Imagens das páginas

M. Duraffe, ambassador at the court Grignon, that they had found a of Constantinople, who assured him toad in a mass of stone forty-five that stones were frequently found feet below the surface of the earth. there, in which were inclosed little This celebrated naturalist went imanimals called dactyles.

mediately to the spot, but could not The following instances are not perceive, as he assures us, in his less curious, and are more recent. 6. Treatise on the Fabrication of

Some workmen, in a quarry at Iron," any vestige of the prison of Boursire, in Gotha, having detached this animal. A small cavity was a large piece of stone from the mass, visible in the stone, but it bore no found, on breaking it, a live toad; impression of the body of the toad. they were desirous of separating The toad that was shown him was the part that bore the shape of of a middling size, of a grey colour, the animal, but it crumbled in- and seemed to be in its natural state. to sand. The toad was of a dark The workmen informed Mr. Grig. grey, its back a little speckled. The non, that this was the sixth that had colour of its belly was brighter. Its been found in these mines, within eyes, small and circular, emitted the space of thirty years. Mr. Grigfire from beneath a tender mem- non considered the circumstance as brane which covered them. They worthy a more particular attention, were of the colour of pale gold. and he promised, therefore, a reWhen touched on the head with a ward to any person who should find stick, it closed its eyes, as if asleep, him another instance of a toad so inand gradually opened them again closed, in a stone that it had no when the stick was taken away. means of getting out. It was incapable of any other mo- In 1770, a toad was brought to tion. The aperture of the mouth him, inclosed in two hollow shells was closed, by means of a yellow- of stone, in which it was said to ish membrane. Upon pressing it have been found; but on examinon the back, it discharged some ing it nicely, Mr. Grignon perceivclear water, and died. Under the ed, that the cavity bore the immembrane which covered the pression of a shell-fish, and, of conmouth, were found, both in the up- sequence, he concluded it to be per and lower jaw, two sharp teeth, apocryphal. In 1771, however, which were stained with a little another instance occurred, and was blood. How long it had been in the subject of a curious memoir, closed in this stone, is a question read by M. Guettard to the Royal that cannot be solved.

Academy of Sciences at Paris. It M. le Prince, a celebrated sculp- was thus related by that famous dator, asserts, in like manner, that he turalist: saw, in 1756, in the house of M.

In pulling down a wall, which de la Rivière, at Ecretteville, a liv- was known to have existed upwards ing toad, in the centre of a hard of a hundred years, atoad was found, stone, with which it was, as it were, without the smallest aperture being incrusted; and facts of this kind are discoverable, by which it could less rare than is imagined. have entered. Upon inspecting the

In 1764, some workmen, in a animal, it was apparent that it quarry in Lorrain, informed Mr, had been dead but a very little time; and in this state it was presen- lated in a letter, of the 5th of Feted to the academy, which induced bruary, 1780, written from the neighM. Guettard to make repeated in- bourhood of Saint Mexent, of which quiries into this subject, the parti- the following is a copy : culars of which will be read with “ A few days ago, I ordered an oakpleasure, in the excellent memoir tree, of a tolerable size, to be cut we have just cited.

down, and converted into a beam These phenomena remind us of that was wanting for a building others of a similar nature, and equally which I was then constructing. Havcertain. In the trunk ofan elm, about ing separated the head from the the size of a man's body, three or trunk, three men were employed in four feet above the root, and pre- squaring it to the proper size. About cisely in the centre, was found, in four inches were to be cut away on 1719, a live toad of a moderate size, each side. I was present during the thin, and which occupied but a transaction. Conceive what was my very senall

space. As soon as the astonishment,when I saw them throw wood was cut, it came out and aside their tools, start back from the skipped away very alertly. No tree tree, and fix their eyes on the same could be more sound. No place point, with a kind of amazement could be discovered through which and terror! I instantly approached, it was possible for the animal to and looked at the part of the tree have penetrated, which led the re- which had fixed their attention. My corder of the fact to suppose, that surprise equalled theirs, on seeing a the spawn, from which it originated, toad aboutthe size ofa large pullet's must, by some unaccountable acci- egg, incrusted, in a manner, in the dent, have been in the tree from tree, at the distance of four inches the very first moment of its vegeta- from the diameter, and fitteen from tion. The toad had lived in the tree the root. It was cut and mangled without air, and, what is still more by the axe, but it still moved. I surprising, had subsisted on the sub- drew it with difficulty from itsabode stance of the wood, and had grown or rather prison, which it filled so in proportion as the tree had grown. completely, that it seemed to have This fact was attested by Mr. been compressed. I placed it on Hebert, ancient professor of philo- the grass : it appeared old, thin, sophy at Caen.

languishing, decrepiil. We afterIn 1731, Mr. Seigne wrote to the wards examined the tree with the Academy of Sciences at Paris, an ac- nicest care, to discover how it had count of a phenomenon exactly si- glided in; but the tree was perfectly milar to the preceding one, except whole and sound. that the tree was larger, and was an These facts, but particularly the oak instead of an elm, which makes memoir of M. Guettard, induced the instance moresurprising.–From M. Herissan to make experiments, the size of the oak, Mr. Seignejudg- calculated to ascertain their cered that the toad must have existed tainty. in it, without air, or any external February 21, 1771, he inclosed nourishment, for the space of eighty three live toads, in so many cases of or a hundred years.

plaster, and shut them up in a deal We shall cite a third instance, re- box, which he also covered with a thick plaster. On the 8th of April - We beg leave to observe upon 1774, having taken away the plaster, this subject, that the power which he opened the box, and found the these animals appear to possess of cases whole, and two of the toads supporting abstinence for so long a alive-The one that died was larger time, may result from a very slow than the others, and had been more digestion, and perhaps from the sincompressed in its case. A careful gular nourishment which they derive examination of this experiment con- from themselves. M. Grignon obvinced those who had witnessed it; serves, that this animal sheds its skin that the animals were so inclosed' several times in the course of a year that they could havenopossible com- and that it always swallows it. He munication with the external air, has known, he says, a large toad and that they must have existed dur- shed its skin six times in one winter. ing this lapse of time without the In short, those which, from the facts smallest pourishment.

we have related, may be supposed The academy prevailed on Mr. to have existed for many centuries Herissan to repeat the experiment. without nourishment, have been in He inclosed again the two surviving a total inaction, in a suspension of toads, and placed the box in the life, in a temparature that has ad hands of the secretary, that the so- 'mitted of no dissolution; so that it ciety might open it whenever they was not necessary to repair any loss, should chink proper. But this cele- the humidity of the surrounding brated naturalist was too strongly matter preserving that of the animal, interested in the subject to be satis- who wanted only the component fied with a single experiment: he parts not to be dried up to preserve made therefore the two following: it from destruction. ! 1. He placed, 15th April in the But toads are not the only anisame year, two live toads in a bason mals which have the privilege of of plaster, which he covered with a living for a considerable period glass case, that he might observe without nourishment and communithem frequently. On the ninth of cation with the external air. The the following month, he presented instances of the oysters and dactyles, this apparatus to the academy. One mentioned in the beginning of this of the

toads was still living; the other article, may be advanced in proof had died the preceding oight.

of it. But there are other exam. 2. The same day, 15th April, he ples. inclosed another toad in a glass Two living worms were found in bottle, which he buried in sand, Spain, in the middle of a block of that it might have no communication marble which a sculptor was carving with the external air. This animal, into a lion of the natural colour for which he presented to the academy the royal family. These worms ocat the same time, was perfectly cupied two small cavities, to which well, and even croaked whenever there was no inlet thatcould possibly the bottle was shook in which he admit the air. They subsisted prowas confined. It is to be lamen- bably on the substance of the marble, ted, that the death of Mr. Heris- as they were of the same colour. san put a stop 'to these experi. This fact is verified by captain ments.

Ulloa, a famous Spaniard, who ac


companied the French academicians

presents as would be serviceable in their voyage to Peru, to ascertain

to the inhabitants, and pleasing the figure of the earth. He asserts

to king Abba Thulle. that he saw these two worms. , of the species

ships anchored in a ,

very snug wood in the hold of a ship at Ply- the said islands, called Arrakappa

harbour, in one of mouth. The wood had no exter

sang, where the king Abba Thulle nal mark of any aperture.

desired capt. M.Cluer would land We read in the Affiches de Pro- the live-stock, which he seemed vince, 17th June, 1772, that an ad- very fond of-they being so very der was found alive in the centre of gentle and tame, particularly the a block of marble thirty feet in dia- Bulls and cows. At day-light they meter. It was folded nine times

were sent on shore, all in good conround in a spiral line; it was inca- dition, four young cows supposed pable of supporting the air, and to be all in calf, two young bulls, died a few minutes after. Upon ten ewes and a ram, seven she goats examining the stone, not the small and three rams, five sows with pig, est trace was to be found by which it and a boar, one pair of geese, three could have glided in, or received air. ducks and a drake, also a tame cock

Misson, in his Travels through and two hens, to invite the wild Italy, mentions a craw-fish that was ones; and they letfly from aloft four found alive in the middle of a mar- pair of turtle doves and a pair of ble in the environs of Tivoli,

parrots. At the same time, a rich M. Peyssonel, king's physician, present of arms and European atGuadaloupe, having ordered a pit swords, with sundry other packages, to be dug in the back part of his was made to Abba Thulle, who in. house, live frogs were found by the stantly distributed the arms among workmen in beds of petrifaction. the principal Rupacks, and recom, M. Peyssonel suspecting some de- mended them to be kept clean and ceit, descended into the pit, dug in order for service when wanted. the bed of rock and petrifactions, Two days after, the remaining and drew out himself green frogs, presents, consisting of grindstones, which were alive, and perfectly si- jronmongery, saws, shovels, &c. milar to what we see every day. from Europe, were sent on shore,

'which when opened before the old

king and his people, the whole mul, Pelew ISLANDS.

titude was so struck with amazeSome particulars of the visits made ment, that they could not utter a

by captain M*Clure to those Isl- word to each other, but gave freands,in the East-India Company's quent ha's of astonishment as the armed vessels, the Panther and things were taken out of the boxes. Endeavour, which were fitted out About an hour after the things were at Bombay, by order of the court opened to view, the old king came of directors, for the purpose of to his recollection, and called his surveying those islands and to car. Rupacks and principal men around ry such useful animals and other him, and after a long harangue to

them • For an account of the interesting Prince Loe Boo, second sun of Abba Thulle, see Annual Register for 1788, vol. 30, p. 37.

them (wherein the word Englees was great length, and made one of the frequently mentioned) he distribu- sepoys flourish it in the Mahratta ted the different articles with his manner, which much delighted the own hand, proportionably to the old king and his people, being somerank and ability of the person. The thing like their own fighting and 400 iron Kyseems sent from Bombay, jumping about with the spear. The greatly attracted their attention, be- presents were then finished with a ing exactly the dimensions of the piece of broad cloth to the king and tool used by them; little hand. one or two of the chiefs, the texture hatchets were only given to the fa- of which puzzled their imagination; vourites and head men; the beads and for want of the Malay interpresent from Europe they did not like, ter, who was on shore, it could not as they were not transparent, but be explained to them. some blue and green from Bombay On the following day one of the were exactly what they liked; they he-goats died by eating some poisonwere fond of the China ware, par- ous herbs, but was not altogether ticularly tureens.

lost, for the king ordered him to be The next day the king came on skinned and roasted, and when about board, with his retinue, to see the half-done, he and his nobles made a vessel when at anchor, which he ex- delicious meal of it ; at least they amined very minutely in every part; seemed to enjoy it, by frequently and a gun being fired with round licking their chops and fingers and grape shot, surprised him a during the repast. good deal, when the large shot fell The next morning the king proin the water at so great a distance. posed a visit to Coroora (his princiThe working of the pumps he ad- pal island), where every gentleman mired greatly. The captain made that could be spared from duty achim a present of a horseman's sword companied him, and made a very and target, and showed him the use grand appearance,

He made a of the latter, by telling one of his small canoe lead a-head of the Panmen to throw a spear at it with all ther's boat, and behind was the his might, which, to their great king's canoe, and every one accordastonishment,snapt short and scarce- ing to their rank nearest him to the ly left a dent behind ; this seemed right and left, keeping an exact line very acceptable. Mr. Westborough abreast; the smaller canoes followproduced a small joiner's tool-chest, ing in little order and distinction. which he presented to the king, who On coming near the landing-place admired it greatly, being very com- of Coroora, they sounded the conch plete, with lock and key; he gave shell to announce his majesty's aphim also an embroidered cap of proach ; the first line began a song, scarlet cloth, which they are remark- and the old men gave out the first ably fond of wearing. Mr. Proctor stave of every verse alone ; when had a small Alexander's figure head, finished, they all answered, accomdone in Bombay marine-yard, which panied at the same instant by a great the old king was much pleased with, Aourish of the paddle, which had a and would not part with it out of pleasing effect. When the boat his hand to let any one see it. The touched the pier, the English gave captain made theson of Arra Kooker three cheers, which was answered a present of a Mahratta sword of a by Wheel! From the waterside


« AnteriorContinuar »