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In his introduction to this eighteenth century classic in balneology, the editor points out that in Smollett's literary works there is a clear picture of contemporary medicine. Although he took a medical degree (in 1750), served his professional apprenticeship at Glasgow, was warranted surgeon's second mate in the British navy, and cultivated throughout life the friendship of physicians, he devoted himself to literature almost exclusively soon after receiving his medical degree. The adventures of his heroes, and his biographic vignettes, roguish satire and searching observations, are all much concerned with the state of medicine in his time. His comments on medicine include such items as the conduct of medical examinations, the grades in the professional hierarchy and the jealousies existing among their constituents, the dependence on blood letting for any and all of multitudinous ailments, the physical ordeals that try the mettle of the country practitioner, the growing distrust in
An Essay on the External Use of Water. JAMA. 1935;105(8):622–623. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760340068036
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