Page images
PDF
EPUB

we shall see hereafter that they are sometimes more the one than the other. *

Free Martins are said to be in sheept; but, from the accounts given of them, I should very much suspect that these are hermaphrodites produced in the common way, and not like those of cattle. They are often imperfect males, several of which I have seen. They are mentioned as both male and female, which is not reconcileable to the account given of the Free Martin.

I believe it has never been even supposed what this animal is, with all those peculiarities.

From the singularity of the animal, and the account of its production, I was almost ready to suppose the account a vulgar error; yet from the universality of its testimony it appeared to have some foundation; and therefore I made all the inquiry I could for an opportunity of seeing one, and also to examine it. Since which time I have accordingly had an opportunity of seeing three; the first of which was one belonging to John Arbuthnot, Esq. of Mitcham, which was calved in his own farm. He was so obliging as to give me an opportunity of satisfying myself

, He allowed me, first, to have a drawing made of the animal while alive, which was executed by Mr. Gilpin. When the drawing was made of Mr. Arbuthnot's Free Martin, John Wells, Esq. of Bickley Farm, near Bromley, in Kent, was present, and informed us, that a cow of his had calved two, calves; and that one was a bull calf, and the other a cow calf. I desired Mr, Arbuthnot to speak to Mr. Wells to keep them, or let me buy them of him ; but, from his great desire for natural knowledge, he very readily preserved them both, till the bull shewed all the signs of a good bull, when he sold him.

From the dissection of the three abovementioned Free Martins, Dr. Hunter says, it plainly appeared, that they were all hermaphrodites differing from one another; as is also the case in hermaphrodites in other tribes.

An account exactly similar is given by one of our correspondents. "I am assured,” says he, “ that the female twin will never breed; and that it is usual in such cases to yoke thë steer and heifer together.” At the same time it is allowed, that if the twins had both been heifers, both would have bred. In both cases the assertions are founded on repeated experience.

* The Romans called the bull taurus : they, however, talkeđof taure in the feminine gender. And Stephens observes, that it was thought the Romans meant by taure, barren cows, and called them by this name because they did not conceive any more than bulls. He also quotes a passage from Columella, lib. vi. cap. 22. (and like the taurę, which occupy the place of fertile cows, should be rejected or sent away.” He likewise quotes Varro, De R. Rustica, lib. ii. cap. 6. “ The cow which is barren, is called taura." From which we may reasonably conjecture, that the Romans had not the idea of the circumstances of their production,

+ Lessie's Husbandry, p. 156.

1780, Jan.

XLVIII. Account of a Gigantic Child.

,

MR. URBAN,

Enfield, Mar. 11. OBSERVING your readiness to record in your valuable Repository whatever is wonderful in the economy of nature, I send an account of an astonishing phenomenon with respect to growth, in a child of nine months old, which was communicated to the Royal Society, addressed to their Secretary, JOSEPH PLANTA. SIR,

Enfield, Nov. 25, 1779. INCLOśED I send you the proportions of an extraordinary large child, a native of this parish*, as taken by Mr. Sherwen, an ingenious surgeon and apothecary of this place, whose accuracy and judgment I can confide in, as I have not yet had an opportunity of examining this phenomenon myself. The child's father has the conduct of a paper mill by the side of Enfield Marsh, and is, I believe, about 36 years of age, his mother about 42, and at present of a healthy habit; neither of his parents remarkable for their size or stature. They have had five children; the eldest of the three now living is 12 years old, and rather small of his age; but his paternal grandfather was of a size larger than ordinary, They had another son of uncommon proportion, who died of the measles in Jan. 1774, at the age of 15 months; the carpenter who made his coffin observed, that he had never measured so tall a child. The present subject being the second of the kind, excites a greater degree of curiosity, of which the father intends to avail himself, by carrying the child up to London, and making a public shew of him.

* He was born Feb, 7, 1779.

1

In the year 1744-5, Dr. Mead laid before the Society an account of a gigantic boy of two years old, at Willingham, in Cambridgeshire. As the story may not be fresh in every one's memory, I shall compare his dimensions with those of young Everitt, premising this one observation, that the Willingham lad, whose name was Hall, allowing for his years, was, in this respect, less of a prodigy than the Enfield boy : though, as Mr. Dawkes, the surgeon, who described him, remarks, "he past through the four stages of life in less than six years, being five years and ten months old at his death, and only 4 feet six inches high.

feet. inches. HALL, round the wrist,

6 thickness of thigh,

21 waist,

1 41 Mr. Sherwen annexed the dimensions of a fine lusty boy, who is upwards of 7 years old. Dimensions of Tho. Everitt, 9 months and 2 weeks old.

The other Boy. inches.

inches. Girth round his wrist, 6

42 Above the elbow,

8

61 Leg near the ancle,

61 Calf of the leg,

12 Round the thigh,

18

121 Round the small of the back, 24

22 Round under the arm-pits, and across the breast, 223

20 Length from the crown of

the head to the sole of the foot, 3 feet, 15.

Mr. Sherwen adds, he should have been glad to have given the solid contents of animal substance in pounds avoirdupois : but this was not possible, as the mother is possessed with the vulgar prejudice against weighing children* He could therefore only say, that, when she exposes his legs, thighs, and broad back to view, it is impossible to be impressed with any other idea than that of seeing a young

[ocr errors]

* His weight was puessed at nine stone.

ever saw.

giant. The boy has very fine hair, pure clear skin, free from pimple or blemish; he is extremely lively, and has 4 bright clear eye, the pupil not in the least dilated ; and, excepting a pair of broad cheeks, his head is rather less in proportion than his other parts. From these circumstances, Mr. S. ventures to prognosticate, that he is as likely to arrive at maturity (accidental diseases excepted) as any child he

Soon after the date of the above letter, the boy was carried to a relation's in Great Turnstile; but the confined situation had such an effect on his health, that he was soon brought back into his native air. He has now been in London above a month, and is arrived at the following dimensions.

Height 3 feet 3 inches, round the breast 2 feet 6 inches; loins 3 feet 1 inch, thigh I foot 10 inches, leg 1 foot 2 inches, arm 11 inches and a half, wrist 9 inches: he is well proportioned all over, and subsists entirely on the breast; was not remarkable when born, but at about six weeks after began, and has rapidly continued, to increase to his present amazing size. His countenance is what every one would call comely, but with rather more expression in it than is usual at his age, though exceedingly pleasing from his being uncommonly well tempered.

1780, March,

XLIX. Curious and Authentic Instance of Longevity,

MR. URBAN, THE following authentic instance of longevity shews the happy effects of a temperate, well-ordered, and virtuous life. I do not remember seeing it any where quoted, and it seems to have escaped notice, though recorded by so eminent a man as Bartholin concerning his own grandfather by the mother's side*. That one, who was a bookish man and an author, whose constitution was naturally very weak and delicate, and who had been positively doomed to an early death by his physician, should elude the prognostic for no less a term than ninety-five years, is an encouraging cir. cumstance to literary men and valetudinarians. For their benefit I send it.

* Vide Tho. Bartholini Historiarum Anatom. Cent. quint,

J. BOERHADEM.

" Quantum huc (scil. ad longevitatem conferat animus semper sibi similis, nullisque passionibus in transvorsum raptus, effari nequeo.

" Avus meus maternus D. Thomas Finckius (priori seculo libris, gesinetria rotundi, horoscopia, &c. hoc seculo libe. ris clarus; numéřavit enim liberos; nepotes, pronepotes, ahnephtes 97,) annum ingressus erat nonagesimium-sextum hac animi constantia, et diutius vitam in senio végétam protraxisset, nisi febris filum ábrupisset. Per totum vitæ cursum a se pompam removit, et usú rerum ornainenta metiebatur. Tenerâm ætatem ægritudinibus habuit obnoxiani, ut miedicus curæ illius præfectus spoponderit parentibus, omnes itinerum vias quas eménsurus esset, aurö se obducturun. Cæterum a longa peregrinatione redux, prognostic cum elusit temperantia et morum facilitate. Coercuit luxü. riam, gulam temperavit, cui tamen necessária suggessit etiam duurioris substantiæ, quæ libentius avidiusque appetebat, quam cupedias; divitias æquis oculis aspexit, frägálitátem coluit, et animum metu vel gaudio affectum sub vincu. lis habuit, iracundiam lenivit, adversitates sprevit, et quanquam liberorum, generorum, nepotum, abnepotum, affinium, amicorumque sæpius funera audiverit, et inter tot vitæ grandævæ molestias versaretur, constanti tamen animo omnia perpessus nunquam lachrymas fudit nisi defunctä ūsoris, et bibliothecæ vulcano consumptæ, memoria recurrente.” For the benefit of the English Reader, the above Account is thus

translated.

[ocr errors]

" It is inexpressible how much equability of tempér, un. ruffled by passion, contributes to long life. My maternal grandfather, Thomas Fink, (who in the preceding century was as distinguished by his learning, his skill in geometry, the horoscope, &c. as in the present by the number of his descendants, for he had children, grand-children, great grand-children, and great great grand-children, to the number of 97,) had by this uniformity of temper attained to his 96th year, and might have reached to a vigorous old age, had not a fever shortened his days. He studiously through life avoided show, measuring ornament by use. His tender

« PreviousContinue »