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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 478 pages of information about The Harvard Classics Volume 38.

CHAPTER XIV

CONCLUSION OF THE DEMONSTRATION OF THE CIRCULATION

And now I may be allowed to give in brief my view of the circulation of the blood, and to propose it for general adoption.

Since all things, both argument and ocular demonstration, show that the blood passes through the lungs, and heart by the force of the ventricles, and is sent for distribution to all parts of the body, where it makes its way into the veins and porosities of the flesh, and then flows by the veins from the circumference on every side to the centre, from the lesser to the greater veins, and is by them finally discharged into the vena cava and right auricle of the heart, and this in such a quantity or in such a flux and reflux thither by the arteries, hither by the veins, as cannot possibly be supplied by the ingesta, and is much greater than can be required for mere purposes of nutrition; it is absolutely necessary to conclude that the blood in the animal body is impelled in a circle, and is in a state of ceaseless motion; that this is the act or function which the heart performs by means of its pulse; and that it is the sole and only end of the motion and contraction of the heart.

CHAPTER XV

The circulation of the blood is further confirmed by probable reasons

It will not be foreign to the subject if I here show further, from certain familiar reasonings, that the circulation is matter both of convenience and necessity.  In the first place, since death is a corruption which takes place through deficiency of heat, [Footnote:  Aristoteles De Respirations, lib. ii et iii:  De Part.  Animal. et alibi.] and since all living things are warm, all dying things cold, there must be a particular seat and fountain, a kind of home and hearth, where the cherisher of nature, the original of the native fire, is stored and preserved; from which heat and life are dispensed to all parts as from a fountain head; from which sustenance may be derived; and upon which concoction and nutrition, and all vegetative energy may depend.  Now, that the heart is this place, that the heart is the principle of life, and that all passes in the manner just mentioned, I trust no one will deny.

The blood, therefore, required to have motion, and indeed such a motion that it should return again to the heart; for sent to the external parts of the body far from its fountain, as Aristotle says, and without motion it would become congealed.  For we see motion generating and keeping up heat and spirits under ail circumstances, and rest allowing them to escape and be dissipated.  The blood, therefore, becoming thick or congealed by the cold of the extreme and outward parts, and robbed of its spirits, just as it is in the dead, it was imperative that from its fount and origin, it should again receive heat and spirits, and all else requisite to its preservation—­that, by returning, it should be renovated and restored.

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