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psee}s. The particles of the Torporific eel probably produce similar effects to those of electricity, to which they have a near affinity, not only in the sensations which fhey communicate, but in the medium through which they are con- • yeyed; for which reason I have known the eel frequently touched by paralytic patients, though I cannot fay with much apparent advantage..
These sisti are caught when young, and preserved in large troughs, made for- that purpose, and filled with water. Their usual food is small fish; and when these cannot be had, they are fed on earth-worms. But the Blatta, or cockroach, is the most agreeable of all food to this fish: when one of these is thrown into the trough, the fish opens its mouth, and socks it in with great avidity and apparent pleasure, socking being the usual method by which it takes its food. From its skin is excreted a flimey sobitance, which renders it necessary to change the water daily, or at least every other day: for this purpose a cock is placed in the bottom of the trough, whence the water is drawn off, and the trough fcowered. On these occasions the fish is frequently suffered to lie mor tionless, without water, for several hours; but if he is touched in this condition, the soock communicated is not less violent than usual. The manner of their generation' is uncertain. Several attempts have been made to convey these fiso to Europe; but the quantity of fresh, water requisite to shift them as often as is pecessary, together with- the bruises which they must inevitably sustain from the motion of the (hip, have
hitherto rendered them pnsuccessful.
Of the monstrous Snakes of Guiana; from the fame'
NEXT in order snakes fall under our consideration. Unhappily their immense number and variety constitute one of the principal inconveniences of this country, and really endanger the safety of its inhabitants; and ought to humble the pride and arrogance of man, by convincing him, that all things are not made obedient to his will, nor created fpr his use.
One of the largest of this class of animals ever seen in America, was lately killed on the plantation Amsterdam, in this colony, belonging to Messrs. the heirs of Pester Amyatt, Esq; in Amsterdam. It measured thirty-three feel some inches; and in the largest place, near ths middle, was three feet in circumference. It had a broad head, very wide mouth, and large prominent eyes; from the middle it gradually tapered to the (ail, which was small, and armed with two claws, like those of a dung-hill cock, and in the mouth was a double row of teeth. On the middle of the back was a chain of small black spots, running from end to end; and on each side, near the belly, another row of spots, similar and parallel to those on the back; and below these several large black spots centered with white; the rest of the body was brown. In its belly was found a small wirrer bocerra, or deer, so fas dissolved by the digestive liquor of the stomach, that no part of it would hang together. The viscera were coyered
witft with a great quantity of sat, of which a considerable part was tried' and preserved for external application for pains, bruises, &c. part of which was dispensed almost over the whole colony. A smaller one was soon after killed on the plantation Dalgin, lying on the opposite fide of the river. Their bite is not venomous. When their stomachs are full, they lie still, till their food js digested: it was in that state that both of these were shot in the head. They are said to have the power of fascinating, or attracting animals within their reach.
The Commodee is an amphibious snake, about fifteen feet in length, and eighteen inches in circumference. The head is broad and flattifh; and the tail is long, flender, and pointed. Their colour is farown, variegated on the back and fides with chesnut-coloured spots. Their bite is nos venomous; but they are extremely troublesome, frequenting the creeks and ponds, and destroying ducks, geese, &cWhen they encounter larger prey, the Indians fay they kill it by inserting their pointed tails into the rectu/n; hence the white inhabitants call it the fodomite snake.
Of Wood-Ants and Fir;. Flies,
WOOD-Ants, or woodrlicc, as they are called by the Eitglijby and Pbux de Bois by the French, are a small ant, about two lines in length, and a whitish brown colour, and a very destructive irisect, eating holes in wood, destroying the posts of houses, devouring cloaths, books, &c. They are eaten, with great avidity, by dojtttfstic fowls, birds, and lizards,
though, when bruised, they affoid a very strong, volatile, disagreeable smell. They form a kind of arched roads, about half an inch wide, concave, and somewhat flattiiht these are often built on the floors and cielines of houses, extending many hundred feet in length, with a variety of serpentine windings. The convex walls of this extensive habitation are composed of a whi. tisii brown incrustrated substance, which is easily destroyed. Within its cavity the ants live, in a regular, well-ordered society; and when any breach is made in this wall, every inhabitant joins in the consmon labour of repairing the breach, which is effected with surprising rapidity. As soon as one of thew habitations is discovered, a hole is immediately made in its walls, and the cavity filled with arsenic, which destroys the ants, and thereby prevents the mischief which would . otherwise ensue. In the woods, however, they frequently inhabit large round nests, divided into a , variety of fells, by thin incruftrated shell-like partitions. These nests are many feet in circumference, and each contains millions of these insects. They are brought from the woods, and broke among the pooltry, who dcvour'the ants with great avidity.
Among the flies of Guiana, there are two species of fire-flies. The largest is more than an inch in length, having a very large head, connected with the body by a joint of a particular structure, with which, at some times, it makes a loud knock, particularly when laid on its back. The fly has two feelers, Or hornsy two wings, and six legs. Under its belly is a circular patch, which, in the dark, shines like a candle; and on each fide of the head, near the eyes, is a prominent, globular, luminous body, in size about one third larger than a mustard-feed. Each of these bodies is like a living star, emitting a bright, and not small light, since two or three of these animals, put into a glass vessel, afford light sufficient to read, without difficulty, if placed close to the book. When the fly is dead, these bodies will still afford considerable light, though it is less vivid than before; and if bruised, and rubbed over the hands or face, they become luminous in the dark, like a board smeared with English Phosphorus. They have a reddish brown, or chesnut colour, and live in rotten trees in the day, but are always abroad in the night.
The other kind are not more than half as large as the former, and their light proceeds from under their wings, and is seen only when they are elevated, like sparks of fire, appearing and disappearing at tvery second. Of these the air is foil in the night, though they are never seen in the day. They are common not only in the southern but northern parts of America, during the summer.
Jin account of an Italian that digested Stones. From Grainger's Biographical History.
THE following strange account is given us of this person, by Mr. Boyle, and a much stranger by Dr. Bulwer; I shall transcribe them both: "Not long ago there "was here in England, a private "soldier, very famous for digest
"ing of stones; and a very inqui"sitive man assures me, that he "knew him familiarly, and liad "the curiosity to keep in his com"pany for twenty-four hours toa gether, to watch him; and not "only observed,' that he eat no* "thing but stones in that time, "but also that his grofler excre"ment consisted chiefly of a sandy "substance, as if the devoured "stones had been in his body dif"solved, and crumbled into sand." —Boyle's "Exp. Philo." Par. II. Essay'lII. p. 86.
Dr. Bulwer fays, he "saw the "man, and that he was an Italian, "Francis Battalia by name; at "that time about thirty years of "age; and that he was born with "two stones in one hand, and one "in the other; which the child "took for its first nourishment, '" upon the physicians advice: and "afterwards, nothing else but "three or four pebbles in a spoon "once in twenty-four hours, and "a draught of beer after them; "and in the interim, now and then "a pipe of tobacco; for he had "been a soldier in Ireland, at the' "siege of Limeric; and upon his "return to London, was confined "for some time, upon suspicion of "imposture." Bulwer's "Artifi"cial Changeling," p. 307. He is said sometimes to have eatea about half a peck of stones in a day.
Surprising as this accountmay seem, every doubt that may arise on. it seems to be removed) by the following late and extraordinary instance, taken from the learned Father Pau
lian's lian's Dictionnaire Physique, under the article Digestion.
THE beginning of May, 1760, was brought to Avignon* a true Lithopa'gus, or stone eater. This not only swallowed flints of an inch and a half long, a full inch broad, and half an inch thick; but such stories as he could reduce to powder, such as marbles, 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 exceeding strong, liis saliva very corrosive, and his stomach lower than ordinary, -Which I imputed to the vast number of flints 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, fays he, was found three years ago in a northern uninhabited island, by some of the crew of a Dutch ship, on Good Friday. Since I Jiave had him, I make him eat raw flesh' with his stones: J 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 asleep, or,is not eating. The flints 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 physician" at Paris got him blooded; that the blood had little or no. se
rum, and'in two hours became al fragile as edral. If this fact be true, it is manifest that the most diluted part of the stony juice muff be converted into chyle. This stone-eater, hitherto, is unable to pronounce more than a very few words, Oi'.i, «on cai/tou, hon*. 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. Come at Paris. The respect he shews to ecclesiastics, and his ready disposition to please them, afford me the opportunity of satisfying myself as to all these particulars; and I am fully convinced that he is no cheat.
An extraordinary instance of OH Age: from Granger's Biographical History.
HENRY Jenkins lived to the surprising age of 169. An account of this old man, by Mrs. Anne Savile, is printed in the third volume of the " Philosophical
"Transactions/' p. 308. This
lady informs us, that he remember, ed the battle of Flowden-Field, which was fought the 9th of September, 1513; that he had " sworn "in chancery and other courts to "above 140 years memory;" ani that there is a record preserved in the king's remembrancer's office, ia the exchequer, by which it appears, that " Henry Jenkins, of Ellerton "upon ewale, labourer, aged i$7i "was produced and deposed as a, « witness," In the last century of his life he was a fisherman; and when he was no longer able to follow that occupation he went begg-ing about Bolton, and other places in Yorkshire. He died in December, 1670, and lies buried at Bolton; where, in 17431 a monument was erected to his memory. He was the oldest man 9s the post-diluvians, of whom we have any credible account.
Account of a Horned Woman ; from the fame.
MRS. Mary Davis, of Great Saughall, near Chester, anno 1668; ætatis 74. When, she was twenty-eight years of age, an excrescence grew upon her head, like to a wen, which continued thirty years and then grew into two horns.
There is a print of this woman in Dr. Charles Leigh's "Natural "History of Lancashire, Cheshire, "and the Peak in Derbyshire;" 1700; sol. tab. VII. Trft inscription signifies, that her portrait was taken in 1668, in the seventy-second year of her age; that the excrescence continued thirty-two years before it grew into horns: that after four years she cast them; then grew two more; and in about four years she cast these also: that the n°rns which were upon her head in 1668, were of four years growth, and were then loose. Her picture, and one of hef horns, are in Ashmole's Museum.
In the university library at Edinburgh is preserved a horn, which was cut from the head of Elizabeth |j0vej in the fiftieth year of her age. "grew three inches above her ear, J!ii was growing seven years.
Some account of tie Lemming, ivhicb infefls Norway, and some other of the northern countries.
THIS creature, which is ones of the most singular animals that we know of, is said to be a native of "the mountains of Kolen in Lapland. It seems to be a species of the rat with a short tail, very short legs, large whiskers, small eyes and ears, and long iharp teeth. About once or twice in twenty years they appear in vast numbers, advancing along the ground, and devouring; every thing that is green, like a pestilence. Some flocks of them march from the Kolen, through Nordland and Finmark, to the western ocean, which they enter, and, after having swam about for some time, perish. Other bodies take their route through Swedish Lapland to the Sinus Bothnicus, where they are drowned in the fame manner. They advance in a direct line; and if they are obliged to go round a large stone, or rock, they seek their former line of direction, in which they proceed. If they are opposed by the peasants, they will stand and bark at them: nevertheless, great numbers of them are destroyed and eaten by the Lapland dogs. If a boat happens to be in their way, lying in a river or creek which they intend to pass,. they march in at one end or side of the vessel, and out at the other. The appearance of these vermin is looked upon as an omen of a bad harvest, and heretofore there was a form of exorcism used against them by the Romish clergy: but if they prognosticate a scanty crop, they make amends in occasioning a good hunting season; for they are followed