A Letter to William Smellie, M.D.
A Letter to William Smellie, M.D.
A Letter to William Smellie, M.D.
A Letter to William Smellie, M.D.


A Letter to William Smellie, M.D.


Regular price $1,250.00 Sale

Title continues: "Containing Critical and Practical Remarks Upon his Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Midwifery. Wherein the various Gross Mistakes and dangerous Methods of Practice Mentioned and recommended by that Writer, Are fully demonstrated and generally corrected. Likewise the several Advantages or Dangers, to both Mother and Child, attending the Turning the last in the Womb to extract by the Feet, or that accrue from the Use of each particular Kind of Instrument, emply'd in delivering Women, are shewn in a more ample Manner than heretofore. Being as an Appendix, to both the above-mentioned Authors Treatises on Midwifery; absolutely necessary to be perused by all who have read the former's Book, or attended his Lectures with a View to Practice. To which is affixed a Copper-Plate, representing several Sorts of Instruments used by the Ancients, with the Fillet as improved by the Author thereof." Aside from its lengthy title, this book is notable for other reasons. Scottish obstetrician William Smellie (1697-1763), trained in obstetrics in London and Paris, opened a practice in London, and began teaching. His Theory and Practice of Midwifery is considered a classic, but here it is savaged by his rival, John Burton of York. On his first page, Burton accuses Smellie's work of being "grosly mistaken in various Parts." On the other hand, some researchers believe it was John Burton who was immortalized by Laurence Sterne in Tristram Shandy as "Dr. Slop," which suggests Burton was not qualified to criticize. Note the signature of former owner Sir James Young Simpson (1811-1870), Scottish obstetrician who introduced chloroform anaesthetic for general use. Also tucked inside is a letter from a Harley Street physician dated 1887.

Publication Info

  • Publisher: W. Owen
  • Edition: n/a
  • Date Published: 1753
  • Place Published: London
  • ISBN: n/a


  • Condition: Very good
  • Signed: No
  • Dust Jacket: No
  • Jacket Condition: n/a
  • Details:
    xii, 250, [1] p. 21 cm. One fold-out plate at rear. Full leather. Respined. Spine reads "Burton. Letter to Dr. Smellie. London. 1753." Corners worn. Bookplate on front pastedown for Sir James Stewart Denholm, Baronet, of Coltness & Westshiel. Signature of former owner, Sir James Y. Simpson, at top of front pastedown with Denholm's name crossed out below. Bookplate for the Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh on front free endpaper. Minor foxing.

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