We are

That this swiftness muft abate to drives it, the latter would fill be
"wards the end of the course, and no more than 80 feet a second,
'confequently that in the first mo-
ments of the race its maximum
must be at least upwards of fifty- A description of the Baobab, or Ca-
four feet in a second.


lately mentioned in the likewise assured that a famous horse,

Memoirs of the Academy of Sciences called Starling, has sometimes per at Paris, as a tree of a new geformed the first mile in a minute,

nus; by M. ADANSON, which would make 82 feet in a second ; a degree of swiftness in. THIS tree is found at Senegal conceivable, even though we should in Africa, and is called Baosuppose it to be exaggerated, as bab by Prosper Alpinus ; Guanathere is great appearance it is : but banus by Scaliger; Abavo by this is a point on which I expect Pliny ; Goui by the inhabitants ; fome farther elucidations *. It and Calabassier by the French ; would besufficient that this swiftness who also call the fruit Monkeyhould last only a few seconds, in bread. order to enable us to say, without Of all the trees hitherto unany exaggeration, that such a horse known among us, that have been went swifter than the wind, as it found at Senegal, this is the most is feldom that the most violent remarkable for its enormous bulk, wind makes as much ground in the which gives it the appearance ratime. For the greatest swiftness of ther of a forest than a single tree, a ship at fea has never been known when it is vot seen at a distance. to exceed six marine leagues in an Its trunk, which feldom exceeds 1 2 hour; and if we suppose that the feet in height measures between 70 veffel thus borne partakes one third and 80 feet in circumference, which of the swiftness of the wind which gives a diameter of about 24


The following are the elucidations I have received, since the reading of this memoir, from Dr. Maty, keeper of the library in the British museum, There are (says Dr. Maty) two courses at Newmarket, the long and the round : The first is exactly four Englifh measured miles and 380 yards or more; that is to say, 7,420 or English rods, or 3,482 French toises. The second is not four English miles by 400 yards ; that is to say, it is 6,640 yards, or 3,116 French toiles. Childers, the swiftest horse ever remembered, has run the first course in seven minutes and an half, and the second in fix minutes and forty seconds, which amounts to 46 feet five, or nine inches French, in the second : Whereas all other horses since the foregoing, take up at least seven minutes and fifty feconds in completing the first and longest course, and feven minutes only in the Thorteft, which is 44 feet five or fix inches, the second. Thefe (Dr. Maty adds) are facts, which I believe to be true, I must also add, that it is commonly fupposed, that these coursers cover, at every bound, a space of ground in length about 24 English feet.” This is a little wide of my conjecture of two bounds in the second. Every bound in this case would be about 18 royal feet and a half, for the fleetest barb in Rome, and twenty-two or twenty-three feet and a half, for English running horses ; so that the swiftness of the latter to ibat of the barbs, is very nearly as tour to three. Vol. VI.


This trunk is crowned with a figure, which fall off as soon as great number of spreading branches the leaf is expanded. remarkable for their thickness, and This tree produces flowers, or yet more for their length, which blossoms, which are much larger is from


to 60 feet. The center than those of any hitherto known; branch rises perpendicularly, but the buds themselves are no less none of the rest make more than than three inches in diameter, and an angle of about 30 degrees, with when blown four inches long, and the stem, the greatest part shooting fix wide. Two or three of them ont horizontally, so that the ends issue from one branch, and each is frequently bend down till they suspended by a cylindrical pedicle, touch the ground, so as to give about a foot long, and about half the whole, at a distance, the ap an inch thick, which issues from pearance of an hemisphere from the infertion of the lowest leaves 60 to 70 feet high, and about 140 into the stalk, and has several in diameter.

small scales, which fall off when To these branches above, there the flower is blown. is a correspondent number of radi The calix of the flower consists cal branches below; that which only of one piece; the lower part corresponds with the center branch forms a short tube, which spreads which rises perpendicularly, ex into the form of a saucer, the edge tends perpendicularly downward of which is divided into five equal to a great depth, and the others parts of a triangular shape, which spread nearly in a horizontal di turn back femicircularly below the rection, fometimes to the distance tube, reaching farther than its of a hundred and forty feet. base; the inside of this calix is en

The bark is nearly an inch tirely covered with a white shining thick, of an alh-coloured grey, pile, and the outside with a green greasy to the touch, bright, and pile. As foon as the fruit is knit, very smooth; the outside is cover the calix falls off. ed with a kind of varnish, and The petals are five in number, the inside is green, speckled with all of the same length with the red: the wood is white, and very calix, and white. foft; the first shoot's of the year From the same center, and withare green and downy, fomewhat in the petal, rises a cylinder, or like the shumach, or stag's horn. rather

cone, which spreads into The leaves are oval, pointed at about 700 stamina, or filaments, the end, about five inches long, each having a small substance in and two and half broad; they are form of a kidney at the end of it, proportionably thick, fmooth, and the convex part of which opens without indention at the edge: into two cells, which shed a duit from three to feven, but generally consisting of small white transfeven of these leaves, are attached parent particles. to one pedicle, those that are far From the center of the calix rises theft from the branch being always the pistil, consisting of an ovary, a the largest.

stylus, and several ftigmata. The From the base of the footstalk ftigmata are in number from 10 to issue small stipula, of a triangular 14; the ovary is at the bottom


of the pistil, terminates in a point, though ilips will sometimes grow,

, and is covered with a thick pile. they more frequently fail.

The ovary becomes a very con This tree is also subject to a fiderable fruit, of an oval shape, mouldiness, which spreads throngh pointed at each end, about 10 all the woody part, and reduces it inches long, and fix inches wide ; to the consistence of a pith, withit is covered with a kind of woody out making any alteration in its and very

hard bark, about one ' colour, or in the disposition of its third of an inch thick; and this shell branches. In this state it is incais covered with a green down ; pable of supporting itself against when the down is removed, it ap the wind, and is therefore genepears blackish, and slightly marked rally broken off near the middle by with 10 or 14 grooves, which the firf hard gale. reach its whole length.

If it neiti er rots nor grows The fruit never opens of itself; mouldy it lives very long; a fact but when it is cut across, it disco- which, at first fight, it appears vers from 10 to 14 partitions, com difficult to ascertain ; but M. Adana posed of a redish membrane, which fon relates, in his account of a form fo many cells that are filled voyage to Senegal, that there are with the feeds.

two of these trees in one of the MaThe feeds, however, are not dif- gellan islands, inscribed with the covered at the first opening of the names of several Europeans, and fruit, being inveloped in a spongy very distinctly dated in the 16th substance of a whitish colour. The and 15th centuries, there are also seeds are shaped like a kidney-bean, on the same trees dates of the 14th of a blackish brown colour, and century, but they are almost obli. very smooth and bright; they are terated by time: these are proabout half an inch long, and some- bably the very trees mentioned by what less than the third of an inch Thevenot, in his account of a voywide.

age to the Terra Antarctica in The tree sheds its leaves in No- 1555. The letters of these names vember, and new ones begin to ap were scarce fix inches high, and . pear in June. It flowers in July, the names themselves took up scarce and the fruit ripens in October and two feet in length, which is not November.

more than a ninth of the present It delights in a fandy, light, and circumference of the tree; it is moist ground; it is very common in therefore probable that they were Senegal, and the Cape de Verd not inscribed when the trees were islands; it is found 1co leagues up very young: however, setting the the country at Gulam, and upon date of the 14th century, wholly the sea coast as far as Sierra-lione: aside, and supposing the trees which if the center or tap root is bruised are now 18 feet round, to have in its descent by any stony or im- been but two feet round in the penetrable subitance, it rots, and 15th century, it is clear that if in the tree soon perishes. It is best two centuries they gained 16 feet propagated by plants from fix circumference, which is five feet months to two years old, which one eighth diameter, they will not should be raised from the feeds; for gain a diameter of 25 fect, their


usual dimensions, in less than eight by this practice a great variety of centuries. It is well known that. African plants have, as it were, trees increase

fast when

been naturalised in the American and more flowly as they approach settlements, which have not yet the stationary magnitude of their received American names, and full growth. A tree of this kind which ought to be excluded from is known to arrive at the height of the natural history of that coun5 feet, and to be from an inch to try. an inch and a half in diameter the The virtues and uses of this tree, first year, which at the end of ten and its fruit, are various'; it mot years is 15 feet high, and one foot resembles the plant called in Latin in diameter; and about a fout and malva, by the French mauve, and a half in diameter, and 20 feet is like that mucillaginous, espehigh at the end of 20 years ; such cially the bark and the leaves, and was the increase of the trees, which these parts are therefore principally M. David, the French governor of used by the negroes of Senegal; Senegal, planted in that island in they dry them in the fhaded air, the year 1736, and it is necessary and then reduce them to powder, to remark' here, that the soil is which is of a pretty good green fandy, moist, and exaêly such as colour; this powder they preserve the calabash tree most delights in; in bags of linen or cotton, and and that though this progression is call it lillo ; they use it every day, not to be wholly relied upon, yet putting two or three pinches of it that the growth of this tree, which into a mefs, whatever it happens is very flow considering its enor to be, as we do pepper and falt; mous size, must continue many but their view is not to give a rethousand years, and, perhaps, reach lish to their food, but to preserve a as far back as the deluge, so that, perpetual and plentiful perspiraupon the whole, some calabash or tion, and to attemper the too baobab trees inay be considered as great heat of the blood; purposes the most ancient living monuments which it certainly answers, as seveon the face of the earth.

ral Europeans have proved by reIt is, without doubt, the largest peated experiments, preserving vegetable production in nature, themselves from the epidemic feand it is found only in Africa, and ver, which, in that country, deprincipally in the western parts of ftroys Europeans like the plague, it, which extend from the Niger to and generally rages during the the kingdom of Benin; there is, months of September and O&tober, however, one of them growing in when, the rains having fuddenly Martinico, which is supposed to ceased, the sun exhales the water have fprung up from a seed brought left by them upon the ground, and by some negroe from the coast of fills the air with a noxious vapour. Africa ;- for it is usual with them M. Adanfon, in that critical feato carry about them the feeds of fon, made a light ptifan of the such plants as they daily use, in the leaves of the baobab, which he had second pocket of their tobacco bag, gathered in the Auguft of the prewhich they wear fastened to a belt ceding year, and had dried in the thrown acrofs their shoulder, and fhade, and drank constantly about

a pint of it every morning, either esteem greatly while they live, before or after breakfast, and the supposing them to derive their fua fame quantity every evening after perior talents from forcery, or a the heat of the sun began to abate; commerce with demons; but they he also sometimes took the same regard their bodies with a kind of quantity in the middle of the day, horror when dead, and will not but this was only when he felt give them burial in the usual mansome symptoms of an approaching ner, neither suffering them to be fever. By this precaution he pre put into the ground, nor thrown ferved himself during the five years into the sea, or any river, because he resided at Senegal from the diar they imagine that the water would rhea and fever, which are so fatal not then nourish the fish, nor che there, and which are, however, the earth produce its fruits. The boonly dangerous diseases of the place; dies shut up in these trunks bethe other officers suffered very fe- come perfectly dry without rotting, verely, one only excepted, upon and form a kind of mummies whom M. Adanson prevailed to without the help of embalment. use this remedy, which, for its fim The baobab is very diftinct from plicity, was despised by the rest. the calabalhtree of America, with This ptifan alone also prevents

which it has been confounded by that heat of urine which is common

father Labat. in these parts, from the month of The botanists who have menJuly to November, provided the tioned this tree, of whom Prosper party abstains from wine.

Alpinus was the first, knew only The fruit is not less useful than the leaves and the fruit, nor has the leaves and the bark; the pulp the flower, any more than the tree that invelopes the feeds has an itself, been known till very lately; agreeable acid taste, and is eaten the flower is the part moft necessary for pleasure; it is also dried and for assigning the place of the baopowdered, and thus used medici- bob in the vegetable kingdom, and nally in peftilential fevers, the dy- the vast magnitude of the tree is a fentery, and bloody flux ; the dose more singular and remarkable phæis a drachm, passed through a fine nomenon, than all the historians fieve, taken either in common wa

of botany,

or perhaps of the ter, or in an infufion of the plan- world, have yet produced, . tain.

The woody bark of the fruit, and the fruit itself, when spoiled, helps to supply the negroes with Philosophical remarks on the face of an excellent soap, which they the earth, throughout Italy, by make by drawing a lye from the monsieur CONDAMINE. From his alhes, and boiling it with palm tour to Italy, oil that begins to be rancid..

The trunks of such of these trees TT is well known, that Naples is as are decayed, the negroes hollow paved with this lava, (the matout into barying places for their ter thrown out by volcanoes, pure poets, musicians, and buffoons ; or mixed, but in a liquid ftate) persona of chese charagters they but it is surprising that nobody has


« ForrigeFortsett »