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nefit of young students, cap. 8vo. Lond. Royston, 1659,
To each of these little works there is also a separate title page; the former consists of 112, the latter of 128 pp. The Vulgar Errours in practice censured are, 1. That of reproaching red-haired men. 2. That of censuring some professions. 3. That of reproaching the feminine sex.
4. The neglect of many writers to defend the deity of Christ. 5. The vanity of epitaphs. 6. The running from one extreme in religion to another. 7. The common practice of railing against an adversary.
Ralph Battell. Vulgar Errors in Divinity Removed, Lond. 8vo, 1683, containing, with title, &c. pp. 152. These relate to, 1. Reprobation. 2. Kingly government. 3. God's house and service in it. 4. Man's will. 5. Man's redemption. 6. Praying by the Spirit.
Two works on popular superstitions, viz. Traité des Superstitions, by M. Thiers, published in 1979, and L'Histoire Critique des pratiques superstitieuses qui ont séduit les peuples, et embarrassé les Savans, by Pierre Le Brun, published in 2 vols. at Rouan, in 702 and 1732,-were published together in 1733 in one vol. fol. with plates. One of these gives several figures of mandrakes;-see note on which, vol. ii, p. 350, note 8.
Fovargue Stephen. A New Catalogue of Vulgar Errors, 8vo. pp. 202, Camb. 1767. A work of slight pretension, and of slender merit; introduced by a preface somewhat flippant and in bad taste. Two of his errors had been already noticed by Sir Thomas Browne, and many of the rest are by no means generally received opinions,
Vulgar Errors, Lond. Debrett, [8vo. 1784.] A political pamphlet against Mr. Pitt, at the time of the coalition between Lord North and Mr. Fox. The “Errors" enumerated are six:-1. That the union between Lord North and Mr. Fox was interested, and without any public spirit to support it. 2. That Mr. Fox's India bill was a violation of charters. 3. That it was a confiscation of property. 4. That, in the issue of this contest, the people will take part against the House of Commons. 5. That the king must succeed in the struggle by dissolving parliament. 6. That the opposition to
the present ministers has been carried on with violence. These six positions the author terms “Vulgar Errors," and professes to disprove.
A notice of some Vulgar Errors, as to points of law, will be found in Burrington on the Statutes, 4to. 1775, p. 474.
Notwithstanding the unreasonable length of time which has elapsed since this edition of Browne's Works was undertaken, there still occur materials which, had they been earlier detected, might have been interwoven. In the Sloanian MSS. in the British Museum, No. 1839, there is a very neatly-written MS. extending to 85 pages, 4to., of Observations on Ps. Ep. which is proved, by a letter in vol. i, p. 370, to have proceeded from the pen of Sir Hamon L'Estrange.
The knight commences by thus expressing his admiration of his author :-“ Boterus, magnifying the latitude of the pope's power, sayes that he hath una jurisditione che no conosce oriente,' a command that knows no east,' and another dedicates a booke to the king of Spaine, thus, “To the great king, to whom the sun never sets. I cannot but prædicate the vast expanse of the Dr's. learning, reading, and knowledge, from the cedar to the hyssope.” He then begins his observations by pointing out, in Browne's chapter on magnetism and the compass, several remarks which had not been made by previous writers ;--Borough, Norman, or Gilbert. He goes on successively to notice Browne's remarks on electricity, flies in amber, white powder, and the rose of Jericho. After noticing, in connection wit this last topic, several marvellous stories of omens, apparitions, and miracles, (among which this one, told to the writer, by the old Countess of Arundel, respecting her father, Lord Dacre of the North, that he had a pasture on the scite of an old abbey, and that his sheep never failed, if within that scite, to produce twins :)—he thus proceeds. “ And I see no barr against mee to think that in the dayes of darkness and ignorance of popery, some cloysterers might truck with the devil (att a deare rate) for an ape's trick (as witches do) for the shewing, effecting, and continuance of such pranks and toyes, whereby to acquire a stupendous reputation of working miracles (of which they were not a little ambitious,) to drawe affection, respect, and honour, to their religion and profession, and to celebrate the place with a mark and character of extraordinary sanctity for the future,” p. 6. After touching upon Deer casting their horns, he mentions, on the subject of Griffins, having seen in Sir Rob. Cotton's library a griffin's claw, Discussing the story
7 More than eleven years.
of the ostrich swallowing iron, he mentions having seen one eat pellets of chewed paper as large as a walnut. He gives also, as a parallel, the following story:-“ About 1638, as I walked London streets, I sawe the picture of a strange fowle hang out upon a ...... 8 and my selfe, with one or two more then in company, went in to see it. It was kept in a chamber, and was a great fowle, somewhat bigger than the largest turkeycock, and so legged and footed, but shorter and thicker, and of a more erect shape, coulourd before like the breast of yong cock fesan, and on the back of dunn or deare coulour. The keeper called it a Dodo, and in the ende of a chimney in the chamber there lay an heap of large pebble stones, whereof hee gave it many in our sight, some as bigg as nutmegs, and the keeper told us shee eate them, conducing unto digestion; and though I remember not how far the keeper was questioned herein, yet I am confident that afterwards he cast them all agayne.” He goes on to mention other instances of birds swallowing stones, &c. for the same purposewhich he concludes to be the most probable solution of the alleged fact that the ostrich (or estridge, as he calls it,) swallowing iron, pp. 8–12. Then follows a lengthened notice of the five kinds of one-horned animals noticed by Browne ;-the Indian ox and ass, the oryx, rhinoceros, and monoceros. His opinion is that three “ might exist; some one or more of several sorts of monsters in nature, through some errour or vitiosity in generation or conception, which might bear one horne; and such a creature once seen might multiply fast enough in report, and (ex traduce) naturalists readily follow one another, as wild geese flye.” He concludes the unicorn of Job to be the rhinoceros, after many pages of careful and argumentative examination of his “shape and strength, and the seate, position, and portage of his horne," pp. 13-26. At p. 27, we find the notice (adverted to in his letter to Browne) of the whale, beginning thus: “In June, 1626, a whale was cast up upon my shoare or sea liberty, sometyme parcel of the possessions of the abbey of Ramsey, &c.” Notices of the dolphin, the toad and spider, seal, dottrel, basilisk, swallows in mud, &c. occupy from p. 28 to p. 46:—from the last of which I must extract the following very lively incident—“About 16 or 20 years since, upon a hot, bright, and cleare daye, (a little before noone,) hapning in the midst of March, as I leaned over my garden wall, and looking steadfastly into my mote, (which is on that syde very cleare, leane, and hungry water,) I espied sundry small creatures (of a dark or dusky coulour, longwise shaped, and of forme of beetle or scarabee) to rise out of the mud from the bottom of the mote to the topp of the water, and some of them to settle themselves speedily downe againe into the mud, others to rayse themselves above the water
8 A burnt hole occurs here in MS.
five or six inches, others a foote, others more, and some some yards, with a slanting or sloaping mount, and a like descent and falling downe hastened to the bottome;9 and being much pleased with this speculation, I hastily rann unto mine house, and called out mine eldest sonne, (then a man growne and of yeares,) both to participate and bee a witnesse of this discovery; wee observed againe as before, and att last (among sundry essayes of many of these creatures, we perceived one of them to rise from the bottom to the top of the water, and found itselfe so full sunned and perfected as it raysed it selfe above the water, and after two or three turnes and circinations in the ayre, it mounted cleane out of sight,” p. 40. He proceeds to remark on the passenger falcon, (p. 42, 43,) toads found in oaks, shell stones, (Pholas,) p. 44, St. Hierome, p. 46, and last, but not least, Pope Joan, whose existence he believes, and devotes the remaining forty pages of his paper to a most learned and ingenious examination of the arguments for and against the story—and still further to a discussion of the sense in which those Apocalyptic passages are to be understood-in which the whore of Babylon is foretold and denounced, concluded by a courteous expression of personal respect to many who are of that faith,
9 I must suspect that the Knight was deceived, probably by reflection, is to "these creatures” (which must be supposed the larvæ of libellula, or dragon flies,) having mounted out of the water before they acquired their wings--or having returned into the water after they had once taken their leave of it.