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LETTER

Humbly addressed to the

ROTAL SOCIETY-,

IN WHICH

Is proved, by most Incontestable EviDence, drawn from Reason and Practice, that a Woman may conceive, and be brought to Bed, with

• out any Commerce with Man.

Or* omnes verse in Zephyros stant rupibus alt it,
Exceptantque Icves auras, etsrpe sine ullis
Conjugiis <vento grauidee (mirabile ditiuJ
Saxa per, et scapulas et deprejfas convalles
Diffugiunt, &c. Virg. Georgic. iii.

Cur ego desperem fieri fine conjuge mater,
Et parere intacJo, dummodo cajla, <viro?

Ovid, Fast. v.

Or, as other AuthorsJing,

The srolic Wind that breathes the Spring,

Zephyr iuith Aurora playing,

As he met her once a Maying,

Fill'd her iuith thee a Daughter sair,

So buxom, blithe, and debonnair.

Milton's L'Allegro.

First Printed in 1750.

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i

LETTER

Humbly addressed the

ROT AL SQC1ETT.

Gentlemen,

TH E great Encouragement you shew to all learned Investigations of Nature (witness those excellent Treatises published every Year in your Philosophical Tranfactions) emboldens me to lay before you a Discovery, which, I believe, is entirely new, and which I am sure will equal any thing that has been olfered to the World since Philosophy has 'been a Science. Excuse my Presumption, and forbear your Censures, till you have read my Narrative. No less than fifteen Years of my Life have been spent in bringing this Arcanum to a Maturity. And when both Theory and Pra6tice had confirmed me in it, my first Thoughts inclined me to go over into France, and put up for the Prize at Bourdeaux, where Philosophers shew Problems, as Gardeners do Carnations at a Florist's Feast. But considering with myself, that your illustrious Society might, probably, esteem yourselves affronted, if

you you had not the Maidenhead of my Secret, and at the fame time disdaining to come, in Competition with the lower Race of Philosophers, who write about Tides and Eclipses, and Laws of Gravitation, the trivial Amusements of idle Speculates, and Almanack-makers! T fay, out of Reverence for your eminent Body, and some Degree of Pride in Conjunctions I resolved to appeal at once to the Public, and more particularly to address myself to your Worships. Not to keep you any longer in Suspence, I have found out, and am going to prove, by most incontestable 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 Discovery; and though I might easily fatisfy People of your penetrating Insight into the Works of Nature, with a mere physical 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 Perverse, I will describe at large what first suggested this Thought to me, and how I proceeded afterwards from Conjecture to Demonstration.

The Lot which Providence assigped me in Lise, was to practise Physick in a Country Town; to which I united the sisterly Science of Man-Midwifry. And though it ill becomes any one to boast of his own Merit, yet I will venture to assert, that, in the Course of my Practice, I have helped near as many People into the World as ever I helped out of it; which rendered my Fame

So so great for obstetric Operations, that I engrossed the Custom of all the Breeding Women in the

fruitful County of »---.. But not to trouble

you with more of my private History than is necessary, as I was sitting alone one Afternoon, smoking my Pojimeridian Pipe, I received a Mesfage from a neighbouring Gentleman, informing me that his Daughter was dangerously ill, and desiring my immediate Attendance. When I was arrived, and had examined the young Lady concerning her Complaints, I was surprised 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 lost them, I withdrew the Father aside into a separate Room, for the Sake of Privacy, and here, 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 struck with Horror at the News; and immediately rushing into the Chamber, upbraided both his Wife and Daughter in the bitterest Terms, for concealing so important a Secret from him, and bringing such a Disgrace on the Family. The young Lady turned up a Face of inexpressible Innocence and Amazement, - and immediately fainted away into her Mother's Arms. 'Tis usually observed, I know, that all Prosessions, which delight in Blood, from the Physician down to the Butcher (who are employed to disourthen Nature of her Numbers, lest the World uftould grow too fopuloi/) outlive the Senfations of Humanity, acid never suffer their

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