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Basket he dips fo often in the Water, as till the Sand being washed clean away leaves the Cockles behind: And it is worth our observation, That this fort of Cockle is not to be found, as far as I could hear of, at any other of the Leeward Charibee Islands; nay, that they have been carried down to Saint Chriftopher's, but would not propagate there, though the furthest part of that Island is no more than thirty Miles off, and the neareft end within four or five Miles of Nevis. Antigua has an incomparable kind of Sea Fish (whose name I do not remember) that is peculiar to its self; for it is not found at any other of our Islands. We have a good Spring and short Stream in our white Ground at Nevis, which yield us Mud Fishes, that are reckoned the richest Fish we have: But I always thought the Cavally (a Sea Fish) the finest eating of any; it is a deep bodied Fish, weighs four or five pounds, and tastes not unlike an English Maccarel; it is a very firm Fish.
3. Nevis produces a Tree called Dog-wood; and when seven or eight Gentlemen have an inclination to divert themselves with fishing (or more properly speaking with Fish-hunting,) they fend each of them a Negro Slave to the Woods, in order to fetch fome of the Bark which grows upon its Roots: this Bark is next morning poundvery fmall with Stones, put into old Sacks,
carried into the rocky part of the Seas, steeped till thoroughly foaked with the Salt Water, and then well fqueezed by our Negroes to get out the Juice: This Juice immediately colours the Sea, and ftains it with a reddish hue; and being of a poisonous nature, will in an hour's time (that is to say about eleven a clock in the forenoon, ten being the usual time of beginning of this diverfion) make the Fishes such as Groopers, Rock-fifh, Old Wives, Welchmen, &c. fo drunk or intoxicated, as to fwim on the Surface of the Water quite heedlefs of the danger: the Gentlemen then fend in their Negroes who purfue (both fwimming and diving) the poor Fifles, till they catch them with their hands; they themselves ftanding by on high Rocks to fee the Paftime.b
4. The Poison kills millions of the small Fry; and indeed I can affign no`reason why they should not likewise destroy the Shell-fishes who lie at the bottom, and of courfe are lefs qualified to efcape its effects by paffing into the adjacent purer Water; befides, they must naturally die in confiderable numbers every year; fo that in fhort, it is no wonder at all, if in our Hurricane Months, viz. July, August and September, their Shells are caft in confiderable quantities on the rocky Shore..
b Note, That Herman Moll's Brittish Empire in America, defcribes feveral ftrange Fishes peculiar to these Seas, that I never could fee or hear of.
5. That they are fo caft up is certain; but then let me tell you, that their Colours are no ways bright and beautiful, till they have lain upon the Sea-fhore for fome time, to dry and polish by the Sun's hot Rays that will foon fcorch off fuch Mofs or Soil as may stick about them for a while at first, and hinder the eye from perceiving those exquifite (inimitable) strokes of Nature's finest Pencil with which they are all over adorned.
6. The little round Holes that seem as it were artfully drilled thorough many of them, I take to be done by either a particular fort of Fish called by Dr. Woodward Purpura, or else by Seaworms (the Shells of fome of which I fent you,) as foon as the Fishes in them were dead, when the Shells were undoubtedly much softer than they now are, and of course far easier penetrated: The Scarlet Spots that are so lively upon two or three of them, I fuppofe to be a fort of Minium or red glutinous Earth which they contracted in the Sea, and which by length of time hardened into much the fame matter with the Shells: thefe are not the Barnacle fort of Sea-worms.
7. You will find in my Collection at least a dozen Shells that are brown on the outfide and of a palish green on the infide, called Patella: they rife gradually from an oval base in shape of a Pyramid, having generally speaking a little
oblong hole at the top. In the Weft Indies they are ufually named Nipple Shells, on account of their being a fovereign Remedy for the fore Nipple of a lying-in Woman's Breast, being applied thereto. You fay, that they are helpful to the Nipple only by protecting it from external Injury, which its figure is proper for; but I fee no reason why they should not likewise have a healing Vertue, as the good experienced Ladies there affert; for they are full of Salts: No body I believe ever faw a Fish in them, fo that, Quare, How they are formed. Now whether this healing vertue or quality yet remains in them, I vastly question; because of the alteration of Climate and length of time fince they were gathered from off the Sea-fhore, Nevis lying in the fixteenth degree of Northern Latitude, and the Shells being gathered in the year of our Lord 1720. This I know from my own observation, that the Cortex Peruv, never fails of curing any Intermitting Fever (or even a Remitting one, as the Doctors term the lowest abatement of that Distemper) at Nevis, which is fituate in a hot Climate; whereas it frequently miffes of that happy effect in plain Intermiflions of an Ague here in England, a very cold Climate: From whence I would conclude its Vertue to be strongest, in Countries of much the fame Latitude with Peru; or at least, that Human Bodies there are more easily worked
upon by reason of the great Heat which opens the Pores, &c. And indeed were I a Physician, I might perhaps insist on the self same Qualities in regard to all other kinds of Medicines, with reafon enough on my side.
8. You have there also five or fix Shells that are round and milk white as well as of a brittle substance, in Shape and Size not unlike a Nonpareil Apple, or rather refembling a large Mushroom before it is fully opened at the bottom; and it is all over fet out to the best advantage, with little round Rifings that seem (if I may be allowed the expreffion) formed by Nature in the most exact and artful symmetry, and distance, from each other; being in fuch due proportions and numbers, as to make them rise gradually from bottom to top, I mean allowing for their decreasing both in number and bulk as they come towards the centre in the top. When this Shell is firft taken out of the water, each one of thefe little round Rifings is armed with just fuch a fharp pointed Dart as we fee iffuing out of our common Hedge-hogs, both as to colour and length. At Nevis we call them Sea Eggs; but very improperly I think, for they are cer tainly alive, and do nimbly move those sharppointed Darts, in order to prick the Feet of fuch Negroes as dive to take them up. When they die in the Sea either naturally or elfe by Poifon