Restoration Medicine and the Dissenters

  • Margaret DeLacy


DeLacy discusses the medical views of religious sectarians during the English Civil War and the postwar effort to stamp out sectarianism, which affected the profession through the end of the eighteenth century. She describes William Harvey’s vitalist theory of contagion and the pervasive influence of the Belgian philosopher and chemist Joan Baptista van Helmont on “alternative medicine” during the Restoration. She depicts the fractious, cosmopolitan, multicultural world of early modern London, which undermined efforts to maintain an orthodox and homogeneous profession. This allowed contagionist ideas to seep in and enabled outsiders to establish associations such as the Society of Chemical Physicians and the “Oracle” clinic at the Golden Angel and Crown, challenging the control of the Royal College of Physicians over medical practice.


Eighteenth Century Seventeenth Century Medical Work Scarlet Fever Glorious Revolution 
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