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an inch thick, into chalk-lime on May 10, and on the 31st of the same month it had a putrid smell, and was in the middle red and raw, with a thin hard outside.
Having communicated these trials to Dr. Pringle, (whose trials having been made with chalk-lime-water, which is in common use in England, agreed with the last of Dr. Hales's) he observed, that the difference between stone-lime-water and chalk-lime-water might probably consist in this :—the chalk, before calcination, being a highly septic substance, if some of its particles were not fully calcined, these, by mixing with the water, would impart to it some degree of a putrefying quality, contrary to that virtue which the water receives from such parts as are sufficiently burnt. That the same would be the case of shells, which are also septics, and therefore that the lime-water made either of chalk or shells, would prove more or less antiseptic, or even continue septic, according to the degree of calcination.
He added, that as all his experiments relating to the antiseptic quality of lime-water were made in a furnace, beated to the degree of human blood, viz. to near 100 on Fahrenheit's thermometer, the uncalcined parts of the lime would, in that state, become more active in promoting putrefaction, than when the trials were made in cold water.
And indeed it must be owned, that when any experiments are made on medicinal subjects, out of the body, the nearer they can be made to the heat of the blood, and to other circumstances, those substances must undergo in the first passages, the more just the inferences will be, that are drawn from those experiments.
In regard to that quality of lime-water, in preserving fish longer sweet than fesh, Dr. Pringle took notice, that he doubted it was a common mistake, to account fish a more corruptible substance than the flesh of land animals; for although fish might become sooner too stale for eating, than most flesh meats, yet that fish did not so soon rise to a rank degree of putrefaction, as flesh, and therefore that the former would be kept longer tolerably sweet than the latter, by any kind of antiseptic.
XIV. Proposal to correct Spirituous Liquors with Vinegar.
July 28, 1755. THE Bishop of Worcester, Dr. Hales, and several others, have given sufficient proofs of the bad effects of drinking spirituous liquors; and though on board our men-of-war, the sailors and marines are seldom allowed them without being first mixed with about three times the quantity of water, if I am rightly informed, yet I have good reason to believe, that if a proper quantity of vinegar was to be added to them, it would still be the more efficacious to prevent the pernicious effects of the spirits, and would brace up their weak fibres, and strengthen the stomach, and would also be of the greatest advantage in the hot countries, be of service in the sea scurvy, and prevent putrid and malignant fevers.
I would also remark that the virtues of vinegar were well known to the ancient Romans, who made vinegar and water the constant drink of their soldiers, which rendered them so strong and able to face their enemies; whereas our army is greatly enfeebled by the use of spirituous liquors alone.
I have given one large spoonful of vinegar, mixed with four large spoonfuls of brandy, and about three times as much water, and have found it very refreshing, grateful to the taste, and agreeable to the stomach, and even in cases where the stomach has been impaired by drinking spirituous liquors, and could hardly retain any thing.
I wish some gentleman of note would make some experiments of this method, and if it were found to succeed, would oblige our sailors, marines, and soldiers to use it ; for whatever method would contribute to make our men more strong and hardy, and more able to endure labour and fatigue, would certainly be of the greatest advantage to us, and more especially in time of war.
Yours, &c. 1755, Aug.
XV. Manner of hatching Chicken in Egypt. THIS secret, which the Bermeans reveal to none but their children, consists not in the structure of the oven, but
the manner of managing the eggs when they are there. Each oven consists of two brick buildings 9 feet high, 38 long, and 12 broad, with a kind of passage between them 3 feet wide, closed up at each end by the walls which terminate the two buildings, and arched over, forming a gallery of the same height.
The two buildings are divided by cross walls, each into 8 chambers, 9 feet high, and each chamber is again separated horizontally into two by a very fiat arch, perforated in the middle with an aperture 2 feet diameter; so that each building contains two ranges of chambers 3 feet high, the upper range communicating with the lower by these apertures: the apartments, though not very commodious for the Bermeans that enter them, are very fit for supporting the degree of heat necessary to hatch the eggs, which must be nearly 32 deg. above freezing on Reaumur's thermometer.
The door to every one of these chambers, above and below, is a round hole a foot and a half in diameter, which forms a double range of ox-eyes on either side of the gallery; and the door of the gallery itself is a like hole, being the only entrance into the oven.
The eggs are disposed in the lower chambers, upon mats, or beds of hair or hemp, and the door which communicates from each lower chamber to the gallery, is carefully closed up with a wadding of the same matter. The fire is kindled in the upper chambers, and the smoak, which passes into the gallery through the before-mentioned apertures, escapes from thence by the holes in the arch, which are carefully closed up as soon as the oven is become hot enough and the fire is extinguished. They burn neither wood nor coals, which would make too fierce a fire, but a mixture of the dried dung of animals and straw.
From the time of putting out the fire in the oven, part of the eggs are removed into the upper chambers, which though they are now useless, as to their first office, becoine yet a commodious receptacle for the chicken when hatched, and suit better with the frequent visits which the Bermeans make, to turn the eggs, and carefully pick out, and take away the rotten ones; the stinking vapour of which would otherwise spoil the rest, or kill the young chickens.
The requisite time for hatching each brood in the oven, as well as under the hen, is about 21 days; but as they keep up the heat of their ovens six months together, each oven can very well produce 8 broods of about 45,000 eggs each. The Bermean, who has the management of the oven, is to furnish 30,000 chickeus every brood; the other 15,000
either perish, or turn to his own profit. Every oven, therefore, produces annually to its master 240,000 chickens, and the number of these ovens being 386, the whole number of chickens, exclusive of those which are allowed to the manager, amounts to 492,640,000.
XVI. Absurdity of enthusiastic Predictions.
MR. URBAN, In the reign of King Henry VIII. prophecies and predictions were in great vogue, the study of astrology being then in much esteem. Amongst other instances, one Bolton, who was Prior of St. Bartholomew, in the city of London,* i person of sone learning, pretended to have found out by the stars, that a mighty deluge, at such a time, would cirown the city of London, and being fully persuaded himself of the truth of this, he built a house at Harrow-on-the-Hill, and storing it with provisions for a competent season, retired to it; but the event not answering the prediction, both he and his art became the public ridicule of the town. The Prior went upon a science founded on no rational principles ; but an anonymous pamphlet vouches the authority of one of the greatest of our astronomers, Dr. Halley, for the return of a comet in 1758, which moving in the same line with the earth, and in the same part of the line, must necessarily set it on fire. This now is an event that concerns the whole race of mankind, even the catastrophe of this terraqueous globe, and, therefore, I am willing to treat it with all imaginable seriousness, as the author plainly designed it should.
Your correspondents, Graticola and Witchell, have shewn that the author of the pamphlet has committed a mistake, for that the comet, which according to the calculation of Dr. Halley will return A. D. 1758, is not the comet whose trajectory will coincide with the line of the earth's orbit. Moreover, that the comet expected in the year 1758, will never approach nearer the body of the earth'than four millions of miles. I think it needful for you, Mr. Urban, to repeat it once more in your Magazine, that the author of the pamphlet has run into this error, that so every one, into whose hands this pamphlet may fall, those especially who may bave overlooked the notices of your correspondents above mentioned, may be assured of it. And this, Sir, is the more necessary, because, as it appears, many ignorant people, unskilled in the science of astronomy, and withal of timorous, or rather very fearful dispositions, have been extremely uneasy upon this account. Whereupon I cannot but observe, that authors who throw out such important particulars as these, though it be done with the best design in the world, should be very sure of their hand, before they alarm us with their notices, lest the subjecting of weak minds to groundless panics, should contribute to embitter their lives, which has something in it very cruel, and even criminal.
* Speed's History, p. 1030.
But since, Sir, I am embarked on this subject, I will, with your leave, add a few words more upon it. It is agreed, that this world is not eternal; that it shall some time be destroyed by fire, and possibly, but not certainly, by a comet. But whether the comet, whose return is expected A. D. 2255, will effect it or not, I think is very uncertain. For not to mention, that the end of the world may be sooner, for ought we know, the period or year of this comet being not less than 575 solar years, an observator cannot have had experiences enow, repeated at due distances, to ascertain the return of it to a year, especially considering the irregularity which is known to attend the motion of these eccentrical bodies. Besides the scriptures of the New Testament every where represent the final consummation of all things, as a point of knowledge entirely hidden from man, and, I presume, for the same reason as the day of our death is concealed from us; but it would no longer remain a secret, were it to depend on the known revolution of a comet. No one, therefore, qught to rely, in this weighty manner, on the calculation of the acutest astronomers, but rather reflect, on the other hand, Ist, That he knows not how soon this event may happen; and 2dly, that to him the day of his death is in effect the day of judgment, since, according to the doctrine of this protestant church, as the tree falls so it must lie. A reflection, which if it be considered withal, to how many real disasters, without having recourse to any imaginary ones, the life of man is daily exposed, will be abundantly sufficient for the purpose of true religion, that is, to make men think on the judgment of the great day; and therefore there is no occasion to unsettle their minds by any unreasonable, and at the same time, groundless fears, which as they tend so greatly to dise