1578 in Folkestone geboren, wurde in Padua Fabricius ab Aquapendente sein einflußreicher Lehrer in der Anatomie. Harvey's Hauptwerke sind: Exercitatio anatomica de motu cordis et sanguinis in animalibus (Frankfurt 1628), durch das er der Entdecker des Blutkreislaufes, und: Exercitationes de generatione animalium (1651), wodurch er der Begründer der Entwicklungsgeschichte wurde. – Der erste Brief stammt von Harveys Urlaubsreise nach Italien. In Treviso mußte er sich vom 9. Juli bis 16. August 1636 einer Quarantäne unterziehen. Der zweite Brief ist ein Jahr vor Harvey's Tod (1658 †) geschrieben.
Dr. Harvey to Lord Feilding
1636. Aug. 3–13. Treviso. – My sweete lord, I came this morning to the gates of Treviso with great joy, and hoped this night to have had the happiness to have beene with you att Venise, butt I have receyved heare a very unjust affront, being stayed and commanded by this podesta to have gone into the Lazaretto, without any cause or suspition alledged. I took my first fede under the seale of Ratisbone, a place free, and now destined, as your Eccelency knoweth, for the meeting of the Emperor and all the rest of the princes, which if it had not beene soe, they would not have com thither, it being infected or suspected. Since, in every place as I came, I caused my fede to be underwritten, so that there is no ground for them to say any suspition upon me. And att this sentence on me by the podesta (that I should goe to the Lazarett) I absolutely refused, and sayd and offered to shewe that I had the pass and recommendation of his Majesty the king of Great Brittain and of the Emperors Majesty and of my lord Embassador his Eccelency, and that I had to goe to princes and men of quality, and that my busynes required expedition, and desier'd they would not hinder me, butt, as my passes required, further me and that I mought not bring that suspition and infamy on me, besides my own security, to goe to such a place as Lazaretto, whear they use to putt infected persons, an that I shewed them sufficient fede. Fede = fede di sanità, ein Gesundheitszeugnis, das in jeder Stadt, die er auf der Durchreise berührte, abgestempelt sein mußte.Notwithstanding all this, heare I am to lye for ought I see in the open base Base oder bare (?) nach Weir Mitchell a. a. O. S. 40. feilds, God knows how long. The podesta refuseth to see or reade my passes, and I cannot cum att him to speake and use my reasons. I am afraid this lying in the feild will doe me hurt in my health. I beseech your Eccelency to lament hearof. It is unjust to proceed with any man thus without cause and otherwise then Venetians are used in Ingland or soe merrit to be used heare, and otherwise then is fitting for the respects ther shold be used to passes forenamed.
»I pray pardon this scribling on the grass in the feild, and procure with all expedition my freedom from this barbarous usadg. Your distressed frend and humble servant of your Eccellency.
An Dr. J. Vlackveld, Arzt in Haarlem!
Learned Sir, – Your much esteemed letter reached me safely, in which you not only exhibit your kind consideration of me, but display a singular zeal in the cultivation of our art.
It ist even so. Nature is nowhere accustomed more openly to display her secret mysteries than in cases where she shows traces of her workings apart from the beaten path; nor is there any better way to advance the proper practice of medicine than to give our minds to the discovery of the usual law of nature, by careful investigation of cases of rarer forms of disease. For it has been found in almost all things, that what they contain of useful or of applicable, is hardly perceived unless we are deprived of them, or they become deranged in some way. The case of the plasterer to which you refer is indeed a curious one and might supply a text for a lengthened commentary by way of illustration. But it is in vain that you apply the spur to urge me, at my present age, not mature merely but declining, to gird myself for any new investigation; for I now consider myself entitled to my discharge from duty. It will, however, always be a pleasant sight to see distinguished men like yourself engaged in this honourable arena. Farewell, most learned sir, and whatever you do, still love
Yours, most respectfully,
London, April 24, 1657.