various
sieves are necessary. The Romans had two principal kinds, _cribra
excussoria_ and _pollinaria_, the latter of which gave the finest
flour, called _pollen_. Sieves of horse-hair were first made by the
Gauls, and those of linen by the Spaniards[437]. The method of applying
a sieve in the form of an extended bag to the works of the mill, that
the meal might fall into it as it came from the stones, and of causing
it to be turned and shaken by the machinery, was first made known in
the beginning of the sixteenth century, as we are expressly told in
several ancient chronicles[438].

This invention gave rise to an employment which at present maintains
a great many people; I mean that of preparing bolting-cloths, or
those kinds of cloth through which meal is sifted in mills. As
this cloth is universally used, a considerable quantity of it is
consumed. For one bolting-cloth, five yards are required; we may
allow, therefore, twenty-five to each mill in the course of a year.
When this is considered, it will not appear improbable, that the
electorate of Saxony, according to a calculation made towards the end
of the seventeenth century, when manufactories of this cloth were
established, paid for it yearly to foreigners from twelve to fifteen
thousand rix-dollars. That kind of bolting-cloth also which is used
for a variety of needle-work, for young ladies’ samplers, and for
filling up the frames of window-screens, &c., is wove after the manner
of gauze, of fine-spun woollen yarn. One might imagine that this
manufacture could not be attended with any difficulty; yet it requires
many ingenious operations which the Germans cannot easily perform, and
with which they are, perhaps, not yet perfectly acquainted. However
this may be, large quantities of bolting-cloth are imported from
England. It indeed costs half as much again per yard as the German
cloth, but it lasts much longer. A bolting-cloth of English manufacture
will continue good three months, but one of German will last scarcely
three weeks. The wool necessary for making this cloth must be long,
well-washed, and spun to a fine equal thread, which, before it is
scoured, must be scalded in hot water to prevent it from shrinking.
The web must be stiffened; and in this the English have an advantage
we have not yet been able to attain. Their bolting-cloth is stiffer
as well as smoother, and lets the flour much better through it than
ours, which is either very little or not at all stiffened. The places
where this cloth is made are also not numerous. A manufactory of it
was established at Ostra, near Dresden, by Daniel Kraft, about the end
of the seventeenth century; and to raise him a capital for carrying it
on, every mill was obliged to pay him a dollar. Hartau, near Zittau,
is indebted for its manufactory to Daniel Plessky, a linen-weaver of
the latter, who learned the art of making bolting-cloth in Hungary,
when on a visit to his relations, and was enabled to carry it on by the
assistance of a schoolmaster named Strietzel. Since that period this
business has been continued there, and become common[439]. The cloth
which is sent for sale, not only everywhere around the country, but
also to Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia, is wove in pieces. Each piece
contains from sixty-four to sixty-five Leipsic ells: the narrowest is
ten, and the widest fourteen inches in breadth. A piece of the former
costs at present from four to about four dollars and a half, and one
of the latter six dollars. This cloth, it must be allowed, is not very
white; but it is not liable to spoil by lying in warehouses. Large
quantities of bolting-cloth are made also by a company in the duchy of
Wurtemberg. At what time this art was introduced there I cannot say;
for every thing I know of it I am indebted to a friend, who collected
for me the following information in his return through that country.
The cloth is not wove in a manufactory, but by eighteen or twenty
master weavers, under the inspection of a company who pay them, and
who supply all the materials. The company alone has the privilege of
dealing in this cloth; and the millers must purchase from their agents
whatever quantity they have occasion for[440]. The millers however
choose rather, if they can, to supply themselves privately with foreign
and other home-made bolting-cloth, as they complain that the weavers
engaged by the company do not bestow sufficient care to render their
cloth durable: besides, the persons employed to carry about this cloth
for sale, often purchase secretly cloth of an inferior quality in other
places, and sell it as that of the company. Bolting-cloth is made also
at Gera, as well as at Potsdam and Berlin; at the latter of which there
is a manufactory of it carried on by the Jews.

For some years past the French have so much extolled a manner of
grinding called _mouture économique_, that one might almost consider
it as a new invention, which ought to form an epoch in the history of
the miller’s art. This art, which however is not new, consists in not
grinding the flour so fine at once as one may wish, and in putting the
meal afterwards several times through the mill, and sifting it through
various sieves. This method, which in reality has nothing in it either
very ingenious or uncommon, was known to the ancient Romans, as we
may conclude from the account of Pliny, who names the different kinds
of meal, such as _similago_, _simila_, _flos_, _pollen_, _cibarium_,
&c.; for these words are not synonymous, but express clearly all the
various kinds of meal or flour which were procured from the same corn
by repeated grinding and sifting. In general, the Romans had advanced
very far in this art[441]; and they knew how to prepare from corn more
kinds of meal, and from meal more kinds of bread, than the French
have hitherto been able to obtain. Pliny reckons that bread should be
one-third heavier than the meal used for baking it; and that this was
the proportion in Germany above a hundred years ago, is known from
experiments on bread made at different times, which, however uncertain
they may always have been, give undoubtedly more bread than meal[442].
In latter times the arts of grinding and of baking have declined very
much in Italy; and sensible Italians readily acknowledge that their
bread is much inferior to that of most parts of Europe, and that in
this respect the Germans are their masters[443]. Rome indeed forms
an exception; for one can procure there as good bread as in Germany;
but it is necessary to acquaint the reader, that it is not baked by
Italians but by Germans; and all the bread and biscuit baked at Venice
in the public ovens, either for home consumption, the use of shipping,
or for exportation, is the work of German masters and journeymen. They
are called to Venice expressly for that purpose; and at Rome they form
at present a company, and have a very elegant church. The ovens of
these German bakers are seldom suffered to cool, and the greater part
of the owners of them become rich; but as through avarice they often
continue their labour, without interruption, in the greatest heat for
several days and nights, scarcely one in ten of them lives to return
with his wealth to Germany. The Germans have, it is certain, long
supplied the inhabitants of proud Rome, the metropolis of Catholic
Christendom, with bread; for in the fifteenth century it was customary
in all the great families to use no other than German bread, as is very
circumstantially related by Felix Fabri, a Dominican monk, who wrote
about the end of the above century, and died in 1502[444].

The _mouture économique_ has been long known in Germany. Sebastian
Muller, in the beginning of the seventeenth century, gave so clear
a description of it, that the French even acknowledge it[445]. This
author says that one Butré, who came to Germany to teach the Germans
to grind and to bake, was not a little disconcerted when he found his
scholars more expert than their officious master, and that he met
with nothing to console him but that, according to his opinion, the
mill-stones at Carlsruhe were too small, and that the bolting-sieves
were not made in the same manner as those at Paris[446].

Millers and bakers, even in France, practised sometimes this method
of grinding so early as the sixteenth century; but it was some time
forbidden by the police as hurtful. In the year 1546, those were
threatened with punishment who should grind their corn twice[447];
and in 1658 this threat was renewed, and the cause added, that such a
practice was prejudicial to the health[448]. Such prohibitions however,
made by the police without sufficient grounds, could not prevent
intelligent persons from remarking that the bran still contained meal,
which, when separated from it, would be as proper for food as the
first. Those who had observed this were induced, by the probability
of advantage, to try to separate the remaining meal from the bran;
and the attempt was attended with success, but it was necessary to
keep it concealed. Malouin relates, that above a hundred years before,
a miller at Senlis employed this method, and that the same practice
was generally, though privately, introduced at all the mills in the
neighbourhood. There were people who made a trade of purchasing bran in
order to separate it from the meal, which they sold; and it is probable
that many of them carried the art too far, and even ground bran along
with the meal. This was done chiefly during times of scarcity, as in
the year 1709. As men at that time were attentive to every advantage,
this art was more known and more used, so that at length it became
common. The clergy of the royal chapel and parish church at Versailles
sent their wheat to be ground at an adjacent mill; it was, according
to custom, put through the mill only once, and the bran, which still
contained a considerable quantity of meal, was sold for fattening
cattle. In time, the miller, having learned the _mouture économique_,
purchased the bran from these ecclesiastics, and found that it yielded
him as good flour as they procured from the whole wheat. The miller
at length discovered to them the secret, and gave them afterwards
fourteen bushels of flour from their wheat, instead of eight which he
had given them before. This voluntary discovery of the miller was made
in 1760, and it is probable that the art was disclosed by more at the
same time. A baker named Malisset proposed to the lieutenant-général
de police to teach a method, by which people could grind their corn
with more advantage; and experiments were set on foot and published,
which proved the possibility of it. A mealman of Senlis, named Buquet,
who had the inspection of the mill belonging to the large hospital at
Paris, made the same proposal; the result of his experiments, conducted
under the direction of magistrates, was printed; the investigation of
this art was now taken up by men of learning, who gave it a suitable
name; and they explained it, made calculations on it, and recommended
it so much, that the _mouture économique_ engaged the attention of
all the magistrates throughout France[449]. Government sent Buquet to
Lyons in 1764, to Bordeaux in 1766, to Dijon in 1767, and to Montdidier
in 1768; and the benefit which France at present derives from this
improvement is well worth that trouble. Before that period, a Paris
_sétier_ yielded from eighty to ninety pounds of meal, and from one
hundred and fifty to one hundred and sixty pounds of bran; but the same
quantity yields now one hundred and eighty-five, and according to the
latest improvements one hundred and ninety-five pounds of meal. In the
time of St. Louis, from four to five _sétiers_ were reckoned necessary
for the yearly maintenance of a man, and these even were scarcely
sufficient; as many were allowed to the patients in the hospital aux
Quinze-Vingts; and such was the calculation made by Budée in the
sixteenth century[450]. When the miller’s art was everywhere improved,
these four _sétiers_ were reduced to three and a half, and after the
latest improvements to two.

Mills by which grain is only freed from the husk and rounded, are
called barley-mills, and belong to the new inventions. At first barley
was prepared only by pounding, but afterwards by grinding; and as it
was more perfectly rounded by the latter method, it was distinguished
from that made by pounding by the name of pearl-barley. Barley-mills
differ very little in their construction from meal-mills; and
machinery for striking barley is generally added to the latter. The
principal difference is that the mill-stone is rough-hewn around its
circumference; and, instead of an under-stone, has below it a wooden
case, within which it revolves, and which, in the inside, is lined with
a plate of iron pierced like a grater, with holes, the sharp edges of
which turn upwards. The barley is thrown upon the stone, which, as
it runs round, draws it in, frees it from the husk, and rounds it;
after which it is put into sieves and sifted. At Ulm, however, the
well-known Ulm barley is struck by a common mill, after the stones
have been separated a sufficient distance from each other. The first
kind of barley-mills is a German invention. In Holland the first was
erected at Saardam not earlier than the year 1660. This mill, which
at first was called the Pellikaan, scarcely produced in several years
profit sufficient to maintain a family; but in the beginning of the
last century there were at Saardam fifty barley-mills, which brought
considerable gain to their proprietors[451].

As long as the natural freedom of man continued unrestrained by a
multiplicity of laws, every person was at liberty to build on his own
lands and possessions whatever he thought proper, and not only water-
but also wind-mills. This freedom was not abridged even by the Roman
law[452]. But as it is the duty of rulers to consult what is best for
the whole society under their protection, princes took care that no one
should make such use of common streams as might impede or destroy their
public utility[453]. On this account no individual was permitted to
construct a bridge over any stream; and it is highly probable that the
proprietors of land, when water-mills began to be numerous, restrained,
from the same principle, the liberty of erecting them, and allowed
them only, when after a proper investigation they were declared to
be not detrimental. Water-mills, therefore, were included among what
were called _regalia_; and among these they are expressly reckoned by
the emperor Frederic I.[454] On small streams however which were not
navigable, the proprietors of the banks might build mills everywhere
along them[455].

The avarice of landholders, favoured by the meanness and injustice of
governments, and by the weakness of the people, extended this regality
not only over all streams, but also over the air and wind-mills. The
oldest example of this with which I am at present acquainted, is
related by Jargow[456]. In the end of the fourteenth century, the monks
of the celebrated but long since destroyed monastery of Augustines, at
Windsheim, in the province of Overyssel, were desirous of erecting a
wind-mill not far from Zwoll; but a neighbouring lord endeavoured to
prevent them, declaring that the wind in that district belonged to him.
The monks, unwilling to give up their point, had recourse to the bishop
of Utrecht, under whose jurisdiction the province had continued since
the tenth century. The bishop, highly incensed against the pretender
who wished to usurp his authority, affirmed that no one had power over
the wind within his diocese but himself and the church at Utrecht, and
he immediately granted full power, by letters patent, dated 1391, to
the convent at Windsheim, to build for themselves and their successors
a good wind-mill, in any place which they might find convenient[457].
In the like manner the city of Haerlem obtained leave from Albert count
palatine of the Rhine to build a wind-mill in the year 1394[458].

Another restraint to which men in power subjected the weak, in regard
to mills, was, that vassals were obliged to grind their corn at their
lord’s mill, for which they paid a certain value in kind. The oldest
account of such ban-mills, _molendina bannaria_, occurs in the eleventh
century. Fulbert, bishop of Chartres, and chancellor of France, in a
letter to Richard duke of Normandy, complains that attempts began to
be made to compel the inhabitants of a part of that province to grind
their corn at a mill situated at the distance of five leagues[459]. In
the chronicle of the Benedictine monk Hugo de Flavigny, who lived in
the eleventh and twelfth century, we find mention of _molendina quatuor
cum banno ipsius villæ_[460]. More examples of this servitude, _secta
ad molendinum_, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, may be seen in
Du Fresne, under the words _molendinum bannale_.

It is not difficult to account for the origin of these ban-mills.
When the people were once subjected to the yoke of slavery, they were
obliged to submit to more and severer servitudes, which, as monuments
of feudal tyranny, have continued even to more enlightened times. De
la Mare[461] gives an instance where a lord, in affranchising his
subjects, required of them, in remembrance of their former subjection,
and that he might draw as much from them in future as possible, that
they should agree to pay a certain duty, and to send their corn to be
ground at his mill, their bread to be baked in his oven, and their
grapes to be pressed at his wine-press. But the origin of these
servitudes might perhaps be accounted for on juster grounds. The
building of mills was at all times expensive, and undertaken only by
the rich, who, to indemnify themselves for the money expended in order
to benefit the public, stipulated that the people in the neighbourhood
should grind their corn at no other mills than those erected by them.


[380] Hesiod, Opera et Dies, 421.--It appears that both the mortar and
pestle were then made of wood, and that the former was three feet in
height; but, to speak the truth, Hesiod does not expressly say that
this mortar was for the purpose of pounding corn. The mortar was called
ὕπερος, pila; the pestle ὕπερος, or ὕπερον, pistillus or pistillum;
to pound, μάσσειν, pinsere, which word, as well as _pinsor_, was
afterwards retained when mills came to be used.--Plin. lib. xviii. c. 3.

[381] Plin. xviii. 10. ii. p. 111. This passage Gesner has endeavoured
to explain, in his Index to the Scriptores Rei Rusticæ, p. 59, to which
he gives the too-dignified title of Lexicon Rusticum.

[382] Gellius, iii. c. 3.

[383] Deuteronomy, ch. xxiv. v. 6.

[384] When Moses threatened Pharaoh with the destruction of the
first-born in the land of Egypt, he said, “All the first-born shall
die, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sitteth on the throne,
even unto the first-born of the maid-servant that is behind the
mill.”--Genesis, ch. xi. v. 5. See Homeri Odyss. vii. 103, and xx. 105.

[385] Apuleii Metamorph. lib. ix.

[386] The oldest cattle-mills have, in my opinion, resembled the
oil-mills represented in plate 25th of Sonnerat, Voyages aux Indes,
&c., i. Zurich, 1783, 4to. To the pestle of a mortar made fast to a
stake driven into the earth, is affixed a shaft to which two oxen are
yoked. The oxen are driven by a man, and another stands at the mortar
to push the seed under the pestle. Sonnerat says, that with an Indian
hand-mill two men can grind no more than sixty pounds of meal in a day;
while one of our mills, under the direction of one man, can grind more
than a thousand.

[387] Voyage du Lévant, 4to, p. 155.

[388] A haycock was called _meta fœni_. Colum. ii. 19. Plin. xxvii. 28.

[389] Niebuhr’s Déscription de l’Arabie. A figure of both stones is
represented in the first plate, fig. H.

[390] Memorie di varia erudizione della Societa Colombaria Fiorentina.
Livorno, 1752, 4to, vol. ii. p. 207.

[391] No. 282, p. 1285, and in the abridgement by Jones, 1700-20, vol.
ii. p. 38.

[392] Joh. Heringii Tractatus de Molendinis eorumque jure. Franc. 1663,
4to. A very confused book, which requires a very patient reader. F. L.
Gœtzius De Pistrinis Veterum. Cygneæ 1730, 8vo. Extracted chiefly from
the former, equally confused, and filled with quotations from authors
who afford very little insight into the history or knowledge of mills.
Traité de la Police, par De la Mare.--G. H. Ayrer, De Molarum Initiis;
et Prolusio de Molarum Progressibus, Gottin. 1772.--C. L. Hoheiselii
Diss. de Molis Manualibus Veterum. Gedani 1728.--Pancirollus, edit.
Salmuth. ii. p. 294.--Histoire de la vie privée des Francois, par Le
Grand d’Aussy. Paris, 1782, i. p. 33.--See Fabricii Bibliographia
Antiq. Hamburgi, 1760, p. 1002.

[393] Plin. lib. vii. c. 56.

[394] Stephan. De Urbibus, v. μυλαντία.

[395] Pausanias, iii. c. 20. edit. Kuhnii, p. 260.

[396] Strabo, lib. xii. edit. Almelov. p. 834. In the Greek stands the
words ὑδραλέτης, perhaps an ἅπαξ λεγόμενον, which the scholiasts have
explained by a water-mill. In many of the later translations of Strabo
that word is wanting.

[397] This Pomponius Sabinus, author of a Commentary on the works of
Virgil, is called also Julius Pomponius Lætus, though in a letter he
denies that he is the author. He died in 1496. A good account of him
may be found in Fabricii Biblioth. Med. et Infimæ Latinitatis, iv. p.
594. There are several editions of his Commentary, the first printed at
Basil, 1544. The one I have before me is contained in Vergilii Opera,
cum Variorum Commentariis, studio L. Lucii. Basiliæ (1613), fol. Where
the poet gives an ingenious description of a hand-mill, Pomponius adds,
“Usus molarum ad manum in Cappadocia inventus; inde inventus usus earum
ad ventum et ad equos. Paulo ante Augustum molæ aquis actæ Romæ in
Tiberi primum factæ, tempore Græcorum, cum fornices diruissent.”

[398] This Greek epigram was first made known by Salmasius, in his
Annotations on the Life of Heliogabalus by Lanipridius. See Historiæ
Augustæ Scriptores; ed. C. Salmasius, Par. 1620, fol. p. 193. It is to
be found also in Mémoires de l’Académie des Inscriptions, ii. p. 315,
and in Analecta Veterum Græcorum, edit. Brunk. ii. p. 119, epig. 39.

[399] Pallad. in Script. De Re Rustica, lib. i. 42, edit. Gesn.

[400] Lucret. v. 517. Compare Salmas. ad Solin. p. 416.

[401] Hist. Aug. Scr. Lamprid. in Vita Heliogabali.

[402] Among the doubtful passages is one of Pliny, lib. xviii. c. 10.
“Major pars Italiæ ruido utitur pilo; rotis etiam, quas aqua verset
obiter, et molat.” So reads Hardouin: but the French translator of
Pliny divides these words otherwise, and reads thus: “Major pars Italiæ
ruido utitur pilo, rotis etiam quas aqua verset; obiter et molit;”
which he translates as follows; “Dans la majeure partie de l’Italie, on
se sert d’un pilon raboteux, ou de roues que l’eau fait tourner; et par
fois aussi on y emploie la meule.” This explanation is in my opinion
very proper; Pliny is not speaking here of the labour of grinding corn,
but that of freeing it from the husks, or of converting it into grits.
For this purpose a mortar was used, the pestle of which could be so
managed that the grain remained whole; but water-wheels were sometimes
employed also. I agree with Le Prince (Journal des Sçavans, 1779,
Septem.), who thinks that Pliny here certainly speaks of a water-mill.

[403] Sueton. Vita Calig. cap. 39.

[404] Petr. Victor. De Regionibus urbis Romæ.

[405] Digestorum lib. xxxiii. tit. 7, 18, Cum de lanienis.

[406] Cod. Theodos. lib. ix. tit. 40, 3, or l. 3, Quicunque. C. Th. de

[407] Cod. Theodos. lib. xiv. tit. 3, 7, or l. 7. Post quinquennii, C.
Th. de pistoribus. We are told in 1778 that there are no other mills in
Sardinia than such as are driven by asses. See Fran. Cetti, Quadrupedi
di Sardegna. Sessati, 1778, 8vo.

[408] Cod. Theodos. lib. xiv. tit. 15, 4; and Cod. Justin, lib. xi.
tit. 42, 10. Many things relating to the same subject may be found in

[409] Procopius, Gothicorum lib. i. c. 9. Fabretti Diss. de aquis et
aquæductibus vet. Romæ, p. 176. Grævii Thesaur. Antiq. Rom. iv. p. 1677.

[410] The account of Procopius, in the first book of the War of the
Goths, deserves to be here given at length:--“When these aqueducts were
cut off by the enemy, as the mills were stopped for want of water,
and as cattle could not be found to drive them, the Romans, closely
besieged, were deprived of every kind of food (for with the utmost
care they could scarcely find provender for their horses). Belisarius
however being a man of great ingenuity devised a remedy for this
distress. Below the bridge which reaches to the walls of Janiculum, he
extended ropes well-fastened, and stretched across the river from both
banks. To these he affixed two boats of equal size, at the distance of
two feet from each other, where the current flowed with the greatest
velocity under the arch of the bridge, and placing large mill-stones in
one of the boats, suspended in the middle space a machine by which they
were turned. He constructed at certain intervals on the river, other
machines of the like kind, which being put in motion by the force of
the water that ran below them, drove as many mills as were necessary to
grind provisions for the city,” &c.

[411] “Si quis ingenuus annonam in molino furaverit.... Si quis sclusam
de farinario alieno ruperit.... Si quis ferramentum de molino alieno
furaverit....”--Leges Francorum Salicæ, edit. Eccardi, Francof. et
Lipsiæ 1720, fol. p. 51. _Sclusa_ is translated _sluice_, and there is
no doubt that the French word _escluse_ is derived from it. All these
words come from _schliessen_ to shut up, or the Low Saxon _schluten_:
but by that word in these laws we can hardly understand those expensive
works which we at present call sluices, but probably wickets and what
else belonged to the dam. Lex Wisigothorum, lib. viii. tit. 4, 30, may
serve further to illustrate this subject: “De confringentibus molina et
conclusiones aquarum. Si quis molina violenter effregerit, quod fregit
intra triginta dies reparare cogatur.--Eadem et de stagnis, quæ sunt
circa molina conclusiones aquarum, præcipimus custodire.” The _sclusæ_
are here called _conclusiones aquarum_, to which belong also the mounds
or dykes. See Corpus Juris Germanici Antiqui, ed. Georgisch. Halæ
1738, 4to, p. 2097. Gregory of Tours calls them _exclusas_. But what is
_ferramentum_? The iron-work of our mills cannot be so easily stolen as
to render it necessary to secure them by particular laws.

[412] Auson. Mosella, v. 362. Fortunati Carmina, Moguntiæ 1617, 4to, p.

[413] Gregorii Turonensis Opera, Paris, 1699, fol. Hist. lib. iii. 19,
p. 126. Ibid. Vita Patrum, 18, p. 1242.

[414] Gul. Britonis Philippidos libri xii. lib. vi. v. 220.

[415] Chronicon Hierosolymitanum, edit. a Reineccio. Helms. 1584, 4to,
lib. i. c. 10.

[416] See Carpentieri Gloss. Nov. ad Scriptores medii, ævi, (Supp. ad
Ducang.) Paris, 1766, fol. vol. i. p. 266. In a chronicle written in
the year 1290, a floating-mill is called _molendinum navale_, also
_navencum_; and in another chronicle of 1301, _molendinum pendens_.

[417] Damiani Opera, ed. Cajetani. Paris, 1743, fol. i. p. 105, lib.
vi. epist. 23.

[418] Dell’ Origine di alcune Arti Principali Appresso i Veneziani.
Ven. 1758, 4to, p. 71.

[419] Dialog. i. 2.

[420] Histor. Francorum, lib. ix. 38, p. 462.

[421] See Pomponius Sabinus, _ut supra_.

[422] Lib. ix. c. 9; x. c. 1, 13.

[423] Natur. Quæst. lib. v. c. 18.

[424] Chrysost. in Psalm. cxxxiv. p. 362.

[425] “At the same period (718) one named Halek the son of Uladi the
weak, built close to the city an ingenious mill which was driven by
water. It was visited by many Bohemians, in whom it excited much
wonder, and who taking it as a model, built others of the like kind
here and there on the rivers; for before that time all the Bohemian
mills were wind-mills, erected on mountains.”--Wenceslai Hagecii
Chronic. Bohem. translated into German by John Sandel. Nuremberg, 1697,
fol. p. 13.

[426] See De la Mare, Traité de la Police, &c. _ut supra_.--Déscription
du Duché de Bourgogne. Dijon, 1775, 8vo, i. p. 163.--Dictionnaire des
Origines, par d’Origny, v. p. 184. The last work has an attracting
title, but it is the worst of its kind, written without correctness or
judgement, and without giving authorities.

[427] There are no wind-mills at Ispahan nor in any part of Persia. The
mills are all driven by water, by the hand, or by cattle. Voyages de
Chardin. Rouen, 1723, 8vo, viii. p. 221.--The Arabs have no wind-mills;
these are used in the East only in places where no streams are to be
found; and in most parts the people make use of hand-mills. Those
which I saw on Mount Lebanon and Mount Carmel had a great resemblance
to those which are found in many parts of Italy. They are exceedingly
simple and cost very little. The mill-stone and the wheel are fastened
to the same axis. The wheel, if it can be so called, consists of eight
hollow boards shaped like a shovel, placed across the axis. When the
water falls with violence upon these boards it turns them round and
puts in motion the mill-stone over which the corn is poured.--Darvieux,
Reisen, Part iii. Copenh. 1754, 8vo. I did not see either water- or
wind-mills in all Arabia. I however found an oil-press at Tehama, which
was driven by oxen; and thence suppose that the Arabs have corn-mills
of the like kind.--Niebuhr, p. 217.

[428] Mabillon, Annales Ord. Benedicti. Paris, 1713, fol. p. 474.

[429] Dugdale, Mon. i. p. 816.--The letter of donation, which appears
also to be of the twelfth century, may be found in the same collection,
ii. p. 459. In it occurs the expression _molendinum ventriticum_. In a
charter also in vol. iii. p. 107, we read of _molendinum ventorium_.
See Dugdale’s Monasticon, ed. nov. vol. v. p. 431-442.

[430] Decretal Greg. lib. iii. tit. 30. c. 23.

[431] Zanetti, _ut supra_.

[432] Lehmann’s Chronica der Stadt Speyer. Frankf. 1662, 4to, p.
847. “Sent to the Netherlands for a miller who could grind with the

[433] Descriptions and figures of both kinds may be found in Leupold’s
Theatrum Machinarum Generale. Leipzig, 1724, fol. p. 101, tab. 41, 42,

[434] De Rerum Varietate, lib. i. cap. 10.

[435] This account I found in De Koophandel van Amsterdam, door Le
Long. Amst. 1727, 2 vol. 8vo, ii. p. 584. “The moveable top for turning
the mill round to every wind was first found out in the middle of the
sixteenth century by a Fleming.” We read there that this is remarked by
John Adrian Leegwater; of whom I know nothing more than what is related
of him in the above work, that he was celebrated on account of various
inventions, and died in 1650, in the 75th year of his age.

[436] See Beschryving der Stadt Delft, Delft, 1729, folio 625.

[437] Plin. lib. xviii. cap. 11.

[438] At Midsummer 1502, machinery for bolting in mills was first
introduced and employed at Zwikau; Nicholas Boller, who gave rise to
this improvement, being then sworn master of the bakers’ company. It
may be thence easily seen, that coarse and not bolted flour, such as is
still used in many places, and as was used through necessity at Zwikau
in 1641, was before that period used for baking. Chronica Cygnea, auct.
Tob. Schmidten. Zwikau, 1656, v. vol. 4to, ii. p. 219. See also Theatri
Freibergensis Chronicon. Freyberg, 1653, 4to, ii. p. 335. Anno 1580, a
great drought and scarcity of water. Of all the mills near town there
were only fifteen going; and in order that the people might be better
supplied with meal, the bolting machinery was removed, and this was
attended with such good consequences that each mill could grind as much
as before. In Walser’s Appenzeller Chronik. 8vo, p. 471, we are told
that about that time (1533), a freeman of Memmingen taught the people
of Appenzel to make the beautiful white bolted flour so much and so far

[439] Transactions of the Economical Society at Leipsic, 1772. Dresden,
8vo, p. 79.

[440] According to the general rescript of 1750, which has been often
renewed. The company obtained this exclusive right as early as the year

[441] One may easily perceive by what Pliny says, that the Romans
had made a variety of observations and experiments on grinding and
baking. By comparing his information with what we know at present, I
have remarked two things, which, as they will perhaps be serviceable
to those who hereafter may endeavour to illustrate Pliny, I shall lay
before the reader. That author says, book xviii. ch. 9, “Quæ sicca
moluntur plus farinæ reddunt; quæ salsa aqua sparsa, candidiorem
medullam, verum plus retinent in furfure.” A question here arises,
whether the corn was moistened before it was ground, and whether this
was done with fresh or with salt water. If Pliny, as is probable, here
means a thorough soaking, he is not mistaken; for it is certain that
corn which has been exposed to much wet yields less meal, and that the
meal, which is rather gray or reddish than white, will not keep long.
The millers also are obliged, when corn has been much wetted, to put it
through the mill oftener, because it is more difficult to be ground.
It is true also, that when salt water is used for moistening corn, the
meal becomes clammier and more difficult to be separated from the bran.
It is well known that it is not proper to steep in salt water, malt
which is to be ground for beer. On the other hand, a moderate soaking,
which requires experience and attention, is useful, and is employed in
preparing the finest kinds of flour, such as the Frankfort, Augsburg
and Ulm speltmeal, which is exported to distant countries.

There is another passage in the tenth chapter of the same book of
Pliny, where he seems to recommend a thorough soaking of corn that is
to be ground. “De ipsa ratione pisendi Magonis proponetur sententia:
triticum ante perfundi aqua multa jubet, postea evalli, deinde sole
siccatum pilo repeti.” I am of opinion that we have here the oldest
account of the manner of making meal; that is, by pounding. This
appears to me probable from the words immediately preceding, which I
have above endeavoured to explain, and from the word _evalli_. I do not
think that it ought to be translated _to winnow_, as Salmasius says, in
Exercitat. Plinianæ, p. 907; but agree with Gesner in Thesaur. Steph.,
that it signifies to free the corn from the husk. The corn was first
separated from the husks by pounding, which was more easily done after
the grain had been soaked; the shelled corn was then soaked again, and
by these means rendered so brittle that it was easily pounded to meal.
The like method is employed when people make grits without a mill, only
by pounding; a process mentioned by Krünitz in his Encyclopédie, vol.
ix. p. 805.

[442] Further information on this subject may be found collected in
Krünitz, Encyclopédie, vol. iii. p. 334. According to experiments
mentioned by Köhler, a hundred pounds of meal in Germany produce a
hundred and fifty pounds of dough, and these a hundred and fifty-three
pounds eleven and a half ounces of good bread.

[443] See the treatise of Rosa, professor of medicine at Pavia, on the
baking of bread in Lombardy, in Atti dell’ Academia delle Scienze di
Siena, tom. iv. p. 321.

[444] “Italy, the most celebrated country in the world, and abundant
in grain, has no delicate, wholesome and pleasant bread, but what is
baked by a German baker, who, by art and industrious labour, subdues
the fire, tempers the heat, and equalises the flour in such a manner,
that the bread becomes light, fine and delicate; whereas, if baked by
an Italian, it is heavy, hard, unwholesome and insipid. His holiness,
therefore, prelates, kings, princes and great lords, seldom eat any
bread except what is baked in the German manner. The Germans not only
bake well our usual bread, but they prepare also biscuit for the use
of ships or armies in the time of war, with so much skill, that the
Venetians have German bakers only in their public bakehouses; and their
biscuit is sent far and wide over Illyria, Macedonia, the Hellespont,
Greece, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Spain, France, and even to the
Orkney Islands and Britain, to be used by their own seamen, or sold to
other nations.”--Historia Suevorum, lib. i. c. 8. This history of Felix
Fabri may be found in Suevicarum Rerum Scriptores, Goldasti. Franc.
1605, 4to, and Ulm, 1727, fol.

[445] Bericht von Brodtbacken, etc., durch Sab. Mullein, Leipsig, 1616,
4to. Muller’s work is republished in Arcana et Curiositates Œconomicæ.
By David Maiern, 1706, 8vo.

[446] Schreber, in his Observations on Malouin, shows that the
mill-stones in France are too large.

[447] Traité de la Police, par De la Mare, ii. p. 259.

[448] “Défenses sont aussi faites à tous boulangers, tant maîtres
que forains, de faire remoudre aucun son, pour par après en faire et
fabriquer du pain, attendu qu’il seroit indigne d’entrer au corps
humain, sur peine de quarante-huit livres Parisis d’amende.”--De la
Mare, p. 228. The following was the true cause of this prohibition. As
a heavy tax in kind was demanded for all the meal brought to Paris,
many sent thither not meal, but bran abundant in meal, which they
caused to be ground and sifted there, and by these means acquired
no small gain. When the tax was abolished, an end was put to this
deception, which would otherwise have brought the _mouture économique_
much sooner to perfection.

[449] Histoire de la Vie Privée des François, par M. Le Grand d’Aussy.
Paris, 1782, 3 vols. 8vo, i. p. 50.

[450] Budæus De Asse. Basiliæ, 1556, fol. p. 214.

[451] De Koophandel van Amsterdam, door Le Long. ii. p. 538.

[452] Digestorum lib. xxxix. tit. 2. 24.

[453] _Ibid._ lib. xliii. tit. 12. 1.

[454] See a diploma of Frederic I., dated 1159, in Tolneri Codex
Diplomaticus Palatinus, Franc. 1700, fol. p. 54. In Reliquiæ
Manuscriptorum, P. Ludewig. Franc. 1720, 8vo, ii. p. 200, we read an
instance of the emperor Frederic I. having forbidden the building of a

[455] Digestor. lib. xliii. tit. 11, 12.

[456] Einleitung in die Lehre von den Regalien. Rostock, 1757, 4to, p.

[457] Chronicon Canon, reg. ord. August. capituli Windesemensis;
auctore Joh. Buschio. Antv. 1621, 8vo, p. 73.

[458] Schrevelii Harlemum. Lugd. Bat. 1647, 4to, p. 181.

[459] This letter of Fulbert may be found in Maxima Bibliotheca Veterum
Patrum. Lugduni 1677, fol. tom. xviii. p. 9.

[460] In Labbei Biblioth. Manuscr. i. p. 132.

[461] Traités de la Police, ii. p. 151.


Respecting the preparation of verdigris, various and in part
contradictory opinions have been entertained; and at present, when it
is with certainty known, it appears that the process is almost the
same as that employed in the time of Theophrastus, Dioscorides, and
Vitruvius[462]. At that period, however, every natural green copper
salt was comprehended under the name of _ærugo_. Dioscorides and
Pliny say expressly, that a substance of the nature of those stones
which yielded copper when melted, was scraped off in the mines of
Cyprus; as is still practised in Hungary, where the outer coat of the
copper ore is collected in the like manner, and afterwards purified
by being washed in water. Another species, according to the account
of Dioscorides, was procured from the water of a grotto in the same
island; and the most saleable natural verdigris is still collected
by a similar method in Hungary. The clear water which runs from old
copper-works is put into large vessels, and after some time the green
earth falls to the bottom as a sediment.

The artificial _ærugo_ of the ancients, however, was our verdigris,
or copper converted into a green salt by acetic acid. To discover the
method of procuring this substance could not be difficult, as that
metal contracts a green rust oftener than is wished, when in the least
exposed to acids. The ancients, for this purpose, used either vessels
and plates of copper, or only shavings and filings; and the acid they
employed was either the sourest vinegar, or the sour remains left when
they made wine; such as grapes become sour, or the stalks and skins
after the juice had been pressed from them[463]. Sometimes the copper
was only exposed to the vapour of vinegar in close vessels, so that it
did not come into immediate contact with the acid; in the same manner
as was practised with plates of lead in the time of Theophrastus, when
white-lead was made, and as is still practised at present. Sometimes
the metal was entirely covered with vinegar, or frequently besprinkled
with it, and the green rust was from time to time scraped off; and
sometimes copper filings were pounded with vinegar in a copper mortar,
till they were changed into the wished-for green salt. This article
was frequently adulterated, sometimes with stones, particularly
pumice-stone reduced to powder, and sometimes with copperas. The first
deception was easily discovered; and to detect the second, nothing
was necessary but to roast the verdigris, which betrayed the iron by
becoming red; or to add to the verdigris some gall-nut, the astringent
ingredients of which united with the oxide of iron of the copperas, and
formed a black ink.

In early periods verdigris was used principally for making plasters,
and for other medicinal purposes; but it was employed also as a colour,
and on that account it is by Vitruvius reckoned among the pigments.
When applied to the former purpose, it appears that the copper salt
was mixed with various other salts and ingredients. One mixture of
this kind was called vermicular verdigris[464], the accounts of which
in ancient authors seem to some commentators to be obscure; but in my
opinion we are to understand by them, that the ingredients were pounded
together till the paste they formed assumed the appearance of pieces or
threads like worms; and that from this resemblance they obtained their
name. For the same reason the Italians give the name of _vermicelli_ to
wire-drawn paste of flour used in cookery[465]. When the process for
making this kind of verdigris did not succeed, the workmen frequently
added gum to it, by which the paste was rendered more viscous; but this
mixture is censured both by Pliny and Dioscorides. It appears that the
greater part of the verdigris in ancient times was made in Cyprus,
which was celebrated for its copper-works, and in the island of Rhodes.

At present considerable quantities of verdigris are manufactured at
Montpelier in France, and by processes more advantageous than those
known to the ancients[466]. The dried stalks of grapes are steeped
in strong wine, and with it brought to a sour fermentation. When the
fermentation has ceased, they are put into an earthen pot, in alternate
layers with plates of copper, the surface of which in a few days is
corroded by the acetic acid, and the salt is then scraped off. It is
certain, that, even in the fifteenth century, the making of verdigris
was an old and profitable branch of commerce in France. The city of
Montpelier having been obliged to expend large sums in erecting more
extensive buildings to carry it on, and having had very small profits
for some years before, received by letters patent from Charles VI., in
1411, permission to demand sixteen sous for every hundred weight of
verdigris made there. In later times this trade has decayed very much.
Between the years 1748 and 1755, from nine to ten thousand quintals
were manufactured annually, by which the proprietors had a clear profit
of 50,000 crowns; but a sudden change seems to have taken place, for
in 1759 the quantity manufactured was estimated at only three thousand
quintals. This quantity required 630 quintals of copper, valued at
78,750 livres: the expenses of labour amounted to 1323 livres; the
necessary quantity of wine, 1033 measures, to 46,485 livres, and
extraordinaries to 10,330 livres; so that the three thousand quintals
cost the manufacturers about 136,888 livres. In the year 1759, the
pound of verdigris sold for nine sous six deniers: so that the three
thousand quintals produced 142,500 livres, which gave a net profit of
only 5612 livres. Other nations, who till that period had purchased
at least three-fourths of the French verdigris, made a variety of
experiments in order to discover a method of corroding copper which
might be cheaper; and some have so far succeeded that they can supply
themselves without the French paint in cases of necessity[467].

In commerce there is a kind of this substance known under the name of
distilled verdigris, which is nothing else than verdigris purified,
and crystallized by being again dissolved in vinegar[468]. For a
considerable period this article was manufactured solely by the Dutch,
and affords an additional example of the industry of that people.
Formerly there was only one person at Grenoble acquainted with this
art, which he kept secret and practised alone; but for some years past
manufactories of the same kind have been established in various parts
of Europe.

The German name of verdigris (_Spangrün_) has by most authors been
translated Spanish green; and it has thence been concluded that we
received that paint first from the Spaniards. This word and the
explanation of it are both old; for we find _ærugo_, and _viride
Hispanicum_, translated _Spangrün_, _Spongrün_, or _Spansgrün_,
in many of the earliest dictionaries[469], such as that printed in
1480[470]. For this meaning, however, I know no other proof than the
above etymology, which carries with it very little probability; and
I do not remember that I ever read in any other works that verdigris
first came from the Spaniards.


[462] Dioscorid. lib. v. cap. 91, 92. Theophrastus De Lapidibus, edit.
Heinsii, p. 399. Plin. lib. xxxiv. cap. 11, 12. Oribasius, lib. xiii.
Stephani Medicæ Artis Principes, p. 453. Vitruv. lib. vii. cap. 12.

[463] Plinius: _vinacea_. Dioscorides: στέμφυλα. Theophrastus: τρύξ.
The last word has various meanings: sometimes it signifies squeezed
grapes; sometimes wine lees, &c., of which Niclas gives examples in
his Observations on Geop. lib. vi. c. 13, p. 457; but it can never
be translated by _amurca_, though that word is used by Furlanus, the
translator of Theophrastus. The old glossary says, Ἀμοργὴ, ἐστὶν δὲ
τρὺξ ἐλαιου. Oil, however, has nothing to do with verdigris.

[464] Ἰὸς σκώληξ, ærugo scolacea, or vermicularis.

[465] Should this explanation be just, we ought for _æruca_, the name
given by Vitruvius to verdigris, to read _eruca_: though the conjecture
of Marcellus Vergilius (Dioscorides, interprete Mar. Vergilio. Coloniæ,
1529, fol. p. 656), that the reading should be _ænea_ or _ærea_, is no
less probable; for by this epithet its difference from _ærugo ferri_
was frequently distinguished.

[466] [Dr. Ure states, in his Dictionary of Arts and Manufactures, that
the manufacture of verdigris at Montpelier is altogether domestic. In
most wine farm-houses there is a verdigris cellar; and its principal
operations are conducted by the females of the family. They consider
the forming the strata, and scraping off the verdigris the most
troublesome part.]

[467] [In England large quantities of verdigris are now prepared by
arranging plates of copper alternately with pieces of coarse woollen
cloth steeped in crude pyroligneous acid, which is obtained by the
destructive distillation of wood.]

[468] [Verdigris is a mixture of three compounds of acetic acid with
oxide of copper, which contain a preponderance of the base, hence basic
acetates; distilled verdigris is made by digesting verdigris, or the
mixture of basic acetates of copper, with excess of acetic acid and
crystallizing by evaporation: the acid then exists in such proportions
as to form a neutral acetate of copper.]

[469] Frisch’s Worterbuch, p. 291. In the works of George Agricola,
printed together at Basle, 1546, fol., we find in p. 473, where the
terms of art are explained, “Ærugo, Grünspan, or Spansch-grün, quod
primo ab Hispanis ad Germanos sit allata; barbari nominant viride æris.”

[470] By Conrad Zeninger, Nuremberg. In that scarce work, Josua Maaler,
Teutsche Spraach oder Dictionarium Germano-Latinum, Zurich, 1561, 4to,
ærugo is called Spangrüne.


That the Latin word _crocus_ signified the same plant which we at
present call saffron, and which, in botany, still retains the ancient
name, has, as far as I know, never been doubted; and indeed I know no
reason why it should, however mistrustful I may be when natural objects
are given out for those which formerly had the like names. The moderns
often apply ancient names to things very different from those which
were known under them by the Greeks and the Romans: but what we read in
ancient authors concerning _crocus_ agrees in every respect with our
saffron, and can scarcely be applied to any other vegetable production.
_Crocus_ was a bulbous plant, which grew wild in the mountains. There
were two species of it, one of which flowered in spring, and the other
in autumn. The flowers of the latter, which appeared earlier than the
green leaves that remained through the winter, contained those small
threads or filaments[471] which were used as a medicine and a paint,
and employed also for seasoning various kinds of food[472].

It appears that the medicinal use, as well as the name of this
plant, has always continued among the Orientals; and the Europeans,
who adopted the medicine of the Greeks, sent to the Levant for
saffron[473], until they learned the art of rearing it themselves; and
employed it very much until they were made acquainted with the use of
more beneficial articles, which they substituted in its stead. Those
who are desirous of knowing the older opinions on the pharmaceutical
preparation of saffron, and the diseases in the curing of which it was
employed, may read Hertodt’s Crocologia, where the author has collected
all the receipts, and even the simplest, for preparing it[474].

What in the ancient use of saffron is most discordant with our
taste at present, is the employing it as a perfume. Not only were
halls, theatres, and courts, through which one wished to diffuse an
agreeable smell, strewed with this plant[475], but it entered into the
composition of many spirituous extracts, which retained the same scent;
and these costly smelling waters were often made to flow in small
streams, which spread abroad their much-admired odour[476]. Luxurious
people even moistened or filled with them all those things with
which they were desirous of surprising their guests in an agreeable
manner[477], or with which they ornamented their apartments. From
saffron, with the addition of wax and other ingredients, the Greeks as
well as the Romans prepared also scented salves, which they used in the
same manner as our ancestors their balsams[478].

Notwithstanding the fondness which the ancients showed for the smell
of saffron, it does not appear that in modern times it was ever much
esteemed. As a perfume, it would undoubtedly be as little relished at
present as the greater part of the dishes of Apicius, fricassees of
sucking puppies[479], sausages, and other parts of swine, which one
could not even mention with decency in genteel company[480]; though
it certainly has the same scent which it had in the time of Ovid,
and although our organs of smelling are in nothing different from
those of the Greeks and the Romans. From parts of the world to them
unknown, we have, however, obtained perfumes which far excel any with
which they were acquainted. We have new flowers, or, at least, more
perfect kinds of flowers long known, which, improved either by art or
by accident, are superior in smell to all those in the gardens of the
Hesperides, of Adonis and Alcinous, so much celebrated. We have learned
the art of mixing perfumes with oils and salts, in such a manner as to
render them more volatile, stronger, and more pleasant; and we know
how to obtain essences such as the ancient voluptuaries never smelt,
and for which they would undoubtedly have given up their saffron.
The smelling-bottles and perfumes which are often presented to our
beauties, certainly far excel that promised by Catullus to a friend,
with the assurance that his mistress had received it from Venus and her
Cupids, and that when he smelt it he would wish to become all nose:

  Nam unguentum dabo quod meæ puellæ
  Donarunt Veneres Cupidinesque,
  Quod tu quom olfacies, deos rogabis,
  Totum ut te faciant, Fabulle, nasum.

It cannot, however, be denied that both taste and smell depend very
much on imagination. We know that many articles of food, as well as
spices, are more valued on account of their scarcity and costliness
than they would otherwise be. Hence things of less value, which
approach near to them in quality, are sought after by those who cannot
afford to purchase them; and thus a particular taste or smell becomes
fashionable. Brandy and tobacco were at first recommended as medicines;
they were therefore much used, and by continual habit people at length
found a pleasure in these potent and almost nauseating articles of
luxury. Substances which gratify the smell become, nevertheless, like
the colour of clothes, oft unfashionable when they grow too common.
Certain spiceries, in which our ancestors delighted, are insupportable
to their descendants, whose nerves are weak, and more delicate; and yet
many of the present generation have accustomed themselves to strong
smells of various kinds, by gradually using them more and more, till
they have at length become indispensable wants. Some have taken snuff
rendered so sharp by powdered glass, salts, antimony, sugar of lead,
and other poisonous drugs, that the olfactory nerves have been rendered
callous, and entirely destroyed by it.

That saffron was as much employed in seasoning dishes as for a perfume,
appears from the oldest work on cookery which has been handed down to
us, and which is ascribed to Apicius. Its use in this respect has been
long continued, and in many countries is still more prevalent than
physicians wish it to be. Henry Stephen says, “Saffron must be put into
all Lent soups, sauces, and dishes: without saffron we cannot have
well-cooked peas[481].”

It may readily be supposed that the great use made of this plant
in cookery must have induced people to attempt to cultivate it in
Europe; and, in my opinion, it was first introduced into Spain by
the Arabs, as may be conjectured from its name, which is Arabic, or
rather Persian[482]. From Spain it was, according to every appearance,
carried afterwards to France, perhaps to Albigeois, and thence
dispersed into various other parts[483]. Some travellers also may,
perhaps, have brought bulbs of this plant from the Levant. We are at
least assured that a pilgrim brought from the Levant to England, under
the reign of Edward III., the first root of saffron, which he had found
means to conceal in his staff, made hollow for that purpose[484]. At
what period this plant began to be cultivated in Germany I do not know;
but that this was first done in Austria, in 1579, is certainly false.
Some say that Stephen von Hausen, a native of Nuremberg, who about that
time accompanied the imperial ambassador to Constantinople, brought the
first bulbs to Vienna, from the neighbourhood of Belgrade. This opinion
is founded on the account of Clusius, who, however, does not speak of
the autumnal saffron used as a spice, but of an early sort, esteemed on
account of the beauty of its flowers[485]. Clusius has collected more
species of this plant than any of his predecessors; and has given an
account by whom each of them was first made known.

In the fifteenth and following century, the cultivation of saffron
was so important an article in the European husbandry, that it was
omitted by no writer on that subject; and an account of it is to be
found in Crescentio, Serres, Heresbach, Von Hohberg, Florinus, and
others. In those periods, when it was an important object of trade,
it was adulterated with various and in part noxious substances; and
attempts were made in several countries to prevent this imposition
by severe penalties. In the year 1550, Henry II., king of France,
issued an order for the express purpose of preventing such frauds, the
following extract from which will show some of the methods employed
to impose on the public in the sale of this article[486]: “For some
time past,” says the order, “a certain quantity of the said saffron
has been found altered, disguised and sophisticated, by being mixed
with oil, honey, and other mixtures, in order that the said saffron,
which is sold by weight, may be rendered heavier; and some add to it
other herbs, similar in colour and substance to beef over-boiled, and
reduced to threads, which saffron, thus mixed and adulterated, cannot
be long kept, and is highly prejudicial to the human body; which,
besides the said injury, may prevent the above-said foreign merchants
from purchasing it, to the great diminution of our revenues, and to the
great detriment of foreign nations, against which we ought to provide,”

[The high price demanded for saffron offers considerable temptation
to adulteration, and this is not uncommonly taken advantage of. The
stigmata of other plants, besides the true saffron crocus (_Crocus
sativus_), are frequently mixed with those which are genuine; moreover,
many other foreign substances are added, such as the florets of the
safflower (_Carthamus tinctorius_), those of the marigold (_Calendula
officinalis_), slices of the flower of the pomegranate, saffron from
which the colouring has been previously extracted, and even fibres of
smoked beef. Most of these adulterations may be detected by the action
of boiling water, which softens and expands the fibres, thus exposing
their true shape and nature. The cake saffron of commerce appears
entirely composed of foreign substances. Great medicinal virtues were
formerly attributed to saffron. Its principal use is now as a colouring


[471] [The stigmata of Botanists.]

[472] Plin. lib. xxi. cap. 6. Geopon. lib. xi. cap. 26, and Theophrast.
Histor. Plant. lib. vi. cap. 6, where Joh. Bod. von Stapel, p. 661,
has collected, though not in good order, every thing to be found in
the ancients respecting saffron. The small aromatic threads, abundant
in colour, the only parts of the whole plant sought after, were by
the Greeks called γλωχῖνες, κροκίδες, or τρίχες; and by the Romans
_spicæ_. They are properly the end of the pistil, which is cleft into
three divisions. A very distinct representation of this part of the
flower may be seen in plate 184 of Tournefort’s Institut. Rei Herbariæ,
[or in Stephens and Churchill’s Medical Botany.]

[473] On this account we often find in prescriptions, Recipe croci

[474] Jena, 1670, 8vo.

[475] See Beroald’s Observations on the 54th chapter of the Life of
Nero by Suetonius; and Spartian, in the Life of Adrian, chap. 19.

[476] Lucan, in the ninth book of his Pharsalia, verce 809, describing
how the blood flows from every vein of a person bit by a kind of
serpent found in Africa, says that it spouts out in the same manner as
the sweet-smelling essence of saffron issues from the limbs of a statue.

[477] Petron. Satyr. cap. 60.

[478] Of the method of preparing this salve or balsam, mentioned by
Athenæus, Cicero, and others, an account is to be found in Dioscorides,
lib. i. c. 26.

[479] Plin. lib. xxix. cap. iv.

[480] Martial, b. xiii. ep. 43, praises a cook who dressed the dugs of
a sow with so much art and skill, that it appeared as if they still
formed a part of the animal, and were full of milk. A dish of this
sort is mentioned by Apicius, lib. vii. cap. 2. The same author gives
directions, book vii. chap. i. for cooking that delicious dish of
which Horace says, op. i. 15, 41, “Nil vulva pulchrius ampla.” Further
information on this subject may be found in the notes to Pliny’s
Epistles, lib. i. 15; Plin. lib. xi. c. 37; Martial. Epig. xiii. 56;
and, above all, in Lottichii Commentar. in. Petronium, lib. i. cap. 18.

[481] Apologie pour Herodote, par H. Estiene. A la Haye, 1735, 2 vols.

[482] Meninski, in his Turkish Lexicon, has _Zae’ feran_, crocus.
Golius gives it as a Persian word. That much saffron is still
cultivated in Persia, and that it is of the best kind, appears from
Chardin. See his Travels, printed at Rouen, 1723, 10 vols. 12mo. iv.
p. 37. That the Spaniards borrowed the word _safran_ from the Vandals
is much more improbable. It is to be found in Joh. Marianæ Histor. de
Rebus Hispaniæ. Hagæ, 1733, fol. i. p. 147. The author, speaking of
foreign words introduced into the Spanish language, says, “Vandalis
aliæ voces acceptæ feruntur, _camara_, _azafran_,” &c.

[483] Rozier, Cours complet d’Agriculture, i. p. 266.

[484] It is reported at Saffron-Walden, that a pilgrim, proposing to do
good to his country, stole a head of saffron, and hid the same in his
palmer’s staff, which he had made hollow before on purpose, and so he
brought this root into this realm, with venture of his life; for if he
had been taken, by the law of the country from whence it came, he had
died for the fact.--Hakluyt, vol. ii. p. 164.

[485] Clusii Rar. Plant. Hist. 1601, fol. p. 207.

[486] Traité de Police, par De la Mare, iii. p. 428.


This substance affords a striking instance how readily one may be
deceived in giving names without proper examination. Our alum was
certainly not known to the Greeks or the Romans; and what the latter
called _alumen_[487] was vitriol, (the green sulphate of iron)[488];
not however pure, but such as forms in mines. To those who know
how deficient the ancients were in the knowledge of salts, and of
mineralogy in general, this assertion will without further proof appear
highly probable[489]. Alum and green vitriol are saline substances
which have some resemblance; both contain the same acid called the
vitriolic or sulphuric; both have a strong astringent property, and on
this account are often comprehended under the common name of styptic
salts; and both are also not only found in the same places, but are
frequently obtained from the same minerals. The difference, that the
vitriols are combinations of sulphuric acid with a metallic oxide,
either that of iron, copper or zinc, and alum on the other hand with
a peculiar white earth, called on this account alumina, has been
established only in modern times[490].

A stronger proof however in favour of my assertion, is what
follows:--The Greeks and the Romans speak of no other than natural
alum; but our alum is seldom produced spontaneously in the earth, and
several of our most accurate mineralogists, such as Scopoli and Sage,
deny the existence of native alum[491]. Crystals of real alum are
formed very rarely on minerals which abound in a great degree with
aluminous particles, when they have been exposed a sufficient time
to the open air and the rain; and even then they are so small and so
much scattered, that it requires an experienced and attentive observer
to know and discover them. The smallest trace of alum-works is not
to be found in the ancients, nor even of works for making vitriol
(sulphate of iron), except what is mentioned by Pliny, who tells us
that blue vitriol was made in Spain by the process of boiling; and
this circumstance he considers as the only one of its kind, and so
singular, that he is of opinion no other salt could be obtained in
the same manner[492]. Besides, everything related by the ancients of
their alum agrees perfectly with native vitriols: but to describe them
all might be difficult; for they do not speak of pure salts, but of
saline mixtures, which nature of itself exhibits in various ways, and
under a variety of forms; and every small difference in the colour,
the exterior or interior conformation, however accidental, provided
it could be clearly distinguished, was to them sufficient to make a
distinct species, and to induce them to give it a new name[493].

The celebrity which the ancient alum had, as a substance extremely
useful in dyeing and medicine, was entirely forgotten when the alum of
the moderns became known; but this celebrity was again revived when
it was discovered that real alum could be often made from minerals
containing sulphur compounds; or that where the latter are found
there are generally minerals which abound with it. In many of these
places alum-works have in the course of time been erected; and this
circumstance has served in some measure to strengthen the opinion that
the alum of the ancients and that of the moderns are the same salt;
because where the former was found in ancient times, the latter has
since been procured by a chemical process. Some historians of the
fifteenth century even speak of the alum-works erected at that period,
as if the art of making this salt had only been revived in Europe.

The ancients procured their alum from various parts of the world.
Herodotus mentions Egyptian alum; for he tells us that when the people
of Delphos, after losing their temple by a fire, were collecting a
contribution in order to rebuild it, Amasis king of Egypt sent them a
thousand talents of alum[494]. In Pliny’s time the Egyptian alum was
accounted the best. It is well known that real alum is reckoned among
the exports of Egypt at present, but I am acquainted with no author
who mentions the place where it is found or made, or who has described
the method of preparing it.

The island of Melos, now called Milo, was particularly celebrated
on account of its alum, as we learn from Diodorus Siculus, Celsus,
Pliny and others, though none was to be found there in the time of
Diodorus[495]. This native vitriol has been observed in the grottos of
that island by several modern travellers, especially Tournefort[496],
who very properly considers it as the real alum of the ancients.

The islands of Lipara and Strongyle, or, as they are called at present,
Lipari and Stromboli, contained so great a quantity of this substance,
that the duty on it brought a considerable revenue to the Romans[497].
At one period, Lipari carried on an exclusive trade in alum, and raised
the price of it at pleasure; but in that island at present there
are neither vitriol nor alum-works. Sardinia, Macedonia, and Spain,
where alum was found formerly, still produce a salt known under that

When our alum became known, it was considered as a species of the
ancient; and as it was purer, and more proper to be used on most
occasions, the name of alum[499] was soon appropriated to it alone. The
kinds of alum however known to the ancients, which were green vitriol,
maintained a preference in medicine and for dyeing black; and on this
account, these impure substances have been still retained in druggists’
shops under the name of _misy_, _sory_, &c. But a method was at length
found out of procuring thence crystallized martial salts (salts of
iron), which obtained the new name of _vitriol_. This appellation had
its rise first in the eleventh or twelfth century; at least I know no
writer older than Albertus Magnus by whom it is mentioned or used.
Agricola conjectures that it was occasioned by the likeness which
the crystals of vitriol had to glass. This is also the opinion of
Vossius[500]; and it is very singular that Pliny says nearly the same
thing; for he observes, speaking of blue vitriol, the only kind then
known, that one might almost take it for glass[501].

By inquiring into the uses to which the ancients applied their alum, I
find that it was sometimes employed to secure wooden buildings against
fire. This remark I have here introduced to show that this idea, which
in modern times has given occasion to many expensive experiments, is
not new. Aulus Gellius[502] relates, from the works of an historian now
lost, that Archelaus, one of the generals of Mithridates, washed over
a wooden tower with a solution of alum, and by these means rendered
it so much proof against fire, that all Sylla’s attempts to set it in
flames proved abortive. Many have conjectured that the substance used
for this purpose was neither vitriol nor our alum, but rather asbestos,
which is often confounded with Atlas-vitriol[503]; and against this
mistake cautions are to be found even in Theophrastus. But it may be
asked, With what was the asbestos laid on? By what means were the
threads, which are not soluble in water, made fast to the wood? How
could a tower be covered with it? I am rather inclined to believe, that
a strongly saturated solution of vitriol might have in some measure
served to prevent the effects of the fire, at least as long as a thin
coat of potters’ earth or flour-paste, which in the present age have
been thought deserving of experiments attended with considerable
expense. It does not however appear that the invention of Archelaus,
which is still retained in some old books[504], has been often put in
practice[505]; for writers on the art of war, such, for example, as
Æneas, recommended vinegar to be washed over wood, in order to prevent
its being destroyed by fire.

I shall now proceed to the history of our present alum, which was
undoubtedly first made in the East. The period of the invention I
cannot exactly determine, but I conclude with certainty that it is
later than the twelfth century[506]; for John, the son of Serapion,
who lived after Rhazes, was acquainted with no other alum than the
impure vitriol of Dioscorides[507]. What made the new alum first and
principally known was its beneficial use in the art of dyeing, in
which it is employed for fixing as well as rendering brighter and
more beautiful different colours. This art therefore the Europeans
learned from the Orientals, who, even yet, though we have begun to
apply chemistry to the improvement of dyeing, are in some respects
superior to us, as is proved by the red of Adrianople, their silks and
their Turkey leather. The Italians procured their first alum from the
Levant, along with other materials for dyeing; but when these countries
were taken possession of by the Turks, it grieved the Christians to be
obliged to purchase these necessary articles from the common enemy, and
bitter complaints on that subject may be seen in the works of various
authors. In the course of time the Italians became acquainted with the
art of boiling alum; for some of them had rented Turkish alum-works,
and manufactured that salt on their own account. They at length
found aluminous minerals in their own country, on which they made
experiments. These having answered their expectations, they were soon
brought into use; and this branch of trade declined afterwards so much
in Turkey, that many of the alum-works there were abandoned.

We are told by many historians that the Europeans who first made alum
in Italy learned their art, as Augustin Justinian says, at Rocca di
Soria, or Rocca in Syria. Neither in books of geography nor in maps,
however, can I find any place of this name in Syria. I at first
conjectured that Rocca on the Euphrates might be here meant, but at
present it appears to me more probable that it is Edessa, which is
sometimes called Roha, Raha, Ruha, Orfa, and also Roccha, as has been
expressly remarked by Niebuhr[508]. Edessa is indeed reckoned to be in
Mesopotamia, but some centuries ago Syria perhaps was understood in
a more extended sense. This much at least is certain, that minerals
which indicate alum have been often observed by travellers in that

It appears that the new alum was at first distinguished from the
ancient vitriol by the denomination of _Rocca_, from which the French
have made _alun de roche_, and some of the Germans _rotzalaun_[509].
Respecting the origin of this name very different conjectures have
been formed. Some think it is derived from _rocca_, which in the Greek
signifies a rock, because this salt is by boiling procured from a
stone; and these translate the word _alumen rupeum_, from which the
French name is formed[510]. Some are of opinion that alum obtained from
alum-stone has been so called to distinguish it from that procured from
schists, which is generally mixed with more iron than the former[511];
and others maintain that alum acquired the name of _Rocca_ from the
alum-rocks in the neighbourhood of Tolfa[512]. It is to be remarked,
on the other hand, that Biringoccio, that expert Italian, confesses
he does not know whence the name has arisen[513]. For my part I am
inclined to adopt the opinion of Leibnitz, that _alumen roccæ_ was
that kind first procured from Rocca in Syria; and that this name was
afterwards given to every good species of alum, as we at present call
the purest Roman alum[514].

In the fifteenth century there were alum-works in the neighbourhood
of Constantinople, from which John di Castro, of whom I shall have
occasion to speak hereafter, learned his art. May not these alum-works
be those visited by Bellon, and of which he has given an excellent
description[515]? He names the place _Cypsella_ or _Chypsilar_, and
says that the alum in commerce is called _alumen Lesbium_, or _di
Metelin_. The alum procured from Constantinople at present may perhaps
be brought from the same spot; but I am not sufficiently acquainted
with its situation to determine that point with certainty, for Büsching
makes no mention of it. In some maps I find the names _Ypsala_ and
_Chipsilar_ on the western side of the river Mariza, Maritz or
Maricheh, which was the Hebrus of the ancients; in others stands the
name _Scapsiler_ on the west bank of the sea Bouron; and it is not
improbable that these may be all derived from the old _Scaptesyle_ or
_Scapta Hyla_, where, according to the account of Theophrastus, Pliny
and others, there were considerable mines.

Another alum-work, no less celebrated in the fifteenth century, was
established near the city _Phocæa Nova_, at present called _Foya Nova_,
not far from the mouth of the Hermus, in the neighbourhood of Smyrna.
Of this work, Ducas, who had a house there, has given a particular
description, from which we learn that in his time, that is under the
reign of Michael Palæologus, it was farmed by Italians, who sold the
produce of it to their countrymen, and to the Dutch, French, Spaniards,
English, Arabs, Egyptians, and people of Syria. This author relates
very minutely in what manner the alum was made, but that work has been
long since abandoned[516]: alum however made in the neighbourhood is
still exported from Smyrna[517]. It is much to be wished that ingenious
travellers would examine the alum-works in Thrace, around Smyrna,
and in Turkey in general, and give an accurate description of them
according to the state in which they are at present[518].

The oldest alum-works in Europe were established about the middle
of the fifteenth century, but where they were first erected cannot
with certainty be ascertained; for it appears that several were set
on foot in different places at the same period. Some affirm that the
first alum made in Europe was manufactured in the island Ænaria, or
Pithacusa, at present called Ischia, by a Genoese merchant, whom
some name Bartholomew Perdix, and others Pernix. This man, who is
praised on account of his ingenuity and attachment to the study of
natural history, having often travelled through Syria, learned the
method of boiling alum at Rocca; and on his return found alum-stones
among the substances thrown up by the eruption of a volcano which had
destroyed part of the island, and gave occasion to their being first
employed in making that salt. Such is the account of respectable
historians, Pontanus[519], Bizaro[520], Augustine Justinian[521], and
Bottone[522], who wrote much later. Bizaro says that this happened in
the year 1459, which agrees perfectly with the account of Pontanus; for
he tells us that it was under the reign of Ferdinand I., natural son of
Alphonsus, who ascended the throne in 1458. Besides, the earthquake,
which had laid waste the island one hundred and sixty-three years
before, took place in 1301, which makes the time of this invention to
fall about the year 1464. So seems Bottone also to have reckoned, for
he mentions expressly the year 1465.

The alum-work which is situated about an Italian mile northwest from
Tolfa, and six from Civita Vecchia, in the territories of the Church,
is by some Italian historians reckoned to have been the first. However
this may be, it is certain that it is the oldest carried on at present.
The founder of it was John di Castro, a son of the celebrated lawyer,
Paul di Castro[523], who had an opportunity at Constantinople, where
he traded in Italian cloths and sold dye-stuffs, of making himself
acquainted with the method of boiling alum. He was there at the
time when the city fell into the hands of the Turks; and after this
unfortunate event, by which he lost all his property, he returned to
his own country. Pursuing there his researches in natural history,
he found in the neighbourhood of Tolfa a plant which he had observed
growing in great abundance in the aluminous districts of Asia: from
this he conjectured that the earth of his native soil might also
contain the same salt; and he was confirmed in that opinion by its
astringent taste. At this time he held an important office in the
Apostolic Chamber; and this discovery, which seemed to promise the
greatest advantages, was considered as a real victory gained over the
Turks, from whom the Italians had hitherto been obliged to purchase all
their alum. Pope Pius II., who was too good a financier to neglect such
a beneficial discovery, caused experiments to be first made at Viterbo,
by some Genoese who had formerly been employed in the alum-works in
the Levant, and the success of them was equal to his expectations.
The alum, which was afterwards manufactured in large quantities, was
sold to the Venetians, the Florentines, and the Genoese. The Pope
himself has left us a very minute history of this discovery, and of the
circumstances which gave rise to it[524]. Some pretend that Castro was
several years a slave to a Turk who traded in alum[525]; others affirm
that he had even been obliged to labour as a slave in alum-works[526];
and others, that he learned the art of boiling alum from a citizen of
Corneto, a town in the dominions of the Pope, and from a Genoese, both
of whom had acquired their knowledge in the Levant[527]. But as I do
not wish to ascribe a falsehood to the Pontiff, I am of opinion that
the history of this discovery must have been best known to him. He has
not, indeed, established the year with sufficient correctness; but we
may conclude from his relation that it must have been 1460 or 1465. The
former is the year given by Felician Bussi; and the latter that given
in the history of the city of Civita Vecchia.

The plant which first induced John di Castro to search for alum was
that evergreen, prickly shrub, the _Ilex aquifolium_, or holly, which
in Italy is still considered as an indication that the regions where
it grows abound with that salt. But though it is undoubtedly certain
that the quality of the soil may be often discovered by the wild plants
which it produces, it is also true that this shrub is frequently found
where there is not the smallest trace of alum; and that it is not to be
seen where the soil abounds with it, as has been already remarked by
Boccone[528] and Tozzetti[529].

Among the earliest alum-works may be reckoned that which was erected
at Volterra, in the district of Pisa, in 1458, by a Genoese named
Antonius[530]. Others say that it was constructed by an architect of
Sienna; but this opinion has perhaps arisen only from the work having
been farmed by a citizen of Sienna, or built at his expense. On account
of this alum-work an insurrection of the inhabitants of Volterra broke
out in 1472; but it was at length quelled by the Florentines, who took
and plundered the city[531]. Brutus, who wrote his History of Florence
in the year 1572, says that this alum-work was carried on in his time:
but this is certainly false; for Raphael di Volterra[532], who died
in 1521 in his native city, expressly tells us that in his time alum
was no longer boiled there; and this is confirmed by Baccius[533], who
also lived in the sixteenth century. At present no remains of it are
left; so that Tozzetti was not able to discover the place where the
alum-stones were broken[534].

It appears from what has been said, that the art of boiling alum in
Europe was first known in Italy, but not before the year 1548. That
document therefore of the year 1284, quoted by Tozzetti, and in which
alum-works, _alumifodinæ_, are mentioned, must, as he himself thinks,
be undoubtedly false[535].

The great revenue which the Apostolical Chamber derived from alum,
induced many to search for aluminous minerals, and works were erected
wherever they were found. Several manufactories of this substance
were established therefore in various parts, which are mentioned by
Baccius[536], Biringoccio, and other writers of the sixteenth century.
The pope however understood his own interest so well, that he never
rested until he had caused all the works erected in the territories of
others to be given up, and until he alone remained master of the prize.
He then endeavoured by every method possible to prevent foreigners from
acquiring an accurate knowledge of the art of boiling alum; and at the
same time found means, by entering into commercial treaties with other
nations, and by employing the medium of religion, which has always the
greatest effect on weak minds, to extend his commerce in this article
more and more. The price was raised from time to time, and it at length
became so high that foreigners could purchase this salt at a cheaper
rate from the Spaniards, and even when they sent for it to Turkey. His
Holiness, that he might convert this freedom of trade into a sin, and
prevent it by the terror of excommunication, artfully gave out that
he meant to set apart the income arising from his alum-works to the
defence of Christianity; that is, towards carrying on war against the
Turks. Prohibitions and threats now followed in case any one should be
so unchristian as to purchase alum from the Infidels; but every person
was at liberty to make what bargain he could with his Holiness for this

In the year 1468 Pope Paul II. entered into a commercial treaty
respecting alum with Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy; but in 1504
Roman alum had risen to such an exorbitant price, that Philip the Fair,
archduke of Austria, caused a council of inquiry to be held at Bruges,
by which it appeared that this article could be purchased at a much
cheaper rate in Turkey. Commissions therefore were sent thither for
that purpose; but scarcely was this known at Rome, when a prohibition,
under pain of excommunication, was issued by Pope Julius II. This
pontiff however was not the only one from whom such prohibitions
proceeded: bulls of the like kind were issued also by Julius III., Paul
III., Paul IV., Gregory XIII. and others[537].

But these means, like all those founded on the simplicity of others,
could not be of long duration; and as soon as men became a little more
enlightened, they learned to know their own interest, and to discover
the selfishness of the Pope’s bulls. Unless Biringoccio, who visited
a part of the German mines, be under a mistake, the first European
alum-work out of Italy was erected in Spain; and is that still carried
on with considerable profit at Almacaron, not far from Carthagena[538].
In the beginning of the sixteenth century very large quantities of alum
were brought to Antwerp, as we learn from Guicciardini’s Description of
the Netherlands.

At what time the first alum-work was erected in Germany, I am not
able to determine; but it appears that alum began to be made at
Oberkaufungen in Hesse in the year 1554. For the alum-work at Commotau
in Bohemia, the first letters-patent were granted in 1558. An alum-work
was established at Lower Langenau in the county of Glatz in 1563; but
it was soon after abandoned. Several other manufactories of alum are
mentioned by Agricola, such as that of Dieben or Duben, in the circle
of Leipsic, and those of Dippoldiswalda, Lobenstein, &c.

In England the first alum-work was erected at Gisborough in Yorkshire,
in the reign of queen Elizabeth; though Anderson[539] says in 1608.
Sir Thomas Chaloner, who had an estate there, conjecturing from the
nature of the plants which grew wild that there must be minerals in the
neighbourhood, after making some search, at length discovered alum.
As there was however no one in England at that time who understood
the method of preparing it, he privately engaged workmen belonging to
the Pope’s alum-works; and it is said, that as soon as the Pontiff
heard this, he endeavoured to recall them by threats and anathemas.
These however did no injury to the heretics; and in a little time the
alum-work succeeded so well, that several more of the same kind were
soon after established[540]. But what more dishonoured the Pontiff’s
denunciations was, that in later times the proprietors of the English
alum-works farmed those of the Apostolic Chamber, and increased in
various ways the benefit derived from them[541].

At what period alum-works were established in other countries I
have not been able to learn. I however know that one was erected at
Andrarum[542] in Sweden in 1630.

[The process for obtaining alum from the alum-stone of Tolfa, which
is also found in Hungary, Auvergne, and other parts of the world, and
which contains _all_ the ingredients requisite for the production of
alum, has been fully described. The greater portion however of the
alum manufactured in this country is obtained from alum-slate,--a
bituminous schist containing iron-pyrites (sulphuret of iron) diffused
in extremely fine particles throughout its mass. Many of these schists
crumble to pieces when they are exposed to the air; the sulphur of the
pyrites becomes gradually converted by the absorption of oxygen from
the atmosphere into sulphuric acid, while, at the same time, the iron
is peroxidized, and having in this state no very great affinity for the
sulphuric acid, parts with the greater portion of it to the clay, which
is thus converted into sulphate of alumina. Many of these schists are
of such a loose texture, and contain the pyrites in so fine a state
of division, that the requisite heat is generated by the rapidity
with which the several chemical changes proceed; others, from their
compactness and deficiency in combustible matter, require calcining
by a slow smothered fire. When the calcination is complete, the mass
is lixiviated, the solutions are run into cisterns for evaporation,
and when they have attained a certain strength, are precipitated with
sulphate or muriate of potash or ammonia. The precipitated alum is
washed, drained, and separated from various impurities by re-solution
and crytallization, and is then fit for the market.

A very interesting process has recently been patented by Dr. Turner of
Gateshead[543]. It consists in fusing felspar, which is a silicate of
potash and alumina, with more potash. On treating the fused mass with
water, it is separated into two parts; the first, a solution containing
silicate of potash, from which the potash may be obtained by passing
through it a stream of carbonic acid gas, or by filtering it through a
bed of caustic lime; the second, an insoluble residue, consisting of a
silicate of alumina and potash. On digesting this with sulphuric acid,
the silica is separated and a solution of alum obtained.]


[487] Called by the Greeks στυπτηρία.

[488] [It is scarcely necessary to observe, that many of the compounds
of sulphuric acid with metallic oxides were formerly commonly termed
_vitriols_ from their glassy appearance; thus, the green vitriol,
or briefly vitriol, is the sulphate of the protoxide of iron, white
vitriol is sulphate of zinc, and blue vitriol is the sulphate of
copper. Sulphuric acid is still more generally known by the name of oil
of vitriol and vitriolic acid, from its having been originally obtained
by distilling green vitriol.]

[489] [There can be little doubt however that even Pliny was acquainted
with our alum, but did not distinguish it from sulphate of iron, for he
informs us that one kind of alum was white and was used for dyeing wool
of bright colours.--Pereira’s Materia Medica, vol. i.]

[490] [The alums, for at present several kinds are distinguished, are
not merely combinations of sulphuric acid and the earth alumina, but
double sulphates, the one constituent being sulphate of alumina, the
other either sulphate of potash, sulphate of ammonia, sulphate of
soda, &c. The alum of this country generally contains potash, that of
France ammonia, or both potash and ammonia, hence the name potash-alum,
ammonia-alum, &c.]

[491] [Although native alum is not abundant, there is no question of
its occasional occurrence.]

[492] Plin. lib. xxxiv. c. 12. The same account is given by Isidor.
Origin. lib. xvi. c. 2, and by Dioscorides, lib. v. c. 114. The latter,
however, differs from Pliny in many circumstances.

[493] Those who are desirous of seeing everything that the ancients
have left us respecting their alum may consult Aldrovandi Museum
Metallicum, Lugd. 1636, fol. p. 334.

[494] Herodot. lib. ii. c. 180.

[495] Diodor. Sic. lib. v. ed. Wesselingii, i. p. 338.

[496] Tournefort, Voyage i. p. 63. Some information respecting the
same subject may be seen in that expensive but useful work, Voyage
Pittoresque de la Grèce, i. p. 12.

[497] Diodor. Sic. lib. c. Strabo, lib. vi. edit. Almel. p. 423.

[498] Copious information respecting the Spanish alum-works may be
found in Introduccion à la Historia Natural de Espagna, par D. G.
Bowles: and in Dillon’s Travels through Spain, 1780, 4to, p. 220.

[499] The derivation of the Latin name _alumen_, which, if I mistake
not, occurs first in Columella and Pliny, is unknown. Some deduce it
from ἅλμη; others from ἄλειμμα; and Isidore gives a derivation still
more improbable. May it not have come from Egypt with the best sort
of alum? Had it originated from a Greek word, it would undoubtedly
have been formed from στυπτηρία. This appellation is to be found in
Herodotus; and nothing is clearer than that it has arisen from the
astringent quality peculiar to both the salts, and also from στύφειν,
as has been remarked by Dioscorides, Pliny, and Galen.

[500] Etymol. p. 779.

[501] Plin. lib. xxxiv. c. 12.

[502] Noct. Att. lib. xv. c. 1.

[503] The _halotrichum_ of Scopoli. The first person who discovered
this salt to be vitriolic was Henkel, who calls it _Atlas-vitriol_.
[The mineral halotrichite is, in a chemical sense, a true alum in which
the sulphate of potash is replaced by the sulphate of the protoxide of
iron. It is composed of one atom of protosulphate of iron, one atom of
sulphate of alumina, and contains, like all the true alums, twenty-four
atoms of water.]

[504] Wecker De Secretis, lib. ix. 18, p. 445.

[505] One instance of its being used for this purpose is found in
Ammianus Marcellinus, lib. xx. c. 12.

[506] [This cannot be correct; for Geber, who is supposed to have lived
in the eighth century, was acquainted with three kinds of it, and
describes the method of preparing burnt alum.]

[507] Joh. Serapionis Arabis de simplicibus medicinis opus, cap. 410.

[508] Reisebeschreibung, ii. p. 408, 409.

[509] This singular appellation occurs in Valentini Historia
Simplicium, and several other works.

[510] Jul. Cæs. Scaligeri Exot. exercitat. Franc. 1612, 8vo, p. 325.

[511] I shall here take occasion to remark, that schist seems to have
been employed for making alum in the time of Agricola, as appears by
his book De Ortu et Causis Subterraneorum, p. 47.

[512] Mercati, Metallotheca, p. 54.

[513] Pyrotechnia. Ven. 1559, 4to.

[514] Leibnitii Protogæa, p. 47.

[515] Bellonii Observationes, cap. lxi.

[516] “In Phocis, which lies close to Ionia, there is a mountain
abundant in aluminous mineral. The stones found on the top of this
mountain are first calcined in the fire, and then reduced to powder by
being thrown into water. The water mixed with that powder is put into a
kettle; and a little more water being added to it, and the whole having
been made to boil, the powder is lixiviated, and the thick part which
falls to the bottom in a cake is preserved; what is hard and earthy is
thrown away as of no use. The cake is afterwards suffered to dissolve
in vessels for four days; at the end of which the alum is found in
crystals around their edges, and the bottoms of them also are covered
with pieces and fragments of the like nature. The remaining liquor,
which at the end of four days does not harden, is poured into a kettle,
more water and more powder are added to it, and being boiled as before,
it is put into proper vessels, and the alum obtained in this manner is
preserved as an article very necessary for dyers. All masters of ships
bound from the Levant to Europe, consider alum as a very convenient and
useful lading for vessels.... In the reign of Michael Palæologus, the
first emperor of his family, some Italians requested a lease of that
mountain, for which they promised to pay a certain sum annually.... The
Romans and the Latins built Phocæa Nova on the sea-shore, at the bottom
of that mountain which lies on the east side of it. On the west it has
the island of Lesbos, on the north the neighbouring bay of Elæa, and on
the south it looks towards the Ionian sea.”--Ducæ Historia Byzantina.
Venet. 1729, p. 71.

[517] The alum of Smyrna is mentioned by Baumé in his Experimental
Chemistry, i. p. 458.

[518] Some account of other Eastern alum-works is contained in a
treatise of F. B. Pegolotti, written in the middle of the fourteenth
century, on the state of commerce at that time, and printed in a book
entitled Della decima e di varie altre gravezze imposte dal commune di
Firenze. Lisbona e Lucca, 1765, 4to, 4 vols. It appears from this work,
that in the fourteenth century the Italians were acquainted with no
other than Turkish alum.

[519] “I shall embrace this opportunity of giving a brief account
of the situation of the island, and of the nature of its soil. That
Ænaria has been at some time violently separated from the continent
by an earthquake, seems proved by a variety of circumstances, such
as calcined rocks; the ground full of caverns; and the earth, which,
like that of the main land, being abundant in warm springs, and dry,
feeds internal fire, and on that account contains a great deal of alum.
A few years ago Bartholomew Perdix, a Genoese merchant passing this
island in his way to Naples, observed some aluminous rocks scattered
here and there along the sea-coast. About a hundred and sixty-three
years before that period, the earth having suddenly burst by the
effects of fire confined in its bowels, a considerable part of Ænaria
was involved in flames. By this eruption a small town was burned and
afterwards swallowed up; and large masses of rock mixed with flames,
sand and smoke, thrown up where the shore looks towards Cumæ, fell upon
the neighbouring fields, and destroyed the most fruitful and the most
pleasant part of the island. Some of these huge pieces of rock being at
that time still lying on the shore, Bartholomew, by calcining them in
a furnace, extracted alum from them, and revived that art which he had
brought from Rocca in Syria, where he had traded for several years, and
which had been neglected in Italy for many centuries.”--Pontani Hist.
Neapol. in Grævii Thesaurus Antiq. Italiæ, ix. part 3. p. 88.

[520] “I must not omit to mention that about this time Bartholomew
Pernix, a citizen and merchant of Genoa, who had resided long in Syria
for the purpose of commerce, returned to his native country. Soon
after, he made a voyage to the island of Ænaria, situated in the Tuscan
sea, called formerly Pythacusa, and now in the vulgar Greek Iscla or
Ischia; and being a man of an acute genius, and a diligent investigator
of natural objects, he observed near the sea-coast several rocks fit
for making alum. He took some fragments of them therefore, and having
calcined them in a furnace, he procured from them most excellent alum.
He was the first person who, to the incredible benefit of many, brought
as it were again into use that art long abandoned and almost lost in
Italy and the greater part of other countries. On that account his name
deserves to be rescued from oblivion.”--Genuensis Rerum Annal. auct. P.
Bizaro Sentinati. Antv. 1579, fol. p. 302.

[521] “About that period (1459) Bartholomew Pernix, a Genoese merchant,
sailing past the island of Ænaria or Ischia, learned that there were
near the shore many aluminous rocks, that is to say, fit for making
alum. He took some of them, therefore, and having caused them to be
calcined in a furnace, he procured from them most excellent alum. This
Bartholomew brought back to Italy from the city of Rocca, in Syria,
where he had traded many years, the art of making alum, which had been
neglected and lost for a long space of time.”--Annali della Republica
di Genoa, per Agostino Giustiniano. Genoa, 1537, fol. lib. v. p. 214.

[522] Dom. Bottone, Pyrologia Topographica. Neapoli, 1692, 4to. This
author calls the inventor Perdix, and not Pernix.

[523] Fabricii Biblioth. Lat. mediæ et infimæ Ætatis, vol. v. p. 617.

[524] “A little before that period came to Rome John di Castro, with
whom the Pontiff had been acquainted when he carried on trade at Basle,
and was banker to Pope Eugenius. His father, Paul, was a celebrated
lawyer of his time, who sat many years in the chair at Padua, and
filled all Italy with his decisions; for law-suits were frequently
referred to him, and judges paid great respect to his authority, as
he was a man of integrity and sound learning. At his death he left
considerable riches, and two sons arrived to the age of manhood, the
elder of whom, following the profession of the father, acquired a
very extensive knowledge of law. The other, who was a man of genius,
and who applied more to study, made himself acquainted with grammar
and history: but, being fond of travelling, he resided some time at
Constantinople, and acquired much wealth by dyeing cloth made in Italy,
which was transported thither and committed to his care, on account of
the abundance of alum in that neighbourhood. Having by these means an
opportunity of seeing daily the manner in which alum was made, and from
what stones or earth it was extracted, he soon learned the art. When,
by the will of God, that city was taken and plundered about the year
1453, by Mahomet II., emperor of the Turks, he lost his whole property;
but, happy to have escaped the fire and sword of these cruel people,
he returned to Italy, after the assumption of Pius II., to whom he
was related, and from whom he obtained, as an indemnification for his
losses, the office of commissary-general over all the revenues of the
Apostolic Chamber, both within and without the city. While, in this
situation, he was traversing all the hills and mountains, searching
the bowels of the earth, leaving no stone or clod unexplored, he at
length found some alum-stone in the neighbourhood of Tolfa. Old Tolfa
is a town belonging to two brothers, subjects of the Church of Rome,
and situated at a small distance from Civita Vecchia. Here there are
high mountains, retiring inland from the sea, which abound with wood
and water. While Castro was examining these, he observed that the grass
had a new appearance. Being struck with wonder, and inquiring into the
cause, he found that the mountains of Asia, which enrich the Turkish
treasury by their alum, were covered with grass of the like kind.
Perceiving several white stones, which seemed to be minerals, he bit
some of them, and found that they had a saltish taste. This induced him
to make some experiments by calcining them, and he at length obtained
alum. He repaired therefore to the Pontiff, and addressing him said,
‘I announce to you a victory over the Turk. He draws yearly from the
Christians above three hundred thousand pieces of gold, paid to him
for the alum with which we dye wool different colours, because none
is found here but a little at the island of Hiscla, formerly called
Ænaria, near Puteoli, and in the cave of Vulcan at Lipari, which, being
formerly exhausted by the Romans, is now almost destitute of that
substance. I have however found seven hills, so abundant in it, that
they would be almost sufficient to supply seven worlds. If you will
send for workmen, and cause furnaces to be constructed, and the stones
to be calcined, you may furnish alum to all Europe; and that gain which
the Turk used to acquire by this article, being thrown into your hands,
will be to him a double loss. Wood and water are both plenty, and you
have in the neighbourhood the port of Civita Vecchia, where vessels
bound to the West may be loaded. You can now make war against the Turk:
this mineral will supply you with the sinews of war, that is money,
and at the same time deprive the Turk of them.’ These words of Castro
appeared to the Pontiff the ravings of a madman: he considered them as
mere dreams, like the predictions of astrologers; and all the cardinals
were of the same opinion. Castro, however, though his proposals were
often rejected, did not abandon his project, but applied to his
Holiness by various persons, in order that experiments might be made
in his presence, on the stones which he had discovered. The Pontiff
employed skilful people, who proved that they really contained alum;
but lest some deception might have been practised, others were sent to
the place where they had been found, who met with abundance of the like
kind. Artists who had been employed in the Turkish mines in Asia were
brought from Genoa; and these, having closely examined the nature of
the place, declared it to be similar to that of the Asiatic mountains
which produce alum; and, shedding tears for joy, they kneeled down
three times, worshiping God, and praising his kindness in conferring
so valuable a gift on our age. The stones were calcined, and produced
alum more beautiful than that of Asia, and superior in quality. Some
of it was sent to Venice and to Florence, and, being tried, was found
to answer beyond expectation. The Genoese first purchased a quantity
of it, to the amount of twenty thousand pieces of gold; and Cosmo of
Medici for this article laid out afterwards seventy-five thousand. On
account of this service, Pius thought Castro worthy of the highest
honours and of a statue, which was erected to him in his own country,
with this inscription: ‘To John di Castro, the inventor of alum;’
and he received besides a certain share of the profit. Immunities
and a share also of the gain were granted to the two brothers, lords
of Tolfa, in whose land the aluminous mineral had been found. This
accession of wealth to the Church of Rome was made, by the divine
blessing, under the pontificate of Pius II.; and if it escape, as it
ought, the hands of tyrants, and be prudently managed, it may increase
and afford no small assistance to the Roman Pontiffs in supporting
the burdens of the Christian religion.”--Pii Secundii Comment. Rer.
Memorab. quæ temp. suis contigerunt. Francof. 1614, fol. p. 185.

[525] “The Frangipani a third time acquired lands in the kingdom of
Naples. When they possessed in Maremma di Roma, Tolfa, Castello, and a
jurisdiction which brings at present eighty thousand crowns annually
to the Church, it happened that a son of Paul di Castro, a celebrated
doctor, and a vassal of these lords, who had been many years a slave
in Turkey to an alum-merchant, returned free to his own country; and
observing that in the territories of Tolfa there was abundance of alum
mineral, he gave notice of it to Lodovico Frangipani, his lord, and was
the cause of greatly increasing his revenues. Pope Paul II., however,
pretending that the mineral belonged to the Apostolic See, as supreme
lord of the fief, and not being able to persuade Lodovico to give it up
to the Church, he declared war against him, but was vigorously opposed
by Lodovico and his brother Peter, lords of Tolfa, assisted by the
Orsini their relations; so that the Pope was obliged to bring about
an accommodation with them by means of king Ferrante I., and to pay
them as the price of Tolfa sixteen thousand crowns of gold, of which
Lodovico gave twelve thousand to the king, and was invested by him in
the lordship of Serino in the year 1469.”

[526] Ferbers Briefe über Welschland, p. 246.

[527] “This year (1460) is distinguished by the discovery of alum
at Tolfa vecchia, no one there having been acquainted with it till
that period: and this happened by means of one John di Castro, who
had acquired some knowledge of it from a young man of Corneto, and a
Genoese, who had learned in Turkey the whole process of making it. The
said John having observed that in the mountains of Tolfa there were
undoubtedly veins of alum, he caused some of the earth and stones to
be dug up, and the first experiments were made on them at Viterbo in
the following manner. The stones were first calcined in a furnace; a
large quantity of water was then thrown over them; and when they were
entirely dissolved, the water was boiled in great leaden caldrons;
after which it was poured into wooden vessels, where, evaporating by
degrees, the result was alum of the most perfect kind. Pope Pius II.,
sensible of the great benefit which might arise from this mineral to
the Apostolic Chamber, employed more than eight hundred persons at
Tolfa in preparing it.”--Historia della Città de Viterbo, di Feliciano
Bussi. In Roma 1742, fol. p. 262.

[528] Museo di Fisica, &c. Ven. 1697, p. 152.

[529] Viaggi, vii. p. 234.

[530] Anno 1458. “Rock alum, which the Greeks call _pharno_, was
at this time first discovered by a Genoese in the territories of
Volterra, where being boiled and found to be good, it began to be dug
up afterwards in many of the mountains of Italy. Till that period
the Italians had made no use of mines of this kind; for our alum was
all brought from Turkey. The above discovery was therefore a great
advantage to us.”

[531] An account of this dispute between the Florentines and the people
of Volterra may be seen in Machiavelli’s History of Florence, book vii.

[532] Rap. Volaterrani Comment. Urbani.

[533] De Thermis.

[534] Viaggi, iii. p. 117.

[535] Ibid. vii. p. 51.

[536] De Thermis, p. 293. Tozzetti, iv. p. 186.

[537] Nicol. Rodrig. Fermosini Tractatus Criminalium. Lugd. 1670, 2
vol. fol. tom. ii. p. 63.

[538] Pyrotechn. p. 31. He says expressly that this was the only
alum-work in Europe in his time without the boundaries of Italy.

[539] History of Commerce, iv. p. 406. “The manufacture of alum,” says
he, “was first found out in England, and carried on with success in
1608. It was supported and patronized in the county of York by lord
Sheffield, sir John Bourcher, and other landholders of the said county,
to the great benefit of England in general, and of the proprietors in
particular, to the present day. King James was a great promoter of this
alum-work, after he had by the advice of his minister appropriated to
himself a monopoly of it, and forbidden the importation of foreign

[540] Such is the account of Pennant in his Tour in Scotland, 1768.
“The alum-works in this country are of some antiquity; they were first
discovered by sir Thomas Chaloner in the reign of queen Elizabeth, who
observing the trees tinged with an unusual colour, made him suspicious
of its being owing to some mineral in the neighbourhood. He found
out that the strata abounded with an aluminous salt. At that time
the English being strangers to the method of managing it, there is
a tradition that sir Thomas was obliged to seduce some workmen from
the Pope’s alum-works near Rome, then the greatest in Europe. If one
may judge from the curse which his Holiness thundered out against sir
Thomas and his fugitives, he certainly was not a little enraged; for
he cursed by the very form that Ernulphus has left us, and not varied
a tittle from that most comprehensive of imprecations. The first pits
were near Gisborough, the seat of the Chaloners, who still flourish
there notwithstanding his Holiness’s anathema.” The following passage,
extracted from Camden’s Britannia, is much to the same purpose: “This
(alum) was first discovered a few years since (anno 1607) by the
admirable sagacity of that learned naturalist sir Thomas Chaloner,
knt. (to whose tuition his majesty (king James the First) committed
the delight and glory of Britain, his son prince Henry), by observing
that the leaves of trees were of a more weak sort of green here than in
other places, &c.”

[541] “For some time past the marquis of Lepri has farmed the
alum-works at Civita Vecchia for 37,000 scudi. The Apostolical Chamber
supplies the necessary wood, which the marquis must be at the expense
of cutting down and transporting. About two hundred men are employed in
the works; and alum to the amount of from forty-five thousand to fifty
thousand scudi is sold annually, particularly to the English and the
French.” See Voyage en Italie, par le Baron de R. (Riesch.) Dresden,
1781, 2 vols. 8vo.

[542] Voyages Metallurgiques, par M. Jars, vol. iii. p. 297.

[543] See Chemical Gazette for July 15, 1843.


The question whether Falconry was known to the ancient Greeks, has
been determined in the negative by Flavius Blondus[544], Laurentius
Valla[545], both writers of the fifteenth century; and likewise
by Rigallius[546], Pancirollus, Salmuth, and many others. It may,
nevertheless, be here asked, what is generally understood under that
term? However much the thousand barks which carried the Grecians to the
siege of Troy might have been inferior to those floating castles lately
seen by my countrymen before Gibraltar, they were nevertheless ships;
and we cannot, on that account, deny that the Greeks were acquainted
with the art of ship-building, though it was evidently then in its
infancy. In the like manner I agree with Giraldus[547], in allowing
that they had some knowledge of falconry. I do not believe that they
knew the art of hawking, that is, of chasing game with birds of prey
previously trained, as practised in modern times, and which serves more
for the amusement of trifling princes than for any useful purpose; but
that they had begun to employ the rapacity of some of the winged tribe
in hunting and fowling, cannot, in my opinion, be denied[548].

So early as the time of Ctesias, hares and foxes were hunted in India
by means of rapacious birds[549]. The account of Aristotle however is
still more to the purpose, and more worthy of notice[550]. “In Thrace,”
says he, “the men go out to catch birds with hawks[551]. The men beat
the reeds and bushes which grow in marshy places, in order to raise
the small birds, which the hawks pursue and drive to the ground, where
the fowler kills them with poles.” A similar account is to be found in
another book ascribed also to Aristotle, which appears, at any rate,
to be the work of an author not much younger, but with two additions,
which render the circumstance still more remarkable[552]. The first is,
that the falcons appeared when called by their names; and the second,
that of their own accord they brought to the fowlers whatever they
caught themselves. Nothing is here wanting but the spaniel employed to
find out game, the hood which is put upon the head of the hawk while
it is perched on the hand, and the thong used for holding it, to form
a short description of falconry as still practised. Our falconers,
when they have taken the bird from the hawk, give him, in return, a
small share of it; and in the like manner the Thracian hawks received
some part of their booty. Other writers after Aristotle, such as
Antigonus[553], Ælian[554], Pliny[555], and Phile[556], have also
given an account of this method of fowling. Ælian, who seldom relates
anything without some alteration or addition, says that in Thrace
nets were used, into which the birds were driven by the hawks; and in
this he is followed by the poet Phile. Ælian, also, in another place
describes a manner of hunting with hawks in India, which, as we are
told by several travellers, is still practised in Persia, where it is
well understood, and by other eastern nations[557].

It seems, therefore, that the Greeks received from India and Thrace the
first information respecting the method of fowling with birds of prey;
but it does not appear that this practice was introduced among them at
a very early period. In Italy, however, it must have been very common,
for Martial and Apuleius speak of it as a thing everywhere known.
The former calls a hawk a fowler’s servant, and the latter makes use
of a kind of pun on the word _accipiter_, which signified also a
species of fish[558]. It cannot indeed be said that this art was ever
forgotten; but, like other inventions, though at first much admired,
it was afterwards neglected, so that it remained a long time without
improvement. It is however certain that it was at length brought to the
utmost degree of perfection. It is mentioned in the Roman laws[559],
and in writers of the fourth and fifth centuries.

Julius Firmicus Maternus, who in the time of Constantine the Great,
about the year 336, wrote his Astronomicon, in which he teaches
the art of casting nativities, assures us that those who are born
under certain signs will become great sportsmen, and keep hounds and
falcons[560]. Caius Sollius Apollinaris Sidonius, who lived about the
year 480, celebrates Herdicius, his wife’s brother, and son of the
emperor Avitus, because he first practised in his territories hunting
and fowling with dogs and hawks. The same author mentions hawking also
in other parts of his work. That this diversion, however, has not been
oftener spoken of and praised, needs excite little wonder. Hunting,
and all the concomitant arts, were at first employed for use; in the
course of time they were practised by servants, and easy means only
of catching game were sought for. But when luxury was introduced into
states, and the number of those who lived by other people’s labour
increased, these idlers began to employ that time which they had not
learned to make a proper use of, or which they were not compelled to
apply to more valuable purposes, in catching wild animals by every
method that ingenuity could suggest, or in tormenting them by lingering
deaths. Hunting and fowling, therefore, received many improvements by
the assistance of art; and the indolent clergy even indulged in these
cruel sports, though often forbidden by the church. Such prohibitions
were issued by the council of Agda in the year 506; by that of Epaon in
517; by that of Macon in 585, and perhaps oftener, but never with much

Before I proceed further, I shall make two remarks. First, that Pietro
Crescentio gives one Daucus as the inventor of the art of taming
hawks, but without proof, or even probability. Secondly, that the
ancients bred up to hunting and fishing several rapacious animals
which at present are not used for that purpose, such as the seal[561]
and sea-wolf[562]. Astruc[563] has endeavoured to confute this idea;
but his reasoning appears to me to have little weight; and I agree in
opinion with Rondeletius and Isaac Vossius[564], that seals might be
instructed to catch fish; I myself have seen some, that, when commanded
by their master, exhibited a variety of movements and tricks which
undoubtedly prove their aptness to learn.

The art of falconry seems to have been carried to the greatest
perfection, and to have been much in vogue at the principal courts of
Europe in the twelfth century. Some on that account have ascribed the
invention of it to the emperor Frederic I., and others to Frederic
II. Frederic I., called Barbarossa, was the first who brought falcons
to Italy; at least Pandolfo Collenuccio[565] says that this was the
common report, and Radevicus[566] seems to confirm it; but I do not
know from what authority Pancirollus tells us that that emperor
invented falconry at the time when he was besieging Rome. Rainaldo,
marquis of Este, was the first among the Italian princes who used
this method of fowling[567]; and that the emperor Henry followed the
example of his father, seems proved by the words of Collenuccio. The
service rendered by Frederic II. to this art, if it can be said to
deserve service, is shown by the book which he wrote in Latin on it,
entitled De Arte Venandi cum Avibus, and which was printed for the
first time at Augsburg in the year 1596, from a manuscript belonging
to Joachim Camerarius, a physician of Nuremberg. It has here and there
deficiencies, because the manuscript was torn, and some additions by
the author’s son Manfred, king of Sicily. In the second book, there is
an account of the use and manner of making hoods, called _capellæ_,
which we are there told were invented by the Arabs. The emperor
received as a present some hooded falcons from Arabian princes, and
procured people from Arabia who understood the management of them[568].
Albertus Magnus has inserted a great deal from the work of this emperor
in his book upon animals.

In none of the sports of the field have the fair sex partaken so much
as in falconry. The ladies formerly kept hawks, in which they greatly
delighted, and which were as much fondled by those who wished to gain
their favour as lap-dogs are at present[569]. What tended principally,
however, to bring it into disuse, was the invention of gunpowder. After
that, hawks were discarded, and the whole enjoyment of fowling was
confined to shooting. Less skill and labour were indeed required in
this new exercise; but the ladies abandoned the pleasures of the chase,
because they disapproved of the use of fire-arms, which were attended
both with alarm and danger.

Among the oldest writers on falconry, we may reckon Demetrius, who
about the year 1270 was physician to the emperor Michael Palæologus.
His book, written in Greek, was first printed at Paris in 1612, by
Nicholas Rigaltius, from a manuscript in the king’s library, and
with the Latin translation of Peter Gyllius[570]. Some other works on
the same subject, the antiquity of which is unknown, were printed at
the same time. One in the Catalonian dialect has the forged title of
Epistola Aquilæ, Symmachi et Theodotionis ad Ptolemæum regem Ægypti
de re accipitraria. All these writings treat chiefly on the rearing
and diseases of hawks; and contain cures, which, though some of them
perhaps may be good enough, would not undoubtedly be all approved by
any person of skill at present[571]. Aloes, to the size of about a
bean, are ordered as a purge; and quicksilver is prescribed for the
itch and outbreaking. We are told also, that a wild and untractable
falcon was confined some time with a hood on in a smith’s shop, where
it was soon tamed by the continual thumping of the hammers. One precept
in Demetrius respecting the art of falconry seems very ill-suited to
the practice of modern times. He desires sportsmen to say their prayers
before they go out to the field. Had this custom been continued to
the present day, many great men would be like the people mentioned by
a certain traveller, who solicit the assistance of God when they are
preparing for a piratical expedition[572]; but with this difference,
that these rovers plunder only strange ships, whereas the latter
destroy the property and possessions of their own subjects.


[544] This author, Blondus or Biondo, describing an Italian village,
says, “I shall embrace this opportunity of mentioning a new
circumstance, which is, that fowling with that rapacious bird the
falcon, a diversion much followed at Arno, by the celebrated Alphonsus
king of Arragon, was entirely unknown about two hundred years ago; for
though Servius, the grammarian, says that Capua received that name from
the augury of a falcon, because the Hetruscans, when founding it, saw
one of these birds, which in their language was called _capis_; yet he
does not tell us of what use they were to mankind. Besides, Pliny, who
gives the names of many rapacious birds of the hawk kind (‘accipitres
scilicet majores et minores achilvones, quos aliqui falcones fuisse
volunt’), says nothing of their being employed to catch game; and,
without doubt, had fowling in this manner been practised in the time of
Virgil, he would have made Æneas and Dido carry such birds along with
them when they went out a hunting, whereas he says only,

  ‘Massylique ruunt equites et odora canum vis.’

I will venture therefore to affirm, that two hundred years ago, as I
have already said, no nation or people were accustomed to catch either
land- or water-fowls with any rapacious bird tamed for that purpose.” I
shall here observe, that Biondo must have had a faulty copy of Pliny;
for the word _achilvones_ is not to be found in that author, who,
nevertheless, mentions the practice of fowling with birds of prey.

[545] Valla, the most learned man of the century in which he lived,
contradicts Antonius Renaudensis, who says, _Nola_ is a hawk’s bell.
“If _Nola_,” says Valla, “be an old word, it cannot signify that bell
now worn by hawks, because the ancients never tamed these birds for
catching game, as we do, nor ornamented them with bells. If it be a new
word, let him produce the author from whom it is taken.”--Laurentii
Vallæ Opera. Basiliæ, 1543, fol. p. 433.

[546] In the preface to Scriptores Rei Accipitrariæ.

[547] Gyraldi Dialogismi, in Op. Lugd. 1696, fol. ii. p. 870.

[548] Those who are desirous of being acquainted with the art of
falconry, may consult Pluche, Spectacle de la Nature, vol. i., or the
article Fauconnerie, in the French Encyclopédie.

[549] See Herodotus.

[550] “In that part of Thrace, called formerly Cedropolis, the men go
out into the marshes in quest of birds, accompanied by falcons. The men
beat the trees and bushes with poles, and put the birds to flight; the
hawks fly after them, by which means they are so frightened that they
fall to the ground, where the men strike them with their poles and kill
them.”--Histor. Animal. lib. ix. c. 6.

[551] The Grecian authors above-quoted call the rapacious birds used
for pursuing game ἱέρακες; and Pliny calls them _accipitres_. It
would be difficult, perhaps impossible, to distinguish with sufficient
accuracy all the species of these birds to which the ancients gave
different names. This genus is numerous, and the species often differ
so little from each other, that it is not easy to establish their
characterizing marks. Besides, they for the most part change their
colour, and often their whole appearance, according to their age or the
season of the year; so that these characters become very uncertain. It
appears that on this account the ancients often divided one species
into two or more, and imagined that many species passed one into the
other, or that new species were produced by the mixture of different
breeds. It seems however certain that the ancients divided those
birds of prey which fly abroad in the day-time, into three species:
ἀετὸς aquila; γὺπς vultur; and ἱέραξ accipiter. The first and last
belong to that genus which Linnæus calls _falco_, and are the large
species of it. The vultures are the Ger-falcons, which are sufficiently
distinguished by their bald head and neck.

[552] “Respecting Thrace which is situated above Amphipolis, a
wonderful thing is related, which might appear incredible to those who
had never heard it before. It is said that boys go out into the fields,
and pursue birds by the assistance of hawks. When they have found a
place convenient for their purpose, they call the hawks by their names,
which immediately appear as soon as they hear their voices, and chase
the birds into the bushes, where the boys knock them down with sticks
and seize them. What is still more wonderful, when these hawks lay hold
of any birds, they throw them to the fowlers; but the boys, in return,
give them some share of the prey.”--De Mirabilibus Auscultat. cap. 128.

[553] Antigoni Carystii Historiæ Mirabiles, cap. 34.

[554] “Hawks, which are no less fit for fowling than eagles, and
which are not inferior to them in size, are of all birds reckoned to
be the tamest and the fondest of man. I have heard that in Thrace
they accompany people when they go out in quest of birds in the fens.
The fowlers, having spread their nets, remain quiet, while the hawks
flying about terrify the birds, and drive them into them. When the
Thracians catch any birds, they divide them with the hawks, by which
means they render them faithful partners in fowling; if they did
not give them a share of the booty, they would be deprived of their
assistance.”--Histor. Anim. lib. ii. cap. 42.

[555] Lib. x. c. 8. In a part of Thrace above Amphipolis, men and hawks
go out a-fowling, as it were in company. The former drive the birds
from among the bushes and reeds, and the latter flying after them
strike them down. The fowlers divide with them their prey.

[556] Phile De Animal. Proprietate, p. 36. Gesner, in his Hist. Anim.
lib. iii., has collected all the information to be found respecting
that species of hawk or falcon called κίρκος, circus.

[557] “The Indians hunt hares and foxes in the following manner. They
do not employ dogs, but eagles, crows, and, above all, kites, which
they catch when young, and train for that purpose. They let loose a
tame hare or fox, with a piece of flesh fastened to it, and suffer
these birds to fly after it, in order to seize the flesh, which they
are fond of, and which, on their return, they receive as the reward of
their labour. When thus instructed to pursue their prey, they are sent
after wild foxes and hares in the mountains; these they follow in hopes
of obtaining their usual food, and soon catch them and bring them back
to their masters, as we are informed by Ctesias. Instead of the flesh,
however, which was fastened to the tame animals, they receive as food
the entrails of the wild ones which they have caught.”--Æliani Hist.
Animal. lib. iv. c. 26. Compare with this what Pluche says in Nature
Displayed, and the accounts given by Chardin and Gemelli Carreri.

[558] Martial. Epigr. lib. xiv. 216.

[559] Digest. lib. xliii. tit. 24, 22.

[560] “Those born when the planet Venus is in Aquarius will be much
given to hunting and fowling; in other things they will be slow,
indolent, inactive, and melancholy, and will apply to no laudable
pursuit. They will, however, be fond of breeding hawks, falcons,
eagles, and other birds of the like kind, and horses for hunting. They
will be also very ingenious in such exercises, and acquire by them
a comfortable subsistence.”--Lib. v. c. 7. This nativity displays a
knowledge of mankind; for one may without much difficulty find princes
and great men with whose lives it exactly corresponds, and who, to the
great misfortune of their subjects and tenants, have undoubtedly been
born under the sign Aquarius.

[561] Plin. lib. ix. Ælian. Hist. Anim. 1. ii. Oppiani Halieut. 1. v.

[562] Plin. lib. x. cap. 8. Aristot. Hist. an. 1. ix. c. 36. Ælian.
Hist. An. 1. vi. c. 65. Antigonus Caryst. cap. 33.

[563] Histoire Nat. de Languedoc, p. 568.

[564] In Obs. on Pomp. Mela. ii. 5.

[565] Istoria di Napoli, Ven. 1613, 4to, i. p. 88.

[566] Radevicus de Gestis Frid. I. lib. ii. cap. ultimo.

[567] See Grævii Thesaurus Antiq. et Hist. vol. vii. p. 12.

[568] As this work is extremely scarce, I shall here quote the
following passage from it:--“The hood had its origin among the Oriental
nations; for the eastern Arabs used it more than any other people
with whom we are acquainted, in taming falcons and birds of the same
species. When I crossed the sea, I had an opportunity of observing that
the Arabs used hoods in this art. Some of the kings of Arabia sent to
me the most expert falconers, with various kinds of falcons; and I
did not fail, after I had resolved to collect into a book every thing
respecting falconry, to invite from Arabia and every other country
such as were most skilful in it; and I received from them the best
information they were able to give. Because the use of the hood was one
of the most effectual methods they knew for taming hawks, and as I saw
the great benefit of it, I employed a hood in training these birds; and
it has been so much approved in Europe, that it is proper it should be
handed down to posterity.”

[569] Sainte-Palaye, Mémoires sur l’Ancienne Chevalerie, tom. iii. p.
183. In this work may be found many anecdotes respecting the taste of
the French ladies for the sports of the field in the ages of chivalry.

[570] Rei Accipitrariæ Scriptores. Lutet. 1612, 4to.

[571] Among the works of Sir Thomas Brown, there is one on Hawks and
Falconry, Ancient and Modern, which, however, consists chiefly of old
medical prescriptions.

[572] Remarques d’un Voyageur Moderne au Lévant. Amst. 1773, 8vo.


The discovery, that many kinds of earth, when dried, might be employed
as fuel, may have easily been occasioned by an accident in some place
destitute of wood. A spark falling fortuitously on a turf-moor during
a dry summer often sets it on fire, and the conflagration it occasions
generally lasts so long that it cannot escape notice[573]. Of the
earth taking fire in this manner there are many instances to be found
in the ancients. One of the most remarkable is that mentioned by
Tacitus, who relates, that not long after the building of the city
of Cologne, the neighbouring land took fire, and burned with such
violence that the corn, villages, and every production of the fields
were destroyed by the flames, which advanced even to the walls of the
city[574]. This remarkable passage is not to be understood as alluding
to a volcanic eruption, but to a morass which had been set on fire. In
the duchy of Berg and around Cologne there are very extensive morasses,
from which turf is dug up for fuel, and which undoubtedly serve to
confirm this idea.

That the use of turf was well known in the earliest periods in the
greater part of Lower Saxony, and throughout the Netherlands, is
fully proved by Pliny’s account of the Chauci, who inhabited that
part of Germany which at present comprehends the duchies of Bremen
and Verden, the counties of Oldenburg, Delmenhorst, Diepholz, Huy and
East Friesland. Pliny says expressly, that the Chauci pressed together
with their hands a kind of peat earth, which they dried by the wind
rather than by the sun, and which they used not only for cooking their
victuals, but also for warming their bodies[575]. I explain also by
turf a short passage of Antigonus Carystius, quoted from Phanias, in
which it is said that a morass in Thessaly having become dry, took fire
and burned.

The account therefore given in some Dutch chronicles, that turf and the
manner of preparing it were first found out about the year 1215, and
that about 1222 it had become common, is certainly false[576]. This
information may be applicable to certain lands and districts, and
correct as to the introduction of this kind of fuel in those parts; for
the use of it was not extended far till a late period; and even yet
turf is neither employed nor known in many places which possess it,
even though they are destitute of wood[577]. Some improvement in the
manner of preparing turf may have also been considered as the invention
of this fuel, which is undoubtedly of greater antiquity. What induced
Monconys to ascribe the invention of turf to Erasmus, or who first
propagated that error, I can as little conjecture as Misson[578].

Scaliger has erred[579] no less than Monconys, whose account was
doubted by Uffenbach[580]. According to the first-mentioned author,
turf had been used in the Netherlands only about three hundred years
before his time, and he adds that he did not know that this kind of
fuel had ever been mentioned by the ancients.

Those however are mistaken also who believe that it is to be found
in the Salic laws and those of the Alemanni. It is true that the
word _turpha_ occurs in the former, and that Wendelin and others
have declared it to mean turf; but the assertion of Eccard, that it
signifies a village, called in German _Dorf_[581], is more probable.
Still less can the doubtful word _curfodi_, in the laws of the
Alemanni, be supposed to allude to this substance, though we are
assured by Lindenbrog that he found in a manuscript, in its stead, the
term _zurb_[582]. It is also not credible that turf should be employed
at that period, as wood was everywhere superabundant.

The oldest certain account of turf in the middle ages with which I am
at present acquainted, is that pointed out by Trotz[583], who says that
it occurs in a letter of donation of the year 1113. He has given the
words in the Dutch language, as if they had stood so in the original.
But he has quoted his authority in so careless a manner, that I have
not been able to conjecture what kind of book he meant. I have however
found a Latin copy of the letter of donation in a work pointed out
to me by Professor Reuss[584]. An abbot Ludolph, in the year 1113,
permitted a nunnery near Utrecht to dig _cespites_ for its own use in
a part of his _venæ_, but at the same time he retained the property of
these _venæ_. Now there can be no doubt that _vena_ signifies a turf
bog, and _cespites_ turf. The former is the same word as _Fenne_ or
_Venne_, which occurs in the old Frisic and the present _Veen_[585] of
the Dutch. The nuns also could make no other use of the turf but employ
it as fuel. This passage however proves nothing; though Trotz says that
a great trade was carried on with turf in the twelfth century, and that
the abbot wished to interdict the nuns from using it.

It is worthy of remark that the words _turba_, _turbo_, _turbæ ad
focum_, _turfa_, occur for turf, in the years 1190, 1191, 1201 and
1210, as is proved by the instances quoted by Du Cange. _Turbaria_ for
a turf-moor is found in Matthew Paris, who died in 1259; _Turbagium_,
in a diploma of Philip the Fair in the year 1308, signifies the right
of digging turf, as _turbare_ does to dig up turf. The word _mor_
also is found in a document of the year 1246, quoted by Du Cange;
who however has not introduced it into his dictionary[586]. It seems
to be the same as _mariscus_ and _marescus_. Brito, who lived about
1223, describing the productions of Flanders, says, “Arida gleba foco
siccis incisa marescis[587].” That the last of these words signifies a
turf-bog is proved by a passage of Lambert, who lived at Ardres about
the year 1200: “Quendam similiter mariscum, ut aiunt, proprium perfodi
fecit, et in turbas dissecari.”

The assertion of Winsem and others, that the practice of digging
turf first became common after the year 1215, is undoubtedly founded
on information obtained from Sibrand Leo’s Vitæ Abbatum Horti Divæ
Virginis seu Mariengard[588]; but this writer died in 1588, and can
by no means be adduced as an evidence: he even says himself that
turf-digging in 1212 was a new occupation.

The conjecture that the Netherlanders, who in the twelfth century
established themselves as colonists in some districts of Germany, and
particularly Lower Saxony, first made known there the preparation and
use of this kind of fuel is improbable, or at any rate not proved[589].
It is improbable, because the Chauci, the oldest inhabitants of that
country, burnt turf before that period.

It is related by the Icelanders that Einar, Count or Earl of Orkney
or of the Orkney islands, discovered turf there, and on that account
was named Torffeinar. He was the son of Raugnwauld, or Rognwald, earl
of Mören, Sued and Nordmör in Norway, in the time of the celebrated
Norwegian King Harold, commonly called Haarfager or Pulcricomus, on
account of his beautiful hair[590]. He must have lived therefore in
the middle of the ninth century; but on so trifling a subject I shall
enter no further into the labyrinth of the Icelandic Saga.

In Sweden turf was first made known at a very modern period by some
navigators in the district of Halland; and in the time of Charles XI.
much trouble was taken to introduce it as fuel. In 1672 the town of
Laholm obtained an exemption from duty for the turf dug up in the lands
belonging to it.

In later times turf began to be burned to charcoal, sometimes in
kilns, and sometimes in furnaces built for that purpose, by which this
advantage is obtained, that it kindles sooner, burns with less air, and
forms a more moderate and uniform fire without much smoke. This method
of reducing turf to charcoal, which is still practised in some parts
of Bohemia, Silesia, and Upper Saxony, was, it appears, proposed about
the year 1669, by the well-known John Joachim Becher, who recommended
at that time a method of depriving coals of their sulphur by burning
them, and the use of naphtha or rock-oil procured from them by that
process[591]. The burning of turf to coal seems to have been first made
known in Germany by Hans Charles von Carlowitz, chamber-counsellor,
and principal surveyor of the mines of the electorate of Saxony[592].
To save wood and promote the benefit of the mines he sought for turf;
and having discovered it, he then endeavoured to find out some method
of rendering it fit to be employed in the melting-houses, and this
was the reducing to coal, which, as he himself says[593], he first
attempted in kilns at Scheibenberg, in the year 1708. At the Brocken
the first experiments were made in 1744, with turf which had been dug
up several years. This was announced by F. C. Brückman in 1745[594], as
a new invention; but an anonymous writer stated[595] soon after, that
this charring had been long used in the district of Hadeln, and that
the smiths there employed no other kind of coals for their work.

[In 1842 a patent was taken out by Mr. Williams for compressing peat
into a dense mass, resembling coals. It is said to be superior to
coal in its properties of producing heat by combustion, forming an
excellent charcoal or coke. It is asserted that this charcoal is much
more combustible than that of wood, and very useful in the manufacture
of fire-works. The process is as follows:--Immediately after being dug
it is triturated under revolving edge-wheels faced with iron plates
perforated all over the surface, and is forced by the pressure through
these apertures, till it becomes a kind of pap, which is freed from the
greater part of its moisture by a hydraulic press. It is then dried,
and converted into coke in the same manner as pit-coal. The factitious
coal of Mr. Williams is made by incorporating pitch or rosin, melted in
a caldron with as much peat-charcoal ground to powder as will form a
tough doughy mass, which is then moulded into bricks.]


[573] In Siberia, a village which stood on a turf-moor was, on account
of its marshy situation, removed to another place; and that the remains
might be more easily destroyed, they were set on fire. The flames
having communicated to the soil, which was inflammable, occasioned
great devastation; and when Gmelin was there, it had been continually
burning for half a year. See Gmelin’s Reisen durch Russland, vol. i. p.

[574] The rustics, in despair, when they found the fire was
unquenchable either by rain or by the river-water which they poured
over it, threw in heaps of stones, beat down the flames issuing from
the interstices with clubs, and as the fire became subdued flung
on their clothes, which being made of skins and wetted, eventually
extinguished the conflagration. See Tacitus, An. xiii. 57.

[575] Hist. Nat. lib. xvi. c. 1.

[576] “The foresters, who had then got a new employment, that of
turf-digging, which had been before unknown, or at least very uncommon,
gave as a present to the monastery of Mariengard, in 1215, several
turf-bogs in and near Backefeen.”--Chronique van Vriesland door P.
Winsemium, 1622, p. 158. That monastery was situated at the distance of
two miles from Leeuwaarden.

In Kronijck der Kronijcken, door S. de Vries, printed at Amsterdam in
1688, the following passage occurs, vol. v. p. 553:--“About this time
(1221) the digging of turf was first practised, which in some measure
made amends for the damage occasioned by the sea-water, and by which
several acquired great riches.”

Some Dutch writers make turf-digging to be of much higher antiquity,
and in support of this opinion quote an old chronicle in rhyme, in
which mention is made of a donation by Gerolf count of Friesland; but
I am not acquainted with the antiquity of that chronicle, and of the
letter of donation there is only a Flemish translation. See Berkhey,
Nat. Hist. v. Hol. vol. ii. p. 552.

[577] The use of turf was first made known in France in the year 1621,
by Charles de Lamberville, advocate of the parliament of Paris, who
resided some time in Holland, to which he had been sent by the king on
public business. See Anciens Mineralogistes, par Gobet, i. p. 302.

[578] Voyages de Monconys. Lyons, 1666, 2 vol. 4to, ii. p. 129. C’est
lui (Erasme) qui a donné l’invention de la tourbe, qu’on brusle au lieu
du charbon. See also Misson’s Travels.

[579] Scaligerana, ii. p. 243; Je ne sçache aucun ancien, qui fasse
mention de tourbes.

[580] Voyages, vol. iii.

[581] Leges Salicæ, ed. Eccardi, p. 42.

[582] Lindenbrogii Codex Legum Antiquarum. Franc. 1613.

[583] Trotz Jus Agrarium Fœd. Belgii, ii. p. 643.

[584] Historia Episcopatuum Fœderati Belgii. Lugd. Bat. 1719, 2 vols.
fol. i. p. 130.

[585] Wiarda Altfrisisches Wörterbuch; where it is conjectured, not
without probability, that the name Finland is thence derived.--Du
Cange, Glossarium, under the word Venna.

[586] The words are, “Morum dedit dictus comes dictæ ecclesiæ ad turfas

[587] Britonis Philippidos lib. ii. v. 144.

[588] These lives are in Matthæi Veteris Ævi Analecta, Hag. 1738, v. p.

[589] I find quoted for this conjecture the Dissertation, Eelking de
Belgis sæculo xii. in Germaniam advenis, Gottingæ, 1770, pp. 162, 164.
But nothing further is found there than that the right of digging turf
was in all probability confirmed to the colonists. This important
Dissertation was written by Professor Wundt of Heidelberg.

[590] This information may be found in Crymogæa, sive rerum
Islandicarum libri iii. per Arngrimum Jonam Islandum. Hamburgi (1609),
4to, p. 50. “Torf cujus inventor perhibetur in Orcadibus dux quidam
Orcadensis, Einarus Raugnvaldi ducis Norvegici de Maere filius, tempore
pulcricomi Norveg. regis, qui idcirco Torffeinarus dictus est.”

[591] “In Holland there is turf, and in England there are coals,
neither of which are good for burning either in apartments or in
melting-houses. I have, however, discovered a method of burning both
these to good coals, so that they shall not only produce no smoke
or bad smell, but yield a heat as strong for melting metals as that
of wood, and throw out such flames that a foot of coal shall make a
flame ten feet long. This I have demonstrated at the Hague with turf,
and proved here in England with coals, in the presence of Mr. Boyle,
by experiments made at Windsor on a large scale. It deserves to be
remarked on this occasion, that as the Swedes procure their tar from
fir-wood, I have procured tar from coals, which is in everything equal
to the Swedish, and even superior to it for some purposes. I have
tried it both on timber and ropes, and it has been found excellent.
The king himself ordered a proof of it to be made in his presence.
This is a thing of very great importance to the English, and the coals
after the tar has been extracted from them are better for use than
before.”--Narrische Weisheit und weise Narrheit. Frankfurt, 1683, 12mo,
p. 91. Boyle seems to speak of this invention in The Usefulness of
Natural Philosophy, London, 1774, fol. i. p. 515. The burning of coals
in order to procure from them rock-oil, which was used particularly
by the leather manufacturers, and which on that account could not be
exported, was much practised in England. It appears, however, that
something of the like kind was attempted before Becher’s time; for in
the year 1627, John Hacket and Octav. Strada obtained a patent for
their invention of rendering coals as useful as wood for fuel in houses
without hurting anything by their smoke. See Anderson’s History of

[592] The practice of charring turf appears however to be much older,
if it be true that charred turf was employed about the year 1560 at the
Freiberg smelting-houses, though that undertaking was not attended with
success.--See Hoy’s Anleitung zu einer bessern Benutzung des Torfs.
Altenburg, 1781.

[593] Von Carlowitz, Sylvicultura Œconomica. Leipzig, 1713, fol. p.
430, where an account is given of the first experiment.

[594] In Hamburgischen Berichten, p. 93.

[595] Ib. p. 170.


That I might be able to investigate whether our artichoke was known
to the ancients, I have not only collected a variety of scattered
passages, compared them with one another and with nature, and laboured
through a tedious multitude of contradictions and a confusion of
names, but I have also been obliged to examine a load of groundless
conjectures, heaped together by commentators[596], in order that I
might understand them and ascertain their value. By these means I have
learned more than seems hitherto to have been known; and I have found
that more is believed than can be proved; but that the fruits of my
toil will give complete satisfaction to my readers, I do not pretend to
hope. Before the botany, however, and the natural history in general of
the ancients can be properly elucidated, before truth can be separated
from falsehood, what is certain from what is uncertain, and things
defined from those which are undefined, researches of this kind must be
undertaken, and the same method as that which I have followed must be

The names of plants in ancient authors which have been applied to our
artichoke, are the following: _Cinara_, _Carduus_, _Scolymus_, and

The _Cinara_, which is originally a Greek word, belonged certainly
to the thistle species; and the description of its top, as given by
Columella[597], seems, as has already been remarked by Nonnius[598] and
others, to agree perfectly with that of our artichoke. The _cinara_
was commonly furnished with prickles, but that was preferred which
had lost them by cultivation, and for which means were prescribed
that did not produce the desired effect[599]. It was raised from seed
sown in spring, but was propagated also from slips or shoots which in
Italy were planted in autumn, that they might bear earlier the next
summer[600]. The direction given to water these plants frequently, is
still followed by our gardeners in respect to their artichokes, and
they expect from this attention that the fruit will be more abundant
and tender. By this method many give to their artichokes a superiority
which others that have not been watered so carefully cannot attain. A
complaint, which occurs in ancient authors, is also prevalent, that the
roots are often destroyed by mice. I do not, however, find it remarked
what part of the _cinara_ was properly used, but it may be conjectured
it was the top, because the tender fruit is praised[601].

_Carduus_, among the Romans, was the common name of all plants of the
thistle kind. It occurs among those of weeds[602], and may be then
properly translated by the word _thistle_. It, however, often signified
an eatable thistle; and this has given Pliny occasion to make use of an
insipid piece of raillery, when he says that luxury prepared as food
for man what would not be eaten by cattle.

It is an old and common fault, that when the Greek and Roman authors
have not given us such descriptions of natural objects as are
sufficient to enable us to ascertain exactly what they are, we suppose
that they have been known under different names, and a variety of
characteristics are drawn together to enable us to determine them.
What, for example, we find respecting the _cinara_ is too little to
give a just idea of the plant; we read somewhat more of the _carduus_;
and because between these there seems to be an affinity, it is
concluded that the _cinara_ and the _carduus_ were the same plant; and
everything told us respecting both of them is thrown into one. Some
even go further, and add what they find under a third or a fourth name.
It is indeed true, that many natural objects have had several names,
and the species may sometimes be rightly guessed; but conjecture ought
never to be admitted unless the identity can be fully established;
else one may form such a monstrous production as Horace has delineated,
when he says,

  Humano capiti cervicem pictor equinam
  Jungere si velit, et varias inducere plumas,
  Undique collatis membris--

I wish commentators would follow the example of our naturalists, who
consider a plant as a distinct species until it has been proved on
sure grounds that it is nothing else than a variety of a plant already
characterized. I should not therefore affirm that the _cinara_ and
the _carduus_ are the same, were I not able to produce the following
incontestable proofs in support of my assertion.

In the first place, the Latins, Palladius and Pliny, give us the same
account of the _carduus_ that Columella and the Greeks do of the
_cinara_. The former lost its prickles through cultivation[603]; its
flowers were also of a purple colour[604]; it was propagated by seed
and by shoots; it required frequent watering; and it was remarked that
it throve better when the earth was mixed with ashes. Had not the
_carduus_ and the _cinara_ been the same, Palladius and Pliny would
have mentioned the latter; for we cannot suppose that they otherwise
would have omitted a plant that formed a dish so much esteemed and
so well-known among their countrymen. The latter claims to himself
the merit of having passed over no one that was held in estimation.
In the second place, Virgil has translated the word _cynaros_ in a
part of Sophocles now lost, by _carduus_[605]; thirdly, Athenæus says
expressly, that the _cinara_ was by the Latins named _cardus_ and
_carduus_[606]; and, lastly, the old glossaries explain _cinara_ by
_carduus_, as we are told by Salmasius. On these grounds, therefore, I
am of opinion that the _cinara_ and the _carduus_ were the same.

We are informed by Apicius[607] and Pliny[608] in what manner the
_carduus_ was dressed by the ancient cooks. The latter gives directions
for pickling it in vinegar; but neither of them tells us what part of
it was eaten. Lister thinks that Apicius speaks of the tops of the
young shoots, which, as far as I know, are parts of the artichoke never
eaten at present. It is, however, worthy of remark, that the tops
(_turiones_) of certain kinds of the thistle family of plants, and
among these the common burr[609], are in some countries dressed and
eaten like asparagus. It is not improbable also that Pliny and Apicius
may have meant the ribs of the leaves; though none of the ancients has
taught us the art of binding up, covering with earth, and blanching
the _cinara_ or _carduus_. This, perhaps, was a new invention of the
gardeners; and the cooks may have had other methods of rendering the
ribs of the leaves tender and eatable. Had they meant the bottom of the
calyx, they would not have omitted to give a circumstantial account of
the preparation previous to its being pickled.

The _Scolymus_ is by Pliny and Theophrastus reckoned to belong to the
genus of the thistles. The former says, that, like most others of
the same kind, the seeds were covered by a sort of wool (_pappus_).
It had a high stem, surrounded with leaves, which were prickly, but
which ceased to sting when the plant withered[610]. It flowered the
whole summer through, and had often flowers and ripe seed at the same
time; which is the case also with our artichoke plants. The calyx
of the _scolymus_ was not prickly[611]; the root was thick, black
and sweet, and contained a milky juice. It was eaten both raw and
cooked; and Theophrastus observes, as something very remarkable, that
when the plant was in flower, or, as others explain the words, when
it had finished blowing, it was most palatable. What renders this
circumstance singular is, that most milky roots used for food lose
their milk and become unfit to be eaten as soon as they have blown.
This is the case with the goat’s beard, which is eatable only the first

The _scolymus_ however is not the only plant which forms an exception;
for the garden Scorzonera retains its milk, and continues eatable after
it has bloomed, and as long as it has milk it may be used. According
to Theophrastus and Pliny, the roots of the _scolymus_ are eatable. On
the other hand, Dioscorides says that the roots were not eaten, but the
young leaves only: as he informs us, however, that they were dressed
like asparagus, it would appear that he meant the young shoots[612].
Theophrastus expressly tells us, that, besides the roots, the flowers
also were used as food; and he calls that which was eatable the pulpy
part. We have, therefore, full proof that the ancients ate the tops of
some plants in the same manner as we eat our artichokes.

It may however be asked, what kind of a plant was the _scolymus_?
That it was different from the _cinara_ is undoubtedly certain; for
Dioscorides[613] expressly distinguishes them; nor was it the eatable
_carduus_, for Pliny compares it with the _carduus_, and says that it
was characterized from the latter by having roots fit to be eaten.
Stapel is of opinion that the _scolymus_ is our artichoke; but this
seems to me improbable, for the leaves and roots of the latter are not
sweet, but harsh and bitter, and the calyx is prickly, which was not
the case in the _scolymus_ of Theophrastus. Besides, I find nothing
in the whole description of the _scolymus_ or in the accounts given
us by the ancients of the _cinara_ and _carduus_, that can be applied
to our artichoke alone, and not to any other plant. It may be here
replied, that it would be very difficult to ascertain plants from the
names of the ancients, were such strong proofs required, because they
had not the art of separating the different genera correctly, and of
assigning to each certain characterizing marks. This I allow; and for
that reason it is impossible to elucidate properly the Greek and Latin
names of plants; but, in my opinion, it is better to confess this
impossibility, than to deceive oneself with distant probabilities. Let
the genus be ascertained when one cannot ascertain the species; let
the order to which the plant belongs be determined when one cannot
determine the genus; or, at least, let the class be assigned when
there is sufficient authority to do so. The _cinara_, _carduus_ and
_scolymus_ were therefore species of the thistle, of which the roots
and young shoots, and also the bottom of the calyx of the last, were
eaten. Were I appointed or condemned to form a new Latin dictionary, I
should explain the article _Scolymus_ in the following manner:--Planta
composita, capitata. Caulis longus, obsitus foliis spinosis. Radix
carnosa, lactescens, nigra, dulcis, edulis. Calyx squamis inermibus,
disco carnoso, ante efflorescentiam eduli. Semina papposa. Turiones
edules. This description, short as it is, contains every thing that
the ancients have said in order to characterize that plant. It can,
indeed, be understood only by those who are acquainted with the terms
of botany; but what follows will require no explanation or defining of
botanical names.

Should it be said that the _scolymus_ must be our artichoke because no
other plant of the thistle kind is known the bottom of the calyx of
which is eatable, I would in answer observe:--First, other species may
have been known in ancient times, which perhaps have been disused and
forgotten since the more pleasant and delicious artichoke became known.
It is certain that many old plants have in this manner been banished
from our gardens by the introduction of new ones. Thus have common
alexanders (_Smyrnium olusatrum_) fallen into neglect since celery was
made known by the Italians, about the end of the seventeenth century;
and so at present has the cultivation of winter-cresses (_Erysimum
barbarea_), bulbous-rooted chærophyllum (_Chærophyllum bulbosum_),
rocket (_Brassica eruca_), and others, been abandoned since better
vegetables have been obtained to supply their place. Secondly, it is
certain that, even at present, the bottom of the calyx of some others
of the thistle-kind, besides the genus of the artichoke, is eaten; such
as the cotton-thistle (_Onopordum acanthium_), and the carline thistle
(_Carlina acaulis_), without mentioning the sun-flowers which has been
brought to us in modern times from South America.

Without engaging to examine all the hypotheses of commentators
and ancient botanists on this subject, I shall take notice of one
conjecture, which, upon mature consideration, appears to have some
probability. Clusius[614] is of opinion that the plant called by the
botanists of the seventeenth century _Carduus chrysanthemus_, and by
those of the present age _Scolymus hispanicus_, the golden thistle,
is the _scolymus_ of Theophrastus; because its leaves, beset with
white prickles, and its pulpy, sweet, milky roots are eaten, and
excel in taste all roots whatever, even those of skirret; and because
it was collected and sold in Spain, Italy, and Greece. But what has
principally attracted my attention to this conjecture, is the account
of Bellon[615], that this plant in Crete or Candia is called still by
the Greeks there _ascolymbros_. This name seems to have arisen from
_scolymos_; and besides Stapel[616] found in an old glossary the word
_ascolymbros_. I am likewise convinced that, as Tournefort[617] has
said, the botany of the ancients would be much illustrated and rendered
more certain, were the names used by the modern Greeks known. It is
certain that many old names have been preserved till the present time
with little variation; but nevertheless I can as little admit the
assertion of Clusius as that of Stapel; for _Scolymus hispanicus_ has
neither the bottom of the calyx pulpy, nor wool adhering to the seeds,
like the _scolymus_ of Theophrastus; and the young roots only can be
eaten, because, like those of most plants of the genus of the thistle,
they lose their milk when the flower is in bloom; lastly, the leaves
retain their power of pricking, even after they have become withered.

The fourth name which, with any kind of probability, has been
translated by the word artichoke is _cactus_. This plant, which, in the
time of Theophrastus and Pliny, grew only in Sicily and not in Greece,
had broad prickly leaves[618]; the flower was filled with a kind of
wool, which, when eaten inadvertently, was pernicious[619]; the calyx
was prickly: and, besides a long stem, it shot forth branches which
crept along the ground[620], and which, when the outer rind had been
peeled off, were eaten either fresh, or pickled in salt water[621].
The bottom of the calyx of this plant was likewise used, after it had
been freed from its seeds and woolly substance[622]. It had a great
resemblance to the pith of the palm-tree[623].

That the _cactus_ was different from the _scolymus_ we are expressly
told by Theophrastus; and Pliny also distinguishes them both from each
other and from the _carduus_. Athenæus[624] is the only author who says
that the _cactus_ and the _cinara_ were the same; but he gives no other
proof than a very simple etymology. It must therefore be admitted that
the _cactus_ was a species of the thistle kind entirely different from
any of the former.

I think I have proved, therefore, that the Greeks and the Romans used
the pulpy bottom of the calyx, and the most tender stalks and young
shoots of some plants reckoned to belong to the thistle kind, in the
same manner as we use artichokes and cardoons; and that the latter
were unknown to them. It appears to me probable that the use of these
plants, at least in Italy and Europe in general, was in the course of
time laid aside and forgotten, and that the artichoke, when it was
first brought to Italy from the Levant, was considered as a new species
of food. It is undoubtedly certain that our artichoke was first known
in that country in the fifteenth century. Hermolaus Barbarus, who died
in 1494, relates that this plant was first seen at Venice in a garden
in 1473, at which time it was very scarce[625]. About the year 1466,
one of the family of Strozzi brought the first artichokes to Florence
from Naples[626]. Politian, in a letter in which he describes the
dishes he found at a grand entertainment in Italy in 1488, among these
mentions artichokes[627]. They were introduced into France in the
beginning of the sixteenth century[628]; and into England in the reign
of Henry the Eighth[629].

Respecting the origin of the name various conjectures have been
formed, none of which, in my opinion, are founded even on probability.
Hermolaus Barbarus, Henry Stephen, Ruellius, Heresbach, and others
think that _artichoke_ or _artichaut_, as it is called by the French,
and _arciocco_ by the Italians, is derived from the Greek word
_coccalus_, which signifies a fircone, with the Arabic article _al_
prefixed, from which was formed _alcocalon_, and afterwards the name
now used[630]. This etymology is contradicted by Salmasius[631],
who denies that _coccalus_ had ever that signification. He remarks
also that artichokes were by the Arabs called _harsaf_, _harxaf_, or
_harchiaf_; and he seems not disinclined to derive the name from these
appellations[632]. Grotius, Bodæus, and some others, derive it from a
Greek word[633], which occurs in Alexander Trallianus, and which is
supposed to signify our plant; but that word is to be found in this
author alone, and in him only once; so that the idea of these critics
appears to me very improbable. Frisch affirms, in his dictionary,
that our modern name is formed from _carduus_ and _scolymus_ united.
Ihre[634] considers the first part of the name as the German word
_erde_ (the earth), because it is often pronounced _erdschoke_; but
I rather think that the Germans changed the foreign word _arti_ into
the word _erde_, which was known to them, in the same manner as of
_tartuffolo_ we have made _erdtoffeln_[635]; besides, Ihre leaves the
latter part unexplained[636]. In the seventeenth century the plant was
often called _Welsch distel_ (Italian thistle), because the seeds were
procured from Italy, and also _Strobeldorn_, a word undoubtedly derived
from _strobilus_.

Were the original country of the artichoke really known, the etymology
of the name, perhaps, might be easily explained. Linnæus says that it
grew wild in Narbonne, Italy, and Sicily, and the cardoons in Crete;
but, in my opinion, the information respecting the latter has been
taken only from the above-quoted passage of Bellon, which is improperly
supposed to allude to the artichoke. As far as I know, it was not
found upon that island either by Tournefort or any other traveller.
Garidel, however, mentions the artichoke under the name given it by
Bauhin, _cinara sylvestris latifolia_, among the plants growing wild in
Provence; but later authors assure us that they sought for it there in
vain[637]. I shall here remark that the artichoke is certainly known in
Persia; but Tavernier says expressly that it was carried thither, like
asparagus, and other European vegetables of the kitchen-garden, by the
Carmelite and other monks; and that it was only in later times that it
became common[638].


[596] See Stapel, über die Pflanzen des Theophrast. p. 618. Salmasius
ad Solinum, p. 159. Casauboni Animadv. in Athen. Lugd. 1621, fol. p.
146. Bauhini Hist. Plant. iii. p. 48.

[597] Colum. lib. x. ver. 235.

[598] Lud. Nonnii Diæteticon. Antv. 1646, 4to, p. 56.

[599] It was said, that if the corners of the seeds were bruised, no
prickles would be produced. See Geopon. lib. xii. cap. 39. [It is a
well-known physiological fact in botany, that many plants which are
naturally spinous, when cultivated in gardens or rich soil, become
unarmed. The production of spines seems to arise from an imperfect
development of the growing point of a plant; when this development is
increased by the greater supply of nutriment, the spines disappear,
their places being supplied by a branch having leaves. We have
instances of this in the apple, pear, &c., which are naturally spinous.]

[600] Geopon. _l. c._ Columella, xi. cap. 3.

[601] Geopon. 925, where repeated watering is directed; it is said you
will then have tenderer fruit, and in more abundance.

[602] Virgil. Geor. i. 150. Plin. xviii. cap. 17.

[603] Palladius, iv. 9, p. 934, and lib. xi. Octob. p. 987. In the
first-mentioned place he gives the same direction for preventing
prickles, as that quoted respecting the _cinara_.

[604] Pliny, lib. xx. says, “The wind easily carries away the withered
flowers on account of their woolly nature.”

[605] Κύναρος ἄκανθα πάντα πληθύει γύην.--Sophocles, in Phœnice.

  ... Segnisque horreret in arvis
  Carduus...--Virgil. Georg. i. 50.

[606] Athen. Deipnos. at the end of the second book, p. 70. Salmasius,
in his Remarks on Solinus, p. 159, is of opinion that Athenæus wrote
κάρδον, not κάρδυον; and the Latins not _carduus_, but _cardus_.

[607] Lib. iii. cap. 19.

[608] Lib. xix. cap. 8.

[609] _Arctium Lappa_, an indigenous weed, difficult to be rooted out.
Elsholz, in his Gartenbau, speaking of the Spanish cardoons, says,
“The strong stem of the large burr, _Arctium Lappa_, may be dressed in
the same manner, and is not much different in taste.” See also Thomas
Moufet’s Health’s Improvement. Lond. 1746, 8vo, p. 217.

[610] Plin. lib. xxi. cap. 16.

[611] Theophrastus: “Conceptus non spinosus, sed oblongus.” But
Dioscorides says, “Capitulum spinosum.” This contradiction, and other
small variations, have induced some to consider the _scolymus_ of
Theophrastus and that of Dioscorides as two different plants.

[612] Dioscor. iii. 16.

[613] Dioscor. lib. iii. cap. 10, where he says of a plant that its
leaves were like those of the _Scolymus_, and its stem like that of the

[614] Rariorum Plantarum Historiæ, lib. iv. p. 153.

[615] “In Crete there is a kind of prickly plant, which in the common
Greek idiom is generally called _ascolimbros_. The ancient Latins
called it also by a Greek name, _glycyrrhizon_, though different from
_glycyrrhiza_ (liquorice). It grows everywhere spontaneously, has a
yellow flower, and abounds with a milky juice. The roots and leaves are
usually eaten before it shoots up into a stem. We saw it exposed for
sale with other herbs in the market-place of Ravenna, and at Ancona,
where the women who were digging it up, gave it the name of _riuci_.
We saw it gathered also in the Campagna di Roma, where the inhabitants
called it _spinaborda_. This is the plant which by the modern Greeks
is named _ascolimbros_.”--Bellonii Observationes, lib. i. cap. 18. “In
Crete it is called _ascolymbros_, and in Lemnos _scombrouolo_, that
is _scombri carduus_. This thistle abounds with a milky juice, like
succory, has a yellow flower, and is excellent eating; so that I know
no root cultivated in gardens which can be compared to it in taste, the
parsnip not even excepted.”

[616] Theophrast. Hist. Plant. p. 620. The figure which Stapel
gives, p. 621, is not of the _Scolymus hispanicus_, but of _Scolymus
maculatus_. It is taken from Clusius, who has also a figure of the

[617] “I considered the heads of these poor Greeks as so many living
inscriptions, which preserve to us the names mentioned by Dioscorides
and Theophrastus. Though liable to different variations, they will,
doubtless, be more lasting than the hardest marble, because they are
every day renewed, whereas marble is effaced or destroyed. Inscriptions
of this kind will preserve, therefore, to future ages the names of
several plants known to those skilful Greeks who lived in happier and
more learned times.”--Voyage du Levant, i. p. 34. Compare with the
above what Haller says in his Biblioth. Botan. i. p. 28.

[618] Plin. lib. xxi. cap. 16. See Theophrast. lib. vi. cap. 4.
Theoocritus, Idyll. x. 4, mentions a lamb wounded in the foot
by a _cactus_. Tertullian names this plant among prickly weeds,
together with the _rubus_, in the end of the second chapter of that
unintelligible book De Pallio. De la Cerda, in his excellent edition of
Opera Tertulliani, Lutetiæ Paris. 1624, 2 vols. fol. i. p. 13, reads
_carecto_ instead of _cacto_; but Salmasius, in his edition of that
work, p. 172, has sufficiently vindicated the latter.

[619] Dioscorid. Alexipharm. cap. 33.

[620] Theoph. p. 613.

[621] The creeping branches were in particular called _cacti_, the
upright stem _pternix_.

[622] Theophrastus calls the bottom of the calyx περικάρπιον, a word
which is still retained in botany. But he also says that the same part
of the _cactus_ was called also σκαλία; from which is derived the
_ascalia_ of Pliny. Galen calls it σπόνδυλον.

[623] Theoph. This term is explained by Pliny, lib. xiii. c.
4:--“Dulcis medulla palmarum in cacumine, quod cerebrum appellant.”

[624] Athen. Deipnos. at the end of the second book, p. 70. He gives
everything to be found in Theophrastus; but either the author or some
of his transcribers have so confused what he says, that it is almost

[625] Herm. Barbar. ad Dioscor. iii. 15.

[626] Manni de Florentinis inventis commentarium, p. 34.

[627] Politiani Opera. Lugd. 1533, 8vo, p. 444.

[628] Ruellius De Natura Stirpium. Bas. 1543, fol. p. 485.

[629] Hakluyt, vol. ii. p. 164. Biographia Britannica, vol. iv. p.
2462; and Anderson’s History of Commerce.

[630] Herm. Barbarus, in his Observations on Dioscorides.

[631] Salmas. ad Solin. p. 160.

[632] It is remarked in Golius’s Dictionary, p. 597, that this word
signifies also the scales of a fish, and the strong scales of the calyx
of the plant may have given rise to the name.

[633] The Greek word is αρτυτική.

[634] Glossarium Suiogothicum, i. p. 411.

[635] Potatoes.

[636] A variety of derivations may be found in Menage’s Dictionnaire

[637] See Rozier, Cours Complet d’Agriculture, vol. ii. p. 14.

[638] See his Travels. Geneva, 1681, fol. p. 164.


In early periods, the trunks of trees were split with wedges into as
many and as thin pieces as possible[639]; and if it was necessary to
have them still thinner, they were hewn on both sides to the proper
size. This simple and wasteful manner of making boards has been still
continued to the present time. Peter the Great of Russia endeavoured
to put a stop to it by forbidding hewn deals to be transported on the
river Neva. The saw, however, though so convenient and beneficial, has
not been able to banish entirely the practice of splitting timber used
in building, or in making furniture and utensils, for I do not speak
here of fire-wood; and, indeed, it must be allowed that this method
is attended with peculiar advantages, which that of sawing can never
possess. The wood-splitters perform their work more expeditiously
than sawyers, and split timber is much stronger than that which has
been sawn; for the fissure follows the grain of the wood, and leaves
it whole; whereas the saw, which proceeds in the line chalked out for
it, divides the fibres, and by these means lessens its cohesion and
solidity. Split timber, indeed, turns out often crooked and warped; but
in many purposes to which it is applied this is not prejudicial; and
such faults may sometimes be amended. As the fibres, however, retain
their natural length and direction, thin boards, particularly, can be
bent much better. This is a great advantage in making pipe-staves, or
sieve-frames, which require still more art, and in forming various
implements of the like kind.

Our common saw, which needs only to be guided by the hand of the
workman, however simple it may be, was not known to the inhabitants of
America when they were subdued by the Europeans[640]. The inventor of
this instrument has by the Greeks been inserted in their mythology,
with a place in which, among their gods, they honoured the greatest
benefactors of the earliest ages. By some he is called Talus, and by
others Perdix. Pliny[641] alone ascribes the invention to Dædalus;
but Hardouin, in the passage where he does so, chooses to read Talus
rather than Dædalus. In my opinion, Pliny may have committed an error
as well as any of the moderns; and as one writer at present misleads
another, Seneca[642], who gives the same inventor, may have fallen into
a mistake by copying Pliny. Diodorus Siculus[643], Apollodorus[644],
and others name the inventor Talus. He was the son of Dædalus’s sister;
and was by his mother placed under the tuition of her brother, to be
instructed in his art. Having once found the jaw-bone of a snake, he
employed it to cut through a small piece of wood; and by these means
was induced to form a like instrument of iron, that is, to make a saw.
This invention, which greatly facilitates labour, excited the envy of
his master, and instigated him to put Talus to death privately. We are
told, that being asked by some one, when he was burying the body, what
he was depositing in the earth, he replied, a serpent. This suspicious
answer discovered the murder; and thus, adds the historian, a snake
was the cause of the invention, of the murder, and of its being found

Hyginus[646], Servius[647], Fulgentius[648], Lactantius Placidus[649],
Isidorus[650], and others call the inventor Perdix. That he was the son
of a sister of Dædalus they all agree; but they differ respecting the
name of his parents. The mother, by Fulgentius, is called Polycastes,
but without any proof; and Lactantius gives to the father the name of
Calaus. In Apollodorus, however, the mother of Talus is called Perdix;
and the same name is given by Tzetzes to the mother of the inventor,
whose name Talus he changes into Attalus[651]. Perdix, we are told,
did not employ for a saw the jaw-bone of a snake, like Talus, but
the back-bone of a fish; and this is confirmed by Ovid[652], who
nevertheless is silent respecting the name of the inventor.

What may be meant by _spina piscis_ it is perhaps difficult to
conjecture; but I can by no means make _spina dorsi_ of it, as Dion.
Salvagnius has done, in his observations on the passage quoted from
Ovid’s Ibis. The small bony processes which project from the spine of
a fish have some similitude to a saw; but it would be hardly possible
to saw through with them small pieces of wood. These bones are too
long, as well as too far distant from each other; and the joints of
the back-bone are liable to be dislocated by the smallest force. I am
not acquainted with the spine of any fish which would be sufficiently
strong for that purpose. The jaw-bone of a fish furnished with teeth
would be more proper; but the words _spina in medio pisce_ prevent us
from adopting that alteration. I should be inclined rather to explain
this difficulty by the bone which projects from the snout of the
saw-fish, called by the Romans _serra_, and by the Greeks _pristis_.
That bone, indeed, might not be altogether unfit for such a use: the
teeth are strongly united to the broad bone in the middle, and are
capable of resisting a great force; but they are placed at rather too
great a distance. The old inhabitants of Madeira, however, we are told,
really used this bone instead of a saw[653]. That Talus found the
jaw-bone of a snake with teeth like a saw is extremely probable, for
there are many snakes which have teeth of that kind.

The saws of the Grecian carpenters had the same form, and were
made in the like ingenious manner as ours are at present. This is
fully shown by a painting still preserved among the antiquities of
Herculaneum[654]. Two genii are represented at the end of a bench,
which consists of a long table that rests upon two four-footed stools.
The piece of wood which is to be sawn through is secured by cramps. The
saw with which the genii are at work has a perfect resemblance to our
frame-saw. It consists of a square frame, having in the middle a blade,
the teeth of which stand perpendicular to the plane of the frame. The
piece of wood which is to be sawn extends beyond the end of the bench,
and one of the workmen appears standing and the other sitting on the
ground. The arms, in which the blade is fastened, have the same form as
that given to them at present. In the bench are seen holes, in which
the cramps that hold the timber are stuck. They are shaped like the
figure seven; and the ends of them reach below the boards that form the
top of it. The French call a cramp of this kind _un valet_[655].

Montfaucon[656] also has given the representation of two ancient saws
taken from Gruter. One of them seems to be only the blade of a saw
without any frame; but the other figure I consider as a cross-cut saw;
and I think I can distinguish all the parts, though it is imperfectly
delineated. One may however perceive both the handles between which the
blade is fastened; the wooden bar that binds them together, though the
blade is delineated too near it; and about the middle of this bar, the
piece of wood that tightens the cord which keeps the handles as well as
the whole instrument firm. Saws which were not placed in a frame, but
fastened to a handle, are thus described by Palladius[657]:--“Serrulæ
manubriatæ minores majoresque ad mensuram cubiti, quibus facile est,
quod per serram fieri non potest, resecando trunco arboris, aut vitis

The most beneficial and ingenious improvement of this instrument was,
without doubt, the invention of saw-mills, which are driven either
by water, wind, [or by steam]. Mills of the first kind were erected
so early as the fourth century, in Germany, on the small river Roer
or Ruer[658]; for though Ausonius speaks properly of water-mills for
cutting stone, and not timber, it cannot be doubted that these were
invented later than mills for manufacturing deals, or that both kinds
were erected at the same time. The art however of cutting marble with a
saw is very old. Pliny[659] conjectures that it was invented in Caria;
at least he knew no building incrusted with marble of greater antiquity
than the palace of king Mausolus, at Halicarnassus. This edifice is
celebrated by Vitruvius[660], for the beauty of its marble; and Pliny
gives an account of the different kinds of sand used for cutting it;
for it is the sand properly, says he, and not the saw, which produces
that effect. The latter presses down the former, and rubs it against
the marble; and the coarser the sand is, the longer will be the time
required to polish the marble which has been cut by it. Stones of
the soap-rock kind, which are indeed softer than marble, and which
would require less force than wood, were sawn at that period[661]:
but it appears that the far harder glassy kinds of stone were sawn
then also; for we are told of the discovery of a building which was
encrusted with cut agate, cornelian, lapis lazuli, and amethysts[662].
I have, however, found no account in any of the Greek or Roman writers
of a mill for sawing wood; and as the writers of modern times speak
of saw-mills as new and uncommon, it would seem that the oldest
construction of them has been forgotten, or that some important
improvement has made them appear entirely new.

Becher says, with his usual confidence, that saw-mills were invented
in the seventeenth century[663]. Though this is certainly false, I did
not expect to find that there were saw-mills in the neighbourhood of
Augsburg so early as the year 1337, as Stetten[664] has discovered by
the town-books of that place. I shall here insert his own words, in
answer to a request I made that he would be so kind as to communicate
to me all the information he knew on that subject:--“You are desirous
of reading that passage in our town-books, where saw-mills are first
mentioned; but it is of very little importance. There is to be found
only under the year 1338 the name of a burgher called Giss Saegemuller;
and though it may be objected that one cannot from the name infer the
existence of the employment, I am of a different opinion; especially
as I have lately been able to obtain a proof much more to be depended
on. In the surveyors’ book, which I have often before quoted, and
which, perhaps, for many centuries has not been seen or consulted by
any one, I find under the year 1322, and several times afterwards,
sums disbursed under the following title: Molitori dicto Hanrey pro
asseribus et swaertlingis. Schwartlings, among us, are the outside
deals of the trunk, which in other places are called _Schwarten_. This
word, therefore, makes the existence of a saw-mill pretty certain. As
a confirmation of this idea, we have still a mill of that kind which
is at present called the Hanrey-mill; and the stream which supplies it
with water is called the Hanrey-brook. Since the earliest ages, the
ground on which this mill, and the colour, stamping, and oil-mills in
the neighbourhood are built, was the property of the hospital of the
Holy Ghost. By that hospital it was given as a life-rent to a rich
burgher named Erlinger, but returned again in 1417 by his daughter
Anna Bittingerin, who had, above and under the Hanrey-mill, two other
saw-mills, which still exist, and for which, in virtue of an order of
council of that year, she entered into a contract with the hospital in
regard to the water and mill-dams.” There were saw-mills, therefore, at
Augsburg so early as 1322. This appears to be highly probable also from
the circumstance, that such mills occur very often in the following
century in many other countries.

When the Infant Henry sent settlers to the island of Madeira, which
was discovered in 1420, and caused European fruits of every kind to
be carried thither, he ordered saw-mills to be erected also, for
the purpose of sawing into deals the various species of excellent
timber with which the island abounded, and which were afterwards
transported to Portugal[665]. About the year 1427 the city of Breslau
had a saw-mill which produced a yearly rent of three marks; and in
1490 the magistrates of Erfurt purchased a forest, in which they
caused a saw-mill to be erected, and they rented another mill in the
neighbourhood besides. Norway, which is covered with forests, had
the first saw-mill about the year 1530. This mode of manufacturing
timber was called the new art; and because the exportation of deals
was by these means increased, that circumstance gave occasion to
the deal-tythe, introduced by Christian III. in the year 1545[666].
Soon after the celebrated Henry Ranzau caused the first mill of this
kind to be built in Holstein[667]. In 1552 there was a saw-mill
at Joachimsthal, which, as we are told, belonged to Jacob Geusen,
mathematician. In the year 1555 the bishop of Ely, ambassador from Mary
queen of England to the court of Rome, having seen a saw-mill in the
neighbourhood of Lyons, the writer of his travels thought it worthy of
a particular description[668]. In the sixteenth century, however, there
were mills with different saw-blades, by which a plank could be cut
into several deals at the same time. Pighius saw one of these, in 1575,
on the Danube, near Ratisbon, when he accompanied Charles, prince of
Juliers and Cleves, on his travels[669]. It may here be asked whether
the Dutch had such mills first, as is commonly believed[670]. The first
saw-mill was erected in Holland at Saardam, in the year 1596; and the
invention of it is ascribed to Cornelis Cornelissen[671]; but he is as
little the inventor as the mathematician of Joachimsthal. Perhaps he
was the first person who built a saw-mill at that place, which is a
village of great trade, and has still a great many saw-mills, though
the number of them is becoming daily less; for within the last thirty
years a hundred have been given up[672]. The first mill of this kind
in Sweden was erected in the year 1653[673]. At present, that kingdom
possesses the largest perhaps ever constructed in Europe, where a
water-wheel, twelve feet broad, drives at the same time seventy-two

In England saw-mills had at first the same fate that printing had
in Turkey, the ribbon-loom in the dominions of the Church, and the
crane at Strasburgh. When attempts were made to introduce them they
were violently opposed, because it was apprehended that the sawyers
would be deprived by them of their means of getting a subsistence.
For this reason it was found necessary to abandon a saw-mill erected
by a Dutchman near London[674], in 1663; and in the year 1700, when
one Houghton laid before the nation the advantages of such a mill,
he expressed his apprehension that it might excite the rage of the
populace[675]. What he dreaded was actually the case in 1767 or 1768,
when an opulent timber-merchant, by the desire and approbation of the
Society of Arts, caused a saw-mill, driven by wind, to be erected at
Limehouse under the direction of James Stansfield, who had learned,
in Holland and Norway, the art of constructing and managing machines
of that kind. A mob assembled and pulled the mill to pieces; but the
damage was made good by the nation, and some of the rioters were
punished. A new mill was afterwards erected, which was suffered to
work without molestation, and which gave occasion to the erection of
others[676]. It appears, however, that this was not the only mill of
the kind then in Britain; for one driven also by wind had been built
at Leith, in Scotland, some years before[677].

[The application of the steam-engine has in modern times almost
entirely displaced the use of either water or wind as sources of power
in machinery, and most of the saw-mills now in action, especially those
on a large scale, are worked by steam. Some idea of the precision
with which their operations are now accomplished may be obtained from
the following fact. At the City of London saw-mills, the largest log
of wood which had been placed on the carriage in one piece--a log of
Honduras mahogany 18 feet long and three feet one inch square,--was cut
into unbroken sheets at the rate of ten to an inch, and so beautifully
smooth as to require scarcely any dressing.]


[639] Virgil. Georg. lib. i. v. 144. Pontoppidan says, “Before the
middle of the sixteenth century all trunks were hewn and split with the
axe into two planks; whereas at present they would give seven or eight
boards. This is still done in some places where there are no saw-mills
in the neighbourhood; especially at Sudenoer and Amte Nordland, where
a great many boats and sloops are built of such hewn boards, which are
twice as strong as those sawn; but they consume too many trunks.” See
Natürliche Historie von Norwegen. Copenhagen, 1753, 2 vols. 8vo, i. p.

[640] De Garcilasso de la Vega, Histoire des Incas.

[641] Lib. vii. 1. cap. 56.

[642] Epist. 90.

[643] Diodor. Sicul. iv. cap. 78.

[644] Apollodori Bibl. lib. iii. cap. 16.

[645] Those who are desirous of seeing the whole account may consult
Diodorus, or Banier’s Mythology, [or Keightley’s Mythology of Ancient
Greece and Italy, p. 398, Lond. 1838.]

[646] Hygin. Fab. 39, 244, 274.

[647] Ad Georg. i. 143.

[648] Mythographi, ed. Van Staveren, lib. iii. 2, p. 708.

[649] In Mythogr. et in Ovid. Burm. lib. viii. fab. 3.

[650] Orig. lib. xix. cap. 19.

[651] Chiliad. i. 493.

[652] Metamorph. lib. viii. 244. The following line from the Ibis, ver.
500, alludes to the same circumstance:

  “Ut cui causa necis serra reperta fuit.”

[653] See Cadomosto’s Voyage to Africa, in Novi Orbis Navigat. cap. 6.
This account is not so ridiculous as that of Olaus Magnus, who says
that the saw-fish can with his snout bore through a ship. [There are
however many well-authenticated instances of the planks of ships being
perforated by the upper jaw of this powerful animal, which it has been
supposed occasionally attacks the hulls of vessels in mistake for the

[654] Le Pitture antiche d’Ercolano, vol. i. tav. 34.

[655] That cramps or hold-fasts are still formed in the same manner as
those seen in the ancient painting found at Herculaneum, particularly
when fine inlaid works are made, is proved by the figure in Roubo,
l’Art du Menuisier, tab. xi. fig. 4, and xii. fig. 15.

[656] L’Antiquité Expliquée, vol. iii. pl. 189.

[657] Pallad. De Re Rust. lib. i. tit. 43.--Cicero, in his oration for
Cluentius, chap. lxiv., speaks of an ingenious saw, with which a thief
sawed out the bottom of a chest.

[658] Ausonii Mosella, v. 361.

[659] Plin. lib. xxxvi. cap. 6.

[660] Vitruv. lib. ii. cap. 8.

[661] Plin. lib. xxxvi. cap. 22.

[662] See Jannon de S. Laurent’s treatise on the cut stones of the
ancients, in Saggi di Dissertazioni nella Acad. Etrusca di Cortona,
tom. vi. p. 56.

[663] “Saw-mills are useful machines, first introduced in this
century; and I do not know any one who can properly be called the real
inventor.”--Närrische Weisheit. Frankf. 1683, 12mo, p. 78.

[664] In that excellent work, Kunst-und-handwerks Geschichte der Stadt
Augsburg, 1779, 8vo, p. 141.

[665] This we are told by Abraham Peritsol, the Jew, in Itinera Mundi,
printed with the learned annotations of Thomas Hyde, in Ugolini
Thesaur. Antiq. Sacr. vol. vii. p. 103. Peritsol wrote before the year

[666] Nic. Cragii Historia regis Christiani III. Hafniæ 1737, fol. p.
293. See also Pontoppidan’s History of Norway.

[667] Allgemeine Welthistorie, xxxiii. p. 227.

[668] The account of this journey may be found in Hardwicke’s
Miscellaneous State Papers, from 1501 to 1726, i. p. 71:--“The saw-mill
is driven with an upright wheel; and the water that maketh it go, is
gathered whole into a narrow trough, which delivereth the same water to
the wheels. This wheel hath a piece of timber put to the axle-tree end,
like the handle of a broch, and fastened to the end of the saw, which
being turned with the force of the water, hoisteth up and down the saw,
that it continually eateth in, and the handle of the same is kept in a
rigall of wood from swerving. Also the timber lieth as it were upon a
ladder, which is brought by little and little to the saw with another

[669] Hercules Prodicus. Coloniæ 1609, 8vo, p. 95.

[670] Leupoldi Theatrum Machinarum Molarium. Leipzig, 1735, fol. p.
114. I shall here take occasion to remark, that in the sixteenth
century there were boring-mills driven by water. Felix Fabri, in his
Historia Suevorum, p. 81, says that there were such mills at Ulm.

[671] De Koophandel van Amsterdam. Amst. 1727, ii. p. 583.

[672] La Richesse de la Hollande. Lond. 1778, 4to, i. p. 259.

[673] Clason, Sweriges Handel Omskiften 1751.

[674] Anderson’s History of Commerce.

[675] Houghton’s Husbandry and Trade Improved, Lond. 1727, iii. p. 47.

[676] Memoirs of Agriculture and other Œconomical Arts, by Robert
Dossie. Lond. 1768, 8vo, i. p. 123. Of Stansfield’s mill, on which
he made some improvements, a description and figure may be seen in
Bailey’s Advancement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. Lond. 1772, i.
p. 231.

[677] Anderson _ut supra_.


Paper stamped with a certain mark by Government, and which in many
countries must be used for all judicial acts, public deeds, and private
contracts, in order to give them validity, is one of those numerous
modes of taxation invented after the other means of raising money for
the service of states, or rather of their rulers, became exhausted. It
is not of great antiquity; for before the invention of our paper it
would not have been a very productive source of finance. When parchment
and other substances employed for writing on were dear, when greater
simplicity of manners produced more honesty and more confidence among
mankind, and when tallies supplied the place of notes, bonds, and
receipts, writings of that kind were very little in use.

De Basville, however, in his Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire de
Languedoc, affirms that stamped paper was introduced so early as
the year 537, by the emperor Justinian. This book, written by the
author, intendant of that province in 1697, for the use of the duke
of Burgundy, was printed, in octavo, at Marseilles in 1734, and
not at Amsterdam, as announced in the title; but it was carefully
suppressed by the Government, and on that account is very scarce even
in France[678]. I have never seen it; but I know the author’s ideas
respecting stamped paper, from an extract in Variétés Historiques,
Physiques, et Littéraires, printed at Paris in the year 1752[679].
The author of this work supports the opinion of his countryman: but
it is undoubtedly false; for the law quoted as a proof requires only
that documents should be written on such paper as had marked at the
top (which was called the protocoll) the name of the intendant of the
finances, and the time when the paper was made; and this regulation
was established merely with a view to prevent the forging and altering
of acts or deeds[680]. A kind of stamped paper therefore was brought
into use, though different from what we have at present, the principal
intention of which is not to render writings more secure, but by
imposing a certain duty on the stamps, proportioned to the importance
of the purpose it is employed for, to make a considerable addition to
the public revenue[681]. The stamps serve as a receipt to show that the
tax has been paid; and, though many law papers must be stamped, that
burthen has tended as little to prevent law-suits as the stamping of
cards has to lessen gaming: though some think differently. In both too
much is risked and too much expected for taxes to deter mankind from
engaging in either.

If in this historical research we look only to the antiquity of
stamping, we shall find that both the Greeks and the Romans had
soldiers marked in that manner; and, if we may be allowed to bring
together things so different, we might include under the like head
those runaway slaves who were marked by being branded; but I allude
here only to the stamped paper now in use, which was certainly invented
in Holland, a country where every necessary of life is subjected to
taxation. The States of the United Provinces having promised a reward
to any one who should invent a new impost, that might at the same
time bear light on the people and be productive to the government,
some person proposed that of _bezegelde brieven_, or stamped paper,
which was approved; and which Boxhorn, to whom we are indebted for this
information, considers as a very proper tax. He is of opinion also that
it might with great advantage be adopted in other countries[682]; and
this was really the case soon after his death, which happened in 1653.

Stamped paper was introduced in Holland on the 13th of August, 1624, by
an ordinance which represented the necessity and great benefit of this
new tax. Among other things advanced in its favour, it was said that
it would tend to lessen law-suits, and, on that account, would soon
recommend itself to neighbouring nations. What we are told therefore
by the author of an extract in Variétés Historiques, before-quoted,
that stamped paper began to be used in Holland and Spain so early as
the year 1555, is certainly false. The Spaniards may, indeed, have been
the first people who followed the example of the Dutch; for the author
above mentioned asserts, that he saw an act, executed by a notary at
Brussels, in 1668, which was written on stamped paper.

This tax was introduced in the electorate of Saxony by an ordinance of
the 22nd of March 1682; and into that of Brandenburg on the 15th of
July, in the same year. Bartholdus however says, but without producing
any proof[683], that stamped paper was used before that period in
Denmark, Florence, and Silesia. In Hanover it was first introduced, as
I think, on the 20th of February, 1709.

[The stamp-tax was first introduced into this country in the reign of
William and Mary, in 1693 (5 W. & M. c. 21). This act imposes stamps
upon grants from the crown, diplomas, contracts, probates of wills
and letters of administration, and upon all writs, proceedings, and
records in courts of law and equity; it does not however seem to
impose stamps upon deeds, unless these are enrolled at Westminster or
other courts of record. Two years afterwards, conveyances, deeds and
leases, were subjected to the stamp duty, and by a series of acts in
the succeeding reigns, every instrument recording a transaction between
two individuals was subjected to a stamp duty before it could be used
in a court of justice. These laws have been variously altered in later
times, but it is beyond our province to trace them further.]


[678] An account of this book may be found in Anecdotes secr. sur
divers sujets de littérat. 1734, p. 573, and in the preface to Etat de
la France, de M. de Boulainvilliers, fol. p. 12.

[679] Inserted in the Encyclopédie, vol. xi. p. 862.

[680] Novell. coll. iv. tit. 23. cap. 2. nov. 44.

[681] Such is the idea of Stryk in Continuat. altera usus moderni
pandectarum, lib. xxii. tit. 4. p. 856.

[682] “The States of Holland having laid sufficiently heavy duties
on merchandise of every kind, and these not being equal to the
expenditure, which was daily increasing, began to think of imposing new
ones. For that purpose they issued an edict, inviting the ingenious to
turn their thoughts towards that subject, and offering a very ample
reward to whoever should invent a new tax, that might be as little
burdensome as possible, and yet productive to the republic. Some
shrewd, deep-thinking person, at length devised one on stamped paper
(called _de impost van bezegelde brieven_), to be paid for all paper
impressed with the seal of the States. The inventor proposed, that
it should be enacted by public authority, that no petitions from the
states, or from the magistrates of any city or district, or any public
bodies, should be received; that no documents should be admitted in
courts of justice; that no receipts should be legal, and that no acts
signed by notaries, secretaries, or other persons in office, and, in
short, no contracts should be valid, except such as were written upon
paper to which the seal of the States had been affixed, in the manner
above-mentioned. It was proposed, also, that this paper should be sold
by the clerks of the different towns and courts at the following rate;
paper impressed with the great seal of the States for sixpence, and
that with the less seal for twopence per sheet: for according to the
importance of the business it was necessary that the great or less seal
should be used. The States approved this plan, and it was immediately
put in execution.”--Boxhornii Disquisitiones Politic. casus 59. In this
collection there is also Boxhornii Reip. Bataviæ Brevis et Accurata
Descriptio, in the eighth chapter of which the author gives the
following account of the origin of stamped paper:--“A very ingenious
method has lately been invented of raising large sums of money for the
use of the republic. As there are many rich people who have entrusted
a considerable share of their property to the public treasury, the
interest of which they receive annually on giving receipts; as many
law-suits are carried on which are generally entered into by the
wealthy, and which cannot be brought to a conclusion until a variety
of instruments, as they are called, have been executed on each side;
and as, on account of the flourishing state of trade, many contracts
are made, which, for the sake of security, must be mutually signed, the
States thought proper to enact by a public edict, that no receipts,
law-papers, contracts, or instruments of the like kind, should be legal
or valid, unless written on paper impressed with the great or small
seal of the States. A price was also fixed on the paper, to be paid
by those who had occasion for it; so that a sheet which before could
be purchased for a half-penny, was raised to several pence; and it is
incredible how great a revenue these sheets bring to the public, by so
many of them being used. The poor, however, and those of small fortune,
feel little of this burden, as the rich principally are concerned in
the transactions above-mentioned.”

[683] Fr. Jac. Bartholdi Diss. de Charta Signata; resp. P. Kolhart,
Franc. 1690, cap. 2, § 16, p. 36.


Insurance, that excellent establishment by which losses that would
entirely ruin a merchant, being divided among a company, are rendered
supportable, and almost imperceptible; by which undertakings too great
for one person are easily accomplished, and by which commodities
brought from the most distant regions are made cheaper[684], appears
not to have been known to the Romans, however near they may have come
to the invention of it. If we examine closely the information from
which some endeavour to prove the contrary, it will be found that it is
far from sufficient to support their opinion.

Puffendorf[685], Barbeyrac[686], Loccenius[687], Kulpis[688], and
others, ground their assertions on a passage of Livy[689], who says,
that when the Roman army in Spain was distressed for provisions,
clothing and other necessaries, a company engaged to convey to them
everything they stood in need of, under the stipulation that the
State should make good their loss, in case their vessels should be
shipwrecked by storms, or be taken by the enemy; and we are told
that these terms were agreed to. This was undoubtedly a promise of
indemnification, but by no means an insurance, in which it is always
necessary that a premium should be given. On occasions of this kind,
however, acts of fraud were practised, like those committed at present,
to the prejudice of insurers. Shipwrecks were pretended to have
happened which never took place; and old shattered vessels, freighted
with articles of little value, were purposely sunk, and the crew saved
in boats; and large sums were then demanded as a reimbursement for the

Little more is proved by a passage of Suetonius[691], which Kulpis
and others consider as affording an instance of insurance. That author
tells us, that the emperor Claudius promised to indemnify merchants
for their losses, if their ships should perish by storms at sea. This
passage Anderson must not have read; else he would not have said that
Suetonius ascribed the invention of insurance to Claudius.

In Simon’s edition of Grotius, a passage is quoted from Cicero’s
epistles[692] as an instance of insurance among the Romans, which seems
to be more probable. Cicero says he hopes to find at Laodicea security,
by means of which he can remit the money of the republic, without
being exposed to any danger on its passage. The word _prædes_ may here
signify insurers; but, in my opinion, this quotation ought rather to be
classed among those which have been collected by Ayrer, as the first
traces of bills of exchange[693].

Those remains of the ancient laws which, according to Kulpis and
others, allude to insurance, concern bottomry (_fœnus nauticum_) only;
and that this is much older than insurance has been already fully
proved by Stypman[694].

Malynes[695], Anderson, and others affirm, that insurance is mentioned
in the marine laws of the Isle of Oleron. This island, which lies
opposite to the mouth of the Charente, on the coast of France, was much
celebrated in the eleventh, twelfth, and following centuries on account
of its trade. It belonged then to the duke of Aquitaine, and came to
the crown of England by the marriage of Eleonora, daughter of the last
duke, with Henry II. Under Eleonora were framed in the island those
laws so well-known by the names _Roole d’Oleron_, _Roole des Jugemens
d’Oleron_, that, like the laws of the Rhodians, they were used also
by foreigners. These laws were afterwards enlarged and improved by
Richard I., Eleonora’s son; at least we are assured so by the French
historians: but the English ascribe them to Richard alone. In order to
determine the period when they were framed, I shall only observe that
Eleonora died in the year 1202, and Richard in 1199; and Anderson,
therefore, not without probability, places the origin of them in the
year 1194. A copy of these laws, printed at Rouen, is still preserved,
in which it is said that they were first drawn up in 1266. This,
however, the French and the English declare to be false[696]. They are
written in French, that is, in the old Gascon dialect. I am acquainted
with them from the following scarce book, the author of which, in the
preface, calls himself Cleirac: Us et Coutumes de la Mer[697]; but I
find no traces in them of insurance. Even Cleirac himself, who has
given an excellent explanation of the laws of Oleron, seems not to
have found any; for where he relates everything he knew respecting
the history of it, he ascribes this invention, and also that of bills
of exchange, to the Jews, who made use of it when they were expelled
from France. According to Cleirac, insurance was long detested by the
Christians, who at that time considered it as a sin to take interest;
and the use of it, as well as of bills of exchange, was first made
common by the Guelphs and Ghibelines. Of this pretended service of the
Jews in regard to insurance, I know no proof.

The celebrated maritime laws of the city of Wisby, in the island of
Gothland, whether of later date, as the French assert, or older,
which is more probable, than those of Oleron, are equally silent
with respect to insurance. These laws were not written originally in
Swedish, as l’Estocq[698] says, but in the Low-German. The translation
into High-German by Marquard[699] is incorrect, and the French one
of Cleirac is too free and too much abridged. The Dutch translation
published at Amsterdam is the completest[700].

Insurance was, undoubtedly, not known at the time when the later
Hanseatic maritime laws were framed, else it would have been mentioned
in them. Of these laws there are various editions. One of those most
used is that by Kericke, which is inserted also in Heineccii Scriptorum
de Jure Nautico et Maritimo Fasciculus. Cleirac has given a French
translation of them.

As little respecting insurance is to be found in Il Consolato del Mare.
These maritime laws, highly worthy of notice, were originally written
in the Catalonian dialect; and it seems very probable that they were
drawn up at Barcelona. A part of them appears to have been framed in
the eleventh, but the greater part in the thirteenth century; for the
book itself proves, in more than one place, that they are not all of
the same antiquity. The most correct edition is that published at
Leyden in 1704[701]. Those writers who have pretended that insurance
is mentioned in these Catalonian maritime laws have, perhaps, been
led into this error, because, in an appendix to some of the common
editions, there is a short account of insurance as once practised at
Barcelona. As I have never seen this small treatise, I do not know
whether it contains anything respecting the history of it. The oldest
laws and regulations concerning insurance, with which I am at present
acquainted, are the following.

On the 28th of January 1523, five persons appointed for that purpose
drew up at Florence some articles which are still employed on the
exchange at Leghorn. These important regulations, together with
the prescribed form of policies, which may be considered as the
oldest[702], have been inserted, in Italian and German, by Magens,
in his Treatise on Insurance, Average and Bottomry[703], published
at Hamburgh in 1753. I should have been glad to have found in
Italian authors some information respecting the antiquity of these
regulations[704], a copy of which Magens says he procured from Leghorn;
but I have hitherto sought for it in vain. Straccha however mentions
a Florentine order of June the 15th, 1526, which forbids common
insurance, unless the goods and commodities are specified[705].

There is still preserved a short regulation of the 25th May 1537, by
the emperor Charles V., respecting bills of exchange and insurance,
in which the strictly fulfilling only of an agreement of insurance is

In 1549 the same emperor issued an express order, “Op ’t faict van der
zee-vaerdt,” in which occur some articles respecting insurance[706],
and additions were afterwards made to it in 1561.

In the year 1556, Philip II., king of Spain, gave to the Spanish
merchants certain regulations respecting insurance, which are inserted
by Magens, with a German translation, in his work before mentioned.
They contain some forms of policies on ships going to the Indies.

On the last of October 1563, Philip II. published his maritime laws, in
which some forms of policies are given[707]; but on the last of March
1568 that prince forbade the practice of insurance, on account of the
bad use to which it had been often applied. This prohibition I have not
been able to find. I am acquainted with it only by an order of the
20th of January 1570, in which the king expressly recals it, because
the merchants at Antwerp, both subjects and foreigners, had presented
strong remonstrances against it[708].

In the year 1598, the Kamer von Assurantie, Chamber of Insurance, was
established at Amsterdam. An account of the first regulations of this
insurance-office may be seen in Pontanus’s History of the City of
Amsterdam, and in other works[709].

In the year 1600, regulations respecting insurance were formed by the
city of Middelburg in Zealand.

It appears that the first regulations respecting insurances in England,
which may be seen in Anderson’s History of Commerce, were made in
the year 1601. We find by them that insurers had before that period
conducted themselves in such a manner, that the utmost confidence was
reposed in their honesty, and that on this account few or no disputes
had arisen[710].

In the year 1604, regulations were formed respecting insurance at
Rotterdam; and in 1610 were drawn up those of Genoa, which Magens has
inserted in his work, taken from the Latin statutes of the Republic,
together with a German translation.

In 1612 the Insurance Chamber at Amsterdam was established by public
authority, and received several privileges.

Malynes asserts, but without either proofs or probability, that the
people of Antwerp were first taught insurance by the English; and
says that, as the merchants assembled for transacting business in
Lombard-street, so called because certain Italians from Lombardy
had _lombards_ there, or houses for lending money on pledges, long
before the building of the Exchange, it became customary, as it was
in his time (1622), to be guided in policies by what was done in
Lombard-street, in London.

[M‘Culloch states[711] that it is probable insurance was introduced
into England some time about the beginning of the sixteenth century,
for it is mentioned in the statute 43 Eliz. c. 12, in which its
utility is very clearly set forth, that it had been an _immemorial
usage_ among merchants, both English and foreign, when they made any
great adventure, to procure insurance to be made on the ships or goods
adventured. From this it may reasonably be supposed that insurance had
been in use in England for at least a century previous. It appears
from the same statute, that it had originally been usual to refer all
disputes that arose with respect to insurances to the decision of
“grave and discreet” merchants appointed by the lord mayor. But abuses
having grown out of this practice, the statute authorized the lord
chancellor to appoint a commission for the trial of insurance cases;
and in the reign of Charles II. the powers of the commissioners were
enlarged. But this court soon after fell into disuse; and, what is
singular, no trace can now be discovered of any of its proceedings.]

Guicciardini, who wrote his Account of the Netherlands in 1567,
remarks, in describing Antwerp, that the merchants there were
accustomed to insure their ships. Anderson says that this is the first
instance of maritime insurance, which is very astonishing, as he thinks
the invention of insurance is to be found in Suetonius, and in the laws
of the Isle of Oleron.

A most useful imitation of insurance in trade is the institution
of insurance-offices, to indemnify losses sustained by fire. As
far as I have been able to learn, companies for that purpose were
first formed towards the middle of the last century, though houses
were insured by individuals much earlier. The fire-office at Paris
was established in 1745; that of the electorate of Hanover in 1750;
that of Nassau-Weilburg in 1751; those of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel and
Wirtemberg in 1753; that of Anspach in 1754; that of Baden-Durlach in
1758; that of the county of Mark in 1764; those of Saxe-Weimar and
Eisenach in 1768; and that of the Society of the Clergy in the Mark
of Brandenburg[712], to insure goods and household furniture, was
established in 1769.

It is perhaps known to few, that even in the beginning of the
seventeenth century, a proposal was made by some ingenious person, that
all the proprietors of land should insure the houses of their subjects
against fire, on their paying so much per cent. annually, according
to the value of them. The author of this scheme presented it to count
Anthony Gunther von Oldenburg, in the year 1609, as a means of finance
not to be found in any work printed on that subject. The author in his
plan said[713], that “as many fires happened by which a great number
of people lost their property, the count might lay before his subjects
the danger of such accidents; and propose to them, that if they would,
either singly or united, put a value on their houses, and for every
hundred dollars valuation pay to him yearly one dollar; he, on the
other hand, would engage, that in case by the will of God their houses
should be reduced to ashes, the misfortunes of war excepted, he would
take upon himself the loss, and pay to the sufferers as much money as
might be sufficient to rebuild them; and that all persons, both natives
and foreigners, who might be desirous of sharing in the benefits of
this institution, should not be excluded. The author was confident
that, though the damage might fall heavy at first, a considerable sum
would be gradually raised, from year to year; and that every one might
thus insure his houses against accidents. He had no doubt that it would
be fully proved, if a calculation were made of the number of houses
consumed by fire, within a certain space, in the course of thirty
years, that the loss would not amount, by a good deal, to the sum that
would be collected in that time. He did not however advise that all the
houses in every town should be comprehended, as the money claimed might
amount to too much; but only that some and certain houses should be
admitted into this association.”

I shall here insert, from the same author, the count’s reflections
on this plan, and the conclusion which he formed:--“It is to be
considered,” says he, “what sum every proprietor of land may with
certainty raise and receive; whether the proposed plan can, to the
undoubted benefit of the subjects, and the advantage of their lord, be
honourably, justly, and irreproachfully instituted without tempting
Providence; without incurring the censure of neighbours; and without
disgracing one’s name and dignity; in the next place, that this
institution may not have the appearance of a scheme to bring money
into the country; and still more that it may have no resemblance
to a duty, tax, or impost, but rather to a free contribution, or
unconstrained remuneration for being insured from danger, and by
which losses being made good, houses can be sooner rebuilt, and put
in their former condition.” The count allowed that the object of the
plan was good, considered in every point of view, and that a company
composed of common individuals might be formed to insure each other’s
houses, and pay the losses sustained by fire: but he concluded, that,
if he undertook the plan, Providence might be tempted; that his own
subjects might be displeased; and that, improper ideas being formed of
his conduct, he might be accused unjustly of avarice. “God,” he said,
“had without such means preserved and blessed, for many centuries, the
ancient house of Oldenburg; and he would still be present with him,
through his mercy, and protect his subjects from destructive fires.”
He dismissed, therefore, the ingenious author of this plan, but not
without rewarding him according to his usual liberality.

[Insurance against fire has been known and carried on in England for
nearly a century and a half; at present the number of British Fire
Offices amounts to nearly twenty. The premium demanded for insurance
varies from 1_s._ 6_d._ to 10_s._ 6_d._ per £100 according to the
supposed risk; the duty is enormous, being no less than 3_s._ per
cent. on the amount insured. This tax yields a considerable addition
to the revenue; in 1842 it amounted to £986,420, which corresponds to
£563,668,571 value of property insured, leaving out of consideration
the value of insured farming stock, the duty on which was repealed
in the year 1833. On common risks the duty is no less than 200 per
cent. upon the premium! “Such a duty” observes M‘Culloch, “is in
the last degree oppressive and impolitic. There cannot, in fact, be
the slightest doubt that, were it reduced, as it ought to be, to
one-third its present amount, the business of insurance would be very
much extended; and as it could not be extended without an increase
of security and without lessening the injurious consequences arising
from the casualties to which property is exposed, the reduction of
the duty would be productive of the best results in a public point of
view; while the increase of business would prevent the revenue from
being materially diminished.” Several attempts have of late been made
in Parliament to induce the government to lower the amount of duty,
hitherto without success; it is however to be hoped that some other
mode of raising the revenue may be devised than that of taxing so
enormously the prudence of the industrious classes[714].

In addition to the marine and fire insurance, a somewhat similar
speculation has been applied to human life, in the formation of
life-insurance companies. These receive small annual payments in
consideration of securing to the relations of the assured, or others
to whom his property may be bequeathed, a stipulated sum. This
arrangement we consider of the highest importance in mercantile
countries, particularly to persons engaged in professional or personal
occupations, where on the decease of the principal, the agency or
appointment is not usually susceptible of transfer or bequest. By
means of this species of insurance property is secured to descendants,
who, but for some such precaution, might be left destitute. The oldest
life-assurance office in London is the _Amicable_. This company
was chartered in 1706, in consequence of application made to her
majesty, Queen Anne, by Sir Thomas Allen and others. There are now
in London nearly eighty life-assurance companies, of which about
sixty are exclusively devoted to that object, and the remainder unite
fire-insurance. The terms vary in the different offices, although
not considerably, being founded upon recognised sets of tables. A
comparative table of the annual rates of premium charged by each
British office will be found in Waterston’s Cyclopædia of Commerce.
The premium is of course adapted to the probable duration of life; the
lowest being £1 7_s._ 9_d._ per £100 on a healthy life at the entrance
age of 15, the highest, at the age of 60, being about 7 per cent. A
diseased condition in most incapacitates for insurance, but in some
offices even diseased lives and risks of every kind are insured, of
course at a proportional rate[715].

In the reign of Queen Anne several offices were opened for making
insurances on marriages, births, christenings, service, &c., and
fraudulent practices prevailed to such a degree that by Stat. 9 Ann. c.
6, § 37, a penalty of £500 is imposed on every person setting up such
office, and £100 for any person making such assurance in any office
already established.

The assurance principle has within the last few years likewise been
applied, with the prospect of success, to the guaranteeing of fidelity
in persons holding situations of trust. In this case the calculation
is, that out of a large range of instances where individuals of good
moral character are entrusted with sums belonging to their employers,
a nearly regular amount of defalcation will take place annually, or
within some other larger space of time. This may give an unpleasant
view of human nature, but it is found to be a true one, and the
question which arises with men of business is, by what means may
the defalcation be best guarded against. The choice is between a
guarantee from one or two persons, and from a trading company. By
the former plan, the risk is concentrated upon one or two, who may
be deeply injured in consequence: by the other plan, the risk is not
merely diffused, it is _extinguished_, for the premiums paid by the
insuring parties stand for the losses, besides affording a profit upon
the business. Nor have we only thus a protection for private parties
against the dangers of security; but individuals, who have the offer of
situations on the condition of giving a sufficient guarantee, may now
be able to take, where formerly they would have had to decline them,
seeing that they might have failed to induce any friend to venture so
far in their behalf. Practically, it has also been found that, so far
from parties being more ready to give way to temptation when they know
that the loss will fall upon a company, they are less so, seeing that
the company exercises a more rigid supervision, and presents a sterner
front to delinquents, than is the case with private securities in
general. Guarantee companies are now established in London, Edinburgh,
Glasgow, and other large cities. See Chambers’ Tracts, No. 44.]


[684] “As the Turks are unacquainted with insurance, they do not lend
money but at the rate of fifteen or twenty per cent. But when they lend
to merchants who trade by sea, they charge thirty per cent.”--Remarques
d’un Voyageur Moderne au Lévant. Amst. 1773, 8vo.

[685] De Jure Naturæ et Gentium.

[686] Droit de la Nature.

[687] De Jure Maritimo. Holmiæ, 1650.

[688] Collegium Grotianum, Francof. 1722, 4to.

[689] Lib. xxiii. cap. 44.

[690] Lib. xxv. cap. 3.

[691] Lib. v. cap. 18. Langenbec, in his Anmerkungen über das
Hamburgische Schiff-und-Seerecht, p. 370, is of opinion that no traces
of insurance are to be found either in Livy or Suetonius.

[692] Epist. ad Famil. ii. ep. 17.

[693] Ayreri Diatribe de Cambialis Instituti Vestigiis apud Romanos,
added to Uhle’s edition of Heineccii Elementa Juris Cambialis.

[694] De Jure Maritimo et Nautico. Gryphis. 1652.

[695] Lex Mercatoria, or the Ancient Law-Merchant, by Gerard Malynes.
London, 1656, fol. p. 105.

[696] Seldeni Mare Clausum. Lond. 1636, p. 428.

[697] Bourdeaux, 1661, 4to.

[698] Auszug der Historie des Allgemeinen und Preussischen See-rechts.
Konigsberg, 1747, 4to, p. 32.

[699] De Jure Mercatorum et Commerciorum.

[700] Entitled, ’T boek der Zee-rechten. Amst. 1664, 4to.

[701] The title runs thus: Il consolato del mare, nei quale si
comprendono tutti gli statuti et ordini, disposti da gli antichi per
ogni cosa di mercantia et di navigare. Leyden, 1704, 4to.

[702] In that old treatise, Le Guidon, inserted in Cleirac, it
is remarked, chap. i. art. i. that in old times insurances were
made without any writings: they were then called _Assecurances en
confiance_; Confidential insurances.

[M‘Culloch, in his Dictionary of Commerce, art. _Insurance_, observes
respecting this passage, that “Beckmann seems to have thought that the
practice of insurance originated in Italy, in the latter part of the
fifteenth or the early part of the sixteenth century. But the learned
Spanish antiquary, Don Antonio de Capmany, has given, in his very
valuable publication on the History and Commerce of Barcelona (Memorias
Historicas sobre la Marina, &c., de Barcelona, t. ii. p. 383), an
ordinance relative to insurance, issued by the magistrates of that city
in 1435; whereas the earliest Italian law on the subject is nearly a
century later, being dated in 1523. It is however exceedingly unlikely,
had insurance been as early practised in Italy as in Catalonia, that
the former should have been so much behind the latter in subjecting it
to any fixed rules; and it is still more unlikely that the practice
should have escaped, as is the case, all mention by any previous
Italian writer. We therefore agree entirely in Capmany’s opinion, that
until some authentic evidence to the contrary be produced, Barcelona
should be regarded as the birth-place of this most useful and beautiful
application of the doctrine of chances.” Had M‘Culloch consulted the
treatise on Bills of Exchange, given in a subsequent part of the work
(vol. iii. p. 430), he would have found that Beckmann, in noticing the
curious memoirs of Capmany, with which he had _then_ become acquainted,
distinctly mentions “An ordinance of the year 1458 respecting
insurance, which required that underwriting should be done in the
presence of a notary, and declared _polices o scriptores privades_ to
be null and void.”]

[703] Versuche über Assecuranzen, etc. Hamb. 1753, 4to.

[704] I found nothing on the subject, either in Delia decima--e della
Mercatura de’ Fiorentini, fino al secolo xvi. Lisbona e Lucca, 1765,
1766, 4 vols. 4to, which contains a variety of useful information
respecting the history of the Florentine trade, or in Mecatti, Storia
Chronologica della città di Firenze. In Napoli 1775, 2 vols. 4to.

[705] Stracchæ aliorumque Jurisconsultorum de Cambiis, Sponsionibus,
&c., Decisiones. Amst. 1669, fol. p. 24.

[706] It may be found in Ordonantien ende Placcaeten ghepubliceert
Vlaenderen. Antwerp, 1662, fol. i. p. 360.

[707] Ordonantien ende Placcaeten, ii. p. 307. Groote Placaet-boeck der
Ver. Nederlanden, i. p. 796. Magens, p. 397.

[708] Ordonantien ende Placcaeten, ut supra, p. 335. Groote
Placaet-boeck, i. p. 828, and in the additions, ii. p. 2116.

[709] The changes which this institution afterwards underwent, with
an extract from its regulations, may be seen in La Richesse de la
Hollande. Lond. 1778, 4to, i. p. 81.

[710] [The marine insurers are called in this country _under-writers_,
because they write their names under the policy. Under the authority
of statute 6 George I. cap. 18, two corporate bodies, called the
_Royal Exchange Assurance Company_ and the _London Assurance Company_,
were chartered by the crown. There are at present seven marine
insurance companies in London:--the two old chartered companies
above-mentioned; two established immediately upon the passing of the
act of the year 1824, the _Alliance_ and the _Indemnity Mutual_; the
_Marine_, established in 1836; and the _General Marine_ and _Neptune_,
established in 1839.]

[711] Dictionary of Commerce.

[712] Krunitz, Oekonomische Encyclopedie, xiii. p. 221; where an
account may be found of other companies.

[713] Winkelmanns Oldenburgischen Friedens- und der benachbarten Oerter
Kriegshandlungen. 1671 fol. p. 67.

[714] [The publisher of the present volumes pays upwards of £200 per
annum for insurance on his stock in trade, and therefore feels strongly
the force of this observation.--H. G. B.]

[715] Life insurances have been forbidden by the laws of France and of
many other foreign states, as being of a gambling nature, and opening
the door to a variety of abuses and frauds.


No adulteration of any article has ever been invented so pernicious
to the health, and at the same time so much practised, as that of
wine with preparations of lead; and as the inventor must have been
acquainted with its destructive effects, he deserves, for making it
known, severer execration than Berthold Schwartz, the supposed inventor
of gunpowder.

The juice of the grape, when expressed, undergoes what is termed
vinous fermentation and so becomes converted into wine, but very
soon, if great care be not taken, it passes into a different kind of
fermentation, called the acetic; its spirit then becomes changed into
an acid, which renders it unfit to be drunk, and of much less utility.
The progress of the fermentation may be stopped by care and attention;
but to bring the liquor back to its former state is impossible.
Ingenuity, however, has invented a fraudulent method of rendering the
acid in spoilt wine imperceptible; so that those who are not judges
are often imposed on, and purchase sweetened vinegar instead of wine.
Were no other articles used for sweetening it than honey or sugar, the
adulterator would deserve no severer punishment than those who sell
pinchbeck for gold; but saccharine juices can be used only when the
liquor begins to turn sour; and even then in very small quantities,
else it would betray the imposition by its sweetish-sour taste, and
hasten that change which it is intended to prevent. A sweetener
therefore, has been invented much surer for the fraudulent dealer, but
infinitely more destructive to the consumer; and those who employ it,
undoubtedly, merit the same punishment as the most infamous poisoners.

Lead and its oxide or carbonate, dissolved in the acid which spoils
wine, give it a saccharine taste not unpleasant, without any new,
or at least perceptible tint, and arrest the progress of the acid
fermentation. The wine, however, occasions, according as it is used in
a great or small quantity, and according to the constitution of the
consumer, a speedy or lingering death, violent colics, obstructions and
other maladies; so that one may justly doubt whether, at present, Mars,
Venus, or Saturn is most destructive to the human race.

The ancients, in my opinion, knew that lead rendered harsh wine
milder, and preserved it from acidity, without being aware that it
was poisonous. It was therefore long used with confidence; and when
its effects were discovered they were not ascribed to the metal, but
to some other cause. When more accurate observation, in modern times,
fully established the noxious property of lead, and when it began to
be dreaded in wine, unprincipled dealers invented an artful method of
employing it, which the law, by the severest punishment, was not able
wholly to prevent.

The Greeks and the Romans were accustomed to boil their wine over a
slow fire, till only a half, third, or fourth part remained, and to mix
it with bad wine in order to improve it. When, by this operation, it
had lost part of its watery particles, and had been mixed with honey
and spices, it acquired several names, such as _mustum_, _mulsum_,
_sapa_, _carenum_, or _caroenum_, _defrutum_[716], &c. Even at present
the same method is pursued with sack, Spanish, Hungarian, and Italian
wines. In Italy, new wine, which has been thus boiled, is put into
flasks, and used for salad and sauces. In Naples it is called _musto
cotto_; but in Florence it still retains the name of _sapa_. Most of
those authors who have described this method of boiling wine expressly
say that leaden or tin vessels must be employed; because the wine, by
these, is rendered more delicious and durable, as well as clearer.
It is, however, certain that must and sour wine by slow boiling, for
according to their directions it should not be boiled quickly, must
dissolve part of these dangerous metals, otherwise the desired effect
could not be produced[717]. Some also were accustomed to add to their
wine, before it was boiled, a certain quantity of sea water, which by
its saline particles would necessarily accelerate the solution[718].

That the acid of wine has the power of dissolving lead was not unknown
to the ancients; for when the Greek and Roman wine-merchants wished to
try whether their wine was spoiled, they immersed in it a plate of
lead[719]. If the colour of the lead was changed, which undoubtedly
would be the case when its surface was corroded, they concluded that
their wine was spoiled. It cannot, however, be said that they were
altogether ignorant of the dangerous effects of solutions of that
metal; for Galen and other physicians often give cautions respecting
white lead. Notwithstanding this, men fell upon the invention of
conveying water for culinary purposes in leaden pipes[720]; and
even at present at London, Amsterdam, Paris, and other places water
is conveyed through lead, and collected in leaden cisterns, though
that practice has, on several occasions, been attended with alarming
consequences[721]. This negligence in modern times makes us not be
surprised when we read that the ancients employed leaden vessels. It
appears, however, that it was not merely through negligence that this
practice prevailed. They were acquainted, and particularly in Pliny’s
time, with various processes used in regard to wine[722]; and among
these was that of boiling it with lime or gypsum[723]; and the ancient
physicians, who had not the assistance of our modern chemistry,
thought it more probable that their wine was rendered noxious by the
addition of these earths[724], than by the vessels in which it was
boiled; and they were the more inclined to this opinion, as they had
instances of the fatal effects produced by the use of them[725]. They
decried them, therefore, so much, that laws were afterwards made by
which they were forbidden to be used, as poisonous and destructive to
the human body.

Wine which has once begun to spoil cannot be perfectly restored by
lime; for it cannot bring back to it the spirituous part which it has
lost, neither can it remove the acid with which it is incorporated;
but it can render it imperceptible to the tongue by uniting with it,
and forming an earthy salt of an almost insipid taste. This method of
improving sour wine is still practised in the island of Zante[726], in
Spain[727], on the coast of Africa[728], and in many other countries.
It is, however, condemned by several physicians and chemists; because
obstructions and other bad effects are to be apprehended from it. Some,
on the contrary, consider it as harmless[729]; and I must confess that
I should expect no bad consequences from such a small quantity of lime
as would be necessary for that purpose. It will produce a salt which
will have the same effects as that tartareous crust called wine-stone,
and will act as a laxative, like the salts which our apothecaries
prepare from that calcareous stone crab’s-eyes, by means of vinegar or
lemon-juice. The lime, which the acid of the wine cannot dissolve,
will fall to the bottom as a sediment, and assist to clarify the wine.
Used however in too great quantity, it may hasten the destruction
of the still remaining spirituous part, and render the wine weak; a
caution which has been given to wine-merchants by Neumann.

Gypsum is a compound of sulphuric acid with lime, and were it always
pure, its effects upon wine would be imperceptible; but as the most
kinds of common gypsum contain abundance of carbonate of lime, they
effervesce with acids, are dissolved in part by them, and form that
salt which I have before said I consider as harmless. By means of this
carbonate gypsum improves sour wine, as well as common wine. I took
half an ounce of that gypsum which at Osterode is pounded and used as
mortar, and which is hard, white, and shining, and almost of the nature
of alabaster. When I had pounded it, I put it into strong vinegar in
a glass vessel, and suffered it to boil for a few minutes. I then
strained it through filtering-paper; and what remained, after it was
washed and dried, weighed 215 grains; so that the vinegar had dissolved
25 grains, which were precipitated afterwards by carbonated alkali. I
pursued the like process with half an ounce of burnt gypsum, such as is
used here for floors; and I found that two ounces of the same vinegar
dissolved half a drachm of it, which was somewhat more in proportion
than of the former. Every one whom I caused to taste of this vinegar
remarked that both had lost a considerable share of their acidity; but
that the vinegar which had been boiled with burnt gypsum had lost the
most. Few kinds of native gypsum are perfectly pure; and at any rate
we have no reason to suppose that the ancients sought pure gypsum for
their wines. This method is not yet disused. We are told by Arvieux,
that it is still employed in the island of Milo; and I shall here take
occasion to observe that salt water also is added to wine there, even
at present. Christopher Vega, whom I have before quoted, reproaches
the Spaniards with the use of gypsum; and it has been condemned by
the modern as well as the ancient physicians. An Englishman of the
name of Hardy seems to suspect that gypsum contains lead and arsenical
earth[730]; but it appears that this writer doubted whether our gypsum
be the same as that of the ancients; and indeed it is necessary,
before we use their information respecting natural objects, to examine
carefully whether they understood by any name what we understand by it;
and what they meant by gypsum has been determined neither by Stephanus,
Ferber, nor Gesner. We however know this much, that the ancients burnt
their gypsum, and that they formed and cast images of it[731]. In my
opinion wine cannot be poisoned by gypsum; and wine-merchants who
employ it and lime deserve no severer punishment than brewers, who, in
the like manner, render sour beer fitter to be drunk and more saleable.

That the ancients were accustomed to clarify their wine with gypsum, is
proved by different passages of the Greek writers on husbandry. They
threw gypsum into their new wine; stirred it often round, then let it
stand for some time, and, when it had settled, poured off the clear
liquor[732]. It would, however, appear that they had remarked that
gypsum caused the spirituous part to disappear; for we read that the
wine acquired by it a certain sharpness which it afterwards lost, but
that the good effects of the gypsum were lasting[733]. This process in
modern times has been publicly forbidden, in many countries, as it was
in Spain in the year 1348.

Calcined shells were in ancient times used instead of lime[734].
Potters-earth was also thrown into wine, in order to clarify it by
carrying the muddy particles with it to the bottom. This method I have
seen employed in the breweries at Amsterdam, to purify the water. In
the south of France it is used for clarifying wine-stone ley; and in my
opinion it might be useful on many other occasions[735].

The ancients poisoned their wine with lead without knowing it; but at
what period did that pernicious practice begin of employing sugar of
lead and litharge? Litharge was not unknown to the ancients; for it is
mentioned by Dioscorides, Aëtius, and others. Sugar of lead is, indeed,
more modern; but I have found no information respecting the invention
of it, except that it was known to Paracelsus, who died in 1541, and
who ventured to prescribe it for some disorders. It was known also
to Angelus Sala, one of the most ingenious of the early chemists. In
the Roman laws no particular orders occur against the adulteration
or poisoning of wine; for what we read in the Institutiones[736] is
applicable only to the spoiling of another person’s wine, and thereby
occasioning a loss to him; and this explanation is confirmed by the
Digesta[737]. The German prohibitions against the adulteration of wine
began in the fifteenth century, and were from time to time renewed with
additional severity. In that century, we find complaints against this
practice with lime, sulphur, and milk; but no instance occurs of the
poisoning with lead. I however conjecture that the use of litharge was
introduced in the twelfth or thirteenth century; but the framers of the
laws were not acquainted with the real poison; and instead of causing
it to be examined by the chemists, who it must be confessed had not
advanced far in their art, they contented themselves with prohibiting
the use of those things which they found considered by the ancients as

Among the oldest German prohibitions against the adulteration of wine
is that of Nuremberg in the year 1409; in which however there is no
notice taken of litharge. Another of the year 1475 is mentioned by
Datt[738]; but some Imperial ones of an earlier period may have been
lost[739]. In the year 1487 the emperor caused an order against the
adulteration of wine to be published by the governments in Swabia,
Franconia and Alsace; and this practice was a subject of deliberation
at the diet of Rothenburg the same year, and also at the diet of Worms,
under Maximilian I., in 1495. At the diet of Lindau the use of sulphur
was in particular prohibited, and also at Freyburg in Brisgau in 1498.
In the year 1500 the same affair was discussed at Augsburg, and again
at that city in 1548, under Charles V. It appears that this business
was left afterwards to the care of the different princes, who from time
to time issued prohibitions against so destructive a fraud.

Older and severer prohibitions are however to be found in other
countries. By an order of William count of Hennegau, Holland and
Zeeland, of the year 1327, we find that long before that period it was
customary to adulterate wine with noxious and dangerous substances.
In the year 1384 the government at Brussels issued a severer order of
the like kind, in which vitriol, quicksilver and lapis calaminaris
are mentioned[740]. In France we find an old _ordonnance du prevôt de
Paris_, for the same purpose, dated September the 20th and December
the 2nd, 1371, in which no minerals are mentioned; but in that of 1696
litharge is particularly noticed[741].

Conrade Celtes, who in the year 1491 was first crowned in Germany as a
poet, gives in his panegyric on Nuremberg some information respecting
the adulteration of wine, from which we learn that he considered it
as a new invention, and ascribed it to a monk called Martin Bayr; but
his expressions are so figurative, that little can be gathered from
them[742]. We are however told by Zeller, that it was believed that
this dangerous fraud was invented in France[743]. Martin Zeiler, in
his Chronicle of Swabia (p. 65), says, “In the year 1453, the citizens
of Augsburg began to observe this fraud in the wine-market; for during
four years before, Martin Bayr, at Schwarzen-Eychen in Franconia, first
taught the German tavern-keepers and the waggoners to preserve new
wine from becoming sour; to clarify wine by sulphur; and likewise to
counterfeit it by spices, to the great prejudice of people’s health.”
In this passage there is no mention of litharge, but of other mixtures.
The oldest account of the poisonous sweetening of wine is that which
occurs in the French ordinance of 1696[744]; and Zeller’s conjecture
that it was invented or first remarked in France, seems to me the
more probable, as it appears that it was practised at Wurtemberg
about the same period. In the year 1697 it was known there that some
wine-merchants, particularly Hans George Staltser at Goppingen, used
litharge for refining wine, and by these means deprived many persons of
life, and occasioned the loss of health to others. Staltser pleaded in
excuse, that he considered the process he had employed as harmless, and
that Masskosky, physician to the town of Goppingen, who was accounted
a man of knowledge, had employed the same for his wine. Brugel also,
physician to the town of Heidenheim, had declared that litharge was
not prejudicial; and as he was a person of reputation, his opinion had
tended not a little to establish the use of that practice. This report
was so hurtful to the wine-trade of Wurtemberg, which at that time
brought a great deal of money into the duchy from other countries,
that the wine at Ulm remained unsold; and duke Everhard Louis was
obliged to cause experiments to be made to ascertain the nature of the
substances mixed with it. Solomon Keysel, the duke’s physician, and
J. Gaspar Harlin, physician to the court, both declared that litharge
was noxious, but that sulphur besprinkled with bismuth was still more
so. They strongly advised, therefore, that both these substances
should be forbidden to be used, under the heaviest penalties; and this
prohibition was put in force with the greater severity as some persons
of the first rank had for several years before caused their spoiled
and sour wine to be made sweet and clear in this manner by a weaver of
Pforzheim, who resided at Stutgart. An order was issued on the 10th
of May 1697, forbidding this adulteration under pain of death and
confiscation of property, as well as of being declared infamous; and
the duke requested the neighbouring states, particularly Bavaria and
Eychstat, to keep a more watchful eye over their wine-merchants and
waggoners, by which means it was supposed all danger would be avoided.

In the following year, the city of Ulm discovered a poor man at
Giengen, within its own jurisdiction, who had sweetened with litharge
some sour wine purchased at Wurtemberg. He was accordingly banished
from the country; and several other persons in the duchy were condemned
to labour at the fortifications. This example was attended with so
good an effect, that for some time adulteration was not heard of;
but eight years after, John Jacob Ehrni of Eslingen introduced that
practice again with some variation, and not only employed it himself,
but induced others to follow it in several other places. Greater
severity was at length exercised. Ehrni was beheaded; the possessors of
adulterated wine were fined, and the wine was thrown away. After this
second example, which was followed in other parts of the country, the
art of adulterating wine seems to have been more carefully concealed,
or to have been entirely abandoned. But in the present century
treatises have been published on the management of wine, in which the
art of improving it by litharge has been taught, as a method perfectly
free from danger[745].

For detecting metal in wine, the arsenical liver of sulphur is
commonly employed; a solution of which is called _liquor probatorius
Wurtembergicus_[746]. This appellation, in my opinion, has been given
to it because it was first applied for that purpose by a public order
in the duchy of Wurtemberg; though the invention is ascribed to one
of the duke’s physicians[747]. The use of it however is not attended
with certainty, because it precipitates several metals black without
distinction, and lead is not the only one that we have reason to
suspect in wine.

The operation of fumigating wine with sulphur is performed by kindling
rags of linen dipped in melted brimstone, and suffering the vapour to
enter a cask filled, or partly filled, with that liquor. I do not know
at what period this process was invented; but it is worthy of remark,
that we are told by Pliny[748], that in his time some employed sulphur
in the preparation of wine. On this subject he quotes Cato; but the
passage to which he alludes is not to be found in the works of that
author handed down to us; and the method in which it was really used
is consequently unknown. Reason and experience show that the vapour of
sulphur stops the fermentation so hurtful to wine, and prevents it from
spoiling; and many writers on the management of wine allow the free
use of it for that purpose[749]. It can certainly do no injury to the
health; and it was not necessary for the police in different countries
to distribute prescriptions for employing it, to forbid it, or to limit
the quantity[750].

Some wine-dealers are accustomed to sprinkle over with bismuth the rags
dipped in sulphur used for fumigating wine, and this addition is a
German invention[751]. It has been severely forbidden by express laws;
and there are undoubtedly sufficient grounds for its being reprobated.
At any rate this metallic addition is of no use in any point of view,
as the most experienced dealers in wine have long since acknowledged.

In an old Imperial ordinance, milk also is mentioned as an article used
in the adulterating of wine. This method was known to and practised by
the ancient Grecians[752]. But in the opinion of Von Rohr milk cannot
be employed for that purpose[753]. “One can scarcely comprehend,” says
he, “how the framers of laws should ever imagine that a wine-dealer
would be so simple as to adulterate wine with milk; and those who do
so, deserve not to be punished for their folly. As they will find no
purchasers to wine adulterated by so strange a mixture, that punishment
will be sufficient.” The effects of milk however may be easily
comprehended. It causes the wine to throw up a scum, which carries
with it every impurity; and this being taken off along with it, the
wine must of course be rendered much clearer. However, though this
mixture cannot be called an adulteration, it is certain that wine may
be refined much better by isinglass, and that method is followed at

I shall observe in the last place, that in the year 1472, Stum-wine,
as it is called, was prohibited as a bad liquor prejudicial to the
health[754]. By this term is understood wine, the fermentation of which
has been checked, and which on that account continues sweet; seldom
becomes clear; and, even when it clarifies, turns muddy when exposed
to the air, because the fermentation, which has been stopped, again
commences[755]. Wines of this kind are allowed at present. They are
called _vina muta_ or _suffocata_, and have a great resemblance to a
sort of wine made principally at Bordeaux, to which the French give the
name of _vin en rage_.

[In no country of the world has the adulteration and brewing of wines
attained to such a pitch of perfection as in this “tight little
island.” So impudently and notoriously are these frauds practised,
and so boldly are they avowed, that there are books published called
‘Publican’s Guides’ and ‘Licensed Victuallers’ Directors,’ in which
the most infamous receipts imaginable are laid down to swindle their
customers[756]. One of these recommends port wine to be manufactured,
after sulphuring a cask, with twelve gallons of strong port; six of
rectified spirit; three of cognac brandy; forty-two of fine rough
cider; making sixty-three gallons, which cost about eighteen shillings
a dozen. Another receipt is forty-five gallons of cider; six of brandy;
eight of port wine; two gallons of sloes stewed in two gallons of
water, and the liquor pressed off. If the colour is not good, tincture
of red sanders or cudbear is directed to be added. This may be bottled
in a few days, and a tea-spoonful of powder of catechu being added to
each, a fine crusted appearance on the bottles will quickly follow. The
ends of the corks being soaked in a strong decoction of brazil-wood
and a little alum, will complete this interesting process, and give
them the appearance of age. Oak-bark, elder, brazil-wood, privet, beet,
turnsole, are all used in making fictitious port wine.

The wines of Madeira are in like manner adulterated or wholly
manufactured in England, which from these devices may justly claim
the title of a universal wine country, where every species is made if
it be not grown. The basis of the adulteration of madeira is vidonia,
mingled with a little port, mountain, and cape, sugar-candy and
bitter-almonds, and the colour made lighter or deepened to the proper
shade, as the case may require. Even vidonia itself is adulterated with
cider, rum, and carbonate of soda to correct acidity. Bucellas, cape,
in short every species of wine that it is worth while to imitate, is
adulterated or manufactured in this country with cheaper substances.
Common Sicilian wine has been metamorphosed so as to pass for tokay and
lachryma christi; even cape wine itself has been imitated by liquids,
if possible inferior to the genuine article.

Gooseberry wine is often passed off for champagne; the very bottles are
bought up for the purpose of filling with gooseberry wine, and are then
corked to resemble champagne. It has also been made from white and raw
sugar, citric or tartaric acid, water, home-made grape wine or perry
and French brandy--cochineal or strawberries have been added to imitate
the pink. In fact vegetation has been exhausted, and the bowels of the
earth ransacked to supply trash for this most vicious practice.

Redding observes, in his valuable and most interesting work on the
History and Description of Modern Wines, that the clumsy attempts at
wine-brewing made a century ago would be scorned by a modern adept. It
is said that when George the Fourth was in the “high and palmy” days
of early dissipation, he possessed a very small quantity of remarkably
choice and scarce wine. The gentlemen of his suite, whose taste was
hardly second to their master’s, finding it had not been demanded,
thought it was forgotten, and, relishing its virtues, exhausted it
almost to the last bottle, when they were surprised by the unexpected
command that the wine should be forthcoming at an entertainment on
the following day. Consternation was visible on their faces; a hope
of escaping discovery hardly existed, when one of them, as a last
resource, went off in haste to a noted wine-brewer in the city,
numbered among his acquaintance, and related his dilemma. “Have you
any of the wine left for a specimen?” said the adept; “O yes, there
are a couple of bottles.” “Well then, send me one, and I will forward
the necessary quantity in time; only tell me the latest moment it can
be received, for it must be drunk immediately.” The wine was sent, the
deception answered; the princely hilarity was disturbed by no discovery
of the fictitious potation, and the manufacturer was thought a very
clever fellow by his friends. What would Sir Richard Steele have said
to so neat an imitation, when in his day he complains that sinister
fabrications were coarsely managed with sloe-juice? the science of
adulteration must then have been in its infancy.]


[716] Plin. lib. xxiii. cap. 2. Palladius, Octob. 18. edit. Gesneri,
ii. p. 994.

[717] Proofs of this will be found in Columella De Re Rustica, lib.
xii. c. 19, 20. Cato De Re Rust. cap. cv. and cap. cvii., and Plin.
lib. xiv. cap. 21.

[718] Proofs that the ancients mixed their wine with sea-water may
be found in Pliny, lib. xxiii. cap. 1. and lib. xiv. cap. 20. Celsus
exclaims against it, lib. ii. cap. 25. Dioscorides, lib. v. cap. 7,
9, &c. p. 573. See Petri Andreæ Matthioli Commentarii in sex libros
Dioscoridis de materia medica. Venetiis, in officina Erasmi Vincentii
Valgrisii, 1553, fol.

[719] Plin. lib. xiv. cap. 20. This method of proof is given more
circumstantially in Geopon. lib. vii. cap. 15.

[720] Pallad. August. c. ii. vol. ii. p. 977.

[721] [The solvent action of water upon lead is highly interesting on
account of the very general use of leaden pipes and cisterns lined
with this metal. From the researches of Lieut.-Col. Yorke, published
in the Philosophical Magazine for August 1834 and January 1846, it
would appear that a bright leaden vessel containing pure water, such
as distilled water, and _exposed to the air_, soon becomes oxidized
and corroded; oxide of lead being readily detected _in solution_ by
means of sulphuretted hydrogen and other sensitive tests; but river and
spring water exert a much less or no such solvent power, the carbonates
and sulphates in such water preventing it. It is on this account that
leaden vessels are used with such impunity, the crust which forms
upon the metal entirely preventing all further action. However, as
this crust consists partially of carbonate of lead, which is a very
dangerous poison, great care should be taken on cleaning or scraping
such cisterns to avoid using the water in which particles of the salt
may have become diffused. Leaden cisterns are sometimes rendered unsafe
in consequence of iron or zinc pipes being soldered or let into them,
thus giving rise to galvanic action, which greatly facilitates the
solution of the lead.]

[722] Plin. lib. xiv. cap. 20. The same author relates a great many
arts practised in regard to wine.

[723] Plin. lib. xiv. cap. 19. That this method was practised in Italy
is confirmed by Columella, lib. xii. cap. 20, and Didymus in Geopon.
lib. vi. cap. 18. It is mentioned also by Dioscorides and Theophrastus.

[724] Plin. lib. xxiii. cap. 1.

[725] Ibid. lib. xxxvi. cap. 24.

[726] “The wine of the island of Zante is almost as strong as brandy.
It is supposed that this proceeds from the unslaked lime which is
usually mixed with it, under the pretence that it then keeps better,
and is fitter to be transported by sea.”--D’Arvieux, Voyages.

[727] Christophori a Vega de Arte Medendi, lib. ii. cap. 2.

[728] “No one sells wine at Tunis but the slaves, and this wine is not
under the jurisdiction of the Tunisian government. They put lime in it,
which renders it very intoxicating.”--Thevenot’s Voyages.

[729] In Anleitung zur Verbesserung der Weine in Teutschland, Franck.
and Leipsic, 1775, 8vo, the moderate use of lime is recommended. In
France crude potash is put into wine instead of lime. [Acidity in wine
was formerly corrected in this country by the addition of quick-lime.
This furnishes a clue to Falstaff’s observation that there was “lime in
the sack,” which was a hit at the landlord, as much as to say his wine
was worth little, having its acidity thus disguised. Carbonate of soda
is now most frequently used for the purpose.]

[730] “The properties of lead and arsenic are well understood; but what
those of the ancient gypsums were, will require an explanation; as
there seems to be just reason to believe, that some of them contained
a portion of metallic or arsenical earth.”--A Candid Examination of
what has been advanced on the Colic of Poitou and Devonshire, by James
Hardy, London, i. 8vo, p. 84.

[731] Plin. lib. xxxv.

[732] Geopon. pp. 462, 483, 494.

[733] Ibid. vii. 12, p. 483.

[734] Ibid. p. 486.

[735] Ibid. p. 486.

[736] Lib. iv. tit. 3. § 13.

[737] Digestor. lib. ix. tit. 2. leg. 27. § 15. Later jurists call the
adulteration of wine _crimen stellionatus_.

[738] De pace imperii publica. Ulmæ 1698, p. 632.

[739] Goldast. Constit. Imper. tom. ii. p. 114.

[740] Mémoires sur les questions proposées par l’Académie de Bruxelles
en 1777. A Bruxelles 1778, 4to.

[741] Traité de la Police, par De la Mare, p. 514. [“In France it
does not appear that lead in any form has been employed in making
or altering their wines. On the 13th of March 1824, a member of the
Chamber of Deputies moved for a law to punish the practice. The motion
was rejected, because neither litharge nor any other preparation of
lead was shown to have been used, nor was any instance cited in which
it had been detected, though an ordinance was made against its use in
1696.”--Redding’s History and Description of Wines. Lond. 1836, p. 336.]

[742] “I wish those who adulterate wine were punished with greater
severity; for this execrable fraud, as well as many more deceptions,
has been invented in the present age; and a villany by which the
colour, taste, smell and substance of wine are so changed as to
resemble that of another country, has been spread not only through
Germany, but also through France, Hungary and other kingdoms. It was
invented, they say, by a monk named Martin Bayr, of Schwarzen-Eychen
in Franconia. He undoubtedly merits eternal damnation for rendering
noxious and destructive a liquor used for sacred purposes, and most
agreeable to the human body; thus contaminating and debasing a gift of
nature inferior to none called forth from the bosom of the earth by
the influence of the solar rays; and for converting, like a sanguinary
destroyer of the human race, that bestowed upon us by Nature to promote
mirth and joy, and as a soother of our cares, into a poison and the
cause of various distempers. But if the debasers of the current coin
are punished capitally, what punishment ought to be inflicted upon
the person who hath either killed or thrown into diseases all those
who used wine? The former by their fraud injure a few, but the latter
exposes to various dangers people of all ages, and of both sexes;
occasions barrenness in women; brings on abortions and makes them
miscarry; corrupts and dries up the milk of nurses; excites gouty pains
in the body; causes others in the bowels and reins, than which none can
be more excruciating; and produces ulcers in the intestines; in short,
his poison inflames, corrodes, burns, extenuates, and dries up; nor
does it allay, but increase thirst; for such is the nature of sulphur,
which, mixed with other noxious and poisonous things, the names of
which I should be ashamed to mention, is added to wine, before it has
done fermenting, in order to change its nature. This poison we have
been obliged to purchase for our friends, wives, children and selves,
at a high price; as wine has been scarce for several years past;
and it would seem that Nature had denied this liquor so long out of
revenge against her enemies and the destroyers of the whole human race.
You ought, therefore, most prudent fathers, not only to empty their
vessels, by throwing this poison into your river; but to cast alive
into the flames the sellers of this wine, and thus to punish poisoning
as well as robbery.”--Pirkheimeri Opera, Franck. 1610, fol. p. 136.
[This writer was the friend and contemporary of Albert Durer.]

[743] De docimasia vini lithargyrio mangonisati. Tubingæ 1707.

[744] De la Mare, Traité de la Police, i. 615.

[745] William Graham’s Art of making Wines from Fruit, Flowers and
Herbs. Sixth edit. London, 8vo.

[746] [A solution of sulphuretted hydrogen answers much better.]

[747] Anleitung zur Verbesserung der Weine in Teutschland, p. 32.

[748] Lib. xiv. cap. 20.

[749] [It acts by keeping the wine from contact with oxygen, which is
essential to the acetic fermentation.]

[750] This was done at Rothenburg on the Tauber in 1497. It was ordered
that half an ounce of pure sulphur should be employed for a cask
containing a tun of wine; and that when wine had been once exposed
to the vapour of sulphur, it should not undergo the same operation a
second time.

[751] In John Hornung’s Cista Medica, Norimbergæ 1625, there are two
letters from German physicians (Libavius and Doldius) respecting this

[752] Geopon. p. 486, 502.--Lemnius de Miraculis Occultis Naturæ,
Coloniæ, 1581, 8vo, p. 291.

[753] See Haushaltungs-Recht, Leipsic, 1716, 4to, p. 1393.

[754] Von Lersner, Chronica der Stadt Frankfurt, ii. p. 683. Wine
seasoned with mustard, and which was sold as boiled wine, was forbidden
at the same time. See p. 684. In the year 1484 wine mixed with the herb
mugwort was prohibited also.

[755] Anleitung, _ut supra_, p. 93, 128.

[756] See Redding’s History and Description of Modern Wines.


Those round calcareous[757] excrescences found both in the bodies
and shells, especially on the nacreous coat, of several kinds of
shell-fish[758], have been much used as ornaments since the earliest
ages[759]. The beautiful play of colours exhibited on their surface has
raised them to a high value[760]; and this they have always retained on
account of their scarcity and the expense arising from the laborious
manner in which they are collected[761]. By the increase of luxury
among the European nations, the use of pearls has become more common;
and even in Pliny’s time they were worn by the wives of the inferior
public officers, in order that they might vie in the costliness of
their dress with ladies of the first rank. It is probable, therefore,
that methods were early invented to occasion or hasten the formation
of pearls; and as at present those who cannot afford to purchase gold,
jewels, and porcelain, use in their stead pinchbeck, artificial gems,
and stone-ware, so methods were fallen upon to make artificial pearls.

The art of forcing shell-fish to produce pearls was known, in the first
centuries of the christian æra to the inhabitants of the coasts of the
Red-sea, as we are told by the philosopher Apollonius, who thought that
circumstance worthy of particular notice. The Indians dived into the
sea, after they had rendered it calm and more transparent by pouring
oil into it. They then enticed the fish by means of some bait to open
their shells; and having pricked them with a sharp pointed instrument,
received the liquor that flowed from them in small holes made in an
iron vessel, in which they hardened into real pearls[762]. Olearius
says that this account is to be found in no other author: but it has at
least been copied by Tzetzes[763].

We are as yet too little acquainted with shell-fish to be able to
determine with certainty how much truth there really may be in this
relation: but there is great reason to conjecture from it that the
people who lived on the borders of the Red-sea were then acquainted
with a method of forcing shell-fish to produce pearls; and as the arts
in general of the ancient Indians have been preserved without much
variation, the process employed by the Chinese at present, to cause a
certain kind of mussels to form pearls, seems to confirm the account
given by Philostratus. In the beginning of summer, at the time when the
mussels repair to the surface of the water and open their shells, five
or six small beads, made of mother-of-pearl, and strung on a thread,
are thrown into each of them. At the end of a year, when the mussels
are drawn up and opened, the beads are found covered with a pearly
crust, in such a manner that they have a perfect resemblance to real
pearls. The truth of this information cannot be doubted, though some
experiments made in Bohemia for the same purpose were not attended
with success[764]. It has been confirmed by various persons[765], and
it is very probable that some operations and secrets, without which
the process would prove fruitless even in China, may be unknown to
the Europeans. Besides, many observations are known which seem to
show the possibility of such an effect being produced. Fabricius says
that he saw in the possession of Sir Joseph Banks, at London, large
_Chamæ_[766], brought from China, in which there were several bits of
iron wire, incrusted with a substance of a perfect pearly nature[767].
These bits of wire, he said, had been sharp, and it appeared as if
the mussels, to secure themselves against the points of the wire,
had covered them with this substance, by which means they had been
rendered blunt. May not therefore the process employed by the ancients
be still practised? And may not these bits of wire have been the same
as those spikes used by the people in the neighbourhood of the Red-sea
for pricking mussels, and which perhaps slipped from the hands of the
Chinese workmen and remained in the animals?

The invention therefore of Linnæus cannot be called altogether new.
That great man informed the king and council in the year 1761, that
he had discovered an art by which mussels might be made to produce
pearls, and he offered to disclose the method for the benefit of the
kingdom. This however was not done, but he disposed of his secret to
one Bagge, a merchant at Gottenburg, for the sum of eighteen thousand
copper dollars, which make about five hundred ducats. In the year 1780,
the heirs of this merchant wished to sell to the highest bidder the
sealed-up receipt[768]: but whether the paper was purchased, or who
bought it, I do not know; for Professor Retzius at Lund, of whom I
inquired respecting it, could not inform me[769]. In the year 1763, it
was said in the German newspapers, that Linnæus was ennobled on account
of this discovery, and that he bore a pearl in his coat of arms; but
both these assertions are false, though Fabricius conjectures that the
first may be true[770]. Linnæus received his patent of nobility, which,
together with his arms, I have seen, in the year 1756, consequently
long before he said anything respecting that discovery, of which the
patent does not make the least mention. What in his arms has been taken
for a pearl, is an egg, by which M. Tilas, whose business it then
was to blazon the arms of ennobled families, meant to represent all
nature, after the manner of the ancient Egyptians. The arms are divided
into three fields, each of which, by the colour forming the ground,
expresses one of the kingdoms of nature; the red signifying the animal,
and the green the vegetable, &c. Over the helmet, by way of crest,
is placed the _Linnæa_[771]; that beautiful little moth the _Phalæna
linneella_, shining with its silvery colours, is displayed around the
border instead of festoons; and below is the following motto, _Famam
extendere factis_. Linnæus once showed me, among his collection of
shells, a small box filled with pearl, and said, “Hos uniones confeci
artificio meo; sunt tantum quinque annorum, et tamen tam magni.” “These
pearls I made by my art, and though so large they are only five years
old.” They were deposited near the _Unio margaritifera_, from which
most of the Swedish pearls are procured; and the son, who was however
not acquainted with his father’s secret, said the experiments were made
only on this kind of mussel, though Linnæus himself assured me that
they would succeed on all kinds.

I conjecture that Linnæus alluded to this art in his writings so
early as the year 1746, or long before he ever thought of keeping it
a secret. The passage I mean is in the sixth edition of his Systema
Naturæ, where he says, “Margarita. Testæ excrescentia latere interiore,
dum exterius latus perforatur[772].” I once told him that I had
discovered his secret in his own works; but he seemed to be displeased,
did not inquire after the passage, and changed the discourse. That
pearls are produced when the shells have been pierced or injured in
a certain manner, is highly probable, and has been in modern times
often remarked[773]. It appears also, that the animal has the power
of sometimes filling up such openings with a calcareous substance,
which it deposits in them. This substance assumes the figure of the
orifice, and the animal particles it contains give it its brightness
and lustre[774]. Pearl-fishers have long known that mussels, the shells
of which are rough and irregular, or which exhibit marks of violence,
commonly contain pearls, though they are found also in others in which
the same appearances are not observed[775]. I am perfectly aware that
some experiments made by piercing the shells of mussels, have been
unsuccessful[776]; but this does not prove that it is impossible to
procure pearls in that manner. Those who made them did not perhaps
pierce the proper part of the shell; perhaps they made the orifice
so large that it weakened the animal; and they may not have chosen
the fittest season of the year. The strongest objection however which
can be made on this subject, is the undeniable truth that the proper
valuable pearls are not found adhering to the shell, but in the body
only; and that therefore those calcareous balls which fill up holes,
cannot be perfect pearls. But from the words of Linnæus above-quoted,
I am led to conjecture, that he only made a hole in the shell without
piercing it quite through. Linnæus also may have done some injury
to the animal itself when it opened its shell; for it is certain
that testaceous animals are strong-lived, and can easily sustain any
violence. It appears by the Transactions of the Swedish Academy, that
some have been of opinion that shell-fish might be made to produce
pearls by a particular kind of nourishment; and Lister[777] thinks that
these excrescences would be more abundant, were the mussels placed in
water impregnated with calcareous matter; but Professor Linnæus seems
certain that his father employed none of these methods.

Under the name of false or artificial pearls are understood at present
small beads, so prepared by art as to approach very near to real pearls
in shape, lustre, colour, and polish. It appears that in Pliny’s time
such were not known, else he certainly would have mentioned them. The
invention was not easy, and this difficulty to imitate pearls has
contributed, with the reasons before mentioned, to keep up their value.
It would seem that at first, hopes were entertained of finding a method
to make large pearls from small or broken ones. Tzetzes speaks of this
imagined art, and receipts for that purpose have been still retained
in various books, where they fill up room and amuse the ignorant; for
it is hardly possible to give to the pulverised calcareous matter
sufficient hardness, and that lustre which belongs only to the surface
of real pearls, and which, when these are destroyed, is irrecoverably
lost. More ingenious was the idea of making pearl-coloured glass beads
of that kind called _margaritini_[778]; but it excites no wonder that
this was not done earlier, although the art of making coloured glass
is very old; for opal colours are obtained only by a skilful process
and the addition of putty, bone-ashes, and other substances. Still
earlier was the invention of making hollow glass beads, which were
incrusted on the inside with a pearl-coloured varnish. This method was
first pursued, as far as I have been able to learn, by some artists
at Murano; but their invention seems to have been considered by the
government as too fraudulent, and was therefore prohibited, as we
are told by Francis Massarius, who lived in the beginning of the
sixteenth century at Venice, and must therefore have had an opportunity
of knowing the truth of this circumstance[779]. Some say that an
amalgam of quicksilver was used for these pearls; and if that was the
case, the object of the Venetian prohibition was rather of a medical
nature. After this, small balls of wax or gum were covered with a
pearl-coloured enamel. These were praised on account of their lustre;
but as their beauty was destroyed by moisture, they did not continue
long in use[780]. A French bead-maker, however, named Jaquin, at length
found out the manner of preparing the glass pearls used at present,
which excel all others, and which approach as near to nature as
possible, without being too expensive.

Jaquin once observed, at his estate near Passy, that when those small
fish called _ables_ or _ablettes_ were washed, the water was filled
with fine silver-coloured particles. He suffered this water therefore
to stand for some time, and obtained from it a sediment which had the
lustre of the most beautiful pearls; and which on that account led him
to the attempt of making pearls from it[781]. He scraped off the scales
of the fish, and called the soft shining powder, which was diffused in
the water, essence of pearl, or _essence d’orient_[782]. At first he
covered with it small beads made of gypsum, or hardened paste; and, as
everything new, particularly in France, is eagerly sought after, this
invention was greatly admired and commended. The ladies, however, for
whose use it was chiefly intended, soon found that it did not entirely
answer their expectations. They were displeased because this pearly
coat, when exposed to heat, separated from the beads, adhered to the
skin, and gave it a brightness which they did not wish. They proposed
themselves, that small hollow glass beads might be covered, in the
inside, in the same manner as mirrors are silvered, with the essence of
pearl; and thus was brought to perfection an art of which the following
account will enable the reader to form some idea.

Of a kind of glass easy to be melted, and made sometimes a little
bluish or dark, slender tubes are prepared, which are called
_girasols_[783]. From these the artist blows, by means of a lamp, as
many small hollow globules as he may have occasion for. One workman can
in a day blow six thousand; but when they are required to be extremely
beautiful, only twelve or fifteen hundred; and that they may have a
greater resemblance to nature, he gives them sometimes blemishes, like
those generally observed in real pearls. They are made on all figures;
some shaped like a pear, others like an olive, and some that may be
considered as _coques de perles_[784]. To overlie these thin glass
bubbles he mixes the pearl essence with a solution of isinglass; and
the more of the former he uses, the more beautiful and more valuable
the pearls become. This varnish, when heated, he blows into each
globule with a fine glass pipe, and spreads it over the whole internal
surface, by shaking the pearls thus prepared in a vessel placed over
the table where he is at work, and which he puts in motion by his foot,
until the varnish is equally diffused all over the inside of them,
and becomes dry. Sometimes he adds to the essence some red, yellow,
or blue colour; but as this is a deviation from nature, it is not
accounted a beauty. To give these tender globules more solidity and
strength, they are filled with white wax. They are then bored through
with a needle, and threaded in strings for sale. The holes in the finer
sort, however, are first lined with thin paper, that the thread may not
adhere to the wax[785].

The name _able_, or _ablette_, is given to several species of fish;
but that which produces the pearl-essence is the _Cyprinus alburnus_,
called in English the bleak. Professor Hermann, at Strasburg, was so
kind as to send me one of these fish, which was caught there for the
purpose of making pearl-essence, and which was dried so carefully that
the species could with certainty be distinguished. It corresponded
exactly with the figure given in Duhamel[786], which has almost a
perfect resemblance to that given by Schoneveld[787]. May not the
_alburnus_ mentioned by Ausonius among the inhabitants of the Moselle,
be the same? At any rate, the bleak is to be found only in fresh water;
and on account of its voracity bites readily at the hook. It is caught
for the use of the French manufacturers in the Seine, the Loire, the
Saone, the Rhine[788], and several other rivers. To obtain a pound of
scales above 4000 fish are necessary; and these do not produce four
ounces of pearl essence; so that from eighteen to twenty thousand are
requisite to have a pound of it. In the Chalonnois, the fishermen get
for a pound of washed scales fifteen, eighteen, and twenty-five livres.
The fish, which are four inches in length, and which have not a very
good taste, are sold at a cheap rate, after their scales have been
scraped off. At St. John de Maizel, or Mezel, in the Chalonnois, there
was a manufactory in which 10,000 pearls were made daily[789].

The first makers of these pearls must have laboured under a very great
inconvenience, as they were acquainted with no method of preserving
the fishy particles for any time. They were obliged to use the essence
immediately, because it soon putrefied and contracted an intolerable
stench. The great consumption, however, required that the scales should
be brought from distant provinces. Attempts were made to preserve them
in spirit of wine or brandy; but these liquors destroyed their lustre,
and left them only a dull white colour. In the like manner brandy
spoiled a real pearl, which, with the animal and the shell (_Mactra
lutraria_), was sent to me by Dr. Taube, at Zell. It was therefore a
very important discovery for this art that these animal particles can
be kept for a long time in solution of ammonia, which is now alone
used, and which perhaps could be used for many other purposes of the
like kind.

That the inventor of these pearls was called Jaquin, and that he was a
bead-maker at Paris, all agree; but the time of the invention seems to
be uncertain. Some say that it belongs to the reign of Henry IV.[790];
and Reaumur mentions the year 1656. These pearls, however, in the year
1686, when Jaquin had an assistant named Breton, must not have been
very common; for we are told in the Mercure Galant of that year, that
a marquis possessed of very little property, who was enamoured of a
lady, gained her affections and carried his point by presenting her
with a string of them, which cost only three louis; and which she,
considering them as real ones, valued at 2000 francs. The servant
who put the marquis on this stratagem, declared that these pearls
withstood heat and the moisture occasioned by perspiration; that they
were not easily scratched, had almost the same weight as real ones, and
that the person who sold them warranted their durability in writing.
Jewellers and pawnbrokers have, therefore, been often deceived by them.
Jaquin’s heirs continued this business down to a late period, and had a
considerable manufactory au Rue de Petit Lion at Paris.


[757] It was because pearls are calcareous that Cleopatra was able to
dissolve hers in vinegar, and by these means to gain a bet from her
lover, as we are told by Pliny, 1. ix. c. 35, and Macrobius Saturn. 1.
ii. c. 13. She must, however, have employed stronger vinegar than that
which we use for our tables, as pearls, on account of their hardness
and their natural enamel, cannot be easily dissolved by a weak acid.
Nature has secured the teeth of animals against the effects of acids,
by an enamel covering which answers the same purpose; but if this
enamel happen to be injured only in one small place, the teeth soon
spoil and rot. Cleopatra perhaps broke and pounded the pearls; and it
is probable that she afterwards diluted the vinegar with water, that
she might be able to drink it; though dissolved calcareous matter
neutralizes acids and renders them imperceptible to the tongue. We are
told that the dissipated Clodius gave to each of his guests a pearl
dissolved in vinegar to drink:--“Ut experiretur in gloria palati,” says
Pliny, “quid saperent margaritæ; atque ut mire placuere, ne solus hoc
sciret, singulos uniones convivis absorbendos dedit.” Horace, lib. ii.
sat. 3, says the same. That pearls are soluble in vinegar is remarked
in Pausanias, b. viii. ch. 18, and Vitruvius, b. viii. ch. 3.

[758] That pearls are not peculiar to one kind of shell-fish, as many
believe, was known to Pliny. I have a number of very good pearls which
were found by my brother in Colchester oysters. It is more worthy of
remark, and less known, that real pearls are found under the shield of
the sea-hare, (_Aplysia_), as has been observed by Bohadsch in his book
De Animalibus Marinis, Dresdæ, 1761, 4to, p. 39.

[759] In the time of Job, pearls were accounted to be of great value.
Job, chap. xxviii. ver. 18.

[760] [When the surface of pearl is examined with a microscope, it is
found to be indented by a large number of delicate grooves, which by
their effect upon the light give rise to the play of colours; and if
impressions of them be taken upon wax, fusible metal, lead, balsam of
Tolu, &c., the impressed surface exhibits the prismatic colours in
the same manner as the pearl. This principle has been applied by Mr.
Barton and others to the making of ornaments, in the form of buttons,
artificial jewels, &c., by grooving the surface of steel with a very
fine cutting machine. The theory of the production of the colours is
this: the surfaces of the grooves, from their varied inclinations,
reflect the incident white light at various angles, hence the
correspondence of the luminous undulations is interrupted and some of
them check or interfere with one another, others continue their course.
Now, ordinary white light being a mixture of coloured rays, when
some of these are checked or interfered with in their progress, the
remainder continue their course and appear of that colour which results
from the ocular impression communicated by them.]

[761] [One of the most remarkable pearls of which we have any authentic
account, was bought by Tavernier at Catifa in Arabia, a fishery
famous in the days of Pliny, for the enormous sum of £110,000. It is
pear-shaped, regular, and without blemish. It is rather more than half
an inch in diameter at the largest part, and from two to three inches
in length.--Waterston’s Encyclopædia of Commerce.]

[762] Philostrat. in Vita Apollon. lib. iii. cap. 57, edit. Olearii, p.
139. Conrade Gesner, in his Hist. Nat. lib. iv. p. 634, gives a more
correct translation of the passage.

[763] Tsetzes Variorum, lib. ii. segm. 373.

[764] See Dr. Joh. Mayer’s Bemerkungen, in the fourth part of
Abhandlungen einer Privatgesellschaft in Böhmen, p. 165.

[765] Abhand. der Schwed. Akadem. der Wissenschaften, vol. xxxiv.
p. 89. The author of the paper alluded to had a mussel with such
artificial pearls, which had been brought from China. It was a _Mytilus
cygneus_, the swan-mussel, or great horse-mussel. Mention is made also
in Histoire de l’Académie des Sciences de Paris, année 1769, of a stone
covered with a pearly substance which was found in a mussel.

[766] A kind of cockles.

[767] J. C. Fabricius Briefe aus London, Dessau, 1784, 8vo, p. 104.

[768] See Schlözer’s Briefwechsel, number 40, p. 251.

[769] Dr. Stœver, in his Life of Linnæus, vol. i. p. 360, says that the
manuscript containing this secret was in the possession of Dr. J. E.
Smith, at London.--TRANS.

[770] In his Letters, p. 104.

[771] This pretty plant, named after the father of botany, grows
in Northumberland and some woods in Scotland, also in Switzerland,
Siberia, and Canada, but particularly in Norway and Sweden, in shady
places amidst the thick woods. The flowers, which appear in May, June
and July, are shaped like a bell, rose-coloured without, yellowish in
the inside, and somewhat hairy. They have a pleasant smell, especially
in the evening. In Tronheim and the neighbouring parts they are drunk
as tea for medicinal purposes.

[772] Pearl. An excrescence on the inside of a shell when the outer
side has been perforated.

[773] See Chemnitz’s theory of the origin of pearls, in the
Beschäftigungen der Berlin. Naturforsch. Gesellschaft, i. p. 348.

[774] The animal part is rendered evident on distillation by the
evolution of an ammoniacal odour and a somewhat inflammable oil; and on
solution in muriatic acid the animal substance is left behind.

[775] Abhand. der Schwed. Akad. iv. p. 245, and xxi. p. 142.

[776] Fabricius, in his Letters, p. 105, mentions such an experiment,
which was however continued only for a year.

[777] Exercitatio Anatom. de Cochleis. Lond. 1694, p. 183.

[778] This manner of preparing _margaritini_ may be seen in my
Anleitung zur Technologie, p. 307.

[779] Massarii in Plinii Nat. Hist. lib. ix. Castigationes. Bas. 1537,
4to, cap. 35.

[780] Mercati Metallotheca, p. 211.

[781] These silver-coloured particles were examined by Reaumur, who
gave a description of them in Histoire de l’Académie, année 1716, p.
229. [In the scales of fishes, the optical effect is produced in the
same manner as in the real pearl, the grooves of the latter being
represented by the inequalities formed by the margins of the concentric
laminæ of which the scales are composed.]

[782] The artist no doubt had in view eastern pearls.

[783] _Girasol._ This word, which is wanting in most dictionaries,
signifies opal, and sometimes that stone called cat’s-eye, _Silex
catophthalmus_, _pseudopalus_, &c. _Couleur de girasol_ is applied to
semitransparent milk-white porcelain.

[784] _Coques de perles_ are flat on one side, and are used for
ornaments, one side of which only is seen. By Pliny they are called
_physemata_. Artificial pearls of this kind have, for some time past,
been employed in making ear-rings. Our toymen, after the French, give
these pearls the name of _perles coques_; but the following account of
Pouget in Traité des Pierres Précieuses, Paris 1762, i. p. 20, makes
me dubious respecting them. “_La coque de perle_,” says he, “is not
formed in a pearl-shell like the pearl; it is procured from a kind of
snail found only in the East Indies. There are several species of them.
The shell of this animal is sawn in two, and one _coque_ only can be
obtained from each. The _coques_ are very small, and one is obliged to
fill them with tears of mastic to give them a body, before they can
be employed. This beautiful snail is found generally in the sea, and
sometimes on the shore.” May not Pouget here mean that kind of snail
which others call _burgeau_, the shells of which are, in commerce,
known by the French under the name of _burgaudines_? Should that be the
case, the animal meant would be the _Nautilus Pompilius_, as may be
concluded from Histoire des Antilles, par Du Tertre, ii. p. 239. For
the author says, “C’est de leur coque que les ouvriers en nacre tirent
cette belle nacre qu’ils appellent la burgaudine, plus estimée que la
nacre de perle.” Irregular pearls are called _baroques_, or Scotch
pearls, because abundance of such were once found at Perth in Scotland.
Some years ago artificial pearls of an unnatural size, called Scotch
pearls, were for a little time in fashion.

[785] A complete account of the art of making glass pearls is contained
in a book, which I have however not seen, entitled, L’Art d’imiter les
perles fines, par M. Varenne de Beost. An extract from it may be found
in Dictionnaire des Arts et Métiers, par M. Joubert, iii. p. 370. See
also the articles _perle_ and _able_ in the Encyclopédie, i. p. 29;
xii. p. 382.

[786] Traité Générale des Pesches, par. ii. p. 403, tab. 23, fig. 1 et

[787] Ichthyologia, Hamb. 1624, 4to, p. 12, tab. 1, fig. 2, albula.

[788] In the Almanach de Strasburg for 1780, p. 76, among the
commodities sold there were, Des écailles d’ablettes dont on tire
l’essence d’orient employée pour les fausses perles.

[789] Déscription Hist. et Topogr. du Duché de Bourgogne, par M.
Courtépée, tom. iv. A Dijon, 1779, 8vo, p. 534.

[790] Pouget. 4to, i. p. 19.


The most beneficial regulations of police, which we have inherited
from our ancestors, are at present considered to be so indispensable
or necessary, that many people imagine they must at all times have
existed. If one, however, takes the trouble to inquire into the
antiquity of these regulations, it will be found that the greater part
of them are new, and that they were unknown to the largest and most
magnificent cities of ancient times. Among these are posts[791], the
night-watch, hackney coaches, and, besides many others, the paving of

Several cities, indeed, had paved streets before the beginning of the
Christian æra; but those which are at present the ornament of Europe,
Rome excepted, were all destitute of this great advantage, till almost
the twelfth or thirteenth century. I must nevertheless acknowledge,
that in the Greek and Roman authors I have hitherto met with more
proofs of paved highways than of paved streets. But we have reason to
believe that the richest nations paid attention to the streets before
their doors, sooner than to the roads before their gates. In all
probability, the former were paved at different times, and by private
persons; and required so little expense and so few regulations, that
no occasion was given to remark the time when it was done. On the
other hand, for the constructing of highways many miles in length,
the concurrence of states, and the consent and assistance of all the
inhabitants, were necessary; and, on that account, such circumstances
were inserted in annals, and they were sometimes copied afterwards
by historians, and mentioned in their works. In the East, where the
roads are not spoiled, as among us, by snow, ice, and rain, and where
many cities were built on eminences and in dry situations, the paving
of streets and highways may have been later thought of than might be
expected, when we consider the refinement of the ancient people who
inhabited that country, and the progress they had made in the arts.
Such undertakings also were often retarded by the want of stone; an
obstacle which many nations overcame with an ingenuity and patience at
which we, among whom workmen are fewer, and the price of labour higher,
because we have more wants, and enjoy more liberty, are not a little
astonished. It is however to be conjectured, that those people who
first carried on the greatest trade were the first who paid attention
to have good streets and highways, in order to facilitate intercourse,
so necessary to keep up the spirit of commerce.

This conjecture is in some measure confirmed by the testimony of
Isidorus[792], who says that the Carthaginians had the first paved
streets, and that their example was soon copied by the Romans. Long
before that period, however, Semiramis paved highways, as we are told
by the vain-glorious inscription which she herself caused to be put
up[793]. Of the paving of the Grecian cities I know nothing further
than that at Thebes the streets were under the inspection of the
telearchs, who had the care of keeping them in repair, and of cleaning
them. This office, which was there held in contempt, the spiteful
inhabitants conferred upon Epaminondas, in order to disgrace him;
but, by his prudence and attention to the public good, he rendered it
so respectable, that it was afterwards sought for as an honourable
employment. The streets of Thebes, therefore, were paved, else how
would it have been possible to clean them[794]? Whether Jerusalem was
paved I do not know; for, in the first book of Kings mention is made
only of the fore-court of the temple[795]. Josephus[796] relates that
the Jews proposed to Agrippa, after the building of the temple was
finished, to employ the workmen who had been discharged, the number of
whom, with Jewish exaggeration, he makes amount to eighteen thousand,
in paving the streets; this however was not done. We read in the
Talmud[797], that the streets of Jerusalem were swept every day, which
undoubtedly implies a hard and solid pavement.

That neither the streets of Rome nor the roads around it were paved
during the time of its kings, is well known[798]. In the year 188,
after the abolition of the monarchical form of government, Appius
Claudius, who was then censor, constructed the first real highway,
which was as properly called after him the Appian Way, as it was
named on account of its excellence the queen of roads[799]. The time
however when the streets began to be paved, cannot with certainty
be determined; for the passage of Livy[800], from which some have
endeavoured to prove that it was in the year 578 after the building of
the city, is inconclusive, as it will admit of various explanations
equally probable. It may be read, without forcing the sense, as if Livy
said that the pavement of the streets was then covered with sand for
the first time; that the streets were then first paved at the public
expense, or that the paving of them was then performed for the first
time by contract. Besides, we are told by Livy himself[801], that the
censors in the year of the city 584 caused the streets to be paved from
the Oxen-market (Forum Boarium) to the temple of Venus, and around
the seats of the magistrates in the great circus: but the information
of the same historian that the ædiles in the year 459 caused the
streets to be paved from the temple of Mars to the Bovile, and from
the Capena gate to the temple of Mars[802], does not apply here, as
some have imagined; for the temple of Mars was without the city, and
the author speaks not of streets, but of highways. The extravagant
Heliogabalus caused the streets around the palace, or on the Palatine
mount, to be paved with foreign marble[803]. The inspection of the
streets belonged to the ædiles; and, under certain circumstances,
occasionally to the censors. In the course of time, however, particular
officers, curatores viarum, called on account of their number quatuor
viri viarum, were appointed for that express purpose. Thus we are told
that the two brothers, Publii Malleoli, when curule ædiles, caused
the Mons Publicius to be paved, so that carriages could pass from the
street Velia to Mount Aventine[804]. That streets paved with lava,
having deep ruts made by the wheels of carriages, and raised banks on
each side for the accommodation of foot-passengers, were found both at
Herculaneum and Pompeii, is well known from the information of various

Of modern cities, the oldest pavement is commonly ascribed to that of
Paris; but it is certain that Cordova in Spain was paved so early as
the middle of the ninth century, or about the year 850, by Abdorrahman
II., the fourth Spanish caliph. This prince, who knew the value of the
arts and sciences, and who favoured trade so much that abundance in
his reign prevailed throughout the whole land[805], caused water to be
conveyed into that city, which was then his capital, by leaden pipes,
and ornamented it with a mosque and other elegant buildings[806].

The capital of France was not paved in the twelfth century; for
Rigord, the physician and historian of Philip II., relates, that the
king standing one day at a window of his palace near the Seine, and
observing that the carriages which passed threw up the dirt in such a
manner that it produced a most offensive stench, his majesty resolved
to remedy this intolerable nuisance by causing the streets to be paved;
which was accordingly done, notwithstanding the heavy expense that had
prevented his predecessors from introducing the same improvement. The
orders for this purpose were issued by the government in the year 1184;
and upon that occasion, as is said, the name of the city, which was
then called Lutetia on account of its dirtiness, was changed to that of
Paris[807]. This service rendered to Paris by that sovereign, who first
also caused the cathedral to be surrounded by a wall, is confirmed by
various historians[808]. Mezeray informs us, that Gerard de Poissy,
then intendant of the finances, expended eleven thousand marks of
silver in this undertaking. It appears that a certain income was
allowed to the city for defraying the expenses; for in 1285, a hundred
years after, when it was proposed that the pavement should be carried
without the gate of St. Martin, the citizens excused themselves from
the work, by saying that the funds assigned to them were not sufficient
for that purpose[809]. It is certain, that in the year 1641 the streets
in many quarters of Paris were not paved[810].

It is very probable that other opulent cities, finding the benefit
which the capital derived from this improvement, were induced to follow
its example. At any rate we know that Dijon, which was then reckoned
one of the most beautiful, had paved streets so early as the year
1391, to which Philip the Bold, duke of Burgundy, the second husband
of Margaret heiress of Flanders and other parts of the Netherlands,
contributed two thousand livres; and in 1424 paviors were employed
on all the streets[811]. Historians remark, that after this period,
dangerous diseases, such as the dysentery, spotted fever and others,
became less frequent in that city.

That the streets of London were not paved at the end of the eleventh
century, is asserted by all historians. As a proof of this, they
relate that in the year 1090, when the church of St. Mary-le-Bow, in
Cheapside, was unroofed by a violent storm of wind, four pillars or
beams, which were twenty-six feet in length, sunk so deep into the
ground, that scarcely four feet of them appeared above the surface. The
streets of London then, says Howel, were not paved, but consisted of
soft earth[812]. I can however find no account of the time when paving
was first introduced. It appears that the pavement of this immense city
became gradually extended as trade and opulence increased. Several of
the principal streets, such as Holborn, which at present are in the
middle of the city, were paved for the first time by royal command in
the year 1417[813]. Others were paved under Henry VIII., some in the
suburbs[814] in 1544, others in 1571 and 1605, and the great market of
Smithfield, where cattle are sold, was first paved in 1614[815].

Of German cities I can mention only Augsburg, which by its trade soon
rose to such eminence as to be able to rival magnificent Rome, of which
it was a colony, in many expensive improvements. This city from the
earliest periods had small subterranean passages under the streets
for conveying away filth, which in some measure resembled the Roman
_cloacæ_. Hans Gwerlich, a rich merchant there, having caused a neat
foot-path to be made before his house in the oxen-market in 1415,
gave rise to the paving of the city; for this convenience was so much
admired, that after that time all the streets were paved successively
at the expense of the government. Berlin, in the first half of the
seventeenth century, was not entirely paved. The new market was first
paved in 1679 and the following years, and King-street before the
houses in 1684. The square behind the cathedral and before the present
tilt-yard remained without pavement in 1679.

When a solid bottom had been given to streets, the cleansing of them,
which, as the Roman prætors said, is a continual improvement[816],
was then rendered possible. At Rome were appointed _tribuni rerum
nitentium_, who had the care of cleaning the streets, markets, temples,
baths and other public places[817]. Strict orders were given that no
filth should be thrown into the river or streets; whoever transgressed
against this prohibition was subjected to punishment, and obliged to
repair the damage[818]. The public sewers, _cloacæ_, under the streets
contributed very much to facilitate the cleaning of them, yet they
were commonly full of mud[819], as those of Paris are at present,
notwithstanding the many expensive regulations established to prevent
that nuisance.

Some centuries after Paris was paved, every citizen was obliged to
repair the street before his house, and to clean it at his own expense,
as is expressly commanded in an order issued by Philip the Bold[820],
in the year 1285. The public however are often careless and negligent
respecting the most beneficial regulations, when the maintaining of
them is attended with trouble and expense, be it ever so small. By this
want of attention, all the streets of Paris were in the fourteenth
century entirely spoiled and filled with dirt; but they were again
repaired; and in 1348 a law was first made for inflicting punishment
upon those who neglected to clean them[821]. This law was rendered more
severe in 1388, and several times afterwards. The novelty of it, the
dread of punishment, and the vigilance of the new inspectors, produced
such an effect, that the inhabitants of one or more neighbouring
streets joined together and kept at their common expense a dirt-cart,
which at that time was called _un tombereau_; but the nobility and
the clergy, who always wish for immunities, endeavoured to exempt
themselves from this burthen. The markets and public squares remained
therefore uncleaned, and became still dirtier, as those who resided
in the neighbourhood began to throw filth into them privately in the
night-time, in order to avoid the expense of having it carried away,
till at length these places were rendered so impassable that the toymen
who frequented them with their wares wished to abandon them. For this
reason it was enacted in the year 1399, that no one should be exempted
from cleaning the streets; and an order was issued in 1374, that all
those who lived in the markets, together with the toymen who had booths
there, should clean them at their joint expenses[822]. Many now made
the removing of dirt a trade, and entered into contracts for that
purpose; but they as well as the paviors turned so extravagant in their
demands, that a price was set upon the labour of the former in 1396,
and the latter in 1501 were united into a company, every member of
which was obliged to subscribe to certain regulations[823].

When the city at length increased in size and population, the cleaning
of the streets became too troublesome and expensive to be left any
longer to the care of individuals. Besides, those who inhabited the
suburbs complained, and with great justice, that the burthen lay so
heavy upon them as to be intolerable; because all the carts which
entered the city, or which conveyed filth from it, rendered their
streets much dirtier than the rest. It was resolved therefore, in the
year 1609, that the streets should be cleaned at the public expense,
under the inspection of the police; and a certain revenue in wine was
set apart for that purpose. The first person with whom a contract was
entered into for this service, was allowed yearly, for cleaning the
whole city, 70,000 livres, which sum was raised in 1628 to 80,000[824].
In 1704, the Parisians were obliged to collect 300,000 livres, for
which Government undertook to maintain the lamps and clean the
streets; but in 1722 this contribution was increased to 450,000. The
last contract with which I am acquainted is that of the year 1748, by
which the contractors were to be allowed yearly, during six years, for
removing the dirt, 200,000 livres, and for clearing away the snow and
ice in winter 6000 more, making in all the sum of 206,000 livres[825].

All these regulations and expenses however would undoubtedly have been
attended with very little benefit, had not deliberate dirtying of the
streets been strictly prohibited, and all opportunities of doing so
been as much as possible prevented. As the young king Philip, whom his
father Louis the Fat had united with himself as co-regent, and caused
to be crowned at Rheims, was passing St. Gervais on horseback, a sow
running against his horse’s legs made him stumble, and the prince being
thrown was so much hurt, that he died next morning, 3rd October 1131.
On account of this accident an order was issued that no swine in future
should be suffered to run about in the streets; but this was opposed
by the abbey of St. Anthony, because, as the monks represented, it was
contrary to the respect due to their patron to prevent his swine from
enjoying the liberty of going where they thought proper. It was found
necessary therefore to grant these clergy an exclusive privilege, and
to allow their swine, if they had bells fastened to their necks, to
wallow in the dirt of the streets without molestation[826].

A very improper liberty prevailed at Paris in the fourteenth century,
which was, that all persons might throw anything from their windows
whenever they chose, provided they gave notice three times before,
by crying out _Gare l’eau_, which is as much as to say, Take care of
water. This privilege was forbidden in 1372, and still more severely in
1395[827]. A like practice however seems to have continued longer at
Edinburgh; for in the year 1750, when people went out into the streets
at night, it was necessary, in order to avoid disagreeable accidents
from the windows, that they should take with them a guide, who as he
went along called out with a loud voice, in the Scotch dialect, _Haud
your haunde_, Stop your hand[828].

This practice however would not have been suppressed at Paris, had
not the police paid particular attention to promote the interior
cleanliness of the houses, and the erection of privies. Some will
perhaps be astonished that these conveniences should have been first
introduced into the capital of France by an order from government in
the sixteenth century; especially as they are at present considered to
be so indispensably necessary, that few summer-houses are constructed
without them. Those however to whom this affords matter of surprise
must be still more astonished when they are told that the residence
of the king of Spain was destitute of this improvement at the very
time that the English circumnavigators found privies constructed
in the European manner near the habitations of the cannibals of New
Zealand[829]. But Madrid is not the royal residence which has had dirty
streets longest on account of this want. Privies began to be erected at
Warsaw for the first time only within these few years[830].

In the Parisian code of laws, _Coûtume de Paris_, which was improved
and confirmed in 1513, it is expressly ordered, that every house
should have a privy[831]. This order, with the denunciation of severer
punishment in case of disobedience, was renewed in 1533; and in 1538
the under officers of police were obliged to examine the houses and to
report the names of those who had not complied with this beneficial
regulation. It appears, however, that the order of 1533 was not the
latest; for in 1697, and even in 1700, the police was under the
necessity of strictly commanding “that people should construct privies
in their houses, and repair those already constructed, and that
within a month at furthest, under the penalty of being fined in case
of neglect, and of having their houses shut up until they should be
in a proper condition.” This order is given in the same words in the
Coûtume de Mante, Etampes, Nivernois, Bourbonnois, Calais, Tournay, and
Melun[832]. That issued at Bordeaux is of the year 1585.

All these regulations of police were not much older in Germany than in
Paris. The cleaning of the streets was considered there as an almost
dishonourable employment, which in some places was assigned to the
Jews, and in others to the executioner’s servants. The Jews were
obliged to clean the streets of Hamburgh before the present regulations
were established. How old these may be I do not know, but in the year
1585 there were dirt carts in that city, and a tax was paid by the
inhabitants for supporting them. At Spandau, in 1573, the skinners
were obliged to sweep the market-place, which was not then paved, and
for this service they were paid by the council[833]. In the beginning
of the seventeenth century the streets of Berlin were never swept,
and the swine belonging to the citizens wallowed in the increasing
dirt the whole day, as well as in the kennels, which were choked up
with mud. In the year 1624, when the elector desired the council to
order the streets to be cleaned, they replied, that it would then be
of no use, as the citizens at that time were busy with their farms.
Near Peter’s church there was a heap of dust so large that it almost
prevented people from passing, and it was with great difficulty, and
not until strict orders had been often repeated, that the elector could
get the inhabitants to remove it. For a long time dirt of every kind
was emptied in the new market-place, and lay there in such quantity,
that an order was issued in 1671, that every countryman who came to
the market should carry back with him a load of dirt. The director of
the public mill made continual complaints, that, by the dirt being
shot down near the long bridge, the mill-dam was prevented from
flowing. Hog-sties were erected in the streets, sometimes even under
the windows. This practice was forbidden by the council in 1641[834];
but it was nevertheless continued, until the elector at length, in the
year 1681, gave orders that the inhabitants should not feed swine;
and this prohibition was carried into effect without any exception,
as St. Anthony had no abbeys at Berlin. Privies, however, seem to
have been common in the large and flourishing towns of Germany much
earlier than in the capital of France; and those who are not disposed
to find fault with me for introducing proofs here which historians have
not disdained to record, may read what follows[835]:--In the annals
of Frankfort on the Maine, where mention is made of the cheapness of
former times, we are told how much a citizen there gave in the year
1477 for cleaning his privy[836]. We are informed also, that in 1496 an
order was issued by the council forbidding the proprietors of houses
situated in a certain place planted with trees to erect privies towards
the side where the trees were growing; and that in 1498, George Pfeffer
von Hell, J.U.D. and chancellor of the electorate of Mentz, fell by
accident into a privy, and there perished. It appears however from the
streets and houses of most of our cities, that they were constructed
before such conveniences were thought of, and that these were erected
through force at a later period[837].

[A new era in paving has been commenced by the substitution of wood
for stone, but unfortunately, its vast superiority in some respects is
nearly if not quite counterbalanced by its defects, so that it will
probably be laid aside. An imperfect kind of wooden _pavement_ has
been much used in North America, and is known by the name of _corduroy
road_; but the wooden pavement, properly so called, seems to have been
first used in Russia, and within the last few years, on a small scale
at Vienna, New York, &c. Its use in London was first suggested by Mr.
Finlayson in 1825. It was originally formed of hexagonal prismatic
pieces of wood, the grain of which was placed vertically. The blocks
have been kept together in various ways, some by mere position, others
by wooden pegs, strong iron wire, &c. The great disadvantage of
wooden pavement is that it becomes slippery in wet weather. Attempts
have been made to remedy this defect, by raising those in the centre
above the level of the lateral ones, or grooving the surfaces of the
blocks. Another objection to wooden pavement is the difficulty of
laying a firm and durable foundation. The retention of water by the
spaces left between the blocks and in the pores of the wood itself,
whereby an atmosphere of moisture is continually preserved, has also
been considered as likely to predispose to certain diseases. Whether
the latter is true or not, the short duration of their adoption has
hardly afforded sufficient opportunities of deciding. The checking of
the vibrations communicated from vehicles constantly running in the
streets, renders the wooden pavement of extreme value; its durability
has also been stated on good authority to exceed that of stone, and its
expense to be less. In these particulars however it has not answered
expectation; and from the immense number of horses which are daily
thrown down, from the want of resisting points on its surface, its use
will probably be abandoned; and in several of the large thoroughfares
where it had been adopted it is now being replaced by stone.

A very valuable material for the formation of foot-pavements has been
found and patented in _asphalte_. That which has been most used for
this purpose is the native asphalte from Seyssel; it is mixed with a
small quantity of native bitumen and sand. In preparing it, 93 parts
of native asphalte are reduced to powder and seven of bitumen; these
are melted together and fine gravel or sand stirred in the mixture.
It is then spread upon a concrete foundation in layers about an inch
in thickness. Its elasticity renders it exceedingly durable. Various
compositions have been substituted for this mixture, but we believe
none have been found to answer so well. The application of bituminous
substances to carriage-pavements has been almost exclusively limited
to court-yards, but there is very good evidence of its applicability
to public thoroughfares, in a piece of pavement, about 150 feet in
length by 10 feet in width, laid down in 1838 at Whitehall, as a sample
of Messrs. Claridge’s patent. It still remains in perfect condition.
The principal objection to the general adoption of asphaltic pavement
in the streets of London, appears to be the difficulty of raising and
relaying it, a process so constantly required to reach the innumerable
gas and water-pipes beneath.

Pavements have been laid down, especially in court-yards and stables,
one of the principal constituents of which is caoutchouc.]


[791] I reckon the post among police regulations, to which its object
originally belonged, as well as that of the coining of money; though in
the course of time it has been made a productive source of revenue, by
which it has been rendered burdensome to the public, while its utility
has been lessened.

[792] Origin. lib. xv. cap. 16.

[793] Strabo, lib. xvi. p. 1071. Diodor. Sic. lib. ii. cap. 13. Polyæni
Stratagem. lib. viii. cap. 26.

[794] Valerius Max. lib. iii. cap. 7. Plutarch. Reipublicæ Gerendæ
Præcepta, p. 811.

[795] 1 Kings, chap. vii. ver. 12.

[796] Antiquit. lib. xx. cap. 9.

[797] Pesachim, fol. 71. Metzia, fol. 26.

[798] Bergier, Hist. des Grands Chemins Rom. liv. i. chap. viii.

[799] Statius, Sylv. ii. 2, v. 12.

[800] Lib. xli. cap. 27.

[801] Lib. xxix. cap. 37.

[802] Lib. x. cap. 23. Equally inapplicable are the passages lib.
xxxviii. cap. 28, and lib. x. cap. 47.

[803] Æl. Lamprid. Vita Heliogab. cap. 24.

[804] Ovid. Fastor. lib. v. ver. 293. See also Marc. Varro, lib. iv. de
L. L. Festus, p. 310. An examination of the question whether the ædiles
or censors had the inspection of the streets may be found in Ducker’s
notes on Liv. lib. x. cap. 32 (edit. Drakenborchii).

[805] Cardonne Histoire de l’Afrique et de l’Espagne sous les Arabes, 3
vols. 12mo, Par. 1765. Translated into German, with notes, by Dr. Murr.
Nurnb. 1768, i. p. 187.

[806] Rod. Ximenez, archiep. Toletani, Historia Arabum, cap. xxvi. p.
23. Printed at the end of Erpenius’ Historia Saracenica, 4to. Lugd.

[807] Rigordus De Gestis Phil. Augusti, in Duchesne Hist. Script.
Franc. Par. 1649, fol. p. 16.

[808] Gulielmi Armorici Hist. de Vita Phil. Augusti, in Duchesne, p.
73. Alberici Monachi Trium Fontium Chronicon, ed. a G. G. Leibnitio,
Lips. 1698, 4to, p. 367.

[809] Felibien, Hist. de Paris, i. p. 104.

[810] A proof of this may be seen in De la Mare, iv. p. 197, who gives
the best account respecting the regulations made to keep in repair the
pavement of the streets of Paris. The later regulations are given by
Perrot in Dictionnaire de Voierie, Paris, 1782, 4to, p. 315.

[811] Courtepée Description du Duché de Bourgogne, i. p. 233, and ii.
p. 62.

[812] Anderson’s Hist. of Commerce, vol. i. p. 483.

[813] In the king’s order it was said, that the highway named Holbourn
in London was so deep and miry, that many perils and hazards were
thereby occasioned as well to the king’s carriages passing that way as
to those of his subjects; he therefore ordained two vessels, each of
twenty tons burthen, to be employed at his expense, for bringing stones
for paving and mending the same.--Anderson’s Hist. of Com. i. p. 244.

[814] In this order the streets were described “as very foul, and
full of pits and sloughs, very perilous and (noyous) noisome, as
well for the king’s subjects on horseback as on foot, and with
carriage.”--Anderson, _ut supra_, p. 370.

[815] Anderson, i. p. 491. Northouck’s History of London, 1773, 4to, p.
121. 217. 414. 436.

[816] Digest. lib. xliii. tit. 2.

[817] Notitia utraque dignitatum, Pancirolli. Lugd. 1608.--Notit.
Imperii Occident. cap. 19. This work may be found in Grævii Thes.
Antiq. Rom. vol. vii.

[818] Digestorum lib. xliii. tit. 12, and lib. ix. tit. 3.

[819] Martial, Epig. vii. 61. Juvenal, sat. iii. ver. 247.

[820] A full history of the regulations made respecting the cleaning of
the streets of Paris may be found in De la Mare, iv. p. 200.

[821] De la Mare, iv. p. 202.

[822] Ibid. iv. p. 172, 203.

[823] De la Mare, p. 205.

[824] Ibid. iv. p. 216, 239, 243.

[825] This contract is inserted in Perrot, Dictionnaire de Voierie, p.
305. In 1445 six carts were employed at Dijon in cleaning the streets.

[826] Histoire de la Ville de Paris, par Sauval, vol. ii. p. 640.

[827] De la Mare, iv. p. 253. Perrot, p. 307.

[828] Letters from Scotland, 1760, 2 vols. 8vo. [At this period,
when the luxury of water-closets was unknown, it was a custom for
men to perambulate the streets of Edinburgh, carrying conveniences
(pails) suspended from a yoke on their shoulders, enveloped by cloaks
sufficiently large to cover both their apparatus and customers, crying,
“Wha wants me, for a bawbee?” It has since been used against the
Edinburgh people as a joke or satire upon an ancient custom. By way of
a set-off, however, it may be observed that at the present day there is
a water-closet in almost every house in Edinburgh.]

[829] Cook’s First Voyage, 4to, vol. ii. p. 281.

[830] Whoever wishes to enter deeper into the history of this family
convenience, certainly an object of police, the improvement of which
the Academy of Sciences at Paris did not think below its notice, may
consult the following work, Mém. de l’Acad. des Sciences, Inscriptions,
Belles Lettres, Beaux Arts, etc. nouvellement établie à Troyes en
Champagne. A Troyes et Paris 1756. The author, who by this piece of
ridicule wished, perhaps, to avenge himself of some academy which
did not admit him as a member, has collected from the Greek and
Latin writers abundance of dirty passages respecting this question:
“Si l’usage de chier en plein air étoit universel chez les anciens
peuples.” He proves from a passage of Aristophanes, Ecclesiaz. ver.
1050, that the Greeks had privies in their houses.

[831] De la Mare, i. p. 568, and iv. p. 254. “Tous propriétaires de
maisons de la ville et fauxbourgs de Paris sont tenus avoir latrines
et _privez_ suffisans en leurs maisons.” [They should also have been
compelled to make use of them.]

[832] De la Mare, _ut supra_.--Coûtume de Mante, art. 107.--Etampes,
art. 87.--Nivernois, chap. x. art. 15.--Bourbonnois, art. 515.--Calais,
art. 179.--Tournay, tit. 17, art. 5.--Melun, art. 209.

[833] Historische Beyträge die Preussischen und benachbarten Staaten
betreffend. Berlin, 1784, 4to, iii. p. 373.

[834] Nicholai Beschreibung von Berlin, p. 26. The author quotes, from
the order published at Berlin, Nov. 30, 1641, respecting the buildings
of the city, section fourth, the following words: “Many citizens have
presumed to erect hog-sties in the open streets, and often under the
windows of bed-chambers, which the council cannot by any means suffer;”
and in the seventeenth section hog-sties are forbidden to be erected in
future in the small streets near the milk-market.

[835] “Frivola hæc fortassis cuipiam et nimis levia esse videantur, sed
curiositas nihil recusat.”--Vopiscus in Vita Aureliani, cap. 10.

[836] Chronica der Stadt Frankf. von C. A. von Lersner, i. p. 512.

[837] [Berlin, strange to say, is very ill circumstanced in respect
to these conveniences, even at the present day (1846). In most of the
houses, small closets are located on the landings of the stairs, which
require to be emptied every other night, to the no great satisfaction
of the olfactory nerves. Nor are the streets kept in a very proper
state,--large puddles of filth being allowed to collect before the
doors even of the best houses, and which, especially in the hot
months of summer, diffuse a most horrible stench. Something however
must be allowed for the low situation of the town, which renders
drainage next to impracticable. Laing, in his Notes of a Traveller,
speaking of Berlin as he found it in 1841, says, “It is a fine city,
very like the age she represents--very fine and very nasty.... The
streets are spacious and straight, with broad margins on each side for
foot-passengers; and a band of plain flagstones on these margins make
them much more walkable than the streets of most continental towns.
But these margins are divided from the spacious carriage-way in the
middle by open kennels, telling the nose unutterable things. These
open kennels are boarded over only at the gateways of the palaces,
to let the carriages cross them, and must be particularly convenient
to the inhabitants, for they are not at all particularly agreeable.
Use reconciles people to nuisances which might be easily removed. A
sluggish but considerable river, the Spree, stagnates through the town,
and the money laid out in stucco work and outside decoration of the
houses, would go far towards covering over their drains, raising the
water by engines and sending it in a purifying stream through every
street and sewer. If bronze and marble could smell, Blücher and Bülow,
Schwerin and Ziethen, and duck-winged angels, and two-headed eagles
innumerable, would be found on their pedestals holding their noses
instead of grasping their swords. It is a curious illustration of the
difference between the civilization of the fine arts and that of the
useful arts, in their influences on social well-being, that Berlin as
yet has not advanced so far in the enjoyments and comforts of life,
in the civilization of the useful arts, as to have water conveyed
in pipes into its city and into its houses. Three hundred thousand
people have taste enough to be in die-away ecstasies at the singing of
Madame Pasta, or the dancing of Taglioni, and have not taste enough to
appreciate or feel the want of a supply of water in their kitchens,
sculleries, drains, sewers, and water-closets. The civilization of an
English village is, after all, more real civilization than that of
Paris or Berlin.”]


If it be true that the written accounts which those who had recovered
from sickness caused to be drawn out of their cure, their disorder, and
the medicines employed to remove it, and to be hung up in the temples,
particularly that of Æsculapius, were the first collections of medical
observations[838], as seems to appear by the testimony of Hippocrates,
who did not disdain to make use of them in order to acquire
information[839]; we have every reason to conjecture, that the rare
animals, plants and minerals, generally preserved in the temples also,
were the first collections of natural curiosities, and that they may
have contributed as much to promote the knowledge of natural history,
as those tablets to improve the art of medicine. Natural objects of
uncommon size or beauty, and other rare productions, on which nature
seemed to have exerted her utmost power, were in the earliest periods
consecrated to the gods[840]. They were conveyed to the temples, where
their value became still enhanced by the sacredness and antiquity of
the place; where they continued more and more to excite respect and
awaken curiosity, and where they were preserved as memorials to the
latest generations, with the same reverence as the other furniture
of these buildings. In the course of time these natural curiosities
dedicated to the gods became so numerous, that they formed collections
which may be called large for those periods, and for the infant state
in which natural history then was.

When Hanno returned from his distant voyages, he brought with him to
Carthage two skins of the hairy women whom he found on the Gorgades
islands, and deposited them as a memorial in the temple of Juno, where
they continued till the destruction of the city[841]. The horns of a
Scythian animal, in which the Stygian water that destroyed every other
vessel could be contained, were sent by Alexander as a curiosity to the
temple of Delphi, where they were suspended, with an inscription, which
has been preserved by Ælian[842]. The monstrous horns of the wild bulls
which had occasioned so much devastation in Macedonia, were by order of
king Philip hung up in the temple of Hercules. The unnaturally formed
shoulder-bones of Pelops were deposited in the temple of Elis[843].
The horns of the so-called Indian ants were shown in the temple of
Hercules at Erythræ[844]; and the crocodile found in attempting to
discover the sources of the Nile was preserved in the temple of Isis
at Cæsarea[845]. A large piece of the root of the cinnamon-tree was
kept in a golden vessel in one of the temples at Rome, where it was
examined by Pliny[846]. The skin of that monster which the Roman army
in Africa attacked and destroyed, and which probably was a crocodile,
an animal common in that country, but never seen by the Romans before
the Punic war, was by Regulus sent to Rome, and hung up in one of the
temples, where it remained till the time of the Numantine war[847].
In the temple of Juno, in the island of Melita, there were a pair of
elephant’s teeth of extraordinary size, which were carried away by
Masinissa’s admiral, and transmitted to that prince, who, though he
set a high value upon them, sent them back again because he heard
they had been taken from a temple[848]. The head of a basilisc was
exhibited in one of the temples of Diana[849]; and the bones of that
sea-monster, probably a whale, to which Andromeda was exposed, were
preserved at Joppa, and afterwards brought to Rome[850]. In the time
of Pausanias, the head of the celebrated Calydonian boar was shown in
one of the temples of Greece; but it was then destitute of bristles,
and had suffered considerably by the hand of time. The monstrous tusks
of this animal were brought to Rome, after the defeat of Antony, by
the emperor Augustus, who caused them to be suspended in the temple of
Bacchus[851]. Apollonius tells us, that he saw in India some of those
nuts which in Greece were preserved in the temples as curiosities[852].

It is certain, however, that all these articles, though preserved in
the temples of the ancients as rarities or memorials of remarkable
events, or as objects calculated to silence unbelief, were not properly
kept there for the purpose to which our collections of natural
curiosities are applied; but at the same time it must be allowed that
they might be of as much utility to naturalists, as the tablets, in
which patients who had recovered thanked the gods for their cures, were
to physicians.

We are told by Suetonius, that the emperor Augustus had in his palace
a collection of natural curiosities[853]. I, however, do not remember
that any of the ancient naturalists make mention of their own private
collections; though it is well known that Alexander gave orders to all
huntsmen, bird-catchers, fishermen and others, to send to Aristotle
whatever animals they could procure[854]; and although Pliny was
accustomed to make observations on such as he had an opportunity of
seeing. No doubt can be entertained that a collection of natural
curiosities was formed by Apuleius, who, next to Aristotle and his
scholar Theophrastus, certainly examined natural objects with the
greatest ardour and judgement; who caused animals of every kind, and
particularly fish, to be brought to him either dead or alive, in
order to describe their external and internal parts, their number
and situation, and to determine their characteristic peculiarities,
and assign names to them; who undertook distant journeys to become
acquainted with the secrets of nature; and who on the Getulian
mountains collected petrifactions, which he considered as the effects
of Deucalion’s flood. It is much to be lamented that the zoological
works of this learned and ingenious man have been lost.

The principal cause why collections of natural curiosities were scarce
in ancient times, must have been the ignorance of naturalists in
regard to the proper means of preserving such bodies as soon spoil or
corrupt. Some methods were indeed known and practised, but they were
all defective and inferior to that by spirit of wine, which prevents
putrefaction, and which by its perfect transparency permits objects
covered by it to be at all times viewed and examined. These methods
were the same as those employed to preserve provisions, or the bodies
of great men deceased. They were put into salt brine or honey, or were
covered over with wax.

It appears that in the earliest periods bodies were preserved from
corruption by means of salt[855], and that this practice was long
continued. We are told that Pharnaces caused the body of his father
Mithridates to be deposited in salt brine, in order that he might
transmit it to Pompey[856]. Eunapius, who lived in the fifth century,
relates that the monks preserved the heads of the martyrs by means of
salt[857]; and we are informed by Sigebert, who died in 1113, that a
like process was pursued with the body of St. Guibert, that it might be
kept during a journey in summer[858]. In the same manner the priests
preserved the sow which afforded a happy omen to Æneas, by having
brought forth a litter of thirty pigs, as we are told by Varro, in
whose time the animal was still shown at Lavinium[859]. A hippocentaur
(probably a monstrous birth), caught in Arabia, was brought alive to
Egypt; and as it died there, it was, after being preserved in salt
brine, sent to Rome to the emperor, and deposited in his collection,
where it was shown in the time of Pliny, and in that of Phlegon[860].
Another hippocentaur was preserved by the like method, and transmitted
to the emperor Constantine at Antioch[861]; and a large ape of the
species called Pan, sent by the Indians to the emperor Constantius,
happening to die on the road by being shut up in a cage, was placed
in salt, and in that manner conveyed to Constantinople[862]. This
method of preserving natural objects has been even employed in modern
times to prevent large bodies from being affected by corruption. The
hippopotamus described by Columna was sent to him from Egypt preserved
in salt[863].

To put dead bodies in honey, for the purpose of securing them from
putrefaction, is an ancient practice[864], and was used at an early
period by the Assyrians[865]. The body of Agesipolis king of Sparta,
who died in Macedonia, was sent home in honey[866], as were also the
bodies of Agesilaus[867] and Aristobulus[868]. The faithless Cleomenes
caused the head of Archonides to be put in honey, and had it always
placed near him when he was deliberating upon any affair of great
importance, in order to fulfil the oath he had made to undertake
nothing without consulting his head[869]. According to the account
of some authors, the body of Alexander the Great was deposited in
honey[870], though others relate that it was embalmed according to the
manner of the Egyptians[871]. The body of the emperor Justin II. was
also placed in honey mixed with spices[872]. The wish of Democritus to
be buried in honey[873] is likewise a confirmation of this practice.
Honey was often applied in ancient times to purposes for which we use
sugar. It was employed for preserving fruit[874]; and this process is
not disused at present. In order to preserve fresh for many years the
celebrated purple dye of the ancients, honey was poured over it[875],
and certain worms useful in medicine were kept free from corruption by
the like means[876]. By the same method also were natural curiosities
preserved, such as the hippocentaur already mentioned; and it has been
employed in later times, as is proved by the account given by Alexander
ab Alexandro[877], respecting the supposed mermen.

Among the Scythians[878], Assyrians[879], and Persians[880], dead
bodies were covered over with wax. That of Agesilaus, because honey
could not be procured, was preserved in this manner[881], which
indeed ought not to be despised even at present. When the Orientals
are desirous of transporting fish to any distance, they cover them
over with wax[882]; and the apples carried every year to the northern
parts of Siberia and Archangel, from the southern districts of Russia,
are first dipped in melted wax, which, by forming a thick coat around
them, keeps out the air, and prevents them from spoiling. This property
has in my opinion given rise to the ancient custom of wrapping up in
wax-cloth the dead bodies of persons of distinction. Linen, or perhaps
silk, which had been done over with wax, was used on such occasions,
but not what we at present distinguish by the name of wax-cloth, which
is only covered with an oil-varnish in imitation of the real kind. The
body of St. Ansbert, we are told, was wrapped up _linteo cerato_; and
a _camisale ceratum_[883] was drawn over the clothes which covered
that of St. Udalric. When Philip duke of Burgundy died in 1404, his
body was wrapped up in thirty-two ells _de toile cirée_[884]. In an
ancient record, respecting the ceremony to be used in burying the
kings of England, it is ordered that the body shall be wrapped up in
wax-cloth[885]. In the year 1774, when the grave of king Edward I.,
who died in 1307, was opened, the body was found so closely wrapped
up in wax-cloth, that one could perfectly distinguish the form of the
hand, and the features of the countenance[886]. The body of Johanna,
mother of Edward the Black Prince, who died in 1359, was also wrapped
up in _cerecloth_; and in like manner the body of Elizabeth Tudor, the
second daughter of Henry VII., was _cered by the wax-chandler_[887].
After the death of George II., the apothecary was allowed one hundred
and fifty-two pounds for fine double wax-cloth, and other articles
necessary to embalm the body[888]. The books found in the grave of
Numa, as we learn from the Roman historians, though they had been
buried more than five hundred years, were, when taken up, so entire,
that they looked as if perfectly new, because they had been closely
surrounded with wax-candles. Wax-cloth it is probable was not then
known at Rome[889].

In those centuries usually called the middle ages, I find no traces of
collections of this nature, except in the treasuries of emperors, kings
and princes, where, besides articles of great value, curiosities of
art, antiquities and relics, one sometimes found scarce and singular
foreign animals, which were dried and preserved. Such objects were
to be seen in the old treasury at Vienna; and in that of St. Denis
was exhibited the claw of a griffin, sent by the king of Persia to
Charlemagne; the teeth of the hippopotamus, and other things of the
like kind[890]. In these collections the number of the rarities
always increased in proportion as a taste for natural history became
more prevalent, and as the extension of commerce afforded better
opportunities for procuring the productions of remote countries.
Menageries were established to add to the magnificence of courts, and
the stuffed skins of rare animals were hung up as memorials of their
having existed. Public libraries also were made receptacles for such
natural curiosities as were from time to time presented to them; and as
in universities the faculty of medicine had a hall appropriated for the
dissection of human bodies, curiosities from the animal kingdom were
collected there also by degrees; and it is probable that the professors
of anatomy first made attempts to preserve different parts of animals
in spirit of wine, as they were obliged to keep them by them for the
use of their pupils; and because in old times dead bodies were not
given up to them as at present, and were more difficult to be obtained.

At a later period collections of natural curiosities began to be formed
by private persons. The object of them at first appears to have been
rather to gratify the sight than to improve the understanding; and
they contained more rarities of art, valuable pieces of workmanship
and antiquities, than productions of nature. It is certain that such
collections were first made in places where many families had been
enriched without much labour by trade and manufactures, and who, it is
likely, might wish to procure to themselves consequence and respect
by expending money in this manner. It is not improbable that such
collections were formed, though not first, as Stetten thinks[891], at
a very early period at Augsburg, and this taste was soon spread into
other opulent cities and states.

Private collections, however, appear for the first time in the
sixteenth century; and there is no doubt that they were formed by every
learned man who at that period applied to the study of natural history.
Among these were Hen. Cor. Agrippa of Nettesheim; Nic. Monardes,
Paracelsus, Val. Cordus[892], Hier. Cardan, Matthiolus, 1577; Conrad
Gesner, George Agricola, 1555[893]; Pet. Bellon, 1564; W. Rondelet,
1566; Thurneisser[894]; Abraham Ortelius, 1598[895]; and many others.
That such collections were formed also in England[896] during the above
century, is proved by the catalogue which Hakluyt used for his works.

The oldest catalogues of private collections which I remember, are the
following: Samuel Quickelberg, a physician from Antwerp, who about the
year 1553 resided at Ingolstadt, and was much esteemed by the duke
of Bavaria, published in quarto at Munich in 1565, Inscriptiones vel
Tituli Theatri Amplissimi, complectentis Rerum Universitatis singulas
Materias et Imagines. This pamphlet contained only the plan of a large
work, in which he intended to give a description of all the rarities
of nature and art. I have never had an opportunity of seeing it. I am
acquainted only with a copious extract from it, which induces me to
doubt whether Walch was right in giving it out as a catalogue of the
author’s collection[897].

The same year, 1565, John Kentmann, a learned physician in Torgau, sent
a catalogue of his collection, which consisted principally of minerals
and shells, to Conrad Gesner, who caused it to be printed[898].
The order observed in it is principally borrowed from Agricola.
This collection, however, was not extensive. It was contained in a
cabinet composed of thirteen drawers, each divided lengthwise into
two partitions, and the number of the articles, among which, besides
minerals, there were various productions found in mines and marine
bodies, amounted to about sixteen hundred. It must however have been
considerable for that period, as the collector tells us he laid out
sums in forming it which few could be able to expend[899]; and as
Jacob Fabricius, in order to see it, undertook a journey from Chemnitz
to Torgau[900]. About this time lived in France that ingenious and
intelligent potter, Bernard Palissy, who collected all kinds of natural
and artificial rarities, and published a catalogue of them, which he
made his guide in the study of natural history[901]. Michael Mercati,
a physician, who was contemporary, formed also in Italy a large
collection of natural curiosities, and wrote a very copious description
of them, which was first printed about the beginning of the last
century[902]. The collection of Ferdinand Imperati, a Neapolitan, the
description of which was printed for the first time in 1599, belongs to
the same period; and likewise the large collection of Fran. Calceolari
of Verona, the catalogue of which was first printed in 1584[903]. Walch
and some others mention the catalogue of Brackenhoffer’s collection as
one of the earliest, but it was printed for the first time only in 1677.

[The TRADESCANTS, father and son, are celebrated as being among the
first collectors of rarities in this country, which they deposited
during their lives in a large house situate in the parish of Lambeth.
This became a place of fashionable resort from the curiosities it
contained, and obtained the appellation of Tradescant’s ark. A
catalogue of its contents was printed in 1656 under the title of Museum
Tradescantium. In 1659 this collection was purchased by ELIAS ASHMOLE,
who presented it, together with his books, MSS., and other rarities, to
the University of Oxford in 1683, thereby commencing the now celebrated

About the same period, JAMES PETIVER, still celebrated for his curious
and interesting botanical publications, made extensive collections of
natural curiosities, employing captains, ship-surgeons, merchants, &c.
to bring him whatever they could find suitable to his museum, at almost
any cost. He kept up an extensive correspondence in pursuit of this
object, and eventually formed one of the finest collections hitherto
made in England. At his death it was purchased by that celebrated
naturalist, Sir HANS SLOANE, and thus became the foundation of perhaps
the most important collection in Europe--the BRITISH MUSEUM.

Sir Hans Sloane, after having accompanied the duke of Albemarle to
Jamaica as physician, was elected on his return to this country to
succeed Sir Isaac Newton as president of the Royal Society. He was
born in 1660, and died on the 11th of January, 1752. Having with great
labour and expense during the course of his long life collected a rich
cabinet of medals, objects of natural history, &c., and a valuable
library of books and MSS., he bequeathed the whole to the public on
condition that the sum of £20,000 should be paid to his executors,
being little more than the intrinsic value of the medals, metallic
ores and precious stones comprised in his collection. Parliament
fulfilled the terms of the legacy, and in 1753 an act was passed “for
the purchase of the museum or collection of Sir Hans Sloane, Bart.
and of the Harleian collection of MSS., and for procuring one general
repository for the better reception and more convenient use of the
said collection, and of the Cottonian library and additions thereto.”
Such was the commencement of the British Museum, every department of
which has since been vastly augmented. The printed books alone occupy
TEN MILES of SHELF, and owing to our connexions with every part of the
globe, it vies in the variety and number of objects of natural history
with the most celebrated museums of the world. The interest taken in
these collections by the public is evident from the number of persons
who visited them from Christmas 1844 to Christmas 1845, amounting to no
less than 685,614.

Nor should we omit to mention the collection of curiosities, &c. formed
by JAMES SALTER, more commonly known by the name of Don Saltero.
They were exhibited to the public at his Coffee-house, Cheyne-Walk,
Chelsea, which was first opened about the year 1695. It was a very
mixed collection of saints’ bones, models, carved ivory, and objects
of natural history. The following announcement, printed in the Weekly
Journal for June 22, 1723, may be regarded as containing the most
positive and authentic information concerning this establishment,
inasmuch as it appears to have been sanctioned by the proprietor

  SIR.--Fifty years since to Chelsea Great,--
        From Rodman, on the Irish Main,--
        I stroll’d, with maggots in my pate,
        Where, much improved, they still remain.
        Through various employs I’ve past,--
        A scraper, virtuos’, projector,
        Tooth-drawer, trimmer,--and at last
        I’m now a gim-crack-whim collector.
        Monsters of all sorts here are seen,
        Strange things in nature as they grew so:
        Some relicks of the Sheba Queen,
        And fragments of the famed Bob Crusoe.
        Knick-knacks, too, dangle round the wall,
        Some in glass-cases, some on shelf;
        But, what’s the rarest sight of all,
        Your humble servant shows Himself.
        On this my chiefest hope depends,
        Now, if you will my cause espouse,
        In journals pray direct your friends
        To my Museum--Coffee-house.
        And, in requital for the timely favour,
        I’ll gratis bleed, draw teeth, and be your shaver:
        Nay, that your pate may with my noddle tarry,
        And you shine bright as I do,--Marry! shall ye
        Freely consult your Revelation--Molly,
        Nor shall one jealous thought a huff,
        For she has taught me manners long enough.

  _Chelsea Knackatory._      DON SALTERO.

A fine engraving of Salter’s house, with a description and catalogue
of his collection, will be found in Smith’s Historical and Literary


[838] Fragments of such inscriptions have been collected by Mercurialis
in his work De Arte Gymnastica, lib. i. cap. 1.

[839] Plin. lib. xxix. cap. 1. Strabo, lib. xiv.

[840] Plin. lib. xii. cap. 2.

[841] Plin. lib. vi. cap. 31.

[842] Hist. Anim. lib. x. cap. 40.

[843] Plin. lib. xxviii. cap. 4.

[844] Plin. lib. xi. cap. 31.

[845] Plin. lib. v. cap. 9. This crocodile was still remaining in the
author’s time.

[846] Lib. xii. cap. 19.

[847] Plin. lib. viii. cap. 12. Valer. Max. lib. i. cap. 8. Orosius,
lib. iv. cap. 8. Jul. Obsequens de prodigiis, cap. 29. Hujus serpentis
maxillæ usque ad Numantinum bellum in publico pependisse dicuntur. May
not this animal have been the Boa constrictor?

[848] Cicero in Verrem, iv. cap. 46. Valer. Max. lib. i.

[849] Scaliger De Subtilit. lib. xv. exercit. 246.

[850] Plin. lib. ix. cap. 5, and v. 13. 31. Strabo, lib. xvi.

[851] Pausanias, in Arcadicis, cap. 46 and 47.

[852] Philostrat. in Vita Apollon. lib. iii. cap. 5. I conjecture that
these nuts were cocoa-nuts.

[853] Vita Augusti, c. 72.

[854] Plin. lib. viii. cap. 16.

[855] Plin. lib. xxxi. cap. 9. Isidorus Origin. lib. xvi. cap. 2. Nitre
also was employed for the like purpose. Plin. lib. xxxi. cap. 10.
Herodot. lib. ii. Sextus Empiricus in Pyrrhon. Hypotypos. cap. 24. The
last author ascribes this custom to the Persians in particular.

[856] Dion Cassius, lib. xxxvii. cap. 14. See the Life of Pompey in
Plutarch, who adds that the countenance of Mithridates could no longer
be distinguished, because the persons who embalmed the body in this
manner had forgotten to take out the brain.

[857] Eunapius in Ædesio.

[858] In Acta sancti Guiberti, cap. 6.

[859] Varro De Re Rustica, lib. ii. cap. 4.

[860] Phlegon Trallian. De Mirabil. cap. 34, 35, adopts in his account
the same expression as that used in the Geoponica, lib. xix. cap. 9,
respecting the preservation of the flesh. Pliny however says, lib.
vii. cap. 3, “Nos principatu Claudii Cæsaris allatum illi ex Ægypto
hippocentaurum in melle vidimus.” Perhaps it was placed in honey after
its arrival at Rome, in order that it might be better preserved.

[861] See Hieronymi Vita Pauli Eremitæ.

[862] Philostorgii Historia Ecclesiastica, 1643, 4to, p. 41.

[863] Columnæ Aquatil. et Terrestr. Observat. cap. 15.

[864] Plin. lib. xxii. cap. 24.

[865] Strabo, lib. xvi.

[866] Xenophon, Rer. Græc. lib. v.

[867] Diodorus Siculus, lib. xv.

[868] Josephi Antiq. Jud. lib. xiv. c. 13. De Bello Jud. lib. i. c. 7.

[869] Æliani Var. Hist. lib. xii. cap. 8.

[870] Statius, Silv. iii. 2.

[871] Curtius, lib. x. cap. 10.

[872] Corippus De Laudibus Justini II.

[873] Varro, in Nonius, cap. iii. The following words of Lucretius, b.
iii. ver. 902, “aut in melle situm suffocari,” allude perhaps to the
above circumstance.

[874] Columella, xii. 45. Apicii Ars Coquinar. lib. i. cap. 20.

[875] Plutarch in the Life of Alexander relates, that among other
valuables in the treasury at Susa, that conqueror found 5000 talents of
the purple dye, which was perfectly fresh, though nearly two hundred
years old, and that its preservation was ascribed to its being covered
with honey. This account is well illustrated in Mercurialis Var. Lect.
lib. vi. cap. 26.

[876] Plin. lib. xxix. cap. 4.

[877] Dier. Genial. lib. iii. cap. 8.

[878] Herodot. lib. iv. cap. 71.

[879] Θάπτουσι δ’ ἐν μέλιτι, κηριῳ περιπλάσαντες. Sepeliunt in melle,
cera cadavere oblito. The bodies therefore were first covered with wax,
and then deposited in honey.

[880] Herodot. lib. i. cap. 140. Cicero, Tusc. Quæst. lib. i. Alexandri
ab Alexan. Dier. Genial. lib. iii. cap. 2.

[881] Plutarchus in Vita Agesilai. The following passage of
Quintilian’s Institut. Orat. lib. vi. cap. 1. 40, is understood by most
commentators, as if the author meant to say that a waxen image of the
person deceased, made by pouring the wax into a mould of gypsum, was
exhibited. “Et prolata novissime, deformitate ipsa (nam ceris cadaver
attulerant infusum) præteritam quoque orationis gratiam perdidit.” See
Turnebi Adversar. lib. xxix. cap. 13. But in my opinion it appears very
probable that the body itself, covered with wax, was carried into the

[882] Near Damietta are found a kind of mullets, which, after being
covered over with wax, are by these means sent throughout all Turkey,
and to different parts of Europe.--Pocock’s Travels.

[883] Theophilus Raynaudus de incorruptione cadaverum, in vol. xiii. of
the works of that learned Jesuit, Lugd. 1665.

[884] Beguillet, Déscription du Duché de Bourgogne, i. p. 192.

[885] Liber Regalis, in the article De exequiis regalibus.

[886] Archæologia, vol. iii. p. 376.

[887] Dart’s Westminster, ii. p. 28.

[888] In the account of the funeral expenses stands the following
article: “To Thomas Graham, apothecary to his majesty, for a fine
double cerecloth, with a large quantity of very rich perfumed aromatic
powders, &c., for embalming his late majesty’s royal body, 152_l._” See
Archæologia, _ut supra_, p. 402.

[889] Livius, lib. xl. cap. 29. Pliny, b. xiii. chap. 13, relates the
same thing, with a little variation, respecting the annals of Cassius
Hemina: “Mirabantur alii, quomodo illi libri durare potuissent. Ille
ita rationem reddebat; lapidem fuisse quadratum circiter in media area
vinctum candelis quoquoversus. In eo lapide insuper libros impositos
fuisse, propterea arbitrari eos non computruisse. Et libros citratos
fuisse, propterea arbitrarier tineas non tetigisse.”--Hardouin thinks
that _libri citrati_ were books in which _folia citri_ were placed to
preserve them from insects. The first editions however have _libri
cedrati_, and even the paper itself may have been covered over with
some resinous substance. The scarce edition which I received as a
present from Professor Bause at Moscow, Opus impressum per Joan. Rubeum
et Bernardinum Fratresque Vercellenses 1507, fol. has in page 98 the
word _caedratos_, and in the margin _caeratos_.

[890] A catalogue of this collection may be found in the second volume
of Valentin’s Museum Museorum.

[891] Von Stettens Kunstgeschichte von Augsburg, p. 218. 362.

[892] With how much care this learned man, who died in 1544, in
the twenty-ninth year of his age, collected minerals and plants is
proved by his Silva Observationum Variarum, quas inter peregrinandum
brevissime notavit. Walch, in his Naturgeschichte der Versteinerungen,
considers it as the first general oryctography of Germany, and is
surprised that so extensive a work should have been thought of at that
period. Wallerius, in his Lucubratio de Systematibus Mineralogicis,
Hohniæ, 1768, 8vo, p. 27, considers this Silva as a systematic
description of all minerals. Both however are mistaken. Cordus
undertook a journey in 1542, through some parts of Germany, and drew
up a short catalogue without order, of the natural objects he met with
in the course of his travels, which was published by Conrad Gesner,
together with the other works of this industrious man, at Strasburg
in 1561. This book, which I have in my possession, has in the title
page, In hoc volumine continetur Valerii Cordi in Dioscoridis libros de
Medica Materia; ejusdem Historiæ Stirpium, &c. The Silva begins page

[893] That Agricola had a good collection, may be concluded from his
writings, in which he describes minerals according to their external
appearance, and mentions the places where they are found.

[894] H. Mohsen says in his Account of Mark Brandenburg, Berlin, 1783,
4to, p. 142. Thurneisser is the first person, as far as is known at
present, who in this country formed a collection of natural curiosities.

[895] “Ortelius habebat domi suæ imagines, statuas, nummos ...
conchas ab ipsis Indis et Antipodibus, marmora omnis coloris, spiras
testudineas tantæ magnitudinis, ut decem ex iis viri in orbem sedentes
cibum sumere possent; alias rursum ita angustas, ut vix magnitudinem
capitelli unius aciculi adæquarent.”--M. Adami Vitæ Germ. Philos.
Heidelb. 1615, 8vo, p. 431.

[896] See Biographia Britannica, vol. iv. p. 2469. [The names of our
early English collectors, Tradescant, Ashmole, Petiver, and Sir Hans
Sloane, though a little later than the period alluded to, deserve to be
recorded here.]

[897] This extract may be seen in D. G. Molleri Dissert. de
Technophysiotameis, Altorfi, 1704, p. 18. Some account of Quickelberg
may be found in Sweertii Athenæ Belgicæ, Antv. 1628, fol. p. 671; in
Val. Andreæ Bibliotheca Belgica, Lov. 1643, 4to, p. 806; and in Simleri
Bibliotheca Instituta a Gesnero, Tiguri, 1574, fol. p. 617.

[898] De Omni Rerum Fossilium Genere, op. Conr. Gesneri. Tig. 1565, 8vo.

[899] He says in the preface, “Thesaurum fossilium multis impensis
collegi, paucis comparabilem.”

[900] This is related by Jacob Fabricius, in the preface to the
treatise of his brother George Fabricius De Metallicis Rebus, which may
be found in Gesner’s collection before-quoted.

[901] This catalogue is printed in Œuvres de B. Palissy. Par M. Faujas
de Saint-Fond et Gobet. Paris, 1777, 4to, p. 691. [Quite recently a new
edition of Palissy’s works, together with an account of the life of
this remarkable man by M. Cap, has been published at Paris. Palissy,
after long devoting his services to the king and some of the royal
family, was shut up in the Bastille on account of his religion. It is
said that one day Henry III., having visited him in his prison, spoke
to him thus: “My good man, you have been for forty-five years in my
mother’s and my service. We have suffered you to live in your religion
amidst fires and massacres: now I am so strongly urged by the Guise
party and by my people, that _I am constrained_ to leave you in the
hands of my enemies, and to-morrow you will be burnt if you are not
converted.” “Sire,” replied Bernard, “I am ready to lay down my life
for the glory of God. You have often told me that you pitied me; and
now I pity you, who have uttered these words, ‘_I am constrained!_’
Sire, it is not speaking like a king; and it is what you yourself,
those who constrain you, the Guisards, and all your people, could
never compel me to; for I know how to die.” Palissy died indeed in the
Bastille, but a natural death, in 1589. Thus ended a career illustrious
alike for great talents and rare virtues.]

[902] Mercati Metallotheca. Romæ, 1717, fol. to which an appendix was
added in 1719.

[903] Joh. Baptistæ Olivi de reconditis et præcipuis collectaneis
a Franc. Calceolario in Museo adservatis testificatio ad Hieron.
Mercurialem. Venet. 1584, 4to. An edition was published also at
Verona in quarto, in 1593. The complete description was however first
printed at Verona in a small folio, in 1622; Musæum Calceolarianum
Veronense. Maffei, in his Verona Illustrat. Veron. 1732, fol. p. 202,
says, “Calceolari ... fu de’ primi, che raccogliendo grandissima
quantità d’erbe, piante, minerali, animali diseccati, droghe rare, cose
impetrite, ed altre rarità naturali, formasse museo di questo genere.”


Notwithstanding the magnificence of the Grecian and Roman architecture,
which we still admire in those ruins that remain as monuments of the
talents and genius of the ancient builders, it is very doubtful whether
their common dwelling-houses had chimneys, that is, passages or funnels
formed in the walls for conveying away the smoke from the fire-place
or stoves through the different stories to the summit of the edifice;
conveniences which are not wanting in the meanest of our houses at
present, and in the smallest of our villages. This question some have
pretended to determine without much labour or research. How can we
suppose, say they, that the Romans, our masters in the art of building,
should not have devised and invented some means to keep free from
smoke their elegant habitations, which were furnished and ornamented
in a splendid and costly manner? How is it possible that a people who
purchased ease and convenience at the greatest expense, should suffer
their apartments to be filled with smoke, which must have allowed them
to enjoy scarcely a moment of pleasure? And how could their cooks
dress in smoky kitchens the various sumptuous dishes with which the
most refined voluptuaries covered their tables? One must however be
very little acquainted with the history of inventions and manners, to
consider such bare conjectures as decisive proofs. It is undoubtedly
certain, that many of our common necessaries were for many centuries
unknown to the most enlightened nations, and that they are in part
still wanting in some countries at present. Besides, it is probable
that before the invention of chimneys, other means, now forgotten, were
employed to remove smoke.

The ancient mason-work still to be found in Italy does not determine
the question. Of the walls of towns, temples, amphitheatres, baths,
aqueducts and bridges, there are some though very imperfect remains, in
which chimneys cannot be expected; but of common dwelling-houses none
are to be seen, except at Herculaneum, and there no traces of chimneys
have been discovered[904]. The paintings and pieces of sculpture which
are preserved, afford us as little information; for nothing can be
perceived in them that bears the smallest resemblance to a modern
chimney. If the writings of the ancients are to be referred to, we must
collect from the works of the Greek and Roman authors whatever seems
allusive to the subject. This indeed has been already done by various
men of learning[905]; but the greater part of them seem to deduce more
from the passages they quote than can be admitted by those who read
and examine them without prejudice. I shall here present them to my
readers, that they may have an opportunity of judging for themselves.

We are told by Homer, that Ulysses, when in the grotto of Calypso,
wished that he might see the smoke ascending from Ithaca, that is, he
wished to be in sight of the island[906]. Montfaucon is of opinion
that this wish is unintelligible unless it be allowed that the houses
of Ithaca had chimneys. But cannot smoke be seen to rise also when
it makes its way through doors and windows? When navigators at sea
observe smoke arising, they conclude that they are in the neighbourhood
of inhabited land; but no one undoubtedly will thence infer, that the
habitations of the people have chimneys.

Herodotus[907] relates that a king of Lebæa, when one of his servants
asked for his wages, offered him in jest the sun, which at that time
shone into the house through the chimney, as some have translated the
original; but it appears that what is here called chimney, was nothing
more than an opening in the roof, under which, perhaps, the fire was
made in the middle of the edifice. Through a high chimney, of the same
form as those used at present, the sun certainly could not throw his
rays on the floor of any apartment.

In the Vespæ of Aristophanes[908], old Philocleon wishes to escape
through the kitchen. Some one asks, “What is that which makes a
noise in the chimney?” “I am the smoke,” replies the old man, “and
am endeavouring to get out at the chimney.” This passage, however,
which, according to the usual translation, seems to allude to a
common chimney, can, in my opinion, especially when we consider the
illustration of the scholiasts, be explained also by a simple hole in
the roof, as Reiske has determined; and indeed this appears to be more
probable, as we find mention made of a top or covering with which the
hole was closed.

In a passage of the poet Alexis, who lived in the time of Alexander
the Great, quoted by Athenæus[909], some one asks, “Boy, is there
a kitchen? Has it a chimney?” “Yes, but it is a bad one--the eyes
will suffer.” The question here alludes without doubt to a passage
for carrying off smoke; but information is not given us sufficient
to determine its form and construction. Athenæus has preserved also
a passage of the poet Diphilus[910], in which a parasite says, when
he is invited to the house of a rich man, he does not look at the
magnificence of the building or the elegance of the furniture, but
to the smoke of the kitchen. “If I see it,” adds he, “rising up in
abundance, quick and in a straight column, my heart is rejoiced, for
I expect a good supper.” In this passage, however, which according
to Maternus is clearly in favour of chimneys, I can find as little
proof as in the words of the poet Sosipater, quoted likewise by
Athenæus[911], who reckons the art of determining which way the wind
blows to be a part of the knowledge requisite in a perfect cook. “He
must know,” says he, “to discover from what quarter it comes, for when
the smoke is driven about it spoils many kinds of dishes.” Instead of
agreeing with Ferrarius that this quotation seems to show that the
houses of the ancients were provided with chimneys, I conclude rather
from it, that they were not; for, had there been chimneys in their
kitchens, the cooks must have left the smoke to make its way through
them without giving themselves any trouble; but if they were destitute
of these conveniences, it would be necessary for them to afford it some
other passage; it would consequently be the business of the cook to
consider on what side it would be most advantageous to open a door or a
window; and in this he would undoubtedly be guided by the direction of
the wind. That this really was the case, appears from a Greek epigram,
which by an ingenious thought, gives us an idea of the passage of smoke
through a window[912].

These, as far as I know, are all the passages which have been collected
from Greek authors respecting this question. But instead of proving
that the houses of the ancients were built with chimneys, they seem
much rather to show the contrary: especially when we consider what the
Roman writers have said on the same subject; for the information of
the latter, taken together, affords good grounds to believe that no
chimneys were to be found in the houses at Rome, at least at the time
when these authors wrote; and this certainly would not have been the
case had the Romans ever seen chimneys among the Greeks. I shall now
lay before my readers those passages which appear on the first view to
refute my conjecture.

When the triumviri, says Appian[913], caused those who had been
proscribed by them to be sought out by the military, some of them, to
avoid the bloody hands of their persecutors, hid themselves in wells,
and others, as Ferrarius translates the words, “in fumaria sub tecto,
qua scilicet fumus e tecto evolvitur.” The true translation however is
“fumosa cænacula.” The principal persons of Rome endeavoured to conceal
themselves in the smoky apartments of the upper story under the roof,
which in general were inhabited only by poor people; and this seems
to be confirmed by what Juvenal[914] expressly says, “Rarus venit in
cænacula miles.”

Those passages of the ancients which speak of smoke rising up from
houses have with equal impropriety been supposed to allude to chimneys,
as if the smoke could not make its way through doors and windows.
Seneca[915] writes, “Last evening I had some friends with me, and on
that account a stronger smoke was raised; not such a smoke however
as bursts forth from the kitchens of the great, and which alarms
the watchmen, but such a one as signifies that guests are arrived.”
Those whose judgements are not already warped by prejudice, will
undoubtedly find the true sense of these words to be, that the smoke
forced its way through the kitchen windows. Had the houses been built
with chimney-funnels, one cannot conceive why the watchmen should have
been alarmed when they observed a stronger smoke than usual arising
from them; but as the kitchens had no conveniences of that kind, an
apprehension of fire, when extraordinary entertainments were to be
provided in the houses of the rich for large companies, seems to have
been well-founded; and on such occasions people appointed for that
purpose were stationed in the neighbourhood to be constantly on the
watch, and to be ready to extinguish the flames in case a fire should
happen[916]. There are many other passages to be found in Roman authors
of the like kind, which it is hardly necessary to mention, such as that
of Virgil[917]:

  Et jam summa procul villarum culmina fumant.

and the following words of Plautus[918] descriptive of a miser:

  Quin divûm atque hominum clamat continuo fidem,
  Suam rem periisse, seque eradicarier,
  De suo tigillo fumus si qua exit foras.

If there were no funnels in the houses of the ancients to carry off
the smoke, the directions given by Columella to make kitchens so high
that the roof should not catch fire, was of the utmost importance[919].
An accident of the kind, which that author seems to have apprehended,
had almost happened at Beneventum, when the landlord who entertained
Mæcenas and his company was making a strong fire in order to get some
birds sooner roasted:

                   ... ubi sedulus hospes
  Pæne arsit, macros dum turdos versat in igne;
  Nam vaga per veterem dilapso flamma culinam
  Vulcano summum properabat lambere tectum[920].

Had there been chimneys in the Roman houses, Vitruvius certainly would
not have failed to describe their construction, which is sometimes
attended with considerable difficulties, and which is intimately
connected with the regulation of the plan of the whole edifice. He
does not, however, say a word on this subject; neither does Julius
Pollux, who has collected with great care the Greek names of every part
of a dwelling-house; and Grapaldus, who in later times made a like
collection of the Latin terms, has not given a Latin word expressive of
a modern chimney[921]

I shall here answer an objection which may be made, that the word
_caminus_ means a chimney; and I shall also explain what methods the
ancients, and particularly the Romans, employed without chimneys to
warm their apartments. _Caminus_ signified, as far as I have been able
to learn, first a chemical or metallurgic furnace, in which a crucible
was placed for melting and refining metals. It signified also a smith’s
forge[922]. It signified likewise, without doubt, a hearth, or as we
talk at present, a fire-place, which served for warming the apartment
in which it was constructed; and for that purpose portable stoves or
fire-pans were also employed. These were either filled with burning
coals, or wood was lighted in them, and, when burned to coal, was
carried into the apartment. In all these however there appears no trace
of a chimney.

The complaints often made by the ancients respecting smoke serve also
to confirm the opinion that they had no chimneys. Vitruvius[923],
where he speaks of ornamenting and fitting up apartments, says
expressly, that there ought to be no carved work or mouldings, but
plain cornices, in rooms where fire is made and many lights burned,
because they will soon be covered with soot, and therefore will require
to be often cleaned. On the other hand, he allows carving in summer
apartments, where the effects of smoke are not to be apprehended. The
moderns, however, who use chimneys, ornament the borders of them with
carving, painting and gilding, nor are they injured by the smoke; but
we find that among the ancients, furniture of every kind, ceilings and
walls were soon covered over with soot; and from this even the images
of their ancestors, _imagines majorum_, were not secure, which, though
they were to be found only in the houses of the great, and stood in
niches in the _atrium_[924] or hall, became black with smoke, and on
that account were justly named _fumosæ_[925]. The smoke therefore must
have been blown very much about, and carried into every apartment. In
the houses of the opulent, care in all probability was employed to keep
them clean; but the habitations of families who did not belong to the
common or poorest classes, are represented as smoky and black; and we
are told that their walls and ceilings were full of soot. They were
therefore called black houses, as in Russia the huts of the common
people, which are furnished with paltry stoves, and which are blackened
in the same manner by the smoke of the fir-wood used in them for fuel,
are called black huts[926].

As the houses of the ancients were so smoky, it may be easily
comprehended how, by means of smoke, they could dry and harden, not
only various articles used as food, but also different pieces of timber
employed for making all sorts of large and small implements. In this
manner was prepared the wood destined for ploughs, waggons, and ships,
and particularly that of which rudders were formed[927]. For this
reason pantries for flesh and wine, and also coops to hold fowls, which
were said to thrive by smoke, were constructed near the kitchen, where
it always abounded[928]; and on the other hand, it was necessary to
remove to a distance from kitchens, apartments destined for the purpose
of preserving such articles as were liable to be spoiled by smoke[929]:
but among us the case is widely different, for we often have neat and
elegant apartments in the neighbourhood of the kitchen.

From what has been said it will readily appear why the ancients kept
by them such quantities of hard wood, which, when burning, does not
occasion smoke. The same kind is even sought after at present, and
on this account we value that of the white and common willow, _Salix
alba_ and _triandra_; because when burned in our chimneys, it makes
little smoke, and throws out fewest sparks. The great trouble, however,
which was taken in old times to procure wood that would not smoke,
clearly proves that this was much more necessary in those periods than
at present. It was customary to peel off the bark from the wood, to
let it lie afterwards a long time in water, and then to suffer it to
dry[930]. This process must undoubtedly have proved of great service,
for we know that wood which has been conveyed by water, in floats,
kindles more readily, burns brisker, and throws out less smoke than
that which has been transported from the forest in waggons. Another
method, much employed, of rendering wood less apt to smoke, was to
soak it in oil or oil-lees, or to pour oil over it[931]. With the like
view, wood, before it was used, was hardened or scorched over the fire,
until it lost the greater part of its moisture, without being entirely
reduced to charcoal. This method is still employed with advantage in
glass-houses and porcelain manufactories, where there are stoves made
on purpose to dry wood. Such scorched wood appears to be that to which
the ancients gave the name of _ligna cocta_ or _coctilia_[932]. It was
sold in particular warehouses at Rome, called _tabernæ coctiliariæ_,
and the preparing as well as the selling of it formed an employment
followed by the common people, and which, as we are told, was carried
on by the father of the emperor Pertinax[933]. When it was necessary to
kindle fire without wood prepared in that manner, an article probably
too expensive for indigent families, we find complaints of smoke which
brought on a watering of the eyes; and this was the case with Horace at
a paltry inn where he happened to stop when on a journey[934].

The information which can be collected from the Greek and Roman
authors respecting the manner in which the ancients warmed their
apartments, however imperfect, nevertheless shows that they commonly
used for that purpose a large fire-pan or portable stove, in which
they kindled wood, and, when the wood was well-lighted, carried it
into the room, or which they filled with burning coals. When Alexander
the Great was entertained by a friend in winter, as the weather was
cold and raw, a small fire-bason was brought into the apartment to
warm it. The prince, observing the size of the vessel, and that it
contained only a few coals, desired his host, in a jeering manner, to
bring more wood or frankincense, giving him thus to understand that
the fire was fitter for burning perfumes than to produce heat[935].
Anacharsis, the Scythian philosopher, though displeased with many of
the Grecian customs, praised the Greeks, however, because they shut
out the smoke and brought only fire into their houses[936]. We are
informed by Lampridius, that the extravagant Heliogabalus caused to be
burned in these stoves, instead of wood, Indian spiceries and costly
perfumes[937]. It is also worthy of notice, that coals were found in
some of the apartments of Herculaneum, as we are told by Winkelmann,
but neither stoves nor chimneys. As in Persia and other countries of
the East no stoves made in the European manner are used at present, and
as it is certain that the manners, customs and furniture of the early
ages have been retained there almost without variation, we have reason
to suppose that the methods employed by the inhabitants for warming
themselves are the same as those used by the ancients. They agree
perfectly with the descriptions given by the Greek and Roman authors,
and serve in some measure to illustrate them. I shall therefore here
insert the account given by De la Valle, as it is the clearest and most
to the purpose.

“The Persians,” says he, “make fires in their apartments, not in
fire-places as we do, but in stoves in the earth, which they call
_tennor_. These stoves consist of a square or round hole, two spans
or a little more in depth, and in shape not unlike an Italian cask.
That this hole may throw out heat sooner, and with more strength,
there is placed in it an iron vessel of the same size, which is either
filled with burning coals, or a fire of wood and other inflammable
substances is made in it. When this is done, they place over the hole
or stove a wooden top, like a small low table, and spread above it a
large coverlet quilted with cotton, which hangs down on all sides to
the floor. This covering condenses the heat, and causes it to warm
the whole apartment. The people who eat or converse there, and some
who sleep in it, lie down on the floor above the carpet, and lean,
with their shoulders against the wall, on square cushions, upon which
they sometimes also sit; for the _tennor_ is constructed in a place
equally distant from the walls on both sides. Those who are not very
cold, only put their feet under the table or covering; but those who
require more heat can put their hands under it, or creep under it
altogether. By these means the stove diffuses over the whole body,
without causing uneasiness to the head, so penetrating and agreeable
a warmth, that I never in winter experienced anything more pleasant.
Those, however, who require less heat let the coverlet hang down on
their side to the floor, and enjoy without any inconvenience from the
stove the moderately heated air of the apartment. They have a method
also of stirring up or blowing the fire when necessary, by means of
a small pipe united with the _tennor_ or stove under the earth, and
made to project above the floor as high as one chooses, so that the
wind, when a person blows into it, because it has no other vent, acts
immediately upon the fire like a pair of bellows. When there is no
longer occasion to use this stove, both holes are closed up, that is to
say, the mouth of the stove and that of the pipe which conveys the air
to it, by a flat stone made for that purpose. Scarcely any appearance
of them is then to be perceived, nor do they occasion inconvenience,
especially in a country where it is always customary to cover the floor
with a carpet, and where the walls are plastered. In many parts these
stoves are used to cook victuals, by placing kettles over them. They
are employed also to bake bread, and for this purpose they are covered
with a large broad metal plate, on which the cake is laid; but if
the bread is thick and requires more heat, it is put into the stove
itself[938].” I shall here remark, that the Jews used such stoves in
their houses, and the priests had them also in the temple[939].

Those who have employed their talents on this subject before me, have
collected a great many passages from the Greek and Roman writers which
speak of fires made for the purpose of affording warmth; but as they
contain nothing certain or decisive, I shall not here enlarge upon
them[940]. Though one or more expressions may appear to allude to a
chimney, and even if we should conclude from them, with Montfaucon,
that the ancients were acquainted with the art of constructing in
mason-work elevated funnels for conveying off the smoke, it must
be allowed, when we consider the many proofs which we find to the
contrary, that they were at any rate extremely rare. As they are
so convenient and useful, and can be easily constructed upon most
occasions, it is impossible, had they been well known, that they should
have ever been forgotten. Montfaucon says, from _caminus_ is derived
_chiminea_ of the Spaniards; _camino_ of the Italians; _cheminée_ of
the French; and _kamin_ of the Germans; and it seems, adds he, beyond
a doubt, that the name, with the thing signified, has been transmitted
to us from the ancients. Though this derivation be just, the conclusion
drawn from it is false. The ancient name of a thing is often given
to a new invention that performs the same service. The words _mill_
and _moulin_ came from _mola_; and yet our mills were unknown to the
ancients. Guys relates, that a Greek woman, seeing an European lady
covered with a warm cloak, said, “That woman carries her _tennor_ about
with her.”

Besides the methods already mentioned, of warming apartments, the
ancients had another still more ingenious, which was invented and
introduced about the time of Seneca[941]. A large stove or several
smaller ones were constructed in the earth under the edifice; and these
being filled with burning coals, the heat was conveyed from them into
dining-rooms, bed-chambers, or other apartments which one wished to
warm[942] by means of pipes inclosed in the walls. The upper end of
these hot-air pipes was often ornamented with the representation of a
lion’s or a dolphin’s head, or any other figure according to fancy, and
could be opened or shut at pleasure. It appears that this apparatus
was first constructed in the baths, and became extended afterwards
to common use. These pipes sometimes were conducted around the whole
edifice[943], as I have seen in our theatres. Palladius advises a
branch of such pipes to be conveyed under the floor of an oil-cellar,
in order that it may be heated without contracting soot[944]. Such a
mode of warming apartments, which approaches very near to that employed
in our German stoves, would have been impossible, had the houses been
without windows; and it is worthy of remark, that transparent windows,
at the time Seneca lived, were entirely new. These pipes, like those
of our stoves, could not fail in the course of time to become filled
with soot; and as they were likely to catch fire by being overheated,
laws were made forbidding them to be brought too near to the wall of
a neighbouring house[945], though there were other reasons also for
this regulation. As what is here said will be better elucidated by a
description of the still existing ruins of some ancient baths, I shall
transcribe the following passage from Winkelmann:--

“Of chimneys in apartments,” says this author, “no traces are to
be seen. Charcoal was found in some of the rooms in the city of
Herculaneum, from which we may conclude that the inhabitants used only
charcoal fires for warming themselves. In the houses of the common
citizens at Naples, there are no chimneys at present; and people of
rank there as well as at Rome, who strictly adhere to the rules laid
down by physicians for preserving health, live in apartments without
chimneys, and which are never heated by coal-fires. In the villas,
however, which were situated without Rome, on eminences where the air
was purer and colder, the ancients had _hypocausta_ or stoves, which
were more common perhaps than in the city. Stoves were found in the
apartments of a ruined villa, when the ground was dug up to form a
foundation for the buildings erected there at present. Below these
apartments there were subterraneous chambers, about the height of a
table, two and two under each apartment, and close on all sides. The
flat top of these chambers consisted of very large tiles, and was
supported by two pillars, which, as well as the tiles, were joined
together, not with lime but some kind of cement, that they might not be
separated by the heat. In the roofs of these chambers there were square
pipes made of clay, which hung half-way down into each, and the mouths
of them were conveyed into the apartment above. Pipes of the like kind,
built into the wall of this lower apartment, rose into another in the
second story, where their mouths were ornamented with the figure of a
lion’s head, formed of burned clay. A narrow passage, of about two feet
in breadth, conducted to the subterranean chambers, into which coals
were thrown through a square hole, and the heat was conveyed from them
by means of the before-mentioned pipes into the apartment immediately
above, the floor of which was composed of coarse mosaic-work, and the
walls were incrusted with marble. This was the sweating-apartment
(_sudatorium_). The heat of this apartment was conveyed into that on
the second story by the clay pipes enclosed in the wall, which had
mouths opening into the former, as well as the latter, to collect
and afford a passage to the heat, which was moderated in the upper
apartment, and could be increased or lessened at pleasure.” Such a
complex apparatus would have been unnecessary had the Romans been
acquainted with our stoves[946].

I have, as yet, made no mention of a passage of the emperor Julian,
which is too remarkable to be entirely omitted; though, at the same
time, it is so corrupted that little can be collected from it[947].
Julian relates, that during his residence at Paris the winter was
uncommonly severe; but that he would not allow the house in which he
lived to be heated, though it had the same apparatus for that purpose
as the other houses of the city. His reason for this was, that he
wished to inure himself to the climate; and he was apprehensive also,
that the walls by being heated might become moist and throw out a
damp vapour. He suffered, therefore, burning coals only to be brought
into his apartment, which, however, occasioned pains in his head,
and other disagreeable symptoms. What apparatus the houses of Paris
then had for producing heat, no one can conjecture from the passage
alluded to. In my opinion, they were furnished with the above-described
subterranean stoves: but even if these should not be here meant, I
cannot help thinking that the emperor’s relation confirms that they had
not chimneys like ours; for, had the case been otherwise, the cautious
prince would not have exposed himself to the vapour of charcoal, the
noxious quality and effects of which could not be unknown to him.

Though the great antiquity of chimneys is not disputed, too little
information has been collected to enable us to determine, with any
degree of certainty, the period when they first came into use. If it
be true, as Du Cange, Vossius, and others affirm, that apartments
called _caminatæ_ were apartments with chimneys, these must, indeed, be
very old; for that word occurs as early as the year 1069, and perhaps
earlier[948]; but it is always found connected in such a manner as
contradicts entirely the above signification. Papias the grammarian,
who wrote about 1051, explains the word _fumarium_ by _caminus per
quem exit fumus_; and Johannes de Janua, a monk, who about 1268 wrote
his Catholicon, printed at Venice, says “Epicaustorium, instrumentum
quod fit super ignem caussa emittendi fumum.” But these _fumaria_
and _epicaustoria_ may have been pipes by which the smoke, as is the
case in our vent-furnaces, was conveyed through the nearest wall or
window: at any rate, this expression, with its explanations, can
afford no certain proof that chimneys are so old[949]; especially as
later writers give us reason to believe the contrary. Riccobaldus
de Ferrara[950], Galvano Fiamma or Flamma, a Dominican monk from
Milan[951], who died in 1344 professor at Pavia, and Giovanni de
Mussis, who about 1388 wrote his Chronicon Placentinum[952], and
all the writers of the fourteenth century, seem either to have been
unacquainted with chimneys, or to have considered them as the newest
invention of luxury.

That there were no chimneys in the tenth, twelfth, and thirteenth
centuries, seems to be proved by the so-called _ignitegium_, or
_pyritegium_, the curfew-bell of the English, and _couvre-feu_ of the
French. In the middle ages, as they are termed, people made fires in
their houses in a hole or pit in the centre of the floor, under an
opening formed in the roof; and when the fire was burnt out, or the
family went to bed at night, the hole was shut by a cover of wood.
In those periods a law was almost everywhere established, that the
fire should be extinguished at a certain time in the evening; that
the cover should be put over the fire-place; and that all the family
should retire to rest, or at least be at home[953]. The time when
this ought to be done was signified by the ringing of a bell. William
the Conqueror introduced this law into England in the year 1068, and
fixed the _ignitegium_ at seven in the evening, in order to prevent
nocturnal assemblies[954]; but this law was abolished by Henry I., in
1100. From this ancient practice has arisen, in my opinion, a custom
in Lower Saxony of saying, when people wish to go home sooner than the
company choose, that they hear the _Bürgerglocke_, burghers’ bell. The
ringing of the curfew-bell gave rise also to the prayer-bell, as it was
called, which has still been retained in some protestant countries.
Pope John XXIII., with a view to avert certain apprehended misfortunes,
which rendered his life uncomfortable, gave orders that every person,
on hearing the _ignitegium_, should repeat the _Ave Maria_ three
times[955]. When the appearance of a comet and a dread of the Turks
afterwards alarmed all Christendom, Pope Calixtus III. increased these
periodical times of prayer by ordering the prayer-bell to be rung also
at noon[956].

The oldest certain account of chimneys with which I am acquainted,
occurs in the year 1347; for an inscription which is still existing
or did exist at Venice, relates that at the above period a great many
chimneys (_molti camini_) were thrown down by an earthquake[957]. This
circumstance is confirmed by John Villani, the historian, who died at
Florence in 1348, and who calls the chimneys _fumajuoli_[958]. Galeazzo
Gataro, who in the Dictionary of Learned Men is named De Gataris, and
who died of the plague in 1405, says in his History of Padua, which was
afterwards improved and published by his son Andrew, that Francesco da
Carraro, lord of Padua, came to Rome in the year 1368, and finding no
chimneys in the hotel where he lodged, because at that time fire was
kindled in a hole in the middle of the floor, he caused two chimneys,
like those which had been long used at Padua, to be constructed, and
arched by masons and carpenters whom he had brought along with him.
Over these chimneys, the first ever seen at Rome, he affixed his arms,
which were still remaining in the time of Gataro[959].

While chimneys continued to be built in so simple a manner, and of
such a width as they are still observed to be in old houses, they were
so easily cleaned that this service could be performed by a servant
with a wisp of straw, or a little brushwood fastened to a rope; but
after the flues, in order to save room, were made narrower, or when
several flues were united together, the cleaning of them became so
difficult, that they required boys, or people of small size, accustomed
to that employment. The first chimney-sweepers in Germany came from
Savoy, Piedmont, and the neighbouring territories[960]. These for
a long time were the only countries where the cleaning of chimneys
was followed as a trade; and I am thence inclined to conjecture that
chimneys were invented in Italy[961], rather than that the Savoyards
learned the art of climbing from the marmots or mountain-rats, as
some have asserted[962]. These needy but industrious people chose
and appropriated to themselves, perhaps, this occupation, because
they could find no other so profitable. The Lotharingians, however,
undertook this business also, and on that account the duke of
Lotharingia was styled the Imperial Fire-master. The first Germans
who condescended to clean chimneys appear to have been miners; and
our chimney-sweepers still procure boys from the Hartz forest, who
may be easily discovered by their language. The greater part of the
chimney-sweepers (_ramoneurs de cheminées_) in Paris, at present, are
Savoyards; and one may see there everywhere in the streets large groups
of their boys[963], many of whom are not above eight years of age, and
who, clad in linen frocks, will, when called upon, scramble up at the
hazard of their lives, with their besoms and other instruments, through
a narrow funnel often fifty feet in length, filled with soot and smoke,
and in which they cannot breathe till they arrive at the top, in order
to gain five sous; and even of this small pittance they are obliged to
pay a part to their avaricious masters[964].


[904] Winkelmann in his Observations on the Baths of the Ancients.

[905] The following are the principal authors in whose works
information is to be found respecting this subject:--Octavii Ferrarii
Electorum libri duo. Patavii 1679, 4to. This work consists of short
treatises on different subjects of antiquity. The ninth chapter of the
first book, page 32, has for title, “Fumaria, seu fumi emissaria, vulgo
caminos, apud veteres in usu fuisse, disputatur.”

Justi Lipsii Epistolarum selectarum Chilias, 1613, 8vo. The
seventy-fifth letter in Centuria tertia ad Belgas, page 921, treats of
chimneys, with which the author says the Greeks and the Romans were

Eberharti a Weyhe Parergon De Camino. To save my readers the trouble
which I have had in searching for this small treatise, I shall give
them the following information: E. von Weyhe was a learned nobleman of
our electorate, a particular account of whose life and writings may be
found in Molleri Cimbria Litterata, vol. ii. p. 970. In the year 1612
he published Discursus de speculi origine, usu et abusu, Eberharti von
Weyhe. This edition contains nothing on chimneys, nor is there any
thing to be found respecting them in the second, inserted in Dornavii
Amphitheatrum Sapientiæ Socraticæ Joco-seriæ, Hanoviæ 1619, fol. i. p.
733. But this treatise was twice printed afterwards, as an appendix to
the author’s Aulicus Politicus: Francf. 1615, and Wolfenb. 1622, in
quarto; and in both these editions may be found at the end, Parergon de
camino, inquirendi causa adjectum. In this short essay, which consists
of only two pages, the author denies that the Jews, the Greeks, or the
Romans had chimneys. Fabricius, in his Bibliograph. Antiquaria, does
not quote Von Weyhe, either p. 1004, where he speaks of chimneys, or
page 1014, where he speaks of looking-glasses.

Balthasaris Bonifacii Ludicra Historia. Venetiis 1652, 4to, lib. iii.
cap. 23. De Caminis, p. 109. What this author says on the subject is of
little importance.

Jo. Heringii Tractatus de molendinis eorumque jure, Francf. 1663, 4to.

P. Manutii Comment. in Ciceronis Epist. Familiar. lib. vii. epist.
10, decides against chimneys, and speaks of the manner of warming

Petronii Satyricon, cura Burmanni, Amst. 1743, 4to, i. p. 836. Burmann,
on good grounds, is of opinion that the ancients had not chimneys.

Martini Lexicon Philologicum. Franc. 1655, fol. article _Caminus_.

Pancirollus De Rebus deperditis, ed. Salmuth, vol. i. tit. 33, p. 77.

Montfaucon, l’Antiquité expliquée, vol. i. p. 102. Montfaucon believes
that the ancients had chimneys.

Pitisci Lexicon Antiquitatum Romanarum, fol. The whole article
_Caminus_ is transcribed from Lipsius, Ferrarius, and others, without
the author’s own opinion.

Muratori, Antiquitates Italiæ Medii Ævi, ii. p. 418.

Constantini Libri de Ceremoniis aulæ Byzantinæ, t. ii. Lipsiæ, 1754,
fol. in Reiskii Commentar. p. 125.

Encyclopédie, tome troisième, Paris, 1753, fol. p. 281.

Deutsche Encyclopedie, vol. iv. Frank. 1780, 4to, p. 823.

Maternus von Cilano, Römische Alterthümer, vol. iv. Altona, 1776,
8vo, p. 945. This author is of opinion that chimneys were used by the
Greeks, but not by the Romans.

Bibliothèque Ancienne et Moderne, par Jean le Clerc, tom. xiii. 1720,
part i. p. 56. The author gives an extract from Montfaucon, which
contains a great many new observations.

Zanetti dell’ origine di alcune arti principali appresso i Veneziani.
Venezia, 1758, 4to, p. 78.

Raccolta d’ opuscoli scientifici e filologici. Venezia, 1752, 12mo,
tom. xlvii. A Treatise on Chimneys by Scip. Maffei is to be found page

[906] Odyss. lib. i. ver. 58.

[907] Lib. viii. c. 137.

[908] Ver. 139.

[909] Lib. ix. p. 386.

[910] Lib. vi. p. 236.

[911] Lib. ix. p. 378.

[912] Antholog. lib. ii. cap. 32. p. 229.

[913] De Bellis Civil. lib. iv. p. 962, edit. Tollii.

[914] Sat. x. ver. 17.

[915] Epist. 64.

[916] Such fire-watchmen were appointed by the emperor
Augustus.--Sueton. in Vit. Octav. August. cap. 30. That these watchmen,
whom the soldiers in ridicule called Sparteoli, were stationed in the
neighbourhood of houses where there were grand entertainments, is
proved by Tertulliani Apologet. cap. xxxix. p. 188, edit. De la Cerda.
Compare also Casaubon’s annotations on the passage of Suetonius above

[917] Eclog. i. ver. 83.

[918] Aulular. act. ii. sc. 4.

[919] De Re Rustica, lib. i. cap. 6.

[920] Horat. lib. i. sat. 5.

[921] Grapaldus De Partibus Ædium.

[922] Plin. xxxiii. cap. 4. Virgil. Æn. iii. ver. 580. Juvenal, sat.
xiv. ver. 117.

[923] Lib. vii. cap. 3.

[924] The name _atrium_ had its rise from the walls of such places
being black with smoke. Isidorus, xv. 3. This derivation is given also
by Servius, Æn. lib. i. ver. 730.

[925] Seneca, ep. 44. Cicero in Pison. cap. i. Juvenal, sat. viii. ver.

[926] In the _Equites_ of Aristophanes the houses of the common people
are called γύπαι and γυπάρια, because γὺψ signifies _fuliginosum_
or _fuscum_. On account of the smoke they were called also μέλαθρα.
Lycophron, 770, and 1190. Μέλαθρον αἰθαλόεν, domicilium fuliginosum,
occurs in Homer, Iliad. ii. ver. 414, of which expression and i. ver.
204, the scholiast very properly gives the following explanation: ἀπὸ
τοῦ μελαίνεσθαι ὑπὸ τοῦ κάπνου, quoniam a fumo reddebantur nigræ. For
the same reason, according to the scholiasts, Apollonius Rhodius, lib.
ii. ver. 1089, calls the middle beam of the roof μέλαθρον. Columella,
i. 17, says, “Fuligo quæ supra focos tectis inhæret:” among us the soot
adheres to the funnel of the chimney, and not to the roof or ceiling.

  Tecta senis subeunt, nigro deformia fumo;
    Ignis in hesterno stipite parvus erat.--Ovid. Fast. lib. v. 505.

  In cujus hospitio nec fumi nec nidoris nebulam vererer.--Apuleii
    Metam. 1.

  Sordidum flammæ trepidant rotantes
                  Vertice fumum.--Horat. iv. od. 11.

It may be here said, that the above passages allude to the hovels of
the poor, which are black enough among us. These are not, however,
all so smoky and so covered with soot both without and within; for
though this may be the case in some villages, the houses of the common
people in our cities may be called dirty rather than smoky. These
passages of Roman authors speak principally of town-houses. The house
in which Horace wished to entertain his Phyllis was not a mean one,
for, he tells her a little before, “Ridet argento domus.” [Black huts
or hovels, such as are described in the above remarks, having merely a
hole in the roof, or an open window for the escape of smoke, are still
common in Ireland, and in some of the less-frequented villages of the
Continent. Indeed they are met with even in England. But in all cases
the buildings appear to be very ancient.]

[927] Hesiodi Op. ver. 627. Virgilii Georg. lib. i. 175.

[928] Columella, i. 6, et viii. cap. 3.

[929] Columella, lib. i. cap. 6, p. 405. Artificial heat could not be
employed to prevent oil from becoming clotted by being frozen; for it
was liable to be hurt by soot and smoke, the constant attendants of
artificial warming.--Columella, lib. i. cap. 6.

[930] This method of preparing wood is described by Theophrastus, Hist.
Plant. lib. xv. cap. 10.

[931] Cato De Re Rust. cap. 130. Pliny, lib. xv. cap. 8.

[932] Such wood in Greek was called ἄκαπτα, in Latin _acapna_, in
Homer’s Odyssey, book vi. κάγκανα and δανὰ, Pollux, p. 621, καύσιμα.
This wood is mentioned also by Galen, in Antidot. lib. i. Trebellius
Pollio in Vita Claudii, in an account of the firing allowed to him when
a tribune, shows that wood was given out or sold by weight, as it is at
present at Amsterdam. On the other hand, the _coctilia_ were measured
like coals. Martial, lib. xiii. ep. 15: Ligna acapna:--

  Si vicina tibi Nomento rura coluntur,
    Ad villam monco, rustice, ligna feres.

It would seem that in the above-mentioned neighbourhood there was no
wood proper for fuel, so that people were obliged to purchase that
which had been dried. Some hence conclude that the _acapna_ must not
have been dear, because it is recommended to a countryman. But the
advice here given is addressed to the possessor of a farm who certainly
could afford to purchase dried wood.

[933] Jul. Capitol. in Vita Pertin. cap. iii. Capitolinus says
before, that the father carried on _lignariam negotiationem_. See the
annotations of Salmasius and Casaubon.

[934] Horat. lib. i. sat. 5, 79.

[935] Plutarch. Apophthegm. p. 180.

[936] Plutarch. Sympos. lib. vi. 7.

[937] Æl. Lamprid. Vita Heliogab. cap. 31.

[938] See also Tavernier, Voyages, vol. i.--Olearius, vol.
i.--Schweigger’s Reisebeschreibung nach Constantinopel und Jerusalem,
p. 264.--Voyage de Chardin, 12mo, vol. iv. p. 236.--Voyage Littéraire
de la Grèce, par M. Guys, Paris, 1776, 2 vols. 8vo, i. p. 34. Because
this author is one of the latest who has taken the trouble to compare
the manners of the ancient and modern Greeks, I shall here give his
account at full length:--“The Greeks have no chimneys in the apartments
of their houses; they make use only of a chaffing-dish, which is placed
in the middle of the apartment to warm it, or for the benefit of those
who choose to approach it. This custom is very ancient throughout all
the East. The Romans had no other method of warming their chambers;
and it has been preserved by the Turks. Λαμπτὴρ, says Hesychius, was
a chaffing-dish placed in the middle of a room, on which dry wood was
burned to warm it, and resinous wood to give light. This chaffing-dish
was supported, as those at present, by a tripod; lamps were not
introduced till long after. To secure the face from any inconvenience,
and from the heat of the chaffing-dish, oftentimes dangerous, the
_tendour_ was invented. This is a square table under which the fire is
placed. It is covered with a carpet which hangs down to the floor, and
with another of silk, more or less rich, by way of ornament. People sit
around it either on a sofa or on the pavement, and they can at the same
time put their hands and their feet under the covering, which, as it
encloses the chaffing-dish on all sides, preserves a gentle and lasting
heat. The tendour is destined principally for the use of the women,
who during the winter pass the whole day around it, employed either in
embroidering or in receiving the visits of their friends.”

[939] As a proof of this, Faber, in his Archæologie der Hebräer, Halle,
1773, 8vo, p. 432, quotes Kelim, v. 1, and Maimonides and Bartenora, p.
36, Tamid, c. 50. Compare Othon. Lex Rabbin. p. 85.

[940] As it would be tedious to transcribe all these passages, I shall,
as examples, give only the following:--

  Dissolve frigus, ligna super foco
  Large reponens.--Horat. lib. i. od. 9.

These lines show that the poet had an aversion to cold when enjoying
his bottle, and that he wished for a good fire; but they do not inform
us whether the hearth, _focus_, had a chimney. We learn as little
from the advice of Cato, c. 143: “Focum purum circumversum quotidie,
priusquam cubitum eat, habeat.” It was certainly wholesome to rake the
fire together at night, but it might have burned either with or without
a chimney. Cicero, Epist. Famil. lib. vii. 10: “Valde metuo ne frigeas
in hibernis; quam ob rem camino luculento utendum censeo.” Cicero
perhaps understood under that term some well-known kind of stove which
afforded a strong heat. Suetonius, in Vita Vitellii, cap. viii.: “Nec
ante in Prætorium rediit, quam flagrante triclinio ex conceptu camini.”
As Vitellius was proclaimed emperor in January, a warm dining-room
was certainly necessary. Du Cange in his Glossarium quotes the word
_fumariolum_ from the Paræneticum ad Pœnitentiam of the Spaniard
Pacianus; but the latter takes the whole passage from Tertullian, who
wrote more than a century before. Sidonius Apollin. lib. ii. epist. i.:
“A cripto porticu in hyemale triclinium venitur, quod arcuatili camino
sæpe ignis animatus pulla fuligine infecit.” No one can determine with
certainty the meaning of _arcuatilis caminus_. A covering made of a
thin plate of metal, or a screen, was perhaps placed over a portable
stove; we however learn, that even where the _arcuatilis caminus_
was used, the beauty of the dining-room was destroyed by smoke and
soot. Ammianus Marcell. lib. xxv. in the end of the life of Jovian:
“Fertur recente calce cubiculi illiti ferre odorem noxium neqnivisse,
vel extuberato capite periisse succensione prunarum immensa.” This
in an apartment where there was a stove or a chimney would have been

The passage of Athenæus, lib. xii. p. 519, which speaks of πύελοι,
will admit of various explanations. Dalechamp thinks that they were
the _poëles_ of the French (something like our stoves). Casaubon says
they were bathing-tubs. This opinion is in some measure confirmed by
Suidas, who gives that meaning to πύελος; and by Jul. Pollux, in whom
it occurs in the same sense more than once. Lipsius however rejects
these explanations, and considers πύελοι to have been _thecæ_, or
vessels similar to those which in low German are called _riken_, and
which, instead of our stoves, are much used in Holland by the women,
who seldom approach the chimney.

[941] Seneca, ep. 90.

[942] Senec. De Provident. p. 138. Cicero ad Fratrem, lib. iii. ep. i.
Plin. lib. ii. ep. 17.

[943] Statii Sylv. lib. i. 5, 17.

[944] Pallad. De Re Rust. lib. i. 20, p. 876.

[945] Digestor. lib. viii. tit. 2, 13.

[946] A passage from And. Baccii Liber de thermis, fol. p. 263,
contains information much of the same kind. See also Robortelli
Laconici seu sudationis, explicatio, in Grævii Thes. Antiq. Rom. xii.
p. 385. Vitruvius, cum annotat. G. Philandri, Lugd. 1586, 4to, p. 279.
Philander says that the ancients conveyed from subterranean stoves,
into the apartments above, the steam of boiling water; but of this I
have found no proof. If this be true, the Roman baths must have been
like the Russian sweating-baths. [Many of the large establishments and
work-shops in this country are now heated by means of hot air, hot
water, or steam circulating through a ramified system of pipes.]

[947] Juliani op. Lips. 1696, fol. p. 341.

[948] Zanetti, p. 78, quotes a charter of that year, in which the
following words occur: “Cum tota sua cella et domo, et caminatis cum
suo solario, et aliis caminatis.”

[949] Such is the opinion of Muratori, Antiq. Ital. Med. Æv. ii. p. 418.

[950] In Muratori, Script. Ital. vol. ix.

[951] Ibid.

[952] Ibid, vol. xvi. p. 582.

[953] Reiske ad Ceremon. aulæ Byzant. p. 145.

[954] The following passages of old writers, collected by Du Cange,
allude to this law. Statuta Leichefeldensis ecclesiæ in Anglia: “Est
autem ignitegium qualibet nocte per annum pulsandum hora septima post
meridiem.” Statuta Massil. lib. v. cap. 4: “Statuimus hac præsenti
constitutione perpetuo observandum, quod nullus de cætero vadat per
civitatem Massiliæ vel suburbia civitatis contigua de nocte, ex quo
campana, quæ dicitur Salvaterra, sonata fuerit, sine lumine.” Charta
Johannis electi archiepisc. Upsaliensis, an. 1291: “Statuimus, ut
nullus extra domum post ignitegium seu coverfu exeat.”

[955] Pol. Vergil. De Rer. Invent. lib. vi. c. 12. Lugd. 1664, 12mo, p.

[956] The year is probably 1457; Calixtus was elected to the papal
chair in 1455.

[957] Dell’ origine di alcune arti principali appresso i Veneziani.
Venezia, 1758, 4to, p. 80.

[958] Historie Fiorentine, lib. xii. cap. 121.

[959] This Chronicon Patavinum may be found in Muratori, Scriptor.
Rerum Ital. vol. xvii.

[960] Gazoni Piazze Universale, Venet. 1610, 4to, p. 364.

[961] A writer in the German Encyclopedie conjectures that the Italian
architects employed in Germany to build houses and palaces of stone,
brought with them people acquainted with the art of constructing larger
and more commodious chimneys than those commonly used.

[962] Dictionnaire des Arts et des Métiers, par Jaubert, vol. iv. p.


            ... Ces honnêtes enfans
  Qui de Savoye arrivent tous les ans,
  Et dont la main légèrement essuye
  Ces longs canaux, engorgés par la suie.--VOLTAIRE.

[964] “C’est ainsi que se ramonent toutes les cheminées de Paris; et
des régisseurs n’ont enrégimenté ces petits malheureux, que pour gagner
encore sur leur médiocre salaire. Puissent ces ineptes et barbares
entrepreneurs se ruiner de fond en comble; ainsi que tous ceux qui ont
sollicité des privileges exclusifs!”--Tableau de Paris. Hamburg, 1781,
tom. ii. p. 249. [Owing to many serious accidents which attended the
climbing of chimneys, this practice was put down in this country by Act
of Parliament, (3 & 4 Victoria, c. 85. sec. 2.). The use of machinery
is now substituted, but does not perform the operation so effectively
as the old mode, especially where the flues are in angles.]


Hungary water is spirit of wine distilled upon rosemary, and which
therefore contains the essential oil and powerful aroma of that plant.
To be really good the spirit of wine ought to be very strong and the
rosemary fresh; and if that be the case, the leaves are as proper
as the flowers, which according to the prescription of some should
only be employed. It is likewise necessary that the spirit of wine be
distilled several times over the rosemary; but that process is too
troublesome and expensive to admit of this water being disposed of at
the low price for which it is usually sold; and it is certain that the
greater part of it is nothing else than common spirit, united with the
essence of rosemary in the simplest manner. In general, it is only
mixed with a few drops of the oil. For a long time past this article
has been brought to us principally from France, where it is prepared,
particularly at Beaucaire, Montpelier, and other places in Languedoc,
where that plant grows in great abundance.

The name, _l’eau de la reine d’Hongrie_, seems to signify that this
water, so celebrated for its medicinal virtues, is an Hungarian
invention; and we read in many books that the receipt for preparing
it was given to a queen of Hungary by a hermit, or as others say, by
an angel, who appeared to her in a garden all entrance to which was
shut, in the form of a hermit or a youth[965]. Some call the queen
St. Isabella[966]; but those who pretend to be best acquainted with
the circumstance affirm that Elizabeth wife of Charles Robert king of
Hungary, and daughter of Uladislaus II. king of Poland, who died in
1380 or 1381, was the inventress. By often washing with this spirit of
rosemary, when in the seventieth year of her age, she was cured, as we
are told, of the gout and an universal lameness; so that she not only
lived to pass eighty, but became so lively and beautiful that she was
courted by the king of Poland, who was then a widower, and who wished
to make her his second wife.

John George Hoyer[967] says that the receipt for preparing this water,
written by queen Elizabeth’s own hand, in golden characters, is still
preserved in the Imperial library at Vienna. But it has been already
remarked by others[968] that Hoyer is mistaken, and that he does not
properly remember the account given of the receipt. It is to be found
for the first time, as far as I know, in a small book by John Prevot,
which, after his death in 1631, was published by his two sons at
Frankfort in 1659[969].

One may easily see that Prevot mistook this Elizabeth for St.
Elizabeth, the daughter of king Andrew II., who was never queen of
Hungary, but died wife of a landgrave of Thuringia in 1235. But
respecting Elizabeth, the wife of king Charles Robert, we know from
the information of Hungarian writers[970], that in her will she
really did mention two breviaries, one of which she bequeathed to
her daughter-in-law, and the other to one Clara von Pukur, with this
stipulation, however, that after her death it should belong to a
monastery at Buda. It is not impossible, therefore, that one of these
books may have come into the hands of Podacather’s ancestors.

I must however confess, that respecting this pretended invention of
the Hungarian queen I have doubts; it may be readily conjectured that
this Elizabeth must have been extremely vain; but when she wished to
make posterity believe that in the seventieth, or seventy-second year
of her age she became so sound and so beautiful that a king, at that
time a widower, grew enamoured of her, we may justly conclude that she
was more than vain--that she was perhaps childish. I have taken the
trouble to search for the king, then a widower, who paid his addresses
to Elizabeth, but my labour has proved fruitless. This proposal of
marriage must have been made about the year 1370; but Casimir III.,
brother of the Hungarian Elizabeth, reigned in Poland till that year,
and was succeeded by her son Louis, who died after her in 1382; and the
throne then remained vacant for three years.

It is rather singular that the name of aqua-vitæ, and the practice
of distilling spirit of wine upon aromatic herbs, should be known in
Hungary so early as the fourteenth century, though I will not pretend
to affirm the contrary. But I consider it as more remarkable that the
botanists of the seventeenth century should have spoken of and extolled
the various properties of rosemary without mentioning Hungary water. It
cannot however be denied, that in the sixteenth century, long before
Prevot, Zapata[971], an Italian physician, taught the method of
preparing rosemary-water: and he has even told us that it was known,
though imperfectly, to Arnoldus de Villa Nova; but he does not say
that it was an Hungarian invention. It appears to me most probable, at
present, that the name _l’eau de la reine d’Hongrie_, was chosen by
those who in later times prepared rosemary-water for sale, in order
to give greater consequence and credit to their commodity; as various
medicines, some years ago, were extolled in the gazettes under the
title of Pompadour, though the celebrated lady from whose name they
derived their importance, certainly neither ever saw them nor used them.


[965] Universal Lexicon, vol. xlix. p. 1340.

[966] Traité de la Chemie, par N. le Febure. Leyde, 1669, 2 vols. 12mo,
i. p. 474.

[967] In his notes to Blumentrost’s Haus- und Reise-apotheke. Leipzig,
1716, 8vo, cap. 16, p. 47.

[968] Succincta Medicorum Hungariæ et Transilvaniæ Biographia, ex
adversariis St. Wespremi. Wien, 1778, 8vo, p. 213.

[969] Selectiora remedia multiplici usu comprobata, quæ inter secreta
medica jure recenseas. In page 6 the following passage occurs: “For the
gout in the hands and the feet. As the wonderful virtue of the remedy
given below has been confirmed to me by the cases of many, I shall
relate by what good fortune I happened to meet with it. In the year
1606 I saw among the books of Francis Podacather, of a noble Cyprian
family, with whom I was extremely intimate, a very old breviary, which
he held in high veneration, because, he said, it had been presented
by St. Elizabeth, queen of Hungary, to some of his ancestors, as a
testimony of the friendship which subsisted between them. In the
beginning of this book he showed me a remedy for the gout written by
the queen’s own hand, in the following words, which I copied:--

“‘I Elizabeth, queen of Hungary, being very infirm and much troubled
with the gout in the seventy-second year of my age, used for a year
this receipt given to me by an ancient hermit whom I never saw before
nor since; and was not only cured, but recovered my strength, and
appeared to all so remarkably beautiful, that the king of Poland asked
me in marriage, he being a widower and I a widow. I however refused
him for the love of my Lord Jesus Christ, from one of whose angels I
believe I received the remedy. The receipt is as follows:

    “‘℞. Take of aqua vitæ, four times distilled, three parts, and of
    the tops and flowers of rosemary two parts: put these together in a
    close vessel, let them stand in a gentle heat fifty hours, and then
    distil them. Take one dram of this in the morning once every week,
    either in your food or drink, and let your face and the diseased
    limb be washed with it every morning.

“‘It renovates the strength, brightens the spirits, purifies the marrow
and nerves, restores and preserves the sight, and prolongs life.’ Thus
far from the Breviary.”--Then follows a confirmation which Prevot gives
from his own experience.

[970] Medicorum Hungariæ Biographia, _ut supra_, p. 214.

[971] The book of Zapata, who is not noticed in the Gelehrten
Lexicon, was printed at Rome, as Haller says in his Biblioth. Botan.
vol. i. p. 368, in the year 1586; and other editions are mentioned
in Boerhavii Methodus Studii Medici, p. 728 and 869. I have now
before me, Joh. Bapt. Zapatæ, Medici Romani, Mirabilia seu Secreta
Medico-chirurgica--per Davidem Spleissium. Ulmiæ, 1696. The passage
above alluded to occurs in page 49.


Those who are accustomed to value things used in common life only
according to the price for which they can be purchased, will perhaps
imagine that my subject must be nearly exhausted when I think it worth
my while to entertain my readers with a matter so inconsiderable. Cork,
however, is a substance of such a singular property, that no other
has yet been found which can be so generally employed with the same
advantage; and before the use of it was known, people were obliged on
many occasions to supply the want of it by means which to us would
appear extremely troublesome.

Cork is a body remarkably light, can be easily compressed, expands
again by its elasticity as soon as the compressing power is removed,
and therefore fills or stops up very closely that space into which it
has been driven by force. It may be easily cut into all forms; and
though it abounds with pores, which are the cause of its lightness, it
suffers neither water, beer, nor any common liquid to escape through
it, and it is only very slowly and after a considerable length of time
that it can be penetrated even by spirits. Its numerous pores seem to
be too small to afford a passage to the finest particles of water and
wine, which can with greater facility ooze through more compact wood
that has larger or wider pores[972].

Cork is the exterior bark of a tree, belonging to the genus of the oak,
which grows wild in the southern parts of Europe, particularly France,
Spain, Portugal and Italy[973]. When the tree is about twenty-six years
old it is fit to be barked, and this can be done successively every
eight years[974]. The bark always grows up again, and its quality
improves with the increasing age of the tree. It is commonly singed a
little over a strong fire or glowing coals, and laid to soak a certain
time in water, after which it is placed under stones in order to be
pressed straight.

This tree, as well as its use, was known to the Greeks and the Romans.
By the former it was called _phellus_. Theophrastus reckons it among
the oaks, and says that it has a thick fleshy bark, which must be
stripped off every three years to prevent it from perishing. He adds,
that it was so light as never to sink in water, and on that account
could be used with great advantage for a variety of purposes[975].
The only circumstance which on the first consideration can excite any
doubt of the _phellus_ being our cork-tree, is, that he expressly says
it lost its leaves annually, whereas our cork-tree retains them. In
another passage however he calls it an evergreen[976]. This apparent
contradiction several commentators have endeavoured to clear up, but
their labour seems unnecessary; for there is a species of our cork-tree
which really drops its leaves. Linnæus did not think this species
worth his notice; but it has been accurately observed by Clusius and
Matthiolus[977], and its existence is confirmed by Miller[978]. As
Theophrastus[979], Pliny[980], Varro[981] and others mention a common
oak which always retains its leaves, it appears clear to me that the
first-mentioned author, where he speaks of evergreens, meant our common
species of the cork-tree, and that extraordinary kind of oak; but in
the other passage that species which drops its leaves in winter.

That the _suber_ of the Romans was our cork-tree, is generally and with
justice admitted. Pliny relates of it, in the clearest manner, every
thing said by Theophrastus[982] of the _phellus_[983]; and we find by
his account, that cork at the period when he wrote was applied to as
many purposes as at present[984].

At that time fishermen made floats to their nets of cork, that is,
they affixed pieces of cork to the rope which formed the upper edge
of the net, and which it was necessary should be kept at the surface
of the water, in the same manner as is done at present[985]. The use
of cork for fishing-nets is mentioned by Ausonius[986]; and Alciphron
describes so abundant a capture that the net and the cork floats sunk
by the weight. This use, however, was much limited by the high price
of cork; and small boards of light wood, such as that of the pine,
aspen-tree, lime-tree, and poplar, were employed in its stead[987]. The
wood of the _Marum arborescens_ is used as floats in Guiana, and that
of the _Hibiscus cuspidatus_ in Otaheite[988]. The German and Swedish
fishermen, and also the Cossacks, use for the same purpose the bark of
the black poplar; but the Dutch and Hanoverians, who fish on the Weser,
employ for their nets a kind of wood called in Holland _toll-hout_. It
is a wood of a reddish-brown colour, extremely light, and of a very
fine grain, which the Dutch, who export it to Germany, procure from the
Baltic. At Amsterdam it costs a stiver per pound; but I have not yet
been able to learn what wood it properly is.

Another use to which cork was applied, according to Pliny, was for
anchor-buoys. “Usus ejus ancoralibus maxime navium.” These words
Hardouin has not explained; and Scheffer[989], where he speaks of
anchors, and what belongs to them, takes no notice of cork. Gesner,
however, has attempted an explanation[990], but what he says is, in
my opinion, not satisfactory. He certainly could not mean that it was
employed to render anchors lighter. According to my idea, they may be
easily made light enough without cork, and perhaps they can never be
made too heavy. The true explanation of this passage is, that it was
used for making buoys, called _ancoralia_, which were fixed to the
cable, and by floating on the surface of the water, over the anchor,
pointed out the place where it lay[991]. Our navigators use for that
purpose a large but light block of wood, which, in order that it
may float better, is often made hollow[992]. A large cask also is
sometimes employed. The Dutch sailors call these blocks of wood _boei_
or _boeye_; and hence comes their proverb, “Hy heeft een kop als een
boei,” he has a head like a buoy; he is a blockhead.

A third use of cork among the Romans was its being made into soles,
which were put into their shoes in order to secure the feet from water,
especially in winter; and as high heels were not then introduced, the
ladies who wished to appear taller than they had been formed by nature,
put plenty of cork under them[993].

The practice of employing cork for making jackets to assist one in
swimming, is also very old; for we are informed that the Roman whom
Camillus sent to the Capitol when besieged by the Gauls, put on a light
dress, and took cork with him under it, because, to avoid being taken
by the enemy, it was necessary that he should swim through the Tiber.
When he arrived at the river, he bound his clothes upon his head, and,
placing the cork under him, was so fortunate as to succeed in his

The most extensive and principal use of cork at present, is for
stoppers to bottles. This was not entirely unknown to the Romans, for
Pliny says expressly, that it served to stop vessels of every kind;
and instances of its being employed for that purpose may be seen in
Cato[995] and Horace[996]. Its application to this use, however, seems
not to have been very common, else cork-stoppers would have been
oftener mentioned by the authors who have written on agriculture and
cookery, and also in the works of the ancient poets. We everywhere
find directions given to close up wine-casks and other vessels with
pitch[997], clay, gypsum or potters-earth, or to fill the upper part
of the vessel with oil or honey, in order to exclude the air from those
liquors which one wished to preserve[998]. In the passages therefore
already quoted, where cork is named, mention is made also of pitching.
The reason of this I believe to be, that the ancients used for their
wine large earthen vessels with wide mouths, which could not be stopped
sufficiently close by means of cork. Wooden casks were then unknown,
or at least scarce, as Italy produced little timber, otherwise these
vessels would have been stopped with wood, as is the case at present.
The practice of drawing off wine for daily consumption, from the large
vessels into which it is first put, into such smaller vessels as can
be easily corked, was then not prevalent[999]. The ancients drew off
from their large jars into cups or pitchers whatever quantity of wine
they thought necessary for the time, instead of which the moderns
use bottles. It appears to have been customary at the French court,
about the year 1258, when grand entertainments were given, and more
wine-vessels had been opened than were emptied, that the remainder
became a perquisite of the _grand-bouteiller_[1000].

Stoppers of cork seem to have been first introduced after the
invention of glass-bottles, and of these I find no mention before the
fifteenth century; for the _amphoræ vitreæ diligenter gypsatæ_ of
Petronius[1001], to the necks of which were affixed labels, containing
the name and age of the wine, appear to have been large jars, and to
have formed part of the many uncommon articles by which the voluptuary
Trimalchio wished to distinguish himself. It is however singular, that
these convenient vessels were not thought of at an earlier period,
especially as among the small funeral urns of the ancients, many are
to be found which in shape resemble our bottles[1002]. In the figure
of the Syracusan wine-flasks, I think I can discover their origin from
these urns. Charpentier[1003] quotes from a writing of the year 1387,
an expression which seems to allude to one of our glass bottles; but,
when attentively considered, it may be easily discovered that cups or
drinking-glasses are meant. The name _boutiaux_ or _boutilles_, occurs
in the French language for the first time in the fifteenth century; but
were it even older it would prove nothing, as it signified originally,
and even still signifies, vessels of clay or metal, and particularly
of leather[1004]. Such vessels filled with wine, which travellers
were accustomed to suspend from their saddles, could be stopped with
a piece of wood, or closed by means of wooden or metal tops screwed
on them, which are still used for earthen-pitchers. In the year 1553,
when C. Stephanus wrote his Prædium Rusticum, cork stoppers must have
been very little known, else he would not have said that in his time
cork in France was used principally for soles (p. 578). In the time of
Lottichius, rich people however had glass flasks with tin mouths, which
could be stopped sufficiently close without cork; and these flasks
appear to have been as thin as the Syracusan wine-bottles; for he adds,
that it was necessary to wrap them round with rushes or straw[1005].

Flasks covered with basket-work must have been common among the
Greeks, if it be certain that πυτίνη signifies a flask of this kind.
It appears indeed to do so, because Hesychius says it was a plaited
wine-vessel, like the baskets which prisoners were accustomed to make.
Suidas, however, states that it was a vessel woven of twigs, named in
his time φλασκεῖον, from which is derived our word _flask_. It is
probable that these wine-vessels covered with basket-work were only of
earthenware, as glass ones were at that time costly and scarce. But I
do not think it can be proved that a flask of this kind was called by
the Romans _tinia_.

In the shops of the apothecaries in Germany, cork stoppers began first
to be used about the end of the seventeenth century. Before that period
they used stoppers of wax, which were not only much more expensive, but
also far more troublesome.

That the use of cork for stoppers was not known in the sixteenth
century may be proved from this circumstance, that it is mentioned
neither by Ruellius[1006] nor Aldrovandi[1007], though they describe
all the other purposes to which this substance was applied. How great
the consumption of it is at present, will appear from the quantity
used by the directors of the springs at Niederselters alone; who in
the year 1781 employed 2,208,000 stoppers, each thousand of which cost
four florins, making a total of 8832 florins. They were furnished by a
merchant at Strasburg, who was obliged to take back the refuse, which
he then caused to be cut on his own account into smaller stoppers,
and many of these could be used by the people at the springs. The
experiment also was once made of causing the corks to be cut on account
of the directors of the springs; but the carriage of the refuse became
too dear, and there was no sale for the stoppers of the apothecary
phials which were made of them.

In later times, some other vegetable productions have been found which
can be employed instead of cork for the last-mentioned purpose. Among
these is the wood of a tree common in South America, particularly in
moist places, which is called there _monbin_ or _monbain_, and by
botanists _Spondias lutea_. This wood was brought to England in great
abundance for that use. The spongy root of a North American tree, known
by the name of _nyssa_, is also used for the same end, as are the roots
of liquorice, which on that account is much cultivated in Sclavonia,
and exported to other countries, and likewise the black poplar, for its
bark is employed by the Cossacks[1008] as stoppers to their flasks,
and the _Æschynomene lagenaria_, which is used instead of cork in

[That most useful substance, caoutchouc, now replaces cork for numerous
purposes, and is superior to it in almost every respect, especially in
its greater elasticity, in being subject to less injury from the action
of many substances, and but slightly affected by moisture or dryness.
It also keeps better, and is not much more expensive. The quantity of
stoppers now manufactured by the Patent Caoutchouc Company is perfectly


[972] What is here observed in regard to the pores of cork has been
stated, in general, by Lucretius, vi. 5984.

[973] Duhamel, Traité des Arbres et Arbustes, Tozzetti, Viaggi, iv. p.

[974] [In MacCulloch’s Dictionary the word _every_ is changed into
_for_, and the author then proceeds to observe, that “This erroneous
statement having been copied into the article Cork in Rees’ Cyclopædia,
has thence been transplanted into a number of other works!” The
mistake, however, is wrongly attributed to Beckmann.]

[975] Histor. Plantar. lib. iii. cap. 16. He repeats the same thing
lib. iv. cap. 18, where he remarks as an exception, that the cork-tree
does not die after it has lost its bark, but becomes more vigorous. In
the southern parts of France the cork-trees are barked every eight,
nine or ten years.

[976] Lib. iii. cap. 4. This difficulty the commentators have
endeavoured to remove by reading here φελλόδρυς instead of the two
words φελλὸς and δρῦς which are separated; and indeed φελλόδρυς
occurs in other parts of the same work among the evergreens, lib. i.
cap. 15.

[977] Clusius in Rar. Plantar. Histor. lib. i. cap. 14, describes
this tree as he found it without leaves in the month of April in the
Pyrenees near Bayonne. Theophrastus, p. 234, says, “The cork-tree,
φελλὸς, which drops its leaves γίνεται ἐν Τυῤῥηνίᾳ:” but the Aldine
manuscript and that of Basle have Πυῤῥηνίᾳ. The latter reading is
condemned by Robert Constant and others: but though the cork-tree
is indeed indigenous in Tyrrhenia or Etruria, I see no reason why
Πυῤῥηνίᾳ should not be retained, as it is equally certain that
the tree grows in the Pyrenees, and that it there loses its leaves
according to the observation of Clusius. If, on the other hand, we
read Τυῤῥηνίᾳ, this is opposed by the experience of Theophrastus;
for in Italy, as well as in France and Spain, the tree keeps its
leaves the whole winter through. Stapel therefore has preferred the
word Πυῤῥηνίᾳ. Labat, who saw the tree both in the Pyrenees and in
Italy, says that in the former it drops its leaves in winter, and in
the latter preserves them. According to Jaussin (Mémoires sur les
évènemens, arrivés dans l’Isle de Corse. Lausanne, 1759, 8vo, ii. p.
398) it is in Corsica an evergreen; and Carter (Reise von Gibraltar
nach Malaga, Leipsic, 1799, 8vo, p. 190) says that the case is the
same in Spain, but he expressly adds that beyond the Alps it loses its
leaves in autumn.

[978] In his Gardener’s Dictionary. Bauhin, in his Pinax, p. 424,
mentions this species particularly.

[979] Hist. Plant. lib. i. cap. 15.

[980] Lib. xvi. cap. 21.

[981] De Re Rustica, i. cap. 7.

[982] Lib. xvi. cap. 8.

[983] The botanists of the seventeenth century, who paid more attention
to the names of the ancients than those of the present time, say that
the cork-tree is in Greek called also ἴψος, or ἰψὸς, which word is
not to be found in Ernesti’s dictionary. I have found it only once in
Theophrastus, Histor. Plantar. lib. iii. cap. 6, where those plants
are named which blow late. Because Pliny, lib. xvi. cap. 25, says
tardissimo germine suber; ἰpψὸς is considered to be the same as
φελλός. Hesychius however says that ἰψὸς in some authors signifies

[984] Our German word _Kork_, as well as the substance itself, came to
us from Spain, where the latter is called _chorcha de alcornoque_. It
is, without doubt, originally derived from _cortex_ of the Latins, who
gave that appellation to cork without any addition. Horace says, Od.
iii. 9, “Tu levior cortice;” and Pliny tells us, “Non infacete Græci
(suberem) corticis arborem appellant.” These last words are quoted by
C. Stephanus in his Prædium Rusticum, p. 578, and Ruellius De Natura
Stirpium, p. 174, and again p. 256, as if the Greeks called the women,
on account of their cork soles, of which I shall speak hereafter,
_cortices arborum_. This gives me reason to conjecture a different
reading in Pliny, and indeed I find in the same edition already quoted,
the words _cortices arborum_. This variation ought to have been
remarked by Hardouin.

[985] Plin. p. 7.

[986] Mosella, 246.

[987] Linnæi Flora Suec. p. 358. Gmelin’s Reise durch Russland, i. p.
138. It is a mistake in Duroi, Harbkescher Baumzucht, ii. p. 141, that
ropes for fishing-nets are prepared from this bark.

[988] Parkinson’s Voyage to the South Seas, 1773, 4to.

[989] De Militia Navali Veterum. Upsaliæ, 1654, 4to, lib. ii. cap. 5.

[990] In Stephens’s Thesaurus he says, “Usus ancoralibus navium; int.
sustinendis, et minuendo pondere ancorarum.”

[991] Pausanias, viii. 12, p. 623, where he speaks of the different
kinds of oak in Arcadia. When any one had the misfortune to fall into
the sea, the cork affixed to the anchor, _ancoralia_, was thrown
overboard, in order that the person in danger might catch hold of it.
This we learn from the account of Lucian (Epist. i. 1, p. 7), when two
men, one of whom had fallen into the sea and another who jumped after
him to afford him assistance, were both saved by these means.

[992] And to conceal contraband goods in them, of which I have seen
instances during my travels.

[993] Xenophon De Tuenda Re Famil. and Clemens Alexand. lib. iii. Pæda.

[994] Plutarchus in Vita Camilli.

[995] De Re Rustica, cap. 120.

[996] Lib. iii. od. 8, 10.

[997] Before cork came to be used for this purpose pitching was more
necessary, and therefore mention of pitch occurs so often in the Roman
writers on agriculture. When the farmer, says Virgil (Georg. i. 275),
has brought his productions to the city, he carries back articles of
every kind, such, for example, as pitch. On such occasions our poets
would have mentioned articles entirely different. Strabo (lib. v. p.
334) also extols Italy, because together with wine it had a sufficiency
of pitch, so that the price of wine was not rendered dearer.

[998] As proofs of this may everywhere be found, it is hardly worth
while to quote them. Columella, xii. 12, teaches the manner of
preparing cement for stopping up wine-casks. The earthen wine-jars
found at Pompeii appear to have had oil poured over them, and to have
had no other care bestowed upon them. In Italy, even at present, large
flasks have no stoppers, but are filled up with oil.

[999] Alexand. ab Alex. Dier. Gen. v. 21, p. 302. When the Romans
went out to the chase, they carried with them some wine in a
laguncula.--Plin. Epist. i. 6. p. 22. I do not know however that these
flasks were of glass; all those I have seen were made of clay or wood.
See Pompa De Instrum. Fundi, cap. 17, in the end of Gesner’s edition of
Scriptores Rei Rust. ii. p. 1187.

[1000] Le Grand d’Aussy, Histoire de la Vie Privée des François, ii. p.

[1001] Petron. Sat. cap. xxxiv. p. 86. In the paintings of Herculaneum
I find many wide-mouthed pitchers, with handles, like decanters, but no
figure that resembles our flasks.

[1002] Aringhi Roma Subterranea. Romæ, 1651. fol. i. p. 502, where may
be seen an account of a flask with a round body and a very long neck.

[1003] Glossarium Novum, i. p. 1182: “le dit Jaquet print un conouffle
de voirre, ou il avoit du vin ... et de fait en but.”

[1004] Grand d’Aussy quotes from Chronique Scandaleuse de Louis XI.
“Des bouteilles de cuyr.” That word however is of German extraction,
though we have received it back from the French somewhat changed,
like many other German things. It is evidently derived from _butte_,
_botte_, _buta_, _buticula_, _buticella_, which occur in the middle
ages. See C. G. Schwarzii Exercitat. de Butigulariis. Altorfii, 1723,
4to, p. 5.

[1005] See his Observations on Petronius, p. 259.

[1006] De Natura Stirpium, p. 256.

[1007] Dendrologia, p. 194.

[1008] Gmelin’s Reise durch Russland, i. p. 138. Pallas, Flora Russica,
i. p. 66.

[1009] Loureiro Flora Cochin-Chin. p. 447.


The history of the materia medica is a subject fit to be undertaken
only by physicians like Baldinger, Hensler, Mohsen[1010], and
Gruner, who to an intimate acquaintance with what belongs to their
own profession, have united a knowledge of every other branch of
science. By making this acknowledgment, I wish to guard against the
imputation of vanity, which I might incur as attempting to encroach
on the province of such learned men. That however is not the case.
My intention is only to lay before the public what I have collected
respecting this subject, because I have reason to flatter myself, that,
however trifling, it may be of some use until a complete history be
obtained; and because I may have met with some scattered information,
which, without my research, might have escaped the notice of abler
writers. Whoever is acquainted with such labour, will at any rate allow
that this is possible; and I hope the following essay towards a history
of apothecaries will not prove unacceptable to my readers.

That the medicines prescribed by the Greek and Roman physicians for
their patients were prepared by themselves is so well known, that
I think it unnecessary to produce proofs with which no one can be
unacquainted who has read Theophrastus, Hippocrates, and Galen. They
caused those herbs, of which almost the whole materia medica then
consisted, to be collected by others; and we have reason to believe
that the gathering and selling of medicinal plants must have at an
early period been converted into a distinct employment, especially
as many of them being exotics, it was necessary to procure them from
remote countries, which every physician had not an opportunity of
visiting; and as some of them were applied to a variety of purposes,
they were sought after by others as well as by medical practitioners.
Several of them were employed in cookery and for seasoning different
dishes; many in dyeing and painting, some of them as cosmetics,
others for perfumes, some for ointments, which were much used in the
numerous baths, and not a few of them may have been employed also in
other arts and manufactures. It must have been very convenient for
the physicians to purchase from these dealers in herbs, such articles
as they had occasion to use; but it is probable, and can even be
proved, that these people soon injured them in their profession, by
encroaching on their business. In the course of time they acquired
a knowledge of the healing virtues of their commodities, and of the
preparation they required, which was then extremely simple: and many
of them began to sell compounded medicines, and to boast of possessing
secrets more beneficial to mankind. To these dealers in herbs belong
the _pigmentarii_, _seplasiarii_, _pharmacopolæ_, _medicamentarii_,
and others who were perhaps thus distinguished by separate names on
account of some very trifling circumstances in which they differed,
or by dealing in one particular article more than in another. Some
of these names also may possibly have been used only at certain
periods, or in some places more than in others; and perhaps it would
be fruitless labour to attempt to define their difference correctly.
That the _pigmentarii_ dealt in medicines is proved by the law which
established a punishment for such as sold any one poison through
mistake[1011]. The herbs which Vegetius[1012] prescribes for the
diseases of cattle were to be bought from the _seplasiarii_; and that
they sold also medicines ready prepared is proved by the reproach
thrown out by Pliny against the physicians of his time, that instead of
making up their medicines themselves as formerly, they purchased them
from the _seplasiarii_, without so much as knowing of what they were
composed[1013]. That the _pharmacopolæ_ carried on a like trade appears
evident from their name; but people of judgement placed no confidence
in them, and they were despised on account of their impudent boasting,
and the extravagant praises they bestowed on their commodities[1014].
The _medicamentarii_ do not often occur, but we are given to understand
by Pliny[1015], that they followed an employment of the same nature;
and it appears that they must have been very worthless, for in the
Theodosian code, male and female poisoners are called _medicamentarii_
and _medicamentariæ_[1016].

It may be readily perceived that these herb-dealers had a greater
resemblance to our grocers, druggists, or mountebanks, than to our
apothecaries. It is well known that the word _apotheca_ signified any
kind of store, magazine, or warehouse, and that the proprietor or
keeper of such a store was called _apothecarius_[1017]. It would be a
very great mistake, therefore, if in writings of the thirteenth and
fourteenth century, where these expressions occur, we should understand
under the latter apothecaries such as ours are at present[1018]. At
these periods, those were often called apothecaries who at courts and
in the houses of great people prepared for the table various preserves,
particularly fruit incrusted with sugar, and who on that account may
be considered as confectioners. What peculiarly distinguishes our
apothecaries is, that they sell drugs used in medicine, and prepare
from them different compounds according to the prescriptions given
by physicians and others. But here arises a question: When did
physicians begin to give up entirely the preparation of medicines
to such apothecaries, who must now be more than herb-dealers, and
must understand chemistry? And when did the apothecaries acquire an
exclusive title to that business and to their present name? It is
probable that physicians gradually became accustomed to employ such
assistance for the sake of their own convenience, when they found in
their neighbourhood a druggist in whose skill they could confide, and
whose interest they wished to promote, by resigning in his favour that

Conring asserts, without any proof, but not however without
probability[1019], that the physicians in Africa first began to give
up the preparation of medicines after their prescriptions to other
ingenious men; and that this was customary so early as the time of
Avenzoar in the eleventh century. Should that be the case, it would
appear that this practice must have been first introduced into Spain
and the lower part of Italy, as far as the possessions of the Saracens
then extended, by the Arabian physicians who accompanied the Caliphs
or Arabian princes. It is probable, therefore, that many Arabic terms
of art were by these means introduced into pharmacy and chemistry,
for the origin of which we are indebted to that nation, and which
have been still retained and adopted. Hence it may be explained why
the first known apothecaries were to be found in the lower part of
Italy; but at any rate we have reason to conclude, that they obtained
their first legal establishment by the well-known medical edict of the
emperor Frederic II., issued for the kingdom of Naples, and from which
Thomasius deduces the privileges they enjoy at present[1020]. By that
edict it was required that the _confectionarii_ should take an oath
to keep by them fresh and sufficient drugs, and to make up medicines
exactly according to the prescriptions of the physicians; and a price
was fixed at which the _stationarii_ might vend medicines so prepared,
and keep them a year or two for sale in a public shop or store. The
physicians at Salerno had the inspection of the _stationes_, which
were not to be established in every place, but in certain towns. The
_confectionarii_ appear to have been those who made up the medicines
or _confectiones_. The _statio_ was the house where they were sold,
or, according to the present mode of expression, the apothecary’s
shop; and the _stationarii_ seem to have been the proprietors, or
those who had the care of selling the medicines. The word _apotheca_
seldom occurs in that edict; when it does, it signifies the warehouse
or repository where the drugs were preserved. I however find no proof
in it that the physicians at that time sent their prescriptions to the
_stationes_ to be made up. It appears rather that the _confectionarii_
prepared medicines from a general set of prescriptions legally
authorised, and that the physicians selected from these medicines, kept
ready for use, such as they thought most proper to be administered
to their patients. A physician who had passed an examination, and
obtained a licence to practise, was obliged to swear that he would
observe _formam curiæ hactenus observatam_; and if he found _quod
aliquis confectionarius minus bene conficiat_, he was obliged to give
information to the _curia_. The _confectionarii_ swore that they would
make up _confectiones, secundum prædictam formam_. It was necessary
that electuaries, syrups, and other medicines, should be accompanied
with a certificate from a physician to show that they were properly
prepared. I must acknowledge that the edict alludes here only to some
medicines commonly employed; and I am surprised that the recipes are
not mentioned, if such were then in use. I have never had the good
fortune to meet with the word _Receptum_ used to signify a prescription
in any works of the above century. The practice of physicians writing
out, almost at every visit, the method of preparing the medicines
which they order, may perhaps have been introduced at a later period.
The book of receipts most in use, by which the medicines of that time
were made up, was the Antidotarium, which the physicians of Salerno
caused to be collected and translated into Latin from the works of the
Arabian physician Mesues, and from those of Avicenna, Galen, Actuarius,
Nicolaus Myrepsius, and Nicolaus Præpositus, by the celebrated
professor in that city, Nicolaus di Reggio, a native of Calabria.

If it be true that the separation of pharmacy from medicine first took
place in Africa, it is highly probable that the well-known Constantinus
Afer may have contributed to introduce it also into Italy. This man,
who was a native of Carthage, having learned the medical art from the
Arabians, made it known in that country, particularly after the year
1086, when he was a Benedictine monk in a monastery situated on Mount
Cassino; and the service which he rendered to the celebrated school of
physic in the neighbouring city of Salerno, is well known. After his
time, the monks in many of the monasteries applied to the preparing of
medicines, which they sold to the wealthy, but distributed gratis to
the poor, and by these means were much benefited in various respects.

It is well known that almost all political institutions on this side
the Alps, and particularly every thing that concerned education,
universities, and schools, were copied from Italian models. These were
the only patterns then to be found; and the monks, despatched from
the papal court, who were employed in such undertakings, clearly saw
that they could lay no better foundation for the Pontiff’s power and
their own aggrandizement, than by inducing as many states as possible
to follow the examples set them in Italy. Medical establishments
were formed, therefore, everywhere at first according to the plan of
that at Salerno. Particular places for vending medicines were more
necessary, however, in other countries than in Italy. The physicians
of that period used no other drugs than those recommended by the
ancients; and as these were to be procured only in the Levant, Greece,
Arabia, and India, it was necessary to send thither for them. Besides,
according to the astrological notions which then prevailed, herbs, to
be confided in, could not be gathered but when the sun and planets were
in certain constellations, and certificates of their being so were
requisite to give them reputation. All this was impossible to be done
without a distinct employment, for physicians were otherwise engaged.
It was found convenient therefore to suffer some of the principal
dealers in drugs gradually to acquire monopolies. The preparation of
drugs was becoming always more difficult and expensive. After the
invention of distillation, sublimation, and other chemical processes,
laboratories, furnaces, and costly apparatus were to be constructed,
and it was proper that men who had regularly studied chemistry should
alone follow pharmacy; and that they should be indemnified for their
expenses by an exclusive trade. These monopolists also could be kept
under closer inspection, by which the danger of their selling improper
drugs or poison was lessened or entirely removed. It would appear
that no suspicions were at first entertained, that apothecaries could
amass riches by their employment, so soon and so easily as they do at
present; for they were allowed many other advantages, and particularly
that of dealing in sweetmeats and confectionary, which were then the
greatest delicacies. In many places they were obliged on certain
festivals to give presents of such dainties to the magistrates, by way
of acknowledgment, and hence probably has arisen the custom of sending
new-years gifts of marchepanes and other things of the like kind.

In many places, and particularly in opulent cities, the first
apothecaries’ shops were established at the public expense, and
belonged to the magistrates. A particular garden also was often
appropriated to the apothecary, in order that he might rear in it the
necessary plants, and which therefore was called the apothecary’s
garden[1021]. Apothecaries’ shops for the use of courts were frequently
established and directed by the consorts of princes; and it is a
circumstance well-known, that many of the fair sex, when they have
lost the power of wounding, devote themselves much to the healing and
curing art, and to the preparation and dispensing of medicines. [Such
indeed is the case at present in France, medicines being both prepared
and dispensed by the Sisters of Charity, who attend the sick at the
public hospitals, much to the annoyance of the chemists and druggists,
who have frequently petitioned the government to interfere to protect
their interests.] Dr. Mohsen says that the first apothecaries in
Germany came from Italy. This may be probable, but I know no proof of
it. I shall now proceed to give some account of the oldest mention made
of apothecaries, which will serve to confirm what I have said above.

Of English apothecaries I know nothing more than what has been stated
by Anderson[1022], who says that king Edward III., in the year 1345,
gave a pension of sixpence a day to Coursus de Gangeland, an apothecary
of London, for taking care of and attending his majesty during his
illness in Scotland; and this is the first mention of an apothecary in
the Fœdera.

Of apothecaries in France no mention occurs before the year 1484;
when they received their statutes in the month of August from Charles
VIII.[1023] They received others in 1514 under Louis XII.; in 1516 and
1520 under Francis I.; in 1571 under Charles IX.; in 1583 under Henry
III.; and in 1594 under Henry IV. These regulations were renewed and
confirmed by Louis XIII., in the years 1611, 1624, and 1638.

For the most copious information respecting German apothecaries, we
are indebted to Sattler. In the beginning of the fifteenth century an
apothecary’s shop was established at Stuttgard by a person named Glatz,
which, as the only one in the country, was first sanctioned by the
count of Wirtemberg in 1458. In the patent given on that occasion it
was said that Glatz’s ancestors had for many years kept an apothecary’s
shop at Stuttgard, and had furnished it as a proper apothecary ought.
In the year 1457 count Ulric gave to John Kettner, whom the year before
he had appointed to be his domestic physician, leave also to establish
an apothecary’s shop at Stuttgard, and promised to allow no other in
his dominions. The apothecary received yearly from the count a certain
quantity of wine, barley and rye; but, on the other hand, he engaged to
supply the court with as much confectionary as might be necessary, at
the rate of twelve schillings per pound[1024]. Both these shops seem
afterwards to have been abandoned, and the count and the apothecary
to have entertained the same opinion, that each could renounce his
contract when he pleased. In the year 1468, one Albrecht Mulsteiner,
or Altumsteiner, from Nuremberg, was appointed apothecary, with a
promise that no other private or public shop should be tolerated except
that at Wirtemberg. The patent is almost like that given to Kettner;
but it deserves to be remarked that it contains, in an additional
clause, a catalogue of all the different articles, with their prices.
An apothecary’s shop is mentioned at Tubingen, under count Everhard,
as an hereditary fief, the possessor of which bound himself to serve
as physician and apothecary to the army in time of war. In the year
1500 duke Ulric of Wirtemberg allowed one Syriax Horn to establish an
apothecary’s shop at Stuttgard, and appointed him his apothecary for
six years. He was obliged to swear that he would supply government and
all public officers, as well as the duke’s subjects, with medicines;
and the body physician was enjoined to visit the shop once every year,
in order to examine whether Horn conducted himself according to the
regulations laid down for him, and sold his medicines at the fixed
prices. In 1559 four apothecaries were appointed in the duchy, viz. at
Stuttgard, Goppingen, Kalw and Bintigheim, which are still called the
land-apothecaries. At the same period there was an apothecary’s shop in
the ducal palace at Stuttgard, which the consort of duke Christopher
caused to be furnished at her own expense; and from which the poor
received gratis whatever medicines they stood in need of.

That there were apothecaries’ shops at Augsburg so early as the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, according to the conjecture of
Von Stetten, has been mentioned already. By the records of that city
it appears that a public shop was kept there by a female apothecary
in the year 1445; and at that period a salary was paid by the city to
the person who followed that occupation. In 1507 an order was passed
that the apothecaries’ shops should be from time to time inspected;
and in 1512 a price was set upon their medicines, and all others were
forbidden to deal in them.

The antiquity of the first apothecary’s shop at Hamburg, which belonged
to the council, cannot be determined; but it is with certainty known
that one existed there before the sixteenth century. It was situated in
the middle of the city, near the council-house and the exchange; and
had a garden belonging to it, in the new town. Before the year 1618
there was at Hamburg also a private apothecary’s shop. In 1529 a city
physician was appointed, and quacks and mountebanks were then banished.
The annual visitation by the city physician was established in 1557.
The oldest regulation respecting apothecaries is of the year 1586.

Apothecaries’ shops, legally established, existed without doubt at
Frankfort on the Maine before the year 1472; for at that period the
magistrates of Constance requested to know what regulations were made
there respecting the prices of medicines. In 1489 the city physician
was instructed to inspect them carefully, and to see that the proper
prices were affixed to the different articles. In 1500 all the
apothecaries were obliged to take an oath that they would observe the
regulations prescribed for them; and in 1603 a decree was passed that
no more apothecaries’ shops should be allowed for twelve years than the
four then existing; and yet we are told that the fourth was first built
in 1629[1025].

In the police regulations drawn up at Basle in the year 1440, by which
it was ordered that a public physician should be established in every
German imperial city, with the allowance of an ecclesiastical benefice
or canonry, in order that he might exercise his art gratis, it is said,
“What costly things people may wish to have from the apothecary’s shop
they must pay for[1026].” Dr. Mohsen hence concludes that common roots
and herbs were not then sold in the apothecaries’ shops, but expensive
compounds brought from other countries.

The first apothecary’s shop at Berlin, of which any certain and
authentic account can be found in the king’s feudal records, was
established in 1488. At that period the magistrates gave one Hans
Zehender a right to the hereditary possession of a shop, and promised
to allow him yearly, to enable him to support it, a certain quantity
of rye, with a free house, and engaged also to exempt him from all
contributions, watching and other public burthens, and to permit no
other apothecary to reside in the city. This agreement was confirmed in
1491 by the elector John; and in 1499 the elector Joachim I., on his
coming to the government, gave the apothecary a new patent, in which
his body physician was charged to take care that the shop should be
furnished with proper drugs; that the medicines for the elector and his
court should be made up according to the prescriptions; and that they
should not be charged too high, contrary to the regulated prices[1027].
In the year 1573 there was an apothecary’s shop in the palace for the
use of the court; but Mr. Nicolai[1028] conjectures that it was only a
portable one, and consisted of some chests filled with medicines. The
present one was founded in 1598 by Catharine, consort of the elector
Joachim Frederick; but the establishment, as it now stands, began
to be formed in the year 1605, when Crispin Haubenschmid, the first
apothecary to the court, was brought from Halle to Berlin. Catharine,
widow of the margrave John of Custrin, caused an apothecary’s shop for
the use of the court to be established at Krossen, under the inspection
of her physician Wigands, because there was then no shop of that
kind in the place; and at her death in 1574 she bequeathed it to the

In Halle there was no apothecary’s shop till the year 1493. Before
that period medicines were sold only by grocers and barbers. In the
above year however the council, with the approbation of the archbishop,
permitted one Simon Puster to establish an apothecary’s shop, in order,
as stated in the patent, that the citizens might be supplied with
confections, cooling liquors, and such like common things, at a cheap
rate, and that, in cases of sickness, they might be able to procure
readily fresh and well-prepared medicines. Puster was exempted by it
from all taxes and contributions for ten years, but with this proviso,
that during that period he should furnish yearly at the council-house
for two collations in the time of the festivals, eight pounds of good
sugar confections, fit and proper to be used at such entertainments.
It stated, on the other hand, that in future no kind of preserves
made with sugar, or what was called confectionary, or theriac, should
be kept for sale or sold either in the market or in booths, shops or
stalls, except at the annual fair. This apothecary’s shop was the
only one in Halle till the year 1535, when the archbishop gave his
physician, J. N. von Wyhe, liberty to establish a new one; but with
an assurance, that to eternity, no more apothecaries’ shops should be
permitted in Halle; and this declaration was confirmed by the chapter.
Notwithstanding the archbishop’s promise, strengthened by that of his
clergy, one Wolf Holzwirth, a skilful apothecary, who returned from
Italy, found means to procure permission in 1555 to establish a third
apothecary’s shop[1029].

In the year 1409, when the university of Prague was transferred to
Leipsic, and every thing at the latter was put on the same footing as
at the former, an apothecary’s shop was also established, which, as
that at Prague had been, was known by the sign of the Golden Lion.

In the year 1560 there was no apothecary’s shop at Eisenach, and even
in the time of duke John Ernest, who died in 1638, there was none for
the court; but the place of apothecary was supplied by one of the
yeomen of the jewellery.

In the year 1598, count John von Oldenburg caused an apothecary’s shop
to be established at Oldenburg for the common good of the country[1030].

In Hanover the first apothecary’s shop was established by the council
in 1565, near the council-house[1031]. The consort of duke Philip II.
of Grubenhagen, a princess of Brunswick, who was married in 1560,
supported at her court an apothecary’s shop and a still-house, for
the benefit of her servants and the poor[1032]. Duke Julius, who came
to the government of Brunswick in 1568, caused apothecaries’ shops
to be established in his territories; and his consort, a daughter
of the elector of Brandenburg, kept, for the use of the poor, an
expensive apothecary’s shop in her palace; and the citizens of the
new Heinrichstadt, near Wolfenbuttel, were allowed when afflicted by
any epidemic disease, the dysentery, quinsy, scurvy, or stone, to be
supplied with medicines from it free of all expense[1033].

The apothecary’s shop at the court of Dresden was founded by the
electress Ann, a Danish princess, in the year 1581. In 1609 it was
renewed by Hedwig, widow of the elector Christian I.; and in 1718 it
received considerable improvement.

Gustavus Erickson, king of Sweden, was the first person in that country
who attempted to establish an apothecary’s shop. On the 20th of
March, 1547, he requested Dr. John Audelius of Lubeck, to send him an
experienced physician and a good apothecary. On the 5th of May, 1550,
his body-physician, Henry von Diest, received orders to bring a skilful
apothecary into the kingdom. When the king died in 1560, he had no
other physicians with him than his barber master Jacob, an apothecary
master Lucas, and his confessor Magister Johannes, who, according to
the popish mode, practised physic, and prescribed for his majesty.
Master Lucas, as appears, was the first apothecary at Stockholm. On the
21st of March, 1575, one Anthony Busenius was appointed by king John
apothecary to the court[1034]; and in 1623, Philip Magnus Schmidt, a
native of Langensalz in Thuringen, was chosen to fill that office. In
the year 1675 there were five apothecaries’ shops in Stockholm; since
1694 the number has been nine. The first apothecary’s shop at Upsal
was established in 1648 by Simon Wolimhaus, who came from Konigsee in
Thuringen, and from whom the present family of count Gyllenborg are
descended. The first apothecary’s shop at Gottenburg was established
about the same time. Towards the end of the sixteenth century
physicians and apothecaries were invited into Russia by the czar Boris

I shall here take occasion to remark the following circumstance: at
the Byzantine court the keeper of the wardrobe, as the yeoman of
the jewellery at Eisenach in the sixteenth century, had the care of
the portable apothecary’s shop when the emperor took the field. It
was called _pandectæ_, and contained theriac and antidotes, with all
kinds of oils, plasters, salves, and herbs proper for curing men and

[In England, in 1543, an act was passed for the toleration and
protection of the numerous irregular practitioners, who were neither
surgeons nor physicians. It was entitled “An Act that persons being
no common surgeons may minister outward medicines;” the persons thus
tolerated comprehending those who kept shops for the sale of drugs,
to whom the name of apothecaries was then exclusively applied. On the
9th of April, 1606, king James I. incorporated the apothecaries of
London and united them with the grocers; they remained so until 1617,
when they received a new charter, forming them into a separate company
under the designation of the master, wardens, and society of the art
and mysteries of apothecaries of the city of London. It appears that
the apothecaries of London did not begin generally to prescribe as well
as to dispense medicines until a few years before the close of the
seventeenth century.]

I must add a few observations also respecting the earliest
_Dispensatorium_. It is almost generally admitted that the first
was drawn up by Valerius Cordus, or at least that his was the first
sanctioned by the approbation of public magistrates. Haller has
remarked one older; but it is now known only from the title mentioned
by Maittaire[1037]. Cordus however appears to have first used the word
_dispensatorium_ for a collection of receipts, containing directions
how to prepare the medicines most in use. This book it is well known
has been often printed with the additions of other physicians; but,
in my opinion, Conring[1038] is in a mistake when he says that it was
improved and enlarged by Matthiolus. I have in no edition found any
additions of Matthiolus; and the error seems to have arisen from the
christian name of Matthias Lobelius, which stands in the title of
some editions, because his annotations are added to them. It is very
singular that Kestner[1039] also has fallen into this mistake, who,
however, says that the name of Matthiolus is only in the title, for in
the book itself he found no appearance of his having had any concern
with it.


[1010] Dr. Mohsen has already published a considerable part of what
belongs to this subject in his Geschichte der Wissenschaften in der
Mark Brandenburg, besonders der Arzneywissenschaft. Berlin, 1781, 4to,
p. 372. Some information also respecting the history of apothecaries
may be found in Thomassii Dissert. de Jure circa Pharmacopolia
Civitatum, in his Dissertationes Academicæ, Halle, 1774, 4 vols. quarto.

[1011] Digest. lib. xlviii. tit. 8, 3, 3.

[1012] De Mulomedic. iii. 2, 21, p. 1107.

[1013] Plin. lib. xxxiv. cap. 11.

[1014] Maximus Tyrius, Dissert. x. p. 121. Aulus Gellius, lib. i. cap.

[1015] Lib. xix. cap. 6.

[1016] Cod. Theodos. iii. tit. 16.

[1017] Proofs of this may be found in Glossarium Manuale, vol. i. p.
298. From the word _apotheca_ the Italians have made _boteca_, and the
French _boutique_.

[1018] In the Nurnberger Bürgerbuch mention is made of Mr. Conrade
Apotheker, 1403; Mr. Hans Apotheker, 1427; and Mr. Jacob Apotheker,
1433. See Von Murr’s Jornal der Kunstgeschichte, vi. p. 79. Henricus
Apothecarius occurs as a witness at Gorlitz, in a charter of the year
1439; and one John Urban Apotheker excited an insurrection against the
magistrates of Lauban in 1439. See Buddæi Singularia Lusatica, vol.
ii. p. 424, 500. One cannot with any certainty determine whether these
people were properly apothecaries, which must be borne in mind in
reading the following passage of Von Stetten in his Kunstgeschichte der
Stadt Augsburg, p. 242: “In very old times there was a family here who
had the name of Apotheker, and it is very probable that some of this
family had kept a public apothecary’s shop. Luitfried Apotheker, or in
der Apothek, lived in the year 1285, and Hans Apotheker was, in 1317,
city chamberlain.”

[1019] De Hermetica Medicina libri duo. Helmst. 1669, p. 293.

[1020] This edict may be found in Lindenbrogii Codex Legum Antiquarum,
p. 809. The law properly here alluded to, _de probabili experientia
medicorum_, is by most authors ascribed to the emperor Frederic I., but
by Conring to his grandson Frederic II. See Conring De Antiquitatibus
Academicis. Gottingæ, 1739, 4to, p. 60.

[1021] These gardens in most cities have been revoked, but they still
retain their ancient names, though applied to other purposes. In this
manner the œconomical garden at Göttingen is called by the common
people the apothecary’s garden.

[1022] Hist. of Commerce, i. 319.

[1023] Histoire de Paris, par Sauval, ii. p. 474.--Histoire de Paris,
par Felibien, ii. p. 927.--Traité de la Police, par De la Mare, i. p.

[1024] Sattlers Geschichte Würtenberg, v. p. 159. Addenda, p. 329.

[1025] Lersner’s Frankfurter Chronik, i. p. 26, 493; ii. pp. 57, 58.

[1026] Goldasti Constitutiones Imperiales. Francof. 1607, fol. p. 192.

[1027] Mohsens Geschichte, p. 379.

[1028] Beschreibung von Berlin, i. p. 39 and 87.

[1029] Von Dreyhaupts Beschreibung des Saal-Creyses, ii. 561.

[1030] Hamelmanns Oldenburgische Chronik, 1599, fol. p. 491.

[1031] Grupens Origines Hannoverenses. Gott. 1740, 4to, p. 341.

[1032] “By her apothecary’s shop and still-house one may discover
what real compassion the Christian-like electress showed towards the
poor who were sick or infirm; for, by having medicines prepared, and
by causing all kinds of waters to be distilled, she did not mean to
assist only her own people and those belonging to her court, but the
poor in general, whether natives or foreigners, and not for the sake
of advantage or gain, but gratis and for the love of God.”--Letzners
Dasselsche und Eimbecksche Chronica.--Erfurt, 1596, fol. p. 104.

[1033] This account is taken from the learned information collected
by Professor Spittler, in his Geschichte Hannover. Gött. 1786, 8vo,
p. 275. That the council of Göttingen began very early to pay great
attention to medical institutions, is proved by the following passage
from the Göttingischen Chronike of Franciscus Lubecus:--“Anno 1380, the
city procured a surgeon from Eschwege, who with his servant was to be
exempted from contributions and watching; and to receive clothes yearly
from the council.”

[1034] Von Dalins Geschichte Schweden, übersetzt von Dahnert. 4 vols.
4to, p. 318 and 394.

[1035] Backmeister, Essai sur la Biblioth. à St. Pétersb. 1776, 8vo, p.

[1036] Constantinus Porphyrogen. de Ceremoniis Aulæ Byzantinæ. Lipsiæ,
1751, fol. i. p. 270.

[1037] Bibliotheca Botan. i. p. 244. Ricettario di dottori dell’ arte
e di medicina del collegio Florentino, all’ instantia delli Signori
Consoli della università delli speciali. Firenz. 1498, fol. Maittaire.
Primum, quantum repperi, dispensarium.

[1038] Introductio in Artem Medicam. Helmstadii, 1687, 4to, p. 375.

[1039] C. G. Kestneri Bibliotheca Medica, Jenæ, 1746, 8vo, p. 638.


A paper on this subject was read by Professor Hamberger, in the year
1758, before the Society of Göttingen; but as the publication of the
Transactions of the Society was interrupted, it was never printed. I
however procured the manuscript from the professor’s son, Secretary
Hamberger, at Gotha, and I here insert it, corrected in a few places,
where necessary, but without any other alteration[1040].

“Weidler[1041] and Chambers[1042] are, doubtless, both mistaken when
they place the invention of automatous clocks about the end of the
fifteenth or beginning of the sixteenth century. The latter says, ‘It
is certain that the art of constructing clocks, such as those now
in use, was first invented or at least revived in Germany about two
hundred years ago.’ The same account is given by Weidler, whom Chambers
perhaps copied. But, however flattering this opinion may be to the
ingenuity of the Germans, it is so apparently false in regard to the
time, that one cannot assent to it; nor is it even probable in regard
to the country, though it must be allowed that the art of clockmaking
flourished very much in Germany, particularly at Nuremberg, about the
beginning of the sixteenth century.

“As these two authors make the invention of clocks too modern, others,
on the contrary, carry it back to a period too early. Without entering
into any dissertation on the machines of Archimedes and Posidonius,
which are said to have measured the hours of the day, I shall only
observe that a certain writer pretends to have found mention made of
a clock in the third century[1043]. In support of this assertion he
refers to the Acts of St. Sebastian, the martyr, where Chromatius,
the governor of Rome, says, when about to be cured by him, ‘I have a
glass chamber in which the whole learning and science of the stars is
constructed mechanically, in making which my father Tarquinius is known
to have expended more than two hundred pounds of gold.’ St. Sebastian
answers, ‘If you have made your choice to keep this whole, you destroy
yourself.’ To which Chromatius replies, ‘How so? do we employ any
sacrificial rights in the construction of an almanac or ephemeris,
when merely the courses of the months and years are distinguished
numerically for every hour; and the full and new moon is, by means of
certain calculations, foreshown by a motion of the fingers[1044].’
This valuable machine, however, can hardly be called a clock; for if
it had been an automaton, it would not have required to be moved with
the fingers in order to show the time of full moon. If I understand the
author’s words properly, it was not calculated to point out the hours;
but to exhibit the sun’s course through the twelve signs of the zodiac,
the motion of the rest of the planets, and their relative situation in
every month, or at any period of the year. That the signs of the zodiac
and the planets were represented on the machine, appears from what
follows. St. Polycarp (the companion of St. Stephen) said, ‘There are
the signs of the Lion, of Capricorn, Sagittarius, Scorpio and the Bull;
in Aries the moon, in the Crab an hour, in Jupiter a star, in Mercury
the tropics, in Venus Mars, and in all those monstrous demons is seen
an art hostile to God[1045].’ But whatever this machine might have
been, it was of no use to others, or to posterity: it was broken to
pieces by these saints, so that, even allowing it to have been a clock,
the knowledge of it must have been then lost.

“We find also, that Bernardus Saccus[1046] ascribes the invention
of clocks to Boëthius, in the fifth century; but Bernardus seems to
have forgotten what he quoted a little before from Cassiodorus[1047],
respecting the clock of Boëthius, that it determined the hours _guttis
aquarum_. It must, therefore, have been a water-clock, and not a clock
moved by wheels and weights. The same Cassiodorus had provided his
monks at the monastery of St. Andiol[1048], in Languedoc, with machines
of the like kind: ‘I am known,’ says he, ‘to have constructed for you a
time-piece which the light of the sun indexes; moreover another acting
by water which marks the hours both day and night; as frequently upon
some days there is no sunshine[1049].’ We are to understand also, as
alluding to such clocks, what is said by the writer of the life of St.
Leobin, bishop of Chartrain, about the year 556[1050], when he tells
us, that to him (St. Leobin) was committed the duty of regulating the
course of the hours and the vigils.

“I come now to the seventh century. In Du Cange’s Glossary we find the
word _Index_, which is explained to be the index or hand of a clock,
or the small bell which announces the hours by its sound; and this
opinion is adopted by Muratori[1051]. Du Cange quotes in support of
his assertion a monkish work called _Regula Magistri_, the author of
which is not certainly known[1052], but which Mabillon[1053] asserts
to have been written before the year 700. The passages to which he
refers are, ‘Cum advenisse divinam horam percussus in oratorio index
_monstraverit_.’ (When the index being struck in the oratory shall
have shown that the hour for prayer had come.) ‘Cum _sonuerit index_;’
and ‘Cum ad opus divinum oratorii _index sonaverit_[1054].’ But Du
Cange might have perceived, had he quoted the whole passage from the
fifty-fifth chapter, that allusion is not here made to a clock; for it
is said, not merely ‘cum sonuerit index,’ but ‘cum sonuerit index ab
Abbate percussus.’ (When the index struck by the Abbot shall sound).
It was a _scilla_ or _skella_, perhaps only a board; and Martene[1055]
seems to understand the word _index_ in the true sense when he explains
it the signal by which the brethren were called to divine service.

“That machine which was sent as a present to Charlemagne by the king
of Persia, in the year 807, is supposed also to have been a clock like
those used at present; and if we follow the Chronicon Turonense, one
may easily fall into the same opinion: ‘The king of the Persians sent
a time-piece in which the twelve hours were marked by the performance
of a cymbal and of certain horsemen who at each hour went out through
the windows, and on their return in the last hour of the day shut the
windows as they marched back[1056].’ The description of it however,
to be found in Annales Francorum, ascribed to Eginhard, shows clearly
that it was far different from our clocks. The author says, ‘Likewise
a time-piece wonderfully constructed of brass with mechanical art, in
which the course of the twelve hours was turned towards a clepsydra,
with as many brass balls which fell down at the completion of the
hour, and by their fall sounded a bell placed under them[1057].’ It
was evidently therefore a water-clock, furnished with some ingenious
mechanism, but having nothing in common with our clocks.

“About the same period lived Pacificus, archdeacon of Verona, who is
celebrated for having invented a clock[1058]. His epitaph, besides
relating other services which he did, says,--

  Horologium nocturnum nullus ante viderat.
  En invenit argumentum et primus fundaverat;
  Horologioque carmen spheræ cœli optimum,
  Plura alia graviaque prudens invenit.

Scipio Maffei endeavours to prove, that we are here to understand a
clock moved by wheels and weights; but, in my opinion, his arguments
are extremely weak. ‘This _horologium_,’ says he, ‘the like of which
had been never seen, and which was different from a sun-dial, because
it showed the hours in the night-time, could not be a clepsydra or
water-clock, for clocks of that kind were not only known to the
ancients, but even to the inhabitants of Italy in latter times, so
that it could have been nothing but a clock like ours.’ But even if we
allow, with this learned man, that water-clocks were known in Italy
at that period, it cannot be denied that they were scarce, and used
only by few, as may be evidently gathered from what is said of these
machines by Cassiodorus. The greater part of the people might have
been unacquainted with them at the above-mentioned time; and there
is no necessity for adhering so closely to the words of the epitaph,
‘nullus ante viderat,’ as Maffei has done. Besides, Maffei himself
destroys the foundation on which he rests his opinion; for he relates
that a _horologium nocturnum_ was sent to Pepin, king of France, by
pope Stephen II. This appears from the pope’s own letter; but Maffei
is under a mistake respecting the name, for it was Paul, and not
Stephen. The letter, which may be found in the Codex Carolinus[1059],
is dated in the year 756. Maffei thinks that this machine was of a
construction different from that of a water-clock; but if it pointed
out the hours in the day-time, as well as in the night, according to
his supposition, there is no reason, as Muratori observes, why it
should have been called _horologium nocturnum_. In my opinion, we ought
here to understand a clepsydra, or water-clock, such as that used
by Cassiodorus for the like purpose, and which Hildemar recommended
in the ninth century to the monks, who were obliged to observe the
hours. Hildemar says, ‘He who wishes to do this properly, must have
_horologium aquæ_[1060].’

“That these water-clocks however were then scarce, as well as in the
following centuries, we have reason to conclude from their being so
little spoken of in the writings of those periods. In the ancient
customs of the monastery of St. Viton, at Werden[1061], written as is
said in the tenth century, no mention of them occurs; and the monks
regulated their prayers by the crowing of the cock; for it is said,
‘Cum lucem ales nunciaverit, dabuntur omnia signa in resurrectione
Domini nostri,’ &c. I find as little mention of them in the eleventh
century, even in passages where they could not have been omitted, had
they been known. Thus, in a little work by Pet. Damiani, De Perfectione
Monachorum, where the author speaks of the _significator horarum_,
he does not so much as allude to a clepsydra. That the reader may
know what he means by _significator horarum_, I shall here quote his
own words: ‘He could not find time for idle fables, nor hold long
conversations, nor finally could he trouble himself about what was done
by the laity, but always intent on the duties of his office, always
provident, always anxious, he felt a desire to construct a voluble
sphere that should never stop, should show the passage of the stars and
the flight of time. He also had a custom of singing to himself whenever
he wished to have a notion as to the quantity of time; that, whenever
the brightness of the sun or the position of the stars was obscured by
the weather he might form a certain time-measurer by the quantity of
psalmody he had accomplished[1062].’

“Some ascribe the invention of our modern clocks to Gerbert, who,
in the tenth century, was raised to the pontifical chair at Rome,
under the name of Sylvester II., and who was reckoned to be the first
mathematician and astronomer of his time[1063]. This opinion however
is supported only by mere conjecture, and appears to be false from
the account of Dithmar, who says, ‘Gerbert, on being expelled from
his country, sought the emperor Otho, and after a long conversation
with him, made the time-piece in Magdeburg, constructing it correctly
by taking as guide the polar star[1064].’ No mention is made here of
wheels or weights, and this horologium seems to have been a sun-dial,
which Gerbert fixed up by observing the polar star. It appears, indeed,
that Gerbert was acquainted with no other kind of _horologia_; for
those who speak of his book De Astrolabio, in which he explains the
method of constructing dials for various latitudes, produce no further
proofs[1065]. Some, according to the testimony of Kircher, consider
this horologium to have been a portable dial, which showed the hour
when properly set by the help of a needle touched with a magnet; but
even this opinion is not warranted by the words of Dithmar.

“The anonymous author of the Life of William, abbot of Hirshau[1066],
who lived in the eleventh century, and who was a very learned man for
his time, says, ‘Naturale horologium ad exemplum cælestis hæmispherii
excogitasse.’ Though this passage is so short, that no idea can be
formed from it of the construction of the machine, it is evident that
it alludes neither to a sun-dial nor to a water-clock, but to some
piece of mechanism which pointed out the hours and exhibited the motion
of the earth and other planets. As more frequent mention of _horologia_
occurs afterwards, and as, in speaking of them, expressions are used
which cannot be applied to sun-dials or water-clocks, I am induced to
think that the invention of our clocks belongs to this period. In the
Constitutiones Hirsaugienses, or Gengebacenses, of the same William,
it is said of the sacristan, ‘eum horologium dirigere et ordinare.’
In the like manner Bernardus Monachus, a writer of the same century,
says, in the Ordo Cluniacensis, ‘apocrisiarium horologium dirigere
et diligentius temperare.’ The same author, in the Ancient Customs,
&c. of the Monastery of St. Victor, at Paris, written also about the
same time, says that the registrar (_matricularius_), the sacrist’s
companion, ought ‘horas canonicas nocte et die ad divinum celebrandum
custodire, signa pulsare, _horologium temperare_.’

“The unequal hours then in use rendered this regulating of the
_horologia_ necessary. The days and the nights consisted of twelve
hours each; but were sometimes shorter and sometimes longer. The
reason of this is explained in the sixty-fourth chapter of the
before-mentioned Customs, where it is said, ‘From the solstice of
summer to the solstice of winter, the time-piece is regulated thus:
as much as that space of night which precedes the matins gradually
increases according to the increments of the nights through the several
months, it, slowly increasing, makes that space in the winter solstice
which is before matins to that which follows, twice. On the contrary,
from the winter solstice to that of spring it is thus regulated: it
decreases that space which it had got in advance according to the
decrease of the nights through the several months, until scarcely
decreasing, it at length in the summer solstice passes over in the same
time that space which is before matins and that which follows[1067].’
Such was the regulating of the _horologia_, and I much doubt whether it
could be applied to water-clocks.

“These _horologia_ not only pointed out the hours by an index, but
emitted also a sound. This we learn from Primaria Instituta Canonicorum
Præmonstratensium[1068], where it is ordered that the sacristan should
regulate the _horologium_ and make it sound before matins to awaken
him. I dare not however venture thence to infer, that these machines
announced the number of the hour by their sound, as they seem only to
have given an alarm at the time of getting up from bed. I have indeed
never yet found a passage where it is mentioned that the number of
the hour was expressed by them; and when we read of their emitting a
sound, we are to understand that it was for the purpose of wakening
the sacristan to morning-prayers. The expression ‘horologium cecidit,’
which occurs frequently in the before-quoted writers, I consider as
allusive to this sounding of the machine. Du Cange, in my opinion,
under the word _horologium_, conceives wrongly the expression ‘de
ponderibus in imum delapsis,’ because the machine was then at rest, and
could rouse neither the sacristan nor any one else whose business it
was to beat the _scilla_.

“I shall now produce other testimony which will serve further to
confirm what I have here said of the origin of clocks. Calmet, in
his Commentary on the Regulæ S. Benedicti, quotes from a book on the
usages of the Cistercians, three passages which I shall give as he has
translated them, because I have not access at present to the original.
‘We read,’ says he, ‘in chap. 21 of the first part of their Customs,
compiled about the year 1120, that the bells will not be sounded for
any service, not even for the clock, from the mass of Holy Thursday, to
that of Holy Saturday; and in chap. 114, the sacristan is ordered to
regulate the clock that it may strike and wake him during winter before
matins or before the nocturns; and in chaps. 68 and 114, that when the
brethren have risen too early the sacristan give notice to him who
reads the last lesson to continue it until the clock strikes, or till
signal be made to the reader to leave off[1069].’

“The use of these machines must have been continued from that period,
for we find them mentioned in the thirteenth century, in the commentary
of Bernardus Cassinensis (Bernard of Cassino) on the unpublished Regulæ
S. Benedicti, from the eighth chapter of which Martene gives the
following quotation: ‘But the eighth hour being already come, there
was sufficient interval,--from the middle of the night, when he who
had care of the clock rose to strike it and to light the lamps of the
church which might have gone out on account of the length of the night,
and to ring the bells in order to wake the sleeping brothers,--that he
was able to get through half the eighth hour before the brothers had
risen[1070].’ It is said also in the Chronicon Mellicense, in Du Cange,
‘Some one, deputed by the superior who had the care of the _striking
clock_, struck; and also carried light to all the cells[1071].’

“As all arts are at first imperfect, it is observed of these clocks
that they sometimes deceived; and hence, in the Ordo Cluniacensis
Bernardi Mon., the person who regulated the clock is ordered, in case
it should go wrong, ‘ut notet in cereo, et in cursu stellarum vel
etiam lunæ, ut fratres surgere faciat ad horam competentem.’ The same
admonition is given in the Constitutiones Hirsaugienses.

“From what has been said I think it is sufficiently apparent that
clocks moved by wheels and weights began certainly to be used in the
monasteries in Europe, about the eleventh century. I do not, however,
think that Europe is entitled to the honour of this invention; but that
it is rather to be ascribed to the Saracens, to whom we are indebted
for most of the mathematical sciences. This conjecture is supported by
the _horologium_, which, as Trithemius tells us, was sent by the sultan
of Egypt, in the year 1232, to the emperor Frederic II. ‘In the same
year,’ says he, ‘the Saladin of Egypt sent by his ambassadors as a gift
to the emperor Frederic a valuable machine of wonderful construction
worth more than five thousand ducats. For it appeared to resemble
internally a celestial globe in which figures of the sun, moon, and
other planets formed with the greatest skill moved, being impelled by
weights and wheels, so that performing their course in certain and
fixed intervals they pointed out the hour night and day with infallible
certainty; also the twelve signs of the zodiac with certain appropriate
characters, moved with the firmament, contained within themselves the
course of the planets[1072].’

“The writers of this century speak in such a manner of clocks that it
appears they must, at that period, have been well-known. Gulielmus
Alvernus, disputing against those who deny the existence of the soul,
after producing various arguments, thus obviates one which might be
used against him. ‘Neither,’ says he, ‘do the motions of those clocks
which are moved by water or weights give you uneasiness, both kinds of
which move but for a short and moderate time, require frequent repair,
the arranging of their parts, and the perfect skill of the astronomer
who has a thorough knowledge of his art. But in the bodies of animals
and vegetables the motive power is entirely internal, which moderates
and regulates the movements of their parts and renders it in all ways
perfect[1073].’ And Dante, the Italian poet, says[1074],

  E come cerchi in tempra d’ orivoli
  Si giran, si che ’l primo, a chi pon mente
  Quieto pare, e l’ ultimo che voli, &c.

“In the fourteenth century mention is made of the machine of Richard
de Wallingford, which has been hitherto considered as the oldest clock
known. The description of it I shall give in the words of Leland:
‘Being chosen superior of the monastery, as he was now enabled by his
ample fortune, he resolved to show by means of some glorious work
a miracle not only of genius, but also of excelling knowledge. He
therefore with great labour, with greater expense and with the utmost
art, constructed such a clock as, in my opinion, exists nowhere else in
Europe; whether we observe the course of the sun and moon, or the fixed
stars, again, whether we consider the ebb and flow of the tide, or the
lines together with the figures and demonstrations various almost to
infinity: and when he had brought to perfection this work so worthy
of eternity, he drew up rules for it, as he was the first man of his
age in mathematical learning, which he published in this book, lest so
excellent a machine should fall into disrepute through the mistakes of
the monks, or should become silent from the law of its structure being
unknown[1075].’ This machine, if I remember right, was called by the
inventor Albion (all by one).

“Clocks hitherto had been, as it were, shut up in monasteries; but
they now began to be employed for the common use and convenience of
cities, though no instance of this is to be found before the above
period. Hubert, prince of Carrara, caused the first clock ever publicly
erected, to be put up at Padua, as we are told by Peter Paul Vergerius:
‘He caused to be built at the top of the tower, a clock, in which,
during day and night, the four-and-twenty hours pointed themselves
out[1076].’ It is said to have been made by James Dondi, whose family
afterwards got the name of _Horologio_[1077]. In remembrance of this
circumstance the following verses were inscribed on his tombstone:--

  Quin procul excelsæ monitus de vertice turris
  Tempus, et instabiles numero quod colligis horas,
  Inventum cognosce meum, gratissime lector.

“John Dondi, son of the former, acquired no less fame by a clock which
he constructed also, and which is thus described: ‘In which was the
firmament and all the planetary globes, so that the movements of all
the stars were comprised as in the heavens; it shows the days appointed
for festivals and many other things wonderful to be seen: so great was
the admirable construction of this clock, that after his death no one
knew how to correct it, nor to assign the suitable weights. At length a
skilful artist from France, attracted by the fame of this clock, came
to Pavia, and employed many days in arranging the wheels, which he
succeeded in putting together in proper order, and gave it the right

“We are informed by the Chronica Miscella Bononiensis, that the first
clock at Bologna was fixed up in the year 1356: ‘On the 8th day of
April the great bell of the tower, which was in the palace called della
Biada, belonging to Giovanni, lord of Bologna, was removed; and was
conveyed into the Corte del Capitano, and was drawn up and placed on
the tower del Capitano on Holy Wednesday; and this was the first clock
which the state of Bologna ever possessed, and it began to strike on
the 19th of May, which Messer Giovanni caused it to do[1079].’

“Some time after the year 1364, Charles V., surnamed the Wise, king of
France, caused a large clock to be placed in the tower of his palace,
by Henry de Wyck[1080], whom he invited from Germany, because there was
then at Paris no artist of that kind, and to whom he allowed a salary
of six sols per day, with free lodging in the tower.

“Towards the end of the century, about the year 1370, Strasburg also
had a clock, a description of which is given by Conrad Dasypodius[1081].

“Courtray, about the same period, was celebrated for its clock, which
was carried away by the duke of Burgundy, in the year 1382. This
circumstance is thus related by Froissart, a contemporary writer: ‘The
duke of Burgundy took away a clock (which struck the hours), one of
the best to be found, either here or beyond the sea: and he caused
this clock to be taken to pieces and placed upon carriages and the
bell also. This clock was conveyed to the town of Dijon in Burgundy;
and was there put together again and set up; and there it strikes the
four-and-twenty hours in the course of day and night[1082].’

“We are told by Lehmann[1083], that a public clock was put up at Spire
in the year 1395. ‘That year,’ says he, ‘the clock was erected on
the Altburg gate. The bell for calling the people together to divine
worship was cast by a bell-founder from Strasburg.--The works of the
clock cost fifty-one florins.’

“The greater part however of the principal cities of Europe were at
this period without striking clocks, which could not be procured but at
a great expense. Of this we have an instance in the city of Auxerre.
In the year 1483, the magistrates resolved to cause a clock to be
constructed; but as it would cost a larger sum of money than they
thought they had a right to dispose of by their own authority, they
applied to Charles VIII. to request leave to employ a certain part of
the public funds for that purpose.

“The great clock in the church of the Virgin Mary at Nuremberg was
erected in the year 1462.

“A public clock was put up at Venice in the year 1497[1084].

“In the same century an excellent clock, which is described in a letter
of Politian[1085] to Francis Casa, in the year 1484, was constructed
by one Lorenzo, a Florentine, for Cosmo I. of Medici.

“Towards the end of this century clocks began to be in use among
private persons. This appears from a letter of Ambrosius Camaldulensis
to Nicolaus, a learned man of Florence: ‘When I received your letter I
immediately made ready your clock, and should have sent it had any one
been at hand to have taken it. I have caused it to be cleaned, for it
was full of dust, and thus as it could not go freely it was retarded;
and because it could not thus run correctly, I gave it to that
illustrious youth Angelo, who is most skilful in these things[1086].’

“About this period also, mention is made of watches. Among the Italian
poems of Gaspar Visconti, there is a sonnet with the following title:
‘Si fanno certi orologii piccioli e portativi, che non poco di
artificio sempre lavorano, mostrando le ore, e molti corsi de pianeti,
e le feste, sonando quando il tempo lo ricerca. Questo sonetto è
facto in persona de uno inamorato, che, guardando uno delli predicti
orologii, compara se stesso a quello, &c.’[1087]

“It appears, therefore, that Doppelmayer is mistaken when he says that
watches were invented by Peter Hele, at Nuremberg, in the sixteenth
century; and that because they were shaped like an egg, they were
called _Nuremberg animated eggs_. I. Cocleus, in his Description of
Germany, speaking of this Hele, says, ‘This young man has performed
works which the most skilful mathematicians may admire. For he makes
small watches of steel with numerous wheels, which, as they move
without any weight, both point out and strike forty hours, even though
they are contained in the bosom or in the pocket[1088].’”


[1040] The author says that the principal writers on this subject are
Alexander, a monk of the order of St. Benedict; Paute, his countryman;
and our Derham.

[1041] Histor. Astron.

[1042] Encyclopædia, art. Clock.

[1043] Bona De Div. Psalmod. cap. 3. s. 2.

[1044] Act. SS. cap. 16. 20 Jan. p. 273. _Chrom._ “Habeo cubiculum
holovitrum, in quo omnis disciplina stellarum ac mathesis mechanica
est arte constructa, in cujus fabrica pater meus Tarquinius amplius
quam ducenta pondo auri dignoscitur expendisse.” _St. Sebast._ “Si
hoc tu integrum habere volueris, te ipsum frangis.” _Chrom._ “Quid
enim? Mathesis aut ephemeris aliquo sacrificiorum usu coluntur, cum
tantum eis mensium et annorum cursus certo numero per horarum spatia
distinguuntur; et lunaris globi plenitudo, vel diminutio, digitorum
motu, rationis magisterio, et calculi computatione praevidetur?”

[1045] “Illic signa Leonis, et Capricorni, et Sagittarii, et
Scorpionis, et Tauri sunt; illic in Ariete Luna, in Cancro hora, in
Jove stella, in Mercurio tropica, in Venere Mars, et in omnibus istis
monstruosis daemonibus ars Deo inimica cognoscitur.”

[1046] Hist. Ticin. lib. vii. c. 17.

[1047] Var. lib. i. in fine.

[1048] In the original, Monasterium Vivariense.--TRANS.

[1049] “Horologium vobis unum, quod solis claritas indicet, praeparasse
cognoscor; alterum vero aquatile, quod die noctuque horarum iugiter
indicat quantitatem; quia frequenter nonnullis diebus solis claritas
abesse cognoscitur.”--De Institut. Div. Litter. c. 29.

[1050] Mabil. Annales St. O. B. sec. i. p. 123.

[1051] Antiq. Med. Ævi, Diss. 24, p. 392.

[1052] Lucæ Holstenii Codex Regularum. Paris, 1663, p. 172.

[1053] Annales.

[1054] Capp. 54, 55. 95.

[1055] Index Onomasticus ad tom. iv. De Antiq. Eccl. Rit.

[1056] Martene, Coll. ampl. tom. v. p. 960. “Misit rex
Persarum--horologium, in quo XII horarum cursus cognoscebantur, cymbalo
ibi personante et equitibus, qui per singulas horas per fenestras
exibant, et in ultima hora diei redeuntes, in regressione sua fenestras
apertas claudebant.”

[1057] Ad a. 807. Calmet, Hist. de Lorraine, vol. i. p. 582. “Nec non
et horologium, ex aurichalco arte mechanica mirifice compositum, in quo
duodecim horarum cursus ad clepsydram vertebatur, cum totidem æreis
pilulis, quæ ad completionem horarum decidebant, et casu suo subjectum
sibi cymbalum tinnire faciebant.”

[1058] Panuvini Antiq. Veron. lib. vi. p. 153. Scip. Maffei Degli
Scrittori Veronesi, p. 32. Muratori, Ant. Ital. Med. Ævi, Diss. 24. p.

[1059] Bouquet, Recueil des Historiens de la Gaule, tom. v. p. 513.

[1060] See Martene De Ritib. Eccl. tom. iv. p. 5.

[1061] Martene, tom. iv. p. 853.

[1062] “Non fabulis vacet, non longa cum aliquo misceat, non denique,
quid a secularibus agatur, inquirat; sed commissæ sibi curæ semper
intentus, semper providus, semperque sollicitus, volubilis sphæræ
necessitatem, quiescere nescientem, siderum transitum, et elabentis
temporis meditetur semper excursum. Porro psallendi sibi faciat
consuetudinem, si discernendi horas quotidianam habere desiderat
notionem; ut, quandocunque solis claritas, sive stellarum varietas
nubium densitate non cernitur, illic in quantitate psalmodiæ, quam
tenuerit, quoddam sibi velut horologium metiatur.”

[1063] Journal des Sçavans, 1734, p. 773.

[1064] Chron. lib. vi. p. 83. Franc. 1580. fol. “Gerbertus, a finibus
suis expulsus, Ottonem petiit imperatorem, et cum eo diu conversatus,
in Magdaburg horologium fecit, illud recte constituens, considerata per
fistulam quadam stella nautarum duce.”

[1065] Le Beuf. Rec. de div. écrits, &c. vol. ii. p. 89.

[1066] Published by Car. Stengelius. Aug. Vind. 1611, p. 1.

[1067] “Ab æstivali solstitio usque ad solstitium hiemale sic
horologium temperetur, quatenus illud noctis spatium, quod matutinas
præcedat, per singulos menses secundum incrementa noctium aliquantulum
crescat, donec paulatim crescendo tandem in hiemali solstitio spatium
illud, quod est ante matutinas, ad illud quod sequitur, duplum fiat.
Similiter per contrarium ab hiemali solstitio usque ad æstivale
solstitium sic temperetur, quatenus spatium, quod præcedit, secundum
noctium decrementum per singulos menses decrescat, donec paulatim
decrescendo, tandem in solstitio æstivali spatium, quod est ante
matutinas, et quod post sequitur, æquale fiat.”

[1068] Diss. ii. c. 8. ap. Martene De Ant. Rit. tom. iii. p. 909.

[1069] “On lit, au chap. 21 de la première partie de leurs Usages,
compilez vers l’an 1120, qu’on ne fera sonner les cloches pour aucun
exercice, pas même pour l’Horloge, dépuis la messe du Jeudi saint
jusqu’à celle du Samedi saint; et au chap. 114, il est ordonné au
sacristain de regler l’Horloge, en sorte qu’elle sonne, et qu’elle
l’éveille pendant l’hyver avant matines, ou avant les nocturnes; et
au chap. 68 et 114, que quand on s’est levé trop tôt, le sacristain
avertît celui qui lit la dernière leçon, de la prolonger jusqu’à ce que
l’Horloge sonne, ou qu’on fasse signe au lecteur de cesser.”

[1070] Rit. Ant. tom. iv. p. 5. “Facta autem jam hora octava, modicum
erit amplius de media nocte quando surrexerit, _horologio excitante_,
qui habet horologium custodire, et accensis lucernis ecclesiæ, quæ
poterant propter prolixitatem noctis fuisse obscuratæ, ac pulsatis
campanis ad dormientium fratrum excitationem, potuit transire dimidia
octavæ horæ antequam surrexerint fratres.”

[1071] Cap. 774. “Excitabit aliquis a superiore deputatus, qui
_horologium excitatorium_ habeat; ad omnes quoque cellas lumen deferat.”

[1072] “Eodem anno, Saladinus Egyptiorum Frederico imperatori
dono misit per suos oratores tentorium pretiosum, mirabili arte
compositum, cujus pretii æstimatio quinque ducatorum millium
procul valorem excessit. Nam ad similitudinem sphærarum cælestium
intrinsecus videbatur constructum, in quo imagines solis, lunæ, ac
reliquorum planetarum artificiosissime compositæ movebantur ponderibus
et rotis incitatæ; ita videlicet, quod, cursum suum certis ac
debitis spatiis peragentes, horas tam noctis quam diei infallibili
demonstratione designabant; imagines quoque xii signorum zodiaci certis
distinctionibus suis motæ cum firmamento cursum in se planetarum

[1073] De Anima, c. i. p. 7, 72. “Nec te conturbant, inquit, motus
horologiorum, qui per aquam fiunt et pondera, quæ quidem ad breve
tempus et modicum fiunt, et indigent renovatione frequenti, et
aptatione instrumentorum suorum, atque operatione forinsecus, astrologi
videlicet qui peritiam habet hujus artificii. In corporibus vero
animalium vel etiam vegetabilium totum intus est, intra ea scilicet,
quod motus eorum atque partium suarum moderatur, et regit, ac modis
omnibus perficit.”

[1074] Parad. cant. xxiv. ver. 13.

[1075] “Electus in monasterii præsidem--cum jam per amplas licebat
fortunas, voluit illustri aliquo opere non modo ingenii, verum etiam
eruditionis ac artis excellentis miraculum ostendere. Ergo talem
horologii fabricam magno labore, majore sumtu, arte vero maxima
compegit, qualem non habet tota, mea opinione, Europa secundam;
sive quis cursum solis ac lunæ, seu fixa sidera notet, sive iterum
maris incrementa et decrementa, seu lineas una cum figuris ac
demonstrationibus ad infinitum pene variis consideret: cumque opus
æternitate dignissimum ad umbilicum perduxisset, canones, ut erat in
mathesi omnium sui temporis facile primus, edito in hoc libro scripsit,
ne tam insignis machina errore monachorum vilesceret, aut incognito
structuræ ordine sileret.”--See Tanneri Biblioth. Brit. Hibern. p. 629.

[1076] In Vit. Princip. Carrar. ap. Murator. tom. xvi. p. 171.
“Horologium, quo per diem et noctem quatuor et viginti horarum spatia
sponte sua designarentur, in summa turri constituendum curavit.”

[1077] See Scardeonius De Antiq. Urbis Patavii, lib. ii. class. 9, p.
205, ed. Basil, 1560, fol. and the authors which he quotes.

[1078] “In quo erat firmamentum, et omnium planetarum sphæræ, ut sic
siderum omnium motus, veluti in cœlo, comprehendantur; festa edicta
in dies monstrat, plurimaque alia oculis stupenda; tantaque fuit ejus
horologii admiranda congeries, ut usque modo post ejus relictam lucem
corrigere, et pondera convenientia assignare sciverit astrologus nemo.
Verum de Francia nuper astrologus et fabricator magnus, fama horologii
tanti ductus, Papiam venit, plurimisque diebus in rotas congregandas
elaboravit; tandemque actum est, ut in unum, eo quo decebat ordine,
composuerit, motumque ut decet dederit.”--These are the words of Mich.
Savanarola in Comm. de Laud. Patav. in Muratori, vol. xxiv. col. 1164.

[1079] In Muratori, tom. xviii. p. 444. “A di 8 di Aprile fu tolta via
la campana grossa della torre, ch’ era nel palazzo di Messer Giovanni
signor di Bologna, il qual palazzo dicevasi della Biada; e fu menata
nella Corte del Capitano, e tirata e posta sulla Torre del Capitano nel
Mercoledi Santo; e questo fu l’ orologio, il quale fu il primo, che
avesse mai il Commune di Bologna, e si commincio a sonare a di 19 di
Maggio, il quale lo fece fare Messer Giovanni.”

[1080] Moreri, Diction. art. Horloge du Palais.

[1081] In the account of the astronomical clock at Strasburg, to be
found in lac. von Königshovens Elsass und Strasb. Chronik. p. 574.

[1082] “Le duc de Bourgogne fit oster un horloge (qui sonnoit les
heures), l’un des plus beaux qu’on seust trouver deçà ne delà la mer:
et celui horloge fit tout mettre, par membres et pieces, sur chars, et
la cloche aussi. Lequel horloge fut amené et charroyé en la ville de
Digeon en Bourgogne, et fut là remis et assis: et y sonne les heures
vingt-quatre, entre jour et nui.”--Vol. ii. c. 128, p. 229.

[1083] Lib. vii. c. 69, towards the end.

[1084] Thes. Ital. iii. p. 3, p. 308.

[1085] Politiani Op. 1533, 8vo, p. 121.

[1086] “Horologium tuum mox, ut tuas accepi literas, paravi,
misissemque, si fuisset præsto qui afferret. Ipsam mundari feci,
nam erat pulvere obsitum, atque ideo, ne libere posset incedere.
retardabatur. Et quia ne sic quidem recte currebat, Angelo illi
illustri adolescenti harum rerum peritissimo dedi.”

[1087] This sonnet I shall here transcribe from A. Saxii Hist.
Litterario-typographica Mediolan.:--

  Hò certa occulta forza in la secreta
    Parte del cor, qual sempre si lavora
    De sera a sera, e d’una a l’altra aurora,
    Che non spero la mente aver mai quieta.
  Legger ben mi potria ogni discreta
    Vista nel fronte, ove amor colora
    D’affanno e di dolore il punto e l’ora,
    E la cagion, che riposar mi vieta.
  L’umil squilletta sona il pio lamento,
    Che spesso mando al cielo, e la fortuna,
    Per disfogar cridando il fier tormento.
  De le feste annual non ne mostro una,
    Ma pianeti iracondi, e di spavento,
    Eclipsati col sole, e con la luna.

Dominico Maria Manni, in his book De Florentinis Inventis, chap. 29,
calls the artist Lorenzo a Vulparia, and says that he was a native of

[1088] Added to his Comm. in Pomp. Melam, cap. de Noriberga. “Eum
juvenem adhuc admodum, opera efficere, quæ vel doctissimi admirentur
mathematici. Nam ex ferro parva fabricat horologia plurimis digesta
rotulis, quæ, quocunque vertantur, absque ullo pondere, et monstrant et
pulsant xl horas, etiam si in sinu marsupiove contineantur.”


The term _Horologia_ occurs very early in different parts of Europe;
but as this word, in old times, signified dials as well as clocks,
nothing decisive can be inferred from it, unless it can be shown by
concomitant circumstances or expressions, that it relates to a clock
rather than a dial. Dante seems to be the first author who hath
introduced the mention of an _orologio_ that struck the hour, and which
consequently cannot be a dial, in the following lines:--

  Indi come horologio che _ne chiami_,
  Nel hora che la sposa d’Idio surge,
  Amattinar lo sposo, perche l’ami[1090].

Dante was born in 1265, and died in 1321, aged fifty-seven;
striking-clocks therefore could not have been very uncommon in Italy,
at the latter end of the thirteenth century or the beginning of the

But the use of clocks was not confined to Italy at this period; for we
had an artist in England about the same time, who furnished the famous
clock-house near Westminster Hall, with a clock to be heard by the
courts of law, out of a fine imposed on the Chief Justice of the King’s
Bench, in the sixteenth year of Edward I., or in 1288[1091]. Blackstone
in his Commentaries has observed, that this punishment of Radulphus de
Hengham is first taken notice of in the Year Book[1092], during the
reign of Richard III., where indeed no mention is made of a clock being
thus paid for; but if the circumstances stated in the report of this
case are considered, it was highly unnecessary, and perhaps improper,
to have alluded to this application of the Chief Justice’s fine.

It appears by the Year Book, that Richard III. had closeted the
judges in the _Inner_ Star Chamber, to take their opinions upon three
points of law; the second of which was, “Whether a justice of the
peace, who had enrolled an indictment, which had been negatived by
the grand-jury, amongst the _true bills_, might be punished for this
abuse of his office.” On this question a diversity of opinion arose
amongst the judges, some of whom supposed that a magistrate could not
be prosecuted for what he might have done, whilst others contended
that he might, and cited the case of Hengham, who was fined eight
hundred marks for making an alteration in a record, by which a poor
defendant was to pay only six shillings and eightpence, instead of
thirteen shillings and fourpence. Thus far the answer of the judges to
the question was strictly proper; but the application of the fine to
build a clock-house was not the least material[1093]; besides, that it
was probably a most notorious fact to every student, upon his first
attending Westminster-hall, as we find judge Southcote, so much later,
in the early part of queen Elizabeth’s reign, not only mentioning
the tradition, but that the clock still continued there, which had
been furnished out of the Chief Justice’s fine[1094]. Sir Edward Coke
likewise adds, that the eight hundred marks were actually entered
on the roll, so that it is highly probable he had himself seen the

But we have remaining to this day some degree of evidence, not only
of the existence of such a clock, but that it is of the antiquity
already ascribed to it, viz. the reign of Edward I. On the side of New
Palace-yard, which is opposite to Westminster-hall, and in the second
pediment of the new buildings from the Thames, a dial is inserted
with this remarkable motto upon it, “_Discite justitiam moniti_,”
which seems most clearly to relate to the fine imposed on Radulphus
de Hengham being applied to the paying for a clock. But it may be
said that this inscription is on a dial and not upon a clock; which
though it appears upon the first stating it to be a most material
objection, yet I conceive it may receive the following satisfactory
answer. The original clock of Edward the First’s reign was probably a
very indifferent one, but from its great antiquity, and the tradition
attending it, was still permitted to remain till the time of queen
Elizabeth, according to the authorities already cited. After this,
being quite decayed, a dial might have been substituted and placed
upon the same clock-house, borrowing its very singular motto; which
whether originally applied in the time of Edward I. or in later reigns,
most plainly alludes to Hengham’s punishment for altering a record.
It should also be mentioned that this dial seems to have been placed
exactly where the clock-house stood according to Strype[1096].

Mr. Norris, secretary to the Society of Antiquaries, hath been likewise
so obliging as to refer me to the following instance of a very ancient
clock in the same century: _Anno 1292, novum orologium magnum in
ecclesia_ (Cantuariensi), _pretium 30l._[1097].

I shall now produce a proof, that not only clocks but watches were made
in the beginning of the fourteenth century. Seven or eight years ago,
some labourers were employed at Bruce Castle, in Fifeshire, where they
found a watch, together with some coin, both of which they disposed
of to a shopkeeper of St. Andrews, who sent the watch to his brother
in London, considering it as a curious piece of antiquity. The outer
case is silver, raised in rather a handsome pattern over a ground of
blue enamel; and I think I can distinguish a cypher of R. B. at each
corner of the enchased work. On the dial-plate is written _Robertus B.
Rex Scotorum_, and over it is a convex transparent horn, instead of the
glasses which we use at present. Now _Robertus B. Rex Scotorum_ can be
no other king of Scotland than Robert Bruce, who began his reign in
1305, and died in 1328; for the Christian name of Baliol, who succeeded
him, was Edward; nor can _Robertus B._ be applied to any later Scottish
king. This very singular watch is not of a larger size than those which
are now in common use; at which I was much surprised till I had seen
several of the sixteenth century in the collection of Sir Ashton Lever
and Mr. Ingham Forster, which were considerably smaller.

As I mean to deduce the progress of the art of clock-making in a
regular chronological series, the next mention I find of _horologia_ is
in Rymer’s Fœdera, where there is a protection of Edward III., in the
year 1368, to three Dutchmen, who were _Orlogiers_. The title of this
protection is, “De horologiorum artificio exercendo;” and I hope to
have sufficiently proved that there was no necessity of procuring mere
dial-makers at this time.

Clock-makers however were really wanted at this period of the
fourteenth century, as may be inferred from the following lines of
Chaucer, when he speaks of a cock’s crowing:--

  Full sikerer was his crowing in his loge,
  As is a _clock_, or any abbey orloge[1098]:

by which, as I conceive at least, our old poet means to say, that
the crowing was as certain as a _bell_ or abbey-_clock_[1099]. For
though we at present ask so often, “What is it _o’clock?_” meaning the
time-measurer, yet I should rather suppose, that in the fourteenth
century the term _clock_ was often applied to a _bell_ which was rung
at certain periods, determined by an hour-glass or a sun-dial. Nor have
I been able to stumble upon any passage which alludes to a clock,
by that name, earlier than the thirteenth year of the reign of Henry
VIII.[1100] The abbey _orloge_ (or clock) however must have been not
uncommon when Chaucer wrote these lines; and from clocks beginning
to be in use we might have had occasion for more artificers in this
branch, though it should seem that we had Englishmen, who pretended
at least to understand it, because the protection of Edward III.
above-cited, directs that the persons to whom it was granted, should
not be molested whilst they were thus employed.

I now pass on to a famous astronomical clock, made by one of our
countrymen in the reign of Richard II., the account of which I have
extracted from Leland. Richard of Wallingford was son of a smith,
who lived at that town, and who, from his learning and ingenuity,
became abbot of St. Albans. Leland, speaking of him, says, “Cum jam
per amplas licebat fortunas, voluit illustri aliquo opere, non modo
ingenii, verum etiam eruditionis, ac artis excellentis, miraculum
ostendere. Ergo talem _horologii_ fabricam magno labore, majore
sumtu, arte vero maxima, compegit, qualem non habet tota Europa, _mea
opinione_, secundam, sive quis cursum solis ac lunæ, seu fixa sidera
notet, sive iterum maris incrementa et decrementa[1101].” Richard of
Wallingford wrote also a treatise on this clock, “Ne tam insignis
machina vilesceret errore monachorum, aut incognito structuræ ordine
silesceret.” From what hath been above stated, it appears that this
astronomical clock continued to go in Leland’s time, who was born at
the latter end of Henry VII.’s reign, and who speaks of a tradition,
that this famous piece of mechanism was called _Albion_ by the inventor.

Having thus endeavoured to prove that clocks were made in England from
the time of Edward I. to that of Richard II., it is not essential
to my principal purpose to deduce them lower through the successive
reigns; but when I have shortly stated what I happened to have found
with regard to this useful invention in other parts of Europe, I shall
attempt to show why they were not more common in the thirteenth and
fourteenth centuries.

The citation from Dante, which I have before relied upon, shows that
they were not unknown in Italy during that period; and M. Falconet,
in Mémoires de Litterature, informs us, that a James Dondi, in the
fourteenth century, assumed from a clock made by him for the tower of
a palace, the name of _Horologius_, which was afterwards borne by his

In France, or what is now so called, Froissart mentions, that during
the year 1332, Philip the Hardy, duke of Burgundy, removed from
Courtray to his capital at Dijon a famous clock which struck the
hours, and was remarkable for its mechanism[1102]. The great clock
at Paris was put up in the year 1370, during the reign of Charles
V., having been made by Charles de Wic[1103] a German. Carpentier,
in his supplement to Du Cange, cites a decision of the parliament of
Paris in the year 1413, in which Henry Bye, one of the parties, is
styled _Gubernator Horologii palatii nostri Parisiis_[1104]. About the
same time also the clock at Montargis was made, with the following

  Charles le Quint (sc. de France)
  Me fit par Jean de _Jouvence_.

The last word seems to be the name of a Frenchman.

Though I have not happened to meet with any mention of very early
clocks in Germany, yet from the great clock at Paris in 1370 being the
work of De Wic, as also from the protection granted by Edward III.
to three clock-makers from Delft, it should seem that this part of
Europe[1105] was not without this useful invention; and the same may
be inferred with regard to Spain from the old saying, “Estar como un

Having now produced instances of several clocks, and even a watch,
which were made in different parts of the fourteenth century, as also
having endeavoured to prove that they were not excessively uncommon
even in the thirteenth, it may be thought necessary that I should
account for their not being more generally used during those periods,
as in their present state at least they are so very convenient. For
this it should seem that many reasons may be assigned.

In the infancy of this new piece of mechanism, they were probably of
a very imperfect construction, perhaps never went tolerably, and were
soon deranged, whilst there was no one within a reasonable distance to
put them in order. To this day the most musical people have seldom a
harpsichord in their house, if the tuner cannot be procured from the
neighbourhood. We find therefore that Henry VI. of England, and Charles
V. of France, appointed clock-makers, with a stipend, to keep the
Westminster and Paris clocks in order.

It need scarcely be observed also, that, as the artists were so few,
their work must have been charged accordingly, and that kings only
could be the purchasers of what was rather an expensive toy than of
any considerable use. And it may perhaps be said, that they continued
in a great measure to be no better than toys till the middle of the
seventeenth century. Add to this, that in the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries, there was so little commerce, intercourse, or society, that
an hour-glass, or the sun, was very sufficient for the common purposes,
which are now more accurately settled by clocks of modern construction.
Dials and hour-glasses likewise wanted no mending.

Having now finished what hath occurred to me with regard to the first
introduction of clocks, I shall conclude by a few particulars, which
I have been enabled to pick up, in relation to those more portable
measurers of time, called _watches_, the earliest of which, except
that of Robert Bruce, king of Scotland, seems to be one in Sir Ashton
Lever’s most valuable museum, the date upon which is 1541[1107].

Derham, in his Artificial Clock-maker[1108], published in 1714,
mentions a watch of Henry VIII. which was still in order; and Dr.
Demainbray informs me, that he hath heard both Sir Isaac Newton and
Demoivre speak of this watch[1109]. The emperor Charles V., Henry’s
contemporary, was so much pleased with these time-measurers, that he
used to sit after his dinner with several of them on the table, his
bottle being in the centre[1110]; and when he retired to the monastery
of St. Just, he continued still to amuse himself with keeping them in
order, which is said to have produced a reflection from him on the
absurdity of his attempt to regulate the motions of the different
powers of Europe.

Some of the watches used at this time seem to have been strikers; at
least we find in the Memoirs of Literature, that such watches having
been stolen both from Charles V. and Lewis XI. whilst they were in a
crowd, the thief was detected by their striking the hour[1111]. In
most of the more ancient watches, of which I have seen several in the
collection of Sir Ashton Lever and Mr. Ingham Forster, catgut supplied
the place of a chain[1112], whilst they were commonly of a smaller
size than we use at present, and often of an oval form[1113].

From these and probably many other imperfections, they were not in any
degree of general request till the latter end of queen Elizabeth’s
reign. Accordingly in Shakspeare’s Twelfth Night, Malvolio says, “I
frown the while, and perchance _wind up my watch_, or play with some
rich jewel.” Again, in the first edition of Harrington’s Orlando
Furioso, printed in 1591, the author is represented with what seems to
be a watch, though the engraving is by no means distinct, on which is
written “Il tempo passa[1114].”

In the third year of James I., a watch was found upon Guy Fawkes, which
he and Percy had bought the day before, “to try conclusions for the
long and short burning of the touch-wood, with which he had prepared to
give fire to the train of powder[1115].”

In 1631, Charles I. incorporated the clock-makers; and the charter
prohibits _clocks_, _watches_, and _alarms_, from being imported; which
sufficiently proves that they were now more commonly used, as well
as that we had artists of our own who were expert in this branch of

About the middle of the seventeenth century, Huygens made his great
improvement in clock-work, which produced many others from our own
countrymen[1116]; the latest of which was the introduction of repeating
watches, in the time of Charles II., who, as I have been informed by
the late lord Bathurst, sent one of the first of these new inventions
to Lewis XIV. The former of these kings was very curious with regard
to these time-measurers; and I have been told by an old person of the
trade, that watchmakers, particularly East, used to attend whilst he
was playing at the Mall; a watch being often the stake.

But we have a much more curious anecdote of royal attention to watches
in Dr. Derham’s Artificial Clock-maker (p. 107). Barlow had procured
a patent, in concert with the Lord Chief Justice Allebone, for
_repeaters_; but Quare making one at the same time upon ideas he had
entertained before the patent was granted, James II. tried both, and
giving the preference to Quare’s, it was notified in the gazette. In
the succeeding reign, the reputation of the English work in this branch
was such, that in the year 1698, an act passed, obliging the makers
to put their names on watches, lest discreditable ones might be sold
abroad for English[1117].

_Letter on the pretended Watch of King Robert Bruce_[1118].

You will remember that I formerly mentioned something to you in
reference to the observations made by the Hon. Daines Barrington, on
the earliest introduction of clocks, published in the Annual Register
for 1779, under the article Antiquities, p. 133. According to your
desire, I will communicate what circumstances come within my personal
knowledge, about a watch that corresponds very much to one described
by him as once the property of king Robert Bruce. I must be indulged,
although in some particulars I cannot speak with absolute certainty,
as so much time hath elapsed since the transaction I am going to relate.

Being early fond of anything ancient or uncommon, I used to purchase
pieces of old coin from a goldsmith who wrought privately in Glasgow,
and sometimes went about as a hawker. Having often asked him from the
curiosity of a boy, if he had ever been at the castle of Clackmannan,
or heard of any antiquities being found there, he told me that he had
purchased from Mrs. Bruce, who is the only survivor of that ancient
family in the direct line, an old watch, which was found in the castle,
and had an inscription, bearing, that it belonged to king Robert Bruce.
I immediately asked a sight of it; but he told me it was not at hand.
He fixed a time for showing me this invaluable curiosity; but even then
it could not be seen. My avidity produced many anxious calls, although
by that time I began to suspect he meant to play upon me, especially
as I did not think it altogether credible that Mrs. Bruce would sell
such a relict of her family if she had ever had it in her possession.
At length I was favoured with a sight of it. The watch, as far as I
can recollect, almost entirely answered the one described. It had a
ground of blue enamel. It had a horn above the dial-plate instead of a
glass. The inscription was on the plate. But whether it was _Robertus
B._ or _Robertus Bruce_, I cannot remember. The watch was very small
and neat, and ran only, to the best of my knowledge, little more than
twelve hours, at least not a complete day. The Hon. Mr. Barrington does
not mention anything about this circumstance. It is about twelve years
since I saw it. Whether there be any castle in Fife properly called
Bruce castle, I know not; but the castle of Clackmannan hath always
been the residence of the eldest branch of the family; and although the
town in which it stands now gives name to a small county, yet in former
times, and still in common language, that whole district receives the
name of Fife, as distinguishing it from the county on the other side
of the firths of Forth and Tay. The first thing that occurred to me
about the watch itself, was in regard to the inscription. Observing
that all the coins of king Robert’s age bore Saxon characters, I could
not believe the inscription to be genuine, because the characters
were not properly Saxon, but a kind of rugged Roman, or rather Italic
characters, like those commonly engraved, but evidently done very
coarsely, to favour the imposition. He valued it at 1_l._ 10_s._, but I
would have nothing to do with it. The first time I had an opportunity
of seeing Mrs. Bruce of Clackmannan, after this, I asked her if such a
watch had ever been found. She told me that she never so much as heard
of any such thing. This confirmed the justness of my suspicion.

I paid no further regard to this story till about seven years ago, when
I received a letter from a friend, informing me, that a brother of his
in London, who had a taste for antiquity, had desired him, if possible,
to procure some intelligence from Glasgow about a watch, said to be
king Robert Bruce’s, which had thence found its way to London, and
was there making a great noise among the antiquaries. I then applied
to my former goldsmith, who was then in a more respectable way, and
mentioned the old story. He immediately fell a-laughing, and told me,
that he did it merely for a piece of diversion, and thought the story
would take with me, as I had been often asking about the place. He said
that it was an old watch brought from America; that, to get some sport
with my credulity, he had engraved the inscription upon it in a rough,
antiquated-like form; that he had afterwards sold it for two guineas;
he had learned that it was next sold for five, and had never more heard
of it.

However early the invention of clocks might be, I am greatly mistaken
if any authentic documents can be produced of the art of making
pocket-watches being discovered so early as the beginning of the
fourteenth century. Lord Kaimes, somewhere in his Sketches of Man,
asserts, that the first watch was made in Germany, so far as I can
remember, near the close of the fifteenth century[1119]. If any watch
had been made so early as R. Bruce’s time, it is most likely the
inscription would have been in Saxon characters, as not only the money
both of Scotland and England, but of Germany, in that age, bears a
character either Saxon, or greatly resembling it.

Whatever ardour one feels for anything that bears the genuine marks
of antiquity, it is certainly a debt he owes to those who have the
same taste, to contribute anything in his power that may prevent
impositions, to which antiquaries are abundantly subject, through the
low humour or avarice of others; or that may tend to confirm a fact by
proper comparison and minute investigation of circumstances. Besides,
this is of greater moment than settling the genuineness of a coin, or
many other things of the same nature, because it involves in it the
date of a very important discovery. It doth not merely refer to the
history of an individual, or even of one nation, but to the history of
man. It respects the progress of the arts; and an anachronism here is
of considerable importance, because, being established upon a supposed
fact, it becomes a precedent for writers in future ages.

[The time and place at which watches were first made similar to those
now in use, are not positively determined. The first step towards
its accomplishment must have consisted in making a mainspring the
source of motion instead of a weight[1120]. The invention of the fusee
speedily followed the mainspring, and without it the former would be
useless, in consequence of its tension varying according to the size
of its coil. In the time of Elizabeth a watch was a very different
kind of instrument to one of the present day. As regards size, it
closely resembled one of our common dessert-plates. Before Dr. Hooke’s
improvement, the performance of watches was so very irregular that
they were considered as serving only to give the time for a few hours,
and this in rather a random kind of way. The invention by Dr. Hooke
of a spiral spring applied to the arbor of the balance, by which
means effects were produced on its vibrations similar to the action
of gravity on the pendulum of a clock, was perhaps of more importance
than any improvement which has been subsequently made. Watches
were common in France before 1544, as in that year the corporation
of master clockmakers in Paris had a statute enacted to ensure to
themselves the exclusive privilege of making and causing to be made
clocks and watches, large or small, within the precincts of that city.
The anchor-escapement was invented by Clement, a London clockmaker,
in 1680. Previously to 1790, two kinds of watches were made, the
vertical and the horizontal. The former was first used in clocks, then
in watches. The horizontal was invented in 1724, by George Graham,
F.R.S. (an apprentice of the renowned Tompion), to whom we are indebted
for two of the most valuable improvements in clocks which have ever
been made, viz. the dead-beat, or Graham escapement[1121], as it is
called, and the mercurial compensation pendulum. The best proof that
can be adduced of the importance of these inventions is, that they
still continue to be employed in all their early simplicity, in the
construction of the best astronomical clocks of the present day.
Graham’s horizontal escapement is still extensively employed in the
Swiss and Geneva watches, but in the better sort of those of English
manufacture, it has been superseded by the duplex, and recently by
the lever, which is nothing more than the application of Graham’s
dead-beat escapement to the watch, though patents have been taken out
by various persons who have claimed the invention. The most remarkable
inventions of this period were those of Harrison, consisting of his
gridiron pendulum, the going fusee, the compensation curb, and the
remontoir escapement. In 1736, he appears to have completed his
longitude watch, and received from the Royal Society their gold medal;
he ultimately received the government reward of £20,000, together with
other sums from the Board of Longitude and the Honourable East India
Company. Notwithstanding his application of the compensation curb to
the watch, it was still a subject of inquiry, and by many persons it
was thought that the expansion and contraction of the metal, of which
the spring is composed, was the source of variation in the equality
of its motion under changes of temperature; but the consideration
that the change of rate in the clock, with a seconds pendulum, in
passing from the winter to the summer temperature, amounted only to
about twenty seconds, while that of the watch exceeded six minutes and
a half under similar circumstances, led careful observers to infer
that some other cause must be assigned for the anomaly, and the loss
of elasticity of the balance-spring by heat began to be suspected,
as appears by the following passage in the Prize Essay of Daniel
Bernoulli, read before the French Academy:--“I must not omit (said
this celebrated geometrician) a circumstance which may be prejudicial
to balance watches; it is, that experimental philosophers pretend to
have remarked that certain changes of elastic force uniformly follow
changes of temperature. If that be the case, the spring can never
uniformly govern the balance.” That which Bernoulli only conjectured,
was in 1773 established as a matter of certainty, and the amount in
loss of time due to each of the three conjointly operating causes
determined by Berthoud to be,--loss by expansion of the balance, 62
seconds; loss by elongation of the balance-spring, 19 seconds; and
loss by the diminution of the spring’s elastic force by heat, 312
seconds, by an increase of 60° of heat of Fahrenheit’s scale. We have
previously observed that Harrison’s compensation curb was inefficient,
as besides other defects, it interfered too much with the isochronism
of the balance-spring, as the inventor himself was candid enough to
confess that the balance, balance-spring, and compensation curb,
were not contemporaneously affected by changes of temperature, since
small pieces of metal were sooner affected than large, and those in
motion before those at rest. Whence he was led to conclude, that if
the provision for heat and cold could properly reside in the balance
itself, as was the case with his gridiron pendulum clocks, the
time-piece might be made much more perfect. This ingenuous observation
is the more to Harrison’s credit, as it was certainly his interest
to conceal such a suggestion, being at that time a candidate for the
government reward. The complexity of Harrison’s timekeeper and the
high price, £400, demanded by Kendall to make them after that model,
still left the timekeeper to be discovered that would come within the
means of purchase of private individuals: for admirably as Harrison
had succeeded in the construction of those which had procured him his
reward, and great as were the talents of his assistant Larcum Kendall,
yet for practical purposes, there needed an instrument of greater
simplicity, and to John Arnold we are indebted for its invention.

Arnold is also celebrated for the manufacture of the smallest
repeating-watch ever known: it was made for his majesty George III., to
whom it was presented on his birthday, the 4th of June 1764. Although
less than six-tenths of an inch in diameter, it was perfect in all its
parts, repeated the hours, quarters and half-quarters, and contained
the first ruby cylinder ever made. Indeed so novel was the construction
of this little specimen of mechanical skill, that he was forced not
only to form the design and execute the work himself, but also to
manufacture the greater part of the tools employed in its construction.
It is minutely described in Rees’s Cyclopædia, and also in the Sporting
Magazine of that time, in which latter work it is correctly stated to
be of the size of a silver twopence, and its weight that of a sixpence.
The King was so much pleased with this rare specimen of mechanical
skill, that he presented Mr. Arnold with 500 guineas; and the Emperor
of Russia afterwards offered Mr. Arnold 1000 guineas for a duplicate of
it, which he declined.

Arnold’s model, though destined to perform the same office as
Harrison’s, was entirely different in its construction, and was as
simple as his predecessor’s was complex. By progressive stages of
improvement, it was brought by the inventor himself to so high a
point of perfection, that it continues to be the model followed in
the construction of the best chronometers of the present day. The
instruments upon which Arnold experimented are now in the possession
of his successor, Mr. C. Frodsham, and show the gradual progress of
advancement made in the escapement, &c., until he arrived at that
beautiful, yet simple, detached escapement, which is still followed,
and known under the name of the Arnold escapement. He was the first
watchmaker who introduced jewelling into watches and clocks, and in
1771 he applied ruby pallets to the two clocks of the Royal Society
by Graham and Smeaton, and likewise to the transit clock by Graham
at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. In 1776 Arnold achieved what
was unquestionably his greatest work, viz. the invention of the
cylindrical spring and compensation balance, and their application in
the chronometer, which is the name that Arnold then first employed
to designate his timekeepers. This ingenious and valuable discovery
introduced a new æra in chronometry. Each part of the machine under
the new arrangement performed unchecked the office assigned to it. The
escapement was completely detached, except at the moment of discharge
and giving impulse; the balance-spring, no longer interfered with in
corrections for temperature (as formerly) by the compensating curb,
became a free agent and the generator of motion, in which state only
it is capable of being perfectly isochronized; the balance, by its
expansion and contraction, varied its inertia according to the varied
tension of the balance-spring by its increased or diminished elastic
force in changes of temperature, while the office of the main-spring
was reduced to that of a simple maintaining power. This beautiful
discovery, together with the law of isochronism and other important
improvements in the modification of the compensation balance, procured
for him and his son John Roger Arnold the reward from government of
the sum of £3000. The accuracy with which _chronometers_ keep time is
truly astonishing: in 1830 two chronometers constructed by Mr. Charles
Frodsham were submitted for public trial at the Royal Observatory,
Greenwich, for twelve months, and were observed daily. One of them made
an extreme variation of 86-hundredth parts of a second, and the other
of 57-hundredths only; but even this degree of accuracy, surprising
as it is, is surpassed by the performance of his best _astronomical_
clocks. It is therefore highly honourable to the English artists, that
by their ingenuity and skill they have accomplished the great object
which had occupied the attention of the learned of Europe for nearly
300 years, namely, the means of discovering the longitude at sea. It is
not a little singular that Sir Isaac Newton suggested the discovery of
the longitude by the aid of an accurate timekeeper.

If we go back to the period of Philip III. of Spain, we shall then
see the interest and importance attached to this great discovery. As
early as 1598, this monarch offered a reward of 100,000 crowns to any
person who should discover the means of finding the longitude of a
ship at sea; but what was the opinion then entertained of the nature
of the task to be accomplished by means of the balance-watches then
in use, may be gathered from an expression of Morin, who wrote about
the year 1630, and who in speaking to the Cardinal Richelieu of the
difficulty of constructing an instrument which should keep time to the
requisite degree of accuracy for that purpose, is reported to have
said, “Id verò an ipsi dæmoni nescio, homini autem suscipere scio esse

We have not said much on the beautiful discovery of the law of
isochronism, of the balance-spring, on which the higher adjustment
of clocks and watches so entirely depend, as an elaborate essay on
this subject by Charles Frodsham, F.R.A.S., is in the hands of the
publisher, and will shortly be circulated.

Some very ingenious contrivances have within the last few years been
effected in the application of the electric fluid as a source of motive
power to clocks and chronometers, and they offer peculiar advantages
in the great simplicity of the apparatus in which wheels are dispensed
with, hence friction is reduced to a minimum. Their invention is a
subject of dispute between Professor Wheatstone and Mr. Alexander
Bain[1123]. We shall briefly describe Mr. Bain’s clock. His source of
electricity is obtained by fixing galvanic plates in moist earth. The
clock consists of a pendulum, the bob of which vibrates between the
poles of two permanent magnets, the opposite poles of which face one
another. A small platinum-ball is affixed to the upper part of a small
brass stem, which is free for lateral motion, being fastened below to
a light spindle carried by the upper part of the pendulum-rod. A wire
coated with silk is attached to the lower end of the suspension-spring
of the pendulum. It is led down the back of the rod (which is composed
of wood) and then coiled longitudinally in many convolutions around
the edge of the bob in a groove. It is then taken up the back of the
rod and terminates in the bearings of the spindle. The pendulum is
suspended from a metal bracket fixed to the back of the case, and to
which one of the poles of the battery is attached. Two pins are fixed
horizontally, parallel with the platinum-ball, leaving space for its
lateral motions, and at such a distance that the ball alternately
comes into contact with each pin, when the pendulum has reached the
opposite extremity of its arc. The other pole of the battery is
placed in contact with the metal bracket which supports one of the
pins. As long as the platinum-ball rests on the pin projecting from
the pin-bracket to which the second pole of the battery is attached,
a constant current of electricity is established and passes through
the earth, the plates and the wires. But when the pendulum is set in
motion by being drawn on one side, the point of support of the rod
carrying the platinum-ball is thus moved to the same side, hence the
centre of gravity of the platinum-ball being removed beyond its base,
it falls upon the opposite pin. This motion of the ball lets on and
cuts off the flow of electricity, at or near the ends of the vibrations
of the pendulum, so that the convoluted wire of the bob is alternately
attracted and repelled by the magnets at the proper points of its
vibrations, and thus a continual motion is kept up. Mr. Bain has also
contrived arrangements by which a great number of clocks may be worked
simultaneously or in rotation; as also by which ordinary clocks may be
made to keep time. The latter are effected by transmitting a current
of electricity once in every four hours from a regulating clock. As
the details connected with these valuable contrivances can hardly be
followed without figures, we must rest satisfied with referring the
reader to Mr. Bain’s work, before cited.]


[1089] This article was written by the Hon. Daines Barrington. It is
here given with the addition of Professor Beckmann’s notes, which are
distinguished by the initials of his name.

[1090] Dante, Paradiso, c. x.

[1091] Selden, in his preface to Hengham.

[1092] Mic. 2 Ric. III.

[1093] We find that this clock was considered, during the reign of
Henry VI., to be of such consequence, that the king gave the keeping
of it, with the appurtenances, to William Warby, dean of St. Stephens,
together with the pay of sixpence per diem, to be received at the
Exchequer. See Stow’s London, vol. ii. p. 55. The clock at St. Mary’s,
Oxford, was also furnished in 1523, out of fines imposed on the
students of the university.

[1094] III. Inst. p. 72.

[1095] IV. Inst. p. 255.

[1096] p. 55, in his Additions to Stow. This clock-house continued in a
ruined state till the year 1715.--Grose’s Antiquarian Repertory, p. 280.

[1097] Dart’s Canterbury, Appendix, p. 3.

[1098] Chaucer was born in 1328, and died in 1400.

[1099] To the time of queen Elizabeth clocks were often called

  He’ll watch the _horologe a double set_,
  If drink rock not his cradle.--Othello, act ii. sc. 3.

by which the double set of twelve hours on a clock is plainly alluded
to, as not many more than twelve can be observed on a dial; and in the
same tragedy this last time-measurer is called by its proper name:

  More tedious than the dial eight score times.--_Ibid._ act iii. sc. 4.

The clock of Wells cathedral is also, to this day, called the

[1100] See Dugdale’s Origines Jurid. Lydgate, therefore, who wrote
before the time of Henry VIII., says,

  I will myself be your _orologere_
  To-morrow early.--Prologue to the Storye of Thebes.

[1101] Leland de Script. Brit. [The translation of this passage will be
found at p. 350.]

[1102] Froissart, vol. ii. ch. 127.

[1103] Falconet, Mémoires de Litt. vol. xx.

[1104] See Carpentier, art. _Horologiator_.

[1105] Mr. Peckett, an ingenious apothecary of Compton Street, Soho,
hath shown me an astronomical clock which belonged to the late Mr.
Ferguson, and which still continues to go. The workmanship on the
outside is elegant, and it appears to have been made by a German in
1525, by the subjoined inscription in the Bohemian of the time:

    _Iar. da. macht. mich. Iacob. Zech.
  Zu. Prag. ist. bar. da. man. zalt. 1525._

The above Englished:

    Year. when. made. me. Jacob. Zech.
  At. Prague. is. true. when. counted. 1525.

The diameter of the clock is nine inches three-fourths, and the height
five inches.

[I have transposed the words, as I find them in the original; but _war_
seems to have stood in the place of _bar_, at least Barrington has
translated it by _is true_, and we must read,

  _Da man zält 1525 jar
  Da macht mich Iacob Zech zu Prag ist wahr._--I. B.]

[1106] I am also referred by the Rev. Mr. Bowle, F.S.A., to the
following passage in the Abridged History of Spain, vol. i. p. 568:
“The first clock seen in Spain was set up in the cathedral of Seville,

[1107] The oldest clock we have in England that is supposed to go
tolerably, is of the preceding year, viz. 1540, the initial letters
of the maker’s name being N. O. It is in the palace at Hampton
Court.--Derham’s Artificial Clock-maker.

[1108] A German translation of this book is added to Welper’s
Gnomick.--I. B.

[1109] That distinguished antiquary Horace Walpole has in his
possession a clock, which appears by the inscription to have been a
present from Henry VIII. to Anne Boleyn. Poynet, bishop of Winchester,
likewise gave an astronomical clock to the same king.--Godwyn de Præsul.

[1110] Mémoires de Litt. vol. xx. See also Hardwicke’s Collection of
State Papers, vol. i. p. 53.

[1111] Vol. xx.

[1112] A clockmaker of this city (Göttingen) assured me that several
watches which had catgut instead of a chain, were brought to him to be
repaired. I. B. [Sir Richard Burton, of Sackets Hill, Isle of Thanet,
has now in his possession an early silver watch, presumed to be of the
time of queen Elizabeth, in which catgut is a substitute for chain.

A similar watch is also in the possession of Sir Thomas Dick Lauder,
Bart., which formerly belonged to the unfortunate queen Mary, and
descended to him from the Seton family. It is made of silver in the
form of a death’s head, with open work for the escape of sound, the
other parts covered with emblematical engraving. It appears originally
to have been constructed with catgut, but now has a chain. It goes
extremely well, but requires winding-up every twenty-six hours to keep
it accurately to time. Queen Mary bequeathed it to Mary Seton, February
7, 1587. An engraving with a very full description of this curious
watch, will be found in Smith’s Historical and Literary Curiosities,
Lond. 1845, 4to, plate 96.--H. G. B.]

[1113] Barrington says here, in a note, “Pancirollus informs us, that
about the end of the fifteenth century watches were made no larger
than an almond, by a man whose name was Mermecide.--Encyclop.” The
first part of this assertion is to be found, indeed, in Pancirollus,
edition of Frankfort, 1646, 4to, ii. p. 168; but Myrmecides was an
ancient Greek artist, whose παραναλώματα, or uncommonly small pieces
of mechanism, are spoken of by Cicero and Pliny. He is not mentioned
by Pancirollus, but by Salmuth, p. 231. It is probable that this error
may be in the Encyclopédie; at least Barrington refers to it as his
authority.--I. B.

[1114] Somner’s Canterbury, Supplement, No. xiv. p. 36. See also, in
an extract from archbishop Parker’s will, made April 5th, 1575: “Do et
lego fratri meo Ricardo episcopo Eliensi baculum meum de canna Indica,
qui _horologium_ habet in summitate.” As likewise in the brief of his
goods, &c., No. xiv. p. 39, a clock valued at 54_l._ 4_s._

[1115] Stow’s Chron. p. 878; and Introduct. to Mr. Reuben Burrow’s
Almanac for 1778.

[1116] More particularly Dr. Hook, Tompion, &c.

[1117] The ninth and tenth of William III. ch. 28, s. 2.

[1118] This letter, signed John Jamieson, and dated Forfar, August
20th, 1785, is taken from the Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. ii. p. 688.

One of my literary friends in London, to whom I am indebted for much
learned information, says in a letter which I received from him, “I
had never believed the story of Robert Bruce’s watch, mentioned in
your translation of Barrington’s History of Clocks, the more as Mr.
Barrington is famous for being in the wrong; but in the Gentleman’s
Magazine there is a full account of the origin of this imposition.” As
this error occurs in a paper which I have endeavoured to render more
public by a translation, I consider myself bound to give a translation
of this letter also.--B.

[1119] The passage may be found, vol. i. p. 95, of the edition
in quarto. Edinburgh, 1774: “Pocket-watches were brought there
from Germany, an. 1577.” Home, or Lord Kaimes, however, was too
celebrated or too artful a writer to produce proofs of his historical

[1120] This was first used early in the sixteenth century.

[1121] A very detailed and learned pamphlet has just been written
on this beautiful escapement by Benjamin L. Vulliamy, F.R.A.S.,
clock-maker to the Queen, entitled, ‘On the Construction and Theory of
the Dead-Beat Escapement of Clocks.’

[1122] “I know not what such an undertaking would be even to the devil
himself, but to man it would, undoubtedly, be the height of folly.”

[1123] The details of this dispute may be found in the “Applications of
the Electric Fluid to the Useful Arts,” by Mr. Alexander Bain. Lond.
1843. Professor Wheatstone’s clock, &c. is described in the Phil.
Trans. for 1841.


Of all the means by which in modern times the infection of that
dangerous malady, the plague, has been so much guarded against, that
according to general opinion, unless the Deity render all precaution
useless, it can never again become common in Europe, the most excellent
and the most effectual is, without doubt, the establishment of
quarantine[1124]. Had not history been more employed in transmitting
to posterity the crimes of princes, and particularly the greatest of
them, destructive wars, than in recording the introduction of such
institutions as contribute to the convenience, peace, health and
happiness of mankind, the origin of this beneficial regulation would be
less obscure than it is at present. At any rate, I have never yet been
so fortunate as to obtain a satisfactory account of it; but though I am
well-aware that I am neither acquainted with all the sources from which
it is to be drawn, nor have examined all those which are known to me, I
will venture to lay before my readers what information I have been able
to collect on the subject, assuring them at the same time, that it will
afford me great pleasure if my attempt should induce others fond of
historical research to enlarge it.

The opinion that the plague was brought to Europe from the East, is,
as far as I am able to judge, so fully confirmed, that it cannot be
any longer doubted; though it is certainly true, that every nation
endeavours to trace the origin of infectious disorders to other
people. The Turks think that the plague came to them from Egypt;
the inhabitants of that country imagine that they received it from
Ethiopia; and perhaps the Ethiopians do not believe that this dreadful
scourge originated among them[1125]. As the plague however has always
been conveyed to us from the East, and has first, and most frequently,
broken out in those parts of Europe which approach nearest to the
Levant, both in their physical and political situation, those I mean
which border on Turkey, and carry on with it the most extensive trade,
we may with the more probability conjecture that these countries
first established quarantine, the most powerful means of preventing
that evil. If further search be made in regard to this idea, we shall
be inclined to ascribe that service to the Venetians, a people who,
when the plague began to be less common, not only carried on the
greatest trade in the Levant, but had the misfortune to become always
nearer neighbours to the victorious Turks. It is also probable that
the Hungarians and Transylvanians soon followed their example in this
approved precaution, as the Turks continued to approach them; and this
agrees perfectly with everything I have read in history.

In the first centuries of the Christian æra, it does not seem to have
been known that infection could be communicated by clothing and other
things used by infected persons. The Christians all considered the
plague as a divine punishment, or predestinated event, which it was as
impossible to avoid as an earthquake; and the physicians ascribed the
spreading of it to corrupted air, which could not be purified by human
art. The Christians therefore gave themselves up, like the Turks at
present, to an inactive and obstinate resignation in the will of God,
and hoped by fasting and prayer to hasten the end of their misfortune.

But after the plague in the fourteenth century, which continued
longer than any other, and extended over the greater part of Europe,
the survivors found that it was possible to guard against or prevent
infection; and governments then began to order establishments of all
kinds to be formed against it. The oldest of which mention has yet been
found in history, are those in Lombardy and Milan of the years 1374,
1383 and 1399[1126].

In the first-mentioned year the Visconte Bernabo made regulations,
the object of which was to guard against the spreading of the plague
by intercourse and mixing with those who were infected; and with that
view it was ordered, that those afflicted with this disease should be
removed from the city, and allowed either to die or to recover in the
open air. Those who acted otherwise were to suffer capital punishment,
and their property was to be confiscated. But twenty-five years after
it was strictly commanded that the clothes and things used by those
who had the plague should be purified with great care: and in 1383 it
was forbidden under severe punishment to suffer any infected person
to enter the country. These means, however imperfect, must have been
attended with utility, because they were again employed during a new
danger of the same kind in the fifteenth century.

Brownrigg, an Englishman, who wrote a book on the means of preventing
the plague, says, that quarantine was first established by the
Venetians in the year 1484[1127], but like his learned countryman
Mead, who assigns the same year, without adducing any proofs[1128]. I
imagined that I should find some more certain information respecting
this point in Le Bret’s History of the Republic of Venice; but as
that historian does not mention, as the title professes, the original
sources from which he derived his materials, his work is less worthy
of credit. He tells us however that the grand council in 1348, chose
three prudent persons, whom they ordered to investigate the best means
for preserving health, and to lay the result of their inquiry before
the council. The plague which broke out afterwards in 1478, rendered
it necessary that some permanent means should be thought of, and on
that account a peculiar magistracy consisting of three noblemen, with
the title of _sopra la sanità_, was instituted in 1485. As these were
not able to stop the progress of the disease, the painful office
was imposed upon them, in 1504, of imprisoning people against whom
complaints might be lodged, and even of putting them to death; and in
1585 it was declared, that from the sentence of these judges there
should be no appeal. Their principal business was to inspect the
lazarettos erected in certain places at some distance from the city,
and in which it was required that all persons and merchandize coming
from suspected parts should continue a stated time fixed by the laws.
The captain of every ship was obliged also to show there the bill of
health which he had brought along with him.

As Le Bret produces no proof that quarantine was established by the
Venetians so early as he says, I cannot help suspecting that he is
mistaken respecting the year (1348), and conjecture that it ought to
be 1448, or perhaps 1484. I have not been able however to resolve
my doubt; for, in examining different Italian writers, I find that
various years are given[1129]. The institution of the council of health
(_sopra la sanità_) is mentioned by Bembo; but I cannot discover from
him to what year he alludes[1130]. His countryman Lancellotti, who
undoubtedly must have understood him well, makes it to be 1491[1131].
Caspar Contarenus, who died in 1542, in the sixtieth year of his age,
mentions no particular period, and only says that the institution had
been formed not long before his time[1132]. The islands on which the
pest-houses were erected, were called _il Lazaretto vecchio_ and _il
Lazaretto nuovo_. In the elegant description of Venice, ornamented
with abundance of plates, below mentioned, it is remarked that the
pest-house on the former island was built in 1423, and that on the
latter in 1468[1133]. The same account is given in the newest and best
Topography of Venice[1134].

The Venetians are entitled to the merit of having improved the
establishments formed to prevent infection; and that their example
was followed in other countries is generally admitted. But the year
in which quarantine was first ordered by them to be performed is
uncertain. Muratori[1135], following Lorenzo Candio, gives the year
1484, and Howard[1136] says that the college of health was instituted
in 1448.

Brownrigg affirms that letters of health, in which he confides more
than in quarantine, were first written in 1665 by the consuls of the
different commercial nations, but they are much older, for Zegata[1137]
asserts that they were first established in 1527, when the plague again
made its appearance in Europe.

This much is certain, that all these means against infection,
which, though far from being perfect, have secured Europe from this
misfortune, were not invented or proposed by physicians, but ordered
by the police, contrary to their theory. The latter seem to have known,
at an early period, the most dangerous causes of infection, and to have
formed at a very great expense precautionary means, the observance of
which was enforced under pain of the severest punishment.

Why the space of forty days was chosen as a proof I do not know. It
arose no doubt from the doctrine of the physicians in regard to the
critical days of many diseases. The fortieth day seems to have been
considered as the last or extreme of all the critical days; on which
subject many physicians appear to have entertained various astrological
conceits[1138]. On the Turkish frontiers this period was reduced under
the emperor Joseph II. to twenty days[1139].

[With respect to the quarantine establishments in this country,
Mc Culloch observes that they are exceedingly defective. Even in the
Thames there is not a lazaretto where a ship from a suspected place
may discharge her cargo and refit; so that she is detained, frequently
at an enormous expense, during the whole period of quarantine, while
if she have perishable goods on board, they may be very materially
injured. The complaints as to the oppressiveness of quarantine
regulations are almost wholly occasioned by the want of proper
facilities for its performance. Were these afforded, the burdens it
imposes would be rendered comparatively light.

The existing quarantine regulations are embodied in the act 6 George
IV. c. 78, and the different orders in council issued under its
authority. These orders specify what vessels are liable to perform
quarantine, the places at which it is to be performed, and the various
formalities and regulations to be complied with.]


[1124] [This opinion is not generally admitted by the most experienced
medical men in this country. It is a disputed point whether the plague
is _even_ contagious; and the mass of evidence is in favour of its
being so occasionally, but that the plague is usually not propagated in
this manner. The disappearance of this pest from our own and most other
countries of Europe is undoubtedly owing to the much greater attention
paid to drainage, ventilation, and the prevention of the accumulation
of filth in the streets, &c. When the peculiar atmospheric conditions
upon which its diffusion depends are present, quarantine has proved
insufficient to prevent its propagation.]

[1125] The oldest plague of which we find any account in history,
that so fully described by Thucydides, book ii., was expressly said
to have come from Egypt. Evagrius in his Histor. Ecclesiast. iv. 29,
and Procopius De Bello Persico, ii. 22, affirm also that the dreadful
plague in the time of the emperor Justinian was likewise brought from
Egypt. It is worthy of remark, that on both these occasions, the
plague was traced even still further than Egypt; for Thucydides and
the writers above-quoted say that the infection first broke out in
Ethiopia, and spread thence into Egypt and other countries.

[1126] They may be found in Muratori Scriptores Rerum Italic. tom. xvi.
p. 560, and xviii. p. 82, thence copied into Chenot, p. 147. See also
Boccacio, Decamer. Amst. 1679, p. 2.

[1127] [“The Venetians seem to have been the first who established
quarantine in their dominions about the year 1484, soon after the
Turks became their neighbours in Europe; the constant intercourse
which they maintained with those powerful neighbours, either in war or
by commerce, rendering it necessary for them to take this and other
precautions against the introduction of this contagion into their

[1128] De Peste, in Mead’s Opera Medica.

[1129] Everything said by Le Bret on this subject may be found equally
full in D. C. Tentori, Saggio sulla Storia Civile, &c., della Republica
di Venezia. Ven. 1786, 8vo, t. vi. p. 391. As Sandi in his Principi di
Storia Civile della Republica di Venezia, 9 vols. 4to, 1755-1769, gives
the same account, lib. viii. cap. 8. art. 4, they must have both got
their information from the same source.

[1130] Historia Vinitiana. Vinegia, 1552, 4to, lib. i. p. 10.

[1131] L’Hoggidi, overo il mondo non peggiore, ne più calamitoso del
passato. Ven. 1627, 8vo, p. 610.

[1132] De Republica Venetorum, lib. iv.

[1133] Thesaurus Antiquitatum Italiæ, v. 2, p. 241.

[1134] Topografia Veneta, overo Descrizione della Stato Veneto.
Venezia, 1786, 8vo, iv. p. 263.

[1135] Lib. i. cap. 11, p. 65.

[1136] Account of the principal Lazarettos, Lond. 1789, 4to, p. 12.

[1137] Cronica di Verona, in Verona, 1747, 4to, iii. p. 93.

[1138] See G. W. Wedelii exercitatio de quadragesima medica, in his
Centuria Exercitationum Medico-philologicarum. Jenæ, 1701, 4to, decas
iv. p. 16. Wedel mentions various diseases in which Hippocrates
determines the fortieth day to be critical. Compare Rieger in
Hippocratis Aphoris. Hag. Com. 1767, 8vo, i. p. 221.

[1139] Martini Lange Rudimenta Doctrinæ de Peste. Offenbachii 1791,
8vo. See Gottingische Anzeigen von gelehrt. Sachen, 1791, p. 1799.


Three kinds of paper-hangings have for some time past been much used
on account of their beautiful appearance and their moderate price. The
first and plainest is that which has on it figures printed or drawn
either with one or more colours. The second sort contains figures
covered with some woolly stuff pasted over them; and the third,
instead of woolly stuff, is ornamented with a substance that has the
glittering brightness of gold and silver. It appears that the idea of
covering walls with parti-coloured paper might have readily occurred,
but the fear of such hangings being liable to speedy decay may have
prevented the experiment from being made. In my opinion the simplest
kind was invented after the more ingenious, that is to say, when the
woolly or velvet kind was already in use[1140]. The preparation of
them has a great affinity to the printing of cotton. Wooden blocks
of the like kind are employed for both; plates of copper are also
used; and sometimes they are painted after patterns. Artists possess
the talent of giving them such a resemblance to striped and flowered
silks and cottons, that one is apt to be deceived by them on the first
view. Among the most elegant hangings of this kind, may be reckoned
those which imitate so exactly every variety of marble, porphyry,
and other species of stones, that when the walls of an apartment are
neatly covered with them, the best connoisseur may not without close
examination be able to discover the deception. That the resemblance may
be still greater, a hall may be divided by an architect into different
compartments by pillars, so as to have the appearance of a grand piece
of regular architecture. Whether M. Breitkopf at Leipsic was the
inventor of this kind of hangings, I do not know, but it is certain
that he brought it to great perfection.

The second kind, or, as it is called, velvet-paper (now called
flock-paper), is first printed like the former, but the figures are
afterwards wholly, or in part, covered with a kind of glue, over which
is strewed some woolly substance, reduced almost to dust, so that by
these means they acquire the appearance of velvet or plush. The ground
and the rest of the figures are left plain; but the whole process is
so complex that it is impossible to convey a proper idea of it by a
short description. The shearings of fine white cloth, which the artist
procures from a cloth manufactory, and dyes to suit his work, are
employed for this purpose. If they are not fine enough, he renders them
more delicate by making them pass through a close hair-sieve. This, as
well as the third kind, was formerly made much more than at present
upon canvas; and, in my opinion, the earliest attempts towards this art
were tried, not upon paper, but on linen cloth. The paper procured at
first for these experiments was probably too weak; and it was not till
a later period that means were found out to strengthen and stiffen it
by size and paste.

The invention of velvet-paper is by several French writers[1141]
ascribed to the English; and, if they are not mistaken, it was first
made known in the reign of Charles I. On the 1st of May 1634, an
artist, named Jerome Lanyer, received a patent for this art, in
which it is said that he had found out a method of affixing wool,
silk and other materials of various colours upon linen cloth, silk,
cotton, leather and different substances with oil, size and cements,
so that they could be employed for hangings as well as for other
purposes[1142]. The inventor wished to give to this new article the
name of Londrindiana, which appears however not to have continued in
use. It is worthy of remark, that this artist first made attempts to
affix silk upon some ground, but that method as far as I know was not
brought to perfection; that he employed for the ground, linen and
cotton cloth, or leather; and that no mention is made of his having
used paper, though he seems not to have confined himself entirely to
leather or cloth.

Tierce, a Frenchman, has however disputed this invention with the
English; for he asserts that one of his countrymen at Rouen, named
François, made such kinds of printed paper-hangings so early as the
year 1620 and 1630, and supports his assertion by the patterns and
wooden blocks which are still preserved, with the above-mentioned years
inscribed on them[1143]. He is also of opinion, that some Frenchmen,
who fled to England when persecuted for their religion, carried this
art along with them. The inventor’s son followed this business to a
great extent for more than fifty years at Rouen, and died in 1748. Some
of his workmen went privately to the Netherlands and Germany, where
they sold their art; and the French, therefore, with great confidence
maintain, without knowing our artists and their works, that foreigners
in this branch of manufacture are still far behind them. In most works
of the kind my countrymen indeed are only imitators, not through want
of talents to invent or to improve, but because our great people, for
whom they must labour, consider nothing as fashionable or beautiful,
except what has been first made by the French or the English.

I shall here observe, that Nemeitz ascribes the invention of
wax-cloth-hangings, with wool chopped and beat very fine (these are
his own words), to a Frenchman named Audran, who in the beginning of
the last century was an excellent painter in arabesque and grotesque
figures, and inspector of the palace of Luxemburg at Paris, in which
he had a manufactory for hangings of that kind[1144]. What particular
service he rendered to the art of making paper-hangings, I have not
however been able to learn. Equally uncertain and defective is the
information of Von Heinecken[1145], that one Eccard invented the art of
imprinting on paper-hangings gold and silver figures, and carried on a
manufactory for such works.

In regard to the time when these hangings began to be made in Germany,
I can only say that the oldest information I know respecting them is
to be found in a work[1146] by Andrew Glorez von Mahren, printed for
the first time in 1670. It shows that the art was then very imperfect
as well as little known, and that it was practised only by women upon
linen for making various small articles[1147].

One of the most ingenious new improvements in the art of manufacturing
these hangings, consists in bestrewing them here and there with a
glittering metallic dust or sand, by which they acquire a resemblance
to rich gold and silver brocade. From the above-quoted work it appears
that artists began very early to cover some parts of paper-hangings
with silver-dross or gold-foil; but as real gold was too dear to be
used for that purpose, and as imitations of it soon decayed, this
method seems not to have been long continued. Instead of these,
Nuremberg metallic dust as well as silver-coloured foil are employed.
Metallic dust is the invention of an artist at Nuremberg, named John
Hautsch, who constructed also a carriage which could be moved by the
person who sat in it. He was born in the year 1595, and died in 1670.
His descendants have continued to the present time the preparation
of the metallic dust, which is exported in large quantities from
Nuremberg, and is used in shell-work, lackered-ware, and for various
other purposes. It is prepared by sifting the filings of different
metals, washing them in a strong lye, and then placing them on a plate
of iron or copper over a strong fire, where they are continually
stirred till their colour is altered. Those of tin acquire by this
process every shade of gold-colour, with a metallic lustre; those of
copper the different shades of red and flame-colour; those of iron
and steel become of a blue or violet; and those of tin and bismuth
appear of a white or bluish-white colour. The dust, tinged in this
manner, is afterwards put through a flatting-mill, which consists of
two rollers of the hardest steel, like those used by gold and silver
wire-drawers, but for the greater convenience a funnel is placed over
them[1148]. I have in my possession samples of all the above kinds,
which have an exceedingly beautiful appearance. This metallic dust is
affixed so strongly to paper by means of a cement, that it is almost
impossible to detach it without tearing the paper, as is the case with
the paper-hangings procured from Aachen. In French, such paper is
called _papier avec paillettes_. The lustre of it is so durable that
it continues unaltered even on the walls of sitting-apartments. The
metallic dust however has a considerable weight, which may undoubtedly
injure the paper.

This inconvenience may have induced artists to employ, instead of
metallic dust, that silver-coloured mica, which has been long used in
the like manner. So early as the seventeenth century the miners at
Reichenstein in Silesia collected and sold for that purpose various
kinds of mica, even the black, which acquires a gold-colour by being
exposed to a strong heat[1149]. The nuns of Reichenstein ornamented
with it the images which they made, as the nuns in France and other
catholic countries ornamented their _agni Dei_, by strewing over them
a shining kind of talc[1150]. The silver-coloured mica however has not
such a bright metallic lustre as metallic dust, but it nevertheless
has a pleasing effect when strewed upon a white painted ground, and
its light thin spangles or scales retain their brightness and adhere
to the paper as long as it lasts. At present I am acquainted with no
printed information respecting the method of laying on metallic dust
and mica, nor do I know where artists procure the latter, which in
many countries is indeed not scarce. I shall here observe, that I once
saw at Petersburg a kind of Chinese paper, which appeared all over to
have a silver-coloured lustre without being covered with any metallic
substance, and which was exceedingly soft and pliable. It bore a great
resemblance to paper which has been rubbed over with dry acid of borax.
I conjecture that its surface was covered with a soft kind of talc,
pounded extremely fine; but as I have none of it in my possession at
present, I can give no further account of it.

[The manufacture of this important and elegant substitute for the
ancient “hangings” of tapestry has undergone a gradual succession
of improvements, and has now reached a high state of beauty and
perfection. The patterns on these papers are sometimes produced by
stencil plates, but more commonly by blocks, each colour being laid
on by a separate block cut in wood or metal upon a plain or tinted
ground. The patterns are sometimes printed in varnish or size, and
gilt or copper-leaf applied; or bisulphuret of tin is dusted over so
as to adhere to the pattern; and in what are called _flock-papers_,
dyed wools mixed into powder are similarly applied. Powdered steatite
or French chalk is used to produce the peculiar gloss known under the
name of _satin_. Striped papers are sometimes made by passing the paper
rapidly under a trough, which has parallel slits in its bottom through
which the colour is delivered; and a number of other very ingenious
and beautiful contrivances have lately been applied in this important
branch of art. The invention of the paper-machine, by which any length
of paper may be obtained, effected a great change in paper-hangings,
which could formerly only be printed upon separate sheets, and were
much more inconvenient to print as well as to apply to the walls[1151].]


[1140] The simplest or worst articles are not always the oldest or the
first. The deterioration of a commodity is often the continuation of an
invention, which, when once begun, is by industry practised in every
form, in order that new gain may be acquired from each variation. The
earliest printers, for example, had not the art of printing with such
slight ink and on such bad paper as ours commonly employ; and Aldus,
perhaps, were he now alive, would be astonished at the cheap mode of
printing some of our most useful and popular books.

[1141] Origny, in Dictionnaire des Origines, v. p. 332. Journal
Œconomique, 1755, Mars, p. 86. Savary, Dictionnaire de Commerce, iv. p.

[1142] I shall here insert the words of the patent: “To all those
to whom these presents shall come, greeting. Whereas our trusty and
well-beloved subject and servant Jerome Lanyard hath informed us, that
he by his endeavours hath found out an art and mystery by affixing of
wool, silk and other materials of divers colours upon linen cloth,
silk, cotton, leather and other substances, with oil, size and other
cements, to make them useful and serviceable for hangings and other
occasions, which he calleth Londrindiana, and that the said art is of
his own invention, not formerly used by any other within this realm,
&c.”--Rymeri Fœdera, tom. xix. London, 1732, fol. p. 554. The following
observations may serve to illustrate all works of this nature in
general. Painting, according to the most common technical meaning,
may be divided into three kinds. In the first the colours or pigments
are mixed with a viscous or glutinous fluid to bind them, and make
them adhere to the body which is to be painted. Gums, glue, varnish,
&c. may be used for this purpose. Vegetable colours will not admit of
such additions, because they contain gum in their natural composition.
Another kind consists in previously washing over the parts that are
to be painted with some viscous substance, and then laying on the
colours as the figures may require. Size or cement (I use the word in
the most extensive sense) is of such a nature that either in drying or
glazing it becomes hard, and binds the colours. To this method belongs
not only gilding, imitating bronze and making velvet-paper-hangings,
but also painting on glass and in enamel. By the third method the
colours are applied to the ground without any binding substance: they
are therefore more liable to decay, as is the case in painting with
crayons; but they will however adhere better when the pigments consist
of very fine particles like ceruse, or black-lead. It would be a great
acquisition if a substance could be found out to bind the colours used
in this art without injuring them, or to fix the crayons. The third
kind of painting is not with colours, but with different bodies ready
coloured, which are joined together in pieces according to a copy,
either by cement or plaster, as in mosaic, or by working them into each
other, as in weaving and sewing, which is painting with the needle....
Are not the works of art almost like those of nature, each connected
together as a chain? Do not the boundaries of one art approach those of
another? Do they not even touch each other? Those who do not perceive
this approximation are like people unacquainted with botany, who cannot
remark the natural order of plants. But if a connoisseur observe a gap
in the chain of artificial works, we are to suppose that some links
are still wanting, the discovery of which may become a merit to more
ingenious ages.

[1143] Journal Œconomique, 1756, Fevrier, p. 92.

[1144] Both his brothers, John and Benedict Audran, were celebrated

[1145] Nachrichten von Künstlern und Künstsachen. Leipzig, 1768, 8vo,
ii. p. 56. The author, giving an account of his travels through the
Netherlands, says, “Before I leave the Hague I must not omit to mention
M. Eccard’s particular invention for making paper-hangings. He prints
some which appear as if worked through with gold and silver. They are
fabricated with much taste, and are not dear.”

[1146] Haus- und Land-bibliothek, iii. p. 90.

[1147] The author says, “I shall give an account of a beautiful art,
by which one may cover chairs, screens and other articles of the like
kind, with a substance of various colours made of wool, cut or chopped
very fine, and cleaned by being made to pass through a hair-sieve.... I
remember that two Swabian women travelled about through some countries,
and taught people this art, by which means they gained a good deal of
money.” Of the author I have been able to procure no information. His
book is a compilation selected without any taste, and according to
the ideas of the seventeenth century, from different writers, almost
always without mentioning the sources from which the articles are
taken; but it deserves a place in public libraries, because it contains
here and there some things which may help to illustrate the history of
agriculture and the arts.

[1148] Kunkels Glasmacher-Kunst. Nurnb. 1743, 4to, p. 368. J. J.
Marxens Neu vermehrte Materialkammer.

[1149] Volkmann, Silesia Subterranea. Leipzig, 1720, 4to, p. 52.

[1150] Pomet.

[1151] Brande’s Dictionary of Science, &c.


Though a variety of information respecting the history of cochineal
and kermes may be found scattered in the works of different authors,
I shall venture to lay before the public what I have gathered on the
subject; as I flatter myself with the hope of being able to rectify
some errors of my predecessors, as well as to supply deficiencies which
they have left; and as it will undoubtedly be agreeable to many readers
to see collected in one point of view whatever is most important, with
the addition of a few explanatory observations and notes.

Cochineal and kermes, as they appear in commerce, are small grains,
shaped almost like those small dried grapes without stones, which
are called currants. They are sometimes of a deep and sometimes of a
fainter reddish-brown, or violet-brown colour, are often covered with a
gray dust or mouldiness[1152], appear full of wrinkles, as succulent
bodies generally do when dried, and for the most part are a little more
raised on the one side than on the other. When these grains are chewed,
they have a somewhat bitterish and astringent taste, and communicate to
the spittle a brownish-red colour. They are employed in medicine, but
their principal use is in dyeing.

It is now well-known that they belong to that genus of insects
called _Coccus_, and that they are principally the dried impregnated
females. Numerous species of these insects have been described by
entomologists[1153], who have most frequently named them from the
plants on which they occur; for the present object, however, it will be
sufficient to take notice only of three kinds.

The first is the real American cochineal, or that which at present is
most used, but which at the same time is the dearest. By Linnæus it is
called _Coccus Cacti_. The second kind is found chiefly on a species
of oak, the _Quercus Ilex_, in the Levant, Spain, France, and other
southern countries, and is therefore called _Coccus Ilicis_, _Coccus
arborum_, and often also kermes. The third comprehends that saleable
cochineal found on the roots of several perennial plants, which is
known commonly under the appellation of Polish or German cochineal;
though it is not certain whether those insects produced upon the
perennial knawel (_Scleranthus_), bears-breech (_Uva-ursi_) and other
plants, be the same species. They are often distinguished also by the
name of _Coccus radicum_.

That the second species has been mentioned by the ancient Hebrew,
Greek, Latin and Arabian writers cannot be denied; and those who know
that our information respecting the nature of this commodity, which is
perhaps even yet imperfect, has been in modern times procured after
much labour and research, will not be surprised to find their accounts
mingled with many falsehoods and contradictions. The ancients must
have been under more doubt and in greater ignorance on this subject,
the less they were acquainted with the propagation of these insects;
but we should be too precipitate were we to reject entirely everything
they have said that may deviate from the truth; and I think it would
be no difficult task to produce writers of the seventeenth and of the
eighteenth century, whose information on this point is as dubious and
incorrect as that to be found in the writings of the ancients.

All the ancient Greek[1154] and Latin writers agree that kermes, called
by the latter _coccum_, perhaps also _coccus_, and often _granum_, were
found upon a low shrubby tree, with prickly leaves, which produced
acorns, and belonged to the genus of the oak; and there is no reason
to doubt that they mean _Coccus Ilicis_, and that low evergreen oak,
with the prickly leaves of the holly (_aquifolium_), which is called
at present in botany _Quercus Ilex_[1155]. This assertion appears more
entitled to credit, as the ancients assign for the native country of
this tree places where it is still indigenous and produces kermes.

According to the account of Dioscorides, kermes were collected in
Galatia, Armenia, Asia, Cilicia and Spain. Most commentators suppose
that there must be here some error, as that author first mentions
Galatia and Armenia, and then Asia in general. Some, therefore,
understand by the latter, the city of Asia in Lydia; others have
altered or rejected the word altogether; and Serapion, in his Arabic
translation, seems to have read Syria. Professor Tychsen, however,
assured me that _Asia proconsularis_ is here meant, to which Cilicia
did not belong; and in this particular sense the word is often used by
writers contemporary with Dioscorides. Of this difficulty Salmasius
takes no notice.

We are informed by Pliny[1156] that kermes were procured from Asia and
Africa; from Attica, Galatia, Cilicia, and also from Lusitania and
Sardinia; but those produced in the last-mentioned place were of the
least value. Pausanias says that they were to be found in Phocis. As
the _coccus_ is mentioned likewise by Moses and other Hebrew writers,
kermes must have been met with at that period in some of the remote
countries of the East[1157]. Bochart has quoted passages from the
manuscript works of Arabian authors, which undoubtedly allude also to
kermes; and I shall class among these, without any hesitation, the
account of Ctesias, which has been copied by Photius, Ælian, and the
poet Phile, though in more than one circumstance it deviates from the
truth. It has already been considered by Tyson and Delaval as alluding
to kermes, or rather the American cochineal, which Tyson, however,
seems to confound with the genus of insects _Coccinella_, in English
called the lady-bird[1158].

That the kermes-oak still grows and produces kermes[1159] in the
Levant, Greece, Palestine, Persia and India, is sufficiently proved by
the testimony of modern travellers. Bellon and Tournefort saw kermes
collected in the island of Crete or Candia[1160]; the former saw them
also between Jerusalem and Damascus[1161]; and he informs us that the
greater part of them was sent to Venice. That they are indigenous in
Persia, is expressly affirmed by Chardin. The kermes of Spain are so
well known that it is not necessary to bring proofs of their being a
production of that country. Dioscorides says that the Spanish kermes
were bad[1162]; and we are expressly told by Garidel, that they are
still of less value than the French.

With the real nature of kermes the ancients were not acquainted. By
the greater part they were considered as the proper fruit of the
tree; and although they remarked the insects, it was a common opinion
that they were produced from putrefaction without propagation; and on
this account they did not perceive their real origin. They imagined
that the insects were the effects of corruption; and Pliny speaks as
if he conceived that certain species were liable to this fault more
than others. They were therefore named _scolecion_, and less valued.
But in another passage he calls kermes, not improperly, a scurf or
scab of the tree, _scabies fruticis_. Dioscorides says that the kermes
appeared on the tree like lentils, a comparison with which Matthiolus
is highly displeased; but it cannot be altogether unnatural, as many of
the moderns, who never read the writings of the Greeks, compare them
also to lentils or peas. The account, that a kind of kermes in Sicily,
like small snails, was collected by the women with their mouths, seems
to be attended with more difficulty. The comparison of snails, which
may not be altogether inconsistent, I shall admit; but the gathering
with the mouth is too much contrary to common sense not to be disputed.
Commentators, therefore, have proposed various emendations, which
seem to be drawn from the different readings; but the common one
alluded to must be very old, as it has been adopted by Serapion in
his translation[1163]. Marcellus and Cornarius are of opinion that a
word must be inserted, expressive of the time when the kermes were
gathered; and that instead of “with the mouth,” ought to be read “in
summer[1164].” For my part, I think a word signifying some instrument
employed by the women in collecting them would be more proper; for
the Grecian women, according to Bellon’s account, use still for that
purpose a small instrument shaped like a sickle. In France[1165] and
other countries, the women suffer the nails of their fingers to grow,
in order that they may assist them in their labour[1166]. However this
may be, both Dioscorides and Galen ascribe to kermes an astringent,
bitter taste; but I shall leave to the examination of physicians the
medicinal qualities for which they have extolled them. I shall remark
only, as a technologist, that kermes was used formerly in dyeing
purple to give what is called the ground; but our dyers employ it to
communicate a scarlet colour, which, without doubt, excels the purple
of the ancients.

The first-mentioned use of kermes in dyeing seems to have been
continued through every century. In the middle ages, as they are
called, we meet with kermes under the name of _vermiculus_ or
_vermiculum_; and on that account cloth dyed with them was called
_vermiculata_. Hence the French word _vermeil_, and its derivative
_vermilion_, as is well-known, had their extraction; the latter of
which originally signified the red dye of kermes, but it is now used
for any red paint, and also for finely pounded cinnabar. In France
and Spain, at present, kermes, as soon as they are gathered, are
besprinkled with vinegar and dried in the sun; but it appears that
in the middle ages they were not dried sufficiently, and that they
were put into leather bottles to prevent them from making their
escape[1167]. In preparing the liquid dye, dyers used Egyptian alum,
the only kind then to be had, and also urine[1168]. This dye seems to
have been known in Germany so early as the twelfth century; for among
the productions of the country which Henry the Lion sent as a present
to the Greek emperor we find _scarlata_[1169].

Our ancestors, in all probability, procured their kermes from the
southern part of France, or rather from Spain. The Arabians, who from
the earliest periods had been acquainted with this production in
Africa, found it in Spain, and employed it there for dyeing, and as
an article of commerce; and on this account, as appears, the Arabic
name _kermes_, or _alkermes_, became so common[1170]. Salmasius
thinks that the Arabs borrowed this word from the Latins, and th