1st Edition

The Charitable Imperative Hospitals and Nursing in Ancien Régime and Revolutionary France

By Colin Jones Copyright 1989
    334 Pages
    by Routledge

    Drawing on a wide variety of archival and secondary sources, The Charitable Imperative, originally published in 1989, provides an overview of the very different institutions that treated the poor in France from the seventeenth through to the early nineteenth centuries: hospitals and poorhouses, military infirmaries, reformatories for prostitutes, holding places for the insane, and so on. It recovers much of the daily realities of the institutions for those who lived in or passed through them and highlights the very limited progress made in most of them by the medical profession.

    The principle of charity which underpinned this system of relief placed moral and social obligations on all who dealt with the poor: a kind of charitable imperative affected the thinking and behaviour of the administrators who managed the institutions, the nursing sisters who gave their lives, and the donors who gave up their possessions to meet the needs of the poor. However, the poor were also expected to pay their part, with the result that the Ancien Régime charity subsumed compulsion and repression as well as compassion. In spite of efforts to introduce a state-sponsored welfare system during the French Revolution, the charitable imperative was a legacy of the Ancien Régime to much of the nineteenth century.

    The breadth of institutions covered, and the length of the historical period under review, will ensure the appeal of this book to a wide variety of historians. In particular, the chapters on nursing sisters will be of great interest to social historians as well as those working in the history of medicine.

    List of Maps, Figures and Tables.  Acknowledgements.  Abbreviations.  Introduction: The Charitable Imperative  Part I: The Social Role of Hospitals  1. Hospitals in Seventeenth-Century France  2. (With Michael Sonenscher) The Social Functions of the Hospital in Eighteenth-Century France: The Case of the Hôtel-Dieu of Nîmes  Part II: Hospital Nursing  3. Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac, and the Revival of Nursing in the Seventeenth Century  4. The Daughters of Charity in the Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Eloi in Montpellier before the French Revoution  5. The Daughters of Charity in Hospitals from Louis XIII to Louis-Philippe  Part III: Charity, Repression, and Medicine  6. The Welfare of the French Foot-Soldier from Richelieu to Napoleon  7. The Montpellier Bon Pasteur and the Repression of Prostitution in the Ancien Régime  8. The Prehistory of the Lunatic Asylum in Provincial France: The Treatment of the Insane in Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century Montpellier.  Index.


    Colin Jones