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symptoms so long as her weakness remains; and, like a penitent, ashamed of the recent stormy swelling, may begin to think of the propriety of concocting pus, as soon as possible, out of extravasated blood. But the desired effects would follow more naturally and more propitiously, if you retained the blood in which the life-that is, the vital power-resides. For Nature, the only healer of disease, is emphatically life, and when that goes, the physician can only shrug his shoulders."1

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These are strong expressions to come from a master in Israel. They read like the fierce denunciations of some outlaw, such as Paracelsus. "With pleasure," says Sprengel, "does the lover of truth hang over the writings of the man who, however much he adhered to the mysticism of his age, yet exposed innumerable theoretical and practical errors, and expounded principles which, later physicians ignorantly regarded as the fruits of after discoveries. By the incorruptible tribunal of History will the chaplet of merit be awarded to this forgotten physician of the olden time." 2 He has had, like other bold innovators, to wait about two hundred years for this justice. By his contemporary, Guy Patin, he was represented as having died raving mad, from his aversion to blood-letting. Van Helmont's son, however, Francis Mercius, who attended his father on his death-bed, says, that this report of his being a victim to his horror of bloodshed, is entirely false and calumnious.*

Deprived of the dangerous weapons then in use for combating disease and human life, Van Helmont had recourse naturally to the new medicines, mercury and antimony, and also used wine and opium largely, with what success we are not informed; and, indeed, his thera

1 Opera omnia, p. 387.

2 Sprengel, Vol. IV., p. 316.

3 Lettres de Guy Patin, Vol. I., p. 14. Cologne, 1691.

4 See the Introduction, written by his son, to his "Opera omnia," which he edited.

peutic doctrines are chiefly interesting in their negative relations. In these alone have they survived historically. He died in 1644, in the sixty-seventh year of his age, bequeathing to his son all his writings, none of which were published in his lifetime.

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While Van Helmont was the exponent of the speculation of his age, in the direction both of vitality and chemistry, William Harvey served himself heir to the land of promise pointed out by Lord Bacon, in the kingdom of simple observation and direct experiment. His life presents a great contrast to that of his contemporary. Van Helmont was

a brilliant meteor, a gasiform body shooting across the planet's orbit-dazzling, but soon lost to view; Harvey, a planet moving in steady radiance," without haste and without rest," and contributing for ever and for ever his proper tones to the everlasting music of the spheres.

1 From a picture by Rennel, in the collection of Dr. Mead.

The incidents of his life are of the most common-place. His father, Thomas Harvey, was an opulent yeoman of Kent. His mother was "a godly, harmless woman; a chaste, loving wife; a charitable, quiet neighbour; a comfortable, friendly matron; a provident, diligent housewife; a careful, tenderhearted mother." So runs the epitaph written by her son.' He was born at Folkestone, in the year 1578, one year after Van Helmont, and eighteen years after Lord Bacon. At the age of sixteen, he went to Cambridge; and three years afterwards, took the degree of B.A. He then began his medical studies at the famous University of Padua, under Fabricius of Aquapendente, for whom he entertained the highest respect, and who put him on the sure path of his great discovery. After having spent between three and four years at Padua, he returned to England and took his degree of M.D. at Cambridge. Five years afterwards, he was admitted as a Fellow of the College of Physicians. At the age of thirty-one he was appointed Physician to St. Bartholomew's Hospital; and in the year 1615, when thirty-seven years of age, he began his course of lectures upon the motions of the blood. There is no report of these lectures, but it is believed they contained the substance of what he published thirteen years afterwards, in Latin, of which the English translation is "An Anatomical Disquisition on the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals." This book, which is a milestone on our road, bears date 1628. It is dedicated to King Charles I., who took a deep interest in Harvey's discovery, and five years afterwards appointed him physician to his royal person. This was some recompense for the treatment he received from his colleagues on account of the novelty of his views. "I have heard Harvey say," writes Aubrey, "that after his book on the circulation of the blood came out, he fell

Harvey's Life, p. xviii., Note.

mightily in his practice. It was believed by the vulgar that he was crackbrained, and all the physicians were against him." His sovereign, however, acted very differently, for he not only went over with him the experiments upon the circulation of the blood, but afforded him most important assistance in his investigation into generation, by placing at his disposal all the does which were killed in the royal forest, that he might study their anatomy. This is not the only time that the innovator in medical science has found shelter in a royal palace from the vulgar antagonism of his profession.

In his capacity of physician to the king, Harvey was at Edgehill upon Sunday, the 23rd of October, 1642. Had a man, looking upon the scene that presented itself on the afternoon of that day, been suddenly endowed with a knowledge of the future, what strange reflections he must have made! There was King Charles I., with his handsome, melancholy face, anxiously watching the uncertain battle raging between his position and the small town of Kineton; while beyond lay the vast expanse of woody Warwickshire, richly coloured by the sharp frost which was to chill many a poor wounded man before the sun rose on the following morning. A little aside, "under a hedge," might be seen an elderly man reading a book. This was Harvey; and beside him were two boys, of whom he had charge: the elder was afterwards Charles II., the younger, James II. What a singular group on this battle-field! It was no affectation on the part of the physician, nor any indifference to the fate of his sovereign, that induced Harvey to read his book while the fight, which was to begin the decision of the fate of his royal friend and patron, was going on within his view; it was simply, that at the time he was more interested in the subject of generation than in any political catastrophe whatever. Had he not been so possessed with

1 Aubrey's Lives of Eminent Persons. London, 1813.

love for the subject of his investigation, the great, open secret of the circulation would not have been revealed to him. Truth demands the devotion of a whole life for such a revelation in return. The politician and man of science have nothing in common: to be great in either spheres of action, a man must disown the other. Harvey, and men of his stamp, are not in their nature indifferent to ordinary human affairs; they are simply always pre-occupied; they are so intent on the point towards which they are pressing, as to be unconscious of the scenery. The book Harvey was reading on the battle-field of Edgehill, was very likely his favourite, "Fabricius' Treatise upon Generation." For a few days after the battle, he accompanied the king and army to Oxford, and during his very brief stay there, Aubrey says, "I remember he came several times to our College (Trinity), to George Bathurst, B.D., who had a hen to hatch eggs in his chamber, which they opened daily, to see the progress and way of generation." This, doubtless, was the subject of his study and meditation, when, before his eyes, a king was fighting for his kingdom, and the king's sons were looking on.

Four years afterwards, in 1646, at the ripe age of sixtyeight, he quitted the service of the king-for which, indeed, now that the king could no longer supply him with does out of Windsor Forest, he could have had little taste. He was, doubtless, thankful to have done with a soldier's life, for which he was eminently unfit, both in character and appearance; for he was "of the lowest stature; olivaster complexion; round-faced little eye, round, very black, full of spirit; his hair black as a raven, but quite white twenty years before he died." 2

In the year 1651, when seventy-three years of age, he pub

1 Aubrey. Op. cit.

2 Aubrey. Op. cit. The notice of Harvey by Aubrey is short, and con

tains little matter of interest beyond the few facts which have passed into general biography.

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