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writes well can prescribe well, if he has applied himself to the study of both. Besides, when we see a man making profession of two different sciences, it is natural for us to believe he is no pretender in that which we are not judges of when we find him skilful in that which we understand.
Ordinary quacks and charlatans are thoroughly sensible how necessary it is to support themselves by these collateral affiftances, and therefore always lay their claims to some supernumerary accomplishments which are wholly foreign to their profession.
About twenty years ago it was impossible to walk the streets without having an advertisement thrust into your hand of a doctor who was arrived at the knowledge of the green and red dragon, and had discovered the female fern-seed. Nobody ever knew what this meant, but the green and red dragon fa amused the people that the doctor lived very comfortably upon them. About the same time there was pasted a very hard word upon every corner of the streets. This, to the best of my remembrance, was TETRACHYMAGOGON, which drew great shoals of spectators about it, who read the bill that it introduced with an unspeakable curiosity, and when they were fick would have nobody but this learned man for their physician.
I once received an advertisement of one who had studied thirty years by candle-light for the good of his countrymen, He might have studied twice as long by day-light and never had been taken notice of, but lucubrations cannot be overvalued. There are some who have gained themselves great reputation for physick by their birth, as the seventh son of a seventh fon; and others by not being born at all, as the unborn doctor,' who, I hear, is lately gone the way of his patients, having died worth five hundred pounds per annum, though he was not born to a half-penny.
My ingenious friend, Doctor Saffold, succeeded my old contemporary, Doctor Lilly, in the studies both of physick and astrology, to which he added that of poetry, as was to be seen both upon the sign where he lived, and in the bills which he distributed. He was succeeded by Dr. Case, who erased the verses of his predecessor out of the sign-post, and substituted in their stead two of his own, which were as follow :
Within this place
Lives Dr. Cafe. He is said to have got more by this distich than Mr. Dryden did by all his works. There would be no end of enumerating the several imaginary perfections and unaccountable artifices, by which this tribe of men ensnare the minds of the vulgar, and gain crowds of admirers. I have seen the whole front of a mountebank's stage, from one end to the other, faced with patents, certificates, medals,and great seals, by which the several princes of Europe have testified their particular refpect and esteem for the doctor. Every great man with a sounding title has been his patient. I believe I have seen twenty mountebanks that have given phyfick to the Czar of Muscovy. The great Duke of Tuscany escapes no better. The Elector of Brandenburgh was likewise a very good patient.
This great condescension of the doctor, draws upon him much good will from his audience; and it is ten to one, but if any of them be troubled with any aching tooth, his ambition will prompt him to get it drawn by a person who has had fo many princes, kings, and emperors, under his hands.
I must not leave this subject without observing, that as physicians are apt to deal in poetry, apothecaries endeavour to recommend themselves by oratory, and are therefore without controversy the most eloquent persons in the whole British nation. I would not willingly discourage any of the arts, especially that of which I am an humble professor ; but I must confess, for the good of my native country, I could wish there might be a suspension of physick for some years, that our kingdom, which has been so much exhausted by the wars, might have leave to recruit itself.
As for myself, the only physick which has brought me safe to almost the age of man, and which I prescribe to all my friends, is abstinence. This is certainly the best physick for prevention, and very often the most effectual against a present distemper. In short, my recipe is, “Take nothing.”
Were the body politick to be phyficked like particular persons, I should venture to prescribe to it after the same manner I remember when our whole island was shaken with an earthquake some years ago, there was an impudent mountebank who fold pills which (as he told the country people) were very good against an earthquake. It may perhaps be thought as absurd to prescribe a diet for the allaying popular commotions and national ferments; but I am verily persuaded, that if in such a case a whole people were to enter into a course of abstinence, and eat nothing but water-gruel for a fortnight, it would abate the rage and animosity of parties, and not a little contribute to the cure of a distracted nation. Such a fast would have a natural tendency to the procuring of those ends for which a fast is usually proclaimed. If any man has a mind to enter on such a voluntary abstinence, it might not be improper to give him the caution of Pythagoras in particular
Abftine a fabis.
Abstain from beans.' That is, say the interpreters, meddle not with elections; beans having been made use of by the voters among the Athenians in the choice of magistrates.
It is not to be imagined, how far the violence of our desires will carry us towards our own deceit in the pursuit of what we wish for. A gentleman here (White's chocolate-house) this evening was giving me an account of a dumb fortuneteller, who out-does Mr. Partridge, myself, or the unborn doctor, for predictions; all his visitants come to him full of expectations, and pay his own rate for the interpretations they put upon his shrugs and nods. There is a fine rich city widow stole thither the other day (though it is not six weeks since her husband's departure from her company to rest), and with her trusty maid, demanded of him whether the should marry again, by holding up two fingers ... The wizard held up both his hands forked. The relict desired to know, whether he meant by his holding up both hands to represent that she had one husband before, and that she should have another ? or that he intimated the should have two more?