« PreviousContinue »
such horse is often kept on a farm, and works a certain number of months in the year when not required for that purpose the farmer then puts by, and receives thirty or forty pounds for his mounting services. Such entire horses are not, however, always tractable, which is the reason we do not employ them more frequently in England. And the correctness of this opinion has been corroborated by one of the best and boldest riders in England, who tells me he has seen and ridden entire horses, but they soon shut up in the hunting field; they grow sulky and refuse to go. He says on this score they are objectionable; and he gives a stallion a wide berth, as they bite occasionally, and are
Besides, their tempers are generally uncertain. Although their endurance might be good, it would be rather in draught, he should think, that they might be used. Experience has taught him that they are not adapted for hunting, although they may do for hacks; and here often the same bad temper interferes. He has ridden good geldings as well as good mares, and cannot say which he prefers.
At Tattersall's a gelding is always worth, cæteris paribus, £5 more than a mare; this is probably because a mare is liable to kick at the time of horsing. I myself object to drive mares on this score, as no one can be sure of their tempers at these moments.
I was talking the other day to the manager of a large cab company, and remarking on the number of mares the company pos
“Yes,” said he, “geldings, we find are unequal to do the thirty miles a day we expect out of our Hansom cab mares. and we purchase only this description of animal, as suited to our work."
Any one who has travelled much in France must be aware of the fact that stallions are used by preference for all draught purposes; and by means of hard work, and driving in teams together they are made very gentle, even although they are well fed and in excellent condition.
DISORDERS AFFECTING THE SEMEN.
We have now to consider the abnormal and unhealthy conditions which, by influencing the semen, may interfere with the due performance of the sexual act.
Though the terms are often used loosely as synonymous“want of power to produce its like” (Barclay)—unfruitfulness (infécundité) is not impotence. A man may be unable to beget children, and yet not be impotent, though an impotent man is, of course, unable to beget children.
This state may last a short time, or it may be permanent. Rest may give the semen time to become perfect, or ripen, and the spermatozoa will appear and become mature. Stricture, again, as we have seen, may make a man practically sterile, and so may other affections of the testes or generative organs. Not that infecundity—meaning by that term the lack of childrennecessarily rests with the man alone. The cause of non-impreg. nation may be wholly or partially in the female.
INFECUNDITY IN THE MALE.—Science is very deficient in any accurate examination of the state of the seminal secretions. It is a field still open to the examination of strict observers, and would amply repay the trouble.
Dr. Davy, Assistant-Inspector of Army Hospitals, at the General Military Hospital at Fort Pitt, published in 1858, in
Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal” for July, vol. xl, page 1, a very interesting examination of twenty post-mortem appearances of men who, dying of various diseases, were examined by him.
From this paper I have condensed the following table. The details are reported at great length, as well as the causes of death; the post-mortem appearances, not only of the organs generally, but a minute examination of the secretions found in
the vesiculæ seminales, as well as the microscopical character of their contents, are given.
No. in Monograph.
Condition of Vesiculæ
Examined Condition of Vasa Deferentia, hours after
Slightly viscid; brown Starchy
11 tint Starchy, and gelatinous Few animalcules ; not
brown Partly thick, and partly
10 thin secretion Few spermatozoa, but Healthy, with few sper- 32 globules
matic animalcules Gelatinous; well-formed No distinct animalcules, 22 animalcules
globules Gelatinous, thick, glo-No fluid in
bules Similar to that in vasa Numerous animalcules in 6 and 48 def.
the interior fluid
22 cules numerous Purulent ; animalcules Few animalcules
32 abundant Small in quantity, brown, Dilute, purulent-animal- 15 opaque
cules few Small in quantity; no Small particles; large 26 animalcules
bules; no animalcules
cules or globules color; no animalcules Mucilaginous; many ani- Particles, but no animal-38 and 58 malcules
dead in seventeen hours lively ten hours Abundant vestiges of ani- Purulent ; animalcules
malcules ; few distinct abundant, dead
The object-glass used was one of one-eighth inch focal distance, constructed by Moss.
It would appear from the above examination that there is but little difference in the microscopic character of the fluid found in the vasa deferentia and in the vesiculæ seminales.
In the vasa the quantity is smaller, and appears to be in transition from the testes, where it was secreted, into the vesiculæ, where it is retained, and mixed with other secretions.
The fluid found in the vasa deferentia is generally creamy or purulent looking, and is liquid and small in quantity. That found in the vesiculæ is more abundant, of a brownish colorthe brown tint increasing after death—and is occasionally tinged with blood. This last, however, may depend upon post-mortem appearances. The two vesiculæ may differ in the quantity of fluid they contain. One may be empty, the other more or less distended.
In consistence the fluid in the vesiculæ varies, being sometimes thin like starch, but more frequently thick, viscid, and gelati
After standing a few hours it separates into two parts ; the one which subsides being opaque, while the other is transparent; the latter is copiously precipitable by alcohol, and becomes almost gelatinous.
From the above table it appears that the spermatozoa, or spermatic animalcules were found equally in the vesiculæ seminales and in the vasa. It is curious to remark that, in all the cases in which spermatozoa were found in the vasa deferentia, similar animalcules were noticed in the vesiculæ seminales. In cases in which the body was examined a few hours after death the spermatozoa were found alive, and moving actively, while in a few hours later they were motionless and dead, and warmth had no effect in reanimating them. In some cases the animalcules were not perfect, portions only of imperfect spermatozoa being found. In other cases no animalcules could be discovered either in the vasa deferentia or vesiculæ ; they were replaced by large or minute globules, small particles, or fragments. The age of the individual appeared to have little to do with this condition of the spermatozoa, or indeed with their presence, numbers, or total absence. It is curious further to remark that, although spermatozoa were found frequently in the vesiculæ and vasa deferentia, they were only found twice in the testes. The fluid expressed from the testes was transparent, generally contained globules nearly equal in diameter to the blood-corpuscles, and invariably contained dense particles, apparently spherical, from ten to fifteen times smaller.
“Dr. Davy thinks, first, that chronic wasting diseases terminating in death arrest the secretion of the testes, or the production of those animalcules on which there is much reason to believe the active powers of the semen depends. Secondly, that the contents of the vesiculæ and vasa deferentia, under the influence of disease, retain their characteristic qualities longer than the contents of the tubuli; and thirdly, that there is least fluid in the vesiculæ and in the vasa deferentia, and that it is most altered in instances of chronic diseases of the abdominal viscera, and especially of the intestines.”—Edinburgh Med. and Surg. Jour., vol. 1, p. 14.
Dr. Davy considers that, admitting that the vesiculæ are, like the gall-bladder and bladder of urine, recipients, the fact may be viewed as a fortunate circumstance in our economy, and admirably adapted to the condition of man. Like the bile or the urine, the spermatic fluid in the healthy adult appears to be in constant process of secretion, and to pass as it is formed into its appropriate reservoir, from which, without disturbance of the system, in a state of continence, it is either passed out and voided during the act of alvine evacuation, or is in part absorbed.
Mr. Hunter, in accordance with the opinion which he had formed of the use of the vesiculæ, did not admit this. He believed that the fluid rather accumulated in the testes, and gave rise there to annoyance, requiring its evacuation by a disturbing act-a dangerous doctrine, and one for which there is, to modern science, no sufficient evidence. In opposition to the doctrine of Hunter, I may further state, that I have frequently examined microscopically the fluid from the urethra, following the alvine evacuations, and I have always found it, in a healthy person, abounding in animalcules, the majority of which have always been dead; and thus, perhaps, seeming to indicate that the vesiculæ are cloacæ as well as reservoirs, and are essentially designed for man to enable him to control and to exercise that moral check on the passions by which he should be distinguished from brute animals, and without which no considerable advance can