I have rec’d your kind Epistle dated 20 July, and am much concern’d to find that you have not been well; every body lament’d; but no one can rejoyce more sincerely than I, that you are recoverd.
My letter to you relating to the nature of Corallines was read at our Royal Society
here, and seem’d to give satisfaction. Meese has sent me a Specimen of his
Lichen articulatus, or Pallas’s Corallina terrestri, which he had
collected on the Sea Coast; so that it is evidently no more than what I have always
thought, a sea production, or true Coralline,[a][a] : MS. 1 or ... Coralline [added
above the line] carried into the land by some accident.
As to vegetable substances, such as the Ulva intestinalis, growing on the Thatch or straw covering of houses, expos’d to the sea, and often moistened by sea water, I am not at all surpriz’d; but to consider, as the Ingenious D[octo]r Pallas does, that a Calcareous animal substance, such as a Coralline, should grow in common earth, above 30 miles from the Sea, is absurd, unnatural, and contrary to all experience. I wrote to you fully on this subject the 3 of July, which I hope you recivd.
The Evidence of the truth of some of the Confervae being Dioeciae I have submitted to Solander, and many other friends, who are satisfied it is so, as also that there are several Fuci, male and female, in different plants.
I have lately rec’d some fragments of Encrinus, recent, from the Straits of
Malacca in the East Indies. This kind is found fossil in England. In the center is a
fivesided or pentagonal figure. From these 5 sides proceed dichotomous arms. There
were many small cylindrical jointed arms that issue out under the 5 principal ones, but
the main stem was broken off, so that no perfect figure could be given of it. I have sent
you some of the frag[men]ts by Capt[ain] Robenius: you have likewise a fine Specimen
of the Siren in Spirits, with some fishes of D[octo]r Gardens, that were to go
last year, and also his Insects, which are not in good order; they were very indifferent
when I rec’d them. I have likewise sent you a Specimen of the Actinia
radicans, in a[b][b] : MS. 1 a [added above the
line] small bottle in spirits. If you dissect one of them, they appear in a different animal from the common Actinia. I shall write to D[octo]r Garden how polite you have been.
I have been greatly disappointed as to receiving rare and curious natural productions from West Florida, owing to a bad Governor, who is recall’d, but another is appointed, who has promisd me to attend to natural history. I did not receive anything new except the Illicium anisatum, or Skimmi, from W[est] Florida; and the Specimens were so indifferent that I sent them back, that they might know the Plant, with strict orders to gather the Seeds to be sent to the Princess of Wales’s garden at Kew, which I hope to receive about January next; if I receive any Specimens, I will certainly send you some.
I have plainly discoverd the figure of the Mouths or Polypelike suckers, of the
Antipathes Spiralis: and am fully persuaded that D[octo]r Pallas is mistaken in
the ovaries or Cups, which he pretends to have discoverd. They are nothing but the
covering or skin[c][c] : MS. 1 or skin [added above the
line] of the Antipathes, which it sends over all such bodies as adhere to it. The form of them is irregular, as is their situation. I have some Antipathes that send a covering over a small kind of[d][d] : MS. 1 a ... of [added above the
line] the Lepas Concha-anatifera, in the same manner as the Gorgonia does over the Lepas Calceolus. There are six small tentacula that surround a cup. [e][e] : MS. 1 <this is the Shape of the
Polypelike suckers of the Antipathes
Spiralis [illustration added] or
thus [illustration added]
expanded> The class="Uline">tentacula The tentacula are shapd like bulls horns with wrinkles across, and full of a gelatinous matter. The Cup in the Center when soakd in water and magnified, is of a most elegant figure. I have examind several small ones that have had the gelatinous substance uncorrupted on them, and they appear to have much the same figurd mouths, but extremely minute.
It is a mistake that the Antipathes Spiralis is found in Norway; M[iste]r Brunnich assured me it does not grow there.
I have not had time to try yours, & Baron Munchausens experiments, on the Animalcules in the origin of Mushrooms and smut in Corn; but have recommended it to the public to try the Experiments. As soon as I do, I shall communicate my thoughts to you on the subject.
I have so much trouble with my engraver, that my Microscopical Observations on the marine productions, go on but slowly.
I shall write to Doctor Garden very soon. He has got one of his Correspondents here to bespake a profile of you, taken from a Medal of Count Tessin’s, which I lent him for that purpose; it is a small one, that Solander gave me.
My best wishes attend you! May heaven preserve your life for the good of Mankind,
is the hearty prayer of,
Your most affectionate Friend,