Richard Mead

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Richard Mead

Richard Mead (11 August 1673 – 16 February 1754) was an English physician, appointed in 1727 physician to George II. His work, A Short Discourse concerning Pestilential Contagion, and the Method to be used to prevent it (1720), was of historic importance in the understanding of transmissible diseases.


A Mechanical Account of Poisons (1702)[edit]

Richard Mead, A mechanical account of poisons, 3rd edition, 1745,

  • Those things, which are experienced to be in their whole nature, or in their most remarkable properties, so contrary to animal life, as in a small quantity to prove destructive to it, are called Poisons: whether they are hurtful by being taken inwardly at the mouth, or communicated to the body externally by a wound.
    • p. xxi
  • Venomous animals, when they bite or sting, inflict a wound, and instil into it a drop or more of liquor, which infects the fluid of the nerves, and by this means inflames the membranes: hereupon a swelling arises, sometimes to a degree of mortification, which spreads to the neighbouring parts.
    • p. xxviii-xxix
  • The Viper has always been so remarkable for its venom, that the most remote antiquity made it an emblem of what is hurtful and destructive. Nay, so terrible was the nature of these creatures, that they were very commonly thought to be sent as executioners of divine vengeance upon mankind for enormous crimes, which had escaped the common course of justice.
    • p. 1
  • We resolved to end our poison-enquiries by tasting the venomous liquor. According, having diluted a quantity of it, with a very little warm water, several of us ventured to put some of it upon the tip of our tongues. We all agreed, that it tasted very sharp and fiery, as if the tongue had been struck through with something scalding or burning. This sensation went off in two or three hours: and one gentleman, who would not be satisfied without trying a large drop undiluted, found his tongue swelled with a little inflammation and the soreness lasted two days. But neither his nor our boldness was attended with any ill consequence.
    • p. 22

Quotes about Mead[edit]

  • In the year 1721, his present Majesty, then Prince of Wales, ordered Dr. MEAD to assist at the Inoculation of some condemned criminals, intending afterwards to recommend the practice of it to the people by the illustrious example of his own Royal Family; our ingenious Physician, not content with examining all of the effects of the Circassian operation upon six of the prisoners, caused the Chinese method likewise to be tried on the seventh. The success of these experiments is universally known ...

External links[edit]