into the blood to any particle, which is of size enough to make a lodgement afterwards in the small arteries, and thereby to obstruct the circulation: And it was also necessary that this extreme tenuity should be compensated by multitude; for, a large quantity of chyle (in ordinary constitutions, not less, it has been computed, than two or three quarts in a day) is, by some means or other, to be passed through them. Accordingly, we find the number of the lacteals exceeding all powers of computation; and their pipes so fine and slender, as not to be visible, unless filled, to the naked eye; and their orifices, which open into the intestines, so small, as not to be discernible even by the best microscope. Fourthly, the main pipe which carries the chyle from the reservoir to the blood, viz. the thoracic duct, being fixed in an almost upright position, and wanting that advantage of propulsion which the arteries possess, is furnished with a succession of valves to check the ascending fluid, when once it has passed them, from falling back. These valves look upward, so as to leave the ascent free, but to prevent the return of the chyle, if, for want of sufficient force to push it on, its weight should at any time cause it to descend. Fifthly, the chyle enters the blood in an odd place, but

perhaps the most commodious place possible, viz. at a large vein in the neck, so situated with respect to the circulation, as speedily to

bring the mixture to the heart. And this

seems to be a circumstance of great moment; for had the chyle entered the blood at an artery, or at a distant vein, the fluid, composed of the old and the new materials, must have performed a considerable part of the circulation, before it received that churning in the lungs, which is, probably, necessary for the intimate and perfect union of the old blood with the recent chyle. Who could have dreamt of a eommunication between the cavity of the intestines and the left great vein of the neck & Who could have suspected that this communication should be the medium

through which all nourishment is derived to

the body? or this the place, where, by a side-inlet, the important junction is formed between the blood and the material which feeds it? We postponed the consideration of digestion, lest it should interrupt us in tracing

the course of the food to the blood; but, in

treating of the alimentary system, so principal a part of the process camot be omitted. Of the gastric juice, the immediate agent by which that change which food undergoes


in our stomachs is effected, we shall take our account from the numerous, careful, and varied experiments of the Abbé Spallanzani. 1. It is not a simple diluent, but a real solvent. A quarter of an ounce of beef had scarcely touched the stomach of a crow, when the solution began. 2. It has not the nature of saliva; it has not the nature of bile; but is distinct from both. By experiments out of the body it appears, that neither of these secretions acts upon alimentary substances, in the same manner as the gastric juice acts. * 3. Digestion is not putrefaction : for, the digesting fluid resists putrefaction most pertinaciously; nay, not only checks its further progress, but restores putrid substances. 4. It is not a fermentative process: for, the solution begins at the surface, and proceeds towards the centre, contrary to the order in which fermentation acts and spreads. 5. It is not the digestion of heat: for, the cold maw of a cod or sturgeon will dissolve the shells of crabs or lobsters, harder than the sides of the stomach which contains them. In a word, animal digestion carries about it the marks of being a power and a process completely sui generis; distinct from every other; at least from every chymical process

with which we are acquainted. And the most wonderful thing about it is its appropriation; its subserviency to the particular ceconomy of each animal. The gastric juice of an owl, falcon, or kite, will, not touch. grain ; no, not even to finish the macerated and half-digested pulse which is left in the crops of the sparrows that the bird devours. In poultry, the trituration of the gizzard, and the gastric juice, conspire in the work of digestion. The gastric juice will not dissolve the grain whilst it is whole. Entire grains of barley, inclosed in tubes or spherules, are: not affected by it. v. But if the same grain be by any means broken or ground, the gastric juice immediately lays hold of it. Here them. is wanted, and here we find, a combination of mechanism and chymistry. For the preparatory grinding, the gizzard lends its mill. And, as all mill-work should be strong, its structure is so, beyond that of any other muscle belonging to the animal. The internal coat also, or lining of the gizzard, is, for the same purpose, hard and cartilaginous. But, forasmuch as this is not the sort of animal substance suited for the reception of glands, or for secretion, the gastric juice, in this family, is not supplied as in membranous sto

machs, by the stomach itself, but by the gul

let, in which the feeding glands are placed, and from which it trickles down into the stomach... - In sheep, the gastric fluid has no effect in

digesting plants, unless they have been previously masticated. It only produces a slight maceration; nearly such as common water would produce, in a degree of heat somewhat exceeding the medium temperature of the atmosphere. But provided that the plant has been reduced to pieces by chewing, the gastric juice then proceeds with it, first by softening its substance; next by destroying its

natural consistency, and, lastly, by dissolving it so completely, as not even to spare the toughest and most stringy parts, such as the nerves of the leaves. So far our accurate and indefatigable Abbé. —Dr. Stevens, of Edinburgh, in 1777, found, by experiments tried with perforated balls, that the gastric juice of the sheep and the ox speedily dissolved vegetables, but made no impression upon beef, mutton, and other animal bodies. Dr. Hunter discovered a property of this fluid, of a most curious kind; viz. that, in the stomachs of animals which feed upon flesh, irresistibly as this fluid acts upon animal substances, it is only upon the dead substance, that it operates at all The


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