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as to accept of the best apology I can make, that I am happy to place them out in such an able hand. I am, &c.
Letter from Mr George Powney, to Dr Berry at Madras. DEAR SIR, Cochin, March 4. 1792. EXCUSE me for not having replied to your letter of the 27th of January, before now, which requests information of the bread fruit tree;-my public avocations have prevented me from paying that attention to this object which I wished to do.
The bread fruit tree appears to thrive very well both at Cochin and Ayacotta. At the former place, there are several of them; but paid little attention to either by the Dutch, or the natives. Indeed there is a ridiculous prejudice prevails amongst the former, that the fruit is unwholesome, and that the tree, planted near a house, gives diseases to the inhabitants of it.
It is called the Maldive jack, both at this place and Ceylon, where I understand there are a great number of the trees.
From every information I have been able to obtain, I conceive it is indigenous to the Maldives, from whence it was brought to Ceylon about thirteen or fourteen years ago, and from that place to this.
I was told by a Dutch gentleman, that the bread fruit is very common at Batavia, and has been for many years past, used as food by the Malays.-I ate of it myself some time ago, and thought it resembled a yam; but of a very superior flavour.
There are no kernels or seeds in it; and it must be multiplied in the manner described by Dr Anderson, in his letter to Dr Mein, of the 29th of January 1792. Such is exactly the manner practised here; but it is not planted in the red volcanic earth mentioned by Dr An
derson, but in common black mould; and this cannot be done for want of the former, as the soil here abounds with it. I have for Dr Anderson two very fine plants of it, one three feet high, a leaf of which I have now cut off, and send in this letter. I have likewise several cuttings from the root; they are all in boxes, and ready to be sent by the first opportunity. I have incrusted with wax, two of the fruit, which fhall be sent at the same time.
I have received by three or four of the last tappals, some of the nopals, I take them to be? They are from Dr Anderson; but he has given me no instructions about them; and I was not so fortunate as to meet with his former publications which made mention of them. I have, however, planted them; my dubafh knew them, and called them Ella Kalli.-The people here say that the Travancore country abounds with it.
Mr Martin has not yet sent me the silk worm eggs, and I imagine that his breed must have failed. Yours very faithfully, &c.
Letter from Dr James Anderson, to captain T. Bowser. DEAR SIR, Fort St George, March 24. 1792. I HAVE received your obliging favour of the 13th instant, and am very sensible of the value of its contents. As before this reaches you, your garden will be stocked with nopal plants, which, on the permission you have granted, I must request you will take the trouble to distribute slips from, to every village in your neighbourhood, abundance of which they will afford in the course of three or four months; and independent of their use in the expected cochineal businefs, these plants will prove a nourishing and wholesome vegetable to the natives of the country.
By a letter just received from Mr Powney at Cochin, it appears there are plenty of bread fruit trees there, and at Ayacotta, he is sending me two, which by all ac counts are the Sookaon, as yours is the Calawee of Suma. tra ;-it is therefore likely we shall be able to procure enough of both kinds without crossing the seas.
Mr Powney can send you the sago, and many other valuable trees, which are mentioned in the Hortus Malabaricus, not known to exist at present on this side of the hills; and in case you have any vacant choultries, or spare houses, at Dindigul, I will send you some of the silk worm eggs, as they require good fhelter against the monsoon, although the worms are spinning upon the trees in my garden at this season. I am, &c.
To be continued.
ANOTHER packet of the Traveller is received, and seems to improve. The continuation will be looked for at the time promised.
A second letter on popular writers is also received, containing Gibbon, Stewart and Gregory, for which the Editor returns thanks to the obliging communicator;-the remainder will be very acceptable.
The Editor is much obliged to Yoric, for his very ingenious observations on the book of Job. They deserve to be preserved, but they would not altogether suit; he fears the taste of a majority of his readers; for which reason he must reluctantly decline to insert them. They fhall be carefully preserved in case the writer fhould call for them. Owing to misdirecting postage was charged. Nothing but newspapers pafs at the Post Office under a similar address.
Thanks to I. T. P. for his very ingenious communication, the conclusion of which is resquested before this can be inserted. The paper to which he alludes is not yet returned, but fhall be called for soon. If he formerly gave his private addrefs, it has escaped the Editor's reco!lection; and begs the favour when he next writes, he will have the goodto mention it.
The Editor is much obliged to an old correspondent for the very ingenious hints on what he stiles the Political Bible, which though on a subject he wishes seldom to touch upon, is written in such a pleasing manner, and contains observations which he thinks so just, that he is persuaded; his readers will much approve of. These hall appear as soon as pofsible.
LITERARY WEEKLY INTELLIGENCER,
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13. 1793.
ON THE POISON OF SERPENTS.
For the Bee.
No subject has engaged the attention of philosophers more than the poison of serpents, with regard to its nature, and method of operating. In this efsay I will first treat of the weapons which the animals employ in communicating their poison; next with regard to the poison itself; and lastly, as to the method of
Of the weapons which the animals employ in communicating their poison.
The ancient opinion was, that all the serpent race communicated their poison by means of a sting in their tail; and indeed some of the most early writers give figures of serpents with the sting in their tail; some have invented a similar fiction, that serpents stung by means of a forked tongue; while others, affecting superior discernment, have ascribed it to the teeth in general. These are all very erroneous opinions; for no şerpent can poison either by the forked tongue or tail; VOL. xiv.
for there is no point in the one, nor sting in the other to poison other animals. In all poisonous serpents there is a small moveable bone adhering to each side of the upper jaw; in these, there are two or three tubular fangs, which resemble the canine teeth. The fangs can be laid flat and erected at the pleasure of the animal; and these fangs are the real stings of serpents, and the means by which they convey their poison. At the base of each fang is a small vesicle, which contains a little drop of a yellowish coloured liquor; this vesicle, at the bottom of the tooth, being comprefsed when the animal bites, the liquor pafses through the tube in the tooth into the wound. These facts were first mentioned by Rhedi, and afterwards confirmed by Dr Tyson in his account of the rattlesnake given in the Philosophical Transactions. The North American Indians, after carefully extracting these venomous fangs, suffer the rattlesnake to bite them till the blood flows, with total impunity.
Of the hundred and thirty-two species of serpents that have been mentioned by Linnæus, there have been only twenty-three marked by him as pofsefsed of poisonous fangs. Dr Walker observes, that the amphisbæna fuliginosa, a serpent well known in the Brazils, has no fangs; of course Linnæus has not marked it as poisonous, and yet its bite is well known by the Portuguese to be mortal; we must therefore conclude, (says he,) that there is no security to be found in serpents being destitute of moveable fangs; for in this instance, and I believe many others, they are capable of conveying a mortal