Less like Bacon’s Essays and more like Wanley’s The Wonders of the Little World, Or Browne’s Pesudodoxia Epidemica.,and of course Joannes Jonstonus’ History of wonderful things.  The Divers Problem  deals with the curious things, ideas, and, common questions . It is a tour de force  of common sense thinking about common situation, with a little (small bit) of knowledge thrown in.

163J. P. Pellisson  [Also attributed to George Pellisson. Cf. BM.]

A miscellany of divers problems. Containing ingenuous solutions of sundry questions, partly moral, partly of other subjects. Translated out of French by Henry Some, M.A. late Fellow of the Kings Colledge in Cambridge.

 

London: printed for Charles Adams, and are to be sold at his shop at the sign of the Talbot, near St. Dunstans Church in Fleet-street 1662          $2500

Duodecimo Leaves A3-5 missigned A2-4; title page is A2. A 0(±A1-A10) a b B-K L8 (complete)  . First Edition Without the initial blank leaf, some inkstains in the extreme upper margins at beginning and end, and a couple of catchwords and signature-marks shaved at foot. bound in Nineteenth-century half calf, spine gilt; quite rubbed but sound. Ownership inscription “Gulielmus Leckey” dated 1723 on verso of title. The dedication says this work is by P. Pellisson, who wrote the history of the French Academy, also translated by Some.. The author said to be either Paul Pellisson-Fontanier, or his elder brother George Pellisson. Henry Some, the translator, died young, and there are three commendatory verses upon him at the beginning of this book.

The fifty-one “divers problems” which are, on the whole, still intriguing, e.g.: after the prefatory material, which ”  To this, Reader, let me tell you, that in some places indeed, the obscurity of my matter hath given me licence to make bold conjectures, and such as seem ed to me more likely to add Beauty than Light to my work: But that these places aie very rare, and that everywhere else I have laboured to give only solid reasons, and have we are apt for this reason to esteem them vain and f rivilous. But, Reader, I am not of this judgement, nay on the contrary

And here are some of my favorite “problems”

Whence comes it that Beasts do know naturally how to swim, and that Man hath need to learn?

What is the reason that the lowest Spirits are commonly most perswarded of the truth of their opinions? What is the reason that Fear makes ones hear [i.e. hair] stand on end? What are the causes of the marvellous things we observe in the Silk-worm?

What is the reason that Praises make a man blush?

Whence proceed the excessive Heats of the moneth of August, and the other effects which are attributed to the Dog-star?

Whence comes the custom of making fire- works And- shooting off Guns , either when a Peace is made  or after a victory, or at the entrance of . Princes ‘into some City, or upon other.

Why do we laugh in seeing a thing very Ul-favoured, since that which de-lights the mind, one would think, ought to have in it some perfection .

As for the ‘answers of these Problems, here is a quite interesting one:

What is the reason that Children in Winter, though their face and hands seem to show that they’ are more afflicted with cold than men grown , yet are not easily perswaded to warm themselves ?  Is it not because to warm themselves they must stand still a good while in the fame place, and that Children love to be constantly in motion, out of a kind of Impatience, which is natural to our spirit at that age? Or else is it, that when they are cold and come nigh to the fire is heat at first instead of comforting,, it doth more afflict them which happens, because it re-inforcech at first the cold of their bodies by Antiperistasis ; and that as they want experience and reason, and follow the first sentiment of nature, they reject this wholsom remedy for want of knowledge to judge , that by and by they shall find comfort by it ? Or else is it, that though their bodies be more easily altered by the cold, then those of full grown men, as it is plain to the eye ; yet this alteration is not so painful and grievous to them ; the reason of it is, because the cold hurts chiefly by too much hardening and making stiff all the parts of our body, and that theirs are so tender and so soft, that by reason thereof, they cannot but very hardly be brought into the contrary extream?

Wing P1108 (; nine locations in ESTC)