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including the Charter granted to the College of Physicians, 1518.
Montpellier, Bologna, Paris, Padua, and several other states, as the advancing light reached them, severally protested against the divisions and corruptions here alluded to; but, for the purpose in view, it will be especially necessary to examine the laws of this country as originally grafted on and confirming those of Salernum.
Prior to the year 1511, “ the practice of physick and surgery was in a very vague and uncertain state, insomuch that when princes laboured under any distemper, their privy council* made choice of some to attend, out of the many pretenders to the science of physick. But King Henry the Eighth and his Parliament, in the third year of his reign, restrained the practice of both, by the following Act: • To the King our Sovereign Lord, and to all the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, in this present Parliament assembled: Forasmuch as the science and cunning of physick and surgery (to the perfect knowledge whereof be requisite both great learning and ripe experience) is daily, within this realm, exercised by a great multitude of ignorant persons, of whom the greater part have no manner of insight in the same, nor in any other kind of learning; Some also can no letters on the book so far
“ De ministrando medicinas,” &c.
* Rot. 32, Hen. VI. Appendix, 8.
forth that common artificers, as smiths, weavers, and women, boldly and accustomably take upon them great cures, and things of great difficulty, in the which they partly use sorcery and witchcraft, partly apply sứch medicines unto the disease, as be very noious, and nothing meet therefore, to the high displeasure of God, great infamy of the faculty, and the grievous hurt, damage and destruction of
of the king's liege people, most especially of them that cannot discern the uncunning from the cunning: Be it therefore to the surety and comfort of all manner of people, by the authority of this present parliament enacted, that no person within the city of London, nor within seven miles of the same, take upon him to exercise or occupy as a physician or surgeon, except he be first examined, approved, and admitted by the bishop of London, or by the dean of St. Paul's for the time being, calling to him or them four doctors of physick, and for surgery, other expert persons in that faculty; and for the first examination such as they shall think convenient, and afterwards alway four of them that have been so approved, upon the pain of forfeiture, for every month that they do occupy as physicians or surgeons not admitted or examined after the tenour of this act, of five pound, &c., &c.
“62. And over this, that no person out of the said city and precinct of seven miles of the same, except he have been (as is aforesaid approved in the same),
take upon him to exercise and occupy as a physician or surgeon in any diocese within this realm, but if he be first examined and approved by the bishop of the same diocese, or he being out of the diocese by his vicar-general: either of them calling to them such expert persons in the said faculties as their discretion shall think convenient, and giving their letters testimonials under their seal to him that they shall so approve, upon like pain to them that occupy contrary to this Act (as is above said), to be levied and employed after the form before expressed.
“3. Provided always, that this Act, nor anything therein contained, be prejudicial to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, or either of them, or to any privileges granted to them.
“Memorandum : That surgeons be comprised in this Act like as physicians, for like mischief of ignorant persons presuming to exercise surgery.
By the above enactment the standard was first raised against the law “ that no one shall use the mysterie of fysyk, unless he hath studied it in some universitie” (1420+), and also against the degradation of surgery engrafted on this country by its assignment to the Barbers' Company,1461.
We may discern in this Act of Parliament for the control of medicine generally a confession of the
* 3 Henry VIII, c. 11. Appendix, 14. + 9 Henry V. Appendix, 6. | Ch. 1 Edw. IV. Appendix, 9.
wrong effected by the division, and even a feeble attempt at reparation made by its authors themselves, in drawing to the same tribunal for examination, and thus including in one body practitioners in all branches. Yet the prejudices engendered against Chirurgics by the before-mentioned causes were not so easily to be effaced, and the same practice as regards surgery was subsequently continued, and even provided for by adverse legal enactments, when the control of medicine in all its branches had passed from the care of the Church to that of the Royal College of Physicians.
The next step intended for the restoration and cultivation of medicine, was the foundation of this college in the
The learning of Dr. Linacre, exhibited and fostered under his great patron Lorenzo de Medicis, soon acquired for him on his return to England the high reputation he enjoyed in the revival of literature generally, but especially by the establishment of medicine in this country. His influence, together with that of others, exerted through Cardinal Wolsey, obtained from their royal master the Charter, whereby medicine was rescued from the tender mercies of ecclesiastical protection, and confided to a corporate body of physicians, with every facility, as well as obligation, not only to adopt and enforce the previously recited Act (3 Hen. VIII, c. 11), but to exercise increased powers and privileges.
Thus it was enjoined on the college, as well by example as by precept, not only to suppress quackery, but to unite in one indissoluble body all of the faculty of medicine within seven miles of London. Quibus tum sui honoris, tum publicæ utilitatis nomine, curæ (ut speramus) erit, malitiosorum quorum meminimus inscientiam temeritatemque, tam exemplo gravitateque suis deterrere, quàm per leges nostras nuper editas ac per constitutiones per idem collegium condendas, punire; quæ quo facilius rite peragi possint, memoratis doctoribus Joan. Chambre, Thomæ Linacre, Ferdinando de Victoria, medicis nostris, Nicholao Halsewell, Johanni Francisco, et Rob. Yaxley, medicis, concessimus, quod ipsi, omnesque homines ejusdem facultatis de et in civitate prædicta, sint in re et nomine unum corpus* et communitas perpetua sive collegium perpetuum.'
The powers and privileges thus conferred on the College by charter were confirmed and further extended by several Acts of Parliament, especially those of 14 and 15 Hen. VIII, c. 5, and 32 Hen. VIII, c. 40,+ which entrusted to it the future government of the profession of medicine in all its branches, as well throughout England as in London and its precincts. The clauses relating to surgery
in the Act of 1511 were recognised by the * In this body were included divers persons examined and admitted as practitioners in the art of Surgery between 1511 and 1518. See · Maitland's London.'
† Appendix, 16, 17.