The Duty and Advantages of Encouraging Public Infirmaries


The Duty and Advantages of Encouraging Public Infirmaries


In the 18th century a growing national interest in the health and safety of the poor and infirm led to the creation of a number of voluntary hospitals, charity hospitals set up by the upper class for the impoverished. One of the most famous was the London Hospital, created in 1740 by a group of druggists and surgeons primarily to service the manufacturers and seamen of the East End of London (London Lives). This sermon, given by Isaac Maddox a lord bishop at the time, was created in an effort to both encourage the government to support the work of the hospital, as well as encourage the aristocracy in attendance to help support the hospital’s mission. During the enlightenment, and over the course of the Early Modern Period as a whole, governments across Europe began to set up hospitals and other methods of general public health to help support their people. The 18th century in particular was notable for the large number of hospitals founded in the London area for the treatment of a variety of patients (Andrews). While these hospitals were originally founded by private citizens they were quickly supported and eventually controlled by the government, a change from the previous centuries where only two royal hospitals had been founded since 1530 (Andrews). This shift in thinking of the upper class is representative of a general shift towards the welfare of a nation, rather than that of a small group, which is indicative of the rise of the nation state in this time period.


Isaac Maddox





Jack Williams


Free Re-Use Public Domain


Isaac Maddox, “The Duty and Advantages of Encouraging Public Infirmaries,” HIST 139 - Early Modern Europe, accessed March 25, 2023,

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