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less pernicious, according to the quantity and nature of the infection, and as the subject is disposed to receive or suffer by it.
4. That putrefactive and malignant diseases in common admit of the most sensible and secure relief from discharges of the peccant matter, either upon the skin in general, or on particular parts of the body.
5. That the redness and cutaneous effervescence in the present case may be considered as an eruption of like nature, and therefore to be promoted by such methods as have proved successful in similar diseases.
6. That a cordial, alexipharmic, warm regimen has been found by experience to be of the most use in such cases; and that bleeding, purging, and antiphlogistics, liberally employed, either retard or whelly prevent these discharges.
Therefore, as to expel the morbific matter seems to be the design of nature, to promote this design by the methods that are approved by experience in similar cases, is the duty of the physician.
This treatise was highly approved, and went through many editions. It is but fair to state, that Dr. Fothergill's merit in regard to this dis. order was not that of an original discoverer, but that he owed much to the communications of Drs. Leatherland and Sylvester, - especially to the former, who with singular modesty or generosity forbad his name to be mentioned in the work.
We have entered somewhat largely into the subject of this essay, because the hopes of parents are perhaps more frequently and more cruelly cut off by diseases of the throat, than by any other cause. That murderous affection, the croop, which suffocates many a sweet infant, does not appear to have been much known half a century ago. The rise, abatement, and disappearance of diseases is a curious phenomenon in the history of nature. Is there any work extant on medical chro nology ?
In 1753, Dr. Fothergill was chosen a member of the Antiquarian Society; and in 1754, a Fellow of the College of Physicians at Edinburgh. He was also one of the earliest members of the American Philosophical Society, instituted at Philadelphia ; and in 1776, when a medical society was founded at Paris by the King of France, he was one of a select number of foreign physicians whom the society thought proper to honour with their diploma,
Neither increasing wealth nor spreading fame ever alienated bim from the body of christians from whom he sprung, and among whom he had been brought up. The society of Friends looked with affectionate esteem, and it may be with excusable pride, on their famous doctor ; and he took a lively interest in whatever concerned the discipline and economy of their church. He was frequently employed by the meeting to which he belonged, to compose the annual letter to the Friends at their great Whitsuntide council. He also drew up the congratulatory address of his brethren on the accession of George the Third, in which he expressed himself like a man of this world. Really liberal, in the best and only true sense of the world, he valued the outward insignia of his religious connection as they were the means of strengthening the bands of union ; but he did not think it neces
cessary to obtrude peculiarities of speech or opinion in his dealings with those who were without
Though mild by nature, and pacific from principle, he was by no means a man to sit down under injustice. Thinking that the Fellows of the College of Physicians not only assumed too much superiority over the Licentiates, but that they were inclined to lower the character of the latter by introducing unqualified persons among them, he took a warm interest in the contest between the upper and lower houses (so to express it) of the profession. Of this dispute we can give no better aceount than is contained in the preface to the “Essay on the Character of Alexander Russell,” which is as follows:
“A few years ago it was reported that the College of Physicians in London had it under consideration to admit persons
desirous of practising physic, as Licentiates, upon an examination in English. This was done, as it was supposed, to introduce into this rank men of little or no education, in order to depreciate the characters of many who were in some esteem with the public.
“An attempt of this nature could not but alarm those who were immediately to be affected by it, and who felt the designed indignity. Several of these met together, compared the accounts they had received, and found there was too much truth in the reports, to suffer them any longer to remain inattentive to designs so prejudicial. It was resolved to call the Licentiates in general together, to acquaint them with their situation, and to act in concert for their general safety. But this was not all; those who had embarked in this affair had at heart not only the honour of their profession, but its public utility; not only to emancipate themselves from an authority which appeared to them in the light of a usurpation, but to establish the faculty upon a solid and liberal foundation. How far their endeavours may succeed is uncertain. But of one thing they are sure: they promote harmony among themselves ; excite to an honourable emulation ; and whatever may be their fate, will give proof, by the rectitude of their conduct, and an exertion of their abilities, that they are not unworthy of the highest honours of their profession."
Should the question be considered according to modern maxims, it is probable that more would be found to approve the design of the College, in throwing open the gates of the profession to such as could shew the requisite professional knowledge in their own tongne, rather than the jealousy of the Licentiates, who were for shutting out all who could not give the pass-word in Latin. The University of Edinburgh have lately made a similar concession to the spirit of the time; and though the measure may probably make certain Fluellens, who stickle for the primitive discipline, the “Roman Disciplines,” shake their heads, and sigh out a “Fuimus Troes,” we do not hear that the College is suspected of an intention to swamp the profession. But it is probable that the Licentiates, uneasy under the invidious distinctions of the Fellows, caught eagerly at the first departure from established custom, to revolt against a superiority which had nothing but custom to rest upon. There were serious thoughts of bringing the matter to a legal decision, and Dr. Fothergill subscribed £500 for the purpose. No trial, however, took place ; but the union of the Licentiates assumed a purely literary and scientific character, and continued to assemble once a month, for the sake of reading medical papers, and conversing on the prevailing diseases, and other subjects of professional interest. On the death of Sir William Duncan, Bart. Dr. Fothergill was unanimously elected President of this meeting, and so continued to the time of his death. After the fashion of the French Academie, the deceased members were honoured with panegyrical orations. The “Essay on the Character of the late Alexander Russel ” was spoken on one of these occasions.
No man can expect to pass through this world in perfect quiet. Fothergill, though his life was on the main a life of tranquility, was for a short time disagreeably embroiled with a man of his own persuasion, whom the Friends had been the principal means of bringing into notice. About the year 1766 flourished one Samuel Leeds, by education a brush-maker, by transmutation (of the Edinburgh College) an M. D. and by present profession Physician of the London Hospital, an appointment which he owed to the recommendation of some eminent Quakers. Fothergill, in a conversation on Doctor Leeds' rise in the world, said ominously, “Take care that he does no mischief.” Leeds soon betrayed so much ignorance, that the Governors of the Hospital, to remedy their past precipitancy, passed a resolution, “that no physician should continue to officiate in that Hospital who had not undergone an examination at the College of Physicians." Leeds, unwilling to resign his emoluments, made the experiment, and was plucked. In his anger and disappointment he heard of the boding speech of Dr. Fothergill, and either thought, or pretended to think, that the rosolution of the Hospital, which had subjected him to the disgrace of rejection, had been caused by it. He accordingly made it the ground of complaint before the Society. “These inoffensive people, who are averse to the litigious proceedings that vex and ruin so many of their fellow citizens, referred the charge, after their manner, to a certain number of arbitrators. Five persons were appointed for this purpose, and three of the number awarded £500 damages to Dr. Leeds, after refusing to hear Dr. Fothergill's principal evidence. The two other arbitrators, with great propriety, protested against the award ; and after much altercation in the Society, Dr. Leeds moved the Court of King's Bench to shew cause why the rule for the recovery
of the damages should be made absolute. Lord Mansfield, after hearing the evidence and counsel on the part of Dr. Leeds, refused to hear Dr. Fothergill's counsel; because, he observed, the evidence on the part of Dr. Leeds’s arbitrators was sufficient to prove the illegality and injustice of their own award: the learned and noble judge further added, that Dr. Fothergill did no more than his duty in saying what he was charged with; and that he would not have acted as an honest man if he had said less." In fine, Dr. Leeds retreated to the sphere of a simple apothecary, and settled at Ipswich.
With these exceptions, Dr. Fothergill was seldom or never engaged in conflict or controversy with his brethren of the healing craft. He was, on the other hand, a liberal auxiliary to those who needed recommendation and protection, and was so far from feeling jealousy at the appearance of a rival in physic of his own religious persuasion, that Dr. Chorley, a young Quaker physician, was admitted into his house as an inmate, and introduced to a considerable practice: he might, indeed, have inherited the whole connection of his patron had he survived him, but his course was cut short, and he died under Dr. Fothergill's roof.
It is probable that Fothergill was on terms of intimacy with Dr. Mead; for in the Philosophical Transactions, No. 487, is a tract, in excellent Latin, addressed by our author to the Doctor, then VicePresident of the Royal Society.* The subject is a case of ruptured
• De Diaphragmate fisso, et mutatis quorundam Viscerum Sedibus, in Cadavere Puellae decem mensium observatis, Epistola Richardo Mead.
A learned wit once told a large assembly of medical gentlemen that they had no excuse for writing bad Latin, when they might find so much good in Celsus. Celsus is, indeed, an excellent writer, and might be read with great advantage by all who wish to learn Latin in earnest, as a model of didactic prose. But Celsus will not supply phrases for all the occasions of modern medicine; and, moreover, a physician who makes the history of his profession his study, must have so much to do with barbarous Latin, that it is a wonder if his own escape infection.
diaphragm occurring in a female infant of ten inonths old; but it is singular enough, that Fothergill expresses himself in the Latin tongue with a picturesque force, a vividness, an eloquent ardour, which he never ventures upon in his English compositions.
As his years and his wealth increased, he thought himself entitled to occasional respites from the press of his vocation, and to indulge those tastes which pointed out his natural recreations. He left his house in the city, and began to reside in Harpur Street, near Leon Square, which continued to be his town abode till his death. In 1672 he purchased a pleasant retreat near Upton, in Essex, to which he used to retire at the end of the week, and employed himself in laying out and cultivating one of the first botanic gardens in Europe. The hot-houses and green-houses extended 260 feet, all covered with glass. Whatever plant had obtained a place in the Materia Medica, or promised to be of service in physic or manufactures, or was any way remarkable for its rarity, beauty, or physiological habits, was sought out and purchased without regard to expense, and no pains were spared in the culture. Dr. Fothergill entertained a hope that the medicinal plants of the East might, in general, be successfully cultivated in the British Settlements of North America, or in the West India Islands, and by that means an unadulterated article be provided for the European market, a result hardly to be expected till the world grows honest. At that time even the learned of Europe were but imperfectly informed respecting the origin and preparation of many imported commodities. Long as musk has been celebrated both as a perfume and as a remedy, it is only of late years that there has been any accurate description of the animal producing it; and of the drug-producing plants, few had been described with such accuracy as to enable a botanist to recognize them. Even yet, the enlightened English have but vague notions of the trees which furnish the fancy woods in their cabinets, the shrubs
To write pure and elegant Latin even in an academic exercise, the highest object of which is to accommodate old words to new meanings, is by no means a common accomplishment; but when you really have any thing to say, you must be a very good scholar, and a man of strong sense and some imagination, if you can say it naturally in Latin.
Latin is now, in England at least, bona fide a dead language; it is no longer an organ of thought, or of vital communication; and the efforts of those who attempt to talk or compose in it, are like those of the worker in Mosaic, who would make an inanimated collection of fragments imitate life. But it should be remembered, that the period of its decease has been antedated many a century. The Latin of the middle ages was to all intents and purposes a living language. It was the medium by which the learned thought: it was the vehicle of religion and science: it made one nation of western christendom.