This reformist rhetoric was a call to arms that flowed like quicksilver from Beddoes’s pen. Beddoes, however, couched his protests not in the language of careers open to talent, fairtrading, professional closure, of the fine-print of parliamentary statutes and legal powers, but in the idiom of public virtue. Indeed, Beddoes wrote in a moral language far more hard­ hitting than the ‘dearly beloved’ pieties that fill the pages of the formal works of medical ethics penned at this time.2 If John Gregory and Thomas Percival saw the ills of medicine as super­ ficial, Beddoes thought them systemic, constitutional, terminal

even. Many reformers around 1800 looked to change through tinkering; Beddoes espoused the radical philosophy of moral renewal.