Philosophical Transactions. For the months of March, April and May, 1715. - Part IV.

By Nicole Renee

Ⅳ. An account of a book. Bibliographiae anatomicae specimen sive catalogus omnium pene auctorum, qui ab Hippocrate and Harveium rem anatomicam ex professo vel obiter scriptis illustrarunt, &c. curâ & studio
Jacobi Douglas, M.D. Reg. Soc. S. & in Colleg. Chirurg. Londinensi praelect. Anatom. 8vo. Londini 1715.

The author of this treatise, whose admirable skill in the practice of dissections, as well as in the theory of the structure of the parts, leaves him not many equals, in order to discover what improvements and progress anatomy has met with, and with what industry the study of it has been cultivated, has with much application perused a very great number of authors who have advanced the science; observing therein who have the honour of being the first discoverers, and who have unjustly arrogated to themselves that title, that each may receive a due proportion of praise according to his merit. And in this decision he has impartially weighed their deserts, the better to lay before the reader the increase of these studies, and to determine more exactly the differences that have arisen about who are first inventors; which the book, chapter and page where they are treated of will easily manifest.
The history, lives and elogies ascrib'd to anatomists, which he has inserted either from their own writings, or their editors, or commentators, will afford a great variety of pleasure, in which he has been particulary careful to set down the names, sur-names, country, time of their birth, what year they died in, under what masters educated, where they flourish'd, and in what part of anatomy they excell'd.
Nor has he been less diligent in the account he has given of the books of Anatomy, which his friends supply'd him with in great number. The reader will see here laid before him, all the several editions, in what language, what volume they were printed in, with the place and date of the year they were published at; and which are the first impressions, and which copied from them. Nor has he judged it improper to give some account of the figures dispers'd up and down in anatomical books as whether they were originals or copies, cut in wood or copper &c. To these he has added three indexes, whose use will be seen by the titles. As for the difference of style remarkable in this treatise, it is chiefly owing to the variety of authors made use of, he thinking himself not at liberty to vary the expression of them whose authority he quotes.
He says he would willingly have recounted the great advantage of anatomy has received from the English nation; but out of just regard to their merits, he has resign'd this province to his friend Mr. William Becket1, whose industry in collecting their writings will not in his opinion exceed his talent and abilities to recommend them to the world.
He hopes the reader will pardon him in this, that as several books and editions came late to his hands, he was forc'd to add the omissa separately; which being in greater number than at first expected, the author earnestly desires the favour of those who have in their collections anything of this kind here omitted, that they would please to communicate the same, in order to render this first specimen still more complete.

A pdf version of the entire text of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London can be found here (this article begins on page 263).

  1. Mr. William Becket is a famous antiquary from London - he was a Fellow of the Royal Society and a member of the Society of Antiquaries. []

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