The memoirs of Sir Samuel Wilks (1824-1911)1 is an excellent account of a great number of clinical and physiological contributions to medicine during the 19th century. It is part autobiographical, part biographical. As he was an acquaintance or associate of many of the leaders of London medicine of the 19th century, it is to be expected that the urban physicians received proportionately greater biographical attention. Wilks, endowed with a warm but strong personality, was associated with Guy's Hospital throughout his professional career, and, as editor of Guy's Hospital Reports, he did much to establish firmly the diseases described by Bright, Addison, Gull, Hodgkin, Paget, and others.
At the age of 16, with the avowed intent of becoming a general practitioner, Wilks was apprenticed to their family's doctor. A fee was given for the apprenticeship, which involved preparation of medicines, vaccinating, bleeding, and extraction of teeth. The following year a