Page images

and the greater Virgil had told me, that certain Mares of his Acquaintance were impregnated by a West Wind, which, therefore I concluded to be one of those opportune Places, and considered it as the proper Vehicle of these floating Embryos.

But not willing to rely on Hypothesis only, or presume on the Authority of great Names, espécially in this enlightened Age, where experimental Philofophy is so triumphant, and nothing goes down that is not made obvious to our Senses, I resolved to have Demonftration before I ventured to publish my Thoughts to the World. There are, I know, a droll Sett of Genilemen, who think themselves authorised to tell any Lies in Print, and afterwards to quarrel with the World for not believing them : But for my Part, I write purely and simply for the Love of Truth, for the Use and Emolument of my Countrymen; and I should esteem myself the most unworthy of all Beings, if I. presumed to amuse them with Fables, or abuse them with Forgeries.

Accordingly, after much Exercise of my Invention, I contrived a wonderful cylindrical, catoptrical, rotundo-concavo-convex Machine (whereof a very exa& Print will speedily be published for the Satisfa&tion of the Curious, designed by Mr. H-y-n, and engraved by Mr. Vartu) which being hermetically sealed at one End, and ele&rified according to the nicest Laws of Ele&ricity, I erected it in a convenient Attitude to the West, as a kind of Trap to intercept the Roating Animalcula in that prolific Quarter of the Heavens. 'The




Event answered my Expe&ation; and when I had caught a sufficient Number of these small, original, unexpended Minims of Existence, I spread them out carefully like Silk-worms Eggs, upon white Paper; and then applying my best Microscope, plainly discerned them to be little Men and Women, exa&t in all their Limbs and Lineaments, and ready to offer themselves little Candidates for Life, whenever they should happen to be imbibed with Air or Nutriment, and conveyed down into the Vessels of Generation. • After this first Success in my Undertaking, I continued to make Experiments of various kinds, too tedious to be related, for a whole Year, till I had at length: fully established the Do&rine of Winds and Embryos; and I find that as other Infects are usually brought by an Easterly Wind, your:Human Infeits are always wafted from the oppofire Quarter; the Swarms of both appear like Bligluts-to-the-naked-Eye ; and both seem destined to much the same End of Existence, fruges confwere nati, born to consume the Fruits of the Ground. ;

;' ...: :. - Oftentimes, while I was viewing them through my Glass, my Imagination would turn romantic upon the Subje&t; and represent to me the great Variety of Fortune these Insects might go through, whenever they should happen to be called out into Day-light. I said in my Mind; this little Reptile may be an Alexander, that a Faustina, another a Tully, and another à Mountebank; and I was struck with Admiration to confi


der how many Heroes, and Patriots, and Legillators, and Monarchs, were now contained on a Şheet of Paper, whose gféat Souls, in Time to .conre, may make them esteem the whole World

too confined a Scene for their Ambition. I remembered the Sarcasm of Juvenal, as true before Life as after Death, Expende Annibalem, &c. and I repeated, with a kind of Enthusiasm, those excellent Lines in Dr. Garth's Difpenfary ; .

Now the unfolds i he faint and dawning Strife.
of infani Atoms kindling into Life ;
Hów the dim Speck of Entity began

I extend its recent Form, and fretch to Man';
: To bow minute an Origin we owe:
. Young Ammon, Cæsar, and the great Nassau.

But now the great Trial of all was come, which, I believe, would have puzzled a whole College of Physicians, and set at nought all the consulting Powers of W ow-k Lane. The preparatory Points were established to my entire Satisfaction, but whether Animalcula could be ripened into Existence, by passing through the seminal Vessels of a Woman only, was still a Question ; and how to make the Experiment, bie labor, illud, cpus. Very hard it was to know when a Woman had imbibed the necessary Seed; and harder still to restrain her from all Commerce with Man, till the Experiment had Time to take Effect. If I made Choice of a married Woman, there the Difficulties were innumerable; or if I made Choice of a Maiden, Virginity has, in all Ages, been esteemed a very brittle Ware; and, I pre


G4 :

after. &,

[ocr errors]

sume, has not greatly mended its Nature of later Days. Sometimes I thought of taking a Wife, over whom I could ufurp an absolute Authority, and lock her up till the Day of her Labour ; but fearing she might grow desperate, when she should find I had only married her to try an Experiment upon her; and at the same Time grievously miftrusting the Continuance of my own Affe&ion, after I had accomplished my Ends, I dismissed that Project, and resolved, after much Perplexity, to hazard all upon a Chambermaid. Accordingly, having first persuaded the Girl she was ill, I read Jacob Bebmen five Times over; and then mixing up some Animalcula in a Chymical Preparation, I administered them to her as a Dose of Physick. After which I discarded my Footman, and fuffered no Male Creature, in human Shape, to approach my Doors; nay, so great was my Caution to have my Stratagem fucceed, that I hardly permitted a Dog of the masculine Gender to enter my House.

In about Six Months it was very visible the Medicine had taken Effect; and let the Reader imagine, if he can, the Joy I felt, when first I perceived her begin to bourgeon: At the same Time too a little Circumstance happened, which heightened my Joy, and put the manner of her Conception beyond all Possibility of Doubt. As I was fitting alone one Morning in my Study, ruminating on this great Event, the Girl came in to me with Tears in her Eyes, and having obtained my Leave to ask a Question, entreated me carnestly to tell her, if it was possible to breed after tbree



Years? Though I guessed the Drift of her Quertion, yet, affecting an Air of Ignorance, and put ting on a grave Physician's Aspect, I ordered her to be more explicit ; whereupon she proceeded, with frequent Breaks of Crying, to tell me how much she was astonished at some Symptoms; that Heaven above knew what was the Matter with her, but she verily believed herself a breeding, and yet she could take þer Bible Oatb, she had not been been-been touched by a Man for these thrce Years [b]. So then, said I, with a sterner Countenance, .

. G5 { [6] When I wrote this, I had not seen a remarkable Cafe published in the Philofophical Transactions of Sepe tember, of a Woman, from whom a Fætus was extracted, that had been lodged thirteen Years in the Fallopian Tubes, sent from Riga by Dr. James Mounsey, Phyfician to the Czarina's Army, together with the Bones of the said Fætus, as a Present to the Royal Society of Love don. The Woman, as we are told in that ingenious Treatise, was a Soldier's Wife of Abo in Finland, of a middle Stature, who, being pregnant for the third Time in the Year 1730, was afflicted with violent Pains and Twistings of the Bowels, & c. and continued sickly for ten Years afterwards. In the Month of September 1741, the pierced her Navel with an Awl, out of which ran a yellow-coloured Water, &c. In the Month of June two finall Bones came out, c. and in October 1742, the was taken in band by Dr. Mounsey, and Mr. Geitle, Sura geon, who thrust a grooved Probe into the Fistula, and ivade an Incision with a Bistory, upwards and obliquely, from the Linea alba, into the Cavity of the Abdomen ; but the Woman being unruly (as well she might) and the Operation not going on according to the Doctor's . liking, he proceeded no further till the next Day, Esc. At the next Operation the Incision was carried downwards ; but care taken not to make the external Wound larger than needful, left the Omentum and Guts 19.ould


« PreviousContinue »