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LETTER

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Gentlemen,

TH E great Encouragement you fhew to all learned Inveftigations of Nature (witnefs thofe excellent Treatifes publifhed every Year in your Philofophical Tranfactions) emboldens me to lay before you a Difcovery, which, I believe, is entirely new, and which I am fure will equal any thing that has been offered to the World fince Philofophy has been a Science. Excufe my Prefumption, and forbear your Cenfures, till you have read my Narrative, No lefs than fifteen Years of my Life have been fpent in bringing this jlrcanum to a Maturity. And when both Theory and Practice had confirmed me in it, my firft Thoughts inclined me to go over into France^ and put up for the Prize at Bourdeaux, where Philofophers fhew Problems, a: Gardeners do Carnations at a Florift's Feaft. But considering with myfelf, that your illuftrious Society

might, might, probably, efteem yourfelvcs affronted, if you load not the Maidenhead of my Secret, and at the fame time difdaining to come in Competition with the lower Race of Philofophers, who write about Tides and Eclipfes, and Laws of Gravitation, the trivial Amufements of idle Speculatifts, and Almanack-makers! I fay, out of Reverence for your eminent Body, and fome Degree of Pride in Conjunction, I refolved to .appeal at once to the Public, and more particularly to addrefs myfelf to your Worfliips. Not to keep you any longer in Sufpenfe, I have found out, and am going to prove, by moft inconteftable Evidence, that a Woman may conceive, and be brought to Bed, without any Commerce with Man. This, Gentlemen, I dare fay, you will allow to be a very wonderful Difcovery; and though I might eafily fatisfy People of your penetrating Infight into the Works of Nature, with a mere phyikal Account of human Seed, and the Anatomy of a Female Womb; yet, as I am to combat the Simplicity of the Ignorant, and the Prejudices of the Perverfe, I will defcribe at large what firft fuggefled this Thought to me, and how I proceeded afterwards from Conjecture to Demonftration.

The Lot which Providence affigned me in Life, was to pradife Phyfick in a Country Town; to which I united the utterly Science of Man-Midwifry. And though it ill becomes any one to boaft of bis own Merit, yet I will venture to affert, that, in the Courfe of my Pra&ife, I have helped near as many People into the World as ever I helped out -of it; 4 which which rendered my Fame fo great for obftetric Operatfc>ns, that I cngrofled the Cuftom of all the Breeding Women in the fruitful County of . But

not to trouble you with more of my private Hiftory than 13 heceflary, as I was fitting alone one Afternoon, fmoking my Poftmtrldian Pipe, I received a Meflage from a neighbouring Gentleman, informing me that his Daughter was dangeroufly ill, and defiring my immediate Attendance. When I was ar-> rived, and had examined the young Lady concerning her Complaints, I was furprifed to find in her all the Symptoms of Pregnancy; but as I know very well how tenderly Ladies value their Reputation, even after they have loft them, I withdrew the Father afide into a feparate Room, for the Sake of Privacy, and there, with great Concern, told him what my Office obliged me to declare; that his Daughter was apparently with Child, and very near the Time of her Labour. The old Gentleman was ftruck with Horror at the News; and immediately ruftiing into the Chamber, upbraided both his Wife and Daughter in the bittereft Terms, for concealing fo important a Secret from him, and bringing fuch a Difgrace on the Family. The young Lady turned up a Face of inexpreffible Innocence and Amazement, and immediately fainted away into her Mother's Arms. 'Tis ufually obferved, I know, that all Prbfeffions, which delight in Blood, from the Phyfician down to the Butcher (who are employed to difburthen Nature of her Numbers, :left the World mould grow too populous) outlive the Senfations of Humanity, and never fuffer their Minds to be interrupted with Pity? Vol. L , L but but though I had been long ufed to the Sight of Mifcry, and had acquired a fufficient Conftancy of Features, there was fomething in the Scene before me too powerful for Cuftom; and I really found myfelf inclining to Companion. But the good old Lady fban put a Stop to thefe Womanifh Emotions of my Spirit, falling upon me with the moft outrageousAbufe, for daring to afperfe her Daughter's Reputation in that wicked ruffianly Marnier^ vowing it was a Lie, a damn'd Lit; and jht wandered her Hujband could bear it witheut Rtjentment. To all which I replied, with fome Acrimony, that I was not ufed to be treated with fuch Language, that I knew very well how difagreeable a Truth it muft be to a Parent's Ear, but finee my Office could not protect me from Abufe, my Honour obliged me to take my Leave; and fo making a Bow, I left the Family to grow calm at leifure; not doubting but I fhould have a fecond Summons; when they had reafoned themfelves into Temper. Accordingly a Chariot came to fetch me the next Morning; and though the Mother could hardly bridle in her Paffion, and die young Lady protefted every Moment fhe was innocent, Affairs were now too far advanced to be concealed; and about Five in the Afternoon, I conducted into the World the little malicious Witnefs, whofe Evidence was fo fatal to the young Lady's Character, and fo neceflary to the Vindication of mine. Yet ftill, after this feemingly conclufive CortvidYion, ffie continued to make the fame earneft Declarations to all who vifitcd her; and one Day, as I was fitting akirie with her, after (he wat pretty w«H recovered

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