Additional Notes by Erasmus Darwin

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The Temple of Nature, Edited by Martin Priestman

CONTENTS

OF

THE ADDITIONAL NOTES.

 

NOTE I. SPONTANEOUS VITALITY OF MICROSCOPIC ANIMALS.

         1. Spontaneous vital production not contrary to scripture; to be looked for only in the simplest organic beings; supposed want of analogy no argument against it, as this equally applies to all new discoveries. II. The power of reproduction distinguishes organic beings; which are gradually enlarged and improved by it. III. Microscopic animals produced from all vegetable and animal infusions; generate others like themselves by solitary reproduction; not produced from eggs; conferva fontinalis; mucor. IV. Theory of spontaneous vitality. Animal nutrition; vegetable; some organic particles have appetencies to unite, others propensities to be united; buds of trees; sexual reproduction; analogy between generation and nutrition; laws of elasticity not understood; dead animalcules recover life by heat and moisture; chaos redivivum; vorticella; shell snails; eggs and seeds; hydra. Classes of microscopic animals; general remarks.

NOTE II. FACULTIES OF THE SENSORIUM.

         Fibres possess a power of contraction; spirit of animation immediate cause of their contracting; stimulus of external bodies the remote cause; stimulus produces irritation; due contraction occasions pleasure; too much, or too little, pain; sensation produces desire or aversion, which constitute volition; associated motions; irritation; sensation; volition; association; sensorium.

NOTE III. VOLCANOES.

         Their explosions occasioned by water falling on boiling lava; primeval earthquakes of great extent; more elastic vapours might raise islands and continents, or even throw the moon from the earth; stones falling from the sky; earthquake. At Lisbon; subterraneous fires under this island.

NOTE IV. MUSQUITO.

         The larva lives chiefly in water; it may be driven away by smoke; gnats; libellula; æstros bovis; botts; musca chamæleon; vomitoria.

NOTE V. AMPHIBIOUS ANIMALS.

         Diodon has both lungs and gills; some amphibious quadrupeds have the foramen ovale open; perhaps it may be kept open in dogs by frequent immersion so as to render them amphibious; pearl divers; distinctions of amphibious animals; lamprey; leech; remora; whale.

NOTE VI. HIEROGLYPHIC CHARACTERS.

         Used by the magi of Egypt to record discoveries in science, and historical events; astrology an early superstition; universal characters desirable; Grey's Memoria Technica; Bergeret's Botanical Nomenclature; Bishop Wilkins's Real Character and Philosophical Language.

NOTE VII. OLD AGE AND DEATH.

         I. Immediate cause of the infirmities of age not yet well ascertained; must be sought in the laws of animal excitability; debility induced by inactivity of many parts of the system; organs of sense become less excitable; this ascribed to habit; may arise from deficient secretion of sensorial power; all parts of the system not changed as we advance in life. II. Means of preventing old age; warm bath; fishes; cold-blooded amphibious animals; fermented liquors injurious; also want of heat, food, and fresh air; variation of stimuli; volition; activity. III. Theory of the approach of age; surprise; novelty; why contagious diseases affect a person but once; debility; death.

NOTE VIII. REPRODUCTION.

         1. Distinguishes animation frown mechanism; solitary and sexual; buds and bulbs; aphises; tenia; volvox; polypus; oyster; eel; hermaphrodites. II. Sexual. III. Inferior vegetables and animals propagate by solitary generation only; next order by both; superior by sexual generation alone. IV. Animals are improved by reproduction; contagious diseases; reproduction a mystery.

NOTE IX. STORGE.

         Pelicans; pigeons; instincts of animals acquired by a previous state, and transmitted by tradition; parental love originates from pleasure.

NOTE X. EVE FROM ADAM'S RIB.

         Mosaic history of Paradise supposed by some to be an allegory; Egyptian philosophers, and others, supposed mankind to have been originally of both sexes united.

NOTE XI. HEREDITARY DISEASES.

         Most affect the offspring of solitary reproduction; grafted trees, strawberries, potatoes; changing seed; intermarriages; hereditary diseases owing to indulgence in fermented liquors; immoderate use of common salt; improvement of progeny; hazardous to marry an heiress.

NOTE XII. CHEMICAL THEORY OF ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM.

         I. Attraction and repulsion. II. Two kinds of electric ether; atmospheres of electricity surround all separate bodies; atmospheres of similar kinds repel, of different kinds attract each other strongly; explode on uniting; nonconductors; imperfect conductors; perfect conductors; torpedo, gymnotus, galvanism. III. Effect of metallic points. IV. Accumulation of electric ethers by contact. V. By vicinity; Volta's electrophorus and Bennet's doubler. VI. By heat and by decomposition; the tourmalin; cats; galvanic pile; evaporation of water. VII. The spark from the conductor; electric light; not accounted for by Franklin's theory. VIII. Shock from a coated jar; perhaps an unrestrainable ethereal fluid yet unobserved; electric condensation. IX. Galvanic electricity. X. Two magnetic ethers; analogy between magnetism and electricity; differences between them. XI. Conclusion.

NOTE XIII. ANALYSIS OF TASTE.

         Taste may signify the pleasures received by any of the senses, but not those which simply attend perception; four sources of pleasure in vision. I. Novelty or infrequency of visible objects; surprise. II. Repetition; beating of a drum; dancing; architecture; landscapes; picturesque; beautiful; romantic; sublime. III. Melody of colours. IV. Association of agreeable sentiments with visible objects; vision the language of touch; sentiment of beauty.

NOTE XIV. THEORY AND STRUCTURE OF LANGUAGE.

         Ideas; words the names or symbols of ideas. I. Conjunctions and prepositions; abbreviations of other words. II. Nouns substantive. III. Adjectives, articles, participles, adverbs. IV. Verbs; progressive production of language.

NOTE XV. ANALYSIS OF ARTICULATE SOUNDS.

         I. Imperfections of the present alphabet; of our orthography. II. Production of sounds. III. Structure of the alphabet; mute and antesonant consonants, and nasal liquids; sibilants and sonisibilants; orisonant liquids; four pairs of vowels; alphabet consists of thirty-one letters; speaking figure.

Published @ RC

October 2006

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