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the United Stock of the Society of Apothecaries.
It is a distinct commercial enterprise,
carried on, not by the society, but by
members of the society at its hall, and under
its sanction. It has its own separate officers
and committees, by whom, not by the master
and wardens of the company, its accounts are
audited and its affairs controlled. It is well
managed, and yields high dividends to its
proprietors, which were increased by one-
third, in consequence of the demand for drugs
during the recent war. It has been also an
important agent in the keeping of bad drugs
out of the market.

Whoever pays a visit to the Hall in
Blackfriars, will be shown how it is composed of
two distinct parts. From a steam-engine
room he is taken to where great mill-stones
powder rhubarb, rows of steam-pestles pound
in iron mortars, steam-rollers mix hills of
ointment, enormous stills silently do their
work, calomel sublimes in closed ovens,
magnesia is made and evaporated, crucibles
are hot, and coppers all heated by steam are
full of costly juices from all corners of the
world. He will find in the cellar barrels
fresh tapped of compound tincture of cardamoms,
tincture of rhubarb, and such medicated
brews; he will find in a private
laboratory the most delicate scientific tests
and processes employed for purposes of trade
by a skilful chemist; he will find warehouses
and packing-rooms, perhaps, heaped up with
boxes of drugs to be sent out by the next ship
to India, and apparently designed to kill or
cure all the inhabitants of Asia. These are
the premises of the United Stock. From them
he will be led into the Hall itself, the great room
on the walls of which he reads who has been
mindful of the widowfor sixteen widows of
poor members the society provides annuities
and round the tables of which, he may,
perhaps, see young medical students deep in
the agonies of an examination to prove that
they have been educated as becomes those
who are to join a liberal profession. There is
a separate examination-room in which those
pass as licentiates who can; it is hung with
old pictures, and there is a small library
hidden away in that anti-chamber, known
irreverently as the funking-room, by nervous
candidates. This is the domain of the whole
Society. Here it does its appointed duty to
the commonwealth.

For, as it has been said, the decision of the
House of Lords that an apothecary might
prescribe, did not provide all that belonged
to the public want which has brought the
English apothecary of the present day into
the average position occupied by the
physician of the continent. If apothecaries might
prescribe, skilful or unskilful, there was
danger to be feared. Therefore there arose
at the beginning of this century an agitation
among many of the apothecaries to procure
for themselves an examining board that
should exclude incompetent men from the use
of the privileges they enjoyed. There was an
agitation for some years; several bills were
introduced in parliament, opposed and
abandoned; but at last in eighteen hundred and
fifteen an Apothecaries Act was passed which
gave to the Society of Apothecaries the
appointment of a board of their own members
for the licensing of all who wished to exercise
their calling, and conferring privileges well
known to the public. Before this act passed
such was the state of the profession that not
more than about one person in nine of those
who practised medicine had been educated
for the work in which they were engaged.
Not only has the operation of the Apothecaries
Act changed altogether this condition
of affairs, but it is due to the Society of
Apothecaries to admit  that by a high-spirited
discharge of its new function, and a constant
careful raising of the standard of competence,
it has compelled strictness in others, and is
adding continually to the importance and
efficiency of that body of medical advisers
which it has been called upon to furnish. Its
work, which never has flagged, had at the
end of the first twenty years of trial proved
itself so well, that to a select committee of the
House of Commons, Sir Henry Halford
confessed—"I was one of those who were sorry
that the power was ever given out of the
hands of the physicians to license
practitioners of that description; but since they
have had it, I must do the apothecaries the
justice to say, that they have executed that
act extremely well; and that the character
of that branch of the profession has been
amazingly raised since they have had that
authority."

That is still the universal testimony. If
we have told our story clearly we have shown
that the apothecaries simply have become
whatconsidering the position taken by
physicians in this countrythey could not help
becoming; and that since the apothecaries'
license does not qualify for surgery, while at
the same time the surgeons' diploma does not
qualify for medicine, the class of surgeon-
apothecary was quite as inevitably called for.
That all this history is only an illustration of
the stern law of supply and demand a few
figures will tell at once. There are in
England and Wales at this time only four
hundred physicians; with an English license,
including as such Doctors and Bachelors of
Oxford, Cambridge, and London, Fellows,
Members, Licentiates, and Extra-Licentiates
of the Physicians' College; but there are five
thousand five hundred and eighty persons
engaged in general practice with the two
qualifications provided by the English
apothecaries and the surgeons; one thousand eight
hundred and eighty more practising with the
single diploma of the English College of
Surgeons, and one thousand two hundred with no
more than the English Apothecaries' license.
Eight thousand five hundred is now the number
of the class that the physicians once thought

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