There is an experiment on the veins by which any one that chooses may convince 광주오피 himself of this truth: Let the arm be bound with a moderately tight bandage, and then, by opening and shutting the hand, make all the veins to swell as much as possible, and the integuments below the fillet to become red; and now let the arm and hand be plunged into very cold water, or snow, until the blood pent up in the veins shall have become cooled down; then let the fillet be undone suddenly, and you will perceive, by the cold blood returning to the heart, with what celerity the current flows, and what an effect it produces when it has reached the heart; so that you will no longer be surprised that some should faint when the fillet is undone after venesection.[119] This experiment shows that the veins swell below the ligature not with attenuated blood, or with blood raised by spirits or vapours, for the{139} immersion in the cold water would repress their ebullition, but with blood only, and such as could never make its way back into the arteries, either by open-mouthed communications or by devious passages; it shows, moreover, how and in what way those who are travelling over snowy mountains are sometimes stricken suddenly with death, and other things of the same kind.

Lest it should seem difficult for the blood to make its way through the pores of the various structures of the body, I shall add one illustration: The same thing happens in the bodies of those that are hanged or strangled, as in the arm that is bound with a fillet: all the parts beyond the noose,—the face, lips, tongue, eyes, and every part of the head appear gorged with blood, swollen and of a deep red or livid colour; but if the noose be relaxed, in whatever position you have the body, before many hours have passed you will perceive the whole of the blood to have quitted the head and face, and gravitated through the pores of the skin, flesh, and other structures, from the superior parts towards those that are inferior and dependent, until they become tumid and of a dark colour. But if this happens in the dead body, with the blood dead and coagulated, the frame stiffened with the chill of death, the passages all compressed or blocked up, it is easy to perceive how much more apt it will be to occur in the living subject, when the blood is alive and replete with spirits, when the pores are all open, the fluid ready to penetrate, and the passage in every way made easy.

When the ingenious and acute Descartes, (whose honourable mention of my name demands my acknowledgments,) and others, having taken out the heart of a fish, and put it on a plate before them, see it continuing to pulsate (in contracting), and when it raises or erects itself and becomes firm to the touch, they think it enlarges, expands, and that its ventricles thence become more capacious. But, in my opinion, they do not observe correctly; for, at the time the heart gathers itself up, and becomes erect, it is certain that it is rather lessened in every one of its dimensions; that it is in its systole, in short, not in its diastole. Neither, on the contrary, when it collapses and sinks down, is it then properly in its state of diastole and distension, by which the ventricles become more capacious. But as we do not say that the heart is in the state of diastole in the dead body, as having sunk relaxed after the systole, but{140} is then collapsed, and without all motion—in short is in a state of rest, and not distended. It is only truly distended, and in the proper state of diastole, when it is filled by the charge of blood projected into it by the contraction of the auricles; a fact which sufficiently appears in the course of vivisections. Descartes therefore does not perceive how much the relaxation and subsidence of the heart and arteries differ from their distension or diastole; and that the cause of the distension, relaxation, and constriction, is not one and the same; as contrary effects so must they rather acknowledge contrary causes; as different movements they must have different motors; just as all anatomists know that the flexion and extension of an extremity are accomplished by opposite antagonist muscles, and contrary or diverse motions are necessarily performed by contrary and diverse organs instituted by nature for the purpose. Neither do I find the efficient cause of the pulse aptly explained by this philosopher, when with Aristotle he assumes the cause of the systole to be the same as that of the diastole, viz., an effervescence of the blood due to a kind of ebullition. For the pulse is a succession of sudden strokes and quick percussions; but we know of no kind of fermentation or ebullition in which the matter rises and falls in the twinkling of an eye; the heaving is always gradual where the subsidence is notable. Besides, in the body of a living animal laid open, we can with our eyes perceive the ventricles of the heart both charged and distended by the contraction of the auricles, and more or less increased in size according to the charge; and farther, we can see that the distension of the heart is rather a violent motion, the effect of an impulsion, and not performed by any kind of attraction.

Some are of opinion that, as no kind of impulse of the nutritive juices is required in vegetables, but that these are attracted by the parts which require them, and flow in to take the place of what has been lost; so neither is there any necessity for an impulse in animals, the vegetative faculty in both working alike. But there is a difference between plants and animals. In animals, a constant supply of warmth is required to cherish the members, to maintain them in life by the vivifying heat, and to restore parts injured from without. It is not merely nutrition that has to be provided for.{141}

So much for the circulation; any impediment, or perversion, or excessive excitement of which, is followed by a host of dangerous diseases and remarkable symptoms: in connexion with the veins—varices, abscesses, pains, hemorrhoids, hemorrhages; in connexion with the arteries—enlargements, phlegmons, severe and lancinating pains, aneurisms, sarcoses, fluxions, sudden attacks of suffocation, asthmas, stupors, apoplexies, and innumerable other affections. But this is not the place to enter on the consideration of these; neither may I say under what circumstances and how speedily some of these diseases, that are even reputed incurable, are remedied and dispelled, as if by enchantment. I shall have much to put forth in my Medical Observations and Pathology, which, so far as I know, has as yet been observed by no one.

That I may afford you still more ample satisfaction, most learned Riolanus, as you do not think there is a circulation in the vessels of the mesentery, I shall conclude by proposing the following experiment: throw a ligature around the porta close to the liver, in a living animal, which is easily done. You will forthwith perceive the veins below the ligature swelling in the same way as those of the arm when the bleeding fillet is bound above the elbow; a circumstance which will proclaim the course of the blood there. And as you still seem to think that the blood can regurgitate from the veins into the arteries by open anastomoses, let the vena cava be tied in a living animal near the divarication of the crural veins, and immediately afterwards let an artery be opened to give issue to the blood: you will soon observe the whole of the blood discharged from all the veins, that of the ascending cava among the number, with the single exception of the crural veins, which will continue full; and this certainly could not happen were there any retrograde passage for the blood from the veins to the arteries by open anastomoses.