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PART III.

THE

NATURE OF HEALTH;

AND
THE LAWS

OF THE

FIBROUS SYSTEM.

An Extract from Dr. LETTSOM's Oration, when presenting the Prize Medal,
Adjudged to Dr. FOTHERGILL of BATH,

FOR HIS
DISSERTATION

ON THE
EFFICACY OF VITAL AIR'

IN THE
RESTORATION OF SUSPENDED ANIMATION.

A long series of years is often required for the admission of NEW TRUTHS. It was thought audacity in M.Faton to defend the Harveian Discovery, near forty years after the first promulgation of it in England. So COLUMBUS, when he first divulged his vast project of doubling the globe, was insulted by INCREDULITY; and, after he had added a new to the old hemisphere, was persecuted by Envy. In like manner, when the northern Luminary, LinNÆUS, created a new System of vegetable nature, he found on every side de. termined assailants ; but, fortified by the energies of his capacious mind, he gave this reply,

POSTERITY WILL DECIDE;" . and, pointing to some academic children at play—“ These," added he, will become our judges.

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Matter preliminary to the Explanation of the First Law

of the Nervous and Fibrous Systems.

Τ Η Ε

PROGRESS OF MEDICINE.

“ If I had foreseen all the weight of opposition that has arisen against me, I

would have left to others the pursuit of an empty shadow--but the reflection of being of service to my fellow creatures affords a return for the inquietudes ever attendant upon literary exertions." Vide Sir ISAAC NewTON's Letter to Dr. Bentley.

As long as PHILOSOPHY was built, not upon the subItantial basis of actual experiment, but imagined properties, which were assumed as data, it was putting on new forms almost every day; for one fanciful opinion had alWays a right to supplant another. Hence the best PHILOSOPHER in those days was him who could reason most ingeniously on occult qualities, either invented by himTelf, or by some favourite writer.

Lord Chancellor Bacon was the first who discovered the fallacy of this fort of philosophy. He rejected all that chimerical nonsense, which had usurped the name

* A

of philosophy, and wisely exclaimed "Non fingendum, “ aut excogitandum, quid Natura feret et faciat, sed in- “ veniendum eft.” That the operations of nature was not be fancied, but diligently scrutinized. Hence, in less than the space of a century, the principle of phi- . losophizing being altered, more light was thrown upon every branch of science, than it liad received for above two thousand years before.

The discovery of the circulation of the blood first immortalized the name of HARVEY. It may appear wonderful, and at the same time not a little mortifying to the vanity of mankind, that a motion in the frame, which constitutes the basis of life, and which chance must have made us sensible of a thousand times, should have escaped the eyes of all who imagined themselves to be observers, and some of whom were actually fuch. When the doctrine of the circulation of the blood could no longer be resisted, various unsuccessful attempts were then made to prove that it was known long before; so was it with COLUMBUS who discovered a new world, which occasioned him to make this simple proposal to his opposers, namely, “ to place an egg upright.. All attempted, but in vain. This illustrious navigator then himself broke the end, and “ the egg food up.- 8

“ The

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