it out in its details, so that nothing seems to be now wanting to render our knowledge of this part of anatomy as complete as possible.

These two orders of vessels, the lacteals and lymphatics, being similar in their structure, and having a common termination, have been generally described as forming together the absorbent system. The function of the lacteals was always sufficiently obvious; that of the lymphatics was a problem which mere anatomy was unable to solve. Even as late as the early part of the present century it was believed that they were the sole agents in that process of absorption which is going on in every part of the body. The labours of modern physiologists, especially of M. Magendie, have proved this to be a mistake. The fluid contained in the lymphatics has been found to be of the same, or nearly the same quality under all circumstances, and chemical analysis has ascertained that it bears no small resemblance to that in the lacteals. These facts, taken in combination with others which might be mentioned, justify the opinion which is held by the majority of physiologists at the present time, that the lymphatics are, like the lacteals, organs of nutrition: that, while the minute arteries are employed in depositing new materials to supply the waste of the body, the lymphatics are simultaneously taking up that part of the old materials which admits of being again assimilated with the blood, and carrying it back into the circulation.

Having described the origin and progress of the two great anatomical discoveries of the circulation of the blood, and of the lacteal and lymphatic vessels, M. Flourens proceeds to discuss the doctrine of vital and animal spirits as held by Galen and his followers, and to show its relation to the modern theories of the nervous and vital forces. Our space will not allow us to follow him through these last-mentioned inquiries, and we pass on at once to the concluding chapters, in which we find the history of the Medical Faculty of Paris, such as it was in the days of Harvey and Pecquet, derived chiefly from the letters of one of its most influential members, Guy Patin, celebrated not less as the author of the clever and amusing letters in question, than as being the Diafoirus of Molière and the object of Boileau's satire.* The details, of which we shall lay a part before our readers, are chiefly interesting as they afford some curious illustrations of what may be called the transition-state of science, when the spirit of independent research founded on experience and observation, was beginning to supersede a too implicit reliance on the authority of the ancients.

* L'un meurt vide de sang, l'autre plein de séné.—Art Poëtique, Chant iv.

This medical Faculty was a singular institution, and is thus described by our author :—

'It governed itself, it maintained itself, it had made itself. It had for its founders neither the kings of France nor the city of Paris. The Medical School of Paris was founded and maintained at the sole expense of the individual physicians, who themselves contributed what was wanting for its buildings and endowments. . . . It was a real republic, which had for its citizens the Doctors, and the Faculty for its senate, under the direction of a Dean. This officer was elected for two years; and while his reign lasted had complete authority. He is described by Guy-Patin as a Master of the Bachelors; as regulating the discipline of the schools; and as having the charge of the registers, which extended backwards over a period of 500 years. . . . Our little republic had the good and the bad qualities of greater ones. It was zealous for its own glory; but it had also its parties, its divisions, its cabals. Often one party condemned, and, if the occasion offered, expelled the other.

When we thus see the Faculty establish, maintain, and endow itself, owing everything to its own members and nothing to the State, we recognise the origin of that independence of which it was so jealous, and which the State always respected. Our Kings had to treat and negociate with the Faculty. Louis XI. wished to copy a manuscript of Rhasis which was in their possession; but they refused to lend it until he had given security for it. Richelieu wished then to admit as a Doctor the son of a Gazetteer, one Renaudet, for whom the Faculty had an especial hatred. The Faculty refused, and Richelieu gave way. "Individuals," says Guy-Patin, "die, but corporations do not die." Cardinal Richelieu, he adds, was the most powerful man of the age not actually wearing a crown. He caused the world to tremble: he frightened Rome: he shook the King of Spain on his throne: yet he was unable to compel the Faculty to receive into their body the two sons of a Gazetteer who were already licentiates, and who will not for a long time be doctors."

Such a spirit of independence is deserving of our respect; but, unfortunately, whatever it might have been formerly, in the time of Guy-Patin it had little else to recommend it. As a body it was as earnest in its opposition to the innovations of science as in resisting the authority of the minister. So Riolan, one of the Faculty, whom Bartholin compliments as the greatest anatomist of the age, rejects the discovery of the circulation, and also that of the lacteals and lymphatics,

Every one,' he says, ' must now be making discoveries. Pecquet has done worse than this. By his new and unheard-of doctrine (namely, of the lacteals and thoracic duct) he would upset both the ancient and modern system of medicine.'

Guy-Patin, the Dean of the Faculty, follows Riolan in the same strain :-


'If M. Duroyer knew nothing more than how to lie, and the circulation of the blood, his knowledge was limited to two things, of which I hate one and do not care for the other. Let him come to me, and I will teach him a better way to a good practice of medicine than this pretended circulation.'

This good practice of medicine had, at any rate, the advantage of simplicity, being limited to bleeding and the administering of senna. 'Senna performs more miracles than all the drugs of India.' Bleeding was proper at all ages. Guy-Patin bled a patient thirty-two times in one attack of illness. He bled himself seven times for a cold. He bled his mother-in-law, as she was eighty years of age, only four times; and his wife eight times in the arm and then in the foot. Senna was administered on the same scale as blood-letting.-'We save more patients with a good lancet and senna than were ever saved by the Arabian physicians with all their syrups and opiates.' The proposers and employers of new remedies were an abomination. Opium was rejected as a poison; the Peruvian bark because it came from the Jesuits; and as for antimony, it was sufficient to say that it was proscribed by the Faculty. Even tea was held in abhorrence as an impertinent innovation. The greatest offenders, however, for whom there is no forgiveness, were those who prescribed antimony. Those physicians who ventured to think that antimony might be useful were tried and condemned by the Faculty :

'This brought them back to their duty. If they should be again wanting in THEIR duty, we shall not be wanting in OURS; but shall proceed summarily against them, so that they will be for ever expelled from among us.'

This tirade from the pen of Guy-Patin will remind the reader of Le Sage of the conversation which Gil Blas held with Dr. Sangrado, when he visited him after his retirement.


'At last,' says M. Flourens, the Faculty perished, as other corporations and other republics perish, by an exaggeration of its own principle. Its great object had been to restore the Greek and Latin system of medicine. This having been accomplished, it stood still with an obstinacy which was fatal to itself. It ceased to move onwards while all around were making progress. Discoveries were made in chemistry, anatomy, and physiology, but these were all under the ban of the Faculty.'

Happily the great monarch who then governed France, infected as he was with the passion for political aggrandisement, had also the more rare but more honourable ambition of being known to posterity as the promoter and patron of literature and science. The Faculty being intractable, he did not hesitate to employ other means for the attainment of his object :—


"The Royal Garden (Jardin Royal) was erected or restored. The Faculty, as they said, for good and substantial reasons, proscribed chemistry. A professorship of chemistry was established in the Royal Garden. Riolan, the professor of the Faculty, rejected the improvements in anatomy and physiology. Dionis (celebrated alike for his profound knowledge of anatomy and of surgery) lectured on them in the Royal Garden.'

This was the beginning of a new era. The good work begun by Louis XIV. was completed in the reign of his successor. He founded the Royal Academy of Surgery, to whose labours we are indebted for the most valuable collection of memoirs connected with the healing art ever given to the world. The Royal Society of Medicine followed; and thus the Faculty of Medicine came to an end after an existence of eight centuries. It had in former times done good service by getting rid of the farrago of remedies inherited from the Arabian schools, and by liberating the art from the charlatanerie of occult causes and the delusions of astrology; but having done so, by its over-estimation of itself, and its opposition to the advancement of science, it had become ridiculous and worse than useless, and the result was inevitable. In the sketch which we have given of M. Flourens' volume we have necessarily omitted to notice several points which are calculated to interest the general reader as well as the physiologist. The author has shown by his other works that his mind is well adapted for the process of original investigation. In the present instance he pretends to little more than to trace the steps by which two of the most important discoveries in the sciences relating to organic life were gradually accomplished. But this history affords some useful lessons and much matter for reflection, especially as it serves to illustrate the progress of knowledge in other sciences as well as in physiology.

ART. III-Allocuzione della Santità di nostro Signore Pio Papa IX. del 22 Gennaio, 1855; seguita da una Esposizione, corredata di Documenti. (Reprint.) Torino, 1855.

THE relations of England with Italy differ from those of the

other Great Powers of the Mediterranean in this fundamental characteristic, that they are happily disengaged from all questions of selfish or even of separate interest. Hence probably, in great part, the genial, free, and unsuspecting temper of Italians towards Englishmen, in spite of all national reserve, and of that vulgar pride of purse, and religious narrowness, which have not


yet ceased to distinguish a portion at least of our numerous travelling fellow-countrymen.

With Piedmont in particular we have often found ourselves on a footing of great political intimacy; and it would appear that the remembrance of these bygone periods of special relations with England is cherished in the sub-Alpine kingdom, as they have very recently been made the subject of an historical treatise by Count Sclopis, a distinguished and accomplished Piedmontese. Such recollections, we may fairly presume, have served to prepare the ground for the recent treaty between France, England, and Sardinia, and for the military convention between the two latter of these three powers. This convention is of a character somewhat novel in its own class, inasmuch as, under its provisions, England neither gives nor guarantees, but simply lends money to Sardinia which she has herself borrowed. It is charged at the unremunerative rate of 3 per cent., and she receives from the indebted power, together with the interest, a further payment of 1 per cent. per annum, by way of sinking fund. She has also undertaken the conveyance of the Piedmontese contingent to the East, and is in this manner, as well as by the pecuniary bargain, charged with a large share of the cost of the armament. Yet, considering the position of Sardinia in Europe— her own burdens and her unquestioned good faith-the arrangement is one on her part eminently public spirited and liberal.

But it is to other matters, for the moment less stirring, yet of deeper permanent import, that we would now invite attention. The greatest events of history have grown up from minute and obscure beginnings, as Jupiter himself, according to the Greek mythology, once lay an infant in the wilds of Crete; and it is the part of true wisdom to search them out in their inception and before they have by their magnitude forced themselves on the general gaze. In the times when the Wars of the Roses were mowing down the old English aristocracy, and when we vexed France with our ill neighbourhood until she found her Deborah in Joan of Arc, how few dreamed that there were fermenting in the bosom of European society the seeds of the great religious revolution of the sixteenth century, which not only affected the dogina and discipline of the Church, but which even now meets us in politics at every turn, and which for two centuries was more prolific of sheer blows and bloodshed between and within the nations of Christendom, than the lust of personal, dynastic, or national aggrandisement in any of its forms?

In the arena we are about to contemplate, Piedmont and Rome are the two combatants, and each of them holds a position amongst the most singular in the world. Owing her free con


« ElőzőTovább »