By Roy Porter
In his brief yet authoritative research, Roy Porter assesses the impression of illness at the English earlier than the frequent availability and public provision of treatment, incorporating into the revised variation new views provided through contemporary examine. He examines the scientific occupation, attitudes to medical professionals and affliction, and the advance of kingdom involvement in public future health. Drawing jointly a lot fragmentary fabric and offering an in depth bibliography, this publication is a crucial consultant to the heritage of drugs and to English social background.
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Additional info for Disease, Medicine and Society in England, 1550-1860 (New Studies in Economic and Social History)
Doctors were still largely beholden to their clients, and the public was showing itself notoriously restive and fickle in its choice of what kinds of medicine to prefer . 5 The medical profession and the state in the nineteenth century In 1823 the surgeon and democrat Thomas Wakley founded a radical medical journal, the Lancet. Son of a Devonshire farmer, Wakley was an uncompromising, belligerent radical who fought in boxing booths in his youth, once walked from Devon to London, and adopted the style of a bruiser in his editorials, taking on the medical establishment.
For the Revd Ralph Josselin in mid-seventeenth century Essex, the fact that the pain of bee stings could be soothed by applying honey was further proof of the benevolence of divine Providence, in supplying ready remedies for doubtless well-deserved afflictions. In any case, physical pain was reckoned to serve as a divine advance warning regarding far more excruciating spiritual torments in Hell. A bee sting alerted Josselin to the incomparably greater dangerous sting of sin . Thus sickness was read as one of the many ways through which God revealed His will to man.
Others began to specialise. As earlier described, traditional medical theory, following Greek views, had seen sickness as a symptomatic disorder of the whole system (the 'constitution') rather than as specific to a particular organ; committed to holism, it tended to denigrate as a quack the practitioner who professed to treat a single condition or organ in isolation - such might be the fate even of eye-doctors who operated for cataract. But circumstances gradually modified this state of affairs.