Chapter 21

Of Procreation

PROCREATION of the Kind is a Power of the Vegative life, in a naturall body. Whence by prolifick seed it is able to produce more Individuals of the same Kind, for the Continuation of its Species.1 this may be considered either as in plants, or in Animals.

1. In plants it is by Single seed which is the last production of their nature; of Plants therefore consider the Manner of propagation, and the Species. [65]

1. The Manner of propagation, and this (I’m Apt to Judge) is allwaies by seed, of which such is the Universality, that all plants have their seed either in [the] body, root, or Graine. Here a doubt Uses to be Moved whether the Earth can produce any plants without seed? As how the Grass grew on the ruines of the london-fire? tis hard to conceive that any seed [retaining] their Seminall vertues lay dormiant in the Earth, for so many hundred years as the City has stood; Since tis observed that Scarce any seed will Grow that is kept above a year or two. And if So then [next] how should seed come to the tops of the higest wals? Or has the Earth such a Plastiek vertue, as to produce such a variety? Tis true that the Earth did at first by Speciall command bring forth the herb (Genesis. 1. 11.) but then tis Immediately Subjoyned whose seed is in its self; Intimating that the Continuation of the Species was to be [by] seed. The resolution of these difficulties may (in some Measure) be had, by the Consideration of the latency of the Seminal virtue, in the 3 Particulars but now mentioned, body, Root, and Graine.

1. In the body of the plant and therein tis an Aptitude to thrust forth roots; Such are Willows, Quince, Cadlins etc: which are all by [Pitchers], and layers, Easyly propagated In Grafts and buds there is a Likeness to this kind of Seminality for though there be no puting forth of roots, yet there is Somewhat analogous thereunto, in that aptness of pores to Sute the pores of the Stock, and receive nourishment by them; and in the Suitableness of the bark to heal up, and joyn with that of the Stock.

2. In the Spreading root[s] which [send] up diverse shoots out of the Earth, and these may be all Seperated, and made distinct plant. Thus are propagated among trees, Elmes, and some Kind of Pears, etc: among herbs, Mint, Horseriddish, Cumfery etc:

Plants propagate by seed which place doth gain

In the plant[s] body, in its root, and Graine.

3. In Grain, or Seed properly so Called, of this consider diverse things.

1. That it is the last production, for in Annual plants it is in this order; 1st from the seed arises the Stalk then the branch, the leaf, the flower, and lastly the seed. And in more durable plants the seed comes not, till the plant arises to its natural perfection which may be after some years, for 1st It Sp[r]ings up in a Soft Stalk, then for some years it produces only leaves, but after [yearly] seed, whereof some are included in a fruit, and [this] more and more untill it finally decay.

2. That it Singly produces the Notion of Male, and Female plants in the same species, I think is but a figment; only whereas some are [more Large and Robust, they are] by a Metaphor cal’d Males of that kind and whereas some are said to florish, and bear fruit better togather than apart, It may well be ascribed to the drawing of Noxious, [or] improper steams from one another, and so both thrive the better for it; Whereas (on the Contrary) if two plants draw or receive in the same kind of Juice, they hurt, and hinder Each others [florishing]. Thus Wheat, and Rye Grow well togather, but Vine, and Cabbage destroy each other.

3. That it produces only its own Kind; and therefore tis a Groundless conceit, that Darnel (or Evers as tis cal’d in the West) comes of the seed of Wheat; whereas it is indeed from its own seed mingled with the Wheat; Yea, So pertinatiously doth the Kind cleave to its own seed that tis asserted by Some that in [Grafts], or buddings the Seed follows the stock though the fruit doe the [Graft], or bud. So an Apricock stone brings forth a Plum, and not an Apricock; Yea I have been told that the seed[s] (or pap[s]) of one, and the same sort of Apple, have brought forth trees of a Great many kinds desernable in part by the leaves, at the beginning but manifestly after in the diversity of fruits. This is an Experiment tryed not commonly with observance, because Seedlings require 10, or [12] Years Ere they will bear fruit. [Now if this be So,] It must be from the Variety of Stocks that the [Grafts] at Several times have been implanted into, so that some have communicated, of the Nature of the Immediate stocks, and others of the Stocks more remote, and parhaps in Many Successions.

4. The Seminal Vertue (it seams by this last instance) doth lye fundamentally in the heart of the root, and is communicated by the heart, or Pith of the tree; and through the [Pith] of the Stalk to the heart or Center, of the fruit namly [to] the seed, or stone which is in the middle thereoff. whereas the Carnous part of the fruit is communicated, by the more jucy, and exterior parts of the tree This is but a Speculation proposed to be thought upon, more Certain it is that the Seminall vertue lyes formally in the Seed, yea, and that in a very small part thereof; be the Seed never so small; Many Plants have their seed so little, that they have been thought to have none at all; but of late they have been found out, and discovered by the Microscope: Such are Moon-Wort, Maden-hair, Ceterecht, Male-fern, etc: Yet each of [the] little, and [even Invisible] seeds, have their distinct parts; as the Shell, pulp, and [that] in two halfs and between them at one end the little vivid Point, in which are the rudiments of the plant, and the seminall vertue; this is plainly discernable by the hand in larger seeds Such as beans, Wallnuts, etc: In Wallnuts I have often taken it out with a pin after the pulp hath been split in the Middle; for there at the Sharp end (which is remotest from the Stalk) it lyes in the [Shape], and bigness of the little black figure. By this consideration may be solved the difficulties before mentioned how seeds of Grass Should come to the tops of houses or high walls in the ruines of london? for may not the other parts of the Seeds body be broken, taken, or rotte[d] off from this Seminall point, and then this partacle may Easyly be [tossed] up like dust in the Air with Every Wind, yea parhaps wrapt up with the Clouds, and thence come down again with the rain; add to this, that birds may be the Carryers thereof, either in their bills, or [66] Sticking to their feet; I have heard of one that limed his wheat before he sowed it, and that yet the rooks fell upon it, Chinked the Grain, and liked out the flowery part, but droped the hulls as tasting of the lime, and it seams the Seminall part was left with the husks; for the Man had a Good Crop of Corn, (Contrary to his Expectation); whereas If the foul had Swallowed the whole Graine, the Seminal part had gone with the rest, and the whole crop [been] destroyed.

One thing More may be considerable of this Seminal Virtue, that it seams to be a small Quantity, of Spirituous matter apt to be contracted, and preserved by cold, and dry (Hence Granaryes should be open towards the North) whereas hot, and Moist puts it into Motion; Whence Growth, or Putrifaction. but hot, and dry will dilate it So as to break its bonds, and fly away, with a little bounce or Crack, as we see in a Pea, or Chesnutt, put into the fire. Whence tis said that the turks crack their rice in an oven before they sell it, least other nations should make Use of it [as] seed. And that the Flandrians are said to have dealt so at first with their Clover seed, [as] willing to have mony for their seed, but unwilling that others should have benifit thereby

Plants last produce is seed; No sex at all

Hold on their kinds by Vertue Seminall.

2. The Species of plants are Various, all which are comprehended under the distinction of perfect, and Imperfect.

1. Imperfect that have not the Evident parts of a plant; and these either such

1. [As] Grow out of the Ground, as Mushroons, furs-balls, etc: Mushroms that are of light purple on the Nether side, are by Stewing with sweat herbs, and Spices accounted a delicate dish in france; and for this End by an Artificiall watring [of] the Earth they produce them suddainly in abundance. Mould (as of Cheese, etc:) is also found to be Mushroms by the Microscope.

2. Such as Grow on Other plants, as Agarick, Punk, Jew[s]-Ear, On Elder (Good for throat deseases) Missletoe, on old Apple trees, and Oak (this on [the] Oak was famous in the Hethen Sorseries of the [Driades]) besides a Multitude of Mosses on the barks, and other small productions on the leaves, and flowers not descernable but by the Microscope.

2. Perfect, [that] have the Evident parts of plants, such as Root, Stalk, branch, Leaf, etc: these are again divided in divers respects, as Magnitude, time, place, etc:

1. Magnitude, and Solidity into herb, Shrub, and tree.

2. Time of duration, Into Annuall, and Permanent.

3. Place of Growth, Into Plants of Water, Mountain, Native, Exotick, Garden, Feild, etc:

4. The Shape of roots into ballbous, and Fibrous.

5. The Use Into Alimentary ([or] for food) or Medicinall ([or] for Physick.)

All which and More are treated of in Botanicks (or Herballs) which describe their figure, Colours, Qualities, Vertues, etc: Which Vertues are prepared, Qualifyed, Extracted, etc: by distillations Mixture, digestions, and other Chymicall preperations.

Imperfect plant[s] by nature, art are Spyed.

Perfect their bulk, time, place, Shape, Use, divide

2. In Animalis procreation is by a Mixed seed of Male and Female; Not Male Seed, and Menstruum (as the Antients) for this is but the After Nourishment, and not the first producent; Nor is only the Male-seed the Active, and Female the Passive Principles of the Offspring; but rather tis the Spirituous matter of both conjoyn’d that is the Active principle, and the Grosser matter of both conjoyn’d that is the Passive.

The determination of Sex in the Fœtus is not from the Prevalency of Male or Female seed nor of the better preparing Vessells on the right or left Sides of the Generants (as has been thought) because we see dayly many Females born more robust and Vigorous than Males, which would not be if due preparation of Seed were in the cause of discrimination. It is therefore rather to be ascrib’d unto the Wise providence of God, than to 2d Causes (Especially in Man) because of the fit proportionable Number of Each Sex produced in all Ages, and Generations; yea, I may say in all years, In all times of the Year, In All countryes, in all Constitutions of body, and Ages of life; Which Accidentall Circumstances if they had the Ordering of the Matter would Certainly one time or other Much disorder the proportion, besides if Art or Humane Consideration [could] help in this Affair princes and Great men would never want Heires-Males to Uphold their Names, and familyes. I Say therefore God gives sexes when he gives Souls, and this is a Matter of Awfull consideration.

In Animall procreation consider the Subservients, and the Order.

1. The Subservients are diverse; as the Seed, Plastick, Vertue, etc:

1. The Seed itself, which is a Matter of Much higher Concoction and preperation, than [the] blood, and therefore tis made out of the purest of it in the Vessells appoynted for that Use (of which Anatomists More at large) It contains much Spirit, and little Gross matter. Whence follows that the Abuse of it in any Wicked way, is consecrating the best of our bodyes to the divell.

2. Its Plastick, or formative Vertue (which is a Wonder of Wonders) a power whereby it shapes every body (except there be impediment) according to its kind. In Mear plants the Apostle seams to take it out of [the hand of] nature, and ascribe it to the God of nature who Gives to Every Seed its own body (1 Corinthians. 15.38.) and if it be so in plant[s] much more may it be said of Animals Especially of Mans body which God hath wonderfully made and Curiously wrought, in the Neither parts of the Earth (Psalm [139]. 14, 15.) i.e. in the womb. But if any Conjecture [may] be made of this as to Second Causes; it Seams to be that the blood and Spirits in their Circulation, having passed thro all the body receive from all the parts where they have been most resident, Certain Signatures, and impressions which they retain, even when they become the Matter of Seed, and So (as it were) take their places in the begotten according to the places they come from in the begetters. But this may be long thought before it can give the Mind a Quieting Satisfaction. Thus as to the disposition of the Matter; but on the Other hand if it be from the form, and the Soul prepares itself a house (as the Matter will afford) Suitable [to] its occasion, this may do as to Man who has a living Soul [conjoyned] (parhaps) to the Matter; in the first [67] Moment of Conception; But how will the Neotericks satisfye themselves as to brutes to Whom they deny a Soul, or any Substantiall form. Besides the Generall formation which is naturall to the Species, there are diverse individuall, and Accidentall configurations, which are somtimes found Extraordinary. All this is commonly Ascribed unto Fancy opperating Strongly in the time of Conception: as was seen in Jacobs Spotted Cattel, from the Striped rods, (Genesis. 30.37.) So in the Dog (which we have) littered without Ears, Spotted like its Sire that was Cropt. And Possibly the More natural resemblances in Countenance of father or Mother, may arise from somthing of this Nature, for we know the Fancy is (of all the facultyes of the Soul) the Great Immage Maker, out of Materiall Spirits, and So probably delivers them figured to be an Ingredient in the Proliffick Seed.

As to Monstrous, and Unnatural Shapes, tis either from defect or redundance of matter or Confusion, or dislocation of parts, by Some outward Violence before they are well consolidated. As to those Externall, and Cuticuller Marks which happen to the Embryo, after its Substantial formation (as we see in Many persons blood-spots, and Notable Moles, having resemblan[c]e of Some fruit, or other thing longed for by the Mother; and tis Said that if the Mother in a longing Condition touch any part of her own body with her hand, the Correspondent part of the Child will accordingly be marked.) For all these things we know not how to account, but by those Phantastical impressions.

Much Spirit seed in little matter carryes,

Shapes Natural; by Accident it varyes.

3. Its receptive power of Animation (or Life) which may be conceived an aptitude for a motion of spirits in the Generate to be [continued] from the Moving spirits of the Generants. As [one] bowle in a Green [running] Strikes another that lay Still which by its roundness being apt for Motion, easyly receives the Motion from the Mover, or as one Candle is [Inflamable] by another actually Inflamed, and applyed thereunto. And indeed the life of brutes (by the Corpuscularians) is commonly cal’d a flame which in Course of nature will of itself burn out the Combustible matter, or radical moisture unless before, by Accidentall violence, or some desease it be [Extinguished].

4. Besides all that is in a brute there is added a true Spirit (the Soul) in a man Ingenerable, and incorruptible by the power of nature; this is by the Immediate hand of God [creating], (though not new Species, yet) Every Individuall Soul, and Infusing it in the Moment of Creation, though the Union allso in the same moment to the body to make therewith a composite (Man) is rightly ascrib’d to the Generative power of the parents. In which union of Soul, and body lyes the formall reason of Generation; as the Corruption of man (death) lyes in the disunion, and Seperation of them again. And hence the propagation of originall Sin, is not from the body of the Generant, to the body of the Generate; nor from the Soul of the one to the Soul of the Other; nor from the body of the Generate to its own Soul; but from the whole man Generant to the whole man Generate therefore the Soul not in the Act, of being (or its Spirituall nature) which as from the hand of God is pure but in the Act of Information (which comes of man and makes it the form of man) is, and becomes polluted. Now that there is a distinct kind of production of mans Soul from that of brutes the Scripture Seams to note (Genesis. 1.24.) Let the Earth bring forth the living Creature after [its] Kind, Cattle, and Creeping things and beasts of the Earth after their kind. But (Verse 26.) let us make man in our Image, (that is Spirituall, and rationall nature), and (Chapter 2. 7.) God breathed into him the breath of life, and man became a living Soul. And So in other places God is cal’d the father of Spirits; and Sayes the Spirit returns to god that gave it, etc: to all which Theologicall Revilations, Phylosophycall reason cant but subscribe; for what is Generable by naturall power is Corruptible by the Same; and So Souls in their own nature would be mortall, and then to reserve them for Ever must be in God a Controling of the Course of nature which is not likly in a Constant Course; Only I must Enter here a Small caution, that what is said of the progeny of humane, and brutall Soul, dont derogate from what we offer to Consideration in our pneumaticks concerning the brutall Soul, but (Supposing what is before declared) least any Should say this derogates from the dignity of humane procreation, as making the parent a less compleat Cause of the Generate than tis Supposed to be in brutes; Note that man communicates as much every way as the brute dos, and moreover unites the noble Soul; So that here is the whole brutall Generation, and a Great thing done besides. Here a Question may be moved, at What time the Soul is infused? It has been formerly thought not to be till the Compleat Organization, of the body about the fourth, or fifth month after conception, because of the Old saying; We first live the life of a plant then of a brute, [and lastly] of a man which is true of the Actuall Exercise of facultyes, whether it be of the principle or no. And here the Law of England (which is allwayes sed to be favourable to the prisoner) condemns not the Whore [who] distroyes her Child; for Murther unless it appear[s] that the Child was perfectly formed, [as] having haire, and Nailes, etc: Upon this Supposall that till then there is no Union, and therefore no Seperation of Soul, and body; but indeed it Seams more agreable to reason that the Soul is infused in the Conception, and that it forms itself a house (as is before noted) that is the Vertue formative of the body, [resides] rather in the Soul which adapts a body for the Uses it has for it, than in the Spirits, and impressions, made upon them. Nor let it be thought unworthy of God to afford a Soul in Spurious Generations, for tis the Nature not the Enormity of the Act to which he doth concurr; and here as in all other Sinfull Actions the Material naturall part of the Action is Good, though the formal, Immorall part thereof be wholly Evill.

Receive from mover, seed [lifes] motion can

And joyn the Noble heaven-born soul in man.

And thus much of the Subservients to Generation, now of the Order.

2. The order of Generation and perfecting the Animal is (as Dr Harvey Sayes) in an Egg, or somewhat analogous thereunto therefore to declare the nature of Generation he discourses of a hens or other fowles Egg in the Severall changes thereof. [68]

1. It is layed with a Shell, film, White, and Yolke, in one side thereof is a small Whitish speck, no bigger than a Small pins head Cal’d the Punctum salens, (or Skiping point) this you may see by droping the Yolke of an Egg into any liquor for this Point will flote uppermost, as being the lightest side, and most Spirituous part containing in it all the Seminall vertue, Tis a Vulgar, but Erronious conceit that the white hard Substances at Each End, are the Seed, and therefore commonly cal’d the treaddings; whereas indeed they are only a pair of Ligatures whereby the Contents of the Egg are so hung to the Shell as to allow them a little internal motion which is needfull when life is begun to work the Nourishment to the Imperfect Embrio. But in Case these Ligatures [are] disjoyned from the Shell or white of the Egg, the Motion [is] lost, it becomes addle, and will never hatch. Some therefore do purposely jerk an Egg of their Game-fowles, to spoil this appendence; as Cock-Maste[r]s, Decoy-keepers, etc: whereby they Secure the kind to themselves though they Spare the Eggs to others.

2. In 2, or 3, dayes Incubation (or sitting upon) round about this Spirituous point the Egg will Change Colour the breadth of ones nail, this is Called the Iris (or Rainbow) and then tis unfit for our food

3. In a day or two more the point being amplycated will have a Spot of blood in it with Some runing out into a length; having one End bigger than the other and this is the rudiment of the heart, and Vena-Cava.

4. After this the parts begin to appear E[s]pecially the head, and heart; the head very Great in proportion to the rest; and the Eyes are more especially notable.

5. When the Chick is fully formed the White will be gone; but the Yolke remains hanging in a bagg at [its] fundament, where it is after drawn in, and lyes in the [hinder] part, and then the bird is hatched.

N.B. that for 2, or 3, dayes after hatching tis profitable for [the] Chick to feed [only on] what is within its body, till that be fully digested, and indeed all young things soon after birth require warmth, and Sleep rather than food.

From these discourses of an Egg may be conceived the manner of Animall productions; for the Secondine or Wrapper of the Embrio bears analogy and is answerable to the Shell, or Inward Membrane of the Egg, The Maternall blood to the Yolke, the Childs navell to the Chicks fundament, and so of the rest.

Twixt Eggs, and Animal productions are,

Analogyes that do their breeds declare.

Insects or Imperfect animals have their manifest Eggs which in [the] Autumn they Stick to Walls, or other convenient places where they abide all winter, and are hatched by a kindly Springs moist warmth; this is where the Insect yearly dyes; but if it hides it self all winter in a convenient place, to preserve its life, as bees, Wasps, Hornets, etc: then it layes these Eggs Early in the Spring, and they are Soon after hatched, Therefore he that kills a hornet or Mother wasp in the Spring time at once distroyes a Whole neast of them. That conceit therefore I take to be an Error, that those, and Some perfect animals (as Mice frogs, etc:) are bred only from putrefaction, and that more abundantly in sickly years. I think no Animall is produced but from prolifick Seed, he that hath kept Silkworms, a year round, and compared their [gendring] with that of flyes about Michaelmas may well allow the propagation of their kind, by natural Generation, and not an Extraneous putrefaction, the places indeed where they are bred, are where their Eggs ware before layed [as] in convenient neast[s]: and a Moist Spring after a warm Winter (the Common forerunner of a sickly Summer) give a warmth Sutable for a Numerous production whereas if the winter be hard many of the Eggs are Spoiled, and if the Spring be cold, and dry many of the little Grubbs perrish at their first coming forth, So that these may be multiplyed in putrifying seasons. And yet no proper Effects of putrifaction.

The most imperfect animals do breed

Not by putressence, but prolifick seed.