Page images

even the whole house: besides, there was neither fire nor light in the chamber; and the serenity of the air left no room to suspect, that there was any lightning that could produce such an accident; because there was not the least hole found in the sides of the chamber. It is therefore not unreasonable to conclude, that this poor woman was consumed by a fire that kindled within her own body, proceeding from the oily particles of the spirits, excited by chafing and the heat of her constitution. These are the thoughts of Signior Maffei and Father Bellivaga, which are corroborated by the examples of powder magazines; for the exhalations from the powder, being put into a violent motion by some external cause, have sometimes blown up the magazine, without the help of any apparent fire. A human body hath likewise in it some oleous and saline particles, capable of producing a fire: we even find, that the sweat of some people smells like brimstone. Phosphoruses are made of urine, which partly kindle of themselves: therefore, if to these particles of the body, brandy and camphire be added, the two ingredients which compose the spirit of camphire, their particles, especially by the means of chafing, cannot but cause a violent motion in the particles of the blood and other juices, which will produce a vehement attrition or rubbing against each other. Such attrition is capable of producing fire even in cold bodies, as appears by the striking of a piece of steel upon a flint, and the rubbing of two sticks against each other: the sun draws every day from bodies, not the most combustible, vapours which produce fire, when pent up in a narrow compass. If we cause a quantity of camphire to evaporate in a close chamber till it is filled with the vapour, and then enter it with a lighted torch, the vapour takes fire at once, and causes a flash like that of lightning: besides all this, the fermentation of the juices in the woman's body, may have contributed something to the effect; for a flame is often produced by the mixture and fermentation of certain liquors. The reason why the shinbones and the feet were not burnt, may be this, that she did not chafe those parts with the spirits, or at least not so much as the other parts of the body; and possibly, she never used the three fingers, that remained unconsumed, in chafing. The oiliness of the ashes, it is likely, proceeded from the fat of the body. As the fire was kindled at once in the yeins and most minute vessels of the body, we may conclude, that it consumed it in a moment; which sudden effects could not have been produced by other fires, that were not so inclosed in the body. Some effect of this fire was found in the upper rooms, because such a sudden heat flies chiefly upward; which was likewise the cause that the floor of her chamber escaped being burnt, and that none of the furniture was touched; for a piece of paper may be drawn suddenly through the greatest Alaine without being set on fire.

1736, Nov.

VI. Account of Margaret Cutting, of Wickham Market, in Suffolk, who spoke readily and intelligibly, though

she had lost her Tongue. MR. BODDINGTON, Turkey merchant, at Ipswich, come municated this extraordinary fact to the Royal Society, July 1, 1742, who thought it worthy of an exact inquiry, which was made by Mr. Boddington, the Rev. Mr. Norcutt, and Mr. Hammond, a skilful anatomist, who attested the following circumstances.

April 9, 1742, We saw Margaret Cutting, who informed us she was about 24 years old; that when she was but 4 years of age a cancer appeared on the upper part of her tongue, which soon eat its way to the root. Mr. Scotchmore, surgeon, at Saxmundham, used the best means he could for her relief, but pronounced the case incurable. One day when he was injecting some medicine into her mouth, her tongue dropped out; the girl immediately saying, to their great surprise, Don't be frighted Mamma ļ 'twill grow again. In a quarter of a year afterwards she was quite cured. In examining her mouth we found not the least appearance of any tongue remaining, nor any uvula; but we observed a fleshy excrescence under the left jaw, extend'ing itself almost to the place where the uvula should be, about a finger broad. This did not appear till some years after the cure; it is not moveable. The passage to the throat, where the uvula should be, is circular, and will admit a small nutmeg. She performed the swallowing of solids and liquids. as well as we could; she discoursed as well as other persons do, but with a little tone through the nose. Letters and syllables she pronounced very articulately, and vowels perfectly; as also those consonants that require most the help of the tongue, d, 1, t, r, n. She read to us in a book very distinctly, and sung very prettily. What is still more wonderful, notwithstanding her loss of this organ, she distinguishes all tastes very nicely. To this certificate may be added the attestation of Mr. Dennis, tobacconist, in Aldersgate street, who has known her many years, and upon frequent inspections had found the case, before recited, true. Some few instances of the like nature have occurred, particularly one related by Tulpius, of a man he himself examined, who having had his tongue cut out by the Turks, after three years could speak distinctly.

1743, Jan.

To the Author of the Ipswich Journal.

Harwich, March 9, 1742. I have seen in your paper of the 15th of January, the surprising account of Margaret Cutting, of Wickham Market in Suffolk, who, though she entirely lost her tongue, when she was but four years of age, by a cancer, yet retained her speech; which has likewise been set forth in a letter to the Royal Society, who have given so much credit to it as to publish it among their Philosophical Transactions.

This extraordinary account excited my curiosity to see Margaret Cutting, and upon examining her mouth, I found part of a tongue, about an inch and half in length, and in breadth about half an inch. It is seemingly confined by a small part of the frænum ; the fore part of the tongue is very thin, but gradually thickens towards the oesophagus; it lies in an oblique manner, covering part of the salival glands on the left side; those on the right, for want of the common pressure of the tongue, appear large and bulbous. Upon opening the mouth wide, the tongue may be plainly observed to move backward, and as she shuts her mouth, to come forward; and upon introducing my finger into her mouth near the oesophagus, I could move it either way easily. Her speech is very intelligible, but her voice low, and she speaks a little through the nose, which is owing to the want of the uvula to help the articulation.

I have had frequent opportunities of inspecting the mouths of several persons, who were taken prisoners by the Algerines and Turks, who had their tongues cut out by those barbarous people. One of them, aged 33 years, whom I saw some months since, wrote a good hand, and by that means answered my questions. He informed me that he could not pronounce a syllable, nor make any articulate sound; though he had often observed, that those who suffered that treatment when they were very young, were some years after able to speak, and that their tongues might be observed to grow in proportion to the other parts of the body; but that, if they were adults, or full-grown persons at the time of the operation, they were never able to utter a syllable. The truth of his observation was confirmed to me by the two following cases. Patrick Strainer and his son-in-law came to Harwich, in their way to Holland, the third of this month. I made it

my. business to see and examine them; the father told me, he had his tongue cut out by the Algerines, when he was seven years


and that some time after he was able to pronounce many syllables, and can now speak most words tolerably well, and said, his tongue was grown at least half an inch. The son-in-law, who is about thirty years of age, was taken by the Turks, who cut out his tongue; he cannot pronounce a syllable, nor is his tongue grown at all since the operation, which was more than five years ago.

I need not enlarge upon the reason of the difference of these cases, which will be easily understood by the skilful anatomist, and such who are acquainted with the nature of accretion and nutrition.

Yours, &c. 1743, March.

T. 0.

VII. Surprising Instances of the Effects of Music in acute Fevers,

and for the cure of the bite of the Tarantula.

SIR, AS the effects of music in the cure of several disorders are worthy the curiosity of the public, and may on some occasions be of great use to mankind; it will not be unentertaining to your readers to see some well attested instances of this kind upon which the learned may comment at their leisure, and give us some explanation of the Phenomena, that must unavoidably surprise those who are less acquainted with the laws of nature.

The first of these instances is attested by M. Dodart*, whose skill is too well known to be imposed upon, and whose testimony is otherwise unquestionable. It is as follows. A famous master of music, an eminent composer, was taken iil of a fever which daily increased, till the seventh day, when he fell into a high delirium almost without any inter

* Hist, de l'Academie Royale des Sciences. An. 1707, p. 8.

his room.

mission, attended with cries, tears, trembling, and continual watchings. On the third day of this delirium, by one of those instincts, which teach animals when sick the herbs proper for their cure, he desired to hear a little concert in

His physician with some difficulty indulge him in his request. The Cantatas of M. Bernier were sung to him. On hearing the first notes, his aspect grew calm, his eyes lost their wildness, his convulsions quite left him, he shed tears of pleasure, and shewed, that music had never been so charming to him as then. He had no feverish symptoms during the whole time of the performance; but as soon as it ceased, he felt a relapse. It was therefore thought proper to continue the use of a remedy, the success of which had been so visibly happy, though unexpected, and by the use of which his fever and delirium still abated during the operation; so that music became so necessary to the patient, that at night he made a kinswoman who attended him, sing and dance, though her concern made her yield with pain to oblige him. One night when only his nurse sat up with him, he obliged her to sing an old ballad, which gave him some ease. To conclude, in ten days by the continuance of music be grew entirely well, without any other remedies but two bleedings in the foot, the last of which was followed by a strong purge.

The second instance of the extraordinary effect of music in the cure of this disease, is a fact related by M. Fontenelle*, who had it from M. de Mandajor, Mayor of Alais in Languedoc, a gentleman of sense and merit. A dancing-master of that town, during the carnival of 1708, had so over-heated himself with the agreeable duties of his profession, that he fell sick the beginning of Lent of a violent fever, which the fourth or fifth day turned to a lethargy and held him a long time. When this symptom disappeared he grew sullenly mad, making constant efforts to leap out of bed, threatening with his head and countenance those who held him or stood about him, and obstinately refusing to speak or take any remedies offered him. M. de Mandajor, who saw him in this condition, took a fancy, that perhaps music might compose

his disordered imagination, and proposed it to his physician, who did not dislike the thing, though he objected to the ridicule that might attend such a remedy, especially if the patient should chance to die in the operation. A friend of the dancing-master, who was less scrupulous, and played

* Hist. de l'Academie Royale des Sciences.

An. 1708, p. 27.

« PreviousContinue »