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Experience and the Soul in Eighteenth-Century Medicine

  • Philippa Koch


Focused on three different protestant communities—puritans, pietists, and Methodists—this essay argues that eighteenth-century protestants were actively engaged in contemporary medical debates, and that their engagement was shaped by their faith in providence. Eighteenth-century protestants understood sickness as part of the created order, they interpreted medicine as a divinely-given tool for Christian action on behalf of the suffering, and they recognized an opportunity for mission in their healing efforts. Motivated by their understanding of God's providential oversight of sickness and health, they relied on empirical medicine, read widely in the emerging medical print culture, turned to networks of women's medical knowledge, and participated in theoretical debates over the soul's role in bodily health. This essay represents an important intervention both in medical history, which has overlooked or misunderstood the role of religion in eighteenth-century medical thought and practice, and in religious studies, in which studies of religion and medicine in America have focused almost exclusively on movements emerging since the nineteenth century and the rise of Arminianism.



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1 Johann Martin Boltzius (hereafter JMB) to Gotthilf August Francke (hereafter GAF), April 21, 1748, in JMB, The Letters of Johann Martin Boltzius: Lutheran Pastor in Ebenezer, Georgia, ed. and trans. Russell Kleckley in collaboration with Jürgen Gröschl, (Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen, 2009), 495–496 (hereafter JMB, Letters).

2 Thilo writes they were eating “Tabackpfeiffer Stückgen (Stengel wie sie es nanneten).” Christian Ernst Thilo to GAF, September 1747, Missionsarchiv der Franckeschen Stiftungen (hereafter AFSt/M) 5 A 11: 76, Francke Foundations, Halle.

3 GAF to JMB, September 9, 1748, AFSt/M 5 A 11: 87.

4 JMB, journal entry, July 11, 1750, in Samuel Urlsperger, ed., Detailed Reports on the Salzburger Emigrants who Settled in America, trans. and ed. George Fenwick Jones, et al. 14 (Athens: University of Georgia, 1989), 89 (hereafter Urlsperger, DR). Along with this medical advice, Boltzius also circulated an article he translated regarding a famous cure for the rattlesnake bite, which had been advanced by a slave name Caesar.

5 Romans 7:18–19 (New Revised Standard Version).

6 Although Newton himself thought his mathematical theory protected against the atheistic leanings he perceived in mechanistic approaches, others worried that his followers’ mathematical approach to medicine furthered mechanistic views of the body, limited the role of God and the soul in bodily health, and assumed too much of human knowledge. For introductions and detailed studies on the history of medicine in this era, see: William Bynum, The History of Medicine: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford University, 2008), 5–18, 34–42; Roy Porter, Blood & Guts: A Short History of Medicine (New York: Norton, 2004), 59–74; the introduction in Andrew Cunningham and Roger French, The Medical Enlightenment of the Eighteenth Century (New York: Cambridge University, 2006), 1–3; Anita Guerrini, Obesity and Depression in the Enlightenment: The Life and Times of George Cheyne (Norman: University of Oklahoma, 2000); xviii, 30–31, 35–38, 41–43, 143–145; Guerrini, Anita, “Archibald Pitcairne and Newtonian Medicine,” Medical History 31, no. 1 (January 1987), 7174 ; Deborah Madden, A Cheap, Safe and Natural Medicine: Religion, Medicine and Culture in John Wesley's Primitive Physic (London: Rodopi, 2007), 99–101, 104–106; Haas, J. W., “John Wesley's View on Science and Christianity: An Examination of the Charge of Antiscience,” Church History 63, no. 3 (September 1994), 385386 .

7 Increasingly attentive to the varieties of medical education, practice, and knowledge in the eighteenth century, historians of medicine now analyze these varieties as part of a continuum rather than as a simplistic dichotomy of “orthodox” and “fringe.” See the introduction of W. F. Bynum and Roy Porter, eds., Medical Fringe & Medical Orthodoxy, 1750–1850 (London: Croom Helm, 1987), 1–4; Madden, A Cheap, Safe and Natural Medicine, 107–114. For excellent historiographical overviews on the history of medicine, see: Jordanova, Ludmilla, “The Social Construction of Medical Knowledge,” Social History of Medicine 8, no. 3 (December 1995): 361381 ; Mary E. Fissell, “Making Meaning from the Margins: The New Cultural History of Medicine,” in Locating Medical History: The Stories and Their Meanings, eds. Frank Huisman and John Harley Warner (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University, 2004), 364–389.

8 This is especially found in the debates over John Wesley's medical work. See Rousseau, G.S., “John Wesley's Primitive Physic (1747),” Harvard Library Bulletin 16 (1968): 242256 ; Haas, “John Wesley's View,” 378–392; English, John C., “John Wesley and Isaac Newton's ‘System of the World,” Proceedings of the Wesley Historical Society 48, no. 3 (October 1991): 6986 ; Deborah Madden, A Cheap, Safe and Natural Medicine, 109–125.

9 See, for example, Guerrini, Obesity and Depression in the Enlightenment, 99, 105. For examples of declension or secularization narratives, see Van De Wetering, Maxine, “A Reconsideration of the Inoculation Controversy,” The New England Quarterly 58, no. 1 (March 1985): 4667 ; Tindol, Robert, “Getting the Pox off All Their Houses: Cotton Mather and the Rhetoric of Puritan Science,” Early American Literature 46, no. 1 (March 2011), 1 ; Minardi, Margot, “The Boston Inoculation Controversy of 1721–1722: An Incident in the History of Race,” The William and Mary Quarterly 61, no. 1 (January 2004), 49 ; Perry Miller, The New England Mind: From Colony to Province (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 1953), 345–366. Miller argues that William Cooper, the author of one pro-inoculation tract, did not realize “that he had refashioned Calvinism into an activism more Pelagian than any seventeenth-century Arminianism had ever dreamed of” (365–366). Calvin's discussion of science and medicine can be found in: John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion the Institutes, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox, 1960), 270–277. The relevant sections are in Book 2, Chapter 2, Sections 12–17.

10 Madden, A Cheap, Safe, and Natural Medicine, 141; Mack, Phyllis, “Religious Dissenters in Enlightenment England,” History Workshop Journal 49, no. 1 (Spring 2009), 1617 . Guerrini's work on Cheyne also fits into this narrative, although Cheyne was not a Methodist. See Guerrini, Obesity and Depression in the Enlightenment, 149–152. “Physical Arminianism” is a phrase that has been used to characterize the perceived parallel between Arminian soteriology and nineteenth-century religious health movements. James Whorton first used the phrase. See Heather Curtis, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860–1900 (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University, 2007), 61–62. The perception of Calvinists as “fatalists,” passively accepting disease as a scourge sent by providence, seems to have been a common claim or understanding of nineteenth-century health reformers and remains a significant assumption in some scholarship today. See R. Marie Griffith, Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity (Berkeley: University of California, 2004), 45; Madden, A Cheap, Safe, and Natural Medicine, 128–129; Andrew Wear, “Puritan perceptions of illness in seventeenth century England,” in Patients and Practitioners: Lay Perceptions of Medicine in Pre-Industrial Society, ed. Roy Porter (New York: Cambridge University, 1985), 55–99. On Methodist membership numbers, see Mark Noll, America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln (New York: Oxford University, 2005), 181.

11 For a general historical overview of the inoculation controversy, see John Duffy, Epidemics in Colonial America (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1953), 16–29.

12 Otho T. Beall, Jr. and Richard H. Shryock, Cotton Mather, First Significant Figure in American Medicine (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University, 1954); I. Bernard Cohen, ed., Cotton Mather and American Science and Medicine: With Studies and Documents Concerning the Introduction of Inoculation or Variolation (New York: Arno, 1980); Van De Wetering, “A Reconsideration of the Inoculation Controversy,” 46–67; Perry Miller, The New England Mind, 345–366; Tindol, “Getting the Pox off,” 1–2; Breen, Louise A., “Cotton Mather, the ‘Angelical Ministry,’ and Inoculation,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 46, no. 3 (July 1991): 333357 . For general—non-inoculation focused—discussion of Mather, witchcraft, and the Enlightenment, see: Warner, Margaret Humphreys, “Vindicating the Minister's Medical Role: Cotton Mather's Concept of the Nishmath-Chajim and the Spiritualization of Medicine,” Journal of the History of Medicine 36, no. 3 (July 1981): 278295 ; Richard Lovelace, The American Pietism of Cotton Mather: Origins of American Evangelicalism (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Christian University, 1979), 41–51.

13 On connections between Christian and Enlightenment thought in eighteenth-century understandings of benevolence, see: Norman S. Fiering, “Irresistible Compassion: An Aspect of Eighteenth-Century Sympathy and Humanitarianism,” in Race, Gender, and Rank: Early Modern Ideas of Humanity, Maryanne Cline Horowitz (Rochester, N.Y.: University of Rochester, 1992), 378–401 (originally published in: Journal of the History of Ideas 37, no. 2 (April-June 1976): 197–218); Catherine Brekus, Sarah Osborn's World: The Rise of Evangelical Christianity in Early America (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University, 2013), 217–247.

14 Mather worked on Angel between 1710 and 1724, but except for a small portion of it, most of the work remained unpublished until 1972. Cotton Mather, The Angel of Bethesda, ed. Gordon W. Jones (Barre, Mass.: American Antiquarian Society, 1972), 5–6; for the portion of Angel of Bethesda published in Mather's lifetime, see: Cotton Mather, The angel of Bethesda, visiting the invalids of a miserable world (New London, Conn.: Timothy Green, 1722); Kenneth Silverman, The Life and Times of Cotton Mather (New York: Harper and Row, 1984), 406.

15 Breen describes this as the “analogical use of conversion.” Breen, “Cotton Mather,” 357.

16 Mather, The Angel of Bethesda (1972), 12–13, 17, 22–23. On Cheyne and his influence, particularly on Wesley, see Guerrini, Obesity and Depression in the Enlightenment, 101, 149–152, 161–162. On Cheyne's cultivation of close relationships with his patients, see Shapin, Steven, “Trusting George Cheyne: Scientific Expertise, Common Sense, and Moral Authority in Early Eighteenth-Century Dietetic Medicine,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 77, no. 2 (Summer 2003): 263297 .

17 A version of this chapter appeared in print in 1722, the only part of Angel of Bethesda published in Mather's lifetime. Mather, The angel of Bethesda, visiting the invalids (1722).

18 Mather, The Angel of Bethesda (1972), 28–38. There has been some scholarly attention to Mather's concept of the “Nishmath-Chajim.” See Warner, “Vindicating the Minister's Medical Role.” Warner argues that Mather used a “purportedly scientific concept,” in order to claim an important and new role for clergy in health matters and thereby “improve his own position as a figure of importance.” It is unclear what Warner finds “new” about Mather's claim for the importance of clergy in health matters in New England. There was a long history of ministers, often the most educated members of rural New England communities, working to help the sick and diseased. See Patricia Ann Watson, Angelical Conjunction: The Preacher-Physician Colonial New England (Knoxville: University of Tennessee, 1991). For more recent scholarship on the Nishmath-Chajim, see: Grainger, Brett Malcolm, “Vital Nature and Vital Piety: Johann Arndt and the Evangelical Vitalism of Cotton Mather,” Church History 81, no. 4 (December 2012): 852872 . Grainger, influenced by the work of W. R. Ward, is especially attuned to Mather's interest in “vitalism” extending from the work of Paracelsus. See W. R. Ward, Early Evangelicalism: A Global Intellectual History, 1670–1789 (New York: Cambridge University, 2006). While Mather was certainly interested in Paracelsus and his followers, it is important to consider how Mather interacted with contemporary medical ideas and practice. This interaction need not be described in overly simplistic terms, which Grainger seems to think has been the case. Grainger, “Vital Nature and Vital Piety,” 853n4.

19 Richard Toellner, “Die Geburt einer sanften Medizin,” in Die Geburt einer sanften Medizin: Die Franckeschen Stiftungen zu Halle als Begegnungsstätte von Medizin und Pietismus im frühen 18. Jahrhundert, ed. Richard Toellner (Halle: Franckeschen Stiftungen, 2004), 17–21; Jürgen Helm, Krankheit, Bekehrung und Reform. Medizin und Krankenfürsorge im Halleschen Pietismus (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 2006), 31. Although it is not known whether Mather was familiar with Stahl's work, he did cite Stahl's colleague Friedrich Hoffman. See Gordon W. Jones, introduction to The Angel of Bethesda by Cotton Mather (Barre, Mass.: American Antiquarian Society, 1972), xxiii. For a citation to Hoffman, see: Mather, The Angel of Bethesda (1972), 16. On Hoffman and Stahl, see: Almut Lanz, Arzneimittel in der Therapie Friedrich Hoffmans (1660–1742) (Braunschweig: Braunschweiger Veroffentlichungen zur Geschichte der Pharmazie und der Naturwissenschaften, 1995), 30–35; Roger French, “Sickness and the Soul: Stahl, Hoffman and Sauvages on pathology,” in The Medical Enlightenment of the Eighteenth Century, ed. Andrew Cunningham and Roger French (New York: Cambridge University, 1990), 88–110.

20 Mather, The Angel of Bethesda (1972), 31–32.

21 Ibid., 33; Warner, “Vindicating the Minister's Medical Role”; Guerrini, Obesity and Depression in the Enlightenment, 42–43.

22 Mather, The Angel of Bethesda, 96. For another example of the use of Job in smallpox writing, see: Edmund Massey, A Sermon Against the Dangerous and Sinful Practice of Inoculation (London: Meadows, 1722), 1; cf. David E. Shuttleton, Smallpox and the Literary Imagination: 1660–1820 (New York: Cambridge University, 2007), 10.

23 Mather, The Angel of Bethesda, 96–97; cf. Isaiah 1:6; Job 2:7.

24 Disease management was a chief concern of Mather's since at least 1713, when he wrote a tract on measles. He emphasized God's aid in his citation of Psalm 108:12: “Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless.” Cotton Mather, A letter, about a good management under the distemper of the measles, at this time spreading in the country. Here published for the benefit of the poor, and such as may want the help of able physicians (1713), 1. Van De Wetering looks at this tract as a sign of Mather's more enlightened thinking because it focuses on remedies rather than repentance. She did not note Mather's scriptural citations. Van De Wetering, “A Reconsideration of the Inoculation Controversy,” 59.

25 In the pages on smallpox management and treatment written (presumably) before he learned of inoculation, Mather cited Sydenham, Pitcairne, and John Woodward. Mather, The Angel of Bethesda (1972), 98–107.

26 Mather, The Angel of Bethesda (1972), 30, 33.

27 Ibid., 105.

28 John Woodward, The State of Physick: and of diseases: With an inquiry into the causes of the late increase of them: but more particularly of the small-pox. (London: T. Horne, 1718), 1–5.

29 Bynum, The History of Medicine, 10–18.

30 Mather, The Angel of Bethesda (1972), 37.

31 Mather's description suggests that he toyed with the idea that smallpox was innate and only awaited a spur to erupt. This idea fully emerged in the 1730s and was a dominant theory of smallpox by the 1750s. Whether or not Mather supported the idea of innate disease is unclear; he seemed elsewhere to have an (albeit limited) understanding of smallpox as contagious. Gronim, Sara Stidstone, “Imagining Inoculation: Smallpox, the Body, and Social Relations of Healing in the Eighteenth Century,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 80, no. 2 (Summer 2006): 262 .

32 According to the Oxford English Dictionary, in Mather's time the word “Bowels” could have referred specifically to the intestines or, more generally, to any internal organ, including the stomach. “Bowels” could also refer to the seat of feelings. Mather, The Angel of Bethesda, 111–112. William Cooper, another proponent of inoculation, likewise argued: “Why must I needs stay till it come in at my Mouth or Nostrils, or thro’ some of the porous Parts of my body?” William Cooper, A letter to a friend in the country, attempting a solution of the scruples and objections of conscientious or religious nature, commonly made against the new way of receiving the small-pox (Boston: Kneeland, 1721), 5.

33 Mather, The Angel of Bethesda, 111–112.

34 Martha L. Finch, Dissenting Bodies: Corporealities in Early New England (New York: Columbia University, 2010), 6, 12–14.

35 Benjamin Colman, Some Observations on the New Method of Receiving the Small-Pox by Ingrafting or Inoculating (Boston: Green, 1721), 6–8, 12; Mather, The Angel of Bethesda, 98. John Corrigan has argued that Colman was a part of a “catholick” party that opposed the “Matherian” party. Some of the differences between the two parties are collapsed when attending to their joint efforts in promoting inoculation and their similar understanding of the way smallpox worked within the human body. See Corrigan, John, “Catholick Congregational Clergy and Public Piety,” Church History 60, no. 2 (June 1991): 210222 .

36 John Williams, Several Arguments, Proving that Inoculating the Small Pox is not contained in the Law of Physick, either Natural or Divine, and therefore Unlawful, 2d ed. (Boston: Franklin, 1721), 5–6.

37 Williams thought that the potential harm of inoculation for neighbors went against the Sermon on the Mount. Though some, like Colman, doubted it, inoculated smallpox was contagious—an enduring problem for smallpox inoculation (which was also limited by its expense) in the eighteenth century. See Williams, Several Arguments, 13; Colman, Some Observations, 12.

38 Mather began reformatting his journals in 1709: he began each entry with the initials “G.D.,” which stood for “Good Devised.” This occurred around the same time Mather began corresponding with the pietist August Hermann Francke. Inspired by Francke's vision to revitalize Christianity and transform society, Mather's reforming impulse grew. Mather, The Angel of Bethesda (1972), 107; Silverman, The Life and Times, 231–234. Silverman cautions against interpreting Mather's writing as “drift[ing] into secularism … Both he and the Pietists maintained a delicate synthesis of engagement with the prevailing culture and mortification to life.” Cf. Lovelace, The American Pietism, 49–51. Wolfgang Splitter argues against overstating the influence of the correspondence between Mather and Francke. Splitter, Wolfgang, “The Fact and Fiction of Cotton Mather's Correspondence with German Pietist August Hermann Francke,” The New England Quarterly 83, no. 1 (March 2010): 102122 . See also Francke, Kuno, “Further Documents Concerning Cotton Mather and August Hermann Francke,” Americana Germanica 1, no. 4 (1897): 5466 ; Francke, Kuno, “The Beginning of Cotton Mather's Correspondence with August Hermann Francke,” Philological Quarterly 5, no. 3 (July 1926): 193195 .

39 Cotton Mather, Diary of Cotton Mather, Volume II: 1709–1724, ed. Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1957), 621, 627–628, 633, 637–638. On the grenade episode: Mather, The Angel of Bethesda (1972), 113.

40 See, for example, Psalm 107.

41 Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own. JMB to GAF, February 27, 1738, AFSt/M 5 A 5: 19; JMB to GAF, May 17, 1738, AFSt/M 5 A 5: 23. The latter source appears to be a private journal in which Boltzius recorded details of Thilo's behavior not included in the official journal, which was published. Among many problems, Boltzius was concerned that Thilo sought a “spiritual sister- and brother-hood” with the wives of the orphanage overseer (Kalcher) and the schoolteacher (Ortsmann). It is not entirely clear what this meant. Thilo seemed to be interested in forming his own church, but the ministers were concerned about sexual impropriety. There were initially some positive responses to Thilo's arrival; see: Achnes Liesabetha Wöllner [Müller] to GAF, February 8, 1738, AFSt/M 5 A 7: 5; cf. Urlsperger, Samuel, ed., Zweyte Continuation der ausführlichen Nachricht von den saltzburgischen Emigranten, die sich in America niedergelassen haben (Halle: Waysenhaus, 1738–1741), 2574. The eighteen continuations of the detailed reports can be found bound together in three volumes: Samuel Urlsperger, ed., Ausführliche Nachricht von den saltzburgischen Emigranten, die sich in America niedergelassen haben (Halle/Augsburg, 1735–1753). The journal sections of the Ausführliche Nachricht are available in translation in Urlsperger, DR, but letters like Müllers are not always included in the English translations. See also Renate Wilson, “Halle and Ebenezer: Pietism, agriculture and commerce in colonial Georgia” (PhD diss., University of Maryland, College Park, 1988), 83–84.

42 Francke told the ministers that the Trustees had decided to support Thilo with three years of provisions and the SPCK had given him 30 pounds sterling. Samuel Berein to GAF, October 14, 1737, AFSt/M 5 A 5: 13; Friedrich Michael Ziegenhagen (hereafter FMZ) to GAF, September 23, 1737, AFSt/M 5 A 6: 3; GAF to JMB and ICG, November 7, 1737, AFSt/M 5 A 3: 53. For the official letter indicating the George Trustees’ support, see: Harman Verelst to FMZ, October 3, 1737, AFSt/M 5 A 5: 14. The Trustees hoped “Thielow” would also “be assistive to all other Settlers in the Neighbourhood of Ebenezer that may want his help.” The Francke Foundations had previously supported a physician in Ebenezer, Johann Andreas Zwiffler, who left after controversy regarding reimbursement for his work. According to Boltzius, Zwiffler was provided with supplies and medicines from the Francke Foundations, with the intention that he would provide the community with cost-free care. Urlsperger, DR 3 (1972), 117–118, 172–173; and JMB and ICG to Samuel Urlsperger, October 6, 1736, in JMB, Letters, 177–179.

43 Renate Wilson briefly touched on Ebenezer and Thilo in Pious Traders in Medicine: A German Pharmaceutical Network in Eighteenth-Century North America (University Park: Pennsylvania State University, 2000), x, xxiv-xv, 26, 51, 119, 145, 156, 170–172. (Note that Wilson occasionally confuses Thilo's name, calling him variously Georg Ernst Thilo and Ernst Thilo.) See also Krafka, Joseph Jr., “Medicine in Colonial Georgia,” The Georgia Historical Society 20, no. 4 (December 1936), 335 ; Renate Wilson's dissertation, which focuses on Ebenezer's economy: Wilson, “Halle and Ebenezer.”

44 JMB to Jakob Gottfried Bötticher, May 9, 1734; JMB and ICG to GAF, July 12, 1734; JMB and ICG to Samuel Urlsperger, October 6, 1736, in JMB, Letters, 99, 105–6. Urlsperger, Zweyte Continuation (1738–1741), 701, 706–707, 710, 721–22; Urlperger, DR 3 (1972), 156–72, 186–87. On the move of Ebenezer, see FMZ to James Edward Oglethorpe, June 2, 1736, AFSt/M 5 A 3: 40.

45 George Fenwick Jones, introduction to Urlsperger, DR 3 (1972), xix.

46 JMB and ICG to GAF, May 29, 1740, AFSt/M 5 A 9: 6; following the translation in JMB, Letters, 298–299.

47 The name of Urlsperger's physician was recorded as “Plohs.” JMB and ICG to GAF, May 29, 1740, AFSt/M 5 A 9: 6; following translation in JMB, Letters, 298–299.

48 Andreas-Holger Maehle, “Experience, Experiment and Theory: Justifications and Criticisms of Pharmaco-Therapeutic Practices in the Eighteenth Century,” in Medical Theory and Therapeutic Practice in the Eighteenth Century: A Transatlantic Perspective, ed. by Jürgen Helm and Renate Wilson (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2008), 65; Mary Lindemann, Medicine and Society in Early Modern Europe (New York: Cambridge University, 1999), 9–10. In England, Sydenham's experience with quinine and recognition that it was a “specific” transformed his understanding of disease and contributed to the modern classification of disease. Bynum, The History of Medicine, 37–38.

49 On Carl, Juncker, and Thilo, see Wilson, Pious Traders in Medicine, 170–171; on Stahl and the organic method, see Maehle, “Experience, Experiment and Theory,” 65–66; JMB, Letters, 298–299fn. I do not mean to imply here that Stahl, Carl, Juncker, and Thilo were identical in their medical theories; Stahl's stance on Cinchona did, however, influence his students. For a critique of scholars who identify a single “Pietist medicine,” see Jürgen Helm, Krankheit, Bekehrung und Reform. Medizin und Krankenfürsorge im Halleschen Pietismus, Hallesche Forschungen 21 (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 2006), 11–14.

50 Johann Samuel Carl to GAF, March 7, 1743, AFSt/M 5 A 10: 58; Wilson, Pious Traders in Medicine, 171–172; Johann Juncker to GAF, November 7, 1737, AFSt/M 5 A 5: 16; JMB and ICG to FMZ, August 26, 1738, AFSt/M 5 A 7: 22; also in JMB, Letters, 248.

51 GAF to JMB and ICG, November 15, 1743, AFSt/M 5 A 10: 55; GAF to JMB, January 6, 1745, AFSt/M 5 A 11: 17.

52 JMB to GAF, August 26, 1738, in JMB, Letters, 245; JMB and ICG to FMZ, August 26, 1738, AFSt/M 5 A 7: 22; also in JMB, Letters, 248.

53 Wilson, Pious Traders in Medicine, 171–172; Wilson writes that the Cinchona bark had been promoted among the Ebenezer community “against the wishes of the pastors and the local physician from Halle since the 1750s by new arrivals from Augsburg,” and that Cinchona bark was, like opium, never included in shipments of medicine from Halle. Ibid., 51, 151n17. As I discuss in this section, however, correspondence suggests this promotion actually extends back to at least the 1740s. On Gronau and bloodletting, see ICG to GAF, June 9, 1737, AFSt/M 5 A 3: 58.

54 Goetze took over household responsibilities for Francke after the death of her daughter in 1743; she eventually moved to Halle from Leipzig after the death of her husband. She had taken great interest in the Salzburger exiles who had traveled through her town in 1732, and it is possible she met Boltzius in Halle. [Henriette Rosine Goetze?] to [Johanna Henriette Francke?], [1732?], AFSt/M 5 C 5: 10. On Goetze, see: the database of the Archives of the Francke Foundations; the entry for Gotthilf August Francke in Neue Deutsche Biographie, ed. der Historischen Kommission der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, vol. 5 (Berlin, 1971), 325; Heinrich Melchior Mühlenberg, Die Korrespondenz Heinrich Melchior Mühlenbergs: 1740–1752, ed. Kurt Aland, vol. 1 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1986), 14n5.

55 In 1749, Gertraud Kroher Boltzius was around thirty years old. She was from Salzburg and had arrived with the first transport to Ebenezer in 1734. She married Boltzius in 1734 and had four children between 1735 and 1749. She was literate and became skilled at silk reeling. Boltzius trusted his wife with the management of the properties and goods he left behind, making her his sole heir. See: Catharina Kroher Gronau, Gertraud Kroher Boltzius, and Maria Kroher Gruber to Matthias Rohrmoser, July 9, 1739, in Urlsperger, Zweyte Continuation (1738–1741), 2288; JMB to GAF, September 1, 1735, and JMB to Eva Rosina Boltzius, September 1, 1735, in JMB, Letters, 144–145, 148; JMB to Henriette Rosine Goetze, July 28, 1749, in JMB, Letters, 539–540, or AFSt/M 5 B 1: 19; JMB to GAF, March 28, 1749, and JMB to GAF, February 16, 1755, in JMB, Letters, 521, 622; Wilson, Renate, “Public Works and Piety in Ebenezer: The Missing Salzburger Diaries of 1744–1745,” The Georgia Historical Quarterly 77, no. 2 (Summer 1993): 360361 ; Wilson, Pious Traders in Medicine, 154–155; JMB to Samuel Theodor Albinus, March 3, 1755, in JMB, Letters, 623–624; JMB, Testament, June 1, 1763, Hauptarchiv der Franckeschen Stiftungen RB 3: 2; Hermann Heinrich Lemke to GAF, January 27, 1766, Francke-Nachlaß der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin 32/3: 10.

56 JMB to Henriette Rosine Goetze, July 28, 1749, AFSt/M 5 B 1: 19; following translation in JMB, Letters, 538–542. On Thilo's early care of Gertraud Boltzius, see JMB to GAF, March 17 and April 2, 3, 7, 1738, AFSt/M 5 A 5: 23.

57 JMB to Henriette Rosine Goetze, July 28, 1749, AFSt/M 5 B 1: 19; following translation in JMB, Letters, 538–542.

58 The book was titled: Unterricht der bewehrten Hallischen Artzeneyen (Instruction Concerning the tried and tested medicines of Halle). JMB to Henriette Rosine Goetze, July 22, 1749, in JMB, Letters, 532–533, or AFSt/M 5 B 1: 18.

59 Although “hysterical” could refer to a disorder of the passions or nerves, in this case the illness seems to have been caused by damage to Gertraud Boltzius's reproductive organs.

60 Following Kleckley's translation, with slight changes. JMB to Henriette Rosine Goetze, July 28, 1749, AFSt/M 5 B 1: 19; in JMB, Letters, 538–541.

61 JMB to GAF, April 21, 1750, AFSt/M 5 B 1: 28, and in JMB, Letters, 558–559; JMB to GAF, September 14, 1750, in JMB, Letters, 572–573; Daniel Samuel v. Madai, “Stellungnahme zur Diagnose und Behandlung der Erkrankung Gertraud Boltzius,” October 16, 1750, AFSt/M 5 B 1: 32. The doctor J. H. Schomburg also offered a diagnosis of Gertraud Boltzius's illness, but the letter is extremely difficult to read. It is interesting that he addressed the letter to a noble woman, and unclear how they became involved in the case. See J. H. Schomburg to [Charlotte Christiane Albertine Henckel v. Donnersmarck?], December 27, 1749, AFSt/M 5 B 1: 31.

62 Urlsperger, DR 13-14 (1989), 178. For Jones’ explanation of the Rothe Friesel, see his comments on v-vi, and 226n24.

63 Urlsperger, DR 13 &14 (1989), 204–205. Following Jones’ translation.

64 Helm, Krankheit, Bekehrung und Reform, 28. Translation mine.

65 GAF to JMB, March 27, 1743, AFSt/M 5 A 10: 34. Cf. Wilson, “Halle and Ebenezer,” 19.

66 The first transport to Ebenezer included approximately 50 immigrants. Wilson, “Halle and Ebenezer,” 86; JMB, Letters, 35n79. The first transport was supplemented by transports in 1735, 1737, and 1741, bringing the population to 249 adults and children by the end of 1742. This number did not significantly change until the early 1750s, when new transports of immigrants and increasing childhood survival rates finally brought the population to approximately 650 people by 1754. Although small, this number nonetheless represented, according to Wilson, 12 percent of the population of the entire colony of Georgia at this time. Ibid., 99–100.

67 See especially Boltzius's journal entries from January 28, October 12, 21, November 3, 6, 9, 17, 18, 24, 26, 28, and December 6, 8, 9, 13, 1750, in Urlsperger, DR 15 (1990), 161–207. Instead of offering a direct translation of the German scripture Boltzius cited, I use the John 13:7 translation from the King James Version, the contemporary English-language protestant Bible.

68 See Boltzius's journal entry from December 13, 1750, in Urlsperger, DR 15 (1990), 206–207. Following Jones's translation.

69 John Wesley, Primitive Physic: Or An Easy and Natural Method of Curing most Diseases, 21st ed. (Philadelphia: Prichard & Hall, 1789), xxvii-xxviii. I consulted the 1789 editions located at the American Antiquarian Society and the Library Company of Philadelphia. On the publication history of Primitive Physic, see Madden, A cheap, safe and natural medicine, 11–12; G. S. Rousseau, “John Wesley's Primitive Physic,” 253–256.

70 The most extensive study of Wesley and medicine is Madden, A cheap, safe and natural medicine. See also: Rousseau, “John Wesley's Primitive Physic”; English, “John Wesley”; Ott, Philip W., “John Wesley on Health as Wholeness,” Journal of Religion and Health 30, no. 1 (March 1991): 4357 ; Haas, “John Wesley's View”; Madden, Deborah, “Medicine and Moral Reform: The Place of Practical Piety in John Wesley's Art of Physic,” Church History 73, no. 4 (November 2004): 741758 ; Maddox, Randy L., “John Wesley on Holistic Health and Healing,” Methodist History 46, no. 1 (October 2007): 433 . Finally, Guerrini and Mack both include discussions of the topic within their larger work: Guerrini, Obesity and Depression in the Enlightenment, 160–162; Mack, “Religious Dissenters,” 3; Phyllis Mack, Heart Religion in the British Enlightenment: Gender and Emotion in Early Methodism (New York: Cambridge University, 2008), 174–182.

71 Rousseau, “John Wesley's Primitive Physic,” 242. The 1789 edition of the Library Company of Philadelphia, for example, has at least three different owners listed on the first two pages; the names are difficult to make out because they have been obscured by a bookplate of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, but the third name begins with “Margaret.” The 1788 edition at the Library Company appears to have been re-bound with extra pages interspersed throughout, so that the owner could take his or her own notes. There is only one place in which such a note was added, after St. Anthony's Fire (pp. 23–24): “St. Anthony's Fire. Strong liquors should be avoided as poison. This disease raged severely in the year 1093 in the 11th Century under Urban the 2d. The Religious Order of St Anthony was formed for the relief of persons afflicted with this dreadfull disorder. NB. Scorbutic people are most subject to it.” John Wesley, Primative Physic: or an Easy and Natural Method of Curing Most Diseases 16th ed. (Trenton: Quequelle and Wilson, 1788).

72 Although the theological significance of early Methodism is often overlooked in favor of emphasizing its “practical” theology or piety, the Methodists’ practical interest in medicine and health demonstrates deeply theological commitments, including a strong belief in providence. Noll, America's God, 331–331; E. Brooks Holifield, Theology in America: Christian Thought from the Age of the Puritans to the Civil War (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University, 2003), 256–257.

73 Madden uses the phrase “Christian enlightened thinking” without offering an exact definition. Madden, “Medicine and Moral Reform,” 742, 745. Two scholars briefly mention Wesley's understanding of providence: English, “John Wesley,” 74–75; Haas, “John Wesley's View,” 392.

74 Wesley's great-grandfather, Bartholomew Wesley, worked as both a minister and a physician until the 1662 Act of Uniformity, after which he supported himself solely through medical work. Maddox, “John Wesley,” 5, 26–27, 99; Ott, “John Wesley on Health,” 43–50; Rousseau, “John Wesley's Primitive Physic,” 243; Madden, “Medicine and Moral Reform,” 744; Guerrini, Obesity and Depression in the Enlightenment, 49–50, 67, 160. On clergy practicing medicine in other contexts, see Watson, Angelical Conjunction.

75 Wesley, Primative Physic (1788), iv-v. The preface remained the same throughout the various editions, but the citations in this section are taken from the 1788 edition at the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass. (unless otherwise noted). On Cheyne and regimen, see Guerrini, Obesity and Depression in the Enlightenment, 139–140.

76 Wesley, Primative Physic (1788), v-vi.

77 Ibid., vi.

78 Ibid., vi-x; Madden, A Cheap, Safe, and Natural Medicine, 101.

79 Wesley, Primative Physic (1788), viii, x-xi; Madden, A Cheap, Safe, and Natural Medicine, 108–111; Maddox, “John Wesley,” 23. On Wesley's efforts to make Cheyne's advice—directed to the middle and upper classes—available to the lower class, see Maddox, “John Wesley,” 19. On Wesley's conception of the limitations of human knowledge, see especially Haas, “John Wesley's View,” 385–386.

80 Mack, Heart Religion, 178; Madden, A Cheap, Safe, and Natural Medicine, 113–115; Rousseau, “John Wesley's Primitive Physic,” 247–250; Haas, “John Wesley's View,” 381–382; Wesley, Primative Physic (1788), xi, xvii.

81 Wesley, Primative Physic (1788), xiv. This passage is misattributed to Wesley by Ott, “John Wesley,” 51, and Mack, Heart Religion, 175, who quotes it from E. Brooks Holifield, Health and medicine in the Methodist tradition: journey toward wholeness (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Co., 1986), 21.

82 Guerrini notes that “it is not known whether Cheyne read Stahl.” Guerrini, Obesity and Depression in the Enlightenment, 124–125; cf. Mack (2008), 176–177. Guerrini's analysis of the religious dimensions of Cheyne's work questions Roy Porter's description of Cheyne's later work, The English Malady (1733), as “a highly secularized work”. Guerrini argues that “a pervasive sense of sin underlies Cheyne's discussion, culminating in his autobiography,” which appears at the end of the book. Guerrini finds this in an important continuity with Cheyne's earlier work and subsequent development. Ibid., 149; cf. Maddox, “John Wesley,” 13–16.

83 Wesley, Primitive Physic (1789), xxvii-xxviii. The 16th edition, cited throughout this section, was published in Trenton in 1788, and the 12th edition was published in Philadelphia (by Steuart) in 1764. I have viewed the 1764 edition at the Library Company of Philadelphia. It has the standard early prefaces and quotations from Cheyne, but predates Wesley's insertion of asterisks to indicate cures he had himself tried. John Wesley, Primitive Physic, 12th ed. (Philadelphia: Steuart, 1764).

84 The Arminian Magazine: Consisting of Extracts and Original Treatises on General Redemption. Volume 1. (Philadelphia: Prichard and Hall, 1789), iii-v. I consulted the edition at the Library Company, which was owned by John Dickinson. On the Book Concern, see Noll, America's God, 336; Holifield, Theology in America, 257; Nathan Bangs, History of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Volume IV (New York: Mason and Lane, 1839), ch. 16; on Imitation of Christ and holistic care, see Maddox, “John Wesley,” 8; on Methodist membership, see Noll, America's God, 181.

85 Noll, America's God, 331–336; Haas, “John Wesley's View,” 382–383; on early Methodist involvement in the founding of voluntary hospitals, see Madden, “Medicine and Moral Reform,” 746.

The author wishes to thank Catherine Brekus, W. Clark Gilpin, Richard Rosengarten, Sara Damiano, Vincent Evener, and participants in the Friday Seminar at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies for their feedback and suggestions on earlier versions of this essay. She also gratefully acknowledges two fellowships that supported the research for this essay: the Fritz-Thyssen Stipendium at the Archive of the Francke Foundations in Halle (Saale), and the Kate B. and Hall J. Peterson Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts. This essay was awarded the 2015 Sidney E. Mead Prize.

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