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they resented the affront they considered had been put upon them. A moral might be deduced from this, were it not for the fact, that if any hoax analogous to the bottletrick were to be advertised to-morrow in a conspicuous manner, the proportion of dupes would be at least as great as it was in 1749. Perhaps greater.
QUACKS AND IMPOSTORS.
QUACKS have been in existence so long, have received so much of the confidence of the people, and have afforded such capital to satirists and humourists, that they have become almost a necessity of our existence, from a literary as well as from a domestic point of view. They also add considerably to the revenue, if only through the impost upon patent medicines; for though many may be astonished and horrified to hear it, all patent medicines—i.e., all medicines which bear the inland-revenue stamp—are of necessity quack, and although many partisans may endeavour to prove that in the particular case each may select, this is not so, the qualification must fairly be applied, if applied to anything, to all medicines which are supposed to specifically remedy various diseases in various systems, no matter what the peculiarities of either. It can hardly matter whether the inventor of the general remedy be learned doctor or impudent charlatan, the medicine, as soon as ever it assumes specific powers, and is to be administered by or to anybody, is quack, not only in the proper acceptation of the term, but in its original signification. Quacks are, with a few notable exceptions, a very different body now from what they were in the last century, when they killed more than they cured, and when drugs were compounded with a recklessness which seems quite impossible in these moderate days. Just and proper legislation has clipped the wings of the vile impostors who used to trade upon the weaknesses of human nature, and with the exception of those pestiferous practitioners whose advertisements are as noxious as their prescriptions, and who find the fittest possible media for publication, quacks are no longer in existence except as purveyors of patent medicines, pills, ointment, and plasters; and so if there is no cure there is also no kill. Formerly the quack prescribed and compounded, and then he was indeed dangerous, and we cannot better prove this than by means of a remark in the Cattleman's Magazine of July 1734 about Joshua Ward, an advertisement in reference to whom is to be found in the historical part of this book. The paragraph in the old magazine runs: "There was an extraordinary advertisement in the newspapers this month concerning the great cures in all distempers performed with one medicine, a pill or drop, by Joshua Ward, Esq., lately arrived from Paris, where he had done the like cures. 'Twas said our physicians, particularly Sir Hans Sloane, had found out his secret, but 'twas judged so violent a prescription, that it would be deemed malepractice to apply it as a dose to old and young and in all cases." And again, in the Obituary in the same periodical for 1736, there is an advertisement bearing on this so-called remedy rather unfavourably. It runs thus :—
Vesey Hart, Esq. of Lincoln's Inn. About 15 Months ago he took the celebrated Pill, which had at first such violent effects as to throw him into Convulsions and deprive him of his Sight. On recovery he fell into Consumption.
Joshua Ward was rather a celebrity about that time, even among quacks, as the following lines from the Gentleman's Magazine of July 1734 will show. The heading is—
Univ. Spec. On Wajd'j Drops.
C" Gregious Ward, you boast with success sure, ■*—* That your one drop can all distempers cure:
When it in .? n cures ambition's pain
Or ends the Megrims of Sir James' brain,
Of wounded conscience when it heals the smart,
When F d it can give of wit a taste,
Make Harriot pious or lorima chaste;
In the Daily Advertiser of June 10, 1736, there is a puff advertisement for Ward, which runs :—
We hear that by the Queen's appointment. Joshua Ward, Esq; and eight or ten persons, who in extraordinary Cases have receiv'd great benefit by taking his remedies, attended at the Court at Kensington on monday night last, and his patients were examin'd before her Majesty by three eminent surgeons, several persons of quality being present, when her Majesty was graciously pleas'd to order money to be distributed amongst the patients, and congratulated Mr Ward on his great success.
In the Grub Street Journal of June 24 of the same year is an article on the paragraph, in which it is stated that only seven persons attended at the palace, and that these were proved to be impostors who were in collusion with Ward. The Journal is very strong against the quack, and the article concludes with the following lines, which are in fact a summary of what has been said in the criticism upon Ward's fresh attempt to gull the public:—
Seven wonderful Cures.
Nor wonder, since within her stomach lay
There is no necessity to take trouble for the purpose of discovering the origin of quacks. It is evident that they "came natural" as soon as ever there was a chance for them, and it is but right to suppose that before quackery became a question of money-making, it had an existence, the outcome of a love people have innately for prescribing and administering to each other, relics of which may still' be seen in out-of-the-way parts of the country. Some people imagine that quackery and the belief, still current in various parts of Great Britain, that a seventh son, particularly if the son of a seventh son, possesses medical powers, had originally something to do with each other. That quackery in general was caused by this quaint conceit is not to be supposed, yet the belief in the seventh-son doctrine is well worthy of note. The vulgar mind seems from the earliest ages to have been impressed by the number seven, and there are various ways of accounting for this. Chambers, in his "Book of Days," says that it is easy to see in what way the Mosaic narrative gave sanctity to this number in connection with the days of the week, and led to usages which influence the social life of all the countries of Europe. "But a sort of mystical goodness or power has attached itself to the number in many other ways. Seven wise men, seven champions of Christendom, seven sleepers, seven-league boots, seven ages of man, seven hills, seven senses, seven planets, seven metals, seven sisters, seven stars, seven wonders of the world—all have had their day of favour; albeit that the number has been awkwardly interfered with by modern discoveries concerning metals, planets, stars, and wonders of the world. Added to the above list is the group of seven sons, especially in relation to the youngest or seventh of the seven; and more especi