Page images
PDF

Zinc adheres to mercury with a force equal to......... ... 204 grains. Copper............... ... 143 Antimony (regulus).............. 126 Iron.................... .............. 115 Cobalt...... - 8

The striking differences in the above table shew that the pressure of the atmosphere has no share in them, since in this respect the circumstances of each were precisely similar; nor do they depend on the respective specific gravities; for if so, silver should rank after lead, cobalt before zinc, and iron before tin. The only order which agrees with the above is that of the chemical affinity of these metals, or the respective degrees of their solubility in mercury. It is highly probable, therefore, that at least the principal part of the adhesive force thus found by experiment is owing to chemical affinity; and that the above numerical series 446, 429, 418, 397, &c. is an approximation towards the ratio of the relative affinities of gold, silver, tin, lead, &c. for mercury.

ADIANTHUM, Maidenhair, in botany, the name of a genus of plants of the Cryptogamia Filices class and order, the characters of which are, that the fructifications are collected in oval spots at the ends of the leaves, which are folded back. There are forty-four species, of which one only belongs to Great Britain, viz. the A. capillus veneris, which is found rarely in Scotland and Wales, on rocks and moist walls, and which is a native of the south of Europe and the Levant. From this the syrup of capillaire is made.

ADIPOCIRE, is a term formed of adeps, fat, and cera, wax, and denotes a substance, the nature and origin of which are thus explained. The changes which animal matter undergoes in its progress towards total decomposition, have been, for many obvious reasons, but little attended to But an opportunity of this kind was offered at Paris in 1786 and 1787, when the old burial ground of the Innocens was laid out for building upon, in consequence of which, the surface soil, and the animal remains contained therein, were removed. This cemetery having been for ages appropriated to the reception of the dead, in one of the most populous districts in Paris, was eminently well calculated to exhibit the various processes of animal decomposition: another favourable circumstance was, that it contained several of those large pits (fosses communes) in which the bodies of the poor are deposited by hundreds, These pits are cavities

30 feet deep, with an area of 20 feet square, in which the shells containing the bodies are closely packed in rows over each other, without any intermediate earth, and with only a slight superficial covering of soil, not more than a foot thick: each it contained from 1200 to 1500 bodies, and may be considered as a mass of animal matter of the dimensions above-mentioned. M. M. Fourcroy and Thouret were present at the opening of several of these receptacles; and it is from a memoir by the former of these, that the principal part of this article is composed. The first pit that was examined had been filled and closed up 15 years before: on opening some of the coffins (for the wood was still quite sound, only tinged of a yellow colour) the bodies were found within shrunk, so as to leave a considerable vacant space in the upper part of the coffin, and flattened, as if they had been subject to a strong compression; the linen which covered them adhered firmly, and upon being removed, presented to view only irregular masses of a soft, ductile, greyish-white matter, apparently intermediate between fat and wax : the bones were enveloped in this, and were found to be very brittle. The bodies thus changed, being but little offensive to the smell, a great number were dug up and minutely examined: in some this alteration had, as yet, only partially taken place, the remains of muscular fibres being still visible; but where the conversion had been complete, the bones throughout the whole body were found covered with this grey substance, generally soft and ductile, sometimes dry, but always readily separating into porous cavernous fragments, without the slightest trace of muscles, membranes, vessels, tendons, or nerves: the ligaments of the articulations had been in like manner changed; the connexion between the bones was destroyed, and these last had become so yielding, that the grave-diggers, in order to remove the bodies more conveniently, rolled each upon itself from head to heels, without any difficulty. According to the testimony of these men, to whom the facts just mentioned had been long familiar, this conversion of animal matter is never observed in those bodies that are interred singly, but

always takes place in the fosses communes:

to citect this change, nearly three years are required. The soapy matter of latest formation is soft, very ductile, light, and spungy, and contains water; in 30 or 40 years it becomes much dryer, more brittle, and assumes the appearance of dense lamina’, and where the surrounding earth has been dryer than usual, it is sometimes semitrano: parent, of a granulated texture, brittle, and bears a considerable resemblance to wax. Animal matter having once passed into this stage of decomposition, appears to resist for a long time any further alteration: some of these pits that had been closed above 40 years, were, upon examination, found to be little else than a solid mass of soapy matter; nor is it yet ascertained how long in common circumstances it would continue unchanged, the burial ground of the Innocens being so small in comparison to the population of the district, as to require each pit in 30 or 40 years to be emptied of its contents, in order to receive a new succession of bodies: it appears, however, that the ulterior changes depend in a great measure on the quantity of moisture draining through the mass. From the history of this singular substance, we proceed to an examination of its chemical properties. It was first, however, purified by gently heating in an earthen vessel, till it became of a pasty consistence, and then rubbed through a fine hair sieve, by which means the hair, small bones, and remains of the muscular fibre were separated with tolerable exactness. In this state, being exposed in an earthen vessel to the naked fire, it readily became soft, but did not liquify without considerable difficulty, rather frying as a piece of soap would do, and disengaging at the same time ammoniacal vapours. Four pounds being put into a glass retort, and submitted to slow distillation in a water bath, afforded in the space of three weeks eight ounces of a clear watery fluid, with a foetid odour, turning syrup of violets green, and manifestly containing ammonia in solution; the soapy matter remaining in the retort had acquired a greater consistence, was become less fusible, of a deeper brown colour, and upon cooling, was evidently drier than before, though not admitting of being broken. Eight ounces of soapy matter, white and purified, were mixed with an equal weight of powdered quick lime; on the addition of a little water, the mass heated, swelled, and disengaged a very strongly ammoniacal vapour, accompanied by a peculiar putrescent smell: a sufficiency of water being then added to bring the whole to the state of an emulsion, it was heated to ebullition, much ammoniacal vapour escaping at the same time; the liquor being thrown on a filter, passed perfectly clear and colourless, and appeared to be only lime-water,

[graphic]
[graphic]

with a very small quantity of soap in solution: the matter remaining on the filter, being well washed, was beaten up with water, but showed no tendency to unite with it, subsiding after a time, in the form of a white mass; this by drying for a few days in the open air, became grey and much reduced in volume: it was then mixed with diluted muriatic acid, which immediately decomposed it, and a number of white clots rose to the surface of the liquor. This last being obtained clear by filtration, yielded crystals of muriat of lime and a slight trace of phosphoric salt; the white clots being washed and dried, and afterwards melted in a water bath, cooled into a dry, combustible, oily matter, brittle, waxy, crystallizable, and perfectly insoluble in water, to which the name of adipocire has been appropriated. From this series of experiments with lime, it appears that the soapy matter is a true ammoniacal soap, with a base of adipocire, to which lime has a stronger affinity than ammonia; but which last composition is again

in its turn decomposed by all the acids,

leaving the adipocire in a state of purity. Potash and soda produce effects perfectiy analogous to those of lime. To the fore. going experiments of Fourcroy, a few facts have since been added by Dr. Gibbes. The receptacle at Oxford for those bodies which have been used by the anatomical professor there for his demonstrations, is a hole dug in the ground to the depth of thirteen or fourteen feet, and a little stream is turned through it, in order to remove all offensive smell: the flesh contained in this was found

on examination, to be quite white, and for the most part changed into the soapy matter above mentioned. From this hint, pieces of lean beef were enclosed in a perforated box

and placed in running water, and at the end of a month were found converted into a mass of fatty matter; this change was observed to take place much sooner and more completely in running than in stagnant water: in order to get rid of the foetid smell

nitrous acid was had recourse to, which im. mediately had the desired effect; a waxy smell was perceived, and by melting the matter it was obtained nearly pure; the yellow colour, which had been given to it by the nitrous acid, was wholly discharged by the oxymuriatic acid. A similar conversion of muscular fibre takes place by maceration in very diluted nitrous acid. Dr. Gibbes has not mentioned whether the fatty matter produced by running water is pure

adipocire, or ammoniacal soap; it appears probable, however, that it is in the former state; where nitrous acid is the menstruum employed, it is obviously impossible that the adipocire should be combined with an alkali. ADIT of a mine, the hole or aperture whereby it is entered and dug, and by which the water and ores are carried away : it is distinguished from the air-shaft. The adit is usually made on the side of a hill, towards the bottom, about four or six feet high, and eight wide, in form of an arch; sometimes cut into the rock, and sometimes supported with timber, so conducted, as that the sole or bottom of the adit may answer to the bottom of the shaft, only somewhat lower, that the water may have a sufficient current to pass away without the use of the pump. ADJUTAGE, or AJUTAge, in hydraulics, the tube fitted to the mouth of a pipe through which a fountain plays. See HYDRAULi Cs. ADJUTANT, in the military art, an of. ficer whose business it is to assist the major, and therefore sometimes called the aid major. ADJUTANT-general, an officer of distinction, who assists the general in his laborious duty: he forms the several details of duty of the army, with the brigade majors, and keeps an account of the state of each brigade and regiment. In the day of battle he sees the infantry drawn up, after which he places himself by the side of the general to receive orders. In a siege he visits the several posts, gives and signs all orders, and has a serjeant from each brigade to carry any orders which he may have to send. ADMEASUREMENT, in law, a writ for adjusting the shares of something to be divided. Thus, admeasurement of dower takes place, when the widow of the deceased claims more as her dower than what of right belongs to her. And, admeasurement of pasture may be obtained, when any of the persons who have right in a common pasture puts more cattle to feed on it than he ought. ADMINISTRATOR, in law, the person to whom the goods, effects, or estate of one who died intestate are entrusted; for which he is to be accountable, when required. The bishop of the diocese where the party dies, is regularly to grant administration; but if the intestate has goods in several dioceses, administration must be granted by the archbishop in the prerogative court. The persons to whom administration is granted are, a husband, wife, children, whether sons or daughters, the father or mother, brother

or sister, and, in general, to the next of kin, as uncle, aunt, cousin; then to a creditor. An action lies for and against an administrator, as for and against an executor; only that he is accountable no farther, than to the value of the goods. ADMIRAL, in maritime affairs, a great officer, who commands the naval forces of a kingdom or state, and decides all maritime causes. For the latter purposes a commission has been instituted in England, who, by a statute of W. and M. have the same authority as the Lord High Admiral. The admirals of England are merely naval com. manders. Every other business relative to the navy at large is directed by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. See PRECEDENce, ADMIRALTY Court, &c. As)MIRALTY, properly signifies the of. fice of Lord High Admiral, whether discharged by one or several joint commissioners, called Lords of the Admiralty. ADMIRALTY-Court, or Court of Admiralty, in the British polity, a sovereign court, held by the Lord High Admiral, or the Commissioners of the Admiralty. This court has cognizance in all maritime affairs, civil as well as criminal. All crimes committed on the high-seas, or in great rivers, beneath the bridge next the sea, are cognizable only in this court; which, by statute, is obliged to try the same by judge and jury. But in civil causes it is other. wise, these being all determined according to the civil law; the reason whereof is, because the sea is without the jurisdiction of the common law. In case any person be sued in the ad. miralty-court, contrary to the statutes, he may have the writ of supesedeas to stop farther proceedings, and also an action for double damages against the person suing. Subordinate to this court, there is another of equity, called Court-merchant; wherein all causes between merchants are decided, agreeable to the rules of the civil law. ADOLIA, in botany, a genus of plants found among the trees at Malabar, which bear a near relation to the rhamnus. There are two species, viz. A. alba, with white flowers, which grows to the height of seven or eight feet, and bears fruit twice a year: the berries when ripe are of a purplish black colour: and A. rubra, with red flowers; but the berries when ripe are of an orange colour, and of an acid taste. ADONIS, Pheasant's Eye, or Red Maiths, in botany, a genus of the Polyandria Polygynia class of plants, the calyx of

[ocr errors]

which is a perianthium composed of five obtuse, hollow, somewhat coloured and deciduous leaves; the corolla consists of five oblong obtuse beautiful petals; and sometimes there are more than five: there is no pericarpium; the receptacle is oblong, spicated, and holds five series of seeds; the seeds are numerous, irregular, and angular, gibbous at the base, and their apex reflex and prominent. There are six species, viz. the A. aestivalis, or tall, which is a native of the southern countries of Europe, where it grows among corn: the A. autumnalis, or common, which are found in Kent, near the Medway, in fields sown with wheat; the flowers are brought in great quantities to London, where they are sold under the mame of Red Morocco; this is annual, and flowers from May to October: A. vernalis, or spring adonis, is found in Switzerland, Prussia, and some parts of Germany: A. apennina is found wild in Siberia: A. vescatoria, or blister adonis; and the A. capensis, are used by the Africans for raising blisters. To these have been added two other species, viz. the miniata and the flammea. . ADOXA, in botany, a genus of the Octandria Tetragynia class of plants, the corolla of which is plain, and consists of a single petal, divided into four oval acute segments, longer than the cup; the fruit is a globose berry, situated between the calyx and co, rolla; the calyx adheres to its under part; the berry is umbilicated, and contains four cells; the seeds are single and compressed. There is but a single species, viz. the A. moschatellina, bulbous fumitory, which grows naturally in shady places and woods, as in Hampstead and Charlton woods; it is perennial: flowers in April and May. The leaves soon after decay, and the flowers smell like musk, on which account it has sometimes been called musk-crowfoot. AD QUOD DAMNUM, in law, a writ which ought to be issued before the king grants certain liberties, as a fair, market, or the like; ordering the sheriff to inquire by the country what damage such a grant is like to be attended with. ADRIFT, in naval affairs, the state of a vessel broken loose from her moorings, and driven to and fro by the winds or waves. ADVERB, adverbium, in grammar, a word joined to verbs, expressing the manner, time, &c. of an action: thus, in the phrase, it is conducire to health to rise early; the word early is an adverb; and so of 9thers. ADVERSARIA, among the ancients,

was a book of accounts, not unlike our Journals or day-books. Advers ARIA is more particularly used among men of letters, for a kind of common-place book, wherein they enter whatever occurs to them worthy of notice, whether in reading or conversation, in the order in which it occurs: a method which Morbof prefers to that of digesting them under certain heads, ADVOCATE, Lord, one of the officers of state in Scotland, who pleads in all causes of the crown, or wherein the king is concerned. The lord advocate sometimes happens to be one of the lords of session; in which case, he only pleads in the king's causes. ADVOWSON, in law, is the right of patronage, or presenting to a vacant benefice. Advowsons, are cither appendant, or in gross. Appendant advowsons are those which depend on a manor, or lands, and pass as appurtenances of the same: whereas advowson in gross is a right of presentation subsisting by itself, belonging to a person, and not to lands. In either case, advowsons are no less the property of the patrons than their landed estate: accordingly they may be granted away by deed or will, and are assets in the hands of executors. However, Papists and Jews, seized of any advowsons, are disabled from presenting: the right of presentation being in this case transferred to the chancellors of the universities, or the bishop of the diocese. Advowsons are also presentative, collative, or donative. Presentative, where the patron hath a right of presentation to the bishop or ordinary; collative, where the bishop is patron; and donative, where the king, or any subject. This licence founds a church or chapel, and ordains that it shall be merely in the gift of the patron. ADZE, a cutting-tool, of the axe kind, having its blade thin and arching, and its edge at right angle to the handle; chiefly used for taking thin chips off timber, &c. It is used by carpenters, but more frequently by coopers. HECIDIUM, in botany, a genus of the Cryptogamia Fungi class and order. Its characters are, that it has a membranaceous sheath, smooth on both sides, and full of naked separate sides. There are 18 spe. cies, of which, several are found on the leaves of other plants, and one of them is known to agriculturists by the name of red gum.

[ocr errors]

This species usually grows upon the inside of the glumes of the calyx, and of the exterior valvule of the corolla, under their epidermes, which, when the plant is ripe, bursts, and emits a powder of a bright orange colour. Other species grow on decaying wood and mosses, and in the leaves of tussilago, farfara, &c.

HEGICERAS, a genus of the Pentandria Monogynia class and order: calyx five-cleft; petals five; capsule curved; one-colled; onevalved; one-seeded: two species found in the Moluccas.

AEGILOPS, goat's face, in botany, a genus of the Triandria Digynia class and order, and of the natural order of grasses: the characters are, that the hermaphrodite calyx is a large bivalvular glume, sustaining three flowers; the valves are ovate, and streaked with various awns: the nectary two-leaved, with very small leaflets: the stamina have three capillary filaments with oblong anthers: the pistillum is a turbinate germen: no pericardium: the seeds are oblong, convex on one side, grooved on the other, with the inner valve of the corolla adhering to it, and not opening. There are six species.

HEGINETA, in botany, a genus of the Didynamia Angiosperma class and order: calyx one-leafed, spathaceous; corolla campanulate, two-lipped; capsule many celled:

one species, viz. the AE. Indica, found at .

Malabar. AEGIPHILA, goat's-friend, a genus of the Tetrandria Monogynia class and order, and the natural order of Vitices: the calyx is a one-leafed permanent perianthium; the corolla is one-petalled, and longer than the calyx; the stamina are capillary filaments inserted into the mouth of the tube; the pistillum is a roundish superior germ, style capillary, deeply bifid, and stigmas simple: the pericarpium is a roundish two-celled berry, surrounded with a permanent calyx; and the seed is either in pairs or solitary. There are seven species, natives of the W. Indies, chiefly of Jamaica. EGLE, in botany, a genus of the Polyandria Monogynia class and order: calyx five-lobed; petals five; berry globular, many celled, with numerous seeds in each. One species, viz. the marmelos, a tree with thorny branches; fruit delicious to the taste, and exquisitely fragrant: seeds imbedded in an extremely tenacious transparent gluten. £GQPODIUM, in botany, a genus of

the Pentandria Digynia class of plants; the general corolla whereof is uniform ; the single flowers consist each of five, oval, concave, and nearly equal petals; the fruit is naked, ovato-oblong, striated, and separable into two parts; the seeds are two, ovatooblong and striated, convex on one side, and plain on the other. There is but one species, viz. AE. podagraria, gout-weed, which is a perennial, creeping weed, with white flowers, that appear in May or June. It has been used in cases of gout, whence it derives its name. It is boiled for greens, and eaten in Sweden; cows, sheep, and goats eat it. It is found among rubbish in shady places, and in hedges. AEGOPRICON, in botany, a genus of the Monandria Trigynia class and order: the male flowers are small, in an ovate ament; their calyx one-leased: no corolla, the stamina of one filament, longer than , the calyx, with an ovate anther; the female flowers are on the same plant, and solitary; the calyx and corolla are the same as the male; the pistillum has an ovate superior germ, three divaricate styles, with simple permanent stigmas; the pericardium is a globular berry; the seeds are solitary, and angular on one side. There is but one species, viz. F. betulinum, which is a tree very much branched, with wrinkled bark, and alternate leaves resembling those of the myrtle. AEOLIPILE, a hollow metalline ball, in which is inserted a slender neck, or pipe; from whence, after the vessel has been filled with water, and heated, issues a blast of wind with great vehemence. Great care should be taken that the aper. ture of the pipe be not stopped when the instrument is put on the fire, otherwise the aeolipile will burst with a vast explosion, and may occasion no little mischief. Dr. Plot gives an instance where the aeolipile is actually used to blow the fire; the lord of the manor of Effington is bound by his tenure to drive a goose every New-year's day three times round the hall of the lord of Hilton, while Jack of Hilton (a brazen figure having the structure of an aeolipile) blows the fire. In Italy, it is said, that the aeolipile is commonly made use to cure smoky chimneys; for being hung over the fire, the blast arising from it carries up the loitering smoke along with it. An aeolipile of great antiquity, made of brass, was lately dug up in the site of the Basingstoke canal, and presented to the Antiquarian Society in London. It is not glo

[ocr errors][graphic]
« PreviousContinue »