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Anecdotes of Godbold, Solomon, Ching, Butler, &c.
TO THE EDITOR'S OF THE MEDICAL OBSERVER.
THE length of time which elapsed between the publication of your first and second numbers, inclined me to fear you had abandoned your philanthropic undertaking ; and having been so repeatedly disappointed in my enquiries after it, I had given up all hopes of its re-appearance; till accidentally casting my eye on an advertisement in the Times, I found, to my great pleasure, that a third number had been published, which, with. the former one, I immediately procured. It is my most ardent wish that you may continue to persevere in your truly laudable exertions, by maintaining a regular monthly publication, and I have no doubt but the public, whose comfort and welfare you so humanely and ably endeavour to promote, will duly appreciate your labours.
I have, Gentlemen, more than ordinary reasons for wishing success and encouragement to the undertaking; and as far as the exertions of an individual can tend to promoteyour benevolent views, you may rely on my most strenuous exertions.
I do not possess a sufficient share of vanity t« imagine that any lucubrations of mine will be deemed worthy a place in so respectable a publication, as The Medical Observer, but I have it in my power to communicate a variety of interesting facts, which, pruned of their excrescences by the able hands of its conductors, would not fail to add celebrity to their valuable work.
Although I do not lay claim to the smallest share of literary acquirement, (which the present confused scrawl will sufficiently indicate) I could not help feeling gratified at the unmerited encomiums bestowed in your first and second Numbers on a puerile work which I published in 1804, under the title of " An Essay on Quackery, &c." From this publication, (the expenses of which greatly exceeded my scanty means) I did not meet that support I had been led to anticipate; and I certainly felt rather chagrined at the cold reception it met with from the faculty: indeed, several of them informed me, that, although they were sufficiently aware of the baneful consequences resulting from empiricism,—yet they should by no means consult their frweiNTEREST by interfering to cause its suppression, as at least one dangerous case in six primarily originated in the patient's reliance on quack medicines.—I was shocked at the cold-blooded apathy which these sentiments imported, and^trust, for the honour of the profession, that they are equally as solitary as detest
able.—Feeble and ill executed as my Essay on Quackery was, and considering the deep-laid artifices which were had recourse to in order to prevent its circulation, I could not anticipate any very beneficial result; but I should certainly feel a proud satisfaction, did I imagine that it gave rise to your spirited publication, which bids fair to give a vital blow to empiricism in every quarter of the globe. For my own part, I shall continue my endeavours to hold up Quackery and its infamous abettors to the contempt and animadversion they so justly merit; nor shall the feeble hand that dictates this, ever shrink from the arduous task it has embarked in, till our legislators are aroused to a due sense of the important duty they owe their fellow-men, or till the voice of reason, aided by liberal science, shall dispel the noxious vapours of empiricism, and hurl the hydra-headed monster “ down to its native hell.”
I leave it to your superior judgments to make what use you please of this communication, and remain,
P. S. Ihave in my possession a number of letters written by the late Mr. Cowslade, pf Reading i in one of which he inform* me, that Bit mead's case of cure by Ching's Worm Lozenges, was written by him, at Butler's express desire. I have also several letters written to me in 1804 bj Mr. Hayman, (with what view it was not difficult to ascertain) detailing some curious facts relative to Goldhold, Solomon, and other medicine venders, whom he states to be (with how much truth I dare pot say) the veriest ******** that ever escaped a certain exalted situation.-rYet, notwithstanding all this, the immaculate Mr. Hayman has since entered into a compact 'with Butler *****. But the world shall know it all; nor shall these Donnellans and their baleful poisons escape the odium they are entitled to, however deeply they may be intrenched behind the sacred name of a Christian Minister! or the prostituted recommendation of a British Peer!
Before I conclude, I must beg leave to call your attention to a very modest letter, which appeared in several of the papers of last month (dated from Demerara! in praise of an empirical preparation, f yclept the Yellow Fever Remedy."—-Although
(thanks,to credulity)I have nodoubtbut the Fabricators of this wonder-working nostrum may reap a yellow harvest by the sale of it j yet, in spite of the pretended recommendation of the German theorist*, I would stake the solemn asseveration of an oath, that neither their remedy, the Pulvis Jacobus, nor any other quackish preparation, will cure the yellow or any other Fever!—unaided by Nature and the skill of the Physician. Indeed it is a melancholy fact, that myriads of human beings are annually precipitated to" that bourn from whence no traveller returns," by a too fatal reliance on the deleterious preparations of designing empiricks, who, emboldened by the success they meet with, are continually swelling the already enormous catalogue of human ills, by the addition of some new-invented" Syrup of Death or health-wounding Pill.'* The miseries resulting to the human race from this system of " Medical Swindling," (" which has, under the semblance of philanthropy, beguiled myriads of their money, and numbers of their lives") have not escaped the notice of several enlightened moral writers, who have often and forcibly depicted the evils attendant on the incautious administration of nostrums; but so besotted are a large portion of our fellow-country* men, that they will have quackery, however injurious.
* Dr. Willich.