On February 7, 1649 –one week after the execution by decapitation of Charles I, his royal physician, William Harvey (1578-1657), discoverer of the circulation of the blood, writes to his cousin, Edward Francis, a lawyer, once his friend but now firmly in the camp of Cromwell. Harvey muses on how his responsibilities as physician to the king must place him in the royalist camp. But as a doctor he will tend to anybody – Every Body—because all bodies are governed by the same natural laws. He wonders what his place will be in the new political order. And he wonders if his cousin noticed him when he stood by the king in battle – and if they will ever meet again in friendship.  


An epistolic monologue and thought experiment, written in the first person. The aging famous physician reflects on his past and his conviction that medical care and scientific inquiry should be devoid of political interference. He recalls his hesitation to overthrow Galen with his controversial work De Motu Cordis (1628)—his own rebellion. The story invites discussion of the role of physicians in a politically divided world, and it draws an interesting parallel between scientific and political regimes.

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England and Other Stories



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