A Consultation on the Irish Case
Politics, Disease, Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Quackery, Religious Authority, War, Mental Illness, Animal Husbandry
Exploiting the analogy between a human body and the volatile Irish body politic, this play makes allusions to the new Fenian campaigns of violence. It includes a discussion between three physicians—Dr Dulcamara (a quack doctor), Dr Slop, and Dr Bull—about a 'troublesome case' which shows 'constitutional disturbance' and which threatens 'an eruption'. The English physician Dr Bull judges this to be 'urticaria Feniana'—an 'Old Irish complaint with a new name' and his colleagues agree on the 'troublesome' and 'obstinate' nature of the disease. The physicians agree that the old remedies—exhibiting 'steel', throwing in 'lead', and a 'liberal employment of hemp'—are no longer effective and that they should instead 'remove that excrescence which creates so much irritation—that ecclesio-sarcoma'. Dulcamara notes the similarity between this disease and hysteria, although Dr Bull questions the efficacy of his remedy for this disorder. Instead, Dr Bull resolves to 'watch the case attentively', to 'remove all causes of excitement', and to stamp out the disease which has affected the Irish in Ireland and America. He also resolves that if the disease is an 'eruption' then he will deal with it as he dealt with the Indian Mutiny.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
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