Cornhill Magazine,  5 (1862), 513–37.

The Adventures of Philip on His Way Through the World; Shewing Who Robbed Him, Who Helped Him, and Who Passed Him By Ch. 35–36  [17/20]

[William M Thackeray]


Novel, Serial


Discovery, Medical Treatment, Anaesthesia, Patents, Quackery, Medical Practitioners, Intellectual Property, Boundary Formation, Commerce

    In another letter, Dr Brand Firmin tells Mrs Brandon that in 'New York and Boston he had tried experiments which had been attended with the most astonishing success. A remedy was discovered, the mere sale of which in Europe and America must bring an immense revenue to the fortunate investors' (532). He asks her to 'show the accompanying cases to Doctor Goodenough—to any of his brother physicians in London', as he wishes to confer upon his mother country 'one of the greatest blessings with which science had endowed mankind'. Goodenough, however, 'had such a mistrust of his confrère that he chose to disbelieve any statement Firmin made', telling Brandon, 'I don't believe [...] the fellow has nous enough to light upon any scientific discovery more useful than a new sauce for cutlets'. Indeed, upon reading Firmin's 'pamphlet' he declares that although 'there is a great deal in it [...] Firmin has nothing to do with the discovery, which has been made at Boston'. In fact, Firmin 'had only been present in the Boston hospital, where the experiments were made with the new remedy', but still 'proposed to sell it as a secret remedy' called 'Firmin's Anodyne'. He had simply 'taken another man's property, and was endeavouring to make a flourish with it', and 'what Dr. Firmin chose to call his discovery' was actually 'Chloroform'. (533)


Thackeray 1862

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