+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

He stated that in London his system of medicine
had not succeeded, because there, as in Paris, he
had been unfairly treated, and the result was
the loss of an enormous sum of money.

"You came to Paris in 1853," said the
president of the court. "What did you come for?"

"To introduce foreign medicine, and to
propose means of replacing steam in locomotives."

"You are, then, a universal genius!"

"Every physician is a chemist."

"Pray who made you a physician?"

"I, myself, sir," answered the accused.

"But you represented that you were a
physician of the University of Leyden."

"Hippocrates had no diploma; and if the Lord
himself were to return to earth to cure men, the
Faculty of Medicine would prosecute him!"

It was proved by MM. Velpeau and Fauvel,
surgeons to the Hôpital de la Charité, that
seventeen persons afflicted with cancer were
placed in his hands, and he undertook to cure them
in six months, but at the end of two months
seven were dead, and at the time of the trial, all
were dead, except two, and those two dying!

No one objects to a man dosing himself in
any way he pleases, provided he does not
commit actual suicide. With some men, the
taking of medicine seems a form of monomania.
Bishop Berkeley drank a butt of tar-water; and
a person named Samuel Jessop, who died at the
age of sixty-five, in 1817, had such an inordinate
craving for physic, that in twenty-one years he
took no less than two hundred and twenty-six
thousand nine hundred and thirty-four pills,
besides forty thousand bottles of mixture; and, in
the year 1814, when his appetite increased, his
consumption of pills was fifty-one thousand five
hundred and ninety! Dr. David Hartley, before
mentioned, not content with Joanna Stephen's
specific, had during his life eaten two hundred
pounds weight of soap, as a medicine.

Brandy and salt, Morison's pills, Holloway's
ointment, hydropathy, and homœopathy, all have
a place successively in the affections of those
given to quackery, and it may safely be
predicted that one form of quackery embraced, the
rest are pretty sure to follow. Possessed with
a constitutional mental obliquity, these persons
turn a deaf ear to the teachings of experience,
and are quite unable to perceive that if a remedy
was a cure-all once, its virtues ought not to be
superseded by every new nostrum puffed abroad,
and that if they have found one nostrum at
length useless, the lesson thus learned should
have the effect of warning them from other and
new deceptions.

In reviewing a long list of empirical
pretenders, it is found that all pretend to possess
some secret hitherto undiscovered, which is an
infallible remedy for some single accident or
disease, or which, properly applied, cures all
the ills that flesh is heir to. Frequently the
nostrum is an antiquated heirloom, or if the
empiric is more refined and subtle in his charlatanty,
spiritual manifestations and mesmerism
assist in the "new gift of healing."
Electricity and magnetism, too, those mysterious
forces, the physical laws concerning which are
little understood by the majority of persons,
are made scapegoats. Perchance, the
benefactor of his species gives himself out to be
a retired physician or clergyman, whose sands
of life are nearly run, and who, as an act of
gratitude before departing this life, offers an
invaluable prescription to his fellow-men for the
trifling sum of a few postage-stamps. With the
prescription, possibly, comes a recommendation
to have it made up at some particular shop, which
has no connexion with the advertiser. Every
newspaper that will admit such advertisements
can have them. Astonishing cures are thus
paraded before the eyes of a world of news
readers, and some weak-minded nobleman having
been cozened into heading the list of
recoveries, the fascination becomes irresistible.
Educated medical men are precluded from
advertising in this way altogether. A member
of any college or hall, advertising his cures,
would bring upon himself the general
reprobation of his fellows, and would place him for
ever beyond the pale of professional respect.
This being the case, the very fact of advertising
cures by any remedy, surrounds it with suspicion.
Qualified medicine men equally repudiate all
secret remedies. Whatever trouble or expense
an investigation has cost, the results are open
to the entire world, and their correctness is tested
by thousands of other workers. Had Jenner
kept to himself his preventive remedy for smallpox,
what wealth might he have accumulated!
Had Simpson kept secret the means of
abrogating pain by chloroform, what immense
pecuniary benefit would have accrued to himself!
Generally, when any real discovery has been
made, it has been considered a sufficient reward
to have its utility recognised; the reward has
come in reputation; and to the medical man
reputation is wealth, as well as honour.

In this country no laws exist to guard the public
against medical impositions. An act recently
passed provides a register by which the public may
distinguish between educated and uneducated
practitioners, but it ought not to be difficult to
find some ready method which, without
suppressing free trade in medicine, might at least
make it less easy for unscrupulous adventurers to
drive a thriving trade in this department.
Were even all patent medicines submitted to a
board of censors competent to examine them,
before the stamps were issued, the public might
be preserved in some degree from decidedly
injurious drugs.

The Fourth Journey of
Will appear Next Week.