QUACK MEDICINES—THE HYGEIST
TO THE EDITOR OF THE SPECTATOR.
Pill, near Clifton, Gloucestershire, 23t1s Nov. 1S31.
WORTHY Sin—At this moment, when the public mind is so much excited by an epidemic, the nature and cure of which puzzle the skill of all the medical men where this terrific disease has appeared, the people of England should be warned not to put their faith in the remedies pre- scribed by empirics. England has always been a hotbed of quackery ; but on this occasion it is incumbent on every good citizen to cry down those dangerous pretenders who advertise in the daily press their anti- specifics and cures for a disease which they only know by name.
The attention of the writer of this, has been particularly called on by
perceiving, in several newspapers, advertisements of half a column in length, from a person who has been for several years past in the practice of vending certain pills as a cure for every disorder with which man is afflicted. This nostrum he designates " Morison's Universal Medicine ;" and he has inserted a long letter from a real or pretended schipper of a sailing-vessel lately arrived at Hull from Riga, detailing the ble;sed effects of these pills in a case of Cholera Morbus ! The following is the commencement of the Doctor's advertisements-
" The President of the Board of the English College of Health, New Road, King's Cross, London."
Now, ignorant persons, and especially those residing in the country, would naturally conclude that this is the Board of Health instituted by Government, and fly to King's Cross to purchase the " Vegetable Uni- versal Medicines," and swallow them by the gross, as a sure preventive against infection. The pills are to be found in every city and county town between Falmouth and Johnny Grott's, where the Doctor has es- tablished deptits. As he states in his pamphlet that fifteen or twenty of these pills may be taken at a dose, it is to be hoped they are of an innoxious nature ; and that if they do not cure, they at least will not kill the patient.
Two or three years ago, the Doctor visited the Continent, in the hope of vending his nosmtms, and commenced his operations at Brussels ; but as, by the Code Napoleon, no person can sell drugs without a licence, he was denounced by the Flemish chemists ; and had he not immediately fled, he would have been prosecuted, and banished for the first offence, impri- soned and fined for the second, and sent to hard labour for the third.
It is to be regretted that we have no such salutary laws in England, for it is certain that the quacks kill more than the physicians cure.
While Doctors SoLoMoN, BROMIDE, &c. continued to impose on the public their cordials and syrups some thirty years ago, no one cared ; but now, when persons presume to advertise infallible cures for an epi- demic that has proved so fatal wherever it has appeared, and puzzled the most sagacious and best-instructed medical men, it is high time that " the President and Board of the English College of Health at King's Cross" should be made known,—or that the nature of the pretended medicines for the cure of Cholera should be inquired into, in order that ignorant persons may not be mystified, and made to believe that vegetable pills can cure such a disease ; and, being thus lulled into security, prevent those who may be attacked with Diarrhoea and the like diseases from applying to the regular physicians. The writer of this letter has no personal animosity- to Doctor Mo- rmon.; for he has heard that he -is • a man of good birth and liberal education, having been bred to the practice of medicine, but not suc. ceeding in a regular way, has invented these pills, and written a huge pamphlet with his portrait, ycleped the Hygeist, price one shilling, con- taining scores of cases cured by his "Universal Medicine."
Margate is one of his most considerable depots ; and if the vender of these pills can be believed, the sale amounts to many thousand pounds sterling per annum. That place being annually visited by 150,000 Cockneys, is an excellent station for the Hygeist ; and we might laugh in our sleeves to find John Bull so easily gulled, did not the Hygeist impu- dently assert that his physic both prevents and cures Cholera. I remain, Sir, your obedient servant, ANTI-HUMBUG.