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for I hate to see them foul.


unfolded figure (66? 67?) illustrating Of the Callus of the Hands and Feet, by Mr. Ant. Leeuwenhoek, pages 107-110, Part III. Containing the Anatomical and Medical Papers, in The Philosophical Transactions (From the Year 1720, to the Year 1732) Abridged, and Disposed under General Heads. By Mr. Reid and John Gray. London, 1733

I sent for a master-carpenter, who was likewise a diligent workman, and viewing his hands, in order to pare off some of the brawn thereof, I found them as soft in the palms as if he had never been used to labour; upon which I said to him, you wash your hands very often I believe; to which he replied, ten times a day at least, for I hate to see them foul...
Since these observations concerning the friction or rubbing of my hands, I take more notice thereof when I wash and dry them than formerly; and I stand amazed at the numerous particles that daily separate themselves from my hands and grow on them again; and at the particular provision that is made for producing these particles in the palms of our hands and bottom of our feet, whereas we do not by far meet with such a quantity of particles constantly produced in other parts of our body...

These experimental histories have much more in common with reports of religious experiences than do the practices of twenty-first-century laboratory science.
— Peter Harrison. Experimental Religion and Experimental Science in Early Modern England. Intellectual History Review 21:4 (2011): 413-433 (p426)

20 January 2013
tags: hands; micrography; experimental philosophy; experimental religion; Anton Leeuwenhoek