WILLIAM HARVEY ESTABLISHES

AN INTELLECTUAL LEGACY "FOR EVER"

 

HARVEY, WILLIAM.  THE FOUNDING OF THE HARVEIAN ORATION, an important manuscript signed "Willm Harvey," being an indenture between "William Harvey of London Doctor of Physick" and Sir Edward Dering of Surenden and Heneage Finch of the Inner Temple" concerning Harvey's estate in Freshmarsh.  15 March 1652.  Manuscript on vellum, written in a fine, legible hand.  372 x 628 mm (14.6 x 24.7 inches).  Wax seal appended.  Original folds.  Very fine condition.  Accompanied by the famous Houbraken 18th-century engraved portrait of William Harvey.

 

In this splendid document, William Harvey establishes and funds the Harveian Oration, the most prestigious lecture in medicine for more than three centuries and to this day an important event in the medical calendar.  Best known for his discovery of the circulation of blood ("the cornerstone of modern physiology and medicine"), Harvey is a central figure in the development of the experimental method and in the promotion of scientific education. 

 

Harvey was for decades closely associated with the Royal College of Physicians, then and now the foremost English medical association.  Harvey presented his library to the College and provided a building to house it and the museum.  The library was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666, but Harvey's legacy endures in the celebrated Harveian Oration.  The present document, dated 1652, five years before Harvey's death, states in small part "that once every Year for ever, that is to say upon every first day of April, being the Birth day of the sayd William Harvey . . . There may be a Feast held . . . [and] there may be an Oration in Latin made to the whole College . . . wherein the whole society may be exhorted to mutuall Love and affection, and to the search of the Nature and propertys of things by way of experiment, and likewise a Commemoration made of all the Benefactors to the Society, and an Exhortation to the rest of imitate them, Add, or advance to the colledge or procure something, thereto according to their affection to Learning, the Art of Physick, and their gratitude to the Society, and that the sayd person so making the sayd oration, may duely receive for his payns, the full summ of Twenty Nobles."

 

Harvey goes on to order that the professor of Anatomy (i.e. his successors) shall receive ten pounds annually and to provide funds for the maintenance of his library building, with any surplus funds to be spent "upon the purchase of such books, manuscripts, or other rarities of Nature . . . [that] shall be thought fitt to be placed in the sayd New erected building."

 

The earliest known reference to the Harveian Oration, this document represents the establishment of that venerable institution.  In the tercentenary exhibition catalogue William Harvey 1578-1657 (1957), the Royal College of Physicians noted that at a Banquet on 24 July 24 1656, Harvey turned over his patrimonial estate of Burmarsh in Kent in order to fund the annual Oration.  That exhibition included one of the Royal College's treasures, a Harvey Trust Deed dated 21 June 1656 evidently turning over the estate, but the present manuscript predates that document by four years.

 

Harvey manuscripts of historical significance are of the greatest rarity in the market.  Before the discovery of this document, only a handful of routine receipts and contracts signed by Harvey had come up, and no Harvey documents of any consequence had appeared for sale in decades.

 

 

 

Long "S" is given as lowercase "S", the old-style "u" is rendered as "v" for clarity, and some of the capitalization and superscripts may not be reproduced as such.  The document is in the form of one long paragraph.  When large letters are used in the document to indicate new sections/clauses, I have started a new paragraph:

 

 

This indenture made the Fifteenth Day of March in the year of our Lord God according to the account used in England, One Thousand six hundred fifty and two Between William Harvey of London Doctor of Physick on the one part, and Sr Edward Dering of Surenden Dering in the Parish of Pluckly in the county of Kent Baronett, and Heneage Finch of the Inner Temple London Esquire on the other part.

 

Whereas, the sayd William Harvey by his indenture bearing date the day before the date of these presents, and made between him the sayd William Harvey on the one part, and the sayd Sr  Edward Dering and Heneage Finch on the other part, Hath bargained and sold unto the sayd Sr Edward Dering and Heneage Finch all that peice or parcel of Freshmarsh with the appurtenances scituat lying and being in Romney Marsh in the county of Kent commonly called or known by the name of News containing by estimation fifty acres bee the same more of less, now or late in the occupation of John Reed his assignee or assignes.  To have and the hold the sayd peice or parcel of Freshmarsh with all and every the appurtenances unto the sayd Sr Edward Dering and Heneage Finch their executors and Assignes for and durng the full end and terme of six months from thenceforth next ensuing.  Which sayd bargain and sale was so made in consideration of five shillings payd as therein is mentioned, and also to he intent and purpose that the sayd Sr Edward Dering and Heneage Finch might thereby be put into actual possession of all and singular the premises, and enabled to take from him the sayd William Harvey a Grant and release of the reversion and inheritance of the same by this present Indenture to such uses intents and purposes as are herein after mentioned and expressed.

 

Now witnesseth this present Indenture that the sayd William Harvey hath Granted, aliend, released, inseossed [?], and confirmed, and by these presents doth Grant, alien, released, inseoss [?], and confirm unto the sayd Sr Edward Dering and Heneage Finch and their heirs all that peice or parcel of Freshmarsh called News herein before mentioned and all and every the appurtenances, and the Reversion and Reversions Remainder and Remainders thereof, and all and every the state, right, title, interest, claym, and demand, of, in, to, and out of the sayd peice or parcel of Freshmarsh herein before mentiond, and of, in, to, and out of any part and parcell thereof, which he the sayd William Harvey, now hath, or which he the sayd William Harvey his heirs executors or Administrators, or any of them, at any time hereafter may have, by any way or means whatsoever.

 

To Have and to Hold that sayd peice or parcel of Freshmarsh herein before mentiond with all and every the appurtenances, and the reversion and reversions remainder and remainders thereof, unto the sayd Sr Edward Dering and Heneage Finch and their heirs and assignes for ever, to the only use of them the sayd Sr. Edward Dering and Heneage Finch and their heirs and assignes for ever. 

 

Nevertheless, upon these Trusts and confidences and to the intents and purposes herein after expressed, and to no other use intent or purpose whatsoever:  That is to say, First, upon trust and to the intent and purpose that the sayd Sr Edward Dering and Heneage Finch and the survivor of them, and the heirs of the survivor shall permit and suffer all the issues, rents and profits of the premises to be had taken received and enjoyed by the sayd William Harvey and his assignes for and during the naturall life of him the sayd William Harvey.

 

And from and after the decease of the sayd William Harvey, Then upon Trust, that they the sayd Sr Edward Dering and Heneage Finch or the Survivor of them, or the heirs of the survivor of them, shall within the space of three years next after the decease of the sayd William Harvey, purchase or procure a License  to alien in Mortmain, and after such License purchasd or procured, shall by such good and sufficient assurance in Law, as by Counsell Learned in the Laws of this land shall be advised convey and assure the sayd parcel of Freshmarsh unto and upon the President and Colledge or commonalty of the faculty of Physick in London, and their successor for ever. 

 

To the intents and purposes, and with and under such provisoes conditions and limitations as are herein after mentioned and expressed.

 

That is to say, to the intent and purpose that once every Year for ever, that is to say upon every first day of April, being the Birth day of the sayd William Harvey (or else upon some more convenient day in the year, as the President and two eldest censors of the sayd colledge on every First Day of April being shall seem meet for that year,) There may be a Feast held within the sayd colledge, and the charges thereof defrayed and borne out of the profitts of the sayd Lands.  And that on the same day either before our after Dinner (as to the President and two eldest censors of ye sayd colledge at that time being shall seem meet,) there may be an Oration in Latin made to the whole College (by some person the be appointed thereunto by the President and two eldest censors of the sayd colledge for that year being) wherein the whole society may be exhorted to mutuall Love and affection, and to the search of the Nature and propertys of things by way of experiment, and likewise a Commemoration made of all the Benefactors to the Society, and an Exhortation to the rest of imitate them, Add, or advance to the colledge or procure something, thereto according to their affection to Learning, the Art of Physick, and their gratitude to the society, And that the person so making the sayd oration, may duely receive for his payns, the full summ of Twenty Nobles.

 

And also, to the intent and purpose that the professor of Anatomy for the time being may receive yearly and every year the summ of Ten pounds, the first payment of the sayd Ten pounds is to begin on the first feast of Saint Michael the Archangell, which shall happen to be next after the decease of Jane Nevinson of London widdow.  And further to the intent that after the decease of the sayd Jane Nevinson the Building which has been newly erected by the sayd William Harvey, at his own proper costs and charges, within the sayd Colledge of Physitians in London, may out of the profits of the sayd Lands be kept in continuall and constant repayr.  And likewise to the intent that if the President and colledge of Physitians shall at any time after the decease of the sayd Jane Nevinson elect and chose any Person to be keeper of the sayd new erected Building during any time and shall allott unto the person s elected a convenient habitation or dwelling place within the sayd colledge.  That then the sayd person so elected shall and may receive out of the rents and profits of ye sayd lands the Yearly summe, or stipend of Twenty Nobles during the time he shall continue keeper there, So as the sayd person so elected shall constantly reside within the sayd colledge, and likewise give sufficient caution or security (according to the liking of the President and two eldest censors of ye sayd colledge at that time being) for the safe custody of all such things within the new erected building as shall be committed to his charge.  And if the sayd President and colledg of Physitians in London shall not after the decease of the sayd Jane Nevinson elect or choose any person to be keeper of the sayd new erected building, nor allot the person so elected an Habitation within the sayd collegde, Then to the intent that every Year during the time wherein no such election shall be made, or no such dwelling place assigned, There shall be pad yearly out of the profits of the sayd Lands during the life of the sayd Jane Nevinson and after, if any surplusage shall be may from time to time bee wholly employd, Layd out and expended in and upon the purchase of such books, manuscripts, or other rarityes of Nature, as by the President and two eldest censors of the sayd colledge for that time being, shall be thought fitt to be placed in the sayd New erected building.

 

Provided alwayes that if the President and colledge of Physitians in London and their successors shall not from time to time, and at all times after such conveyance to them made, performe fulfill observe execute and keep, or cause to be performed fulfilled observed executed and kept, all and every the intents and purposes herein expressed, that then and from thenceforth, that is to say, immediately from and after the breach omission nonperformance or neglect of them or any of them, it shall and may be lawfull to and for the sayd Sr Edward Dering and Heneage Finch and their heirs into all and every part and parcell of the sayd peice of Freshmarsh and other lands by them conveyed to reenter, and the same to have again repossesse and enjoy as in their former estate to the only use of them and their heirs freed and discharged from all further and other trusts and confidences whatsoever.

 

And lastly, the sayd William Harvey doth hereby declare that all and every the profits of the sayd lands which at any time after the death of the sayd William Harvey shall happen to be received by the sayd Sr Edward Dering and Heneage Finch or the survivor of them or the heire of the survivor shall be employd and layd out for and towards the purchase of a license to alien in Mortmain, and other the charges of the assurance to the sayd colledge, and the residue thereof if any shall be layd out for and towards the purchase of some manuscripts or other curiosityes to be placed in the sayd new erected building as the then president and two eldest censors of the sayd colledge shall think fitt.

 

In witness whereof the partyes to these present Indentures their hands and seals interchangeably have set the day and year above first written.

 

 

[signed] Willm Harvey

 

[seal]