• Title
    An act for providing a Reward to Joanna Stephens upon a proper Discovery to be made by her for the Use of the Publick, of the Medicines Prepared by her for the cure of the Stone
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  • Scope and Content
    Receipt for the stone and gravel, with proper observations and explanations thereon, together with some hints concerning the preamble to the act of Parliament on that subject; to which are added some few thoughts how most properly to encourage valuable discoveries or real improvements in physick or surgery. London. T. Cooper, 1739 Printed. From: Chain of Friendship. Letters of Dr. John Fothergill. With introduction and notes by B.C. Corner and C.C. Booth. 1971 pp.44-45 On 9 June 1739, the London Gazzette announced an Act of Parliament proposing "a reward of £5000 to Joanna Stephens upon a Discovery made by her, for the use of the Publick of some Medicines for the Cure of the Stone." To meet criticism against this decision, a body of Trustees undertook to investigate the situation. These included the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord High Chancellor, the Speaker of the House of Commons, the President of the Royal College of Physicians, and some of the Censors of the College; also William Cheselden M.D., and other surgeons. Upon questioning, Joanna Stephens revealed that her remedy contained egg shells and snail shells "burnt to blackness" a variety of herbs, a quantity of strong Alicant soap from Spain and honey. Lye had been suspected as an ingredient, but was never acknowledged. The medicine was prepared in three forms: a decoction, a powder, and pills, all of which Joanna insisted, must be used. Though distrusted by some physicians, her medicines were eagerly sought by the public. The London Gazzette on 18 March 1739/40 announced that Joanna Stephens had received the reward by decision of the Trustees, after a meeting and examination of her medicines "in the Princes' Chamber, adjoining the House of Lords." Four persons had appeared "on whom the medicines had been tried" with complete cure. All Trustees present had signed the certificate which accompanied the reward, except Dr Thomas Pellett, President of the Royal College of Physicians, and Dr Roger [Robert] Nesbitt, one of the Censors. These two Physicians presented separate certificates testifying to the cure of one individual. Joanna Stephens, Receipt for the Stone and Gravel...London: published by the Trustees, 1739 An account of some experiments and observations on Mrs Stephens' medicines..., Stephen Hale, London 1739 Pharmacopoeia of the Royal College of Physicians, London, 1757
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  • Archival history
    Coll. Coll. Originally interleaved in volume entitled "printed Miscellanies 1908."
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  • Access
    Institutional records closed for 20 years after creation. Open access after 20 years