Anatomy. Proceedings at the National Political Union, respecting legislative interference in the study of anatomy, and the supply of bodies for anatomical research.
London: Barnes, 1832.
1st Edition. Hardcover. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Very Good. Item #003780
8vo (225 x 140 mm). 24 pp. Pages untrimmed. Contemporary green card board, spine with black morocco label lettered in gilt, original plain wrappers bound in (rebacked, boards dust-soiled). Text with light even browning (title and final page more heavily), short clean tear to title-leaf. Provenance: Frederic Wood Jones (bookplate and newspaper clip pasted to inner front board). ----
EXCEPTIONALLY RARE FIRST AND ONLY EDITION of these proceedings of a meeting by the members of the council of the National Political Union discussing Henry Warburton's anatomy bill. The National Political Union was an organisation set up in October 1831, after the rejection of the Reform Bill by the House of Lords, to serve as a pressure group for parliamentary reform: "to support the King and his ministers against a small faction in accomplishing their great measure of Parliamentary Reform."
"The 19th century ushered in a new-found medical interest in detailed anatomy thanks to an increase in the importance of surgery. In order to study anatomy, human cadavers were needed and thus ushered in the practice of grave robbing. Before 1832, the Murder Act 1752 stipulated that only the corpses of executed murderers could be used for dissection. By the early 19th century, the rise of medical science - coinciding with a reduction in the number of executions - had caused demand to outstrip supply. Around 1810, an anatomical society was formed to impress upon the government the necessity for altering the law. Among its members were John Abernethy, Charles Bell, Everard Home, Benjamin Brodie, Astley Cooper, and Henry Cline. The efforts of this body gave rise in 1828 to a select committee to report on the question. The report of this committee led to the Bill. Public revulsion at the recent West Port murders swayed opinion in favour of a change in the law. In 1831 public outcry at the activities of the London Burkers caused further pressure for a Bill. In 1829 the Royal College of Surgeons petitioned against it, and it was withdrawn in the House of Lords owing to the opposition of the Archbishop of Canterbury William Howley. A new Anatomy Bill was introduced in 1832. Though strongly opposed by Hunt, Sadler, and Vyvyan, it was supported by Macaulay and O'Connell. It was passed by the House of Lords on 19 July 1832" (Wikisource). Reference: OCLC 51172546. - Visit our website to see more images!
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