College of Physicians. 132

College of Physicians.

some to the irreparable Damage of the Commonwealth, so by their Skill and Knowledge of the Things of Nature, the Diseases and Maladies, to which Mankind is so subject, may be stopt and cured; to the redress of grievous Pains, and the Preservation of the Lives of useful Men. Therefore in former Times, before such a Corporation was established, choice was wont to be made (when Princes lay ill) by their Privy Council, among the Plenty of Pretenders to this Art, of some of the Learneder and better Sort, whether of Physicians or Chirurgeons: such a tender Thing as Life (and sometimes of such Concern to the Publick) lying at Stake.

This was practised in the 32. of Hen. 6. when that King lay sick, which the King's Council thought a Matter fit to be taken into their Consideration; and assigned him three Physicians, named John Arundel, John Saleby, and William Hatcliff; and two Surgeons, named Marshal and Warren, to administer freely about his Person. And there is a Roll of that Tenor, mentioned by the Lord Coke in his Institutes.

Physicians appointed by the Council for K. Hen. 6.

Institut. Part IV. P. 251.

There was no Restraint by Law for the Practice of Physick, till the Third Year of K. Henry VIII. when a Law was Enacted that none should exercise the Faculty of Physick or Surgery within the City of London, or within Seven Miles of the same, unless first he were examined, approved and admitted by the Bishop of London, or the Dean of St. Paul's, calling to him or them Four Doctors of Physick, and for Surgery other expert Persons in that Faculty, upon pain of Forfeiture of 5l. for every Month they should occupy Physick or Surgery, not thus admitted and allowed.

Practice of Physick when first restrained by a Law.

And for this Cause, as is mentioned in the Preamble of the said Law, because the Science and Cunning of Physick and Surgery, (to the perfect Knowledge whereof be requisite both great Learning and ripe Experience) was daily within this Realm exercised by a great Multitude of ignorant Persons; of whom the greater Part had no manner of Insight in the same, nor in any other kind of Learning. Some also can read no Letters on the Book. So far forth that common Artificers, as Smiths, Weavers, and Women, boldly and accustomably took upon them great Cures, and Things of great Difficulty, in the which they partly used Sorceries and Witchcraft, and partly applyed such Medicines unto the Diseased, as were very noyous, and nothing meet therefore; to the high Displeasure of God, &c. and Destruction of many of the King's Liege People.

The Reason of the said Law.

Yet was there no Society or College of such Men, directed by, and circumscribed within Laws and Orders, and formed into a Corporation, till the 10th of Henry VIII. when that King granted a Charter, Dated the 23. of Sept. at Westminster, to incorporate certain Physicians in one Body, and perpetual Commonalty or Fellowship of the Faculty of Physick; and to have a perpetual Succession, and a common Seal, and to chuse Yearly a President, to Oversee, Rule, and Govern the said Fellowship in all Men of the same Faculty. By Vertue whereof, they were enabled to purchase and possess in Fee, and Perpetuity, Lands, Tenements, and Rents, and any other Possession; that they might implead and be impleaded; that they might make Statutes and Ordinances for the wholsome Government and Correction of the College, and of all Persons practising Physick within Seven Miles of the City. And within that Compass, none to practise, as well as in the City, unless first allowed by the President and Fellowship, upon pain of Forfeiture of an 100 Shillings for every Month; that Four be chosen Yearly by the President and College, who should have the Supervising, Search, Examination, and Government of all the Physicians of the City, and Suburbs within Seven Miles; and to punish them for their Offences, in not performing, making, and neglecting their Medicines and Receipts; and that by Fines, Amerciaments, and Imprisonment: That neither the President, nor any of the Members of this College be summoned, or put in any Assizes, Juries, Inquests, &c.

The first Charter granted to the Physicians by K. Hen. 8.

And that the first Movers and Procurers of so good a Fellowship, for the Safety of the Lives of Men, may be preserved; and the Causes that moved the King to grant it may be known, they are both signified to us in the said Kings Letters Patents; where it appeareth, that the Suit was made by John Chambre, Thomas Linacre, and Fernandes de Victoria, all the King's Physicians, and three other Physicians, namely, Nic. Halliwel, John Francis, and Robert Yarly; and chiefly by the Intercession of Cardinal Wolsey, Lord Chancellor. And the Causes that inclined the King appeared in the Preamble to the said Letters Patents; beginning thus,

The Procurers and Cause of this Chart.

Cum Regii Officiis nostri munus arbitremur, Ditionis nostræ Hominum felicitati omni ratione consulere, id autem vel imprimis fore, si improborum Coratibus tempestivè occurramus, &c. That is, "Since we esteem it a Part of our Royal Office, by all Means to consult the Happiness of such as are under our Jurisdiction, and that the Way to do it will especially be, if we seasonably put a Stop to the Endeavours of evil Men; We have thought it highly necessary to restrain the Boldness of some wicked People, who shall profess Physick more for their own Covetousness, than out of any good Conscience; whence many Inconveniences may arise to the ignorant and credulous common Sort: Therefore partly imitating the Example of well instituted Cities in Italy, and in many other Nations; partly moved by the Request of certain grave Men, &c."

This Charter, they who were the chief Procurers, got confirmed and ratified by Act of Parliament, Anno 14. Hen. 8. upon this Consideration, as the Act ran; "For the making the said Corporation meritorious, and very food for the Commonwealth of this Realm, it was necessary to provide, that no Person of the said Politick Body and Commonalty, be suffered to exercise Physick, but only those Persons that be Profound, Sad, and Discreet, groundly Learned, and deeply Studied in Physick; and for the enlarging of further Articles for the said Commonwealth to be had and made."

Confirmed by Act of Parliament.

In the 32. of Hen. 8. by another Act of Parliament, they were exempted from keeping Watch and Ward, and from being chosen Constables, or into other Offices within the City and Suburbs, as they had many times before been compelled to their great Fatigation and Unquieting, and to the Peril of their Patients. By the same Act, Four Physicians were to be chosen Yearly to search the Apothecaries Wares, Drugs, and Stuff.

An Act for the Physicians, 32. H. 8.

Q. Mary, Anno 1. confirmed the College's Charter.

1 Ma. I.

Q. Elizabeth gave them a Charter, Dated at Westminster, Feb. 4. Anno Regni 7. to take Yearly for ever, One, Two, Three, or Four Human Bodies, to Dissect or Anatomize, having been condemned and dead.

Eliz. 7.

This College of Physicians, in the Year 1575, (that is above an 140 Years ago) consisted of these Members; as I have it from an Authentick Paper sent to Court: (A very few in comparison of the Number that now maketh it up.)

Names of the College Members, Anno 1575.