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p. 342.

Dr. Plot, in his History of Staffordshire, Chap. vi. says, that there was, A.D. 1686, an apple tree within the moat at the parsonage house at Leigh, in that county, that spread about 54 yards in circumference, which allowing four square feet for a man, would shelter 500 foot men under its branches. This, indeed, is but small in comparison of the tree abovementioned by Thevenot, provided he was exact in the measuring of it, and observed the same proportion for the standing of his men; but it is an amazing growth for an apple tree.

A pearmain, in New England, at a foot from the ground, measured ten feet and four inches round, and it bore one year 38 bushels. See Eames's Abridg. Phil. Trans. Part II.

The dimensions, likewise, of the Witch-Elm that grew at Field, in Staffordshire, are really wonderful; of which Dr. Plot, in the aforesaid history of that county, in the 6th chapter, gives us the following particulars : i. That it fell 120 feet 40 yards in length. 2. That the stool, or butend, was 5 yards and 2 feet in diameter, and 17 yards in circumference. 3. That it was 8 yards 18 inches, or 25 feet and a half about by girth measure in the middle. 4. That it contained 100 ton at least of neat timber; but, as far as I can inform myself, Fir-trees grow the highest of any; for we are told, that in the Canton of Bern, in Switzerland, there are some above 76 yards high. I have not read nor heard of any other trees, or in any other place, that really equal these in tallness.

Pliny says, in his Nat. Hist. lib. vi. c. 32. that in the Fortunate Íslands, (now called the Canaries) there are trees that grow to the height of 144 feet. But he does not tell us what kind of trees they are; yet, in another place, viz. Nat. Hist. lib. xvi. c. 39. he says that the Larch-tree and Fir-tree

grow to be the tallest and straightest of all trees. What he mentions in the next chapter of trees, so thick that they require three or four men to grasp them, is a very indeterminate way of speaking, neither can we easily credit what he reports of the German pirates, that they used boats made hollow out of one single tree, that would each of them hold thirty men; at least, we must conceive them to be made out of trees of a prodigious trunk. It also appears by this, that canoes were in use in the northern climates long before America was discovered. There seems likewise a little too much of the marvellous, where he informs us (Nat. Hist. lib. vii. ch. 2.) that in India there are trees of such a height, that a man cannot shoot an arrow to the top of them; and

that a troop of horse may be ranged under one of their Fige trees.

But let us come nearer home, and we may find trees that are really wonderful, without any exaggeration. In Mr. J. Ray's Life, by Dr. Derham, published by George Scott, F. R. S. we have the following remarkable paragraph:Octob. 14, 1669, (says he) we rode to see the famous firtrees, some two miles and a half distant from Newport, in a village called Wareton, in Shropshire, in the land of Mr. Skrimshaw. There are of them 35 in number, very tall and straight, without any boughs till towards the top. The greatest, which seems to be the mother of the rest, we found by measure to be fourteen feet and a half round the body, and they say 56 yards high, which to me seemed not incre dible.

At Torworth, (alias Tamworth) in Gloucestershire, there is a chesnut-tree, which, in all probability, is the oldest, if not the largest in England, being 52 feet round. This tree is said to have stood there ever since the reign of King Stephen, A.D. 1150.

Keysler, in his Travels, Vol. IV. p 459, tells us, that there is a Hazel-tree to be seen (A.D. 1731) in Mr. Hassel's garden, in the city of Frankfort, of which their annals make mention above 200 years ago. The lower part of its trunk is seven Frankfort ells* in circumference; its height is equal to that of the houses near it, and it still bears nuts every year, but the tree now begins to decay.

Yours, 1763, Aug.


XXXIV. On Archbishop Secker's Death, and the brittleness of

Human Bones in Frosts.

MR. URBAN, ACCORDING to the excellent memoirs you have given us of Abp. Secker, in your last number, a very extraordinary accident befel him but a few days before he died. The account goes thus, that as he was turning himself on his couch, he broke his thigh bone. It was immediately set, but it soon appeared there were no hopes of his recovery. After his death it was found, that the thigh bone was quite carious, and that the excruciating pains he so long felt, were owing to the gradual corrosion of this bone, by some acrimonious humour.

* A Frankfort ell is about 2 feet 3 inches.

The Archbishop was in his seventy-fifth year. Now it is related in the Life of Dr. Ralph Bathurst, who died in his eighty-fourth year, that his death was occasioned by the like accident of breaking his thigh, while he was walking in his garden. And it is added on the occasion, “ It is said that at first, and for some time, he refused to submit to the operations of the surgeon, declaring, in his tortures, that there was no marrow in the bones of an old man*.” Dr. Bathurst was bred a physician, and was of great eminence in his profession, insomuch that some regard, as it should seem, ought to be paid to a declaration of this kind coming from him, and yet I vehemently suspect the truth of it, on account of what here follows. At Christmas, 1767, an old gentlewoman confined to her bed by illness, and in the 85th year of her age, had occasion in the night to make use of the bason, and being very weak and helpless, she tumbled upon the floor as she was endeavouring to reach it, and broke her arm. She had a fever upon her at the time, and yet this notwithstanding, as likewise notwithstanding her weakness and extreme old age,t the arm was set and united well, and in a reasonable time; and she had tolerable good use of it for many months before she died, which was on the 20th of October last. In short, the affirmation or supposition rather, of Dr. Bathurst, appears to me to be a subject that ought to be inquired into by those who have opportunities of making the trial. 1768, Nov.

T. Row. MR. URBAN, It is a common notion, and in all parts, for I have heard it from many mouths, and in many places, that our bones, are most brittle in frosty weather. This is a difficult matter, at best, to prove, and I imagine the observation has nothing to. support it, but the frequency of fractures at such seasons. But now, Sir, if this be the whole foundation of it, this one particular will scarcely bear the weight that is laid upon


* Warton's Life of Ralphy Bathurst, page 182. + She was older, you observe than either the Archbishop or Dr. Bathurst.,

For first, men are most liable to slip then, and consequently more fall than common. Secondly, falls are violent upon sudden slips. Thirdly, the limbs are often thrown into unnatural positions by such slips; and lastly, the ground in frosts is hard, and impinging with force against it when it is in such a state, must endanger the bones more than at any other time, and occasion the more fractures. In short, the external constitution of the air may have effect on the surface of our bodies, as to the pores, and the affections of heat and cold, but that the internal stamina of the bones and the substance of them should be altered in respect of cohesion, of induration on one part, and pliableness on the other, is a thing difficult to conceive. And quæry, whether a degree of cold sufficient to effect that would not immediately induce death? For my part I cannot apprehend how the flesh, the periosteum, the blood, and even some of the vital parts could stand it. I will not pretend to say how the case may be with a dry, dead, uncovered bone, lying exposed to the ambient air in a severe frost; but surely, if the substance of a human bone can be so penetrated by an excess of cold, as to suffer an alteration in the cohesion of its parts, the marrow of such bone must be in a manner damaged and destroyed.

It is true the bones of old people do break with the greatest facility, and from the slightest causes, as appears from the two cases of Archbishop Secker and Dr. Bathurst, reported in your Magazine of November 1768; but then this fragility may be supposed to arise from an internal cause, to wit, the aridity or dryness of old men's bones, tenacity or toughness depending mainly upon a competent degree of moisture. And this I presume was the case with that great man, Archbishop Laud. At 54 years of age, his Grace strained, or rather broke the great ligament of his foot, the tendon Achillis, and when he was 68, as he was walking up and down his chamber at the Tower, the sinew of his right leg gave a great crack, without any slip or treading awry, and brake asunder in the same place where he had broken it before. His Grace, however, recovered it, and could go strongly upon plain ground. See his Diary, pag. 42, 63, 191. The event, you observe, was not very bad, but that is not the meaning of my introducing this fracture; for my design is to shew, by this, how easily dryness in the limbs of old persons disposes them to break. But this, I apprehend, is by no means the case with our bones in frosty seasons, which I presume are so fenced and secured against the external injuries of weather, by the periosteum, the flesh, and

the skin, that one cannot suppose them to be drier in hard weather than at other times. I incline to believe upon the whole, that the bones cannot be affected by any severity of weather less than what would cause death.

I am, Sir, yours, &c. 1769, Jan.

T. Row.

XXXV. Whether Oily Substances are hurtful to the Bones?

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MR. URBAN, THERE is a passage in the Book of Psalms which carries with it some difficulty, in respect of me at least. The Commentators, those I have seen, touch it very lightly, and the naturalists do not perfectly agree, or, it rather may be said, disagree. The words are, As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment; so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones. Ps. cix. 18. Some think the allusion is to the oil sticking close to the bones, others to the penetrating nature of it. But neither of these interpretations seems to be sufficient, as one sub stance may stick close to, and even penetrate another, without doing any harm; whereas the context and sum of the passage seem to imply something that is hurtful and pernicious to the bones. And indeed it is asserted by some great names, that oil is really prejudicial to them. Thus Dr. Nieuwentyt says, “There is nothing more pernicious to a naked bone, than to put oil

, or any other moisture upon it, which will cause a miserable corruption therein : on which account it is, that the most skilful surgeons, in treating about the diseases of the bones, do most carefully warn the readers against the same. And then he cites the authority of Hildanus and Paræus, observing, there was no further occasion for any other evidence in this behalf, since these two gentlemen may be justly ranked amongst the most famous and skilful men in the art of medicine. He concludes,

whoever has seen this caries ossium--in any considerable degree in a living person, and has been informed that the same may be produced, or at least augmented, by any liquid or oleaginous matters, must needs confess, that the wrath and curse of God cannot be described by more lively comparisons, than in these words of the Psalmist, since water and VOL. II.


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