Historical Reprints History Book of Curiosities

Book of Curiosities

Book of Curiosities
Catalog # SKU3767
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 3.00 lbs
Author Name Rev. I. Platts
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Book of Curiosities

Two Volumes

Ten Thousand
Wonders And Curiosities
Of Nature And Art;
And Of
Remarkable and Astonishing
of both Ancient and Modern Times,
on all Parts of the GLOBE

Rev. I. Platts

The present work not only embraces the Curiosities of human nature, but of Nature and Art in general, as well as Science and Literature. Surrounded with wonders, and lost in admiration, the inquisitive mind of man is ever anxious to know the hidden springs that put these wonders in motion; he eagerly inquires for some one to take him by the hand, and explain to him the curiosities of the universe.

Print size, 12 point font



Burning Springs

We shall conclude this chapter with an account of various other Burning Springs.-There are many burning springs in different parts of the world, particularly one in France, in the department of Isere, near Grenoble; another near Hermanstadt, in Transylvania; a third at Chermay, a village near Switzerland; a fourth in the canton of Friburg; and a fifth not far from the city of Cracow, in Poland. There also is, or was, a famous spring of this kind at Wigan, in Lancashire, which, upon the approach of a lighted candle, would take fire and burn like spirit of wine for a whole day. But the most remarkable one in England, or at least that of which we have the minutest description, was discovered in 1711, at Brosely, in Shropshire.

The following account of this remarkable spring was given by the Rev. Mr. Mason Woodwardin, Professor at Cambridge, dated Feb. 18th. 1746:-"The well, for four or five feet deep, is six or seven feet wide; within that, is another less hole of like depth, dug in the clay, in the bottom whereof is placed a cylindric earthen vessel, of about four or five inches diameter at the mouth, having the bottom taken off, and the sides well fixed in the clay, which is rammed close about it. Within the pot is a brown water, thick and puddly, continually forced up with a violent motion beyond that of boiling water, and a rumbling hollow noise, rising or falling by fits, five or six inches; but there was no appearance of any vapour rising, which perhaps might have been visible, had not the sun shone so bright.

Upon putting a candle down at the end of a stick, at about a quarter of a yard distance, it took fire, darting and flashing after a very violent manner for about half a yard high, much in the manner of spirits in a lamp, but with great agitation. It was said, that a teakettle had been made to boil in nine minutes, and that it had been left burning for forty-eight hours without any sensible diminution. It was extinguished by putting a wet mop upon it; which must be kept there for a little time, otherwise it would not go out. Upon the removal of the mop, there arises a sulphureous smoke, lasting about a minute, and yet the water is very cold to the touch." In 1755, this well totally disappeared, by the sinking of a coal-pit in its neighbourhood. The cause of the inflammable property of such waters is with great probability supposed to be their mixture with petroleum, which is one of the most inflammable substances in nature, and has the property of burning on the surface of water.

Henry Wolby, Esq

Another extraordinary character was Henry Wolby, Esq.-He was a native of Lincolnshire, and inherited a clear estate of more than 1000l. a year. He was regularly bred at the university, studied for some time in one of the inns of court, and in the course of his travels had spent several years abroad. On his return, this very accomplished gentleman settled on his paternal estate, lived with great hospitality, matched to his liking, and had a beautiful and virtuous daughter, who was married, with his entire approbation, to a Sir Christopher Hilliard, in Yorkshire.

He had now lived to the age of forty, respected by the rich, prayed for by the poor, honoured and beloved by all; when, one day, a youngster, with whom he had some difference in opinion, meeting him in the field, snapped a pistol at him, which happily flashed in the pan. Thinking that this was done only to frighten him, he coolly disarmed the ruffian, and, putting the weapon carelessly in his pocket, thoughtfully returned home; but, after examination, the discovery of bullets in the pistol had such an effect on his mind, that he instantly conceived an extraordinary resolution of retiring entirely from the world, in which he persisted to the end of his life.

He took a very fair house in the lower end of Grub-street, near Cripplegate, London, and contracting a numerous retinue into a small family, having the house prepared for his purpose, he selected three chambers for himself; the one for his diet, the other for his lodging, the other for his study. As they were one within another,-while his diet was set on the table by an old maid, he retired into his lodging room; and when his bed was making, into his study; still doing so till all was clear. Out of these chambers, from the time of his entry into them, he never issued, till he was carried thence, 44 years after, on men's shoulders; neither, in all that time, did his son-in-law, daughter, or grand-child, brother, sister, or kinsman, young or old, rich or poor, of what degree or condition soever, look upon his face, save the ancient maid, whose name was Elizabeth. She only made his fire, prepared his bed, provided his diet, and dressed his chambers. She saw him but seldom, never but in cases of extraordinary necessity, and died not six days before him.

In all the time of his retirement, he never tasted fish or flesh; his chief food was oatmeal gruel; now and then, in summer, he had a salad of some choice cool herbs; and for dainties, when he would feast himself upon a high day, he would eat the yoke of a hen's egg, but no part of the white; what bread he did eat, he cut out of the middle of the loaf, but the crust he never tasted; his constant drink was four-shilling beer, and no other, for he never tasted wine or strong drink. Now and then, when his stomach served, he would eat some kind of sackers, and he sometimes drank red cow's milk, which was fetched hot from the cow. Nevertheless, he kept a bountiful table for his servant, and sufficient entertainment for any stranger or tenant, who had occasion of business at his house. Every book that was printed was bought for him, and conveyed to him; but such as related to controversy he always laid aside, and never read.

In Christmas holidays, at Easter, and other festivals, he was provided with all dishes in season, served into his own chamber, with stores of wine, which his maid brought in. Then, after thanks to God for his good benefits, he would pin a clean napkin before him, and putting on a pair of clean holland sleeves, which reached to his elbows, cutting up dish after dish in order, he would send one to a poor neighbour, the next to another, whether it were brawn, beef, capon, goose, &c. till he had left the whole table empty; when, giving thanks again, he laid by his linen, and caused the dishes to be taken away: and this he would do, at dinner and supper, upon these days, without tasting of any thing whatsoever. When any clamoured impudently at his gate, they were not, therefore, immediately relieved; but when, from his private chamber, he espied any sick, weak, or lame, he would presently send after them, to comfort, cherish, and strengthen them, and not a trifle to serve them for the present, but so much as would relieve them many days after. He would moreover inquire which of his neighbours were industrious in their callings, and who had great charge of children; and withal, if their labour and industry could not sufficiently supply their families: to such he would liberally send, and relieve them according to their necessities.

He died at his house in Grub-street, after an anchoretical confinement of forty-four years, October 29, 1636, aged 84. At his death, his hair and beard was so overgrown, that he appeared rather like a hermit of the wilderness, than the inhabitant of one of the first cities in the world.

Softcover, 8½ x 11, 870+ pages
Perfect-Bound - 2 Volumes