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Title: The Anatomist Dissected: or the man-midwife finely brought to bed.

Author: Lemuel Gulliver

Release date: December 29, 2019 [eBook #61044]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Richard Tonsing and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
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Transcriber’s Note:

The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.

The Anatomist Dissected:
Man-Midwife finely brought to Bed.
Mr. St. ANDRE.
Touching the late pretended Rabbit-bearer; as it appears from his own Narrative.

Surgeon and Anatomist to the Kings of Lilliput and Blefuscu, and Fellow of the Academy of Sciences in Balnibarbi.
The Third Edition.
Asses and Owls, unseen, themselves betray,
When these attempt to hoot, or those to bray.

Printed by and for A. Campbell, and sold by the Booksellers of London and Westminster. 1727. (Price 6 d.)


The Anatomist Dissected:
Man-Midwife finely brought to Bed.
Mr. St. ANDRE, &c.

After that long and particular Detail of my self, and of my various Adventures in so many different and remote parts of the Globe, as I have lately entertain’d 2the Public with, I little thought any private Occurrence, in so small a Spot as the Island of Great Britain, could have rous’d my Attention, and broke in upon that Repose, in which I hop’d to have spent the Remains of a declining Life. But small and inconsiderable as it is, I consider it is my own Country; the Thought of which, together with that inextinguishable Thirst after Truth and Knowledge, in regard to my self, and an ardent Inclination of communicating it to others, have prevail’d upon me once more to be expos’d in Print, in order to express my Abhorrence of a late diabolical Imposture: propagated, not so much by the Knavery of some, as by the Ignorance and Stupidity of others. I need not say I mean the Rabbit Affair; 3with which, for some Weeks past, the Minds of the People of this Island have been so seriously and so surprizingly employ’d; so as scarce to leave them any Leisure for Things of a more sublime Nature, and of vastly greater Consequence and Importance.

And tho’ I verily believe this to be the real and only Cause, why the Perusal of my Travels has been so neglected of late, which, by the Decay of the Sale, has sensibly affected a worthy and honest Bookseller; yet I declare to the World, that my Motives for entering the Lists against Mr. St. André (a Person to me wholly unknown, and unheard of till I saw his Name in the News-Papers, upon that unfortunate Accident, 4which befel him, when he fancied he was poyson’d) are, that little Skill which, by my Education and Experience, I have attain’d in Surgery and Anatomy, and that great Ignorance in both, which he has betray’d upon this Occasion.

For tho’ that Gentleman’s Candor is very great in shewing such a remarkable Alertness, at confessing that he has been impos’d upon in this Paltry Business; and tho’ perhaps, by that he may flatter himself, that he shall escape all further Censure, yet I shall be at the Pains of Convincing the World that he is mistaken, even in this also; and that, had he not been most profoundly deficient in that discerning Penetration, with which all true Surgeons 5make Enquiries of this sort, he might have discover’d this Imposture at the very first Sight, and not have drawn in so many Persons of distinguish’d Sense and Figure, to be gull’d and deluded by so coarse and palpable a Fraud.

For, to begin with his Narrative; a true Surgeon, one, I mean, orderly and properly educated in that worthy Profession, would never have suffer’d his Curiosity to be at all alarm’d by seeing a Letter from Guildford, which mention’d a Woman’s being deliver’d of five Rabbits: Suppose one were to see a Letter from Battersea, importing that a Woman there had been deliver’d of five Cucumbers, or indeed a hundred Letters, would that lead a Man of Sense to believe 6any Thing, but, either that the People who wrote those Letters had been grossly impos’d upon themselves, or intended to impose upon him. Either of these two Things may, and do happen every Day; but it was never known, that ever any Creature brought forth any one Creature of a Species in all Respects different from it self, much less five or seventeen such Creatures; for which therefore, a Man of common Sense, much more a penetrating and quicksighted Anatomist, should look upon all such Letters with the utmost Contempt.

Yet it was the Sight of two or three such Letters (and those flagrant with most conspicuous Tokens of Imposture) which induc’d 7Mr. St. André, at this time of the Year, to take two Journeys to Guildford, in order to enquire into the Truth of what, in Nature, it was impossible should be true. However, to Guildford he came for the first time; where I shall attend him a while, and watch his Motions, perhaps to a better Purpose than he did those of the Rabbit-bearing Woman: For tho’, with all his Skill he was not able to detect her Fraud, I hope with very little of mine to display his Ignorance.

In the first Place, how stupid must he have been, not to suspect a Trick, when Howard, upon being sent for, came and acquainted him, that the Woman was actually in Labour of the fifteenth Rabbit. This 8puts me in Mind of what, above six and Forty Years ago, I learn’d at School; where the Sagacity of old Simo in the Andria of the Terence appears, to the utter Shame of our modearn St. Andrians: The old Gentleman had Reason to suspect Fraud from the known Character of a crafty Knave he had to deal with; and whose Business it was to make him believe, that a certain Lady was just then in Labour: Accordingly, as they approach her House, she contrives to be in one of her Labour Pains, and cries out so loud that the old Man must needs hear it: upon which, I remember, he says, with much Humour and Judgment, Hui, tam cito? ridiculum. Postquam ante ostium me audivit stare, approperat. Non sat commode divisa sunt temporibus 9tibi, Dave, hæc. For thus, had he been credulous enough to go to Guildford to inquire into this Cheat, he would have said, in plain English, upon the like Occasion, What a pox, is she so quick? this is the damn’dest Joke that ever was: the Moment she hears I am arrived, she falls into one of her Labour Pains: ah, Howard! this was not well tim’d of you by any means.

But, to return from this Digression, if the Woman was actually in Labour of the fifteenth Rabbit, why should Mr. Howard leave her, and stay with Mr. St. André till they call’d him again, when she was said to be in one of her Labour Pains? Here a wise Man would have smelt a Rat instead of a Rabbit: 10And much more, when this Woman in Labour Pains, and who had been in Labour some time then, nay fourteen times before, was found dress’d in her Stays, and sitting on the Bed-side; and that not for want of Help to put her to Bed; for there were several Women near her. A Man must have a spritely Genius for swallowing Imposture that was not stagger’d at such an Appearance. This sure it was that prompted Mr. St. André to wave all such Reflections, and proceed immediately to examine her; when, tho’ by his own Confession, he did not find the Parts prepar’d for her Labour, (which was another plain Indication of the Roguery) yet he was weak enough to wait for the coming on of fresh Pains, and, in three or four Minutes after, to 11think he deliver’d her of the intire Trunk, strip’d of its Skin, of a Rabbit about four Months Growth (he meant to have said, of an Animal of the Size and Figure of a Rabbit of four Months Growth) in which the Heart and Lungs were contain’d, with the Diaphragm intire. Well, what does my Gentleman then? He instantly cut of a piece of them, and tried them in Water; in which they swam, and when they were press’d to the Bottom, rose again. Now, it being notoriously the Property of the Lungs of a Fœtus to sink, and of a Creature which has been some time brought forth alive to swim, in Water; what but an absolute Prepossession in favour of this filthy Miracle, or a consummate Ignorance in these Matters could have hinder’d any sober 12Inquirer from being determin’d in relation to this Cheat, by the foregoing Trial? Yet Mr. St. André never boggles at this, nor at the Impossibility of the Trunk of such a Creature’s (suppos’d but just before to be alive) being stript of its Skin, by the contractive Faculty of the Womb; nor at the Woman’s being chearful and easy, and walking by her self from the Bed-side to the Fire the Moment she was deliver’d: But goes on conjecturing in a yet more absurd manner, that these Creatures, (as big as Rabbits of four Months Growth, which must be within a Trifle as big as full grown ones,) were bred in the Fallopian Tubes; and came into the Uterus one after another, where they lay and kick’d, till they were press’d to Death, and 13flead, and all their Bones broken, in such a manner, that they were sensibly heard to snap, by the violent convulsive Motions of it.

I take the Liberty to inform my Readers, upon this Occasion, that the Fallopian Tubes are a Passage of Communication, of scarce three Inches long, between the Ovaria and Uterus; thro’ which the Embryo, after Conception, is convey’d from the one to the other. And tho’ at that End next the Uterus they open, somewhat like the Mouth of a Trumpet, yet, when stretch’d to the utmost, the general Canal of them scarce exceeds the Thickness of ones Finger: And therefore the Impossibility of any one such Creature being contain’d there, much 14less of eighteen, as this Gentleman suppos’d, must appear to every one of a common Understanding. He tells us, no Blood nor Water issued from the Vagina after this Delivery, and that her Pulse was regular. Monstrous! that none of these Indications should open Mr. St. André’s Eyes. If he thought at all, what could he be thinking of? It is notorious, that in Births of dead Children, Women suffer much more Pain than in those of Living ones; so as to be, during the Operation, in high Fevers, with irregular Pulses, and left in great Weakness afterwards. Yet this Woman is deliver’d of fifteen dead Rabbits, such as of four Months Growth, without any Alteration in her Pulse, without the least Inflammation or Laceration in 15her Vagina, walking from the Bed-side, sitting down in a Chair by the Fire, as well as if nothing had happen’d; and skilful Mr. St. André swallowing this foul Imposture, without the least Squeamishness or Reluctance.

In the Rectum of this Animal, which remain’d affix’d to the Body, Mr. St. André finds five or six Pellets, much of the same Colour and Consistence of the common Dung of a Rabbit. Strange! that this should not alarm him! (it being notorious that the Excrement of a Fœtus is always liquid) but this he swallows likewise; as he does the Skin roll’d and squeez’d up like a Ball, which he delivers her of some time after: And not long after that, of the Head, with the Fur on, Part of 16one of the Ears being torn off. Upon all which Occasions, I mean those of the Womb’s having the Faculty of skinning a Rabbit all but the Head, of rolling this Skin up like a Ball, and tearing off a Piece of an Ear; this Gentleman speaks as familiarly as if they were common Cases, which wanted not in the least to be accounted for, or wonder’d at.

In the Intervals between these notable Deliveries, Mr. St. André diverted himself and his Company, by examining the several Rabbits, which were kept separate, in distinct Pots, with Spirits of Wine, in the Order that they were brought away. Here likewise, I will do my self the Honour to attend him. And now, methinks, I see him expatiating, in a very genteel adroit manner, upon 17the general Resemblance, but particular and significant Difference between them and natural Rabbits.

The first,” says he, “does not appear to be a perfect Rabbit, in all its Parts.” (Here one would suppose, the Difference lay in some one or two, at most, minute, not easily observable, Circumstances, in which this Creature varied from a Rabbit: But, on the contrary, it seems ’twas a perfect Cat in all its Parts, one or two only excepted.) “Three of the Feet being like the Paws of a Cat; the Stomach and Intestines like those in the same Animal; as also the Shape and Figure of the Thorax. Observe, the Lungs and Heart, how entirely they are out of their natural Situation; and squeez’d out between the upper Ribs, and Vertebræ 18of the Neck (doubtless by the convulsive Motion of the Uterus) to which Parts, observe how strongly they grow and adhere. The Lungs of this Creature, had they been plac’d in their natural Cavity, would not have fill’d above a sixth Part of it. The Bones of this Creature are likewise all so different in Substance and Structure from those of common Rabbits, that o’ my Conscience, the Head and one Paw only excepted, I think it has not the least Resemblance of them. All the other thirteen Animals I pronounce to be in every particular, like well-form’d, common, natural Rabbits, from the size of two Months Growth to four. These have been all broken to pieces much in the same manner; but when these several 19parts are put together in their proper order, they manifestly make up and appear to belong to the abovemention’d Animals. I confess the Viscera are wanting in four or five of them; but that is not very material; that Defect is amply supply’d by this one remarkable Circumstance, which is, that most of these Animals (for Rabbits I will not call them) as far as I can judge, are Females. The Flesh of these Creatures, particularly of that which I extracted, has the Smell of Rabbits just kill’d; and the Substance of their Bones are, in all respects, like the Bones of Fœtus Rabbits. (How particular, how dilucid, and exact is this part of his Lecture!) From all these Considerations (and many more too tedious and impertinent to be recited) 20with greater Assurance than Knowledge, I am fully convinc’d, that, at the same time that the external Appearance of these Animals is exactly like such Creatures as must inevitably undergo the Changes that happen to adult Animals, by Food and Air, they carry within them the strongest Marks of Fœtus’s, even in such Parts as cannot exist in an Adult, and without which a Fœtus cannot possibly be suppos’d to live. This, I think, proves in the strongest Terms possible, that these Animals are of a particular kind, and not bred in a natural way; nor will there be any Doubt remaining (even with the least knowing in these Matters) when these things come to be clear’d up by the Anatomy of these præternatural Rabbits (a præternatural 21Anatomist Thou art without Dispute) which I shall publish with all convenient Speed, with their Figures taken from the Life, and compar’d with the Parts of Rabbits of the same Growth (he would have said the same size) that the Differences before-mention’d may be fully understood.”

This therefore the publick has still just Reason to insist upon from Mr. St. André; for, however he may pretend to be impos’d upon by others in the Delivery of these Supposititious Rabbits, the learned anatomical Observations, recited above, are purely the Result of his own Skill and Judgment; and cannot with any Colour of Reason, be plac’d to the Account of Fraud and 22Imposture in others. Especially those Facts which he has the Assurance to say were verified, before his Majesty on Saturday, Nov. the 26th, by the anatomical Demonstration of the first, the third, fifth and ninth of these Animals.

However, not content with having sufficiently plac’d his Reputation at stake in this audacious manner (for such I must call it) on the wretched Observations abovemention’d, out he sets for Guildford again, being resolv’d to bring the Woman to Town if there was any Prospect of more Rabbits. What could this Creature, this Animal have in his Head to hinder him from concluding that a Woman in such a Condition (were it possible any Woman could be in such a Condition) 23should not be mov’d out of her Bed; much less out of her House, and much less from Guildford to London. Yet since he is resolv’d upon another Expedition, I am resolv’d once more to attend him thither, and observe his Motions.

And here he is again so keen upon this vile false Scent, that tho’ he finds Mr. Howard standing at his Door, who tells him that he hop’d all was over, because that he did not perceive in the Uterus any Motion as usual, yet he visited her several Times that Day, proceeded in every Respect, with the same Sagacity as before; and towards eight a Clock that Evening, deliver’d her of a Piece of one of the Membranes of a Placenta (admirable!) roll’d 24up like Parchment. This shews how well he is acquainted with the Texture of those Membranes. And his Deficiency in that Point was further confirm’d by a second Delivery of (what he took to be) another Piece of Membrane, in Structure, Shape and Size, exactly like the former.

Thus I have touch’d upon, and I hope abundantly expos’d the profound Observations contain’d in Mr. St. André’s short Narrative. Whenever he appears in Print again, upon this Occasion, as I find he threatens to do, I shall again be ready to guard the Public against being deluded by his pretended Discoveries. And, tho’ it is not my Nature to insult any Man upon Account of his Misfortunes, whether brought upon 25him by his own Folly, or the Malice of others; yet give me Leave to say, it is, of the two, a much more eligible Evil, that the Presumption of one ignorant Empiric, should undergo a public Chastisement, than the Understandings, of so many of his Majesty’s Loyal Subjects, be corrupted by such sham Demonstrations.

But, after all, as I am a no less strict Lover of Justice, than an indefatigable Searcher after Truth; now my Resentment of Mr. St. André’s ill Conduct in this Affair, is somewhat cool’d by the Liberty I have taken in censuring and exposing it, I shall offer something, by Way of Abatement of that severe Construction, the World will be apt 26to pass upon his Judgment in this Affair.

In the first Place, I have the Charity to believe he has been egregiously impos’d upon, in Relation to the Character he has publish’d of Mr. Howard, whom he stiles, a Man of known Probity; whereas that Name is as notorious at Guildford, and the Parts adjacent, for denoting a Whisker, as ever mine was at Redriff, for establishing a Truth. Secondly, it must be consider’d that the Pleasure of being talk’d of, and heard to talk, in all Companies public and private, as the very second Discoverer (Mr. Howard being indisputably the first) of this extraordinary and præternatural Production, must needs swell the Mind of 27a raw Practitioner with Vanity, and make him run blindfold into a Series of Absurdities; no one of which, at another Time, would have found any Admittance within the Bar of his Judgment. And Thirdly, The Nature of Climates, together with the several Makes, Capacities and Tempers of the Inhabitants of different Countries, are the Reason why Things may appear puzzling and perplexing in one Place, which in another would be accounted for, with the greatest Ease and Certainty imaginable; and why that, which is here a Cause of the highest Ridicule, in a contrary Part of the Globe, would be the Occasion of raising a Man’s Character to the most exalted Pitch of Dignity and Reputation.

28For Example, had a Native of the Kingdom of Lilliput, happen’d to be in this our Island, when the Story of the Rabbits was first vented at Court; and had such a one been dispatch’d to Guildford, in Order to enquire into the Truth of that Matter; upon the first View of those Pellets, against which Mr. St. André had no Objection, he, with his fine Microscopic Eyes, would have instantly discover’d every particular Herb the Creature had fed on that Meal. And what Mr. St. André calls a dirty-colour’d Mucus, such as is constantly found in the Bowels of all Fœtus Animals, and such as in those that void their Excrements in Pellets, is commonly hard and dry, our Lilliputian 29would have distinguish’d to have been nothing but a Parcel of mere Rabbit’s Dung, which to him would have appear’d as coarse and large as a Scavenger’s Load, fresh taken from a Butcher’s Lay-stall would do to us. And that which, in the middle of the Gut Ilium of the Cat, Mr. St. André thought was like a very small Fish Bones, the more quicksighted little Man would have demonstrated to have been nothing more than the Bones of a Herring, which that Creature had devoured a few Hours before it was thrust into the Vagina of Mary Toft’s Uterus. Tho’, as Arts are very much improv’d with us, I question whether a very ordinary magnifying Glass, such as Children use to divert themselves 30with, might not have made the Discovery as well.

But, if I am rightly inform’d, as to the Nature of Mr. St. André’s Education, I am strangely surpriz’d that He, of all People, should appear so unacquainted with the Materials of which the Strings of a Fiddle are compos’d.

Again, tho’, in any of the European Nations, those that pretend to any Skill in Anatomy or Midwifery would be scouted to Eternity for only questioning, or going to make Inquiry, whether it was possible for a Woman to be delivered of eighteen Rabbits, from two to four Months Growth; or a Fœtus of that Size, but just dead, and whose Flesh smelt 31like that of a Rabbit newly kill’d, should be voided in Fragments and Bits; or that the same Woman, notwithstanding all these Deliveries, should be, during the whole time, perfectly healthy and well, feeding on nothing but Beef, Red-herring, &c. or that a Piece of Hog’s Bladder could be part of the Chorion, or Membrane of the Placenta; yet give me leave to say, that in the Kingdom of Balnibarbi, these things would appear in quite another Light. There, tho’ a Virtuoso should only endeavour at a Demonstration of this kind, spend many Years in the Attempt, and all his Labours prove abortive at last, yet would his Suppositions be sure to meet with so kind a Reception from the publick, as to procure, at least, his being adopted, 32nemine contradicente, into the Academy of Sciences there; (of which I profess my self an unworthy Member.) Nay, it is ten to one but he would be taken up into the floating Island, and appointed Anatomist extraordinary to the Court of Laputa.

Such is the Use I am always determin’d to make of this my Knowledge of the World and Mankind. As I will not suffer any upstart Pretender, of what Profession soever, to monopolize and vend his Absurdities within this my native Country, without such Animadversions as may serve to warn the publick against him: So, on the other side, if he happens to have any Merit which would shine and be distinguish’d in other Regions of the Earth, I 33shall be ready to do Justice in that Point also, by letting him know in what part of the World he may be sure to find a proper Reward.

But I can’t conclude, without seriously lamenting the great Detriment like to accrue to our Nation by the Stir which has been made about this foul Imposture, both by the Actors and Examiners of it; and that as well in regard to the Warreners and Poulterers, (who complain that the Consumption of Rabbits, within this Metropolis, is become, by two thirds, less than it was formerly;) as in relation to those obscene and indecent Images, which for more than these nine Days last past, beyond all Example, have fill’d the Minds, and furnish’d out 34the Conversation of People of all Ranks, Ages and Conditions. And whether Ideas of this Nature are fit to be put into the Heads of rude Boys, Boarding-school Girls, and Old Maids, I leave every discreet and prudent Matron to judge.


  1. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
  2. Anachronistic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings retained as printed.