Page images
PDF
EPUB

I shall in this point so farre agree with Helmont, that the motion of the lungs and heart are not inseparable, but that the latter may bee where the former is not requisite; as wee clearly see in infants, which ly almost twelve moneths in the wombe without any respiration at all, but not without pulsation of the heart. But in this case of other animals methinkes Du Roy has hitt on the better probability; for wee see flyes, butterflyes, &c. yea, and snailes, in winter time cease from all motion, and the heart (or that vesicle in them which is analogous to it, for such a pulsing particle they all have) lyes still and rests without the least palpitation whatsoever all winter long; till the vernall equinox begin to actuate and re-enliven them againe. The like may be probably conjectured of those other sanguineous animals: but I'll leave the decision of the question to your more experienced selfe, and give my assent to neither part any further, but that your rationall determination may easily recall it to the truth.

There is one other quære which I shall make bold to superadde, and it is this : to what use and purpose is that long tenuous and thin bladder found alwayes full of aire in fishes, lying above the entrayles just cleaving to the spinall bone and vertebræ of the back, stretched even from the very mouth to the anus of the fish; as is clearely to bee seene in salmons, trouts, chubbs, grailings, perches, eeles, herrings, gougeons, &c. De Back, a Roterdame physician, (which I met with accidentally,) has a little touch concerning this point in his dissertations De corde, cap. 5. Hee there asserts with the ancients, that the lungs in animals doe not only serve ad refrigerium sanguinis, but that the aire in the lungs is mingled and incorporated with the blood to rarefy and attenuate it, that it might passe through the capillary veines and arteryes and still through the pores of the flesh, to give nutrition to every atome of it: for without this intermixion (saith hee) the blood would be so grosse that it could not penetrate the subtle pores of the flesh, either to maintaine the circulation or nutrition; and therefore, (saith hee, since nature could not supply that double office by the gills in fishes, (the part analogous to the lungs in other animals,) shee superadded this vesicle of aire, which might serve for the subtiliation and rarefaction of the blood, ut melius penetraret in partes nutriendas, and the gills solely for its refrigeration.

To this conceite of his I could first oppose that the serous humour, togeather with the naturall heat intermixed with the blood, serves no other purpose, but by subtiliation and attenuation of it, to conduct it through all the parts of the body and the minute and capillary chanells, and therefore there needs not the intermixion of aire with it for that purpose.

Secondly, upon strict inspection into the bodyes of fishes I could never find this vesicle had any chanel or passage but one which came straight to the mouth, by which the fish received the aire, and there eructates it (for any thing I know) againe. But this also I wholly leave to your determination.

Sir, there were many things which I tooke notice of in the viper's head you pleased to shew mee when I was last at Norwich, especially concerning the two poysonous teeth which moved in the upper jaw upon jemmers, which shee could lay flatt along in a little cavity of either side of her jaw, or erect them as shee pleased. Yet there was one thing therein which slipped my observance, which was weather these two teeth were perforated or no, as the two venomous teeth of the

aspe is sayd to bee, through which shee ejects her poyson. Sir, if you please to honour mee in the grant of these requests you will strike a deeper engagement upon Your most obliged friend and servant,

HENRY POWER.

Dr. Henry Power to Dr. Browne.

(Ms. SLOAN. 3515.]

9th of 9ber, 1668. Yours I receaved, togeather with the little tractate of urnes, for both which I returne you a thousand thankes. To tell you that I honour the piece for the author's sake, were obliquely to disparage it; give mee leave to peruse it, and I doubt not but by its own merit it may well challenge the applause of the world; one thing as I glanced over the latter part of it I could not passe, and that is the peculiar sig. nature of Acaia, Viviu, Lilil. * In what plant these tearmes are inscribed, I would gladly know, though I have narrowly searched very many, yet either my fancy was not so active, or else my enquiries not so satisfactory, as to light of any plant where I could ever rudely imagine any such characters. I should have blamd the barrenesse of our soile in not producing it, had not you tould mee 'twas a common one.

I shall desire you to be my Oedipus. 3 old Spanish bookes I have found of my fathers, I knowe not wheather they be worth the carriage to Norwich or noe, much less worthy of your acceptance, yet I have presumed to send them to you, hoping they will be entertained, if not for their own, yet for his sake that formerly ought them, who I am sure was one that did much honour you, and left one that can doe noe lesse whilst hee is

H. P.

Mr. Merryweather to Dr. Browne.5

Cambridge, Magd. College, Octob. 1, 1649. HONOURED SIR,

To know and be acquainted with you, though no otherwise than by your ingenious and learned writings, which now a good part of Christendom is, were no contemptible degree of happiness: the fool-hardy enterprize of translating your book might seem to give me some small title to a further pretence; but it is my great unhappiness, that as small as this is, I have forfeited it already upon several scores. I undertook a design, which I knew I could not manage without certain disadvantage and injury to the author; and after, though I saw the issue no happier than I expected, yet I could not be content to conceal or burn it, but must needs obtrude to the large world, in beggarly and disfigured habit, that which you sent out in so quaint and polisht a dress. Besides, I might have acquainted you with it sooner, presented you with a copy, begged pardon sooner for these miscarriages, which now I may justly fear is too late. The truth of it is, sir, I have some real pleas and justifications for most of these crimes; and have, with impatience, waited for some opportunity to have represented them by word of mouth, rather than writing; which I hoped to have had the happiness to have done when I was lately at Norwich, as my honoured friend, Mr. Preston, of Beeston, will assure you, whom I desired, after we found not you in the town, being unwilling to continue this incivility any longer, to present you with a copy at his first opportunity, which I question not but by this time you have received. Thus much, sir, at the least I had done sooner, if I had not been hindred by a constant unwelcome rumour, all the time I was abroad in the Low Countries and France, (which was the space of some years after the impression) that you had left this life: upon what ground the report was raised I know not, but that it was so, many then with me, and some of them not unknown to your self, can witness. When I came at Paris, the next year after, I found it printed again, in which edition both the epistles were left out, and a preface, by some papist, put in their place, in which making use of, and wresting some passages in your book, he endeavour’d to shew, that nothing but custom and education kept you from their church. Since my return home, I see Hackius, the Leyden printer, hath made a new impression, which furnished me afresh with some copies, and whereof that which I left with Mr. Preston is one, as is easily observable by the difference of the pages, and the omission of the errata, which were noted in the first, though the title page be the same in both. These frequent impressions shew the worth of the book, which still finds reception and esteem abroad, notwithstanding all that diminution and loss which it suffers by the translation; which I am the willinger to observe, because it found some demurr in the first impression at Leyden; and upon this occasion, one Haye, a book-merchant there, to whom I first offered it, carried it to Salmasius for his approbation, who in state, first laid it by for very nigh a quarter of a year, and then at last told him, that there were indeed in it many things well said, but that it contained also many exorbitant conceptions in religion, and would probably find but frowning entertainment, especially amongst the ministers, which deterred him from undertaking the printing. After I showed it to two more, de Vogel and Christian, both printers; but they, upon advice, returned it also; from these I went to Hackius, who, upon two days deliberation, undertook it. Worthy sir, you see how obstinately bent I was to divulge my own shame and impudence at your expence; yet seeing this confidence was built upon nothing else but the innate and essential worth of the book, which I perswaded myself would bear it up from all adventitious disadvantages, and seeing I have gained rather than failed in the issue and success of my hopes, as it something qualifies the scruples, which the conscience of my own rashness had in cold blood afterward raised, so I hope it will conduce to the easier obtaining pardon and indulgence from you for the miscarriages in it. This, I am sure, I may with a clear mind protest, and profess, that nothing so much moved me to the enterprize as a high and due esteem of the book, and my zeal to the author's merit, of whom I shall be ever ambitious to show my self an admirer, and in all things to give some testimony that I am,

4 See Garden of Cyrus, towards the end of ch. 3. 5 Mr. Merryweather returning from his travels in France and Holland, Anno 1649, went to Norwich, to acquaint the Doctor with the different sentiments entertained abroad of the Religio Medici; but he being at that time from home, Mr. Merryweather left a book with a friend, to be presented him the first opportunity, and shortly after writ the following letter from Cambridge.-Whitefoot's Life, p. v.

Honoured sir,
Your most affectionate, and most devoted servant,

JOHN MERRYWEATHER.

Dr. Browne to

(Ms. SLOAN. 1847.]

[April or May, 1652.] Pray request Mr. Johnson to obtayne this favor of Mr. Bacon, who is unknown unto me, to afford mee his resolution to these fewe queries concerning the whale, whereof I understand hee had the cutting up and disposure. Whether there were any spermaceti found or made out of other parts beside

« PreviousContinue »