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made by that kind of agent. There is not in the physical order (with which they do not appear to hold any assignable connection), a distinct cause by which any of those fabrics must necessarily grow, flourish, or decay; nor, in my opinion, does the moral world produce any thing more determinate on that subject, than what may serve as an amusement (liberal indeed, and ingenious, but still only an amusement), for speculative men.
While our correspondents keep within the limits assigned by law and morality, we have no wish to restrain the flight of their genius; but we may be allowed to hint to them, that there is something ungracious, as well as gloomy, in predicting evil, and especially when that evil is predicted to the land which ought to be dear to us,-the land of our birth. More noble, more worthy of a true patriot, was the language of the celebrated Paolo Sarpi; whose last words were a prayer for the perpetuity of the republic under which he was born, and of which he had never ceased to be not merely a faithful, but a zealous subject.-ED.
No. 9.--ACCOUNT OF A MULATTO.
PREVIOUS to our departure from this estate, says Dr. Pinckard, I was requested to make a visit at one of the huts in the negro yard, where, it was said, I might witness a phenomenon, and be "convinced of a fact which overturns all the sceptical reasonings of medical men," regarding the influence of imagination upon the conformation of the human frame, and its power of conferring or altering the figure of the foetus.
The subject of our visitation was a mulatto man, twenty-eight years of age, who is said to have been born with all his bones broken, in consequence of his mother having been present at the horrible execution of a man, who was racked on the wheel. Perhaps, as one of the tribe, I may be allowed to maintain my scepticism, even with this example before my eyes; still, as the appearances of the object, and the circum
stances of the case were peculiar, and some of them well authenticated, I cannot, consistent with the plan of our correspondence, omit noting to you what I heard related of the history, and what I observed with regard to the figure of this very remarkable mulatto.
The father was a strong and healthy Dutch soldier; the mother a robust, well-formed negro woman. They had four children, all of whom are now arrived at the age of puberty; three of them are strong and handsome mulattoes, healthy, and remarkable for the symmetry of their features; the fourth is the subject in question.
The father is dead, but the mother is still living, and was brought to me, that I might witness the form of her person, inquire into her state of health, and ask her any questions which the case before us should suggest. She assured me that both herself and the father had enjoyed a good state of health, and had considered themselves as having been blessed with a happy exemption from disease; but that when she was recently pregnant with this son, she had unfortunately gone to see the execution of a man who was condemned to be broken upon the wheel; and that upon witnessing this dreadful torture, she was so struck with horror as to be taken extremely ill, and was scarcely able to return to her home. She represented the sensations of the moment as very highly distressing, but was unable to convey any accurate description of her feelings; and, for some time afterwards, she was in a very disordered state. Her having been present at the execution, and being so frightened as to be suddenly taken ill, were confirmed by one of the gentlemen of our party, with whose family she then lived. She is now of advanced age, and somewhat lame, but has still the remains of a well-formed person. Upon examining her I observed an eruption, like the cra cra, about the point of one elbow, and a small irregular tumour on the sternum; but these were explained to be of late origin. In all other respects she appeared to possess health and strength, proportionate to her years.
The figure of the son cannot be described by words; his person appeared as if it had been composed by throwing the materials into a bag, with a loose conge
ries of broken bones, and shaking the whole together until they formed a something approaching to the shape of a human being. It was not the tortuous construction usually occurring from scrofula, or the rickets. He had not the crooked twisted bones of disease. They appeared as if they had literally been broken, and some of them badly united, some not united at all, The common marks of a sickly constitution were absent, and he enjoyed a state of general health fully proportioned to the structure of his frame. Indeed, from the minutest examination, I do not feel myself authorized to consider this very peculiarly deranged conformation as the effect of disease, but am rather inclined to regard it as an extraordinary lusus naturæ.
His head was the only part that was well formed, and this, although of natural size, appeared very large, owing to the great disproportion of the body and extremities, which, from their extreme distortion, had not grown with the growth of the head.
With regard to his mental faculties nothing peculiar was noticed. He answered the questions that were put to him expertly, and was considered, in point of intellect, to be quite equal to the generality of the people of colour.
I placed my elbow at his side, when he was sitting as upright as his figure would admit, and extending my hand upwards, found that his height from the seat to the crown of his head, was not quite equal to the length of my fore arm, from the elbow to the extremities of the fingers.
Every rib, and every limb, seemed as if it had been fractured. The long bones of the arms, being divided in the middle, were loosely held together by a membraneous or ligamentous union. Those of the legs appeared as if they had been broken, and the two parts (or rather the four parts of the tibia and fibula) afterwards placed together, in a direction parallel with each other, and thus united into one broad flat bone, the end of which projected considerably forward in the middle of the leg, thinly covered with integuments, while the lower part of the limb was thrown backwards, with the heel up towards the thigh; so that if he had been placed in the erect position, the points of
the toes would have been brought to the ground, instead of the flat part of the foot.
He had not the power of moving from his seat without assistance, except in a very slight degree, by a writhing or twisting, and most unseemly motion, upon his buttocks, wholly unassisted by his limbs. During the day he remains always in the sitting posture, and from the distortion of his lower extremities, these are brought into a position somewhat resembling a taylor sitting at his work. With some difficulty he could bring the lower arm to reach the head, but this was effected more from a kind of flexure at the ligamentous union, in the middle of the bone of the upper arm, than from a direct motion of the shoulder-joints, the action of which was extremely limited, from the want of the fulcrum commonly afforded to the muscles by the bone of the arm.
IT has been asserted, says M. Geoffroy, that the sharks have subject to their empire a very small fish, of the species of the gadus; that the latter precedes his master during his voyages, points out to him those places of the sea most abundant in fish, discovers to him the traces of the prey of which he is fondest; and that, out of gratitude for such signal services, the shark, notwithstanding his voracity, lives in good intelligence with a companion so useful to him. Naturalists, always on their guard against the exaggerations of travellers, and not being able to conceive the motives of such an association, have doubted the truth of these facts. It will, however, be seen, that they were wrong: the observations even which I have been able to make, are accompanied with circumstances which, perhaps, never occurred with so many details to any one but myself.
In the month of May, 1798, I was on board the Alceste frigate, between cape Bon and the island of Malta. The sea was tranquil, and the passengers were much fatigued with the long duration of the calm, when their attention was attracted by a shark, which they saw advancing towards the vessel. It was pre
ceded by its pilots, which kept at a pretty regular distance from each other, and from the shark. The two pilots directed their course towards the poop of the vessel, inspected it twice from one end to the other, and, after having satisfied themselves that there was nothing which they could turn to their advantage, resumed their former route. During the various movements which they made, the shark never lost sight of them, or rather followed as exactly as if he had been dragged by them.
He was no sooner descried than one of the sailors got ready a large hook, which he baited with bacon; but the shark, and his companions, had already proceeded to some distance, before the sailor had made all his preparations: he, however, threw the piece of bacon into the sea, at a venture. The noise occasioned by its fall was heard at a considerable distance. The travellers were astonished, and stopped. The two pilots then detached themselves, and went to explore at the poop of the vessel. The shark, during their absence, sported in a thousand ways at the surface of the water, turned himself on his back, then on his belly, and dived to a greater depth, but always re-appeared at the same place. When the two pilots came to the poop of the Alceste, they passed close to the bacon, and no sooner observed it than they returned to the shark, with a greater velocity than they had advanced to it. When they reached him, the latter continued his course. The pilots, one swimming on his right, and the other on his left, then made every exertion to get before him. Scarcely had they done so, when they suddenly returned, and then went back a second time to the poop of the vessel. They were followed by the shark, who was enabled, by the sagacity of his companions, to perceive the prey destined for him. It has been said, that the shark is endowed with a very delicate sense of smelling. I paid a great deal of attention to what took place on his approaching the bacon. It appeared to me that he did not discover it till the moment it was pointed out to him by his guides: it was then only that he began to swim with greater velocity, or rather made a jump to seize it. He detached a portion of it, without being hooked; but, at the second attempt, the hook pene