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MONTHLY CATALOGUE, For OCTOBER, 1776.
Art. 10. Free Thoughts on Quacks and their Medicines. 8vo. 2 s. 6d. Wilkie, &c.
HE title of this piece is artfully contrived to take in an unwary purchaser by the expectation of fomewhat entirely diffe rent from its real contents; we therefore think it incumbent upon us plainly to declare, that we have found nothing-to distinguish it from the ordinary quack advertisements which we frequently have the ill luck to meet with under the difguife of a pamphlet, except a fuperabundant portion of abufe poured out against the regulars of the faculty, ferved up in a heterogenous medley of frothy declamation and fhallow reafoning. The Author, Mr. Spilfbury, not content with puffing off his own Antifcorbutic Drops, has most public fpiritedly taken under his protection his whole fraternity, whofe caufe he maintains in a well concerted attack upon their common adverfaries, carried on by malignant infinuations, crafty mifrepresentations and charges, little applicable, indeed, to the prefent fate of the profeffions, but likely enough to make an impreffion on fome of his readers. If he fails in judgment in any particular, it is in laying open, rather too unguardedly, fome of the arcana of the trade. Thus, when he informs us that the enormous fum of 1500 1. per ann. is expended in advertisements by the proprietors of fome of the most noted quack medicines, he gives occafion to reflect by what dint of puffing the craft is fupported, and how extravagantly the Public must pay for the article that is to reimburse these monstrous cofts. When he acquaints us that feveral famous Drops are only Paregoric Elixir variously difguifed; that one celebrated Restorative Medicine contains cantharides; that various other noftrums have for their bafis the most powerful preparations of mercury and antimony; and that his own is a compound of thefe minerals, hemlock, acids, bitters, alkalies, and fteel, he does not, furely, raife our ideas of the novelty, safety, and excellence of these remedies. When he dete&s the want of authenticity of cures faid to be wrought by the Vegetable Syrup, and afferts his belief that Hill's cried up Bardana never wrought a fingle cure, he does not exalt our opinion of the honesty of his brethren. And, laftly, he most unaccountably deftroys our admiration of his own patriotism and benevolence by the following too candid declarations :
The bad opinion, fays he, which experience and cool reflexion on the prefent itate of our manners, and the corruption of our morals, as well as on the tranfactions of fociety in these our days, induce me to entertain of the actuating principles of individuals, is fuch indeed as to leave no room for me to doubt but every one, from the highest to the lowest, would willingly trip his brother of his property, could he do it with the fafety of his perfon.' And again,
Man, the most ravenous fpecies of the animal kingdom, is fo felfifhly prone and addicted, that nothing could prevail upon the best of the whole tribe to do the leaf good or fervice to his fellow-creaRav. O8, 1776. Y
ture, was HE himself to deduce no fort of direct, or indirect, perfo nal advantage whatever from the deed.'
Who could have expected this from the inftitutor of a DISPENSARY, where the poor are fupplied gratis (on paying one fhilling admittance) or at half price, with his drops; which drops, indeed, are also paid for by a twice repeated advance of price on the Public?
The news-papers have puffed off the fpirit, elegance, and learning fhewn in this work. The truth is, that we remember not to have met with a more tedious redundancy of words, or a more difgufting mixture of affected fineries and vulgarifms, plentifully interFarded with grammatical blunders.
Art. 11. Obfervations Preparatory to the Ufe of Dr. Myerbach's Medicines: In which the Efficacy of certain German Prescriptions, (given in English) is afcertained by Facts and Experience, &c. By J. C. Lettfom, M. D. F. R. S. and S. A. &c. 8vo. Is Dilly. 1776.
That in this age, and in the capital of this enlightened country, an ignorant impoftor fhould meet with many thousands of all ranks and conditions, wilting dupes to the ridiculous and ftale pretence of difcovering the feat and caufe of their diforders, by the mere infpection of their urine;-the very bathos of empiricifm ;-fo that in the space of little more than two years this, probably felf-graduated, urinecafter should have amaffed a princely fortune, by playing upon the ignorance and fuperftition of his credulous votaries;-are facts that would fcarce be credited, were they not moft fatisfactorily authenticated by the pamphlet now before us..
For the pains which Dr. Lettfom has here taken to cure the late epidemic madness, and to expofe this impoftor, by opening the eyes of his blind employers to his various practices, he is juftly intitled to the thanks of the Public. By the cafes which he has here collected, every one must be convinced of the fuperlative ignorance and temerity of this German adventurer; and the Reader will be aftonished that a deception, of fo very low a kind, and fo clumfily conducted, could have been nurfed up, by popular credulity, to fo alarming a magnitude: for, often, as we have been informed, 2 ot 300 perfons in a day have been feen crouding to receive the random prescriptions, fome of them of a dangerous nature, of a man not only totally unacquainted with medicine, but ignorant likewife of the age, fex, and even species*, of the patient; and of the nature or even name of the disease for which he was prescribing.
Befide the internal evidence prefented in the abovementioned cafes, the pamphlet contains fome strong external. teftimonies refpecting the
In one part of this pamphlet, we find our Water-conjurer pre- 1 fcribing for a young gelding; from an attentive view of whofe urine he declared that the Lady, to whom it had belonged,' was very bad;' that he had a disorder in her womb,' and a flime upon the kidneys;'-that her pains in labour be very bad;'-that she was very fretful and peevish ;-and that the was always coughing.'-After due inspection into the urine of a cow likewife, the Doctor inferred that the party had been too free with the ladies of the town.'
object of it; particularly the confeffion of a penitent affociate, one of the Doctor's late apothecaries; who relates fome of the manœuvres of the confederacy, and the Doctor's frank and repeated declarations of his aftonishment at the folly and credulity of the English.' In a letter likewife addreffed to the Author, M. Johan Toennius, a gentleman of the faculty, informs him of his having been called in, fo lately as November 1773, to vifit the wife of Mr. Myerfbach, in a Fittle lodging at a fhoemaker's, who confulted him, as being him felf totally unacquainted with medicine.' Mr. T. demanded no gratuity, on account of the poverty and diftrefs of Mr. Myerbach; who was then trying various fchemes to get bread, and particularly was foliciting employment from a Mr. Hill, a ftarch maker. The fame however and riches of a Decor Myersbach having lately reached his ears; and having identified him with his late poor acquaintance at the fhoemaker's, he demanded payment for his attendance on his wife, and received it.
• The whole impofture, to give it the mildeft epithet,' Dr. Lettfom informs us, will foon appear in a court of juftice;' where it is not to be doubted but that the astonishment of the Public will be equailed only by their indignation for the infults and injuries practifed upon the weak and credulous part of the community." Art. 12. Tracts on Medical Subjects. By Charles Efte, Member of the Company of Apothecaries in London. 4to. 1 s. 6d. Davies.
How Mr. Charles Efte came to imagine that every apothecary was in duty bound to publish a book as a teftimonial that he can write a legible label,' we are at a lofs to conceive. A Latin thefis, we know, by ancient and reverend cuflom, is made the paffport to doctorial dignity-a custom we do not wish to depreciate, fince the review of thofe productions is not a part of our plan. But if every apothecary, with the loquacity ufually attributed to his profeffion, were to think it incumbent on him to pour forth his effufions in his mother tongue -mercy on us! what a more than Woodwardian courfe of emetics would the poor Reviewers have to go through?
This Writer, indeed, is pretty confident that whatever else may be faid of his work, he fhall at leaft efcape the imputation of loquacity; and to fhew us how generously he is difpofed to deal with his readers, he has left two pages entirely blank, though, as he fays, he 'could have filled them.' We thankfully acknowledge the obligation, and quedion not but thefe pages will obtain all the negative praise he promifes them. We only think it a pity that it did not occur to this Gentleman, as a certain method of enfuring equal praife to the reft, and at the fame time of effectually obviating the charge of loquacity, to extend his blank paper through the whole piece.
With respect to thefe diminutive tracts, we are able to discover nothing fo curious or novel in them as the ftyle and language; of which the following quotation, felected with very little choice, may ferve as a fpecimen :
To take a cafe from a very formidable degree of abfolute pain, to a privation of it, is, perhaps, to accomplish the laws of furgical poffibility, which, in their nature nor require, nor admit of more than the first degree of happiness, the exemption from painful fenfations.
As far as the via furgica lies in the venereal route, it would not, if it could be done, be morally prudent to make it a "way of pleafantnefs;" nor farther is it medically dutiful than to approximate it to the path of peace."
The fubject of the tracts is chiefly chirurgical, relating to the treatment of inflammations and abfceffes; and we doubt not but the Author may be a refpectable practitioner, though he is fo little qualified to fhine as a writer.
Art. 13. The Barber of Seville; a Comedy of Four Acts. With Songs, &c. by the Author of Eugenie; or, "the School for Rakes." 8vo. I s. 6 d. Bew.
The original piece of Monf. Beaumarchais, of which we have now the tranflation before us, met with a very fingular fate on the ftage of the French comedy at Paris. The Author having given two or three dramas after the manner of Diderot, the Public perhaps expected another piece of the fame fchool, and were furprised to find that the Writer had not only abandoned his old models, but even leapt the bounds of legislative comedy, and prefented them with a long farce. The piece was therefore condemned on the spot; and though we do not commend the feverity of the audience on the first reprefentation, yet we cannot but confefs that a piece in the ftyle of the Barber of Seville, feemed more calculated for the meridian of the Italian comedy of that metropolis, than for the more fober troop of the Comedie Françoife; just as the frolics and fallies of the Comic Mufe are indulged with greater latitude in the Haymarket, than at our more regular theatres. The Author of the Barber of Seville, however, not only had the courage to appeal to a fecond audience, but prevailed on them to reverfe the decree of the original tribunal, by a whimsical expedient. Thinking five acts created as much obftruction in the movement of his plot, as would arife from a fifth wheel to a coach, he facrificed one of the acts, and rolled forth his literary machine, the fecond time of its appearance, upon four; in which form it has again and again and again been received with uncommon applaufe. The ftory is fomething like that of the Padlock, not enriched however with any character fo original as Mungo, but abounding with many more comic incidents, and manifefting, on the whole, a more artificial construction of the fable.
The Editor tells us that he claims no merit from publishing this tranflation; and indeed it reflects but a very imperfect image of the original.
Art. 14. New Brooms! an occafional Prelude, performed at the Opening the Theatre Royal in Drury-Lane, Sept. 21, 1776. By . George Colman. 8vo. 1 s. Becket.
Though the fubject of this little piece is profeffedly temporary, yet it contain characters, together with a comic incident or two, worthy of a place in a more permanent drama. The dialogue is lively, and the humourous perfonages of Phelim, Catcall, Crotchet, and Sir Dulcimer Dunder, are happily delineated. The fprightly Prologue, to which this piece ferves for a preface, is evidently the production of Mr. Garrick; and we could almoft fuppofe that Phe lim's own self penned that part of the advertisement, wherein the Au
thor conceals his friend's name, and lets all the world know who his friend is.
Art. 15. The Chriflmas Tale; a Dramatic Entertainment, in
We formerly gave an account of this dramatic entertainment when it appeared in five acts. It is now compressed by the Manager into three, that it may, together with farce and pantomime, not be tob long for reprefentation as an after piece. The fame experiment has been tried (and with wonderful fuccefs') on Milton's Comus. Hold your hand, Manager! and offer not the like violence to the incomparable Tempeft of Shakespeare!
Art. 16. On Government. Addreffed to the Public 8vo. 2 s. Stuart.
The Author, fuppofing America loft to Great Britain, offers feveral hints for improving the internal strength of our island; and even proposes to raise this kingdom to fuch an height of power and greatnefs, as to become the centre, or head, of an Univerfal Empire: which, he thinks, may, poffibly, at fome period of time, be formed. There is a peculiar mixture of good fenfe and extravagance in this tract. The Writer has many original thoughts on the nature and powers of government, and, particularly, on the fubject of juries: a fubject which every man of property, in this country, ought to understand; but which, not one in ten thousand does understand. Art. 17. Remarks on a Pamphlet, entitled, "The Principles of the Revolution Vindicated*: the Work of R Watfon, D. D. F. R. S. Regius Profeffor of Divinity in Cambridge. By an Under Graduate. 4to. 1s. Rivington, &c.
A laboured attack on Dr. Watson, abounding more in far-fetched fcholaftic diftinctions, aiming to convict the Doctor of fome metaphyfical errors, than in a fair direct examination of his political reafoning.
Art. 18. A Vindication of Dr. W-n; or, an Answer to @ Pamphlet, entitled, "Remarks," &c. 4to. 6d. Rivington, &c. The principles of the Revolution have very little cencern in the fparring of this pair of Cantabs.
Art. 19. A Companion to the Peerage of Great Britain and Ireland; being an Alphabetical Lift of fuch of the Daughters of Dukes, Marquiffes, and Earls (now living) who are married to Commoners. Collected by Jofeph Edmonfon, Efq; Mowbray Herald Extraordinary. 8vo. 1 s. Ridley, &c.
It frequently happens, fays Mr. Edmondfon, in his 'Apology,' prefixed to this publication, that when a Lady Mary A. or a Lady Betty B. the wife of a Commoner, is mentioned, the company is at a lofs to know from what House her Ladyship is defcended. The maiden name being loft and merged in that of the husband, no clue is left to lead to the knowledge of her family or rank, and there being