The doctors in labour

Print with twelve panels relating to the affair of Mary Toft

Print with twelve panels relating to the affair of Mary Toft, “the rabbit breeder”: from top left, she is held aloft by two men and a Harlequin or Merry Andrew, she has a rabbit in either hand; she pursues a rabbit while working in a field; she dreams of being impregnated by rabbit, Cupid is shown on a cloud beside her bed holding a rabbit in either hand; she is seated in a chair attended by two women while the two men and Harlequin discuss the monstrous birth; Harlequin demonstrates that he can express milk from her breast; Harlequin feels “the rabbets leapin in her belly” while two men look on; she sits on the edge of a bed and Harlequin kneels to seize a rabbit that emerges from her skirts while a doctor raises his hands in surprise, wishing to anatomize the animal; Harlequin stands behind a table holding a balance in which he weighs dung removed from the rabbit explaining to two men that this will allow him to judge whether the animal had “breath’d in air”; doctors and midwives discuss the phenomenon around a table and Harlequin enters claiming that the birth must be “praeternatural”; a crowd of gentlemen are welcomed to the bagnio in Leicester Square where Toft is housed; two men spy from the door to Toft’s room as another hands her a dead rabbit; Toft, weeping, is led away to Bridewell by two constables while Harlequin “sits upon Repenting stool, Cursing his fate in being made a Fool. See British Museum online catalogue.

  • Title: The doctors in labour, or, A new whim wham from Guildford [graphic] : being a representation of [the] frauds by which [the] Godliman woman, carried on her pretended rabbit breeding; also of [the] simplicity of our doctors, by which they assisted to carry on that imposture discover’d their own skill, & contributed to [the] Mirth, of His Majesties liege subjects.
  • Published: [London?] : [publisher not identified], [1726]

Catalog Record 


Acquired September 2018

To the public: Whereas many persons, labouring….

A broadside printing of an 18th century scam, exploiting the helplessness of English debtors before the law. And especially the perennial animus towards the legal profession–“the chicanery of petty-fogging (would-be) attornies, the shameful plunder and extortion of bailiffs and sheriff-brokers”–these and more epithets shouted at the reader in an assortment of bold and italic type.

  • AuthorBristowe, Thomas.
  • TitleTo the public: Whereas many persons, labouring under the most grievous oppressions … are constrained to … a quiet submission to all the atrocious robberies which are daily committed by the infamous appendages to the law …
  • Publication[Leicestershire, England] : [publisher not identified], [1778]

Catalog Record

File 63 778 B86

Acquired June 2017

The countryman’s guide to London, or, Villainy detected


  • TitleThe countryman’s guide to London, or, Villainy detected : being a clear discovery of all the various tricks and frauds that are daily practiced in that great city.
  • PublishedLondon : Printed for J. Cooke, at the Shakespear’s Head in Pater-Noster-Row, [1775?]

Catalog Record 

646 775 C855

Acquired April 2014