Obrázky stránek

we may extol the sublime charity of that excellent man whose purse was ever open to relieve the necessitous; nay, we may aver that Dr. Mead voluntarily went to Madrid, and ventured his life to assist in curing the plague in that city. These were divine men, it is true, but if we compare the enterprize and philanthropy of Mr. S. or Mr. P. with them, is not the superiority of our contemporaries manifest ?

Does not the philanthropic Mr. - devote his whole time and attention to the cultivation of simples and the manufacture of cordials and vegetable syrups to invigorate the constitution of John Bull? Did not the magnanimous Mr. Perkins, in open defiance of the winds and waves, traverse the vast Atlantic Ocean, to work miracles in this favoured isle? and, for aught we know to the contrary, did not Dr. Solomon, like a witch on a broomstick, take his flight on the back of Mahomet's dove to Mecca, thence to Mount Gilead, and home again to Liverpool, loaded like the bee, with his precious Balm, and still more costly Anti-Impetigines ? Admirable men! who to all these toils have superadded the anx. iety inseparably connected with the love of money, which is the root of a greater evil than the scrofula itself, that incurable disease remorseless ararice! Doctor Solomon, indeed, has not obtained equal 'celebrity with the two benign foreigners, but he may justly be classed with the celebrated physicians, Rock and Graham, The admirable Doctor Senate is, from the powers of his prolific genius, entitled to rank with Doctor Faustus himself.

But while numbers are ready to acknowledge the utility of Quackery, which in many instances may be said to cut off the useless members of society, as a

skilful botanist lops his trees, there are others who proudly claim the privilege of thinking for themselves; and, from a seeming love of contradiction, condemn the whole host of empirics. One of these censors, who has written on the subject of specifics, says, “ that an universal remedy, or one that possesses healing powers for the cure of all diseases, is in fact a non-entity, the existence of which is physcally impossible, as the mere idea of it involves a direct contradiction. How, for instance, can it be conceived that the same remedy should be capable of restoring the tone of the fibres when they are relaxed, and also have the power of relaxing them when they are too rigid,

“ Indeed the belief in an universal remedy appears to lose ground every day, though the lower and less enlightened classes of the community are still imposed upon by a set of privileged impostors, who frequently puzzle the intelligent reader to decide, whether the boldness or the industry with which they endeavour to establish the reputation of their respective poisons, be the most prominent feature in their character.”

Sometimes an apparent cure by a quack medicine is productive of a more painful disease. Thus, an ulcer bealed may be only the closing of the orifice, while the morbid matter, by taking another course, may form an incurable imposthume. A celebrated quack-salter in this metropolis, recently sent a patient to the “undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveller returns,” by healing an ulcer in his leg. In a few weeks the empiric was met by the widow, who returned him her thanks for the favour, by saying, “God bless you, Sir, you cured my husband, but he died in three weeks afterwards." Such is the safety and benefit of tampering with medicine.

* In a single list of patent med cines there are nearly three hundred enumerated for the cure of different diseases, and the vender says, that to prevent the dangerous consequences that frequently result from counterfeit inedicines was the wotire that first inducert him to open his warehouse--benefiuent man!

Empirics are permitted by the laws to practise with impunity. Our ancestors, indeed, who prevented, or rather repelled disease by a life of temperance, never conceived that any human being could be so depraved as to defraud another of his money and his life, under the pretext of alleviating pain and restoring health. A still more powerful protection to impostors is derived from the tax paid by them to the State for advertisements and patents. But even in France, Mesm.er's fraudulent pretences were discovered and punished; why then should similar im. positions he pursued in this capital with impunity? Is the paltry sum obtained by a duty on patent medicines to be put in the balance in opposition to the health of a single individual? No. Were some public-spirited member of the legislature to bring in a bill for the suppression of this iniquitous branch of trade, he would be the preserver


many wretched beings, who in the moment of pain are glad to seek relief from nostrums, “as drowning men catch at straws." Alas! what numbers of infatuated mortals swallow the deleterious preparations of the Quack, and sink under the combined pressure of disease and medicine; who, had they been left to the simple efforts of nature, would have recovered, and lived

healthy and happy for many years! What an afe flicting thought and who, that has a heart to feel, would not endeavour to prevent the farther progress of empirical homicide.

Dissolute young men are induced to continue in the practice of their pernicious habits of wantonness and excess, from the mistaken idea that a nostrum will operate as an effectual restorative. Young girls are also permitted to indulge in the use of confections, which, from their heating nature, and the superabundance of nutriment they supply, generate disease. Health and beauty are at once injured, and licentious desires kindled, so that both in a moral and physical sense, children should be prevented fromàn indulgence in luxuries. The blessirgs of temperance, a healthy body and serene mind, will give a richer zest to the bounties of Divine Providence; and the predominance of intellectual over sensual pleasure, will exalt the happy individual in the rank of rational and thinking beings! One truth must excite some degree of alarm in the heart of the epicure. It is well known that substances in thema selves salutary may, when intermingled with others, become rank poison. Hence the fatal effects of eating a variety of viands, or mingling liquids of an heterogeneous nature, has doubtless precipitated myriads to an untimely tomb! This is commonly called dying of a surfeit. O man! if you would enjoy health and long life, restrain your appetites, remove the savoury but destructive viands, and fling the Circean cup of intoxication from your trembling hand!

Valetudinarians often voluntarily suffer tuore pain than was ever inflicted by the Inquisition. By swallowing every medicine which ignorant friends or artful Quacks recommend, these wretched dupes, instead of disarming disease, only render it more powerful. Three fourths of the diseases of the people of London are ideal; and many persons contribute to the support of the physician, and

pay him liberally for regular attendance, while they labour not under bodily indisposition but the imaginary ailments of a mind diseased. Many an athletic hypochondriac, whose sanity would be restored in a few days by exercise, now imagines himself at the point of death, though he will probably outlive his physician. The revelling and excess of those unhappy beings has produced in them such a relaxation of nerve and imbecility of mind, that they tremble at the momentary gloom occasioned by every passing cloud ; the sight of a hearse fills thein with horror; and the mournful knal thrills through every fibre.

Were we to investigate the origin of those diseases that really exist in this capital, they would be found to proceed from gluitony, iridolence, and sensuality i consequently not only the preventive of such diseases, but even the cure may be found in adherence to temperance, exercise, and moderation in the pursuit of amusements.

The passions have a most powerful effect on the health of the body, and the pains of the body excite sympathy in the mind. Hope, that prime cheerer of the soul, accompanied by strict temperance, will re-establish the health of the infirin, sooner than all che simples of nature, or the chemical preparations invented by man. Look around then, you who drag on a lingering existence-be

« PředchozíPokračovat »