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Thus, Gentlemen of the Royal Soeiety, I hope I have-proved, in the moft inconteftable manner, that a Woman may conceive without any Commerce with Man; that the World has been in an Error for fix thoufand Years, and, probably, would have continued in it fix thoufand more, if I had not been born on purpofe to break through filly Prejudices of Education, and undeceive Mankind in fo material a Point. Material I mult call it; for how different is this from all the Discoveries of Ifaac Newton the Star-gazer! His, all of them, end in Speculation, but mine extend to Practice; his are only calculated for the Pcrufal of a few College-Pedants, but mine offer themfelves to the World in general: And I fhall fhortly publifh a large Volume to fhew that this is the moft natural Way of being born; grounding my Demonftration on the following infallible Argument, which I have drawn up fyllogillically, to prove my wonderful Talents in Logic.

fV] Nature (fay certain Authors of great Erudition) is a very frugal old Lady, and a prodigious good Occonomift: She is obferved to give herfelf as little Trouble as (he can, and to do every thing at the cheapeft hand.

But Animalcula may be hatched as completely in a Female Womb, as when they take the more tedious Progrefs through the Loins of the Males alfo.

[«] This ic a Method much praOifed by the learned Mr. W—rl—n, "fuppofe for the fane Rtafon, to fhew his Skill in chopping Logic.

Ergo, That is the right Road into Life, which b the fhortcft Road.

And now— what {hall I fay next? As it often happens that the Ufe and Practice of a Thing are known, before the Theory of it is difcovered, (for Inftance, Men of War could batter down Town* with Bombs, long before it was proved that Projectiles defcribe a parabolic Curve; and little Boys had amufed themfelves with the Shadows of a magic Lanthorn many a Day ere fome great Philofophers undertook to explain the Myfteries of that wonderful Machine) fo has it fallen out in the Subject now under our Confideration: Hiftory has here and there furnifhed an Example, and fome Phyficians of Antiquity have accidentally glanced upon the Subject } but ftill I think I may challenge to myfelf the Merit of an original Invention; and it would be very hard if a few Hints loofely dropt in old unfafhionable Authors, which too I never faw till after I had eftablifhed my Theory, fhould prevail fo far as to fix upon me the odious Scandal of Plagiarifm. There are, I know, a Sort of malevolent Readers, who take an infinite Pleafurfe in telling you that all Authors have ftolen their Works fince the Days of one Orpheus; and how lucky it is for that old French Poet, that we know not the Names of any of his Predeceflbrs! but more efpecially they have recourfe to this Device, whenever they find it not quite fo eafy to anfvrer the Doctrine of a Book, and yet are determined to cry down its Reputation: Then we are fure to hear, -. • * 4

Lord, Sir! the Fellow ftole it all; there is not a Page, nor a Line, yor a Word, nor a Syllable, nor a Letter, nor a Comma of it his own; / can turn to the very Book and Place from whence he pilfered it all. Now that I may anticipate this heavy Cenfure, and fave certain ingenious Critics the Trouble of turning back to the good old Writer (Peace unto his Manes, whoever he be) from whom I tranfcribed this little Treatife, I have determined to produce of my own accord what few Paflages I have accidentally met with upon this Subject, and afterwards I fhall leave the World to decide, whether in fpite of fuch occafional Hints, I may not ftill be allowed to be the fole Proprietor of this wonderful Hypothecs.

Galen, in his celebrated Treatife upon the Meafles, wherein he endeavours to account for the Origin of that Diftemper, delivers it as a common Opinion, that it was brought into the World by a Woman, born without the Affiftance of a Father; but he feems to treat this as a vulgar Fable, and calls it a Notion of the Multitude.

Hippocrates informs us, that his Mother ufed frequently to tell him, fhe had no carnal Intercourfe with his Father for near two Years before his Birth, but that fhe found herfelf ftrangcly influenced one Evening, as fhe was walking in a Garden. His Father obtained a Divorce on this Occafion, and the good Woman fell under the Reproach of all her Acquaintance: But I hope this Treatife will vindicate

,-•- - - •* her her Memory from the Infamy, which has ever finer attended it through all fucceeding Times.

If we look-back to the fabulous Ages of the World, when every thing was aggrandized by poetic Ornament, we read of many ancient Ladies, got with Child by fuch impoffible Methods, that I believe they muft have owed their Pregnancy to what I have been defcribing, and I hope all Commentators and Mythologifts will, for the future, fall in with my Explication. For what elfe are we to think of "Juno's growing big-bellied only with eating a Piece of Cabbage [i/], which Flora gathered for her in the Oltnian Fields? 'Tis plain fhe muft have fwallowed fome Animalcula at the fame Time, and thus became with Child of Mars. How elfe are we to account for the odd Conception of Danae in her Imprifonment? Some old Oracle had foretold, that her Father Acrifms fhould have his Throat cut by a Grandfon; and to defeat this Prediction, he locked up his only Daughter in a brazen Tower, under fuch clofe Confinement, that it was impoffible for any thing but Wind to get Accefs to her; yet in thefe Circumftances the Lady was brought to Bed of the moft mighty Ptrfeus, who accomplifhed the Oracle in putting Acrifius to Death. The Poets indeed tell us a ftrange improbable Story of Jupiter'* raining himfelf through the Tiles of the Houfe in a

(XJ QS°^ Pet's» Oleniis, inquam, tnihi miffus ab arvis

Flot dibit; eft hortis unicus ille meis.
Protinus barenUm deccrpfi poltice florem,
Fitijue potws roti, Marfque cicatus erat.

Ovid, Faft. r.

golden golden Shower; but this is plainly a poetic Fiction, invented to account for a puzzling Phenomenon.

The Story of Boreas running away with a young Heirefs out of a Garret Window, and getting her with Child (as Ovid defcribes it in his Metamorphafis) is more immediately to our Purpofe, and directly points out the Manner of her Conception. We all know, that it is the Profeffion of Poetry to perfonalife all its Objects, and if a Lady found herfelf impregnated with Wind, nothing was fo natural as to make a God of that Element, and impute the Effects to fupernatural [e] Power; though I confefs there is an Impropriety here according to my Syftem, but that may be owing to the Loofenefs of poetic Defcription, or, perhaps, the Lady miftook the Quarter of the Wind in telling her Story. In general we may conclude, whenever we read of Virgins got with Child by Rivers, by Dragons, by golden Showers, &c. that it was Wind, nothing in the World but Wind; only for want of knowing the real Caufe, they were glad to affign imaginary ones; and the Poets getting hold of fuch improveable Topics, fo overloaded them with Additions of their own, that in the End they were all confidered in the Light of Fable and Romance.

[e] In thii Manner we muft interpret what Quid puts into the Mouth «f flora, where Ihe tells us fte was raviflied by Zefhyrus, Ver erat, errabam; Zephyrus confpexit, abibam:

Infetiiiitur, fugio: fortior ille fuit.
:'.-',>;•'• Lib. v. Faft. zoi. et dehmc.

"*!•' M if

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