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

Further, a certain impulse or force, as well as an impeller or forcer, such as the heart, was required to effect this distribution and motion of the blood; both because the blood is disposed from slight causes, such as cold, alarm, horror, and the like, to collect in its source, to concentrate like parts to a whole, or the drops of water spilt upon a table to the mass of liquid; and because it is forced from the capillary veins into the smaller ramifications, and from these into the larger trunks by the motion of the extremities and the compression of the muscles generally.  The blood is thus more disposed to move from the circumference to the centre than in the opposite direction, even were there no valves to oppose its motion; wherefore, that it may leave its source and enter more confined and colder channels, and flow against the direction to which it spontaneously inclines, the blood requires both force and impelling power.  Now such is the heart and the heart alone, and that in the way and manner already explained.

CHAPTER XVI

The circulation of the blood is further proved from certain consequences

There are still certain problems, which, taken as consequences of this truth assumed as proven, are not without their use in exciting belief, as it were, a posteriore; and which, although they may seem to be involved in much doubt and obscurity, nevertheless readily admit of having reasons and causes assigned for them.  Of such a nature are those that present themselves in connexion with contagions, poisoned wounds, the bites of serpents and rabid animals, lues venerea and the like.  We sometimes see the whole system contaminated, though the part first infected remains sound; the lues venerea has occasionally made its attack with pains in the shoulders and head, and other symptoms, the genital organs being all the while unaffected; and then we know that the wound made by a rabid dog having healed, fever and a train of disastrous symptoms may nevertheless supervene.  Whence it appears that the contagion impressed upon or deposited in a particular part, is by-and-by carried by the returning current of blood to the heart, and by that organ is sent to contaminate the whole body.

In tertian fever, the morbific cause seeking the heart in the first instance, and hanging about the heart and lungs, renders the patient short-winded, disposed to sighing, and indisposed to exertion, because the vital principle is oppressed and the blood forced into the lungs and rendered thick.  It does not pass through them, (as I have myself seen in opening the bodies of those who had died in the beginning of the attack,) when the pulse is always frequent, small, and occasionally irregular; but the heat increasing, the matter becoming attenuated, the passages forced, and the transit made, the whole body begins to rise in temperature, and the pulse becomes fuller and stronger.  The febrile paroxysm is fully formed, whilst the preternatural heat kindled in the heart is thence diffused by the arteries through the whole body along with the morbific matter, which is in this way overcome and dissolved by nature.

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