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torted, and he died in twenty minutes. Six grains were put into the thigh of another dog, which also vomited first his undigested food, next a white foam, and died contracted and convulsed in fifteen minutes.—A cat was also treated in like manner; but she was still sooner and more convulsed, and her muscles contracted. She continued leaping up for a few minutes, and fell down dead. All these animals died crying and in great agony.—After repeating a number of experiments on the deleterious and prompt effects of this powerful poison when applied externally; the author gave a grain and a half to a dog, which he took into his stomach, but it only produced a slight purging. To ano
MEMOIR OF THE LIFE AND CHARACTER OF DR. John L.Aw.
DR. JOHN LAW, brother to lord Ellenborough, was born at Greystoke, in Cumberland, in 1745. His father, Dr. Edmund Law, bishop of Carlisle, was, at that time, rector of the parish, to which he had been presented by the university of Cambridge, in 1737. At an early age John Law was sent on the foundation to the Charter-house, from whence, in 1762, he removed to Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he was eminently distinguished by his superiour abilities and uncommon application to his studies: as a proof of which, his name appeared second on the list of wranglers at his examination for his bachelor’s degree; and shortly after he obtained the first of the chancellor’s medals. These honourable exertions were rewarded with the first vacant fellowship his college was enabled to offer him, and he soon became tutor in conjunction with Drs. Shepherd and Paley.
After a residence of eleven years in the university, Dr. Law, in 1773, received from his father, the vicarage of Warkworth, in Northumber
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land, and a prebendal-stall in Carlisle, where he married Miss Wallace, sister of the barrister of that name. In 1777, he was made archdeacon of the diocese, and in 1782, was removed to the bishoprick of Clonfert, in Ireland. It has been reported that this promotion was most unexpectedly offered to him by the late duke of Portland, when that nobleman was lord lieutenant of Ireland, in order to bestow the preferments held by Dr. Law upon a gentleman to whose exertions the duke was principally indebted for his ultimate success in the celebrated trial between him and sir James Lowther. From this see Dr. Law was removed, successively, to those of Killala and Elphin, the last of which he retained till the time of his decease. The following anecdote deserves to be recorded in letters of gold, as furnishing a distinguished instance of Christian charity. When he took possession of the see of Killala, and learned that almost the whole of the population were Roman catholicks, he used these expressions: “That as it was a hopeless task to make them protestants, it would answer every desirable purpose to make them good cathoticks;” and with this view he got printed at his own expense, and distributed gratis throughout the diocese, a new edition of the works of the Rev. J. Gother, which breathe the piety, and in plain and humble language, inculcate the morality of the bible. The bishop of Elphin has been recorded as “a man of great variety of knowledge, uncommon genius, and sincere religion.” In respect to his literary character we are not aware that any production avowed by himself has been given
to the publick; yet it has been supposed that he had a considerable share in the composition of the « Moral and Political Philosophy” of his friend Dr. Paley, and we believe the chapter on reverencing the Deity has been generally ascribed to him. Dr. Law’s chief study, however, was always understood to be the science of the mathematicks, to which at an early age he displayed great preference, and certainly made a very considerable progress, although few men possessed a more refined taste for polite literature, or had made more extensive acquisitions in every branch of general knowledge.
ACCOUNT OF THE BURGHUT: OR BANIAN TREE OF INI).I.A.
THE burghut, generally known among Europeans by the name of the banian tree, grows to an immense size in India; being often known to measure from twenty-five to thirty feet in girth. It is distinguished from every other tree hitherto known, by the very peculiar circumstance of its throwing out roots from all its branches. These being pendant, and perfectly lax, in time, reach the ground, which they penetrate, and ultimately become substantial props to the very massy, horizontal boughs, which, but for such a support, must either be stopped in their growth, or give way from their own weight. Many of these quondam roots, changing their outward appearance from a brown, rough rind to a regular bark, not unlike that of the beech, increase to a great diameter. They may be often seen from four to five feet in circumference, and in a true perpendicular line. When they are numerous, as sometimes happens, an observer, ignorant of their nature and origin, might think them artificial, and that they had been placed for the purpose of sustaining the boughs from which they originated.
I am almost afraid, says the writer of this description, to state what I have seen on this subject; and I fear that I shall be considered as having made a trip to Abyssinia, when I inform the reader, that there was, some years since, a banian tree, growing not far from Naddeap, which, probably aided by art, had spread nearly round a tank of about two thirds of an acre in size, so that the branches, diverging to the right, nearly met those proceeding from the left. Many will, perhaps, avail themselves of the assertion I offer, that “if I had not seen, I should not have believed it.” This wonderful tree was supported by its radial columns in a most extraordinary manner, and probably would have, long since, become an object of that spirited research which has of late years, prevailed in India, were it not, that in consequence of an ox having been killed under it by some European, the spot had been considered as defiled, and the tree, during the paroxysm of fanatical zeal, destroyed, which caused the faukeer, who resided under its extensive shades, to level it to the ground.
We may safely consider the burghut as a unique in nature, for we may, I believe, search in vain for its parallel. We know of no production in the vegetable world, which thus searches for support; and which, inverting its order of circulation, procures sap from that limb, which was originally produced and fed by one of its branches. These roots proceed from all the branches indiscriminately, whether near or far removed from the ground. They appear like new swabs, such as are in use on board ships. However, few reach sufficiently low to take a hold of the soil, except those of the lower branches. I have seen some do so from a great height; but they were thin, and did not promise well. Many of the ramifications pendant from the higher boughs are seen to
Description of the various species of Snakes most prevalent in India.
THE following description of the various species of snakes most prevalent in India, is extracted from capt. Williamson’s work, entitled, “ Oriental Field Shorts;” a source from whence we have before derived many interesting articles. “However extraordinary it may appear at first mention, it is, nevertheless, certain, that most of the accidents which happen [in India from the breaking of the artificial banks raised for the purpose of keeping the rivers within due bounds during the rainy season, by which large tracts of country are preserved from annual innundation, are to be attributed to snakes, rats, and other vermin. These burrowing in the banks, in time work their way completely through. Though they generally are near the surface, still the effect is much the same; for when the water rises to such a height as to enter any of the apertures, it penetrates rapidly into every crevice, and having a vent to
wards the land side, occasions such a draught as, by a gradual increase, soon becomes sufficiently powerful to tear away very large masses, when the torrent completes the destructlOn. . “Like most wild animals, snakes are more inclined to retire than to attack. I believe that very few instances can be adduced of their not availing themselves of any opening that offers for evasion. They throw themselves over broad ditches and banks when pursued, as if they had wings. When confined without the hope of escape they become desperate, and attack whatever presents itself to view. Their mode of attack
whole measurement. This snake is peculiarly venomous, as are the cowra manilla, which rarely exceeds eighteen inches in length, and a sort of snake, rarely to be found but in the hills, which is perfectly cylindrical, except for about an inch at each end; these being conical, leaves a doubt as to which is the head, whence many suppose it to have two heads. The grass snake, which, indeed, is often to be seen in trees, and is particularly fond of scCreting itself in very curious places, such as under the flaps of tables, &c. is deserving of particular notice: It is of a beautiful green, with a crimson or purple head, and grows to about four feet in length. It is extremely venomous, and so very active, that it can skim over the tops of grass, and scarcely be seen. Its velocity is incredible. “During the campaign in Rohilcund in 1794, while the army was encamped at about five or six miles rom the Kammow hills, a remarkale snake was brought to a gentleman, skilled in natural philosophy, which appeared to be replete with venom. It was not more than eight or nine inches long, and was of a light ash colour, with a black head. The natives consider it to be the most dangerous of the whole tribe. But may we not suppose this to be the class, of which we have so little account as to consider the designation to imply any venomous reptile : In digging under old walls, &c. a beautiful snake is often found, of a lively bottle colour, not usually exceeding seven or eight inches, and thin in proportion. It is difficult to distinguish without a glass, which is its head. Hence, it is like the cylindrical serpent just mentioned, galled the double headed snake. It is said to be venomous, but I never heard of its injuring any animal; and unless it have a sting, which does not appear probable, I should consider it as being perfectly innocent;
especially as the, size of its mouth
would not allow of sufficient distension to embrace enough even of the skin to bite through it. “All snakes have a great propensity to enter houses, not only as a temporary shelter, but to possess themselves of the numerous rat-burrows wherein to remain concealed. The abundance of vermin to be seen in houses even of the first class, proves the original incitement for snakes to venture in The rats, however, soon smell their enemy, and lose no time in shifting their quarters. Yet snakes and rats frequently inhabit the same thatch in numbers. The presence of the former is generally announced by some of the family being bit in their beds, or elsewhere; or, perhaps, in the contests between the parties, both the snake and the rat come tumbling down from the inside. I was once dining with a friend, when our attention was suddenly arrested by a cowra cafiella and a rat falling from the thatch upon one of the dishes on the table. I know not which of the four was first out of the room. “The dhameen, which grows to a considerable size, often measuring ten or twelve feet, rarely bites; but coiling itself up, and awaiting the approach of its enemy, it lashes with its tail in a most forcible manner. The flesh usually sphacelates, and leaves a considerable sore, which the natives attribute to venom. Such, however, cannot be the case; and we may safely conclude, that the severity of the stroke with so rough a weapon, is the sole cause of the mischief, which, in so warm a climate, and where surgery is so little understood, increases rapidly. Fortunately the temperance of the generality of the natives in regard to their viands and beverage, renders their habits highly favourable towards a specdy cure; to which the cleanliness enforced by their religious ablutions necessarily adds. “The poison of a snake operates with certainty if fairly introduced
into the circulation. The effect will be more or less rapid according to circumstances, and not a little depends on the state of the sufferer's body, whether he be cool or heated with exercise. It is proper to inform the reader, that only the two eye teeth can impregnate any subject with the poison. They have at their roots, within the jaw, each a small cyst or bag, containing the venom. These being pressed in the act of biting, discharge their contents through the fangs respectively, by means of a very small channel or groove, which reaches from the place where the bag envelopes the root, about half way up the tooth, having its vent on the inside of the fang. Hence it is obvious, that if the person be thickly clothed, or that the jaws be not sufficiently compressed to force the venom out of the cyst, no mischief will ensue. This not being duly attended to, has, no doubt, given credit to many supposed antidotes, which, when the real nature or kind of snake has been ascertained to be venomous, has been supposed to work a cure, when, in truth, the absence of the deleterious matter has been the sole cause of safety. “I have made numerous experiments with snakes, and invariably found, that every kind I ever saw would freely enter the water. The natives have an opinion, that their venom loses its fatal properties when immersed; but of this we have no proof, and our knowledge of the anatomy of the parts containing the poison, should induce us to reject such a wild conjecture; it being sufficiently evident, that the puncture receives and buries the venom, without the least chance of its being washed away, or diluted by the liquid. “Persons working in fields are often bitten, and as no puncture, in general, appears, the poor fellows are apt to attribute the uneasiness first felt to the prickings of thorns, thistles, &c. A few minutes, how
ever, never fail to exhibit the real state of the case, the unfortunate Victim becoming sick, with cold sweats and stupor, and gradually subsiding, perhaps occasionally convulsed, into the arms of death. Few survive more than half an hour, and many die within five minutes. “The snake-catchers in the Carnatick are said to possess a medicine which renders them totally secure from the effects of venom, This had been doubted; but they have occasionally supplied some of our faculty with a sufficient quantity to become convinced, by their own personal knowledge, of its complete resistance thereto. Many bribes have been offered for the recipe, but without success. Fictitious directions have been given, which failing, the properties of the real antidote have been too hastily condemned. The only medicine which has ever been found to answer, except that above noticed, has been a very pure preparation of eau de luce, which being swallowed in the proportion of a tea spoonful to a wine glass of water, and repeated two or three times if occasion require, has been known to prevent fatal consequences. As to the wounds themselves, they do not seem to admit of any effectual treatment. Oil is generally rubbed in and drunk; but no reliance whatever can be placed on such a course. The eau de luce appears to prevent that stagnation of the blood and fluids, which we may reasonably infer takes place, from knowing that a snake’s venom, dropped in the smallest quantity into milk, instantly acts as powerfully as a very large portion of rennet. “When snakes are known to infest particular places, the snakecatchers are called in. These, by smelling at the different burrows, at once decide in which the snake then harbours. Taking care to keep out of sight, they play on an instrument not unlike a hautboy; and having scattered some scents on the