Billeder på siden

in the new sphere of action in which he was placed. His character soon began to be duly appreciated amongst medical men; and on the 7th of November the same year, he was admitted a Member of the College of Surgeons. But a change of scene only carried with it a change of perplexities. His partner in a short time became jealous of his talents, and of his rising popularity; and had recourse to the basest means of injuring his reputation. If Mr. Good prescribed one course of treatment of a private patient, Mr. W. would in the next visit prescribe one that was diametrically opposite. If Mr. Good made an entry in the prison books, Mr. W. in the succeeding entry would contradict it. If Mr. Good rose obviously in the estimation of a private patient, or his relatives, Mr. W. would set himself, by paltry insinuations, to excite doubts of his judgment or skill. And so on from day to day. The result may at once be anticipated. The business failed; the partnership was dissolved; Mr. W. died in the Fleet prison; and Mr. Good was again generously assisted by his affectionate relative at Ballingdon Hall. Mr. Good, however, as before, shrunk from the full reception of the aid offered him by Mr. Fenn, though he gratefully received essential help. He disguised the entire magnitude of his embarrassments from Mrs. Good and her family, and resolved to surmount them principally by his own exertions. I do not mention this determination for the sake of commending it, but for the sake of again marking its result upon his general character. An increasing family, project after project defeated, the frequent occurrence of unforeseen vexations, served but as new incentives to his professional activity, and to the most

extended literary research. Thus circumstanced, for three or four years he concealed his anxieties from those he most loved, maintained a cheerful demeanour among his friends, pursued his theoretical and practical inquiries into every accessible channel ; and, at length, by God's blessing upon his exertions, surmounted every difficulty, and obtained professional reputation and employment, sufficient to satisfy his thirst for fame, and to place him in what are usually regarded as reputable and easy circumstances.

Eager to obtain distinction amongst medical men, he as eagerly availed himself of every opportunity to accomplish that object. In March 1794, Dr. Lettsom, an active and benevolent member of the “Medical Society,(meeting in Bolt Court, Fleet Street,) offered, through the medium of that useful and truly respectable institution, a premium of twenty guineas for the best dissertation on the question—“What are the diseases most frequent in workhouses, poorhouses, and similar institutions, and what are the best means of cure and of prevention ?” The prize was to be awarded in February 1795. Mr. Good was one of the competitors, and had the satisfaction, when the time of announcing the result arrived, to learn that his dissertation was successful, and to receive the request of the counsel, that he “would publish the said dissertation as soon as possible.” With a request so gratifying to his best feelings, he immediately complied.*

* The “Dissertation" was published in the course of the year 1795, with a supplementary description of “a singular case of preternatural fætation," which had occurred in his practice at Sudbury. For an account of these disquisitions, the reader may turn to the second section of these Memoirs, which I propose devoting to the analysis of all our author's published works.

From this time Mr. Good continued, as a member of the Medical Society, often as a member of its council, and for two or three years as one of its secretaries, to promote its interests.

He also became an active member of a society, constituted in the year 1794, under the title of The General Pharmaceutic Association;" whose main design was to preserve the distinction between the apothecary and the druggist, which had for so many ages prevailed, and which, from recent circumstances, it was apprehended would be merged and lost, unless some special efforts were made to prevent it. Not only in London, but in almost

every town in Great Britain, men of the most illiterate character and habits, ignorant of the science of medicine, of the formulæ of prescription, of the theory and practice of chemistry, ignorant, often, even of the English language, obtained extensive business as druggists, and not unfrequently connected with that the occupations of bleeding, tooth-drawing, and bone-setting. In various instances, country grocers had practised actively in these kindred departments; and the mischief, as may easily be conjectured, was immense. A man practised surgery and pharmacy, no farther from London than the village of Beckenham, whose whole medical education consisted in having been stable-boy, for two years, to a surgeon in that neighbourhood." At Uckfield there were three

grocerdruggists” who prescribed, and in cases of disficulty applied to their London drug-merchant for help. Some “drug-dealing grocers, at Marlow,” substituted (for want of better knowledge) arsenic for cream of tartar, tinctures of opium and jalap for those of senna and rhubarb, and nitre for glauber's salts; thus ruining

instead of restoring the healths of those who were unfortunate enough to consult them. A druggist at Croydon, after labouring hard to ascertain the precise meaning of the words “ cucurbita cruentia,” discovered at length, with the kind aid of an equally learned disciple of Æsculapius, that they denoted “an electric shock.” A medical gentleman at Worcester prescribed for his patient as follows:-“ Decoct. Cascarillæ 3 vij. Tinct. ejusdem 3 j.” This prescription was sent to a druggist in that city to be made up. The shopman who had the principal care of the business, having sought in vain for a phial labelled Tinct. ejusdem, sent to the shops of other druggists to procure it: but the search was fruitless, there was no Tinct. ejusdem to be procured in the city of Worcester, and the prescription was actually returned to the physician with an earnest request that he would substitute some other ingredient for this scarce tincture ! Another blunder, but, unfortunately, of serious consequence, occurred in the year 1795 in the same city. A physician being requested to prescribe for a boy of 10 years old, the son of a poor woman, labouring under a dyspnoea, directed this draught to be given him at bed-time: “R. Syr. Papav. Alb. 3 j. Tinct. Opii Camph. 3 ij. Aq. Distill. 3 vm.” It was prepared by a druggist's shopman, who had not heard of the new name for Paregoric Elixir, and therefore made it with 3 ij of Tinct. Opii : he advised the mother to give the child only half of the draught, but that proved sufficiently strong to deprive him of life in about twenty-four hours.

These are only a few of the numerous instances, some ludicrous, others horrible, of the ignorance of

druggists in town and country, which were then notorious, and universally spoken of. The objects of the Pharmaceutic Association were, to expose and remove these evils, to get the business of druggist placed under certain restrictions, and the practice of medicine freed from the odium which ignorance thus notorious was calculated to produce. At the request of some of his colleagues in the Association, Mr. Good drew up A History of Medicine, so far as it relates to the profession of the Apothecary, from the earliest accounts to the present period.” The work was published in 1795, and served, in conjunction with the labours of the Association, to call the general attention of medical men, and of the intelligent portion of society, to the ignorance above adverted to, and its baneful effects. The institution was not able to accomplish all that it projected, but it occasioned the first step in a desirable reformation; so that druggists are now, in general, men of liberal education, who run little or no risk of blundering in the disgraceful manner of their prede


Engaging very warmly in the objects of this Association, and in others connected with the science and practice of medicine, still Mr. Good continued to pursue his literary inquiries; and, as heretofore, to soothe his mind by the delights of poetry. The poets of France and Italy seemed now most to employ him; and several of his translations, in the years 1793, 1794, and 1795, are naturally marked with a thoughtful tinge. Such, for example, are the following elegantly pensive lines.

« ForrigeFortsæt »