Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. IX.]            Medical Practitioners.
East-Bourne often appeared in Courts of Law on its own account. Nevertheless, in 1803 its inhabitants were cited into the Court of King's Bench, and thereupon it was determined that a foreigner might under old law gain a settlement in England by occupying a 15L tenement for 40 days. Lord Ellenborough (one of whose sons, by the way, the Hon. H. S. Law, was a visitor to our house in 1879), in his judgment laid down the following proposition :" The law of humanity, which is anterior to all positive laws, obliges us to afford them [foreigners] relief to save them from starving." This case of Rex v. East-Bourne, which is reported in 4 East, 103, settled therefore a point of law of which East-Bourners maybe proud from a philanthropic point of view.
East-Bourne has always been notoriously such a healthy place, that excepting during the one year of 1863 when the town was devastated by scarlet fever, it has not been a very happy hunting-ground for doctors. In 1851 I think there were only three. Nor do I remember any great doctors except one as visitors to East-Bourne. The one was Sir James Ranald Martin, of Indian fame, who with his wife and family were often here in the " Fifties." Sir William Broadbent had a patient here at a very much later period, and I was much amused one day when standing on the East-Bourne platform. A lady came up to me and in the most effusive dulcet tones said " Sir William Broadbent, I think." I was obliged, of course, to decline with regret the honour. When Sir William's Life was published with his portrait in it, I tried to trace some resemblance between his face and mine, but utterly failed. So I cannot explain the lady's error of judgment.
Dr. Hall had been a surgeon in the Royal Navy, and one of the ships in which he had served had been commanded by the 19th Earl of Shrewsbury, who was described as one of the greatest tyrants that ever trod the quarter-deck. I only knew him by sight as a member of my London club.
In 1833, there was a great battle between the Coastguard (often called in those days Blockade men or
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