National Geographic : 1919 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE table certified the same to the Lord Mayor." Ambroise Pare, a great military sur geon of the I6th century, is credited with discontinuing the practice of searing the stumps of amputated limbs with boiling pitch, and instead successfully using liga tures to tie the bleeding vessels. He did not believe in the virtues of bezoar stones. One day when he was in at tendance on King Charles IX at Cler mont, a Spanish nobleman brought a bezoar stone to the King, assuring him that it would protect him against all poi sons. A WISE PHYSICIAN, A CREDULOUS KING, AND AN UNFORTUNATE COOK Pare says his monarch sent for him and asked if there was anything which could act as a general poison antidote. Pare replied that, as various poisons dif fered in their nature, the antidotes would necessarily differ. But the nobleman per sisted in his statement and aroused the desire of the King to test the virtues of the stone, which he proceeded to do in a ruthlessly conclusive manner. The Provost of the Palace was sum moned and asked if he had in his charge any criminal awaiting the execution of the death sentence. The Provost be thought himself of a cook who was to be hanged for the theft of two silver dishes. The King thereupon sent for the cook and proposed to him that in place of hanging he should be given a poison, to be followed by the universal antidote, and if the antidote proved efficacious he would be given his liberty. The cook gladly consented. An apothecary was instructed to pre pare a draught of deadly poison. This was administered and followed by a dose of the powdered bezoar. The unfortu nate victim died in horrible agony seven hours later, in spite of all Pare's ef forts to relieve him. The pharmacist had given him bichloride of mercury. An autopsy was then performed and Pare demonstrated to the King that the bezoar had not the slightest effect in counter acting the corrosive action of the poison. "And the King commended that the stone be thrown in the fire, which was done," Pare succinctly concluded. It is not stated whether the Spanish nobleman suffered the same fate, but he must at least have had an uncomfortable hour or two. QUEEN ELIZABETH THE PATRON OF PATENT MEDICINES The patent-medicine business in Eng land, viewed as a distinct trade monopoly, really took definite form during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Both Elizabeth and James I abused this assumed arbitrary power of granting monopolies of various sorts, until great discontent was produced .amongst the people. The Statute of Mo nopolies, passed in 1624, regulated all such grants, placing authority in the hands of Parliament. The period of duration was likewise limited to 14 years. In the beginning, specifications of meth ods or formulas were not required; but during the period of Queen Anne appli cants began to be required to file these specifications. As secrecy was an impor tant element in the success of nostrums, this ruling tended to discourage the pat enting of medicines until in 18oo medici nal compounds were patented but rarely. Of course, the term "patent medicine" nowadays is a misnomer, as few of these preparations are patented. The property right is protected by copyrighting the label or registering it as a "trade-mark," thus preventing competition in the use of the name of the preparation. CENTURIES-OLD FAVORITES STILL SOLD The oldest patent preparation still made in large quantities in Great Britain is probably Anderson Scot's Pills, pat ented under King James II in i6S7. Formulas of these pills appeared in all the manuals on pharmacy published in Europe and America in earlier days. Their activity depends largely on aloes. Duffey's Elixir, invented by a clergyman, the Reverend Thomas Duffey, in Leices tershire, in 1675, is still advertised and sold, and the old-fashioned advertise ment in which the bottle is wrapped states that the elixir was "much recommended to the public by Dr. King, physician to King Charles II," an argument some what belated, to say the least.