I was minding my own business this evening when the attached picture got retweeted into my timeline with some suitable scorn attached to it.
Such a blatant example of religious superstition and opposition to progress. Outraged, I tell you - outraged? I was so outraged I did some research.
James Simpson, the concerned doctor, was a steady member of the Church of Scotland. He practised in Scotland, so on two bases the scandalised interests of the "godly men" of the Church of England would have had no effect on him. In the 1840s the Church of England had bishops in the Lords, as it does today, but no veto over the practice of medicine.
In 1853, the Supreme Governor of the Church of England waded into the row in a particularly blatant and outrageous way. You're gonna be outraged by this. Blatant? Outraged? I should say.
Those of you who know your history will know the Supreme Governor was Queen Victoria. She was given chloroform when she gave birth to Prince Leopold. So outraged was she by the unbiblical method, that four years later she used it again for Princess Beatrice.
So the whole "Evil Churchmen who Opposed Chloroform" story is drivel.
And it's anaesthetic. There's another "a" in it.