sides what are afforded to them by those who have been regularly instructed as medical practitioners.

We are not to suppose that all of those whose names might be comprised in a list of medical impostors have been really dishonest. Many of them have evidently been mere enthusiasts, stimulated probably by the double motive of doing service to their fellowcreatures and gratifying their own vanity. Others have been in the no uncommon situation of inventing lies first, and believing their own inventions afterwards. We have been informed on good authority of the vender of a quack medicine who had such disinterested faith in his own remedy, that in his last illness he would have recourse to no other-and died taking it. But we fear, nevertheless, that the honest party among these pretenders is in a small minority, and that with the greater number the only object which they have had in view has been that of turning the weakness of mankind to their own advantage, laughing in secret at the individuals whom they have duped.

A well-digested history of this irregular order of medical practitioners would not be uninstructive. It would present to us a curious list of priests and nobles, philosophers, simpletons, and knaves. Even royalty itself would not be absent from it. The name of king's-evil was applied to scrofulous diseases because the kings of England and France claimed, and were supposed to possess, the power of curing it by the simple process of touching the afflicted with the hand. The hand of the seventh son of a seventh son, and also the hand of a man who had been hanged, possessed the same healing property-which last must have been a flattering association for the monarchs. In England it is said that the miracle was first wrought by Edward the Confessor; nor did the lapse of centuries impair the faith of any of the parties concerned-Charles II. having, in the course of twenty-two years, during which exact registers were kept, touched 92,107 scrofulous persons. Wiseman, who held the office of serjeant-surgeon, a man of great repute in his day, and of undoubted skill (for the folio volume on surgery which he has left behind him may be consulted with advantage even at the present time), bears the following testimony to the efficacy of his royal master's treatment :- I must needs profess that what I write' (that is on the subject of scrofula)

will do little more than show the weakness of our ability when compared with his Majesty's, who cureth more in one year than all the surgeons in London have done in an age.' Brown, who was also one of his Majesty's chirurgeons, and chirurgeon of his Majesty's hospital in London, makes a statement similar to that of Wiseman, and asserts that Cromwell was anxious to exercise this as well as the other prerogatives of royalty, but that the


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practice failed in his hands, he having no more right to the healing power than he had to the legal jurisdiction.' It seems, however, that the faith of Wiseman was not so absolute but that he deemed it expedient to add to his other dissertations sixty-fourclosely-printed pages on the history of the king's-evil, and the mode of treating it by ordinary means. It is probable that there were others who had no faith at all, although it might be dangerous to express their sentiments - one Thomas Rosewell having, in the year 1684, been tried on a charge of high treason, for having publicly said that the people made a flocking to the king upon pretence of being healed of the king's-evil, which he could not do, but that they, being priests and prophets, could do as much.' Rosewell was found guilty, but afterwards pardoned. King William declined to exercise this part of the royal prerogative, but it was resumed by Queen Anne, as is shown by a passage in the Life of Dr. Johnson,' in which it is stated that he was taken to her Majesty when a child to be touched for the evil, by the advice of an eminent physician, Sir John Floyer.' The good sense of King George I. put an end to this absurdity, but it continued to flourish in France under Louis XV., and in this country it was soon followed by others, over which the royal authority had no control.



I find,' says Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, in a letter dated Lovere, July, 1748, that tar-water has succeeded to Ward's drops; and it is possible that some other form of quackery has by this time taken place of that. The English are, more than any other nation, infatuated by the prospect of universal medicine,' &c. &c.

The history of the medicine which is here referred to is singular enough; proposed as it was, not by a charlatan seeking to impose on the public for his own profit, but by a benevolent clergyman, a metaphysician and mathematician: a philosopher distinguished alike for the clearness of his perceptions and the acuteness of his reasonings. Bishop Berkley, having proved to his own satisfaction that the existence of a material world is a mere delusion, did not hesitate to believe that the drinking of tar-water would mitigate and even prevent the smallpox and erysipelas; that nothing is so useful as this in cases of painful ulcers of the bowels; in consumptive coughs, and ulcers of the lungs, with expectoration of pus; that it cures asthma, dropsy, and indigestion, the king's-evil, all kinds of sores, and the foulest disorders.' Time and experience only confirmed him in these opinions. In a subsequent publication he says, I freely own that I suspect tar-water to be a panacea, And as the old philosopher cried aloud from the housetop to his fellow-citizens," Educate your children," so, if I had a situation

a situation high enough, and a voice loud enough, I would say to all the valetudinarians upon earth, “Drink tar-water."'

But it happened, as had been anticipated in the letter which we have just quoted, that the reputation of tar-water was not of much duration; and it has been long since not only neglected, but forgotten.

Another specific which was in vogue about the same time shared no better fate, although it was first recommended on the authority of another distinguished philosopher, who was also a physician, and afterwards sanctioned by the three branches of the legislature. A certain Mrs. Stephens professed to have discovered a cure for the gravel and stone in the bladder and kidneys, in the shape of a powder, and a decoction of pills, all to be administered internally. The celebrated David Hartley collected evidence on the subject, and published an octavo volume recommending Mrs. Stephens's medicine, with an account of 150 cases in which it was supposed to have been administered with advantage, his own case being among the number. Mrs. Stephens offered to make known her secret to the public for the sum of 50001. An attempt was made to raise the amount by subscription, and several noblemen and gentlemen promised their contributions towards it; in the list of whom we find the names of some eminent physicians and surgeons,-Dr. Peter Shaw, Dr. Monsey, and Mr. (afterwards Sir) Cæsar Hawkins. Not more than 13877., however, having been collected, application was made to parliament, by whom the sum required was granted, the composition of the specific being afterwards published in the London Gazette. It consisted of egg-shells and snail-shells, with the snails in them, all calcined; ash-keys, hips and haws, swinecress and various other vegetables, all burned to a cinder; with camomile-flowers, fennel, and some other vegetables-these last not being burned in the same manner. The disclosure of the mystery did not add to the reputation of the medicine. It gradually fell into disuse. Dr. Hartley himself died of the discase of which he had supposed himself to be cured; and we will venture to say that among the other patients who were really afflicted in the same manner, and who did not resort to other methods of relief, there were none who did not share Dr. Hartley's fate. It would, indeed, be a matter of astonishment that so many grave persons should have arrived at a conclusion on such insufficient evidence as that which Dr. Hartley had furnished, if we did not know how easy it is for mankind to be made to believe that to be true which they wish to be so.

These histories are sufficiently instructive to those who are disposed to learn; but the next is more instructive still. It is


within the memory of many now alive, that an individual of the name of Perkins claimed the discovery of a new method of curing diseases by the application to the surface of the body of certain pieces of metal, prepared by himself in some unknown manner, and sold by him under the name of metallic tractors.' This agency was attributed to some kind of magnetic influence which the tractors possessed, and, if the report of the inventor could be believed, the effects which they had produced in his own country (the United States of America) were indeed marvellous. The trials made of them in England were at first not less successful than those on the other side of the Atlantic. Persons of the highest station, as well as in other grades of society, bore 'Among the testimony to the wonders which they worked. vouchers,' says Mr. Perkins, will be found eight professors in four universities, in the various branches, as follows: three of natural philosophy, four of medicine, one of natural history: to these may be added nineteen physicians, seventeen surgeons, and twenty clergymen, of whom ten are doctors of divinity; and many others of equal respectability.' Perkinism advanced rapidly in reputation everywhere; but the chief seat of its triumphs seems to have been in Bath, which at that period, before the road was opened to the German Spas, was resorted to by a vast number of invalids of every description, and, what was more to the purpose, by a host of malades imaginaires also. Nor was this all. It was thought, and not without reason, that, if the principle were good, it might be extended further; and many grave and soberminded gentlemen wore pieces of loadstone suspended round the neck, for the purpose of preventing or curing the gout.

But, unfortunately for Perkinism, there dwelt in Bath a certain shrewd physician, Dr. Haygarth, who was not inclined to yield implicitly to the authority of the aforesaid university professors, nor of the ten doctors of divinity, and ten other clergymen, nor even of the thirty-six wiseacres of his own craft, who had borne witness It occurred to him that he had to the efficacy of the tractors. neither seen nor heard of any effects following the use of the tractors which might not fairly be attributed to the influence of the imagination either of the patient or of the bystanders. In order to determine how far this was or was not the case, he provided some pieces of wood fashioned to the same shape, and painted of the same colour, as the tractors; and then by an innocent-we will not call it a pious-fraud he caused them to be applied, under the pretence of their being the genuine tractors, in the usual manner, to various patients. The experiments were conducted partly by himself, and partly by a gentleman who still lives enjoying the respect of the profession to which he belongs-Mr.


Richard Smith, surgeon to the Bristol infirmary; and they were witnessed by a great number of persons. The results were not less remarkable than those which followed the use of the real Perkinean instruments. There was only one patient among those subjected to the operation who did not declare that he experienced from it more or less benefit, and in him the effect of it was greatly to augment his sufferings, so that he would on no account allow it to be repeated. He said that the tractors had tormented him out of one night's rest, and that they should do so no more.' This exposure was a death-blow to Perkinism. Even in Bath, the following year produced only a single case of supposed cure from the tractors; and in the course of two or three years the delusion had vanished in other places.


It was not very long after the period which is here referred to that some one recommended mustard-seed, to be taken internally, as a cure for all sorts of disorders. One or two wonderful recoveries, which were said to have followed the taking of mustardseed, gave it at once a vast reputation. Everybody took mustard-seed. The street in which it was sold was crowded with carriages, the tenants of which were patiently waiting until it came to their turn to be drawn up to the emporium of mustard-seed. This lasted for two or three years. It was then discovered that mustard-seed did no more than a great number of remedies could do, which it was less disagreeable to swallow; and that some persons suffered harm from the quantity of it which they had taken; and the delusion went the way of the tractors.

A young man, who had been brought up as a journeymancooper, was instructed by his mother in the art of champooing. Champooing, and other modes of friction, have been long known as useful remedies in certain cases of stiff joints and weakened limbs, and as a substitute for exercise in bedridden patients; and there are many respectable females, of the class of nurses, in London, who practise the art very successfully, and think themselves amply remunerated for their labour by earning a few shillings daily. But this youth was more fortunate. One or two cures, which it was reported that he had made, caused him to be talked of at every dinner-table. It was believed that he had made a prodigious discovery in the healing art-that champooing, performed according to his method, was a remedy for all disorders. Not only those to whose cases the treatment was really applicable, but those to whose cases it was not applicable at all-patients with diseases of the hip and spine, of the lungs and liver-patients with the worst diseases, and patients with no disease whatever went to be champooed. The time of the artist, being fully occupied, rose in value; and we have no doubt that we do not over-estimate his

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