Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/317

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
303
DISCOVERY OF CIRCULATION OF THE BLOOD.

Gamgee, entitled "Harvey and Cæsalpinus: an Historical Fragment," from which I learn that Prof. Ercolani, of Bologna, has brought forward another claim for the great honor of discovering the circulation, and has urged with so much erudition and persistence, on behalf of Carlo Ruini, that, in memoriam a marble tablet adorns one of the halls of that ancient seat of learning. It would appear that Senator Ruini's work, "Anatomia del Cavallo," published at Bologna, in quarto, 1598, and at Venice, in folio, 1599, had but a limited circulation, and remained comparatively unknown. Dr. Gamgee says: "This marvelous passage, so far as I know, never attracted attention until my friend Prof. Ercolani set it forth, with justifiable national pride." I regret that Dr. Gamgee has not copied "this marvelous passage."

I will pass Fra Paolo Sarpi, theologian and anatomist, born at Venice in 1552; and La Vasseur, a disciple of James Sylvius, the very worthy master of Vesalius, and in turn his fiercest adversary—to both of whom has been attributed the honor of having discovered the circulation of the blood. Their claims rest on uncertain data, a critical examination of which would be out of place in an essay of so brief and popular a character as this; hence, having alluded to them, I will proceed to the so-called "immortal Harvey," on whom all English writers bestow the glory of having first discovered the circulation, and first published to the world the demonstrations of the great fact.

William Harvey (1578-1657).—I will be brief in my sketch of the crowning hero of the story of the circulation of the blood. William Harvey was born of a highly-respectable Kentish family, April 1, 1578—wanting one year of three centuries ago. Great men have chiefly come of superior and noble-minded mothers. I cannot pass the quaint and lovely moral portrait inscribed on the monumental tablet, in Folkestone Church, believed to have been written by Dr. Harvey himself:

"A. D. 1605, Nov. 8th, dyed in ye 50th yeere of her age, Joan, wife of Tho. Harvey. Mother of 7 Sones and 2 Daughters.
 

A Godly harmless Woman: A chaste loveing Wife:
A charitable quiet Neighbour: A co'fortable friendly Matron:
A p'ovident diligent Huswyfe: A careful te'der-hearted Mother.
Deere to her Husband: Reverensed of her Children:
Beloved of her Neighbours: Elected of God.
Whose Soule Rest in Heaven: her Body in this Grave:
To Her a Happy Advantage: to Hers an Unhappy Loss."

This man, so noted in physiological science as to be generally spoken of as the immortal or the divine Harvey, occupied in his time many positions of trust and honor. He was physician to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London; Professor of Anatomy to the College of Physicians; one of the physicians of King James I., and subsequently physician in ordinary to "the most illustrious and indomitable Prince