Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/704

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and such pages, long ago forgotten, show into what extravagances the fancies of the so-called scientific mind may be betrayed. Reading them, we involuntarily repeat the poet's line:

"The learned fool outfools the fool untrained."

The absurd was carried to its farthest limits in the arguments of a master of arts of the Paris University, named G. Lamy. "Since the blood of a calf," he says, "is made up of many different particles fitted to nourish the different parts of the body, if this blood is thrown into a man's veins, what will become of the particles of blood intended by Nature to produce horns? The case is not like that of a calf's flesh used for food, because those particles that are unfit for man's nourishment are altered in the stomach by coction. In the next place, since the mind and habits usually follow the bodily temperament, there is danger lest the blood of a calf, transfused into a man's veins, may give him also the stupidity and brutal dispositions of that animal."

Lamy finds followers among the opponents of circulation, his argumentative deductions are connected and consequent, but his starting-point is arbitrary and wrong. It is true his adversaries' reasoning is to blame for the same fault, but it will be accepted, if for nothing else, because it is addressed to those innovators who follow Harvey. A fragment of one of Denis's letters, on the question of the transfusion of blood, is worth quoting: "In the practice of this operation we only copy Nature, which, for the support of the embryo, makes a constant transfusion of the mother's blood into the child through the umbilical cord. Applying transfusion is only feeding one's self in a shorter way than usual; that is, it is putting ready-made blood into the veins instead of taking aliment that will turn into blood after several changes. The blood of animals is better for men than men's own blood; the reason is, that men, being agitated by various passions, and irregular in the way of living, must have more impure blood than beasts, which are less subject to such disorders. Corrupted blood is never found in animals' veins, while some corruption is always noticed in men's blood, how healthy soever they may be, and even in that of little children, because, having been fed with their mother's blood and milk, they have sucked in corruption with their nourishment."

All these quotations are curious, though they express mere obsolete ideas, because they show how far from the mark scientific discussions may wander, if they rest only on argument. Once started on that road, transfusion of the blood could run no long career. It yielded in a singular way. An isolated fact was enough to cause its fall. One of Dr. Denis's patients went mad after undergoing the operation of transfusion. His adversaries seized this accident as a weapon, and, Denis not having a diploma from the University of Paris, they procured a condemnation of the new doctrine. Transfusion suffers the same fate as antimony, a century later. On the petition of the Faculty