« ZurückWeiter »
fhews, that our author himself confiders it as fuch; though in this paffage, he feens to exprefs himself in a manner fomewhat too pofitive.
PAGE 232, 1. 21.
*Similar to thofe that infeft the human body. As men differ, according to climate, in colour, figure, and form, fo infects undergo different accidental changes, according to the place they inhabit, and the food they fubfift on. M. Godefroy Henry Burgh, took a fly, whofe progeny he feparated into different colonies, which he fed, fome on veal, fome on plants, and fome on fish. When they became large, thote that had fed on the veal, were the largeft. May it not be the fame with thofe worms that infeft the human body, which are larger or lefs, according to the place they inhabit, and the aliments they feed on?-The Author.
The answer contained in this note does not remove the difficulty. I allow, that the difference of place may cause fome changes in infects; but after all, thefe changes will not be considerable, and will be hardly greater than thofe obferved in perfons of different nations; as we may be convinced of, by comparing infects of the fame fpecies, which have been produced in different countries: while the change that takes place here, is a total change, by which, an infect bred in the human body, becomes not only of another colour, but of another form, and of a fize, exceeding often a hundred times its natural bulk; a circumftance, which furely no diverfity of climate has ever produced in any other animal that we know of. As for the experiment of M. Burgh, whatever diversity he might have found in the flies, whofe maggots he fed on different fubftances, it does not prove that certain aliments will make infects grow much beyond their natural fize; all that can be inferred from it is, that when an infect is not provided with the food which is neceffary for it, it becomes confumptive, and never arrives at its proper fize.
PAGE 234, 1. 3!.
In a frightful manner. It is plain, that it is not the difference of the poifon of the tarantula, which causes the diverfity in the extravagant geftures of the people here mentioned, but that this diverfity proceeds only from the different difpofitions of thofe who experience its effects, which, like wine, operate differently on different fubjects.
It is known that the Tarantula is a fpecies of large fpider found in the island of Corfica, and in feveral places of Italy, and that its name is derived from Tarentum a city of Apulia, which is the country where they are moft dangerous, particularly in the plains.
As every thing which regards the effects of the bite of this animal, and the manner in which it is cured, is very fingular, the reader will not be displeased to find an abridgenent of it here, as it is related in the H.ftory of the Royal Academy of Sciences for 1702.
A Little time after being bitten by this infect there is felt in the part a very acute pain, and a few hours afterwards there appears a fwelling; the perfon then falis into a profound melancholy, is affected with difficult refpiration, weak pulfe, imperfect vifion, lofs of fenfe and motion, and without affiftance death clofes the scene.
The affiitance which medecine affords, as fuggefted by reafn, confifts in dr ffing the wound, in cordials and fudorifics; but the most effectual and fureft affiftance, and which reaton' never could have discovered, is mutic.
When the bitten perfon is motionless and to appearance inferfible, a musician tries different airs on an inftrument, and when he has fallen upon that whofe tones and modulation agree with the patient, this latter is feen to make fome faint attempts to move; he then follows the time of the mufic with his fingers, then with his arms, his feet, and afterwards with his whole body. At last he g. ts up, and begins to dance, his activity and ftrength gradually increafing. Such a perfon will dance fix hours without intermiflion. After this he is put to bed, and when he is fuppofed to be fufficiently recovered from the fatigue of the firft dance, he is enticed from his bed by the fame air in order to dance again This exercife endures feveral days, at moft fix or feven, till the patient is tired, and unable to dance more, which is the fignal of the cure being performed; for fo long as the poifon continues to operate in him, he would dance if they would allow him without intermiffion till he died. The patient who begins to feel tired regains by little and little his fenfes, and awakens as it were from a profound sleep, without remembring any thing of what paffed in the fit, not even of his dance.
Sometimes the perfon bit, when the firft fit leaves him is per ectly cured; but if he is not, he retains a gloomy meancholy and alienation of mind; he fhuns fociety, goes in
queft of water,and if not prevented, would throw himself into the fea, or the first river Averfion to black, and blue colours, and a paffion for the contrary ones of white, red and green, are likewite fingular fvmptoms of this difeate.
If the perfon does not die, the fit returns about a year after he was bit, and the dance must be begun again. Some have had thefe, periodical returns for twenty or thirty years.
Every different perfon has his own favourite airs, but in general they are thote of a quick and lively movement. PAGE 235, 1. last.
That it introduces its eggs. Thofe who wish to be acquainted with the curious hiftory of this infect may find it. at ength in Reaumur, Tom. IV. Part 2. Mem. 12. where the author treats of it with his ufual accuracy and ability. PAGE 236, 1. 6.
Thefe refemble the feed of a gourd. May not thefe worms be the fame with thofe defcrived by Reaumur in the Memoir I have juft cited. In this cafe they could not enter with the grafs into the ftomach of horses; but they would penetrate thither by the anus where the fly which produces them, inferts its eggs. Thefe worms have their fegments fet with tharp points, fo difpofed that when their head is turned towards the anterior part of the horse, the points allow them to advance, but prevent them from going back or being pushed out along with the fæces. Thus thefe infects maintain themselves in the inteftines of horses till they are about to change their state; they then turn about and suffer themselves to be excluded in order to go elsewhere to accomplish their metamorphofis.
PAGE 212, 1. firft.
*Where the vapours are noxious to them. It is known how far the acid vapours of the Swalbach extend by there not being found any infects or any maggots in cheele there, because flies are wanting to depofite thei ergs in it This laft obfervation fhews that the mites of cheese proceed froin the eggs of infects. The Author.
Provided mites are not oviparous in certain feafons, as I have remarked above that the different forts of aphides are, I can affert that the mites of cheefe are viviparous, having often feen them produce living young: and this being he 3 Iz cafe
case it cannot be faid that they proceed from the eggs of PAGE 244, 1. 4.
It is not pible to exterminate infects. Neither is it neceffary. It would be to abufe the power which God has given us over the brutes, were we to attempt fo chimerical a projan It is fufficient to endeavour to defend ourselves from them; either by removing them, or by deftroying those that <our perfons or our goods; and for this purpose the means are not wanting.
PAGE 251, 1. 34.
*It is in mufic alone. As we know that found is nothing but a tremulous motion of the air which is communicated to the organ of hearing; as we likewife know that one of two cords in unifon being made to vibrate, communicates the vibration to the other, and that the effects of unifon and concord, are fuch as we fometimes feel over the whole b upon hearing certain mufical notes; we may therefore maintain that mufic quickens the motion of the blood, enliven, the fpirit, dilates the pores, and thereby opens a paffage to thofe noxious particles which efcape by perfpiration in dancing.
Ad as it is ftill further known, that the compofition of the blood, of the nerves and fpirits, varies in every individual, as well as in the poifon of the Tarantula, we may easily conceive that certain mufical tones will agree with certain poifons better than with others, which in order to be put in motion, require a graver or a fharper tone, and thus thefe tones will excite and expell the fpirits constituted in a peculiar way, fooner than if they were not fo conftituted. Now, when, after feveral trials, the tone according with the nature of the poison has been found, and that tone repeated often without intermiflion, it is not furprising that the fpirits, being fo excited, thould enter more and more into the muscles, and force the perfon to dance, not only in virtue of their own action, but by the affiftance of the poison which is then 1 kewife agitated; juft as persons in health feel themselves inclined to dance on hearing certain favourite airs. The author's translation from SCHEUCHZER.
When in P. 434, I related the effects produced by mufic on perfons bitten by the Tarantula, I did not expect the author was to introduce the fubject in this Chapter; however
as we have both drawn from different, fources, what I faid will not perhaps be quite ufelefs, and the two details may serve as a commentary on each other. But what appears to me to have most need of illustration is the manner in which the different effects are accounted for. I admire the facility with which M. Scheuchzer conceives the matter. I confefs it never would have occurred to me, as it has done to him, to find in the qualities of unifon and concord, a reafon for deciding pofitively that music, by acting on the fpirits, and on the blood of the patients, fhould dilate their pores, and allow a free paffage to the poifon. Still lefs could I have conceived how a tone more or lefs fharp fhould agree with one fpecies of poifon, and not with another; and that the inftrument tuned to the poison fhould naturally by its found awaken the animal spirits, make them pass into the muscles, and enable them, with the affiftance of the poison, to make the whole body dance. All this, however eafy it may appear to Scheuchzer, has to me fomething of darknefs and mystery that I do not feel myself able to penetrate. I fee fomewhat more clearly into the explanation given by Mr Geoffroy in the Hiftory of the Royal Academy of Sciences for 1702. He conjectures that the poifon of the Tarantula, occafions a greater tenfion of the nerves than is natural to them, or proportioned to their functions. This according to him is the caufe of the privation of fenfe and motion. He next fuppofes that this tenfion being equal to that of fome firing of a mufical inftrument, puts the nerves in unifon with a certain tone, and obliges them to tremble the moment they are ftruck by the undulations or vibrations natural to this particular tone; that the motion generated in the nerves by this means recalls the spirits which had almoft entirely abandoned them, and thus he accounts for this extraordinary musical cure. This explanation, though it may appear eafy, has likewife however its difficulties; in the first place it fuppofes an extraordinary tenfion of the nerves which puts them in unifon with the string of a mufical inftrument. If this were the fact, then the limbs of the patient who has loft all motion, must be stiff, and in a fituation either of contraction or diftenfion according to the equal or unequal action of the contrary mufcles. Now I do not know that the patient is ever reprefented in fuch a ftate of rigidity. Befides, if it is by the effect of the unifon or concord between the tone of the in