Page:The Works of William Harvey (part 1 of 2).djvu/11

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vii
PREFACE.

peared in English before. They will be found both highly interesting and important. To render them was a light and pleasant task.—In a word, the English reader is now presented with an entirely new translation of the writings of William Harvey; everything of our illustrious countryman worthy of publication that has come down to us, being here included.[1]

The reader will perceive that I have abstained from annotation and commentary in the course of my labour. The purpose of the Council of the Sydenham Society, as I understood it, was to give the Works of William Harvey in English now, as he himself gave them in Latin two centuries ago. Entirely approving of this intention, I felt that anything like corrections of statements and opinions, which could so readily have been made under the lights of modern physiology, would have been impertinencies, and I therefore abstained from them. To have carried out and completed the history of Harvey's two grand subjects, would also have been easy; but

  1. A certain MS. of Harvey's, frequently referred to as bearing the date of 1616, and containing the heads of his first course of Lectures at the College of Physicians on the Heart and Blood, is not now in existence, or at all events is not now to be found. At the present time there are only two MSS. at the British Museum which bear Harvey's name. Of these, one contains notes on the Muscles, Vessels, and Nerves, and on the Locomotion of Animals; the other may be characterized as a book of Receipts or Prescriptions, and though partly the work of a contemporary, contains notes of cases that occurred after Harvey's death. The former MS. is as certainly in Harvey's handwriting as the latter is not. In Dr. Lawrence's* time there must have been a third MS. entitled 'De Anatomia Universa,' and it was here, in the index viz. which referred to the principal facts in the anatomy of the heart and of the circulation of the blood, that the dates April 16, 17, 18, an. 1616, were encountered. Mr. Pettigrew (Portrait Gallery, vol. iv, Harvey, p. 8), with the assistance of Sir Fred. Madden, made search for this MS. a few years ago, but failed to meet with it. A renewed search for this important document has been attended with no better success.

    ^* Vide his Life of Harvey, prefixed to the edition by the College of Physicians p. xxxi.