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Scotland have tended to the effacing this corruption, viz. that of the Apothecary with the Surgeon, entailed on them by law in the times of ignorance and bigotry, so has the Surgeon as well as the Physician attained to the office of ordinary medical attendant, whilst pharmacy in Ireland has been chiefly restricted to the “ Corporation of Apothecaries' Hall,” and in Scotland, to chemists and druggists.
Such has been the tendency to the severance of this their legalised alliance, though no doubt much retarded and frustrated by the opposite course pursued in England and Wales. The distinctive character in the mode of practice, thus arising, has been previously referred to, and it will now only be necessary to compare some of the principal effects in Ireland and Scotland as contrasted with those of England and Wales.
By referring to the table p. 130, we see at a glance that the number of physicians and apothecaries in their relation to the population, as well as in their relation to each other, bear a corresponding ratio to the mode of practice and remuneration adopted, and a striking contrast with that of England and Wales. In Ireland, for instance, where alone a guarantee is given for the faithful fulfilment of the Apothecary's duties by an education, examination and certified qualification proportioned to the important functions he is exclusively called on to perform, the number both in relation to the public and the profession, bears a very fair comparison with that of other wellgoverned States, where the wants of either are duly considered and provided for. We do not find here 14,307 supernumeraries !! as in England and Wales, * but a number proportioned to the need of the public and of the physician. Ireland, however, is not without witness to the danger, that by recent encroachmentst (as well as, we fear, by recent enactments), Apothecaries may be advanced here in the crooked paths of England, rather than in preserving their exclusive rights and distinct limits as assigned to them by Ch. 18 Geo. II, and 31 Geo. III.
Scotland also has her distinctive character, as regards the effects of the last corruption; here are physicians and surgeons fulfilling the office of ordinary medical attendants to all classes, but some of the latter, combining, as in Ireland, with their medical duties those also of the Apothecary. Whilst in the place of pure apothecaries* distinctly transmitted through the Speciarii, Epiciers, and Pepperers, to the Grocers, Grocer-Apothecaries, and Apothecaries, as in England—or associated by law with surgeons primarily, and then separated into a distinct Company, as in Ireland—they have apothecaries allied by law with surgeons, as one body corporate uninterruptedly since the year 1657 ;* but,
* See p. 132, and table p.
130. + See Dr. Neligan’s ‘ Evidence before the House of Lords on Sale of Poisons Bill :'--"They have lately exceeded their proper province, and become physicians and surgeons themselves, so as to mix up the pure pharmacien with the practitioner of medicine” (p. 121).
See Appendix, 2. * Now represented by Chemists and Druggists.
, inasmuch as modern surgeons have individually more and more transferred the Apothecaries’ duties to chemists and druggists during the same period, they have shown the like tendency as in Ireland, to render the practice of medicine and that of pharmacy distinct from each other as in all other civilised States, although no special and sufficient education and qualification for these duties has been provided for, by the incorporation of an Apothecaries' Society.
What, then, is the effect perceived in the proportionate numbers of physicians and apothecaries ? Exactly that we should anticipate—they hold a middle place between Ireland and England ; instead of the steady and consistent proportion of both as in Ireland, or the overwhelming number of chemists and druggists and of general practitioners, as in England, their ratio of apothecaries (chemists and druggists) to the population and the profession, bears as much more favorable a comparison in the one instance, as it does an unfavorable appearance in the other.t
Thus, then, we have in England apothecaries
* See Chart. Also Appendix, 1, 2, and 3.
See p. 107, and table, p. 130.
licensed by law to practise medicine as well as pharmacy since 1815 (55 Geo. III, c. 194), chemists and druggists having succeeded entirely to the practice of the pure apothecary as defined in 1616 (13 Jac. I), but without any required qualification.
In Ireland we have apothecaries licensed by two several enactments, 1745 (Ch. 18 Geo. II) and 1791 (31 Geo. III), to the exclusive practice of pharmacy, but they too, after the example of their English brethren, in some measure, trench on the functions of the physician ; whilst in Scotland the duties of apothecaries consigned by law, only to the College of Surgeons, have been for the most part rejected by them, and thrown into the hands of chemists and druggists without any prescribed qualification, or incorporation.
The Hospitals and Medical Schools of these portions of the kingdom exhibit prejudices proportioned to the practices enjoined by the various licensing bodies, all more or less engaged in building up
their own individual interests, and their own independent importance, rather than all conjoinedly the public safety--the profession's honour.
In an equal ratio also to the extent of corruption and division within the profession, is the successful invasion of medicine from without apparent, and hence arises the comparative freedom of the sister divisions of our kingdom from Homoeopathic and Hydropathic Establishments, and other gross deceptions and quackeries. So again the fact, that out of £41,000* received annually by the Chancellor of the Exchequer for “ Medicine Stamps,” no part is paid by Ireland, and only about £200 or £300 by Scotland, towards this large amount, speaks loudly as to this mode of trading in drugs-or rather in the lives of her Majesty's subjects-in the three portions of the United Kingdom.
Hence also it is, that the murderer and the suicide have less scope for their dark deeds in Ireland and Scotland, than in England. As to the practice of drugging infants, and the frightfully fatal effects known to prevail in the latter, we have no definite statistical reports to place in comparison from the former divisions of the kingdom, neither, happily, are there any such records respecting their practices in connection with burial clubs and Insurance Offices, nor of the wretched females who resort to the “Doctors' Shops” of this our great metropolis. The evidence, however, as regards the suicide in Ireland is of a more positive character, as may be seen in the preceding Table, f the proportion of suicides effected by poison being only one half as many as in England; the former being one twelfth, the latter one sixth, of the total number.
In the foregoing sketch I have earnestly en
* See Finance Accounts. † Antè, p. 151. * Antè, p. 163.