Cornhill Magazine,  8 (1863), 101–11.

Professional Etiquette

[J Fitzjames Stephen]




Medical Practitioners, Professionalization, Boundary Formation, Quackery, Government, Colleges, Scientific Practitioners, Institutions, Patronage

    Objects to the large 'amount of hypocrisy' involved in maintaining the particular principles of etiquette observed by the different gentlemanly professions (104). A physician, for instance, will assist a man who has treated himself successfully with 'certain unrecognized remedies', but will nevertheless entreat the patient, 'don't tell of me, for the remedy, which, as you say, has got it out, is not recognized by the profession' (101). While the 'medical profession is, in its essence, entirely independent of all the variable parts of human affairs' and 'discharges the same functions, under analogous conditions, in every part of the world [...] it still has a considerable connection with the Government'. Indeed, the 'qualifications of medical men are ascertained by law, and bodies like the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Apothecaries' Hall, have a corporate existence and corresponding legal powers'. (102) Comments that, unlike law and medicine, 'Science, on the other hand, cannot, except in particular instances, be pursued as a regular occupation, unless those who pursue it are provided for by endowments, such as professorships, museums, or lectureships at scientific institutions' (103). Notes that it is among younger members of the medical and legal professions, desperate to get on in their careers, that the rules of etiquette are 'most frequently disregarded, and [...] cause the greatest amount of hypocrisy' (104). While the 'long list of idlers at the bar increases and multiplies', to 'be a doctor requires special tastes' and is not a suitable career for every wealthy young man (107).

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