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XLVII. Account of the Free Martin,
An Extract from Mr. Hunter's Account of the Free Martin,
in the Philosophical Transactions.
It is a known fact, and, I believe, is understood to be unit 'versal, that when a cow brings forth two calves, and that one of them is a bull calf, and the other a cow to appearance, the cow calf is unfit for propagation. They are known not to breed: they do not even shew the least inclination for the bull, nor does the bull ever take the least notice of them*; but the bull calf becomes a very proper bull.
This cow calf is called in this country a Frec Martin; and this singularity is just as well known arnong the farmers as either cow or bull.
This calf has all the external marks of a cow calf.
When they are preserved, it is not for propagation, but to yoke with the oxen, or to fatten for the tablet.
They are much larger than either the bull or cow; and the horns grow larger, being very similar to the horns of an OX.
The bellow of the Free Martin is siinilar to that of an ox, which is not at all like that of a bull; it is more of the cow, although not exactly that.
The meat is also much finer in the fibre than either the bull or cow; and they are more susceptible of growing fat with good food. By some they are supposed to exceed the ox and heifer in delicacy of food, and bear a higher price at market.
However, it seems that this is not universal; for I was ļately informed by Charles Palmer, Esq. of Luckley, in Berkshire, that there was a Free Martin killed in his neigh, bourhood, and, from the general idea of its being better meat than common, every neighbour bespoke a piece, which turned out nearly as bad as bull beef, at least worse than that of a cow. It is probable, that this might arise from this one having more the properties of the bull than the cow, as
* I need hardly observe here, that if a cow has twins, and that they are both bull calves, that they are in every respect perfect bulls; or, if they are both çow calves, that they are perfect cows. + Vide Leslie on Husbandry, p. 98, 99.
we shall see hereafter that they are sometimes more the one than the other. *
Free Martins are said to be in sheept; but, from the accourts given of them, I should very much suspect that these are hermaphrodites produced in the common way, and not like those of cattle. They are often imperfect males, several of which I have seen. They are mentioned as both male and female, which is not reconcileable to the account given of the Free Martin.
I believe it has never been even supposed what this animal is, with all those peculiarities.
From the singularity of the animal, and the account of its production, I was almost ready to suppose the account a vulgar error; yet from the universality of its testimony it appeared to have some foundation; and therefore I made all the inquiry I could for an opportunity of seeing one, and also to examine it. Since which time I have accordingly had an opportunity of seeing three; the first of which was one belonging to Johın Arbuthnot, Esq. of Mitcham, which was calved in his own farm. He was so obliging as to give me an opportunity of satisfying myself. He allowed me, first, to have a drawing made of the animal while alive, which was executed by Mr. Gilpin. When the drawing was made of Mr. Arbuthnot's Free Martin, John Wells, Esq. of Bickley Farm, near Bromley, in Kent, was present, and informed us, that a cow of his had calved two calves; and that one was a bull calf, and the other a cow calf. I desired Mr. Arbuthnot to speak to Mr. Wells to keep them, or let me buy them of him; but, from his great desire for natural knowledge, he very readily preserved them both, till the þull shewed all the signs of a good bull, when he sold him.
From the dissection of the three abovementioned Free Martins, Dr. Hunter says, it plainly appeared, that they were all hermaphrodites differing from one another; as is also the case in hermaphrodites in other tribes.
An account exactly similar is given by one of our corre
* The Romans called the bull taurus: they, however, talked of tauræ in the fe vinine gender. And Stephens observes, that it was thought the Romans meant by tauræ, barren cows, and called them by this name because they did not conceive any more than bulls. He also quotes a passage from Columella, lib. vi. cap. 22.“ and like the taure, which occupy the place of fertile cows, should be rejected or sent away." He likewise quotes Varro, De Re Rustica, lib. ii. cap. 6. “The cow, which is barren, is calle: taura.?! From which we may reasonably conjecture, that the Ronans had not the idea of the circumstances of their production.
† Leslie's Husbandry, p. 156
spondents. “I am assured,” says he, “ that the female twin will never breed; and that it is usual in such cases to yoke. the steer and heifer together.” At the same time it is allowed, that if the twins had both been heifers, both would have bred. In both cases the assertions are founded on repeated experience.
XLVIII. Account of a Gigantic Child.
Enfield, Mar. 11. OBSERVING your readiness to record in your valuable Repository whatever is wonderful in the economy of nature, I send an account of an astonishing phenomenon with respect to growth, in a child of nine months old, which was communicated to the Royal Society, addressed to their Secretarý, JOSEPH PLANTA.
Enfield, Nov. 25, 1779. INCLOSED I send you the proportions of an extraordinary large child, a native of this parish*, as taken by Mr. Sherwen, an ingenious surgeon and apothecary of this place, whose accuracy and judgment I can confide in, as I have not yet had an opportunity of examining this phenomenon myself. The child's father has the conduct of a paper mill by the side of Enfield Marsh, and is, I believe, about 36 years of age: his mother about 42, and at present of a healthy habit; neither of his parents remarkable for their size or stature. They have had five children; the eldest of the three now living is 12 years old, and rather small of his age; but his paternal grandfather was of a size larger than crdinary: They had another son of uncommon proportion, who died . of the measles in Jan, 1774, at the age of 15 months; the carpenter who made his co fin observed, that he had never measured so tall a child. The present subject being the second of the kind, excites a greater degree of curiosity, of which the father intends to avail himself, by carrying the child up to London, and making a public shew of him.
* He was born Feb 7, 1779.
In the year 1744-5, Dr. Mead laid before the Society an account of a gigantic boy of two years old, at Willingham, in Cambridgeshire. As the story may not be fresh in every one's memory, I shall compare his dimensions with those of young Everitt, premịsing this one observation, that the Willingham lad, whose name was Hall, allowing for his years, was, in this respect, less of a prodigy than the Enfield boy; though, as Mr. Dawkes, the surgeon, who described him, remarks," he past through the four stages of life in less than six years, being five years and ten months old at his death, and only 4 feet 6 inches high.
feet. inch, HALL, round the wrist,
6 thickness of thigh,
1 2 waist,
1 43 Mr. Sherwen annexed the dimensions of a fine lusty boy, who is upwards of 7 years old.
Dimensions of Tho. Everitt, 9
months and 2 weeks old.
The other Boy:
inch. Girth round his wrist, 64
42 Above the elbow,
61 Leg near the ancle,
61 Calf of the Leg
9 Round the thigh,
124 Round the small of the back, 24
22 Round under the arm-pits, and across the breast, 222
20 Length from the crown of
the head to the sole of the foot, 3 feet, 18. Mr. Sherwen adds, he should have been glad to have given the solid contents of animal substance in pounds avoirdupois; but this was not possible, as the mother is possessed with the vulgar prejudice against weighing children*. He could therefore only say, that, when she exposes his legs, thighs, and broad back to view, it is impossible to be impressed with any other idea than that of seeing a young
His weight was guessed at nine stane.
giant. The boy has very fine hair, pure clear skin, free from pimple or blemish: he is extremely lively, and has a bright clear eye, the pupil not in the least dilated; and, excepting a pair of broad cheeks, his head is rather less in proportion than his other parts. From these circumstances, Mr. S. ventures to prognosticate, that he is as likely to arrive at maturity (accidental diseases excepted) as any.child he ever saw.
Soon after the date of the above letter, the boy was carried to a relation's in Great Turnstile; but the confined situation had such an effect on his health, that he was soon brought back into his native air. He has now been in London above a month, and is arrived at the following dimensions.
Height 3 feet 3 inches, round the breast 2 feet 6 inches; loins 3 feet i inch, thigh 1 foot 10 inches, leg I foot 2 inches, arm 11 inches and a half, wrist 9 inches: he is well
propor. tioned all over, and subsists entirely on the breast; was not remarkable when born, but at about six weeks after began, and has rapidly continued, to increase to his present amazing size. His countenance is what every one would call comely, but with rather more expression in it than is usual at his age, though exceedingly pleasing from his being uncommonly well tempered.
XLIX. Curious and Authentic Instance of Longevity.
MR. URBAN, THE following authentic instance of longevity shews the happy effects of a temperate, well-ordered, and virtuous Life. I do not remember seeing it any where quoted, and
it seems to have escaped notice, though recorded by so · eminent a man as Bartholin concerning his own grandfather by the mother's side* That one, who was a bookish man and an author, whose constitution was naturally very weak and delicate, and who had been positively doomed to an early death by his physician, should elude the prognostic for
Vide Tho. Bartholini Historiarum Anatom. Cent. quint.