« AnteriorContinuar »
Pectorals, approved for the cure of Consumption, Coughs, Catarrhs, Asthmas, Hoarseness, Strongness of Breath, Colds in general, Diseases incident to the Lungs, and a sovoraign Antidote against the Plague, and all other contagious Diseases, and obstructions of the Stomach: And for more convenience of the people, constantly leaveth them sealed up with his coat of arms on the papers, with Mr Rich. Lowndes (^formerly), at the sign of the White Lion, near the little north door of Pauls Church; Mr Henry Seile, over against J. Dunstan's Church in Fleet Street; Mr William Milward, at Westminster Hall Gate; M r John Place, at Furnivals Inn Gate in Holborn; and Mr Robert Horn, at the Turk's Head near the entrance of the Royal Exchange, Booksellers, and no others."
This is published to prevent the designs of divers Pretenders, who counterfeit the said Lozenges, to the disparagement of the said Gentleman, and great abuse of the people.
It will be seen from this that quack medicines are by no means modern inventions—in fact, the wonder is, if our ancestors took a tithe of the articles advertised, that there is any present generation at all; so numerous and, even according to their own showing, powerful were the specifics advertised on every possible opportunity and in connection with every possible disease. As, however, we shall devote special space to charlatans further on, we will here simply pass to the following, which promises rather too much for the price. This is also in the Mercurius Politicus, and appears in December 1660 :—
MOST Excellent and Approved Dentifrices to scour and cleanse the Teeth, making them white as Ivory, preserves from the Toothach; so that, being constantly used, the parties using it are never troubled with the Toothach ; it fastens the Teeth, sweetens the Breath, and preserves the mouth and gums from Cankers and Imposthumes. Made by Robert Turner, Gentleman; and the right are onely to be had at Thomas Rookes, Stationer, at the Holy Lamb at the East end of St Pauls Church, near the School, in sealed papers, at I2d. the paper.
The Reader is desired to beware of counterfeits.
We can now mark the advent of those monstrous flowing wigs which were in fashion for nearly a century, and may be fairly assumed to have made their appearance about the date of this advertisement, which was published in the Naves of February 4, 1663 :—
~\\ WHEREAS George Grey, a Barber and Perrywigge-maker, over * * against the Greyhound 'lavern, in Black Fryers, London, stands obliged to serve some particular Persons of eminent Condition and Quality in his way of Employment: It is therefore Notifyed at his desire, that any one having long flaxen hayr to sell may repayr to him the said George Grey, and they shall have 10s. the ounce, and for any other long fine hayr after the Rate of 5s. or 7s. the ounce.
Pepys, in his quaint and humorous manner, describes how Chapman, a periwig-dresser, cut off his hair to make up one of these immense coverings for him, much to the trouble of his servants, Jane and Bessy. He also states that "two perriwiggs, one whereof cost me ^3 and the other 40s.," have something to do with the depletion of his ready money on the 30th of October 1663. On November 2nd, he says, " I heard the Duke [Buckingham] say that he was going to wear a perriwigg; and they say the King also will. I never till this day observed that the King is mighty gray." And then on Lord's day, November 8th, he says, with infinite quaintness, "To church, where I found that my coming in a perriwigg did not prove so strange as I was afraid it would, for I thought that all the church would presently have cast their eyes all upon me." Pepys was, it seems, possessed of that rather unpleasant consciousness which prompts a man who wears anything new or strange for the first time to believe that all the world, even that portion of it which has never seen him before, knows he feels anxious and uncomfortable because he has got new clothes on. The price, ten shillings the ounce, shows that there must have been an exceptionally heavy demand for flaxen colour by the wearers of the new-fashioned wigs. Judging by the advertisements just quoted, as well as by those which follow, there can be no controverting the statement that the reign of Charles II. "was characterised by frivolous amusements and by a love of dress and vicious excitement, in the midst of which pestilence stalked like a mocking fiend, and the great conflagration lit up the masquerade with its lurid and angry glare. Together with the emasculate tone of manners, a disposition to personal violence stained the latter part of this and the succeeding reign. The audacious seizure of the crown jewels by Blood; the attack upon the Duke of Ormond by the same desperado, that nobleman having actually been dragged from his coach in St James's Street in the evening, and carried, bound upon the saddle-bow of Blood's horse, as far as Hyde Park Corner, before he could be rescued; the slitting of Sir John Coventry's nose in the Haymarket by the King's guard; and the murder of Sir Edmondbury Godfrey on Primrose Hill, are familiar instances of the prevalence of this lawless spirit." There is still one other memorable and dastardly assault to note, that on " Glorious John," and we shall do so in due course.
The London Gazette now appears upon the scene, and this is noticeable, because of all the papers started before, or for a very considerable time after, this is the only one which has still an existence. It has been stated by some writers to have first appeared at Oxford during the time the Court took up its abode there, while the Great Plague was raging, but that this was not so is shown by the following, which is extracted from the London Gazette of January 22, 1664, nearly twelve months before the outbreak of the Plague. The fact is that during the residence of the King and Court at Oxford, the official organ changed its title, and was called the Oxford Gazette, to resume its original name as soon as it resumed its original publishing office.*
* The London Gazette was first published 22d August 1642. The first number of the existing "published-by-authority" series was imprinted first at Oxford, where the Court was stationed for fear of the Plague, on November 7, 1665, and afterwards at London on February 5, 1666.
ATRUE representation of the Rhonoserous and Elephant, lately brought from the East Indies to London, drawn after the life, and curiously engraven in Mezzotinto, printed upon a large sheet of paper. Sold by Pierce Tempest, at the Eagle and Child in the Strand, over against Somerset House, Water Gate.
The ignorance of natural history at this time seems to have been somewhat marvellous, and anything in the way of a collection of curiosities was sure to attract a credulous multitude, as is shown by another notice, published in the News of a date close to that of the foregoing. The articles are rather scanty, to be sure, but probably the " huge thighbone of a giant," whatever it was in reality, was in itself sufficient to attract, to say nothing of the mummy and torpedo.
AT the Mitre, near the west end of St Paul's, is to be seen a rare Collection of Curiosityes, much resorted to and admired by persons of great learning and quality; among which a choyce Egyptian Mummy, with hieroglyphicks; the Ant-Beare of Brasil; a Remora; a Torpedo; the Huge Thighbone of a Giant; a Moon Fish; a Tropic Bird, &c.
Evidently something must have been known of mummies, or how could the exhibitor tell that his was a choice one? Our next item introduces us to one of those old beliefs which are still to be found in remote parts of the country. The King, like any mountebank or charlatan, advertises the time when he will receive, for the purpose of giving the royal touch, supposed to be sufficient to cure the horrible distemper. Surely he of all people must have known how futile was the experiment; and it is passing strange that a people who had tried, condemned, and executed one king like any common man, should have put faith in such an announcement as that published in the Public Intelligencer of May 1664, which runs as follows :—
A X rHITEHALL, May 14, 1664. His Sacred Majesty, having de* * clared it to be his Royal will and purpose to continue the healing of his people for the Evil during the Month of May, and then to give over till Michaelmas next, I am commanded to give notice thereof, that the people may not come up to Town in the Interim and lose their labour.
Surely such men as Sedley Rochester, Buckingham, and even Charles himself, must have laughed at the infatuation of the multitude; for if ever there was a king whose touch was less likely than another's to cure the evil, that king was, in our humble opinion, "his Sacred Majesty" Charles II. But then people were prepared to go any lengths to make up for their shortcomings in the previous reign. There was possibly a political significance about these manifestations of royal ability and clemency, and some enthusiasts, who believe devoutly in the triumph of mind over matter, think there is reason to believe in the efficacy of the touch in scrofulous affections, and even believe that people did really recover after undergoing the process. Dr Tyler Smith, wh*> has written on the subject, boldly states his belief that the emotion felt by these poor stricken people who came within the influence of the King's "Sacred Majesty" acted upon them as a powerful tonic; though, as the King always bestowed a gold piece upon the patient, we think that if good was derived, it was derived from the comfort procured by that—for those who suffered and believed were generally in the lowest and poorest rank of life—and perhaps travelling and change of air had something to do with it as well. If the arguments of those who believe in the emotional effect are to be admitted, it must be allowed by parity of reasoning that where the touch failed, its failure would be likely to cause the sufferers to become rabid republicans, the Divine right having refused to exhibit itself. Maybe these latter symptoms, like the symptoms of other diseases, did not develop in the individual, but came out in course of generations,-which may perhaps account for the large amount of democracy which has exhibited itself during the present century. There is certainly something rather ludicrous in the fact that the practice of touching