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Title: Science and Medieval Thought - The Harveian Oration Delivered Before the Royal College of Physicians, October 18, 1900
Author: Allbutt, Sir Thomas Clifford
Language: English
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       *       *       *       *       *

London: C. J. CLAY AND SONS,

Leipzig: F. A. BROCKHAUS.

       *       *       *       *       *


The Harveian Oration Delivered Before
the Royal College of Physicians,
October 18, 1900,



Fellow of the College,
Hon. Ll.D. Glasgow, Hon. M.D. Dubl., Hon. D.Sc. Vict.,
Hon. F.R.C.P. Dubl., F.R.S.

Regius Professor of Physic in the University of Cambridge;
Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge;
Consulting Physician to the Leeds General Infirmary;
Physician to the Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge.

C. J. Clay and Sons
Cambridge University Press Warehouse
Ave Maria Lane
[All Rights reserved.]

  “Duo enim sunt modi cognoscendi, scilicet per argumentum et
  experimentum. Argumentum concludit, et facit nos concludere
  quæstionem, sed non certificat, neque removet dubitationem, ut
  quiescat animus in intuitu veritatis, nisi eam inveniat via
  experientiæ.” ROGER BACON, _Op. Majus_, Venet. 1750, p. 336.






p. 78, note 1, l. 19; _for_ “were in orders, for the most part in holy
orders;” _read_ “were generally speaking in holy orders;”


In the Middle Ages the old world had passed, and the vision of a new
world came near to the eager and passionate hearts of many peoples.
Lincoln and Wells, Amiens and Chartres, Florence and Assisi tell us of
the glory of that vision; and bear witness of its flight: for with
Gilbert, Galileo, Harvey and Newton the Middle Ages themselves became a
phantom, and again the spirit of a new world appeared. Thus in the
phases of time the world dies and is born again; fulfilling greater
destinies. But the new are born in the cold bed of the elder worlds, and
the young life is chilled, or a lustier offspring turns unnaturally to
curse the dead; so in their decrepitude lay the Middle Ages upon modern
life; and the Middle Ages were accursed, until certain pious men sought
to reanimate their vestments and their formulas, and to set the hands
back on the dial of the centuries; as manyminded man seeks wistfully to
reanimate the simple wonders and beliefs of his childhood. Their
ministry was no more than pious; the method of modern history wins the
fruits of the past while casting away the shadow of its withered
branches. This comparative method, first applied to the art and romance
of the Middle Ages, so that every dilettante may now discourse to us of
their evolution, has been applied also to the thought of the period; but
its results, laid up in the closets of a few scholars, are as yet
unfamiliar. It may then become one, who in no sense a scholar has
strayed into these secret places, to try to distribute some lessons of
the medieval thought which, to many of us, seems as sere and outworn as
did the relics of Gothic shrines to our great-grandfathers. For, as in
those medieval generations which lay nearest us the furnace had cooled,
impatiently we had thrown metal and dross aside, and let our contempt
for the dryness and pedantry of its latter days prevent our vision of
the earlier time when the passion for knowledge bore up the world, and
sought even to contain it. That dogma is not eternal is manifest to
every wanderer in the streets of Toledo, yet the historian may well
recall us to the study of a time when, by mystical or intellectual
inspirations, men strove eagerly to know the meaning of life, its
origins, and its issues; and may lead us to the discovery of the seeds
and wells of its fertility. The Greeks prophesied that before man can
determine his place and service in this world he must form some theory
of the world as a whole; the ages of faith prophesied that great deeds
must be born of great faith and of great conceptions.

To those who live only in the past, or only in the present, there seems
in the discriminations of the comparative historian to be a certain
cold-bloodedness. Are not the ears of this critic, so aloof from the
murmuring of creed and controversy, are they not deaf to the voices of
the spirit which he would interpret to us? A distinguished bishop who
was among my hearers, with the fervour and gentle humour so well known
in him, rallied me not for celebrating science but for putting religion
to rout. Yet in our own day surely the argument is changed, not in form
only but in very nature; so changed by the conceptions of evolution,
which have entered the mind of churchman and layman alike, that not a
few speculative beliefs are changing sides without the knowledge of the
disputants; and he who thinks himself a defender of the faith may have
joined the revolt. But if we no longer carry the colours of the troops
of the past we shall collect our lessons from its strategies; and for
one of these lessons a prelate of the King will give thanks with me,
that his supremacy has palsied the arm of the inquisitor to strengthen
that of the apostle.

       *       *       *       *       *

An unsystematic reader of a subject finds it out of his power to make
due acknowledgment of the help and advantage derived from expert
authors. Much of the matter had seeded itself insensibly in his brain in
the course of general reading and conversation; much of it again had
been obtained more carefully from sources now forgotten. To the
following authors I know I am profoundly indebted, as I am to many
others to whose names and works I can now give no reference:

  Hauréau, La Philosophie Scolastique, Ed. 1872;

  Jowett, Dialogues of Plato (vol. III. p. 523);

  Jourdain (Amable), Recherches critiques, Paris 1848;

  Jourdain (Charles), Excursions historiques, Paris 1888 (and the
    Philosophie de St Thomas of the same author);

  Ampère, Histoire litt. de la France avant le XIIme siècle;

  Brucker's Historia Critica Philosophiæ (English Ed., 1791);

  Renan, Averroès, Paris 1866; the Philosophie périp. apud Syros;
    and the Peuples Sémitiques dans l'histoire de la civilisation, of
    the same author;

  Roger Bacon, Westminster Review, 1864, two Articles (by Thomas
    Marshall, M.A. Oxon.);

  Schmidt, Essai sur les Mystiques du XIVme siècle;

  Benn, A. W., The Greek Philosophers, London 1882 (and many helpful
    essays in periodical literature);

  Zeller, Die Philosophie der Griechen, 1881;

  Krische, A. B., Theologische Lehre d. Griechischen Denker,
    Göttingen 1840;

  Ueberweg, Grundriss d. Gesch. d. Phil. des Alterthums, Berlin
    1867; Gerlach und Traumüller, Gesch. d. physik.
    Experimentierkunst, Leipzig 1899;

  Rashdall's History of Universities;

  Haeser, Geschichte der Medicin, Jena 1875-82;

  Baas, J. H., Gesch. d. Medicin, Stuttgart 1876;

  _Idem_, Die geschichtliche Entwicklung des ärztlichen Standes,
    Berlin 1896;

  Charles Daremberg (all his works);

  Rousselot, Études sur la philosophie dans le Moyen Age, 1840;

  Pattison, Casaubon, 1875;

  Meunier, Francis, Essai sur la vie et les ouvrages de Nicole
    Oresme, Paris 1857.

  Descartes, Epist. Cartes. 4to. Amst., 1668;

  Plumpius, Fundamenta Med. Fol. Lovan., 1652;

  Sylvii Op. Omn., 1679, p. 875;

  Haller, Elem. Physiol., 1757, I. 3;

  Tiedemann, Physiologie de l'homme, Paris 1831, I. 41;

  Delle Chiaja, Instituzione di Anatom. e Fis. Comp., 1832, I. 13.

  (The six last works are cited as being especially useful, among
  many others, to show the extent to which modern physiology, from
  Harvey onwards, is based upon vivisection; and that it could not
  have arisen or thriven otherwise. It was by the test of many
  vivisections that Plumpius was led to the honourable withdrawal of
  his opposition to Harvey.)


In the many Harveian Orations which have been delivered since the death
of the founder of modern physiology the direct aspects of his honour and
of his work have been exhausted; of late years the orators have
concerned themselves with indirect aspects. Some of my friends have said
to me that they lack a perspective view of Harvey and his work; that
even highly educated men have little sense of his relation to medieval
thought, or of the evolution of medieval into modern thought. Of the
several stars of the constellation—of Copernicus, Gilbert, Galileo,
Harvey—they had some knowledge; but how came Harvey to be at Padua? how
did science spring up in North Italy? did science arise out of the womb
of medicine, or contrariwise? why did natural science not flourish in
the thirteenth century, and was it not a great misfortune for Europe
that it did not then flourish? what were the systems of thought which in
the Middle Ages preceded, encouraged or thwarted the travail of the
human mind, and what of good or ill do we owe to them? These and such
questions it seemed not unfitting that a Harveian Orator of this latter
day should consider. Now on the philosophy of the Middle Ages, and on
its relation to the era of positive science of which Harvey was perhaps
the chief pioneer, there lay in a drawer in my cabinet the confused and
occasional notes of many years. An interest in this thorny subject, sown
in my mind at first by accident, and reawakened by these enquiring
friends, had for me the charms of an old fancy, and I trust some brief
essay thereon may have a temporary service; if, that is, I can touch the
imagination of my hearers, and after some broken fashion bring before
them a vision of the nations swayed hither and thither upon the face of
Europe by a thirst for knowledge of a kind different, both in its
methods and in its aims, from our own.

This oration cannot have the merit of an original study. Had I the
equipment I have not the leisure to carry my investigations to the
sources. Yet I may have attained to some maturity of judgment herein by
long occupation of my mind since, in 1863, my old friend Mr Thomas
Marshall of Leeds, sometime of St John’s College, Oxford, interested me
in the life and work of Roger Bacon, the only eminent forerunner of the
great naturalists of the seventeenth century.

The art of the Middle Ages and the social and political history of the
time have fascinated modern Europe; for medieval thought, though its
phrases survive in their mouths, few persons have shown any care: yet to
these conflicts we owe what we are. No great battles of mankind have
been fought in vain; none of its great captains has deserved oblivion.
Yet we shrug our shoulders at their uncouth or outlandish names; we
assume that from their chairs there issued naught but rhetoric,
casuistries and fallacies, and that their multitudinous disciples were
silly moths.

Each period of human achievement has its phases of spring, culmination,
and decline; and it is in its decline that the leafless tree comes to
judgment. In the unloveliness of decay the Middle Ages are as other ages
have been, as our own will be: but in those ages there was more than one
outburst of life; more than once the enthusiasm of the youth of the West
went out to explore the ways of the realm of ideas; and, if we believe
ourselves at last to have found the only thoroughfare, we owe this
knowledge to those who before us travelled the uncharted seas. If we
have inherited a great commerce and dominion of science it is because
their argosies had been on the ocean, and their camels on the desert.
“Discipulus est prioris posterior dies”; man cannot know all at once;
knowledge must be built up by laborious generations. In all times, as in
our own, the advance of knowledge is very largely by elimination and
negation; we ascertain what is not true, and we weed it out. To perceive
and to respect the limits of the knowable we must have sought to
transgress them. We can build our bridge over the chasm of ignorance
with stored material in which the thirteenth century was poor indeed, we
can fix our bearings where then was no foundation; yet man may be well
engaged when he knows not the ends of his work; and the schoolmen in
digging for treasure cultivated the field of knowledge, even for Galileo
and Harvey, for Newton and Darwin. Their many errors came not of
indolence, for they were passionate; not of hatred of light, for they
were eager for the light; not of fickleness, for they wrought with
unparalleled devotion; nor indeed of ignorance of particular things, for
they knew many things: they erred because they did not know, and they
could not know, the conditions of the problems which, as they emerged
from the cauldron of war and from the wreck of letters and science, they
were nevertheless bound to attack, if civil societies worthy of the name
were to be constructed. How slow in gestation is the mother of truth we
may see by comparing the schoolmen of the second medieval period with
those of the first; in the enlargement of their view, the better
furniture of their minds, and the deeper meaning of their distinctions:
and when we compare with these later schoolmen the naturalists of the
seventeenth century, we find not new acquirements only but also a new
direction of the pursuit of truth.

It seems hardly comprehensible that great and stable societies have been
built up on transcendental schemes of thought, upon conceptions poised
as it were in the air. Without a system of morals no civil society
could exist; yet if mankind must have waited for civil polity until some
such system were built up from below, of scientifically tested
materials, social constructions would have been virtually impossible. In
morals, as in the arts, the art precedes the science; the intuitions of
genius imagine social schemes of provisional validity, and new and lofty
standards of fitness. But a social fabric thus born of a vision can bear
no rough handling; and even the solid builders who would make a more
permanent foundation upon positive conceptions, while seeking more or
less deliberately to underpin the fabric, may, and often do, shake it to

Hence in all guardians of morals the dread of meddling with the reigning
vision of truth; hence its sanctity, that no man shall try the stuff of
which it is made. And the dangers of heresies from within are more
fearful than those of alien attacks; social cohesion, the end of it all,
is thereby more exposed to disintegration. Yet nevertheless, as the
generations of men change, and as knowledge increases, men see from new
points of view; and thus while for some the reigning vision retains its
apparent solidity, for others its rays are broken or dissolved. Even
John Henry Newman was compelled to teach the relativity of truth, and
that a doctrine of development must be accepted. For every provisional
synthesis then the time must come when the apparition of truth can no
longer command united allegiance, and criterions begin to encroach upon
sanctions. Broader and more stable foundations have, it is true, been
rising almost insensibly, yet it may be long ere the superstructure rise
into the heavenly light; in the lower work many will see no beauty and
no hope, others will see safety in its enlargement and solidity. By
these indeed the visions of the imagination are apt to be forgotten, or
in the pressure of intellectual verification even despised; the mean
level of conception may not indeed be lower, it may haply be higher, yet
the highest, wherein truth may be revealed by illumination, is not
divined in its full force, abundance and life. Great seers are wont to
leave to others to find out, or even to care, what bottom they stood
upon; yet only through transitory periods of a humbler duty than theirs
can the bases be laid and enlarged for times of richer fruition. One of
the profoundest of modern sayings was that of Freeman—that the end of
modern material progress is to bring large societies up to the level of
small ones.

       *       *       *       *       *

This is the day of a great celebration; that on this anniversary I am
worthy to take a place in the succession of your Orators is more than I
dare to believe, that you have deemed me worthy is my encouragement. In
private duty also I am bound to honour one of the greatest of the sons
of the University of Cambridge, and the greatest member of the ancient
and honourable house of Gonville and Caius College.

In some respects I am ill equipped for my office; of the history of the
practice of Medicine from the time of Galen to the time of Harvey I am
almost ignorant, I fear wilfully ignorant. Well indeed may we turn our
eyes away from those centuries wherein one of the chief callings of man
fell into unexampled and even odious degradation; yet I trust that in me
this ignorance and this aversion may be compensated by some familiarity
with the history of thought in the Middle Ages, a familiarity acquired
during thirty-six years of abiding interest, and occasional study.

The discovery of the circulation of the blood by William Harvey is
commonly regarded among scientific discoveries as pre-eminent if not
unique. I can quote but two opinions on this matter, both taken beyond
our own land. In France, Dr Daremberg exclaims “Voici Harvey! Comme au
jour de la création le chaos se débrouille, la lumière se sépare des
ténèbres!” In Germany, Dr Baas says that Harvey stands alone in respect
of the world of life; that his discovery of the inner working of the
microcosm takes a place equal to, if not indeed higher than, those of
Copernicus, Kepler and Newton in respect of the macrocosm. It will be
my endeavour to show that these judgments are historically justifiable.

To put the discovery of the systemic circulation of the blood in its
true light, we must have some notion of the history of philosophy,
science and medicine. Medicine, and herein it is in contrast with
Theology and Law, had its sources almost wholly in the Greeks. Not only
in the doctrine of the four elements of Empedocles, a doctrine which has
survived almost to our own day[2], and in the physical theories of
Heraclitus and Leucippus, did medicine, for good or ill, first find a
scheme of thought, but in the schools of Hippocrates and of Alexandria
it was based also, and far more soundly, upon natural history and
anatomy. The noble figure of Galen, the first experimental physiologist
and the last of the great Greek physicians, portrayed for us by Dr Payne
in the Harveian Oration of 1896, stood eminent upon the brow of the
abyss when, as if by some convulsion of nature, medicine was overwhelmed
for fifteen centuries. To the philosophy of medicine, Galen had given
more than enough; to its natural history he had contributed in the
following of Hippocrates; to its discoveries he had given the greatest
of all means of research, individual genius; to its methods he had
given, but in vain, that indispensable method, practised first perhaps
in history by Archimedes and the Alexandrians, of verification by
experiment; a method, after Galen, virtually lost till the time of
Gilbert, of Galileo and of Harvey.

In the growth of human societies small civilisations, however exquisite,
have been sacrificed to the formation of vaster and vaster congregations
of men; thus only, it would seem, is an equilibrium to be reached of
sufficient stability for the highest ends of mankind. Greece, beautiful
as was her bloom, penetrating as was her spirit, perhaps because of her
very freedom of thought, never became a nation; her city states were too
wilful to combine. The Macedonian power broadened the foundation of
polity eastward and westward; and this work was carried as far perhaps
as sword and fasces could carry it by the power of Rome. But even the
Roman peace, bought as it was at the cost of learning and the arts, was
but a mechanical peace; in the wilder, more turbulent and more
heterogeneous peoples of the later Empire the bodies but not the wills
of men were in subjugation. The great system of Roman Law, which Numa,
the Moses of Rome, had invested with supernatural awe, had become but an
external rule; even in Rome herself, poorer in people, poorer in
commerce, poorer than ever in ideas, the sanction of patriotism was
failing, and her citizens were held together for the most part by their
baser and more dangerous passions[3]. For Eastern Europe the University
of Constantinople established a compact and uniform system of thought,
subtle prolix and acquisitive rather than original or profound; but in
the West, under the Frank and later Northern devastations, the very
traditions of learning and obedience were broken up; schools were
closed, and even the art of writing was almost lost. Then it was that
the cohesion and development of Western Europe were saved by a new and
a wonderful thing. From the East, the home of religions, had spread,
like an exhalation, Christianity, that religion which proves by its
survival that it is the fittest sanction for the will of man. This
religion, entering as a new spirit into the ancient fabric of Roman
Empire, was to hold men’s service in heart and soul as well as in body;
yet to this end no mere mystic or personal religion could suffice:
clothing itself with the political and ritual pride and even with the
mythology of the pagan Empire it inspired a new adoration; but it
imposed also upon Europe a catholic and elaborated creed. To preserve
the authority of the common faith not only must every knee be bowed, not
only must every heart be touched, but to build and to repair its fabric
every mind must also bring its service. How the scheme of the Faith was
built up, how oriental ecstasy and hellenistic subtlety, possessing
themselves of the machinery of Roman pomp, were wrought to this end, we
may briefly consider.

As, politically, under Diocletian and Constantine the ancient world gave
place to the new, so in the third century philosophy was born again in
neo-platonism[4], the offspring of the coition of East and West in
Alexandria, where all religions and all philosophies met together. The
world and the flesh were crucified that by the spirit, man might enter
into God[5]. Pure in its ethical mood, neo-platonism, says Harnack, led
surely to intellectual bankruptcy; the irruption of the barbarians was
not altogether the cause of the eclipse of natural knowledge: to
transcendental intuition the wisdom of the world had become foolishness.
Yet even then, as again and again, came the genius of Aristotle to save
the human mind. The death of Hypatia was the death of the School of
Alexandria, but in Athens neo-platonism survived and grew. Proclus,
ascetic as he was, was versed also in Aristotle; and he compelled the
Eastern mysteries into categories: so that on the closure of the School
of Athens by Justinian (A.D. 529) a formal philosophy was bequeathed to
the Faith; the first scholastic period was fashioned, and the objects
and methods of enquiry were determined for thirty generations. From
Aristotle Europe adopted logic first, and then metaphysics, yet both in
method and in purpose Origen and Augustine were platonists; rationalised
dogma lived upon dialectic, and conflicted with mysticism; but logic,
dogma and mysticism alike disdained experience.

Thus, no mere external sanction, stood the Faith; threefold: from the
past it brought its pompous ritual, it appealed by its subtle dogmatic
scheme to the intellects, and by its devotion to the hearts of men.
Through the mirage of it, when its substance had waned, Copernicus,
Galileo, and Harvey had to steer by the compass of the experimental
method. This was their chief adversity, and of other adversities I have
to speak.

The visitor to the Dominican Church of St Catherine at Pisa will see on
its walls St Thomas of Aquino with the Holy Scriptures in his hand;
prostrate beneath him is Averroes with his Great Commentary, but beside
him Plato bearing the Timæus. It was the fortune of the Faith that, of
all the treatises of Plato, the Timæus, the most fantastic and the least
scientific, should have been set apart to instruct the medieval world;
that the cosmical scheme of the Timæus, apparelled in the Latin of
Chalcidius,—for there were then no Greek texts in the libraries of the
West,—should for some 500 years have occupied that theoretical activity
which Aristotle regarded as the highest good of man[6]. Again, those
works of. Aristotle which might have made for natural knowledge fell out
of men’s hands[7], while in them, as Abélard tells us of himself, lay
the Categories, the Interpretation, and the Introduction of Porphyry to
the Categories, all in the Latin of Boetius[8]; treatises which made for
peripatetic nominalism, but whereby men were versed rather in logic and
rhetoric than in natural science. Thus Plato’s chimera of the human
microcosm, a reflection of his theory of the macrocosm, stood beside the
Faith as the second great adversary of physiology.

The influence of authority, by which Europe was to be welded together,
governed all human ideas. As in theology was the authority of the Faith,
so in the science and medicine of the first period of the Middle Ages
was that of the neo-platonic doctrines, and, in the second period, of
the Arabian versions of Galen and of Aristotle; furthermore in this
rigid discipline metallic doctrine almost necessarily overbore life and
freedom. It is not easy for us to realise a time when intellectual
progress—which involves the successive abandonment of provisional
syntheses—was unconceived; when truths were regarded as stationary;
when reasons were not tested but counted and balanced; when even the
later Averroists found final answers either in Aristotle or in Galen[9].
Thus in the irony of things it came to pass that Harvey was withstood by
the dogma of Galen who, in his own day, had passionately appealed from
dogma to nature.

Porphyry of Tyre, who lived in the 3rd century, may be called the
founder of both Arabian and Christian scholastics. He was an
Alexandrian, but of peripatetic rather than platonic opinions. In the
Isagoge, or Introduction to the Categories, already mentioned as
translated by Boetius about 500 A.D., he set forth plainly a problem
which during the Middle Ages rent Western Europe asunder; a problem
which, says John of Salisbury[10], engaged more of the time and
passions of men than for the house of Cæsar to conquer and govern the
world; one indeed which even in our day and country is not wholly

The controversy lay between the Realists[11] and the Nominalists; and
the issues of it, in the eleventh century,—at which time the “Dark
Ages” passed into the earlier of the two periods of the Middle
Ages,—were formulated on the realist side by William of Champeaux,
while the Breton Rousselin, or Roscellinus, had the perilous honour of
defining them on behalf of the nominalists[12]. To see the depth of the
difference we must step back a little, to a time when metaphysics and
psychology were not distinguished from other spheres of science[13], and
all research had for its object the nature of being. Plato himself held
ideas not as mere abstractions but in some degree as creative powers;
and we shall see how potent this function became in the thought of the
Middle Ages when, in the ardour of research into the nature of being,
the modes of individuating principles were distinguished or contrasted
with an ingenuity incomprehensible to Plato or Aristotle, or at any rate
undesired by these greater thinkers. Aristotle avoided the question
whether form or matter individuate; he held that there is no form and no
matter extrinsic to the individual. But by the medieval realist every
particular, every thing, was regarded as after some fashion the product
of universal matter and individual form. Now “form” might be regarded,
and severally was regarded, as a shaping, determinative force or
principle, pattern type or mould, having real existence apart from
stuff, or, on the other hand, as an abstract principle or pattern having
no existence but as a conception of the mind of the observer. The
realists roundly asserted that form is as actual as matter, and that
things arise by their participation—without whiteness no white thing,
without humanity no man; and not individuals only: for the realist,
out-platonising Plato, genera and species also had their forms, either
pre-existent (“universalia ante rem”), or continuously evolved in the
several acts of creation (“universalia in re”). Indeed for the extreme
realist every “predicamental modality” was “aliquid ens separatum”; for
instance, the soul, the active intellect, the passive intellect, and so
on: conversely, by fusing idea with will, for other philosophers realism
would get pushed back into efficient reason or divine will, and almost
vanish[14]. By this latter route the Sorbonne, originally opposed to the
Thomists, became nominalist after all; as did those once pious realists
the Augustinians and Cistercians. Setting aside then the extreme
nominalists, who would have dissolved thought by declaring all creatures
to be so individual as to be incomparable,—“pulverising existence into
detached particulars,” as some one has put it—and that names of kinds
are mere nouns, or indeed mere air (“flatus vocis”), the prevalent
nominalists were content to deny to ideas, forms, principles, or
abstractions any other existence than as functions of the human
mind—as subjective conceptions. For Ockham, says Hauréau, an idea was
but a modality of the thinking subject. Abstractions then for these
thinkers were but mental machinery for analysis of the concrete.
Aristotle was as obscure and inconsistent in his language herein, and
often elsewhere, as he was profound and scrupulous; but when his works
came to be studied as a whole, and in the original tongue, the influence
of his method, rather than the close consistency of his language, told
against realism: virtually he was a conceptualist, and he found reality,
where Plato denied it, in the particular object of sense[15].
Even Francis Bacon, who was deeply indebted to Aristotle, never
extricated himself from the tangle of form, cause and law[16].

Now this was a great argument, no empty dispute; the bones of dead
controversies cumber the ground, but no controversy was empty which
moved profoundly the minds and passions of men: both for ecclesiastical
and secular thought the dispute was grave. While realism was essential
to the Church—for instance, on realist grounds St Anselm defended the
medieval doctrine of the Trinity against Roscellinus; the Church herself
claimed a real existence apart from the wills of successive generations
of individual and variable men; she taught that Man had fallen not only
in many or all individual cases, but as a kind having a real
existence[17], and again that in the Mass there is change of
hypostasis[18]—while then realism was essential to the Faith, yet if
forms pre-exist (“ante rem”) then the acts of God must be
predetermined—“fatis” non “avolsa voluntas”; or if forms are only “in
re” God must be form, living in each and every act and thing, which is
Pantheism (“materia omnium Deus”): an impersonal conception and a
dissolution of dogma which the Church must and did abhor. “Pessimus
error”—there is the abyss, cried Albert, avoiding it by dialectical
juggles. Erigena, the brilliant prophet and protestant[19] of the first
period of the scholastic philosophy, was virtually a pantheist after
the pattern of Parmenides[20]; as Spinoza was the last great realist.
David of Dinan again was such a pantheist, though luckily for him the
Church did not find it out till he was dead; and he was martyred only in
his bones. Indeed the great Robert of Lincoln barely escaped the
accusation of pantheism under the wing of Augustine. The heresies of
David, and of Amaury, caused the reaction of the first years of the 13th
century against Aristotle. Amaury seems indeed to have cleared out
Christian dogma pretty thoroughly, and to have preached the coming of
science as the “third age” of the world. Many of his followers were sent
to the stake; by the Synod of Paris (1209) the works of Aristotle were
proscribed, and many copies of them burned. This proscription was
virtually withdrawn by Gregory the Ninth in 1231; and Hales, Albert and
St Thomas devoted themselves again to the study of Aristotle, and
established his supremacy[21]. Indispensable then as realism was for
the Church, its creed, and its sacraments, yet therein it found itself
in a dilemma between the conceptions of a Creator working under
conditions, and of a spirit immanent in matter; and when theological
philosophy culminated in St Thomas, and was fixed by him as it now rules
in Rome, this difficulty was rather concealed in his system than
resolved[22]. Every scheme of thought must make some declaration on the
nature and place of universals; the problem was no hair splitting[23],
it dealt with the very nature and origin of being; it agitated the minds
of thinking men at a time of the most fervid and widespread enthusiasm
for knowledge which the Western world has ever known,—at a time when
Oxford counted its students by thousands, and when in Paris a throng
athirst for knowledge would stretch from the cloisters of the Mathurins
to the faubourg of St Denis[24]; and, in respect of our theme of this
day, we shall see that even Harvey was embarrassed by certain aspects of

For, to resume, closely allied to the argument concerning universals was
that concerning “form and matter.” Whether the terms used were “form and
matter,” force or energy or “pneuma” and matter, “soul or life” and
“body,” “determinative essence and determinate subsistence,” “male
principle and female element,” “archæus and body,” the potter and the
clay of the potter; or whether again they were “type and individual,”
“cause and effect,” “law and nature,” “becoming and being,” or even the
“thought and extension” of Descartes, the riddle lay in the contrast of
the static and dynamic aspects of things; in the incessant formation of
variable and transitory individuals in the eternal ocean of

  “Spiritus intus alit, totamque infusa per artus
   Mens agitat molem, et magno se corpore miscet.”

For early thinkers, untrained in the methods and unaware of the limits
of thought, even for the great and free thinkers of Greece, a
captivating analogy was irresistible[26]; while inventing schemes of
thought they believed themselves to be describing the processes of
nature. Moreover it has been the temptation of philosophers of all
times, and even of Harvey himself than whom none had put better the
conditions of scientific method, to suppose that by means of abstraction
kinds may be apprehended; that thus they may get nearer to the inmost
core of things; that by purging away the characters of individuals they
may detect the essence and cause of individuation (σπερματικὸς λόγος):
not perceiving indeed that the content of notions is, as Abélard had
pointed out plainly, in inverse proportion to their universality. Like
Sidney’s hooded dove, the blinder they were the higher they strove[27].
For example: from a lump of silver a medal is struck; from many lumps of
silver many medals are struck, each different from the other: let us
eliminate as accidents the notions of silver, of the blow of a hammer,
even of particular features of the devices, and we shall reach the idea
of an agent with a type or seal, or of such an agent with many seals, or
ideas, who may thus individualise indifferent matter; or, to penetrate
deeper into abstraction, who may transfer forms of his own activity to
motionless stuff. It is my part to-day to show that before motionless
stuff—before the problem of the “primum mobile”—even Harvey himself
stood helpless; helpless yet fascinated by the indulgence of invention
when, in the _De motu cordis_, or the _De generatione_, he permitted
himself to carry contemplation beyond the sphere of his admirable
experiments. “Natural, vital and animal spirits” indeed he would have
none of; saying well that he should want as many spirits as functions,
and that to introduce such agents as artificers of tissues is to go
beyond experience: yet in his need of a motor for his machine he was not
able to divest himself of the language nor even of the philosophy of his
day; he referred the cause of the motion of the blood, and therefore of
the heart, to innate heat[28]. In his day he could not but regard rest
and motion as different things; and motion as a super-added quality. In
denying the older opinion[29] that the heart is the source of motion, of
perfection[30] and of heat, he put the difficulty but one stage back;
and, when in the treatise on Generation he propounded his transcendental
notion of the impregnation of the female by the conception of a
“general immaterial idea,” we find in him realism still very much alive
indeed. Had Harvey been content with innate heat he would have done well
enough; but the innate heat of the blood, as he explains it, is not fire
nor derived from fire; nor is the blood occupied by a spirit, but is a
spirit: it is also “celestial in nature, the soul, that which answers to
the essence of the stars ... is something analogous to heaven, the
instrument of heaven.”

In denying that a spirit descends and stows itself in the body, as “an
extraneous inmate,” Harvey advances beyond Cremoninus, who then taught
in the chair of Averroistic philosophy in Padua; for, says Harvey, I
cannot discover this spirit with my senses, nor any seat of it. In
another passage indeed Harvey warns us “not to derive from the stars
what is in truth produced at home”; in yet another he tells us that
philosophers produce principles as indifferent poets thrust gods upon
the stage, to unravel plots and to bring about catastrophes: yet he
concludes that “the spirit in the blood acting superiorly to the powers
of the elements, ... the soul in this spirit and blood, is identical
with the essence of the stars.”

Thus the riddle which oppressed these great thinkers, from the Ionians
to Lavoisier, was in part the nature of the “impetum faciens[31]”—of
the Bildungstrieb. What makes the ball to roll? Does heart move blood or
blood move heart; and in either case what builds the organ and what
bestows and perpetuates the motion? Albert of Cologne, and at times even
Aristotle, as we have seen, were apt to leave moving things for abstract
motion, and to regard formulas as agents. Telesius again, the first of
the brilliant band of natural philosophers in Italy of the XVIth and
XVIIth centuries, was still seeking this principle of nature in the
“form” of the peripatetics. Gilbert regarded his magnetic force as “of
the nature of soul, surpassing the soul of man.” Galileo, although
willing to conceive circular motion as perpetual[32], and even
self-existent, was unable thus to conceive rectilineal motion.

Harvey, then, and other naturalists of the time, including Cæsalpinus
and after a fashion even Descartes, followed the medieval world and
Aristotle in deriving the source of motion directly from the spheres.
Harvey says with Dante, “Questi nei cuor mortali è permotore.” The
attraction exercised by external supreme mind (not associated with
matter) and its thoughts bring the material cosmos and its parts into
regular movements. The so-called Αἰθήρ, or fifth element, “στοιχεῖον
ἕτερον τῶν τεσσάρων, ἀκήρατόν τε καὶ θεῖον” (De Cælo, cap. 2 and vid.
Zeller II. ii. 437), under the name of the Quintessence, played a large
part in the speculations of Lulli, Paracelsus and other chemical
mystics. Till Copernicus transfigured the cosmos, and Galileo and Newton
carried terrestrial physics into the celestial world, the heavenly
bodies were regarded as animated beings, themselves set in motion by
spheres, and, by propagation of their intense activity from sphere to
sphere, animating all sublunary matter, wheels within wheels, even to
its innermost particles. Aristotle’s view (Metaph. XI.) was as
follows:—The stars and planets are in their nature eternal essences;
that which moves them must itself be eternal, and prior and external to
that which it causes to be moved; likewise that which is prior to
essence must itself be essence; and so on for a hierarchy of eternal
essences: thus Heaven if not God is a divine embodiment (Θεῖον σῶμα);
and this πρῶτον τῶν σωμάτων he regarded as the essence of heaven and
stars, and the cause of animal heat in living beings. Thus the
transition from Aristotle to the later conception of the celestial
bodies as themselves animated beings was easy; indeed the attribution of
intelligence to the spheres goes back at any rate to Plato (Timæus), if
not to Pythagoras; and was the foundation of astrology. In Harvey’s time
there was still in Rome a basilica of the Seven Angels (the planetary
essences). Much of this doctrine Harvey probably got from Cicero (Acad.
I. ii. 39 and De Fin. IV. 5-12; vid. Krische), who speaks of “ardor
cœli” as the whole astral sphere. If I am not mistaken Harvey somewhere
advises Aubrey to study Cicero.

Matthew Arnold thus regrets the old illusion:—

  And you, ye stars!

       *       *       *       *       *

  You too once lived—
  You too moved joyfully
  Among august companions
  In an older world, peopled by Gods,
  In a mightier order,
  The radiant, rejoicing, intelligent Sons of Heaven!
  But now you kindle
  Your lonely, cold shining lights,
  Unwilling lingerers
  In the heavenly wilderness,
  For a younger, ignoble world.
  And renew by necessity,
  Night after night your courses,

       *       *       *       *       *

  Above a race you know not,
  Uncaring and undelighted[33].

Of the origin of energy we have not solved the riddle, we have given it
up; but instead of coming from without we know that it comes from
within. As Mr Benn puts it, we have extended the atomistic method from
“matter” to motion. Harvey’s contemporary, Francis Bacon, sagaciously
guessed that heat is an expansive motion of particles; but he regarded
heat and cold as two contrary principles. Almost in the same generation
the brilliant John Mayow perceived a substance in the air “allied to
saltpetre,” which passed in and out of the blood by the way of the lungs
or placenta. “Innate heat” then gave way to phlogiston; but it was not
till the discovery of oxygen and of the conservation of energy that we
attained a theory of energy, and finally got rid of “matter and form,”
and of all the thicket of metaphysics, relating thereto; through which
in the day of Harvey no mind, however mighty, could have made its way.

In the history of medieval thought we must always bear in mind that in
neither of its two periods were theology, logic, metaphysics,
psychology, or even physics, fully differentiated; and before the
Arabian literature they were not differentiated at all[34]. Logic, which
for us is but a drill, and, like all drills, a little out of fashion,
was for the Middle Ages a means of discovery, nay, the very source of
truth; thus every man carried his own busy laboratory within him. The
heirs of Porphyry and Boetius had no other method in their possession.
The dialectically irresistible was the true (κατάληψις); thus
was man to succeed “irrefutabile aperire secretum.” To begin to think
before beginning to learn is a hollow business, yet then logic furnished
the theorems which experience might illustrate at its leisure; and
nature was contemplated under philosophy. The differentiation of
psychology began with the translation of the _De anima_[35], and the
recognition of the relation of the percipient; hence, in the second
period, Roger Bacon denounced the pretensions of logic, and John Duns,
that brilliant backslider, forced them to an absurdity. Again, on the
translation of the Metaphysics, theology parted into the studies of the
doctrines of God and the soul, which belong to theology proper, and of
being, in modes, kinds and universals, which belong to metaphysics.
Medicine again was a confusion of spheres, as was theology; the care of
the soul and the care of the body were the ends of knowledge, and their
means contained all knowledge. Thus when we hear that Alcuin ordered the
formal teaching of medicine, it was under the name of “Physica”; and not
until the Physics of Aristotle came to light did the various branches of
natural history become in their turn not only definite studies but also
self-sufficient, aside from the art of healing. To this day the healer
keeps the name of “physician”; and the subject at Cambridge the name of
Physic. It is well to be reminded that although the soldiers of truth
must be separated into several regiments, nevertheless for its
edification the healing art must draw, directly or indirectly, on all
natural science. Robert of Lincoln, Albert of Cologne, and all the
Masters of that time studied medicine—that is τὰ φυσικά—as a solid
part of knowledge, which in their apprehension was not only a whole but
also a manageable whole. Even Francis Bacon did not realise fully the
littleness of man in the presence of nature; he hoped that for his
harvest man would on a right method—by, let us say, a reformed
astrology and a reformed alchemy quickly surprise the secret of her
processes: thus Bacon was the last of the Summists. With the
differentiation of the several spheres of knowledge, and the perception
of the vastness and variety of each, man has ceased to hold not the
unity but the simplicity of nature; and he has given up summaries: the
theologian rules no longer in metaphysics and psychology; the physician
is no longer the only naturalist.

Systems succeed each other but give each other the hand; it takes many a
generation to kill a strong theory outright: realism, shaken by
Roscellinus and Abélard, and scotched by Hales and Ockham, survived to
mislead Harvey; and still it stretches its withered hand over us in the
nursery, in the school, and in the great arguments of life[36].
Malebranche warned us against our deceptive terminology. “Ils
prétendent expliquer, (he says), la nature par leurs idées générales et
abstraites, comme si la nature était abstraite.” The methods of the
English grammar schools are even now medieval in so far as their
teaching begins, as it mostly does still, with abstract propositions.

Mysticism gathered over Germany; in Paris to this day nature is
constrained in the artifices of logic and rhetoric; and to this day
platonism, chiefly by the influence of the Florentine humanists and
perhaps of the Cambridge school of Henry More, has moulded both thought
and language in England. John Hunter conceived a “materia vitæ diffusa”;
and but yesterday Huxley had to say of Owen’s theory of “spermatic
force” that an artillerist might as well attribute the propulsion of a
bullet to “trigger force.” We profess Aristotle, and we talk Plato. Even
by men of science it is daily forgotten that the only being is the
particular. After the Faith then, realism—the belief in principles and
kinds having external existence, and in formative essences to be reached
by abstract thinking—stood another adversary against natural

But, stronger even than realism, was a third adversity—the pride of the
human mind. Socrates, although, for ethics and politics, he initiated
the inductive method, was disposed to regard physical speculations as
but a rational pastime[37], and the political and ethical study of man
as the only serious engagement of thought. Aristotle took up natural
knowledge as an encyclopedist[38]; he rarely verified his facts and he
made no experimental researches[39]. The medieval church held that “ex
puris naturalibus cognoscere” was a meagre and might be a mischievous
amusement; and it sought to confine speculations to final causes, that
is to the animation of the world by an intelligent Being, as man
animates his own instruments: though, as Roger Bacon declared, final
causes must have physical means. Even Locke thought nature to be
hopelessly complex, and urged that ethics is the proper study of man.
The asceticism derived from the East, disdainful of carnal things,
brought the dualism of matter and spirit into monstrous eminence; and,
in respect of medicine, in a few generations it turned the cleanest
people in the world into the most filthy[40]. Moreover, are we not bound
to admit that, as ultimate analysis was dangerous to the synthesis of
the Faith, so for unwieldy and unstable societies in which ethical and
political habits had not yet become engrained, to descend from
transcendental explanations to explanations by lower categories was
fraught with some danger to lofty and imposing standards of custom and
conduct? Nature is too base, says St Anselm, for us to argue from it to
God; we must argue from God to things. Analysis is a disintegrating
function; the departure of the scientific enquirer is rather from below
upwards: it is not only his bias but also his deliberate method to
decline to use the discipline and the conceptions of higher categories
until he is satisfied that those of the lower are inadequate. A certain
natural process may not be attributed to those of chemistry until those
of physics are proved to be inadequate; to another process biological
conceptions and methods are denied until those of physics first, and
then of chemistry, have been tried and found wanting; psychological
conceptions are denied to another until in their turns the physical, the
chemical, and the physiological are exhausted[41]; and so on: and within
each category the same economy prevails. Now this scientific economy,
perhaps first formulated, or effectively used, by William Ockham, in the
phrase “entia non sunt multiplicanda”—known as “Ockham’s rasor”—is
what is called now-a-days “materialism”; and there is no doubt that the
method, legitimate, nay, imperative, as it is in natural science, may
in custom and conduct engender a personal and collective habit of
apprehending in lower categories, and even of contentment in them until
strong reason be shown to go higher[42]. A higher order of ideas is put
in a lower order of language; the “ὁδος εἰς τὸ κάτω” of Heraclitus. The
danger of this attitude lies in loss of effort, of aspiration, and even
of imagination; he must stoop on the weary oar who, knowing no
anchorage, is ever stemming the drift. Notwithstanding is there in
history any lesson sadder than this, that where ideals have been
loftiest sin and failure have most abounded? a lesson from which Carlyle
learned that “the ideal has always to grow in the real, and often to
seek out its bed and board there in a very sorry way.”

Almost to this day then the mechanical arts, presumably concerned rather
with the lower categories, have been regarded as base; and the craft
even of the laboratory as unworthy of great souls. Anatomy had to labour
against antipathy both ecclesiastical and popular; chemistry and
mechanics were gross pursuits, unless endowed with the perilous
distinctions of alchemy and sorcery. Unfortunately this charge upon the
dignity of man was made heavier rather than lighter by Petrarch, and by
the later humanists of the Renascence; even in the 17th century we find
in Oxford that Boyle was bantered by his friends as one “given up to
base and mechanical pursuits.” As Boyle himself put it in his delightful
way—“There are many Learned Men ... who are apt to repine when they see
any Person capable of succeeding in the Study of solid Philosophy,
addicting himself to an Art (Chemistry) they judge so much below a
Philosopher, and so unserviceable to him. Nay, there are some that are
troubled when they see a Man acquainted with other Learning countenance
by his example sooty Empiricks” ... “whose Experiments may indeed be
useful to Apothecaries, and perhaps to Physicians, but are useless to a
Philosopher that aims at curing no Disease but that of Ignorance.”[43]

Lord Herbert of Cherbury, who early in the seventeenth century attended
lectures at Padua, opined that natural science deals with “ignoble
studies, not proportioned to the dignity of our Souls.” In the
eighteenth century indeed, grave English physicians, humanists who
forgot how Aristotle had exclaimed that marvellousness lies in all
natural phenomena, scorned the trivial curiosity of John Hunter
respecting flies and tadpoles.

It is part of my argument to-day to point out one evil of many which
this prejudice has wrought for medicine. The progress of an applied
science dependent as it is upon accessions of advantage from other arts,
yet on the whole is from the simple to the complex; from facts of more
direct observation to those of longer inference: and this path was the
more necessary when the right method of inference—the so-called
inductive method—had not been formulated, and indeed was barely in use.
Now in medicine, from Homer to Lord Lister, direct observation and the
simpler means of experiment have obtained their first-fruits on the
surface of the body. In Homeric times surgery was the institution of
medicine, and kings concerned themselves with the practice of it. From
Erasistratus to Celsus physicians of all schools practised medicine and
surgery as one art. Galen urges the unity of medicine, and Littré points
out that this unity is maintained in the Hippocratic writings. In the
Middle Ages the ascetic contempt for the body—partly Stoic, chiefly
oriental,—the barren alliance of medicine with philosophy, and the low
esteem of mechanical callings hid from the physician the very gates of
the city into which he would enter. Francis Bacon says of the physicians
of Harvey’s day, that they saw things from afar off, as if from a high
tower; and, again, that after the manner of spiders they spun webs of
sophistical speculation from their own bowels. Surgery, by virtue of its
imperative methods, was kept clear of philosophy on the one hand and of
humanism on the other; and in Paris the establishment of the Collège de
St Côme, afterwards the Academy of Surgery, protected the higher surgery
against the rabble of barbers. Upon the raft of anatomy and surgery,
with some clinical aid from Salerno, positive medicine crossed the gulf
between Byzantine compilations, monkish leechcraft, Arab starcraft and
alchemy, and the scientific era of Harvey[44]. But physicians were not
only blind to the great services to the whole art of medicine of the
surgical school of Lanfranc in the fourteenth century, of Guy de
Chauliac in the fifteenth, and of Paré and Gale in the sixteenth
century, advances even accelerated in the seventeenth, but they ignored
also their very origin, and even withdrew from fellowship with the
surgeon; to our grievous harm from those days unto our own[45]. Surgery
was excluded from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Paris;
and from the Royal College of Physicians of England, which was, and is
still, enabled by charter to teach surgery, and to grant licenses
therein. Fabricius, the master of Harvey, was fortunately as great a
surgeon as anatomist, and such was Fallopius. In this College Harvey
lectured on anatomy and surgery, and he left his surgical instruments to
us; for us Caldwal founded a lectureship in surgery which has been
allowed virtually to lapse. From the progress of anatomy which, under
the protection of the Italian nobles as formerly of the Alexandrian,
went hand in hand with surgery, physicians drew then little advantage;
and so in part perhaps it came about that although Vesalius, Fallopius,
and Fabricius broke up the traditional anatomy of Mundinus, yet anatomy
did more even for the fine arts than for physiology; and medicine at the
end of the Middle Ages had not recovered the standard of Alexandria.
Against this adversity also had to contend the founder of physiology
whom to-day we celebrate.

Such were the chief adversities (vid. Appendix on Astrology) under which
the naturalist suffered, but natural knowledge was never stifled; let us
now turn our eyes to another point of view, from the oppression to the
gradual enfranchisement of knowledge.

Necessary for the welding of western society in the Middle Ages as was
authority in all spheres of thought and action, and, heavy as the price
of its inertia has been since its work was done, yet in the celebration
of the founders of natural science it would be untrue to assume that
before them, even in the earlier scholastic period, the indomitable
spirit of man had lain under tyranny in silence. “Μένει τὸ θεῖον δουλίᾳ
περ ἐν φρενί.” The way had been prepared for them. By
the Crusades of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries fury and
devastation were diverted in part from Europe, and hurled upon Asia;
which soon closes up again. The naïve serenity of the Faith was gone,
but as its great minsters arose it forgot its dangers; and the social
bonds of orthodoxy rudely shaken were renewed. The Schools grew as great
as the churches: Naples, Pavia, Bologna and Padua; Paris, Orleans,
Bourges, Toulouse, Montpellier, the Sorbonne; Oxford and Cambridge. Even
the Friars Preachers and Minors were driven to fight with the new
weapons; first rivalling the universities, then possessing themselves of
their chairs. But philosophy, which had lent much to the Faith[46],
gained nothing from it; and to philosophy rather than to the Church the
sciences looked for their principles and methods. In physics the
experimental method was creeping into life; and the substance as well as
the form of old controversies was changing. Thus through all these
generations was rising a leaven of free thought, and its reforms may
roughly be put in a twofold division, into the reform of tradition, and
the reform of method; the reform of texts being again divisible into two
periods—the Arabian, or second scholastic, and the modern or Renascence
period. The chief monuments of learning were stored in Byzantium[47]
until Western Europe was fit to take care of them. In the peace of
Theodoric, in the peace of Charlemagne, under Alfred at Winchester, the
arts and sciences had scarcely found breathing-time, and no sure
establishment[48]. Cassiodorus is said to have directed the Benedictines
of the sixth century to read Cælius Aurelianus, a Roman adaptor of
Soranus of Ephesus; but medical lore consisted of little beyond some
relics of the Roman schools, handed on in prose or verse compilations
which the teacher read to his class, and explained so far as he could.
It seems that medicine was not taught formally until so ordered, in 805,
by Charlemagne; probably by the advice of Alcuin, the founder of the
learned tradition at Fulda, the founder, we may almost say, of the
neo-latin period, and some time headmaster of my own school of St Peter
at York. The influence of the School of Salerno, relatively excellent as
it was in the domains of clinical medicine and of public health, never
made its way into the general stream of Western culture. Religious wars
and persecutions had driven Greek learning eastwards, as in the case of
the Nestorians from Antioch to Persia; Hebrew and Syrian sages[49]
translated some classical texts, and from these again the Arabs, in
their brief and brilliant culture, made translations; for no Arab sage
knew Greek. The palace of the Spanish Caliphs in the tenth century was a
workshop of translators, and a huge storehouse of books. The learned and
ubiquitous Jew carried texts and translations from Bagdad to Morocco,
and from Morocco to Toledo, Paris, Oxford and Cologne; but translations
made in Bagdad in the ninth century did not reach Paris till the
eleventh or twelfth.

Among the earliest of these renderings in the West were works on
medicine, mathematics, and astronomy, which in the Schools of Toledo and
Cordova, by Constantinus Africanus at Monte Cassino (including certain
treatises of Hippocrates and Galen), by Gerard of Cremona (a Salernitan
scholar), by Michael the wizard[50], and by other hands, were converted
into Latin; and, thus doubly disguised, and half buried in glosses which
not only overlaid the text (“oscura glossa dov’ é piana la lettera”) but
often supplanted it, were received with pathetic eagerness by the ardent
scholars of the West. Aristotle, for instance, was now taught in the
schools of the West from a Latin translation of a Hebrew translation of
an Arab commentary upon an Arab translation of a Syriac translation of
the Greek text[51]. Even in the sixteenth century medicine and anatomy
were taught wholly from books; and teachers were forbidden to use other
than prescribed books. Students began with the “Articella” of the
Venetian physician Gregorio Volpi, a compendium of translations with
woodcuts, published in 1491; they advanced to the Aphorisms, the Diet
in Acute Diseases and the Prognostics of Hippocrates, overlaid with
Syriac, Arabic and Spanish apparatus and glosses; to the Ars Parva of
Galen; to the first and fifth Canons of Avicenna, with glosses; to the
IXth Book of Rhazes, Honein, Aegidius Corboliensis, and perhaps some of
the translations of Constantinus Africanus[52];—this was the lore that
ruled the medical schools even to the birth of Harvey. Disputations
among the students were incessant, both “inter se” and “sub cathedrâ”;
but it is doubtful whether these did more than sharpen their dialectical
wits. Botany, regarded by the galenists as the secret of the divine
dispensary, was always more forward; every medical school had its physic
garden, professors carried their students abroad to gather herbs, and
Herbals, Dispensatoriums and Kräuterbücher were much in advance of the
Bestiaries, mostly after Pliny’s kind, the chief of which, largely an
original work, was that of the well-known Conrad Gesner.

Some hundred years before the appearance of the Arabian Aristotle, which
marked the second scholastic period, we have seen that the shadow of the
Faith and the savagery of the peoples had not quelled such teachers as
Roscellinus and Abélard, who fought for rationalism so sturdily as even
then to threaten the ascendency of realism and the persuasion of supple
and plausible demagogues like Anselm of Laon—that “sterile tree” as
Abélard called him,—and actually to determine the first period of the
Middle Ages. Happily the Arabian scholastic philosophy took its root in
Alexandria when neo-platonism had veered towards Aristotle[53], and it
was more uniformly peripatetic than the earliest Christian
Scholasticism. It is one of the notes of the greatness of Aristotle
that, even thus garbled and glossed, his power made itself felt by the
mouths of the great Franciscans Alexander Hales, Roger Bacon, and
William Ockham. The Organon had been expounded in Paris in 1180, and
about the same time Alexander Neckam cited the Posterior Analytics, the
Topics and the _De anima_; but Hales was in possession of the whole, or
almost the whole, of a more or less corrupt Aristotle, which he turned
upon theology.

Roger Bacon was the first of the natural philosophers of the West, and
the only eminent forerunner of Harvey and the other pioneers of natural
science in the seventeenth century. As erudite as Albert, Bacon was more
inventive, freer of spirit, more disposed to scientific method, better
aware of the hollowness of authority, better aware that truth can be
found only in free reason guided by experiment. Unfortunately as an
author he was as dull and ineffectual as Francis Bacon was rich,
animated and impressive. That indeed this premature renascence, without
scientific methods or sound tradition, should have failed[54], that its
light was but the phantom of dawn[55], is no matter for surprise; yet
from this time forward the methods of Cyprian and Athanasius lost their
undisputed sway. This earlier renascence made the second period of the
Middle Ages: the period distinguished by the Arabian version of
Aristotle; by a check to the chimeras of realism; by some liberty of
secular knowledge, for even bishops came out of the Mussulman school of
Toledo and arrayed themselves in vestments of Arab work decorated with
sentences from the Koran; and again by the coming of the friars, the
Dominican and Franciscan especially, whose influence upon the thought of
the Middle Ages was considerable, and soon rivalled even that of the
universities, wherein later, as we have seen, they filled some of the

The issues of all schemes of thought led indeed as inevitably to natural
science, as all ways to Rome. The logic and rhetoric of the learned
Dominicans—the watch-dogs (“Domine cani”) of the Lord against the
wolves of heresy,—culminating in the systems of Albert and St Thomas,
by their rationalism defined, and in defining restricted, the dominion
of the Faith. Keen defenders of the Faith recognised this danger, and
whimpered even against Albert that “philosophiam profanam in limen
Sanctæ Theologiæ intromiserit; ... in ipsa sacraria Christi[56].” Men
got used to reason, and great protestants, such as Robert of Lincoln,
had put justice and honour before ecclesiastical politics[57]. Then the
few Greek texts found their way into the West, and in the thirteenth
century Albert and Aquinas possessed themselves of Greco-latin
translations of some treatises of Aristotle[58]. And in the history of
the comparatively unlearned Friars Minors we find, as elsewhere in the
history of thought, that mysticism was less unfavourable to natural
science than the passionate dogmatism of Clairvaux, or the dogmatism by
ratiocination of St Thomas; the Victorians, as Gerson after them,
despised reason rather than feared it; they would not accept the
services of philosophy even with its wings clipped.

  “Cujus laus est ex ore infantum,
   Hæc est sapientia”!

Mysticism makes for individual religion, as with Glisson and Newton,
rather than for a Church, as Albert was clear-sighted enough to
foresee; if science undermines dogma, mysticism relaxes or neglects it:
hence, as clerks only could teach, it may have been that independent
thinkers like Hales, Roger Bacon, and Ockham entered the Franciscan
order[59]. Indeed the science of Pietro di Abano (1250-1320), which
laid the foundations of medicine at Padua, and inspired the frescoes of
the Salla della Ragione, was occult and mystical.

In the thirteenth century then the conflict with the provisional
synthesis of the Faith had become imminent and menacing. The faith, the
chivalry and the learning of the Saracens led men to feel that without
the Church all might not be utter darkness. Albert owed as much to
Avicenna—“the Albert of the Orient”—as St Thomas to Averroes; pagan
sages technically damnable yet “mighty spirits,” worthy of reverence.
Dante put in Hell, but on green meadows in an open place, lofty and
luminous,—esteeming himself exalted by the sight of them,—not only
Aristotle, Plato and Socrates, but also

  “Euclide geometra, e Tolommeo,
   Ippocrate, Avicenna, e Galieno,
   Averrois, che il gran comento feo.”

                         Inf. IV. 142.

Universities were founded in France, England, and Italy. Frederick the
Second protected the Arabs, and even aped them; Ghibeline indeed almost
signified freethinker. From the Roman de Renard, from the candid
Joinville, from Boccaccio, we may infer that the very foundations of the
Faith were sapped; and therewith, for good or ill, both moral and
political bonds were loosened. But the natural Science which made the
second renascence irresistible was absent in the first: the
consolidation of the European peoples was not compact enough for a
rehandling of the conceptions of religion and morals, too incomplete
even for the latitude of opinion which, in nations as in individuals, is
apt to slacken swift and consentient action. The toleration and
scepticism of the first renascence had causes no deeper than a general
enlargement of experience and thought.

To appreciate the influence, covert or overt, of scepticism in the
Middle Ages we must clear the meaning of the word. Under the yoke of
tribal custom scepticism can hardly arise, there is no place for the
half-hearted, as all men feel alike so all think alike: scepticism
arises when beliefs are put into formal propositions. Then, as
experience and comparison enlarge, we detect scepticism in three forms
or degrees: namely, doubt of a particular creed; doubt of all unverified
propositions; and doubt of the validity of reason itself, whether in
respect of the supernatural only or of all argument. It is remarkable
that this last, the most devastating of the forms of scepticism, has
come from the ranks of the faithful (Pascal, Hamilton, Mansel), who in
resentment of the attacks of reason have turned blindly to rend reason
herself. No civil society has been without scepticism; even in ages of
most prevalent faith some current of doubt has flowed under the surface.
In the Ionian philosophy the place of scepticism was only restricted in
so far as many aspects of the subject-matter were not before those
thinkers; for instance no Greek philosopher would have separated faith
from reason. In the well-known words of Hippocrates, “οὐδὲν ἕτερον
ἑτέρου θειότερον οὐδὲ ἀνθρωπινώτερον, ἀλλὰ πάντα θεῖα.” “The Greek
boldly set up his academy by the side of the temple.” Even Protagoras
never taught the futility of all reason, nor even the inconstancy of
sensation which indeed is doctrine rather than scepticism. Neo-platonism
had its scepticism in the first two forms, covering even the ground of
the modern agnostic. Agnosticism does not deny the existence of the
ladder, but asserts that the ladder begins and ends in the clouds; it is
consistent therefore with ethical and practical activity. When Abélard
said “Dubitando enim ad inquisitionem venimus, inquirendo veritatem
percipimus,” if a sceptic, he was no infidel. Even in the thirteenth
century it was never doubted that truth is attainable, nor indeed that
the Faith contained the truth. The scepticism of that age was rather
cautious and controversial than faithless, and in practice divine
discontent rather than indifference (ἀταραξία). Pyrrhonism on the other
hand leads to slackness of ethics; either to the insouciance of Horace
and Montaigne, or to the attitude of the seventeenth century in Padua
(Pomponatius) and elsewhere, when the “economy,” ironic or disingenuous,
of allotting their several spheres to reason and dogma, if not first
invented, became as fashionable as in the pulpits and in the
drawing-rooms of Mayfair. “Comme savant j’ignore tout; comme citoyen je
crois tout.” The _Hypotyposes Pyrrhoniœ_ of Sextus Empiricus, whose
influence in the times of the Renascence was considerable, was not
translated till the fourteenth century. The detachment of mind and
shrewd wisdom of John of Salisbury foreshadowed Petrarch rather than
Hume; and when John discusses what it is given to man to know, asking
the frequent question, “Utrum contingat homini scire aliquid?”, we must
not fall into the error of importing into his question all it connotes
for ourselves. Likewise when James of Douay (in MS. _De anima_, quoted
by Hauréau) roundly says, “Id quod recipitur ab aliquo non recipitur
secundum naturam rei receptæ sed secundum naturam recipientis ... sicut
recipitur ita patitur.... Sensus judicando de sua passione non
decipitur” and so on, he knew no more whither this would lead than John
Duns knew that his system must lead to that of Spinoza. That guardians
of morals and social cohesion, from Cato to the Westminster Assembly,
and from Samuel Johnson to Cardinal Newman, should have distrusted
scepticism even as reserve of judgment, or indeed repelled it with
fierceness; that priest, presbyter, magistrate and moralist have
tolerated irony, or even license, rather than vigilant and radical
criticism of doctrine, is intelligible; and within limits springs from a
justifiable apprehension. For the gay and indolent sceptic veers to
conformity, especially if he mistrust the competence of reason; while
the active sceptic endangers the theory of his society, and of the
sanctions upon which all moral conduct temporarily depends. Hence the
bitter condemnation of Galileo, “Perish all physical science rather than
one article of the Faith be lost.” Happily it is true that during times
of transition piety and good conduct survive by virtue of “inertia,”
that is by tradition, social pressure, custom and sense of fitness; and
it is true that in times of transition, as in our own times, halting
thought is quickened for a while by plenitude of emotion, and wealth of
æsthetic impressions makes amends for poverty of ideas; yet that morals
are based on a theory of life is a truth still deeper and more abiding,
and this deeper truth it was the function of the “Ages of Faith” to
root in the conscience of mankind. “Abeunt studia in mores.” As
contrasted with Pyrrhonism, scepticism in its normal sense, while it
declares that the conformity of notions with things in themselves cannot
be postulated, for lack of an external standpoint of comparison, and
while it declines to be confuted by the “regressus ad infinitum,” for,
having repudiated first principles it is prepared to be pushed backwards
to remoter and remoter causes, is ready nevertheless to yield to
assurance as facts are intercalated into inferences, and as inferences
thus stiffened by verification are found to consist with each other and
with the general context of experience.

If in the Middle Ages these various attitudes of mind were not fully
distinguished, yet scepticism was moving variably towards the demand for
verification on which all natural science is based; and the reaction was
not long delayed. In the thirteenth century the culture of Omeyad and
Abasid caliphs failed; by the end of the century philosophy was
denounced and its books were burned; the generous and learned Frederick
dashed himself in vain against the Papacy; Clement, the protector of
Bacon, was dead, and during the two following centuries, in Spain at any
rate, freedom of thought was crushed out by the Church. In the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the very name of Averroes—of “the
mad dog who barked against the Christ,” the “Averroem impium καὶ τρὶς κατάρατον”
of Erasmus—began to signify loose life as well as free
thought. Of this resentment there had been no trace in Albert or St
Thomas; but Imola had begun to wonder why Dante had treated so well
Averroes who, if the Great Commentator, was yet the father of infidels.
The Dominicans controlled the fine arts, and for them,—at Pisa, at
Siena, in the Spanish Chapel,—Orcagna, Gaddi, Spinello Aretino, Simone
Memmi abased the Empire, Averroes, and the new learning far more
intolerantly than Dante had done; and exalted the Pope, with his
handmaids Theology, Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. In Santa Maria
Novella, Memmi represents the triumph of the Dominicans in theology,
Gaddi in philosophy; St Thomas and the Dominicans march triumphant over
Arius, Sabellius, Averroes, and Savonarola. Thus in the Middle Ages
Averroes appeared in two forms—first as the Great Commentator, later as
the blasphemer and father of infidels of the Campo Santo and of Santa
Maria Novella. In the fifteenth century the Council of Constance forbad
the laity to teach, under a penalty of forty days’ excommunication. In
the sixteenth, in Granada, Ximenes burnt, it is said, 80,000 books of
Arab philosophy, as Torquemada did for Hebrew in Seville; medical works,
however, such as the Colliget[60] of Averroes, and his Commentary on
Galen, were spared.

With the greater renascence the second period of Scholasticism, and
indeed the Middle Ages themselves are closed. With the fall of
Constantinople the stream of learning, driven eastwards in the first
period of the Middle Ages, set westward again. Exiled grammarians now
found their shelter under the protection of the “literate tyrants” of
Italy, and with their spoil of manuscripts enriched the libraries of
Rome and Venice. The Universities of Bologna and Padua from their
foundation became notable for independence of thought; and, on the
revival of learning, for their peripatetic teaching as opposed to the
platonism of Florence, where, however, a spirit of accurate learning was
nurtured in the deciphering and verification of texts. The political and
commercial ambition of Venice, the Holland of Italy, of which State
Padua was the learned quarter, and the inflow of liberal thinkers from
other nations, kept her aloof from the fury of the Catholic reaction of
the sixteenth century, which ruined Paris; thus in North-east Italy the
spirit of modern science awoke sooner than in England or in France, and
inquisitive students, both home and foreign, were attracted rather to
Padua and to Bologna than, as in earlier times, to Paris.

In so far as Scholasticism may be described as a temporary
reconciliation of Aristotle—that is, of natural and secular
methods—with the Faith, this end had been attained, if at all, by St
Thomas; in St Thomas Scholasticism culminated. But no such artificial
truce could abide; and the issue of the chief scholastic controversy was
to be determined by one greater than St Thomas. The pilgrim to Ockham,
sitting in its church beneath the seven lancets of its twelfth century
window, may be solitary also in his memory of one of the greatest of
Englishmen, who saw that light six long centuries ago; yet a child
rather of our age than of his own. As Abélard had closed the gates upon
the neo-platonist tradition of Alexandria, so Ockham closed them against
realism in all its forms; and the Church cursed them both. In his own
person the occupation of professorial chairs by Franciscans came to an
end; Paris and the Thomists could not consistently oppose nominalism;
Duns the Northumbrian had inflated realism into a monstrous phantasm,
and speculative reason had to submit to the yoke of verification. Yet
what could nominalism do for theology, or for clerical schools? The
Franciscans for the most part had turned to mysticism, and thenceforth
the man of science and the devotee were to work apart. Furthermore, by
Ockham philosophy gained a new meaning, or lost all meaning. Before
Locke, Voltaire, and Kant, Ockham demonstrated that faculties were not
substances; and differentiated logic, psychology, and natural

But if, as I have said, the way for Harvey and the other pioneers of
natural knowledge was thus prepared for them, it was still, even in the
seventeenth century, dark, rough and perilous. As in all times of
transition, still the weight of defunct systems rolled inertly along;
and while the new forces seemed to slumber stresses were accumulating.
In Oxford and Cambridge the influence of Linacre, and even of Caius[62],
seems to have been rather humanist than scientific[63]; in Oxford the
text rather than the inspiration of Aristotle prevailed, while in
Cambridge the platonist school, of which the charming Henry More was the
leader, full of inspiration as it was, soon evaporated into mysticism,
or obscurantism. Bacon and Harvey seem to have left Cambridge—for Paris
and Padua respectively—as Locke left Oxford[64], under some
discouragement. Of Paris the great days were over; it was in Padua that
medicine, long degraded or disguised, was now to prove her lineage as
the mother of natural science, and the truth of the saying of
Hippocrates that to know the nature of man one must know the nature of
all things. But on Harvey’s arrival, Padua, which had become the first
school of Medicine in Europe, as was Bologna of Imperial Law[65], was
settling down upon the lees of the once noble school of Averroes: a
discipline which, by its original strength, by its freedom of thought,
and by the ascendency of its professors, had withstood in the thirteenth
century the direct condemnation of the brilliant fourth Lateran
Council; and in the sixteenth the thunders of Trent. Padua adopted
Averroism, in the fourteenth century, because of its medical contents;
in the two following centuries this system was emptied of heart and
life, but pattered and mumbled by pretentious pedants in North-east
Italy it prevailed till the seventeenth, when after a reign of three
centuries it was succeeded by the Cartesian. Of its phases in the
sixteenth century Patrizzi said, “Ingens ab his philosophorum numerus ac
successio manavit quæ in Aven Rois hypothesibus habitavit.... Inde
dubitationum ac quæstionum sexcentorum milium numerus manavit” (Disc.
Peripat. Vol. I. Venet. 1571; quoted by Renan, Averroès). The name of
Averroes, “perfectus et gloriosissimus physicus, veritatis amicus et
defensor intrepidus,” became the shibboleth of philosophers who held the
different nature of the heavenly bodies against the “moderns” who
alleged the identity of matter in sky and earth, and the doctrine of the
universal against the individual soul.

Yet, in spite of Petrarch’s gibes, Averroism in its spring had nursed
Padua with the milk of natural science. Even in its decay—for all
teaching of philosophy, as a separate study, must decay—the triumph of
the Faith was premature; like Jansenism, the School of Averroes, effete
as it became, held the ground for a more dangerous invasion, for
Leonardo, Telesio, Bruno, Gilbert, Sarpi, Campanella, Galileo, and
Harvey; for the pioneers of truth, not as consistency with tradition,
not as an alchemical search for real essences, nor indeed as wisdom
only; but as the verification of premises. This fuse Paracelsus fixed to
the shell which burst upon the Faith, upon Scholasticism, upon Galenism,
and even upon humanism, “So Christus spricht ‘Perscrutamini scripturas’;
warum soll ich nicht sagen ‘Perscrutamini naturas rerum’?” The _Credo ut
intelligam_ of Augustine and Anselm of Canterbury; the _Intelligo ut
credam_ of Aquinas belonged to the past; and men began to cry “c’est
Dieu qui nous veut hérétiques.” A criticism based upon a larger sense of
the relativity of knowledge, and, in the sixteenth century, a new
scepticism[66], which pierced even into the Vatican, as to the very
possibility of knowledge of the nature of being, were preparing the way
for new conceptions: but in ethics meanwhile men were falling either
into the carelessness of the scoffer or into the anti-nomianism of the
mystic. The brilliant futilities of the medieval dialectic had led to
weariness of spirit. After vain and vexatious jugglings with the dry
tissues of unchastened ratiocination, simplicity and even ignorance
brought their solace.

As from Florence humanism invaded English letters, so the Averroistic
physician of Padua became known, even in Chaucer’s day, as a man of
secular rather than of Scriptural learning. In Padua, while Galileo was
teaching Euclid for a pittance, chairs of Averroistic philosophy were
filled by highly paid professors, whose “rotuli” or portfolios, many of
which now rest in the dust of the libraries of North Italy, were handed
down from one to another in deadly routine. Virtually, however, the
Averroistic tradition ended with a contemporary Paduan professor,
Cremonini, lifted into fame by Harvey’s refutation in the _De motu
cordis_, and by his own repudiation of the satellites of Jupiter, bodies
for which Aristotle had made no provision. The coarseness and pedantry
of the Averroistic freethinkers, whose scepticism lacked the elegance
and sprightliness of the French, and their bastard language—mongrel of
Greek and Arabic—revolted the humanists also: “Nihil indoctius, nihil
insulsius, frigidius.” “Unum te obsecro,” Petrarch had said two hundred
years before (in his invectives against doctors, whom he classed with
astrologers, as afterwards indeed did Harvey more or less), “ut ab omni
consilio mearum rerum tui isti Arabes arceantur atque exsulent.” “De
medicis non modo nil sperandum sed valde etiam metuendum[67].” The
doctors in their turn did not hide their disdain for poets. Whether
justly or unjustly, the Doctors of Medicine were classed with
astrologers and alchemists; the latter of whom Harvey repudiated
frankly, not altogether avoiding a contempt for chemistry itself. Clad
in fine raiment, with rings on their fingers and golden spurs on their
heels, they rode tall horses, and gave themselves pompous airs. The
humanist would rather pose as a believer than as an underbred infidel;
the Averroist protected the license of his doctrines and manners by
subterfuge and ironic evasion: and humanist and Averroist alike stood by
at the burning of Bruno[68].

It must not be supposed, however, that these pompous pedants had it all
their own way, and that Medicine was not better justified of her
children. It is full of interest for our present purpose to read in the
preface by Thomas Junta to the Edition of Averroes (1552), “Plerique
omnes juniores medici jam intolerabile in Arabum Mauritaniorumque
dogmata odium conceperunt, ut ne nominandi citandive locus relinquatur;
principes etiam Hippocratem atque Galenum habere nos prædicant.” This
enlightenment seems to have come about in some part through the teaching
of Thomæus Nicolaus Leonicus[69], who began to lecture, for the first
time, from the Greek text of Aristotle (there were chairs thenceforth
for both the Arabian and the Greek Aristotle) in 1497.

It was with Galileo however that scientific research began in Padua, at
any rate for professors; and Galileo may be venerated as the first
modern naturalist to set the experimental method conceptually,
coherently, and thoroughly before himself, including the deductive side
of it. In the Harveian Oration of 1892, Dr Bridges reminded us that
Galileo conceived of motion and energy as calculable quantities, and
drew our attention to those most interesting experiments wherein Galileo
applied the pendulum to measure the rate and rhythm of the pulse. Roger
Bacon had dwelt upon experiment, but scarcely upon methodical
verification thereby. The chemistry of Albert of Cologne was but a
return of the curiosity of Geber of Cordova (in the ninth century). Even
Francis Bacon saw the method less clearly than Galileo had done; and, as
the last of the schoolmen and encyclopedists, he made a place for it
rather in literature and philosophy: he ignored, as the scientific
Descartes welcomed, the cardinal discoveries of Copernicus and of
Harvey[70]. But if Galileo discovered the experimental method as a
method, before Galileo the method was in use. Leonardo had laid down the
rule of investigation of nature by experiment, and the aphorism that
nature never deceives us; unfortunately his manuscripts were not
published. In the first half of the fifteenth century Nicholas of Cusa
weighed plants at definite stages of their growth in known weights of
earth; and he weighed the moisture of the air. His contemporary Leon
Battista Alberti of Genoa had done likewise. But above all the
scientific forerunners of Galileo and Harvey stands William Gilbert,
Fellow of St John’s College, Doctor of Medicine of Cambridge, Censor and
President of this College, Physician to Queen Elizabeth, and Founder of
the science of Magnetism.

The century dating from the birth of Galileo to the death of Harvey was
perhaps the most brilliant in the history of modern knowledge. The
discovery of Greek texts had destroyed the conventional Aristotle, the
conventional Hippocrates and Galen; since the latter part of the
sixteenth century Greek had been taught in the High Schools, philosophy
was born again, and men found themselves no longer the slaves but the
kin of the great ancients. Telesius, Bruno, Campanella vindicated
natural science and liberty of thought. Galileo taught in Padua for
twenty years, including the time when Harvey graduated there; Torricelli
was a pupil of the great Florentine; in 1582, on the theory of
Copernicus, Gregory reformed the Calendar, and thus laid the axe to the
root of astrology; by Newton terrestrial physics were established in the
celestial spheres[71]. Malpighi, who was to fulfil Harvey’s discovery
and foresight, was born in N.-E. Italy in the very year (1628) in which
the _De motu cordis_ was published. In 1626 Boyle was creating
chemistry. Anatomy, which had slept since its days in Alexandria, was
fully awake. The Society of the Lincei was virtually founded in 1603;
the Royal Society[72] in 1645; the Academy of France in 1656. Clinical
teaching, initiated in Salerno and advanced by the _Consilia_
_medica_[73], was formally established in Padua[74], to be pursued in
Heidelberg, Leyden, and Vienna. Thus was the study “De rerum natura
juxta propria principia” unfolded, and the “Civitas Dei” gave place to
the “Regnum Hominis.”

The “Regnum Hominis”! Yet when I look, from a respectful distance, upon
the folios of the schoolmen, monuments, I am told, as empty as the
Pyramids of Egypt, my mind turns back to the fiery and turbulent tribes
which in the “deep but dazzling darkness” of the Middle Ages raged upon
a barren land before the nations began; and I wonder if the ideas which
awed them, swayed them, and welded them into stable societies were
fancies as wild and sterile; and if the men who wrought them were mere
traffickers in words. And then I wonder if we are glad that the riddle
of the origin and issues of being, which tormented their eager hearts,
is not solved, but proved insoluble: if we are glad that “sub specie
hominis” the earth, no longer the nursery of eternal souls, is but a
meteor in the sky; men and women but the gleam upon it; the sons of
Heaven but companies of whirling stones, and the Father of Heaven an
inaccessible idea.

The scholastic philosophies became inhuman only in their decrepitude. In
the equal eye of history, the Middle Ages teach us that the slow and
painful travail of natural science is not to be regarded as the belated
labour of light in the womb of darkness, nor as a mere stifling of the
growth of the human mind by tyranny and oppression, nor indeed as the
arming of moral forces against brute forces, but as the condition of
time in the making of societies on a necessarily provisional theory of
life. They teach us that conduct in state and morals depends upon a
theory of life; that although habits and even standards of ethics may
abide for a time after the theory on which they were built is sapped, it
is but for a time; that if the social discipline and fruition are to be
renewed and enlarged it must be upon a new synthesis, as laborious and
ardent as the former, and more true. Meanwhile the business of a nation,
whether in war or peace, is first to be quick and strong in action, to
be rational afterwards; and swiftness and strength come of union of
wills and singleness of heart rather than of wisdom. Even within its
borders freedom of opinion must awaken slowly; the nation strong enough
to suffer irresolutions in its outward policy has yet to appear. Hence
it is that we find in ruling classes, and in social circles which put on
aristocratical fashions, that ideas, and especially scientific ideas,
are held in sincere aversion and in simulated contempt.

The Greek was no heathen, suckled by nature and endowed only with her
instincts; he sought in his mind to improve nature: but in the
Renascence instincts were set as free as thought. In this passionate
and adventurous time to preach the destruction of the animal instincts,
or to crush them for the higher life, was a noble idea, but an
impossible hope; the animal impulses are to be trained, not suppressed,
and for this the help of science was to come. Yet science was to be not
the hated rival but a necessary ally of religion. It is not within the
province of science to answer the medieval searchings on the nature of
being, nevertheless this threshold problem—“_der Drudenfuss auf der
Schwelle_”—faces us still; and the world, so far as we have seen of it,
has always demanded a provisional answer. To-day Professor James Ward
offers it again in “Supreme Intelligence”; and Principal Caird
(“Fundamental Christianity”) yearns for the knowledge of infinite being
almost in the words of Plato himself:—“If,” he cries, “underneath all
the phenomena of the world in which we live we can discern no principle
of reason and order, no absolute intelligence and love, then indeed”
this world is a “meaningless waste.”

Gilbert Galileo and Harvey, Maxwell Hertz and Darwin have taught men not
that the speculations of the schoolmen were over-bold, for they busied
themselves with no speculations bolder or more transcendental than are
our modern theories on matter, on inertia, on the ether, or on the
origin of life, but that metaphysics by “intercalation of facts” shall
become physics, that, in the words of Descartes, concepts, if “μετὰ τὰ
φυσικά,” “talia sint tantum ut omnibus naturae phænomenis accurate
respondeant,” and that notions great and small shall be subjected to
strict verification, so far as such tests can be carried; not that men
shall deny themselves the rapture of touching that various instrument
they find within themselves, but that they shall endure the drudgery of
learning to play it in harmony with the orchestra of nature; not that
they shall desist from imagining, but that before proclaiming hypotheses
they shall be compelled to the humble task of making an infinite number
of little piles of facts. The art of experiment can grow only with the
growth of science itself; instruments of precision are not provided till
men feel the need of them. The experimental verification of concepts is
no mere alternative path, no mere renunciation, but a new birth; a birth
into a dull and vexatious discipline for the impatient Hegelian, whether
of the thirteenth or of the twentieth century, who believes that, as
mind is the product of evolution, and so the sum and store of nature,
“in dem Gedanken selbst das Wahre ist zu suchen[75].”

  “Long fed on boundless hopes, O race of man,
   How angrily thou spurn’st all simpler fare.”

The genius and courage concerned in a particular discovery or reform it
were impossible to estimate; there is no method of determining the
specific gravity of such adventures: moreover we are now so well used to
the lights, bells, and soundings of the routes of scientific enquiry
that it is hard for us to realise the pain and peril of fogs and
contrary winds in voyages where were no such guides. Indeed no
exposition of defects of methods can explain false habits of thought
without a careful estimate of historical causes also, in what we may
call the embryology of thought; for at no time were right methods of
thought wholly wanting, or even wholly disregarded. But, as we approach
Harvey’s own time, if on the one hand I have shown that Europe until he
came was not ready for him, on the other hand I trust I have made it
more easy to conceive the weight of the social systems, opinions, and
prejudices against which his gigantic effort was made. For, brilliant as
was the promise of the Renascence, yet in the time of Harvey, and in the
generation immediately before him, the decay of the scholastic methods
and the worldliness of the Church, which in the first half of the
sixteenth century had favoured the advance of secular culture, had led
to a reaction, not against Luther only but also against all liberal
learning and science. In the Vatican, in the Sorbonne, in the
Consistory, and even in the courts of justice it was proclaimed that as
these studies make government more difficult, it were ill to encourage
them! We have seen that the Faith, though undermined and no longer
catholic, was aroused, and was terrible still; orthodoxy was crushing
free thought in Italy; Alva was in Flanders, and had been visited by
Catherine de Medici at Bayonne; in France the ruthless religious wars
ended in the triumph of Rome; Europe was overrun by Dominicans and
Franciscans; Trent was long pregnant with anathema. Contrary sects alike
defied liberal culture; and four years before Harvey’s birth the wolf,
hidden under another cloak, had torn Servetus—Servetus who shared with
Colombo the honour of preparing the way for the founder of modern
physiology. Even the genial conformist of the world, after his manner
when he is scared, had turned brutal; he felt that the old conceptions
upon which society was built for him, were suspected, and therewith
society itself beginning to crack and split, yet he did not see that now
by science only could society be recreated.

In Italy the Cinque Cento had taken its birth and nourishment chiefly
from Latin sources and tradition. It regarded symmetry of form and
rhetorical modes of passion; elegance was preferred to matter, and style
to knowledge. Such a culture had not the seeds of life in it; in the
middle of the sixteenth century its enthusiasms waned, its philosophy
fell into routine, its style into mannerism; but science, not
philosophy, not the Faith, was the heir of the Middle Ages. Science is
not of Latin but of Greek inheritance, its sources are Greek; and with
the westward swarm of the Greeks their older boons of eloquence and
beauty were rivalled by their newer gifts of scholarship and natural
knowledge. In France the leaders of this school were the Huguenots, the
flower of the nation; in the Catholic reaction of the sixteenth century
France scorched her own bloom, and Spain was blasted for ever. The
humanists, who at best were false friends of science and medicine, were
no longer powerful friends; their noble rage was suppressed by chill
penury, and many of the most learned and zealous of them were vagabonds
in Europe. Rhetoric, fine art, and even philosophy may flourish in
slavery, learning and science can breathe no air but that of freedom;
and freedom of learning was quenched in the blood of the Massacre of St
Bartholomew. In 1540 had been founded the Society of Jesus, which then
as now used science and learning, not as sources of truth or tests of
conduct, but as tactics; putting on indeed the habit of the scholar, but
only the more effectually to control research. Two years later the
Spanish Inquisition was set up in Rome; and its shadow fell even over
Venice, which abased itself to the imprisonment of Bruno. The great
Venetian printers, some time reduced to the publications of decadent
Averroism (p. 97), to avert bankruptcy had to print breviaries. Henry of
Navarre, deserting Du Plessis Mornay, D’Aubigné, and De Thou, turned not
only Roman Catholic but also ultramontane; and, if with his accession
the Terror had ceased, social and political ostracisms, tests, and
disabilities stifled all generous culture.

The great University of Paris, which throughout the Middle Ages had been
the heart of Christendom, the centre of its life and heat, which in the
fourteenth century was at its splendid culmination, and which had
meddled with no feeble hand even in the State, was waning even in the
fifteenth century, when France was devastated by war and rapine and her
schools were emptied. This University, which had savagely condemned Joan
of Arc, and sent Nicholas Midi to preach a solemn sermon at the stake,
“pro Joannæ salutari admonitione et populi ædificatione,” in the
sixteenth century came out of the religious wars stripped of its
endowments, and deserted by its students; its curriculum was crassly
conservative, its philosophy buckram, its theology a petrifaction; its
forty colleges were closed, grass grew in its courts, and its public
disputations were abased to the decorous apostasy of the freethinker.
Montpellier was dominated by realism (vitalism). Francis Bacon had done
better to have gone with Harvey to Padua; almost in the year of the
publication of the _De motu cordis_, the Parliament of Paris issued an
edict that no teacher should promulgate anything contrary to the
accepted doctrines of the ancients.

Such was the check which, after the death of Leo the Tenth, had befallen
liberal studies: no Bembo now secretly protected freethinkers; in
Central Europe the generous Maximilian the Second, who died in 1576
while counselling tolerance in religion to Henry the Third, was followed
by reactionary emperors. In England no doubt the sky was clearer; in the
Salamis of modern civilization the malign pretensions of Philip were
shattered, and the “spacious times of Elizabeth” were glorious in their
outburst of freedom, adventure, and culture, Medicine, however, sinking
in the sixteenth century, fell, in the seventeenth, into that reproach
which has become a byword. All superstition was not within the Faith.
When Harvey’s discovery, like an earthquake, had broken up galenism and
other outworn sophistries, his masterly work stood forth not only
against long-winded dialectics on ars sphygmica, critical days,
coctions, derivatives, revulsives, and like abstractions bequeathed by
realism and uncritical subservience to texts, but also against a more
lurid background of folk superstitions—of vampires, witch-burning,
magic, cabbalism, astrology, alchemy, chiromancy, and water-casting. For
medicine, says Bacon, is associated with charlatanry as Aesculapius
with Circe. In physics, terrestrial and celestial, Galileo, persecuted
as he was, had some current with him and before him; Copernicus had
preceded him, Kepler was beside him: but in physiology the waters had
closed upon the path of Galen as upon the wake of a great ship; the
anatomists, themselves galenists, had given Harvey little help; and the
share of Servetus[76], Colombo, and Fabricius was but small in the
discovery of the central fact of the science, and of the method which
opened the way to Pecquet and Aselli, to Glisson, to Steno, to Wharton
and Willis, to Haller and Bernard. Harvey’s discovery was the first step
to a transfiguration of medicine; and though after Harvey there arose
much false physiology and therewith again great floods of medical
sophistry, yet from his time medicine has had to reckon with physiology,
the only source of scientific nosology and therapeutics.

We celebrate the memory of great men in the certain hope that in their
children they will be born again.



Besides those greater preventions which lay in the very structure and
organised conceptions of society in the Middle Ages, the student of
natural science was thwarted also by many lesser, which could not find
place in this oration. Among the chief of these was judicial astrology,
which supplanted and degraded the art of medicine.

It is difficult to carry the imagination into a time when the heavens
were conceived as an animate and divine being[77], the heavenly bodies
as active and intelligent parts of it, and the whole set not in
illimitable space but around man and his home, and waiting upon him
(vid. p. 47); yet without such an effort we cannot realise the ancient
place and dominion of astrology. Such a possession when in its strength
must have enthralled the human mind; and it abode tenaciously with the
first scientific conceptions of celestial phenomena, even in the
thoughts of the enlightened. Tycho Brahe, for many years of his life,
was an adept; and even Kepler saw portents in the skies. When we read
the doctrines of Aristotle on the celestial beings, it is indeed
somewhat strange that upon him, upon Plato, and upon the Ionians, the
“judicia astrorum” had even less hold than the mythology: so truly
poised, even in the infancy of science, were the cosmic speculations of
this wonderful race. The Romans by their Etruscan tradition held to
astrology, chiefly derived from Chaldea and Egypt, and by them it was
mixed with grosser folk magic; yet even in Rome there were many to
repudiate it, not only such Grecian spirits as Cicero but also such
Romans as Juvenal; as in Harvey’s time it was assailed by the irony of
Pascal and of La Fontaine. Even in the twelfth century John of Salisbury
had not failed to turn his light artillery upon astrology.

This art of forecast naturally attached itself closely to that of
medicine; and in its decrepitude still it clung to medicine like a
parasite. And as parasites in the field of pathology, so astrology
brought with it other noxious superstitions and follies even worse than
itself. In England it survived till the witty attack of Swift killed
Partridge and astrology together; yet to this day many of its notions
are embedded in our common speech.

Ptolemy among his good services did one ill to mankind by his
_Tetrabiblon_ or “Quadripertit,” an astrological treatise which was
current with the Almagest in the Western Schools. This authoritative
treatise, together with the Aristotelian conception of the heavens, gave
to astrology the aspect of a regular science with its own principles and
methods; a science admired and even courted by princes. As Frederick
the Second and Charles the Fifth would learn of the stars the moment to
take the field against their foes, so the medieval physician sought
their countenance in the letting of blood or in the exhibition of a
clyster or emetic. The Church, abhorring all concurrent dominion, and
justly abhorring this bondage of the judgment of God and of the will of
man, almost alone withstood the astrologer. If the doctors of theology
did not know how to deny the power of the stars in the material cosmos,
they vehemently denied it in the world of the spirit. “Et ideo pro certo
tenendum est,” says Aquinas, “grave peccatum esse circa ea quæ a
voluntate hominis dependent judiciis astrorum uti.” Of the priestly
assailants of astrology, the most attractive to us for his wit, sagacity
and sound knowledge, was Nicholas Oresme, sometime Bishop of Lisieux
(died 1382), translator of the _Ethics_ and other Aristotelian
treatises, as he is portrayed for us by Hauréau (_Dict. des Sciences
philosophiques_, art. Oresme) and M. Charles Jourdain. The fun of the
thing is that the outspoken Oresme was the counsellor, the friend, and
even the tutor of that notable astrologer Charles the Fifth; a story as
honourable to the prince as to the subject. As Charles issued from the
chambers of his astrologers the discourses of Oresme must have made him
a little uncomfortable, especially when Oresme records the misfortunes
of astrologising captains, such as Alphonso king of Castille, of whom,
says he, I have heard nothing notable except that he cast horoscopes,
was unfortunate in war, and neglected his kingdom; or such again as
James the king of Majorca, a passionate astrologer, who on the dictation
of the stars made a sortie against Peter of Aragon, and never came back
again. It is all very well, says Oresme, for kings to know somewhat of
the noble science of astronomy, but they must be content to hear of it
in talk with sages, and not to spend upon the stars time and care which
they should devote to the interests of their people. “Mesmement tele
chose (astrology, necromancy, geomancy and “quelconques tels ars”) est
plus périlleuse à personnes d’estat, comme sont princes et seigneurs
ausquelz appartient le gouvernement publique. Et pour ce ay je composé
ce livret en françois afin que gens lais le puissent entendre, desquels,
si comme j’ay entendu, plusieurs sont trop enclins à telles fatuités. Et
autres fois ay je escript en latin de ceste matière” etc. In spite of
the Bishop of Lisieux, astrology at the end of the fourteenth century
reached the summit of its influence and popularity. In the course of his
argument Oresme gives an admirable account of the nature of
hallucination and the parts it may play in perverting knowledge; not
only so but he explains also the fallibility of the normal senses in
respect of organic defects, of media, of false inference, of
association, of imposition of the imagination, and so forth. Under such
circumstances, he says, a mystic might conceive himself to have been
visited by an angel!


  [1] To bring the oration within the time allotted, this portion, and
  the paragraphs on astrology added as an appendix, were omitted. For
  the same reason the paragraphs on scepticism (p. 82) were also omitted
  but by inadvertence have held their continuity in the text. It is
  customary to print the text as delivered; and this must be my excuse
  for the cumbrous apparatus of notes, much of which might have been
  taken into an enlarged text. The notes are necessary to fortify
  statements which orally may pass, but do not satisfy a reader.

  [2] The “humoral doctrine” is imperfectly known. The four _elements_
  are earth, water, air, fire; the four _qualities_ are hot, cold,
  moist, dry; the four _humours_ are blood, phlegm, yellow bile, black
  bile. By permutation of these were obtained the endless elaborations
  of the galenist doctrine which for many centuries blinded Europe not
  to the truth only, but also to the clinical and physiological methods,
  example, and attainments of Galen himself.

  [3] “Nec ullum satis validum imperium erat coercendis seditionibus
  populi, flagitia hominum ut cæremonias deum protegentis.” Tac. Ann.
  III. 60.

  [4] It must not be supposed that the idealism of Plato and the
  mysticism of the East were alike, or even akin. Plato was a Greek; his
  mind, as we appreciate such qualities, was sane and lucid: he had no
  yearning whatever for absorption in the Infinite; but rather, like
  Aristotle, for a noble life.

  [5]  “Oftener on her knees than on her feet
        Died every day she lived.”
                                Macbeth IV. 3.

  [6] I see in recent reports of Egyptian exploration that at
  Oxyrhynchus Plato was represented with curious persistence by the
  Phædo and the Laches; and these treatises appear in the early Fayyum

  [7] A few axioms, collected from the physical and metaphysical
  treatises (perhaps by Cassiodorus from Boetius), were current from an
  early date. The translations of Boetius must for a time have lain in
  some neglect?

  [8] Alcuin had but a translated abridgment or summary of the
  Categories, attributed to Augustine; and in a MS. of the tenth century
  we find no more than this. Boetius’ full translation of the Categories
  was not current till the end of this century, when all the logic of
  Aristotle was in the hands of the doctors. In the earlier Middle Ages,
  as in the writings of John of Salisbury and of William of Conches, we
  hear even more of Boetius than of the master himself. Virgil, Seneca
  and Cicero also were the sources of much of the culture of this
  period. Alcuin was a grammarian; he taught from Priscian and Donatus,
  improved the eighth century Latin, and probably made Virgil and Cicero
  known in Gaul and Britain. He knew but little Greek, as we infer from
  his quotation of the names of the Categories. Erigena knew more Greek
  and carried some of it to the Court of Charles the Bald. See note 2,
  p. 65. Alcuin probably did not visit Ireland. Boetius had translated
  also both Analytics and the Topics.

  [9] Yet Roger Bacon seems to have apprehended both progress and the
  relativity of truth. Before Newman, he declared that God makes no full
  revelation but gives it in instalments; and in another passage he
  speaks of the judgments of Aristotle, and of other great teachers,
  “secundum possibilitatem sui temporis ... aliud tempus fuit tunc, et
  aliud nunc est”—a remarkable saying. Of the Saints he says “they had
  their time, we have our own.” Vid. also note, p. 80.

  [10] Modern French historians do us the honour of annexing our heroes;
  in respect of the scholars of the Middle Ages M. Charles Jourdain has
  set, or followed, this example. John of Salisbury, that charming child
  of renascence, born out of due time, was first claimed as a Frenchman;
  then, as this “provenance” becomes untenable, he, and others, are
  called “Anglo-French.” The University of Paris in the XIIth century
  was no more France than Rome was Italy. In our sedentary arable life
  we do not realise the nomad habits of our forefathers. Edward the
  First would inhabit six distant castles in less than as many weeks;
  indeed Great Britain itself was then no island. The heroes, nay the
  armies, of Froissart’s Story fly about the world in their seasons like
  migrating birds. All keen scholars of the West went to the University
  of Paris, the daughter of kings and popes, and the intellectual centre
  not of a strip of kingdom between Anjou and the Empire, but of Europe
  itself. And of the scholars of Paris, Englishmen were, we hear, the
  most turbulent, but the boldest in argument and the most greedy of
  learning; this last character perhaps it is that now-a-days looks
  least English. Kuno Fischer admires the procession of great Englishmen
  down the highway of medieval thought, from Erigena to Francis Bacon.
  John was born at Salisbury, spent thirteen of his early years at the
  University of Paris, the best of them in the stormy service of Thomas
  Becket, and but the last five as Bishop of Chartres. We do not call
  Lanfranc an Englishman, nor even Adrian the Fourth an Italian.

  [11] The name Realism has been improperly used—improperly because
  previously engaged—to signify the conception of an objective world,
  from the play of which our impressions arise, and of which our
  impressions are, if not likenesses, at any rate symbols, as opposed to
  the name “Idealism” which, with a like violence, has been turned to
  signify the conception that the universe of things is but a picture
  produced by the evolution of the phenomena of consciousness. The
  proper names for these opposite conceptions are of course Noumenalism
  and Phenomenalism. Realism proper as a habit of thought, whatever may
  have been its provisional uses, is now a mischievous habit;
  noumenalism is a harmless amusement.

  [12] Roscellinus, the Roger Bacon of the eleventh century, learned,
  rebellious, lucid and heroic, withstood the Church for philosophy as
  did Bacon in the thirteenth for natural science. It would seem that in
  heroism at any rate Abélard was below his master.

  [13] Vid. p. 50.

  [14] The opponents of the theory of the Mass are apt to charge the
  Roman Church with the proposition that therein the elements are
  changed into “real” flesh and blood. In the nineteenth century, as in
  the thirteenth, this Church has not, I believe, determined whether the
  “real” substance be corporeal or incorporeal, separable or inseparable
  from the sensible properties of things; whether in a word it be
  something or, as many of us would say, nothing at all. Spinoza
  regarded “substance” as intelligent and extended.

  [15] Thus it was difficult to claim his authority for one side or the
  other. The metaphysical treatises were not known till the later part
  of the twelfth century. (See p. 75, note 2.) At the outset of the
  Physics Aristotle discusses what nature is in itself, and defines
  first elements; in the Second Analytics on the other hand, although
  thinking of science as deductive and expository, he strongly opposes
  the primary existence of ideas, though these are predicable of many
  individuals. By excess of logical formations, the division of
  properties, the use of such terms as “γένη ὑποκείμενα,” &c. &c., he
  laid himself open to misconception, and so was readily platonised by
  his commentators. It would seem indeed that for Aristotle universals
  were not merely propositions obtained by negation of individual
  variations, but something more active. A νόησις became somehow a
  ποίησις; e.g. “ἡ δημιουργήσασα φύσις.” His position may be appreciated
  briefly thus:—In the Categories Aristotle speaks of individuals as
  primarily existent, while in Met. Z, and elsewhere, the primary
  existent is the form. The inconsistency is, however, more apparent
  than real; for in the Categories it is the individual so far as he
  represents his natural kind which is primarily existent, whilst the
  form which in the Metaphysics is primarily existent occurs only in the
  individual. This terse appreciation is one of my many debts to Dr

  [16] It were almost to be desired, for our own lucidity, that we could
  get rid of the words cause and law, and use language significant of
  order only. Aristotle’s influence has weighed heavily in favour of
  studying “Causes” rather than sequences; thus it is hard to clear our
  own minds, and impossible to clear the minds of our pupils, of a
  genetic notion of causation—that an effect comes, as it were, from
  the womb of its causes. Even Ockham taught as if causes contained
  their effects. Mr Marshall (West. Rev. loc. cit.) is of opinion that
  Roger Bacon by his “non oportet causas investigare” intended to
  confine scientific thought to the relations of phenomena.

  [17] As St Anselm put it, “Participatione speciei plures homines sunt
  unus homo.” Out of humanity individual men proceed.

  [18] Vid. p. 32, note.

  [19] Erigena, “the miracle of the Holy Ghost”; a figure of almost
  mythical grandeur, arising in the far west, full of new learning, of
  lyric enthusiasm, and heroic courage. He did not protest, with St
  Columba, against the Papacy only; he protested against authority, and
  he protested against mighty ignorance; neither of which should
  withstand the persuasion of right reason. “Ratio immutabilis ... quæ
  ... nullius auctoritatis adstipulatione roborari indiget.” His works
  were proscribed and burned.

  [20] The one, to which alone Parmenides and Melissus attributed
  existence, was a material although an incorporeal unity. We must
  beware of accepting “matter” in the current dualist sense; for
  Aristotle himself ὕλη was hardly distinguishable from δύναμις.

  [21] With every allowance for the phases of church and school in
  successive academical generations it seems strange that in 1209
  Aristotle should have been forbidden under excommunication, and in
  1231 restored to such favour that for the disciples of Albert and St
  Thomas the master almost attained the authority of a father of the
  church; the explanation probably is that “Aristotle” meant for a time
  the paynim interpretations of Toledo, particularly of the Physics (the
  Metaphysics were not translated from the Greek till about 1220); and
  meant not this only, but also liberal quotation and incorporation of
  the writings of Arab philosophers. To show how learning, even in the
  University of Paris, lay under ecclesiastical control, some extracts
  from the Edicts of the Synod of Paris and of Gregory the Ninth may be
  cited in illustration:—After directing that “Corpus magistri Amaurici
  extrahatur e cimiterio, et projiciatur in terram non benedictam” the
  Synod farther orders that the “Quaternuli [“Quaternuli” is translated
  by Ducange, Quatuor quartæ chartæ, seu octo folia: i.e. the octavos]
  magistri David de Dinant, ... afferantur et comburantur; nec libri
  Aristotelis de naturali philosophia, nec Commenta legantur Parisiis,
  publice vel secreto. Et hoc sub pœna excommunicationis
  inhibemus.... De libris theologicis scriptis in romano, præcipimus
  quod episcopis diocesanis tradantur, et Credo in Deum et Pater noster
  in romano, præter vitas sanctorum.” The order two years later
  confirming these prohibitions differs but in form. Even the Bull of
  Gregory in 1231, relieving the schools of this proscription, says, “Ad
  hæc jubemus ut magistri artium unam lectionem de Prisciano et unam
  post aliam ordinarie semper legant, et libris illis naturalibus, qui
  in concilio provinciali ex certa causa prohibiti fuere, Parisiis non
  utantur, quousque examinati fuerint, et ab omni errorum suspicione
  purgati.” The pope adds paternally, “Magistri vero et scholares
  theologiæ, in facultate quam profitentur, se studeant laudabiliter
  exercere, nec philosophos se ostendant, sed satagant fieri theodocti:
  nec loquantur in lingua populi, et populi linguam hebræam cum azotica
  confundentes” [azotica or arethica means the profane tongue (Ducange);
  Hebrew being a Sancta lingua]. The pantheistic outburst of the later
  twelfth century, although deriving in part from Erigena, was probably
  fed by the commentary of Alexander of Aphrodisias. This commentary was
  widely read in Arabic and Arab-latin translations, the latter of which
  were made, as we know (v. A. Jourdain, p. 123 and seq.), by Gerard of
  Cremona (d. 1187). Alexander’s more material interpretation of ὕλη
  involved the return of All into God; hence no resurrection, no
  future life. In his followers these doctrines become grosser and
  grosser, and, fused with other Arabian doctrine, prepared for and
  afterwards strengthened the Averroism of Padua, in the XV-XVIth
  century, in which system it was taught that the universal soul,
  dipping for the time into the individual man, is at death resumed into
  the universal soul. This virtual denial of personal immortality was of
  course bitterly resented by the Church. (Vid. p. 68, note.) Thus from
  the thirteenth century onwards pantheistic infidelity survived and
  even defied the menaces and the punishments of the Church.

  [22] Both Albert and Aquinas were inconsistent. Hauréau points out
  that St Thomas was a vitalist in physics, an animist in metaphysics, a
  nominalist in philosophy, and a realist in theology. “Il a cherché à
  reconcilier des morts (i.e. Plato and Aristotle) qui, toute leur vie,
  se sont contredits.” But even sceptics contradict themselves; and it
  is fair to add that St Thomas pushed universals back to immanence in
  the Divine mind. For Plato the ideas are thoughts of universal mind;
  for Aristotle God, or Nature by its thoughts or plans determines the
  lines of phenomena: thus Plato and Aristotle were more alike than
  Thomas knew, or Hauréau admits. There was no such thing of course as
  The Scholastic Philosophy, of which I read again but the other day in
  a modern work. Scholasticism is the very various teaching of the
  schools of the XI-XVth centuries; though its general tendency was to
  search rather into the origin and nature than into the functions of
  being. The philosophy of the thirteenth century on the whole was
  eclectic;—though perhaps eclectic by confusion rather than by
  reconciliation. The rule of authority prevented an appreciation of the
  relative values of opinions; the recognised authorities were equally
  true, and had to be dovetailed together somehow. Critical
  interpretation had not begun.

  [23] The objection should not lie against hair splitting, for thought
  cannot be too penetrating; but against the splitting of imaginary

  [24] M. Charles Jourdain thus describes the procession of Rector,
  doctors and disciples of the University of Paris at the beginning of
  the fourteenth century. At the end of this century its decay began.

  [25] For Aristotle the principle of individuation was matter and form
  (vid. note, p. 33); for Averroes it was form; for St Thomas it was
  matter. For all “vitalists” the identity of form, soul and life is
  essential; thus Stahl regarded soul as bestowing on body all activity,
  as determining all vital functions. In Aristotle ψυχή is
  untranslatable = anima and animus—soul and vital principle. Πνεῦμα
  again in various writers may mean anything, from air to spirit or
  other essence; cf. Arist. De Generat. An. II. 3, and the “aura” of
  Harvey, and even of Haller in the same connexion as the fertilising

  [26] Not for all, not for the greatest of them! Aristotle, in vain,
  warned later generations against prophesying what seems likely,
  instead of looking to see how things come about:—“οὐκ ἀληθῆ λέγοντες,
  ἀλλὰ μαντευόμενοι τὸ συμβησόμενον ἐκ τῶν εἰκότων, καὶ προσλαμβάνοντες
  ὡς οὕτως ἔχον πρὶν γινόμενον οὕτως ἰδεῖν.” (De Gen. Anim. IV. i.)
  “Croire tout ce qu’on rêve,” if useful and possibly admirable in its
  day, in “neo-Hegelians” is a little stale.

  [27] Thus, in ascending from general to more general, in the most
  general will be sought unique and perfect being; the primary cause and
  sole object of science—the αὐτοζῷον of the Alexandrians:
  whereas by successive eliminations utter abstractions would become
  utter vacuity. To such realists all subordinate beings are integral
  parts of the primary being. It would serve no useful end here to
  analyse these doctrines, or to indicate the pythagorean or stoical
  elements of them; for platonists and realists had their schools and
  degrees of subtlety; and Plato himself was inconsistent. Some brought
  secondary agents—demiurges or angels—into more creative activity,
  others carried creative reason back to the ideal good, and so on.

  [28] Held by Gilbert, and attributed to Averroes; but older than
  Averroes. In turning to Francis Bacon’s hypothesis I read (Ed. E. and
  S. II. 263. Hist. Densi et rari—chapter, “Dilatationes per spiritum
  innatum se expandentem,” a Paracelsian sort of chapter) “Pulsus cordis
  et arteriarum in animalibus fit per irrequietam dilatationem
  spirituum, et receptum ipsorum, per vices.” The muscular quality of
  the heart was known to Galen, forgotten, and rediscovered. Spiritus
  vitalis, for Bacon, was “aura composita ex flamma et aere” (cf. Æn.
  VI. 747). Glisson has been fortunate in two generous judges, in Haller
  and Virchow; it would ill become me to depreciate a distinguished
  Fellow of my own College, and as a clinical observer Glisson had
  considerable merits; but as a physiologist he was sunk in realism. He
  was happy in the invention of the technical term “irritability,” but
  for him this virtue was as metaphysical an essence as the vital
  spirit; his prime motor was not physical. As a philosopher I fear the
  independent reader of his works will find him fanciful and wearisome.

  [29] Herein Harvey’s sagacity brought him towards the truth. “Air,” he
  says in the _De generatione_, “is given neither for the cooling nor
  the nutrition of animals ... it is as if heat were rather enkindled
  within the fœtus (at birth) than repressed by the influence of the
  air.” Boyle (who says that he worked under the influence of Harvey’s
  discoveries) carried this matter forward by most interesting and
  sagacious experiments with his air-pump. For the layman, I may add
  that (to speak generally) before Harvey’s time respiration was
  regarded not as a means of combustion but of refrigeration. How man
  became such a fiery dragon was the puzzle!

  [30] Perfection was attributed, not only by medieval philosophers but
  also by Plato and Aristotle, to the circle. Circular movement was
  therefore the most perfect, and therefore again must be that of the
  planets. This is a good illustration of the almost necessary tendency
  in the earlier excursions of thought to equate incoordinates, and to
  fill gaps in reasoning from alien sources.

  [31] Not only movement but also formative activity. The ἀρχὴ τῆς
  κινήσεως is the efficient cause of Aristotle; for him final causes
  direct motion—the οὗ ἕνεκα. Thus dialectic was taken for dynamics.
  Even Kant confused cause and effect with reason and consequence in
  hypothetical propositions (Benn). Caverni (Storia del methodo
  sperimentale in Italia, 1891-5) says that Jordanus Nemorarius (of
  Borgentreich near Warburg, d. 1236) made the great advance of
  extending the static physics of the ancients to establish dynamics;
  and that he introduced the word “moment.” In a cursory survey of the
  two works of Nemorarius which we have in Cambridge I have not been
  able to verify this statement; the notion I have found but not the
  word itself.

  [32] Vid. p. 44, note 2.

  [33] And Goethe:

        “Wie Himmelskräfte auf und nieder steigen
         Und sich die goldnen Eimer reichen!
         Mit segenduftenden Schwingen
         Vom Himmel durch die Erde dringen,
         Harmonisch all das All durchklingen.”

                                 Faust I. i. 1.

  In many of the older poets the same motive is found. Vaughan, a
  contemporary of Harvey, says:

       “And round beneath it Time in houres, dayes, yeares,
        Driven by the spheres
        Like a vast shadow moved.”

  The only celestial messenger who has discussed this matter with
  mankind was something of an obscurantist. Vid. Paradise Lost, Bk.

  [34] The word “philosophy” in the Middle Ages signified the pursuit of
  knowledge of things human and divine, and of the causes of them. It
  was often divided into Physics, Ethics and Logic. Cicero, to some of
  whose writings I have referred as then popular, says (in many
  passages, e.g. in the Acad. I. and II.) that philosophy “Prima rerum
  naturam scrutatur, secunda animum componit, tertia bene disserendi
  rationem docet.”

  [35] Vid. note, p. 77.

  [36] The judicious reader will remember in the Letters to Martinus
  Scriblerus the “familiar instance” of the jack. “In every roasting
  jack there is a meatroasting quality which neither resides in the fly,
  nor in the weight, nor in any particular wheel of the jack ... but is
  inherent in the jack.... As sensation, reasoning, volition &c. are the
  several modes of thinking, so roasting of beef, roasting of mutton,
  roasting of pullets, geese, turkeys &c. are the several modes of
  meatroasting.... And as the general quality of meatroasting, with its
  several modifications as to beef, mutton, pullets &c. does not inhere
  in any part of the jack, so neither does consciousness” &c. &c.

  [37] Or indeed he shrank from them, as the continual exclusion of
  divine interference seemed to him a starvation of moral growth. Vid.
  Phædo, 96, the interesting passage beginning “ἐγὼ γὰρ νέος ὢν
  Θαυμαστῶς ὡς ἐπεθύμησα ταύτης τῆς σοφίας ἣν δὴ καλοῦσι περὶ φύσεως
  ἱστορίαν κ.τ.λ.”

  [38] The encyclopedic method, followed by Francis Bacon, and
  perpetuated even in the nineteenth century by some German
  metaphysicians, was not the mere collection of matter from any or all
  quarters, after the manner of Pliny; nor again mere omniscience; but
  was the demonstration of a cosmical theory from all departments of
  knowledge. When knowledge was a theological philosophy theologians
  were bound to supply thinking men with “Summæ,” or comprehensive
  applications and casuistries of it. Hugo of St Victor (d. 1141) and
  Robert Pullen (d. 1150) were the first scholastic Summists.

  [39] Aristotle made many experiments, but experiments are not
  necessarily verification; and for the most part his were not. It is
  not experiment which makes science but the experimental method. Dr
  Payne, in the Harveian Oration of 1896, reminded us that among the
  ancients the forerunner of Harvey in this method was Galen.

  [40] Those who are curious in manners will observe that during the
  last few years the medievalising clergy in England have discarded that
  fair linen which in the elder clergy was the emblem and the example of

  [41] “Nemo psychologus nisi prius physiologus,” said Johannes Müller.

  [42] For example, one man, fixing his eyes on a sublime ideal of
  holiness, confesses on his knees that he is a miserable sinner;
  another, surveying men about him, repudiates this imputation: it is a
  matter of parallax.

  [43] Boyle, Essays, 2nd Ed. 1669, p. 119. In his Edition of 1661 Boyle
  speaks of the discovery of Harvey “our English Democritus” (published
  1628) as commonly accepted. Whereby, he says, other “very plausible
  and radicated opinions” (the old schemes of the circulation) ... “are
  generally grown out of request.”

  [44] Haeser says (vol. II. p. 433): “Einen sehr bedeutenden Aufschwung
  nahm die Chirurgie im Zeitalter Harvey’s bei den Engländern, unter
  denen bis dahin kein Wundarzt ersten Ranges aufgetreten war. Nach
  kurzer Zeit erlangten die englischen Chirurgen durch allgemeine
  Bildung, gründliche Kenntniss der Anatomie, und praktische Gelegenheit
  ein entschiedenes Uebergewicht über die bis dahin herrschende
  französische Schule.” Cf. also Daremberg, Hist. et Doct. vol. I. p.
  281 et seq.

  [45] In the Medical Magazine (May, June, July, August, and Sept. 1899)
  is an interesting essay by Mr D’Arcy Power, “How Surgery became a
  profession in London.” Mr Power tells us that a scheme for the unity
  of the medical profession in London was set on foot in 1423, when the
  surgeons were the more highly organised body. A “Rector of Medicine”
  was indeed elected (Master Gilbert Kymer). It is not known how long
  the conjoint faculty of medicine and surgery lasted in London; but
  unhappily for our profession it seems to have been dissolved in a very
  few years.

  [46] This relation was somewhat one-sided: the philosophers forged
  doctrines and presented them to the Church; whereupon the Church
  consecrated them to eternity, and the philosophers were not allowed
  thereafter to improve or to restore their own creations. “La théologie
  n’est quelque chose qu’à condition d’être tout.”

  [47] As Erigena and Rabanus knew some Greek, Ireland, like Edessa and
  Bagdad, seems to have shared the honour of preserving original texts;
  we may infer from the doctrines of Erigena that in Ireland the Timæus
  was the chief of them.

  [48] See Baas, Geschichtliche Entwickelung des ärztlichen Standes,
  1896, p. 128. Charlemagne journeyed in Italy where some schools still
  existed, and where Priscian, Donatus, Boëtius, Cassiodorus, Augustine,
  even Virgil and Cicero were read; thence he called teachers to his
  palace schools; and to Lyons, Orleans or Tours. How Paris became the
  centre of enlightenment in the Western world is not clear. The “palace
  school” probably was of no place, but of the royal retinue; that the
  School of Paris was made up of those of St Geneviève, St Germain des
  Près and the Cathedral school seems not to be a very probable

  [49] The “Arabs” were a mixed throng of orientals; some of them were
  Aryans, as the Persians and Nestorians; some were Arabs, Syrians, or
  Hebrews. The Nestorians were eminent as physicians, and it is
  interesting to this College to know that one of the best translators
  of Aristotle into Arabic was Johannitius, a Nestorian physician. The
  Eastern peoples, as the Western, owed all to the Greeks except a
  double measure of dialectical ingenuity, which was their own, and is
  their own to-day. By the incisive methods of Aristotle the Christian
  neo-platonists had been variously carved into heretics—such as the
  Monophysites; and these when driven eastwards carried Greek to Edessa
  and Bagdad: from these centres it was, and from Nisibur in Persia and
  elsewhere, that the “Saracens” drew their culture. Aristotle was first
  translated into Arabic in the reign of Al Mansur, the son of Harûn al
  Raschid (813-833); Avicenna carried the Aristotelian encyclopedia to
  its culmination; and Cordova in the tenth century was as full of
  fervid disciples as was Paris in the thirteenth. The Arabian medicine
  was Aristotle and Galen. The Arabian philosophy was originally built
  upon the Alexandrian emanations and hypostases (the soul of the
  universe, intelligence the first of creatures, nature and mutability,
  and so forth). Essences and forms were produced, as the
  “intelligibilia” of “real” knowledge, till, as some one has wittily
  put it, “universals became almost palpable.” Avicenna indeed
  approached understanding from the senses, and Averroes accepted this
  right position; but he taught the permanent subsistence of
  intelligence, as a sphere in a hierarchy of spiritual principles
  independent of matter and persons. In no long time this was turned
  into the unity, as opposed to the individuality, of the soul; the
  universal soul dipping as it were into the individual, and at his
  death returning into the universal; a virtual denial of personal
  immortality. Hence the bitter defiance of Albert and St Thomas. The
  Averroistic doctrines were enthusiastically propagated on the other
  hand by that “malleus Ecclesiae Romanae” Frederick the Second
  (1212-1250). The Arabian science consisted in medicine, mathematics,
  astronomy, and alchemy. Averroes it was who first asserted the
  independence of the spheres of science and religion; a division
  popular at the present day, and one which lent itself to many a
  convenient subterfuge, in Padua.

  [50] Dante, Inf. (XX. 115). Michael Scot translated Averroes from
  Arabian to Latin; also the _De cælo_ and _De anima_ of Aristotle,
  which reached Roger Bacon about 1230. Thus we may regard Michael as
  the founder of Paduan Averroism. All persons who busied themselves
  with natural experiment in the Middle Ages were accused of magic; even
  Albert did not escape the suspicion or the credit of sorcery.

  [51] Renan, Averroès. And to like effect M. Hauréau says, “Le
  péripatéticisme d’Averroès ne diffère pas moins de l’antique doctrine
  du Lycée que l’Alhambra du Parthenon”; and he compares “le
  péripatéticisme d’Albert et d’Aquinas” to the “monuments fiers et
  bizarres du Gothique du XIIIme siècle.”

  [52] I may venture to quote again the “locus classicus”:—

         “Wel knew he the olde Esculapius,
          And Deiscorides, and eek Rufus,
          Old Ypocras, Haly, and Galien;
          Serapion, Razis, and Avicen;
          Averrois, Damascien, and Constantyn;
          Bernard, and Gatesden, and Gilbertyn.”

             Chaucer, C. T. Prol. 429-434 (Skeat’s Ed.).

  [53] See pp. 24 and 28.

  [54] As a school of thought; in fine art of course it was glorious.

  [55] Ozanam (Doc. inédits, quoted by Rashdall, p. 78) says this early
  light was “une de ces nuits lumineuses où les dernières clartés du
  soir se prolongent jusqu’aux premières blancheurs du matin.”

  [56] Albert—“nostri temporis stupor et miraculum!”—is an attractive
  figure, and deserves his renown as the greatest of the medieval sages.
  His endowments were richer and wider than those of the great Italian
  logician, his pupil, whose name has had a greater vogue, and whose
  doctrines are still the accepted discipline of the Church of Rome.
  Albert restored Aristotle, and in astronomy and chemistry sought for
  truth in nature. That St Thomas was a man of the highest intellectual
  power and attainments, an eminence which is claimed for him by many
  scholars, as by Mr Vernon in his edition of the Paradise, I cannot
  admit; unless it be to a critical scholar who has mastered the
  contents of his many folios, if such a scholar there be. For my part,
  after reading much of what is written of St Thomas, I have but done
  what was possible to me in other such cases; that is, I have run my
  eye over the titles of his books and chapters, and formed some rapid
  judgment here and there of the ways of his thought. Now I venture to
  assert that the ways of the thought of Aquinas, subtle and symmetrical
  as they are, lie wholly within the formulas of his age. He left
  science for logic, the stuff of thought for its instrument; satisfying
  himself with such tinkling cymbals as “Nihil potest per se operari,
  nisi quod per se subsistit; ... Impossibile est quod forma separetur a
  seipsa ... quod subsistens per se desinat esse” ... and so forth.
  Albert though a less symmetrical is a more original genius. To Aquinas
  indeed I should hesitate to attribute genius; to Albert it seems to me
  this title may be granted, if with some hesitation. “Vir famosus et
  erroneus” was Roger Bacon’s summary of Albert’s career, but Bacon was
  scarcely an indifferent witness.

  [57] Among the MSS. in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, are letters
  of Innocent IV. to the Archdeacon of Canterbury (and others), “Ut
  (Episc. Linc.) nepotem suum Fredericum (of Lavagna) in canonicatum in
  ecclesia Lincolniensi, proximè vacaturum, inducat, et Resp. Episc.
  Linc. in quâ probat talem provisionem esse contra voluntatem et cultus
  Dei; ideoque negat se concessurum.” I see that the authenticity of
  some of these letters has been called in question by M. Charles
  Jourdain, but in any case they are contemporary, and consonant with
  Robert’s acts and character. Moreover, two years before, Innocent had
  suspended the bishop for refusing to induct an Italian, ignorant of
  English, to a rich benefice in his diocese. I find that Dr Luard, in
  1880, had no doubts of the authenticity of these letters (Encycl.
  Brit. XI. 211). Mons. Charles Jourdain’s collected essays, in which he
  discusses their authenticity, were published posthumously in 1888; but
  his Editor makes the slovenly omission of the dates and places of the
  first publications of the several essays.

  [58] There were three ways of access to the Greek texts of Aristotle:
  by the Arab-latin translations; by translations into Latin direct from
  the Greek; and by the use of the Greek text itself. These means were
  modified again by the chances of access to particular authors, and, as
  in the case of Aristotle for example, to particular treatises. To
  ascertain the dates of access to these new sources I have made some
  search; and herein I have found great help in the “Recherches
  critiques” of Amable Jourdain. We must remember that though the source
  of Western culture is not Latin, but Greek, yet its meagre channels in
  medieval Europe were Latin; its best tradition lay in Lucretius,
  Cicero, Seneca, Virgil. The ill-starred Boetius was the last of the
  Grecians. Greek was driven East and West: West into Ireland, where in
  the ninth century a few Greek MSS. survived, and were read in the
  original by Erigena and his disciples; but this Irish Greek tradition
  was soon lost, and there were no teachers of Greek. Yet it seems
  certain that, in Oxford, Robert of Lincoln and Adam Marsh had at any
  rate learned assistance in the production of some Greco-latin
  translations of Aristotle, of the Ethics for example. Dr Jackson has
  pointed out to me a passage in Aquinas’ Commentary on the Ethics,
  where “the presentation of the right reading misspelt, and of a
  ludicrous etymology side by side with one which is very nearly right,
  seem to show that, whilst Aquinas had about him people who knew Greek,
  he himself had no substantial knowledge of it.” Grosseteste himself
  may have had some efficient knowledge of Greek; “vir in latino et in
  greco peritissimus,” says Matthew Paris. Dr Jackson (in a private
  letter) feels assured that “Roger Bacon was plainly a competent Greek
  scholar. Of this there is proof in the _Opera inedita_, edited by
  Brewer for the Master of the Rolls.” We know also that more than one
  scholar of the 11-12th centuries travelled in the East, though, as Dr
  Daremberg says, travellers to the East were more apt to bring back
  false relics than genuine manuscripts. There was a small Greek
  community and a Greek monastery at Auriol, near the old colony of
  Marseilles. Still, for lack of masters and materials, Greek then was a
  very rare accomplishment; and it is manifest, from much internal
  evidence, that Albert had no Greek; though he certainly possessed
  Greco-latin translations of some few Aristotelian treatises by other
  hands, of the _De anima_ and of the Physics for example, whence he
  makes quotations without interspersion of Arabic titles, proper names,
  nouns and terms, such as he rather helplessly reproduces in his
  rendering of the ninth book of the _De cælo_ and elsewhere. We know
  from other sources that a few treatises, such as the _De anima_, and
  the first two books of the Ethics, existed in Greco-latin rendering
  before the Arab-latin versions of Michael Scot and others (1220-1225).
  In later life Albert had the assistance of Aquinas to whom we have
  attributed some knowledge of Greek; for we find Aquinas, with the
  countenance of Urban the Fourth, not only searching Europe for Greek
  manuscripts, sending emissaries to Spain to make versions for him, and
  supervising the preparation of translations directly into Latin, but
  also personally comparing the Latin translations with the Greek texts
  of the Ethics and Politics, and recording variants; variants which
  Albert copied from his disciple. (It may be worthy of remark that even
  so late as 1586 there were no Greek types in Oxford, and that in 1599
  Casaubon (Life by Pattison) could find no compositors for Greek in
  Lyons.) The great debt of the West to the Arabs was a new enthusiasm
  for learning, and for the “Princeps philosophorum”; not their
  travestied texts and unwieldy commentaries, which Roger Bacon,
  probably perceiving that his contemporaries swore by the Arab rather
  than by the Greek, wished he could burn.

  [59] To wonder why Roger Bacon became a clerk and a Franciscan is to
  look upon the thirteenth century with the eyes of the nineteenth. The
  vision of St Francis had not grown dim; the strange beauty of his life
  held men captive still, and his cheerful natural religion still
  animated his disciples. None could have said more truly than St

    “While others fish with craft for great opinion,
     I with great truth catch mere simplicity.”

  The grey friar of the fourteenth century, as we know him in Langland
  and Chaucer, or later in the degraded fanaticism of the Observants,
  had fallen far from the example of his master. Perhaps the chief
  reason for Bacon’s decision was that his friend Grosseteste, who on
  the first coming of the friars wrote eloquently to Gregory the Ninth
  of their illumination, humility and piety, was a member of the Order,
  and was the first of its Rectors in Oxford. (Rd. Grosseteste, Epist.
  ed. Luard; Rolls, 1861, p. 179.) Even in Cambridge, till 1877,
  teachers and professors, save those of Law or Medicine, were
  generally speaking in holy orders; for instance, the following
  extract, of date 1849, which I owe to the kindness of Dr Donald
  MacAlister, “Cæterum neminem in socium unquam admitti volumus qui non
  sit aut Theologiam professurus et sacros ordines post certum temporis
  intervallum inferius definiendum suscepturus aut e Collegio
  discessurus, nisi unus e duobus sociis qui Medicinæ aut ex illis
  duobus qui Juris Civilis studio deputati sunt, electus fuerit.” (Stat.
  Coll. Div. Joh. Evan. Cant. cap. xii. 28 April, 12 Vict. 1849.) To
  this hour in England the clergy command the public schools. In a
  warlike society learning and contemplation must fall to the clergy;
  without the fortresses of war or learning, if there was any safety,
  there was not dignity or peace. The mendicant orders were young
  institutions, ascendant, and in favour with the great. Of their
  usurpations in the universities I have spoken. Within them even Popes
  could not meddle, as Bacon found to his sorrow. Hales and Ockham also
  became Minors, as Albert and St Thomas, both of illustrious descent,
  became Preachers. Moreover the Franciscans had devoted themselves to
  the care of the sick, and especially of those smitten with the new
  pestilences—such as leprosy, syphilis, and plague—which Oriental
  dirt and asceticism had engendered or inflamed; and thus a bent to
  observation of natural phenomena may have been encouraged (see art.
  Roger Bacon, Westminster Rev. loc. cit.). To say that to the monks we
  owe the conservation of learning is not so true as to say that learned
  men betook themselves to the religious houses in order to find relief
  from turmoil, to secure the subsistence of life without its cares, to
  get access to books, and to profit by the counsel of comrades who had
  enjoyed not only the culture of their own house, but also the
  interchange of ideas and manuscripts with all the learned houses in
  Europe. When these advantages were to be had in the world, learning
  deserted the monasteries. Again, Bacon was not an unbeliever, nor
  anything like it; in the _Opus Majus_ he declares the Holy Scriptures
  to be the source of all truth; not only, like Socrates before him and
  Kant after him, did he fix his eyes on moral perfection as the end,
  but also on the Church as the means: on the other hand the resentments
  of passionate genius under harsh duress did not make a naturally
  rebellious temper more tractable. “Fames et mora bilem conciunt.” It
  is evident that within the Franciscan order there were three
  well-marked parties; namely, of the naturalists, as Bacon; of the
  mystics, as Bonaventura; and of the sophists, as John Duns the
  Northumbrian. Now Bacon’s troubles did not begin till the succession
  to the Generalship of the Order of the seraphic Bonaventura, an
  argumentative mystic (like Duns, and unlike the ecstatic mystics of St
  Victor), who, rejecting Aristotle, had steeped himself in the
  neo-platonism of Augustine and “Dionysius the Areopagite”; and
  Bonaventura and his party it was who stopped Bacon’s mouth at Oxford,
  and shut him up in Paris. What the life of Bacon and the direction of
  medieval thought might have been had Grosseteste been able to spare
  Adam Marsh from Oxford for the Generalship it were perhaps too curious
  to consider; yet we may profitably remember that Bacon, brushing aside
  Porphyry and his questions, and denouncing the “vain physics” of
  Paris, urged that enquiry should begin with the simplest objects of
  research, and rise gradually to the higher and higher; every
  observation being controlled by experiment. He says indeed that by
  experiment only can we distinguish a sophism from a demonstration.
  (Op. Tert. XIX.) Earnestly he tried to follow this method; he seems to
  have spent on it substance of his own, and, after this was exhausted,
  to have appeared for the first time in history as a petitioner for
  “scientific grants in aid.” Diderot speaks of Bacon as “Un des génies
  les plus surprenants que la nature ait produits, et un des hommes les
  plus malheureux”; he lived in vain, died unhonoured, and left no

  [60] “Colliget,” Mr E. G. Browne tells me, is a corruption of
  Kulliyyat. It does not exactly mean “Summary” (as commonly stated) but
  rather “General Principles” (Kull means “the whole”; Kulli universal
  or general; fem. pl. Kulliyyat). It may also mean collected writings
  (e.g. of a poet).

  [61] Vid. p. 50.

  [62] I venture to say “even of Caius,” though Caius was a competent
  and indeed for his time an able clinical physician, as we observe in
  his work on the sweating sickness. (Vid. note, p. 96.)

  [63] Oxford fell in the first instance under Franciscan influence, yet
  Alexander Hales (of this order) gave the peripatetic bent to Oxford
  which it retains to this day. Creed rather than conduct was the
  dominant note of the Faith (p. 85); it is interesting therefore to
  learn that for Oxford Robert of Lincoln and Adam Marsh translated, or
  procured a translation of, the Ethics. On the probability that
  Grosseteste had some substantial knowledge of Greek, see p. 75, note

  [64] In Casaubon’s diary we get a glimpse of Oxford in 1613. The
  University was wealthy enough; it had escaped the Paris devastation,
  but had scarcely deserved its good fortune. There was much active
  teaching of a routine kind, many formalities, much serving of tables;
  but of living interest in science, learning, or high culture there was
  not a trace. Of classical learning, in Casaubon’s sense, there was
  naught. Ecclesiastical controversies absorbed or overwhelmed all other
  subjects; and the University was regarded by the Government as an
  instrument of party. The professors were all clerks, and ardent only
  as pamphleteers. Thus, says Pattison, “the University took its full
  share of national passion, prejudice and religious sentiment, but was
  wholly destitute of any power to vivify, to correct, to instruct, or
  to enlighten.” Pattison’s Casaubon, p. 417.

  [65] Both in Bologna and Padua of course there was a faculty of
  Medicine; but its tradition in Bologna was traditional and galenical,
  in Padua independent and progressive. Montpellier had suffered in the
  desolation of Languedoc.

  [66] See page 82.

  [67] Contra Medicum quendam Invectivarum Libri Quatuor. (Op. T. II.
  pp. 1086, 801. Ed. Basel, 1555, quoted Renan, Aver. p. 331.)

  [68] The Royal College of Physicians of London had its birth in the
  schools of Italy; and perhaps in revolt from Averroism the elegant
  humanity of Linacre has too often prevailed in this College rather
  than Harvey’s strenuous control of tradition and rhetoric by more
  positive conceptions, and of all conceptions by direct experimental

  [69] Niccolò Leonico (I give his Latin name in the text as Ueberweg
  gives it) seems to have been a spirited and effective philosophical
  lecturer of Hellenist and critical qualities, and of much charm both
  of style and character. He is not to be confounded with his elder
  contemporary, Nicolaus Leonicenus, of Vicenza and Ferrara, professor
  of medicine and an elegant latiner, who translated the aphorisms of
  Hippocrates; and whose friend Linacre, in translating parts of Galen,
  did a like service to medicine and letters in England.

  [70] Not only of the circulation of the blood. In his treatise _De
  generatione_ Harvey disposed of the belief in spontaneous generation
  (so far as regards visible creatures, its abolition we owe to
  Pasteur), yet Bacon (N. O. II. 41) accepts it, perhaps as fully as did
  Sir Thomas Browne. The _De generatione_ however was not actually
  published till 1651, some 30 years after the _Novum Organon_.

  [71] Galileo and Kepler had proved the validity of terrestrial physics
  and mathematics in astronomy. Aristotle of course was the first to
  apply physics to astronomy, but wrong physics.

  [72] With which Malpighi was in close association.

  [73] The _Consilia medica_, or Consultations, were published records,
  either of particular cases or of diseases in a more general sense,
  which seem to have been instituted by Thaddæus of Florence in the
  thirteenth century, were abundant in the fifteenth, and were continued
  into the sixteenth, and even later. In the fifteenth century these
  records have a considerable historical value, and no little clinical
  interest, as the questions to the patient and the records of symptoms
  are often orderly and graphic, and enable the modern reader to revise
  the diagnoses, many of them grotesque enough. These Consilia make a
  great bulk of matter, and one which has not been thoroughly explored.
  A general account of the Consilia may be read in any good history of
  medicine, but perhaps the most interesting is to be found in the
  chapters on medieval medicine in Daremberg’s “Histoire et Doctrines”
  (e.g. tom. 1. p. 334 et seq.).

  [74] Originally by Fracastorius, Montanus and others, in the former
  half of the sixteenth century. Caius in England, Mercado in Spain,
  Baillou in Paris, if not bedside teachers, had done good clinical
  work, in Consilia and otherwise, in the same century. What
  Fracastorius did for syphilis, Caius did for the sweating sickness,
  and Mercado for petechial typhus. Baillou was too dependent upon the
  letter of tradition.

  [75] Even Descartes has some share with Hegel in the profound error
  that whatsoever is clearly and definitely conceived is true. The
  inference if true for formal logic, is not true for natural processes;
  for instance, Descartes’ well-known attribution of the soul to the
  pineal gland, because all other parts of the brain are double, and the
  soul is single!

  [76] “The share of Servetus was small”; that is, the effect of his
  remarkable discovery was small, for it was buried in a theological
  work of which but a few copies were rescued from the burning; namely
  “Christianismi restitutio. Viennæ Allobrogum, 1553.” (Haeser gives the
  reference to pp. 170-177, De Trinitate divina.) The work was reprinted
  at Nuremberg in 1790.

[77]   Quæ, simul æthereos animo conceperat ignes,
       Ore dabat vero carmina plena dei.

                          Ovid, _Fasti_ I, 473.


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