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British Science Text Uses "Base-ball" Heuristic Example

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Tags Females

"Emily: In playing at base-ball, I am obliged to use al my strength to give a rapid motion to the ball; and when I have to catch it, I am sure I feel the resistance it makes to being stopped; but if I did not catch it, it would soon stop of itself.

"Mrs B.: Inert matter is as incapable of stopping itself as it is of putting itself in motion. When the ball ceases to more, therefore, it must be stopped by some other cause or power; but as it is one with which your are as yet unacquainted, we cannot at present investigate its powers."

Jane H. Marcet, Conversations on Natural Philosophy [Publisher?, 1819], page? Note: Mendelson, a retired professor at Marquette University, originally located this text, but attributed it to a different book by Mrs. Marcet. David Block found the actual 1819 location. He adds that while it does not precede the Jane Austen use of "base-ball" in Northanger Abbey, "I still consider the quote to be an important indicator that baseball was a popular pastime among English girls during the later 18th and early 19th centuries." David Block posting to 19CBB, 12/12/2006.

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