The history of the Royal-Society of London for the improving of natural knowledge by Tho. Sprat.
Sprat, Thomas, 1635-1713., Cowley, Abraham, 1618-1667. To the Royal Society.
Page  193


IT is recommended to the care of some skilful Planters in the Barbadoes, to try whether good Wine may not be made out of the Iuyce of Sugar-canes. That which may induce them, to believe this work to be possible, is this Observation, that the Iuyce of Wine, when it is dry'd, does alwayes granulate into Sugar, as appears in Raisins, or dry'd Grapes: and also that in those vessels wherein cute, or unfermented Wine is put, the sides are wont to be cover'd over with a crust of Sugar. Hence it may be ga∣ther'd, that there is so great a likeness of the liquor of the Cane, to that of the Vine, that it may probably be brought to serve for the same uses. If this attempt shall succeed, the advantages of it will be very considerable. For the English being the chief Masters of the Sugar Trade, and that falling very much in its price of late years, while all other outlandish productions are risen in their value: it would be a great benefit to this King∣dom, as well as to our Western Plantations, if part of our Sugar, which is now in a manner a meer Drug, might be turn'd into Wine, which is a Forein Commodity, and grows every day dearer: especially seeing this might be done, by only bruising, and pressing the Canes, which would be a far less labour and charge, than the way, by which Su∣gar is now made.

Page  194These are some of the most advantageous proposals, they have scatter'd, and incourag'd in all places, where their Interest prevails. In these they have re∣commended to many distinct, and separate Trials, those designs, which some private men had begun, but could not accomplish, by reason of their charge: or those which they themselves have devis'd, and con∣ceiv'd capable of success: or even those of which men have hitherto seem'd to despair. Of these, some are already brought to a hopeful issue: some are put in use, and thrive by the practice of the publick: and some are discover'd to be feasible, which were only before thought imaginary, and fantastical. This is one of the greatest powers of the true, and unweari∣ed Experimenter, that he often rescues things, from the jaws of those dreadful Monsters, Improbability, and Impossibility. These indeed are two frightful words to weaker minds, but by Diligent and Wisemen, they are generally found to be only the excuses of Idle∣ness, and Ignorance. For the most part they lie not in the things themselves, but in mens false opinions con∣cerning them they are rais'd by opinions, but are soon abolish'd by works. Many things, that were at first improbable to the minds of men, are not so to their eyes: many that seem'd unpracticable to their thoughts, are quite otherwise to their hands: many that are too difficult for their naked hands, may be soon perform'd by the same hands, if they are strengthen'd by Instruments, and guided by Method: many that are unmanageable by a few hands, and a few Instruments, are easie to the joynt force of a multitude: many that fail in one Age, may succeed by the renew'd indeavors of another. It is not there∣fore the conceit or fancy of men alone, that is of suffi∣cient Page  195 authority to condemn the most unlikely things for Impossible: unless they have been often attempted in vain, by many Eyes, many Hands, many Instruments, and many Ages.

This is the assistance,* and information, they have given to others, to provoke them to inquire, and to order, and regulate their Inquisitions. To these I will add the Relations of the effects of Nature, and Art, which have been communicated to them. These are infinite in number. And though many of them have not a sufficient confirmation, to raise Theories, or Hi∣stories on their Infallibility: yet they bring with them a good assurance of likelihood, by the integrity of the Relators; and withall they furnish a judicious Reader, with admirable hints to direct his Observa∣tions. For I will once more affirm, that as the minds of men do often mistake falshoods for Truths, though they are never so circumspect: so they are often drawn by uncertain, and sometimes erroneous re∣ports, to stumble on truths, and realities; of this vast heap of Relations, which is every where scatter'd in their Entry Books, I will only take notice of these oc∣casional Accounts.

Relations of two new kinds of Stars, observ'd in the year sixty six, the one in Andromeda, the other in Cygnus, in the same place, where they appear'd sixty years since, and have ever since disappear'd: of several Observations of Coelestial Bodies made in Spain: of Ob∣servations of several of the Planets made at Rome, and in other parts, by extraordinary Glasses: of the compa∣rative goodness of Glasses us'd in other Countries: of several Eclipses observ'd in divers parts of the World.

Relations of Parelii, and other such appearances Page  196 seen in France: of the effects of Thunder and Light∣ning: of Hurricanes, and Spouts: of the bigness, fi∣gure, and effects of Hailstones: of Fish, and Frogs said to be rain'd: of the raining of Dust out of the Air, and of the distance it has been carri'd by great Fires, and Earthquakes: of changes of Weather, and a way of predicting them: of the vermination of the Air: of the suppos'd raining of Wheat in Glocestershire, which being sown was found to be nothing but Ivy-Berries.

Relations of a Spring in Lancashire, that will pre∣sently catch fire on the approach of a Flame: of Burning-glasses performing extraordinary effects: of Burning glasses made with Ice: of Fire-balls for Fuel: of a more convenient way of using Wax-candles: of the kindling of certain Stones, by their being moi∣sten'd with Water: of using ordinary Fuel to the best advantage.

Relations of the times of the rising, and disappear∣ing of Springs: of Artificial Springs: of the Natures of several of our English Springs, and of other Olea∣ginous, and Bituminous Springs: of the fitness, and unfitness of some waters for the making of Beer, or Ale: of brewing Beer with Ginger instead of Hops: of Tides and Currents: of Petrifying Springs: of the Water blasts of Tivoly: of Floating Islands of Ice: of the shining of Dew in a Common of Lancashire, and elsewhere: of Divers, and Diving, their habit, their long holding their breath, and of other notable things observ'd by them.

Relations of the Effects of Earthquakes, and the mo∣ving, and sinking of Earths: of deep Mines, and deep Wells: of the several layers of Earth in a Well at Amsterdam: of the shining Cliffs in Scotland: of the layers of Earth observ'd in divers Clifts: of Screw-Stones, Page  197 Lignum Fossile, Blocks buried in Exeter River, Trees found under ground in Cheshire, Lincolnshire, and elsewhere: of a Coal-Mine wrought half a mile from the shore, under the Sea: of the fatal effects of damps on Miners, and the ways of recovering them.

Relations of the extraordinary strength of some small Loadstones, taking up above 150. times their own weight: of several English Loadstones: of the variation of the Loadstone observ'd in two East-India voyages, and other places: of the growing of Peb∣bles inclos'd in a glass of water: of several excellent English clays: of Gold found in little lumps in a Mine in England: of the moving sands in Norfolk.

Relations about refining Lead, and Tin-Oar: of hardning Steel so as to cut Porphyry with it, and soft∣ning it so much, as to make it easie to be wrought on: of impregnating Lead-Oar with Metal, after it has been once freed: of Petrify'd Teeth, and a Petrifi'd humane foetus: of several wayes of splitting Rocks: of living Muscles found in the midst of Rocks at Le∣gorn: of the way of making Quick-silver: of things observable at the bottom of the Sea: of a soft Metal, which hardens after it has taken off the Impression, and the way of reducing such impressions into as small a proportion as is desir'd.

Relations about Agriculture: of ordering of Vines: of the setting and planting of Trees several wayes: of Elms growing from chips, of new Trees sprung from rotten roots: of several kinds of Trees, growing one out of another; and in the place of others: of the best wayes of pruning: of ma∣king a kind of Silk with Virginia Grass: of a kind of Grass making stronger Ropes than the common Hemp: of a new way of ordering Mulberry Trees in Page  198Virginia: of a Locust Tree Bow standing bent six months, without loosing its Spring: of a way of im∣proving the planting of Tobacco.

Relations of the usefulness of changing seed yearly: of the steeping, liming, sowing it several wayes: of freeing it from Worms: preserving it long (as eighty years) of freeing it from smut; of the causes, and first signs of smut: of the Instrument and way of chopping Straw, for the feeding of Horses: of Plants growing in meer Water: of others growing in meer Air: of several Indian Woods: of the growing of the divi∣ded parts of Beans: of the growing of chopp'd stalks of Potatoes: of ordering Melons: of keeping their Seed, and producing extraordinary good ones without transplanting.

Relations of the growth, breeding, feeding, and ordering of Oysters: of a Sturgeon kept alive in Saint Iameses-Park: of the moveable Teeth of Pikes: of young Eeles cut alive out of the old ones Belly: of the transporting Fish-spawn▪ and Carps alive from one place to another: of the strange increase of Carps so transported: of Snake-stones and other Antidotes: of Frogs, Frog-spawn, Toads, Newts, Vipers, Snakes, Rattle-Snakes.

Relations of several kinds of Poysons, as that of Maccasser, and Florence: of Crawfishes: of the Gene∣ration, growth, life, and transformation of Ants: of Cheese worms leaping like Fleas: of living Worms found in the Entrails of Fishes: of Insects found in the sheathing of Ships: of the generation of Insects, out of dead Cantharides: of Insects bred in mens Teeth, Gums, Flesh, Skin: of great quantities of Flies living in Winter, though frozen: of the wayes of or∣dering Silk-worms in France, Italy, Virginia: and of their not being hurt in Virginia by Thunder.

Page  199Relations of Swallows living after they have been frozen under water: of Barnacles and Soland Geese: of a new way of hatching Pigeons: of the way of hatching Chickens in Egypt: of Eggs proving fruitful, after they had been frozen: of recovering a tir'd Horse with Sheeps blood.

Relations of several Monsters with their Anato∣mies: of the measure of a Giant-child: of Stones found in several parts of the Body: of an unusual way of cutting the Stone out of the Bladder: of a Womans voiding the Bones of a Child out of her side eighteen years after her having been with child: of grafting Teeth, and making the Teeth of one Man grow in the mouth of another.

Relations of several Chirurgical operations: of re∣newing the beating of the heart, by blowing into the Receptaculum chyli: of the Art of perfectly restoring Nerves, transversly cut, practis'd in France: of a Mummy found in the Ruines of Saint Pauls▪ after it had lain buried above 200. years: of breaking the Nerve to the Diaphragm, and of its effects: of cutting a Steto∣ma out of a Womans Breast: of making the blood Florid with Volatil, and Coagulating with Acid Salts.

Relations of sympathetick Cures, and Trials: of the effects of Tobacco-oyl for casting into Convulsion fits: of Moors killing themselves by holding their Breaths: of walking on the Water by the help of a Girdle filled with Wind: of Pendulum Clocks: of several rare Guns, and Experiments with them: of new Quadrants and Astronomical Instruments: of Experiments of refraction made by the French A∣cademy: of a way to make use of Eggs in painting, instead of Oyl: of the Island Hirta in Scotland: of the Whispering place at Glocester: of the Pike of Te∣nariff.