S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
The ideal physician of Hippocrates is, in this country, the apothecary of the present day. Galen says that he had an apotheké in which his drugs were kept, and where his medicines were always made under his own eye, or by his hand. For one moment we pause on the word apotheké, whence apothecary is derived. It meant among the Greeks a place where anything is put by and preserved,especially, in the first instance, wine. The Romans had no wine-cellars, but kept their wine-jars upon upper floors, where they believed that the contents would ripen faster. The small floors were called fumaria, the large ones apothecæ. The apotheca, being a dry, airy place, became, of course, the best possible store-room for drugs, and many apothecas became drug-stores, with an apothecarius in charge. It is a misfortune thenif it be oneattached to the name of apothecary that it has in it association with the shop. But, to say nothing of Podalirius and Machaon, Cullen and William Hunter dispensed their own medicines.
In the year one thousand three hundred and forty-five, Coursus de Gangeland, called an apothecary of London, serving about the person of King Edward the Third, received a pension of sixpence a day as a reward for his attendance on the king during a serious illness which he had in Scotland. Henry the Eighth gave forty marks a year to John Soda, apothecary, as a medical attendant on the Princess Mary, who was a delicate, unhealthy young woman; so that we thus have the first indications of the position of an English apothecary, as one whose calling for two hundred years maintained itself, and continued to maintain itself till a few years after the establishment of the College of Physicians, as that of a man who might be engaged even by kings in practice of the healing art. But in the third year of Queen Marys reign, thirty-seven years after the establishment of the College of Physicians, both surgeons and apothecaries were prohibited the practising of physic. In Henry the Eighths time it had been settled, on the other hand, that surgery was an especial part of physic, and any of the company or fellowship of physicians were allowed to engage in it.
About one hundred and fifty years ago, talking like an apothecary was a proverbial phrase for talking nonsense; and our early dramatists when they produced an apothecary on the stage always presented him as a garrulous and foolish man. It was in what may be called the middle period of the history of the apothecarys calling in this country that it had thus fallen into grave contempt. At first it was honoured, and it is now, at last, honoured again. At first there were few of the fraternity. Dr. Freind mentions a time when there was only one apothecary in all London. Now [August, 1856] there are in England and Wales about seven thousand gentlemen who, when tyros, took their freedom out to kill (or cure)
Where stands a structure on a rising hill,
Nigh where Fleet Ditch descends in sable streams
To wash his sooty Naiads in the Thames,
namely, at the Hall of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries in Blackfriars. Of course apothecaries do not monopolize the license to kill, or we never should have heard of that country in which it was a custom to confer upon the public executioner, after he had performed his office on a certain number of condemned people, the degree of doctor apothecary.