DoHistoryDoing History site maptech helpabout sitesearch

>the Controversy< Martha and a Man-Midwife Who Was Dr. Ben Page? Summing Up
Smellie Treatise
Smellie Collection
Elizabeth Nihell, A Treatise on the Art of Midwifery

Elizabeth Nihell (1723-?) was married to a surgeon-apothecary. A mother herself, she studied in Paris and returned to London to practice midwifery. She argued that women, not men such as William Smellie, should practice midwifery. Quote from page 71


Questions to ask these pages:

1. According to Nihell, who earned more for attending childbirth?

2. Whom would Nihell recommend, a female midwife or a "common man-midwife"?

Questions to ask the book:

1. When would Nihell recommend calling a male physician?
Find out in
the archive

2. What did Nihell say motivated most man-midwives?
Find out in
the archive

Reading Help

  Title Page Page 70 Page 71  



   IF on the contrary, and what the most frequently happens, you fall into the hands of one of the common men-midwives, either of that multitude of disciples of Dr. Smellie, trained up at the feet of his artificial doll, or in short of those self-constituted men-midwives made out of broken barbers, tailors, or even pork-butchers (I know myself one of this last trade, who, after passing half his life in stuffing sausages, is turned an intrepid physician and man-midwife) must not, I say, practitioners of this stamp be admirably fitted, as well for the manual operation, as for the prescriptions? If then it is from thrift they are employed, by way of sparing fees to a real physician, I own, I think this is pushing savingness too far; as I should be almost as much afraid of the prescriptions of these mock-doctors as of their operation. I should have more confidence in the advice of a discreet matron, or of a skilful midwife, who, by habit and a long experience of seeing ladies in their lyings-in attended by the best physicians, is in the most common cases of the labor-pains,


F 4

home your interests who was Martha? Martha's diary book film doing history archive on your own
Martha and a man-midwife | one rape. two stories.