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to the English, of which he speaks in the following terms:— “The English language has the four following dialects, subdivided into several subdialects and varieties. “I. The English, properly so called, which, polished by Chaucer in the fourteenth century, became the written and general language of the whole nation. Its principal subdialects are the Cockney of the city of London, the Oxford, the Somerset, the Welsh, and the Irish; also the Jowring, spoken in Berkshire, and the rustic idiom of Suffolk and Norfolk. “II. The Anglo-Northumbrian, which might be also called the Dano-English, from the great number of Danish words it has preserved, in which must be distinguished the three subdialects of Yorkshire, Lancashire, and of Cumberland and Westmoreland. “III. The Scotch, or Anglo-Scandinavian, in which must also be distinguished the Scotch, properly so called, or Lowland Scotch, spoken formerly at the courts of the Scottish kings, in which James the Fifth wrote some pretty poems; in which Ramsay has composed a pastoral, whose artless grace sometimes recalls all the charm of the Aminta of Tasso; and which Burns has recently ennobled by songs full of nerve and originality: the Border tongue, a mixed idiom, spoken in the frontier provinces of the south of Scotland, remarkable for its ballads and popular songs; and the idiom of the Orkney Islands, which is mingled with many Norwegian words. “IV. The ultra-European English, spoken in all the English colonies and in the United States. It is the idiom spoken by the greatest number of the inhabitants of the New World.” After this very learned account of the dialects of our own tongue, the information upon the Esquimaux and other strange tongues, may be supposed to be rather suspicious,
LXXVII, HUMAN FECUNDITY.
HALLER tells that it is not unusual for a woman to produce two children at a birth, that three are somewhat rarer, and the number never exceeds five. (“Non raro femina geminos foetus parit; rarius paulo tres, neque unquam supra quinque.”—Physiologia, 929, This eminent physiologist should certainly have said multo instead of paulo; for in truth triplets are so rare, that no successful attempt has hitherto been made to calculate the average frequency of their occurrence. With twins the case is different; they probably occur about once in eighty times. Thus we learn from Dr. Merriman that the average of twin-births has been stated, By Dr. Clarke, at the Dublin Lying-in Hospital, aS - o e e - 1 in 56% By Dr. Bland, at the Westminster Dispensary , 80 By Professor Boer, in the Vienna Lying-in Hospital - - - . 2, 80 By Dr. Denman, at the British Hospital . , 91 By Dr. Denman, at the Middlesex Hospital , 93 By Mr. Burns, in his own practice . . , 95 By M.Tenon, surgeon to the Salpetrière at Paris , 96 By Madame Boivin, at the Hospice de la Maternité . - - - e , , 132
The greater the number of children, the smaller is the chance of their surviving; but there is one well-known instance of quadruplets living for several years. The wife of a pauper, near Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, bore four girls at a birth, (in 1819, we believe,) and we recollect seeing them when they had attained the age of six years. It was the common practice for the stages to stop at the cottage-door; and the passengers showered their sixpences or shillings on the fortunate parents, raised from pauperism to comfort by their singular fertility. The second wife of Dr. Rigby, an eminent writer on uterine hemorrhage, bore him four children at a birth; but we do not recollect whether they survived; probably not. Borellus (quoted by Dr. Merriman) tells of the wife of a nobleman in Languedoc, who bore eight children at a birth. But Borellus has a taste for the marvellous. (Anno 1650: Uxor nobilis D. Darre unico puerperio octo foetus enixa est probě conformatos, quod valdé in his regionibus insolens est: tres enim tantum vitales simul enixos wideram.) “Quod valdé in his regionibus insolens est.”—Which is extremely unusual in this part of the country ! There is a story of a countess in Holland who bore three hundred and sixty-five children at a birth; and we are assured, in the true Munchausen style, that the fact is engraved upon her tombstone. A poor woman with twins had asked charity of the countess; and being harshly refused, and even reproached for her fertility, had prayed that the lady might bear as many children as there were days in the year. The countess fulfilled the malediction and died. The explanation of the tale (as suggested by Dr. Ramsbotham) seems to be, that hydatids were mistaken for children.
The story of a Russian peasant who had eighty-seven children by two wives, which is to be found in the Gentleman's Magazine for September 1783, has lately been sent the round of the newspapers, and, if we mistake not, is told as something new.
THE following amusing details are extracted from another of the Duchess of Marlborough's elaborate defences of her own conduct. They let us into the secret of divers little underhand practices which, we fear, are not yet wholly obsolete in any court in Europe. In justice to her grace Sarah, it should be mentioned that the Queen admitted the correctness of her accounts, and was obliged to acknowledge that cheating, in that way, was not among her faults.
We have copied from the Coxe MSS., but the substance of what follows, though differently arranged and expressed, was published in “An Account of the Conduct of the Dowager Duchess of Marlborough, from her first coming to court to the year 1710, in a letter from herself to my Lord .” This defence, which appears to be the only one Sarah herself ever sent to press, was brought out in 1742, twenty-eight years after the demise of Queen Anne, and within little more than a year of her own death. In this printed work there is an allusion made to the MS, we have preferred copying from, as it was written nearer to the time of the events, and with rather more vivacity than the corrected and frequently reconsidered document which was published so long after. At page 316 of that work, Sarah says, “The calumnies against me were so gross, and yet so greedily devoured by the credulity of party rage, that I thought it became me to write and publish something in my own justification; and the substance of what I am now going to say was contained in a sort of memorial, which for that purpose I drew up in 1712. I have already mentioned by what means I was then dissuaded from making it public, and the reasons that now induce me to pursue that design,” [If we calculate according to the new style, the memorial could not have been written in 1712, for there is a statement in it that shows it was written abroad; and though the Duke left England in November 1712, her grace certainly did not join him until after the 5th of February following: besides which, the reference to Swift's Deanery fixes the date of the MS. in 1713. “The chief accusations,” says her grace, or the “good hand” she employed on the manuscript memorial, “that have been made against me, are with respect either to my accounts of the robes and the management of the privy purse, or to the advantages I have been supposed to make of the Queen's favour, and particularly in the disposal of titles and employments; or to the manner of my leaving the court. “As to the first, the whole nine years' accounts is pass'd in the Exchequer, and every acquittance has been