Page:Notes and Queries - Series 12 - Volume 10.djvu/494

This page needs to be proofread.


404 NOTES AND QUERIES. [12 s.x. MAY 27, 1022. spoke from personal knowledge, says that Marat " went to Edinburgh in 1774 and returned in 1775," adding, "' he there took a degree, or said he did" (Dec. 6, 1793). Now if all these references relate to the same visit, which is probable, the journey must have been made very late in 1774, for he was in Amsterdam, as we have seen, on Oct. 12 of that year, and on his return passed " three weeks in Carlisle, Berwick and Newcastle." The Edinburgh visit, there- fore, must have been paid in November or December, 1774, most likely as an extension of this journey, and have lasted till the early autumn of 1775, for Jean Paul in his Eye tract speaks of being in Edinburgh in the August of the latter year, where he treated a patient for some weeks, and of then being called back to London (p. 44). If, however, there were two Scotch visits, the former must have taken place before May, 1774, at which date he was busy launching his ' Chains of Slavery,' and the latter at the end of that year, as indicated above. In 1775 an event of considerable import- ance occurred in Jean Paul's career, for we find that while in Scotland there was con- ferred upon him, on June 30, the degree of M.D. of St. Andrews University. This was practically an honorary degree, awarded without examination ; and it cannot be too strongly emphasized that, in spite of his boast of " Docteuren medecine de plusieurs facultes d'Angleterre," he obtained through- out his careeer no other medical diploma whatever, whether in England, Scotland, Ireland, or France (Reprint of ' Essay on Gleets,' 1891, Introd. by J. B. Bailey, Librarian, Roy. Coll. of Surg.). This point is the more important since most of his biographers assume not only that he may have received other degrees elsewhere, but that for many years he enjoyed a flourishing practice in a fashionable district in London, a claim that Jean Paul himself tries hard to sustain. What, however-, are the facts ? Prior to the grant of the above degree, Jean Paul, as a wholly unlicensed medical prac- titioner, was subject to serious disabilities by English law, for under the statutes 3 Hen. VIII., c. 11, and 14 and 15 Hen. VIII., c. 5., the former of which is still unrepealed, no person might practise as physician or surgeon within the City of London, or seven miles round it, without the licence of the Bishop of London or Dean of St. Paul's, made on the recommendation of four doctors in physics and other experts in surgery, or outside those limits, in England and Wales, without the licence of the Bishop of the diocese or his Vicar-General, after similar recommendations under a penalty of 5 for each month of such practice. After- wards, the above powers of examination became vested, as to medicine in the College of Physicians and as to surgery in the Company of Surgeons, precursor of the existing College. From 1765 to 1775, therefore, it would have been illegal for Jean Paul to have practised either medicine or surgery in England without the licence of these authorities, which, needless to say, he never obtained ; nor could he have recovered any fees in respect of such prac- tice. What, then, was the effect of the St. Andrews degree ? From a literary and scientific standpoint it conferred, without doubt, a much-needed prestige upon a hitherto obscure aspirant ; and accordingly, the moment he is able to write M.D. after his name, the V Dr. Marat " (spelt now, it is to be noticed, with a t) " of Church Street, Soho," is almost ostentatiously paraded. Books at first published anonymously are now, at much expense, re-issued, not because of their success, but pardonably, perhaps, to obtrude the new professional style ; while not only his two medical tracts, which followed closely on its acquisition, that on ' Gleets,' Nov. 21, 1775, and that on ' A Singular Disease of the Eye produced by Mercurial Preparations,' on Jan. 1, 1776, but any subsequent works issued in England could now appear bearing a definite author- ship and location. From a professional point of view, however, the St. Andrews degree was subject to important limitations, for it conferred no licence whatever to exercise the calling of medicine or surgery in England. In the eye of the law, there- fore, Jean Paul remained still an unqualified practitioner, subject to the full statutory penalties, unable to sue for fees, and liable, without redress, to be stigmatized as a ?uack and impostor (Collins v. Carnegie, Ad. and E., 695). Thus, while on the literary side he was eager enough to exploit the new distinction, on the professional it was risky too openly to obtrude it. In these circumstances it is not, perhaps, surprising that his name is to be found in no local directory, nor any professional record or even social memoir of the time. Mr. Horace Bleackley, the biographer of Wilkes, remarks : Had he been both a distinguished scientist and a man of advanced political views, one would have expected him to come in contact with