Of the Horse.

THE second Assertion, that an Horse hath no gall, is very general, nor only swallowed by the people, and common Farriers, but also received by good Veterinarians,1 and some who have laudably discoursed upon Horses. It seemeth also very ancient; for it is plainly set down by Aristotle, an Horse and all solid ungulous or whole hoofed animals have no gall; and the same is also delivered by Pliny, which notwithstanding we find repugnant unto experience and reason.[2] For first, it calls in question the providence or wise provision of Nature; who not abounding in superfluities, is neither deficient in necessities. Wherein nevertheless there would be a main defect, and her improvision justly accusable; if such a feeding Animal, and so subject unto diseases from bilious causes, should want a proper conveyance for choler; or have no other receptacle for that humour then the Veins, and general mass of bloud.

It is again controllable by experience, for we have made some search and enquiry herein; encouraged by Absyrtus a Greek Author, in the time of Constantine, who in his Hippiatricks,3 obscurely assigneth the gall a place in the liver; but more especially by Carlo Ruini the Bononian, who in his Anatomia del Cavallo, hath more plainly described it, and in a manner as I found it. For in the particular enquiry into that part, in the concave or simous[4] part of the Liver, whereabout the Gall is usually seated in quadrupedes, I discover an hollow, long and membranous substance, of a pale colour without, and lined with Choler and Gall within; which part is by branches diffused into the lobes and several parcels of the Liver; from whence receiving the fiery superfluity , or cholerick remainder, by a manifest and open passage, it conveyeth it into the duodenum or upper gut, thence into the lower bowels; which is the manner of its derivation in Man and other Animals. And therefore although there be no eminent and circular follicle, no round bag or vesicle which long containeth this humour: yet is there a manifest receptacle and passage of choler from the Liver into the Guts: which being not so shut up, or at least not so long detained;, as it is in other Animals: procures that frequent excretion, and occasions the Horse to dung more often then many other, which considering the plentiful feeding, the largeness of the guts, and their various circumvolution, was prudently contrived by providence in this Animal. For choler is the natural Glister, or one excretion whereby Nature excludeth another; which descending daily into the bowels, extimulates those parts, and excites them unto expulsion. And therefore when this humour aboundeth or corrupteth, there succeeds oft-times a cholerica passio, that is, a sudden and vehement Purgation upward and downward:[5] and when the passage of gall becomes obstructed, the body grows costive, and the excrements of the belly white; as it happeneth in the Jaundice.

If any therefore affirm an Horse hath no gall, that is, no receptacle, or part ordained for the separation of Choler, or not that humour at all; he hath both sense and reason to oppose him. But if he saith it hath no bladder of Gall, and such as is observed in many other Animals, we shall oppose our sense, if we gain-say him. Thus must Aristotle be made out when he denieth this part; by this distinction we may relieve Pliny of a contradiction, who in one place affirming an Horse hath no gall, delivereth yet in another, that the gall of an Horse was accounted poison; and therefore at the sacrifices of Horses in Rome, it was unlawful for the Flamen6 to touch it.[7] But with more difficulty, or hardly at all is that reconcileable which is delivered by our Countryman, and received Veterinarian; whose words in his Master-piece, and Chapter of diseases from the Gall, are somewhat too strict, and scarce admit a Reconciliation.[8] The fallacie therefore of this conceit is not unlike the former;[9] A dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter. Because they have not a bladder of gall, like those we usually observe in others, they have no gall at all. Which is a Paralogism not admittible; a fallacy that dwels not in a cloud, and needs not the Sun to scatter it.


* [My or others' notes are in square brackets]; Browne's marginalia is unmarked; {passages or notes from unpublished material by Browne is in curly braces}. Ross defends the ancients on this point, briefly, Chap. 10, but his conclusion is very much the same as Browne's.

1 Veterinarians or Farriers. [The first instance of veterinarian in the OED is from this passage in the 1646 edition of Pseudodoxia. It is odd that Browne should write a note equating (roughly) veterinarians with farriers when the text itself draws a sharp distinction, as between the vulgar and the learned. The note first occurs in the 2nd (1650) edition, which includes notes "by some strange hand", which are reproduced but set in smaller characters. This note is printed in large, but possibly it is not Browne's marginalia but rather one of the marginal indexes supplied by the printers or a note by the "strange hand".]

[2] [Aristotle, in History of Animals II.15, says "Of viviparous quadrupeds the deer is without the [gall-bladder], as also the roe, the horse, the mule, the ass, the seal, and some kinds of pigs." Pliny HN XI.191 (englished).]

3 Medicina equaria.

4 [Bending inward; a term used in 17th C. medical texts and infrequently thereafter.]

5 [Like Augustus Carp, Esq: "For several weeks I suffered from indigestion in two main directions."]

6 Priest.

7 [XI.191, cited above, vs. XXVIII.146. Brayley, in Wilkin, suggests that there is no real contradiction and that this specific problem resolves itself in the way Browne resolves the general problem: fel in the first passage means "gall-bladder", missing as such in the horse; fel in the second passage means "bile", not missing in the horse. The flamen dialis, at least, was not allowed to touch horses at all; see Flamen in Smith's Dictionary (1875).]

8 [Markham's Maister-peece, a very popular guide to farriery which went through many editions. Chapter LXXI treats of diseases of the gall; editions after 1631 have added the sentence marked in red:

When the way whereby such Choler should issue forth of the Bladder of the Gall ... is closed up, and so superaboundeth with too much Choler; from whence springeth dulnesse of spirit, suffocating, belching, heat, thirst, and disposition to rage and fury; and truly to any beast there is not a more dangerous disesase then the over-flowing of the Gall: But our latter experience findeth that an horse hath no Gall at all: but that filthy and corrupt matter is wasted and spent either by sweat, exercise, or else doth turne to infirmity. ...

Now for the stone in the gall, which is of a blackish colour, it commeth from the obstruction of the conduits of the bladder, whereby the choler being too long kept in, becommeth dry, and so converteth first into gravel, and after into a solid and hard stone, of which both the signes and the cure, are those last before rehearsed.

(Pages 149-150 in the edition of 1643.)

There certainly remains much to be reconciled here.]

9 [In the previous chapter, p. 118.]

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