Similarly Karl Hoffmann of Wiirzburg wasted his appreciations of the newer schools of developmental biology in fanciful notions of human diseases as reversions to normal stages of lower animals; scrofula being for him a reversion to the insect, rickets to the mollusc, epilepsy to the oscillaria, and so forth.
In 1769, in a letter to Dr Franklin, he wrote some observations on the expectation of lives, the increase of mankind, and the population of London, which were published in the Philosophical Transactions of that year; in May 1770 he communicated to the Royal Society a paper on the proper method of calculating the values of contingent reversions.
Such reversions could be sold, bequeathed, or included in the dowries of married women; the right of trading with China might be part of the endowment of a school; a monastery or a hospital might purchase the command of a fortress.
But nobody was wronged; his creditors were all paid in time, and his hands were at least clean of traffic in reversions, clerkships, tellerships and all the rest of the rich sinecures which it was thought no shame in those days for the aristocracy of the land and the robe to wrangle for, and gorge themselves upon, with the fierce voracity of famishing wolves.
We had not expected to be able to invest heavily in new reversions during this financial year.