A PILL To Purge the Dispensary Doctors: OR, A Cure for the present State of Physick.

THE State of Physick may be truly said to be sick, and stand in need of the Doctor: I mean the Cor­dial Administration of the Law, to bring it out of its Convulsive Motions; for the whole Body is in such an uproar and confusion, I know not how any particu­lar Member that has a Dependence on the Welfare of the whole, should be able to perform his Functions regularly. I design therefore to State the Case impartially betwixt the honest Dispensary Physicians (as they are pleas'd to entitle themselves) on the one part; And the Apothecary's Advo­cates, [Page 2]what the Apothecaries themselves on the other part, and propose a Medium: To reconcile both Parties, if possi­ble, the Case stands thus: Several Eminent Members of the Dispensary Catalogue, after many Years Diligence in hunting out Business, and getting little, at last found it entirely fall into the hands of the Younger Fry; began then to set upon a prospect how to employ themselves; for finding they had began at the wrong End first, they thought upon the De­sign of erecting a Laboratory, to instruct themselves a little better in the Materia Medica; which, after many Years Ob­servation, they had at last pick'd up amongst the Apothe­caries. A happy Thought indeed! After a hundred Years Study, to hit upon the Right at last, and think upon doing something to be taken Notice of, after so long a time of being remarkably Eminent for doing Nothing that tended either to the Improvement of real Knowledge, or the more effectual Curing of Diseases. But now to show the World the College (I mean the Dispensary College) was not much of their Labour, and rather than lie idle they wou'd practise gratis, they offer'd Proposals to the Apothecaries, That if they wou'd find Medicines, they wou'd be so Charitable as to Pre­scribe to all the Poor of the City of London. Indeed I think this was a little too hard upon the Apothecaries; for, con­sidering the Physicians that made those Proposals had little or nothing else to do, it was not much out of their way but the Apothecaries being to find all the Materials; and th [...] [...] rightly, that these Men's Bills wou'd never answer the Charge to them again, very reasonably declin'd it. Well, this wou'd not do; but having erected a Laboratory, they hit upon this Design to enjoyn all the Community to subscribe for a Dispensary, as at first pretended only to sup­ply the Poor with good Medicines at the prime Cost. Tho' the Apothecaries at their first Proposal were to do it for no­thing. e[Page 3]Now comes the the Dissention of their own Mem­bers, for the Learned part of their Body very well under­standing the Materia Medica, and seeing thro' the shallow Pretext of so mean a Fraud, to take Apothecary's Trade up­on themselves, straitways shew their Aversion to such a poor Design, vail'd under the Specious Name of Charity; hence has arisen all those Animosities and Feuds, so wittily Bur­lesqu'd by a Member of their own. And now to revenge this mighty Quarrel, the Authority of the College must be exercis'd upon every one that seem to discountenance this Grand and Laudable Design. I shall therefore here take oc­casion to observe how fitly qualified most of these Worthy Subscribers were for Apothecaries? What Choice they made of Operators? And how their Medicines were at first prepar'd. In the first place, I wonder to hear some of these Men of late set up for great Operators, and can now tell in every Coffee-house, how Mithridate and Diascordium is com­pounded, when a few days ago they made many modest Mistakes in Simple, Waters; nay in their own Laboratory, one that mounted the Guard for that day, lest there should be any Minute difference in the Composition, had like to have sent for a Consultation to the Committee, to distinguish betwixt Liquorish and Gentian. If these be the Men that are to regulate the Practice of Physick, to Inspect the Apo­thecarie's Medicines; nay to set up Shops, and dispence bet­ter Medicines of their own Making; ev'n the Lord have mercy upon us. I never thought these Dispensary Men were really in Earnest before, but that this was only done to bring the Apothecaries to some reasonable Compliance, to take their Submission, and send 'em to their Shops again; but this is the ready way to make 'em all forsake their Shops; and Sell their blue Aprons to the Dispensary Doctors. For one of the first Operators these ingenious Men employ'd in [Page 4]this great Work, was one that had been some time Prentice to an Apothecary of New-Castle upon Tine, who there are gene­rally Grocers as well as Apothecaries; but (by the by, observe all their Skill in Pharmacy has been learn'd from the Apothe­caries, or their Boys that instructed some of 'em, to my know­ledge) where after some Years Experience in Distilling of Mint, Camomil and Aniseed Water, he is at last advanc'd to the great Trust of Prime Operator to the Dispensary (always observing he is under the Care and Management of the Com­mittee.) Now I leave you to judge, if the World must not needs be very well supplied, when I shall tell you this Coun­try Booby knew not the Names, Form, or Figure of his U­tensils, much less how to use them: For by Chance I hap­pen'd to be present, when a grave Dispensary Doctor and this Philosopher by Fire, were hotly Disputing which was the Head, and which the Body of a Cucurbit, and how to hit the Junctures close; This occasion'd me (when the Ma­gisterial Doctor was withdrawn) to ask some few Questions about the Preparations of some Medicines, which I imagin'd they cou'd not be without: But I soon found the Assuming Operator (who was not a little Proud of his new Title) as ignorant as his Master. But I fear this will give so much Offence, that these Gentlemen will never think I can have that Respect for them, as to offer any thing for their Ad­vantage; but indeed they are mistaken: and I think they have taken the wrong Measures themselves, either for pro­moting the Honour or Advantage of the Faculty of Phy­sick; For certainly nothing can tend so much to the Interest and Reputation of Physick, as a hearty Union amongst the Professors of it; and such a right Understanding amongst all those that profess any part of it, that neither the Phy­sician may encroach upon the Office and particular Duty of the Surgeon or Apothecary, or either of them upon the [Page 5] Physicians, or each other's proper Business, but that every one of 'em act distinctly in his own Sphere, and not endeavour to Usurp the Practice of one another. But instead of all this, every one of these 3 distinct Bodies have promiscuously interfer'd with each other's Business, and so at last brought a Confusion and Controversie in the Profession, therefore it ought to be enquir'd into, who were the first Aggressors; And 2dly, What Remedy ought to be taken to cure this growing Evil, both to themselves and the whole Nation. And first of all, I think it highly unreasonable, that the College of Physicians should have any such Power in them to Cen­sure and Condemn the other two Bodies of Surgery and Pharmacy; or that they should have a Power to practice all the parts of Physick, and to vend Medicines, since there are two Bodies likewise incorporated, as well as themselves, to exercise the particular Parts of Surgery and Pharmacy; For I think it the highest Injustice to make 'em a Body Politick, and afterwards restrain 'em to the Jurisdiction of another, since the Incorporating of any Persons, is with Design to bring 'em under the Limitation only of their own Laws and Government: Therefore we are to enquire who were the first Aggressors. I cannot but think it was, and is always the Apothecary's Interest to call in a Physician to the Pa­tient as soon as he can; and therefore, why he should err in this, I cannot understand; besides, if it was not always his Interest, it would be his Safety, because then the Care of the Patient lies wholly on the Physician, and the Mis­carriage ought to be imputed to him. But when the Apo­thecary meet with poor Patients, he must either Advice him something himself, or else he must have nothing: Because most of the Physicians, and especially of late, will not take the Trouble to Prescribe and give Advice gratis, and so they may thank themselves. But therefore, to take off this Ob­jection, [Page 6]the College set up the Dispensary, as a Pretence to assist the Poor, when, before they sold Medicines, it was difficult to get any of 'em upon Request to give any Advice, without such Fees as poor People could not give; then the continual Threats, and Trouble, and Suits at Law they have put several of the Apothecaries to, is a very great Reason why the Apothecaries have been necessitated to make the best advantage they cou'd of their Business, and the Permission the College have given to Quacks, and others that daily Vend Medicines to the great Detriment of the Apothecaries, while on the other hand, they unjustly, and contrary to all Right and Reason, prosecute the Graduate Physicians of our own Universities, upon pretence of an Act of Parliament, that ne­ver had the Royal Assent to it; nor can it be reasonably sup­pos'd it shou'd, since there is no respect had of the Privi­ledges of our own Universities, which yet never was unex­cepted before. And I hope those two Learned Bodies will take care to vindicate and assert their own Rights against a Monopoly of a few Men, (I call 'em so) because the greater Part, and those Men of the best Business will never consent to their unreasonable Proceedings. Therefore to remedy this, there is only this way left: viz. To petition the next Sessions of Parliament, either to explain the Acts of Parliament granted already in behalf of the Faculty, and to restrain all their illegal Practices, or else to grant Leave to bring in a Bill for the Regulation and better Establishin [...] the Practice of Physick, wherein every distinct Body shoul [...] have their Priviledges free to themselves, and the Exor [...] tances of the College Practices taken away, so that the [...] should have no Power to oppress others, nor want any Power to vindicate themselves; and such Laws as should not be detrimental to the Priviledges of the Universities And first, That none should be permitted to be Members o [...] [Page 7] [...]he College of Physicians but Dr's of our own Universities, [...]awfully create and made. 2dly, That all should have equal Right to enter themselves in the College so qualified, with­out the hindrance of the rest; And last of all, to be all of one Denomination and Community, and admit none as Li­centiates in discouragement to all University Education. That none of this Body should be permitted to Practise Surgery, or Compound, or Sell Medicines, nor Pra­ctise Man-Midwifry. That the Surgeons be govern'd by their own Laws, and not subject to the College, nor be permitted to give any Physick inwardly, except the Pox alone, but that they buy all their Medicines of the Apo­thecaries; and that severe Penalties be inflicted on 'em for doing the contrary. That the Apothecaries shall not ad­minister Physick inwardly or outwardly by Bills, as a Phy­sician, or Practise any Part of Surgery, but that all Medi­cines be rated by the Laws of their own Corporation, and Tables hung up in every Shop; and that they be no ways Subject to the Physicians or Surgeons, but act separately by themselves.

Note. I would have the Reader observe I am no interest­ed Man to any Party, but am for the College, when they act like Men of Learning and Honesty; and against 'em when they expose themselves to the World, as Men of [...]either Conscience nor Honour.

Again, I am no Advocate for the Apothecaries or Sur­ [...]ns, but have a Desire that the Faculty may flourish; [...]d that no one Party may be oppress'd, by the Injustice [...] Arbitrary Proceedings of any of the others. And to [...]at End I write this Sheet, to stir up all Persons that [...]ave a Concern or Interest in the Welfare of the Pra­ [...]tice of Physick, that they may endeavour their utmost to [...]ocure such wholesom Laws, as may establish the pra­ctice [Page 8]of Physick upon a better Foundation; that it may he both more Serviceable to the Publick, and more Ad­vantageous to the Faculty of Physick, and every particular Person that have their Dependence thereon.


LONDON: Printed for the Author. 1702. Price 2 d.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.