1893 text

This was Arthur Coga, who had studied at Cambridge, and was said to be a bachelor of divinity. He was indigent, and “looked upon as a very freakish and extravagant man.” Dr. King, in a letter to the Hon. Robert Boyle, remarks “that Mr. Coga was about thirty-two years of age; that he spoke Latin well, when he was in company, which he liked, but that his brain was sometimes a little too warm.” The experiment was performed on November 23rd, 1667, by Dr. King, at Arundel House, in the presence of many spectators of quality, and four or five physicians. Coga wrote a description of his own case in Latin, and when asked why he had not the blood of some other creature, instead of that of a sheep, transfused into him, answered, “Sanguis ovis symbolicam quandam facultatem habet cum sanguine Christi, quia Christus est agnus Dei” (Birch’s “History of the Royal Society,” vol. ii., pp. 214-16). Coga was the first person in England to be experimented upon; previous experiments were made by the transfusion of the blood of one dog into another. See November 14th, 1666 (vol. vi., p. 64).

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

2 Annotations

First Reading

Mark S  •  Link

"Sanguis ovis symbolicam quandam facultatem habet cum sanguine Christi, quia Christus est agnus Dei."

"The blood of a sheep was once a powerful symbol of the blood of Christ, because Christ is the lamb of God."

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Strange Early Days of Blood Transfusion
In May 1665 [the] physician, Robert Lower of Oxford, described an animal-to-animal blood transfusion in a letter to Boyle. This letter was read at a Royal Society meeting in September 1666, and Lower’s book Tractatus de Corde includes a description as well. The great diarist Samuel Pepys also noted Lower’s experiments. The technique, Pepys said, quoting an informant, “may, if it takes, be of mighty use to man’s health, for the amending of bad blood by borrowing from a better body.”

Also recorded by Pepys and in the Transactions of the Royal Society was Lower’s transfusion of animal blood into Arthur Coga on Nov. 22, 1667. Assisted by Dr. Edmund King, Lower used quills and silver pipes to convey blood from a sheep’s carotid artery into a vein in Coga’s arm. The following month, another transfusion was done, and Coga declared that he felt better. Pepys cryptically noted that Coga “is cracked a little in the head.”

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.