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L E T T E R
Humbly addressed to the ROYAL SOCIETY;
Is proved, by most Incontestable Evi
dence, drawn from Reason and Practice, that a WOMAN may con
ceive, and be brought to Bed, with· out any Commerce with Man.
Ore omnes versæ in Zephyros flant rupibus altis,
Ovid, Fast. y.
Zephyr with Aurora playing,
L E T T E R
: Humbly addressed the ROYAL SOCIETY.
all learned Investigations of Nature (wit
nefs those excellent Treatises published every Year in your Philosophical Transactions) emboldens me to lay before you a Discovery,
which, I believe, is entirely new, and which I am - fure will equal any thing that has been offered to
the World since Philofophy 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 Practice 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 had not the Maidenhead of my Secret, and at the same 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 Speculatists, and Almanack-makers ! I say, out of Reverence for your eminent Body, and some Degree of Pride in Conjunction, 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 say, you will allow to be a very wonderful Discovery ; and though I might' easily satisfy 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 after- Wards from Conjecture to Demonstration.
The Lot which Providence assigned me in Life, 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 alsert, 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 great for obstetric Operations, that I engrossed the Custom of all the Breeding Women in the fruitful County of im. But not to trouble you with more of my private History than is necessary, as I was fitting alone one Afternoon, smoking my Poftmeridian Pipe, I received a Meffage 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 con cerning 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 ftruck with Horror at the News; and immediately rushing into the Chamber, upbraided both his wife and Daughter in 'the bittereft '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 Professions, which delight in Blood, from the Physician down to the Butcher (who are employed to disburthen Nature of her Numbers, lest the World would grow too populous) outlive the Sensations of Humanity, and never fuffer their