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oil, that are mentioned in this text, are both of them the most pernicious things imaginable to the bones.'* It is certain, that in the eastern countries, they used much oil about the human body, for the purpose of suppling, purifying, and brightening the skin, and so far it was useful in those adust climes; but it should seem from this passage in the Psalms, they were aware at the same time, that oil, how beneficial soever it might be to the skin, was hurtful to the bones. So far, so good.

But now, Sir, others do not apprehend that oil has any such noxious quality, in respect of bones, and they adduce an experiment to shew it has not, but on the contrary is rather serviceable to them. Thus Alex. Blackrie speaking of oil, the third, and by much the largest ingredient in the composition of soap, says, it is so far from having any share in its lithontriptic properties; that, on the contrary, he thinks it rather tends to hinder the other ingredients from exerting their active powers for this purpose, by becoming, in some degree, a cement to connect the calcareous particles of our food, &c. That this is the case will evidently appear,' he says, ' by the easy experiment of calcining a bone till it is reduced to an inert' inactive earth; which, if not disturbed, will, nevertheless, retain its former shape. The bone thus robbed of its agglutinating principles, will become so friable as to crumble into dust and ashes upon a gentle touch; but afterwards, [now please to observe, Mr. Urban,] by the affusion of a sufficient quantity of oil, such a degree of tenacity may be restored to it, as will allow it to be taken up and handled freely without breaking. That oil contributes much to the stability of the bones, by preventing them from growing too brittle, the learned and accurate anatomist, Dr. Alexander Monro, when he enumerates the uses of the marrow, has evidently shewnt. Here, a great anatomist asserts, that oil contributes to the stability of the bones, and an acute disquisitor shews by experiment, that it will even restore the lost tenacity of them. What then is to be done in this case? How are we to determine, when there are such cogent authorities on both sides the question, whether oil be hurtful or beneficial to the bones? For my part, I cannot but wish some further inquiries might be made upon this subject. As to the Psalmist, he will be clear either way, as

* Nieuwentyt, Relig. Philosopher, I. p. 208.

of Blackrie's Disquisition on Medicines that dissolve the Stone, p. 34. Seq. where he cites Monro's Anatomy of the Bones, Edit. IV. p. 20. Seq.

it is a sufficient justification for him, that in his day it was understood, that oleaginous substances were prejudicial to the human stamina, though upon after-researches it should prove otherwise; for I suppose it is an allowed maxim now, that the Scriptures were not intended to teach us philosophy.

I am, Sir, Yours, &c. ,

T. Row.

XXXVI. Curious Account of the Dissection of Old Parr, from a

Manuscript of Dr. Harvey. THOMAS PARR was a poor countryman of Shropshire, whence he was brought up to London, by the Right Hon. Thomas Earl of Arundel and Surrey, and died after he had outlived nine princes, in the tenth year of the tenth of them, at the age of 152 years and 9 months.

Being opened after his death (anno 1635, Nov. 16.) his body was found very fleshy, his breast hairy, his genitals unimpaired, serving not a little to confirm the report of his having undergone public censures for his incontinency; especially seeing that after that time, viz. at the age of 120 years, he married a widow, who owned, Eum cum ipsa rem habuisse, ut alii mariti solent ; et usque ad 12 annos retroactos solitum cum ea congressum frequentasse. Further, that he had a large breast, lungs not fungous, but sticking to his ribs, and distended with much blood; a lividness in his face, as he had a difficulty of breathing a little before his death, and a long-lasting warmth in his arm-pits and breast after it, (which sign, together with others, were so evident, in his body, as they used to be on those that die by suffocation.) His heart was great, thick, fibrous, and fat. "The blood in the heart blackish and diluted. The cartilages of the sternum not more bony than in others, but flexile and soft. His viscera were sound and strong, especially the stomach; and it was observed of him, that he used to eat often by night and day, though contented with old cheese, milk, coarse bread, small beer, and whey; and, which is more remarkable, that he did eat at midnight, a little before he died. His kidneys covered with fat and pretty sound; only on the interior surface of them were found some aqueous or serous abscesses, whereof one was near the bignéss of a hen’s-egg, with a yellowish water in it, having made a roundish civity, impressed on that kidney: whence some thought it came,

that a little before his death a suppression of urine had be. fallen him; though others were of opinion, that his uring was suppressed upon the regurgitation of all the serosity into his lungs. Not the least appearance was there of any stopy matter, either in the kidneys or bladder. His bowels were also sound, a little whitish without His spleen very little, hardly equalling the bigness of one kidney. In short, all his inward parts appeared 90 healthy, that if he had not changed his diet and air, he might perhaps have lived a good while Jonger.

The cause of his death was imputed chiefly to the change of food and air; forasmuch as coming out of a clear, thing and free air, he came into the thick air of London; and after a constant, plain, and homely country diet, he was taken into a splendid family, where he fed high, and drank plentifully of the best wines, whereupon the natural functions of the parts of his body were overcharged, his lungs obstructed, and the habit of the whole body quite disordered; upon which there could not but ensue a dissolution.

His brain was sound, entire, and firm; and though he had not the use of his eyes, nor much of his memory, several years before he died, yet he had his hearing and apprehen: sion very well, and was able, even to the hundred and thirtieth year of his age to do any husbandman's work, eren threshing of corn.

1769, Jan.

XXXVII. Description of a Stone Eater,

MR. URBAN, SOME

years ago we had an account of a Scotch gentleman, whose appetite and digestion became gradually so weak that he could take no other sustenance than the whey of goat's milk; and at length even this becoming too strong for his stomach, he derived his whole nourishment from water only. The truth of this report was generally disbelieved, till the gentleman himself, accompanied by some of his friends, attended a meeting of the Royal Society, and there put the fact so entirely out of question, that a full account ihereof was afterwards published in the Philosophical Transactions. What then must your readers think of the following much more extraordinary account inserted in the learned

father Paulian's Dictionnaire Physique, under the article DIGESTION?

Yours, &c.

The beginning of May, 1760, was brought to Avignon, a true lithophagus or stone-eater. He not only swallowed flints of an inch and a half long, a full inch broad, and half an inch thick; but such stones as he could reduce to powder, such as marble, pebbles, &c. he made up into paste, which was to him a most agreeable and wholesome food. I examined this man with all

the attention I possibly could, I found his gullet very large, his teeth exceedingly strong, his saliva very corrosive, and his stomach lower than ordinary, which I imputed to the vast number of Aints he had swallowed, being about five and twenty one day with another. Upon interrogating his keeper, he told me the following particulars. - This stone-eater,

says he, “ was found three years ago in a northern inhabited island, by some of the crew of a Dutch ship, on Good Friday. Since I have had him, I make him eat raw flesh with his stones; I could never get him to swallow bread. He will drink water, wine, and brandy; which last liquor gives him infinite pleasure. He sleeps at least twelve hours in a day, sitting on the ground with one knee over the other, and his chin resting on his right knee. He smokes almost all the time he is not asleep, or is not eating. The fints he has swallowed he voids somewhat corroded and diminished in weight, the rest of his excrements resemble mortar.” The keeper also tells me, that some physicians at Paris got him blooded; that the blood had little or no serum, and in two hours time became as fragile as coral. If this fact be true, it is manifest that the most diluted part of the stony juice must be converted into chyle, This stone-eater, hitherto is unable to pronounce more than a few words, Oui, non, caillou, bon, I shewed him a fly through a microscope: he was astonished at the size of the animal, and could not be induced to examine it. He has been taught to make the sign of the cross, and was baptized some months ago in the church of St. Cône at Paris,' The respect he shews to ecclesiastics, and his ready disposition to please them, afforded me the opportunity of satisfying myself as to all these particulars; and I am fully convinced that he is no cheat,

1769, June,

XXXVIII. On the Stature and Figure of Old Persons.

OLD

persons are never so tall as they were in their prime; they stoop, and their height is otherwise, as I apprehend, diminished; and from what causes, it may be matter of some curiosity to inquire.

If an aged person, suppose of seventy, sits upon a chair that is too high for him, for any long space of time, and his feet for the time do not easily and fully touch the ground, he will find a pain in his thigh bone, which, I presume, must be occasioned by the weight of his legs and feet drawing it downwards, and pressing it against the edge of the seat or chair. This consequently induces a small degree of curvature in the bone, which, if the same thing be continued or repeated, will still be greater to the diminution of the person's stature; for as the elasticity of the fibres of the bone is, in such old subjects, in a great measure lost, the bone never totally recovers its pristine state. This, I conjecture, may be the reason of thigh bones, both of men and women, being found sometimes, as I have heard, in a state of flexion more thar natural.

The flesh of elderly people generally either wastes and shrinks, or it grows pasty, being deprived of its native and juvenile elasticity. But now, in either case, the soles of the feet will of course grow flatter, to the prejudice of the person's height.

These, indeed, are but trifling causes of the decrease of stature, in comparison of what follows: for if the flesh in ok s djects is subject to lose its elasticity, the cartilages are much more so. Now, it is a known fact, that people are tailer in the morning than at night, owing to the pressure of the upper parts in the day time, and whilst the party is in an upright posture, on the cartilages between the vertebræ of the neck and back; which cartilages, in young

subjects, by, their spring, resume their tone and former dimensions, by recumbency or the horizontal position of the body during sleep, the incumbent weight or pressure being for that interval, and by that posture, removed; and for this reason, every youthful person is actually tallest in the morning. But this is far from being the case with the aged. The cartilages in them are grown dry and thin, and springless, whereby the stature will perpetually continue at the lowest pitch. And as the interstices of the vertebræ are consequently enlarged, (to say nothing of the relaxed state of the

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