Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/163

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MEDICAL QUACKS AND QUACKERIES.

It would be impossible for me to describe a tenth part of the quacks who flourished in England during the eighteenth century. There was Joanna Stevens, to whom Parliament voted £5,000 in 1739, for disclosing the secret of her remedy for dissolving stone. The wonderful secret remedy consisted chiefly of powdered snail-and egg-shells, and, notwithstanding its disclosure, "there have been as many human calculi since formed by his Majesty's liege lithotomical subjects as would macadamize one side of Lincoln's Inn Fields," says Wadd. David Hartley, the philosopher, was a great supporter of Joanna Stevens, and, after eating two hundred pounds' weight of her remedy, he himself died of the stone. There was Sir William Read, originally a tailor and cobbler, and afterward a quack oculist, knighted by Queen Anne, and who not only had the care of her eyes, but also treated George I. There was the clever but vain Hill, who quacked a gout specific called "tincture of bandana," and of whom Garrick has happily said:


"For physic and farces his equal there scarce is
His farce is a physic, his physic a farce is."

He commenced life as an apothecary, and ended by making a considerable figure in the fashionable world and marrying the sister of Lord Ranelagh.

Three of the most notorious quacks who imposed on the credulity of the public during the middle of the eighteenth century attained sufficient fame to be made the subject of a satirical picture by Hogarth. The picture was called "The Undertaker's Arms," with the motto "Et plurima mortis imago," and the most prominent figures in it were—first, Chevalier Taylor, a quack oculist of unparalleled effrontery, who wrote a most marvelous biography of himself, which at one time had a great sale; second, Joshua Ward, originally a footman, who invented a pill and drop; he was called in to see the King, who, in spite of the remedies administered, recovered—Ward for his services received a vote of thanks from the House of Commons, and got leave to drive his carriage through St. James's Park; and, third, last but not least, the celebrated Mrs. Mapp, the Amazonian bone-setter of Epsom, who surpassed all her rivals in quackery, and whose strength of arm was only equaled by her strength of language. She was the daughter of Wallis, a bone-setter, and sister of "Polly Peachem," who married the Duke of Bolton. She drove about London in a coach-and-six with outriders, and the most exalted in rank and station eagerly sought the company of this drunken female savage. She succeeded Taylor and Ward, and. is sung of as follows by some Grub Street poet:

"In physic as well as in fashion we find
The newest has always the run with mankind;
Forgot in the bustle 'bout Taylor and Ward,
Now Mapp's all the cry, and her fame on record.

    pear. The result of the experiment I can not remember, but I imagine the warts remained for some time after the decay of the meat.