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Full text of "A biography of François Magendie"

THE LIBRARY 
OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



A BIOGRAPHY OF 



FRANCOIS MAGENDIE 




FRAN50IS MAGENDIE. M.D. 
1783-1855. 



BIOGRAPHY OF 



FRANCOIS MAGENDIE 



By PERCY M. DAWSON, M.D 

Associate Professor of Physiology, Johns Hopkins University 




ALBERT T. HUNTINGTON 

MCMVIII. 



Copyright, 1908 

By ALBERT T. HUNTINGTON 



Published January 30, 1908. 

Of this book two hundred 
and fifty copies have been 
printed, of which this is 

No.f.^. 



BiomaAcil 



To 

WILLIAM H. HOWELL, 
JOSEPH ERLANGER, 
ERNEST G. MARTIN, 

and 
AUGUST E. GUENTHER, 

my dear colleagues in the seminary, this 
little book is affectionately dedicated. 



PREFACE 

IN the year nineteen hundred and four the members of the 
Seminary of the Department of Physiology at the Johns 
Hopkins University devoted themselves to the study of the 
lives of several celebrated physiologists. At that time I under- 
took to prepare a paper on the life and work of Frangois Magen- 
die. After revision, this paper was published in the Medical 
Library and Historical Journal (1906, iv, pp. 45-56, 198-206, 
292-306, 364-377; 1907, V, pp. 24-33). As the result of a sug- 
gestion of Mr. Albert T. Huntington, the editor of this Journal, 
some new material has been added to the biography and the 
whole is now published in the present volume. 

To write a really complete and satisfactory biography of 
Magendie, one should have read far more extensively in the 
literature of the time than I have done; but as it may never be 
my lot to take up this study again, I have thought it best to pub- 
lish the work just as it is, in the hope that it may be of interest 
to the reader and afford a point of departure for the more elabo- 
rate researches of some future biographer. 

It is an agreeable duty for me to ackowledge with thanks my 
indebtedness to Dr. Robert Fletcher, of the Library of the Sur- 
geon General's Office, for the loan of several books relating to 
Magendie; to Prof. Albert P. Brubaker, of Jefferson Medical 
College, Philadelphia, for some very interesting data concerning 
Megendie's life (p. 10) and for the medallion portrait (facing p. 
34); to Mr. Huntington for the portrait {Frontispiece) of 
Magendie, and for much valuable aid in the preparation of the 
bibliography (see Appendix) ; to Dr. Henry M. Hurd, of the 
Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Miss Susan E. Coyle for many use- 
ful criticisms and suggestions. 

Percy M. Dawson. 

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., 
October 19, 1907. 



CONTENTS 

Page 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 9 

FIRST PERIOD, 1783-1809 11 

SECOND PERIOD, 1809-1821 15 

Vitalising 1809 15 

Early Writings, 1809-1821 17 

Prize in Expcriincntal Physiology, 1819 19 

THIRD PERIOD, 1821-1855 21 

Journal and Controversy 21 

The Journal of Experimental Physiology, 1821-1831 21 

The Bell-Magcndie Controversy, 1822 and 1847. . . 24 

The Academy, 1821-1855 29 

Committees for Verification 29 

Committees on Prises 30 

"Gelatin," Hippiatric and Other Commissions. .. . 31 

Memoirs, the "Comptes Reiidus".. . . 35 

Personality of the Academician, Magcndie 38 

Medical Practice 43 

"The Great Idol of Human Credulity" 43 

The College de France 46 

Nomination, 1830 46 

Cholera in Paris, 1832 48 

Lectures, 1832-1852 50 

Relation of Magendie to His Students 51 

Vivisection 53 

The Last Decade 56 

Resignation from the Hotcl-Dicu 56 

Death of Magendie, 1855 57 

MAGENDIE'S ROLE IN SCIENCE 59 

APPENDIX 61 

Titles of Magendie's publications arranged chronologi- 
cally 61 



A BIOGRAPHY OF 

FRANCOIS MAGENDIE 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

There are seven principal sources of information with regard 
to Magendie's life and work. 

(i) "Fr. Magendie. Legon d'ouverture du cours de medecine 
du College de France. (29 fevrier 1856.)" 8vo. Paris, 1856. 
This address was delivered by Claude Bernard and to it was 
appended an incomplete list of the writings of Magendie. 

(2) "Eloge historique de Francois Magendie, suivi d'une 
discussion sur les titres respectifs de Bell et Magendie a la de- 
couverte des fonctions distinctes des racines des nerfs." Svo. 
Pam, 1858. This "Eloge" was delivered at the annual public meet- 
ing of the Academic des Sciences (Feb. 8, 1858) by Jcan-Picrrc- 
Marie Flourens, the permanent secretary of the Academy. Here 
also is given a list of Magendie's publications but it seems, 
however, to be only a copy of Bernard's list. The address was 
also printed in the Go::, med. de Paris, 1858, 3. s., xiii, 93-106. 
Both address and discussion were translated into English by C. 
A. Alexander and published in the annual Report of the Smith- 
sonian Institution, 1866, 91-125, 

(3) "Fr. Magendie" among the "Eloges lus dans les seances 
publiques de I'Academie de Medecine (1845-63)," by E.-F. Du- 
bois, the permanent secretary of the Academy. Two volumes of 
these addresses were published in Paris in 1864, that on Magendie 
being in vol. ii, pp. 116-200. The address was also printed in the 
following periodicals: Gac. des hop., Paris, 1857, xxx, 590-92; 
Gas. med. de Paris, 1857, 3. s., xii, 793-814; Mem. Acad, de 
med., Paris, 1858, xxii, pp. i-xxxvi ; and Rev. therap. med.- 
chir., Paris, 1858, pp. 24, 53 and yy. 

Eyries (Biog. universcllc [Michaud] ancicnne et modernc, 
Paris, xxiv, 31) and L. Herman (La grande Encyclopedic, Paris, 



10 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANQOIS MAGENDIE. 

xxii, 994) seem to have derived their material from the three pre- 
ceding sources, for their articles contain no additional information. 

(4) Journal de physiol. exper. (et path.), i-x, 1821-1830. 

(5) Comptes rendus hebdom. de I' Acad, des Sc, i-xlii, 1835- 
1856. 

(6) Three letters received by Professor Brubaker, of the 
Jefferson Medical College, of Philadelphia. These were written 
respectively by the "Archiviste de la Seine," the "Conservateur 
de Pere Lachaise," and the "Conservateur du Cimetiere de San- 
nois," and were answers to enquiries made by Professor Bru- 
baker. 

(7) The works of Magendie himself. 



For convenience the following abbreviations have been adopt- 
ed in the foot-notes of this volume: 

B = Eloge de Bernard (i). 

C = Comptes rend., etc. (5). 

D = Eloge de Dubois (3). 

F = " " Flourens (2). 

J =: Jour, de physiol. exper., etc. (4). 

The figures in parentheses found in the text refer to the titles 
of Magendie's publications as given in the Appendix. 



FIRST PERIOD, 1783-1809 



pRANgois Magendie was born on October 15, 1783, in Bor- 
deaux. While he was yet an infant, his mother, Marie-Victoire 
de Peray-Delaunay, died of an acute illness. His father, Antoine 
Magendie,^ originally of Bearne, was a surgeon, who in 1792 
came to Paris bringing with him the little Frangois, then only nine 
years old.^ At that time there was in Paris but one all-absorbing 
idea, one topic of conversation, namely, social regeneration ; and 
Antoine Magendie was soon among the foremost of the ultra-re- 
publicans. "A man of upright purpose.'' but incapable of allow- 
ing any folly to pass without taking his share in it, he imagined 
that in order to endow his son with a civic energy corresponding 
to the elevation of his own principles, it was necessary to educate 
him according to the precepts delivered by Jean-Jacques.* The 
new Emile, left to his own devices, wandered at will, with a lib- 
erty which strongly resembled absolute abandonment. In order 
to preserve him from instructions which might warp his judg- 
ment, he was left, on principle of education, in complete igno- 
rance. His only resource as regards the world of intelligence 
was observation, which alone, said his guide, could secure him 
entire independence. 

"Finding, perhaps with reason, less difficulty in reforming 
abuses than in combating maladies, the enthusiastic patriot had 
abandoned a practice which only bored him, for the more con- 
genial pursuit of unremunerative civic appointments.'" With his 

* Born at Pontaqiie, 1746, son of Laurent Magendie and Marie Caza- 
jous ; died at rue de Verneuil No. 32, Paris, May 17, 1813. 

2 It has been stated that Antoine Magendie married again and that the 
step-mother took but little interest in the young Francjois. {Med. Times 
and Gazette, London, 1855. N. S., xi, 558 and 583.) 

2 Flourens. Unless otherwise stated the quotations in this chapter 
are from this authority (see Bibliography). 

■* Jean Jacques Rousseau: "Ejnile ou de I'Education," published in 
Paris and the Low Countries, 1662. 

s Antoine Magendie was mayor of the tenth "arrondisscment" and a 
member of the board of hospital administration, etc. — F., p. 134. The 
tenth "arrondisscment" comprises the quarters Saint-Vincent de Paul, 
Porte-Saint-Denis, Porte-Saint-Martin and Hopital-Saint-Louis. 



12 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANgOIS MAGENDIE. 

practice went the comforts of the household, but what imported 
such a sacrifice as this? The exaggeration of patriotism and the 
reality of discomfort proceeded to such lengths that he would 
have constrained his pupil, while seeking to persuade him that this 
would be a further step towards independence, to make his own 
shoes. At this point the good sense of the boy revolted ; he pro- 
tested against all these follies : declared that he preferred to be de- 
pendent and well-shod, and concluded by asking to be sent to 
school. 

"The primary school had no pupil more ardent ; admitted late 
and endowed with an energetic will, the young Magendie quickly 
outstripped all competitors. His father was not at all shocked 
at the inequality which his son found the means of establishing 
from the first ; . . . and clapped his hands on hearing that the great 
prize had been awarded to this neophyte of fourteen for a compo- 
sition 'On the Knowledge of the Rights of Man and of the 
Constitution.'^ 

"The Journal des Hommes Litres'' soon afterwards an- 
nounced 'that there was still hope for the most tender age, when 
the corrupting poisons of the reaction had not blighted it in its first 
bloom, since the son of citizen Magendie, municipal officer, elec- 
tor, member of the commune, etc., having met with a child who 
was weeping and dared not appear in the presence of his father, 
had comforted, encouraged and carried him back to the bosom 
of his family.' A prix de vertii, ostentatiously awarded on this 
occasion, completed the glorification of the young republican. . . 

"According to the almost universal practice of those who 
preach liberty, the father of Magendie reserved the exclusive 
use of it for himself. He announced to his son that in order not 
to derogate from the family dignity, he must prepare to invest 
himself with the robe and bonnet of the doctor." Accordingly 
Magendie began the study of medicine, entering the Paris hos- 
pitals at the age of fifteen.^ Through his father's influence he 
became a pupil of Alexis Boyer,® who was at that time second 
surgeon to the Charite and professor of clinical surgery at the 
Ecole de Sante, an institution founded in 1795 by the elite among 
the physicians and surgeons of the capital. Boyer soon per- 

8 "De la connaissance des droits de rhomme et de la constitution." 

■^ 5 germinal, an vi. 

8 This is the age given by Eyries : "Magendie" in "Biographie uni- 
verselle (Michaud) ancienne et moderne," Paris, xxvi, p. 31. Sixteen 
years is the age given by the Med. Times and Gazette, loc. cit. 

»Le baron Alexis Boyer (1757-1833). 



FIRST PERIOD, I783-1809. I3 

ceived the young man's worth and made him his prosector. 
Later, at the examination which took place on "7 Floreal, An 
xi"^° (1803), he obtained an appointment as hospital interne. 
In this new position he continued his labors with characteristic 
energy and zeal. 

With his medical studies he now combined literature, for since 
he had been taught none of the ancient languages he was de- 
sirous of supplying this deficiency. This he did by means of the 
excellent courses given by M. Lemare, which were attended by 
some of his most distinguished contemporaries. 

The salons which the storm of the revolution had temporarily 
closed had now opened again. There "through the memory of 
a common calamity, all were friends" and there Magendie "was 
received as a young man of taste and worth, and there he dis- 
sembled, with truly Roman stoicism, the distress of his situation. 
'Yet,' as he himself would jocosely say in aftertimes, 'during a 
period which seemed no short one, there remained for me, all 
deductions made, not more than five sous a day to live upon ; 
and still I had a dog. We shared with one another; and if he 
was not fat, neither was I.' " 

In the course of time Magendie became assistant and then, 
after a brilliant examination, prosector to the Faculty. "His dex- 
terity as an anatomist, his coolness, his hardihood, gave presage 
of a superior surgeon." "For a while he gave courses in opera- 
tive surgery, which were well attended. He even devised a new 
operation for the resection of the lower jaw."" "But the life 
of compulsory fellowship, of equality reduced to practice, the con- 
tact of rivalries never divested of the weapons of attack, proved 
an intolerable ordeal for his austere and imperious nature." It 
has also been stated that he was about to compete for the post of 
surgeon at the General Board of the Paris Hospitals but was 
induced to abandon the idea by Dupuytren^* who considered him 
a dangerous rival." However this may he, Magendie renounced 
his intention of becoming a surgeon. 

He brooded with so melancholy a spirit over the obstacles 

10 D: p. 122. 

" B : p. 18. 

12 Baron Guillaume Dupuytren, born in 1777, became in 1803 sec- 
ond surgeon at the Hotel-Dieu and in 1815 surgcon-in-chief. In 1811 
he became professor of anatomy in the Ecole de Medecine, an institution 
founded in 1795 for the purpose of training surgeons for the army. — 
Richeraud : Biog. univers. Michaud, xii, p. 60. Paris, 1855. 

18 Med. Times and Gazette, loc. cit. 



14 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANQOIS MAGENDIE. 

before him that his retreat was invaded by that bitter discourage- 
ment which long suffering entails — Magendie wished to live no 
longer. One morning, however, a lawyer presented himself at 
the asylum of the student. "Why," cried the young man in 
surprise, "I have neither lawsuit nor business, what do you want 
with me?" "Nothing," replied the stranger, "that can be dis- 
agreeable to you. You have become heir to a sum of twenty 
thousand francs, and I am here to place it at your disposal." 
All at once the good spirits of Magendie returned ; he "immedi- 
ately made arrangements for the acquisition of pretty horses and 
attractive dogs, all placed in the care of a sprightly and fash- 
ionable groom, who was charged besides with the duty of keep- 
ing a light equipage always in readiness for the use of the im- 
provident but joyous owner of these superfluities. That not 
a moment of this transient prosperity might be lost, and at the 
same time no encroachment upon his work be allowed, he had 
all of these paraphernalia lodged as near as possible to the hospi- 
tal. Thither,' said M. Magendie afterwards, 'I used to run when 
I had a moment to spare, so that my whole recreation was liter- 
ally centered in the stable.' The twenty thousand francs were, 
of course, soon spent, but a little relaxation does much good; it 
had renewed the elasticity of his spirit." 

His money gone, Magendie found it necessary to become a 
practicing physician "in spite of himself." ^* In 1808 he received 
his doctorate, his inaugural dissertation being on fracture of the 
cartilage of the ribs and on the movements of the palate (i) 
Doubtless a rather unique figure among the physicians of his or 
indeed of any time, he refused to bow before what he called the 
"the great idol of human credulity." ^^ But as yet Magendie's 
notions had little weight in the medical world and moreover he 
soon gave himself almost entirely to the science of his choice, 
experimental physiology. 

"F: p. II. 

1^ "La grande idole de la credulite humaine." 



SECOND PERIOD, 1809-1821 



Vitalism. 



The question, What is life? has been answered in two diflfer- 
ent ways, "On the one hand ^® stand the vitalists, who see in the 
phenomena of Hfe only special actions, having no relation to the 
usual laws of chemistry and physics but accomplished through 
a peculiar force called life, vital force, and so fortii ; on the other 
are the materialists, iatro-mechanicians, or chemists as they have 
been variously styled, who see in these manifestations of life 
nothing but the phenomena of ordinary chemistry and physics 
subject to the ordinary laws which govern these phenomena out- 
side the organism. 

"In France at the beginning of the nineteenth century, medi- 
cine and physiology were dominated by the anatomico-vitalistic 
ideas of Bichat which were then reacting against the iatro-me- 
chanical and chemical theories of Borelli, Sylvius de la Boe, Boer- 
haave and others." Bichat, "a man of astonishing genius, physi- 
ologist-anatomist par excellence, created general anatomy and at 
the same stroke anatomical physiology. ... In his 'General Anat- 
omy' " he tried to realize a vast conception which consisted in 
reducing, just as in the recently established field of chemistry, 
anatomical tissues and physiological phenomena to certain sim- 
ple elements." He attributed "all the functions of life to those 
peculiar properties of each living tissue, which he designated 
under the name of vital properties, as distinct from physical or 
chemical properties. . . 'There are in nature,'^^ said he, 'two classes 
of objects, two classes of properties. The objects are organic 
and inorganic, the properties are vital and non-vital. Sensibility, 
contractility, these are vital properties. Weight, elasticity, affin- 
ity, these are non-vital properties.' To each of the systems of 
anatomical tissues correspond certain definite vital properties, and 
each phenomenon of life has necessarily, as its origin, a vital prop- 
erty which is only the functional manifestation of the tissues. . ." 

1' B : p. 3 et seq. 

1'' Anatomic generalc, applique a la physiologic et a la medicine. Paris, 
l802, 2V. 8vo. 

"B: pp. 5-6. 



l6 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANgOIS MAGENDIE. 

"Such a generalization in which everything was united by logi- 
cal deduction, anatomical structure and vital property, physi- 
ological and pathological phenomena, was well calculated to se- 
duce and enthral all minds. ..But Bichat died," in 1802, "having 
hardly had time to deliver to posterity the fruits of his genius, 
and his immediate successors, launched on this slippery declivity 
of anatomical deduction, contented themselves with tlieir creations 
of systems ; and experimentation, which can alone permit us to 
decide the question and prevent us from error, was lost to view. 
Not only the system of exhaling vessels, the vital properties of 
sensible, organic and animal contractility and so forth were ac- 
cepted as realities, but the imagination, always aided by some 
sort of logic the better to captivate the reason, had invented 
a horde of other properties still more imaginary. Finally every- 
one wished to have a special vital force for the least phenomenon 
of the organism, and by this tendency all physicians were blindly 
carried away." 

Such was the condition of physiology in France when in 1809 
Magendie's first publication appeared, under the title of "Some 
general ideas upon the phenomena peculiar to living bodies" (2). 
Cool, unenthusiastic, skeptical, Magendie was not drawn into the 
common whirlpool, and this first publication was a severe criticism 
of the "vital properties" of Bichat, "especially the strange abuses 
which his successors had made of them in multiplying them ad 
infinitum. 'Why then,' said he, 'is it necessary in respect to every 
phenomenon of the living body to invent a peculiar and special 
vital force? Cannot one be content with a single force which 
one could designate vital force in a general way, while admitting 
that it gives rise to different phenomena depending on the struc- 
ture of the organs and tissues which function under its influence ? 
But is not this single vital force still too much? Is it not an 
hypothesis pure and simple, inasmuch as we are unable to perceive 
it ? And would it not be more advantageous if physiology began 
only when the phenomena of the living body became appreciable 
to the senses ? ' " ^^ 

Surrounded by a carnival of rampant speculation, Magendie 
developed an extraordinary repulsion for all theories. When 
any one spoke to him of medical doctrine or theory, he showed 
instinctively a feeling of horror. It produced upon him the eflfect 
of a false note upon the trained ear of a musician. His reply 
was always the same. "All that," he used to say, "is nothing but 

18 B : pp. 7-8. 



SECOND PERIOD, 1809- 1 82 1. I7 

words ! " — "To express an opinion, to believe," wrote Magendie, 
"is nothing else than to be ignorant. . . One could with justice say 
to you 'You believe, therefore you don't know. ' " ^° 

Early JVritings. 

Magendie now began to show a prodigious activity. Within 
the next five years he published seven memoirs, four of which 
were read before the Academy. In these the author dealt with a 
great variety of topics. In his study of the organs of absorption 
in the mammalia (3) he demonstrated by means of a series of in- 
genious experiments the power of the veins to absorb poisons 
injected into the tissues. He showed that the stomadi was not 
necessary for the act of vomiting (6) and that swallowing might 
take place without the aid of the epiglottis (9). The remaining 
memoirs were on pulmonary transpiration (5), on examination 
of images in the fundus oculi (7), on emetics (8), and on the 
function of the oesophagus (10). 

Consequently, when in 1814 Magendie, who had been twice 
designated by the conscription, was again summoned, the Acad- 
emy interposed in view of his prospective services and requested 
his exemption. This was accordingly granted by a special de- 
cree dated March 5th of that year. "You owe this favor," 
wrote M. de Motalivet, Minister of the Interior, "to the success 
which you have achieved in the sciences, and I doubt not that 
you will redouble your efforts to render yourself more and more 
worthy of it." ^^ Magendie soon showed that the confidence 
of the Academy had not been misplaced. 

Before 1821, the year in which he became an academician, 
Magendie published nine more monographs. In one of these 
(13) he showed the necessity of the presence of nitrogen in the 
food and emphasized the importance of a varied diet. From his 
study of the circulation (16), he concluded that those persons 
are in error who afiirm that the arteries possess the power of in- 
dependent rhythmic contractility. 

The monographs on the deglutition of air (12) and on the 
mechanism of absorption in the mammalia (24) were among 
those read before the Academy. There was also a paper on the 
lymphatics of birds (21) and another on the gases in the human 
intestine (14). In the investigation of ipecacuanha (15) which 
Magendie carried out in company with Pelleticr, emetin, the active 
principle of the drug, was discovered, and his interest in pharma- 

20 J 

21 D: p. 125. 



l8 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANgOIS MAGENDIE. 

cological problems was further shown by three other memoirs 
on strychnia (22), on the salts of morphia (18) and on hydro- 
cyanic acid in the treatment of phthisis (20). During this period 
Magendie also published three books through which he soon 
obtained an international reputation. 

The first of these was his "Text-book of Physiology" (11), 
a work which appeared in two octavo volumes, containing so 
much good sense and sound science that even to-day they are 
found attractive reading. The attitude of the author and the 
object which he had in view may be gathered from the preface, 
some passages of which run somewhat as follows : ^^ 

"The physical sciences, with scarcely a single exception, were 
systematic until the time of Galileo and Bacon. From that 
period, and in a great degree from the influence of the writings 
of the illustrious Bacon, they have imdergone a most salutary 
change. From being systematic and synthetic, they have become 
theoretic and analytic; and from that period their march to- 
wards perfection has been extremely rapid. 

"It is unpleasant but it is at the same time necessary to re- 
mark that in the midst of this general progress of the sciences, 
physiology, that important branch of human learning, still re- 
tains its systematic form." "What is the consequence of all this? 
— It is that physiology, brilliant as it appears in our modem 
treatises and notwithstanding the improvements which it has 
derived from the talents of many distinguished men, is a science 
still in its cradle." 

Further on he continues: "One will especially find in this 
book facts, the truth of which I have done all in my power to 
establish as definitely as possible, by observations upon man in 
a healthy or morbid state, and by experiments upon living 
animals," 

"In concluding it is proper to remark that this book is solely 
designed for students of medicine. If they find here, in terms 
clear and simple, all that is positively known of physiology, 
I shall have accomplished the object which I have proposed to 
myself." 

This work was deservedly popular. Between 181 7 and 1836 
it went through four editions in Paris. Between 1822 and 1844 
there appeared three American editions ; while two German 
translations were published in Tiibingen in 1826 and 1836, 
respectively. 

22 Precis elementaire de physiologic. Paris, 1816. Vol. I, p. ii et seq. 



SECOND PERIOD, 1809-I82I. I9 

The second book, published in 1818, was the first edition 
of his work on "Gravel and Its Treatment" (17). This was sub- 
sequently translated into German and Dutch. In it Magendie 
called attention to the fact that most gravels and many stones 
are composed of uric acid, a substance rich in nitrogen, whence 
he concludes that a diet poor in nitrogen is the proper one for 
persons suffering from these maladies. 

Lastly may be mentioned the publication two years later of 
the famous "Formulary" (23), in which he discussed the action 
and preparation of a large number of drugs which were at that 
time new or almost new to the profession. Among these were 
strychnia, morphia, iodine, potassium iodide, prussic acid, veratria, 
sulphate of quinine, croton oil, and so forth. The popularity of 
this work is attested by the many translations and editions which 
have appeared, namely : Paris, 7 editions ; Amsterdam, i ; Leipzig, 
I ; London, 3; Philadelphia, 2; New York, 2; Milan, i; Pesaro, 
I ; and Fahlun (Sweden), i. 

The Prize in Experimental Physiology. 

Meanwhile Magendie's intense aversion to all hypotheses, to- 
gether with his devotion to the experimental method, seems to 
have won for him the friendship of the great Laplace.-'' The latter 
"wished that all science should consist of nothing more than an 
assemblage of facts rigorously concatenated ; and having, accord- 
ing to the happy expression of Cuvier, 'subjected the heaz'ens to 
geometry/ he probably did not despair of establishing the same 
order of things on earth." -* Indeed, Laplace had maintained be- 
fore the Academy that the two sciences most worthy of the atten- 
tion of great minds were physiology and astronomy, and added, 
"If I put physiology in the first place, it is not only because it 
still awaits its Newton."-'* Magendie, "confident in his own 
strength, held himself aloof with a disdainful pride" from his 
contemporaries. "But one day the illustrious, the stiff, the judi- 
cious Marquis de Laplace volunteered the first advances toward 
him," and at the few words of encouragement which fell from the 
lips of this great man, Magendie, "who thought himself secure 
from all enthusiasm, was only the more carried away by it." 

-8 Pierre Simon, Marqui? de Laplace, 1749-1827. Became professor of 
mathematics at the military school in Paris, and in 1773 member of the 
Academy of Sciences. Best known as an astronomer and geometrician. 

2* F: p. 21. 

25 Dedication of "Rccherches sur les ossements fossiles." 



20 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANgOIS MAGENDIE, 

"It was not long after this that Laplace said to his old friend 
Montyon:-^ 'It is greatly to be regretted that learned societies 
have not at their disposal the means of sustaining the zeal of en- 
quirers who have established themselves in the right method of 
procedure: the young Magendie, for instance, who gives to his 
physiological labors the invariable basis of experiment, de- 
serves to be encouraged.' 'Are not your own exhortations the 
most powerful encouragements?' was the reply. 'They are not 
sufficient,' answered Laplace ; 'for those who aspire to reach our 
academies there should be graduated approaches, which would 
consist of competitions and prizes.' The prize for experimental 
physiology was thereupon established -'' by the aged philanthro- 
pist and Magendie was the first to be distinguished by it." ^^ 

26 Antoine-Jean-Baptiste-Robert-Augat de Montyon, 1733-1820, became 
councillor of state in 1775. He lived for many years in England and 
became a member of the Royal Society. He was devoted to the king, with 
whom he returned to Paris. 

27 This foundation received the authorization of the king, July 22, 
1818. 

28 F: p. 28. 



THIRD PERIOD, 1821-1855 



JOURNAL AND CONTROVERSY. 

The Journal of Experimental Physiology, iSji-iSji. 

In Paris during the early part of the last century many 
new medical and scientific periodicals were added to the 
considerable number already in existence. The facilities 
for the publication of work in physiology and experi- 
mental medicine seem to have been excellent, and Magendie at 
first availed himself of them. He contributed to the Journal 
Universel des Sciences Medicales, the Nouveau Bulletin dc la 
Societe Philomatique, the Annnles de Chiniie et de Physique, 
the Nouveau Journal de Mcdecinc, etc., but chiefly to that famous 
periodical edited by Boyer, Velpeau and Leroux in which five of 
Magendie's monographs appeared. There was. however, at that 
time no journal devoted exclusively to experimental medicine, 
and probably it soon appeared to Magendie that there was room 
for such a publication. Be this as it may, in June, 1821, appeared 
the first number of his Journal de Physiologic Expcrimentalc. or, 
as it was subsequently called. Journal de Physiologic Expcri- 
mentalc ct Pothologique* 

From the title-page of this new journal we learn that at this 
time Magendie was physician of the central bureau of admis- 
sions to the civil hospitals and infirmaries in Paris"", member of 
the Philomathic Society, of the Societe Medicale d'Emulation. and 
also member of the medical societies of Stockholm, Copenhagen, 
Wilna, Dublin, Philadelphia,-'"' etc. 

The introduction to the first number, which is here partly 
quoted and partly paraphrased, runs as follows : "The two cen- 

* Journal de Physiologic Ex't^erimcntalc ct Pathohgiquc is the title of 
vols. II to X inclusive. 

2" Magendie received this appointment July 18. t8i8. 

^^ To this list were added, in 1824, mcmher of the Royal Medical Society 
of Edinburgh, and the Reale Accademia dell' Scienze di Torino, and, in 
1827, Physician to the Hospice de la Salpctriere and Consulting Physician 
to the Col. royal de Henri IV. In the first few vols, the address of the 
editor is given, "Rue de Seine, No. 30." 



22 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANQOIS MAGENDIE. 

turies which have just closed have seen the birth and growth of 
the physical sciences. The task of the early discoverers was two- 
fold. In the first place they had to make the actual discoveries, 
and in the second they had to overcome the prevailing prejudices. 
Experimental physiology began with the discovery of the circu- 
lation of the blood in the seventeenth century, but it has not 
progressed with the same rapidity as astronomy, physics and 
chemistry, perhaps because in this field there have been no 
geniuses such as Galileo or Newton, perhaps because popular 
prejudices have been stronger here than in the case of the physical 
sciences. 

"What subject indeed is more fertile in gross errors and 
absurd beliefs than that of health and disease? Consider the pain- 
ful disquietude you would produce in the minds of the majority of 
men if you said to them : 'There are no such things as rheu- 
matismal humour, gouty humour, scabby virus, venereal virus, 
and so forth. Those things which are so designated are imaginary 
things, which the human mind has created to hide from itself its 
own ignorance.' The chances are that you would be taken for a 
lunatic just as it but recently befell those who maintained that 
the sun was immovable and that the earth turned. 

"Having taught this science [Physiology] for fifteen years, 
cultivating it through choice, and having resolved never to sepa- 
rate it from practical medicine, because I regard it as the best 
guide to follow in a great number of maladies, I believe that I 
would be doing something useful in publishing a periodic work 
designed to contain all facts which tend to throw light upon 
the history of man in health and in disease. I shall receive there- 
fore with acknowledgment and place in the collection which 
I now announce, all physiological work, all medical researches 
which, based on precise observations, exact experiments and con- 
trolled by a spirit of severe impartiality and love of truth, appear 
to me to be suitable for illuminating the phenomena of life. 

"One advantage which distinguishes the majority of journals 
devoted to the physical sciences is that tliey are edited by savants 
who strengthen such publications by enriching them with their 
own discoveries, and who are therefore at the same time more 
competent to judge the work of others. The works which I have 
published in medicine and physiology give me, perhaps, some 
claim to the confidence of the public. 

"The Journal de Physiologie Experimentale will consist of 
four numbers per annum, which will appear regularly every three 
months. Each number will contain six sheets in octavo, more 



THIRD PERIOD, 182I-1855. 23 

if the material be abundant. Plates will be added when deemed 
desirable. Subscription, I2fr. per annum." 

By way of "enriching" the journal "with his own discoveries," 
Magendie contributed thirteen articles to the first volume. Some 
of these, however, were only reprints of his former publications, 
added, doubtless, to complete the "six sheets in octavo." Such 
padding soon became unnecessary and the editor's articles became 
fewer and fewer. That the number should have fallen off is not 
surprising. Indeed it seems wonderful that he could have found 
time to contribute at all, since he systematically verified all 
results of experiments sent to him for publication, as would 
appear from a foot-note in one of the early numbers of the 
journal in which he asks his contributors to send in their 
articles at least one month in advance that he might have 
time to verify the principal experiments before sending their 
accounts to the printer,^^ Moreover, Magendie's literary activity 
was not confined to editing his journal. He re-edited Bichat's 
"Researches on the Phenomena of Life and Death," 1822, (36) 
and his "Treatise on the Membranes," 1827, (60) both with 
commentaries. He also re-edited, with considerable additions, 
his own book on gravel (1828). In 1825 he published with 
Desmoulins an "Anatomy and Physiology of the Nervous Sys- 
tem" (52). In 1823 and 1828 appeared his two memoirs, on 
the Nervous System, and on the Brain, and finally, the second 
edition of his Text-Book and the second to seventh editions of 
the Formulary. 

Thus founded, the Journal de Physiologic Expcrimentale led 
a flourishing existence for eleven years. Kergaradec's celebrated 
memoir on the auscultation of the foetal heart appeared in the 
second volume, while among the best known contributers were 
Andral, Breschet, Velpeau, Poiseuille, Flourens and Bernard. 
Financially, the journal met with " a success," wrote Magendie,'* 
"which I had hoped for only with time ; I had even deposited 
the funds necessary for supporting it for several years. But 
this precaution was needless ; with the second number the 
expenses were covered. I am doubtless very much flattered by 
this result, but I also sincerely congratulate the friends of sci- 
ence, especially those who wish to see medicine depart from that 
state of imperfection in which it has been up to our day, and 
in which many persons through prejudice or other less excusable 
motives are induced to maintain it." He adds: "I have never 

"J: I, p. loi. 
"J. 



24 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANQOIS MAGENDIE. 

intended that this publication should be of the nature of a financial 
speculation ; I have devoted the profits to perfecting the work." 

It would be tedious to give even in outline the contents of 
Magendie's numerous contributions to the Journal, tedious even 
to give in full their titles, for there were twenty-six of them, 
not counting editorials and reports ; but for the purpose of 
emphasizing the wide range of his investigations, an enumeration 
of some of the subjects treated will not be unprofitable. 

There were five articles^^ on human and comparative anat- 
omy, six^* on the special senses and peripheral nerves, eight^' 
on the central nervous system, six^'' on the physiology and sur- 
gery of the circulation, six''" on clinical medicine and therapeutics, 
two^^ on hydrophobia and, finally, a description^* of two new 
sorts of gravel. There is also one series of articles which is 
worthy of especial attention, for not only were the experiments 
therein described of extraordinary importance, but their publica- 
tion gave rise to a well-known and rather bitter controversy. 
The discussion of this topic will, however, be reserved for a 
separate sub-section. 

The Bell-Magendie Controversy, 1822 and 1847. 

In the third number of Volume II of his Journal occurs one of 
Magendie's most noteworthy contributions to physiology, namely, 
his article on the functions of the spinal nerve roots (40). 
■^ "For a long time," he writes, "I had wished to perform the 
experiment of cutting the anterior and posterior roots of the 
nerves arising from the spinal cord of an animal." Having 
secured a litter of pups Magendie laid bare the cord. 'T had 
then before my eyes the posterior roots of the lumbar and sacral 
pairs, and, raising them up successively on the blade of a pair 
of small scissors, I cut them on one side. ... I reunited the 
wound by means of a suture through the skin and observed the 
animal. I thought at first that the member corresponding to the 
cut nerves was entirely paralyzed. It was insensitive to pricks 
and to the strongest compression ; it also appeared to me to be 
immovable ; but soon, to my great surprise, I saw it move per- 
ceptibly, although sensibility was always entirely absent. A 

33 See Appendix : 28, 29, 33, 34, 38. 

^*Ibid.: 40, 41, 49, SO, 54, 65. 

35 Ibid.: 25, 45, 46, 47, 51, 53, 61, 67. 

s^Ibid.: 24, 26, 30, 31, 32, 63. 

^Ubid.: 35, 37, 55,58, 66,68. 

3»Ibid.: 27, 48. 

^^Ibid.: 59. 



THIRD PERIOD, 182I-1855. 2$ 

second and a third experiment gave me exactly the same result. 
I began to regard it as probable that the posterior roots of the 
spinal nerves might have different functions from the anterior 
roots, and that they were particularly designed for sensibility." 

Then, with considerable difficulty, Magendie succeeded in 
cutting the anterior roots. "As in the preceding experiments, I 
made the section on only one side. . . . One can imagine 
with what curiosity I followed the effects of this section. The 
results were not doubtful ; the member was completely immov- 
able and flaccid, although it preserved an unequivocal sensi- 
bility. Finally, that nothing might be neglected, I cut at the 
same time the anterior and posterior roots ; there was a complete 
loss of sensation and motion. . . ." 

"I am following up these researches, and will give a detailed 
account of them in the next number. It is sufficient for me to 
be able to affirm to-day as positive, that the anterior and pos- 
terior roots of the nerves which arise from the cord have different 
functions ; that the posterior appear to be more particularly 
devoted to sensibility, while the anterior appear more especially 
associated with movement." 

As promised by Magendie, the next number contains a second 
article on the same subject, entitled, "Experiments on the function 
of the roots of the nerves which arise from the spinal cord. "(41) 
In this communication the author states that, having become 
curious to know what the effect of cutting tlie dorsal or ventral 
roots would be upon the convulsions caused by strychnia, he 
proceeded to decide the question by means of experiments. These 
consisted in unilateral section of one or both sets of the nerve roots 
supplying the hind leg. As might have been expected, in the leg 
of which the dorsal roots had been cut, the tetany was just as 
complete and intense as when these roots were left intact; while, 
on the other hand, in the leg of which the ventral roots had been 
cut, the muscles remained lax and motionless. 

The publication of these articles at once gave rise to what 
is known as the Bell-Magendie controversy, for it was asserted 
that Magendie had done no more than confirm and elaborate the 
experiments already performed in England by Sir Charles Bell.*" 
The basis of the claim made for Bell was a pamphlet printed by 

*" John Shaw stated that M. Magendie "corroborated some experiments 
which had been previously made in this country; but of the performance 
of which M. Magendie does not appear to have been aware." — London 
Med. and Physical Journal, 1822, xlviii, p. 343. 



26 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANgoIS MAGENDIE. 

him in i8ii and entitled, "Idea of a New Anatomy of the Brain, 
submitted for the observations of his friends.""*^ This work was 
never intended for general distribution, but was privately cir- 
culated among Bell's friends. In it the author described the 
following experiment : 

"On laying bare the roots of the spinal nerves, I found that 
I could cut across the posterior fasciculus of nerves, which took 
its origin from the posterior portion of the spinal marrow, with- 
out convulsing the muscles of the back; but that on touching 
the anterior fasciculus with the point of the knife, the muscles 
of the back were immediately convulsed."*'- 

From this experiment Bell concluded that the dorsal and 
ventral roots have different functions, but in the nature of these 
functions he was mistaken, for he supposed that upon the ventral 
roots depended not only motion but also sensation, while to the 
dorsal roots he attributed the function of control of the growth 
and sympathies of the parts. 

In the interval between his first and second communications, 
Magendie had been made aware of the existence of this pamphlet, 
and consequently he was able to add to his second article the 
extract from Bell's work which has been quoted, and concluded 
with the following comment with regard to it: "M. Bell, led by 
his ingenious ideas regarding the nervous system, has been very 
near discovering the functions of the spinal roots."*^ 

The dispute never took on an international character, for 
although the claim of Bell was taken up in England with con- 
siderable vim and venom by John Shaw, one of Bell's pupils, 
several English authors gave unqualified preference to the claim 
of Magendie. Mayo,** for example, wrote in his text-book, "Mr. 
Bell was carried by his experiments very near the truth, but he 
failed at that time to ascertain it. . . . Before Mr, Bell pub- 
lished any other account of the function of these nerves, Ma- 
gendie had given to the world the true theory of their uses." 
Magendie himself appears to have preserved a dignified silence, 
a silence which was, however, misinterpreted even by some of 
his colleagues, as will now be shown. 

On February 22, 1847, Flourens read before the Academy a 
"Note concerning the effects of the inhalation of ether upon the 

*'^ Lond., [18 11]. 36 pp. 8vo. 

^^Loc. cit., p. 22. 

43 J : 1822, ii, p. 371. 

** Herbert Mayo. "Outlines of Human Physiology. 3 Ed. London, 
1833, p. 255. See also : Med. Times and Gazette, London, July-Dec, 1855, 
N. S., xi, p. 558. 



THIRD PERIOD, 182I-1855. 27 

medulla oblongata. "^° At the conclusion of the paper Magendie 
arose. "Our honorable colleague/'" said he, "attributes to Sir 
Charles Bell the discovery of the functions of the spinal nerve 
roots. ... It is not without great surprise that I hear him 
express himself in such a positive manner. ... If I did not 
know of his good will, I might be mistaken with regard to his 
intentions. ... I beg M. Flourens that when he prints his 
memoir he will indicate precisely the works of the English 
physiologist in which the discovery in question may be found 
described. This is not, I think, too much to require of the 
impartiality of our colleague." 

"In stating that the discovery belongs to Bell," replied 
Flourens, "I merely followed the common opinion. . . . No 
one would be more happy than I, could I proclaim that one of 
the most beautiful discoveries in physiology belongs to France." 
"I know," returned Magendie, "that several works on physi- 
ology couple the name of Sir Charles Bell with mine . . . but 
M. Flourens goes very much farther in denying me all partici- 
pation in the discovery. . . . No doubt M. Flourens has not 
spoken without having proofs before him. . . . When he has 
made these known, I shall discuss them. . . . Until that time I 
maintain that Sir Charles Bell was a complete stranger to the 
discovery; I declare that my colleague is ill-informed, and his 
assertions not at all exact." 

Flourens replied*^ that he would present his proofs at the 
next meeting of the Academy and added that Magendie could 
without doubt refute them since he, Flourens, had based his 
opinion largely on the attitude of Magendie himself. 

Accordingly, on the following Monday, March i, 1847, 
Flourens opened the discussion with these words:*' "I beg the 
Academy to note carefully that I do not seek proofs against my 
honorable colleague, I seek only to justify my own opinion. . . . 
In 1833, in the Journal dcs Saz'a)its, 1 expressed myself thus: 
'That which we call a nerve is a very complex structure ; the 
simple structure is the nerve fibre. ... It is only in these fibres 
that the properties are shown to be distinct and isolated. 

" 'It is this which is really the great conception which domi- 
nates all the work of M. Bell ; it is his experimental analysis, 

'"^ Note touchant les efifets de I'inhalation de I'ether sur la moclle 
allongee; Compt. rend. Acad. d. Sc, Paris, 1847, xxiv, p. 253. 

" Loc. cit., p. 258. 

*^ Loc. cit., p. 259. 

•*^ Sur la dccouvcrte de siege distinct de la sensibilite ct la motricite; 
xxiv, 316. Loc. cit., p. 316. 



28 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANgOIS MAGENDIE. 

which was not confined to the nerve, but reached successively 
each of the primitive elements of the nerve, which is the source 
of all those results . . . with which he has enriched physiology. 
. , . But on the one hand M. Bell relied too much upon con- 
jectures and deductions drawn from anatomical facts alone. 
. . . On the other hand he relied too little upon experiment; 
and thus it is through lack of being sufficiently eager to resort 
to experiment that he has allowed a French physiologist, M. 
Magendie, to share with him the glory of one of his most beauti- 
ful discoveries, that of the distinct function of the posterior and 
anterior roots.' That is what I thought, that is what I wrote in 
1833. But in 1842 an event occurred which had a great influence 
on my opinion. 

"In 1842 the Academy awarded the prize in experimental 
physiology to M. Longet, for four memoirs . . . one of which 
bore the title : 'Memoir on the functions sensory and motor 
of the columns of the cord and of the roots of the nerves which 
arise from them.' *^ In this memoir, M. Longet . . . attributed . . . 
the honor of the idea of the distinct function of the . . . roots 
... to M, Bell: he attributed to himself . . . the merit of 
the first . . . decisive experiments. Why did not M. Magendie 
speak P^'* ... If he had said 'Those are my experiments,' , . . 
the committee would have paused. His silence was the first cause 
of my error. 

"There is nothing more in favor of M. Bell except a single 
fact . . . the following passage in a memoir . . . published in 
1811: . . ."" 

Magendie then spoke^^ : "The . . . facts which our hon- 
orable colleague has just cited appear to me to be exact, only he 
interprets them in a manner which I cannot allow. If . . .1 
have kept silence during the affair which has just been recalled 
by my colleague, no one could have interpreted it as a sort of 
abandoning of my claim; for the report made to the Academy 
. . . ran verbatim 'that I believed that I ought to decline, 
as I could not be judge and party in questions in which I myself 
was much concerned.' I pass on now to the works of M. 
Bell. . . . 

"^^ Memoire s. 1. fonctions sensoriales e. motrice d. cordons d. 1. moelle 
epiniere e. d. racines d. nerfs qui en emanent. 

^o The members of this commission were Magendie, Dumeril, Becquerel, 
Flourens and de Blainville. 

■51 This was the passage already quoted. Cf. footnote *-. 

62 Compt. rend. Acad. d. Sc, Paris, 1847, xxiv, p. 319. 



THIRD PERIOD, 182I-1855. 29 

"It was I who first made them known in France. I analyzed 
them in my Journal de Physiologie. I have set forth their 
originaHty. . . . Charles Bell had before me, but without my 
knowledge, the idea of cutting separately the spinal roots ; he 
had likewise the merit of discovering that the anterior influences 
muscular contraction more than the posterior. . . . With regard 
to the establishment of the fact that these roots have . . . distinct 
functions, that the anterior preside over the movements and the 
posterior over sensation, that discovery belongs to me . . . and 
ought to remain as one of the columns of the monument which 
the physiologists of France have raised since the beginning of 
the century." 

THE ACADEMY, 182I-1855. 

Already in 1819 Magendie had been elected a member of the 
Academy of Medicine and now on November 19, 1821, he was 
called, largely, it is said, through the influence of Laplace, to fill 
the chair in the Academy of Sciences left vacant by the death of 
Corvisart.^^ Of the latter body, of which he was president during 
1837, Magendie continued to be an active member for the next 
thirty-five years. 

As much of the work of the Academy was performed by spe- 
cial committees elected from among its members, it was as a mem- 
ber of such committees that Magendie played a prominent role. 

Committees for Verification. 

The various activities with which the Academy was busied at 
that time might roughly be classified under four heads. In the 
first place the custom prevailed of appointing committees to in- 
quire into the truth of papers presented before the Academy. 
Thus the half-dozen memoirs which Magendie himself had read 
before the Academy had been passed upon by committees made 
up of Cuvier, Humboldt, Pinel, Percy, Halle and Thenard ; and 
now that Magendie had become an academician, it fell to his lot 
to examine many of the communications made by others. This 
often entailed a great deal of labor, for the more important ex- 
periments described by the authors had to be repeated and their 
truth or error demonstrated. But Magendie entered into this 

" See Adhemard Lecler, "Academic des Sciences," in La grande ency- 
clopedie, Paris and Leipzig, Vol. I, p. 205. Dcsmarets-Jcan-Nicholas Cor- 
visart (1755-1821) became, in 1797, Professor of Medicine at the College 
de France; later, physician to Napoleon, and in 181 1 a member of the 
Academic dcs Sciences. 



30 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANgOIS MAGENDIE. 

work with such unusual zeal that he was often carried far beyond 
the limits of simple verification, and his reports to the Academy 
often bore the character of independent researches. 

Committees on Prises. 

A second branch of academic committee work was the ex- 
amination of the claims of competitors for certain prizes. The 
latter had been founded by various philanthropic persons and to 
the Academy had been given the privilege of awarding them. 
This it did upon the recommendation of special committees of 
academicians elected by ballot. Those prizes in which Magendie 
was especially concerned were the following: 

1, The prize in experimental physiology, founded by Baron 
Montyon. To this reference has already been made. It con- 
sisted of a sum of 900 fr. and was awarded annually "for the best 
contribution to the progress of experimental physiology, printed or 
written," 

2, The prize in medicine and surgery f'^ also a Montyon foun- 
dation. This prize — or rather these prizes — aggregated a con- 
siderable sum, amounting sometimes to as much as 17,000 fr. It 
was distributed annually among several competitors in amounts 
proportionate to their respective merits, 

3, The great prize in the physical sciences, a medal and 
3,000 fr., awarded by the Academy at intervals of several years. 

Exactly how many times Magendie served on these com- 
mittees is uncertain, but from the time that the proceedings of the 
Academy began to be regularly published (1835), Magendie's 
name was never absent from any of them until his death in 1855.^^ 
He served twice, moreover, as one of the five judges of the Mon- 
tyon prize "relating to the means of rendering an art or trade less 
unhealthy," and twice on the committee for awarding the Manni 
prize for the best contribution to the subject of apparent death, 
and also in the case of many special prizes offered but once, or 
perhaps but for a few times by enthusiasts who desired to be the 
means of contributing something to human knowledge with 
respect to certain subjects of special interest to themselves, 

B4"For the authors of the works or discoveries most useful to the art 
of healing." — Compt. rend. Acad. d. Sc. 

^^A note in the /. d. physiol. exper. e. path. (1828, vii, p. 136) states that 
Magendie was one of the committee on the prize in medicine and surgery 
for the preceding year. 



THIRD PERIOD, 182I-1855. 3I 

The Gelatin, Hippiatric and Other Commissions. 

Thirdly, the Academy frequently elected committees for the 
purpose of arbitration or research, or elected representatives upon 
the commissions which were from time to time formed under vari- 
ous departments of the government. 

Magendie was frequently called upon to take part in this sort 
of work and among the commissions of which he was a member 
may be mentioned the following: The commission established 
by the Minister of Public Instruction in which Magendie was 
associated with MM. de Cardaillac, Professor of Philosophy, and 
Letronne, Inspector-General of Studies, which had for its object 
the investigation of the new method of teaching children to read 
proposed by M. LafTore.°® Later, at the request of the same min- 
istry, he took part in the proceedings of the committee for con- 
sidering the advisability of sending a physician to Germany to 
study the methods of treatment employed at the various watering 
places in that country."^^ There were also the commissions to 
note the effect on sheep of large doses of arsenic, to report upon 
an artificial arm presented to the Academy by the Dutch sculptor, 
Van Petersen,^^ to consider the proposed suppression of the 
botanical garden in Toulon,^® and so forth.^" Two of the com- 
missions of which Magendie was a member were of sufficient im- 
portance to merit especial attention. They were the Hippiatric 
Commission and the yet more famous Gelatin Commission. 

The Hippiatric Commission. 

In September, 1836, the Minister of Public Instruction^^ in- 
vited the Academy to appoint one of its members to take part in a 
commission organized in accordance with a decision of the Min- 
ister of War, for the purpose of supervising the experiments re- 
lating to the treatment of glanders in horses, proposed by M. 
Galy. Magendie was forthwith elected. 

Four years later the new Minister of War appealed directly to 
the Academy.®- He stated that, since the loss of horses from 
glanders had been out of all proportion to that occurring in for- 
eign armies, a commission of army officers had been appointed 

B«"Rapport, etc." J : 1829, ix, p. 364. 

''■'"Rapport, etc." (Com. MM. Pouillet et Magendie, rap.). C: 1850, xxx. 

p. 471. 

68C: 1845, XX, p. 428. 

68 "Rapport, etc." C: 1849, xxix, p. 369. 

^^See Ibid.: 1839, i^^. P- 53^; and 1841, xiii, p. 940. 

«iC: Sept., 1836, iii, p. 372. 

^-Ibid. : Jan., 1840, x, p. 73. 



32 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANgOIS MAGENDIE. 

by his predecessor to look into the matter, and that this commis- 
sion had now stated its opinion that the ravages of the disease were 
due to the iinhealthincss of the stables and advised certain im- 
provements. On the matter of ventilation, however, the minister 
wished the advice of the Academy. The latter, therefore, ap- 
pointed a commission composed of Magendie, Chevreul, Poncelet, 
Breschet and Boussing-ault"^ to attend to the matter. 

The work of Magendie upon these commissions doubtless met 
with the approval of the authorities, for when in 1844 the Hip- 
piatric Commission was organized under the War Department, 
Magendie was appointed president. , Beside the four academi- 
cians, Magendie, Rayer, Payen and Boussingault, the commission 
comprised M. Cretu {maitre de requcts), the director of the 
Alfort veterinary college, a member of the Academy of Medicine, 
the chief veterinarian of the municipal guard, four veterinarians 
of the army and a chemist. 

Within the next fourteen years this commission published four 
volumes of memoirs, and to these Magendie and Rayer made val- 
uable contributions in experimental physiology. One of these 
memoirs (89) was read by Magendie before the Academy in 
1845. It was a comparative study of the parotid and mixed 
saliva of the horse with relation to chemical composition and ac- 
tion upon food. 

The Gelatin Commission. 

At the beginning of the nineteenth century®* several chemists, 
among whom was d'Arcet, Sr.,®^ were busying themselves in ex- 
periments which had for their object the extraction of the organic 
material from bones. At that time it was believed that as much 
bouillon could be obtained from one pound of bones as from six 
pounds of meat, and hence it was as a problem in institutional 
economics that the work of these investigators was viewed with 
interest. In 1817 d'Arcet, Jr., devised a new method of extract- 
ing the bones, a device which soon supplanted the older methods 
in which the use of papain or boiling with acids had been resorted 
to. The statement of d'Arcet that he was now able to make five 
beeves out of four, coupled with the approval with which the 
College de France looked upon his results, led to the quite general 
introduction of d'Arcet's extract of bones into the hospitals and 

^^Ibidetn, p. 74. 

6*See Bull. Acad. d. Med., xv, p. 324, Jan. 8, 1850, p. 367. Jan. 22, 
1850. 

"D'Arcet (C:) or Darcet {Bull. Acad. d. Mid.) 



THIRD PERIOD, 182I-1855. 33 

almshouses in Paris, where 60 grams of this gelatin were regarded 
as equivalent to 1,500 grams of meat. 

But soon criticisms and complaints began to arise in various 
quarters. On June 30, 182 1, M. Donne read a paper"*' before the 
Academy of Sciences. He had experimented on himself, he said, 
and had promptly lost two pounds in weight, while animals which 
he had fed with gelatin soon showed such a distaste for it that 
they preferred to die of starvation rather than eat it. 

Moreover, on November 8th of the same year appeared a re- 
port®^ of the physicians and surgeons of the Hotel-Dieu. Their 
six conclusions may be summarized by saying that in comparison 
with the bouillon made with meat, that in which gelatin was em- 
ployed was more distasteful, more putrescible, less digestible, less 
nutritious and that, moreover, it often brought on diarrhea. This 
report was signed l)y Petit, Recamier, Caillard, Baron Dupuytren, 
Breschet, Gueneau de Mussy, Honore Husson, Sanson, Magendie, 
Bally, Henri Duval and Gendrin, secretary. 

The Academy of Sciences now took steps in the matter and 
appointed a committee of investigation known as the "Gelatin 
Commission." 

Two years later (1833) Edwards and Balzac®^ reported be- 
fore the Academy a series of experiments on dogs in which they 
showed that although gelatin had some nutritive value, it was in- 
capable of sustaining life. In the following year (1834) Gran- 
nal,^® after performing some experiments upon his own family 
and some of the students at the Val-de-Grace, reported to the 
Academy results which were extremely unfavorable to the use of 
gelatin. 

But the Gelatin Commission remained silent, and as years 
passed various individuals began to show signs of impatience. 
Seven years had gone by when M. GrannaF" asked the Academy 
to urge the members of the commission to bring in their report. 
To this Magendie, who was at that time President of the Academy, 
replied that the experiments of the commission were still in 
progress and that he was unable to say when they would be 
completed. In the following year some remarks of M. Arago 

««Meeting of the Academy, June 6, 183T ; also, "Memoire sur I'emploi 
de la gelatine comme substance alimentaire." Paris, 1835. Svo. 

«■'€: Aug., 1841, xiii, p. 286. 

8Mrr/t. gen. de med., Paris, 1833, 2. Ser., i, p. 313. 

coMeeting of the Academy, Sept. i, 1834. Gaz. mid. d. Paris. 1834. 2. 
Ser., V, p. 578. 

'OC: 1837, iv, p. 183. 



34 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANgOIS MAGENDIE. 

hinting at the slowness of the commission called forth a formal 
protest from Dumas, Thenard and Magendic, and Arago apolo- 
gized.''^ 

At last the rcport^^ was ready on August 2, 1841. Magendie 
presented it to the Academy in the name of the commissioners, 
Thenard, president ;^'' d'Arcet, Dumas, Flourens, Breschet, Serres 
and himself. In the introduction Magendie called attention to 
the fact that M. d'Arcet had tactfully declined taking any part 
in the experimental work, but had rendered valuable assistance in 
collecting documents relating to the gelatin question. He then 
proceeded to say that, considering the problem of finding the nu- 
tritive value of certain gelatin soups too narrow, the question 
which the commission proposed to itself was this : "Can one by 
an economical procedure extract from bones a food which, either 
when eaten alone or when mixed with other substances, can take 
the place of meat?" In order to facilitate this inquiry the com- 
mission had been divided into two sections ; one composed of 
chemists, while to the other was allotted the physiological experi- 
ments. These sections now presented a joint report. 

The scope and character of the work can readily be seen from 
the titles of a few of the various sections into which the report was 
divided : 

History of the extraction of gelatin and its employment as a 
food. 

Experiments on gelatin, pure, flavored, in fasting, in associa- 
tion with other substances. 

Experiments on gelatin and meat bouillon. 

Comparative chemistry of various bouillons. 

Experiments on the parenchyma of bones, on tendons, on the 
nutritive properties of albumen, fibrin, etc., mixed, unmixed, fla- 
vored or unflavored. 

"We are very conservative in our conclusions," ran the report ; 
"but we can state the following positively: 

"i. By no known process can there be extracted from bones a 
substance which, either when taken alone or when mixed with 
other substances, can replace meat. 

"2. Gelatin, fibrin, albumen, taken alone, support animals for 
a very limited time. In general these substances soon excite an 

''^Ibid.: 1838, vii, p. 1131. 

'2"Rapport fait a I'Acad. d. Sc. au nom d. 1. Commission dit d. 1. 
gelatine." Ibid. : 1841, xiii, pp. 237-283. 
''^Ibid. : 1844, xviii, p. 986. 




FR.A X V" i > -^' Ai I !■- .\' DIE, 
Engraved by E. Schladitz after the Medallion by David d'Angers. 



THIRD PERIOD, 182I-1855. 35 

intolerable distaste to a degree which renders starvation prefer- 
able. 

"3. The same immediate principles artificially united, and 
rendered of an agreeable sapidity by seasoning, are accepted with 
more resignation and for a longer time than when they are iso- 
lated ; but finally they have no better effect upon the nutrition, for 
animals which eat them, even in considerable quantities, die with 
the symptoms of complete inanition. 

"4. Meat (muscle) in which gelatin, albumen and fibrin arc 
united by the laws of organic nature and are associated with 
other materials as fats, salts, etc., suffice even in very small quan- 
tities for a complete and prolonged nutrition." 

The remaining five conclusions, though interesting, arc per- 
haps of somewhat less importance than those which have already 
been quoted. 

The work of the Gelatin Commission was not completed with 
this report, but as Magendie seems to have resigned'^* a few years 
later, before the appearance of a second report, the doings of the 
commission cease to have any bearing on this biography. 

Memoirs, the "Comptes Rendiis." 
The last and perhaps the most important phase of Academic 
activity was the presentation, at the meetings of that body, of 
memoirs recording the results of original investigations. The 
papers which Magendie read before the Academy were numerous 
and their contents varied. At first they were published either in 
the form of monographs or in one of several medical and scien- 
tific periodicals, especially in the medical journal of Leroux and 
the Journal de Physiologic Experitnentalc. To these earlier mem- 
oirs reference has already been made. 

In 1831 Magendie's journal came to an end, but soon (1835) 
another and still more famous periodical came into existence, the 
Comptes Rcndns Hehdomadaircs dcs Seances de I'Acadcmie 
des Sciences. 

Nothing impresses one with the wonderful intellectual life of 
Paris at that time more than simply running the eye down the 
list of contributers to the first volume of the Comptes: 
Agassiz, Berthelot, Gay-Lussac, 

Ampere, Biot, Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire, 

Arago, Cuvier, Htmiboldt, 

Baudelocque, Delacroix, Laplace, 

Becquerel, Flourens, Magendie. 

''^^See C: 1844, xviii, p. 564. 



36 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANQOIS MAGENDIE. 

Of all Mag-endie's contributions to the Comptes, of which there 
were about a dozen in the next twenty years, the most interest- 
ing was his series of articles on recurrent sensibility. In the 
second ])a|)cr on the function of the spinal nerve roots, which 
Magendic published in his Journal in 1822, he described not only 
the effect of section of the roots upon the convulsions caused by 
strychnia, but also the results obtained by direct stimulation of the 
roots. These results were surprising, for on stimulation of the 
anterior roots Magendie obtained signs of pain, while stimula- 
tion of the posterior roots caused muscular movements. To the 
latter phenomenon he does not again refer, so that one is left in 
the dark as to whether it was a reflex or an error in observation. 
The fact, however, that stimulation of the anterior roots causes 
pain seems to have again recurred to his thoughts. 

On May 20th, 1839, Magendie communicated to the Academy 
the results of some experiments on the nervous system (83). The 
author's summary of his results reads as follows : "The sensory and 
motor nerves of the cord are both sensitive when both are intact. 

"If one cuts the sensory nerves, the motor nerves immediately 
lose their sensibility. 

"If one cuts the motor nerves in the middle, the end which 
remains attached to the spinal cord is quite insensible ; the op- 
posite end, on the contrary, retains an extreme sensibility. In 
this case the sensibility goes from the periphery to the centre. 

"If one cuts the sensory nerves in the middle, the end which 
is attached to the cord is very sensitive ; the end which is ad- 
jacent to the ganglion has, on the contrary, lost all its sensibility." 

A few weeks later Magendie presented a second paper (84) be- 
fore the Academy. In this he declared that having been impressed 
by the fact that the sensibility of the ventral roots depends upon 
the integrity of the dorsal roots, he was minded to try similar ex- 
periments on the columns of the cord. He therefore stimulated 
the ventral columns of the cord and found that they showed evi- 
dent sensibility, although they were not so exquisitely sensitive as 
the dorsal columns. This sensibility of the ventral columns disap- 
peared in great part, not only on section of the dorsal roots, but 
on section of the ventral roots also. Why this round-about path ? 
Magendie said that he did not know, and that more experiments 
ought to be made for investigating this subject. 

At the next meeting of the Academy a letter^^ from M. A. 

■^^A. Longet. Fait physiologique relatif aux racine d. nerfs rachidiens. 
C: 1839, viii, p. 881. 



THIRD PERIOD, 182I-1855. 37 

Longet was read in which the author claimed for himself the 
credit of the discovery of recurrent sensibility. He stated that 
he had performed the essential experiment in the presence of 
Magendie, and that all Magendie had done was to confirm and 
amplify it before hurrying off to the Academy to report the dis- 
covery as his own. Without entering into the details of the Lon- 
get-Magendie dispute, which was soon dropped, it may be said 
that both Bernard and Flourens appear to have disregarded 
entirely Longet's claim, but it seems probable that Magendie did 
not give enough credit to Longet for his experiment, and that con- 
sequently the latter was led to claim a good deal more than was 
his due. 

The spinal nerve roots seem to have brought more trouble in 
their train than any other structure investigated by Magendie. 
One of his discoveries was claimed for Bell, another was claimed 
by Longet. Nor did this end the matter, for when in 1847 
Magendie again reports upon the subject of recurrent sensibil- 
ity (91), he complains sadly that the Academy had not treated him 
fairly, for it had on two occasions honored memoirs in which his 
results in regard to this phenomenon were pronounced erroneous. 
He then proceeds to repeat all his previous statements concerning 
recurrent sensibility, and next to describe some new experiments 
which amplify and confirm the results already obtained. Finally 
he reports a series of experiments which he had performed in 
company with Claude Bernard, and which proved that the sen- 
sory function of the facial nerve depends entirely for its presence 
upon the integrity of the trigeminal. 

Of the other articles published in the Comptes some are of con- 
siderable interest. With Bernard (93) he showed that stimulation 
of the dorsal spinal nerve roots causes a rise in the blood pressure, 
and that the same result could be obtained on stimulation of a 
ventral root, but only when the dorsal root was intact as in the 
case of recurrent sensibility. He observed also that this change 
in the circulation occurred in the absence of all signs of pain on 
the part of the animal. 

In another paper (90) he comments on the interest felt by 
chemists in the study of ferments and catalytic action. He then 
describes as the result of his own researches the discovery of a 
new property of the blood, namely, that of converting starch into 
glucose and dextrine. Starch injected into the blood disappeared 
and in its place dextrose could be demonstrated. 

Besides the articles already referred to there are others of 
somewhat less interest, such as the three reports on nervous 



38 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANgOIS MAGENDIE. 

cases treated with galvanism (80, 81, 85), a note on the com- 
position of the blood in various diseases (86), an article on the 
action of ammonium nitrosulphate on animals and man (78), and 
another on the cow-pox (88). 

It was a custom for each academician to present a copy of 
his latest book at one of the sessions of the Academy, sometimes 
accompanying it with a short summary of its contents. Conse- 
quently the Comptcs rendus contains notices and abstracts of 
many of Magendie's larger works. 

Personality of the Academician, Magendie. 

Although an able academician, whose clear sight and energy 
made him invaluable as a worker, the asperity of his character 
was such that it must have rendered his presence at times a source 
of great discomfort to his colleagues. "His ineradicable sarcasm 
spared no one. His abrupt sallies by their very suddenness dis- 
concerted all prevision and set at naught all academic tradition. 
He never insinuated that an opinion was erroneous or a fact mis- 
stated, he plainly said so." 

"Our honorable colleague," cried Magendie,'® when Breschet 
had finished reading his paper on glanders,'''^ "our honorable 
colleague has just passed judgment in a manner so positive, so 
absolute, upon certain questions of the greatest importance, that 
wishing to reply and believing that I can do so with some suc- 
cess, I find myself with no other resource than to employ phrases 
both sharp and clear, which might compare without disadvantage 
with those which he has used. 

"I say to my honorable colleague, without any oratorical pre- 
cautions : when you say that chronic glanders is the same disease 
as acute glanders you are wrong! When you say that chronic 
glanders is contagious you are wrong again ! When you say that 
chronic glanders is transmitted to man by way of contagion you 
are expressing an opinion which nothing proves and which, if 
it were spread about on the authority of your words, might have 
the most disastrous consequences. 

"I could easily multiply the number of these denials, but I 
will confine myself for the moment to the three principal points 
discussed in your memoir. . . ." 

The incident above quoted is by no means unique, for Magen- 

^^C: Feb. 10, 1840, x, p. 223. 

'^Breschet and Rayer : De 1. Morve chez rhomme, chez 1. solipedes e. 
quelques autres mammiferes. C : Feb. 10, 1840, x, p. 20Q. 



THIRD PERIOD, 182I-1855. 39 

die never left any room for doubt with regard to his meaning.'^* 
Flourens moreover intimates that Magendie claimed for himself 
the whole field of physiology, and that no experiments could be 
done nor discoveries made without arousing his jealousy. But 
Bernard leads us to believe that it was really a matter of principle 
which led him to seek so diligently for the flaws in the work of 
others, that he might by so doing the more readily arrive at the 
truth. It is probable that an impartial critic to-day, one who had 
not himself been roughly handled, as Flourens had been, by this 
perhaps over-strenuous skeptic, would agree with Bernard and 
would see in Magendie a rough but honest champion who 
hacked and hewed his way toward the truth utterly regard- 
less of the more sensitive feelings of others and utterly contempt- 
uous of the shallow euphemisms which society at all times fosters. 
Magendie's method was, however, so unusual that another in- 
stance should be cited to emphasize and illustrate this important 
trait in his character. One of the best instances of his violent and 
unexpected attacks is found in the records of the ether controversy 
which took place in 1847. On February ist of that year Velpeau 
read before the Academy a note "On the Effects of Ether." ^* He 
recorded the results of numerous operations with this anesthetic. 
For the relaxing of muscles in the setting of fractures and the 
reduction of dislocations, he had also found it most useful. He 
dwelt upon the wonderful result of ether anesthesia and his dis- 
course glowed with enthusiasm. 

Velpeau's remarks, however, called forth a perfect tirade on 
the part of Magendie,^" who in a long harangue soundly rated 
the surgeons in general and Velpeau in particular. "The sur- 
geons," said he in substance, though these were not his exact 
words, "are catering to the public demand for the miraculous and 
sensational. They perform experiments on human beings which 
cannot be justified. Our knowledge of this drug is too scanty 
to warrant this wholesale use of it. Unconsciousness may be 
produced by other drugs, such as alcohol, but they are not used in 
operations for very obvious reasons, yet the surgeons hasten to em- 
ploy ether, a drug with which we are so little acquainted. Might 
not the use of ether initiate in patients a craving for it? Who, 
indeed, would commit himself while in a state of complete uncon- 
sciousness into the hands of a surgeon when bungling and mal- 

^^See C: 1839, ix, p. 776; 1845, xxi, p. 51; and 1849, xxix, p. 417. 
"'"Sur. 1. effets d. 1 ether. C: Feb. i, 1847, xxiv, p. 129. Feb. i, 1847. 
80/&td. : p. 134. 



40 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANgOIS MAGENDIE, 

practice might go on unknown to him? Would one not rather 
endure the pain? Of what use is an anesthetic which still permits 
the patients to shout and struggle as though tormented with 
horrible dreams? Finally, may not the knowledge of the ease 
with which it can be employed lead to its use for criminal 
purposes ?" 

In replying,^^ Velpeau expressed his great astonishment at 
Magendie's attack. He resented the implication that he was a 
rash experimenter. Who indeed in all Europe was more free in 
resorting to experiments both on man and animals than he who 
had just attacked the surgeons? Ether had been abundantly 
tested by the most accomplished persons both in America and in 
England. Velpeau then at some length explained to the Academy 
that the facts advanced by Magendie were exceptional and that 
his fears were groundless. But Magendie was not silenced. "He 
would not reply," he said, "to M. Velpeau, who had contested 
none of his assertions. He would, however, show the disadvan- 
tages of ether anesthesia. In long operations one dares not use 
it, for our knowledge of the after-effects of the drug is too scanty ; 
it is contraindicated in operations near nerves which might be cut 
or tied but for the warning given by the conscious patient; in 
parturition it is worse than useless since it interferes with the 
normal pains ; in mouth and face operations it should not be used 
lest the blood should fill up the lungs of the helpless patient. 
Such examples might be multiplied indefinitely." 

The next meeting of the Academy was opened by a paper by 
Roux on "The Effects of Ether."^- This again aroused Magendie, 
who at once began a long and vehement discourse^^ which may be 
paraphrased and abridged as follows : "If, at the last meeting of 
the Academy, my words seemed to be marked by a certain degree 
of animation, I beg you to note that they were directed less 
against a new therapeutic agent than against the extreme eager- 
ness with which patients have everywhere been experimented 
upon. 

"During the past week the subject of ether narcosis has been 
engrossing all minds. Among the many cases operated upon, 
we hear of those in which the giving of ether was accompanied 
by cries, lamentations and signs of suffering. Three cases have 
been reported by Vidal, in which there was sensory exaltation 

81C: Feb. i, 1847, xxiv, p. 138. 

82Sur. 1. effets d. I'ether. C : Feb. 8, 1847, xxiv, p. 168. 

^^Ibid. : p. 170, 



THIRD PERIOD, 182I-1855. 4I 

SO that the pain of the operation was increased. In three women 
who had come to the Versailles hospital, for the extraction of 
some teeth, the administration of ether was followed by convul- 
sions, recurring for several days. In some there have been dreams, 
the most unpleasant and the most violent and sometimes even 
a condition resembling delirium tremens. The dreams are some- 
times extraordinarily erotic in character. Women thus intox- 
cated have been seen to rush upon the surgeon-operator with 
such evident intention that in this singular and novel situation 
the danger is no longer to the patient, but to the surgeon." 
[Laughter.] 

"I should hope," he continued, "that no one supposes that I 
had the intention of provoking hilarity. On the contrary, I re- 
gard the consequences of ether intoxication as extremely serious. 
I should be very unhappy if my wife or my daughter had been the 
subject of scenes similar to those of which I have been a wit- 
ness, in which chaste and modest girls have been transformed in 
a few minutes into bacchanals. Might not the taking of ether 
lead to results similar to those produced by the hashish and 
opium of the Orient?" 

Magendie then proceeded to describe in detail the distressing 
results of the administration of ether in a case of excision of the 
tonsils. The facts, he said, had been obtained from a physician 
who had been present at the operation which took place at the 
Charite. In conclusion, he expressed his belief that the zeal and 
activity which had characterized surgeons during the last few 
days might contribute greatly to our knowledge of the effects of 
ether anesthesia. 

Roux,^^ whose paper had been the cause of this second at- 
tack upon anesthesia, replied much as Velpeau had done at the 
preceding meeting. Magendie's objections were not serious, for 
such cases as those reported were quite exceptional. Then Vel- 
peau, the surgeon of the Charite, began to defend himself; Ma- 
gendie had not told all that there was to tell with regard to the 
tonsilar excision. The young man on whom the operation had 
been performed, a very neurotic individual, had insisted on being 
etherized. He had never been completely under the influence 
of the anesthetic and his subsequent symptoms were due to 
hysteria. He added that he had never stated that ether was of 
value in all cases. He knew that in operations in the mouth it 

8^C: Feb. 8, 1847, xxiv, p. 175. 



42 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANgOIS MAGENDIE. 

was of little value and he knew of many other cases in which 
the usefulness of ether was more than questionable. 

This, however, did not close the incident, for a week later 
Magendie laid before the Academy a letter from M. Constantin 
James,^^ confirming the statements made by Magendie with re- 
gard to the patient at the Charite. Velpeau was, however, pre- 
pared for this and forthwith produced a letter signed by his three 
internes, who denied some of the assertions made by Magendie. 
He then proceeded to discuss at length the advantages and limita- 
tions of ether anesthesia, concluding with the words : "Finally, 
there is one remark which I shall permit myself to make to the 
public and the laity; it is that ether in doing away with pain 
does not remove the danger of the operation, and that the pos- 
sibility of operating without suffering is not a reason for opera- 
ting without necessity." 

Then Magendie again spoke i^"* "Since my colleagues have 
come to acknowledge the dangers of the administration of ether 
and the precaution required in using it, I regard the discussion 
as terminated, the more so if they put into practice the opinions 
which they profess. 

"I do not regard the testimony of three of M. Velpeau's 
pupils as of equal value to that of a physician and former interne 
at the hospital in question, but this discussion is becoming per- 
sonal and ought not to be continued before the Academy." 

Magendie then concluded with the following words : "Gen- 
tlemen, in throwing myself against the general infatuation, in 
protesting against experiments made upon men with a substance 
of whose properties we have not a complete knowledge even to- 
day, I knew very well that I would raise up formidable opposition. 
But I declare that after having devoted so many years to labors 
which, unless I deceive myself, have not been sterile for the wel- 
fare of humanity, I had not expected to be represented as the 
apostle of pain, and, shall I say it ? as opposing a useful discovery 
for the sole reason that it did not emanate from myself ! But what 
does it matter ! I have the consciousness of having performed a 
duty in putting my colleagues and the Academy itself on guard 
against an innovation which, though it may have some day a real 
utility, has already resulted in sad consequences and can be the 
occasion of deplorable abuses." 

As has already been stated, this is by no means the only in- 

85C: Feb. 15, 1847, xxiv, p. 230. 
86/&irf. : p. 238. 



THIRD PERIOD, 182I-1855. 43 

stance^^ of Magendie's belligerent nature. Sometimes, as in his 
dispute with M. Payen, he was shown to be clearly in the wrong, 
having been guilty of unintentional misstatement. In this case 
Magendie frankly and publicly acknowledged*^ his error when it 
was shown to him. 

MEDICAL PRACTICE. 

"The Great Idol of Human Credulity." 

We have seen that as a man of science the two most character- 
istic traits of Magendie were his skepticism and his devotion to 
the experimental method. These characteristics also found ex- 
pression in his practice of the profession of medicine. "To the 
young practitioners vaunting the success of their prescriptions, 
he would reply with good-natured sarcasm: 'It is evident that 
you have never tried the plan of doing nothing.' If the extreme 
simplicity of this kind of treatment called forth not unreasonable 
objections, 'Be assured,' he would add, 'that for the most part 
when disturbance manifests itself, we cannot discover the causes; 
we can at most only perceive the effects. Our only usefulness in 
the presence of nature, which in general tends to the normal con- 
dition, consists in not interrupting her ; it is only now and then 
that we can aspire to be sufficiently skilful to aid her.' " ®* 

"This disease," said he, in one of his lectures at the college, 
"is rather an indisposition than a true malady,"" at least when not 
aggravated by treatment. For if the physician appears to give it 
importance, if he makes frequent visits to his patient, if he 
questions him gravely, advises bleeding and other energetic 
measures, it is possible that a simple indisposition may become 
a serious or even fatal illness : one has only too many examples 
of this. But if you content yourself with that which simple 
preservation indicates, if the patient being a little cold is warmed, 
if you have him drink some aromatic infusion, it is certain that the 
disease will then be a slight affection which will never entail a 
serious mishap." His bluntness and skepticism seem never to 
have interfered with his success in practice, for his reputation 
was such that many in their confidence in his integrity and skill 

s^See also the discussion following the report of Regnault. C: 1841, 
p. 1076. 

88C: March 6, 1843, xvi, p. 554; and March 20, 1843, xvi. 

89F : p. 39. 

»0Legon sur le cholera-morbus, pp. 5-6. Magendie is here speaking of 
"cholerine." 



44 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANQOIS MAGENDIE. 

were more than ready to overlook his eccentricities, one of which 
was, as has already been stated, his refusal to "bow before the 
great idol of human credulity." In this connection Flourens tells 
the following amusing anecdote."^ "On a certain occasion, on 
leaving a little boy whose condition presented alarming symp- 
toms, he said : 'Let him do just what he pleases ; that is all I 
prescribe.' Usually sparing of his time and visits, he lavishes 
both in behalf of this child, but adds nothing to his medication. 
On the evening of the third day, all at once his brow clears, and 
taking the invalid by the ear, he exclaims: 'Little rogue, you 
have not allowed me a moment's rest' ; and giving him a little 
slap, 'Get up now and run about.' The delighted father asks, 
'What then was the matter with the child'? 'What was the 
matter? Ma foi, I don't know; neither I, nor the whole faculty, 
if they could be honest with you. But what is certain is that 
everything has returned to its normal state,' and with this he 
disappeared." 

Naturally, the lovers of medical miracles were rudely shaken 
when he told them that their only malady was a craving for 
being gulled, and it is probable that no would-be invalid ever 
came twice to him to be consoled for imaginary ailments. 

But Magendie always preferred hospital to private practice. 
There he seems to have been beloved, for the poor patients of 
the Salpetriere^- presented him with a memorial when, in 1830, 
he quitted that hospital for the Hotel-Dieu. 

Now it ought never to be supposed that Magendie's skepti- 
cism paralyzed all his therapeutic efforts. Magendie was, above 
everything else, an experimenter, and if he did not accept tradi- 
tional methods of treatment, he followed the suggestions of the 
experiments which he had himself performed on animals. Of the 
many instances of the way in which Magendie turned his labora- 
tory experience to practical use the following may be cited ; not, 
however, because the results in these cases were most satisfactory, 
but because the account is perhaps the most dramatic. 

In the article entitled "Experiments on Hydrophobia" (27), 
Magendie comments on the impotence of all known drugs in 

»iF : pp. 39-40. 

^-Magendie received the appointment of Medecin Suppleant to the 
Salpetriere, July 12, 1826 (Dubois, p. 180). La Salpetriere has now the 
oldest hospital buildings in Paris. It is remarkable for the extent of its 
grounds and buildings, which cover some seventy-four acres. It was 
founded by Louis XIV. as a refuge for old women, and received its name 
from some saltpetre mines which had occupied the same site. 



THIRD PERIOD, 182I-1855. 45 

combating this terrible disease. He then vividly describes his 
method of dealing with a mad dog which he had been hastily 
summoned to see. It appears that Magendie had noticed that 
a depression, especially of the nervous system, always occurred 
in animals when water had been injected into the circulation. He 
therefore called to his aid several students on whose courage, 
address and coolness he could rely, seized the frenzied animal 
and injected sixty ounces of water at 40° C. into the jugular 
vein, from the peripheral end of which ten to twelve ounces of 
blood were simultaneously withdrawn. The animal at once 
became quiet and soon went to sleep. At tlie end of five hours, 
the dog showed some difficulty in respiration and in this state 
died, but, adds Magendie, doubtless with a feeling of satisfaction, 
"there was never any return of the rabies." 

Not long afterwards Magendie was sent for by M. Caillard, 
resident physician at the Hotel-Dieu, to come to a case of hydro- 
phobia in its last stages (48). Magendie found the patient 
strait- jacketed and in a desperate plight. Seeing that death 
was imminent, he felt justified in resorting to heroic measures. 
He therefore had the man held iirmly while he injected a con- 
siderable quantity of water into a vein of the forearm. The 
injection required one hour and forty minutes, the pulse fell 
from one hundred and eighty to eighty, the patient became calm 
and drank water, the strait- jacket was removed. The man 
now appeared quite normal and was without fever. On the 
eighth day the patient died, not of rabies, however, but of pyaemia. 
This case also was a source of satisfaction to Magendie, for he had 
cured the man of hydrophobia. As for the pyaemia, he was at a 
loss to account for its origin, which is not much to be wondered 
at, seeing that the nature of septic infections was at that time 
(1823) quite unknown. 

Such was the physician who, in 1828, was proposed by his 
friends as a candidate for the vacant chair of medicine at the 
College de France. But his coldness and reserve antagonized 
the Minister, so that Recamier"'' received the appointment instead. 

"•''Joseph-Claude-Anthelnie Recamier (1774-1852), in 1801, was appointed 
physician to the H6tcl-Dieu, and succeeded Laennec as professor of medi- 
cine, in 1826. In 1831, after his resignation, he retired for a time to Switz- 
erland. Returning to Paris, he became a practitioner of g^eat reputation. 
Me was an ardent vitalist. — A. Bouliee. Article: "Recamier." In: Biog- 
raphie Universelle (Michaud) Ancienne et Moderne. Paris. Vol. 25, 
p. 292. 



46 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANgOIS MAGENDIE. 

THE COLLEGE DE FRANCE. 

Nomination, i8jo. 

In 1830, Recamicr, who at that time was Professor of 
Medicine at the College de France, refused to take the oath of 
allegiance to the newly proclaimed"'* King, Louis-Philippe, and 
his Chair at the College consequently became vacant. "This 
Chair," said Claude Bernard,*"^ referring to this period, though 
the words were spoken twenty-five years later, "cannot be com- 
pared with any other. It is not such a Chair as that in the 
Faculty of Medicine, for example, which remains limited to the 
same special branch of pathology in fixed relation to the other 
Chairs, which taken all together represent to the student the sum 
of our knowledge of the medical sciences. In the College de 
France it is abstract science only which should be kept in view 
and this Chair should comprise the sum of scientific medicine in 
its greatest universality and in the highest expression of its 
progress. But this collection which we call medicine is com- 
posed of a host of special sciences — anatomy, physiology, path- 
ology, and so forth. All these sciences, which constitute medi- 
cine, have not been developed simultaneously, but, on the 
contrary, successively and incompletely. Now since it is 
impossible to embrace this whole collection at once, the Chair of 
the College de France has always represented progress, in medi- 
cal science, in whatever branch it was most conspicuous at any 
time. As a result, the character of the course should vary in 
the different periods of the science, according as scientific prog- 
ress is present in one branch of medicine rather than in another. 
This is what I wish to prove by casting a glance back over the 
list of professors who have succeeded each other in the Chair 
since its foundation in 1542, I shall take from it certain names 
at random: Vidus Vidius (1542) ; Sylvius, or Du Bois®^ (i55o) > 
Riolan (1604); Guy-Patin (1654); Tournifort (1703); Astruc 
(1732); Ferrein (1742); Corvisart (1794); Laennec (1831) 
* * * I ask you what tradition or relation could be estab- 
lished between such different men as those whom I have just 
enumerated? Their names alone show the successive modifica- 
tions of the Chair in relation to the needs of the day and the 
progress of the science." "And now," asked Bernard, "which 

'•^Louis-Philippe accepted the title of king August 9, 1830. 

»»B : p. 22. 

98Jacobus Sylvius, or Jacques Du Bois. 



THIRD PERIOD, 182I-1855. 47 

of the medical sciences is to-day the most active and shows the 
most rapid progress? It is obviously experimental physiology." 

The opinion which Bernard expressed in 1855, seems to have 
been held by many in 1830. Unquestionably Magendie, as the 
representative of the rising science of experimental physiology — a 
science which dominated the chair of medicine at the College for 
the next fifty years — was the proper successor of Recamier. 

Already, in June and September, 1830, there had appeared 
in the Gazette Medicale de Paris'^'' an article which doubtless 
expressed the opinion of some of those best competent to judge. 
After a severe but impartial criticism of Magendie's work and 
views, this article ends with a still sharper criticism of the Faculty 
of the College and with an expression of the hope that Magendie 
might succeed in obtaining the nomination. The concluding 
paragraph reads as follows : "The choice of men in the reorgani- 
zation which is being prepared will be significant. * * * The 
Faculty is careless, the instruction is lacking in breadth. It is 
necessary to remedy these two defects and this can be done only 
by the judicious renovation of the personnel of the school. Each 
new name indicates the principle which presides over this regen- 
eration. The name of Magendie gives a guarantee in this 
respect and this is why we speak it at this time. M. Magendie 
enjoys a name which is pretty well renowned in the world of 
savants, and a reputation for independence which we believe to 
be well merited ; the school can only gain by joining him to itself, 
for it will acquire thereby the consideration of those beyond its 
own circle and an element of independence within itself. With re- 
gard to the interests of science, we have no doubt that these will 
be sufficiently served by this appointment ; for with M. Magendie 
there will enter into the school a new scientific spirit diflferent 
from that which now dominates there. He will bring there ne\v 
doctrines which, though we are a long way from endorsing them, 
ought to have a voice. Teaching bodies, like all other bodies, 
become modified in spirit only very slowly ; they willingly live 
under the domination of traditions ; the principal characteristics 
of their doctrines are conservatism and exclusiveness. When 
one considers that at the time of the mighty invasion of the 
system of M. Broussais'* the school could not be appreciably 

9tVo1. I, pp. 223 and 326. June 12, and September 4, 1830. 

""FranQois-Joscph-Victor Broussais (1772- 1838) was born at St. Main, 
and came to Paris in 1799, where he obtained his degree in 1803. In 1805, 
he became an army surgeon, serving in Germany, Holland. Spain and Italy, 



48 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANgOIS MAGENDIE. 

affected and opposed the invasion with an unshaken firmness, 
one wishes to sec broken in some way that soHdarity, that 
uniformity of ideas which has in it something of egotism and 
lethargy. The accjuisition of men with fixed and inflexible opin- 
ions of their own will contribute to this happy change. We are 
indeed a long way off, we repeat it, from wishing too great 
success to the theories, be they general or special, of M. 
Magendie, and if their implantation in the school seems to us 
to be good, it is not so much because of their intrinsic value as 
because they are very different from those which long custom has 
rendered sacred there. The ideas of M. Magendie will break up 
uniformity and stimulate activity." ^" 

Magendie received the appointment and in the year 1830 
took possession of the Chair of Medicine at the College. The 
opportunity had at last arrived for introducing into the forefront 
of medical teaching in Paris the ideas which had made him 
famous in physiology, and of establishing in medicine the experi- 
mental method. But Magendie's activity in this field was des- 
tined to receive a sudden, though only temporary, check. 

Cholera in Paris, 1832. 

In 1826, a cloud began to gather in the valley of the Ganges. 
It grew slowly and gradually spread westward. It arrived at 
Cabul in 1827, and in the next year reached the Persian capital, 
driving the Shah and his terror-stricken court in flight to the 
mountains. It was the second pandemic of Asiatic cholera^"" and 
now it crossed the frontier and swept down upon Europe. 
Ohrenberg was smitten in 1829. For a while St. Petersburg was 
protected by a triple cordon of troops, but soon the pestilence 
crept in through the lines. Leaving death and riot in its wake, the 
cholera passed from St. Petersburg to Cronstadt, Hamburg, and 

and returning to Paris in 1814. His doctrine resembles that of John 
Brown. It points to excitation or irritation as the fundamental phenome- 
non of life, and to an over-irritation as the principal cause of disease. His 
lectures were attended by crowds of enthusiastic students. His "Examen 
de la doctrine medicale generalement adoptee" (1816) drew upon him the 
hatred of the whole medical faculty. By degrees his views were accepted, 
and, in 1831, he became professor of pathology in the Academy of Med- 
icine. 

99"Elles briseraient I'uniformite et provoqueraient du mouvement." 
looSee: E. C. Wendt. A Treatise on Asiatic Cholera. New York, 
1885; page 16. Also: A. Hirsch. Handbook of Geographical and His- 
torical Patholog}'. Transl. by Chas. Creighton. London, 1883. Vol. i. 
page 397- 



THIRD PERIOD, 182I-1855. 49 

thence to Sunderland. ^°^ Meanwhile, it had crossed the PoHsh 
frontiers, overridden the Prussian and Austrian armies posted to 
intercept it, and devastated Germany. 

In 1832, Magendie came before the Academy. "I am a 
physician," he said,^°- "and that vocation calls me to the focus 
of evil. I am going to Sunderland, hoping that by studying the 
cholera in the place of its appearance I shall bring back from 
there some useful suggestions. Give me more authority by 
making me your delegate." Accompanied by Guillot,^"^ he 
proceeded to the infected seaport. Thence, he was directed to 
the seat of the first outbreak among the fishing population scat- 
tered along the coast. Here he found collections of individuals 
dwelling in most miserable huts, exposed to dampness, filth, and 
vice ; living, sleeping and eating among the dead and dyini.j^. 
with instincts so brutal as to preclude the hope of any helpful 
intervention. Dejected he returned to Paris, where to the often 
repeated question "What shall we do?" he could only answer 
sadly, "I do not clearly know." 

How the disease reached Paris^^* is unknown, but there seem 
to have been unreported cases there before the great outbreak 
on March 24. 1832. By the first of April the mortality had risen 
to 500 a day, and before the end of three weeks 7.000 persons had 
perished. The Parisians at first met the cholera with the careless 
bravado which characterized them, but as the disease spread, this 
changed into a panic. Most of the Deputies and Ministers fled, 
but the Royal Family remained in Paris. King Louis-Philippe 
was only restrained from visiting the Hotel-Dieu by the eflForts 
of his councillors. The Duke of Orleans went in his stead, 
accompanied by the Minister Casimir-Perier. The latter was 
smitten by the disease and died. 

"The rich," said Magendie,^*" "will not lack physicians." and 
he turned his steps towards the Hotel-Dieu. Physicians, Sisters 
of Charity, ladies of the wealthy and of the less opulent classes, 
all rivalled each other in their courage and activity in the homes 
and in the hospitals. 

Among the most ignorant, mad rumors changed terror into 



lo^Sunderland, a seaport in Durhamshire, twelve miles southeast of 
Newcastle-on-T\Tie. 

102F: p. 47- " 

'"^Natallis Guillot subsequently became a member of the Faculty. 

'^''^See H. Martin. Histoire de France depuis 1789 jusqu'a nos Jours. 
2 F-fl. Parts. 1R70. Vol. 5, pp. 23-24. 

"BF: p. 49. 



50 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANgOIS MAGENDIE. 

fury. The cry went up that this was not an epidemic, but a 
conspiracy of which the poor were victims, and mobs surged 
through the streets howling, "Vengeance! Death to the doctors! 
Death to the poisoners !" M. Grisquet, the Prefect of PoUce, 
seemed powerless. He had issued an order forbidding the 
throwing into the streets of dirt, garbage and rubbish, but the 
people, led by the rag-pickers, rioted and erected barricades. 
Political parties accused each other of the poisoning, and persons 
were killed by the rabble in their frenzy. 

At length the epidemic abated, having in the six months of 
its visitation carried off 18,402^**" persons out of a population of 
about 800,000 souls.^"^ The rioting ceased. Paris became in 
outward appearance as of old. Magendie returned to his 
laboratory and his experiments, but not, however, until he had 
received the cross of the Legion of Honor. "I think it very well 
awarded," "^ he was heard to remark with his characteristic 
frankness. 

Lectures, 18^2-1852. 

During the great epidemic of 1832, Magendie continued his 
lectures at the College, and then was given the classic series on the 
cholera (74). In these he found abundance of opportunity for 
decrying the unwholesome tendency of those who sought to 
explain the origin of the epidemic by speculative reasoning. "In 
confining ourselves,"^"" said he, "to scientific and experimental 
progress, one does not reach such results as these. After having 
discussed all the facts which the cholera has furnished us, it is 
possible that we may find it our duty to avow frankly that several 
questions of the greatest importance relative to the epidemic are 
still unsolved. If such be our conclusion, I shall not hesitate 
to acknowledge it ; my mission to you is not to please, but to 
enlighten, to show you the true path without which science can 
make no certain step." 

This series of lectures was followed by another on the phys- 
ical phenomena of life (79). Here he dealt first with the rela- 
tions of the processes of life to certain physical properties of the 
tissues, porosity and imbibition or absorption, viscosity and the 

i"*'P. Langlois. Article on "Cholera." La Grande Encyclopedic, 
Paris, xi, p. 212. 

lO'^E. H. Vollet (Article on "Paris," ibidem, xxv, p. 1068) states that 
the population of Paris in 1831 was 785,812; in 1836, 899,313 persons. 

108F: p. 50. 

lOOLegons sur le Cholera-Morbus. Pages 4-5. 



THIRD PERIOD, 182I-1855. 51 

circulation of the blood, elasticity and the behavior of the arteries. 
Thence he passed to a discussion of the heart sounds in health 
and in disease. Animal hydraulics next occupied his attention 
and in this connection he demonstrated many phenomena of the 
circulation by means of Poiseuille's new instrument of precision, 
the mercury manometer. He estimated the changes in the venous 
and arterial pressure resulting from the injection of such liquids 
as warm water, cold water, weak alcohol, coffee and so forth, and 
also the effect of painful or agreeable sensations. All the 
changes in blood pressure thus obtained he attributed to altera- 
tions in the heart action. The effect of defibrination was then 
observed and the resulting extravasations of blood commented 
upon. The effect upon the blood of various drinks, drugs and 
gases was next treated, "topics which," he said, "throw much 
light upon some very important diseases," and finally the micro- 
scopical appearances of the blood corpuscles were carefully 
considered. 

A third series of lectures was then begun, this time on the 
functions and diseases of the nervous system (82). These lec- 
tures, like those on the physical phenomena of life, were collected 
by Constantin James and subsequently published. 

Throughout these courses of lectures, in the midst of an 
inexhaustible wealth of facts, one finds everywhere the two 
prevailing ideas of Magendie — the inseparability of medicine and 
physiology, and the all-importance of the experimental method. 
He was lavish in his experiments ; instead of lecturing he often 
performed researches in the presence of his class. "He had a 
gift," says Flourens, "of seizing phenomena as they passed and as 
they were, so to speak, on the wing." 

Still, as a teacher, Magendie was never popular. He followed 
no plan, and at the commencement of a lecture did not know 
whither his fancy might lead him. For those persons, therefore, 
whose object it was to study the principles of science, his lectures 
were not at all adapted ; but for those anxious to find out how 
new discoveries are made, and wishing to become discoverers 
themselves, there could not be a better school than the courses 
given by him. 

Relation of Magendie to His Students. 

In his intercourse with his students the singular asperity of 
Magendie's character again showed itself. "When a young man 
full of the ardor of youth, came to consult Magendie regarding 
ideas, projects of work, on which he had based the fondest hopes, 



52 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANgOIS MAGENDIE. 

he always experienced at the hands of Magendie a complete dis- 
illusioning. These frank councils were often badly received. 
But Magendie thought them a useful test whereby later and more 
cruel deceptions might be avoided. If, on the other hand, one 
came to him with a fact, with the result of an experiment of 
which he wished to speak, Magendie's first reply was always a 
denial : 'All that that you are saying,' he would reply, 'is impos- 
sible, you are mistaken.' * * * But if one opposed him and, 
strong in the truth of what he was saying, wished to take him to 
see it, Magendie never refused to go; on the contrary he asked 
to go, and, if a good experiment were performed for him, which 
fully proved the statement which had been made, he was most 
happy to acknowledge it and to compliment the author who forth- 
with acquired his esteem and sympathy." ^^° 

"Theoretical discussions Avere always distasteful to him;^^^ 
he desired nothing but facts, he wished only to see. 'I have eyes 
but no ears,' he used to say. When some one said to him, 'Ac- 
cording to this law it should happen thus, or analogy indicates 
that the phenomenon will take place in such a way;' 'I know 
nothing about it,' he would reply, 'experiment and you will say 
what you have seen.' Experiment, such was the reply which he 
invariably made during forty years to all questions of this kind. 
The worship of experimentation was never carried so far : argu- 
ment and induction were absolutely nothing to Magendie." This 
characteristic is seen again and again in his writings and also in 
the following anecdote told by Bernard, who for many years 
assisted him in his experiments. 

"One of the great savants with whom Germany is honored, 
the celebrated Fr. Tiedemann,^^^ came once upon a time on one 
of his journeys to Paris to pay a visit to Magendie, who was then 
occupied with researches on the cerebro-spinal fluid (87). Ma- 
gendie offered, as is the custom among savants, to show him his 
experiments and have him see the cerebro-spinal fluid oscillating 
below the visceral layer of the arachnoid. 'That is contrary,' re- 
plied Tiedemann, 'to the law of Bichat which we know regarding 

"OB : pp. 28-29. 

mThis and the remaining quotations in this subsection are from Ber- 
nard. 

iispriedrich Tiedemann (1781-1861), anatomist and physiologist, was 
born in Cassel, and was graduated in medicine at Marburg. He became a 
pupil of Cuvier in Paris. Later, in 1816, he became professor of anatomy 
and physiology at Heidelberg. He died at Munich. 



THIRD PERIOD, 182I-1855. S3 

serous membranes. The liquids which are secreted by these 
membranes are never outside of them ; they are enclosed in their 
cavities.' 'I have not concerned myself about that,' replied Ma- 
gendie, 'whether or not it accords with the law of the physiology 
of the serous membranes, but I take it upon myself to show you 
upon a living animal that the cerebro-spinal fluid lies under the 
visceral fold of the arachnoid.' " 

"He esteemed experimenters more than philosophers. He 
distrusted those who held premature generalizations ; he thought 
that these generalizations could be made very easily and, so to 
speak, quite of themselves, when the number of facts was suffi- 
cient. According to him the collecting of material was for the 
present the only occupation of the physiologist." "In our famil- 
iar conversations," writes Bernard, "he sometimes stated his 
opinion on this subject in a manner which was both picturesque 
and satirical. 'Everyone,' he used to say to me, 'compares him- 
self to something in his sphere more or less grandiose, to 
Archimedes, to Michel Angelo, to Newton, to Galileo, to Des- 
cartes, and so forth. Louis XIV compared himself to the sun. 
With regard to myself, I am more humble; I compare myself to 
a ragpicker; with my hook in my hand and my basket on my 
back, I traverse the domain of science and gather up what I 
find.' " 

Vi2nsection. 

"Experimental physiologists," writes Bernard,^ ^•■' "ought not 
to forget a real service which Magendie rendered in habituating 
the public, so to speak, to the idea of the scientific necessity of 
experimentation on living animals. Such experiments used to 
be shut up and, as it were, hidden from the public in the depths 
of the schools. To-day one can advertise in the streets of Paris 
a course in vivisection given in a particular building." "In 
England," adds Bernard, "this prejudice still persists." 

Certain it is that the name of Magendie was hateful to the 
ears of the English antivivisectionists, who had denounced to 
Parliament, in 1820, "this stranger" [Magendie was then in 
London] "whose offensive temerity has broken through all the 
humanitarian barriers established by English zoophilism." "* 

"Though as a vivisector," writes Bernard,"^ "M. Magendie 

'^^B: p. 14 et seq. 
"♦F: p. 25. 



54 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANgOIS MAGENDIE. 

has always put himself above prejudices, still he never braved 
them with ostentation, and he explained in his course how the 
science of the phenomena of life, necessarily based on a study 
of the living, demands vivisection, and how this kind of experi- 
ment, dominated and inspired by the spirit of science, no more 
deserves the reproach of cruelty than the vivisection of the sur- 
geon dominated by the idea of saving the life of his patient." 

"I am far from disavowing my experimental studies," "* said 
Magendie on one occasion to the assembled academicians, "but 
I beg my honorable colleague to observe that I experiment upon 
animals precisely because I do not wish to experiment on men." 
Again in the preface of the fifth edition of his "Formulary," he 
deprecates the fear "which has been and still is entertained by 
many, that the medicines might act altogether differently upon 
man and upon the other animals, * * *" "Nothing, 
however," he adds, "is more false than this idea; fifteen years* 
experience in my laboratory and at the bedside of the sick, 
enables me to affirm that these mediciwes and poisons act in the 
same manner upon man as upon the other animals. My confi- 
dence in this respect is such, that I do not hesitate to use on 
myself the substances which I have found harmless in their 
effects upon other animals ; and I should not advise any one to 
make the inverse experiment." 

That Magendie did not treat with gruffness and discourtesy 
those who differed from him on the question of vivisection is 
expressly stated by Bernard, who also tells an anecdote to illus- 
trate this point. 

"I had then been," writes Bernard,^^^ "M. Magendie's assist- 
ant for fifteen years and was helping him in an experiment, 
when he saw enter an elderly man, tall, dressed in black, wearing 
on his head a hat with a very broad brim, a coat with a narrow 
collar and short breeches. From this costume we readily per- 
ceived that we were in the presence of a Quaker. 'I wish,' said 
he, *to speak with M. Magendie.' M. Magendie made himself 
known. The Quaker continued, *I have heard thee talked of and 
I see that the report is true; for it is said that thou performest 
experiments on living animals. I come to see thee to demand of 
thee by what right thou actest thus and to tell thee that thou 

ii^C: February, 1847, xxiv, p. 142. 
"«B : p. 15. 



THIRD PERIOD, 182I-1855. 55 

must desist from these experiments because thou hast not the 
right to cause animals to die or to make them suffer, and because 
thou settest in this way a bad example and also accustomest 
thyself to cruelty.' All the paraphernalia of the experiment were 
immediately put aside, and M. Magendie proceeded to develop 
his argument in justification of the vivisectors. 'It is necessary,' 
he replied to the Quaker, 'to place yourself at another point of 
view in order to judge experiments on living animals. It is 
certain that if they did not have for their aim and their result the 
service of humanity, they might be taxed with cruelty. But the 
physiologist who is moved by the tiiought of making a discovery 
useful to medicine, and consequently to his fellow man, does not 
merit such a reproach. Your compatriot Harvey,' he added, 
'would not have discovered the circulation of the blood had he 
not performed experiments on the deer in the park of King 
Charles I. Now who dares deny that this discovery has rendered 
the greatest service to humanity, and who dares accuse its author 
of having been cruel? War,' continued M. Magendie, 'would 
itself be a barbarous cruelty, if one did not consider its aim 
and its result for humanity. But what one can condemn is per- 
haps the chase, for then animals are caused to suffer and are 
killed merely for pleasure.' * * * 'q|^ j certainly,' inter- 
rupted the Quaker, 'I condenm war and hunting just as much as 
I condemn experiments on living animals. In all these cases man 
gives himself rights which he has not got ; that is what I wish to 
prove and I am traveling in order to cause to disappear from the 
world these three things, war, hunting and experiments on living 
animals.' Without doubt the Quaker was not convinced by M. 
Magendie, and no more was M. Magendie by the Quaker. But 
I wish to show that M. Magendie used to treat the subject with 
all the consideration which was due to it, and in this case, besides, 
to the worthy sentiments which had prompted the journey of 
the Quaker." 

Certain it is that Magendie was one of the heroes of the 
pestilence, a kind physician at the Salpetriere, a lover of animals 
who in the days of his prosperity spent all his spare time in his 
stables and in the days of his poverty shared his five sous a day 
with his dog. Hence, in the absence of conflicting evidence, it 
seems justifiable to conclude that he was neither unreasonably 
inconsiderate nor heartless in his treatment of the subjects of 
his study and experimentation. 



56 A RIOGRAPHY OF FRANCOIS MAGENDIE. 

THE LAST DECADE. 

Resignation from the Hotcl-Dieu. 

On retiring from active work at the Hotel-Dieu, in 1845,"^ 
Magendie received the title of honorary physician to the hospitals 
of Paris. He still frequented the sessions of the Academy and 
there took a very active part in the discussions of that body. 
This seems, however, to have ceased after 1849, ^^ we may 
judge from the absence of his name from the accounts published 
in the Comptes Rendus. 

The date of Magendie's removal from Paris to the country 
is uncertain but probably occurred about this time. His activity 
remained unabated, however, for Flourens informs us that he 
established a little dispensary in his house for the benefit of his 
rustic neighbors, and performed numerous experiments in plant 
physiology and in agriculture."^ 

He must still have spent much of his time in Paris, for he 
was the president of the advisory committee on public hygiene 
which was established under the Department of Interior in 
1848. In this capacity he had opportunity to do battle successfully 
with charlatanism. His services led the government to offer 
him, in 1851, the cross of the Commander of the Legion of 
Honor. This, however, he refused, thinking that its acceptance 
might detract from his reputation for disinterested loyalty."* 

In 185 1-2 he was still lecturing at the College, and his 
lectures were collected, analyzed and published in the latter year 
by Dr. Fauconneau Dufresne (94). He still continued to sit 
on the board of examiners for the prizes in experimental physi- 
ology^-" and medicine and surgery, but it is interesting to observe 
that among the other members of these committees the name 
of Magendie's pupil and successor Claude Bernard has begun 
to appear. 

ii'^D: p. 180. Also: Gaz. med. de Paris, 1845, ser. ii, xiii, p. 714. In 
C. Schaile's directory, "Les Medicins de Paris" (Paris, 1845, p. 445), Ma- 
gendie's address is given as "Quai Malaquais, 5," and his consultation 
hours "From 12 to 2 P. M." In the summer of 1905 Professor Brubaker 
found two old three-story houses, Nos. 5 and 7, still standing on the Quai 
facing the site of the old Hotel-Dieu. 

i^®F: pp. 52-53. A street in Sannois still bears Magendie's name. 

"9F : p. 55. 

i205"cc C. xlii, Jan. 28, 1856, pp. 137 and 147. 



THIRD PERIOD, 182I-1855. 57 

As late as 1853, Magendie presented to the Academy the 
fourth volume of memoirs^-' published by the Hippiatric Com- 
mission. 

Death of Magendie, 1855. 

At last heart disease, the fatal malady from which he had 
suffered for many years, began to press him hard. Nevertheless, 
even sickness and the approach of death did not break his spirit. 
He regarded his symptoms as interesting phenomena and studied 
them, and one of his last speeches to a colleague began with the 
words, "Here you see me completing my experiments." Those 
who might have had something to complain of in regard to 
his bluntness, all went to see him. Magendie was touched by 
sentiments which he had "merited rather than attracted. "^^-' 
"Know," said he to one of his former competitors, "that my 
asperity increased in proportion to the worth which I recognized 
in those towards whom I exercised it." 

On Sunday, October 7, 1855, in his country house at Sannois, 
ten miles from Paris, Magendie died in his seventy-first year. 
Next day at the opening of the session^-^ President Regnault 
"announced to the Academy the sad loss which it had just sus- 
tained in the person of M. Magendie, deceased the evening 
before after a long and painful illness." Flourens, the permanent 
secretary, added "that this loss, greatly felt by all persons who 
cultivate the sciences, will be peculiarly felt by those who are 
interested in the progress of experimental physiology, a science 
in which Magendie had by his great labors made for himself an 
eminent place." 

The funeral services were held, October nth, at the Church 
of the Madeleine, in the presence of a great number of notable 
scientists. The procession was led by Drs. de Puisaye and Ro- 
berty, nephews of the deceased. The cords of the canopy were 
held by Flourens and Serres, of the Academy of Sciences, Stan- 
islas Julien, of the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres, 
Villerme, of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences, Du- 
bois (d'Amiens), Permanent Secretary of the Academy of Medi- 
cine, and Davenne, Superintendent of the Bureau of Public Aid. 

121C: xxxvi, Aug. 8, 1853, p. 231. The third volume had been presented 
by Magendie two years earlier. See: Ibid.: xxxiii, Sept. i, 1851, p. 253. 
i22Phrase used by FontencUe in speaking of an Academician of his day. 
123C: xli. 1855, P- 547- 



58 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANCOIS MAGENDIE. 

The burial took place in the cemetery of Pere Lachaise^" 
and orations were made over the grave by Andral (for Serres) 
in the name of the Academy of Sciences, by Flourens in the name 
of the College of France, by Dubois (d'Amiens) in the name of 
the Academy of Medicine, and by Villerme in the name of the 
Committee on Public Hygiene. 

''*Magendie's monument in Pere Lachaise bears the following inscrip- 
tion: 

"F. Magendie 

1783-1855 

Martini Gabrielle de St. Maurice 

I 826- I 904 

H. Magendie nee de Puisaye 

1802-1868." 

The lot in this cemetery was acquired by Magendie's widow after her 
husband's death. She was then living at No. 8, rue d'Anjou St. Honore. 
Henriette-Bartienne (born de Puisaye) was the widow and heiress of 
Nicolas-Theodore Audinot. Her home was at No. 17, rue de Vendome 
(now rue Beranger). On April 10, 1830, at the age of twenty-eight, she 
was married to Magendie, who was then forty-seven years of age and at 
that time was residing at No. 30, rue de Seine. The civil marriage cere- 
mony was performed at the Mairie of the sixth arrondissement (approxi- 
mately the present third arrondissement or Mairie de Temple). The re- 
ligious ceremony took place in the rue de Temple at the Church of St. 
Elizabeth. 



MAGENDIE'S ROLE IN SCIENCE 



The death of the renowned savant was the occasion of 
several lengthy addresses. Flourens, the permanent secretary 
of the Academy of Sciences, made an address, and so did Dubois, 
the permanent secretary of the Academy of Medicine. Bernard, 
his pupil and successor in the chair of medicine at the College 
de France, devoted, according to custom, his first lecture to a 
review of Magendie's life and work. Accordingly, his merits, 
his shortcomings, his eccentricities have all been discussed and 
criticised by those of his colleagues who survived him. What 
then is their verdict? What is the debt which posterity owes to 
Magendie? Is it great? What is its character? 

Flourens, Dubois and Bernard have answered these ques- 
tions so carefully and fairly, in words so precise and admirable, 
that one cannot do better than quote from their addresses. 

" 'Science,' said Guizot,^-^ 'has its sublime speculators who 
are, so to speak, its prophets who detect instantly the great laws 
of the universe and grasp them, as Columbus discovered the 
New World, hastening to the search in the faith of an idea. 
Around them are drawn up the sagacious observers who excel 
in searching out, establishing particular truths, describing them 
and uniting them successfully to the domain of science. And 
into this domain thus enriched enter legislative minds who classify 
tile facts received, note their relations and determine their laws, 
and transform them into those general formulas which define the 
present state of science and become the points of departure and 
the instrument of future conquests.' 

"Magendie had nothing in common with those enthusiastic 
and exalted minds which, inspired by pure speculation, launch 
themselves a little recklessly into the field of science, and he 
despised even those minds which hasten to co-ordinate and frame 
general laws from facts observed by others . . . His mis- 
sion was not more humble but more simple, more attainable. An 
observer distrustful and acute, an experimenter ingenious and 
critical, Magendie was exclusively devoted to verifying and 
establishing particular scientific facts. Magendie, it is true, made 
no important discovery in physiology, he has stated no new law, 

'^D : pp. 117, 118. Guizot's address on the occasion of the reception of 
M. Blot at the Acadcniie Frangaise. 



6o A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANgOIS MAGENDIE. 

but he has put facts hitherto full of obscurity in such light, he 
has given such a degree of certainty to the evidence of things 
previously doubtful or imperfectly known, that he can with good 
right place his name by those of discoverers." 

"I believe," said Dubois in his funeral oration,^-" "that one 
does not go too far in saying that not one discovery has been 
made in our day which has not been controlled and verified by 
M. Magendie, that no problem has been solved of which M. 
Magendie has not sought on his own account to dissipate the 
obscurities and penetrate the mysteries. Others have shown 
more initiative and by their inventive genius have made splendid 
the field of science, but no one knew better than he how to order 
its boundaries and establish its true domain," 

"If M. Magendie," writes Claude Bernard, "did not have 
the ambition to leave behind him generalizations, he did wish to 
leave behind him investigators for the definite establishment of 
experimental method in the medical sciences, and in this respect 
he has the glory of having completely attained his goal . 
Look at the physicians and even the physiologists at the begin- 
ning of the century. Experimenters were rare. To-day it is very 
different : one cannot count the physiologists who perform ex- 
periments ; on the contrary, one counts those who do not, and the 
physiologists who are not experimenters are anomalies which we 
can no longer understand." 

"Abroad, the experimental method has been propagated 
everywhere and has spread far and wide in physiological science. 
Up to still more recently physiology in Germany was 
dominated by systems of philosophy. To-day it advances 
with great strides along the path of experimentation. In many 
of the German universities there are so-called physiological 
institutes which are nothing but laboratories in which experi- 
ments on living animals find convenient assistance from physics 
and chemistry, in arriving at knowledge of the phenomena oc- 
curring in the living organism. Note well that all these things 
are of recent date, that they have followed the impulse which 
has been given in France to experimental physiology." 

In the words of Flourens, "M. Magendie has transmitted to 
us the torch of experimental physiology which has not trembled 
in his hand for one single instant during almost half a century." 

126E p Dubois. Discours prononce aux obseques de M. F. Magendie. 
Mem. d. I'Acad. d. Med., Paris, 1856, xx, p. xxx. An incomplete list of 
Magendie's works is appended to this article. 



APPENDIX 

TITLES OF MAGENDIE's PUBLICATIONS, ARRANGED CHRONOLOGICALLY. 

1. Sur les usages du voile du palais, avec quelques propositions sur la 
fracture du cartilage dcs cotes. Paris, 1808. 

2. Quelques idees generales sur les phenomenes particulier aux corps 
vivants. In : Bull. d. sc. med. Soc. med. d'emulat. de Par., 1809, p. 145- 

3. Memoire sur les organes de I'absorption chez les mammiferes. Paris, 
1809. Also in: /. de physiul. exper., 1821, i, p. 18. 

4. Examen do Taction d. quelques vegetaux sur 1. moelle epiniere (avec 
R. Delille). Paris, 1809. Also in: Nouv. bull. d. I. Soc. philomath., i, 
p. 368. 

5. Experiences pour servir a I'historie de la transpiration pulmonaire. 
In: Nouv. bull. d. I. Soc. philomatli., Paris, 181 1, ii. 

6. Memoire sur le vomissement. Paris, 1813. 

7. Memoire sur les images qui se forment au fond de I'oeil et sur un 
moycn tres simple de les apercevoir. Paris, 1813. 

8. De I'influence de I'emetique sur I'homme et les animaux. Paris, 1813. 

9. Memoire sur I'usage de I'epiglotte dans la deglutition. Paris, 1813. 
Second "Memoire." In : /. dc med. d. Leroux, 1813, xxvi. 

10. Memoire sur I'oesophage. Paris, 1813. Also in : /. de med. d. 
Leroux, 1815, xxxiv, p. 255. 

11. Precis elementaire de physiologie. 2 vols. Paris, vol. i, 1816; vol. 
ii, 1817. 

Idem. 2. Ed. 2 vols. Paris, 1825. 

Idem. 3. Ed. 2 vols. Paris, 1833. 

Idem. 4. Ed. 2 vols. Paris, 1836. 

iia\ The same. A summary of physiology. Transl. from the French 
by John Revere. Baltimore, 1822. 

lia^ The same. An elementary compendium of physiology, for the 
use of students. Transl. from the French, with copious notes and illustra- 
tions, by E. Milligan, M.D. Revised and corrected by a physician of Phil- 
adelphia. With an appendix. Philadelphia, 1824. 

IIa^ The same. An elementary treatise on human physiology. Transl. 
enlarged, and illustrated with diagrams and cuts, especially designed for 
the use of students of medicine, by John Revere. New York, 1844. 

iib\ The same. Lehrbuch der Physiologie. Aus dem Franzosischen 
iibersetzt von D. Hofacker. Tiibingen, 1826. 2 vols. 

lib*. The same. Lehrbuch der Physiologie. Transl. from the 3. French 
ed. by C. L. Elsasser. 2 vols. Tiibingen, vol. i, 1834 ; vol. ii, 1836. 

12. Memoire sur la deglutition de I'air atmospherique. Paris, 1816. 
Also in : /. de med. d. Leroux, 1816, xxxvi, p. 9. 

13. Memoire sur les proprietes nutritives des substances qui ne con- 
tiennent pas d'azote. Paris, 1816. Also in : /. de med. d. Leroux, 1817, 
xxxviii, p. 306. 

14. Note sur 1. gaz intestinaux de I'homme. In: Ann. d. chim. et d. 
phys., 1816, ii. 

15. (Magendie et Pelletier). Recherches chem. et physiol. s. ipecacu- 
anha. In : /. univ. d. sc. med., 1816, iv, p. 322. 

16. Memoire sur Taction des arteres dans la circulation. In : /. de mid. 
d. Leroux, 1817, xl, p. 208; also in: /. de physiol. exper., 1821, i, p. 102. 



62 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANgOIS MAGENDIE. 

17. Recherches physiologiques et medicales sur les causes, les symptomes 
et le traitement de la gravelle. Paris, 1818. 

Idem. Avec quelques remarques sur la conduite et le regime que doivent 
suivre les personnes auxquelles on a extrait des calculs de la vessie. 2 ed., 
revue et augmentee. Paris, 1828. 

I7a\ The same. Physiologisch-medicinische Untersuchungen iiber die 
Ursachen, Symptome und Behandlung des Grieses und Blasensteines. Aus 
dem Franzosischen vibersetzt von Joh. Gottfried Zollner. Leipzig, 1820. 

I7a^ The same. Physiologische und medicinische Untersuchungen iiber 
den Harngries, seine Ursachen, Symptome und Behandlung, nebst einigen 
Bemerkungen iiber Diiit und Verhalten derjenigen, die von Harnsteinen 
befreit worden sind. Nach der 2. Aufl. des Franzosischen bearbeitet von 
Dr. Friedrich Ludwig Meissner. Leipzig, 1830. 

17b. The same. Physiologisch-geneeskundig onderzoek, aangaande de 
oorzaken, verschijnselel en genezing van de graveelen steenziekte. Uit 
het Fransch. Rotterdam, no date. 

18. Note sur I'emploi des quelques sels d. morphine commes medica- 
ment. In: Nouv. J. de med., 1818, i. 

19. Reflexions sur une memoire de M. A. Portal relatif au vomissement. 
In : Nouv. J. de med., 1818, i. 

20. Recherches physiologiques et chemiques sur I'emploi de I'acide prus- 
sique ou hydrocyanique dans le traitement des maladies de poitrine et par- 
ticulierement dans celui de la phthisic pulmonaire. Paris, 1819. 

20a. The same. Physiological and chemical researches on the use of 
prussic or hydrocyanic acid. . . . Transl. from the French, with notes, 
etc., by James G. Percival. New Haven, 1820. 

21. Memoire sur les vaisseaux lymphatiques des oiseaux. Paris, 1819. 
Also in : /. de physiol. exper., 1821, i, p. 48. 

22. Notes sur 1. efifects de 1. strychnine sur 1. animaux. In : Ann. d. 
chem. et d. Phys., 1819, xvi. 

23. Formulaire pour la preparation et I'emploi de plusieurs nouveaux 
medicaments, tels que la noix vomique, la morphine, I'acide prussique, la 
strychnine, la veratrine, les alcalis des quinquinas, I'emetine, I'iode, etc. 
Paris, 1 82 1. 

Idem. 2. Ed. Paris, 1822. 

Idem. 3. Ed. Paris, 1822. 

Idem. 4. Ed. Paris, 1824. 

Idem. 5. Ed. Paris, 1825. 

Idem. 6. Ed. Paris, 1827. 

Idem. Edition entitled : Formulaire pour la preparation et I'emploi de 
plusieurs nouveaux medicaments, tels que la noix vomique, 1. sels d. mor- 
phine, I'acide prussique, 1. strychnine, 1. veratrine, 1. sulfate d. quinine, 1. 
cinchinine, I'emetine, I'iode, I'iodure d. mercure, 1. cyanure d. potassium, 
I'huile d. croton tiglium, 1. sels d'or, 1. sels d. platine, 1. chlorures de chaux 
et d. soude, 1. bicarbonates alcalins, 1. preparations d. phosphore, 1. pastilles 
digestives d. Vichy, I'ecorce d. 1. racine d. grenadier, etc. Paris, 1829. 

23a\ The same. Formulary for the preparation and employment of 
several new remedies. . . . Transl. from the sixth edition of the For- 
mulaire ... by Joseph Houlton. London, 1828. 

Idem. London, 1829. 



APPENDIX. 63 

23a*. The same. Transl. from the French, with annotations and addi- 
tional articles, by James Manby Gully. London, 1835. 

23a'. The same. Transl. from the 8. French edition by Charles Wilson 
Gregory. London, 1835. 

23a*. The same. Transl. from 5. ed., revised and augmented by John 
Baxter, with notes and additions. 2. ed. Nezc York, 1828. 

23a^ The same. Transl. from the French by Robley Dunglison. Phil- 
adelphia, 1824. 

23a'. The same. Transl. from 6. ed. . . . by J. Houlton. Phila- 
delphia, 1834. 

23b. The same. Vorschriften zur Bereitung und Anwendung einiger 
neuen Arzneymittel. Aus dem Franzosischen. Nach der 5. Auflage des 
Originals besorgt und mit Anmerkungen und Zusatzen versehen von G. 
Kunze. 5. Aufl. Leipzig, 1826. 

23c. The same. Voorschrift tot de bereiding en het gebruik van vele 
nieuwe geneesnjiddelen . . . Naar het Fransch van . . . vertaald 
door H. W. De la Rive Box, met eenige aanteekenigen van F. van der 
Breggen Cz. 2. ed. Amsterdam, 1822. 

23d. The same. Formulario per la preparazione e I'use di molti medi- 
camenti nuovi. . . . Dal francese nell' italiano transportato ed accres- 
ciuto di note ed aggiunte da Antonio Cattaneo. Milano, 1822. 

Idem. Nuova ed., fatta su la quarta di Pargi, e su I'edizione tedesca 
stampata a Lipsia, con appendice. Pesaro, 1831. 

23e. The same. Anvisning att bereda och nyttja flere nya medika- 
menter, sasom nux vomica, morphin, blasyra, strychnin, veratrin, kinans 
saltbaser, jod m. fl. O fversattning fran Tyskan med tillagg af P. N. 
Fahlun, 1827. 

24. Memoire sur 1. mecanisme d. I'absorption chez 1. animaux a sang 
rouge et chaud. In : /. de Physiol, expcr., 1821, i, p. i. 

25. Sur un mouvement de la moelle epiniere isochrone a 1. respiration. 
In : /. de physiol. exper., 1821, i, p. 200. 

26. Note sur I'introduction d. liquids visqueux dans 1. organes d. 1. cir- 
culation et sur 1. formation du foie gras d. oiseaux. In : /. de physiol. 
expcr., 1821, i, p. 27 ■ 

27. Experience sur 1. rage. In : /. de physiol. expcr., 1821, i, p. 41. 

28. Memoire sur 1. vaisseaux lymphatiques d. oiseaux. In : /. de 
physiol. expcr., 1821, i, p. 53. 

29. Memoire sur 1. structure d. poumon d. I'homme; sur 1. modifica- 
tions qu' eprouve cette structure dans 1. divers ages, et sur 1. premiere 
origine de 1. phthisic pulmonaire. In : /. dc physiol. expcr., 1821, i, p. 78. 

30. Considerations generales sur 1. circulation du sang. In : /. de phy- 
siol. expcr., 1821, i, p. 97. 

31. De I'influence d. mouvements d. 1. poitrine et d. efforts s. 1. circu- 
lation d. sang. In: /. de physiol. expcr., 1821, i, p. 132. 

32. Sur I'entree accidentellc d. I'air dans 1. veines, sur 1. mort subite 
qui en est I'effet ; sur 1. moyens d. prevenir cct accident et d'y remedier. 
In: /. de physiol. expcr., 1821, i, p. 190. 

33. Sur 1. organes qui tendent ou rclachent 1. membrane d. t>Tnpan, et 
1. chaine d. osselets de roule, dans I'homme et 1. animaux mammifcres. In: 
/. de physiol. exper., 1821, i, p. 341. 



64 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANgOIS MAGENDIE. 

34. Anatomic d'un chien cyclope et astome. In : /. de physiol. exper., 
1 82 1, i, p. 374. 

35. Fievre intermittente pernicieuse guerie par un faible dose d. sulphat 
d. quinine. In : /. de Physiol, exper., 1821, i. p. 393. 

36. Bichat (Xav). Recherches physiologiques sur la vie et la mort. 
Avec des additions par Fr. Magendie. Paris, 1822. (Several editions and 
translations of the same.) 

37 Histoire d'une malade singuliere du systeme nerveux. In /. de 
physiol. exper., 1822, ii, p. 99. 

38. Memoire sur plusieurs organes propres aux oiseaux et aux rep- 
tiles. In : /. de physiol. exper., 1822, ii, p. 184. 

39. Magendie & Desmoulins. Note sur I'anatomie d. 1. lamproie. In : 
/. de physiol. exper., 1822, ii, p. 224. 

40. Experiences sur 1. fonctions d. racines d. nerfs rachidiens. In : /. 
de physiol. exper., 1822, ii, p. 276. 

41. Experiences sur 1. fonctions d. racines d. nerfs qui naissent d. 1. 
nioelle epiniere. In : /. de physiol. exper., 1822, ii, p. 366. 

42. Memoire sur quelques decouvertes recentes relatives aux fonctions 
du systeme nerveux. Paris, 1823. 

43 Magendie & Dumeril. Rapport a I'academie royale des sciences 
relatif aux planches anatomiques du corps humain par Antommarchi. In : 
Revue encyclopcdique, May, 1823, xviii, 53 cahier. 

44. Remarques sur une fievre muque.use et adynamique observee par 
P. L. Dupre; avec quelques experiences sur 1. effets d. substance en putre- 
faction. In : /. de physiol. exper., 1823, iii, p. 81. 

45. Note sur 1. siege du movement et du sentiment dans la moelle 
epiniere. In : /. de physiol. exper., 1823, iii, p. 153. 

46. Remarques sur une destruction d'une grande partie d. moelle 
epiniere. In: /. de physiol. exper., 1823, iii, p. 186. 

47. Note sur 1. fonctions d. corps stries et d. tubercules quadri jumeaux. 
In : J . de physiol. exper., 1823, iii, p. 376. 

48. Histoire d'un hydrophobe traite a I'Hotel-Dieu d. Paris, au moyen 
d. I'injection d. I'eau dans 1. veins. In : /. de physiol. exper., 1823, iii, 
P- 382. 

49. Le nerf olfactif est-il I'organe d. I'odorat? Experiences sur cette 
question. In : /. de physiol. exper., 1824, iv, p. 169. 

50. De I'influence d. 1. cinquieme paire d. nerfs sur 1. nutrition et 1. 
fonctions d. I'oeil. In : /. de physiol. exper., 1824, iv, pp. 176 and 302. 

51. Memoire sur les fonctions d. quelques parties du systeme nerveux. 
In : /. de physiol. exper., 1824, iv, p. 399. 

52. Desmoulins (A.) Anatomie des systemes nerveux des animaux a 
vertebres, appliquee a la physiologic et a la zoologie. Ouvrage dont la 
partie physiologique est faite conjointement avec F. Magendie. 2 vols, 
and atlas. Paris, 1825. 

53. Memoire sur un liquide qui se trouve dans 1. crane et le canal verte- 
bral de I'homme et des animaux mammiferes. In: /. de physiol. exper., 
1825, V, p. 27. 

54. Sur I'insensibilite d. 1. retine de Thomme. In : /. de physiol. exper., 
1825, V, p. 37. 

55. Histoire d'un sourd-muet gueri d. son infirmite a I'age d. neuf 
ans. In: 7. de physiol. exper., 1825, v, p. 223. 



APPENDIX. 65 

56. Notice sur I'heureuse application d. galvanisme aux nerfs d. I'oeil. 
In : Arch. gen. de med., 1826, ii. 

57. Sur I'emploi d. galvanisme dans le traitement d. I'amaurose. In : 
Bull. d. sc. med., 1826, ix. 

58. Sur un nouveau traitement d. Tamaurose. In : /. de physiol. cxper., 
1826, vi, p. 156. 

59. Sur deux nouvelles especes d. gravelles. In: /. de physiol. exper., 

1826, vi, p. 297. 

60. Bichat (Xav). Traite des membranes en general et des diverses 
membranes en particulier. Revue et augmentee par M. Magendie. Paris, 

61. (Second) Memoire sur le liquide qui se trouve dans le crane et 
I'epine de I'homnic ct des animaux vertebrcs. Premiere partie. In: /. de 
physiol. expcr., 1827, vii, p. i; Deuxieme partie, ibid., p. 17; Troisieme 
partie, ibid., p. 66. 

62. Extrait d. 1. dissertation d. Cotugno, Dc Ischiade Nervosa, continue 
dans I. Thesaurus Dissertationum d. Sandifort; avec quelques reflexions. 
In: /. de physiol. expcr., 1827, vii, p. 83. 

63. Ligature d. I'artere carotide primative. In : /. de physiol. exper., 

1827, vii, p. 180. 

64. Memoire physiologique sur le cerveau. Paris, 1828. 

65 La vue peut-elle etre conservee malgre 1. destruction d. nerf 
optique? In: /. de physiol. exper., 1828, viii, p. 27. 

66. Ulcerations anciennes d. 1. langue et d. pharynx, gueries par 
I'hydroiodate d. potasse. In: /. de physiol. exper., 1828, viii, p. 34. 

67. Memoire physiologique sur 1. cerveau. In : 7. de physiol. expcr., 

1828, viii, p. 211. 

68. Sur I'emploi d. galvanisme dans le traitement d. I'amaurose. In : 
Bull. d. sc. med., 1826, ix. 

69. Rapport fait a I'academie d. sciences sur une memoire d. M. Leroy- 
d'Etiolles relatif a I'insufflation d. poumon, consideree comme moyen d. 
secours a donner aux personnes noyees ou asphyxiees. In : J . dc physiol. 
exper., 1829, ix, p. 97. 

70. Rapport fait a son excellence M. de Vatimesnil, ministre de I'instruc- 
tion publique, sur une methode dite statilegie, proposee par M. Laffore, 
pour enseigner a lire en peu d. legons, au nom. d. une commission composee 
d. MM. d. Cardaillac, professeur de philosophic; Letronne, inspecteur- 
general d. etudes ; et Magendie, membre d. I'academie des sciences, rap- 
porteur. In : J. de physiol. exper., 1829, ix, p. 364. 

71. Rapport a I'academie des sciences sur 1. memoire d. M. L.-F,-Emm. 
Rosseau : De I'emploi d. feuilles d. houx (ilex aquifolium) dans le fievres 
intermittentes. Paris, 183 1. 

72. Rapport avec Dumeril sur 1. maladies scrofuleuses traitees a 
I'hopital Saint-Louis par M. Lugol. In : Arch. gen. d. med., 1831, xxv. 

73. Cholera-morbus de Sunderland. In : Rev. med. frang. ct etrang., 
1832, i. 

74. LcQons sur le cholera morbus, faites au College dc France, revues 
par le professeur, recueillies et publiees avec son autorisation, par Eugene 
Cadres et Hippolyte Prevost. Paris, 1832. 

75. The same. Vorlesungen iiber die epidcmische cholera. . . . 
Deutsch bearbeitet von S. Hirsch. Leipzig, 1839. 



66 A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANCOIS MAGENDIE. 

76. Rapport fait a rAcademie royale des sciences, sur I'ouvrage du Dr. 
A. Legrand. Paris, 1832. 

yy. Memoire sur I'origine des bruits normaux du occur. Paris, 1834. 

78. Action exercee sur les animaux et sur rhomnie malade par I'nitro- 
sulphatc d'ammoniaque. In: Compt. rend. Acad. d. sc, 1835, i, p. 86. 

79. Legons sur les phenomencs physiques de la vie, professees au Col- 
lege de France. Recueillies par M. Constantin James. Paris, vol. i, 1835 ; 
vol. 2, 1836; vol. 3, 1837; vol. 4, 1838. 

79. Phenomenes physiques de la vie. Legons professees au College de 
France. 4 vols. Paris, 1842. 

79a. The same. Vorlesungen iiber die physikalischen Erscheinungen 
des Lebens. Mit Magendie's Hinzuzichung und Unterstiitzung aus dem 
Franzosischen iibersetzt von Dr. Baswitz. Koln, 1837. 

79b. Lectures on the blood and on the changes which it undergoes 
during disease. Delivered at the College of France in 1837-8. Philadel- 
phia, 1839. 

80. Communication relative a une guerison obtenue par des courants 
electriques portcs directement sur la corde d. tympan ; restitution des sens 
d. gout et d. I'ouie abolis par suite d. une commotion cerebrale. Deduc- 
tions tirees d. ce fait quant a I'origine d. nerf d. tympan. In: Compt. rend. 
Acad. d. sc, 1836, ii, p. 447. 

81. Note sur le traitement d. certaines affections nerveuses, par I'elec- 
tropuncture d. nerfs. In : Compt. rend. Acad. d. sc, 1837, v, p. 855, 

82. Legons sur les fonctions et les maladies du systeme nerveux pro- 
fessees au College de France. Paris, 1839. 2 vols. 

83. Resultats de quelques nouvelles experiences sur les nerfs sensitifs et 
sur les nerfs moteurs. In: Compt. rend. Acad. d. sc, 1839, viii, p. 787. 

84. Quelques nouvelles experiences sur les fonctions d. systeme nerveux. 
In: Compt. rend. Acad. d. sc, 1839, viii, p. 865. 

85. Notes sur 1. paralysie et 1. nevralgie d. visage. In : Compt. rend. 
Acad. d. sc, 1839, viii, p. 951. 

86. Tableau contenant 1. resultats d. recherches sur 1. variations d. 
proportions d. quelques-uns d. elements d. sang dans certaines maladies. 
In: Compt. rend. Acad. d. sc, 1840, xi, p. 161. 

87. Recherches physiologiques et cliniques sur le liquide cephalo-rachi- 
dien ou cerebro-spinal. Paris, 1842. 

88. Communication relative a un cas de cow-pox, et a I'inoculation d. 
1. matiere d. pustules sur plusieurs enfants. In : Compt. rend. Acad. d. 
sc, 1844, xviii, p. 986. 

89. Etude comparative d. 1. salive parotidienne et d. 1. salive mixte d. 
cheval. sous, 1. rapport d. leur composition chemique et d. leur action sur 
1. aliments. In: Compt. rend. Acad. d. sc, 1845, xxi, p. 902. 

90. Note sur le presence normal d. sucre dans 1. sang. In : Compt. 
rend. Acad. d. sc, 1846, xxiii, p. 189. 

91. Note sur 1. sensibilite recurrent. In : Compt. rend. Acad. d. sc, 
1847, xxiv, p. 1 130. 

93. De I'influence d. nerfs rachidiens sur les mouvements du coeur. In : 
Compt. rend. Acad. d. sc, 1847, xxv, pp. 875 and 926. 

94. Legons faitres au College de France pendant le semestre d'hiver 
(1851-2), recueillies et analysees par V.-A. Fauqonneau-Dufresne. Paris, 
1852. 



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