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the treatment of pleurisy :-"You adopt venesection, and endeavour by means of Revulsion to withdraw the blood from the vena azygos, as if it contained the disease."
Again, they call the process derivation-draining off,— when they open a vein, which is supposed to feed or conduct to the affected part. Alas! how fertile are the schools in words and technicalities which, viewed by the light of nature, are simply ridiculous! For, granted that the vein at the elbow should part with every drop of its blood, and the vena azygos be thereby emptied—yet the schools ought to know that there would immediately ensue an equal redistribution of blood throughout the veins; so that, although the vein which was opened were entirely emptied, which is impossible, there straightway would occur an equalization of the blood through the whole web of the veins. Whence it is quite clear that the talk about revulsion and derivation is mere drivel; for even if you concede their assumed effects, all that they really produce will be a trifling delay."
A few lines further on he exclaims :-" Wholly irrational is the technical treatment-the usual routine. No doubt you can lessen, nay, even arrest the flow of a rushing stream in a specific direction, if you make a lateral opening in one of its banks, and thus effect a nearer and steeper descent towards the lower levels. But what earthly good do you gain by getting rid of so many ounces of blood, and at the same time causing a vast loss of vital power? For is it not the fact, that the moment you close the vein which you have opened, the blood will flow again to its appointed place-must flow, so long as the cause of its movement exists? Were it not better to attack the fountain-head, seeing that venesection in pleurisy will not suffer us to cherish any hope, except that which springs from exhausted powers?
"Nature, it is true, missing sadly her wonted strength, and bankrupt in blood, will not manifest the abnormal
ong as her weakness remains; an ke a iscaned of the recent stormy swelling, may begin .. the propriety of concocting pus, as soon as essere, out of extravasated blood. But the desired vas would follow more naturally and more propitiously, vained the blood in which the life-that is, the Yok newer-resides. For Nature, the only healer of emphatically life, and when that goes, the phy
d can only shrug his shoulders."
nee me strong expressions to come from a master in They read like the fierce denunciations of some aw, such as Paracelsus. "With pleasure," says Sprengel, doc she lover of truth hang over the writings of the man we, however much he adhered to the mysticism of his you exposed innumerable theoretical and practical
and expounded principles which later physicians sly regarded as the fruits of after discoveries. de corruptible tribunal of History will the chaplet of be awarded to this forgotten physician of the olden He has had, like other bold innovators, to wait wo hundred years for this justice. By his con, Guy Patin, he was represented as having died ad, from his aversion to blood-letting. Van Para son, however, Francis Mercius, who attended Nahot on his death-bed, says, that this report of his Na vicem to his horror of bloodshed, is entirely false a'ummiou«, *
paved of the dangerous weapons then in use for Kering diawase and human life, Van Helmont had cera naturally to the new medicines, mercury and My, and also used wine and opium largely, with decoed we are not informed; and, indeed, his thera
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 olsor vation and direct experiment. His life presents a givat contrast to that of his contemporary. Van Holmont 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 with out rest," and contributing for ever and for over his proper tones to the everlasting music of the spheres,
1 From a picture by Rennel, in the collection of Dr. Mond.
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.
lished, at the solicitation of his friends, his great work on Generation; 1 and after due honours tendered by the College of Physicians, but gracefully declined by Harvey, who had enriched that body with a handsome gift, he died at the age of seventy-nine years in June, 1657.
The greatness of the work of Harvey does not consist in the discovery of the circulation of the blood. That dis
covery was knocking at the door of the human intelligence, and must very soon have gained admittance, even if Harvey had never been born. The great merit of Harvey lies in the lesson he gave to all future ages, of a noble independence of mind, prepared to follow truth at all hazards, while yet imbued with a profound respect for the authority of his teachers. He was not, like Paracelsus and Van Helmont, a bold reformer, careless of opposing the errors of the great men whose names were pronounced with reverence by his contemporaries, or rejoicing in confronting them ; on the contrary, it is with painful effort that he proceeds to convict the "divine Galen" of inconsequence in his reasoning; while, at the same time, with a noble inconsistency, he quotes his words as of paramount authority. It is difficult for us to realize what it cost Harvey to emancipate himself from the golden fetters of opinions taught and held by men whom he was almost ready to worship. It was years after he had convinced not only himself but many eyewitnesses, by undeniable experiments of the truth of his discovery, that he gave his short treatise to the world. Eight years
1 A part of his labours was lost by the destructiveness of a mob. He says, "Whilst I speak of these things, let gentle minds forgive me if, recalling the irreparable injuries I have suffered, I here give vent to a sigh. This is the cause of my sorrow: whilst in attendance on his majesty the king, during our late troubles and more than civil wars, not only with the permission but by command of
Parliament, certain rapacious hands stripped, not only my house of all its furniture, but what is a subject of far greater regret with me, my enemies abstracted from my museum the fruits of many years of toil. Whence it has come to pass, that many observations, particularly on the generation of insects, have perished, with detriment, I venture to say, to the Republic of Letters."-Op. cit., p. 482.