|Description||In 1767 licentiates of the Royal College of Physicians established the Society of Collegiate Physicians to agitate for a change in the College rules. At that time, to be a licentiate was purely to hold a licence to practice medicine and only fellows were allowed to formulate policy and vote at elections. Fellows were therefore not to be admitted as members of the new Society. Members of the Society also refused to contribute to the transactions of the College.|
The licentiates attempted to speak or gain entry to a number of meetings of the College and also sought redress through the courts. As the result of a ruling that found many of the College's statutes and byelaws 'narrow, if not illegal', the College agreed to revise them. The first revised rule allowed for any fellow to propose as a fellow, a licentiate of seven years standing and 36 years of age who could then sit the examines and stand for election. The second revised rule allowed for the President to make a licentiate into a fellow straight away. Although these revisions had little actual effect on the numbers being made fellows, it is the case that the Society became much less militant after 1771 and became more like a learned society. Just before the January 1798 meeting, one of the members, Dr Ferris, sent round a printed letter suggesting a total change in the constitution. Fifteen people turned up to the January meeting and Dr Ferris called for a vote for his total change, despite it being unconstitutional for non committee members to do this and there being less than half the total members present. He won by a majority. The Society then reformed itself into the Society of Physicians of London. The losing faction kept the minute book which is held by the Royal College of Physicians of London (ref: MS2130) which ends in January 1798.
[Source: http://www.aim25.ac.uk/cats/8/9576.htm; 'The Struggle to Reform the Royal College of Physicians 1767-1771' by I Waddington in Medical History 1973 April (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1081439); RCPL archivist; and collection content]
Slip inside the volume reads 'With the compliments of the Secretary to the Standing Joint Committee of the three Royal Scottish Medical Corporations'.
Contents: Minute book, 1767-1801