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Anesthesia | The Swindle | 2
It's August eighteen forty a hot sticky afternoon and Saint Louis inside the offices of a saddle making company JBC sickles Inc. A bookkeeper named Mordecai delay is going through a stack of mail when he suddenly stops cold. Where did that Morton fellow say he'd come from before here, his boss, James sickles, yawns swats fly Cincinnati what's gotten into you? You're white is a sheet delaying thrust a letter into sickles hands. This letter concerns one William Morton a fraud. A cheat a scoundrel of the highest order. He skims the rest. Oh my God. When did Morton leave for New Orleans a few days ago. He's probably there by now. How much credit did we give him seven thousand dollars? Christ will be ruined. There's a scramble in the office. Send a letter out on the next steamboat down. I'll send another through the mail and another on horseback. Tell them to cancel all orders from Morton. The next week is a tense one in the office sickles in Lang check for new mail five times a day. Finally, a week later a message from New Orleans arrives. What's it say he got seven thousand dollars worth of clothing onto a boat, but they stopped sweet Jesus that was close. Where's more? Now says he skipped town got down at like to wring his neck, no way. We'll ever find him now. But he still has a fiance here. Right. I wonder. Over the next few days delaying in a friend's scour every boarding house in Saint Louis. They strike out over and over until one day. There is come on. Let's let's grab more Morton they dash over William Morton is handsomely dressed. And as he turns he flashes a bright, easy smile. But his eyes go wide when he sees delaying. And for once there's a hint of fear there, it passes quickly and Morton is soon wafting charm, again, Mr. delaying what a pleasant surprise. I was just about to call on your offices that is a lie, and you know, it, and we know all about your past to your nothing about a common cheat. Here Marta guy it pains me to say that. It's all simple misunderstanding. He looked so sincerely upset that delaying. Hesitates, a misunderstanding. I suppose you heard from someone in Cincinnati abusing my reputation. Well, yes. And I suppose they mentioned Rochester Worcester they did. And I love nothing more than to clear things up. Please come up to my room. And I'll explain so delaying and his friend follow Morton, it's all pretty confusing, though, those letters seem legitimate. I'll just have to listen to what more than sets delaying thinks as they trudge upstairs, but inside the room. There's no time for talk. What there is is a pair of pistols on the mantelpiece. And when the door opens more lunges for them. The lengths friend gets to the pistols a moment before morning. You little piece of maggot filth. I'm going to expose you to the whole town. Morton is beaten, and he knows he collapses into a chair head in hands. You can't do the dear God shoot me before you do that. Or I'll shoot myself, I could care less. If you do one less cheat in the world, but he looked so wretched that the Lang's anger, falls flat. Once again, I'm giving you twenty four hours to get out of town or else delaying in his friend slammed the door behind them and the moment, they're gone William Morton, stops crying. Well, the games up here. Sport grabs a suitcase and starts tossing his things inside. We had a good run though. Such was the life of William PG. Morton always on the Lam just one step ahead of the law by inch Twenty-one he'd been run out of half the major cities in America. But believe it or not this conman this common crook would play a key role in an innovation that would do more to relieve suffering than almost any other in history for it was Morton above all who brought anesthesia to the world of medicine, but not without causing a lot more heartache I. American innovations is sponsored in part by sphere. Oh, got a little innovator in your life. Maybe you've learned by now that the terms computer, science and curriculum don't exactly sound thrilling to them, but cultivating steam skills is important. And that's where Vero comes in play is a powerful teacher and fear will inspire curiosity and creativity in your kids sphere uses apple able programmable robots to bring learning to life through play like the Spiro mini which packs a ton of fun into a tiny. Apple abled robotic ball. You can drive many using different modes with this fear. Oh, play up modes like joystick tilt slingshot screamed drive kick drive or face drive, a feature that lets you use your facial expressions to drive mini, which is really cool and absolutely hilarious. Spheroid? Many can also be. Used with the app as video game controller you can already play three games. With more updates on the way, go beyond coat and have fun at the same time with sphere. Oh, you can get ten percent off your order. If you go to Spiro dot com and use promo code a I ten at checkout. That's S P H E R O dot com. Promo code a ten. From wondering, I'm Steven Johnson. And this is American innovations in our first episode on anesthesia, we met a boyish dentist named Horace. Wells who attended a matrix frolic and watched his friend, bloody his leg without feeling any pain. Wells realized that nitrous oxide laughing gas might hold the key to making pain free surgery. A real possibility in this episode course wells crosses paths with a petty crook named William Morton, this unlikely duo would eventually make medical history. This is part two of our three part series on anesthesia is is called the swindle. And it begins in Worcester. Massachusetts. William Morton had been born near Charlton in south central Massachusetts in eighteen nineteen to parents who had more optimism than financial sense, Missouri teams. They sold the family farm to open a dry goods store in town it quickly failed which is when Morton had to drop out of school and began work at a tavern in Worcester. As far as Morton is concerned only suckers work for living. He was always on the lookout for a quick buck and one day. He saw his chance his boss the tavern keeper stepped out to run some errands. I want you to sweep up in here an empty this tunes. I've gotta run to the market. Yes, sir. And be sure to sweep the corners. And be sure to sweep the corners fat pig. As soon as the coast is clear Morton makes his move he sneaks over to the till and breaks the lock on stupid thing. But in the middle of the robbery the tavern keeper returns forgot boy, I need you to what the hell you doing get back here. Morton is caught red handed and the tavern keeper beats them black and blue then Morton's boss calls in the sheriff. I've half a mind lock you up some. But your parents are good people. We don't have room in the jail. Anyhow after the holiday last weekend all cut you a deal you go free so long as you never set foot in Worcester. Again, Morton takes the deal. It's the first town. He's not welcome in. It won't be the last. And Morton learned a valuable lesson from the intimate. The burglary was too risky. He vowed to be a subtler sort of criminal from then on a confidence man he'd charm his way into people's good graces, and then rob them with a smile. So we moved to Rochester, New York and remade his whole image. He was no longer the poor son of destitute farmers now he was William T G. Morton man about town. Rumors began spreading that he was the nephew of the governor of Massachusetts. Rumors spread by Morton himself. He became a dandy. In fact, everyone who ever met Morton commented on his appearance. He looked like a romantic lead on stage tall slender. Elegant was sharp. Blue is we've dark hair and a fashionable moustache. He also dressed beautifully dark, suits flamboyance. Silk, scarves, fancy buttons any wars pants high. Deliberately to show off his shoes. His peacocking was all the more striking because it clashed with the Sambre sober. Fashions of the day. Morton's looks charm introductions to the best families in Rochester. There was simply a buzz about the young man something exciting and being around any quickly hit upon the scam that he'd recycle again. And again over the next decade. He found an ambitious businessman in town and began talking shop with him soon. Morton had confessed his long standing dream of opening a store, apparently he wanted to sell spices silks and other exotic items pretty soon the businessman caught Mortenson doozy. Azam and agreed to lend money to get started Morton sold the goods, but didn't pay the partner back. He simply pocketed the profit before long, the businessman realized Morton was holding out on to make matters worse. He caught Morton passing bad. Checks and fudging the account books. Morten talked his way out of any real trouble. Despite this narrow escape Morton remain undaunted without wasting anytime. He picked out a new Mark and convinced him to forego over five thousand dollars more the cycle repeated itself over and over again, all the proceeds ended up in Morton's pockets. During his months in Rochester. Morton also managed to get himself excommunicated from his church, not for his dodgy business activities, but for swearing to be sure he wasn't a complete moral reprobate. One of the first things he did with his money was sent his sister to boarding school. So she could have shot at a better life, but he blew plenty of cash on himself as well and his creditors. Eventually confronted him rather than talk his way out of the mess Morton, taunted them, he was just nineteen years old he pointed out and under the laws in place at the time that made a minor as a result the creditors. Couldn't touch him. He skipped town without paying back a single dime. Not long after that. He ended up in Cincinnati. Where his swindling rose to even greater heights. First things first he talked another Mark into loaning him sixty five hundred dollars which he once again used to. Purchase goods and keep the profits. But this time the scam. Didn't stop there with the money. He made more than manage to work as way into Cincinnati's highest social circles, he became especially close with a Jewish family who had a lovely young daughter. Morton, of course, had his sights set on her fortune and quickly proposed. Unfortunately, her father suspected as much. So he came up with a test for his perspective. Son-in-law sit down William. Thank you, sir. It's an honor for you to welcome me into your home. You know, how deeply I care for your daughter. Yes. Keep saying that but words are cheap. I need to know that you'll back up your words with action. I will sir. Depend on this t- is excellent. By the way, you know, we expect grandchildren has to high welcomed them, and we expect you to raise them in the Jewish faith with all that entails. Certainly this includes any male chill. You are props aware of certain Jewish custom involving baby boys that a few weeks of age. Yes. I I am aware. Good. In fact, we expect all men joining this family to adhere to this custom all men, there's a pregnant pause. Are you suggesting that that I should not suggesting William demanding or else? You can't see my daughter again you have one week. Amazingly Morton went through with it. He founded doctor, and despite being a grown man got himself circumcised. But the marriage never took place. Eventually morton's. Creditors came calling again, the Manding repayment at which point Morton deployed yet. Another trick. To calm down this new crop of creditors. He told them that he knew some very important people back east who could make good on his debts with letters from them. Suffice to tide everyone over the creditors. Grudgingly. Agreed. And in a surprisingly short period of time Morton produced the letters they came from several venerable old firms in Rochester and Boston and they praised Morton in the highest terms. The creditors in Cincinnati were suspicious naturally. But when they checked the postmarks they saw that the postage stamps had indeed been canceled in those cities to their surprise Morton appeared to have excellent credit appeared to in truth. The letters were frauds. Morton had written them himself or more likely dictated them to someone since he could barely spell then seal the envelopes up and cancelled the stamps himself using a pair of post office seals he'd stolen back east. The swindle worked like a Chow. Arm. His creditors relaxed and gave Morton a few more months. But he couldn't put them off forever. Rochester thirties, eventually traced Morton to Cincinnati and exposed him as a fraud. This ratcheted up the pressure. He realized it was time to move on any abandoned his fiancee to her fate. He even elected to pay the doctor for the circumcision the pattern repeated itself in his next stop Saint Louis as we heard at the beginning of the episode the fake business fiance, the come up he simply fled again. Pulling more scams in Baltimore and Washington DC after each exposure, the local newspaper would run stories about him denouncing him in the strongest terms in Saint Louis. The bookkeeper delaying an article whose headline read beware villain. It went on to say. There is no point of villainy at which conscience would induce them to pause. His mind must be constantly occupied and concocting schemes of deliberate Rask calorie. So. Elaborately planned so tropes in their nature. He concluded that the gallows were too good for the likes of Morton pretty soon. Morton was running out of cities to scam word was getting around. But in the early eighteen forty's, he got a lifeline when a relative died leaving him a nice nest egg he returned to his hometown of Charleston, Massachusetts and moved into the old rundown. Family home. There Charlton was quiet and rural and safe. There was little chance of creditors. Tracking him down there. He was tired of life on the Lam anyway and was considering going straight something in medicine sounded appealing a new career. But how would he an uneducated Griff to get started? It turns out that the answer would show up literally on his doorstep in a stroke of monumental luck. Morton, meet someone in Charleston, a few months later, someone with prospects. His name is Horace wells. And he. Is just the sort of innocent, trusting soul that William. Morton knows exactly how to manipulate. I find it so inspiring to learn from experts for passionate about sharing their knowledge. And that's what I love about. The great courses. The great courses brings you engaging immersive learning experiences about all sorts of topics lately, I've been enjoying their incredible course, the history of the United States. It's a thoughtful exploration into this nation's past presented by three noted historians, if you go to the website and take a look at the preview of this course, I'll bet you want to jump right in like I did. And here's the great news innovations listeners, that's you can buy a digital copy of this course, history of the United States for only nine ninety nine which is the savings of up to six hundred dollars or get unlimited access to enjoy. This course, and so much more with a special free trial to the great courses plus to get either. In these fantastic offers just head to the great courses plus dot com slash. AI? That's the great courses plus dot com slash AI. One more time, the great courses plus dot com slash AI. 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Available by phone with synchtree with suffer version. Two point. Commands may vary by phone and appaling software. Don't drive while distracted voice operated systems when possible don't use handheld devices while driving iphone is a trademark of apple Inc. Registered in the US and other countries. The two thousand nineteen Lincoln m KC. Learn more at Lincoln dot com slash wondering. That's Lincoln dot com slash W and the R Y. It's the early eighteen forties in the village of Charlton, Massachusetts, and Horace wells is lost. He's been trying to drum up new business in rural areas and several good leads. But he's hopelessly turned around on the cowpats that pass for roads out here. Where is this blasted Morton house? It's gotta be here somewhere. He finally spots the old gnarled oak. He's supposed to turn right at. He follows that to the fork, then veers left pretty soon to surprisingly, handsome, Morton, home appears. Hello. He pushes open the door and finds himself inside a grand foyer or it would be grand. If there is anything in it. It's devoid of furniture as if no one lives here, he calls out one more time. Lou, suddenly, a young well dressed, man slings interview. Can I help you? My name is Horace wells. I'm dentist here for your family's checkup. I'm afraid I don't have a record for you. I'm William you say, you're a dentist. Are you a local no from Hartford? Well, what a coincidence dentistry my line of work too. Or it was going to be what do you mean? I was going to dental school myself for while. But but what you look stricken. I guess I don't mind admitting to you. You seem kind enough. I I ran out of funds. It's embarrassing. We've never had much money. Morton will repeat this line again. And again over the next few years that he tried attending dental school in Baltimore. But couldn't afford it and truth. It's a cock and bull story, but he looked so pained that wells feels the stab of pity. Sorry to hear that. Did you enjoy the work more than anything I've ever done? What was your line of work before that? This and that all very boring out west mostly tickets, heat won't you where there's a there's nothing to sit on well, come into the kitchen can get you some tea or a biscuit prep something a little stronger to take the edge off. No, thank you. I'm working. Do you have any milk clean milk? I expect will water do. Yes. Yes. Fine. Morton finds a pitcher and a glass here. You are. How is business anyway, strong must be tiring, though, tramping all the way up here from Hartford hit can be. Yes, this waters delicious. Thank you. You're not in need of an assistant in these parts. Are you an assistant would save you a lot of miles having right hand man up here. I could see your Tucker down AM, but I wouldn't be taking any business from you think about it. I could complete my training under you Harford. And when I'm done you can help me get started up here or or in Boston. Maybe it's a win win. And between us we could cover everywhere within one hundred miles. Just picture it Wales dentistry, treat your teeth wells signs in every small town. Well, says never considered something like this. But he's always been ambitious as William Morton says it he can almost see it for himself. It's exciting. Just hearing it from his lips, you know, that's not a bad idea. So it began after years of skipping from town to town William Morton had a legitimate job as a dental assistant. He moved down to Hartford and even met a woman there and married her her name was Elizabeth the same name as Horace wells as wife strangest part about it was Morton proved quite good at dentistry. The field was largely unregulated then opened anyone with minimum training, charm and presentation were just as important as knowledge and skill since you had to call nervous people down and sued them and William Morton had charm in presentation in spades. Still wants a confidence man always a confidence, man. Morton had paved Horace wells as an easy Mark a mile away. And however sincerely he wanted to go straight. The relationship was probably doomed from the start after a few years of training, the overly trusting wells, let Morton in on a secret wells had. Rented a brand new process for making dental plates that is dentures or false teeth Wells' process made them out of gold soft metal that was easy to shape the plates promised to be a big improvement over existing moms, and well smelled a real business opportunity. So he proposed a partnership he would manufacture and sell the plates in Hartford and Morton would do the same. In Boston wells, being the more established partner would provide the seed money for both Morton agreed that this all sounded perfect. So in October of eighteen forty three wells handed Morton a fat lump sum and saw them off to Boston take a wild. Guess what happened next unable to resist Morton blew all the money on himself and his new bride, but that's not all he swindled wells out of books and dental equipment without paying him and set up shop on his own. It was the same old Morton story convince some boob to lend them money. And then fend them off as long. As possible. But this story actually has a different ending for once. Someone bought Morton's excuses at first wells simply pastored Morton about the dental plates. When do you think you might start making Morton hamden hawed, then when wells realized that the plates would never appear he started asking about the seed money? William I was wondering do you think you could possibly consider paying me back some of those funds if it's convenient. Of course, Morton reluctantly informed him that it wasn't convenient not right now and wells backed off on some level wells had to know he'd been scammed. He in fact, formally dissolved their partnership in October eighteen forty four, but he was just too trusting to really get mad at Morton. He wanted to like the guy. This would prove to be his undoing two months after the partnership, dissolved wells, attended the nitrous frolic, and he had his thunderbolt idea about anesthesia, he then tested laughing gas on a dozen more patients in Hartford and grew convinced the idea was sound, but as a lowly dentist, he didn't have much sway. He needed to win over the Boston medical establishment. So in desperation wells decided to visit William Morton and give him one more shot. It's January eighteen forty five this time when Horace wells calls on William Morton. He's in Boston wells finds Morton's house with less. Trouble this visit. But he spends a good minute gawking at the facade before he knocks. It's much larger than expected. William. William. He lets himself in. Morten enters. And when he sees wells his smile falters. But only for a moment a split second later. He's beaming again. Oh, my dear horse. I couldn't be happy to see you. I was just about to sit down. And write you a letter about our unfortunate financial pickle. I'm glad to hear it. The wells is barely listening warns home Charlton had been embarrassingly empty here. The rooms are stuffed with furniture tables. Chairs desks mirrors couches lamps, silver tea service. Let's sit down can I get you? Something you prefer milk. I if I remember, yes, I am a bit thirsty. I can imagine who on journey for you. Mary berry. A girl appears at the door. Bring Mr. wells a glass of fresh milk. Mary curtseys leaves well stairs, the empty doorway. You have a servant. Yes. My wife insists you have to put on something of a showed drum business in this town anyway, but the truth is horse, and I feel that I can confess this to you. The truth is were struggling up here. And it makes me sick. Just sick to know that I can't pay you back yet. But if you can give me just a little more time hot Mary. Thank you your milk. Thank you. But I'm not here to talk about our finances again Morton's face falters. You're not I've come with a business proposition. It could be quite lucrative the smile is back on now as radiant as the chandelier above them, the that's capitol. But did you have in mind, my dear friend that day? Well, spilled everything he knew about nine. Tras? But however naive the seemed there was a method to wells as madness. Aside from the small matter of the funds. He stole Morton's dental business was legit. It wasn't fact thriving breaking in between ten thousand and twenty thousand dollars per year up to four hundred thousand in today's money as a result Morton had made himself quite respectable and his wit and charm had opened doors for him among Boston's elite this included several prominent doctors, and even if wells didn't quite trust Morton, he needed access to those doctors for his part Morton instantly realized that painkilling drug like nitrous was a million dollar idea. Every dentist's office in the country every hospital and clinic would have to cough up cash for this. You can hardly believe wells came to him. In fact, he was so eager to cash in that he pushed wells to demonstrate the gas as quickly as possible they would have to show it to somebody important someone with prestige whose endorsement would carry weight in the medical community. Morton new just the man the most eminent surgeon in Boston and therefore in all of America. Dr John Collins, Warren. American innovations is brought to you in part by wicks dot com. You can showcase your bright ideas and innovations with wicks, they've developed artificial design intelligence that creates a stunning website for you. And now, you can create your website right from your phone, which means you can open up your online store portfolio blog wherever you are. Even while listening to this podcast. Here's what you do. Go to wicks dot com. Decide what you need a website for pick your style at your own images. And just like that your website is ready seriously. It's that easy. You'll look amazing on every device desktop and mobile and it takes less than five minutes. If only everything in life could be so simple. Great innovators can change the world. But I the world has to know about you. So what are you waiting for? It's time to get started. Go to wicks dot com. That is w I x dot com and create your very own beautiful. Tional website today. Dr John Warren is handsome and a little rugged with stark, white hair. You might remember from the first episode the surgeon who performed a grisly, amputation as the young man he'd studied venison in London and Paris, then became a professor at Harvard Medical School. He later became dean there and founded both the Massachusetts General Hospital and the New England Journal of medicine surgeons amputations and tumor removals were his bread and butter, but he also performed operations required. More finesse and skill like, repairing hernias and blood vessels. And he was among the world's finest at removing bladder stones. Unlike many of his colleagues, he rarely had fish around inside people's guts with forceps or is fingers. He could pluck the stones out effortlessly he had several interests outside of medicine as well. He loved archaeology and once dissected and gyp shin mummy in the hospitals. Operating theater, even more than usual. There was a packed house for that one. Warren was obsessed with Paeleontology to the study of fossils a little over a year later, he would purchase one of the most complete mastodon skeletons in the world, and to clear his mind between surgeries he would spend hours cleaning and piecing together the bones overall, he was a titan of American science, and as he approached his sixty seven birthday that January in eighteen forty five. He could easily have rested on his laurels and coasted into retirement. But despite his accolades and accomplishments warm still considered himself and his whole profession a failure. Why? Because of all the suffering surgeons inflicted on patients in eighteen forties surgery wasn't the most prestigious field in medicine. Like it is today other doctors. In fact, scorn surgeons butchers there was something sick even sadistic about the field. How could they just hack people up like that? How could they ignore the screaming and the pain Warren new of this ugly, reputation and aided he mentioned it in every class? He ever talked drilling it into his students that surgery would never escape the shadows and win respect until someone found a way to abolish pain as he later wrote. What's surgeon is there who is not felt while witnessing the distress of long painful operations, a sinking of the heart to which no habit could render him in. Insensible what surgeon has not at these times been inspired with the wish to find some means of lessening the suffering. He was obliged to inflict for an unemotional man like Warren. This was a volcanic outpouring of grief and beyond warrants, personal feelings. Pain was holding back. The very future of his profession by the mid eighteen hundreds surgeons pioneered several new procedures to fix age-old ailments, cataracts, kidney disease, breast and colon cancer. But most patients simply couldn't endure more than a few minutes under the knife, which severely limited what doctors could do until pain was abolished surgery would remain stunted. It's hard to imagine the stern serious Warren getting along with the oil e ingratiating Morten, but desperation makes strange bedfellows. So when Morton reached out to him in January eighteen forty five and explained his friend Horace wells as idea about painkilling gas, Warren jumped at the chance, it seemed so simple. If only it could work. It's mid January eighteen forty five in the operating theatre at Massachusetts General Hospital. There's a greening skeleton hanging in one corner for Nazi lessons in the other corner sits the mummy Dr Warren dissected a few years earlier, Dr Warren himself stands between them. But as he gazes up at the students the top surgeon in America frowns looking unsure of himself. I'm afraid I have some disappointing news. The crowd is mostly students who have no idea what's going on. And they're surprised to find the biggest names in the hospital sitting among colleagues at Warren is tipped off about today's demonstration. There's also a flamboyantly well-dressed fellow the none of them have ever seen before we had a special perhaps historic event for you to witness today medical man from Hartford claims that by means of gashes agent nitrous oxide he can Greenlee reduce the suffering of surgical procedures. We therefore scheduled an amputation this morning to test is claims if he is correct procedure would be rendered virtually pain free. There's a buzz among the students Warren holds up his hand to silence them. Unfortunately, the patient has lost heart and fled. We've set out orderlies. But he's nowhere to be found. There's a few Snickers in the audience warn sets his jaw that is why turning to you the students to ask for volunteer. Mr. wells is a dentist by trade. He proposes that in lieu of full operation. He demonstrate the power of this gas by extracting a tooth from a member of the audience pretty much everyone had a bad tooth or to back then. But for a few seconds, no hands go up who in their right mind, would volunteer for this. Finally, one hand rises of volunteer. We'll call this young man, George and imagine him as Reverend Sun a firstborn child eager to make a good impression. He makes his way down from the gallery and hops onto the bed next to Warren. Dr wells, the patient is yours wells takes deep breath. He didn't expect to be so nervous when George's settled wells handsome bag of nitrous, he obtained from a local druggist just breathe deeply like this. George inhales. He giggles a bit after the first gulp he can't help it. But within a few minutes. He's out cold wells relaxes. It's going just like all the other patients. He picks up the dentistry tools. He's borrowed from Morton and gets to work, but a minute later things swerve on wells using pliers. He gets a good grip on the tooth and begins to pull suddenly though, he notices George stirring, beneath them not much just flapping his arm of it. But it throws wells off. He glances around nervously. There's a murmur in the crowd. Dr Warren crosses his arms and frowns. Wells pauses, then keeps pulling but as soon as he does disaster strikes. George groans loud. Enough to hear it in the back of the amphitheater wells tugs harder and the groan swells with final. Yank wells freeze the tooth from his jaw. But George seems agitated he drunkenly swishes his hand near his mouth is if swatting a fly a bit of blood dribbles down slip the murmur in the crowd builds here was even unconscious awake. Suddenly someone renders judgment perhaps a doctor or maybe one of the boulder students, but a loud and clear voice breaks through the din. Humbug this is humbug others soon. Take up the course. Wells is mortified Dr Warren tries to regain control. But there's no hope the mob has spoken history's. First public demonstration of anesthesia has failed. Ironically, we now know that the demo didn't fail not really everything happened as described here, the stirring, the ground the crowd, turning on wells. But the volunteer student does through it all and when he finally will up he remembered nothing he felt no pain and no memory of the procedure the grown and the movements had been involuntary. So what went wrong that day a century and a half later? It's still hard to say wells later said that he pulled the gas bag away too soon before the student had inhaled enough nitrous, but good have been also that wells was too inexperienced to judge. How much nitrous a young man needed or perhaps it was bad luck laughing gas tends to produce a rapid but shallow state of unconsciousness and some people simply get restless and stir regardless the demo ruined wells is reputation in Boston. He scampered out of the operating theatre dropped Morton's tools off at dawn the. Next morning and sunk back to Hartford he never quite got over the bitterness of his failure. Which would haunt him until his death. Just a few years later. Dr Warren, meanwhile, despaired here was yet another dashed hope, and he felt the pain all the more acutely this time because he'd gotten his hopes up. He'd actually believed the nitrous might abolish pain from surgery. The only one not devastated was William Morton, a mob had run his partner out of town. Sure. But so what Morton had been run out of different towns. Half a dozen times and he'd always bounced back. What was the scorn of a few medical students compared to sheriffs and creditors and jilted fiance's parents? Plus, he still thought anesthesia was a killer idea, but maybe they were focusing on the wrong substance. Nitrous oxide agitated people sometimes and clearly didn't put people under very deeply. Maybe there was something better out there as we'll see in the next episode. There was and William Morton would discover the old swindler was about to pull the biggest con of his career and change the world in the process. If you like our series, please give us a five star review until your friends to subscribe or available on apple podcasts. Spotify NPR one in every major listening as well as a wondering dot com, we'd also like to learn more about you. Please complete short survey at wondering dot com slash survey. That's wondering dot com slash survey. You'll have an opportunity to tell us what you like about the show, and what you've to here in future episodes. If you're listening on a smartphone. Copper swipe over the cover art of this podcast. You find the episode notes included some details, you may have missed and a quick note about these historical recreations, you've been hearing in most cases, we can't know exactly what was said those scenes dramatization, but they're based on real historical research, you can find some of the articles. We found useful episode notes. American innovations is hosted by Steven Johnson. For more information on my books on the history of science and innovation. You can visit my website at Steven Berlin, Johnson dot com. Sound design on this episode is by spoke media is episode was written by science writers. Sam keen and was based on his book Caesar's last breath. You can check it out at Sam keen dot com. That's S A M K E A N dot com. This episode was edited by Lindsey crowd. Will producers are Stephanie jen's George lavender executive produced by Mercia Louis for wondering.
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Matt you dare. Yep. Hello Maloka pixie like a collie down the to after the official thing. Now, I is the old spe official at that. Big. It's just for the middle forbid special mates. You know, people get certificates the other day. Yeah. Yeah. Not very good ones to monitor of, sir. Bigs big. It's a big now. I normally get cold a lot worse things that you call me. What you won't do. You wanna talk about your book yet? They join talk the talk gardeners question time. Yeah. You can talk about them into a little bit about the book. That would be fantastic. Yeah. Yeah. Another Snead's drop in. Ju ju so drops shopping list. So they can with some begun kept me Baynes for days. I I wouldn't say that I'm lazy or so into blogs. I can't even be bothered to shop that tomorrow, Ma well flow tell you why she coming married. Can you just a couple of bottles of beer and some Baynes don't like being smart, kind get you some Guinness instead or Guinness kids? But the thing is. Yeah. Can you drink? Well, Kim is to be honest use the ultimate food in. It's just putting the Guinness to look we go to the official seventeen months. Let me play the the intro music. Okay. That's fine. Yeah. Ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Sud so garden podcast. You are very welcome to another episode of such oh garden podcasts. Zoom may know him as busy some may just no MAs. Macho some may know as DeVos of many things amongst others B, C, D, R, H S and just an all round genuine, good guy. I know him as the gentleman I was recommended to I'm by on skiffs, people Cardiff show manager and basically set to me if you don't I will possibly upset your day. I put beans new your eggs. I'll tell you that arsenal are not the greatest football club in the world to more serious matters. It is a genuine honor on a pleasure to have him on the end of the line. I'm big hurry. You're very welcome to the show. Thank you very much. It's such a lovely while commanded introduction. It's really really lovely to be here really lovely to be Wicky. You're most welcome out. Ma let's be honest about this. I just it on our intro. But we do have. A mutual friend, or at least I like to call her a friend in honest, Nikki and intrusive shell style. It's a little bit. Would you like to dance with my friends? That's how we're on the end of phone talking about your book, we get the data in a minute. But you've been to Cardiff yet been at college show, and I love it is one of my favorite shows and the region four nothing that's it's small it's intimate. The crabs are always so friendly. And what I what I do. There is a host the talks tent, and we I remember the first time I went there hosted it's a couple of times last time. I went there walked in. And I thought oh, there's too many seats too many seat said to me Chas, you know, it could be embarrassing. If there's somebody talks, I'm the audience in very large sort of emphasized by the number of enter chess. And I was thinking that we must got something to ship the Chaz I'll leave it to that later. Anyway, that was the real era of judgement. On my part because everyone was upset you brand the audiences with brilliant people loft, even when they weren't supposed to enjoy. What was served up to them on really took it on board? And that's what I said about going to call it. If it's for everybody is a lovely buzz. It's the first show of the year for the alright set or HFS outdoor show. I what I think he's really great about. It is it celebrates the worst show identity. And so therefore, you know, you go to local of local garden designers business is when we do a Q and a we have a lovely gentleman code either Mace who sort of his presence 'cause he's an an elderly chat with a kind of smiles folding while the ponderous and slow as he moves around, but very quick quick witted, and I was staggered fine. But he's like, an international chrysanthemum, celebrity and grows all sorts of amazing. Vegetables. And he's he's been a show benefit years. And yet you would meet him and he's the most ordinary lovely track. And so it didn't Harry Walton and people like ten up Terry Wilson from BBC radio to the Jeremy vine check can really friendly raiding. Oy is just full of lovely people or gathered together because they're passionate by gardening. And the other great thing, of course, about Cardiff is the name the sixty cents. So people can I mean from the valleys or up the coast or out in the farm farmland far distant, and they can come straight into the city and what the show and I'm does a fantastic job. Dash she really does. She's lovely to work for like, you say, she she's one of those people who's really he's just and if you all something this just get somebody the job, and I think that reflects in the way it's organized in the sense of excitement in these has them that she has actually spills out into the show. So when up -solutely one of my favorites. Cardiff is a great city. What no meat do is spending time on me. I'm but it just wondering, and it got some lovely Victorian. All Cates with independent shot thing. Which I always think he's great because it allows again, the shopkeepers express themselves and bringing something different on a found a few pubs as well. Well, we should skip on pasta on honest. Give Nevsky card memorial. This is your life show. Mutt? Because I mean, we were joking off air. We'd give her ten seconds may twenty. But this is over four and a half minutes. Let's skip on past your love of Wales. You wear a few hot s- can't say big fondue. I said big font. But I love listen to you on gardeners question time. Yeah. I mean, I'm so fortunate to be on that program, and they say, it's a real honor and privilege to do if I do find the whenever you sitcom kind of an idea what my fellow panelists sale the tile away spill the ghosts of past. God. Owners homering overview, and the greats who have gone before and the responsibility that goes with us, and I think to be part of such an honor. And I've had so many amazing experiences and met some incredible people. You know interview, I've interviewed forensic often them into Wimbledon and touch the cross on center court. I've been behind the scenes that their natural history museum and seeing some plant material collected by Joseph banks and Daniel salon, the botanist on cutting talks I voyage, and you know, I started out as a parks department latte in less less school with very few I levels, but one of my first jobs was to clean the toilets. I clean the toilets everyday. So I can honestly say I started at the bottom. But it's you know, it's just been full of so many wonderful surprises and gardeners. Question time has been great contributed to my the funded stories and experiences. It's just a lovely thing. To do this with two huts on. Let's be Frank about this. There is a limit in waters available in horticultural broadcasting and TV Darah are probably too which is gardeners world and love your garden essentially there are segments within shows. But in radio, the BBC are to credit such a stalwart and outside of the locals beat Sheffield. Our London, nor Lester share or whatever the case be g q t essentially are ones that have been there as long as my grandmother's communist yet. It tastes right there Lester as well. Because I'm from LeicesteR. So I'm always proud of the five the radio LeicesteR contributes to gardeners, and I think the BBC's very good now that about four months of on often gardening sorry answering gardening questions that the public of off. And I it's really good. And you get great store stories from it's nothing on all all of those programs. The Nate it may it makes lovely radio. It makes really nice radio because there's gentle store is this banter. No, people say we've gotten his questions on they realized it was seventeen ING, but what everybody loves gardening will Gardiner's together with. We just happen to be fortunate to be no on the team the says the questions and have a career in horticulture. So we're very lucky to have that. I'm just we just like each other doesn't matter whether you're behind the microphone, we'll sitting listening. We all together as a nation in the world of. Gardeners. I've watch in fact, very little two zero television but much today if I can get my hands and this one and g q t afford slash gardeners. Coroner sit there squarely with a bowl of porridge on a Sunday morning on a Mobutu's spots coffee on. I am just Indus own is too much of the day analogy affair one. I think it's their offset programmes on there. That's our part of the the British. They are a British institution of question time women's our the options match the day that they will dare as part of the infrastructure of broadcasting because in that for such a long time underpay an appeal to so many people, and I think that's another thing. You know, it's great to think that you become part of the structure and routine if somebody's life, that's the way that you'll part of so many people's lives, and you're able to share things. With him. And he's like, you know, you might not be able to get to see off. No, you know every week, but but you can be part of the crowd by bit watching much of the day, and you feel that you don't miss out. And I think it's the same. We've got you know, if this gardening topics being discussed, none of us really liked to miss out. And so they become part of people's routine and parts of their lives. So I think yeah, it's it's part of the infrastructure of life. And it's it's an extraordinary thing. I did think about it. Too much makes me nervous. The funny thing is because I last year was doing a garden talk. You know, yourself listing at home, you can go see a guard and talking to be talking about three hundred years of landscape design. It could be literally just garden advice. It depends on the location. It depends on the audience, and you may have seen mosh do similar in varying places in a nutshell when his latest book the secrets of great partners. There's a longer title that he shall give you that in just a moment when that came on my radar. I said. Well, it does not seem like the type of thing that Ma is usually renowned for. But I was I noted when I was talking with Tim Richardson. There are only two books that I have or had them on us guests on such oh in two tests in eighteen and that was I as you're well aware Charles talking about no Dake until talking about zone book. Ma the reason that it did catch my attention was because to title was secrets of great botanist. I don't hear too much about discounting. They tend not to be the books number one that come to the fore as I've maybe I won't say argued as deems at the negative word. But as I have argued in the past it is hard for a guy like muse horticulture for four years who's done nothing, essentially, always life bar horticulture to find a book that intrigues me. And this essentially is one of them, but essentially, you could have made life a bit easier for yourself, if it can I just take you back a fee as to when I fast, but. Something about so historic. Something historic. Really, a no the funny thing is on Nelson loneliness. I'm sure your listeners, maybe even you fall into this category. But we love history and not reflected by the historic programs on the on the television. We love history, but I can never remember the date. And I remember at school. I would have done done history as an old level. But I couldn't remember the dates and not blow it, but what time I really loved was the stories and always ask times of the blue to row to interview the three the three nece race. We were at the first ever Chelsea was for the centenary Chelsea. And so I interviewed them and got their stories, and then from roads and against it's always through the kindness of others in horticulture, but I wrote a book called secrets of of of great great gardeners. And what they wanted for that. Was there were forty great gardeners and. They would just short biographies says about eight hundred words, and then it was what you know. What could we learn from them? And I enjoyed it so much because there was so many fantastic stories and so much for I take that. I really wanted a sequel I wanted to something to go with it. And we would chatting and gentlemen, from the public publishers said now what about secrets of great botanists about they teaches about gardening. Well, you can imagine initially. I was thinking about first thing was what supposedly, you know. Because if it's if we are very strict and stay with people looking at plant sales down, Mike microscope. There's going to be the gardeners can so so one facts settled down and got over the initial shock. I started to think about often and that the study of plans the scientific study of thoughts and realize that that could be expanded. And that the know the early pharmacists. Or looking study plums, and that that repair and their pharmacy to use as and then I realized you had the plant collectors, and again, the plant collectors would be studying plants in producing new plans into commerce or science, and then I heard of Ethnobotanists ethnobotanist, go out and leave and work amongst the indigenous peoples and look up their former type here the that they use the medicine they look at the plant that they use for food. And that's how they use them for making fabrics perhaps and building houses, it's just the USA plants with them and found there's also a paleo botany. And so again, you're looking at fossils and looking at the records. So each of these provided a a section, and they also wanted to go from times past so he's back into ancient history. And. Bring it up to the present day. Now what I really wanted to do as well with all those who are still alive was bring to people's attention people. Bob, see, they may know, in fact, but don't know much about bring some people's attention like someone could make an Oreo collected a lot. He's still out that working blonde collect collecting and those. I also wanted soon breath and win Jones who go out to Vietnam and bought Tamala places in Central America. They collect plants and that plant collections in conjunction with the local governments. And with the commission permission of the government. They actually collect those bombs on doing chemical worked for the government, which the government couldn't afford to do. I funny enough was that crude farm. I just said to them anybody ever written about g because everybody knows about you. But does anybody know your stories, and they will pop. Perhaps one day you'll stories will be told in great detail, which I hope they are one day. They tell us all the stories like those nothing plums stroke travel books that really Lancaster wrote. So you to flee in colorfully. But I, but I don't you know. In the meantime, I was like people like McCann ori- p people like Letterman soon to be recorded somewhere. And I guess that's the book could I put you in my book place because at least somewhere in some small way, your activities will be recognized and recorded now I had to make URI, and I hope for Patrick blown who's who's also tropical alternates. Interesting as I'm sure, you know, he's actually a tropical possibly even those designs these green walls, but I just wanted them recognize somewhere the, but what makes these secrets of great God most, you know, and the. The the secrets of great boss. Mason lessons from great gardeners, cutting rentals. If the stories it's the stories about people and what they did. And that passion on that commitment as soon as you start getting into people's lives these adjusts short stories of people's lives, and then some cases, you know. It's very obvious. What the Boston fault culture, if they kept a garden, and then that was really helpful. But with some of the know what gardens there? Well, it's very sort of jet general thing. So sometimes we a drop in about some of the pumps that they bought back and where they can be grown in gardens. So there's the my then my interpretation of exits not definitely them. But but the great thing about this book is that it can be just getting to and you can just read a couple of characters, and then, you know, put down if I'd in the weather some something paid the ultimate compliment. But it made me chuckle when give it to walk last week. And I took some of the books and. And atop came up to my Neal's fixed rate, and looked at the pictures and botanical paintings, it's beautiful botanical paintings in that as well as the fact crops, and he sat down, and it goes looks like a laboratory to me away, and then Findlay and send me actually, that's what that was a compliment. Because I thought well that's great continue because I started out cleaning the toilets and now my books ready toilets. So 'cause of course, I'm kind of. Water closet connection with my with my book. So I'm pleased about that was comfortable of wounded books that sits on my library is played good friend and former guests, Barbara Zagallo, the delete and very great. I should say Marcus Harper. When I laid my hands on Barbara's book, the secret gardens of e Steinier when I was doing my first cartons h nine when I was over grounds in one of Dublin's colleges that maybe twenty two years of age to be written about as a gardener. It was an impossibility. It just didn't exist. They were to the people who somewhat historically unless you broke through that blast ceiling, and there was only a few in the eighties who managed to do is sidetracking slightly away from data on back to your book. The secret of great bottlers, the botanists are to me, they're like the dead poet's society and to see damn written about it's like getting into a hot air balloon with all of your best friends. It just. I just think it's much ical. You went on spoke about another to really caught my imagination was gene, Barry and Nikolai fossil off as got past one story only God eastern it again. It was fascinating in hell, you did it in as you rightly say that the stories of plants are plant collecting or being a button to start being ahead Gardner are just being involved in horticulture is one thing. But unless you can sit in the pub, I say sitting up in my head sitting the pope and do not much today equivalent, but of a photosynthetic nature. Do you know the other thing is when when they offered me, you know, we thought about often s my first question was well, she's a Boston maced because we'll talk about Boston. But, but you know, what actually is a Boston is that what we know. Now that it somebody who studies plans, but it can be on a microscopic level or on a macro level. And it is just the study of plans, and then what you'll also find we horticulture, and I guess it's in a lot of other disciplines to and we bought in a is that there are a lot of individuals Mavericks and really be learnt gardeners, all quite anti-establishment. They like within this space. They just want to do their own thing. And especially if you think sort of about anarchy in a way, you know, and the an allotment site that people do sorts of crazy things on a lot insides and express themselves because the garden and the allotment or if you're you know, often it's been. In your study. You can be looking at plans in your in your own way, and your character is manifesting itself. And I think that's what one sec decided what you know, what's botanist wars. I was looking for for different characters. And I was really surprised I mean to convulsive research and thing the other nice thing whenever I've done folk with the the great gardeners book or with the possibility. I've always looked for little pieces of information that I don't think people will know say, for example, when I wrote great gardeners book their p Jack Hamilton, it'd be about Christopher Lloyd have been written about, but I got in touch with Fergus GARRETT'S to find out that it's bad Christopher, Lloyd. Because I won't you facts that went in any other book. So so for Jack Hamilton, for example, like base that on a chat that I had with make and my favorite facts about jet. Jeff was. That he he bought a garden center, where he I left college got much money wanted pretended into a plants and this place. He basically the we built and painted and tidied up before opening and because he couldn't afford anybody to to employ anybody actually worked so hard that he will his fingerprints off, and it was kind of facts, and it was the same kind of with the Boston as I wasn't able to necessarily find anybody who knew them face to face because I've also been lots of them were in quite ancient really or spread about the world. But what I did was dug as deep as I could justify quirky little stories. Interesting facts, the, wow, that's great. How amazing? Oh, no. And so you then get you know, the emotion in there as well. The these are real people's lives. And so when for example. He come to page forty four in the secrets of great. But this name called William Dampier. William downplayed, nobody would have heard of an in fact, I hadn't until fairly recently. And I was doing some research about the content of William laud, and some of these and his brother also sometimes that they were to Cornish Plum times as and I went to the Hibari it's opposite university where the lady in charge very kindly got some plant material out for me. And I spent the day looking at this material. I just set tell the end of the day, you know, I'm really fired by William and Thomas law and the plant hunters who, you know, who makes your wealth say much richer, and she said, she was another lady, and she looked up in the eyes opened almost as widely as they possibly could. And she gets when William damn. PA never. And apparently, she told me he's story. And he's in the book he had to go with the book because he was a pirate or buck mayor when he wasn't sort of sacking spanning the Spanish may in capturing their ships full of gold bullion was actually a botanist and collected plants. Their major one of the things that I've found from this place. It was ever so helpful. It's very apparent that William dumpy I actually landed in Australia before captain cook. But because he was a par and a batboy it's not really very good PR to say whether as person who as far as where a where he loud with the European who landed on that was William Dampier was Apayart. But but he was an amazing guy. And he's he's the botanical notes of his trip around the world or incredible. And he was on the shape could h. HMS robots ship sank, he been able to get his press. Clump specimens, the tape found from Western Australia, where he'd landed he saved his plant specimens, they went. They got to essential island. So they got from the wretched to essential island waited for about three weeks or so in polling weather, and they got home and they ended up in the area. I talked enough still yet to go and feed them, that's a special treat my said lady. Oh, please. Please. Can I come and see as just? One thing. I love to do is to to to touch things. So, you know, I see them I'll touch it and how pirate touch these plunk specimens seeming a lot they he William dumpy. The quite pirates implant collect the buccaneer who with you know. You know, who had such an exciting and extraordinary life, also collected these amazing plants, and hey ram touching perhaps a piece of paper William Dampier touched and those kind of things that that really make it come alive might if you set me at six years of age, a no such a listeners unison the home bingo of Peter with plants under his bed an implant Psomas school by William dumped the aid player. Plant collector sounds like a bedtime story that I just wouldn't have been able to get enough of. And if you ever do manage to write another book, it should be a children's story about that guy on about the amazing adventures dot because this forty two year old young man still in my head who still thinks he can play for arsenal on. But it still excites me, mar it's still wanted that make my heart beat like here teenage kicks a think, whether it's horticulture football music, whatever it might be if the heart skips. Beat you're halfway there on this is one of them. And I think you see the whole thing that I found this book is because I love stories, and I think you're absolutely right. If you are privileged to be the kind of person that's never grown up, and they'll love stories and still get excited about things. And that's one of the lovely things that you and your listeners. I'm sure now about coach culture, they still get excited now here here, I am sort of a amount of you know, of my age, I'm fifty eight and still finding brilliant enough. Sometimes thick isn't it fun? If the amazing until to have that sense of excitement because you've not got bogged down by life, and you do do a job that you'd love. Then again, it's a real privilege, and you've almost got the the key to happiness. I think because you've got things that that you respond to emotionally and without sense of excitement. Fan and all these lovely things that make life so rich for you this home. Let me explain this as best as I can. I don't mean to sound notice respect to my dad. I don't need to sound like I'm giving you a lecture, but but tree books this year tree books of two thousand eighteen Ford slash nineteen Tim Richardson Charles doubting. No dig on big secrets of great butlers. Do yourself a favor a promise you'll be as an Tuesday as I was it is and Richardson Sinfonia and of paid himself to same complement of saying it was a book for the smallest room in the house. I promise you it's not ill wanna put it down. Well, no, you won't wanna put it down. You won't want to let it down. It's the point to make even though Mata suggested that you can read it a little by little Promessi elapse Lutely adore lady. Gentleman. Guest us being the notorious the man who needs genuinely no introduction. And I wish I could sit there and chat with them all day long. But then I'd probably end up on the BBC gardener's question time panel and dyslexia would be no longer not big. It's been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much big fan. I think you're the first person four hundred something episodes I've ever said, I'm a big Fontham out. But I'm a big fan. And thank you so much say, so generous of you to say, so and thank you very much for inviting. Maybe what is done. It's given me an opportunity now to talk about to talk about the Boston. It's and they're the people who really really need the glory because their lives were extraordinary, and they risk their lives for scientific research and to bring leaf fantastic, Lance drug, are you most welcome modern again up salute pleasure for you listening out of home. Anything you need out such show Twitter. Facebook dot com slash slide show such common to meantime, I was gonna say have a great weekend the greater doors, but wherever you are wherever you're listening. Thank you so much for tuning in. We've shut sin.