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continue to be advised with, every day in the week, from eight in the morning till eight at night, at his lodgings at the Swan Inn, in West Smithfield, till Michaelmas, for the good of all people that lie languishing under distempers, he knowing that Talenta in agro non est abscondita!'-that a talent ought not to be hid in the earth. Therefore he exposes himself in public for the good of the poor. The many cures he has performed has given the world great satisfaction, having cured fifteen hundred people of the king's evil, and several hundreds that have been blind, lame, deaf, and diseased. God Almighty having been pleased to bestow upon him so great a talent, he thinks himself bound in duty to be helpful to all sorts of persons that are afflicted with any distemper. He will tell you in a minute what distemper you are troubled with, and whether you are curable or not. If not curable, he will not take any one in hand, if he might have five hundred pounds for a reward."
Another of these empirical practitioners advertises a long list of questions in the Original Weekly Journal of December the 28th, 1723, for the purpose of putting the public on their guard against "such notorious cheats," and winds up the announcement with the following modest allusion to himself:-" For your own sake apply to some man of ingenuity and probity who appears to justify his practice by his success, one of which invites you to his house at the Golden Heart and Square Lamp, in Crane-court, near Fetter-lane. Ask for the surgeon, who is to be advised with every morning till eleven o'clock, and from two till nine at night, in any distemper."
A Mrs. Mapp was a favourite doctress, in or about 1736 (for the curative power was not confined to the male sex), and in one of Mr. Pulteney's letters, dated December the 21st, in that year, we find her mentioned as a famous "she-bone setter and mountebank."
Many of the male repairers of shattered constitutions and fractured limbs were foreigners or Jews, and we need scarcely add, in most cases had very little, if any, knowledge of either surgery or medicine, who traded on the ignorance of the lower classes, upon a successful but accidental cure, or just sufficient knowledge to perform a simple one, and cunning enough to pass it off as a miracle.
We are not informed whether any of these gentry prescribed for the unfortunate tradesman whose case we find recorded in the Westminster Journal of April the 22nd, 1775:
"Tuesday morning, Mr. Jefferson, corn-chandler in Vine-street, Southwark, set out for the salt water at Gravesend, having been bit a few days before by a little dog that went mad, and dangerous symptoms beginning to appear."
By the way, so great a terror was felt of mad dogs, that, in 1760, the Lord Mayor of London offered a bounty of half-a-crown for every dog's head that was brought to the Mansion House; but, after paying away 438 half-crowns, he began to sicken of his zeal, which he found too expensive.
But let us return to the impostors of the eighteenth century, with whom we have not yet done, for we have not at present noticed a very numerous class-the Conjurors and Professors of the Art of Magic. Hogarth has enshrined one of the tribe, Doctor Faustus (who died May the 25th, 1731, leaving a fortune of ten thousand pounds amassed in his
Credulity and Superstition in the Eighteenth Century.
calling), in exposing the rage which then existed for this species of diversion. But the law did not always allow the public to be imposed upon with impunity, and, as in our own day, although the fashionable foreign knave might conjure the cash out of the pockets of his Majesty's lieges, the low English wizard was a vagabond fit only for the treadmill or the stocks. On the 8th of May, 1759, according to the Annual Register, "A young man, in the shameful disguise of a conjuror, with a large wig and hat of an extraordinary size, and an old nightgown, was committed to Bridewell, being charged with having used subtle craft to deceive and impose upon his Majesty's subjects."
But, reverting to the empirical professors of medicine, if the quack doctors themselves were obtrusive in their ways of winning custom, the vendors of quack nostrums were equally so, and their panacea were of more universal efficacy, and warranted to reach more subtle disorders, than modern quacks have thought of healing, or even dreamt of the existence of. The first edition of the Spectator has the following advertisements of some precious heal-alls:
"An admirable confect, which effectually cures stuttering and stammering in children or grown persons, though never so bad, causing them to speak distinct and free, without any trouble or difficulty; it remedies all manner of impediments of the speech, or disorders of the voice of any kind, proceeding from what cause soever, rendering those persons capable of speaking easily and free, and with a clear voice, who before were not able to utter a sentence without hesitation. Its stupendous effects in so quickly and effectually curing stuttering and stammering and all disorders of the voice, and difficulty in the delivery of the speech, are really wonderful. Price 2s. 6d. a pot, with directions. Sold only at Mr. Osborn's toy-shop, at the Rose and Crown, under Saint Dunstan's Church, Fleetstreet."
"Loss of Memory or Forgetfulness certainly cured by a grateful electuary peculiarly adapted for that end. It strikes at the primary source, which few apprehend, of forgetfulness-makes the head clear and easythe spirits free, active, and undisturbed-corroborates and revives all the noble faculties of the soul, such as thought, judgment, apprehension, reason, and memory; which last, in particular, it so strengthens, as to render that faculty exceeding quick and good beyond imagination; thereby enabling those whose memory was before almost totally lost, to remember the minutest circumstances of their affairs, &c., to a wonder. Price 2s. 6d. a pot. Sold only at Mr. Payne's, at the Angel and Crown, in Saint Paul's Churchyard, with directions."
Doctor James's powders were in great request, and Goldsmith was a firm believer in their efficacy to the last; but it does not appear to have been noticed that Newberry, of Saint Paul's Churchyard, was, as he advertises, "Sole Agent" for the sale of them.
Another miraculous charm was the Anodyne Necklace," which," says the advertisement," after the wearing them but one night, children have immediately cut their teeth with safety, who, but just before, were on the brink of the grave with their teeth, fits, fevers, convulsions, gripes, loosenesses, &c., all proceeding from the teeth, and have almost miraculously recovered." The price of this wonderful necklace was 5s. 5d., but then it was "patronised by the King for the royal children!”
The Grub Street Journal of January the 9th, 1735, contains a formidable list of the quacks who had reigned for a time in public estimation from the beginning of the century. Among them we find :
"First-Doctor Tom Saffold, the Heel-maker, who used to publish his bills in verse, thus:
Here's Saffold's pills, much better than the rest,
"Second-Sir William Read, Mountebank, Oculist, and Sworn Operator for the Eyes, who,' it is stated, could not read one word,' but 'was knighted and kept a chariot.' He was a tailor by trade.
"Third-Roger Grant, originally a tinker, Oculist to Queen Anne. "Fourth-Doctor Trotter, of Moorfields, a Conjuror, Fortune-teller, and Mountebank.
"Fifth-The Unborn Doctor' of Moorfields. This was a name with which he dubbed himself for attraction's sake, and explained it by saying he was not born a doctor.'
"Sixth-An Anonymous Fortune-teller, whose bills announced that he had been the Counsellor to the Counsellors of several Kingdoms; that he had the seed of the true female fern, and also had a glass.'
"Seventh-Doctor Hancock, who recommended cold water and stewed prunes as a general panacea. He was a shining light till he was put out by the writings of some men of superior sense.
"Eighth-Doctor Anodyne, the inventor of the necklace which bears his name, to assist children in cutting their teeth. One year he informs us, gratis, that all the woodcocks and cuckoos go annually to the moon. Another year he presents us (gratis, also, good man!) with an almanack crammed with many valuable secrets, particularly one receipt to choke those noxious vermin the bugs, and another to make sack-whey.
"Ninth-The famous Doctor who has taught us to make a soup, a hash, a fricasee of quicksilver, which he intended should pass in a regular and continued stream through the system till the patient was cured.
"Tenth-The Worm Doctor in Lawrence Pountney-lane; and "Eleventh-Mr. Ward, of whom the public are cautioned in the pithy lines,
Before you take his drop or pill,
Take leave of friends and make your will."
Thanks for this list, Mr. Bavins of the Grub Street Journal! Let us hear Mr. Bickerstaff of the Tatler:
"There are some who have gained themselves great reputation for physick by their birth, as the Seventh Son of the Seventh Son, and others by not being born at all, as the Unborn Doctor,' who I hear is lately gone the way of his patients, having died worth five hundred pounds per annum, though he was not born to a halfpenny." "There would be no end of enumerating the several imaginary perfections and unaccountable artifices by which the tribe of men ensnare the minds of the vulgar, and gain crowds of admirers. I have seen the whole front of a mountebank's stage, from one end to the other, faced with patents, certificates, medals, and great seals, by which the several princes of
Credulity and Superstition in the Eighteenth Century.
Europe have testified their particular respect and esteem for the doctor. Every great man with a sounding title has been his patient. I believe I have seen twenty mountebanks that have given physick to the Czar of Muscovy. The Great Duke of Tuscany escapes no better. The Elector of Brandenburg was likewise a very good patient." "I remember when our whole island was shaken with an earthquake some years ago, there was an impudent mountebank, who sold pills which (as he told the country people) were very good against an earthquake!" This is the climax! Shame on those credulous times! But stay: Mr. Bickerstaff this was says some years ago," and, as the century was only ten years old when he said so, we would carry it to the account of the previous one. But unfortunately Dr. Smollett has recorded a case of credulity almost as bad as this, and we are bound to quote him. In the spring of 1750, he tells us that two shocks of an earthquake having been perceptibly felt in London, a crazy soldier increased the alarm that they created, by predicting another and severer shock, to occur on the 8th of April, which was to destroy the cities of London and Westminster, and, as the only means of salvation, preached up repentance. The terror which this prophecy caused among all ranks and classes was productive of a good effect as long as it lasted:
"The churches were crowded with penitent sinners; the sons of riot and profligacy were overawed into sobriety and decorum. The streets no longer resounded with execrations or the noise of brutal licentiousness; and the hand of charity was liberally opened. Those whom fortune had enabled to retire from the devoted city, fled to the country with hurry and precipitation, insomuch that the highways were encumbered with horses and carriages. Many who had in the beginning combated these groundless fears with the weapons of reason and ridicule, began insensibly to imbibe the contagion, and felt their hearts fail in proportion as the hour of probation approached; even science and philosophy were not proof against the unaccountable effects of this communication. In after ages, it will hardly be believed that, on the evening of the eighth of April, the open fields that skirted the metropolis were filled with_an incredible number of people assembled in chairs, in chaises, and coaches, as well as on foot, who waited, in the most fearful suspense, until morning and the return of day disproved the truth of the dreaded prophecy. Then their fears vanished; they returned to their respective habitations in a transport of joy."
The Devil was sick-the Devil a priest would be;
The panic over, "they were soon reconciled to their abandoned vices, which they seemed to resume with redoubled affection, and once more bid defiance to the vengeance of Heaven!"
This was the occasion alluded to by Horace Walpole in his letter to Sir Horace Mann, dated April the 2nd, 1750:-" Several women have made earthquake gowns, that is, warm gowns to sit out of doors all tonight. These are of the more courageous." Others of his female titled acquaintances sought an asylum at an inn, ten miles from town, where they were going" to play at brag till five in the morning."
But the threatened Destroyer did not keep his appointment, and these amiable dames were spared, to play at brag another day!
THE ANGLER AND HIS FRIEND.*
ANGLING is an instinct. Let utilitarians whose every thought and impulse is engrossed in the one absorbing dream of covetousness, let mock humanitarians who would not crush a worm but persecute their fellow-creatures, and morbid sentimentalists who swallow hecatombs and strain at white-bait, denounce the art as much as they like, there still always will be brethren of the rod, learned, poetic, literary anglers, as well as the simple, who will paint its beauties as the spring rain does the meadows, and vaunt its charms as youthful lovers do those of their mistresses. Here is Dr. John Davy, a physician, a philosopher, and an angler, who will tell you that the first symptom of a man's intellect becoming impaired was his giving up the gentle art!
It has been argued that while fishing for food is excusable, angling, as an amusement, is reprehensible. We know few anglers who do not eat their fish, and, what is more, like them, too. Nor, on the score of sensitiveness, is the argument all on one side. Fish, and more especially salmon and trout, are omnivorous, and especially voracious. They devour their own ova and that of each other. From the gullet of one trout no less than six hundred salmon ova were obtained, some of which, put apart, were afterwards hatched, using the artificial process.
According to Dr. John Davy, the two great functions by which fish are supported and their species maintained-viz., their mode of feeding and of breeding-are both carried on in the most inhuman way, according to our ideas of humanity.
"Take the example of a trout: its food is entirely animal matter, and its favourite food living animals, which it seizes and swallows entire; and so indiscriminately voracious is it, that, with the exception of the poisonous toad, there is no living creature that comes in its way it will not devour, from the frog or mouse to the common fly and gnat, from the slimy slug to the stony incased larva, and not even sparing its own kind, it being no uncommon occurrence to take a large trout with a smaller one in its stomach. In manner of breeding they can hardly be said to show any parental affection, at least the salmonida. Their eggs are deserted, after having been properly deposited in a suitable bed of gravel, left to the mercy of chance to be hatched, and the young fish, consequently, never know their parents, who, Saturn-like, often feed on their helpless offspring."
The sense of feeling is so obtuse in fish-that every angler knowsthat a fish will often bite again with a hook in its mouth, which it has only just before carried away. Salmon have been taken an hour after being liberated when sorely wounded with the gaff.
The exercise afforded by angling is most favourable to health and enjoyment. See the fly-fisher even advanced in age; in his lithe erect frame what a contrast is visible, comparing him with the man of the desk, or the studious and indolent man. The love of nature entertained by ever varying scenery and out-of-door pursuits is in no small degree
*The Angler and his Friend; or, Piscatory Colloquies and Fishing Excursions. By John Davy, M.D., F.R.S., &c. Longman and Co.