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SPOUT OBSERVED AT HATTIELD IN YORKSHIRE, 267

SECTION 111.

Mimic, or False Presters, or Spouts with little or no Water.

1. Spout observed at Hatfield, in Yorkshire.

By the Rev. Abraham De la Pryme, F.R.S. On the 15th of August, 1617, about two o'clock in the after. noon, there appeared a water-spout in the air, at Hatfield, in Yorkshire. It was about a mile off, coming directly to the place where I was ; upon which I took my perspective glasses, and made the best observations on it I could.

The season was very dry, the weather extremely hot, the air very cloudy, and the wind pretty strong, and what was remarkable, blowing out of several quarters at the same time, and filling the air with thick and black clouds,in layers; this blowing of the wind soon created a great vortex, gyration, and whirling among the clouds, the centre of which now and then dropt down in the shape of a thick long black tube, commonly called a spout; in which I could distinctly see a motion, like that of a screw, continually drawing upwards, and screwing up as it were whatever it touched. In its progress it moved slowly over a hedge-row and grove of young trees, which it made bend like hasel-wands, in a circular mo. tion ; then advancing forward to a large barn, in a moment it plucked off all the thatch, and filled the whole air with it. Com. ing to a very large oak tree, it made it bend like the former, and broke off one of its strongest branches, and twisting it about, flung it to a very considerable distance off. Then coming near the place where I stood, within three hundred yards of me, I beheld with great satisfaction this extraordinary phænomenon, and found that it proceeded from a gyration of the clouds, by contrary winds meeting in a point or centre; and where the greatest condensation and gravitation was, falling down into a large pipe or tube, some. what like the cochlea Archimedis; and wbich, in its working or whirling motion, either sucks up water, or destroys ships, &c. Having proceeded about a quarter of a mile farther, it was dissolved by the prevalency of the wind from the east.

[Phil. Trans. 1702.

268

SECOND SPOUT OBSERVED AT THE SAME PLACE.

2. A second Spout observed at the same Place.

By the same Writer.

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The weather in this part of the country has been exceedingly wet and cool, so that it seemed to be spring rather than midsum. mer, yet June 21, 1702, was pretty warın, on the afternoon of which day, about two o'clock, no wind stirring below, though it was somewhat great in the air, the clouds began to be much agitated and driven together; on which they became very black, and were very visibly hurried round, from whence there proceeded a most audible whirling noise, like that commonly heard in a mill. After a while a long tube or spout came down from the centre of the congregated clouds, in which was a swift spiral motion like that of a screw, or the cochlea Archimedis when it is in motion, by which spiral nature and swift turning, water ascends up into the one, as well as into the other. It proceeded slowly from west to north east, broke down a great oak tree or two, frightened the weeders out of the field, and made others lie down flat on their bellies, to avoid being whirled about and killed, as they saw had happened to several jackdaws, which were suddenly snatched up, carried out of sight, and then thrown a great way off among the corn; at length it passed over the town at Hatfield, to the great terror of the inhabitants, filling the whole air with the thatch it took off from some of the houses ; then touching on a corner of the church, it tore up several sheets of lead, and rolled them to. gether in a strange manner ; soon after which, it dissolved and vanished, without doing any further mischief.

There was nothing more extraordinary in this, than in the other that I gave an account of in the preceding page; and by all the ob. servations that I could could make of both, I found that had they been at sea, and joined to its surface, they would have carried a vast quantity of water up into the clouds, and the tubes would then have become much more strong and opaque than they were, and have continued much longer.

It is commonly said that at sea, the water collects and bubbles up a foot or two high under these spouts, before they are joined: but this is a mistake, owing to the pellucidity and fineness of those tubes, which certainly touch the surface of the sea before any

considerable motion can be produced in it, and that when the pipe begins to fill with water, it then becomes opaque and visible. As for the reason of their dissolving of themselves, after they have drawn up a great quantity of water, I suppose it is by and through the great quantity of the water they have carried up, which must needs thicken the clouds, impede their motion, and by that means dissolve the tubes.

[Id. 1703.

3. Spout raised off the Land in Deeping.Fen, Lincolnshire.

By the Rev. Benjamin Ray. May the 5th, 1752, a phænomenon appeared about seven in the evening, in Deeping.Fen, which, from its effects, seemed to be a water spout, broken from the clouds. A watery substance, as it seemed, was seen moving on the surface of the earth and wa. ter, in Deeping.Fen. It passed along with such violence and rapidity, that it carried every thing before it : such as grass, straw, and stubble; and in going over the country bank, it raised the dust to a great height; and when it arrived in the wash, in the midst of the water, and just over against where Mr. R. lived, it stood still for some minutes. This watery substance spouted out water from its own surface, to a considerable height, and with a terrible noise.

On its second route, it proceeded in a side line into the river, breaking in its passage a fishing.net, and there moved along, till it came to the church, where it again stood a little while, and then made its next passage through the space between the church and the parsonage house, towards Weston hills and Moulton chapel. In its way to these places, it tore up a field of turnips, broke a gate off the hinges, and another into pieces. Those who saw it evaporate, affirm it ascended into the clouds in a long spear. ing vapour, and at last ended in a fiery stream. There was a mist, like smoke, frequently round it. Three more werden at the same time in different places.

[Id. 1751.

CHAP. XLII.

GENERAL NATURE AND PROPERTIES OF THE ELECTRIC

FLUID.

SECTION 1.

Its relation to common Matter.

Ir is not easy to give a more correct, concise, or perspicuous account of this subject than in the following epitome of Dr. Frank. lin's celebrated Treatise, by his friend William Watson, Esq.

Mr. Franklin's Treatise, says he, lately presented to the Royal Society, consists of four letters to his correspondent in England, and of another part intitled, Opinions and Conjectures concerning the Properties and Effects of the electrical Matter, arising from Exp. riments and Observations.'

The four letters, the last of which contains a new hypothesis for explaining the several phænomena of thunder-gusts, have either in the whole or in part been before communicated to the Royal So. ciety. It remains therefore now only to lay before the Society an account of the latter part of this treatise, as well as that of a letter intended to be added to it by the author, but which arrived too late for publication with it.

This ingenious author, from a variety of well-adapted experi. ments, is of opinion, that the electrical matter consists of particles extremely subtle, since it can permeate common matter, even the densest metals, with such ease and freedom, as not to receive any perceptible resistance. Electrical matter, according to him, differs from common matter in this, that the parts of the latter mutually attract, and those of the former mutually repel each other; hence the divergency in a stream of electrified effluvia*: but that, though

. As the electric stream is observed to diverge very little, when the experiment is made in vacuo, this appearance is more owing to the resistance of the atmosphere, than to any natural tendency in the electricity itself. W. W.Orig.

the particles of electrical matter do repel each other, they are strongly attracted by all other matter. From these three things, viz. the extreme subtilty of the electrical matter, the mutual repul. sion of its parts, and the strong attraction between them and other matter, arises this effect, that when a quantity of electrical matter is applied to a mass of common matter of any size or length within our observation (which has not already got its quantity) it is im. mediately and equally diffused through the whole. Thus common matter is a kind of sponge to the electrical fluid ; and as a sponge would receive no water, if the parts of water were not smaller than the pores of the sponge; and even then but slowly, if there was not a mutual attraction between those parts and the parts of the sponge ; and would still imbibe it faster, if the mutual attraction among the parts of the water did not impede, some force being required to sepa. rate them; and fastest if, instead of attraction, there were a mutual repulsion among those parts, which would act in conjunction with the attraction of the sponge: so is the case between the electrical and common matter. In common matter indeed there is generally as much of the electrical as it will contain within its substance: if more is added, it lies without upon the surface *, and forms what we call an electrical atmosphere; and then the body is said to be electrified.

It is supposed, that all kinds of common matter do not attract and retain the electrical with equal force, for reasons to be given hereafter ; and that those called electrics per se, as glass, &c. at. tract and retain it the strongest, and contain the greatest quantity. We know that the electrical fluid is in common matter, because we can pump it out by the globe or tube ; and that common matter has near as much as it can contain ; because, when we add a little more to any portion of it, the additional quantity does not enter, but forms an electrical atmosphere : and we know that common matter has not generally more than it can contain ; otherwise all loose portions of it would repel each other, as they constantly do when they have electric atmospheres.

The form of the electrical atmosphere is that of the body which it surrounds. This shape may be rendered visible in a still air, by

The author of this account is of opinion, that what is here added, lies not caly without upon the surface, but penetrates with the same degree of density the whole mass of common matter, upon which it is directed.- Orig.

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