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him by the leg, arm, or any other place, his flesh comes
like wise, why the carcasses of camels, and other creatures, which lie exposed in these deserts, are quickly drained of that moisture which would otherwise dispose them to putrefaction; and being hereby put into a state of preservation, not much inferior to what is communicated by spices and bandages, they will continue a number of years without mouldering away.”. All, then, that we have to suppose is, that the sand, which first covered and preserved the bodies of this caravan, was afterwards, by the shifting of the winds, blown away from them, so as to leave them entirely exposed to view, and in that uncommon state of preservation and incorruption in which they are said to have been found. The supposition seems to be absolutely necessary, in accounting for the phenomenon, as the pestilential wind, supposed to have destroyed them, and which has been described above, could never have left the bodies in such a dry and sound condition.
I am, &c 1772, Jan.
XLII. On the Leviathan,
MR. URBAN, YOU are aware, without doubt, of the dispute there has been amongst the learned about the Leviathan described in the xlist. chapter of the book of Job, and mentioned in the civth Psalm; some fixing pon qne of God's creatures for
Churchill, V. R 533.
the animal intended by the sacred writers, and soine upon another. Dr. Thomas Shaw may be deemed the most literate of all our English travellers, in respect of the Encyclopædia, or learning in all its branches and extent; and as he visited the Eastern parts of the world, and has touched upon this subject in his book, and particularly in his Dissertation, on the Mosaic Pavement at Præneste, (see his Supplement, p. 86) one would expect something decisive upon this con troverted point from him. He is of opinion, that the Leviethan is no other than the Crocodile, which (these are his words) from the scaly quality and hardness of its coat, or (in the scripture phrase, Job 41, 17.) whose scales so-stick together, that they cannot be sundered, is in no danger (v. 7.) of kaving his skin filled with barbed irons, or his head with fish spears. The Crocodile is of too great weight and magnitude likewise (v. i.) to be drawn out of the river, as fish usually are, with a hook. The Crocodile then, from these apposite characteristics, may be well taken for the Leviathan, as it is des cribed above in the book of Job. This conjecture of the Doc. tor's is not new, for you may find it in Calmet's Dictionary, as likewise in other writers; and I much question, though our able traveller has thought proper to adopt and revive it, whether it be the true interpretation. The Crocodile is a. river animal entirely, and is never found in the sea: at this time he is not found in the lower or northern parts of the Nile, but in upper Egypt only. And yet the Royal Psalmits says expressly,
CIV. 24. The earth is full of thy riches;
25. So is the great and wide sea also ; wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.
26. There go the ships, and there is that Leviathan, whom thou hast made to take his pastime therein.
Where the Leviathan is plainly made to be an inhabitant of the great and wide sea, of the same ocean that is navigated by ships. We are obliged, therefore, to suppose it to have been some large sea fish, of which there were several sorts in the eastern part of the Mediterranean, not unknown to the ancients, who have accordingly given them various names, which need not be here mentioned. And it is not of any consequence, whether we can now appropriate the name to the particular and identical fish, or not. However that the Leviathan cannot be the Crocodile, appears to me most certain,
I am, Sir, yours, &c. 1773, Jamie
XLIII. Stones not hurtful to Land.
MR. URBAN, It has been long known to experienced farmers, that taking away small stones and flints is detrimental to ploughed lands in general; but more particularly so to thin light lands, and to all lands of a binding nature.
It was, however, never imagined, that the damage could be so great as it is now found to be, since unusual quantities of Aints and other stones have been repeatedly gathered for the use of the turnpike roads.
In the parish of Stevenage, in Hertfordshire, there is a field known by the name of Chalkdell-field, containing about 200 acres; the land in this field was formerly equal, if not superior, to most lands in that county; but lying convenient for the surveyors of the roads, they have picked it so often, and stripped it of the flints and small stones to such a degree, that it is now inferior to lands that were formerly reckoned not much above half its value, acre for acre. Nor is it Chalkdell-field alone that has materially suffered in that county by the above-mentioned practice; several thousand acres bordering on the turnpike roads from Wellwyn to Baldock have been so much impoverished, that the loss to the inheritance for ever must be computed at a great many thousand pounds.
What puts it beyond a doubt that the prodigious impoverishment of the land is owing to no other cause but picking and carrying away the stones, is, that those lands have generally been most impoverished which have been most frequently picked; nay I know a field, part of which was picked, and the other part ploughed up before they had time to pick it, where the part that was picked lost seven or eight parts in ten of two succeeding crops; and though the whole field was manured and managed in all respects alike, yet the impoverishment was visible where the stones had been picked off, and extended not an inch farther; an incontestible proof of the benefit of the stones. 1773, March.
An Hertfordshire Farmer.
XLIV. On the Serpent destroyed by Regulus,
MR. URBAN, THE story of the great serpent, that did so much mischief to the Roman army, commanded by Regulus, in Africa, and which was at last encountered, besieged, and killed by him, is 80 well known, that, I presume, I need not refer you to any authors concerning it. Much difficulty, however, attends this story. Dr. Shaw, indeed, thinks it was a crocodile; these are his words: “ There is no small probability, likewise, (as, in the earlier ages, there was no great propriety in the Latin names of animals, Trav. p. 245) that the dragon or serpent, such an one as Regulus is said to have defeated with so much difficulty, upon the banks of the Bagradas, was no other than the crocodile ; for this animal alone (from the enormous size to which it sometimes arrives, from the almost impenetrable quality of its skin, which would hardly submit to the force of warlike engines) will best answer, as none of the serpent kind, properly so called, will do, to that description** This, though, I doubt will not do the business; for, in the first place, the serpent in question, according to Orosiust, and, I suppose, other authors whom he followed, was 120 feet long, treble or four times the size of any crocodile that was ever seen or heard of: secondly, the river Bagradas was near 'Carthage, a part of Africa where crocodiles are not known,' and I believe never were; for I take it to be certain, that no river that disembogues into the Mediterranean, ever afforded this animal, except the Nile. Mr. Barrington, I observe, who, I make no question, was well apprised of the above opinion and conjecture of Dr. Shaw, calls the affair of this enormous adder, and Regulus's proceedings in relation to it, an absurd and incredible facts: and, to say truth, it is a hard matter to reconcile it with any tolerable degree of probability; so that, at last, we must be forced to acquiesce in his declaration.
Yours, 1773, Sept.
Dr. Shaw, Travels, in Supplement, p. 87. + Orosjus, IV. 8. # Mr. Barrington, Engl. Version of Alfred's Saxon Version of Orosius, po 143.
XLV. On the Growth of Cedars in England.
Hardwicke House, Feb. 16, 1779. MR. URBAN, AMONG the slighter devastations occasioned by the last new-year's hurricane, I cannot, as an adınirer of natural productions, but lament with particular regret the destruction of perhaps the finest cedar in England. This superb tree, una, nemus, stood close on the north side of Hendon Place*, the elegant residence of Mr. Aislabie, eight miles from London.. From the gardener's information, and my own admeasurements, some of its dimensions had been these : the height 70 feet; the diameter of the horizontal extent of the branches, upon an average, 100; the circumference of the trunk, 1 feet above the ground, 16; 12 feet above the ground, 20. At this latter beight it began to branch; and its limbs, about to in number, were from 6 to 12 feet in circumference. Its roots had not spread wide nor deep; and the soil that had suited it so well, is a strong clay, upon rather an elevated situation. Tradition ascribes the planting of this tree to Queen Elizabeth herself; yet the vigour of its trunk, and the full verdure of its branches (besides a reason which I shall presently adduce), make me doubt, whether we are to allow it so great an age. However that be, its appearance shews that it had not arrived at maturity, and might have stood, perhaps have thriven, for centuries to come. The gardener made 50l. of the cones the year before last, but last year only 121.
· The great size, and apparent increasing vigour of this tree, excited my curiosity to inquire into the age and size of some of its brethren; and to collect what particulars I could towards the English history of this noblest of our exotics.
The Rey. Mr. Lightfoot, of Uxbridge, upon whose accu.
* Hendon Place was in Norden's time the seat of " Sir Edward Herbert, Knt, where is often resident Sir John Fortescue, Kut. one of her Majesty's privy council, when he taketh the air in the country." Sir Fdward died 1594, and bis eldest son William was created Lord Powis, 5 C. 1. and dying 1655, was buried in Hendon church. On the death of their lineal descendant the late Marquis of Powis, 1747-8, this valuable estate was sold by auction by the late Mr. Langford, 1756, in three several sales, viz. the manor, the domesne lands, and the iythes. This house was purchased by Robert Snow, Esq. banker, of London, who is the present proprietor. He pulled down the old house (where was a spacious gallery), and erected the present mansion, which was bately in the occupation of the Earl of Northampton, and now of Mr. Aislabie.