William Godwin's Diary


The Medical Society of London was founded in 1773 by Dr John Coakley Lettsom (1744-1815), a Quaker physician, as a forum in which physicians, surgeons, and apothecaries could meet on an equal social footing, present papers and patients, and discuss medical matters and unusual cases. In 1787 the Society moved from Crane Court, Fleet Street, to 3 Bolt Court, over the road from Samuel Johnson's house. By 1789 there were over 250 members, with 50 overseas corresponding members. The Society library contained books on medicine, natural philosophy, and travel literature, as well as dictionaries and manuscripts. Godwin may have been visiting in connection with recent arrests for seditious libel, as Lettsom was well-known for his work on prison conditions and in this year published Hints Respecting the Prison of Newgate.