The ILL STATE of PHYSICK IN GREAT BRITAIN: Truly represented to all Lovers of Health, and of their Country.

AND An APOLOGY for the Regular Physicians.

Fraudantur Medici, laudantur Pharmacopolae.
Pharmaca dat Celsus, dat Paracelsus opes.

LONDON: Sold by J. ROBERTS, near the Oxford-Arms in Warwick-Lane. MDCCXXVII.


  • SECT. I. OBjections answered, pag. 1
  • SECT. II. The Qualifications of a Physician, pag. 10
  • SECT. III. Discouragements to study Physick in Oxford, pag. 14
  • SECT. IV. Men should follow nothing but what they are bred up to, pag. 17
  • SECT. V. The Disingenuity of the Apothecaries, and the ill Consequences thereof, pag. 20
  • SECT. VI. The Impositions of the Chymists and Wholesale Apothecaries, pag. 23
  • SECT. VII. Of Ungarbled Drugs, pag. 30
  • SECT. VIII. All Apothecaries, the Practising and Retale Apo­thecaries especially, take insufferable Prices for the vilest Medicines, pag. 32
  • [Page]SECT. IX. Dispensatories and Infirmaries recommended, pag. 35
  • SECT. X. The Apothecaries abuse the College of Physici­ans, &c. Pag. 39
  • SECT. XI. Physicians that strike hands with the Apotheca­ries, the only Men of Vogue, pag. 40
  • SECT. XII. Our Regular Physicians not very well treated at the College of Physicians, &c. pag. 43
  • SECT. XIII. The ill Consequences of the Bishops granting Li­cences, &c. pag. 49
  • SECT. XIV. The bad State of Physick in the Country, pag. 50
  • SECT. XV. Country Apothecaries keep but few, and those very often bad Medicines, pag. 56
  • SECT. XVI. Barber-Surgeons aspire to be eminent Doctors, pag. 61
  • SECT. XVII. A Remedy against these Epidemical Evils pro­posed, pag. 64


THE following Observations and Complaints of the ill State and Male-Practice of Physick in Great Britain, were at first intended to appear in another Dress; and by way of Appeal to our neighbour­ing Nations, where that noble and neces­sary Art is said to be exercised in a more regular and beneficial manner. For By­standers, who are not heated by Animo­sities and personal Reflections, who are not interested in a Debate, and have no Party-Quarrel to maintain, are the fit­test Persons to examine and determine the Reasonableness of the Cause; and as their Passions are calmer and more mode­rate, so their Decisions are likely to be more just and equal, and agreeable to Truth, than the Sentiments of those Peo­ple, who are more nearly concerned. But when I considered, that all national [Page iv]Grievances, (and certainly the Abuse of this excellent Faculty is a very great one!) ought rather to be corrected at home, than exposed abroad; that the Mismanagement and Dishonesty of ma­ny shou'd not procure the Condemnation of all; and Offenders only shou'd suffer; and that they too could not be legally re­strained and punished, but by the Legi­slative Powers; I had Thoughts of ad­dressing them to a Worthy Patriot, who might, in Parliament, have procured a Redress of as many of them at least, as the Wisdom of the Nation might think worth their Cognizance. Yet consider­ing how far that August Assembly is em­barrass'd and engaged in the more ardu­ous and difficult Affairs of the Nation, and likewise the Temper and Taste of my intended Patron; the one so exquisite and distinguishing, that scarce a Word could drop from the Pen without the Terror of Reprehension; and the other so moderated, that had I attempted to make way for a favourable Reception by (the common Method in Dedications) re­citing but few of his real Accomplish­ments, it wou'd scarce have been looked upon as a just Encomium. I resolved at length therefore to adventure into a censorious World these rude Papers, containing little else but Matters of Fact as naked Truths, without any Ʋmbrage [Page v]or Defence; and think, these Difficul­ties presenting, the giving my Reasons for making no Dedication, is Dedication enough. For in all Disquisitions about Truth, 'tis not the Greatness, the Au­thority, and Weight of the Advocate, but of his Arguments and Proofs, that is the Point to be minded; and the more plain and unadorned his Discourse is, the greater Air of Veracity it hath. For which reason I shall no more be at the pains to make any Apology for the loose Composition and careless Diction of this Pamphlet, than I shall think my self obliged to answer the unreasonable Cavils, and loud Clamours that may be raised by self-interested and dishonest Men against it:Reasons of this Work. 1st. Thinking that I shall have sufficiently discharged my Consci­ence, in detecting their Dishonesty; and that it is not in their Power to say much in their own Vindication, without ex­posing more of their own Disingenuity and Baseness, to the Judicious especially, and discerning Part of Mankind. Nei­ther shall I think it any Reflection, that others have offered the same Things in a better manner; but rather as a Confir­mation of what I say; that makes what I here deliver, appear with the greater Force of Evidence.

Though it must be acknowledged, that Matters go not so well with the World, [Page vj]as that most Voices shou'd be on the best Side; and such Persons as are Slaves to their Lusts, indolent, ignorant and cre­dulous, take up with the Opinions and Ways in fashion without much Exami­nation; and thus are easily led on to their own Disadvantage, and sometimes De­struction, by Men of corrupt Minds, whose sole Advantage lies in Cheat and Imposition, and who, of consequence, have also a burning Hatred to plain, open, and fair Dealing, and to the Truth: and from whom her strictest Fol­lowers must expect to meet with the se­verest Ʋsage. The Truths even of the Holy Gospel have generally been on the suffering Side. And when I see those, promulged for the Salvation of Souls, have met with such bad Treatment, how can I expect that these, of less Impor­tance, calculated only for the Safety of the Body, shou'd find a more gracious Reception?

But if I am guilty of any Breach of good Manners, in meddling with other Mens Morals, Means of living, and In­terests, I am sorry for it. And if in my Enquiries I have been any way im­posed upon, and led into Mistakes; or have been too impertinent and tedious, too clamorous and severe, I humbly beg pardon, and submit to the Correction of my legal Superiors, assuring them, [Page vij]that I speak no Falshoods, to the best of my Ʋnderstanding and Knowledge; and as I had no Pleasure in finding out, so I have no Profit in publishing the fol­lowing Disorders; which indeed have,2d. of long time, been no Secrets to Multi­tudes of suffering People, who have hi­therto complained in vain, and groan under unsufferable Oppressions that they wou'd gladly get rid of, if they knew where or how they could be relieved, and which have been discovered by many worthy Physicians.3d. But then they have touched these Sores too tenderly; either fearing too much the Resentment of those People, who would not have them healed; or, finding it a Difficulty to set Men right, who go wrong out of Choice and Interest, surmounting all their Endeavours; and that I have no Ends in giving myself and others this Trouble, but what are just and ho­nest, and designed sincerely for the com­mon Good and Welfare of Mankind.

And as true Honesty, that is,4th. Inte­grity of Heart and Life, is the first, the chief, and fundamental Point of true Wisdom; so it is likewise, when apply'd to our Occupations and Professions, Trade and Commerce; the only sure Basis there­of, the most preferable thing, and to be regarded above Gain. On the contrary; As all unaccountable Ways of Live­lihood, [Page viij]all Extortion and unreasonable Profit, are certainly dishonest; so more especially when the Life and Health, as well as the Estate of our Neighbour is endanger'd thereby, they become ob­noxious, and ought to be condemned and rejected as intolerable. And, as saith a grave and learned* Author, ‘"There are just Reasons, why Men that are notorious for any Vice or Crime shou'd be exposed and represented as they de­serve, not only to prevent others from falling into their Hands, and suffer­ing by their Wickedness; but that they may undergo that Shame and Re­proach, which ever must be the Por­tion of ill Men".’

To pretend to put a stop to male Pra­ctice in Physick, is a bold Ʋndertaking: and notwithstanding it may, for these Reasons, appear very necessary and com­mendable to some; yet as it may be thought by a prevailing Majority, to proceed rather from Spite or Disgust than Discretion, it may chance to ruin him that will he so hardy as to attempt it.

But since I am induced to lay open the Faults and Frauds of it,5th. for the sake of [Page ix]Justice and Charity itself; let the E­vent be what it will, I resolve to per­severe in this honest Disquisition, tho' I gain nothing thereby, but that Peace of Mind, that proceeds necessarily from the Reflection that I have done my Du­ty.

The most innocent, as well as the most serviceable and best Parts of a Man's Life, are frequently misunderstood, and highly censured. Yet, because I know my Intentions are founded upon a good Bottom, I may still hope that they will discover themselves, and be justified by all in the Conclusion: Being satisfied that what I shall deliver hath Truth on its Side, (so far as I am able to come at the Knowledge thereof) which is the best Patron; and under that Protection I leave it.



Objections answered. HAVING gone thus far by way of Preface, I still find that I am obliged to remove an Objection or two that lye against myself, before I proceed far in those that I shall offer against the Men that abuse this Noble Science; and likewise to premise something of the Difficulty to attain a competent Knowledge in it. There are some inquisitive People, who will needs know how I came by these dismal, ill-natured Accounts of the Male-Administration of Phy­sick? To whom I reply: Dear-bought Expe­rience, the most faithful Informer, hath for the most part (tho' I must acknowledge some [Page 2]things are taken upon Trust and Narrative; but then of such Persons, whose Insight and Veracity I esteemed altogether equal to my own Knowledge) hath, I say, led me into these sad Secrets. For being a Piece of a Phy­sician myself, who have had a liberal Educa­tion in one of our own celebrated Universi­ties, and performed (tho' perfunctorily I must confess with Compunction) all the Exercises there required to be done for the last Degree that a Student can be honoured with in that Academy; who have spent some Years in the Wholesale Apothecaries Shops in London, where I had an Opportunity of examining in­to their adulterate and deadly Compositions, of seeing too many of their unfaithful Dis­pensations; and have been a Practitioner of above twenty Years standing, (for some time in the Country, but for the major Part) in this grand Metropolis, and consequently could not well avoid being not only Ear, but more frequently an Eye-witness of those horrid Practices, (as one ingenuous and faithful Apo­thecary, who could hardly ever be prevail'd upon to leave his proper Business in his Shop, to intrude into the sick Chambers, was used to call them) that introduce such vast Swarms of impudent Empiricks into Credit with the unthinking Multitude, and unwary People, and discourage and disgrace the true Physici­ans, as well as deprive them of their just Rights, and lawful Emoluments.

And here I need not descend to Particu­lars; this whole Discourse being intende [...] against these ignorant Pretenders to this learned Art in general, some of their Disqualifi [...]cations will necessarily occur in every Paragraph: But for Shew of some Method, I chus [...] [Page 3]to speak to the Formalist in the first place.The Forma­list condemned. And it is easy to demonstrate, that he, who is merely such, and that takes all for granted that he finds recommended to him by Authors,* and practises by their Schemes, and can use no other than their Prescriptions, will never make any thing on't, never be a good and ho­nest Physician. To what Errors do Men ex­pose themselves through Prejudice? and to how many more through a blind Submission to a reputed Authority? Doth not every Day's Experience convince us, that the same Re­medy applied to the same Disease may be suc­cessful in some Constitutions, and fatal in others? This deserves to be insisted on more at large in our present Subject; which, as I I doubt it will not prove very entertaining, I shall endeavour to contract into as narrow a Compass as may be.

Such Practicers then, it is to be suspected, are more frequently obliged to bring the Sym­ptoms of Diseases to their Receipts, than ac­commodate their Receipts to the Diseases. Such a Medicine-monger, qui medicinam ab usu tantùm & experimentis novit & tractat, non ex causis naturalibus; who fetcheth his Skill therein, not from natural Causes, but from his own injudicious Use of it, and bold Experi­ments, is justly called by the learned Celsus an Empiric. Those who are not really Masters of this Science, but practise barely upon Receipts, and those that have obtained only Notions from Books or Imagination, instead of a true [Page 4]and accurate Information of the Laws of the animal Oeconomy, will ever be perplexed in the Mists of Fancy, and be much more like­ly to do hurt than good, by putting Nature out of her way by the Force of Ignorance. Such Men have little regard to the Caution* given by Asclepiades, That it is the Duty of a Physician not only to cure as soon as may be, but to take care that his Medicines are safe, as well as palatable; nor to the Admonition of Hippocrates, That the Physician be perpe­tually upon his Guard, exert his utmost Skill and Endeavours to do good, and take care that by his wrong Administration nothing of harm befal his Patient. 'Tis better to wait, to observe, and give nothing, where there is Cause to doubt, than venture to give what may prove wrong. And it were to be wished, there was not, by the great Numbers of Me­dicines flung in at random, perhaps to please, or to amuse, (not to mention some less ho­nourable Ends) more Destruction made, than by Distempers themselves.

Honesty ought to be the only Basis and Rule of the Art of Physick.And if any Faculty is so far imperfect in or so much corrupted by those that pra­ctise it, that a Man must be forced to play little Tricks, and to make wonderful Preten­ces to those things that are not, and to what he is utterly ignorant of, to support his Credit in his Calling; and must cheat other People not only of their Money, but sometimes of their Lives too, that he may get himself a Liveli­hood: certainly that Art, and the Followers of it, ought to be banished from amongst Men, to be suppressed as a Cheat and Impo­sture. [Page 5]For the Good of Mankind, and honest Gain, is the only Bottom (as I have before observed) upon which every Trade and Sci­ence is set on foot: And he who cannot live honestly, that is, give a just and satisfactory Account how he lives, shou'd not be suffered to live. When Men dissever Profit from Honesty, they subvert the Foundations of the Laws of Nature, and break all the Bands of Society and publick Credit. Tully calls this a most sordid and corrupt way of living, &c. When our Profession recedes from this Rule, and open, fair Maxims; when it must be car­ried on by Frauds, and gross Ignorance must be varnished over with Pretences to rare Se­crets, Nostrums, Philosophical Preparations, &c. then we ought presently to suspect and avoid those, that wou'd cheat us of the most dear thing to us in this Life, our Health, without being able to give any other Account of their Process, than what is wrapp'd up in such unintelligible Cant and Jargon. 'Twas long ago the Complaint of Hippocrates, That because such pass, with those that distinguish no better, for Physicians, on account of their Want of real Accomplishments, the Art, that is of all others most excellent, is brought in­to Disesteem and Neglect: But yet such, we see, commonly are the most tenacious and secure in their own Ways. And as the Great Celsus saith of such, Verba supecresse, de­sse medendi scientiam; how defective soever [Page 6]they may be as to their real Knowledge, they are usually the most talkative and ostentatious, and take all Occasions to decry others of more Knowledge and Sincerity; being as unwil­ling to introduce Reason into Physick, as some are to admit it into Religion.

'Tis difficult for an honest Physician live.'Tis a needless (as well as a too tedious) Task to recite all that hath been offered on this Head, by conscientions Physicians, in im their own Vindication, and in order to detect such impudent Impostors. And it is a lamen­table Observation, That a Physician, now a­days, who hath been regularly educated in one of our famous Universities, and hath given reasonable and legal Tests of his Qualification, hath, after all, his Way to make thro' a vast Crowd, and superior Numbers, who have no other Support but superficial Pretences, back­ed by consummate Assurance, and all the in­sinuating Arts of Imposition, received greedi­ly by an unthinking People. The honest and truly instructed Sons of Aesculapius need not have recourse to such Subterfuges: 'They can, it is to be hoped, give a Rationale of their Practice.

But the more I consider these things, the more I admire how an Apothecary can com­mence Physician from the Doctor's Bills that hang upon his File! Yet this prating Mon­ster is produced every Day, not only in the Country Towns, but the greatest Cities, and Places of Wealth and Concourse, and with Impunity, and most impudently jostles out of place the modest Physician; assuming this ostentatious Motto, Opiferque per orbem dicor. For which Presumption he deserves the Fate of Python from the Hand of Apollo. As if a slight Knowledge (as a learned Gentleman ob­serves) [Page 7]gathered from a few modern Systems, or by consulting Dispensatories, and perusing their musty Files, or spending some time in Hospitals, wou'd sufficiently qualify a Man to sit upon Life and Death. Whereas no Man's own Experience is sufficient to make him a Master of the Art of Physick: He must take in also the Experience of former Ages, as well as his own. ‘"I don't see (saith the a­bove quoted Author) how any honest Man can satisfy himself with a little superficial Inspection into our present Modes of Pra­ctice, and neglect the antient and best Wri­ters in our Profession".’

'Tis difficult to attain to the Art of Heal­ing; to be a good PhysicianTho' it is one of the greatest Difficulties to find out proper and certain Methods of Cure; and this Difficulty that attends the Attain­ment of a competent Knowledge in the Art of Healing, is surely sufficient to deter any considering and just Man from invading the Offices of it, without regular and cautious Instructions therein; with what abundant Ap­plication, with what conscientious Circumspe­ction and Preparation of Mind shou'd we set about the Duties of this sacred Art, when we hear what the great and judicious Celsus pro­nounceth of the Uncertainty of its Rules and Trecepts? No [...] must pass amongst Physicians. There is no Infallibility in our Science. 'Tis sufficient for us to know Pro­perties, not Textures; to know the peculiar Attributes, and not the Essence of Things. God reserves these Secrets to himself, and leaves us room to admire. 'Tis enough for [Page 8]us to know the Properties of Bodies, without knowing the Causes of those Properties. Tho' we may search into the Causes without Of­fence, yet we rarely do it to our Satisfaction.

Do we satisfy our selves when we pretend to reason upon many Phaenomena occuring in natural Philosophy? which agrees, that Qua­lities or Properties, whether universal, parti­cular, or occult, may be discovered, tho' their Way of operating cannot be explained by us. And there are certain Textures in Bodies we are absolutely ignorant of, whose Qualities however we are well acquainted with. To instance; those of the Loadstone, Mercury, Opium, and that unparallel'd Specific* Reme­dy, as it is deservedly called, the Peruvian Bark, &c. Who can account for the attra­ctive Virtue of the Magnet, for the Flux or Tides of the Sea? Who can tell the Use and Nature of the Stars, any more than he can tell the Number of them? Who can ex­plain how the Accretion and Auction of Plants and Animals are performed? Who can find all the Tubes, and Liquors moving in them, that compose an human Body? And who can tell how the animal and rational Soul are uni­ted? It must be confessed, we know no far­ther of the Union between Soul and Body, than that if there be an harmonious Propor­tion between the Fluids and Solids, our Senses are vigorous; but are disturbed where they fall short of, or exceed the natural Constitu­tion. As most, if not all the former of these things are beyond the Knowledge of the Phy­scian, [Page 9]so the Union of the Soul and Body is a Secret the wisest and most devout Divine does not pretend to penetrate, nor to explain the Difficulties that attend it. But that the Body has an Influence upon the Soul, and the Notices and Conceptions of the Understand­ing have a Tincture from the Matter of which the Body is formed, is manifest. ‘"I must declare, (saith a very great Man) That I do not find it possible for any Person to give such an exact and satisfactory Account, as might be wished for, either of the Make or Constitution of our Bodies, or of the Disposition and Relation of the inward Parts, or of the Instruments of Nature for the Preservation of the Individual or Spe­cies, or of the Diseases they are subject to, or of the most proper Methods of Cure".’ The more a Man searches into the mechanical Attempts of this kind, the more unsatisfied he will find himself about them; and will find reason to conclude, that we may know enough for our general Direction what to do, but that the secret Causes are so hidden from us, as we have reason to admire the Supreme Artificer in what we know, and to adore him in what we do not know. In short, we know many times that such a thing will have such an Effect, or perhaps that such an Effect is pro­duced by such a Cause, but the manner how we know not, or but grossly: And if such an Hypothesis be true, it is impossible for us to Come at the true Principles of Things, or to see into the Oeconomy of the finest Parts of Nature, and Workings of the first Springs. The internal Constitution of most things, the subtilest Parts of Matter, are hid from us, and our Philosophy dwells only in the Surface of [Page 10]Nature. And here I must say, as St. Augustin once did of Purgatory ‘"I could never, notwithstanding great Study, attain to the perfect Knowledge of these things".’ Hence we may rightly infer how dubious our Art is.

And I wish we could cure with a few, and those simple Medicines only; a Cup of cold Water rightly apply'd. And I should esteem myself worth some Notice, if I could establ [...]s [...] but a few Certainties in my Profession for the Good of Mankind, tho' I became poor for my pains in the Discovery. And this ought to be the Aim of every conscientious Physici­an, who rightly considers the modern Me­thods of Practice; and that one of the greates [...] Uncertainties and Difficulties that he mee [...] with, is, how to be secure, that what he or­ders for the Sick, shall be truly prepared. For tho' he prescribe never so delicate and perti­nent a Medicine, yet he will find it is in the Apothecaries Power to use one thing for ano­ther,Vid. Sect. 14. (and they are very dextrous at finding out Succedaneums) and he never the wiser, till he hath purchased his Knowledge and Ex­perience with the Loss of his Patient, or cer­tainly of his own Reputation.


The Quali­fications of a Physician.HAVING given these Hints of the Diffi­culties that attend the Study of Physick, and that disqualify many, who presume to in­trude [Page 11]themselves into the Practice of it; it may not be altogether impertinent to delineate a true Physician, to shew what, amongst all these Uncertainties, is absolutely necessary for him certainly to know; and what must be his real Qualifications and Accomplishments. And though I have insinuated how dark and uncer­tain all physical Knowledge is, that the Pro­fessors thereof oftentimes lose themselves, and wander they know not where; they seek the Depth of natural Causes, the Change of the Elements, the Impressions of the Air, the Motions of the Celestial Bodies, of the Pla­nets, and their Proportions and Influences; they search the Mines in the Bowels of the Earth, and dive into the Bottom of the Sea; they dissect the Body of Man, look into the Womb, and enquire into the Manner and Causes of his Procreation and Nutriment, Preservation and Decay; follow the Food from the Mouth to the Stomach, and the Chyle from thence to the Lacteal Vessels, and their Infer­tion into the Veins; they search the Glands, and trace the Arteries and Nerves, that they may know the Vessels, and the Liquids and Fluids moving in them, of which the human Fabrick is composed; that we call Blood, and animal Spirits. And so they go on till they lose themselves, their Senses, all ocular De­monstrations, and can find nothing but the un­searchable Works of an Omnipotent Creator. Yet, I say, it is in the first place necessary, that the Student in Physick make himself very well versed in natural Philosophy; for it is generally remarked, Ubi definit Philosophus, in­cipit Medicus; and he that will undertake the Art of Healing, must understand not only the general, but also the particular Subjects there­of; [Page 12]not only the sound Frame of an human Body, but the Diseases thereof, and those Remedies that are indicated from the Causes and Symptoms of them. Hence we infer, that he must understand Anatomy, which shews him the Figure, Position, and Use of every Part of our Bodies, as they are in their natural State of Health. Secondly, Pathology and Aetiology, which treat of the Difference, Causes and Symptoms of all Diseases. Third­ly, Physiology, or the Knowledge of simple Medicines, that are supply'd to us by Nature; and this also sheweth the Strength and Virtue of each Medicament. He must understand Pharmacy, both Galenical and Chymical; he must know Herbs and Drugs, and all the Spa­gyrical Preparations of them; that by knowing how to mix Simples in a just and right Pro­portion, he may prepare compound Medicines to supply the Defects of the simple. Thus an expert Physician should not only very well know the containing, but the contained Parts also of an human Body; and be well versed in the Causes* and Symptoms of all Distem­pers. He must know the Virtues and Strength of all Medicines, simple and compound, and how to apply them seasonably, and in due Pro­portion. Hic labor, hoc opus: An hard Task truly! and enough to discourage the young Student, who may have reason, upon this short View of his tedious Undertaking, to apply the Words of the great Father of [Page 13]the Faculty, who complained that the whole Life of Man was too short a time for his Ac­complishment in this Art. And hence too we may very justly conclude with the learned Celsus, That of all Men living a Physician has need of the highest Wisdom and Conside­ration: That every thoughtless Animal is by no means capable of the Practice of this noble Art, that is intrusted with the Superinten­dence over the Health and Life of Man. The Empiricks, says he, contend, that the Search into the Procedure of Nature, and the dark Causes of Things, was needless; since it was not of use to know what might bring on a Disease, but what would take it off. But the learned and more rational Practitioners were firmly persuaded, that it was not possible for any one to know in what manner to set about the Cure of Distempers, who was altogether unacquainted whence they proceed; and* that he alone could do that with Success, who had throughly informed himself of the Causes of them. In the ancient Days, these were thought the Qualifications generally necessary to the Faculty. But methinks a Christian Physician requires something more in his Com­position; and that he ought not only to be Master of all these Arts and Sciences, but de­serve also this Commendation wheresoever he appears,The Accom­plishments of a good Physician. viz.

Vir eruditus, sobrius, urbanus, clemens, mo­ribus integris, assiduus, foelix, Deo fretus, non audax, non avarus.

These ten excellent Endowments being re­quisite to denominate a good Physician, it can't be justly supposed that he can so well attain the same by any other Means, as by a liberal and pious Education; and without going through a regular, careful, and well-directed Course of Studies.


Discourage­ments to study Physick in Ox­ford.AND this leads me, in the next place, to take notice of some Discouragements to young Gentlemen to enter upon this Facul­ty, in Oxford especially. In that they are obliged to take the Degrees of Batchelor and Master of Arts, before they can there be ad­mitted upon the Physick Line; and must then take the Degree of Batchelor of Physick (and that after ten Years Residence) before they can be qualified regularly to hear the publick Professor; which too they must do for full four Years longer, and be also full fourteen Years standing before they can commence Do­ctors. This tedious Continuance in the Uni­versity, as well as the Exercises for those four Degrees, can't but be attended with abun­dance of Charge and Trouble. But whilst they see, in the mean time, their Brethren at Cambridge take their Degree of Batchelor of Physick at seven Years standing; and after that, not be obliged to Residence; and at ten Years standing put on their Doctor's Gown: tho' their Time spent in the University is no longer than that required for the Degree of a Batchelor of Physick in Oxford, and their [Page 15]Tests of Probation no more expensive nor difficult than his.The Degree of Batchelor of Physick in Ox­ford, tanta­mount to that of Doctor in Cambridge. The Preference indeed is rather his Due upon these Accounts, when it is considered that he takes three Degrees, performs the Exercises required thereto, and is consequently at a far greater Expence of Money, and the same of Time, as they are at for their Completion, or taking their Doctors Degree: To which if the Oxford Gentlemen proceed, as they take more Degrees, so are they in proportion at far greater Charges. And what is far more aggravating, when they see People, that are bred in private Academies, (and thence removed to Padua, Leyden, or U­trecht, to Edinburgh or Glascow, where in less than four or five Years Space they shall be dubb'd Doctors) intrude themselves into Pla­ces of Resort and Practice, and by the un­thinking, major Part of Mankind be cares­sed, and preferred before our home-bred Phy­sicians, merely for their Pretences to more Skill acquired by a foreign,Regular and home-bred Phy­sicians postpo­ned. though a much cheaper and shorter Way of Education: They cannot, I say, help being affected with some Uneasiness and Disgust, to see themselves thus injustly obviated in their Pretences, and post­poned.

And as theUniversities of other Nations are to be blamed for crowding in upon us such Clusters of mere Novices, (or rather our Laws for suffering them so to do;) so are our own for not better regulating their Methods of Study, and not making the Degrees of Phy­sick less expensive. It might be more advan­tageous for the Oxford Students in this Art, if for the two first Years they apply'd themselves to the Study of Logick, moral Philosophy, Politicks, aliisque humanioribus literis, &c. [Page 16]and for five more they should not only hear the publick Lectures, but the Professor should direct the Course of their Studies; and by taking them with him into the sick Chambers, should inform them how to apply the Theory in their Practice; and not suffer the young Men to go on in their own injudicious Me­thods before they commence Batchelors of Physick: Which should be at seven Years standing; and after that time so strict a Re­sidence should not be insisted on: and at ten Years standing they might assume the Scarlet, having first performed all the Exercises for the several previous Degrees, as by the Sta­tutes are now required, as well as for that; and being strictly examined, as to their Pro­ficience and Knowledge in all the several afore­mentioned necessary Qualifications.

But our publick Professors (whether thro' Negligence or Want of sufficient Salaries to encourage them) seem very indifferent how the publick Exercises are performed; and give themselves no trouble in directing the Students, either in a regular and expeditious Method of Study, or in the usual way of Ap­plication of Medicines, and the Rules of Practice. Or, if this were too much for our Professors to undertake, a Catalogue of Au­thors they might readily exhibit; and, out of Conscience, scrutiny and examine more narrowly into the Abilities of those they present to their Degrees in this Faculty: Or, surely there seems great need of some other able Men, who should be appointed to try and judge who are fit to prescribe and administer Physick, before they are rashly admitted to Practice.


Men should follow nothing but what they are bred up to.FOR certainly the Law of Nature, and well ordered Commonwealths, do re­quire, that every ignorant Man who thinks himself skilful, should not play the Physician,Vid. §. 14, 16, 17. lest he kill Men. Formerly in England any Man might use what Trade, and as many Trades as he could: But in time the Publick being damnified, and Trade in general injured by this Liberty, such Persons, and those that followed Occupations to which they were not bred, were first restrained, Stat. 37 Ed. 3. and again by Stat. 5 Eliz. under a Penalty. This Law, that a Person should not employ himself in any other Business than what he was bred to, was made to encourage Skilful­ness, and that Youth might be regularly brought up in some lawful Trade.How an un­qualified Pra­cticer of Physick should be pu­nished. And the same Rea­son holds good with respect to the exercising the Faculties in the liberal Sciences; And we have Academical Statutes made accordingly, which say, That those that are not qualified as there directed*, should be punished as Rioters and Breakers of the Peace. But they are not much regarded, out of the Univer­sity especially, to the great Injury of Physi­cians. And thus, or worse, all Quacks cer­tainly deserve to be treated.Vid. sect;. 14. Vid. §. 12. For if they can practise, and get the Bread of learned Physi­cians, who have spent many hundred Pounds, and so many Years Labour and Study; nay, many of them the most vigorous and active [Page 18]Parts of their Lives, to obtain these Privileges, to what purpose is it to study Physick in our Universities! This doth but prejudice them. They spend their whole Fortunes to obtain a Degree, and a Diploma *, or Power and Au­thority to exercise their Faculty all over the Kingdom, &c. and then have the Mortifica­tion to see an Apothecary, a Surgeon, a poor Vicar, an idle Schoolmaster, a strolling Stage-Player, a Tooth-drawer, a Pickpocket (for Reasons best known to themselves, sometimes leaving their proper Stations, and mounting a Jointstool, as others a spotted Horse) cum multis aliis, assume his Title and Dignity of Degree, invade his Province, and take his Gain or Praemium!

I wish I have not in this Remark upon the irregular Methods taken in the Study of Phy­sick in the Universities, discovered a vicious Ferment in the Stomach, that makes the Mo­ther's sweet Milk turn sowre, and unfit for Di­gestion; and in my Advice for the rectifying the same, shewn my Inability to propound any thing that may may tend to the Advantage of the Faculty; and can only hope, that my Willingness to do them Service may not be rejected with Indignation and Contempt. Indeed I know but little; but that little, that Mite, I am ready to communicate. 'Tis a vulgar Proverb, Every Fool can find a Fault, but many wise Men can't mend one: Yet he is a weak Physician indeed, that can discover a [Page 19]Malady, but cannot apply the smallest Reme­dy.'Tis the Du­ty of every ho­nest Man to put a stop to growing Evils. And what the great Celsus saith in respect to healing the Body, I may too, in order to the Relief of the sick, politick State of our Faculty, Satius est anceps experiri auxilium, quam nullum: It is better to try a doubtful Remedy, than none at all. When any parti­cular Fault or Crime creeps into the Publick, into any Order, Profession, or Society of Men, every honest Man ought to think himself obli­ged to exhibit, in his way, some salutary Me­dicine to prevent its growing epidemical, and infecting the Community. For if it once get the Sanction of a Majority, Custom will make it a Law. Therefore, as I proceed to detect what is unjust, dishonest, and of mischievous Consequence, with relation to any the most inferior Branches of the Art of Physick, I shall likewise intimate the best Means that I can think of to put a stop to our Mismanage­ments, and prevent our growing Dangers: And if I fail of Success, I hope my fruitless and weak Efforts may animate some more ex­perienced and able Hand to produce better.

'Tis true, there are Persons able, and some willing to reprehend these Delinquents that are found amongst us, and that combine a­gainst us. But since all Endeavours to reclaim the most formidable Enemies of the Faculty have proved ineffectual; and they have not been so attacked yet, but that they have kept themselves out of reach, it may be of some Use to expose the vile Arts that are found to be exercised amongst them. But before I entred into their dirty Laboratories, I thought it might not be amiss to recollect some very indifferent Treatment, that the Members of this learned Faculty offer to one another, and [Page 20]the bad Reception that many of our regular, academical Physicians have met with at the College of Physicians in London; Vid. §. 8, 10, 12. had I not been pretty well assured, that the base Practi­ces of the Apothecaries were the principal Cause of the Misunderstanding that is so manifest a­mongst these Gentlemen, who ought to love as Brethren; and this in some sort obliges me (if I would not act so preposterously, as to postpone Causes to their Effects) to speak of their Disingenuity in the first place.


The Disin­genuity of the Apothecaries, and the ill Con­sequences there­of.AND it is notorious, that the Men of this Art are not altogether so just and ingenuous, as most of them profess and ought to be. They do not always prepare their Me­dicines according to the Dispensatory of the Royal College of Physicians; but more fre­quently follow new Methods of their own, much more adapted to their own unreasonable Advantage; making use of one Drug for another, and frequently of corrupt Drugs, al­though they hereby endanger, nay quite effect, the Destruction of the Medicine to all Intents and Purposes, for which it was at the first in­vented and composed. There are very few Medicines that they don't adulterate, and fewer that they make up faithfully; and no conscientious and honest Man, who sees these Faults, can avoid Complaints. To instance in a few Particulars.

Of Simple Waters.I need not mention their Methods to make Simple Waters more insipid than they naturally [Page 21]are; not only because they are apt to make two or three supply the place of all the rest, but because many of them have but very little Efficacy: of which they seem to be very sen­sible, when in diluting and emulsive Juleps, instead of using the specific Waters therein prescribed, they commonly mix up Spring, or more frequently Thames Water; which,The Excel­lency of Thames Wa­ter. notwithstanding it is so excellent in itself, that I have tasted some of it that hath been carried to the East Indies and back again un­corrupted, is a notorious Cheat put upon the Patient, who pays an extravagant Rate for the same. An Apothecary in Bishopsgatestreet, upon a time, correcting his Boy for turning away a Customer that enquired for Plantane Water, said, Sirrah! tho' you could find no Aqua Plantaginis in the Shop, if you had stepp'd into the Back-yard, you might have found Aqua Pumpaginis enough, and that would have served as well. But whether he, or Marggrave the Professor of Chymistry at Leyden, is most to be credited, I shall not de­bate. This learned Artist said, Plantane Wa­ter, and the Preparations of it, was the great­est Febrifugium that he knew of, either Chy­mical or Galenical. I have heard another A­pothecary boast, that the took 100 l. per Ann. for Dr. Cole's Aqua Saxonica, i. e. Spring Water. Indeed little Dependance is to be made upon Simple Waters; they serving on­ly to convey into the Stomach some other Medicine of more Virtue, that being nakedly administer'd would be very nauseous; and the more free from any physical Taste such Vehicle is, the better it is of consequence. But then if Fountain Water is made use of for this [Page 22]purpose that God sends gratis, why should the sordid Apothecary take Money for it!

Of Infusions.Teas or Infusions of many of the Herbs that the common Simple Waters are distilled from, may be made ex tempore; and as such are more efficacious than the distilled Waters, so they are not more ungrateful to the Pati­ents weak Stomachs, who may readily prepare them themselves by the Physician's Direction [...], and save the Charges that the Apothecaries would otherwise put them to. Mr. Smith, in his compleat Body of Distilling, saith, That the Surfeit Water made by Infusion in the best Brandy is superior to any other that is distilled; and seems much to favour this way of prepa­ring Compound Waters. Indeed there are so many of them adulterated in Distilling, that it would be too tedious to remark; and how many of the Ingredients, Herbs, Roots, Seeds, &c. that ought to be put into them, are omitted.

Of Com­pound Waters, Spirits, &c.How desirable is it to have our Compound Peony Water, Wormwood, Treacle, Plague, Cinnamon, and Bryony Waters, &c. drawn off with the best French Brandy only, accord­ing to the last London Dispensatory of 1721. (wherein many useless Medicines that were crept into former Dispensatories are rejected, and the necessary ones made up after a better manner.) But instead of French Brandy, our Apothecaries make use of English Malt Spirits, and esteem and boast these Medicinal Waters very extraordinary. Good indeed, if they use Mo­lossus Spirits in the preparing of them; yet they charge as much for them when retaled out by the Ounce, or in Cordial Juleps, &c. as if they were made with the best Nantz. Tho' were these Wholesale Dealers content with [Page 23]the Profits, that Mr. Smith calculates to arise from most of their Goods of this sort, they are incredibly great, even extravagant. But, says he, Apothecaries will sell nothing at a moderate Rate.


The Imposi­tions of the Chymists and Wholesale A­pothecaries.SPirits of Saffron, Castor, Lavender com­pound, &c. have no better Fate, with ma­ny others, (and Tinctures also) too many to enumerate. But these last are generally pre­pared by the Chymists, and sold by them to the Apothecaries; as also most Salts, Oils, Resins, &c. And tho' most of these may be discovered generally by their Colour, Smell, or Taste; yet the Mixture and Adulteration of chymical Medicines is so gross and fre­quent, that it is hard to say, whether the Chy­mical or Galenical Operators have justly suf­fered most in their Reputation; which is of small account, if compared with the Disap­pointments the honest Physicians meet with upon this score, and the Loss of their Patients Lives to boot. And what but wretched Ava­rice is the Cause of all this Mischief! For which they might have some poor Pretence, did they sell their adulterate Medicines cheaper in Proportion: But on the contrary, they keep up their Prices of these adulterate Me­dicines as high as if they were genuine, espe­cially in the Retale Utterance of them to the deluded Patient. And many of the Country Apothecaries, and of the Druggists too, know not when they are imposed upon by [Page 24]these Wholesale Dealers; or if they do, are no farther concerned about it, than to have their base Medicines at a Price accordingly, seeing they take them off their Hands with­out any Scrutiny, and their Detection is so easy.Of Chymical Cils. I shall mention the Trials of but two or three chymical Medicines for brevity sake. The chymical Oils extracted from Herbs and Seeds, &c. are proved by mixing them with rectified Spirits of Wine in a Vial, and sha­king them together; the Spirit will immedi­ately be separated, and remain clear, as before it was mixed, if the Oil is true; but if the Oil is adulterated, it will become muddy and milky.

Of Resin of Jalap.Rectified Spirit of Wine will also, in a small time, dissolve true Resin of Jalap; but if it is factitious, and mixed with common Rosin, the Spirit will not dissolve it.

Of Salt of Salt of Amber.Salt of Amber is a Medicine, tho' not cheap, yet frequently prescribed, and as often adulterated: If it is true, rectified Spirit of Wine will readily dissolve it; but if false, and any way mixed, it will not dissolve.

Of Liquid Laudanum.There are three Sorts of liquid Laudanum commonly used in Practice. The liquid Lau­danum Cydoniatum (of late not in so great Re­quest) is ascribed to Helmont. The liquid Laudanum that is most frequently in Use is that of Dr. Sydenham. The last Sort prepared with Tartar, is, I think, a Medicine of the learned Dr. Willis. But let who will be the Authors of these several Tinctures of Opium, and let the Authority of our learned College of Physicians be exerted as much as it can in the Direction of Apothecaries in the Dispen­sation of Medicines, one of them had a more concise Method of making these three Sorts [Page 25]of liquid Laudanum, than any of their Society ever thought of. ‘"What does it signify (saith he) to be at the Charge and Trouble that the Dispensatory directs, (meaning, I suppose, Shipton's Additamentum, &c.) I have out of the same Glass as good of every one of the Sorts, as any is in England"?’ I shall not determine how far this shortest way may answer the Intentions of all the three, seeing the last Edition of the London Dispensatory gives us but two of them as necessary. But I relate this to shew the Integrity of the Man. And now my hand is in, I can't but give an Account of the Ways another of these Whole­sale Operators took to counterfeit some other Medicines, for which a great Demand is dai­ly made at the Wholesale Shops, being of uni­versal Use in the Retale or Practising. Apothe­caries Shops throughout the Nation. This Man had a great Trade, and sent out many Boxes of Medicines in a Week; and the fol­lowing goodly ones, amongst the rest, to his­best Customers both in Town and Country, viz.

His Resin of Jalap.

Resin of Jalap counter­feited.Take common black Rosin four Ounces, Gambodge finely powder'd one Ounce, dis­solve and mix them.

His Locatellus Balsam.

And Loca­tellus Balsam.Take Hog's Lard 20 lb.Venice Turpentine one Pound, red Sanders as much as is sufficient to give it a due Colour.

His Balsam of Tolu.

Balsam of Tolu counter­feited: Take the purest white Resin twelve Pounds, liquid Storax eight Ounces, Gum-Benj [...]min four Ounces: Dissolve and mix them.

His Syrup of the same,

And Syrup of the same.Is made by boiling two Ounces of the abovesaid Baisam (as he calls it) in two Pints and an half of Spring Water to two Pints: Strain it, and add as much Loaf Sugar as will boil it up to a due Consistence, according to Art.

For the honest Preparation of this Medicine, and Genuineness of the rest, see the College Dispensatory, and compare them with this Man's, and you can't but be astonished. And this informs us, viz.

That Resin of Jalap is extracted by Spiri [...] of Wine, &c. from the black, heavy Roots of Jalap: but his hath not a Grain of Jalap in it; and indeed most that is sold is mixed with common Resin.

That Locatellus Balsam is made of the best yellow Wax, Canary, Oil Olive, Venice Tur­pentine washed in Rose Water, and lastly [...] little red Sanders. Compare his with this and then judge!

The Balsam of Tolu, that he here pretenc [...] to imitate, is a true, natural Balm that com [...] from the West Indies, and from a Tree said t [...] be like the low Pine; the Bark being cut, o [...] flows this noble Medicine.

Instead of Oils in his Emplasters, &c. th [...] Man frequently used stinking Fat, and ranci [...] Butter.

Of Plaisters.How merry is it, to see a Roll of Plaister, entituled, Oxycroceum, sine Croco, i. e. the Plaister that takes its Name from the Saffron, &c. that ought to be in it, made up without a Grain of that Flower.

Of Syrups and Conserves.I need say little of the Apothecaries nasty Ways of boiling up their Syrups, and making their Conserves with the worst of Sugars, be­cause not many of them are necessary: But it is vexatious to see them imitate cur excellent, native Cathartic Syrup of Buckthorn,Syrup of Buckthorn. (which one would imagine was parable and cheap enough) by mixing Gamboge with a weak Sort of it, or with some other Syrup of the like Colour and Consistence; and thereby make it too rugged and boisterous, that nei­ther the Country Buyer, nor the Physician, knows how to proportion it in purging Po­tions.

Of Venic [...] Treacle, &c.The capital and grand Medicines (as the Apothecaries call them) as Mithridate, Trea­cle of Andromachus, (Physician to that mon­strous Roman Emperor Nero) Confectio Fra­castorii, &c. were not made up formerly with­out having all the Ingredients first viewed se­parately by the Censors of the College of Physicians, with some of the Court of Assi­stants, or Wardens of the Company of the Apothecaries. But now they are daily made up clandestinely, notwithstanding they are subject to the Scrutiny and Search of the Col­lege of Physicians by Law. And the defective Dispensation of this grand Medicine is be­come so far suspected, that few rich People care to buy that which they think is com­pounded at home, preferring the foreign Pre­parations of it. But considering that our English Saffron is the best in the World, and [Page 28]our Vipers as good as the Venetian, and all the Ingredients are to be had here in London, as good and cheap as in any Place in Europe; why should our Apothecaries be thus suffered to bring an Odium, and make the Integrity of our Nation suspected, and taint and poison us with that Medicine that they call our prin­cipal Alexipharmic, as well as impose upon us, and the Poor in particular, who use what is called Venice Treacle in every Indisposition?

Of the Com­pound Powder of Crabs Claws.The next Medicine in vogue (with the La­dies especially, and what enhances the Apo­thecaries Bills most plausibly) is the Gascoign's Powder; at the Insignificancy, as well as ex­travagant Price of which, I cannot but won­der! especially when I see some People, who should be better informed, use it to no Pur­pose: (For if it is such a wonderful*Absor­bent, and Alterative in the first Passages, &c. it ought to be thrown in by whole Drams, and that frequently, and not by Scruple-Do­ses;) and others sell it at one Penny a Grain, or at least 1. s. Scruple, because the Bezoar is intolerable dear, which they pretend to put into it; I say pretend, because they rarely put one Grain into it; but more frequently make it up with Oyster Shells reduced to a fine Pow­der, the Juice of some Herb, and a cheap A­romatick, that may imitate the Cast and Fla­vour of the Bezoar Stone; which is one of those things, which are far-fetch'd and dear­bought. But as faith Tacitus, (and also a Poet) Quae è longinquo, magis placent, foreign [Page 29]Productions please best; and the dearer they are bought, the greater Stress is put upon them. And just so it fares too often with modest Physicians, who will prescribe excel­lent well for a moderate Fee, yet shall be slight­ly set by therefore; whilst an audacious, and sometimes impertinent Gentleman shall be ca­ressed by the Apothecary, because he deals much in this, to them profitable, Commodi­ty, and takes a Guinea, or two Guinea-Fee of the deluded Patient; and because he is a dear Doctor, is esteemed a good one in proportion. As this Powder hath little appparent Virtue in it, so I am satisfied this Oriental Ingredient may very well be omitted without much De­triment to those that admire it: Whose Foible is discerned and gratified by the crafty Apo­thecary, in like manner as was that of William Rufus, who was angry at his Chamberlain for bringing him a Pair of Hose that cost 3 s. and yet was pleased with a Pair that were far worse, that he told him cost a Mark. But if this Powder must still be retained in Use, a Succedaneum might be found out to supply the Want of this Stone, (which indeed as it is a Disease to the Creature out of whose Stomach it is taken, I cannot think it any great Cor­dial to Man.) And these Admirers of dear land foreign Medicines might be more inno­cently deceived, if we would be at the pains to study the Virtues of some that are better and cheaper, and the Product of our own na­tive Soils. Our Saffron, Verginian Serpen­tary Root, the Male Peony Root, the Vale­rians, Root Aron, Aristolochiae Rotundae, our noble White-flower'd Chamomile, Red Field Poppy Flowers, Seeds of Rue, Cardamoms, &c. as Occasion and Symptoms require, may [Page 30]be added to the testaceous Powders instead of Bezoar; and then no Plea could be admitted for so base and extravagant an Imposition, as is put upon the Purchasers of this officious, impertinent Medicine.


Of Ungar­bled Drugs.WERE I to proceed to every particular Abuse that is put upon the Physicians, and the People of this Nation, by these self­interested, covetous Medicine-Makers, I must swell this Dissertation into the full Bulk of the College Dispensatory: But I shall satisfy my self at present with one or two more, which seem to be the fundamental Causes of the In­crease of bad Medicines, viz. the Neglect to garble all Drugs, and the Wholesale Apothe­caries trucking with the Druggists; and both of them furnish the Practising, and the Coun­try Apothecaries.

What Need is there of some proper Per­sons being authorized by Law to examine eve­ry Bale and Chest of Drugs, and to destroy all that are found damaged, corrupt, and un­fit for Use; and that the Censors of the Col­lege of Physicians should examine the Drug­gists Shops, as well as those of the Apothe­caries and Chymists: and that the regularly educated and approved Physicians throughout the Kingdom,Country Phy­sicians should have Power to inspect Apothe­caries Shops, &c. should have the same Powers inspect the Shops and Warehouses of Coun­try Apothecaries, and Medicine-Sellers of all Denominations, and to destroy whatever they find unfit for Use; and to fine also such as, [Page 31]upon-legal proof, are found guilty of there and such like horrid Cheats, Adulterations and unmerciful Exactions. When we see the wholesale Apothecaries buy ungarbled and damaged Drugs of the Druggists, and con­tract with them to pay for the same, half in Money, and the other half in as bad Medi­cines:The impo­sitions of the Druggists, with the whole­sale Apothe­caries. And both furnish Country Apo­thecaries. § 15. (which it is demonstrable they can vent again no way, but to little dabling Medi­casters, and to Country Chaps,) And when those great Apothecaries, who have contracted to serve our Armies and Fleets with Medi­cines, have had them returned back upon their hands, as altogether useless and corrupt, to the incredible Damage and Danger of the Lives of the best Sailors and Soldiers in the World! But what care these Men, so they get Money. By these means (tho' very destru­ctive ones to the People) they both (the Drug­gists and wholesale Apothecaries; and Chymists likewise may be added,) disembogue their Shops of effaete and corrupt Drugs, and of false and adulterate Medicines, and all at dear rates, considering their bad Qualities. Thus they combine to cheat us of our Health and Wealth, without Controul or Inspection:

I wou'd not be so excessively uncharitable, as to accuse all Apothecaries, &c. of these base murdering Practices. For as the Proverb hath it, It is not every one can pickle well.

*It is to be hoped all of them are not such pickled Rogues, as to be able to disguise Medi­cines at this monstrous rate. But those who are conscientious in the Dispensation of their Medicines are so few, that the greatest, most [Page 32]conscientious, and the most learned Physicians, have, by all imaginable Methods, and at no small Expence, attempted their Reformation; and have endeavoured, by the charitable Con­trivance of a Dispensatory at their own Col­lege, not only to prevent the adulteration of Medicines, when all other ways have proved ineffectual, but likewise, that the exorbitant Prices, that the Apothecaries demand not only of the Rich, but also of the Poor, may be abated.


All Apothe­caries, the pra­ctising and re­tale Apotheca­ries especially, take insuffera­ble prices for the vilest Medi­cines.AND this is the principal Cause of the ma­nifest Disagreement between the honest Physicians and the unjust Apothecaries; and also between Physicians themselves. Of which I shall speak more hereafter; having not yet dismissed the the ungrateful Subject the unmerciful Apotheca­ries have led me into. Not a Family is without the practisiing and retale Apothecaries Bills by them:See §. 4, 10, 14, 15. And their Exactions may be easily dis­covered, by comparing the wholesale Apothe­caries and Druggists Bills or Charges to them with theirs. And the wholesale Man charges liquid Laudanum at 9 d. per Ounce to the Reta­ler; who sells it out again (made up into Draughts, &c.) at 1 s. for 20 Drops. I have known it calculated, That they sell London Laudanum (made up into a Bolus with a little Conserve) at an 100 per Cent. Profit: they buy it at 5 s. per Ounce, nay, (to come as near as may be to the Point) they buy it at half [Page 33]a Farthing a Grain, and sell it out at 96 — half Farthings a Grain.

Mr. Smith in his Art of Distilling tells us, They will make 20 Gallons of Plague Water, at 2 l. 9 s. 4 d. prime Cost: and they sell it out again wholesale at 8 l. that is, at 8 s. per Gallon, nay at 12 s. per Gallon, and retale at 2 d. an ounce, or 21 s. and 4 d. per Gallon. And this is the honestest, and most reasonable of their Gains in things of this nature. In many Articles (to descend to particulars were endless) their Profit runs incredibly higher. And their Pretence for keeping up the Price of Medicines to this exorbitant pitch, is, Because some are perishable.

But the College Dispensatory of 1721. ut­terly deprives them of this Plea, ordering all Medicines to be so wisely prepared, That few, if any, are perishable in any reasonable time: And of those that are any way liable to decay, they keep but small Quantities by them, or make them extempore, as they have present occasion.

Their whole Trade, as now managed, an intolerable Grievance, &c,Thus their Art is degenerated into a most abominable Grievance, that ever was suffered to be openly and continually carried on, in any the most abject and corrupted Na­tion under Heaven. The Grocers, (out of whose Company the London Apothecaries were at first drawn, and then incorporated) even those of them that are Retalers, and many o­ther honest Tradesmen declare themselves satis­fied, if they can get one Penny in a Shilling: and are too frequently obliged to take up and to be content with much less Profit in Commo­dities of far greater Value, and more exposed to damage than any the Apothecaries deal in. And why they should be indulged in such in­sufferable [Page 34]and oppressive Demands, and mon­strous Profit in things (which if they were good) of very little worth, for those Things that cost them little or nothing, is a Thing utterly beyond my Capacity to account for.

All the Efforts of some honest and compassi­onate Physicians to stop the Current of these Abuses,Apothecaries incorrigible. have, for ought I can find, tended to no other End, than to exasperate the cove­tous and unjust Mortar-drubbers against them. Tho' they have imitated the Company of Phy­sicians at Athens, called [...], because they wou'd take no Money of their Patients, they have received no other reward for their charita­ble Intentions and Practices, than to be dispa­raged and ill-spoken of, and to be obviated in their Pretensions, and to be thrust out of every Family, that wou'd give any credit to the ma­licious and self interested Insinuations of these cunning Men.

This male Treatment (no doubt on't at first) animated the Doctors to erect their Dis­pensatories: That the Sick-Poor having their Advice gratis, might be also supplied with Re­medies at a very low rate; and that the Rich too might be secure of pure and effectu­al Medicines at a moderate Price; and the Lives of their Patients, and their own Re­putation in some measure insured to boot.


Dispensato­ries, and Infir­maries recom­mended.AND here, I hope, it may not be thought an unpardonable Digression to insinu­ate the national Advantage of Infirmaries, and Works of this nature.Vid. §. 17. Which were they en­couraged, and carry'd on, according to the first Intention of them, would prove no doubt noble Benefits to Persons of all Conditions. The College Dispensatory, I say, is an Under­taking worthy of imitation by those Physici­ans that reside in poor and populous Coun­tries, and are any way able to beat the Charge, and willing to be at the Trouble of erecting a Dispensatory, or keeping a Closet of choice Medicines in their own Houses. And it wou'd be a great Encouragement to the Faculty, if in or near every Market Town, there were a Physician appointed, at a certain Salary (to be raised by a Parish Rate or Levy, &c.) to attend the Poor that shall be sick: who shou'd be brought and placed in Infirmaries provided in every Parish, (or 2 or 3 Parishes might join their Stocks) for that End and Purpose. This wou'd be no more (I dare adventure to affirm, much less) Charge to the several Parishes, than they are now at, in paying ignorant Pre­tenders to Physick for their attendance upon them, and their bad Medicines: and in Main­tenance of the Widows and Children of those unfortunate poor Men, that have fallen into bad Hands, and whose Lives might have been preserved, had an honest and skilful Physician been apply'd to. Moreover, as one remarks, The sooner Diseases are taken notice of (those that are Epidemical especially: and these begin [Page 36]generally and make their first advances amongst the poorest sort of People,) by accurate and expert Physicians, the less Footing they will have, the Cure of them will be the easier, and their Advice will be rendered the more effectu­al. Which being usurped by these injudicious Pretenders, the Distempers being mistaken, or mal-treated, become Malignant, Contagious and Fatal. And the sooner a poor Man is restored to his Health, he will be the sooner able to provide for his Family; and it will be a more especial advantage to the Parish, if it shall prevent his Death: by which else a nume­rous Family may be left helpless upon their hands. And it will be a great Advantage to the Neighbourhood when any of them want a Physician, by his being so near to them, and he may afford to attend them for much smaller than the present accustomed and extravagant Fees. And the more Visits he makes to the Sick-Poor, the greater will be his Experience, the more certain his Observations, and the more capable will he be to Advise the Nobility and Gentry, &c. But to return to the Matter in hand.

Apothecaries formerly Ser­vants to Phy­sicians: but now aspire to be above their Masters.Since this flagrant Perfidy of the Apotheca­ries hath been detected, and they have been frequently reproved, what Reformation hath appeared amongst them? They have been so far from honouring and giving place to the Physician (Ecclus. 38.) that they aspire to be equal to him, to supersede and shoulder him out of place: Telling every simple Woman, they sure must know something; they have all the Doctors Bills; that the Doctors are behold­en to them for making up their Prescripti­ons, which they know not how to prepare them­selves; &c. But if they would consider, that [Page 37]it is but a few Generations past, that they were originally only Servants to Physicians, to help them to do the Drudgery and Laborious part of their Dispensations in their own Houses: and that others of them were culled out of the most trifling and peddling Part of the Grocers; that scarce one in an Hundred of them at this day can read the Latin Testament, (the Test that they frequently try Boys by when offered to be their Apprentices;) and that those of them that can hammer out a Physicians Bill, frequently have not Ingredients, or commonly not the Fidelity to make it up truly, they could not be so audacious. That there were Physicians (now stiled Doctors) Apothecaries, and Surgeons, in 3 distinct Classes or Orders, even as high as the Days of Moses, some have seemed to prove from that learned Jew, Josephus. But not to enter into these needless Enquiries: these Men are so far from paying any due Deference to the Physicians, their Instructors and Masters, that they assume a Superiority rather: And maintain it scanda­lously, while we see a learned, poor Physician crouching to them, gloseing over all their vile Impostures, to be introduced and kept by them in the good Graces of a good Family.Their fla­grant Impu­dence and Ig­norance. Admonition renders them perverse: nor Con­science seems to have any check upon them: they persevere in their Insolence and Deceit with the greater Obstinacy, for being repre­hended; and what is to be wondered at, have prevailed to have an Act of Parliament pass, to exempt them from Parish and Ward Offices; &c. That they may, forsooth, the better at­tend the Sick; or rather invade the Province and Property, the Office, Fees and Livelihood of the regular Physicians, educated in our [Page 38]Universities: and to whom alone these Re­wards of our honourable and useful Profession do legally appertain. Tho' it is daily and sufficiently proved, how unqualified they are to prescribe Physick, from undeniable matters of Fact, and the many fatal Miscarriages which their forward Ignorance leadeth them into. They must needs be Empiricks, who pretend to cure by Guess, and neglecting the Reason of Things, content themselves with bare Expe­rience, as hath already been hinted; and it is but too manifest they do so; and for the most Part, either for want of Learning, or by the very Method of their Education in their Shops, can better vouch Practice for their Warrant, than Warrant for their Practice; while they justify their Proceedings by no other Authority, than this or that Doctors Bills upon their Files. But how come they to be such competent judges, That the Distemper, the Symptoms, and Constitution of the Patient, for whom these Recipes were originally prescribed, and their new Patients Disorders, &c. are the same? I have seen this Quere answer'd in the Nega­tive by a merry Poet; says he,

No, their pretended Skill's a dangerous Cheat, To bubble those that want both Health and Wit.

Do we not see many young Fellows amongst them administer Physick (to those that are as ignorant as themselves) before they know how to prepare it: and sometimes kill Men with­out being called to an Account for it?


The Apothe­caries abuse the College of Phy­sicians, &c.THEY have carried Matters with such an high hand, as to put the Members of the College that Subscribed to the Dispensa­tory, to defiance;Vid. §. 4, 8, 12. and have and do recom­mend Persons assuming the Dignity of Doctors, without ever watering their Horses at our Universities, and that were not Members of the College of Physicians, to practise Physick in London, contrary to the Laws and Privile­ges of that learned Society; who have, toge­ther with all regularly educated Physicians, an undeniable Authority, by Law, not only to prescribe, but also to administer Medicines. And the Apothecaries have persevered in these unjustifiable Proceedings so long, as suffi­ciently to discourage our Physicians that come from Oxford or Cambridge from entring into the College of Physicians at London, lest they should be thus suppressed and discouraged be­fore they are known: till in process of Time, the old Members of the College Dying off,Honest Phy­sicians discou­raged. and the Society becoming Thin and Poor, there was a Necessity to fill up the Vacancies. And then those who had rather favoured the Apothecaries, than the Dispensatory, being a Majority, introduced Exotics; Gentlemen that had their Education or taken a Degree in Foreign Universities, as Edinburgh, Ley­den, Utretcht, or Padua (as they chanced in their Travels to ride thro' it.) And it is to be feared, too many of these Foreign Gentlemen (so I must call them) to gain Business,Some Phy­sicians recom­mended for complying with the Apotheca­rias. fall in too easily with these un­worthy Methods of the Apothecaries, and prescribe at large to gain their Recommendati­on; [Page 40]and can find no fault with their bad Medicines, nor with their exorbitant Prices for the same. And if they are called in after an Apothecary hath by pernicious Ap­plications perhaps diverted a favourable Crisis, and well nigh killed the Patient, dare not but applaud his Proceedings: and (then to re­cover what the other had lost, and enhanse his Bill at the same Time, to make amends inter Scribendum for the Favour done in calling him into the Family) fling in more Juleps, Apozems, Draughts, Bolus's, Pills, Powders, and God knows what, till the poor Patient dyes of the Doctor at last! Whereas had he had Patience indeed, and taken no Physick from his intimate Acquaintance the Apothe­cary, before he had applyed himself to some honest Physician; or, had placed less confi­dence in one whom his Apothecary recom­mended, Nature and a little prudent Nursing might, in all probability, with the Assistance of a very Few, Simple, and proper Medi­cines (nay, perhaps after another Manner, without any Artificial Assistance) have freed him from his Distemper.


Physicians that strike hands with the Apothecarys the only Men of Vogue.AND here, the Physicians of an exotic Education are not indeed the only Per­sons to be condemned in this Sort. Too too many of our own Growth, either thro' Ava­rice, and because they will not be out of Play, and, more out of meer Necessity, are obliged to crouch thus for a Piece of Bread.

But be that as it will: this Clan of Phy­sicians that strike hands thus with the Apothe­caries, are the only Men of vogue, and run of Business: and know how too, to make their Marker, and take as exorbitant Fees, as the Apothecaries can Prices. A first-rate Man hath a Guinea for a Chamber or Coffee-house Fee, and Two for a Visit: one of the Second Class, a Guinea for a priming Fee, and Half a one for every Visit. And thus between the Fees of the one, and the Bills of the other, 'tis well if a considerable Tradesman is not well nigh undone, tho' they suffer him to escape with his Life, out of a tedious Fit of Sick­ness. With what Indignation must an honest Man hear his Neighbour complain to his Phy­sician of the unreasonableness of the Apothe­caries Bill, and the other Answer with an Air of Arrogance, Sir I don't use to garble Apo­thecaries Bills. And another, sharper, advise an extorting Apothecary, to keep up the Price of Medicines, or, saith he, we shall do nothing! And what a Mortification must it be to a mo­dest, young Physician, that can't in Honour and Conscience write so profusely, and will not divide his Prescriptions into abundance of Forms, and impertinent Varieties, and little Doses, (to augment the Apothecaries Profit, rather than to indulge the Patients Palate) to be tacitely reprehended by the Apothecaries flinging in a Bottle of cordial Drops, or a composing Draught; and afterwards be told boldly, O Sir, you are under a Mistake! You must sometimes hold a Candle to the D—l. If you expect to make much on't in this Town: you must not reflect upon Tradesmen.

Thus the honest and the fair practising Phy­sicians are decry'd, and brought into neglect by all the Artifices that can be thought on, ac­cording as the Temper and politick Interest, or Passions of the People, that their under­mining Antagonists are tampering with, affords them occasion; Say they, This Man's rash, and gives the nastiest Medicines; that's an old Nurse; t'other minds nothing but his Bottle; one is a scoundrel Whig; another a virulent Tory; when perhaps the honest Man they are thus circumventing and defaming, is neither: or has declared neither for high nor low, nor any Party: But because he hath Subscribed to the Dispensatory; or, can't readily come into the Mercenary and base Measures of a Set of self-interested and naughty Men.

The Artifi­ces of cunning Knaves.Indeed the generality of the World, is in something or other thus imposed upon. Cun­ning Men for private Lucre, bandy themselves and make Parties; and then invent discrimi­nating Appellations: and whosoever hath the Misfortune to fall under the lash of their petu­lant Tongues, and to be ranged in the Class of obnoxious Persons, that is, of those that do not or cannot favour their unworthy De­signs, and unwarrantable Practices, must of necessity be in danger of Ruin from them; and being placed between the two opposite and impetuous Aggressors, he can't avoid Blows from both. Certainly it is most inhuman to affix any Character upon a Man, that may ren­der him odious, and that is distasteful to o­thers, and thereby strip him of his Understan­ding and Honour, Religion and Conscience, his Profession and Livelihood!

Let a Man's private Sentiments be what they will, and personal Infirmities very visible; he may be, for all them, a good Physician, and ought to enjoy, as free as Air, the common Privileges of his Faculty.


Our regular Physicians not very well trea­ted at the Col­lege of Phy­sicians, &c.BUT some (too many) of our graduate Physicians from Cambridge and Oxford, find it otherwise, to their great detriment and discouragement. For as soon as one of them emerges in London, and that before he hath acquired an Acquaintance, or writ something sufficient to recommend him to common Fame, and whilst he is in suspence whether it is for his Advantage to adhere to the Apothecaries, or for his Credit and Quiet of Conscience to come into the Dispensatory, he shall be summon'd by the President of the College, to give an Account of his Practice, and to enter into the Society, very much to his prejudice, the Pre­mises considered: and whilst the College too, suffer Multitudes of unqualified, and unlicen­sed Persons to proceed in Practice without any Notice taken: and make others that have had no regular Education Licentiates; and abun­dance that have been bred in foreign Universi­ties, Fellows; and confer as many real Privi­leges upon them as our home-bred Gentlemen can have by becoming Members of that Society; and notwithstanding the worthy Gentlemen thus prosecuted have a Diploma from our Uni­versities,Abuses of the College of Physicians, &c. Vid. § 4. to practise all over the Kingdom, in [Page 44]every Place, and to do every thing that ap­pertains to Physick, &c.

Physicians disagree and abuse their own Faculty.As the Matter seems to stand at present, a Degree in one of our Universities is only a Disadvantage (as said a Gentleman who had just reason to expostulate with the College) as it makes a Man that hath it the Mark of the College, whom they cou'd not (or per­haps wou'd not,) take notice of, if he had not his Degrees: as this Case, between the Char­ter of the College of Physicians in London, and the Universities hath been stated and set forth: and also as it renders him obnoxious to the Apothecaries, if he will keep his Inte­grity, and discountenance their exorbitant Proceedings.

Hence it is that so many of our regular Physicians have refused to come into the Col­lege. For is it not intolerable, that Gentle­men educated, according to the Laws of the Land, in our own Universities, and having expended therein 1000 l. or 700 l. at least,Vid. §. 4, 14. in proceeding thro' the Course of their Studies to their requisite Degrees, &c. when after­wards they come out thence to offer their Ser­vice to the World, and by their honest Gains in their Profession to have these Charges re­funded, and to maintain themselves, must pay as dear for their Incorporation with the Col­lege of London Physicians, and to obtain the Privileges to practice unmolested, as Foreig­ners do: and have one of them (who hath not been at above a third part of their Expence, computing both his titular and purchased De­gree taken abroad, and the Charge of his Admittance into the College together) pre­ferr'd before him; and to see, now and then [Page 45]wealthy Apothecary or Surgeon get to be an Archbishop's Doctor, and God knows who admitted amongst them upon the same Level.

What can be the Reason of this? Either the Power of the College is Defective, or not rightly exerted; or, there is a great Neglect of the Statutes, that are as Wise and Moral as any extant, in any Society. It is certain there appears among the Members a great Di­vision (arising manifestly from their adhering to the Methods pleasing the Apothecaries,Vid. §. 4, 8, 10, 12. or to the Dispensatory) and this produceth Parties and Partiality, a narrowness and self-Interest, and a want of concern for the Honour and Benefit of the Community, and of the Pro­fession in general. Instead of this, there are Combinations with private Views, to promote particular Advantages: some are applauded, and others supplanted, according as they reject or come into particular Measures. In short, amongst our Physicians, a disregard of the true End of their Institution, viz. The Good and Health of the People, seems but too appa­rent, as well as great want of Candor one towards another.Physick is a precarious Pro­fession. To whom I would only add this one Consideration, that, as the Laws have not provided for the Support of the Pro­fessors of Physick, as they have for those of other Professions, by Donations and lucrative Preferments, and their Emoluments are preca­rious; they are not upon a national Establish­ment, they are to subsist wholly by their Skill, their Industry, and their Reputation, and good will of the People: It highly behoves them not only to encourage the Improvement of Knowledge, but likewise to be tender and cautious of bringing their Faculty into Con­tempt: and I must assure them, that it is very [Page 46]apparent, that whilst they pursue every one his private Gain, and as Practice is now car­ried on, the Poor are utterly neglected, and the Rich intolerably abused:The Poor are neglected, and the Rich abused. and neither find any true Remedy, but from the Charitable and Candid (tho' much discouraged) Treat­ment at the Dispensatory. And if the Gen­tlemen that are for and against it, proceed much longer in their intestine Debates and A­nimosities, it will be an addition to the World's Wonders, if Physick shou'd flourish again in this Nation, under the Pressure of all these enormous Abuses! For if the College can maintain the Power they claim over the Faculty in this manner (and I may say too, if the Privileges thereof are thus invaded in every corner of the Nation) our Universities are rendered useless with regard to the Art of Physick, if they cannot effectually Authorize their graduate Physicians.

Had the great and learned Traveller Dr. Thomas Linacer (who upon his return, is said to be the Restorer of Learning in our Na­tion; and founded two publick Lectures in Oxford, and one in Cambridge, for the Advan­tage of the Students in Physick) foreseen these Disorders, he never wou'd have foun­ded also the College of Physicians in London, That the Students of that Faculty of both Uni­versities, The End, for which the College of Phy­sicians was founded, obvia­ted. might meet the more conveniently together, to consult the Advantage (and not the Disgrace and Destruction) of the Profession.

All this is but the Consequence of artful Faction, kept up by Avarice and Ambition; and crafty Apothecaries amongst our Physici­ans, greedily prosecuting, as I just now said, particular Advantages and self-Interest; neg­lecting the publick Good, and the Reputation [Page 47]of the Faculty: and indeed the Health of Mankind; yielding, upon these scores to the Apothecaries; who at the same Time do not stick to supplant them, and are become their Competitors. These Debates are wittily handled by Dr. Garth in his Poem; and the Apothecaries Cheats exposed by Mr. Thomas Brown's Farce called the Dispensatory; where he introduceth Trueman with this generous Resolution,

I ne'er to Flatt'ry was, or will be Slave.
He that loves Truth, is generous and brave;
And scorns the Wealthy and the Thriving Knave.

And many honest Physician [...] are forced to withdraw themselves.These indeed are worthy Expressions in the Mouth of the Man that is got above the World: but shou'd another, who has no means of Li­ving but by it and in it, take up with these Sen­timents, and stick by them, he may chance to starve for his honest Obstinacy. His Necessi­ties will be ever and anon insinuating, that Truth and Plain-dealing are very disobliging Things; that Honesty is an usual Bar to Ho­nour and Preferment; that the strongest Wing of Merit cannot mount, if a stronger Weight of Malice that should be removed, depress it; that there is nothing to be got by being good in bad Times, much less by daring to appear so; that things are gone so far, that if a Man intends to gain any Practice in this Town (or any where else indeed) he must connive at greater Abuses than these, if any such can be found in his Profession, and he must in Prudence be silent: whilst the Emperick, and prating Apothecary run on maliciously a­gainst the honest Physician, administer Medi­cines ignorantly: and the more ignorant People [Page 48](by long Custom, and for want of better In­formation, are brought to) love to have it so; and to be deluded out of their Lives, and (what too many of them love better than their Lives,) their good Money. Nothing can pre­vail upon the generality of them to see, in this important Case, their own Advantage, tho' in most other Matters of far less Moment they pursue it most dexterously: they refuse to be convinced in this Point, tho' their Lives lie at Stake; tho' the most eminent Hand would heal them Gratis, yet they will have recourse to, rely upon, and applaud these au­dacious Quack-salvers: and presently conclude him a Partial, self-ended Man, that unfolds these Mysteries of Iniquity: He sees very plain­ly, that if he can't help Speaking, and Acting conscientiously for the common Good, his Skill and good Character shall be traduced on all hands. Thus many excellent, modest Phy­sicians, finding there is no way for them to become useful, serviceable to themselves and others, and celebrated in their Profession, but by these vile Artifices, think it better to sit down neglected; and that it is adviseable for them to be silent, rather than to exclaim against what they can't remedy; and to be content to want a great Name, and great Business, rather than attempt the Attainment of it, at the Expence of other Peoples Fame and their own Quiet, and if their Conscience too must go to rack for the Purchase*; that Profit and Advantage, that Respect and Re­putation, [Page 49]that must be obtained in the World with the Loss of Honesty, and a good Con­science, is not worth the having.


The ill con­sequences of the Bishops gran­ting Licences, &c.BUT say some People, the old Maxim (ars nullos habet inimicos praeter ignoran­tes) allows no Men of good Sense and Litera­ture to be your Adversaries: Indeed if this could be made good, it wou'd very much con­tribute towards a Remedy against these grow­ing Evils. Have not our Bishops and their Officials a Power, (tho' the Legality of it, since the Reformation from Popery, is questio­ned by some of their Lordships) and do they not grant Licences to such great numbers of Gentlemen that are bred Abroad, and settle so frequently in our greatest Cities and Towns, that there is scarce room for a regular Phy­sician from one of our own Universities to thrust in amongst them? and to abundance of meer Formalists, and what is yet worse, to many illiterate and ignorant Persons besides, and that without due Examination and neces­sary Tryal before competent Judges: who ought very well to approve every one that offers himself to them for a Qualification to exercise the Faculty of Physick, even in the most servile and minutest Part thereof. And it is notorious, that the Officers of their Courts, for the sake of Perquisites, are ready Solicitors for this Tribe of Candidates; and our regular Physicians themselves are too easily [Page 50]importuned to sign Certificates to many of these humble Petitioners, imagining they can't hurt them; that they live remote, and their Business will be amongst the Poor; that they oblige some good Patient of their own, that intreats this Favour of them for a poor Par­son, that otherwise hath not wherewithal to Support his Family; or that another Simple Fellow may do good in a few Cases, (or in o­ther make Work for them) and upon some such like slight Considerations, help the lame Dog over the Stile, that presently turns again and bites them, supplants their Character, as well as supplies their Place; and by degrees gets into Favour (upon an Accidental Cure or two made upon some poor Person, that Nature perhaps wou'd have relieved without their preposterous Help) of the best Gentlemen in the Country.


AND this necessarily leads me, in the next Place,The bad State of Phy­sick in the Country. to take a short View of the bad State of Physick there also, where Quacks, and meer Formalists that can but Copy out a Bill, and impudent, illiterate Fellows not only practise Physick, but meet with incredi­ble Encouragement.

But the Majority of the People (of the common Sort especially) commonly take the worst Side (as I have before observed) and give Countenance to Knaves and Pretenders. [Page 51]and neglect Men of Integrity and Knowledge, without any Reason for it, except that one, which is very plain and natural, viz. that they are wiser and better than themselves. For we are apt to have great Inclinations to every thing which resembles us, and an Aversion to what is above us.

I need not here again recite, that the right and judicious Understanding of the Animal Oeconomy, a long and regular Course of Stu­dy and Application, together with abundance of judicious Instructions, and Expence of Money as well as Time; and after all, Expe­rience too to apply all the acquired Faculties and Science of Physick aright, is necessary to the Accomplishment of a Physician. That the Indications curative are to be taken from the Aetiology of Diseases, and the Explana­tion of the Causes of Distempers (so far as it may be said to be demonstrative) from Ana­tomy. But whatever Reason, Art, and the Laws of our Country can advance to the Dis­couragement of those Persons, that pretend to rely upon other Foundations, especially up­on the Indications of what is to be done in Diseases from the Urine only; yet these Piss-Pot Doctors* are strangely sought to, and incredibly famous,Piss Pot Do­ctors. notwithstanding the Folly as well as Uncertainty of their Conclusions, is sufficiently apparent! Bottles of Urine are brought 20 or 30 Miles to one of these Wa­ter-Casters; and he, without seeing the Pa­tient, (says with Dr. Byfield, Praesens vel ab­sens idem est) tells the old Women all their [Page 52]Infirmities and Aches, and the young ones all their Obstructions and Sickness; and for the Price of a splendid Shilling, sends them his Orvietan, and infallible Remedy; his Pills, that cure all Ills, past, present, and to come! Another will do as much for a Sixpenny Fee; a third will give a large Hodgepodge for 3 d. For which they all deserve the Pillory, as in 1382,Quacks for­merly punished. §. 4. and 1550, when such counterfeit Phy­sicians were, if our Chronicles may be de­pended upon, set on horseback with their Fa­ces to the Horse-tail, the Tail in their Hands as a Bridle, and a Whetstone on their Breast, and so led through the City of London, with ringing of Basons, and banished. Hence the Proverb of old, Not so easy to turn a crooked Body streight, as to turn a Mustard Quern; nor one Leap out of a Docket n="*" A Manual, or little Collection of Receipts. maketh a Doctor. Yet such have all their silly Crowds of Admi­rers, Abettors, and Followers, who run after one or other of them for three or four Mar­ket-days successively, if the distressed Patient lives so long; and if he is not recovered in that time, they do (as Dr. Fuller relates of the People in Cheshire) make him a Posset, and tye an Handkerchief on his Head; and if that will not mend him, then God be merciful to him.

Here too, suspended Parsons, idle School­masters, Barber-Surgeons, Sea-Surgeons dis­carded, broken London Apothecaries, decre­pit Mountebanks, and any one that is un­known, and hath no other Means of Mainte­nance, set up for prodigious Doctors; and every Sect and Party have one peculiarly [Page 53]qualified for themselves. Here comes one re­commended by profligate Immoralities; ano­ther by Poverty, and a great Heap of Chil­dren; a third sets up upon a Stock of little or no Learning, and much Self-conceit; a fourth upon abundance of Ignorance, and want of Business in the greatest Place of Business in the whole World; some upon pretended Cures in the unknown Parts of it; and others again boast their Travels far at home, and pass for unborn Doctors, celebrated Corn-cutters, and Washers of fat Brains.

But to leave this Tribe of Unaccountables in their provoking Practices, till the Hand of Pro­vidence and Justice brings them to their due De­serts: since the Mischiefs they do are so flagrant,The Author is naturally in­duced, by the Course of his Arguments, to appeal to the Legislative Powers; tho that was not his first Design. See Beginning and End of this Tract. that our Lawgivers cannot but be sensible of them, and will sure ere long revive and rein­force that excellent Statute of the 5th of Eliz. and extend it to our Faculty. The Intent of which was, (as is before intimated) That no Persons should take upon them any Art, My­stery or Trade, but such wherein they had Skill and Knowledge; according to that Rule, Quod quisque norit, in hoc se exerceat. And I am sure it is not usual for skilful and modest Men, to pretend to Understanding in any Art or Science, before they have attained to it by an assiduous and regular Course of Study, and a practical Habit. There are some Dis­eases in which an old Nurse cannot kill; and in such some of these sort of Doctors, (as they are called) and our daring rural Apothe­caries, gain amongst the Mobile immortal Praises. There are other Distempers, which the best Physician cannot cure: Cases, that no Physician, was it not the Duty of his Calling, would desire to have any thing to do with; [Page 54] viz. as where any of these Pretenders have been dabbling and tampering before he was called in, and have put the Patient out of all Hopes; or in the Confluent Small-Pox, Pur­ples, Spotted and Malignant Fevers, Diseases not far behind the Plague. And although he does all that he ought, as a Man of Know­ledge and Honesty, yet commonly if (thro their former male Practices, or the Ungo­vernableness of the Patient, or the prevailing Humour of those about him) he does not cure, it shall be imputed to him as Mistake or Ignorance, Rashness, or Want of requisite Cou­rage, Inadvertency or Neglect: He shall be spoken against because he cant do Miracles, retrieve what others have lost, or stay the Omnipotent Hand of God himself. But he shall certainly be defamed,Country A­pothecaries dis­ingenuous. Decry all Phy­sicians, who will not serve their base Turns; and caress any ig­norant Forma­list that will. if in all his Pro­ceedings he hath not favoured the Apotheca­ries, hath not augemented their Bills, nor skreened their Rashness and daring Errors. Well! say they, this Man was called in to mend, but (by this, by that, and tother) hath mar­red all: And, saith Mr. Mortar-scraper, (if he doth cure, notwithstanding he labours under all these Difficulties) I could have done as much my self; or, I never saw in all my Life a Man recovered by such a simple Method. Whereas the Simpleness, as well as Knavery, is in the Wretch himself; who whilst he regards his own Advantage only, he does not consider at all, that the most simple and unmixed Medi­cines are the best Specificks,Of simple Medicines, Specificks. and will do Won­ders, when administerd by a judicious Hand; but are frequently rendred useless, if not noxious, by being confounded in an hetero­geneous Hotchpotch, a Mixture contrived ra­ther to give him an Opportunity to enhanse [Page 55]his Bill, than for the Benefit of the Patient. (I cant avoid the Impertinence of Repetition frequently upon this provoking Occasion.) Nay, and rather than not force a Trade, he will omit the most pertinent Ingredient in the Physicians Bill, and substitute another ac­cording to his own Fancy, or Interest,Apothecaries make up Bills unfaithfully. Vid. §. 1. or Ma­lice; serving him as one did the Oracle, when he asked, whether the Bird that he held in his Hand under his Cloak was alive or not; being resolved beforehand to produce it dead, had the God pronounced it alive. And the cunning Shaver goes on to recommend such a Doctor as will serve his turn. O! thats a fine Man: He writes well; that is, plentifully divides Apozems or Juleps into little Draughts, Electuaries into Boluss, &c. Writes well for the Apothecary, but ill for the poor Patient, who must pay for all. And it is ten to one, if this fine Writer is not like the Gunner, that is said often to shoot well, tho quite beside the Mark.

Hence it comes to pass, that the Tribe of accurate Formalists are caressed by the Apo­thecaries, because they cant well avoid con­curring with them in all their vile Practices, and horrid Impositions upon the Patient. They prescribe plentifully, and cant well do otherwise, if they follow the Variety of Forms their Authors direct them to; as if the Mul­tiplicity rather than the Matter of the Medi­cine made it effectual: Neither can they com­plain of the Adulteration or Badness of their Medicines, having no true Knowledge of them. (Indeed it is difficult to discover Me­dicines when mixed throughly, but by their missing in their usual Effects.) Nor dare they correct their extravagant Bills given in to [Page 56]their Patients; for then they must lose their Credit with them, and shall be outed as fast as they were introduced into any Family. For it so falls out generally upon any Indisposition, that the Apothecaries are first applyd to; and if it proceeds so far that they cannot remedy it, but rather render it dangerous, then they are consulted what Physician shall be made use of: and to be sure an honest one, who dares de­cry and discountenance these their Abuses, shall be postponed to these intruding Gentle­men; or, (I am ashamed to speak it) to ano­ther regular Physician, that will act so unwor­thily, as to disparage the Faculty by these base Compliances, (who, and all the other Tribe, are but as mere Stalking-Horses to their Friends the sordid Apothecaries, galloping from one Extremity of a County to another to skreen their abusive Practices; and that in extreme Cases only!) Or if they cant sup­plant him, (the conscientious Physician) by Lies and crafty Insinuations, (as hath been more than once remarked) they will effect it, let him watch them as narrowly as he can, by making up his Prescriptions false; by some Succedaneum, or corrupt Drug or other, ren­dering them ineffectual.


Country A­pothecaries keep but few, and those very often had Medicines.INdeed it is difficult for many Country A­pothecaries to make up a Bill faithfully, having but very few Medicines in their Shops; and few of them know how to make Medi­cines; and those that they have are frequently [Page 57]sophisticated to their Hands by the Wholesale London Apothecaries, who sell them to the Druggists; and the Country Apothecaries have them at second-hand from them too com­monly, as hath been shewed:Vid. §. 5, 6, 7. or if they make them up themselves, as many boast they do, yet they make them up as false as the Londoners can do. And if an honest Physician (suspect­ing their Veracity,And make extravagant Bills. Vid. §. 8. and knowing their cheat­ing Craft) contracts his Prescription into a nar­row Compass, abhorring to load his Patient with Things impertinent, they will, for that very Reason, demand the more extravagant Rates for their vile Compositions; insinuating, that the Doctor was curious in the Drugs, and that they were dear, &c. What Man of Sense and Honesty would not be enraged to see a Country Apothecarys Bill run up to 3 l. in a few Days, when it can be demonstrated, that all the Medicines taken by the Patient were not worth thrice so many Shillings: And to see another take 1 s. 6 d. for a Febrile Julep, as he called it, made up with nothing more than Spring Water and Sugar, and a few Drops of Spirits of Vitriol: The whole, with Glass, Cork and all, not worth three Farthings!

Had Pliny lived in these Days, and amongst us, his Observationn="*" Millia Gentium fine Medicis vivunt, nee tamen [...]ne Medicina. would have been invert­ed; and instead of saying, that Thousands of Nations lived without Physicians, but none without Medicines; he would have wondered how it should come to pass, that in a King­dom, a learned and ingenious People, where [Page 58]Physicians did so abound, there should be no safe, true, and salutary Medicines and Reme­dies to be found amongst them; but that all was corrupted, and dear, and Cheat, both Medicines and Medicine-makers. Omnia pes­sùm eunt, he would certainly have cryd out, and pronounced of the State of Physick in England, as Bernard once did of the Church of Rome, Honest Phy­sicians are rare, or rarely pro­sper, thro the Artifices of the Apothecaries.viz. Mali ibi proficiunt, boni defici­unt: Bad Physicians hugely prosper, but good ones are rarely to be found; and if a good one should attempt a Redress of these Evils by erecting a Dispensatory in his own House, or by keeping a Closet of choice Medicines (not to be had genuine and uncorrupt, if at all, in some Apothecaries Shops) in order to the bet­ter securing of the Lives of his Patients, in difficult Cases, that might otherwise be en­dangered by the Use of adulterated and inef­fectual Preparations, and to keep up that little Reputation that he may have acquired; and altho he giveth away his Advice and Reme­dies both to the Poor, yet he shall be treated by Country Apothecaries worse than the Phy­sicians in London can be, who subscribe to the Dispensatory: They will combine against him in such sort, that nothing but the Virulence of their own Tongues can defeat their intend­ed Mischief. And it is not to be imagined what an Impression their Artifices have upon many unthingking People: not to mention the Arguments of their Friends and Relations in their Behalf stoutly persisted in, stipulating for their Credit. Tho it is thought, on the contrary, no Crime, but commendable in them to set up for Doctors,Country A­pothecaries set up for Physi­cians. to invade the Province Profits, and Credit of a Physician, in all th [...] Places that they can intrude themselves into [Page 59](as is before observed;) or, to supplant him by introducing any forward Formalist, that knows no better, (or, if he does, will act no better) than to comply with their unjustifiable Practices.

In some of the Eastern Parts of England, and in some Counties even near to London, I know Physicians that keep Dispensatories in their own Houses, very advantageously both to themselves, and to the Vicinity. But in other Parts, a few discerning Persons may commend a Physician, who thus lays himself out for the publick Advantage, but encourage his Enterprize little farther: they are not easily led out of their old Track: they will say he is honest, and at the same time censure his Politicks, and question his Understanding. The Rich, that give him his Praemium, will grudgingly pay him little more than prime Cost for his Medicines; and the middle Sort of People esteem him no otherwise than as an Apothecary, thinking he hath Gain enough from his Medicines (tho sold for no more than they cost) without giving him any Fee; and Handy-craftsmen cannot afford to give Fees, (such as are now become customary) tis well if they can pay for a Medicine; and the Poor expect both Advice and Medicines Gratis; and too many Parish-Officers neglect them to Barbarity, and rather let some perish than pay much for their Cure. Again:The Igno­rance and Credulity of Country People. Very few Country People will be persuaded to go thro a requisite Course of Physick: they run to the Doctor when they think they shall be dead; the Disease abating, they wait for Nature to relieve them, till Nature is spent; and if an honest Physician would interpose and visit them as frequently as the Necessity of their [Page 60]Case requires, they are apt to think him im­pertinent; or, if paid accordingly for At­tendance, a dear, extorting Man; and igno­rant too, if after all he chance not to be suc­cessful; and the Apothecary and Piss-pot Doctor to be preferred before him, tho the Mismanagement lies wholly at their own door. And the whole Clan of Pretenders to Physick, and the Apothecaries especially, will traduce him, and acquaint all their Customers with this Instance of his Ignorance; or, he killed such a one, as sure as Gods in Glocester: and will never leave off to vilify and oppose him, till they have ruind his Character, if it lies in their Power, with the Vulgar especially, who are the major Part of the People.

And as the Gentry commonly employ one or other of these Sort of Men, when they hear them so unanimously speak against him, they too are very apt to suspect his Judgment, and to be shy of coming under his Hands: for no other Reason, but because Tom (such a one) hath been their Apothecary for many Years, and can surely judge a little of a Phy­sician, and he dont affect him; or, because their Friend Esquire (such a one) did not ap­prove his Methods; or, because he is of this or that damnd Party; and that Blemish ge­nerally affects a Man. For People of diffe­rent Parties judge and condemn one another rather by their own Tenets,The Preva­lence of Party Interest. than by the Truth. And when they have, by any of these trite Methods, lessened his Credit, they presently assume a Superiority over him in all Cases, and set up for Censors of the Perfor­mances of the best Physicians that may appear amongst them.


Barber-Sur­geons aspire to be eminent Do­ctors.AND not only these assuming Apotheca­ries, but Barber-Surgeons are made use of as Physicians by many Persons even of the best Sort, in their wiser and advanced Years, and that in all Cases. Some of which, whe­ther they understand or not, they are seen to treat in a very rude manner: and yet their Patients applaud and endure; imagining sure­ly, that these mercurial Medicasters, who per­haps relieved their juvenile Disasters, are the best Judges of all their other Diseases, and of their phlegmatick Constitutions, broken by old Age and Luxury.

Thus it comes to pass, that these Pretenders are buoyed up; and the far greatest Numbers of the Sick (not only in the Country, but al­so in London) are committed to the Care of ignorant, audacious, disqualified, and unlaw­ful Intruders into the Practice of Physick. And thus it becomes scarce possible for an ho­nest, regular Physician to do any good to his Patients, or to himself, and to retrieve the Honour of the Profession, tho he endeavour it by all the engaging Methods that can be thought on. How shall a conscientious, mo­dest, undesigning Man, who cannot comply with these unfair Dealings, these wicked and dangerous Practices, and who hath nothing to depend upon (after he hath expended his Por­tion in his Education in one of our Universi­ties) but his Profession,§. 4, 12. and the Candor, I might rather say the Perverseness of this re­trograde and degenerate Generation, live a­mongst them! One asked sometime, How it [Page 62]was that in Athens, so goodly and so great a City, there were no Physicians? To whom this Answer was made, Because there are no Rewards appointed for them that practise Phy­sick. We read* that one Cleon too, only a Songster, had a Statue at Thebes kept as sa­cred, when Pindar himself had none. The like Reason may be given for the Poverty and Neglect of abundance of our modern, worthy Professors of that Art. For tho' they are entituled to Respect and Rewards, yet the present, prevailing ill Customs of the Age have deprived them even of the precari­ous Ways of receiving the same; and the on­ly Relief they meet with is this common Re­tort, Si Populus vult— If People will be im­posed upon, let them!

All which is owing to a general Insensibili­ty; whilst not a Man looks upon it his Duty, to consider and know what he is about, and how important and valuable a thing Health is, and the Care they ought to take in the Con­servation of it: But all love to go on in the stupid Way of their Forefathers, or the Com­pany they are in, without Reflection; and chuse to join in the Delusion with others, ra­ther than believe their Senses, and their own Experience, and judge for themselves; whilst they resolve to be ignorant of what they fear at the same time, and of the Dangers they expose themselves to; and suffer those very Persons to go on with Impunity, that most grossly impose upon them. And who dares correct them! Their Impudence exceeds, and is got beyond all reasonable Restraint: And [Page 63]where Argument and Persuasion,The Laws ought to re­strain these Abuses. §. 4, 14, 16. founded upon Truths and Fact, can't reduce Offenders, and the Deluded, the Law ought to take place, and compel.

In vitium Libertas excidit & vim
Dignam Lege regi

For my own part, I give up the Cause, doubting there is no Remedy,I give up the Cause. no Redress of our Grievances to be obtained. And I have not looked into these Irregularities and Mis­managements to expose the Faculty. Invitus ea tanquam vulnera attingo, sed nisi tacta tra­ctataque sanari non possunt: I touch upon them unwillingly, and as raw Sores, which never­theless cannot be healed, except they are handled and probed to the Bottom. Though, after all, I need not mince the matter. It is not unbecoming, but praise-worthy, to repre­hend Persons that will not amend what they are conscious is a Crime, tho' they are unwil­ling to acknowledge it, or to hear of it. I ought rather to conclude with a Father of the Church, (upon another Occasion) ‘'* Why should I be ashamed to speak of those things, that they are not ashamed to do? If they are ashamed to hear of their bad Actions, let them not be ashamed to reform what is so grievous to them to hear of; and let them not rail when they are reproved, lest more of their Roguery should be discovered.'’

Surely there is not an Instance in any Na­tion of such barefaced Abuses, such Violence [Page 64]and Dishonour done to the Faculty, as there is in this! There is no Nation under the Sun (that is civilized, and not utterly overrun with Ignorance and Delusion) permits so ma­ny circumforaneous Mountebanks, Empirick-Apothecaries, Surgeon-Barbers, Piss-pot Do­ctors, or Casters of Waters, as they are cal­led, Nurses, and silly old Women, to admi­nister Medicines, and to destroy People with­out being called to an account for it, as Eng­land doth!


A Remedy against these Epidemical E­vils proposed. Vid. §. 9.AND no Remedy against all these reci­ted Evils seems so feazible and promi­sing, as the giving due Encouragement to our Physicians that are bred up in our own Aca­demies, and the making a Law to punish, and effectually to restrain and suppress all unquali­fied Intruders into the Faculty. Plato banish­ed the famous Homer from his imaginary Com­monwealth. And if this divine Philosopher would not suffer the most celebrated and ex­cellent Poets, because they might corrupt the Morals of the People with their lewd Fictions, &c. certainly those that poison and destroy them, whilst they pretend to heal and pre­serve them, deserve to be banished also. But an honest Physician placed in every Market-Town, or in a Division or Hundred of a County, and a Dispensatory (where Medi­cines may be had at little more than prime Cost) kept in his own House, and Infirmaries [Page 65]erected, must needs be hugely serviceable to all Sorts of People.

Physicians Fees should be regulated, and the Princes of (Bills for) Me­dicines taxed.But then his Fees should be moderated, and reduced from that extravagant Pitch to which some now advance them: and also be ascer­tained; with Allowances for riding long Jour­neys, and Night-Work. And the Reasonable­ness of this Proposal is evident; as also for that of restraining the Apothecaries, &c. from going out of their Shops, and practising; since all Means of making them just and faith­ful, and of moderating the Prices of their bad Medicines, have hitherto proved ineffe­ctual. What Success can be expected, if a pertinent Bill or Prescript of an honest Phy­sician is not truly made up? And how this can be done (by many Country Apothecaries especially) the Premises considered rightly, I leave any judicious and impartial Person to de­termine.

To the popular Objection,Objections answered: and other Persons that now practise Physick, and sell Medicines, were to be suppressed, and the Price of their Commodities lowered to the Degrees of Profit arising from other Goods, they must either starve, or take upon them some other ways of Maintenance; and thus an useful Order and Community of Men must sink, and be lost to the Commonwealth, &c. it is answer'd, It is but just and reasonable they should thus suffer, rather than go on in their mischievous Ways of enriching them­selves, at the Expence and Destruction of the Estates and Lives of the rest. Tully tells us, Illud quidem natura non patitur, ut aliorum spo­liis nostras facultates, copias, opes augeamus. And to the same purpose speak the Rules of [Page 66]theJure naturae aequum est, neminem cum alterius detrimento & injuriâ fieri locupletiorem. Nemo ex suo delicto meliorem suam conditionem facere porest. Civil Law. It is as unnatural and un­lawful to support, and enrich our selves by the Spoils and open Oppression of our Neigh­bours, as by our own private Crimes and se­cret Villanies. And in all well regulated Go­vernments, incorrigible Delinquents, and all combined Societies that are found dangerous and detrimental to the Good and Safety of the Whole, have been always cut off and suppres­sed: According to that of the Poet,

Immedicabile vulnus
Ense recidendum est, ne Pars sincera trabatur.

Neither can their Reduction to their wont­ed Stations, amongst the Grocers and Chand­lers, be such a mighty Detriment and Dis­grace to them, as they would fain insinuate; since such great Numbers of them, in the Country Towns especially, vend greater Quan­tities of Goods in the Grocery, Chandlers, and Distillers, (or rather in the way of Gin-Shops, as is the modern Term for the Places where they sell Drams of base Spirits) than they do in the way of Pharmacy; and so they become in some measure serviceable, and pro­mote the Trade of the Nation. Tho' when they go out of their way, and move in a Sphere above their Capacity, they are so far from do­ing good, that they do incredible Damage; they not only defraud, but kill Men.

I think there is no Man of right Under­standing but must hold this Maxim, Salus Po­puli [Page 67]suprema Lex; The Good, the Health, and Safety of the People, the su­preme Law; and the End of entring into Corporations, or Societies. That the supreme Law of all is the Safety of the People; and that all Government was ordained by the Institution of God, for the Good and Security, the Health and Happiness of Mankind; and that Men have voluntarily resolved themselves in­to Societies, for the mutual Preservation and Assistance of one another: Self-Preservation being the primary Aim of every Individual; and since that can't be effected without mu­tual Assistance, it is natural for a Man to promise to others those Aids and Helps, that he would expect from them on the like oc­casions. Hence arise all the Obligations a Man lays himself under, when he enters into a Civil Society. Upon this Foot, all Corpo­rations and Societies of Tradesmen, and in­deed for the Encouragement of Liberal Sci­ences, are founded; and every Man,Those that obviate and subvert these Ends, ought to be extirpated. or So­ciety of Men, that apparently subverts the very Ends of those Compacts, ought not on­ly to be debarred the common Privileges of, but also to be expelled the said Society, of which he is become such an unworthy Mem­ber; so as instead of using his utmost En­deavours for the Preservation of the Life and Health of his Fellow-Citizens, he becomes instrumental in their Destruction. As no Man can give another Power to kill him; because the Consent is unnatural, and in itself null and void: So no Community or People can give any Persons Power to destroy them, ei­ther directly, or by consequence; Because their becoming a Community (or a Nation governed by Laws) was for their Preserva­tion; and it is preposterous that the Means should be destructive of the End. But how little different from this is our present Case; [Page 68]when the very Order of Men, who are insti­tuted to be Conservators of our Health, (con­sequentially at least,) and the Means they pretend to use in order thereto, are so egre­giously corrupted, as too frequently to be­come our Destroyers! A Man may give me power to give him Physick, but not Poi­son.

The abused Art of the A­pothecary not so necessary, as is the Science of the Physician.And if the Faculty of Physick is by so many illiterate, bold, and dishonest Intruders into that (otherwise) sacred Art, so far cor­rupted, that there is a Necessity of examining into the Abuses thereof, and to rectify the same, in order to the Preservation of the Health and Lives of the People; and conse­quently that the Branches of it, that are found not only useless but pernicious, should be dis­membred; I need not ask; every one must readily agree, that it is safest, and most for the Advantage of the Nation, for an illite­rate inferior,The Nation has not need of, and we can do without Apo­thecaries; but we cannot do without Physi­cians. base and abusive Set of Me­chanicks to be laid aside, or made to turn their Hands to other Occupations, to which they are better adapted; than for a learned, noble, necessary Liberal Science to be neglect­ed, discouraged and rendred useless, in this trading, potent and flourishing Kingdom, and (as we affect to be accounted) this wise and learned Nation. In short, after all that hath been said, I need not go about to prove, (it is self-evident) that the abused Art of the A­pothecaries is not necessary; that we can do much better without them, and they much better (not so much Mischief) by laying a­side that, and pursuing some other ways of Livelihood: but that the Science of the Phy­sicians is absolutely necessary; we cannot do [Page 69]without them, nor well without their Faculty is better regulated, and more encouraged.

Our World is turned upside down; Truth faileth; there is no Judgment; Isa. lix. 15. &c.But the Case stands now quite otherways: We see the reverse of all this amongst us. Perverse Custom prevails, and turns all things topsy-turvy. Truth faileth; and he that de­parteth from Evil, maketh himself a Prey; as said the Prophet: There was no Judg­ment. We don't judge of Men and Things according to the Measures that Nature and right Reason dictate to us; but suffer our­selves to be imposed upon in every thing; and our Passions and Interest prevail in all our Deportment. We don't esteem ourselves for those Accomplishments, which superior Beings think valuable: Virtue, Integrity, and Knowledge are of small account. As few Men square their Actions by these Rules, so they don't use to cast them into their Bal­lance; but every one is apt to measure his Understanding by the Extent of his Acres, and his Goodness by the Length of his Purse, or the Party he espouseth; To think no Man happy, that is not rich; and he that is, (let him acquire his Wealth how he will) the only Man to be regarded; and that none are wise, who do not think, and say, and do at this rate.

Reformers are generally the Subject of Hatred, Refle­ction and Ridi­c [...]le; and per­secuted.And if a Man emerges, once in an Age, who has the Conscience and Courage to de­tect and decry these fatal, tho' fashionable Errors, and the Guilty begin (with Deme­trius) to fear that their wicked Craft shall be brought to nought, 'tis natural for them to hate him, and persecute him to the utmost of their Power, and to prepossess Mens Minds with groundless Suggestions against him, and to secure their Affections to themselves; that [Page 70]they may be sure to begin to hate him, be­fore they know him and his worthy Propo­sals, for fear that by knowing them, they should be constrained to fall in with them, or at least they should not be able to find how to condemn him.

But let me not digress. 'Tis to be fear­ed, Arguments will prevail but little on this occasion. Nothing but the Legislative Au­thority can redress this great and prevailing Evil: And it repenteth me, that I had not addressed some worthy Member of it, who might have introduced these affecting Com­plaints into the August Assembly in which that is lodged, in such sort as might have entituled them to a favourable Audience. But as I had laid no Scheme, had nothing in view but to lay open the Truth and Mat­ters of Fact, which I thought would sup­port themselves; so consequently I did not know, or at least did not at the beginning of my Discourse rightly consider, whither it might tend, nor what Consequences and Conclusions might be inferr'd from it. But not to trouble my Reader with apologetic Impertinence:The Legisla­tive Authority addressed, for Relief against these great E­vils, as the last Refuge & Re­sort: tho' that was not at first the Intent of the Author. Vid. §. 1, 4, 14, 16. If the Author of these Sheets, and his Methods to remedy these dange­rous Mischiefs, are thought frivolous and insufficient, it is high Time for the Wisdom of the Nation to concert better. And it is to be hoped, that the Parliament of Great Britain will e're long do our Universities justice; since there is no Nation besides, (as a worthy Gentleman hath remarked,) where the Professors of its Universities have not the Liberty of exercising their Profession in any Part thereof, without such Interruption and unheard-of Violence offered to their Per­sons [Page 71]and Characters. And surely Stupidity and Ignorance, and a Disregard to all Litera­ture and religious Education, is not so predo­minant, nor the Concern for the Health and Safety of the People so cold and indifferent, that the Representative Body of our own Na­tion will think our Peoples Lives of less Value than those of other Regions, or our own Universities the least considerable in Eu­rope.

And when the People are undeceived by this interposing Authority, it is to be hoped these Disorders will be at an end: These irre­gular Intruders, and unqualified Invaders of this noble, learned and necessary Science will be suppressed, and all due Encouragement af­forded to our regular Physicians, who justly (and that for the Good and Advantage of the Nation in general, as well as for their own just Dues and private Emolument and Subsi­stence) claim a Redress of these Grievances: Since all Orders of Men expect to have ju­stice done their Characters, Rights and In­terests, from the End and Design of their Institution, and from a general Account of their Conduct; and not from the ill Manage­ment of a few, or the Introduction of some irregular Customs, which they could not fore­see, and cannot yet prevent.


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