Stephen Freeman of Antigua and London: A Respectable Rosicrucian
Issue: Vol 6 No. 1 (2015)
Subject Areas: Religious Studies
Until recently, Stephen Freeman (1739–90) was known only as the most obscure of a group of quack doctors attacked by James Makittrick Adair in Medical Cautions for the Consideration of Invalids. Adair’s censure is severe, and sufficiently absurd to be dismissed as hyperbole. However, the current author’s recent rediscovery of an apparently singular survival of Freeman’s reply, Strictures on Adair’s Bath Medical Cautions, demonstrates that while Adair’s description of Freeman as an indentured blacksmith in Antigua who abandoned his family to be supported by the parish is unkind, it is not entirely inaccurate. Freeman’s pamphlet is doubly remarkable as a rare autobiography by a poor and unwilling emigrant to Antigua, and as a memoir of a quack seeking to refashion himself as a reputable physician. In Antigua and London, Freeman relied on strategies commonly used by the rising middling classes to improve financial and social status: He established advantageous family connections, pursued a prestigious career, and joined a variety of societies, including freemasonry, which he may have been introduced to in the West Indies. Strictures is preeminently a documented narrative of Freeman’s struggle to construct and defend his respectability. His, however, is a cautionary tale, and ultimately none of the strategies he employed brought him the regularity and respectability he sought.
Author: Susan Mitchell Sommers
Library and Museum of Freemasonry, United Grand Lodge of England.
The National Archives, UK
Somerset Heritage Centre
Newspapers (London unless noted)
The Antigua Gazette (St. John’s, Antigua)
Derby Mercury (Derby)
Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser
London Evening Post
Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser
The Morning Herald
Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser
Manchester Mercury (Manchester)
Northampton Mercury (Northampton)
St James’s Chronicle, or the British Evening Post
Salem Mercury (Salem, Massachusetts)
The Universal Chronicle or Weekly Magazine,
World and Fashionable Advertiser
Acts of Assembly Passed in the Charibbee Leeward Islands from 1690 to 1730: And the Acts of Antigua, 1668-1724, 1730 with Acts of Assembly Passed in the Island of Antigua from 1725 to 1760, 2 vols. (London: 1734-60).
Adair, James Makrittick. Medical Cautions for the consideration of Invalids. (Bath: R. Cruttwell, 1786, 1787).
—An essay on regimen, for the preservation of health. (London: J & P Wilson, 1799).
Anderson, Peter ed. Officers and graduates of University and King’s College Aberdeen MVD-MDCCLX. (Aberdeen: New Spalding Club, 1893).
Andrews, James. Andrews's London Directory. (London: J. Andrews and Son, 1790).
Archenholtz, Johann Wilhelm von., ed., The English Lyceum. (Hamburg: 1787-8).
Baker, John, Philip Yorke, ed. The diary of John Baker, barrister of the Middle Temple, solicitor-general of the Leeward Islands: being extracts therefrom. (London: Hutchinson & Co, 1931).
Barfoot, Peter and John Wilkes. The Universal British Directory. (London: Champante and Whitrow, 1791).
Birtles, Ernest. Annals of the Lodge of Joppa No. 188: from 1789-1933. (London: 1933).
Brunsman, Denver. The Evil Necessity: British Naval Impressment in the Eighteenth-century Atlantic World. (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013).
Bucholz, Robert. The Database of Court Officers 1660-1837, courtofficers.ctsdh.luc.edu/
Carter, T. M. “Provincial Warrants, Part II.” Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, vol. 42 (1929), 18-19.
Clark, Peter. British Clubs and Societies 1580-1800: The Origins of an Associational World. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).
Corry, John. The Detector of Quackery, 2nd ed. (London: B. Crosby, 1802).
Dennis, Victoria Solt. Discovering Friendly and Fraternal Societies: Their Badges and Regalia. (Risborough, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2005).
Duncan, Andrew, ed. Medical Commentaries for the year 1785. (London: J. Murray, 1786).
Dyer, Colin. The Grand Stewards and their Lodge. (London: Grand Stewards Lodge, 1985).
The English Reports, vol. 97, King’s Bench Division 26. (London: Stevens & Sons, 1909).
Evenden, Doreen. The Midwives of Seventeenth-Century London. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).
Freeman, Stephen. England’s Glory, a Poem to the King. (London: printed for the author, n.d. 1777).
—The Farrier’s Vade Mecum; or, Gentleman’s Pocket Companion: a Compendious Treatise on the Practice of Horse Medicine, or the Art of Farriery. (London: J. Wheeble, 1772).
—A Letter to Hypochondriac & Nervous Patients. (London: 1789).
—The Ladies’ Friends and Family Physical Library, 5th ed. (London: James Nunn, 1788).
—The new good samaritan: Or, Domestic practical physician; extracted chiefly from the medical essays of the learned academies in Europe. (London: 1780).
—Strictures on Adair’s Bath Medical Cautions. (1786).
—Venus Uncover’d, or the Patient's victory over that cruel and dangerous disorder, the venereal disease, 17th ed. (London: u.d.1770s).
Hans, Nicholas. New Trends in Education in the Eighteenth Century. (London: Taylor & Francis, 2003).
Hunt, Margaret The Middling Sort: Commerce, Gender, and the Family in England, 1680-1780. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996).
Johnson, Joseph, ed. The Medical Register for the year 1783. (London: Joseph Johnson, 1783).
—The Critical Review. (London: A. Hamilton, 1787).
Kent, Max. The British Enlightenment and the Spirit of the Industrial Revolution: The Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (1754--1815), PhD thesis, University of California, Los Angeles, 2007.
Lane, Rachael. An Address to Pregnant Ladies and Others. (London: 1784).
Lane’s Masonic Records, hrionline.ac.uk/lane/
Leary, Lewis. “Charles Crawford, A Forgotten Poet of Early Philadelphia.” Soundings: Some Early American Writers. (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1975).
Levander, F.W. “The Sols and some other London Societies of the Eighteenth Century.” vol. 25 Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, vol. 25 (1913), 9-38.
— “The Collecteana of Rev. Daniel Lysons, FRS, FSA, Part II” Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, vol. 29. (1916), 7-100.
McIntosh, Christopher. The Rose Cross and the Age of Reason, 2nd ed. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2011).
Marriott, Charles. The new Royal English dictionary. (London: J. Wenman, 1780).
Michener, Ron. “Money in the American Colonies”. EH.Net Encyclopedia, Robert Whaples, ed. June 8, 2003. eh.net/encyclopedia/money-in-the-american-colonies/
Murray, John, ed. The English Review. (London: J Murray, 1785).
Namier, L. and J. Brooke., eds., “Westminster.” The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, Online (History of Parliament Trust), historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1754-1790/constituencies/westminster Accessed 20 June 2015.
Nisbet, Stuart. “Early Glasgow Sugar Plantations in the Caribbean.” Scottish Archaeological Journal, vol. 31, no.1/2. (2009), 115-36.
Oliver, Vere Langford. The history of the island of Antigua, 3 vols.. (London: Mitchell and Hughes, 1894.
O’Shaughnessy, Andrew. An Empire Divided. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000).
Powell, John. Bristol Privateers and Ships of War. (Bristol: Arrowsmith, 1930).
Révauger, Cécile and Charles Porset, eds. Le Monde Maçonnique au XVIIIe siècle. (Paris: Honoré Champion, 2013).
Rodger, N.A.M. The Wooden World: An Anatomy of the Georgian Navy. (New York: Norton, 1996).
Royal Society of Arts, Transactions of the society, instituted at London, for the encouragement of arts, manufactures, and commerce, vol. 4. (London: James Phillips, 1783).
The Scots Magazine. (Edinburgh: Sands, Donaldson, Murray, and Cochran, 1759).
Sheridan, R. B. “The Rise of a Colonial Gentry: A Case Study of Antigua, 1730-1775.” The Economic History Review, ns, vol. 13, no. 3. (1961), 342-57.
Smith, Woodruff. Consumption and the Making of Respectability, 1600-1800. (New York: Routledge, 2002).
Speck, W. A. “Charles Rainsford.” in Révauger and Porset, eds., Le Monde Maçonnique. (Paris: Honoré Champion, 2013), vol. 3, 2333-6.
Trewman, Robert ed. The Principles of Free-Masonry Delineated. (Exeter: R. Trewman, 1777).
Valenze, Deborah. The Social Life of Money in the English Past. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).
Wallis, Peter John, and Ruth Wallis, T. D. Whittet, eds. Eighteenth Century Medics: Subscriptions, Licenses, Apprenticeships . (University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 1985).
Ward, Geoffrey. “Nowhere is Perfect: British Naval Centres on the Leeward Islands Station during the Eighteenth Century.” Caribbean Connections, vol. 1, issue 1. (Field Research Centre, Antigua and Barbuda, February 2011), 1-6.
Wonnacott, William. “Members of the country Stewards’ Lodge.” Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, vol. 36 (1923), 153-78.