Examining the Veterinary Examiner

Illustration of a Common Greenland Seal

Illustration of a Common Greenland Seal

In the Historical Collection there are numerous bound volumes that simply say ‘Pamphlets various’ on the spine.  They don’t look that interesting but I always have a sense of anticipation when opening one for the first time as they usually contain an eclectic mix of material – prospectuses for vet schools, unpublished correspondence, reprints on matters veterinary (or not), individual issues of journals etc.  Flicking through one such volume last week I found what appears to be the complete set of a short lived periodical called The Veterinary Examiner:  monthly record of physiology, pathology and natural history

Index to the volume of pamphlets

Index to the volume of pamphlets

The subtitle makes a bold statement about the frequency of publication but in reality The Veterinary Examiner seems to have only lasted for three issues December 1832-February 1833.  Or at least these are the only issues I can trace in libraries worldwide.

Our issues, bound slightly out of order, are tucked away in the volume between the ‘Rules and regulations of the National Veterinary Benevolent & Mutual Defence Society’ for 1867 and Thomas Challis on ‘Smithfield  and Newgate Markets as they should and might be’, 1851

The issues do not give an editors name, or indeed any real clues as to who the editor might have been. I have however found two short reviews in the  London Literary Gazette (1832) and The Magazine of Natural History and Journal of Zoology, Botany, mineralogy, geology and meteorology (1833) which give the editors as Professor Dewhurst FWS, FLVS &c and Henry Braddon Esq..

Professor Dewhurst is Henry William Dewhurst who taught anatomy and physiology at his Theatre of Anatomy in Sidmouth Street, Bloomsbury.  In a work published in 1822 he is described as Professor of Zoology, Human and Comparative Anatomy, Fellow of the Westminster Medical, Royal Jennerian, and London Veterinary Societies.

The three issues of The Veterinary Examiner have a total of 120 pages and more than one third are taken up with publications written by Dewhurst and Braddon. Dewhurt’s contributions include  a lecture on the circulation of the blood and its vessels and  his ‘Observations on the natural history of the Phoca Groenlandica or Common Greenland Seal’ (presumably based on research undertaken when he served as a ships surgeon on a journey to Greenland) Whilst Braddon has a three part essay ‘On the structure and oeconomy of the Horse’s foot’ (in three parts).

In contrast to the other veterinary periodicals started around this time (The Veterinarian and the Farrier & Naturalist) the purpose of The Veterinary Examiner does not appear to be to “attack” Edward Coleman and the Veterinary College.  In fact the first issue is complimentary about Coleman: “Professor Coleman opened the session at the Royal Veterinary College, by the delivery of an excellent introductory discourse” and goes on to state  that the:

“Pages of our journal will be open to all, and influenced by none,  …. However [we will] never permit our columns to be defiled, with personal abuse, or in assailing the private character of any individual – Measures not men, must form the theme of the discussion” (pp30-31)

As well as the articles by Dewhurst and Braddon there are reprints of articles first published elsewhere, reviews of newly published works  and a long – and quite interesting  – article on the ‘History of Veterinary Medicine’ which is spread over the three issues.  Part 3 of the history article  in issue 3 ends ‘to be continued’ so that and other mentions of items to be included in the next number indicate that another issue was planned.

I wonder if there were more or did something happen to prevent further publication?

Illustration of the frog from Braddon's article on the hoof

Illustration of the frog from Braddon’s article on the hoof