Discovery is of several, particularly of two kinds: one sensible or 안전놀이터 perceptive; another rational or inductive; the former an act of simple consciousness through an impression made on one or more of the senses; the latter a conclusion come to by the higher powers of the understanding dealing with data previously acquired by the senses and perceptive faculties.—We look through a telescope, for example, and we perceive a star which no one else had seen before; we note the fact, and so become discoverers of a new star. The merit here is not, surely, very great, though the added fact may be highly important. Again, one of the planets is subject to such perturbations in its course that to compose exact tables of its orbit is held impossible. These perturbations are referable to none of the known perturbing causes. A great astronomer suggests the influence of an exterior and unknown planet as their cause. A{lxvii} consummate mathematician and physical astronomer makes trial of this suggestion: he assumes the ascertained perturbations as elements, he combines these under the guidance of knowledge and reason, and at length he says, if the cause suggested be well founded, there or thereabouts must it exist; and lo! on turning the far-seeing tube to the point in space which he had indicated, there in verity gleams a new world, then first seen, though launched by God from Eternity to circle on the verge of our creation; and he who bade us look becomes the discoverer of a new planet. Who will dispute the merit here? Truly, man does show the God within him when he uses his faculties—God-like in themselves—in such God-like fashion. But Harvey’s merit, according to our idea, was of the selfsame description in another sphere. The facts he used were familiarly known, most of them to his predecessors for nearly a century, all of them to his teachers and immediate contemporaries; yet did no one, mastering these facts in their connexion and sequence, rising superior to prejudice, groundless hypothesis, and erroneous reasoning, draw the inference that now meets the world as irresistible, until the combining mind of Harvey gave it shape and utterance. To our apprehension Harvey was as far above his fellows as the eye of poetic intelligence, that exultingly absorbs the beauties of the starry sky and the green earth, is above the mere physical sense that distinguishes light from dark. The late Dr. Barclay, a fervent admirer of Harvey, whose name he never uttered without the epithet immortal, has put the question of Harvey’s merit both happily and eloquently, and it affords us pleasure to quote the passage from the writings of our old and honoured teacher in anatomy. “The late Dr. Hunter,” says Dr. Barclay,[61] “has rather invidiously introduced Harvey along with Copernicus and Columbus, to show that his merit as a discoverer was comparatively low. But what did Copernicus, and what did{lxviii} Columbus? Not in possession of more numerous facts than their contemporaries, but endowed with nobler and more vigorous intellects, the one developed the intricate system of the heavenly bodies and the other discovered an unheard-of continent. Was it not in the same way, by the exertion of superior intellect, that Harvey made his immortal discovery? I know not what has happened in the world unseen; but if I may judge from the records of history and the annals of fame, the spirit of Bacon, the spirits of Columbus, Copernicus and Newton have not been ashamed to welcome and associate with the congenial spirit of Harvey.” To this fine passage there is little to be added: Harvey’s discovery was of the rational and inductive and therefore higher class, according to our estimate; it was made in virtue of the intellectual powers which peculiarly distinguish man, possessed in a state of the highest perfection.
In our account of Harvey’s public career we found him busy with the subject of Generation at Oxford in 1642; but he had certainly turned his attention that way at a much earlier period, for one of the chief causes of his regret, as expressed to Dr. Ent, for the destruction of his papers during the civil war, is the loss of his Observations on the Generation of Insects, which could only have been made and reduced to form many years previously, probably before his engagement to accompany the Duke of Lennox on his travels. And then we see that all his notes on the gestation of the hind or doe were made in the palmy days of the first Charles, before the differences between him and the people of these countries had come to the arbitrement of arms. Harvey probably occupied a good deal of his leisure in arranging and writing the work on Generation, after quitting the service of Charles in 1646; his practice{lxix} at this period was not extensive, and he seems to have passed much of his time in the country. Harvey appears to have been little inclined to the publication of this work, and only to have ventured it out of his hands with reluctance. Without the solicitations of Ent, indeed, it would certainly have been left unpublished during his lifetime. Ent, however, succeeded in carrying off the prize which his illustrious friend had showed him, and lost no time in getting it into types, taking on himself the task of correcting the press, and sending it forth according to his own ideas in fitting form, with a frontispiece, and a highflown dedication to the President and Fellows of the College of Physicians. Ent’s account of his interview with Harvey on the occasion of obtaining his consent to the publication, though highly theatrical, is still extremely interesting. Saluting the great anatomist, and asking if all were well with him, Harvey answers, somewhat impatiently as it seems: “How can it, whilst the Commonwealth is full of distractions, and I myself am still in the open sea? And truly,” he continues, “did I not find solace in my studies, and a balm for my spirit in the memory of my observations of former years, I should feel little desire for longer life.” (p. 145.) Let the reader turn to the page from which the above quotation is taken, and to the one which follows it, for thoughts and views that clearly bespeak the greatness of intellect, the nobleness of sentiment that distinguished William Harvey. When Ent proceeds to say that the learned world, aware of his indefatigable industry, were eagerly looking for other works at his hands, the fervid genius of the poet or discoverer still appears in his reply: “And would you be the man,” said Harvey, smiling, “who should recommend me to quit the peaceful haven, where I now pass my life, and launch again upon the faithless sea? You know full well what a storm my former lucubrations raised. Much better is it oftentimes to grow wise at home and in private, than by pub{lxx}lishing what you have amassed with infinite labour, to stir up tempests that may rob you of peace and quiet for the rest of your days.” (p. 147.) By and by, however, he produces his Exercises on the Generation of Animals, and though he makes many difficulties at first, urging, among other things, that the work must be held incomplete, as containing nothing on the generation of insects, Ent, nevertheless, prevails in the end, and receives the papers with full authority, either speedily to commit them to the press, or to delay their publication to a future time. Ent set about his office of midwife, as he has it, forthwith, and the following year (1651) saw the birth of the work on Generation.