Homines ad Deos, nulla re propius accedunt, quam Salutem Hominibus dando.
This Motto, taken from a Pagan Author, expresses the general Sense of Mankind, even in the earliest Ages, concerning that great Duty and extensive Charity, the administring Comfort and Relief to the Sick. If Men without any other Assistance than the Dictates of natural Reason, had so high an Opinion of it, what may be expected from Christians, to whom it has been so warmly recommended by the best Example of human Conduct. To visit the Sick, to feed the Hungry, to clothe the Naked, and comfort the Afflicted, are the inseparable Duties of a christian Life.
Accordingly ’tis observable, that the Christian Doctrine hath had a real Effect on the Conduct of Mankind, which the mere Knowledge of Duty without the Sanctions Revelation affords, never produc’d among the Heathens: For History shows, that from the earliest Times of Christianity, in all well-regulated States where Christians obtain’d sufficient Influence, publick Funds and private Charities have been appropriated to the building of Hospitals, for receiving, supporting and curing those unhappy Creatures, whose Poverty is aggravated by the additional Load of bodily Pain. But of these Kind of Institutions among the Pagans, there is no Trace in the History of their Times.
That good Prince Edward VI. was so affected at the Miseries of his poor diseas’d Subjects, represented in a charity Sermon preach’d to him on the Occasion, that he soon after laid the Foundation of four of the largest Hospitals now in London, which the Citizens finished, and have ever since maintain’d.
In Hidepark, at Bath, in Edinburgh, Liverpool, Winchester, and in the County of Devon, and sundry other Places in Great-Britain, large and commodious Infirmaries have been lately erected, from trifling Beginnings of private Charities: And so wonderfully does Providence favour these pious Institutions, that there is not an Instance of any One’s failing for want of necessary charitable Contributions. (*)
(*) Extract from the Tour thro’ Great Britain, Vol. III. Pag. 293.
The Increase of poor diseas’d Foreigners and others, settled in the distant Parts of this Province, where regular Advice and Assistance cannot be procured, but at an Expence that neither they nor their Townships can afford, has awaken’d the Attention of sundry humane and well dispos’d Minds, to procure some more certain, effectual and easy Methods for their Relief than have hitherto been provided, and having represented the Affair to the Assembly, a Law was pass’d, without one dissenting Voice, giving Two Thousand Pounds for building and furnishing a Provincial Hospital, on Condition that Two Thousand Pounds more should be rais’d by private Donations, to be put out to Interest as Part of a perpetual Fund for supporting it; and the Contributors were made a Body Corporate, with all the Powers necessary on the Occasion. Since which, People of all Ranks in this City have united zealously and heartily in promoting this pious and excellent Design, and more than the Sum stipulated was subscribed in a few Days only, and a much larger Sum will probably be rais’d here if the Country chearfully contributes to the capital Stock, which ’tis not to be doubted they will do, when they consider how much they are interested in it.
The Difference between nursing and curing the Sick in an Hospital, and separately in private Lodgings, with Regard to the Expence, is at least as ten to one. For Instance, suppose a Person under the Necessity of having a Limb amputated, he must have the constant Attendance of a Nurse, a Room, Fire, &c. which cannot for the first three or four Weeks be procured at less Expence than Fifteen Shillings a Week, and never after at less than Ten. If he continues two Months his Nursing will be Five Pounds, his Surgeons Fee, and other accidental Charges, commonly amounts to Three Pounds, in the whole near Ten Pounds; whereas in an Hospital, one Nurse, one Fire, &c. will be sufficient for ten Patients, the extra Expences will be inconsiderable, and the Surgeon’s Fees taken off, which will bring the above Calculation within the Limits of Truth.
But the Difference with Regard to the unhappy Sufferer is still greater. In an Hospital his Case will be treated according to the best Rules of Art, by Men of Experience and known Abilities in their Profession. His Lodgings will be commodious, clean and neat, in an healthy and open Situation, his Diet will be well chosen, and properly administred: He will have many other necessary Conveniencies for his Relief, such as hot and cold Baths, sweating Rooms, chirurgic Machines, Bandage, &c. which can rarely be procured in the best private Lodgings, much less in those miserable loathsome Holes, which are the common Receptacles of the diseas’d Poor that are brought to this City. — In short a Beggar in a well regulated Hospital, stands an equal Chance with a Prince in his Palace, for a comfortable Subsistence, and an expeditious and effectual Cure of his Diseases.
It is hoped therefore, that whoever will maturely consider the inestimable Blessings that are connected to a proper Execution of the present Hospital Scheme in this City, can never be so void of Humanity and the essential Duties of Religion, as to turn a deaf Ear to the numberless Cries of the Poor and Needy, and refuse for their Assistance, a little of that Superfluity, which a bountiful Providence has so liberally bestowed on them.
The Pennsylvania Gazette, August 15, 1751
In the Year 1740, on the Promotion of Dr. Gilbert, Dean of this Church, to the Bishoprick of Landaff, his Majesty was pleas’d to confer the Deanery on Dr. Alured Clarke, who was installed in the Month of January, in that Year; and if we may be allowed to judge from the pious Acts be began with in that Station, a more worthy Man could not have been preferr’d thereto.
The House, an antient Building, belonging to that Dignity, had, thro’ the Remissness of its former Possessors, been too long neglected; wherefore his First Work was to set about altering and repairing that, which he did within Nine Months of his Instalment, at an Expence of about 800l.
Before this was perfected, viz. in the Spring 1741, he drew up and published Proposals for founding an Hospital in this City, for Lodging, Dieting, and Curing the Sick and Lame Poor thereof, and of the County of Devon, on the like Plan of that which he had before founded at Winchester, for the Benefit of that City, and County of Hants. A Design so good, recommended by the pious Eloquence of a Divine so learned and judicious, on Views so visibly disinterested, and so clearly abstracted from all Party Schemes or Intentions, met with the general Applause and Assistance of the Gentry and Clergy of all Parties, Sects and Denominations; who, however different in Religion and Politicks, unanimously join’d in this pious Undertaking: And a Subscription being opened in March, hath already (November 1741) brought in about 2000 l. of which near 1500 l. are annual Engagements, which, ’tis highly probable, will be not only continued, but much augmented, so that ’tis hoped, that 200 Patients at a Time may be provided for. John Tuckfield, of Raddon, Esq; was pleased to accommodate the Governors with a Plot of Ground near Southernhay, without the City-walls, at a very moderate Price, and to give 100 l. towards carrying on the Building for the intended Hospital, the Plan of which was commodiously designed by the Direction of the Dean, and the first Stone thereof laid by him, assisted by the Bishop of Exon, Sir William Courtenay, Knight of the Shire, Sir Henry Northcote and Humphry Sydenham, Esquires, the Citizens in Parliament, the Honourable Henry Rolle, and John Tuckfield Esq; attended by a great Number of Clergy and Gentry, that are Subscribers, and Thousands of joyful Spectators, on the 27th of August 1741. The Building contains upwards of 300 Feet in Length, and is already in a good Forwardness.