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“ The district in which this tree and interweaves with them : and ftands, is called Tigulahe, near to at a small distance from the Garse which and in the cliff, or steep are some beech trees, bresos, and rocky afcent that surrounds the thorns. On the north side of the whole island, is a narrow gutter trunk are two large tanks or cifor gulley, which commences at the terns, of rough stone, or rather one sea, and continues to the summit cistern divided, each half being of the cliff, where it joins or coin- twenty feet square, and fixteen cides with a valley, which is ter- spans in depth. One of these conminated by the steep front of a tains water for the drinking of the rock. On the top of this rock inhabitants, and the other that grows a tree called in the language which they use for their cattle, of the ancient inhabitants, Garle, washing, and fuch-like purposes. Sacred or Holy Tree, which for Every morning, near this part of many years has been preserved the island, a cloud, or mift arises found, entire, and fresh. Its leaves from the sea, which the south and constantly distil such a quantity of eafterly winds - force against the water as is sufficient to furnish fore-mentioned steep cliff; fo that drink to every living creature in the cloud having no vent but by Hierro ; nature having provided the gutter, gradually ascends it, this remedy for the drought of the and from thence advances flowly island. It is situated about a league to the extremity of the valley, and a half from the sea. Nobody where it is stopped and checked by knows of what species it is, only the front of the rock which termithat it is called Til. It is distinct nates the valley, and then rests upfrom other trees, and stands by on the thick leaves and wideitself; the circumference of the spreading branches of the tree, trunk is about twelve spans, the from whence it distils in drops diameter four, and in height from during the remainder of the day, the ground to the top of the highest until it is at length exhausted, in branch, forty spans : the circum- the same manner that we fee water ference of all the branches together drip from the leaves of trees, after is one hundred and twenty feet. a heavy shower of rain. This difThe branches are thick and extend- tillation is not peculiar to the 'ed; the lowest commence about Garse, or Til, for the bresos, which the height of an ell from the grow near it, likewise drop water ; ground. Its fruit resembles the but their leaves being but few and acorn, and tastes something like narrow, the quantity is fo trifling, the kernel of a. pine-apple, but is that though the natives fave some softer and more aromatic. The of it, yet they make little or no leaves of this tree resemble those account of any but what distils of the laurel, but are larger, wider, from the Til, which, together and more curved ; they come with the water of some fountains, forth in a perpetual fucceffion, fo and what is saved in the winter that the tree always remains green. season, is sufficient to serve them Near to it grows a thorn which and their flocks. This tree yields fastens on many of its branches most water in those years when the


Levant, or easterly winds have pre- be somewhat surprized, as well vailed for a continuance'; for by knowing there had no rain fallen these winds only the clouds or for near fix months past, accordmifts are drawn hither from the ing to the certain course of the sea. A person lives on the spot seafon in that latitude ; that it was near which this tree grows, who impossible to be occasioned by the is appointed by the council to take fall of dew on the tree, we were care of it and its water, and is al- convinced, by the sun's having lowed a house to live in, with a power to exhale away all moisture certain falary.


every day of that nature a few minutes after distributes to each family of the its rising. At last, to our great district seven pots or vesels full of amazement as well as joy, we saw water, besides what he gives to the water dropping, or

as it were principal people of the illand.” distilling, fast from the end of

Whether the tree which yields every leaf of this wonderful (nor water at this present time, be the had it been amiss if I had faid fame as that mentioned in the miraculous) tree; at least it was above defcription, I cannot pretend fo with respect to us, who had to determine ; but it is probable been labouring four days through there has been a succession of them ; extreme heat, without receiving for Pliny, describing the Fortunate the least moisture, and were now island, says, “ In the mountains of almost expiring for the want of Ombrion are trees resembling the it. plant Ferula, from which water We could not help looking on may be procured by pressure. What this as liquor sent from heaven to comes from the black kind is bit- comfort us under great extremity: ter, but that which the white yields We catched what we could of it is sweet and potable.

in our hands, and drank very Trees yielding water are not plentifully, of it, and liked it to peculiar to the island of Hierro, well, that we could hardly pre. for travellers inform us of one of vail with ourselves to give over.) the same kind on the istand of St. A matter of this nature could not Thomas, in the bight or gulph of but excite us to make the strictest Guiney. In Cockburn's voyages observations concerning it, and acwe find the following account of a cordingly we staid under the tree dropping tree, near the mountains near three hours, and found we of Vera Paz, in America.

could not fathom its body in “On the morning of the fourth five times. We observed the soil day we came out on a large plain, where it grew to be very ftony ; where were great numbers of fine and upon the nicest enquiry, we deer, and in the middle stood a could afterwards make, both of tree of unusual fize, spreading its the natives of the country and the branches a vast compass of Spanish inhabitants, we could not ground. Curiosity led us up to learn there was any such tree it; we had perceived, at fome known throughout New Spain, distance off, the ground about it nor perhaps all America over ; but to be wet, at which we began to I do not relate this as a prodigy


in nature, because I am not philo- men of his acquaintance to examine fopher enough to ascribe any na- the plant, and enquite into the tural cause for it : the learned may cause ; who were all satisfied of this perhaps give substantial reasons in extraordinary production, though nature for what appeared to us a none could account for it ; and it great and marvellous secret.” remains a mystery to this day.

My friend, and other persons who examined it, frequently col

lected a great part of the quickAccount of a plant's distilling silver from several of the branches

Quicksilver : 'in a letter from by striking them, and catching the Philip Thicknesse, Esq; to Mr. globules or small drops which inRobert Daviş.

stantly united, into the hand, and left no doubt that it was pure

crude SIR,

quicksilver. And the next day, Trange as the following ac- after thus gathering it, it gave fresh

count may appear to every proofs of its limbetic quality ; for seader, it is nevertheless true ; and not only the surface would be if any person doubts the fact, after again powdered over, but in the considering the following relation, hollow of the leaves, and particu, you may refer them to me, or any larly in those formed by the inserother of the gentlemen whole tion of the footstalks, small drops names I have made known to you also would be formed by the confor that purpose,

flux of the small particles continual. About fourteen years ago, a par- ly emitted. ticular friend of mine who had In this state it continued about garden near James-street, Bedford- three weeks or a month, till the row, was informed by his servant frost killed it, together with the that a chrysanthemum (a flowering reft of its species. plant commonly known) in the My friend, knowing his servant garden, appeared to have very to be ingenious, took every presmall particles of quicksilver spread caution to find out whether he wa, over the whole surface of its leaves tered the chrysanthemum with any and stalks. My friend (who is not solution of quicksilver, or used any apt to let the flightest information art, or whether it really was the escape him, and by that means production of chance; and he was wants very little) examined this thoroughly convinced of the latter; plant with all the attention due to for had the servant known such a so extraordinary a production, secret, he could have repeated it and was thoroughly convinced of another year, and thereby have the fact ; every leaf and stalk had raised a large sum of money by a multitude of small globules of exposing such a curiosity to the quicksilver, adhering thereto, and public, which seemed to (and no doubt The only tolerable reason, theredid) iffue from the perspiratory fore, which can be affigned towards ducts of the plant.

leading to a discovery, is, that The fact being ascertained, my as my friend frequently amused friend suffered several ingenious himself with a variety of chymica


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119 experiments (among which there the beginning of the present centu were some wherein quicksilver was This however is no proof that employed in various forms) the it was altogether unknown in for. refuse of it, together with the mer times, though it may be taken washings of the glasses and cruci- for granted that no use was made bles used in these experiments, of it ; and the great difficulty there were thrown out near the place still subsists of fluxing it, add to where this chrysanthemum grew, the probability of this opinion. and the grateful plant undertook How long foever it may be since spontaneously to restore again to this metal was first discovered, its its master in this unheard-of man- properties are at this time but new ner, and in purity too, what it had truths, of which it is very likely received in some corrupt state. that a considerable number lie still On the other hand, my friend made concealed ; and that those already many experiments on the same found out might turn to advantage kind of plants, all which either by being re-examined and confirmdied or failed of the wished for ed by new experiments. effect.

The first who searched into the Perhaps this account may lead nature of platina was Mr. Charles some of your readers to pursue this Wood, an English metallurgist; matter further ; many great disco- whose operations on this subject veries have been made by chance; are recorded in the Philosophical but as this story borders on the Transactions for the year

1750; marvellous, you are at liberty ei fince which time Mr. Scheffer and ther to print or tell the name of,

Dr. Lewis have directed their en. Sir,

quiries to the same object. he Your humble servant, result of the trials of the former are Dec. 17, Philip Thicknesse.

printed in the Memoirs of the Aca. 1763.

demy of Sweden for the

year P.S. If, as I have heard afferta and of the latter in the Philosophical ed, it be true, that men who have Transactions for 1754. These are taken calomel in great quantities, the principal works concerning have with a microscope perceived this subject, which appeared abroad it to iffue through the pores of the before Mr. Macquer's, of which fkir, it cannot be more extraor-, we shall here give an account: we dinary than that a plant should be should observe, however, that Mr. operated on in the same manner. Margraaf, has likewise read a me

moir upon it to the academy of History of a new Metal known ly Berlin; but his researches were not

the name of White Gold or Pla- made public before Mr. Macquer tina; by Mess. Macquer and had completed his inquiries. Baume. Extracted from the The platina on which Mr. MacMemoirs of the Academy of Sci- quer made his experiments, has, ences at Paris, for the year like that which was examined by 1758, published last year. .

the other chemists, the following

characters ; it is in small and pretty Here is no mention made of smooth grains, most of them resemthis metal in history before bling, as to their figure, pyrami.


dal triangles with blunted points ; A fire capable of fusing the mix. their colour not much unlike that tures of Mr. Pott, in his Lithoof course filings of unrufted iron, geognosy, and said to have affordbut approaching nearer to a silvery ed him the hardest and the least whiteness after being soaked in an brittle glass, would not fuse platiacid, or heated to a high degree. na, but only agglutinate its grains Mr. Macquer supposes, with great together. This experiment proprobability, that the metal owes its duced some other phænomena, name to the last property, as de- amongst which was one hitherto rived from the word plata, which unobserved, viz. an actual increase in Spanish signifies silver.

of the weight of the platina on The name of white gold, which which the experiment was made, has likewise been given to this me- no less than fourteen grains to an tal, arises out of certain properties ounce. This platina, thus inwhich also belong to gold, such as creased in weight, was subjected to be nearly of the fame specific to a second trial, which produced gravity as gold ; to resist, like that, a second increase ; less indeed, but the action of fulphur, lead, anti- yet fenfible. The augmentation mony, the royal cement, and all Mr. Macquer ascribes to a calcinapure acids ; and to submit, like tion of some fubftance of a diffegold, to no solvent but aqua rega- rent nature from the platina, inlis, and hepar sulphuris.

termixed with it: for it is well None of the platina that has been known that there are some subhitherto examined is perfectly ho- ftances, as vitriol, antimony, &c. mogene... Gold is sometimes found whose weight is increafed by calciin it, as in that which Mr. Mac- nation. quer examined. The substance The platina was exposed to the most frequently met with among it, heat of the glass-houses at Sevres and in the greatest quantity, is a for five days and nights together, small black sand, brilliant and very without any other alteration of it pointed, which the load-stone at- than such as above-mentioned. tracts as readily as iron.

After such fort of trials, it was In order to examine the ductility not to be expected to gain any new and other properties of platina, it discovery by means of such furwas necessary to procure an ingot naces as are employed in chemical of it of a proper size ; but the fuc- operations; but a thirst of knowcessless attempts that had till then ledge animates the imagination, and been made to flux it, left but little furnishes contrivances. Mr. Machopes of any such thing. True it quer found the means of producis, that there might still be ways of ing, in the forge of his increafing the activity of 'fire, elaboratory, a heat far stronger beyond what the chemists had yet than what has been known to be been able to do, and this considera, done. To this end he added two tion determined Mr. Macquer to large pair of double bellows, to have recourse to new expedients. that of the forge, and concentrated The wind-furnace and the forge their action in one focus. This had proved useless, though the fire disposition, greatly increased the had been kept up fifty hours, heat: in less than an hour and a



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