Punch,  57 (1869), 21.

Bumble's Medicine and Surgery





Mental Illness, Spiritualism, Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Heterodoxy, Vaccination, Utilitarianism, Class, Quackery

    Begins by identifying spiritualists as 'Persons of education, out of Colney Hatch [Asylum]'. Recounts that a surgeon recalled that 'in the early days of vaccination', some people swore that people who had been vaccinated had developed 'cowhorns' on their heads. Suggests that there are some 'very sensible' people who might believe this claim, and identifies two such individuals from a recent report in the British Medical Journal. Presents an extract from the periodical which describes how two guardians of the Croydon Poor Law Union refused to vaccinate workhouse children because they believed this caused the 'itch' associated with small pox. Points out that the symptoms of the disease, however, occur 'in a great many Workhouses'. Ironically suggests that since the Guardians are 'wise men [...] their idea of the consequence of vaccination is to be respected'. Proceeds to a second extract describing the ineptitude of poor-law guardians in medical matters. This concerns the Holyhead Poor Law Union, whose guardians objected to the proposal of the medical officer, Mr Walthew, that the dislocated shoulder-bone of a pauper should have been treated months earlier. Considers that the guardians at the Croydon and Holyhead Poor Law Unions are 'Medical Dissenters' in the manner the 'great original advertiser of Universal Medicine', James Morison (this is possibly an ironic reflection on the fact that the poor-law unions clearly did not provide medicine for all). Concludes that while 'Freedom of medical conscience [...] ought to be respected much more than it has been by a too scientific legislature', medical dissenters have often upheld ridiculous claims. Urges ratepayers to decide whether they wish their poor-law unions to be 'directed by Medical Dissenters'.

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