« PoprzedniaDalej »
QUACKERY AND THE QUACKED.
Society at large has been so often likened to faith in the divining rod, believed in the transan individual being, that the comparison has mutation of metals, and dreamed of the elixir become almost vulgar. In many points, howev- vitæ. Their quackery in clisease was different er, the simile is undoubtedly correct. In one
But we do quack as much, nay more respect it is unquestionably so. When any per- than they did. Like as in their time, the greatson looks back upon his past life (often no very er part of ever our educated population is igno pleasant retrospect), memory pictures to him rant of the principles of medicine. It is not, many follies which he has committed, many however, any less conceited than in former times, absurd opinions which he has entertained - the and is quite determined upon dosing and treatwhy and the wherefore of which he cannot for ing sickness. Hence, as of old, the land is full his life account for. He knows that he did them, of quacks and of quackery. but he marvels what possessed him to do so ; The patent medicines constitute the lowest and he knows that he believed such and such and most vulgar form of quackery. Of these, doctrines, and he is astonished at his past cre and of their wonderful properties, the newspadulity. In like manner, when we look back pers are full. Most of them profess to cure evupon the past career of society, either national ery disease in the nosology, beginning with that or universal, we behold similar absurdities which bugbear to an Englishman — bile, and ending it has committed, and for the commission of with consumption. In this respect the antibilwhich it is difficult to assign a reason. To be ious and life pills are all alike, Cockle, Dixon, sure many false steps and erroneous opinions, Holloway, et hoc genus omne. The efficacy of if indeed not all, evidently depend upon the all these quack medicines is proved by sundry same cause — an indulgence in ignorance, and letters, commencing with that of the Earl of its invariable accompaniment, self-conceit. It Aldborough, and then jumping to an indiscrimis the old tale of Phaton and the sun. We inate assortment of Smiths, Joneses, and Thompwant to drive the sun's chariot - W
- we are deter
-all concluding in the same key, 'Please mined to do it, and we don't know how.
immediately send another box at one and a penA history of the follies and absurdities com ny halfpenny.' mitted even by English society, if but for the Numerous as are these patent medicines, they last half dozen generations, would be one of the are, in fact, almost identical in composition. most instructive and entertaining books ever They are simply purgative pills, very analogous written. What pictures would pass before the to the colocynth or compound rhubarb pills of the mind of its writer ! — anti-Dissent mobs, Gor- druggists’ shops. Now purgative medicine is somedon mobs, anti-Church mobs, South Sea schemes, times useful and sometimes injurious. Any permilitary expeditions, Reform riots, meetings in son, then, taking these pills at random is a fool. conventicles, assemblages of Ranters, Joanna So we will say no more about patent medicines. Southcott and her milk white ass! But the We
pass them over the more readily, because catalogue is endless. One conclusion, how we believe that it is only the astonishing facility ever, that the philosophic reader of it would which the modern system of advertising gives to come to is, that bad as were the times of our the sale of patented medicines that keeps them ancestors in this respect, those of ourselves are in existence. Were it not for this, we suspect not one whit better; and for this he might con that they would die a natural death, as unsuited sole himself with the reflection, that those of our to the age, and belonging, in fact, to the past descendants will be just as bad. Ignorance, and one. Formerly, cheating, and imposition of all conceit, and folly, and error, have bad much to kinds, were of an unartistlike and inartificial chardo with the management of the world for five acter. It is not so now; downright but simple thousand long years; and if the crazy old orb lying is, at any rate, straightforward, and therekeep together as long, they bid fair to maintain fore not now in vogue. Moreover, there has their hold for five thousand long years more. been so much of it that most people are rather The varying manner, however, in which they suspicious of improbable statements so long as guide their votaries is very curious.
they are simple statements. But wrap such up Thus, our forefathers lived in dread of being in a theory, and particularly if it be a very novbewitched; they feared secret and slow poison-el and liberal one, and they slip down the throats ing; they attributed to certain charms and rem of the lieges as a gudgeon does down the maw edies most potent and absurd virtues; they put of a pike. Advertised nostrums are only popu
lar among the very ignorant. The fashionable amusing. But the very beginning of all, the systems of quackery nowadays are homeopathy, fact th:et bark produces ague, happens unfortuhydropathy, animal magnetism, and the like. nately to be perfectly untrue. After taking a
All these systems have sprung up since socie-dose of it, IIahnemann says that he had ague. ty — particularly liberal society -- took that turn Now he either lived in an ague country, i. e. which produced the French revolution (No I., one exposed to fenny and marshy exhalations, we mean), and many a less revolution. Ilahne- or he lived in a country where ague was an unmann, the founder of homeopathy, was born in common disease. If the latter were the case it Saxony, a little past the middle of last century. must be admitted, that as ague was unknown to Ile graduated at Erlangen. He was undoubt him he might mistake the disease. If the former, edly a man of some, although very superficial, as was we believe actually the case, why did not abilities; infinitely superior, however, in point he take it like his neighbours from exposure to of both education and intelligence, to Priestnitz miasmata ? One of these two suppositions must or Mesmer. Unfortunately his medical educa- have been the case, for although Jesuits' bark tion seems to have been very imperfect; and in and its alkaloid quinine have been taken by his writings he exbibits great deficiencies in his thousands of healthy individuals, both before knowledge, not only of medical literature, but and since the time of Hahnemann, it has never what is of greater consequence, medical princi- produced ague. It is not, perhaps, an exaggerples. He scarcely seems to have ever practised, ation to say, that it has been taken millions of but to have employed his time partly in attend times by people in a state of ordinary health. ing to chemistry, but principally in translating It is one of the few drugs that are employed by English, French, and Italian works into Ger- healthy people for the purpose of exciting bunman. Among the rest, he undertook a transla- ger, promoting digestion, or preventing infection of Cullen's Materia Medica.
tion. It is even taken in homæopathic doses, This work contains allusion to some experi- since many habitually use it as a tooth-powments of Alexander upon the action of remedies der. upon the healthy body. Such are, indeed, the Hahnemann was, howerer, undeterred by foundation of every rational system of therapeu- any reflections of this kind. He made, or pretics and of practice. And, indeed, an attention tended to make, fresh experiments with other to such action of drugs upon the healthy frame drugs, and soon propounded his new theory. is nearly as old as the bills. But there is no The times were favorable for its reception. doubt that it had never been brought forward The majority, or at any rate a large number, of into sufficient prominence. Hahnemann, how- the inhabitants of middle and south-western ever, appears to have considered it as something Europe, looked upon every established opinion altogether new; and living in an age that de- in the same light as a child looks upon its old manded novelty, he eagerly seized upon the clothes when it can get new ones. Habnemann, idea, and determined to dose himself.
doubtless, shared this feeling. He probably also He not unnaturally commenced his experi- thought of the advantage which his new docments by taking Jesuits’ bark. According to trine might be of to him. Moreover, the notion his own account, after he bad done so he had that similia similibus curantur is, and was, someague. Upon this slender foundation is raised what congenial to a muddle-brained and enthuthe whole structure of homeopathy. Its illustri-siastic German. The system obtained some ous founder reasoned thus: “I was well, I took degree of success, and has now a number of Jesuits' bark and I had ague; ergo, the Jesuits' professors in Great Britain, as well as a number bark caused the ague; ergo, Jesuits' bark taken of admirers, who know nothing whatever about by a healthy individual always produces ague. its true principles or professions. But Jesuits' bark cures ague; crgo, whatever It is evident that the administration to a sick produces a disease can cure a disease; ergo, far man of a remedy which would, if he were well, ther, nothing can ever cure a disease but that cause a like disease, would aggravate the malawhich can produce it. Ergo, all medicine is dy. The way to cure a black eye is certainly wrong, and I will found a new system with a not to give it another blow. When drugs which Latin motto and a Greck name. Similia simili-would cause symptoms similar to those present bus curantur is the motto, and IIomeopathy the are administered in appreciable quantities, it is name of my new science.
admitted by the homeopathists that the disease This mode of reasoning is really not exagger- is made worse. “ With large doses,” says Dr. ated; homeopathic writers themselves assert it. Black, “patients may be treated bomæopathiIn it Hahnemann jumps from specials to gener- cally, but then we may frequently expect a posials, and from generals to universals, and in a tive increase of the disease, or even death. The manner which is very obvious and also very experience of such painful and dangerous aggra
vation, in no case necessary to a cure, led Hah- shall find the surface of a medicine, originally nemann to employ minute doses."
the cube of an inch, will become at the third These minute doses constitute surely the fun- trituration equal to two square miles; at the niest contrivance in the annals of empiricism. fifth, to the Austrian dominions; at the sixth, to The millionth of a grain is a common dose; and ninth, to the united superficies of the sun, the
the area of Asia and Africa together; and at the a trillionth, octillionth, even a decillionth, very planets, and the moon. Black's Homeopathy, usual ones. It must be remembered, however, p. 88. that all the professors of homeopathy have not the honesty of Dr. Black; and some of them, however, do not seem exactly to explain the
Hahnemann and the majority of his followers, so far from admitting that large doses administered homeopathically
“ tremendous potency" of the infinitesimal doses cause an increase of disease or death,” maintain that the smaller the
in this manner, but content themselves with
asserting, that “it is undeniably proved that the dose the greater is the strength of a drug.
latent We are very bad hands at ciphering, and
power (it is impossible to say what is never, even in our best days, had a clear idea solution." Ilahnemann warns his disciples to be
meant by this) is developed by trituration and of the multiplication table. In order to illustrate careful lest they shake too much, and thus, as the absurdity of these minute doses, we will bor
some people are accused to have done lately, row some details from an admirable work by
over-develope. “A drop of Domera," writes Dr. Wood of Edinburgh,* who remarks:
this great medical philosopher, “ in the thirtieth Of such minute division no language can degree of dilution, at each of which it has been give even the slightest idea; and though calcula- shaken twenty times, endangered the life of an tions may express it in figures, yet they fail to infant who took it for hooping-cough, wbilst one convey any mental conception of its amount.
to which only twelve shakes had been given at A billionth of moments have not yet elapsed
each dilution was sufficient, with a grain of popsince the creation of the world ; and to produce a decillionth, that num'ber must be multiplied by py with which it was combined, to produce a a million seven separate times.
prompt and casy cure.” — IIAHNEMANX, Nor. The distance between the earth and the sun Org. p. 306. is ninety-five millions of miles. Twenty of the It is a very singular, and almost unnaccountahomeopathic globules laid side by side, extend ble fact, that the only medicine which is an exto about an inch - so that 158,400,000,000 such ception to the general law, and which does not globules would reach from the earth to the sun. But when the thirtieth dilution is practised, each acquire additional potency by dividing and subgrain of the drug so divided, is divided into 100, dividing, is alcohol. The homeopathists confess 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
that, dilute it as much you will, and shake it as 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 parts. So you please, it not only does not acquire additionthat a single grain of any substance in the thir- al intoxicating properties, but actually loses its tieth dilution, would extend between the sun strength. But they are sure that the reverse is and earth 1262,626,262,626,262,626,262,626,262, the case regarding nutmegs, camomile flowers, 626,262,626,262,626,262,626,262 separate times. and such-like substances. Along with Dr. Wood we exclaim,“ We make
The homeopaths being satisfied of the truth no comment."
of the doctrine of similia similibus curantur, People who can believe such absurd state- and of the “ tremendous potency” of infinitesments, are sure to attempt to explain them by imal doses, have nothing to do but to experistill absurder hypotheses. Both Hahnemann
mentize with various drugs, and to ascertain and one of his disciples, Professor Dopler, have their effect upon the bealthy economy. This tried their hands at this
. The erudite professor they have affected to do; and their published maintains, that the action of the medicine docs results are most entertaining. For full particunot depend upon its bulk, but upon its surface;
lars we refer to Jahr's Manual of Homeopathic and that, when this latter is increased, it ac
Medicine, of which there is both a French and quires a “ tremendous potency.” He asserts, of
an English version. Dr. Wood, too, in bis Hocourse, that the superficies of any drug is in- mæopathy Unmasked, has copious extracts upon creased by trituration and subdivision.
this subject. We cannot refrain, however, from what follows is rather strange, we will give it in narrating a few. symptoms, “ the undoubted the words of the homæopath Black. He says,
effects of infinitesimal doses."
There is common salt, of which most of us Proceeding on the moderate assumption, that have partaken; and our experience of its effects by each trituration the particles are reduced to will, doubtless, confirm the experiments of the the hundredth part of their previous size, we homæopathists. According to them it produces,
an immense variety of * Homeopathy Unmasked. Published by Men and therefore cures zies, Edinburgh.
symptoms. Among the rest are “palsies,”
"great wasting of the body,” “ eruption on the that have been observed by thousands of intelskin,”
," "continual shivering,” “ melancholy sad- ligent men for more than two thousand years are ness, with abundant weeping,” “ hatred of those fallacious. All the deductions drawn from the from whom injuries have long ago been re careful observation of facts by these philosophers ceived," " irascibilities, and violent rages easily for this space of time are erroneous. And the provoked,” " desire to laugh,” “ weakness of only judges of truth are some score of very igmemory and excessive forgetfulness,” “ the ex norant, very enthusiastic, and (to say the best of perimenter blunders in speaking and writing,” it) very conceited medical men, and their still (perhaps some of these symptoms are blunders,) more ignorant and conceited lay admirers. “ falling out of the hair even of the beard," The truth is, that these modern systems of ulceration of the chin,” “ loss of appetite, es- quackery or empiricism hold just the same relapecially for bread, and repugnance for tobacco- tion to regular or Hippocratic medicine as presmoke,”
," " warts upon the palms of the hands," vious and exploded systems did. Regular med&c., &c.
icine consists in the deduction of great princiAnother substance, with which most of us ples relative to health and disease from the cauhave experimented upon ourselves is nutmeg. tious observation of reiterated facts. EmpiriOf course we have noticed in ourselves the fol cism disdains this course of proceeding, and lowing symptoms, which we select among many either only deals with isolated facts without refothers: -“Bloody perspiration,” “a constant flow erence to great first principles, or as in the case of facetious ideas," " a strong disposition to make of homeopathy, jumps at theories without cara fool of every body,” “idiotcy and madness," ing about facts; in a word, it does not reason, "shortness of breath," "contraction of the throat.” but it fancies.
Lady Bountifuls and old maids are very fond To every depth there is a lower deep. Abof giving people camomile tea. Do they know surd as are the bomæopathic theories and pracwhat symptoms camomile produces ? Let them tices, those of hydropathy are infinitely worse. listen and be ware ! " Catalepsy,” “ epileptic con- The homeopath may be compared to the profesvulsions, with retraction of the thumbs,” “ a dis- sed jester formerly maintained in every great position to weep and utter lamentations, with house, of infirm brain but with cleverness in his great readiness to take offence,” • taciturnity and folly ; while the hydropath is like an obstinate repugnance for conversation,” “ music is insup. and stupid natural, who doggedly rushes on to portable,” “ nostrils ulcerated," "lips, ditto," destruction, scorning all warnings. Neverthe
toothache, with pain so insupportable as 10 less, it is to us a matter of surprise that quackdrive to despair,” “ the tongue moves convulsive- ery did not turn itself in this direction long ere ly,” and “ the head is twisted backwards.” We it did. Hydropathy had, for hundreds of years, will only add, that any one who can swallow this, its prototype in the mistaken opinions and pracreally deserves to be made to swallow salt, nut- tices relative to “watering places," as they are meg, and camomile, and other such potent med called. icines.
These resorts of thousands in the summer seaTo refute such nonsense as this would be an
son essentially consist in springs of water, which insult to the understanding of our readers. appreciably differ from common springs. The Homeopathy is, in fact, in essence a new name difference, however, is very various. Some confor what has been long known as the expectant tain a tolerable quantity of some substance or plan of treatment. The infinitesimal doses ad- substances which have a decided therapeutical ministered by homeopathists, as they have no action on the human economy. Others, and by visible or chemical existence (nothing can be far the larger number of them, contain some sadetected in a globule save sugar), have no effect line or chalybeate ingredient, but in such small whatever upon the animal economy. Ilomæo- proportion that, even if drank in very considerpathy, in fact, consists in standing by and watch- able quantities, their action is but that of coming nature and imagination overcome the dis mon water. Others, again, differ from ordinary ease. It is obvious, however, that any one water simply in being, when they issue from the who is treated homeopathically loses the benefit, earth, somewhat higher in temperature. They the undoubted benefit, which the art of the correspond exactly with the water in a kettle physician affords.
which has been for a moment or two on the fire. It seems extraordinary that non-professional The spring at Harrowgate is an example of the people, who are incapable of judging of the mer- first variety, and that of Matlock of the last, its of two medical systems, are not struck with while by far the greater number of “mineral the fact that if homeopathy, or hydropathy, or springs” are examples of the second. any other pathy be true, then the system of Any one who occasionally employs himself in regular medicine must be false. All the facts watching the proceedings of his fellow-men in
order to find food for his mirth, has a rich treat , ful conquests, and “claw me and I'll claw thee," in beholding not only the various ways in which is their rule of action. different individuals act with regard to “ water Those who visit watering-places in search of ing-places,” but the various reasons which lead health, generally suffer from a similar indisposithem to select different “spas.” Shoals of peo- tion, well enough expressed by the term “out ple annually visit some one or other. To a great of sorts.” This means that the functional acmany of these health is a very subordinate motive. tions of the nervous and digestive system are They go because they have nowhere else to go deranged; not much, but still so as to produce to, or because they want to get married them- uneasy sensations. This state of things is genselves, or have daughters whom they wish to see erally brought about by the two great evils of married. · Thither,” says Scott, speaking of our social system -- having too much or too little one, comes the saunterer, anxious to get rid of to think about. The anxious and perhaps emthat wearisome attendant himself; and thither barrassed merchant has had his nerves on the come both males and females, who, upon a differ- stretch for eleven long months, on almost every day ent principle, desire to make themselves double." of which bis ledger has been opened with a sigh The intellectual man or the woman of taste, and closed with a groan. Even if more fortuseek some quiet, retired spot, and quaff elegantnate, he has had an anxious heart for all that preparations of iron or water, impregnated with time. On the other hand the retired merchant, bubbles of carbonic acid gas, Nature's cham- with more money than he can spend, from habit pagne. Not so others of a class beneath them. and mental constitution has nothing upon which The place we have just mentioned, Harrowgate, he can employ his mind; so, after eleven months is a very
favorite resort of a section of Yorkshire of ennui and idleness, he, too, is indisposed. clothiers, Lancashire cotton-spinners, and bag. From analogous causes, an immense variety of men of both counties. It possesses for them a other characters become out of sorts." These twofold charm. First, they have, as it were, a visit their favorite watering-place, drink its waquid pro quo for their money. The sulphur spa ters deeply for a month, and return home unat Harrowgate smells and tastes as only the sul-doubtedly better, if not quite well. Those arphur spa at Harrowgate can smell and taste. flicted with chronic complaints, although less Nothing equals it, nothing in nature resembles certainly, are often in like manner benefited. it. Moreover, it is not a liquid of which half a This they repeat year after year, and who can tumbler is drunk, and there is an end of it. wonder that they expatiate upon the efficacy of They swallow pints of it, and its effects nearly tear their spa, and upon how well it agrees with their their very bowels out. They bathe in it warmed constitutions ? up; and lest they should lose any of its delecta The olject which they have in leaving home ble fumes, they get the top of their tub covered is to drink every morning, (or, in addition, to in with sacks. Secondly, if the internal twinges bathe) large quantities of a certain mineral gratily the bowels of " feyther” (this word is spring. This they do, and are better. Does the nowadays pronounced " popar"), the bustle and cure depend upon the saline or chaly beate ingrethe merriment of its sort, of which the place is dients of the mineral water? upon that, in a full, please the little hearts of the country miss- word, which distinguishes it from ordinary spring
Here they have every night at “ Queen's" water? We may safely answer, in the negative, “ Binn’s” a dance, every day a pic-nic, and, It does not; for these ingredients are well what is better than all, time and opportunity to known, and if administered at home produce no concoct lies innumerable to retail out to their such beneficial results; no, not even if they are three bosom friends when they reach home rela-extracted from the very spring itself. The cure, tive to the “offers" they have had. If you then, does not depend upon those. It may be could believe what any one of them said, every that the cure depends upon the idle man having one who asked her to dance, every one who for a time employment and distraction, and upon handed her over a stile, every one who took the over-wrought man being away from the wine with her, made her an immediate offer of scenes of his mental labor, from his anxiety and matrimony. Nay, if she be put to it, and fan- care, on his nervous system getting a rest, and cies that some young spinning swain was think on his both living a regular and agreeable life ing of asking her to take some pigeon-pie, but and using a desirable regimen. We may hererefrained from so doing on seeing how small a after make a remark upon this explanation of the bit was left and how hungry he himself felt -cure; but it may be explained in another way. he, too, she will declare, made her an offer. Not It may be that the whole of the goord results that the three bosom friends actually swallow all depend not upon the saline ingredients of the this, but they, too, visit watering-places, and spa, nor upon the change of scere, &c., but
upon they, too, come back with tales of like wonder- | the water. Hydropathy maintains that it does.