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Title: A Mechanical Account of Poisons in Several Essays
Author: Mead, Richard
Language: English
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A Mechanical Account of Poisons in Several Essays.

And Physician to St. _Thomas_’s Hospital.

_The Second Edition, Revised, with Additions._

Printed by _J. M._ for RALPH SMITH at the _Bible_, under the
_Piazza’s_, of the _Royal Exchange, Cornhill_. 1708.


_〈To〉 give an exact and particular Account of the Nature and Manner
of acting of 〈Poisons〉, is no easie Matter; but to Discourse more
intelligibly of 〈Them〉 than Authors have hitherto done, not very
difficult. One may without much Pains shew their Effects to be owing to
something more than the bare Qualities of Heat or Cold; and Discover
the Footsteps of 〈Mechanism〉 in those surprizing 〈Phænomena〉 which are
commonly ascribed to some 〈Occult〉 or Unknown Principle. But to Unravel
the Springs of the several Motions upon which such 〈Appearances〉
do depend, and Trace up all the Symptoms to their First Causes,
requires some Art as well as Labour; and that both upon the account
of the Exquisite Fineness, and marvellous Composition, of the Animal
Machine in which they are Transacted, and of the Minuteness of those
Bodies which have the force to induce in it such Sudden and Violent

_I have attempted somewhat this way in the following 〈Essays〉; in which
I do not promise Methodical, and Finish’d Treatises, but only some
short Hints of Natural History, and Rude Strokes of Reasoning; which,
if put together, and rightly Improved, may perhaps serve to furnish out
a more tolerable SPECIMEN of the DOCTRINE of POISONS, than has yet been

_The First Draught of this small Piece, I made some Years since,
Entertaining my self at Leisure Hours, with Experiments on 〈Vipers〉,
and other 〈Venomous Creatures〉; Examining now and then the Texture of
〈Arsenic〉, 〈Mercury Sublimate〉, and the like Malignant Substances;
Turning over what Authors had said on the several Subjects, and making
such Remarks as from Time to Time Occurr’d._

_There continued Enquiries made up at last, Three or Four short
Discourses; which, when I began to Digest into Order, the Increase of
Business contracted the Intervals of my spare Time; and the Diversion
of such Studies quickly giving way to the Severity of more Necessary
Labours, They were quite thrown by, Till Talking not long since with
Dr. 〈Areskine〉, concerning the 〈Viper〉, I took Occasion to review my
scattered Papers, and confirm my Reasonings by New Experiments. He very
readily offered Me His 〈Anatomical Observations〉; These I have put
at the End of the First 〈Essay〉; Which do not promise a 〈Complete
Dissection〉 of the 〈Animal〉, but chiefly shew the Make of those Parts
which are concern’d in the 〈Poison〉._

_My Design, in Thinking of These Matters, was, to Try how far I could
carry 〈Mechanical Considerations〉 in Accounting for those Surprizing
Changes, which 〈Poisons〉 make in an 〈Animal Body〉; Concluding (as I
think, fairly) that if so abstruse 〈Phænomena〉 as These did come under
the known Laws of Motion, It might very well be taken for granted, that
the more obvious Appearances in the same Fabrick are owing to such
Causes as are within the 〈Reach〉 of Geometrical Reasoning; And that
therefore as the first Step towards the Removal of a Disease is to know
Its Origin, so he is likely to be the best Physician, who having the
same assistance of Observations and Histories with Others, does best
understand the 〈Humane Oeconomy〉, the Texture of the Parts, Motions of
the Fluids, and the Power which other Bodies have to make Alterations
in any of These._

_Nor indeed ought any One to Doubt of This, who considers that the
〈Animal Compages〉 is not an irregular Mass, and disorderly Jumble of
Atoms, but the Contrivance of Infinite Wisdom, and Master-piece of that
Creating Power, who has been pleased to do all Things by Establish’d
Laws and Rules, and that Harmony and Proportion should be the Beauty of
all his Works._

_It were therefore heartily to be wish’d, that those Gentlemen who
are so much afraid of Introducing 〈Mathematical Studies〉, that is,
Demonstration and Truth, into the Practice of Physick, were so far at
least Instructed in the necessary Disciplines, as to be able to pass
a true Judgment, what Progress and Advances may be made this way;
They would not then perhaps Decry an Attempt of so much Moment to the
Wellfare of Mankind, as vain and impossible, because it is difficult,
and requires Application and Pains._

_It is very evident, that all other Methods of Improving Medicine
have been found Ineffectual, by the Stand it has been at these two or
three Thousand Years; and that since of late 〈Mathematicians〉 have
set Themselves to the Study of it, Men do already begin to Talk so
Intelligibly and Comprehensibly, even about abstruse Matters, that
it may be hop’d in a short time, if Those who are Design’d for this
〈Profession〉, are early, while their Minds and Bodies are Patient
of Labour and Toil, Initiated in the Knowledge of 〈Numbers〉 and
〈Geometry〉, that 〈Mathematical〉 Learning will be the Distinguishing
Mark of a Physician from a Quack; and that He who wants this necessary
Qualification, will be as Ridiculous as one without 〈Greek〉 or 〈Latin〉._

_I have, as to what regards the 〈Animal Oeconomy〉, Referr’d as much
as I could to the Works of 〈Bellini〉, which have brought great Light
into the Dark Regions of Physick, and Taught Us to argue clearly and
consistently, instead of Amusing our selves with Unintelligible Words
or Precarious 〈Hypotheses〉. The 〈Dissertations〉 of Dr. 〈Pitcarne〉, who
is the Honour of his Profession in 〈Scotland〉, are a Convincing Proof
of the Advantage of such a Mechanical Way of Reasoning; nor could
〈Malice〉 it self deny This, were not 〈Ignorance〉 in Confederacy with
it, which will secure any One from being Benefitted by the most useful

_Notwithstanding This, I have been forced now and then to make
Digressions from my Subject, to clear some Doctrines necessary to be
known which have not been Explained by others. For indeed the 〈Data〉
from which We argue in these Matters are by many too few. Dr. 〈Cheyne〉,
the Author of the 〈New Theory of Fevers〉, has enumerated several
Particulars in which the 〈Theoretic〉 Part of Medicine still wants
Improvement. If these 〈Deficiencies〉 were made good, We might with
more Ease Proceed in our Enquiries into Human Nature, and should soon
Convince the World, that the most useful of Arts, if duly Cultivated,
is more than meer 〈Conjecture〉, or base 〈Empiricism〉._

_As to the Authors I have made use of, who have Treated of 〈Poisons〉, I
have Quoted only those who Furnished me with Matter of Fact; For there
are but few 〈Originals〉; and very large Volumes on this Subject do many
times contain little more than a Collection of 〈Vulgar Errors〉._

_I had once Thought to have carried these 〈Searches〉 farther; in
Particular, besides what is occasionally mention’d in the last 〈Essay〉
concerning 〈Infection〉 in acute Diseases, to have enquired into the
Nature of 〈Contagious〉 and 〈Hereditary Distempers〉. But the Humour of
Scribling would not hold out; And some perhaps will say, ’Tis well
enough it didn’t; For I am not Ignorant how Few I am like to Please;
If it be hard to Think and Write Justly, ’tis harder yet to Bring
Others to one’s own 〈Taste〉; Nor shall I be at all Angry, if to Many
I have afforded Matter of 〈Satyr〉 and 〈Invective〉; Less Wit suffices
for These than for the Discovery of Useful Truths. They who have no
Smattering of 〈Mathematical〉 Knowledge, are incompetent Judges of
what Service I have done towards the Improvement of the 〈Theory〉, or
〈Practice〉 of 〈Medicine〉, and Those who are acquainted with these
Matters, will, it may be, think it something to Talk Intelligibly on
such difficult and abstruse Points. I neither want 〈Applause〉, nor fear
〈Censure〉; and therefore be the Fate of These Papers what it will,
as they were first Penn’d for my own 〈Satisfaction〉, and Innocent
〈Entertainment〉; so I am resolved They shall never Ingage me in the
Trouble of 〈Quarrels〉 or 〈Disputes〉._



 _Of the Viper._

 _An Appendix containing Anatomical Observations, and an Account of
 some other Venomous Animals._


 _Of the 〈Tarantula〉 and Mad Dog._


 _Of Poisonous Minerals and Plants._


 _Of Opium._


 _Of Venomous Exhalations from the Earth, Poisonous Airs and Waters._




The Viper has always been so Notorious for its Venom, that the most
remote Antiquity made it an Emblem of what is Hurtful and Destructive.
Nay, so terrible was the Nature of these Creatures, that they were
very commonly thought to be sent as Executioners of Divine Vengeance
upon Mankind for Enormous Crimes, which had escaped the Course of
Common Justice. Thus _Herodotus_ (1) and _Ælian_ (2) do both take notice
that Adders were sacred among the _Ægyptians_; that they affirmed of
one sort of ’em particularly, that they were made to be Ministers of
the Will of the Gods, by averting Evil from Good Men, and punishing
the Bad. And _Pausanias_ (3) observes of the _Arabians_, that they
forbore to offer any Violence to the Vipers which were found near
to the Balsam-Tree, as reputing ’em Holy. The Footsteps of which
Superstition do still remain among these People to this very Day,
for _Veslingius_ (4) saw many of ’em take these Creatures into their
Houses, feed ’em, and worship them as the _Genii_ of the Place. The
same odd Fancy obtains in the _East-Indies_, for the King of _Calicut_
causes Cottages to be set up for Serpents to keep them from the Rain,
and makes it Death to any that shall hurt one of ’em; thinking them
to be Heavenly Spirits, because they can so suddenly Kill Men (5). A
Remarkable Instance of such an Opinion as this we have in the History
of St. _Paul_ (6), whom the People of _Malta_ when they saw the Viper
leap upon his Hand, presently concluded to be a Murderer, and as
readily made a God of him, when instead of having his Hand Inflamed,
or falling down Dead, (one or other of which is usually the Effect of
those Bites) he without any harm shook the Beast into the Fire. It
being Obvious enough to imagine, that He must stand in a near Relation
at least to the Gods themselves, who could thus Command the Messengers
of their Vengeance, and Counterwork the Effects of such powerful Agents.

And this, after the many Conjectures upon the Matter, seems to be the
true Reason why Antiquity not only Represented the First Masters of
Physick, _Hermes_, _Æsculapius_, _Hippocrates_, &c. in their Statues
and Medals, with a Viper added to their Figure, but also Worshipped
them under this Form, for Diseases in those Days, especially the
most Violent, Plagues, Fevers, _&c._ were in like manner, as these
Creatures, reputed the Commission’d Messengers of Divine Anger and
Displeasure (7). They therefore who by their Art could Cure and
Stop the Course of these, as they were supposed to do this by the
particular Leave and Assistance of Heaven, so had Honours paid to
Them accordingly, and this Representation was in the Nature of an
Hieroglyphick Character; for as the Learned _Spanhem_ observes, (8) the
Viper was a Symbol or Emblem of Divine Power.

_Macrobius_ indeed gives us another account of this Custom, and that is
from the Property which all Serpents have of casting their _Exuviæ_, or
Upper-Skin, every Year, which makes ’em fit Emblems or Representations
of Health; the Recovery of which from Sickness and Diseases may justly
be looked upon as the beginning of a fresh Period of Life, and (as
the throwing off the _Senectus_ of these Creatures seems to be) the
Renewing of Age (9).

Whether one or the other of these Reasons be allow’d of, or both
thought good, certain it is that such fond and superstitious Fancies
concerning the Viper, together with the mistaken Opinion that few of
its Parts were exempt from Poison, did not suffer the Ancients to make
any Curious Enquiries into its Nature by Anatomy and Experiments, and
this is the Cause of the many Errors they have delivered down to us
in these Points, which by gradual Advances have since been rectified,
and the inward Make, Properties, and Generation of this Animal,
largely treated of; more especially M. _Redi_ (10), _Charas_ (11), and
Dr. _Tyson_ in his Dissection of the _Rattle-Snake_ (12), which is a
larger Species of a Viper, have taken Pains on this Subject, to whose
Discoveries, what is yet wanting, we shall add at the End of this Essay.

The Symptoms which follow upon the Bite of a Viper, when it fastens
either one or both its greater Teeth in any Part of the Body, are an
acute Pain in the Place Wounded, with a Swelling at first Red, but
afterwards Livid, which by degrees spreads farther to the Neighbouring
Parts with great Faintness, and a Quick, tho’ Low, and sometimes
Interrupted Pulse, great Sickness at the Stomach, with Bilious,
Convulsive Vomitings, Cold Sweats, and sometimes Pains about the
Navel; and if the Cure be not speedy, Death it self, unless the
Strength of Nature prove sufficient to overcome these Disorders; and
tho’ it does, the Swelling still continues inflamed for some time; nay,
in some Cases more considerably upon the abating of the other Symptoms,
than at the beginning; and often from the small Wound runs a sanious
Liquor, and little Pustules are raised about it; the colour of the
whole Skin is changed Yellow, as if the Patient had the _Jaundice_.

These Mischiefs, altho’ different Climates, Season of the Year more or
less Hot, the greater or lesser Rage of the Viper, the Beast it self of
a larger or smaller Size, and consequently able to communicate more or
less Venom, and the like Circumstances, may variously heighten or abate
’em, yet do usually discover themselves much after the same manner in
all; unless the Bite happen not to be accompanied with the Effusion of
that _Liquor_, which is the main Instrument and Cause of this violent
and shocking Disturbance.

But before I proceed to enquire into the Nature and Manner of Acting
of this _Juice_, it may be worth the while to take Notice, that this
is not made on purpose to be deadly and destructive to _Mankind_; but
that the true Design of it is (tho’ Authors have not regarded it) to
perform an Office and Service of so great Moment, to the Preservation
of the Individual, that without it this Creature could not subsist.

For Vipers live chiefly upon Lizzards, Frogs, Toads, Mice, Moles, and
the like Animals, which they do not chew, but swallow down whole,
and they lie in the Stomach; or if that be not big enough to receive
them, partly in that, and partly in the Œsophagus, which is membranous
and capable of great Distension, till by the Salival Juices of those
Parts, together with the Help of the Fibres of the Stomach, and the
Contraction of the Muscles of the Abdomen, they are gradually dissolved
into a Fluid Substance, fit for the Nourishment of their Bodies, which
is the Work of many Days; this is _one_ Reason why these Creatures can
live so long without taking any fresh Food, which I have known them to
do Three or Four Months; as _another_ is, that their Blood is a grosser
and more viscid Fluid than that of most other Animals; so that there
is but a very little expence of it by Transpiration, and consequently
less need of Recruit; this not only _Microscopes_ discover, but Reason
teaches; because there is but very little Muscular Force in the Stomach
to comminute the Food, and make a Chyle of fine Parts, and therefore
the Blood must accordingly be of a Tough and Clammy Consistence.
Besides, the Heart of a Viper has properly but one Ventricle, and the
Circulation of the Blood is performed after the same Manner as it is
in a Frog and Tortoise, in which not above one Third of it passes
thro’ the Lungs; upon which Account its Comminution in them by the Air
is proportionably lesser than in other Animals. Now such a manner of
Feeding as _this_ does necessarily require, that the Prey should upon
the first Catching be immediately kill’d, otherwise it were by no means
fit to be let into the Stomach; for we are not to think that the Force
of this Part would be alone sufficient to destroy it, the Subtilty of
a living Creature (besides the Consideration of the Weakness of the
Fibres) being in a great Measure able to elude _that_, as indeed we do
every Day find live Animals in the Ventricles of others; and therefore
to do _this_ is the proper Use both of the Teeth and their Poison; for
which being designed and adapted, it is no wonder if the Viper, this
same Way by which it destroys its Prey, proves sometimes mischievous
to any other Creatures besides, when it happens to be enraged, or by
any Provocation stirr’d up to bite.

The Description of the Poisonous _Fangs_, their Make, Articulation and
Motion, as also of the Glands that separate the Yellowish Liquor, and
the Bags that contain it; I shall give, together with some Anatomical
Observations, at the End of this Discourse.

This Venomous Juice it self is of so inconsiderable a quantity, that it
is no more than one good _Drop_ that does the Execution; and for this
reason Authors have contented themselves with Trials of the Bite upon
several Animals, never Essaying to examine the Texture and Make of the
Liquor it self; for which purpose I have oftentimes by holding a Viper
advantageously, and inraging it till it struck out its Teeth, made it
to bite upon somewhat solid, so as to void its Poison; which carefully
putting upon a Glass Plate, I have with a Microscope, as nicely as I
could, viewed its Parts and Composition.

Upon the first Sight I could discover nothing but a Parcel of small
Salts nimbly floating in the Liquor, but in a very short time the
Appearance was changed, and these saline Particles were now shot out
as it were into _Crystals_ of an incredible Tenuity and Sharpness, with
something like Knots here and there, from which they seemed to proceed,
so that the whole Texture did in a manner represent a _Spider’s Webb_,
tho’ infinitely Finer, and more Minute; and yet withal so rigid were
these pellucid _Spicula_, or _Darts_, that they remained unaltered upon
my Glass for several Months (13).

I have made several Trials with this _Juice_ in order to find out under
what Tribe of Salts these Crystals are to be ranged; and not without
some difficulty, by reason of the Minute Quantity of the Liquor, and
the Hazard of Experiments of this Nature, have plainly seen that it
does, as an _Acid_, turn the blue Tincture of _Heliotropium_ to a Red

I did not succeed so well in mixing it with Syrup of Violets, and yet
it did really seem to induce in this a _Reddish Hue_; but I am very
certain it did not at all change it to a _Greenish_ Colour, as it would
have done if any ways _Alcalious_.

This may suffice in their own way of arguing, to convince those
Gentlemen, who without the Assistance of any Experiments, meerly to
serve an _Hypothesis_ which they have too fondly taken up, have with
great Assurance told the World, that the Viperine Venom is an _Alcali_,
and consequently to be cured by _Acid_ Remedies. But it is by far more
easie to Spin out a false Notion into precarious Reasonings, than to
make faithful Experiments, and fairly improve ’em by just and necessary

To proceed, this Discovery agrees very well with a Relation
communicated by an Ingenious Person to Dr. _Tyson_, which does so much
illustrate this Matter, that I shall transcribe it in his own Words,
out of the before cited _Philosophical Transactions_; he says then,
That being in the _Indies_, there came to him an _Indian_ with several
Sorts of _Serpents_, offering to shew him some Experiments about the
Force of their Poison; having therefore first pulled out a large One,
the _Indian_ told him this would do no Harm; and making a Ligature on
his Arm as in letting Blood, he exposed it naked to the Serpent, being
first irritated to make him bite it; the Blood that came out of the
Wound made by his Teeth, he gathered with his Finger, and laid it on
his Thigh, till he had got near a Spoonful, after this he takes out
another called _Cobra de Capelo_, which was lesser, and inlarges much
upon the Greatness of his Poison; to shew an Instance of it, grasping
it out about the Neck, he expresses some of the Liquor in the Bags of
the Gums, about the Quantity of half a Grain, and this he puts to the
coagulated Bleed on his Thigh, which immediately put it into a great
_Fermentation_, and working like _Barme_, changed it into a _Yellowish_

This I say does well enough accord with what we have been advancing
concerning the Nature of this _Juice_, for Mr. _Boyle_ has long since
proved by Experiments, that there is nothing of Acid in human Blood;
and Dr. _Pitcarn_ (14) has demonstrated, that the _Acid Substances_ of
Vegetables taken into the Stomach, are by the Action of this Part,
the Lungs and Heart, when they come into the Blood-Vessels, turn’d to
_Alcalious_; so that the Arterial Fluid must necessarily be considered
as an _Alcali_; and therefore according to the known Principles of
Chymistry, its mixture with such a Liquor as we have discovered the
Viperine _Sanies_ to be, will always exhibit some such appearance as
this now related.

But not to engage any farther in these sort of Controversies, we may
perhaps from the foregoing Observations receive some Light in order to
understand the Nature and Reason of all those Symptoms which attend
the Bite of this Creature. For the pungent Salts of this Venom, when
with Force thrown into the Wound, will not only as so many _Stimuli_,
irritate and fret the sensile Membranes, whereupon there necessarily
follows a greater Afflux than ordinary of the Animal Juices that way,
(as is manifest from the _Bellinian_ Doctrine, _De Stimulis_) so that
the wounded Part must be Swelled, Inflamed, Livid, _&c._ but also these
_Spicula_ being mixt with the Blood, will so disjoin and disunite the
Parts of it, that its Mixture must be quite alter’d; and from the
various _Cohæsion_ of its _Globules_ will arise such different Degrees
of _Fluidity_ and _Impulse_ towards the Parts, _&c._ from what this
Liquor had before, that its very Nature will be changed, or in the
common way of speaking, it will be truly and really _Fermented_.

To understand aright how all this is done, it is necessary to hint
somewhat concerning the Nature of _Fluids_ in General, and those
Alterations in them which we call _Fermentations_; for I shall retain
this known Word, tho’ in the proper Sense in which ’tis commonly used,
there can be no _Fermenting_ of the Liquors in the Animal Body.

And here I must refer to the Treatise of _Bellini de Fermentis_, who
has with great Clearness shewn, that there is in all _Fluids_ not only
a simple _Contact_ of their Parts, but also a _nisus in Contactum_, or
_Cohæsion_, and this of a certain _Degree_ or _Force_, and besides,
of a particular _Direction_; which is indeed, tho’ express’d in other
words, the very same thing with the _Attraction_ of the Particles
one to another; This Mr. _Newton_ has demonstrated to be the great
Principle of Action in the Universe, has taught us the Laws of it in
the greater Quantities and Collections of _Matter_; and he who rightly
Studies his Philosophy will understand that the same obtains in the
most Minute and Finest Corpuscles, which do unite into Bodies of
different _Solidity_ and _Make_, according to the Degree with which
they do mutually _attract_ each other, and to the _Superficies_, by
which, when drawn, they do _touch_ and _adhere_. To this if we add a
_Pression_ of the several Parts of the Fluid every way, and consider
withal, that this _Uniform_ Attraction of the Parts to one another
must be variously changed by the different Attraction of Heterogeneous
Bodies mixt with them, we have the great Principles of all Fluids, upon
which their several _Phænomena_ do depend.

And hence it follows, that whatsoever _Power_ is sufficient to
make a Change in this Attraction, or Cohæsion of the Parts, makes
an Alteration of the Nature of the Fluid; that is, as the Chymists
express it, puts it into a _Fermentation_. And if any one shall think
it necessary to enquire into the particular Manner of producing such
an Effect, we may perhaps in so abstruse a Matter not improbably
Conjecture _thus_, That our Blood consisting chiefly of Two Parts, a
simple _Lymph_, and an infinite Number of small _Globules_, containing
a very subtle and elastic Fluid, these acute Salts, when mingled with
it, do prick those Globules, or _Vesiculæ_, and so let out their
imprisoned active Substance, which expanding it self every way,
must necessarily be the Instrument of this speedy Alteration and
Change (15). From such an _Hypothesis_ as this (and, it may be, not
very easily from any other) we may account for many of the surprizing
Phænomena in the Fermentations of Liquors; and as precarious as
it seems, its Simplicity, and Plainness, and Agreement with the
forementioned Doctrine, will, I believe, recommend it before any other
to those who are not unacquainted with _Geometrical_ Reasonings. But I
wave these Considerations at present, and shall only add One Remark or
Two with Relation to the purpose in Hand, and so proceed.

In the first place then, we may from this _Theory_, learn, how it comes
to pass that so small a Portion of Juice should infect so great a
quantity of Liquor; for in order to do this, it is not necessary that
the Venom should be at the very first mixt with all its Parts; but it
is sufficient that it prick some of the _Bladders_, and the elastic
Matter of these being let out, will be a nimble _Vehicle_ to the acute
Salts, and not only by its activity disperse them thro’ the Fluid,
but restore to them their decreasing _Force_, and thus continue their
Effects, till a great part of the Liquor undergoes at least, in some
Degree, the like Alteration.

And this will the more easily happen in the present Case, because
the _Force_ with which this Poison is thrown into the Blood, as
appears from the Mechanism of the discharging Organs, is very great,
and consequently its Effects will be proportionably violent, or the
Mischief more large and diffused.

The want of this may be one Reason why the Experiment of first making
a Wound in the Flesh with any sharp Instrument, and then dropping in
the _Sanies_, may not always succeed so well in killing Animals, as one
would from the preceeding Doctrine be ready to expect. Tho’ if some
amends be made for this Defect, by taking a greater quantity of the
Juice, and carefully instilling it, It proves equally Fatal this way,
as when immediately discharg’d from the Viper it self. Thus it might
happen that those Trials of this kind, which were happily made by S^r
_Redi_, might not however convince M^r _Charas_, in as much as there
is oftentimes a great deal of difference in the Event of Experiments,
when made with Purpose, and a Design that they should succeed, and
when Timorously and Cautiously managed, lest they should unluckily
overthrow a darling _Hypothesis_.

The other Observation I shall draw from the foregoing Theory, is this,
That it appears from hence what a vast _variety_ there may be in the
Fermentations even of one and the same Fluid; for these being no other
than _Changes_ made in the _Cohæsion_ of the compounding Particles,
are capable of as many Alterations as _Motion_ in its _Degrees_ and
_Directions_ can admit of, which are really Infinite.

This I mention with regard to some of the following _Essays_, in which,
if we ascribe many Symptoms seemingly very different, to a Ferment
rais’d in the Blood, it may be consider’d, that the Nature of this
Cause is such, as according to the several Properties of the _Primum
Agens_, or _Fermenting Power_, to bear by far more Varieties than any
one can be aware of.

To return to the Viper; the Effects of such an Agitation of the
Blood, as we have been describing, must not only be whatever are
the Consequences of a disturbed _Circulation_, and irregular and
interrupted _Secretion_ of the Spirits, as low Pulse, Faintings,
Sickness, Palpitation of the Heart, Convulsive Vomitings, Tremblings
of the Body, _&c._ but also the _Texture_ of this Fluid being thus
broken, those Parts of it which are of the slowest Motion, and greatest
Viscidity, will be easily separated from the others; such they are,
which when united together do compound the _Bile_, and therefore these
will tinge the Capillary Vessels, and fine _Ducts_ in the Skin, with a
Yellowish Colour; that is, will induce an _Icterus_, or Jaundice.

For it is not only (if at all _Primarily_) from an Obstruction of the
_Biliary Canals_ that this Symptom does proceed, but also from any
Cause whatsoever, which either destroys the Saline Part of the Bile, by
the means of which its Oil is kept mixt with the Water of the Blood,
or else increases the Oily and Sulphureous Part to that Degree, that
tho’ it be duly impregnated with Salt, yet the Watery Part of the
Blood, which can only take up a certain Proportion of it, being already
_Saturated_, can receive no more; or lastly, does, by _disuniting_
the compounding Particles of the Blood, alter that _Intestine_ Motion
and Agitation which is necessary to carry along thro’ the Vessels,
together with the more volatile Parts, those which are more Clammy
and Glutinous. For in all these Cases ’tis plain that the Bilious
Corpuscles must be _præcipitated_ upon those Parts of the Body where
there is least Motion, that is, upon the extreme Superficies.

And tho’ this Theory may perhaps appear extravagant, because new and
uncommon, yet it will not, I believe, seem ill grounded or irrational
to those who understand the Doctrine of the _Mixture_ of Heterogene
Fluids, and their _Separation_; and who withal know, that the Vessels
are rarely obstructed, unless it be from the fault of the Liquid they
carry, and consequently that a Defect in the Bile it self must be
(excepting some extraordinary Cases) antecedent to the Obstruction of
the Biliary Ducts.

In short, the different Cure of this Disease confirms these Notions;
for an _Icterus_ from the first Cause assign’d, which is generally
owing to a sedentary Life, want of Exercise, _&c._ and attended with
an extreme Costiveness and white _Fæces_, is cured by Volatile,
Acrimonious, and Bitter Salts. From the Second produced oftentimes
by drinking strong Liquors, Spirits, _&c._ and accompanied with a
_Diarrhœa_, partly by Diluting and Temperating, partly by Stomachic
and Strenghning Medicines. As the last Species of it (for the sake of
which we have mention’d the other) is removed by such _Antidotes_ as
overcome and destroy the Venomous Ferment, corrupting the Blood, and
breaking its _Compages_. But to have hinted these things may abundantly
suffice for the present.

We must however take Notice, That _tho’_ the _main_ Alterations made
by this Poison be in the Fluid of the Arteries, _yet_ that _That_
of the Nerves may hereby be considerably _changed_ too; for _This_
consisting, as well as the Blood of differing Parts, and being
dispersed in small _Tubes_ all over the Body, is not only very capable
of _various_ Degrees of _Force_, _Impulse_, _&c._ but _Undulating_
continually towards the Brain, and being the chief Instrument of Motion
and Action, may perhaps sometimes more immediately convey the Mischief
to the sensile Membranes, and thus be the Cause of those violent
Pains, Convulsions, Sickness, _&c_ with which Those who are Bitten are
presently seiz’d.

Many are the Experiments I could relate to evince the Truth of this
Reasoning concerning the Viperine Venom, which do entirely agree with
those made by S^r _Redi_, whose Judgment and Sincerity in Observations
of this Nature no Body ever called in Question, till Monsieur _Charas_
having espous’d a Notion, that this Poison does not lie in the Yellow
Liquor of the Gums, but in the enraged Spirits of the Viper, rais’d
new Difficulties about the Success of some Trials made in _France_,
endeavouring thereby to invalidate the Force and Authority of those
made in _Italy_.

I shall therefore, in order to put this Matter out of all doubt,
mention Two or Three Experiments made by Dr. _Areskine_, when at
_Paris_, that it may appear how defective those of Mr. _Charas_ are,
and that the Difference of the Climate does not (as some began to
imagine (16)) make any considerable Alteration in the Effects of this
Venom, or its manner of Killing.

First then, having got a large Female Viper, he made it to Bite Six
Pigeons, one after another; the First and Second that were bit, died
within about half an Hour, one a little Time before the other; the
third liv’d about two Hours; the Fourth seem’d to be very sick, but
recovered; the Fifth and Sixth were no more hurt than if they had been
prick’d with a Pin or Needle.

Then he cut off the Head of a brisk Viper, and let it lie twenty four
Hours, with the Fangs of which he wounded One Pigeon in the Breast,
and another in the Thigh, which both expired as soon after, as if
they had been biten by a living Viper. After this, having got a great
many Vipers together, he made them bite upon a peice of Glass of a
Cylindrical Figure, by this means preserving the Yellow Juice which
they emitted, and slightly wounding two Pigeons, he first let the
Bleeding be stopt, then put some of this Liquor into the Wounds, upon
which both the Pigeons died about two Hours after.

The same Ingenious Person tells me, that Monsieur _du Verney_ made not
only These, but also several other Experiments of the same Nature, in
the _Royal Acamy_, with the like Success.

These Proofs are so convincing and full, that no one, I think, can
desire more; but they will receive yet a farther Confirmation from the
_Apparatus_ or Mechanism of the Organs, with admirable Nicety contrived
for the Discharge of this Venom, of which more by and by.

Nor is it any Objection against all _This_, that the _Liquor_ is
innocent and harmless in the Mouth or Stomach of any one, so as that it
may be safely tasted or sucked out of the Wound, and swallowed; for,
_as_ we observ’d before, that many _Acid_ Substances taken into the
Stomach are by the Action of that Part turned to _Alcalious_, so there
is no Question but these Saline _Spicula_ are partly by the Muscular
Force of the Fibres, partly by the Salival Juice, all broken and
dissolved; or if any can pass into the Intestines, the Balsam of the
_Bile_ will be an _Antidote_ for Them; the Reason of which will appear
when we come to the Cure.

In the mean time it may not be amiss to Remark, That even the Ancients
seem to have known thus much concerning the Nature of this Poison; of
this _Galen_ gives us Testimony in severl Places; particularly in his
Book _de Temperamentis_ (17), where he takes notice, that _nothing has
the same Power upon the human Body outwardly as inwardly; Thus_ (says
he) _neither the Venom of the Viper, nor of the Asp nor frothy Spittle
of the Mad Dog, are alike Mischievous when they fall upon the Skin, or
enter into the Stomach, as when outwardly communicated by a Wound._

The chief of the _Latin_ Physicians (18), _Celsus_ has elegantly
express’d the Matter in few Words, when advising to _Suck_ the Wound
made by the Bite; he adds, _Neq; Hercules Scientiam præcipuam habent hi
qui Psilli nominantur, sed audaciam usu ipso confirmatam, nam Venenum
Serpentis, ut quædam etiam Venatoria Venena, quibus Galli præcipuè
utuntur, non gustu sed in vulnere nocent_.

And therefore brave _Cato_, when marching the Remains of _Pompey_’s
Army thro’ _Africa_, very wisely told the Soldiers, almost choak’d with
Thirst, yet afraid to drink of a Spring they came to, because full of
Serpents (19),

 _Noxia Serpentum est admisto sanguine Pestis,
 Morsu Virus habent, & Fatum Dente minantur,
 Pocula Morte carent_――

In the like manner it was in those times also known, that the virulent
Juice had the same bad Effects, when mixt with the Blood, by means of
a common Wound, as when communicated by the Venomous Bite. This made
_Celsus_ (20) advise in sucking out the Poison, to take care there be no
Ulcer in the Mouth; tho’ this Caution be rather slighted and ridiculed
by _Severinus_ (21), and others; who do hereby discover how little they
understood of the Seat and Nature of this Poison. And _Galen_ (22)
mentioning the Story of _Cleopatra_, relates from other Authors, that
she killed her self _by pouring the_ Virus _of an Asp into a Wound made
in her Arm by her own Teeth_.

In short, it is upon this Foundation, that _Pliny_ (23) assures us, the
_Scythians_ Poison’d their Arrows with the _Sanies_ of Vipers mixt with
human Blood; the way of doing it _Aristotle_ (24) has at large related;
and the _Tartars_ are said to use the like Trick to this Day. After
the same manner the _Indians_ make use of the Venom of the Lizard,
called _Gecco_; this Creature they hang up by the Tail, and by Whipping
exasperate till it discharge its _Virus_, in which they tinge their
Darts; and a very slight Wound with these Weapons is speedy Death (25).

It is worth the while in the next Place to consider the Cure of
this Mischief, which without all doubt ought to be by such External
Mannagement of the Wound as may immediately destroy the infused Venom.

Mr. _Boyle_ (26) experienced a hot Iron held as near the Place as the
Patient could possibly endure it very effectual to this Purpose. But
the same Method did not answer Expectation in the famous Case related
by Monsieur _Charas_ (27).

An extraordinary Virtue against this and other venomous Bites is
ascribed to the _Snake-stones_ brought from the _East-Indies_, one of
which is to be presently apply’d to the Part, and let stick till it
drop off; these are said to be taken out of the Head of the Serpent
called by the _Portugueze_, _Cobra de Capelo_; and to suck the Poison
out of the Wound. S^r _Redi_ (28) made Trials with several of them, but
found no Service from any. Yet _Baglivi_ (29) tells us of a terrible
Bite of a Scorpion cured this way. Monsieur _Charas_ (30) his Pigeons
all died, tho’ _these_ were immediately clapped on, and stuck close to
the Wound: But Dr. _Havers_ saw a good Effect of _one_ upon a Dog, who
tho’ severely bitten, suffered no Harm, nor any farther Mark of the
Poison than a livid Circle round the Place.

In plain Truth, _as_ these celebrated _Stones_ do not seem to be what
it is pretended they are, but rather Factitious Bodies compounded, it
may be, of Calcined Bones, and some Testaceous Matters mixt together;
_so_ by Reason of their spongy and porous Texture, they do very readily
adhere to any moistened Part of the Flesh, and imbibe whatsoever
humidity they meet with. This their Quality any one may experience
by holding one of them to the Roof of his Mouth; and it is upon this
Score, that when put into Water, Bubbles are raised by the Air in their
Interstices, which some have too fondly thought to be the Effects of
their throwing out the Venom they had sucked in.

Their _make_ being thus, some Part at least of the Poisonous Juice may
easily be drawn out of the Wound by such an Application, and yet so
much of _it_ may sometimes happen to remain in the Flesh, as may make
the Bite however to prove Mortal. And thus it fared with a Pigeon,
to the Thigh of which, first bitten by a Viper, I applied one of the
Stones; for tho’ it stuck fast to the Wound, and thus saved the Life
for about four Hours; (whereas others usually died in about half an
Hour) yet after this the Mortification of the Part prevailed to that
Degree as to become fatal to the tender Creature.

But our _Viper-Catchers_ have a Remedy far beyond all these, in which
They do place so great Confidence, as to be no more afraid of a Bite
than of a common Puncture, immediately curing themselves by the
Application of their _Specifick_.

This, tho’ they keep as a great Secret, I have however upon strict
Enquiry found out to be no other than the _Axungia Viperina_ presently
rubbed into the Wound. And to convince my self of its good Effects, I
inraged a Viper to bite a young Dog in the Nose; both the Teeth were
struck deep in; he howled bitterly, and the Part began to swell; I
diligently applied some of the _Axungia_ I had ready at Hand, and he
was very well the next Day.

But because some Gentlemen who saw this Experiment were apt to impute
the Cure rather to the Dog’s Spittle, (he licking the Wound) than to
the Virtue of the _Fat_, we made him to be bit again in the Tongue,
forbearing the Use of our Remedy, and he died within four or five Hours.

At another time I made the like Trial with the same Success.

_As_ this _Axungia_ consists of Clammy and Viscid Parts, which are
withal more Penetrating and Active than most other Oily Substances,
_so_ these, without all doubt, do involve, and as it were sheath the
Volatile Salts of the Venemous Liquor, and thus prevent their Shooting
out into those Crystalline _Spicula_, which we have observ’d to be the
main Instruments of that deadly Mischief which attends the Bite.

By this means it comes to pass, that this Cure, if rightly manag’d,
is so easie and certain, as not to need the help of any _Internal_
Medicines to forward it; but _These_ however must take place, where,
thro’ Want of the other, the Poison is spread farther, and has tainted
the whole Mass of Blood.

Nor yet is it necessary even in this Case to fatigue the Patient with a
_Farrago_ of _Theriacas_, _Antidotes_, &c. for the _Volatile Salt_ of
Vipers is alone sufficient to do the Work, if given in just Quantities,
and duly repeated; provided moderate Sweats be incouraged in Bed; thus
it succeeded with Monsieur _Charas_ in the before cited Case, and in
some others I could relate; in one of which the Mischief had gone so
far as to induce an universal _Icterus_.

This leads me last of all to hint something concerning the Use of the
Viper in _Physick_; because Authors are very large in enumerating
its Virtues against many, and those too some of ’em very obstinate,

One of the first whom we find in Antiquity to have made use of the
Flesh of this Creature to Medicinal Purposes, was, I think, _Antonius
Musa_, the Famons Physician to _Octavius Cæsar_; of whom _Pliny_ (31)
tells us, That _when he met with incurable Ulcers, he ordered the
eating of Vipers, and by this means they were quickly Healed_.

It is not improbable that he might have learned this from the Great
_Greek_ Physician _Craterus_, mention’d often by _Cicero_ in his
Epistles to _Atticus_, who, as _Porphyrius_ (32) relates, _very happily
cured a miserable Slave, whose Skin in a strange manner fell off from
his Bones, by advising him to feed upon Vipers dressed after the manner
of fish_.

Be this as it will, in _Galen_’s time the profitable Qualities of the
Viper were very commonly known; himself relating (33) very remarkable
Stories of the Cures of the _Elephantiasis_, or _Lepra_, done by the
Viper Wine.

_Aretæus_, who most probably liv’d about the same time with
_Galen_, and of all the Ancients has most accurately described the
_Elephantiasis_, commends, as _Craterus_ did, the eating of Vipers
instead of Fish in the same Diseases (34). And to this purpose I
remember, that _as Lopes_ (35) in his Relations of the Kingdom of
_Congo_ in _Africa_, takes notice how greedily the _Negroes_ eat
_Adders_, roasting them, and esteeming them as the most delicious Food;
_so Dampier_ (36) also informs us, that the Natives of _Tonquin_ in the
_East Indies_ do treat their Friends with _Arack_, in which _Snakes_
and _Scorpions_ have been infus’d, accounting this not only a great
Cordial, but also an Antidote against the _Leprosie_, and all other
sorts of Poison.

The Physicians in _Italy_ and _France_ do very commonly prescribe the
Broth and Gelly of Vipers Flesh for much the same Uses, that is, to
invigorate and purifie the Mass of Blood exhausted with Diseases, or
tainted with some Vicious and Obstinate _Ferment_.

From all this it appears, That the main Efficacy of the Viperine Flesh
is to quicken the Circle of the Blood, promote its due Mixture, and by
this means cleanse and scoure the _Glands_ of those stagnating Juices,
which, turning to Acidity, are the Origine of many, at least, of those
troublesome Distempers in the Surface of the Body, which go under the
Names of _Scrophulous_, _Leprous_, &c.

These good Effects are owing to that penetrating, strong _Salt_,
with which the Substance of these Creatures does, in a very great
Proportion, abound; and the Reason of _this_ is from the Food they
live on, which we have observ’d before to be Lizzards, Moles, _&c._
whose Nature every one knows to be such as must necessarily, when they
are dissolv’d in the Stomach, supply the Blood with a great Quantity of
Active and Volatile Parts. And herein lies the Difference between the
Flesh of Vipers, and _that_ of other Innocent Serpents, which feeding
upon Grass, Herbs, _&c._ do not recommend themselves to us by any of
those Properties which are in so Eminent a Degree found in the former.

Whosoever reflects on what has been said on this Head, will very
readily Acknowledge, That our Physicians deal too Cautiously or
Sparingly with a Remedy which may be apply’d to very good Purposes,
when they prescribe a few Grains of the _Pouder_ of dried Vipers,
or make up a small Quantity of their Flesh into _Troches_; whereas,
if Service be really to be done this Way, the Patient ought to eat
frequently of Viper-Gelly, or Broth; or rather, as the ancient manner
was, to boil Vipers, and eat them like Fish; if this Food will not go
down, (tho’ really very Good and Delicious Fare) to make use at least
of Wine, in which Vipers have for a long time been infused, by which
I know a very obstinate _Lepra_ has been removed; or lastly, in some
Cases, especially where Wine is not Convenient, to take good Quantities
of their _Volatile Salt_, in which alone the Virtue of the before-named
Medicines does principally reside.


An APPENDIX to the Foregoing Essay; Containing

 _Some Anatomical Observations on the VIPER, and an Account of some
 other_ Venomous Animals.

In repeated Dissections of the _Viper_, comparing the _Descriptions_
given Us by Authors with the _Parts_ themselves, I have found them
in many Particulars to be very Defective. I shall however at present
confine my self to some Observations made chiefly on those Organs
which serve to prepare and emit the _Poison_.

To begin therefore with the Head. The _Skull_ (_Fig. 2._) is composed
of several Bones, joined together by _Sutures_, as in _Man_, but with
this Difference, that the _Os Frontis_ in the Viper consists of Two
Bones united by a Rectilinear _Suture_, and the _Parietal_ Bones are
entire; whereas in Man the _Parietal_ Bones have _Sutures_, and the _Os
Frontis_ is entire.

(_a_) Shews Two small Semicircular Bones, which form the inferior Part
of the _Nostrils_.

(_b_) The Two Bones which make the upper Part of the _Nose_, from the
latter pass down two thin _Laminæ_, which touching one another, and
falling perpendicular upon the _Ossa Palati_, compose the _Septum_ of
the Nose.

(_e e_) Point out the _Ossa Frontis_, which form the upper Part of the
_Orbits_ of the Eyes. And (_c c_) the _Orbits_ themselves.

The _Parietal Bones_ (_d_) make a large Cavity, in which the greatest
Part of the Brain is contained, and _this_ we may call the _Sinciput_.

Behind this Bone are placed the _Ossa Temporum_ (_f f_) in which lye
the Organs of _Hearring_; and behind Them a Bone (_g_) which, we may
call the _Os Occipitis_, covers the posterior Part of the Brain. This
is joined to the first _Vertebra_ of the Neck (_h_), by a Spherical
Articulation, as all the _Vertebræ_ are to one another; and this is the
Reason why this Creature can turn its Head and Body so much, and so
nimbly, every way.

To some of _These_ there are Two other Bones Articulated for particular

The First of _Them_, which serves as a _Basis_ to the Articulation
of the Rest (_a_, _Fig. 4._), is fastned by one Extremity to a small
Proturberance (_i_, _Fig. 2._) in the middle and lateral Part of the
_Os Sincipitis_, and running back towards the _Vertebræ_, lyes in the
same Plain with the _Sinciput_. This Bone has a Motion, tho’ very
inconsiderable, both upwards and downwards. By means of This, the
opening of the Mouth is somewhat inlarged in the Time of _Deglutition_.

That End of this Bone, which is next to the _Vertebræ_, is articulated
at oblique Angles with _Another_ (_b_) placed Horizontally, and whose
Motion is forwards and backwards, being made chiefly for moving the
Bones of the upper and lower Jaw, into which the Teeth are inserted.
By reason of this kind of Articulation, It cannot contribute any thing
towards widening the Mouth for Swallowing.

This Bone, and That with which it is joined, I call the _Common Bones_.

The _Upper Jaw_ (_Fig. 3._) is, besides the Teeth, composed on each
side of _three_ Bones. The _First_ (_a_), into which the Poisonous
_Fangs_ are fixt, is articulated with the Anterior Protuberance of the
_Orbit_ of the Eye; and has a Motion of Flexion and Extension, that is,
forwards and backwards, by which the _Fangs_ are Erected or Depress’d.
It is small at the Joint, but grows broader by degrees, to a pretty
large _Basis_, the better to contain a considerable Number of _Teeth_.
It is _Spongy_ like the Substance of the _Vertebræ_, and no ways fit to
be the immediate Organ of _Hearing_, as Mr. _Charas_ and some others
have imagined.

The _Second_ (_c_), is a broad thin Bone, Articulated by _one_ Extreme
to the _Former_, (_f_), and by the _other_ firmly fixt to the middle of
the _third_ Bone. When _this_ is thrust forwards, it likewise pushes
the _First_, and by this means the _Erection_ of the _Fangs_ is helped;
and when it is pull’d backwards, they are _depressed_.

The _third_ Bone (_e d_), is join’d by one Extremity (_e_), to the
End of one of the Bones of the Lower Jaw (_c_, _Fig. 4._), And being
somewhat crooked, turns in a little towards the _Basis_ of the
_Cranium_, and running along the Inferior Part of it towards the
_Nose_, terminates near the Internal and Anterior Part of the _first_

The _Lower Jaw_ (_c d e f g_, _Fig. 4._) on each side is made up of two
Bones, but firmly united, the Extremity of the _one_ entring within the
_other_ (_f_). The First (_c d e_) articulates with the _Second_ of the
_Common Bones_ (_b_), where it is broad, and sends off an _Apophysis_,
into which there is a _Muscle_ inserted, which helps to open the _Jaw_.
There is in _this_ is a _Hole_ (_d_), for the Entrance of the Branch
of the _Nerve_, which passing thro’ a _Canal_ in the middle of it,
goes to the Extremity of the _Second_ Bone, and in its way sends off
several Branches which go to the _Teeth_; and also a very considerable
one, which goes out at (_e_), and is wholly spent upon the Neighbouring

The _Second_ Bone (_f g_) serves chiefly to receive the small _Teeth_,
which answer to _those_ in the upper Jaw.

As for the _Teeth_, they are of two Sorts, the _Great_, or poisonous
_Fangs_, and the _Small_.

The _Great_ (_b_, _Fig. 3._), being fixt in the First Bone of the
_Upper Jaw_, are Crooked and Bent, like the _Dentes Canini_ in most
_Carnivorous_ Animals. They are manifestly hollow from their Root a
considerable way, not to the very _Apex_ or Point, (which is solid and
sharp, the better to pierce the Skin) but to a small distance from it,
as is plainly seen by splitting the Tooth thro’ the middle (_Vid. Fig.
6._). This Cavity ends at the Convex Part in a visible _Slit_, very
well resembling the _Nip_ or _Cut_ of a _Pen_ (_Fig. 9. d_), which is
the _Emissary_ or Outlet to the Poyson.

_Galen_ (37) has given us a considerable Hint of this Make of the
Tooth: For, _The Mountebanks_ (He says) _used to suffer themselves to
be bit by Vipers, having first with some Pastes stopt the Holes of
their Teeth, that the Venom being thus kept in, the Spectators might
think they did by their Antidote secure themselves from its dangerous

The Reason why these Teeth are _Crooked_, is, That the _Point_ of the
Tooth, when the Viper bites, may be _Perpendicular_ to the Part to be
Wounded; for the Head being raised back in the Time of Biting, and the
Tooth erected, if _this_ were strait, It would not, by reason of its
oblique Situation to the part, enter with so much Force, nor so deep
into the Flesh.

As for the _Number_ of the Poisonous Fangs, I have observed, that there
are, for the most part, besides One, Two or Three on each side, fixt
Perpendicularly to the first Bone of the Upper Jaw, some others which
are Young, and of a smaller Size, adhering to the same Bone: Their
_Points_ are hardened, and they have their _Fissures_ formed as in the
other, but their _Roots_ are Soft and Mucilaginous, like the Roots of
the Teeth in Infants, and so they lye always depress’d at the _Bottoms_
of the _Former_, as may be seen _Fig. 10. c_.

They drop off from the Bone at the least Touch; and therefore some
Anatomists have imagined them to be fastened to Muscles or Tendons,
which would have rendred Them altogether Useless. For they are made to
supply the Place of the _Greater_, when they fall away, or are pulled
out by Accident, and in order to do this, they do by degrees harden,
and rise more and more, till at last they stand upright, and come to a
Perpendicular Situation in the Bone.

They are not all of the same _Growth_, for in some we can only discern
the Shape of a Tooth without any Hardness, in _others_ the Point, and
in the _next_ somewhat more is hardened, and so on to the greatest Fang.

Their Number is very uncertain, there being sometimes six or seven in
each side of the Jaw, sometimes fewer.

These seem to have occasioned the Disputes among the Ancients
concerning the Number of the Viperine Teeth.

The Poysonous Fangs have small Holes at the Internal Part of their
Root, thro’ which the Vessels pass which carry their Nourishment (_Fig.
5. a_).

It is remarkable, that Nature has provided Young Vipers with Poisonous
Teeth grown to their Perfection, that so they may kill their Prey as
soon as they come into the World.

The _Second_ Kind of Teeth, or the _Small_, are hooked, and bent, as
well as the former, but without any _Slit_ or Opening. Of These there
are Four Rows, Two on each side of the Mouth. They are fixt in the
_third_ Bone of the Upper Jaw, and in the _Second_ in the Lower, as
exhibited to view in the _Figures_.

Their Use is to hold the Prey fast while Execution is done by the Bite,
lest in struggling to get away, It should pull out the Fangs.

The Instruments that _Emit_ the Venom being thus describ’d, we come
next to _those_ which serve to _Prepare_ and _Contain_ it.

This _Liquor_ is separated from the Blood by a _Gland_ on each side
of the Head, placed in the Anterior and Lateral Part of the _Os
Sincipitis_, just behind the Orbit of the Eye (_Fig. 9. a_); It lies
immediately under that Muscle which helps to depress the Fangs, so
that by the Action of _this_ it is Press’d; which is an admirable
Contrivance to forward the _Secretion_ of the Juice out of it.

’Tis a _Conglomerated_ Gland, composed of many smaller ones contained
in a common Membrane; each of These sends off an Excretory Vessel, all
which do afterwards Unite and Form one _Duct_ (_b_), which running
towards the Roots of the Fangs, discharges the Yellow Liquor into a

This _Bag_ is fixt to the _Basis_ of the _first_ Bone of the Upper Jaw,
and also to the Extremity of the _Second_, covering the Fangs near the
Root (_d_, _Fig. 10._). To the upper Part of this _Vesicula_ there
is joined _another_ (_a_), in the Anterior Part of which there is a
Passage for the Poisonous Teeth.

This consists of Muscular Fibres, both _Longitudinal_ and _Circular_,
by Means of which it can _Contract_ it self when the Fangs are erected;
and by this Contraction the _Venom_ is press’d into the Hole at the
Root of the Tooth, and forced out at the Fissure near the Point.

That this is so done, I have frequently observed with the naked Eye,
having cut off the Head of a Viper, and immediately pinching the
Neck to make it open the Mouth wide; for by this means the Venom was
_Squirted_ out as from a _Syringe_.

When the Viper lyes quiet with its Mouth shut, the Fangs are depress’d
and covered with the _External Bag_; when it intends to bite, it
opens the Mouth very wide, at the same time the lower Extremity of
the _Second_ of the _Common_ Bones (_Fig. 4. b_) is moved forwards by
proper Muscles, and turns as it were upon the fixt Centre (_b_), thus
pushing forward the Upper and Lower Jaws, whose Extremes are united at
(_c_). By this means the Lower Part of the First Bone of the Upper Jaw
(_Fig. 3. a_) is thrust forwards, the other Extremity turning in the
Cavity of its Articulation, where it is fastned by _Ligaments_; the
Fangs being by this Mechanism Erected, the Bags which covered them, by
the Contraction of their _Longitudinal_ Fibres, are pulled back, and
the Action of the _Circular Ones_ does at the same Time straiten the
_Internal_ Bag, and force the _Juice_ into the Teeth.

Besides this, when the Viper bites, It strikes in the Fangs to the very
Root; and thus the _Vesiculæ_ are still more squeezed for the Discharge
of the Liquor.

It is worthy our Observation, that the Viper can move the Jaw Bones on
_one_ side without moving Those on the _other_, for they are not joined
together at the Extremes as in other Animals; which Contrivance is very
beneficial to it in the _swallowing_ its Prey; in that, while the Teeth
on one side stand unmoved, and fixt in the Flesh to hold it, _Those_
on the other side are brought forward, to draw it in farther, then
they keep it fast till the former Jaws advance again in their _Turn_.
Thus they act successively, and force the Animal intire (there being
no _Dentes Incisivi_ or _Molares_ to divide it) into the _Œsophagus_,
whose Muscular Fibres are very Weak, and can help but little in the

It may not be amiss to conclude these _Remarks_ with a short _Hint_
concerning the _Organs of Hearing_; Mr. _Charas_ (who is however
followed by others in _it_) having, as we mention’d before, Entertain’d
a very absurd Opinion about _Them_.

_These_ then are placed in the _Temporal_ Bones, as in other Animals,
and consist of _One_ long, small _Bone_ (_Vid._ _Fig. 11._), like
_that_ of _Birds_, whose Extremity is broad, like the _Basis_ of the
_Stapes_ in _Man_, and situated upon a little _Hole_ which opens into
the _Labyrinth_; and besides of _three Demicircular Canals_ (_Fig. 12.
a b_) which also open into the _Labyrinth_.

This _Labyrinth_ (_Fig. 13._) has a great many _Eminencies_ in it
of no determin’d Regular Figure (_Fig. 14._), and is covered with a
_Membrane_ full of _Nerves_ and _Blood Vessels_. The _Nerve_ enters
from the Brain at a Hole in the middle of this _Cavity_ (_a_, _Fig.

There is no _Cochlea_ in the Ear of the Viper; but the Anterior
_Demicircular Canal_ opens into a _Semicanal_, which makes some _Spiral
Turns_ in the Fore-part of the _Labyrinth_; in like manner as it is in

The _Passage_ for the Air to these Organs is not _Outward_, but, as in
some Fish, thro’ the Mouth, between the Upper and Under Jaws, running
below the _Second_ of the _Common Bones_. But of _This_, and also of
the True Mechanic _Use_ of the aforesaid _Parts_, more hereafter.


_Poisonous Animals._

As the _Viper_ is Hurtful by Instilling a Liquid _Poison_ into the
Wound made by its Teeth; so likewise are all _Venomous_ Creatures
whatsoever, whether they _Bite_ or _Sting_, tho’ there be some
difference in the Contrivance of their _Organs_, Mischievous after much
the same _Manner_; and mostly for the same good _Use_ and Purpose, that
is, in order to Kill their _Prey_.

This will fully appear, by Examining the _Instruments_ of Death in
several of _Them_.

First then, The _Spider_ wh_i_ch lives upon Flies, Wasps, and the like
_Insects_, is provided with a hooked _Forceps_, placed just by the
Mouth, very sharp and fine; with _this_ he pierces the Flesh of little
Creatures caught in his _Webb_, and at the same time infuses a _Juice_
into the Puncture, by which means the Animal being Killed, He sucks out
the Moisture from the Body, and leaves it a dry husky Carkass.

M^r _Van Leewenhoek_, in his Account of _Spiders_, lately
publish’d (38), has, together with the other Parts, by the help of his
Glasses, describ’d these _Weapons_, which He finds to lie couched on
each side the Mouth, in a Row of Teeth, till they are raised to do
Execution. These Rows of Small _Teeth_ are design’d to hold the Prey,
that It may not escape the Force of the Bite. And in the Convex Part,
towards the Point of each _Claw_, He has delineated a little Aperture
or _Slit_, thro’ which he supposes the Poison issues out at the same
time the Wound is made.

This _Situation_ and _Motion_ of these Parts, I have several times
view’d; but was never able to discern the _Exit_ or Opening; which,
having a just Deference to the Industry and Application of so Nice
an Observer in Things of this Nature, I, at first, imputed to my own
Unskilfulness in such Enquiries, knowing my _Microscope_ to be very
good; till at last, after repeated Trials, I very plainly saw, That
nothing dropt out of the _Claws_, which were always dry while the
Spider Bit, but that a short, white _Proboscis_ was at the same time
thrust out of the Mouth, which instilled a _Liquor_ into the Wound.

Then I concluded, That M^r _Leewenhoek_ had Delineated the _Apertures_
in these _Weapons_, only from the _Analogy_ which he thought they must
bear to the Viperine _Fangs_, the _Sting_ of the _Scorpion_, _Bee_,
&c. And I was confirmed in this Opinion by examining a _Claw_ of the
great _American_ Spider, described (tho’ but lamely) by _Piso_ (39), and
called _Nhamdu_; this was given Me by M^r. _Pettiver_, and being above
fifty Times bigger than _that_ of the largest _Europæan_ Spider (40), if
there had been any Slit in it, my Glass would no doubt have discover’d
it, but yet I found it to be quite Solid.

And indeed the Quantity of _Liquor_ emitted by our common Spiders when
they kill their Prey, is visibly so Great, and the wounding _Weapons_
so Minute, that they could contain but a very inconsiderable Portion
thereof, if it were to be discharged that Way.

To this purpose, I remember Mr. _Boyle_ somewhere tells a Story of
a Person blinded by a Spider dropping its Venom into his Eye, which
tho’ it can hardly find Credit with some, is however confirmed by what
_Piso_ relates of his _Nhamdu_, _Viz._ That in catching it great heed
is to be taken, lest its Poison fall into the _Eye_, This causing a
total Loss of the _Sight_.

What Mr. _Leewenhoek_ observes of the Enmity these Creatures bear
to one another I have often seen; for if Four, Five, or more be put
together into a Glass, they immediately fall to _Fighting_ with all the
Fury imaginable; _Limbs_ struck off are usually the _Præludes_ to the
terrible Slaughter, which continues till all are killed, the _Surviving
Conqueror_ himself most commonly Dying of his Wounds.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _Weapons_ of Mischief in the _Scolopendra_ are much the same with
Those of the Spider, only larger. One of these Creatures I had brought
to Me alive out of a Ship which came from the _East-Indies_, where
_Bontius_ (41) says, Their Bite is so painful, that it makes People
almost mad; but it died before I had an opportunity of making Trial of
its Poison; however, I very diligently looked upon the Claws (42), and
found them to have no more _Cavity_ than is necessary for the Insertion
of their Muscles, nor any _Exit_ or Out-let towards their _Apex_;
these therefore serve only to _pierce_ the Flesh, and the Venom is
infused from a _Proboscis_ out of the Mouth; tho’ _This_ I could not
very well discern, because the Parts had been kept too long dry before
I examined Them.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Case is much the same with _Stinging_ Animals; of These the
_Scorpion_ is the Chief, whose _Virus_ in different Countries is more
or less dangerous, according as ’tis exalted by various Degrees of
_Heat_; thus in _Africa_ particularly its Effects are so dreadful,
that as _Joann. Leo_ (43) tells Us, the Town of _Pescara_ there is in a
manner left desolate by the Inhabitants in the Summer Time, by Reason
of the great Abundance of these Creatures, certain Death following
their _Sting_.

Some of this deadly kind (the same, tho’ not so large with _That_ in
the _East-Indies_, of which _Swammerdam_ (44) has given a very accurate
Description and Figure) S^r _Redi_ had sent him from _Tunis_ (45);
and it being _November_, irritated them to _Sting_ Pigeons, Pullets,
_&c._ without any bad Effect at all of their _Poison_; but upon the
approaching Spring, One of them which had been kept all the Winter,
nay, eight Months, without any Food, and the Wound of whose Sting
before was harmless, stung to Death two Pigeons successively; but a
Third and Fourth wounded in like manner, suffered no Hurt. Yet having
let the _Scorpion_ rest all Night, He killed another Pigeon the next

At the _Point_ of the _Sting_ he very often could discern a small drop
of white _Liquor_, which when the Wound was made, entered into the

_As_ this _Liquid Venom_ is either not separated from the Blood into
the Cavity of the Sting, during the cold of Winter, or at least the
Scorpion wants Strength at that Time to throw it out with Force and
Energy. _So_ even in the hot Months, after it is exhausted by two or
three _Attacks_, the _Sting_ is no longer hurtful, till the Expence of
this _Juice_ is recruited by Time.

’Tis very remarkable concerning this _Insect_, what an ingenious
Gentleman who lived several Years in _Barbary_ told Me, he had many
times tried; That if it be surrounded with a Circle of _Burning Coals_,
It does, upon the Sense of the _Heat_, turn it self violently every way
to make an Escape; but finding it impossible, and the _Pain_ from the
Fire increasing, it strikes it self Twice or Thrice with the _Sting_ on
the _Back_, and immediately dies of the Wounds.

Others may make what Reflections They please on this _Self-Murder_, it
is to Me beyond all Dispute sufficient to decide the _Controversie_
between Writers, whether Poisonous Animals of the same _Species_ can
kill each other. Which is not only confirmed by what we before observed
of the _Spider_, but is likewise true of _Vipers_; for D^r. _Herman_
bringing from the _Indies_ Three of the _Cobras de Capelo_ all in one
Glass, Two of them were killed in the Voyage by _Fighting_.

As the _Viperine Venom_ is the _Quintessence_ and most active Part of
those _Animal Juices_ with which the Viper is nourished, so is also
_That_ of the Scorpion; for this Insect lives chiefly upon _Locusts_,
_&c._ and the same Person from _Barbary_ inform’d Me, That seeing
oftentimes _Locusts_ sticking up in the Ground as if they were _Set_
there, by looking he found that some Part of them was always eat away,
and that these Places were the _Holes_ of Scorpions, who had dragg’d
their Prey thither, and fed on it as they had Occasion.

In like manner, as the _Axungia Viperina_ cures the Bite of the Viper,
_so_ also the _Oleum Scorpionum_, or Oil in which Scorpions have been
infused, is a present Remedy for the Sting of this Creature.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Mechanism of the Sting of a _Bee_, D^r. _Hooke_ has very accurately
described (46). One may with the naked Eye sometimes see it discharge
the _Venom_; and in _this_, by the help of a _Glass_, I can easily
discover a great Number of Minute _Salts_ Floating.

And indeed this _Apparatus_ or Contrivance is so universal, that
we find even in _Vegetables_ something Analogous hereunto; for the
last mention’d Author (47), has shewn Us, That the pricking Points of
_Nettles_ do at the same time they pierce the Skin, instil a Venomous
_Juice_ into the Wound.


(1) _Lib. 2. Cap. 74._

(2) _De Animalib. lib. 17. c. 5._

(3) _Bœotic._ p. m. 303.

(4) _Not. in Alpin. de Plant. Ægypt._ Cap. 14.

(5) _Purchase_’s Pilgrimage, _l. 5. c. 12._

(6) Act. Apost. _Chap. 28._

(7) _Leg. Cornel. Cels. præfat. in Medicin Morbos ait vetustissimis
temporib. ad Iram Deorum immortalium relatos esse, & ab iisdem opem
posci solitam._

(8) _Divinæ Potentiæ Symbolum. Vid. Ezec. Spanhem. De Vsu Numismat. p.
m. 125, 126, & 181, & seq;_

(9) _Saturnal. Lib. 1. c. 20. Ideo Simulachris Eorum (Æsculapii &
Salutis) junguntur figuræ Draconum quia præstant ut humana Corpora
velut infirmitatis pelle depositâ, ad pristinum revirescant vigorem, ut
virescunt Dracones per annos singulos pelle senectutis exutâ._

(10) _Osservazioni intorno alle Vipere._

(11) _Nouvelles Experiences sur la Vipere._

(12) Philosophical Transactions, _Vol. XII. No. 144._

(13) _Vid. Fig. 19._

(14) _Dissertatio de Opera quam præstant Corpora Acida vel Alcalica in
Curatione Morborum._

(15) _Vid. Bernoulli de Effervescentia & Fermentatione._

(16) _Vid. Redi Lettera sopra alcune oppositioni_, &c.

(17) _Lib. 3. Cap. 2._

(18) _Medicin._ Lib. 5. c. 27.

(19) _Lucan. Pharsal._ 1. 9.

(20) _Loc. ante citat._

(21) _Vipera Pythia_, p. 361.

(22) _De Theriac. ad Pison._ lib. 1. c. 8. _Vid. etiam_ c. 10.

(23) _Nat. Hist._ lib. 11. c. 53. _Scythæ Sagittas tingunt Viperinâ
Sanie & humano Sanguine; irremediabile id Scelus._

(24) _De Mirabilibus._

(25) _Bontii Histor. Ind._ lib. 5. c. 5.

(26) Usefulness of Experimental Philosophy, _Part 2. p. 50._

(27) p. m. 66.

(28) _Esperienze intorno a diverse Cose Naturali._

(29) _Dissert. de Tarantula Histor._ 5

(30) _Pag. 88._

(31) _Lib. 30. c. 13._

(32) _De Abstinent. ab animal._ lib. 1. p. m. 16.

(33) _De simpl. Medit. Facult._ lib. 11. c. 1.

(34) _Curat. Diuturn._ lib. 2. c. 13.

(35) _Vid. Purchas._ Pilgrims, Part 2. l. 7. c. 9.

(36) Voyages, _Vol. 2. Part 1. p. 53._

(37) _De Theriac. ad Pison._ Cap. 12.

(38) _Philos. Transact._ N^o. 271.

(39) _Nat. Hist._ lib. 5. cap. 10.

(40) _Vid._ _Fig. 18._

(41) _Hist. Ind._ p. m. 56.

(42) _Vid._ _Fig. 17._

(43) _Histor. Afric._ lib. 6.

(44) _Hist. Insect._ p. 147.

(45) _Generazione degli Inserti_, p. 15.

(46) _Micrograph. Observ._ 34.

(47) _Ibid. Obs._ 25.



I Join these Two _Poisons_ together, because tho’ they differ very
much in their Effects, yet both do agree in this, that they induce a
particular _Delirium sui generis_, attended partly with _Maniacal_,
partly with _Melancholy_ Symptoms.

The _Tarantula_ (of which the Figure may be seen in _Baglivi_’s
Dissertation (48),) is a _Spider_ of _Apulia_ of the _Octonocular_ kind;
that is of that _Species_ that has eight Eyes, and spins Webbs; it has
eight Legs, four on each side, and in each Leg three Joints; from the
Mouth proceed two Darts, in Shape just like to a hooked _Forceps_,
or Crab’s Claws; these are solid, and very sharp, so that they can
easily pierce the Skin; and between these and the Fore-Legs there are
two little Horns, which I suppose do answer to those Bodies call’d
from their Use in _Flies_ the _Feelers_; because as they do, so this
Creature is observed to move ’em very briskly when it approaches to its

This, as other Spiders do, propagates its _Species_ by laying Eggs,
which are very numerous; so that there are found sometimes in the
Female, when dissected, a hundred or more; and these are hatched partly
by the Heat of the Mother, partly by that of the Sun, in about twenty
or thirty Days Time.

There is also a Spider of the like Nature with the _Tarantula_ in
the _West-Indies_, which _Fr. Hernandez_ (49) describes by the Name
of _Hoitztocatl_, or the _Pricking Spider_; and says, that its Bite
induces Madness.

In the Summer Months, especially when the Heats are greatest, as in
the Dog-Days, the _Tarantula_ creeping among the Corn in the Fields,
bites the Mowers and Passengers; in the Winter it lurks in Holes, and
is scarcely seen; and if it does bite then, it is not venomous, neither
does it induce any ill Symptoms.

But in the hot Weather, altho’ the Pain of its Bite is at first no
greater than what is caused by the Sting of a Bee, yet the Part quickly
after is discoloured with a Livid, Black, or Yellowish Circle, and
raised to an inflam’d Swelling; the Patient within a few Hours is
seized with a violent Sickness, Difficulty of Breathing, universal
Faintness, and sometimes Trembling, with a Weakness of the Head; being
asked what the Ail is, makes no Reply, or with a querulous Voice,
and melancholy Look, points to his Breast, as if the Heart was most

During this mournful Scene, all the usual _Alexipharmick_ and
_Cordial_ Medicines are of no Service; for notwithstanding their
repeated Use, the Patient growing by degrees more melancholy, stupid,
and strangely timorous, in a short Time expires, unless _Musick_ be
called to his Assistance, which alone, without the Help of Medicine,
performs the _Cure_.

For at the first Sound of the _Musical Instrument_, altho’ the Sick
lie, as it were, in an Apoplectick Fit, they begin by Degrees to move
their Hands and Feet, till at last they get up, and fall to Dancing
with wonderful Vigour, at first for three or four Hours, then they
are put to Bed, refreshed from their sweating, for a short time, and
repeat the Exercise with the same Vehemence, perceiving no Weariness
or Weakness from it, but professing they grow stronger and nimbler the
more they dance.

At this Sport they usually spend Twelve Hours a Day, and it continues
Three or Four Days; by which time they are generally freed from all
their Symptoms, which do nevertheless attack ’em again about the same
time the next Year; and if they do not take Care to prevent this
Relapse by Musick, they fall into a _Jaundice_, Want of Appetite,
universal Weakness, and such like Diseases; which are every Year
increased, if Dancing be neglected, till at last they prove incurable.

As Musick is the common _Cure_, so they who are bitten are pleas’d
some with one Sort of it, some with another; one is raised with a
Pipe, another with a Tymbrel; one with a Harp, another with a Fiddle;
so that the Musicians make sometimes several Essays before they can
accommodate their Art to the Venom; but this is constant and certain,
not withstanding this Variety, that they all require the quickest and
briskest Tunes, and are never moved by a slow, dull _Harmony_.

While the _Tarantati_, or Affected, are Dancing, they lose in a manner
the Use of all their Senses, like so many Drunkards, do many Ridiculous
and Foolish Tricks, talk and act obscenely and rudely, take great
Pleasure in playing with Vine-Leaves, with naked Swords, red Cloths,
and the like; and on the other Hand can’t bear the Sight of any thing
black; so that if any By-stander happen to appear in that _Colour_, he
must immediately withdraw, otherwise they relapse into their Symptoms
with as much Violence as ever.

It may afford some Light towards Understanding the Nature of this
Poison, to observe that _Apulia_ is the hottest Part of all _Italy_,
lying _Eastward_, and having all the Summer long but very little Rain
to temper the Heats, so that the Inhabitants, as one of that Country
observes (50), do breath an Air, as it were, out of a fiery Furnace;
hence their Temperament is dry, and adust, as appears by their being
generally lean, passionate, impatient, ready to Action, quick-witted,
very subject to inflammatory Distempers, Phrensies, Melancholy, and
the like, upon which Account there are more mad People in this, than
in all the other Parts of _Italy_; nay, what in other Countries is
but a light Melancholy, arises here to a great Heigth; for Women in a
_Chlorosis_ do suffer almost the same Symptoms as Persons poisoned by
the _Tarantula_ do, and are cured the same Way; and in like manner the
Venom of the _Scorpion_ does here in Effects and Cure agree very much
with that of this _Spider_.

From all this History it sufficiently appears, that those that are
bitten by a _Tarantula_, do thereupon become _Delirous_, and that
in order to account for their surprizing Symptoms; the Nature of a
_Delirium_, from which many of them proceed, ought to be understood.

Such is the Constitution of the _Human Œconomy_, that _as_ upon the
Impression of outward _Objects_ made upon the _Organs_, and by the
Fluid of the Nerves conveyed to the _Common Sensory_; different
_Species_ are excited there, and represented to the Mind; _so_ likewise
upon this Representation, at the Command and Pleasure of the Soul, part
of the same Fluid is determin’d into the Muscles, and mixing with the
Arterial Blood there, performs all the Variety of Voluntary Motions and

This Order has been always so constant in Us, that at length by a kind
of natural Habitude, without the Intervention of the Reasoning Faculty,
Representations made to the Mind do immediately and necessarily
produce suitable Motions in the Bodily Organs. When therefore these
Representations are irregular, the Actions consequent to them must
necessarily be so too.

This being premis’d, it may perhaps be probably said, that a _Delirium_
is the Representation and various Composition of several _Species_
to the Mind, without any Order or Coherence; together, at least most
commonly, with irregular, or, as it were, undesigned Motions of the
Body; that is, such a wandring and irregular Motion of the Nervous
Fluid, whereby several Objects are represented to the Mind, and upon
this Representation divers Operations perform’d by the Body, tho’ those
Objects are not impress’d upon the Organs, nor those Operations or
Motions deliberately commanded by the Soul.

The Mind indeed is the first Principle of all Muscular Motion; but
in such Cases as these, its Promptitude to Action or Habit being
so great, it is in a manner surpriz’d, and cannot recover it self
after the Spirits are with violent Force determin’d pursuant to the
Representation of the _Species_. For, _as_ in the former State of
Things a Man is said to act Rationally, _so_ this latter Case is call’d
a _Perturbation of Mind_, that is, a _Delirium_; tho’ it is very
manifest, that in reality the Defect is not in the _Rational_, but
_Corporeal_ Part; such _Species_ being really presented to the Mind,
upon which by the Order of our Constitution such Motions ought to
follow in the Body.

Thus, for Instance, if the Liquor of the Nerves is, without the
Presence of any thing hurtful, put into a Motion like unto that which a
painful Impression makes in it, the same Bodily Actions must insue as
proceed from Fear, Anger, or the like Passion, determining the Spirits
towards the Muscular Parts; and a By-stander, who sees no reason for
such a Representation made to the Mind, will presently conclude that
the Person thus acting acts without or besides his Reason, that is, is
_Delirous_; especially if the Hurry and Confusion of the Spirits be
such, that not only _one_, but _several_ different _Species_ be at the
same time presented to the Mind; for a Man in this Case may act the
Part of one Joyful, Angry, Timorous, or the like, without any appearing
Reason, and all this almost in the same Moment of Time.

In one Word, _Deliria_ are the _Dreams_ of those who are _Awake_; and
_as these_ in Us _Sleeping_ are infinitely various and wonderfully
Compounded, and all from the same common _Cause_, diversely pressing
the Orifices of the Nerves, and thus making different _Repercussions_
of their Fluid; and _as_ we all know that this Confusion making the
Representation of several _Species_ to the Mind, there do hereupon
follow, tho’ the Body seem now at Rest and in perfect Repose, such
Motions in the Organs as are usually the Effect of the Arbitrary
Determination of the Spirits thither; _so_ We are now to enquire what
Alteration of the Body made by this Venom, can be the Occasion of this
Disorder and Tumult in the Nervous Fluid, which excites in the Party
infected such surprizing, and almost contradictory, Representations.

Most of the Symptoms of those who are bitten by the _Tarantula_ are at
the first, that is, before they rise to a _Delirium_, plainly the same
with those which the Bite of a Viper induces; without doubt therefore,
as we have before observed of the common Spider, that it pierces the
Flesh with its hooked _Forceps_, and at the same time instils from the
_Proboscis_ in the Mouth a liquid Venom into the Wound; so the like
_Claws_ in _This_ (of which I have taken the Figure (51) out of _P.
Bonanni,_ very much magnified (52),) do serve to make Way for an active
and penetrating Juice emitted from the same Part.

Of the Nature of which we may probably conjecture, that it is, when
mixed with the Blood, being exalted by the Heat of the Climate, of so
great Force and Energy, that it immediately raises an extraordinary
Fermentation in the whole Arterial Fluid, by which its Texture and
_Crasis_ is very considerably altered; the Consequent of which
Alteration, when the Ebullition is over, must necessarily be a Change
in the _Cohæsion_ of its Parts, by which the _Globules_, which did
before with equal Force press each other, have now a very differing and
irregular _Nisus_ or Action, so that some of ’em do so firmly cohere
together, as to compose _Moleculæ_, or small Clusters; upon which
Account there being now a greater number of _Globules_ contained in the
same Space than before, and besides, the _Impulse_ of many of these
when united together differing according to the Conditions of their
_Cohæsion_, as to Magnitude, Figure, _&c._ not only will the _Impetus_,
with which this Fluid is drove towards the Parts, be at some Strokes at
least greater than ordinary; but the Pressure upon the Blood Vessels
must be very unequal and irregular; and this more especially will be
felt in them which are most easily distended; such are those of the
Brain, _&c._ And hereupon the Fluid of the Nerves must necessarily be
put into various _Undulatory_ Motions, some of which will be like unto
those which different _Objects_ acting upon the Organs or Passions of
the Mind, do naturally excite in _It_, whereupon such Actions must
follow in the Body, as are usually the Consequents of the several
_Species_ of Sadns, Joy, Despair, or the like Determinations of the
Thoughts; and we shall readily pronounce one in this Condition, _Sad_,
_Joyful_, _Timorous_, _&c._ and all without any apparent Reason or
Cause; that is, in one Word, we shall say he is _Delirous_.

This is in some Degree a _Coagulation_ of the Blood, which will the
more certainly, when attended with an extraordinary Heat, as in the
present Case, produce such like Effects as these, because the _Spirits_
separated from the Blood thus Inflamed, and Compounded of hard, fixt
and dry Particles, must unavoidably share in this Alteration; that
is, whereas their Fluid consists of two Parts, _One_ more active and
Volatile, the _Other_ more Viscid and Glutinous, which is a kind of
Vehicle to the former; their _Active_ Part will bear too great a
Proportion to the _Viscid_; and thus they must necessarily be of more
than ordinary Volatility and Force, and will therefore, upon the least
Occasion imaginable, be irregularly determin’d to every Part; and
hereupon will follow Tremblings of the Body, Anger or Fear upon a light
or no Cause, extream Pleasure at what is but a Trivial Entertainment,
as Red, Green Colours, or the like; and on the other hand, wonderful
Sadness at any thing not agreeable to the Eyes, as dark and black
Things; nay, ridiculous Laughter, obscene Talk and Actions, and such
like Symptoms; because in this Constitution of the Nervous Fluid, the
most light Occasion will make as real a _Reflux_ and _Undulation_ of
it to the Brain; that is, will present as lively and vivid _Species_
there, as the strongest Cause and Impression can produce in its natural
State and Condition; nay, in such a Confusion, the Spirits cannot
but sometimes, without any manifest Cause at all, be hurried towards
those Organs, to which at other times they have been most frequently
determined; and every one knows which they are in hot Countries and

We must however here remember what in the former Essay we mention’d of
the Fluid of the Nerves, being _immediately_ altered by the venomous

It will perhaps make this Theory more than probable, to consider that
_Baglivi_ (53), in the Dissection of a _Rabbit_ kill’d by a _Tarantula_,
found the Blood Vessels of the Brain very turgid, and the Substance
of the Brain it self, that is, the Beginning of the Nerves, lightly
inflamed, and with livid Spots here and there, the _Lungs_ and other
_Viscera_ distended, with concrete glotted Blood, and large Grumes
of Blood with _Polypous_ Branches in the Heart, a large Quantity of
extravasated _Serum_ upon the Brain, which is (as he takes Notice)
mostly observed in those Subjects which died by a Coagulation of the

Neither is it amiss to remark, that in a _Chlorosis_ there is nothing
preternatural but an _infarctus_ of the Arteries, and hence a retarded
_Circulation_, from an Evacuation suppress’d; and in this Country
too much Heat; that is, a beginning _Coagulation_, together with an
Inflammatory Disposition.

In short, _Bellini_ has at large demonstrated, how _Deliria_, as well
as _Melancholic_ as _Manaical_, do proceed from a State of the Blood
and Spirits, not unlike to that I have here described.

But no less a Confirmation of these Notions may we have from the
_Cure_; as to which it is observable, that the _Tarantati_ have no
Inclination to _dance_ before they hear the Musick; for being ask’d to
do it, they answer, it is impossible, they have no Strengh.

As for the Reason therefore of their starting up at the first Noise of
the Instrument, we must reflect upon what we have just now been saying
concerning the Cause of the Motions of the Body in a _Delirium_; and
consider withal, that muscular Motion is no other than a Contraction
of the Fibres from the Arterial Fluid making an Effervescence with the
Nervous Juice, which by the light Vibration and Tremor of the Nerve, is
derived into the Muscle.

And thus we have a twofold Effect and Operation of Musick, that is,
both upon the Mind and Body. For a brisk Harmony excites lively
_Species_ of _Joy_ and _Gladness_, which are always accompany’d with
a more frequent and stronger Pulse, or an increased influx of the
Liquor of the Nerves into the Muscles, upon which suitable Actions must
immediately follow; and if we remember what we before hinted, that
People in this Country are sprightly and ready to Exercise, and that
in such a state of the Fluids as we have describ’d, a slight Occasion
presents as strong _Species_, as a greater can at another time: The
Influence of Musick on the _Mind_ will appear to be so much the more
powerful and certain.

As for the _Body_, since it is sufficient for the purpose of putting
the Muscles into Action, to cause those _Tremors_ of the Nerves by
which their Fluid is alternately dropt into the moving Fibres; it is
all one whether this be done by the determination of the Will, or the
outward _Impulsions_ of an _Elastic_ Fluid; such is the _Air_; and that
Sounds are the _Vibrations_ of It, is beyond dispute.

_These_ therefore rightly modulated may shake the Nerves as really as
the _Imperium Voluntatis_ can do, and consequently produce the like

That This is so, besides what we shall add anon, we may be convinced by
a Story which M^r. _Boyle_ (54) relates out of _Scaliger_, of a Knight
of _Gascony_ whom the sound of a _Bagpipe_ would unavoidably force to
make Water; for this Secretion we know is regularly the Effect of an
Arbitrary Contraction of the Muscle of the Bladder.

The obstinate continuing of the _Tarantati_ in this Exercise, is
doubtless in a great Measure owing to the strong Opinion they have of
receiving Advantage from it, being incouraged by the By-standers, and
having always believed, and been told, that it was the only Cure in
these Cases.

The _Benefit_ from Musick is not only their Dancing to It, and so
evacuating by _Sweat_ a great Part of the Inflammatory Fluid; but
besides this, the repeated Percussions of the Air hereby made, by
immediate Contact shaking the Contractile Fibres of the Membranes of
the Body, especially those of the Ear, which being continuous to the
Brain, do communicate their Tremblings to its Membranes and Vessels; by
these continued Succussions and Vibrations, the _Cohæsion_ of the Parts
of the Blood is perfectly broken, and its _Coagulation_ prevented; so
that the Heat being removed by Sweating, and the Coagulation by the
Contraction of the Muscular _Fibrillæ_, the wounded Person is restored
to his former Condition.

If any one doubts of this force of the _Air_, let him consider that
it is in _Mechanics_ (55) Demonstrated, that the smallest _Percussion_
of the smallest Body, can overcome the resistance of any great Weight
which is in Rest; and that the Languid Tremor of the Air, which is made
by the Sound of a Drum or Trumpet, may shake the vastest and strongest

But besides all this, We must allow a great deal to the _determinate
Force_, and particular _Modulation_, of these trembling Percussions;
for contractile Bodies may be acted upon by one certain Degree of
Motion in the ambient Fluid, tho’ a greater Degree of it differently
qualified may produce nothing at all of the like Effect; this is not
only very apparent in the common Experiment of Two String’d Musical
Instruments tuned both to the same Heigth, the Strings of the one being
struck upon, those of the other will found, and yet a much greater
Motion of the Air may not Cause any sensible Vibration at all in
the same Chords; but also by the _Trick_ which many have of finding
the Tone or Note peculiarly belonging to any _Wine Glass_, and by
accommodating their _Voice_ exactly to that Tone, and yet making it
loud and lasting, they will make the Vessel tho’ not touch’d, first to
Tremble, and then Burst; which it will not do if their Voice be but a
little eithet too low or too high.

This last Consideration makes it no very difficult matter to conceive
the reason, why different Persons, infected with this Venom, do
require oftentimes a different sort of Musick in order to their Cure,
in as much as their Nerves and _Distractile_ Membranes have differing
_Tensions_, and consequently are not in like manner to be acted upon by
the same _Vibrations_.

Nor are We to wonder at the Oddness of this Method and Practice; for
_Musick_, altho’ it be Now-a-days applied to quite different Purposes,
was anciently made great Use of for the removing of many, and those too
some of the most difficult and obstinate Diseases.

For this we have a Famous Testimony in _Galen_ himself, (56) who tells
us, that _Æsculapius used to recover Those in whom violent Motions of
the Mind had induced a hot Temperament of Body, by Melody and Songs_.
_Pindar_ (57) mentions the same thing; and indeed from hence not only
the Notion, but the very Name of _Charming_ (58) seems to have taken
its Origine. _Athenæus_ (59) relates that _Theophrastus_ in his Book of
_Enthusiasm_ says, _Ischiadic Pains are Cured by the Phrygian Harmony_.
This sort of Musick was upon a _Pipe_, and the most vehement and brisk,
of all the Ancients knew; so that indeed it was said to raise those who
heard it to downright Fury and Madness (60): And such we have observed
to be required to the Venom of the _Tarantula_.

But what is besides in this last Authority very observable to our
Purpose, is the manner of using this Remedy, and that was (61) by
_Playing upon the part affected_, which confirms what we have just now
advanced concerning the Effect of the _Percussion_ of the Air upon the
Contractile Fibres of the _Brain_, for _Piping upon_ any Member of
the Body, cannot be suppos’d to do Service any other way, than by such
Succussions and Modulated Vibrations as we before mention’d. And this
indeed _Cælius Aurelianus_ (62) agrees to, who calls this Practice,
_Decantare Loca dolentia_; and says, that the _Pain is mitigated and
discuss’d by the Tremblings and Palpitations of the Part_.

_Aulus Gellius_ (63) not only relates this same Cure of _Ischiadic_ Ails
as a thing notorious enough, but adds besides out of _Theophrastus_,
that _the Musick of a Pipe rightly managed healed the Bites of Vipers_.

And not only does _Apollonius_ (64) mention the Cure of Distractions of
the Mind, Epilepsies, and several other Distempers this same way; but
_Democritus_ (65) in his Treatise of Plagues, taught, that _the Musick
of Pipes was the Medicine for most Diseases_; which _Thales_ of _Crete_
confirmed by his Practice, when sent for by the _Lacedæmonians_ to
remove from them the Pestilence, he did it by the help of Musick (66).

All which Instances do evince this Remedy to have been very ancient in
many Cases; and indeed as _Cælius-Aurelianus_ (67), takes notice that
the first use of it was ascrib’d to _Pythagoras_ himself, so He having
settled and founded his Sect in those very Parts of _Italy_ which are
the Country of the _Tarantulæ_, going then under the Name of _Græcia
magna_, now _Calabria_, it is not, I think, at all improbable that he
may have been the Author and Inventor of this Practice there, which
has continued ever since. Especially since _Jamblichus_ affirms (68),
not only that he made use of Musick in Physick, but particularly that
he found out and contrived some Harmonies to ease the Passions of the
Mind, and others for the _Cure of Bites_: But of Musick enough.

To conclude with this Poison, we may take notice that, as to the
_Return_ of the Symptomes the next Year, That is owing to the same
excessive Heat in those Months, acting again upon the small remains
of the Venomous _Ferment_; thus _Bartholin_ (69) relates a Story of
a Melancholy Physician at _Venice_ who suffer’d the Attacks of his
Disease only during the Dog-days, which yearly ended and return’d with
them. A convincing proof how great a share Heat has in all these Cases.


_Of the Mad DOG._

More difficult and terrifying are the Symptoms from the Bite of a _Mad
Dog_, whose Venom has this also surprising in it, that the bad Effects
do not appear oftentimes till the Cause of ’em is forgot; for the Wound
is as easily cured as a common Bite is; but nevertheless a considerable
time after, a melancholy Tragedy succeeds, sometimes sooner, sometimes
later; for there are Instances of its being deferred to Two, (70) Six
Months, nay, a Year, and longer, tho’ the attack is generally within
Forty Days after the Wound; about that time, the Patient complains of
Running Pains all over his Body, especially near the Part wounded,
like unto those in a Rheumatism, grows pensive and sad, prone to Anger
upon little or no Occasion, with an intermitting Pulse, Tremblings and
Contractions of the Nerves, with a great inward Heat and Thirst; and
yet in a few Days (when the Disease is come to its height) a Dread and
Fear of Water, and any Liquor whatsoever; so that at the very sight of
it he falls into dismal Convulsions and Agonies, and cannot drink the
least drop; and this _Hydrophobia_, or _Aquæ Timor_, has been always
accounted the surest Sign and Mark of this Poison, as distinguishing it
from all others.

The Ancients have at large described these Symptoms, as _Galen_,
_Dioscorides_, _Aetius_, _Ægineta_, but most particularly of all,
_Cælius Aurelianus_ (71); and later Writers have given us several
Instances of the _Hydrophobia_; Two Histories of it published, the
one by Dr. _Lister_ (72), the other by Dr. _Howman_ (73), I shall more
especially take Notice of, and refer to, as containing the most exact
and large Account of any I have met with; he that desires more, may
consult the several Authors cited by that diligent Observer, _Stalpart
van der Wiel_ (74).

That this Disease is accompany’d with a _Delirium_, is almost the
common Opinion both of Ancients and Moderns; _Damocrates_ called it
the barking Phrensie (75); but Dr. _Lister_ agrees in this Point with
_Petrus Salius Diversus_ (76), and will not allow a _Delirium_ to be the
necessary consequent of this Venom; and yet at the same time he tells
us, that his Patient barked like a Dog, and bit at the By-standers;
that he threw into his Mouth what was given him more hastily and
suddenly than it is Natural or Customary for Men to do.

From such Actions as these, together with those mentioned before in
relating the Symptoms, it is obvious enough to conclude, that Persons
thus affected are in a proper Sence _Delirous_. Tho’ at the same time I
do think that the _Hydrophobia_ it self (whatever is commonly believed)
does not at all proceed from this _Delirium_, as will by and by appear.

I know indeed that the main and plausible _Objection_ against a
_Delirium_ is this, that the Patient himself does Reason against his
Timorousness, tho’ he cannot overcome it, forewarns the Standers-by
of his Outrageous Fits, desires them to take care of themselves, and
the like. Which from what I have already said concerning a _Delirium_,
appears to be very consistent with it, nay, convinces that there is
the greatest Degree of it in this Case; in as much as that it is not a
Distemper of the Mind but of the Body. And to this purpose I remember
to have seen my self an Instance of one in a Fever, who foretold some
time before any signs of a _Delirium_ were discovered, how raving and
unruly He should be, and made good his _Prognostick_ to that degree,
that it was very hard Work to tame and master him; tho’, as he told me
afterwards, he reason’d as much as he could against that groundless
Jealousie of his Friends designing to Murder him, which put him upon
his Mad Actions, but was not able to Conquer the prevailing _Species_
of Fear and Anger.

This _Delirium_ therefore, as _Cælius Aurelianus_ (77) says, _Proceeds
intirely from an indisposition of the Body_, which is without all doubt
owing to the alteration made in the Blood by the _Saliva_ of the _Mad
Dog_, instill’d into the Wound inflicted by the Bite.

That we may rightly understand this, we must take Notice, that the
_Rabies_ or Madness in a Dog is the effect of a Violent Fever; and
therefore it is most common in excessive Hot Weather, tho’ sometimes
intense Cold maybe the Cause of it; That no Dog in this Case ever
sweats; from whence it follows, that when his Blood is in a Ferment,
it cannot, as in other Creatures, discharge it self upon the surface
of the Body, and therefore must of necessity throw out a great many
_Saline_ and Active Particles upon those Parts, where there is the most
constant and easie Secretion; and such, next to the _Miliary_ in the
Skin in Us, are the _Salival_ Glands; for this reason much more Spittle
is separated in a Dog when Mad, than at any other time, and that very
frothy, or impregnated with Hot, Subtil Parts.

Now as we every Day observe, that what is thrown out from Liquors in a
Ferment, is capable of inducing the like Motion in another Liquor of
the same kind, when duly mixed with it; so we may very well suppose
in the present Case, that the _Saliva_, which is it self one of the
most Fermentative Juices in Nature, being turgid with Fiery, Saline
Particles thrown into it out of the boiling Blood, when it comes by
means of a Wound to be Incorporated with the Arterial Fluid of any
One, does by Degrees raise a preternatural Effervescence in it; the
Effects of which will necessarily be most felt in those Parts which
being tender, are the least able to refill the distension of the Blood
Vessels; such are the Stomach, and especially the Brain; and hereupon
_Deliria_, with _Maniacal_, and such like Symptoms, will easily insue.

A Person thus affected may be said in a Degree to have put on the
_Canine_ Nature, tho’ his Reason be all this time untouch’d and intire,
may Bite, Howl, _&c._ because the _like_ violent Agitation of the Blood
in Him as was in the Dog will present like _Species_, and consequently
(so far as their different Natures will allow) produce like Actions;
just as it has been observed, that _Sheep_ bitten by a Mad Dog, have
run at the Shepherd like so many Dogs to Bite him; so much can an
Alteration of the Blood and Spirits do. And as a Timorous Creature
may be imboldened, so we oftentimes see Persons Courageous enough by
a change made in the Blood by Evacuations, that is, by want of Force
and Motion in that Fluid, made sheepish Cowards, in despight of their
Reason, so long as that Defect is continued.

But the main difficulties in this matter are, the Mischief discovering
it self so long after the Bite, and the _Hydrophobia_.

As to the former, we are to consider, that Fermentation being a Change
made in the Cohæsion of the compounding Parts of a Fluid, it is
sometimes a longer, sometimes a shorter time before this Alteration is
wrought; which variety may proceed either from the different Nature
and Constitution of the Ferment, or of the Liquor Fermented, and a
great Number of Circumstances besides. So that this Venom may be all
the while doing its Work, tho’ the change made by it may not be so
considerable as to be sensibly taken Notice of till a long time after.

Nay, it may so happen, that the _Ferment_ being Weak may not raise
in the Blood any remarkable Agitation at all, till some accidental
Alteration in the Body unluckily gives it an additional Force. As
we before observed, how much external Heat concurrs to heighten the
Symptoms from the Bite of the _Tarantula_. And this probably may be
the Case of Those in whom this Malignity has not appear’d till Six, or
Twelve Months after the Wound.

That we may understand the Reason of the _Hydrophobia_, it is to be
Remarked, that this dread of Water does not come on till the latter
end of the Disease, Three or Four Days before Death; that is, not till
this preternatural _Fermentation_ in the Blood is come to its Heigth;
and as in the Dog, so in the Patient, a great quantity of Fermentative
Particles is thrown off upon the Glands of the Mouth and Stomach, as
appears by his Foaming at the Mouth, _&c_.

As also, that this _Fear_ is not from a sight _of_, or any imaginary
appearance _in_ the Water, for if the Vessel be close shut, and the
Patient bid to suck thro’ a Quill, as soon as he has tasted, he
falls into Anguish and Convulsions, as Dr. _Lister_ observed. It is
therefore highly probable, if not certain, that this surprising
Symptom proceeds from the intolerable _Pain_ which any Liquor at
this time taken induces, partly by hurting the inflamed Membranes of
the _Fauces_ in Deglutition; partly by fermenting with these Active
Particles discharged by the Blood upon the _Stomachic_ Glands, and
thus twitching and irritating the Nervous Membranes; the very memory
of which _grievous Sence_, after it is once felt, is so terrible, that
the affected Person chuses any thing rather than to undergo it a second

The Effects of this _Irritation_ are manifest in the Convulsions of
the Stomach, and frequent _Singultus_, with which the Patient is
continually oppress’d. And we all know by how necessary a kind of
_Mechanism_ we do fly from and abhor those things which have proved
disagreeable to the _Animal Œconomy_, to which nothing is so contrary
and repugnant as _Pain_; at the first Approaches of which, Nature
Starts and Recoils, tho’ Reason be arm’d with never so much Courage and
Resolution to undergo the Shock.

Nor will any Body wonder how this _Ferment_ should cause such
_Torment_, who considers how often, even in _Colical_ Cases, Persons
are downright distracted by excessive Pain, from a Cause not unlike
to this we are treating of, that is, from a corrosive Ferment in the
Bowels, rarefying the Juices there into _Flatus_, and by this means
irritating and stimulating those tender Membranes into Spasmodic and
Convulsive Motions.

And indeed Dr. _Lister_’s Patient told him, that the very swallowing of
his own Spittle put him to such Torture in his Stomach, that Death it
self was not so Terrible as the Inexpressible Agony.

It may serve both to Illustrate and Confirm this Theory, to take
Notice, that not only may (according to these Principles) other Bites
besides that of a _Dog_ happen to induce the like Symptoms; thus
_Malpighi_ (78) relates a Story of a Mother made _Hydrophoba_ by the
Bite of her _Epileptic_ Daughter; but that there are other Cases,
without any Bite at all, which are attended with an _Hydrophobia_.

Thus _Schenkius_ (79), _Salmuth_ (80) and others have observ’d a _Dread
of Water_, without any Suspicion of a Bite, from _Malignant Fevers_.
Now in _These_ there is doubtless a Hot, Putrid _Ferment_ in the Blood;
and it is no wonder if Part of it be discharged upon the Throat and
Stomach, which we do evidently find in these Distempers to be more
particularly affected by It, especially towards the latter End, from
the _Aphthæ_, _Singultus_, and the like usual Symptoms of a fatal

Nay, _Hippocrates_ (81) himself seems more than once to have remarked
something like this Symptom in Fevers, and to call those who were thus
affected Βραχυπόται, or little Drinkers; for I cannot assent to Dr.
_Lister_, (tho’ _Cælius Aurelianus_ be on his side) who thinks that the
Βραχυπόται are ὑδροφόβοι, from the Bite of a Mad Dog; as well for other
Reasons, as because _Plutarch_ (82) assures Us, that the _Hydrophobia_
and _Elephantiasis_ were both first taken Notice of in the time of
_Asclepiades_ the Physician; who liv’d in the Days of _Pompey_ the
Great, many Years later than either _Hippocrates_ or _Aristotle_.

Neither is it amiss to add, that _Ioannes Faber_ (83) in the Dissection
of one who dy’d at _Rome_ of the Bite of a Mad Dog, and a _Hydrophobia_
succeeding it, found the Blood _Coagulated_ in the right Ventricle of
the Heart, the Lungs wonderfully _Red_ and _Tumefied_; but especially
the _Throat_, _Stomach_, and _Bowels_, bearing the Marks of the
Inflammatory Venom.

The same Observation has been made by others in Bodies Dead of this
Disease. Thus the _Acta Medica Hafniensia_ (84) relate one Case, in
which, part of the Liver was _Inflamed_, the Lungs Parched and Dry,
and the inner Coat of the _Stomach_ so _Mortified_, that it might be
abraded with one’s Fingers.

_Bonetus_ (85) tells _another_, where all the _Viscera_ were found quite
_arid_, without any Juice at all.

And in a very particular History of an _Hydrophobia_, lately published
at _Ulm_, (86) We are informed, that the _Stomach_, when opened,
discover’d the Marks of an _Erosion_ or Excoriation, with something
like a Gangrene, and Suffusion of Blood here and there. Which does very
well agree with the Observations in the _German Ephemerides_ (87), where
we find several _Footsteps_ of a _Sphacelus_ or Mortification in the
Bodies of Those who died _Hydrophobi_.

The Cure of this Poison is either immediately upon the Wound made, or
some Days after, before the Fear of Water is discover’d; for at that
time all Authors do agree the Malady to be Incurable; and the Reason is
plain from what has been already deliver’d.

As in other Venomous Bites, so in this, _Galen_ (88) very wisely advises
to inlarge the Wound, by making a round Incision about it, to Cauterise
it with a hot Iron, and apply drawing Medicines, so as to keep it a
running Ulcer at least Forty Days. (89) _Scarifying_ and _Cupping_ may
answer where this Severity is not allow’d: And however, the Dressing
it with _Unguentum Ægyptiacum_ (or the like) Scalding Hot, must not be
omitted; by which alone, timely applied, I am assured that one Bitten
was happily preserved.

But where these Means of destroying the Ferment in the beginning are
omitted, the dangerous Consequences of its being mixed with the Blood
is by all possible Care to be prevented.

To this purpose, to say nothing of the many Inconsiderate Jumbles of
_Antidotes_, _Theriacas_, &c. nor of such vulgar Trifles as the _Liver_
of the Mad Dog, of which _Galen_ (90) observed, that tho’ some who made
use of it, together with other good Medicines, recover’d, yet that they
who trusted to it alone died; one of the greatest Remedies commended
to us by Antiquity, is the _Cineres Cancrorum Fluviatilium_; which
_Galen_ (91) says, no Body ever made use of, and miscarried; and before
Him _Dioscorides_ (92) assured, that ’tis a Medicine may be rely’d on.
These were given in large Quantities, _viz._ a good Spoonful or Two
every Day for Forty Days together, either alone, or rather mix’d with
the Powder of _Gentian Root_ and _Frankincense_. The _Vehicle_ was
either Water or Wine. In like manner at this Day the Remedy in the
greatest Repute of any against most Poisons in the _West-Indies_, is a
kind of a _River-Craw-Fish_, call’d _Aratu_ (93).

This is manifestly an _Absorbent_, and very _Diuretic_ Medicine,
especially when prepared after the right manner, which was by Burning
the Craw-Fish alive upon a _Copper-Plate_, with a Fire made of the
Cuttings or Twigs of _White Briony_: For whether the latter part of
the Management signifies much or no, the former most certainly does;
and the _Salt_ of the _Copper_, which powerfully provokes Urine, being
mix’d with that of the _Ashes_, may very much exalt their Virtue.

And it is upon this same Score, that the _Spongia_ of the
_Cynnorrhodos_ or _Rosa Sylvestris_ is so Celebrated an Antidote, not
only for this Poison, but also for that of the Viper, _Tarantula_, and
others too, that ’tis call’d in _Sicily Sanatodos_, or All-heal; this
being not a _Vegetable_, as _P. Boccone_ (94) who has wrote a whole
Letter of its wondrous Virtues, terms it, but an _Animal Alkali_, as
well as the former; for as Mr. _Ray_ (95) has observed, this Spongy
Excrescence, if it be cut, is found full of White Worms; Being the
Nest of these Insects, which lodging here all the Winter, do in the
beginning of the Spring turn to Flies, and quit their Quarters.
Indeed this Remedy was antiently too of so great Esteem, that _Pliny_
recommends it as the only Cure of an _Hydrophobia_, divinely discovered
by an Oracle (96).

As all Insects abound with a Diuretick Salt, so _Cantharides_ more than
any others; therefore the Learned _Bacchius_ (97) goes farther, and from
the Authority of _Rhazes_ and _Joannes Damascenus_, advises to give
these in Substance for many Days together. The Preparation of this
Antidote, (so he calls it) is by infusing the _Cantharides_ in Soure
Butter-milk Twenty Four Hours, then drying them, and with the Flower
of Lentils and Wine making them up into _Troches_ of a Scruple Weight,
of which one is to be taken every Day, By which means he assures us,
that tho’ the Patient make bloody Urine, yet that Milk largely drank
will abate that Symptom, and that an _Hydrophobia_ will be happily
prevented. _Boccone_ (98) tells Us, That in _Upper Hungary_ They give
_Cantharides_ to Men bitten by a Mad Dog, _Five_ to a Dose; and to
_Beasts_ in greater Quantity. But of the inward Use of these Flies more
in its proper Place.

In short, all the _Specifics_ in this Case are such as do either absorb
a peccant _Acidity_ in the Stomach, or carry it off by Urine; as _Terra
Lemnia_, highly commended by _Galen_ (99), _Garlick_, _Agrimony_,
_Oxylapathum_, and many others, of which a Catalogue may be seen in
_S. Ardoynus_. So the _Alyssum_ or Madwort, celebrated for this use
by the Ancient Physicians, as well _that_ described by _Diascorides_,
which is a Species of _Leucoium_, as the other of _Galen_, which is
a _Marrubium_, is very manifestly a Bitter, Stomachic, and Diuretic
Plant (100). The _Lichen cinereus terrestris_, recommended in the
Philosophical Transactions (101), Operates the same way.

But the greatest and surest Cure of all, is frequent _Submerging_ or
Ducking the Patient in Water. The first mention I find of this is in
_Cornelius Celsus_ (102); whether he had it from the Ancient _Grecian_
Physicians, or it was the Discovery of his own Age, matters but little
to our Purpose; certain it is, that he collected his Principal Rules
of Bathing from _Cleophantus_, who, as _Pliny_ says (103), did, besides
many other delightful things, first introduce the Use of Baths; As
appears by comparing the Writings of the _One_ with the Fragments
of the _Other_, preserv’d in the Works of _Galen_. And that from
_Asclepiades_, who afterwards so far improved this Part of Physick,
that he discarded almost all inward Medicines, he might learn this
Management, is not improbable; for the _Hydrophobia_ (as we before took
Notice) having been first regarded in the time of this great Physician,
’tis very likely that among other Advantages of his new Method, he
might commend it for the Cure of so deplorable a Malady.

However it be, This Practice was in this last Age with great Authority
revived by the Ingenious _Baron Van Helmont_ (104), who having in his
own Country seen how great Service it did, has at large set down both
the manner of the Operation; and, Consonant to the Principles of
his own Philosophy, shewn the Reason of its good Effects. Since him
_Tulpius_ (105), an Observer of very good Credit, takes notice, that
tho’ he saw many, yet that never one miscarry’d, where it was in time
made use of.

As all Baths do chiefly act by the sensible Qualities of Heat and Cold,
and the Gravity of their Fluid; so we need go no farther to fetch the
Reason of the great Advantage of this Method in the present Case, than
to the Pressure of the Water upon the Body of the Patient.

Every one knows how plentifully plunging into cold Water provokes
Urine, which proceeds no doubt from the constriction hereby made of
the Fibres of the Skin and Vessels. Thus this outward Cure differs not
much in effect from the inward Medicines beforementioned, but must
necessarily have the better of them in this Respect, that when the
Fermenting Blood stretches its Vessels, the exceeding weight of the
ambient Fluid resists and represses this Distension, and so prevents
the Effects of It. For this Reason the Salt Water of the Sea is
especially chosen for this Business, because its greater Gravity than
that of Fresh does more powerfully do all this, and break the beginning
Cohæsion of the Parts of the Blood.

Thus we may, without having recourse to the _Fright_ and _Terror_,
with which this Method, when rightly practis’d, (by keeping the Party
under Water for a considerable time, till he is almost quite drowned)
is usually accompanied, probably enough account for the Advantages of
this Immersion. Tho’ it is not unlikely that this new Fear may have
some good Effect in the Case too, for not only Convulsions, but Agues,
and other Diseases, have oftentimes been happily Cured, merely by
terrifying and surprising the Patient.

The Reason of this will easily be understood by him who knows what
Alterations the Passions of the Mind do make in the Fluid of the Nerves
and Arteries; of which in another Place.

It may for our present purpose suffice to take Notice, That as in
Consideration of the last mentioned Effect upon the Mind, _Van Helmont_
commends this same Practice in all Sorts of Madness, and Chronical
_Deliria_; so upon the account of the before hinted Alterations on the
Body, Bathing was, among the Ancients, the common Cure of Melancholy,
and such like Distempers (106). And as the younger _Van Helmont_ (107)
to confirm his Father’s Notions, tells Us, that one Dr. _Richardson_
did with wonderful Success make use of this Management in these Cases,
so in like manner _Prosper Alpinus_ (108) takes Notice, that the
_Egyptians_ do at this Day perfectly recover Melancholy Persons by the
same Method, only with this Difference, that they make their Baths warm.

He that compares what has been already advanc’d concerning _Deliria_,
with the _Bellinian_ Theory of Melancholy and Maniacal Distempers, and
reflects upon the Nature of Baths, and their manner of Acting, will see
so much Reason in this Practice, as to be sorry that ’tis now-a-days
almost quite laid aside and neglected. For we must observe, that altho’
there be some Difference in the Treatment and Cure of _Deliria_,
whether Maniacal or Melancholy, when they are Originally from the
Mind, as the Effects of Care, Trouble, or the like, and when from an
Indisposition of the Body; yet that both do agree in this, that they
require an Alteration to be made in the Blood and Spirits; inasmuch as
the Mind, by often, nay, almost continually, renewing to it self any
one _Idea_, of Love, Sorrow, _&c._ does so constantly determine the
Spirits and Blood, one and the same way, that the Body does at last as
much share in the Alteration, as if it had been primarily affected,
and consequently must have, in some manner, the same Amendment. Upon
this Score _Baccius_ (109) asserts the admirable Use of Temperate
Baths, in all kind of Distractions; and assures us, that not only
common _Deliria_, but even the _Dæmoniaci_, _Phanatici_, _Lycanthropi_
themselves, _&c._ are cured by frequent Washings in fresh Water, and a
moist and Nourishing Diet.

But to insist upon this Subject is foreign to our purpose; only in
regard that the most usual Methods of Cure in these Cases are so very
tedious, and oftentimes unsuccessful at the last, I thought it not
amiss to hint thus much, in order to the advancing something more
Certain and Effectual towards the Removal of the greatest Unhappiness
to which Mankind is liable.

To conclude with the _Hydrophobia_; where these Remedies fail, or are
Administred too late, the Patient, from the prevailing inflammatory
Disposition of the Blood, grows more and more _Delirous_, and by
Degrees downright raving Mad, at last (as it most commonly happens in
Maniacal People) suffers a total Resolution of Strength, and Dies. Thus
Dr. _Howna_’s Case ended in a perfect universal _Paralysis_.


(48) _De Tarantul._

(49) _Histor. Animal. Nov. Hispan._ Tract 4. c. 5

(50) _Baglivi_, p. 11.

(51) _Vid. Fig. 16._

(52) _Micrograph. Curios._ p. 69.

(53) Pag. 40.

(54) Of Languid and unheeded Motion.

(55) _Borelli De Vi Percussion._ Prop. 90, _and_ 111.

(56) _De Sanitate Tuenda_, lib. 1. c. 8.

(57) _Pythior. Od._ 3. μαλακαῖς ἐπαοιδαῖς. _Vid. ibid. Scholia._

(58) _A Carmine._

(59) _Deipnosoph._ l. 14. p. m. 624.

(60) _Vid. Bartholin. de Tibiis Veter._ l. 1. c. 9.

(61) εἰ καταυλήσοι τις τοῦ τόπου τῇ φρυγιστὶ ἁρμονίᾳ.

(62) _Morb. chronic._ l. 5. c. 1. _Qua cum saltum sumerent palpitando
discusso dolore mitescerent._

(63) _Nect. Atticar._ l. 4. c. 13.

(64) _Histor. Mirabil._

(65) _Apud Aul. Gell. loc. citat. Plurimis hominum Morbis Medicinam
suisse Incentiones Tibiarum._

(66) _Plutarc. de Musica._

(67) _Loc. ante cit._

(68) _De Vit. Pythagor. cap._ 25. πρὸς δηγμοὺς Βοηθητικώτατα μέλη.

(69) _Histor. Anatom._ Cent. 2. H. 26.

(70) _S. Ardoyn de Venen._ pag. 381.

(71) _De Morb. Acut._ lib. 3.

(72) _Exercitat. de Hydrophob._

(73) Philosoph. Transact. N^o. 169.

(74) _Observ. Rarior. Centur._ 2. _obs._ 100.

(75) Παρακοπὰν ὑλακτικὰν, _apud Galen de Antidot._ lib. 2. cap. 15.

(76) _De Hydroph._

(77) _Loc. citat. Tota oritur ex Corporis ipsius mala Affectione._

(78) _Oper. Posthum._ p. 55.

(79) _Obser. de Venen. Animal._

(80) _Obser._ Cent. 2. Obs. 52.

(81) _In Prorrhetic. & coac. & alibi._

(82) _Sympiosiac._ 5. 9.

(83) _Apud Hernand. & Recch. Plantar. & Anim. Mexicanor. Histor._ p.

(84) Vol. 5. Obs. 114.

(85) _Sepulcret._ Lib. 1. Sect. 8. Obs. 8.

(86) _Rossini Lentilii Dissertatio de Hydrophobiæ Causa & Cura._

(87) _Eph. Cur._ Dec. 3. Ann. 2. Obs. 104.

(88) _De Theriac. ad Pison._ l. 1. c. 16.

(89) _Vid. Aetium._ .6: c. 24.

(90) _Simpl. Medic. Facult._ l. 11. c. 1.

(91) _Ibid._ l. 11. c. 34.

(92) _Theriac._ Cap. 2.

(93) _Vid. Pison. Histor. Nat. & Med. Ind._ lib. 5. c. 16.

(94) _Museo di Piante rare_, Osservaz. 2.

(95) _Hist. Plant. Tom._ 2. p. 1471.

(96) _Histor. Natur._ l. 8. c. 41. & l. 25. cap. 2.

(97) _De Venen._ p. 80.

(98) _Museo di Fisica_, Osservaz. 21.

(99) _Medicam. facult._ lib. 9. C. 1.

(100) _Fab. column. Phytobasan._ pag. 27.

(101) No. 237.

(102) _Lib._ 5. c. 27.

(103) _Nat. Hist._ l. 26. c. 3.

(104) _Tr. Demens_ Idea.

(105) Observ. 20.

(106) Vid. _Aretæum Cappad. Cur. Diut._ lib. 1. cap. 5. Et _Aetium_ l.
6. c. 11.

(107) Tr. Man and his Diseases.

(108) _Medicin. Ægyptior._ l. 3. c. 19.

(109) De Therm. _l. 7. c._ 22.

ESSAY III. of Poisonous Minerals and PLANTS.

Altho’ there be a great Variety of Internal _Poisons_, as well
_Mineral_ as _Vegetable_; yet they do all of ’em seem to agree in their
Primary Effects, and Manner of Operation; and as the Teeth or Stings
of _Venomous_ Animals do constantly infuse a Juice into the Wound they
make, by which the Mass of Blood is infected; so the Force of _These_
is chiefly confined to the Stomach and _Primæ Viæ_; and tho’ it may in
some Cases be Communicated Farther, yet the Principal Mischief is done
in These Parts.

_Deleterious Medicines_, says Dioscorides, _are many, but the
Alterations made by them in the Body, common, and but few_ (110).

Of all this kind, those of a _Mineral_ Nature are the most violent
and deadly, the greater Gravity and Solidity of their Parts giving
to these a Force and Action surpassing the mischief of _Vegetable_
Juices; and therefore whereas noxious Plants do vary their Effects in
different Creatures, so as to prove harmless, nay, perhaps Beneficial
and Nutritive to some, as Hemlock they say is to Goats (111) and
Starlings (112), and Henbane to Hogs (113), the Strength of the Stomach
in These Animals being sufficient to Conquer and Divide such Corrosive
Substances, and their Blood perhaps requiring to be recruited by such
warm and active Particles; A Mineral Malignity is not, at least so far
as we know, conquerable by any, but becomes universally hurtful and

We shall here give the first Place to _Mercury Sublimate_.

This is no other than a Mixture of _Quicksilver_ with _common Salt_.
The way of preparing it, as ’tis made at _Venice_, from whence great
quantities are sent into other Countries, _Tachenius_ has given Us in
his _Hippocrates Chymicus_ (114); as to which we must observe, that
tho’ there be always added a proportion of _Salt-Petre_, and _Calcin’d
Vitriol_ to the other Ingredients, yet these do not enter into the
Composition, but only serve to facilitate the Work; as abundantly
appears from this Experiment, That Mercury sublim’d with the same
Proportion of Nitre and Vitriol without _Marine Salt_, neither receives
any increase of its Weight, nor acquires any malignant Quality.

The Effects of this _Poison_ when taken are, violent Griping Pains,
with a Distension of the Belly, Vomiting of a slimy, frothy Matter,
sometimes mixt with Blood, and Stools of the same, an intolerable Heat
and Thirst, with cold Sweats, Tremblings, Convulsions, _&c._ as will
appear from the following History (115).

To a large Dog was given a Drachm of _Mercury Sublimate_, mixt with
a little Bread; within a quarter of an Hour He fell into terrible
Vomitings, casting up frequently a Viscid, frothy _Mucus_, every time
more and more Bloody, and purged the same downwards; till tired and
spent with this hard Service, He lay down quietly as it were to Sleep,
but Died the next Morning.

The _Abdomen_ being opened, a great quantity of extravasated Blood was
found between the Liver and Stomach, and between the duplicature of
the _Omentum_ about the Stomach; the Guts as well as the Stomach were
distended, and full of a frothy Bloody _Mucus_; on the outside they
were of a livid Colour, within all over red, and inflamed down to the
very _Rectum_; The Fibrous Coat of the Stomach being taken off, between
that and the Nervous one, grumous Blood was found in several Places;
the like was discovered here and there in the Intestins between the
same Coats.

The same _Symptoms_ with these, and manifest Signs of a burning
Corrosion followed with _Ulcers_ in the Bowels, _Baccius_ (116) observ’d
in a young Man Poison’d by _Sublimate_, mixt with his Meat.

What we are here chiefly to examine is, how from Ingredients singly
Innocent and Harmless, so Mischievous a Compound can result; for as
the Case is very plain with respect to _Salt_, so is it likewise now
Notorious enough, that _Quick-silver_ it self, which the Ancients,
_Dioscorides_, _Galen_, _Pliny_, &c. have unjustly rank’d among
Poisons, is in many Diseases inwardly taken of very safe and beneficial
Use; and that not only when disguised with _Sulphur_, _Sugar_, &c. but
_Crude_, without any Correction, or vainly pretended Mortification.

This the _Arabian_ Physicians first gave the hint of; _Avicen_, (117)
having observ’d, that _They who drink It in a large quantity receive
no hurt, its weight making a free Passage thro’ the Body_. This was
Incouragement enough for the Practice of giving whole Pounds of It
in the _Iliac Passion_; which is oftentimes done with good Success,
without any frightful Symptom accompanying the Advantage receiv’d from
its Ponderosity.

Afterwards it plainly appear’d that this Mineral, tho’ not taken
in so great a Dose as could immediately force its way thro’ the
Intestins, even when it was lodged for some time in this or that
Part, was not at all hurtful by any Corrosive or Malignant Quality.
And _Fallopius_ (118), _Brasavolus_ (119), with others of great Note,
confirmed its harmless Efficacy in the Cure of the _Worms_, not only in
adult Persons, but even in the more tender Constitutions of Children.

Nor are these the only Cases in which good Service may be had from
this Weighty Fluid; he that rightly considers the State of the Animal
_Oeconomy_, the various Alterations it suffers from the Stagnation of
its more Viscid Juices in the smallest Canals, and how much the Impulse
and Force of the Circling Blood, by which Obstructions are to be
removed, must be increased by its carrying along with it such Particles
as the _Mercurial Globuli_, will perhaps see good Reason to allow,
that the prudent and cautious Management of _Quicksilver_ may do that
in some obstinate and dangerous Diseases, which we cannot promise our
selves from any other of our known Medicines whatsoever.

But I am not to insist on this Head; and the learned _Author_ of the
_New Theory of Fevers_ (120), has already most ingeniously explain’d the
_Mechanism_ by which such Effects as these are produced in the humane
Body. It suffices to my present purpose, to have proved that pure
_Mercury_ is not Poisonous or Corrosive; and therefore not only have I
seen Two Ounces of It given every Day for One and Twenty Days together,
without any Inconvenience at all; but found once some quantity of It in
the _Perinæum_ of a Subject I took from the Gallows for a Dissection
(whose rotten Bones quickly discovered what Disease it was had required
the Use of it, and that I suppose chiefly in External Application by
Unction) without any Marks of Corrosion of the Part where it was lodged.

Tho’ withal we may upon this Occasion remark, that the extreme Gravity
of this Mineral alone, however serviceable it may be in other Respects;
yet when it happens in so great a Quantity to Obstruct the Capillary
Ducts, as that the Force of the Circling Fluid is not sufficient
to Wash it away, must necessarily induce Symptoms troublesome and
bad enough, as _Spasms_, _Contractions_, _Palsies_, &c. which They
do commonly Experience, who have either been too often dawbed with
_Mercurial Ointments_, or for a long time imploy’d in rubbing the
_Quicksilver_ upon _Looking-Glasses_; for the Internal Use of It will
never produce any such Mischiefs.

As for _Sublimate_ then, most certain it is, that the _Saline_
Particles do impart to the _Mercury_ this Malignant Quality; or to
speak more properly, That the _Salt_ receives from the _Mercurial
Corpuscles_ such an Increase of its Gravity and _Momentum_, as renders
its Cutting Corrosion more Effectual and Penetrating; for the manner
after which this Matter is done, is plainly this.

The _Globules_ of the _Mercury_, tho’ so minutely divided by the
Action of the Fire, as to rise in the form of a _Fume_, yet are still
Solid and Ponderous Bodies; ’tis all one to the present purpose,
whether We suppose ’em perfectly _Sphærical_, or with the Learned
_Gulielmini_ (121) _Sphæroidical_, for in both Cases, by reason of
their extreme Parvity, being perhaps Simple and Elementary Bodies,
they will easily be lodg’d in the Pores and Interstices of the _Saline
Crystals_; which being compos’d of the _Atoms_ of _Salt_, variously by
_Sublimation_ combin’d and united, are a kind of Cutting _Lamellæ_ or
Blades; the force of which could never have been very penetrating, upon
the account of their Lightness and easie Dissolution, if the _Mercury_,
without blunting their Edge, or breaking their Figure, did not lend
’em an Additional Weight, and thus at the same time strengthen their
Action, and prevent their quick Solution by the Juices of the Stomach;
which cannot now disjoin their Compounding Parts, because the Vacuities
into which they should, in order to do this, insinuate themselves, are
already possess’d, and taken up by the _Mercurial Globules_.

In short, These _Crystals_, which are to be considered as so many sharp
Knives or Daggers, Wounding and Stabbing the tender Coats of the
Stomach, and thus causing excessive Pains, with an Abrasion of their
Natural _Mucus_, and (upon the constant Sense of Irritation) continual
Vomitings, _&c._ must of necessity, sticking here and there in the
capillary Vessels, stop the Passage of the Blood in several Places,
whereupon it Stagnates, and there follow little Inflammations, which
growing higher and higher, terminate quickly in perfect Ulcers and
Gangrenes; and these though singly very small, yet many in number, do
all together make up one continued and incurable Mortification.

This being the Nature of _Sublim’d Mercury_, it may not be amiss to
enquire, how it comes to pass, That This same Compound resublim’d
with _live Mercury_ in the Proportion of Four Parts to Three, (for
the _Sublimate_ will not take up an equal quantity) especially if the
work be repeated Three or Four times, looses its Corrosiveness to
that Degree as to become not only a Safe, but in many Cases, a Noble
_Medicine_. For I do not see that any of the Chymical Writers have hit
upon the true Solution of this _Phænomenon_.

Here then it is to be considered, That the Action of the _Saline
Crystals_ depending upon their Solidity and Largeness, these must
necessarily, by every subsequent Sublimation, be broken into smaller
and smaller Parts; the _Mercurial Globules_ (for the Reasons given by
the _Author_ (122) of the forementioned _Theory of Fevers_) arising more
quickly and easily than the _Salts_, quit the Interstices in which
they were lodged, and the _Crystalline_ Blades are divided every time
more and more by the force of the Fire; whereupon a new Combination
of Parts succeeds; and although there be a greater Proportion of the
_Mineral_ to the _Salts_ than before, which makes _Dulcify’d Mercury_
Specifically heavier than the _Corrosive_; yet the broken pieces of
the _Crystals_ uniting into little Masses of differing Figures from
their former Make, those Cutting _Points_ which were before so sharp,
are now either quite lost, or at least, by reason of their Bluntness,
cannot make Wounds deep enough to be equally mischievous and deadly;
and therefore do only Vellicate and Twitch the sensible Membranes of
the Stomach to that Degree, as excites them to an Excretion of their
Contents and Glandular Juices, upwards or downwards, according as the
force of Irritation is greater or less.

Thus a violent _Poison_ is mitigated into a _Vomit_ or _Purge_;
nay, it may easily happen (especially in Robust Constitutions, and
if the Bowels be at the same time by any means defended against the
Stimulating Power of the Medicine) that this Twitching may be so
slight, as to be almost insensible, and hardly troublesome; and then
the _Mercurial Globules_ being freed indeed from most of the _Saline
Parts_ in their Passage thro’ the _Primæ Viæ_, but still having a
mixture of some few of them, are quickly conveyed into the Blood,
where by their Motion and Weight they must necessarily dissolve the
Preternatural Cohæsions of all the Liquors, particularly of Those which
Circulate in the smallest Canals, and are most Viscid and Tenacious,
making ’em more Fluxile and Thin, or of more easie Secretion; whereupon
all the Glands of the Body are, as it were, set to Work, and Scoured
of their Contents; but the _Salival_ Ones especially, being many in
Number, very large and wide, and the Juice they separate of a Tough and
Ropy Substance, so that a considerable quantity of It is accumulated
before it is forced out at the Orifices of the Ducts. These Effects
will be most remarkable in _Them_, and a _Salivation_ or Spitting must
continue so long, till the Active Mineral Particles are thro’ these and
the other Passages discharged out of the Body.

As the Difference between Mercury _Corrosive_ and _Dulcified_ lies
in a greater and lesser Degree of Operation and Force, so this same
Consideration distinguishes the several _Preparations_ of this Mineral
from each other; which tho’ very many, yet do all vary their Effects in
the Body, only according as the _Mercurial Globules_ are differently
combined with _Salts_, and the _Points_ of _These_ more or less broken
by the Action of the Fire, in the Burning of Spirits upon Them, and
such like Managements: And therefore however dignified with the great
Names of _Arcana_, _Panacææ_, _Princes Powders_, &c. They do not afford
Us any thing Singular and Extraordinary, beyond what we may with equal
Advantage promise our selves from some or other of the most common and
usual _Processes_.

We may also fairly conclude from this Reasoning, that the safest way
of raising a _Salivation_ is by _Internal_ Medicines; since whatever
Mischiefs can be apprehended from _These_, may in a greater degree
follow from the _External_ Use of _Mercury_; not only because, as We
have already hinted, the Mineral _Globules_ being intimately combined
with Salts in the several Preparations given inwardly, will by the
Irritation of These, be easily and fully thrown out at the Organs of
Secretions, till the Blood is quite discharged of its Load; whereas,
in all the Dawbings with Mercurial Ointments, We can never be certain
that none of the heavy Particles are left lodg’d in the _Interstices_
of the _Fibres_ or _Cells_ of the _Bones_; But also, in as much as by
computing the Portion of _Mercury_ in all the Doses necessarily to
promote a Spitting, and the Weight of the same Mineral usually apply’d
when this is done by Unction, it will appear, that the quantity in the
latter Case vastly exceeds that in the former, and consequently that
the Inconveniencies to be feared will be in the same proportion.

Therefore this External Management of _Mercury_ is only to be allow’d
of, where either the Case will bear the Violence of such a Method, or
outward _Ulcers_ and _Tumors_ require a particular Cure by _Liniments_,

Nor is it improper to Remark that, We do hereby see how the Use of this
Mineral comes to produce that Effect so often complain’d of, (tho’
not always with Reason) of making the Bones Foul or Carious. For,
if the _Laminæ_ or _Fibres_ of These are already so much broken and
spoiled by a Disease, as that the Circulation of the Fluids thro’ ’em
can’t be maintain’d, they must necessarily be corrupted more by the
Weight of the _Mercurial Globules_; tho’ here also it is plain, that
the _outward_ Use of this Remedy will be more to be blamed than the

And indeed, as the earliest Use of _Mercury_ was in _Unguents_ and
_Emplasters_, so most of the Prejudices and Out-cries against It are
owing to Effects produced this way. For the first attempts of the
Cure of _Venereal Maladies_ by this Remedy, were learned from the
_Arabians_ (123), who having recommended _Mercurial_ Ointments in the
_Lepra_ or _Scabies_, gave a handle to the _Italian_ Physicians to
try their Efficacy, in removing the Foulness of the Skin from a new
and terrible Contagion; neither were they sparing of their Liniments,
which they continued to rub in for 12, 15, nay, sometimes for above
30 Days together (124). So that it is no wonder if they often met with
very untoward Symptoms from so severe a Treatment, and if, (as some of
them (125) do affirm) they now and then found _Mercury_ in the rotten
Bones of their Patients, who had, it may be, suffered too much both
from their Disease and their Physician.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus much of _Mercury_. Let Us in the next place examine _Arsenick_,
about the Nature and Composition of which Authors are very much puzzled.

This, in short, is either _Native_ or _Factitious_, and each of Three
sorts, _Yellow_, _Red_, and _White_. The _Native Yellow_ is what the
Latins call’d _Auripigmentum_; and this _Olaus Wormius_ (126) makes
Threefold. The _Red_ is the _Sandaracha_ of the _Greeks_. The _White_
was not known to the Ancients; and indeed _Theophrastus_ seems only
to have known the _Red_; but _Dioscorides_ describes both _Red_ and
_Yellow_; _Nicander_ had no Knowledge of either; The only Mineral
Poisons He mentions are _Litharge_ and _Ceruss_.

_Orpiment_ and _Sandaracha_ differ only by their greater or lesser
Concoction in the Earth; and therefore from _Orpiment_ Boiled in
a close Pot Five Hours in a Furnace Fire, is made the _Factitious
Sandaracha_, as perfect as the _Natural_ (127).

The _Factitious Yellow_ is made from the Crusts of the _Natural
Orpiment_ (128).

The _Native White_ is more rare, but found plentifully in some Silver
Mines in _Germany_ (129).

But the _White Factitious_ is of the most common Use of all; and it
is, as _Agricola_ tells us, no other than _Orpiment_ again and again
sublimed with an equal part of _Fossile Salt_, till it is brought to a

_Orpiment_ and _Sandaracha_ are mostly found in Mines of God; and all
Metallic Writers do agree them to be the best Signs of the Richness
of the Vein. This is Ground sufficient for the _Chymists_ to take
_Arsenick_ for the Subject Matter of their great Work, as they call It;
and they have very fondly accommodated some Ænigmatical Lines in the
_Sibylline Oracles_ (130) to this _Mineral_. Tho’ the Interpretation
be strained, and not fairly made out, (the _Author_ of these Verses,
whatever he might mean, being indeed Discoursing of the Name of
the _Divine Power_ it self) yet very true it is, that this great
Expectation from _Arsenick_ is as old at least as _Caligula_; that is,
of more ancient Date considerably than the far greatest part of those
Suppositious and Ill-contrived Compositions which do now bear the Name
of _Oracles_: For that Covetous Emperor, as _Pliny_ relates (131),
ordered a great quantity of _Orpiment_ to be wrought upon, that He
might extract _Gold_ out of It, and made some; but as it usually
happens in such like Attempts, the quantity did not answer the Expence.

It is more to our purpose to take notice, that the later _Pretenders_
to this _Philosophy_, by finding their three _Principles_, _Salt_,
_Sulphur_, and _Mercury_ in this Body, will lead Us into its true
Nature and Composition.

For whether We take _Orpiment_ or _Sandaracha_, either of them will
afford a _Regulus_ or Mercurial Substance, more pure than that of
_Antimony_. The manner of extracting It _Lemery_ (132) has taught; and
to This indeed the Mineral owes its great Ponderosity.

The Inflammability and Smell of _Arsenick_ are sufficient Proofs of its
abounding _Sulphur_, which may without much difficulty be separated
from It (133).

That it consists of some _Saline Parts_ we are assured by Its Solution
in common Water (134); and it is upon the account of These that It
does more happily promote the _Flowing_ of Metals than any other
_Salt-Pouders_ which the Workmen make use of: Wherefore some have
called It a coagulated _Aqua Fortis_.

From all this it appears, that Authors do vainly Dispute wherein the
Noxious quality of _Arsenick_ resides, since the Case here is plainly
much the same with that of _Sublimate Corrosive_; and as the Salts
there, together with the Mercurial Particles, do compose pungent
_Crystals_, so without all doubt the _Regulus_ of this Mineral gives a
like force to the _Saline Bodies_, which without this weight could be
but of small Effect. The main difference is, that in _Arsenick_ we have
an addition of _Sulphur_, which does not only strengthen the Action of
the other Parts, in that as a _Vinculum_ it keeps them united together;
but consisting besides of many hot and fiery Corpuscles, promotes the
Inflammation of those Wounds which the Crystalline _Spicula_ make in
the Membranes of the Stomach.

Upon the Score of such a Texture and Make as this, _Arsenick_ makes
no Ebullition either with _Alcalies_ or _Acids_ (135); and _as_ the
_Regulus_ of It being cleared from most of its Salts, is by much less
hurtful than the crude Mineral it self; _so_ on the other Hand, the
_Factitious White_, in which there is a much greater Proportion of the
Saline to the Metallic Parts, is the most Violent of all the kinds,
superiour in Force to _Mercury Sublimate_.

The several Histories related by _Wepfer_ (136) do put this out of
Question; It is sufficient to our Purpose to mention One.

A Dog having eat some Fat mixt with _White Arsenic_, died the next
Day; The upper Part of the Stomach, when opened, was red and inflamed,
the Coats thinner than ordinary, the bottom of It was covered with a
fætid Slime, and some Pieces of Fat; the Thin Guts were so Corroded as
to be Pervious in Three Places, Two of the Ulcers so large that they
would easily admit a _Bean_. The Cavity of the _Abdomen_ contained a
yellowish _Ichor_ tinged with Blood.

The Case being thus, one would wonder what should induce Authors
to prescribe so Corrosive a Mineral to be worn upon the Pit of the
Stomach, as an _Amulet_ against the Plague. This Trick we may well
believe to be Dangerous, when _Lionardo di Capo_ (137) tells Us of a
Child a kill’d by the Violent Vomiting and Purging, occasion’d from
a slight Wound made in the Head by a _Comb_ wet with Oil in which
_Arsenick_ had been infused; for the Pores of the Body being opened by
Heat and Exercise, some of the Noxious _Effluvia_ may easily Insinuate
themselvs into the Part; accordingly _Crato_ (138) observ’d an Ulcer of
the Breast caused by this Application; _Verzascha_ (139) Violent Pains,
and fainting Fits; _Diemerbrock_ (140), and Dr. _Hodges_ (141), Death it

The Truth of the Matter is, This Practice seems to owe its Origine to a
Mistake (142), some of the _Arabian_ Physicians had commended _Darsini_
worn in a Bag for a Preservative in Plague time; This in their Language
signifies _Cinnamom_; but the _Latin_ Interpreters retaining the same
Word in their Translations (as was frequently done), one or other
afterwards not understanding its meaning, and deceived by the likeness
of the sound, substituted in its Place _De Arsenico_, as if _Darsini_
were all one with _Zarnich_. The Authority of the first Author served
to propagate the Error; nor were Those wanting who reason’d upon the
Matter, and found it agreable to their Philosophy, that this Mineral
should draw to it self and concenter the _Arsenical Effluvia_ out of
the Air, and thus secure the Body from their Infection; These being, as
they imagined, the Common Cause of Pestilential Diseases.

Having thus particularly Discoursed of the Nature of these Two Poisons,
I shall not need to insist upon any more out of the _Mineral Kingdom_.

All of _Them_ bear some Analogy to the former, and are more or less
Dangerous, according as their _Salts_ receive a differing Force from
the _Metallic_ Particles. For this Reason as we have observed, that the
most Virulent may be mitigated by breaking the _Points_ of the _Saline
Crystals_; so on the other Hand, the most Innocent Minerals may become
Corrosive, by combining Them with _Salts_, as we see in the several
Preparations of _Silver_, _Antimony_, _Iron_, &c.

Poisonous Plants.

To Proceed therefore to _Vegetables_; the most Notorious of _These_ for
Venomous Juices among the Ancients were _Cicuta_ and _Aconitum_.

Our _Œnanthe Cicutæ facie_, _succo viroso_, which _Wepfer_ has
described by the Name of _Cicuta Aquatica_, and of the dismal Effects
of which in some Children, who by mistake did Eat of It, He has wrote
a large Volume, was very probably the _Cicuta_ so much in use of old,
especially at _Athens_, for _Killing_. At least the Violence of _This_
makes It a much fitter Instrument of Death than the common _Hemlock_,
which is not by far of so Malignant a quality.

Tho’ we must withal allow differing _Climates_ very considerably to
heighten or abate the _Virtues_ of _Plants_. And it is not altogether
Improbable, that the Poison with which the _Athenians_ took away the
Lives of Malefactors was an inspissated Juice compounded of _That_ of
_Cicuta_ and other Corrosive Herbs (143).

But be this as it will; The Alterations which _Wepfer_ observed the
Roots of _Œnanthe_ to make in the Body, were a Violent Pain and Heat
in the Stomach, Terrible Convulsions, with the Loss of all the Senses,
Distorsion of the Eyes, and flowing of Blood out at the Ears, the Mouth
so fast shut that no Art could open It, Efforts to Vomit, but nothing
thrown up, frequent Hick-Coughs, with a great Distension and Swelling,
especially at the Pit of the Stomach; and when Death had concluded the
Tragedy, a continued Running of green Froth at the Mouth.

_Stalpart van der Wiel_ gives Us the like account of Two Persons kill’d
at the _Hague_ by the same _Roots_ (144).

In a _Dog_, who for Experiment’s sake died by this _Poison_, The
Stomach when opened was found quite _Constringed_, and shut up at
both _Orifices_, Its inward Surface red, with livid Spots here and
there; The Intestines were empty; only the _Rectum_ contained a little
greenish _Mucus_.

Thus it appears, that this Plant consists of Hot, Acrious and Corrosive
Parts, which by Rarefying the Juices of the Stomach, and Wounding
Its Nervous Membrane, are the Cause of all those Disorders which do
immediately follow.

For upon the Sense of a violent _Irritation_ and _Pain_, the Fluid
of the Nerves is presently in large quantities determined to the
Part affected; and this, if the _Stimulus_ be not over great, will
be only to such a Degree as is sufficient, by contracting the Fibres
of the Stomach, and Muscles of the _Abdomen_, to throw off the Cause
of the Disagreable _Sensation_; but the uneasie _Twitching_ being
too terrible to be born, the Mind, by a kind of surprize, does with
_Haste_ and _Fury_ as it were Command the Spirits thither; Thus the
Business is over-done, and the Action of the Fibres becomes so strong,
that the Orifices of the Stomach are quite closed; so that instead of
discharging the Noxious Matter, The _Torment_ is made greater, and the
whole _Œconomy_ put into Confusion.

This forcible Contraction of the Muscles was the Reason that one of the
Children which _Wepfer_ saw, made _Urine_ in the midst of the Agony, to
the height of Five or Six Foot, with a strength and violence Surprising
to the Spectators.

Nor is it any wonder, if in these _Circumstances_ all Sense be lost,
Blood gush out at the _Ears_, _Nostrils_, &c. the Parts being all
torn and broke by the Violence of the _Convulsions_; which tho’ they
began in the Muscles of the Belly, must at last prevail in the Members
too, till the whole Fabrick is shock’d and overturn’d; and some of
the _Corrosive Salts_ perhaps getting into the Blood, and by the
Rarefaction of It Distending the Vessels, The Membranous Coats of which
being already overstretched, will the more easily give way, and let out
their Fluid.

The Case of _Aconitum_ is much the same; this is our _Napellus_ or
_Monkshood_; and its Effects do so nearly agree with those now related
of _Œnanthe_, that I shall not need to recite Them; the Experiments
of _Wepfer_ (145) are full and convincing. And indeed _as_ all the
_Histories_ which this same _Author_ has so carefully given Us of
Trials made with several Vegetable Poisons, _Solanum_, _Nux Vomica_,
_Coculus Indicus_, &c. on different Creatures, do put it out of
all doubt, that the common Mischief of _These_ is a Twitching and
Inflammation of the Stomach; _so_ it appears from hence, that _Virulent
Plants_, although they may be distinguished even from one another by
_particular Virtues_, do however _Kill_ by a like Operation and Force,
which differs chiefly in Degree from _That_ of Noxious Minerals.

And therefore in order to know what the _Specifick Qualities_ of any
such _Herbs_ are, they must be given only in very small _Doses_; and
then perhaps it would appear, that they are not made (as some do
imagine) to be Deleterious and Destructive, but for very Good and
Beneficial Uses; as we do particularly Experience in the Case of

Nor is it at all strange, that the _Symptoms_ from a _Vegetable_,
and from a _Mineral_ Virulency, should be so different, although of
the same kind, and only of unequal force; for the more solid Parts
of _Minerals_, eroding the Coats of the Stomach, induce a perfect
Mortification and Gangrene, and thus do their Work at once; whereas the
weaker Salts of _Plants_ can make but a slighter _Excoriation_, upon
the painful Sense of which those Agonies and Convulsions that follow
do rather gradually exhaust the Strength; and thus the Animal is not
kill’d so speedily, nor with the same _Appearances_.

Upon this Score, tho’ Mineral Poisons do not pass the _Primæ Viæ_,
Vegetable ones in some Cases possibly may; just as We find Those
Medicines which have a great Degree of Irritation presently to induce a
_Vomiting_; whereas the same _Twitching_ a little weakened suffers them
to pass into the Intestines, and _Work_ downwards by Stools.

By this We may perhaps give some Guess at the Nature of those
_Poisons_, with which They tell Us the _Natives_ in some Parts of
_Africa_ and _India_ are so expert at Killing, that they can do It
in a longer or shorter time as they please. These are most probably
either the _Fruits_, or the Inspissated _Juices_ of Corrosive Plants,
which inflaming the Bowels, may cause little Ulcers there, whose Fatal
Consequences, we know, may very well be slow and lingering.

This I am the rather induced to believe, because an Ingenious
_Surgeon_, who liv’d in _Guinea_, told Me, that the _Antidote_ by which
the _Negroes_ would sometimes Cure Those who were _poisoned_, was the
_Leaf_ of an _Herb_ which purged both upwards and downwards. For by
this means the Stomach might be cleared from the adhering Corrosive
Parts of the Venom. Yet I can hardly think it possible at the same time
that they should be able, by varying the Composition or Quantity of the
_Dose_, to ascertain the Time in which It shall Kill, to a Week, Month,
_&c._ nor indeed have I ever met with any Person who could Attest This,
to be Matter of Fact.

Tho’ repeated Trials and Observations may help one well practised in
such Tricks to give notable Conjectures in this Point.

The Ancients indeed pretended much the same thing with their
_Aconitum_, of which They seem to have made a kind of Secret and
Mystery; as we learn from _Theophrastus_ (146), who says, _The ordering
of this Poison was different, according as It was designed to Kill in
Two, Three Months, or a Year_: But this he relates only as a common
_Tale_ or _Opinion_, and not as a Story to which Himself gave any
manner of Credit.

It is very plain; that the common _Cure_ of all _Poisons_ of this
kind, must be by freeing the Stomach, as soon as possible, from the
Corrosive Vellicating Particles, and defending the Membranes from their
Acrimony, by such Things as are of a a Smooth, Oily and Lubricating



(110) Ποικίλα μὲν γὰρ τὰ δηλητήρια φάρμακα, κοιναὶ δὲ καὶ οὐ πολλαὶ ἐξ
ἀυτῶν γινόμεναι διαθέσεις. _Alexiph._ pag. 399.

(111) _Lucret._ lib. 5.

(112) _Galen. Simp. Medic._ l. 3. cap. 18.

(113) _Sext. Empiric. Hypoth. Empiric._ 1.

(114) _Cap. 24._

(115) _Wepfer de Cicut. Aquatic._ pag. 300.

(116) _De Venen._ pag. 21.

(117) _Can. Medic._ l. 4. Fen. 6. _Argentum Vivum plurimum qui bibunt
non læduntur eo; egreditur enim cum dissositione suâ per inferiorem

(118) _De Morb. Gallic. cap._ 76.

(119) _De Morb. Gall. inter Autores de Morb. Gall._ pag. 599.

(120) Pag. 91. _& seq._

(121) _Trattato de Fiumi._ Cap. 1.

(122) Pag. 93.

(123) _Vid. Jaan. Baptist. Montan. Tract. de Morb. Gallic. inter Autor.
de Morb. Gall._ p. m. 482. _Et Fallop. de Morb. Gall. Cap. 76._

(124) _Nicol. Mass. de Morb. Gall. Tract. 4. Cap. 2._

(125) _Argentum vivum accepi ex Osse Cujusdam corrupto, quem perunctum
ab Empyricis plus decies ferebant, non semel emanavisse._ Anton. Gall.
in Lib. de Ligno Sancto non permiscendo.

_Non semel in Sepulchris Argentum Vivum in Mortuorum Capitibus reperi._
Anton. Musa Brasavolus in Tract. de Morb. Gallic.

(126) _Museum_, p. 28.

(127) _Agricola de Natura Fossil._ p. m. 592.

(128) _Idem, Ibid._

(129) _Block Scrutinum Arsenici_, §. XIV.

(130) _Lib._ [smudge]. Εννέα γράμματ᾽ ἔχω, τετρασυλλαβός είμι, νόει με.
Αἱ τρεῖς αἱ πρῶται δύο γράμματ᾽ ἔχουσιν ἐκάση, Η λοιπὴ δὲ τὰ λοιπὰ, καὶ
εἰσὶν ἄφωνα τά πέντε. Τοῦ παντός δ᾽ ἀριθμοῦ ἑκατοντάδες εἰσὶ δὶς ὀκτω,
Καὶ τρεῖς τρὶς δεκάδες.

(131) Nat. Hist. _l. 33. c. 4._

(132) _Cours de Chymie_, Part 1. Chap. 10.

(133) _Lemery_, ibid.

(134) _Vid. Eman. Konig Regn. Mineral._ and _Boyle_ History of Mineral

(135) _Grew_ of Mixture, _pag. m._ 246.

(136) _Cicut. aquat._ pag. 274. _& seq._

(137) _Incertezza de Medicament_, p. m. 82.

(138) _Epistol._ 68.

(139) Observation 66.

(140) _De Peste_, Histor. 99.

(141) _De Peste Londinens._ p. 239.

(142) _A. Deusingius de Peste_, Part 4. Sect. 3. c. 3.

(143) _Vide_ Wepfer, _Pag. 60._

(144) _Observat. Centur._ 1. Obs. 43.

(145) Pag. 176. _seq._

(146) _Hist. Plant._ l. 9. c. 16.



The Ancients having Experienced that _Opium_ would oftentimes Kill,
though taken in no large quantity, ranked It with _Poisons_, and gave
It the first place among Those, which from their Stupefying Quality
They call’d _Narcotic_.

True indeed it is, that We do every Day find This to be, in a small
Dose, one of the most Noble Remedies in the World. But it is not
worth the while to engage in the Controversie warmly debated by some
_Authors_, how far _Poisons_ are Medicinal; since it is notorious
enough, that Medicines do sometimes prove _Poisonous_. And take the
Matter as We please, it may serve to very good Purposes to understand
the manner of Operation of so Celebrated a _Drug_, and help Us in
a great Measure to ascertain Its Use in different Cases, if we are
beforehand rightly apprised of Its Nature and Way of Acting.

In order hereunto, it is necessary, besides some other _Præcognita_,
since one of the chief Virtues of this Medicine Is _Hypnotic_, to
Define distinctly what _Sleep_ is, or rather, (to avoid Confusion and
Disputes about Words) what Difference there is between an Animal Body
when _asleep_ and when _awake_. For I suppose the _History_, _Manner of
Preparing_, &c. of _Opium_, to be already sufficiently known.

First then, There is no One but knows that in _Sleep_ there is a
Cessation from Action. When _Waking_, We Walk, Discourse, Move this
or that Limb, _&c._ but in natural and undisturbed _Rest_ there is
nothing of all These; that is, whereas being awake, We do perform
several Motions by the _voluntary_ Contraction of our Muscles; when
asleep, those Muscles only are Contracted, whose Action is in a manner
_Involuntary_, or to which the Mind has always so constantly determin’d
the Spirits, that It does it by a _Habit_, without the Intervention of
the Reasoning Faculty; such are _Those_ of the Heart and Breast.

So that there is at this time a kind of _Relaxation_ or Loosness of the
moving Fibres of the several Members; or at least such a quiet Position
and State of them, by which all the _Antagonist_ Muscles are in an
_Æquilbrium_ and Equality of Action, not overpowering one another.
For this indeed seems to be one great Design of Sleep, to recover to
the Parts overstretched by Labour their former _Tone_ and Force; and
therefore we do naturally, when composing our selves to _Rest_, put
our Body into that Posture which does most Favour the _particularly_
wearied Limbs, and conduce to this end.

In the next place, it is very plain that there is in _Sleep_ not only a
Rest and Suspension from Acting of most of our Bodily Organs, but even
of our _Thinking Faculty_ too. That is (for I would prevent Cavils) a
ceasing from such _Thoughts_ as when Waking We are exercised about,
which we do _Reflect_ upon, and _Will_ to employ our Mind with. For
though _Dreams_ are Thoughts, yet they are but imperfect and incoherent
Ones, and are indeed either so faint and languid _Representations_, as
to be consistent with our _Sleep_, as some may be; or else if they be
strong and lively, they are, as every one knows, the _Interruption_ and
Disturbance of It.

From hence It will follow, That the _Motion_ of the Arterial Fluid must
be, _Ceteris Paribus_, more sedate, even and regular, in the time of
_Sleeping_ than _Waking_; For, besides the various Alterations which in
the latter State this receives from the several _Passions_ of the Mind,
the very _Contractions_ of the Muscles themselves in Exercises of the
Body do differently forward its Course; whereas in _Sleep_ the force of
the Heart and Pectoral Muscles being more constant and uniform, gives
it a more calm and equally continued Impulse.

Hence also it will come to pass, that the _Influx_ of the _Liquor_ of
the Nerves into the Organs of the Body, as also Its _Reflux_ towards
the _Brain_, is in Sleep either none, or very inconsiderable; that
is, that this Fluid has at this time but little or no _Motion_. For
’tis Muscular _Action_ and _Sensation_ that require It to be thus
determin’d, this way or that, which are now hardly any. And yet by the
arrival of Blood at the Brain, this _Juice_ will still be separated
there, fit to be derived into its Canals or Tubes. So that by this
means there will be a kind of _Accumulation_, or laying up in Store, of
_Spirits_ for the Offices and Requirements of _Waking_.

Thus We may in short look upon the time of _Watching_, as the time of
Wearing out, or the Destruction of the Animal Fabrick; and the time of
_Sleep_, as that in which it is repaired and recruited; not only upon
the account of what We have just mentioned concerning the _Nervous
Liquor_, but also with respect to all the other Parts, as well Fluid as
Solid. For _Action_ does necessarily by Degrees impair the Springs and
Organs; and in _Motion_ something is continually abraded and struck off
from the Distractile Fibres, which cannot otherwise be restored than by
their being at rest from _Tension_. Besides that, such a regular and
steady _Course_ of the Blood, as we have observed to be in _Sleep_, is
by far more fit and proper for Nutrition, or an Apposition of Parts to
the Vessels, which an uneven _Hurry_ of It is more apt to tear off and
wash away.

The Case being thus, it is very plain that whatsoever can induce
such a Disposition of the Fluids and Muscular Parts of the Body, as
this We have described, will so far cause _Sleepiness_. And in like
manner, when any thing interposes and hinders this Composedness and
Tranquillity, the removing of the _Impediment_ will be the causing of
_Sleep_; inasmuch as this is only reducing the Animal _Œconomy_ to its
right State, in which by natural Order there must be a Succession of
Sleeping and Waking.

Thus it appears how necessarily continued Exercises do make Us
_Sleepy_, since These do exhaust the Juice of the Nerves; that is, both
lessen its Influx into the Organs of Motion, and incline the Mind not
to determine it any longer that way, upon the account of the Pain and
Uneasiness, with which too violent a Tension of the Parst is always
attended; which therefore we must needs desire to Relax, or lay to

That _Sleepiness_ which follows upon a fulness of the Stomach after
Eating or Drinking, is owing to a different Cause; and does indeed so
nearly fall in with the Effects of _Opiate_ Medicines, that it requires
a particular Consideration.

As _Hunger_, or the Emptiness of the Stomach, is a painful Sensation;
so the satisfying or removing of _This_, is a pleasing or agreeable
One. Now all _Pain_ is a _Stimulus_ upon the Part affected; and This,
we all know, being attended with Contractions of the pained Membranes,
causes a greater Afflux than ordinary of the Nervous Juice that way. On
the other Hand, _Pleasure_, or a delightful Sensation in any part, is
accompanied with a smooth Undulation, and easie Reflux of the Liquor of
the Nerves towards the Brain. This is, as it were, the _Entertainment_
of the Mind, with which being _Taken up_, it does not Determine the
Spirits to the Organs of Motion; That is, there is such a _Relaxation_
of the Muscular Fibres, and such a Disposition of the Nervous Fluid, as
we have observed to be necessary to Sleep.

This is the Reason of that _Chilliness_ in the Limbs, which we commonly
Complain of after a good Feast.

If it seem strange that a Pleasure in the Stomach should so powerfully
Influence the Mind; let it be considered, on the other Hand, how
violent Effects, an uneasie and disagreeable Sense in the same Part
does produce; what a terrible Agony Two or Three Grains of _Crocus
Metallorum_ throws the whole Fabrick into; how readily the Fluid of the
Nerves is with a more than Ordinary _Impetus_ determin’d and commanded
into the Muscles of the Stomach and _Abdomen_, in order to throw off
the Enemy, and remove the ungrateful Sensation.

Now the Consequences which we have ascribed to a pleasing Sense in
this Part, are only just the contrary of these we find the opposite
Affection of Pain induces. And indeed _Pleasure_ and _Pain_ are Two
great Springs of Action in the Animal Œconomy; The Changes they make
in the Fabrick are the Causes of many Effects which seem surprising,
because we do not regard the Mechanism by which they are produced: but
these must be more considerable in the Stomach than any where else;
This Part being, for very wise Purposes, of so acute a _Feeling_, that
some Philosophers have for this Reason thought It to be the Seat of the

Besides this Consideration, We must take notice that, the Stomach
being distended with Food, presses upon the descending _Trunk_ of the
_Aorta_, and thus causes a greater Fulness of the Vessels in the upper
Parts; whereupon the Brain is loaded, or the Derivation of Spirits
into the Nerves diminished, and _Unactivity_ or _Drowsiness_ insues.
From hence proceed Those _Flushings_ in the Face, Redness, _&c._ after
plentiful Eating or Drinking, most Visible in Those whose Vessels are
Lax and Weak, as in Exhausted and Hectick Persons they more especially

Thus we may, without the Assistance of the _New Chyle_ entring into
the Vessels, account for that Inclination to Sleep which follows upon
a full Stomach; Tho’ we must also allow the Distension from _This_ to
be a considerable Cause of the same Effect; But this does not happen
immediately, nay, sometimes perhaps not within Two or Three Hours after
Eating; and therefore the sudden _Drowsiness_ must (as well as the
present Refreshment and Reviving which Meat gives) be chiefly owing to
some more speedy Alteration.

We come then in the next Place to _Opium_ it self; The Chymical
_Analysis_ of which (147) does out of One Pound afford of a Volatile
_Spirit_ of the like Nature with that drawn from Harts-horn, Five
Ounces and Five Drachms; of a fætid _Oil_, One Ounce Two Drachms and
a half; of _Caput Mortuum_, smelling like Spirit of Harts-horn, Seven
Ounces and Six Drachms.

The Virtues therefore of _Opium_ are owing to a volatile _Alcaline_
Salt, intimately mixt and combin’d with an Oily, Sulphureous Substance.
The Effects of which We must consider, first of all upon the Stomach,
and afterwards, when they have passed the _Primæ Viæ_, upon the
Arterial Fluid it self.

An agreeable Sensation produced in the Stomach, together with a
Distension of Its Membranes, we observed before to be the Cause of
that Sleepiness to which we are so prone after Eating. The _One_ of
These ingages the Mind, the _Other_ acts upon the Body. For Pleasure
amuses the Soul, as it were, so that It does not Think, or exercise
it self about any outward Objects; that is, Is inclined to Rest. And
the Fulness of the Vessels in the Brain Checks and Hinders, in some
Measure, the Derivation of the Nervous Juice into the Organs, _&c._

Now They who take a moderate Dose of _Opium_, especially if not long
accustomed to It, are so Transported with the pleasing Sense It
induces, that They are, as They oftentimes express themselves, in
Heaven; and tho’ They do not always Sleep, (which proceeds from the
Presentation of pleasing Images to the Mind being so strong, that like
Dreams they do over-ingage the Fancy, and so interrupt the State of
Rest) yet they do however injoy so perfect an Indolence and Quiet,
that no Happiness in the World can surpass the Charms of this agreable

Thus We have from this Medicine, but in a far more eminent Degree, all
those Effects which we observed to follow upon that grateful Sense in
the Stomach, which a moderate Fulness produces. For no Bodies are so
fit and able pleasingly to affect our sensile Membranes, as Those which
consist of Volatile Parts, whose activity is tempered and allayed by
the smoothness of some Lubricating and Oily ones; which by lightly
Rarefying the Juices of the Stomach, and causing a pleasant Titillation
of Its Nervous Coat, will induce an agreable _Plenitude_, and entertain
the Mind with Ideas of Satisfaction and Delight.

The Case being thus, We easily see upon what Mechanism the other
Virtues of _Opium_ do depend, Its Easing Pains, Checking Evacuations,
_&c._ not only in that the Mind being taken up with a pleasing Sense,
is diverted from a disagreable _One_; But all Pain being attended with
a Contraction of the Part, That Relaxation of the Fibres which is now
caused, eludes and destroys the Force of the _Stimulus_.

In like manner in immoderate Secretions there is most commonly
an Irritation of the Organs, the Removal of which will abate the
Discharge. And herein lies the _Incrassating_ Quality of this Medicine,
in that the Twitching Sense upon the Membranes of the Lungs, Bowels,
_&c._ being now lessened, the sharp Humor is suffered to lodge there in
a greater quantity, before it is so troublesome as to be thrown off and
expell’d; it being all one as if there were no Irritation of the Part,
if the uneasie Sense thereof be not regarded by the Mind.

These Effects will all be heightened by the Mixture of the _Opiate_
Particles with the _Blood_; Which is hereupon Rarefied, and Distends
its Vessels, especially those of the Brain; and thus does still to a
greater Degree lessen the Influx of the Nervous Fluid to the Parts, by
pressing upon the little _Tubuli_, or Canals, thro’ which it is derived.

This is the Reason of that _Difficulty of Breathing_, which they do for
a time Experience who take these kind of Medicines; This Symptom being
inseparable from the Rarefaction of the Blood in the Lungs.

From hence it appears, that the Action of _Opium_ is very Analogous to
that of other Volatile Spirits, only that a small Portion of It has a
force equal to that of a greater quantity of most of Them.

This is very evident in Those who accustom Themselves to take large
Doses of It; as the _Turks_ and _Persians_ do to that Degree, that it
is no uncommon thing there to Eat a Drachm or Two at a time; for the
Effects of It in Them are no other than downright _Drunkenness_; upon
which account (148) it is as common a Saying with Them, and on the same
Occasion, _He has eat Opium_; as with Us, _He has drank too much Wine_.

Neither indeed do They otherwise bear such large quantities of It, than
our _Tipplers_ will a great deal of _Brandy_; that is, by habituating
themselves to It by degrees, beginning with small Doses, and requiring
still more and more to raise themselves to the same _Pitch_. Just as
_Galen_ (149) tells Us of a Woman at _Athens_, who by a gradual Use had
brought her self to Take, without any hurt, a considerable quantity of
_Cicuta_ or Hemlock. Which Instance is the more to our Purpose, because
_Nic. Fontanus_ (150) knew one who being Recovered of the Plague, and
wanting Sleep, did, with very good Effect, eat _Hemlock_ for some time,
till falling Ill again of a Fever, and having left off the Use of this
Remedy, He indeavoured to procure Rest by repeated Doses of _Opium_,
which (Nature having been accustomed to a stronger Alterative) had no
Operation, till the help of _Cicuta_ was again call’d in with desired

It is a sufficient Confirmation of all this Reasoning, that _Prosper
Alpinus_ (151) observed among the _Egyptians_, those who had been
accustom’d to _Opium_, and were faint and languid thro’ want of It,
(as Drinkers are if they have not their _Spirits_) to be recovered,
and put into the same State of Indolence and Pleasure, by large Doses
of _Cretic Wine_ made hotter by the Infusion of _Pepper_, and the like
strong _Aromatics_.

Nor is it perhaps amiss to remark, that in _Maniacal_ People, as is
frequently observ’d, a Quadruple Dose of _Opium_ will scarce produce
any considerable Effect: Now in Persons so affected, the Mind is deeply
ingaged and taken up with some _Images_ or other, as Love, Anger,
_&c._ so that it is not to be so easily moved or diverted by those
pleasing Representations which it would attend to at another time, and
upon which the Virtues of this Medicine do in a great measure depend.
Besides this, those who are _Maniacal_ do to a Wonder bear the Injuries
of Cold, Hunger, _&c._ and have a prodigious degree of Muscular Force,
which argues the Texture of their _Blood_ to be very strong, and the
Cohæsion of its _Globules_ great; so that the Spirituous Parts of the
_Opiate_ cannot make that Disjunction and Rarefaction of this Fluid in
Them, which it does in ordinary Bodies and Constitutions.

Many are the Immprovements which might be made of this Theory, with
relation to the Practice of Physick; but these will be obvious enough
to one instructed in the Animal _Œconomy_.

To conclude then as to the Subject in Hand, it is very plain that there
needs no more to make _Opium_ prove Destructive or a _Poison_, than to
take too great a quantity of It; for then It must Inflame the Stomach,
and Rarefie the Blood to such a Degree, that the Vessels cannot again
recover their Tone, whereupon Apoplectic Symptoms, _&c._ will insue.

To be convinced of this, I forced into the Stomach of a small Dog about
half a Drachm of Crude _Opium_ dissolved in Boiling Water. He quickly
Vomited It up with a great quantity of Frothy Spittle; but repeating
the Trial, by holding up his Head, and beating him, I made him retain
Three or Four Doses, intermitting between each about a quarter of an
Hour; when he had thus taken, as I could guess, near Two Drachms,
I watch’d him about an Hour, then he began to Sleep, but presently
started up with Convulsions, fell into universal Tremblings, his Head
constantly twitch’d and shaking, he breath’d short and with labour,
lost intirely the Use first of his hinder Legs, and then of the fore
ones, which were stiff and rigid like Sticks. As he lay Snorting, to
hasten his End, I was giving him more of the Solution, but on a sudden
his Limbs grew limber, and He Died.

Opening his _Stomach_, I found It wonderfully distended, tho’ empty
of every thing but some Water and _Opium_; parcels of Frothy _Mucus_
swimming in It; the inside was as clean as if scraped and washed
from all the Slime of the Glands, with some Redness here and there,
as in a beginning Inflammation. The _Pylorus_ was Contracted. The
Blood-Vessels of the Brain were very full; and I took out a large Grume
of Concrete Blood from the upper part of It, cutting into the _Sinus
Longitudinalis_, as is not uncommon in Apoplectic Carcasses; but found
no extravasated _Serum_ in the _Ventricles_, nor among any of the

As to the Cure of such a Case; besides other Evacuations, Acid
Medicines and Lixivial Salts must certainly do Service; these by their
_Diuretic_ force causing a Depletion of the Vessels. This is the
Foundation upon which _Starky_ compounded his _Pacific Pill_. Generous
_Wine_, which the Ancients gave for an Antidote, can be no other ways
useful, than as It dissolves the _Resinous_ Clammy Part of the _Opium_
sticking to the Coats of the Stomach, and so forwards its Expulsion by
other Helps, which cause a Contraction of the Muscular Fibres.



(147) Vid. _Pitcarn. de Circulasione Sanguinis in animalibus_, §. 20.

(148) Vid. _Belon. Voyag._ lib. 3. c. 15.

(149) _Simpl. Medicam. Facult._ l. 3. c. 18.

(150) _Respons. & Curat. Medic._ p. 162.

(151) _Medicin. Ægypt._ l. 4. c. 1.


Of Venomous Exhalations from the EARTH, Poisonous Airs and Waters.

Besides these already treated of, there is yet another way of being
_Poisoned_, and that is by _Venomous Steams_ and _Exhalations_, or a
_Poisonous Air_ taken into the Body by the Breath.

This is notorious enough, and Authors do upon many Occasions make
mention of it; but when they come to explain the particular manner how
this Kills, they most commonly reduce it to some of the _Poisons_ which
prove destructive by being admitted into the Stomach, alledging that
Malignant Fumes and Airs are therefore fatal, because impregnated with
_Arsenical Mercurial_, and the like, Deleterious Μιάσματα or Particles,
they do convey these into the Blood; which being of a very Corrosive
Nature, must necessarily do hurt both to the Fluid and Solid Parts.

And indeed that the _Fumes_ of these same Minerals are very pernicious,
and Air fill’d with their Atoms very unfit for Respiration, is most
certain; but to argue from hence, that all deadly _Vapours_ and
Malignant _Airs_ owe their Mischief to these only, is too fond and
ill-grounded a Conceit; since upon a due Enquiry it will appear,
that there may be, and are, _Mortiferous Exhalations_ from the
Earth, infecting the Air, of a Nature so different from any of those
_Poisons_, that the very Substance from which they arise may not be at
all hurtful, tho’ taken into the Stomach it self.

_Venomous Steams and Damps_ from the Earth the _Latins_ in one Word
call’d _Mephites_ (152).

This, as many other _Tuscan_ Words, comes from a _Syriac_ Theme, which
signifies to blow or breathe (153).

And in ancient times several Places were notorious for ’em; so the
_Mephitis_ of _Hierapolis_ was very Famous, of which _Cicero_,
_Galen_, but more particularly, and from his own Sight and Knowledge
_Strabo_ (154) makes mention.

Such another was the _Specus Corycius_ in _Cilicia_, which upon the
account of its stinking deadly Air, such as is thought to proceed from
the Mouth of _Dragons_, which the Poets give to _Typhon_, was call’d
_Cubile Typhonis_. This _Pompon. Mela_ (155) describes; and it is indeed
as ancient as _Homer_ (156); for _Arima_, in which he places it, was, as
_Eustathius_ says, a Mountain of _Cilicia_.

Neither are such _Fumes_ as these infrequent Now-a-days; and though
mostly taken notice of in Mines, Pits, and other Subterraneous
Places, yet they are sometimes met with in the Surface of the Earth
too, especially in Countries fruitful of Minerals, or pregnant with
Imbowelled Fires; such are _Hungary_ and _Italy_, which latter (as
_Seneca_ (157) observes) has always been more than any other remarkable
for ’em.

I shall therefore, having had the opportunity of making some Remarks
upon One the most Famous of all in those Parts, give as good an account
as I can of _That_, and its manner of Killing; which tho’ I dare not
affirm to be universally applicable to any _Mephitis_ whatsoever, yet
seems plainly to be the Case of most of ’em; and where it is not, this
simple Mischief will only be found to be complicated with another; and
then some extraordinary Symptoms or Appearances in the Animals kill’d,
will easily make a Discovery of the Additional Venom and Malignity.

This Celebrated _Mofeta_ taken notice of, (or at least some other
hereabouts) even in the time of _Pliny_ (158), is about Two Miles
distant from _Naples_, just by the _Lago d’ Agnano_, in the way to
_Pozzoli_ or _Puteoli_, and is commonly call’d _la Grotta de Cani_,
because the Experiment of its deadly Nature is frequently made upon
_Dogs_; tho’ it be as certainly fatal to any other Animal, if it come
within the reach of its Vapour; for _Charles the Eighth of_ France
prov’d it so upon an _Ass_; and two _Slaves_ put into it by order of
_D. Pietro di Toledo_, Viceroy of _Naples_, with their Heads held down
to the Earth, were both kill’d (159).

’Tis a small _Grotta_ at the Foot of a little Hill, about Eight Foot
high, Twelve long, and Six broad; from the Ground arises a thin,
subtle, warm _Fume_, visible enough to a discerning Eye, which does
not spring up in little parcels here and there, but is one continued
Steam, covering the whole Surface of the bottom of the Cave; and has
this remarkable difference from common Vapours, that it does not, like
Smoak, disperse it self into the Air, but quickly after its rise falls
back again, and returns to the Earth; the Colour of the sides of the
_Grotta_ being the measure of its Ascent; for so far it is of a darkish
Green, but higher, only common Earth, and this is about Ten Inches. And
therefore as my self found no Inconvenience by standing in it, so no
Animal if its Head be kept above this Mark is in the least injured: But
when (as the manner is) a Dog, or any other Creature, is forcibly held
below it, or by reason of its smalness can’t hold its Head above it,
It presently, like one stunn’d, loses all Motion, falls down as Dead,
or in a Swoon, the Limbs convuls’d and trembling, till at last no more
sign of Life appears than a very weak and almost Insensible beating
of the Heart and Arteries, which if the Animal be left there a little
longer, quickly ceases too, and then the Case is Irrecoverable; But if
snatch’d out, and laid in the open Air, soon comes to Life again, and
sooner if thrown into the adjacent _Lake_.

In this short, but accurate, History of the _Grotta de Cani_, I have
set dow those Particulars which do not only distinguish _Mephitical_
Exhalations from common and innocent Fumes, but also give hints
sufficient, I think, Mechanically to determine the Reason and Manner of
their surprising Effects.

And not to spend time in refuting the Opinions of Others, I shall only
take Notice, that here can be no suspicion of any true _Venom_ or real
Poison; if there was, it were impossible that Animals taken out of the
_Grotta_, should so immediately recover the Effects of it, without any
remaining appearance of Faintness and Sickness, or such like Symptoms
as those suffer who have been breathing in an Air impregnated with
malignant corrosive _Effluvia_. Besides, that the Venomous Corpuscles
would certainly, in some Degree at least, infect the Air in the upper
Part of the Cave, which continues pure, and fit for Respiration.
Neither indeed after what manner soever this Poison be imagin’d to Act,
whether by dissolving or coagulating the Blood, could its Efficacy be
so sudden and momentaneous, without some Marks of it in the Creatures
kill’d, when opened, which yet do discover nothing of this Nature
extraordinary, neither in the Fluid, nor in the Solid Parts.

In order therefore to understand wherein this deadly quality Consists;
I say in the first Place, that Life, so far as it respects the Body,
is, in one Word, the _Circulation_ of the Blood; that is, its Motion
in _Conical_ Distractile Vessels from the Heart to the Extreme Parts,
and its Return to the Heart again by the same Canals inverted; For ’tis
upon this that all Animal Functions, all Sense and Motion Voluntary
and Involuntary, do depend; so that the Regularity of this Course
is the Measure of Health, or the most perfect Life, as its various
Irregularities are the Occasions of Sickness and Diseases, or a
beginning Death.

Now all the Animal Operations and Offices which proceed from this
Circulation, are the Effects of several Secretions of Liquors of
very different Natures out of the same Fluid Mass; It was therefore
absolutely necessary that the Blood, before It be distributed to the
Organs, should be so comminuted and broken, as that no Cohæsion of its
Parts should hinder the Separation of these _Juices_ from It, when
it Arrives with a determinate Force at the Orifices of the Secretory

This Work is done in Its Passage thro’ the _Lungs_, by the repeated
Compression of the Air in those _Bladders_ upon the Arteries, with
wonderful Contrivance dispers’d among ’em (160). Herein lies the Use
and Necessity of _Respiration_; and the sudden Mischief of Stopping it,
in that the whole Mass of Blood being to pass this way, upon a Check
here, there presently insues a Stagnation, that is, a Cessation of all
Animal Functions, or Death; Which will be the more speedy, if not only
no Air is inspired, but a Fluid of a quite different Nature from It
succeeds in its Place.

Wherefore it must be observed, that this good Effect of the Air is
performed by its _Elasticity_; And that no Fluid whatsoever, that we
know besides, is _Elastic_, at least to any considerable Degree, that
is, has a faculty of expanding and dilating it self when compressed;
No, not _Water_, as near as That is thought to approach to Air in its

And now as to the present Case, I took notice before that this _Vapour_
is one continued and uninterrupted _Steam_, and that quickly after Its
rise it falls down again; that is, that it has little or no mixture of
Air with It, or no Elasticity; and is, on the other Hand, very heavy,
when forsaken by the Force of _Heat_ that drove it upwards.

So that I make no Question, but that Animals in this Place do instead
of Air inspire _Mineral Fumes_, that is, a thin watery Vapour,
impregnated with such Particles as do, when united together, compose
solid and heavy Masses; which is so far from helping the Course of
the Blood thro’ the _Lungs_, that it rather expels the Air out of the
_Vesiculæ_, and straitens the Passage of the Blood Vessels, by its
too great Gravity; whereupon the _Bladders_ are relaxed and subside,
and the Circulation is immediately Interrupted. But if the Animal be
in time removed out of this _Steam_, that small Portion of Air which
does after every Exspiration remain in the _Vesiculæ_, may be powerful
enough to drive out this Noxious Fluid; especially if the Head of
the Creature be held downwards, that so its Gravity may forward its
Expulsion; or It be thrown into Water, which by assisting, upon the
account of its Coldness, the Contraction of the Fibres, promotes
the retarded Circle of the Blood; as we every Day experience in a
_Deliquium Animi_, or Swooning Fit.

Tho’ if this Stagnation be continued too long, no Art can renew Life,
no more than in One perfectly strangled; nor will the _Lake of Agnano_
it self be of any Service; which shews that there is no singular
Virtue in That Water beyond any other; nor is it, as some have fondly
Imagin’d, a Peculiar Antidote to the Poison of the _Grotta_.

The bad Effects of such _Fumes_ as This will be the more certain,
because the inspired Mineral Particles twitch and irritate the
Membranes, which are hereupon contracted to that Degree, as not to be
able to recover their Tone, and so the Force and Action of the _Lungs_
is quite lost.

It appears from all This not to be at all necessary to make any farther
Enquiry into the particular Nature of these Mineral Particles, since
they do in this Case act chiefly by their _Gravity_, which is common to
’em all. Tho’ indeed the _Greenish_ Colour of the Earth, together with
its _Subacid_ Taste, very much (as _L. di Capoa_ observes) like to that
of the _Phlegm_ of _Vitriol_, seem to declare them, if not altogether,
yet principally at least, to be _Vitriolick_.

To conclude this Part of our Discourse; I think it a sufficient
Confirmation of this Reasoning, that in _Frogs_ kill’d in this
_Grotta_, the _Bladders_ of the Lungs (more visible otherwise and
distinct in these Creatures than in most others), were found subsided,
and quite empty of Air (161). But if any one desires a farther
Proof, he may, according to these Principles, make (as _Lionardo
di Capoa_ (162) did) an Artificial _Mephitis_; for if _Antimony_,
_Bismuth_, or any other such Mineral be finely powdered, and moistened
with _Aqua Fortis_, or _Spirit_ of _Nitre_, there will arise a great
Heat, and a thick dark Smoak, in which, as in the _Grotta de Cani_,
Torches are extinguish’d, and Animals, tho’ but slowly, stifled and
kill’d. And this Effect will be more sensible, and equal to the most
Violent _Mephites_, if the _Antimony_ or _Marcasite_ be mix’d with
_Bitumen_, and the _Spirit_ of _Nitre_, or _Aqua Fortis_, intirely
depurated from all its _Phlegm_.

       *       *       *       *       *

And thus I have shewn how Death may enter at the Nostrils, tho’ nothing
properly _Venomous_ be inspired. It were perhaps no difficult Matter
to make it appear, how a lesser Degree of this Mischief may produce
Effects, tho’ seemingly very different from these now mention’d, yet in
reality of the same Pernicious Nature; I mean, how such an alteration
of the common Air as renders it in a manner _Mephitical_, that is,
increases its _Gravity_, and lessens its _Elasticity_, (which is done
by too much Heat, and at the same time too great a Proportion of
watery and other grosser Particles mixt with it) may be the Cause of
_Epidemic_ Diseases, and, it may be, more especially of those, which by
Reason of their untoward Symptoms, are usually call’d _Malignant_.

For it is very Remarkable, that _Hippocrates_ (163) observ’d the
Constitution of the Air, which preceded _Pestilential_ Fevers, to
be great _Heats_, attended with much _Rain_ and Southern Winds; and
_Galen_ (164) takes Notice, that no other than a _moist_ and _hot_
Temperament of the Air brings the _Plague_ it self; and that the
Duration of this Constitution is the Measure of the Violence of the
Pestilence. _Lucretius_ (165) is of the same Mind, for in his admirable
Description of the _Plague_ of _Athens_, These _Diseases_, says He,
_either come from the Air, or arise from the Earth_,

 ――_Ubi_ Putrorem humida _nacta est
 Intempestivis_ Pluviisq; _&_ Solibus _icta_.

In short, the general _Histories_ of _Epidemic_ Distempers, do almost
constantly Confirm thus much, and would have done it more, if the vain
Notion of _Occult Venoms_ had not prepossess’d the Minds of Authors,
and made Them regardless of the manifest Causes.

And this is notorious enough in those Countries where _Malignant_
Diseases are most rife; Thus it is a very common Observation in the
_East-Indies_, that during the dry Heats the Season is Healthful, but
when the Rains fall immediately upon the Hot Weather, then _untoward
Fevers_ begin to threaten.

The same is observ’d in _Africa_; for (as _Joan_, _Leo_ (166) relates)
if _Showers_ fall there during the Sultry _Heats_ of _July_ and
_August_, the _Plague_ and Pestilential Fevers insue thereupon, with
which whosoever is infected hardly escapes.

And here I might, by Reflecting on the Use and Necessity of
_Respiration_, and the particular manner of performing It, (of which
I have hinted something already) and considering withal the true
Nature of _Fevers_, easily shew how such a Constitution of the Air,
as this is, must necessarily produce such Effects; might run over
the _Propositions_ of _Bellini_; which _as_ they do plainly evince
_Malignant_ and _Pestilential Fevers_ to be owing to a viscid and
tenacious _Lentor_ or Slime, which at first obstructs the Capillary
Arteries, and afterwards being dissolved by Heat, Ferments with the
Blood, and changes it into a Mass unequally Fluid and Glutinous, and
therefore unfit for all the Operations of the Animal OEconomy; _so_ it
would be no uneasie Task to prove, that Air at the same time _Hot_ and
_Moist_, being less able to comminute and break the Arterial Fluid in
the _Lungs_ than is necessary, in order to prepare it for Secretions,
it is no wonder, if when the Blood passing thro’ the Capillary Vessels
arrives at the Secretory Organs, the Cohæsion of its Parts not being
sufficiently removed, instead of deriving several Juices out of it into
the Glands, it leaves its most Glutinous and Viscid Parts sticking
about the Orifices of these Vessels; which tho’ they may at first be
wash’d away by the repeated Impulses of the succeeding Blood, yet the
Cause continuing, and these Strokes growing still Weaker and Weaker,
(from a lesser quantity of Spirits being separated, and hence a more
languid Contraction of the Heart) These Obstructions are increas’d to
that Degree as not to be remov’d, till by the Violent Agitation of
a greater Heat, this _Slimy Mucus_ is thrown into the Blood again,
and there in the Nature of a _Ferment_ so disturbs its _Mixture_,
and changes its _Compages_, as to make it a Fluid of quite different
Properties, that is, altogether unfit for the same Functions or Offices.

This Effect will be the more certain, because a damp Air upon the
surface of the Body checks insensible Perspiration, so that a great
quantity of this being detained, the Obstructions are still greater
in the small Tubes; whereas indeed upon the Account of a more than
ordinary Heat, this Discharge ought now to be in an increased

Such a Disposition of the Blood as this the Ancients call’d _Putrid_;
and to speak plainly, it is a Beginning Stagnation, with a Succeeding
Heat and Fermentation.

Nor would it be amiss here to take notice, how unjustly some Authors,
having quitted the Consideration of _plain Causes_, for _Occult Venoms_
and _Deleterium quid_, have brought in the θεῖον τὶ (_something
Divine_) of _Hippocrates_ (167) to favour their fond _Hypothesis_;
tho’ His best Interpreter _Galen_, understood by this Expression no
such thing as they mean; but on the other Hand, only the _manifest
Constitution of the ambient Air_, such as himself has described in his
_Aphorisms_ (168), and which is exactly the same with That We have been
discoursing of.

And therefore not only does _Minadous_ (169) rightly Remark, that in
his whole _Epidemics, Hippocrates_ never once mentions any _Venom_
or Poison as the Cause of _Malignant_ Diseases; But the Divine Old
Man himself in another _Treatise_ (170) expresly teaches Us, that
_All Maladies do equally, or one as much as another, proceed from
the Gods, there being nothing more Divine in this than in that, each
acknowledging its own Natural and Manifest Cause_.

But I willingly wave insisting upon these Heads, as well as the Hints
which might be taken from this Theory, of some Use perhaps in the Cure
of these Distempers; and leave it to our Physicians to judge upon how
good Grounds They do, in Cases of this Nature, under the Notion of
_Alexipharmics_, give such Medicines as raise a great Heat both in the
Stomach and Blood; only praying Them to take Care, least while They
are ingaging the Animal Spirits in War with _Malignities_, They do
send Treacherous _Auxiliaries_ to the supposed weak _Party_; that is,
that they either raise new Tumults and Disorders of worse Consequence
than the Original Mischief; or at least, by clogging the Wheels, and
throwing Dust upon the Springs of the finest Machine in the Creation,
do check and interrupt the Action of Nature (171), when ’tis imploy’d
about the most Nice and _Critical_ Work.

Neither can I, tho’ an occasion be fairly offer’d, by any means be
induced to intermeddle in the Controversie of those Gentlemen, who by
the help of Two Words are made Masters both of Philosophy and Physick;
I mean, the Violent Assertors of _Acid_ and _Alkali_. These scanty
Principles fall infinitely short of that vast Variety there is in the
Works of Nature; However, for Their Sakes who are as yet Advanc’d no
farther, I will advise the Contending Parties, (because little good
is got by Quarrelling) to Think of an Union, and if They can find no
Remedies but out of these Two Tribes, to make Use of such as result
from a prudent Mixture of some out of Each. If this _Project_ does not
take, to Resolve however on both sides, To Distinguish the differing
Times of the same Disease, and know, that _as_, on the one Hand, _Acid_
Medicines are oftentimes as certainly hurtful in the latter End, as
they do service in the Beginning of the Fever; _so_, on the other,
those which are _Alcalious_ must necessarily for the same Reason do
mischief in the first Periods, for which they are profitable in the
last Days of the Distemper.

By what Mechanism this comes to pass, They will easily understand, when
they have learn’d what Alteration such things as these are do make in
the humane Body; nor will it then be a difficult Matter to convince
Them, That He is equally a fond Slave to an _Hypothesis_, who because
_Acids_ are sometimes of great Service in Fevers, concludes that
their Origine is _Alcalious_; as He who knowing that Stagnating and
Fermenting Juices do easily turn to _Acidity_, from thence Argues that
_Alcalies_ are the only Cure of this Stagnation and Ferment.

But Dr. _Pitcarne_ (172) has abundantly demonstrated the Weakness of
These Men’s Reasonings, and the Vanity of such Immechanical Theories.

And here I would put a Period to this Part of the Discourse, were
it not that these Distempers being sometimes _Contagious_, and
_Contagion_ being justly reputed a real _Poison_, it may be worth the
while to examine a little what This is, and wherein it consists; more
especially, because some may perhaps be apt to think This to be an
Argument of an _Occult Venom_’s being the First and Original Cause.

We are therefore to take Notice, that when a _Fever_ is communicated
by way of _Infection_ from one already Diseased, this most commonly
happens in the latter End of the Distemper, that is, (as we before
discoursed concerning the Hydrophobia) when the Fermenting Blood is
throwing off great quantities of its Active Fermentative Particles
upon the Glands of the most constant and easie Secretion; such are
those in the Surface of the Body, and the Mouth and Stomach; By this
means therefore the Liquid of insensible Perspiration, and the Sweat
is impregnated with these μιάσματα, and thus the ambient Air becomes
fill’d with ’em; so that not only, (as _Bellini_ Argues (173),) may some
of these _Effluvia_ insinuate themselves into the Blood of a sound
Person thro’ the Pores of the outward Skin, but also in Inspiration
thro’ the Membrane of the Lungs; for He has in another Place (174)
demonstrated how the Air, or something from It, may this way come to
be mix’d with the Arterial Fluid; And thus the like _Ferment_ will be
rais’d Here, as was in the Originally Distemper’d Subject.

This may be _One_, but there is perhaps _another_ yet more dangerous
manner of _Infection_, and that is, by the Breath of the Diseased
taken in by a By-stander, especially in the last Moments, seizing the
_Stomach_, and fixing a _Malignity_ There. For it is upon this Score,
that Those who are _Infected_ do presently complain of an extreme Pain
and _Nausea_ in the upper Orifice of the Stomach; and that all Authors
do agree in the admirable Use of _Vomits_ timely given in this Case;
These by their Stimulating Force removing the very _Minera_ of the
Disease; and likewise that, oftentimes in _Pestilential_ Illnesses,
the _Stomach_ when open’d has been found Gangren’d and Mortify’d. This
made _Van Helmont_ (175), who had observ’d this Part in one kill’d by
a _Plague Infection_, perforated and eroded in several Places, no
otherwise than He had seen in one Poison’d by _Arsenick_, conclude,
that the Plague for the most Part begins in the Stomach from a
coagulated _Tartar_ there.

Herein lies the difference of _Contagion_, from the first Invasion
of Malignant Distempers; The Effects of the _One_ are the Cause and
Beginning of the _Other_; and therefore it is no wonder, if tho’ the
Symptoms in the former are by a gradual Increase wrought up to their
height, they do however in the latter, even at the very first, discover
their ill Nature and Violence, and, like a reinforc’d Enemy, by surer
Strokes make quicker Dispatch. And this also is the Reason of the great
Increase of _Funerals_ in Plague Time, in that One Death is thus added
to Another.

If it be difficult to explain the particular manner how the _Stomach_
comes to be thus affected, We must not therefore deny Matter of Fact;
and may however probably Conjecture, that the last _Breath_ of one
Dying of a Malignant Distemper, proves thus pernicious, in that Those
fermenting active Particles, which, as we just now observ’d, the Blood
discharges upon the Glands of the _Mouth_, _Stomach_, _Lungs_, &c.
impregnating the Air in its Passage thro’ these; when the same happens
to be immediately inspired by a sound Person, it may easily taint
the _Salival_ Juices in the Mouth, which are very Glutinous, and of
a fermenting Nature, and therefore susceptible enough of _Contagious
Effluvia_, but especially of such as proceed from the same Liquor
infected in the Sick Party. Now the _Spittle_ is continually swallow’d
down into the Stomach, and so will quickly impress its _Labes_, or
ill Quality, on so tender and sensible a Part; that is, will lodge
these Corrosive _Salts_, (for such We may suppose the Particles
of Infection) in the Secretory Ducts; whereupon the Glands being
obstructed, little _Tumors_ are by the Afflux of their Fluid rais’d
here and there, which breaking become small _Ulcers_, and produce that
dismal Train of Symptoms which we have already related.

And here it may not be amiss to take notice, that all Authors do agree,
One great Cause of _Pestilential_ Distempers, especially in Armies and
Camps, to be dead Bodies lying expos’d and rotting in the open Air; The
Reason of which is plain from what we have been advancing; For Battels
being generally fought in the Summer Time, it is no wonder, if the Heat
acting upon the unbury’d _Carcasses_, and _Fermenting_ the Juices,
draws forth those active Particles, which in great quantities filling
the Atmosphere, when they are inspired and let into the Stomach, do
affect It after the manner already described.

To illustrate this Matter, I shall relate a remarkable Story told Me
by the learned Dr. _Baynard_. The Body of a Malefactor was Hung up
in Chains in the Country; after a few Months, in very hot Weather it
was Sport and Pastime to some Boys, Playing thereabouts to Swing the
Carcass up and down; One more bold than the Rest struck It with his
Fist upon the naked Belly, which being outwardly parch’d and dry, and
from the falling down of the Humours Swell’d and Tense, was easily
burst by the Blow; out gush’d a Water so Corrosive and Fiery, that
running down the poor Lad’s Arm, it caus’d a Violent _Excoriation_, and
a very hard Matter it was to preserve It from being truly mortified.
What this _Serum_ could do upon the outward Skin, the more Volatile
Parts of It would, without all doubt, Effect upon the more tender and
sensible Membranes of the _Stomach_, if a considerable number of them
were fixt there. The Fluids of Humane Bodies being Ranker and more
abounding in active Salts than those of other Creatures, which are not
continually repaired and nourish’d by the Juices of Animals.

The Way by which _Bad Food_, _ill ripened Fruits_ of the Earth, _&c._
do oftentimes produce _Malignant_ and _Pestilential_ Diseases, is not
very different from _That_ by which We have observ’d Unwholesome Airs
to be the Cause of the like Effects. For the Juices with which Those
do supply the Blood being Corrupted, must necessarily make a Fluid of
quite other Properties than what the Animal Œconomy requires, that
is, neither Fit for Nutrition, nor for the Secretion of those Liquors
which in the several Organs are to be derived from It; whereupon the
small _Tubes_ are obstructed by an unequally Glutinous _Slime_; and it
is therefore no wonder, if besides the other Symptoms insuing, _Sore
Pustules_, _Inflammations_, _Ulcers_, &c. (more common in Fevers from
this Cause than in any other,) are raised in the Surface of the Body.

This is the Ground of the common Observation, that a _Famine_ is very
often succeeded by a _Pestilence_. And This _Calamity_ generally begins
among the Poorer sort of People, whose Diet to be sure is the worst.

The City of _Surat_ in the _East-Indies_ is seldom or never free from
the Plague; and yet it is observ’d, that the _English_ who Trade
there are in no danger of being Infected thereby. Now the Chief of
the Natives in this Place are _Banians_, who neither Eat Flesh, nor
Drink Wine, but Live very Poorly upon _Herbs_, _Rice_, _Water_, &c.
and most of the Inhabitants do the like, except Foreigners; This Poor
Fare, together with the Heat of the Climate, makes them so liable to
Malignant Distempers; from the Attacks of which Those who Feed well
are more Safe and Secure.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus much concerning _Poisonous Exhalations and Airs_, so far as the
Consideration of the _Grotta de’ Cani_ has led Us on to enquire into
their Effects; for tho’ there may be other Alterations of this same
Element, differing in their Nature from this we have insisted upon,
and yet equally Pernicious and Hurtful, yet We take no Notice of any
of them, in regard that those which are from _Arsenical_, _Mercurial_,
and the like _Fumes_, are reducible to a foregoing _Essay_; and those
which are owing to a Change of the known Properties of the Air, may be
easily explain’d by what has been already delivered in _This_. I shall
therefore rather chuse to make some Remarks on the Mischief of another
_Fluid_, which _as_ It is the next in use to This we have been treating
of, _so_ the bad Qualities of it, when it comes to be altered, must
necessarily be almost equally Fatal and Dangerous.

I mean _Water_, which is of so constant Service, not only for our
Drinks, but also in preparing of our Flesh and Bread, that it may
justly be said to be the _Vehicle_ of all our Nourishment; so that
whenever this happens to put on other Properties than are necessary to
fit it for this Purpose, it is no wonder if in its Passage thro’ the
Body these do make suitable Impressions there.

Thus at _Paris_ (176), where the Water of the River _Seine_ is so full
of Stony Corpuscles, that even the Pipes through which it is carried,
in time are incrusted and stopt up by ’em, The Inhabitants are more
Subject to the _Stone_ in the Bladder than in most other Cities. The
same I observed in the _Baths_ of _Abano_, a few Miles from _Padua_, to
that Degree, that it is necessary very frequently to clear the Wheel of
a Mill driven by the Current of these Springs, from the great quantity
of _petrify’d_ Matter with which it is from time to time incumbered.

In like manner, let the gross Particles with which the _Water_ is
saturated be of any other Nature, _Metallick_, _Salts_, &c. these,
according to their various Gravity, the Capacity of Canals, and such
like Circumstances, will, when they come to circulate in the Animal
Body, be by the Laws of Motion deposited in one Part or other. So
those Mineral Bodies, and Nitrous Salts, which abound in the Snowy
Waters of the _Alps_, do so certainly Stuff and Inlarge the Glands of
the Throat in Those who Drink ’em, that scarce any who live there are
exempted from this Inconvenience (177).

For this Reason, the Choice of _Water_ for Drink among the Ancients
was by Weight, the lightest being preferr’d, as, most free from all
Heterogeneous Bodies.

The Case therefore of _Poisonous Springs_ is, their having Corrosive
Corpuscles mixt with their Water, which cannot fail when forsaken in
the Canals of the Body of their Vehicle, to do the same mischief as
they would if taken by themselves undiluted; only with this difference,
that they may in this form be carried sometimes farther into the Animal
Œconomy, and so having pass’d the _Primæ Viæ_, discover their Malignity
in some of the inmost Recesses. Thus the _Fons Ruber_ in _Æthiopia_,
mention’d by _Pliny_ (178), about which abundance of native _Minium_ or
_Cinnabar_ was found, shew’d its ill Effects chiefly on the Brain; and
therefore _Ovid_ (179) says of it,

   ――_Si quis Faucibus hausit
 Aut Furit aut patitur mirum gravitate Soporem._

We shall not need then to inlarge on this Matter, since any of the
foremention’d _Mineral Poisons_ may thus impart their deadly quality
to Waters; and accordingly there are Instances of _Arsenical_,
_Mercurial_, &c. Fountains, of which the Histories may be seen in the
Collections of the Learned _Baccius_ (180). And one very remarkable in
the _Philosophical Transactions_ (181).

But as We before took Notice concerning _Airs_, so it may be worth the
while to observe of _Waters_; that there are some Alterations of them,
which tho’ not properly _Poisonous_, yet are of so great Consequence in
their Effects, that they may very well deserve to be regarded.

This I shall do with respect to a great Abuse, committed in this kind
about the City; and that is, In the chusing of stagnating impure
_Well-Water_ for the _Brewing_ of _Beer_, and making other Drinks. Such
a Fluid indeed has oftentimes a greater Force and Aptness to extract
the Tincture out of _Malt_, than is to be had in the more innocent and
soft Liquor of Rivers; but for this very Reason it ought not, unless
upon meer Necessity, to be made use of; this quality being owing to the
_Mineral_ Particles and _Aluminous_ Salts with which it is impregnated.

A late _Author_ (182) by searching into the first Accounts of the
Distemper we call the _Scurvy_, describ’d by _Pliny_ (183) and
_Strabo_ (184), under the promiscuous Names of _Stomacace_ and
_Scelotyrbe_; and examining the Authentick Histories of It in later
Years, made by the most observing Physicians in those Countries where
it was unhappily revived, as _Olaus Magnus_, _Balduinus Ronseus_, _J.
Wierus_, _Solomon Albertus_, &c. finds that the Origine of It was in
all times and places charged upon the use of unwholesome stagnating
_Waters_. Then by comparing together the _Clayie Strata_ of the Earth
about the Cities of _London_, _Paris_, and _Amsterdam_, He shews that
where the Water is worst, there this Malady is most rife. So that He
has put it out of all doubt, that most of the perplex’d and complicated
Symptoms which are ranged under this one general Name, if they do not
entirely owe their Birth to the Malignity of this Element, do however
acknowledge it to be their main and principal Cause.

And indeed _Hippocrates_ himself, as He has very plainly decipher’d
this Disease (185), by the Title of σπλῆνες μέγαλοι, or _great Milts_;
so he does very particularly in another _Treatise_ (186), take notice,
that Drinking of _Stagnating Well-Waters_ must necessarily induce an
ill Disposition both of the _Milt_ and Belly.

If we enquire into the Reason of such ill Effects, we must consider,
that _Clay_ is a _Mineral Glebe_, and that the gross Particles and
Metallick Salts with which Waters passing thro’ such a Bottom do
abound, are, as Dr. _Lister_ (187) observes, not to be mastered, that
is, indigestible in the Humane Body. Not only therefore will these
Cause, as He very well Argues, calculous Concretions in the _Kidneys_,
_Bladder_, and _Joints_; and as _Hippocrates_ experienced, hard
Swellings in the _Spleen_; but they must necessarily oftentimes by
their Corrosive quality twitch and irritate the sensible Membranes of
the Stomach and Bowels, and thus hinder and interrupt the Digestion
of our Food. Nay, besides all this, when they come into the Blood,
it is no wonder if the small Canals of insensible Perspiration are
frequently stopt and obstructed by ’em; for it is upon this Score that
_Sanctorius_ (188) teaches Us, that _heavy Water converts the Matter of
Transpiration into an_ Ichor, _which being retained, induces a_ Cachexy.

What Mischiefs will insue hereupon every one sees; not only Pains
in the Limbs, livid Spots in the Surface of the Body, Ulcers, _&c._
from the Acrimony of the undischarged Moisture; but many besides of
those perplexing Symptoms which go by the Name of _Hysterical_ and
_Hypochondriacal_, may take their rise from the same Source; for
the before cited _Sanctorius_ (189) has remark’d, that the _Flatus or
Wind_ so inseparable from those Cases, is no other than _the Fluid of
Perspiration rude and unfinished_.

If these Inconveniencies are oftentimes not felt, at least not till
towards the declining Age, in strong and active Habits of Body; yet I
am, from very good Experience, assured, that they deserve Consideration
in weaker Constitutions, and a Sedentary Life, especially of the more
tender Sex.

I have the honour to be nearly related to a worthy Person, who led
formerly an afflicted Life from the frequent returns of Violent _Colick
Pains_, till she was with happy Success advised by the Noble _Van
Helmont_ not to Drink (as she then did) Beer Brewed with _Well-Water_;
and her Health is even now so far owing to this Management, that an
Error in It is unavoidably follow’d with the wonted Complaints.

For these Reasons _Pliny_ (190) tells Us, that _Those Waters are
Condemn’d in the first Place, which when Boiled do incrustate the sides
of the Vessels_; And that our _Well-Waters_ do this, no Body who looks
into the _Tea-Kettles_ of our Gentlewomen can be Ignorant.

And indeed in Ancient Times, when Physick was more a Science, which is
now more a Trade, as that Part of It, which relates to _Diet_ was more
carefully studied, than it is Now-a-days; so this Point particularly of
which we are Treating was of so great Moment, that _Hippocrates_, who
wrote the best Book (191) on the Subject that ever was Publish’d, has
in a great Measure accounted not only for the Diseases, but even for
the Temper and Disposition of the People of several Countries, from the
Difference of the _Waters_ with which Nature has supplied Them.


(152) _Virgil_ Æn. 7. v. 8.

―― _Sævamq; exhalat. opaca Mephitim._ _Vid. Servium, ibid._

(153) _Scaliger. Conject. in Varron._

(154) Lib. 13.

(155) _De Situ Orb._ l. 1. c. 13.

(156) Ἐιν Ἀρίμοις ὅθι φασὶ Τυφώεος ἔμμθυαι ἐυνάς. Il. Β. v. 783.

(157) _Nat. Quæst._ l. 6. c. 28.

(158) Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 93.

(159) _L. di Capoa delle Mofet._ pag. 37.

(160) Vid. _Malpigh. de Pulmon._

(161) _Vid. L. di Capoa Mofet._ pag. 40.

(162) Pag. 128.

(163) _Epidem._ l. 2, & 3.

(164) _De Temperament._ l. 1. c. 4. & _Commentar. in Epidem._ l. 3.

(165) L. 6. v. 1098.

(166) Histor. Afric. _l._ 1. _c._ 1. Vid. Purchas’s _Pilgrims_, _l._ 6.
_c._ 1.

(167) _Prognostic._ 1. & _Galen. Comment_.

(168) Sect. 3. Aph. 11.

(169) _De Febre Malign_ l. 1. c. 11.

(170) _De Aere, Locis, & Aquis._

(171) Φύσιες Νούσων ἰητροἰ. _Hippocr._ Epid. 6.

(172) _Dissertatio de opera quam præstant corpora acida vel alcalica in
Curatione Morborum._

(173) _De Febrib._ Prop. 27.

(174) _De Motu Cordis_, Prop. 9.

(175) _Tumulus Pestis_, pag. m. 163, & 172.

(176) _Vid. Lister_’s Voyage to _Paris_.

(177) _Quis tumidum Guttur miratur in Alpibus._ Juvenal Satyr. 13.

(178) Lib. 31. cap. 2.

(179) _Metam._ lib. 15.

(180) _De Therm._ lib. 6.

(181) _N^o. 8._

(182) Dr. _J. H. Scelera Aquarum_: Or, a Supplement to Mr. _Graunt_ on
the Bills of Mortality.

(183) Lib. 25. c. 3.

(184) _Geogr._ lib. 6.

(185) _Prorrhet._ l. 2. c. 16.

(186) _De Aere Aquis & Locis_, _sub finem_.

(187) _De Fontib. Med. Angl._ _P._ 2. pag. 75. _At fossilia sive
Metallica salix aliæ atq; alia sunt, & nobis & pene igni dixeram

(188) _Medicin. Static._ Sect. 2. Aphor. 6.

(189) _Ibid._ Sect. 3. Ap. 13. _Flatus nil aliud est quam rude

(190) _Lib._ 31. c. 3. _Damnantur imprimis Fontes quorum Aquæ decoctæ
crassis obducunt Vasa crustis._

(191) _De Aere, Locis, & Aquis._


_The Explication of Those Figures which are not Explained in the

[Illustration: Figs. 1–19. _M. Vander Gucht Sculp._]

_Fig. 1._ Represents the Head of the _Viper_ in its Natural Bigness,
with the Mouth open, and Fangs Erected.

 (_a_) Marks the Poisonous _Fang_.

 (_b_) The Eye.

 (_c_) The Hole of one Nostril.

 (_d_) The _Larynx_.

 (_e_) The Forked Tongue.

_All the Other Figures relating to the 〈Viper〉 are drawn larger than
the Life._

_Fig. 7, & 8._ Exhibit some Muscles, which serve for the Motion of the

 (_a, Fig. 7._) _Elevator Maxillæ Inferioris._

 (_b_) _Depressor ejusdem._

 (_c_) _Depressor Dentis Venenosi._

 (_d_) A Strong Ligament fastened by one Extremity to the Spinal
 _Apophysis_ of the Second _Vertebra_ of the Neck, and by the other to
 the end of the _Elevator Maxillæ Inferioris_.

 (_a, Fig. 8._) A Muscle, which being fixt to the Extremity of both
 Jaws, serves to pull them backwards, and may be call’d _Retractor_.

 (_b_) The Internal side of the _Depressor Dentis Venenosi_.

 (_c_) _Elevator Dentis Venenosi._

 (_d_) The Extremity of the Lower Jaw.

 (_e e_) _Flexores Capitis._

 (_f_) The Internal Part of the Skin covered with some Muscular Fibres.

_Fig. 17._ Shews the Head of the _Scolopendra_.

 (_a a_) The Wounding Claws.

 (_b_) The Mouth.

 (_c c_) The Two First Feet.

_Fig. 18._ The Weapons of the _Nhamdu_ in their Natural Bigness.


      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber's note:

Footnotes were moved to the ends of chapters and renumbered 1–191.

Original spelling and grammar are generally retained, with a few
exceptions noted below.

Page viii. The phrase "Which do no not promise a" was changed to "Which
do not promise a".

Page 19. Changed _impregdated_ to _impregnated_ in the phrase “tho’ it
be duly impregdated with Salt”.

Page 20. “Strenghning” is retained.

Page 23. “Royal Acamy” is retained.

Page 26n. “Sanie & hnmano Sanguine” to “Sanie & humano Sanguine”.

Page 83. In this discussion, the footnote designators are the original
printed ones, which have been changed to numbers in this edition. There
were four footnote anchors [a, b, c, c] on the page, which begins with
“Nerves, with a great inward”, and four distinct footnotes labeled [a
b c c]. The fourth has been herein given its own distinct anchor and
label. Then on page 84, which begins “That this Disease is accompany’d
with a _Delirium_”, there were two printed footnote anchors [e, f],
and three footnotes [d, e, f]. The footnote originally labeled “d” is
herein eliminated from page 84; it said “_Vid. Galen. de Theriac. ad
Pison_, l. 1. cap. 16.”.

Page 94. The third footnote (now numbered 89) originally read
approximately thus: “(f) _Vid. Aetium._ .6: c. 24.” but there is a
smudge preceding the “.6:”, possibly a number or some other character.

Page 97. There were three footnotes [f g h] on this page, which begins
with “this Spongy Excrescence, if it be”, and only two footnote anchors
[g h]. The first footnote (f) is a duplicate of the third and last
footnote from page 96, and so has been removed from this edition.

Page 120. Changed _Treament_ to _Treatment_, in “Symptoms from so
severe a Treament”.

Page 122. The phrase “found in Mines of God” is retained, but is
perhaps wrong. The first footnote, now labeled 130, beginning “(f)
_Lib._ [smudge]” is partly illegible.

Page 127. Changed “substitued” to “substituted”.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Mechanical Account of Poisons in Several Essays" ***

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