Melbourne, Wilson and Mackinnon, 1866.
Octavo, [ii], 386 pages with a few illustrations plus a hand-coloured lithograph.
Contemporary half calf and cloth; leather a little rubbed at the extremities and slightly worn; endpapers offset; a few 1950s Commonwealth Department of Health stamps and related call numbers on a few pages; text paper uniformly tanned, with a few sections moderately foxed; a very good copy.
Twelve monthly issues bound together with a title leaf and a cumulative index at the rear. There are numerous articles of interest in the volume, including lengthy accounts (totalling 36 pages) of the recently concluded Beaney murder trials. James George Beaney (1828-1891), surgeon, politician and philanthropist: by the mid-1860s in Melbourne he had 'established himself as a prominent surgeon, a position he maintained although he "outlived many a calumny" in doing so.... [Not least] in four remarkable inquests on patients dying after surgical operations, he was placed virtually in the position of having to defend himself against charges of incompetence. In three of these in 1875 the verdict was in his favour, although he was criticized for failing to adhere to the Melbourne Hospital's rule that consultation with other honorary surgeons must precede a major operation. The first inquest, in 1866, led to Beaney's trial for the murder of a barmaid, Mary Lewis, who had died following an allegedly illegal operation. The jury failed to agree, but at a second trial, in which Beaney's counsel, Butler Aspinall, called no witnesses for the defence but relied on his cross-examination and final address, Beaney was rightly acquitted. Later C.E. Reeves and David Thomas, both prominent medical practitioners, as well as Beaney himself, published strong criticisms of the unsatisfactory medical testimony for the Crown. In all these cases the evidence is not conclusive that Beaney's surgical skill and judgment were unsound, especially as a regrettable element of professional animosity, not rare then in medicine as in other fields, cannot be excluded' ('Australian Dictionary of Biography'). The hand-coloured plate accompanies an article by Thomas Shearman Ralph on observations with the microscope on the effects of various chemicals on blood (11 pages).