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MEDICAL And PHYSICAL
SAMUEL FOTHERGILL, M.D.
•F THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS; PHYSICIAN TO THE ASYLUM FO*
FEMALE ORPHANS; AND TO THE WESTMINSTER GENERAL, AND
THE WESTERN, DISPENSARIES.
rHINTED FOR RICHARD PHILLIPS; BY J. Adlard, 23, Bartholomew-
CLOSE, AND 39, DUKE-STREET, SMITHFIELD; AND SOLD BY
J. 60UTER, NO. 1, PATEUNOSTER-ROW.
Medical and Physical Journal.
1 OF VOL. XXX.] JULY, 1813. [no. 173.
For the Medical and Physical Journal.
HALF-YEARLY REPORT of the PROGRESS of MEDICINE, from JANUARY to JUNE, 1813.
** O beata Sanitns! te prassente, amsnum
*' Daughter of Pajan, queen of every joy,
1""»HAT the legitimate professors of the medical art were ■ solicitous only, and above all things, to prevent disease or to restore health, has been believed against the surly argument of the misanthrope, and the flippant sarcasm of the wit: recent events have, however, shaken that faith, but soon to be restored, it is hoped, to that confidence and trust on which the mind can repose with unapprehensive satisfaction.
The leading feature of our last Report was drawn from the effort then making by a vast majority of the medical faculty to meliorate professional education, to provide for society practitioners of higher qualification, and to place around the public health a barrier sufficiently substantial to repel the fool-hardiness of ignorance, and impenetrable to the impudence and cunning of an empiricism which had too long been suffered to undermine the springs of health and life. A narrowness of plan, and an apparent, but only apparent, selfishness, embarrassed and retarded, at the outset,
No. 173. s , this this great public measure. We spoke of it as we felt, and take some credit for having suggested an extension which will finally accomplish an object that must, in its results, benefit the empire, by substituting for the heterogeneous mass* now assuming the title and functions of medical practitioners, persons properly educated, of ascertained qualifications, respectable by the class of society from whence they will be taken, and by having passed through the series of essential gradations.
* Can this require explanation? The mass of the medical faculty of the British empire is, indeed, an heterogeneous compound. Physicians, doctors of the English universities, fellows of the Royal College, versed in all human science, learned, honorable, and approximating to the "corinthian capital of society," are "pushed from their seats" by doctors of no universities, unlearned men and even women, without science, and without honor. The Abernethys, Coopers, and Brookes's, have opposed to them self-created surgeons, raspers of shin-bones, advertising gonorrhoea cures, and men whose chirurgical knowledge has been acquired by carrying a box after the dresser at an hospital. The legitimate apothecary is circumvented by the druggist who was yesterday a grocer; by the chemist who hardly knows a crucible from a cauliflower. To the educated physician, to the regular surgeon, to the instructed apothecary, this is personally, perhaps, unimportant; but what is it to the public? pain, mutilation, death. London, that common sewer, teems with this surreptitious multitude. From Tower-hill, a doctor advertises that "all persons afflicted with any complaint whatever, may have an easy, speedy, and certain cure, without confinement," by applying to the said doctor. Mrs. . cures the king's evil
radically, and, what is more, safely too. Another benevolent female, at Battle-bridge, continues, as usual, to cure consumptions; and still another at Islington, cures cancer. Even at the college-gate of Edinburgh lived, very lately, a female "practitioner in medicine" from England; and the druggists of a midland county at this moment are querulously complaining that a horrible attempt is making to take from them the privilege of prescribing for the sick. We are not among those who think this must be endured, but believe that laws may be framed to protect society against these depredators, not on money but on health. If it is the fiat of Providence that good and evil be mingled, and that in the moral as in the natural world the noxious plant shall grow beside the salutiferous herb,
Terra salutiferas herbas, eademque; nocentes
Nutrit, et uriicse proxima sa:pe rosa est;
the gardener may exercise his office; the poisonous may be extirpated, and the doubtful confined to their quarters.
Those who have read the Reports on the progress of the medical art, which for some years have been published in this Journal, will readily appreciate the anxiety always there manifested for the improvement of, indeed, a collateral and auxiliary branch of that art, but, from its operation upon the whole system of medical science, of intrinsic importance. Under the comprehensive term Medical JurisPrudence, exists a master movement, which may, when duly organized, direct, control, inform, and animate, the whole machine.
The association formed by the apothecaries and mirgeonapothecaries of England and Wales, has a direct reference, in its views and operation, to a leading principle in a. system of medical police. To improve in knowledge and advance io respectability this class of practitioners, surely involves a great public benefit: to prevent the idle, the dissolute, the ignorant, or the cunning empiric obtruding on society, under any anomalous appellation, with his balms, his balsams, and his cordials, must surely lead to public safety.
Acting, as we think, on this principle, our last Report left the Committee of the "Community of Associated ApoThecaries and Surgeon-Apothecaries" adjusting and regulating their purposed application to the legislature. The opinion, advice, and assistance of this branch of the faculty had been collected from the provinces; and the deputies of numerous districts attended a general meeting of the Association in London, in the month of March. Consequent on this meeting, the purposed application, the preliminary steps for which had before been taken in the usual form of a Bill presented to the House of Commons, was determined to be vigorously pursued. But fortunately, perhaps, for the cause, which a spirit of public benevolence must countenance and cherish, this Bill, immature, hurried, imperfect, and defective in detail, though incontestibly sound in principle, was withdrawn before the second reading, to be revised and improved, with the avowed intention of again submitting it U> parliament.
On some peculiarities of this Bill, and on the combination