Domestic Encyclopædia (1802)/Apothecary

APOTHECARY, is an appellation given to persons who vend and compound medicinal drugs; though most of them likewise prescribe for diseases, and attend patients, as well in slight as in the most dangerous cases. We forbear to animadvert upon the propriety, safety, or expediency of the latter practice.

The apothecaries of this country, however, are, almost without exception, men of a liberal and scientific education. They were incorporated into a company, by a charter obtained from James I. at the solicitation of Drs. Mayerne and Atkins; previously to which time, they formed a part of the Grocers' Company. By an act, which was made perpetual in the 9th year of George I. they are exempted from serving upon juries, and from parochial offices. Their medicines are compounded from the formulæ prescribed in a printed dispensatory; and their shops may be visited by the censors of the Royal College of Physicians, who are empowered to destroy such articles of the materia medica, as they think either damaged or unfit for use. This power, however, is rarely, if ever, exercised. There is now established a handsome Apothecaries' Hall, in Blackfriars, with two fine laboratories, from which the surgeons' chests are furnished with medicines for the Royal Navy.