Robert Boyle (1627-91): Work-diary XXXVI (Accounts of conversations with travellers and virtuosi on natural phenomena, 1685-91)

Content: Accounts of interviews with travellers and virtuosi on natural (and some supernatural) phenomena, 1685-91; informants include Sir John Chardin, Sir Paul Rycaut, Richard Knox, Sir William Stapleton, Sir Thomas Rolt, and other governors and merchants in the East and West Indies

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Work-diary entries

/BP 21, p. 255/

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The other day, two Gentlemen belonging to [d] the Province of new Hampshire in New England (whence they came not long since) & imploy'd by that Colony to his Majesty here, answer'd me that in the Winter the Coldest Wind that blowes in their Country, is the Northwest: & being ask'd again, what was their hottest Wind in Summer, they told me it was likewise the Northwest; at which Answer being surpris'd, I ask'd them whether they could give any Reason of so odd a Phænomenon. Whereto they answer'd that they ascrib'd it to the large tract of the Continent, & the great [d] Woods that lay to the Northwest, which Woods, they said, in the Winter, had their Branches, through which the Wind past, all laden with Snow: & in the Summer, they said, the close Air of the Valleys, & the thick steams that fill'd it would conceive so intense a Heat, that sometimes <in the heat of Summer> when a sudden puff of Wind blew upon their Faces from those sultry vales, it seem'd to them as if it came out of the Mouth of a furnace, & would be ready to overcome them with the Faintness produc'd by the Heat & vapours it brought along with it.


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An inquisitive Gentleman, whose Curiosity led Him to visit <some> Iron Mines that are in and near [d] a Mountain in Switzerland called [blank space in MS, 10-12 characters] (subject to the Canton of Bern) was by the Owner of the Mine, who perceiv'd Him to be vers'd in Mineral Affairs, & lodg'd in his own House: & because the Physician (for so the Relator is) [d] came to see [d] not only the Oars but the <rare> Plants, with which that Mountain is said to abound, the Mine master inform'd Him of severall Particulars worth observation about them, & among other <things> told Him, that there grew an Herb which gather'd at a convenient time & suffer'd to dry would shine in the night like rotten Wood; & that tho' He had divers times made Tryal of it, yet He had never done it successfully <above> once or twice, but that then <it> fully answer'd his expectation, & to convince his Guest, that this Shining Vertue was no fabulous thing, He lodg'd Him in a handsom Room, from whose Cieling this Plant was suspended, which gave my Relator the opportunity to observe that it [d] gave a Light much like that of rotten Wood, which lasted all night, till the greater Light of the Morning made it disappear. This He <nightly> observ'd during 3 or 4 nights that He lodg'd in that House, & about this Plant, thô He could not answer all my Queries, yet He reply'd to some by telling me first that at the place it self the Herb had not yet a Name: [d] 2. that it was not unlike an old Cut I show'd Him in a Book of Gesners, of a Plant growing in Switzerland, which the Author calls in high dutch [blank space in MS, ] & in Latine [blank space in MS, ] & is somewhat like [blank space in MS, ] 3. that this Plant did not begin to shine, till it had hung in the Air /BP 21, p. 256/ < 6 or 8 Moneths, & was grown through dry but not friable (which my Relator also found it not to be.) 4. that [d] as well the Stem & Stalks as the Leaves were luminous. 5. that <the Owner> did not precisely observe the Time when He gather'd it, but that as far as He remember'd it was about St Johns Tyde (viz. the 24th of June.) 6. that [d] when my Relator saw this Plant, it had remain'd suspended about three year, & consequently had <continu'd to> shine about two years & a half.>


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<[> Haveing put the yellowish tincture made of saffron with the Spirit of Sal Armoniac or of urine upon the fillings of Copper, it did as I expected become green upon the Metal, but the colour did neither appear early, nor was clear, but <rather much> troubled, after some dayes the greeness almost quite disappeared, and the liquor appeared more <clear> than before but of a more turbid yellow. afterwards being unwilling to wait longer [d] in expectation <of a> further change, I unstopped the vial and <gave> the air free access to the liquor; but <we saw no> greennes suddenly produced att the top, and it was 15 or 20 minuts before we perceived the body of the liquor to be turned green. and this new colour did now as formerly make the liquor appear troubl'd <and> semiopacous <)>


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Non orbis Gentem, non Urbem Gens habet ulla,
Urbsve Domum, Dominum nec Domus ulla parem

Respon.
Qui Populum censu, Vicines cæde, Brittanos
Fraude, Hostes auro quos nequit Ense domat.
Fur Patriæ, Europæ Prædo, Mahumedis Amicus,
En Dominum cui non dat domus ulla Parem


/BP 21, p. 257/

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Brussels Aprill the 30 1683

They write from Gelderland of a very Great Tempest that happen'd there on Easter day, that in many places there fell hail stones weigheing above a pound, that much cattle was kild, & corn spoyl'd & many trees torn up by the Roots. We had <at> the same time likewise a very great Tempest here but it did not <do> so much harm as in other [d] parts.


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An ingenious Teacher of Mathematicks, having occasion to make a Composition for a new Fire Engine, whereof he was to show his Majesty a Tryal, mingled divers Ingredients in an Earthen Pot over <kindled coals> but could not, or did not, do it so warily but that the Matter took Fire & began to blaze furiously, which oblig'd him to stifle the Flame as hastily as he could; & having remov'd the vessel from the Fire, & suffer'd it to <grow> cold, when afterwards he came to look upon it, to see if what remain'd might be of any use to him, he was surpris'd to find it variously & briskly mov'd. Wherefore having set it aside, to be sure that it might be throughly cold, he after some hours visited it again, & found it move as before. And having cast store <of> Seeds upon it, to see if the Liquor would move them also, the Bituminous part of it connected them into a kind of thick scum, that cover'd most of the superficies; but yet left some Intervals, in which the Liquor appear'd, & discover'd that it continu'd its Motions. Two dayes after the Engineer discoursing with me of his Fire work, about which he had advis'd with me before, told me among other things of this odd Accident. And when I had ask'd him if the Motion continu'd still, & had been answer'd affirmatively, thô it was then a dark night & ill Weather, my diffidence or my Curiosity made me [d] engage him to send for the Pot as it was, partly to be sure of the matter of fact, & partly to try if the knowledge I had of the Ingredients, which he had before told me, would <afford> any hint of the Cause of so odd an effect. [d] Alike to which in kind, thô not in degree, I had many years before devis'd & successfully practis'd the way of producing.

The vessel being come, thô the hasty transportation of it [d] seem'd to have sufficiently disturb'd it, there did appear manifest Signs of such a Motion as the Engineer had ascrib'd to it; & therefore he being willing to leave it with me, I caus'd it to be set [d] aside in a Laboratory, where some Furnaces kept the Air constantly warm, & did there & elsewhere at distant times look heedfully upon it, now and then /BP 21, p. 258/ displacing or quite taking off, some of the thick [d] scum that too much cover'd the surface of it; & by this means I had the opportunity to take notice of severall Phænomena, whereof these are the chief.

First I observ'd that the Motion of the Liquor was not only brisk, but very various: so that having loosen'd some small portions of the Scum from the rest, one of them would be carry'd [d] towards the Right hand <for instance> & another towards the Left, at the same time. 2. Where the Liquor first came out from under the Scum, it seem'd to move the most briskly, flowing almost like a Stream, whose Motion upwards had been chok'd & as it were reverberated, by that incumbent Obstacle. 3. Severall Motions in this Liquor were the more easy to be observ'd, because thô it were dark, yet it was not uniform, consisting in part of Oyly & Bituminous Ingredients, which thô they seem'd to have but one comon superficies with the rest of the Liquor, yet by their Colours & power of vigorously reflecting the Light they were easily enough distinguishable from the rest. And I often observ'd that some of these <unctuous portions of the unctuous [d] matter> emerging to the surface of the Liquor, thô <perhaps> at first one of them would not appear bigger than a Pins head, yet in moving forwards it would at the same time diffuse it self circularly, & make as it were a great Halo, adorn'd with the Colours of the Rainbow, & so very vivid as [d] afforded a pleasant <& at first surprising> Spectacle. These [d] Phantasms often nimbly succeeding one another, & lasting till they lost themselves against or under the thick Scum. 4. The Motions of this odd Liquor were not only various, but frequently vortical; <[d]> to be satisfy'd of which I sometimes put <short> bits of Straw or fragments of some such light stuff upon the discover'd part of the surface of the Liquor, by which they were carry'd to <wards> very distant, if <not> opposite, parts of the vessel at the same time. But to make the vortical motion more evident, I severall times detach'd considerably large pieces of the thick Scum from the rest of the Body, & had the pleasure to see them move, both with a Progressive Motion in crooked lines, & with a Motion about their own [d] middlemost parts. All this while the Liquor whose Parts were thus briskly mov'd, was actually Cold as to sense. 5. To observe what the presence or absence of the free Air would do to this Liquor, I caus'd many spoonfulls of it, with some of the Scum, to be put into a Cylindrical Glass, which tho' large it self had a neck belonging to it, that was but about the bigness of ones thum, that it might be well stopt with a Cork. But having by this means kept the free Air from having <[d]> a full & immediate contact with the whole surface of the mixture, as it had when that Mixture lay in the widemouth'd vessel, I could not perceive /BP 21, p. 276/ the Liquor to move to & fro, no not thô the Orifice of the Neck were left open. Whereas having at the same time pour'd some of the Liquor into a very shallow & wide-mouth'd vessel, call'd in the shops a clear-cak'd Glass, rather more than less <nimbly &> variously [d] than in the great Earthen Pot (which <yet> was of the same shape) & show'd us many of those vivid & self dilating Circles that have been mentiond in the third number. And these by the fineness of their Colours, & the Quickness wherewith they succeeded one another, afforded a delightfull Spectacle, as long as I stay'd to [d] observe the Liquor. 6. Thô the motions of the hitherto mention'd Liquor did not seem to be alwayes equally brisk, yet they appear'd to continue manifest & various in some diversities of Weather as to Cold & Heat, & <when I look'd on it> by Candle light as well as <by> Day-light. And when being not well enough to visit it my self, I sent one purposely to look upon it about ten a clock at night, he brought me word that it continu'd to move as formerly & so it has done for 10 dayes. And how much longer it will continue to do so, Time must determine.


/BP 21, p. 259/

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C. K. answer'd me, that the Cinnamon Tree, thô it grow not big enough to afford Timber, yet it is often us'd by the Natives in their Buildings, & was imploy'd by Him also to the same purpose: but that the Wood has no smell at all. The Natives also often use it for Firing.


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He told me that in Ceylon they make Butter without Churns, by an odd way which He describ'd but that they know not how to make Cheese, nor do use any.


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Sir W. S. Answer'd me, that the Natives of the Caribee Islands under his government, learn from their Childhood to be Swimers & Divers; & that several times when the English had surpris'd them in their Canoes, they would hastily cast themselves into the Sea, & swim away quite under Water, till they judg'd themselves clear out of the reach of the English Fowling Pieces, divers of which would shoot a Bullet a great way above half a mile.


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The same Governour assur'd me that He saw there not long since, a Boy of about 12 or 13 year old, whose Father & Mother were both Negros; & yet this Boy is as white all over, as if He had been born of English Parents; &, which I think the most strange, His Hair is neither black nor dark, nor grows not <long> like the Europeans, but like Wool as that of other Negro's, who are thereby distinguishd, [d] almost as much as they are by their Colour, from other Men.


/BP 21, p. 260/

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C. K. told me that in our East Indian Navigations, when the experienc'd Pilots, after having sail'd at a convenient distance along the Coast of Afric, come to find the variation of the Compass to be from 7 ½ degrees to about 9 degrees, thô they <should> be 200 leagues off of the Land, & consequently far out of sight of the [d] Hills, yet they would know that they are under or near the Meridian of the Cape (as He expresses it) or have reach'd the height or latitude of the Cape; & that by sailing no very great way further, they will have doubled it. And He assur'd me that <upon that ground> He himself had 3 severall times doubled that <great> Cape, without once coming [d] within ken or sight of it. And so by finding the variation of the Needle to be so many degrees, our Pilots know themselves to be in a due Course to pass the Strait of Sunda, tho they are far from being near enought to descry the high lands of the Isle of Java or any other Countrey. And lastly He told me that, when sailing in the east Ocean to find that little Spot of Ground called Helena, they perceiv'd the variation to decrease more & more, till it come to one degree or thereabouts, they conclude, that they are in a good Course to reach the Iland [d] in a short time, & find themselves by the event confirmed in their Conjecture.


/BP 21, p. 261/

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Yesterday being visited by Sir William Stapleton, a grave & experienc'd Gentleman, who for many years has been Governour of several English Islands in America, I ask'd him divers Questions about those Parts, whereto He readily & civilly return'd Answers, [d] which may be summ'd up to this effect.


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First He told me, that the Indians <of the Island> Nevis (or Mevis) have a Poyson with which they infect their Arrows, which makes the Wounds receiv'd from them exceeding dangerous or mortal: but that He & the other English, when <they> had sometimes occasion to fight with them, were carefull to go provided with an Antidote that secur'd them from the fatal Effects of the Poyson. This He told me was the juice of a Plant, <peculiar to that Countrey> with which the Wound was dress'd. But if the Juice [d] could not be had seasonably or in sufficient quantity, the Plant was well chaw'd & so reduc'd to <a> kind of Mash, some of which was put into the Hurt & the rest bound on upon it. He could not describe the Plant to me, only said it was no taller than a Shrub, & bore a pretty Flower; but told me He has it growing in His Gardens, & promis'd to send for some of it to be brought over to me. He added that His Wife had given the Juice with great success in Feavers.


/BP 21, p. 262/

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A noble Venetian curious & inquisitive, told me yesternight, that He went purposely to visit a Place in the grand Dukes Dominions, distant about a dayes Journey from Florence towards Bolonia. And that <[d]> being arriv'd there, He found upon a [d] rising ground <a Hole> of some feet in diameter, & loose stones about the Orifice & that out of this Cavity there issu'd a constant Flame [d] almost as wide as it, & that [d] reach'd above it to the height of an ordinary man or thereabouts. This Flame was brightest, as it was reasonable it should be, in the night, but it was neither blew like that of Sulphur nor as yellow as that of ordinary wood Flames, but much more pale. There came no bad Odour out of the Hole, thô the smell was strong enough, 'twas neither manifestly sulphureous, nor bituminous, but had a kind of Balsamic Odour. And the Earth about the Orifice being grated [d] pretty deep, would afford some little temporary Flames. My Relator <the third year> after He first saw the Pit, coming again to view it, found it to afford Flames as it had before.


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An intelligent Merchant, that had long liv'd at Aleppo answer'd me, that in some Places near that Town, divers Gardners that cultivated great store of Cabbages, were wont plentifully to feed their Cows with the leaves of those Plants, which in that hot Countrey had their sapid Parts so copious & subtile, that they past through all the Digestions of the Animal, & did so strongly imbue the Flesh, that after it was boyl'd & brought to the Table, it tasted like Beef & Cabbage; but so rankly of the Plant, that He, & other English that were anything choice in their dyet, would, unless for Curiosity, refuse to eat it, leaving it as a Food fit only for meaner People.


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Capt Knoxe related to me, that sailing the last year, over against the Coast of Afric, but at a great distance from it, He came into an almost Red Sea; at which, being much surpris'd, He quickly found that this Change of Colour proceeded from an almost innumerable quantity of Worms, of about a foot long, that were slenderer than small goose quills, & had red Heads. These swam on or near the surface of the Water, with a wrigling motion much like that of Eels, which manifested them to be alive, thô having taken up several of them in a Basket, which He caus'd to be let down in stead of a Net to catch them, they hung as if they were dead. On which occasion I put him in mind, that these Water-worms were of the nature of Harrings, that are wont to dye as soon as they are taken out of the Water. <When> I ask'd Him of what extent this prodigious shoal of swimming Creatures was, He answer'd me, that they judg'd it to be 8 or 10 Leagues long


/BP 21, p. 263/

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This day a Frenchman brought me a fair glass vial with a large neck, capable of containing about 3 Quarts of Water, [d] the bottom of which vessel was cover'd to the height of 2 or 3 inches with whitish Sand & small Gravel of the same Colour, both which lookt very clean. [d] The rest of the vial was filld with Water, at the bottom of which swam up & down 3 Fishes which He had brought from the Danube./ The Germans, He sayes, call them Meergrund. They appear'd to me to be very like our Gudgeons, but much bigger. And these He affirm'd to have Presentiments of the Changes of Weather, that were to happen when it had been settled for some considerable time: so that after it had been long fair, they would against Storms & Rain, ascend frequently to the top of the Water, & there make a noise; which I suppose they do by the eruption of Bubbles out of their Mouths & Gils, as I thought I perceiv'd when one of them, whilst I was looking on, rais'd His Head to the top of the water, [d] if not above it. To my Questions about these Fishes the Owner answer'd me, first that He shifted their Water once in 4 or 5 dayes & sometimes but once in a Week; [d] & sometimes but very seldom, shifted their Sand. 2 that they fed only upon the Water, which lookt clear like good potable Water; & that when He put in Sand & Gravel, there was no Worms or <other> Insects, or anything else that was eatable, mixt with it. 3 that these <Fishes> grew in such Vialls; & that one of those He show'd me, which is nott <much> bigger than a Gudgeon, was as slender as a quill when it was put into that vial. 4 & that the other Fishes had been kept in the same Glass for about 3 year, without any other Aliment than water.


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An observing Gentleman that comes from Jamaica, brought thence a Stone, which He assur'd me He knew to be taken out of the Kidney of a Cow of that Countrey. And indeed the shap of it seem'd favourable to that report. The Bulk of it was considerable, since I found it to weigh 188 grains. But the surface of it was <so> much more so as to be indeed surprising: for it was so <very smooth> & adorn'd with such an Orient-gloss & Colour that at first I suspected it might be some monstrous, overgrown & misshapen Pearl; for I have some much of that Colour, and of odd Figures, but far inferiour to this in bulk. And being desireous to compare its specific Gravity to that of an Oriental Bezoar Stone I had by me, I found our Pearl-like Calculus to common water as 2 13/38 to 1.


/BP 21, p. 264/

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This day Mr [blank space in MS, ] Wake, a person of worth & note, that liv'd some years in the Manilha Islands, told me in the presence of his Brother & another Virtuoso that came with him to visit me, that there was taken upon the Coast there a Merman & a Mermaid, that is a Male & Female of that sort of Creatures, & that He had the good fortune to see them whilst they were yet alive: & when I had ask'd Him some Questions about them He answer'd me, that their Heads were like enough to Human Heads, but their broad & flattish Faces were more like to Monkeys or Baboons. Neither the Male nor the Female had any Beard. Instead of Arms there were fastened to the shoulders certain Organical Parts like great Fins, whose more solid Parts were connected by a kind of strong Membrans; & of those rigid Parts one ([d] if I mistake not the middlemost) reach'd a great way lower than the rest. The stature of these Animals was very great: for He answer'd me that He judg'd the length of the whole to be about twelve foot, & that the length of that Part which seem'd like to a Human Body was not inferiour to an ordinary man. He added, that it was more round than a Human Body. And when I inquir'd after the Compass of it, He promis'd to satisfy me out of the Notes He took in Writing of the Dimensions of the Animal; but said, that as far as [d] He remember'd, the Body was better than 4 foot about. He answer'd me too, that when this Animal was put to swim, the Body lay along in the Water like that of another Fish in the act of Swiming. But that which is the most remarkable in this Creature is, that at some distance below the Navel, it degenerates from Human Shape, & has a Tail like another Fish. The Genital Parts were very manifest, & [d] except that they were not hairy did plainly resemble those of a Man & a Woman.


/BP 21, p. 265/

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Sir John Chardin, a very candid & judicious Traveller, favouring me yesterday with a visit, told me among other remarkable things relating to the East-Indies, (which Countreys he had curiously visited) that he with divers European Merchants <had seen> (& that if I mistake not severall times) an Indian, who by many was thought to be a Magician, that kept tame Serpents of a great bulk. And that when the owner of them plaid upon a Musical Instrument, these Serpents would raise themselves upright into the Air, leaving [d] upon the ground but three or four inches of their tale, upon which they lean'd for their support. He added that at the same time that they erected their Bodyes, they also stretcht & lengthen'd them in a strange & frightfull manner; & whilst they were thus slender, they were taller than He or any man of ordinary stature. But that which appear'd to Him the most wonderfull & surprising was that they manifestly seem'd to be very much affected with the Musick they heard; insomuch that some Parts of the Tune would make them move to & fro with a surprising agility, & some other Parts of it would cast them [d] into a Posture, wherein they seem'd to be half asleep & as it were to melt away with pleasure.


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The Indian that kept these serpents [d] would sometimes, in making sport with them, handle them so rudely that they wold bite Him sharply enough: but yet no sigh of Poyson would ensue, thô he affirm'd them to be venemous Animals. This a young Armenian, that once chanc'd to be by together with our Traveller, would not at all believe, & to verify his Opinion went boldly to the Indian, & laid hold of one of his Serpents, which thereupon bit his hand; & thô great Endeavours were us'd to save him, yet the Symptoms of Poyson increas'd so fast & grew so violent, that in less than twenty minutes (as they found by consulting a Pendulum-Clock /BP 21, p. 266/ that was in the Factory where this happen'd) the poor Armenian dy'd. One thing our Traveller added touching these Serpents that I must not forget, namely that he saw them void their Excrements, that were yellow & of the Shape & bigness of a Pigeons Egg, or rather bigger, as he more than once affirm'd: which oval Excrements were so hard that a knife would not cut them; & they could scarce break them with the Endeavours that would have broken a piece of Marble of that size and figure.


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The same Gentleman related to me, that being off the Coast of Mosambique, between the twentieth & last dayes of September, the Captain of the great Portugal-ship they were in, walking to & fro upon the deck spy'd a great way off a very little dark Cloud, or blackish spot in the Sky: whereupon, thô the Weather were fair, he made all the hast he possibly could to provide for a great storm, by taking in the sails &c. And, thô for a while the Sky continu'd clear, & they had no signs of an imminent change, but that when the Cloud approach'd the Wind that had till then fill'd their Sails ceas'd, & the Sea became calmer than before. But presently after they had a furious Hurricane, which turn'd their Ship quite round many times one after another, as if it were an Aereal Whirlpool, [d] which lasted for above two hours, & then left them, seeming to have a Progressive Motion, as Whirl-pools in Rivers often have.


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The Centenary Jubilè ended this fourteenth Age. After it had been celebrated at Rome, Alexander sent it into the Provinces, & made use of this pious Juncture to animate the Christian Princes to league themselves against the Turks, who &c It seemed as if Heaven invited the Christians to this Enterprise, for during the Years 1500 & 1501 all Germany & the Low Countries saw the shapes of Crosses of all sizes, not only in the Air, but likewise on their Cloaths, especially on their Linnen, as their Shirts, Night-caps, Napkins & Sheets. They were of a confus'd Colour, & most times appear'd Bloody, & could not be scoured out with Soap, but vanish'd by little & little. So many Authors of those Countreys testifye this Prodigy, that it may be believed without too much Credulity. Nor would it be an impossible thing To deduce some Reasons for it from ordinary Causes.


/BP 21, p. 267/

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The ingenious Mr. Ricout the English Consul att Smyrna answered me that in the hills near that City they keep the snow all the year long in deep pitts purposely made in the upper parts of the Hills and that thence the fetch it in sumer time to their houses that stands low & near the sea and tho by reason of the proximity of the water he had no Cellar to his house, yet he could keep the snow three or four dayes, by laying it in a low room & carefully [d] incompassing it with chapt straw that covered it <to> the thicknes of 3 or 4 fingers.


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The same Gentleman told me, that his being att Smyrna, a boat of divers Tuns of Tin & Lead in it that were to be caried to shoare had a plank unfortunately beaten out of it [d] and sunk in a place where the sea was 7 faddom and [d] a half [d] (that is 45 foot deep), to recover which boat [d] a greek diver without the help of any instrument went down to the Bottom of the Sea <several times> and fasten'd crooked Irons to it, by the help of which it was recovered. This being in January the Diver complain'd much of the great cold he felt in the water but he said he felt it less att the bottom than near the upper parts of the sea, but the Cold was so offensive <to him> that after the first time he went down complain'd of a great stiffnes in all his limbs, and would not for several dayes goe into the water again. I askt if [d] he us'd any sponge with oyle in his Mouth; it was answered he did not, being bred from a childe in the Isle of Samos <of which> he was <a> native and where their chief trade to [d] fetch up sponges from the bottom of the sea which is there very deep, in so much that he was <sometimes> forc'd to dive 40 [d] /BP 21, p. 268/ or 50 if not 60 fathoms to come att them he us'd no weight to help him to sink but throw himself into the sea with his head downwards and his heels upward he said he could see, tho not far yet clearly enough in the bottom of the sea att Smyrna, but things appeared to him [d] as if he saw them thorough a glass, I askt whither his Eyes were red to which the Consul answer'd, that he observed no such thinge, but that his eyes lookt strangely, as if they had been cas'd over with glass, and he complained being att the bottom <that> he was not able to shut his eye lids. When I enquired how long he was able to hold his breath att a time I was answered, that it was <about> half a quarter of an hour or between that time and a whole quarter of an hour


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Le 28e octobre, J'enfermay un parfum allumé du poids de 20 grains dans un recipie nt qui contient environ 13 livres d'eau, & l'ayant laissé douze minutes en cet estat, Je vois quil paroissoit tout esteint, & ainsi Je l'ostay et Je trouvay quil y parut encore un peu de feu, mais qui s'eteignit bien tost de luy mesme, quoy que d'ordinaire ce parfum brusle Jusques a sa fin; Je le pesay avec sa cendre, et Je trouvay quil avoit perdu 6 grains de son poids. Le Lendemanin Je repetay la mesme experience, avec les mesmes circumstances sinon que Je Laissay le parfum plus de deux heures de tems, afin d'estre asseuré quil seroit [d] tout esteint ce qui se trouva en effet, et neantmoins la diminution du poids n'estoit encore que de 6 grains.


/BP 21, p. 269/

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A [d] very tall & well set Gentleman, aged about 24 years, by a fall from his Horse had his skull broken in severall Places; & being a person of good estate, had severall Chirurgeons to attend him <in> the course of his Sickness; during which he was divers times Trepan'd, & had severall pieces of his Skull taken off, which left great Chasms (that I have seen & felt) between the <remaining> Parts. Within about three dayes after his fall, this Knight (for so he now is) was taken with a dead Palsey on his right side, which did not equally affect his Arm & his Leg; the use of the latter being sometimes suddenly restor'd to him in some measure, & (thô seldom) after a while almost as suddenly lost; but his Arm <& Hand> were constantly Paralytical, being wholly depriv'd of Motion; & having so little Sense, that it would sometimes lye under his Body without his feeling it. But if his Hand were prickt with a Pin, he could take notice of it. This Palsey continu'd during almost the whole time of the Cure, which lasted 23 or 24 Weeks. And when the Chirurgeons were going to close up his Head, as having no more to do; one of them, who was an ingenious Man & Tenant to his Gentleman, oppos'd all the rest, alleaging that if they did no more, the Gentleman would lead an useless & very Melancholy Life; & that he was confident the Palsey was some way or other occasion'd by the Fall, which had left something in the Head that they had not yet discover'd. And the Knight himself agreeing to this Mans motion, his Head was further laid open; & <at length> under a piece of proud Flesh they found with much ado, a splinter or rather Flake of a Bone, that bore hard upon the dura Mater, & was not pull'd out without a great Hemorrhaging [...] & a stretch of the Parts that made the Patient think <his> Brain it self was tearing out. But this mischief was soon Remedy'd & his Hurts securely heal'd up; <And> he is now a strong Healthy Man, & finds no Inconveninece by having so broad & various a Callus instead of the Skull; save that he is a little obnoxious to take Cold in his Head. But the memorable Circumstances, for whose sake I mention this Narrative, were these. When I ask'd him how big the Bone was that was last taken out, he told me that it was less than half the Nail of one of /BP 21, p. 270/ his Fingers, not his Thumb, & that it was almost as thin, being in size & shape like the Scale of a Fish: but that it did not in his head lye flat, but bore hard upon the dura mater. When I ask'd him how long after it was taken out, he began to feel some relief as to his Paralytic Distemper, he reply'd that in less than five hours he found himself, to his great joy, able to move his little Finger, & (thô this happen'd in the Evening) he was the next morning able to move all his Fingers, & within two or three dayes after to lift up his Arm. By which it seem'd manifest, that so little a Body as the Splinter lately mention'd, produc'd in so robust a Person a Palsey of the whole side it [d] lay on. For when I particularly ask'd him, whether after the taking away of the proud Flesh that encompass'd the little Bone, he [d] did not find, if he found none before, some relief as to his Palsey: [d] he answer'd that he found none at all, till the Bone had been pulld out, which was not till a good while after the Chirurgeon had been <by degrees> eating off the proud Flesh that grew about it. But there was in this case another Phænomenon, that I thought little less considerable than the former. For remembring the important Controversy that is agitated among modern Physicians & Anatomists about Nutrition by the Nerves, & having thereupon ask'd this Knight, whether he did not find <[d]> an Atrophy [d] in the <Limbs> of his Body that were affected; he told me that when he began to be Paralytic on that Side, it by degrees much wasted, & the Paralytic Leg was very much extenuated. But the Arm & Hand much more, seeming nothing but a Systeme of Bones with the Skin pasted on them. And when I further ask'd, if upon the Removal of the Bony Splinter above mention'd, the Atrophy of the Parts did not also begin to lessen; he answer'd affirmatively, & told me that in no very long time, his Leg & Arm recover'd their wonted Dimensions; & in effect, I <(some dayes since)> saw the restor'd Arm well plump'd up with Musculous Flesh, thô the Weather were exceeding Cold. And he further told me, that he found no Difference between the Limbs that had been Paralytic & the others, except that they would grow [d] sooner & more sensibly cold in sharp or Frosty Weather.


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This Gentleman answer'd me, to add that upon the by, that during the course of his cure, he was very frequently (almost /BP 21, p. 271/ every second day) let Blood, that he wanted not Appetite to his Meat, [d] that for the most part he slept indifferent well, &, [d]which was more remarkable[d] upon so great a Hurt of the Head he did not vomit, nor had afterwards any Convulsions.


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Mr Nickson who was 4 years Governour of the English Colony in Hudsons Bay, answer'd me that when they saile within a certain distance of floating Islands of Ice, if the Wind blew from thence toward the Ship, or, as the Seamen speak, if they were Leeward Ice, they could by the new & sensible Cold they felt, [d] know that such Ice lay to Windward of them, <sometimes> even before they were able to discover it by sight. And when I further ask'd, at what distance that might be, he answer'd that, twas sometimes 12 or 15 miles, if not 20. He added that usually when the Wind blew from those great Masses of congeal'd Matter, it brought along with it a foggy Air, which he suppos'd to come (as well as the cold) from the Ice.


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The same Gentleman answer'd me, that in that part of Hudsons-Bay wherein he winter'd, the Rivers began to freeze about the latter end of October or beginning of November, & usually were not free from Ice till about the middle or latter end of May, thô he divers times took the Latitude of Charleton Island, the Place most frequented by the English, & seated at the bottom of the Bay, and found it to be near the same with <that of> London, and at most but about 52 degrees.


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When I inquir'd about the depth of the of the Ice in the Rivers, he answer'd that they had often occasion to observe it, for in the Winter, they made their Wells there, <(& not in the ground)> & were oblig'd to dig about 6 foot deep in the Ice, before they could come at unfrozen Water.


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He anwer'd me, that when they sent their Men up into the Countrey, their Bottles of Brandy would [d] often-times <so> freeze, that about a 4th part of it would be turn'd into Ice. And when I ask'd, whether the unfrozen part of the Liquor was not exceeding /BP 21, p. 272/ strong, he answer'd me that it was, & sometimes so much so, as to be too fiery; & unpleasant to the Tast.


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He answer'd me, that he alwayes found the Ice fresh that floated upon the Sea-water, & <that> when they wanted fresh Water, or had a mind to spare what they had aboard, they often supply'd themselves out of the Cavities of great floating masses of Ice, in which hollow places, the sunbeams thawing some parts of the Ice [d] they <frequently> found store of Liquor, that was produc'd by the action of the <Sunbeams upon the> Superior parts of the Ice, whence the Water ran into these Cavities. He added that when the Seamen <were> in hast they us'd to relieve <the> mselves [d] by [d] cutting or breaking off pieces of the floating Ice, & presently melting it [d] in their Pots.


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He answer'd me that they could very well preserve meat < as Bief etc without salting it,> as long as the Frost lasted, that is during the whole Winter. But when <it was> once throughly frozen they could not dress it so, as to make [d] it relish like good meat.


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He told me that upon Charleton Island they have Flocks of certein Birds, which the English there call Partridges, thô they resemble ours more in bulk than shape, being somewhat like wild Pigeons, but a good deal bigger, These he sayes are white in the Winter & gray in the Summer.


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(He answer'd me that at the Island of [blank space in MS, ] seated <near> the hinder end of Hudsons Straits, the Magnetic Needle varyes /BP 21, p. 273/ about 23 degrees Westward. But about Charleton Island & the Bottom of the Bay, the variation of the Compass is but about 19 degrees.)


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The night before last night Colonel Wardner, who formerly commanded as Governour the Island & English Colony of Antego, related to me that being order'd by my Lord Willoughby to make some depredations upon the neighbouring Indians, that had causelessly done much mischief to the English, he attaqu'd <many of> them, & took a considerable number <of> Prisoners, with which he sail'd back towards his Island. But before he could reach it, was stopt by a flat Calm, which continuing in that hot Climate, soon brought his Men to great distress for want of fresh Water. Upon this occasion he was told that among his Prisoners [d] there was an old Woman, that was a famous Pyey or <Indian> Sorceress & Priest, who could procure Winds when she pleas'd, as the Lap-landers are said to do. This Woman, thô at first slighted, He being press'd by Thirst & Curiosity at length <thô not without some reluctancy in his Conscience,> sent for, & representing to her the ill condition wherein the obstinate Calm had put her Countrymen <that were Prisoners in his Fleet,> as well as the English, desir'd her, if she could, to procure them Wind, with promise of recompence if she did it, which the old Hag undertook, & having [d] imploy'd some Charms & Ceremonies that he understood not, blew at length into a hollow Callibash (or great Indian Gourd,) soon after which the <Sky> that before was very clear, began to be overcast with very dark Clouds, which afforded both Thunder, Lightning, & a brisk Storm both of Rain & Wind. And when I ask'd whether that Wind might come from an Island, which he told me was not very far off when the Calm stopt them, he reply'd that it did not, for it blew quite another way, & also a very differing way from the Trade wind, that blows constantly one way at that time of year in those Parts. These things he solemnly affirm'd to me in the presence of the ingenious Dr. C. who accompany'd him when he did me the favour to visit me.


/BP 21, p. 274/

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This same inquisitive Colonel Warner, being ask'd by me divers Questions concerning the <famous> Poyson that is made by the Indian Natives of Antego & some of the neighbouring Countreys, <told me by way of> answer among other things 1. that the Indians [d] made their Poyson of the Mancenilla-Tree, but not of the Juice of the lovely Apple or Fruit that it bears, thô that also be venemous; but of a milky juice that they gain by Incisions made in the bark of the Tree; which Juice resembling the Milk of the Fig-Tree, they receive in a Calibash, & then dip into it the Heads of their Arrows, upon which by the heat of the Climate it dryes into a Wafer-like Body, that when a Wound is made slips off, & the Arrow remains in the hurt. 2 That he himself was in a Fight with the Indians hurt with one of those poyson'd Arrows, thô the Hurt it self was inconsiderable, the Arrow having but lightly gras'd along the ball or bottom of his Thumb, & not penetrated beyond the Cutis, yet it gave him a very high Feaver accompany'd with an intolerable Thirst; & besides put him to such tormenting Pain in the Part it self, that he would have thank'd any Body that would have knock'd him on the Head to rid him of it, & was fain to keep a guard upon one of his Officers, who was hurt in the Thigh with one of those fatal Arrows, to hinder the rage of his Torment from making him lay violent hands upon himself. 3 That as for the Cure, it was wrought /BP 21, p. 275/ by help of the Antidote I had heard of, by one of those old Women or Peyeys that the Indians make use of as well for Physicians as Priests & Sorceresses. This Woman first suck'd the wounded Part, by which means her Lips & the Palat of her Mouth were very much swell'd: & having chew'd the Antidote very well, she blew her impregnated Spittle into the Hurt, as far as she could, & laid the rest of the chew'd Matter upon it in the manner of a Pultis, upon which [d] she bound a rag or cloth to keep it on. By these Means the Pain was quickly appeas'd & the Part afterwards heal'd. This being the way of Cure practis'd by the Indians themselves, from whom the English could never by any art <or menace> learn what their Antidote was, till of late, that a - crafty person being with an Indian & his Boy in the Salvages garden, the English man watching his opportunity, when the man was stept a little out of the way upon a sudden occasion, wheedl'd the Boy into a Discovery of this so studiously & obstinately conceal'd Antidote, which the English man finding to be a Plant in shape & bigness somewhat like Ginger, he made a shift to steal a root of it, & planted it in an English Garden, to the great trouble of the Salvages, who would have kill'd the Boy, when they suspected him to have discover'd their Secret, if the English had not prevented it by securing him in their Colony. They have now made a shift to get <by propagation> a pretty number of these Antidotal Plants, which the Colonel expects by the next Ship from Antego, & makes me hope I shall be a sharer with him.


/BP 21, p. 276/

/BP 21, p. 277/

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[d] Sr M. V. [blank space in MS, ] a very intelligent person, that presided in the English Factory on the Coast of Coromandel in East India, answer'd me (yesterday) that, thô He be not forward to admit Witchcrafts or Inchantments, yet He allow'd that the Story I had been told [d] about the Serpents in those Parts, might be very true. For He related to me, that He had several times seen ignorant & pitifull Peasants bring long serpents, (sometimes 3 or 4 foot long or upwards, & [d] proportionably thick) coil'd up like Roaps in Baskets; & that, upon muttering of certain Words in a dolefull kind of Tone, these Serpents would erect themselves, &, leaning upon their Tails & a little more of the lower part of their Bodies, would move to & fro in an odd manner [d] but in an erected posture, & continue a kind of rude Dance, as long as the Indians <ridiculous> Musick lasted; & afterwards suffer'd themselves quietly to be coyld up, & put into the Baskets again. When I ask'd Him, whether He had observ'd these Serpents to be poysonous, He answer'd that He never saw any Tryal made of their venom, but that 'twas generally believ'd it was very dangerous, <when not> mortal. (And I remember the other day when I propos'd the same Question to an ingenious man, that not long since practis'd Physick upon that Coast, He answer'd, that He had not known them bite Men or Women; but that [d] having try'd their venom upon some Beasts, their Bitings prov'd mortal to them.) But that which I thought the most remarkable in Sr M. V's Account of this Affair, was, that these Indians did not only, by muttering certain Words affect these Serpents, which I suspected they might have before hand tam'd & train'd up by other means; but they would charm wild ones that they had never seen, and by their Spells bring them out of their lurking Places in the Ground. And when I ask'd, How He knew so strang a thing to be true, He answer'd that He knew it by Experience; & particularly by this Tryal. That having one day, as He went abroad, observ'd one of these Serpents to get into a Hole, & hide Himself there, He sent for one of these Indian charmers, & gave /BP 21, p. 278/ Him notice that a Serpent lurk'd thereabouts, which He desir'd to have call'd out. Whereupon the Indian muttering certain Words, the Serpent came out of His Hole, and was seiz'd on by Him.


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Yesterday being visited by Captain S [blank space in MS, ] an observing Gentleman, that had made a good stay in the Kingdom of Bengale, & had sail'd also in the South Sea, & particularly to Bantam; the Answers He return'd to Questions I had time & opportunity to make Him, were to this purpose.

1. That the Indian Brahmanes He convers'd with were very illiterate Men; but yet that the Physicians [d] among them, & other Indians that practis'd Physic in Bengale, cur'd the Diseases of those Countreys happily enough; insomuch that He made use of their Remedyes with good success instead of our European ones.


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2. That They seldom imploy'd any Medicines but Simples, & usually but one at a time. And such Remedyes as were capable of the following way of preparation, as Woods, Roots, Barks, & Minerals (of which last sort they use but very few) they <for the most part> prepard only by grinding them with Water upon a Stone, till they had obtain'd a sufficient quantity of a kind of Mud, of which they gave the Patient the Doses they judg'd fit pretty frequently.


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3. That this way they prepar'd a certain Wood, which the Portugese there call Raeis de Solare [d] that look'd almost like Juniper & which I found to be bitter in Tast. This Remedy <thô it be not the Bark but the Wood of the Tree> they much esteem against Agues. And Captain S. [blank space in MS, ] told me He <had> severall times given it with very good success, instead of Jesuites Bark. [d]


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4. That for Dysenteries, which are Diseases very rife in Bengale, their Physicians use a [d] very odd & unpromising Remedy, viz. a strong Decoction <made> of powder'd Rice & black Pepper grossly beaten. This Decoction, being strain'd affords a kind of Gelly, which thô it <tast almost as> strong of the Pepper as if one were chewing that Spice, yet they give it the Patient plentifully. And He added, that He himself try'd it upon sick people with good success.


/BP 21, p. 279/

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5. That He knowes an English Gentleman whose Name He told me, that had been <troubl'd> many Moneths with Spitting of Blood, & great pains in one of His sides, whereby He was brought to be almost a skeleton, & yet was afterwards cur'd by a few doses of a Root that they call in Bengala, Raeis (if I mistake not) Boutoun.


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6. That they have in Bengale excellent Antidotes for the Poysons natural to those Countreys. But that there is one sort of Serpents, whose Name He remembers not, that uses to place himself upon the tops of Trees near Highways & Paths, & from thence shoots himself down upon unwary Travellers, & as soon as He has hurt them regains the upper part of the Tree, which sort of Serpents, He sayes, has a Poyson that works so quick & so strongly, that almost alwayes before Antidotes can be apply'd, the Patient dyes. And when I ask'd Him, Whether He had seen any Serpent of this kind, He answer'd me that He never did see any, nor desir'd to do it; the Natives himself being so fearfull of this mischievous Creature, that when they discover it afar off, they fly from it as if it were the Devil.


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7. That it might well be credited, which I had heard concerning some Indians, that carry about long serpents coyl'd up in Baskets, & when they please <take> them out, & make them raise themselves upon their Tails, & in that erected posture make divers rude Motions that some call their Dancing. For of this Story He among many others had been an Eye-witness. And He answer'd me that thô the Serpents He saw were not so long, yet there were of that kind, that had some three, some four, & some five or more in length. And He further answer'd me, that thô He had not known any Tryal made of the venemosity upon Men, yet [d] having caus'd a Pullet to be bitten by one of them, it dy'd very quickly.


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8. That the Stones that are said to be taken out /BP 21, p. 280/ of that sort of Serpent they call Cobrodi Capelle, which <sort of> Animals He told me He saw in the Indies, are not really taken in the form we have them, out of the Heads of those or any other Serpents,but are factitious things, & made by the Brahmans with much Ceremony & some superstitious Rites. He further told me that one of the Brahmans inform'd Him, that [d] these Stones were made chiefly of the Ashes of a certain kind of Serpents; but how far they [d] burnt those Animals, <& what they add to make up the Antidotal Stone, and about> other Questions relating to it, I could not be inform'd.


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9. That the Antidotal Stones that were genuine or duly made, had really the vertue of curing the bites of venemous Serpents. He added, that to omit other Instances, He was call'd to an English man, that had been bitten in the Hand by a very venemous Serpent, whose Arm He found, before He came, to be very much swell'd & discolour'd; which Symptomes were accompany'd with a terrible Pain, thô there had past but half an hour since He was bitten. But upon the application of the Stone, thô the Tumour persever'd for a good while after, yet the Pain was quickly appeas'd & the danger soon over. of which very Stone the Relator <having been> pleas'd, <in spite of my reluctancy,> to make me a Present, I found it as big as almost any two that I had formerly either try'd or seen.


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The great Factitious Snake-stone [d] excellent for the Bites of venemous Creatures, weighed {drachm} 1 + 12 gr.


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An intelligent person that was for many years Consul of the English Nation at Tripoli in Barbary, being ask'd some Questions about the Air & the Winds in those Parts, answer'd me that, when <in summer time> the Wind blew over the great Sandy Deserts, that reach very far into the Countrey; the Wind & the Sand it brought along with it, oftentimes felt as hot as the Steams that come out of <an oven when> the [d] Mouth [d] is open'd, insomuch /BP 21, p. 281/ that He could not without great Inconvenience, turn his face towards the Quarter whence the Wind blew.


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The same Gentleman being Governour of the Castle call'd of the Coast, belonging to the English African Company, in Guiney, being discours'd with by me, about the Diseases incident to that very unhealthy place, & about the Worms that breed in Mens Legs; told me that the great noxiousness of the Air was not constant, but frequently ceas'd & return'd within no long Compass of time, insomuch that <all> his Men would continue in health for many dayes together, & then on a sudden divers of them would fall sick, especially of Feavers & Fluxes, that usually kill them in [d] 8 hours or less.


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The <inquisitive> governour of the English Port at Cape-Coast in Afric told me, that having observ'd his Men to be much subject, as well as the Negros, to the painfull & dangerous Worms that breed in Mens Legs, & conjecturing that the Cause of this mischief might be the Corruptness of the Waters that are found abroad in the Countrey; He caus'd a Tank or artificial Pond well floor'd to be skillfully made & carefully kept, to receive the Rain-water, which after the Dust was wash'd off the Houses, should fall upon the Buildings of the Fort; & having by this means constantly supply'd his Men with uncorrupted Water, He found that no more of them were infested with those troublesome Worms.


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The same Gentleman, <who is a great Traveller,> confirm'd me by his Observations, the Opinion I had of distill'd Water, assuring me that He found that [d] by his Experience He was led to look upon well condition'd Rain-water as the best sort of Water for wholesomeness.


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An ingenious Danish Gentleman that visited me two dayes since, told me, that being a while ago in Norway, He visited the Mines of [blank space in MS, ] which are considerably deep, & observ'd with others that the Water at the bottom did rise & fall, answerably to the flowing & ebbing of the Sea, thô they be distant from it above 200 of our Miles; which argues that there are some Subterraneal Channels, by which the Communication must be made between such distant Waters.


/BP 21, p. 282/

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The same Gentleman deny'd that the Norwegian Sea is in many Places near so deep as 'tis made by common report; which Report He imputes to the laziness of the Seamen, or their not being sufficiently provided with sounding Lines.


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An intelligent man that spent divers years in Hudsons Bay, assur'd me that about 80 or 100 miles up in the Countrey there is a great Fresh water Lake, [d] that <by> daily rising & subsiding emulates the Ebbing & Flowing of the Sea. And when I ask'd Him how He came to know this, He told me he discover'd it by chance. For having stuck a <long> Pole into the Lake, to hang [d] a Net upon, when He came many hours after to the same place, He was surpris'd to see the surface of the Water cut a part of the Pole considerably distant from that it formerly rested at. [d] And by this Accident He was invited to make those further Observations that assur'd Him of the Ebbing and Flowing of this Lake, which is of large extent & Considerable depth.


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An ingenious Gentleman, that was imploy'd in the French Colony on the Coast of Afric, & liv'd in those Parts about 5 years, answer'd me, That in the Island of St. Louis or near it, at <a certain> season of the year, when the hot Winds blew from the Continent, the Sand on the Shores would be so scorching hot, that He was not able to stand upon it, but it would through the Soles of his Shoes scorch his Feet unless He walk'd very fast. And then the air seem'd to Him to be thick &, as He express'd it, heavy, & hot as if it came out of an Oven. And when the Wind blew from a Wood where divers Elephants & other wild Beasts lay dead, [d] the Steams of their Carcases would make the air so stinking & offensive that it was scarce supportable.


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The same Gentleman answer'd me, that up in the Countrey they had a real Gold-mine, but did not know how to work it with any skill; but that the best thing He knew them do, was, to mark an old /BP 21, p. 283/ dry Tree, growing in the Ground at the lower part of some Rock or Hillock, abounding with Metalline Matter. This Tree they would set on fire, & then with other combustible stuff keep it burning 14 or 15 dayes, that the Soil might be as 'twere Calcin'd, & in part melted; & then throwing it into a Pit furnish'd with Water, they would reduce as much as they could into a kind of Mud; whence they would pick out what golden stuff they could get.

He answer'd me, that besides the Sand-Gold, as they call it, there was in the place above mention'd some little bits that deserv'd the name of Oar; & that He had seen there some small lumps, that were still as 'twere of a piece, with the Fragments of a kind of hard Flintstone on which they seem'd to grow, & to which they most strongly adher'd.


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He answer'd me, that 'twas usual on that coast to have Elephants Teeth that weighed from 80 to 90 or 100 lb a piece: but that He weighed severall, that were not lookt on there as great Rarities, that amounted to seven score lb or upwards.

He answer'd me, that, notwithstanding the great Heat of the Climate, & the unhealthiness of the Air to Foraigners; those Natives that are of a good Constitution, live oftentimes to a great Age. And He nam'd to me one of their Princes or chief Captains, that was lately alive, & probably is so still, that was about six score year old; & yet so vigorous, that 2 or 3 year before He attain'd that Age, He had Children which He begot upon his own Grand-Children; the Idolatrous Priests allowing Him, as a Prerogative, that Incest. [d] He answer'd me too, that, notwithstanding the great Heat of the Climate, the Negros have as good Appetite as other People, & eat oftner than the Europeans.


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He answer'd me, that the famous Poyson said to be made by the Negros, is a kind of Milk or Juice of a Plant, which they by grinding incorporate exactly with the Leaves of the same Plant & that so small a quantity of it [d] will serve /BP 21, p. 284/ to poyson, that they usually hide a dose of it in one of their long Nails. And if a man be not very watchfull, they will by dextrously filling him out Drink, according to the Custome of the Countrey, poyson Him, thô He <pledge them in> the same Liquor, & in the same Cup, which He saw them imploy just before. < And of such nimble Poysoners He told me some Negros He had oblig'd, gave him warning & show'd them to Him. Upon which He devis'd a way of <securely> drinking with them, that was very odd & pleasant, <as> He describ'd it, & yet practicable.> He further answer'd me that the Europeans have yet found no Antidote against this deadly poyson [d] of whose fatal Effects upon Dutch, English &c He gave me several Instances. But He added that some of the black Physicians knew how to cure it. On which occasion He told me that one of the chief of the Hollanders, having been thus poyson'd, & being an eminent person, there was a Consult for Him of the European Chirurgeons & others that were thought to have any skill in Physic. But thô by [d] Clysters, Cathartics & other wayes, they did all they could to procure an Evacuation, they could never compass it, but He remain'd for 8 dayes without a Stool, & tormented with dismal pains in his Head & elsewhere. Which being related to the petty King of the Place, He said his Physician should cure Him, thô He came very late. And this Black gave Him a Medicine, which wrought strongly downwards, & somewhat upwards; & the next day gave Him another Dose of the same, which then operated more kindly. By which two doses He was presently & throughly cur'd

He told me also that they have there a Serpent of a blackish Colour & 5 or 6 foot in length, & sometimes much longer, that would spit, or dart as it were, its venom at those that pass by, or any way provoke or disturb it, to the distance of 7 or 8 foot.


/BP 21, p. 285/

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Yesterday a curious person came to show me a monstrous Pearl, if I may so call it, because it was very irregularly shap'd & of an enormous bigness. [d] For thô it were so artificially set in Gold, that by the help of a little of that Metal fitly plac'd, here & there, the <whole Jewel> represented a Lyon, yet I made a shift to measure it <exactly enough> with a pair of Calapar Compasses, (as they call those whose Legs are made arch-wise) & found the length to be just an inch & a half, & the greatest breadth (where yet it was of a proportionate thickness) to be 8/10 or ⅘ of an inch. The Colour was Orient enough, all but one [d] dark spot, which by it size, figure, & situation, I guess'd to <be> the remains of that Part (whether like an umbilical Cord or no) whereby it was fastened to the [d] Naker or shell of the fish that produc'd it.


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Captain (or Mr) Bond, that liv'd above seven years on the Coasts of Hudsons Bay, & frequented them 14 or 15 years; answer'd me this day, that, if, not long before you come to the Straits-Mouth, you observe the Declination of the Needle, or, as they call it, the variation of the Compass, & afterwards observe the same again when you are got into the Strait, thô perhaps you have not sail'd 8 or 10 leagues in it; you'l find about 4 degrees <increase> of variation, which here as in all the rest of the strait is westward. He further affirm'd to me, that in one place, [d] where yet the <breadth of the> Strait (for that Circumstance I particularly inquir'd after) was but about 15 Leagues. He found, I say, the variation to differ almost a Point, that is eleven degrees; which would appear scarce credible, if it were not countenanc'd by the Relations I have had from the Governour of Hudsons Bay, & a Table of Observations of the several strangely great, & yet very differing declinations of the Needle in several parts of the Straits & perhaps in the opposite Shores of the same part.


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Capt Bond also answer'd me, that when they were out at Sea, they could sometimes, at the distance of about 10 or 12 Leagues, know that they had great Floats of Ice to the Windward of them, not only by the /BP 21, p. 286/ moisture & dampness of the wind, but by a superadded piercing Coldness. And when I ask'd, what bulk or extent these Floats of Ice might be of? He answer'd that He had sometimes observ'd a single mass or float, to be by His Estimate a Mile in Compass: but that when divers of these chanc'd to be jumbled together, they would sometimes cover a very great part of the visible Portion of the Sea. ǠHe likewise answer'd me, that in the Bay the Ice does not usually begin to forsake them, so as to float away, before the Moneth of June: & till that time it freezes most nights, thô in May the Heat is wont to be considerable in the day time.


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He also told me, that in Summer they would often be molested with a sultry Heat: but that even then, if the Wind chanc'd to chop about to the North or North-East, the Air would be so refrigerated, that within perhaps two or three Hours a Hoar-frost would be produc'd.


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I spoke to Him of what happen'd in Ciberia, of the Earth that is never thaw'd, if it lye so much as a foot under the surface of the Ground. And He assur'd me that <on> the Coast of Hudsons Bay, in the thick Woods, their shade, & the deep moss that is commonly found at the feet of the Trees, did so keep off or weaken the Sun-beams, that generally at the depth of 6 or 8 Inches, beneath the surface of the Ground it self, they found the Earth hard & frozen, as they had [d] some times occasion to observe to their trouble, when they were to erect some temporary timber buildings in the Woods.


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He answer'd me, that He could not say upon his own knowledge, that Hudsons Bay was colder than Russia: yet by some <Swedes & Muscovites> Yuits, as he calls them, that had occasion to come to the Bay, He was told that they felt it colder there than in their own respective Countreys.


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He told me, that the Snows often lye about four foot deep upon the Ground, & continue so for 4 or 5 Moneths. He answer'd me, that He never could observe Quicksylver to freeze, thô sometimes He kept it in such slender vessels as Quills, & that He never observ'd Brandy to freeze in Bottles; but if it chanc'd to hang from any shelving Body, it would concrete into a kind of Icicles.


/BP 21, p. 287/

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He farther inform'd me that to keep their Beer fluid, they only bury'd their Barrels about four foot under the surface of the Ground; the Cold being not able to glaciate such a Liquor, at that distance from the external Air.


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Mr Neal told me today, that the great Ballance He made for the King, & which is now made use of by the Commissioners of the customs will weigh five & thirty hundred pound at an end, & yet will turn with a quarter of a pound weight. The Beam of this Ballance is about six foot long. The Body is of Iron: those parts only being of Steel, on which the stress is laid, that they may not be injur'd by Pressure or Affriction.


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The same person answer'd me, that He made not <the Body of> his great Beams of Iron, barely because 'tis far cheaper than Steel, but because Steel in frosty Weather [d] would be much more subject to break. <And> He further answer'd me, that in very cold Winters He is oblig'd to keep <even those great> Springs, that [d] make principal parts of the huge vices He imployes to hold his Beams &c to keep them, I say, from Brittleness by [d] adventitious Heat. [d] because if the Frost penetrates them, <and they are imploy'd whilst it does so> it often makes them break or snap asunder, almost as if they were of Glass.


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Sir T. R. (a <very> intelligent Gentleman, that was President of all the English in the East Indies) affirm'd to me, upon some discourse we had <together> about Talismans, that <at> the River of Parri (if I mistake not the name) that runs by Surat, (where the chief Factory of the English is, & He long resided) He had often seen Crocodiles lye basquing themselves upon the Rivers Bank, where He once kill'd one of them that was fifteen foot long. And, That usually in the mornings many hundreds of Cows were brought to the Waters side, by a few Indians that guided them in swiming to the opposite side of the River, where there was an Island & good pasturage. And further, That thô these <great> Crocodiles, or, as they are more commonly call'd, Alegators, were naturally & elsewhere very ravenous & mischievous; yet this multitude of Cows cross'd the Water to & fro, without any disturbance or danger from them. /BP 21, p. 288/ by the help of certain Charms, that these Heathen Priests imploy'd to keep the Crocodiles from doing any mischief. <the force of> which Charms or Spells He [d] guessd not be so durable as the vertue of many Talismans is said to be, because He observ'd that after no harm had been done for a considerable time, there would be missing either a Cow of some human person; [d] upon which 'twas judg'd necessary that the Charm should be renew'd.


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The Chinois I was visited by yesterday, told me [d] in answer to some Questions I made him, 1. That the number of their Characters was really incredibly great, & that He himself was Master of between 10 & <12> thousand of them. 2. That the language of the Mandarins (or Magistrates) was very different from that of the Common people, & also from that of the Clergy, & some of the Literati: insomuch that few understood the Mandarins Language, or could make any use of it, thô, for his part, He had made some progress in it.


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Mr de Course, who lived several <years> at Barrege in the Pyrenean Hills, & visited, furnish'd with good Instruments, the Pique de Midy, reputed the highest of those Mountains, assur'd me, that at Barege the height of the Quicksilver in the Torricellian Tube was usually but 23 ½ inches; which at Paris is wont to be 27 ½; <&> at the top of that Hill He found it but about 19 ½ inches. And on another occasion He told me, that [d] when He was at the top of the Mountain, whence Clouds us'd to appear far below, He chanc'd to see a cloud far above his head.


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An eminent Chirurgeon, that is so to the person of Monsieur le Comte de Roy, late General of the king of Denmarks forces, being come from Copenhagen, [d] told me (two dayes ago,) in answer to a Question I ask'd Him, about the Tradition, that Swallows in Northern Climates pass the Winter under Water: He told me, I say, that having had the same curiosity I now express'd, He had requested some Danish Gentlemen, to order the Fishermen that lookt to their Ponds, to give notice, if, when they broke the Ice, they chanc'd to find any Swallows under it. <He said also that in> obedience to these Orders they <receiv'd> sometime after an Advertisement to repair to these Ponds, which they did, & He in their Company: & there He saw a pretty /BP 21, p. 289/ number of Swallows taken up [d] out of the Mud who were yet asleep or senseless; [d] But He did not observe them to be inclos'd in the Ice; but they lay under it in the mud; on which score they were all wet & dirty. But when they were brought into a warm place, they began <to come to themselves again,> to shake their Wings, & give other manifest signs of Life. I ask'd whether <about the beginning of the Winter> they let themselves fall into the Water singly, or in clusters; & was answer'd, that [d] several of them were found together, as it were fasten'd to one another; & that the Fishermen inform'd Him that they were usually found in Pelotons, as the French [d] speak; each of which consisted of several of them as it were link'd together.


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The watch being wound up, the Spring in the Barrel, by its Expansive Endeavour, turns the Barrel about and by that means draws the Chain which is fastned to the Fusee, & consequently the Fusee it self & the great Wheel, which makes as it were its Basis. This Wheel by an interposed Pinion turns the second Wheel; & this also by the help of a Pinion turns the third Wheel; & this third by another Pinion turns the Centred Wheel, which likewise by a little turns that Perpendicular Wheel called the Balance Wheel because it moves the Ballance by [d] the help of two Pallets (an upper & an under) that its Teeth take hold of as the Wheel goes round, & so gives a kind of reciprocal vibrating Motion. To this must be added, that, whilst these Motions are proceeding, the Arbor off the Great Wheel, accompanying that of the Saw Wheel, does move a Pinion fastned to the said Square Arbor, and this Pinion turns about the Dyal Wheel that lyes under the Dyal Plate, upon the Square of whose Arbor is plac'd the Hour-hand, which points to the Circle whereon the Hours are inscrib'd.


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March 19th 1686/7. An Account of the Proof made this day at Deptford of Sir R. Gordons new invented Pump by his Majestys special order upon 2 of his ships, viz. the Sally-rose a 6th rate, & the Swallow a 4th, in the presence of the R. H. the Lord Dartmouth, Mr Peppys Secretary of the Admiralty, Sir John Godwin, Mr Hewer & Mr Michel Commissioners of the Navy, assisted by Capt Thomas Wilson [d] Master Attendant & other the officers /BP 21, p. 290/ of the Kings yard there. The said Proof being made by working two Pumps of this Invention against the ordinary Pumps of the sorts & sizes commonly us'd upon like Ships, & the Difference of their Force judg'd by the Difference of Time wherein each of them respectively fill'd a vessel containing two Tuns. The Issue of which Proof was as follows, viz


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Upon the smaller Pump
Hands Minutes 2ds
That of Sir R. G.s Invention with 4 in I & 45
The ordinary Hand-pump with 4 in 6 [d] 00
Upon the larger Pump
That of Sir R. G.s wrought by Sawyers 12 in 00 -- 31
Seamen 12 in 00 -- 36
The ordinary Chain-Pump wrought by Seamen 6 in 04 -- 00
In witness whereof with respect to this part of the Performance of Sir R. G.s said Invention, we have hereunto set our Hands, leaving its Complyances with the other necessary Conditions of a Sea-pump to the Proof to be made thereof upon the Ship whereon his Majesty has been pleas'd to direct the setting up one of the said Pumps for its being speedily put in practice at Sea
John Narborough John Berry
John Goodwin Wm Hewer


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April 22d 1687. We G. Lord Dartmouth & Mr Pepys having been present at the Proof of Sir R. G.s Pumps [d] mention'd above, do also give our Testimony to the Truth thereof, as the same is there reported by the principal Officers & Commissioners of his Majestys Navy
Dartmouth
Pepys


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Yesterday Mrs Mary Bleny, Daughter to a Lord of that Name, assur'd me in presence of a Relation of hers <& mine, who> being above threescore & ten, and long acquainted with the Family we spoke of, could easily have Contradicter her if She had much misinform'd me. Mrs Bleny, I say, assur'd me that what I told her I have heard of the Numerousness of her near Relations was very true; & that her Mother, who liv'd to the Age of 83 years, having had occasion some Moneths before She dy'd, to discourse with this Daughter of hers about their Family, They reckon'd up 450 Nephews, Neeces, & Descendants from those /BP 21, p. 291/ Nephews & Neeces, of the Lady Bleny; <a> Lady of <whose> Names, to prevent Mistakes, was written down by Mrs Bleny; whose Mother thereupon told Her, that if She Recover'd, & had Leasure to ransack her Memory, She was confident She could remember some that were not mention'd in that Paper.


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A pious & eminent divine <with> whom not long ago I had more than once occasion to Converse, fell <lately> into a distemper of his Eyes that is very Extraordinary . For after having to a Numerous & Attentive Auditory Preach'd with some Vehemency, & in other Functions of <his> Charge taken especially that Day more pains than was safe for a person of his great Age, He suddenly lost his Sight, & was fain to be led. And, thô some able Physicians did early use their Endeavours to rescue him from so sad a Condition, yet they did it without success, at the beginning. But afterwards, almost upon a sudden, the Patient thought He had recover'd some Sight, but did not long enjoy that Satisfaction, growing soon after Blind as before. But now for some Weeks, his Case is <more Strange, &> if I may so speak, more Constantly Irregular. For now & then, within the compass of a day or two, He will be several times Blind, & as often recover his Sight, and sometimes <in> that perfection, that [d] I was answer'd, (for I particularly ask'd the Question) that He could not only Read, but Read very small Prints. This Account I had <partly from one of his Doctors, & partly> from his Son (an Ingenious & very considerable Person) who came to me <yesterday> from his Father at whose Return out of the Countrey I expect to have & <may probably receive a more> full account of the whole Matter from him self.


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A Gentleman eminent for his Travels into Eastern Parts, & for his skill in Jewels, told me, in confirmation of my Opinion about the origine of Gems from Fluid Materials; That He had seen a white Saphire that was a Table-stone, as they speak, i.e. flat & not cut in facets; <about> the middle of which there was a Cavity about the bigness of a large pinshead or small Fitch, that contain'd in it a drop of Liquor, that it seems /BP 21, p. 292/ could not be Coagulated [d] into Stone with the rest of the Matter. Which Liquor <He said> was very easily discoverable by its shifting places in the Cavity, when the Stone was put into differing Postures. And when I alsk'd whether there was no Flaw or Commissure in the Stone, at [d] which the Liquor may be suspected to have got in; He assur'd me that there was none, but that the Cavity was every way encompass'd by the solid stone, & was about the thickness of three Barly Corns beneath the upper Superficies of it.


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Yesterday an observing Traveller Mr St. John being newly returned from a voyage to Siam Sumatra, & other remote ports of the East Indies, being discoursed by me, about the largness of some grains or entire masses, of native Gold, that a <judicious> Missionary employd by the King of Siam into Europe, told me he had seen <in that Kingdom> this Gentleman affirmd to me that he had seen diverse such rude pieces of [d] never melted Gold, which had been taken out of the famous Mine of that metal, that [d] is found in a Mountain of Sumatra; And that among other pieces of unusual sizes that were put into the hands of the English [d] upon the account of Commerce, he had there seen one piece, [d] which thô it were entire as one grain & had never been melted was yet twice as big as both his fists together.


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The Wind having been for some time Southerly & high, & the day being rainy; I observ'd the Mercury in the Baroscope to stand a 28½ inches. [This was not very far from noon.


/BP 21, p. 293/

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An eminent person whose Curiosity & Affairs led him to visit divers parts of America (of one of which He was Governour) being ask'd by me about the degree of Light afforded by the best sort of Shining Flies that He met with: He answer'd me that in one of the Islands of the Mexican Gulf He had seen & made use of several, whose Bodies were far bigger than those of Europe, & their Light so much more vivid, that the poorer sort of the Inhabitants are wont to take two or three of them, & whelm a clear drinking glass <of a convenient size> over them upon the Table, so near the edge or the part they were to lay their Work on, that they could in the night usefully imploy their Light to work by, in stead of that of a Lamp or Candle.


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An observing Gentleman that was lately Governour of an English Colony in the West Indies, & had been in divers Hurricanes, (no less than three in one year) was ask'd <by> me, among other Questions I put him, about the Forerunners of a Hurricane, whether any change in the Mariners Needle was to be found among those Signs. To those He answer'd me, that He <more than once> observ'd a Dulness, as He call'd it, in the Seamans Compass, a pretty while before the hideous Storm began; so that the Magnetic Needle did not play too & fro so nimbly at those times as it was would have done in the like Circumstances at other times. And He added, that He knew in the Indies a great Navigator, one Captain Sharp, that [d] assur'd him He had often had occasion to complain of the irregular disposition of his Compasses, when a Hurricane was about to come, thô there was no manifest Cause why the Instrument should be so out of order: & the Hurricane did not perhaps begin till a day after. Which odd Phenomenon <[d]> I am apt to impute to the Disturbance which the oridnary & regular Motion of the Magnetic Effluvia about the Terraqueous Globe, receives from the [d] vast multitude of Steams, that, as I elsewhere show, ascend into the Air, to form the future Hurricane.


/BP 21, p. 294/

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The late Governour of the Bermudas <Islands> very <much> subject to Hurricanes) in answer to my Questions about the Presages of those hideous Tempests; inform'd me, that these [d] were of the principal Forerunners. First that the Sea would manifestly swell at some distance from the shores, insomuch that the Fishermen would divers times make to land, & warn the Inhabitants, upon the confidence of that Presage, to provide against that dismal Storm, thô the Sea were then smooth enough. 2 that the Sea would beat with great noise against the <Shore, especially> the Rocks [d] thô there appear'd no manifest Cause <as> upon the account of the Wind or Tyde, why it should do so. And this Sign would sometimes not appear till many hours or perhaps a full day after that foremention'd. And sometimes 'twas observ'd that the Sea would now & then suddenly invade the Shore, & gain further upon it than could be accounted for by the Wind or Tyde, & then quickly ebb away beyond the usual Low water-mark, & after return again with more fury, & fall back further, than before. 3 That sometimes there would be perceiv'd an ungratefull Smell in the Air, before the Hurricane began to blow. And lastly my Relator affirm'd to me that <both> He and others had seen many Bundles as it were of long Streaks, <of differing Colours> some whitish, some reddish, & some blewish or greenish, which by reason of their figure are usually call'd in those parts Horse-tails: & these were seen <in parts of the Sky> where the Air was troubled indeed, but yet no form'd clouds <did> appear to the Eye.


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I was <this day> desir'd to look upon the Eyes of a young Gentleman whose Case is somewhat extraordinary. He has had for above a year a Cataract in his Left Eye: & in his right, thô neither I nor a skilfull Oculist that sent Him to me could discern anything amiss, yet He <makes> Complaints that induc'd me to ask Him <some> Questions, to [d] which He made answer to this purpose. He sees most objects Colour'd, & the Colours that appear on them are for the most part vivid, as Blew & Yellow, & especially Red; which last He sayes is oftentimes like that of a burning Coal


/BP 21, p. 295/

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An ingenious practitioner of physick accompanyed by one of the same profession assured me with great asseveration that somewhile since being at a place in the countrey near Amsterdam where there lived a [d] kind of farmer who thô illiterate enough was reputed very curious this person showed among other things a considerable quantity of quicksilver that was alltogether of the colour of gold & to answer my scruple this relator added that the colour did not belong only to the surface of the whole masse but having purposely (with water) divided it into many globules each of them [d] retained the same rich colour. & he further told me that the possessor of this yellow having put some of it over a fire in a convenient vessel <it> quickly lost its fluidity, & was precipitate into a red pouder, about which he hoped to learn some notable things at his next visit to the author <but that> having been [d] too long delayd when he came to the place [d] again he found to his great grief that the master was dead, & his relations were or pretended to be ignorant of his secrets.


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An inquisitive person that having gone through his studyes in the university travelled through divers countries to make himself the more fit for the profession of physick answerd me that having resyded for some tyme in prussia he had more then once or twice (& that [d] in differing places) observed as others in his company allso did that the fishermen in breaking the ice of long frozen places & taking out thence considerable masses of ice did severall tymes find in them swallows some tymes numerous enough but were so inclosed in the ice, that unlesse by breaking or thawing it, they could not be gotten <out> of it. And he further answered me that when these lumps or masses of ice came to be thawd in their German stoves the swallows that lay as dead before would revive & perhaps fly about the room but did not long survive their recovery out of their insensible state some dying again in few houres, others the next day or perhaps the third but few or none that he observed living beyond the fourth or the fifth, which [d] immature death my relator [d] judged to be caused by the having no appetite to eat which inappetence made them die starved, but as conjecture may be true as to those that lived for some days, so it seems not like that those that perished in few houres died meerly [d] of hunger, & them that were starved to death I should suspect that they died that they were starved < not so much for want of appetite as for want of [d] such animals as they usd to feed on, especiallie flees, which they could not get in the winter.>


/BP 21, p. 296/

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An inquisitive Gentleman lately returnd from Jamaica, [d] where he was imployd by the Governour to make discoveries of naturall things answered me (this morning) that he had seen in that Island great numbers of trees that bear the silk cotton, that he found many of them to surpasse in bignesse & height the larger sort of our English Oakes, & that on a mountain that many went to visit out of curiosity, to view a stupendious silk cotton tree, though he saw it to be of a tallnesse proportionable to [d] its bulk, yet many affirmd to him, & it was the generall tradition of the Countrey, which he saw no cause to disbeleeve, that this prodigious tree was in the body no lesse then 21 yards about, that is more than 60 foot in compas The same curious traveller told me hee saw a canon mad of the hollowed trunk of one of those silk cotton trees, which after all that had been taken off to give it the shap of a vessell fit for service was thirtie foot about, & of at least a proportionable length.


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An Ingenious Surgeon Mr Wandysyde that was more then once for the fishing for gold & silver at the famous Spanish wrack that yeilded <so much> treasures to the D. of Albemarle & others Answerd me that the best divers they imployd in fetching up that wealth could not stay under water two minuts, or sixtyeth parts of an hour & more ordinary divers <but> about a minute & a half, but as <deep> as They had occasion to dive they [d] were not all ofended <by> any coldnesse of the sea water. That when they div'd deep they found themselves (as I suspected) to have their chests & bellis <considerably> prest against by the encompassing water, which especiallie prest against their ears to their great trouble & [d] in some of them did much affect the eyes producing a kind of ophthalmia in them & in others had this more dangerous effect that it made them spit blood. He further answerd me that the was so clear & diaphanous <near> the wrack that they could <see> well [d] to the depth of ten fathom or 60 foot & that at 8 fathom or 48 foot they could plainly see even the black divers & how they wrought at the bottom of the sea to loosen <& dispose of> what they were to bring up.


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A person that <lately> performed here some extraordinary things in Chymistrie confirmd to me a few days since what I remember he had formerly told me namely that he in Italy <he had> been acquainted with an excellent Artist, born thô not at Venice yet in the Venetian Territories, & he supposd to be an Adeptus who not only affirmd to him in private discourse that gave him good reasons to beleeve that thô this Artist [d] seemed to be at most between 40 & 50 year old old yet <in> reality he was than 173 years of age which relation thô scarce credible I was the lesse disposd to reject because the <person> I had it from seemd to be a /BP 21, p. 297/ [d] noe Charleton but a plain honest German of good repute amongst [d] some of my acquaintance that have knowne him here & a man that [d] in divers discourses I had with him seemd carefull not to affirm things that he had not tryed or did not otherwise know to be true; nor did hee at all pretend to bee acquainted with any of this Artists secrets for the prolongation of life.


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An Ingenious Surgeon that came a while since from Greenland answer'd me that there grew store of scurvey grasse in that countrey & some few other herbs, but no trees (that he saw): That the deer they found there were very fat & well tasted & their hare was <very like> furre: That he saw none but white bears there that were very large & ravenous feeding cheifly upon the carcases of whales left floating by the fisher men after the blubber or fat & the whale-bones (or fins in their mouths) were taken from them that he judgd these bears to be but forreiners to the sea coast since they did not usually appear there but at the tyme of whale fishing that they are excellent swimmers & will clamber up upon the floating ice & sometymes by it be transported a great way from <the> shore: That there are foxes in Greenland that changd colour in certain seasons of the year; & that he saw some foxes that were black [d] which were <even there> esteemd [d] great rarityes, that he saw no birds but waterfowl, whose flesh was very dry & unpleasant meat. He further answerd me that he never observd it thunder or lighten there but that sometimes it did hail, he told me that <of> the two whales his ships crew took one whose eye he gave me had an esophagus no [d] wyder at the beginning of it then the [d] diameter of a round figure containd between his two thumbs & his two forefingers, they measurd not the lenth of the fish but with his feet he measurd the distance from corner of the tayle to the other <&> found the <distance [d]> to be 42 tymes the lenth of his shoe, which being 8 inches long, so that the tayle [d] was [blank space in MS, ] feet in breath near the best place of fishing there was so vast <a> masse of ice that one of the french men that pretended to some skill in measureing Guessed to be about the bignesse of the Isle of Re which he frequented. [d] the resort was so great of fishermen of severale nations [blank space in MS, ] yet /BP 21, p. 298/ he actually reckond 143 vessells that were fastend to divers parts of that floating Island.


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The Inquisitive Sr. Thomas Rolt resident of the English Factories in the E. I. being <discoursd with> by me [d] about some strange winds that [d] are too often met with in persia (where he resided in an honorable station) he answerd me that it was very <true> which I [d] had heard & more too, for he had [d] severall tymes observd, that there would arise [d] in some seasons & places, a blast of wind so very hot that 'twas ready to suffocate him & did oftentymes kill people that had the ill luck to be too long expos'd to it, but which is more strange & more then once observd this scorching wind to be followed perhaps within a quarter of an hour or lesse by a gust of very sensibly cold wind; and he added in answer to a scruple that I suggested to satisfie a scruple that I suggested that he had observd the like blasts to blow <upon him> (when he stood at a window) from the sea, whereto 'twas near & open'd.


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Being visited this day by Captain Knox sufficiently known being the author of the History of Ceylon who is returnd from a voyage of Two years into Africa, Asia & America I discoursd him about some things that I desird him to observe when he tooke leave of me to begin his journey to give me what satisfaction this hast hee was in this present day would permitt He related to me among other things, this memorable one. He was sayling in the ship he commanded towards the Persian Golfe within 50 or 60 leagues by his Estimate of the coast of Arabia & <one night> when the starres began to appear the skye being very clear & the wynde very gentle he & his company were exceedingly surprisd to find themselves unawarres invirond with white water, this colour made them fear their might be some latent earthy shole not farre beneath them, [d] which suspicion made them sound more then once but finding [d] noe ground by there ordinary sounding line that fear vanishd but their wonder was encreased, especiallie when they perceivd the sea to grow so white that the Captain [d] having in /BP 21, p. 299/ complyance with his wonted curiosity cast on the surface of the sea a napkin that had never been usd since twas washt in England he found it by this comparison farre lesse white then the surrounding water was. And when he causd a bucketfull of it to be drawn up & lookt on it by candle light did not find it sensibly different from common sea water, [d] And when I askt how long they continu'd their course in this white water he told me that they sayld on all night <as if it had been> as they fancied through milk, [d] thô sounding now & then, they found bottome not above 50 fathome, but the next morning they founde themselves in a sea that was not at all white & coming to look upon a couple of bottles that he had filld in the night & to be sure not to be deceivd he carefully kept in his own cabin.


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An Ingenious Surgeon that came a while since from Spitzberg & the coast of Greenland, answer'd that when the wynde that blew upon the ship came over the mountains or vast heaps of ice that were at a considerable distance from it, 'twas felt far colder than they it would have done if the same wynde had not in its passage met with the interposd ice

The same person answerd me that he had never heard thunder or seen it lighten on the coast of Greenland, but that it often haild as well as snow'd.


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He further answerd me that the [d] mountains or floating Islands of Ice seem'd to throw up into the air a very Notable whitenesse when the sun did not appear.

He allso answerd me that in the crepuscular light, that as it were interposd between the long day & long night, the sea did now & then shine, [d] in that frozen Climate as well as it is wont to do other seas. Hee added that he saw [d] in Greenland store of Marcasites, shining enough but whereof far more enclined to the pale colour of silver than to the richer one of Gold.


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Captain Knox (that writ the history of Ceylon) being lately returnd from the English colony at Bombay informd me th'other day that he observd at his being there [d] of the children that were of English father & mother upon the Island thô many seemd to prosper well enough til they were 8 or 9 year old yet scarse any livd to be 10 or at most 11 & that he remembred not to have seen more than <one> English native (whom he namd to me) that attain'd to womans estate & she /BP 21, p. 300/ by the timely care her parents had of her sent into England & kept here till she was married before she went back again to Bombay where she now lives.


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[An Ingenious man that saild into the frigide Zone as farr as Greenland answer'd me that he found there store of marcasite severall of which were shining which made them seem to the unskillfull to be oares of {gold} <or> silver;


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He allso answerd me if I do not misremember that the sea even in the frigid zone did sometymes shine as it does [d] in other parts of the world.]


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A Judicious divine that livd for some years in Carolina answerd me that he had severall tymes seen the rattle snakes of that countrey, some of which he said were about <four> foot long, & that he killd divers of them, that they will not easily assault men unlesse in their own defence.


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Mr Dunlope mentiond number 97 informd that <they have> in Carolina spiders whose leggs are very long <being about> an inch & [d] a half which yet are not considerably venomous since their biting doe indeed raise tumors but which usually goe in no long tyme without doing [d] any mischeif


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The same Gentleman answer'd me that when there falls much raine in Carolina yet <English> inhabitants their found there bodies much more alter'd & disaffected, than is usuall upon the like changes in England.


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[d] Mr Dunlope allso if I mistake not the name gave me an account [blank space in MS, ] that in <that> part of America where he <dwelt> there is a sort of large flying insects, that <preyd &> livd upon the Moschito's (which are very numerous & troublesome <in> those & therefor are by the English Inhabitants calld Moschito Hawks


[Authorial heading]:
Jan. 1

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Thô the poyson of the rattle snake bee so virulent In Florida that a Grave divine that livd some years there & had made divers observations about them affirmd to me upon his knowledge that sometymes their bitings kill in lesse then an hours, & these hurts as poysonous as they are may be cur'd by the seasonable use of proper antidots as I found by the answers of this Gentleman to some questions I proposd to him, for he assurd me that the Indian Natifs hav among them an <herb or small> vegetable with which they constantly & easily cure the bitings of the Rattle Snake applying to the hurt a kinde of cataplasme made of the bruisd herb, & which may allso be usefull to take inwardly, but that the Europeans could not by any means prevayle with the Indians to discover their secret, thô they would sometymes make use of it upon Europeans that were bitten. But <2dly> the same Gentleman further answerd me that <some of> the Europeans employd a way which when 'twas tymely us'd was [d] most commonly successfull, tho [d] not so cheap & easy as <the> remedy of the Indian Natives above mentiond.

They take a chicken, pullet, pidgeon whilst 'tis alive & pulling of all the feathers that grew upon the rump & adjacent parts they apply these naked parts as <soon &> close as they can to the bitten part of the man, & by holding the bird in their hands keep it on constantly & closse, till either the patient be quite releevd or the animal dye if the bitten man find himself recoverd by the first application, they proceed no further as judgeing the work dispatcht, but if the pain or other bad symptoms survive the bird, which they find ordinarly much alterd especiallie in point of colour by this application, they throw away that & substitute another & proceed as before, [d] adding if need be the third & a fourth, [d] some of these bytes being so venemous that the poyson will destroy four or five birds, before it can be totally extracted or subdu'd


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I This day [d] received a visit from a Gentleman Captain [blank space in MS, ] whose skill in many things, & by severall voyages he hes made to the Indies & in them, have procurd him considerable employments among two Emulous nations successively among other discourse that past between us about his journeys farre up into the continent of the northern America I desird him when our Company withdrew to tell me freely whether he had observd any thing of supernaturall among the savages he had conversd with, & who were represented to me as worshippers of evill spirits, but I let him know the things I desyrd were not uncertain reports, but candid accounts of what he himself had observ'd or receivd from persons whom he himself beleevd. Upon this occasion he told me, that being with an Indian people whom he had so long frequented & obligd that they calld him their brother, & usd him allmost at that rate he once to satisfie his curiosity prevaild to have leave to be present at one of the <solemn> meetings they made to consult the evill spirit they worshipt. [d] And to omit the odde & extravagant ceremonies that they began with, that which was <most> materiale to my purpose was they tooke severall posts [d] for they were bigger then poles or solid wood, & forcibly drove severall of them a little sloping into the ground to a good depth so that their tops [d] were nearer than their bottoms & might have been coverd with the bottom of a barrell, but were so strongly fixt that with all <his> strength (which is not small) <he could not> loosen so much as one of them. the tops of these tall posts they encompassd /BP 21, p. 302/ with a strong cord to fasten them together as farre as by that way cold, & then coverd the whole fabrick with skins that [d] mad it very dark within leaving only in one place a hole big enough only for a man to creep in at upon all four. At this hole rather than doore one of the savages got in his body with great alacrity & [d] dexterity, but when he had done what he thought fit to call thither the divell, for so the Captain thincks the spirit he invocated to be, & he got out, & reprochd my relator that his presence [d] kept the invocation from being <prevalent> but being encouragd by the Captain he went in again, & playd his tricks but with as little successe as before wherefore the Captain, that [d] seems was a man of more skill as well as authority made the attempt himself <doing> as the other had done & my relator observd that <by> his buttocks & feet & some part of this body being not quite within the Canopy <it> was very discernible that there were violent commotions & contortions in his body & the relator was quickly surprisd by hearing a very loud noise in the place of their assembly, which seemd to be a confusion of the noises of I do not know how many severall sortts of beasts, & in the trees all about that building he heard as it were the noise of a very great storme which rudely <[d]> <shooke> their branches, but that which most affected him was to see the Fabrick formerly mentiond that consisted of such strong pieces [d] [d] bend very much this way & <that> way thô he that was above related had not been able to bend or stirre one of them, & when the savage came out of this dark place my relator observd his countenances to be quite alterd & disfigurd especiallie by a change of featurs that made him look very Ghastly [d] under <his> lip hanging down allmost upon his chinne & his under eyelids being quite turnd up he was allso for a pretty while unable to speak to him, <but> by the help of time & a pipe of Tobacco he recoverd his speech & told them severall things that I do not now remember relateing to their affairs [d] but in short my Relator as little credulous as he is [d] affirmd that upon the whole <matter> he was convincd that there was something supernaturall in what he saw & heard


/BP 21, p. 303/

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Yesterday in the afternoon I receivd a visit from Mr [blank space in MS, ] [d] a Captain of [d] & nominated to be a lieutenant Colonell of protestant Swisses who appearing to me upon discourse to be a man of parts & serious I was thereby invited to aske him what I might beleeve of some relations that I heard he had made to some of his freinds of my acquaintance concerning supernaturall occurrences. In answer to this Enquiry he told me in generall that he had by very credible persons been assured of severall things they had seen or heard that were judged to be supernaturall, & that somethings of that kind he had seen himself. Of the former sort he mentiond a few <but> I told him that all I desyrd of him was to [d] acquaint me with what he could informe me <upon> his own personall knowledge upon this he tooke a rise to tell me among other things in the presence of a physitian very well acquaint with the countrey where the Captaine made the Scene at a castle calld La Chaux about eight leagues from Geneva in the Paÿs de [blank space in MS, ] belonging to the canton of Bearn there were oftentymes heard strange noyses, & sometyms seen strange things & particularly he told that the owner of the castle being a relation of his, he had divers tymes occasions of going thither & passing some tyme there, [d] & that by that means he had the opportunity to hear severall strang noyses that could not <as was conceivd> be accounted for upon naturall grounds, & among other odde things of this kynde he assurd me that as he was sitting with some company in a faire Roome there fell into it with a terrible noise a great [d] stone which when I askt /BP 21, p. 304/ whether it did not fall down the chimney, I was answerd that it did not but that the [d] chimney remaining as it was the stone fell into the roome it self as if it had done it from the cieling & that which surprisd this Gentleman that tho it were so big that they [d] employd two to carry it away between them upon a kind of lever yet they could not perceive that it made any impression upon the floor. And when I further demand whether the stone were not a fantasticall whime & disappeard after the turn was servd. I was answerd that it was a reall stone that having been layd upon a heap of stones prepard for building was seen there for a long while after till They came to be made use of. And when I further askd whether <as> he had heard [d] strange noises in that place he had there seen an extraordinar sight he [d] replyed that he had not seen anie <spirit> appear in a visible shape, but that he had seen some performances that must have been made by some spirit. [d] For he had more than once observd that cups that stood upon the cupboard, would be as twer in the twinkling of an eye transported to the table where he & others were sitting & this those of the family told him was a common thing there. He farther related to me that when a house maid that lookt to the dishes & plates went about to wash them according to the custome of the countrey [d] when they were carried down from off the table, the spirit would sometyms in a trice range them in order in the places they were to be put in of which surprising prank he himself was an eyewitnes & lastly he added that 'twas easie to be satisfyd that many strang things were done & heard in that castle because [d] the report of them had drawn many to visit it out of curiosity or to [d] do good offices to those that livd in it; And because allso the place was haunted from tyme to tyme during the space of 5 years or longer.


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An Ingenious person that practisd Physick in America & came lately from thence affirmd to me that in Jamaica he had many tyms seen oysters of a peculiar sort lesse round than ours & more long in proportion to there breadth which had in them small <crabs> alive, which plainly appeard not to have been devourd by the oysters, but to have been generated, or at least to have grown up in there cavitys, & when I askt how big they were & whether ever he observd them to prey upon the oysters he answerd me to the first question that he had seen of them bigger then the nayle of his thumbe & to the 2d that he had thô very seldome observd them to prey upon the edges of the oyster as appeard /BP 21, p. 305/ he said by the Marks they left [d] of their voracity he added that he had <many> tymes eaten these little crabs & found them delicious meat. All but this last circumstanc was confirmd to me by a learnd man that came lately from the continent of America & happend to make me a visit whilst we were discoursing of these, & other parts of naturall history


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The Ingenious Gentleman Mr [blank space in MS, ] Ball having brought me his little Terrella (which I had often heard off) to look upon I desird him to let me make some observations about it, which curiosity of him he willingly complyd with, & was assist'd whilst I satisfy'd it. The Terrella wee found to bee but 11/20 in diameter. The best pole of it being warily applyd to a magnetical needle [d] between 2 & 3 inches long, that in the free <Air> was well poisd upon the point of a pin, The Magnet moved needle manifestly thô but faintly at [d] 11 inches, but likewise movd filings of steel at 11/20 & ½ of an inch. & it tooke up some of the filings of steel at 7/20 of an inch.


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This morning the Earle of Lincolne did me the honour to let me know, that having lately seen a pretty large serpent whose belly appear'd to be in one part of it of an unusuall bignesse, he caus'd it to be open'd by which means was found that the great distension of the <Belly> proceeded from a frog that was taken out thence alive [d] if not vivacious enough, this frog it self [d] mishapenly big-belly'd was open'd [d] to see [d] why it was so, whereupon 'twas found to the surprise of the beholders that the frog had [d] in his stomack a [d] green caterpillar of an unusuall greatnesse which was yet intire & alive, this animall shut up in a box his Lordship was pleasd to send me as a present, but thô I declind it, as not thinking it fit I should deprive of such a rarity by a person unknown to [d] him by sight, yet I found the caterpillar so lively, [d] that she gave me not the opportunity of measuring her with any exactnesse, only having layd her upon a broad & well divided ruler I concluded that she <was> at least two Inches in length, & of a bignesse proportionable.


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An Inquisitive person that had con <verst> with store of divers in the west Indies being ask'd by me some questions about the temperature of various parts of the sea <in> the same place as to heat & cold, answer'd me that the Negroes employd by our English to fetch up shipwrackt goods informd him that the deeper they went into the water the colder they found /BP 21, p. 306/ it, till they come to such a depth, which was ordinarly about [blank space in MS, ] fathoms or [blank space in MS, ] yards, but that about That about Region of the Sea, they usually found the water to grow considerably warme, & to continue <in some encrease> so to a great depth, & they affirm'd to me that in winter they found it hotter in this low region of the Sea than the water was in Summer at but about a fathoms depth beneath the surface of it. And he further answerd me that the [d] the assertion of one or two only of the Negroes whom he accompany'd when they went to dive, but that the same thing for substance was affirmd to him, thô not at the same [d] tyme by 18 or 20 of these divers


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The [d] day before yesterday being visited by a Gentleman that had to my knowledge seen many un <common> things & is not credulous, I enquird of him about a person that is said to divers Magicall feats in the family of a prince in which this Gentleman had for a considerable tyme livd


/BP 21, p. 307/

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Yesterday I was visited by a couple of curious persons, one of them a Major Generall an antient man of much Experience & of a severe judgment the other a very ingenious man that had practis'd physick <both> in divers part of Europe, & beyond it.


/BP 21, p. 308/

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yesterday I was visited by an eminent Navigator, who hes made divers voyages into the Northern Frigide Zone.


/BP 21, p. 309/

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The said Captain [blank space in MS, ] answerd me that in those Northern Seas he had found by his own observation, that when the wind blew from the floating Islands or mountains of Ice to the ship they could plainly feel that it brought a considerable increase of Cold, thô the masses of Ice that afforded it were of two & some tyme of three leagues distance.


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The same person answerd, that in the great frosts about Hudsons Bay, [d] or other Gelid Regions he observd the earth to be hard frozen to the depth of six or near seven foot, & that once or twice after he had dug till he came at a vein of soft earth, & had peircd through it, in order to a certain designe he was surpris'd by finding that the earth that lay beneath that soft vein or bed, was allso hard frozen.


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The same expert Navigator answerd me [d] that in some of those great lakes that are [d] to be met with in Canada, & some other Regions of the Northern America, he more then once observd, that in the Winter tyme, when they were for the main frozen over, there would be here & there great patches [blank space in MS, ] or vents not cover'd with Ice, [d] some of them, of great extent as of many acres at which there allmost continually issued out thick pillars of <smoke> allmost <such> as [d] come out < of the mouth> of an oven, & which I thought more remarkable [d] that these fumes were sometymes not uniform in point of colour, but some of them of one colour, & some of them of another, as red, blew, green, &c.


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A famous navigator Captain Knox <who> came home this year from his great voyage of Europe, Asia, Afrique & America assured me <the other day> that at Madagascar coming to a place [d] where he observd many trees of an unusuall bulk, in so much that severall of them were of 5 or 6 fathome about, he at length spyd one of so vast a bignes that it both amaz'd him & invited him to [d] measure it about the trunk which he did for want of a rope or string with his arms stretcht out which [d] /BP 21, p. 310/ by his stature that was tall enough, I [d] guest as Well as he to be as <long> as a fathom, And by this measure as I remembred more than once applyd he found the tree to be 8 fathoms & a half; which by my estimate might amount to about 48 if not 50 foot. And yet he answerd me that the prodigious <tree> (whose name he could not mind <)> was but of a moderat hight scarse exceeding by his guesse 45 foot, the wood was not solid like timber, but soft & spongy. The trunk of the tree had no branches; But at the top there grew out a kinde of flat crown made up as it were of pallisadoes that were stretcht horisontally this way & that way.


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A practitioner of physick that had visited besyde the E.I. <&> China & Japan Answer'd me that the tradition about which I [d] askt his thoughts might well be true, for he himself had seen in [d] one of the [d] Islands of the South Sea which he namd to me a serpent (not a crocodile that was kept there & showne to strangers for a rarity which they affirm'd to have swallowd whole a female child of two years <old,> which was a while after found in his & when I enquird about the bignes of the serpent he answer'd that near the head it was as big as his middle, thô he be not at all a slender man, & that he guest the length of it, to be about twenty foot or more.


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This day the skillfull Mr Miston Ingineer to the King W. coming to visit me, did me the favour to bring a famous loadstone he was master of, which thô it weighs but between 9 or 10 ounces [d] did in my presence take up readily, & support strong an iron anchor of 16 lbs weight & he assur'd me in the presence of <the curious> Mr D'Ollone the Queens secretary who did me the honour to accompany him hither, that in the channells that are purposely left in the branches of the Anchor to receive musket bulletts, he had put so many of them & sustaind them by the same stone, as [d] together with the Anchor <amounted to> 24 lb weight. The possessor affirmd too, that by touching the extreame parts of his knife at the pole of this loadstone the knife would be thereby enabled to /BP 21, p. 311/ take up a <piece> steel, of 4 lb weight, which I made the lesse difficulty to beleeve because that with the point of a knife toucht at the same stone I sustaind a key of about 6 inches long & proportionably great <[d]> which I found the knife not only to sustaine but to detaine so vigorously that I could turne it & move it this way, & that way without makeing it fall out.


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Having enquird of Monsieur who had <for> sometime practisd physick in the E. I. the Isles of the South Sea & even in China whether he had seen any magicall feats in those parts some of which (especiallie situat in the S. Sea) are said to abound with sorcerers, he answerd me that he had heard of severall effects of Magick some <of> which he judg'd to be true as being averrd to him by persons that he knew, that had themselves been mischeifd by them, & retaind tokens of the truth of what they said. But as for himself he answer'd me that he had seen but one thing that he confesst to be supernaturall, which when I desyrd some account of he told me 'twas this. A little Negroe that had been seen by the River syde, being not afterwards to be found, the commander of a little Dutch fort, near which my Relator lay at Anchor, was enformd that the persons concernd for the lost Negroe, guesst him to have been eaten up by one of the crocodils wherewith the River abounded, whereupon they went to a famous sorcerer, who undertook the next day to satisfie their curiosity at an easie rate, & promis'd he would make all the Crocodils that inhabited the neighbouring part of the River, passe before the parties concernd, & the commander of the fort if he should be there, this commander therefore invited my Relator to be present, who came thither with divers other persons. And the Magician according to his promise <met them at the time & place appointed, &> with a wand in his hand went into the neighbouring wood [d] where they saw not what he did, nor heard what he sayde, but soone after returning to them they saw the Crocodiles flock together, & one after sweeme along the River passing by that part of the bank where they stood, to the number as was guest of between 25 & 30, one of these which was [d] the last, was that which he told them had devourd the Negroe (which to me signify'd <very little> since <thô one could not confidently contradict him he> it was affirm'd [d] it without proof) but that which seem'd to him strange & supernaturall was, that when the sorcerer came out of the /BP 21, p. 312/ wood, his spectators, thought that they saw crocodils coming out thence, & marching towards the River, before they saw any sweeming there, which terrestriall crocodils (if I may so call them) are therefore suspected to be illusory apparitions producd by the Magitian's Art


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The same Relator further answerd me, that in these parts, [d] it was generally beleevd, nor did he seem to doubt it, that there were sorcerers that [d] by their skill had power over serpents, & [d] could make them obey their enchantments.